my forte and my foibles (2007-10-30 - 3:43 p.m.)
I just got back from particpating in an fMRI experiment (functional magnetic resonance imaging, in case you were wondering) for which I got £15 and a pair of free earplugs. Plus a jpeg of my brain, coming soon. (And yes there is something in there, to pre-empt the dad joke). It was very boring, but not a bad way to make some cash, all things considered*. Plus, since in theory I am learning all about how this technology works, I really wanted to see one in practice.
On my way through the park where all the ASBO-kids hang out, I had what couldn't have been much more than a 10-year-old look me up and down and drawl, "Aw'right, doll?" I burst out laughing, only to hear him tell his little friends proudly, "I made her laugh!" Good luck, kiddo...
Which brings me to one of the weird things about this place, which is that everyone greets you by asking if you're all right. I'm used to only being asked that if I've fallen or otherwise look like I may not be all right. Therefore, I had no idea how to respond. "Er.... yes? Fine thanks." Turns out it's just a standard greeting, and the easiest way to answer is just to repeat the question.
person A: "You all right?"
Or so I have noticed. I suppose "Fine" would work as well.
I have been extremely busy, which is good by me. I have to say, despite the stress and the deadlines the academic life is suiting me really well at the moment. Being given work and left to get on with it (though with help if I care to go find it) is ideal, as far as I'm concerned. The closest I came to this before was the short and happy period during which I was doing statistical analysis that no one else understood for work, and I wasn't managed or otherwise bothered because no one knew exactly what I was doing. They asked me for a report at the end and that was pretty much that. Same thing now, more or less, and it's great.
Been busy with other things too. Fencing is still extremely fun (though I note with alarm that my right arm-muscles are already noticably larger. Apparently this is a common fencing hazard). By the way, did you know that the fencing foil has two parts? The main 2/3 is solid and the last third is sort of flexible and whippy. The solid part is called the forte, and the weak part the foible. So now when I say Matlab isn't my forte, it brings a much different image to mind!
Apart from that, lots of coffee dates and dinner parties and pub nights with the mates I seem to have acquired. The dinner party was particularly fun, as it was held at the home of an Irish masters student who is OLDER THAN ME and has bottles of some very nice single malts sitting around. yum.
Scraping the bottom of the news barrel, saw a pigeon get run over by a car on the high street today... and on that note, I really should go get some work done. It's Week 4 of class and things are due all over the place.
*In case you were wondering about the fMRI, you lie on a sort of bed and get pushed into a long narrow tube. A mirror above your head lets you look at the screen behind you, where they flash stimuli and have you respond on a button box. I almost fell asleep.
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