December 31, 2011

Out with the old

So, here we are again. RIP 2011. Another one bites the dust.

Helen Arney did indeed play a uke at the Monkey show, and again at the somewhat overlapping Nine Lessons & Carols on the 23rd, along with a couple of other people. A jolly good time was had on both occasions, and a few others besides. Ian discovered that he actually quite likes Stewart Lee after all.

Christmas itself was spent in Wales with the in-laws. An actual physical game of Carcassonne was assayed; the FIL was thoroughly underwhelmed, but the rest of us enjoyed it. Christmas presents were somewhat dominated by things associated with our forthcoming departure to far-flung places, which at least gave a measure of structure to the process. Doctor Who was saccharine and silly, but I enjoyed it anyway. Great Expectations was thoroughly splendid.

Compared to the excesses of years gone by, this holiday season has been the very picture of austerity. Objectively, perhaps not so much. Weight has been gained, alas. But I am more or less sober, and spent much of the evening cooking a tasty couscous for dinner. Friends have been visited, love and good wishes exchanged. No attempt will be made to attend the evening's kettling excitement down by the river. We might possibly watch a bit of Jools.

Proper closure on the year will have to wait another 6 days. (My thesis is garlanded with Post-its in preparation.) But in the meantime, as that plumber would say: let's a-go!

Buon anno a tutti.

Posted by matt at 9:29 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2011


So, um. There's this:

My ongoing project to become a complete internet cliché continues.

In the context of the scientific limbo between thesis submission and viva, I recently gave a kind of valedictory talk to my fellow CoMPLEX students. Well, it was more of a spittle-flecked hellfire and brimstone rant, creaking under the unwieldy title Candide Must Die! Winston Churchill, Unscrewing Office & the Epiphenomenal Imbroglio -- and there was a subtitle too. Highlights for me included the line "Next time you hear someone claiming that some complex phenomenon is an 'emergent property' of underlying simple rules, TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF!" Ah, the spirit of calm and respectful scientific discourse. Highlights for the audience were presumably concentrated around the wretched thing eventually ending.

Anyway, the Christmas season is upon us, with all the inconvenience and excess that entails. There's some fun stuff coming up amongst all the drinking excuses, notably Uncaged Monkeys on Wednesday, back at the Hammersmith Odeon for another night of comico-scientific geekery. Someone will doubtless play the ukelele. I may or may not report.

Posted by matt at 10:03 AM | Comments (3)