October 31, 2012


So, after more wrangling than strictly necessary, this happened:

Method for Estimating the Tip Geometry of Scanning Ion Conductance Microscope Pipets

Stupid spelling courtesy of the journal. I'm pretty sure "pipet" isn't even proper American, but what do I know? I now have a first-author publication. Go me.

This, in the eyes of the American Chemical Society, makes me a peer. Accordingly, they have already given me something to review. No names, obviously, and no pack drill. I have approached this task with a positively sanctimonious sense of duty. I was hoping the paper would be a nice cut and dried affair that I could magnanimously pass with the barest of cosmetic comments; alas no. I now find myself in the position of being that twat reviewer who tears your paper to bits while pretending it's for your own good. Irksome, but that's genuinely the case. You know I wouldn't make comments for my own aggrandisement; mostly because of my keen moral purpose, but also -- let's face it -- because there's not actually any aggrandising to be had. Unless you're an odious prick who takes pleasure in belittling others, reviewing is basically a completely thankless task. It's a miracle anyone does it at all.

Otherwise, there have been all manner of entertainments, including Amanda Fucking Palmer at KOKO; Dara O'Briain at the Hammersmith Odeon Apollo; finally catching up with Homeland and Breaking Bad and Community; birthday celebrations for David, Mike, Dorigen, Ed, etc; and -- still up in the air but an intriguing prospect -- invitation to a colleague's top-tier wedding in Bangladesh, a country I would have a fairly low probability of visiting in the normal course of events. They take their weddings seriously there -- four huge parties spread over more than a week. It's in March next year. I can't pretend I'm not tempted.

Upcoming: Philippe Decouflé, Al Murray, Rosas, fireworks, some kind of TBA meetup with WT stalwart flerdle, etc, etc. Busy time, autumn. One almost doesn't have a moment to notice how fucking dark and cold things have gotten around here.

Also, it's Halloween: BOO!

Posted by matt at 10:24 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2012

Penny Evans

Came close to forgoing tonight's Michelle Shocked gig at Bush Hall. I was feeling a bit under the weather, and picked up a measure of vicarious sadness from an ex-colleague, and it seemed like an awfully long way and I couldn't find anyone to go with. (Last year's companion, long ago boyf and recent best man Matt, has left these shores; and Mandy's in Aberdeen; and so on.) Michelle's a bit old school for many of the people I know these days, and it was short notice -- though it turns out my old boss from APT is also keen (much the same age, see) and might have made it with a bit more warning. So perhaps that, next year.

Anyway, I was on my own and not in the mood. And she started slow and laconic, making the audience her warm-up act with a round or two of folkaoke ("It's like karaoke, but without the Jägermeister"). There was a lot of deceptively low-key meandering confessional chat, and at first I was concerned that it was all going to be a half-baked retread of her last visit -- which I would still have enjoyed a lot, of course. But I needn't have worried. She knew where she was going, weaving her sticky storyteller's web from country to doo-wop to blues. It was a barnstorming performance, wonderfully assisted by Kermit the Frog Peter O'Toole on bouzouki(?), and she played the crowd as fiercely as her guitar.

There were a couple of children in the audience, dragged along by well-meaning parents, and they seemed sort-of into it, but a bit uncertain. I wanted to rush up to them and tell them how lucky they were, that they'd appreciate having done all this when they got older; but of course I didn't. And who knows, maybe they won't. But it added to atmosphere, anyway.

I sang along and clapped and roared. Got a little teary-eyed. She encored with a searing, unaccompanied "Ballad of Penny Evans", belted out from among the audience in the middle of the hall. It was awesome.

I'm almost ready to turn up at the Stock Exchange tomorrow to bang some pots and pans.


Posted by matt at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 5, 2012


This, obviously, is a blog. That's been the defining feature of this site for more than 9 years. The actual blogging has declined to the point where it barely registers, but the identity remains. The various other things hosted around here have always been satellites of the blog. Photos are blog entries. Software releases are blog entries. Video and music and talks and essays and little visual toys -- even the odd crossword -- have all always been blog entries. Pretty much everything I've put on the site -- at least for public consumption -- has been dangled off the blog like a bauble on a xmas tree.

As organising principles go, it has the virtue of simplicity, but that's about it.

Don't get me wrong, there's an awful lot to be said for simplicity. Updating a website, in general, is a bit of a drag. With adequate blogging software -- and Movable Type 3, long-forgotten dinosaur though it may be, is nothing if not adequate -- that drag is mostly eliminated. There are many factors contributing to the infrequency of posting at WT, but low-level administrative friction is not one of them.

In any case, for some fairly superficial and probably transient reasons not worth going into right now, and also because I've been meaning to for ages and ages ages, I'm starting to reorganise things just a bit.

The first sign of this is that this blog is no longer the front page of walkytalky.net. I don't expect anyone to care about this; to be honest I'll be surprised if anyone even notices. The readership of this blog is very small, and I'm not sure anyone actually visits the front page anymore, except by accident. Even so, it represents something of a milestone.

As usual, all existing content will remain in place, because I'm such a notorious conservative. Or pack rat. Whatever. Only the main index has moved sideways a half-step.

And the chances of me actually gathering all the photos, for example, of which there are an enormous number, and sorting them into some kind of coherent order, are pretty slim. But I am at least going to try to get some of the material into a more accessible shape. We'll see how that goes.

Posted by matt at 4:23 PM | Comments (0)