Showing posts from November, 2005

Of being a Human Guinea Pig

It might not surprise some of my more regular readers to learn that yesterday I wound up at the Psyciatric Dept. of the hospital. Even now I can sense the relief that some of you feel knowing that the men in white coats finally caught up with me.

Well, sorry to spoil the party, but I'm afraid that any relief will be short lived - I was there as a volunteer for a Decision Making Study.

I saw an advert earlier on in term which wanted volunteers for a study looking at "how the brain makes decisions" and I applied. At the time I was considering postgraduate study in Artificial Intelligence, which also seeks to know how the brain makes decisions and I figured that it might be relevant.

Well it wasn't - for a start I am no longer seriously considering doing a course in AI, but even so it was never really going to be of any use from that PoV.

Still, it was very interesting, and I did earn myself some money.

The day before the study I had to be on a proscribed low protein die…

It's A Beautiful Life

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm in a good mood. I've just come out of a tutorial, which went really well (better than I'd hoped) and I really enjoyed it. There is live jazz on Cornmarket, and I now have my second Christmas Dinner to look forward to. Mmmmmm.

Christmas Dinner

Happy Christmas!

Given the fact that we are nearing the end of term, we have to have our Christmas Dinner sometime and tonight was the first of three this week (given that the hall is so small, they have to offer more than one). Only in Oxford...

It was a quality occasion, and the kitchen staff proved that they can actually produce a decent meal. It was a three course affair, starting with tomato soup, then turkey and all the trimmings (including sprouts, ladies and gentlemen) and followed up by Christmas pudding. Mmmmmm. Thanks must also go to William (our Spanish waiter) for providing me with a delicious Orange Torte from High Table.

The hall had been properly decked out and we even had crackers to pull at the beginning. I had the pleasure of some good company and really enjoyed myself. Nice.

Another Quote

I was catching up on the BBC News page this morning, and I came across this gem:

'Matthew Wilson, 18, said he had come to see Charlotte Church, because she was "a good role model."'


Quote of The Day

Earlier this evening I enjoyed a very pleasant drink with my friend Hugo in the Union, and he came out with a comment which I rather liked. With his permission I will now take this opportunity to share it with all who visit this corner of the Blogosphere.

"Falling in love is like falling down a well. It's fun until you hit the bottom, and getting out again is a nightmare".

Profound. Possibly.

"I'm on the train"

When travelling on a train it's often quite interesting to hear how people follow up the stereotypical "I'm on the train" when talking on a mobile. I think one of the most random things I've heard was the woman earlier who said "I'm reading about the Flat Earth Theory."Currently I'm en route to Exeter and having spent quite a bit of time on a train in the last couple of days I have discovered a new pet hate.I have been irritated several times by those people who stand in the vestibule of a coach by the sensor for the sliding door in to the seating area and thus keep the door open, or worse cause the door to open and shut incessantly. I'm amazed by the number of people who remain oblivious to the fact they are responsible for that infuriating 'open-shut-open-shut...' of the door in question but I want to give special congratulations to the joker this morning who continued to stand by the sensor even after he'd been asked to move…

Blogworthy Sign

This weekend has been quality - I went with Josh to join Ollie and Richard in Cardiff for Richard's birthday. We went out for an Italian last night, and although the food was nothing special it was an awesome evening. The company was great, and the banter didn't disappoint.

Staying at Richard's meant that we got to enjoy some time relaxing in the peaceful village of Cefn Cribwr, and the hospitaliy we received from his parents was just fantastic.

Anyway, on our travels I came across a sign at Reading station which amused me. If I had too much time on my hands I would probably have photographed it and posted the result here. But I don't, so I will just have to quote - I'm sure it will get the point across.

It was posted at the entrance to the Gent's and read "This Facility Is Attended To By A Man/Woman".

Experimental Cooking and Noises In The Night

After the rather heavy last post I feel the need to return to being a bit more light-hearted.

It's been a fun week, with lots going on. I've also been working quite hard in the Radcliffe Science Library - not the nicest of places (you could probably survive a nuclear attack down there) but conducive to working nonetheless.

Anyway, last night my friends from Magdalen (Chris and Hugo) invited a group of us around for dinner. We were promised some "experimental cooking" to "broaden the culinary horizons" and I'm pleased to say that they delivered.

Hugo bought a fish from the Halal Shop (a freshwater fish, we think, but who knows what. Apparently it had a "prehistoric head"). He apparently attempted to microwave it, before gutting it, boiling it and serving it in some soup with courgettes and Spanish Sausage. Lovely.

It actually turned out to be really nice, and was followed up by a delicious pasta dish Chris produced. All in all, a successful m…

Gay Bishops

EDIT: This post was written in response to a debate at the Oxford Union. Feel free to comment below, and join the discussion but please note that although I have shared some of my feelings on the issue I think that there are far more important issues for the church to grapple with. If you are new to my corner of the Blogosphere please don't let some of the heavy discussion put you off.


Last night the topic of the weekly debate at the Oxford Union was “This house believes that a homosexual lifestyle is no bar to becoming a bishop”. Controversial, perhaps, especially given that the speakers included Gene Robinson, the openly gay bishop of New Hampshire.

I decided to go along and enjoy the debate – I live next door to the Union, after all – and I will attempt now to give some form of report back from it.

I am obviously not able to sum up 2 hours of debate here, and I fear that anything I say will fail to do it justice. But throwing caution to the wind I would very much like …


I had to go to Blackwell's last week to collect a book for my dad. Not the most exciting thing for me to blog about, you might think. Well, if it's excitement you want, perhaps not. But I do feel that my experience is worth relying here.

The book in question was an obscure book on Parochial Church Councils, so I worked my way through the shelves containing thousands of books to the enquiry point.
"I'm looking for a book by MacNorran," I said.
"Are you sure you don't mean MacMorran?" came the reply.
"I don't think so," I said.
"Well there are no books by MacNorran. What's the book about?"
"Parochial Church Councils."
"Ah yes, you mean MacNorran. This way - we have one copy left."

And so he led me straight to one of the shelves and from the myriad of books pulled out the one I was after. I was seriously impressed and left wondering how on earth he'd got such knowledge of all the books sold by Blackwel…