The Account of a Lifetime

January 7, 2010

Spectre of the Past Part IV: 2007 July – December

Filed under: Bebo blog — xisor @ 8:26 am

03/07/07 Informative & Introspective Fun!

Thirty-eight secrets about yourself (Me, in this instance, not you).
be honest no matter what…

One: what is your natural hair color?
Brown, of sorts. The only colours my hair has ever really been is brown (whatever it is now, though I think it changes a bit depending on what time of year it is) and grey (had to dress up as a priest once upon a time, and grey hair seemed appropriate).

Two: where was your default picture taken?
& When! It was taken at my (academic) mother Elanor’s flat in St Andrews on Raisin Sunday in my first year. You might notice “Frank’s an arsehole” written on my forehead in the photo.

Three:what’s your middle name?
Thomas

Four:your current relationship status?
Single.

Five:does your crush like you back
I didn’t know I had a crush!

Six:what is your current mood?
Introspective.

Seven:what color underwear are you wearing?
White, exceedingly boring.

Eight:what makes you happy?
Lots of things. Cups of tea, catching up with friends, doing something correctly. Y’know, all the old hats. Remembering something I’d been struggling to learn always livens the spirits tremendously!

Nine:do you miss someone right now?
Aye, I miss folks from Uni. Not that folks back home aren’t sufficient, but I’ve not seen anyone from Uni since Ashleigh came down to visit around a month ago!

Ten:if you could go back in time and change something, what would you change?
Time travel? They say there was time travel back in the old days…I never believed, but what would I know? Silly old fool…

I’m not at all sure. Something in me wants to go back in time and, y’know, give me some ‘life advice’ when I was in first or second year at high school…but then that might drastically change things by the time I got to the (much better) fifth and sixth year…so…perhaps going back to me at first year in University would be more appropriate. Talk things through with myself and straighten out my play hard/work hard ethos, with more emphasis on both.

Eleven:if you must be an animal for one day, what would you be?
A bumblebee.

Twelve:ever had a near death experience?
Not that I remember. Then again, there’s been a lot of times when I’ve thought to myself “If I make just one move, I’ll tumble and it’ll all be over…that’d be inconvenient”

Thirteen:something you do a lot…?
Waste time on the internet. Sleep. Read. Dream of things far beyond the stars? Not do enough work?

Fourteen:what’s the name of the song stuck in your head right now?
“Human after all”, Daft Punk (mainly because it’s what I’m listening to at the moment)

Fifteen:who did you copy and paste this from?
Natasha

Sixteen:name someone with the same birthday as you?
I honestly can’t remember anyone. I’m sure there are, obviously, but I know my good friend Nick’s is close, at the twelth of July (mines being the fourteenth).

Seventeen:when was the last time you cried?
I almost always cry when reading Harry Potter at somepoint. I know my eyes were (and almost always are) all watery when I read the ending of the Philosopher’s Stone. It’s the “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but it takes just as much courage to stand up for our friends. For that reason, I award Neville Longbottom ten points!” line. Notably, I only finished (for the umpteenth time) Stone again over the weekend.

Eighteen:have you ever sung in front of a large audience?
I did when at primary school. It wasn’t alone, mind you, it was the entire class. That was the last time properly, I don’t think the Cadet’s Choir at Christmas really counts, considering most folks (including myself) were either miming or shouting (or both!).

Nineteen:if you could have one super power what would it be?
Telekinesis. Everytime, I sometimes get urges, when in dining rooms and such (places with lots of moveable things), to want to just be able to raise the whole into the air with my mind and start it all spinning around!

Twenty:what’s the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
Eyes and/or face, I suppose?

Twenty-one:what do you usually order from starbucks?
Venti (Tazo) Zen tea. Amazingly good stuff, though Bean-Scene’s Orange and Lotusflower green tea is also amazing, though goes bitter a lot quicker than Zen.

Twenty-two:what’s your biggest secret?
I’m not sure I have secrets anymore? I used to pride myself on having lots of things no-one knew about me…but I think that got lost somewhere, with them seeping out in time. That I’m actually Burnt-faceman?

Twenty-three:favorite color?
Green!

Twenty-four:when was the last time you lied?
Interesting. Probably recently…though I can’t think what it was. I tend not to lie-lie, in just telling complete falsehoods and whatnot, or lieing to people out of some macabre and insidious scheme. In fact, I can’t think of many lies. Probably something like “Yeah, don’t worry dad, I won’t stay up all night, I’ll likely go to bed in ten minutes…” and then five hours passes…but I don’t think that’s really a lie…I would’ve intended to go to bed…

Twenty-five:do you still watch kiddy movies or tv shows?
Yes. In the month of unemployment between Uni finishing and work starting, I made it my personal mission to watch Chucklevision everytime I could. And it worked quite well! Damn, I love Chucklevision. To me…

Twenty-six:what are you eating or drinking at the moment?
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.

Twenty-seven:do you speak any other language?
I can speak a wee bit of french. I’ve learned a few words of gaelic. Bits of german from pre-standard grades at school. I learned a couple of words/phrases of Klingon in my more excessively geeky days (including the immortal Qhapla! [trans: Success!]). I’m probably going to try and learn *some* Albanian, hopefully soon. I can also swear (twice, two different ways) in Polish, which I’m told I could pronounce really rather well!

Twenty-eight:what’s your favorite smell?
Orange and lotusflower tea, one minute after having been brewed! Yum yum! (though I’ve always loved steak-pie!)

Twenty-nine:if you could describe your life in one word what would it be?
The trip of a lifetime?

Thirty:when was the last time you gave/received a hug?
I highly suspect it was on Saturday night just past. Suspiciously, I don’t actually remember the ‘end of the night’ in Harlem, I recall chatting to Dave at his house (but not getting there) and also (latterly) staggering narcoleptically away from Dave’s at half-five in the morning in an effort to catch the six AM bus. But there wasn’t one until eight…so I strolled narcoleptically through town until eight. But anyway, the point is: I probably hugged folks on Saturday. I definitely recall hugging Kirsty, Jennie, Gillian and Lorne Ashleigh Graham (who was exceedingly drunk too) at points.

Thirty-one:have you ever been kissed in the rain?
I honestly don’t remember. It’s not such a big thing round this way though, as I believe Natasha said the same thing…it rains quite a lot.

Thirty-two:what are you thinking about right now?
I’m trying my damndest to remember more of Saturday night. I hadn’t even noticed I couldn’t remember some of it. I wonder if this is a black-out, or if just nothing at all interesting happened…

Thirty-three:what should you be doing?
Going to bed soon as I want to watch some Lost before catching the bus tomorrow before work.

Thirty-four:what was the last thing that made you upset/angry?
Banging my head on a cage today at work when I’d had to almost fold myself into one in an attempt to straighten out boxes of sandwiches and coleslaw. It was a fleeting “Oww, for <Jebus!>’s sakes!”

Thirty-five:what is your favorite smiley on your instant messenger?
I’m quite partial to the ‘raised eyebrow’ one on MSN.

Thirty-six:do you like working in the yard?
An odd phrase, I assume this is a gardening reference and not some hilarious euphemism? If the former, yes, I do.

Thirty-seven:if you could have any last name in the world, what would you want?
Spanky.

Incidentally it’d be whilst changing my complete name to “Jimmy Banana Spanky”, the name which (in my view) is the best in the world.

Thirty-eight:do you act differently around your crush?
Again, I’m not terribly sure I have a crush…but then I’ve not really thought about that sortof thing recently. That said, if I do have a crush there’s not a doubt in my mind that I’d act differently. I don’t think I’ve done that sortof thing consciously or with intent in about six or eight years, but that’s not the point. I act differently without noticing. Hopefully it’s a ‘better me’ rather than a ‘shit me’.

BRAINWASHER

Just been listening to Daft Punk’s “Human After All” album, and am currently at BRAINWASHER. I must confess to being more than a bit partial to it! That said, I’d also like some more tea. So, I’ll leave you all (all half of you that glanced at this heap) with that cheery thought and that insanely fine bit of (what I assume, in my utterly unmusical capacity, is) bass action.

I’m sure there was something else I’d meant to say, but it can wait! You are not alone.

16/07/07 A lovely birthday present from…my laptop!?

Well folks, I’m into my third day of being twenty-one years middling. Terrific.

But where did all that time go?

University feels good…but it’s going to end soon! I’ve only been there three years and it’s homer than home! School feels so familiar, almost defining…and yet…more’n three years since I last set foot over the threshold. Cadets…well, it’s a little closer than school. Still, it’s the thought (and second to the thought: the people) that counts, and I still see tons of folks reasonably regularly, so it’s not all bad!

Had a nice wee quiet night out on Friday there, and only late this evening (about half-eleven!) did I recall I’d been meaning to have folks round this evening then head out for a Sunday night out! :o

Oopsy!

Anyhow, there’s Dave’s 21st to look forward to next Saturday and I really ought to be emailing the University. Monday (today) should allow plenty of time for that.

So, what did I do for my Birthday? Well, I worked for eight hours of it! Then after a quick bit of respite, I came back to Cowdentopia, then went off through to The Dome in Edinburgh for dinner with my dad, sister and my sister’s boyfriend. ‘Twas good fun, and I had the joint-best steak I’ve ever eaten there (first with a steak I had at The Dolls House in St Andrews in my first year of Uni).

Then, after that, we went off to catch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. To avoid waxing lyrical/venemous about my thoughts on the film, I’ll say but one thing! The book ruined it for me! :L

Presents!

Woo, go me, I got a couple of presents. My sister bought me an iPod, which I think I’m going to have to repay in kind come Christmas (:O , the student loan can [maybe] cover it[ish]), and my dad contributed to buying me a new bike (my last one was stolen in St “Crimeless Capital of the World” Andrews in first semester of my third year!). Brilliant on their own, they combine to allow me alot more enjoyment from my work (cycling back and forth, and listening to music/podcasts through the shift).

More significantly, however, I got some other lovely presents too! Mr Stephen sent me down some rather tasteful Cybermen (one of which should be absolutely ideal for assassins!) and Alex & Erin sent me a lovely German pint-tankard which even has my name on it! :) Many thanks go out to them!

But, it doesn’t end there…oh no. As I was busy updating iTunes on my laptop (old ‘Roy Walker’, as I think of him it), I noticed something peculiar. Something very peculiar. What was it? Well…there was music on it that I’d never listened to before. Hidden away on my hard drive with no (obvious, to me) sign of where it had come from! I couldn’t believe it! Barry White, Cerys Matthews, Faure, Fiddlers Four, buckets of Sinatra, Grant Nicholas from Feeder, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, Katherine Jenkins, Moby, buckets of Oasis, Pulp and the Petshop Boys, the Pogues, Robin Williams, Seamus O’Falanaghan, Simon & Garfunkel and the Smiths! Superfurry Animals? Oh yes! And Supergrass, plenty of Tom Jones and even Wyclef Jean!

Madness! And not a sign where it came from, or rather: how it got there. The sheer amount of the Smiths appearing from nowhere makes me suspect Alex’s detachable hard drive (not a euphemism!) had something to do with this…but I can’t figure out how it all is on my laptop. I mean to say: How? Music doesn’t just…migrate…does it? I’m not very musical, y’see. Never could hack Chris Short’s music rants/tyrades/waxings lyrical/discussions with…well…anyone else that was at all musical (which, essentially, was everyone but me. I wouldn’t know about this sort of thing.

It’s all very disconcerting. I suspect, however, that I should be taking better care of my laptop these days, if it’s going to do stuff like this for me (acquire vast amounts of music without my knowledge!)

In Other News

It’s been an enjoyable wee whiley. Strange being…y’know…twenty-one. People can’t really get away with treating you like an immature/unthinking person anymore…but similarly, I’m not allowed to be immature/unthinking anymore (I’d always hoped I wasn’t, but anyway!) The point is that…well…that’s it. It’s a complete chapter of my life. Anything that I’d possibly have counted as my childhood is…done and dusted. Of course, I’d considered myself not-a-child for a long time already…but that doesn’t mean I really wasn’t a child anymore to the ‘objective observer’…

Look forward to pottering about on my bike tomorrow, amongst other things. Really need to be getting on top of my ‘to do’ list, but since getting fit/not-as-fat-and-unhealthy is on the list, I suppose I can justify it to myself (at least! Maybe anyone who’s reading too…?)

(Just noticed: they’re having quite a waterfight on BB)

All in all, it’s went quite well.

One Year On

It’s also one year on since one of the darkest moments of my life. It shouldn’t have been as bad as it was, but then that’s the nature of exacerbating problems…it makes them worse. :l

At least that bit I can laugh back at. But…everything else that stemmed from it? One day I’ll laugh about it. It, essentially, led directly to the worst three or four months of my life. But even then…they weren’t all bad. Academically speaking, they pretty much ruined me…but even then…I still was able to bounce some of the way back.

But as a person? I don’t think the damage is as not-quite-there as it seems. My temper managed to resurface a few times. Irrationality slipped in plenty of times (though I put that to floundering academically, not mentally…but I might be mad…so it doesn’t matter which it was…it simply is). More argumentative than I was over the first-second year period, but I think I’m still alot better than I was at high school. I certainly feel alot more tolerant of stuff I would’ve agonised over (and likely tried to drag others down with me) once upon a time. In that aspect, I suppose, all of everything really has to be taken in stride. A year is good enough for a healing period. I’ve seemingly stopped doing the really stupid things I would’ve done, and hopefully am still less irritable than I was at, say, primary school and early high school!

Concluding thoughts?

I’m off to watch Frasier! I forgot to mention: I also got Season 5 of it on DVD! :P

I hope everone’s doing away fine and that even those who didn’t survive due to dieing of boredom through this blog will all be seen in the near future! Have fun, everyone!

Qapla’!,
Frank


20/07/07 The Trip of a Lifetime

Well, just been mulling it over in me-noggin’ the last couple of days/weeks, and I’m very convinced that I might blow all of my ‘savings’ in some sort of slap-dash, mad travel escapade around Europe (at least).

At present it seems I’ve Dave & Tass aiming to head to Majorca/Magaluf in the last week of August, and just under a month later, friends from Uni aiming to hit Warsaw/Poland in the name of cheap drink + pleasant eastern European hospitality. If I buy a 10-days-of-22 Youth Interrail (£175 it seems) allowing me ten discrete days of train travel, I’d wager that I can:

– Fly cheaply out to Magaluf/Majorca at the same time as Dave & Tass, or close to it.
– Spend a couple of days with them having a (series of consecutive) wee drink/night out(plural).
– Ferry myself back to Spain
– Bustle around Spain for a wee while.
– Travel to France or something, do stuff there
– Travel to Germany/Switzerland from there, spend a day or seven there
– Move on from there to Italy, do some stuff
– Grab a ferry from Italy to Greece (free, allegedly…), and do some Greco-things (particularly that ‘gets steadily faster’ dance)
– Move from Greece on up into ALBANIA! Woo, I’d finaly make it there!
– Do a few days stuff in Albania and then head north!
– Go up through Macedonia, Serbia, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia, ideally into Poland!
– In Poland, I’d hopefully meet up with folks from University (under Jonathan’s leadership, it seems), and probably get a flight back from Poland with them (or use any remaining ‘train days’ I’d have to get back across Germany to France or Belgium)

All in all…I think it’s doable…ish!

Might be a bit expensive as I’d need to source out hostals/cheap places to stay, and I’d need to eat/have fun on a tight budget…but I’d guess the adventure would be, well, amazing!

Do slap me if it seems I’m not going through this. Severely hard, too!

There are alternatives, of course, but I think this is dead intruiging! Any suggestions, comments and cries of “can I come!” are all welcome!

03/08/7 Even the most epic of journies begin with but one first step

Or something like that.

Well, it’s started. The ball is rolling, soon *I’ll* be rolling.

Deary me…

Right, what’s been done so far:
– Flight booked to Majorca on the 25th of August. Should get me in sometime in the mid afternoon
– Hotel on Majorca, in Magaluf for three nights (so I’ll leave Majorca on the 28th). Hopefully somewhere near Dave and Tass, but if not, oh well! Didn’t come terribly cheap, but c’est la vie! I’ll just need to skimp on champagne for the first leg of the trip!
– Interrail pass booked for starting 22 days of travel commencing 31st August (gives me until the 21st to travel by train around Europe using ten days of travel…)

So, my estimation is that I’ll need to be on the Catamaran off Majorca early-ish on the 28th of August, and checking into …somewhere….anywhere on the European mainland that evening. Most likely it’ll be somewhere in Barcelona (there’s some good hostels there, I think) for a day or two to last me until the 31st, wherein I’ll start my epic journey!

Now, if I can just stay safe and not injure myself between now and then…broken leg here I come! Choo choo!

Also, my dad’s now off on holiday to Menorca for a week, and my sister is off in Edinburgh tonight. So I’m all alone in the night. :(

Almost bedtime though, pip pip!

06/08/07 To summarise the summary of the summary: people are a problem

“To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.” – Douglas Adams, The Restruant at the End of the Universe.

I’ve noticed in my short span here that some of the people who consider themselves educated, enlightened or otherwise ‘well-informed’ have an idea that we, humanity, are in a unique position. That is: That we are able to do things contrary to nature, we’re able to build civilisation, Cowdenbeath, telescopes, opera and ‘Everybody loves Raymond’. We’re able to do an immense amount of things that don’t really aid us much, in overt terms, in our evolution.

However, in other aspects, it seem increasingly apparent to me that we are facing some sort of inescapable confrontation, within all of us, about what defines us as ‘people’. We’d like to believe, I assume, that it is the result of this test that seperates the humans from the animals, but I suspect that such tests are in an immense amount of danger with showing us that we are simply sophisticated animals.

When we look at one another, we find our baser emotions prevalent. Our irrationality is immense, we rely on the statistical distribution of humanity to ‘tide us by’ rather than the supreme virtue of the individual. Religiously, at least, and in many of the philosophies I have encountered, this latter ‘strength of the individual’ seems to be th exemplar and defining apex of humanity’s advance ‘above’ the animals.

But, again, it seems somewhat apparent to me that this ‘free will’, this ability to overcome our nature is only a matter of time. We can go a few hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades without ‘being surprisingly instinctive’, be it raging at bad service or the simple maddness and choler of arriving ten minutes late for a TV program you’d wanted to watch, yet we do repeatedly end up succumbing to this inner ‘us’.

Many people recommend this, but I find this difficult. I find it particularly difficult to simply ‘give in to myself’. Perhaps it is possible to say that I consciously distrust myself as an incapable ape. I seem to believe that I, personally (and to me this then seems logical to apply to all other people in existence, though that is actually illogical), am untrustworthy if I’m not in conscious control.

If I’m ‘unconscious’, be it through rage, waking-from-sleep, inebriation and intoxication or otherwise…it all seems…basic. Primitive. Backwards?

But surely this can’t be the correct or even an remotely constructive way of ‘viewing the world’ with an idea to living as part of that world. If I am always of the opinion that a person (including myself) should be ‘in control’, then how do I reconcile it with the vats numbers of people that I know that appear to not give a damn whether they’re consciously in control, or if they simply trust very much their ‘autopilot’ (indeed, they may see no difference between themselves and their ‘autopilot’)?

Solipsism could hand-wave it away somewhat, but I don’t think that’d be terribly useful in general.

Alternatively, of course, there is the aspect that, as Leonard Nemoy conjectures in ‘Spock Thoughts’: “No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”. We are evidently [i]part[/i] of the system. A question posed after my ‘Failure of Physics’ talk illustrates this more, that we should consider (if philosophically) an hollistic view rather than an ‘us vs them’ or ‘me vs the universe’ viw of life, the universe and everything.

If I am part of everything, and it is essentially part of me, then I still find trouble meshing it all with free will. Unless, of course, free will is relative exactly to my outlook, and that my outlook, uniquely, alongside everyone else’s (I find this easy to sit with, surprisingly), shapes the universe itself.

Well, that doesn’t especially matter. It is a redundant conjecture. The matter is that it appears I have free will, but it’s evidently not completely free. I can’t just fly, or zoom, or swoop or soar as I please. Whether it is reality, or my mind, or some insane and horrible cosmic hybrid, is irrelvant.

Back on topic: People do very strange things. We seem to enjoy deluding ourselves that we are above…ourselves. That’s all very nice, but clearly we are not! But if we accept that, and simply give into ‘being ourselves’ we give up that seemingly little bit of independence, that little streak that makes us us rather than ‘just another part of the universe’.

So, then there appears at least a dilemma. Does one succumb to ‘onself’ and simply do as you please as part of the universe considering and acting just as your innate self seems to indicate. Trying when you need to, aiming to change when you need to, meeting work-targets when you need to, brown-nosing when you need to…but all ultimately ‘just because’ it seems like the thing to be doing?

Alternatively we could sit here and worry about it…and still reach no better conclusion…

It seems to me that we truly are damned wherever we turn. Perhaps ignorance is bliss. To never have contemplated this sort of problem would certainly alleviate (comparitively) the quandry it poses to me!

And even then, I only think the way I do because it seems reasonable, because it seems like a good idea at the time…and even then: that’s completely baseless. “It’s a good idea because it feels like a good idea…”

In recent months, years and decades I’ve felt myself become far more of a relativist than I was back in my intolerant and rigid absolutist-belief-system youth…but that indicates not very much.

So, looking slightly further than ‘me and you’, ‘us and them’ and ‘here and now’, I can forsee us spreading out across time and space. Setting our tendrils upon everything we can probe for information. But before we truly understand anything, if we ever do, we seemingly need to know alot more abount our view of the world and universe. Are time and space merely the super-spectral filters that some philosophies indicate quite convincingly? If they are, should we be worried and perplexed by them?

To hark back a teensy bit: If we’re simply alive for no apparent reason then I stil find it immensely difficult to simply ‘sit down and shut up’ as part of…society? “Do your job!” would garner a response of “Why!?”, similarly (and more stupidly) “I was first in the queue, ergo I’m first” would get a genuinely interested response of “Why does being fist in a queue have any relevence to real life?”

And then, after all that, I’d try to muse on what real life is…ultimately to absolutely no avail. Sometimes I think solipsism, selfishness and general self-serving lifestyles seem utterly obvious, given the proposed facts. At other times, I feel that that is exactly what makes us human, that we can simply neglect that initially self-serving attitude. But even then, in rejecting t that is self-serving!

Oh, woe is me! It is really, highly illogical!


22/09/07 A lonely god?

I suppose it’s probably about time I blogged about this crisis of faith.

So, a brief recap. Twenty-one years a Roman Catholic. One month and about eleven days an athiest.

Back at the start of August I was in work stacking boxes, as I did. And I was thinking whilst I did it. I’d been thinking alot, just musing on my own perspective on religion, God, Jebus and the rest: I’d always firmly believed in the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life, regularly prayed to God, less rigorously attended church, thought about things, believed that the only way it could work would be if God could make mistakes etc.

But then it dawned on me that what I now felt in my head wasn’t that I believe in God, but that I now specifically *don’t* believe in God. I mean, what could possibly persuade me to believe in God, or rather: what convinced me out of it. Consider three main points:

– Life. There’s no actual need for God in life. Nowhere in all the explanations I can see is it better, more accurate, more real or (nowadays) more comforting to say “God did it” than “Damn, that’s unfortunate”. Nowhere is God necessary to explain it all…it seems highly likely that reason will actually steadily explain the thing, eventually. And even if reason, science, sensibilities etc fail to explain it…that still doesn’t mean God. There’s no evidence, no clue, no indication, no great big convincing fingerprint that says to me “Look, there’s God!”, or rather: “There’s God’s footprint!”

– Life Continued. Similarly, the origins of life aren’t miracles…they’re just (as best I can discern) what my perception of reality is. “Wow, that was meant to happen” vs “Wow, that was extremely fortunate”. On one hand I could blame a spell of good luck on a watchful deity who arbitrarily decides when to help and when to hinder for some obscure and often inconsistent reason (from my PoV), or I could ascribe things going well to things very simply going well. I don’t need dice-gods when I roll dice, I simply recognise that they can go well, they can go badly. No need for God.

– The Universe. Even less needed for God. Perhaps he did make it all, but there’s no indication of it. No ‘footprint’ that we have to leap from saying “Ooh, that’s interesting, let’s find out more!” to “Aha! THE FOOTPRINT OF GOD!” In all, there’s simply very little in anything I can see or read about that makes me think God is actually there. I could have faith…so? Faith in some obscure leap of logic that I’m quite convinced is always a bad move (regardless of how sure I am that it is correct), or faith that things are actually as I see them? Well, even then, faith that things are as I see them is just one more big mistake. Rather I have faith that the things I think I know are very basic, very rudimentary and highly likely to be very wrong. Even so, that isn’t an excuse for me to believe in God. A safer, more reasonable and more productive belief, as best I can see it, would be to believe in no God. If there is one (which there may well be, or more than one), then I’m content to be really wrong about that. But if there isn’t one, then I’ve not wasted my time judging people for not being christian, frowning on ways of life different to my own leap-of-logic based beliefs. I wouldn’t have convinced people that it’s okay to sell their life short because they get another chance when they die.

– Everything. And that’s the hit of it. Everything. Afterlife? Perhaps. But surely it is better to assume we’ve only got the here and now to work in. If there’s an afterlife then that’s quite handy for my eternal soul (soul/body/mind/spirit, all one and the same to me thesedays, though that’s less based on evidence and more a chosen assumption I’m quite content to re-examine as we understand it more), but if there’s not…then I’ve probably just said “See you in a bit” to someone I love or care for when I really ought to have said something more useful like “Thankyou” or “I love you” or somethiing like that. Then again, it seems likely that you only get one set of last words.

Anyhow, everything again: There seems to be nothing in faith, belief in Jebus, that isn’t available elsewhere in the world. Community, fellowship, charity, pleasant interaction with forgiving and helpful human beings…I’ve found this outside of religion. God doesn’t seem to be required there. Contentment and happiness? If I can believe any old lie, then I may as well believe in God, yes? No. Surely I’m better believing none of the lies, jumps of logic, or just silly things (Ghosts, sure? Let’s see them…)?

There are other arguments, other things that entered my head too but from outside sources. I am familiar with, but not sure how I feel about, the line of argument that goes that a belief in God, a nonsensical belief (e.g. one that you wouldn’t arrive at by perfectly fine and reasonable reason) not only isn’t itself reasonable, but that it closes off further questions. Curiousity about the world? Nah, God did it. Regret and trying to change for the better? Nah, God forgives.

Okay, I’m badly painting both sides here, but this isn’t an essay, just an outpouring straight from the brain to the keyboard.

But anyway, that’s just the brainfart, there’s better bits.

Frank’s Pilgrimage

Well, as I went from Magalluf to Poland via Albania, I spent an afternoon (at least) in two other countries. Nameably Italy and the Holy See (the Vatican).

I’ve always (for as long as I remember) been a fairly religious chappie, so visiting the Vatican still brought out alot of the old RC me, the habits, the inflexions…the genuflections.

Also, since I hadn’t prayed for a couple of weeks before my ‘epiphany’, I felt that if I was really going to give a last, fond and trying-not-to-be-sacreligious farewell with religion. I mean: The Vaticans as good a place to do things as anywhere, huh?

So, I wandered around, thought for a lot. Sat and prayed/talked-things-in-my-head/etc in the main square-thing of St Peter’s basilica for an hour, convinced myself, tried my best to be open and unchallenging about it with God…, then stopped. My sortof final…prayer was done. Toured around the inside. Climbed to the cupola. Went down into the main basilica. And, standing under the massive statue of St Andrew, said my goodbyes. My final prayer as anything really resembling a RC.

So, then I went on, and found the prayer chapel and attempted a final ‘double check’. It convinced me, and, as best as all my sensibilities can discern…I’m an athiest. I just don’t believe. (Or rather: I believe that there is no God/are no gods etc)

Thus I left the Vatican, trundled off to set off for Albania. I got there, by the way, I’ll blog about the travels in a different entry.

Where from now?

Well, the main remaining conundrums are how to move on with it all. How do I proceed with conversations about God, faith and the like when I really and simply believe that it is foolish to believe (irony? THAT’S NOT IRONY! Laughable, yes, but not irony).

Similarly, how should I approach Christmas? Should I attempt a prayer-like meditation? Should I formulate my own ‘moral code’ that I should oblige myself to stand next to? Should I explore that of others? Is it even a problem? What about relations with other people? Crikey, I never considered any of this on the road to athiesm, it was simply a question of whether it was real or not, believable etc.

Well, it should be the next great adventure. It also doesn’t help when combined with the much earlier (a couple of months back) ‘People are a problem’ blog. Indeed, it compounds it all.

Ah well, we shall see. Or not. Who knows? Not I…

03/10/07 It’s about bloody space-time!

Well, classes have started back, and I’ve made a change to my style of being educated. It’s a change some people might say is long overdue, considering I’ve not been doing it since Fifth year at highschool. That is: Doing the proper amount of work.

In sixth year it was three advanced highers when we were only recommened to do two and one higher. In first year it was four courses a semester, we were only supposed to do two. In second year, it was loosely the same, with my biggest chunk of module credits yet: 90 in one semester. In first semester of third year, I was cutting it close with 62.5 credits (or 55, depending upon how you count transferable skills), last semester I was soaring back up again with 77.5.

In any case, this semester I’m doing exactly sixty. And they look like fun, sortof!

First up for blogging is the most boring (so far):
Physics of Atoms.

Doctor Cassettari is teaching it again, whom I haven’t had since first year. An okay lecturer, but very excitable at the expense of all my enthusiasm.

Next is Complex Analysis, a widely recommended course. Everyone seems to think it’s a good idea to do it, so I did! It also looks to be a fairly interesting course, which is also always a bonus. Well taught too, as it has Doctor Bell teaching it. We had him in first year too. He makes me think he’s the ‘third Chuckle Brother’…

Another one is Fundamentals of Pure Mathematics, perhaps the course I draw the most dirty looks for taking. But I like Pure Maths, so it’s hardly a major issue…it’s just that almost everyone else seems almost entirely prejudiced against it. But they’re an arsehole.

As for the course, it looks really interesting, covering some further stuff from the Algebra and Analysis course I did in second year (the one that Prof. Ulf Leonhardt hypnotised me into taking instead of Astrophysics & Astronomy 2), and it has a reputedly very good pair of lecturers teaching it. Doctor Ruskuc seems good so far!

Last up, and most interesting (for me), is Special Relativity and Fields, which to draw a ‘joke’ for people reading is essentially about men running at three metre long tunnels with ten metre pole-vaulting-poles and managing to appear to fit neatly inside…

In any case, relativity is a really interesting topic, and I just spent the last hour reading up about timelike and spacelike intervals. Very interesting! It did lead to a problem: What is included and where are the boundaries drawn? What happens at the boundary of the absolute future and the absolutely separated region? Is the origin included in both the absolute future and absolute past?

I might try and find Doctor Korolkova to ask her about these. Yes, I’ll do that.

In other news

I had ten nights in a row out over the last week and beyond! It was Freshers’ Week, so hardly unexpected, but ten-in-a-row properly is intense. Very difficult, but buckets of fun. I think I might’ve made alot of new friends and have a bucket of stories to tell, one day!

Since classes have started back, it’s also getting into that time of Societies again, and I joined up for more’n my fair share! That is: ChaosSoc (Maths), QuantumSoc (Physics), DocSoc(Doctor Who), GoSoc-sortof (Go aka Chinese Chess, though I’ve only started learning, not actually joined), GameSoc (Games, woo!) and something else which I think I’ve forgotten…

Anyhow, I’m quite keen to get a bit involved in these ones, notably the Maths and Physics ones as I really enjoy the lectures. Already started pencilling in times to start learning Go (lost my first two games yesterday), plotting how long I intend to spend in libraries and generally seeing about sorting out a proper studying schedule. In any case, I’m looking forward to getting started properly!

Now, to see Doctor Korolkova…


17/10/07 Sometimes, no matter how hard you try…

“Sometimes, no-matter how hard you try, you and the one you love simply aren’t meant to be together. The trick is to know when that is: to know when it is time to fight and when it’s time to part ways.”

It’s nice to hear that again. As I recall I first heard it near the end of sixth year after pursuing one of the character-development plots on KOTOR. A very significant quote in my life, very odd how it managed to fit in with thoughts at the time.

All in all, it’s a fine sentiment, and the bulk of the whole of Jolee Bindo’s plot in KOTOR I find an immensely useful little guide on whatever he’s rambling on about at the time.

I thought that I’d share that with you all.

Anyhow, just about finished tidying my room, need to have a shower and do a bit of filing of all my tutorial sheets, but all in all: it’s been a good day.

I had five hours of classes today, plus a wee spell in the library and computer classroom and such. Relativity at nine and midday, pure at ten and atoms at eleven plus complex at four. Lovely stuff, and actually almost all quite interesting.

As my housemate/friend/nextdoorneighbour, Robin, mentioned earlier: This day passes the ‘day’ test. It gets to be a day rather than be struck off as ‘not a day’.


27/10/07 Mathematical Summary of the Hydrogen Atom

Well, that’s not really what my blog’s about, but that’s what I’m supposed to be revising when instead I’m writing this nonsense!

Half ten on Friday morning, is there any better time? Yes, I suppose.

Anyhow, was out last night at a Data Connection presentation. Quite an interesting company but I’m pretty certain I won’t be pursuing that line of work at any time. Good wine and lots of it, as well as perhaps the most decadent buffet I’ve had (horseradish sauce on lettuce leafs? Strawberries in chocolate? Insanity…). A fair few of my mates from up here were at the presentation too, so we went on into the Raisin afterwards (after polishing off our ‘dinner’ with some chips from Empire) and made a bit of an evening of it.

Anyhow, ’twas good and fun. I even managed to get an early night (ish). Home by midnight, asleep by 1AM, woken up by my housemates and friends at 2AM, asleep again soon after and up today at eight (though I went back to bed).

In the end I woke up at twenty-to-ten feeling quite late for my Physics of Atoms tutorial. And by quite late I mean I had an half hour walk to do in fifteen minutes. In any case, I shot out of bed and set sail for physics (after getting dressed/brushing teeth/etc).

When I got to the physics building, however, I realised the tutorial couldn’t be where we normally have it (Theatre C) as the colloquium’d be in there, and noticed tons of folks from the turorial (it was a full-class tutorial) wandering/sitting around, so thought it must’ve been cancelled. Even if it hasn’t been cancelled, I still didn’t go, even though I got in on time.

But now?

Well, now I plan to do a fair bit of studying before Complex Analysis at twelve and my 2 O’Clock…

Ah. That’d be when the tutorial is, not now! Idiot!

Back on track

Aye, hopefully do alot of work today. Haven’t sorted a costume for haloween, so I’m really not sure I’ll do anything properly. Need to look through the shops later on today.

Life seems to be breaking into a bout of lethargy at the moment. Had an extremely unproductive weekend and Monday to start the week, and have done very little through the week (though in three days I did attend ten hours of classes). Tonight looks set to be unproductive too: a halloween party this evening and/or a night out with mates. The party’s hosted by people I only vaguely know, but I might pop along for a wee while to see. Otherwise it should be a good night. Highly unproductive, but that’s not that bad.

It’s the weekend I need to worry about! That will be unproductive and it really needs to be very productive. I wonder if there’s any hope of me getting to the library tomorrow morning? Probably not.

Something sinister

Assassins for all. It begins soon!

Something funny

Our lecturers seem to have a knack for comic incidents this year.

– Dr Cassettari spelled “Half” as “haff” on the board
– Korolkova was telling us about how a charge in a field follows a parable. Not a parabola, but a parable.
– On asking for a definition of ‘the real numbers’ Nik Ruskuc was offered nothing. So he tried for a definition of Pi…”Exactly three!” someone shouts out! (A Simpsons reference for anyone reading)

Otherwise lectures don’t hold a patch on the likes of Dr Hooley last year…no singing, no dancing, no piana. Dr Korolkova almost forgot she was even teaching our class when Bruce (Sinclair) had to run and peal her away from her work when we were all left stood in the corridor.

All in all the semester’s been quite fun. My french friends Sylvain and Stephanie (known now as Stephaniece as she’s my [academic] niece) kept trying to ‘attack’ me on the way home from the union the other night, but they’re both quite small and thinly built people. I’m no strong man, but being as bulky as I am they didn’t stand a chance. About forty attemtps on me between the botanics building and getting back to Albany and not once did they succeed. I, on the otherhand, was putting them over fences, into hedges, on their arses etc. I’m told by them they will try again, and succeed, this evening. They even seem to be trying to recruit more help…


31/10/07 It can’t last…

Seriously, ‘all good things…’ is quite a wonderful maxim and compares favourably with the song “God’s Great Banana Skin” when it comes to making you check your own foundations.

It seems to be happening to me.

The couple of months have been tremendous since finishing up work at Wincanton. I mean to say: I’ve been all around Europe, I’ve started back at university, I’m doing the proper amount of work, I’m living with terrific folks…everything seems to be going well.

Well, of course, not everything. First and foremost in practical terms is that I’m not actually very good at my courses. I thouroughly enjoy them, sure, but they require alot of work.

Secondly is that my old next-door-neighbour Annie died a few weeks back. Surprisingly, I didn’t feel too displaced about this, simply saddened, but not in a very bad way.

So what’s all this about then?

Well, today, a Tuesday, has historically (well, for the last three years) often been one of my worst/best days of the week.

That is: I usually always have an arseload of classes on a Tuesday. Last semester wasn’t so bad, but today felt like a throwback to first year. Four classes this morning and a tutorial this afternoon…sure…not that bad compared to first semester, first year Tuesday. If I recall it correctly:
9AM Maths
10AM Comp Sci Tutorial
11AM Astronomy
12PM Physics
1PM Maths Tutorial
2-5PM Comp Sci Practical

Of course, it always ended nicely…Boozeday Tuesday in the evenings. The epitome, perhaps, of ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’.

And, I think I done well with that then, and I’m sure I can do well now.

Tell us of last night

Robin’s Birthday! Went out for a meal at the Balaka yesterday, a solid 18 of us. ‘Twas great fun, we rarely get to eat in such large numbers these days compared to our heyday in first year. I think back then we had a sixteen or twenty seater table in Regs we usually sat at, plus another one or two six-seater tables. Plenty of people, plenty of friends. Plenty of conversation. We’d often be some of the last out of the dining hall and even then we’d still hang about outside in a fairly large group well into the evening. Economists, mathematicians, philosophers, medics, physicists, computer scientists, theologians, geoscientists, english students, anthropologists and historians (to name a few) all bungled into one disastrous pot of hilarious stories, bad jokes and running commentaries on the varying quality of food we’d be fed.

It was nice to be back on that front once again, we rarely have that opportunity. The meal was excellent, the people were excellent, and I’m confident everyone was really happy to be out celebrating for Robin. We proceeded on into the Raisin for some drinks, then on into the Union for some more. Had some delciously horrid aftershocks so we could get our ‘Aftershock Vests’ and generally were all in fine spirits. Robin got kicked out for a terrible reason and we tried to save him, but in the end we just finished our pool game and went on back to Albany park.

On the grass in Albany we spent a good wee while messing around with a frizbee. Again, like has happened alot before in my life, when things are going good they often seem to manifest themselves physically: with good luck and unnaccountable skill on my part. So, frizbees brought me back to earth somewhat…with a solid knock straight on the chin…I look quite a picture today!

Anyhow, myself, Robin, Stephaniece (our niece, Stephanie) and our other housemate Sylvain stayed up for a while drinking port and watching Tommy Cooper sketches until it got ridiculously late. Eventually I got to bed at four…affording me a lovely amount of sleep for today!

4 hours of lectures VS 4 hours of sleep: Final Score 3-0

I managed to get up immediately on being woken up by my ridiculously loud and ticking mechanical clock. A quick shower, dressed, a browse of emails and thesinner.net and I was all set for lectures.

iPod in pocket and some magical music on the go (the Order of the Phoenix soundtrack…how cool am I…?) and I set off. A lovely morning of course. Autumn in St Andrews always is beautiful. Clear skies, not-too-cold and lovely scenery, it was excellent. A stroll through the park on the way to lectures is always fun, huh?

Anyhow, halfway along the Kinnesburn I ran into Alan, so we came into Physics/Maths together.

The soundtrack to Harry Potter had put me in a very…magical mood recently. I seem to look around me far more appreciately. Indeed, as the title of the blog says: “It can’t last…”, I’ve been calm, cool and reasonably controlled for pretty much the last…two and a bit months. No hiccoughs, no disastrous encounters or anything. It’s taken me alot of willpower, discipline and restrain, and I hope I can keep it up, but generally: Everything seems fine. Not amazing, of course, and it could be a whole lot better, but there’s a sense of contentment that I can’t quite shake just now.

I mean: Enjoying all my lectures isn’t always a common thing. But today, it wasn’t that bad. Relativity kicked me in a bit, but I was pleased to begin to understand all these tensor things. It needs alot of work, but I think I’m warming to the course, I just hope I can pull through it. Pure Maths was, as usual, the best of the three classes (but four lectures as I’ve two SR ones on a Tuesday!), with Nik regailing us with his tales of how he got audience participation during an academic audit regarding the omission of proofs. Indeed, he seemed entirely happy that the class today was really eager to find out a proof for one of the theorems and that most folks were quite disheartened to see it left out!

Physics of atoms was, as usual, sleep inducing, but I’ve begun to feel it’s a really interesting course. As I explained it to my friend Alex on the way over/back to physics: it’s been QM, Chemistry and Maths all rolled into one fairly significant branch of physics. Indeed, it’s even most of the bits of those subjects that I really enjoyed too. I’m quite looking forward to getting into it more too.

Then, of course, the second of my relativity lectures: we briefly explored the 4D Maxwell equations and Korolkova seemed quite dissappointed we weren’t more impressed. To be honest, I wasn’t much at the time, but now looking over some of the stuff again it’s really remarkable. I just wish I was better at the tensor stuff! It’s fantastically impressive physics and technical maths being used to quickly describe some of the most highly regarded (and still quite complicated) aspects of physics (that is: Electrogmagnetism)!

Anyhow, after that it went downhill fast as we broke into the short questions. Curiously I’d done the ones due for today at the weekend and handed them in yesterday fearing they were late!

As I’ve said: It can’t last! Too much fortune leads to a big misfortune, in my experience…

But what else, surely that can’t be all?

Of course it’s not! It’s Halloween, some of the best nights out of the year are at Halloween. I’ve got a bit of a pirate costume lined up, so I’m quite eager to get into that as I enjoyed it alot in Magalluf. Robin’s going as Tommy Cooper and Nick’s a Caveman! Stephen’s costume is hopefully going to be awesome. I shouldn’t say much on it, but its’ something he’s been waiting to do for a long time, I suspect!

So, the next two nights should hopefully be some of the last ‘big nights’ of the year for me during term time. I’ve Dave coming up this weekend for a visit, which should be great, but I doubt there can be many more big nights after that. Indeed, I doubt I can afford them (either financially or academically).

So, in closing I think I’ll return to trying to do some work and then maybe, just maybe, continue liking the world around me a bit more! St Andrews is awesome, I’m so glad I’m here. Hell, sometimes I still can’t believe it, I half expect to wake up and find it to be a dream.

One final note that I’ve found myself reassured with in the last few months, is the happiness and contentment that I can derive simply from appreciating and understanding things. Or understanding that I can’t understand things. Or even just thinking about things. I’m not in a palce where I need to believe, that me is long gone, and I hope it carried some of my worse aspects with it. I just hope it all lasts at least a little bit longer…

14/11/07 AAAARGH!

A quick note on my latest video I’ve linked to. It’s Homer Simpson and his repressed memory. I find it absolutely hilarious.

Anyhow, some of my friends up at Uni are quite massive Simpsons fans, and I tried to make a joke about this when we were out in the union on Friday gone by. Anyhow, it failed miserably, so to get the point across I had to replicate the scene. But it was infectious for me, and I just kept screaming as loud as I could. It was terrific fun, but my friends were getting a bit annoyed/worried about me (some still didn’t get the reference and thought I’d just went insane and was screaming away). Indeed, more were worried that I’d attract the attention of the security staff and just be chucked out for being off-my-rocker.

Anyhow, I later forgot about this and finally fell asleep, as you do. Woke up the next day with a really hoarse throat, hardly a surprise.

AAAARGH!
AAAARGH!
AAAARGH!
AAAARGH!
AAAARGH! AAAAAAAAAARGH!


17/11/07 Our childhood. Our home.

A strange thought has been rattling around my head this last few weeks. Indeed, I suppose it’s been rattling around my head for a very long time, at least since early 2004, and I think it’s perhaps time to think about it again properly. I wrote on the fourteenth of April, 2004, the following entry in a very spuriously kept diary.

“S6 – Thesis.
Today, with my visit to St Andrews University and last night at Anthony Keegan’s party, I have had time to contemplate and bring together my view of this year, both past, present and future. Whilst having taken three advanced highers, this year has not been an academic one. Moreover I have viewed this as philosophically enhancing, I have had time to learn for myself, not for passing exams. I will soon learn through pursuit of knowledge, but I have learned far more over the last year than I could ever have been specifically taught. I have examined, tested and forged friendships, I have witnessed darkness and divine, I have experienced more than I would have thought possible and I have stayed true to my beliefs.

I have grown as a person and a character, I have gained experience in matters previously beyond my station and have learnt valuable lessons in areas of humility, patience and perseverence. I have strayed from my path few times, and I have returned to it only stronger. I no longer fear the consequences of other’s evil as I feel that as long as I stay true, all I need fear and master is the darkness within myself”

There was a little bit more to it, but that’s largely irrelevent now and not the point . The point is..well, I don’t really know. I never do. It’s sort of made up as I go along, but it is roughly continuous. All in all, it’s my life, and it’s linked inexorably to me: past, present and future.

A sense of well being, a sense of control over who I am, yet juxtaposed with the total sense of having no control, ultimately. To be more clear: It seems to me that I have no way of knowing just quite how much control over anything I actually have. So, that presents me with choices. Do I exert control? Do I abandon control? Does it matter? Should it matter? I can’t answer these, obviously, but I can guess at solutions and think about them. Personally I attempt to control myself first and foremost, and it is here I find the most difficult. I can’t even wake myself up in the morning, let alone will myself out of bed when I don’t have a lecture, meeting, tutorial or appointment to attend. I need to wait until I’m not tired, a very odd situation, but it works and isn’t really that odd with hindsight. It is, however, extremely vexing.

Anyhow, that’s beside whatever the point is. Control over myself, resisting emotions, urges and impulses…this is one of the few ways I have to even begin to exert control. If I don’t master such things then I’m really the master of nothing at all and everything that’s blamed or attributed to me is really nothing much to do with me…it’d have just happened anyway. And even then, if I don’t question and query my intuition, it’s not really mine, is it? It might as well be anyone’s…

But this has very little to do with my entry from 2004. My point, I suppose, is contentment with things. The only way I can see achieving proper contentment is via being as well informed and sure of things as I can be, and that all stems from questionning, observing, reasoning and thinking. Friendships, relations and all that jazz is secondary. Indeed, all of that would be meaningless to me as I am now without the above. I’m quite confident a slightly different me could enjoy them thouroughly without ever asking a question, looking at things or thinking about anything. And frankly? That’s terrifying.

So, with that in mind, a contentment even where life isn’t truly going wonderfully and where work isn’t going well is a hell of alot better when you’re possessed of a sound (err…) and sane mind. Unfortunately everything I talk about these days seems to lead me down a path of insanity rather than sanity. but if I recognise that then what can it mean?

I guess I’ll just have to find out.

He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It’s a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. We stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of Time and Space, just a child. Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad.


27/11/07 Incest for anyone? (Or Raisin Sunday 2007)

Well, that was Raisin Weekend 2007 “Everything changes”.

Had a grand old tea-party on Saturday which involved lots of tea, alcohol, biscuits, framily, friends, etc. Had a wee pub crawl with my son and two brothers yesterday afternoon. Attended a party with my wives whilst dropping my son off. My face was by this point all covered in marker pen (“Frank is an Arsehole”, “This is Frank’s sexy neck”, “Divorced”,”Frank is watching you”, “Pi is exactly three” etc). Went to my brothers’ party back in Regs and had a wee bit of a shindig. Then, of course, I returned to my own party last evening! Had to put my niece to bed as she’d managed to destroy herself single-handedly. Went for a spot of beach-combing early in the morning only for one brother to steal part of a building-site’s fence and the next brother to climb into a third brother’s window using said fence (it was first floor up)! Ended up sleeping in another of my brothers’ doorway as my old roommate/housemate’s girlfriend and her housemate had pinched my bed and crashed out in it.

Then, of course, this morning was Raisin Monday. FOAM FIGHT

Ran into town with my Raisin Reciept for my son (a big slab of turf from Albany Park! It drew alot of very appreciative and quizzical looks from lots of people) Finally found my son after the foamfight, gave him his reciept (the turf, in addition to the sonic screwdriver he got yesterday), and was stood chatting to his mothers (all four of them, my wives) when along came my own mother, Eleanor

“Hi mum” I said, but I didn’t say it alone. No, all four of my wives also said “Hi mum” too, and we were struck by an horrid realisation. They were my sisters!

Ah, the family just keeps growing! So, with that shock revelation straight from the script of a soap opera, I bid them adieu and sent my son and his mums/my sisters/my wives on their merry way. Just as they were leaving, one mum gave me a hug…but she was covered top-to-toe in foam, so I was now covered in foam too. Then I had to go grab some pens and paper so that I could go to my twelve o’clock lecture!

So, lecture done, in the union for lunch with Stephen and Scott, and only then do I consider cleaning myself up. And so: I really ought to go have a showever and get rid of all this bloody marker pen about my face!

It certainly was a Raisin Weekend to remember. Alot of folks have said it was the best one since our first year, and I quite agree!

3/12/07 And I think to myself…

What a wonderful world?

Well, not really. I’m stuck with an almost absolutely unshakeable contentness with the world, life and tjust things in general at the moment. But it is compeltely misplaced. My degree is in mortal peril, as usual, my friends seem to be collapsing around me and generally things are going to the dogs.

But then, they’re not, are they? Things at home appear to be good. Love life? Well, one year on from the disasterous split with Viki, and I’m really quite impressed with my own resliance. It was dark for a time, terribly dark. Two sets of exams have come and gone since, one job, many of my friends have left for pastures new. Disaster has come and went and even some of my oldest friends (in a manner, closer to me than family) have become absolutely seperated by the veil.

But it’s still not that bad. I was essentially skint on Friday, down to (almost) my last forty-pounds on the earth. Turns out I hadn’t actually applied for my student loan…I’d sent them all the information, but managed not to tick the correct box. Silly: Oh yes. It means I still haven’t paid the university for the accomodation yet, and that if I want anything to eat it’ll either have to be mushrooms, peppers, sausages, cous-cous, noodles or rice as that was about all I had! Even to push the boat further, the only alcohol I have in my possession now is a bottle of Spitefire beer bought for me by my newest/youngest son, Jonny. Well, that and my old roommate/housemate Stephen’s birthday-Vodka remains. A curious thing for me to have in my possession, but he keeps forgetting to pick it up.

Anyhow, the point is: skint. Well, except for the cheque that arrived today (along with my [real] sister, Katie, for lunch), not the loan but still enough to see me past Christmas if the loan still doesn’t materialise.Now, that in itself would be tremendous news, wouldn’t it? Yes, of course! But it wasn’t just itself, was it? Oh no…

My overdraft’s been bloomin’ cancelled! I’ve got to run into the bank and probably face extortionate charges tomorrow whilst I explain to them the situation! It jumps from worst to better to backwards! It’s really getting silly!

So, bank charges needing sorted, cheques needing paid into accounts and all that jazz running me round the bend (in a manner completely contrary to how I feel: e.g. quite unstressed)., you’d think I’d need a good nights sleep to face the week, wouldn’t you?

And I do. The trouble is, I can’t sleep!

So, queue description of my room just now. Empty port bottle, full Spitfire bottle, two dictionaries (one of physics, one of science), a lighsabre and a cyberman sitting on my windowsill, desk reasonably sparse (mainly my laptop, a chalice filled with pens and pencils, a hole-punch, a pot of tea, a cup of tea, and a bowl of sunflower seeds and pine nuts, and a calculator [and a drawing on some postit notes left by two girls who came round for tea seven weeks ago]). On the walls? 29 A3 sheets covered in physics. Oh, and a map of Europe with my trip of a lifetime penned onto it. Fifteen postcards blu-tacked on (twelve of Tommy Cooper, two of Crocodile Dundee and one containing a quotation from the Lord of the Rings: All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you, which seems quite apt at this hour of the morning at the beginning of what’ll hopefully be a hectic and engaging week!).

Anyhow, the point is, my rooms a bit mad. My bookshelves are pretty much full, as is my washing basket, I’ve a very wet stain on my floor that strikes me as very likely a pot of tea I’d have tried to make last night when exceedingly drunk* and basically a few small piles of various books, folders or notebooks.

All in all, it’s a room in which I’m feeling quite comfortable at this moment in time. But, as said, it’s really all a bit mad at the moment. Take the star next to the word “drunk” above as an example:

The star next to the word “drunk”,
Or My son’s 20th Birthday 80s Party last night

It’s your standard affair. Friday night was a disaster all round. I managed to semi-drunkenly offend pretty much everyone I spoke to. Not in a good way either. It was a hard lesson in the old adage that I was quite partial to once upon a time, vis: “Frank is an arsehole”

Particularly interesting other notes would be my friend being ridiculously drunk on whisky (St Andrews day, we had no lectures or whatnot), starting on almost everyone and being taken home in the union’s van (I had no idea our union had a van…). A nice total of three of my friends crying all at once and a whole gobbledegook of other messes. But that was friday. I was also in a kilt, which might explain something of this…or be completely incidental. I’m not sure.

Anyway! After a train-wreck of a night on Friday (I ended up fleeing the union in a taxi with my niece, Rachel and some bloke who’s existence I’d completely neglected/forgotten until this very moment), we were looking forward to a more productive evening at my son’s twentieth birthday party. And it was a grand wee night. I’d met alot of the people at the party before, which is always good as it gives you lots of opportunity to talk to people in a semi-awkward way which forces you to be alot more …something. Something good, I hope.

Back to the point: Nick was dressed up inspired by Boy George, Stephen Cornick was dressed up intending to look like one of the guys from Grease, only later realising that Grease wasn’t the eighties. Emma had a necklace consisting of a photo of herself from the eighties on a paper-plate, Alex was there as a prepy (though people seemed to think the horrid pink-poloshirt and tied-jumper-round-neck was a sign of frenchness rather than being dressed up as someone from the eighties). Ross was all stripey and I had a lovely raggedy-tie, stupid hair (i was called Wolverine a couple of times because of this) and a jacket with rolled-up sleeves in an attempt to simply look like some random from the eighties. I like to think it worked, but am somewhat sceptical about people’s suggestions that I should go with that look more often, minus the stupid hair.

Continuing, however, it was a grand party. Lots of family there, lots of cool folks. Was speaking to two girls I’d met at my son Rob’s last party (a ‘Heroes’ party where everyone had to dress up as some sort of hero, I was Fr Dougal McGuire last time, complete with ‘Ah! Me tanktop’s turned into some kind of women’s bra!’ tanktop), one of whom I’d also been chatting to at the cinema the other evening without even realising I already new her. I think she had to reiterate this to me a few times before I really cottoned onto the idea.

Anyhow, they also served a delightfully brilliant drink called Yurts. Basically vodka+lemons. So slightly weaker than normal vodka that tastes basically likely lemonade, and is as drinkable as lemonade. I think that might be the root cause of Rob, on seeing me and Katie walking by the beach today, saying “Frank, you were really drunk last night. More drunk than I’ve ever seen you before!”, which was news to me, as I didn’t think I was that bad. But then, I suppose, you never do, do you?

All in all, it was a better night. A great laugh. People were getting panicky about the same friend who was getting a bit violent the night before, but the result when I was asked to take them home was that they fell asleep on my shoulder for an half hour, let me move them to the bathroom, promptly collapsed and was entire sympathetic when I suggested the options available to them being
“1- Stay here in the bathroom, a bit of a mess, but still cheery.
2- Go back into the party and probably injure themselves
3- Go home, to their own bed, and have a really good night’s sleep”

Fortunately for me, they picked three and I was able to slowly advance from the party back to theirs, drop ’em off and then return to the party.

In every case, last night was a great night, but I’m very sceptical still of the accusations that I was really drunk…I don’t really remember being that drunk, but I do feel I’ve quite a complete memory of the night. I remember the story of my leaning on the doorbell for a bit, though where I remember it as a bit, everyone else remembers it as another half-hour.

Very curious.

Still, it was a good night, and apart from the inexplicable* tea-spillage by my door is certainly a good one. I’d like to think I solidified a few friendships that night, but I fear it might be more the case that I’ve increased the number of people who’d really rather not see me ever again in their life by quite a few. Time will tell, hopefully! :)

* Perhaps incomprehensible is a better word to use.

But back on topic

As I say, I really ought to be quite happy with this state of affairs. But, as Alex pointed out to me very fairly on Friday, if I’m struggling to control myself I should really be worrying about it. But I’m a terrible judge of control. From about the age of thirteen to somewhere around eighteen I think I may have been as well walking around in some sort of armoured-battlesuit variant Frank. Nowadays I feel essentially identical to the one back then (i.e. same short temper, same fun-loving, adventuring, idealistic arsehole Frank), but with none of the armoured-battlesuit. Indeed, it’s less armoured battlesuit and more mudy-gutter suit.

Somehow, it just doesn’t quite add up.And even then, there’s only been a couple of discontinuities in my life. The beginning of sixth year was a bit dark, I almost left school right then and there to sail off into the sunrise (as it’s on the eastcoast, it’s much more impressive to be leaving Cowden for St As at dawn rather’n dusk) at St Andrews, but am quite glad I didn’t. A few moments since have been juxtaposed as imensely brilliant and brilliantly terrible (and, for completeness’ sake: terribly immense), highlights including the Dirty-Pint-Blackout-6-hourse-late-for-deadline saga of roughly this time last year, Viki finishing with me, some events in Prague (both terrible and brilliant in equal measure), losing religion, my mum’n dad splitting up and almost being expelled from school on the last day (saved, in a manner of speaking, by missing the bulk of the last day).

In any case, all of these things probably sound quite dire, focussing more on the terrible than the brilliant, but it’s all down to perspective. Without such things in the past, I doubt my present state of contentedness would have been possible. Again, this is an exceedingly odd thing to have happen, but I’m not sure it’s bad. The last couple of months really have been…consequence free. It’s like a calm-before-the-storm, but I know the storm will simply be the consequences of this contentedness finally getting me.

But by the same token, my subconcious seems to have a bit of a cheeky-grin going on thinking something along the lines of “Haha, consequences! You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread Frank!”, but thats blatant sillyness, being neither nor productive.

It’s not even reassuring!

So, to summarise, things really are going quite pleasantly just now. There’s alot happening to me, and alot going on around me, and I’m pretty confident I’m totally missing the bigger picture as all this happens. I don’t feel it’s a case of me being selfish, but on the otherhand, in the last year I’ve become simultaneously more empathetic and more selfish than I’d have ever thought possible for me. The sheer overabundance of arrogance I must exhibit to people at times must be unbearable. I’m surprised I don’t get punched in the face more often, to be blatantly honest. (Blimey, the last time I was, I was drunk and managed to fight off three attackers, phone the police, taunt them, and demonstrate near-flawless karate defencey things that I hadn’t done in over a decade…sure, they must’ve been fourteen or fifteen year-olds jumping me in the middle of the night, but still…! They also tried to bottle me with a pint-class, but what happened in the end was that they missed and gently punched me on the back of the head instead…)

Aye, own arrogance. Basically, I’m sorry about that. I’d like to think I’m trying to change, but I honestly can’t tell. Consciously I do think about these things, but I can never tell if it’s working. So if I’m being an arsehole, please say so. This contentendess bubble has to end sometime, and I’d be quite cuffed if it transpired that the cause of it was that I’d very literally asked for it.

Kinda running out of steam now though. Might try doing some Special Relativity work just now, or perhaps look for stuff to do this summer. Yes, that’s it. That’s what I’ll do.

An Apology

Sorry for the ramble, and sorry if I’m an arse from time to time, I’m trying to stop both!

A wee quotation to finish with
“There are worlds out there where the sky is burning, and the sea’s asleep, and the rivers dream; people made of smoke and cities made of song. Somewhere there’s danger, somewhere there’s injustice, somewhere else the tea’s getting cold. Come on, Ace. We’ve got work to do.”- the Doctor.

6/12/07 Ridiculous Coincidences

Sometimes I wonder if my life isn’t one bizarre series of long coincidences, surprises and incredible twists. Sometimes I wonder if that’s what everyone’s is like, but that I just forget to check!

In any case, after my incredibly geeky evening at GameSoc (every Wednesday, for shame), playing the Call of Cthulhu set with good chums up in the Salad Bowl in the Union. In any case, new member tonight, Robbie. Suffice to say, game was interesting and quite action packed. Narrowly survive, all good fun.

Anyhow, afterwards I was trying to sort out my scarf and two bottles of Yazoo and our new member ambles along. Tentatively, he enquires if I ever played Warhammer 40,000, I reply. And was I ever on Warseer? Yes, again. “I think we’ve already met” he says, “sortof…”

Indeed, we had. It transpired we’d exchanged messages over a year ago as he was asking advice about going to University and whatnot (it was known at the time on the website ‘Warseer’ that I was a St Andrews student, participating in alot of the discussions about Uni and stuff). I’d strongly recommended St Andrews, but eventually the conversation died down and I generally forgot the discussion. And ‘lo! He’s here in St Andrews joining the same group as I’m in!

Very odd. But it didn’t stop there. Other coincidences that cropped up through the conversation:
– He lives in Regs Annexe, I lived in Regs mainhall, buckets of my friends were Annexe folks.
– His room is the same room one the guy above me now lived in in our first year!
– He knows two of my academic brothers, playing Risk with them reasonably regularly.
– I ask if he is in their family, alas not.
– I ask if he knows me and my brother’s half-son: he does!
– Said son of mine is his roommate!
– His academic parents are Fife Parkers and are good friends with my academic nephew/step-son Martin Urquhart!

I’m sure there were a few other remarkable things, but putting this alongside my ‘four-wives-sisters-surprise’ and all the jazz previously mentioned in my time, it’s alway entertaining to find more maddness in the world.

I often wondered about how I’d find life since I lost religion. Since then I’ve noticed I’ve noticed alot more interesting things in life. To put some things of my past beliefs down to fiction wouldn’t be unreasonable, but I’m happy to think that nowdays the happiness is stemming less from fiction and more from the enchanting wonder of life itself.

On a complete anticlimax, my loan statement came through today, and I’m getting a good grand less than I was expecting to recieve. I need to email them and double check their calculations >:(

Still, even that sort of thing can’t penetrate this indominatable mental-shield of difficult and perturbing contentedness! Well, it can, but it’s not doing much (or is it?).

The only real downer, I suppose, is that life is racing by so quickly. This doesn’t feel like eleven weeks this semester. It doesn’t feel like fifteen weeks since I was in Manchester sharing my dorm with the gays and lesbians. It doesn’t feel like six months since I still communed with religion. No, it feels so close at hand, so fast moving and so far away. They do say time flies when you’re having fun. And that wouldn’t be the first time sheer contentendess has intertwined with a flying metaphor this week :L

Now, as Homer says:
“I like my beer cold and my homosexuals flaming!”

It’s been quoted alot in our house this last few days!


12/12/07 Can’t sleep?

Try some special relativity!

“But the fact is that these concepts are the outcome of a long process that, in effect, conditions us to believe in their inevitability in all possible contexts and modes of existence of everything, and not merely to use them as tentative and therefore dispensible hypotheses when we enter new domains of study. Out of this kind of conditioning has arisen what is perhaps the principal problem thjat modern physics has had to face in new domains such as those of reltivity and the quenatum theory-i.e., the difficulty of entertaining new concepts which clash with older ones that we have held habitually since childhood in such a way that to go beyond such ideas seems inconceivable.”
– David Bohm, The Special Theory of Relativity

This is essentially Bohm’s initial discourse in countering the very fundamental problem of ‘common sense’ when it comes to physics (and, by extension, both science and life in general). That is: Just because something innately ‘feels’ daft or seems ‘silly’ or ‘outrageous’ or ‘beyond belief’ that needn’t render it truly preposterous.

Rather, so long as we keep check of our ideas about … everything (in this case: space and time and whether they are absolute or not, whether an ether exists or not etc) then we are free to consider things and then call daft/silly/ridiculous on them as we reasonably feel we can. It is this sort of reasoning to which I am nowadays specifically trying to aspire. It seems to me that my personality is one which will find its reasoning clouded by immediate snap judgements and intuition. This is, in my mind, a bad way for me to be in society as I percieve it. Whilst it’s great to feel (and, in my experience, be proven right) about these sorts of judgements, I have a large enough back catalogue of bad decisions to show that, for my mind at least, I shouldn’t feel safe in that ‘run of good luck/’. Rather I should be quite glad I’m able to see that I’m very capable of making monumentally stupid decisions, and that reasoning, forward thinking, critically analysing my own decisions and generally not making silly/hasty decisions is probably the best way for me to approach life nowadays.

In that regard, I hope at least to stop being as much of an overt arsehole to people on a daily basis. Not insofar as I’ve been a bully, or a malicious person deliberately setting out to cause as much misery as possible or anything like that, but in that my own opinions and reasons for doing things are by their very nature (i.e. from my noggin’) very flawed. And if I hope to conduct myself in the way I feel I want to, then I’d better have some damned good reasons for saying or thinking anything that I say or think. Because, if I don’t have good reasons then I’m the most horrid kind of hypocrite. Fortunately, up until now, my reasons haven’t been too far off the bat, and I’ve generally been quite good with judgements, decisions, intuitions etc. But that doesn’t excuse the possibility that, running things identically over again, everything could have turned out differently and I’d have been a raving idiot offending every person I speak to…deliberately. :(

As I say (or perhaps as I hope) it seems I’m lucky not to have been in that bad a situation. But it’ll take alot of work and effort to continue avoiding such things in the future. Indeed, if at anytime in the future I argue with you, or say something to really annoy you, rather’n reacting emotionally (like I’ll probably do at the time…:O ), do try to engage me on the reasons and ideas behind whatever I’m saying.At worst you’ll stop me being a prat towards you. At best you might help me too!

Now, this is a bit of a humdrum self-depricating blog…and by rights it should be. Sometimes logic and reason cn take their hold for too long. I want to say that it is time to take the bull by the horns…but that
1) sounds stupid
2) is probably very innacurate.

Suffice, it is a reasonable time for me just now. I’m enjoying alot of good conversation with housemates and friends, alot of things seem to be going well, and if things unfold as I expect they will, I’ll be an unhappy (rejected, in a manner of speaking) chappy come the next day or two.

Yes, I think it’s time to be decisive.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

P.S. Of course, this isn’t the specific time to be decisive. It’s very difficult to be decisive at half-four in the morning. No. What I intend is that in the next couple of days I hope I’ve the resolve to fortify myself for the immediate future. Yes, that sort of handwavy decisiveness…


24/12/07 Uncle Frank and the Seventh Semester

My friend/old roomate/old housemate/brother, Stephen Cornick has been telling a joke of late. I’ll give you some background, but you’ll probably be aware of it. That is: I’m a big fan of terrible jokes. I think this originates from high-school, with Iain and Keegan being premier bad-jokers. Anyhow, on arriving at Uni, bad jokes were not as abundantly commony, and I adopted the pursuit of laughing at awful jokes. Suffice to say, I enjoy the pun, the inneundo and the double entendre as much as anyone nowadays. In an extreme joke at my expense, Stephen produced the following gem:

Frank walks into a bar and tells a joke. The barman says “You’re a cunt”.

:L

Particularly, Stephen has so far managed to tell this immediately after any joke I’ve made at a party/gathering the last couple of weeks. It makes me laugh, at least.

Uncle Frank

As some of you might be aware, St Andrews has a very strong tradition in Academic Families. Not the tutor-student chains, but an adoption between higher year students of lower year students. My family is ridiculously large at present. I believe my brothers and sisters, via my dad alone, number well into the twenties. With the revelation of an enormous supply of siblings on my mother’s side too this could be pushing forty or fifty.

Now, accounting for the fact that some of them were medics, they’re already gone off to Manchester, so a large portion of ‘my generation’ has left. The generation above us (my mum/dad) were gone by the time we’d reached second year, and so our generation is the prime one. But even it is failing…I’ll soon be a fifth year, the bulk of my siblings will be gone and me and a handful of friends will be left as wizened old veterans with the next generation.

A quick note is that I’m the second eldest of my own generation (from my father), as my friend Elaine was the first-born of our generation, which makes me chieftain of the family/clan/thing/dynasty nowadays…for what that’s worth! But Elaine’s gone now, and I’m still here.

But what of this next generation? Well, for me myself, I’ve a nice setup of currently thirteen kids. My eldest, Malcolm, is no longer a St Andrews student and now studies at Dundee University. My second son, Sam, now inherits the family, but he’s not a close son, having moved out into the rest of the world. He’s the son I see least often.

After that are Mary (now back in Chicago), Chelsea (another non-so-close child) and Erin (a close friend nowadays). The final son of last years’ batch was the first Rob (of three in the local family). Then we had Marc and Jonny, friends from Fife (one via ATC, the other via the Lang Toun Hive). Jonny was the first son of this year. Following Jonny was my son Brian, a theatre director, artist and all-round culture-vulture (he was sick in our sink at our Freshers’ Week party). Following that were three second-year sons who were adopted to bring them in out of the coldness of having bad or non-existant fathers. They were Nick, Marcin and Rob (second Rob). All kids that I lived with last year in Melville.

The final kid was Emma, the counterpart and non-student of my son Rob (1). Now, the pseudo-kid-of-mine, Alun, is part of the famly because I’ve been essentially a dad, as much as I’ve been for the rest of them, to him too. Not to mention that he made copious use out of my banana suit this semester!

In any case,, that rounds of my own…spawning…at thirteen kids and a pseudo kid. Quite big and hard to keep track of, eh?

(NB- Most of their mothers are my sisters. The one, jonny, whom I thought I gotten away with having without incest turned out to have four mothers…who were later revealed to be long-lost sisters!)

But what of the rest of the family? Well, the family tree shows that! It’s upstairs in our common room…and it’s not a tree…it’s a hideous web thing! Well, I think it’s safe to say that the next generation will provide me plenty of company. Within Albany park itself, I think I’m ‘Uncle Frank’ to a vast portion of first-and-second years. Certainly, it’s very nice being introduced to people to be able to say “Ah, yes, you’re <someone’s> kid? Hi, I’m your uncle Frank!”). My french niece even routinely knows me now as ‘tonton’ rather’n Frank.

In any case, it’s been quite a lovely transition. In first year it was commonly “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” being said to my siblings, in second and third years we were always rather impressed by adopting our kids and gave little thought to the ancillary tradition of being an aunt or uncle. My friend/brother/nextdoorneighbour Nick, in third year, was first to pursue the ‘Uncle’ affectation, by featuring at all the Raisin parties not with kids of his own, but as purely an uncle.

No, it’s really quite nice when people know you as uncle. I wonder if Katie’ll ever have kids…then it’d be the first genuine instanciation of ‘uncle’!

and The Seventh Semester

Well, the semester’s done now. And it was a bloody good one. Had a great wee weekend not working. I should’ve been working, but what can I say…? I was distracted.

Similarly, the last couple of weeks have been excellent. I’ve enjoyed a lot of fun this semester, a lot of hilarious things have been going on, a lot of terrific coincidences and generally fortuitous events. Work hasn’t been going my way, but c’est la vie. I’ll survive. Or perhaps I’ll not, but either way, it’s been good.

So, a quick list of the things I’ve been up to this semester:
– Attending classes (really enjoyed Fundamentals of Pure, probably will do badly in all my classes, found Relativity really interesting and was pleasantly surprised by Physics of Atoms. Lecturers were all good, and I do think I’ve learned alot, despite being terrible in my classes)
– Drank and tried more tea than I’ve ever drank before.
– Bought more tea than I’ve ever bought before!
– Went to more peoples’ houses and had more people round genuinely ‘for tea’ than ever have before
– Made a lot of new friends, hopefully ones that I’ll be good friends with for a while
– Had a lot of…interesting experiences. The less said the better, I think.
– Got up to some hilarious mischief now and again
– Started cycling routinely again
– Started running
– Started eating sunflower seeds
– I’ve been plagued by an hilarious and intriguing set of coincidences
– I’ve read a fair few books, and gotten through good parts of a few more
– I’ve had a shit-ton of books out from the library.
– Drank alot of Midori and Lemonade
– Been hesitantly capable of doing vodka shots without dying, and even going so far as to drink whisky now and again
– Only missed a handful of lectures (~10)
– Branched out in cooking (lots of cous cous, not just pasta, rice and noodles), making my first ever omelette too.
– I’ve been dressed as some sort of eighties ‘cool’ Londoner, a pirate, a wizard and on some very rare and fleeting occassions…a banana again.
– I’ve made excellent use of my Albanian hat
– There’s been *alot* of parties
– We’ve hosted three Epic parties: our Fresher’s Party, our (two) Raisin Weekend Parties and our Albany-Christmas Afterparty
– Ventured into the north for an Highland Hoedown.
– Decorated my room with postcards, three JD posters, one map of greater Europe and at least twenty-nine A3 sheets of paper covered in physics…
– Bought a silly amount of pens. My count at last was around 40+ in my desk alone
– Started learning to play Go.

And that’s all just incidental stuff. There’s some quite brilliant anecdotes in there. I’m terrible at telling them, but still!

The Other Blog (an epiblog?)

https://xisor.wordpress.com/

I started a slightly more formal, less nonsensical blog. I’m not very good at writing stuff, but I’m trying. Hopefully it’ll become a productive blog, one-day. But I doubt it. A man can try…

To summarise

Well, it’s been a quite interesting three months. indeed, the last four have been fantastic, but the last three have been excellent too. I wonder how long it’ll last? With exams looming, my bet is not long

Now, perhaps I should get on to studying…

31/12/07 Town on the Edge of 2008

It’s that time of year again. Retrospection, introspection, speculation, regrets, reminiscing.

It’s been a damn fine year. Six months of struggle, six months of unadulterated (err…) happiness. It’s been a good year. It definitely kicks the bejesus out of 2006.

But where has it all gone? Has it been worth it?

Where has it all gone??

It’s been one of the fastest years of my life. But so much has happened. The worst examinations of my life. The most intense academic semester yet. The most dignified lent yet. The most studious I’ve become. The most spontaneously creative I’ve been in years. A super-intense examination diet, the second of the year, and one which I got under my belt wiith time for a toga-party in the very thick of it (it was a bad idea, but still!). Shots of olive oil!. A new, intensely boring and intensely physical (for a fatman like me). Turning twenty-one. Losing religion. Gaining hope. Realising and manifesting my dream: I’ve been to Albania. I’ve seen Paris by accident. I’ve starved for two days without noticing. I’ve revisisted Brugge. I’ve conversed in french with a random man in a foreign nightclub. I’ve travelled the breadth of Europe with only myself as a guide. I made from Tirana to Warsaw in under three days, by bus, foot and train. I ended up, by surprise, in the Czech Republic. I met ‘Number Six’ who turned out to be a small, brilliant, coy frenchman engineer! I’ve had the most tremendous parties. I’ve been to the most tremendous parties. I’ve dressed up as a pirate, twice. I’ve been a wizard. I’ve taken exactly the proper amount of courses for the first time since fifth year. I’ve had interesting experiences with holding breath. I’ve had a banana suit stolen and returned, it being subject to a smurf in the meantime! I’ve had tea with complete strangers and forged a fair friendship from it. I’ve collected over twenty-one varieties of tea! I’ve bandied ideas with the best of them. I’ve gotten over so much darkness from the past. I’ve become a father seven times again. I’ve been on a Highland Hoedown and made some neat friends from it. I’ve made friends with the swiss, the french, buckets of english and scottish, I’ve seen people in their darkest days. I’ve seen despair and joy. I’ve been the cause of despair and joy. I’ve seen academic incest. I’ve…well, enough of this!

It’s been quite a year. So much has happened, but still such a brilliant time.

Has it been worth it?

Early results give a resounding YES!

Time will tell, of course, and throughout 2008 we’ll be able to analyse the terrible mistakes of 2007, but for now it looks like it’s been quite a fine year.

I do hope everyone else has had a good one, or is at least looking hopefully to the next. Let us end upon a quotation!

When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all “grow up. Get a job. Get married. Get a house. Have a kid, and that’s it.”

But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder.

And so much better.
:D

I guess I’ll just have to find out.
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