Monday, October 31, 2005

Back from Lincoln. It was lovely and I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to be with large groups of Lib Dems. Makes the flat seem even worse by comparison. I'm starting to think of moving out at the end of Lent Term...since I've only paid through the end of this term.

More on conference later?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Just a quick one

Because I've been ordered to bed. But, a note of things:

1) Off tomorrow morning to Lib Dem Youth & Students conference in Lincoln. I think much of this has to do with the chance to see Ryan again, explore someplace new and get out of London for a few days. This city gets to be a bit much after awhile (for all that I do love it). Let's hope I'm not too old!

2) Duchie's show at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre opens (for the public who aren't high school students) tomorrow! Silly me thought it was tonight, so I called to tell her to break a leg (but not her own). We talked for an hour, so it's probably good that it didn't open tonight! Anyway....go Duchess! And if you're in Indy, go see the Crucible! Also, the post-New Year's trip might be working out!

3) Went to a concert tonight at Queen Elizabeth Hall with a group from my course (Marjorie, who taught my British music class on the London program, would be so proud). It was by the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment. I mostly went to be social and was sort of meh about the idea of music, but it turned out to be fantastic and so much fun! The musicans were all really enjoying themselves, the music, and playing together and I think that had a big impact on the mood of the audience. Anyway, I'm at the point of being up for another evening (probably a good thing, since we may have just formed a mini-cultural event group)! Did I mention that the tickets were £4 and there were free drinks afterwards? Woot for student discount schemes!

4) I'm sure there's more, but I have to pack for tomorrow and pack myself off to bed!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Have just gotten the news that I'm going to be able to review the show at the Donmar that I wanted to see, "The God of Hell." On the other hand, I don't think I have the first clue what I'm doing (having not written a serious review since journalism class at NCHS). Anyone? Anyone? Ack. Suggestions will be welcome!


Wait, does Will's promotion mean that Donna might come back? Because thinking that we may have seen the last of her would really be too much. Or maybe she'll get hired on with the Santos campaign, now that everyone's been fired! More Donna! More cowbell!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Here Today

This week's West Wing, anyone? I didn't quite cry, but there was significant mistyness. I don't want to spoil things for anyone who hasn't watched, but so awful and so painful to see that exit. Confrontations between those two are never good and always uncomfortable, but knowing that this was the last one and that things would never get patched up made it ten times worse. And the realization that only one of the original cast that I loved so much is really left in the White House(I want to qualify that statement by saying that the President doesn't count and Charlie's in a new role).... I'm going to be so utterly destroyed when this show goes off the air.

I really need to watch some old episodes. But not now. There's reading to do.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Don't Mind My Moaning.

I reeeeeeeeeeally need to go to bed. But, it's just past 2:30 this morning and I'm burdened with the knowledge that I've got loads of reading to get done. If I could just finish this one article, I'd be happy. There's a book excerpt, too, but the photocopy that someone gave me only has every two pages on it (didn't notice it was copied on both sides, eh?). That's the reading for SO424 on Thursday, too, so I'll try to do it by then. (And, for some reason I seem to be a week ahead (more or less) on all the reading for that class, even though I'm not, because everyone seems to be trying to get it done for the seminar held the next week, rather than for the lecture.) I-Law's reading is going to kick my ass tomorrow if I don't find some serious time to be reading...I think one of those articles is 80 pages long. Shite. But, there's a lecture at 1:15, office hours to go to, a LIMUN meeting at 4 at SOAS (and, yeah, I don't actually know where that is, other than Russell Square). I suspect that going to debate club this week might just be a bit of a pipe dream. On the other hand, I always feel charged's like a brain workout. We'll see.

I'm going to Lincoln this weekend for Lib Dem Youth & Student's conference. It's probably against my better judgement, but I'm really excited to see Ryan again and I'm reading for a break from London. This will, of course, be followed by Model UN at Oxford the next week. Eeeash. I wish I didn't have such an overactive guilt complex sometimes. Or just a better work ethic. I'm going to have to start hiding my ethernet cable. Or does someone want to find a program whereby I can lock myself out of the internet for periods of time.

I also noticed that it's 38 days until it's time to retake the LSATs. Now that that date is approaching, I'm starting to wonder why I was so committed to retaking them. I'm not going to be some crazy person who spends 8 hours a day taking practice exams and reviewing them (although I acknowledge that it would probably help my scores) and I haven't taken a class (which was my original reason for the retake). How much better will I really do? and where do I really want to go that didn't already admit me with the old score (*waves at the WCL people*)? Maybe its just that law school feels really, really far away right now (both geographically and temporally) and so the whole process feels weird and slightly pointless. I'm also in an academic environment where people have already done their law degrees, so they're not thinking about "going to law school" in the sense that we would as undergrads.

Other travel plans: Cambridge Model UN & a trip to Paris to see Muppet and the Earlhamites. (Note: saw the Muppet today on his way through London and I was so much happier for it!) Other ideas? I've discovered that train tickets around Britain are butt cheap if you plan in advance! Also, I now own a sleeping bag and am hoping to get my money's worth out of it!

No more rants, back to that article!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

ID Cards

Now that the part that has to happen in the Commons appears to be over, would I be safe in wondering what the big deal was about introducing ID cards in Britain? Maybe I'm just so used to having to carry a form of government id (which I use mostly in place of signing my credit cards and, most recently, as proof of address to get my reader's card at the British Library), that I'm blown away by the idea of an entire country walking around without any way to prove their identity. Mostly, I'm not thinking in a police way, but this is a country in which credit card fraud is MASSIVE...wouldn't a little photo identification have helped? Being American, of course, I can barely fathom the idea of leaving the house WITHOUT my little driver's license. Also, if people in this country think that their government doesn't already have all of that data on file, then I'm surprised. Doesn't the NHS already know all about your health records? What's more personal than that? And your address, length of residence, phone number, etc. are all available on the voting register. And you've probably told at least one of the parties your voting preference. And if students are now required to show id before going into a party at the union, then wouldn't some offical proof of age be handy? Anyway. I do know that a majority of only 25 is pretty significant.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Did I mention that I love my site statistics?

I think I had my first non-English browser visit, so welcome person reading in Chinese at the LSE.

Also to the person who googled "oyster card".

I get occasional visits from people who look for stuff about William Kristol and the pie-ing incident at Earlham (one of my very early posts, as I recall).

And to my anonymous stalkers in Singapore, the Netherlands, Craigville (IN) and Plano (TX), welcome as well.

I'm feeling rather magnanimous this evening. And I went to debate society practice. We'll see, but voluntarily spending time debating with Tories and economists could probably only do good things for my ability to defend human rights in the real world. Plus, it's so easy to forget that there are views that exist outside of my sphere of human rights students and international lawyers!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Dude, I figured it out...why you just can't get enough of that West Wing-y goodness. Because Aaron Sorkin writing is brain crack. No, I'm serious. I used to watch West Wing to make my brain go into writing mode and I had the same intellectual "high" tonight after going to see A Few Good Men in the West End. Alas, I don't have any papers to write for class, so this'll have to do (even if the buzzzzz is fading and I'm starting to feel guilty that I'm not working on the article I have to help discuss in tomorrow's seminar).

Basically, after the UN Society AGM I wandered down to Haymarket to get a ticket for tonight, getting absolutely soaked in the process. Even the concessions are £20, but sometimes you just suck it up and I've gotten nowhere near spending my theatre "budget" (yes, it had its own column on the spreadsheet). You may remember that I mentioned that Rob Lowe is starring as the lead attorney (the ewwww, shudder Tom Cruise character in the movie, if I remember correctly) and I've now completely forgiven him for that haircut in the ill-fated tv show Lyon's Den (don't ask me what it was about...I was too upset by the shaggy haircut in the promos to even think about watching...this was a big thing. Ask Diana if you don't believe me). Can their be a match more perfectly suited to the stage than Sorkin writing and Lowe speaking? I THINK NOT!

*Joyce watches as her inner fangirl escapes and goes skipping about the room.*

Actually though, almost all the performances were excellent, not just his. The lead prosector was someone who I'd seen in shows at the National (and, Duchie, was the one by who's range you were really impressed in De-Lovely). Lead female chick was really getting on my nerves, though. I HATE it when people can't quite pull off the American accent (as if I'm one to speak...I could never get a British accent well enough to perform it in front of people) and she totally couldn't. That wouldn't be such a big deal, except that it's Sorkin, and he writes for a very specific speech pattern/cadence that's probably hard for even the ordinary American to pull off without practice. And if you just can't get the speech patterns, then you're pretty much sunk and you lose a whole lot of what makes him such a great writer. Anyway, she's some British tv person and it was reeeeeeally obvious that she hadn't spent much time onstage.

And, sigh, Rob Lowe. I got my program signed afterwards (the man's so unassuming, I was almost shocked when he came out and seemed...normal (if people from Dayton can be normal)) and I may have to find a friend to go with again so that I can get a picture taken and not seem like tooooo much of a stalker. Oh, and I skipped random lecture to go tonight. I needed the break and after a reflection it seemed to weird to spend quality time with the director of the LLM program in Galway that I skipped in favour of the LSE.

Classes continue. I'm annoyed that my seminar for SO424 will never, ever end on time and I'm always going to be late for the LL423 lecture that's immediately afterwards. The main problem is that I've yet to be in an LSE classroom that has enough chairs for everyone and being late is going to mean spending the next two terms sitting in the corner on the floor for lecture. Blech. I interviewed for Spanish placement, as well, today and distinguished myself by the recognition that I've completely forgotten all that I once knew (little though it was) and my complete inability to conjugate in the past tense. Oh sigh. I still think I'm going to take the classes, even though my Thursdays are starting to seem really full. You know, a whole three hours of class and all. Also, that seminar may have helped cast some light on what I'm doing here. I think I'm the token red-stater in the MSc Human Rights. Yeah, you know how in touch I am with middle America. (See, that was irony, but I probably am more in "touch" than anyone else around.)

So back to the brain crack. I want more! (This, of course, being the problem with addictive substances.) A big part of me wishes I got that same buzz from school. Don't get me wrong, this stuff's exciting (even if Theory of I-Law makes my head go all hurty when they use words I don't understand), but it's a different kind of buzz and an embryonic one at this point in the year. But, never fear, Conor's doing the lecture in SO424 tomorrow and he's his very own sort of addiction. :-)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Jeffrey Sachs

I know everyone's going to get tired of me blogging all the time (after the week of radio silence, I've come back with quite a bit of a bang), but I wanted to make a quick mention of the lecture I went to tonight with some students from the development courses. We saw Jeffrey Sachs speak on the theme of ending global poverty in St. Paul's Cathedral. He spoke without notes, which gives me the more than vague impression that we were treated to an incarnation of his stump speech on the topic. Nevertheless, it was fascinating.

I'm sure some of you (who don't happen to be in Niger, although she'd be the biggest expert) have heard his ideas on the subject (although with his status as a policy developer for the UN and states around the world, I'm not sure that they're simply ideas). They can be summed up: 1) A ridiculous number of people around the world live in extreme poverty (I'm sure that's not news to anyone); 2) It isn't their fault (and it's not really even the fault of the governments that may or may not be corruptish...that's a myth that the US and other global financial institutions need to get over); 3) extreme poverty is very much a problem of environmental constraints (the countries are landlocked, have problems with droughts, and are afflicted by really nasty amounts of malaria); 4) these are all really easy problems to fix (built infrastructure; make better seeds, fertilizer, and water management technology available; give out mosquito netting and use new anti-malarial drugs); 5) it won't cost any more than the 0.7% that the West keeps promising Africa every year (and then fails to deliver).

One of the other speakers, Hilary Benn, the UK Secretary of State for International Development (and why haven't we gotten ourselves one of those?), pointed out that no one would have predicted that we'd be in a place to push forward with these goals 12 months ago. But, in the past 12 months (often at the urging of the Blair government), the EU, the G8 and international financial institutions have moved forward with plans to increase aid to Africa, forgive debt and begin to help the world's poorest states to develop from the bottom, up.

It was all really cool, especially the part where St. Paul's was absolutely filled (and it's not exactly a small lecture hall, to say the least) and really inspiring. I did revisit my old "what am I doing in London while Juliet actually makes a difference in Niger" doubts, but the Secretary of State made me feel better when he reminded us that what made all of these new developments possible was politics. I might not think that I'm cut out for the political life, but I keep reminding myself that my undergraduate study is not inconsequential. I think my time as a politics student and as a pragmatist among hippies means that I'm in a great place to understand how to make great changes happen through the workings of government. I've always thought that governments can be and are a force for good; it's just nice to be reminded of the great things they can do when there's enough political will in place.

Anyway, it was great and I'm just a bit happy to live in the coolest city that isn't Indianapolis in the world. Other things that made me happy today: the tulip trees planted outside city hall (they're the Indiana state tree, you know) and the subtle, yet cunning humour in the PowerScore LSAT Logical Reasoning Bible. After reading from the Human Rights Reader for FOUR hours, it was like watching Scrubs or some other tv show that always makes you laugh. Speaking of which...I need to get food that isn't the nutella with a spoon sitting on my desk and keep reading. I've got 90 pages to churn through before lecture at 10 tomorrow. *squinchy face*

Just planning for the day

So, last night I made soup and it was so wonderful (and easy). Yum, veggie soup with tofu and whole wheat pasta. I swear I'm not that big a health food nut; I just didn't want to defrost any chicken. Because after not being a vegetarian all my life and a year and a half of having a no-longer-vegetarian roommate, I'm still slightly scared of cooking meat products. Le sigh.

Anyway, this is mostly for my notes:

1) shower, put on clothes, etc.
2) leave here by 11, walk to the National Theatre
3) do readings for tomorrow's class (also, conveniently, it's the only reading I have left for SO424 as well), for LL423 lecture on Wednesday, continue trying to catch up on LSAT studying (I'm getting there; I did four chapters of my Logical Reasoning Bible yesterday)
4) if my head's not exploding, this would be a good time to go to the Courtald Institute on it's free Monday afternoon
4) got to school. buy books for SO424 & LL423, use library to find articles that weren't located the last time
5) Meet Hannah at 5:25 outside library
6) go to lecture at St. Paul's Cathedral on Global Poverty
7) unscheduled after that.

Sometimes it just helps to write these things down. Tomorrow, I've got class, perhaps a lecture at lunch time and debate society in the evening. Sheesh! There's never a free night!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

More photos

Sarah, during our cook-a-thon

I can't believe Muppet convinced me to get the "cheese product." And this boy's been studying in France?

Thames Gateway, from the boat party

On the boat.

The "long" overdue update

I know everyone's been waiting forever for this update. Don't worry I feel the same way. :-)

So, after three weeks in the country, classes finally started! Aaaack! But, seriously, it was almost long enough to forget that I'd come here to go to school and I was getting more than a little restless. My schedule is pretty loose, considering that this is higher ed. I don't have class on Mondays and Fridays this term (next term it will be Mondays and Tuesdays). I've got one seminar on Tuesday and a seminar and a lecture on both Wednesday and Thursdays (note: a seminar is a small group discussion, a lecture is what it sounds like...with the whole class present). It's hard to know how big courses will be right now because so many people spent last week course shopping. Having made that assertion, we do know that our core human rights class will be 80 people, spread between 5 seminars. What is that? 15 each? Math makes my brain go hurty. Let's go shopping! Sorry. I'm back now.

Tuesdays are for Connor Gearty's LL469: Theory, History and Practice of Human Rights. It sounds like we're going to spend much of the term (this is a half module) talking about the origins of h.r., the critics of h.r. theory and some of the discrepancies between h.r. theory and practice in the modern world. It should be really good and Connor (despite a conversation with Welling, I can't really think of my professors in terms of "Professor Gearty, etc.") is the funniest thing ever! He's a middle aged Irish academic: scrawny, slightly unkept, and lacking absolutely none of that classic Irish charm (except that it's devoted to spreading his passion for human rights). He makes loads of jokes about himself, the Irish, academics and human rights devotees...all categories into which he fits, so the self-depreciation is absolutely delightful! It does, however, make me wonder why everyone seems to be Irish? Connor's also the director of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights and in charge of our program, so it's not a particularly bad thing to want to be in his classes.

Wednesday lecture is in LL423, International Law: Theory and Practice. My other ideas about I-Law courses were far more "pragmatic" than this one, which is more interested in the theory that shapes international law, its critics and interpretations, but there were a couple of selling points. One major one is that the course is team taught by three people, one of whom, Christine Chinkin, is currently on sabbatical (she'll be back for Lent term). I had really wanted to take the Human Rights of Women course with her, but it isn't offered because of the aforementioned sabbatical and I know that I wasn't the only person who was disappointed. Also, I remember writing in my personal statement that I wanted to use this year to answer my own (mostly) theoretical questions about human rights and i-law, so it's only fair that I do so. Finally, I realize that I can learn the practical stuff in law school (and that it might be the only kind of stuff that I learn) and that I should use this opportunity to understand why and how I want to do the things that I want to do. This might be my last chance to study for the sake of study and I'm going to take advantage of it (although I warn all of you that something about being a grad student makes the idea of a PhD seem even cooler...).

Thursday is for SO424, the core class for the MSc: Foundations and Key Issues in Human Rights. Basically, we have a long series of guest lecturers from throughout the school coming to speak on their particular area of expertise, all related to human rights. And this continues the scary LSE trend of reading the books, then seeing the authors in your courses. Not that that isn't going to happen at every class meeting in LL423, but.... Last class was really for the election of the program's committee. I ran for treasurer, mostly so that I could be remembered by my coursemates, but also because I pride myself on the shiny, multi-colored Excel spreadsheets and skills in looking for cheap airfares (there's a class trip at some point). I lost, but it's not entirely my fault. The other guy has a degree in mathematics from Cambridge and is a chartered accountant. Le sigh.

So that's the classes. I've got loads of reading to fill up all my free time and a secret hideout at the National Theatre (except on matinee days, when it's not so secret and infested with white-haired people). Oh, and I'm doing a Spanish language course, but I have to wait and see where I get placed based on the preliminary assessments. I joined loads of societies at the Fresher's Fair, but only went to one meeting so far. For some reason, they schedule these things during the day and have a knack for coinciding with my few hours of class. Go figure. Time is clear for MUN on Tuesday, and that's the one I really care about.

I've also dispatched the France program kiddos back to Paris. Both Muppet and Sarah arrived on Friday, so I spent much of the day collecting them. And then we went to the grocery store, so they could help me carry stuff back. It was fabulous, especially compared to my last solo attempt (which was awful). Sarah made crepes for dinner and we all trooped off to see Serenity. I think I really need to see it again before passing judgement, although I was most ecstatic over the fact that the theatre was entirely full. Go box office, go! Also, for Irma's amusement: Sarah made an unexpected detour on her way to Chester and ended up in Ellsmereport at 5 in the morning. Don't worry, she made it out alive! Cooking with a bunch of Earlhamites felt like home and I loved it! Bring on the London program or just better friends at the LSE!

Other things that randomly made my day recently: the arrival of my student Oyster card for discounted travel on London's public transportation. I've now got a year pass for the tubes and buses, which involved a significant amount of capital. On the other hand, it's less than one tube journey a day (and that's at current rates...which go up significantly on Jan. 1). Trust me, this will actually save a whole lot of money! Also, falafal sandwiches at Borough market. Sarah and I walked back after we dropped Muppet off at Waterloo and stopped by the market. It was really packed, so we didn't really stay, but got falafal for lunch and ate it as we walked back. Finally, one of my Lib Dem friends was in town for a meeting last night, so we had some time to chat, which was really nice.

I think that's most of what's new!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

"Big Damn Heroes!"

Most of you know that I am Lazy Joyce (tm Juliana), although some of you think that I am also bad influence Joyce (tm OCR). I am being lazy just now and posting the photos from the Serenity premiere, instead of more important details about school and stuff. But, grrrrr, the girl that I went with this to (Abby, fellow MSc student, Israeli, very into feminist theory re: Buffy) managed to buy a ticket to go to the screening. I probably would have, too, if the opportunity had presented itself. But, she's more hard-core than I am and I didn't mind all that much. Plus, I'm the one that got one of the massive cardboard posters that they stuck on the barriers. Don't know what I'm going to do with it right now, but I carried it though the LSE library (had to return another book by 9) and I'm not giving up now!



Joss' stylin' footware

Jane Hat!

Cap'n Not-So-Tight-Pants. :-( Heh. Sorry. Been thinkin' of this caption all night...probably the only reason this is getting done in such a timely manner!

Just a note...

I know that I haven't written in over a week. Trust me, it's not because I can't think of anything to say; it's because I can even begin to put into words what this past week has been like. After the initial euphoria, I think I went through a period of the homesick funk. It wasn't particularly pleasant and I'm going to give major props to j00j and Duchie for helping to pull me out. Even bigger props go to Sarah Howell, a France-program Earlhamite who called up and asked to stay here while travelling through London. I didn't know her at all, but she's great and I can't tell you how wonderful it was to have a "friendly face" for a couple of days. There's something about a fellow Earlham student that makes the world a better place. Plus, I showed her all around London and it really helped me feel like I belong here again.

Regardless, the rest of this week ought to be fun. Tonight's the Serentiy premiere in Leicester Square. Another girl on my program and I are going to go observe the red carpet-ness. They've asked us to post profiles on our class message board. Everyone's been out of school, worked for the UN, speaks 16 languages, and have helped starving orphans/AIDS victims/etc. in at least four undeveloped states. Which does make me wonder how darn good that personal statement of mine must have been! Anyway, I posted that I liked Buffy (among other things, inc. West Wing) and I've gotten two or three e-mails of affinity. How cool! So, yeah...there'll be Joss Whedon bonding this afternoon/evening. Tomorrow, Muppet gets in to London. He's scared of the tube, so I have to meet him at the train station (this boy is such a wimp!). Sarah follows the day after and we're all going to see Serenity on Friday, plus there's the hall boat party on the Thames on Thursday night!

One other quick note before I run away to class and try to finish this incredibly difficult article that I've been reading. Well, maybe two. One is that I've restocked my cool pen supply and been to Paperchase to get the same kind of notebook that I used last year. I feel like I'm at Earlham again when I use them...I think that's cool. I know that smells can revive memories (thanks, Sue!), but who knew that notebooks could do the same thing? Secondly, something I've noticed about the LSE. I remember when we went to that human rights law conference at the U of Cincinnati and Welling sold the idea to all of us by telling us that most of the people speaking were ones that we'd read articles by in I-Law. But, god, that's what it's like here ALL THE TIME! In every class, you read at least one book/article by the professor in charge and often several by other LSE teachers, who they can randomly invite to speak. It's cool, albeit a bit intimidating.

Right, must run. More on classes/Serenity premiere report later!