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Posts from 01st Jan 2005 to 31st Jan 2005.
Finally
   at 20:11 on Fri 28th January 2005
My last exam for this semester was this afternoon and it went really well, I feel. I finally get a week's break (ish - I've got loads of stuff planned which means I'll have no time to chill properly).

And I can't be arsed with saying anything more than that.

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by mad_gemma at 00:57 on 29th Jan 2005
awww cool. Well done :) You should have come out with us tonight :)

but still, good news that it went well! :) Just make sure you take *some* of that break to relax...

Favourite Sound
   at 16:11 on Thu 27th January 2005
I have decided that my favourite sounds are bars 13 to 24ish of Led Zeppelin - No Quarter.
I want to be able to replicate the beauty!

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Given Up
   at 13:14 on Wed 26th January 2005
My first two exams went alright, I think. I've got painful sitting for just under 2 hours in each of them so left moments before the last 15 minutes in each. But I've been confident I've finished.

But I've got my AI exam starting in just over an hour. And I've given up on it. The area of computing interests me, but it's been taught extremely awfully and the lecturers notes are really quiet crap. The book associated with the course is fantastic, it's well written and easy to understand. But there's lots to read and I've only read about half the modules information from the book in a week's on/off revision. So there's half the course where all I have are the lecture notes which have just confused me and made me forget all about the material I had learnt.

I'm about to walk into the hardest of my career of 25 exams (so far) at University.

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by mad_gemma at 13:25 on 26th Jan 2005
I have to agree, AI was possibly the worst exam I took whilst at uni. Esp with the lecturer.. *shakes fist at evil man*

But somehow I thought I failed it, and was down cos it was on my 21st birthday, yet came out with 35 as my mark, thus not a fail!

Good luck dude! Im sure u'll be fine :) xx

by Matt at 16:18 on 26th Jan 2005
The question I answered best (Question 5 for those who did it) on any other paper I'd class as a dodgy answer. But on this, I though it was my best. That's bad.

I now have a redundant tree in the form of an AI text book sitting on my beanbag.

by Clare at 18:16 on 26th Jan 2005
I too did question 5, and I too wasn't happy with it. AI is poo, but on the plus side, AI is over!

Horray for that.

Weight
   at 15:37 on Tue 25th January 2005
As I mentioned at the beginning of the month, I'm concentrating on my drinking this year, in January in particular. I also said that I'd be weighing myself, not because I wish to loose weight or feel I need to, but because I'm interested in the effect on my weight drinking so much has/had.

At the start of the year I was 12st 7lbs. I'm now at 11st 12lbs. Which is quite surprising as I've been making sure I don't alter my non-alcohol-based diet.

More importantly, why on earth is pounds abbreviated to "lbs"? This language is odd.

Four comments
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by Etomology Nazi at 21:32 on 25th Jan 2005
lbs is derived from the Latin "libra" (meaning weighing scales), hence, lb. When pluralised in English, it becomes lbs.

by Matt at 12:07 on 26th Jan 2005
Thank you.

by 'Lose' not 'Loose' guy at 12:55 on 24th Mar 2005
That should be 'Lose', not 'Loose'.

by Matt at 09:24 on 21st Apr 2005
...is that who I think it is?

Students Union Quiz
   at 22:06 on Mon 24th January 2005
In a remarkable change of luck, Clare's Richard, Little Richard and I managed to get third place in the SUSU Big Quiz last night. We got two points short of the top two teams, who tied.

(Un)fortunately Jenny wasn't there to do her sports round so the Sports round was dropped this week. (This may be the reason we did well.) However, we decided to answer the questions anyway and had our answers read out as the official answers at the end of the quiz:

1. Norman Lamont
2. Paula Radcliff
3. Berlin
4. 1927
5. 523 points
6. Manchester United
7. Cross country snooker
8. 10 Pin Bowling
9. Nude Quadbiking
10. Gin

On both counts, go us.

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by Rich at 13:34 on 25th Jan 2005
Paula Radcliffe was No. 2 I think, but in any case, the missing answer is "Manchester Utd." But who will be the new Quiz Master?

by Matt at 15:33 on 25th Jan 2005
Thanks, heh. Edited to reflect that. And who indeed.

Feeling Ill
   at 11:30 on Mon 24th January 2005
For as long as I remember, and I think my parents would confirm this, I get ill probably no more than twice a year. And usually, it's just a day or so of flu symptoms. So you'll understand my pissed-off-ness at being ill during the week running up to exams.

It started with me being tired all day. Despite how much or how little sleep I'd had the night before, I'd only be able to concentrate for about an hour before I felt I needed a full nights sleep.

Then I started to get painful and achy. Every single bone in my body aches with random stabs of pain occasionaly occuring in my hands, arms, shoulders, shoulder blades, back, hips, legs, knees, feet and especially my head. I can't move my eyes much in any direction without them becoming very painful either.

It was worst on the uncomfortable train ride back from London on Saturday when I wasn't far from tears it was so cronic. But it's still not much better, I can't stay in one position for more than 10 minutes without getting very uncomfortable.

But most importantly, it's been a huge hindrance to my revision. I've not been able to concentrate and anything I do read (or learn) doesn't seem to sit in my mind for more than an hour or so before being forgotten.

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by mad_gemma at 16:14 on 24th Jan 2005
I'd tell someone like Uncle Eric about being ill over the exam period if you havent already.. Best to be safe :)

Hope u feel better soon dude, great to see you Friday (even if i didnt talk to you *that* much :) )

by Rey at 14:57 on 25th Jan 2005
Do you have the mumps? Theyre going around :/

by Matt at 15:33 on 25th Jan 2005
I considered the mumps, but no swelling anywhere. Also considered Meningitis, but no rashes anywhere. It's Tuesday now and I'm still not feeling back to normal.

Perhaps as someone suggested it is just stress-induced.

Public Transport
   at 11:23 on Mon 24th January 2005
It's been a while and there's so many things I've been meaning to say here recently. But I'll start with a rant about public transport.

On Saturday I went up to London for the afternoon and evening to celebrate Hitchin Tom's birthday. We had a brief look around Camden Town Market and Stables and then went to the lovely drinking hole "The Purple Turtle". It was really nice to get away from revision, Uni and stress for a while.

But getting to London was a struggle. I wanted to catch the University bus service to the station to catch a 12:38 train to London. The U1 bus service left the end of our road at 03 and 33 minutes page and it was 5 past already, so that was out of the question.

So I checked on the First Southampton website for their 101 service. Apparantly it left at 17 minutes past from the same place. So I promptly left the house to wait for that. It didn't turn up. And apparantly, despite the timetable being available on the website the 101 service has been discontinued.

So I didn't panic, I thought I'd just wait for the 33 past U1. But it didn't turn up until 51 past. It was well over quarter of an hour late, which is appauling.

I then got to the train station and wanted to buy a travel card to London. I had forgotten my Young Persons Railcard, but it was out of date anyway. So I said I'd like to buy a new one, even saying "please". I had proof I was under 25, I had my card ready to pay the 20, but just because I hadn't got the photocard part of it, they wouldn't sell me a sodding annual update thing.

So I ended up paying 30 to get to London and back. The train then, due to Engineering works, was scheduled to take an extra half hour or so to get into London as it plodding along at what seemed walking pace. But, surprise surprise it was late into Waterloo.

I ended up saying "For Fuck Sake" in a poor cleaners direction when he reminded me that, after all the problems I'd had and despite paying through my teeth to the train companies, I still needed to pay 20p to use the toilet.

And the Government are trying to convince us that despite the convienience of a car, we should be using public transport more? Bah.

Two comments
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by Jas at 17:40 on 24th Jan 2005
Agreed.

p.s i travel on public transport every single day to uni, life cant get any better!

by Matt at 21:54 on 24th Jan 2005
I have to say though, the Undergound was absolutely fine for me this time. :P

Apocalyptica
   at 16:04 on Tue 11th January 2005
I've made an addition to my mp3 collection today. Though a long and uninteresting story I ended up this morning being given a version of Hall of the Mountain King by a band I had never head of.

They are a three piece band from Finland, playing "heavy cello thunder" music whilst calling themselves Apocalyptica.

Their style is rather unique, to me at least. They have a sort of metalish rocky sound produced entirely by these three cellos. They're great to listen to, surprisingly.

But what's more interesting is that rather randomly I'm going to see them. Looking on their website after hearing this track I was given earlier, they had a news item:

Apocalyptica will be the support act for the Rammstein concerts in February 2005. For more info take a look on the Rammstein homepage: www.rammstein.com!

I just happen to be going to the Rammstein gig in London on the 6th. Fantastic, for once I'll have heard of the support band and I already know I quite like them.

Four comments
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by Alisdair at 10:27 on 12th Jan 2005
Apocalyptica are very interesting to listen to. Unsurprisingly disliked by the classical music community though...:p

by Mac at 11:25 on 12th Jan 2005
I'm going to the Rammstein gig on the 3rd. I love Apocalyptica, it's gonna be aaaace :D

by Matt at 12:05 on 12th Jan 2005
I'm there on the 6th, I think. Or was it the 4th.

One of them is Rammstein, one of them is Greeday, I don't remember which way round the gigs are. Hehe.

by Clare at 19:08 on 12th Jan 2005
Hey, some of us like classical music as well as hard metal type stuff :p

Anyway, sounds like you're in for a treat both nights, Matt. Yay you!

Day Seven
   at 15:42 on Fri 7th January 2005
So, at the end of today it'll have been seven days without alcohol. This must be a first for me, quite seriously probably since I got to Uni. Even when I was on holiday enjoying myself in South Africa, I drank. When I'm at my parents, I often go to the local pub. I'm always drinking at Uni, of course. When I'm visiting friends, I'm always offered alcohol or we go out to the pub. I've really not gone a week without alcohol in nearly three years. Frightening.

I've already noticed having much more time available in the day. It's great, I can do work in the evenings rather that sitting there like pissed as a fart.

However, the novelty of this whole non-drinking thing is already beginning to wear thin. I've sobered up and got used to the news I received on New Years Day. There are three occasions where I'd want to drink this month.
  • The first is tomorrow at housemate Chris' housewarming party.
  • The second is next weekend at the wine reception after the Multimedia Conference I'm part-organising.
  • The third is for home-friend Tom's birthday, clubbing in London
All in all, I'm struggling to maintain the mindset that a month off alcohol is a great thing to do.

Three comments
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by Clare at 10:58 on 08th Jan 2005
Crazy stuff! I can see why you're not sure about whether you want to do this. For what it's worth:

1) Speaking as someone that drinks fairly often, but is also happy to go out and not drunk, it honestly IS possible to have fun out and about without drinking :)

2) That said, it's your choice what you do! It'd be cool for you to stick to it for the experience, but you've done one week. A month with only three drinking days is still an improvement :)

by mad_gemma at 16:36 on 08th Jan 2005
dont forget the fact those nasty exams are coming up, and as they finish ( i presume) outside of January you can celebrate that the time saved from not drinking goes into revision and you do great! :)

by Reyhan at 01:29 on 09th Jan 2005
You need to watch yourself when you go _back_ on the alcohol after being off it for a month! Danger!

Day Four
   at 22:38 on Tue 4th January 2005
Just four days in and I'm suffering from a headache. I've not had a (non alcohol induced) headache in as long as I can remember. Perhaps my body is reacting to the lack of alcohol to remove from my blood stream.

Can livers, in the absence of anything to do, inadvertently start removing helpful things from the blood stream? Like anti-headache hormones?

As a little experiment, I'm going to be weighing myself on a frequent basis over the next month or so. I have no intention of losing weight, I don't feel like I need to and I'm certianly not going to be changing my diet in anyway, I like the foods I eat.

Ever since I was a wee kid, I've been able to eat what I want without putting on a pound. But when I first arrived at Uni, I started to put on weight. I'm interested to see whether the sudden rise in alcohol intake was the main factor in me putting on weight or wether it was a combination of other things such as a change in diet.

I understand from my Mother that one is not mean to weight themself in the evening but rather just after waking up. Still, I wanted to find out my rough starting weight and this evening I read exactly 12 stone 7 pounds, which kindly places my BMI at 25.1 just edging into the "overweight" category.

Just as a thought, it would take my liver, removing 1 unit of alcohol per hour, just under 2 months of work to remove the alcohol I've drunk in the past 5 months. Perhaps that explains the headache, my poor body.

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And The Results
   at 23:44 on Sun 2nd January 2005
I bet almost every blog on the internet has said "Happy New Year", so I won't. I shall instead give you the results of my 5 month experiment with Laura. She has been logging my alcohol consumption on each and every day between July 26th and December 26th.

The whole idea spawned when another friend of mine, Lookie, claimed that I drank far too much. Originally I was not able to drink on any day if I hadn't texted the drink from the night before to Laura by noon. This was thankfully relaxed as the months went passed. But I did ensure she got as true a log as I could give her.

Looking back on it now that I have the results sheets, I think I've missed one or two drinks here and there. However, the whole idea was to make me realise just what I'm doing to myself with my drinking. Without adjustment, the results do just that.

So, if you've followed the whole thing I've been doing, you'll be as dying for the results as I was. I'm in the process of making some graphs and stuff to show the variety of drink and the trends over time, so for now I'll just give you the simple totals.

The totals for beer were 226 pints and 217 cans. That all adds up to about 788 units. I drank 44 glasses of wine aswell as 17 total bottles. Those add up to about 284 units. Then there are many many other drinks which I'll tell you about in my big results post soon.

In total, I drank roughly 1330 units over the 5 month period. This equates to 66.5 units a week. All students will know that the recommended intake of units for a male in any week is 21, which means I've been drinking over three times the limit, nearly 10 units (or 5 pints) every single day.

If I were to not drink and count each day along with the five months, it would take over 300 days to bring my average under the Government's recommended amount. In 5 months, I've drank enough for well over an entire year.

I felt quite quite drunk when I got the news. And I am worried about the effect it's having on me. Not only on my health, but also my wallet and the time I have to spent on Uni and paid work... It must have taken a long time to drink all that.

So with a little suggestive help from my friends who were visiting for New Year, I'm not drinking a drop of alcohool for the month of January. I'm currently on my second day.

God this will be hard! :/

Eight comments
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by Clare at 00:16 on 03rd Jan 2005
Wow. That is indeed an awful lot of alcohol! Good luck with the Non-Drinking Month of January. If it'll help, I can join you in non-drinkage when we're at the quiz etc. :)

by Spero melior at 01:01 on 03rd Jan 2005
Try being sober for 24 months without going completely nuts!

by Mac at 09:59 on 03rd Jan 2005
You're sick. Not drinking? Disgusting.

by mad_gemma at 11:43 on 03rd Jan 2005
But duuuuude. its my birthday in a few weeks! :)

Dear god, I dread to think what the count at new years was.. :S

But well done, i certainly couldnt give it up..

by Caeci caecos ducente at 19:27 on 03rd Jan 2005
Perhaps it could be considered equally sick and disgusting to spend large quantities of money to mildly poison yourself on a frequent basis.

by Marv at 22:44 on 03rd Jan 2005
Stupid twat! Get on with it and drink!

Your a student and your invincible!

by Reyhan at 04:14 on 04th Jan 2005
Good luck!

by Matt at 22:11 on 04th Jan 2005
I feel sober already, and it's four days. And yeah, it's stupid to have spent all that money. That's one of the reasons for my month of sobriety.