Friday bits and pieces

Still going with the cold and needing aspirin to get through the day, but I no longer care as it could be much, much worse.

I’ve been working on a writing project for the last couple of days, and made a breakthrough late this evening. I’ve no idea why I find it so much easier to work after 2200, but I’ve done as much work in two hours as I have the rest of the day. Hopefully I’ll finish tomorrow, and it’ll be an enormous guilt-ridden weight off my mind. Then I’d best start working on an essay due into uni on the 14th. Have left that waaaay too late, but such is the way of things sometimes.

I finally bought the £40 Student version of Office 2007, as it was becoming far too much of a hassle to deal with uni stuff in .doc format. Having used the new UI for a few weeks, it’s really quite the thing1. Everything’s just there, in the expected place, and it practically forces you to use proper styles, rather than individually formatting headings etc.. A massive improvement, imho.

I would like to register my distress at Kevin dying in Eastenders, as he was one of the few characters I actually liked.

I’m aware I link to almost everything Ben Goldacre does, but that’s because he rocks and I’m not sorry at all. He’s released a podcast of a lecture he gave on:

how attractive we all find it, as a society, to dodge important social, political and personal problems by reducing them to mechanical and sciencey-sounding explanations involving serotonin or fish oils

He finds this more of a danger than homeopathy / the usual band of other actively anti-science treatments, as it encourages the classification of the ‘deserving sick’ by making us believe people can solve their health problems if only they looked after themselves properly. I hadn’t thought of it that way before. Definitely worth a listen.

The blog is now de-Christmas-ified, which makes me sad. I’ve fixed up a few things that needed doing, like updated the blogroll to come straight from Google Reader, finally fixed the Grazr link etc.. I’d like to work on a new design. I’d also like a pet monkey. It’s on the list, anyway.

Via Damian, a Guardian columnist’s experience of tagging along with various paparazzi following, amongst others, Amy Winehouse:

She darts into a shop. I stop and catch my breath. And then, all of a sudden, a great wave of revulsion crashes over me. I’m stalking Amy Winehouse. What am I doing? This is weird. And what if she sees me? It’s so cold that I’ve worn a furry Russian hat. She saw me earlier in the newsagent’s, so she’s bound to recognise my stupid big hat. I am mortified, and desperate for Hammond to get here so that I can hide. I could stop and turn around – only by now I really like him and don’t want to let him down.

And then it dawns that what I’m experiencing is precisely the same emotional spectrum every pap describes: predatory adrenaline rush, horrified shame, professional dissociation.

It’s fascinating, and not nice.

Finally, I’m making an effort to learn more words. If I’m honest, this is more due to admiration of Russell Brand’s lexicon than anything else. Here are a few I’ve looked up today:

  • operculum: A lid or flap covering an aperture, such as the gill cover in some fishes or the horny shell cover in snails or other mollusks.
  • hermeneutic: serving to explain
  • esoteric: intended for or understood by only a particular group / not publicly disclosed (no idea why my brain is incapable of remembering this one – I’ve looked it up so many times)
  1. especially when you turn on the black theme 🙂 []