anarchist_nomad: (Loch Ness Monster)
( Aug. 10th, 2011 02:11 pm)
Hello, world!

With this entry, I am dipping my toe back into the waters of LiveJournal, to see what remains. In recent weeks, I have spent very little time here, due to the increased unreliability of the site during the massive DDoS attacks of last month. Are they over? Is the site back to normal levels of functionality? Is there anybody left... or have you all moved on?

To gather this information, I have resorted to that most perfect of techniques -- the LJ poll! If you are still hear, and reading this, click below to stand up and be counted!

[Poll #1768575]

Meanwhile, gentle readers, I have a couple of spiffy entries up my proverbial sleeves that I shall endeavour to commit to [virtual] paper for your entertainment, amusement, and edification! Huzzah!

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anarchist_nomad: (The Eyes Have It)
( Feb. 24th, 2011 07:54 pm)
Good evening, gentle readers!

I write this entry from the Oxford Tube, as it slowly seeps through the morass of traffic that is the A40. Said traffic jam provides the perfect excuse for writing an entry that has been percolating in my head for quite some time.

March is nearly upon us. The days are getting longer, the air is getting warmer. Spring is starting to, um, spring! This Dark Period has been rather productive, with progress in several areas -- not least is my impending application for settlement in the UK. As the Dark receeds, however, it becomes time to venture forth once more and seek out new adventures and excitement! My beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I have our first road trip of the year coming up this weekend, with several more explorations to follow in short order. The outward looking outlook of the Light also means that it is time to start planning more social activities. And that is precisely what this post is all about!

There are a few events coming up that may be of interest to the UK-based portion of my f-list. Take a look below and see if any of these suit your fancy, dear friends:

March: Party time! My birthday -- which falls on March 13th this year -- is a mere three weeks away. Having had two most excellent birthday parties last year, though, I am planning a three day road trip with my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and the lovely [livejournal.com profile] miss_amaranth to celebrate this year. Besides, there is a better reason to party just one week later: The terrric [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup is coming to town! After nearly two years, my lovable lass is returning to Merry Olde England, much to the delight of [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and myself. Any time that we get to spend with her is a sheer delight, and the last time she popped across the pond we all had quite a blast! Most of my UK people have not had the pleasure of meeting dear Tawney... so we will be throwing a party in her honour. If you are on my LJ f-list, you can consider yourself invited!

March 19th at Chiron Beta Prime. Be there!

May: As the Royal Wedding will be giving many of us an eleven day holiday from April 22nd to May 2nd, there will be no big social events organised by us in April. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are planning a nice long road trip to the continent to get away from it all. Not quite sure which places we plan to visit just yet. Berlin, Prague, and Vienna are just some of the places on our list.

In May, however, there is much niftiness to be had. Regular readers of this journal may recall that, back in October, the Kiddo and I went to see Roger Waters perform The Wall live at Madison Square Garden. What an absolutely amazing concert that was -- one of the best that I have ever been to! Puppets, flying pigs, amazing animations... and, of course, the building and destruction of the wall itself! If you like, check out a fan-recorded clip of the show here!

The US tour of The Wall has now finished... but the European tour is just about to begin! As it turns out, I happen to have two tickets to see the May 15th performance at the Venue Formerly Known as the Millennium Dome in London. The seats are not as good as the fantastic ones that the Kiddo and I enjoyed at MSG, but they are not bad. My person that I originally wanted to take to this show when it was announced last year is no longer available. [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat then had right of first refusal; she did, indeed, exercise that right quite well, having refused to go several times now. Pink Floyd is not exactly something that we agree on. Thus, I have an additional ticket. If you think you might like to go to the show, drop me an e-mail and we can talk.

June: In June, Bisexual Oxford brings you the second annual Oxford BiFest! We will be returning to the same great venue as last year, the Oxford University Club. There, from 11am to 11pm, there will be twelve awesometacular hours of workshops, social events, and pure unadulterated fun! (Okay, we will let adults in, too)

Check out the Oxford BiFest webpage here... and stay tuned for the announcement of workshops and other programming!


I have to say: 2011 has been off to a fantastic start already. Now, with the warmth and the daylight coming, things are only going to get better! Wahoo! Fasten your seatbelts, good souls, the ride is just about to begin!
Turns out that I did watch an episode of Jeeves & Wooster with my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat last night. Seemed like a good counterbalance to my day, having read Kafka's In The Penal Colony and also listened to most of the first disc in The Wall[*].

That was last night. So far today, I have:
  • Found a new (and improved) place to live when our lease comes up in November.
  • Tallied the final attendance and meal details for the Sooper Sekrit Pagan Gathering and relayed this data to the site. Looks like we will have about a hundred people coming home for my favourite four day weekend!
  • Rung Stedman Doubles, Cambridge Surprise Minor, a touch of Plain Bob Minor, and Stedman Triples at the St. Andrews practice tonight. I'm not sure if I have ever rung so many methods in one evening. Since both Stedman and Cambridge are relatively new for me, this was rather exciting.

Before the evening ends, I also have to finish the draft of my full application for the fellowship. So it may be a fair bit longer before I can sleep. We shall see.

In other news, it looks like we are going to have a substantially larger living space when we get back from the States in mid-October. As such, we were considering throwing a party on Friday October 29th. It would be a bit of a combination celebration: part Halloween party, party flatwarming party[**], and part "Welcome to Oxford!" party[***]. Costumes, games, ghosts, ghouls, and more! (Plus plenty of crash space afterward!)

Before moving forward with these plans, we were thinking to take stock of who might be interested in such a thing. For that, my dear friends, we must move beyond even the Magic 8 Ball and use the ultimate tool in divination -- the LJ poll!

[Poll #1625181]

Right. Fun stuff over -- time to rechain myself to Ye Olde Deske and get back to work...


[*] Technically not true, as I cannot presently find my CDs for The Wall, nor have I imported the tracks to my MP3 player. However, I did pop in the first disc of Is There Anybody Out There?, which amounts to much the same thing. Might be somewhat better, actually, as I get to hear the excellent track What Shall We Do Now? instead of the far-inferior Empty Spaces.

[**] For [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and myself.

[***] For the awesometacular [livejournal.com profile] josington.

Welcome, gentle readers, to the third and final round of the Greatest English Hero competition! I can feel a palpable tension in the air!

After ten days, I have closed the voting from round two. With forty votes counted, the winner is clear! King Arthur leads Robin Hood by a factor of 3:1.

Thus, as it stands now, the gold goes to King Arthur and the silver to Robin Hood. However, the question of who gets the bronze -- initially broached when this topic began -- is not at all resolved. We appear to have a tie between Queen Boudicca and Sherlock Holmes. Alas, for all you fans of Jack the Ripper, I must express my regret. It seems that he may cut many things... but the mustard is just not one of them!

To resolve the ambiguity, we have one more poll! Cue the applause and shouts of joy! This is a simple run-off between our two contestants. Voting begins now and lasts for one week! May the best legend win!

[Poll #1598731]
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Greetings, gentle readers! As I write this, the first Chicago visit on the Summer 2010 Nomad US Tour is coming to a close. After posting, I will hop into Lucretia II -- my trusty steed on this side of the pond -- and begin the five hundred mile drive East to Brushwood to attend their first SummerFest festival.[*] As such, I will be completely out of touch for one week -- back in the so-called "real" world one week from today. If I suddenly seem out of contact, know you know why. With no cell phone and no internet, there really will be no way to get in touch with me... short of coming on down to the gathering yourself![**] In effect, I am vanishing from this world for a week and going to visit another... and I cannot adequately tell you how much I am, as always, looking forward to it! Fire, drums, ritual, music, dancing, and more lovely people than you can shake a stick at -- here I come!!

For those who have been asking, I have finally sorted out my travel plans for the rest of the Summer Tour. It took some time... but now the truth can be told![***] In case anyone in interested, here they are:
  • Mon Jul 19 - Sun Jul 25: In upstate NY for Brushwood SummerFest
  • Sun Jul 25 - Mon Jul 26: In Ohio for a date with the lovely [livejournal.com profile] livetbd
  • Mon Jul 26 - Sun Aug 01: In NYC, visiting parents and friends[****]
  • Mon Aug 02 - Mon Aug 02: Drive from NYC to Chicago
  • Tue Aug 03 - Mon Aug 09: Back at the Event Horizon
  • Mon Aug 09 - Tue Aug 10: Return to Merry Olde England

One last thing before I vanish from the grid for a week! The question of who is the subject of England's greatest legend still needs to be resolved! Round one of the voting has finished... making it time for a run-off poll! Two polls, in fact -- one to decide the winner and runner-up, the other to decide who walks away with the bronze! Entries are from the first poll, listed on the ballot in the order that they placed there. Here goes:

[Poll #1594176]

The fate of England's legends is in your hands, dear friends! As Uncle Ben says, with great power... you know the rest. Use your power well and wisely!


[*] Name brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department.

[**] A plan that I can heartily recommend!

[***] Cue maniacal laughter.

[****] Interested in seeing me whilst I am there? If we have not already made plans, leave a comment or send me e-mail and we can arrange something when I get back from Brushwood!

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anarchist_nomad: (Mailbox Madness!)
( Jul. 6th, 2010 01:18 pm)
Greetings, gentle readers! I wish you all a most fine Tuesday, wherever you are!

This entry follows on from a recent one where I asked for your collective wisdom about who might be the subject of England's second greatest legend. It seemed that King Arthur (and his Merry Men Knights of the Round Table) took an undisputed first place... but after that things became a little trickier!

Drawing upon the many interesting answers put forth, I have decided that there is only one true way to decide the truth. You guessed it -- an LJ poll! (Huzzah!) I have assembled all the names that were put forth -- some fictional, some real, some in-between -- into one list. From said list[*], please choose the three people who you think are the subject of England's three greatest legends. Voting shall continue for one week... after which, an undisputed champion (or three) shall be chosen!

Let the games began!

[Poll #1588534]


[*] Arranged in alphabetical order by first name in an attempt to minimise bias.

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Today is a fantabulous day! The weather is absolutely marvelous, with blue skies -- dotted by small fluffy clouds -- sun and lots of warmth! Hooray!! It is also the first day of the year that I have worn shorts and sandals -- I believe that Spring has finally arrived![*]

With only ten days left before I depart for Japan, I have about 1.5 bazillion things that need to be done. Thus, a proper update will have to wait for later and, in its place, I give you that most wonderous of LiveJournalerooney delights...... a poll!

[Poll #1548783]

That's all for now, gentle readers! I hope that y'all are enjoying this lovely lovely day as much as I!


[*] I'm talking about for Oxford. I realise that my dear friends in New York are ahead of the game and moved into Summer this week... whilst those of you back in Arizona passed through Spring back in January and February, Summer in March, and are probably making your way into "blazing inferno" season now...

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As my earlier post mentioned, Spring is coming! Of course, following that will be Summer -- my favouritest season of them all! And with Summer comes Summer festivals! Wahoo! After these Winter months cooped up indoors and wearing clothing, I am quite keen to spend a week skyclad in the woods again, dancing around enormous bonfires, joining in rituals, drumming, et cetera, et cetera, and so forth.[1]

In recent years, my Summer festival of choice has been ACE's Starwood[2], held at the Brushwood campgrounds in the far-flung reaches of New York State. I have been to the Free Spirit Gathering, at Ramblewood, as well... but not for some time now.

Normally I wouldn't think twice and just assume myself off to New York to attend Starwood again in late July. Except that it won't be then and it won't be there. As I mentioned a few months ago, ACE and Brushwood have parted ways. In December, this news was a bit of a shock... but also a bit academic. The time and place for Starwood XXX had not been announced and, with Winter settling in, July seemed like a small Eternity away. No so much any more, as I need to start thinking about buying plane tickets for my Summer trip to the States.

So, my dear friends, I need your help to decide what the heck I am doing this year! Do I stick with ACE and Starwood, moving to their new home in Ohio? Do I remain at Brushwood, checking out the inaugural year of their new Summerfest?[3] How about Brushwood's other, smaller festival -- Sirius Rising -- which I have been meaning to get to for years? Or maybe play the prodigal son and return to Ramblewood to attend FSG for the first time in many a year?

At the moment, I am tending towards checking out the new Summerfest[3] at Brushwood. I don't feel a particularly strong loyalty to ACE and I do love the Brushwood site. Ultimately, however, I am going to be swayed by the people. One of the reasons I've stayed with Starwood and not returned to FSG is the large number of people I see every year at Brushwood. I'm an adopted part of my darling [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup's Lansing Pagan Village[4], I'm a long-time member of the Pagan Heights community.[5] I'm not particularly keen on leaving all that behind! So tell me, gentle readers, which Summer festival(s) do you plan on attending? If enough people I know are all going to one place, I am likely to put on my sheep hat and follow...

[Poll #1540138]

Now if only I had more time, I would happily entertain the idea of doing Starwood XXX in Wisteria... then driving to Brushwood for Sirius Rising and the first SummerFest. Alas, with an experiment turning on in Japan, such shall remain naught but a pipe dream for now!

Anyway, my lovely Pagan peoples, please to be taking this poll... and I hope to be seeing Y-O-U again in just a few short months! Hooray!


[1] Besides, I've been working hard as part of a crack seven person team to organise Oxford BiFest (a one day event with 100+ people expected), plus my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I are the designated Competent Suckers Presidents of the P**T*** Institute, charged with organizing the P**T*** 2010 (a three day event with ~150 people expected). It will be a nice change to attend a social event that (a) I am not organizing, (b) lasts more than three days, and (c) has an attendance in the quadrupole digits. [ETA: I'm such a physicist! Who else would write "quadrupole" when they simply meant "quadruple"?]

[2] Meaning that I've been there most Summers since I first went back in 1998.

[3] Which, despite the horrendously boring name, could be good!

[4] Hello there, my dear Lansing Pagans!

[5] Hello there, Pagan Heightsers! (Though we need to call ourselves something better!)

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...my mother brought forth on another continent a new Nomad!

And, gentle readers, that means it is nearly time to celebrate!

As mentioned in my previous entry, this year my birthday festivities got off to a surprise start one week early! As also promised in that entry -- and first mentioned two months ago -- here are the final details of this weekend's celebrations:

On Friday March 12th[1], I had originally intended an evening of either Laser Tag or karaoke. Alas, my fair city has thwarted me in this endeavour! Et tu, Oxford? The only Laser Tag place in town has closed up its doors... and, despite my best efforts, I know not where there is a karaoke bar. Ah, Sidekicks! Where are you when I need you?[2] Instead, then, there shall be a Formal Birthday DinnerTM on Friday. Think of it as the Last Supper... as it shall be the last that I have in my thirty-fifth year. At 17:00, my beloved [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I will be seeing a show called The Ethics of Progress at the Oxford Playhouse. Said show lasts but an hour... so I propose that we converge on the Pink Giraffe at 19:00 for the Last Supper. There will be the ever-delicious All You Can Eat for those who are so inclined... with the option of the regular menu for those who might be on more of a budget. After dinner, people are welcome to join us back at the Flat With No Name for an evening of whatever suits our fancy!

On Saturday March 13th, I can no longer claim to be in my early thirties! Holy macaroni, Batman! It feels like just a little while ago that we were celebrating my thirtieth with a weekend party (that couldn't be beat) at the Event Horizon! Come on over to the Flat With No Name on Saturday anytime after noon to enjoy a day full of games and fun and cake (with rocket candles!) and karaoke! In fact..... it will probably look quite a lot like the surprise party that we had last Saturday, with Bag o' Nouns and Betrayal at House on the Hill The Shinnin' and more! As an extra bonus, there may also be Wise & Otherwise and Dominion! So those of you who stopped by last week, you had the privilege of a sneak preview on what I was planning! As for those of you who read my write-up and thought that it sounded fun? Here is your second chance! Life rarely provides those, so aren't you the lucky one! Plus, for those lucky enough to be present, you will have the super-duper added extra bonus spectacular of witnessing my annual birthday phone call from my mother -- an event too bizarre to be described!

On Sunday March 14th, the new and older Nomad will wind down his weekend with a small movie marathon. Take part in the rare opportunity to watch a film with the Nomad! I have committed to ringing bells for Sunday services at St. Andrew's Church, here in Headington, from 09:20 until 10:00. Thus, allowing for a slow Sunday morning and time for breakfast, the first film shall begin at 11:00. This will be a very child-friendly marathon -- I plan to show Miyazaki's wonderful anime, My Neighbor Totoro[3] and that timeless classic: The Princess Bride! Inconceivable! The final film in this ad-hoc series will be Michael Frayn's hysterical comedy: Noises Off![4]

So that, my dear friends, is my cunning plan! And you -- as a person on my LJ f-list, are formally invited! Come for the whole of the weekend, or just part! Don't let the fun (and games!) pass you by! Don't live locally? No problem! Crash space is available for any and all who need it![5]

And now, here is the moment you have all been waiting for! To amaze and astound you we have..... a poll! (Huzzah!)

[Poll #1536806]

Very much looking forward to seeing you, my dear friend, tomorrow... and to enjoying your company at the very start of my thirty-sixth year on this Earth![6]


[1] Also known as "tomorrow".

[2] Chicago, of course! Right where it always is. Must increase power of the teleporter to arrange for the transport of buildings...

[3] Which, interestingly enough, I still do not have a copy of! Nothing like leaving things to the last minute, eh? Thanks are (or will be) due to [livejournal.com profile] xmakina for saving the day on this one!

[4] Not actually unsuitable for children... though younger ones may simply find it boring.

[5] Though if you can bring any pillows or bedding with you, it will be most appreciated! Love and friendship are infinite... bedding supplies are -- alas! -- not.

[6] As opposed to any of the alternate Earths... where I have never been!

Greetings unto you, gentle readers! Happy Imbolc! Merry Groundhog Day!

I know that I have been absent from the wacky and wonderful world of LiveJournal in recent days. I expect that to end soon, dear friends -- rejoice! In the meanwhile, though, today is 2/2/10.[*] For a date filled with two twos and something that looks like it could be a two[**]... well, I could hardly expect to maintain my title as the Knave of Numbers if I let it slip by without doing something to celebrate! Thus, in addition to the Imbolc and Groundhog festivities... I have prepared a very special gift for you: An LJ poll! (Huzzah!)

The following poll should be quite clear and self-explanatory. However, if you do find yourself feeling confused, do not lose heart! I have styled the questions after those that the optometrist uses during your eye exam; as such, this should induce a familiar and comforting feeling to aid you through your perplexion!

And now, without further ado, let the games begin!

[Poll #1520354]

Thank you for playing. Comments are, of course, quite welcome. The most interesting comment on this poll will be rewarded with one hundred points for the commentator!


[*] Whether you use a European date convention or a North American one!

[**] Even though it isn't.

Hear ye, hear ye, Gentle Readers! For I bring forth tidings of great stuff! In two months hence, the Scientist Formerly Known As Nomad[**] shall commemorate the anniversary of his birth! To celebrate this memorable occassion, there shall be mirth and merriment! And YOU are invited to come along!

Er, yes. To put it more plainly, dear friends, my birthday is two months from today. What's more, this is that rare one-in-seven year where said birthday falls on a Saturday! As such, there shall be not one day of celebrations... but three! The current plan looks something like this:

Fri March 12th: The weekend kicks off on Friday evening with a pre-birthday celebration. At the moment, the jury is out between either a karaoke outing or a couple of rounds of laser tag. The decision will probably come down to both (a) general interest, and (b) what is available near Oxford. Stay tuned, True Believers!

Sat March 13th: The Big DayTM!!! On the actual big-B Birthday, the Nomad -- a naturally reclusive creature -- will be found holed up in his lair, the Flat With No Name. Never one to sit idly, there shall be games! And fun! And cake! Come along and join us for the famous Betrayal at House on the Hill and Puerto Rico and Wise & Otherwise... plus more! If we achieve a critical mass, we shall introduce what is now my new favourite party game: Bag of Nouns![***]

Sun March 14th: Decompress with a mellow movie day. Join in on the rare chance to watch films with the Nomad! Likely titles include that timeless classic The Princess Bride, Michael Frayn's hysterical Noises Off, and -- if I can track down a copy -- Miyazaki's fantastic anime My Neighbor Totoro!

Come for the whole of the weekend, or just part! If you are on my f-list, you are hereby formally invited! Don't let the fun pass you by! (After all, you only live once!) And, speaking of fun, to gauge general interest and attendance we now have that most rare of LJ gems..... a poll!

[Poll #1511907]

I am looking forward to ringing in the second half of my thirties with you, my dear friend!!


[*] So don't miss it!

[**] Come to think of it, he -- er, I -- am also the Scientist Still Known As Nomad!

[***] Trust me, it is far more fun than it sounds!

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Today's entry, gentle readers, in inspired by some recent conversations. Said conversations have brought up some questions that, of late, I have pondered. To aid me in my quest for Wisdom, dear friends, we all know that there is no better means to the Truth than the sagely oracle that is known as the LJ Poll![*]

Thus, without further ado, I beseech you all to share your collective wisdom on some very different questions about time:

[Poll #1496718]

I eagerly await the crumbs of knowledge that fall off of YOUR cerebral table!


[*] True Confessions time: I actually have very strong opinions about the first two questions... yet I want to see what other people think!

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anarchist_nomad: (Guess who?)
( Sep. 24th, 2009 12:37 pm)
It's amazing what a difference ten hours of sleep can make! Unlike yesterday, I am no longer walking around in a jetlagged stupor! Huzzah!

Am in Tokai right now, attending the T2K meeting. I received my J-PARC[*] identification card[**] this morning, so I am all official and everything! Huzzah!

We are on lunch break right now (huzzah!), but I need to prepare a talk for the evening session, which starts at 8pm tonight[***]. Thus, no real LJ entry today.

In its stead, here is a rare event in my journal: I am going to do a meme. Huzzah?

Actually, I am going to do two memes -- the "ask me anything" and the "tell me anything" -- all in one post! Huzzah!!

If there is anything that you want to know about me, please ask in the following poll:

[Poll #1461823]

Answers will follow in an upcoming post. Huzzah!

Meanwhile, if there is anything that you wish to say to me -- anything at all -- know that comments are screened and anonymous commenting is permitted. Been really wanting to rip me a new one? Have a crush you want to profess? Fire away -- the lines are now open![****]

[ETA: The first person to reply will have the distinction of leaving the 11,000th comment in my journal. As such, that lucky soul shall receive 110 points! Huzzah!!]


[*] Again, "J-PARC" = "Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex"

[**] The picture used to make the icon for this post was also used on my J-PARC ID card. Taken just seconds after I was informed that I passed my PhD defense (i.e., viva for the Brits reading this), it is one of my biggest smiles ever... taken, as it was, on one of the happiest days of my life.

[***] The meeting began at 9pm this morning and will run until about 10 or 11pm tonight. We take our meetings quite seriously here!

[****] Huzzah!


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Can you guess which??

[Poll #1455245]
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anarchist_nomad: (Atum -- Sol -- Ra -- Sun)
( Jul. 2nd, 2009 06:59 pm)
Let the double entendres begin! Today is July 2nd 2009 -- the midpoint of this non-leap year. Welcome to Hump Day 2009! One hundred eighty-two days of 2009 lie behind us now, and one hundred eighty-two lie ahead. Now might be a good time to re-visit those New Years resolutions and goals to see if you're about halfway done with them!

With just sixty-four hours left before I need to depart for Japan, I do not have time to prepare a proper half-year in review at the moment. However, I think that putting one together may prove just the thing to break the monotony during the twelve hour flight to Tokyo.[*]

In the meantime, I should also note that in about thirty-three hours, we will have achieved aphelion 2009. That's right: Up here in the North, the Summer heat may be a'blazing... but we are at about the point in our orbit that is furthest from the Sun!

Finally, for no good reason whatsoever, we have.... a poll!

[Poll #1424257]


[*] I know, I know. Everyone is just so riveted by the thought of reading my half year review! Indeed, it might prove revolutionary in curing insomnia!

anarchist_nomad: (Sunset over Key West)
( May. 8th, 2009 06:18 pm)
Writing this entry on the Oxford Tube[*], whilst listening to the soundtrack from Rent. Here are some recent thoughts from the mind of your friendly neighborhood Nomad:

  • Why is it called "swine flu" anyway? I know a lot of people have a bone to pick about the media-induced hysteria over swine flu, and I agree with them. Yet my personal gripe is different. Before a month ago, when swine flu began making headlines, no one used the word "swine" to refer to real, physical animals. You might talk about metaphorical swine, and casting your metaphorical pearls before them, but no one actually ate swine, raised swine, or did anything else with swine. They were pigs. Remember way back when they were pigs? Why isn't it just pig flu?

  • From the "Rent" soundtrack:
    Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
    Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear[**]
    Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
    How do you measure, measure a year?

    In daylights, in sunsets
    In midnights, in cups of coffee
    In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife
    In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
    How do you measure a year in the life?

    How about cheese?
    How about cheese?
    How about cheese?
    Measure in cheese

    Seasons of cheese
    Seasons of cheese


  • In yesterday's entry, I promised two hundred points to the person who came up with the funniest title for the contents of the post. Several people submitted suggestions. But... who should get the points? Choosing such a valuable prize is not a responsibility to be shouldered lightly... so I ask you, dear readers, for your help. Which means -- that's right -- another poll! Whoever gets the most votes wins yesterday's points! Consider it the low budget version of Nomadic Idol.

    [Poll #1396845]


So, other than these thoughts, what has the Nomad been up to? Well, last night's ringing practice at St. Giles was much fun! I rang a couple of touches of Plain Bob Minor, and they went rather well. Soon, I think, I will be ready to ring a quarter peal of this on a working bell. I am quite excited about the prospect, as I have never rung a QP on a working bell before! I also rang a plain course of Grandsire Triples for the very first (and second) time. It went remarkably well! I hadn't realised until recently how similar Grandsire Triples is to Plain Bob Minor. Basically, the plain course is a cross between PB6 and Grandsire Doubles! Speaking of Grandsire Doubles, I continued to practice touches of this method. They are still in need of a lot of work, but progress is coming. Overall, it was an excellent practice, and I left it feeling rather chuffed!

This weekend promises to be a lot of fun, too! Tonight, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip and I are going to the Oxford Playhouse to see a performance of the The Playboy of the Western World. Tomorrow is the HAM Day games party, featuring The Shinnin'... and Sunday I take off for a week in Japan! What are y'all doing this weekend, my friends?[***]


[*] Big surprise, huh?

[**] I always wonder why six hundred of those minutes -- about ten hours -- are less dear than all the others.

[***] And if it doesn't involve coming to the HAM Day games party, why not??


This entry will contain three entirely disparate topics. Two hundred points for the person who can think of the funniest title that unites all three.


Topic the first!

Saturday is the Great Game Gathering at the Flat With No Name. In honour of the awesomelicious [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup, who made the set of Betrayal at House on the Hill[1] that will be one of the games played, Saturday's party will henceforth be known as the Hayford Amy Merry Day![2]

It sounds like there will be a nice crowd coming -- excellent! For those who will be in attendance, please to be arriving at two o'clock[3]... or as soon afterward as you can manage. As soon as we have enough people -- about four or five needed -- the first game will begin! Other games can be assembled as other people arrive and as games end.

Anyone coming who has not yet been to the Flat With No Name, you can find ridiculously detailed instructions here[4]. In particular, you want to see the sections marked Getting to us and Contact numbers. The gate is no longer broken, so call up when you arrive and somebody can let you in.


Topic the second!

My journal serves two purposes: It is an actual journal for me to record and remember events by, and it provides a tool for keeping in touch with a large number of friends -- [almost] all of whom I have met in real life -- spread out over a wide geographic area.

The latter purpose has be concerned over the mass exodus from LiveJournal to DreamWidth. In particular, I notice a quick transition from my friends on the Eastern side of the pond -- many of whom had DW accounts before the open beta even began. On the Western side of the Atlantic, I can see some of my friends migrating... but it is a much slower pace and far fewer people. Indeed, when I recently asked [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup if her people were moving over as rapidly as my UK friends were, her response was a very telling: "What's 'DreamWidth'?"

Personally, I have never had a bone to pick with LiveJournal and am quite happy here. I have avoided many of the social sites out there except LJ thus far. I do not have an account on MySpace or Facebook or InsaneJournal or DeadJournal or GreatestJournal or Twitter or whatever else. I would not say that I have a tremendous loyalty to LJ, but I was here first and I have had no complaints in the five years and change that I have been here. Meanwhile, I barely have enough time to read my f-page on LJ and keep up with my personal and professional e-mail -- let alone mailing list e-mail, which usually leaves my InBox unread these days! I don't have time to dabble in a plethora of blogging and social networking sites. Furthermore, I can do more on LJ than anywhere else, as I have a permanent account here.

On the other hand, if there is a huge exodus from LJ, then it won't do me all that much good as a way to keep up with my friends when we are not in the same country, continent, hemisphere, whatever. So I do now have a DreamWidth account[5] -- courtesy of the lovely [livejournal.com profile] xugglybug -- and am trying to figure out what to do with it. That's where y'all come in. And what better way to figure such things out than -- you guessed it! -- a poll!

[Poll #1396394]

In this case, dear friends, my plans will be influenced by yours. So choose carefully -- my future is in your hands!


Topic the third!

At our weekly meeting this afternoon, my boss called me shallow. Just came right out and said it to me across the table: "You're shallow."

How do you respond to that?? Without missing a beat, I snidely replied: "Thank you." Meanwhilst, I had not the foggiest idea of what he was talking about.

He then went on to explain that he was talking about Super-Kamiokande, the water Cherenkov detector in Japan that I did my doctoral work on. My boss used to be on a competing water Cherenkov experiment, called SNO and located in Canada, that was located at a much deeper underground site.[6]

I really do like working in this research group. Overall, we have a great synergy! A few days ago, my boss came into our office and made us all stop working to show us a humourous YouTube clip interviewing people about whether the Large Hadron Collider will end the world. Tomorrow, he will be in late because he has been officially invited to an early screening of Angels & Demons and will be giving a talk about particle physics to the audience afterward. Fun times!


[1] Henceforth known as The Shinnin' to avoid being sued!

[2] Otherwise known as the "HAM Day."

[3] In the afternoon. I may be occupied with things that are not board games at two o'clock Saturday morning!

[4] I believe that the charming [livejournal.com profile] prolificdiarist can vouch for the level of detail in these directions... and the resulting ease in finding us.

[5] Same name as my LJ account. Find me there if you like.

[6] One of the strengths of our group at Imperial College is that four out of the five senior people have experience on other major neutrino experiments: Super-Kamiokande (me), SNO (my boss), KamLAND, and Mini-BooNE. If we had people from MINOS and K2K in our group, we would really have all the bases covered.


This post is entirely concerned with the organisation of fun social stuff here in Merry Olde Englande. For my dear friends back in the States, you should feel free to read no further unless you are inclined to fly over to join us.[*]

Following the well respected Rule of Three[**], I present to you three upcoming events and ask if you wish to join me for them!

Event The First is the annual pilgrimage to Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice. I have been doing this each Midsummer for a couple of years now, and it is always a lot of fun. See, for instance, the photos in this post if you don't believe me. So... anyone want to join me for Solstice 2009? Just you, me, ancient stones, and twenty or thirty thousand of our closest friends. How can you say "no" to that??

Event The Second is the midnight showing of Troilus & Cressida at Shakespeare's Globe on Friday July 31st. I have been to the Globe before... but never for a midnight performance. The prospect of Shakespeare in the middle of the night is intriguing and, for me, certainly different! As the title for this entry says: It will be a midnight's summer dream! I plan to pick up a few of the nicer seats, at £33 each. If you wish to come along, I can pick up one for YOU, too! However, you can also join in the fun even if you don't want to shell out that much cash; there are a plethora of spaces left for "groundlings" to stand... selling for only five quids per person! I see no reason why we cannot accommodate both budgets and physical requirements to have as many people there as possible!

Event The Third is a bit further flung. In February, I organised a very successful outing to the Babylon: Myth & Reality exhibition. Twas a great day out and much fun was had by all! As a follow-up, I am planning an outing to the Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler exhibition that will open in September and run until January. Tentatively speaking, I am looking at going on Sunday November 29th. That's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which means that I will most likely have spent the day before at D&J's flat in Greenwich, having another Thanksgiving dinner that can't be beat! I am not irrevocably committed to this date, however, so if there is another that works better for people, I can be persuaded to change my mind!

Keeping track of one social event at a time is tricky enough. Doing three at once requires a bit of special help, so I have created..... A POLL!

[Poll #1390852]

Looking forward to seeing some of y'all at these events (and others) in the coming months!


[*] Which you really should do!

[**] Actually, I can think of three "rule of three"s. Seems appropriate, huh? There is the Rule of Three in Writing and the Rule of Three in Programming and the Rule of Three in Wicca! Pretty spiffy, yes?
This post is entirely concerned with the organisation of fun social stuff here in Merry Olde Englande. For my dear friends back in the States, you should feel free to read no further unless you are inclined to fly over to join us.[*]

Following the well respected Rule of Three[**], I present to you three upcoming events and ask if you wish to join me for them!

Event The First is the annual pilgrimage to Stonehenge on the Summer Solstice. I have been doing this each Midsummer for a couple of years now, and it is always a lot of fun. See, for instance, the photos in this post if you don't believe me. So... anyone want to join me for Solstice 2009? Just you, me, ancient stones, and twenty or thirty thousand of our closest friends. How can you say "no" to that??

Event The Second is the midnight showing of Troilus & Cressida at Shakespeare's Globe on Friday July 31st. I have been to the Globe before... but never for a midnight performance. The prospect of Shakespeare in the middle of the night is intriguing and, for me, certainly different! As the title for this entry says: It will be a midnight's summer dream! I plan to pick up a few of the nicer seats, at £33 each. If you wish to come along, I can pick up one for YOU, too! However, you can also join in the fun even if you don't want to shell out that much cash; there are a plethora of spaces left for "groundlings" to stand... selling for only five quids per person! I see no reason why we cannot accommodate both budgets and physical requirements to have as many people there as possible!

Event The Third is a bit further flung. In February, I organised a very successful outing to the Babylon: Myth & Reality exhibition. Twas a great day out and much fun was had by all! As a follow-up, I am planning an outing to the Moctezuma: Aztec Ruler exhibition that will open in September and run until January. Tentatively speaking, I am looking at going on Sunday November 29th. That's the Sunday after Thanksgiving, which means that I will most likely have spent the day before at D&J's flat in Greenwich, having another Thanksgiving dinner that can't be beat! I am not irrevocably committed to this date, however, so if there is another that works better for people, I can be persuaded to change my mind!

Keeping track of one social event at a time is tricky enough. Doing three at once requires a bit of special help, so I have created..... A POLL!

[Poll #1390852]

Looking forward to seeing some of y'all at these events (and others) in the coming months!


[*] Which you really should do!

[**] Actually, I can think of three "rule of three"s. Seems appropriate, huh? There is the Rule of Three in Writing and the Rule of Three in Programming and the Rule of Three in Wicca! Pretty spiffy, yes?
Hwaet!

Tis the Friday of our content, marry sir:
Didst thou talketh like a Shakespeare anon?
For yesterday, by the hairs of my beard
Twas all to speak merrily as the Bard.

It is indeed Friday and, whether you spoke like a Shakespeare or no, gentle readers, it is time for an entry highlighting the, um, highlights of this week. First, though, we have a word from our sponsors a poll!

Last week, I asked YOU when you could come to play games at the Flat With No Name[*]. The winner from that poll appears to be Saturday May 9th. So it is likely that there shall be a games party anon on that date. Before confirming, though, let me make sure that there really are enough people who can attend to make it worth our while:

[Poll #1389214]

In particular, there will be an emphasis on teaching and playing Betrayal at House on the Hill, using the awesome new set made for me by the adorable [livejournal.com profile] tawneypup. Other games are also on hand, though, and much fun shall be had by all who can attend!


Right. That said, what has everybody's favourite Nomad been up to this week? I will not bore you with the details go into full descriptions, but here are some notable happenings from the week now ending:

  • One of the attendees from the Oxford University Astronomy Weekend is a member of the Newbury Astronomy Society, about thirty miles from here. Apparently, she liked my talk so much that she e-mailed me and asked if I could deliver the opening lecture to the Society's next season, in September. I was very flattered to be asked and I agreed, of course. The talk on cosmic rays is already written, and that is the part that I hate about giving a lecture. The actual delivery is fun, as are the questions afterward. So there is no reason at all not to give my talk again, to a different audience!

  • Whilst at St. Giles on Sunday to ring for the evening services, somebody looked at the mail... and noted that there was an envelope for me there. Well, that came as a bit of a surprise! I have never received mail at the church before! Turns out, it was from the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Change Ringers. I was inducted into the Guild at the start of the year[**] and this envelope contained my certificate of membership and some information about the Guild. I know that I am only a learner, even after two and a half years of ringing, but it is nice to be part of some ringing societies now. It feels validating, as it were.

  • Speaking of ringing, I have made it to both handbell practice and tower bell practice at St. Giles for two Thursdays in a row. Given the London commute, this is no longer a given... nor is it trivial to accomplish. However, the benefits are tangible. On handbells, I have brushed the dust off of my Plain Bob Major -- last week, I assured myself that I could still ring the trebles and tenors; this week, I went back to what I was learning before: the 3/4 pair and the 5/6 pair. Coming along nicely, if I do say so myself. On tower bells, I practiced trebling to a long touch of Grandsire Triples. Also, I extensively practiced my inside bell work on Grandsire Doubles last week, and this week I got in some work on a touch of Plain Bob Minor.

  • Unlike Skullcrusher Mountain, the Flat With No Name is managed by a letting agency. Overall, this is a good thing, as our previous landlady[***] did absolutely nothing ever. However, one disadvantage is that the agent makes semi-annual inspections of the property. Joy and rapture. Wednesday was to be the first such inspection, so I stayed home from work on Tuesday and spent the entire day cleaning like mad. To be honest, our flat needed it. When I began, it was an utter mess; when I ended, it was spotless. However, on Wednesday afternoon, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat gets an e-mail saying that they are putting off the inspection for a week. Oi! I had her call to chew them out, and to explicitly state that the flat was currently immaculate and that we would not be cleaning it so thoroughly for them again. The situation is irksome... but at least, with that incentive, we now have a clean place to live once again!

  • For some odd reason, it seems to be the season for old girlfriends to hunt down Nomad on Facebook. I do not have a Facebook account, nor do I intend to ever get one[****]. But a couple of former partners -- who have never met -- recently contacted me asking if I was there. No, that is not quite true. One previous partner asked me if I was on Facebook, as she had been looking for me. The other correctly concluded that I was not there... so she sent me a letter demanding that I get a Facebook account. Indeed, she was adamant and would not take LiveJournal for an answer.[*****] I do consider myself to be on good terms with most of my ex-girlfriends -- indeed, I am rather proud of this fact -- but it is still a tad odd for two to ping me at once because they were searching for me on Facebook! Ah, well. Tis good to be wanted, I suppose!

  • Over the past few years, I have been starting to fill in certain gaps in my education. My cultural education, that is. In 2005, after seventeen years of comic book collecting, I finally read the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In 2007, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I became two of the last people I know to watch Babylon 5. Now, at long last, I have begun to read Neil Gaiman's Sandman series. No spoilers, please! I have successfully avoided any for close to two decades now! [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat has all the issues in trade paperback form and I have only read the first three thus far. I have been looking forward to this for ages and am quite excited as I begin to finally see what all the fuss is about!

...and that is about all the news from the week, dear friends!

Now tis time to rush off, as the weekend looks to be fairly full, as well. Tonight, I have a date with the lovely [livejournal.com profile] bunnypip. Tomorrow, the Oxford Society of Change Ringers is having a celebration for its 275th anniversary -- plus, I may sneak away for a bit in the afternoon to see an exhibition in the Bodleian Library -- and then tomorrow evening, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I have tickets to see Fiddler on the Roof at the Oxford Playhouse[******]. Then, on Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and [livejournal.com profile] dr_jen and I will be going to the Harcourt Arboretum to see the bluebell meadows. They only bloom for about two weeks per year... but when they do, they are a phenomenal sight to behold! And, gentle readers, they are in bloom right now!

So...

I go, I go; look how I go,
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.


[*] It will feel good to get out of the rain!

[**] Making it the second ringing society that I am a member of, as I am also a life member of the Oxford University Society of Change Ringers (and the only person with an identifiable photograph on their home page!).

[***] The irony does not escape me that [livejournal.com profile] cheshcat and I each co-own a house in the States... and yet we find ourselves renting our primary residence in Oxford.

[****] Similarly, I have never been on MySpace. I spend more than enough time online as it is, and that is not enough for me to keep up with my e-mail and LiveJournal. As such, I do not need additional online distractions, even those that I might enjoy (as opposed to things like Twitter, that I just find annoying). I may get myself a Dream Width account -- just because everybody seems to be migrating in that direction -- but that would be as far as I would be willing to go.

[*****] Somehow this particular partner has always had a way of presenting her demands in such a fashion that they came across as rather sexy, instead of whiny.

[******] Which will be the fourteenth theatrical production that I have seen, thus far, in 2009.

.

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