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‘cambridge’ Category

  1. It’s done

    November 29, 2009 by Saar Drimer

    14 August: dissertation submitted
    23 September: “viva voce” — minor corrections
    24 October: graduation
    25 November: turned 26 ;)

    Four years ago I posted a picture of a door, repeating what my supervisor told me: “when you go out this door, you’ll have your PhD.” Here is is again…

    PhD door

    … four years later, here’s me going through it…


  2. good news first

    July 30, 2007 by Saar Drimer

    Good news: some nice days in Cambridge.

    saar drimer on the way to grantchester

    Bad news: I’m balding.

  3. exposed: online, people sometimes lie about themselves

    December 23, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Todd Shriber contacted, what may be considered, random people online soliciting them to hack into his former college and give his GPA a face lift. He gave them all his personal information, including SSN, and some pictures of local squirrels the “hackers” required as “proof”. They, in turn, put the e-mail correspondence online, of course.

    Turns out the idiot works as a communications director for a Montana congressman. He was later fired after his extracurricular contractual endeavors were publicized in sites like reddit.

    So, two things. Firstly, not everyone who talks shop is an expert… this applies to real life too. Secondly, if people still have not realized that other people are not who they say they are (in real life too!) they deserve this kind of treatment. The more this happens, the more people be careful what they say or write, mostly in consideration of their future. In our world, where everything is recorded and archived, nothing is forgotten. Memory is cheap. Remember this when, in five years’ time, your potential employer asks you about the time you got drunk, busted, and jailed on new years’ eve, as you detailed with pride on your now moldy myspace page. Old-school cool becomes new-school stupid.

    Oh, yeah, some fucker stole my bike; the joy of living in Cambridge. Somehow, uncharacteristically to the island, no security cameras covered the scene.

  4. anyone still here?

    November 11, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Cambridge apple dayGood.

    Good news I am still alive. Bad news is that I lost the mood to blog, for now.

    Doing OK, busy with trying to make some productive progress towards the PhD thing. Been to Spain at the end of September and going to Ireland this coming weekend. In the meantime I attended the 10th annual “Apple Day” in Cambridge’s Botanic Garden. I sampled many apples (roughly 30 kinds) with the favorite being “Ashmead’s Kernel“, an “old” apple concocted in the 1700 England:

    Ashmead's Kernel

    An old English winter russet, medium size, golden-brown skin with the crisp, dense, yellowish flesh, characteristic of russets: sugary and aromatic with intense flavor. Winner of taste tests and has some resistance to scab and cedar apple rust.

    (These descriptions remind me of wine labels… they mean absolutely nothing until you’ve had a sip. They are so silly too! But I digress…)

    Not much else to publicly report.

  5. UK scenes

    October 15, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    High-tech church (Norwich Cathedral): can you spare some credit card? Just slide it in the slot.

    Norwich donation machine

    Norwich donation machine

    “Eat British Beef with Confidence” or, “We’ll do our damn best to keep the existence of mad cow in your beef to ourselves.” I’ve never eaten with my confidence, I wonder what it is like.


  6. those good deeds…

    May 23, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    The other day I was in a hurry for dinner in college; decided it was time to socialize a bit. Got to my bike, front tire completely flat. Fuck. I ran to my flat, got the pump and started working. I was crouched next to my tire pumping in haste. I look aside and see another flat tire staring right at me. I look up. I see a woman with an expression saying “I got a flat tire too. Need pump.” I immediately say, trying to cut on the chit-chat, “look, I’m in a hurry for dinner; I’ll give you the pump, you throw it in the bushes over there when you are done and I’ll pick it up when I return. No, I don’t mind. Really, It’s OK.” She progressed with asking me questions like which college I belonged to and what’s my name (people have the need to show interest in these situations for some reason)… I was answering briskly while keeping polite, still pumping; somehow the energy I expended has not produced the expected tire firmness. Crap; could this be a real, first, flat? I gave her the pump and as I was riding away hoping the air would last the ride, she asked where I was from… “Israel” I answered, hoping to score some points for my country in the PR battle.

    The air lasted for about 3.5 minutes. I walked to the lab, then home; I missed dinner. And the pump? Nowhere to be seen. I’m not sure what happened to it, but I can speculate. That’s what happens when I try to be nice.

  7. good stuff

    May 16, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    beerI invited my group and a few friends to celebrate a good thing that happened to me (I can’t talk about it publicly, so email me privately and I’ll tell you :) It was a good night! We had drinks and then went to a noodle bar. A few drinks in me and I become loud and tenacious, reminiscent of how I used to be in my youth. People refer to it as “the old Saar,” I am told.

    Anyway, I had an argument with my supervisor regarding some technicality. He was more adamant about his point, so I let go; he tends to be more right than wrong, so there’s a fair chance I’m mistaken. I concluded, “fine, we’ll all go home and check who was right on wikipedia.” To this he replied, “that just means I’ll have to get home before you and change it!” which I thought was hilarious and definitely deserved to be written about.

    Cheers everyone!

    (now you are wondering who was right, right? I’m not going to check, but I’m sure Markus will and tell me tomorrow morning if he was right :)

  8. another bike trip

    May 6, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    My friend Sabine and I went on another long bike trip around Cambridge. The day started spring and ended winter; I got home soaked after we had tea and scones with clotted cream at the always pleasing Orchard Tea Garden (website) in Grantchester.

    ecclesiasticalI took my camera with me since during the last trips I really wanted to take some pictures to show you. I am fascinated with signs in this country; they obviously make sense for the locals, but I find them odd. For example, did you know what “ecclesiastical” means? I didn’t, and was surprised to see one on the side of a public footpath.

    humped pelican crossingzebra crossingI wonder if the “humped pelican” is indigenous to the area and why, of all the animals in the kingdom it needs a special crossing. Zebra’s are not local, but at least it was obvious what the sign referred to.

    godly playAnd now for some religious comic relief. In Duxford, we found where the gods play and within the village church, this creative last supper scene.

    knitted jesus

    Finally, the huge fields of the bright yellow rapeseed, looked wonderful.

    rapeseed fields

    And finally finally, when riding your bike in the spring here, keep your mouth shut. Not for the usual fear of what would come out, but rather what would fly IN.

  9. the adventures at the University Library continues

    May 4, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    Some of you may recall previous adventures had at the Cambridge University Library (UL). Today I enjoyed the great weather here on the island and walked to the UL for another visit. The reason: the book I loaned was over due. By a month. You may ask how a punctual guy like me misses a deadline. Firstly, I’m not that punctual; secondly, I didn’t get any late notices. So, not knowing exactly for how long I could have the book loaned for, I just ignored it.

    Background: yesterday I went to my college after some weeks that I have not been there. I checked my pigeonhole and saw three (!) late notice letters from the UL. Yes, these were pieces of paper in envelopes sent via regular mail to my college. Who sends late library notices via snail mail anymore? You now know the answer.

    Conan the librarianAnyway, I enter the library and go to the counter and say “I think this book is a little overdue” (as a tribute to one of the best comedies ever made, UHF, in the scene “Conan the Librarian.”) I knew fully well that there is no reasoning with them, since they got better things to do than be understanding to poor students, so I knew I’ll need to pay the fine, I was just going to have some fun. Conan takes the book and says “yes, 2 pounds.” As I shuffle for the money I say, “you know, you sent the notices to my college, I don’t live there… do you send email notices? “, “well, if you give us your real address then…” (email inquiry ignored) Library:1; Saar:0. Me: “You see, I didn’t know the book was over due…” Conan: “It’s stamped right here on the slip inside the book.” Library++. I went for the kill, “tell me, do you do the e-mail thing?” Stare. Pause. “We don’t send emails.” Although I lost by score, I once again felt an inner victory knowing that I proved to Conan that they are a bit backwards, technology wise at least. I quickly went out back to the sun and the 21st century.

    These were 2 GBP well spent, though. Now I know where to go to get material for this weblog during lull times.

  10. simple tools

    March 13, 2006 by Saar Drimer

    my bike

    My £50 bike is doing pretty good for, well, a £50 bike. Today I gave it the royal treatment of basking it in WD40. I also removed all the mud that didn’t fall off from riding really fast… in puddles… in the rain. I’ve been out on numerous bike trips with my friend Sabine in the Cambridge area since I got here. Being winter, most trips involved muddy bridleways or fields that made our bikes all clogged; and yes, the wheels stop turning. Basically, mud starts collecting on the wheel like a snowball and then gets collected between it and the mudguard (yes, I’m aware of the irony here.) By design, in these muddy areas there are no slender, rigid objects available to clear these clogs… amazing, but true. One time I had to carry the bike on my back (irony strikes again) up a hill because hunters were behind us and the foreman told us they are about to start shooting so we better get the hell out of there. They were serious, a bunch of birds were hanging and dripping in the back of their truck. The downhill that followed was great for a rain of mud that accelerated from my wheels and a good way to not getting killed.

    muddy wheel

    But the point of this story is this: When biking on this island, carry a stick.