project #1: It's turned out to be more of a plateau than a gradual crescendo. At least I've had a bit to drink every night so far. Saturday I've been invited to a couple of parties (hopefully not as deathly but hilariously grad student-y as those missscarlet describes), so look forward to a culmination of my project, and possible drunk blogging.
project #2: Almost there. This coming week will be the final push, as the exam's on the 20th -- looking over pages of printed-out notes and thinking about synthesis - genre, relations to other works on the list, etc.
On a related (at least American) note, I just saw Terrence Malick's film The New World, about the Jamestown settlement and the John Smith/Pocahontas encounter. Go see this movie - on the big screen, if you can. It is beautiful, poetic, mythological, without being condescending or simplistic. If only I had thought to put it on my exam list!