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My computer is ready

The dull life is continuing. I am still pushing it up hill trying to be finished. One day I will be.

On Wednesday night, Rebecca and I went to play (indoor) beach volleyball. It was fun, but hard work. And the first piece of serious exercise I've had for a while. We got trounced, but it was nice just to get the competitive juices flowing again. Much like when we played netball a few seasons ago, it took a while to work out things like tactics. Over the coming weeks I may give you some updates as we find our feet.

Thursday was Rebecca's birthday. She drove me in, and I worked from uni. We stayed at her parents' place, and I went into uni on Friday. Justin was in, so I had a meeting with him. He was one of the few people who actually noticed that I had shaved my beard and now have a goatee. Rev was another.

Friday night, I went to Mum and Dad's for dinner, and Rev had my computer ready. He has been setting it up for a little while but I am now able to use it. YAY!!! We played with it for a while, getting out a couple of the little bugs which had crept in. I am running Debian (Linux).

Dinner was turkey with roasted vegetables (potato, sweet potato, lamb, cauliflower and pumpkin). We also watched the cricket, as Australia was subjected to some appalling umpiring decisions. While in many sports, you can win despite the umpiring, cricket is not one of them. All it takes is one poor decision to enable a player to score an extra 100 runs, which can make a significant difference, or end a player's innings when he may have gone on to make a big score.

Meanwhile, Rebecca went out for dinner, and after dinner, she came and picked me up and we spent the night at her parents' place. This morning we gave her Mum a flash disk and taught her how to use it, and generally spent time with them.

we then came back to Mum and Dad's and Rev and I showed her the computer and how to use it. She has now gone to play her hockey final and I'm staying the night at Mum and Dad's.

So, to sum up, there is nothing of any particular interest happening in my life right now.

I have recently finished reading a book of plays by Oscar Wilde. I found them quite enjoyable and quite witty, and about as fine an example of high art and culture as coupling.

So, without further ado, AATTLG productions present:

A collaborator of no importance

In the first scene, we meet a host of characters at a national conference. Dr and Mr Pontefact, and an American Grad student, Hester, are chatting outside the main venue on a bright sunny day. They gossip for a while about some of the other members of the profession.

The conference chair, Professor Hunstanton, enters with a servant post graduate in attendance. The professor is complimented on a lovely conference.

Gerald enters, and tells the Prof Hunstanton that Prof Illingworth has just offered him a job. Prof Hunstanton congratulates him and tells him that he will have a bright future indeed. Gerald is also asked to call his supervisor, Dr Arbuthnot, and ask her to come for a drink to celebrate.

Hester and Gerald go to watch one of the presentations, while the others continue gossiping about members of their profession. In particular how Prof Hagden was trying to offload a post-doc.

Prof Illingworth, a well respected but eccentric (and sometimes foul mannered) professor enters the gathering. He is praised for offering Gerald a job, to which he replies that he was impressed by the presentation for the start, and thought he would be quite useful in a new area he was planning to go into.

The topic of conversation then shifts to funding opportunities, both in America and England. Prof Hunstanton comments that Hester is well-funded, and complains that all Americans seem to be well funded. Dr. Allonby comments that good Americans go to Europe to get their funding. Prof Hunstanton inquires where bad Americans get their funding from, and Illingworth tells her that it is from America. Mr Kelvil, an industry representative, accuses Illingworth of not appreciating America, and that their accomplishments are considerable considering their youth. Illingworth responds that the youth of America is their oldest tradition.

They then move on to a discussion on science in general. They are in general agreement that the popular masses shouldn't be taught complex science. Numeracy is enough for them. Allonby then comments, "Horrid word, 'Science'," to which Illingworth replies, "Silliest word in our language, and one knows so well the popular idea of science. The mad man in a white coat mixing brightly coloured vials of fluid together - the untenurable in full pursuit of the untenable."

After more politics and gossiping (This is an academic conference. Science has its time and place, and that is kept strictly inside the lecture theatres, except for the occassional post-grad who is young and innocent enough to think that a conference is the time and place to discuss their work.) Hunstanton recieves word that Gerald's supervisor, Dr Arbuthnot, won't be able to join them until late in the evening. Hunstanton leaves the not lying around on the table.

The action (such that it is) now centres on Illingworth and Allonby talking as they are joined by Gerald and Hester. Allonby asks Hester whether she enjoys the social part of the conference. Hester says she does and Allonby asks whether she'd rather go to the presentations. Hester says that she dislikes the presentations. Allonby tells her, "I adore the presentations. The clever people never listen and the stupid people never talk." To which Hester responds, "I think the stupid people talk a great deal." "Ah, I never listen!" replies Allonby.

After a long conversation between Allonby and Illingworth, Hunstanton's postgrad is sent to tell them that tea is ready. Illingworth instructs the postgrad to tell Hunstanton that they are coming, and the postgrad agrees, "Yes, my lord."

Illingworth sees Arbuthnot's letter, and comments on the handwriting. "What a curious handwriting! It reminds me of the handwriting of a person I used to know years ago." "Who?" "Oh! no one. No one in particular. A collaborator of no importance."

The second act consists of a long discussion with little relevance but much enjoyment for the audience, until the arrival of Dr Arbuthnot. Arbuthnot claims to not know Illingworth, and asks Gerald to go back to the lab because the experiments aren't running well. Gerald insists that Arbuthnot meets Illingworth. Gerald gushes as he introduces her, and is surprised when she reacts coldly upon meeting Illingworth.

Illingworth and Arbuthnot then embark upon a long conversation, where it turns out that Gerald's work is the product of a collaboration they had twenty years earlier, which left Arbuthnot's career in jeopardy after a minor scandal, while Illingworth was able to move on.

After some time arguing back and forth, Gerald enters the conversation, and Illingworth tries convincing him to come to work for him, while Arbuthnot tries to talk him into staying with her. Illingworth eventually manages to convince him, because Arbuthnot would not discuss the scandal and their previous collaboration.

In the third act, Illingworth is jovial and Arbuthnot is miserable. Gerald has a long conversation with each, in turn. Arbuthnot eventually withdraws her objections to Gerald going with Illingworth, when Hester runs in screaming. Illingworth had suggested that she come to his lab and work under one of the best minds in the business (know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink!) and he had tried to kiss her. Gerald was upset and was about to attack Illingworth when Arbuthnot stopped him and told him all about the scandal.

The final act takes place in the next morning. Gerald says good bye and goes back to work. Gerald has written to Illingworth insisting that he come and that he resumes his collaboration with Arbuthnot, and Arbuthnot is adamant that Illingworth won't enter their workspace.

Hester enters and, despite having previously condemned the actions Arbuthnot had taken during the scandal (without knowing that her condemnation referred to Arbuthnot's actions), she is fully supportive of Arbuthnot, and tells Gerald to do what she says. Hester and Gerald go outside, and Illingworth enters. Arbuthnot tells him that he isn't welcome or wanted. And after a long discussion, asks him to leave before he suggests a collaboration. He does so.

Gerald and Hester come in and see Illingworth's pen. Gerald asks whose pen it is, and is told, "Oh! no one. No one in particular. An academic of no importance."


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