02 January 2011


A conference is always good for inspiration. When you get back you run to your lab and your office and work like mad! At least, that's my experience. And after AGU I wanted to do exactly that. But evidently it didn't work out that way. I was home three days later than expected, and then it was already time to ignore the office and celebrate christmas. So then, after christmas, more than a week after the conference, I went to my office. Time to get some stuff done! So I walked into that freezing extremity of the university building and pressed the "on" button of my computer.


Nothing? I checked if it was properly plugged in, if the socket worked properly... all was well but the computer just wouldn't work. Now what? I couldn't possibly NOT work all these days, until some time after the 4th of january; the day university would reopen, and ICT support would return!

I could, of course, try to borrow somebody else's office. Most people would actually take time off and not need their working space for themselves. Problem with that, though, would be that most of them would have gone somewhere else to celebrate. And how would I then get the key?

I figured Roland wouldn't need his office. He was willing to let me use his, but that would involve getting hold of his neighbour, driving up there, getting the house key, finding his office key... lots of fuss. I had also tried to contact Marta, who would spend the winter holiday in Spain, and who lives nearby. But she didn't answer her phone...

And then, after half a day, she answered! And she gave me her key card and office key! Yay! And the next day I went in: her office was actually warm! I counted my blessings. It's nice and big as well; it accomodates three PhD students, but one is rarely there, and the other one had absconded to New Zealand for the time being. So this luxurious office would be mine, all mine, for the entire holiday!

 I brought some necessities into that office: thermal flask, speakers, jar of instant coffee... and the mouse moved to the left.

Evidence of nerdiness? Only my name on a little post-it on Marta's thingumabob on the swipe board under "in"...

It does require some flexibility, though; I don't have administrator rights on anybody else's computer. And beside that, it would be ungrateful to stuff somebody else's machine full of software. But it does mean I can't use my digital pen, and I immediately notice the difference. I love that pen! RSI go home. A computer mouse is close to a curse. And I have to make do with the software as well; I now have to resort to Corel Draw instead of Adobe Illustrator. I actually develop some skills this way.

If I am at work in my own office I listen to my own music using iTunes, but I don't want to and can't install that on Marta's computer. So this whole week I'v ebeen listening to internet radio. And I stuck to what I know; I listen to Kink FM; the radio station I would listen to in the Netherlands. I never found an equally good radio station in the UK. And modern music is actually in a much better state than I had been aware of! Blimey there's some good music out there. The National, Adele, Ozark Henry, Hooverphonic, Gorillaz, Arcade Fire, White Lies... just to name a few. I should listen to that station more often. Destroy your computer and become culturally educated!

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