Field of Science

Six Random Things

To be honest, I decided a little while ago that I wasn't going to do memes any more, but when not just one but two people ask you to do something it becomes harder to say no. So I'll do it, but I won't tag anyone else to. Here are are six random things concerning yours truly:

(1) I am really, really bad with cars. I haven't driven for ages, and I get nervous even sitting in one. One of my friends once barred me from sitting in the front passenger seat of her car because the sight of my knuckles turning white as I gripped grimly onto the door handle would make her nervous. There is no problem with my driving ability - get me out on the open road and I'm fine - it's the other traffic on the road that makes me nervous.

(2) One of the names I considered calling this site when I first started it was "The Other 99%". When I had been a student, a fellow student and I had joked that medicine must be incredibly dull compared to biology, because how on earth could anyone stand to restrict themselves to a single species when there were over three million to play around with? It wasn't until after I'd started this site that I discovered that it was fortunate that I hadn't gone with that choice. Other taxonomy-related names I considered (but which were both taken) were "The Name of the Rose" and "Rosa canina" (because that is the name of the rose).

(3) I have got to be the world's most spectacularly shitty drawer. I have no skill in visual arts whatsoever - why do you think that, even though I've been running this site for over a year and a half, I still haven't developed any sort of banner for it? This lack of drawing skill is a serious impediment for working in taxonomy, where one does have to prepare illustrations as part of taxon descriptions, after all. Roll on the day when I have enough funds available to pay an illustrator to do my drawings for me.

(4) I left New Zealand after my last relationship there ended spectacularly badly. The break-up was not actually the reason for leaving New Zealand (though it was probably an indirect factor in my losing my last job there), but it certainly didn't make the decision to do so any more difficult.

(5) Some time ago, upon taking note of the ever increasing stack of near-untouched articles I was accumulating, I decided to put a hiatus on getting more articles unless necessary until I had made a significant dent in processing the ones that I already had. Instead, I began noting down articles to obtain later in a notebook, planning on getting them when I had gotten through enough of the ones that I already had. It's now six years later, and I've got a pile of six notebooks sitting in my office filled cover to cover with titles of articles to get "at a later date".

(6) The last random thing is a trivia question for you lot - it's not really about me, but it may give some insight into the way I think. Here's the question:

It was recently mentioned on the radio that a new movie featuring the character of Sherlock Holmes is currently in production, and the role of Sherlock Holmes is to be played by Robert Downey Junior. Why did I think this was funny?


  1. #5 is funny. It brings to mind a computer file I deleted recently, because it was bugging me; a list of books that I absolutely MUST get. I've been adding to the list since I was using my first laptop, somewhere in the 1990s. I can't even remember why I wanted some of the early ones.

    #6: Because he's a character actor who learned the violin for his Chaplin role? And who has a problem with drugs that has killed a few of his contracts? Now doing Sherlock?

    I find that worrisome.

    Maybe (probably) I've missed something.

  2. #3 I too cannot draw my way out of a paper bag. It delayed one publication for 15 years until a coauthor appeared who was a magnificent artist, as well as a far superior systematist.

    Don't be like me: find a collaborator, hire an artist, or bite the bullet and take some drawing courses. Before you're stymied.

  3. #6: Because he's a character actor who learned the violin for his Chaplin role? And who has a problem with drugs that has killed a few of his contracts? Now doing Sherlock?

    You've won - I didn't even realise the violin connection. I was simply referring to the point that, yes, both are known for heavy drug usage.

  4. Ah yes, that old 7% solution.


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