Saturday, 28 March 2009

Spring has sprung

Niente traduzione in italiano, sorry - mi sento pigra...

And surprises never cease! Did you know that the robin in the US is a rather different bird from the one in Europe? I had been observing some rather nice birds outside my house which looked like this -

and I couldn't figure out what they were. S & Y at work suggested they might be robins, given the red breast, which confused me somewhat since my stereotypical image of robins is more like this -

But having consulted the Wisdom Of Teh Internets, I find that they are indeed both robins, just, like, completely different and not even related. You learn something new every day.

ANYway, enough with the David Attenborough posturing. It's been ages since I blogged, but then I've seen most of you in that time, so I guess it's not so remiss of me. I'm so exhausted and I can't quite believe that just last week I was in Naples caught up in the celebrations for my aunt's 90th, it feels like a century ago already, and the Oxford visit even more so. It was a little odd going back to work after such a longish break, but luckily there was much to keep me busy and engaged straight away - elation at being accepted for another conference (Corpus Linguistics in July, in Liverpool!), work on an abstract for a proposed journal paper, and actually starting to program and process the parser output. Some of the initial issues I had already encountered in my DPhil work, and I'd written some code to deal with them: I was very pleased to find yesterday that said code was reusable to a certain extent, and was to the best of my ability the most rational way of addressing the problem. Given how inelegant and slow a programmer I am, this was incredibly exciting for me.

But my aunt's party was a great chance for a big family reunion, and getting a few generations of people together, especially those who'd more or less never seen each other before. A lot of hard work, but worth it as everyone seemed to have fun, and it was very touching to see people's eyes light up as they saw this cousin or that and had the opportunity to sit and chat in a relaxed, just-like-old-times manner. So I'm glad we did it!

On the flight back I watched two films I'd been wanting to see for a while, Rachel Getting Married and Burn After Reading. I really liked the first one, despite its rather relentless misery. For reasons unclear to me, I have a soft spot for Anne Hathaway, so I was pleased to see her do a good job in something not twee. It's grim, and doesn't try to whitewash over problems, and family disfunction, and that is good. Though it left me feel quite depressed, so I thought I'd watch Burn After Reading for comic relief. I had such high expectations, I mean, how could you go wrong with that cast? But I have to conclude that I just don't get the Coen brothers. Apart from O Brother Where Art Thou, I just...don't get it. Don't like it (No Country for Old Men being a particularly obvious example, but by no means the only one). Maybe I'm not sophisticated enough or something.

Oh, and I am officially Dr. De Felice now, having deposited a copy of my DPhil thesis in the Bod (but sadly, it's not on OLIS yet!).

Um, so, the eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that I'm neatly avoiding discussing how I felt about being back in Oxford and all that. I had fun - it was tiring as I tried to pack a lot in, and there were a lot of fun&games organised over the weekend - and, well, that's all I'm going to say. I'm here now, and that's that. And, as soon as I've figured out how to acquire a car, and taken a couple of (already booked!) lessons, I'll be driving myself wherever I please!


Fuffa said...

ha! just this morning gerry and I were debating over "No country for old men" because he wanted us to watch it tonight and I didn't.
ps I am always confused about what language should I comment in, and my confusion can only rise when I see an english-only post:) what to do?? c'aggia fà?:)

Ra said...

well, commenting in English gives you a chance to practice it :-P
ma non sentirti repressa, fai come ti viene!!

Rob Jubb said...

Se l'italiana scrive in inglese, scrivero in italiano. Vede Miller's Crossing. Fa lo adesso. Per essempio, Gabriel Byrne vieni alla casa della suo amante - chi e anche l'amante del capo de Byrne - e lei ha detto a lui 'Credo che sei venuto per la ragione piu vecchio'. Responda 'ci sono posti piu meglio per bere'. E piu, comunque, resta la notte. Molto noir: veramente, hyper-noir.

Fuffa said...

haha now rachi should start posting in spanish:)
sound like a very good film. I will look for the italian version, thank you!

Ra said...

I think we watched it with Tom ages ago, didn't we - and I remember actually liking it despite being confused. So Fu - I second Rob's suggestion.