Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Graduation, new job, and surfing!

A lot to catch up on this time because I've been away for a while, back in Blighty for a three reasons. The first was to do my last week's work in my old office in London (though I go to Germany for a conference next week), the second was to attend my mate Mark (as in, Mark-I-did-my-MSc-with-Mark)'s wedding, and third was for my graduation. The picture above is of me with my beautiful, wonderful girlfriend, in Russell Square just before the ceremony. I must be honest, the last two graduation ceremonies I've been to have been rather rubbish, and I didn't have much hope for this one either, but it was actually really well done - they were doing the year's honorary degrees in the same ceremony, so there was a bit more pomp than there is usually. After eating and drinking as much free wine and nibbles that we could get our hands on at the post-ceremony reception, we rounded the day off with a few beers in outside the Jeremy Bentham with my old workmates and supervisors, Tryphon and Cliffy.

In other news, I have started a new job! I am leaving my old job at UCL and have started in a company called Barcelona Media, a not-for-profit research entity setup as a spin-off from the main university in Barcelona, Universidad Pompeu Fabra. I have joined the computer graphics research group, and it's pretty much my perfect job - I would have applied for it had it been in Britain, so it's a total bonus having it here. Although I've only been there three days everything is going swimmingly, my first 'warm-up' project is to see if I can help a PhD student who is a bit stuck on his project which is to do with facial animation, so I am busy getting up to scratch on my 3D modelling and animation. All good.

Finally I ran the gauntlet of surfboard air-travel the other day, and fortunately my board arrived in Barcelona airport in exactly the same condition that it left (i.e. very good!). Also, for Djanira's birthday I bought her a bodyboard plus all the kit, something she's been talking about getting for ages. Yesterday was her actual birthday and, right on time, 2' of choppy swell arrived in the evening, so we trotted off down the beach. Needless to say Djanira caught several really good waves and thoroughly showed me up (although I did manage a couple of half-decent rides) and we both left the water after sunset, tired but with big smiles on our faces. Although the swell had dropped I sneaked in another session this evening while Djanira was off doing some temporary translation work, it was only a foot and barely rideable on my board, but good to get out and get some practice for the bigger days. I must admit it's thoroughly bloody marvellous being up and riding on a board again, I had almost forgotten how much fun it is. Roll on the winter and bigger waves!