We acquired a new labmate this week – a Kiwi guy, which puts him firmly in the minority… twice. I acquired a sudden keen interest in horse racing which lasted for the whole 3 minutes of the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. This may be more to do with the fact that it was an excuse to temporarily escape the lab and watch the race in the nearest pub than anything else. And I lost $1 because the horse I picked in the sweepstakes didn’t finish anywhere interesting. I won’t be launching myself into a gambling addiction any time soon. I’m afraid not many funny things came my way this week, so today’s Sunday Smiles is rather short on content (I’ve made up for that with rambling though…).
On to this week’s (rambly) Sunday Smiles:
- I went to the Armistice Day memorial service at the Auckland Cenotaph this morning and was rather surprised to discover that Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, were also in attendance. I knew they were visiting New Zealand as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations but I didn’t think they arrived until next week. I’m clearly a poorly-informed subject. They did a little walkabout afterwards and I was just close enough to manage a photo of each of them (I thought it only fair to let veterans get to the front to shake their hands, but apparently not everybody felt that way). Aside from it being a sombre occasion, it was pretty exciting, I won’t lie. I think I may be in the minority, but I actually really like Camilla.
- Speaking of royalty and, by extension, the aristocracy, series three of Downton Abbey came to a close this week. Goodness, it was a roller-coaster of a season and kind of all over the place, but still totally addictive. I can’t wait for the Christmas Special!
- Yesterday I headed across the Waitemata Harbour to Devonport to go climb Mount Victoria and North Head, both volcanoes on the North Shore of Auckland. They aren’t particularly especially high – at 87m Mount Victoria is the taller of the two – but they make excellent view points, especially of Rangitoto, Auckland’s most recent volcano. It was wonderfully sunny and warm yesterday so perfect weather for a little picnic lunch on top of a volcano (as you do).
- I don’t know if you heard, but the US elections were held this week (it wasn’t mentioned much on the news). Unlike the last elections the time zones were very much in my favour with the results coming in through the day rather than in the middle of the night. Did you see Chris Rock’s hilarious (and swear-word-containing) endorsement of Obama? From a rest-of-the-world point of view, I was mightily relieved that Obama has been re-elected. And I was amused by many of the election-related memes that exploded across the internet, particularly the ones involving Sesame Street. And then, once the election was called for Obama, we switched to Fox News in the lab, which turned out to be a great source of amusement (I’m a bad person, I know).
- Still on the topic of the US elections, I can’t remember which of the debates it was but I’m sure you’ve heard of Romney’s infamous “binders full of women” quote. Not only was it turned into a whole bunch of memes (this is my favourite), but I’ve just discovered that it bubbled over into Amazon’s review section as well.
- To finish on an uplifting note, though still on the subject of the US election, apparently Obama’s victory Tweet became the most retweeted Tweet ever – a record previously held by… Justin Bieber. Thank you Obama, perhaps there is some hope for humanity.
What made you smile this week?
Monday was a day off for us, which was marvellous (though sadly the weather didn’t play ball) but I spent the rest of the week totally out of kilter and confused about what day it was (and nearly forgot that today is Sunday). Luckily I wasn’t the only bewildered one, so that was rather reassuring. I’m all up for three-day weekends, but I’d like to request that we get the Friday off rather than the Monday. Glad we’ve got that straight.
Now, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:
- Long story short, I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Go Pro website this week looking things up, and came across this lovely soothing video of beautiful autumnal foliage and mist in… uhm… somewhere (it doesn’t specify). It’s shot from a remote control plane thingy.
- Have you seen The Intouchables? I saw it when it was released in France last Christmas, but it’s only just been released here (not sure why), so I went to see it again with some of my labmates. It was just as fantastic as I remembered, and they loved it, too. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend it – a film about a tetraplegic and his carer who come from totally different walks of life might not sound like a barrel of laughs, but it’s excellent, I promise.
- I don’t think we’ve had a dreadful biology joke in a while, so here’s one for you: Why had the two algae never had sex? …Because they had a planktonic relationship. Badum-tschhhh! It comes courtesy of a labmate.
- So The Hobbit (part 1…) is having its premiere here in NZ some time soon (possibly next week?), though it’s not out in cinemas until mid-December. Apparently there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in Wellington in honour of this. I read somewhere that they’re temporarily changing Wellington’s name to “The Middle of Middle Earth” or something and possibly even bringing out special stamps for the airport (I heard it on the radio, so this may or may not actually be true). Speaking of Wellington airport… A giant Gollum is now currently gracing the arrivals hall – amazing or what?!
- I’ve previously mentioned my love for Downton Abbey, so I was in utter awe when I came across this video of Downton Abbey character impressions, all done by the same guy. Just a warning: it contains spoilers of Season 3, so you might not want to watch it just yet if you’re not watching the series on the UK schedule. Anyway, the sound quality is slightly off, but I’m in awe of this guy’s imitation abilities. Just wow.
- There was a random BMX showcase thing going on in Aotea Square this weekend, with a bunch of performance artists also doing stuff. I’m not really sure why, but I stumbled across these goings on yesterday and since it was sunny and warm, I hung around to watch. It was a little bit like being in Edinburgh during the Fringe, but less crowded and without the rain. Anyway, the BMX part was utterly amazing. I’ve no idea why you’d want to launch yourself up a ramp on a teeny little bike and do flips and shit when your only landing options are a wooden ramp or concrete, but it’s pretty impressive to watch.
What made you smile this week?
I spent most of this week rather wiped out from the tummy bug that ambushed me last weekend – an entire day of vomiting and not eating much for two days really does floor you. I didn’t have enough energy (nor the desire) to cook something more complicated than plain pasta until Tuesday evening, and even then my energy only extended as far as chopping up some kumara and roasting it in the oven… and then adding it to pasta. Being ill is miserable. And if I barely had the energy to cook, I certainly didn’t have enough energy to bake. No baking for an entire week. Sad times. Luckily, in an unusual fit of organisation, I had this week’s blog posts prepared, and there were quite a few things that brightened up the week.
Here are my Sunday Smiles for this week:
- The third season of Downton Abbey has started! Huzzah! Yes, it’s rather ridiculous, and yes, some of the plot points are dubious, but it’s utterly addictive and I’m hooked. I won’t give anything away in case you haven’t watched it, but it looks like Season Three is shaping up to be just as addictive as its predecessors.
- I’ve heard whispers that strawberries are very nearly in season here… I’m beyond excited. I adore strawberries.
- New Zealand offered the perfect antidote to any Olympics and Paralympics withdrawal symptoms this week with the Gold medal ceremony for Valerie Adams (women’s shot put). The original winner from Belarus was caught doping, so Valerie Adams, who also won Gold in Beijing, was upgraded from Silver medallist to Gold medallist. After some delays with getting the Gold medal back (apparently) and further delays whilst Valerie Adams was participating in other competitions, an official medal presentation ceremony was finally held on Wednesday evening here in Auckland. The Sky Tower was lit in gold for the occasion.
- But that’s not all. This was the first ever Olympic Gold medal ceremony to be held on NZ soil, so the Kiwis went all out and ended it with seven minutes of fireworks simultaneously in Auckland and Wellington. Can you imagine if NZ actually hosted the Olympics?! It would be amazing. Not to mention hilarious – my favourite part of the ceremony, which I must admit resembled more of a school prize-giving than the very official London Olympic ceremonies, was the part where the “MC” thanks Auckland’s mayor for having an easier to pronounce name than the Tongan royals present. I kid you not. You can watch the ceremony here in case you missed it or just want to listen to Kiwi accents (there are several speeches at the start, so the actual medal presentation part starts around 31:30, and the Auckland fireworks at around 45:00). I bundled up warm and went down to the Waterfront to watch the fireworks, which were beautiful.
- On a more sobering note, I heard about Operation Sugar this week, which aims to provide birthday cakes (baked by volunteer bakers) for critically ill children in NZ. I think this is a fantastic idea, although from what I understand (I need to read the information email properly) cakes need to be able to feed 40 people which might be a little past my abilities, so I’m not sure whether I can really commit yet. But I absolutely do want to spread the word!!! So if you’re a baker in NZ and you’re interested, head over to their facebook page for more information.
- The iPhone 5 and the new iOS release seem to have been the big tech news this week. I haven’t upgraded to iOS 6 yet (I was going to but then got distracted and forgot about it), but from what I’ve heard the new Apple Maps app is dreadful. There’s a whole tumblr dedicated to it (of course): The Amazing iOS 6 Maps. Whilst very amusing, I’m not sure how keen I am to update because I use the Google Maps app a lot.
- You may have noticed that I have a slight Instagram addiction… If you also share my over-enthusiasm for Instagram, you might appreciate the Instagram song which Craig sent me this week.
- And finally, this meme made me laugh about 56 times more than it should have… Don’t judge my sense of humour. Thank you Emma for brightening up my week no end – alpaca lunch next time we go for a picnic. In the meantime, I think I’ll be printing this out on Monday and pinning it next to my desk. (Not sure of the original source)
What made you smile this week?