Archive for May, 2003

May 25th, 2003

Whenever my parents are annoying me, and its invariably my mother (whom Hilary christened the dragon lady!!) I just think to myself that “it could be worse.”

May 9th, 2003

I am reviewing a paper by one of the chaps here. And the guy can’t write. He’s one of the most experienced people here and can be quite articulate when he wants. But he has a ballistic attitude to papers. I think its because he can touch type. He seems to be more impressed by “I wrote 17 pages in 5 mins and word says there are no spelling errors” than “here is a short, well written, logical, gramatically correct paper”. No prizes for guessing which side of that argument I come down on. Sample sentence “This cluster of cells forms an area known as the Location Areas”. And this paper has been both reviewed by people here AND accepted to a conference. So now I’m getting grief for not towing the line and saying its fine. And that more than anything else is PISSING ME OFF.

Last week some friends and I shared two bottles of vodka (large ones – I bought when I was in the US) and played poker until the wee hours. I ended up being really really ill all over the couch and living room. And that was still better than editing this paper.

May 8th, 2003

Hilary asks some strange questions about cats and butter and provides some answers

I always assumed that, given that cats are the spawn of the devil, they can arch their backs and/or flex sufficently to EAT the toast, or at least lick off the butter thus reducing the problem to a normal cat, or cat and unbuttered toast problem.

Being a cat person myself its easy to attribute supernatural flexing abilities to the evil, single-minded, smelly creatures.

May 1st, 2003


I think I need to write something again. I’m not actually neglecting the blog, God knows I drop enough stuff after a few weeks. But I have a valid reason. I was travelling since Easter (more or less). Got back Tuesday and it’s been a mad-house in the college since then. So a large entry today probably to be followed by further neglect :-)

It was kind of a tale of two cities trip, taking in Glasgow and Boston with stop offs in Ayr (Scotland) and Waltham, Cambridge and a few more MA cities (all in the greater Boston area as well).

Glasgow is very nice and very strange at least for me. The whole area (Ayr-Prestwick-Glasgow) is somewhat reminiscent of home. Kind of like what might have been if England had treated us better historically, and if we had been more compliant subjects, and if there hadn’t been a famine, and thats too many ands. But it is strange that Glasgow looks a bit like Dublin and then a bit like Cork and then a bit like something else.

The other thing I picked up in Glasgow is a sense of faded glory. The city made its name and its wealth in the 19th Century and it doesn’t have much of a vibe of being a large modern vibrant city. Probably I need to visit it at the w/e rather than a Mon and Tues.

Boston on the other hand feels alive and busy. Which is a bit strange considering it shares a similar history with Glasgow in terms of popuation growth and its role in the 19th Century. I couldn’t put my finger on the difference as such. I think its very much a new world vs old world thing. In the States everything has to be new and shiny and now and that just isn’t the case anywhere else.

So 6 days in Boston. Mostly I did very little. Lots of walking and visits to antiquarian bookshops (didn’t buy any books this time). I did visit the Aqauarium. I even became a memeber – although that was as much to avoid the 50 min queue as from any sense of alturism I may have.

Sat Adrian and I drove around New Hampshire. Well I wanted to go to the cog railway on Mt Washington and he needed something to take his mind off work. So off we went. The weather was bad. Really bad. Worse than Limerick bad. It rained and rained and then rained some more. Ocassionally it drizzled and then just for a change it rained again.

New Hampshire is really nice but really frustrating. The last time I was there was Nov 99 when I came up from NYC for the w/e. That time the season had just changed so all the leaves were gone, but the snow had not arrived. So not much to see or do. This time all the snow was gone, but summer hasn’t started so there was not much to see or do. And it rained (don’t get me started about the rain). And the cog railway was closed, which didn’t matter that much as it was a 3hr round trip and we wouldn’t have had time to do that anyway (it was 4pm before we got to Bretton Woods).

So we roamed around the Mount Washington hotel for a few minutes. And I have to say the place is INCREDIBLE. Adrian is going to take his fiancee there the next time she is over from Ireland.

So back to Boston for Sat night. We drew solace from the fact hat the weather had been even worse in Boston than in NH. And further solace from a bottle of Chopin Vodka purchased in an NH alcohol outlet. These are now my favourite shops ever.

Sunday and Monday were uneventful. By Monday the weather had change and it was 82F (27C) in Boston Common. And I got sunburned. The flight home was uneventful. For the first time ever I was on a flight where I knew an attendant and I was well supplied with alcohol and hospiatality. Hurrah for Aer Lingus.

Tuesday I went to bed for a few hours, feeling the effects of flying and alcohol.