Sunshine. That is all.

sun The view through what may be the draftiest window in the building. Luckily for me, the view is right next to my desk. Unluckily, that also means the draft is a constant tickle on the back of my neck, but at some point you have to take what you can get. And look at the sun!

Life here is good. Work is insane. Getting people organized into meetings is something like herding squirrels.  You can tempt them with nuts, but I’m pretty sure you really need to let some kind of cat loose behind them to really get it moving.

I’ve started loaning a horse.  More time to ride! Hacks in the morning! As soon as I get the 17h boy to stand still for more than two seconds there will be both a picture and a post.  For now, let’s all just enjoy the sun.

skyscrapers, booksellers, and school horses

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to go to a physics’ work party (not my work party…but hey, scientists generally throw good ones) that was held on the 43rd floor of the Hilton, the tallest building in Manchester (by a “wide margin” according to Wikipedia). The views were excellent; pizza was consumed in copious amounts, and the beer was cold. It was also fun to get a look into what is definitely one of the premier addresses in Manchester. The views are amazing, but we’ll probably stick with our quieter, cheaper, flat for the time being. Although being able to see the (now under renovation) Central Library (it’s that circular building on the left of the photo) from above was seriously cool. I still can’t believe that that was my public library. The new one isn’t as impressive on the outside, but it’s equally gorgeous on the inside. So cool.

The second highlight of the weekend was a new book, a new series, and a new author. (Colin) Bateman’s Mystery Man is one of the funniest books I’ve ever run across. The combination of random references to classic detective novels, what must be one of the few laugh-out-loud grammar jokes in literary fiction, and an unnamed, totally wacky, detective made it the highlight of my month, if only for quotes like this one (prompted by our not-so-intrepid detective trying to deny both that his store is named “No Alibis” and that its motto is “Murder is our business”.)

Noahbylies–yes, indeed. It’s an….Elvish word. Elvish for bookshop. We specialise in science fiction and fantasy novels. You know, Lord of the Rings. Mordor is our business.

Hee. Continue reading

Seriously, where is Spring? (Yes, I know it’s still February, but come on)



It has been snowing, off and on, since December–the most spectacular storm even went so far to shut down the University and prompt people to cross-country ski into work . And then get sent home early a few hours later, but, still, cross-country ski into work.  It was not a lot of snow by Minnesota standards (not even a foot, really), but it was enough to grind the entire country to a halt in surprise and to spawn what seemed like limitless stories about the shortage of salt/grit for the roads (we still seem okay) and the number of people who would slide/freeze/ski to their deaths because of the weather (not happened yet).  Mostly, though, it really seems to have delayed the daffodils and other early warning signs of Spring that usually come along with the now slightly longer and lighter days.  The snow isn’t really sticking around, but the cold has been loathe to let go (this week, finally, we broke out of the 30’s for about ten minutes).

Even with the cold, though, it’s definitely starting to look like Spring might arrive before, you know, July–if only because some of our trees are making brave efforts to bud out, and the bird song has gotten extremely loud and raucous again. That, and the squirrels who seem to think that tap dancing on our skylight is the best way to say good morning to the world. (Of course, every time I even think the word “squirrel” I think of Pixar’s “Up” so it’s difficult to get too angry.)

I’ve been busy at work looking into the data our study is generating (hey, it turns out that students would like more contact with…people who are willing to help them learn!).  It’s been fascinating if only because there are huge assumptions about what is going on…and then there is reality. It’s been an interesting winter to say the least.