Monday, 26 February 2007

to london, to london, to milk a fat pig

When I'm done with INRIA soon, I will miss its seemingly eager approach to travel funding. To cash in while I still can, I chooffed off to London last week for the MAST workshop, having initially been invited by Laurie way back just after the Australian cricket team finished belting the English 5-0 in the Ashes (just in case anyone had forgotten).

I flew over from Rennes airport via Paris, bringing to three the number of different modes of transport (with train, ferry) I have now used to get across the Channel. Upon arriving, I headed straight over to Earl's Court and caught up with Afe and Trish for dinner. We had a pretty intense talk about movies, something I've enjoyed doing in the past with them, and something I haven't done often enough in the last few years. They seem to have settled in really well in the last couple of weeks.

The workshop was really good, but I'll leave that to my other blog. After it was done, we adjourned in good research fashion to a nearby bar, and then to a dinner with waiters with an obsession over maintaining our glasses entirely full. After that was done and they booted us out, Laurie and I went for one more in a pub in Holborn.

On Thursday I made the worst of the miserable weather and went for a walk. I walked from my hotel up to the Natural History museum for a look through a couple of exhibits, then from there up past Imperial College to Hyde Park. I walked the length of Hyde Park to the corner tube, and jumped across to Piccadilly. From there I walked over to Leicester Square, where I temporarily surrendered and went into Starbucks to read my book for an hour or so. I met up with Ben for a nice Japanese lunch, and we continued walking, down to Nelson's Column then down Fleet Street to St Paul's. By then it was time for me to fly home.

I think the whole time I took one photo, in a continuing pathetic lack of photographic effort. I'll probably put it up sometime, if it doesn't look too awful.

Thursday, 8 February 2007


To reassure those, notably Jesse, who were concerned about my beardedness, I have trimmed it. Part of this was due to the responses I got comparing me to various wild and unkempt things. Part of it was because I had soup for dinner last week and ended up filtering it rather more than I would have liked. From a metaphysical point of view, it would be nice to say that the trimming of the beard coincided with the beginning of the trimming, or revision, of my thesis. That would be a lie. It was more the comments and the soup thing. Perhaps I'll take a photo at some point.

I still need a haircut though. There was a reason the last photo had me wearing a beanie.

Friday, 2 February 2007

decisions, decisions

MOF and other metamodelling documents have some history of including reference to the quokka. For the moment, I've put a glossary in my thesis expressly for this purpose. I'm now tossing up whether to go a little more subtle, and include the quokka's closest relative, the pademelon, instead.

petit pas

I gave a copy of my thesis to my boss yesterday, complete except for the conclusion. This is a good thing. I'm getting closer.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

A bush in the beard is worth two...

Beard @ about 16 weeks, originally uploaded by jsteel.

I have a shocking confession to make. I have a thesis beard.

Actually, this is hardly a secret. Such things make poor secrets. I stopped shaving back in early October, and although for a while it looked pretty pathetic, it now does actually resemble a beard.

My initial plan was that I would keep it until my thesis was sent off to the examiners. My physio, Jerome, however, reckons that's cheating, and that I should keep it until they give my PhD. He has a point. A playoff beard doesn't get shaven when you make the Stanley Cup finals, only when you win or lose them.

On the other hand, Sophie and Rosalie have both refused to greet me in the proper french manner until my cheeks are once again available for kissing. I'm going to put them down as being against the idea.

Its a dilemma. So, in the spirit of, erm, not being able to make a decision, I'm going to throw it out to a straw poll. Does the beard go when I send of my thesis in the next couple of weeks, or do I keep it going until they give me my ticket'o'leave sometime in April? Leave your votes and, if you feel the urge, reasons, in the comments.