V&A Museum of Childhood
- The Robots.
I’ve started the Peter Kump book. I’m up to day 6, but since I’m a full-time doctoral student, among other things, I’ve probably been at it for 7 or 8 days. I’m frustrated. I don’t feel like I’m progressing as fast as I should be – lots of people on the Amazon reviews say things like, ‘within a week I’d doubled/tripled my speed!’ And I seem to be stuck somewhere between 400-550. I think part of it is that I get paralyzed by fear of missing something important. Also I find the 1 minute drills incredibly difficult. I basically feel like I’m messing my hand around on the page with no particular rhythm or order and not really seeing anything at all, much less understanding. I’d be so disappointed if this didn’t work, or to find out I’ve somehow been practicing the wrong way or something. Maybe I just need to relax a bit.
Working on loop and flip jumps now (started 1-2 weeks ago), and axels off-ice. Still struggling with spins but I think I may have finally broken through on the one-foot. Goal is to get a program and compete within the year – my coach says she’s thinking Spanish dance music :) I’d also love to land an axel within the next year, plus master the sit and camel spins. And of course, improve my ‘footwork’ overall. I want to look like I’ve been doing it forever.
I give up for now, but I’ll try again when I come back for Easter break…
bunny hops! First on the boards and then all of a sudden I could do them easily on my own, several in a row. I know this is a really basic move but it’s one step closer to being able to do jumps! And then this woman who always comes to adult skate, she’s older and really sweet, came up to me and asked me if those were bunny hops that I’d been practicing, and I said yes, and she said she’d learned them too but needed more practice and couldn’t do them as well as me yet! It felt good, the first near-compliment on my skating :)
I also worked a lot on backwards stuff, and the backwards one-foot glides and one-foot pumps on a circle have improved, but I still feel shaky. I wonder if I just keep practicing these things over and over again, if eventually I’ll be really confident. The woman who asked me about bunny hops said the backwards stuff was very difficult for her as well. Time will tell, I guess.
I also practiced forward crossovers. I eavesdropped on someone else’s lesson and just pretended like I was getting the advice! I think it really helped, the part where you push with the outside edge is much better now, and my actual crossing-over is much smoother and more distinct.
Atonement. Absolutely loved it. Incredibly moving, beautiful, thought-provoking, and profound. But I still want to ask, what really happened to the lovers? I’m inclined to think, although I wish desperately that it were otherwise, that one died at Dunkirk and the other in the Blitz. I could say so much about this book but I’ve only just finished it and I feel overwhelmed by my impressions. Now I must see the movie, and make comparisons. I wonder if Cecelia should be less beautiful than Keira Knightley, although somehow she does seem to fit the part perfectly.
Registered at some overseas voter website, because I’ll be in England for my state’s primary…must remember to print out the form and send it in before I go back next week!
I’ve stretched the last few nights in a row, including backbends. I think I should start doing some stretches before getting on the ice…never have I been so nonchalant about warming up prior to practicing a sport! I guess I have a complex that if anyone sees me stretching and then sees me skate, they’ll think I’m not good or advanced enough to even bother warming up, that I must have an inflated sense of my own skills. I’m so jealous when I see girls practicing jumps and spins off-ice and I desperately want to, but how can I justify this when I can’t even do a bunny hop or a waltz jump yet? It just looks so cool, and they seem so focused and athletic and graceful…I long to be good enough, to be able to take skating that seriously.
Just an hour and a half today, but backwards one-foot glides and backwards one-foot pumps, as well as general backwards stroking, have definitely improved. I need to start picking my foot up after the swizzle on the backwards stroking. Also worked on forward chasses on a circle, which meant going back to basics and really working on my scooter pushes, trying to get a clean push, a nice lengthy glide and good extension. This helped me when I practiced forward crossovers as well.
I think watching the young competitive skaters during the freestyle session before mine was helpful (aside from making me feel wholly inadequate and jealous…), because it gave me a picture of flow and athleticism to hold in my mind while I skated. I noticed they use their knees a lot to gain speed and agility, lots of bending.
Also I think the reason my backwards one-foot glides turn off to the side rather than going straight is because my weight shifts from the toe to the sole and when I do this, it doesn’t come down evenly. So I have to try to get solidly on the flat of the blade before I pick my foot up.
Went to a dance shop before the rink and bought two pairs of skating pants and a pair of black legwarmers. I spent a lot more than I wanted to but it was nice to skate in pants that fit today and showed the lines of my movements! However basic they are at the moment… :)
Really pleased with my two-foot spins and started trying to pick one foot up today, but this is going to take lots of practice. And I want to learn a 3-turn soon! But this might have to wait until I get back to Oxford and can take another lesson.
Heard back from my advisor, he said he’s overindulged in festivities but has time to look through my data now. But then he said his subscription to the modeling program had expired, so to proceed in the likelihood that’s it’s generally correct.
So tonight I noted the main trends revealed by the data, and then got back to work on my intro chapter…which I think I’m supposed to have written much more of by now! So if I can have a draft with all the main parts of that chapter (research questions, methods and methodological debates, lit review and hypotheses) done by next week, I’ll feel a bit better.
Then it’s figuring out how to formally present the data I’ve got so far…then doing some sort of quant analysis to control for the effects of age, gender, etc. Then the democracy component, which I’m probably still underestimating.
Feeling really grumpy and irritable today, because I feel so terribly useless and unproductive. I drove mom mom to work at 6 am, then met the painters at 8, then the electrician at 8:30. Did some Rosetta Stone while I waited. Then I went to the local dance boutique to see if I could get some skating clothes, and Office Depot to try to get an iPod case, but nothin’ doin’. Then I got gas, got $20 and had it broken into 2 $10 bills for the painters’ tips, then went food shopping and picked up some stuff for dinner. Also took the dog out. All useless errands, and I’m tired and cold and just want to go to sleep, and I didn’t do any thesis work and I skipped skating because the cut on my ankle just isn’t healing and it’s been hurting a lot, so I forced myself not to go and irritate it even more, although I really needed/wanted the practice. I really dislike myself right now, even though I know I’m overreacting. It’s just a theme with me, being tired and lazy and irritable and having nothing to show for myself at the end the day :(
Some light strength training and hamstring and hip flexor/quad stretches from 7 -7:30 am. Also did some splits last night. Really have to be more consistent here, if I want to see results.
Wrote out the full plot for the story I’d been writing bit by bit, but got stuck on and stopped about a week ago. I still liked the idea, but this is what always happens…I write a few lines or paragraphs and then it just goes nowhere. So tonight I thought to myself, just sit down and write a story, even if it’s a paragraph long and poorly written. Tell a tale, from start to finish. I realize that for me, plotting and actually storytelling are the hardest parts, not the seeds or the language or anything like that. So we’ll see if anything comes of this exercise the next time I sit down to write. I need to think of this as simple practice…the quality of the finished story is not the point, at least for now…the point is just to write full stories so that maybe one day, I can write good stories.
Set aside a morning each week to read through The Economist. Skim the headlines online every morning while I have my coffee, and read the stories I’m interested in, and those that relate to the bigger stories and regions I’m following. Try to ignore the details of the rest, since after all, you can’t know everything about everything. Subscribe to podcasts and listen to them when I walk places. Download video podcasts to watch, like Anderson Cooper 360, for those rare times I take the bus or train somewhere, like into London. Listen to the BBC World Service while I get ready in the morning. Skim through other newspapers and news magazines, particularly The New Statesman and Atlantic Monthly, whenever I get the chance, like when I’m just pissing around in Borders or take a break while studying in one of the bookstore cafes. Eat lunch in or spend those brief breaks I get in the HCR reading the papers, focusing on the comments and opinions sections.
Hilary term class schedule hasn’t been posted yet, but when it is, I will set a more concrete goal here…with Sam’s approval, of course :)
E-mailed my advisor today, as he was supposedly investigating an anomaly in my data set but never got back to me about the results. So I can’t move on until I know whether the data I’ve got so far is correct. I suppose I could work on the other parts of the thesis, like writing the justification for the research or explaining some of the debates about my methodology and theoretical framework, but I just can’t seem to get into these. It would be much more useful at this point to write up interpretations of the quantitative results, as this is the meat of the thesis. I’m feeling annoyed at my own lack of momentum and laziness, as well as frustrated and very panicky about time. But I suppose what needs to get done will get done, even if it’s not done well in advance…at least, I hope so…
Atonement. It’s not on the BBC list but I want to see the movie, and therefore I feel I should read the book first. The plot line, or what I’ve gleaned of it from the movie trailers and the blurbs on the book, is incredibly intriguing. Plus I’ve always heard so much about Ian McEwan, and now I want to see what all the fuss is about, and whether it’s worth it :) I’m 30 pages in, and so very it’s great.
2 hours practicing today. Played around on my edges for awhile, both left and right foot, just testing them out, and actually felt much more comfortable and able to more footwork afterwards. Also backwards one-foot glides got better, tried some spirals and some moving entries into the 2-foot spin, and forward crossovers on both sides. Today was one of the first days I felt like I looked different from the recreational skaters, like I sort of knew what I was doing.
Fell twice, on very basic movements, both backwards swizzles I think. I noticed I sometimes have trouble keeping my weight squarely over my skates. On two-foot turns it’s difficult to stay with the motion, when I’m turning quickly and moving forward at the same time. But these have gotten a bit less wobbly. I may need to be more conscious of keeping my knees a bit bent.
Lots of little kids learning to skate today, and parents teaching or skating with their kids, lots of fathers and little girls. Lots of the dads looked like they played hockey and it was cute watching them try to get their daughters to skate forwards without their support…some of the kids were more willing than others :) Also a little girl who’s obviously taking lessons, showing her dad what she could do and trying to teach him things like one-foot glides. So sweet!
I finished The Golden Compass tonight…I absolutely loved it (I loved all the Harry Potter books too, but this was certainly better-written and more profound/intellectual), but as with the HP books, I don’t know what to feel. Even though Lyra’s safe there’s so much tragedy behind her that I can’t simply feel relieved, or triumphant. I feel so bad for her, and so proud of her, and so sad for everyone else and mostly for all the loss. It just breaks my heart, it gives me pause. I can’t reconcile myself to her having to betray a loved one without knowing it, simply because it was her role in fate, or having to leave her friends behind, or risk her friend’s lives for a greater destiny. I know this is the way things often are in the real world, and we often can’t understand them, but they’re just so difficult to accept.