Wednesday, 29 December 2010

We've just seen Tron 3D

And, to be honest, it was a bit disappointing.

The original did well be using simple graphics, clean lines that were almost cartoon-like. This version is incredibly detailed, and as a result it loses so much impact as to be a much weaker film. I can't fault the effects, some of which were extremely clever, but because there is so much detail it stops becoming immersive, which is a real shame. The big, wide shots are too big and wide.

And there's a distinct feeling that they picked up a bunch of ex-Matrix programmers.

The next 'must-see' film is probably 'Voyage of the dawn treader', also in 3D. I understand the story has been changed substantially, which in this case may not be a bad thing at all.

Friday, 24 December 2010

'Twas the day before Christmas.

As in the day time before we start our Christmas festivities - being 'funny foreigners' we do stuff Christmas eve. This time we're paying someone else to feed us all (and do the washing up) eating at The Dashwood, which sould be nice.

All the pressies are wrapped, food's in, fire lit, cell sub-cultured or in liquid Nitrogen storage and Ben is out digging snow off a parking space, so my brother and his family can park here.

So why do I feel so bushed?

Thursday, 23 December 2010

One day

My sense of humour will get me in trouble on facebook.

Actually it already has.

Several times.

Still, someone can only de-friend me, and only once at that.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

The outside thermometer said -10'C this morning.

The temperature's been doing funny things - it looks like the snow has compacted overnight and there's signs of melting, with icicles hanging off the shed, yet the temperature is really low outside now. There was ice inside the windows when I got up, and we had ice falling down the chimney into the stove too.

A snow plough went through last night, and the road doesn't seem so bad now (when I was dropped off yesterday afternoon by our friend, Mark, the snow was rubbing on the bottom of his truck) so I'm wondering whether it's worth digging out the (one remaining) car. At the moment we've plenty of food, but I'd prefer not to push our luck too hard. I also feel really achy this morning, and woke bunged up and struggling to breathe. Could be that Chris's cold has taken the opportunity of me being stressed and tired yesterday to work it's way in.

There's supposed to be a communal meal happening at the chapel tonight, but it's not at all likely that our guests will be able to make it. Also Ben was in another village Friday night, and although he's managed to walk to Woodstock, there's only a moderate chance of him making it home in the next couple of days.

I'm really glad I went in yesterday though - it gave me a chance to set the cells up to last a couple of days without attention, and so they are fine today. Monday I'll probably get the mountain bike out and ride in, since that's likely to have better grip than a car, and provided I don't hurry it should be fine.

We both feel quite sorry for the birds, as almost all the food is now buried. We put bread out Sat breakfast time, but of course that got buried in an hour.

From snowy Somerton.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

I can hardly believe the snow this morning

-4'C and snowing hard - and getting harder! I drove to work (where I am now) and the car has a couple of inches on it in 45min. Driving home may be 'interesting'.

Driving home was impossible. I walked a mile or so down camp road in the snow to a friend's house, and he kindly gave me a lift back to the village.

We've now had well over 12" and it's still falling hard, though I understand the skies should clear later this evening so the temperature can drop. I'm supposed to be preaching tomorrow, but really not sure that we'll make it (Dear God, you could have just told me you didn't want me to talk - you really didn't need to go to all this trouble for me to get the hint!).

Monday it looks like I'll be walking to work again. At least I was able to deal with my cells today, so they should be alright for a couple of days without attention. Pretty sure we've got enough food to take us through to Tuesday/Wednesday, so we'll be OK for a while.

Looks like this is about to become a regular occurrence.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Just looked at the BBC weather forecast

And I reckon they've got ours mixed up with Prague. If it hits -9 in Bicester it'll probably be -12'C in the valley, and it's at that point that pipes freeze, waste pipes block and we have to turn the heating up.


According to Chris

I now sneeze like an old man.

This is NOT encouraging, especially since my allergy seems to have been progressing and I sneeze quite a bit at the moment.

As the younger ones seem to say a lot, meh.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Frustrated by mediocrity.

Everything I do, I seem to do tolerably well, but nothing is ever REALLY good. I have an over-optimistic view of my abilities, and frequently view myself as better than I really am.

Do I keep doing things only tolerably well or do I just decide someone else is always going to do it better and just leave them to get on with it.

That is not a question, despite any appearances to the contrary..

Monday, 13 December 2010

This afternoon I was mostly

doing cell culture.

And very pleased to be doing it I am too.

My shoulders and neck are likely to be a fair bit stiffer by the time I get home tonight, from being hunched over a microscope, sucking little balls of cells out of jelly. It's funny how we look forward to doing something, only to realise the effort involved when we actually get to do it.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

what would you think if wikileaks.....

.....showed that someone we all vilified was actually right all along?

Like Dubya?

I don't know that the information in the linked article is actually correct, but it's definitely worth considering.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

We have a tree.

And it's staying outside for 1 week minimum!

Thursday, 9 December 2010


       "Are you being like Superman?"

Me  "Would you like to be Wonderwoman?"

Her "We're more like the incredibles.....


        Does this make my bum look big?"

Me  "No, but it feels nice."

Kinda Randall & Laura stylee.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Just one of those days.

Had a really thick head this morning by the time I arrived.

Trying to establish a new technique: baseline method involves centrifugation, and after the first run I managed to kill the C'fuge. Backup method did not work. 1 day at work + lots of driving and nothing to show for it is not impressive.

-8'C at 6.38am this morning

Freezing fog all the way down the A34. However +1'C here in (grey) Hampshire.

Monday, 6 December 2010

I wonder how the guys in Canada cope with the cold, dry air?

2 weeks of dry, frosty weather and the skin on my hands is terrible, despite hand lotion use. This morning there was blood on my towel, and despite checking carefully, I could find no cuts on my body, only to realise it had come from a finger which had (painlessly) split.

Overall my fingers are really sore though, and having them in sterilising alcohol frequently isn't helping (and it quickly makes you realise how many cuts you have!). To trump it all, I've just acquired a paper cut on a knuckle that's taken ages to stop bleeding.

Winter is traditionally a time for hardship and suffering - guess I'm being close to nature, in this area at least.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Looks like the thaw is here.

About 4" snow got dumped last night, but temps are up to around 5'C, and it's pretty much all melted now!

Wonder whether it'll get cold again next week?

So here I am at work on Saturday morning.

It's a reminder that what I do involves the living and not the dead.

I have some cells growing that were acquired on Wednesday morning - they are a cancer cell line, and are growing like the proverbial weeds. It is important they don't get over-grown, so here I am, blogging while the culture medium warms up so I can passage them on.

It's likely I'll be here tomorrow too. Being entirely responsible for everything you do for work gives an entirely different perspective, especially when you pay from everything you use too. It would be 'reasonable' as a salaried technician to stretch the cells a long way, risk them doing badly, then take another week or 2 to recover them with all the extra culture medium, flasks etc required to support that. Or I can send a few hours over the weekend getting it right first time.

Messages about 'good shepherds' also spring to mind. I wonder how often I've left someone I could care for to 'stew over the weekend' when a little timely care might have helped them grow strong and healthy?

That's it for my Prague pictures now.

So here's another example - click on the image to visit the album.

Have to start on Chris's next. I'm glad she took a few this time: very often she'll see something and I'll take a picture of it, which discourages her from doing so too. This time I deliberately tried not to take pix of things she saw and pointed out, and she responded by doing it for herself.


Just uploaded Chris's pics from the camera to PC. I really DO need to find her a better camera, because this one can't cope with being used to just P&S.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

And tonight

we got Ben back. He seems good, but is pleased to be here despite the weather. Glad to have him too.