memory loss bars: Shish

at 15:19

Friday, 30 May 2008

There are several bars that have a bad, bad, bad effect on me. In fact, such a bad effect on me that I can't actually remember leaving them. Ever. It occurred to me today, while no doubt terrifying the lovely lady I will be meeting this evening (the Pajiban known as joker), that I reference these delightful places rather often and yet never really explain. So here's one of them, hopefully others will follow.

So today I'm going to talk about Shish. This is the bar that I dragged a poor sick Genny to it is also the bar that is involved in two of my favourite debauched stories: The Conclusion of the Geezer (TM Manda) Saga and The Time I [redacted] With My Ex-Boyfriend's Ex Girlfriend In An Entirely Passive Aggressive Fit of Vengeance Against The Ex Mr The Odd, Which Was Kind Of Pointless As I Still Don't Think He Knows About It.

Where to start? Shish is a cocktail bar that serves gorgeous and unusual cocktails with middle-eastern and sometimes oriental twist. Now, as most of you already know: I am a drunken lush. I usually become inebriated through a finely honed feedback cycle which involves being around tried and tested drinking buddies who will encourage me to drink more and more (the kind of people who buy a bottle of wine as a round between four of you which seems like a good and sensible idea until you realise that to make it even you have to buy a bottle each and inevitably I will drink more, faster than the others meaning that by the end of the evening I will have probably drunk a good two bottles to myself which leads to headaches). This does not apply in cocktail bars. I could be on my own and get wasted within half an hour because if you present me with a cocktail menu I am like a kid in a candy store. I cannot have the same drink twice in once evening leading to hefty amounts of mixing and because I love the taste of most alcohol I can drink them as if they were juice. Not a good combination at the best of times.

And here's where the problem lies- I can't actually tell any stories about these bars because while I remember entering them and certain specific events during the time I was within them. Some things I remember from the assorted evenings I have forgotten leaving Shish:

  • Getting into a cocktail race with my friend Rich

  • Winning

  • Losing the rematch

  • Discussing the girl I suspect my ex dumped me fir with the girl he dumped for me

  • Finding out that by "I chose you" my ex actually meant "I chose to have regular sex with you while continually telling her how confused I was and that I really did love her and lying to you about times when I was with her but not sleeping with her because I would then no longer be morally superior to everyone else on the planet"

  • Discussing my future tattoo plans with my friend H's boss

  • Explaining my obsession with Tequila Girls to a completely uninterested party

  • Explaining my obsession with Tequila Girls to a girl who shared my obsession but for entirely different reasons

  • Having the heel shape of a vintage Prada boot explained to me and the importance of other people recognising said boot

  • Finding out that despite being able to hear them having sex there were yet more details I could discover about my flatmates' sex lives

  • Realising that the uber-vanilla one is not who I thought it was

And the thing is I know that interesting things happened to me in this bar I just can't remember them. How do I know that interesting things happened to me?

It's all about where you wake up the next morning.

quicker than quick

at 22:32

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Because it's 10:30pm and I want to get more than three hours of sleep this is going to be a very speedy update. Also: I'm using G's evil laptop of DOOM because my PC finally gave up the ghost internet-wise and this thing has the most annoyingly laid out keyboard ever so I am incapable of typing on it for more than three minutes without throwing it at the wall.

First up I am alive. And tomorrow I give in my notice, which leaves me with only three months of torture until I am free... to indulge in an entirely new brand of masochism.

Anyways. I've been quiet of late because I have been boring of late. Evil wisdom teeth and my first trip to the dentist in four and a half years (long story involving way too little anaesthetic, blood curdling screaming and a toothectomy* that went ahead anyway) mean that I've been on antibiotics for the last couple of weeks. Specifically metronidazole, the antibiotic which makes you incredibly (and violently) ill when you mix it with alcohol. And yet! There is a bright spot shining out from my inbox. What's that you say? The end of my non-drinking existence coinciding with a visit from a particularly kick-ass Pajiban??!?! And that also coincides with pay day?

Surely not!

I'll keep ya posted.

Oh yes, I posted something over at Blog Me A Tale, go and take a look.

*Today's game is making up new words!

harnessing the power of the gamer

at 09:43

Friday, 9 May 2008

There are many things in the world of science that we just can't figure out. Not because we don't have the math, or the theory down but because we simply don't have the computing power available. It's a well known fact in my lab that I'm a bit of a video game geek, my boss regularly jokes that if they could some how find a way to make downloading research papers be controlled by a dualshock and have a snazzy graphical interface (possibly with a J-pop soundtrack) I'd probably never leave the office.

He also thinks this is the key to solving most problems of computation: to code the problem into a video game and have the processes required to solve it be related to actions taken within it. He's talking "massive scale, solving the problems of the universe which are possibly not for human consumption" that would require large amounts of obfuscation before being turned over into the hands of gamers of course, so there's no way we could implement it in the near future. But it's nice to see that a program named FoldIt has actually taken the first steps.

The game involves trying to figure out different ways in which proteins can be folded. As a biochemist this is a fascinating topic for me, protein folding is ludicrously complex and defined by a whole host of factors: the order of amino acids making up the primary chain, the secondary structure that the polypeptide takes, stabilising interactions between individual residues, the points at which water interacts with the molecule (I won't go on but if you're interested the Wikipedia page on protein structure acts as a fairly good crash course). Calculating all the different possible configurations is a mammoth task, but using human interaction could make it solvable much, much quicker.

Right now they're testing out the accuracy and efficiency of the game using known protein configurations but if it works well enough we're not just talking about solving the structures of existing proteins but also determining novel structures. One of the biggest problems facing drug design has long been the inability to isolate the perfect protein structure for the desired function. This is especially important in treating viral diseases such as HIV where interaction between the drug molecule and the virus' structure is absolutely vital to correct function. Computers so far aren't capable of determining completely novel protein structures from scratch and so if this technology actually works (and is fun enough to convince people to play with it), we could certainly see protein science, if not medicine advancing in leaps and bounds.

More information is over at Science Daily and Kotaku. I don't know about you guys but solving 3D puzzles and helping humanity? Sounds pretty spiffy to me.

100 of my favourite words

at 13:10

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Audible, vanilla, Pimlico, undulate, irregular, obfuscating, Machiavellian, dimpled, squish, Tavistock, swatch, cherubic, Edwardian, dirigible, wriggling, diagnostic, bollocks, meander, maelstrom, heinous, plethora, veiled, grotesque, protagonist, ethereal, basilisk, turquoise, metaphysical, submission, shill, querulous, muck, grumble, hedgehog, hexagonal, squirrel, webbing, tatters, musings, polymorphic, sulphur, tenacious, convex, pugnacious, interrupted, hysteria, peonies, plebeian, screech, onomatopoetic, potential, voluptuous, bumblebee, click, clatter, sinuous, rutting, tenuous, silken, exquisite, bulbous, fucked, neologism, spate, telephonic, actuality, blasé, uncouth, unmitigated, exasperation, blatant, horrific, rhododendron, tattle, bickered, metamorphosis, lipstick, apocalyptic, truncated, unintelligible, breakfast, sophomoric, callow, severed, erratic, melancholy, distaff, demimonde, treacle, eclectic, merriment, imbibe, bleached, wintry, whipped, embittered, trite, contrariness, abhor, abides.

write your own... tattoo themed "news" story!

at 10:26

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Title: Must include the word "ink", a pun on the word "tattoo" or a reference to permanence. Sample titles: Written in Ink, Tatt's all folks, Tattooed for thought, A permanent part of the student body.

Photograph: Either a celebrity that has one or more tattoos (note, they do not have to be mentioned in the text), an exterior shot of a tattoo studio or fuzzy close up of a tattoo taken from flickr.

Article text: Take at least six of the following, in order:

[Comment on tattoos being a "hot new fashion trend", possible reference to reality TV show]

[Note on how tattoos are "no longer just for sailors and convicts" bonus points for implying sluttiness of women with tattoos by mentioning prostitutes]

[Statistic on number of people possessing a tattoo, bonus points if figure covers the "number of people under twenty five"]

[Tenuous link to college campus/workplace/city/demographic that article is being written about - sample text: "tattoos are now a common sight adorning the bodies of Princeton's students" or "more and more Mothers are now sporting tattoos"]

[Citation of celebrities who have tattoos. Bonus points for the following: Mike Tyson, current American Idol contestant, Avril Lavigne/Rhianna or celebrity that has had a tattoo altered or removed eg. Johnny Depp. No extra points for mentioning Angelina Jolie as this is a prerequisite to publication]

[Quote from semi-articulate person who has a tattoo, possibly on the nature of "personal expression" or "remembering milestones", must include comment about individuality for full editorial impact]

[Quote from tattoo artist about how people are starting younger and going bigger with their tattoo designs]

[Cursory explanation of the difference between flash and custom designs]

[Statistic concerning number of people who now regret their tattoos - bonus points if this is backed up with a quotation from an HR goon about hirability]

[Quote from a "doctor" specialising in laser tattoo removal, possibly referencing follies of youth, definitely citing patients who have had a spouse's name removed]

Factfile: Pick one of the following options:

Tips for getting a tattoo (including inspired gems such as talking to prospective artists, checking portfolios and being really sure of the design you want permanently etched into your skin)

Tattoo removal methods (cite physical abrasion for maximal shock factor and tattoo removal creams to be extra misleading)

Article Comments: Must include at least three of the following:

"Everyone has tattoos now, personally I think I'm being more of an individual by NOT getting one"

"I hire for a large company and you can call me old fashioned but I wouldn't employ anyone with a visible tattoo" (note: this must be followed by at least seven accusations of discrimination, bonus if one cites employment law)

"I think they're OK on guys but tattoos on women are trashy"

"I went to [good school] and now work as a [impressive profession] and I have tattoos, therefore I am proof that everything you have said is wrong"


"Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:28" (three posts pointing out that this is taken entirely out of context are also required with this comment)

"I think a couple of small tattoos can be ok but the big ones are just nasty"

"You have to wonder what these people are going to look like when they're in their sixties. That tribal butterfly won't look so good then!"

[Note: for best impact just under half of comments should be poorly spelt and grammatically incorrect. The word "tattoo" or some variation thereof must be misspelt at least every other post, acceptable variations are "tatoo", "tatto", "tatood", "tattoo'd" etc.]

unmitigated joy

at 13:46

Monday, 5 May 2008

Ten things that are making me quite unforgivably happy today:

1. Wearing my new light blue blazer with ripped jeans and battered converses. It makes me look like a punk rock Mother of the Bride.
2. The sun is out and for once I'm not stuck in a windowless office, completely unable to enjoy it.
3. Going to the supermarket and spending half an hour in the cookware aisle choosing new cake tins and measuring cups.
4. Waiting until it gets dark, turning all the lights off then holing up in my room and immersing myself Ico
5. The prospect of going drinking with a fellow Pajiban before the week is through.
6. Issues 7-12 of Runaways and the fact that I bought them at a mini sci-fi convention I accidentally stumbled on while out clothes shopping.
7. My soon to be shiny bathroom, replete with new shower curtain.
8. Spending my afternoon making ooey gooey chocolate brownie cake while singing along to Fiona Apple.
9. This book in all its strange and grotesque beauty... and the fact that it's the first book I've read in years that's sent me reaching for the dictionary at least once every chapter.
10. The fact that after a blissful day entirely to myself my house will be filled with people this evening, people that I can feed and entertain and give the damned Wii back to.

a note on the ungrateful

at 16:24

Friday, 2 May 2008

Many thanks to the fabulous Girl With Curious Hair for the call to arms on this issue...

So, science is inherently evil is it? You know what? Fine. I give up. There's no point arguing with a statement like that. I could cite advancements that have been life saving, revolutionary. I could point to dear friends who are currently in the care of the medical profession, people the world would be a worse place without. I could start talking about engineering allowing international travel and reliable water supplies, architecture providing us with shelter from the elements, maths and physics explaining the world around us. I could talk about space travel, genetics, communication, crops being farmed with improved yields, AIDS medication, water purification, computers, printing presses, heart bypasses, bionic limbs, cameras, telescopes, video games, sunscreen, decongestents, cars, clock-radios, MRI machines, cinema, electric lights, mass produced clothing, canned food, electric shavers, CAT scans, pencils, the notion of gravity, post-it notes, life as we know it. But I won't. Instead I'm going to say this:

All scientific discoveries are the work of Satan and we'd be much better off crawling around in the muck and dying from poisoning brought around by eating foraged food. Same goes for animal testing, that's bad and totally unnecessary. Yep. Absolutely. While we're on the subject of things that are important to me being crap I'm also totally going to admit that all feminists are evil too. That entire political movement was a pointless waste of time and should never have happened.

Just a couple of points:

re: Feminism. I'd like everyone holding the above view to raise their hands. OK, Ladies would you kindly stop voting, driving, owning property, wearing trousers, having any control over your medical care, getting an education, working, earning money, enjoying a life without violence as standard, going into pubs and bars, eating alone in restaurants and having orgasms. Gents, you're going to need to head right back out the door to work because, guess what? You have seven kids to feed (contraceptives, what? Never heard of em) and a mortgage to pay. Alone.

re: Animal testing. Please stop taking aspirin, paracetamol, morphine, vicodin... oh screw it, you know what "medicine", yeah stop taking that. Oh and could you also stop having surgery. Of any kind. Although especially heart surgery. Anything life saving. Although you can probably still have your appendix taken out. You just can't be anaesthetised while we do it. It's cool though, here's a rag to bite down on. Hope you don't get a post surgical infection cause we really can't help you with that.

re: Science. Well, if you managed to survive this far without medical care, heating, electricity, transport, living in a building, eating processed food, eating organic food, hell - eating cooked food, defending yourself or you know, having fire to provide light and warmth could you please move it out to the mountainside, possibly into a cave, you're going to have to walk there though. Barefoot. And wearing some sort garment fashioned from leaves and bits of twine that you've hand woven from tree bark. Actually "weaving" that's a bit advanced, maybe you could just sort of hold them on or something. You also might want to stay in the shade, I hear skin cancer's a bitch without access to treatment. Don't bother packing either, we all know that suitcases are the work of the devil. You won't need that laptop you write your charming anti evolutionary screeds on either, and leave that bible where it is. The printed word really isn't for folks like you. OK, now could you just sort of sit still for a while. Don't move. You might discover something. That would be bad. Sit very, very, very still.

Oh yes, and get the fuck off our internet you ignorant, anti-intellectual, narrow minded, Luddite wanker.