Monday, 23 June 2008

Lost time - and "The Incredible Hulk"

So you click your fingers and two weeks are gone. That's just the way it works.

So, not much to report dear reader, other than that I am working hard on getting the corrections to my thesis done so that I can then think about taking a holiday. Updates as far as the 101/1001 is concerned are just that I have read a few more good books (one of which you can download freely from here and is well worth reading) and re-read some as well. I saw "The Incredible Hulk" on Friday.

My abridged review of "The Incredible Hulk":
"...Was that it?"

No, seriously, I jest. Seriously though, considering the acting talent involved and all of the things that were said in advance, it was disappointing. There's precedent for restarting a superhero film franchise and doing away with the former (Batman did it very well), but whatever you might think of Ang Lee's "Hulk" you can at least say that there was something of interest going on. For the most part I was a bit bored by "The Incredible Hulk" - the action scenes were interesting, and exciting to watch in places, but it never felt like the Hulk was really there. It felt like he (and the Abomination) were first and foremost special effects, and any considerations of them as characters was completely secondary. Not that the usually reliable cast (Ed Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt) were much better. With the exception of Hurt, they all just seemed to plod along through it, and most of the attempts at humour fell flat (watch your sides split as Banner explains in broken Portugese that we wouldn't like him when he's hungry - or not).

Roll on "Hancock" and "The Dark Knight" - while "Iron Man" might not have been the best as an origin movie it had a smart script and terrific performances, not to mention fantastic visual effects that convinced you of the reality of Iron Man. It's a shame that one of the highlights of "The Incredible Hulk" is a cameo from Robert Downey Jr - he's amazing, and while it's neat that Marvel are moving into this "crossovers-are-allowed" mentality, it really shouldn't be the case that his appearance is a highpoint.

Anyway, time for me to sign off. In university now, but going to skedaddle now and head for home. Got a fair bit done this afternoon, but really wanted to do more. The painting of the office which was scheduled for a few weeks ago (and which I worked from home for a week to allow) is apparently imminent, so I may be working from home again soon.

Take it easy!

Monday, 9 June 2008

Following a short intermission

I thought that my hay fever was playing up now that summer seems to have arrived. The pressure in my head instead seems to indicate that I have a stupid head cold.

I've yet to start properly on my corrections to my thesis. I'm going to start tomorrow. After taking a few days off from work last week I then took a few more days off. Then the weekend came, and I really couldn't get myself enthused enough to sit down and look at my thesis.

Our office is supposed to be getting painted this week, so I'm working from home. Except today. Today I went over to the department, jumped on to the wireless for an hour, then talked with some friends over tea, before going to meet some other friends for lunch. I tried to use my USB modem to get online when I came home but it was being temperamental and I didn't get very far.

(I'm writing this offline now, to post in a little while - hopefully!)

I'm going to sit down tomorrow and start sifting through the various notes and corrections that my examiners have given me, and with a little luck I'll be able to work out a plan of action for the next few weeks. Following my viva last Monday I had originally thought that I might submit around the middle of July, but having given the main points that they raised some thought I've decided to aim for around the start of the first week of July. This could get thrown off a bit if some jobs come along that seem worth applying for, but I'm hoping that I can stay disciplined enough to stick at it.

Despite working on thesis corrections though, I should still have time to keep working away on my 101/1001 goals...

Ugh. Stupid head cold. Stupid aching head.

More soon.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Where Was I?

So what else has been going on while I've been preparing for my viva?

Well, I re-read William Gibson's "Bridge trilogy" and I think that I'll say more about them in the next few days. I really enjoyed sitting down and just ploughing through them over the course of a week, and I find it a really great de-stressing thing just to sit and read. My daily commute is a thirty minute train journey, which gives plenty of time for reading, not to mention the time I spend reaidng in the evening and at weekends.

Another piece of reading I haven't talked about is Michael Chabon's "The Yiddish Policemen's Union"; all I said a few posts back was that I was enjoying it.


I thought it was absolutely fantastic. I'll say some more about it in the near future (time permitting) but really the big thing that I would want to say in any review of it is that you should read it. It really is just a superb piece of fiction.

I missed out on one of my "once-a-month" challenges! Due to spending so much time reading and studying for my viva I totally forgot to leave time aside for writing a letter to a friend! The penalty I am giving myself is that this month I have to write three letters to friends. I'm hopefully going to sit down this weekend and do that.

I need to check a few measurements, but yesterday I cooked myself a breakfast that I thought was so delicious that I am claiming it as one of my ten meals. Breakfast is so a meal all you doubters! It is the most important meal of the day, and I think that my recipe and technique for a cooked breakfast makes a meal so tasty and awesome that it just has to count as one of my ten. I'll check the weight of one of the ingredients and then post my incredibly detailed and so-far secret recipe, sharing it with you dear readers and the world!

I do this because I care.

Off out for a meal with some friends in a bit, celebrating my viva and all that, but I'll write again tomorrow and try to straighten out some links and tags etc.

More soon - and flash fiction! Finally!

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

A Conclusion, Of Sorts

I have a few things to write about various challenges that I've been working on, but that can all wait until tomorrow: yesterday I had my viva for my PhD thesis, and I passed!

It was a little on the grueling side: three hours of me standing at the blackboard in front of two senior academics while I explain my research and why it is worthwhile - and more importantly why it is correct! I was hoarse by the end of it, and my legs were killing me (they still are), but the end result is that they were happy and I only have what are technically called "minimal corrections" which means that there are mostly just minor things I have to attend to. There are a couple of sections where the examiners were happy that the material was original and was correct but where they felt I needed to make some changes in the way that the information was presented, and that's OK too.

I've been given three months to make the corrections, but I'm aiming to have them boxed off in the next six weeks or so. In parallel with that I'll be jobhunting, but hopefully overall I won't be as busy as before and will actually have time for some fun stuff like, oh, I don't know, writing flash fiction? Taking a break? Doing something other than reading with my spare time?

Stay tuned...