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19 Feb 2005: The Winter Cold

Aki received her first payslip today. While I have been drinking coffee and reading more books, simply because I have no-one else to annoy, she has been hard at work and been progressing with cultural integration. Just the other day she told me about this new British word naff she had learnt.

It had been forecast to be the coldest winter of the century so far, a far more significant statement if it had been 2053 or something like that. Truth be told, it hasn't been so bad. February, however, has started to turn nasty. This morning I looked out of the bedroom window, saw beautiful sunshine and a blue sky, and thought, "Hmm, looks a bit more enticing than that overcast rubbish of recent weeks." Waiting on the bus stop for ten minutes, Aki and I almost suffered hypothermia due to an elaborate deception of nature known as wind chill.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. A commercial was shot in the Thames Barrier Park next door. My parents came to stay for a few days. I met up with Andrew Cook, a colleague from BGI Tokyo, here in this very city. My glasses broke, so I am now wandering around with my prescription shades during winter. Someone tried shooting a cat with a crossbow in Manchester. Aki bought a commuter pass for her Oyster card and, with this new magical technology which actually rivals Japan's Suica card, uploaded the pass onto her card by simplying walking through a ticket gate.

The big news this week in the UK is that London have made their bid for the Olympics in 2012. The public response is mixed because, while no-one is particularly against the idea, no-one is particularly convinced that Britain can actually pull off something of that scale. Anyone who has experienced the pleasures of the public transport system or the service industry of the United Kingdom will have an idea why. Out of my window every night, I can just make out the silhouette of a derelict Millennium Dome, which is a message in itself.

If you ever wanted to know what every Starbucks on the planet was like, the Starbucks Everywhere web site is a great place to start.

Bonus Pictures

I have been super-productive this month. There are nine pictures on the Japanese web log, which is a record.

Book Corner

Good God! I read a real book! I finished one of my Christmas presents, Lullaby by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk. What would happen if you came across a poem that could kill people? Whether you view Lullaby as a satirical attack on the media overload of the modern age, or simply an interesting idea played out, it's undeniably littered with black humour and smart writing. I quite enjoyed it, although not as much as Fight Club. And I didn't even read that book, I just watched the film.

Revenge of Mathematical Book Corner

I had enough of all those quantitative finance books but they only whetted my appetite for mathematical masochism. I have embarked on Samuel R. Buss' 3D Computer Graphics: A Mathematical Introduction with OpenGL. It's fun.