Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Required reading at the academy...

All you Trekkie IR's will remember all of those works of literature that were "Required reading at the academy." Usually a way for Kirk or Picard or whoever to say that "This character you've never heard of is a Big Deal and/or Very Smart." Well, after my very brief study of economics (aka 3 pop-econ books and starting to read an intro text book) I've decided that Economics should be required reading at the academy. Any academy.

You have no idea how weird it is for me to write this post. I never thought I'd be even interested in economics, much less saying it's important knowledge more people need to have. But the more I've read the more I've come to see that so much of what you hear talked about in the news, debated in the media, and especially argued about in the government is directly tied to economics! On an obvious level that's because we're in a capitalist society that is built around the production, acquisition, and distribution of wealth but on a more basic level it's because the production, maximization, and apportionment of resources is one of the main tasks of a society and hence a government. This is true in any society. Remember a while back I was ranting about people ranting about taxes? I said that we should all care deeply about taxes because they are a means of the government (aka the people) implementing its will? Well fiscal and monetary policy is exactly like that, only more so! And I just had no idea how it really worked. And I still don't, not really, but I'm learning enough to know that if you want to have some understanding about almost any issue going on in society you need to have at least a smattering of economics.

So I may, from time to time, blog a bit about econ (or I may not - there's lots of other stuff I find very important or fascinating I don't blog about, believe it or not) but when I do I'll try to explain why it matters. And I'll try to make it make sense, at least as much as I can understand it myself. Consider yourselves warned, dear IR's. Econ may be coming.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Did anyone notice?

I just have to ask, did anyone notice that someone who appears to be Felicia Day responded to my post about not being in love with Felicia Day, below? That's just trippy! When people go and respond to posts it really strains the whole IR concept and causes great cognitive dissonance, let me tell ya. But in any case, if that really was FD responding to the post, it confirms what I had said about her seeming to be nice. And makes me want to watch more episodes of The Guild.

Something positive about my job

Shifter here. I was in a weird mood this morning. Probably had something to do with trying to run 22 miles while sick and ending up only getting 17 in and feeling like !@#$. But anyway, at some point it just hit me that there is one thing I really like about my job. Long time IR's will know that one of the things I love most about my job is complaining about it, and that is because there are so very many things to complain about! But here is one thing I can definitely say I like about my job.

I get paid to think.

That's pretty incredible when you think about it. It's most obvious when I'm doing research but it's present elsewhere as well. When I'm given time to do research, it's essentially because someone somewhere decided "we like what you think about, we think it's important, and we're willing to pay you to keep thinking about it and to try to conduct studies to check out what you've been thinking about." That, well, that's awesome. There's just no other way to put it. It's amazing. It's also humbling. A lot of time researchers, including me, tend to think of research as our right - we should get to do research because we're researchers, by god, and why are they getting in the way? But it comes down to a value decision on the part of many institutions. This is most obvious in grant situations, when a funding agency literally gives you money, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, to conduct studies to test out what you've been thinking about. But it's also true of your home institution, which pays you a salary to, yes, think about things. Which means that your home institution has decided that you thinking about things is of benefit to it and to its goals, whatever they may be. Which is really cool.

This is also true, perhaps to a lesser extent, in my administrative role. A large part of middle management (I think I'm middle management, or maybe lower middle management is a better description) is just making things run. Keep the trains running on time. Get the staff performing to expectations. And so forth. But even in an admin job as low level as mine there are opportunities and sometimes even demands that you think of new ways to do things. And sometimes, though rarely, they even let you try out some of the things you think of. Granted, it's very frustrating when you spend a lot of time and effort thinking of a solution, a good damn solution, and don't get to do it because of any of a zillion factors (idiocy of others often being one of them). But it's still cool to be paid to try to think of new approaches or ideas.

I have other parts of my job, direct care parts, that are what drew me into my profession in the first place and that are valuable to me in an entirely different way. But oddly enough when you come down to it what gets me excited about work is when I get to think and analyze and take things apart and put them back together in a fun way. I had no idea those would be part of my career when I decided to go into this field, but I'm glad they are. Very glad. And it is a treat to get paid money to do stuff like that.

Sadly, this does not undo any of the stuff I absolutely loathe about my job, but it does remind me why I put up with all of it. Which means that you, dear IR's, will get to keep hearing about it for years to come.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is there a statistician in the house?

How likely is this?
So on Monday I fly from NY to Chicago for a conference.  I get on the plane, and eventually a guy climbs over me and into the window seat, and starts up a lively conversation about my incredibly dull reading material (the BABOK--because I'm a party animal).  Turns out he's on his way to the same conference.
So far, that doesn't even qualify as a coincidence.  There is a limited number of flights from NY to Chicago, and the conference started late Monday, which encouraged people to fly out during the day on Monday, and this was the cheapest flight.  NY is a large metropolitan area with probably dozens of companies sending people to the conference.  I'd be surprised if we were the only two people on the plane headed to the same place.
We struck up a little acquaintanceship which lasted until we got to the hotel and the conference, at which point we got routed into different tracks because our professional interests in the conference topics were different.  We turned up in the same session only once, and didn't really see each other at all while the thing was going on.
The conference ends, and I go back to O'Hare and check in for my flight.  I get some lunch.  I sit down to wait.  Just as the flight is about to come in, the dude shows up and says, "I figured you'd be on this flight."  Again, we were flying the same carrier, so this doesn't really qualify as a coincidence.  Then he says, "I'm in seat 14A.  If you're in 14B, I'm going to be seriously weirded out."  And indeed, I was in seat 14B.  OK, now it's odd, right?
Or maybe not.  How likely is that?  The plane wasn't huge--only 25 rows of 6 seats, so on the small side of the commercial, non puddle-jumper plane size.  But seriously?  The same two completely unrelated passengers sitting together twice in a row?  I'm interested in how likely that is, and whether it might have to do with some airline convention that I'm not aware of.  (Like, does it matter if our last names start with the same letter or if we reserve our flights at the same time or check in at the same time or....I don't really know what else.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Peter Gabriel

While browsing around on the internet tonight, trying to get over the shock of a comment that seems to at least have the possibility of coming from Felicia Day (*gasp*), I came across some Peter Gabriel videos on Youtube. I honestly can't remember how I got from there to here - Felicia Day is to Peter Gabriel as aquamarine is to penitentiary, if you see what I mean. Peter Gabriel, though, is just freaking awesome. I've been listening to his music since I was listening to, well, music. I started with So, which was a relatively trendy/pop album but had some really cool songs on it (Mercy Street, anyone?) and then when I got his next album (Us) it was so awesome I picked up pretty much everything of his I could find. He writes good music, and he writes great lyrics, and he sings them really well, and well he's just awesome. My wife once said that if she had to pick a song for my funeral she would take Solsbury Hill (great choice, by the way). So the point is I haven't blogged about him anywhere near enough, and if you're in a Peter mood here's a link for Sky Blue, off his last album. Not my favorite song on there (More Than This and Signal to Noise both are amazing) but a good song and a nice version.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Felicia Day clip

I have a confession to make. I'm not in love with Felicia Day. I feel quite bad about this. It makes me an outsider. It seems like every time I see someone mention Felicia Day online there's drool oozing out of the monitor and hearts and stars exploding in the electronic background. It's not that she's not funny and talented, because she is, and it's not that she doesn't seem nice, because she does. It's just that she's not, well, a Goddess. No offense Ms. Day. However, just in case some of our IR's are totally addicted to the Guild, huge fans of Dr. Horrible, or just screwy over Felicia Day here's a clip of her talking about all of those things at a recent comicon. This ends your public service announcement.

Monday, September 21, 2009

With my luck this will be our next dog...

Stealing this from ProbablyBadNews.com. Behold the picture of the next Shifter household pet. Mr. Giggles. He looks so aptly named!

The most easiest triathlon .... in the world!

Well, I've just about decided to do a triathlon. Now before the IR's all start saying "ooohhh, a triathlon!" let me explain a bit about it. This is not just any triathlon. No, no, no. This is special. This is the most easiest, the most simplest, the most basicist triathlon in the world.

Brief tangent. Do you guys remember that movie Time Bandits? You know, the dwarves steal the Map to time and space from The Creator and end up hijacking the protagonist, a young English lad, who accompanies them on a series of hijinks throughout history? Well there's this scene in Time Bandits when one of the dwarves is being possessed by Evil to lure the other dwarves into using the Map to seek The Most Fabulous Object in the World because by doing so they will free Evil. The dwarf says, in the most convincing way imaginable, that they should seek The Most Fabulous Object in the World and the way he said it was creepy/cool. And that, dear IR's, is the tone of voice to be imagined when you hear me speak of the Most Simplest Triathlon in the World.

Why a triathlon, you ask? I know, I know, you don't ask but let's just pretend that you do. Two reasons. One, my sister just did one (not the most Simplest Triathlon in the World, I might add) and I'm way impressed and want to follow yet again in her footsteps. Second, I've done this one before and while it is Simple, it got me in really good shape. Probably the best shape I've been in until I did my last marathon, and certainly better overall shape (including upper body, abs, etc.). So not a bad result.

What is simple about it, you ask? (see above, I know you didn't ask, but you should have!). It's indoors. In the Frozen North, in February, where this event occurs, an outdoor swimming/biking/running event would have a 100% fatality rate. So they do it inside. But when they do it inside they make it simple. First you swim, in an Olympic size pool, for 30 minutes. Indoors. Big difference between lap swimming and swimming in a lake or ocean. Then you get on a stationary bike, a stationary bike, and pedal for 30 minutes. Set it at any resistance level you want, go any speed you want, just pedal. Then you get on a, you guessed it, a treadmill, and run 30 minutes. Again, any speed you want, etc. So you're only really pushing it for 90 minutes. And it's totally whatever pace you want. So if you're only up to a tiny bit of effort on each, you only go a bit of a distance, and it's all cool. They just add up the total distances to see who wins. Which means the best cyclist wins essentially. Think about it. The difference between a great swimmer and a bad swimmer in a 30 minute swim can't be more than, what, a mile? And between a bad runner and a great runner over 30 minutes couldn't be more than 2-3 miles max. But the difference between a great cyclist and a bad cyclist in 30 minutes? 5+ miles I would think, at least. So your cycling totally outweighs everything else. Which just goes to show how not serious this is. And how not competitive I will be. Ninety minutes of effort is less, all told, than a half marathon which is typically closer to 2 hours of high intensity work.

But what's cool is it will force me to cross-train, which I really need to do, and it's always fun to say you were in a triathlon, even if it is a wimpy one. I'm hoping to maybe step up to a real live outdoor one some day. I'll have to buy a bike but I imagine I can do that one of these days. The thing isn't til February, so I'll start training after the marathon in 3 weeks. I'll keep you posted (you're welcome).

Where are my pantyhose?

Shifter here. Haha--just kidding. It's actually Katy, and I'm wondering where my pantyhose are.

Not mine, specifically. I know where they are. But where are the pantyhose made for lily-white Irish people? I ask, because as a lily-white person of Irish extraction, I'm getting tired of "nude" colors that are actually only "nude"-colored for considerably darker-skinned people. When I wear them, I look like I've affected the habit of wearing chihuahua skins on my legs. It's extremely noticeable, since my face, arms, and neck are all neon white, and my legs are a rich brown. It's not attractive.

I realize that, in a way, this is payback for the band-aid. But I would humbly submit that band-aids are not required work attire for most jobs that I'm aware of. (And when they are required, I think they're usually blue, which at least has the virtue of matching no one except the Blue Man Group.)

A brand called "Assets" from Target used to make pantyhose for the extremely pale, but now they've basically forsaken pantyhose for "shapewear," which is essentially the 21st century's answer to the chastity belt. I've combed all the local department stores, and I can only find "nude" colors for people with a healthy tan glow, a glow which is forbidden to those of us who have had encounters with skin cancer. Now the only brand that I know of that makes a color that approximates my skin tone is Hue, and Hue pantyhose are $7 a pair. (Half the cost of Assets, it must be noted, but I do have to order them in from out of town, which is a bummer.)

I used to feel really sorry for the guys at work for having to wear ties, but suddenly I feel that we've achieved workplace equality.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

More on Eddie

I've been thinking a lot about Eddie Izzard and the 40+ marathons. It seemed ridiculous, actually, so I dug around on the internet and as ridiculous as it seems, it also seems to be true. That is if you go to his website, here, you'll see loads of details about the runs, complete with comments from people who have joined him on various parts, and there are a few news stories about it and nothing at all about it being a hoax. I checked good ol' Snopes.com but they had nothing at all on it. I recommend checking out his website, actually, as it's interesting to see his running blog (posted by others who are with him on the running tour as far as I can tell) and his log of twitters/tweats/whatever the hell they are.

The marathons are not official races (which should have been obvious but I for some reason thought he had found 40 consecutive events to run in - duh Shifter). He seems to have varied his pace, some days stopping off along the way a lot, others trying to actually run straight through and get a PR. That doesn't really make it any less impressive given that he's not a pro runner and until he did this as far as I can tell wasn't really even a runner. What a marvelous thing to be able to do, really. And it looks like he raised oodles of dough for his cause. He's done now, so here's a belated "Go Eddie!"

My own much less demanding, and much more self-centered, marathon schedule is shifting all over the place (pardon the pun on Shifter's shifting). I had originally intended to do one on 10/2, but didn't get signed up in time, then was going for a different one on 10/10, but that conflicted with a family event, so then was looking at 11/21, but that one I just found out conflicts with my Beloved's work schedule, so now I'm back to the 10/10. Which means I've got 3 weeks to go instead of about 9. Fortunately, I've been training ahead and have 3 20 mile runs done so far. This weekend (tomorrow) will be a short 13 mile run because I have already done 4 days this week, including a 10K race with a friend this am, but next week I'll do a 22 and then have a 2 week taper. Quicker than I had expected, but still doable. I'm not, frankly, as fit as I was before my last marathon and so doubt I'll get a PR, but some time around 4:05 to 4:00 should be doable if weather cooperates. I'll post an update when it happens. I'm kind of proud of myself for not boring everyone with quite so many running posts this time around. I'm sure all the IR's are grateful as well :o)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Laugh out loud funny

I found this site on the web today over lunch at work. I had to grab a few coworkers and we were all in tears. You'll need to be able to display graphics to enjoy it, as it consists of a bunch of pictures of actual printed news headlines and footage that contain flaws, ironic content, or just really funny stuff. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

Another Reason for Shifter to Love Eddie Izzard

Not that I'm suggesting anyone needs another reason to love Eddie. But dude, 43 marathons in 51 days? Maybe we need to worship him a little, too.

Mad props to BBC for use of the phrase "once well-upholstered comedian."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crickets and a Scary Thing

So the ants are gone. Apparently during the week that I was in the UK they decided I was never going to feed them again and left for greener pastures. And the centipedes are invading less frequently, thank goodness.

But now there are the crickets. Loud little bastards. At least one of them sneaks into the house every night and starts calling for its miniature lover all night long. Thank goodness they can't get up the stairs, and between the fan in front of the window and my book on CD I can't hear them, so they aren't keeping me awake. But they are slowly driving me mad while I watch television.

And there is some other creature leaving tracks in my carpet. I haven't seen the actual creature yet, but it must be fairly large, because the tracks are pretty deep. They seem kind of worm shaped. It's very scary. They sort of trail away in the middle of the dining room, and there's no trace of where it went. I'm hoping one of the crickets ate it, but I have the distinct feeling that it's probably building a cocoon somewhere so that it can bust out in a month or two and fly upstairs and kill me in my sleep.

I bet you never get to hear this conversation...

This is how you know you're not me. You never get to hear the following:


My beloved: "Can you not hear how terrible that sounds?"

Offspring: "I think it sounds terrific!"

Beloved: "It hurts other people's ears."

Yes, this is the joy of a 6 year old learning to play the recorder. Writhe in envy, all you without musical 6 year olds!

The Tootsie Roll

I'd like to spare a moment for a misunderstood masterpiece of culinary delight. You can probably guess what it is. No, not the sno cone, you silly IR, the Tootsie Roll. I was on my way out of a meeting today and I saw some one's candy bowl with 3, count 'em, 3, tootsie rolls in it. I snarfed em all and then gloried in them for the 60 seconds it took me to devour them. Snarf, by the way, in this case means "to grab," not "to eat." Snarf is quite a flexible word. In any case, they were heavenly. And I realized that it's so rare that someone praises the Tootsie Roll. Oh, we rave about our Snickers bars, or our Milk Duds (yummmm, milkduds), but never mention the good ol' rolls. Personally, I think that's because they're just too widely available. They're handed out in massive quantities at every parade and every holiday. They're in people's candy jars. That's because they're cheap, and good, but the net effect is it makes them kind of like air. They're around all the time, you're constantly taking them in, you need them to survive, and you take them for granted. Well maybe not the survive part, but the rest of the analogy holds. When's the last time you said "Wow, that last breath of air was so life giving and terrific!" Now when's the last time you said "Wow, that Tootsie Roll is scrumptabulous!" I'll bet the answer to both is "Never" which goes to show how similar the situations of the Tootise Roll and air really are! I think another downfall of the TR is that, because it is cheap, and everywhere, it often gets stale. Now a stale TR is better than no TR, just as stinky air is better than no air (ask a submariner about that one - he'll agree). But a stale TR just doesn't bring the same level of joy that a nice, fresh, perfectly tectured TR will bring you. So here's to an American classic, the Tootise Roll.

By the way, if you get bored and look at the Tootsie Roll's webpage (yes, everything has a webpage these days - here's a quite scary one on bellybutton lint), you'll see that the Tootsie Roll Industries also makes Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies, which are also unsung heroes of American candyhood IMO. Oh, and also Wack-o-Wax. WTF?

By the way of the way. If you think blogging about Tootsie Rolls means I'm short on material at the moment, you're absolutely goddamn right. But they're still awesome.

By the way of the way of the way. I think it would be freaking awesome to be the head of IR for Tootsie Roll Industries. What a random-ass job. How could you not get into some good random conversations with that job?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Hidden Driveway"

Have you ever seen those "Hidden Driveway" signs? We've got one kind of near our house, just before this turn where, it turns out, there is a hidden driveway. I've always wondered how pissed off the home owner must be about the sign. I mean, they go to all the trouble to put in a hidden driveway, kind of like the secret entrance to the Batcave, ya know, and then some idiot comes by and puts up a sign announcing its existence. It is now considerably less hidden than your average driveway, which at least does not get proclaimed to every driver with a big yellow sign. I'm sure there's many a non hidden driveway I've gone by without noticing it, but this hidden one, I see it every time. "Bat Cave here - Bat man is [IN/OUT]".

Blogging for Dummies

Yup, they have it. A Blogging for Dummies book. I saw it at the ol' used book store today and I thought "who the hell needs that? This isnt' that hard!" And I was going to post on here about how dumb do you have to be to need a blogging for dummies book. But then I pictured all the imaginary readers out there saying "Please, please read that book" and maybe even taking up a collection to buy it for me and I thought I'd better keep my mouth shut. I officially have no comment, then, on the Blogging for Dummies book.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Too much sleep!

I slept 8.5 hours last night. Seriously. And the night before I slept 7 hours. Even though I had to get up at 5am to run. So I had like 15.5 hours sleep in 2 days. That's just insane.

I know, I know, there are those who get, who need, 8 hours of sleep a night or they just fall apart. And the thing is, I may even be one of them. But I just don't do it. I sleep 5-6 hours, and I'm chronically tired. As in don't sit down or you'll fall asleep tired. I think if I didn't run I could probably do great on 6 hours a night, but when you throw the running in there I end up dragging ass most days. Why do I sleep so little, you ask? No you don't. Cone on, who would ask that? I'll try hard to imagine someone asking that. Ok, I'm imagining it, but they're asking me that in a totally "ok, I'll humor you, here's your set up question" kind of tone. That's about the best I can do. So, why do I sleep so little, you ask in an "ok I'll humor you, here's your set up question" kind of tone? Fuck if I know. I used to sleep even less, just bad habits, and I cherish my times at night when everyone else is asleep and I get to unwind and do whatever I want (usually computer, read, or work) without interruption. And it's hard to give that up. So I guess I do know.

For me to sleep that much is just odd. My wife asked me in a serious way if I was ok when I told her I was going to bed at 9:30 last night. I told her I was just tired of feeling tired. The 8.5 hours felt fine, really, but it's just too weird. I just can't help but think that that much sleep is unhealthy. Shouldn't be done. So I don't think I'll make a habit of it. You long sleepers may have the right idea, but it's just a little too freaky for me. You guys are living on the edge! I'm not that nuts, nossirree, not me. 2am, here I come.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Prairie is a stupid word

I mean really. How damn bizarre can a word spelling get. I know "bureaucracy" is pretty hardcore, but "prairie" has got to take the cake. Do you know how hard it is to write down the title "Little House on the Prairie" for your little girls when the goddamn prairie is spelled like that? Let me tell you, it's hard. I've got it spelled 8 different ways in 8 different places and I'm just hoping they never actually have to read it cause they're going to think their dad has lost his mind. They'll think I've got multiple personalities running around in my head changing my spelling. And they'll be right, because I went insane spelling prairie.

Oh, and one more thing. What the hell is a prairie anyway? Is it a field, a meadow, a plain?? If so, why isn't it Little House on the Meadow. Meadow is a nice word. I can spell it and I know what it is. Field, ditto. Hell, I could even do Little House on the Plateau. You see? I can spell plateau! And I know what one is. So fine, let's go with that, shall we? Miss Ingles, or her ghost, you don't mind if I change the name of one of your books to something a little more humanitarian, do you? Humanitarian as in it drives a few less humans insane? Little House on the Plateau? Great! I didn't think you'd mind. Thanks, half-pint.

The Cutest Piggy Banks In All The World

I saw this commercial while I was in England last week, and darned if these aren't the cutest piggies I've ever seen. I love the part at the end where they jostle for space in the window.

Monday, September 07, 2009


I have a friend coming to stay with me for a few days. We've never met before, because we were virtual colleagues, but we've kept in touch and I've really enjoyed her friendship.

Unfortunately for all concerned, I'm that kind of person. Meaning that when I have company I'm most comfortable if there's been some kind of effort made to make sure that the place doesn't look like:
  1. A bomb hit it
  2. Frat boys live here, spewing empty pizza boxes and beer bottles at regular intervals and leaving items to rot in the refrigerator until they either become science projects or actual college students
  3. The home of someone who is about to be parted with his/her children by Family Services on grounds of not providing an appropriate home
When I'm left to my own devices, all of these types of entropy and more happen in fairly short order. Lately I've been fortunate enough that a specific human comes to my house once or twice a week, and that tends to keep things reasonable. I do things out of respect for this human that I wouldn't do for myself (like picking up most of the shoes that tend to congregate under the coffee table, and keeping the fridge clean and happy, and cleaning the bathrooms as though the ladies on "How Clean Is Your House? were invading with swabs to count bacteria). I don't know why I don't respect myself enough to do those things for me. I kind of wish I did, because I actually enjoy having the place clean. It is so exciting to be able to get up on a Saturday and just make tea or coffee without washing a tea/coffepot, a mug, a spoon, and a coffee/tea measuring device. Thrilling!

Unfortunately, the afore-mentioned human isn't around any longer, and so it's taken a couple of weeks to shake the place free from the entropy-gnomes. I have collapsed and recycled moving boxes. I have found homes for all that weird shit that needs a home (like the cords to every electrical device I've ever owned--hands up if you need another RCA cable! No, I thought not.). I have unearthed the guest room bed. I have purchased pillows to live inside the guest room bed's nice shams, and said shams have been ironed and stuffed and lovingly arranged on the actual guest room bed. I have purged my wardrobe of clothes that won't be worn again. I have found the surfaces of my desk, kitchen counters, and coffee table. I have vacuumed up some of the many, many, many colonies of spiderwebs.

(An aside. Did anyone ever notice that Charlotte's web never had a pile of carcasses under it all the time? Charlotte was one dainty spider. I think she hid the bodies to avoid freaking Wilbur out. My spiders aren't so particular. I think my own frat-boy mentality has been a corrupting influence. And let me just say that based on each spider's body count I'm in no hurry to evict any spiders, because I'd be overrun with other insects.)

At this point the guest could walk in and although there would be things that would bug me, it would all be copable. I'd just like to fix a few more things before she comes. Too bad work starts tomorrow...

Mmmmmm, W H Smith

I just got back from a business trip to the UK. It was fabulous, although I was rushed off my feet the entire time and didn't really have the opportunity to explore my surroundings as much as I would have liked. Still...

And God bless airport bookshops, because I picked up the latest Tony Hill/Carol Jordan book by Val McDermid. I forced myself to finish The Pale Blue eye first (I really do like Louis Bayard, but there's something compelling about a series with characters you've grown to love) and just finished it this morning before breakfast. That's the highest compliment I can pay a book, really--if it comes between me and my morning cuppa, that's high praise. Because honestly, if you're so excited to get to the end that you can't wait three minutes for a decent cup of tea or coffee? Well, you're hooked.

Now I'll be diving into the newest Kathy Reichs, also courtesy of WHS in LHR. Pausing briefly between books to note that I seem to have a cold (stupid airplanes) and to put breakfast and a cup of coffee within reach of the sofa...