Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lakai Fully Flared Intro

Sorry I'm not writing anything at the moment, but I hope this video makes up for it. If you don't go HOW FUCKING RAD WAS THAT? after seeing it and wanting to grab a skateboard, a pair of baggy jeans and some explosives then you guys just aren't the readers I though I had.
via Dooce.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


A wonderful Tom Cruise spoof done by one of my teenage crushes (I mean come on, he had super powers!), found via another of my teenage crushes (and he flew a spaceship!).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hello Deer!

Hello Deer!
Originally uploaded by gms
I added gms to my Flickr contacts last year after randomly running across him and finding his photos awesome. What can I say - they just keep getting awesomer.

Monday, January 14, 2008

so I admit it, I'm not immune to reality tv

Not entirely anyway.

DrH and I, if you haven't realised it so far, are pretty big DIYer's. The entire car has been rebuilt by hand; we put up an amazing amount of shelving at every chance; and DrH went and bought a hammerdrill JUST BECAUSE IT MIGHT ONE DAY PROVE USEFUL.

His tools have pride of place in the study shelves while important parts of our memorabilia, including childhood photo albums, have been relegated to waterproof boxes in the cellar. THAT'S HOW SERIOUS DIY IS IN THIS HOUSEHOLD.

So, you can imagine that the entire genre of DIY house fixer-upper reality tv goes down pretty well here.

Tonight, another house was redone, filled with IKEA furniture and the appropriate "visual highlights" and "plenty of stylish storage space". Emboldened by the speed and ease with which this twenty member team redid an entire house in three days, I jumped on ImmobilienScout24 and started looking for a weekend house. One not too far away. A little getaway in Brandenburg or Meckenburg-Vorpommern. Perfect, romantic examples of the former East, or the "German Toscana". No, really, that's how it was described.

Needless to say there were many prime East-architecture houses coming at the under 15,000€ price, but none were particularly convincing. Even for an over excited dreamer such as myself. Then I found the house described as "perfect for a cat and/or dog" and, upon investigating the photos, realised that very little human habitation was currently available within the price range of an unemployed foreigner.

So instead I went over to mobile.de and found this great little 1960's Fiat 500 which just needs a loving hand, a bit of welding, a coat of paint and a serious mechanic to shine again.

What the hell, I always wanted to learn how to weld.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

the way to a man's heart

I was lying there, vaguely bored, while DrH was engrossed in his novel. I started poking him in the stomach just, you know, to pass the time.

He asked me to stop.

I didn't.

He kept reading, but with an air of determined ignoring about him.

I lay there a while longer looking, occasionally poking, but my heart wasn't really in it.

A thought struck me. It wasn't a thought of Nobel Prize winning quality but, hey, none of mine have been so far.

"Belly buttons are really weird looking things, aren't they?" I framed it as a question, but it was more of a statement. My way of saying Check out my cute and quirky observations, now put the book down and talk to me. I want attention.

DrH breathed noisily out through his nose. "It is when you think we spent nine months eating through it." He rolled over and kept reading.

"I had never thought of it like that," I exclaimed with a certain amount of humoured surprise. "I mean I know what it was for... like getting nutrients, supplying us with what we needed for development....but... EATING through it? Not a word I would have ever used." I paused for a moment. "Now I have this picture of people running around with belly buttons going MMmnnnyumm MMmnnnyumm MMmnnnyyumm." I made open and closing motions with my hand to emphasise the point.

"It would have been more like Sllluuuurpp Sllluuuurp Sllluuuurp," he pointed out, sucking loudly through his teeth. He turned back to his book.

I lay back and gradually drifted off to sleep. Visions of people with giant belly buttons laced my dreams.

Belly buttons lined with small pointy teeth.

Talking with American accents and ghetto attitude.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

sp3 baby, you and me

A number of things have fallen by the wayside in the last two months, most notably my writing. Even my grand aim of three pages a day has met with intense and silent failure, although I do have a well-meaning aim to write 5000 on the weekend and so catchup on average.

Before christmas work was sucking most of my energy because it was so detailed yet repetitive - it required a lot of attention but not much brain power and it would get to four o'clock in the afternoon and I'd be sitting there trying to stop my head slamming onto the keyboard, even if I had been intravenously injecting coffee for six hours by then.

Now I'm onto the second half of the project - which is moving MUCH faster than I thought it would and even have the hope of delivering it by the end of next week, two weeks earlier than expected. This is also the more thought-intensive part of the project, although with far more chemistry than I'm accustomed to. Ok, so if you're a pure chemist then what I'm doing is no big deal, but I'm a BIOCHEMIST which means that you can lord your advanced chemistry knowledge over me as much as you like but I'M the one who can rant on about proteins and DNA and diseases and evolution and unpleasant bodily functions until you start to BLEED FROM THE EARS.

But the bonus is that it is so intellectually consuming at the moment that at I am working straight through the day without realising it and the oft-observed imprint of the spacebar has left my forehead. I've also required far less coffee in the last two weeks to get through that long, dark teatime of the soul, which has stopped that unpleasant old man shake I'd started to develop and I no longer leap into corners with my back raised like a shocked cat at loud noises.

Yet I find myself, come evening, even more exhausted and last night managed to stay awake a whole two and half hours after getting home. Long enough to cook roast carrot soup, answer some emails and watch Heros before I collapsed unconcious.

Yep, this weekend. 5000 words. Right.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

it may be a new year, but we'll be reliving the past

DrH and I decided that this year we shall take his leftover holiday days (which have to be used before March) to have a real anniversary get-away. Something we haven't done since our first anniversary, all those many, many , er herm, three years ago. At that time we went to the German coast, an extremely idiotic choice of destination in February.
This time we have decided to relive half of our honeymoon and go back to the Red Sea resort where we spent a week relaxing and overeating after our week cruise down the Nile where we relaxed and overate. Oh, and saw lots of temples and stuff.
We just booked the tickets and now have twelve days of relative warmth and massive overindulgence in Egypt ahead of us. It gives me a small ray of warmth to get through the miserable Berlin January.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

bum on seat, hands on keyboard

I realised only fairly recently that I'd been going about this whole writing thing entirely the wrong way. I'd always thought you needed to be inspired, ideas searing white hot across your brain so that you could do nothing but sit down and write. Let the words flow like lava from your pen - burning, consuming, unstoppable.

It really has only been in the last 6 months that I've recognised that writing, if you want to do it seriously at least, is not like that. Or only rarely. Normally it seems it is a battle with your own brain. Dragging words out and putting them down. Fighting your own conscious which is saying "This Sucks!" in the arrogant whine of a fourteen year old.

It means getting up every day and writing and writing and writing no matter what you feel like, what your mood is, whether the muse is whispering in your ear. Or not.

So to encourage myself to do it more I have decided to blog my prgoress on a novel I've started. And by started I mean REALLY ONLY JUST STARTED. If you were trying to relax with my current manuscript you'd have barely had time to make yourself comfortable on the toilet seat before the words ran out.

But to save all of you normal blog readers from the tedium of my daily word counts, I'm going to use my LiveJournal account to do it. This has the added bonus that I have joined some LJ communities, including one called Novel in 90. This calls for members to write at least 750 words a day for three months. Resulting in 67500 words after ninety days. And if you do not reach your daily recommended dose you shall be mocked.

Yesterday I was mocked. I shan't be tonight.

But for anyone who wishes to follow my writing progress, feel free to add my LiveJournal to your blogroll, or to pop over there now and again. I can't promise it will be overly interesting, but then again, I can't promise that about this blog either.

Except for the eyebrows of course.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

getting organised, like everyone else in the world apparently

DrH and I have taken the last few days of freedom from work and family christmas events to get our flat into a bit more order. Finally we have curtains in the bedroom, which has the nice side effect that we don't have to drop the heavy wooden shutters every night, but the somewhat annoying side effect that without them DAYLIGHT actually comes in. Like, at 11am when you're trying to get a bit more shut-eye.

I now also have some brand-spanking new venetian blinds in the study, which makes it that much more difficult for every passerby to observe my daily activity, but also means that I'm rapidly turning into someone who'll twitch at curtains while trying to work out what's happening with the neighbours, rather than just staring outright which is what I always used to do.

I think I just aged forty years overnight.

Right now both of us are going through our desks and the piles of paper, sorting, stapling, hole-punching, filing. We're not actually THROWING anything, oh no not us. We're hoarders from hell and should we ever be audited by the tax office I think DrH's manic collection, labelling and filing of every receipt, bill, bank statement - any piece of official documentation ever received from any institution, actually - will send even the most anal of tax collectors into information overload.

But it seems we aren't the only ones taking the beginning of a new year as a chance to get organised. John Scalzi's office has received a going over from his wife, who he described as being made of awesome.

"Hey look!" I called to DrH. "he said his wife is made of awesome." DrH looked at me blankly, but I think that was because I interrupted his enjoyment of rereading a four month old bank statement. "Like, awesomeness in flesh."

"You think I'm awesome?"

"No," I replied patiently, "you should be saying stuff like that about me."

"That you think your wife is made of awesome?" Sometimes it can take a while for DrH to work out nuances of English.

"NO! You should be saying that YOUR wife is made of awesome. That I'm, like, awesome personified."

"Oh. You cute one," he said deadpanned as he turned back to the next VISA bill to be filed. Yeah, I think that attempt to improve the local recognition of my impressive level of awesomeness failed entirely.