Category Archives: 8 things

8 things redux with a twist

feb 08 049Thayer tagged me with the 8 random things meme…again – she’s forgiven as we barely knew each other in August last year. I couldn’t manage eight last time (this was the last one) so some of these might not actually be entirely true.

1. I once spent three months measuring the hedgerows of Gloucestershire. You can still find some of my waymarkers on country lanes just outside Cheltenham, if you know where to look.

2. My favourite colour combination is the kind of orangey-brown of krispy-kreme donuts against catkin green.

3. Since the age of 12 I’ve always owned exactly 3 gerbils. I always have several dealers on standby in case one of them dies and needs to be instantly replaced. My gerbils go *everywhere* with me. Yes… I mean *everywhere*

4. I was once almost arrested for possession of a Mr Kipling Bakewell Tart (and a milkbottle). This was during my New Romantic phase, so the frilly shirt and heavy eye make-up might also have had something to do with it.

5. I had a walk-on part in the film “Stab Truck” (I was the synth player in the band during the flashback to the David Hasselhof character’s complete humiliation in a London night club.) It was filmed in the basement of the Centrepoint Tower.

6. One of my cousins was the artist’s model for Freddo the Frog, Cadbury’s 1970’s novelty moulded chocolate. He went on to design the wheel nuts of the Audi A8.

7. My gerbils’ names are Rainey, Bessie and Janis after the 3 greatest female blues singers of the 20th Century. People often imagine that if they see the white one, that must be Janis, but my gerbils (and the blues) are colour-blind.

8. As a student I worked in a launderette in Guildford. I have seen, touched and washed the underwear of Eric Clapton, Bonnie Langford, Michael Buerk and various forgettable members of the Prog Rock Hall of Fame.

So to pass it on, I tag: HM The Queen, Ronnie Hazlehurst, Lewis Carroll, Mickey Dolenz, Pogle out of Pogle’s Wood, Optimus Prime, Stuart Hall (not the Jamaican one, the one off It’s a Knockout) and the entire Electric Light Orchestra.

8 random things about me. Thing the seventh.

OK, so this is what I was looking for when I got distracted by Robinson Crusoe, The Flashing Blade and Belle & Sébastien (btw welcome tunasters!):

The fact is: When I was five years old, the person I absolutely wanted to be most in the whole world was Marine Boy.

He could swim. Underwater. For ages because he had… OXY-GUM. Oh and his best friends were Neptina the mermaid and Splasher, the dolphin.

One of my earliest, fondest memories of school is swimming around the playground in propellor shoes, chewing oxy-gum and beating up sea monsters with my electric boomerang.

8 random things about me. Thing the sixth

Who knew that random facts were fractal?

You look into this one and you see 8 random facts inside it!

1. Katherine & I are proud ‘parents’ to three triops – tallulah, trevor and tamara.
2. My current fave drink is Sainsbury’s Ginger Beer (diet, with no added sugar)
3. My phone allows for 3 alarms – mine are currently set at 06:15, 11:25 and 15:30
4. My maternal grandmother’s middle name was Esme
5. The contact lens in my left eye is BC: 8.6; DIA: 14.2; PWR: -4.25
6. The contact lens in my right eye is BC: 8.7; DIA: 14.4; PWR: -3.00; CYL: – 1.25 x 180
7. My regular breakfast is 2 Royal Gala apples and a packet of crisps
8. I have something far more important to blog about now, so I’m going to.

8 random things about me. Thing the fifth

This time of year always reminds me of being at home and watching children’s telly IN THE DAYTIME at least until 9.30am when it was considered ok to go round and call for somebody to spend the rest of the day playing in the street.

What’s the fact here? That my childhood watching habits were dominated by badly-dubbed French TV serials with catchy theme tunes. So if you’re ever talking to me and you can’t understand what I’m saying then blame Peggy Miller.

Note: the last of these – White Horses – is not embeddable, you’ll have to click through to YouTube to get the full surreal goodness with pubescent sexual undertones.

8 random things about me. Thing the fourth.

IMGP1516First let’s have two minutes silence for a long-time reader of this blog, Mr Adrain Phelps of Wetknee, Oxon who was unfortunately eaten by a bear while commenting on a post late last night. Mr Fullups leaves a wife and young daughter relieved that they paid for the additional “bear clause” (clause, claws…geddit?) in his life insurance.

Thankyou, but now to weightier things. Oh, what a link! Because today’s fact is: I weighed myself this morning and I was 15st 3lb – 213lbs for Americans without a calculator. So there Rosie, there’s a fact, a real indisputable fact and it’s about me, is that any better?

I’ve been heavier – indeed at one stage I was more than the 20st that my scales would show, which put simply is “too fat” just in case there was any doubt. My BMI is now 28.9 which is still overweight, but I am not quite “obese” by this awful measure.

The lightest I have been as an adult is about 13st which is the top end of “normal” for my height. I consider myself to have been painfully thin at that stage. If that’s normal, I want to be different. The picture here shows a costume made for me at the time. But I’ve just measured the trousers and they have a 36″ waist. I’m also wearing 36″ jeans today so either the trousers were more comfy than these jeans or else I’m carrying a couple of stone extra somewhere other than my waist. My brain.. it’ll probably be my brain. I’m sad to say that no photos exist in my collection of the pair of apple-green dungarees that I was also fond of wearing at the time. Very Rod, Jane & Freddy. I can’t decide what was sadder, wearing dungarees or the fact that I dyed them apple-green.

8 Random Things about Me. Thing the third.

00011The most obvious landmark viewable from my kitchen window is the Crystal Palace Television Transmitter. It’s about 6 miles SSW of here and does look like a rather weedy Eiffel Tower.

At 728 feet it was the tallest structure in London until the completion of 1 Canada Square at Canary Wharf (which can’t be seen even from my bathroom window).

The chimneys of Battersea Power Station are far shorter (about 350ft) but they are visible from my flat, if you lean far enough out of the…. aaaaaaargh! splat!

8 random things about me. Thing the second.

OK, here’s another.

I’m not a railway buff or a model railway fiend but I have always enjoyed travelling on the railway. No that’s not the fact, it’s a bit of flannelly introduction to divert you from the true geekiness of the fact.

The fact is: the final year project I chose for my degree (Computing & IT, Surrey, 1996) was an examination of railway timetabling through modelling and simulation.

I think I’m getting the hang of these random things – they’re things that make me go: “Hang on, is that true or have I just made it up?”, the sorts of things that you have to read a couple of times to be sure you’ve got it right.

Yes, I spent large parts of my final year at University creating a software model that simulated the activity of a railway system. To show my appreciation of the importance of abstraction, I created an algebra of train system elements. The first model was the simplest possible operational railway system. It consisted of two stations, a track, a single train and a single passenger. I constructed a timetable for this system by running a simulation of its activity (the passenger getting on and off, the train running from station to station etc) and thereby constructing a starting schedule, empirically. When I spoke to the people at Railtrack about it as part of my initial research, they said, no, that wasn’t the sort of thing that they did to produce their timetables, though it was a fascinating idea, they simply introduced tweaks to timetables that had “always” existed.

I then added complexity to the model in the form of more stations, longer track (broken down into sections), signalling, more trains, more passengers. I had to deal with the difficulties of shared track, over-crowding, staff rotas etc. Running the simulation produced further timetables. The model was implemented in an object-oriented modelling & simulation package ModSim. It was probably the last time I did any serious coding.

I thought it rocked, most other people though it weird, though I still got my 2:1 Plus ça change…

8 random things about me. Thing the first

Thank you to Helen, who has tagged me with the latest X Y’s about Z meme. This time it’s 8 random things about me, a subject dear to my heart.

I’m not sure about tagging 8 people, so I may leave that to the end, or not do it at all. I propose to write one post per random thing as I’m struggling with the random bit at the moment. I know what it means when my kids say “err.. Dad… random” but I can’t believe that me talking to myself is of any interest to anyone here. Though of course, I’m completely missing the fact that this blog always involves me talking to myself – it would be very difficult to write otherwise.

So, if I can get beyond the definitional fudge, I’d like to present to you Random Fact #1

I received my Drama School Diploma from Arthur English.


Yes, that Arthur English.

We really shouldn’t have been so snotty. At least he worked…