Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Overheard whilst leaving Borders in Leeds:

Guy with Hat: It was horrible! It was like Stalin, but with tits!
Guy lacking Hat: Yeah, I know what you mean.

I wish I knew what he meant. Guy Lacking Hat is clearly a genius or something, unless there's a new kind of porn that I just hadn't heard of... which seems kind of likely, if alarming. Rule 34, right?

Leeds was poor today, it seems I can't deal with crowds whilst shopping. My problem is, I enter a shop, avoid the crowd it contains and look at something cute which they have missed. I then get pounced on (i.e. everyone in the crowd realizes I'm looking at something entirely beautiful and fascinating on account of my impeccable taste, and tries to look at it too). I then have to leave the shop.

It would be easier if crowds didn't so often contain such large people. I don't mind too much if someone gets in my way whilst shopping, as it's unavoidable, but if they take up three times as much space as the average person, they really should try to improve their spacial awareness.

So sadly, I bought nothing, and wasted lots of time doing so, I think I might book a personal shopper so I don't have to deal with the crowds at all. Still, it wasn't an entirely pointless trip, at least I now know about Stalin porn, a concept that might well amuse me for weeks.

Monday, December 29, 2008

How to Write an Essay

GuiThis is intended as a guide for people who want to know how to write an essay.

To begin, you should attempt to get up an hour earlier than you usually do, unless you already rise at 9am or earlier. You should go through your morning routine, and make sure you look entirely excellent, this will help avoid the temptation to get up and redo your hair or paint your nails. Although clearly this will be inevitable at some point, if you get it as close to being right as you can the first time, then it will take longer before you crave change.

Why not try a new hairstyle altogether at this point, who knows, maybe having a new style will convince you that it only feels like you want to change it because it's so different - and a truly open-minded person would give it a fair chance.

Ok, so once your morning routine is out of the way, you should turn on your computer. You should absolutely not at this point open any kind of word processing program. You are not prepared yet, and wouldn't be able to write anything useful anyway. Instead; check your email, facebook, bebo, any other regularly updated site on your favourites list (webcomics are good).

Next you should window shop - online only, and preferably only for shoes, though I'll accept fashion in general, and you can check play.com if they're having a sale.

Now shut down your computer, disgusted at your tendency to procrastinate. Unless you've actually bought something, in which case you can celebrate your sucess, as you've been semi-productive and now need to go check your wardrobe to make sure you have outfits that your new thing(s) will work well with.

Now for the essay bit. Make a to do list. At the top of the list write "essay," add all the other major and minor chores you need to have completed for the next week or so. Draw little check boxes. Go find some highlighters and set up a colour scheme so you know how urgent each item on the list is.

Have lunch. No one works well hungry.

Do some of the easier chores on your list so you can get into the mood for doing work. Check them off and feel acomplished.

Find some books relevent to your essay subject, and go back to your computer. This time, you're going to open a word-processor, but you aren't going to write anything, because you're also going to open wikipedia and search for your topic there.

You may now write the title, and make a note of the books you've found and the wikipedia URL (assuming you haven't lost the URL and the last three hours to frantic link-clicking). Maybe a vague sentence or two is appropriate by now, if you're certain you won't be sad when you come back and have to rewrite everything.

Get distracted and go out to buy perfume. When you come back, burn a CD and write a blog instucting people on writing essays.

You see my problem?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Geeking Out

Some of you may already know this, but I'm now ready to share this with the world. I know a lot of people may be prejudice against me for this, and I understand your discomfort around me, I only hope you can find it in yourselves to treat me no differently, I'm still who I always was, just with this as well. I'm not going to go so far as to campaign for rights for people like me, I don't really feel that we suffer as much as we once did.

Anyway, I'm ready to admit the truth at last, I hope you won't reject me. Here goes;

I'm a geek.

I first realized years ago, in high-school. I knew I was different from the others, I liked science better than art, and actually enjoyed learning in general. People used to tease me for being "a swot" and for consistently getting good grades, which I liked and got a kick out of - everyone else seemed embarrassed if they got anything greater than a C grade. As if success was wrong.

I didn't enjoy sport, at least until we started studying the effects and benefits of exercise on the body. No one else could understand why we should be studying biology in P.E. or games, but for me it finally made it interesting, and I was finally curious enough to start genuinely taking part - after which I was regularly asked to join the netball team or the gymnastic team, but I still held grudges with those who teased me for my IQ, and had no interest in associating with them outside of the competitions - which would have been necessary.

I was interested in home economics classes, which were mostly made up of cooking, I wanted to try new foods and play with different flavours, cooking times and combinations, wanting to be able to prepare something more intriguing than fish-fingers with chips and peas. While the other students balked at trying cheeses more extravagant than cheddar, and were positively horrified by produce from other countries, I was already preparing meals from countries they couldn't even find on the map.

For a while I tried to hide the truth. I didn't use my advanced lexicon, or tell people I knew things because I liked reading books or watching documentaries. I asked my sister to tell me what was happening in soaps and reality tv, so that I didn't have to stomach watching them in order to keep up. If people asked me what I did at the weekend, I'd say I went out with friends, went shopping, watched tv - the truth was I'd play video games, read, or tinker with microscopes and chemistry sets.

Eventually I gave up, and allowed people to think what they wanted. I went to sixth-form to study phsyics, maths and chemistry, and then applied to University to study physics.

This Christmas, I'm most pleased with my new NAS drive (although I admit that until asking M's advice, I had no idea that they even existed - thanks M, you're a greater geek than I'll ever be). I also love my geeky tshirts, and all the books I recieved, especially my new copy of The Science of Discworld, which nicely combines two of my favourite things.

So, I'm sorry I'm different, but I am. This is what I love. I'll be spending my Christmas break in bliss - since I don't have exams to study for, and my boss has mysteriously disapeared - I'll be tawling wikipedia, learning Russian, playing with my NAS Drive, reading about science, playing old videogames, thinking up get rich quick schemes, learning about robotics, finding interesting music and generally geeking out. Reality TV won't be on my scedule, nor will gossip magazines or chart music.

One day the geeks will rule the world, mark my words. Join us, we've got robots, and sometimes we go to Space!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Classically Trained

oI used to do a lot more reading than I do lately. I would read anything and everything, and there was rarely a book on my extensive shelves that I hadn't read at least once, and since my shelves make up about 80% of the literary material to be found in my home, it is not surprising that I have read mst of the books in the house.

However, I was looking at my shelves last night, and it seems that in my absence my collection has grown and changed of it's own accord. Something which naturally delights me, especially since I've recently discovered a gorgeous little second hand book shop in Glasgow (just off Otago Street for anyone who wants to find it) and have been growing and changing my collection myself.

So I was starring at my shelf last night trying to decide what to pick up next, and ignoring the books on inflation that I have to read for my essay. In the end I decided to listen to an audio-book of Catch 22 I picked up a couple of weeks ago. However, it seems that Nintendo heard my silent prayer of indecision, and sent me an email today about their new DS Game.

100 Classic Book Collection

As far as I'm concerned, putting a selection of classical novels on a DS cartridge does not a video-game make. Even if it does come with an "interactive bookmark" whatever that is. It seems that Nintendo is running out of cute, quirky ideas.

Now, I got curious, and I discovered that the most recent novels in the selection provided by Nintendo were written by D H Lawrence (who died in 1930) and Arthur Conan Doyle (who died in 1930). According to Wikipedia, "the default length of copyright is the life of the author plus either 50 or 70 years."

I am therefore quite certain that even the most recent novels on the cartridge will be freely available on the Internet for those who like reading things on a monitor. Presumably then Nintendo will be offering this "game" free for anyone who wants it? Or will be charging a moderate sum for the materials and programming time that went into creating it?

I will thank them however, for providing me a checklist. I will read all the books they think they can sell to people in "game" form, but in an easy book form instead. I've already read 28 of them, which I actually think is pretty poor, and plenty of the others on the list sit unread on my shelf.

This could be a damned good project, and will sort out my hobby problems for a while. It will also give me a good excuse to go to that bookshop and squander my student loan. At least it's virtuous and will make me seem all cultured and well read.

The only disappointing thing is that I have to start with Jane Austin because she's at the top of the list.

Pffft, as if I can be bothered with Sense and Sensibility, I'll read about Inflation first.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I Need a New Hobby

Really, I do.

I know this because I've only been back about 24 hours and I'm already panicking about getting bored while I'm at home.

I had hoped to get some work, but I'm fairly sure my old boss has been murdered by his employees, because every time I called to see if he'd have any work for me over Christmas I was told he was out, or it was his day off, or he was interviewing people all day today. No one gets to be in charge by taking so many days off in the run up to Christmas. I'll miss him, he was a good guy. However, it's now far to late to expect work there, and anyway I'm scarred to go see them in case I suffer the same fate as he did, at the hands of evil shop assistants.

I bet his body is hidden in the creepy room full of all the spare manikin parts.

It will be fine when people are around, I'm happy to chill out and chat with my sister and my mother for hours on end. But my mother has to work, and my sister spends all her time hanging out with her boyfriend in Wetherby. It will also be fine when I have plans with friends and Nick. It will not be fine in all the gaps in between.

After a while I'll get insomnia, because I won't be doing enough to tire myself out and make me need sleep - my sleep patterns will fade in and out with everyone else's and things will get progressively odd. Especially since I don't need to get up for lectures or employment. Three weeks of this and I'll be a real mess. No one will be able to tell that anything is different at all.

So I need suggestions. Preferably those which don't cost much money and don't involve writing my essay. Ideally they should improve me as a person and leave me feeling like I've had a productive day. Drinking does not count as a hobby, even if it is with friends.

Answers on a postcard to the usual address.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Psychological Knee Cancer

Well, I've had a good run, but I guess everyone's got to go sometime. I'm afraid to tell you that my time seems to be quite close.

There was once what I believed to be a perfectly benign freckle on my left knee. Now, on my left knee is only impending doom. It had changed not only shape, but also colour, so surely all hope must be lost.

I strongly suspect that the fact that about a quarter of my left knee has also changed shape and colour is because of the cancer that started at the freckle. It definitely cannot be related to the fact that I went out on Wednesday and drank too much Havana Club and coke* and then walked rather forcefully into a chair-leg. Several chair-legs. And a chest of drawers. Hell, at least I was still walking, more than I can say for some. My point is, any fool can tell a bruise from a tumor, right?

If I did have a tumor, I'd name it after Bono.

*My tipple of choice on a night out is Bacardi and coke, the reason being that it's a fairly good, but also fairly cheap rum. If I don't have a tumor, and if I survive psychological knee cancer, I must remember that Radio do such cheap deals even on interesting spirits on Wednesdays.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Breaking the Laws

A couple of days ago I got a text from my mother, asking me when I'd be home because she'd quite like to call me. I said I was home now, which was true, and was asked why I wasn't answering my land-line.

This struck me as odd. The main reason I hadn't answered my land-line was because it hadn't rung, and I never answer phones which aren't ringing. Actually, it's relatively common for me to fail to answer phones which are, but on this occasion that opportunity hadn't even arisen.

I told my mother that it hadn't rung, that I'd check to make sure it was working, and that she should probably be able to call in about ten minutes. A quick inspection of the phone led me to believe that it was out of battery, but at this point I noticed something rather odd. Every other phone I've used has always plugged into a power socket, or into a charger which in turn plugged into a power socket. There was space for standard batteries, but a screwdriver was required to take the cap off and replace them, and I couldn't be bothered to look for one. I called my mother back on my mobile, and thought no more about it until the next day.

When the next day came, Harry wanted to make a call, and found that he could not. I suggested replacing the batteries, and he went to get a screwdriver. When the cap was removed, it turned out that there had never been any batteries in the phone, and that furthermore, while there was space for them, inserting them would be fruitless. There was no terminals.

I should point out that the phone was working perfectly with no obvious source of power for several weeks prior to this.

Now I am extremely concerned. It seems that the laws of physics are either a lie, or occasionally suspended for cheap electronic equipment. This leads me to worry about my degree - what if my subject of choice is all wrong? What if it's founded on mistakes, which can be proved invalid by a phone that cost less than £10?

I always suspected that if the laws of physics went wrong, it would be something to do with me.

I'm off now, going to go see if I can defy gravity, or build a perpetual motion machine.


On Friday I was studying algebra, because there was an algebra exam on Saturday morning. Yeah, you read that right, whoever is in charge of choosing the optimum time to examine second year maths students is a bastard - I haven't decided if I should hunt them down and be extremely polite to them or not yet, but I digress.

Actually, there is a lie in the above, I wasn't studying algebra. I was supposed to be studying algebra. Hell, I was even trying to study algebra, but I was distracted. It turns out that everything in the world is more interesting than learning alegbra on a Friday.

I actually managed to get enough done to not be afraid that I've failed the exam, but there's no argument that I was a mess all day long, and for a little while afterwards. For example, when I spoke to Harry later on Sunday, he already knew that I'd struggled to study on Friday, and told me he knew what I did instead - the conversation when like this:

Harry: I know what you spent all day yesterday doing.
Becky: Me? You do? I was studying.
Harry. Barely. Do you know how I know what you were doing?
Becky: How?
Harry: I did the washing up earlier.
Becky: Well done.
Harry: And I found fourteen teaspoons. I though to myself, now, what does one use a teaspoon for? Making tea! Only Amy and Becky drink tea, and Amy's in Fife...
Becky: I did not have fourteen cups of tea! I probably had about 5... no, I had 6. You can use teaspoons for other stuff.
Harry: But generally you don't. Have I mentioned that you're a disgusting addict?
Becky: You're just disgusting.

I'm not a disgusting addict, I haven't had any tea today, and that's got nothing to do with the fact that we've run out. Harry really is just disgusting.

Apparently then, I spent the day making tea and putting on red lipstick. That's quite wonderful actually, I used to wear red lipstick lots, but don't tend to lately, and I couldn't tell you why, becuase it's a wonderful substance that I'll probably start wearing again soon.

Anyway, I had put on some lipstick, because it was something to do that wasn't algebra, and I decided to go to the kitchen. I can't think why. However, my progress was impeded by accidentally walking into the wall. I should point out that it was pitch black in the hallway, I wasn't simply walking into walls for kicks, or because I'd lost motor-function due to all the tea.

So, straight into the wall, knocking the phone from the notice-board. Chaos. I winced in pain and turned on the light, and started putting the phone back up when Harry entered the hallway and asked why I was causing chaos. I lied and said it had fallen as I walked past, that I had done nothing. He believed me but pretended not to, and went to the kitchen himself.

I finished putting up the phone, looked up. There was a bright red kiss mark on the wall. I still have no idea if he noticed, but I think I removed it in about 8 seconds with bathroom cleaner - fastest cleaning job I've ever done, so if he didn't, I'm probably safe now, and I severely doubt he reads my blog.

So yeah, there has been chaos, and now it's all over, only a joke exam left, hurrah! Frankly I'm just pleased I don't need to cram maths anymore, because it means I can function as a half-way decent human again.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


The calculus exam is over, only algebra and ExCos left... so realistically only Algebra left if we're going to consider real exams. Algebra is on Saturday, and while ExCos isn't until the 19th, I think I can assume that I'll be able to write real blog posts by Monday. I intend to spend Saturday drunk (after my exam) and Sunday eating Christmas diner with my flatmates.

I'm not functioning particularly well, it comes from studying too much maths I think. I spent an unusal lengthof time yesterday completly unable to speak cohearently. It was... amusing, but also kind of scary.

So, no real post today I'm afraid. Mostly because I'm in real dangerof making maths/physics based jokes, and that just plain isn't ok.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Uncommon Sense

Yesterday everyone awoke to find that the shower was broken, no hot water was forthcoming. While this was a horrific experience for all involved, each person decided to deal with the situation a different way.

Gav elected to man-up and take a cold shower. I believe he came close to death, it is not warm in Glasgow at the moment, being cold and wet is probably quite dangerous. Though admittedly a manly thing to put yourself through.

Harry panicked and decided not to shower at all. This meant that he hadn't got up properly, and as such was unable to properly function all day. Instead he regularly walked into the sofa, and pretended to learn medicine whilst playing piano. No one could tell how this was different to usual, but at least he had something to blame his many mistakes on.

Amy rose at around three and decided to spend the next couple of days at her boyfriend's place. In Fife. Miles from the library she hopes she wont need in order to study and pass her exams. She's probably right, and had one of the best ways of dealing with the situation.

I wasn't up for a cold shower. I'm also civilized, and as such not washing didn't seem like an option. It is also true, that while my boyfriend would have been happy to see me, we both have exams at the moment, and one of mine was today. Going all the way to Stirling for the sake of a shower would have been inefficient if I needed to come back again the same day.

Instead, I elected to speak to the landlord, and persuade him to send round an electrician the next day (electricians don't work on Sundays because they're all deeply religious). I then ran a bath.

The electrician showed up today and fixed the shower, I'm not sure when I'm going to tell everyone else about this. Maybe when Harry starts to smell.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Everything is Perfect Forever

This morning, I awoke the way I normally do - barely. Having stumbled about blindly and yawned a lot, I got to the point in my morning routine when I needed to get dressed. Part-way through doing so I had one of the single worst experiences of my life.

I glanced up at the mirror, and discovered that one boob was bigger than the other.

Overnight I had become a freak. I had always believed that all the stuff about everyone having one boob slightly larger was urban myth and designed to terrify children - as far as I was concerned, anyone who was wonky was also a freak, and should be hidden inside under layers of badly fitting clothing. Now I too was a freak.

Tears were close, I went through the seven stages of grieving. Denial came first, I turned on a better light and altered the angle of the mirror, in the vain hope that my eyes were simply playing tricks on me. It semed they were not.

Guilt came next - if only I had not mocked others for being hideously malformed, perhaps this would not have happened to me. My cruel jokes were finally being played back to me with alarmingly harsh irony, which I did not appreciate.

I quickly ran through the rest, promising to be a better person if only they'd even up. Wondering how this could have happened, trying to rationalize the situation. Disgusted by the possibility of having to buy padded bras and take out half the padding.

I refused to move onto acceptance. Desperate, I jiggled once more in front of the mirror, in the hope that I could possibly "bounce" into shape.

A balled up sock fell out of my bra.

Everything is perfect forever.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

You've Gone All Yellow

I am a kind and caring friend. When people need my help I only occasionally pretend to be on my wayto do something important. If asked to go out for a drink with someone I don't like, I tend to say I have no money, in order to avoid hurting their feelings. No one could accuse me of being unnecessarily mean to someone I didn't think deserved it.

Today Sonia called when I got home, and asked me if I'd like to go to Curler's with her friends for a beer and a burger. I like Sonia, but Curler's is not my favourite place, and I don't know if I like all of her friends. It seems that tonight I have no money.

She persisted, and asked me to come for a cup of tea and flapjack. I like both of these things, even better when they're free and combined with the kind of excessively juicy gossip only Sonia provides me with. I arrived. Late.

Since I am a good friend, I was forced to tell Sonia that she was turning the wrong colour, and that it was possibly due to becoming an alcoholic. I was sensitive and thoughtful, I sung her a song about turning yellow written by the amateur transplants, she enjoyed the song but pointed out that I was exaggerating (which turned out to be true when we left the room with the yellow-ish lighting). She also said that she'd barely drink at all over Christmas, as she'd be home with her family.

I hope that I have a friend good enough to make sure that I drink over Christmas, however, I am not nearly good enough to think that visiting Poland in midwinter to help someone get tipsy is worth it. I shall persevere, and buy her a drink when we're both back in Glasgow. It's what friends are for.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Weather Outside is Frightful

And if I light a fire in the flat I violate the terms of my lease.

We do however now have a pretty Christmas tree, with pretty silver things on it, also chocolate (not as pretty as the silver things, but definitely tastier). This leads me to believe that victory is mine once again.

Also, thanks to Euan, simple harmonic motion is now officially my bitch, which means now all I have to master is the rest of the syllabus, and I'll pass the test on Monday with flying colours.

I've always thought the word syllabus sounds oddly like it should be used to describe a particularly nasty demon - but maybe that's just me.

All in all it's been a successful day, and I don't want to waste time writing a real blog post, or that would make it seem less successful, and then I wouldn't get the prize... I sure hope someone, somewhere is preparing some kind of prize, or there might be Hell to pay, and I'll have to chose the person who pays it comepletely at random. Otherwise it might not be fair.

You can't say I haven't warned you.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Skating to Uni


It's cold today. Seems it snowed last night, and before I woke up the snow turned to ice. As I am but a poor student without car or license I was forced to ice-skate my way to uni, this was made harder still by not having ice-skates, but also kind of fun.

There is no longer any grip on the base of my trainers. On the upside, this means tomorrow might be even more fun. Though it would certainly be better if it snowed properly - it doesn't seem like cold weather is really worth the effort without proper snow.

Though if it does snow I may never get home for Christmas. I'm basing this on the fact that when there's leaves on the ground I can walk, but a train can't necessarily take me home for Christmas. When there is snow/ice on the ground I can't walk, so a train has got no chance.

Conclusion: I am mightier than a train.