Two astronomers. Separated by only 22 degrees, 58 minutes of latitude, 33 degrees, 29 minutes of longitude, yet seemingly worlds apart. Their common goal: figure out the very nature of the Universe and its womenfolk.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Almost as awesome as Dalsim

I bought Pink Floyd's live "Pulse" DVD yesterday. So, it goes without saying that the music in it is mind bogglingly good (I have the CD anyway), but whoever does the stage lighting / visuals for the Floyd's live sets is one smart cookie.

Just thought I'd say.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sheer panic and relentless agony

I made myself a rather nice dish for dinner this evening....I had pasta with chilli crab and vodka. It went rather well, I think. Then, a short while after I finished, I started to feel a wee bit tired and rubbed my eyes.

Thus introducing a lot of red chilli into my eyeball.

I've not felt pain like it. I ran around like a chicken being chased by a farmer trying to wring its neck. Fortunately Kat's quick thinking saved the day by washing the chilli out, which quickly took away the pain, but for a short while I thought I might die.

I can't be arsed to photograph it, so here's a schematic:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Murky view from OC320 this morning...

Guess that's summer over then! At least the coming of winter signals one good thing - better telly. I've actually started watch tv again, mainly thanks to new series of the following:

1) The F-Word - I still want to be the Gordon Ramsay of astronomy.
2) Top Gear - the environment's all well and good, but without sports cars we have no soul
3) Tribe - I love that Bruce guy. He's the Gordon Ramsay of living with Tribes. And he's nails.
4) Big Cat Diary - big cats are cool. Especially baby cheetahs. I think my favorites are leopards though. They *could* go and mercilessly kill anything on the plains, but prefer to lounge around in trees.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Forget the World Cup

For the year's most important football game took place yesterday. Yes, Astro and Cosmic finally played their inter-departmental 5-a-side game, with Astro looking to find some consolation for what has been a disappointing season, and exact revenge on Cosmic for their 2-1 win last season. I must confess to having lost sleep over the skillful nutmeg Ray Sharples subjected me to with his last minute winner some twelve months ago. I wanted them to suffer.

The teams lined up: Astro (Harker, Davies, Crain, Swinbank, Angulo), Cosmic (Schurch, Ross, Bielby, Harrison, Brown, Wake, Middleton). Cosmic's larger squad offering an early psychological advantage as Astro pondered whether, without regular Eke, their fitness might last the distance in a sweltering Maiden Castle sports hall.

Astro struck early. Angulo's 3 blistering goals in the first few minutes threatened to kill the game, but plucky play by Brown earnt Cosmic 2 goals of their own to resurrect the game just before half-time. With Cosmic stealing the initiative, they turned the screw by introducing Wake's fresh legs. Astro, looking tired, turned to Italian tactics and shut up shop. Cosmic found no answers to this more stoic defensive approach, and with a final throw of the dice introduced Middleton. As the clock ticked Cosmic must have hoped their subs' energy might steal them something, but with seconds to play Angulo showed why he's Astro's top hitman, and rounded the diving Schurch for a tap-in that earnt Astro a 4-2 victory and brought bragging rights back to the Ivory Towers of the ICC for the next twelve months. Football has indeed come home.

EDIT: As Ross (Cosmic, Durham) pointed out in the comments, I forgot to mention that Cosmic had an equaliser disallowed. In my defence, I think this was a fair omission since there was never any doubt of the illegality of the "goal", thus rendering the incident a non-event. To clarify: Cosmic were awarded a free kick with Astro 3-2 up, but it was taken some two yards forward of the correct position, with the ball still moving. Whilst Brown (Cosmic)(EDIT: Ross, not Brown - apologies) fired the ball home beautifully from the laid-off free-kick, the sheer audacity of the attempt to gain an unfair advantage resulted in much mirth from the Astro players and the referee, and no attempt was made to challenge the ball.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The boys are back in town...

...well actually, the boy is back on the blog. Noam has disappeared off the blogging map, I'm concerned that the 'mofos is becoming my personal crusade.

Anyway, apologies for the radio silence. I was away this weekend visiting the family in Lincoln - my sister threw a huge party for my brother-in-law's 40th, which was great fun. Since then I've been continually frustrated by a) the refusal of GADGET-2 to work on seemingly acceptable initial conditions and b) the worrying and seemingly chronic lack of communication speed on the new Opteron machine. Having fixed a) by accident, I'm hoping that Sun are going to sort b), but I'm not holding my breath.

On the positive side, Dalsim has received an official vote of support from Carlos (I can almost smell money coming our way), and I have finally got round to looking at RSS, which is my new favourite toy when combined with the gorgeous "Newsfire" for Mac.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I'm becoming observant in the mornings. For today I noticed a disturbance...something was *wrong* with Durham. I realised quickly what was wrong. The bronze head (of Sir Ove Arup, architect of Dunelm House and Kingsgate bridge) is missing!

Here's what it looks like, in case you find it under a bush or something. Don't be scared, I don't think it's evil, in spite of its appearance.

Conspiracy theories abound...term has just ended, has a wicked student whipped it away as a memento of their time in Durham? Have those tramps that hang around Dunelm House swiped it? Maybe that crazy dude with the huge moustache and afro that you always see in town has it? Or maybe DSU has just moved it while there are builders in the vicinity...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Not in my back yard....

...or more specifically, not on my -street-. I walked out of the house this morning only to find this insult to engineering outside.

You generally don't see that many ratcars in Durham, which I attribute to its reassuring lack of pikeys (in the city centre at least). Anyway, can anybody find a more hilariously ratted car? Extra points for removed manufacturers badges, multiple exhausts and Kenwood stickers.