Saturday, December 26, 2009

Harper's Index for 2009

As 2009 draws to a close, so ends my first year as a resident of the UK. As such, I thought it might be a good time to look back at the year and compile a “Harper’s Index” of interesting things about this year:

Number of Airplane flights: 52
Number of Successful landings: 52
Carbon footprint: Very Bad
Number of transatlantic flights: 12
Number of transatlantic flights that were unpleasant: 12
Number of flights longer that 11 hours: 4
Number of days this year I have consumed more than three cups of coffee: 4

Estimated average number of times I have had tea per day: 2
Estimated average number of times per day I think to myself “I should go buy some better tea”: 2
Estimated number of meals I eat per week which are cooked by Somerville College: 3
Pounds I’ve gained this year: 3
Number of times I’ve eaten haggis: 1
Number of times I’ve eaten kangaroo: 1
Number of times I’ve thought, exotic food is interesting, but really I like plain food better: 2

Number of flights missed due to being late to the airport: 1
Number of holes sawed in my bed while desperately trying to recover my passport in time to make it to the airport: 1

Number of weeks I spent in Oxford this year: 30.5
Number of weeks spent traveling (including vacation): 21.5

Number of boxes moved to UK last January: 75
Number still to be unpacked: 13
Number of boxes of things I probably should have thrown out instead of moving: 13

Number of Giant Spiders in my backyard: 1
Number of Giant Spiders gone AWOL: 1

Number of weeks in the winter spent with Scarlet Fever: 1
Number of tablets of penicillin consumed: 21
Number of months in the summer with a persistent cough: 2
Number of bags of Halls Mentholyptus and Vicks Double Action Consumed: 8

Number of professional talks given: 28
Number of these I recommend for the general public: 1 (See here and here)
Number of talks which were repetitions of the same chalk-talk about Topological Phases of Matter: 12
Number of times the talk was about Topological Lattice Models and Chain-Mail: 6
Number of times I made a joke about the electric slide: 1
Number of times no one laughed at the joke about the electric slide: 1
Papers Posted on arxiv.org: 8
Number of South-Park episodes watched this year: 23
Number of South-Park episodes that were too gross even for me: 3

Number of Blog Postings this year: 98
Number of Blog Postings about Pogo: 3



Despite my physicist instincts, I know that certain important things are not easy to summarize with a single number. So here are a few more interesting opinions from the year:


Biggest advance in feeling like UK is home: I’m no longer self-conscious about the fact that everyone knows I’m a foreigner the minute I open my mouth.

Biggest little kudos to the US Government: Every time I go through passport control coming into the US, they say “welcome home”. I like that.

Biggest little kudos to the UK Government: They figure out your taxes for you.

Biggest big kudos to the UK Government: Health care works.

Stupidest thing about the UK: Lack of intelligent Plumbing

Biggest bummer: That many of the closest friends I’ve made in Oxford won’t be there next year.

Best travel discovery: At Heathrow there is always someone in duty-free waiting to give you a shot of Baileys. You can even take two or three before they get mad at you.

3 comments:

Susanne said...

Number of times not jumping out of airplanes, due to reduced probability of successful landing: 1

shalaree said...

... sounds like a great year to me! ;-)

Is the number of meals had in Somerville per week averaged over the entire year, including weeks that you were away?? If it's not, then the number is definitely too small!!!

Have a great new year's eve and don't get too cold tomorrow jumping into the sea!

C.

PS: Your new year's resolution should be to start coming to breakfast at Somerville, too!

Steve said...

Three per week --- not quite accurate. Well, three pounds isn't quite accurate either.