Thursday, February 01, 2007

These boots are made for walking. As are these sneakers, these sandals and these attractive crocs.

Oh-kay. So we have spent another week tromping the wilds of North-Western and Western London, and it has been good. Targets this week included:
  • Hampstead Heath, a terribly awesome scrubby-type park a la Richmond Park and Bushy Park only without the deer. Hampstead Heath is about 6 miles walk from our place (help, I am infected with imperial measurements!) and it took us about 2 hours to get there, as we went via our favourite Indian food stall in the Church St markets off Edgware Road, which sells truly awesome chicken tikka wraps made with roti. Yummmmmmm. Then we walked beside the Regent's Canal, home of some really unreasonably swank stately homes, to Primrose Hill, ditto, through Belsize, ditto to a lesser extent and then Hampstead (still quite swank) to the heath proper. It has swimming ponds. And a man was swimming in one of them. Even though it was roughly 2 degrees. Really, the icebergs are cool and all, but this guy was swimming in water that had just about made its own ice. Highlights included meeting a guy with two tallish red-coloured staffies and having him identify them as Long-legged Staffordshires, most useful because I totally want one, and the beautiful Kenwood House. We were rather ticked off because we are English Heritage members and should get into such places free, but it was actually free for everyone. Logically enough, Kenwood House and its fine grounds were at one point slated for redevelopment. It's nice to know that the CRAZY PERSON developmental mindset is not specific to our homeland. They had an exhibition of paintings including Dutch masters, and specifically including this very nice one. Grant and I are currently arguing about the terminology for Rembrandt's use of light (next best argument after the best means of demonstrating the doppler effect) so drop a line if you know. There and back is a 32000 step trip if you have stubby legs like me.
  • A 23,000 step trip with Jen from Twickers to Teddington to Kingston and back via Bushy Park and a cop-out bus trip back from Teddington because my footsies were tired. Most of it was along the Thames, rather terrifically pretty river that it is. Teddington has a gigantic lock which was the scene of the fish-slapping dance of Monty Python Fame. I HAVE TOUCHED GREATNESS. Highlights of the trip were the pretty, pretty Thames, and the absolutely lovely lunch Jen made us - thanks as always Jen!
This week has been a busyish one too. Grant has been working until almost 6pm some evenings (everyone in Sydney: HAHAHHAHA - 6 months ago, neither of us could be relied upon to get home before 8pm). He was supposed to be moving from the temporary team leader position to shiftwork over the next few weeks, but it looks like that has been pushed back again. I wasn't desperately keen on the return of our old buddy evil nightshift Grant, plus I like having the house to myself during the day, so no broken hearts at the delay on this end!

I had another thesis-y Monday which seems to have involved adding about 3000 words to the text, although I am not entirely sure where they landed as I was messing with the whole thing. I am now at about 10000 words and am nowhere near having made my point - and this with a 15000 word limit. My supervisor is under strict instructions to edit all waffle. We will see. I am thinking of tweaking the structure a bit AGAIN but he has slapped me across the knuckles for even thinking about it, so I will have to try to manage that in secret.

Tuesday I got to play doublespeak in a meeting the degree coordinator and marketing for my uni organised with some students so that they can better prostitute, I mean PROMOTE, themselves to the market. It was actually quite useful. One thing I have found really strange is the different cultural expectations of an LLM. In countries like Australia, the UK and Japan, a Masters degree is something you get when you already have work experience - an investment in swifter promotion or at least a higher charge-out rate, and therefore $$$$$$$, which is what we all want deep down in our lawyerly black hearts. But there are lots of European students who are doing the LLM straight from their undergraduate programs because they want to get into specialist fields. It may well work in Europe, but a specialist LLM wouldn't get you into a job in IP in Australia.

Speaking of which there is a joke in English IP/academic circles that the only IP lawyers are in fact Australians. When I introduced myself to the meeting as an Australian IP lawyer, the arbitration senior lecturer interrupted "Is there any other kind?" Oz seems to produce and export more IP practitioners than you would expect - perhaps that whole "clever country" thing is paying off? Or perhaps the combination of an increasingly US-style litigious culture with a UK legal system makes Oz IP lawyers a more saleable commodity? Dunno.

Yesterday I rode to uni in very pretty winter sun, had my usual vicious argument with trade mark lecturer number 2, who is constitutionally incapable of agreeing with anything I say even though he may later make a statement of his views which may be uncannily similar to those I have just stated. I actually *agree* with the principle we were fighting about, but not about the procedural way in which the UK Patents Office deals with the issue - allowing an Examiner to "guess" that a trade mark is not intended to be used in a country which allows intention to use filing? ARGH. Never mind, I am making myself cranky again just thinking about it. Also had an interesting tutorial afterwards in which I remembered and disgorged everything I ever knew about the US doctrine of functionality. However I have no idea why I know it as we haven't covered it yet in class (so as you can imagine, the tutorial question on that direct subject was therefore pretty fun for everyone to answer). I think it was something at work? Anyway, a sure fire way to impress fellow students is to say "aesthetic functionality" sagely. Try it at home.

Today I had my so very tiring 4 hours of classes. I do like Thursdays though as it's the day when the IP peeps have lunch together. I *may* have been asked about the Crocodile Hunter. Later shocked a Nigerian student (independence from UK: 1960) by informing him that Australia technically only became independent in 1987 (GO AUSTRALIA ACT 1987!).

Tonight we are off to bar trivia with Bin at Ealing. Since we know NOTHING of local personalities it is always fun. Trade marks and public figures are the lingua franca in this world and without knowledge of either, trivia and comedy including "Never Mind the Buzzcocks" (second most awesome UK telly programme after "Top Gear" which is now back on the air) are quite bizarre experiences.

And then I have a whole 2 hours of uni left for the week. Gosh, it's a hard life.

Thesis words this week: roughly 3000, 1800 good ones
Steps last week: 120000 or so
Steps this week: Meh.

If you see my mother, tell her to call me!

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