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January 3rd 2006
Happy New Year everyone. And happy birthday to you, Ant. People may have noticed that there are now Google ads at the top of this page. I don't know how long I'll be keeping them there, but every time someone clicks on one, I make a little bit of money - so, I ask you to take notice! It's against their rules to have people repeatedly click on them just to generate money for me, so don't do that... but please, see where they take you. In fact, they should have something to do with whatever I'm writing about on any particular day, which'll be amusing. More later.

January 5th 2006
Harvey is a great film. As is the BttF trilogy, which I'm watching part of now. Not to mention the TV series Joey, which is much better than people say it is, and I also bought recently. I can't be bothered to write anything properly right now. Sorry.

January 6th 2006
At the beginning of every term, our student cinema here at Warwick has a free showing of a film, and this term it was Oliver Twist, so a bunch of us decided to go and see it. I was actually quite impressed by the calibre of the film screened free, since it was the recent Polanski version, and not long gone from big screens across the country. However, having sat through about 15 hours of it (seemingly), I have to rate it as a bad film. I admit I haven't read the book, which might have helped in some way, but still: there was nothing visually or emotionally interesting in the entire thing: the various occurrences of Oliver's life were doggedly played out with little thought for the audience. Christine apparently didn't like the film because it had a sad ending, she being a fan of happiness. Now, I like films with happy endings as much as the next guy (as I wrote here a year or two ago), but that didn't really bother me... for the last hour or so, I'd have taken any ending, as long as it was soon. Sorry, Mr. Dickens - it ain't paid you any favours in my already heavily tarnished view of your talents. In other news, I got an Elton John album today: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Divers.

January 9th 2006
Pretty much ever sicne I joined Warwick Uni, there has been an ongoing argument about the correct pronunciation of words such as 'bath', 'glass' and 'laugh'. I, naturally, pursue the long a, whereas others go for the short a. On my side are the likes of Iain, Tom, Becky and Rob. On t'other side are the likes of Ant, Rich, David and Christine. It was previously clear that I and those with me were right, but the Northerners (and indeed a few Midlanders) could not see this plain fact, so yesterday, I proved it with the help of my trusty dictionary. Y'know how dictionaries give pronunciation as well as definition? They do it in some weird alphabet I don't understand, but checking the pronunciation for 'car' - which even the short-a people don't dispute - you find something along the lines of 'ka:'. Then, in words such as bath, you find the vowel sound to be 'a:' - no alternatives, just one way. We Southerners are right, and it's proven. Of course, Anthony didn't agree with this clear proof, so we debated it with all logic and reasoned argument I've come to expect. I don't think I even mentioned the size of his head.

January 10th 2006
I was perusing my 2005 diary entries yesterday, in search of the best ones of the year. Sadly, I got as far as June or thereabouts, and couldn't find enough with true calibre to warrant a shortlist. Looking at the earlier entries, it is pretty clear that my diary was in serious danger of dying completely, along with SCB and CSM. Well, since then I've bought back the URL for CSM (although not properly updated it), revitalised SCB, and kept the diary alive and kicking (and, indeed, made what I think is probably my best ever entry). If I were to make a shortlist of the best entries from last year, my personal favourite (and one backed up by a mother and an aunt) would be September 5th, but a strong contender would be December 20th. It's an entry I was pretty pleased with, but which got a somewhat contradictary response: it was praised by Rich and Ant, but Rob went out of his way to email me telling me how rubbish it was. Odd. In other news, my timetable for the coming term. Last term I worked my socks off, with six modules (that equates to around a 20 hour week), whereas this term I have only four modules (13 hour week), which is a nice relief. However, every silver lining has a cloud: whereas I'm used to going to lectures with David, Anthony, Christine and Rob, I'm only occasionally going to be able to do that this term, since in two of my modules, none of them are there, and one of them, only Rob is. It's gonna be a lonely term... luckily, all-round nice guy that I am, I have a few other friends in the maths dept, so it's a good chance to get to know them better, I guess.

Maggie SimpsonY'know the intro to the Simpsons? Have you ever wondered what is flashed up on the till machine thingy when Maggie is accidentally treated as shopping by the check-out dude? Well, the Simpsons behind-the-scenes special claimed that it said 'NRA4EVER', but as the picture on your left shows you, it in fact says '847.63'. Ah, the wonders of my laptop.

Work is now complete on the track listing for Songs-a-go-go 4, and I've now only got to sort out the order of those tracks. For the first time, there are no songs by Bob Dylan or The Eagles, although both came close to making the final cut. New entries into the Sagg legend include Eminem, The Small Faces and Hanson... full list will be here when I've finalised the order.

January 12th 2006
As I think I may have mentioned here, last year we Warwick students voted whether or not to ban smoking in our Students Union buildings. After the powers that be made a few amendments to what would happen if we voted 'yes', the vote was held - and, yes, we voted to ban smoking. Well, last week I discovered (through reading our campus paper, the Warwick Boar) that we're not going to ban smoking after all, cos the people we elected to run the Union (the Sabbs) have decided the financial risks are too great. I could not believe this decision. Whatever the financial implications, whatever the rights and wrongs of smoking, the students had already spoken: democracy had had its say. But it seems we voted for the wrong one. If banning smoking was an impossibility, why was it an option in the first place?

Sorry, got cut off in mid-flow my the arrival of Ned. But I reckon I said everything that needed to be said: you can extrapolate the indignance. Today I was in Tesco, and decided to buy Elephunk by the Black Eyed Peas, since I'd been meaning to buy it when it was in the charts, and it was pretty cheap now. Sadly, it's garbage: I've put it on amazon already. One or two good songs do not an album make. In other music news, Sagg 4 is complete, and the track listing is thus;
1. Ghetto Gospel - 2Pac/Elton John
2. The Show Must Go On - Queen
3. Read 'Em And Weep - Meat Loaf
4. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
5. Some Might Say - Oasis
6. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of - U2
7. Elenore - The Turtles
8. Rose Bouquet - Phil Vassar
9. The Hands That Built America - U2
10. Itchycoo Park - The Small Faces
11. (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher - Jackie Wilson
12. Glorious - Andreas Johnson
13. Lady Stardust - David Bowie
14. Butterflies & Hurricanes - Muse
15. Hallelujah - Jeff Buckley
16. Weird - Hanson
17. Good Year For The Roses - Elvis Costello
18. It Must Have Been Love - Pretty Woman
19. Lose Yourself - Eminem

January 14th 2006
Yesterday was a little momentous, since I bought my first ever pair of jeans. I've never really liked jeans, but I needed some new trousers, and why not, eh? They're a little baggier than I'd hoped - curse you, Friday 13th! - but there's worse things happen at sea. Maybe now's a good time to mention (overduly) Ant's birthday party over New Year's, in which a bunch of us stayed over and soaked up the Leicestershire weather. I eevn spent half a night in a hammock. One of the highlights of the stay was, for me, comparing the town-dwellers and us countrysiders - Ant's a rural chap if ever there was one, so he and I knew exactly how to scale gates over the hinges; David, Christine and Guy, however, went over wherever they felt like. Rookie mistake. And then, the next morning, crow-scarers were sounded across the land, scaring those self same townies who could have sworn it was the sound of a shotgun wielding maniac - the rest of us didn't even notice. Although it did get me thinking; if someone did up blunderbuss and traipse through Somerset, we'd scarcely look up from our porridge, assured that it was only a scarecrow with menace. And, by the way, if you're reading this Rob, shouldn't you be skiing?

Speaking of Ant's birthday party, one of the presents he got was a kite, from Richard. After t'others had departed, Anthony, Thomas (Ant's 'little' brother) and myself went to fly this kite, and I'm sure you'll agree the following pictures show just how well we did:
Exhibit A Exhibit B Exhibit C.

January 16th 2006
I'll come clean with you; the pictures from last time were cleverly taken so as to make it look like we were flying the kite. In actual fact, the first time we went Ant spent the entire time trying (and failing) to untangle the string, and the second time there was nowhere near enough wind to get the thing off the ground. Sorry. By the way, please keep clicking on those ads up there: so far, I've made 79 cents, but it's kinda levelled out. If you lovely people click on one every time you come here, I'll soon be rolling in it. Cheers. I'm very tired now, and it looks like a long day ahead, so I'll catch you later.

January 17th 2006
Today is going to be one of those deep, personal entries that make me embarrassed when I look back over the archive, so if you're not in the mood to listen to the woes of a twentysomething year-old who doesn't know how good he's got it, please just visit some of the websites advertised above, and leave. (Speaking of which, I made over 5 bucks from them yesterday, bringing my total to 6.64, or about 3.67. Not bad for no work). I'm going to talk a little about fear. I'm not a guy who's got many phobias; I'm not scared of spiders, or the dark, or snakes, or what have you. Well, I wouldn't want a pet snake, but whatever. Some things that I am scared of include 'bits' (y'know, in yoghurt, orange juice, fruit cake, etc) and hurdling - although that's a result of breaking my arm quite badly while hurdling, so isn't a phobia as such, just good sense. But my biggest fear is probably fear of failure - and that's a very different thing to a desire for success. It's not just the failure, it's the humiliation attached to it: it's why I won't go ice-skating or play badminton, cos I don't want to look a fool. But then, it's also a personal thing, since I want to meet my own expectations - academically, I've done all right for myself, but I wasn't that chuffed with GCSEs, since Simon beat me. People always say these things aren't a competition, but for myself, I'm only happy if I get a good mark and do better than most other people: if I do better than my friends but the mark's rubbish, I'm not happy. If I get 95% and everyone else gets 97%, I'm not happy. That seems perfectly natural to me (obviously if I get 95%, my friends get 97%, and everyone else gets 80%, I'll be perfectly satisfied). Hmm... I also hate missing opportunities, so sometimes I go out of my way to make sure the opportunities themselves don't arise, cos that way I can't miss them. Now, that's messed up. I guess the reason I'm writing about this is that on my latest Combinatorics sheet, which I spent many hours doing during the holidays, I got 9/25, making the average of my last three sheets a pathetic 10/25. I'm partly happy because the question I worked the hardest on was the one that I got 7/7 on, but I've not felt as angry as I did when I discovered my mark since AS-Level English Lit, and that ain't a good thing. I'm getting over it, but I just hate failure when I expect to succeed. The odd thing is, I'm sick and tired of people thinking I'm some kind of genius; last year was great, because I was with people who didn't have the pre-conceived view that followed me round at school. I didn't have to steer away from talking about academic results for fear of sounding arrogant, I didn't have to put up with "if you don't know, I don't" comments every time I asked a question. But then I got a mark last year that I was ecstatic with (88%), and the comments are seaping back. Yeah, ok, I've got nothing to moan about really, I know. Sorry. In other (less depressive) news, I have Richard to thank for introducing me to two great TV shows that I'd previously passed over; Hustle and Scrubs. I thought the latter looked good from the trailer, but when I watched about ten seconds of it on TV, thought it was garbage. I must have watched the worst ten seconds they made, since it's a very funny surreal comedy. Hustle, on the other hand, is a clever programme about a group of con-artists who play the 'long con' - they'd actually probably be offended if you called them con artists. They only con dishonest people, or something, so apparently it's all okay, but whatever the dubious morality, the programme is very funny, and the twists are great. Another show I've only really watched this (academic) year is Red Dwarf, which rarely rises above the predictable, but is highly endearing and entertaining, and occasionally truly hilarious. The characters should all be repulsive, but you also find yourself liking them, despite their various traits. Of course, the problem with British programmes is that their series are laughably short, 6-8 episodes being the norm, as opposed to US series (Scrubs being an example) which typically contain 24 episodes each. I'm not sure why there's such a difference...

January 18th 2006
One thing I didn't mention yesterday about Scrubs was how great the intro is: it is basically someone crossing a room, putting on a stethoscope, then passing someone else a chart, and they put it up. Except, the people doing this change severak times a second, so that one simple motion involves all the main Scrubs characters at least twice. I don't hesitate to say it's the best part of the show. Another thing I didn't mention yesterday is just how great my life is; it was a wee bit depressive, wasn't it? I know that I'll look back on these Uni years - perhaps this one especially - as some of the best times of my life. I mean, I live with four fantastic guys, next year there's going to be another one, I have amazing friends in (and out of) the CU... hell, the other day a girl spoke to me. I think. In short, I may whinge a bit, but life is great. In other news, we received a strange package this morning, addressed to 'The Genii, 67 Westwood Road' and purporting to be from A L Fisher, Tonbridge. David, Richard and myself had no idea what was going on, but I opened it to discover the extended version of Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers on VHS. Behold a mystery.

January 19th 2006
The video mystery is no nearer a solution, since now none of us know who 'A. L. Fisher' is, none of us were expecting a LotR video... one clue might be that Rob asked me a couple of weeks ago whether we had a video player over here, without any follow-up questions. As far as evidence goes, it's weak. Anyhow, enough of such madness - who wants to hear a physics-related joke that Richard told me? Here goes;
Heisenberg gets stopped by a policeman, for speeding. The policemean says "Do you know how fast you were going?" "No," Heisenberg replies, "but I know where I was."

January 21st 2006
Calling all medical people: waht is wrong with me? I've been ill for the last few days, but don't really know what it is that ails me. I'll describe it. On Wednesday evening, I was all right, although kinda tired, and went to bed really early, meaning that I woke pretty early on the Thursday. I have a 1pm start on Thursday, and although I didn't feel too grand, I didn't really consider not going in for it. On the way to the bus stop, the bus went past me, so I decided to walk into campus: a bad mistake. I soon realised that it was taking too much effort - I was having a hard time mounting kerbs - and when I got in for my 1pm supervision, I couldn't do a lot more than groan and pt my head in my hands. I felt in danger of collapsing when I walked. So I decided not to go to my 3pm lecture, but instead went home, and lay on the sofa... after a while, I began to feel really cold, so put on my dressing gown, then spent most of the rest of the day on my bed, trying (and occasionally managing) to get to sleep. That night I was pretty feverish, but didn't feel so bad the next morning. I skipped my 11am, but made it in for the 12noon lecture - again, a mistake, as I realised I was far too weak. So now it's Saturday, and I still feel extremely fatigued, and unable to eat much (I haven't had any cooked food since Wednesday). But the problem is, I don't appear to have any other symptoms: usually weakness comes hand in hand with something else... this morning, I had a bit of a cough, which was good, since I have cough medicine, and on Thursday I had a headache, but both have since gone, to all intents and purposes. So, please tell me what is wrong, and whether it'll have gone by Essential, starting on Monday! Cheers.

January 23rd 2006
Well, most of last time's symptoms are still there - although the fever seems just about to have gone - but I forgot to mention that my joints are stiff (mainly my knees), and since then my eyes hurt whenever I glance left or right, and I wake up several times a night with a dry throat and chapped lips. I still await diagnoses.

January 24th 2006
For those still wondering, it turns out that the mysterious LotR video came from none other than Robin, Ant's brother. Although we don't yet know who A L Fisher is. In musical news, I recently got The Traveling Wilburys Vol 1 and 3 on CD (they didn't make a volume 2... go figure) and am trying to work out how to categorise it on my laptop. You see, the TWs were a supergroup, and I mean super, featuring none other than Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty (of ELO) and Jeff Lynne, and on my computer I store tracks by Dylan, the Beatles, and Beatles soloists (among a few others)... so do I store TWs under Dylan, or Solo Beatles? Richard suggested whichever one I love more (clearly Beatles) but I'm not sure whether that's such a logical decision method. Now that I'm more or less approaching health, it's an important point I'll have to consider. Well, that and copying up from the 8 lectures I've missed.

Thanks to Dad for pointing out that Tom Petty wasn't in ELO, he was in Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. It was in fact Jeff Lynne who was none less than co-founder and lead singer of ELO. Hey, I make mistakes sometimes.

January 25th 2006
I've been accused of cynicism a few times in my life - normally by Little Andy, whenever he disagrees with me - but today, let's celebrate happiness and innocence. Let's, for a short moment, forget that every second that passes is one second closer to someone you love accidentally tripping over a cat, and look ahead with joy and clear heart. First, let me mention Harvey. Not the fantastic film that I've probably eulogised about before, but the fantastic news I discovered over the Christmas holidays, that in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, in the very last episode, Harvey and Sabrina end up together! I couldn't believe it when they broke up, 'cos he rules, but I discovered that all ends well for them. That was happy thing number one. Happy thing number two... Stenny are still top of Scottish division 3. Ooh! And I'm feeling better. Happy thing number three. Happy thing number four would have to be Essential week, which seems to be going well, and which I can hopefully get more involved with from now on. And the happiest thing of all: maths! Let me tell you a little something about Bertrand's paradox (no, seriously, it's interesting). Imagine a circle, and now imagine the biggest equilateral triangle (just a triangle with sides all of the same length) that will fit inside the circle. Got that? Cool. Now imagine that, at random, you drew a line right across the circle, starting at some point on the boundary, and ending anyone else on the boundary. What, dyou reckon, is the probability that this line (or 'chord') is longer than one of the sides of the aforementioned equilateral triangle? Well, the paradox is that the answer can be logically worked out to be a half, a third or a quarter, depending on how you work it out. Cool, huh? That's what I'm doing my second year essay on.

January 28th 2006
So, Sir Ian Blair pondered why the Soham murders received quite so much media coverage, compared to equally horrible crimes that didn't get beyond page 97. Apart from being a little naive - two little white girls make a front page, a young man, black or white, simply doesn't - he was perfectly entitled to ask the question. (Actually, I think Ian Huntley and particularly Maxine Carr are more entitled to ask the question, since the widespread coverage of the case led to a wave of hatred from over-excited Sun readers towards them). But, the press being as silly as ever, it looks like he's been forced to apologise. I'm not that bothered by people apologising when clearly they don't need to - when someone bumps into you in the street, you apologise even when it's their fault. The other day I spent a good minute thanking someone after I carried their bags for them - but people are gonna get the wrong idea in their heads: they'll be thinking that Ian Blair actually did something wrong. It's like a couple of years ago when there was a debate about homosexual sex being illegal in some US state, and someone said that it must be ok, because there's some ruling saying you can have consensual sex. Then another guy pointed out that by that logic, incest would be fine - and all hell broke loose. How dare this man compare homosexuality with incest! He must resign immediately... and, like a fool, I think he probably did. Dear me. Now I'm just worrying what Google Adsense will make of all that...

January 30th 2006
So, despite the fact that I'm taller and own more gree jumpers, Christine's made the mistake of a lifetime and plumped for David. I guess it's because he had a ring. Yep, they're engaged. Congratulations to them both! Hip-hop-happiness, and so forth. Cue lots of jokes along the lines of 'don't phone Christine, she's engaged... David already gave her a ring...' which are met with unadulterated joy by all concerned.

And whilst everything's happy, a very happy birthday to Iain today! I don't think he actually reads this, but if you see him, wish him a good day, why don't you.

January 31st 2006
So far I've made $15.80 from those google ads... closest thing I've had to an honest day's works for some time. Anyhow, I discovered the other day, to my considerable shock and indeed horror, that sundry of my friends do not keep their DVDs in alphabetical order. OK, let's name names, it was Christine who admitted it brazenly, but from the insecure looks on some faces in the vicinity, she wasn't the only one. Now, I'm not OCD - I don't think - but I am at a complete loss to understand why anyone would just store DVDs (or, for that matter, CDs) just higgledy-piggledy all over the shelf... if you're going to store 'em by genre, I guess that's okay (although so hazardous in identification, I'd never attempt it), or you could do what apparently they do over at Oxford Uni, and store them by alphabetical order of director, although that seems a pretty darn stupid method to me. Of course, keeping CDs in alphabetical order on a big CD rack does mean that I have to ove a lot whenever I get a new CD, but that cn't be helped, eh?

Hey, check this out. I think it's cool... others may disagree.

what was I listening to?
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John
what was I reading?
my Combinatorics notes...
what was I watching?
Back to the Future
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