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My Fear

This is not a fun blog post, by no-ones standards, unless you hate me and enjoy schadenfreude. It’s a blog post I just want to write, and writing it has made me feel better, and maybe me sharing these things will help you lot as well.

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This Blog

I use this blog for many things, but I sadly find it rare that I have something I want to say. I mean there is plenty of stuff I can put here, but writing takes a lot of time, effort and, very often, a spark of creativity to word a sentence right. So, working up the desire to sit down and try to wrangle words to convey how I feel about something requires passion. Now, not much passion, but more than I have for the vast majority of the things I could write about. There are things I’d like to say, but that I wouldn’t want to read or want anyone else to read for that matter. The just random thoughts on life and suchlike. And my interest and feelings about them appear and fade constantly. Writing a blog post where the things you say, (about your own feelings!), that is out of date in a few hours is probably not a good use of writing time!

Of course I still seem to write, angsty, somewhat whining blog posts. But I only seem to write those when I’m in that mood. It’s something at the time that I want to write about, and want to read about. However, I hope I’ve written those sorts of posts with some humour still left. So that you, and less moody me, can read it and laugh at this slightly exaggerated version of myself. Though, I’m glad I stash these away here, where you can read only if you want to. Rather than being more open about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Though, if there’s one practical use this blog has above all the others, it’s getting practice writing. Writing is great, it’s an easier way of saying my thoughts and ideas than speaking. For the simple reason that I’m quite clumsy when speaking, I trip over my words and sometimes I stop being able to concentrate on what I’m saying. Writing and, in particular, typing are great because I can constantly see how something sounds, and edit it so what I say is the best I could have said it. Which is a warning to those who only know me online: If you ever saw me in real life, and tried to speak to me, I might be a disappointment relative to whatever opinion you might have made of me. I could say you would find me to as the unpolished diamond. But it’s more comparable to say that, upon closer inspection, I’m merely Quartz.

Despite my preference for writing, I still make lots of mistakes in what I write, and wish I’d written it better or I wish I’d seen how it might be taken the wrong way. So, I’d like to practice and perhaps experiment with writing a bit. Even if just to cut down on the vast amount of emotions, particularly :P, that I use so often to try to convey that I am actually joking.

But, the nicest part of blogging is finding out I actually enjoy blogging. It’s not just something I do to get something out of my system. It can just be a fun thing to do. It’s a similar realisation to “Hey, I actually like doing Physics”, but that’s a blog for another time!

On Goodbyes

I’m very bad at goodbyes. Though, not in the stereotypical way of crying or whatever. I’m fine with saying goodbye to someone, it’s not a sad thing, after all, it’s a sign good times were had. But, and this is possibly beyond even stereotypical nerdery, I feel awkward when it comes to goodbyes with women.

Let me clarify, saying goodbye to the guys involves 2 things. Saying a goodbye and then often a firm handshake. But with women, I can say the goodbye, that’s easy, but I can’t decide on what to do along with that. All I know for certain is that it is NOT a handshake. panicked and did that once, it was incredibly awkward. I should never have done that. But going for a hug is terrifying, it has a huge possibility of creeping someone out. And I really don’t want to be ‘That guy’ the one that creeps people out. It’s possibly my biggest source of awkwardness, the knowledge that I could do something, quite by accident, that makes someone feel uncomfortable. Worse, it could be a lasting effect. The idea that my very presence might make someone feel uncomfortable is sickening. And I’d probably be oblivious to this, because I don’t think anyone would say a thing.

The worst part of this is being unable to decide on the spot whether a hug is appropriate. The awkwardness is often enhanced by shaking the hand of a guy you know well, and then realising that the next person you should greet is a woman, and not knowing if to go in for a hug or not. I mean, what else do you do. A handshake, we have already established is awkward. But a hug could be awkward and not doing anything at all, when you’ve already started on the handshakes is also super awkward. It’s a difficult problem.

Don’t however, do my solution of “Well, I’ll buy myself time and just deal with shaking the guy’s hands, and then I’ll hopefully have decided what to do after that.” Because it turns out that’s even worse. I felt it as I turned past her to the other guy. The feeling of: “Shit, that was stupid.” I did eventually finish the hugs goodbye and then stood there awkwardly, said goodbye again and then ran.

Why yes, I am still single, however did you guess?

Who’s Sheldon?

The Delivery

So today, I went downstairs to see this:

Which contained this:

I’m trying to rekindle a love of reading, it hasn’t really deteriorated I just haven’t done it as much as I want to, and it has been a while since I just sat down and read a good book.  So I’ve splurged a bit of my student loan I had saved, because alcohol tastes horrid, on books. I bought a lot of Feynman, as you can see, because frankly it was getting embarrassing that I was studying physics and didn’t have tonnes of it. The Top right and left are two text books for next year, they felt useful having around, the rest of next years text books are mostly covered by what I already have from the last time I went mad and bought loads of books.

I also have Paradox by Jim Al-Khalili and Quirkology by Richard Wiseman on the left. A friend suggested… well demanded, that I get The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. It seems to be a source of shame that I haven’t read it. The other two were suggestions from the lovely Alice Sheppard. The magic furnace is something I hope fleshes out my pretty poor knowledge of science history, whilst “What Einstein told his cook.” is a wonderfully futile attempt by me to try to improve my cooking. I’m hoping that understanding a little of how it works might help me cook. And if not, it looks to be an interesting read all the same.

That just about rounds it up. What I start with though… I have no idea, there are still unread books lingering on my shelf. But, I’m not doing anything else during these weeks without lectures, so I should have plenty of time, I just wonder if I can tear myself away from the internet and distractions long enough to sit down and have a good read.

I just hope the Feynman lectures don’t break my shelf.

On a Rainy Day

Don’t worry, the rain is not here yet. I just couldn’t sleep tonight, so I ended up rediscovering a mad game I remember very fondly, and it seemed to be the perfect game if the rain arrives this week and you start feeling down. It’s called On a Rainy Day, and it’s incredibly simple, and it will take at most 20 minutes to exhaust everything about it. But after doing that, I hope it will have cheered you up. Download it direct from here  (PC only I think, sadly). If you want to jump right in and mess about without knowing anything, then play it before reading the rest of this, because I will now try to explain the sheer weirdness of this game, and me for playing it. Spoilers ahoy! View full article »

The NHS bill is terrifying me

I am genuinely scared of the NHS bill being voted through. I usually try to remain apolitical, simply because I know that I know nothing, and the very few opinions I have are nieve and idealistic. However, reading about the NHS bill from various people on twitter, most notably Ben Goldacre and David Colquhoun, has changed that. The sheer number of doctors opposing the bill that purports to give them more power is staggering. I had assumed that, despite the jokes, politicians weren’t inherently evil, corrupt or stupid. But this Bill is all of that. Evil because it will deal, perhaps irreversible damage to overall healthcare. Corrupt because of how many links with private healthcare companies there seem to be. And stupid simply because it ultimately affects everyone. An MP should never, and hopefully will never, be forgiven for voting to kill off the NHS.

Many years ago, I went to a mining museum. There was a talk by an ex miner, and a lot of the details escape me, but he did tell us a story.  His father or grandfather was working in the mines, and got horribly injured. They couldn’t afford or get medical care, so he died in their home as they tried to save his life. Now I realise this was many years ago, and I hope it couldn’t, or wouldn’t happen in the future. But the last words of his story stick with me: “Protect the NHS kids.”

For a long time I had assumed the NHS wouldn’t need defending. For much of my youth I didn’t realise the UK was rare, nearly unique, in having a health service like this. I’m scared of losing it. I would urge everyone to have a look at this and take its advice to email your MP. Follow up on the information if you need to, there is more here. Even I emailed my MP, breaking my vow of apathy, cynicism and laziness with regards to politics. I hope everyone shouts. I hope that MPs listen. And I hope that the NHS is safe.

Feeling rubbish.

Everyone knows what to eat and drink when ill. The default drink is honey and lemon. When I had a cold I used up half a tin of honey in a weekend. I’m going to start drinking them regularly, they taste fantastic and it should serve as a preventative measure. Against what I don’t know, having honey go past it’s sell by date perhaps. The default food is Chicken soup. I’ve had two tins of it today alone. The first was Heinz and the second wasn’t. The second was disappointing. Despite the cliché, yes, Heinz just is better than all the other soups.

The part I’m struggling with though is what to do with my time. Being ill like I am is a matter of waiting and being incapable of higher brain functions. I just want to sit, be excessively warm, and idle my brain for hours. I have a steam account full of PC games to play, and a vast back catalogue, but I can’t find one to satisfy me when I am most in need of it. This is irksome.

The trouble is, I just want to sit and build something for ages, but everything has a little flaw. Minecraft is great, but gets tedious. Theres only so much clicking on dirt you can handle. I want one of the old fashion dungeon building games, to while away the hours, but they are all flawed:

  • The classic “Dungeon Keeper [2]” should be satisfactory, but it wont work on any of my PCs. I’ve also played it to death, (quite literally given it’s setting) and it runs out of ideas. It’s fun to build up and watch things interact for a while. But you can place your buildings any way you want and things don’t change. The end result of all your building is to have a load of creatures to do battle with. But all you can do then is win the mission. There is nothing left to do. It all feels a bit pointless.
  • Evil genius had the good grace of making your base feel important. Trap setups were always fun to do, and the layout of your base mattered. However, it was really fucking difficult. It wasn’t a challenge, a challenge can be fun. Evil genius was almost spitefully difficult. You could never sit and focus on the layout of the base because you constantly needed to manually tag the intruders into your base, flick to an entirely different screen in order to check that your agents weren’t randomly killed. There was no thinking in this, the response to events was entirely binary, you became a cog in the machine, rather than the commander of the machine. I still sometimes fire it up, with all the cheats to full, and craft out a base. But that is all the fun I can extract from it, because the game itself decided to get in the way. It’s one of the tragedies of gaming.
  • Dungeons.  I think everyone wanted it to be a prettier, working, dungeon keeper. It changes the formula a bit, it’s an interesting concept. But sadly it ruined the concept by being just too damn fiddle. It’s the same problem evil genius had, you could never relax and just plan out a bit of your base, because it demanded that you personally see to the resource collecting. Okay, the resource collecting was a fight, but a particularly boring one. You just right-click the enemy and wait a bit. The whole thing felt a bit hollow. Things were just as effective lumped together haphazardly than with any sort of planning. Another disappointment.

I ended up mashing through an entire Civilization 5 game instead. Just quietly researching and managing my way through, was relaxing. But now I’ve done that, all the rest of my games are too fast paced and require far too much thought. I have nothing left to while away the time with. Except writing this blog post. But even that has now ended.

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