Sunday, 22 February 2009

It's officially spring

Well... it’s not. But it ought to be: The fish are eating, the frogs are spawning, the manure's been spread, the pheasant are back in the garden, and the owls keep me awake at night.

And snow is forecast. A sure sign of spring.

Friday, 20 February 2009

my first orgy

Ok so it wasn’t exactly an orgy. It wasn’t exactly ‘mine’ either. But it was taking place in my pond. Toads... going at it like there was no tomorrow. Ok, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, as they were in fact completely motionless. But it was quite impossible to determine how many toads were piled up on top of one another without counting legs. I counted 5 pairs (of legs, not toads), from which I then managed to deduce three bodies in one pile, and two in another. So maybe in our world that wouldn’t count as an orgy. But in their world, I’m sure it won’t be long before the photos get posted on the World Wide Webbed internet.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

San Francisco and back

Life never stands still. Wednesday I flew to San Francisco, where I stayed for less than 48 hours before flying back and catching an early morning coach to Oxford (where my parents and one of my brothers and his family live). And now I’m on the train back to York, with Silvia and Sam (Jamie has mumps... despite having been eagerly given the MMR vaccine by his parents!)

The flight to SF was uneventful except for the fact that, as usual, the United Airlines staff were incredibly attentive and helpful. I worked non-stop for almost 8 hours, and then managed 3 episodes of Heroes (I know.... but a bit of escapism never harmed anyone). I regret whatever personality defect I have that meant that I was embarrassed to be seen to be watching movies rather than working for the remainder of the flight. I have little recollection of the flight back, thanks to industrial quantities of Ambien (Zolpidem Tartrate). I SO love the pharmaceutical industry!

The last thing I wanted to do on the trip back from Oxford was work, but I managed to read a couple of really excellent papers (one a draft of a paper that I did not write but which I’m an author on, having been involved in the research, and the other a recently published paper by someone I’m hoping to collaborate with on some neuroimaging work). And reading these (especially the one I had nothing to do with) got me really excited again. So life isn’t too bad. I just wish I hadn’t received, last week, a quotation for a piece of equipment that would, if I bought it, cost almost £13,000... That’s £13,000 more than I had budgeted for! So I’m not sure what I’ll do about that, as I REALLY want that piece of kit. But the chances of persuading the manufacturers to drop their asking price by £5K is negligible.

So, with the jetlag receding (I did feel it badly this weekend), a new week awaits. Yum.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Mars Attacks!

Ok, so not Mars... but a flippin’ (and flappin’) Heron:
The pond in fact had about an inch of ice on it, which was thawing (there was water on top of the ice because of the thaw), so the Heron is in fact stood on the ice. The photo was taken with my Casio Exilim 7.2M pixels at 3x zoom from my bedroom window which is about 30 metres away, and was then blown up in iPhoto. I wish I could’ve blown up the Heron, because not content to be chased off, the assassin (yes, he did kill at least one fish on a previous fishing expedition) returned a few days after the thaw:
Here it is again, a little further away (but there was more light, hence less grainy) up a tree that overlooks the pond. I do admit to being torn, as they are quite beautiful. But I swear that if it eats one more fish, I’ll take countermeasures... Searching on Yahoo Answers reveals a range of options, including adding garlic to the pond, getting a large dog, or my favorite: “shoot the bastard”.

new archives!

I can’t take credit for the amazing tidy-up that has just occurred. The pulldown menu on the right is due to Mike Robinson, a contributor to the RapidWeaver forums.