My place, as many places in Germany do, came unfurnished but I managed to organise a week of pickups from around the city, collecting bookshelves, cupboards, sofas plus some miscellaneous and probably not necessary additions (a soda maker which I will be using for high pressure marinades, though in a dream I figured out a way to do this even more easily...ok, I dream about some weird stuff!) either free or second hand, and now have a pretty presentable looking flat. Although there are only two rooms (plus kitchen and bathroom) there's bed space for seven (double bed, double futon, double inflatable mattress, plus a large sofa) and I expect to be putting up friends over the coming months.
Unfortunately, somewhere in the move the cable needed to transfer photos to my computer has vanished and so photos of the new place will have to wait.
On the work front, things are amazingly busy. I'm currently working very actively on three projects which seem to be making exciting progress, plus another three or so which are all on the back burner. It'll be good to get some meaty papers out after a year of networking but little sit-down-and-calculate time last year.
The other hugely nice thing about the flat is that there's no internet in sight, and no television, so I spend my evenings reading for hours and hours and catching up on the teetering shelves of books which I sent from Spain, or bought while I was in China last year. Read last week and thoroughly enjoyed: Harpo Speaks, Waiting for Barbarians (ok, enjoyed isn't the word, but appreciated), Suffer and Survive, and having got my parcel through from China, I went back through Landau Lifshitz on classical mechanics, a wonderful book, and one which I'd love to put into a Mathematica format to make it interactive. This video from the Wolfram blog, describes just the sort of thing I'd like to spend some time on in the future:
Previously, while in the guest house of the MPI I read Plato and a Platypus walk into a bar, a brilliant little book of philosophy told in the language of jokes plus Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, a book that had been recommended to me as I'm interested in finding out more about the KIPP system of education, having previously been a little disappointed by the lack of detail on the actual process in Bill Gate's TED recommendation Work Hard, Be Nice.
Language progress is still in its infancy, but after next week, when I'll be in Valencia for the Iberian strings meeting, I'll be starting morning lessons in German for an intensive couple of weeks, followed hopefully by Chinese lessons in the evenings. I'm reaching a bit of a plateau with my Chinese and feel that now's the time to give it a bit of external help.