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February 1st 2006
I don't think I mentioned Ricky and the Red Stripes' latest outing in the Warwick Rag quiz, a humiliating 26th out of 38. Team members were myself, Rob, James Lee and Jason, a first-time Red Stripe. Apparently the week before they'd had a round about Friends... we had a round on the OC, which I've never seen an episode of in my life. That was bad, but worse was to come when the interval round was basically identifying Gladiators from their pictures... never having been much of a fan, I was little or no help, and we mustered only one point from ten. I've had rather more success in the Warwick Boar crossword over the last year or so, having won it five times under my own name, and a further few times under the names Lirpa Fuhal, Rob Roe, Iain Foreman, Anthony Clohesy, Andy Prichard and David Lake. Last week it was won by Craig Murden, a guy in my supervision group, but I hope to be back this week - under an assumed name, of course. The winner is always a mystery beforehand, occasionally even to myself, as I sometimes enter more than one name, and see what happens... I use a variety of different email addresses, in the somewhat unlikely hope that it won't be tracked back to me. In all, I think I've used eight different emails. Maybe nine.

February 3rd 2006
Do you have any idea of the rigmarole I have to go through with every new month? I have to change several pieces of information on several pages. But what do you care? Perhaps you'll all be more interested by the fact that I've recently ordered myself a Hollies album from the interweb - how many greatest hits albums have those guys made? On page 6 or so of the CDs available on Amazon, I discovered the fifth or sixth best-of for only 96p plus postage, so I went for that one... all the lazy people who buy one of the first few greatest hits they come across will have wasted their money. I also bought a Lynyrd Skynyrd best-of, and they've had a few made (astonishingly, one doesn't have Free Bird. Who's going to buy that?). In other news, the other day I decided to go to a first year maths lecture, since it had been my day-long dream to do so. I selected (somewhat arbitrarily) Geometry and Motion, the semi-equivalent to the 3D Geometry & Motion I and II we had last year... the lecturer they've got is much better than the lecturer we had, although they probably won't believe it, and I was enjoying myself and finding it rather easy, until flux reared its ugly head... I never really understood it last year, and a few minutes' mention of it reassured me that I still don't understand it. Ah well, good luck to 'em. Maths and StatsOn that same day (yesterday, actually, I think it was) Ant and I decided to resume our bid to visit every non-accommodation building on central campus - except, this time we'd get photos of ourselves doing it. A couple seem not to have taken, and we didn't manage to get round all the buildings, so we've still got 10 more to do. When they're all done, we're making a website of it. For no specified reason. Ant has put up some sneak preview pictures, so I've put on one as well. The maths block, in case you were wondering. It's one of the few pictures featuring both myself and Ant, since David took this one, and for most of them either Anthony or I were behind the camera.

February 6th 2006
Every time there is a National Lampoon film on TV - and there are a lot of them out there - the Sunday Times says something snide like 'awful comedy' or 'feeble sequel', and so I accordingly have never watched one. But then on Saturday night, after we'd finished watching the Fantastic Four (not bad as it goes, but nothing special), and the last ten minutes or so of Match of the Day, we discovered that National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 was on. Those of you unacquainted with the film world, this is a parody of the Lethal Weapon series, so accordingly the hero had a Mel Gibson hairstyle (and the 1980s incidental music was fantastic... the film is actually from 1993, so that's all part of the spoof) and a black sidekick, in the form of Samuel L. Jackson. No, I didn't know he did comedy either, but the film itself was great, very much in Hotshots/Naked Gun mode, but better. My personal favourite line was after the black dude had put his hand in some goo (randomly, as the kids of today would tell you), and was asked if he'd found any evidence. 'Nothing solid' was his reply. Genius. There was basically a lot in that line, which always gets as laugh, as well as some other very funny stuff (for example, a man falling to his death - allegedly - then crawling over to the chalk outline he'd just missed). There was also plenty of scope for the 'He was in Friends' game I like to play, with Jon Lovitz appearing reasonably frequently, and cameos from both Bruce Willis and Charlie Sheen. Oh, and Denise Richards, apparently. All in all a classic. In other news, while researching the information for this entry, I discovered that they're remaking Police Academy with much of the original cast. Well, I'm not sure if they're remaking it or just adding another sequel, but whereas the previous sequels (and there have been about 7 of them) have been numbered, the next film, due in 2007, is simply called 'Police Academy'. Maybe there's some mix-up at imdb, and the original cast are in fact not returning, but that would mean Steve Guttenberg hasn't had a job for a decade.

February 7th 2006
Whilst I was waiting for the bus the other day, a van came past, and it was clearly for some tiling company or such, who had thought it highly amusing to call themselves 'Flawless Floors'. Very good, very clever. However, the people who founded the company clearly had not been informed about the correct way to spell 'flawless', hence the company (and the name emblazened on the van) was 'Floorless Floors', which means nothing more nor less than floors without floors. So, basically, nothingness. Which, if you ask me, is a pretty big flaw. In other news, when you live with people, you pick things up that you didn't previously notice - it's often said that you lose your friends when you start living with them. Thankfully we haven't had that happen here on Westwood Rd, but certain things have arisen. For example, I discovered (from experience) that Richard doesn't like people borrowing CDs from him without asking, whereas I would only be flattered. On the other hand, he's discovered that I think it's okay to borrow CDs from people without asking, whereas he wouldn't dream of doing it. For another example, I've discovered that David cuts astronomically large slices of cake, and doesn't know how to make cheese on toast properly. Conversely, he believes (erroneously) that I can't make cheese on toast properly, and possibly believes I'm very stingy when it comes to cake-slicing. Those are just two examples, and I'm sure there are many more - actually, I've just thought of one: I would never eat food off a knife. I mean, never. But there are those among my acquaintance who would do so without thinking twice... this kind of thing is, I guess, solely from the parents. In election news, we just about got enough votes in the Students' Union elections for them to count (most of my friends neglected to vote, sadly) and I'm happy to report that AJ got in as FDSO (erm... finance, democracy and strategy officer, I believe), AJ being a great guy who started up Hot Chocolate (as in, giving it to people after Top B rather than the pop group) a few years ago. Congrats, AJ.

B/ground AndyI got the Pride & Prejudice film today (student discount, thank-you very much). If you remember, it was previously documented that B/ground Andy features in this film: the picture to your left shows him in all his glory, after Mrs. Bennett has flicked something onto him. I believe that this shot is the exact moment when he spoke his line; 'Uh'. Beautiful. He's the guy on the far left of the picture. In other news, since the ads started on this page (at the beginning of January) this page seems to have had 506 hits, and 96 ad-clicks. Thank-you!

February 9th 2006
Next Tuesday, so I understand, is Valentine's Day (and possibly Shrove Tuesday, although I may be a week out). What, exactly, is the point of this day? Surely if you're in a loving relationship, you don't need some named day to celebrate this, and if you're not, it merely serves to reinforce the fact that you're sad and alone. Clearly the celebration was invented solely as a way for Hallmark to make a few extra bucks, and Clinton Cards to meet its annual customer quota. Boycott this pointless and cruel day! It's also, to add insult to injury, the day my library book is due back. In other news, I feel like completing a little quiz thing I nabbed from the newly-revitalised Simon's Space.
1. What did you do in 2005 that you�d never done before?
Killer Su Dokus.
2. Did you keep your New Years� resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't think I made one last year. Or this year.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
If we count Neighbours characters... no.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Still no.
5. What countries did you visit?
Scotland. On New Year's Day itself, I believe. And Merseyside.
6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
Some sort of clue what I'm going to do when I leave Uni.
7. What dates from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 18th. Or was it 19th?
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Probably the first year exam results.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Dropping my Philosophy module was a bit of a cop-out.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I either broke or badly bruised my toe, playing football barefoot.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Lots of Bob Dylan CDs.
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
What? I don't celebrate people's behaviour.
13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
That of the people of New Orleans.
14. Where did most of your money go?
CD and DVD collection, rent, various CU weekends.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing Bob Dylan live.
16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
Time Is Running Out by Muse.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
I dunno.
ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same... if I keep eating chocolate, that'll change.
iii. richer or poorer?
Poorer. But only because rent has gone up this year.
18. What do you wish you�d done more of?
Getting to know more people, earlier.
19. What do you wish you�d done less of?
Putting blue-tack on the walls of my bedroom... it's not looking good.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
This year? Probably at home, cloaked in mediocrity.
22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
No, thank the light, I was too careful.
24. What was your favourite TV program?
I was impressed by Hustle (are we talking new programmes in 2005?).
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn�t hate this time last year?
I don't hate anyone, and never have. Actually, I feel a lot better about Yoko Ono now then this time last year.
26. What was the best book you read?
I had a big Beatles book that was impressive. I liked New Spring by Robert Jordan too.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Bob Dylan, no question.
28. What did you want and get?
Good exam results, great friends.
29. What did you want and not get?
Love.
30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Several good ones: King Kong, Pride & Prejudice, Narnia, Batman Begins...
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old?
I stayed at home and played Fifa, missing my only lecture of the day. Then people came round and we watched Memento. Oh, and Rob kissed my neck. I turned 20.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
See 29.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
I don't know what that means.
34. What kept you sane?
Yeah, God. And TV.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Carla Bonner or Kirsten Dunst. Still. Although the lass who played Susan in Narnia, had she been a bit older, would have won out.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
New Orleans flooding. Do we count that as political?
37. Who did you miss?
When Rob went away for a week, my life held no meaning.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Erm... Tom? Then there are a couple of girls who might be the answer depending on what mood I'm in and when you ask me. Oh, and the people I met at Merseyfest.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005:
Each man hates the thing he most desires.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1999!"

February 10th 2006
Today, as you'll see from the date, is Friday. Today, I'm hoping to get my Algebra II work done and handed in, before heading off to a Morning Runner gig, getting a few hours' sleep, then catching the Saturday morning train to Oxford to see Simon, perhaps doing a little Metric Spaces on the journey. I'll spend the weekend there, go to an English lecture on Monday before heading back here, going to my Maths of Random Events lecture, then I'll have a spare hour in which to do a little more work, before co-leading a 10.25 meeting. After that I may find a couple of hours to finish the Metric Spaces before the 1pm deadline on Tuesday. Oh, and somewhen [actually a word, it seems... it was in a crossword] today I'll hopefully find some time to pack for the weekend. Here's hoping. In Su Doku news, I've just reached February in my daily calendar. I tend to complete them in blocks. Hmm... you know that feeling where you regret doing something, and you're not entirely sure that it'll come back to bite you, so all you can do now is wait and see? That's me right now. And no, you ain't gonna find out what it was... teach me for not going to bed at a reasonable hour, though.

February 14th 2006
You'll all be glad to hear that I had a good time over at Simon's for the weekend, and although I wasn't particularly impressed by the lecture I attended, I was chuffed to steward at an OICCU event and eat lots of doughnuts, eat Mongolian food, and so forth. Those of you who've read the previous entry will also be glad to hear that I got all my work done on time, although I neglected to mention last time that I also had a (miniscule) Maths of Random Events test, which I failed by virtue (or vice) of not answering. Ach well. I did, however, write a pretty darn nifty proof for a Metric Spaces question, amidst some less impressive stuff. In other news, today is Valentine's Day, and although I half-heartedly (no pun intended) lambasted it not long ago, I was astonished to discover that one couple close to my heart are refusing to acknowledge the event, so it was left to Rob and Sarah to keep up the Status Quo. A very happy day to them both. I'll think of them while I'm celebrating the day by renewing a library book.

Since writing the above, I've become less convinced about the genius - and, indeed, validity - of the amazing proof I mentioned. These doubts only came after I'd handed the thing in, so I can't check it properly. Ach.

February 15th 2006
Well, what did I achieve yesterday? I did manage to renew my library book, just about (got confused with the machine and had to get the nice lass on the issue desk to help me out. Hey, I'm a maths student), and when the Boar arrived, I discovered that I'd won the crossword again, this time under the name Richard Baldwin, hence completing my housemates (as well as Lirpa Fuhal, Andy Prichard and Rob Roe. Oh, and myself a few times)... if this continues, I'm gonna run out of my friends to win the crossword. Fear not, ma, I jest. Anyhow, being in Oxford over the weekend got me thinking... I know Simon is very happy within its dreaming spires, and I can see how it's his bag (or his oeuvre, as I misused the word on Sunday), but I'd hate it myself. It all seems to smack of pretension, to me, even if it's the genuine article rather than imitation (which would be indescribably pretentious). The idea of living and working in such old, grand buildings is one that I dislike as intensely as Simon enjoys it. Here at Warwick, we are probably - as Simon claims - rather populated by inverted snobs, and that's no bad thing. The atmosphere, the vibe, it's very different here, perhaps due to our roots in the 60s: it's difficult to describe, but the very idea of (for example) doing exams in gowns, or being forbidden to walk on the grass, would be anathema - a word I can never pronounce properly - to Warwick students, whereas Oxbridge people not only accept it, but embrace it. Basically, I'm arguing against the oft-suggested theory that Warwick is something of a place for Oxbridge rejects (particularly scientists, as opposed to artists)... we're more a place for academically gifted people who don't want the trappings of Oxbridge. OK, there are certainly a good many people here who were turned down by Oxbridge, but the majority of my friends didn't apply there (I myself didn't), and I'd suspect that, like me, it's because they don't want to be part of the self-congratulatory attitude that - due to centuries of being the best - goes a long way to defining Oxbridge. (Although, without meaning to go off on a tangent, there is something quintessentially English about revelling in past glories and valueless traditions, with false self-belief and amoral xenophobia). Without ever having been there, I would hazard that Durham Uni is far more pseudo-Oxbridge than Warwick, with its collegiate system, its enforced traditions and, of course, its age. Sadly, this presumably acts as a constant reminder that Durham is to Oxbridge as Nottingham is to Warwick, whereas we inhabit a different sphere here. Oxbridge is our caviar: you can't deny its qualities, but there's no way we'd take it ahead of chips.

February 17th 2006
I found myself in a desert. Everywhere I looked, there was desert; sand as far as the eye could see, except that, just in front of me, was the most gorgeous oasis you could imagine, gushing with pure, cold water. I drank deeply, then I drank some more: it made water from back home seem tasteless and useless, there was nothing that could compare to this water. It transcended the name.
Having drunk all I needed, I went in search of other people. Before I'd gone far, I came across someone, sitting in the sand, clearly parched.

"Come with me, I've found water!"
"Water? I don't need water. What makes you think I do?"
"You're dying of thirst out here in this desert!"
"No, I'm not. I've got sand to drink. I don't need this water you're talking about. Why would I need water, when I've got sand?"

I tried to persuade him, but he wouldn't change his mind, and as I walked onwards, I looked back to see him pour sand down his throat, coughing and spluttering, with a satisfied look on his face. I soon came across another man, again sitting alone, without anything to drink.

"Come quickly! There's water just back there."
"You think you've found water?"
"Yes, I've found water! Don't worry, you won't die from thirst!"
"There's no way you've actually found water. What are the odds? It's probably a mirage."
"I've drunk from it!"
"But I haven't."
"Please, take my word for it, there is water! Come with me, and drink."
"Sorry, mate, you're deluding yourself. There isn't any water - this is a desert. Get real."

Try as I might, I couldn't persuade him, so I was forced to move onwards, and it wasn't long before I came across a woman, standing on the sand. I thought I'd try again.

"Please come with me and get some water, I've found an oasis."
"OK, I'll come. But only if you can prove to me that you've actually found water."
"Yes! I can do that! Just follow me, and I'll take you straight to it."
"No, I mean, prove it now."
"Well, I can't prove it right here, because the water's just past that hill..."
"I knew it. I'm not a complete fool! You can't prove it, so I'm staying put. Don't want to go on a fool's errand."
"If you stay here, you'll die of thirst!"
"And if I go with you, I'll just get hotter from walking. Leave me alone, yeah?"

She wouldn't move an inch without proof of the water, so dispiritedly I continued looking for others, and again I hadn't gone far before coming across another person. With a heavy heart, I tried once more.

"There's water just past that hill. If you want to live, come with me."
"You've found water? Cool."
"So you believe me?"
"Of course, yeah."
"Great! So you'll come with me?"
"Mmm... maybe. I mean, it's great that you've found water, but I don't really think it's for me."
"What do you mean, it's not for you? Everyone needs water to live! Come on, please!"
"Yeah, yeah... perhaps. Tell you what, next time you're here, ask me again."

By this time I'd more or less given up hope, so didn't really press the point; instead I carried on looking for anyone in this desert place. I'd have to go back and get some more water soon... Almost immediately, I saw another woman, lying on the sand, and I approached her.

"Hey. I've found some wa-"
"Yeah, I know, I know, you've found some water. I've seen you pestering all those people, asking them to come with you."
"Please, just come with me and drink!"
"Why are you so pushy? Why are you continually trying to persuade people to come with you and get some water?"
"Well, since there are so many people dying of thirst, I wanted to help them."
"Can't you just drink it yourself - isn't that enough? It's typical, wanting to get other people involved all the time."
"Listen, I've found water, and I want other people to know about it, so they won't die."
"You know your problem? You're arrogant. Just let people get on with their own lives, why don't you?"

With these words, she turned and walked off, and I headed back towards the oasis. Alone. But tomorrow... well, tomorrow was another day.

February 18th 2006
I downloaded Google Earth the other day, at the advice of several people, most recently Rob "two blog entries in two months" Roe. And I found something rather odd... in other news, I am very much a fan of Simon Barnes' sports writing in the Times, since it is well-informed, sensible and poetic. Normally. Last week I made an exception, however, with a ludicrous article he wrote in support of figure skating, claiming that people say it isn't a sport merely because of the frilly dresses and (inanely) because women participate. He ignored the fact that many people regard figure skating (and, when it comes to that, gymnastics) as non-sports because the judging is largely subjective, which it clearly isn't in your typical British sports (with the possible exception of boxing). Often the stupid argument rears its head, that it requires a great deal of strength and talent to take part so, it must be a sport. Mugging someone requires strength and talent, but it ain't a sport, kid. Well, I'm not going to claim that figure skating isn't a sport, but I certainly would protest that it shouldn't be an Olympic sport: the Olympic motto is "Citius, altius, fortius," meaning "swifter, higher, stronger" - I contend that only sports fulfilling one or more of these should be Olympic sports. So that means no gymnastics, no football, no rugby, no basketball, no shooting, no diving... the list goes on... by slightly altering 'higher' to refer to any length, vertical or horizontal, we include pretty much all the track and field events (which are what one thinks of when one considers the Olympics, anyhow), the swimming (except the synchronized swimming, of course), the weight-lifting, the marathon, etc. All the proper Olympic events. Of course, the Olympics should be about the greatest sportsmen competing in their events, so I wouldn't advise a return to the days of amateur status (which is still retained in boxing, by the way), and since it's obvious that the best footballers (for example) never go near an Olympics, dropping those kind of sports would be no great loss. OK, there would be a lot fewer events, the IOC wouldn't make as much money, perhaps the spectacle wouldn't be as grand. But it would be far more appropriate, don't you think? Worth it just to get rid of the figure skating.

February 20th 2006
We are told, incessantly, that Tony Blair is worried about his legacy (yeah, I'm afraid this is going to be a bit of a political entry. But don't worry, it'll be short). Although there are currently a lot of fools who actually still seem to believe the Iraq war was about oil, I think history will recall him as the man who helped depose Saddam Hussein (although rather too much in the pocket of George Dubya, it will probably be said). Then came the landmark law banning smoking, which has be mocked in certain areas of the media, but is in fact a fantastic and long overdue piece of ruling. As has been discussed here previously, smoking is ludicrous and it's difficult to believe that people still take it up: this is not an example of the 'nanny state' or any of that tripe, it's pretty much equivalent to banning drugs or binge drinking. Good for Tone. Another thing in the pipeline, which is much complained about, is the proposed ID card. And yes, once again, I am in favour of the plan: those of us who don't have driving licenses or passports (although I'm sending off for a replacement very soon, and got my passport photos done today) will gladly welcome identification that will be accepted everywhere... and no, I'm not scared that they'll have info on me. Let's be honest, they already have stacks of information on file, they will not misuse the information and (most pertinently) the ID card is already in use in many nations, without any ill effect. I think the only problem I'd have with it (apart from having to return to a photobooth) is that it would be compulsory and cost us �100 each, or some such: since we have to have one, don't charge us, all right? Cheers.

February 21st 2006
I can't stay around long, since I've got work to do, but there are a couple of things I want to mention: firstly, how amazing is it that Drew has come back to Neighbours (however briefly)? Very cool - so long as it doesn't break up Steph and Max, of course. Secondly, I'm going to write some more about how great Scrubs is some time soon, but for now a quick mention about John C. McGinley (a lot more about him in that Scrubs update). As well as being in Scrubs, he was in Three to Tango, my all-time favourite film. He hasn't changed, has he?
Johnny C.

February 23rd 2006
Hey, other people are doing this fours thingy. So I thought I would. Here goes:
Four jobs I've had in my life
Advertising for Google
Working in a second-hand book shop
Playing organ in church
Student

Four films I can watch over and over
Three to Tango
Crazy/Beautiful
Catch Me If You Can
Forrest Gump

Four TV shows I love to watch
Neighbours
Friends
Scrubs
Dad's Army

Four places I have lived
St. Helens
Worcestershire
Somerset
Earlsdon

Four places I have been on holiday
Ireland
France
Scotland
Belgium

Four of my favourite dishes
Toad in the hole
Curry (with cheese)
Pizza
Chilli con carne

Four websites I visit daily
Wolves teamtalk
Footnotes
Warwick blogs
Hotmail

Four places I would rather be right now
I'm quite happy here, actually.

Well, that was all pretty dull, wasn't it? What can I say, the Scrubs update will be here soon, and that will be exciting. Yay.

February 28th 2006
Before the battery power dies on my computer, there should be enough time to tell you I've updated the Dude List: Morgan Freeman and John C. McGinley. Gotta go.

Caroline in the CityNot long ago, I decided to buy Series 1 of Caroline in the City, a 1990s sitcom starring Lea Thompson (who played Marty McFly's mother in the superlative Back to the Future trilogy). But not because I'm a big Lea fan, or even because I'd heard it was a good sitcom (although the positive amazon reviews did sway me somewhat), but because Matthew Perry had a cameo role, ostensibly as Chandler, in one of the episodes, around the time when NBC decided to do loads of crossover type things (Cf. George Clooney and Noah Wyle crossing from ER to Friends). The sitcom itself isn't as rubbish as it first seemed, although I'm still pretty stunned it ran to five seasons, but Matthew Perry oozes the same effortless class I came to expect from him in Series 2 of Friends (his peak). Perhaps not really worth the 6-something I spent on it, but then again - how could I live without it? This might even mean I update Crazy Snake Man sometime soon.

what was I listening to?
Gold & Platinum - Lynyrd Skynyrd
what was I reading?
The Bible
what was I watching?
Loaded Weapon 1
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