October 2nd 2006
It's rained a fair bit of late, and it's pleasantly coincided with my washing being on the line. Every time it got drenched with rain, I figured I might as well leave it up there for the bright, sunny day that was just around the corner. However, yesterday morning the weight of the rain-soaked clothing became too much, causing the line to snap and most of my clothes to land in the mud. So now I've got a bag waiting for a re-wash, and my boxer shorts are drying in a most unorthodox manner... kind of hung up outside the oven, which is open and on gas mark 5. Anyways, in less rainy news, I've very much enjoyed Series 4 of Scrubs - having seen a few early episodes of Series 5, I've been wondering whether it's jumped the shark, but clearly it hadn't by the end of Series 4. Inspired performances by Heather Graham and Matthew Perry were highlights, but I was also overjoyed to see James Michael Tyler - that's Gunther from Friends - appearing in one episode as a therapist. Here he is:
October 3rd 2006
Apparently, 'tis said that it takes ten compliments to wipe out one insult. I'm not really sure this is true... the idea is that insults stay in the memory much longer than compliments. Speaking personally, I remember - maybe even dwell upon - both insults and compliments (I mean real ones, not the 'you're good at maths' or the 'you're so ugly that hail's afraid to fall on you' kind). Indeed, only the other day I was chuffed when a lass - in the maths department, no less - told me that I'd been hilarious in a talk I did about Monty. Oh yes, I did a talk about Monty - I'd already had the same gig at Chissy church, and while I didn't think that one had gone spectacularly well, the audience (sorry, congregation) reaction was pretty favourable. Anyways, this Monty talk was at Refresh, a CU event before the beginning of term where we got a chance to meet up with each other and say hi, before the freshers arrived. Hopefully people got an idea of what we did, and what needs praying for out there, as well as finding it funny... but what I remember most are the various jokes I made, and whether they got bigger or smaller laughs than I'd expected. But that feeling when a joke pays off; it's great: I remember when we went to see the Kumars being filmed, the warm-up comedienne was atrocious, and I made an aside to this effect, which caused two women in front of me to laugh - that feeling was great, too. Perhaps Andy Walker was right all those years ago when he said that I should go into stand-up comedy. That's it, I'm jacking in this maths lark... see you round the clubs...
October 5th 2006
Yesterday was the first CU main meeting of term, and afterwards freshers met up with their respective 10.25 groups to get to know each other a little, and although I'm not altogether sure my leader-mode was optimum, I was delighted to see 10 freshers signing up for Jack Martin, my 10.25 group. I mean, my year in Rootes M-P was pretty impressive, with myself, Ant, Chris, Dave, Laila, Steve, Becky and Andy all hardcore members, but 10 on sign-up day? That's pretty sweet. Last year, as Rootes co-leader, I was disappointed to see a few freshers drop away, so I'm hoping and praying that that doesn't happen this year. The first proper social is happening this Monday (the evening of the afternoon in which Simon appears on Countdown, 3.30pm Channel 4), so please pray for us ahead of that - and for the other 10.25 groups too, if you'd be so kind. Cheers! In other news, just hours after giving someone negative feedback on eBay for not sending a figurine after over a fortnight and my ignoring five emails, I got an email from them saying they'd send it tomorrow. Ouch.
October 7th 2006
One of the careers I thought about a few years ago was journalism, although I sson decided not to pursue it particularly. I didn't fancy a lot of what the job entailed, since a lot of what the media does is morally bankrupt, and frankly disgusting, even in the broadsheets. However, I came a tiny step closer to being a journo this morning, as I officially applied to become a columnist in the Warwick Boar - it was something I tried to get into tentatively last year, but missed one meeting and then never really progressed from there. To apply, we had to send of three sample columns, so I did - they were deliberately not my best work, since I'm aware that I wouldn't have the time to devote a great deal of energy and effort into it weekly if I got the position. Basically I thought of something and ran with it to see where it would go - the topics I ended up with were Su Dokus, Britishness and John Prescott, more or less, although only the Su Dokus one started off that way. I won't be particularly bothered if I don't get in (indeed, if I do, I might be slightly more concerned, since it will mean some juggling of commitments). Added to this the fact that I'm applying for a slot on RaW with James Lee soon (possibly already, not sure if he's applied for us), and I'm making the most of my third year. As I've already mentioned, I'm co-leader of JM 10.25, and have recently taken over as leader of maths prayer (although yet to do anything about that). Foof.
Today didn't start fantastically, with various mix-ups that annoyed everyone concerned, myself included, but it got better. The CU BBQ rocked like it's going out of fashion, and after that myself and Jimmy Lee applied for a slot on RaW this year, deciding eventually on the show name "Dangerously Articulate". What does it mean? Well, nothing, really. In other news, I've been getting to know a guy in my 10.25 group, called Ben, these last few days, who was there last year but to whom I never particularly talked. So it was only on Wednesday that I discovered he'd been a Christian for less than a year, and he told me about this - his 'testimony' as we call it in Christian circles. Apparently Lucy, from his tutor group, had told him about church, and had got him interested, which led (well, indirectly... I can't adequately describe the wonderful things God does every time he saves someone) to him becoming a Christian. This rang certain bells in my head, since Lucy was also a friend of mine who was in my old 10.25 group, and digging through my inbox, I came across what I thought might be their: an old prayer email, containing the line:
Lucy: Pray for her witness and conversations with her friend Ben.
Sometimes He just hits me out of nowhere.
October 9th 2006
So it would appear that Gustav Holst (a Cheltenham boy done good) was right after all. I'd heard vague murmurings, but it was only today that I read in black and white that, while I was in Montenegro, Pluto stopped being a planet. Yes, there are only eight planets in our Solar System now, so it's time to chuck out our My Very Easy Method Just Speeds Up Naming Planets mnemonics and thrown on Holst's "The Planets" instead. The man must have been way ahead of his time, since (by writing only eight movements) he was proclaiming decades before the rest of us that Pluto was merely a 'dwarf planet' - and if you don't believe me (or him), please check out these IAU Resolutions, which make the situation pretty clear. In fact, if you scroll right down to the bottom of the page, you'll discover that the IAU is in the process of naming the category of Trans-Neptunian Objects for which Pluto is the prototype. May I suggest 'Holsts'?
I think it's time I came clean here about an affair I've been having. It started off in the late 90s, I guess, with some sporadic interest in her, but we really kicked it off in 2001. That's when I realised that this was serious - sadly, she was frequently unfaithful to me. I mean, she always said sorry, and told me that she'd not cheat again, but as the years went by, she always disappointed me. Sometimes I was proud of her for the way she put up with temptation to stick by me, but in the end she always succumbed. It was earlier this year that I realised we could never really work as a couple - this time, when she cheated on me, I wasn't even surprised... I think I knew it was going to happen, and her protestations of undying love for me just didn't convince any more. I mean, I didn't stop loving her, but I sensed that it wasn't worth the disappointment that she kept inflicting on me. But I can't end the relationship, even though I know I should... we're too attached now, and I can see myself years from now, still hoping that we'll live happily ever after, but really knowing with all my heart that she'll just keep cheating. Her name? Tim Henman. Yep, it's an allegory.
October 11th 2006
I hope you all caught Simon's marvellous performance on Countdown last Monday. I'm not scaling such heights myself, but those of you who are free on a Saturday morning might like to tune in at 10am to hear myself and James on our confirmed RaW slot, available online at radio.warwick.ac.uk. We'll be on at the same time for the first few weeks at least - after that, I'll keep you updated.
October 14th 2006
You may remember that Simon was on Countdown recently - for those of you who missed it, the link is here on Google videos. Yes, the programme in its entirety (don't know how they did that). Simon foolishly chose to go for six small numbers in his final numbers game, which I'd frequently told him not to do, and said "I promised my brother I would". This was true - despite me telling him that it was the most foolish thing in the world, he promised that he'd do it anyway, given favourable circumstances. However, Des and crew took it to mean that I was a fan of six small numbers, and it was only today, when re-watching the show with friends, that I heard Des' final words to Simon: "Thanks to your brother... you got nowhere." Ouch. In other news, I did my first assignment of the term, which was rather shockingly organised - in fairness to him, the lecturer had put the assignment on his webpage. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't seem that there are any links to this page anywhere on the net, so you have to guess a somewhat complex URL. Luckily, Christine had emailed him, and passed the page on to me - when I got there, the questions seemed to bear very little relevance to anything he'd taught us, but could largely be copied from work in other lectures. So all was well. I managed to knock out one of those proofs that I don't really believe, since I'd rather prefer the final answer to be e+1 rather than merely 1, but I can just about put it together so that it makes sense. In radio news, the first Dangerously Articulate show went well, I feel - now I'm a fully-fledged co-presenter, I got to choose a lot more songs, and hopefully next week I'll be working the actual desk. For those of you who missed the show (unlike B/ground Andy, who even phoned in), the tracks I chose were;
The Show Must Go On - Elton John & Queen
Slow Train - Bob Dylan
Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
While My Guitar Gently Weeps - The Beatles
That might be it. Of course, by the nature of things, when I'm in the control-desk seat I'll be able to whack on even more of my own choices, but what with sharing it out nicely, talking, and playing tracks from the playlist, I'm not going to get many more than that in an hour. That's all for today.
Except to invite you to listen to Des.
October 14th 2006
I thought I'd keep you updated on the exciting world of 'he/she was in Friends', as last night I was watching Anchorman. As a film, I wasn't particularly impressed by it, but it was one of the classiest 'he/she was in Friends' game films I've ever seen. Not just because there were (at least) four people to spot, but because of the difficulty - first up, we had Paul Rudd (Mike, Phoebe's boyfriend/husband in Friends) in a dodgy moustache and sideburns. One of the easiest, but you had to get past the facial hair. Then there was Christina Applegate, the lead female, who played Rachel's sister Amy in a couple of Friends episodes. In honesty, I didn't actually spot her until I checked the case afterwards. The other two were much harder - a news boss played Mr. Lipson, a zoo owner, back in series 2 of Friends (as in "Have you got any idea how high up this thing goes?"/"That guy Lipson?"/"Lipson knows?!") and some assistant-type-guy who played Bob in series 8. Y'know, the one who thought Chandler's name was Toby (and in Anchorman, he was heavily bearded too - you need to recognise the mannerisms). See, it's a great game!
I'm very sorry, I forgot to mention Ben Stiller, who also appears - he's in pretty much all the 'Frat Pack' films, so is good for an easy point, having appeared in series 3 The One With The Screamer - he is, in fact, the screamer.
October 19th 2006
I've reached that point I get to in every term, when I don't quite understand what the lecturer's talking about, and decide to look over my notes. So I get to the evening, think "I'll just have half an hour's sleep first, then get to work"... and spend the next two or so hours fast asleep, meaning I get no work done. But I'll get down to it soon enough, fear ye not. Anywho, (a nice change from 'anyways', isn't it ma?) I'm very proud of Anthony at the moment, since he's revelling in the joys of cryptic crosswords. Yes, he managed almost the entire Boar crossword by himself, and his current msn name is a cryptic clue (work it out yourself if you happen to have him on your contacts list). Although this will add further confusion to those who get Ant and myself mixed up, it marks the next step in the process of crossword-solving. Just as I was somewhat passively taught by my Grandfather, so has Ant been somewhat passively taught by me... the stepping stones of life. This is becoming a really patchy entry, I'm afraid, but I thought I'd fill you in on the fact that the guy who beat Simon on Countdown went on to reach the final 8 of the series, becoming an octochamp along the way - neat, huh? If I go on, I hope to be up against someone easier first time out he bag. In other news, I'd like to recount a little something from the end of a bus journey I took recently: it was a packed bus, and to make things worse, two babies appeared to be auditioning for some sort of TV programme that revolved around screaming loudly on public transport (and, let me tell you, they nailed it). Towards the end of the journey, an old woman asked the babies' respective mothers if they could control their children a little better - big mistake. These mothers were - and I hate to use the word - chavs, and no-one was gonna tell them what to do. Indignantly, they proclaimed in unison that babies are always going to cry - indeed, they phrased this in several different ways, one of my favourites being "At the end of the day, babies cry" - call me old-fashioned, but at the end of the day, I think babies should be tucked up asleep. Anyhow, when the old lady was told that babies cry, she replied "Not on buses, they don't". Yes, it was difficult to take sides in this one, both parties seeming as obnoxious as each other. The debate continued, unfettered by reason; "You ought to control your baby!" was met with "You ought to control your language!", a retort that was initially feeble, since the old lady's language hadn't really been a problem, and was then further weakened by the follow-up; "Obviously her babies never cried, they were f****** abnormal." I should add that, during this battle of wits, the old lady wasn't really outnumbered: there may have been two chavs on one side, but the old lady was assisted by a slightly older lady sitting next to her, the silent partner but clearly the brains of the outfit. Was it she, I wondered, who supplied the material: "Don't you take that tone with me!" was the masterstroke, to which Chav no.2 could only unimaginatively respond "Don't you take that tone with my friend!" Of course, when things were getting slow, the chavs took it in turns to come out with "If you don't like it, there are plenty of stops you can get off at." Clearly old lady no.2 was slightly off form when reacting to that sally, since the clever (but subtle) "Actually, I don't fancy being stranded at an arbitrary bus stop in Coventry - I've got places to be" was disregarded in favour of "Shut up." Luckily for the old lady team, who were running out of ideas, the conflict was momentarily halted when the bus driver stepped in - from his place in the driving seat (literally, and metaphorically) he shouted "Hey!", then refused to drive on until everything had quieted down (his point was only slightly marred by the fact that nobody had noticed he was refusing to drive on, until he said "Is everything quiet now?" or something similar. The confusion, however, was enough to put the argument off for a bit). Throughout all this, the babies had kept things going by taking it in turns to scream and cry a little - however, showing an admirable respect for the bus driver, they decided to give over and settle down to sleep. One of the babies couldn't quite drop off though, and whimpered slightly - his mother jumped upon this with glee, uttering the encouragement "If you want to cry, you cry", but the child somewhat misinterpreted this, and stopped almost immediately. The disappointment his mother clearly displayed was rather disgusting, I have to say - trying to get her baby to cry in order to annoy an old lady must be one of the most pathetic things she did that day. All in all, a bus journey that disabused me of the optimistic view I occasional take about people being quite nice in general... but at least I have a new favourite bus driver. What I didn't mention above is that I think he may have said "Is everything quiet on the Western front now?"... I really hope he did. What a guy.
October 20th 2006
I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of facebook, and recently I breeched all etiquette on it by refusing a friend request. It's not that I dislike David Stanbra - I don't - it's just that we are not, and never have been, friends, and I feel I should take a stance against inviting people to be your friends solely because you went to school with them, and want to bulk out your quota. I also ignore all 'pokes', and steadfastly refuse to invite anyone at all to be friends with me. There's something faintly pathetic about it, I feel. In other news, tomorrow's RaW will be my first in charge of the desk - and James isn't going to be there. He's got some meeting or other, which means that I've got an hour solo, with no previous experience of manipulating the sliders and so forth - and my basic training isn't until Monday. Ho-hum. Oh, and Rob's back! Hey Rob, welcome to Blighty.
October 24th 2006
You'll have read here, or on facebook if you're that way inclined, that Ricky and the Red Stripes had a come-back last Sunday. I can exclusively reveal that we achieved our best ever position of joint 4th (actually, I lost us a couple of points during the night, which would have pushed us up a little) - after a little complaining, the cowering prize-givers relented and gave us a prize: 18 cans of Carlsberg. Now, I'm TT, but it was a very special evening, so I downed a can myself - absolutely disgusting stuff. No-one got a photo, though. For the record, the team was myself, Rob, Stu, Ant, Tom, Simon (flown in specially) and James, with B/ground Andy joining us (unpaying... ooh) for the film round. Considering that our main goal was to beat Iain's team (which we did), the added success was nice to have. In other news, my solo RaW on Saturday went pretty well, I feel - I messed up a couple of times, although only slightly, and the banter was a little difficult without anyone else alongside me, but the music was superb if I say so myself, and I had a fair few requests (well, two. From Dave and Andy). Rock on - tune in next Saturday at 10am, when I'm joined by Andy Giles.
October 26th 2006
The latest news re RaW is that I won't be joined by Andy Giles, after all - instead, the mighty Phil Penn will have a share in the phenomenon that is Dangerously Articulate (not, as suggested in the other place, Desperately Articulate. Although that is a good name). I think I can authoritatively state that we're going to rock the mikes. While I'm on the theme of RaW, here's what I played last week (not in proper order, I'm afraid, although close in places);
Huey Lewis & The News - The Power Of Love
Killers - When We Were Young
Hollies - The Air That I Breathe
Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street
Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street
ELO - Confusion
Lifehouse - Spin
Beatles - Maxwell's Silver Hammer
Magic Numbers - Take A Chance (er... I think. It was on the playlist)
Guns 'n' Roses - Sweet Child O' Mine
The Mamas & The Papas - California Dreamin'
Kooks - Ooh La
Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
Cliff Richard - I Can't Ask For Anymore Than You
Elvis Presley - Suspicious Minds
October 28th 2006
I've just got back from another Dangerously Articulate, today with Phil Penn standing in for James Lee. Whereas last week, when I was new to the desk, I made sure everything went as well as I could make it, I was slightly overconfident this time, I feel, which meant that I totally mucked up the end of the news. But other than that, and the fact that I got a song wrong at one stage (I blame the CD player), I think it didn't go too badly. The music probably wasn't up to the level of last week, and the email system was down (so apologies if you requested anything!), but it was nice to have Phil in the studio, and he did a very good job, especially considering it was his first time. Here's (more or less) what we played:
Beatles - I Saw Her Standing There
Damien Rice - 9 Crimes [playlist]
Incubus - Echo [Phil's choice]
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)
Beach Boys - Fun, Fun, Fun
David Bowie - Changes
Sheryl Crow - Tomorrow Never Dies [kinda request from Simon]
Shelter From The Storm - Bob Dylan
Sean Lennon - Dead Meat [playlist]
Elton John - Something About The Way You Look Tonight
Israel Something-or-other - Somewhere Over The Rainbow/Wonderful World [Phil's choice]
Oasis - Masterplan/Acquiesce [playlist]
[Another of Phil's choices that I can't remember, and it was the wrong track anyway]
Bruce Springsteen - Born To Run
There are some very good tracks in there, and there are a few I wish I'd played but didn't (shouldn't matter too much, since I've got plenty more weeks, and I tend not to repeat tracks I've already played). I did mess up more than I really should, but smoothness will come with practice, I guess - at least this time I remembered to mention Supermarket Sweep, who are looking for people to audition (although we may have gone a little too sarcastic about how excited we were); other topics that we mentinoed were the eternal Leam/Cov debate, facebook... not a lot else. The Cov/Leam took up some time, since it's an issue that's close to our hearts - Phil suggested a little chat about union politics, with particular reference to the problems therein, but I felt we weren't ready to go that controversial. Nobody calls me chicken! Anyways, I discovered a means of downloading the show (if you're a RaW member), but only time will tell if it works. I managed to successfully retrieve a five minute slot, so I'm now trying to get the whole hour (81MB and counting...)
October 30th 2006
A happy birthday to Tom Palmer - there's no real chance he reads this, so I'll probably do the dreaded facebook thing as well, but I thought you might like to know. Especially if you're at Exeter Uni (Pole - look for the only person there taller than you). In other news, I feel rather sorry for the readers of Ant's blog, who, it seems, live to be incorrectly informed about my radio show. Having brazenly told all and sundry that it was called 'Desperately Articulate', he now claims that they can listen to it this Saturday from 10-11am. Times change, sonny, and Dangerously Articulate now airs from 12-1 on a Saturday afternoon, nicely giving me rather more of a lie-in. Of course, James is missing it for the third week in a row this Saturday (and hopes aren't high for the week after that), but tune in anyhow. Who knows who I'll have on the show by then? Well, probably Phil again, but you never know. Haven't asked him yet.