Thursday, June 24, 2004

24 June 2004: Haircut

Mauro, legendary barber to all male students in Southampton, thinks the Denmark - Sweden game was fixed. It finished 2-2, the one result that pretty much guaranteed his beloved Italian team would be knocked out.

So you think it was fixed? I ask as he removes my not-far-off-being-a-proto-mullet with his sabre-toothed buzz-cut machine.
He stops, looks at me in the barber shop mirror, and puts his hands out.
What you think? he asks in his lilting Neopolitan accent. Of course they do. It's the Italian manager's fault, though, they need get rid of him.
I nod, hoping he won't take his vengeance on me.

Half an hour later I'm here in the lab, hair quite radically shorter, noticing for the first time that the blind above Steve Harris's desk has been lifted, allowing sunlight and a view of the trees into my line of sight. First time in nine months that has happened, and suddenly Bay 10 has a very different feel.

KFOG, bless 'em, have introduced me to two new bands recently: Train and an Aussie threesome known as The Waifs. Very folksy, quite Bob Dylan in fact (they've been touring with him recently), and the song KFOG have been playing to death is called Lighthouse. Lots of acoustic guitar and harmonica, but I like the sound. Therein some hope for all of us who thought there was no Aussie music outside of Kylie and Holly Vallance. Also, of course, something to tide us over until the new Marc Cohn album is released. I can hear definite parallels between them, especially in the drum/percussion arrangements for some reason.

I clearly need to be doing more gigs. Just not with this haircut.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

22 June 2004: Football

Watched the England game last night. Kevin invited many friends around, and I brought my duck who, due to lack of space, had to sit on my head. If you haven't seen it before, it's a fascinating sight:

It gets the usual response. People sit there looking at me for about five minutes before asking 'why do you have a duck on your head?' Last night was no exception.

Why do you have a duck on your head? asks one guy.
He likes the altitude, I reply.
Oh, I see.

Of course, the match itself will be remembered for the fat kid Rooney. Handy little player, when Everton played Saints earlier in the year he was easily the stand-out player back then. But seventy-five million pounds? SEVENTY-FIVE? It's roughly calculated that, at present, each goal he scores in the Euro champsionships adds approximately ten million pounds to his current value. If it goes on much longer, the government will be able to sell him off to pay the national debt.

He's still a bit of a chubber, though. The favourite chant about him goes along the lines of:
He's fat
He's Scouse
He's gonna rob your house
Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney

So as you might imagine, I've put it through the Babelizer to see what comes out.

it lubricates he's,
scouse of he's,
energy of he's, around its house,
rooney the end to rob of Wayne

Classy stuff. 'Fat' is translated into French as 'graisse' and comes back as 'lubricate'. Bet David Moyes never considered using Rooney as a lubricant. Maybe that's why he's worth so much?

Of course, if he scores a hat-trick against Portugal on Thursday I'll take it all back.

Monday, June 21, 2004

21 June 2004: Nine Month Report

As the first draft hits the fan, I thought it wouldn't be a bad idea to see just how incomprehensible my technical writing has become during my first nine months as a PhD student. I'm not sure, but I think progress as a researcher can be measured out in terms of increasing incomprehensibility, so I left a copy of my report lying around the house for random perusal and feedback.

Read your report, says Kevin. Didn't get much beyond the abstract.
But the abstract made sense? I enquire.
No, replies Kevin, but I thought it might get easier as it went on. It didn't.

Didn't get the bit about document repo-whatsits, says Rob shortly afterwards.
But isn't it interesting how academics always cite themselves? I ask.
Yeah, that too, says Rob, now will you let me watch my Dark Angel DVD in peace?

So, no impact there. But is the abstract really so abstract? You decide. I stuck it through the Babelizer for fun, and this is what came out:
The liquid semantics of the extremity in d'enchaînement, that one that adds meant that semantic deep the monetary acts you have been pleasant comprehensible him a machine, wishes the champion and the inscatolano dell'argomentazione of the tools the knowledge that the useful crude oil of l information extrapolates. The knowledge of the technologies of the game the one main part during this process and many of the techniques has been developed already. This report/ratio is concentrated in l utility of the techniques that of demanipulation of s'appliquer, that one he advance with the field of the networks of the citation in the immense scale, within me placed it of the reference of the arrested interior original of l'enchaînement will have been regulated frequently. The this avançées also the data with the launching of the technician of the problems of l'enchaînement, that one are to him the increases with semantic, this type of Verweisl integrity, but to fill with, that know to the efficient form of d'enchaînement l'intradosso of the semantic uses that 'maps', the aids not only the technologies of the knowledge; you scientific discipline or same stampini of the Korporation of the qualifications. The networks of the citation in the immense scale are some monetary deep one worked him, that one that obtain behind the knowledge, that d'applications in the semantic context of the network has much: this report/ratio describes the immediate challenges exactly, because being arranged and one that is seen of the possible uses, that emerges, poichè this extended field is developed.

I like the bit about stampini of the Korporation. I picture an Italian guy, kind of like Roy of the Rovers but in a commercial setting.

Roll on the football.