April 4th 2007
You guys probably know that I like to point Matthew Perry films in your direction. Three to Tango remains my favourite film (I saw it again the other day, and I'd forgotten how much I love it), and others in my collection include Fools Rush In, Serving Sara, Almost Heroes, The Whole Nine Yards, The Whole Ten Yards, A Night In The Life Of Jimmy Reardon, She's Out Of Control and The Kid, in which he has two lines. I have to admit that a lot of these aren't actually that great... but I enjoy them immensely, and I'm looking forward to the next one he has in the pipeline, which is Numb. I saw the trailer for the first time yesterday, and I invite you all to watch it here. In all honesty, it doesn't look fantastic... but trailers can be misleading. Matthew Perry still rocks.
April 5th 2007
Does this email address make me look fat? I only ask because I've had nigh on a dozen emails about weight loss in the last week or so... thus far I've deleted all of them without reading, but if it continues, I may have to reassess my options. There was also something about investing my money, I think (and a confusing one about losing pounds; for a while I thought it might be a refreshingly honest scam). Anyways, I've been working my way through Modern Control Theory of late, which isn't going too badly considering I hadn't got the slightest clue what he was talking about during the actual lectures. Good Friday tomorrow, so I'll be taking most (if not all) of the day off. Did somebody say keep rocking?
April 8th 2007
A very happy Easter to y'all. Or Resurrection Sunday, if you will (there is a small movement - indeed, it seems to be limited to my father - who are trying to get Easter Sunday called Resurrection Sunday). Also, happy birthday to Richard (who doesn't read this page very often at all, so I can safely ask if anyone can think of a birthday present I should get for him). It's gonna be another of those entries with more words parenthesised than not (and according to online sources, parenthesised isn't a word). Anyhow, rejoice this day.
April 10th 2007
OK, I like Harry Potter. I've mentioned it before, but let's just get it out of the way immediately; it's not something I'm proud of - it's a little like the fact that I use facebook (frequently) and wash my hair on alternate days. At best. That's who I am, and I've come to terms with it. Now, I have absolutely no intention of taking my like of Harry Potter any further; you will not find me on forums contesting the likelihood of Voldemort being Percy Weasley in disguise, nor is there any chance of me writing a letter to Ms. Rowling along the lines of
Dear Ms. Rowling (or should I say Joanne!!!!)
Your so great! I am you're biggest fan ever! other people say they are but their not I am!! I have read all you're Harry Poter books nearly all the way through and there really really good. My favourite character is Ron whose yours? I hope its Ron because he's my favourite. Who's yours?
I like the films too but not as much as the books!!!
Do you mind if I ask you to write about me in you're next book. it wouldn't have to be a large part just a minor character called Colin, I know theres already a Colin but you can't have to many!!! I hope you do. Do you want to be my penpal?
Whats going to happen in book 7? Is percy really voldmort?
PS Please write back!! is it true you write on napkins? thats seriously random!!!
Sorry about that. Anyways, I am going to delve a little into geekdom by referring to the Prophecy - you know the one, the whole 'Neither can live while the other survives' thing. Why is it that the characters immediately assume that this means Harry must kill Voldemort (or vice versa)? To me it suggests nothing of the sort - indeed, I am a tad confused, because I'd say that both Harry and Voldy are doing a fairly consistent job of living while the other survives... this is not me being pedantic (although I do have a soft spot for pedantry), I simply cannot fathom why it is that everyone in the book has interpreted the prophecy as they have. Anyone who is a similarly closeted Potter fan, please let me know (I typo-ed that as Pooter just then; any Diary of a Nobody fans are welcome to get back to me too).
April 12th 2007
Ah, Harry Potter Babe™ Emma Watson... surely you're too young to have publicity shots involving wind machines? I guess this just goes to show that I'm getting older (well, that and chronology). Anyways, since I arrived back in Earlsdon, Tom stopped over for a couple of nights to do some sailing stuff, and Rich dropped by with his sister, but other than that I've been home alone. And while I quite enjoy being home alone for a day or so (and with the amount of revision I've got to do, I'd not be spending much time with housemates anyhow), it's starting to drag a little. So if you live with (or near) me - come back! Especially if you're Rich, because I've got your birthday present waiting here. In revision news, it ain't going too badly, although it's tiring and dull work... tomorrow I'll be Groups and Reps-ing, and see where that takes me. Probably kick off with a bit of measure theory, actually.
April 14th 2007
It's the Grand National today, and in fine Thomas family tradition I have chosen my horse based on nothing other than a cursory glance at the jockey's colours, and a desire not to pick anything that even approximates to a favourite. The horse I'm backing (albeit in a totally non-financial manner) is Filson Run, who is looking good value at 50-1. In other news, 2007 looks to be an exciting year, one way or another; here is a list of momentous events (in no particular order) that will take place during the remainder of the year:
- I'm graduating from Warwick
- I'm starting work for AXA
- Spider-man 3 is coming out
- the last Harry Potter book is being published
- David & Christine are getting married
- I'm ceasing to be a Neighbours viewer
- Tony Blair is standing down
That's all I can think of right now, but it's enough to be going on with, I'd have thought. All very exciting... oh, and I think it might be my parents' 25th Wedding Anniversary. But let's not count our chickens...
I join you having just watched the Grand Nat, and I'm pleased to report that Filson Run came in a very honourable fourth place - but Simon went and picked the winner, Silver Birch (having not noticed that one of the horses was called Simon), so congrats to him.
April 17th 2007
Mighty, mighty Warwick University it is. That was a little bit Yoda, wasn't it? Or, as I prefer to think of him, Miss Piggy. Anyways, last night was the grand final of University Challenge, which was won by the foursome from Warwick, and I watched it in the Cooler along with the team itself (and lots of other people; Jimmy Lee and Emily were those I knew)... we cheered like billy-o. And I pleased myself by getting a reasonable amount of answers correct - and by reasonable amount I mean somewhere around half a dozen. Actually, I'm gonna list 'em: there were three maths questions which I got right; answers being Euclid's Axioms of Geometry (at least, I knew it was Euclid's somethings, and Jeremy Paxman gave the points for 'Euclid's Laws'), Evariste Galois (I'm doing Galois Theory this year) and I can't remember the third. I also got a couple of metal questions correct (zinc and nickel), correctly identified a Turner painting (although I wasn't at all sure. But the guess of 'Dali' from one of the Warwick team was quite pitiful, and rightly mocked by Paxo), got Penelope from the Odyssey... there were one or two more, probably. Anyways, I was nowhere near as strong as the actual competitors, who deservedly took home the prize (although I'm not altogether sure that they deserved to receive it from Anne Widdecombe). In other news, Simon has launched a literary blog in which, whether for purposes of privacy, eccentricity or pastiche I am yet to establish, he has not only adopted a pseudonym, but furnished the rest of the family with them as well. Check it out. Since I'm talking about books, I may as well mention that I'm merely a page or two away from finishing Richard III - and yet I still await a single one of the quotes I know from it, other than the Winter of our discontent malarkey.
April 18th 2007
I've used this page before to state my admiration of Rob, with particular reference to our differing attitudes to such topics as religion and larceny, and he's going to feature again today. A wise man (after all, he's studying maths at Warwick), I recently received the somewhat cryptic message from him; "Be careful, lest in fighting the dragon you become the dragon". Since I'm not currently spending my evenings battling lizards, I have to assume it's a metaphor - the reason I bring it up is that it was Rob who advised me to move this diary onto a proper blog page, like Warwick Blogs. Well, I don't wanna, because I like to be able to do what I want with this, and I'm rather proud of my (admittedly basic) usage of html in creating it... but there are drawbacks, such as the readership I get. Rob was pointing out, in fact, that I could get far more people here if I was on a blog site, and I have to admit that he's right - people tend to find their way here either if they know me (and hi to Jason, who is the latest to stumble across here) or if they're searching for websites about Carla Bonner (second most prominent on the interweb, this is. After carlabonner.com closed). Anyways, things ain't gonna change any time soon, but since I'm closing down SCB soon, there might be a shake-up. Not sure. In other news, four of us from QRBC (my church) have been press-ganged into performance at a soiree next week (although I managed to stave off the possibility of a barbershop quartet), so we're going to be performing the classic Four Yorkshiremen sketch... at least, I figured that everyone in the audience will already have seen it, so I messed it around a bit to make it specific to ex-Warwick students. The best lines are, of course, those I kept from the original, but I'm reasonably pleased with what I've cobbled together. Rehearsal time will be admittedly kept to a minimum, since at least two of us have got stacks of exams before the performance, so don't expect me to sound like I actually come from Yorkshire. But it should be fun.
April 19th 2007
Every now and then in this diary I break off from my own relentlessly exciting life to cover stories of national, or even international, importance. The shootings in Virginia Tech three days ago certainly qualify. Is it possible to read of them without tears coming to your eyes, without a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness? Dozens of lives ended for no reason, at the whim of a fellow human being. How can those people who hold that humans are merely products of evolution account for feelings of grief in such a situation? I didn't know anyone involved, I've never been to the USA, and - thanks to a number of factors, gun restriction among them - it is hardly likely that any such event will happen to me. So it's not fear, it's not personal attachment, it's not self-preservation: it is love that causes grief. And in this international outpouring of grief, there are natural steps that always occur; this incident, like those before it and the inevitable ones that will follow, was no different. First, there was the search for heroes. Being indiscriminantly targeted for death is now enough to make anyone a hero in other people's eyes (just think of 9/11), but we also have the heartbreaking story of the professor who, by holding a door closed against the attacker, saved some students' lives. When faced with such horror, we have to look for whatever good we can find. Secondly, there is the desire to blame. Almost immediately, the right to bear arms was being blamed for Cho's actions; Peter Brookes, the Times cartoonist who as moments of excellence interspersed with less inspired stuff, appeared to go as far as blaming George Bush. Then, the debates and counter-debates; could lives have been saved if the police had acted more quickly? Should Cho have been allowed to buy a gun at all? And so on. The third stage is finding out as much as possible about the assassin, 'painting a disturbing picture' of his life before the attacks. Today we have reams of information about his playwriting, what drugs he was on, who his friends were (or weren't) and so forth - this is all interspersed into the blame game; people should have recognised the signs. The Times being the Times, words like 'evil' and 'monster' have not been used; I assume that they have in the Sun. But to what end? Society is filled with 'loners', with people we don't feel totally comfortable with. Had there been a similar incident last week, and Cho had been one of the victims, he would have been described as a 'quiet student', nothing more, and he would have been one of the heroes. Reading the list of the dead this morning, I saw that some had tributes from friends and relations, some had lists of successes and achievements; some only had their name and their University subject. That, to me, was one of the saddest things of all.
April 23rd 2007
Exams began today, as did the third and final installment of my Exam Diary. Fun, fun. Happy birthday to Jake and Shakespeare, and happy St. George's Day to the rest of you. But more excitingly, Dangerously Articulate is back on RaW, at the brand new time of 9-10am every Friday - and since my exams finish on Thursday this week, I'll be able to make it from the word go. This week the theme is our top five favourite albums, so listen out for some quality stuff. Now, I must abed.
April 25th 2007
My favourite actor is Matthew Perry, as has been documented here frequently. Michael J. Fox is another whom I'd happily watch in almost anything ("He's got a new one out now, I don't even know what it's about/But I'll see him in anything so I'll stand in line"). However, despite the brilliance of Friends and Back to the Future respectively (and the under-rated excellence of Three to Tango, Doc Hollywood etc) these are not players at the top end of their game - which is why I feel slightly prouder of my new-found liking of James Stewart. Harvey ranks as one of my favourite films, and I decided to get a four-film set of Jimmy Stewart classics, comprising of Harvey, Rear Window, It's A Wonderful Life and Mr. Deeds Goes To Washington - and it was only today that I discovered he also starred in such classics as Vertigo, Philadelphia Story and The Man Who Knew Too Much... I will be seeking them out some time soon. Over the last few days I've been watching Rear Window, and while I expected there to be more of a twist at the end, I enjoyed it (although I am a tad ashamed at not coming close to recognising Grace Kelly). In fact, Jimmy Stewart is not the only old actor I've enjoyed; Gregory Peck is another whom I admire, especially his Oscar-winning performance in To Kill A Mockingbird and the excellent Gunfighter. Indeed, the lines I quoted above are about Gregory Peck, in the fantastic Dylan track Brownsville Girl. Y'know, people complain that Peter O'Toole didn't get an Oscar for Lawrence Of Arabia: but taking into account the fact that he was up against Peck in To Kill A Mockingbird, you have to admit that Peck deserved it (I actually haven't seen Lawrence Of Arabia, but Peck deserved an Oscar no matter who was up against him). Anyways, for those of you who say my film taste isn't great, there are some credible actors for you. If you want exam updates, keep checking my exam diary, which you can find through the archive.
And so I no longer watch Neighbours. If they had to end Max & Steph's marriage, I guess they could have ended it a lot worse. Thanks for everything.
April 27th 2007
This morning saw the return of everyone's favourite radio show - until Harry Potter Babe® Emma Watson gets her own slot of airtime, at least - as James & I brought back Dangerously Articulate at the brand new time of Fridays, 9am (every week!). Despite the fact that I had to ring James at 9am to wake him up, and remind him that we had a radio show, it didn't go too badly. I was a little cack-handed at the changes between songs, but nothing too terrible... the theme for the show was our top five favourite albums, and I'm sure you're dying to know what our choices were. Well, I can't be bothered to tell you James's - they were almost all from the 90s, and mostly not too bad, but not really top 5 material, in my opinion. Of the ten albums featured, the only one we both own was Lifesong by Casting Crowns, which was in James's top 5. My top 5, in full, was;
1. Abbey Road - The Beatles (1969)
2. The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd (1973)
3. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Elton John (1973)
4. Desire - Bob Dylan (1976)
5. Hotel California - The Eagles (1976)
A few comments on the choice; the rules we put in place stated that no artist could be repeated, and no best-ofs or compilations were allowed. I know my Bob Dylan choice is a little controversial, but there you have it. A darn good list, if I say so myself, slightly weakened by the fact that I have a lot of best-ofs rather than actual albums. And despite the fact that I've frequently said that the 60s were the best decade for music, my list is heavily 70s - intriguing. Speaking of music, the songs for Sagg 9 have been compiled, and await ordering. I'll keep you posted. In other news, it's now not long until Spider-Man 3 (or SP3 as some insist on calling it) hits our screens, and I've been having fun with Fotocanvas, as the pictures here pay testament.
A while ago I wrote about beauty, with (I believe... although maybe I was too coy) specific reference to the human female, surely one of God's greatest artworks. But I was very churlish and didn't mention any specifics, so I'll remedy that, tucked away as an addendum to an existent (or do I mean extant?) entry. Actually, this is more a reflection on beauty in the public eye; since I have only twice been actually stunned by beauty in a celebrity (Kristanna Loken and Jennifer Connelly, if you must know), whereas it's happened many times in 'real life' - and I wonder why this is. Surely, if Hollywood is full of beautiful women, I should hardly be able to open a newspaper without being floored? Maybe it's proximity, maybe women are just scarier when they're 3-dimensional, I don't know.
April 29th 2007
QRBC had its 123rd anniversary soiree last night, and a rip-snorting success it was too, with an excellent turn-out and great performances from lots of different people - my favourite was probably the Retro Rock Band doing Peggy Sue and Rock Around the Clock, Don doing some excellent work on the sax. I was helping out in five capacities; thrice on the flute, once singing and once in a comedy sketch. Of these, the fluting went pretty well (better than expected, in fact; the high notes in the wind 'quartet' - actually nine of us - all sounded more orless spot on), the singing was great (Bare Necessities, in four parts) and the comedy sketch was excellent fun, and seemed to go down very well - indeed, we were still receiving congratulations this morning. It was my favourite of all the things I was in - indeed, one of my favourite things I've done for a while - so let me tell you all about it. Sharon was keen that the QRBC students take part, and suggested a barbershop quartet; I was reluctant, but keen to participate somehow, and when I discovered that comedy was involved, suggested we do that instead (Sharon was only too glad for us to go all comedic, since it transpired that the original comedy sketch couldn't happen after all). I think it was Ant who had the idea of doing a four Yorkshiremen sketch, so he, Rich, Andy Giles and I signed up. Then I thought to myself that everyone would already know the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, and - partially inspired by Rich telling me that a friend of his was planning on writing a Four Yorkshiremen of the Apocalypse sketch - decided to rewrite the Monty Python original as a scene in which four students reminisce on their time at Warwick Uni. The others were adamant that we keep the Yorkshire accents, so we did (and they came off surprisingly well, I think - Andy is in fact from Sheffield, but the rest of us had to practise a bit. Anyways, it turned out that the a lot of the audience hadn't come across the original sketch, so we probably got a little more praise than we deserved, since they thought we came up with the original concept. Y'know, the good thing about writing the thing (well, co-writing... well, adapting) is that when other people get laughs, you feel that people are laughing for you a little bit too. All the guys were excellent - we should tour. Might have copyright issues. Well, here's the finished script (Andy was A, Ant was B, I was C and Rich was D):
A: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.
B: Nothing like a good glass of Chateau de Chassilier wine, ay Gessiah?
C: You're right there Obediah.
D: Who'd a thought thirty years ago, back at Warwick University, we'd all be sittin' here drinking Chateau de Chassilier wine?
A: Aye. In them days, I'd a' been glad to have the price of a cup o' tea.
B: A cup o' cold tea.
D: Without milk or sugar.
C: Or tea!
A: I used to go to Queen's Road just for the tea. Right small cups though.
D: I never used to have a cup. I used to have to drink out of a rolled up copy of the Coventry Observer.
B: The best I could manage was to suck on a piece of damp cloth.
C: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we were poor students.
A: Aye. Because we were poor. If we'd have been rich, we wouldn't have had to go to Warwick.
D: You're right there. Remember the lecturers! Half of them didn't know a thing, and the other half wouldn't have told you if they did.
B: You were lucky to get lecturers. We got taught by the man from the kebab van, if he weren't too busy.
C: Kebab van? Sounds like heaven. The closest thing we got to a lecturer was when the man from sanitation came in to cordon us off.
A: Whenever the man from sanitation came to us, he died on the spot. We learnt anatomy by studying his corpse. What was left of it.
D: 'Course, our lectures stopped as soon as we couldn't afford the tuition fees. £10,000 a month, it were.
A: I wish we'd only had to pay £10,000 a month. We paid £10,000 a week, and more if we wanted to actually turn up.
C: You got it cheap, didn't you? We paid £10,000 a day, and that was just for the holidays.
B: Holidays? Holidays? We used to get Christmas Day off, every other year, and were back in lectures as soon as the beans on toast were finished.
D: You were lucky then.
A: Aye! Beans on toast? On Christmas day me and a dozen others would share a crust of bread, if we could get it before the rats did.
D: Luxury. On Christmas morning, I used to have a lump of cold poison for breakfast, and after that me housemates would beat me around the head with a log and use my legs for shooting practise. If I were lucky.
B: Housemates? You were lucky to have a house! I used to live with 126 other students, hidden away on campus in the lecture theatre with the dodgy light fittings. Every night one of us would be electrocuted to death, and that's how we kept warm.
C: You were lucky to get onto campus! I had to live in a bus shelter on Gibbet Hill road - it was so cold that I had to move snowdrifts off me feet every morning, and brush penguins out of me hair.
A: Oh, I used to dream of livin' in a bus shelter! Woulda' been a palace to me. I used to live in a recycling bin by a rubbish tip. Got woken up every morning by having a load of broken beer glasses dumped on me head! House!? Hmph.
D: Well when I say "house" it was only a hole in the ground covered by a plastic bag, but it was a house to me.
B: I got evicted from my hole in the ground; had to go and live in a lake.
C: You were lucky to have a lake to yourself! There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the ring road.
A: Cardboard box?
A: You were lucky. I lived for three months in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. I used to have to get up at six o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, then walk twenty miles to campus, where I'd have my feet cut off to stop me from ever leaving.
B: Sounds nice and relaxing to me. I used to have to get out of the lake at three o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, swim forty miles to Uni and have my legs pulled out of their sockets in case I felt like swimming back.
C: Well I had it tough. I used to have to get up out of the shoebox at twelve o'clock at night, and lick the road clean with my tongue, whether there was a bus coming or not. I had to crawl sixty miles to campus, and when I got there I had all my limbs hacked off by my own mother, so I'd never be able to crawl again.
D: Right. I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, then single-handedly build an eighty-mile road to Uni across swamps and minefields. When I'd built it, I had to crawl on my belly all the way to campus, then I had to cut off me own head to make sure I never thought about going home again.
A: But you try and tell today's students that... and they won't believe ya'.
ALL: Nope, nope..
April 30th 2007
Depressed after student talks about leaving Jack Martin, perhaps (7)
I've talked to several people who say they "can't do cryptic crosswords". This is not true. And in order to help you folks, and for my own pleasure, I'm going to try and put a crossword clue up with every new entry in this diary; the idea being that I put the solution and an explanation in the next entry - and it's fitting that I start today, the day on which I received "Ximenes on the Art of the Crossword", and also the day I emailed off a crossword which should appear in the Boar sometime this term; indeed, the clue above is one of my favourites from that crossword (and probably far too hard to put here... I will endeavour not to put very difficult ones up most of the time). For those of you not familiar with Warwick University, Jack Martin is one of the accommodation buildings. For those of you not familiar with cryptic crosswords, please look it up (my foreign readership will almost certainly not have a clue what I'm talking about, since cryptic crosswords are a very English thing). Wikipedia gives some explanation, although I've only skim-read it. Seems sound enough. In other news, let me tell you a short, amusing anecdote; on returning from Co-op this morning, I was mere paces away from my front doorstep, and came across my pyjama top on a wall. Evidently it had blown off the washing line, and made its way from our back garden to the pavement - somehow. For highbrow (or is that high-middlebrow?) readers, here's that story again, but in the style of Diary of a Provincial Lady:
Query: When I was returning from Co-op this morning, was I mere paces away from my front doorstep when I came across my pyjama top on a wall, which had evidently had blown off the washing line, and made its way from our back garden to the pavement - somehow? Answer: yes.
And that story once more, in the style of Mrs. Dalloway:
On returning from Co-op this morning, nothing unusual happened and I arrived home as normal.