October 4th 2005
Yesterday I was given a leaflet about Marxism... these people really are mad. They must know that the UK will never become a Communist country. The leaflet was all very lovely, telling me about poor farmers and the evils of the Catholic church, but I was particularly taken with the bit at the end: "If you would like to know more about scientific socialism, why not join or set up a study class?" Set up? Yes, I'd like to know more, so I'll start teaching people... anyhow, quizzes. The year's first 10.25 social passed off pleasantly, and not just because it contained a new A-Z quiz from the man who brought you... two previous A-Z quizzes. This time it was extra-exciting, since each answer comprises two words, alliteratively. Therefore, the answer to the A question could be Adam Ant or Ade Akinbiyi or some such (it isn't...). Here, for your delectation and delight, is what you missed out on if you weren't there;
A What is the capital of Ethiopia?
B In Series 1 of Blackadder, who played Blackadder's father, the king?
C Who is the current Home Secretary?
D In the Dandy, which character likes to eat cow pies?
E In Bingo, what is called 'Two Fat Ladies'?
F Complete the quotation from Kipling's poem 'If'; "If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken / Twisted by knaves to make a trap ___ ___"
G Who, in the 1990s, managed both Arsenal and Spurs?
H What was Elvis Presley's first number one?
I In chemistry, what is FeI2?
J Who wrote Ulysses?
K In Neighbours, which character is played by Alan Fletcher?
L What does the 'LL' stand for in 'LL Cool J'?
M Who played Mr. Darcy in the recent film version of Pride & Prejudice?
N What do the last two letters in CNN stand for?
O Who was the front man of Black Sabbath?
P Which fictional character is most famously associated with JM Barrie?
Q What is this? [sorry!]
R What is the name of the Coronation St. pub?
S Who does Alan Rickman play in the Harry Potter films?
T Which Tin-Tin characters look very similar?
U In 'Winnie the Pooh', what was the Brain of Pooh?
V Which car model sponsored ITV's coverage of Euro 96?
W Who did Johnny Depp play in a recent film about a chcolate factory?
X What are the Roman numerals for 20?
Y What are the two complementary principles of Chinese philosophy?
Z Who scored twice in the 1998 World Cup final?
Well, that's them. The answers will be up in a while, so be patient. Speaking of quizzes, we're supposed to be entering one tonight, but we haven't managed to muster many people together - we came a feeble 9/12 last time, even with the quizmaster's assistant telling us several answers, for some reason. Wish us luck.
October 7th 2005
We came last in the quiz... but only just. We'd have come higher if they jokered us on the round we said we wanted to be jokered on. Anyhow. Yesterday was the grossly-underpublicised national poetry day (coming not long after I memorised Shall I Compare Thee?), and to mark the equation, our Analysis lecturer gave as a limerick he found on the Internet. Due to the difficulty of typing mathematical symbols, I've represented it in paint below:
To the uninitiated, the limerick is as follows;
The integral t squared dt
From 1 to the cube root of 3
Times the cosine
Of 3 pi by 9
Is log of the cube root of e.
The equation is completely and utterly true, by the way, as both sides are equal to a third.
October 10th 2005
Ricky and the Red Stripes were at it again last night, as we entered our fifth quiz, never having managed to regain the lofty heights of our first time out, when we finished 5th out of 53. This time we had only three of the usual suspects - myself, Rob and Iain, since Anthony's laid-up-ness meant that we had to make do without him. Other team members were all first-time Red Stripes, comprising Tom, Rich and James Lee, the last being the guy whose idea it actually was to participate that night. The quiz began well, with a general knowledge round in which we scored 7.5/10 followed by an amazing sport round in which not only scored 10/10, but also jokered to put us top of the pile. It was, as usual, a round where Iain excelled, although some of the questions were easy enough that most of us got 'em. After the next round we were still top, but a couple of poor rounds (in particular the film round, although Tom did make his contribution in that one, getting 'The Dude' as the answer to a question I can't remember) interspersed with some excellent ones meant that we were about 5th or 6th with one round to go. These rounds had included a literature/arts round where we scored 9 (I showed that there's more to me than maths with answers about Arthur Miller, F. Scott Fitzgerald and George Orwell... but failed to get the author of Don Quixote), a history round where we got 9 (an excellent round by James), a music-intro round where Rob usually excels, but was out of his depth this time, and a picture round where we scored 9.5/10, Rob amazing us with his intricate knowledge of The Land Before Time, but amazing noone by not knowing much about Watership Down. Anyhow, we were there or thereabouts when the final round commenced, the round being about television. Sadly, it was our worst round, with a woeful score of 2.5/10, and we slipped to our worst position since the first round, a lacklustre 9th place. Not bad, but it could have been so much better. The other disappointment of the night was the lightning round, where we had to list as many Shakespeare plays as possible in a minute - I was writing, my Eng Lit A-level at the fore, but when the ten-second countdown began, I panicked and handed the sheet in, despite Rob's protestations... as it turned out, we wouldn't have won anyhow, since one of the teams got about 20 whereas we got about 11, and I wouldn't have got 9 more in those 10 seconds, but still... all in all, a good night. In case anyone was wondering, the entire list of people wh have been Red Stripes thus far is; me, Iain, Rob, Anthony, Little Andy, Stu, McFly, Rich, Tom and James. Background Andy was an honourary member, joining us for a film round once (but not actually paying his entry fee, so it can't really count...). So far, no females, despite us asking Becky and Christine on more than one occasion.
October 13th 2005
The answers to the questions from the other day:
A Addis Ababa
B Brian Blessed
C Charles Clarke [and Becky, who studies politics, did not get this.]
D Desperate Dan
E Eighty Eight
F For Fools
G George Graham
H Heartbreak Hotel
I Iron Iodide
J James Joyce
K Karl Kennedy
L Ladies Love
M Matthew MacFayden
N News Network
O Ozzy Osbourne
P Peter Pan
Q Quiz Question
R Rover's Return
S Severus Snape
T Thompson Twins
U Upside-down Umbrella
V Vauxhall Vectra
W Willy Wonka
Z Zinedine Zidane
October 17th 2005
Lance came back today! Yes, the wonderful Lance, former Number 30 resident in Neighbours, returned to our screens as part of the 20th Anniversary celebrations. He is the character I've most wanted to return, so I'm very excited by his return... I was also amused by Neighbours pointing out that Connor is pretty much a Lance knock-off. Post-modern, or what? In other news, I'm wondering: is ours a house overcome by gambling? It is only weeks since I renounced monetary stakes, but yesterday the fun was started when I bet Anthony that Spider-man 3 would be better than Ice Age 2 (the certainty of my victory slightly reduced by the independent adjudicator (sp?) Richard, who, let us not forget, likes Cutting It), and then Iain bet taht Richard couldn't jump his little skateboard thing over a plastic cup. The following pictures reveal that Richard in fact did manage the feat (on about his 17th attempt) and therefore Iain went into lectures today in a shirt and tie... in case you were wondering, the second picture is not a set-up, just some brilliant photography showing the skateboard in mid-flight.
October 18th 2005
As I am the official reader of Anthony's blog, I'd like to prove I never learn my lesson about commenting on other people's blog entries, and draw your attention to something that he wrote in his latest correctly-dated entry (16th October): "I managed to get a doctor out from the Uni ... and she asked me why I had called her out. I told her my mum wanted me too." This beautiful Freudian slip just goes to show the closeness of the Clohesy family, doesn't it? Ha ha. Now I have work to do...
October 22nd 2005
Question: do men need heat? The majority of us here at number 67 believe that, no, we don't. That's why we've yet to turn on the heating since arriving, the rule being that the first person to crack has to pay the entire bill. The way I figure it - and I don't think I'm alone in this belief - if you're cold, put on a jumper. It's free. Anyhow, speaking of the gas bill, we had one for summat like �360 today... but almost �350 of it was apparently carried over from July. So it appears that the previous tenants didn't feel the need to actually pay their bills, preferring to let them pile up... and become someone else's problem. The likelihood of us having to pay the excess is exceedingly remote, but I'm surprised that the gas company has allowed the situation to arise. I'm sure that Ant'll sort it out.
October 24th 2005
What is the benefit of 'cooking from scratch'? In our house, David prides himself (and not erroneously) on being a good cook, Richard and Ant lay claim to being able to cook, and Iain claims he can't, despite the evidence that he can. I, on the other hand, make no claim other than that I might be able to cook reasonably well if I was forced into it... but what's the point? When I'm hungry, nine times out of ten I'm eating within 15 mins, whereas David often spends about 2 hours preparing his meals. Okay, what he's doing is more skilled, but it is also harder, takes longer, costs more and - to taste buds as unrefined as mine - tastes much the same. As far as I'm concerned, the microwave is one of the all-time great inventions - even if Background Andy claims that microwaved food gives you cancer. I fear he may be mistaken there... no, scratch that, I hope he's mistaken. Otherwise I'm a gonner.
October 25th 2005
Heathcliff. Pah. Everyone goes on about Wuthering Heights being the world's greatest love story, or some such, but no-one really mentions the guy who loved the most in that novel: Edgar Linton. OK, the orthodox view is that he didn't really marry Cathy for love, but look at his response to her death: he is melancholy for pretty much the rest of his life, and can't stand to look at Catherine (his daughter) because she reminds of him of Cathy, and the fact that his wife died in childbirth. Cathy supposedly loved Heathcliff to distraction... which doesn't really explain why she married someone else. And he loved her so much that he ran off elsewhere for years. Anyhow, it's a pretty hard life for Edgar: married to (and in love with) a woman who makes little secret of her (requited) love for another man... and when that man shows up, both treat Edgar contemptuously. Similarly, in Romeo and Juliet my main sympathies are for Paris, who was in love with Juliet, but is cast aside by her, and killed by Romeo (who at least shows some respect while doing so). Surely the true heroes of romantic fiction are not the lovers, but the Edgars and the Parises, those whose love is spurned but who continue to love nonetheless, hopelessly...
October 28th 2005
Until recently, I'd had very little experience of Red Dwarf, the 80s sitcom set in space 3m years from now, with gadgets and wizardry very much of its time. Last year I saw a couple of episodes, and wasn't unimpressed, but the fact that we currently have series 1, 2, 3 and 5 (I believe) in the house means that I have now watched about half the episodes ever made, and am a fan. It's not in the same league as Friends, for example (indeed, those four series combined is only about as many episodes as the first series of Friends) but it doesn't fall far short of Blackadder territory, I would say. Although it started a little slowly, and they are extremely overkeen on people-playing-multiple-characters - and I'm told Series 7 is rubbish - it is often very funny, and the characters are endearing. There's good old Lister, whom I'd only previously seen in his incarnation as the host of Robot Wars, there's Rimmer with his neuroses... even better, there's the Cat, who has some fantastic lines, and - perhaps my favourite - Kryten, who is the perfect foil and has some wonderful lines. I understand that Kochanski joins in the fun in later series - although not played by the same lass who played Kochanski occasionally in the earlier series - and, of course, there's the excellent Norman Lovett, who deadpans inimitably (well, not quite... he was replaced... and then came back again) as Holly. Apparently (and I hope this isn't libel) he's not that nice a guy in real life... but let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's great. Pity, though, cos it means he can never make the Dude List...
Today, for the first time in my life, I am going to the circus! Woo-hoo! Not only this, but I'll be the first person in my nuclear family to have gone to the circus, showing what a deprived family I come from - I mean, goodness me, mum's been to Italy more times than I've had hot dinners, and yet she hasn't been to the circus. Anyhow, the performance begins at 7.45pm, with doors (or should that be flaps?) opening at 7.15pm, giving us approximately two hours between getting home and leaving for the circus... and, astonishingly, some of our party were worried that there wasn't enough time to eat! Good grief. Good grief. Good grief. Your call.
October 29th 2005
I've always thought that I'd be exceptionally easy to buy presents for - whenever I'm looking for presents for other people, I see about a dozen things that would be perfect for me before I see anything for them. However, I've been told that I'm difficult to buy for, somehow, so if it's any help, here's my
Amazon Wish List. It's a bit Bob Dylan-heavy: that's mainly a reminder for myself as to which Dylan CDs I don't yet own. But I hope it helps. In other news, the circus last night was fantastic - really very impressive. There were some disappointing parts: I was surprised by the overt sexual nature of some of the acts and costumes - that was almost as disappointing as the Sid James-esque jokes featured in Wallace and Gromit - and some acts were clearly just there to give others some time to change costumes. I think my favourite part was the Phantom of the Opera bit, where - to that song, and with themed costumes - a bloke and a woman kinda get inside bit wheel things, and rolled them round a lot. Well, I can't be bothered to explain it properly, but it was fantastic. The acrobats were also impressive, although a little repetitive, and a fair few of their attempted jumps didn't come off - however, that's only to be expected, and people actually got the biggest applause when they failed, which I thought was nice... probably the worst bit was when one of the guys was doing a somersault, or summat, and came crashing down straight onto his back. He hobbled off, but was back by the end, I think, and lucky not to have done himself a bad injury. In Kirsten Dunst news, we managed to get free preview tickets to Elizabethtown, simply by filling in a form and handing over some Times mast-heads (part of the front cover). Lucky we never got around to doing our paper recycling! I had enough for five people, although in the end only three of us went to collect tickets, and were surprised to get two each, which means (mental maths...) six of us can go see Kirsten Dunst (and some bloke called Orlando) before the cinematic release... for nowt! Sweet.
October 31st 2005
It was back on April 28th last year that I first thought about songs whose titles were one-word girls' names, and gave a short list of about ten (one of which I later realised was 'Denis' rather than 'Denises', so that's out). This morning, I put together all the tracks I have that fit the bill (as said before, neglecting such tracks as Barbara Ann or Maggie May, since they are not one-word), and currently have the following list ready to turn into a compilation CD: Isis, Sara, Wendy, Layla, Valerie, Victoria, Lola, Lucille, Michelle, Roxanne, Angie, Carlene, Carol, Clarabelle, Julia, Amie, Denise, Elenore, Juliet and Sheila. I'm currently pondering the inclusion of Jet and Almaz, which, while unrecognised names (I think) are clearly the names of girls in their songs. In case you don't recognise the tracks above, they are by Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Derek & the Dominoes, Steve Winwood, The Kinks, The Kinks, Little Richard, Wayne Newton [note: not the Beatles version], The Police, The Rolling Stones, Phil Vassar, The Beatles, The Beatles, The Beatles, Damien Rice, Randy & The Rainbows, The Turtles, The Four Pennies and Tommy Roe respectively. Remember: All Saints' Day tomorrow... and Christine's birthday the day after.