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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Holiday Guilt

Em and I are currently on holiday. Both of us are feeling guilty at having taken time off from work, even though we are owed this time and it is ours to take. It's crazy but I think that many, particularly in academia, experience this. I notice that many people we know in our field tend to accumulate days and days of holiday without ever taking it. One guy we knew whilst working in Boulder had accrued a year's worth of holiday which he was then giving away to others to avoid losing the extra time (a good scheme if you can get it).

Anyway, I am going to attempt to put my guilt behind me (as indeed is Em). Tomorrow morning we fly out to the north east coast of spain on the Costa Brava; not far from the Pyrenees. For eight days I shall enjoy sun and swimming and reading and maybe a little writing. I am not going to worry about work in any way shape or form and this will be helped through zero email access.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


I was thinking earlier whether I have accomplished enough things in my 20s.

I've done a fair bit and the highlights were:

  • I got engaged
  • I got married
  • I got my PhD
  • I lived abroad
  • I travelled a lot (could have done more)
  • Probably lots of other things I can't think of at the moment
I'm still a lard arse, so I definitely have something to achieve in my 30s. It's always good to have something to work for ;-P

Oh well, 30 doesn't feel much different to 29, surprisingly. Quite frankly I retain the mental age of a 13 year old and I don't see that changing any time soon.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

fading youth

My last day in my twenties.

I can still remember when I entered them and I find it hard to believe that it was a decade ago. I think I'll stop typing before I get melancholy!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Oh sweet, sweet sport

Had a cracking weekend.

Beautiful weather (considering what the end of August was like) with a great Sunday evening topped off with a lovely round of golf with Em on the local course. Only the second time I have played in 10 years and I am still crap, except for that sweet, sweet feeling as I hit the ball straight and true on those ever-so rare occasions. That afternoon had been good as well with a F1 race to watch.

Of course the sporting highlight happened on Saturday, the day of the first Merseyside Derby of the Season, and what a 3-0 highlight it was. As a Toffee man I was very happy indeed. From the BBC website:

Everton were rightly ecstatic, showing a ruthless edge in front of goal and great organisation in the face of Liverpool's second-half revival to record their biggest derby win for 42 years.
It's all gone quiet over there-ere! It's all gone quiet over there-ere!

Sad days for Formula 1

The title is not sarcastic.

Michael Schumacher has decided to quit Formula 1 at the end of this season. I am very sorry about this. Don't get me wrong, I dislike Schumacher intensely; I think he is an arrogant, lying, weasely win-at-all-costs cheat. I think it is fair to say that with Scumi you either love him or you hate him if you care about F1; he is a polarizing force in the motorsport industry. His detractors see little but the negative in every action whereas his supporters are often blind in their love for him. However, for whatever faults (imagined or otherwise) he is also one of the (if not the) greatest racing drivers who have ever lived.

Schumi is the man to beat in Formula 1, even though Alonso is the current world champion. Without Schumacher in the field next year the lay of the land will be very different to the way it has been for the past decade. F1 needs its heroes and more importantly it needs its villains; for me Schumacher was a clear villain. Whenever he was beaten it was a good race day even if my man was pootling around at the back somewhere ['paging Mr. Coulthard, the finish line is over here'] and when he won it made me hungry for the next race so that he could be beaten again. There was always the thrill in the last few laps that something could go wrong and Schumi would get beaten. That tension is going to disappear now.

Of course there are some great drivers out there now in capable cars: Alonso and Raikkonnen are the cream of the crop but don't forget others like Button, the new guy Kubica (astonishing talent) and Webber; and of course the old stalwarts like Fisi, Coulthard and Barrichello should never be ruled out. But I am afraid that for 2007 at least it will just not be the same, it will probably take a year to settle into the new rhythm as an avid viewer.

Perhaps with Kimi in a Ferrari I can learn to hate him :-)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Sunday afternoon farm blogging

We actually managed to get off our arses and out into the countryside last Sunday. The countryside isn't so far from our house and within the space of an hour we managed to get nicely away from civilisation. Despite being molested by numerous Daddy-Long legs (aka Crane flies) we had a fab time dodging cow pats and being stared at by the locals.....

Proud moment

Being relatively new to this gardening lark I had a very proud moment recently when my first rose cutting had its first flower :) It's a cutting I took a year ago from my favourite rose when we moved out of our house in Leicester. Nice to take a bit of the old place with us.