Friday, June 17, 2005

Head Like A Hole

There is a certain lecturer, who also holds a position of power, at Aberdeen Uni that seems to have a real problem with the concept of time. When lecturing he would arrive late for every lecture, then started giving us grief about us turning up late.

Our course has a rule that all assessments are given back to the students with marks and comments attached within 3 weeks. Most of the time lecturers missed this mark by a week or two, but our friend was 10 weeks late, returning marks one day before the module's exam (so if my understanding of some basic part of the course was wrong, and he told me so in his assessment comments, I'd have one day to re-learn it).

His latest dive into temporal obscurity was an email sent today to inform us that we must attend a seminar on Monday morning. Normally you could expect our class to be around on a Monday, but only during taught modules. I'd imagine a few people on the course are taking a break this weekend and don't plan on being in the country on Monday. I'm actually heading to Glasgow for the weekend and had considered staying until Monday. Others might have arranged meetings with people for their individual projects at the time of the seminar. One working day is not enough time to set a compulsory seminar for.

Of course the seminar's speaker has probably known for weeks if not months when they are going to be talking to us, so there's no reason we couldn't have been given more warning.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

In Radiohead's Honour

I picked up a copy of the new Foo Fighter's album earlier this week, but am only now getting around to my third listen. It's been pushed aside by my need to listen to a lot of The Wildhearts before this weekend's Ginger show in Glasgow.

Anyway, I'd heard part of the In Your Honour a couple of weeks ago at Gaz's house, and as soon as it came on I thought I knew the first song. The starting riff was definitely stolen from somewhere, but I couldn't place it. The song was played again a bit later on and I tried really hard to focus on what my mind told me should follow it, but failed.

After being pained by this for two weeks, the answer finally revealed itself, and I'm annoyed I'm not the first to spot it. The riff is stolen from Sulk by Radiohead (from The Bends). Go away and think about it. Stick your dusty Bends CD/MP3 (if they can get dusty) on if you must, then realise I am right. Warning: this totally taints the quality of the first song on the Foos' new album.

I was expecting something different from the Foo Fighters this time: "One loud, one not so loud" is what the CD case proclaims. Having heard the first Foos album, and Dave's recent Probot adventures in metal, I was expecting the first CD to be really heavy, rough-edged thrashy songs, and the second to be at the same pitch as One By One or The Colour And The Shape. Instead, the first CD reflects the old style and the second CD is even quieter than that. Not so good.

It's not all bad though - the second CD actually works quite well, and Taylor seems to be able to handle singing fairly well. Will be interesting to see if he switches places with Dave at T In The Park for a song or two.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I Take Out His Weapons, Both Of Them

Just seen Sin City with KG and Pete. They didn't seem fully convinced by it, but I thought it was supreme. Absolutely oosing with comic book style and something on the edge of stupid but still conceivably ludicrous. Or something.

Go See It! (Assuming you can stomach it - it is quite gory)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Recommended Dose

It's just over a week until I will be in a very large field enjoying T In The Park 2005. I saw the near-complete line-up advertised the other day, so I've sketched out who I'm planning to see from the three main stages. The style on this blog is extremely annoying (I planned to change it ages ago but never managed it), so the simple act of making a table had to be put in a separate file: Chosen Acts.

Feel free to belittle my choices!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Maroon Shark Gives You Wings

I bought my first game in months a few days ago: Metal Gear Solid 3. I've not really had time for anything beyond 24 recently, but the end of exams is the perfect excuse to spend £30.

I'd played MGS2 to death a couple of years ago, so thought I'd jump straight into the third instalment and get straight into strafing, but not so: it's all change. All the high-tech equipment I was used to, like the companion of a motion sensor overlaid on a map which was pretty much invaluable, has been shed since the game is set during the Cold War.

So I've had to get used to when to use the Motion Sensor, Sonar and Thermogoggles to detect enemies. It makes the game much more enveloping if you let it.

It was probably quite ironic that I'd read the Gamers' Manifesto just before buying MGS3, but I did get quite frustrated with my first couple of plays. For one thing, most of the locations so far have been jungle, with gentle slopes you can run across, near-vertical slopes you can climb over, and anything in between that totally confuses Snake. And I can remember being able to climb trees without the aid of vines, so why should these guys need it?

The other main annoyance was that I had to watch 20 minutes of storyline before getting to do anything more than kill alligators. I watch this stuff so that I don't miss out on the important things, like what I actually have to do in the game. I'm just about to be told where to head next and who I've got to speak to for 10 minutes about the rain in Moscow, when the phone rings or the doorbell goes. Quick, hit pause. Oh no, pause for the rest of the game (the Start button) means skip the rest of the dialogue scene and dump me in front of some nasty guy covered in bees (how does he like his coffee!?) while I tell Random Telecoms I'm still not interested in being given gold bullion to leave BT.

Speaking of ingenious marketing techniques(!), a lady came to my door today doing marketing research on soft drinks. She seemed to have a single sheet of questions to ask, so I agreed to it. She then pulled out a 10 page pack of questions. And not simple True/False, but Likert scales (scale of 1-5 for your answers - ah, memories of my fourth year project). The "soft drinks" intro soon became quite obviously "energy drinks", or more accurately, Red Bull versus Lucozade. Some sample questions:

Do you think Red Bull are on the way up and doing well, keeping steady, or going downhill?

If you see someone drinking Red Bull, do you think that person goes against the norms of society and does what he/she wants? (It's just a drink!)

How often do you drink Red Bull when at home relaxing? (NB. As far as I know, caffeine does not relax you)

Which of these drinks do you drink while at work?
Optons include Red Bull, Lucozade Energy, Coke, Bottle Water, Fruit Juice, and Beer / Wine.

Did you know that Red Bull gives you wings and do you agree with this?

Did you know that Red Bull increases your energy, and do you agree with this? (I completely disagree since Red Bull are banned from saying so in adverts, which must make it a false claim)

Having investigated RB just now, I almost wish she'd asked me "Did you know Red Bull is banned in France and Norway because of deaths relating to its consumption?"