Friday, April 29, 2005

just a note

Well, I'm really off to Stratford now. I'm writing this from an Internet Cafe in Lancaster, en route to the train station. I had to check my email about something important before I left, and I forgot to do it at the university before I left. And I still have 12 minutes of 'net time left, so I thought I'd make the most of them.

I also (finally) updated my website today on the Lancaster server (see link in the sidebar). I've added some pictures, and taken some out (since they were taking up so much space, and most of them weren't that great, and most of you probably don't care about them that much), and I also added a section with some of my academic writings in pdf format, so that you can see what I've been working on this past year.

I'm getting excited about my dissertation. I need to speak to my supervisor a bit more for some direction/instruction in the computer-analysis part. There are some important things I need to use the computer for, and I've asked him to introduce me to some programs I haven't used before. But other than that, I'm mostly reading right now, both Harry Potter (I'm about halfway through the last book) for data analysis and other stuff for background reading. I hope it goes well.

Well, I'd better get going now. I'll write again later when I have been to Stratford and have more interesting things to talk about. Until then!

coming home! coming home!

Well, I bought my tickets today to come home. For good. June 24th. I'll be arriving in Salt Lake around 5:30 pm, if anyone wants to come meet me. :)

Driving down the road I get a feeling that I should have been home yesterday. (4 points)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

I'm away again ...

I just decided tonight, rather last minute, to head out to Stratford-upon-Avon tomorrow after my class. I found a ticket online for 10 pounds to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Twelfth Night, so I bought it. Now, though, I need to find accommodation for the night, which is a little tricky, since this is May Day weekend. Hope it all goes OK. I'll report back later.

I never can see him but I am heart-burned an hour after. (15 points)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Cornwall trip

Cornwall last weekend was a lot of fun. Ironically, on the day I left, the weather was beautiful, which doesn't happen often in Lancaster. In fact, the weather was apparently wonderful here all weekend, while I was down in Cornwall. Cornwall is supposed to be one of the sunnier places in England, but you wouldn't have thought it from the weekend I spent there. It was pretty yucky most of the time I was there. But at least it didn't rain too much.

On Saturday, JoAnna and I went to Land's End, and then walked from there to Sennen Cove, about a mile or so up the coast. The beach at Sennen Cove is beautiful, and it's apparently considered one of the best beaches in Europe for surfing, body-boarding, and the like. There were lots of surfers there Saturday. We had some fish and chips from a local shop and then walked on the beach. The water was cold, but it was nice anyway. Then we went back to Penzance. We were going to walk along the Esplanade (the longest in Europe, so I hear), but we didn't get very far before we decided to give that up. The tide was in, so we kept getting sprayed with sea-water (if not doused in it), and then it started raining to boot! We went back to Market Jew Street, the main shopping street in town, and bought some groceries for the next day. Then we went back to the hostel for a rest, and after an hour or so went back out and ate at Wetherspoon's.

On Sunday we got up bright and early and headed to Helston to find the church. We did find out, although we had to walk up a honking long street to get there. We arrived right as they were beginning the sacrament, and the usher didn't let us in until they had finished with the bread. So, we got to take the water, but not the bread. Kind of odd. Anyway, while there at church, we met a few members, and one of them told us he worked at St. Michael's Mount (near Penzance). We said we were hoping to go out there before we went home, and he told us he would get us in for free. Wow, we thought -- OK, that sounds great! He wanted to introduce us to his wife, who would be working there, but we were going to leave during Sunday School, so we didn't have time for that. So instead he asked us for our names, and he said he'd phone and have them let us in free. "Just introduce yourselves at the ticket office," he said, "and they'll let you in.

So, we left and took the bus back to Marazion, which is the town next to St. Michael's Mount. The mount is only about half a mile out from the coast, if that, but during high tide you have to take a ferry. We got there at low tide and walked over the causeway to get there. When we got to the ticket office, we rather awkwardly introduced ourselves.

"We're Katrina Wilkins and JoAnna Hunter," I said.

The ticket lady looked at us blankly. "Excuse me?"

JoAnna repeated, "I'm JoAnna Hunter, and this is Katrina Wilkins."

"Hello, I'm Dawn Evans," she replied. "Nice to meet you." And she held out her hand.

JoAnna and I looked at each other, unsure what to do next. "Does that say anything to you?" JoAnna asked.

Dawn looked blank again, and then, while I sought for the words to explain the situation, she suddenly seemed to get it. "Oh! Who are you here to see?"

"Uh ..." I stammered. "I ... can't remember her name ... she's married to Richard ...?"

"Oh, Maggie?" Dawn exclaimed.

"Yeah!" I responded excitedly. (I need hardly add that Richard had never told us his wife's name. To this day, I'm not sure if he really is married to Maggie.)

Dawn printed out our two free tickets, and we then went to watch the 15-minute-long informational video about the Mount.

St. Michael's Mount, as I mentioned, is about 1/2 mile out to sea from the village of Marazion. Back in the day (around 600 AD, if I remember correctly) some local fishermen had a vision of St. Michael the archangel there, and so some monks built a monastery there. The Benedictine monastery was there for several centuries, and then the island was captured and given to some noble family. They used the monastery as their castle, and a few more centuries later added on to it. The castle is still owned by the St. Aubyn family, and they are said to still live there as well, though I'm a bit incredulous. Anyway, the mount was nice. It's supposed to be based on Mont St-Michel in Brittany, but the latter is much more impressive, I must say. By the time we left, the tide was in again, so we had to take a ferry back to the mainland. We could have swum it, to be honest, but I guess then we'd have had wet clothes and that's no good.

We then went back to the hostel and made dinner/lunch. After a very nice meal, we decided to head over to St. Ives, wanting to make the most of our time there. St. Ives was also very nice, although it would have been nicer if the weather had been. We walked along the beach again, "having a marvelous time" (7 points), and then went back to Penzance for one last night.

The whole time, I kept wishing I had my "Pirates of Penzance" music with me. I kept singing snatches of the lyrics to myself, but I don't know them well enough. Somehow, I ended up without Pirates on my computer, so I'll have to copy the CD when I get back home again.

Speaking of coming home ... it looks quite likely (I'd say about a 98% chance) that I'll be coming home in mid- to late June. I had a good talk with Jonathan (my supervisor) today, and he seems quite confident that it will be no problem at all. He also let me take a look at his comments and marks on my dissertation proposal, which I gave him last week sometime. I was pleasantly shocked to see that he marked it at 71 (recall from last term that anything above 70 is a "distinction," which means it's really good). I honestly didn't expect more than the high 50s, although I was hoping for something in the 60s. I hope the other essays from this term come out as well as this did.

I had intended not to intrude myself upon your notice in this effective but alarming costume. (13 points)

Friday, April 22, 2005

i'm away again this weekend ...

I'm leaving for Penzance in a few hours. JoAnna's been at surf camp in Newquay, and the two of us are going to meet up tonight and hang out in Penzance and Land's End for the weekend. I'm pretty excited. Everyone tells me great things about Cornwall, so I hope it lives up to my expectations. From all appearances it's supposed to be yucky weather all weekend, but I'm not going to let that ruin it for me.

Fill my heart with song and let me sing for evermore.
You are all I long for, all I worship and adore. (11 points)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

giving in to the lure of the meme ...

Because I liked the idea. I didn't include two of my very favorite books, just because they're so ridiculously easy.

Note: Answers have been added for those that have been guessed correctly. I'm still waiting to hear from anyone on #5 and #10.

1. List the first line(s) of 10 books you really like.
2. And then you all can guess.

1. There was no possiblity of taking a walk that day. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte; correctly guessed by Donovan, Elizabeth, and Erin

2. 3 MAY, Bistritz - Left Munich at 8:35 p.m. on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late. Dracula, by Bram Stoker; correctly guessed by Donovan and Erin

3. Every one has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis; correctly guessed by Elizabeth

4. The intense interest aroused in the public by what was known at the time as "The Styles Case" has now somewhat subsided. The Mysterious Affair at Styles, by Agatha Christie; correctly guessed by Elizabeth

5. The short answer to the question 'Who is stylistics?' is that she is a friend of mine, and that I hope by the end of this book she might also become a friend of yours.

6. Who that cares much to know the history of man, and how the mysterious mixture behaves under the varying experiments of Time, has not dwelt, at least briefly, on the life of Saint Theresa, has not smiled with some gentleness at the thought of the little girl walking forth one morning hand-in-hand with her still smaller brother, to go and seek martyrdom in the country of the Moors? Middlemarch, by George Eliot; correctly guessed by Donovan and Elizabeth

7. My father's family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip. Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens; correctly guessed by Donovan and Elizabeth

8. On August 16, 1968, I was handed a book written by a certain Abbé Vallet, Le Manuscrit de Dom Adson de Melk, traduit en français d'après l'édition de Dom J. Mabillon (Aux Presses de l'Abbaye de la Source, Paris, 1842). The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco; correctly guessed by Donovan and Elizabeth

9. The thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could ; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. (actually a short story, but unquestionably my favorite by this author) "The Cask of Amantillado," by Edgar Allan Poe; correctly guessed by Donovan and Elizabeth

10. We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.

an invitation

I've been using my Gmail account a little more the last few weeks, and I just realized that I have 50 invites to give out. So if anyone wants a Gmail account, let me know.

You have no idea how much trouble I'm having trying to decide what to get you for a wedding present. Oh, I know!-I'm enough. But I do want you to have some little trifle for the occasion. At first I thought of a fountain pen, but you've already got one. And then I thought perhaps a villa in the south of France, but they are so difficult to gift-wrap. (17 points)

Monday, April 18, 2005

Eco, Short, and Watson

I finished The Name of the Rose last night -- great read. It's an excellent murder mystery, but with so much more going on. I've never known more in my life about monastic orders, medeival philosophy, and the politics of the Holy Roman Empire.

The historical aspect of things gets the book a little bogged down at times -- the stuff about monastic orders, politics, and various heretical groups -- but the plot keeps you moving along the whole time, which is important. The best part, though, is the philosophy scattered throughout the book. Most of it is discussed in a very accessible way, and it can really get you thinking.

Eco is a semiotician (he studies signs) who started out as a philosopher, particularly interested in the Middle Ages. During the last part of the 20th century, he's had some influence in linguistics, specifically the philosophy of language. That means that he resonates with me, and I always appreciate that in an author. Anyway, he brings up several interesting notions such as abductive logic, the application of logic, and the pervasiveness of semiotics. It's gotten me interested in Peirce again, as well as in Roger Bacon and Aritsotle. He made me realize (once again) just how little I really know about the world. So today I checked out some books, by Eco, Peirce, and Aristotle. I'm hoping that I manage to get through them decently before my interest is claimed elsewhere.

I handed in my assignments today, but with a little bit of trouble. I printed them out in the computer lab, then took them down the hall to photocopy them (we have to turn in two copies of each essay). While they were being photocopied, I realized that the diagram I had inserted in one of the essays hadn't printed out. Apparently it had gotten lost in cyberspace, sometime between finishing my essay and then transferring it to my USB key and taking to the lab to print. So, I went back to the lab and re-drew the diagram, figuring I could just insert an extra page into the essay. But then, I didn't know the page numbers for the source that it was taken from. So I cited some random page numbers, saved the diagram, and went over to the library to find the book it came from. That part wasn't hard, and I soon had the right page numbers. But then I went to get some of my books (Eco, Peirce, and Aristotle), and in the meantime forgot to change the page numbers. I didn't realize until just about 20 minutes ago that I handed in the essay with the wrong page numbers cited for my diagram. I hope it'll be OK -- I'll go have a quick talk with Jonathan and explain what happened, and I'm sure he'll be fine about it. It's not as if he's unfamiliar with the diagram or anything, so I doubt he would try to look up the reference anyway. (Oh, the diagram was taken from a book by Mick Short, hence the reference to him in the section title.)

After handing in my essays (even if they had false citations!) I went in to town to run a few errands. While there, I stopped to get some lunch at KFC. As I sat looking out the window and munching my yummy chicken sandwich, I noticed a man across the street who looked just like a modern-day Dr. Watson. I could just imagine him hanging out with Sherlock Holmes and trying to solve mysteries. He even had the mustache right, and he was wearing an earthy-toned overcoat and tweed cap. The only thing that could have made it any better would have been a smoking pipe in his mouth. Or a friend who looked like Sherlock Holmes

Why, you could melt that girl like butter, if you'd only turn on the heat! (380 points, if you know this one, you're my friend for life!)

Friday, April 15, 2005

may you never ...

I just tasted what I think is quite possibly the most rancid milk that ever existed. I sniffed it several times, but couldn't tell for sure whether it was still good. So I poured a tiny bit (say, half an ounce) into a glass and drank it. That ended all doubts on the subject. I kept wondering what induced me to actually swallow it, why I hadn't been smart enough to just swish it around in my mouth. Oh well.


Thursday, April 14, 2005

one more down

I know I haven't been around much lately, and I'm sorry if anyone's been looking for me. But I've been really busy working on a paper. I finished it today, but I have another one to work on. Anyway, I thought I'd take a minute to mention some of what I've been up to.

For one thing, I'm seriously considering coming home in June instead of August (which would also mean not attending the Accio Harry Potter conference). It would sure save me a lot of money, and that's always a good thing. Besides which, there'll be pretty much no one here after June, so that's no fun.

This weekend I'm going to Hadrian's Wall in the north of England. I'm really excited for it. I have recently been learning a little Latin on the Internet -- not enough to really do much, but I can identify the cases in phrases like "in nomine domini" and stuff -- and we will be visiting a Roman fort up there. Besides which, it's Hadrian's Wall, and that's just really cool.

I've also been reading The Name of the Rose, by Umberto Eco, which has been lots of fun. Plot-wise, it's a medeival murder mystery, but it goes far beyond that, really. Anyway, very interesting reading. If any of you have read it, be sure and let me know so we can chat.

I don't like my work, but I get a good deal of satisfaction out of it after all, so I won't complain. (10 points)

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

today's scripture study

This morning I was reading in Alma, about Alma and Amulek teaching the people of Ammonihah. I was especially struck by Chapter 10, where Amulek begins to speak. The people are particularly annoyed that one of their own is speaking out against them and their actions, and so the lawyers and judges decide to try and trap him. But he, with the help of the Lord, figures out what their up to, and he again condemns their actions. This makes the people even more angry, and they claim that he is reviling their laws. Amulek explains that he did not speak against their law -- rather, he spoke in favor of their law, and that law condemns them. The people's response? "The hypocrite! First he speaks against our law, and now he claims that he didn't speak against our law. He's a liar and a child of the devil." (To read the real version of what happened, as opposed to my personal summary of it, click here.)

Anyway, what struck me with this account, was that it sure sounds a lot like what's been going on in our country lately. I think it's particularly relevant to the fiasco surrounding Terri Schiavo these days, but it's been going on for years. It really brought home to me Mosiah's prophecy that "if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction" (Mosiah 29:27). For several years, that's been one of my favorite scriptures in the Book of Mormon. Now, it almost scares me.

And now, to lighten the mood of this rather somber post, I leave you with this light-hearted quote.

"Surely you can't be serious?"
"I am serious. And don't call me Shirley."
(5 points)

Monday, April 4, 2005

Williams does it again

I just had to share this article by Walter E. Williams. Not his most recent, but I just found it today. He makes a good case for the "original intent" school of Constitutional interpretation. The only person I've ever heard make better arguments for that school is Justice Antonin Scalia.

Anyway, here's the article: The law, or good ideas?

I'm sitting in the library right now, working on my assignments, and boy is it hot! I'm sitting next to the window, and it's unusually sunny outside. On top of that, i'm also wearing a black long-sleeved shirt and dark jeans, which doesn't help the situation.

Laugh it up, fuzzball. (5 points)

Sunday, April 3, 2005

happy birthday, Leslie Howard

In the past few days, I've been learning a little more about Leslie Howard, the famed actor. His most famous roles include Ashley Wilkes in Gone With the Wind (1939), Henry Higgins in Pygmalion (1938), and Sir Percy Blakeney in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1934). (This last explains my current interest in him.) Howard was a man of high principle and courage. Before acting, he served briefly in World War I. After a very successful career in acting, directing, and producing, he became dissatisfied with Hollywood and returned to England just days before Britain entered World War II. Along with many others, Howard had sensed the coming of war in Europe, and he returned home largely in order to assist in the war effort. At the time, he was just shy of 50 years old, and he spent the next few years actively speaking out against the Nazis. In 1943, a few months after his 50th birthday, he was killed when the commercial airplane, in which he was returning to England from Portugal, was shot down by the German Luftwaffe.

I always highly admire those in Hollywood (or any other high-profile career) who leave it to do what they feel is right. I also am constantly in search of celebrities who marry before becoming famous, and stay married to that same person, after fame and fortune make their appearance. Both of these are true of Leslie Howard, and that makes him particularly admirable in my opinion. Happy Birthday to a great man!

Devilish clever race, the French. How they speak that unspeakable language of theirs defeats me. (12 points)

Friday, April 1, 2005

further exploits

Today I tried making Yorkshire parkin. It's a traditional sweet bread made in Yorkshire, a lot like gingerbread. I found a simple recipe on the internet for it, so today I decided to try it out. It turned out decent, edible, but it could have been much better. It was a learning experience, in other words.

First, I didn't have any baking powder, only baking soda. I had heard once long ago that you could substitute these for each other, but you really can't. But I tried it anyway. I think it would have been OK, but I should have used about half as much baking soda. It overflowed in the oven, and I had to scrape it off the bottom of the oven while it was still baking.

The other problem was that the recipe said to bake it in a moderately slow oven, and I just guessed at what that was. I guessed high. So, it also turned out rather over-cooked. Like I said, it's still edible, but it could be much better. At least I'll know next time.

Maybe the dingo ate your baby! (10 points)