Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Loooooooooong weekend

The Loitering One organised a Departmental table tennis comp for Happy Hour on Friday, I I totally won my first game!

...Ok, so it was only because my opponent was worse than I and by my trying to just keep the ball on the table I won by default.  Was smashed in the second round and later smashed by The Douchbag Jar who played with only a hand.  Seriously - not even a racket and he beat me.

I blame my undergrad years.  You know - for actually doing uni and not sitting about in bars playing pool/table tennis/foosball.  Fo'shame.

Brilliant good fun at any rate, it was surprising the people who had hidden talent.  And the people who cannot stand losing to anyone.  Hilarious.


I experimented last week with making these, 'pretzel hugs':

Total fail, if you were wondering.  Stupid american faux-recipes.  And those 'kisses' are so godamn expensive and some of the worst chocolate I have ever tasted.  Kind of compound-like.  Ick.

And because I'm a sucker for punishment I thought I'd try making this 'bark' bollocks that seems all the rage in the States at the mo.

Basically (in this version) a layer of chocolate, sprinkled with pretzel pieces, a layer of caramel and then chocolate on top.  Cut it up into what I can only assume are supposed to look like tree bark pieces.

I totally cheated and brought that condensed milk caramel.  Its delicious.  Could have saved some $ and popped a can of the normal stuff in the pressure cooker or autoclave, apparently, or made normal caramel myself - meh.  Its a bit messy, but I imagine kids would love it.  The salt of the pretzel meets the caramel in a delightful way.

I also whipped up a batch of chocolate caramel cupcakes, half of which I took round to meet the new Postdocs baby - so, so cute.
I topped them off with plain vanilla icing and a wee chocolate button.  I also refrained from bringing the other half-batch into work.  Not feeling very charitable in that direction this week.

She is the most beautiful, tiny baby I have ever seen, I swear.  She slept in my arms for a solid hour and it was very hard to leave.  Shall have to get in many sneaky visits before I leave the city.


Finished JKR's new book yesterday.  Took me a couple weeks to get through the first half and then only a couple days for the second - it got so much better.  And I think the distinction is that the first half focuses on the adults and the second on the children, the childrens' characters just pop.  And there is some of the best crescendo that I have ever read, good god.  A very good subliminal commentary on society, and a satisfying, if distraught, ending.  Overall impression - not bad, JKR, not bad at all.  Certainly more than I was expecting.


Time for more job applications...urgh.

Mashup of the favs

It is a truth… by ladygranthams
Doctor Who x Pride and Prejudice

Friday, October 19, 2012


Oh man, this made me tear up.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

So many of the feelings-precious

Exam reports are in!

Suspicious and apprehensive...

I had the lovely administrator seal them in an envelope at 3pm, I was completely unable to deal with them, having learnt they were in and I had an oral exam date (more on that soon) and I could see them all within a very short period of time - after waiting with no word for 11 weeks.

Please don't crush my fragile scientific soul...

I took them home in the hope that, if horrific, I could weep bitter-angry-soul-crushed-tears-of-despair in private.  I stopped via the supey for dinner fixin's, stocked up on conciliatory chocolate at the insistence of the Married One, with whom I sat in the car park having a text convo, to delay the inevitable...

Got back to the house, prepped dinner, made lunch for the next day, unpacked my school stuff, visited the wash closet, tidied the kitchen a wee bit and then finally sat down to the dreaded envelope.
Promptly stood back up and improved the situation.
Right.  And read.

Well, I say read, it was more read-and-text-commentate-the-sitch-to-TMO.  The first paragraphs are a summary of your thesis and generally good comments: unexpected.

Maybe not all bad?!

Then come the chapter-by-chapter critique and listed minor corrections.

Not listening.  Not listening...

Then came the reactionary shaking hands and general amazement that overall the reports were remarkably positive, all the minor corrections were totally reasonable and easily doable, and that I was being offered 'laudation' (I shit you not, good word), and was even called 'amazing'.

We all know what follows ecstatic happiness...

I drained my glass, popped those bad boys back in their envelope and left for dinner before I started dissecting them to the point of negative-comment-fixation.  I'm trying to focus on the good bits...

Unable to contemplate living in a world where anyone complements me, and consumed by a jealous rage at his inferior degree (possibly driven by a current lack of his favoured pomegranate body wash *cough*), the Hairy One censored one of my reports:
His flatmate, The Twitter Lover (yes, that's my sarcastic voice) stood by in dulcet collaboration. Despite being, I am convinced, a complete sweetheart deep down inside.

Also, since I know how closely you follow my baking/cooking experiments - pork part two was not better than pulled-pork-the-first.  While delicious stock leftovers might make other meats better, for this one: stick to the recipe.  I think fresh cider vinegar is the key, and while I ramped up the cayenne, it wasn't nearly enough.  So go nuts with the pepper, some lovely smoked paprika and excess chilli flakes, don't be shy.  I think next time I would cut off the skin and fat prior to cooking too, it was a bit greasy this time, though the second shoulder was fattier than the first.  Combined with potatoes, garlic cloves and capsicum roasted with oil instead of dry baked like my usual, the meal was quite heavy.  Not bad...just not best.

Amazing news of the second string - my Oral Exam date is set for the 6th November, 3 days before the December graduation cut off, which means - I'm graduating this year baby!  PhD at 26yo, not bad.

However - my Oral Exam date is set for the 6th November.  Argh!  19 days away!  Argh!

Lets start looking at minor corrections!  Whoop!!

Maybe this is actually just the beginning?!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Curl and...Hurl?

My hair, when left on its own after a pool visit, does this:
"FINE! I'm going to sleep, you do what ever you want."  (Its a healthy love/hate relationship).

Deliberate scary eyes, I promise.  I didn't just get my examiners reports back.  (but they are all in!  Soon! Eeeeee!)

I find it very entertaining.  Especially in light of this, perfect wave my ass:

That team of 8 stylists not pulling their weight in the tropical climate huh Kate?!  Embrace the fro!

In other news, The Married One's...married one, has his oral exam today!  Rejoice!  The end is nigh!

I also went to see Pitch Perfect with the Knitting One last night, and it was hilarious.  Elements of Best in Show, and far more laughs than what was shown in the trailers, which is a pretty rare thing these days (god - how old do I sound?!).  Beautiful vomit scenes, which is probably a good indication of whether you will like it or not.  It took me ages to place the lead, but she's the ditzy chick off Twilight (more sublime laughs coming up with that too, soon) and so, so much better in this.  [SPOILERS] Usual groan at the bullshite 'happy ending'.  How about the girl doesn't get the perfect-boy-for-her, just once?!  How about we stop perpetrating the myth that nerd girls who had a shitty highschool experience magically transform at Uni and meet perfectly-matching nerd boys, huh?  Huh?!  (I'm not at all bitter.  Leave me alone.).


I put a second pork shoulder on this morning for dinner at The Hairy One's tonight, ramped up the spice level and used some delicious stock for the base, will see how my bastardisations turn out when paired with roasted spuddies and capsicum.

Oh! Also, this, on WSWCGS today:

Walking into my defence:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oh the calamity!

Last Friday the Uni network went down and we were without internet for about an hour.

Its funny how quickly everyone throws their toys.  And how remarkably quickly the atmosphere becomes collegial - we had visitors in our office from all over the building; fun times.

Anyway, I was in the middle of copying code over to the new website and was quite put-out that I lost a whole pages worth of fresh coding.

Also relevant to the backstory; when I got my iPhone from my brilliant fathers fabulous string of coincidental events (when I start a band that is so going to be its name), I gave my iPod touch to The Baby One, who eventually had it stood-on during a football game.  Or something.

So, like that other time when I ripped my old mp3 player apart for interests sake - I did it again.

Main impression?  Layers - there are so many freaking layers to those touch screens.  I was amazed.

I didn't get right the way through to the juicy stuff, snapped my cheap wee screwdriver in half whilst trying, in fact.  But I've saved it for next time.

Unmake rules!

Monday, October 15, 2012

On Repeat

I too, will wait for you.


So I attended the Spooky Mens Chorale on Friday night with The Authoress and Co. as our final OFA activity, and it was brill.  16 men of various states of beard, in a delightful collection of hats.  The kilted-pirate was particularly admired by TA, who requested his number on the email notification signup sheet (OK, so maybe I acted in proxy for her...).
An eclectic mix of singing and comedy, it was both lovely and funny.  It was their first ever appearance in the country apparently, and they are doing a bit of a tour, so go see them if you have the chance (there is one in Welly!).


Saturday avo The Knitting One came over for a pulled pork and Pride & Prejudice combo evening.  It had been ages since either of us had seen it (and TheLBD is crazy exciting right now), so celebrated the (5 hour) love with wine and delish food (she made a sourcream-apple pie, which was sublime).

Such a good way to spend an evening.

Pull It

The Knitting One sent me three recipes Friday afternoon, always a good way to shred productivity, and I was so excited by the third I bought a pork shoulder on the way home.

I've been wanting to try pulled pork since I saw a video tute of it a couple months back, but had dismissed it since it tends to require 12 oven hours.

This recipe however required only a crockpot, and I swore I remembered seeing about ten of the crafty buggers hanging about TOO's house.


And all right, one working pot, one broken, and one that turns out to be a rice cooker and not a crockpot at all. But still! Exciting! Crockpot virgin, no less.

So I sliced up the onion to line the bottom of the pot and then placed the lovingly washed and patted-dry shoulder on top. Dry flav-stuff pressed onto the flesh (mmmmm flesh) and then vinegar mix drizzled over top. Plugged it in and did a little dance around the kitchen.
Of course as I sat down to a supper of macaroni leftovers I started counting in my head and swore when I realised I'd have to get up at 4am to turn off the pot.

Ridiculous. I turned it off and only turned it back on upon my return from the Spooky Men's Chorale. A 9am cooking sitch I can actually deal with for a Saturday morning.

Pulling it apart was deliciously satisfying
And having a mound of delicious meat ready for anything was exciting
Instead of just dumping it back in (the liquid volume had increased dramatically) I drained the onions and put those back in with the meat and the final third of the cidar vinegar flavour mix..thing.  Kept the delicious stock for the next weeks cooking.
I don't think you are imagining just how good this was.  Imagine more.  Then make it - you know you want to.  And definitely slap it in some white bread buns with coleslaw.

I wasn't shy with the cayenne, but you could adjust it for however you like.  I made dinner for the week with the leftovers, stuffed spuds with the pork, creamed corn, onion and cheese.  This might be the first time I have not ruined a piece of roast-meat (Yep.  Can't cook a roast.  Sue me).  Not that it counts as roasting, but still!  Win!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Date Night, and Bird of the Year Results!

A wee group of us went to see The Middlemarch Singles Ball, an OFA theatre adaptation of the organising committee process one year when they discover all the tickets have sold out - to women, and there are no single farmers left with which to satisfy them.  A production by the Globe Theatre, it was a delightful way to spend an evening.  A touch awkward in parts, but an entertaining story reasonably well portrayed by a cast of only 4, and only 2 set changes.  I was impressed with the story's ability to portray the action of an entire community and a 500-strong ball contingent with only those 4 characters.  Cleaver scene choice, I guess.  (how fascinating a study would be a PhD in the arts?!  Next endeavour?! ...I'm kidding, Mum.  No more study, I promise).  So that was lovely, and as always, a delight catching up with The Authoress.  One more on Friday for OFA, but will save that for later.

Kereru did not win Bird of the Year, again.  However I shall begrudgingly admit that the Karearea is sufficiently BAMF to take out the top spot.

And yes, I am procrastinating sufficiently by making the results into a sweet sweet graph:

Colour for emphasis.  Yeah that's right, Bellbird.  (and we're going to pretend not to see the Fantail there above us, right Kereru?!  Its ok sweetie, next year). to be Skua.  Heh.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A nebula, called IC 1396.  Via.

Oh yeah

Totally swam 2 kilometres yesterday.


I'm in full job-hunting mode and during my internet sifting, came across this, which made me want to apply despite unsuitability:
Shall I make the requisite 'bigger on the inside' joke?

My face has been largely absent since the advent of glasses and actually spending evenings not on my computer, and someone mocked me for it.  So fine.  Here:
I know you were just in withdrawal.

Went to see Looper last night.
Plot holes much?!  And JGL's face was weirding me out - all slightly altered to look more like Bruce.  I swear at the beginning he just looked like himself to me, but then after Brucie turned up I started noticing it and it wouldn't leave me alone.  Eyebrows.  Gah.  I loved the minor TK subplot - "get yourself tested today!"  Brill.  Why bother testing?  What else is going on here?!

The language in this article is completely beautiful.  Random rant about a mayonnaise shop, however.  But still - beautiful use of English.

Have booked my ferry across the strait.  Looks like I now have a concrete date for leaving Dunedin for good.  Early morning of the 22nd December I am outtahere.  What on earth does my future hold?!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Penis > Science.

And the self-given-award for best article headline for the week, goes to...

Me.  Penis. Its funny.  Serious issue, however.  Article here and here.  Go forth and educate yourselves so that the issue no longer exists and I don't have to write about it again in 5-10 years.

'Cause you know I will.


In other news, The Hobbit website has a wee riddle sitch going on, and this was the only one I got right:
Try not to have a play with the riddles this Friday afternoon, I dare you.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Well this is...

Well this is...exciting!  New Chucks:
New season, new colour.  And I threw out the beloved old pair after they fell apart, but before they fell off my feet.  Unlike certain other useless individuals who need an old pair filled with Jelly before it is easier to throw them out than clean them and continue insisting that they function perfectly well as 'footwear'.  Which they didn't, for the record.
Well this is...hilarious!  The Crazy One, hiding from 'unfortunate circumstance' in the office:
Brill afternoon.  It felt like a Friday.
Well this is...comfortingly normal.  New note on my desk:
Well this is...ridiculous!  Honestly, ten kilograms of dry ice for one tiny eppie of reagent.
That's The Magic Postdoc sifting through the masses of dry ice trying to find the tiny thing.  Add into the equation the huge amount of polystyrene and shipping effort, and that is one hell of an environment-ruining wee aliquot.
Well this is...ok.  Saw Two Little Boys on Tuesday night and it was...strange.  Moments of brilliant hilarity  but very dark humour.  Which I usually like.  
It wasn't bad, just...discombobulating.  You are worked up into a state where you sympathise with Bret's character, but then the plot shifts and you feel bad for feeling less-bad for him.  Very strange, and little explanation of the strangeness which probably doesn't help the discombobulation.  But as far as evoking an emotional response goes - this is art.  Heh.  I'd say if you like either of the main actors normal brand of comedy, you'll like this enough to get by, they certainly do a very good job with acting it.  And keep an eye out for naughty drawings during the credits.  Cute.

On Repeat

Oh man this shit is stuck deep in my brain.  Its been on repeat for three days, kicked Childish Gambino right out of the building.

Via The Veterinary One.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It is a truth universally acknowledged

It blows my mind a little how similar laboratory science is world-over.  From this Tumblr, which I am sure you have already added to your Reader, to this:

"Lab Meeting 101

What is the point of lab meeting? It is to keep your PI off your back until your next lab meeting. Yes, I know: PI’s are like mushrooms, feed’em shit and keep’em in the dark. But only until lab meeting. Don’t try to obfuscate results or hide failure. Don’t blow your wad between your lab meetings by running to their office to share your cool results in real time. By the time your lab meeting rolls around, they will be craving their next fix of results. It’ll be all: what-have-you-done-for-me-lately? “Remember that cool result from 2 weeks ago?” won’t slake their junkie’s thirst for data.

1. Underpromise
2. Overdeliver
3. It’s not a job/conference talk. Be serious, don’t try and sell it.
4. Have an ace in the hole. 
5. Short and sweet or your lab will hate you."

Junkies thirst for data, indeed.

(And yes, my mind is continuing the quote from the title in autopilot).