Posts Tagged ‘Scotland’

This is the moment we have all be working towards for the past year, and slaving over for the past three months. Handing in our dissertations. Our finest work to date. The countless hours spent at the library with makeshift picnics and obnoxious whispering, the pretentious hours spent at Starbucks on our laptops sipping one grande latte for 5 hours just for the free internet all leading to this moment. This is it.

After cutting 7,000 words from my first draft I was still 3k over and after my meeting on Monday with my professor I had 3k to cut and 2 scenes to add by Friday’s deadline. Only I didn’t have until Friday as I learned DHT, where we were told to go to get our dissertations bound, would have a queue out the door and several hours long on Friday since all the Masters students have the same deadline. My new deadline was now wednesday.

After 2 all-nighters, I went to the library Wednesday morning to do one more read through before printing and binding. I’d be home free by 2 pm. Roxy and I got to the library at 10 am, exactly 8 1/2 hours later we left the library without our dissertations printed or bound, but done. And then it began; the seemingly easiest task in the world became my Everest.

Once at home Wednesday night, I printed out Kiki’s dissertation to hand in and started printing out my own, only I ran out of paper with 75 pages left to print on my second copy. It was 1 am at this point and I was going off of 4 hours of sleep in two days and copious amounts of caffeine. I would just go to Tescos in the morning and pick up more paper.

I showed up at Tescos at 7 am only to learn it doesn’t open until 8. No big deal, I just sat in Starbucks eyeing the door for the next hour. My foot tapping the chair next to me. Once I got the paper home I ran to the printer to finish my second copy. I wanted to by the time it opened at 8:30 to beat the queue. With 20 pages left to print, my printer ran out of ink. No big deal. I’ll take Kiki’s to get bound at DHT, refill my ink, go home, finish printing, and return to DHT. Easy enough. Or is it?!? Of course not, this is Scotland where annual events (i.e. Festival, dissertations) sneak up on the residents.

DHT is run by idiots. I have never seen slower, more unorganized people in my life. It was bad, even for Scottish standards. After waiting 45 minutes at DHT with a queue of only 10 people I finally got the 6 colored pages I needed printed after 3 attempts. 45 minutes after that the print guy came out and yelled “‘Walk of Shame’ you’re done,” in which I responded, “oh! That’s me!” Kiki, I started to rethink your title after that.

Once I got home I took out my fresh ink cartridge only to see it exploded. 20 minute walk back to the place to get it refilled and 20 minute back to my flat only to discover the ink still wasn’t working. When I returned to the ink shop for the third time the man told me to come back in 2 hours. It was now 1pm, if I picked up in two hours by the time it was bound the creative writing office would be closed. I rolled my eyes and clenched my teeth as I refused and asked for my money back. “Fine, I do it.” he told me. 10 minutes later it was fixed. 20 minutes later I was printing off my work when my parents skyped me to wish me luck only to have me hang up on them three times as I was too stressed to talk. By this time any sentimentality I held for turning in the dissertation was gone. I just wanted to get rid of the wretched thing. After I finally got my dissertation bound at a completely different print shop, one that completed the task in 5 minutes with a queue of 10 people, the creative writing office was closed for lunch. Thankfully, Colm, Lauren, and Rosie had lunch with me and walked with me to turn it in to guarantee no more snafus would follow me.

I went home only to realize I needed to do it all over again on Friday for Lindsay…

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Apple is taking over my life. Ever since I have moved to Scotland it has been making slow, calculated moves preying on my hectic life, knowing I’m too busy to notice it’s take over. It started off innocently enough. I started downloading podcasts for my walks to Cole’s in the morning. First it was just the New York Times 10 minute overview. Then it was Stuff you Should Know and This American Life. I started listening to these 30 minute to an hour episodes every morning walking to Cole’s. I began downloading all sorts of podcasts after that. John Hopkins. Freakenomics. Anything I might slightly be interested in – which is pretty much everything. If I had known then, what I know now, I may have tried to stop but I didn’t. Who knows if I would have even been able to?

I can’t watch television in Scotland, they have this dumb licensing fee over £100 to own a television. The television doesn’t even need to be hooked up for the fee to apply. As long as there is a television in your flat, you must pay the fee. (they mean business too, i’ve thrown away some pretty threatening letters) Clearly, I wasn’t going that route. Well I downloaded some free episodes form iTunes, then a couple episodes of my favorite shows. This of course, was before my discovery of Surfthechannel.com and sidereel.com. Maybe if I had stopped then, but no the damage was done. I now knew everything was at my fingertips on iTunes. Not just music. Since I don’t have a television and therefore a dvd player for the U.K. I began purchasing movies on iTunes. Not the expensive ones, just the cheap limited time $4.99 ones. Now I find myself waiting for the clocks to hit 5 am on Tuesday to see what new movies will be $4.99 this week and will I want any of them. I’ve talked myself into buying some pretty ridiculous movies justified by their price and my want to watch something – anything!

As many of you know, I am not the greatest cook. This used to be a problem, well still kind of is, but I’ve found my way out through iTunes…with the cooking made simple podcast and the Jaime Oliver podcast. Both with video! It’s almost Jess-proof this way. I’ve managed to cook up three successful meals, sure each time I almost burned down the kitchen because I needed to keep rewinding to see what I missed, but I did it. I made something edible. All through iTunes. They even give me the list of ingredients.

It doesn’t stop there, either. On my recent journey to Paris, without thinking twice, I connected to my iTunes and downloaded the French survival and French lesson podcasts. I even put a French flash card app on my iTouch. My iTouch – how quickly that has become another necessity to my life ( or should I say iLife). I can skype on it. I can create my grocery list on it. I can take pictures. Check the weather. Play games. The options are endless. I can’t stop.

After signing up for a 10k I’ll be completing in London I started using nike+ which of course is connected to my iPod. It tracks calories, time, distance. It’s linked to a workout regime and goal setting, as well as making running routes.

I recently saw audio books available on itunes…it’s only a matter of time before I cave in a moment of weakness. Just to try it out. See if I like. Listen to it on my walk to Cole’s. It might be nice. Multitasking. It’d be school related, right? Apple is taking over my iLife. I’m in too deep. It’s connected to every aspect of my life. I can’t get out now – there may be hope for others, but not for me anymore. My name is Jessica Thomas and I am addicted to Apple’s iTunes.

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