Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Back to school

This is the first week of term and, after a rather brutal marking schedule, we are back to teaching. I get to teach my two favourite courses of the year: Modern European Drama and Documentary Theatre. Man, I love these modules! They are great fun and really challenge the dear ol' first years. In lecture 1 I encouraged them to roll around in jelly as a performative happening. You get the idea...

Other than that...I went back to the parentals for the weekend as my dad was acting in JB Priestley's When We Are Married. It was a very fun weekend seeing family. And dad was just great. It was rather fun to see him on stage again. I saw lots of people I haven't seen for ages, many of whom seemed surprised that Smelly and I had grown. I guess one grows a fair amount between the ages of 10 and 33!

I don't know if you keep up with my fitness plans but in the past year I have finished two pretty hardcore fitness challenges: GSP's Rushfit and Beachbody's Insanity. I loved both of them so much even though they were really tough. Working out regularly with a definite plan is great and I find it affects every area of your life. Days simply work better when you have laid aside some time to workout. As I have mentioned, January is a month of taking stock and quietly getting back into things. Recently this has included some pleasant walks, some cycling on my bike in front of the telly, some light weights and a tough(ish) run. As February approaches I am about to step it up again. And I have two new workout regimes to go with: Beachbody's Focus T25 and The Ultimate Yogi. The first of these is from the same company as Insanity and is a series of 25 minute workouts. Very good for those times when term takes over and I simply don't have time for any more. The latter is a bit different. When I was in Whistler a few years ago I did this amazing yoga class which I loved so much. Since then I have practiced yoga a little bit on and off. This Ultimate Yogi course makes you practice everyday and involves meditation and hardcore power yoga. Now I'm not totally sure what to make of yoga. As a Christian I struggle slightly with the religious connections, as you might expect. But I so love the peace that yoga brings. I'm going to give it a go and see how it feels. I am really excited about it as the idea of morning yoga practice every morning sounds very appealing...even if it will have to be at 4am in order to get it in! Oooo that is super early! I wonder what you reckon about yoga?

Anyways, the washing up beckons. And then I'd better get everything sorted for tomorrow. Got a pretty exciting few days in store with performances, trips to London, wrestling in Manchester and seeing the fam. Live is full of travels, fun work, writing, reading and workouts right now. Just how I like it!


Friday, 10 January 2014

Rock n' roll marking

What a strange week! The first two days were spent marking first year essays. The marking load was pretty heavy this term but it's now all done. Cue sigh of relief! While I love seeing and experiencing student work, marking is not my favourite part of the job. Giving a set mark to judge a student's performance is, for me, not a perfect way of doing things...even if it is the way education has worked forever. If I had my own slightly hippy way, I would try and do courses without assessment, set up simply for the joy and excitement of learning about cool stuff. Ahem, sorry I will put my anarchist strain back in the box. Anyhow, all the marking went well and I've completed all the admin. Some good work this term. Very much looking forward to this next term - we're on to Modern European Drama again. It is my absolute favourite course. Every class is super fun.

But coupled with this was a very bizarre day. A few months ago on this blog I mentioned a potential exciting project and then left it. Since then this project has taken many twists and turns until Wednesday when something amazing happened. On Wednesday I travelled down to Leighton Buzzard with three Lincoln media grads and filmed part of the EPK for one of my favourite progressive rock bands Asia with the legend that is Carl Palmer (as in Emerson, Lake and...). We had a pretty wonderful day filming. Carl was as kind, generous and passionate as I had hoped and expected. Halfway through the interview (I asked the questions!) it suddenly occured to me that I was interviewing Carl Palmer! Had you told me this last year then I would have dismissed you as a lunatic. We'll see what comes of this over the next year.

I briefly mentioned new year resolutions in my last post (as I recall). Well, my central resolution is just to say yes to stuff. I want to accept every opportunity that comes my way, however odd it might be. Coupled with this, I'm determined not to get anxious about stuff and just to embrace it all. So far this has led to a day with Carl Palmer so it's going pretty well! I have a ton of plans and objectives for 2014 and am genuinely excited about this year.

Hope all's well with you wherever you are. Particularly hello to Uncle Charlie :-)

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Happy new year!

Well 2014 is here. We had a rather great Christmas and new year in Stockport and Edinburgh. We enjoyed catching up with friends and family, and eating way too much chocolate. No white Christmas unfortunately, just a lot of rain. I've got to say, it was a bumper year for presents this year: lovely D bought me a trip to Kate Humble's farm where I will be living out a dream by learning to lamb. We also received weekends away from both parents, restaurant vouchers, coffee machines, cash, some lovely new tea and Santa even found his way to Mum and Dad's house to deliver a stocking. Exciting times!

And now we are back and it's time for resolutions and refocusing. January isn't my favourite month of the year to be honest (too cold and grey!) but I always like those months that mark new starts (January and September for me). Once I've finished the marking (still have a pile to go unfortunately!) this term is considerably quieter than last term. And the teaching should be really fun. There is also plenty of other stuff going on over the next couple of months: conferences, projects, trips, invited talks and more.

One of my new year's resolutions is to update the blog every week so you can keep up with life chez Warden. I haven't been so great at this during the past year. I find time just runs away from me. But I am going to endeavour to give you a new post every week. Here's hoping.

Anyway, I have to get a bit of cycling in this evening to try and get this lazy body back into some sort of decent shape. I'm pretty disciplined about exercise in my normal life but during Christmas/New year I give myself a bit of a break and just enjoy some good walks instead. Now I'm well ready to get back into it. January will just be about cardio and stretching in readiness to up the ante again in February.

Take it easy folks