SCAN Black Pepper series

Here are some newspaper ads I made for the student cable access network here at UNH!

The biggest one, half-page. Kind of looks like a PostSecret.

The smallest. Business card sized.

In the middle, quarter-page-size.

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You, Sleeping

My first poem on the blog! You might want to read the post before this (“The Return”) for an update on the blog itself.

You, Sleeping

I am awake
in bed
at three in the morning;
I can see the two of you
stretched along the opposite wall;
sleeping.

Just together.
You, David, are holding
the other with an arm
across her chest
while you,
Kellie,
sink against the wall,
your feet drawn up,

slipping, slipping,
out from the covers.
You’re holding onto
his arm.

Two life-blossoms
in cold moonlight.

The Return

Hi everyone! Namely, myself. Since no one checks this blog anymore, which I understand, as I have stopped updating it.

Yet…

I decided a while ago I should put some of my writing up here so friends and family, those who also write and those who don’t, can stay current on my work and also keep in touch (for those of you in different states of the union) through the comment board. I like this better than posting on Goodreads–it’s easier to index everything.

So, from now until I change my mind again, I will use this blog mainly as a place to display and discuss my writing and other creative things. Personal information (besides being pretty boring) is incidental.

Okay!

CHOCOLATE FORESTING

Well, at last I have something interesting to write about.

This past Saturday was another school day trip, this time to Stonehenge and Salisbury. The school-sponsored trips have started to become a bit of a disappointment, unfortunately–one or two hours somewhere else, a few hours somewhere less satisfying. That’s how it was with Stonehenge. I was circling the monument, watching the crows land on all the big, roped-off rocks, dodging people with cameras,

wondering why we couldn’t have a little while longer here. Wondering why, for example, the school couldn’t have paid for us to use one of those neat audio tours that looks like a cell phone and tells you all about the place you’re visiting.

I stepped in on a couple guided tours. The guides were fascinating. The place was beautiful. It was proper English weather the whole time: windy, chilly, with a bit of mist, but not enough to freeze your bones like in New Hampshire. Everything was a muted shade of green, grey, blue or brown–exactly the kind of ominous atmosphere you want when visiting a paleolithic (or is it neolithic?) monument with the kind of presence that Stonehenge has.

Salisbury was, luckily, not such a disappointment. The town itself is old, and it rambles. There is a huge Gothic (I think) cathedral there, even more impressive than the Bath Abbey–great flying arches, giant stained-glass windows and the like. Tucked away in a little corner, they kept one of the original four copies of the Magna Carta; that was something to see.

Down a narrow and creepy alleyway, we also found an open-air market, with stands selling most everything: clothes, shoes, used books, fruit and veg

(GET YOUR BANANAS HERE, A POUND A BOWL, GET ‘EM WHILE THEY LAST, GET YOUR BEST BANANA, A POUND FOR A BOWL BEST BANANA),

coats, and best of all army surplus.

You might ask why “army surplus” should be best of all. Well, it’s because I finally found myself a pair of boots. Having already made the decision to get rid of my horrible desert boots (the things cut me up something awful), the extraordinarily nice couple in fatigues and green coats sold me on a pair of black boots, having held their own feet out to demonstrate that the boots I wore were their boot of choice.

I later discovered my new boots are called German paratrooper boots. Huge, heavy, and black. I could stand in them all day without feeling it.

Sunday was my day to go back to Camden Market. To be more specific, my roommate and I walked down to the 99p store, because I had seen something resembling Nutella, except half again as much product for only half the price.

The place is a feast of cheap stuff. Dollar stores, the college student’s dream shop!  The two huge rolls of digestive biscuits I got there did not disappoint. Neither will, I hope, the cans of ravioli.

But when I got home with my new jar of  discount “chocolate hazelnut spread” a quick tasting showed that it was nothing like the sweet, chocolatey ambrosia man has named “Nutella”. It was more like…

How shall I describe it…

Lard frosting. That’s it. Evidently, %0.5 hazelnut is enough to call something “chocolate hazelnut spread”.

The rest of the week has been relatively uneventful; I’ve been working on various papers and reading things. Yesterday I got free ticket to go see “As You Like It” at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre tonight. It was a happy coincidence, as just that day I had bought a groundling ticket for “Love’s Labours Lost” the very next night. More on those in a couple days!

A WEEKEND IN

Well, sort of. Most people in Reid Hall and beyond had gone off to either Dublin (to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the creation of Guinness) or Munich (to celebrate Oktoberfest) last weekend, while me and my budget stayed here in London. Most of the weekend I spent in my room, though Saturday I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick Castle, both of which were relatively fun. A tour of Shakespeare’s birthplace would have been more interesting to me than a tour of Warwick Castle, medieval fortress/victorian estate-turned-capitalist venture, but perhaps that’s just because I’ve seen better castles. Yes, since you ask, I am excited to visit Ireland again.

I’ve been putting this post of for more than a week; I can’t seem to gather thoughts in a structure comprehensive enough for a single long post on one or two subjects. So here are a bunch of short subjects, in the interest of putting off something else. At least I’m writing while I procrastinate on my latest story.

Chocolate wrappers in the hallway. I guess I’m not eating that much chocolate. Had a sausage roll today. “Meat sweats” are a real thing. Got sick on Friday from the seafood casserole I had Thursday night. Note: stay away from octopus tentacles in a casserole. Just thinking about it makes me queasy.

I’m drinking tea right now from my new mug of Shakespearean insults (by far the best thing to come out of the weekend). Tesco tea, which, surprisingly, is quite good. At least compared to what we drink in the states. For 80p (about $1.50), I get eighty tea bags. At least something is cheap in London. That and curry chicken slices. Mmmm.

Know what’s relatively cheap, and absoutely delicious? Lamb Kebab. Döner. Shawerma. Whatever. Lamb on a stick, carved off the spit and served in pitta with lettuce and what have you. Everything I dreamed of and more. For once, I felt like I was living one of the culinary fantasies I regularly experience when watching Anthony Bourdain.

Got a pedestal fan near Camden Town for drying the clothes. Now, what would take a day (maybe longer) takes at most a night to line dry. Well worth the £12 I paid.

Got some new shoes. They were horrible. Sending them back and going to a shoe store on Friday. A London shoe store… fancy that. More after I go.

I have decided I love the way pictures taken with my old Minolta look. I’m going to buy a new, updated body (I can get an X-700 on ebay for around $50) once I get back from this place. Maybe this time I can load the damn film right.

what am i doing it is 11:10pm and i have to hand in a story tomorrow if i don’t quit this now i will be handing in a half done story here is a poster what do you think

mockup for next semester's film festival, not final

CHAPTER TWO: SETTLING IN

My walking speed is inversely proportional to the volume of tea I am carrying.

I might have begun this chapter last week, but this seemed a more appropriate time. I went out–really went out, to where the party was–two nights ago, and I spent most of yesterday in my room recovering. I realized that I’m developing a routine. Three packets of sugar in my tea. Three pounds per meal on my dining card. Three shirts per laundry load. Go into the hallway when wireless reception drops. Stall on homework by reading comics. Stall on blogging by eating chocolate. Stall on sleep by blogging and playing with Photoshop. Pinch pennies. Save up for trips. Read in the bathroom. Open the windows at night. Every habit, whether brought from home or newly formed, is a way to feel like I have a starting point.

I even like my bed now that we have all those extra comforters. My roommate and I are slowly rebuilding our immune systems’ strength–at different rates, but it’s happening. He had to sleep on an iron mattress much longer than I did.

And good god, I almost forgot. Lord help me, I spent three-hundred and fifteen pounds yesterday. One-ninety on the awesome pony trekking trip in November, and another one-twenty five on the weekend trip to Edinburgh. It’s okay, though. I’ve come to accept the parting of money (no heart attacks here–you can’t take it with you). And the budget still stands. Besides how can I put a price on riding for two whole days in the beautiful Welsh countryside of my ancestors?

Some of my readers have expressed an interest in my studies. Well: in Writers In Exile, we read Joyce, and now we’re reading horny old D. H. Lawrence. In Art History, I fall frequently fall asleep and my professor calls me out on it. In Roman Britain, I sometimes fall asleep and mostly take notes about the Romans’ conquest of Britannia. In Drawing class, I sketch big round scribbly sketches of statues in museums. And in Writing Fiction, I read and write. A lot. Lots of notes in the journal, every day, lots of procrastination on the actual assignments, lots of reading on how to go about it when I do write.

THERE YOU GO MOM

Most study abroad students are off to Leeds Castle and Canterbury today, to look at the castle, hang out and watch some dudes joust. I am on my bed looking up Irish members of the CouchSurfing network.

Time to make a cup of tea, sit down at my desk, and get to the work of writing!

TAKING A BATH

Great news today! The staff of my dorm, Reid Hall, left bags of duvets and pillows sitting around the main desk while emptying out a storage room. My bed is now comfortable.

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

(edit, two hours later) I walked into my room and my roommate pointed to his bed, proudly shouting, “Four duvets! I am now sleeping like a king!” So I grabbed another bag of comforters. Truly, we are sleeping on the beds of royalty. The colors clash like it’s their destiny, but at least now my top comforter matches the curtains. And ah! the four-layered comfort supreme!

What an eventful weekend. During my tour of the Roman baths on Saturday, I was struck by the smoothness and warmth of the ruins, the longevity of  life I felt underneath everything around me. Looking into the frigidarium, I saw more coins than I’ve ever seen in a fountain before, like I could jump in and grab an armful rich enough to fund the rest of my semester. Later on, I stopped at a small café and bought my first proper Cornish pasty. Lots of butter, lots of potatoes, lots of unidentifiable, slightly spongy meat. Delicious at the time and very filling, but I don’t think I’ll be having another very soon, unless I’m very strapped for cash.

So, like, tomorrow.

The short: it was a great trip, in spite of the three-hour bus ride there and four-hour bus ride back.

Unfortunately, my camera had only enough battery for one picture.

Unfortunately, my camera had only enough battery for one picture.

On Monday, during art class, I learned the nuts and bolts of sketching (finally) at the British Museum. Afterward a couple of us went on a little tour of the Egyptian/Mesoptamian exhibits. Here’s a little gallery of a sketch and the walk we took…

Please excuse the first three. I could not figure out how to exclude them from the gallery. I’ll have to try later when I’m not falling asleep.

Tuesday and Wednesday were sort of a wash, besides the very exciting (and overly complicated) booking of plane tickets on Ryanair.com. Oh? I didn’t tell you–

I’m spending a week in Ireland next month! Backpacking the Cliffs of Moher, and then exploring around wherever the wind takes us. Well, sort of.

Not much else new, that I can remember. Tuckered out. Tried some new candy bars. Should have those up soon.

Time for bed! Yeah!

-C