Saturday, 25 February 2012

On freaking myself out

OK so I have a few odd phobia's.

In addition to my fear of heights - the thought of which can make my palms go sweaty and my heart rate increase. I am also scared of our glasses cupboard. Although this is more a fear of one of the glasses smashing and cutting my tendons rendering my hands completely useless. I would not enjoy only having limited movement in my hands.

The strangest phobia I have recently is of shipwrecks (one answer online gave this as Maremophobia - ).  I believed this to be a very weird phobia that was pretty unique. Apparently not !

It seems for most people it is a fear of man made things under the water and deep down rotting away.

For me I think it has more to do with the fact that underwater is an alien environment for humans, but on our planet. A shipwreck is a symbol of human enterprise succumbing to the power of our environment. I find that unsettling.

Or maybe its just because they look weird!

Although I do not have the fear of spiders that some people have and they are very alien looking.

How cute is that spider? This one was about 4mm large and I believe it was a spotted wolf spider . You can tell tell one of these as they are skittish - they run down their prey which is impressive.

Much cuter and more manageable than other varieties of spider!

The picture was taken by me today with my new fancy USB microscope - thanks Maria!

Anyways moving on to last night.

I hurt my right quad at football. So before bed I decided to have a bath to soak the muscle a bit. I did what most people in the bath do and read for a bit. If you are interested I am reading 'do androids dream of electric sheep?' by Philip K. Dick .

Anyways as my bath wore on I decided to put the book down and just relax for a bit before I got out. checked my watch and it was about 10.40.

I must have dozed off.

I woke up feeling thirsty at 11.30.

I felt dissociated from my body. I drained the water out the bath around me and then slowly got out. Still feeling groggy with my leg slowing my movement a bit. I started drying myself but I couldn't dry my hair properly (looking back it was because I was so tired I wasn't doing a very good job). I felt tired, thirsty and just not right.

I went into the kitchen and quickly drank 2 pints of squash although it did not fully do the job.

I dragged myself to bed but didn't feel right.

I started asking a confused and sleepy Maria if i was really there, had I got out of the bath. My hair was wet - was I still asleep in the bath? Was my dry mouth a result of being under the water? Was I so tired because I was drowning? I started to panic, my breath became harder and more ragged. I was convinced that this was a dream and I was submerged in the bath!

In short I freaked out.

I got out of bed.

Checked the bath.

Pinched, bit and slapped myself.

Definitely awake! Certainly not in the bath. Just a bit too hot, too thirsty and too tired!

I took my time and properly dried my hair.

Settled back into bed, Maria expressed concern, told me I was really there and gave me a hug.

It still took me a long time to sleep.

I was never so grateful to wake up as I was this morning.

The Sun is shining, my USB microscope arrived and we won 5 quid on a scratchcard.

Time to settle down eat some fruit and chill out for a bit.

All is good!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

meteorites and penis'

Nothing like an over the top blog post title!

Now the 2 best things from today, that isn't to say there were not lots of good things but here is the two main ones.

Firstly this diagram is just amazing...

Wrong on so many levels, but close to being right!

Secondly this arrived today -

Simply amazing. So happy with it!

Am literally just going to sit and stare at it!

Listening to Brian Cox's commentary for Sunshine.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

A bit of a rant - sorry

So I got in my car today to drive to a shop.

It was quiet.

So I moved to turn my radio up a bit.


Never mind.

The Winter Sun was pretty low so I started moving towards the glove box to get my prescription sunglasses out.


Deep breath.

Never mind.

Right moving forward. Went to my favourite charity shop BDF Newlife in Hednesford - - an excellent charity and a very clever idea for a shop. If you are unaware of them basically what they do is to get shop seconds or out of season clothes (all brand new) and cut the labels off them and sell them at a reasonable price. Which means that you get a new pair of trousers - like today - for 3 or 4 quid and you are doing your bit for charity.


Especially as places like River Island, Ted Baker, New Look and Gap donate to them.

So 3 new pairs of school trousers bought and I started setting off back to my parents.

It is a weird thing not having any music in the car. Makes your internal monologue much more forthright.

And a few threads have been building over the last few days.

Excuse me if my thoughts get jumbled I may start ranting... you are warned.

Actually I will number them in an attempt to keep some form of coherence!

1) I really respect Richard Dawkins. Honestly I do. I think the Selfish Gene is a brilliant book and his ideas on evolutionary biology are brilliant.

But please.


Stop trying to prove being an atheist is better than a God worshiping person. It makes you very hard to continue to like.

I refer to this story from the week .

It makes me do a big sigh. Especially when people are thinking along these lines . And all in a week when a council was not allowed to have prayers before meetings because it was unlawful. Oh and there was this speech at the Vatican as well .

OK so here is the thing. I was not raised religiously but I was Christened. I went to a fairly religious Church of England Primary school where we started the day with hymns and prayers in assembly. We said hymns and prayers in assemblies during my time at secondary school. Over time I lost whatever faith I had in a supernatural being, this was relative to the understanding of the world around us that my studies provided me with.

In short the more I learnt of science the more agnostic I became.

Recently I have become an atheist. Though as a scientist I am always willing to be proved wrong and this is the issue I have with Dawkins' findings/opinion/public appearances.

I believe that there is life out there somewhere in the Universe other than the life on this planet.

I do not believe in the supernatural but in science.

The wonder of science and the way things work gives me the warm and fuzzy feeling that I am sure some people get when the read the Bible/Koran/or another religious text.

I love to question things, to understand and to want to find out more about what is going on around me and why.

All of this means that I don't believe in God. As we have seen I believe the Universe is a giant coffee cup.

And that is that. I don't preach my beliefs to people, I don't want to be preached at. I will give my opinion respectfully and in an informed way if someone wants to listen. I am willing to have a theology-science conversation with someone as it is always interesting to talk to someone who has a different opinion to yourself.

But other than that I get on with my life and don't worry about it.

And this is where the news stories above have annoyed me. They are needless. Who cares if people who identify themselves as Christian can't quote Bible passages? Who cares if people around you are praying for 3 minutes before a meeting - they aren't forcing you to pray! And if you are secure in your faith well good for you, can we get on with our lives now?

You know those moments when you are complaining about something, or claiming you are bored, or waiting for something to improve well those moments, that's life. And it is ending one second at a time. So rather than pick a fight or trying to prove your superiority to someone else why not go out and enjoy it?

This brings me to...

2) When did we become a country of people who just complained - all the time.

It get's me down it is so incessant.

I think it has been going on longer than the current banking problems and all that inherent in it but it seems more focused at the moment.

Here's and idea.

Lower the pension ages, make it worth while for people to retire creating a power vacuum at the top for middle management to move into.

This would free the lower levels of the workplace up. So people could actually get jobs.

Oh yeah why don't we scrap league tables for schools so teachers aren't constantly scared of teaching in an innovative way. Free people up to do their job properly rather than all the paperwork with it and you may find that students perform better because teachers are able to enjoy their job and make school interesting. Oh also we need to accept that not every child will get an A some will need to be apprentices and require alternative ways of getting vocational style education - not ones that are supposed to be 12 GCSE's but one that stands alone as a robust worthwhile qualification.

Which means we need jobs for people.. oh yeah dealt with that.

Oh just a thought but why not then allow professionals who are working in the industry to suggest the reforms the industry needs instead of ignoring them .

Also why don't we allow people to have more time to spend with their families rather than working ourselves to the bone or alternatively allow people to retire.. oh yeah done that.

Seriously if you invest time in being a family and enjoying life then surely that can only be of benefit?

What else can I fix?

Oh yeah... lets celebrate successes.

No not celebrity or sport. Actual success that means something more. Let's stop pandering to this vacuous fixation with being famous. Or rich. Let's celebrate people who make a difference to our lives because we don't do enough of that.

It doesn't need to be high profile, just as long as it's done.

Can the news be about the news not just death, misery, celebrities or sport?

There is so much more going on and I am sure a lot of it will be positive.

If we take a stand and start doing things, working together and trying to get along that would be lovely.

3) An addition to my 5 rules for winning and argument. Rule 6 if you belittle your opponent you have lost.

4) David Haye and Dereck Chisora should both be banned from anything to do with boxing and fined heavily for bringing the sport into disrepute. It is pitiful and just embarrassing really.

5) Wonders of the Universe is amazing Brian Cox should be made some form of national treasure.

6) I think I am done with everything now. Going to wrap some presents, watch some rugby and eat a strudel.

Have a good rest of your Sunday.

And play nice!

Friday, 17 February 2012

On Volume Crime

Right. How to start.

My car got broken into. My car stereo got stolen.

I reported it to the police and got on with my life.  I have been a victim of this type of 'volume crime' before and I was determined not to let it get me down.


Today I had to use my car to drive to my parents.

I found a few more things out. Firstly the criminal had also stolen my prescription sunglasses.

I shall repeat that, perscription sunglasses! Which means they can't even use them without giving them a headache.

What a cretin.

Also as gutted as I am about the loss of my sunglasses - a lovely pair of Jasper Conran ones that look like baby wayfarers I am due a new eye test soon anyway so they probably would have been upgraded before the Summer anyway.


Secondly whoever it was that broke into my car actually tried to steal it. How do I know? Because they tried to break the plastic around my steering wheel. This I believe was their pitiful attempt to get to the electrics in order to hot wire it.

Yet the car is still in my possession.

Now anyone who knows me and my car know we have a bit of a hate hate relationship.

The passenger side window doesn't work. The sunroof leaks. If I have passengers in the car the car squeels in pain. The electrics tick like a clock - not a good sign - and it has already eaten both money for repairs and petrol like a hungry hippo.

Yet now in my head my car stood firm. Some faceless mouth breather broke in and tried to steal it and with a Gallic shrug my car said 'non' and refused to be stolen.

Oh yeah it refused to be stolen.

And because of that I now love my car. I love it's quirks and foibles. I will get it repaired again.

My car.

My hero.

Well until it breaks down again.

And what of the cretinous mouth breathing car radio thief with sunglasses their can't wear without getting headaches?

Well, it reminds me of a scene from the Wire (a brilliant TV show) - this clip

'You do not get to win shitbirds, we do!'

If you are stealing car stereos you have already lost. You just haven't realised it yet.

So enjoy some sunglasses you can't wear. Enjoy a scratched up CD mix tape that was in the CD player. Enjoy whatever you use the money from selling the stereo for.

Because you have lost, you are a looser.

And me, well I aim to be winning .

And I will do it with a smile on my face.

A little one

This is a quick post from my phone to see if this works! It probably will which is good. Been busy so far this week enjoying a chilled half term with Maria.

Few things. Seti-quest is an excellent way to help the Search for extra terrestrial life. I am still applying for teaching jobs. I an finally getting the hang of using my phone as a netbook - will post more on that in time.

Right back to marking I go.

Have a good one.

Oh random thought I wonder how many babies were conceived last night?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

one followed the other

Ok so let me get the basics out of the way.

Year 11's have started finishing their work to achieve their BTEC passes. This makes me very proud. Now I know every man and his/her dog has an opinion on BTEC's but of the classes I teach very few of them would achieve a qualification in science without the BTEC system. So whether it is right or wrong that they get 2 GCSE C pass equivalents is of no concern to me. They get something. That's what matters, sod your league tables and rights and wrongs. My students will get a qualification in science.

Boom! and it was good!

My after school bass lessons increased by one tonight. Normally with Lost Patients I don't use effects pedals, I took them into school today and it blew the lads minds. Excellent! also had a really good rendition of the Mission Impossible theme on the go... Tom Cruise if your reading (which I doubt) I am available for the next film.

So that was all positive. Year 8 and 9 continue to be grotty but then i don't think I am the only one finding that.


Deep and meaningful stuff... maybe?

Mr Gibson's 5 rules for an argument - thanks to my classes for help forming these.

1) If you bring someones Mum (or family) into the argument, you have lost.
2) If you question someones sexuality during the argument, you have lost.
3) If you change the topic suddenly you are admitting, you have lost.
4) If you offer to fight someone during the argument, you have lost.
5) If you resort to swearing at someone during the argument, it is because you have lost.

See how many arguments you can win once you are armed with these...

I had originally wanted to talk about aggression but I couldn't structure the points in my head and keep them positive.

I am worried that as a species we are too hard-wired towards aggressive responses to ever pull together to deal with the big problems that we will face - food, fuel and changing climate (if you believe these things).

But then we only have until the coffee get's drunk anyway.

So we might as well enjoy ourselves...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

5 days later

Yes yes I know I am a bad blogger.

So much so little take you pick as to what has been going on.

For me it feels a whirlwind!

Right good things.

I know I said I would change the blog but I was enjoying how I was typing it. I think. I don't know some times. Moods of mine roller coaster up and down quite a lot.

I think that is my problem, as quite a passionate person it often ends up coming out as mood changes. Part of being someone who invests a lot of themselves in something.

Which can be hard when working with children. Especially when the children don't want to know.

Best thing I did today...

Take a cup of black coffee, stir it, take your spoon out and slowly add milk.

What do you get?

Maybe our entire universe is just milk in a giant coffee? Our civilization being a speck on a speck on a speck on a speck on a little bit of milk.

Food for thought.

Also Mapley sent me this, its amazing...

Oh and this is sweet

Also loving Absolute 80's radio -


Thursday, 2 February 2012

On portfolios and resilience

I am changing the style of this blog slightly, I think.

Rather than just digest me day, while this is really important I think I will try to focus more on one thing and talk a little more about that.

The main reason for this change is that I have started missing a few days here and there due to the hectic nature of my rock and roll lifestyle.

Or something.

Right so Monday, was horrendous really. Not the best or a fun day at all.

My response... Tuesday and Wednesday with floral shirts!

Oh yeah!

That's resilience, I think?

Anyway it cheered me up and the rest of the week has been fine.

5 days until half term.

And the best part of the week.... some of my year 11 are starting to complete their BTEC portfolios.

The best best part is they aren't students who people would expect to be completing portfolios.

I am very proud of them, and they are very proud of themselves.

Sometimes I feel like I do make a difference.

Though really, I just facilitated them making a difference.

Karma is good!