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Monday, 22 October 2007

Childhood Obesity

I was just watching the news where they were addressing the issue of childhood obesity once again. The latest trial is to introduce free *healthy* school dinners to young children. Now that's all well and good, but I don't think that's actually going to do sod all.

Take my school dinner history, in Primary School from years 3 to 6, I ate burger and chips and some kind of cake for pudding EVERY DAY, as well as a chocolate bar at tuck time. In high school I changed my eating habits about once a year. I remember in my first year having sausage and chips everyday, then I went onto a sandwich, before going to chicken nuggets and waffles, and then chicken burgers in my final year. For 5 years they were the only foods I ate at school, on top of a sausage sandwich on toast everyday at break time, as well as doughnuts or cake or chocolate from vending machines, as well as umpteen amounts of fizzy pop.

Was I fat at school? Hell no - I was one of the thinnest and most athletic. I could outrun most people in my year, had more endurance and was a six 6. SIX!! It was insane. Being thin and healthy had nothing to do with the food I ate, but rather the amount of exercise I did, in the form of P.E and school sports teams, both at lunch time and after school.

Now I'm not in school anymore I've shot up to a size 12 and I have no stamina whatsoever! My diet hasn't changed, but my exercise routing sure has. In short, no more sport (which I really miss, incidentally).

They need to get kids out more, let them play outside, in the street (what I did every night) go and climb trees and in wade in rivers. I played computer games, but only in the evening or it was raining generally.

People need to stop being so over-protective of their children and let them play outside. Or in the park, or whatever.

One note, I acknowledge that the food I ate wasn't healthy, but it didn't stop me being fit and my proper weight. Actually, if anything I was under weight. I will always appreciate the fact that I was allowed to eat the food I liked and enjoyed, rather than being forced other stuff that was more healthy.

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Sunday, 21 October 2007

Hard-Fi new album - anyone fancy going to a gig?

I went out and had a big spend up at Merry Hill, spent a lot of the gift cards/vouchers I had for my birthday. Had a nice mix of: New games (The "new" Lara Croft game for xbox360, and the Knights of the Nine + downloadable content for The Elderscrolls IV: Oblivion [heart that game]); new clothes-ish (yay for coloured tights and leg warmers LOL - I couldn't resist, go Primark!); technological gear (new foldable headphones I'm wearing right now, and a new corded lazar mouse for my PC reading up to 3200 DPI!); aaaaaand MUSIC (Beautiful South - Solid Bronze Great Hits, Green Day - Dookie, and the new Hard-Fi album - Once Upon a Time in the West)!!

So, onto the purpose of this blog...I'm really into the stuff by Hard-Fi, I actually have hard copies of both of their albums. Very rare for me, and I bought their new one the other day without ever hearing it before, or any of the tracks. I really can't remember the last time I did that. Probably never actually, even in my high school days of buying Now! compilation CD's I knew at least some tracks!! But anyway, it paid off (plus, you can get chart album CD's for like a tenner now, bargain really).

Thus, seeing as I am liking them a lot, I thought I'd see if they are touring at all, and they are in December. I would love to go, but I don't know anyone else who knows them except Andy at the NHM who is responsible for me getting into them in the first place! (Yay for the ability to share library's on a network on iTunes). SO, if anyone wants to go to one of their gigs let me know. They are in Birmingham twice, as well as Manchester and London etc. Tickets seem to be about £22-25.

While I'm on the subject of Hard-Fi, I have to say I love their approach to album art and stuff. on their latest album there is just the band name, album title, and then in large font NO COVER ART and on the inside it just says INSIGNIFICANT PHOTOSHOOT. I would have liked the lyrics, but it's all good XD. Apparently on one of their singles from this album, one cover said "expensive black and white band photo not available". Awesome.

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Thursday, 18 October 2007

Good but lonely.

Another day at uni and all good. It's actually a lot warmer in the department than I remember, so I'm pleased about that. I just have memories of freezing my ass off at the weekends for 4 hours and having to breathe on my fingers to keep them warm!

Did more databasing today. Did almost 80, which is better than my 50 records yesterday, but it would have been even better if I hadn't had to go home so early! Fi arrived at around 3:30 because her training finished early, so it was a mad dash up to the car park! Highlight of the work day was recording some actual sapphires, and also having to wear gloves because I was holding rocks of death!! (They contained mercury, lol).

However, despite the experience being good, I felt fairly lonely walking thru campus at lunch time looking for something to eat (the guild has changed lots and I was like ARGH!). I really miss the NHM now, because rounding everyone up and going to lunch was one of the nicest parts of the day. As well as not having that anymore, there is the knowledge that I'm not going to bump into anyone I know either.

There was a departmental coffee today, but I didn't stay long, as I didn't really know anyone, and I didn't wanna impinge my presence on the 1/2 people I did know. Nor did I fancy striking up random conversation. In London I think I was more sociable, but then outings to the pub were much more sociable than just a dept. coffee. Also, I probably felt that I had to talk to people in London, or I really wouldn't get to know anyone. In Birmingham, my old shyness has come back a bit. And my fear of groups, heh.

It made me briefly think about doing a PhD again, because I don't wanna be lonely for 3 years, but i figure then I'll know the other students anyway, so shouldn't be so much of a big deal.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2007

First day back at B'ham uni...

Getting up this morning was a hell of a killer - getting to uni at 8:15, like the "old days", hehe. Spend the whole day databasing but it was good. Pretty simple stuff, minerals, with not much data, so not too complex to break me into it. They have lots of other stuff in mind too, so reckon it's gonna be fun.

Highlight of the day had to be Paul coming in to see how I was getting on, and his first comment being "oh, you almost look sophisticated in those glasses!", rofl.

Should be going in tomo, but some david wilson person is supposed to be coming round, and if my brother has to go and sign for his JSA I might have to stay in to wait for him, I will NOT be happy, esp. as I have to sign for mine on Friday, so I'll be getting a half day then. Gah!!

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Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Facebook-Friend Wheel

I was perusing some profiles on facebook, and came across this friend wheel thingy. it looks pretty nd stuff, so I thought I'd try it out (link to mine in title). I was quite impressed with the results, it clearly shows my friendship, and I even learnt that some friends are friends with others of my friends, where I would otherwise have said it was impossible that they knew each other!

I found my wheel fairly interesting...it is comprised of two major groups, within which is high interactivity and many people, and there are some smaller groupings, that are very insular:

Major groups (most extrovert):
1. School/college friends (cyan/light green coloured lines)
2. Salvation Army people (yellow/orange coloured lines)

Minor groups (very insula):
1. UCL/NHM people (dark blue/dark purple lines)
2. B'ham uni friends (bright pink)
3. Internet friends (red - due east from Neill to Fredrick)
4. London friends not course related (red, east, Malte to Jack)

Random group:
1. Mid purple, NNE section

The random collection is very wierd, and wonder if they are so placed because they have no particular network they belong too.

I find it grouped them all very accuratly, and was quite impressed with the results. It also makes me look a whole lot more sociable than I actually am!! ^_^

Of course, it really could just be a product of how many people I know in various groups, but the fact that quite a few lines cross the circle is interesting. Or maybe I'm just looking for relationships that aren't there :P

What's curious is that I then went to look at other friends who had a friend wheel to see various results. Now, some wheels were very simple with few crossing lines. Seemingly this shows that they have various friendship groups, and they don't interact much. On the other hand, one of my other friends had NO blank space in the middle at all, with crossing lines EVERYWHERE. At first I was thinking "woah, this guy has friends everywhere" but then I realised that they were all probably from the same environment, such as work or uni for example. Fair enough, but is it as complex at is looks?

Maybe people who have isolated segments of connecting lines balance more friendship groups, or maybe they don't mix in different groups or something.

For some reason, I think there is an interesting study of sociology there somewhere, I just can't grasp it! Hehe.

That's my randomness for the day ^_^

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The relief of Belsen

Last night, I watched a programme on channel 4, about the relief of Belsen, a concentration camp in Germany. It was compulsive, yet horrific viewing. It was a dramatisation of the even that happened around that time (1945) featuring first hand accounts of people that were there, and most shockingly of all, real footage.

In brief, there were 10's of 1000's of inmates in a holding camp. It was estimated that 50,000 people died there, many from an outbreak of Typhus. The camp was originally designed to hold 10,000 inmates but at around 15th April 1945 it was holding 60,000. When the British soldiers arrived, there were just thousands and thousands of unburied bodies lying in heaps, or where they had fallen. I wont go more into it, but there is information about it all over the web.

What disgusted me, is that there are people in this world who promote holocaust denial (not that all the people in the camp were Jews. Most were women and children from various European countries, some of which had even been transferred from Auschwitz, as well as Russian PoWs). There is real live footage of people using tractors to shovel the bodies that look no better than emaciated barbie dolls into huge mass graves. It's so very saddening and despicable.

What was more heart wrenching, was that even when the British arrived, they just kept on dying, from both typhus and starvation. Even just 10 days after the British had liberated the camp, a further 11,000 inmates had died. They really portrayed the anguish that must have plagued the men and women there trying to help. Overall, the relief was a success story, but still...

The film also got me wondering about the footage. Sure, it's bad, but some of the first hand accounts that were read out were worse. I bet there is footage somewhere that isn't even on display in holocaust museums because it is so bad.

The one uplifting thing about the film, was how it recounted what the relief soldiers and some of the inmates had gone on to do in the rest of their lives. I was surprised at how many of them are still alive.

Nearly everyone knows, or should know, the story of Auschwitz. it shouldn't stop there, everyone should know the true horror of the holocaust. Noone should be brought up not knowing about this horrific story in my opinion. It makes you wonder, that as time passes and it fades in the minds of people, how many people will tend toward "holocaust denial". Shocking, really.

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Sunday, 14 October 2007

Need a new book

I've finished reading my set of Conan Chronicles by Robert Jordan, and now I'm annoyed because I don'y know what to read. I mean, I have ~500 books to chose from (all fantasy/science-fiction) and I don't fancy ANY of them!

Prolly cus I read them all so many times. Authors need to write quicker so I can buy more! I'm fed up of going into Waterstones and thinking "got that shelf...and that shelf, oh and..." etc etc etc.


Someone find me a decent series I haven't already read!



Near Future Happenings & Stuff

Well, I've stiill being a scav and living off my JSA at the moment, but for anyong who doesn't already know, I've got an xmas temp job at M&S starting early November, so that's all to the good. Can buy people nice xmas presents, as well as using the money for more material things, and driving lessons maybe.

I'm likely going to be applying to Brum/Leicester to do a PhD starting next Sept, and my mom thinks it would be beneficial to be able to drive. It's not necessary as such though, as I can get a lift in with mom/Fi, if I was at Brum. need to learn though really. Already been a bit of a millstone round my neck preventing me from applying for jobs and stuff.

Also on a work-related-ish note, I'm setting up some time for me to go and volunteer at the lapworth museum. I did the 'scholarship' there in the summer between my 2nd and 3rd year, so hopefully I'll kind of know what I'm about, though that depends what Paul/Jon find for me to do I guess. Not only is it something I will enjoy doing, and be good for the whole CV thing, it will also be good to have something to do. I don't know ho my brother sits at home all day doing nothing except playing computer games etc. I've only been home about a month, but I'm already getting extremely restless. I'm looking forward to getting out of the house and having soemthing to occupy my time. Something useful at that. Hopefully going to be going in Weds-Fri (waiting to hear back atm) til I start at M&S, then I'll have to change it to just Tuesdays and Thursdays. But yeah, looking forward to that :)

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Don't know why, but I haven't really felt in the mood for writing blogs of late. Dunno cus it's because I'm so restless, or just because I have nothing to say! *sigh*

In other random news, I feel that I'm getting a better grasp of Fireworks and Dreamweaver, and my website looks better than it did before. Much better in my opinion. The only thing is that now there isn't much content as I took down all the original pages and am uploading new ones as I complete them rather than leaving the old ones up there, thus the only stuf up there is regarding my books. I should write some more personal pages again, but last time they started takin of the site, and well, having so much personal info up on the web isn't always the best, even though I don't create it under my real name! Besides, who really wants to know stuff about me?!

My hit rate has gone up very much over the last few months, think it's because search engines have finally indexed my site, now that I have posted up incoming links here and there. Good to see that people can find their way to my site from google searches and such. Just need more content really. I'm trying to review as I read, but I read so quickly it's hard to keep up.

But anyway, I'm really rambling here.

Ciao for now.

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In the unlikely event...

...that I ever get married, I've decided that the first song/dance that I would like at my wedding would be Look After You by The Fray. I think the song is beautiful, and I love the lyrics:

If I don't say this now I will surely break
As I'm leaving the one I want to take
Forgive the urgency but hurry up and wait
My heart has started to separate

Oh, oh,
Be my baby
Oh, oh
Be my baby
I'll look after you

There now, steady love, so few come and don't go
Will you won't you, be the one I'll always know
When I'm losing my control, the city spins around
You're the only one who knows, you slow it down

Oh, oh
Be my baby
Oh, oh
Be my Baby
I'll look after you
And I'll look after you

If ever there was a doubt
My love she leans into me
This most assuredly counts
She says most assuredly

Oh, oh
Be my baby
I'll look after you
After You
Oh, oh
Be my baby

It's always have and never hold
You've begun to feel like home
What's mine is yours to leave or take
What's mine is yours to make your own

Oh, oh
Be my baby
Oh, oh
Be my baby

Also, who wants terribly clichéd songs at their wedding? Heh.

Of course, my taste in music in likely to change in the future, but I reckon I will still love this song. The Fray's debut album How To Save A Life is amazing, and I would highly recommend it :)


Monday, 1 October 2007

360 Games round-up

I've been doing a lot of 360 playing latly, and I thought I'd round up a few games:

Blue Dragon
My last blog was about how Enchanted arms was a complete Final Fantasy (FF) rip-off, but in a VERY bad way. Blue Dragon is essentially a FF rip-off also, but in an AWESOME way. The music is even composed by the same Jap. guy who did the music to FF8, my favourite game of all time (for the uninitiated), which basically means I was destined to love it.

The story is very FF. Small group of teens have to save the world kinda thing, from an unknown menace. The magic system is identical to most of the FF games, particularly 12 (not 8, where rather than using MP to cast spells, you draw numbers of aarticular spells. Ie you have 8 cure spells and when they are gone they are gone). In BD (and FF12) you keep casting til you run out of mana. The turn based combat is alo very silimar, although more FF10 like, where you see when each character will play their next move or action.

The only thing different really, is that the animation is very anime esk. Normally this means I would hate it, but they actually come across as rather cute. Come to think of it, I guess it's very FF9. (If any of you are unfamiliar to FF, these comparisons aren't doing you a lot of good, are they? heh).

Essentially, it's some great parts of FF, rolled into one came. If you like games like FF, you will love this. And I'm only 4 hours in. Whoo! (Only cus I started playing it yesterday though!). Also, unlike most 360 games, it comes on THREE disks. Prepare to be out-awesomed.

Tetris Evolution
I may have blogged on this before, but thought I would post a quick titbit. I have read several reviews about this game, where they have pronounced that this is one of the hardest tetris games ever in terms of achievement points. The game is playable on Live!, and I have seen more than one person say that if your opponant on multiplayer has more than 3 achievements, they you are going to get owned. I have 10, so suck on my mighty skills :P

I'm no up to 60 hours on my 360 ave, and I must say I enjoy playing on the 360 more than PC now, the controls are much better, and I guess the PC fanboys were correct in saying it (the elderscrolls games) had been streamlined for consoles, because it does work better.

I am 20 hours into a new PC saved game where I am finally able to play with mods. They make the game different, so I am till enjoying it thoroughly. Props to Bethsoft.

Been getting back into this, even earned a few more achiements. Another worthwhile game. I like just finding the agility sphere's and leaping over roof tops, though gunning people down and blowing up cars with grenades does have it perks. This game has a co-op featre as well, though only over Live!, so alas I haven't had chance to play it. But again, recommended.

Hexic HD
hexic apparently comes with the 360 under arcade games, I didn't realise that. I have become rather addicted to it in the last couple of days. It's like tetris but not. Rather than having to stop the screen filling up, you have a full screenthat you have to eliminate, getting bonuses for creating certain paerns, or colour combinations. it sounds silly, but it's practically as addictive as tetris, if not more so, as you can play at your own pace. I guess it's more like Bejewelled than tetirs, but if you like those kinda games, you'll love this one.

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I think the problems I used to have with the 360 (and consoles in general) was that I just wasn't very good using a control pad rather than a mouse and keyboard. Though if anyone had seen my attempts to use a mouse to look in games like UT04 and JK2: Jedi Outcast, they would think I was some kind of gaming noob!

Getting used to the controller has finally enabled me to enjoy the games more. So yay for getting square eyes in the future XD


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