Friday, 30 December 2005

book and film count

So, my anomalous 2004 of reading 41 books has been followed by a more reasonable, perhaps even disappointing 2005 of only 9 books completed (having finished off the Constant Gardener yesterday). I do still have 3 or 4 on the go, though, at least two of which bear a reasonable chance of being finished within the foreseeable future.

More shocking is that, following a sortie last night to see King Kong with Lee, I've only been to the cinema 12 times. I don't have the numbers, but I rather suspect that to be my lowest yearly total since '96, my first year of uni, and possibly even lower than that year, which was basically my first of going to cinemas. There are a lot of factors: a lack of viewing partners some of the time, lack of original (i.e. not dubbed) versions of films I would otherwise have seen, and the temporary relocation of my local cinema, TNB. Most significantly, I've been doing massive, massive amounts of film and TV watching on my computer at home, which instalments I have not counted in that figure of 12. I have a list at home of the films watched on my PC, so when I get back maybe I'll post that.

It would be nice to think that the coming year would see a rise in both figures, and while the cinema count is almost sure to go back up a bit, I think the thesis will probably block a large rise in the novel count.

My Lillehammer trip was good, posts and photos to come when I get back to Rennes next week.

Monday, 19 December 2005

what the...

I've been browsing Australia media outlets sporadically over the last week for responses to what's been going on in Cronulla. This morning I've found some shockers.

This report via Yahoo, has a quote right at the end that I can't even parse. I really had the impression that these sort of people evolved away a hundred years ago, and that they are alive and running around in Australia is kinda scary.

The Donnelly clown got some play a few months ago bagging postmodern approaches to education, but at least he had some credibility in that discussion. Today, the Australian's given him a soapbox to air some views that it is PC education that has caused these troubles. Such an obvious abuse of common sense would be funny if it weren't sure to exacerbate the problem.

Finally we have this James Morrow fellow, who makes two points. Firstly, that violence perpetrated by the Anglo-Celts has been disproportionately publicised compared to that perpetrated by the Lebanese, which I can't comment on at this distance - certainly all the coverage I've seen has been of the former. Secondly, he attacks the idea that the problems will not be much noticed internationally, and will not effect our image overseas. I can say from personal experience that this is bullshit. I've had four or five people ask me about this stuff over the last week, and in every case I think their opinion of Australian society has been changed a little.

twas the weekend before christmas

And all over town people were praying to the hungry god of consumerism. I should have been amongst them, but I couldn't be arsed, so I stayed home and fiddled about on my computer. In the evening, there was an Avenir game, a fairly win against Nantes after some worries early on. Early in the second quarter, when your centre has 16 of the team's 22 points and her opponent has 3 fouls, it is imperative that you not throw the ball into the low post. Or at least, that seems to be the prevailing "wisdom". Their logic is not like our earth logic.

After the game there was a party for Nono's 25th. Some friends made her a video montage, and food, drink and merriment abounded. I was pissed enough to do some dancing later on, including the chicken dance (duck dance over here) around 3am or so. We, being Liz, Soso, Francky, Ashoo and myself, headed off at 5:30am, after Francky's general mood took a turn for the worst - poor chap.

On Sunday there was a game at Vezin, Soso's team playing in the Coupe de France. I jumped on my bike and rode out around 2pm, overestimating fairly considerably the time needed for a 9k trip. I thus squeezed in some time sitting in a park reading Crime & Punishment and watching a bit of a local football game. The basketball was OK, the difference between the N2 and N3 levels very evident in the lesser physicality. The gym wasn't heated though, so I spent most of the match feeling pretty cold. Goodness only knows how I'm going to manage in Lillehammer.

Thursday, 15 December 2005

curry with ashoo

Last night we gathered for curry. Present were Franck, the host from Alsace, Soso, the sole local, Ashoo, the cook, from Hyderabad, Liz, from Canada, and myself, the antipodean. Good curry, good company, and for bonus points we played a little NBA Live in between courses. To be repeated, I can only hope.

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

hell. handbasket.

Jobs in Australian IT research are rare things. Every time a lab gets shut down, my chances of working in my current field in my own country get smaller and smaller. DSTC, gone. And now TRL, apparently.

From another point of view, I find it baffling that a company (Telstra) would at the same time dispose of both its in-house research (by firing its TRL researchers), and its outsourced research (by withdrawing from CRCs). I'm a shareholder of Telstra, but I won't be for much longer if this news is confirmed by Telstra itself. A company the size of Telstra with no view to research, is not long for this world.