We’ve been treated to every weather multiple times every day for the past couple of weeks (so just like Scotland, but warmer). We even had hail on Monday (it was 16°C outside, so I’m not sure what that was about). Spring weather in Auckland isn’t turning out to be as lovely as I’d hoped. According to my labmates this seems to be a particularly damp year and one of our technicians has been complaining that it’s November and she’s still in jeans instead of shorts. Never mind El Niño and La Niña, I’m pretty sure my presence in a country is enough to attract all the rainy weather systems.
So in order to ignore the current simultaneous sunshine and downpour situation happening outside my window, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:
- I heard what may well be my favourite ever description of Boris Johnson on Russell Howard’s Good News: “How can you hate Boris Johnson? He’s like a human bumblebee that’s swallowed a thesaurus.” A very good point. And also a brilliant mental image.
- On Tuesday we were treated to a partial solar eclipse (you had to be in northwestern Australia to see the full eclipse). I find eclipses terribly exciting, and since this one rather conveniently lined up perfectly with our coffee break we spent a good half hour looking at it through bits of x-ray and camera film that we’d scavenged from the lab and (unsuccessfully) trying to project it onto a piece of paper using various microscope lenses. Obviously at no point did any of us look directly at the sun, because that’s a really silly (and dangerous) thing to do. Ahem. This may well be the only time I’ve ever been happy about there being clouds since they decreased the brightness enough for our phones to be able to take photos.
- I know the US elections are well and truly over, but I only just came across this Gangnam Style (you know that really annoying South Korean song that seems to be number 1 in the charts everywhere) spoof this week: Mitt Romney style. It amused me, though having the tune stuck in my head was not quite as amusing.
- I came across these photos of a winter light festival in Japan. It looks utterly stunning, particularly the second one, and the fourth one which has dolphins (not real dolphins, just to clarify). Just wow.
- If you’ve ever pretend-thrown a stick or a ball for a dog then you’ll be familiar with the adorable look of doggy confusion. I know it’s mean, but it’s a look that never gets old… (Source)
- Have you seen this new library in The Netherlands? Apparently it’s been named ‘Book Mountain‘ and it looks rather amazing inside (it does look a little weird from the outside) and is full of natural light. And books, obviously.
- Speaking of books, I finished reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel this week. It’s the prequel to her latest book Bring Up the Bodies which was awarded this year’s Man Booker prize. Wolf Hall actually won the Man Booker prize in 2009, so no pressure for her next novel… It follows Thomas Cromwell during Henry VIII’s divorce from Katherine of Aragon and marriage to Anne Boleyn and of course the huge schism with the Catholic church that resulted. I really enjoyed it – it makes you think through what’s happening in the story since some thought processes aren’t explained straightaway and you do have to keep track of the characters and their various names and titles which are used interchangeably (it probably helps to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of that period of history) but I like that because it means you actually have to pay attention and think as you read. I just had one gripe – I didn’t really like the tense that the book was written in. I found it rather frustrating and a little confusing at times. Despite that, I’ve added Bring Up The Bodies to my to-read list. Have you read Wolf Hall? What did you think?
- After finishing such a tome, I started something completely different: Michael Pollan’s Food Rules which is a short little book and a quick read. I was aware of Michael Pollan’s quote “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” since it gets bandied about a fair bit, but I’d never actually read any of his books. Food Rules seems to sum up his general advice on eating well (I believe the nutritional science bases behind his statements are covered in his other books), though I must admit that so far, it’s mostly been common sense – don’t eat super processed foods, etc. – but he writes well so it’s an enjoyable read, and refreshing, too.
What made you smile this week?