February 4th, 2008
soundtrack: Heavy Soul - The Black Keys
Actually, what I should be doing is reading 60 year old journal articles for my Ion Channels class (yeah, you can actually take classes devoted to ion channels. It could be worse really... American roommate is taking classes about genocide. She says it's how to prevent it.. but you never really know). The papers are actually awesome (I'll spare you the neuro geekery about that though), but they're very long, and involve trying to understand algebra again, which I've successfully avoided for quite a few years now actually.
And the Giants won the Superbowl! Clearly I picked the right city to come to this year.... I was down near Times Square last night, and it was awesome. People celebrating on the street, everyone honking (well.. okay, that's normal. But it was in a happy way, for once!).
January 11th, 2008
soundtrack: Best In the Town - Gomez
A meme that I've had kicking round for a couple of weeks (from quenya_tattoo
, which given that it's about music, will surprise no one). The idea is to post here, so that I can pick three bands that I know you're into, which you then choose your top 10 favourite songs for. And list them.
So, onto the ones she picked for me... whee!
January 10th, 2008
I just heard that Edmund Hillary passed away this morning in NZ, and because I'm feeling more shocked than I should be (he was 88), I feel the need to share the news.
In case you're sitting there going 'who the fuck?', this was one of the first two guys to reach the top of Mt Everest (he'd never say which of them was actually first, and it's really not that important), and a kiwi. He's on our $5 note, not exactly for that achievement, but because he followed it up with a lifetime of being what I can only describe as a Top Bloke.Obituary
Thoughts are with his family, and out to New Zealand and Nepal, since I know that he meant something huge to both countries.
January 7th, 2008
soundtrack: Alcohol - Gogol Bordello
Meme time again, following a bunch of flisters who've posted the first of these:
January 2nd, 2008
soundtrack: Heart of Matters - Ben Harper
Ganked from valhalla_sol
From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.
Back to New York and the weird world of grad school tomorrow morning - no more of this fresh air and exercise and other types of Canadian madness! Yay! Actually, I already want to go back to Canada and explore more (ubiquitous Australian tourists aside, it's so sane up here!) - I hear awesome things about Montreal, which is convenient, what with it being the closest to New York. Any other suggestions of particularly cool places though?
November 14th, 2007
soundtrack: REM - Nightswimming
Check it out - after weeks a while back thinking about it, not doing it, driving frogmanmw85
a little insane when it was late, and finally pulling finger:
My newly published "comics art debut".
Scroll back over the last 6 or 7 comics for context, or just wonder about how messed up science makes you.
Alright, enough fun... I should get up and go... find my day's mouse. *sigh*
November 7th, 2007
soundtrack: Undefeated - Super Furry Animals
Partly in the interests of balance, partly because I'm bored and my (always decent) procrastination tendencies are currently spinning out of control, and partly because since the writers' strike is denying me the Daily Show and Colbert Report, and thus my weekly dose of outraged/hilarious political ranting, I have an urge to point out one place where the US political system has the rest of the world (or more accurately, the parts that I'm most familiar with) well beaten.
In two illustratory articles: 1) Democrats and Republicans join together to override Bush' veto
: If the link doesn't work for people, it's just an article discussing a couple of funding bills where Republicans have crossed or are crossing the floor to get things past Bush/the Executive being dickheads.
Of course, if Bush wasn't there being a dick, he wouldn't be using the veto on what seem like pretty decent bills generally, but the more I think about it, the more I do like the fact that you every vote here is what we'd call a 'conscience vote' - i.e. that you're not obliged to vote with your party. It redresses the polarity of the two party system to some extent, and is a good check on things if a small group in the governing party starts running completely amok with their electoral mandate and doing crazy shit to the country (which is pretty much what happened back home in the mid-80s, and we're still recovering).
Contrast this with current events in NZ politics, where you always vote the way your party/caucus (the MPs from that party who are in parliament) has decided to vote behind-the-scenes, and where the two major parties have gotten so similar in the run-up to next year's election (which IMO is still an improvement on the Opposition party's last strategy, which was to appeal to white middle-class armchair racism and get funded by scary fundamentalist religious sects that don't even vote) that they literally pretend to disagree in public just so that they're not seen to be supporting bills from the other party.2) 'the Government is Evil for Giving Everybody Money, but we'll take it anyway...'
Yeah, so we're kinda totally insane too. I guess it's kinda nice that they're both relatively sane on a lot of issues, so there's not really that much to argue over.. but COME ON! If there's nothing to argue over, there's a very simple thing to do, and that is to STOP ARGUING. Go do something more useful, like shaking hands and kissing babies...
...oooh, speaking of which!3) at least we're not fighting over babies!!
November 5th, 2007
soundtrack: Slide Away - Oasis
Someone last week (and I can't remember who it was exactly, but nevermind) expressed to me their sympathy for having the misfortune to arrive in America in preparation for an election year, I think since it makes it more insane than usual....
...now, I didn't really agree, because I quite like being in the midst of all the insanity, because a) what happens in to the American Presidency has huge ramifications for everyone else in the world, so it's not like I'm getting that much more coverage on it (particularly since I avoid current affairs shows here - with the obvious exceptions of the daily show and colbert report - like the necrotising brain plague that they so are), and b) as I've been told semi-regularly, 'you need to live in america to really get it'. Not sure that Northern Manhattan really counts on that line, but nevermind.. I'm at least pretty close to the thick of it when the Iranian president comes to town to be insulted and then say crazy shit.
But sometimes, my mind truly boggles at how elections (and to some extent, the entire country) work here.
Today's Reading: If lying about facts and then not admitting it works for Bush, why can't it work for me?
So the article raises a lot of things I'm confused about (starting with 'when did the idea of socialised medicine gain similar pariah status to, say, industrial pollution of drinking water, so that it can be used as a bogey-term to inspire fear in the hearts of Americans, and why did no one pass on the memo to the rest of the world?' But never mind... that's something I'll be wondering about for a good long time to come, I'm sure), but mostly...
....how the hell does Giuliani think he can get away with that sort of patently ridiculous lie? Actually, no... because clearly, he pretty much has gotten away with it... how the hell can he do that? Is it just a case that people WANT to believe that the American health system isn't really so bad, so they won't jump all over something (no matter how wrong) that suits the bias? 'Wouldn't it be nice if Britons really did die more than we do, in spite of it all? Damn royalist colonial oppressors, they deserve it!' Or that it doesn't matter what he says, because he isn't a) a woman, b) a black guy c) a guy with a poofy haircut, so how can one think to actually criticise him?
Okay, so I'm exaggerating, but really... I just don't get it. 6 Years of being lied to by a guy that refuses to own it when proved wrong.... and now one of the biggest candidates for his successor is doing exactly the same thing, with barely a slap on the wrist. At least England, for all its devilish commie-fangled 'socialist medicine' had the sense to get a new Prime Minister who does things differently...
October 28th, 2007
soundtrack: Free - Phish
Having an indulgently lazy weekend this week: laundry, cooking (I now have stuff in the freezer that ought to feed me for the week, yay!), cleaning the bathroom (French roommate and I went through experiments with baking soda and boiling water this morning so that hopefully it'll take less than half an hour to drain the bath after anyone has a shower now... yes, maybe you wouldn't want to believe it, but apartments with four girls in them are GROSS). More importantly though, since that so far sounds neither indulgent nor particularly lazy, yesterday I took a trip downtown (well, to 72nd St, which only counts as downtown for Columbia students) to find myself the most recent Q, and ended up in Barnes and Noble being seduced by books.
I managed to limit myself to a couple from Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, which I have read before, essential reading for any music nerd, especially of the British persuasion, and About a Boy, which I have only ever seen in the Hugh Grant film version), and the complete works of Lewis Carroll. But that won't last for long.
I also read a book that my mother left here in September - the Memory Keeper's Daughter, about a doctor that gives away his Down Syndrome daughter in 1964 and tells his wife that she died. Somewhere between 'scarily poignant' and 'disturbing look into varieties of WASP emotional repression', but I liked it.
Following up a great tip from krazycake
I've joined www.goodreads.com - last.fm but for books! That's right, I needed MORE outlets for my obsessive/lazy tendencies. Check it out people, it seems pretty awesome.
Anyway, I shall return to High Fidelity now, and leave you with a quote that inspired me to actually write a post in the first place.
"All my life I've wanted to go to bed with an American, and now I have, and I'm beginning to see why people don't do it more often."
October 25th, 2007
soundtrack: The times they are a-changing - Bob Dylan
Hmmm.... to update, or not to update?
Okay, quick update: I'm good, New York is still awesome (although at times freakishly irritating, as with this morning when three subway stations (mine and the ones on either side on the line were closed so the police could investigate some sort of accident), grad school is starting to own my soul...
...yeah, that's pretty much it. Other stuff's been happening, but it's most out of date by now... so whatever. You don't get to hear about it. At least not tonight.
Time for another round of the lyrics game!