The secret blog of Philip Hawtin aged 21 and 77 elevenths

A random wirlwind of events and activities done by me.

Location: Guildford, United Kingdom

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Too tired to think of something amusing to say.
So many hotel rooms, and too much work, with not enough sleep over the past week. Good job its a quiet week this week. Well except for CU events week, Emma's birthday and my Dads birthday.

You'd be surprised at how tiring having an hour of nothing can be.
For three days I made use of an X-ray Photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) at Daresbury.
Roughly speaking it takes about 1 hour of fairly intensive work to set the machine up, put in the sample, and tune it up for your sample. Then it takes another hour to 90 minutes to perform the good results on the sample, during which time you can do nothing. Now normally this is quite a nice state of affaires, but when you have 15 samples over the course of three days, thats alot of sitting around with nothing to do.

Lunch, dinner, coffee breaks and general newspaper reading all helped, but could not take up the whole time. That added to about 12 hour days, and the fact I don't sleep well not in my bed, is probably the cause of my general tiredness.
There was not very much to do outside of hours either as everything was closed before I finished for the day, and I wasn't in the mood to sit in pubs on my own in a strange town.

The journey back was not too bad, although the train back to guildford arrived about 10 minutes late, so I though I'd missed my bus. as I walked to Campus guess what I saw drive by. yep, the 37 home.
Oh well, since Darroch was watching something on the telly, I don't think the extra hour wait cost much, and allowed me to make an impact on the large pile of e-mails awaiting me.

The tsunami raffle that the office was running seemed to go well, with over £700 raised, and that amount to be doubled by 3M.
I jokingly told them to leave my prizes on my desk for when I returned. Bare in mind this was a raffle with 33 prizes, containing mostly food and alchol, guess what I found on my desk.
What women want DVD and the Ministry of Sound Clubbers guide 05. Possibly the worse 2 prizes there for me.
What women want is obviously a chick flick, so why would I want it? ( Especially since I already have it on my shelve at home ;-}).
I recognise 2 naes on the Clubbers CD, Fatboy slim and Depeche mode. not great in 40 songs, and I don't know any of the tracks, not do I listen to Clubbing tracks.
The only prizes I might have had less use for are the signed baseball caps by Kimi Rikkenen and the pot porri. Which lead to Daroch and Lukes first arguement for a week.
Stement "Pot Porri looks like foul smelling cereal". Shockignly Luke won, but the production of rice crispies., and his own strangly coloured pot porri which most certainly wasn't at all like a cereal, and Darroch conceeded that his statement, whilst technically not wrong, implied more than was true.

Oh, and I think I just got elected as Gamesoc Sec.
But I'm not on their e-mail list at the moment, so didn't know about the AGM.
Ce la ve.

Don't expect anything for a week or so, as I don't expect to have much free time for a while.

Its off to the kitchen for more coffee and chocolate before Church tonight.


The end of the holidays

Well, strictly I've been in work for nearly 3 weeks, but since Campus was quiet and most of my evening activities had yet to start, it was almost still a holiday. I mean, sure I still had to do my work, but thats such a small part of the stuff I do.

Terms back and busy already.
And, just to make matters more fun, I'm being sent away again.
With 1 weeks notice this time, totally out of the blue. It appears I'll be spending the best part of next week somewhere in the vacinity of Runcorn. Playing on the site of the sychotron. Alas, not actually with this beast, mearly a very large and powerful XPS system.
Now I'd love to tell you what this does, and how it works, but I didn't really expect to be using one. Ever. So I might have forgotten a few of my lectures on them.
Oh well. just to add to the fun I'm being left on my own on the friday as Marie-Laure is returnig for the office raffle.
Thay'll be a whole day with me alone with a large expensive machine. Since I spent last week with my moniter set to 16 colour as I'd broken it so well no other setting was possible.... Oh well. free trip.
was also told I have 2 months to write my Transfer report. As well as interpret all the data I have recently aquired, so when the iontof v finally shows up I'll be already to leap straight into it. Apparently its likely to be so busy I've been assigned the midnight to 8am shift. I think they were joking, btu not by much. Fortunatly it produces so much data in a short space of time i could probably get all the data I needed for my PhD in a week (if I was luckly enough to run the right stuff, and get the machine solid for a week and forgo sleep etc. ) so it should clear the back log fast. Except I then have to learn how to interprit all the data. Ho humm.

Basically this means for the next semester I'll be having to limiting my random games of Chess and Scrabble to no more than 1 a day. And actually make sure the rest of the time is work.

In other news,
Darroch has his new computer up and working, so I might be able to start watching DVDs again, and since it is his birthday tomorrow i'll be having a long lunch to try and find him a present.
After being Kidnapped by Debs yesterday I think I'm proving to Emma ( My ex-squatter) that she will end up seeing more of me not living in my house, as I'm never there. But she does need cheering up ( and a job) so hopefully that will occur before her birthday. Also her broken wrist is almost sorted.
Now we just need to teach Debs how to make tea ( although her approach of just giving us all a can of beer and pint glass is certainly novel).

Ball room last night had loads of new beginners, so I actually looked like I knew what I was doing, which makes a nice change. This doing the beginners stuff again is great, as I might start to actually remember it this time.
Unfortunatly I'm going to have to miss the next two lessions due to Runorn and Emmas birthday. By the time I'm back I'll have forgotten everything again. At least the new ballroom shoes were nice.

I'm actually slightly disapointed by the lack of invasion of my office. So far just the once whilst I've been in it by my friends.
Guiys work harder at it, or I'll make longer and longer Blog posts about nothing.

Anyway, off now to try and get a new union card, and if I'm lucky a new bus pass. Certainly don't want to splash out another £100 on a new one. I might just stick with the walking, but it has reduced my reading time drastically. Still haven't finished Vanity fair.

See you next time....

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Its Grim Down South (Take 2)

well I did post something last thursday about this, btu I can't find it on my blog, and I can't remmeber waht I said, So I'm going to try again.

Last Tuesday Saw a group of us heading to Wilton for a confrence.We left just before Lunch ( As that way we got to claim lunch on expenses). and for most of the journey we had to contend with the rain. But, as we passed Middlesborough thee was blue sky ( With a reddish tinge) and barely a cloud. It was so nice, once we reached out hotel in redcar, ( A ovely little place, I even had a sea view), we decided that we should walk down the beach with chips from the local chippy.

Very pleasent, although a little windy. It was very fun to watch Arren discover which way the wind was blowing by throwing his chip paper in the air, then discover he was wrong about the direction and chase after it trying to catch it before it went into the sea.

But soon it was dark, and we had to attend dinner. We thought our hotel was nice, btu then we saw the one John ( my supervisor) managed to blag. We are talkign statly home here. But thats not too bad as that was where we were going for dinner, and its going to be on expenses so go to town!!!

Apart from them not having a decent beer on tap, I was impresed. The starters were bigger than a main course in some places. Although, I had duck brest on Fried noodles for my main course and I don't understand fried noodles. They don't bend, are in alsorts of strange shapes and how on earth are you meant to eat them with-out leaving laegre chunks of them out side your mouth whilst you chew the other bits.

I Eventually figured it out well enough to not make too much of a mess. Following dessert we waited for the bill. And waited. And Kier started to get edgy, it was nearing tiem at the bar, and he had to drive us home so couldn't drink.
Then they showed and offered to put it on John and Marie laures tab ( As they were staying there), but Jim thjough it would be easier if they split it 7 ways and paid up now, so we could claim it individually. Eventually we made it back to our hotel just after 10:30, and managed to get some drinks in at the bar.
But since we sat there until after one and brought some drinks after midnight, I feel the rush might not of been quite so desperate. ( I think since the cost of the drinks was on our room tab it got round the licennsing rules). But Kier and Arran decided that they weren't going to manage the 8 am time we had suggested for breakfast, but couldn't cancel the 7:50 am alarm call.

Since I called on their room at 8:30 and Kier was just about waking up, I don't think that made much of a difference. Eventually they showed up for breakfast just before the kitchen closed. We then managed to make it to the conference jusst before the end of registration. So close in fact that Kier and Arren ended up having to smuggle their cups of tea into the lecture hall.

I wasn't expecting much from the talks, nominally being biological surface analysis, but the first two talks were really good, and through out the rest of the day they all caught my attention.
Not quite sure how you can start and ed this sort of conference on Sex, but somehow they managed it.

Well We stuck it out till the end, when our lecturers left early "to avoid the traffic". But despite leaving at 4, we managed to get back to guildford by about 8:40 with only a half hour stop for food ( and that was only made to get the last little extra out of our exppense account..). And, once again, by the time we reached the A1(M) the clouds were grey and the rain frequent.

A good couple of days soured only by the loss of my union card/bus pass. Oh well, the walking will do me good.

Archery on saturday was outside due to trampoliners in the hall, and the mud was just a little exsesive. I have almost rescued my shoes from it, but I'm sure I was a couple of inches taller before I cleaned it all off.

Maybe I should just return to the sunny North...

Its Grim Down South

Well have returned from my exciting conference. It was suprisingly good, but we'll get there at the time.

Kier decided the best way for us to travel to just past Middlesborough was to drive in his car. ( I think the paid by the mile calculation probably got it sorted).
So we set off at just before lunch on Tuesday ( So we got to add Lunch to our expenses claim. Hey, free food what can I say).

We made good going, with only a small jam on the M25, and a relaxing half hour eating Lunch, and were in Redcar by 4 ( Not very long after the adults who left at 8am) so we went for a walk along the beach eating chips. It was a nice tiem, a little windy but quite protected on the sand. Fortunatle really as there was nothing between us and Norway ( as long as you ount 400 miles of Sea as nothing I suppose). It wa salso the only time on the journey up we didn't need the windscreen wipers running. We could even see the Sun.

Following that we made our way to Rushpool hall for Dinner.
Certainly impressive grounds and building and very good sized portions, we weren't sureif the starters they brough out were main courses or not. Now Kier discovered the drawback to chaufeering, as hee couldn't drink during dinner. It was a nice bottle of wine as well. Such a shame. Eventually they sorted out the bill and we made it back to our hotel just before last orders, allowing Kier a drink. ( Mind you we sat in the hotel bar till almost 1 so the rush wasn't all that important!!)

Our cunning morning plan of breakfast at 8 was neevr goign to materialise after the late night, so we arranged for 8:30.

Since I'd bathed and watched loads ok Sky by then I went to get Arren and Kier, to discover they haven't got up yet. Honestly. They made breakfast with about 5 minutes to spare.
We then nmade the confrence with about 5 minutes to spare, so they took their cups of tea into the lecture hall at ICI which is apparently a big NO-NO. Oh well, we're students they'll have to make allowances.

Since the confrence was supposed to be on Biological surface analysis I wasn't expecting it to be all that relevent. (well I was there for the free beach holiday and to get away from the office), but the first couple of talks were spot on. And the rest were quite interesting.

A good day, with a bit of networkign as well. all good.

We then just had to get back, which a fair tail wind allowed by 9 with a quick stop for a wimpey burger ( last chance to make use of the expenses). And as soo as weleft the tee valley, once aagain we had rain dogging much of the journey home.

see, for good weather, head north. ( Although at the moment not North west it seems). And get someone else to pay for as much as possible.

Now I've got to make up for all the bits I would have done tuesday and wednesday if I were here. So its back to the vital internet surfing. Sorry I mean work. I'm canibalised mine and Jans computer in the office and have one almost working computer.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Games, games games

Friday saw my games evening finally be re-introduced now that Debs has a house to host it again.
Oscar and Emma were also there.
We managed a couple of games of Mag-Blast ( Spaceship card game) before I managed to get them playing some new stuff.
First Up was Navel battles. A New game I hadn't had a chance to play yet, but looked promising in Tonys ( The BEST game shop in Guildford). I was impressed with the way it went. Granted we have no idea of tactics or such like yet, but it went well and all seemed to enjoy it. I did manage a very lucky come back to win when it seemed Oscar had it in the bag.

Then colossal Arena, a card game based on betting on mythical creatures. ( Ok that's not a good explanation, but I can't think of a better one). Not bad, I like it during play, but its a pain to set up without a shuffling machine.

Then we finished off with a game of Settlers of Catan. An absolute classic of a game based on resource trading. You really should play it.

All in all a great evening. In fact so good we decided to do it again Saturday.

So after an afternoon remembering I can't shoot at archery ( And reminding my muscles that they should do something). I went over for some more games.

Settlers went down so well we started of with three games or it.
I managed to win all three, including a game with the most horrendous probability twist. I managed to build roads right across the island and had access to two tiles with 5, 2 tiles with 9 and one with 11 on. Guess which numbers came up the most...
( This is rolling two d6 ( Normal dice for non-gamers) and adding the numbers together).
All start with two victory points, and the aim is to reach ten. By the time I got to 12 the other three were on 5, 5 and 4. So they between them had gained few points than I did on my own. Never seen that before, its normally a well balanced game.

Eventually they decided I wasn't going to be beaten at this tonight we changed games and played Andromida.
A game of making sets with a cool random generator ( you use little blocks of woods and shake them about to see which come out.

Well my streak finally ended and Debs won by a mile. But another good evening.

Sunday was a Fools and Heroes day.
Do you remember games of make believe when you were young? This is one of those, set in a fantasy realm. So I spent the day playing the character of a Knight smiting skeletons and goblins.
The adventure we went on was actually very good and frothy ( Technical term meaning lots of good roleplaying). But a very long day as both adventures overrun. Then as we nearly got home John rang up. He'd left his house keys in Fluffs car. So a 30 minute trip up the M4 then back again got us home a little after midnight.

Now I'm trying to prepare for a trip to Wilton tomorrow, and also get my Work PC to actually do that. Spent most of the morning with computer pieces all over the office. It seems to be ok at the moment but there are some driver issues to be sorted. But it is actually working most of the time so I can type this.

Oh well back to the work.
Its long and tedious and less interesting than watching glue dry. Especially when the computer eats it. But if I don't finish it soon its only going to take longer

Take care


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Clash of the titans

Well top of the table clash for Phaal flames last night. Now technically I'm not a member of the team, but I'm a reagular stand by these days, and the Second choice goalkeeper ( IAnd sometimes I think thats because Craig has a car...).
So I was called up for keeper duty against the onl team above us in the league. Unfortunatly, despite having been in the offic e for hours before hand with lovely weather, as soon as we got ready to practice, the rain fell. Not excessivly, but certainly enough to make the ground wet and slippy. generally good for attacking but very bad for defending.

We also had a cobbled together team with 3 regulars, and 3 guest stars. So it took a little tie for us to settle on the pitch. Going 2-0 down posiibly didn't help. And I should hve saved them both. The first took a deflection, but I managed to get a hand to it, and should have pushed it away, and the second somehow managed to it between my legs despite me being on my knees with no space for the ball to go. I hate it when that happens.

Luckily for me the team settled down at that point and managed to score at the other end. and eventually we managed a second to equalise. We also seemed to spend most of the second half in their half but their keeper was playing well. Managed to actually save a couple in the second half from their breakaways. 2-2 final score. ( The prediction was 7-6 apparently).

We're still undefeated this seaso, and likely to get promotion to the 2nd division ( I think).

Other than that, not too much happened since the last blog.

have booked a games evening this friday now. Not quite sure on the numbers who'll be there, so will have to see what games I take. But Mag blast is probably garenteed now Emma has been taught. I'll just have to show her properly.

We shall see.

off to lunch for me, I'm not expecting anything exciting to pop up here till Saturday at the earliest

Take care

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Two cups of coffee and a game of Chess

Well its been a few days since I managed to blog, so I'm probably due a second post really.

And Since I last posted I've done...

... well to be honest very little. Poped into town bank holiday monday, and tried to finish my christmas shopping. (yep, I am that behind!) then came into work to do a few odds and ends as I was planning a long lunch today.

And Today I popped up to Woking to say hi to Cat. And generally keep her out of trouble. we found a hot chocolate shop to hide in for a while, whilst we chatted. Now I'm not saying Cat spends lots of time in this sort of place, but the staff called her by name and check I've got her order right.
After a while we decide to break out the chessboard. Now I'm impressed, she's improved quite a bit since before christmas. In fact, if you're looking for a dark horse in the CU chess tournement then she could well be it ( Not that I've played anyone else in the CU yet, but thats beside the point).

But it was a close game until I just put too much pressure on her and managed to capture her queen. Even then she played well.

I'm not just saying this because she's the only person thats found this blog yet either.

bu now I suppose that following a lunch hour that almost reached 4, I ought to return to the work. Watch this space.

Plans for later this week include a football match tomorrow and hopefully a games evening thursday. So following those I may actually have something to say.

Interesting housemate discussions so far have included the privatisation of the post office and what roleplay systems are any good.

Well that concludes my time for now

Monday, January 03, 2005

Now look what you've got me into...

Well, it seems everyone is getting one of these now, so I suppose I'll join the fun.
Well, a new year, and a new start.

I'll warn you all here expect this to be quite random, as I'm very unlikely to plan anything I write here.

New years eve was just what I wanted.
A nice quiet evening to myself. I managed to tidy my room completely, and relax. ( Not a huge fan of celebrating new year eve if you hadn't guessed).

New years day. A lazy day. Not much done here, a stroll down to guildford and back ( if only I ever managed to work out what timetable the buses were operating on...) Followed up with a short game of Babylon 5 with Luke. It was quite short, we'd finished in under 3 hours. For those that are un-initiated, B5-ccg ( as its known) is possibly the longest collectible card game in the world. There is no such thing as a quick victory.
Finished the day off watching the comedians Comedian. There are a few what! moments. Woody Allen at 3 and Reeves and Mortimer at 9! I wouldn't mind quite so muh if they were actually funny, but I suppose that would be a little to much to ask. Successfully made 0 new years resolutions. Might keep them this time around

And today,
in at work, and I've even threatened to do some work. Ok, technically I'm not supposed to be back till Tuesday, but since Tuesday lunchtime involves a coffee date with Cat in woking, getting a head start isn't going to hurt. That, and how else would I post and check my e-mails? Plus I had to catch up on the web comics or I wouldn't get anything done on Tuesday

Will depart soon to attend a church. Not sure which yet, depends on the time I leave and which ones I can remember the start time of.

When I have something exciting to say I'll probably manage a new post.

Oh, finished reading the first book of His Dark Materials ( Northern Lights I think) and onto the second. Its not too bad, but I'm not sure its worthy of a place in the top 21 books. But it is a lot easier to get into than Vanity Fair which I'm also reading. I might manage to finish it before the film is out. Its a good story, but just seems to take forever, and its not quite clicking with me, but I'll persevere and finish it soon.