Now is the stage in the student’s progress where he or she records all that one hoped to do over a break, and in doing, reflect with growing bitterness, on failures that outnumber successes. That’s melodramatic by design because I have set myself up for this sort of disappointment from the start, and I suspect most students in my place do the same.
The easiest way to explain the unfortunate lack of content at PBS over the last three months is by way of my usual analogy wherein my brain is represented by a complex and not entierly efficient collection of offices and workshops. Starting around late May, the workers in the cognitive resources branch decided they could no-longer maintain the usual level of productivity—working conditions had deteriorated thanks to a steady increase in exterior noise and stress—and so they took action. There was no wildcat strike but there was a very clear decision to work-to-rule, meaning that they would do what was strictly required of them, as per their various job profiles, but no more. The blog was one of those ‘additional duties, as determined by the office foreman’ and it was left to sit out the period of stress. Otherwise, work progressed as planned with two more conferences since K-zoo, packing of the room for storage over the break, and other tasks no less vital despite their lack of glamour.
So what occupied my time for the month of April? I’m not really sure, I will need to check. Hey! my day-book is a useless collection of mostly blank pages and short, largely uninformative, to-do-lists! Hmm. Was involved in some ‘incident’ and this is an effort to cover up unauthorized orders?
No. I’m thinking of U-boat commanders and their order logs. I was just crap at keeping track of things for almost the entire month of April.
I hope regular readers of PBS have enjoyed, or at least tolerated, the brief take over by the ether-monkeys of WordPress with their occasional postings from Oxford Noir. I have been trapped in a different sort of Dante-esque place of confinement at The National Archives for the last week and, prior to that, the victim of some wicked ennui that made all non-essential writing a painful ordeal. I will, given time, actually write about my adventures but for now I will simply check in and deposit this fragment from the second volume in the Oxford Noir series, unfortunately titled Close Roll and Open Corpse (somehow, this one didn’t impress the literary agents either).
Results from January are something of a mixed bag, but there is progress, measurable progress. February will look better because a bunch of things must be done that month. For now, this looks less impressive than it actually is.
The long journey back to the brain mills of Oxon. begins tomorrow but my writing habit must be satiated. Unfortunately that does not promise an engaging blog entry, only a short update and some name-dropping for deserved peoples. Below rest notes on a pen, a book, and some short updates.
In the last year I worked briefly as an essay tutor, travelled to France, wrote a whack of papers and things, moved to Oxford to start a DPhil, got nominated for a few graduate prizes, sat The Test, got elected to a membership at the Royal Historical Society, presented 2 conference papers, and bought far more books than I can actually afford. Here follows a slightly more specific account of the year for the sake of posterity and my spotty memory.
With a certain ominous inevitability reserved for Greek tragedy, the monthly review has returned to PBS bearing in its ropey arms the trophies and wounds of another 30 days of a DPhil in Oxford. Apparently the review carries some repressed literary aspirations as well. Rest assured, that early flourish is probably all it can muster. Rest in the warm, if dry, embrace of a largely inconsequential update of the last month.
I regret that today’s blog entry has no real theme, other than they are reasonably recent events. Consider this a commonplace collection for the internets. Most of these are at least relevant to the general purpose of the blog. They have some historical element, they relate to research or the tasks of the academic, or the inform the ongoing experiment that is the LD student in higher-education.
This is a short one today on account of fatigue and a cold that is trying to get into the offices and put his feet up on the lunch room table and generally bother everyone trying to get some work done.