Friday, March 25, 2005

Gambling. Aren't we all losers in the end!

It's been a week since I lost a vast sum, well £20, in a foolish bet in the Cheltenham Gold Cup last Friday. My good friend James, who is very knowledgable in the ways of horse racing, gave four tips for the races. And very good they were. But I was greedy. Not content with betting on individual races or other such prudent courses of action, I put all my money on an accumulator. This meant I was banking all my money on all the horses placing in their races. There was big money up for grabs and I just saw the pound signs. All was going well for the first three races. Brewster came in third in the first race, my bet was still good. Then the excitment of the Gold Cup itself, when Kicking King produced an awesome victory for such a young horse. People were saying his time had come a year early. So two down and all's looking good, with Sleeping Night up next. Another victory for my horse. It's brilliant, there's just the one race left and I can practically smell the money - which is quite impressive since I was betting online and all the transactions were electronic. There's over an hour or so to wait for the next race, so I busy myself with work trying not to think of the extravagences I'll be spending my winnings on or the rounds I'll be able to buy everyone that evening. I'd been listening the to the previous races online, but for the final race I couldn't get any webcasts. On the BBC website I just had to keep clicking reload and hoping the results would be forthcoming. I was still confident though, my luck had been good so far, and surely Bongo Fury couldn't fail. Fifteen minutes after the race supposedly finished and the BBC still haven't updated the results, I'm getting quite anxious now. Then finally the page reloads and there they are - the results. I scan franitcally for Bongo Fury - not first (oh well I only need a place), not second (it's still good), not third (only one more chance now), not even fucking fourth! That's it, the money's gone, the bastard didn't even place. I was in shock, remorse filled me thinking of what I could have done with that £20 if invested wisely - that's eight pints that is. Oh well, I've learnt not to be quite so brash when making gambling decisions and am safe in the knowledge that I'll be more wise next year.

That was a week ago, but not much else has happened this week. Happy Easter one and all. Lets all remember Christ being nailed to a cross. Ah what a lovely image to have on so called Good Friday.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

King Kitson

Just writing with some more comedy info. I did indeed go to see the comdedian Daniel Kitson last night and he was hilarious. It was quite a marathon of a gig as it went on for almost 3 hours, not that anyone really minded as it was quality stuff and meant you definitely got your moneys worth. I almost didn't get to go as when I got to the venue the tickets were sold out. Luckily some foolish people didn't turn up so I got in in their place. Ha ha, the fools. Daniel Kitson is apparently a notoriously slow starter when you go to see him and he kept apologising to those in the audience who hadn't seen him before that there would be some jokes soon, honest. Even his slow build up was pretty damn good and many other comedians would be proud if their quality stuff was that good. When he did get into the main material it was non-stop laughter. I had seen him before at a comedy night at UCL, but that was about 6 years ago and only a shortish set. He's honestly gone from strength to strength and is now a comedy circuit must see.

That's enough eulogising about Daniel Kitson. I think it's time to go and drink some Guiness to keep St. Paddy happy.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Half a fist of fun

Last week saw the start of the Glasgow Comedy Festival. This is providing many comedy delieghts to see over the next couple of weeks and I plan to make the most of it - or at least as much as my bank balance will allow. On the first day of the festival (10th March) I went to see Stewart Lee (hopefully explaining to people the title of this blog entry). I'm pretty bad at writing reviews of stuff, but I can say that he was very funny. You to can witness just how funny when the DVD of the gig comes out as that was being filmed on the night, so you might even see my face popping up in the crowd. Quite a lot of the show revolved around 9/11 related stuff, so it wasn't entirely topical, but still funny. He also struck a good vein of comedy by ripping the piss out of the Scottish (or Scotch as he called them), which is quite brave in a room full of Glaswegians. We even got a special guest appearence from Kevin Eldon (if you don't recognise the name then you'd recognise the face as he's in just about every comedy sketch show/satire around) doing some poetry.

I will also be seeing the other half of the Lee and Herring comedy pairing when I go to see Richard Herring in a couple of weeks time. His show has recieved very good reviews so far. Other comedy I might go and see this week is Daniel Kitson. The last time I saw him he was very funny and has since been seen on the likes of Pheonix Nights. Bring on the laughs.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Your scientists need you

I should just mention that you can all do your bit to help me with my job of finding gravitational waves. Einstein@home is a program you can run on your own computer in the background or as a screensaver that will search for gravitational waves from neutron stars using real data, when it would otherwise be idleing. People may have heard about SETI@home which uses home PCs to search for extraterrestrial radio signals, well Einstein@home is better so there!

So go on do your bit and help the search.

Back to the blog

After a long time not posting anything throughout December I tried to see if I could go even longer without writing anything. And guess what, I managed it. I'll try to be more regular from now on, but I'm sure apathy will set in fairly soon if I don't have anything pressing to write about.

You must all be wanting to know what I've been up to in my sabbatical from blogging. You might expect that it was taken up working hard on the current big astrophysical problems and you'd be partly right except with the hard bit. A slight (well large) malaise has set in over the last few weeks where work is concerned due to affairs of the heart completely outweighing affairs of the head, leading to excess drinking. This has happened at a rather unlucky time in that I'll be having to think about writing up a thesis rather soon.

On the interesting astronomy front there's been quite a lot to talk happening recently. One of the things that has interested me was the observation of an extremely powerful gamma-ray burst (GRB) on 27th Dec 2004. This event originated from a magnetar (an extremely magnetic neutron star) in our galaxy and managed to saturate many spacecraft instruments and even slightly ionise the Earth's atmosphere. One interesting quote was that if this burst had happened within 10 light years of the Earth, it could have destroyed the ozone layer and caused a mass extinction - luckily it was about 50000 light years away on the oposite side of the galaxy. There's also been a fair bit in the news about methane on Mars being possibly the result of life, but I can't be arsed adding anything on that (maybe if someone wants to know I can put a link up).

That's it for now, i'll try not to have another competition with myself to see if I can outdo my last downtime.