Miss Alexandrina

The thinking-space of a not-quite novelist


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Steaming Fourward ;)

Hahaha, puns. :P

The new, fourth Steam Powered Giraffe album, The Vice Quadrant, is out soon. We only have to wait until the beginning of September. I am excited, looking forward to it! However, what was even more exciting was when, this morning, they released one of the tracks from the album as a single:

Soliton. (One gets to learn a new word as one goes!)

Beautiful, no? The space opera is going to be massive, and I’m surprised how light this particular song is, if one compares it to the album release-date preview of the single Space and Technology, which is straight out of an 80s TV show intro*.

Support Steam Powered Giraffe. They are an independent band, and, though popular, do live off their album and live show sales. It’s great to see teasers like this, but it takes them a lot of time—and it’s incredible the time and effort they put into all their work and acting, and bands like these – with talent – need to continue to exist, otherwise one gets stuck in a world of popular, autotuned music.

*This is a compliment. ;)


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QOTD

Alexandrina Brant:

Another Quote of the Day from independent author Trish Marie Dawson. For me, this exemplifies the life of a writer: all ideas swarming and we have to think of which to give precedent, and there are all the problems that automatically come with marketing and social media, et cetera. Being a writer is tough, but it’s not tougher than us; and we try again.

Originally posted on TRISH MARIE DAWSON:

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7 Quick Takes About Contemplating Consciousness, Birthday Business, and Anticipating Arrivals

Oh, look ^^ alphabetic alliteration. :P Another Friday has crept upon me, but I am glad it is the end of the week. 7 Quick Takes is hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum, and you can see the rest of the blog-hop participants there.

It's Friday, so that means Seven Quick Takes! @emily_m_deardo

~1~

Exams: 2 down, 3 to go.

~2~

General poll for anyway passing who has an opinion: what is consciousness and how does it link to the concept of the mind?

Philosophy of Mind is proving a trickier module to revise, as I find myself falling into contemplation at every little question of the state of consciousness and how it ties into the actual question most philosophers are asking of whether and how the mind (or the mental) and brain (or the physical) are linked. I actually finally got myself to settle by asking my neighbour, who studies Systems Engineering and Cybernetics, and he gave me a satisfyingly empirical-evidence based answer that also involved squids. That will do nicely.

For now at least.

~3~

In Chamber Choir, we are cracking through Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C. Yesterday was quite a testing rehearsal for me, though, as I wasn’t on the game and got called out for at least three faults – and not even on the movement I didn’t know and was sight-reading on the spot. With my mental condition, it is moments like those that shock my confidence, which is only just beginning to revive me. I keep telling myself that others’ reassurance is irrelevant to how I view my singing, but after years of bullying for being a singer, I feel like I need to hide behind a crowd, rather than indulge my desires to be soloistic.

~4~

The Coronation Mass, as it is so elegant and summery. My personal favourite movement is the fourth, the Sanctus. I seem to have a soft spot for Sanctus movements in big choral pieces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NP_z6LmscI

~5~

For my birthday week, I’ve actually not being doing that much. Revision as a priority, and then I joined the rest of the Swing Dance committee for a few drinks after our Weds lesson, as it coincided with my birthday. It was nice, and I wouldn’t really have wanted to do much in any case. I am 20, and it is inconsequential.

~6~

The Boyfriend is joining me this weekend – squee – and we’re attending a Swing Dance workshop focusing on footwork and British Collegiate style variations. It’s an all-afternoon thing, so I’m a little nervous, but it should be a fun break, as I know most of the other attendees. *looks to the sky* I will leave my room! :P

~7~

I’m also doing a really mature thing and cooking dinner tonight. I have a frittata recipe I tested out (for one) last week, and it worked pretty nicely. I will be tweaking the recipe when I do it for two, but I reckon I can come up with something nice either way. Fingers crossed! I think one of the biggest misconceptions about university students is that we are always low on food (I always have too much food) and (okay, two biggest misconceptions) that we somehow fail at cooking or don’t like it. I definitely fall into the contrary of that.

Thanks for reading. See you next week!


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Quick Takes about Guided Prayer, Farmyard Frolics, and a Rule of Life for Next Year

Oh, hi, Friday, come here often? Haha, the week has passed so quickly with the everything and nothing I’ve been doing.

seven quick takes friday 2

~1~

Guess what I’ve been doing this evening?

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My Neuroscience revision is coming together for my exam next week, and that occasionally involves painting a silver squishy/stress ball brain with various colours to represent neurology pathways, such as the somatosensory cortex, the Fusiform Face Area (not shown), and the superior temporal sulcus.

~2~

Reading Uni has been running a Week of Guided Prayer this week, which has been a nice change. It involved half an hour of prayer a day I experienced a relaxing, calming pace of prayer and talked about women in the Gospels with my guide, where we both discovered more about the passages and people that we hadn’t realised through solo reading of the gospels. God also opened my eyes to the interplay between prayer and work; I can take half an hour out of my revision and my day, and yet I am still able to focus on my revision – more so at times!

~3~

It was the General Election in Britain this week. I did contemplate writing a post about it (in fact, how badly some of my friends had reacted to the news on social media rather upset and/or aroused my opinion), but, in the end, there is no point in complaining about people who are complaining, as that would make me as bad as them.

But we could have done worse than another Conservative government, and the result is no one’s fault (especially not the general public’s!), but a reflection of a plutocratic norm that has existed for centuries. I think that the only way to avoid a situation like this would be to convert back to a society of skill-and-gain exchange.

~4~

But back to happier things. This afternoon, as part of the Union’s relaxation/distressing regime to ease us from our exams, they brought in a selection of farmyard animals and cute pets for us to handle. I got to hold a bunny, guinea pig, and stroke various other cutesies. A lovely distraction from work and way to release those natural endorphins.

A 13 week old lamb, aww.

A 13 week old lamb, aww.

More photos on Monday – unless I find something better over the weekend for my photo of the week.

~5~

 As well as the evening talks/workshops for the Week of Guided prayer, Wednesday evening saw a meeting of my house group for next academic year. We signed the official contract last week, and we moved in in July, so that is all very exciting. There are four of us, and we plan to make our house a Christian community, a Chapter House for those wanting to pray together, eat together, and discuss scripture together. We started this this year, but it has been non-residential, out of the kitchen of the Chaplaincy assistant, so the residence-ness is a big step, and we were meeting to discuss our Rule of Life: our way of living as a community, including how much time we were giving to community work, social work, and Chapter House feedback.

It was an enlightening experience – we spent an hour in full discussion, and I didn’t realise there was so much to be considered – but a rewarding meeting. Just that meeting, imagine! I can’t wait to start living out our plans for faith living.

~6~

Again, nothing to report on the writing or editing side of life. I had a cracking vivid dream yesterday about the eldest of a collection of siblings – most of whom are twins, but he isn’t – who has to solve a life-size, Indiana-Jones-like-exploration puzzle (starting as a Where’s Wally/Waldo game) to reveal family secrets. I hold off from writing or planning it, because I know I will become immersed if I do. Story of my life.

I almost did this evening, but then my revision took my mind and left me a shell, waiting for the time for inspiration. It’s now 11.30 and later, so I have run out time.

~7~

I leave you with a quote from Hosea, the fancy image found on He is Our Strong Tower:

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How apt for the start of my exams. Pray for me, that God gives me the wisdom, insight, and determination I need to power on through my revision, my birthday (yeah, that’s totally a thing I keep forgetting), and the rest of May.

God bless. Have a lovely weekend and a good following week.


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Freudian Time Slip

Alexandrina Brant:

Just something to think about for your Thursday. Does linguistic variation over time and the way society’s use of language changes it (sociolinguistics) stem from subconscious – and/or extraterrestrial – formation of what it means to be human?

Originally posted on Davetopia:

We all, I suspect, have words and phrases we repeatedly remember differently from the majority, whether in spelling or meaning. Often, they seem to stem from mere rote, such as my mistyping ‘from’ as ‘form’ but not vice versa because of a slight difference in the speed my fingers move when touch-typing. But sometimes they seem more meaningful.

Take the case of the anthropic principle: a series of philosophical considerations in astrophysics that observations of the physical universe must be compatible with the observer. While both the literature and experts (as far as I know) apply the correct name, I have noticed a significant minority of interested laypeople call it the anthropomorphic principle.

Assuming from context it is not a deliberate reference to a theological term that received some mention in the mid-1800s, it would be easy to dismiss the confusion as stemming from ‘anthropomorphic’ being a much more common…

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7 Quick Takes about Human Machines, Squidgy Brains, Null Eclipses

7 Quick Takes Friday of Catholic bloggers’ weeks! Join us! Hosted by This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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~1~

Did you get to see the eclipse today? We were invited out of our lecture at 9.30 in the morning— to the face of a blank Berkshire sky. Oh, England.

As a friend of mine put it:

Nope, no eclipse here

 

~2~

One of the things I like about the academic writing of philosophy is that I get to write some pretty funky sentences. I mean, I have some pretty duff sentences, too, but then there are phrases like these, which make me happy to be a creative writer:

For the sake of a simplified example, our mind is caused by a program which loads human consciousness onto our flesh-and-blood machine, just as Microsoft Word is loaded onto a laptop.

~3~

This is the first philosophy essay that I have written so quickly, prolifically, and with understanding. The topic of Functionalism, if you don’t know it, is a fascinating interpretation of the problem of mind and how humans are, essentially, machines with ‘machine tables’ of set inputs and outputs in order to ‘work’. Behaviour and consciousness are effectively already programmed into us – this, of course, brings up some interesting questions, not to mention flaws brought out from philosophers like Ned Block and Hilary Putnam. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy page.

~4~

I write this as part of my hour break from revision. I’ve been working on powerpoints for my three end-of-module tests next week. Neuroscience has been great, but at the moment I’m working on my social psychology stuff, namely currently mood and intelligence.

I think I’m biased towards Neuroscience, though, due to the squidgy brains that I’ve been painting to help my knowledge.

 

~5~

The second or third dance event of the term is this evening – hosted, technically, by the university big band, but we’re taking the society to the location, so it might as well be our social. I would be looking forward to this a lot more if I didn’t have everything on around these times. I’m just not so enthused, though I would normally be excited for a Saturday night on the dance. :)

~6~

Spontaneous music for your listening. It’s one of my current guilty pleasure songs (I will always have a taste for ‘pop-punk‘ bands) no matter how superficial their messages and lyrics are. There’s something optimistic and permanent strength portrayed through the lyrics and the upbeat music, but maybe those are simply the feelings I associate with the song now. I don’t know if the band had any specific connotations (apart from writing it for the film Big Hero 6), but there are elements of Eternal Life there, aren’t there? Immortals, Fall Out Boy.

~7~

No editing or fiction snippet this week, due to the above reasons. I miss working on my writing, but I have been doing a little research, something which I don’t normally have the chance to really branch into. Funny how being busy with other work changes one’s perspectives, eh?


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7 Quick Takes: I’ve Been Absent, But That’s the End of Term…

Wow, it seems these days that I’m so busy I forget even to blog. It’s not that it’s not important to me – and not that I don’t have ideas – the issue is simply one of time or lack thereof. Which is why 7 Quick Takes Friday is so rewarding. I do apologise for any shortnesses, though. Hosted by Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.

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~1~

So, what’s been going on in my life that I’m so busy, eh?

Essays, my friends. Essays and lab reports. I finished the latter and started writing the former today. I have two full weeks left of terms, so I must be on my guard and sharp to complete everything I need to.

~2~

Whilst I (once again – sorry!) neglected/forgot to post a Quick Takes last week, I did have somewhat of a post detailing my travels on Wed, and, for the thousand photographs I could spill here, I’ll stick to one.

Rules for etiquette...

Rules for etiquette…

~3~

I think I might be getting a cold, but I’m getting through with honey, Lemsip, and camomile tea. Oddly enough – compared the other times colds have hit me, and those are many – my bad synapses haven’t much affected my singing. I’m hoping this is a sign that I’m using my diaphragm, lungs, and soft palate to better and more lovely extent. One day, I’d love to learn the Bel Canto way properly, but, again, it’s something for which I have no time.

~4~

I am really getting into the swing of saying grace before mealtimes. In a crowded university hall, I haven’t yet the strength to say a full prayer to myself, but I can at least cross myself and remember that it’s God who has put me in this place at this time. Twice a week I have meals with fellow Christians, which is so helpful in ideas for the words to say, too. I’m not giving anything up for Lent, but I’m finding my cravings for meat have been less on days where abstinence is not necessitated.

~5~

I have been so blessed lately, with the friends and the life choices I’ve been given. It’s easy to get lost in ‘real life’ and forget the One who has created and allowed us to look after His world, so this is my little praise to God today. I hope to blog about that later in the week, but for now I’ll just nod and smile.

~6~

In terms of the writerly side of life, I have actually had the gears in my mind whirring this week. I’m managed to get some editing in – I finished the rewrite I was doing, and sent those pages off to two Betas, and now I’m playing the adjective elimination game, one page at a time.

~7~

Patience and Milo face danger as a mechanical beast* rounds on their hiding place. I’ve been jotting down notes for The Mallard: Cosmic Train short story for the last couple of weeks, but, with the little time I have, I’ve not met them in running script yet. Writing in first person from Patience’s view (I have yet to decide if I want to see from Milo’s perspective, too) is interesting – unusual for my fantasy genres – but I think it’s working. Patience is a kindly maid, but she’s intelligent enough to question the so-called facts and orders when necessary.

Indeed: the clanking of a metal-adapted beast as it trailed its elongated limbs from the rear carriage. The strained grinding of the internal gear-cores, choking under their own weight and the oil I’d watched the creature guzzle, stumbled closer. Our hiding spot. With a nose no doubt amplified with certain measures of pewter and fibreglass curling from its orifices, the beast drew out a sniff and its scraping spilled again into their room.

*I have yet to decide what animal I want here, so this is deliberately rather vague for the moment!

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