Sunday, 26 December 2010

A literal metal squirrel

My desk here is kind of a mess. Stupid moving country.

Regardless, nuts go into the squirrel's mouth, you push his tail down and he shatters the nut in his steely grip.

Or so the theory goes. Walnuts are a bit big and almonds are virtually indestructible.

Friday, 24 December 2010

More Car Ice: Ice Flowers?

The sub-zero temperatures continue causing stranger and stranger patterns to form on pre-existing ice crystals (on my car). These ones look a bit like flowers. Another week of this and I am sure the crystals will achieve sentience and then defrosting the car might actually be genocide.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Car Ice!

So given that it has not been breaking zero here, the ice on my car has had the chance to grow in some pretty little spikes.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Driving Home For Christmas - The PhD Ends

So, I suppose I should change the description of this blog. As I am no longer doing any experimental work. I have left Bristol behind to spend Christmas with my parents before I set out into the wide world and start writing up the shambolic collection of misadventures known as "My PhD".

Regardless, Bristol is around a three hour drive from where my parents live, but it was a little bit snowy, so I made sure to pack a banana, two miniature Melton Mowbray (accept no imitations) pork pies, a bag of Malteasers, two oranges and a couple of bottles of water. All in all I was expecting it to take maybe four or five hours, as it can when the traffic is truly awful.

How wrong I was. So very wrong. I set off a little after noon having compressed my worldly belongings into my tiny car and escaping the fair city with its few centimetres of festive snow. I arrived at the house of my parents at around half one in the morning.

An extra ten hours. Ten hours where I covered perhaps nine miles trapped between junctions four and five on the M5 (major motorway going between Bristol and Birmingham). I nearly went insane. I attempted to wee in a bottle but couldn't find an angle. I got out of the more or less stationary car to do my business upon the central reservation but feared that the temperatures being so far below zero could cause irreparable damage to one of the favourite parts of my anatomy. And then I drove past a this little snowman at around hour eight of my journey. It made me smile. Luckily, I had plenty of time to snap a photograph.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

More graphs for the graph God

The result actually seems to have held up under closer scrutiny. This one has multiple point and lines and a little greyed out box!

Sadly, this "sensor" is nowhere near as sensitive as just popping your finger into a solution and seeing it tastes sweet or not.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A result!?

I do declare, that could well be a sensor. Could be. I'm not entirely sure. Still: Woo!

I like visiting my collaborators

There are also rabbits in the summer. For now they are in cryogenic storage

Thursday, 4 November 2010

University cuts

Sticking a note onto a bit of defective equipment (or a microwave, as in this case) isn't the best way to get it resolved, especially in this financial climate.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Step two: Fill bag with nitrogen

Or any inert gas of your choice. Or I suppose you could use any gas at all. Do it. Fill that bad boy with hydrogen and oxygen. What can go wrong?

Then you jam your arms through the inverted gloves and bodge your way through what should be an incredibly fiddly and precise but of science, but when every movement compresses the air so that you feel increased forces the further in you reach, and the bag is not quite transparent, meaning you can't see if the pipette has anything in it at all, it's quite tricky.

Then let it sit for at least sixteen hours. The little cardboard box which formerly held lemsip knock offs is to protect my reaction from stray UV.

Step one: Fill bag with science

This is actually quite hard, as things get knocked over. Delicate things. And samples flip upside down.

Then you seal it off with the handy clips, and...

Finally! A gum just for me

This originated somewhere in New York. Although the real story here is how damn difficult it is to upload photos to a blogger account on Android. Surely a smart phone should make this easier? But the browser really struggles with images being put inside it. I kind of miss my old phone and how simple it was.

Ah well, getting images onto a computer is not so bad. I WILL SURVIVE.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Village whale

What to do when some unknown terror from the dead lands upon your beach one morning? Put the remains in a park next to town hall!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Monday, 26 July 2010

Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man

I sort of ended up commentating while trying out my new safety razor (it's a Merkur 38C for those in the know).

me: I'm about to try and use my new razor, so I may die
Brother: why is a cutthroat?
me: if so, tell mum and dad that despite appearances, it was no suicide
Brother: is it?
me: No, it's a safety razor. Which is the worst name i.e. one that takes actual razor blades

Friend: SO, I am thinking. Perhaps it's a glorious idea to roll over to the [Staff Bar] in a bit?
me: I'm in my bathroom, I just got out of the shower. I'm wearing a self heating facemask
Friend: I see, I see. Why the facemask?
me: Oh, I had one from a set of shaving things for christmas. It seems prepping is really important. Also, I'm totally naked. How do you like that?
Friend: fantastic. I'm in my office. So I'm pretty clothed right now
me: My word, using a shaving brush is fun.
Friend: You should be blogging about this experience.
[two or three minutes pass]
me: Okay. I'm bleeding
[a few more]
Friend: bleeding already eh?
[another couple]
me: And I think we'll call that a day. Mainly I've got some big cuts around my throat. It looks good, but it's uneven to the touch. Some bits are incredibly smooth. Others have that post-mach3 bit of stubblyness. All in all, I'm calling that a massive victory.
Friend: Not bad, not bad.Not sure this music was appropriate for you man ;)

Self fulfilling prophecy

Actually it was a menu

Coffee sink

No, I do not understand either

Does exactly what it says on the tin

Frankly, I am not entirely sure why this made me smile so much. It might have been that the tiny bucket was there for a week or so before somebody decided it needed a label. I worry what it was used for in that time



Transform into...

Voodoo lady

Creme brulee with balsamic vinegar and thyme. Pretty swish. As you have guessed from the plate, I did not make this

Dragon house

Blois can be a bit odd when a seemingly normal house becomes a dragon. I think it may have been something related to a museum. Maybe

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

No thanks

This is pretty much exactly why british cuisine has such a poor reputation

Monday, 28 June 2010

Prohibitively expensive tuna steak

Lime and soy tuna steak with pea shoots and cucumber couscous. The tuna steak also had some parsley butter. It was great

Poorly lit satay

Japanese rice, stir fried asparagus and coffee spiked pork satay skewers. Good times, shame there is no night time dining room setting on my phone's camera

Friday, 18 June 2010

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

I can think of three options

1) Cannibalism 2) Necrophilia 3) It was a squirrel commando who never leaves a man behind! I like optio three, it helps if you ignore how fat he is as this implies one or both of the first two

Why hello there Mr Squirrel! Whatever is that in your mouth?

Hint: It is another squirrel

Peanut butter burger: tastes much better than it looks

Poor man's satay or the future? Also big mushroom, kale, sautéed potatos and salad

Number one in our labelling things that do not need labels series: No shit

I seem to really like spinach

A few days after the steak i did something very similar but with homemade furikake and delicious lime marinaded salmon

Black up, it's the code word. No matter where you say it...

Oh France and your stealing of english phrases that you do not quite understand. For reference: naming a makeup range Black Up, not okay

Steak and friends

Steak, japanese rice, charred red peppers, spinach and olives. Two thumbs fresh although i slightly over did the steak


Thursday, 18 March 2010

Another meal of victory

Lamb kofta, couscous, mint yogurt and a salad featuring sugarsnap peas. A dinner fit for a gentleman such as I

Monday, 8 March 2010

I don't know if this should just go without saying

Or if it implies that estates services have the choice of using regular paint or some special line which never dries

Sometimes I like to cook

This time I made truffles. Some cocoa dusted, some coated in nuts, some coated in an extra layer of chocolate and the last batch contained chunks of crystallised ginger. Good times were promptly had

Friday, 26 February 2010

Creepy rabbit man

This was for sale inside one of the many antique shops populating Versailles. It looks like it belongs in Labyrinth. I was constantly afraid that David Bowie would show up and start singing and thrusting at me,
"Sarah, Sarah, Sarah..."
Sadly, I didn't make a note of exactly how much it was. Now I'm kind of curious.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

One day I woke up and this had happened

That night I found a man snowboarding down the hill. Good times. Not for the car trying to get past though (the snowboarder had made himself a little jump and pretty much blocked off the road).

Cheese platter at the Kingsdown Wine Vaults

Enough selection to even satiate the French! It was a really good platter actually. I recommend it to any and all who find themselves in Bristol craving cheese. Which could be a rather niche collection of people, I suppose.

Snow chickens

It doesn't really snow much in the UK, so I get very excited whenever it happens. These chickens were less than pleased, but somehow kind of cute. I like chickens but they really are filthy animals.

...the best snowman

It was so good that a man who had travelled here to make a snowman with his own offspring came along and offered us his carrot. So good, that photos were taken of ours rather than any other. So good that I had to shut my eyes in this photo.

We made...

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Glass building front = fun colours on the ground

It must only happen at certain times of day, so we got lucky to catch this. I am really not sure if the architect intended for it to happen or if it is just a wonderful coincidence.

He died like he lived

Over a very extended period and with a variety of tools being involved. This was not actually as decadent a meal as it seems. Boston is big on seafood so oysters and lobsters aren't all that expensive.

Also, lobster itself seems to be more fun to eat than to taste. A bit of a shame, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


Lobster is what happened next.

The sea contains animals

And they all seem to be delicious. I had not eaten oysters before but they were on two for one at a place near the conference centre so we thought "why not?". We followed then up with clam chowder. Expenses are great, especially with what came next...

Boston has a pretty good metro

Sadly we never did find the treasure