Sunday, 28 June 2015

A week of things

And so this week, I remain unemployed, but still keeping terribly busy.

I have spent most of the week with my sister Rebecca, who's doing tremendously cool stuff at Eton College and is shortly to be promoted to Museums Officer. (It may be clear to you that my siblings are rather more successful than I am.) Bec sorted some voluntary work experience for at the Eton Natural History Museum. We worked on a collection of fossils from the Mazon Creek Shale in Illinois, a fascinating area that has preserved soft-bodied organisms from approximately 300 million years ago in the Pennsylvanian Epoch. We worked on both plant and animal fossils, but it's the fauna that interests me more. We were cataloging and securing the remains of animals, hundreds of millions of years old. We saw Tully Monsters (Tullimonstrum gregarium), an invertebrate something-or-other that doesn't appear to be related to anything alive today, along with "H-animals" (Etacystis communis), which are even more obscure, Essexella medusae, and tiny horseshoe crabs and myriapods. Fascinating little organisms.

Saturday was spent in the less sensible pursuit of crass entertainment, when we teamed up with a bunch of Becca's friends for an eighties sci-fi movie fest. After much discussion (I cannot believe we vetoed Back to the Future) our rather long shortlist was reduced to Robocop, Cyborg, Dune, The Running Man, The Thing and The Terminator. You may notice that these are not all classics. It was a fun day (six films, over nearly twelve hours), with much wonderful food (Bec is a cracking cook). The 80s sci-fi drinking game was less dangerous than we feared. Knock one back every time there's an explosion (double for an exploding head), a classic line, a cracking pun, a flash of boob or bum, a toxic waste event, stop-motion animation, or virtually anything we thought was worthy of a drink. It was a sophisticated weekend.

A nice little week, altogether.

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