Monday, August 23, 2010

Nuu moosiks!

Listening to: Radio 1

So I was in a right mood yesterday...I think I've underestimated how stressed I am, and my brain has just lost the ability to cope. Sigh. Anyway, I was wheeling my bike through town feeling properly awful, when I heard some buskers - a band called Arabella. Their music made me stop and rest my bike against a lamp post and listen...and I felt a wave of calm wash over me. Yeah I know that sounds clichéd, but it's true.

Anyway, I managed to find them online, and in particular, the song they were playing when I heard them. Being the lovely soul that I am *cough*, I've already bombarded all my twitter followers with the link, and I shall now do the same for you. Enjoy!

If you like this, there's more on their website.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

My life is a comedy of errors

Listening to: 'Katy on a Mission' by Katy B [-]

Yeah I've been MIA. Not really in the mood for blogging...each post that comes to mind just feels like too much of an effort to construct. So apologies in advance if this post makes no sense.

Anyway...I've started the procedure to defer my thesis submission. I felt my stomach do somersaults when I clicked on the request page...I felt like a big fat fail whale. I mean four years on this bloody thing and I'm still not done?! WTF. Anyway, the sup doesn't seem too bothered about it, so I guess it's not all bad news. The fact that I have to finish before my visa runs out at the end of Jan, however, is another matter. Nose to the grindstone, pedal to the metal, and so on so forth.

Which is all well and good, except for the fact that I'm taking a week off next month to go travelling. No it's not entirely my decision, and no the timing couldn't have been worse, but let me explain. The parental unit is visiting Switzerland next month, on work. It's far too expensive for them to add a stopover here, and to be fair it's not worth the hassle. So I'm going there. So far so good. Except that Switzerland only bloody went and joined the Schengen zone two years back! So I need a visa. Now if you've been following this blog since before the dawn of time, you'll remember that I've been to Geneva before, when there was no visa requirement. £75 for a visa to a place that I've been before? Not cool. But wait...with a Schengen visa, I have free passage through all Schengen states...which means I can go to Geneva via...(wait for it)...PARIS!!! So oui, mes amis, I will be off to Paris in a few weeks' time - 3 nights there, and then on to Geneva for 4 nights with my mummy and daddy. My mother has major plans that involve us working on my CV. Oh dear.

I'm quite excited about exploring Paris on my own. No I don't speak a word of (useful) French, apart from "Parlez-vous Anglais?"...but I've been assured that the locals are a lot more accommodating of us ignoramuses than they used to be. Three whole days isn't a lot, but hopefully it should be enough to cover the basics - Eiffel Tower, Sacré Coeur, Notre Dame etc. I should probably get a guide book or something. And I should probably also tell the sup. Hmm.

So...what else? Oh my mobile contract's up so I'm thinking of going in for a new phone...all the normal nokias seem inferior to my wonderful 6300, so I think I might go for the 5230. The ovi maps will come in handy in Paris! My computer's being a dramaqueen. Keeps messing up some updates. I need to sort it out soon...but not before I backup everything thesis-related. Stupid technology.

Oh and I've developed a love for dubstep. I used to hate was too slow, too hypnotic. I much preferred the fast-paced intensity of dnb. But now dubstep is my friend. Well a few songs at least - notably 'I Need Air' by Magnetic Man, 'Rescue Me' by Skepta and the song I'm listening to now (on repeat) - 'Katy on a Mission' by Katy B. Check 'em out.

And I think that's it. All that's left is for me to go get another slice of cheesecake (as featured here in my Project 365) and get back to my 'Materials and Methods' chapter. Yawn.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

The Aberdeen Chronicles pt.3

Listening to: 'Crossfire' by Brandon Flowers [Flamingo]

You might wanna check out Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 first.

So I'm back in Cambridge, and have been for about a week and a half now. I was so knackered on the Monday after the trip. I was in the office and just staring into space...I was afraid to go into the lab in case I broke something. Hardly surprising, I guess, considering the round trip was about 900 miles.

There were a few amusing incidents that didn't make it into the last two posts. The first one was on Friday itself, during my jaunt around the city. I had just finished dinner at a quaint restaurant on the promenade, and I decided to take an alternative route back into the town centre, rather than just retracing my steps. With my by-now-somewhat-faded Google Maps print out in hand, I head off in my chosen direction...only to find that I had wandered into an area that wasn't on my map - the dockyard. It was about 9 o'clock and getting a bit dark, and there I was on a lonely street consisting of warehouses, warehouses, and more warehouses. Joy. I was contemplating whether to forge ahead (potentially stupid) or head back to the restaurant and retrace my steps back into town (definitely boring), when I saw a forklift truck moving in a nearby yard. I wandered over to the entrance to the yard (I didn't want to trespass) and put my most innocent smile on and waited to catch the driver's eye. I think I must've found the nicest forklift truck driver in the whole world - not only did he acknowledge that I was standing there, but he stopped his truck, got out and came round to where I was, to ask how he could help. Oh and did I mention that he was adorable?! He had the most amazing smile on the planet, and the softest eyes...I melted then and there! Anyway, turns out I wasn't lost...and had I forged ahead as planned, I would've ended up exactly where I wanted to. But least this way, I got to see some eye candy. Such a beautiful man *sigh*.

Unfortunately that was my only encounter with dashingly handsome men. The amusing incidents, however, just kept coming. The next one was on Saturday, at the wedding. It was about 11pm and the reception was in full swing, and I was chatting with the bride's 17yr old brother about his potential university choices. He was asking me about my work, and then the following conversation ensued:
Him: It must be difficult being a similar age to your supervisees
Me: Hehe it used to be, but there's quite a few years between us now
Him: Wait, how old are you?
Me: I'm your sister's age, why?
Him: WHAT?! I thought you were just a few years older than I!
*Sigh*. A 17yr old thought I was just a few years older than him. I dunno if that's a compliment or an insult. At first, Shorty said it was a good thing, 'cos it meant I had a better chance of getting a toyboy...but then we realised that the whole point of a toyboy is that the age difference is this 'looking young' business doesn't work. I think I've decided that it's a tragedy of epic proportions.

Sadly, the final anecdote from the trip is also a tragedy of epic proportions. Partly my fault this time, but still. It was Sunday night and we had just got into Stevenage. I was standing on the platform waiting for the train to Cambridge, when I noticed that there were some people next to me looking very confused about the trains. There were three of them - an American couple and an Indian man. So, being the helpful soul (read: glutton for punishment) that I am, I asked them if they needed any help. Turns out they did, so I explained how the departure boards on the platform worked, and then just as I was about to get back to my music, the Indian man started to make smalltalk. I was tired and bored so I thought 'ok whatever' and I chatted with the group until the train arrived. It was packed. I was looking into the carriages for any free seats and I saw some wonderful eye candy, so I thought I'd try and get a seat in his carriage. Turns out my new travel buddies had picked the same one...and as luck would have it, I got a seat across from the Indian man (I could still see my eye candy, so I was happy). I stuck my earphones in and took my thesis chapter out of my bag and proceeded to read. Suddenly I realised that the Indian man was talking to me. So, to be polite, I took one earphone out and answered his question, and then quickly went back to my music and thesis. But noooo, he was in a mood to tell me his father's life story. I mean WTF? I'm wearing my earphones. I'm reading. That's supposed to be a signal that I'm not in the mood for conversation. Why do you keep talking to me, old man? Stop iiiiit. AAAAAARGH! I practically jumped off the train when it pulled into Cambridge station and ran for a taxi. Creepy Asian men...ugh. And my eye candy didn't make eye contact even once. What a waste of energy.

So yeah, those were my random highlights from the trip. Oh apart from the time I overheard some guy introducing himself to the girl next to him, and then proceeding to introduce her to the dot product. I was laughing so hard I had to call Shorty for distraction. I couldn't even contain my laughter long enough to figure out if his explanation was right...d'oh! But seriously...who in their right mind thinks that explaining vector calculus is the way to a girl's heart/pants? El stupido.

OK I think that really is a full account of my trip. Turns out I had underestimated my photographic skills (either that or I'd overestimated my standards), and there were not 10, but 28 photos from the weekend that made it onto flickr. I've put them all in a slideshow in case you're interested.

It was a good weekend and in the end I'm glad I went, despite the insane cost. I really need to get some work done though. But maybe after I go to London this weekend to see Inception at the IMAX. D'oh!