Posts from May 2007

When people don’t know what they’re talking about

Sunday 27th May 2007

And for once I’m not on about the climate debate…

This article from the BBC caught my eye earlier. And, to be frank, it’s just a joke.

I watched the race today, and anyone who says that McLaren stopped them from racing each other must have been watching a different race. Alonso and Hamilton were both on the absolute edge, especially for most of the first stint. The difference between the two is that Alonso was (marginally) faster, and a lot more experienced. That is why he won. Anyone who suggests that McLaren would favour one driver over another (without good reason, this early into the season), clearly doesnt know anything about the sport, or have very short memories; Prost and Senna were ferociously competetive against each other, and in fact so far this season we’ve blatently seen that the McLaren drivers are allowed to race each other. Like in Australia, where Hamilton led Alonso for a good part of the race, and the last two races where he’s finished ahead of Alonso.

The only reason people have suggested an “anti-Hamilton” bias is because, for the first time this season, Alonso shaded Hamilton all weekend. And the British media don’t like someone beating their golden boy…

Posted In: MotorsportRant | No Comments

Now I lay me down to sleep

Tuesday 22nd May 2007

Or not. The irony that I’m listening to a song called Sleep as I write this is not lost on me.

So tomorrow I have my last exam, and thus the end of my first year of University (as long as theres no resits…). Bloody hell, it’s gone by rather quickly. I say that, but at the same time it feels as if I’ve already been here forever; it feels as if I’ve known the people I’ve met here for ages, and it feels as if I’ve been in the University routine for years.

But I havent. I realised the other day that it’s just over a year since we stood down for study leave at School. It’s my last exam tomorrow (ok, today, if we’re being picky), and also 11 months since my last A level exam. Now that feels like it was a long time ago. It feels like it’s been years since we whiled away lunch in the Hall, pratted about in maths lessons or ambled into Bartley over lunch. It feels like an age since I enjoyed my daily commute…

Isn’t it funny when we look back that we generally only remember the positive things? I don’t remember having to get up at half 7 every morning, or having to de-ice the car before I left. I don’t think of those endless lunchtimes spent supervising insidious little twats in the IT room, or the endless politics. Hmm.

It’s only been a year, but it feels as if so much has happened; as if everyone I’ve known since then (as well as me, probably) has changed so much. Not always for the better, sadly…

Talking about time, it’s disturbing me slightly how warped my perception of it has become lately. I think of 1am as “an early night”. It’s half three at the moment, and I’m still not thinking “oh, I should go to bed soon”. It’ll start to get light in the next hour. I don’t know that from looking it up, I know that because it’s got light at about half 4 for the last few days, and I’ve been awake to watch it.

Anyway, I have an exam in little over 9 hours. I suppose I should go sleep, or at least do something productive.

Posted In: ProcrastinationRandomSleep Tagged: | 2 Comments

Don’t think twice, it’s alright

Saturday 19th May 2007

Now if it’s time to recompense for what’s done
Come, come sit down on the fence in the sun
And the clouds will roll by
And we’ll never deny
It’s really too hard for to fly.

So it’s past 2am again. And once more I’m sat at my desk, not really doing much. For once, I am actually tired (and I’ve got a headache), but I’ve once again managed to distract myself. Most nights for the last week or so, I’ve been heading to bed really late. As in “shit, the sun’s coming up. I need to go to bed soon”. And then when I’ve gone to bed, i’ve found it hard to sleep.

Lately I’ve had all these thoughts and ideas floating round my head, and I’ve found it really hard to switch off from them. I’ve kinda been going over things to myself, let my mind wander, and sometimes I’ve slightly surprised myself with where I’ve ended up (and sometimes slightly annoyed myself).

To be honest, most of the reason i’ve been up has probably been because I’ve been listening to music. I’ve generally said “oh, one more track”, but that track has inevitably led to one more, and then to an album. And the reason I’ve been so introspective is probably to do with the type of music i’ve been listening to at these sort of times. If you know your music (or are good with Google), you might have realised that the lyrics at the top of the post are from Fly, by Nick Drake. It is – and I can’t over-state this – an absolutely astounding song. And most Nick Drake does seem to lend itself very well to that sort of introspective thinking. The title of this post is from a Dylan song, which I’ve fond out tonight that Drake covered. I’ve not heard it, but I reckon that if anyone were to sing that song with the right sort of bitter and semi-sarcastic manner which it so much deserves (and of which I am so approving, lets face it), it’s Nick Drake. Listen to one of his albums, and you’ll get what I mean.

I could talk about Nick Drake for a long, long time. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man (again…), you simply do not hear artists like him any more. Which is a shame.

Most of the posts on here are becoming slighty “diaryesque”, aren’t they? The sort of entry that I’d always sworn never to write… I don’t know if it’s because of the move, but that’s just the sort of thing I’ve wanted to write lately. I been finding it very hard to get worked up enough about something to be able to write a meaningful batch of words about it. Or I’ve had a coherent thought or idea that I’ve wanted to write about, but I’ve not been able to put that thought down with the same amount of clarity that it had in my head – I could write about it, but when I read it back to myself it just sounded muddled and confused (“like this post, ho ho ho!”).

Good example of the whole “not getting worked up” thing today. Was sat in the Taf (read: union bar, if you’re not a Cardiffite) earlier with some people, and a discussion about religion (namely Christianity) cropped up. Two of us there were atheists, the others were Christian. And I just couldnt be bothered to discuss it with them – there was no point. The thing that really pisses me off about most religious people (that I’ve spoken to about this, anyway) is that they don’t seem to appreciate where I’m coming from. For instance, someone today was saying that he’s a Christian because it “gives meaning to life”, or somesuch. And he simply couldnt comprehend that I don’t need there to be meaning to life. I am perfectly happy with the realisation that we’re born, we live, we die, and that within a few generations we’re forgotten about. I can see things for what they are, and I’d argue that that viewpoint is a lot more refreshing, much more liberating, and a lot less dangerous, than the view that “God made the Earth for us. He made us in his own image, because He loves us blah blah blah”. Oh, and Christians, when you’re asked a question about something, the answer “well it’s in the Bible” is not always acceptable:

Me: Why don’t you believe in Evolution?
Them: Oh, well the Bible says…
Me: Yes, but the Bible is a book. “2001: A Space Odyssey” says that 6 years ago we’d be living on the Moon, and would be sending a spaceship to Jupiter, piloted by a sentient computer and two men, with a bunch of the world’s leading scientists in the back of the ship snuggled in their hibernation chambers. I hate to break it to you, but books arent always true.
Them: Yes… But the Bible says…
Me: Yes, but the fossil record says…

Usually, I’m always up for a good theological discussion. But it bloody annoys me when people who are religious just dont understand your point of view, or don’t try to understand it. This seems to be something I’ve only come across at Uni – I’ve had plenty of other conversations where people have addressed me by not just saying “oh well in the Bible it says…” (yeah, I talk to Jehovas Witnesses when they come to the door), and they’ve turned out to be bloody thought-provoking discussions, for them as well as me, I’d hope.

So, lesson learned from that: theological debate is not compatable with pubs.

I was watching the Panorama on Scientology the other day, and to be honest it was quite an eye-opener. The thought I came away with was, if Christianity – or any other religion – was founded 50 years ago, how would we perceive it? What makes Scientology any different to Catholicism, or Sikhism, or Islam? Except that it’s more socially acceptable to mock Scientology…

Anyway, I’ve gone staggeringly off-piste, and have now forgotten what I was talking about, or where I was going with it. So I should probably leave this here.

Posted In: MusicProcrastinationRantSleep Tagged: | 1 Comment


Friday 11th May 2007

My exams start on Monday. So by rights, I should be revising quite solidly at the moment. Well… It is sort of happening – I’ve managed to do a bit every day, just probably not as much as I would’ve liked. I really find it hard to revise – I’m not sure why, but I’ve never been very good at it.

I kind of started to appreciate why the other day. For some bizarre reason computing coursework was set just after easter, due in before the exams started (today, in fact). Awful timing, because it meant I’ve essentially lost a day of revision in having to go down to the computer room (in the rain!) to piss about with Matlab for a couple of hours. The weird thing is that, doing work like that is something that I actually really enjoy.

I find this with most “projects”. Whether it’s Matlab, drawing a section through a building, designing a bridge or even just designing this site, once I start concentrating on a task like that I find that I can really get my head down and just do it, and I find that I really enjoy it. I love that feeling of satisfaction at the end, where you’ve worked for a few hours to produce something tangible, something you can hold up and say “look, this is what I’ve done”. Revision isn’t like that – you don’t really get the fruits of your labour until you get the exam results back.

Another thing is that I can never decide quite how to revise. Going back to proper work, with my Matlab coursework the first thing that I did was grab a piece of paper and just plan a logical way of doing what needed to be done, and then work through that plan. I find it hard to do something similar with revision. If I sit down and say “right, today I’m going to revise Geology”, I don’t know where to go from there. Do I read through notes? Find some questions to do? How do I know when I’ve done enough revision? Inevitably, you dont, so I always go into an exam feeling slightly unprepared until I turn the paper over and find out if I can do the questions or not.

It’s all rather annoying, and easily avoided by watching TV, MSN or playing games. Ah, good old procrastination…

Posted In: Procrastination | No Comments

Sheer Pornography

Sunday 6th May 2007

This is a video clip of an advert from Shell. It cost about £2 million apparently, making it one of the most expensive adverts ever. Worth every penny, if you ask me.

The best thing is the sound – theres a reason I like Ferrari more than almost any other car manufacturer or racing team, and part of that reason is that their cars always sound exactly right. The bit of the film where it switches to the modern car (F310, I think?) is the best bit, I think – no matter how foul a mood I’m in, that part of the film always makes me smile for some reason. Sends shivers down yer spine.

One sad thing though – apparently, the filmmakers wanted to film part of it in London. The reason why they didn’t? “Health and Safety” concerns. Sigh.

Posted In: CarsMotorsport Tagged: | No Comments