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May 1st 2006
Happy May Day. It has not, I fear, been a particularly productive day for me, revision-wise. I attempted to go through the Analysis II notes, and confused myself, then went through Differentiation, until again I got confused. Perhaps I overworked myself in the last revision period, perhaps there's another reason, but it's dragging a little today. Maybe if I dive into past papers, I'll see what's going on. One of the major problems might be too much comparison with last year: then, if I felt I couldn't do something, I'd work at it. Now, if I can't do something, part of me just says that I'll be able to in the end. And, y'know, I probably will - but only if I do work at it. I've mentioned all this before. The last revision period (the Easter holidays, as they're known by some) I wasn't as efficient as I might have been, since I'm sure people who worked for a much shorter period of time will do as well or better than me... last year, I came top out of the group of mathematicians I go to lectures with, but I can see that not happening this time, with all of them doing reasonably easy 24 CAT courses. Not a competition, I suppose. For some reason, both Virgin and Capital Gold seem to be playing exactly the same things at the moment, which is detrimental to the latter... Ricky & the Red Stripes had another outing last night, the members being myself, Rob, Tom, Jason, James, B/ground Andy and some guy called Pete. We were doing pretty badly for the majority of the rounds, but then jokered on the penultimate one, and the final round was about TV with a question each on Neighbours, Friends, Scrubs and Countdown, which are probably my four favourite TV programmes, so although it was touch and go with a couple, I got them all and we finished 10th. Not bad... brilliant though, when you consider that Iain's team came 22nd! Oh yeah! Those questions, in case you were wondering, were respectively;
Q: Who lives at No. 28 Ramsay Street? A: Susan Kinski (not, as the quizmaster claimed, Susan Kennedy)
Q: How many sisters does Joey have? A: 7 (although in series 1, he claims in error that his mother only had 7 children)
Q: Who played Jordan's brother? A: Brendan Fraser
Q: Which UK city is Countdown filmed in? A: Leeds.

May 5th 2006
There have been complaint about the lack of news on this page - thanks Mum. No, seriously - so here goes. Exciting events here on Westwood Road include a fire in the alleyway leading down to Albany Road (fire engines out and everything), and the opening of a "party shop" (ie the warehouse is trying to shift some England flags to susceptible (sp?) football fans). As far as my life is concerned, I managed over the course of a few days to rename all the music files on my computer so that they are accurate, meaning I can navigate them in their folders rather than solely through media player. I am also (still) in the process of ordering Sagg6, and on this music theme, I bought the best of Bruce Springsteen for a little under a fiver the other day in Tesco, since (sneak preview) I'd like Secret Garden enough to put it in Sagg6. To take a change of medium, Rich finally cracked last night, and we watched the first two discs of Scrubs. Early signs are that it's still good (although possibly not as good as series 2 - maybe it's just that the brilliance of the programme is becoming familiar, and thus... contemptuous...). "What of revision?" I hear you cry. Oh, shuddup. Today I'll be going through some AlgII and then starting on Metric Spaces, if all goes according to plan. Oh yes, and I had a test this morning - she, naturally, was there, and as usual I pretended not to see her, for no good reason - which went pretty well. As with last week, it was multiple choice, and I reckon on somewhere approaching full marks... maybe one or two aren't right. Along the way I had to find the prime factorisation of 17017. Without a calculator, of course - which reminds me, I need a working calculator in time fo the stats exam. You don't care. Anyhow, it was Number Theory this morning, which is a module I can really get on board with, because it actually requires ability with arithmetic, mental and otherwise - I've been waiting my entire time at Uni to use arithmetic, since I'm (though I say it myself) good at it, and it's what clasified as maths back when I first discovered I was good at maths. Sure, this other stuff is important and I often enjoy it, but it's a joy to be able to work with numbers properly. I think I'll bid you farewell now, and try and get some work done before Neighbours. We're guarenteed a 25-mark question on Jordan bases on the AlgII exam, so I'd be a fool not to learn them like the back of my hand. Oh, and keep clickin'

May 6th 2006
I have the honour of bringing you Songs-a-go-go 6.
1. I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top - The Hollies
2. The Last Resort - Eagles
3. My Father's Gun - Elton John
4. Sailing - Rod Stewart
5. Wake Me Up When September Ends - Green Day
6. The Zephyr Song - Red Hot Chili Peppers
7. The One And Only - Chesney Hawkes
8. Maria - Blondie
9. It's The Same Old Song - Four Tops
10. Amie - Damien Rice
11. It's Impossible - Elvis Presley
12. Changing Of The Guards - Bob Dylan
13. Runaway - Del Shannon
14. Secret Garden - Bruce Springsteen
15. Ocean Drive - Lighthouse Family
16. This Song Has No Title - Elton John
17. Lift The Wings - Riverdance
18. El Tango De Roxanne - Ewan McGregor, Jose Feliciano & Jacek Koman

May 8th 2006
Me. A lot.I know I've lambasted facebook before now, but I changed my picture today. Here is a somewhat larger and less blurry version of that picture. Yep, they're all me, except where Ant pops his head in. In other news, I'm hoping that tomorrow is a big revision day - I'm going to bed earlier from now on (heading upstairs at 11.30pm) and the day lies free ahead of me. Wish me luck.

May 10th 2006
In the picture from last time, you may have noticed a photo of me sitting on Anthony's shoulders. The highly unusual thing about the photo is that, when it was sent to me last year, I had absolutely no recollection of ever sitting on Anthony's shoulders... fair enough, thought I, mine is a hectic life with many excitements, and maybe my memory bank will lose one or two. But when Ant saw the photo the other day, he also couldn't remember me ever sitting on his shoulders - his life, too, is one of unadultered excitement, but you'd have thought one of us would have remembered an event quite that weird. I'm not sure what conclusion I can come to... maybe it was a cleverly doctored photo, although if so, they managed to get my wolf-slippers in. In other news, I was told today by a lass named Sam (who, herself, has a fantastic voice, being from Hong Kong) that I sound like a BBC news reporter... upon questioning, she claimed that this was a compliment, but I'm not so sure. Well, in a way I'm proud of my correct pronunciation (yes, I said correct) and that I haven't been infected either by Merseyside or Zummerzet. After all, the South Midlands is the place to be, isn't it? In further news (exemplifying just how exciting my life is, as previously documented), today I was trying to prove that if n=ab, then there exists a polynomial q(x) such that (x^n - 1) = (x^a - 1)*q(x). I worked out that, if b is odd then q(x) = (x^2a - x^a + 1)(x^a - 1)^(b - 3) works, and if b is even then q(x) = (x^a + 1)(x^a - 1)^(b - 2) works... but I'm sure there must be a quicker way. (The way I worked out both of those was by binomial expansion of (x^a - 1)^b, (x^a - 1)^(b - 1), and (x^a - 1)^(b - 2), then messing around with them for a bit). I'm sure there's a quicker way (we didn't actually have to find an explicit q(x)), so if anyone thinks of it, let me know.

May 12th 2006
For a few weeks, my worry, if any, has been about my mental ability... I'm looking to the exams, as it were, and wishing I didn't have so much else on getting in the way of revision (the only full days I get in a week are Tuesday and Saturday, and at the moment I don't do any revision on Wednesday or Sunday, although I'm almost certainly going to start working on the latter, to fit it all in). I've talked about exams enough times that I won't dwell on them today; today I discovered that mental ability shouldn't be my only worry, as I'm horribly unfit. I mean, I was always unfit growing up, but I kind of figured I'm not too bad now, since I'm reasonably non-fat and what have you, but it seems that a lack of exercise and too much snacking has meant I'm out of shape... playing ultimate today, I ran pretty hard to begin with, and then just couldn't get up my pace beyond a walk. As time wore on, I was able to run ok, because everyone else was getting exhausted, I guess, but it was sad to see that I'm that unfit. It was too hot a day for frisbee, I guess - and I really shouldn't be taking an hour out when I'm already missing so much revision, anyway. But I doubt I'll be out and playing again, unless it's a day off (ie Wed evening or possibly Sunday). I know I said I wouldn't talk about exams, but I'm gonna... the first one I've got is in nine days from today, but it's DMC and so doesn't really count. Then on the 30th I have Differentiation (still having trouble with multi-dimensional chain rule, and what the implicit function theorem is actually on about), and it's an exam every other day for four exams, a five day gap before Metric Space (which I've been focusing on this week) and then another three before Vector Analysis. I think, after my exam and Bible study tomorrow, I'll do the last bit of Metric Spaces - that I really wanted to finish a while ago - and then AlgII, which I haven't finished summarising yet. But I'm getting there. Next entry won't have anything about exams, I promise. Oh! Keep clicking on all the adverts that tickle your fancy up there - I'm on $92.22, and nearly have my first payment.

The Creator made women to please the eye and trouble the mind. - Two Rivers saying; The Wheel of Time

So it seems that, following in the footsteps of my 'radio voice' father, I'm going to be on Warwick Radio tomorrow. Yep, just when I was trying to cut things out of my schedule, I've added another (although I expect it to be one-off), in which I spend an hour co-hosting James Lee's music show. I get to choose some of the tracks (although it apparently plays more modern stuff than anything else, so I may have to restrain myself a little), and 'banter' with James. Slightly nervous, and totally confused as to what I'm actually supposed to be doing, but it should be a laugh. Since I've never listened to Raw (which is what Warwick Radio is really called) except when in the laundrette, and in that respect I feel I'm not atypical, I'm not too bothered. I know I said I wouldn't mention ex*ms, so I won't, but this is a bit of a tie-in: our Number Theory exam today was very silly. The guy setting it hadn't been told that we weren't allowed calculators, so when he discovered this after the test, he decided to give full marks to everyone for two of the questions (neither of them being any of the ones I didn't get right, if you can follow that many negatievs)... I then emailed him, pointing out that one of those questions could be done quite easily without a calculator, whereas another (for which he hadn't given full marks to everyone, and which I got wrong) really required a calculator. He emailed back, saying that he totally agreed with me, but that I'd have to accept 'rough justice' - ie, he knows his marking scheme is invalid, and yet is sticking with it. Also there was a question that about Mersenne, that required us to know his first name and occupation - yes, it was in the booklet (although, since he apparently made a typo in the question, the actual answer was false anyhow) but in a revision term, when we're trying to learn as much maths as possible, we're not going to learn such useless trivia, especially when it is clearly outside the remit of the course. I told him all this, and he disagreed. Somehow.

May 14th 2006
Being on the radio yesterday was great fun, and I'd definitely jump at the chance to do it again. Don't think it went too badly, radio-wise, either. James let me choose three tracks, so I decided to let the world know about the Traveling Wilburys by playing Handle With Care, I obviously had to put some Beatles in, so went with Old Brown Shoe, a somewhat obscure track (but a great one) written and sung by George - I think it was the B-side to The Ballad of John and Yoko, but I could be wrong - and I also played the theme song for Scrubs, 'Superman' by Lazlo Bane. All in all I had a good time, didn't really need to be nervous, and hope to do it again. I also think it's great that James is getting some Christian music out on the airwaves. I think I'll dedicate this entry to 'Dangerous' Iain.

May 16th 2006
Last night I went to Hot Chocolate for the first time in a quite a while (and nearly a year since I was going weekly), which was good, although since noone was there from Earlsdon with a car, I had to get a bus back not long into proceedings. In other news, I got my DMC essay back yesterday... let me take you into my thought process: Dave was collecting the essay, since he was in the maths block, and all the while I was thinking something along the lines of 'I wonder how well I did? No, don't predict yourself anything, because if you get worse, you'll only be annoyed... it was a reasonably sound essay, I must have got at least 50 or 60%... what if I got less than that... I'd have to do really well in the exam..." etc. Then Dave got back, I asked for the essay in a pseudo-calm manner, then looked at the mark: "81%! Great, I'm chuffed by that. [Pause] But I wonder how well other people did... I mean, 81 is a fair way off 100, what if everyone else was getting 90s and high 80s? What did I do wrong?" Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm messed up. Anyhow, going to Hot Choc means that I rose rather late today, and revision of some variety looms...

Well, I've come to the end of the revision day, and as usual haven't done as much as I'd like. It would be a lie to say I have a general feelin of confidence about exams, but I'm edging towards it. Today I also calculated that I've completed 55.5 of my 120 CATS, so have little over half of them to go. Reassuring... kinda.

May 18th 2006
Today I read in the Times that, sadly, Sir Paul McCartney and his wife, Heather Mills, are to divorce. According to an official statement, they still both care very much for each other, but the marriage was too hard to sustain in the public eye. This puts an end to the statistic that Paul is the only Beatle not to have got divorced - all four Beatles have been married twice, and in each case one marriage ended in divorce, whereas the other was to a soulmate. Sadly, only Ringo's marriage to Barbara Bach (a former Bond girl, no less) is yet to be cut short by death. Perhaps the fact that all four found true love - Ringo with Barbara, John with Yoko, George with Olivia and Paul with Linda - is the amazing thing. But still, I'd hoped that Paul and Heather would make a go of it. It is a dark day for our greatest living musician.

So, I got an e-mail from Google Adsense today, telling me that my account has been disabled, and that I won't get a cent of the money generated... I believe this is because I occasionally clicked on the adverts myself, which is a no-no, apparently. That's a shame...

May 21st 2006
Radio Warwick had me back yesterday, to co-host with James again, and I'll be returning next Saturday, if anyone fancies listening between 10 and 11 in the morning. Although the week after that I'll be in a Stochastic Processes exam, so am unlikely to make it onto the airwaves. Speaking of exams, thankyou Simon for the good luck message. Who says I never reply to your emails? My first exam since Combinatorics arrives tomorrow, and I think I speak honestly when I say I started revising for it yesterday - as an arts subject, there is little I actually need to know, I merely need to be au fait with a few words and phrases (if I spelled au fait wrong back there, I apologise, but please enjoy the irony) and be able to write well. Actually, half of the module has already been assessed through the essay I mentioned a few days back (see Ant's site, somewhere around this date, for his essay) so it's the first module I've officially passed. Naturally, as I mentioned in the dark and distant past (and was reprimanded for by my mother) I tend not to respect this module particularly, because it isn't maths. I also feel the majority of its content is baloney, but that's never yet affected my essay-writing - I can put my more sarcastic comments on hold for a couple of hours. I'm afraid I must leave you, and learn some quotes etc, in preparation for the morrow. The next time I mention the exam, it should be on my exam diary.

May 23rd 2006
Today I discoverd that Bundle, our cat, was put down last Wednesday... it was always going to happen sooner rather than later, so came as no real surprise. But still. She was a useless barrel of fluff for most of her life, and I rarely stopped teasing her, but I loved that cat. We all did.

May 24th 2006
Apparently an interweb craze that was doing the rounds a few months ago (I'm always miles behind everyone else in these things) was mash-ups of film trailers, where two films are mixed together, or a trailer for a film makes it seem an entirely different film (eg The Shining made into a feel-good family film). I believe the one that kicked it all off was Brokeback to the Future, and it's very good. Helps if you've seen the Back to the Future trilogy and/or Brokeback Mountain, although I've only seen the former. In other news, I may have mentioned before, but having been called Simon for most of my life, I'm now in a state of existence where people get myself and Ant confused. A lot. I can't remember everyone who's done it, but it kinda kicked off in Hot Chocolate last year, and has been gathering steam (is that an expression?) ever since, with Jim (who, by the way, is a dude) the latest to get the wrong name. Tsk.

May 27th 2006
I was watching Soccer Aid today, the big match of England vs the Rest of the World (ROW). For those of you not in the know, it was a charity football match competed by two teams of celebrities, one English, one ROW (mostly Irish/Scottish, it seemed) complete with a few ex-players. So luminaries such as Gazza, Seaman, Redknapp, Barnes, Adams and Ferdinand lined up against the likes of Zola, Dunga, Desailly, Schmeichel, Matthaus (sorry, can't spell his name), Gullit, Ginola (for all of five minutes)... and Maradona!! Yes, Maradona was playing, and boy, he's still good - some of the passes he put in early on were a joy to watch. The whole thing was rather surreal - Maradona taking a penalty against Jamie Theakston, David Gray passing to Tony Adams, etc. There was only one fully-registered dude involved, when Angus Deayton came on in the second half... although he made some good running, and did well for his age, he didn't exactly set the match alight. In fact, a few of the people I was watching with got bored after 70 or so minutes, although I thought the entire spectacle was great from start to finish. In the end England won 2-1, with one of the goals coming from a non-footballer - not Angus, sadly. A few of the 'celebrities' didn't really deserve the name, but there weren't any C-list, it was strictly B-list minimum. In other footballing news, it's Cheltenham vs Grimsby in the play-off final tomorrow - c'mon you Robins! In less footballing news, I returned to Warwick Radio today (and discovered, while I was there, that I'm not supposed to refer to Warwick Radio as such on air: it's got to be 'RaW' or 'RaW 1251AM'. This is just one of several rules I discovered I've broken thus far... sorry, folks. The tunes I got out today were You Ain't Going Nowhere by Bob Dylan (actually, I just said I wanted some Dylan, and James picked one off the CD), I Am The Walrus by the Beatles, and Run by Snow Patrol, which I dedicated to Bundle.

May 29th 2006
I know this isn't my exam diary, but tough, I'm gonna talk a bit about 'em. I'm gloating a little right now, cos I've just done the 2005 Number Theory paper, and since they stopped having calculators in the exam, they seem to have made the paper pretty darn easy, and not just on the calculations front. We have one and a half hours to complete three of four questions: I managed the first three in twenty minutes, and reckon I'd have got full marks. Well-chuffed, I am. But the rest of the (revision) day will be spent on Differentiation, since that's the exam I've got coming up tomorrow... until I see you again, here are a few pictures from last week's RaW escapade: one of myself, looking dazed as ever, and a few featuring the one and only James Lee.
Raw 1251AM. Radio-tastic

May 31st 2006
As another half-hearted attempt at an early night goes up in smoke, I'm left to reflect on our feeble quiz team outing tonight - bereft of Rob, we did not go under the name of Ricky and the Red Stripes, but instead - despite my vetoing it - Disney Princesses. Yes, I know. It was horrible, but not quite as horrible as our performance in the quiz itself, which I really don't want to talk about. Our score was so bad that the quizmaster didn't read it out at the end. Actually, I was quite chuffed with some of my answers, but it wasn't a great team (is it a coincidence that our worst two performances have been the only two quizzes with women in the team?). I'm also left to ponder why Capital Gold is much harder to get on the radio later in the day (ie now): I mean, I can't even pick it up right now, which is odd. I think that's all for tonight... sleep well and wake.

In these, the dying embers of May, I will let you know that I've almost completed the second spin-off from the Sagg catalogue; Film Songs-a-go-go (the first spin-off being Christmas Songs-a-go-go). I haven't got the track order yet, and I guess the content is still open to change, but here are the songs that will probably make it (please note, this is a pretty personal list, hence Raindrops being credited under Spider-man 2 rather than Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid, and the absence of many classics. I also expect to put together a second volume at some later date):
The Power Of Love - Back To The Future
Come What May - Moulin Rouge
Jumpin' East Of Java - Three To Tango
The One And Only - Doc Hollywood
My Heart Will Go On - Titanic
May It Be - Lord Of The Rings: Fellowship Of The Ring
A Hard Day's Night - A Hard Day's Night
Goldeneye - Goldeneye
The Horses - Jerry MaGuire
Circle Of Life - Lion King
Does Your Mother Know? - Johnny English
It'll All Work Out - Elizabethtown
She - Notting Hill
The Hands That Built America - Gangs Of New York
Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head - Spider-man 2
Grease Mega Mix - Grease
(Everthing I Do) I Do It For You - Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves
God Only Knows - Love Actually
You're My Best Friend - Shaun Of The Dead
San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Flowers In Your Hair) - Forrest Gump

what was I listening to?
Greatest Hits - Bruce Springsteen
what was I reading?
Stalking the Riemann Hypothesis - Dan Rockmore
what was I watching?
Brokeback to the Future
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