Friday, February 27, 2009

Parcel Wars

I ordered a case of wine from because I got a voucher sent to me, and it seemed like a pretty good deal. Especially since they said that the would definitely deliver it the next day, and if I wasn't in they'd leave it somewhere safe. This seemed like an even better deal because they also mentioned that should it get stolen, they'd replace it for free.

I'm sure I don't need to tell you what my cunning plan was. It was very cunning, but very simple, and in its' simplicity lay its' beauty.

Anyway, I got back and found a card from Parcel Force saying they'd left the wine with a neighbour. The card also said


Now, I don't know if my Parcel Force Guy (PFG) doesn't trust my neighbour, or if he doesn't trust me and thought I might try to run some kind of scam to get more wine (as if!) Or perhaps he's just feeling guilty for smashing a whole case last time he made a delivery, and wants someone to notice his skills are improving.

It could be any of those things. Just in case it's the last one, I'd like to say this:

Thank you PFG. You bring my deliveries on time and in tact. You successfully leave them somewhere safe, and tell me where that somewhere is. You never break any of my things or try to lie to me. For this I truly appreciate you.

Would you be interested in taking part in an epic battle with The Postman? (I assume he is your arch nemesis).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I had a meeting yesterday with the staff student committee. I am the student representative for ExCos, which is a dumbed down version of astronomy. I was not forced to take the post, I volunteered. I did this because I really care about the other students who take it, they can't speak for themselves, most of them are art students, they communicate through clicks and whistles. This would not be understood at the meeting.

I also did it because I'd like to give something back to the University. It has nothing to do with wanting to add stuff to my CV whenever possible.

I sat next to the chairman, I don't know his name, but he seems like a nice enough man. I think he used to be very ginger, there's still some ginger in his beard. After noticing this I realised that he had more facial hair coverage than any other man I've ever seen. I don't mean that he had the biggest beard I've ever seen, I've been to metal gigs, it would be a ridiculous claim. Rather, a greater proportion of his face had hair growing out of it, most of which he presumably shaved off. He had hair growing on his earlobes. Seriously.

It occurred to me that one of the worst things that could happen to a guy would be getting really hairy when you're really old. I mean, shaving must suck as it is, but hair on your ears? Like some kind of rodent? Totally not up for that. You know what though? It'd be easy enough to solve. Maybe I've got the odd OCD-like tendency, but I know where the nearest three pairs of tweezers are, and they're all within reaching distance.

Yes. Three pairs of tweezers is the optimum number. What if you suddenly realised your eyebrows were the wrong shape and there wasn't a pair in your handbag? What if it was dark? Definitely need the ones with the light. What if you needed false eye-lashes? You just going to try to glue them on with your fingers? I know I wouldn't put glue anywhere near my eyes unless I had my needle-nosed tweezers to do it.

The hairy old chairman would look amazing with false eyelashes. At least in that I would be amazed.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nature vs Nurture

I was thinking about my childhood, and I reckon there's a chance I was groomed for academia. It surprises me, because when I was in high-school I asked my parents if they'd ever had any thoughts on what career they I'd eventually have, or what they'd like me to have, and they said no, and I thought no more about it.

I now have reason to believe that they lied to me. This is not unusual, if you look back on your life you discover that as a child people lied to you constantly. Incidentally they simultaneously try to teach you that lying is wrong. No generation to date has been successful in passing the virtue of unwavering truthfulness onto the next.

Anyway, it was thinking about the differences between my sister and I that lead me to this conclusion. We're a lot a like, both in general personality and appearance, though she's smaller than me and tends to die her hair red these days. Our parents claim to have tried to treat us both the same as they were raising us, and in the respect that they spent equal amounts of money and time on each of us both, they're claim is valid.

However, I'm on my way to becoming a physicist and she's on her way to becoming a photographer. I was always the academic one, and she was always artsy. I reckon its got a lot to do with the season in which we were born. I'm January, she's August. So when it came to birthdays she'd get a swing-set, or a sand pit, or a trampoline. I tended to get microscopes (yes, plural), chemistry sets and electronics sets to play with.

One year Steph got a Barbie and a "Make your own lipgloss kit" for Christmas. The same year there was two dictionaries amongst my gifts. An OED for students and a "Dictionary of Difficult words." No wonder I didn't mix well with my peers. I'd ask for a remote controlled car and get a book called "My First 100 Science Experiments." I didn't even know Fisher Price did such a thing!

And yet, as a child I never noticed. I pointed out the unfairness that I never got anything as cool as a trampoline, and was told I could always use Steph's and that it was only because you couldn't use trampolines in Winter. It made sense. So I absorbed all of it. The interactive encyclopedias, the 1000 piece world map jigsaws, all the books I could get my hands on. Lessons disguised as toys.

When I was home at Christmas last year, my Dad looked at a pile of my notes. He called me over and asked me to explain what they meant. It was some basic stuff on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. I did my best, but the conversation ended like this:

Dad: Let me get this straight, not only are you doing maths when you should be doing physics, you're doing it with letters instead of numbers, and the letters are in Greek?
Me: Yes.
Dad. WTF?

Serves him right. I'm still bitter about that trampoline.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Alright, my last blog apparently left me open for attack. At least judging by the complaints this morning. Martin was the most hurt I think, because I gave him grief for buying an ipod a while ago. Poor ickle Martin.

You might have guessed, this is not an apology. I'm bad at apologies. They always start off well, but they tend to end badly. An example of me apologising might go like this.

"I know I upset you the other day when I called you a fucktard, and I probably shouldn't have. Not that I'm wrong though, you are a fucktard, it's just that I didn't expect you to be sad when I pointed it out. Actually, the fact that it bothered you at all leads me to believe that you're an even worse individual than I at first anticipated. So yeah, sorry. Not for what I said, but that you have to live with that."

See the problem? Frankly it's amazing that I have any friends at all. Perhaps it's because I avoid making friends with fucktards, so that kind of thing doesn't happen often.

Aaaaaanyway. I have a statement to make:

I have never bought an Apple product. The shuffle I own was a free gift. I refuse to use it for anything other than audio books, and I absolutely will never download anything from itunes. I have been debating getting an iphone, but simply because I'd quite like a nice phone that I can get online with, there are alternatives, and considering that I can't afford a new phone at all yet, by the time I can, I will have done my research well enough to choose something better.

Apple is probably evil. Microsoft probably is too. I don't know how to use Linux. I hope this goes some way to absolving me.

(Martin still shouldn't have bought his ipod though. Pretty silly thing to do. What? I'm just saying).

Monday, February 16, 2009


I have another confession to make that might surprise you. I own an ipod shuffle.

I'm not a fan of Apple in general. My shuffle was free when I signed up for an offer for something I actually wanted. I didn't know there was a shuffle in it for me when I signed up, but then they sent me one.

I actually use it. It's only 2Gb(at least that's what it claims), it's nice and small, so it fits even in girly jeans pockets*. It's also kind of cute, in a clinical kind of way. Silver and white is a pretty unoffensive colour scheme so long as it's not on a car.

I do not have it set to "shuffle." It amused me that I could turn that function off, effectively removing what is apparently it's 2nd biggest selling point. Only apple could market a piece of technology as being especially good for doing something that every other piece of similar technology on the market can already do perfectly well.

Nor do I have any music on it. This removes it's 1st biggest selling point. Apple are actually quite good at selling mp3-players, and nobody is really surprised about that anymore. If only because it's old news.

There are five files on my shuffle:
1. Rapid Russian: A course for Beginners
2. Catch 22 (Unabridged)
3. Gulliver's Travels (Unabridged)
4. Labyrinth (Unabridged)
5. The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Volume 1)

These are audio books.

The fact is, I like using things for interesting purposes if I find out that I can. My shuffle holds my audio books. I listen to MP3s with my phone. I connect to my network with my DS, which I also now use as a synthesizer (but rarely play games on, that's the phone again).

One day, I'll be able to do all of those things on one piece of technology. Chances are I can already, if I'm willing to pay the price. The fact is, if ever someone puts synthesizer software on my phone, I'll use it for that. I'll get two cans and a length of string for when I want to call people.

*Guys, you do not appreciate your jeans pockets enough. You can get phone, wallet and keys, possibly also mp3-player in two pockets sometimes, that's incredible. If I've got my phone in my pocket, that pocket is completely full, even now I've got my nice phone back.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Due to some of my recent actions, my flatmate is trying to convince people that I am an engineering student. It's because he's very bitter that he could never study a real science. Do not believe him, he will tell you that I failed an exam, so I've decided to start again with first year engineering, he'll tell you I'm very embarrassed about this, he might even be convincing.

Do not believe him. Frankly, I'd rather stoop to biology than engineering, hell, I'd rather do Earth science (I wonder how many people I can alienate with one blog post?) God knows that could never happen.

Watch out also for him telling you that he's studying medicine. He isn't, it's nursing. Nothing to be ashamed of, we're not living in the 1950s, if we can have policewomen we can have male nurses (though honestly, I'm not sure what we'd need them for). I suppose it just goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you hear (or read).

Harry, you may consider yourself owned.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Refuse Collection Individual

Firstly, I've had a complaint. Apparently Fi is not a robot. To this I'd like to say "oh yes she is." Sorry Fi, but it does seem likely.

This morning I awoke early. I've been trying it out every couple of days, I'm not sure if I like it or not yet, but it does help my concentration in lectures if I've already been awake for two hours. Normally I get up forty minutes before my first lecture and stumble about the flat getting ready, but not waking up until I leave the building. This has produced odd situations in the past.

If I'm going to wake up early I have to give myself an incentive. Things like; "You can get some work done before you even get to uni!" don't seem work. It has to be more along the lines of, "just think how many times you can get changed before you finally settle on an outfit, you might not even be bored of it by lunch!"

Today, my incentive was that I'd ordered something cute from a couple of days ago, so it should be about time it arrived. I don't trust my postman, and I reckon he might knock extra quietly, so I don't hear him and he can leave a "Sorry you were out" form instead of having to carry a parcel upstairs. I planned to catch him if he tried it.

A quiet tap at the door came at around 10am. I dashed to the door to open it before postie could get away, and readied my accusing look. I yanked the door open angrily. Standing there, wearing an expression of surprise and fatigue was what I am now calling a "refuse collection individual," simply because I'm certain that "Bin man" is not PC, and I don't know what is. Also, I feel bad for giving him my accusing glance, it's not his fault my parcel isn't here.

He told me our buzzer isn't working (which I knew, and I've been trying to get our landlord to fix it for some time, but he always fobs me off saying he needs to speak to all the other landlords that own flats in our building). He explained that this was why our bins haven't been collected for some time, and asked for my landlord's number.

This is all very well and good. I'm pleased that the refuse collection individual will call my landlord for me, and that the buzzer will be fixed, and that the rubbish will be taken away. Now I won't have to persuade someone else to take the rubbish downstairs so that I don't get eaten by a giant rat. On the other hand, I was going to use the rats to dispose of the postman's body, and I still don't have my parcel.

Postman... postman... Post delivery personnel? Physical communications manager? Git?

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, and I was very grateful for all of my gifts (even the ferrero rocher from Worby, that I reckon he probably picked up at a service station on the way in. They taste the same wherever you buy them from. They taste good).

I am going home at the weekend, since my parents didn't see me at my birthday, and want to see me now. I don't trust my postman, and its best not to ask why, because the rant's a long one. Anyway, they agreed to give gifts when I came home, though that's actually by the by.

As well as the FR from Worby (bless him) Nick's parents gave me a Thorntons box. I've always felt that being fat wouldn't suit me, my ankles couldn't take it, so I put both boxes of chocolates in the kitchen so my flat mates could have some. They did, though I suspect only out of the goodness of their hearts and concern for my delicate ankles.

I like chocolate. I know some people claim that they don't, but they are lying/robots. I thought I liked all kinds, even that 80% cocoa mass stuff, that people claim is too dark, I think it's perfect. I like white chocolate too, and all the weird flavours green & blacks do, though I've never been brave enough to try the chili one, I have put cocoa in chilies, and it works.

I have one question: What the hell do they put in the pink goo in the centre of the chocolates that are suppose to taste like strawberries? Seriously? They taste like cancer. Gone are the days when I could take a chocolate without looking at the "menu card" on the box, claiming that it doesn't matter because "I like them all". Now I have to carefully try to dodge the nasties, ideally without anyone noticing, the last thing I need is people thinking I'm fussy about chocolate, or they might stop giving me it.