Here are various and sundry things going on right now:

  • Work is going well, both personally for the T2K experiment as a whole. The calorimeter for the near detector, which was built here by the UK group, is currently in Switzerland for a test at CERN. Meanwhile, the actual neutrino beam, which is in Japan, switched on for the first time last week. Exciting times! Personally, I spent today supervising my students and installing Kubuntu Linux onto Arkham, my laptop, so that I can get a number of high energy physics tools like Geant and Root and T2KFit running on my personal machine.

  • Tonight -- in about an hour -- I will be at the first ringing practice of Trinity Term with the Oxford University Society of Bell Ringers.

  • Nearly done with the first Sandman trade paperback now. Good stuff!

  • Having had no new travel adventures since my birthday weekend in March, I am starting to feel a bit restless. Thankfully, plans are currently being made for a number of trips in the next few months: In two weeks, I will be off to Japan. Just days after I return, [ profile] cheshcat and I have a five day road trip planned up North as we continue checking items off of our "Explore England" checklist[***]. As we move into Summer, there will be the annual visit to New York and Chicagoland... and Starwood! Ah, yes, Starwood! That never fails to be exciting! And then, on my return, [ profile] cheshcat and I planned a very nice cruise vacation to celebrate our fifteenth anniversary. Air travel, road travel, sea travel all coming up -- that's a good way to make a happy Nomad!

[*] Okay, there really isn't a checklist. It's actually a spreadsheet.

As mentioned earlier, I stayed for the full astronomy course this weekend, rather than just presenting my lecture and leaving. This allowed me to hear several interesting talks on topics that I do not usually encounter.

Two of these talks were on exoplanets -- or worlds outside of our solar system. In my previous post, I mentioned the talk by Dr. Suzanne Aigrain on New Insights from Transiting Exoplanets. In her talk, she discussed how we can work out the composition and atmosphere of exoplanets, which impressed the heck out of me.

The other talk on exoplanets was more general (titled, quite simply, as Exoplanets), and given by Prof. Hugh Jones. Overall, I found it to be a less interesting -- and less organised -- talk than Dr. Aigrain's. However, he did mention -- somewhat cryptically -- that we should keep our ears pealed... as there would be an exciting announcement coming on Tuesday.

Well, it is now Tuesday. So what was Prof. Jones hinting at?

Turns out, he was not exaggerating. The news is out, and can be read about in brief here.

Or, to be even more brief, just read on: Another planet comparable in size to Earth has -- for the first time -- been discovered! How cool is that??

For those who are unimpressed, please recall that, until 1995, the prospect of finding any planets outside our solar system was considered to be more fantasy than fact. Hundreds have now been located, by a variety of methods, but they are nearly all giants -- making them far easier to detect. The discovery of a planet comparable in size to Earth -- orbiting a star twenty light years away -- is an astounding discovery, indeed!

Still not impressed? Fine. Perhaps this will entertain you instead: Following in the footsteps of the wildly successful Talk Like A Pirate Day (Sep 19) and the more amusing Talk Like A Ninja Day ([*]), the day after tomorrow -- Apr 23 -- is Talk Like A Shakespeare Day. Zounds! To celebrate the birthday of the Bard, people are being encouraged to speak like an Elizabethan playwright! Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious Springtime by this son of Chicago...

[*] The concept of Talk Like A Ninja Day evolved as a response to Talk Like A Pirate Day. It was independently proposed by multiple sources, of which yours truly is one. As such, it is difficult to find which is the best day to celebrate, though Dec 05 may have the strongest claim.

This entry exists for no other purpose than to be the very first LJ entry that I have written and posted whilst sitting on an aeroplane. Have to put laptop away in a minute for takeoff, so it is a contentless entry. But it is still here. So there!
It looks like it has been about two weeks since I updated this journal with much content about what I have been doing[*]. I suppose that I should write an entry soon to rectify that. This is not that entry.

This entry is just a collection of random uncorrelated bits that have been percolating in my head today. Skim through and see which ones catch your interest, gentle readers...

  • Had the best commute ever today. Which is to say that I gave myself permission to work from home. Everyone else in the T2K group at Imperial College was going to be away today, anyway, so I figured that I could be as productive alone in a room in Oxford as I could be alone in a room in London. I was right. Am still working from home, despite the fact that it is a Friday night. Productivity is a Good Thing(TM).

  • The weather has been stunning for the past few days! It almost makes me wonder if I am still in England! This sort of cool, crisp, clear Autumn weather is absolutely lovely!

  • My bus pass for the Oxford Tube also permits me to ride on any of the local buses in Oxfordshire. Thus, I have achieved some sort of Nirvana for local transportation in Oxford. I can now get myself anywhere in the city -- when I choose and free of charge -- by either (a) bicycle, (b) car[**], (c) bus, and (d) on foot. Indeed, I could even borrow (e) Cheshcat's scooter, if I really wanted to! This is a great improvement from two years ago; between July 2006 and May 2007, my only free option was to walk everywhere!

  • "Andy" is the most common name amongst the people that I know in Oxford. I know four Oxonian Andys.

  • Watching the Katie Couric interviews of Sarah Palin has convinced me that there may indeed be Vice-Presidential material there. Katie Couric may have the makings of a competent veep...

  • Alas! Tis with great regret that I must contradict my previous post about going to the Poly MeetUp on Tuesday. It looks like I will be taking remedial ice skating instead. More accurately, I will be missing the last lesson of the term for my ice skating course, as I will be in New York on October 13th. It turns out that this coming Tuesday is the only time that I can make up the lesson. So no Poly MeetUp for me this month. Hope to see many of you lovely people at the next one, on November 4th! Meanwhile, have extra fun on my behalf while I'm gone, okay?

  • Six days from now, I will be on an aeroplane to New York! One week from right now, I will be back at my spiritual home, at the start of my twelfth consecutive P**T*** gathering!!!

  • Over the past two weeks, the relationship velocity has started to slow down somewhat, after being at unprecedentedly high levels for about eight weeks. I believe that I may even be approaching a stable new relationship configuration[***]. Most of the developments have been positive, though there is one case that has me feeling a little sad. In effect, I think that I need to fall out of love -- something that I have never done before -- with somebody who is very dear to me, in order that the relationship can survive[****]. How to even begin doing that is a mystery to me! Thankfully, I have all the time that I need to figure it out.

  • Twenty-six!!!
Okay, back to work for a little while longer, then off to spend some quality alone time with [ profile] cheshcat...

[*] Besides riding the Oxford Tube, that is!

[**] Okay, to be fair, there is a petrol cost for driving. But this city is so small that the expense is negligible.

[***] Famous last words, I know.

[****] On the plus side, it looks like this particular relationship will survive.

Another late night in the lab. Actually, the first in quite some time. We closed up the K-400 cryostat today, and I am now getting it prepared to cool down to 4K overnight with liquid helium.

Still have no time for a proper update on the past week. Have also continued to be a bit rubbish about replying to people. This trend will continue at least for the rest of today. In the meantime, though, there are a few things that I should say quickly:

  • This afternoon, I brought [ profile] cheshcat home from the hospital. It was good to have her back! She seems to be doing well. She is at home, convalescing, and is off work for the next week and a half. Now that she is home, I will let her make updates on her recovery when she sees fit to do so.

  • I want to thank everyone who send energy and good wishes before (and after) the surgery. Believe me, they have been much appreciated by both of us!

  • Recent fluctuations in the stock market are causing me financial woe. Not the normal type you would expect, though. On Monday, I bet my officemate that the Dow would drop below 10,000 points at some point this week. So tomorrow, we are off to lunch at Noodle Bar -- my treat. Can't even count on the US economy to fail properly!

  • For anyone planning to attend the UnParty at Skullcrusher Mountain: I call this an "UnParty"[*] because, quite frankly, neither Chesh nor myself is really in a position to set up a formal party. Basically, we will be home all weekend as she recovers from surgery, and Skullcrusher Mountain is open to all who wish to join us. Drop by anytime on Saturday or Sunday[**] and expect to be welcomed with a variety of mellow activities: Gaming, movies, conversation, et cetera. Nothing particularly special is happening and there are no particular times to observe. With one exception: Sometime on Saturday, I will be making a batch of ice cream to share and enjoy. Other than that, you may wish to bring some snacks or other food with you, because -- as an UnParty -- we will be mellow on this front, too. Main meals will probably be takeaway. We will have some snacks and drinks, but I'm not going to spend too much time on preparation. Also, since there appears to be some interest, I will be bringing people to the University to give tours of the cryo-lab. Since the lab is less than a mile from Skullcrusher Mountain, this does not need to be scheduled -- I can easily do it more than once if need be. Finally, crash space should be available to anyone who needs it.

Right, then. Back to the cryostat so I can eventually go home and eat dinner tonight. Maybe even sleep![***]

[*] In the spirit that my dear friend [ profile] theentwife established the Uncoven of the Solitaries.

[**] Hopefully not at 4am or anything... though if you really trek out at that time, we won't turn you away at the door.

[***] Now that would be quite the novelty!

anarchist_nomad: (Sunset over Key West)
( Sep. 11th, 2008 11:09 pm)
The topic of tonight's post is "skipping".

Do you skip? Children skip all the time, but I rarely see adults skipping.

I still skip... but only when I am very happy. One of my favourite personal stories involves me skipping (and screaming) out of the Stony Brook Physics building, way back in January 1998.

I like to skip. I like feeling the way that I feel when I want to skip.

Tonight, I just skipped along the outside of the building where I work, here in Oxford. Skipping is a good thing.

I'm having a good evening...
anarchist_nomad: (Guess who?)
( Sep. 1st, 2008 03:01 pm)
This is one of those posts that is probably boring to anyone who is not named Nomad )
Today is not shaping up to be a productive day. My main accomplishments have been catching up on my e-mail -- including some delightful exchanges with the charming [ profile] tawneypup -- and giggling stupidly with my officemates about various and sundry pieces of wit that wouldn't survive the retelling intact. Lots of fun... but not particularly productive.

Ah, well. I do like productivity -- there are few things in the world that I enjoy quite as much as going home at the end of a workday when I feel that I have made a significant breakthrough. However, I am a magnanimous Nomad and, as such, do hereby forgive myself for a day of slacking off!

It may be too late in the day to even attempt to accomplish something. In just over an hour, I am meeting [ profile] cheshcat at the Oxford Castle for more theatre. Don't know what we are seeing tonight -- it is a surprise and I have been forbidden from attempting to find out.

In the interim, then, I will do something pseudo-productive. Social organising![*] Looking at my trusty Slingshot, it appears that the next few months are rapidly filling up. Big surprise -- I know! More than once in the past few weeks, I have reviewed my free time... only to note that it is dwindling! Thus, as an early warning, I have produced a schedule -- behold! -- for use by anybody who may care about getting hold of a wayward Nomad.

The Schedule -- Behold! Behind a cut to avoid boring y'all stiff! )

[*] Exciting, huh?

[**] "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men..."

anarchist_nomad: (Road trip!)
( Aug. 8th, 2008 06:36 pm)
Packed and ready to head out now. Before I shut down Ye Olde Laptope, here are a couple of irrelevant observations that I leave you with, gentle readers:

1) On further consideration, it would have probably been more accurate to name our kitten Sir Purr-A-Lot.[*]

2) Finding an anniversary card is made immeasurably more difficult when you (a) refuse to subscribe to the legal institution of marriage, and (b) you are polyamorous. Most cards start with something like: "To my Dear Wife"... and the ones that don't all seem to begin with "To My One True Love" Argh!

And on that note, it is time to pack up the [as yet unnamed] Rover and go!

[*] I am fighting off a truly horrendous pun here. What do you think, dear readers? Should I give in and make it?

[Am writing this entry from a Long Island Rail Road train. No internet connection is available. Again, will post from the Event Horizon later and backdate.]

The first leg of Nomad's summer tour -- New York City -- is winding down. I write this en route to the Islip airport, where I am about to hop a flight to Chicago.[*]

Although this initial stop was relatively short -- only two and a half days -- it was quite good. For such a short time, I feel like I got a reasonable amount done:

I saw Mom, I saw The Kiddo, I saw Dad. I saw [ profile] squeektoy42 and her husband, AP.

I enjoyed several of Mom's homecooked meals -- nostalgia on a plate!

I spent time in three of the five boroughs of my home city: Manhattan, Staten Island, and Queens. Driving through Brooklyn doesn't count.

I played my annual game of mini-golf with The Kiddo; this year Mom tagged along, too. Final scores: I won with 40 points, The Kiddo came in next with 46, and Mom finished with 49.

I got my bi-annual eye exam -- still no change to my prescription! -- and bought new lenses to replace the horrible scratched plastic that I had been seeing through. Hooray for clear sight!

I caught the first showing of The Dark Knight with The Kiddo at midnight on Thursday. Wow. Dark, indeed! Out of the seven Batman movies, I think that this is easily the darkest of them. Okay, I never saw the travesty of 1997's Batman & Robin, but I still think that I can speak confidently on this. Go see this movie -- it is worth it! (Don't bother waiting around for an Easter Egg at the end, though. Unlike Iron Man, there isn't one...)

I visited the new Coptic Church that "my" congregation has just about finished building. Money for that church was being collected as far back as I can remember, from when I was a child. The result, I am pleased to say, is quite impressive! Besides being a remarkable building, the new church seems to have become a focal point for the Coptic community in the area, which looks to be a positive thing. I have not practiced this religion for over twenty years -- and I have no plans to return to it ever -- but I can appreciate the value of community building.

I enjoyed a New York classic -- Ralph's Italian Ices -- with Mom and The Kiddo. Good stuff!

I went bowling with The Kiddo and we had some fun... though without my ball and my shoes -- which are at the Event Horizon -- my scores suffered accordingly. Suffice to say that my best score of three games was a paltry 125.

Without a doubt, though, the zenith of this whirlwind visit to NYC was the "Last Play at Shea" concert last night. Indeed, the concert was so good, that it deserves its own post. And with nearly an hour left to this train ride, that is exactly what it is going to get!

[*] Once there, I am going to help [ profile] gyades celebrate his birthday! So happy birthday, [ profile] gyades!!!

anarchist_nomad: (Cool exec with a heart of steel)
( Apr. 29th, 2008 09:21 pm)
Went to my second class last night in the level three ice skating course. Partway through, the instructor decided that we had the level three goals down well enough that she should start showing us level four techniques. Nice!

During the lesson, we got through the first three skills on the level four list. Without a doubt, skating forward then turning around to backward is the hardest for me. However, I stayed for an hour after the lesson to practice and am making visible progress. With four more weeks of lessons to go, I am quietly hoping that I can pass level three and four by the end of this term, just like I passed levels one and two during the level one course.

Level five skills look scary, though...

For the comic book fans on my f-list:

With [ profile] cheshcat in the States now, I can look forward to a big stack of new comic books coming my way when she returns in two weeks. Last time I picked up my books was when I was at the Event Horizon in late December, so there is much to catch up on.

Has anyone been following the Batman comics lately? I was an enormous fan of the Batman family of comic books for many years, starting right around the "A Death In The Family" storyline back in 1989. However, when Denny O'Neil passed on the editorial reins a couple of years ago, I started to drift away. The books first went to disappointing (Bruce revealed his identity to Selena? I so don't think so!) and from there to downright nauseating (Jason Todd is alive again? There are no words to adequately express the idiocy!). So I dropped the title.

Jump forward to yesterday. It was then that I learned about the upcoming Batman R.I.P. storyline. Does anybody know anything about this? The writer is Grant Morrison, which is encouraging. Supposedly, the story will end -- once and for all -- Bruce Wayne's career as the Batman. He is not going to die, apparently, but some other fate will befall him. I am intrigued enough to buy the books. However, I am also skeptical. We have seen this sort of thing before, most notably in the Knightfall storyline from 1992 - 1993. I remember that quite fondly; it was exceptionally well done -- can Batman R.I.P. measure up? Also, with regards to ending Bruce Wayne's time as Batman "once and for all"... well, let's just say that after resurrecting Oliver Queen, Hal Jordan and Jason Todd, D.C. has no "street cred" left with me.

For those in and around NYC on my f-list:

Do you live in (or near to) New York City? Do you like burlesque? Are you free this Thursday evening?

If so, then you might be interested in the event advertised here. I don't normally do the free publicity thing, but occasionally will make exception when somebody I know is performing. In this case, the MySpace page in the link belongs to one of the burlesque dancers, who is a good friend and former lover. Trust me, you won't be disappointed by her act. Actually, some of you already know her, though I will respect her privacy by not outing her LJ username to the world here (the MySpace page technically was written by her alter ego and does not contain any personal information).

One month from today, my car insurance policy for Peter expires.

When I woke up this morning, I was not aware of this piece of information. Yes, even the Calendar Man cannot be bothered with something so trivial -- tracking such details is what my Slingshot is for.

Soon after waking, however, this utterly mundane fact was brought to my attention by a text message from my car insurance company. Okay, fine. Whatever. I went about my day and did not give it a second thought. Until I came home and checked the mail, that is. Waiting within the mailbox were three offers from three rival insurance companies -- all hoping to tempt me away from my current provided[*]. Apparently, I am currently high on the popularity list with car insurance corporations. I can feel the joy and rapture bubbling up inside of me.

In unrelated news, today I had a long phone call in which I managed to work out a bit of a relationship knot with a secondary partner; I was quite pleasantly surprised by an unexpected e-mail from an on-again/off-again partner informing me that, due to a change in her social situation, it seems we are now "on again"; and I received a lovely letter from a casual partner with whom I had not spoken for far too long.

Truth be told, that is the kind of popularity I would prefer to enjoy!

[*] To whom I have so much loyalty that I cannot even remember the name of the company.

Today was one of those days that, while productive, are not really terribly exciting to write about.

I did my 2007 taxes and mailed them off to the States. I started writing my talk for this weekend. I did a bucketload of bicycle maintenance, from replacing punctured tubes to adjusting the brakes and other assorted whatnot. I rang bells at Mary Mag.

Like I said: Nothing particularly exciting to write (or read) about. Except for one little get well gift that I arranged to be sent by surprise to a certain lovely person on the other side of the pond. That was sneaky and fun and, judging by the e-mail I received tonight, successful!

Other than that, I think I got a fair bit done today but, as days go, it will not be particularly memorable. In any case, it is off to bed with me now... as tomorrow promises to shape up a lot like today did. In particular, there is still much communing with PowerPoint that needs to happen before the weekend...
anarchist_nomad: (At the Haymarket)
( Mar. 19th, 2008 09:28 pm)
Five years ago today, I was shocked -- but not particularly awed -- by the savage and unprovoked war that "my" nation began. One year ago today, I wrote an essay explaining my current feelings on the Iraq War. I do not believe that I can express my current sentiment on this abomination any better than the words that I crafted last year.

In other news, I brought Foxy back to the vet today, just to be weighed. In the twelve days since she was last put on the scale, she has lost about another half pound. Our poor lovely Fox is now down to a slight little 4.88 pounds. We have been taking many pictures of her and spending much time cuddling her, so that we can make the most of the few weeks that we have left. Last night, as we were snuggling on the couch, Her Foxness was sprawled out, relaxed and purring. It is good to see her still happy. For now, I think her biggest suffering still comes when we give her medicine or take her to the vet. As I was admiring our little girl last night, The Boy bounded on top of me, seeking attention in his affable "I know of no such thing as boundaries" way. He is only five and a half years old, and still full of energy and personality. Petting both Foxy and him, I thought about how sad I will be someday -- hopefully many years from now -- when it is his turn to pass. Thinking about this, I realised that I almost do not want any more kitties... because their lives are so short compared to ours and it is so hard to lose them. I did say "almost"; we will still be getting a new kitten shortly after Foxy passes over to the Summerlands. I cannot imagine living without our furry children, but it can be so very hard sometimes.

In somewhat better news, we finished our collaboration meeting today, and I am now having one of those long evenings in the lab where the cryostat and I get in some quality time together. This is actually the first cooldown in over a month and a half, as I was making upgrades and revisions to the wiring and electronics in recent weeks. Time to see if they work! So far, everything except for one thermometer is functioning perfectly. However, we are still no colder than 1.80K -- already cooler than the Universe itself, but still a long ways from the goal of 5mK. With any luck, the fridge will behave and the prototype detectors inside will experience nice transitions when we get cold...

Also in good news -- though, I will admit, somewhat trivial -- I finally found my first 50p coin from 2007 this week. I would not have thought that it would take so long, but there we are. My set of 2007 UK coins in now complete. And, yes, I know that this makes me a dork. Deal with it.
The very last primary -- actually a caucus -- to be held for the Democratic Party will be in Puerto Rico, on June 7th. Sixty-three delegates, approximately 1.5% of the total, will be at stake.

I have found myself wishing that the Obama/Clinton race stays so very close that neither candidate still enjoys a majority at that point. This may even be possible, with Edwards siphoning off a small -- but significant -- portion of the delegates. How cool would it be to watch those two flying down to Puerto Rico, fighting it out to the end? Pass the popcorn. And how cool would it be to have, for once, the deciding power fall not in the hands of the earliest states or the biggest states... but to Puerto Rico -- not even a state!

Okay, I may have a warped definition of cool, as [ profile] friend_of_tofu has recently pointed out. But then y'all knew that about me anyway.

And, please, no lectures from my more liberal friends about how this is not a spectator sport and how there are important issues at stake here. Of course this is a spectator sport! As for the importance of elections... well, I am an Anarchist -- says so right in the name -- and don't put a lot of stock in their ability to change things. As Lucy Parsons said: Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth or, as Utah Phillips says of himself and Ammon Hennessy:
Ammon taught me, as he did, to treat his body like a ballot. My body is my ballot. And he said, "Cast that body ballot on behalf of the people around you every day of your life, every day. And don't let anybody ever tell you you haven't voted." You just didn't assign responsibility to other people to do things. You accept responsibility and see to it that something gets done. That's the way he lived and that's the way the past forty, going on fifty, years that I have lived. It's a way to vote without caving in to the civil authority I'm committed to dissolving.
I will vote for President in November -- almost certainly for the Green Party candidate -- but I have no illusions about what it the process will accomplish. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy the show and go get myself some more popcorn.
anarchist_nomad: (Center of the Universe)
( Jan. 22nd, 2008 11:52 pm)
Hurm.[*] Despite making entries in this journal rather regularly, I don't think I have actually said anything about my life for a bit. Time to change that; not like anything terribly out of the ordinary has transpired, but it is the only life I have -- more or less -- so I should still record it for posterity... even if the only person ever likely to look back on this is named Anarchist Nomad. It is pretty boring, actually -- all bread and butter stuff -- so feel free to skip it. No Muppets or earworms to stimulate interesting conversation. Oh, and I should warn that I am also sleepy right now. So don't expect a lot of coherence. Just saying...

The weekend was mellow, but good. On Friday night, I was knackered, so [ profile] cheshcat and I stayed in, ate dinner, and watched more of season six Smallville. It is okay, but last year's viewing of Babylon 5 has definitely made this show look clunkier. I would probably definitely not be watching it at all if I were not a Superman fan.[**]

Saturday was a day for being social and playing games. )

Sunday involved laying in until noon, then puttering about Skullcrusher Mountain doing various and sundry boring tasks that, nonetheless, needed to be done. In the evening, I went to St. Giles to ring tower bells for services, and then ring the trebles for a plain course of Plain Bob Major during the special handbell-themed evensong. We got through the first four (of seven) leads for Bob Major with no problem... and then somebody went wrong. I am pretty certain that it was not me. Not that I am so good as to not go wrong -- though I had been seriously practicing Bob Major before this public performance -- but I am usually good enough to know when I have gone wrong. Since we were not able to correct ourselves, we gave up, apologised to the audience, and then rang some Plain Hunt -- a much simpler method -- to conclude. It was fun to perform in public for the first time, and we received many kind words of praise afterward... but the perfectionist in me is still irked that somebody went wrong part way through.

After the services on Sunday, I paid a visit to Ye Olde Laboratory and started opening up the cryostat, giving it a chance to warm up overnight to make Monday's work start all the sooner.

Monday I opened the cryostat, did some stuff inside of it, then closed it again. I also read a bunch of DC comic books (The Flash, Countdown, Booster Gold, and the first issue of the new Batman and the Outsiders series). Today, I cooled the aforementioned cryostat down to liquid helium temperatures (4.2K). This evening, I went to Mary Mag to practice ringing with the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers. Rang three sets of called changes, and did quite well all around. I think that this is a skill I have gotten reasonably good at. As soon as I post this entry, I am heading back to the lab to begin pumping the exchange gas out of the inner vacuum chamber, so that it will be all done by the time I go in to work tomorrow morning. Hopefully the rain will have let up, as I prefer to cycle when it is dry. I suppose, at this hour, I could always cheat and drive Peter if I wish... but it feels so wimpy to take the car for a drive of less than a mile if I do not have anything cumbersome to transport.

Oh, and related to nothing at all, my new officemate -- a first year post-graduate from Christ Church -- is even more of a macroeconomics geek than I am. Scary! He also lived in Japan for a year, loves Babylon 5, used to collect Marvel Comics, and plays Settlers of Catan. We obviously have a lot of interests in common -- too bad he is a conservative (rooting for Ron Paul, actually). If I don't keep him at arm's length, we end up having very long, distracting, and fascinating conversations. Today, he spent much time watching the Dow Jones in morbid fascination... though he was quite disappointed that it did not fall very far.

Okay, today's babbling quota has been filled.[****] Off to get some work done, then sleep.

[*] Note to [ profile] cheshcat, regarding our recent conversation about assimilating speech patters (started, by the way, my dear [ profile] frogcastle, when I observed that I now say "awesome" the way that you say it): "Hurm" is definitely something that I picked up from you.

[**] Actually, I am more of a Batman fan than a Superman fan... and am feeling a definite lack of Batmanishness in my life right now. If I can ever find the time, I should go back and watch season one of Batman: The Animated Series again. Good stuff!

[***] And who am I to not conform to style??

[****] Still here? I did warn that this entry would be random and incoherent!

Hilary Term began today at the University[*], which means that my life gets busier for the next eight weeks. In principle, it should not, as I am neither a student nor a faculty member. However, during term time, the clubs that I belong to meet, filling up my evenings quite fast.

This post is mainly to let people know what I will be up to in that time, in case anyone wants to schedule a phone call, get together, et cetera. This sort of thing worked quite well in scheduling my holiday time in the States with the many people that I wanted to see. So if it works, go with it! Thus, without further ago, here goes:

Weekdays )

Weekends )

As always, one must remember the words of Robbie Burns and acknowledge that all plans are subject to the whims of Fate. Still, until something forces me to change course, this is a good outline of my intentions for the next eight weeks.

[*] Please refrain from puns referring to US politics. They are just too easy here.

Before I sleep:
  1. I want to announce that the 2008 overnight open access to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice will be happening from about 8pm on Fri 20-June until about 8am on Sat 21-June. [ profile] cheshcat and I are planning to go back again this year. When I wrote about our experiences last year, several people commented to say that they would be interested in joining us. Hence this early reminder in case anyone was serious and needs to start thinking about trans-Atlantic travel plans.

  2. Today I learned that the street I live on, the Banbury Road, has its own Wikipedia entry. Don't believe me? See for yourself here. This strikes me as slightly odd. Not quite sure why, but I am fairly certain that no other street that I have ever lived on has a Wikipedia entry!

  3. Quick quiz:
    [Poll #1116350]

      And on that note, I am off to dreamland! (For a few hours, at least) Really -- I mean it this time!
Here in England, it is 2008. Has been for more than a couple of hours now. Most of my friends are still based in the United States... which means that y'all are still stuck in last year. I wanted to take advantage of this brief window to celebrate my temporal superiority.

More seriously... )

Meanwhile, here is a photograph of me and Totoro and Foxy. Taken on a lazy day at home, it really isn't a very flattering picture of me, but it is a pretty good shot of them, so my vanity will have to give way:
Nothing terribly important to write about today, but I am trying to get back into the habit of posting on a daily basis. So, gentle readers, brace yourself for what may make the top ten list of "Most Boring Entries In Nomad's Journal"[*]. That said, here are some utterly unconnected thoughts floating through me head today:
  • While writing that scintillating opening paragraph, I received an e-mail from the co-presidents of my high school class. They're the guys who tracked me down a couple of years ago to give a "Where are they now?" interview. This e-mail was to let people know that one of my classmates will be performing with his band at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan next week. I almost didn't read the e-mail to the end, but I am glad that I did... because the last line cracked me up: "Bring whoever you want...except Matt Malek, who is not invited."[**] For some reason, that just cracked me up.

  • While driving to Waddesdon yesterday, I noticed that diesel fuel is now commonly selling for £1.079 per litre and petrol (gasoline to you yanks) is £1.039. At yesterday's exchange rate of $2.0642/£1, that makes the price of auto fuel $8.46 per gallon for diesel and $8.15 for petrol -- the most that I have ever seen! My eleven year old Volkswagen does get about 45 miles to the gallon[***], but that still means I pay about 19 cents per mile to drive anywhere. I realize that I have annoyed some of my North American friends by being less than sympathetic when people complain about paying $3/gallon for gasoline... but that really is quite cheap! I would love to pay three dollars for a gallon of fuel!

  • November is ending in a few hours and I have not flown anywhere this month. No wonder I am starting to feel antsy. I have never had a full calendar year where I have flown in all twelve months (though I have flown in eleven out of twelve in more than one year), but a month without an airplane is still unusual for me. Two more weeks until I fly back to the States.

  • The award for 5000th comment in this journal was given today to... erm... me, for this reply to [ profile] kenshardik.

  • I have not taken any postbox pictures since last November. Maybe I should do something about that this weekend. Assuming the weather gets better, that is.
Bored yet? I did warn that nothing terribly exciting is going on right about now. I'll try to fix that by tomorrow's entry -- promise!

[*] If such a list existed, that is.

[**] Don't ever try calling me Matt. Seriously. I went as Matt from age twelve to eighteen, but not since. Although Matt was fundamentally a good person -- and did some wild and crazy stunts -- he was generally depressed and angry; I have evolved significantly from when that person was me.

[***] This is better than the mileage that a Prius will get brand new. And yet the auto industry continues to fight against regulations for better fuel economy.



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