Wrapped Up In Books


Now you know that the time has come [And they said it would never come for you]

Done my Master’s. I don’t even know what to do with myself now. Granted, it’s been just over 48 hours since I submitted my thesis, it’s all I poured my time into – without it, I’ve felt just a bit lost.

Went out last night though to celebrate (was way too tired on Thursday) and have been sick all afternoon – I will not even look at Jagermeister again in my life. I feel wretched.

Now I need to pack (quickly) and get on a train to Edinburgh so I can sleep in the airport and fly to Berlin tomorrow. Back in a week-ish.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.

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My friends’ wedding at Balmedie Beach last weekend [July 4 2009]
July 12, 2009, 7:28 pm
Filed under: A, Paying homage, photography | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Balmedie Beach

The North Sea, view from Balmedie Beach

A & C

A & C

J sledding down the dune

J sledding down the dune

Sparklers

Sparklers

View from the peak of the dune

View from the peak of the dune

Gigantic bonfire

Gigantic bonfire

Taken at 1.30am, and the sun was still just below the horizon.

Taken at 1.30am, and the sun was still just below the horizon.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good photo of what was going on inside the tent (gorgeous set-up) or the fireworks that were set off, but I give A & C major kudos for pulling this off all on their own. It was the most beautiful day (23C, sunny) for a beautiful couple. So heart-warming.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Looking at you now, you would never know. [Athlete]
June 30, 2009, 1:12 pm
Filed under: A, Biomusicology | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Last night I saw Athlete at the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen. The venue is really small and probably has the same volume as, say, Lee’s Palace, but it’s more spread out and squat (probably the ceiling is only 12 feet high).

I hadn’t listened to Athlete in ages; I think I was a fan in third or fourth year of my undergrad (spanning years 2004-2006) but hadn’t even bothered to give their ‘newest’ (released in 2007) album a spin. Oops. Thesis writing generates apathy, what can I say.

Basically, I went to see one song, Half Light, which was the third on their setlist. Here it is:

Though I do like the electric version, the acoustic one is, in my opinion, a bit more profound (previously posted here).

All in all, it was a good show even though I sometimes can’t stand not knowing songs being played live… but as I mentioned, that really was my own fault.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Fact: I frequently wear my earphones at the office but am listening to nothing.
June 24, 2009, 4:11 pm
Filed under: A, potpourri, Rants | Tags: , , , ,

It’s only so that I can get work done without people bothering me.

So, it’s nearly the end of June which means I have just a little more than a month left to polish off my thesis. I’ve been plugging away at this thing since the first Monday of February (I had just a weekend between finishing exams and beginning this project), and at times it’s been wearing me down.

I’ve run into a bunch of unforeseen issues with my thesis. Whether it’s accidentally including women who haven’t completed the menopause in my analyses (it’s menopausal age that I’m studying, and the factors contributing to it, and some other stuff), realising that I needed to use 99% confidence intervals instead of 95% (and not keeping a syntax file!), running a ton of analyses we later saw as pointless (to be absolutely blunt about it), or whether it’s a near-complete derailment of our original aims.

I frequently use ‘we’ when talking about the progress of the study; I’m extremely fortunate to have two ultra-supportive supervisors. Unlike other people in my programme, I have a standing weekly appointment with both of them. Whenever I churn (or, rather, print) something out, I hand it over for their deconstruction and editing. It’s probably the best learning experience because rather than waiting until I finish this magnum opus, I get to see what they expect of me all along the way.

This, however, has been sometimes irksome. Whether it’s finishing my methods chapter and thinking it’s completely hunky-dory, then getting it back with the margins completely filled with inky scribbles, or finally thinking I’m done with SPSS only to have to re-do 6 of my 15 tables (currently each table has at least 7 previous versions). However, this has taught me patience (which means they’ve cracked me! I thought it’d never happen!) as well as a ton of humility (had some of that before).

Today, I’m in the midst of writing up my discussion chapter. And it’s sinking in how lucky I am to have gotten this topic: my study strengths overweigh the limitations by a landslide and it does seem that most of my findings are congruent with the literature.

Still, I don’t think you’ll find a happier girl at noon next month on the 30th.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Isn’t it a lovely day (for now)? [Wales]

I’m a wonder for traveling – a wonder in that I can guarantee that my flight, no matter where to or on what airline, will be delayed. Now, I can add a second ‘skill’ to the list; I have a penchant (or gift) to nearly miss my flights. I got on the plane on Friday the 15th and we left five minutes later, but at least they didn’t have to hold the plane for me (which is always a sure way to make friends!).

Landing at Cardiff Airport is amazing – our little prop plane made a wonky landing, but you fly over the cliffs near the Bristol Channel and it’s just this gorgeous water meeting the lush green above it. It was an amazing taste of what I’d see the rest of the weekend.

The nightlife in Swansea, which is where my friend, S, was studying, is amazing. Similar to Aberdeen’s Belmont Street, they have a stretch that is nearly dedicated to drinking yourself to oblivion.

DSC06981

When I'm (L) drunk, I have no idea how to smile like a regular person.

S also showed me around the campus of her school, the University of Swansea.

Singleton Abbey

Singleton Abbey

On Saturday we headed to The Gower, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the UK (and Catherine Zeta-Jones doesn’t live too far!). Specifically we went to Oxwich Bay, which in 2007 was hailed by The Times as the most beautiful beach in Britain and it lived up to its award. Despite this, it wasn’t full of people; a few were sitting in lawn chairs on the massive beach, other people were heading out to meet people already in the surf. The beach’s parabolic curve headed around so far into the distance that the farthest parts looked like something from a painting.

Dog hog

Dog hog

Unmarred beach

Unmarred beach

DSC07015

DSC07024

DSC07035

On Sunday I needed to catch a 12.22pm train in order to get back to Cardiff, then take a bus that connected to the airport to catch my 3pm flight. By the time I thought to check the time it was already nearly 1pm, and I managed to miss the train and a different bus that went all the way to Cardiff Airport. S’s amazing flatmate, A, ponied up and offered to drive straight to the airport as I’d likely have to rebook a ticket to get back to the Deen. I gave her some money for gas (petrol, yeah, yeah, I know) and offered her my thanks as she drove the 45 minutes with a terrible hangover. It was a quick, but extremely memorable visit.

Pronunciation is beyond me.

Pronunciation is beyond me.

[Also, I recently became a fan of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, a Welsh band recommended to me by my musically-inclined friend, P, so get a load of this song. The first time I heard it I had no idea the second half was Welsh – the language blows my mind.]

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



11.8L of pure alcohol per annum (Booze culture)

That’s what the Scots manage to drink. It’s astounding, isn’t it? I warned my mom (fitness guru to many, moonlights as a human string bean) that I’ve gained weight from drinking a lot more than I used to. However, I wouldn’t say that I drink nearly as much as the average Scotsperson.

I’ve been keeping track of a few BBC Health articles that are documenting the downward spiral this country seems to be sucked into.  The government is in talks to establish minimum drink prices (boo!) to help curb binge drinking (aka, ‘regular drinking’ here… I’m kidding, sort of).  They suggest no bottle of wine be sold for less than £4.50, about $9 CDN, which is still cheaper than any wine I’ve ever seen in Canada – including the tetrapak business.  But that’s an aside.

Hospitalizations for drinking-related injuries and accidents are on the rise and it’s said that the NHS is spending upwards of £2.7 billion annually for this (£365 million at minimum being spent in Scotland alone), which is a seriously dear sum of money.  The number of alcohol-related hospitalizations in the UK have doubled since 1995; last year there were 207,800 admissions compared to 1995’s 93,500 (still dire).  Furthermore, about 10% of that number are patients who aren’t of the legal drinking age, 18. Still, hospitalizations among the 65+ age group are also on the rise.

As it stands, Scotland leads the UK for number of alcohol-related deaths each year. Scotland lose about 27 per 100,000 citizens to the drink annually, while England, Wales, and Northern Ireland each stand at about 12, 13, and 14  per 100,000 people, respectively.  The population of this country is approximately 5 million, so that equates to 1350 dying each year.

The people who probably suffer the most live in Glasgow, where men living in poorer areas of the city have a life expectancy of 54 years old.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The sheer alcohol consumption, in combination with cigarette smoking, is robbing families of fathers, husbands, sons, and brothers.  The alcohol-related death rates are six and a half times that of the national average: in the Ibrox area, 176 per 100,000 men and even 58 per 100,000 women succumb to alcohol abuse.

Data collected from the World Health Organization demonstrates the severity of the drinking here: Scotland ranks 8th in the world for alcohol consumption.  It stands just behind Luxembourg (15.6 litres per capita), Ireland (13.7 litres), Hungary (13.6 litres), Moldova (13.2 litres), Czech Republic (13.0 litres), Croatia (12.3 litres) and Germany (12.0 litres).

Clearly interventions are needed, and I don’t think raising the price of alcohol will benefit anyone.  Awareness is what’s needed most; to stop serving any more beer to those people barely able to stand in the pub, to put warning labels on packaging (it’s been at least moderately successful with cigarette packaging in Canada), and, generally, to adopt an in-your-face attitude to responsible drinking everywhere.  This country is in serious need of a rude awakening.  I don’t understand how they haven’t had one already.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



I can imagine this would be a nuisance.

I wonder how many people actually get hit at that crosswalk each year.  Surely a few must be not so quick on the pick-up.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.