In order to celebrate the
turning of the year yesterday, Simon and I watched the three
Friends episodes in which New Year's is celebrated: (110:The One
With The Monkey), (511:The One With All The Resolutions) and (610:The
One With The Routine). It was wild. My New Year's resolution was
to revise every day until my exams, which begin on January 12th,
so unlike most people, I'll still be keeping mine in a week's
Well, I've been back at
school a few days now. New bus company, and it's even later than
usual... 17 minutes past the time it claims to arrive, this
morning, and I was the only one at the bus stop. I tried to do an
M3 mock this afternoon... it didn't really go that well, since I
cannot answer the 'show that this is SHM' question, and an
intergration question didn't work out either. Ah well. P4 wasn't
too bad. But my timed english essay was: never, ever read Heaney.
Simon sensibly went to Caardeef (Cardiff) today, so he got out of
it, albeit temporarily. I also bought a remote control today,
since I 'broke' the last one, and Mum's cross: the new one can
control TV, video and DVD, although the jury's still out on
whether it'll work or not... I'm intrigued by the 'magic' button,
which appears to perform all tasks known to man. And I'm still
working on my next project for Crazy Snake Man... it's gonna be wild.
Those of you who thought my
idea to keep an online diary was highly original will be
surprised to know that it is, in fact, quite common practice, and
I today decided to check out Ben's. Rather than calling it a diary, as I do, or
a blog, as Doug told me again today that I should, he calls it
'rants', which might be stretching the truth a little, since he
appears to be more complaining about himself ("I'm not
really any use to anyone right now. Not that funny, not that
talkative/complentary, not very reliable") than anything
else. And 'complentary' isn't a word. There are many differences
between our separate note-keepings: his involves a lot more
getting drunk/stoned than mine ("I need to find a more
immediate source of weed") but has less about Friends in it.
Which is fundamentally unsurprising. He does, however, include a
lot more computer know-how. Again, unsurprising. Phrases like
"I'm seriously considering a new modem" just wouldn't
look right on my site. Also, he makes more punctuation and
spelling errors. I hope.
Well, it appears that Ben was a bit freaked-out by my reading
of his website, which I still insist was not obsessive. I do now
know his thoughts. Perhaps what surprised me was the fact that he
found out that I'd read it, by reading this diary (he too insists
on calling it a 'blog'). And he found out within hours of me
writing it. So people do read this: suddenly my work holds
Thinking about it (and I can't seem to stop) it's no real
surprise that Ben's blog makes depressing reading... if I did as
much self-analysis as that, I'd be depressed too ("who will
actually care when I leave this school?" being the closest
I've got to it). In fact, why am I not analysing myself more? (This
is analysis of a lack of self-analysis... it means I have to re-type
'analysis' a lot...) This diary was originally intended to be
humorous, but I usually don't have enough time to think up
anything funny. (Or indeed enough wit). But I'll have plenty of
time on my hands this weekend, because I only have three exams
next week. I think that Ben never really intended his blog to be
read... and that's more or less how I feel. I obviously can't
write my innermost emotions - even if I had any - and there are
some things that I would be uncomfortable with others reading.
Not as uncomfortable as Ben might be (especially if Karen were to
read it)... but still uncomfortable. Like if I had to sit on a
small, broken and sadistically built 'seat' on a 'bus'. Speaking
of which, Dan said he'd give me a lift home. Then he disappeared.
I've been thinking, there's
not enough about Christianity in my diary, which is odd, since it
makes up a large part of my life. Basically, it is my life.
So I will recount this little tale, so that literally millions of
people can read it. Well, about two, perhaps. A while ago, I was
in pain, and I couldn't sleep. I prayed that I might be released
from this pain, and nothing happened. Why, God, aren't you
helping me? If you truly love me (and now I feel a bit like Lucy
in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) take this pain away. And He
did. Now, I didn't want to tell anyone about this: it was kind of
embarrassing. But then later I was in pain again, and couldn't
sleep, and this time the pain wasn't taken away (at least, not
until about 5 hours awake in bed). Why not? Then again recently I
was in a similar position, and prayed that, if God would release
me, I would tell someone about mis mercy as an example of a
miracle, of God's love. So I have. I think a lot of people
misunderstand 'religion'. There's all this 'don't offend Muslims'
crap that sickens me: if worshipping the true God annoys them,
then they're clearly wrong. In fact, their religion is incorrect,
and based upon things that are untrue. Their good acts are
commendable, but at the end of the day their lives are based upon
lies. However, what is more annoying is the 'I'm keeping an open
mind' rubbish that most people spout. Basically, you're lazy and
probably scared: surely something that may affect you for the
rest of eternity is something worth examining, looking at, rather
than ignoring until you're on your deathbed. In the GCSE exams,
the top three students were all Christians, which is misleading.
Being a Christian won't make you smart, but feeling the
reassurance of God can help you to be calm in an exam situation,
can help you to be disciplined enough to revise. The important
thing is that God loves everybody, not just smart people - and
not just stupid people either, as some 'intellectuals' appear to
believe. I was extremely angry when the fierce atheism of 'His
Dark Materials' was regarded as a point in its favour on the BBC's Big Read, whereas
the Narnia series' Christianity was seen as a weak point. The
eventual winner, the Lord of the Rings, was written by a
Catholic, and I own a book that looks into the Christian aspects
of it. So it seems that the greatest works of both non-fiction
and fiction were written by Christians.
I apologise to those of you who aren't
Ben, but I feel there's still unfinished business here. I wasn't
intending to be rude about Ben's blog (he describes my comments
as 'frustrating and surprising'), it's just that I was surprised
by what he had to say: I always saw him as someone with a great
deal of self-confidence. For those of you who are fearing that I am
becoming obsessed with Ben need not worry: his name shall never
appear here again. Unless I write something like 'bend', or
'Benedictine.' Which is unlikely.
Well, I had my first exam
yesterday: P3 (maths for those of you who don't do OCR-speak). It
wasn't too bad, although I realised afterwards that I'd probably
messed up the last question on the ridiculous 'comprehension'
paper. Leaving after half the time we were allowed might not have
been the smartest thing to do. Anyways, it's P4 tomorrow (which,
perhaps surprisingly, is harder than P3. At least, it should be).
So I've got the day off today, revising (and updating my diary).
Another exam coming up soon is english (at least, I'll say it is
for link purposes...), which led me thinking about the books
we've studied. Apparently, Simon's favourite is Hard Times, which
is utter rubbish and easily my least favourite. My collected
pencil-sharpenings from yesterday's maths exam make a better work
of literature. My favourite is either Captain Corelli's Mandolin
(which Simon hates) or To Kill A Mockingbird, which I was
probably a bit young for. Corelli has certainly moved the most,
making me cry on several occasions, and even the cold-hearted
dissection of english literature has failed to remove all the
emotion from a love story that works on many levels, the
relationship between Pelagia and her father being the most
touching. Mockingbird, on the other hand, was not particularly
moving, but I certainly enjoyed studying it, as the group of four
of us near the bin really had something good going on. (Unfortunately,
Miss Little was our teacher, and her idea of tuition was to take
any part of the book and claim that it symbolised racism, even if
this contradicted another aspect that symbolised racism.
Basically, she could find metaphor for racism in the name 'Scout'
or in a chess set. Naturally, finding metaphor for racism in a
chess set isn't hard...) On a totally different subject, I saw
Michelle 'fat girl' singing the other day... at least, I think
that's what it was. I fully expected to say 'yeah, she's fat, but
boy, can she sing'. I did not: she was mediocre at best, and was
clearly only voted for because she was fat, and the idiots
who ought not to have access to television or mobile phones
thought it would be hilarious to have a fat person win Pop Idol.
Of course, it wasn't hilarious: it was just a trifle dull. We all
know that pop music today is rubbish, and sells itself almost
wholly on sex (worryingly, to 12 year-old girls) rather than any
musical talent. To have someone obese waving her hand around
while the camera is held at a jaunty angle may be a break from
normality, but isn't anything to get excited about. At least
Meat Loaf could sing... possibly. And pop music isn't the only
rubbish: whatever incorrectly spelled band that people with black
coats adorn themselves with now are probably not much better,
being that they are musically just as bad, but go with a stigma
that suggests they are a socially viable means of entertainment.
The only things you have to do in order to become a 'good' band
are have 20-30% of your members sporting 'daring' hairstyles (eg
green hair/no hair/spiky hair), an approximate 4:1 ratio of
guitarists to musically talented people, and the expression 'love
to hate, hate to love' included in every song's lyrics,
irrespective of whether these words can be detected by the casual
listener. And the handsome one in your band should profess a life-long
adoration of John Lennon/Frank Sinatra/Buddy Holly/Britney Spears.
Second exam today... this
one didn't go quite so well, since it involved drawing quite
complex graphs, one of which I redrew (my hands are so cold I can
hardly type...). I learnt yesterday that we could have done
Captain Corelli's mandolin as coursework, and I am very angry
that we did not at least have the choice - I doubt that there's a
single student who wouldn't rather do the coursework, since it
allows us much more time, a wide choice of title, and it would
mean that we don't have three hours of essay-writing in a row (roll
on thursday!). This is almost certainly the most ridiculous
decision made by the school, and there's stiff competition...
some examples being the suspension of a 17-year-old for smoking,
outside school hours, off school grounds, perfectly legally...
but he was wearing the Prince Henry's P.E. kit. Or not allowing
sixth-formers to grow beards. Or allowing sixth-form girls not to
wear blazers, but forcing the boys to. Or forbidding round-neck
jumpers. Or fixing the A-Level choices so that a quarter of the
prospective further maths class couldn't study it (despite
promising that they'd change the situation). Or not allowing
people to use the internet for games, even when all the computers
are free. Or putting a link to amazon.co.uk in the library home
page. Or putting a big poster up in the maths block about
schoolsfl.com and then banning students from going to schoolsfl.com.
Or changing the name of the librarian to the Learning Resource
Centre Manager. Or forbidding anyone from using the door from the
library to the sixth-form corridor. Or being a language college,
yet not having a single AS Language grade above a C. Or not
preparing students for a german listening exam... ever. Or
spending almost the entire Language College budget on interactive
whiteboards that no-one's quite sure how to use. As you see, the
list goes on and on and on and on and on and on vote lib dem and
on and on and on and on and on... (now that's what I call
subliminal). And I got my watch fixed today after a couple of
months of trying... sweet.
Isn't it nice when you surf the net and
find something nice written about you? Granted, it doesn't happen
very often, but I'm chuffed.
In recent weeks I've
watched two classics of (relatively) modern cinema (Speed and
Pretty Woman) for the first time, expecting them to be
unchallenging epitomes of their respective genres, and I wasn't
particularly surprised. The endings to both disappointed me: the
ending of Speed was disappointing because the last line involved
Sandra Bullock saying that a relationship should be based on sex
(now I'm no expert, but shouldn't there be something more
meaningful to a relationship? Especially a cinematic one) and the
ending of Pretty Woman disappointed me because it didn't tape, so
I don't know what happens. Although, in a very real sense, I knew
what would happen before the film actually started. The
respective couples in these films are very different: firstly,
Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. I couldn't stand Bullock in Miss
Congeniality - the film was terrible and she was worse - but she
plays the helpless female very well. In my opinion, we don't have
enough helpless females any more: they've drowned in a wave of
feminism and arched eyebrows. And Reeves can't act, really, can
he? When his entire job description is 'wear sunglasses and a
coat', he can cope, and when all he has to do is wear a wig and
say 'Bogus', he doesn't let you down (I personally was a fan of
the Bill and Ted cartoon series). But romantic lead? I think not.
Now I had already been introduced to Richard Gere and Julia
Roberts in Runaway Bride, which was comfortable and instantly
forgettable, but I liked Roberts in Notting Hill, and admire Gere
greatly for single-handedly promoting grey hair for men of a
certain age (the age that he has been for the last 15 years at
least), even if Chicago did stink a bit. As a couple, Gere and
Roberts were more believable, especially given that they had a
lot more to do - even Graham Norton and Princess Anne would pass
muster as a couple if he saved her life on several occasions,
each more sexy and daring than the last. Neither film is good
enough to make a lasting impression - Reeves and Bullock became a
lot less believable when I saw her in the arms of another man in
Speed 2 - but they serve to pass time when I should be revising.
Like I should be now. But I'm reasonably confident that I know
much of what there is to know about Chemistry Unit 2 (or Chem 2
as Vanity Fair are calling it), and revising will just depress me
by showing me otherwise. In other news, I have found a new least-favourite
phrase: knocking 'How clean is your house' off the top spot is
'I'm not a religious person.' I think I've explained elsewhere
why this annoys me so much, so I won't go into it again. But it
does make me very angry that such a throwaway comment is used as
if it justifies living a life devoid of meaning.
Another exam today:
Chemistry retake. I hate to be contradictary, but it was easily
the hardest exam yet. I don't really want to talk about it. I
discovered today that Bradley reads this diary. So hi, Bradders.
White? White? What was I thinking? (On my chemistry exam today... I knew the answer was red... it couldn't
be white... I even wrote red, then crossed it out and wrote white.
What was I doing?
My word. What a result.
Wolves 1 - 0 Manchester United. This is what the Premiership is
all about. Powly (good friend that he is) phoned up immediately
after the match to congratulate me... what a nice guy. Especially
considering that Cheltenham Town are going to lose so badly.
Well, I really ought to be revising... I've got 5 exams next
week, including M3 (probably hardest maths exam yet) and 3 hours
of english essays in a row. And Chem 4. In other news, I
'climbed' Bredon Hill today. Before lunch. And why did Steph turn
Max down? Luckily, I know (and look away now if you don't want
Neighbours spoilers) that she accepts him in a few weeks' time.
I am extremely proud of
Crazy Snake Man. It is certainly not the best Friends website there
is - nobody's claiming that. Yet. But it represents the fact that
I've practically taught myself html this year (at least, all the
html I need to know), and have gone from not knowing how to
upload a picture to creating a website that has intricate detail
and things such as scrollbars, background sounds, a contents bar,
an interactive(ish) quiz, a hidden message... in short, I think
I've done a good job. But whenever I tell Mum or Dad about the
site, they reply (without exception) that I should be using my
time more wisely, I should be working during my free time. Now,
I've spent countless hours on Crazy Snake Man, and I think learning web
design (oh yes, my friends, oh yes) is a worthwhile activity
during my free time (when I'm not doing work... which, by the
way, I always get done). But now they've found something else to
complain about: a few days ago I gave examples of stupid things
the school's done. I really didn't think that the first time Mum or Dad would take an active interest in reading my site would be to see if I've been
too rude. I stand by everything I've written. And the fact that
it's true should be more worrying than the fact I've written it.
Today, I was going to write
a moving and thoughtful account about the nature of love and its
representation in different media. But I just had a really hard M3
exam, so I'm not in the mood. Probably gonna be the first maths
exam I fail. But hey, I've got 3 hours of english tomorrow to
look foward to. Damn, damn, damn. (Maybe I'll come back to that
love thing... some other time).
Recently, I wrote that it
was ridiculous for us to take an english exam rather than do
coursework. Today, I underwent that experience. Now, which do you
think is going to provide the better essay? Either:
1. In an hour, in exam conditions, hand
shaking with pain before you even start from writing essays for
the last two hours, two essay title options to choose from,
several months after you studied the book, with no notes except
what's written in the book.
2. Over a few weeks, with research
material available, having studied the book recently, with any
question of your choice, teachers able to help you at any time.
I'll leave the decision up to you, the
reader. But guess which one somebody else decided we should do?
Simon and I recently tried
to complete a 'video fest' of our own making: this involved
watching approximately 12 hours of films back-to-back. The seven
films were Gosford Park, The Good Girl, Parting Shots, Almost
Heroes, Iris, A Night In The Life Of Jimmy Reardon and
Shakespeare In Love. Between them they have won 9 Oscars - 7 of
those were won by Shakespeare In Love. Anyway, we only managed to
watch the first three (in five hours) because Simon had the
bright idea of doing it overnight, so when it got to 3:30 in the
morning, we were kind of tired. Although I did stay up until 1:00
yesterday, watching boxing from Atlantic City... it's hard to say
why. I quite like boxing when I can see it in slow motion, and
there was one beautiful shot from 'Thunder' Ghati... or was it
Ghuti? Something like that. The rest of the family should be back
some time today, but I don't know when, so I've only got a few
hours in which to do everything I want to do... which is pretty
much nothing. Back to school tomorrow, and then a day off the day
after that (going to Warwick University Open Day). At least exams
are over until June... although some people still have Geography
and/or Business Studies.
It's a pretty slack day
today, what with only having two lessons, and almost everybody
off school because of exams tomorrow. Or perhaps because they
don't want to be in school. I saw The Great Escape for the first
time the other day: it's good, although Mum spoilt the end for me.
I actually reached the age of eighteen without knowing that they didn't
escape, so it would really have been a surprise. But no, Mum had
to tell me. Ah well.
Had an Open Day at Warwick
Uni... it was kind of odd, since the talk largely revolved around
advice as to which course to apply for. Not only had everybody in
the room already applied, they had already been given an offer by
the university, so advising them as to whether they should take
MMath or BSc seemed a little unnecessary. Indeed, the entire
PowerPoint (what else?) production was reminiscent of a certain
PowerPoint presentation I saw when I came for the September,
general, Open Day. I discovered that it's more fun going round
with Ned than it is going around with your parents... not an
entirely unexpected conclusion. That said, we had a good time -
and they did buy me lunch. I met a guy called Olly who was pretty
cool, despite having a strange taste in knitwear, so the tour
went well, despite the fact that it was cold, it rained, and the
tour ended 45 minutes early. I decided to wander across campus
through the rain (probably not the best plan... but I thought I'd
make the most of being there) when it started to snow. Now, I'm
on record saying that it wasn't gonna snow, but it snowed with
gay abandon. In my book, snow is better than rain: for example, I
had lots of fun making footprints in the snow, going up to lamp-posts
and walking round them in a way that I hoped would amuse future
pedestrians. Indeed, one woman grinned at me as I walked past...
I think... it was hard to tell, what with all the snow. In other
news, it appears to peak season for visiting Mars - every day
there's a new picture of the Red Planet, and they all seem to be
taken by different machines that happen to be up there. When we
got the NASA pictures back, everybody was like 'wooh' (that whole
sentence sounds better if you say it. Well, not much better... go
on, try it yourself (as Neil Buchanan would say)). I just thought
that similar pictures could be gained by photographing Arizona -
then I discovered that thirty years ago we had pictures
of Mars' surface (you won't be surprised to hear that little has
changed in that time. Post-modernism seems to have passed them by)
and so basically, in 30 years and countless billions spent, we've
managed to zoom in a bit. And, guess what, it was just rocks.
There weren't any nuggets of gold or tiny aliens that were
invisible to the naked eye: it was just rocks. And, to be honest,
who gives a damn (oh! Naughty word!) if there was bacterial life
on Mars thirty billion years ago? I think we have enough to worry
about on this planet for the time being. Which links nicely to
the subject of Michael Moore - a friend (okay, it was Ben. Sorry)
advised that I should read one of his books, but then wrote on
his website that Christians probably shouldn't read it. Now, few
people are more easily offended than me by Christian-slagging...
but I might give the book a go anyway. When I've finished LotR.
And did you know that Colin Thomas is an anagram of 'This cool
I discovered today that
Bradley watches I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! but he
doesn't want me to add anything to this.
I also discovered today that the name
James is not featured in my diary at all... so, hi James!