Friday, 30 July 2010

Also in my room I found...

Following on from my previous post, I also found a number of things that I can only share with you by scanning them in.
This is an old, used dingbats sheet. I think it's from some church youth thing quite a few years ago. I think it inspired my love of dingbats; even if I hardly ever get to indulge this love!

This is part of an envelope that contained one of my birthday cards this year. I liked my friend's doodles so much I didn't really want to get rid of it! I think the original may be destined for my scrapbook now.
Another of my lesson time doodles. This was in history so you can tell I needed the summer holidays!
This one is the result of a chemistry lesson no doubt as the blue pen was most definitely Maryam's addition and not mine!
A mini little thing from the back of last year's Doctor Who calender. Aah, we miss you Tennant.
I made this when I was in year one or two and it's haunted my room ever since. I don't really know what to do with it but I also really don't want to throw it away. Any ideas what I should do with this sentimental piece of paper?

If you're having trouble reading this then click on it to enlarge it but basically it's the sheet we got given for one of the wide games on camp. Not only did we have to find the leaders and get them to pose for some of these captions but we also had to find some willing members of the public. Although one man refused we did get a nice bus driver to pose for us as well as a very nice couple who were really sweet about letting us photograph them. I would share some of the photos with you but they weren't taken on my camera so I don't have the saved anywhere. If you weren't there then you'll just have to take this piece of paper as evidence of the awesomeness.
This are the plans for a stop motion video I had to create as part of my ICT coursework at GCSE. I think the final thing got deleted or is festering away somewhere in a folder in my school files. If I ever find it I promise to show you but I think it got lost in a digital spring clean.

When I do some painting, I tend to dish out my acrylics on these little squares of card. Quite often, I have a little paint left and I spread that over the rest of the square. These two I decorated when the paint was dry. I have no idea why and it's not like they have any purpose. Maybe they'll go in my scrapbook but I'm not sure.
The is one of two versions of a monster I created to enter a competition for Primeval. Obviously, I didn't win but I think the counterpart is in my scrapbook and I still really want to re-watch the Primeval series. I was on the ITV website for Primeval and they didn't have a character profile for Stephen Hart! I think that in itself requires a re-watch of the first season at least.

These are a few, very tiny print outs of some pictures I'd taken. I'm not sure if they were printed for part of my GCSE coursework or whether they almost got put in my scrapbook. Although the size suggests my scrapbook.

This last little picture is the outside of the program for my mum's cousin's wedding. It was far too pretty to just throw away!
When clearing out I also found:
- A photocopy of an article from a Creation magazine called 'A Tale of Two Fleas'
- Plans to extend a short story I wrote for GCSE into a full length novel. (If I ever get the time!)
- A number of notebooks
- And a lot of dust!

In my room I found...

Today, I finally tidied up my room. Although the majority of the stuff was old school stuff and school work, I did find a few old things that made me smile. So, I thought I’d share some of the things I found with you.

First, I found this sheet of paper with a few websites on. I have no idea why I’ve got them or why there is a little pencil note under it saying “?Newspaper ?Day Room” in handwriting that I don’t think is mine. So, let’s see what these websites are! – Oooh! It’s some sort of conversion website; converting YouTube videos and files and that sort of thing. Looks like it might be some help in the future. – I have decided that this will be my survival website for university. You type in the stuff you have in the cupboards and it tells you what you can make out of it! Whole meals with clear directions: who says I’ll need to learn to cook?! – I think this is some sort of site where you can find alternatives to various computer programs. No idea why I have this written down as this isn’t really any help to me. Odd. – Again, not sure why I have this written down; it’s some sort of travel site to tell you what’s going on. You select a date and they tell you the place, that sort of thing. – A site where you can ‘create and share unlimited 30-second videos for free.’ Quite a cool concept but you have to pay for longer videos.

Next in my pile of things I found: “Things learnt from: Doctor Who”

- There’s always a choice
- Stay near the door
- It’s not impossible... just unlikely
- Wind up mice make good distractions
- You can tell a lot from smells
- The Doctor and Donna are NOT together
- If a fat man who doesn’t usually like being touched because of a ‘skin condition’ asks for a private talk, politely decline before he absorbs you
- Meeting the Doctor often changes your life; do you want to be the person dating a paving slab?!

I also found a piece of paper with a variety of long words. I think this was from one of the focus days at school. ‘Oxymoron’, ‘diatribe’, ‘ubiquitous’, ‘juxtaposition’, ‘inscrutable’, and ‘rebarbative’ the words on the front next to pictures that are supposedly meant to explain the words. On the back is some sort of description: “Wonderful view, vegetarian friendly, detachable double beds, (no alcohol) naturally heated pool + rooms surrounded by early riser friendly, countryside, * cosy bar.” I have no idea at all what this is meant for! Ideas?

Another discovery was a page entitled ‘love’ with heart doodles around the edge and love related sentences filling the rest of the page in cursive handwriting. I have a feeling I’ve put them on my Facebook before but I’ll share them again:

Falling in love is just that: falling...

It takes patience to find the guy who will catch you with open arms and never let you go...

“I could sit for hours finding new ways to be awed each minute...”

Sometimes love is hard to find and you have to wait for it to come and find you.

Love is one thing we will never truly understand, but we still long to experience it.

Falling in love hurts more when the guy who caught you then drops you off the cliff you have climbed together.

Then the lion fell in love with the lamb because in fantasy, anything can happen.

The higher you climb in a relationship, the more it hurts when you fall off.

Your perfect match is out there somewhere but they may not be the Prince Charming you were looking for; keep your mind open for finding the beast who will love his Beauty.

Love isn’t just romantic memories, it is wanting to spend forever with your best friend and companion with those few special bonuses tagged on the end!

It’s not just finding the right person, but finding them at the right time.
Another nugget of memories that I think I’ve shared with you before is the Tleep rhyme that my friend Jemma wrote for my birthday. This time, I think I’ll share with you a scan of it rather than just typing it up.

I also discovered some other things but I think I’ll leave those for another blog...

Monday, 26 July 2010

Define ‘Random’

Whilst consuming a large number of Rowntrees Randoms, I thought it would be interesting to investigate just how random they are. Surely, to be truly random, each packet would have to contain as many different types of sweets as possible. The more times a single design is repeated, the less random the sweets are.
To truly test this, I decided to buy a large amount of said sweet and count the types a-la Charlieissocoollike’s wine gum experiment. After buying 12 packets of Randoms I spent an hour emptying the packets, counting, and sorting the sweets and, because I’m an utter geek, I thought I’d show you some of the results.

First, the "bio"diversity of the packets. This measures the probability that two sweets randomly selected from a sample will be exactly the same in both colour and design. The higher the number (with the range being between 0 and 1), the higher the diversity and the less likely that the two sweets you pick will be exactly the same. For my sample, I got the figure 0.98327816 so, so far, so good.

Next, the different types. Anyone who has had a packet of Randoms knows that there are four distinct types. The "Ice Cream" which is sort of foamy, the "Fruity" sort, the "Foamy" sort which are like the fruity ones but with a white, foamy bottom, and the "Squidgy" sort which are like the Foamy ones except with a gooey, liquid centre. For increased 'randomness' you would expect the amounts of each to be roughly the same. Around 25% of each type. This isn't so. Waaaaaaaaaaay too many fruity sweets!

Then, you have colour. If you count the "Ice Cream" sort and the "Squidgy" sort as separate colours you end up with this:
A bit of an imbalance with colours there I think. Although the red sweets could be separated into different shades of red, the spread over the different colours still isn't as even as I would hope for a truely random packet. Also, what happened to other colours?! I was hoping for the occasional pink or yellow or even blue sweet but it seems that Rowtrees Randoms are just not quite that random.
Lastly, catagories. When sorting through the sweets I decided that each sweet had a sort of catagory that it fell into. The catagories I came up with were: Food; Clothes/ Accessories; Animal; Transport; Leisure; Nature; Helpful; Sport; Tools; and Other. Again, a nice variety over these catagories would increase randomness.

Although this is a better variety than the types, there are still catagories that dominate. Food, animals, and nature in particular. However, the range is good and it is nice to see that they were so imaginative with some of their shapes that I could not decide which catagory they came under so put them under "other".
 In conclusion, the designs on the Randoms are pretty random. Infact, they couldn't get much more random. However, the range of catagories, colours, and such could be more evenly spaced....

The End of Term

There is something special about the last day before summer holidays. The informal last lessons, getting dragged into helping teachers clean up offices, food, hugs, and the awesome leaving assembly.

After the compulsory musical introduction, ‘well done’ comments and the obligatory list of changes (apparently a new fence is to be installed at the front of the school!), then the goodbyes to teachers began. After a little paragraph about them read by a fellow sixth former, presents and hugs were given and each of them gave their own speech and some even cried. One teacher who was leaving to retire after sixteen years at my school, gave his ‘designated sixth former’ a kiss on the cheek which would have been fine if he didn’t follow that with “that’s the first time I’ve been allowed to kiss a student” leading to quite a bit of commotion and a lot of embarrassment for my friend who was the said year 12 student. The same teacher went on to mumble some sort of story of year seven students that unfortunately got translated into drunkenness by a few students who had never had him as a teacher. They, therefore, did not realise that those ramblings were merely a sample of his usual self.

After each leaving teacher had their five minutes of fame, the staff choir sang, just for us. Despite seeing some teachers you’d never expect to sing, singing parts, they were actually quite good! The Glee-like ‘da dums’ did make us laugh and the low notes of the deputy head made us smile and it is pretty much impossible to explain just why it was so awesome but, unless you were there, just accept that is was!

The grand finale was introduced as a song that one of the leaving teachers would like to have played and that the lyrics would be up on the screen. And the song that started to play? S Club 7’s Reach. First we sixth formers stood up, and then the rest of the school gradually joined us until the whole school was standing, singing and clapping along with the song of my childhood. If I remember rightly, this happened once before when I was in about year 8. Except, that time, health and safety was less of a worry and a lot of the school was standing on chairs and we all knew the song where as now, the year sevens would only have been two or three years old when the song was released. Nevertheless, there is always something amazing about the group spirit of the last day of the summer term.

Friday, 23 July 2010

The Day of the Very Large Inflatable (What you shouldn’t do to a dolphin) [Vetsim Part 3]

The Thursday evening held lectures on Marine Mammal rescue preparing us for the next day. Unfortunately, they lost our attention immediately with the words “You don’t need to take notes. This will all be in your information booklet.” Maybe someday teachers and lecturers will learn not to say that!

The next day was the fun, practical side we were all looking forward to. We were greeted by a courtyard full of semi-inflated seal pups. Separating into groups of ten (which then grew due to group miscounting), my group headed into a room which was severely lacking in water for a marine mammal course.

Faced with three, large, inflatable whales, we went on to learn what to do if faced with a beached whale. We spent a good amount of time carefully moving the air-filled whale and sliding the pontoon underneath. Next, we went on to do something similar with a slowly deflating dolphin. The instructor had to keep blowing it back up and we established that you should never try blowing up a real dolphin! After walking around in a circle holding an inflatable dolphin in a folded tarpaulin we were to go on to seal rescue.

To rescue a seal pup you basically have to distract them then jump on them. (Carefully obviously!) For such small things, they’re apparently very strong. So, we spent a while jumping on semi-deflated seals and learning how to pick them up carefully.

Therefore, I am now a qualified Marine Mammal Medic! Theoretically, I could be called out at any time to help save a seal, dolphin or whale. I don’t know if this will happen but that really would be an experience...

Skunks, Kookaburras, and a very scary interview [aka VetSim part 2]

After a very exciting Wednesday (and I didn’t even tell you about the birds of prey and alpacas that pee backwards), Thursday brought even more animals. However, first port of call was the interview.

Walking over to the other part of the campus I walked in and took a seat. Anxiously, I waited for a vet student to come out and call my name. Eventually, out came one of the girls calling my name and I followed her into the room, covering my nerves with a smile. As the interview progressed, I realised how much more than plain enthusiasm I needed. Her report at the end confirmed this and, although (amazingly) I was confident enough and didn’t waffle, I am spending my summer doing work experience and reading the Veterinary Times!

For most of the rest of the day, I was able to hold and learn about a whole range of exotic animals. Although I missed the tortoises and a lively little mammal, I thoroughly enjoyed holding more snakes, a baby kookaburra, a baby skunk and its mother (scent glands removed), a very large owl and stroke a meerkat.

The rest of the day also held more mini talks (which I am very aware I may have confused with the previous day’s) and I am now more informed in the Pet Blood Bank, CPR on dogs and many other things.

The end of the afternoon saw a goodbye to a couple of friends and a very nice lasagne! The rest of us stayed behind for more lectures, this time marine based!

(To be continued...)

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Stethoscopes, spiders, and lots of super snakes

A couple of weeks ago I went on another vet related course at Nottingham University called VetSim. There I learnt about all manner of vet related topics such as ultrasound, X-rays, anatomy and husbandry as well as having the chance to hold and meet a variety of animals.

Although, once again, I was the only one from my school to attend, I soon bumped into some of those whom I had met on a previous course. Rekindling the friendships of seven months previous we were soon discussing which universities we want to go to, what work experience we’ve done, and if I’d brought my Rubik’s cube with me! Parents left and we had a substantial walk to the lecture theatre.

Either side of a slightly disappointing buffet we had a number of lectures and a question time asking current vet students questions. One particular lecture was on how to use our stethoscope and it is not often you look round a lecture hall to see over 100 teenagers listening to their own hearts using a stethoscope. We resumed December’s habit of buying excessively expensive sweets during breaks to keep us awake until gone 11pm when we could slump into bed.

The next day was a day of scrubs, animals and smaller groups. After resorting to asking a leader, I found where I was meant to be and someone else who was in my group. First session involved two lovely horses who didn’t mind us listening to their guts and heart over and over. They seemed much more interested in eating. However that did make it harder to feel their pulse! The dog we also encountered preferred us to pet him than listen to his heart or pulse but he managed to stay still enough to be used to demonstrate a clinical examination.

Also that morning, we met a very unenthusiastic guy with some spiders. We asked him about problems and he replied with there: mould, overfeeding, and death. “Have you ever been bitten?” another person asked. His unenthusiastic reply was along the lines of ‘no, I never hold them so I never get bitten.’ After he told us about his ‘pet rocks’, we established that all you could do if a spider came in was make sure the spider had enough water, not too much food, a well ventilated but warm cage and make sure it wasn’t dead. Thankfully, the snake guy was much more enthusiastic.

The guy who brought in snakes was awesome. He kept handing round larger and larger snakes and even a few lizards. We all got a hold of at least a corn snake and a small lizard. He made a pleasant contrast to the spider guy’s lack of enthusiasm, ready to answer our many questions, let us hold his many snakes and full of love and enthusiasm for his field. We even went back during our lunch break to look at his snakes. Whilst we ‘browsed’ (as it were) the snake guy told us that we could take them out as we wish. Delving into a box we took out a couple of corn snakes and spent ages holding them.

The afternoon brought less hands-on talks: ultrasound, x-rays, anatomy, but also keyhole surgery. We were able to have a go at the keyhole surgery technique but I decided that a lot more practice would be needed to get even close to good!

A cancelled charity lecture led to a slightly earlier night and the prospect of more animals to come...

(I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in a while but I promise part 2 and more blogs are coming soon!)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

When ‘stats’ and ‘awesome’ can be used in the same sentence...

I have just found the stats page on blogger and it is actually awesome. I can see how many people have visited my blog, when they visited my blog, which country they live in, and even whether they used a Mac or PC! I have spent a good ten minutes or so getting over excited about this and I felt I just had to share this with you. Seen as you lot (yes, you there, not you, you) are the ones creating these stats and actually visiting my blog enough times to create figures, you deserve to know that you are not alone in reading my random ramblings.

I know some of these statistics will be because of misdirection or appearing in odd Google searches (talking of which, please tell me if you find that I’m a Googlewhack) but it’s still amazing to see how the internet connects people. I even have a lone statistic from Bulgaria and I can tell you that the majority of my readers are Windows people.

The idea that I can get hold of all these statistics amazes me. I keep saying I want feedback and, although this isn’t as interactive, it sure is cool! I know these figures aren’t huge, but it blows my mind that anyone visits at all. I’m either very good at saying stuff that appears in search engine results or people genuinely find me interesting... let’s hope it’s the second one...

DFTBA, Te.. Wait... I don’t have to do that anymore! Bring on a new challenge!

And finally... no, wait, this is not the end

I know this is a bit late (OMgosh! I’m turning into Terrie!) but this is the last EVER DFTBA Terrie blog challenge. I’m going to have to make it epic. So amazingly awesome that Terrie will faint in amazement and you will all petition her to not punish me for being a few days late. You see, it seems weird to think that this is the end: no more titles, no more compulsory blogs... (At least until I get given a new challenge.) This has to be good. So good you’ll be giving me a standing ovation and linking all your friends here.

* Time passes whilst trying to think of something...*

The thing is I’m not sure how to make this awesome. Maybe if I break it down a bit. Starting with a list of awesome things (in no particular order):

- YouTube
- Rubik’s Cubes
- Vets
- Friends
- Twitter
- DFTBA records
- Charlieissocoollike, Nerimon, Vlogbrothers, all the other YouTubers I’m subscribed to
- Doctor Who
- David Tennant
- Computers
- Mobile Phones
- Tetris
- Solitaire
- Music
- Summer Holidays
- Camps
- Pianos
- ...

This isn’t really helping. *Puts thinking cap back on*

I was sort of hoping this blog would fall on my 100th blog. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen. I’m ten blogs short but as I have a special(ish) blog planned for that I can assure you that, although Terrie’s Challenge is ending, my blogs are not. I also have another blogged planned in the style of Charlieissocoollike’s Wine Gum experiment however that requires time, money, and the ability to bring home ten (or more if they’re on offer) packs of Randoms without eating them.

I really enjoy blogging and I think if Terrie hadn’t given me this challenge I may have given up blogging. However, I have filled one and a half notebooks with blog drafts (and they’re just the ones that I don’t type straight up) and I’m counting down in single figures to my 100th blog. It still amazes me that I actually get people reading this (even if it’s just through Facebook). I really don’t want to give up and I don’t want to end up stopping when I get to 100. I would love it if you gave me suggestions for new challenges, even if it seems like a silly suggestion or is only one blog long. I can always combine them!

Either way, thank you for reading and I’ll end in the words of Trock:

“We’ve reached the end, but this is not the final curtain. In fact I’m almost certain, a new world’s opening for me...”

Thursday, 1 July 2010


“Would you like a sweet? Would you like a free sweet?” The words that filled my afternoon. My school was hoping to make the local town smile and I was doing my part.

Let me explain. My school has these things called ‘Focus Days’ which are basically a term’s worth of PSHE crammed into one day. Quite often they can be very boring (a day of revision techniques or a day of teachers talking at you) but they’ve gradually been getting better and today was one of the best. Well, the afternoon was.

After a morning of listening to a philosophical talk, we were let loose in the town. Some people helped at one of the local primary schools, some helped at the local Pilgrims Hospice and more still helped at a local wildlife organisation. My slot was fairly short so I went to help where all the action was radiating from: the town centre. Here, street art and music commenced and I offered out sweets and badges to try and make people smile.

Despite the offer of free sweets, I had more people decline than actually take a sweet. It was mainly the older people in the town or younger people in larger groups that took a sweet. Although I did have one old lady try and give me money! However, most people were not this nice and one guy who looked about 19 told me “I don’t take sweets from strangers!” I expect he thought he was ‘cool’ but I’d like to think he was alone in his opinion.

Of the people who took sweets and badges, there were two people handing out some sort of leaflet. Their presence may have caused us to be avoided a little more but they seemed nice. The guy took a couple of badges and actually wore them. He also recognised me when I walked past later on my way home, complimenting my smile. I’m hoping that saying I have “the nicest smile in the whole wide world” was a genuine compliment and not at all implied in any form of creepy way!

Eventually, we handed out most of the sweets and I headed off to the RSPCA cattery. There they had some of the cutest cats and kittens and we got to play with them. The time flew by and after what seemed like no time at all, it was the end of the day; back to school for Jazz Band and the return of normality.

DFTBA, Terrie, I have not forgotten.