Mermaids 2

Back in Copenhagen. Turns out I was wrong about the couched area — it’s still there, just hidden behind the smoking room. Trondheim was a lot of fun. I was there for a thesis defense. It’s a lot more formal than in the UK; the candidate has to do two lectures (one on the thesis, one on a related topic that they find out two weeks before) and then they get a public examination. We were in a very impressive room, with two lecturns, like a court. The whole experience was a bit strange—there’s a large degree of theatricality to it. On the whole, I think it’s better than the UK one which consists of three people sitting in a room for 3 hours; it’s rather anti-climatic, while the Norweigian version has a sense of occasion about it. I have a theory, th…

Mermaids

I’m sitting in Copenhagen airport, next to the inevitable statue of the Little Mermaid, which resides between a lift shaft and a coffee shop. I’m travelling to Norway to do a thesis examination; I’m quite looking forward to it, to be honest, although I wish it wasn’t in public to be honest. I haven’t been to Copenhagen since 2001, I think, when I was here for ISMB. The flight in was pretty bad: small plane, big bumps. My memories of the place are confirmed; it’s a nice airport, airy and light. I have a veggie noodles which was actually pretty good. The nice balcony that I remember, on the first floor—low seats, lie down couches, free from children—now mostly houses the smoking and kiddies area (separate of course) and, so, has transformed …

The Biscuit Factory

Went to the biscuit factory yesterday for the first time. On the whole, it was pretty good, and I enjoyed it. Most of the stuff in there was wildly too expensive; they had a lovely mirror, for instance, with a carved wooden frame, but 700 quid is just too much for something that has a reasonable chance of getting broken. One of the things that amused me, though, was the artists’ statements. They seem to be required these days; people appear to judge art by what the artist is thinking rather than what they can see. I guess that they are teaching the writing of these personal statements in the art colleges nowadays; one thing that it is clear they are not teaching is grammar—in some cases it was terrible (okay, I hear you saying, maybe the pot is calling the kettle here, but b…

Film of the reverse Flight

Lions and Lambs — three interlocking stories, over the theme of war and the media. Well done, entertaining, and a light touch. Rather too earnest too eager for me. Lacking a bit in humour We own the night — a cops and robbers flick, with added family drama. Not a bad film, although felt rather like Cagney and Lacey on steroids. Good performances all around, lots of brooding silences and a fortune spent on blood bags. Beowulf — finished it off. Looked great, some wonderful hacking and slaying. Story was a variation of the original with (as noted previously) added masturbation gags. Turns out that the story was adapted by Neil Gaiman; explains a lot. L’auberge rouge — a black, murder farce. Big ensemble cast, lots of fast dialogue, and pretty well done. Not n…

Palace and Wastelands

We’ve had a series of good meetings, I got lots of chance to talk about metadata. It’s clear to me that there is plenty of work to be done, but that it’s starting to happen. It’s not clear to me who will play what role, nor whether we will just repeat the history of bioinformatics. I guess neuroinformatics has the opportunity to do something new, ignore the legacy, that it could even avoid the pitfalls; having said that, one of the biggest pitfalls of bioinformatics was doing everything afresh without looking into the rest of the world. Yesterday, I got a proper chance to do the tourism thing; we ended up in the electric district, partly by chance — Paul had a guide book, but the hotel wouldn’t let us back into our rooms to retrieve it, so we have no …

CARMEN on Tour

Just given a talk at Riken about metadata. People seemed very positive, there is clearly a desire to do this and to get more data types out there. I got the question about requiring too much metadata to understand an experiment; most of the rest were people saying "have you thought about using…?". The one that I hadn’t thought about is provide metadata for gold standard, generated (non-experimental) data. My initial response is to say that we should be storing the service for producing the data, rather than the data, although there are purposes for standard generated data — enabling deterministic behaviour of tools over "random" data. Originally published on my old blog site.

Japan

So, this is my second time in Japan. It’s slightly less confusing than the first; so far, we have been banging against one cliche after the other. It took us a little over an hour to get to the hotel from the airport; we got there at 11, to be told that the rooms would be available at 4pm. Exactly 4pm. So, we went into Tokyo and had lunch sitting on the floor — not good after a flight, I thought my knees were going to seize up. It was good, though, even managed to get something that was mostly veggie. We got back to the hotel at 3:40pm; we were directed to seats till 4pm, where upon the receptionist was prepared to give us the room keys which had been in the pidgeon holes behind her for the last 4 hours. The hotel is basic but okay. The toilet has, disappointingly, only thre…

Film of the Flight

Watched Enchanted, some of Beowulf and almost all of Juno. Enchanted — a reverse fairy-tale, like a live action Shrek. Not bad, actually, kept me going for a while. Beowulf — blood, guts and some serious beef swilling. Definately aimed at the adult market, containing at least one mastubration gag. Would probably have watched it, but the it was a bit dark and I couldn’t hear the dialogue over the plane noise, so I stopped half way through. Juno — a comedy about a teenage pregnancy. This was by far the best of the bunch. Quirky, funny, and beautifully acted. The whole thing is done without sentimentality (just like Enchanted, er…), but the characters were still wonderfully endearing. I spent too much of the film trying to identify two of the actors (from the …

Google hits

Well, depressing though it has been, I’m pleased to say that I managed to get the forth hit on google, when searching with "Adrian Wolfson", alongside all the poor tabloid journalism. In the end, I turned out to write quite a lot about his death. As well as the blog piece, I wrote some short words—I think that the plan is to put these into a book of remembrance. Depressingly, I am not going to be able to get to the funeral, as I am in Japan (actually I am over China now, on the way). I would have enjoyed meeting my friends again; truth be told, the chances that I will see most of them again are now very small. Ade was my main point of contact. I don’t think my remembrance is particularly good. I think the blog is far better, but I stick it up here anyway. Per…

Static

Not been to the Northern Stage, at least not for a show. I used to get food there sometimes, but it’s expensive and the portions have got smaller. Went to see Static last night. Strange thing — it was a cross between a music commercial, a mystery story and a tragedy. It’s mostly about a woman coming to terms with the death of her husband. The side-plot is that he is deaf and the story of how he looses his hearing. It was pretty good actually. I was dubious at the beginning; they used a lot of short sentances to the audience to set the scene which I found rather disjointed. But the story started to run after that. The "innovative staging" failed to detract from the story, the music was quite fun and the twist at the end worked pretty well. Worth going to see. …