Monday, 19 September 2011

beer for thoughts

Naming our informal reading group back when it started a few months ago wasn't easy. We knew it needed to include the word 'beer', and we knew it needed to convey something of the intellectual nature of our pursuit. We got as far as 'beer' and 'thoughts' and called it a day. Thankfully, we show a little more tenacity when it comes to selecting and discussing readings.

Today it was Susan Leigh Foster's Corporealities. I took Sally Ann Ness's chapter on ethnography, embodiment and memory; Jinny took Geidi Gilpin's chapter on disappearance; Melina and Eva took Mark Franko's chapter on male critics of female dancers; and Connie (the non-performance person) took chapter one, Susan Leigh Foster herself, on how a ballerina sticking her leg up in the air becomes a phallus. There were a few thoughts batted around, though not so much as a drop of beer. Clearly, we need to stop meeting in the morning.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I haven't been on holiday this whole time

Two weeks of cycle camping through the Netherlands, Belgium and a bit of northeast France - this was the holiday my husband and I had this year, and we felt like the whole thing was one big sham for lack of hills! What it lacked in inclines, though, it made up for in wind and rain. Five sunny days. Out of fourteen. In August. Sigh. I guess that's five more than it might have been.

Key takeaways:
1. The Netherlands is PURE BLISS for people trying to get around on two wheels and sleep in a tent. It's like they built the nation's infrastructure just for us!
2. Belgium seems, from geographical and ideological proximity as well as reputation, like it would be more of the same. It is most emphatically NOT. Hideous surfaces, fast roads, cycle paths that lead to dead ends, and barely a campsite to be found. God bless the folks at the boys summer camp (which is marked on the tourist map for what reason, exactly?) who let us stay there when all else failed!
3. France. Even the moules are better (sung to the tune of the Air Supply song that you hadn't heard in decades and will now have running through your head for the rest of the week).

Then a week of work and then a week Student Volunteering at MobileHCI in Stockholm. It is perverse what a brilliant time I had, schlepping boxes and wandering the halls of Münchenbryggeriet. Can I invent a university just for us, so we can all hang out some more? And I propose Nacho in the role of DJ-for-Life.

Then a week trying to catch my breath before giving a talk today on my research to the very, very kind sociology PhD students here at Surrey, who gave me some excellent feedback. Two weeks til Newkie! (Think 'no sleep' and 'Beastie Boys' and hopefully it will drive 'Even the Nights Are Better' from your poor, abused mind.)