Sunday, November 19, 2006

A man's home is his castle, but it shouldn't have to be a fortress...

Christ, man... is no home safe? Sorry if, with this post, my blog falls into the "daily rant about my daily day" style, but this is a bit out of the ordinary.

I was sitting in my room, looking at the wikipedia article for mereology (go figure) when I hear footsteps coming up the stairs, and the door handle rattle. Assuming it was one of my housemates, I turned around to find myself face to face with a short northern man in his mid-30s, seemingly the same scum you'd expect to see in Coronation Street or rubbish like that, with short dark hair looking at me. He quickly exclaimed "Just lookin' 'round", closed the door, and promptly legged it. It took me a few seconds to come to my senses and realise what was happening, so I took a pair scissors (which was pretty stupid given there's a freaking battle-axe in the room across the landing), checked each room as I headed down, and checked the ground floor. Naturally, by the time I got down there, the bugger was long gone, along with Jez, Mike and Liam's laptops. Fortunately, he didn't take anything else, but it must really suck for them, seeing how their work wasn't backed up.

I shudder to think it could have been mine, along with all the conference organisation documents, that had been stolen. Time to back up everything (twice)...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A word of warning

A word of warning to you all. This is a neighbourhood watch announcement.

A group of suspicious looking people are walking around town, asking people if they had found Jesus. I've experienced this myself, and it prompted me to write this warning.

They can be dressed just like you and me, and appear to be innocent bystanders, but their motives are all too clear: they are looking for Jesus. What had Jesus done? Why is he hiding? To these questions, the offer only vague answers. No doubt to mask their true intentions, and throw the authorities off the trail.

So be vigilant, and beware. If you know where Jesus is, do not - I repeat - do NOT disclose his location to anyone asking for him. Also, please notify him that people are looking for him, they are wearing crosses around their necks (perhaps a cult sign, and a morbid indication of their intentions once they have "found" Jesus), and that they may be up to no good.

This was your friendly neighbourhood watch announcement. Stick together, people.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A matter of qualification

I believe a defining characteristic one must possess to enter the academic world is a certain type of organisational insanity. It's not the sort that's necessarily socially noticeable (although in some cases, like maths professors walking around with a trout tied to their hats, it definitely is hard to miss), but rather of the sort that pops up in conversation. To word it more precisely, I believe it is the ability to be lost in a tangent, be it conversational or conceptual (as applied to vestimentary taste, in the case of the fish-donning mathematician), and to actually forget how one got there in the first place.

I'd like to clarify that I am not just positing this for kicks: it is a thesis derived from empirical observation (try it yourself: you just need to have a 40+ minute conversation with a professor). Furthermore, it seems to increase with age (I assume this is because it is a decay which begins the day one gets one's PhD/DPhil, and things go downhill from there).

Perhaps there is some evolutionary justification for the maintenance society provides for this ever-continuing loop of folly, from thesis to teaching to training the tangential tricksters of tomorrow (couldn't resist)... Perhaps there is something you can only find, you can only discover while on a tangent...

This may seem a spurious claim to you, but if so: you obviously haven't had the (dis)pleasure of going through Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. A word of warning if you do decide to walk down this path, though: Remember to change the trout ever so often.