Tag Archives: Drinking

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Happy New Year!

Happy new year!!!!

I know, I know… it’s more than a little bit late, even more so than my Xmas blog. I have been busy with various bits and pieces around the country, I’ll get to in a bit. First though, I am basically going to go on and on about how awesome the Nintendo Wii is.

I was in Blackpool for new year, where the main room of fun had not only a very well stocked bar (lots of white russians for me – yay!) but TWO tellies. One of them was hooked up almost permanently to my PS2 and all of its SingStar goodness and the other was arranged for Vijay’s newly purchased Nintendo Wii. At one point, I was actually playing SingStar and Wii Tennis at the same time, which was a lot harder than I was expecting. The whole Wii experience (Wii Sports, Monkey Ball and Wii Play) was great. Within each game there were bits that didn’t work too well (like the unpredictable golf swings) but the stuff that worked worked amazingly well. Wii Tennis seemed to be one of the most enjoyable games, especially for 4 player hilarity. For some reason, even though you can play the game sitting down everyone would end up standing for it.

Despite the Internet (capital ‘I’, you’ll notice) being full of reports of Wii remotes flying through the air and causing damage to tellies, windows, furniture and people there was none of that apart from when we were a bit cramped and Palu swung his hand into a chair. The point is that not once did any of us drunken, excitable and generally wreckless people manage to even let go of the controllers mid swing, let alone send it flying through the air fast enough to get it lodged in someone’s brain.

Although the Wii experience was Wii-ly, Wii-ly good the whole of new year was made great by the people I was with. Nearly all of my cousins from my Dad’s side that live in England were there and it’s the first time we have all got together without any of the “old folk” around to get in the way and explain to us what they think a good time is. As well as that, there were the star attractions of Blackpool, Kitu and Piku. The whole thing was so much fun and even though we all had free reign and seemingly limitless supplies of alcohol, nobody got wasted and nobody did anything stupid. Probably most amazing was the fact that nothing got broken.

Hopefully this is the beginning of a tradition of sorts where we will all try and get together somewhere or other once a year at the very least. I can’t wait until the day comes where I get to try and organise such a gig… I have been learning how to cook some interesting new things and think I could even handle the vegetarian requirements and make some tasty bits and pieces. If not, I am sure that I’ll get by just making food for myself.

There aren’t any pictures I am going to make publicly available from new year. For some reason (and through persons unknown) all the pictures on my phone from new year are of people sleeping – and I didn’t take any of them. Anyway, such pictures are not usually very flattering so it’s wouldn’t be nice to post them without everyone’s permission. I do have some other snaps that I can put up, but I need to catch up with all the stuff I have missed out on posting so far.

I am sure that my millions of readers are holding their breath in anticipation of my amazing pictures and tales of adventure and intrigue…..

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Belated Christmas Blog

Yay! Christmas came, the geese got fat and I did, in fact, put a penny in an old man’s hat – he was playing some rocking tunes in an underground station.

Sooooooo… I have had a very eventful few weeks, much like everyone else I would imagine. There was the dreaded group meeting, where everyone in the particle physics group stands up for 5 minutes and talks about (i.e. justifies) their existence in the group for the past year. On the evening of the first meeting day (with free lunch – woo hoo!) there was the group xmas dinner. I managed to convince people that going to Revolution (a vodka bar, for the deprived people who don’t know) before the meal itself, and the night got off to a great start. The dinner was at Cafe Istanbul and was awesome. After the meal, we ended up in a club called Mojo. To be honest, it probably wouldn’t have mattered where we ended up – we would still have had an amazing night out. There are, of course, many pictures to be had of the evening, some of which can be found here:

The next day was a bit horrible, not only because of my horrendous headache when I woke up, but also because I had to give my presentation that day. Like most presentation situations, I got overly nervous about it and felt like I messed it up a bit. Even though it was a group of people I know pretty well, it was still an awful experience. The lameness experienced there was very quickly replaced by the awesomeness of having Daniel and Sabrina over for dinner. So quickly that I was only left with 30 minutes to cook up a storm after getting home from the meeting. They didn’t seem to notice it was rushed and even complimented me on my daal. “This daal is fantastic!” Not bad for a boy – not as good as mum makes, but still.

The day after that, I was on my way to London for the xmas period. The whole experience was made all the sweeter by the fact that I knew that the new Zelda game, Twilight Princess, was waiting for me. As if that wasn’t awesome enough (which it was) me and Aradhna managed to cook up a Christmas dinner of sorts which was truly fantabulous. It can be viewed in all its collaged glory by clicking the following thumbnail:

After the “big day” had come and gone, I went out for food, food and food with Sarah (best. day. ever.) including a trip to the Japan Centre, which has a whole floor that sells food and fish we managed to avoid seeing. Looks like we might have to go there again… It’s a tough life. The sushi there was excellent, if a little pricey. I think that Ikkyusan is probably better value overall.

Other than that, I managed to get a much needed new coat. Me and Anu braved the January sales and went hunting and managed to come back with a kill that managed to satisfy me, my sister (she “wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with me in it”) and even my mother. Wowza indeed.

After that, it was back up to Manchester to prepare for the trip to Blackpool for New year celebrations….. more on that later. For now I need sleep!

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New Phone! Graduation! Hangover Get!

Yay!

I have my new phone. It’s a very spangly Sony Ericsson k800i, designed with picture taking in mind. The camera is pretty good, but the whole thing is made so much better by it’s awesome flash – in a reasonably sized room it makes pictures taken in darkness come out as if lights were on. Awesome.

Like most camera phones, it’s not so great outdoors at night, even with it’s flash. Having said that there are some pictures to feast your eyes on that I took on Thursday when various people from the year above me were graduating with their PhDs. Clicking the following picture will take you to the web album.


The pictures show gowns, drinking and eating that all took place that day. What it doesn’t show you is the SingStar hilarity that ensued after – accompanied by home made Irn Bru WKDs.

Sarah and Martin were in town on Tuesday for her graduation as well, so muchos congrats to her as well. All these smug people with their fancy PhDs… you’d think it would be enough to spur me on to finish my own. Progress has slowed somewhat compared to previous weeks. Maybe the rest of this

This is the second weekend in a row that I am not galavanting around the country and getting frustrated by the train service. It also means that, other than the above, not much exciting has been going on. Hopefully the Xmas/New year fortnight or so will liven things up a bit.

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:(

Another weekend, another train journey and yet another blog post. Despite my rather upbeat post I wrote when on my way to Loughborough, things took a turn for the worse when I got there. I was supposed to be meeting Vijay and Viney at the train station but after turning up at 8.30 in the evening, I found out that they were still in Basingstoke. In the end, I had to “amuse myself” for the couple of hours it would take for them to get there… I managed to find a pub where I could sit and read through some thesis stuff and have a quiet drink. By the time that Viney and Vijay turned up, I was 6 double vodka-lemonades worse off and enthusiastically helping a random couple I had met with their pub quiz answers. Things were looking up. The Chinese food we got from “Mr. Chan’s” was awesome, followed by “Click” starring Adam Sandler – all was looking well.

The following morning (Friday), having had about three hours sleep, me and Vijay made our way to the nearest McDonalds for some breakfast – I know, I know… I just LOVE their breakfasts, especially the hash browns. Awesome… Or so I thought. Having stupidly put my phone on the table we were eating at, I got up for less a really short time to talk to Vijay and came back to a table that was one Samsung D500 lighter. LAME. It’s not too bad though. I am past the 12 month point of my contract and was looking for a new phone, especially since mine was a bit broken. I had also just gone through the process of transferring all of the pictures/videos on it to my PC. The only real major problem with this is the hassle of being without a phone for a weekend and however long it takes me to choose a new one.

From then on, there were jokes aplenty forthcoming from Vijay and Co. about what the time was (I use my phone as my watch/alarm clock) and why I wasn’t answering their phone calls. I did manage to salvage some enjoyment from the weekend though. That evening, we were at Palu’s place, where I was helping him build his amazingly powerful new computer. After getting it up and running, we installed the OS and then started on testing out his shiny new graphics card with the best thing for it – games. The end result was that, apart from Viney, we all stayed up the whole night.

The next morning (Saturday) Palu had to go off to work and the rest of us went back to Vineys place to do some tidying, cleaning and gardening… Quite why anyone thought it was a good idea to give a petrol powered strimmer, which was actually leaking, to a sleep deprived person with a history of accidentally burning things, is beyond me…. in any case, after a rather large lunch and watching Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure (during which Vijay managed to get a few more hours of sleep) we got back to it. The evening was spent in a snooker hall playing some pool… Considering the fact that I’d had only 3 hours sleep in the past 50 I was amazed to find that I was actually playing better than usual – I was beating Palu and Vijay with reasonable consistency. Awesome. I almost found myelf agreeing with a weird guy I saw on YouTube that “Sleep is for babies.” Kind of worrying, but I can almost see how he got to the state he was in if he really had been up for 5 days.

I finally collapsed in a heap at about 4 AM on Sunday morning and managed to start moving at 2 in the afternoon. A few more hours of “tinkering” with the new PC and a bite to eat later, I am now on a train on my way back to Manchester. I’m still a bit fried from the general lack of sleep and annoyed with the lack of phone in my pocket but on the whole, the weekend was pretty good.

Now to get back to writing thesis and my slightly more mundane University existence…. there’s always next weekend though. Woo Hoo!

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Shiv Kaushal – Singstar Liason

Long time no blog then… It was good going for a while, I guess, but I am slipping back into my previous habits quite quickly. I have had many interesting things go on since last time, a lot of which I am sure I will forget to put down here but I am sure that the following summary will convince the reader beyond any doubt that the life of a PhD student is anything but taxing. The thing is, it should be taxing – if I was putting in a reasonable amount of work, I would be finished writing up by now.

First off, there is the awesome news that Nicki, who you can see getting married HERE, has had another bundle of screaming joy. Blaney George Phillips was born on the 3rd of November and both are doing well. Loads of congrats and love to Nicki and Marc!

So last the last few weekends have been filled with SingStar awesomeness. The weekend after Irina’s birthday/flat-warming, I was in Blackpool and got to introduce all the lovely people there to the phenomenon that is SingStar. I even got to play with Kitu and Piku (my amazingly fabulous nieces) and even had the sense to capture the moment in digital image and video form. There is a lot of that kind of stuff I have still to put up on my Picture Page, I will post again when I have it availble for hypertextual consumption. Not only was Kitu and Piku rocking the house amazing in itself, but I also had a new disc to enjoy – SingStar Legends. This brought the total number of songs at my disposal to 200 – killer.

That weekend also saw Birthday celebrations for my cousin, Amar, . The whole thing was lots of fun not only because of the large fireworks (it was on the 5th of November, after all) but also because I got to tend to a bonfire (awesome) and even saw Vijay dancing. There was also a guitar shaped birthday cake, which particularly struck a chord (groans all round) with me – more so for Amar, I guess.

After word got out that there was another SingStar disc to be had, Ella Fitzgerald and all, we were back at Irina’s the following weekend. It was an absolute belter of an evening. I was introduced to the amazingness of White Russians and loved them even without having seen “The Big Lebowski”. The huge selection of songs meant that we were singing away through the night and I got home after eight in the morning! The following couple of days were pretty messed up and unproductive for me but led nicely into Aradhna’s fencing match in Manchester last Wednesday.

Keele Vs. Manchester should, I suppose, give me some kind of moral dillemma as to which team I should be supporting but I found it quite easy to cheer on Keele without any guilt. I really am dead inside….. Unlinke the unhappy outcome of the same fixture last year, Keele won, much to the delight of the team captain (Aradhna). While I don’t fully understand what’s going on sometimes (sabre is just too weird) I do like watching the fencing. I especially love seeing Aradhna, aka AK, do her thing “on the piste”. There is such a slow, measured, calm and deliberate approach in her style that is actually quite menacing. I should probably never upset her ever again. Videos may follow soon.

This weekend was yet another SingStar flavoured one, but in Cambridge this time. Sarah’s workmate Laura was having a birthday party with the added twist of being a cocktail party with a formal dress code. I had also been asked to bring along my bag of SingStar tricks and I was happy to oblige. After several large White Russians – having watched The Big Lebowski earlier that day – the music started flowing. Watching men suited and booted and women in fancy dresses – in the good way, not like vampire costumes, but even those can be good at the right time and place – watching them all sing away was really an odd sight to behold. It made dragging the PS2 up and down the country (or down and up in this case) worth it. Went to Ikkyusan for sushi buffet again with Sarah and Vijay, before getting on the train back to Manchester and it was even better than last time. Spending time with Sarah and Martin was great, as ever and I look forward to seeing them again soon – probably on the 12th of December when Dr. Sarah is in Manchester for her graduation. Can’t wait.

Thesis has been crawling along, which is not surprising if you consider all of the singing I have been doing lately. I think I might have to crack and start putting in diagrams to pad it out. I did manage to find out how to put fancy fonts in through latex though and they are fancy. You can see an example here. Probably not the best use of my time, but I am thinking about starting every chapter off with something similar – there doesn’t seem to be anything in the guidelines against such fonts.

Somewhere in the blur of the past few weeks, I also got a letter from CCLRC saying that I was on the reserve list for the job I had applied for and then another one saying that they were unable to offer it to me. Lame. Not that I expected much from my first interview anyway. I guess that the outcome is better than I was expecting, but nobody likes rejection. According to Sarah, I already have an unofficial job – one that seems to appeal to me. The job title will make more sense if you have seen Van Wilder, but I am apparently now to be referred to as Shiv Kaushal – SingStar Liason. Sweeeet. There are plenty of worse things to be known for, that’s for sure.

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Knackered

So, as predicted, I managed to get very little work done today because of demonstrating. What little work I did get done was on the train from Stoke-On-Trent back to Manchester. I was (and still am) really tired as I had to get up really early so that I could get back here, change and shower and get to the physics department all before 10 am. Not cool.

I did however manage to apply for a job at RAL in Oxford, so the day is not entirely wasted. If nothing else, I should be happy that I accomplished something (potentially) useful

The day was finished off by a trip to the pub with many of the students and some of the members of staff. The volume of alcohol consumed, combined with my lack of sleep seems to be urging me on to finish this off and go to bed. No clever jokes here, I am just knackered!