LLM October 20, 2011Posted by Fiona in Edinburgh, Law, Sheer bloody-mindedness, University.
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It’s hard work, this LLM business.
First of all, I have no lectures (well, one lecture, but the politics department are weird like that). It’s all two hour seminars, once a week for each of three subjects, the result of which is that I don’t have a lot of contact time, but what I do have is very intense, and requires I reckon in the region of 300 pages of reading for every seminar. Yes, you read that right. Come to think of it, chances are I probably didn’t. Read it right, that is. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. Most of the time I do as much as I can without smoke coming out of my ears and call it a day.
The content is highly technical, and assumes a good deal of prior knowledge. For my politics module, International Relations Theory, I started off not understanding any of the technical language and having to sit down with a dictionary and try and work out what this means: “The anti-foundationalism of post-modernism so undermines the discipline… that it often provokes anger and despair among those it attacks. It calls into question the very possibility of non-normative theory; to charge post-modernists with relativism does, of course, rely on the assumption that it is possible to be non-relativistic!”
For the other modules, the law ones, I (nominally) know what they’re talking about, so it’s just a case of processing the ideas. Undergraduate law is child’s play. Well, it’s not. But it feels like it at the moment.
I am getting through an ink cartridge every six days, on average. It’s taking me longer to get to sleep, because I have to shut the thought processes down, and longer to wake up in the morning, because I have to start them all back up again and these days it takes a few warm-up exercises. It’s very strange, to get to the grand old age of twenty-one and be very, very aware of your own intellectual limits, in the sense that at times, I feel like I can’t make my mind go any faster. I genuinely can’t figure concepts out in my own head fast enough to have time to process them, and that’s something I’ve never really dealt with before.
Oh, but it’s such good fun, though. In the last five weeks, I’ve dredged the depths of GCSE History (League of Nations, self-determination, post-war social movements), Year Nine Geography (who knew half of these places were countries, never mind where they are and who they border!), Politics-By-Osmosis (I spent an entire afternoon last week looking at Central African dictators in the 1970s on Wikipedia – which, by the way, is an absolute godsend – I really have no recollection of international current affairs pre-2006, which is a bit scary). It’s like the world’s biggest pub quiz has gone crashing into a newspaper archive, and expected you to have something useful to say out of the end of it. The remembering, and rediscovering things I used to know about, is just as much fun as the finding out new stuff. I love it to pieces.
The trouble, then, is working out where to stop. Historically speaking, I am not very good at this. It is very difficult to put the brakes on. But I’m trying to remind myself that if I want to keep going, I have to pause occasionally. Sometimes your brain freezes up, or grinds to a halt and there’s nothing you can do, and you just have to accept that and take a break. So it’s taking a bit of practice, at the moment. We’ll see.
First Things First – Uskglass October 17, 2011Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Knitting, Look what I did, Patterns.
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This is one of the big things I missed out on telling you about in the last few months – in August, I published Uskglass.
Do you remember the green sample hat I christened ‘Strange’? It got a makeover, and I love it very much. It amuses me that I ended up in Edinburgh, actually, because the first sample for Uskglass was knitted the first time I ever came here, and I remember adoring the place and being really worried that I wouldn’t be able to come back. And then, it was published from the Starbucks on the High Street while I was up for the Fringe, and now I’m living here properly. I feel like Uskglass was lucky for me.
It was originally designed around the book Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, which is one of my favourites, but quite sensibly my tech editor pointed out that calling a hat ‘Strange’ when it wasn’t in the least bit strange was bound to give the wrong impression, so it got renamed after John Uskglass, the Raven King from the book, the most powerful English magician possibly ever to have lived, and who had a strong connection with Britain and its history. I like to think that that’s fitting – the cables from Uskglass were inspired a bit by traditional ganseys. The honeycomb band, particularly.
I’m a bit in love with slightly slouchy hats with a deep brim at the moment. There’s at least one more on the way. Watch this space.
And can I talk about the yarn for a moment? It’s grey. For a change. I really need to knit something that isn’t grey, it has turned into my default colour. It’s also Rowan British Sheep Breeds DK, and it’s Bluefaced Leicester. The more BFL I get to play with, the more I like it. It’s so shiny. It smells so sheepy. It barely pills at all, and it appears to be the warmest thing in the world. If I could afford a jumper’s worth of Rowan, I’d be knitting one right now – it’s so much fun to knit with. As it is, I’ve worn this hat about four days a week for the last month (‘warm’ is relative, I think – I know we’re supposed to have had a heatwave!) and I think the combination of the yarn and the cables make it the warmest piece of headgear I own.
So yeah. New knitwear. Three sizes. I love it. Say it’s not just me?
Dreich October 14, 2011Posted by Fiona in Big things, Breaking the fourth wall, Edinburgh, University.
Well, I thought it was about time I got this up and going again.
A lot has changed since the end of July, and I’ve not been on the internet for a lot of it. I mentioned before that I was heading off to do a Masters in Edinburgh – well, I’m here now, and I’m completely snowed under a lot of the time. I’ve been mostly absent from Ravelry for the last few months as well – which is another thing I’m going to have to rectify in the next few weeks. Frankly, I’ve not really been on the internet so much. But there’s been a lot going on and I think I’ve been able to cope with it, and adjust to it, a lot better for just keeping out of the way for a while. I hope you haven’t minded.
Anyway, I’m back now. I miss blogging and I’ve missed the blogging community as well – I’m sure a lot of changes have happened where you are, too! So over the next few weeks I’m going to instate a rule of making sure to post at least once a week. I want to get back into this, and I miss the dialogue of it too. There’ll probably be a fairly high proportion of knitting posts for a while, partly because I have some absolutely smashing FOs and WIPs to show you, and partly because unless you’ve developed a sudden interest in the law of the sea, you really don’t want to know the gory details of my degree right now.
Also, my god, but Edinburgh is beautiful. I’m going to have to show you a few bits, you’ll absolutely adore the place. It’s stunning.