Friday - Imperial
Went Imperial College Business School's alumni Summer Solstice party with aeshna_uk. Being a Business School bash, they had to have a lecture. Pretty interesting one it was too, by Professor Paul Dolan on decision-making and how to influence it - key argument is that the best/most cost-effective way to influence people's behaviour on a large scale is to alter their environment (decision-making architecture) rather than trying to change the person or their incentives. I need to email him as he said he'd let me have a copy of a report he'd co-authored on this.
Rest of party was pretty fun too - randomly talking to other alumni and a few current students and the Business School was pretty generous with the number of drinks tokens included with the tickets (enough that we didn't quite use them all up!). Only real downside was that I was the only person from my year present. Good BBQ too although I was a bit disappointed that despite the web page saying that menu included a suckling pig and that all meat was Halal, there wasn't in fact a Halal pig on offer. Now that would have been one output from Imperial Innovations worth boasting about (there was the inevitable speech from the head of the school about how well it was doing both within and without Imperial)!
Saturday - Highgate
Highgate School held a 1980-1990 reunion. Well, it was more like the Junior and Pre-Prep schools were having a Summer fair and the Old Cholmelian Society piggybacked on it. Lot of old teachers back too. Started with a tour of the school - I must admit I was rather stunned to see girls in Highgate blazers. I knew the school had started taking them in but I'd never actually seen a female pupil till then. Bit of a shock.
Anyway, current pupils took small groups of us around the school so I probably bored aeshna_uk stupid with old stories about the place, not to mention grumbles about how much more comfortable it all looked now ("Carpeting on the floors?!"). Great fun trading gossip with the other old boys (like an English teacher we knew was a bit of a nutter who'd chucked a board eraser at the son of a High Court Judge...) and catching up with old teachers. Highlights:
- A guy being told off by his wife for reminiscing too enthusiastically about all the naughty things he used to get up to ("We had some great bundles down in the tunnel!") in front of his young son
- Another talking about his favourite techniques for cheating in exams then realising his old maths teacher (and House Master) was standing nearby...
- Seems that, in some cases, the school labs are better equipped than the Natural History Museum's...
- Funny the things I failed to notice while I was there. I'd never noticed the Boer War memorial plaque in the main hall till aeshna_uk pointed it out!
Then down to School House, my old boarding house now gutted and re-furbished as an arts and D&T centre for more nostalgic reminiscing and then to the Summer Fair for lunch (yhe OCs thoughtfully provided tickets for burgers...) for more random catching up. Again, oddly, I seemed to be the only person from my House I saw although I did see badges for some of them when I was collecting mine.
After all that, we headed down to the Shakespeare Head for the usual session of boozy geekery.
Sunday - East Finchley Festival
The annual East Finchley Festival in Cherry Tree Road. Usual array of stalls for local businesses, societies and institutions present - I must admit I'm now interested in the local history society and I'd be interested in the dressmaking courses except they seem to be timetabled for people who don't have daytime jobs... Got an amusing rant from someone from the Friends of Cherry Tree Wood about how evil grey squirells were too. No Morris Dancers this year though.
Good weather, beer tent (with Summer Lightning and Broadside) and even a few decent bands - a pleasantly unproductive day.
Finished off the evening by watching Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus. It's every bit as classy as it sounds and does pretty much do what it says on the tin. "Stars" include Debbie (sorry, Deborah) Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas. "Highlights" include shark leaping out of the sea to take out a passenger airliner mid-air and later chomping through the Golden Gate Bridge and US Navy warships (including a Missouri-class battleship labelled a destroyer) trying to kill the shark with gun barrages before being sunk... This actually makes Sharks In Venice look pretty good by comparison. I may now have to watch Shark Attack 3 for comparison...