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Below are 20 journal entries, after skipping by the 20 most recent ones recorded in Adam's LiveJournal:

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Monday, July 17th, 2006
2:20 am
Status update or something
So, this is long overdue, really, but I figured I should mention where I'm at right now. As of two weeks ago, I no longer work as a researcher; my contract ran out and given my lack of interest in the job and subsequent lack of commitment to my work neither my supervisor nor myself had any interest in extending it. I'm now unemployed and so, like the majority of my unemployed friends and housemates, have taken to lazing around the house in a dressing gown until the late afternoon playing computer games and watching anime.

I'm not looking for another job yet because I'm spending three weeks of July and August at the Global Village camp in Kent. I'm going to be running wide games for groups of up to a hundred children, young people and leaders and it's going to be awesome. I'm skipping out on MESTUP this year, which I have mixed feelings about; it's been an amazing experience in the past, but due to my advanced age I now don't have DF Camp or anything similar afterwards at which to unwind from a week and a half of emotional stress, and besides, I've done a bunch of the administration and training for the last two projects and it's time I passed the responsibility, and the opportunity, on to others.

I just spent a couple of days back in Sheffield with my parents, having not really seen much of them since Christmas, and realised how anxious they are at my sudden apparent loss of direction in life. It's perfectly true that I have no idea what I want to do come September when I'm looking for a new job; on the other hand, I'm feeling rather optimistic about getting to try something fresh. I think I managed to somewhat assuage their fears, but we'll have to see.

I have no real plans between now and Global Village.

ETA: Also, having severed my ties with the University of Cambridge, my @cam.ac.uk email address will cease to work at some point this summer. If you want to get in touch, my first and last names, separated by a dot, at either cantab.net or gmail.com should do the trick.

Current Mood: relaxed
Friday, June 16th, 2006
10:05 am
Why have I never tried wet shaving before? The electric razor felt like a crude and awkward weapon in man's doomed fight with his own bestial origins, but this, this is an art worthy of a gentleman.
Tuesday, June 13th, 2006
6:09 pm
So I mentioned to Peter (my boss) today that I was intending to take the latter three days of Mayweek off with my last three days of annual leave. The conversation continued approximately thus:

P: "Well, you realise that there's only so much store one can set by these official leave allowances Personnel give you."
A: "Well, I signed a contract saying I had thirty days of leave."
P: "Well, you can interpret that two ways. You can stick to the letter of it and take your thirty days of leave, but then you also have to come in from nine to five and so on, and you can't have the former without the latter."
*long silence*
A: "Are you saying that I haven't been here from nine to five?"
P: "I'm saying that it's not clear to me that you're in a position to ask for these three days of leave."

What he means, I suspect, is that while I arrive at work not toolong after 9 and never leave before 5, he thinks I've been slacking off too much or not working hard enough. Which are perfectly legitimate claims, to be honest, but as far as I'm concerned if he wanted to take issue with that he could damn well have brought it up months ago; I don't think it's reasonable to suddenly pull it out now as some sort of bargaining chip.

I'm hardly in a morally superior position in this case, but the idea of ignoring the terms of a written contract in deference to some informal office culture is tied in my mind so strongly to notions of corporate exploitation that my instictive reaction is scary, violent disgust. I need to email him and clear up the situation, but I'm not together enough to do it now; I hope, but I'm not sure, that I can cool off enough over the evening to write a coherent email before I go to sleep.

Current Mood: angry
Thursday, June 1st, 2006
2:57 pm
It's June! That means ... ah, you know the drill.
Thursday, May 18th, 2006
9:44 am
Wednesday, May 17th, 2006
1:49 pm
Today's amusing discovery: Wikipedia's article on the song Lola is tagged with a spoiler warning.
Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006
1:03 pm
the name of the game
So, inspired by a comment on my last entry, I've got to wondering about this. There's a children's game that you play in playgrounds and parks and stuff where one person is on, and waits at the base counting with their eyes closed while everyone goes and hides. Then the person who's on has to find the people who are hiding, and when they do, they race back to the base and shout out the name of the person they saw. People who are hiding have to run or sneak back to the base before they're called out and shout something different. If you're caught (ie. don't get back to the base without being called out), you're potentially on next game, except that someone else who gets back without being caught can shout some other phrase and 'save' all the people previously caught.

I've known this game by a bunch of different names, usually the same as the phrase you have to shout to get yourself in/get someone else out. I always called it one-two-three-done-ya, my mother called it forty-forty and other people have told me they knew it as free-pod, tiggy-1-2-3 and sardines (although I always thought sardines was an entirely different game). How many other names are there?
Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006
3:56 pm
May! Two more months and I'm outta here!

In other news, mwahaha. You know all your friends are unfit sedentary geeks when a couple of hours of Cops & Robbers at the weekend leaves everyone moaning about their terrible aches and pains for several days afterwards.
Wednesday, April 26th, 2006
12:19 am
I am ninja!
Today I went to a ninjutsu class. It was pretty cool. I learned several ways to inflict unexpected pain on an attacker who has you backed into a corner and is trying to strangle you, as well as various ways to avoid punches, put people in wrist locks and and hurl them to the ground.

It also made me realise how dependent I am on my glasses. I can see things and move around without them, but without being able to see I can't reliably make out what people are saying in a noisy room from more than a couple of metres away, which makes me very uncomfortable. If I want to keep going, I think I may have to invest in some contacts.

Also I had to remove my two current friendship bracelets (one from Naomi which she made in Ecuador, and one from Rose Orlik which is actually a camera strap) for safety reasons, which makes this the first time in four and a quarter years that I've had nothing around my wrists.
Tuesday, April 25th, 2006
9:49 am
Birthday Cops & Robbers
So, this Saturday (the 29th) is my birthday, and I will be celebrating with a giant Cops & Robbers crawl around Cambridge. By which I mean, we'll wander around Cambridge, stopping at likely locations to play Cops & Robbers, and possibly other exciting playground-type games. Calling in to pubs to rest and regroup during the afternoon is a possibility. I may decide to suggest optional fancy dress. In the evening, there'll be some kind of party.

Anyone who knows me is welcome to join in, and feel free to pass this on to any such people who might not be reading it. Email me and I shall be sure to let you know of proper plans when such things actually exist. If anyone wants to come up to Cambridge for the day/weekend/whatever, you're extremely welcome.
Wednesday, April 19th, 2006
12:59 am
Since it's now a little after midnight
Happy two years, onionpixie. I love you.
Sunday, April 9th, 2006
3:02 pm
I've had these lyrics (from Jonathan Coulton's Mandelbrot Set) going around in my head for a day or two now:

Take a point called Z in the complex plane
Let Z1 be Z squared plus C
And Z2 is Z1 squared plus C
And Z3 is Z2 squared plus C and so on
If the series of Z’s should always stay
Close to Z and never trend away
That point is in the Mandelbrot Set

... anyway, it only just occurred to me, isn't what he's describing actually a Julia set?

So in an hour or so I'm heading off to Barnsley to run a week-long training seminar on peer education and support in preparation for Global Village this summer. This isn't a daunting prospect as long as I don't think about it too hard.
Friday, April 7th, 2006
2:26 pm
What is it with scanner software? Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but I'd expect these things to work by starting the scanner program, making the appropriate selections and then being asked for a location to save the resulting image file to. But it seems as though every piece of scanner software I've ever used has insisted on protecting the user from the terrible realities of the filesystem in favour of some kind of proprietory image gallery type thing, and as a result it normally takes me several minutes of poking around just to figure out where my damn image has gone.

Anyway, this, which I promised a while ago. A tidied-up version might be forthcoming if I get the time and inclination to do it.
12:01 am
The deleted scenes on the DVD of Harry Potter IV contain the most terrible thing ever.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006
2:29 pm
Today's collective discovery: throughout the course of human history, Nazis have probably been responsible for more human deaths than rain.
Monday, March 27th, 2006
10:04 am
France declares war on USA

Current Mood: bemused
Friday, March 24th, 2006
9:39 pm
So, wiki spam. Seems this should be much harder for anyone to justify to themselves than other forms of spam, since it's not even just forced exposure—it's, at least in the majority of cases I've seen, outright destructive.

I'm amazed by how poorly-equipped most wikis are to deal with spammers, even taking the relative newness of wiki spam into account. Most obvious defences (keeping a watchlist of spammy words, watching for mass posting of identical content across multiple pages) will be defeated by the same randomisation and mangling techniques email spammers have been using for decades. But it does seem like there's a really good case for flagging up, and requiring special verification for, edits which destroy a large proportion of a page's contents (as seems to be the case with most of the wiki spam I've seen). There's an easy way around this for spammers, which is to tack their spam onto the beginning or the end, but that's still a victory of sorts, because it means that the original content isn't lost.
2:20 pm
Thoughts for the day
"Conspiracy to cause explosions" is the best name for a charge ever.

Do pilots of commercial aircraft get ejector seats? Wouldn't that imply that their safety is more important than the passengers'?

Insurmountable technological problems are usually such because they're really social problems. Discuss. [20 marks]
Monday, March 6th, 2006
9:51 am
So I remember at the start of my degree, someone or other totally told me "don't waste time making notes in supervisions, get everything worked out so you understand it then and make the notes afterwards so you're not wasting contact time with your supervisor". I thought that was wicked advice, 'cause supervisions are short and it means you gotta understand it then rather than copying stuff down and trying to understand it later. But when I got to third year and started having supervisions with people from other colleges, and even more so now I'm actually supervising, I realise that no-one else in this whole damn town got that same piece of excellent advice I did. Maybe ten minutes of every hour-long supervision is wasted on people copying stuff down, or else on me trying to get the attention of people who are copying stuff down and tell them that I can write the damn answers down for them later and let's get on with the supervision.

Even happens when I wrote the correct answer on their work that they have right in front of their own eyes at the time. Must be some kind of instinct.

This weekend's achievement: I totally owned Michael and chris_nightwing at Space Crusade. Also taught people to play Eat Poop You Cat.
Thursday, March 2nd, 2006
11:59 am
My favourite computer science metaphor at the moment (due to Dave Turner): If CCS is a process calculus you use to model the behaviour of a vending machine which sells coffee or cola, then the pi-calculus is a process calculus you use to model the behaviour of a vending machine which sells vending machine buttons, and HOPLA is a process calculus you use to model the behaviour of a vending machine which sells other vending machines.
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