October 1st 2004
Have I ever mentioned what a great aunt I have? Aunty Mary... she's great. In a completely unconnected piece of information, I learnt that she reads this page to catch up on my life as a student. Speaking of which, the incoherent lecturer we had the other day (did I mention him?) is just as incoherent as before, except this time I was sitting near the back, so there were long periods when I couldn't make out anything he said. Most of the time we could read what he wrote on the blackboards, so we knew what was going on, but when he tried to prove the multiple angle formulae, I stopped listening. Luckily he's teaching stuff we already know; I'd hate to see what happens when he tries to teach us things we don't know already. Anyways, if you're related to me, I'm spending my every waking hour working very hard. If you're of an age with me, I'm out partying until 2am every night. If you fulfil both or neither of those categories, try to find something between those two. You might just be right.
October 2nd 2004
I've spent many long hours making and updating Crazy Snake Man. It represents the fruit of my labours over nearly two years. It's not perfect, and if I was to start again, I'd change a fair bit, although beginning where I did, I'm happy. Startlingly Carla Bonner is very different, since it represents about five weeks' work. Yes, the logo is much better, but the depth of information simply isn't there: right now, I'm doing nothing on Crazy Snake Man, while I'm updating Startlingly Carla Bonner pretty much every day. What this is all leading up to is the fact that searching for Startlingly Carla Bonner on Google gives my website the top spot, and a reference to my site as second. Searching for Crazy Snake Man does give you my site, but it's a long way down there. Is this fair? Perhaps. Hi Dad.
October 3rd 2004
Written in the early hours of Sunday, I find myself at the computer after some rigorous card-playing. Despite losing, I enjoyed it very much... this evening we're going to see some stand-up, which should be cool. Must do work today, along with church and Sunday Times buying.
October 4th 2004
Went to see some stand-up last night, with Annie, Sarahs, Andy and Richard... first couple of guys were all right, but the last guy (who was the headline act) stank. Here ends the news.
I think I'll explain a little more about the comedians yesterday: there was a warm-up guy, who was funny enough. Nothing special. Then there was a Canadian guy who was pretty funny, despite his decision that swearing five times a sentence was infinitely preferable to not swearing five times a sentence. Then came the headline act, and I prepared myself to be wowed: he opened with September 11th. As I've said before, I'm not the kind of guy who automatically hates a joke because it's about something horrific ("September 11th... remember that?" was his opening, which was quite funny). However, his jokes were all made at least two years ago, and weren't very funny or clever then... and he lead that into a set about farting. Some people think farting is funny, but most of them have never gone near a University, and a large proportion are yet to see their age reach double figures. Surely comedy should have moved on further than that? Basically, that set the tone: jokes that were supposed to be funny merely because they were about 9/11, Beslan or Princess Diana. The final joke re Di had the longest build-up to the most obvious punchline I have ever heard: it was based around the fact that he'd seen an inflatable ET in with the flowers outside Di's house after her death. Quite amusing if handled properly, but he had a long, long, long build-up of a wife telling her husband about the death, and (eventually) him saying that he'll get the inflatable ET. A good comedian would have rejected that joke as too obvious, or used it in passing, rather than building up to it for ten minutes. Anyways, there were some (probably slightly drunk) people who laughed at everything he said, which was almost as annoying. This led me to think about compiling a list of tips for off-the-cuff jokes, which may appear some time soon on this page. In other news, today is Max and Steph's wedding on Neighbours: a woo-hoo, if you please.
October 5th 2004
In SCB I've limited myself to reporting the facts, and a small line of opinion, so I'll put more of my feelings about yesterday's episode of Neighbours here. I gave it 10/10 on SCB because it was Max and Steph's wedding, and that's absolutely fantastic: Steph is Max's wife (and didn't die), and it would take something pretty awful to bring the score below 10. Yes, I didn't like the wedding; yes, Valda and Lyn were truly horrendous. But this is the climax of the entire superb Max & Steph relationship, marking a victory after the battles with cancer (some of the best acting on TV, let alone Neighbours, was given during that period by Stephen and Carla). Though I was slightly disappointed - Steph saying 'You bet!' instead of 'I do' was probably supposed to represent their powerful love, but simply came out as annoying. Well, not annoying: I couldn't be annoyed with Steph. Well, that's it for Neighbours for today... except that Andy and I started ideas of forming a Neighbours Society, although they are coming to nothing, since we have no TV that we could show lots of people Neighbours on... we'll start slow, as Lylah (or Leila?) is coming over tomorrow to watch Neighbours in our kitchen. It won't be long before P3rd is the official Neighbours kitchen! In other news, my rules for off-the-cuff joke making (remember, these rules are largely garnered from my frequent errors, rather than any success):
1. Don't repeat examples of how funny you've been. Off-the-cuff jokes have to be in reference to something that's happening, and almost never work when retold in a 'so she said, so I said' kind of manner.
2. Don't jump on the back of other people's jokes, unless they're rubbish. If they're good, you'll just seem less funny, and it'll be obvious that the laughter died when you spoke. If their joke was rubbish, you can jump on the back: "some-one's been taking sarcasm lessons" or "a pun on the word 'hair' - three days, that took."
3. People say 'know your audience' - it is just as important that the audience knows you, otherwise your sarcastic comments may be taken literally, and you'll end up looking stupid.
4. People also say 'don't laugh at your own jokes' - this is rubbish. Dead-panning after you've made a joke usually serves to kill the laughter (unless you've mastered the Jack Dee technique: I haven't).
5. If you're not getting laughs, give up. Every time you say something and there's silence, it'll become more obvious.
6. Too many off-the-cuff jokes are annoying. I've found no way to combat this yet.
Well, I've learnt something today: Pot Curries are absolutely awful. As a recent devotee of Pot Noodles, I expected Pot Curries to be similarly brilliant: they are not. I tried to put some of the contents between two stale pieces of bread, which made it better, but there was so much and so little bread. In other news, searching for Startlingly Carla Bonner on both Yahoo! and Google brings up SCB as the top entry. Merely searching for Carla Bonner brings it up 7th on Yahoo! and 85th on Google (it was 82nd earlier today, so it's going down the list).
October 7th 2004
I've just finished watching Duel, Spielberg's first film. I wouldn't recommend it: although there are many clever (if slightly heavy-handed) directing techniques, the story - such as it is - is feeble. In other news, Yahoo! occasionally sees fit to have SCB on its list of search results, and sometimes not... I remember the same thing used to happen with CSM.
Just a note to let people know that the return of Crazy Diary Poll Man is scheduled for this Monday... to find out about its glory days, click on the 'Previous Polls' link below.
October 8th 2004
Urgh... got a massive hangover. Must have sunk twenty or thirty pints last night. Here ends my impression of a non-teetotaller... I actually did go out to the Freshers' Ball last night, where live acts included Bjorn Again and Electric 6. Bjorn Again were very good (oddly, the brunette was much more attractive than the blonde: it was always the other way round in Abba), and although Abba have a lot to answer for (almost all pop today), they themselves did some great songs. Electric 6 are rubbish, so that wasn't great: after every song, the crowd chanted for their most famous song (y'know... the one about the bar), which must have annoyed them somewhat, but eventually they played it. Despite being an appalling song, it was one of the best of their set, since they just played loud guitar the whole time. Anyways, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to go to the Ball (£20!!), so I adopted the method that has been recommended by some and not by others: opening the Bible and seeing what it said (I did pray about this first). Actually, I opened my new copy of John's gospel, and I can't remember the exact passage, but it included the phrase 'I will go'... so my decision was made. Sweet.
October 11th 2004
Went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again last night (free, since I'm a member of the Warwick Student Cinema Society). When I saw it at the cinema, I came away disappointed, largely because I'd expected it to be brilliant, and it wasn't. But Annie has been saying that she loves it, so I thought it was worth giving the film another chance, and I'm glad I did: when I knew what in the hells was going on, it was much better (last time it took much of the film to work out they'd jumped back in time); in fact, I'd say it was just short of brilliant. However, this also means it's just short of being good. It's pretty good, but it's not good. Anyways, Crazy Diary Poll Man has been reintroduced today as promised, and I've gone back to roots by making the poll about something mentioned in this diary. In other news, I went to St. Mary's today for the first time. Last week I felt that God might be calling me there, but I wasn't sure, and all my friends were going to Westwood (Tashish?) so I went there, and it was nothing special. Going to St. Mary's, I was instantly happy to see that there were pews, which reminded me of home: although I'm not against a more modern service per se, I like the traditional stuff, and I've grown to miss all the hymns I know, which seem to be replaced by acoustic guitar music - it was nice to sing a couple I knew from home at St. Mary's. However, the vicar guy came up and ran through an exceedingly long list of things that they're planning to change about the church, including replacing the pews, putting in glazed doors, putting up screens, moving the font, installing a full-immersion baptism thingy (seemingly in the middle of the aisle), and perhaps removing the organ. This is only part of what was mentioned, and seems way over the top to me: is God really calling the people of St. Mary's to spend all this money on minor and unimportant things, when it could be so much better used? Of course, that got me thinking about the way I spend money... anyways, four of us students went to the home of Jim and Jill, who fed us well, which was nice. But I'm starting to wonder how long it is before potatoes become inedible...
The sad news today is that Christopher Reeve has died of a heart attack. The man was far more of a hero offscreen than he ever was onscreen, never giving in despite the odds. He was an inspiration to us all.
October 15th 2004
Freshers' Flu still holds me in its relentless grip... coughing isn't fun. I went to see another film as part of the WSC yesterday, which was Zatoichi (or something similarly titled) and was pretty poor: it's one of those japanese-fighter type films. Anyways... I got told to take my Ireland flag out of the window today (at least, our warden told people on my corridor who told me). Apparently some guy had to take down an Arsenal flag too.
Well, at least I'm not the only one suffering with a sore throat: from today's HIGNFY, it's clear that Ian Hislop is likewise afflicted. In other news, I don't like blue trousers. I simply don't like 'em. Which is why it's strange that, of the six pairs of trousers I've taken to Uni with me, four are blue, and only two are black. I cannot explain this confusion, since I have never knowingly bought a pair of blue trousers. I'm wearing blue trousers now, in fact.
October 18th 2004
Until today, I had never seen any of the Star Wars films, and it wasn't something I was particularly ashamed about. After all, I try not to emphasise my geekish nature (ignore site) and Star Wars is the mothership of geekishness. Anyways, today I watched over half of Episode IV (the first one, for the uninitiated), and I didn't think much of it, to be honest. The characters were mainly annoying, and most aspects of the film were funny, either through poor effects or (more usually) bad script/direction. Perhaps it gets better.
October 20th 2004
Picture the scene: down to my last tin of 'meat', I realise I have to visit Tesco, and plan to do so at 6pm on Wednesday. It's 2am on Wednesday, and I suddenly remember that I'm at CU in the evening, so won't be able to go to Tesco at 6pm: Richard asks me why we don't just go then. So we do. (Apologies for the mix-up in tenses that almost certainly went on there). Yes, Tesco at 2.15am in the morning is not busy. In other news, I mentioned my Aunty Mary on this page a while ago, since I learnt that she reads this diary, and Dad once again fulfilled his self-appointed role as my publiciser by passing on the web address to my Aunty Jacq, who discovered herself not in the list of great aunts (which did number one, admittedly). So I'll take this opportunity to say that all my aunts, uncles, cousins, and other kin are fantastic people. Every last one of them. Another fantastic person is Matthew Perry... so check out Crazy Snake Man!
Last Sunday, I went to see The Passion of the Christ again: still a fantastic experience, although not as mind-blowing as last time. Yet again I think it's a pity that critics picked up on the (non-existent) anti-Semetic themes in the film, and the amount of blood: completely missing the point of the film, which is that God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to die in pain and humiliation, in order to save us. I think I've said previously most of what I want to say about this film, except something that occurred to me this time round and didn't last time round: there is, I believe, a Martin Scorcese film called The Last Temptation of Christ (I haven't seen it). The Passion showed what Jesus' last temptation really was: the man to His right told Him to get down from the cross since He's the son of God, and cause all the people to believe in Him. Of course, Jesus could have stopped the whole procedure at any time, but there must have been the most temptation then, because coming down from the cross would have caused the people there to believe - how could it not - and yet Jesus knew He had to die. At least, that's the way I (and, it think, Gibson) see it. In other religious news, I discovered today that nobody in line to the throne can become (or marry a) Catholic: anybody with sense knows the monarchy is ludicrous, but this is yet another nail in a coffin that is already six feet under.
October 22nd 2004
Many years ago, a hoax ran through the land that suggested the brilliant Paul McCartney was dead. Not only that, but the Beatles put hints and suggestions in their lyrics etc to let keen fans know that Paul had expired (eg, something that sounds mildly like 'turn me on dead man' when played backwards). Of course, Paul isn't dead, and the rumours were rubbish, but my personal favourite is to be found on the famous Sgt Pepper album cover. If you put a mirror across the middle of the drum, you get a picture like the one shown here: it is supposed to say '1 ONE 1 X HE DIE', the three ones representing the three alive Beatles, and the X representing Paul. Obviously rubbish, but great nonetheless.
As some of you might know, it's my birthday coming up in a few weeks, and literally one person has asked me what I want. In case you were just being shy, the rest of you, my birthday list currently stands at two DVDs: The Whole Ten Yards, which isn't out on Region 2 yet, and Around The World in 80 Days with Michael Palin, which can be found here. That was very interesting, wasn't it?
October 25th 2004
Ah, you fickle people. I hate to respond, but I feel I must: Crazy Diary Poll Man has again been taken over by the hilarious comments of people who would be doing stand-up had it not been for the cruel hand of fate leading them into other paths. This doesn't bother me too much: it's the person who asked if anyone cares what I think of Chandler, Neighbours or Star Wars (congratulations if that was you). No, I expect the majority of people don't care, but I have to point out (not for the first time) that you came to my website, and voted on the poll, and left a comment. Presumably this is not your first visit to my website: nobody is asking you to come back and read whatever I've written here. There are several billion websites out there, and - as far as I'm aware - only one of them deals with my views on Chandler, Neighbours and Star Wars. So, take your pick: here's one to get you started, and it's also very useful for finding others. A tip if you want to avoid the risk of commenting on my poll: don't search for Crazy Snake Man. Other than that, you should be fine. And while I'm replying to comments, whoever asked if the vote will ever end will be pleased to hear that, as for every poll thus far, the voting is open for a week, and a new poll starts every Monday. Which is today.
Since this morning, I am sure I have become a much calmer person who doesn't feel the need to whinge when anyone criticises his site. Well, almost sure. Give it a few more hours.
October 26th 2004
Yesterday was kinda bad and kinda good. Bad, in that I got 11/25 for my analysis paper, on which my supervisor had written 'Write better' and marked one of the answers with, instead of a cross, the word 'crap'. Analysis is a pretty stupid subject, but that's no excuse, and I have to get better sharpish. Returning home, I looked at some IQE questions, realised for the umpteenth time that I don't really get the subject, and finally dropped it. So, less work for me - and, by a strange connection of events, I'll be on time for CU in future. Speaking of which, yesterday was good because of Hot Chocolate evangelism (which technically I started at about midnight, so it was today). This involves a group of CU people offering free hot chocolate to anybody coming out of Top Banana (the main event in the Warwick Uni week), and was very cool. So, in future, more Hot Chocolate and more work on analysis etc.
In the times I manage to fit reading into my busy schedule, I'm rereading the Wheel of Time series again. It's an excellent series, as I've mentioned before, and I'm in the peak period where I can't wait to read some more (book 3 at the mo: it gets worse after book 6 or so, but still good). I highly recommend this series to anyone... although with 10 books and counting, each at around 800 pages long, I'm not sure how many takers I'll get. In other news, I may have mentioned before that I believe Revelation 18 (from the Bible) predicts the 9/11 attacks, and I mentioned it to James today. He told me to put it on this site, and his word is my command, so you can find it here (skip the first couple of lines). I'm not going to go into it right now, but read it through. Let me emphasise, though, that this prediction (if it is one) is in no way important to my faith, and shouldn't be seen as a fundamental part of Christianity. It very much isn't. Christianity is (largely) about showing love to others and to God, and not about predicting the future.
October 27th 2004
Let me tell you a little something about life here at Rootes that I've been meaning to mention for a while. In the toilet, there is a paper-towel dispenser, which is all well and good. This paper-towel dispenser has a lock on it - slightly strange, but fair enough, there are some students whose lack of funds is so great that they feel obliged to steal and sell paper towels. However, the lock is pretty much useless, since accidentally knocking into the dispenser causes the main part to fall off, leaving the paper towels open to any passing kleptomaniac. I find that, when removing a paper towel, I have to hold my elbow against the dispenser to stop it falling apart. That is the news for today. Except to mention the picture, which shows the building I live in - my room is out of the picture, on the left, but looks pretty much the same, so that gives you some idea.
October 29th 2004
Richard and I further pushed back the barriers of what can be achieved, by leaving for Tesco at 2.30am yesterday, the new record. Woo-hoo!
I fear my secret status as a note-taker during Neighbours has finally been uncovered by the general populus. Somehow, thus far, I have managed to get away with it either by leaning back in the corner so people don't look at me, pretending I'm making notes for the crossword, or watching Neighbours tout sol (oh dear... spelling). But two people today asked me why I was making notes, and I had to admit it was for Neighbours (they kind of guessed, anyhow). I haven't mentioned the website yet, and although I think that will make them understand what I'm doing, they'll still think I'm a freak. Ah well. By the way, because of the noise during today's Neighbours, and interrogation about the notes, today's SCB entry will late and/or incomplete.