Sunday, July 03, 2011

Interview Technique

At Glasgow Uni, after you've done ten physics exams in May there's a chance you'll get an interview in early June. It's an opportunity for people sitting on grade boundaries to convince the exam board that they deserve the better of the two grades. Although that's clearly a good thing nobody wants one, because they're terrifying.

We all received an email asking us to be present in the common room at 12pm on June 9th and that any interviews would be conducted at around 2pm. Usually only one or two people are interviewed, but that meant everyone would have to sit in the common room, fearing the worst, for two hours.

We all showed up. At 12:30 our class head entered and said, "You'll be glad to know that no one has to do an interview this year." A cross between a cheer and a sigh of relief went up, and he mentioned that the class photos were now available and we could collect them, free of charge, if we wanted them.

How nice. People most hung around in the common room, chatting and speculating about the results, myself included.

The class head came over to me and asked, "Rebecca, could I have a quick word?"

I think I may have actually flinched. As I followed him across the the far side of the room I thought "OhmyGod. OhmyGod. I have failed so monumentally that they would like me to leave the university, the city and ideally the world. They want to pretend I never happened. I'm not even going to get a diploma! They'll take away my right to a designated degree! OhmyGod."

At the other side of the room he looked up, smiled and indicated one of the class photos.

"Could you help me work out everyone's names?"


"Oh. Yes. Of course."


Monday, April 25, 2011

Branded Sportswear

I just got an email from Amazon, who apparently think I should be spending more money. I guess they'd know. Here's a few of the things they think I should be buying:

My first thoughts are "meh, not really my thing..." Then I look closer and I notice something. Let me show you.

Yeah, that says "Branded Sportswear." Yeah, it's a mini-dress. Now, well done to Amazon for working out that I'm a lady*, and giving me a picture of a dress Really though, I just don't think I can run in that. Maybe I could ice-skate?

It's sure as hell a lot glitzier than anything I've ever played tennis in...

*Or maybe not, what with the advert for "men's shavers clippers and more." :-/

Friday, March 25, 2011

Regular Fun

The ladies' toilets in Tennants Bar on Byres Road in Glasgow.

Monday Night. Approximately 9pm.

I enter, have a piddle and wash my hands. As I dry them my eyes land on the Machine. It's the same kind of machine you find in ladies' toilets, in pubs, up and down the country (presumably similar ones exist in the gents).

This one has two options. They are labelled "Fun" and "Regular."

Beneath the label "Fun" is another label advertising Durex Pleasure Max.

Beneath "Regular? "...Tampax Regular.

No. Really.

I shall try to get photographic evidence, but exams mean it may be a while before I enter a pub again.

Friday, March 11, 2011



I have updated my "Friends" section with some new links. This is intended to entertain anyone who still feels the need to procrastinate after having read whatever it is I'm going on about this time.

Anyway, I now have links to,
  1. Gav's vimeo account. Gav is my flat mate and makes some rather entertaining films. You should go watch them.
  2. Freya's sketch blog. Freya is an animation student at Dundee, this blog is for her sketches, most of which are really rather funny.
  3. Brian's blog. Thought-provoking stuff from a physics phd student.
Hopefully these will provide a pleasant distraction. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Scientists like to use acronyms as often as they can. It makes them sound like they know even more than they actually do (an impressive feat, no doubt). After all, if there's so little space left in your brain that you need to use only the first letters of words then either your brain is very full or very small. Or both.

Of course, I'm being a little unkind. It is often just easier and faster to remember things as acronyms, but their use can lead to confusion.

For example, I sent an email to one of my lecturers a few weeks ago. I was asking about Summer work and attached a copy of my CV. He replied promptly, letting me know what was available and suggesting that I meet with a couple of people to get more details. He added a postscript.

"P.S: Didn't know you belonged to the secret fellowship of LiaL ..."

LiaL? What on Earth is LiaL? I had no idea, so I was both confused and worried. Had I accidentally lied to him? I read back over my email, LiaL didn't feature. No words that could make up LiaL featured.

I turned to google. Google was not useful, Lial is a name of a person and the name of a place. It is also used by Legal Informatics at Liverpool, but I definitely hadn't claimed to be involved in that. Also, Lithium Aluminium alloys exist, which wasn't useful either.

Maybe it was code for something weird? Loosely Arranged Indented Lines? Long armed integrated Labradors? Lial? Come on!

I read back over my CV, maybe it was something I'd forgotten about. Right at the bottom I found it, Lab in a Lorry. The volunteer scheme for demonstrating science experiments to school kids. Obviously. Not that it's a "secret fellowship," of course.

Couldn't he have just said so?

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


I got an email from the IOP about how they were transferring the Physics Society some money. I thought to myself, "cool, but why?" and forwarded the email to my friend, Martin, the Astronomy Society president, to see if he had any idea what it was going on.

Here's the email I sent,


This looks good, but I've no idea what it's about. I guess the smart person would check the PhySoc account in three days or so. I'm forwarding it to you first because you're competent. Any idea what it's for?

-Becky x"

Unfortunately I did in fact not send that to my friend Martin, but to one of the astronomy lecturers who is also called Martin.

Embarrassing! So yeah, I totally signed off with a kiss. Our physics and astronomy department isn't especially formal, but that was definitely over-familiar for an undergrad. Thank goodness I don't study astronomy and never run into the guy. Although actually he didn't seem to care, and just said he'd look into it.

Sunday, March 06, 2011


I lead a happy life. I daydream constantly, I bake exciting cakes, I dance in my kitchen, I take regular naps, I drink wine. Sometimes I even find money that I thought I had spent in my pockets.

It's not that I don't worry about things, just that my worries are usually minor. I worry that I won't be able to decide what to wear. I worry that I'll run out of money before I kill my liver - or that I'll kill my liver before I manage to bankrupt myself (there's some hefty bets on whether my liver or my bank balance will fail first, and all of them are rigged).

Over the past few days though, I have had some real concerns to contend with. Firstly, the exam period starts in six weeks. Sorry, I'll say that again. The exam period starts in six weeks. That is not a very long time for a person who expects to have to sit 10 exams, especially when she doesn't feel like she knows enough to sit even one exam yet.

Secondly, I have a cold. My face has been leaking almost constantly for the past 72 hours. I am a disgusting mess. I am also slightly surprised that I haven't simply shrivelled up through dehydration. Fortunately I have avoided looking like a sultana so far, but being bundled up in blankets and clutching (adorable, floral, Kath Kidston) tissues isn't a great look either.

The run-up to exams means that posting here will become less frequent. I probably do have the time to write the odd thing, but when you're stuck indoors studying atomic systems all day very few entertaining things occur. As always, I won't write if I have nothing to write about.

In the meantime, I demand your pity. Send it to the usual address.