Sunday, 12 June 2011

Run, run, as fast as you can

I'm not the gingerbread man, but I think I'm reasonably hard to catch.

At the moment, my training is paying off big time. When I first went to university, I got stuck into the lifestyle of studying, and of course juggling. However, my running never really came into my life again for a whole year. I put on a bit a of weight and lost a whole bunch of fitness, and the only thing I gained was a bit of flexibility- which is useless.

I spent the last year or so "getting back into it". However I soon realised that I was becoming one of those runners who is ALWAYS "just about" trying to "get back into it". I couldn't really commit to my training, and quite frankly I just wasn't sure how to train properly. About 3 months ago however, I met up with an old friend of mine and he gave me tried and tested instructions over a couple of beers. Since then, I have been following that very plan.

My first competitive road race back as a team member of South Devon athletics was "The Exterminator". A 10k route that starts and finishes at the local college, and goes through stoke gabriel down to the creeks. I was attempting to beat Jamie Dent, a good friend of mine and revered runner in the club. We had people all placing theoretical bets on who would win out of us two, so it was all pretty tense. Long story short, I beat him- just! Only one place in it, and we finished in a clean 4th and 5th place out of about 200 runners.

An interesting thing about this race was that it was part of the club competition the "senior grand prix". Basically, at the beginning of every year, the club committee chooses 14 races in the calendar. To qualify, you have to run 7 or more of them. Your points are totalled up from your best seven, and then a winner is announced at the end of the year. It is all done within the club, so it only matters who you beat in the club. First back from the club gets 50 points, second back 49, and so on.

Anyway. If all stood, I would get 50 points from the exterminator, and Jamie Dent would get 49.

However, much to my dismay, it then surfaced that my membership had expired. I was disqualified from that grand prix race and my points were confiscated and given to Jamie. I was very disheartened, because I had worked so hard to beat him. There was nothing I could do really but train harder for the next race and sort out my club membership.

So I did just that. Last thursday, was another grand prix race, this time the "dawlish coastal dash". I knew that I could beat Jamie now, I proved that to myself last time. I knew that I had trained just as hard since the Exterminator. However, I knew that Jamie Dent has a mean pair of sprinting legs on him, and this race was only a 4 miler. If he was close enough to me near the finish, I have known him time and time again to just open up into another gear and blast past me over the line. Well I gave it my best, and I just managed to get back first for the club again! Roll on the next race.

In other news, James Strutt (left of picture above) competed for the first time as a South Devon runner on thursday as well. He pulled out a great sprint finish, beating the guy he had been neck and neck with for the whole race. Congrats dude!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Greatest Bemusement to ever Befall Mankind.

Many of us human beings are puzzled by things we cannot explain. A lot of the time this is due to not having the correct level of scientific knowledge. If you are thinking that I am referring to the cosmos, or that God thing, THINK AGAIN.

I am in fact referring to one of the greatest bemusements to ever befall mankind..

"Why is it when you leave some wires in a draw/ on the floor/ on the table/ anywhere do they tangle themselves up on their own?"

This below, is in fact a picture from over the edge of my desk.

I am sure you have all wondered about this, or just been frankly pissed off about the time it takes to untangle them all. As a gamer, and a musician that uses electricity-powered devices (mic, guitars, keyboards etc) I used to be constantly befuddled by the disarray that that wires get themselves into as soon as I have left the room.

It is thanks to my A level in Chemistry, a vague understanding of physics, and my brief spell as an undergraduate masters student that I can finally explain. Here is me featured in the lab with some friends of mine from Uni. The photo on facebook is tagged "chem possy LOL". I think that sums it up.

Anyway, it is a simple case of understanding some or all of the 3 (4, if you count the 0th) laws of thermodynamics.

I could go into all the jargon, or direct you to websites that will attempt to explain, but I have to say even wikipedia makes it too complicated for people without a sciencey background to recognise. Fortunately, there is a British Scientist and Author, C. P. Snow, who has a very handy way of understanding them for your average Joe:

"Thermodynamics, is the study of the relationship between heat, work, and internal energy of a system. The 3 laws can be stated as such:

  1. You cannot win. (You can't get something from nothing, basically you can't create or destroy energy or matter)
  2. You cannot break even. (You can't get back to the same energy state, because ENTROPY ("disorder") ALWAYS INCREASES)
  3. You cannot get out of the game. (absolute zero is totally impossible to reach)"
And so you see, the 3 laws of thermodynamics, are just like a really shit game of poker. You can't win. You can't break even, and you can't get out of the game.

The part I have capitalised is the part that concerns these blasted wires.

 Entropy is the key. Although they tell you it is not exactly correct when you study chemistry, Entropy basically does mean "disorder". For example, If you have some blue sand at the bottom of a jar, and some yellow sand at the top of the jar, when you shake it, it will always mix up. It will never in theory sort itself out again into blue and yellow.

.... drumroll please...

AND SO... The reason why wires tangle themselves up when they get nudged or moved is because the entropy of the system of wires always increases, resulting in an increase in disorder. Tangled wires have a higher entropy level than untangled wires, so untangled wires in theory with ALWAYS tangle.

What I am trying to say is, you can't stop it. Wires tangling up is encompassed in the second law of thermodynamics. And those rules are f***ing tight. No loopholes. (hehehe great wire pun)

Accordion-based Shenanigans part 1

Shenanigans. Great word.

Anyway, I realised that everyone has an uncle or older male relative that plays the accordion and always comes up with terrible puns. When I am older, I will BE that uncle. I have got the terrible puns bit down (ask any of my friends) but as for the actual playing of the accordion, I'm not exactly the next Mozart.

I do recall a long time ago, I made a blog post about trying to learn the accordion. However, that old accordion I was using had a number of malfunctions:

1. It didn't work.
2. ... I think I have summed it all up in point one.

Well this accordion I am using is better. Mostly for the reason: it functions as an accordion. Unfortunately it isn't mine, it is actually George's. But he is letting me borrow it until he wants it back, so thats pretty slick.

The old accordion I was using was an Italian-made Alvari, which pre-dated world war 2. And you could tell, due to the obvious level of disrepair. This one is a Japanese-made "Parrot" accordion.

I have been told these are usually put together very well and are pretty decent. I trust Japanese craftsmanship. After all, they built the first Game Boy, and mine still works like new.

Part 2 of this blog post will be a video of me playing some tunes I have learned, so watch this space!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

1000 photos on facebook

Just now, I realised that I have got 1000 photographs on facebook. Thats crazy! It seems strange, as I was an extraordinarily late comer to the realm of facebook, as I only joined towards the very end of year 13. By that time, the majority of people my age had become well established on the social network.

Photographs are an excellent way of keeping record of what you have been up to in the past, and it is the only way to see how you have aged. I don't think I have aged very much at all in the last 3 or so years, but for your viewing pleasure, below is the very first picture of me to ever appear on facebook.

In this picture from left to right are my friends Anna Henderson, Sam Stafford, and of course myself. This is the last day of churston grammar school sixth form, we are all dressed in wild west format. It was uploaded on the 23rd May 2009, and I would have been only 17. I think I look rather fresh faced, and maybe a bit thinner. It is now the 5th June 2011, and I will be 20 in a month. Time makes fools of us all. No wait- Alan makes fools of us all...

I was hoping that my 1000th picture would have been something memorable, something including off-the-scale grandeur or me doing something suitably impressive. However, my wishful thinking appears to have left me with somewhat of a hollow victory, as my 1000th picture is.... drumroll please... ... a "slightly out of focus shot of me talking to George White, and I am facing the wrong way". The picture is courtesy of a mobile upload from Izzy Slipper. Cheers.

And so in conclusion, ... well, nothing. I sort of explained everything already.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Pokemon of the Week: Kabuto, Kabutops

Thanks to Putu Agus Khorisantono, for the suggestion.

Well lets see, kabuto. Of course, one of the fossil pokemon found in mt moon when you have to choose with that super nerd guy. What a lame-ass. Why is it you can defeat Giovanni using pokemon and he leaves and disbands Team Rocket for good, but when you beat this super nerd he is just like 'fine, we'll share'?

I hate that guy.

Anyway, the pokemon itself is not too bad. It is another classic example of a pokemon that really isnt great at all in the unevolved form. But it is ok, just difficult to train and can't handle attacks from grass pokemon very well. It is based on a cool animal, the horseshoe crab, and so naturally it is part water type. I wish it wasn't because it makes it so much worse against a lot of types but I guess it makes perfect sense being a crab and all.

What I don't understand is why it can learn absorb. It is a water/rock type, and is based on a crab. No crab in existance has every been able to absorb anything, at least not in the suggestive plant-based method that comes with the territory of knowing the move 'absorb'...

Anyway, Kabutops is arguably one of the coolest looking pokemon in the first 150. Big claws and a dragony sort of body, it ticks the boxes. It does have its downsides though. First of all, it won't become cool til Kabuto evolves at level 40, if you really can be bothered, especially because it is not excellent at holding its own. Get ready to flop out the old experience share.

200th blog post for the win!

Well, its come to that time again. You may notice that when I hit 100 posts, I simply did a summary list of what has happened in the last century of them. And I intend on doing the same. So without further ado, he is what has happened in the last 200 posts!

  1. I decided started unexplainably juggling more often during revision season
  2. I noticed how much of a hermit you become when revising for exams, just living on tea alone
  3. I made a juggling video.
  4. I ran down a hill carrying a suitcase in order to make a train on time for a Ricky and the Pigeons gig
  5. MASSIVE ASS was created and subsequently explained using script type dialogue
  6. The time I sang the pokemon theme song in the car
  7. I had all my colour cut from my hair, resulting in me being blonde again totally
  8. I painted a picture of Link from Wind Waker. It was sweeeet
  9. Me, Sam and Phil went to the cider bar in Newton Abbot
  10. I set up a 7" screen in my room so I could play Zelda at University
  11. A trainer on pokemon said "you look good at pokemon, but how is chemistry grade" ... ahem
  12. Oli gets World of Warcraft to work on his computer, and we don't see him for weeks
  13. I made a string arrangement of an old battery powered song
  14. I defined snowing and hailing together as snailing, much to Karys's delight
  15. The inorganic head of lab work deliberately wasted time so we couldn't finish our work early
  16. In response to Graham, one beer please.
  17. I wrote down a collection of funny jokes. All of which contain the punchline "one beer please"
  18. Me and Tom "Foolery" Bartlett stole some chemicals from people when ours didn't work.
  19. Gravity Vomit had our awesome animal party. I dressed as a Raccoon.
  20. Me and James Strutt downed a bottle of wine each
  21. I hugged one of my juggling heroes, Haggis McLeod
  22. The word verification system spelled out 'broast'
  23. I raced to finish a lab report after a huge foul up to start with and I established my ex girlfriend can't juggle to save her life
  24. Food was getting nicked from the kitchen, so I decided to appoint myself detective and bug the kitchen.
  25. My camera software crashed, so nobody was caught
  26. We spent 7 hours playing a game of monopoly
  27. I tried not shaving, it was pathetic.
  28. I posted from Wades kitchen
  29. Gravity Vomit scary clowns night, I was elected as club secretary after narrowly missing chairman
  30. I painted the hylian shield on my face for no good reason
  31. I had a brief break from blogging
  32. Went for a walk around berry head, nice scenery, tiny lighthouse
  33. We made a trip to woodlands and I saw Alan's first full beard
  34. I found some old game boy games and vowed to keep them safe
  35. After previously condemning the release of pokemon on DS, I decided it was actually really good
  36. Ricky and the Pigeons recorded our first album with Tom Crump in his attic
  37. Rich Butterfield and Alan O'Brien gave me some of their music.
  38. I set up some sort of revision contract
  39. I quickly updated to let you know I was still studying, and still somehow alive
  40. I got halfway through my exams and started looking forward to home
  41. I reminisced about what it was like living in Eastwood 4, on the day I was leaving
  42. James Rooney joined us as a fellow blogger
  43. I announced the arrival of summer
  44. I tried not shaving again, but only managed 8 days. It was terrible anyway.
  45. I made a precursor to the next few blog posts
  46. I left Bath University FOR GOOD, and explained my reasons
  47. I ate a giant chocolate coin
  48. I explained what was going on with the band, and introduced Dave as our advisor
  49. I talked about how I felt about Sophie
  50. My Keytar finally arrived in the mail!
  51. I designed a metapod based t shirt
  52. I started tweeting again, to increase my online presence
  53. I did a big post about how great pokemon is, and what I have been up to in the games
  54. We discovered why the french kept retweeting all of the bands tweets (#ratp)
  55. I bought some denim wayfarers...
  56. The band took a snafusis to Reading University to check it out
  57. I started drawing again 
  58. I explained my love of ales and spoke briefly about the Ale festival
  59. I designed the label for my first home brew
  60. I passed my driving test!
  61. Ricky and the Pigeons carved some Halloween pumpkins
  62. We met Darryn "New Alan" Dunn for the first time and got drunk with him
  63. I put up the video of the pumpkin carving
  64. I made a post in Binary because Rooney can't read
  65. I took note of some of Ricky's new catchphrases 
  66. Rooney lied to me and i fell for it, so I posted a picture of him in a girls top
  67. I explained the magic of Sir hiss
  68. Went paintballing for Adam Cowell's Birthday
  69. I started recording some battery powered songs on the keytar
  70. I started the brewing of my first home ale
  71. I made a new sister blog: "What Ale?"
  72. We all had a laugh about foot can.
  73. Day 2 of brewing, it seems to be working
  74. I tried getting back into running again
  75. Sophie left me.
  76. Day 5 of brewing, it was goin well and I planned on bottling soon
  77. Me and Ricky went shopping to try and cheer me up
  78. I made a list of 10 things I don't understand
  79. I took a trip to Bath, much merriment was had by all
  80. Me and Ricky went on a day trip and played crazy golf. That homeless man made a song...
  81. I bought a new pair of corduroy slacks
  82. I made a list of 10 things I love
  83. Paddy Turpin joined us as a fellow blogger
  84. I auditioned for Britains Got Talent
  85. I decided that James Corden is not very funny, just quite fat.
  86. I started up pokemon of the week again with the Zubat evolution chain
  87. I dropped a breezblock on my finger and crushed it
  88. I made a list of the top 12 quirky items I own
  89. I found the phrase "get away bugs" in a Zelda game
  90. Me and Ricky ate a christmas dinner at the old folks home and I sang for them
  91. The morning after we went to the pub and had a drink in the morning
  92. We went on a quest to find a chinese takeaway open in the daytime. No such luck
  93. I drew a picture of Neo Cortex to prove i still could draw
  94. Lickitung and Lickilicky were pokemon of the week
  95. I discovered why all my internet traffic to the blog was all coming through the searchword "Onix"
  96. I learned about "grime" and tried to explain it
  97. I learned about dubstep, and tried to explain it.
  98. I started blogging again, after a long break.
  99. Kabuto and Kabutops are pokemon of the week, but due to the silly way blogger orders things, It appears after the "200th" post.
  100. I wrote about what had happened in the last 100 posts!

Blogging = Awesome

Oh dear. I have not blogged for six months. Since CHRISTMAS! To be fair, I have been doing other stuff, but hey its a shame. It was brought to my attention not too long ago how amazing a blog is for keeping memories. Just like a diary for all the funny stuff we get up to. I remember saying when I first set this thing up, I hope I can look back at this in 10 years and read about how "cool" I was.

Well lets just say by not blogging for six months I haven't exactly helped that dream along.

So to get to the point, there have been some key landmarks in my life that I personally believe are relatively noteworthy, just to bring us all up to speed with what the hell is going on.


Me as a person: I think I'm pretty much still the same, but then again I would. I think my beard is starting to get a bit better as well, and I have experimented with long hair again. Since this picture I have compromised and cut it back halfway. We'll see what happens.

Social life: Well, I am single. I have been for some time and I think I have got used to it. It was difficult at first and I made a few mistakes here and there but now I'm settled. I spend a lot more time in the pub now I think, not just for drinking, a lot of hanging out takes place. I still have friends, and things are pretty slick. Here is some of us during new years eve. Cops and Robbers (and milkmen... COLIN).

Work: I have finally left McDonald's and turned my back on the clown that was running my life. Not the manager, I meant Ronald McDonald. As of just yesterday, I now work in the vigilance! The vigilance, for those who aren't aware, is the Brixham branch of Wetherspoons. Lovely pub.

News: There have been a whole bunch of scandals with various football players, but there always are, so who really cares. Osama bin Laden was found and shot dead by American forces earlier this year. Prince William and Kate Middleton wed earlier this year as well. The Libyan government is in upheaval and Colonel Gaddafi is still being a dick it seems. There was a huge Earthquake and tsunami in Japan which killed lots of people, and there was a big earthquake in new zealand. UK and American troops are still in Afghanistan. Oh and the Go compare guy is STILL HERE and STILL ANNOYING, as well as the damn insurance meerkats that everyone just loves. (not me. ... simples. bah.)

The Band: Ricky and the Pigeons is still going strong, and I don't believe I mentioned we have a new arrival... George White on drums, everyone. Round of applause. We are no longer with "wasteman Dave" our previous "manager" because he was doing nothing to help the cause. However, we will be recording soon with a new guy, so stay tuned. We are starting to sound amazing now and I hope we go far. There are loads of people wanting to book us back in the local area, the gigs are just rolling in. We have new songs, such as Taxicab and Go Crazy, just to name a few. So yeah, WE STILL ROCK.

Running: I have been training very hard and I am pleased to say I am well and truly "back into it". I did my first competetive 10k in over a year last month, coming in 4th place out of 200 runners, beating every runner from South Devon Athletic club. I owe a lot of this to Les Golder, who was my ex primary school teacher and now running advisor. He is very experienced and also a good friend, so I am looking forward to keeping this up. I have been training about 5 days a week covering about 30 miles on average per week.

Pokemon: The release of Pokemon Black and White was a total success. The game is awesome. Thumbs up.

Education: Well, I can confirm I will be attending Reading University to study primary education with art specialism. And I have also finally sorted out my student finance after a lot of bother and umbrage. I start in October, and provided his results all turn out ok, Big G will be coming as well to do chemistry with forensics! I think the start of this academic year is gonna be sweeeeeet.


That is all, apologies for the huge post, but with 6 months of inactivity it makes logical sense to do it this way. Also take note that my other blog "What Ale?" is back up and running as well. Find the link in the sidebar.

'Til next post.