Tags: ian mcewan

happy girl

Life is beautiful for sure

I'm definitely going to have to see the doctor when I get home. The food poisoning was left untreated because the wonderful medical centre at the LSE didn't bloody email me at all when I registered for NHS (? Something or other?) on the link that the woman at the reception gave me when she turned me away the day I fell sick, and she claimed that I would get an email from them within 1 working day after registration. What a crock of shit. The vomitting stopped after a day and I mostly had my appetite back, so I assumed that I was healthy again.

Alas, I am sitting here right now and it's 11.31 p.m. and I'd just woken up from a one-hour nap and my stomach is feeling queasy again and I feel so tired. I am confused by my appetite's PMSing ways - one moment I'd be suitably hungry that it fools me into thinking that I can eat normally again, and the next moment, i.e. after I eat normally, I feel sick again. I thought I was hungry tonight so I cooked fake Singapore beehoon, the type all over London cooked with curry powder, but I couldn't finish it (couldn't finish the mee goreng I cooked for lunch yesterday) and now I'm feeling rather queasy and really, really tired. Honestly, I don't give a shit about getting free healthcare. I am used to paying for medical treatment and if truth be told, I don't trust the quality of free healthcare not just in England, but anywhere; in fact, anything free automatically puts me on guard as to its quality. I am still amazed that the woman at the reception at the medical centre turned me away because I wasn't registered with the NHS. I mean, what the hell? What if I had been really sick that day? What if I had died on the way back? More importantly, why the hell haven't they emailed me?! It's been at least a week since my registration.

In other news, I was at Borough Market this afternoon where I was supposed to meet my aunt for lunch but I couldn't find her and I couldn't call her Singapore number because I don't have any credits in my giffgaff account, so I had a random garlic prawn wrap from a random place. It was really good and it was the first time since my dim sum lunch with Paul (the Dip Sing guy) a couple of months back when I had fresh prawns and it was amazing. I had some time to kill, so I decided to join the queue for London's most famous coffee - Monmouth Coffee.

I mean, yeah, it's better than Starbucks and Pret a Manger (which is the only major chain-cafe that I get coffee from and even then, I only drink their latte; their flat white is a fucking insult to the real flat white) and yeah, I suppose it's better than Shoreditch Grind, the independent cafe closest to me; and yeah, it was pretty good. But was it mind-blowing? Did it live up to the hype? Did it explain and justify the long queue that's always outside the cafe? No, no, no. It was exactly like my 65 essay: it was good but not excellent.

I don't know how to explain it. It was a variety of things: It wasn't fragrant enough; the bitter aftertaste was a bit too strong; he cup was a bit too small for £2.35. I was massively disappointed; I was expecting to be blown away by this super famous coffee. Alas, it simply didn't live up to the hype. The independent cafe near the school that I stumbled upon last week (Wild & Coffee company - it's a really, really small and old-fashioned cafe whose owner plays classical music; specifically, opera) has better coffee and it's a bit cheaper, and it advertises itself as using Monmouth coffee. That was mostly why I decided to try it and I really liked it, but the actual Monmouth coffee was just so blah.

The worst part was that I felt sick after that. I felt slightly nauseous and it was getting colder and I left my hall wearing a short-sleeve dress and my Dorothy Perkins biker jacket (which isn't very warm for winter just by itself) and a random scarf, so I started feeling quite cold too; and spending a couple of hours outdoors probably didn't help very much. I was wondering whether I should go to Angel and walk around since I really loved it when I was there with my Swiss-German and German friends for an evening movie a few weeks ago and I wanted to see what it was like in the day...but it was just too fucking cold. If I had worn an extra layer or worn warmer tights, maybe I could have withstood the cold; but it was not to be.

I am trying to finish Ian McEwan's "Sweet Tooth" before I fly home on Monday evening just to avoid the hassle of lugging this hardcover book home and perhaps back to London again (or not). There are at least 4 books that I will have to bring home; three of which are mercifully not very thick, but I might have to bring those back, plus a 1,000-page book...maybe, maybe not. I probably will. I don't know yet. There's also this Kant textbook that I haven't even bought; hopefully I'll remember to go to a Waterstone's (Waterstones? Waterstones'?) tomorrow and pick it up. It is really important because I'm thinking of writing the Jurisprudence essay on Kant and obviously I need to know what he's talking about before I even begin to think of a possible topic, so yeah, I think I should buy the book sooner rather than later. (I could have photocopied the assigned pages before I returned the book to the library, but honestly, I was too lazy to do that. I hate photocopying.)

Regarding the novel, I don't think first person narration suits McEwan as well as the third person point of view. I'm pretty disappointed that this novel isn't his usual style because the only thing that I've consistently liked about his novels is his writing style; his actual stories, and specifically their conclusions, have left me cold more often than not. This book is readable and I am enjoying it but it's a bit underwhelming so far.

I really have to FINALLY organise the huge pile of readings that's literally stashed in one compartment on my shelf, which I haven't filed because I don't have a hole puncher, and I don't have a hole puncher because I refuse to buy one here and yes, I will be bringing my hole puncher from Singapore; and it's getting pretty late so I should get on with this entry.

I had a really nice evening/night with a few friends yesterday. We had dinner in a Thai restaurant in Covent Garden (Cordelia, the Swiss-German, seems to love Thai food; the last time we had dinner, she suggested Thai too) and I was the last to arrive because I took my time, as usual, going to school first to return my books. It was a party of 8 and I was the only Asian; there were two Swiss-Germans, one German, one Belgian, one American and one blond girl that I didn't know. I'm totally used to this by now and it goes a long way to explain why I have developed a strange accent that I find myself subconsciously using even when speaking to my Malaysian coursemate.

We went to a pub on Fleet Street that was the old Bank of England after dinner, as the cabaret place that used to be a public male toilet was full. The American guy told me that he lived in Singapore for the first 10 years of his life and it turned out that he lived in Toh Tuck, which is really near my house. It will never cease to amaze me how small the world can be despite how massive it really is - even when I'm miles away from home, invariably, I come across certain connections to home, the ones that I least expect.

What I found more interesting, however, was his answer when I asked him what he thought of the proportionality test. He's in my Theory class and our professor (from now on, I will call him Dr K) basically said that Europe uses proportionality analysis and the US doesn't. Surprisingly - or maybe not - he said that the US Supreme Court uses some sort of balancing too in its constitutional cases, though it's not spelled out in the same 4-stage test that the ECtHR adopts. He said something about the rational basis test for a certain class of cases and the strict scrutiny test for other kinds of cases. This may be helpful when I wreck my brain further for an essay topic. In any case, we both agreed that Dr K is super Euro-centric but it's good to learn from someone who's an expert in a particular field.

An aside: I know that I keep talking about this course, and there's a good reason for it. I am fucking obsessed. I literally fell asleep thinking about my essay after doing a bit of research at 3 a.m. and I literally woke up thinking about my essay. I thought about it too at intermittent intervals throughout the day but thankfully I presently have more important things to think about, like what the hell to buy for people at home (if any at all...frankly, I'm feeling really lazy). I am absolutely committed to writing the best essay of my entire fucking life because I'm giving up the dissertation, so I'd better have something incredible to show for it at the end of everything. The logic isn't immediately obvious here but trust me, there is a logic, warped as it is, somewhere in that incoherent mess of words.

Anyway, we went back to the cabaret ex-male public toilet place at about 11 p.m. to see if we could get in. Julian - the German guy whose idea it was to go there - raved about its cocktails and I basically didn't know anything about the place until Vlada (my Serbian friend) told me that he looked it up online and found out that it was some sort of cabaret thingy. So interesting, right? We got in and it was so cramped and stuffy; I could barely move my arms to remove my jacket. I ordered this drink called London Calling - obviously attracted by the name and its ingredients were grapes, honey and mint (Vlada asked me what was in my drink and I said those three things, and he was like, "It's a virgin cocktail?", which made me realise that he was asking about the type of alchohol that it contained; I said, "Ummm I don't know, gin?" and he laughed at me). It wasn't as delicious as its description made it to sound. The "cabaret" wasn't really much of one; there was a man who sang, a scantily-clad, white-as-a-sheet blonde who played the keyboard really well (it was a Romantic piece - Rachmaninov or Chopin; couldn't remember) and took off her clothes at the same time with the important bits covered, another woman in a corset costume that sang really well, and the white-as-a-sheet blonde with a performance that they termed 'burlesque', wearing a very tiny white thong. After the white-as-a-sheet blonde's first performance, Vlada asked why us girls were so interested in the performance, and I said, "I'm curious!" He joked, "Bi-curious?" I rolled my eyes at him and wanted to affirm that in part, but decided against it. (White-as-a-sheet blonde was pretty hot. Just for the record.)

I liked it for its novelty. The drink was really expensive - close to £10 - but it was different from the usual places that I've been to. Above all else, what made the evening/night so wonderful was the company: talking to the American guy about constitutionalism, then talking to Cordelia and Sina (the German girl) about girly things and lousy teachers at the LSE (yes, they do exist) and regretting some course choices and Sina assured me that there was nothing wrong with not doing a dissertation which made me feel better, walking past the beautiful, beautiful Royal Courts of Justice on the way to the cabaret place and joking about booking the place for an LL.M. event, and ending the night at the cabaret place where I experienced something different...

Yes, I love my life in London. I got off my bus a few stops early and walked back to my hall. The night was comfortably cold, and I felt really happy.
Maria clap

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

I finished Julian Barnes' new novel in 1 day. I can't remember the last time I read a book this fast. Of course, my speed was definitely aided by the novel's length - more a novella, really, at 150 pages.

This book is unsettling. The themes that Mr Barnes explores are heavy and somewhat depressing: ageing, the loss of memory as a natural process of ageing, the adolescent expectation of what life would be like and how life eventually disappoints. I haven't finished it, but The Sense of an Ending reminded me of the themes that he dealt with in Nothing to be Frightened of.

In a narrower sense, in terms of the story, it's testament to Mr Barnes' brilliant writing and story-telling that, as the big secret is finally revealed in the last few pages, as the reader puts the pieces of the puzzle together alongside Tony Webster, the narrator, the sense of horror that Tony feels when he finally "gets it" is similarly felt by the reader. Mr Barnes drops clues throughout the novel, and we're hit repeatedly over the head by how the narrator is dense and self-absorbed; and when the pieces finally come together, the Eureka moment is chilling and horrifying.

I may be talking it up a bit, but honestly, this book doesn't play up the plot in the same manner that Ian McEwan, for example, did in An Enduring Love which I kind of hated. But it's precisely because Mr Barnes infused so much philosophy and ruminations on life and death and ageing and mortality and memory into his story that the plot almost becomes secondary to what the writer is intending to convey. This is honestly such a fantastic, brilliant work of literature; even the narrator's own perspective of life, and his reflection of his opinions held as a teenager, resonate with me. Reading a Julian Barnes novel is actually an intensely personal experience for me; for some reason, even though my experiences so far have absolutely nothing in common with his (I didn't go to Oxford, for one), I identify the most with the things that he writes about amongst all the books that I've read. This is perhaps why he's my favourite, favourite writer of all-time, bar none; and of course, I would sell my soul to the devil to be able to write half as well as he does, which I've said before a few years ago. His prose is elegant, sharp, pensive, profound, intelligent without being obscure. His natural (English?) wit comes through too, sometimes in the dialogue, sometimes in the narration itself. I would definitely admit that John Banville writes more poetic prose; but Banville's poetic prose is also slow and sometimes clunky. Julian Barnes is never clunky. He grabs your attention and never lets go of it. He expresses an opinion, but he's never didactic about it. And his characters are so well-realised and well-formed that they are always three-dimensional human beings, easily someone you know.

The Sense of an Ending has been longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker prize. He's been shortlisted 3 times prior but has never won. In 1989, his Flaubert's Parrot (another fucking amazing and amazingly and creatively constructed novel with a sad narrator at the heart of it) lost to Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day. In 1998, his England, England (first Barnes novel ever read - it was taught in JC. Whoever decided to include this in the curriculum, oh my god, thank you so much) lost to Ian McEwan's Amsterdam. In 2005, his Arthur & George (brilliant piece of historical fiction) lost to John Banville's The Sea.

As a hardcore Barnes fangirl, I sought out all of the aforementioned books and read them, just to see what was so great about these books that they beat out the works by my favourite writer. I do not object to Ishiguro winning in 1989 as I thought that The Remains of the Day is quite honestly a brilliant piece of restrained writing that spoke volumes in the characters' silence.

However, although I was enthralled by Banville's writing in The Sea, I didn't think it was worthy of the Booker over Arthur & George because Banville's beautiful, lyrical, poetic prose was also slow and plodding and at times overwrought. Even worse, reading McEwan's Amsterdam royally pissed the living shit out of me, especially since it beat out what was my favourite Barnes novel (if only for the simple reason that the character of Martha Cochrane resonated deeply within me) at the time. I just didn't get the point of Amsterdam, and in typical McEwan style, there was so much fucking build-up, but the pay-off was shitty. I mean, I get the criticisms levied against England, England; but how about the flaws inherent in Amsterdam?

All this is a long way of me saying that I really, really hope that justice is finally served and Julian Barnes finally wins the fucking Booker. It's ridiculous that a writer of his stature, reputation and sheer genius talent hasn't won it yet. Surely it has to be his year, with this book? It's about as short as Amsterdam so hopefully that's a good sign?

I know, I know - it's just a silly award. But I still want the deserving writer to win it.
Charah coffee

Don't look back in anger.

I'm going through some of my Year 1 entries - written five years ago - and I think it's pretty sad how I'm feeling almost exactly the same things that I felt during that period.

Just to recap, I considered Year 1 of law school to be the worst year of my life. Of course, that was before I started work; now, I can't decide if starting law school as a 19-year-old who just wanted to dissect literary works all day long is a crueller fate than starting work in the legal profession as a 24-year-old who doesn't quite want to dissect literary works anymore, but can't decide on what she really wants to do (or rather, it's more accurate to say she doesn't have the guts to definitively pronounce on that point. Like anti-activitist judges who are afraid to be seen as legislating for the legislature).

Then again, I think the answer is pretty clear. I'd rather rant all day long about how I had no interest in studying for my Contract Law exam because I find it as interesting as washing the dishes than to feel a sense of dread that clutches at my chest every single fucking day when I think about going to work, or when I see the fucking red light blinking on my fucking Blackberry. On some days, I'm literally afraid to check my email; on other days, I'm literally afraid of going to work.

It's sad how the angst and the unhappiness have remained substantially the same; they've merely taken on different forms. At the heart of it though, I'm still the same 19-year-old drowning in her misery every single day that she had to attend law school.

Except, I'm not - except, I think I'm even more unhappy now, if that's possible. But why not? My time has been monopolised by this false idol* we call work; instead of spending two hours a day feeling completely alienated in Contract lecture, I'm spending more than 9 hours a day feeling absolutely dead inside. And whereas I still had some zest and some spark in my writing back then, nowadays I barely write anymore - and I'm strictly talking about this journal.

(*credit to glasswindow for this wonderful metaphor.)

Oh, I don't even know. I'm combing through my archives in an attempt to understand (or at least to know) why I didn't leave when I had the chance. I was absolutely shattered by Cambridge's rejection; being the over-achiever that I am, I think I banked all my hopes on that school and gave up when it didn't materialise.

That was pretty stupid of me. That was actually really fucking stupid. I really did want to go to Warwick though, if only because the course was Literature and Creative Writing. But King's College London wouldn't have been disastrous either.

I just - I spent an hour crying last night and in my typical emotional state, thought a lot of extreme thoughts, such as what's the point to everything if we're all just gonna die; life is so fucking pointless; I don't want this anymore; but I also latched at the choice that I failed to make and it made me cry even harder. It's so obvious to me now that it was the choice that I should have made; it's really only because law school turned out fantastic in the end, thanks to the awesome electives that I took, AND making Dean's List in Year 4, that I don't completely regret it.

But I do regret it somewhat, and that's enough for me.

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Charah coffee

The second birthday.





For Wei Chuen's birthday this year, we went to Il Lido at Sentosa Golf Club. The items on the menu were fairly expensive; the food didn't quite live up to the quality implied by its prices. It wasn't awful; it was even pretty good; but if I was paying $32 for some lasagna with mushroom, it was certainly reasonable for me to expect mind-blowing quality.

What really ruined the food, though, was the pathetic excuse of a tiramisu they served me. First, the menu professed that the tiramisu there was worth $12; as such, I expected something of a substantial size, something resembling the size of the tiramisu at Pasta Fresca, which remains my favourite tiramisu to date (it was also the first tiramisu I ever ate). Second, considering the standard of the restaurant, I definitely expected the tiramisu to be of above average quality, at the very least.

When they served me my dessert, I was shocked to see that it was little more than a small cube of cake placed in the middle of a very large plate. When I ate it, I was affronted and horrified to discover that it tasted like something I could very well buy at fucking TCC. (I said Starbucks to Wei Chuen at first, but on second thought, I never ate any tiramisu from Starbucks.)

There was no alcohol in the tiramisu, there was barely any cake, the cream was utterly unremarkable and bland, and the whole thing was just epic fail. If I ever go back there, I'm not ordering that horrible piece of shit anymore, never ever again.

Apart from that, dinner went well. It rained last night which made the alfresco area chilly and romantic. The humidity kept its distance, pretty much left us well alone, and it was nice and comfortable, having dinner with him atop a golf course, with the view of the sea in the near distance.

He wanted to see Resorts World, so we stopped by for a bit after dinner. We had to park really far away from the entrance because the car park was pretty packed. We walked around for a bit but there was nothing much to see because everything was closed. At the entrance to the casino, I suggested that we pretended to be tourists from Korea (him) and Taiwan (me) and attempt to get in by telling the guards at the door that we forgot our passports, but he didn't want to try. Haha. It would've been pretty funny.

(The parking was 8 dollars. Fuck. It cost me 7 dollars to enter Sentosa; I would've thought they'd just waive the parking fee. Obviously, I thought wrong.)

I bought him a Ralph Lauren cologne and shower gel set - Big Pony Orange. Tangs gave me a free Ralph Lauren bag, one that we both set our eyes on when we were walking around Vivo City (that was the day I bought my Adidas sports bag. I was hoping he'd buy himself some fragrance and then give me the bag). I used that to house his presents - the RL thing, a book from National Geographic, and a Q&A-type notebook about our relationship. I also bought him a bath lily from Body Shop so that he can use the shower gel properly. I dragged him to Plaza Singapura on Saturday night just to buy it. He even commented, "You came all the way here to buy this? I thought you were going to buy something more substantial."

Today I took leave just to spend time with him, so it was pretty ironic that it turned out he was the busy one. We only met at about 4.45, after he was done in school. We went to Cedele at Rail Mall where he ate a rosemary chicken sandwich and where I had my first cup of coffee for the day (I was dying before that; my head almost exploded). I barely see him in daylight anymore. We sat there and talked, side-by-side, and when it was time for him to go I didn't want to leave at all.

Words cannot describe how much I love him. Happy birthday Wei Chuen.

*

My tennis has been pretty up and down lately. I'm consistently getting the ball in, but I tend to go for too much when I'm attempting to hit a winner. The thing is, I don't even try to paint the lines; the only thing I really try to do is to aim for the sides when I hit the ball. Usually my attempts result in the ball landing between the doubles and singles sideline. Maybe I'm more suited for doubles play.

Then again, that's not true. I don't like playing doubles because 1) I can't volley; and 2) I don't get to hit the ball as much. I just want to get better, and so it makes more sense for me to hoard the entire court.

My backhand is still not good enough, and I realised that I have difficulties moving to my left. It's rather counter-intuitive to step forward with my right foot to prepare for the shot; sometimes I take it open-stanced, mostly because I'm too lazy to move, but also because I just can't get into the proper position fast enough. NUS Wall Guy said that my biggest weakness is my speed - or rather, my lack of speed. Well, that shouldn't be surprising; I have no footwork. I just lunge around like an elephant.

I also really hate moving forward for short balls; it takes a lot out of me. The only scenario in which I'd be willing to move forward is when I'm attacking, thank you very much. I hate it when the person on the other side of the net throws a bloody slice at me, which lands so short that I have no choice but to move forward. It's obviously a good tactic to change the pace and I usually end up on the losing end of the rally - which is precisely why I hate it.

I need to learn to slice. It's ridiculous. I can't even do it instinctively. I try defensive slices when I simply cannot reach the ball on the backhand side, but the ball doesn't even travel anywhere close to the net. It's very demoralising and I honestly have no idea why I find it so damn difficult.

Lastly, perhaps this is weird, but I get a thrill out of trying to return my opponent's aggressive shots. It's awesome to soak up his pace and somehow get the ball back. It makes me want to take on the challenge face-on and own the shit out of it.

*

Speaking of owning, I don't know why I love Roger so, but I do. That's all I want to say.

*

I finished Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach a few day ago.

I think his best novel - that I've read - is Atonement. On Chesil Beach is probably my favourite McEwan novel after Atonement. I don't know if that says much, considering I hated Amsterdam and Enduring Love...but On Chesil Beach is well-written, as usual, and it's actually believable and the characters don't feel like cardboard cut-outs, and the ending doesn't feel like a cop-out, going away in a whimper after so much build-up and exposition.

The last few pages really touched me. It's the way he described the regret of the male character, and the way he makes the reader aware of how utterly ludicrous it is for the character to end up like that. It moved me, it made me sad, it almost made me cry.

I absolutely love it when novels speak to me on a personal level.

*

Sigh. I have to work on the appellant's case somemore tonight.

I'm so sick of this. I'm so tired of work. I don't want to go back. It's been a good four days without work and I wish it could continue forever. I build these alternative plans in my head, the what-I'm-gonna-do-after-this scenarios, and I honestly think that they're the only thing that's keeping me going.

I can't do this, this time next year. If I'm still doing this this time next year, please force me to quit. Thanks.
goofy roger

Lost passion.

1. Roger Federer

...lost in the finals of the Rogers' Cup to Andy Murray. The match was at 1.30 a.m. Singapore time and I had work so I didn't watch it. I did, however, wake up with no help at all from my alarm clock at 3 in the morning because I suddenly remembered, "Oh my god, Roger's playing the final now!"

He lost the first set, I went back to sleep but not without setting my alarm for 5 a.m., woke up at 5 a.m., there was a rain delay, I was SO tired, went back to sleep, woke up at 7 a.m., checked the results, and saw that he'd lost 7-5, 7-5.

I was NOT a happy camper for the rest of the day.

That was despite me knowing that he'd lose due to the consecutive 3-setters he played late into the night prior to the match.

Andy Murray must also have been doing something right if he managed to despatch Rafael Nadal 3 and 4 in the semi-final.

Now Roger's playing Cincy, defending his title, and once again I hope he wins but I am not getting my hopes too high. Anyway, he played his first match this morning Singapore time Denis Istomin retired when he suddenly sprained his ankle. This was the first time since I started watching Roger/tennis in August 2008 that I'd seen an opponent retire against him. Too bad for me - not enough tennis to watch. Too bad for Roger - didn't get a decent match under his belt while his rivals all played a full match.

He plays Kohlschreiber (I CAN STILL SPELL THIS) next, at some ungodly hour in the morning. Have I mentioned already how much I hate the frigging time difference? I hate it.

*

2. More tennis news, racism

Apparently there was some controversy surrounding Lu Yen-Hsun's retirement against Lleyton Hewitt yesterday. Lu called for a trainer in the second set and had to wait until the third changeover before a trainer came. He was livid and started arguing with the umpire, then retired the match.

I tried searching for news but didn't find anything. I only know this because my dad told me, who only knows it because it was reported in the Taiwanese news. I don't know if we're overly sensitive but the first reaction is, intuitively, what the fuck, the idiot officials at Cincy are a bunch of racists.

Lu did mention in an interview with a Taiwanese TV talk show that he does feel some racism when he plays around the globe (he also had some not-nice things to say about Andy Roddick). I suppose that's unsurprising, but I must say that I haven't had the occasion when I experienced any. Of course, I'd chalk that down to my lack of international travels; but for whatever it's worth, I didn't feel any racism at all when I went on my Europe trip.

Of course, given the history between Asians and Westerners, sometimes you can't help but feel the urge to over-compensate. You go out of your way not to be nice to a Caucasian because all the other idiots in your country go out of their way to be nice to them. You become hyper-sensitive of their presence and are more aware of how you're acting.

It doesn't really have to be this way. Because who really cares, right? For example, my SAT scores (okay lah only for the Verbal sections) owned more than 90% of my fellow score-takers, most of whom were Americans. QED, right?

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Charah coffee

Bitching about school again.

I forced my mom to subscribe to the Sports package so that I can watch the US Open, and this morning I forced myself to get out of bed at TEN FRIGGING AM just to watch Roger play his first match of the tournament. (I meant to get up at 9 actually but obviously overslept.)

He was already up by two sets to love and I only got to watch him play for like, thirty minutes for the last set. He won on his opponent's serve, which is freaking awesome, but what was more awesome was that he didn't win due to his opponent's error; he won because he is amazing. And I swear I love watching his back hand (single back hand, thanks) because he does it with such grace and it just looks really nice. And when he slammed down one of his amazing aces (apparently he had 15 in this match), the commentator went, "That's Federer 101."

ROGER PLEASE WIN THE TITLE FOR THE FIFTH CONSECUTIVE TIME SO THAT THE MONEY I MADE MY PARENTS PAY TO WATCH YOU CAN BE RIGHTFULLY VINDICATED. My current desktop wallpaper is a collage of pictures of Roger winning the '07 US Open (he wore all black omg hott with two t's). It'd be nice to get an '08 version.

**

So I tried reading the stuff for today's State Building class and was trucking along really well until I got to the UN General Assembly Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, Resolution 2625 (XXV) (1970). The font is damn small, the print is damn dark, it's two columns on one page, my eyes hurt, and I stopped reading and turned on my laptop and I haven't gone back to reading since.

Grahhh. I do like State Building a lot but he gives us all primary materials (things like UN GA/SC resolutions, UN Charter, conventions, treaties, omg die lah) which is quite a chore to read. No one likes reading statutes and legal documents; NO ONE. Last week's class involved two long-ass judgments, one ICJ and one Israel Supreme Court, and I didn't even bother attempting to read either. Quite apart from how I hadn't printed out the materials then, they were really just way too long.

And speaking of printing, I kinda need to say this: WHAT THE FUCK I SPENT HALF AN HOUR YESTERDAY AT THE COMPUTER CLUSTERS PRINTING OUT ALL 682 PAGES OF THE STATE BUILDING MATERIALS. WAH LAU EY. I still haven't figured out how to bind them. I don't think I want to kill myself trying to flip through a bound 682 pages' worth of stuff everytime I try to prepare for class, so I might split it up into sections. Problem? I double-sided print the whole thing so I might not be able to split it very well.

Bleahhh. If only I didn't have this neurotic need to highlight the things I read, not because my highlighting actually means anything in a meaningful manner, but because I just like to have physical evidence of my having done my work. Even if the said physical evidence consists of half the page being highlighted. Okay, I exaggerate, but...yeah, I just don't think I'm a very good highlighter, and ergo, not a very good student.

I went out to pour myself a cup of water and have lost all urge to write.

I sent Chun Ying to the King Albert Park bus stop last night. I'm so proud of myself!

And I saw Kenneth loitering around outside the moot court last night when Jasmin and I went downstairs in hopes of getting coffee during our break. He was still around after my class ended so I went to find him and we had a nice talk. I'm so going to miss him when he leaves for exchange. One whole year, oh my god, how devastating.

I think all guys should be as nice as him. Really. He's quite literally the nicest guy I've ever met in my life and I'm really glad he's my friend.

One last thing before I go take a shower: I'm so sad that my Project Runway eye-candy has been eliminated! Poor Daniel Feld. He's so hot, oh my god, though it got really tiring to watch him and his nervous breakdowns for the past three weeks. Sigh. He's dating this other super cute contestant who was eliminated earlier on and when I found out, it just confirmed that if a guy is 1) really hot; and 2) on Project Runway, he must be gay.

Actually, the next time I see a really hot guy who dresses impeccably, I'd err on the side of caution and assume he's gay. Chance are, he probably is.

It's raining now and all cold and nice and I don't feel like going to school. Sigh. I'm so sick of school, it's not funny anymore. The only redeeming factors about the whole process is 1) the friends; and 2) the wearing nicer-than-normal clothes. But then again, Factor #2 will start to wear thin after a while and I'll be back to my dressing lazily in t-shirt and shorts (no slippers though; I hate, HATE wearing slippers and I don't think I'd want to date a guy that wears slippers because, yeah, I'm superficial like that). But hey, at least I have nice t-shirts, right?

Oh yeah, I finally finished McEwan's Atonement. I did enjoy reading it a lot. On a whole though, Part I completely pwns Part II and London, 1999; I couldn't get over his amazing attention to detail and the way he got under the skins and into the heads of all his characters with such insight and empathy. As for Robbie's narration in Part II...I don't know, maybe it's because I don't like reading war literature or watching war movies, but the novel kind of lost its magic for me there. Briony's narration got a little bit better, especially towards the end when she meets Robbie and Cecilia again, but Part II really paled in comparison to Part I. The latter is just...breath-taking and absolutely mind-blowing. Half a novel dedicated to ONE SINGLE DAY.

Am I inspired to pick up his other books, though? Not really. He didn't quite hit me at the core of things the way Julian Barnes did. I don't know if I'd ever find a writer that moves me as deeply as JB does, if I'm being honest. The thing about modern novels is that the less-established names aren't really worth reading 'cause all their attempts at literary fiction just seem pretentious and full of it to me. Most of the time I don't bloody understand what the fuck is the point of their plot, and all attempts at edginess are just...I can't help but react with a weary sigh and an eye-roll. Of course, it's not as if I can do better (I can't), but I definitely know what's worthier of my money and my time.

I also realised that I tend to tend towards reading British writers. It's not a conscious thing at all, but when I was thinking about my favourite books, most of them are by British writers. When I'm buying a new book, I tend to buy something by a British writer. And they're usually English.

I haven't been reading much poetry lately though, but I still absolutely love the poems by Philip Levine that I found online.

I can't decide if I should read Amis' Money next or the Satanic Verses. Probably Money; I think it'd be much easier to read than Satanic Verses. And I really need to shower.