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June 1st 2006
It is time, I feel, to cull the Dude List a little. Various people on there do not meet the criterion of dude-ness as much as I previously thought... those nominated for eviction (sorry) are Simon Amstell, Warwick Davis, Paul Hawksbee, Tim Henman, Andy Jacobs, Youssef Saad Kamel and Gary Lineker. You gotta be cruel to be kind. A possible new entry is Hugh Laurie, since he's great in both Blackadder and House, but more fantastically, so different in each. Brilliance. I'm also considering putting the Dudes on a T-shirt... maybe. Whilst I'm on the subject of the Dude List, I'm also thinking of re-doing the web page for it, cos updating it takes ages, and also thinking of changing the pictures, since many of them are pretty poor quality. So, when exams are over (or I get particularly distracted before then) expect to see new and exciting things. In radio news, I may have spoken my last on RaW, since I've got an exam this Saturday, and by next week the regular co-hosts will be back. But I've enjoyed it so much that I'm definitely thinking about trying to get a more permanent slot next year, if I can wangle it. Speaking of music, my collection grows to such an extent that I've had to create a new category that doesn't go on the CD rack - Christian music. Since the two Bob Dylan Christian CDs I have already go in the Bob Dylan section, I currently only have two Christian CDs (Casting Crowns' eponymous debut, and Cliff Richard's Rockspel). Other categories not on the CD rack include Beatles, Solo Beatles, Soundtrack, Various Artists, CDs that don't fit on the rack, and the Mr. Man CD that has a category all of its own.

June 2nd 2006
It was earlier this year that I, along with the majority of second years here at Warwick, made the e-mail switch to Squirrel Mail, from the perilously inefficient Groupwise. The last ten emails in my inbox break down into eight from Mum and/or Dad, one from Simon, and one from myself. The calibre of the other emails I get is not perpetually exciting (that clause didn't finish with quite the meaning with which it started) - and includes a hefty lot of emails delivered to all those studying maths here, purporting to be from Carole Fisher, a bod in the maths dept, but mostly from other people high-jacking the email list. They all claim to be highly important, but vary in actual importance, to say the least... my personal favourite was the one with the subject 'For non-maths students', although I was pleased with this morning's, that told me not, on any account, to use electronic dictionaries in exams. This came as rather a blow, since my joblot of electronic dictionaries was being unloaded as I read the email, and I had to send the second lorry back to Milton Keynes. I guess I'll just have to go back to memorising the old-fashioned book-dictionary... (seriously, what is an electronic dictionary? Why would it be an advantage in a maths exam? Why has it been banned?). Anyways (it's been a while since I used that word here, having trialled its comeback on my Exam Diary recently) I better get on with learnin' some Stochastic Processes for tomorrow's exam... before I leave you, I just discovered that the last month for which I didn't post an entry on the first day of that month (what a convoluted way of saying that) was January. Wow.

Today being a beautiful sunny day, we had some distractions, not least what to do with the Men Working sign sat out back. Here's a couple of things we came up with...
Man Working

Richard's Room

June 4th 2006
Do you remember the Nike football advert from a few years ago, where 24 elite football players took part in a 'Secret Tournament' in eight teams of three, games taking place on a ship under the supervision of Eric Cantona? Elvis Presley's 'A Little Less Conversation' played as the backing track, if that jogs your memory. Anyhow, I was watching it today over at YouTube.com, and discovered that one of the so-called elite players was Ki-Hyun Seol, the South Korean striker... who has played at Wolves since 2004! Yes, we have an elite player. The cynical amongst you might claim that Nike merely filled out the numbers for the ad with players from across the globe in order to boost sales abroad. But I the real reason is that Wolves have the best players in the world! In other news, I was planning on having "When I'm 64" playing non-stop on Paul McCartney's 64th birthday, June 18th this year. But that, I've discovered, is Fathers Day (I've decided no apostrophe is the correct approach, since it is a day celebrating fathers, rather than a day belonging to them). So maybe my plans will have to change slightly, although since I'll most likely still be in Cov, maybe they won't.

June 6th 2006
By the tortured logic of today being 6/6/06, some people apparently believe that the Antichrist will be arriving within the next few hours... I think it's a safer bet that Powly will be celebrating his birthday today. Happy birthday (again) Pole! If you're reading this, I did order you something a while back, but the guys from Amazon are sooo slow in delivering it that it hasn't arrived yet - sorry! Blame them. In other news, I was informed today that my uncle Dan, who came to Warwick, lived in Rootes, was a member of CU... also had a spot on Warwick Radio! With a tendency to play Bob Dylan, apparently. There's something in the gene pool. Now, it can't have escaped your notice that the World Cup is just around the corner, a great time when people aren't pretending that cricket, rugby, or curling is their favourite sport: when the world comes together as one to recognise that football is the greatest sport there is, and that's all there is to it. Well, maybe I exaggerate the unanimity of the feeling, since most of North America, for example, would disagree. And billions of other people. But apart from the narrow-minded majority, I think it's clear to all of us. In other news, the gradual sucking away of my life by facebook continued full pace when I actually set up my own society - don't look at me like that; I had to. There was no Mr. Man society at Warwick! Well, now there is, and the number of members stands resolutely at one... maybe I'll invite all my friends to join... no, stop it, stop it, stop it...

June 8th 2006
Westwood Road - Best. Road. Ever.
Google Maps has a pretty good view of Earlsdon, and that up there is part of Westwood Road, my home while at Uni. We spent some time trying to work out which house is ours, but I'm now pretty sure that it's the one with 67 written on the roof (yes, I wrote that there. Otherwise it would be pretty obvious), based on the fact that there's a gap between houses on the other side of the railway that matches up with our view (not shown in the picture above). Finding our house wasn't made easy by the fact that next door have concreted over their back garden, which it appears used to be lush and green. Times change, people change, roll with the punches.

June 9th 2006
Yeah, yeah, I know I've got an exam coming up, and I should be in bed. But I have to bring this to your attention. It's absolutely fantastic!

I've been given to understand that the above has been in the public domain long enough for most of you to already have seen it. Sorry, it was new to me. Apologies to for misleading you the other day, with my picture of number 67 - Ant pointed out that I'd got the wrong house, so I've now corrected it.

June 12th 2006
Earlsdon library reopened a few weeks ago, so I went down to peruse, ostensibly in the hope of finding some Wodehouse. Well, they didn't seem to have any, so on a whim I took out a biography of Gregory Peck, the actor whose most famous role came as Atticus Finch in the superb To Kill A Mockingbird, and who is referenced in Bob Dylan's epic track 'Brownsville Girl' on several occasions. The biography is pretty interesting, and clearly pro-Peck throughout, although it was a shame to see that, despite being a perfect gentleman onscreen and (for the most part) off, he was divorced by his first wife, and was also quite difficult to work with at times. Method actors, eh? Apparently 'The Gunfighter', in which he starred, is the best Western ever made, despite not doing too well at the box office. Ah well. "Seems like a long time ago, long before the stars were torn down."

June 13th 2006
And so I'm free! The last exam was yesterday (for more on that, see my exam diary. The link's going to be moved soon, so watch out...). It was raining when we came out, and then there was the most enormous hailstorm... what's the opposite of pathetic fallacy? Anyhow, there are several things we want to get done in the upcoming fortnight: in no particular order, visit every no.67 in Earlsdon, go to the Corner Cafe, watch all of the Prisoner, play epic Munchkin, project PETE, watch the football in the back garden, play a lot of frisbee... there's probably more. Even this afternoon I'm heading off to a BBQ, the co-organiser of which will tell me I sound like a BBC newsreader within seconds of me getting there.

June 15th 2006
I write this at just about 4pm. In an hour's time, the England match kicks off, and by then our back garden should be full of people ready to cheer on the 3 Lions, BBQ food in hand. Yes, we thought it might be cool to watch the match in the back garden, and maybe get a friend or two round, so eventually last night we sent out an invitation (via facebook, sadly) to sundry friends, imagining that we'd get enough to fill our home-made 'bench', which we reckoned could take nine people at a pinch. At the current moment, 16 people have said they'll be coming on facebook, plus at least six others via text message or in person. So we quickly rearranged everything, and bought a stack of food... wish us luck! Before, during and after photos coming up.

June 16th 2006
There was a slight misunderstanding with facebook, meaning that we had a lot fewer people at the BBQ than we expected, but it was good anyhow, and by the time Gerrard scored England's second, there were thirteen of us in the back garden. Although the smoke and the glare off the TV led to a few complaints, I think everyone had a good time - I know I did - and there were a few comments about the brilliance of watching TV in the back garden. Might try it again sometime, not sure... maybe just as a house. In other footballing news, I hear that the brave lads of Serbia & Montenegro lost 6-0 to Argentina today. Shame.

June 17th 2006
I'm going to keep talking about football - but don't worry, there's a humorous conceit about films in the middle. First off, one of Argentina's goals yesterday was absolutely fabulous team football, reminiscent of (but arguably better than) the famous Brazil team goal. 24 passes, beautiful. Secondly, the referees in this World Cup! They'll book any two players who come within a metre of each other, especially if one of them's tall. If things go on this way, everyone will be suspended by the time the final rolls around. It'll be great. Now, has anyone else noticed in the England matches just how much Ashley Cole, with his bright red boots on, looks like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz? I keep worrying that he'll accidentally send himself back to Kansas, and leave England without a left-back. Sorry, couldn't find a picture of 'em, so you'll just have to watch the Sweden match.

June 19th 2006
Yesterday, as I may previously have mentioned, was Paul McCartney's 64th birthday, and as promised I played When I'm 64 on loop from midnight to midnight. I wasn't actually listening the entire time, although I did hear it enough - when I was at church, Rev and the quiz it was merely playing in my room. Speaking of the quiz, it was Ricky & The Red Stripes' last RAG outing, and possibly our last ever outing... we came in 11th, a little lower than I thought we might muster, and some way off our highest ever position, 5th. Which was the first time we ever entered. The team last night was myself, Rob, Iain, Tom and Stu... we got 9/10 on the World Cup round, which we jokered, and most of our rounds came out OK, although I would have hoped for a bit more on the Art & Literature round (I didn't know who wrote The Quiet American, sadly). We had a better film round than normal - I was chuffed by naming George A. Romero as the director of various horror films - a weakish geography round, and on the musical intros I only got one, which was by Boyzone. Who I still think are underrated. In other news, I decided that it's about time I got another Wolves shirt, since I don't currently have any (other than the commemorative Bully one) that I can wear, since the number partially came off the latest one, which was from our Premiership season. The difficulty was, which shirt should I go for? I could spend 40 or so picking up this season's, which is pretty horrible from what I've seen, or just over 10 to get last season's, which isn't much cop. I didn't want to get another one from our Premiership season... in the end, Wolverhamption WanderersI decided to go retro (to my mind, the people who wear old football shirts are showing their passion for the club as much as the people who buy a new one every season - something more classy. I noticed this when Stu wore a JVC-sponsored Arsenal shirt to watch the Champions League final). The shirt I've ordered off eBay (without seeing a picture of it - the one shown here is from a different listing - so I hope it's in some sort of wearable state) is the same as the first Wolves shirt I ever had, back when I was ten or so. Bring back the memories.

June 20th 2006
Topical? You want topical? Then go read a newspaper, because today I'm talking about snowflakes. I'm a cynic, it seems, but I get annoyed when people say that no two snowflakes are alike - this is a tremendously unverifiable statement. What people mean is that, statistically, there are vastly more possible snowflake patterns than there are snowflakes - in no way does this imply that all snowflakes are unique. Stop propogating this nonsense, I beg you! And why is it always snowflakes? I'm reasonably sure that the probability of uniqueness is just as high in bird droppings, but no-one goes on about them and how magical they are. A little maths is a very dangerous thing. Maintaining a cynical note, there is a quote that says 'Life is not the number of breaths you take, it's the moments that take your breath away' - I think it was in Hitch. Musing on this, I said that life is not the moments that take your breath away, it's the time in between, and this was labelled a cynical comment by Richard. In fact, I think it's anything but - it was even intended to be somewhat poetic - life cannot be measured as the supposedly amazing times, but the quality of your normality. A Monday night spent hanging out with my housemates isn't a photo-opportunity, but it's by times like these that I measure my existence. I don't call that cynical. But let's not hear any more about snowflakes, eh?

June 21st 2006
And... action!I realise I never got round to putting up a photo of our back garden football watching excitement, so here one is. The picture of the bear has no relevance at all, except that I liked it. Yesterday, Tom took Ant, Dave and myself sailing, and it was great fun, especially when we flipped the boat over by mistake. As usual, I demurred whenever offered the chance to do anything, and was always talked into it... nothing went horribly wrong, although left and right confuse me at the best of times, so calling them port and starboard doesn't help any. And I wasn't controlling the boat when we capsized. In other news, Si's coming over today, so I'm looking forward to confusing as many people from CU as possible. Oh, the picture below is of us and the boat we sailed... pinched wholesale from Ant's site. There's a reason I'm behind the boat...
Sunglasses? Who needs 'em?

June 23rd 2006
Billy Preston, with Paul McCartney in foregroundExam results later today, and maybe I'll get round to putting the exam diary link in the archive, where it belongs. In more sombre news, recently I discovered that the legendary Billy Preston passed away last week. He was an extraordinary player of keyboard instruments, perhaps most notably the Hammond organ, and is the only person (if you don't count Tony Sheridan) who was credited on a track alongside the Beatles, for his playing on Get Back. I think it's fair to say that he extended the life of the Beatles as a band by some period of time, since he was brought in by George while the Fab Four were at loggerheads during the ill-fated Get Back project, and the outside influence helped them in working together. He also played with them on The Beatles and Abbey Road, and more recently he turned out for Concert for George in 2001, putting in a great performance.

Second year results came out today, and I managed 87%, which I'm chuffed with, and is far above expectations. This is tempered slightly by the fact I've already lost the bit of paper with results on, and my new sandals seem to be too small. Ah well. Hopefully my tutor will be able to email me the results afresh.

June 26th 2006
You join me in the exceptionally brief period of time between arriving back in Zummerzet and heading off to Cornwall. Waiting for me when I came home were my new (old) Wolves shirt, with which I'm very pleased, and a Donovan CD, which ain't bad, despite him being a little too much of a hippy. Let me fill you in on the quest Ant and I engaged upon to photo every number 67 in Earlsdon... we traipsed round the 'don for an hour and a half, probably, before it petered out into visits to Rob and Guy (both bound for France, but therein lies another story), and in that time managed to visit 16 number 67s... there are tales to tell. It puts me in mind of the couple of days we visited every non-accommodation building on campus, and hopefully we'll get the photos online for both sometime in the near future (the campus photos having been sitting on my computer for months now). Anyhow, the 67 hunt was the morning of results day, and it's that day that I'm going to return to now, if I may. After results, as I may or may not have mentioned, Ant and I went into the maths pond, since we'd agreed to go in if we broke 40% and 80% respectively - expect to see photos here soon, or visit Ant's site if you're too impatient - and while that was all good, I'm slightly confused about the day itself... last year, discovering I'd got 88% was one of the happiest moments of my life: I was absolutely estatic. This year, despite 87% being rather more exciting (since the second year is worth three times the first, and getting an overall average of over 70 is more or less assured) I was nowhere near as thrilled, and indeed my mind was more taken up by my sore feet, and the fact I'd lost the slip of paper with my grade break-down on it. Why? I have no idea. Mum's theory is that I'm exhausted from working too hard throughout revision, and I think she may have a point... it's all a little overwhelming at the moment. Anyways, nice relaxing break in Cornwall coming up, with hopefully the opportunity to see one or two of the football matches. We'll be back in time for the final. G'night.

Another break, this time from creating a board filled with information about Montenegro... estimates of the population of Niksic vary quite wildly on the interweb, and I've gone for my own choice of 68,000, since I'd initially copied down 58,000 and then read elsewhere that it was near 70,000. By the way, there is soon(ish) to be a web page devoted to the Montenegro trip, at www.stephhoyland.co.uk/montenegro.html, although don't expect any updates for a good fortnight. In other news, yesterday was Children's Party at the Palace, which I watched most of, a celebration of children's literature, with occasional reference to the fact that the queen's birthday had happened sometime recently. Actually, having said that, literature didn't feature that highly on the agenda: characters featured were largely inspired by TV/film adaptations of books, rather than the books themselves. For example, the Mary Poppins songs that bookended the show owed far more to Julie Andrews and Dude List resident Dick Van Dyke than they did to P.L. Travers, the Winnie-the-Pooh characters were Disneyfied rather than E.H. Shepherd's... Postman Pat (and his black and white cat) were there, both of whom have rather more of a televisual presence than a literary one. And Dennis the Menace? I ask you. The personal low point was the appearance Mr. and Little Miss Birthday, Adam Hargreaves' latest attempt to destroy his father's legacy, although this was partially made up for by Mr. Nosey, Mr. Bump, Mr. Happy and others showing up. Other characters appearing were the cast of Peter Pan, Tracy Beaker and friends, Spot the Dog, Rupert, Paddington, the Famous Five (played by Blue Peter presenters and dog), Thomas the Tank Engine, Sophie Dahl as herself (from the BFG), Cruella de Vil and chauffeur (the latter played by Nicholas Lyndhurst), Robin Hood, Toad from Wind in the Willows, Harry Potter and friends... there were also several people I'd never heard of. The basic conceit was that they were searching for the queen's handbag, and at the end she made quite a show of having it at last, so presumably she'd stayed awake through the whole thing. Perhaps not the celebration of children's literature it could have been, but good fun nonetheless, and featuring several staple celebrities. I couldn't work out who Jonathan Ross was supposed to be, though.

what was I listening to?
Yellow Submarine songtrack - The Beatles
what was I reading?
Gregory Peck: A Biography - Gary Fishgall
what was I watching?
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