All entries for March 2005

March 31, 2005

Harry Potter Name Meanings/References

I've been doing a little research into the meanings of some of the names in the Harry Potter books. This started after I stumbled across Romulus and Remus in the old encyclopedia, anyway I flicked through it a bit more, looked in the dictionary and browsed some websites. It's not exactly earth-shattering brand new information, but here's what I've found:

Remus Lupin: As menitoned above Remus is commonly associated with Romulus. Romulus, Remus' brother, was the mythical founder of Rome. According to the myth they were raised by... yup you got it... wolves. Also lupine means "of or like a wolf".

Sirius Black: Sirius is the name of the brightest star in the sky, also known as The Dog Star. You'd have thought Hermione would've known that and saved a whole load of bother, she's obviously not as clever as we're lead to believe!

Sibyl Trelawney: In Greek mythology the Sibyls were ten prophet women who worshipped the god Apollo. Which seems pretty reasonable, however I prefer my own interpretation: Divination class takes place in a tower, Trelawney is a bit fawlty cos she's not very good, Sybil was Basil's wife in Fawlty Towers, hmmm… I think I'm onto something.

Fluffy: three-headed guard dog of the Philosopher's Stone Not so much a meaning as a character reference. Cerburus was three-headed dog in Greek mythology (stop me if you know this already), he guarded hell, but let some bloke through after he played some music (follow the links below for details). All very familiar.

Albus Dumbledore: According to one of the websites Albus comes from the latin word for white, which fits nicely. I found out that Dumbledore is some kind of bee and JK Rowlng herself actually says this is where she got it from. Which to be honest is kinda dull. More interestingly one of Dumbledore's middle names is Percival, which supposedly means "pierce the veil" the website suggests this may have something to do with the veils at the Ministry of Magic.

Lily Potter: A quicky, the Lily flower is a symbol of purity.

Draco Malfoy: Draco is derived from the Greek word drakon, meaning dragon or serpent.

Godric Gryffindor: Godric means "power of god"

That's just the few I had time to write up. There's plenty of websites out there which go into sooo much more detail anyway. Here's some of the ones I used which may be of interest:

link

link

link (a rather good name-meaning site)


March 28, 2005

Geek

Being a geek isn’t the stigma it once was. A number of bloggers are openly geek. Indeed such is the craze for all things geek, it is possible to get away with using the word as an adjective. There are a number of possible reasons for this:

  • The rest of the world has come round to the fact that geek is simply a misunderstood form of cool.
  • Most people at Warwick are geeks, so we are only exposed to geeks, leading to the view that it is “in”.
  • Someone has created a device emitting electromagnetic pulses hypnotising the world into thinking geeks are cool.

The craze on blogs is for personality type tests. Many however come up with the unsurprising “You are a geek”; more useful would be to find out what type of geek you are. So here we have four categories of geek (pick your own, quizzes are dull):

You can be:

Comic Book Fan (a.k.a. The Seth Cohen)
Previous form: Comic Book Store Guy off the Simpsons.
Now: In fashion after the success of the Spiderman films and TV series Smallville.
True Geek Powers: Love of comic books
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: High; you talk about yourself way too much. That doesn’t make you a geek, that just makes you annoying and self-absorbed.
Chances of getting the guy/girl: High, low, high, low, high, low… For some reason you are intermittently successful, but god only knows why.
At Warwick would study: Something modern and alternate sounding, Media Studies etc. You’re a geek but not a classic maths/physics type.
Likely to say: "I know, I get that. But if it is 'cause of me, maybe I can talk her out of it. Except for the fact that I can't ask her if it because of me without sounding totally self-absorbed. And I'm not self-absorbed, right Ryan? Me. Me. Me."

Swot (a.k.a. The Hermione Granger)
Previous form: Lisa Simpson, clever but very annoying.
Now: Taking bookworming to a new height, but in fashion because of a deep loyalty to your friends and a sense of right.
True Geek Powers: Superswot and hitting Malfoy
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: None, you pride yourself on being smart, why change?
Chances of getting the guy/girl: High, if they ever realise they like you.
At Warwick would study: History, all that reading’s right up your street.
Likely to say: "Not spew, it's S-P-E-W, Stands for the Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare."

Heroic Geek (a.k.a. The Peter Parker)
Previous Form: Clark Kent – not cool.
Now: Intense and introspective, the kind of geek who needs reassuring.
True Geek Powers: How about altering your DNA for size?
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: Medium, geeks aren’t usually strong, but you remain goofy with or without glasses.
Chances of getting the guy/girl: Okay, once you make your mind up.
At Warwick would study: Law, lots of potential for sulking and being serious.
Likely to say: "Whatever life holds in store for me, I will never forget these words: "With great power comes great responsibility." This is my gift, my curse. Who am I? I'm Spiderman." Yawn…

Shy Geek (a.k.a The Willow Rosenberg)
Previous Form: Matilda. Nice story when you’re seven, but you can’t go back.
Now: A little insecure, potential for losing the plot and trying to kill everyone.
True Geek Powers: Smart, also brave, sort of.
Potential for selling out and betraying geek roots: Low, what kind of geek wouldn’t try to destroy the world given the chance?
Chances of getting the guy/girl: High, but you make the strangest choices: Best friends, werewolves, people who get their brains sucked out and then killed, potentials and even nearly added ex-rats to the list.
At Warwick would study: Chemistry, it’s like making magic potions.
Likely to say: "We can come by between classes. Usually I use that time to copy over my class notes with a system of different colored pens. But it's been pointed out to me that that's, you know… insane.


March 22, 2005

Cycling… to the dams 17/03/05

I once again am a cyclist. I was bike-less all last term, or rather my bike was wheel-less, which is more or less the same thing. Some gits stole the wheels in week one, sigh. Anyway last week I bought a Dawes Discovery, which by all accounts seems a very ride-able bike, in spite of a few inexplicabilities: such as a suspension seat post and about 451 gears. Well I suppose taking into account those of which are accessible and not counting duplicate ratios there's probably about seven.

Anyway I’ve managed two rides since then, here’s the report of the first:

17/03/05 Dronfield-Dore-Totley-Ringinglow-Burbage Rocks-Ladybower Dam-Derwent Dam-Ladybower Dam-Bamford-Hathersage-Owler Bar-Holmesfield-Dronfield: 40 miles

I set off just after 10am to try and get a good days riding in, my intention is to ride along by the dams at Ladybower, Derwent and Howden. I’m used to riding a mountain bike with great fat tyres and my new bike’s are thinner and more road-sensible, combine this with greasy road conditions and I decide to take things easy, 2 miles from home I come to the bottom of a hill and a turn off, I go at what I think is a sensible speed but oh, whats this? The bike starts to slide, I try to steady myself with my feet, but oh no! Toe-clips! Completely not used to this restriction I find myself stuck the bike and skid down and graze my leg. Nice start, seeing as my previous ride was a kamikaze effort in winter over snow and ice on Totley Moors this makes two accidents ["Hmmm, there's a big patch of ice there… I know! The quicker I go over it the less time I'll spend on it, the less chance I'll fall off…" I start to wobble "ooo, ahhh, ow!"] in two rides, excellent. Fortunately a nice cyclist comes past and checks if I’m okay. I am and set off again cursing myself for scratching the pedals and bar ends, oh well at least I was sufficiently in the way to protect anything important. Student mentality means I'd rather break both legss than have to pay to repair a bike.

Coming through Dore I’m forced to stop again after I knock the front mudguard with my feet and it starts rubbing on the tyres. Things are going really well! Fortunately I am carrying spanners, otherwise I'd feel liek one. I say fortunately because it's a new habit. My mountain bike had special gel stuff in the tyres that automatically fixed punctures so I didn;t bother with tools. I'm soon off again to the outskirts of Sheffield wondering why I would want to be riding when it’s so cloudy and ominous, “but the weatherlady promised me sunshine” I think. I come to my first view of the day. Burbage Rocks, they're nice when the sun’s shining, however today they just look bleak. Also it’s very windy (why is it always a head wind?) up there so it makes life hard work.

I head off down a massive descent, all in all I think it goes down about 250 metres in the space of around 4(?) miles, well it sort of bobs up and down a bit but gravity does the most work at least. Seeing as I’ve only ever been up that way and not down it kind of feels like revenge, though after my earlier adventures I take it quite easy.

After over two hours on the road, or perhaps one and half hours on the road half an hour fixing the bike or myself I finally make it to Ladybower dam, it’s quite spectacular in a British sort of way. The dams were built… whenever… and the bed of Ladybower reserviour used to be a town, perhaps there aare other towns out there that ought to follow this lead.

Feeling thoroughly dejected at having only come about 15 miles in two hours I stop to have some lunch. After this I set off for Derwent dam, finally I get there a little after one o’ clock. I take a few pictures for the blog and wonder how on earth this ride is taking so long.

As a point of interest, these dams were used to practice dropping the bouncing bomb – inactive naturally! Y’know the whole dambusters thing, see history everywhere.

I abort my plans to ride all the way along, I’ve done it before I doubt much has changed. Heading back I feel much stronger and get a fair bit of speed going and soon I’m in Hathersage, here I come to the biggest climb of the day. It’s long, about 2(?) miles against gravity, but it’s not especially steep and you only go up by around 150–200 metres in all that distance. Indeed when the Tour of Britain cycle race came by it wasn’t even a “climb” which depresses me greatly as I struggle up, it wasn’t this hard work last summer I’m sure!

On bike rides I usually find songs going round and round my head, today I started with the Futureheads and Hounds of Love on endless repeat, however all this thinking about last summer means I now have that godawful Lost Prophets song stuck in my head, this really is turning into a horrible bike ride. Soon enough though I find myself going past Padley Gorge and the Fox House Inn. From here it’s plain sailing because it’s mostly downhill home. I get back and sit down. I’m quite disappointed, but I hadn’t ridden since December so no wonder I struggled. Nevertheless it was nice to be riding again.


March 21, 2005

Mike's F1 Championship: Round 2 – Malaysian Grand Prix

That was an alright Grand Prix; it even featured the novel concept of overtaking. I’m going to give a tentative thumbs-up to the new tyre rules – for now. I quite like how the race builds now, whereas before it seemed to be a case of the race being decided at the first pit stops and then just plodding on. Now we seem to at least have some uncertainty over whether cars are going to be going quick enough nearer the end of the race. Well in this one at least, as ITV told us about fifty times Malaysia is hard on tyres. Whatever the case it was nice to see some actual racing, see it’s not impossible! I especially liked the Webber-Ralf-Heidfeld battle; that was pretty cool. Indeed whilst thinking who to give points to and take them off from I could hardly think of anyone who deserved negative points. Other highlights included Martin Brundle using the word ironically five hundred times and the little love story in the Sauber garage: after Raikkonen passed Massa did you see the shot of a male and female mechanic/whatever sat watching the screen and then turning and exchanging a glance. It was a look that said more than a thousand words ever could. On to the points:

Drivers

10pts Jarno Trulli That was bloody brilliant. Does he not realise he’s driving for Toyota now? Toyota’s don’t qualify on the front row and finish on the podium – it just doesn’t happen. If only he’d get a hair cut…

8pts Kimi Raikkonen I’m not exactly sure what it is, but somehow you get the feeling that Kimi’s the best guy out there at the moment. I know Alonso’s been absolutely sensational in the first two races, but Raikkonen seems so (Warning: Major cliché imminent) “hooked up” in the races, though not so much qualifying, but that may be the car. The best way I can put it is that Alonso’s pace seems astonishing, but you expect Raikkonen to be mega. I know he’s already 15 points off the championship lead; still he’s (Warning: Second cliché imminent) where I’d put my money if I were a betting man (Which I’m not anyway). He also deserves major credit for the move he put on Massa; that was genius; perhaps Mark Webber ought to take a look at a video of it. Also I was accused of being anti-Kimi, so I needed to even up the balance.

6pts Fernando Alonso Anyone who needs explaining why he gets a good score go stand in the corner for an hour.

5pts Nick Heidfeld Quick Nick getting a car worthy of his ability at last! I felt a bit sorry for him as James Allen kept describing Mark Webber as the team leader, when to be honest Heidfeld’s probably shown more potential than Webber anyway. Y’know, things like actually winning the F3000 championship, having finished higher than fifth in a Grand Prix, having to contend with team-mates (i.e. Jaguar only ever brought one real car to a Grand Prix and Alex Yoong(And Davidson, but two Grands Prix don’t count) and fairing well…ish.

4pts Ralf Schumacher He can race! Unbelievable, I had to rub my eyes when he tried to shove his Toyota up the inside of Webber, I thought I had fallen back asleep and was having a dream about some kind of parallel universe where Ralf Schumacher is good. Apparently it was real.

3pts Patrick Friesacher It’s a well known fact that to get the most out of a Minardi drive, all a driver can do is blow the doors off his team mate. Okay this wasn’t an Alonso-Marques scenario, but Friesacher made Albers look poor (well maybe he is?), until he spun off at least, but we’ll blame BAR for that.

2pts Christian Klien Another impressive performance. Out qualifying Coulthard and not too far behind him in the race either. See, he is good!

1pt Narain Karthikeyan He really is starting to look a decent little driver, well from what little we’ve seen of him anyway, it’s amost as if Jordan have started using invisible paint.

-10pts Jacques Villeneuve It’s so sad watching a former champion do so badly. It’s all well and good suggesting that he needs time to settle at Sauber, that it’s only two Grands Prix, but factor in the ones he drove (which in all honesty is an insult to the word drove) for Renault last year and he ought to be doing better. Utter rubbish.

Constructors

10pts Toyota I can’t believe I’m doing this, but they looked really quick all through the weekend, it’s quite impressive, surely for them fourth (behind Ferrari, Renault and McLaren) in the constructors championship has to be the target. I’m not saying they will be fourth, but they should be setting their sights there.

8pts Renault It’s so boring giving such a high score to a team doing so well in the real championship, but I don’t see any way round it. They’ve just done a fantastic job, they’ve signed great drivers, seemingly improved the engine. Aside from that there’s all this fuss about how to win races, how to beat everybody else. F1 Racing magazine goes on and on about it so much. But Renault have won the first two Grands Prix simply by being quicker than everyone else – easy peasy.

6pts Red Bull Huh, it wasn’t flash in the pan. All of a sudden their in danger of becoming a decent little team.

4pts Jordan I absolutely love the rear wing on that car. If a ten year old had designed it, then that’s exactly how it would look. Magic.

3pts Williams So far Williams have been beaten by Toyota and Red Bull, but they seem to have done it quite well if you know what I mean. Put it this way, apparently their main rivals are supposed to be BAR, let’s face it, they’re kicking serious ass there! Besides they showed some decent(ish) pace in Malaysia.

1pt Minardi After taking points of them last week for that Australia nonsense I felt a bit guilty.

-3pts Mclaren They’re a bit disappointing. I was expecting much more. Okay I guess the pace is there and it’s just not come together, blah blah blah, Still not impressed though.

-6pts Sauber Pretty poor performance. It was almost as though they managed to forget that they’d switched to Michelin tyres and were thinking they had to run at Bridgestone levels of pace. Aside from this I read an article in this month’s F1 Racing about how the Sauber is “the sexiest car on the grid”. Unfortunately it’s painted in the equivalent of a floral dress. That livery just makes me want to puke.

-8pts Ferrari It’s not often that you can say that Ferrari sucked. Okay I suppose it was mostly down to the tyres, but they’re the one’s who have allowed themselves to become so isolated from the rest, so it’s their fault if they have rubbish tyres.

-10pts BAR I think both engines expiring is karma for their cynical exploitation of the rules. However I don’t see why the drivers should suffer, especially poor Anthony Davidson. Plus a friend suggested that the McLaren had horns, raising the suggestion that it was modelled on a moose or some other creature. Perhaps BAR should have followed this lead, because their car is clearly a dog.

Drivers Standings

20pts Fernando Alonso
13pts Giancarlo Fisichella
12pts Jarno Trulli
11pts Nick Heidfeld
10pts David Coulthard
10pts Simon Young
10pts Rob Margeit
10pts Glen Crompton
5pts Takuma Sato
5pts Mark Webber
5pts Christian Klien
4pts Rubens Barrichello
2pts Juan Pablo Montoya
2pts Narain Karthikeyan
1pt Patrick Friesacher
0pts Felipe Massa
0pts Christian Albers
0pts Anthony Davidson
-4pts Tiago Monteiro
-4pts Ralf Schumacher
-6pts Jenson Button
-7pts Michael Schumacher
-8pts Kimi Raikkonen
-10pts Me
-24pts Jacques Villeneuve

Constructors Standings

26pts Renault
15pts Red Bull
10pts Warwick BUKC
5pts Jordan
3pts Williams
1pt Minardi
-3pts Toyota
-5pts McLaren
-6pts Sauber
-6pts ITV
-16pts Ferrari
-22pts BAR


March 09, 2005

Mike's F1 Championship: Round 1 – Australian Grand Prix

Well after all the fuss over the new rules there didn't seem to be much difference in the racing, however there was plenty of comedy value:

  • After Raikkonen stalled on the grid wasn't it funny to watch as they all sort of sat there not quite sure what to do.
  • The pitstops! They reminded me of computer games from a few years ago. When you made a pitstop you'd drive in between your mechanics, during the stop itself they'd be motionless – clearly this is where the teams got their inspiration from.

Not much to say about the race because it was pretty dull, so onto the points:

Drivers

10pts David Coulthard Impressive stuff. I'm very happy with his result because he's in my Fantasy F1 team!

8pts Giancarlo Fisichella A much deserved win, and he made me look good because I was harking on about him in the previous round. He also is in my Fantasy F1 team.

6pts Fernando Alonso Apparently it is possible to overtake, which is a relief. Unfortunately ITV went on about how well he did way too much so I can't give him more points because I hate ITV (see "Special Cases").

5pts Rubens Barrichello In a particularly strange Grand Prix it's nice to be reassured that somethings will never change. Rubens gets points for finishing in his usual second place. Also eight points clear of Schumacher, go Rubens!

4pts Narain Kathikeyan Actually he didn't do too bad, did he?

3pts Christian Klien Contrary to what James Allen may say, he didn't disappoint last year. Sunday was further evidence that he can drive.

2pts Jarno Trulli Just for getting a Toyota on the front row.

1pt Mark Webber How many of the other drivers equaled their best ever results?

-1pt Pablo Montoya Not the most stuning of performances and of course he "threw away second place".

-2pt Tiago Monteiro Didn't exactly do anything wrong, but was slightly unwilling the get out of the way when being lapped (see Villeneuve/Friesacher).

-3pts Ralf Schumacher Other than when his car left a trail of smoke off the second dummy grid we never really saw him. I'm sure he did something wrong though.

-4pts Patrick Friesacher Not particularly impressive, there's something wrong when a driver's greatest contribution to a race is to nearly take out one of the front runners.

-5pts Takuma Sato If you heard the radio transmition of Sato's Q1 outlap: "Too late" – indeed.

-6pts Kimi Raikkonen My driving instructor used to say that there are two types of drivers, those that stall cars and those that lie. Meaning there's no shame in stalling. However can everyone join me in a "ha-ha!" for Raikkonen. Also is he not happy unless he goes wide at that chicane during qualifying? How easy does he want to make it for Montoya?

-8pts Michael Schumacher After winning the championship last year Schumacher did everything in his power to f*** up wherever possible, clearly he's so confident of success this year he's going to try that all year.

-10pts Jacques Villeneuve That was just s***.

Constructors

10pts Red Bull Mega stuff, thankfully I won't have to resort to ddrinking Kick it would seem.

8pts Renault Do I need to explain?

2pts Ferrari Damn that F2004 keeps going! Dread to think what's going to happen when they bring the F2005 out.

1pt Jordan They were completely anonymous, which these days, for Jordan is a good thing.

-1pt Sauber For having their weakest driver line up in years.

-3pts Williams_ They didn't exactly set the world on fire, Christ they were beaten by a blue Jaguar!

-4pts McLaren Not because of anything they did. This is for that freaky Mercedes A-Class commercial (you know the one) during one of the ad-breaks. It's the middle of the night, it's dark, you're on you own. That's really not the sort of advert you want to see. Yellow Submarine parodies about Hate, now that's okay.

-5pts Toyota_ Another driver line up change and they still suck.

-8pts Minardi F1 politics is_sooooo_ boring, stop it!

-10pts BAR The worst performance by BAR in ages, also the pathetic attempt at using the loophole in the engine rules. Rubbish.

Special Cases

-1pt ITV "Gow Webbow Gow" – shut up Jim.

-1pt ITV Who the hell was Ted Kravitz interviewing? "These people should be familiar to British viewers". Really?

-1pt ITV Or more precisely the person who put a red sock in with Mark Blundell's laundry.

-1pt ITV I'm so glad Martin Brundle interviewed Nicholas Cage, I mean otherwise I might have been under the delusion that standing on the grid before a race was boring. In fact I might have thought it was as dull as actually watching the race.

-1pt ITV During the race we're watching a graphic of the g forces on Kimi Raikkonen. The director changes shot to show David Coulthard and Mark Webber racing each other. James Allen (sounding disappointed): "Oh, we've cut away". Arrrggghhhh!!

-1pt ITV For showing the scary Mercedes comercial.

10pts Simon Young For winning a BUKC race, and quite possibly being the only person to bother to read this!

10pts Warwick BUKC For also doing well.

Drivers Standings
14pts Fernando Alonso
13pts Giancarlo Fisichella
10pts David Coulthard
10pts Rob Margeit
10pts Glen Crompton
10pts Simon Young
6pts Nick Heidfeld
5pts Takuma Sato
5pts Mark Webber
4pts Rubens Barrichello
3pts Christian Klien
2pts Juan Pablo Montoya
2pts Jarno Trulli
1pt Narain Kathikeyan
0pts Felipe Massa
0pts Christijan Albers
-2pts Patrick Friesacher
-4pts Tiago Monteiro
-6pts Jenson Button
-7pts Michael Schumacher
-8pts Ralf Schumacher
-10pts Me
-14pts Jacques Villeneuve
-16pts Kimi Raikkonen

Constructors Standings
18pts Renault
10pts Warwick BUKC
9pts Red Bull
1pt Jordan
0pts Williams
0pts Minardi
0pts Sauber
-2pts McLaren
-6pts ITV
-8pts Ferrari
-12pts BAR
-13pts Toyota


March 04, 2005

Cartoons (2)

Follow-up to Cartoons! from Bloggle

Last time…

Two buses plotted to kill a student, at the last moment Carly Braddock heroically dived in and pushed him out of the way. When we left the story Carly was still in between the buses as they sped towards each other, did she manage to survive? Find out after these words from our sponsors…


Round 1 to appear near the start of next week, Schumacher might not win!!! To check out round 0 goto: link


You can also play with Diablo, Poi, Devil Sticks, Rolla Bolla, Plate Spinning, etc… Goto: link for more information

And now we return to the story (Spot the continuity errors)


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