Wednesday, May 24, 2006

5th Week: The saga is complete...

STAR WARS Marathon .:. Tuesday 23rd May (5th Week)

It had to happen... I had foreseen this! Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design! And now, young blogwalker... you will die. And other miscellaneous Star Wars quotes.

Yes, yesterday was the day I finally got to watch all six Star Wars films in sequence, one after another, in one day and with minimal breaks between them. And it was gooooooood. In fact, it was go{o}*od. Kudos to Masha for being the only one other than myself to stay for the full course of things - Alex was next with one film missed, and Tim with the equivalent of one film missed - Adam missed one and a half - Sol missed three! And, thanks to Mel for visiting, even if it was only for five minutes of Episode III. ;-)

Now, I'm square-eyed, tired, probably malnourished (though it was a great pizza from ASK), and unfortunately my love for Star Wars has been rekindled... so much so that it has to be time to resurrect the mothballed Star Wars.tar.gz project - to film a condensed version of the sexology* complete with our own CGI shots. An example of such a shot is currently (very slowly) being uploaded to YouTube for your general viewing pleasure... No sound yet, just the video. Matt, if you're reading this, it's time to get this thing restarted. At least, it will be once I've finished my exams...

Great stuff today. I've just realised that it's half one, and I really do need to go to sleep. I also feel really guilty for having a whole day without doing work... Time for bed.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

5th Week: St. Aldate's Live Album, Take Two

A fantastic evening of worship - just pure and powerful seeking the heart of God and praising Him, for a good three hours. No chairs, no sermon, and no doughnuts (contrary to what we were promised...) - just an amazing atmosphere of praise. It wouldn't be a shock if this sort of evening (albeit minus the expensive recording equipment!) became regular at St. Aldate's - as Gordon Hickson (or possibly Anita Cleverly) said, "Sunday evenings will never be the same again!"

A new song that was introduced for the CD is "Hosanna" by Brenton Brown and Paul Baloche (full lyrics and chords are up at

'Cause when we see You, we find strength to face the day
In Your presence all our fears are washed away
Washed away

Hosanna, hosanna
You are the God who saves us
Worthy of all our praises
Hosanna, hosanna
Come have your way among us
We welcome You here, Lord Jesus

An amazing song about an amazing God. Hosanna - save now! Worthy of our praises, we welcome you, Lord Jesus. Amen!

5th Week: Gah! 5th Week!

It is raining in Oxford.

There's plenty else afoot, too, but the rain is persistent. It's been raining solidly all day. Enough of that; what else is happening?

This evening is the second of two evenings of recording a live worship album at St. Aldate's Church. The couple of hours on Friday night were brilliant: they'd taken the chairs out completely - just a group of people coming together to focus on God and seek His heart in worship. Even more technology than usual was employed to make all this possible; it continues this evening at 6.30. The CD, the second Aldate's album, should be released in November-ish.

In other Aldate's-related news, Charlie brought us the news on Thursday (and again this morning) that Greg Downes, student pastor at the church, is leaving at the end of the term. This was a real shock to most of us. We'll be praying for Greg and his wife, that they would know what God is calling them to next; and also for the rest of the leadership team at Aldate's for God's guidance at this time.

Wow, the last time it rained this hard my roof started leaking.

The SJC CU is going well - things are a little strange with exam season upon us, so all the finalists (except Tim!) and many of the others are rather busy. Still, we had a brilliant Bible study on Wednesday, and the thrice-weekly prayer meetings continue to be a real time of blessing. Exciting plans for the next four weeks include a joint CU punt-and-Bible-study down the Cherwell river, and a trip to see The Da Vinci Code (followed by plugging some of the many events put on by OICCU and local churches to remind people that it is, actually, fiction...)

Looks like the rain's stopped. I hope it's better weather than this in three weeks' time for Love Oxford - it's going to be fantastic...

Oh yes, and it's 5th Week. And there's a Star Wars marathon happening on Tuesday. Do I know you? Are you in (or can you possibly be in) Oxford on Tuesday? This site should tell you all you need to know, and probably some things you don't.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

4th Week: 24, 10pm-11pm

24 WatchThis post may contain spoilers for up to the fifth series of 24, to the end of the specified episode - hour 16, 22:00-23:00! Anything else is speculation.

Body Count: 7? / My guess: 4

In fact, this post contains such a big spoiler that you'll have to highlight the hidden words to read. That's how big the spoiler is.

So, Jack's about to find out that President Logan is the mole inside the White House, masterminding the whole events of the day, from the assassination of David Palmer to the nerve gas, and all the time feigning incompetence! OK, hands up who honestly suspected the vice president - though, I see now, that would have been too obvious. And I never liked him anyway - the corpse of Palmer would be a better President, but now we know why, at least.

But what possible purpose would it serve him to try and bring down the President's administration? Surely that's shooting yourself in the foot, and it can only pave the way for the VP to take over instead. This is deeper than the political differences between him and Palmer. Why would he aid terrorists in his own country against his country?

So many questions... so many blanks... and once more Henderson escapes. He's doing really well, for a man whose central nervous system had completely shut down less than three hours ago. He may have trained Jack, but Jack's grown since those days.

Am I the only one who remembers the start of Season 1 seeing Jack having to deal with the fallout of whistle-blowing against the former head of CTU - Henderson? Or am I making this up? I still haven't seen the last third of Season 1. I should do that sometime.

4th Week: More Punt Photos

This time, with the more experienced crew, we were able to actually go where we wanted the punt to go (mostly), and even overtake some other punts, as the photographic evidence below suggests. Apologies for the many sci-fi references. Hey, it's me...

We navigate a low bridge (we went under lower!)

Hostile craft at 2 o'clock! Red alert!

Stay on target...

All your base are belong to us! (Later on, we had to shout at these people "MOVE YOUR POLE!" as we almost knocked it into the water... we were shouting for quite a while before they heard, just in time...)

All batteries, fire! Fire!

Another one bites the, uh, water

Even I had a go at actually wielding the pole this time... and I was just getting used to it when we arrived back at the boathouse. Next time, folks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

3rd Week: Lightning, power blip and Avenger

We had a thunderstorm about half an hour ago. I was in the kitchen cooking - pan-fried chicken with tomato and basil pasta, and very nice it was too - when the lights flickered.

Yes, you guessed it. My computer cut itself out and rebooted. As far as I can tell, the only damage was to a MySQL database, which just gives me the excuse to upgrade to the latest Myth (I managed to salvage the channels table, which is the bit that takes hours to sort out) as there are no programmes I've set to record until tomorrow. I'm out this evening, which gives it the chance to compile.

That's if the processor (or I) don't melt... It's apparently 27 degrees in my room, and the processor is sitting at round about 60. And, typically to thundery weather, it's humid, too.

Tonight is a novelty for the CU: Our "links" group - that is, the joint CUs of St. John's, St. Anne's, Keble and Lady Margaret Hall (LMH) - are all meeting together, rather than as college groups. Dan Blanche is giving a talk on evangelism. And I get to do the notices! What fun.

Incidentally, Performancing seems to work brilliantly. It gets a second day in charge of posting my blog.

3rd Week: A wonderful advert for my home city

BBC NEWS | England | Hampshire | World's most travelled bike found

Well, really... What a wonderful piece of publicity for Portsmouth City! At least he got his bike back. I like a happy ending.

Incidentally, I have no idea how this post will appear - I'm trying out Performancing for Firefox. It lets me blog while I'm browsing - in this case, while I'm reading the aforelinked article. So you might well see a few more posts than usual appearing here. Or, at least, the same number; work is really ramping up now. I need to get to bed, I have three tutes and a lecture tomorrow, and they're not the sort of thing to face on less sleep than is physically needed.

Well, Performancing... your first test... here goes nothing...

Monday, May 08, 2006

3rd Week: 24, 9pm-10pm

24 WatchThis post may contain spoilers for up to the fifth series of 24, to the end of the specified episode - hour 15, 21:00-22:00! Anything else is speculation.

Body Count: 9 (I think) / My guess: 6

Well, well, Jack's in a spot of bother here... and getting slightly hot under the collar. And indeed above the collar, as the gas distribution centre explodes around him and Vladimir Bierko. (Surely Jack must survive!) But if that was truly the last of the Sentox nerve gas going up with the rest, what are they going to do to fill the remaining nine hours?

Well, we still have a lot of loose ends... Firstly, the assassination of America's greatest President, David Palmer. Was Bierko behind this? Why was whoever it was behind this trying to kill everyone who knew that Bauer was still alive?

Next, what does Wayne Palmer know that Bierko doesn't want CTU finding out? He looked in a bad way when we last saw him. Can Aaron get him to safety and find out what Wayne wants to tell him? Surely it must be related to all the above. Someone high-up in government, perhaps, with links to the terrorists? Perhaps the Vice-President?

I'm sure Kim is going to be important in the next few hours, as well. I can't believe that the short "arrive, nearly get killed by nerve gas, have semi-emotional scene with Jack, leave" that we had a few hours ago is all that we'll see of her. And surely that psychiatrist bloke is a baddie? Quite honestly, I'm expecting Kim to get herself into trouble again. And the whole breakup with Chase? There's something more there. There must be.

And do we believe Audrey's innocence? Back in Season 3, Gael was a goodie playing a baddie playing a goodie. What's to stop Audrey from being a baddie playing a goodie playing a baddie playing a goodie? If you want to get to Jack, then surely she and Kim are the people to do it. Speaking of baddies, surely that new girl with the attitude problem is bad, or at least going to be a thorn in everyone's sides. Like Chloe was in her first series. Sexual harrassment, my bottom (not hers, that'd be sexual harrassment).

Let's take a moment to remember Tony Almeida. CTU are running out of experienced personnel fast today. Tony was one of the best. And why is nobody hunting down the guy who killed him?

Do I really have to wait another week for the next episode?

3rd Week: Punting Photos

A few CompScis went punting on Saturday evening... click for a 640x480 image. It was about halfway through the trip before I realised my phone, which I had on me, had a camera on it, so you don't get to see the marginally dodgy start to the journey.

<< Tim and Ben at the front

Masha and pole at the back >>

<< Only a few minutes in, and it feels like we're miles away from the city centre

Look out for the trees, Masha... Masha, the trees! TREES! >>

<< Red alert! Hostiles at 12 o'clock!

"In the name of the Empire, halt your craft and prepare to receive boarders!" >>

Friday, May 05, 2006

2nd Week: Local Elections and stuff

Morning all!

I'm very impressed that I'm actually up at this time in the morning. Seeing as it was local election night last night, I stayed up until 3am watching the results come in. Actually, I would have watched for longer, but something went wrong at the BBC and they had to show News 24 for a bit, at about 3, so I decided to go to sleep instead.

It was Maths Dinner last night. Surprisingly, with such a high concentration of mathematicians in one place, the universe seems to continue largely unaffected... And if you're wondering what I was doing at Maths Dinner, it's because there aren't enough Computer Scientists to have their own. Here are some of the many jokes that were bandied around:

Q. Why did the Computer Scientist take forever in the shower?
A. Because he was following the instructions: Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Q. Why do mathematicians rarely visit the beach?
A. Because they have sin and cos to get a tan.

In other news... this morning's 8AM prayer meeting was moved to Dave's room, after someone else had checked out the Graves Room key. Thanks to Second Year Dinner on Wednesday night, we had more people at the prayer meeting than at the main evening meeting!

The two results that affect me (Portsmouth and Oxford) both came out NOC, with the Lib Dems the largest party in both. Most amusing story of the night is the ballot box in Winchester, which caught fire when trying to remove the sealing wax... the Fire Brigade then added water... and we're still waiting for the ballot papers to dry out.

My analysis in a nutshell: A bad night for Blair, though perhaps not as bad as it should have been. A good night for the Tories, though perhaps not as good as it could have been. "Modest gains" for the Lib Dems. And a worrying night for British politics, with 15 BNP councillors elected.

Monday, May 01, 2006

2nd Week: What happened to 1st Week? And May Day Morning

"Oh, to see the dawn..." If it weren't so darn rainy at dawn this morning... not that you can tell from this photo, which shows the St. John's choir atop the tower at about 8.30am. But my day started at 5am, when it was indeed raining. OICCU had organised a mass doughnut-and-tea-and-coffee-giving-out based in Radcliffe Square.

I'm getting ahead of myself... This is all based around an Oxford tradition. On May Day morning, Magdalen College choir sing in the dawn at 6.00, heard by hundreds of people who flood the High Street from about 5.30. Once they have finished, two things normally happen:
  1. Everyone jumps of Magdalen Bridge into a very shallow river, causing mass injury.
  2. Every single belltower in Oxford rings constantly until about 7.45.
This year, the police (possibly with horses of strictly heterosexual persuasion) closed of Magdalen Bridge, thus preventing (1). (2) was still possible. And, while all this was happening, a large and merry (and damp) band of Christians from across the University were distributing doughnuts, offering tea and coffee (all free) and asking lots of people about their beliefs. And getting wet.

Well, about 7.45 we packed up, and I ended up in Trinity College by 8 listening to their choir (after only my second cup of tea of the day). After this, I fought my way past the Lancre Stick and Bucket Dancers (OK, not really) outside the SJC lodge, and listened to our own choir, before heading up to my room, completely failing to go back to bed, and writing this.

Oh, yes - I'm back! It's now 2nd Week of Trinity Term. At some point, hopefully at the other end of the term, I will have exams (Mods). This means I need to do work towards them. This means doing past papers, as well as finding the time for the 13 tutorials we need to squeeze in. The exam timetable isn't out yet, but the rumour mill suggests they're in 8th and 9th Weeks.

Ah, what fun! After us all getting rather soaked, it's now gloriously sunny in Oxford.