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Right now I'm at Chris's parents' house near Leicester. Chris himself got up obscenely early this morning to go and try out his new drysuit in Stoney Cove in preparation for going ice diving in January. So while he's under the water, I'm under the duvet, and this seems like a moment to get round to some catch-up things.

Films. )
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The University of London is a civilised place that believes in a six-day holiday for Easter, from Thursday to Tuesday. This cut both ways on Thursday morning, when I had the day free to go house-hunting but couldn't get into the accomodation office of whichever bit of university it is that has that angular metal building doings in Holloway. Now, however, when I've taken the six-week let at Finsbury Park and just have a lot of packing to do, it seems like a splendid idea all round.

I've also taken advantage of the lack of brain-taxedness and availability of shops containing ingredients to have a go at not one but two of the recipes in the Madhur Jaffrey World Vegetarian book in the furtherance of doing 101 Things. (Also, Jon has been down this weekend, and it may be afflicting me idiom, as he'd probably not mind me putting it.) They were Rice With Spinach, which involved basmati and spinach and onion and cinnamon stick, and Tofu In Hot Sauce, which involved tofu and lots of garlic, ginger, chilli and soy. I don't think the rice came out very well but still doesn't seem like something I need to bother trying again, but the tofu was more promising. I think next time I'd use a firmer sort of tofu, or press the tofu first, which I understand is a thing that can be done to upgrade your tofu on the Mohs scale. That basic flavouring seems like a thing worth mastering, though. I'd also have it with noodles rather than rice. I just don't really like rice that much, apart from in densely-flavoured forms like risotto or fried rice or biryani.

The other thing I've done with my day apart from pack and cook is prat about on the internet, as if that needed saying. I usually find photoshop challenges a let-down, because although I'm not much cop at this stuff myself I feel that I benefit myself and the rest of the world by being aware of this and not posting pieces of lame crap in photoshop challenges. An honourable exception is b3ta, where the idea is the main thing and crappy photoshopping is often instrumental, or at least not usually in the way. Here's a challenge with high enough standards not to make me wince, though; putting modern celebs into Renaissance paintings. Some of them are a bit creepy and some have slightly missed the point but some of them are, well. Here's one of Jack Black as Rembrandt that I'd like to hang on on a wall someplace and see how many foreheads crease in confusion as people walk past it. Hee-hee. 
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We were in Bradford for two nights, for this conference about nanoparticles. Most of the students in my group are either Chinese and don't drink much or are Muslim and don't drink at all, so whiling away the evening in a pub isn't really an option. Handily, though, the hotel was next to a cinema. We went to see Cloverfield, a film I'd heard the odd fragment but nothing substantial about. The short review is, go and see it, and go and see it on a cinema scale while you can too. Some bits of it are scary or gory but it doesn't go out of its way to play that up, that's not what the film's about, and there is a monster but the exact nature of the monster isn't at all important and that's not what it's about either. It's about what people do when confronted with something immediate and life-shattering to deal with and as a film about that, it's really well-done.

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Ooo. I was just wondering whether the rugby league season had started yet and looking up fixtures. It turns out that the match where Harlequins RL play Wigan at home, the only match of the year where I'm certain I can see Wigan play in London, is on the 9th of February, a week on Saturday. It appears to be quite cheap to get in, only a fiver for me as a student. That's how much it used to cost for a full-price adult to get into the rugby at Wigan back when they were at Central Park in the early 90s, though I wouldn't like to think how much the JJB stadium charges these days. 

So, is anyone up for going to watch some real live rugby league? Wigan aren't the team they were, and the atmosphere at a union stadium in west London isn't going to be what it used to be in a crowd of 35,000 on standing terraces at Central Park but that's not the point.
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Today has been very fluid, very frustrating in places, pretty good in others and is not over yet.

I'm going to Cornwall for a week tomorrow. Dude, I'm looking forward to it sufficiently that I'll say that again, I'm going to Cornwall for a week tomorrow. Now, I also have to be back in the western outskirts of London on Tuesday, for reasons, but it's not really that long a journey from St. Austell to London by train it seems and also cheap so I have bought train tickets for going to London Monday night and back to St. Austell Tuesday night. There was an option of an overnight train from Paddington to St. Austell; I don't know how they make that take seven hours when it's four and half any other time but they do, and that would have got the sleeper train thing from the 101 List, as well as being, I dunno, somehow fitting. But I asked and it would have been just normal seats, not proper sleeper carriages, which wouldn't have been half the fun, so that one's saved for another time.

There was also an exciting possiblity of seeing Queens of the Stone Age. They were playing some alleged festival in Hyde Park today and it would have cost forty quid face value for a ticket, when I wouldn't have been able to go to half the day and I couldn't give a relative toss about any of the other bands anyway, especially the headliners, the White Stripes. Being in town and all though, and needing to get a cable from somewhere in the vicinity of TCR to enable another of the list items, I strolled along that way after work to see if I could maybe pick up a ticket outside for not much. I ran into someone I know from New Cross at the top end of the park who'd had a similar idea, and apparently there were few spares and they were going for face value or more, so I gave up on that idea. She also told me that there was a nice spot by the north side where you could see the main-stage screen through a production gate, though, and sit on the grass and hear the music. I wandered that way and it was true, and sitting and listening and seeing fragments for no money seemed like a better deal than paying through the nose to get in, so I thought I'd do that. QotSA weren't going to be on for a bit at that point so I thought I'd wander down the park and see what I could find. Some short way away from the south end, all unplanned since I'd had no real idea where it was, or where I was, Harvey Nicholls appeared on the horizon and I thought to myself, "I'm wearing rolled-up urban combats and an Orange Goblin t-shirt, I've got freshly shaved sides and a big smear of oil on my leg from cycling in this morning, and I've been thwarted in the achievement of two 101 Things things today already. Clearly this is exactly the right time to go and buy Uncle Joe's Mint Balls." So I did that.

My Mintballs Are Too Posh To Watch Queens Of The Stone Age

I got back to the nice spot by the gate (you can just, just see the blue of the main stage canopy between the gates there) in time to take that and then five minutes later QotSA were on. They got forty minutes, I could see the main stage screen surprisingly well though I'm certainly not going to count this as having seen them, but best of all I could hear the music really well. Especially the bass drum; I wanna get to play a bass drum that can be heard that far away some day. And I'm liking Joey Castillo's drumming more and more every time I hear it, assuming it was him which I reckon it was. And, and, and, there was Mr. Homme. Before the start of Turnin' on the Screw, the first one on the new album which is already an earworm; "This one is absolutely, positively about fucking." Is it now? Well. And, and, interlude in the middle of Feel Good Hit Of The Summer, which basically went on about how people dance like they fuck, which actually I have to tell you is only tangentially true but is still a powerful idea. Anyway, yes, Mr. Homme in talking and singing about fucking, there, good stuff.

So now I've got to start packing, before two strange men come and start strapping bikes to my car before I get home from work tomorrow, and then I've got to make it to bed in some sort of time to be as certain as possible of... no, fuck it and fuck him, QotSA made me forget *all about that* for forty minutes and so I'm going to let them keep it out. Ha.

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Sherm

February 2015

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