Sunday, April 30, 2006

Only In Oxford TT06 Part 1

The current term - Trinity Term 06 - will be my last in Oxford as an undergraduate. Sigh.

Finals are looming, but it is still impossible in Oxford to escape the eccentric and the random. So here is the first of a series of short posts dedicated to conveying something of that randomness.

This evening I was stood outside my staircase and across the quad some people emerged. Obviously off to some form of ball or party the guys were sporting dinner jackets and the girls were all in ball gowns. Nothing unusual in that. Except that a lot of the guys had tea towels on their heads. Like shepherds in a children's nativity play. Bizarre...

Friday, April 28, 2006

Return of the Trolley

Moving swiftly on from my political rants (I sometimes need an outlet for my opinion) I would like to return to something more light-hearted and humourous.

Some of you may remember that a while back I came across a supermarket trolley in Brasenose Lane. A Waitrose one, no less, and I wondered how someone managed to get it all the way from Abingdon without being caught.

It turns out that this was not a one-off event, as yesterday morning I saw another one in the same place. Bizarre. Either long distance trolley theft is easier than it would appear or there is something more sinister going on. I couldn't help noticing that it was parked outside the open door to Lincoln College kitchen and wondered if it had been 'obtained' a while back for their purposes.

Don't Blame Me: The Appendix

Perhaps some of you thought I was a bit harsh in my last post. Maybe I was. But on the other hand...

They say a picture paints a thousand words, so if you were struggling to with the idea that Mr Prescott is a thug, take a look at this on Sam's blog.

And perhaps you thought I was a bit harsh on Charles Clarke. After all, we all make mistakes and surely he didn't really do any harm. Well, I for one wasn't surprised that some of those released in the latest cock-up have already reoffended.

I was also interested by Dave's comment on my last post. "I'm a socialist that likes nice things, but I'm also an atheist that celebrates Christmas, it's just the way I was raised."

At first glance it makes sense. Lot's of people doubtless share the same view. But thinking about it, where do we draw the line? It's a bit "you can do anything you like so long as it pleases me" which lacks something in the way of principles.

Here endeth my political rant. Let the debate roll on...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Don't Blame Me (I didn't vote for them)

Sometimes I wonder why people stand up for our government. Look at John Prescott and Charles Clarke for example and all I see is a pair of thugs. You can't tell me that someone who punches the voters is anything else, and he should have been out for that long ago. He's contributed nothing to our country since save for a few bits of filthy hypocrisy when he avoided his council tax bills and turned up to an environmental meeting in one of his Jaguars.

And let's be honest, you've got to ask how?
I don't understand why he got away with it either, given the scale of the scandal which would have emerged were it anyone else.

As for Charles Clarke, well. Incompetent buffoon. Of course he should go. He certainly doesn't deserve to be paid a fortune for what he does.

I'm fed up with the lies, the hypocrisy, the fall in standards and morals and the spin. Are the people that voted them in, and worse, continue to support them, blind? Or just in receipt of one of the many gimmicky handouts available to some(cough) election bribes (cough)?

I see that for every party there are questions being asked about spending on hair, make up and clothes for the election campaign. You have got to ask whether it is really necessary.

And - for you smug Lib Dems in particular - just how is it an example of a socialist lifestyle to spend thousands on new suits?

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rock On

Good company (a huge crowd from the 'Nose). Chocolate Fountains (yum). Jazz (mmm. Get Happy). Dodgems (yeah baby). A new perspective on the Rad Cam (and a dead tree). Cranberry Cocktails (go Skittles). Bruce ("who the hell's Bruce...where?!?!"). Ballroom (not good when your partner is drunk). Gangster (some very cool looking people). The nephew of the Chinese PM (I think he was having me on). Louis the log (but "a sporran is the better gentleman's accessory").

Exeter Ball (2006).

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Murder Mystery?

I've only been back in Oxford a day or two and it might not surprise you to know that I have already unearthed something to blog about.

Rumours are afoot that the occupant of one of the ground floor rooms in college has been unable to move back in because human bones were discovered under the floorboards over the Easter break. Even Josh nearly fell off the bench at dinner time when we broke the news. The details are quite sketchy but I understand that forensic teams have been in to try and glean some more information. There has been some discussion as to whether the bones would have been buried over 500 years ago before the building was built or whether they are younger than that and have somehow found their way in since. Watch this space...

Meanwhile I have been buried in my favourite library - All Souls - attempting to revise for the dreaded collections (that's "college exams" for you non-Oxford types) at the end of the week. Euch. Expect a lower frequency of posts until I've got through them.

I'd best get back to it, I guess. Incidentally I was very pleased to learn earlier that I have some new readers. It does my ego no end of good.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Buying MP3 Music Online?

In the middle of last week I was on a train - where else? - and I was doing OK, yeah, listening to the onboard music system. Aside from my strong objection that Virgin Trains played some tracks containing explicit lyrics without any form of advisory in the listening guide it was all fine (fine) and I came across one track which for some reason I thought was quite cool (cool), you know how we do (do).

I liked this track enough to decide that I was going to buy it online, and I headed for tescodownloads which in the dim and distant past has served me well. However, as I have found more often than not recently it was broken. It listed the track in question, but would it let me buy it? No. After a few attempts, using IE6 as well as Firefox I gave up, thinking I would find it elsewhere.

As it turns out however, buying MP3s online is trickier than it seems, unless I've missed something obvious.

Ruling out iTunes (I don't like the format music comes in, and I'm happy with the player I've got, thank you), anything which forces you to pay a subscription, and Virgin Digital Music Store (as if I'm going to give them my credit card details just to register to buy individual tracks in the future) my options are somewhat limited. Please comment below if you have any suggestions, or know of any good sites.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Typical

So, I spend a couple of days without net access and return to find that my blog has completely Jimmed itself. Nice.

I'm not sure what caused the "Page Cannot Be Found" error/more gibberish than usual [Delete As Appropriate] but whatever it was resulted in my having to start from a blank template. I took the opportunity to pick a new style, so I'm pleased to be back in business with a funky new look.

Starting from a blank template has meant that I've lost my links and 'other parts of the blogosphere' sections on the sidebar. Just after I'd updated them as well. Typical. I'll get around to putting them back in at some point, fear not.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More New Faces

Mark Porter has correctly pointed out that I made a bit of an omission when I updated my links today. My (very lame) excuse is that I thought he was already on the list, but evidently I hadn't updated my links in a long while.

So, Mark, with apologies, I would also like to welcome you.

The Gospel of Judas

I've not posted about anything related to Christianity for a while - surprising (and perhaps a little worrying) given that my faith forms a huge part of my life, and is very important.

If you have been following the news you will know that a 'Gospel of Judas' has recently been found and translated. I'm no theologian, but Anthropax is, and he has posted an interesting post on the matter here.

One of these days I might learn enough to give a considered viewpoint of my own.

On another note, congratulations are in order for my dad who graduated with a BA in Theology and Ministry earlier on today.

New Faces

It's arguable in my opinion whether or not LiveJournal users qualify as 'part of the Blogosphere' but nevertheless I have added two friends to the list, because I read their "Journal" regularly.

Welcome to Rachel and Rob*.

Talking of new faces, observant readers will notice that I now have a new photo. Now you can make an informed decision in the "thug or not" poll a couple of posts back, so nicely started by Nim under the oh so cunning disguise of 'pollster'.

*Parental Advisory:Explicit Lyrics

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Sun is Shining...

...The weather is sweet, yeah.

Today was a b-e-a-utiful day and despite spending some of it in the library I did enjoy another spin on my bike this afternoon soaking up the sun and enjoying the Sussex countryside.

Twice today however I saw someone in a rather flash maroon BMW 6-Series convertible - with the roof up! On a day like this it should have been a criminal offence not to enjoy the benefits of having a convertible in the first place and the driver is another winner of JP's "muppet" award.

Sean

Yesterday's walk turned out not to be fruitful because Blades closed at 3, minutes before I arrived, and Leonardo's was closed all day.

Today however was more successful. Blades ("The Cutting Edge") got my custom because it was closer and on going in there was negligible waiting time - not even enough time to enrich my life by perusing the copy of Zoo magazine in the waiting area.

It's always a bit worrying when the person you trust to cut your hair has covered theirs entirely with a hat (especially in today's weather) but it must be pretty hard to screw up a grade 2 all over and I've come out looking good. Or "like a thug" depending on your viewpoint.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I need a haircut...

...but Blades ("The Cutting Edge") or Leonardo's? That is the question. I think I'll go and have a look now. I need a walk.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Out & About (again) Part 2

Somebody recently seemed to think that I have a reputation for meeting (strange) people on a train. They are wrong and somewhat misguided, as I have never met anyone for the first time on a train - strange or otherwise.

It could have all changed this morning however when a very attractive young lady got on at Horsham and sat opposite me. Things proceeded thus:

She smiled at me.
I smiled back.
I continued reading
She looked out of the window/did her make up.
She smiled at me.
I smiled back.
[repeated numerous times until I got off the train].

She really did smile at me an inordinate amount of times, but surprising as it may seem to those of you who know me, I didn't say a word, let alone strike up a conversation. All that the episode has resulted in therefore is a rather pointless blog entry and a continuing tally of zero people met on a train.

Out & About (again) Part 1

This post - like a lot of my recent ramblings - comes from onboard a train. Part of this is because I have been travelling quite a lot recently and a train journey provides a good opportunity to gather my thoughts and compose a blog entry, and part of this is because whilst travelling I often experience blogworthy events and encounter blogworthy people (usually of the "muppet" variety).

People such as the woman I sat opposite on my ouutward journey to Oxford this morning.

In a move worthy of her own post entitled "Some People (3)" she decided to change her baby's nappy. She could have gone to the toilet and baby changing facility just metres away at the end of the coach, but that was evidently too much trouble. Fortunately it didn't smell, and I was largely unbothered by the whole thing until she asked me if I had an implement to open the broken zip on the bag containing the new nappies. I didn't, alas, but her announcment that her baby would wee everywhere if she couldn't get it open prompted help from a kind lady in the vicinity and disaster was averted. Phew.

My return journey so far has not been punctuated by such an encounter, but I would like to rant very briefly about Clapham Junction. The biggest railway interchange apparently. But when I changed there just now were there departure sceens to help me locate my platform, out of the hundreds of possibilities? No. Well, actually, yes, but down some back alley on a random platform is no use to man nor beast unless you happen to stumble upon it by chance.