The mosquito problem is, my researchers tell me, approximately seventy billion times worse down south in the city of Baton Rouge. My badly bitten arms concur. It becomes swiftly evident on visiting such places that the main advantage to a climate like Britain’s is that most of the unpleasant critters don’t want to live there — one need not fear being devoured by mosquitoes, home invasion by cockroaches, being bled dry by leeches or any of the other myriad terrors that abound in warmer climes. For that I, and my arms, are extremely grateful.
We spent only a single night in Baton Rouge, returning to Monroe today, which is not really long enough to see everyone as we would wish. Steve, Debbie and Nic came over to the Traylors’ for dinner and we surprised Dave Marley with a late night visit to the Starbucks at which he works part time. As instructed by Jenna I sampled their coffeeless Vanilla Bean Frappuccino — yes, the flavour is nice; no, it’s not really a milkshake, being too creamy and not frozen enough. Jeff was also around since he’s working this week before going back up to Monroe on Friday. Jane has wandered off on some kind of Tex-Mex holiday so I couldn’t catch up with her.
Today I rounded off the big camera purchase with a UV lens filter (the lens is large at 72mm, limiting options somewhat), receiving exemplary service at Ritz Camera, and a compact but nondescript camera bag (i.e. one that doesn’t scream “steal this!”). On a related note the May Week gallery has been massively extended with a host of tardy photos. Now that those are done, expect to see some USA pictures appearing shortly. I am still learning to use the new camera, particularly as regards light levels, so decent pictures may be less frequent for the latter part of the trip.
I have finally gone through many of my photos since the beginning of this academic year and added them to the gallery. Facebook users got an early look, though the image quality is higher here. Photos from Christmas in Germany will hopefully be added soon.
Tuesday evening was the Danby Society quiz which I attended for the third year running despite the perils of being a lawyer in a room full of NatScis. Irina ushered Angie and me into her team with Andy B and Tom Ash and the resulting hybrid supergroup, dubbed Marshmallow Nipple, proceeded to dominate the quiz every round. Until the final round, that is, in which our winning streak was scuppered by a lack of sports knowledge, relegating us to a still respectable third place (the highest I’ve ranked in the Danby quiz). Having been each year since I arrived I’m actually quite tempted to turn up again next year if the Andy and Irina are up for it…
You will have noticed that site updates are still sporadic at the moment with work rudely imposing itself. However there is good news for those desperate for the regular diversion offered by P-2006. I have recently started using StumbleUpon which is a community tool that shows you random sites that others have submitted based on your interests. Think of it as channel surfing for the web. It helpfully creates an RSS feed of sites you save, which I have then been able to route via Google Reader into my Shared News feed. This now allows me to include any page on the internet instead of just ones that come up in my recent news feeds. I’ll aim to keep it updated with a few interesting bits a day, so do check back regularly. You can now access it from the Feeds page. On social stuff, also note the new Last.fm page which displays a few listening tables and a funky visual display of albums I’ve been delving into for those who like that sort of thing.
My media law lecture was cancelled allowing me to listen to Alex, Jamie and Louis’ radio show, Another Planet’s Hell (Wednesdays 6-8pm, CUR1350), after quite a while. It’s still a fun show and well worth a listen, though obviously moreso when I’m free to email the studio with contributions about concept albums and Nazi dogfood (Pedigree Hun, of course), or whatever else they happen to be discussing at the time.
Flickr, the photo community, have released an interesting graph which reveals the most popular cameras amongst its users. It really highlights the success of the Canon range in particular, which I certainly agree with. I’d love a Canon EOS 400D if anyone’s feeling particularly generous this Christmas!
The new Hary Potter Trailer is out. Unless you’re a big fan, however, it’s just not that great aside from the familiar musical refrain at the end. But the comparison is inevitably with arguably one of the finest Teasers ever in Prisoner of Azkaban, which seems a little unfair.
When Slaughters invited all the Downing lawyers for dinner (as is traditional every 2 years) many of the third years were faced with a moral choice that unsettled us in extreme cases for as long as four seconds. Those with training contracts in place or focused solely on the bar would not, of course, be applying to Slaughter and May. But a free three course meal at the Crowne Plaza Hotel is — well — delicious. I was sat next to Andy W who claims this was purely by luck as he had not seen the seating plan in advance. It provided a good opportunity to get to know several of the first years, as well as hearing more about law school from trainees and established lawyers. It was still somewhat strange to feel that Beccy, a geographer, had more right to be there than I did.
As a new feature in the Critic section we will be highlighting some of the best DVD bargains we find. Only highly recommended films will appear, and only if the prices are truly competitive. It’s designed to highlight the best deals at the time so if you have a little cash burning a hole in your wallet and you want a recommendation or just need an extra item to get free postage from Amazon it’s well worth a look. You’ll find no mark-up on the prices — you’ll be buying direct from Amazon at their list price. Each item is accompanied by a short description of why it’s there. If it’s on the list, chances are I actually bought it myself too.
By far the most intriguing project to emerge from Microsoft Live Labs has been Photosynth, which attempts to create a three dimensional representation of collections of photographs. The results they showed in videos were intriguing but many were sceptical about how it would work in practice. A new technology preview now allows you to experience it for yourself (IE only, I’m afraid). The technology is still early in development and undoubtedly needs some work but the premise is definitely attractive and is already workable to an extent.
Kirsten and I are celebrating our one year anniversary today, so I’m writing this entry in advance. While we’re relaxing and enjoying ourselves, here’s a set of photos from Friday’s Hallowe’en Formal for your delectation. These are designed to show off people’s varied and wonderful costumes, and a proper gallery will appear once I’ve gone through the full size versions. TomTom probably came out on top, pulling off a fantastic werewolf make-up effect (diligently applied by Lyds). Being significantly hairier than normal, it proved remarkably difficult to eat in, particular with a soup starter. It didn’t last the entire evening, but earned many compliments before he scrubbed it off. When people actually recognised him, that is.
You will notice that there are no photos of me here, but I’ll wait to see what everyone has taken and then pop some of the best ones up here for those of you not lucky enough to be in attendance. The fangs were, I am told, quite real. Which was sort of the point. I’m not really into the rubber and plastic joke that Hallowe’en costumes have become, so was very pleased with how our whole group looked that night. I hadn’t realised that dressing as cats is apparently the in thing amongst girls. Cat rightly snarled that she had a better claim to the costume than the rest. As for me, I sort of miss wearing fangs and it certainly brought back memories. But then back home I would not have been allowed to dress that way for Hallowe’en — I’d get told I hadn’t dressed up.
I found your photo of the Indian dancer on the Morgue site and used it as inspiration for an art quilt. I made her in fabric–mostly cotton batiks, with some gold lame and Swavarosky crystals for the jewelry. Her eyes came out especially nice, so I named it “Naina” which I think means “eyes” in Sanskrit. The quilt was accepted into A World of Beauty, the International Quilt Show in Houston, Texas this Nov 1-5. Over 55,000 people usually attend this show. I attached a copy of the quilt, but it looks much better in person than in the photo. Your photo was lovely. Thank you.
I love seeing my photography used by others in ways I would never have imagined but my most popular photograph has gone off in a truly bizarre new direction. Vickie emailed to let me know that she has turned it into a quilt. I’m sure you’ll agree the results are quite stunning, particularly the eyes as she points out. Of course if you happen to be in Texas around then and quilts are your thing then you can even see the real one. As for the show itself, you can take a look at the 2004 event for an insight into the fuller quilt experience.
Meanwhile my father suggests that, once my inevitable millions start rolling in, he has found the perfect brand of mobile phone for me. If you thought the epileptic Motorola “party phone” was gaudy, take a look at GoldVish “luxury communications”.
You may find it somewhat ironic that the Globalist Foundation has hit some legal issues regarding its name and I am now involved in the rebranding as Global21 (the numerical device denoting our current century). It will be a fairly seamless transition as the individual chapters will retain their current names as “The ______ Globalist”. For those in Cambridge, the new coffee-themed issue is due out on the 16th October. As I was in Germany I did not have a hand in this issue, but I’m sure it’s still worth reading.
And finally, despite the derisive laughter with which I responded to YouTube’s arrogant “we won’t be selling for anything less than two billion dollars” attitude, you have probably heard that Google have actually gone and purchased them for a similarly ungodly amount of money. Luke will no doubt have something to say about the company’s complete lack of a coherent business plan, particularly when it involves buying a company that was described as “haemoraging money” at an alarming rate. As far as I can tell the purchase was either a Microsoft style childish tantrum at the comparative failure of Google Video to outdo its rival or another step in a sinister continuing attempt to own all the data in the world.
It appears that Luke has been secretly blogging. That he refers to P-2006 as an inspirational “sterling example” is a little embarassing because it creates the urge to provide a well-presented content-driven post now — surely something happened in the past week while the site remained noticably silent. For those who enjoy his intermittent, highly recognisable brand of ranting, it’s definitely worth a read and the cogent arguments receive more careful construction than the “quick” responses that I hope we shall still receive here.
A belated congratulations is due to my parents who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, taking a well-earned day off (from work, not each other) which they spent in London, concluding with a show of Les Mis. I imagine they will be comparing notes with Kirsten shortly, as she arranged a trip to the show as a leaving do at the end of her placement with Merrill.
Lectures and work have now commenced fully leading to the familiar feeling best summarised in riddle format: “When is a weekend not a weekend? / When it’s in Cambridge.” Intellectual Property is certainly shaping up to be a great course and my other optional selections are Commercial and (after some confusion over whether or not they would be occuring) half papers in Medical and Media law. Coupled with the compulsory behemoths of EU and Equity it’s looking to be a full, but hopefully enjoyable, year.
Yesterday was the first big ent of the year, marking the end of Freshers’ Week with the When I Grow Up I Want To Be… party. It seemed a bit odd given that when I grow up I want to be a lawyer which, conveniently, I already have sorted. To be (marginally) more creative I decided to tap into my criminal side going instead as The Godfather. With our “proper” cameras in tow Luke, Lufa and I made a strange trio of costumed paparazzi. I am still learning more about my PowerShot G5’s capabilities after close to three years. I have never been happy with its results in low light, but pushing it to the highest ISO level I was able to grab a few decent shots. Ideally I need to use bounce flash but I am hesitant to spend money on a camera that I am likely to replace within a year. Instead I now need to experiment with noise reduction techniques in order to clean these up before I display them all here in a new Cambridge gallery for this year. Sparkie already has a few photos on display.
Avast, ye scurvy dogs! Be ye after me booty or per’aps me Berlin photos? Ye’ll not take ’em without a fight. Viewin’ is open the to right sort, o’ course. Whether ye call yerself corsair, buccanneer or gentleman o’ fortune makes no difference to me — ye be a pirate. Then, me hearties, pour yerself some grog and be welcome here as long as ye like. Thar be photos photos aplenty with the German lasses and the sprog Nele makes a fine addition to the crew. Not for the lily-livered we ‘ave some close-ups of bees and hornets too. Arr, and fer ye landlubbers with no idea what be goin’ on, here’s a little clue.
That’s quite enough of that, I think. Having missed the occassion previously, it seemed only right that this year P-2006 join in one of the net’s quirkier “holidays”. Aside from the photos, I had been intending to start talking about my impressions of Windows Vista today, but it’s been delayed by piratical stuff instead. Look out for that over the next week or so, each post focusing on a very specific element of the new operating system. Meanwhile this salty sea dog had best be getting back to work.
If there’s one thing to be said for Western Capitalism, it certainly gets things on the shelves. Many of you love to scoff at the Shiseido Men products I recommend with religious fervour and use like a pansy. Allegedly. When I started using them 2 years ago it was virtually impossible to find in the UK: I knew of only two buildings that sold the precious liquids in the whole country. Now, even in this remote end of Germany, I can pick them up for less than I would back home. If that’s not worth breaking down a wall for then I don’t know what is. Aside from, you know, freedom.
To celebrate Kirsten’s dad’s birthday on Wednesday the grandparents were here. I was also able to meet her older brother for the first time. I have always praised socially lubricatative properties of alcohol and once again it seemed his unwillingness to risk attempts at English gradually evaporated with each glass of whiskey. Although the womenfolk seemed a little stressed by preparing the bounty of food (and yes, I too was pressed into service) it was a rather enjoyable evening.
After seeing some photos I took of Nele in the garden, her mother asked me to take more to show friends of theirs, mostly to show off her baumhaus (treehouse, only this one didn’t really involve a tree — other than being made of wood, that is). I ended up with possibly the cutest “photoshoot” my camera has ever held. Unlike the distracted, fidgety girl I had tried to photograph before, I think Nele found she quite enjoyed posing with the rather rudimentary directions I was able to act out for her.
Gamers amongst you will probably have heard by now that despite Sony’s bold statements of 2 million units worldwide at launch, the PS3 numbers will be closer to 500,000 and the European launch is to be postponed until spring 2007. It gives the 360 a second uncontested Christmas in Europe which must be a crushing blow to Sony’s European division. What is surprising is not so much the delay or the overall history of the console: last year’s Killzone guff, the poor E3 performance, the price, etc. — it’s the fact they will still sell out every single console they produce at launch. All I can say is it better do something pretty damn impressive, especially now that Assassin’s Creed is, as I have suggested for months now, officially coming out on the 360 as well. Boo-yah! as they say.
Apologies for the lack of updates during the last week; I’ll try to deal with things in order. My birthday passed by quietly with a pleasant meal at The Royal Garden, a Chinese restaurant in a secluded wood. I may do something a little colourful back in Cambridge at the start of next term. For the most part presents were less about cool gifts and more about debt reduction, although a box of assorted transatlantic goodies from Jane contained Oreos and a pink XL Izzo’s t-shirt to go with my grey one. Maybe now I can get mine back from Kirsten…
Over the weekend we had friends of the family over on Saturday followed by family for a birthday celebration on Sunday. Saturday’s attendees included Uncle Kumar who is currently involved in organising a disabled trek across the Sahara in customised Land Rovers with hand controls (he has limited use of his legs). But then this is the man who, when asked about his Porche’s top speed of 155mph, replied, “though I’ve only managed 148mph on the Autobahn so far.” Meanwhile Sebastian can be seen fulfilling his ambitions as a rocket scientist. Or possibly a heavy ordnance engineer given his wild-eyed cries of “make it hit Daddy!” Kirsten was unimpressed when I tried to explain the physics of the air-propelled device to him, and then plain perplexed when he proceeded to describe it himself a few minutes later.
This morning I was contacted by the editors of the online magazine British Expat, who informed me they had come across my photographs at morgueFile and selected one as their Pic of the Week. The photograph is question is a close up of Romina, replete in her Bharatanatyam costume, make-up and jewellery. I was always pleased with its striking vibrance (due more to her than me!) and I am honoured to receive recognition from elsewhere. Their description includes a link to P-2006, so a warm welcome to all the Expats arriving from there. Feel free to check out the rest of our gallery. Speaking of photos, a selection of images from Paris are now available for your ocular enjoyment.
And finally I am now doing a three day stint at Berwin Leighton Paisner, my last law placement for the summer. Three days is hardly enough to get to know a firm properly, but it will give me an insight to a few new practice areas (Competition and Litigation).