frith_in_thorns: (LoK Korrasami view)
I've completed seven weeks of teacher training, and am starting a school placement on Monday. Hilariously, I feel way less prepared than I did in September -- the more I know, the more I know I don't know &etc.

It's been a good term. Really good. I mean, it's been endless seminars and trying to work out what the hell "reflective writing" actually MEANS to your tutor's mark scheme, and crying at midnight because of not having enough extended reading journal entries and drowning in acronyms and buzzwords and educational policy...

...but I'm good at it. This has actually surprised me. I am our group's mascot for nerdiness and tutors have stopped calling on me in maths and computing and science "to give someone else a turn." I've been told by several people in my group that they find me slightly terrifying (and I've given so many explanations to my coursemates of how academic papers work and how you put refs in writing and what the point of an abstract is), and my endless repertoire of Useless Facts are actually really useful in lesson planning and discussing curricula!

I'm bragging, yep. But I can't tell you guys how good it feels to be good at my work again. Oxford crushed me and made me feel stupid and inadequate all of the time and stopped me being able to read novels and I never really recovered. I started my Oxford degree seven years ago this week and right up until then my entire definition of self was tied up in being a bookworm, in being clever. I used to find learning so much fun and I adored school and Oxford stripped that all away and I had forgotten how much I missed it. Except now it's even better because there aren't looming exams and expectations and constant suffocating pressure and emotional abuse and I'm properly medicated for the depression that was grinding me down since adolescence. I still smash into walls of despair and awful, but I can climb them now. It's a hard-won skill.

I'm getting really emotional writing this.

It's just. I'm so grateful. I love Brookes, the university Oxford students sneered at for coexisting in their city (where the not good enough, the boring, normal students went). I love studying. I love my volunteering twice a week, with Brownies and Yellow Submarine, and I'm busy and so happy. I was so scared, before I started this course, that I was going to feel stupid all the time again and be overwhelmed and fall apart. But that's not happening. The opposite, in fact.

I'm going to be a teacher, and I'm going to rock.
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Merlin - Gwen - hair)
My degree results come out tomorrow.


And first they make us go to the zoology department and have a year-group photo and then there is a reception "during which you will have the chance to chat to your Examiners and lecturers" and then we get our results. And then we go back to college and see our tutors. It's a little... sadistic.

I might not even attempt sleep tonight. Not sure it's going to happen.
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Default)
HELLO. I am now quite drunk, and I felt like making a post. You know, like I swore to myself I would never end up doing. Sorry.

There was a garden party at Magdalen which was nominally because of the Jubilee but actually so the JCR could have an excuse to spend upwards of a thousand pound son Pimms. (I'n not joking. Really. I'm not. Actaually, other Oxford people probably won;'t be surprised.) There was a cardboard cutout of the queen and some people punted up and stole it. IT WAS WONDERFUL.

So I was planning on spending this eveneing working on my big bang fic. This... no longer seems like such a good idea, for obvious reasons. IT IS A SERIOUS FIC. lol no it's not

Instead, leave me prompts and I will write you drunk-fic :D (spelling and grammar are optional.)

ETA: Okay, I'm now going to go sleep/read more Vorkosigan books. Everyone else gets fics in the morning, because I am still not very good at drabbles, so they've been getting longer and longer and all the evening has gone :P
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Neal 1)
Hello LJ. Let me share my exam paper from today with you, which I'm totally counting as #8 on my #100things list. (I would tell you to think of it as a birthday present, but I'm not quite that bad a friend.)

For context: You answer two questions in the three hours. This whole exam paper is brand-new: we're the lucky year who get to be guinea-pigs to see whether it works. As such, there were no mock papers, no one knew any guidelines, and we've been explicitely told that the examiners have no model answers to compare ours against. FUN.

1. Are all taxa successful?
2. What benefits will new technologies bring to our understanding of biology?
3. If life exists on other planets, what features would you expect it to share with life on Earth?
4. What is the most significant scientific challenge now facing biology, and why?
5. Will biology become more reductionist as knowledge increases?
6. What role do parasites and pathogens play in biology?
7. Is an understanding of statistical methods essential for biologists?
8. Are all species doomed to extinction?
9. How do organisms respond to stress and how are these responses similar across taxa?
10. Is homeostasis an essential attribute of living things?
11. Are organisms well-designed?
12. What is the evidence for evolution?

So yeah XD (I answered #4 and #8.)

Then I went and hung around in the botanic gardens with Conrad and Seb and Seb's brother where I did a lot less revision than they did and ate strawberries. So that was very nice and de-stressing :)

Only two days left. I CAN DO THIS.
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Zundry - bobtail squid)
One exam down. I am very wiped out, but I answered questions, which is a good thing. Send pictures of baby animals and Neal Caffrey.

Because I wouldn't be me if I wasn't geeking out about random bits of biological experiments, this was my favourite question:

"In older experiments aimed at testing the hypothesis that bees estimate distance from energy consumption, worker bees were made to carry small weights. The bees struggled even to gain height when loaded, and overestimated the distance that they had travelled. It was concluded that the bees were using their energy consumption to estimate distance. Provide an alternative explanation of these results."

They put little weights on bees and made them fly around, you guys!! :D Sadly the paper doesn't reference it, so I don't know what the weights were made of...

I don't have an exam tomorrow, and I'm really tired, so I shall now drink wine and pretend that there isn't at least one person I badly want to murder.

frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Sanctuary - Henry - happy)

Legend of Korra: Masks on Empty Faces by [ profile] loquaciousquark (Gen, 1200 words)
The boy has a different name for it, but Koh knows the place where Truth begins.

This is a possible origin story for Amon, and it's gorgeous. Probably useful to have background knowledge of Koh from AtLA, but I'd recommend it even if you don't.

The Hunger Games: There's Another River on the Other Side by [ profile] Mithrigil (Gen, 10,000 words, Warning for graphic violence)
District 11 wins the 74th Games. The rest is history.

spoiler or warning hereThis is an AU where Katniss dies instead of Rue, and goes on from there. It's beautiful. I adore how Rue is characterised here, and how all the consequences play out.


I had a good May Morning. A bunch of us from Tolksoc stayed up all night in Helen's room. There was food and good company, (and, surprisingly, no one banned me and [ profile] helle_d from talking about fandom at great length...) and J showed up around 5 incredibly drunk to provide more entertainment. Then we watched the choir sing from the top of Magdalen Tower in the rain to welcome in summer, and went out for breakfast. We also went to find morris dancers first, because J told us earnestly (in a 'pirate' accent) that ze didn't believe in them. Then I went to sleep all day. That was fun.

Oh, semi-relatedly, Helen is now planning on actually using her LJ account, [ profile] of_a_thousand. If you're from Tolksoc or otherwise know her, add her! *Pokes her to write posts*
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Eternal Law - Tom - pillow)


frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Zundry - bobtail squid)
Guess who's got to hand in her extended essay in twelve-and-a-half hours and still has ~3000 words to go? :D

On the plus side, I have way more than 3000 words of notes to use. Apparently Helen and I are able to make each other work by some strange occult magic or something. (Perhaps it's because when I'm working in her room I a. feel guilty if I'm not working and she is (apparently this works in reverse), and b. can't mess around on the internet. Also she is very reassuring when I start panicking. Yay!)

On this topic, here is my next quote-thing for 100things:

Sediment blankets much of the deep-ocean floor and was a source of endless tedium for those lowering dredges and raising mud during the three-year voyage of HMS Challenger in the 1870s. This voyage marked the first systematic look at the biology of the deep sea. Perhaps all that mud contributed to the suicide, two cases of insanity and 61 desertions that are among its lesser known achievements.

- Callum Roberts, "Deep impact: the rising toll of fishing in the deep sea", Trends in Ecol & Evol
GUESS WHAT MY ESSAY'S ON. Well, at least the bobtail squid in my icon is actually relevant for once. Well, more so than the "science is awesome, yay!" that I generally use it for...

(In related news, this is why I'm behind on answering comments. And now my break's over and I must go back to wooooork...)

frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Zundry - bobtail squid)

Saw this on [ profile] leesa_perrie's journal - it sounds fun, and like an excuse to spam everyone with things! My topic is going to 100 small piles of words I come across. So, you know, paragraphs or phrases or lyrics I like on that day.

Here is my first one, from my Viva reading I was doing earlier:

How ants measure distance has remained obscure until recently. Mathias Wittlinger and his collaborators addressed the problem by lengthening the legs with stilts or shortening them by cutting off the tarsi. In this ingenious way, they were able to demonstrate that the ants measure distance by counting steps.

- from "The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies" by Holldobler and Wilson.
ANTS ON STILTS, YOU GUYS. I would love to know the thought process which led to that experiment. At any rate, it massively amused me, although it's not quite as wonderful as bee swarming experiments, where the queen is in a little cage and the swarm forms around her. Then when the swarm reaches a site consensus and starts to fly off, they get a little way and then are all "nuuuuu, where is our queen???? this is terrible :O" and then they go back and swarm because they won't leave her behind and don't understand why she isn't flying with them. Am I alone in finding this adorable and also feeling sad for the poor confused bees? :P

Anyway, that is the sort of strange things I'm signing up to spam you with :D

frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Zundry - rainbow jelly)
Hello! This is mainly of use to people currently in Oxford. But I shall spam everyone with it anyway. Since I spend most of my LJ time spamming Ox-friends with fandom, it seems only fair :P

To copy the blurb I wrote for the Facebook event:

"On the week beginning 25th March, Exeter College is hosting the group Christian Concern to hold a conference. Christian Concern ( is anti-lgbtq rights, anti-Islam, and anti-choice.

We believe that these values have no place in Oxford and should not be implicitly supported by allowing the group to hold a conference here. Therefore we will be protesting on Turl Street, outside the conference, to make it clear that Oxford, and the student body, is absolutely opposed."

An article written for the Guardian about the situation is here.

So! I'm pretty sure I invited nearly all of you via FB, but this is another plug in case you'd forgotten. Come and join us, from 11 by the Missing Bean. We've not been allowed to know exactly when the people are arriving, so we'll potentially be there all afternoon, come and join us any time. Bring banners and stuff! (Don't bring glitterbombs, it's bad for the environment and we promised Exeter we wouldn't. Also we really don't want to be in trouble with the police.)

Also, in case it's unclear: This is in no way an anti-Christianity protest, many of the protesters identify as Christians. This is a protest against the hosting (and therefore implicit/implied support or at least lack-of-problem-with) a group with political pull which in the UK is one of the main campaigners against gay marriage, against abortion, against people who are non-Christian.

The LGBTQ campaign had a banner-painting picnic this afternoon in the parks, some photos are below the cut for your entertainment. I'm the one with the dinosaur t-shirt and the extremely frizzy hair, if you wanted to know. Also the one who's signs look like they were made by a 10-yr-old XD (I like rainbows, okay :P)

Permission was given to use these photos as publicity. )

Expect a photo-heavy post tomorrow evening of how it goes! :D
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (SGA - Misc - Jumper blue sky)
It's the first day of Spring. I woke up to fog, but then it melted away and there was just sunshine.

Fran and I were sitting on the top of the fire escape and I suggested we go down to the field at the end of the road. So we took mugs of tea and a packet of biscuits and set up on the grass on my picnic blanket, with non-work books and notepads. It was a good celebration of the end of winter.

A couple of photos I took. Because sunshine! )
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (CM - Garcia+JJ+Reid - excited)
Thesis Project of Doom is FINISHED. And SUBMITTED. This has been hanging over me for two whole years.

Celebrate, for you will no longer have to endure my angsty posts about it! :D

I know that I have loads of comments on my fics to reply to still (and I love you all, you are all fantastic ♥), but out of the past 60 hours, just 6 of them have been spent asleep. So.

frith_in_thorns: An open black umbrella with small red hearts falling out of it (.Love)
Someone (or several someones) last night put paper masks over all the red traffic lights at the crossroads at the end of Holywell street.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (AtLA - Mai - blade glint)
- Two of my housemates today individually decided that since Katherine has a chest infection they were going to do the shopping for once! Sadly they didn't inform me (or each other!) of this and I went anyway, which turned out to be a good thing because they pretty much both only bought things you need for cooked breakfasts and none of the other groceries we needed. XD XD I love my housemates, guys. Also the look of utter surprise on F's face when I pointed out we could freeze one of the bottles of milk rather than try and drink all of them before the use-by date was rather priceless.

- Despite aformentioned being ill (which I still am, and it's So Boring) I was out late both weekend nights, because people I love had things on. First there was a Mechanisms gig, and then there was the panto by Lashings Of Ginger Beer. IE two nights in a row of Musical Queerness. Which is, of course, always epic. (If you are in Oxford and haven't seen either of these groups then I am clearly a terrible friend for not having dragged you along before.)

I'm now amused by how both groups involved a love story with Cinderella and another woman. Although the panto involved significantly fewer galaxy-wide-wars and death of pretty much everyone than the Mechanism's Once Upon A Time (In Space) cycle *points to song-lyric of the day*. (Yes, these are my friends. Also, they keep trying to get me to write fanfic of their band characters XD)

- Eternal Law has finished airing after only six episodes (if there isn't a second season I may cry) and I still haven't written my post about why everyone should be watching it. This is remiss of me.

- Best Idea Ever:

frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (White Collar - El - happy phone)
- I have dyed my hair purple. Specifically, violet. I think it looks rather good. Currently it's still rather dark, but it will brighten and then it will be wonderful.

- I JUST HANDED IN SOME WORK FUCK YES. This is a pathetically big deal. I'm feeling rather guilty over how nice all my tutors are being to me, so this is good. Especially as I spent the last week metaphorically curled into a ball.

- I was ridiculously amused by the TolkSoc practice quiz (for our match against Cambridge) last Friday. Especially as Team Skyrim beat Team Second Best (they came up with their name first, even!) by about double the points, even with Andrew the quizmaster penalising us for bad jokes and also tactical gambles. We are really not a society to take ourselves seriously.

(Andrew: Which direction did the second gate of Monas Tirith face?
Me: Do you mean Minas?
Andrew: It says Monas on my bit of paper. So that's the question.
Graham: Is the correct answer that it doesn't exist?
Andrew: No. I'm in charge.
Other team: West.
Our team: South.
Andrew: South-west. You both lose.)
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Zundry - Be brave)
Things which have happened today:

I got turned down from TeachFirst, which rather sucks, and justifies my guess that the interviews at the assesment centre didn't go that great. Ah well. I'm surprisingly not upset, actually - there are enough routes into teaching that I'm sure I'll be fine. And it's an incredibly high-pressured course, so maybe it's for the best.

This morning I accidently went to a lecture I shouldn't have gone to, because it was a genetics module I'm not taking. I have no idea why I wrote it down on my timetable. But when I realised I thought it would be rude if I just walked out, so I listened and made notes anyway. IDEK.

Oh, and I wrote a thing - well, actually I wrote and posted it in the break between that lecture and the ones I was actually supposed to go to! I woke up this morning and there was a prompt on whitecollarhc for "Peter and Neal are trapped in a dessert" and my brain started throwing bad puns at me. So, here is my attempt to cram as many of those terrible puns as possible into about 300 words. Again, IDEK. It's just been that sort of day. XD

Also, while I'm here: is there actually a consensus on how Diana's surname is spelled? Because I've seen about three different spellings being used, each by multiple authors. (This is not as bad as a brief period in the CSI:NY fandom where the actual show couldn't decide whether a recurring character was called Jennifer or Jessica for quite a long time, and her name kept changing between episodes. That was fun.)
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (Zundry - rainbow jelly)
Judging by my facebook and flist, today seems to be the day for moving back from wherever people were over Christmas! I am back in Oxford and it is LOVELY. Unfortunately I still need to unpack, and I've also remembered how when I was tidying up for Helen to stay I shoved all the clothes that were on the floor into the bottom of my warderobe. So I need to sort them out too if I ever want to find anything again.

Although I would have to get off my computer first. I MISSED IT SO MUCH. All the keys work! And the internet is reliable! And it can load more than five firefox tabs at once without freezing up! And the speakers play music which doesn't sound like tin cans in a washing machine! Although LJ did something strange when I tried to load the internet and I lost all of the open LJ tabs, ie about 20 fics I had lined up to read. MY LIFE IS HARD YOU GUYS.

Now I'm debating what to do. Unpack vs writing fic vs Skyrim vs doing something sensible like reading "The Anaylsis of Biological Data"...
frith_in_thorns: Unfortunately, you'll also all blow up. (White Collar - El - happy)
Thank you for the aubergine recipes! However, I failed to procure any aubergines (seriously! they weren't anywhere!), so I made curry instead :P

Now I am all alone in the house, which feels rather strange. But I have jaffa cakes and ginger wine to keep me company. *gg*

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