Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Natural Architecture

("clemson clay nest" image from Natural Architecture on DesignBoom)

I'm sure this isn't anything like the cleverest of these, but the whole circleyness caught my eye. I like Weidendom and Toad Hall too.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Puzzles of Joy!

We were given a question in a lecture today. It wasn't actually the focus of the lecture (it was being used to demonstrate a theory of problem-solving) but I solved it! This is very exciting because I am most commonly rubbish at this kind of puzzle...

There are 3 containers. Container A has a capacity of 8 litres, B has a capacity of 5 litres and C a capacity of 4 litres. Container A is filled with water. How do you pour the water to finish with 4 litres in A and 4 litres in B?


1) Pour 5L from A->B4L5L0L
2) Pour 3L from B->C3L2L3L
3) Pour 3L from C->A6L2L0L
4) Pour 2L from B->C6L0L2L
4) Pour 5L from A->B1L5L2L
4) Pour 1L from B->C1L4L3L
4) Pour 3L from C->A4L4L2L

Apparently Alan did in 6 steps but perhaps that's a puzzle for another day.

Thursday, 25 October 2007


Pizza for tea tonight?

Bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy fun!

I like being awake!

Today is a happy awake day. I'm happily dosed up with hot chocolate and breakfast and listening to a nice AISD lecture on formalisation. The week is progressing increasingly quickly (seemingly) and I seem to be all planned up now until the weekend so I'm sure today and friday will disappear before I've really noticed.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

People who know too much

(or like to think they do)

This morning's lectures have been going so incredibly slowly. It's not that the material is dull (though I have seen an awful lot of it before) but that we're moving through the material like some insect in treacle. The material is actually carried over from yesterday's lectures which had the same problem - other people. Not not-understanding people, I can cope with that happily enough, but instead people who want to show off their knowledge of life, the universe and everything by constantly interrupting the lecture and holding little arguments among themselves. Arrgggh!

No Tea

I don't really understand how my brain decides that fruit teas (as in the kind that are just fruit and spices - no tea - in a tea bag) taste like tea. This evening I tried an ASDA Blackcurrant Infusion which was less tea-like than the lemon one but I still think that it has that distinct tea taste. It warmed me up nicely and the "taste" was sufficently masked by the blackcurranty flavours that I will most likely have another but... why can't they just taste of no tea?

An evening of doing things!

That well-known prompt of study deadlines being just far enough away and just close enough has meant that I've made some move to getting lots of the things on my to-do list done. The last week has generally been pretty good for doing jobs (I've even applied for my provisional driving license), but my achievements are mostly grouped and tonight has been a guidingy group.

It's not entirely been a night of procrastination though; I did go to the university library on my way home to get some sources for my essay and have spend a chunk of time trawling the net/books making some notes.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


... and other acronyms.

Today was the first day of the taught week of the Advanced Interactive Systems Design (AISD) module of my course. Unlike the last course, we have at least been given some of the coursework from the start. We've been split into groups to work on something based on this year's CHI student design competition:

Design an object, interface, system, or service intended to support the state of living without a house.
(Full details of the competition brief can be found here)

We have our first mini-presentation tomorrow to present our 'idea' - fun, fun, fun!

Monday, 22 October 2007

Bikes on Trains!

Wheels on wheels... do trains have wheels? I suppose they do?

Anyway... my bike has made it up to Lancaster. All that remains is to go and buy a new cycle helmet before I can start being healthy and stuff. Eek!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Play on Words

I saw Play on Words tonight at the Etcetera Theatre (Camden, London). I've missed Three's Company everywhere else they were this year so it seemed like a good excuse for my first trip down to London since my move.

The theatre is like the others I've seen Three's Company perform in; "the capital's smallest theatre" is a very intimate little venue (it's also rather hard to find even when you're stood outside it). The show also followed in the tradition of other Three's Company productions - it's a well-performed production of a witty, emotive script. I wish I kept up with these guys more but I'm slack and I'm sure I shall continue to fail to do so.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Last Day Off

Today was my last day of my week off from lectures. Next week I start again with a new block week on Advanced Interactive System Design. Hopefully I'll still get some work done in the evenings somehow.

The World's Longest Make-up

Where by make-up I refer to the assembly of a number of reels of cinematic film (that sounds almost clever) not mascara, lipstick etc., and not the kind of making up you do after an arguement with some other person.

With that out of the way... Today I finished what may well have been the longest make-up in the history of everything ever. I started the make-up of Magicians yesterday at around 1pm and as a result of a number of delays had only finished the first reel by the time I needed to leave just before 6pm. Having become ever-so-slightly frustrated with the whole thing, I prepared the second reel and left.

I turned up today with plenty of time before the showing and was pleased that the four reels that remained went on swiftly and without issue. Plenty of time was left for sitting and thinking about coursework over a nice drink - hurrah!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Cool Inventions

I stumbled across this just now - some of them aren't all that great, but there are others I really liked enough to want to share. I can see the stair drawer being a very nice way to hide your storage and the belt is neat (though I'm not sure people would want everyone to be able to comment on their waist size so easily). I don't understand the gloves though - anyone care to explain?

Party-bag excitement (revisited)

Boxes of Smarties do still exists - we had some as a prize for giving away at Rainbows tonight. I guess they're restricted to the world of little kids so I hadn't come across them again before now.

(Lots of revisiting happening this week!)

Monday, 15 October 2007

Pink-leaves (revisited)

Apparently my plant is a Guzmania (probably a Guzmania lingulata - also known as a scarlet/orange star) ; the pink leaves are in fact its one and only flower which lasts 30-90 days before the plant dies.

(as discovered by the lovely Hobnob)

There's a picture that looks like mine here. But cooler still is this one of a Guzmania hybrid:

Friday, 12 October 2007


I have a plant with some pink leaves - I bought it from the house-plant sale today but I'm not sure what it is. I shall post a picture and see if someone can suggest what it is and how it might want to be looked after.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Party-bag excitement

I've just unfolded a raisin box to get the net and then reassembled it inside-out. Having doodled a few circles onto the outside I remember...

Does anyone remember the little boxes of Smarties - the ones you used to get in party bags when you were younger (or when I was younger anyway)? Do they still make them? Are they still in party bags with funny plastic toys and slices of cake wrapped in a napkin?

A quick google gives me a page of designs from 1994 and 1995 for anyone who really hasn't a clue what I'm on about; I'd have been 10/11 years old.

(From here)

Woo, birthday post!

I got my birthday post today! The lovely post people delivered me some socks, a notebook and letter paper made from elephant dung :)

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

1st Day of Lectures!

Yep, I'm one-fifth of the way through the taught part of this module.

  • I write too much
  • My hand hurts

Monday, 8 October 2007

Angry snowman rips out snowman's heart

By far my best Stumble of the day:

(From here)

Apparently I'm cruel for liking this, but it's just so good.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Birthday boredom.

It's my birthday and I'm bored.

Whilst I'm sure trawling the internet won't really help, this guy has cool drains.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

Top Tip #4 - How to put a hole in your arm:

Feel no pain!
German researchers have discovered that coughing during an injection can lessen the pain of the needle stick. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.
(interesting trick of the body #4 from this article on Impact Lab)

Is it just me, or does sudden movement whilst someone sticks a shap pointy thing into your flesh seem like a not entirely great idea?

The Proclaimers

The Proclaimers are awesome. Happy happy music of bouncing and excitment. Also, even their sadder stuff is happy (or makes me happy).

Hurray for Proclaimers joy!

Friday, 5 October 2007

All Induced!

Well OK so maybe induced isn't really the word I'm looking for but it sounds less clumsy than inducted. :)

Today was the MSc. welcome/induction day. The induction talk bit was fine, just went through roughly how the course works and such. After the talky bit though was lunch where I had some good conversations with people from the department and a guy on the networks course. Finally we had a quick tour of the labs, got chatting with Matt (PhD bloke from the department) and went for a hot drink for a bit more chat.

I also dropped by Freshers Fair again this afternoon. Joined CU and bumped into a bloke from my course who is apparently also a LuBBer (SamBC).

I like days with stuff in them.


There are too many days of misery at the moment. I know it's because I have too much time on my hands - I like having days where I know what I'm doing - but it feels quite a lot like being permanently hormonal.

This morning wasn't too bad, I got up at 8 because I was all awake. We'd organised to meet as a kitchen at 9:30 and drink hot beverages so I had a shower and then did that for an hour before heading onto campus. Got to campus and nosed around Freshers' Fair. Once I'd been round Freshers' Fair I hung around for a bit with Bailrigg and the cinema . Got the bus back into town and ran an errand for Hobnob. Went from bank-errand-running to the library where I sat on the floor and read a book before choosing some others to borrow. Took my books back to my room and sorted out the vast array of junk I'd acquired at Freshers' Fair. I then made and ate lunch and then my day mostly seemed to waste away. I don't even seem to be able to code any more.

Grrr. :(

Thursday, 4 October 2007

An interesting interaction-design article

Putting the answer to a typical user's main question in big red type at the top of your homepage would guarantee high usability, right? Wrong — at least for the U.S. Census Bureau's homepage, where 86% of users failed to find the country's current population when it was presented in large red numbers.
(read the rest of the article here)

I've been Stumbling since I got back from Guides tonight (the internet can help a person waste far too much time). This article's kinda interesting - I found the statistic on the page straight away but only because I knew I was looking for something that looked like an ad.



Thursday Wednesday

Today is Wednesday but it feels like Thursday.

Officially a student again!

A person engaged in study; one who is devoted to learning; a learner; a pupil; a scholar; especially, one who attends a school, or who seeks knowledge from professional teachers or from books; as, the students of an academy, a college, or a university; a medical student; a hard student.
One who studies or examines in any manner; an attentive and systematic observer; as, a student of human nature, or of physical nature.

(according to this definition on BrainyQuote)

I officially registered as a student again this afternoon - I have a library card and everything!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Blue skies and a slight chill

The weather's been all pretty the last couple of days. It's got that nice autumny day feel to it, blue skies, white clouds and bits of sunshine but slightly cold. It's not windy so the cold doesn't feel mean but just fresh. Given all that, I guess I should have walked to campus today instead of getting the bus.

A day of doing things?

Today I have apparently been productive. If I sit down and make a list it certainly seems that way:

- did a food shop
- did tutoringness
- met Hobnob for lunch
- joined medical centre
- joined sports centre
- got passport photos
- submitted bank details form to department
- sent an email with my new address to people who asked (and some who didn't)

I'm not sure it feels that productive though, weird.

Monday, 1 October 2007


I'm not sure how I'm this tired but I am. We could have stayed on campus to watch some film excitement this evening but I think I might have fallen asleep - I've not even done anything today!

LuBBering Saffy

LuBBering Saffy exists again!


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