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Meriel's Journal

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23rd February 2010

9:42am: Calling murder mystery fans near Oxford
I've been meaning to post about this for ages, and keep not being organized enough.

This week, I'm appearing in an interactive murder mystery event called 'In the Closet'. So if you like that sort of thing and are in or near Oxford, come along and watch and have a go at solving the crime! Performances are tonight (Tuesday), tomorrow, and Saturday, all at 7.30pm, in the Moser Theatre in Wadham College. More details are available on the Facebook page.

4th November 2009

12:36pm: An Allegory
I got a new laptop last week. It’s extremely shiny. By a sheer accident of timing, I got one of the first machines with Windows 7 on it. Thus far, where I’ve noticed differences, I’m mostly liking them. It’s also lovely to have a computer that doesn’t groan when I ask it to do something quite simple, and with a screen that isn’t slowly failing...

On a less positive note, it also has Office 2007 on it.

In many ways, this is turning out to be pretty much as I expected. But imagine my surprise when I got in from work yesterday to find a strange man in the living room. He introduced himself as Mike (I didn’t quite catch his surname, but it sounded something like Crowsough), and said he was there to complete my Windows 7/Office 2007 user experience. I dropped a few hints that it would have been nice to know he was coming (and perhaps even to have been given some choice about whether he came at all), but given how hard he seemed to have worked, I didn’t want to sound ungrateful.

The first thing I noticed was that he’d redecorated the house completely.

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Current Mood: silly

6th October 2009

10:27am: The History Boys - book now to avoid disappointment!
I've been meaning to do a shameless plug for this for the last week or so, but haven't got round to it because I've been a tad busy with rehearsals...

The History Boys
by Alan Bennett
OFS Studio Theatre, Oxford

Tuesday 6th to Saturday 10th October - performances at 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee


Tickets are selling fast! Tuesday (tonight), Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening are already limited availability, and the other performances are also selling well, so if you're planning to come, book quickly!
Current Mood: thespy

22nd September 2009

12:22pm: Motorcycle helmets
A slightly cheeky request... as some of you will know, I'm directing The History Boys (Old Fire Station Studio Theatre in Oxford, 6th-10th October). The props we need include two motorcycle helmets, and these are proving difficult to locate in a way that doesn't exceed our budget...

As I know there are some bikers on my flist, I wondered if by any chance there might be someone who has an old helmet they might be willing to donate to a good cause - it doesn't matter if it's no longer safe for road use, as obviously no one's actually going to ride a motorbike on the stage! If said helmet(s) were located outside Oxford, we could cover the postage costs, and/or modest payment might be possible in the form of beer or chocolate or whatever.

In an ideal world, one of the helmets would be of the old fashioned open-face type, but that's possibly asking a bit much...

Any suggestions of other possible sources would also be much appreciated!

18th May 2009

11:16pm: Dreamwidth
Following what seems to be the general trend, I have acquired a Dreamwidth account, with the same username as this journal. I have added the people I could find to my circle, but I'm sure there are others I have failed to track down, so if this includes you, please draw this to my attention by some means.

I don't post very much anyway, but insofar as I do, it will continue to be here for the moment.
5:11pm: For those of you who know darwinian_woman , I've just had a text from her. She's out of surgery and is OK, and while somewhat uncomfortable, describes herself as "calm and relieved".

*sigh of relief*


26th January 2009

9:56am: Seeking Oxford-based open-minded agnostics...
... who might like to be on the telly.

St Aldate's (the church I'm a member of) is running its usual Alpha course (eight week introduction to Christianity with lots of opportunity for questions and discussion) this term, starting tomorrow evening. However, this time, they're looking for a group of people who would be willing to be filmed during the course as part of a documentary being made for Channel Four. More details here.

If anyone out there finds this an interesting prospect, do get in touch either with me (via comments or other method of your choice), or directly with Aldate's via the contact details on the page linked to above. (If anyone fancies trying the Alpha course but doesn't want to be part of the documentary, this is also totally possible: I believe they're setting aside part of the room for those who don't want to be filmed.) Please also feel free to pass on this information to anyone else you know who might be interested.



11th December 2008

9:48am: On the off chance that someone other than me might be amused
A friend of mine from church had a baby a couple of months ago, and last night some of us went round to her house for a baby-shower type event (it would have happened before the baby arrived, except he was early). One of the fun activities that had been organized was decorating bibs with fabric pens and crayons.

I started off by drawing a rainbow on one, 'cos it was colourful and not difficult. But a bit later, I remembered these earrings, and, well, there were some spare bibs left... The result was one with <BODY> at the top of it and </BODY> at the bottom of it.

There was only one person there who actually got the joke, but fortunately it was the baby's mum. She asked if I was going to put anything in the middle, but I couldn't think of anything suitable, so I was just going to leave it blank... until I was visited by the Bad Pun Fairy. I added some paragraph tags, and between them, a green dot symbolizing a pea.

11th March 2008

11:22am: As You Like It
(With the usual apologies to those not in the UK.)

I'm in As You Like It at the OFS this week, playing Audrey. It's shaping up to be a fun show!

Opening night is tonight, and it runs till Saturday. Performances at 7.30pm, with a matinee at 2.30pm on Saturday. More info here - you can book tickets online, but it's better to ring the box office, as then you don't get stung with a huge booking fee.

I should probably have told people about this earlier, but with the final few weeks of term and rehearsals, I've been a bit busy...

24th February 2008

3:21pm: Not this again...
So here we are at the beginning of 7th week, and I'm in the throes of an all-too-familiar experience. Let's call it end-of-term syndrome, or EoTS, for want of anything more imaginative.
Current Mood: tired

15th January 2008

6:38pm: Shiny new desk, and reasons to love Google books
I have a new desk! This is very exciting. It has drawers and a bookcase thing, and looks like this, except in the beech finish instead of the oak.

Last week I also acquired a set of six shallow A4 filing drawers, which means there is a slight possibility I now have enough storage in my room to find homes for all the piles of paper that have been sitting around for the last... er... few years... All I have to do now is sort it all out and work out how best to organize it, which shouldn't take more than, ooh, a few millennia at the outside.

I made a start on the sorting and putting away last night. The filing drawer in the desk is going to be the new home of all the photocopied articles and book chapters I have. I found and filed a few dozen of these, but discovered a handful where I foolishly hadn't noted the author or the name of the book. I suspect that a few years ago these would have ended up filed under 'Unknown', but thanks to the Internet, this is no longer the case. I just typed a few key phrases into Google, and voila - Google books presented me with the information I needed. I suspect the rest of the sorting won't be quite so straightforward, alas.
Current Mood: determined

3rd January 2008

10:44pm: Back in Oxford
I'm back in Oxford after about two weeks at home. It was lovely to spend some solid time with my parents and just have a proper break.

My train journey back involved four trains (only three of which I actually travelled on: the fourth was one I was supposed to get but didn't), three of which were delayed, although on one occasion this worked in my favour, as it meant I made a connection I would otherwise have missed. It was the sort of journey that could have been extremely stressful if I'd had an important appointment at a fixed time at the far end, but as it was was simply marginally more hassle (two changes instead of one) and half an hour longer than I was expecting.

I still haven't quite got used to it being 2008. But it's a new year, so I am positively bristling with enthusiastic plans about stuff I want to achieve (there may be a separate post about this) which will probably last, oooh, until the new term's workload really kicks in next week. One of these plans is actually to get round to posting on LJ occasionally, which I seem to be doing all right on so far. :-)

I was talking to darwinian_woman earlier, and we thought it might be a good thing if there were some sort of Oxfordy gathering (the informal variety) at some point in the not too distant future, preferably before people disappear completely under their various piles of work. (Yes, I know there was a New Year party not very long ago, but I wasn't here!) Anybody in Oxford or near enough to get here feeling inclined to be sociable at some point over the next couple of weeks? When/where might be good for people?
Current Mood: cheerful

7th December 2007

10:32am: Weird things seen in Oxford
I was on Cornmarket Street yesterday afternoon, and noticed a largeish crowd of people obviously watching something. There was music emanating from the centre of the crowd, so I assumed it was some kind of street performer, and attempted to peer in though the outer circle as I was passing. The spectacle captivating these folks turned out to be two people playing chess.

I didn't have time to stop and investigate further, but as chess is not known as a spectator sport in this country, I'm assuming there was more to it than just that. Anyone else see them and/or have any idea what was going on?

6th December 2007

9:17pm: (no subject)
This is an ice-breaking the-only-point-of-this-post-is-that-it-is-a-post sort of post.

Regular readers of this journal will know that there... er... hasn't actually been anything to read recently. For just over six months, in fact. I kept meaning to post and never got round to it, and as the gap lengthened I started to feel I needed something more and more significant to break the posting drought with. My birthday would have counted, but I ended up being too disorganized (thanks to thalassius for posting on my behalf about that one).

So rather than waiting indefinitely for something really post-worthy to happen, I decided to write a completely pointless post instead. You never know, the next one might be more interesting.

1st May 2007

1:43pm: Typo of joy
(Number two in an occasional series)

You know that annoying box thing that pops up when you sign into MSN until you get round to disabling it, and regales you with news stories and celebrity gossip and stuff? Well, today, I'm using a computer that doesn't have it disabled, and was greeted by this headline:

Blair praises Brown and says time for fresh tea

:-D
Current Mood: amused

23rd April 2007

12:16pm: Richard III
For anyone in or within easy reach of Oxford:

I'm on stage this week, in Richard III.

It's at the OFS from tomorrow (Tuesday) until Saturday - performances at 7.30pm, plus a 2.30pm matinee on Saturday. Tickets are £8.50, or £6.50 for concessions.

Further details on our website: http://www.richardofgloucester.co.uk/

It's a fab play, and we've had some good previews in the student press. So come and see it!



Edited to add: We're currently still in need of Front of House people for some nights. If anyone feels like volunteering - and getting to see the show for free - let me know in a comment or via e-mail.

30th March 2007

12:17am: I came across this site at work today (and yes, looking at this actually did count as legitimate work!), and thought there might be one or two people on my friends-list who might find it interesting.

Feminist Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Utopia - http://www.feministsf.org/femsf/

27th March 2007

6:07pm: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6497981.stm

Those of you with better heads for figures and statistics and suchlike: is the reasoning in this story really as appalling as I think it is?

Apparently 2.8 million children in the UK are living in poverty, compared to the 2.7 million last year. Various politicians and groups have been quick to call this a disgrace, and point out that the government needs to pull its socks up if it's going to meet its pledge to halve child poverty by 2010.

Except... we're not actually talking about poverty here at all. We're talking about relative poverty - defined as 'homes on less than 60% of average income net of housing costs'. Now, I'm sure that many of the people living in relative poverty are actually living in poverty, and this is particularly unfortunate if there are children involved. But insisting on determining who's poor and who's not using a relative scale seems perverse. For all we know, there may well be considerably fewer children living in real poverty (defined in terms of whether there's enough money available to provide food, clothes, housing, a reasonable quantity of entertainment, etc. etc.) than there were last year, and the figures wouldn't show this. If the income of the entire population of the UK doubled overnight, there would still be just as many people 'living in poverty'. It would also be possible to improve the figures by increasing the relative poverty of childless households. Reduce the old age pension, or increase the tax burden on those without kids, et voila! You've reduced child poverty at a stroke, without having to spend any money at all, or having to go to the hassle of actually improving anyone's standard of living!

Surely there's a more sensible way of measuring poverty than this? Or is the government (or whoever comes up with these figures) trying to tell us that the ultimate evil is not so much being poor, as being noticeably less well off than some of the people around you? It doesn't matter if everything in your house is made of solid silver and you have a dozen servants to wait on you hand and foot: if the people up the road have solid gold and two dozen servants, you'll still be miserable...

Of course, this is all obscuring the real scandal that is bound to break very soon - did you know that around half of all schools and hospitals are below average? It's a national disgrace!
Current Mood: annoyed

6th March 2007

10:23am: Academic blogging
In connection with something I was doing at work yesterday, I started wondering about academic blogging - specifically, the use people make of blogs written by professional academics in their field. It occurred to me that it might be worth asking you lot about this, given that many of you move in academic-y circles, and I know you all have blogs :-)

So, do you read academic blogs? If so, what do you feel you get out of it? If not, why not? Do you have a general impression of how widely academic blogs in your field are followed, and how highly (or otherwise) they are regarded?

All comments gratefully received (even if your reaction is 'There are academic blogs?', I'd be interested to know that). And if anyone felt inclined to point people on their friends-lists in the direction of this post, that would be fab.

10th December 2006

3:42am: Given how much I have to fit in over the next couple of weeks, I think I'm probably going to have to accept that I'm not going to have time to update this every day. :-( But I am going to keep trying.

Slight dilemma today, as only two people voted on the last part, and they went for different options (and in fact managed to cover all three choices between them!). So I'm giving precedence to the vote that arrived first.

Episode 6
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7th December 2006

3:09am: OK, so the additional episode needed to put me back on schedule is clearly not going to happen today...

Bonus points duly awarded to midnightmelody and anotherusedpage for identifying the source of yesterday's title.

Episode 5
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6th December 2006

3:14am: Oh dear... less than a week in and I'm already behind. Assuming I get some responses in time, I shall try to post two more episodes before tomorrow night.

I know the idea was just to go with one of the three options, but as people seemed to have leanings towards more than one choice, and especially as it sounds as though anotherusedpage didn't have a good day yesterday...

Episode 4 - Be nice, Cinderella...
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4th December 2006

3:50am: Episode 3
An Ugly Sister?
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3rd December 2006

2:19am: Episode 2
Prince Charming?
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2nd December 2006

12:31am: Quite a short chunk today, as I'm tired and need to sleeeeeeep.

Episode 1 - Cinderella
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