Bits and bobs #2

I don’t want to start every single post with an apology about how long it’s been since I last posted something, so in future please just let it be implied. My excuse is that I have always said to myself, “No, I shall do my math homework first, before I blog.” And I do! But there is always more math homework, so tonight I am procrastinating from my math homework to let all of you back in NZ (and abroad) know what the heck I’ve been doing for the past couple of weeks.

1. Yes, proper-english speaking readers, I am saying “math homework” and not “maths homework”. It’s frightening how quickly I’ve assimilated to saying things in American. Although I still say “footpath”, “jandals” and “surname”.

2. Speaking of math homework, I had to take a test in order to enrol in my calculus class of choice (I say choice, when actually I’m being made to take a year of calculus by the lofty folk who run my graduate programme). (Yes, programme, not program. For now, at least). I failed this test so spectacularly that my lecturer spoke to me after class and told me that if I were an undergrad, she would be telling me to take a lower level math class. I told her that I would learn the shitte I am supposed to know in less than two weeks, by the end of which I have to retake the test and pass in order to continue being enrolled. I completely intend to make good on this promise, so don’t expect many updates for the next couple of weeks, I will be studying like a Harvard Undergraduate.

3. Last Sunday I took a lovely trip to a couple of Boston’s Harbour Islands (ugh, wordpress is telling me I spelt “Harbour” incorrectly). After taking a lovely ferry ride out to Spectacle Island, I was all geared up to have a pleasant glass of wine and enjoy whatever spectacles there were to be seen.

The view of downtown Boston from the ferry. (Excuse the wonkiness. I blame the ocean)

Tragically, there was no wine on Spectacle Island, nor were there remarkable sights. The Ferry Tour Guide told us that Spectacle Island boasted the highest peak in the harbour, and I’m sure this is true, but it was actually the height of Palmer St, Warkworth. For the Dunedinites, I would probably equate it to Baldwin St. Steep, maybe, but not particularly high. I’m being very mean – The views were actually quite nice, but there wasn’t much else to hold our interest.

Turns out that Spectacle Island was so named for its resemblance to a pair of spectacles. It’s also largely made out of trash (true story).

We took a water taxi to another island, Georges Island, which was far more interesting and had a fort.

Super cute birds on Georges Island

Forts for hobbits.

Let's play spot the sunburn! Dingdingding, you win!

Fort Warren is kind of huge - I don't have any good pics illustrating just how big it is

Inside the fort. This place was strangely charming and beautiful on the inside. I want my house to look like this.

It's like a brain made of trees. Funny coincidence, there's a place in Boston called "Braintree".

4. On Friday night I saw one of my favourite bands, The National, perform in Boston. It was very cool and I had great company (a couple of lovelies from the res halls). I’m so excited to live in a city where famous artists actually tour. Although I heard that the Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing in Dunedin soon. Shame they suck these days.

The Chilis. If this doesn't scream "tragic" then I don't know what does.

5. My PhD advisor brought me back two packs of Milo from NZ. What a keeper.

6. Choirs! I have joined two choirs, one is for grad students and is reasonably informal, the other is a hard-working undergraduate choir. Both seem to be super fun, and I’m excited to learn a lot of new repertoire.

7. In more music news, I miss my old guitar a lot (Jess, you better be looking after it!), so I bought a new one. It’s low-end but has a nice tone. And is pretty.

8. I also now have phones, both landline and mobile. If NZ peeps wish to phone me, Skype will be cheapest (ie, free) but if you’re more into proper phone calls, email me and I’ll give you my landline number.

9. I feel like my life is so devoid of science at the moment. I did one experiment last week that didn’t work, and the next couple of weeks I’m going to focus on studying math so probably won’t achieve much science. So I’ve just been doing a bunch of reading about the embryology of the bug I’m going to be working on, Oncopeltus fasciatus, also known as the Milkweed bug. Cute, yes?

Little dudes I get to play with. Image by Greg Hume, on Wikimedia Commons

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5 thoughts on “Bits and bobs #2

  1. I am on the upper side of moderately jealous that you got to see The National (Only moderately cause i have seen them in the last twelve months). Was it the tour with Yo La Tengo and Wye Oak? That would have been one hell of a show

  2. About Milo … its available in Florida (!!) I know, not a great deal of use, but also in Canada, esp around Toronto, and from that mail-order place SimplyOz.com (though they are pretty expensive!) Maybe the kiwi and aussie connections can order a care package for you from simplyoz ..! (They’re in Cincinnati, Ohio)
    The problem with *not* speaking American is that no bugger can understand you …! Though sometimes it’s fun (and not too hard) to confuse them. They don’t have ‘take away’ food here, either – they get very confused if you use that term rather than ‘take out’!! and of course ‘holidays’ here are days like christmas etc – they don’t go on holidays, they *take vacations* … I’m sure you’ll find many more! Oh, and of course here they have orange cheese. Evil, plastic stuff that bears no resemblance to what we know as cheese. However up in your area, you’ll probably find some artisan cheese-makers who’ll have something sharper and paler .. sounds like your farmers markets are the go!
    Thanks for the pix of your bugs! I have them in my yard – now I know what they are. Beware the ‘cute birds’! They’re canadian geese. they’re very noisy and very messy and can be a real pain in the posterior .. good luck with the math/s!!! I’m sure you’ll nail it!

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