Presumably the fact that I had once watched half of the first episode of Downton Abbey made me feel qualified to say Yes! Of course I'll talk on PBS about its historical value. So - before this week's filming - I'm engaged (so is LucyFur, that round tabby on the right) in a mammoth binge-watching session. Of course I've read the obligatory put-downers (Simon Schama, James Fenton), who of course are right in their critiques of the series' pandering to an enjoyment in snobbery and an indulgence in over-acting - but (simultaneously watching critically and in a state of absorption), it's been a very soothing way to end a semester. Watching nine episodes back to back made me feel as though someone should have waited on me at dinner. More tomorrow ... and let's hope for lots more misty English countryside, and no more completely artificial attempts to represent the Somme. Oh yes, and by the way - yes, I've got the message that "things are changing" in English society.
Friday, December 6, 2013
For the second day running, I forgot to put a card into my camera. Huh? Suffice it to say that it's the last week of the semester. So ... no more cheerleaders, etc. Instead - here's the new carpet for my study, its edges being flattened by heavy photo books. So good to have a use for things I don't currently have time to read or consult ...
I was terrifically pleased with a whole series of pictures that I took of cheerleaders at half time in the USC/New Hampshire 1st round NCAA tournament game (a game that can best be called a Slaughter of the Wildcats) - and then I realised there was no memory card in my camera, so I had to grab a couple with my iPhone. More, perhaps, tomorrow, from Round 2.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
This is absolutely my least favorite piece of street art in Los Angeles ... but I pass it every day en route to USC, and so it was bound to make its way here at some point. I was arguing in class today that kitsch is the antithesis to aura - in the Benjaminian sense - but looking at this, I'm not so sure - it's so appallingly kitschy it has an unpleasant aura all of its own that may go so far as to transcend kitsch ...
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Let's just say that the last time that I had to rush out of class - twice - to be ill, and then had to lie down on my office floor, was during my first month teaching at Bristol, many years ago, and that - for the life of a junior professor was lonely and stressful - had involved an unwise amount and combination of red wine and whiskey the night before. Nothing like that on this occasion, I promise ... but I felt just as dreadful. And I have no idea what caused it - bug? food poisoning? At least, unlike last time, my department chair didn't walk in to the office to find me lying supine - one of the more embarrassing moments of my working life, and one never again mentioned between us. Doubtless (let's hope) he thought I was suffering from some unmentionable Female Problem.
Monday, December 2, 2013
You could be forgiven for thinking that I've been spending a good deal of time at the kitchen counter this weekend ... these herbs (fennel, fennel seed, sage, garlic) are being chopped up prior to being blended with olive oil, smeared all through a shoulder of pork, tied up with string, and roasted for eight hours (we had some 1st year post-docs to dinner). And very good it tasted, too.