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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cute! I love lego minifigs

And I can't even work out why.

Perhaps because lego is one of the best things about childhood - the toy that spans gender and age and lasts forever (except those bits your little brother chewed on, they are never going to click down properly again.  It was just the bit you needed too!).

So combine lego and movies and - cuuuuuuuute!
Thor! Logan! (which, incidentally was on TV last week (Origins) and I had to stay up and watch it again).

And for once, not Comic-Con exclusives.  LEGO acquired Marvel and DC licences and hopefully soon  we can see these babies fo'real.

Via Gizzy.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Meetings and Lectures: my concentration tool

Doodling.  If my hand is busy I can listen more intently.  It doesn't make sense, I know, but there you go.

Same deal with experiment setup and music - 96 well Q RT PCR plates I assemble like a freaking robot, if I have my cerebrum plugged into my iPod and my beats are up loud enough to drown out the rest of the lab.  (yes, I am cool enough to say 'beats', with a straight face).

This particular pair of pages resulted first from a public lecture, and second from a meeting whereby my finger came into contact with the nib of my note-taking pen.  It...evolved from there.  (and it took 3 showers to get the ink out from my skin).  Fun times.

10 points to Slytherin if you know what it is.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Shove the firsties in it!

Over a month ago now, we went to the new Stadium's open day.

Along with the rest of the city's population.
Like a good little tourist, I took my camera, and like a typical student - am only just getting around to clearing the photos off it.

It is surprisingly smaller than one would expect.  Yet still...cavernous.  The walls only go down to truck-height, and with a howling through-wind, it is colder than your ex girlfriends heart.  (Wait, did she even have a heart?)


Apparently the seats are coloured sporadically to fool the cameras; when empty it still looks populated.  Sneaky.  The meeting and prep rooms were all still unfinished at the time of our visit, and brilliant safety signs were up in the windows to either be 'helpful' to the workers - or to impede our view into the unfinished sections.
Did you set a trap today? Did you? Did You?!

The roof and struts above the seating are strangely beautiful.  It will be interesting to see what it looks like in ~5 years.  Hopefully still nice and clean...  You can see a bit of the crazy grass too - silk sewn into normal turf.  I tried for a close up, but it was being quite well guarded, and I certainly could not see anything strange about it.  Would love to have a go at it with a dissecting 'scope.

I wonder what the new stadium's nickname will be?  In good Dunedin Student tradition, (The Brook, may you rest in peace) I foresee 'The Scythe', or 'The Grimm' (see the first), maybe 'The Barr', or possibly for evermore 'The New Stadium'.  What fun.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

DNA Scarf plus Best. Nana. Ever.

My Beautiful Grandmother made me the DNA scarf, after much trouble translating the american pattern.  But she persevered (and unstitched, and stitched, and unstitched, and stitched...and still did it all faster than you can say 'Knit me a Helix!').

Winter just got more awesome.  And I love my Nana.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Google and....Fox News.

Beautiful sound-bites in this weeks True Blood (S04E05).

The only two commandments worth remembering:

"Don't kill shit and don't fuck with your parents"

We finally see the trash Mickens' family bite the pole, wielded by Tommy, perhaps the only worthwhile thing he has done.  Ever.  We find out Sam is a deep well (you can bury bad-assed-ness in a well, right?) and 'gators love marshmallows to the point of being willing to ingest plastic tarps to get at them.  Good to know.

Arlene and Terry put on their good church clothes to chase ghosts and demons out of their house, with the help of Rv. Daniels and Tara's crazy-ass momma, who apparently managed to make the dude drop his wife and marry her instead, sometime during the weird faery vacation.

"You hear me Rene?  You keep your ghost hands off my baby"

"you people"  "You know...religious".

"Smells like pot".  "Not really."  Thanks Terry.  Sage and bible-aiming.  Magical powers, that.
Also - I am a wee bit worried about the time lines here, Rene died waaaay back in Season 1, and the kid is still wee - even after the faery vacation time-lapse.  In the books, sure, I'd buy that.  8 books in the space of ~2 years or so, right?  But HBOverse?  Ultra-cooked bebe?  Whatever.  Rockin' evil baby.  I'm pleased Arlene is not being such a textbook trailor-Mum so much now, blaming a ghost is a step up from blaming the baby, right?
Now, what's with the strangulation of vamps this ep?  They don't breath, are immensely strong and can heal super fast, why not laugh in the face of strangulation?  Why suddenly start pretending to need to breathe? (bar talking, of course).  Surely, surely such heavy breathing would wake a woman from sleep?!  Who, in man-dreams is wearing lacy bits and in reality is wearing a godawful sleep T, by the way?

And would someone, please, get Eric some godamn clothes?  That trashy horror film slashed hoodie (not that he spends much time in it), and those nasty shorts...  That man was born for jeans.  Sort it out!

However, twice in one night, Viking comes a'knockin.  He makes room calls now?  Perfect.  Forgiven.
How is it that they have managed to make a story entirely about Sookie and Eric, have only so few and sporadic scenes with them in it?!  Urgh!  I love his waking face.
And him being all cute and scared with Sookie after his 'bad dream' is just darling.  I feel this might have reached the end of my cutesy tolerance however; get some balls back Eric, enough with the whole 'treating Sookie like your Mum' thing, you've had long enough to adjust, you can't be a snivelling emo kid inside for reals.  I also hear his cubby has been renamed 'Viking Vampire Narnia'.  Lovely.  Also, Sookie sweetie, don't make him make promises you don't want him to keep.  Just saying.

Pissing contest between Were's - who's boots are nicer, friend?  Wtf, man?  He's the packmaster of Shreveport?!  Come on ABall! Alcide could take him! Him and his lanky hair.  Why he is making the Were's out to be shitty thieves and motorbike gangers is unknown.  Poor form ABall.  Nice attire Alcide.
Get 'em Alcide!  Get 'em with your massive, massive guns!

Jase's hilarious dream with Jessica and Hoyt - brilliant.  Gross; and how is he so ok with that after being raped in a shed for so long?  Surely he'd have issues for a couple days at least?  Fuck Jesus' graddaddy (Goat-killer!), fuck Tara/Toni (not my mail, what?), fuck the Bellefleur's (thanks for the genetics lesson Portia) - anyone else think evil-baby was watching Arlene and Terry?!  Urgh.  How 'bout we cut half of these story lines out?  I did enjoy the wee 'spirit reading' aside, that was well done.  I love that Marnie was so confused, thinking only she could hear Gran.  Wake up sweetheart, you are only causing problems for everyone with your happy parasitic benevolent spirit.  Lay off the incense for a couple of days, see if your head clears a wee bit. *coughTrelawneycough*

"Oh good.  The world needs more bee keepers."
Poor Pam.  Bill is using Alienware in his illegal detention compound (the 'authority' are so against humans getting hurt, but abduction and incarceration?  Totally fine.), sneaky sneaky with the product placement.  Guess the sales of Tru Blood aren't doing so well...

Also, more from the Comic-Con meanies, ABall had this to say:  "For those who read the books, you know that fairies are born in litters and are identical."  So that wasn't Claudine (poor Claudette?!), and I don't know about litters, but multiples, sure.  Called it!  Ha.  (is this my life?!  Yes!  Embrace it!).
End kiss?  Average.  Awkwardly average.  Grasping outstretched hands?  Walking-away-to-get-called-back ploy?  Crazy-camera-eyes?!

God, I can't even think where this is all going next week.  I feel like I need a holiday after each ep, just to absorb so many plot lines.

"Vampires have often found it advantageous to maintain a hidden presence in humanities most powerful institutions.  In the 1600's that was the Catholic Church and today, as you all know, it's Google...and Fox News."

Best.  Line.  Bill.

Leviathan; a book for (old)kids.

I spent Saturday afternoon this last weekend sitting on my back stoop, in the sun, reading a new book - Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld.  Probably a good use of the time in retrospect, since on Sunday it hailed/sleeted/snowed all day.
I read a blob (shorter than a blurb, but still enough to incite purchase) a couple of weeks ago about it somewhere on the internets, and looked it up in TBD, which had it for super cheap so I ordered a copy.  It is YA fiction, and I was finished it in half a day, but the story was delightful.

SPOILERS, my sweeties.

The main premise is the beginning of the first world war (1914) in an alternate, steam-punk, universe where the warring factions have two remarkably different methods of industry - England and her allies rely on fabricated animals - the 'Darwinist movement', whereby 'fabs' are weaved together via genetic engineering (never directly referred to as such; the 'boffins' or scientists, are one of the upper classes) to perform any and every task imaginable (and the air over London has never been cleaner as a result).  Fantastical creatures are introduced, for example one of the aeroplane replacements are giant 'helium breathers', jellyfish based floating behemoths piloted not unlike that of hot air balloons, whose gut bacteria excrete helium into gas bladders, with predictable results.

The opposing factions; Germany, Austria-Hungary etc belong to the 'Clanker' movement, whereby nature has been left un-molested, and the people rely on epic mechanical constructions.  'Stormwalkers' and so on.

The story follows two young children, one, a girl, posing as a boy to join England's 'airforce' and the other, the  recently orphaned heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, on the run from murderous relations.  Their paths eventually collide and the moral magic is revealed whereby the merging of the two industry technologies creates something better than ever before known.  The two factions follow all the stereotypical cliches of opposing religions and it takes a couple of children to 'see the light'.  The arguments for each, however, are quite compelling - an airship which (through various symbiotic organisms) is able to feed, and therefore power and heal itself indefinitely, verses giant mechanical walkers which can travel long distances and carry vast loads with the need only for kerosene and engine oil.

And of course a wee treat - the rare female 'boffin' is revealed to be Darwin's granddaughter at the end of the book.  Lovely embellishing details abound.  The zoo's in England, for example, carry some of the last 'natural' individuals of several species and are a tourist attraction.  The human line is the only one not allowed to be engineered, and the 'Monkey Luddite's' are a minority who fear the 'fabs' (fabricated animals) to the point of phobia.

"But Deryn's favourite lectures were when the boffins explained the natural philosophy.  How old Darwin had figured out how to weave new species from the old, pulling out the tiny threads of life and tangling them together under a microscope.  How evolution had squeezed a copy of Deryn's own life chain into every cell of her body.  How umpteen different beasties made up the Leviathan - from the microscopic hydrogen-farting bacteria in its belly to the great harnessed whale.  How the airship's creatures, like the rest of Nature, were always struggling among themselves in a snarling equilibrium"

The imagery is quite beautiful.  'Threads of life', 'life chains', talk of 'beasties' when the term 'animal' will no longer suffice.  I would like to get a hold of the microscope, by gum - how fantastical would that be?!

The book ends with the requisite dangley bits - go buy the sequel, why don't you?!   Definitely recommended if you want a half days escapism, via easy reading.  Definitely give it to the kids - then get them to decide what aspects are possible or not.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snow Day!

So I bashed my alarm off this morning and whipped my arm back under the covers so fast that I dislocated a shoulder.

Ok, not quite - but it was bloody cold, and the re-snuggling made me forget to wake up, and I next opened my eyes at the horrifically late time of 8am.  Jumped up and pulled the curtains to see lovely white glare - so I shoved the dog out, got dressed lightning fast and grabbed the camera in case it all melted.

I shouldn't have worried.

I enjoyed my hot porridge and tea and then ventured out to walk Trouble and see how far towards the ocean the snow persisted.



All the way.  Though I hear Canterbury has a thick blanket right down to the waters edge, so we have no claim to fame in that regard.  I did however, get caught in a wind-driven flurry up on the St Clair sports fields, I couldn't see (due to the snow driving into my eyes, not because it was a white-out - I wish!) and I had to tuck the camera into my coat.


I managed to get a couple of pics of the hills before the clouds closed in again:


And then hot footed it down off the dunes to get back to my warm house and a blistering hot cuppa.  Of course we met with strong, but beautiful, flurries on the football field across the road from the house and I was laughing out loud like a little kid.  Trouble was trying to catch flakes in his mouth, and ended up looking like a hobo.  Had to towel him off when we got back inside.
 Fun, brilliant times.  There were more kids playing on the streets than I even knew lived in the neighbourhood, people were out walking their dogs (admittedly very few people) and some youths were making good use of their dirt bike.

That'll be our one snow-dump for the 2 year period then?

Dunedin Winter Shenanigans

Saturday was beautiful - I sat on the back stoop and rolled up my pant-legs to blind myself from the glare.

Sunday was completely different.

Trouble was troubled.  What is this?  Winter dandruff?  And why do you keep grabbing me as I come inside and giving me a vigorous fur-ruffle?
It hailed/sleeted/snowed on and off all day, throw in a couple of moments of sublime sunshine and you have an almost typical Dunedin description.  During the 'down times', between hail hammering's, we popped outside to play and take photos.
This was fairly early in the day, before the muck built up too much.  Mostly hail here, but then I do live out at the beach.  I had not gone to the supermarket on Saturday 'cause I got caught up in a new book (whoops!  how often does that happen to me?!) and then I didn't find the roads passable enough until about 3 in the afternoon on Sunday.  Made it there and back either side of a hail shower.  Perfect timing - and I got to stomp about in my snow boots!  Win!

Like every good, well prepared, woman - I made ammo, just in case.
I figure with ice balls, you're only going to need a couple.  No one came a 'knockin.  Perhaps for the best...

Trouble went from being confused, to haring about at top speed, slipping over (see the slip marks?) and then curiously investigating the cold stuff in an ever-repeating cycle.  Very funny.
Of course the kids got cold and insisted I let them back in to warm up under the heatpump.  Demanding wee darlings.  (don't look at my house paint!  Its on my to-do list, I swear!).
Later in the afternoon I snapped the 'perfect poodle pose'.  I swear he practices in front of the mirror when I am not looking.
Fun day.  Snow, hail, boots (whoop!) and baking.  Good times.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Yeeeeeeesss...

...it's bigger on the inside".

The Graduated One sent me a most wondrous present from the 'States, via Think Geek. *swoon*, The TARDIS cookie jar.

Unfortunately, it does not hold more cookies on the inside than one would expect (and yes, that line has been pulled by every single person who has one of these, and it is still good.  So there.).

I decided to fill mine on its maiden voyage, with mini chocolate chunk cookies (sweetened condensed milk recipe) with apricot ginger jam 'glaze'. I say 'glaze' because how else do you say 'plopped a lump of jam on top, in a wee finger indent' and still sound edible?

The lamp pulsates blue and emits the noise every time you open the lid, and when ever you press the lamp itself down.  So of course every time I walk past I have to press it, and imagine the Doctor just landed in my back yard.  We live in hope, eh?

It's blinkin' hard to get a pic of it with the light on.  (she says in an attempt to excuse her blurry photography).  But a fun way to spend a snowy Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Oooooo it's not fair!

Why don't we get any Comic-Con madness in wee NZ?!

So many things to look forward to!

So many fragmented story lines!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't tell Harry!

'Cause he'll rip it off your bod and try to destroy it.

By Winter-artwork over at deviantART.  You can get the shirt here.

Pity I'm not a T-shirt kinda gal.

Hair and Now

I got bored with the fringe sitch pretty quickly; getting a trim every three weeks?  No thank you.  The mop on top of my head grows faster than your sneaky weed plant in the back cupboard that you think no one knows about.  As such, I'm gunning for the Emo Fringe look (just for shits and giggles, I promise.  I just can't bring myself to cry outside of movies...and books.  I think that prevents me from being a true part of the Emo culture.).  A couple of bobbies to hold it down and we encounter the Only Problem:

My hair is too godamn perky.  I blame the parents.  The Mother for the curl and the Father for the epic thickness which makes the curl so unmanageable (I sound like I'm complaining - but really, I love my hair.  How many crazy scientists have there ever been, with straight, boring hair?!).

And yes, I am that tired.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Surviving Dunedin Winter: Trick No# 593

Overcooking yourself in the shower.

If you time it right, you can make the dash back to your room and into your jimjams whilst only feeling "a little chilly" as you slide into bed after shedding your excess bodyheat evenly throughout the process. Yes, that is all one sentence.

A simple, but effective, classic.

Disadvantages: Pinked skin, none. Sucks for you if you're a morning shower type, though same rule would apply, only substitute 'jimjams' for 'day clothes'. Unless you are in the midst of an Arts PhD, then go right ahead and slide back into bed :P


- via the iPod magic wand.

Still one of my all-time faves

The Matrix.  Epic lobby scene - A Capella!  Via Squiddy.

Still makes me giggle.  "pew pew!".  And nod my head in time.  Great stuff (the movie and the remix).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Beautiful voices

I attended a public lecture this evening, after what feels like the longest of long days, and upon returning home (for the second time) I was so zoned I actually turned on the tv. I managed to catch the start of TVOne's new show, Nothing Trivial, which was actually quite good. I shall ever have a soft spot for pub quizzes and the epic team Sharktopus, so perhaps that explains the initial draw.

The main reason for my expending the unnecessary effort to pick up my massively heavy iPod, however, is that the subsequent program, a docco called Superswarms, was introduced with lovely, dulcet, Scottish tones of someone familiar. I could have sworn it was my doctor narrating.

So I had to look it up, and I was so right.

I swear to god he is throwing Who lines in, just for fun. I could listen to him all night :P. (even taking into account the grisly topic- swarming insects and such. Urgh.).

Perhaps audiobooks are not such a bad idea after all...

- via the iPod magic wand.

When I was a child, I thought like a child

When I became a (wo)man, I still thought like a child and reveled in the beauty of the imagined world.

Harry Potter was my Star Wars. LOTR was my Star Trek. JKR and JRRT got me through my formative years. Now, only the movie adaptation of The Hobbit awaits and I shall have a full teen aged years complement of film-adapted fiction.

I'm avoiding the subject, can you tell?

We saw Part II, tonight. We met for dessert beforehand amongst great company and elevated spirits, and parted ways after the movie with barely a word of goodbye.

SPOILERS, my lovelies.

I liked the movie. It was...epic. I feel sad, and happy, and very tired, with gritty eyes from the stupid, girly, unavoidable tear-shedding.

I hated the epilogue. But then, which lover of the books didn't? The kids, bar H-dawg, look ridiculous, Ginny has a stupid hair cut, Ronald has a pot belly and Hermione looks exactly like she always does. (I still feel a bit like Harry needs to join the ring bearers...and Ginny was never a good choice for him).

So, ignoring that travesty (JK, what were you thinking?!), the final movie pulls all the right strings; the music was beautiful and the spell light effects completely lovely. Minor characters are lovingly developed (Neville, Draco (awww sweetie! Always had a soft spot for that lad. Maybe it's the blond hair? It would explain the Viking thing too...) Snape, McGonigle (Rock On!) and Luna), Hermione and Ron get their aliquoted kiss and are sidelined for the rest. Harry mans up and Voldy's nose slits get some quality closeup time. Mrs Weasley gets her short limelight with the ever fabulous Bellatrix, and the poor twins not nearly enough emphasis (*sob*). Skinny white English boy bods come out for a quick awkward moment on the way to Hoggywarts; worth a giggle. Of course, Hermione being a girl has to just shut up and suffer the wet clothes in silence. Love, love Neville's cardigan.

In comparison to part I; light on the comic relief, heavy on the tear jerking (does the dragon have to be so cruelly mistreated it's entire life?!), the horcrux hunt is not as drawn-out and we are thrown from action to action without the sense of complete despair which permeates P1.

I'm going to have to see it again. I don't think I even absorbed half of it properly. Not 3D, however. It wasn't bad, but it certainly doesn't add anything phenomenal to the experience either (except the indignity of having to wipe ones tears out from behind glasses. How do you ocular-impaired folks cope?!). Both the kids and the production values have come so, so far since the first film...10 years ago. It's hard to even comprehend their belonging to the same.

So overall, stellar A+ rating. It made me cry, no easy feat by any means (I'm lying, I cry during films far more often than I would like to admit). Fav of the season. But in what world could it ever have been otherwise?


- via the iPod magic wand.

***
I have a warm, toasted, cream cheese, cinnamon bagel and a long black - perfect start to a morning which is overtired and frustrated - for technology not working as it should godamnit!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vikings and Wolves...oh my

Best. Ep. yet.

SPOILERS, my sweet.

True Blood S04E04, begins with fairy-blood-drunk Eric, cavorting happily - pinching bottoms and grinning like a loon.

"There isn't any more.  You drank the whole fairy, and you're going to your room!"

You know you watch this for the Eric scenes, don't deny it.  This one is the best yet.  I like this progression - getting better each week; continue on, ABall, I can't wait to see what you have for us next week.

The Hot Shot plotline, however, is fucked up.  I am not going to get over that shit.  I am going to attempt to block it from my memory.  Perhaps by watching the good scenes a couple more times...  Stoked Jase killed Felton, though.  Perhaps we should hope all the fucked up relation-names will die with him, thank you uncle brother husband.

In a nice aside; the lovely Alcide, shirt on:
Shirt off.  Yeah, she's not looking away.
 I'm sorry, did you get that?  Shirt on:

Shirt off:

Good.  Pleased we're on the same page.  Ie.  Heeeeeelo Alcide.  I'm so glad you're back.  Indecent shot, not withstanding.  I shall even fess up and admit to having raised a hand to cover the ahem 'scene' for fear of innocence lost.  Talk about hugging the line for mainstream TV.

Moving on - they find Eric frolicking in a 'gator infested pond, in the daylight, because now fairy blood is that strong.  I'm pretty sure they wrote the ep around this scene.

"Get away from her!",  "Fuck you.  She wants me here."..."Alcide...keep making that noise".

Hilarious.  Oh boys, you and your animalistic possessive posturing.  Guess that sums up the show quite nicely huh?  Animalistic.  Delightful.  Run cowardly 'gators, Run!

Second half brings in some of the vulnerable aspects of amnesiac-Eric's character, and I'm not quite sure how Sook is managing to say no:
Oh, sweetie.

I think next week will have to delve into this a bit more deeply, perhaps with his apparently well-remembered human past.  And of course - Sookie is going to cave.  Also - I get the fairy blood supposed extreme effect, but staying up all day?  That's stretching the mythos a bit isn't it?  Day = Dead.  I'm not sure you can get around that.  And when did Sookie and Alcide become such close friends?  Lingering hug much? *cough*

So, so pleased Bill drops Portia like a hot, rotten potato when he sees the relation.  And love that Mrs Bellefleur makes the connection so quickly and is lightening fast to tell him he can't continue the relationship.  Though really, genetics wise...and considering he's a sterile vampire...well, Southern Manners and all. (Bar Hot Shot of course).  Andy is a man-child.  Pam is as fabulous as ever.  Sam's sideline relationship could prove interesting; do we know who the Were father is, do you think?  The Tommy bollocks is dull and predictable.  You can see Debbie's evil cogs working up towards the finale, that'll be a fun one.  And Hoyt-Jessica-Jase love triangle, anyone?!  I called it!  Lets wait and see.

Surprisingly, Sookie is not at all worried about her fairy godmother being drained, even with her treachery, she did guard and save her life for years.  And she was blooded family...but I guess she didn't know that, and maybe she wasn't in this version of events.  I find that sad.  I quite like that fairy twins (poor Claudette) plot lines.

Hilarious evil-baby.  I was expecting "Die! Die! Die!" or something equally cliché-innocuous, but "Baby not yours"?  Really?  We knew that!  Rock on, evil-baby, rock on.

"I'll never swim in the sun again.  Never feel the heat on my skin."  You know what - I can completely empathise. These Dunedin winters really get you down :P  How can we cheer up?
"If you kiss me I promise to be happy again".  I bet you would, you crafty vamp.  Go to bed. 
(Godamnit Bill!)