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January 2nd 2004

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 time.

January 7th 2004

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.

January 8th 2004

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.

January 9th 2004

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 meaning.

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.

January 12th 2004

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.

January 13th 2004

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.

January 14th 2004

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.

January 15th 2004

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.

January 16th 2004

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?

January 17th 2004

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. Yay!

January 20th 2004

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.

January 21st 2004

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).

January 22nd 2004

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?

January 26th 2004

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.

January 27th 2004

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.

January 28th 2004

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 man'?

January 30th 2004

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!

what was I listening to?
Heathen Chemistry - Oasis
what was I reading?
The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
what was I watching?
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