Monday, March 12, 2007

Watch me pull a dramatically prolix thesis out of this hat!

We had a lovely weekend, first walking out to Ealing for friend's birthday Saturday via Grand Union Canal (probably about 10km - 25,000 steps). Quite a nice walk, although the canalway is about as patchy as the Bay to Bay cycleway in Sydney in parts, presumably due to a Battle of the Boroughs. It may have been my last long walk in the brown quilty jacket though, as it was bloody hot. We walked down through Acton (where Grant works) to Ealing and it was readily apparent why Acton housing is comparatively cheap. AWFUL. But Ealing is pretty swank.

On Sunday we went into town to meet another friend for breakfast near Waterloo. We had a nice walk along South Bank (ie of Thames, not in Brisvegas) afterwards. It was an unusually pretty sunny day, and the usual street performers were out. We stopped to watch a very funny magician, whose act including counting his three magic cups in many different languages, including Australian (Magician: "Aussie Aussie Aussie!" [pause]; Grant, Loz, and about three other people: "OI! OI! OI!"). The act was made even better by a magician using Grant and I as misdirection during one of his tricks - always nice to have a crowd clap while you kiss, isn't it? I must say, Grant said he could spot some of the sleight of hand, but the guy was way too fast for me. We also went for a bit of a wander around the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the Jewel Tower, which is a 600 year old relic of the old palace that the Houses of Parliament ultimately replaced. One of the Edwards kept his treasures there, but in a truly pragmatic exercise of Victorianism, its last official use was as a store for the standard units of weights and measures - because it is thick stone, the tower resists vibration and changes in temperature, so keeping the units stable. It's an educational if somewhat dry place - lots of Parliamentary history stuff (+ cabal, precursor to the cabinet, is an acronym of the names of the nobles involved in the first cabal of Charles II - Clifford, Arlington, Buckingham, Ashley and Lauderdale) which rather highlighted my ignorance of English history. Side benefit is I finally learned what the crazy imperial weights system is based on (weights of wheat grains - crazy English).

Grant has been having fun at work. The official position of whether or not he goes on shift changes every other day. He doesn't care either way - I'm not working, after all, so it won't be anything like the fun 3 years where we passed each other at the door 2-3 days a week - but it would be nice to know either way so we can plan some damned holidays.

I have been working on my thesis today (being a dangerous combination of ambitious and lazy, I am trying to make myself devote my Mondays to the cause as I am off Uni Mondays and Tuesdays). It's going OK; my supervisor seems happy with it so far. BUT, the advanced draft part is already 17000 words and the whole thing is only supposed to be 15000. PLUS I have at least another 5000 to go by my calculations. It's turning into LLB Honours all over again - for that one I was supposed to turn in 12000 words and it was 25000! The secret is to hide the total from responsible authorities until the very last minute.

However, since I am now terrified of adding words, thesis editing has become an interesting exercise in me pretending the thesis is some sort of incredibly boring jigsaw. It has now been restructured about 5 times, to the point where my supervisor instructed me to Quit Fiddling With It. Of course, I'm hoping he won't notice that I've squeezed in new sections 2(a) and (b). Right?

Otherwise Uni is going pretty well. I am doing a bit better with getting the reading done, and feeling a little less panicky about the whole thing, which is a plus. However, the fact remains that I haven't sat a formal exam in 5 years and I'm about to do three of them. SIT DOWN, CLOSED BOOK exams no less, all covering not only UK law but US, French and German/EU law as well. OK I'm going to stop talking as I am scaring myself.

I have just put in applications for (a) a 2 week residential study program in Washington DC run in conjunction with my Uni and a few others, and (b) a very casual research assistant job. I'm really not sure of my chances for either, actually. Frankly, for the former I walk a dangerous line between being underqualified for not knowing enough about US law and overqualified for knowing too much based on what I used to do at work, and on the latter my only research work has been on my own behalf, which doesn't really count as relevant experience to do it professionally, especially since I'm out of my home jurisdiction and deprived of the useful paralegals who used to do my research for me. However, I did get to go over my CV etc to fill in the applications, and the whole exercise did remind me that on paper I look quite good, and used to be a Super Lawyer Type Person, even if I feel rather like a lazy waste of potential earning power at the moment.

In final news, spring is finally really here, and I am loving it. I am much less tired and more productive than I was when we were getting 7-8 hours of daylight. The sun is up after 6pm now. I get woken up before 7am with the sun coming into the bedroom, and it's less of a chore to get up to walk to the station with Grant. There are flowers everywhere, and I no longer need a beanie on morning walks, and can cycle in just a t-shirt and my light jacket. VERY EXCITING!

Ro's visiting this weekend. Hurray!

Steps: 80+K last week; Grant busted 100K. Go team Donnelly/Eade!
Cycle: 40km per usual. Boring, I know. I should get extra points though as it was really windy last week.
Thesis words: don't even want to think about it, but about 800 words. Sob!

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