Saturday, 5 February 2011

Cosmic. Death. Spiral.

I increasingly feel like a massive fraud with how little this blog has to do with rowing. Far from the hectic rowing-rowing-eating-work-work-eating-rowing-sleeping lifestyle that I was used to, my life has now settled into this depressing pattern:

One thing they certainly don't mention in the Cambridge prospectus is how 95% of the time you will have no fucking idea whatsoever what is going on. They're all like

"Excellent teaching colleges supervisions woooooooo look at all the pretty photos of Kings' chapel wooooooooo diversity there's a river here and a library full of all the books in the world."

when what they should be saying is

"The shit we're going to try and teach you is fucking hard. In fact, it is so fucking hard you can't even comprehend how fucking hard it is. But you do get to wear gowns sometimes and you can go punting. **thumbs up**"

I know, yes. Complain complain. You knew what you were letting yourself in for etc. etc. However, thanks to someone's (I can't remember who) recommendation that filter coffee has more caffeine in, I AM NOW MUCH MORE GREATLY CAFFEINATED. Which can only be a good thing.
 Until you get twitchy and a bit insane and get a headache when you don't have enough.
My plan of attack in these situations is to turn all the lights out apart from the one on my desk (cos that looks quite cool in the dark in a big library), put on something Beethoven-y on my mp3 player and pretend I'm some sort of mathematical savant in a film trying to prove some important theorem to save the world with dramatic music in the background even though it's the first part of the first question on a sheet of like eight questions and I'm actually being really stupid *BREATHES*. And to drink more coffee/tea. Obviously.

If all else fails, just throw caffeine at the problem. At least you'll feel productive.

But anyway. Here is some cool stuff I found.

#1: OOOOOOoooo pretty

Carina nebula

This is one of those pictures that is really nice to look at, even if you've no idea what it is. But soooooooo much cooler when you do know a bit about it. Like the fact it's three light-years tall. And it's only a little bit of it :-) And thousands of stars are being born there. Like, you know we have a sun right? Well thousands of them are being made in this thing. And there are loads of these things.

My reaction is usually something like this:

It's usually just the scale of these things that gets me the most. I mean, I'm one person, on one planet going round one star. And there are billions of stars. How many planets are out there? And how many habitable planets? And how many of those could have life on.And and OH MY GOD MY HEAD JUST EXPLODED A LITTLE BIT.

(The search for planets round other suns "exoplanets" is really hotting up atm  - like this in the news last week. My lecturer on "Planetary System Dynamics" (i.e. stuff orbiting other stuff) got *really* excited.)

#2 Mars WTF?

OK, this is a photo taken of some dunes of Mars.
From here.

Are those BULRUSHES???? Like the things I crash into while rowing?
Bastard things. Always sneaking up on me. Tricksy reeds.

OMFG I just googled "tricksy hobbits" to get a video of gollum saying that and found this:



This is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Star orbiting another star dies and kicks off a load of material. Then produces this:
 (Also found on "Bad Astronomy", which is in fact not bad at all, in the same way that this blog isn't really about rowing :->)

Since stuff is dying, I thought I'd make this more dramatic.
Ah. Much more dramatic. Like this:

Cos stars can talk right?

#4 Launch asteroids at the Earth. Feel like a God

OK, it's a bit nerdy, but I got a surpising amount of pleasure out of finding what would happen if, say a humpback whale made out of iron was fired at the earth. Or something the size of the moon. (It melts it. IT FUCKING MELTS THE EARTH :-> :->)
Worth having a little play for the feeling of POWER.

Anyway, enough of me being like "Wooo stars!" and "Woooo exploding things" (and I've just noticed it's like 2230 and I need to be up at 6 shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit I'm going to die in the morning.) WRAP IT UP.

Finally, I have a final order of many, many mugs.
 There's a few new ones like:
(I'm not even sure why I got these. I have a nasty suspicion that I am the only one who thinks this is cool and when I'm like "JOUSTING! ON A BIKE!" you're all like "Riiiiiiight")
Why not? :-)

This is definitely a little too "niche", but oh well.

I've tested these and non-rowers do not understand it at all even after much explaining.

Again, all mug stuff here. There's also a special raising money for CUWBC one on it's way that'll be minty and stuff. Watch this space.

But enough of me being a douche and trying to sell you stuff (though I would like someone to buy some obviously. I can't drink *that* much tea). I have a competition for you!

Inspired by "extreme ironing" (favourite = this:)
I'd like to see some badass tea drinking from you guys. I think you can do it. (Or just you with a mug in a weird place). My contribution is this:
Mug.... Victorian telescope.
Sorry I'm not in there holding it, but I had to lie on the floor as it was to try and get the whole thing in, let alone trying to get me and the damn thing in shot with the timer function....

I also quite like the way it's painted Cambridge blue. Pleasing. (BTW on Wednesdays they have open evenings at the department when you can look through this thing....)

But yes FUCKING HELL STOP DIGRESSING. If enough people send me awesome photos of them feeding tea to ducks/whatever I'll pick a winner and give them a mug. That seems fair.



Anyway, I really must sleep now. Not spend time on the internet. Sleep. Yes.


  1. Ooo, am going to have to start carrying one of my mugs around with me now for the sole purpose of seeing how odd a photo I can get :D

    I have however spent this week seeing how many random things I can drink out of said mugs (well, the sculler one at least, it feels wrong drinking anything that isn't tea out of the 'life' one) - current tally is at water, hot chocolate, tea in many different caffeinated/herbal/fruit permutations, smoothie, coffee and cider... I'm sure it's acceptable to drink cider out of a mug, right?

  2. A minty green mug?! I drink neither tea nor coffee, but I am KEEN for that!

  3. Ye, I have also had issues drinking coffee out of my life/tea mug. An unforseen design failure! :-)

    Cider out of a mug = perfectly acceptable. I'm pretty certain I've taken one of them to the pub...

    You should try custard out of it. That'd be awesome :-)

  4. Haha, once I'm done with CUL that's definitely an option. Also milkshakes and chocolate sauce and everything else unhealthy. When will the minty ones become available? To do all this I will first need to buy one :)

  5. Melted creme eggs. I think that would be made of win.

    With the GDBO minty mugs - there should be a mock up tomorrow from the mug people. I'll try and persuade Mr Hale to send an email round CUL too :-)

  6. The sculler one rings true after a couple of trips in a pair this summer.
    Maybe about to go and fill in empty seat for my old college. One blade??? Other peoplee??? HUH?

    I want one of those, even if I am of the dark blue persuasion...

  7. @Alison. Yes! "Hang on HANG ON you want me to row the same as other people and have to row not how I want? You what now???"


    Oooooo Oxford person ooo. Sure it'll be fine - email me your address in The Other Place :-)

  8. If it makes me any less dodgy, I did teacher training in the light blue place so I'm some weird hybrid of dark and light....
    Will email address later :)
    Then will have to evict a mug from the already overflowing cupboard.

    ooh, i just remembered I took a photo of my coach erging with mug of tea in hand earlier on friday night....

  9. @Alison: RE coach+erging+tea = NICE!

  10. Wait wait wait.

    MELTS the EARTH???!!!

    I must've skimmed this post earlier ... I TOTALLY missed the bit about MELTING THE EARTH!

    How the hell does that work?

  11. Basically if you launch something large and dense enough at the earth it melts it :-)

    (I think the moon made out of iron melts 63.27% or the earth *grins*)

  12. This is my mug in an exotic location ... Aberystwyth! Not that you can tell from the picture, as it's on my desk ... but still! :)

  13. Here's my entry - I took my mug to a BEACH. That's right, abroad people.!/photo.php?fbid=737564747540&set=a.737562217610.2464885.36903198&theater

    I need to find better things to do with my time...

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