Friday, November 29
LOL, Jonas Quinn has a weblog! (The Stargate
character, obviously.) In his words, "Wow! A place where I can keep a journal on a computer. This is almost as good as The Weather Channel." Cool..!
Several things are perplexing me today. First of all I really really need a haircut. I hate my hair. I've decided to phone the hairdresser just down the road first thing in the morning and see if I can set up an appointment. The only trouble is, I don't know what to have done to my hair. This is my eternal problem. I had really long hair until I was about 16 - I had it cut before I went for an interview with Waitrose
. That was sort of a bob, and I didn't like it much. I grew it after that and wore it in a pony tail all through Uni
. Two years or so ago I had it cut pretty short - too short to tie up in even the tiniest bunches. And it's been trimmed since, but it's shoulder length now. And all horrible. I think I'm becoming strangely preoccupied with hair. It has to stop! So I was thinking of going really
short. Mum suggested I take a photo of Samantha Carter with me - she's had so many haircuts that there's bound to be one I like. But that's a bit scary, isn't it? Taking photos of TV characters to the hairdresser. Heh...
The second thing that's perplexing me is that I've become quite caught up with Fame Academy
. I hate reality TV, so becoming interested in this is... unsettling. But it's not like other reality TV shows. I mean, they're all really talented musicians. You can tune in and hear a great acoustic session. (Or you might get, "the content is deemed unsuitable for broadcasting at this time" and the outside of the Fame Academy, buy hey.) The only thing I don't like is that they're filmed all the time, they can't take the microphones off - they have no privacy. I suppose that aspect of the show appeals to the Big Brother
fans, but I don't like it. I'm just in it for the music.
I even tried voting to save Ainslie tonight, but the phone kept making odd noises and I didn't get through. :(
But I like Lamar the most. The first time I heard his voice I got goosebumps. It has this wonderful tone to it. Beautiful.
But Ainslie is funny.
They're all good. It's so hard!
And the third thing that's bothering me is that I don't hate Will Young's (Pop Idol
) latest single, "You and I". I'm just a sucker for those mid song key changes!
It just goes to show that you can't prejudge everything just because it comes under a particular label.
If you know what I mean.
Thursday, November 28
I didn't say, but I went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
on Monday. With Mark
and Ali. It was good, but it seemed to be really really long. Which can't be a good thing. If something feels really really long, I mean. I can't see what else they could have cut, though. If they'd cut anything else there would have been uproar in certain circles! So I'll give it... 3 stars. Out of 5. And Die Another Day
gets 4 stars. :p
I've spent far too long trying to put together the Stargate United
e-zine - the latest in a heap of time consuming projects. Aaargh! I'm not even sure if the thing's funny. Or worth it. Who cares? And will they stick around after seeing how appalling the first issue is?! Oh boy. :D
I've decided to use that phrase more in my weblog since it annoys Ali. Or something. I'm not sure if annoy is the word. She says no-one really says it, and I only do it because of Quantum Leap
. Maybe that's true, but it's not like I'm a major... what's the word, Leaper? I watched it on BBC 2 on Fridays years ago, but it was never a serious sort of viewing. I don't know why
I say it.
Tuesday, November 26
Just a bit more James Bond, because today I was walking behind two female personages at uni
and they were talking about it. I was extremely
confused about the thing they were discussing, since they'd apparently completely misunderstood a fairly major plot element! I can only hope they just weren't paying attention...
Basically, it was about Miranda Frost. I will white this out, so if you want to read it (if you don't mind about a bit of spoiling) just highlight the text. Okay?
They were talking about the way she'd
been completely icy (and unconquerable
from Bond's point of view) and he kissed
her once and she jumped straight into bed with him.
The thing they were apparently ignoring was that
she was a double agent, and by sleeping with
Bond she was able to disable his gun. Which was
fairly important for the story later on! She was using Bond's weakness
(which she knew all about because she worked for MI6)
I'll stop talking about it now. I mean, there was one thing about the film that confused me - I don't know if I missed something or whether it was cinematic mystery, but it was the bit in the hospital. Aaaah. But the thing those girls were talking about... well, that had an explanation!
Blogging is gooood.
That last bit didn't quite publish correctly. It continued something like this, "Daisy
might understand this since she seems to have the complete Sharpe
collection on her wishlist! The Sean Bean thing sort of wore off, partly because I realised I didn't really like it when he put on a posh accent. As he does in Goldeneye
. And also LOTR
. It annoys me... And because of that, Goldeneye
annoys me. Aaargh!"
Sunday, November 24
Woo-hoo! Gazpacho Soup
Day! If any of you have been confused by the Soup Countdown, it's a Red Dwarf
thing. To cut a long story short, Rimmer was invited for a meal at the Captain's table, and he sent the soup back because it was cold. Except that it was Gazpacho soup, which everyone
knows is served cold! He blames his lack of success on this defining moment. Poor Rimmer. It irked him so much that his final words were Gazpacho soup
... And that's why the soup's important. :)
What else was I going to say? Hmmmmmm...
Die Another Day
! I could talk about that! Because the more I think about it, the more I want to see it again. Although I don't have a great deal of money to spend, especially with Christmas fast approaching. I might have to wait for the DVD to come out. :p
The reason why I liked it? I think it was partly because there was a lot of extremely good acting in it. But it was a more serious story, which went some way to explaining why James Bond is like he is. I mean, he's not invincible. He's almost trying to destroy himself. He knows he'll never be able to have a proper relationship - it would be impossible, he's basically the property of the government - so he does what he feels he has to do to survive. It's hard to explain without feeling that I'm reading too much into things. And also I don't want to spoil anyone. Because you should all go and see it..!
I actually felt sorry for James Bond. You could see that in some ways he doesn't want to live like he does. And the use of Halle Berry's character "Jinx" only highlights the lonely sort of life he's forced to lead. It was altogether intriguing. Not only an excellent Bond film, but an excellent film! And you know how I feel about Pierce Brosnan. Well, maybe you don't. Basically, I've always felt he seemed a bit slimy as Bond. It's hard not to be a bit slimy (although Roger Moore took it to the slimy max!), what with all the fast living... But this time everything felt real.
If I say my favourite Bond is Timothy Dalton, perhaps you'll decide I'm not worth listening to. But the reason I liked Tim's Bond was that he didn't seem slimy - he was driven by human motives, he wasn't just, "I'm a great spy, look, I'm great me, this is such fun blowing stuff up!". The TD films were proper serious action films, although they stilll had the girls, one liners and gadgets. The same is true of Die Another Day
Oh, and I probably ought to mention the anniversary aspect of the film. It's 40 years since the first Bond film was made and it's the 20th official Bond film. There are several references to previous adventures, mostly in the scene with Q. But this is a new sort of Bond film. It's a shiny, hard edged Bond that still has all the thing you expect from a Bond film. I had my doubts about the Madonna theme, but it works
! It's the first time the intro sequence has been used to tell part of the story, and the song works perfectly. And the new director has done a fantastic job, using all the clever slo-mo shots without turning it into The Matrix
And David Arnold's done a nice job with the soundtrack, as always. :)
Basically, I agree with Radio 1
's review. And I know their reviewer's fave Bond film was On Her Majesty's Secret Service
- a much underrated Bond film which also happens to contain all that serious emotional stuff in it. You should probably watch that, too, to understand the womanising side of Bond. I mean, a lot of people probably don't know Bond was once a married man.
I have rambled on long enough. And I don't know if I've said what I meant to say.
Or if it was even vaguely interesting..!
Thursday, November 21
I was going to update with "how to make thin sections" part 3, but then I thought I could talk about searches people do to get to weblogs. Which would you prefer?
Okay, I'll do the "thin sections" bit quickly and then move on. :)
Today we were grinding our impregnated and stuck to slides samples, so that the coverslips could be stuck on. And everything went wrong that could possibly go wrong. To begin, with only one of all the samples that we did last week had worked. The epoxy resin hadn't set properly on some of the samples, and on some it had gone all cloudy. Useless! FCOL. I was given the surviving sample to grind. (Great.)
We were using a horizontal wheel to do the grinding, which means you stand there for ages and it makes your arms (and hands) ache. The person teaching us was constantly complaining about how useless the equipment was - the grinder doesn't have a switch on it, so someone else has to stand by the plug so that you can shout at them when you want it turned off. Hmm. And the thing that dripped water onto the wheel didn't work, so someone else had to stand there and hold a hose so that the wheel would stay wet.
My wheel grinding was stopped before everyone else's, so I had to do more grinding by hand. With the glass sheet and the silicon carbide. It took TWO HOURS in total to grind the pottery thin enough (30 microns - half the width of a human hair!). And right towards the end, guess what happened? The only surviving bit of pottery from that batch gave up. Yes, the resin lifted and I lost most of the sample. Aaargh! But I kept grinding, because I'd spent so long doing it that it seemed a shame to stop. Which means I have an okay thin section, but it's quite small. Drat...
So that's the thin sections. Someone else was going to stick the coverslips on. And next week we're actually looking at slides under the microscope. Ooer!
That was actually quite long. Maybe I'll leave the "what people search for" thing until later.
has a lot to answer for!
Check out this site
for a laugh. :D
Tuesday, November 19
Why is it that, quite often in the evenings, my body doesn't feel hot but my head does? Does anyone else get that?
But it's definitely getting colder. This time last year I didn't have glasses, so I'm experiencing "steaming up when entering buildings after walking" for the first time. I like having glasses. You can fiddle with them. Clean them with your handkerchief. That sort of thing. :)
Although I'm not wearing glasses in my new blog picture. Ooooh. *grin*
I'm sure I had lots of things to say, but I can't remember anything. I was going to clear up a few things, because Mark
was being pedantic. First of all, Ali doesn't eat tins. Secondly, I do
have a body in that blog picture. I am leaning on my arms
. Mark also commented that he was "trying to kick the pottery habit", which is an amusing Children of the Gods
reference, just in case you were wondering. (Obligatory Stargate
Yes, the legendary "beer scene". There are so many version of COTG
... Some include the excessive full frontal nudity, some include extra fighting, some include extra blood, some include the "beer scene"... And the 18 rated version contains all of that stuff. Nice. (Although the nudity really was uncalled for..!)
Aargh, what was I going to say?
I'm listening to Triple J
. I never used to be able to listen to the highly amusing breakfast show - maybe we weren't on GMT last time I tried. They're funny...
I'm not being very interesting today, am I? Drat...
Gazpacho soup day is coming! And I don't have any Gazpacho soup. Or indeed a recipe with which to make any. :D
I'd better go before I bore you all to death.
Friday, November 15
Hmm, I haven't posted for a few days.
It's kind of hard to type because I had to stick a plaster on my right index finger. I cut it on the Ravioli tin. Drat. I only ate the stuff because Ali ate half the tin earlier. It didn't even really go with my food. Not as well as baked beans would have. Although Ali says I eat too many baked beans. She thinks I'd die if I couldn't eat them for a week.
They're just so versatile!
Anyway, the reason I haven't blogged, or indeed done anything much online for a while, is that I've been writing that Stargate
fanfic. I think it's pretty much finished. I'll have to reread it before I let anyone else see it, just in case there are any glaring inconsistencies. I did spot that I'd made someone get shot near the beginning and then completely failed to mention it again. (Oops!)
I'm not saying it's a great story, but it's been in and out of my head for over a year. And now it's all there, over 30 pages in Word. (That's Verdana point size 10, people!) 13,105 words. That's almost the length of a dissertation. And I know I was skimping on description in places and just putting in speech. But if I don't have to write it any more, my brain can think about other things! Excellent.
I really went a bit over the top with the research. I kept finding interesting mythological points, and stuff about genetics and cybernetics, and visiting tons of webites and printing loads of stuff out. And then I had to try to fit it into the story. Otherwise it would have been pointless researching it.
If you know what I mean. :)
Anyway, I bet you want to know what I did in my Ceramics practical yesterday! Yes, the second part of "how to make pottery thin sections". You may recall that we'd cut off our bits of pot and ground them, and impregnated them with resin. Well, yesterday was mostly grinding.
We took the sheet of glass and the silicon carbide powder, and rubbed our resin covered bits of pot on it until we'd ground through the resiny layer. (Grinding the smooth side that was ground before.) What you want to get down to is the layer underneath the pure resin - the layer that has the resin in the voids and nothing else. It took ages
. It made my arm tired! I'm sure most people don't use their pottery grinding muscles very often!
Once the pottery was ground down to the impregnated layer, we switched to a finer grade of silicon carbide. After that smooth grind the pottery was ready to go onto the slide. You have to grind the side of the slide you'll be sticking the pot to with the fine grade silicon carbide, and then you cover the slide with more resin (which you've put through a vacuum, as before). You drop the pottery onto the slide, smooth side down, and move it around. Then you pick the slide up and see if there are any obvious bubbles. And then you're done!
Oh, labelling is important, too. You have to clearly label the stuff otherwise it'd be hard to analyse.
That was it for yesterday. It took a lot longer than you'd guess from the shortish description...
What else can I say? Hmm. Well, I'm over the shock of the Stargate
announcement. I'm even considering a new sort of Stargate
thing... I won't say any more for the moment. I'm getting the opinion of the Jonasarians. :)
I'm off to check eBay
, see if I can buy any Christmas presents.
For other people, obviously. :p
Saturday, November 9
There, I've added a Christmas list to the sidebar. It annoys me that the Christmas decorations are up everywhere (and have been for a couple of weeks), but I have given in. I probably won't get any of this stuff, but hey. :)
In other news, the house the other side of us was burgled, so now either side has been hit. I don't know whether to feel safe because they've clearly decided our house wasn't worth it, or worried that they'll come back to finish the job! We are the only house with double glazing, so maybe we're impenetrable. Who knows...
I'm sure there was more I wanted to say.
Oh, not only is there going to be a Series 7 of Stargate
, but Michael Shanks is returning as Daniel! And the sad thing is, now that I've had a few episodes with Jonas I don't want
Daniel to come back! *sigh*
There's no pleasing some people..!
Thursday, November 7
I won the Jeff Buckley CD's. :)
I also managed to fix the telephone extension lead! I thought that since I was going to get a new one, I might as well completely pull the old one apart. There are four wires inside it, white, red, blue and green. The only one attached properly was the green one, so I yanked that out and pulled out the green PCB. On the underneath of the board there were screws that were supposed to hold the wires in! It was impossible to screw the wires in, though, because there wasn't enough loose wire. So I stripped all the wires off and put them in properly. (Being me, I thought I'd remember which colours went where, and I forgot before I got that far, so...)
The fan on my laptop seems to be on overdrive. Eek.
To cut a long story short, the lead works! Woo-hoo!
Here's the other thing that's bothering me: why is it that even if you really
check bread carefully for mould, you don't find any until you've eaten half your sandwich. :(
Or is that just me?
Tuesday, November 5
Today I've bought lots of things. Nothing exciting
, mind you, although I have high hopes that I'll win two Jeff Buckley CD's on eBay
before the evening's out!
I had to buy a new hoover, you see. My Mum said I should try to mend the hoover that was lurking in the cupboard, so we bought some drivebelts and I fitted one. And when we turned the hoover on it started smoking...! So we went out and I bought a Goblin
hoover. It's small and blue. And it only cost £34.95. What more could you want from a hoover? I mean, it sucks up dirt too. Hooray!
Ali was being pedantic and told me I couldn't call it a hoover. But I can't call it a Goblin, that sounds silly. And no-one calls them "vacuum cleaners". I'm calling it a hoover, and that's the end of the matter. :)
I bought other things too. Painkillers, a cheap clip frame to put my signed Teal'c print in, lined paper, a folder with lots of pockets to file things in... Nothing interesting.
What I really
need is a new modem lead. The one that's connecting me to the phone socket at the moment is crummy, to say the least. It's about 15m long - it runs from my room to Ali's at the front of the house. It seems fine until it gets to the socket at my end. To begin with I thought it was just a bit loose - when you wiggled the cable around it tended to work. But it kept getting worse, so I took it apart and looked inside. None of the wires seem to be connected properly - there's no sign of any solder or anything else holding them in. So they just float around. Sometimes they make contact, sometimes they don't.
Normally I have a connection speed of about 44kb/s. Yesterday I managed to connect at 14!
And it keeps cutting me off. Even when I've wedged the cable so it shouldn't be able to move.
Sunday, November 3
Hmm, what can I blog about.
You know what I learnt about on Thursday at Uni
? I started learning how to do thin section analyses of pottery. Mark
told me off when I mentioned it since I kept referring to "stuff" instead of using proper descriptions. Okay, so I can see how a narrative with a lot of different things all called "stuff" might not be much use! So I'll try and be more specific. But it might not be all that interesting. It's just the most interesting thing that I've
done lately. :)
The point of thin sectioning pottery (this is archaeology, in case you were wondering) is to get a really thin... section of pottery... and look at it underneath a microscope. Then you can see what mineral inclusions are in the pottery, and count what percentage of the pottery is made up of the aforementioned inclusions. Clever, eh? The minerals are either things that occur naturally in the clay, which may help figure out where the clay came from, or are added as opening materials.
I suppose I should explain what opening materials are. (This is why I ended up calling everything "stuff", so I didn't have to explain everything!) Potters add opening materials to clay so that when it's fired the pot doesn't explode. You see, the pots are never completely dry, so when the water evaporates it forces its way out and the pot breaks. If you've put minerals in there, it gives the water a way to escape without exploding the pot. The minerals hold the clay together! The whole exploding pot thing is a bigger problem if you're firing the pots in a bonfire. (Hence Prehistoric pottery has lots more mineral inclusions, on the whole.)
I'm generalising, but you get the idea.
So, if you have a pot and you want to find out more about it, working out what was put in the clay is really helpful. I mean, you can group pots together on the basis of what they're made of (their "fabric"), and you can (sometimes) work out where the pots originated. Since Prehistoric pottery all looks pretty much the same (at least in the UK!) using their fabrics can help. But it's useful for pots of all ages. :D
I think that's all the background needed, so I'll tell you what I learnt on Thursday! It was all lab work, which was peculiar for me, since I haven't done "science" since I did my GCSE's... The labs are all packed full of boxes of things, old equipment, things that look
like they might be rubbish. They're crowded. In two of the labs we worked in it was hard to get across the floor - you had to go around
the heaps of junk. Somehow I never think science should look so messy!
First of all we had to choose two bits of pottery to work with. Then we had to use a circular saw to cut a section out of the pottery. I wasn't completely happy with the idea of getting close to a carbide tipped saw, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! I managed to saw off my vaguely rectangular sections of pot without cutting off my fingers. Although as the lecturer pointed out, the saw wouldn't cut
off your fingers, it'd grind
them off. (Nice.)
The next stage in the process is to polish the top surface. This is done with a substance that looks like dark grey sand. You mustn't inhale it. That would be bad. You put some on a sheet of glass and water, so you get a sort of paste. Then you put the surface you want to polish on it and start moving the pottery around in little figure of eight motions. After a while you take it off and rinse it and... it's all smooth! Wow. :)
Now your pottery is nice and smooth on one side, you have to grind it until it's 30 microns deep (hence "thin section"!). Before you can do that, you have to seal it so that it doesn't fall apart. This is done with the aid of a handy vacuum pump and a bit of Araldite. (Highly scientific!).
You put the Araldite in a plastic tub and pop it into the vacuum chamber. Then you create a vacuum three times, bringing the chamber back to atmospheric pressure after creating the vacuum (and thus getting rid of bubbles in the Araldite). The whole vacuum process is made more exciting by having ancient broken equipment. The valve on the chamber doesn't work, so the perishing rubber tube that leads to it has to be clamped with a metal clamp that tries to jump off whenever it gets the chance.
Once you've debubbled the Araldite you add the pottery to it, polished side down. Then you put the tub back in the vacuum chamber and create a vacuum three more times. This should draw the Araldite into the pot, occupying the spaces that used to be filled by air! And thus the pottery should end up completely soaked in the substance that'll stop it disintegrating. The pottery's turned polished side up and put in a dish in the drying oven. And that's as far as we got on Thursday.
I'm not looking forward to the grinding part - it sounds hard. Even for people who know what they're doing! You have to grind it until the minerals change colour. Yikes!
That was archaeology thin sectioning part 1, then! :)