The Account of a Lifetime

January 7, 2010

Spectre of the Past Part III: 2007 Feb – June

Filed under: Bebo blog — xisor @ 8:03 am

13/02/07: Further than I’ve ever gone before

Well, it seems this semester is the make or break one. If I do well, I’ll (hopefully) have done spectacularly. If I’ve done poorly, I might still have done well, but I’ll be out on my ear regardless! In all honesty, it is literally doomed from the start, but let’s just see how it goes…

So, the modules for this semester, something light and interesting? Something to relax with so that I’m able to recover from last semester? Something easy, perhaps? Not quite:

Quantum Mechanics 2 (10 Credits)
Electromagnetism (15 Credits)
Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics (10 Credits, toughest course, my Advisor even warned me it was really difficult)
Solid State Physics (15 Credits: German Academics shouldn’t Lecture)
Transferrable Skills (15 Credits, already half-done though last semester…)[This takes me to the 60 Credit Requirement for the year semester, and slightly more)
Nuclear and Particle Physics (10 Credits, Fourth Year Module)
Science Ethics (10 Credits, Interdisciplinary Module)
Computational Physics (15 Credits, might get dropped at the end of this week)
Information and Measurement (15 Credits, might also get dropped at the end of this week).

Currently, however, that amounts to 107.5 Credits (counting Transferrable Skills as half), which is 47.5 Credits more than I need to be doing, and 12.5 Credits short of doing a year’s work in one semester.

Oh boy, this should be fun! Off to the library now!

Have fun folks,

17/02/07 Not quite so far

Decided it was best to drop Computational Physics and Information & Measurement, and have instead been keeping on top of the other seven modules. It’s working rather well…so far.

Spent the vast majority of my time this week between three places:
– My room (sleeping)
– Physics (lectures & tutorials)
– The Main Library (studying for the most part)

And do you know what? I’m still enjoying it, two weeks in on a heavy schedule. And it’s still buckets of fun. Right now there’s a party with a good dose of Uni friends here going on downstairs (along a corridor, and then back up a load of stairs), and I’m still not drunk at all. In fact, it’s been going on for an hour or two so far, plenty of folks, plenty of booze, I’ve a bottle of Midori (and some lemonade to go with that), and a bottle of port sitting, not to mention the beers on the windowsill (a makeshift refrigerator/cooler/thing). Perhaps I just don’t want a drink?

Well that’s patently not true, it’s a curious sensation…

Ah well, enough of this. Drink Time.


PS I got a book out of the library yesterday, call “Introducing Quantum Mechanics”, and it’s rather good. But that’s not the point. It’s also a first edition. Okay, not an especially big thing. But, it’s a first edition, from the 1930s! And it’s now sitting in my room, woo!

25/02/07  Here again!

Yup, back in the Physics Computer Lab/Classroom!


Now, my next assignment is this:

The Failure of Physics

I now have to adapt the review article to be accomodated as a twenty minute talk. To professors, fellow honours students, and my course lecturers. This’ll be fun!

I’ve fifteen books on various topics concerning physics, philosophy, complexity, causality and some ontological interpretations of quantum mechanics, amongst piles and piles of notes, plus annoted reviews of my Review Article. So at least I should have *some* information to be getting on with!

25/02/07 Concerning Visitors

Right, as it stands, from home I’ve had Gav, Archy and Dave Forrest come up to visit, in two and a half years. I heartily feel anyone looking for a daytrip to the seaside/eveningtrip to the pub should give’s a shout and come visit St Andrews.

You have been warnedinvited.

06/03/07 Sweet Oblivion

Well, incompetence day arriced today. Sitting watching neighbours: four Hit Squad members come in. Gunfight ensues. I kill the lot of them! :)

Walking home from a party at Fiona, Viki and Stephen’s, Jonathan put the three “bangs” in my stomach. Dead and dead. I knew he’d been up to something, but sometimes death isn’t only unavoidable, it’s desirable.

Now I can live peacefull. Happily ever after, some may say!

Well, happily is a relative term…

Battlestar Galactia: Excellent
QM2 Revision: Not so good
Meeting with Doctor Pickard regarding TSfP talk: Excellent. Put a proper cheer in my step
Killing four hit squad members in the best gunfight assassins has ever known: Simply delictable
Doctor Who is scheduled for the 31st: Over the moon
Sitting in a room with Viki without either of us being visibly/terribly awkward: A bit of a relief, to be honest.
Sleeping through Science Ethics: Good to be back on form!
Following the EM lecture all the way: Another great big relief
Really learning things and knowing answers in the Solid State Tutorial: Not to be complained at
Dieing on the way home from the ‘party’: A bit disappointing, but now I can truly throw myself into a hefty amount of work. It’s about time too. And I can lead a quiet life again!
Becoming a legend amongst assassins: Well, I wouldn’t say legend.
Looking forward to life in general: How can that not be good?

All in all, a good day :D

Let’s just see how the rest of life goes (terrible, I half expect)

10/03/07 Something’s different…

I’m not sure what, but this last couple of days, something has felt very different. Like a new breath of life. But I wasn’t dying, so that makes no sense!

No, even though I’m still not entirely on top of coursework again, something’s livelier. Something’s more fun about it all. It’s a beautiful day today, I’ve two parties to attend this weekend (one expected, one entirely unexpected, but rather pleasantly surprising [perhaps an understatement? No, probably not…]), and plenty of fun to be had in the meantime.

Spending this afternoon with Alex and Erin, may have a can of beer or two, but nothing excessive (Still obeying Lent Rules***). They’re hosting this evening’s party, so it should be fun. Ideally i’ll get my lecture notes copied out this afternoon, try a spot of tutorial work this evening and maybe head to the Union with folks later.

Ideally I’ll get up tomorrow morning, have breakfast and then nip across to Physics to put work in on my Transferable Skills talk (The Failure of Physics?).

Depending on whether I get my lecture notes copied out in time, I should likely also be heading out round the charity shops these afternoon to try’n find some ’80s’ gear for tomorrow’s party.

As an indication of what’s actually changed:
– 2nd Haircut in just over a month
– More energy
– Hand eye coordination is returning to unprecedented levels! (I managed 10-12 keepy-uppy things with the pingpong bat and ball…normally I’m lucky to hit three! [and I wasn’t even trying])
– Staying awake for the better part of most lectures

I dunno, whatever it is, I hope it’s reasonable, and not too fleeting. Then again, it could just be the calm before the storm…maybe it’s all going to hit the fan! In fact, I half expect it will go entirely and completely disastrous…but here’s hoping. Don’t hold out hope though, and we’ll see how it goes!

For Lent I’ve given up: Chocolate, Steak Pies, Mushrooms, Fruit Gums and being Drunk. So one or two drinks is okay, but not being drunk.

12/03/07 Back to normal!

Well, that’s the happy atmosphere all spent! And bloomin’ good fun it was too.

Now, returning to ‘normal’, I’ve a heavy week ahead. I imagine it’ll be fun, and I did break my lent vows (drunk at last night’s party), so I’m going to have to get some penance in gear.

Last night was a very pleasant night, but I did spill some horrible greek alcohol on the pristine-white wall…I hope I can make up for that at somepoint! Eep.


It is of note now that I’ve recently finished a whole two books! Border Princes by Dan Abnett, and Ubik by Philip K Dick. Both were really good fun.


Upcoming I’ve the EM Tutorial to do for tomorrow, get to *more* work on my TSfP talk, and all the tutorial work for later this week. Wayhey.


I’ve only just noticed I’m absolutely famished. Hardly ate anything at lunch, and I didn’t really have a proper meal last night (which explains the drunkeness). If I run into town quickly I can grab something before mass this afternoon.


I got a classy eighties jacket yesterday, it’s highly likely if any of you see me soon, I may well be wearing it!

Have fun folks,

12/03/07 Far Beyond the Stars

Perhaps the best episode of Star Trek ever…

22/03/07 The  Failure of Physics, the Head of Physics and the Astronomer Royal

Well folks, a small update for anyone who is sufficiently bored!

Burn Weekend

Immensely good fun. Exceptionally educational (in a very good way), I feel far more secure in my astrophysical knowledge than I did when I studied the damn subject, and have developed a deepset resentment for the insular/seperatist astronomers! Well, not a *real* resentment, but there was no need for them to split off! It left us Theoretical Physicists with staff on one side, (well organised and suspiciously eager) astronomers on the other, and directly opposite us the rest of our own damn team! (other physicists).

Fortunately a few folks were on hand to bridge the gap and keep at the beachhead we’d made. The staff kicked our behinds, as did the Astronomers. But that’s what you get when you engage in games of Trivial Pursuit (no end of jokes: “Well the answer is simple. Once we know which the song was, the solution is trivial…!” etc) with inebriated physisicts.

But we still had the moral victory: under organised and badly fractured by the astronomers, we still managed to get the green slice/wedge (science and nature), whilst they only got the History, Culture and Entertainment slices (Yellow, Pink & Brown)!

Aside from all that, the Burn talk went surprisingly well. The guy immediately before me put on a lovely talk about the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics whilst I went on to talk of The Failure of Physics. It went alot better than I’d expected, considering my QM lecturer, two former tutors and the head of the school of Physics were there (amongst a host of peers from my year!). I even managed to successfully and deftly (IMO) answer all the questions directed at me, even going so far as to invoke the Titanic as an example of “a situation which could be explained from first principles, but not predicted” (as posed by my QM Lecturer!) Not to mention that the Head of Physics was there; quite intimidated by this guy, but I was surprised to find the bulk of his questions quite entirely manageable!

All in all, I was rather chuffed.

Other talks I attended Quantum Teleportation (*2), Quantum Computing (*2), Quantum Cryptography, Superconduction in Neutron Stars, Many Worlds, Type III Stars (First Generation Light), Dark Matter & Black Holes, Physics of Sailing and a fair few others that I forget! All in all, a tremendous weekend. (Not to mention the tipsy/drunkeness that led me to try and lead a band of plucky physicists 3 miles across pitch black forrestry-land at one in the morning whilst joking, at length, about how we were now St Andrews’ premier anti-Werewolf unit…don’t ask…!)

The Astronomer Royal

On returning to St Andrews I then (on the Monday) attended one of the Gifford Lectures (set up over a century, apparently, to promote discussion of Natural Theology…), presented by Professor Sir Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal and Head of Trinity College, Cambridge. It was exceedingly interesting, not to mention very close to what myself and Ian had presented but a day earlier (Many Worlds & non-reductionist physics!), even going so far as to largely cover everything we’d done and more! Tremendously enlightening and excellently presented. But that’s not the best bit (for me)!

At the end, debating whether to ask a question at the Q&A bit, I decided ‘what the hell’ and went for it. So, when he pointed at me, the ‘chair’ guy said “Right, this’ll have to be the last question” (ME!)

So, hesitant and somewhat overwhelming: “It was posed to me recently:’Is it the failure of physics to describe emergent complex structures?’ , I was just wondering what your thoughts were on that, what your answer would be?”

And lo’ and behold! IT WAS EFFECTIVELY THE SAME ANSWER I’D GIVEN THE DAY BEFORE! I’m not insinuating plagiarism, but rejoice! My answer coincided with the Astronomer Royal’s! I was more’n a wee bit chuffed by that! :D

Anyhow, since then, not alot, and I should really finish this bloomin’ spherical oscillator problem for tomorrow!

Night night & have fun!

02/04/07 Some practical remarks…

Well, okay…not really.

Bored off my face, and the studying isn’t going to plan. That is: it isn’t going at all! But I have a plan!

He has a paln

I done an all-nighter on Friday-Saturday, managing to read through a bit of our Electromagnetism…but didn’t get terribly far with that.

So, from then I went to be at about one-ish yesterday afternoon, and got up just in time for Doctor Who (which I thouroughly enjoyed, in spite of some dubious dialogue).

I then went out later that evening for a spot of partying down in Dunfermline. Alas no dancing, but I did have a very enjoyable (and strangely swift) walk home. Only took an hour and a half…which was surprising given that I was in my slowest trainer/shoe/things

But the trick is I still haven’t been back to sleep! And I don’t intend to until this evening, probably about 8-9ish, allowing me to (ideally) reset my sleep pattern and get up a perfectly respectable time tomorrow, go swimming *and* get some work done. If I’m lucky I might make it to mass (I daren’t go today, as I’ll likely fall asleep!) too.

But that’s all really boring!

Yes, yes it is. So on a lighter note, I’ll reference you to my video above. “Since I left you”, by the avalanches. Well, in my entire life I don’t recall actually leaving anyone in any particular form (I’m stubborn thatway, apparently), so it’s an odd one. But the video kicks ass. With this in recent days I’ll let you all in on some anecdotal urges (not those kinds) I’ve been having lately. In a strange turn of events, I’ve felt:

– The urge to simply run places, typically in situations where precisely no running is required or even desired. So I ran places. Which surprised me, given that 1- I tend to be quite averse to running in general and 2- I seem to be able to run alot farther than I’d’ve thought I could had you asked me…

– To attempt to use telekinetic powers to make dining room furniture and paraphaneilia float and spin rapidly. Despite giving in to this urge, I have found that because I don’t posses any telekinetic powers the entire exercise is quite futile

– Whistle. Something I haven’t done alot of lately, but have been doing alot more of. I can’t whistle as articulately as I used to be able to (which even then still wasn’t terribly brilliant), but it’ll get there, I hope.

– Dance. A strange one, to be honest, considering I’m not a very good dancer. But, I have to admit, it’s fun just bursting into dance (or something even stranger still, see the next point)

– Skipping. A combination, in my mind, of the dance and run urges. Strangely relieving, and you seem to be able to travel very quickly with very little effort when skipping, which continually perplexes me. It used to amuse the hell out of me in PE (I couldn’t run around the gym for peanuts but I could skip for days…)!

– Cups of Tea. Actually, these aren’t that unusual for me, as I’ve been regularly drinking the stuff for years now, but in this last week I’m sure I must’ve moved to about 5 or 6 cups a day…which strikes me as worrying. Delightful, yes, but worrying.

– Brawl. This is a truly intruiging one as there’s just no way I can give into this…I tend to be rather pathetic and pacifistic when push comes to shove (literally speaking). Not like backing down…but suffice to say that throwing punches and kicks successfully has never been a strongpoint for me. So it is indeed strange to find myself idly wishing the pub/club/elsewhere would suddenly descend into a drunken Wild West saloon style brawl…

– Pick people up when hugging them. I apologise to folks I done this to last night, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t just give a normal hug last night. Very perplexing.

Ah well, that should be enough for now, I’ll try and add more as I remember (or suffer from) them.

Have fun folks!

04/04/07 Pi Time

Me and Stephen noticed this as a turning point in life in any given early-morning/late-night adventure.

We began to get suspicious during first year (we shared a room) when we realised we were rarely asleep or even in bed by two o’clock in the morning…even if we’d left events at about eleven claiming to be heading for an ‘Early Night’.

We noticed things got really bad, and our typical cut-off point was at the back of three. Specifical 3:14 in the morning, which is the first three digits of the number Pi.

Pi, to many decimal places is: = 3.14159265

Now, the point was that by this time we noticed:
1- We’d been up to a ludicrous time in the morning
2- We were highly unlikely to make the 9AM lecture the next day (both our semesters in first year had 9AM Maths every day of te week).

Since then I’ve always noticed that Pi time is a distinct turning point in events. It either gets me to stop what II’m doing and go to be (as is happening now), or it envigorates you to new heights of wanton sleeplessness and insomnia. Be it writing nonsense on the internet, scribbling diagrams for you next Physics Tutorial or simply reading 44 Scotland Street (Stephen’s particular vice) to silly time (typically anytime after Pi Time).

But that’s not all

At the very end of Second Semester in First Year, my friend Emma (who’s on here) introduced us to the concept of Sleep O’Clock, when she deployed it against a rather drunk Isi (Stephen’s better/other half) to get her to go to bed.

So, on that brief journey through time I can summarise it all for any who care:

Pi Time– 3:14 AM
Silly Time– Any time after 3:14 AM but before your first lecture (~9AM and originally a Maths lecture)
Sleep O’Clock– The time when a drunk person really should call it a night and go to bed

Alas, it isn’t my sleep o’clock, as I’m not drunk!

The End of Lent

Saturday after the Vigil Mass. It seems.

That said, if I come through to Glasgow on Thursday, I’ll be expecting it to be a proper Last Supper affair, with:
– Betrayal
– Feet washing
– Wine
– Food

Still, I am rather looking forward to Mushrooms, Chocolate, Steakpie and Fruit Gums again. Particularly the first and last of those.

05/04/07 Never put a fat man in a boat

Just had Castaway on in the background and came across a rather marvellous bit of worldly wisdom.

“Never put a fat man in a boat”

More accurately is: Never put a fat man in a tiny boat in rough waters. He’ll break the boat. As happened. The presenter reiterated this to us:

“Never put a fat man in a boat”, told to us by a fat man. In a boat.


05/04/07 If I die today, that’s the man I’ll be

“This ship is under attack and we do our jobs. Report to your stations!”
Report to stations?
“My name is ……………….., I am a ………. in the Colonial Fleet, whatever else I am, whatevever else it means, that’s the man I want to be. And if I die today, that’s the man I’ll be.”

Yeah! A little half spoiler from the best (or second best) one of the best scenes ever seen on TV.

Just thought I’d share that with y’all.

Don’t go searching for it on the intrawebz. It’ll spoil things for you. BADLY. So just be enticed enough to go and watch some Battlestar Galactica (from the beginning)

10/04/07 Bored out of my brain…odd, really.

Supposed to be doing lots of work this evening. So far I’ve written up one slide, not a lecture, but a single slide. I’ve been at it for two hours. NOTHING else productive.

Well, I did make a cuppasoup too…but that’s not the point. Might get some tea.

Urn’s boiling now.

Aye, done SFA in the entire time I’ve been pottering around my room. Listening to the radio too, I suppose. Might have an early night (half-ten ish I thinks), and see if that can help any. Only three classes tomorrow, and I think our group (LANDAU!) is supposed to have a pub meet to sort out


Something *interesting* just happened. Alex (my next door neighbour) just knocked on my door. In his boxers! Silly fiend! I’ve no desire to see him prancing about almost in the scud!

On the bright side, he was giving me a pillow case back. I’ve absolutely no idea how the hell he’d have got hold of one of my pillow cases, but there we are!

Back on topic

Aye, tomorrow we’ve a pubmeet to try’n sort out our case-book-lab-report-research-proposal-abomination-thing. Should be fun, they’re a good bunch. And we all hate the topic and the subject (Transferable Skills), so should be in good company.

Classes tomorrow will be Lagrangian and Hamiltonian (Classical) Mechanics, which is usually quite interesting, but really quite difficult. No Nuclear and Particle Physics, which is easier, and only a bit less interesting. Quantum Mechanics Two, which is usually good. My bet is that Doctor Hooley’ll be on the piano again, rather than poetry. Last class’ll be Science Ethics.

All in all, should be a reasonably interesting day, and hopefully I’ll actually get a bit of work done in physics tomorrow afternoon too. Not sure what to do at night though. I’ll think of something!

Urn should be boiled by now.

Mmmm. Orange & Lotus Flower (Green Tea)

Well, back to work!

12/04/07 Sunny Saint Andrews

It’s been absolutely gorgeous weather the last three days. Now I’ve said that, it’ll be raining tomorrow.

Anyhow, its been great! Warm, but not roasting. In Halls is a bit worse though, as they insist on keeping the heating on for God-know’s-what reason!

Was down on the beach playing* football, which was really good fun, with Alan, Stephen and Steven (plus Dave and Robin, but those two aren’t on Bebo, for all you stalkers out there).

Went for a walk round the lake** outside our Halls yesterday evening with Alex and Erin, which was good fun. First time I’d been down that was. We even had time to be chased by a swan! Quite intimidating to be quite frank!

Due to the rather beautiful weather, I’m lagging behind on work, which isn’t really suprising but what they hey! At this moment I’ve been attempting to convince myself to do Classical Mechanics work since about 7pm this evening. Here, six hours later, I’ve only answered three questions…

But, I have learned alot, which is the important thing!

Anyhow, probably should get back to work considering I need to be in bed before Pi Time!

Have fun everyone!

* As some of you know, I can’t actually play football. So it was more a case of me running around, trying to kick a ball from under people and shouting incoherently when I felt in danger of being horribly out classed by the rest of the folks playing: which was pretty much a constant sensation.

** It’s more akin to a large artificial puddle, so I’m hesitant to try and call it a Loch. At least ‘lake’ doesn’t give the impression of being something it’s not. Loch, on the otherhand…

17/04/07 A bit of a panic

Just this moment letting it seep/flood/storm into my subconcious(sp?) that there is less than a month until exams. Not good.

So, in the interim (sp?) between Solid State and Electromagnetism, I’ll sit here in the library…panicking. I wonder how best to start revision…

Probably not by doing this on Bebo. I’ll think of something…hopefully!

20/04/07 Reflections

Just finished dooing up my CV & Reflections for TSfP. This module will be the end of me. And if it’s not that I predict Classical Mechanics will do the trick in its place. >:(

Anyhow, with only one class and one tutorial tomorrow it seems perfect time to be kicking into full revision mode. As sad as it sounds, I’m looking forward to the challenge. Here’s hoping it doesn’t kick the shit out of me (like last time).

It seems another semester is soon passing, and that the time in the sun is leaving for now. I’m not sure how it’ll work out. But I know one thing…well, I’ll let the video explain it:
The trip of a lifetime

Yes, it should be fun…

20/04/07 Missed Stables

Bah! Just found a text inviting me to the Stables (a good pub) tonight! Bit bloomin’ late here, five/six hours later! Gah. Ah well, apparently ’twas a good night. At least I got a spot of work done.

In compensation, I think I might have the last of that Midouri by way of a nightcap…

MMmm. Midouri…

12/05/07 T=-19 Hours

Well, under nineteen hours now until my first exam. By that reckoning that leaves me about 9 hours of study time left (excluding sleep, transit, food etc), probably a wee bit less though.

First up is Electromagnetism tomorrow. A Saturday. :( It’s quite ridiculous. Just checking some tutorial solutions whilst I do practice questions. Not overly impressed, I keep forgetting all the things I’m supposed to have known for months now. Amperian loops, eh? Gaussian Surfaces? Bound charges? Bound currents? Biot-savart Laws? Maxwell equations?

Err…yeah. :o

Ah well, not long to go. Noon on Wednesday and this should largely be over. I’ll still have classical mechanics and science ethics the Wednesday after, but a week in between is plenty of time!

In the meantime? EM, then Quantum Mechanics 2, then Nuclear and Particle Physics, then Solid State Physics. If anything, at least it’ll be interesting. And probably the end of my university career too! Woo!

Anyhows, back to the studying! Yay…

Well, it’s an interesting position to be in. Sitting directly across the hall (of residence) from me (including out the window, across some grass, above tons of rabbits and back in another window) lies all my notes for Quantum Mechanics 2, EM(done and dusted…ish), NPP (Nuclear & Particle Physics) and SSP (Solid State Physics).

I’ve done alot of work on these things, but still not enough. I understand them really well, and have followed the vast bulk of…well..the entire courses really well (IMO). But being unable to replicate this in the looming exams will be very much a problem.

For instance: In less than twelve hours now I’ll be settling down to the QM2 exam (in the sports hall). I’m woefully underprepared, despite understanding it rather well. I mean: The whole thing does make alot of sense. But I can’t replicate it to answer questions! GAH!

I have, however, written down a plan of what I think the exam’ll turn out like. If it’s on the money, and I suspect it will be, then I wish I’d worked through the semester totally differently. If they let me back for a fourth year, I have a clear plan of how to work it all out, so I’ll detail that here (and now) for posterity’s sake, if nothing else.

Frank’s Wondrous Plan of Working Wonders

– Be in bed by eleven. If I’m going out, then I *have* to loose that sleep by getting up at a respectable time. Early nights are better than lie-ins.
– Attend lectures on time. Always be leaving the house ~half an hour beforehand
– By having been well-slept I should also take excellent (reasonable) notes there and then, in the lectures. Don’t waste time annotating them afterwards
– Get a student loan/funding/etc sorted *before* the semester starts
– Buy all the course texts at the start of the semester, not halfway through
– Spend the vast bulk of study-time doing and attacking tutorial questions or reading the course textbooks. Don’t bother annotating/redoing lecture notes. Summarise them, yes. Recopy, no.
– Be well prepared for tutorials. Always have things done ~4 days before the deadline
– Keep good/better correspondence with lecturers/tutors/tutorial-colleagues
– Stay away from forums/etc
– Don’t take extra courses, take *hard* courses.
– Extra courses make me fat(ter) as I end up sitting in one place studying. Exercise is good. Regular meals are good. Snacks are not good. Sitting in one place for eight hours is not good.
– Join the jamesnasium. This’ll be the most difficult (for me, being the lazy git I am), but it’ll be the most fruitful I suspect. I intend to over the summer, so if you see me and I’m not “joining/having joined the gym”, get on my case until I do!
– Lessen time spent on this bloomin’ thing.

And there it is, a foolproof plan!


Yeah, QM2 today at 2pm. NPP at 9.30am tomorrow and SSP at 9.30am on Wednesday. Science Ethics and Classical Mechanics aren’t until the Wednesday after that. In the meantime, however, I have some exams to fail!

Good day, and I look forward to hearing everyone’s anecdotes the next time I distract myself from revision (give me an hour!)


18/05/07 Sixteen Hours

That’s how long I slept for last night! Yay!

Anyhow, now into the final straight of exams. Tow in sight at the end of it, next Wednesday: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics and Sciece Ethics. Should be fun, as they’re both pretty interesting courses. Probably go and tidy up/lay out all my notes on them in the study room, and bundle up the last four exams worth of notes (NPP, SSP, QM2 & EM).

Also, just back from a swift half hour cycle to Guardbridge and back. First time I’ve rode a bike in months (borrowed Alex’s, my next door neighbour) and ’twas rather fun.

Ooh! Just found two packets of Monster Munch, how tremendous!

Anyway, I’ll have a packet, a swig of Tesco’s Apple & Raspberry and see if I can’t do a decent bit of work before dinner. Hope everything’s going well for everone!


24/05/07 In the library, 57 minutes and counting

Right, this is it: The last one (probably forever, given how bad this morning’s was!)!

Science Ethics. Interdisciplinary. Consequentialism vs Deontology in a battle for whatever scientists have where souls (allegedly) should be!

I’m actually struggling to figure out what kind of questions they could ask. I hope it’s not based on the case-studies and examples given. I thought those were just to illustrate the point! Hopefully it’ll be a given situation we have to discuss the ethics of (both positive/negative, right/wrong, good/bad and the ilk).

Just had nice Venti Zen from Starbucks, which was a pleasant throwback to last summer! Also seemed to help the ethicist in me beat away the corpse of whatever it was that sat Ulf’s exam this morning. As my friend James described it: “ulf’s raping”.

Ulf- 2 Frank- 0

That’s two he’s got on me now. First he destroyed my hopes and dreams of doing astronomy by tricking/hypnotising me into taking Pure Maths instead of Astronomy in second yea, and now he sets a dastardly exam paper that was so difficult…well…it’s the most difficult exam I’ve ever sat, suffice to say!

Science Methods wasn’t too bad all those many moons ago (a year and a half, or so, ago), I mean: Ethics can’t be *harder* than Methods, can it? We had to do stats in methods, FFS!

Anyhow, standing whilst at a computer is good. It’s a sort of exercise, in as far as I’m not sitting on my ass. So I’ll stand here for half an hour then go do the exam. Then, in about two hours I’ll be free as a proto-drunken student! Woohoo!

25/05/07 Books & the End

Well, exams are over, books are back at the library (I had 24 on loan at one point, very intensive and one short of maximised how many we’re allowed to take out as undergraduates).

Now I’m only back with a handful.

Anyhow, started packing up bits and bobs and am preparing to leave Andrew Melville this Saturday. It’s really quite emotional, in a way. It’s been my home for a while, and alot’s went on since I’ve been here. It’s not quite Regs, and Regs isn’t quite Melville. Both, it seems, now have a fine place in my life. Now to look to over the horizon, to Albany Park where we should be living next year, woo!

But packing. I suppose someone has to do it. And my sister’ll be mighty annoyed if she gets here at nine on Saturday morning to find I’ve not started packing!

Still, it’s been an enjoyable year (ish) I’ve spent here, and it’s sad to see it come to an end. Made lots of good new friends, so all’s well that ends well, I guess!

Also, Johnny just pointed out, it’s high time I edit my profile-blurb. Whilst exams *are* under a month away, so to speak, it is still somewhat confusing!

Have fun,

25/05/07 G’kar

Since it’s the end of the year, I may as well share this brilliant little gem of G’kar’s. Particularly appropriate, I’d say.

I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we’ve exchanged. Long after we are gone…our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit…that the part of me that is going…will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

05/06/07 Results

Well, they’re in.

But what were they?

EM: 12.2 15 Credits
LHD: 9.5 10 Credits
NPP: 10.3 10 Credits (Senior Honours)
QM2: 11.8 10 Credits
SE: 16.4 10 Credits (Sub Honours)
SSP: 10.8 15 Credits
TSfP: 15.1 15 Credits

But what do I think?

I’m rather pleased with a 12.2. I should, and know I could (given a different first semester), have done better here. Still, in spite of it all, I do need to learn more on this over the summer (as with all, really).

Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics
Well, Classical Mechanics. I am actually kinda gutted on that one. I thought I’d done alot better, though I suspect that simply means that everyone else done really well. Either that or everything I thought I knew is actually utter crap. Ah well, I can revise this over the summer! Shame I didn’t do better, but oh well.

Nuclear and Particle Physics
Again, I really should have done better with this course. Glad I got a 10.3, as I thought I’d did terribly in the exam, but even then I really should have done alot better. It was an easy and interesting course, I’m quite annoyed I didn’t remember more of it.

Quantum Mechanics 2
I’m similarly pleased with this result, alongside EM. An 11.2 isn’t a bad grade. It isn’t good, but that’s not the point! I enjoyed this course, and was quite pleased that I remember as much as I did of it, and know that given another set of circumstances I could do alot better.

Science Ethics
My revision for this course constituted an hour or so in Starbucks just before the exam, and having skim-read the online notes a couple of nights before. All in all, a 16.4 isn’t bad! In fact, it’s better than my Science Methods grade in which I only got a 16! Quite chuffingly pleasant, in fairness! It was an exceedingly enjoyable course, so a result, if nothing else. Shame it won’t count for my degree mark, or indeed for the purposes of me staying on the course.

Solid State PhysicsCrystallography
You wouldn’t believe how pleased I am that I’d learned alot of the crystallography stuff over the course of the semester! Unbelievable! The exam had 80/140 marks on Crystallography, which made up only 1/5 of the course! Of course, I didn’t know very much about it, and that is reflected in getting a 10.8, but still! I’m sure I can learn a good bit more over the summer.

Transferable Skills for Physicists
For a silly course that gobbled an inordinate amount of time, I feel a 15.1 reasonably reflects both how little I cared about the subject (very little), how much I gained from the subject (alot) and how much time and effort was expended on it in any event (really rather alot!). I’m certainly more intimately familiar with the nature of failing physics.

The Failure of Physics?

Perhaps. Though, interestingly, despite this being the second worst semester/term/equivalent of my life, I’m really rather pelased with it all. I know my own ability in these subjects now, and I’m well aware of how badly I was affected by doing awfully last semester but I’m still highly likely to be out on my ear or changing course significantly from Theoretical Physics. I think I’ve a reasonable case to support me here, but I don’t think it’ll be enough for the folks in the department. I mean, when push comes to shove (and it is just about to do so), other folks have done alot better than I have, and deserve to be on the course more than I do.

Still, we’ll see. I thin it is exceptionally interesting that it still remains the only thing I’ve yet properly failed in my academic life is still that bloomin’ AI NAB in Higher Computing! Something/Someone is watching out for me, it seems. Maybe it’s physics itself? :p

In other news

I did, afterall, write ‘Radial Turnips’ instead of ‘Radial Turning Points’ in my Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Dynamics exam, perhaps that is the reason for the low grade?

10/06/07 Closet

I just remembered the existance of what is now my profile picture. It started back in first year of Uni, second semester, I think. I went home for a weekend, and as I was leaving halls someone shouted something along the lines of “Off to see men for the weekend?” and I was like “Yeah, that’s right, you know me!”

I returned after the weekend to find that there’d been a rather severe “Frank is gay, support him being out” campaign. Folks were now under the impression I was gay. It took alot of effort to undo that, and nowadays I think I’m seeing the funny side of it.

Stephen had even made a song about it, and sung it fairly often…

30/06/07 Warehouse Operative Extraordinaire!

Yes, world/bored people, I am in the horrible and wonderful land of employment once again.

‘Twas the second day ‘on the job’ today, down at the ‘chill’ (“they could cut diamons…!”) section Sommerfield Warhouse in Dunfermline. My job? I basically move piles of boxes of food from a wooden pallet in one part of the warhouse into the appropriate wheeled metal trolley-cages in other parts of the warehouse. Mundane and monotonous? Quite! A reasonable way to spend a day? It’s bloody frezing(two degrees celsius, actually), but it’s not bad!

Repetitive, yes, but I’ll surive it. As it’s basically walking around lifting and moving things for seven hours and twenty minutes, five days a week…I’m sure it’s more exercise than I’d get normally (though working weekdays is cutting into my swimming time >:( ).

Anyway, it’s a fair enough job. Robots’ll be doing it one day, but I might as well make money out of it for a wee while!

In Other News

Actually, there’s really not been that much. This is the first week I’ve not really done anything remarkable or interesting (aside from working). Went swimming on Monday and Wednesday (but had work today, so couldn’t stick to my schedule) and that’s about it.

Since work has started (all two days of it…), I’ve been down to, at best, two cups of tea a day. This is quite saddening, but hopefully it lessens the risk of throat cancer, compared to the standard seven or eight I’d be on when unemployed.

I also have to figure out how to ensure the Inland Revenue don’t dock my wages by some sort of insane 95% Emergency Tax (:z) (That’s right, for one [or more] week only Frank O’Hanlon will actually contribute money to society!)

I’ve also went for a couple of days having an actual reasonable night’s sleep! (Is that apostrophe in “night’s” correct, the sleep doesn’t belong to the night, does it?)

Oh, now there’s a thing!

Frank’s Dreamland Journey to Kyrgyzstan!

Only the other night (Wednesday or Thursday morning) I had a very vivid dream…

My second eldest son, Sam, persuaded me to go on holiday with him and a friend for a few days before I started work. So I did. But we took a flight to, of all places I could’ve dreamed of, Kyrgyzstan.

Yes, Kyrgyzstan.

(In the dream it probably was nothing like Kyrgyzstan, but anyway).

So, I slept on the plane (read: skipped all the boring travel) and woke up with Sam and his friend (a Kyrgyzstani, as I recall) on an airfield in the middle of a desert. So we hopped on some camels. I only remember this happening, not what it felt like, as I fell asleep in the dream until the journey was over. When I woke up again, we were approaching a series of what appeared to be Aztec/Incan Pyramids, Olmec Heads, Egyptian Pyramids, Temple-things built into rock faces, ‘Tunisian’ houses (those Tatooine houses from Star Wars) and massive Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi temple/garden/water structures!

It was gobsmacking. There was alot of action/things happening/intrigue as we approached this ‘outpost’ of civilisation in the desert, but it was so vivid, so beautiful. It really tickled that wanderlust deep in the heart, y’know? I really want to go and explore now!

Hopefully I should have a few pennies in bonds that mature on my 21st, and any cash from work might fund some sort of ad hoc adventure nearer the end of the summer.

But this ‘Dream of Far Kyrgyzstan’ was awesome. So difficult to convey in words (especially as I can only recall the sensation and vague pictorial memories), but as I think of it, I’m glad I’m writing it down! It was tremendous, amazing. Maybe I will actually make it to Albania this year!


Well, I’m a bit bored now. Really want to go and read, and also ought to actually pick up some textbooks in the next week or two. But, before then, Dave mentioned someone’s having a Birthday party tomorrow that I might gatecrash/tag-along to, and I also have to watch the Doctor Who season finale. Can’t wait! Hell, I’m even looking forward to work tomorrow, it’s exercise at least!

“… I once was lost but now am found…”

I’m not sure what, but this last couple of days, something has felt very different. Like a new breath of life. But I wasn’t dying, so that makes no sense!

No, even though I’m still not entirely on top of coursework again, something’s livelier. Something’s more fun about it all. It’s a beautiful day today, I’ve two parties to attend this weekend (one expected, one entirely unexpected, but rather pleasantly surprising [perhaps an understatement? No, probably not…]), and plenty of fun to be had in the meantime.

Spending this afternoon with Alex and Erin, may have a can of beer or two, but nothing excessive (Still obeying Lent Rules***). They’re hosting this evening’s party, so it should be fun. Ideally i’ll get my lecture notes copied out this afternoon, try a spot of tutorial work this evening and maybe head to the Union with folks later.

Ideally I’ll get up tomorrow morning, have breakfast and then nip across to Physics to put work in on my Transferable Skills talk (The Failure of Physics?).

Depending on whether I get my lecture notes copied out in time, I should likely also be heading out round the charity shops these afternoon to try’n find some ’80s’ gear for tomorrow’s party.

As an indication of what’s actually changed:
– 2nd Haircut in just over a month
– More energy
– Hand eye coordination is returning to unprecedented levels! (I managed 10-12 keepy-uppy things with the pingpong bat and ball…normally I’m lucky to hit three! [and I wasn’t even trying])
– Staying awake for the better part of most lectures

I dunno, whatever it is, I hope it’s reasonable, and not too fleeting. Then again, it could just be the calm before the storm…maybe it’s all going to hit the fan! In fact, I half expect it will go entirely and completely disastrous…but here’s hoping. Don’t hold out hope though, and we’ll see how it goes!

For Lent I’ve given up: Chocolate, Steak Pies, Mushrooms, Fruit Gums and being Drunk. So one or two drinks is okay, but not being drunk.


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