Friday, 19 June 2009

one degree of Kevin Spacey

Am in Hamilton at a conference. (Yes, I know - I get to go to all the most exotic ones!) The conference is pretty informal, but it's all people from the universities in the area who study attention and performance. So pretty interesting. It's only a two-dayer, but my supervisor put us up in the dorms on campus. It is kind of fun, as I never actually lived in a dorm room in undergrad. It smells exactly like camp rooms did. I have to say, living in a one-bedroom basement suite with Stephie was cozy, but I never would have survived sharing a three-meter-wide room with some random roommate for an entire school year.

Anyway, the most interesting part of the whole experience (sorry, attention researchers) was watching the filming of the movie Casino Jack. We first realised something was going on when some guy brandishing an umbrella started yelling at all the passing academics, rolling his hands above his head and yelling, "Quiet! Rolling! QUIET! ROLLING!!!" You could practically see the question marks above the heads of the venerable academics. ("Rolling? What?") But they had a big crane with a camera on it pointing at a balcony just above our heads.

Turned out the balcony in question was attached to the grad lounge, so there was nothing for it but to go have lunch there. Alex, the post-doc, Asma, my labmate, and I managed to end up seated right in front of the window to the balcony. We were gazing right over the directors' chairs (who knew they actually use chairs like that?!) and into the monitor showing what was being filmed. We watched Kevin Spacey on the monitor screw something up and burst out laughing, and just as I said, "I wonder if we'll actually see him?" he came wandering over to our section of the window. Neat! We walked past the equipment trucks on the way back - so many cables and bits of equipment, and like 50 shades of what I assume were filters for the lights. To anyone in the film industry: I will happily give you a tour of my lab if you show me what all that interesting equipment actually does!

Oooh, speaking of our lab, my supervisor has managed to secure the funds to build a brand new one. And in the meantime, they are moving us out of our basement dungeon (accessed by walking THROUGH the janitor's closet) and into a new space with WINDOWS! I am very, very pleased with this turn of events.

Monday, 15 June 2009

weekend stuff

Oops, started this Saturday and forgot to post:
Wow, looks like a beautiful day, and I am feeling motivated. Going to make a cheesecake for the neighbour's birthday and work on some projects. I love Saturdays.

Projects = making lampshades for two AWESOME kitschy lamps I found at Value Village last week (although as they are clearly from the '60s, I am going to get dad to check that they are actually safe to use!) and making a coffee table out of a board covered in trashy romance novel pages with a fruit box base. You may ask why my house suddenly looks like someone lives in it (rather than as if the occupant were still in the throes of unpacking, as it did for the first six months) and the answer would be that Steph came to visit. Stuff happens when Stephanie is around. She bought me a bookshelf, for one thing. TECHNICALLY my arrangement of fruit boxes was working, more or less, but I have to say having an actual piece of furniture certainly adds something. And since we had a lot of time to play (as I skipped out on most work for her visit) there were crafts galore.

And now it is Monday and the cheesecake was delicious (did NY style with a strawberry-mango topping that turned out AMAZING - the neighbour was very pleased) and I got lots done. Went to Costco (and spent too much, but it is all useful stuff), cleaned the house, and spent most of yesterday in the garden with Oliver and Katie. Everything is coming up and now that it is weeded it looks so good. Also went to two bonfire parties and stayed out till 5am again. Pretty awesome weekend, in fact, in a quiet kind of way. This week, like last week, will involve much hard work to get a few projects off the ground before my parents arrive. I'll still have to work during those two weeks, but with a bit of effort now I should be able to escape for a while here and there as well. And I fully plan to do nothing at all useful (well, very little) while I am in the UK in July!

And with that note, back to work. Am trying to learn how to program in Python... getting there, but we have skipped straight to Classes in three lessons, and I have had to get a book out of the library to try and catch up! My last official programming experience was intro Comp Sci in second year undergrad...