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All posts for the month May, 2013

Why I should never be allowed to watch Benedict Cumberbatch in public

Published May 28, 2013 by crazyinpink

For those of you who live in a cave, Robinson Crusoe style, perhaps you haven’t noticed that a little movie called Star Trek Into Darkness came out recently.  Or, y’know, maybe you’re just normal and actually have a life. Unlike me.

I actually had the date of it’s release in my diary.

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I went to see it on that date. Obviously.  Since then I’ve seen it again and I’m working on finding a buddy for my third venture into deep space.

Although I’ve never been a true trekkie, I am aware of Star Trek tradition and the week before the movie came out, I watched the first reboot movie which was released in 2009.  I was quite shocked to find that I actually enjoyed it. My taste in movies has always been eclectic.  My Disney collection rests among rom-coms of the late 90s/early 00s, murder mysteries, gross-out Judd Apatow-esque selections, musicals and superhero epics. I wasn’t really expecting to like Star Trek as much as I did, never really been very into sci-fi as a genre. But an excellent moment came when Spock quoted a line from Sherlock Holmes “Whenever you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.”

But the new movie: Star Trek Into Darkness would be even better…because it featured this.

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So evil. So sexy..

The first moment his voice filled the cinema, I let out what my friends described as “an inappropriate moaning noise”.  Then his gorgeous chiselled face filled the screen and I thought I would die. Excepting the National Theatre Frankenstein I saw last year broadcast into a small independent cinema at uni, I’d never seen him on a big screen. It was heavenly.

The movie itself was pretty awesome but the Batch stole the show. Aside from my inappropriate moaning, I also let out a loud “awwww” when his character cried.  According to one of my friends, who was really only there ’cause we dragged her along, I shouldn’t have been sympathising with him since he was the villain. And a sexy, badass villain at that.  I know that logically I should be rooting for Kirk and Spock and all the rest of the good guys but I just couldn’t help siding with him and his gorgeous bass English accent.  I am such a sucker for an English accent these days.

I’d like to say I behaved more appropriately the second time round but that would be a lie. Even though I knew what was coming, I still couldn’t contain my excitement. I gasped and made involuntary squeaking noises the whole way through.  And, if I find someone willing to go see it with me again, I will no doubt do the same thing.

I can’t help it, he’s so beautiful.

What are your specialist subjects?

Published May 14, 2013 by crazyinpink

Six friends, one charity pub quiz, many discoveries of specialist subjects.

In the UK, there’s a tv show called Mastermind (I don’t know if they have it in other countries but it def started here).  Each contestant has to sit in the Big Black Chair of Knowledge (it is actually just a normal chair, I’ve made it sound more dramatic than it actually is) and answer questions in two rounds; General Knowledge and their chosen Specialist Subject.  They can pick literally ANYTHING in the WHOLE, ENTIRE WORLD OF THINGS to answer questions on.

I’ve often wondered, in that way you do when you’re trying to avoid doing anything remotely useful, what my specialist subject would be.  What would give me the competitive edge in a test of the mind.  Aside from minor historical episodes I’ve researched for dissertations and therefore know inside-out, back-to-front and from every possible angle, there are only a few things I think I know well enough to choose for my specialist subject.  These things mainly revolve around the many obsessions I have: Elvis songs, Disney movies, Benedict Cumberbatch, the tv show QI or Miss Marple.

At the pub quiz on Saturday night our team of six graduates with various careers and interests represented a lot of specialist subjects.  A primary school teacher knew about some French scientist and his experiments with gravity or something.  A geography graduate with a ridiculous penchant for pop music knew about the Italian version of the tour de France.  A fellow history geek who studies witches knew about the beginning of genetics.  And what, I hear you ask, did I bring to the team?

Well, in true crazyinpink style, my personal strengths lay in Disney-related trivia.

Except for one or two questions about local history I also knew. (It would have been extremely embarrassing if I didn’t since I’m studying the history of the city we were actually in.) But here are the ways in which my Disney-saturated mind came into its own.

1. Recognising a black and white photo of Walt Disney in the picture round.

2. Being able to recall the name of an obscure Greek god by replaying scenes from the Disney movie Hercules in my head.

3.  In a name that year question, the quizmaster showed a range of things that happened in one particular year. Some famous people died, somebody else won the Nobel prize. Nothing rang any bells. Until… Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was released this year.  I instantly whispered ‘2007’ to our designated scribe.  Greeted by blank looks, I proceeded to explain exactly when every Pirates of the Caribbean movie was released.

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So, I think I’ve inadvertently discovered my specialist subject.  What would yours be?

 

Conference adventures

Published May 9, 2013 by crazyinpink

As a PhD student, the weeks blend into each other. I sink lower and lower behind piles of books I need to read and lists of sources I need to find grow longer. It is a strange thing, a PhD. You lose any concept of time passing. You only figure out it’s no longer term time when you venture into the library and there is a conspicuous absence of undergrads. There are no weekly duties like lectures, there are no monthly goals like essays, there is little face-to-face time with your supervisor or, indeed, any other human being if you’re not careful.

I don’t cope well without something to work towards. I know I have differentiation at the end of the summer but that’s months away.

So I set myself short-term goals. Within one month I wrote a 7000 word lit review, created a poster about my research and presented it with a little talk and wrote a paper for a conference. In hindsight, that was probably too much in such a short period of time.

Presenting my PhD research for the first time at a conference was scary. With all the setbacks, taking a month off for my op, organising my own conference, I felt I needed a push to get something down on paper. It forced me to do some research and think about it properly so it made sense. My title for the paper was the vaguest one I could think of so I could do anything with the paper within that vague area. The conference programme showed that mine was definitely the vaguest title. *proud*
I wrote the paper based on what I know so far. That’s not much, it must be said. I haven’t done that much archival research yet. But I was kind of pleased that at least I understand what I’ve done so far. I found it relatively pain-free to write the paper, though it ended up veering into the realm of intellectual history which I’ve never ventured into before. Intellectual history is concerned with ideas, how they filter through society and what motivates and cultivates these ideas into action. When I sent it to Best Friend to read over, he pointed out the intellectual history nature of it. I nervously asked if he thought it was okay. I didn’t want to embarrass myself talking about these big ideas if I couldn’t fully express them properly.

Paper written, we set off for the conference. Of course, both Best Friend and I were presenting at the conference since we can’t seem to do anything independently these days. We arrived a day early to do some sight-seeing. Early morning flights are not my friends and I was flailing by mid-afternoon even with all the random touristy things we were doing. On that day we visited a monument (up a stupidly steep hill), a graveyard, a castle (at the top of another hill), a cathedral and an art gallery. Not too shabby. Then we checked into our hotel and I had a nap while Best Friend practised his paper for the next day. We met up with another student from our uni for dinner and eventually, finally got to go to sleep.

The conference itself was grand. Only a nine to five affair, all postgrads so a sympathetic audience and only about thirty or so people. My paper went well and I got some really interesting questions that I was able to provide at least some kind of answers to.

My bladder, which is causing me problems at the mo, started to protest by the end of the afternoon and I ended up sitting awkwardly trying hard not to make it look like I was in pain from out-of-control bladder spasms. A lovely middle-aged man was talking to Best Friend beside me. He noticed my yellow ribbon I had pinned to my dress and asked me what it was for. I told him it was for endometriosis and then, seeing the blank look on his face, explained that it was an incurable medical condition which caused chronic pain. He asked if I knew someone who suffered from it and I said that I did. Best Friend was throwing me telepathic messages of ‘Please do not start talking about your ovaries.’ I was too uncomfortable to really keep the conversation going but at least he has heard of it now.

We wandered around the city, popping into the library (of course) and then back for dinner again. It was an intensely academic trip, even our dinners were spent with the two boys talking about history or theory (or football) and me absent-mindedly checking my phone or sipping juice, thinking longingly of sleep. But it was nice to have a little break from the routine for a few days.

Best Friend was on his best behaviour too. I was slightly anxious about us going away together again, especially since we couldn’t afford separate rooms. (Or, really, I couldn’t afford) But I needn’t have worried. He was a perfect gentleman and seemed to be looking out for me when he could tell I was getting sore or tired. He kept mentioning Bristol Boy as he isn’t entirely sure about what’s going on there. Neither am I really but Best Friend has a very basic understanding of relationships and in his head, I’m taken now so there are much clearer boundaries in our friendship than there were before. All in all, the trip went well, even though it did involve incredibly early mornings and a lot of walking.

But now…back to the books.