Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Contrast Of Efforts

No one likes a day that starts badly: it sets you up for a day of despondancy and low expectations. But if you start on a low, as the song and slogan goes, things can only get better. The day's ready to turn its frown around and aim for an end on a high note or two.

I woke up this morning knowing that I had a physics exam this evening; knowing that I'd, so far, done no revision for that exam; and knowing that I didn't really have the motivation to do any during the day. Not the most auspicious of starts.

And it didn't really get any better: I pissed away the day on pointless practices. If nowt else, it was rather relaxing, though there was still a niggle...

... which proved to be a fruitless niggle - the exam was a doddle! This is the first exam I've done for seven and a half years and nothing has changed. I did minimal revision then and did well and the song remains the same to this day. (More on that song later...) One day this is gonna come and bite me in the ass, but today was not that day!

After a celebratory beer (for most of my fellows - I still have one exam to go in the ugly shape of maths tomorrow in the room of doom where 2 plus 2 definitely does not equal 5) I had a truly marvellous ride home. I fled South with the the cold North wind on my back and I pushed it. I don't hang about anyway on my bike, but tonight I really gave it some welly - it's all about those little moments when your breath is ragged and your body's burning and you think "hmmm, maybe I should just spin this next bit" but then the wee devil appears and suggests that perhaps it might be nice to click up a gear, accelerate over the crest of the hill, nail that made-for-jumping speedhump and hit the perfectly cambered corner flat out. I highly recommend pushing your body to beyond its limits and feeling the 'interesting' and yet so satisfying combination of irresitible muscular pain, burning lungs and that wonderful mix of epinephrine and endorphins knocking all yer niggles into a cocked hat. I love riding my bike and highly recommend getting out on one. (Also: endorpinephrine...? That needs to be a word, and if not, a drug. Ooh, the marketability...)

Now that I'm coming down from that glorious high I can look back logically at the exam and state that if I don't get the marks I had the time to calculate I would get then I'm going to blame it all on the choice of words in one early question. It was some clichéed query about the horizontal speed of something being projected from a height and the fact that, ignoring air resistance, we had to declare that it remains the same. Bollocks. How can one then not hum Led Zeppelin for the rest of the exam?? Distracting? Somewhat. Rocking? Hell yeah.

And on the subject of music... couldn't really pass up the thirty year mark of John Lennon's murder today. It's tricky reconciling Lennon the songwriter with Lennon the person. Bit of a drunk (and the rest...), bit of a bully, but he did write some matchless tunes, sung with a fecking amazing voice. And he did see the light and gave peace a chance, so rest in peace, John.

Things I need to write about:
- Still need to get on paper some thoughts about the usefulness of useful science Vs science-for-science's-sake.
- Not sure whether to rejoice or despair at the anti-education-funding-cutting activism much in evidence in the occupations on campus. It's vital that people have these means of making their feelings known, even though it probably won't influence tomorrow's Commons vote, but no matter the outcome of the protests and votes, they've all got it all wrong when it comes to higher education in this country., and in most states My thoughts on this are related to the science idea above, and also related to much else that's, in one word, wasteful about society.

Hmmm, an education and research system based on anti-bullshit, economically-efficient utilitarianism: I feel a manifesto coming on...

To counter the slightly heavy note that this entry would have ended on, let's have some grainy pictures from my rather drunken ride home across South London's commons in the snow the other day. So much fun that it took over two hours to get home (more than twice as long as usual...) and, upon arriving home, I then switched bikes to go out on my mountain bike at one in the morning. I froze my feet off, acquired a somewhat productive case of acute bronchitis and coloured by legs a rather interesting range of blacks and blues, but, by my various gods, it was FUN.

 There was even more snow inside my shoe...

Adding a little joy to many cars on Tooting's streets.
I would have paid to see the residents' faces of this road in the morning...

So you've fallen off your bike in the snow. Again.
Roll around laughing for a bit and then make a snow angel. Obviously.

And as a further countermeasure, this time to the above irreverence:

Here's a photo taken by Brother Jon of some Sheffielder pigeons poised on a picket. In addition to not being much cop at 'English Literature' (whatever that may be or mean, and despite my adamant adherance to alliteration even in the face of incorrectly termed fencing...) I'm certainly not one of those interpreters of photographs who can use all that photomystical language to come out with bork like "...and the subtle use of gamma correction in the composition with just the right focal exposure..." so I'm just going to say wow, now there's a lovely bit of photoing.

Better get some sleep ready for (snigger) revising maths ahead of tomorrow evening's exam.

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