A Return

gladioliI find myself back in Los Angeles for a bit, putting Walkabout mode on pause. Perhaps to do my laundry, perhaps to chair the committee of the upcoming Ph.D. defense of my student, Tameem, perhaps to be able to sit outside in the early morning sun in a T-shirt and blog over breakfast.

The garden is full of weeds and flowers, and all is well with the world, albeit a bit blurry due to my jetlag.

Anyway, a few random things to note:

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mourning_dovesAnother Spring is here, in full force. I once again snort in exasperated laughter at the bizarre claim so very many people make about Los Angeles (Southern California more generally) not having seasons, as I marvel at all the many signs of it screaming for attention. As a random example, I’m observing some mourning doves eyeing me up from nearby as they try to decide whether I’m a threat to their potential nesting sites that they are checking out. Seems that at least one pair is rather impressed with my cluster of strelitzia nicolai and want to move in. I want to tell them that I’m not the problem, but the fact that they’d be in plain sight of the crows/rooks/ravens/winged-Nazgul that pass by here a lot will be. I’ve seen them strike nests in those trees from previous years and scoop up a tasty warm meal.

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Eight hours of jetlag means only one thing: Random very early morning baking again! (I’m right now trying not to get my fingers sticky with the honey-covered homemade bread I’m having with my, if you’ll forgive the pretension for a moment, macchiato/cortado hybrid.) See the aftermath of my last such trip for many posts about same (e.g. here).

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I liked Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Even went to see it with someone called Alice, just for proper authenticity. Really good was Paul Greengrass’ Green Zone. I’m a big fan of the documentary feel he brings to his film-making and this was no exception. (Have a listen to him as a guest on Kermode and Mayo three weeks ago, and also Jason Isaacs as guest the week later, the latter featuring outrageous moustaches.) Saw both films in (no doubt revamped several times) giant-screen movie theatres in Leicester Square I loved and frequented back in my undergraduate days. Hurrah!

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It is time to prepare the garden for a round of planting food for me and Fluffy and Flitty to do battle over during the Summer. Those two characters are, in case you’ve not guessed or remembered, placeholders for the two forces of Nature that constitute primarily squirrels in the first instance, and various types of bird in the second. Flitty I don’t mind too much, and deal with mostly with various nets to keep them off my figs. I don’t find them as (almost willfully) greedy and destructive as squirrels. Fluffy was a major issue last year. The Fluffy 1.x series last year was particularly annoying. I spared you lots of details about the battles that raged. I am praying that a Fluffy 2.x series does not appear, one that is smarter at avoiding my countermeasures from last year (see e.g. here). I don’t want to have to escalate the war.

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The newly switched-back-on LHC has been breaking all sorts of records for high energy collisions. Onwards and upwards to exciting new physics, we all hope. Have a look at CERN’s site here for more, as well as a host of other places on the web.

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The marathon flooded by on Sunday. I realized only too late that I could have gone and had a look at it live as it went by not too far away. Happily, Will Campbell did not forget. He set up a camera at the top of his house and has now made a timelapse video of the whole marathon, lasting 1 minute and six seconds. It’s worth a look, and he notes that it looks a bit like a flash flood at that speed. (I love the truck stage near the end. Good that they are allowed to compete too.)

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Chloe O’Brian (as played on 24 my the excellent Mary Lynn Rajskub) still rocks! Stroppy Engineers are awesome!

Head person, glowingly: “Chloe, I just wanted to say thank you. Back there, you were– ”
Chloe, dismissively: “Not good with praise!”

She’s a True Hero.

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Because of a generous link to my own blog, I noticed a very enjoyable blog (The Schrödinger picture – excellent title) this morning and spent a fair amount of time looking at various posts, going all the way to its start. (I’ve not done that in a long time, hardly finding time to read any blogs these days, I must report.) A great deal of what the anonymous young physicist says is familiar, funny, frustrating, and at times delightfully nostalgic. Enjoy.

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expo_stationYou may have missed at the end of my next to last post that there’s now lots of station structure well above ground for stations on the Expo line. I’ve been excited all along at various stages, but now that it is even more obvious how transformed things will be, I want to share it. Go look! A quick snap is on the right.

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Ok, time to dig in the garden for a while before reading a thesis.

-cvj

Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):

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