Day 258- May 6, 2010

It’s a bit sad, really. A picture of someone chopping broccoli. If I felt like being inventive, I’d come up with some crackpot justification for the photo, like those little white plaques at galleries that tell you that the canvas with three green circles on it is a portrayal of marginalised working class feminine identity and a criticism of the paternalistic military-industrial status quo. Something like that. But alas, this is just broccoli.

I would have taken a photo of a cat earlier in the day, had I had my camera on me. A photo of a cat? Why, that’s nearly as boring as broccoli! But this was no ordinary cat. This was some sort of creepy Master-and-Margarita-esque demon cat, sitting there in its windowsill, watching me as I walked past, its head turning to follow me. It was a big cat too, which is somehow relevant. Or perhaps it was just the perspective. Either way, I was genuinely freaked out by this feline fiend.

Apart from that, it wasn’t a bad day. I think I should say this more often, because I do love to whinge, and I think my blog is probably a bit more negative than it needs to be. And there’s enough negative blogs on the internet. I had a nice invigorating session at the gym, during which my ipod battery didn’t die (hurrah!) and managed to get my time for the mile run back down to 7:30. It’s not a very impressive time, but it’s surprisingly harder than running it in eight minutes, and a significant improvement on when I started going to the gym (at which point I couldn’t run the mile at all). And I also managed to get through a few Policy articles on policy implementation while on the cross-trainer, which is slightly complicated by the fact that you move up and down as you run on it, which means reading makes you a bit dizzy till you get the hang of it.

Russian was fun (this is a surprisingly good day, isn’t it?), owing mainly to the fact that we had to learn how to have a telephone conversation in Russian. We all got horribly mixed up with the intricate telephone etiquette and had a good laugh. The fact that the tutor has a good sense of humour and isn’t averse to impromptu roleplay probably helps too. Apparently the conversations go something like this: “Yes” (the acceptable thing to say when you pick up the phone, believe it or not) “Good day” “Good day” (If you fail to produce an acceptable greeting, your correspondent will hang up in animated disgust) “Is this (name)?” “No” (You’re not allowed to ask who it is– you have to guess) “(name) there?” (Russians don’t bother with silly things like prepositions or politeness) “(NAME)!”. So yes, now I know how to have a phone conversation in Russian. It probably wouldn’t be too good an idea to say da every time I pick up the phone in Australia, though…

Psych was possibly less fun. We have several lecturers each semester, each giving about half a dozen lectures on a particular topic of the main subject. Our last one was a fairly uninspiring but otherwise inoffensive girl from “Oh-reh-gone” (you have died of dysentery) who talked to us about neurotransmitters or something like that. Today we had the first lecture by the final lecturer for the semester, who began by informing us that he will not tolerate (and will stare down) latecomers and will ask questions of people who are whispering or otherwise not paying attention. “You, there, in the red hat. Why is the brain wrinkled?”. I sat in my seat with a full bladder for about ten minutes before mustering the courage to walk down the aisle of the theater and dash out the door. At least my problem of falling asleep in the lecture is solved– I’ll be too scared that he’ll flay me if I do!

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