Things I Don’t Understand

-Dr. Pepper is described on the bottle as “a sparkling fruit-flavored soft drink“.

-How it took me only 4 weeks of term to fill a whole notebook and start into the next with my tiny-ly scribbled notes

-How Steve can be even more ridiculous and funny after no sleep than normally



Wherein I perpetuate stereotypes about the U.K., yet again. And point out that, as much as I love it, philosophy is ridiculous. Again.  I’m nothing if not consistent…

Patrick Ward Quote of the Week:  *said majestically* “I don’t procrastinate; I win fantasy football championships.” 

Academic Discipline of the Week: Philosophy. Why? Only in philosophy do you get a law named after you when you state that when two things have exactly identical features, down the their physical location, they are, in fact, the same thing.  Ta da! Leibniz’s Law! And it’s actually useful.

Top 2 Most British Signs of the Week:

Could you recycle your item of waste?

Please keep the library tidy. 

The Most British Contraction That Will Ever Exist: 


A List. Yep.

we all knew it was coming, right? The post that is just a list of random information, devoid of interesting pictures or entertainment value, that staple of my blogging style. And here we go:

1. I’m averaging 3 cups of tea a day and loving it.

2. I resolved today that by the time I leave Oxford, I will be able to consistently compete with Kirsty in table football and beat her at least 40% of the time. That’s right, Kirsty, I’m comin’ for ya. (Now, I have nothing in particular against Kirsty or her skill level at table football, but it’s a nice objective and competitive goal, rather than ‘I’m going to get better at table football.’) Right now, I’m really bad. And I don’t even understand how to get better. I think I need to improve my reflexes? Priorities, people.

3. I think I was just forced to agree to a double tutorial on Friday. Two back-to-back hours of Kant tutorial with the tutor who is opposed to encouragement on principle and with whom I struggle to communicate. My tutor and I sort of walked by each other in the hall, but didn’t quite recognize each other, so I could have gotten away without talking to her. Even before the tutor started to say anything, I had a bad feeling about our conversation. I was thisclose to pretending like I hadn’t seen her and dashing up the stairs, but (1) that would be really hard to explain in tutorial and (2) I’m wearing freakishly painful heels today and would probably have fallen up or down the stairs.

Doctor: How did you get a concussion?

Me: Well, I was scared of my tutor, and my fight or flight response took over. Also, natural selection seems to be indicating that dressing nicely is not where we’re headed as a species.

Doctor: …

Me: It’s Kant’s fault!

4. The Whiteboard Saga

As you may or may not know, I need whiteboards to write essays. I like the space I have to write and make physical connections between ideas, I like that I’m not wasting tons of paper, I like that I can walk around the board, rather than just hunching over a piece of paper, or (even worse!) a computer screen. Apparently they don’t share my affinity for whiteboards in the U.K. I’ve seen maybe one.

Well, I thought I was going to make it okay. I would just write on notebook paper, and just…not use a whiteboard. People do it all the time, right?

Well, I couldn’t. The night of the Meltdown (first of many, I’m sure), I realized that I was supposed to write about a whole field of philosophical study, at least 4 similar, but distinct theories, and make some sort of argument about it. All of which I’d gained information about from 6 different books. There was nothing to be done but make my own whiteboard. I taped together a bunch of pieces of notebook paper on the wall and got to work. And after an hour or so of whiteboarding, I understood everything so much better than I had before. Excellent pictures by Jess of that whiteboard are here.

Well, I’ve since bought a pack of dry erase markers, and I’m planning to start work on my next paper tonight. I’m going to hang a sheet out our back porch to provide a light background when it’s night, and write on the windows with my dry erase markers. You maybe think I’m being a little overzealous about this because it makes a funny story. Nope.  I legitimately will do whatever it takes to approximate a whiteboard. I’m sure pictures of the Kitchen Window and Sheet Whiteboard will be up on the blog in days to come. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do…


This means that it is time for me to go grocery shopping. We can eat at college during the week, but we fend for ourselves in the morning and on the weekends.  Which means that I’ve been having chicken curry ramen noodles (not the typical sodium/chicken flavored ones I’m used to) and microwaved canned soup for breakfast. And lunch today. and dinner. So it’s time to go grocery shopping.

This means that I need to get a new bike light before I bike at night again, unless I want to get stopped by the police (again) and get a massive ticket this time. Which I most definitely do not. The other night I was riding home, with one light, and these policepeople passed me once, pulled off to a side street, popped up again on another side street, went by me again.. at this point I figured they were either on a man-hunt, which I don’t think happens all that often in Oxford, or I was about to get busted. It was the second. they pulled me over, told me that it was an ‘offense’ to have only one light, and made me walk my bike the rest of the way home. You can get up at a £60 fine. that just blows my mind. Tickets while driving are a huge waste of money themselves, but to get a ticket while riding a bike?? I would NOT like spending that money. So a new bike light it is for me.

Apparently the police care more about biking without lights than biking while drunk. Priorities, people… Also, I need to fix my bike basket. I’ve been jerry-rigging it more and more the last few days until it was held on by poneytail holders, a zip tie, and my bike lock. So that needs to get stabilized a bit.  (I tried to make myself spell ‘stablised’ the British way, but I just couldn’t do it. It’s one of those things that takes time, I think.)

This means that I still haven’t learned the denominations of coins, so I’m trying to become familiar with them so I can actually pay for things in coins, instead of fumbling increasingly frantically with coins for a minute while people line queue up behind me until just giving up and handing in a bill. These mean that I need to get off of here and start reading for at least 8 hours today. They also mean that I have maxed out my allotted 12 books checked out at a time at the Philosophy Faculty Library and had to check some out on Jess‘s card. Thanks, Jess!

So, off I go. I hope your day is a good one.

Generalities are boring, specifics are much funnier and more interesting.

SO, here are random notes to myself I have found on my phone and various other places:

Jerry re:bathroom. Leia re:projects for seniors. Buy decks of cards. cans for alpha terrace exercise. ABI? Transportation tomorrow? devo with keith. Garden? 

That’s one of the more comprehensible notes I’ve found. This one strikes me as being written in a code I used to know but have now forgotten after an unfortunate  accident with a sledge hammer and paint thinner. And I only wrote it three weeks ago!

Harambee kids. Address of paint job. Move concussion kid. spencer? Move dave? Move eyebrow kid? Lisa Sch—‘s ph #. Master 82nd list. No need to help abi. Separate maps, good cleaning supplies? separate plym9outh gard or is mr. spivy? 

my favorite part about that is “eyebrow kid.” Also: to be clear, I didn’t call him that because he had particularly unfortunate eyebrows, but because a flashlight had fallen off a bed and hit him in the eybrow, requiring stitches. Hence: eyebrow kid.

And then I found this note in my phone, that I didn’t write, but I like very much:

You are very loved, Karen Rice : )  This reminder brought to you by Sara White. 

Looks like Somebody got my phone and left an encouraging note. What a great kid.


Well, this (graph 2) is our lack of results from our self-designed lab, in which we recorded the frequencies produced by filling a wine glass with different viscosities of fluids (water, hydrogen peroxide, vegetable oil, karo syrup) and then tapping it with a mallet or rubbing one’s finger around the rim. We had other observations, but the key question was answered by a No.

The viscosity of the fluid contained in the glass has no predictable, significant effect on the pitch of the note produced.

Yay, science.


This song from the Inception soundtrack is auditory caffeine when you need to work and aren’t right at deadline. However, if you’re already jittery from caffeine and rapidly hitting deadline, don’t listen to it. It will turn you into a shaking, panicking ball of nerves. Also: probably don’t listen to it when you are driving or you will speed to very, very expensive ticket levels. You might also start  imagining the other cars are chasing you and begin swerving dangerously. I am wise enough never to have driven with this on.

This song just makes whatever you are studying seem super cool. It makes the paper you’re writing seem groundbreaking and modern, the kind of thing that people have to put on sunglasses and sit in minimalist chairs in primarily stainless-steel rooms to read. Or if you’re reading something, it makes it seem like you should be doing that with sunglasses on in a minimalist chair in a primarily stainless-steel room, because you are that cool. Also, someone put together a ton of video clips that all go together but are from different movies to this song, which is super rad, too. 

[Sidenote: when I link things to youtube, I do it for the audio clip, nothing more. (except that last one) Please just always ignore the video that is playing and especially ignore, and do not read at any cost, the comments on the video. I try to make sure the videos I grab around putting anything bad with the music, but I almost entirely just have them play in the background and don’t watch the video, so I’m not 100% sure. And just don’t ever read comments on youtube unless you are feeling particularly good about the human race and want those happy feelings to go away and be replaced by anger at most humans and despair for the future. That is the only good time to read comments on youtube.]

And then sometimes you just need some good Jon Foreman to study to. This has been one of my favorites lately. It’s just really true, but not super distracting to study to, if I need to focus on other things.  This one is a bit of a bad one if I’m feeling really tired, though.

Okay. That’s all I have for you today.