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December 08, 2006

Token End of Term Entry

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything, and even longer since I’ve talked about my life. So here’s a quick recap of the first term of my 3rd year.

Term started with an evil timetable (Four or five 9am lectures a week), and never really let up. I was at Wind Orchestra and Brass Band rehearsals almost every week, and tried to go out with mates at least one other night a week. This all led to me being absolutely shattered by now.

I’ve got through a collection of concerts and contests, all by the skin of my teeth. My playing isn’t really at the standard it could be, but motivating myself to better this is difficult. I (usually) enjoy playing my Tuba in groups, and have never liked the solo side. This term I’ve been the only Tuba in Wind Orchestra, and in Brass Band I ended up being relied upon as well. This meant I was playing solos :S I guess the fun of playing was lost by the fact I was on my own (for wind orch at least) and my part was actually important, rather than a bit of fun as I’d always had previously.

But life was good, my work was limited (I’m so glad I didn’t take Communicating Science) and my friends were brilliant, though my course is still a cloud of mystery. Ah well, it can’t all be great! Someone even commented that I was looking happier than I had done in a long while!

And it was through Music that I met Steph, a percussionist and fresher, who I was going out with for about a week. And that was a really good week. It was all too brief (“Living the fresher lifestyle single”) and life was back to it’s old self.

I’ve finished far too many lecture courses this term (8) and next term manage to finish the rest of them (3) before my exams at the end of term 2!

Third year Chemistry exams at the end of term 2! This could be interesting!

On top of all this, I’ve been accepted onto the Student Associates Scheme, where I get a chance to do some teacher training type stuff and go into a school (Myton, in Warwick). That’ll be over the whole of next term, and ridiculously tiring it will be. With this, as I am a Chemist, I can do “Introduction to Secondary School Teaching”, which is worth 24 CATs. That’ll come in useful. So it means I can drop a couple of Chemistry modules, though no idea which ones as yet.

I applied for campus accommodation for my final year with 4 other Chemists, and we have been offered a place! We won’t find out for a while where they’re going to put us, but hopefully it’ll be Redfern. There are 5 of us and Redfern is made up of 5 person flats. We’ll see what happens when they (finally!) announce where we have been allocated.

So there’s my term’s worth of life. All in all I’d say it’s been good. As usual there were ups and downs, but what is life if it doesn’t have those? Now I’ve got to figure how long I’m going to stay in Coventry before I go “Home Home” to London.

Oh, and by the way:

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here ends the blog, according to Matthew

October 09, 2006

New Year, Hooooo!

Welcome, one and all, to my first post in MONTHS. And also my first post of the year.

Before we begin, a brief note, this will not be interesting or worth your time. You have been warned.

I’m sat in the Learning Grid, marvelling at how hard people are working whilst I’m humouring myself with inane pursuits, stealing internet and generally being a waste of space and resources.

I’ve forgotten to bring my phone USB cable, so I can’t delight you with any of my latest experiments.

(Which have included cultivating a turkey with three heads for use as a demonic guard to the gates of Bernard Matthews.)

Be disappointed not. For I shall include some imagery on which to feast your eyes.

Like a graph! No presentation would be complete without a generic graph!


(Don’t forget to label your axes!)

I will also include this delicious picture.



It is now time for me to depart the Learning Grid, as I’m getting a few strange looks and I’m a little bit on fire.

Ta ta!

PS. If you are my parents, all of this is lies. I’m working really hard.

May 16, 2006

Chem Ball Pics

I’ve finally got my pics from Saturday up here… all 15 of them (not as good as Amy’s 180!).

Amy, Alex, Penny, Kate and Me

See my gallery for more…

May 14, 2006

A great night and two painful feet later…

After spending a night in a little dress and silly shoes, nothing is gonna move me outta my joggers for a very long time!

I guess this is why I've never worn high heels before.

But cheers to everyone who organised the Chem Ball!

April 19, 2006

The Effects of Swiss Chocolate on High–Caffeine Beverages

Nothing quite like a steaming hot brew of liquid stimulants is there? Coffee shop frequenters would disagree, probably exclaiming something like "But what about a Frosted Topaloppafrappolatte with extra espressocino flakes!?!"

However, I was recently having myself a rare vat of the brown stuff when a startling opportunity arose..

See, coffee is pretty dependable. It's brown, tastes of coffee and is always too hot to drink for at least 20 minutes.


This also makes it pretty boring. "Not for long!" thought I, observing a lone Toblerone chunk upon my desk.


Clearly, there was no way this couldn't be a good idea! Ahem.. So after rigging up the appropriate Allen Key Delivery System, I set about revolutionising caffeine for the masses.


After deposition of the Toblerone Chunk, the reaction mixture was agitated with an appropriate piece of laboratory equipment.


The Acid Test…


Frankly, the previous image portrays one of the worst 10 moments of my life. Right inbetween the great jam-smothered bee pursuit of 1998 and trapping my entire head in the fridge door.


In summary, if youre ever tempted to dissolve Swiss chocolate in hot beverage.. don't. Just don't.


March 21, 2006

Shave Me!

I dislike shaving adverts.

Every time a new razor is released, we get a startling insight into Wilkinson Sword's development department.

"Howard! How do we make our next razor BETTER!?"
"Erm.. I.. We..."
"Aaargh, Stick another blade on it!?"
"Good work, Howard! My wife baked you a special pie, I've been saving it for now! It's in your car!"
"How did you get into my car.."

You get the impression.

However, I've given this some thought. And I think I've saved Wilkinson Sword tons of R&D time and money. And possibly advanced shaving technology by about 10 years:


You can guess the advert too. LESS STROKES, LESS IRRITATION. Works by scaring the shit out of your face! The hair just falls out!

Retails at a reasonable price. Replacement heads cost more than a small car.

Howard would be proud.

March 09, 2006


I'm the first to admit I don't drive a particularly masculine car. But my Micra gets me from A to B (usually via F) and doesn't drink petrol like it's going to run out in the next 50 years.

However, via the wonder of my Photoshopping skills and a vast amount of free time on my hands, great things are possible..

The Micralorean

So if anybody wants to give me the plans for a 1984 Delorean and a welding torch, I can start work.

I'll just have to remember to drive it below 88mph.

March 06, 2006

Scott lectures

Please post your questions for Peter Scott as "comments" on this entry. You don't have to be logged in.

Dove lectures

Please post your questions for Andrew Dove as "comments" on this entry. You don't have to be logged in.

March 03, 2006

The Perils of Inorganic Labs

So, as many second year chemists will know, Ferrocene is a lovely orange powder that smells of diesel.

It looks something like this:

However, two of my associates managed to.. not.. make.. this.
I will of course protect their identities so I shall simply refer to them as "Paul Brooks" and "Mike O'Connell"

In a lab manual, when it says "wash with 2×25ml 2M HCl", you should probably listen to the manual and do that. "Paul" and "Mike" didn't.. The resulting separating funnel–based explosion could be seen from space.

Fume hood

Do bear in mind that the entire fume hood looked like the above picture, but "Paul" and "Mike" are both men of short stature and so couldnt reach the roof to clean it.

Returning to what ferrocene should look like.. See those lovely orange crystals I showed you above? (Which were infact prepared by a master chemist..)

This is what "Paul" and "Mike" managed to salvage from their experiment:

Nice Work Boys!

Edit: Have since been informed by Jon Rourke that this blue stuff is Ferrocinium! So that's a positive result. Har har.

February 26, 2006

You Are What You Eat

Now this is a show I've never watched, but since 2 people I went to school with are going to be part of this Tuesdays show I've decided to watch it for once.

Back home the news of this has been in various local papers and local radio stations to drum up further interest.

In fact the guy on it ("the boyfriend") was the guy I used to sit next to in A-Level chemistry…

You Are What You Eat, Channel 4

Tuesday 28th Feb. 8pm

February 09, 2006

Someone Needs To Be Screamed At And Beaten With A Massive Stick….


So Abu Hamza is in prison for a bit.

And the BNP nazis walk free.

And their crimes are so totally different…. how?

The little faith I had left in our justice system has just been shat on.

Oh, but wait. The race hate from the BNP wasn't aimed at the British people. So it's perfectly acceptable. Silly me.

January 30, 2006


Hi all,
Well, the atomic football league is progressing – results can be found at the atomic sports page on the atomic website


However, people have approached me about badminton/squash.
At the start of the year i tried to organise a league for the above sports but failed to get enough interest. I think there were a few issues with emailing at the time and that may be why response was low.

Anyways, I will be compiling a list of people who would like to play squash and badminton, and I'll post it up on the atomic noticeboard (above the y1 noticeboard) You can sign up there, or by posting on this blog.

The aim is not to run a league but to put people who want a game in contact with each other. If you wish to be put on the list, sign up or post on the blog. Please put name, email address, sport and academic year.


January 27, 2006

Bring Me My Nobel Prize

As everyone knows, biscuits are the best thing about the world. Never mind the usual crap about family, friends, love, human endeavour. Eventually, it all boils down to biscuits.

Unfortunately, the world is not a perfect place. Lots of bad things happen. For example, when you drive too far past the car park ticket machine and you have to open the door to reach the scanner. Terrible.

And so, because of this Bad world/Good biscuits relationship, biscuit based crime is inevitable. It is a fact of life that if you leave biscuits in the open, they will disappear quickly. Those responsible are known, in the eyes of the law, as Biscuitfiends. (fig 1)

Figure 1. This man is stealing your biscuits.

It is common knowledge that Biscuitfiends tend to find biscuits via radar. Searching the murky green screen for a cylindrical blip, or a tin-shaped anomaly.

It was this that led me to create the Stealth Biscuit Cover (SBC) out of an old DeLorean and a pen holder. Its use is shown below.

Unprotected Biscuits
A packet of unprotected biscuits. Just asking for it.

Protected Biscuits
The SBC prevents radar detection. The biscuits show up as a small blip which would normally be something like a mushroom or an especially large pea.

This forces the Biscuitfiend to hunt for your stash in person, where he can be easily subdued with a bat or rifle. If you do have to desert the packet, it's probably best to hide them like this:

Hidden Biscuits
Hidden Biscuits. The sign is for demonstration only. Dont actually point out your biscuits or the whole hiding process will be somewhat devalued.

I expect that my Nobel Prize for "The Development of Biscuit Preservation" will be in the post tomorrow. I'm too busy to collect it in person.

January 17, 2006

If you don't like Man Utd – Support Burton!!! FA Cup 3rd Round Replay

Continuing with my love of the FA cup 3rd round, tomorrow night see's the replay of my home town, Burton, against Manchester United. Now I can't stand Man Utd at all, I know a lot of football fans can't, so why not become a Burton fan for the night!!

December 07, 2005

The Joys of the FA Cup

FA Cup 3rd Round Draw


Fantastic draw, exactly the kind of draw non-league teams dream of, after last nights 4–1 beating of Burscough, Cloughie's (Nigel that is) boys will go on to face Man Utd in the 3rd round in January, hopefully at the Pirelli.

Come on Burton!!!

Also hopefully Derby will fare well against Burnley, at least it's a home tie for us, and good luck to Tamworth in the Staffs derby with Stoke

December 04, 2005

Fire at my old 6th Form

Well I get a phone call Friday afternoon, just before setting off for home, from my younger brother telling me about a fire at the 6th form. He's pretty pissed off as he has most likely lost all his work and notes as his bag was in the common room at the time.

Local news has suggested that the police are treating it as arson – 3 people have been arrested in connection with Friday's events, with eyewitnesses commenting on yr9/10s spraying an aerosol into an air vent outside the 6th form study area and then lighting it, the fire then spreading throughout the 6th form block – blowing the windows clean out of the common room, leaving a good proportion of the 6th block ruined, including 8/9 classrooms, with suspected damage totalling millions (according to the Burton Mail). Staff attempted to extinguish the fire themselves initially but, eventually it took around 7 fire crews and many hours for the fire to be put out completely.
Thankfully no-one was hurt, though one person did suffer an epiletic fit.

More images of the fire

In a strange way, myself and many of my friends back home, when we were talking about it found it rather sad, as the 6th form was the best part of our 7 years there and the parts that burnt down are the location of so many amusing memories.

November 22, 2005

Blog entry

Hi all,
I have figured out how to make it so everyone can edit and comment. You must sign in to do it. I have also added PMR and JPR as they are our supervisors.

Can someone please put what was talked about at the meeting on here, because I haven't got a clue what's going on really, and I have nothing to work as yet.


November 17, 2005


Hi guys, just making a post so you can all comment.
I'll make a better post later on.

November 15, 2005

Atomic Sports

Hi all,

just a reminder to anyone playing in badminton/footy leagues to update me with their scores so i can do the tables.

Current standings can be seen on the atomic sport website:

See you on thursday night!

New Union Policies… Hmmm…

I got an email through this morning about voting for some Union policies, and a couple of things seemed off to me – if I've got any facts wrong, please let me know, and if you're gonna comment with your views, please be respectful of the fact that people will believe differently to you.

The first point being the smoking ban in the union. I'm personally against this to start with, but then I saw this included in what the Union will resolve to do with this new policy:

_"4.That cuts to Union services, as a result of this policy, will begin with the following: –
· The least commercially successful events (possibly including Vapour, Crash, Pressure, Coalition, Heat and live music events);

· Society funding;

· Opening hours;

· Computing and support facilities for clubs and societies."_

Crash and Pressure to be closed due to them being "less commercially successful"?! The times I've been, they have been extremely successful! And Crash is one of the few, if not only, alternative nights the Union holds! Plus all this crap about cutting down on society funding. Societies are the best way for people to meet others with the same views/tastes/interestes/etc; a great way of making friends and making the most of your time at uni. Are they fuckin' crazy?!

The other point was that they want to adopt a policy of ‘No Stance’ on the issue of abortion.

At the moment, the Union is Pro-Choice – this means that it fully supports any member if they decide to have an abortion, and they also fully support those who think abortion is wrong and want to keept their little sprog.

This is in the current Union policy:

_"This Union Believes:
1. That no individual group has the right to impose pressure on a woman to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
2. That the violent and distressing tactics of anti-abortion groups such as Operation Rescue, who have stormed clinics whilst abortions were taking place, should be condemned.
3. That the tactics of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), such as taking out an injunction to stop a woman having an abortion in 1996, should be condemned.
4. That Life provides biased counselling and information, which emotionally blackmails women and does not provide them with any necessary information which they could not have got from pro-Choice organisations such as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service.
5. That having a pro-Choice policy does not dictate what individual students’ views should be on abortion, but simply reaffirms freedom of choice."_

Now, I'm having a lot of trouble seeing what the trouble with this is. The argument from a lot of people is that as the Union are Pro-Choice, they are forcing those who believe abortion is wrong to look elsewhere for support. What bullshit! That's not what Pro-Choice is about. It's about respecting an individual's views and giving them the advice and support they need for whatever action they choose to take. Had the Union adopted a Pro-Life policy, you can bet your arse the same coutesy would not have been shown to those who believe women have the right to choose! (As can be seen in point 4 above).

And with the past actions of SPUC (1996: taking out an injunction to stop a woman having an abortion) and Operation Rescue (stormed an abortion clinic whilst the abortions were taking place), is it any wonder they are going to opt for taking the stance they have where people are encouraged to make decisions based on their own morals?

When will people learn that their views aren't the correct ones just because they're theirs?

November 14, 2005

academics learn a football lesson ( 11–1)

The latest match that the atomic allstars played was a complete thrashing of the academics, teaching them a lesson. It seems that the academics missed stuart mackenzies ability up front, and didnt defend that well either! The final score was 11–1 to atomic allstars, and i was very dissapointed to let in a silly goal in the last 4 minutes.
still 2 games in, 6 pts in the bag and 16 scored and 1 conceded.
Next is a much tougher game against S.H.A.F.T.

Oh and steffan owes us all a pint on thursday!

November 11, 2005

Atomic Hoodies

Atomic Hoodies will be available for order starting Monday of week 8, between 1–2pm in the 5th floor coffee room for £20 including your own personalisation.

As Sharon kindly pointed out on the e-mail for me, Wednesday is Admissions day so the coffee room is out of use then

See the below images for more details;

And a larger image of what the hoodie shall look like;

November 08, 2005

Atomic Football – Atomic Allstars vs Steaua ButylEster

Last thursday saw the start of the footy season for the Allstars and the ButylEsters, in a competitive but well tempered clash at Sportshall Park.

An even-handed start lead to the deadlock being broken by the Allstar's Steve Giggs (ryan's little brother) after around 10mins despite great goal-keeping from the Steaua Stopper. He continued to do great cat impressions for the next 10 minutes, after a flurry of shots from the Allstar's attacking line. Steaua battled hard against an Allstars defence, and were kept out by a combination of good keeping and luck, by Allstars keeper, Ian "the ginger Buffon" Hancock.

With around 20 minutes gone, Jack "Jakalele" Sleigh put one in the bottom right after a great pass from the back line. Unfortunately, the aforementioned heroic keeper was injured in his attempt at a save and had to be replaced.

After this point, the Allstars had a little more dominance, but the ButylEsters attackers proved plenty to deal with, Daniel Gardner proving adept in defence as always.

Steaua's replacement keeper was also good for his gloves, and kept out many of the shots that the Allstars could get past their tough defence. The frontline for the Allstars ploughed away, and Steve managed another good finish, and fancy foreigner, Saddam Al-Ammaren, put in a clinical, SAS-style double tap – typical of his Nottingham roots. It was a battle until the end, but the Allstars held on to their clean sheet. Well played to all those involved.

Final Score:
Atomic Allstars 5–0 Steaua ButylEster

November 03, 2005

atomic allstars off to a winning start

the match today ended with my atomic allstar team beating the phd side, Steaua ButylEster 5–0. tight and tough match, harder than the scoreline suggests, but the vast majority of shots were for allstars, and i finally got a clean sheet!

roll on the academics