Here's my new song of the moment - Fleur de Saison by Emilie Simon...
And here's the new cat Denali, in the new house!
She's a really good-natured cat. Zamboni is recovering well from being irradiated too.
We've got all our junk out of the old house, which is a great relief. Now we just have to figure out where to put it.
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So we bought a house.
So once we have financing arranged and paperwork signed, then we'll be moving in in exactly one month.
I'm simultaneously thrilled and terrified. :)
Well, I've now reached an age where I should be wearing a hat, I guess. So I grabbed this one over the weekend:
Apparently it takes a great deal of concentration to take a picture of yourself in a hat with a camera phone....
And actually, the hat has nothing to do with age -- I needed something for sun protection, and can't really see myself strolling around campus in a baseball hat. I saw this one in an antique/junk shop, it looked great, and it actually fit, so I grabbed it. Now I just need a cane...
As part of the vinyl replacement project, I found a weird album by Heaven 17. That band was formed by the two people that originally formed Human League, but then quit one album before 'Don't You Want Me, Baby?'. The cd I found is a live album, with decent versions of some of the better H17 songs, along with a very good version of my favourite HL song (and in fact the only one that I can still stand listening to) called Being Boiled.
Here's a video for the original version of the song...
Of all the things I listened to in the 80s, all the synth-pop that wasn't made by New Order has aged the worst.
Still, it's not a bad song. It seems like the kind of thing a man in a hat should be listening to....
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As long time readers of this journal will know, the cats have tried a number of major projects over the past couple of years. They've tried to build a particle accelerator, a trebuchet, a Hedy Lamarr missile guidance system, they've started a management consulting firm (Business Red in Tooth and Claw), and a few other things. None of them have really worked out that well, since it seems like the work involved interferes too much with their regular schedule of sleeping and hiding their vomit in obscure places in the house.
Well, it looks like they've got a another scheme going. This time, they've decided to build a theremin:
While it's a pretty cool instrument, I'm not quite sure what they're planning to do with it (check out the info on it!)... I think they figure it will be easy to play since it doesn't require any physical contact - and it gets around their 'no opposable thumbs' issue...
You can see that Gromit is working hard on the planning stage of the project:
So while they've been working on that, I haven't been very productive myself this week. Here is my biggest accomplishment for each day of the week:
Monday: Finally get physiotherapy for my toe. Successfully avoid all of the hidden vomit.
Tuesday: Buy new socks.
Wednesday: Buy more new socks just like Tuesday's new socks, since they ended up being really good.
Thursday: well, today was Dress Like A Grown-Up Day at school, so I came in looking like this:
Which is just as well, since my big secret thing was that I had a job interview for the position of Lecturer in Innovation Management in my Business School (Lecturer is equivalent to Assistant Professor in North America). The interview went pretty well, and I was offered the job this afternoon! So on February 1st, I'll be employed full-time again for the first time in about four years...
This calls for a David Brent Dance!
(I think he's dancing to a theremin solo....)
First off, check out this article about a guy in Melbourne that was just cleared of murder charges. Unfortunately for him, this happened 84 years after he was hung. Whether or not you think that killing someone is an appropriate response to them violating the whole 'thou shalt not kill' directive, the apparently pretty high percentage of innocent people on death row still has to give you something to think about with regard to the death penalty...
I'm happy to see that The Onion likes to think about toast too... you can buy this as a joke present!
I guess the big news from last week is that Nancy organised a surprise birthday party for me. We went to my favourite thai restaurant, and I was (mostly) surprised! I'm not positive about this, but I think this might have been my first official birthday party in about 25 years!! In any case, it was good fun. Even though I wore my shirt that makes me look like a clown...
I've decided that Jasper Fforde must be some kind of genius... I read a bunch of his books last month, and they're all really good. (check out his website - it's pretty hilarious just on its own!)
Those are the first three books in his Thursday Next series (which has four books in total). They're all fantastic! They're set in a parallel alternate universe, where people can travel back and forth in time, some have the ability to read themselves into books, and literature is as important as movies, television and the internet combined are in ours. Thursday is a cop that works in the Literatec division - investigating literature related crimes. In the Eyre Affair, an evil genius guy uses an invention of Thursday's uncle Mycroft to travel into Jane Eyre where he kidnaps Jane and holds her for ransom. This removes all mention of Jane from the existing copies of the book, which for most fans makes the book a lot less interesting. Thursday has to figure out how to rescue Jane and get her back into the book, while also dealing with a range of other problems.
This description can't come anywhere near to doing justice to the inventiveness of the books. They are wildly imaginative, and great fun to read. The Eyre Affair stands alone, but the other three are essentially a trilogy with a long, interlinked plot. The villains in the last three aren't nearly as good as the two in the first book, which makes them slightly less compelling.
But still, Fforde has created a great set of characters and a crazy version of the world (where Shakespeare plays have fanatical audiences that treat Richard III like the Rocky Horror Picture Show - Audience: When is the winter of your discontent?). The books are densely packed with literary references and jokes, but they are plenty enjoyable even if you don't get many of them.
I recommend them very highly!
There are a few stories/ideas banging around in conversations in comments that I thought might be worthwhile to collect into a more coherent form. Of course, I'm really sick today so coherency isn't exactly a strong point... but I'll give it a go.
When Nancy was training in neuropsychology/geropsychology she was working on a major research project. While she was talking about with colleagues on the phone, I kept hearing her talk about the 'beady eye test'. It seemed to be a pretty important one, but I sure couldn't figure what having beady eyes had to do with anything. As I heard more, I figured out that this test was somehow measuring the beadiness of people's eyes on a 20 point scale.
Eventually, I decided I had to figure out what the hell was going on with this test. So I said to Nancy 'What does the beadyness of eyes have to do with anything?' Her response: 'What??' Me: 'You know, beady eyes, this beady eye test that you keep talking about...' Nancy 'Ah, you mean the BDI - the Beck Depression Inventory!'
It turns out they weren't looking at beady eyes at all. They were trying to figure out if the old people were depressed. While that makes more sense, it's less funny...
I had a fairly high level of discontent with several aspects of my university experience. One of them was being forced to pay LOTS of money for textbooks. In many cases, it seemed like we were forced to spend huge money for books written by the profs teaching the courses, and these were often very, very bad books. At least in my expert opinion. So this made me mad. It made me even more mad when at the end of the year the university book store wouldn't buy back many of the worst books we had to buy. So starting my second year of uni, at the end of each I would take the worst book that the book store wouldn't buy back, and in the middle of the night before going home for summer, I would find the tree closest to the door of the prof that made me buy the book, and nail the stupid book to the tree.
I'm still not really sure why.
But I did.
Turns out if you do a google image search for 'nail book to tree', nothing comes up...
Last Thing for Today:
In chatting with Beth about my current lousy hair cut, it came up that I don't use product on my hair. Her feeling is that this would make Kyan from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy quite angry. She's probably right. Which got me thinking about how I'd do if I was getting one of their makeovers. Here's what I think:
Kyan: would be angry. No hair product. No face moisturising. The soap in the shower is from the grocery store (but it does smell like pine trees - I'm not sure if I'd get any credit for that or not...).
Ted: would be appalled. Nancy is a pretty good cook, but we rarely have time to prepare meals, so there's not much in the house in the way of 'ingredients'. And I'm not so good in the kitchen. Really, we need more help than Ted could give us. We need someone to move in and cook things!
Jai: why does Jai exist? My episode would not fall into the 20% of episodes where he teaches someone to dance, so he'd just be window dressing. As usual.
Thom: I think I'd be ok with Thom. We have lots of furniture and furnishings that have some style. I'd love to see what he'd get me with his $10,000 budget, but I don't think he'd be mad at me like Kyan and Ted...
Carsson - not sure how I'd go here. I used to have a strong style, and a pretty good one. I don't so much anymore. I'd be very interested to see what kind of clothes he thinks are good for a 'soon to be a university lecturer'. I've actually gotten a lot of pretty good clothes over the past 18 months, so I'm in a lot better shape than I was when we were actually watching their show. But still...
Of course, I'd never make it on their show in the first place, because I don't think I'm quite enough of a basket case, but mainly because I'd actually love to see what they come up with. Not fighting them makes for bad television....
OK, somehow, by just mentioning cleavage in yesterday's entry (which I'd really like you to read, if you haven't yet), it seems as though several of the absolutely fantastic women that read it felt that their own personal cleavage might somehow be inadequate. This is not the case!! Let me remind everyone that Helena Bonham Carter is much more my type:
My discussion of Claudia Cardinale was not all meant to be any kind of general commentary on the nature of cleavage....
Speaking of HBC, she's designed a line of clothing! Here's a quote from her regarding this: "I certainly have no pretensions to be some sort of grown up designer, and I am always being told-off in the press for my dress sense but in all honesty I have never dressed for the approval of others, never tried to be 'in' or dress fashionably. I am just myself."
Just part of why I love her....
Oh. My. God.
New David Brent videos!!
They're very, very funny! The first one is very good, and has a new song. The second one is just hilarious from start to finish. Fans of The Office must see these if they haven't yet!
For those of you that doubted the stupidity of my current haircut, I took a couple of pics with my phone on the ferry this morning. Judge for yourself (and don't say I didn't warn you!)
Why is there no Bad Androgynous Haircut Barbie? Oh wait, there are...they're "homemade," though.
You can definitely see both the Prince Valient and the Alfalfa elements in that one...
Here's another where the hair looks a little more like it should, but the flaws are still quite obvious.
[center]"Hope I get to Krispy Kreme while the 'still warm' light is still on. I like kittens."[/center]
[left](captions stolen from Beth...)[/left]
[left]And so, to help you get those images out of your head, here's Helena auditioning for a part in Once Upon a Time in the West:[/left]
[left]*Helena looks to the left*[/left]
[left]*Helena looks to the right*[/left]
[left]*Helena pats Gromit*[/left]
[left]*Helena dons a silly hat. And leaves*[/left]
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So make your own Rebecca-style entry. Here's mine:
"There must be some Tommy Hilfiger event horizon, beyond which it is impossible to be more derivative, more removed from the source, more devoid of soul. Or so she hopes, and doesn't know, but suspects in her heart that this in fact is what accounts for his long ubiquity."
(postcard by Stella Mars, who is a genius...)
How do you hide the fact that your lead singer makes Tom Cruise look gigantic?
Here are some tips:
[list][*]Have all official band photos cut off at the waist, so people can't see the box he's standing on[*]Always have him stand 5-10 feet in front of everyone else when there aren't any boxes around[*]Two words: strobes + jump cuts errrrr jumpcuts (Illustrated perfectly in the great video for Walk Away)[*]Fire the rest of the band and replace them with a bass player that is also vertically challenged...[/list]Simple, eh? (I've never understood how that voice comes out of Andrew Eldritch's body!)
For some reason, Zamboni and Gromit seem to think that they can help me sleep:
They are incorrect.
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ok, I've made it to Beijing. I realised on the plane that there were tons of things that I wanted to include in that last entry, but I forgot them. I'll do a couple of big wrap up entries when I get home.
And in the meantime, I'm back in Beijing! Which is cool, but unfortunately, this time around my internet access is extremely poor, so this is probably my last entry until I get home on Thursday. And then I'll be able to post pictures and all kinds of cool stuff. For now, I have to go back and dodge more of the horrific Beijing traffic.
Everyone have fun for the next few days!
EDIT - I went with some of my advisors to a great restaurant last night that is a 'locals only' type place - it was great fun, and it included Chinese belly dancers!