Saturday, June 30, 2007

Group blog- underwear

I reach the final topic in this mini-epic of a journey, the one I myself chose on a whim- underwear. Men unusually do have a lot of choices in underwear, but we don't wear most of it, so it reduces generally to boxers or briefs, that eternal conundrum. I've always been a guy for briefs, mainly because it's what I'm used to and feel comfortable in, rather than some deep seated need to wear that particular brand.

Wearing underwear on your head is a classic sign of insanity apparently, I'm not sure why underwear in particular- I suppose it's a reasonably snug fit, as wearing trousers on your head might be somewhat difficult.

Underwear theft is something that is potentially an issue, although not so much for me. However, on one occasion I was accused of stealing a housemates socks, as I had identical ones to him. It took a lot of convincing for him to believe that I hadn't just stolen his socks, one of the least desirable activities, although there was a period my sister was stealing my socks, to the point that I no longer had any to wear because they were all in her drawers. Chest of drawers that is. The alternative would just be odd.

Friday, June 29, 2007

group blog- shoes

The tallest shoes are of course stilts, something not commonly worn, despite most other shoes coming into fashion at one point or other. At our graduation ball there were a couple of entertainers in stilts. It appeared to be all they did for the entire event- walk from one place to another in stilts. I suppose it was relatively impressive that they kept balance, but it would hvae been nice if they had, say, juggled or something.

Like a fair amount of my fellow gender, I have a small amount of shoes. Indeed for a long time I only had one pair, until recently when I finally needed a neater pair of shoes, as apparently walking shoes aren't appropriate for interviews, weddings or graduation. Unless it's a theme wedding, I suppose. That involves walking. I haven't really thought it through, but it would be awesome.

Pretty much the best thing you can do with shoes is have a hidden blade within them, then use them to surprise attack your enemies! Lethal enemies, that is, not just the guy who keeps using your stapler at work. But he probably deserves it too. Stapler stealing bastard! On a similar note, you can get shoes with spikes in the bottom, which are supposedly for climbing, but really are for when you get into a bar fight. Admittedly you would have to go to said bar with irritating spikes on your feet, but I imagine it's possible to screw off the spikes at the bottom. Again this gives the problem of having to attatch spikes to your shoes mid fight, but it's totally worth it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Group blog- Mud

Mud, mud, glorious mud. As someone sung at some time- it might have been hippos. Or possibly pigs I suppose. Some animal that enjoys wallowing.

As a child mud is a fun thing, because not only can you play in it, you can throw it at people and you can even make pies out of it, which will smell incredibly rancid and cause your parents to reprimand you. It won't matter though, cause you'll have so much mud covering yourself you won't be able to hear them. Ideally anyway.

Sadly as one grows up, the ideal of getting muddy becomes less appealing, unless you play sports- well football and rugby- where it seems to be encouraged. In fact I had a bit of a goal of avoiding the mud during these sports, just as I avoided most of the actual sport, partially because I disliked having to shower at the end, and mud was rather strong evidence that one had, in fact, failed to do so, and also partially because I was never a big sports fan. If I had mud on me at the end, it would be because someone had tackled me, not visa versa.

Still, I think everyone should get extremely muddy at one point in their life, just so they can experience that incredibly disgusting experience when your fingers are all hardened with mud. Theres nothing quite like it....

oh my god

Group blog continued tomorrow, for now I leave you with a sound file of someone trying to explain the difference between 0.02 of a cent and 0.02 of a dollar. It is a compilation of utter stupidity, of people relying on the calculator to get answers without understanding what it is they are doing. It is insane. It's also over an hour long, although I didn't get that far.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Group blog- the pub conversation

So, for the next four days myself and three others- Rich Ben and Fred will be blogging on the same topics. Just because.... My first topic is the pub conversation.

The pub conversation is an interesting one- or often not an interesting one depending on the company you are in. Still it has a unique flavour to it, as the entire building you are in essentiallity exists for you to get drunk in. It's possible theres darts or pool available, but in those case the pub conversation becomes a rather stitled one.

The conversation can always be enlivened, especially at the start, when everyone hasn't drunk enough so it might be a little awkward, by the commencement of drinking games. Most students know a fair gamut of games, partially as self defence, as theres nothing worse than having to learn the rules to full metal jacket fizzbuzz for the first time when you are the only one they are alien to. This approach to pub conversations can lead to another stand out piece where pubs have the edge over boring coffee houses- the potential for vomit. I suppose really bad restaurants might induce this as well, but hopefully with less frequency than some pubs do, where in certain venues it feels like a good night if the sinks aren't full of sick.

Still, for the most part my conversations in pubs avoid both of those staples, and we generally stick to the classic sex religion and politics gamut, with video gaming thrown in for good measure, to annoy Nics, Rich's girlfriend, and indeed anyone who doesn't get games. For the nerds of society, talking about video games is revenge for all the times we are excluded by conversations about sports. Which are obviously far duller than video games anyway....

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Desert Island Discs

Listening to this rather old fashioned radio program I have decided to forge a new ambition to get on there some day, and choose all my songs to be obscure names for sexual positions. Just gotta find a song called the reverse cowgirl and I'll be sorted.....

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I saw an advert the other day for a phone with a 5.2 megapixel camera. This is slightly annoying, as my digital camera is only 4 megapixels. I'm getting beaten by a phone! At least my flash is probably better- phones haven't really got that one right yet, so everyone in a mobile's flash photo looks extremely shocked by the incredibly bright light.

Still, the idea of a phone on your camera is an idea who's time has come- it's so very convinient, and generally, I rather like the mobility of it. Sadly this has its down points- witness any gig where about half the audience will be holding up their phones to take photos or take incoherent videos. I've done it too, but I'm trying to fight the urge- there have been countless songs where the only way I could see the stage is trying to spot it through people's viewfinders. Theres something to be said for recording the memories of the moment you are in, but it's probably best to have some of those memories to NOT involve taking photos with your camera!

Often if you check you tube the day after a gig you can find countless awful videos where you hear smatterings of the song, but mostly people cheering and going "wooh!" On that note, I once went to see the Eels play a with strings gig, so most of their songs were quite quite and possibly best not to be puncuated with people saying wooh. This did not stop the person about 10 seats to my right, who I suspect had "wooh" tourettes, if such a thing exists.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Packing Up

I'm sitting in a room full of boxes. Tomorrow my parents will arrive into Bath, and the day after that the boxes will be gone. A week later, so will I. I detest packing at the best of times, because it inevitably disturbs dust, which gives me unpleasent allergic reactions. I have benadyrl to safe guard myself, but we shall see how effective it is. With the added weight of never living in Bath again- at least not in the current conditions, it becomes quite an unhappy occasion. Never mind- new chapter and all that. I shall post a more eloquent goodbye to Bath a little closer to my leaving it, but still- it does not really feel like I have a week left right now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The right to judge

I wonder how much right to judge someone who has never experienced a situation has. For example, it is easy to say to the man who killed his wife in anger after discovering her cheating on him that he was wrong, but would I react similarly in that situation? I should hope not, but I've never been in that heated moment with blood boiling to my brain. Obviously is something is wrong, it is wrong no matter whether you have experienced it or not, but I would certainly be more hesitant to judge when I am little experienced.

One place this certainly applies for me is abortion. After all, I shall never be pregnant (unless something EXTREMELY odd happens), and shall never have to deal with the idea of carrying a life inside me in 9 months, suffering extreme discomfort for something I might well not even want. Yes, I might well be involved in a situation where my partner is faced with that, but I will never be directly effected. This is one of the reasons I am pro-choice. I think it is very easy for a man who never has to deal with pregnancy to be morally righteous, because after all they'll never have to cope with it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

First and Doctor Who

I got a first! I have a first class MMATH in mathematics from Bath university. Or will have. Apparently I'm a graduand at the moment....

Additionally, last night's Dr Who was so awesome they are going to have to extend the dictionary to define quite how awesome it is.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I went to a wedding this weekend (not mine. That would be a rather surprising turn of events, especially for me), which is actually the first I've attended as an adult- the last time I went to one I think I was about 7, so my memories of them are hardly strong. Alice's friends Paul and Eleanor were getting married. Disturbingly Paul is 3 months younger than me. I'm sure people younger than me aren't meant to get married yet! I'm 22!

Still, it was a very beautiful ceremony- a church fare, with readings and hymns, things I had not done since I was about 15, which was interesting (I still can't sing. Which is nice to know), I was particularly thrown by the slightly different version of the lords prayer than the one I was used to, with all it's modern words rather than old school catholic ones.

One of the things that I noticed about the hymns was how many of them were saying how awesome god is. They were very pretty songs, but they didn't seem to have much to do with love.. literally one song went

"Indescribable, uncontainable,You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.You are amazing GodAll powerful, untamable,Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaimYou are amazing God"

I like that kind of hymn, because it's basically saying "God is awesome! God is awesome! Seriously he's really pretty awesome! God is really awesome! God is awesome!" Which I'm sure, if he were to exist, he'd probably know, and wouldn't really need a song to acknowledge it, but never mind.

The reception was also fun, I even danced, if by dancing you mean slowly rotating on the spot... admittedly later in the evening we did group dance, and did, indeed, do the YMCA. Which in many ways I feel dirty about, but it's done now.

I do like weddings, they are, or should be, sweet occasions, with a distinct lack of people bursting through the door and shouting, "stop this wedding, I'm pregnant with the grooms son!", although perhaps thats a pity....

Thursday, June 07, 2007


As someone who considers himself a mathematician, or at least a poor excuse for one, I have a slight interest in calculators. Not as huge as a layperson might expect, as you one reaches a point on ones subject where numbers are rarely mentioned, and then only in disdain ("good lord, you don't do actual CALCULATIONS do you?"), but certainly at A-level and in certain degree level subjects, one must deign to deal in hard numbers. I am now thoroughly used to scientific calculators, which obey the basic rules of BODMAS (Brackets, division, multiplication, addition, summation. I don't recall what the O stands for), so it comes as a shock when I need to do a little calculation and find the only tools at hand to be my phone or my computer.

The mobile phone is not designed to be a calculator, although it certainly has the processing power to be one if it wanted to be. Sadly it is designed for people who have never encountered bodmas, which makes doing any calculation fiendishly difficult. Coupled with it's lack of a memory function, it's almost impossibly hard to use the bloody thing. The computer calculator is even worse, because it mockingly claims that it has a scientific mode. This merely means it adds extra buttons, although often not the ones you need, and still does not obey the rules any basic scientific calculator would, rendering it, again, close to useless.

Even scientific calculators hold perils for any degree level mathematicians thanks to the distiniction between log and ln. You see when you are first taught logarithms you are normally introduced to base 10 ie log10(x)=y where 10^y=x so log10=1, for example. For short, you say log x, excluding the little 10 (which should be a subscript but I am too lazy to find out the html to do that). Later on you will be introduced to the number e, a deeply vital number in mathematics, and you will often take logarithms with base e- we call this ln. Except that at degree level you never, ever, ever need to take a logarithm of something at anything other than base e, so you soon get into the habit of calling ln log. Confused yet? You should be. Sadly the habits of many mathematicians differ, which can lead to some confusion along the way.

ANYWAY, after four years of meaning base e when you say log, it becomes ingrained, so when you actually have to do a calculation, you will unthinkingly press the log button, and get your answers consistently wrong. And often you won't even know why......

I apologise if you lost me after the word "As", but sadly this rant had to be written in somewhat technical language. Or at least, I chose to write it that way....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


In a recent republican leadership conference a questioner asked how many of them believed in evolution. Several failed to raise their hands. This is worrying, and not for the obvious, anti-evolution notions, simply because of stupidity. I may be alone in this, but I want anyone who is going to run my country to be smart.

I know being intelligent does not confer on one any kind of moral superiority, but ultimately I want someone who can understand the issues at hand, and speak intelligently about them. This person is making important decisions, decisions that will, because it is America after all, effect the entire world. They should know what the hell they are talking about.

I know that ultimately the main reason many people voted for George Bush was because he was head of the Republican party, but I simply would not want to vote for someone who comes across as an imbecile. He clearly has political cunning, but he does not, to me, seem to be someone who is competent to engage on the issues. He may have some smart advisers, but you are voting for the person, or you are supposed to be.

I don't have a full impression of the democratic candidates (or the republican candidates, for that matter), but so far they have impressed me for the most part as people who know what they are talking about. Thats the bare minimum in a leader, surely.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


I'm done, and have surprisingly little to do, which is nice. I have discovered that if you try to look for somewhere to rent three months in advance... it's not really possible to do so. I do have one lead though, so we shall see how that works out.

The ball was a wholly surreal experience- starting out with a bucks fizz reception, I actually managed through a process of not drinking that much and getting drinks bought for me, to only have to spend about 4 pounds in total, which is pretty good. It wasn't really a ball to be honest, more a festival with tuxes. It featured dodgems (with a half hour queue, which probably was not worth it), candy floss (with a queue of similar length. But it totally was), a ferris wheel (which I didn't go on), and some music of questionable quality, including the Wurzels, who we couldn't hear a single word they were singing. The headline act was Matt Willis, an ex member of busted. We missed him. Damnit!

There was also a casino apparently, but the tables were obscured by the sheer amount of people. 4000 people were apparently in attendance, which is nearly half of the student population of the university of bath, so it was pretty crazy. Regardless of some faults, it was a fun time, possibly because it made no real attempt to be a real ball- such attempts tend to crash and burn when met with 4,000 drunken students, a fair proportion of whom will empty the contents of their stomachs. Repeatedly.

And now I have a relatively empty summer, which is an incredibly pleasent feeling that I haven't quite come to terms with yet. I imagine I shall find some way to fill the time.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The ball!

Graduation ball yesterday- some photos.