Meewella | Fragments

The Life of P

Month: October 2005 (page 1 of 2)

The Story of the Little Paper Crane

Once upon a time there was a little paper crane. Like all paper cranes, he was a little magic. The more care that goes into each crease and fold, the more powerful they become. Now this crane knew that the boy who made him was in trouble and needed more than a little magic. But he was only a little paper crane, what could he do?

So he flew out of the faculty and flew the long and arduous flight to where his intended recipient lived. Braving the chill winds he struggled onwards, refusing to give up. He found his wings freezing, their steady beat slowing ’til he started to tumble from the sky, falling to his death. He was not supposed to die, of course, he knew that. So he used a little of his magic to warm them back to life, and finally he made it there.

Inside, he waited. It was a long time before he found her, and when he did he was dismayed for he had no plan. He realised there was nothing he could do. After all, he was only a little paper crane. But then he discovered his real magic didn’t come from the creases and from the folds; it comes from the care. His real magic is simply what he is. A little paper crane.
And sometimes that’s just enough.
To change someone’s mind.

Carpe Noctem

Casillero del DiabloWhen it comes to dressing up, I’ve never been a fan of the plastic and tacky, preferring the restrained but real. So I went for the top of the food chain as Lucifer himself, taking a sort of well-dressed Al Pacino approach, black suit combined with some intricate devilish jewelry that I happened to have lying around. There’s something about tapping the claw of an armour ring against a your glass of red wine that’s just plain intimidating, I’m told. Especially when said red wine is a carefully selected Casillero del Diablo (“Cellar of the Devil”), which is actually highly drinkable Chilean at a very reasonable price.

Everyone had thrown themselves into the fancy dress so the Great Hall was felt more like veritable haunted mansion, replete which ghouls, witches, and even a few axe-murderers and roving wizards. I was sitting with the third years from in and around M, but had a coven of suitably ribald freshers on my other side. Since Janine was rowing the next day, I ended up finishing most of the bottle myself, resulting in a slightly blurred ent afterwards. Roger provided a decent musical assortment despite the various complaints he has been receiving recently, and proved the Great Hall can be just as good as the Howard Building. The new online booking system means that tickets disappear virtually instantly for the big events like this, so unfortuantely my camera was unable to attend. However I will try to obtain photos from elsewhere…

I loved last Hallowe’en’s deliciously twisted Saw, but must admit I’ve been dubious ever since I heard of plans for a sequel, rushed to be produced within a year. The more I hear, the less convinced I become about another outting with the Jigsaw killer, since this version has 8 people locked in a room, losing the intense dynamic of the original two men knowing one was going to die. Since we’re talking horror, Three…Extremes looks like an intriguing slice of cross-culture fear-induing filmmaking, helmed by three masterful Oriental directors. I’ll admit my interest is mostly due to Takashi Miike’s involvement, since he still bears the crown of producing the only film that freaked me out enough that I had to switch it off and come back to it later. On the more fantastical side, a new Narnia trailer has emerged through the Wardrobe. WETA have clearly outdone themselves once again with some incredible creature work. Their movements are awesome and they don’t just talk, they speak to you — this December release should certainly curb most people’s LOTR withdrawal symptoms. Finally, and by no means least, rumour has it that Michael Vaughn of Layer Cake fame may be directing Neil Gaiman’s adult-oriented fairytale Stardust.

Too Short

Huge congratulations to Sammy and Rosie who are now engaged! I know over summer he told me he thought it may be coming soon, but I don’t think he realises quite how much I was grinning when he told me yesterday. It was awesome news to hear.

Similarly, we at P-2006 have of late been taking a “life’s too short” approach to most matters: either you want to do it or you don’t, and if you don’t do it now then it’s probably not going to happen. That ethic was largely responsible for the recent lavish makeover which had been languishing in the basement of future projects for some time. People seem to have settled into the new residence comfortably so it was definitely worthwhile. Applying a similar approach to life is rather more daunting if you’re not used to it. You won’t hear the words carpe diem escape my lips because it’s hackneyed and rather less inspiring than back in the day. Besides, I always found carpe noctem more apt anyway, if somewhat less fashionable. Perhaps a better maxim would be, “life’s too short, but not nearly short enough.” I think that encapsulates it nicely, leaving enough room for dour cynical complaint while still suitably stirring you to act, which is, of course, usually the intelligent man’s downfall.

It has also been suggested that we may have been somewhat tardy with film reviews. We’ll get on that right away. Recent developments do include shifting over a chunk of poetry from P-2004 and elsewhere, with more old blog entries to arrive shortly.

Google Suggests Me

Google SuggestI’ve just discovered that my online presence has now become suitably (in)famous for me to be included on the Google Suggest database! Yes, if you start entering my name then it’ll pop up all of its own accord in a rather satisfying manner. Google Suggest is actually an incredibly useful tool that’s sped up my searching to no end over the last few months that I’ve been using it since it also lets you see how many results different variations on your query will produce, allowing you to select the best one. As ever, Firefox users have it best, since you can integrate it into the normal Google search engine with a snazzy little extension called CustomizeGoogle. In terms of general search statistics, P-2006 is now the first entry in a search for “Meewella” making me Meewella #1 so to speak. The real goal is, of course, to achieve a similar result for “Priyan” but (despite the fact my parents allegedly made up the name) it is still shared by several others who will need to be eliminated or otherwise displaced before I can achieve my destiny.

One a slightly less egomaniacal note, after another ghastly Thursday at least the bulk of the work is out of the way for this week so I can get down to some serious R&R and see off the tail end of this flu which I imagine would have disappeared days ago if I’d actually had time to sleep. So long as I’m back on my feet to enjoy Hallowe’en Formal tomorrow night, all will be well. I’m just a little worried that my teeth still haven’t arrived, so I may have to do without unfortunately. I’m sure it’ll be a fangtastic night either way (sorry, I tried to hold back but I’m ill and weak).

“Are you sure those are legal?”

magic Ukrainian drugsThere is a reason for the recent eerie silence: I’ve been ill. Yes, I know it doesn’t happen that often but it is still a possibility and in this case it was very real. Throat turning to sandpaper, constricting painfully making swallowing a minute long ordeal, and brain struggling valiantly to beat its way out of my skull. The usual. That said, I’m pretty sure this is just the regular variety of flu rather than that of our feathered friends, so there’s that to be grateful for. It did still leave me hiding from the world in dark room for most of Monday. Since I don’t make a habit of getting ill and have already taken my Annual Painkillers, I didn’t really have much in the way of medication. Friends were great however and I soon found myself surrounded by a strange assortment of dubious Ukrainian drugs (thanks Irina) and Singaporean Strepsils (thanks Steph).

The more judgments I read, the more I start to think my cousin Caleb has the right idea with becoming a judge. As far as I can tell from our latest round of Denning wizardry, the process consists solely of coming up with the desired result and then finding some appropriately obscure literary reference to use as evidence that it’s correct. So roughly the same way I go about producing one of my more pretentious blog entries, really…

Regarding the mini-radio competition, which earned a much better response, the winner was Dave who suggested the firm “Ware, Faman, Death (pronounced D-ath) and Pestilante (a new Italian partner…)”, with Shamini coming in second.

The Face That Launched A Thousand Magazines

The Globalist LaunchAdmittedly, it was Fearne‘s and not mine, but nevertheless The Globalist launch event last night went brilliantly. Vanessa had arranged it almost singlehandedly, though it was a team effort setting things up running it on the night which earned a good turnout. Professor Crawford spoke as our new Treasurer and although I didn’t get to chat to him for long, I assume he is very good at what he does since he has more letters after his name than I can identify. I did get to speak rather more extensively with Dr. Mcrobie, another member of our advisory board. As an engineer he was able to put a rather different spin on things than our somewhat law-focused team.

dozens flock to see our mag...The star of the show was, of course, the magazine itself, and it was received fantastically well. The production and printing pains were certainly worth it for the gushing praise it earned from students who are genuinely interested in what we’ve produced. Reaching our market was always one of my biggest worries: pitching both the articles and the design in a way that is stylishly sophisticated enough to appeal to our Cambridge peers and yet accessible enough for any of them to pick up and read. “I think”, as people quoted back at me after I left the stage, “we’ve done a pretty damn good job.” Yes, Steph wanted each of the editors to talk briefly as well, so fuelled by a little red wine I spoke off the cuff in a friendly enough manner that I’ve had several people interested in joining the production team for the next issue. Helen is already officially my second in command, and Kirsten from Germany adds yet another country to our ever-expanding sphere (and as a female CompSci should bring an interesting rule-breaking perspective). Perhaps the most touching part of the evening was Stephanie closing her speech with a line I’d dropped in passing several months ago when strained by the multiple-timezone working hours: the sun never sets on the Globalist empire. Most of all because it’s true.

...Steph's just here for the food!The editors went out for hot chocolate at Clowns to wind down afterwards. While waiting for the others with Vanessa outside Sainsbury’s, I noticed a drunk guy harassing a girl in an entirely non-violent but rather too insistant way. Having overheard her offering her name, I dumped my bottle of wine with Vanessa and strode over as if I knew her with an enthused, “Elle! I haven’t seen you for ages.” She was particularly grateful as the guy scurried off, and it then transpired that actually I did know Elle and it had been ages. I’d met her briefly at the end of last year because she’s dating Jon, who used to live in J. Clowns turned out to be a delighful hidden away Italian-run café that stays open ’til midnight everyday, so the sort of place an insomniac like me really ought to have known about. Steph’s friend had tagged along with us so I bought him a drink and then settled into some sinfully creamy cake to round off the night in style.

The Globalist will be available early on Monday and Tuesday morning in the following Faculties: Law, SPS, Economics, Engineering, Geography, Land Economy, and also in the Babbage Lecture Theatre, the Language Centre and the William Gates Building. Make sure you get your copy!

very content editors

“If you knock yourself out, I’m still going to Formal…”

Queens shadowsThe Land Law supervision went surprisingly well and, it being the last supervision of the week, I decided cutting loose was in order. Wednesday night was the Ball Committee’s first Formal and as result it’s finally started to take on a similarly familial feel to that shared by the Globalist editors. We had several freshers with us who needed to be properly introduced to the fine art of the penny. Naomi and Angela joined in fast, while I both pennied and was pennied by a Fellow that evening, a new one for me. After a quick drink at the pub since the College bar was closed that evening for refurbishment, our publicity gurus Dave and Lucy had arranged an impressive queue-jump at Cindy’s (ahem, sorry, Ballare) since we’re hosting our launch bash there. Apparently the Johnian lawyers were there but I somehow managed to miss them, though their pained expressions the following day at the faculty spoke volumes about the exploits of the preceding night. Despite being up for a 9am lecure I spent Thursday feeling bizarrely vibrant, albeit utterly exhausted, since my body tends to deal with a little alcoholic excess by nicely flushing out my system, making it a fantastic detox.

Firefox has reached an incredible 100,000,000 downloads within one year of release, so congrats to everyone at Mozilla. Version 1.5 is now imminent, with release candidate builds being tested out at the moment. The best will soon be getting even better. Meanwhile OpenOffice v2.0 has finally emerged and is looking very swanky on Lyds’ machine. Amusingly one of the possible responses in their registration questionaire to “what made you choose this product?” is “it’s not Microsoft”.

After speaking to Joe during Formal there may also be something in the works with Varsity. More on that if it transpires.

Competing Factors

I’ve been doing the rounds at various law firms’ events although unlike last year I’m actually looking for work at the end of the day, rather than just luxuriating in the free food and booze. We’re also looking to wrangle sponsorship for the next issue of The Globalist (with it’s rapidly approaching release this Monday). Baker & McKenzie proved particularly helpful in that regard, so we’ll see what happens there. Linklaters put together a fantastic presentation with a video that showed a trainee’s perspective and was genuinely funny in parts. Freshfields had an informal and friendly chat over drinks after hiring the top tier of Bar B. After bumping into Steph and Yvonne we decided that we needed desert so went along to The Union’s Ben & Jerry’s night for free ice cream. The other two were members but I had to talk my way in, and I can’t think of any more appropriate place to test out one’s verbal persuasiveness than the uni’s hub of debating and public speaking. Needless to say, it worked. Phish Food all round. The firms’ food has been of a consistently high quality, but I’m waiting for the inevitable round of dinners for Downing because we’re spoilt. Err, special. I meant special.

Win a Mini Radio!

After the underwhelming response to the last competition (the result being J earned himself a swanky new PS2 ethernet card and Adam is now the proud owner of Worms 4) maybe this one will interest more people. Courtesy of Linklaters we have two cool mini-radios with a keyring clip to give away, complete with headphones (although it uses a jack that any standard pair will fit). To be in with a chance of winning, I want you to name a law firm. That’s it. Be as original and amusing (insulting?) as possible and remember if you’re one of the only people to enter, you’re virtually guaranteed to win! Email entries to competition[at] Good luck!

The Rise and Fall of Jack Thompson

For those who haven’t heard about the recent clash between Jack Thompson and the gaming world, this makes an interesting cautionary tale on how not to run a smear campaign. Jack is a the sort of despicable lawyer (contrary to popular belief that is not a tautology) who gives ambulance chasers a bad name. He regularly harangues the gaming industry regarding their violent and explicit content under the pretence of wanting to protect the children. Recently he even managed to get Hillary Clinton to jump on his cobbled-together-bandwagon that relies on inflamatory hyperbole and very little else. Indeed, there are few gamers who actually argue that kids should be buying games containing mature content; it’s common sense. What I do object to is the suggestion that having played a few hours of GTA: San Andreas, I am now a veritable time bomb just waiting to go off in spectacular fashion as I decide to enact a sequence of the game and go on a carjacking killing spree. If anyone has a camcorder I recommend you start following me now — this could be your big documentary filmmaking breakthrough.

Jack decided to up the ante recently, clearly not content with making comparisons between Doug Lowenstein of the ESA and Hitler. In his latest stunt, A Modest Video Game Proposal, he offered to donate $10,000 to charity if gamers would bring to life his design: a story about a vengeful father rampaging and brutally murdering key figures of the gaming industry, which in targeting (albeit thinly veiled) real individuals was, frankly, disgusting. And let’s face it, he’s no Jonathon Swift. Realising how volatile and damaging he was to their cause, a previously allied pro-family group publicly distanced itself from him. Attempts to discuss the benefits of the gaming community from Penny Arcade (who also run a highly successful gaming charity called Child’s Play) were met with screaming abuse and threats to sue.

And in expecting to silence his adversaries, Jack made a rather dire miscalculation. A group of GTA modders, Fighting Hellfish, went ahead and made his game. Realising his mistake, Jack not only tried to suggest that these gamers were too stupid to understand his witty satire, but also withdrew his charity offer. In an inspired move, Gabe and Tycho at Penny Arcade smeared a generous dose of sodium chloride into the open wound by donating the full $10,000 dollars themselves in his name. No doubt Jack will be back, but I certainly hope he chooses to lie low for a while after this catastrophe.

The Weekend Is Not Enough

Daniel CraigDaniel Craig has been named by producers as the new Bond, replacing Pierce Brosnan for Casino Royale. Given the names that were previously flying around, fans can now breathe a satisfied sigh of relief, since the English star has already made quite an impression with Layer Cake. One imagines he’ll take the debonaire secret agent in a slightly new direction, without losing the sophistication but adapting it to his own style. There’s definitely rekindled hope for a franchise that seemed intent on flushing itself out of the collective consciousness — I didn’t even bother seeing Die Another Day having seen all I wanted (cool cars on ice) in the trailers. That said, one has to wonder about the sanity of a production company who allegedly turned down a true-to-Fleming joint offer from Quentin Tarantino and Pierce Brosnan.

Friday night was Pip and Jo’s birthday formal which ran much as one would expect, spilling into the bar and later the Boatie Captain’s room before people eventually staggered back to their rooms in the early hours of the morning. This evening was a dinner with the Globalist editors and several of the contributors, although not as many as we’d have liked. Between Davy’s baptism in the morning and Evensong in the, err, evening, I spent an inordinate amount of time in the Chapel. TomTom (who still has trouble accepting I’m a Chapel Warden) also attended both services in a choral capacity and pointed out that he regularly spends more time in church than most Christians which is somewhat unconventional for a staunch agnostic. I suggested the only logical course of action was to convert so that there wouldn’t be a problem.

Downing Ball websiteAll spaces to the Globalist launch event have now been snapped up. The finer details are still being arranged but expect a stylish affair with soothing jazz, and of course it’s the first chance to get your mitts on the mag. It’s also a good opportunity to express your interest in getting involved since we’re definitely after some fresh blood for issue #2. Finally, and it’s been quite a slog getting here, the pre-launch site is now up and running and accepting online ticket applications (intended primarily for Downing students at the moment) so if you’re in Cambridge get booking!

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"Civilization now depends on self-deception. Perhaps it always has."

(CC) BY-NC 2004-2023 Priyan Meewella

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