"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

"Don't think, feel....it is like a finger pointing towards the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!" -Bruce Lee

Friday, June 30, 2006

Strawberry fields forever...

So after another mad dash down to Brighton last night to pick up even more stuff, and driving back white van stylee (no mirror!), we decided to chill out today. James had the day off, INSET day! I thought teachers were meant to go to those things, but hey, I'm not complaining! So anyway, today we went strawberry picking at Priory Farm, James' first time ever lol. They actually do it differently there now to how I remember, you now buy your punnets at a standard price before going picking, rather than being given baskets/taking your own boxes and weighing them on your way out. Lol they still have no way of preventing strawberry eatage though, I always thought they should weigh you before and after, and decide how much to charge based on that! Another thing that has changed is that the strawberries are no longer on the ground, but in rows of stands that hold them at hand level, now that is a good idea. Lol, I had serious respect for this old lady walking back from the fields with her walking stick and punnet of strawberries, until I realised they'd done that!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Messing about in 3ds max

Ok, so this week I have mostly been job hunting, mountain biking (avoiding the hills!), CV writing, and Flash portfolio constructing. I had a revelation yesterday about changing gears when cycling, I always wondered why it seemed to be much more effort for me to ride up hills than everyone else.. hmm.. so gears, they do have a use! I think I kind of got the wrong end of the stick with that one, I kind of assumed it was *meant* to be hard work, so you have to change the gear to the smallest cog thing. Lol, well maybe I was giving myself better exercise anyway!

Ooh this is a desktop background I made in 3ds max a couple of days ago btw..

Monday, June 26, 2006

Brightingham weekend

Now that was the busiest weekend I've had in a while!

Friday was results day for James, Tim and I, so it was a kind of stressful day waiting for those! Tim came down to Brighton in the morn, and was waiting for a phonecall from his friend in Brum @ 12 (he ended up with a 2:1 in env. science and GIS in the end, so he was v pleased). James officially passed his PGCE at masters level in the morning =) so he's got half the credits needed for a masters in education now, which is pretty cool! And I had to wait 'til 4 for mine to come out! So we walked down to the seafront, had scampi and chips on the beach, and looked around town a little to kill a bit of time. When we eventually got in to uni just before 4 there were tonnes of computer science/AI/IT/multimedia students and lecturers hanging about outside our building, sitting on the grass, and I assumed they must all be waiting for the results, until I saw Del and it became clear that I was somewhat late! There were all these tables outside with strawberries and champagne bottles (empty! darn lecturers!) , and there was this printed off list of names, grouped by degree class, just lying on the table! Apparently they had been out since 12, so all that waiting for nothing! Lol, anyway, Del kindly congratulated me and showed me the list, it was amazing: Del, Sacha, Ali, Tom x 2, Neil, and I all got 1sts, and Tegan got a 2:1! I'm so pleased! Everyone had to work so hard for that! Oh yeah, and another bit of good news I heard on Friday, Fahd got a first in physics, so he's off to Cambridge to do a phd next year, that's grand!

Anyway, the rest of the day was spent hanging around uni eating strawberries in the sunshine, then after a celebratory takeaway and film, we went out to Walkabout in town for a dance, sat on the beach to recover our ears from the live band in there, and then headed off back to the flat for sleeeep!

On Saturday morning we got up bright and early to pack up the car with more stuff from the flat to take back to Oxted --it was packing to the extreme -- with roughly 5 cm squared breathing space remaining, we headed off to Birmingham, via home!

Next stop, Oxford. We had a couple of hours wandering around the town, and ate lunch in the University botanical gardens. They're really nice actually, they even have a couple of little kew gardens style hot houses full of rainforest flora; I am always disappointed by the absense of sloths and things in those places though, but I guess the jungle insects and arachnids wouldn't be too fun. The river actually runs alongside the gardens too, so we could see people punting past whilst we were walking around! We must go back there sometime when we have a bit more time for exploring..

We arrived in Brum in the early evening, and had a quick guided tour of the town and Aston uni campus from Tim. There are some really grand old Victorian dark red buildings, juxtaposed with modern shop frontages.. Bar Med, HSBC, lol, it's the same in every British city I think, apart from maybe York where they still house amazing tea rooms and things that have been there since the 1800s. I remember Bill Bryson making this observation actually, in 'Notes from a Small Island', along with the point about the spread of clone towns across the country: how you can almost go to any town in the UK and expect to find a WHSmiths, Woolworths, and a Boots. Its so true! (Side note: apparently Guildford is the worst offending clone town in the country, lol). Anyway, I was actually impressed by the revamp of Birmingham that is in progress, the centre of town is an architectural dream, every new building is a work of art, and the whole place is almost entirely pedestrianised! I'll post some pictures of the bullring in a while (the ex largest shopping centre in Europe).

Brum seems to like doing things to the extreme, they have the largest Gamestation shop, and even the Wetherspoons we went to for supper had the longest bar in Europe, lol, either that or Tim was just trying to impress us. We met up with some of his uni mates for the evening, all with wierd and wonderful nicknames, and one of whom looked almost entirely unlike James, but his brother didn't. Apparently. Probably as similar as I look to Mena Suvari -not very. Lol, anyway, that was cool, it was quite entertaining watching this guy try and drink beer with sour cream and jalapeno peppers mixed in, for some reason. Students! We finished up at a place called Snobs, where the bouncer stole my crisps, unbelievable, and finally got back to halls very sleepy indeed.

Yesterday morn then, I woke up and took pity on James having driven us all the way up there, and starting a new job Monday too, so I decided to drive us back! Tim decided to stay up there to pack up his stuff, and see a few last friends, or not to risk his life with my driving, lol. We were on the road by just after 8, and arrived in Stratford-upon-Avon before anyone had woken up! We did all the touristy things like posing in front of the Royal Shakespeare Company building, visiting Shakespeare's birthplace, and taking photos of all the random actors wandering about the place in costume! It's a really cool place, we're hopefully going to go back there later in the summer to see Anthony & Cleopatra with Patrick Stewart in! We got some nice cornish pasties for lunch, and even a pudding pastie (banana & chocolate!!!) to share, which we ate by the river, before hiring a rowing boat to play with for half an hour! So much fun! =)

We actually managed to get back home just after 2 yesterday afternoon, not at all bad for a day's work! Update: Oh, doh, we forgot to go to CadburyWorld!! ;P

Friday, June 23, 2006

kipperfrog BritishAirways (Hons)

Wohoooo! I got me a 1st in AI! Yay!!! =)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Brighton panorama

The other day we found the road that takes you up to the top of the cliffs you can see when you come in to Brighton station! You have such a cool view over the city from there, so I thought I'd put up some photos of it! It's actually a really nice walk into the centre of town if you go that way..

So tired, last day of exploring Brighton today..

After a manic rearranging day in Oxted yesterday trying to make a bit of space for all the stuff we've accumulated this year, today is our last proper day of exploring Brighton, before the results/Brightingham weekend with le wise-sax! We were thinking of going to the veggie restaurant Waikikamookau (Why-kick-a-moo-cow) for lunch, which should be cool, they do great food in there, haven't been for ages! =)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Yesss! We win!! The fields are safe! =)

The lady down at Greenacres who did all the pamphleteering just phoned up Mum to say that the water board have withdrawn their application for the bore hole! What a result! =) Apparently there were absolutely loads of people at the demonstration today too, blocking up the whole road, excellent, it's nice to see everyone pulling together and actually achieving stuff! I'm very pleased, the fields are safe again for now!

British Wildlife Centre

On Sunday G,S&A came over for lunch, and then in the afternoon we went over to the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield. It's an amazing place for taking wildlife photos, there were tonnes of professional looking photographers all over the place with multiple giant cameras! I do actually think it's kind of a swiz, wildlife photographers getting pictures in zoos and wildlife centres though, too easy! A seemed to very much enjoy pointing at stuff, my camera lens in particular, so at least then I had an excuse for blurry pictures! The animals there were pretty nonchalent about all the attention, and some were even quite inquisitive, so I managed to get a few (possibly too) close ups!

Ok, that's all I'm allowed, but you can see the rest on flickr here!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Brighton: the unseen bits ctd.

Ok, I've tried quite a few times now, and blogger definitely will not let me put any more photos in my post about the unseen bits of Brighton, quite appropriate to the title though I guess! Anyway, with a bit of luck, you will be able to see some of my photos of the Seven Dials area shortly!

This is the road up the hill to the Seven Dials, up behind Brighton station

This is the tunnel leading from the Seven Dials down to Preston Circus and London Road where we're staying at the moment.. over it runs the railway line into Brighton Station from pretty much everywhere else. During the day it just looks like a plain old tunnel, but at night it is lit up beautifully with red->blue lighting...

This is the seven dials roundabout/crossroads, so named because it is a seven way junction, you really have to know your stuff if you head over here otherwise you could be here all day trying to remember which way it was you wanted to go. There's a nice shopping street full of unusual restaurants, kebab houses, craft shops, and mini supermarkets off in one direction, on one corner is the Seven Dials restaurant which looks very classy, but entirely out of our price range lol..

On another corner is this amazing estate agents.. I just wonder if they all come out with migraines after working there all day! I know that last year when I had red curtains in my room, when I walked out onto the stairs everything would appear a nasty shade of green..

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Save our green belt land!

So, on Saturday we walk down to the fields to be greeted by this.. I cannot believe it.. the council didn't even bother telling us local residents about it, only a few people over in the Greenacres road (obviously hoping they wouldn't kick up a fuss). We actually heard about it second hand from a lady who lives over there who has gone around posting urgent flyers through people's doors about it! Basically, the plan is to build a road from Chichele Road, right through the fields and the lovely bluebell woods to Barnett Shaw where they plan to construct a new bore hole. These fields are where the people of Oxted walk their dogs off their leads in the knowledge that they're safe from traffic, and kids go to play, it is a very picturesque area of green belt land, incorporated into walks along the Greensand Way.. ramblers and horse riders actually come here to enjoy the countryside.. well, not for much longer if this goes ahead. It's not even as if it's a great place to build a bore hole, it is a clay and greensand area: not great for storing up water..

and draining off what water there is can only cause problems for the neighbouring buildings like the schools and the housing (like mine!). It seems strange that there is such an abundance of water in other places.. like on Barrow Green Road (from the stream that runs down the hill), and this place just outside Oxted that is giving away its water to local sports clubs. I can only think they have a hidden agenda, and want to free up the land for housing development, as they suggest on the sign! This cannot happen! I've just sent off my letter to the council.. hopefully it will do something anyway. Otherwise we will have to start lying in front of bulldozers!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

St.Mary's/Cricket club quiz night..

So guess what, the 'waiting for Norgrove' team won again for the fifth year running, surprise surprise lol! How can they lose with a real live Mastermind competitor on the team! We were put on the kids' team this time, rather than the 'waiting for Norgrove rejects', and were competing for the last place consolation prize, but lost! I can't believe someone actually managed to get a worse score than a team of kids, now that is embarassing! ;P I contributed with my amazing knowledge of puddings, but one question.. what is the real colour of carrots? There was one question that was 'What is the only food that is naturally blue in colour?', I could have sworn it was carrots! Or were they originally purple? Maybe I'm just making this up, but I was sure there was a phase where supermarkets were selling some kind of freaky coloured vegetables! Anyway, it turned out the answer was bilberries.. how boring!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The diet coke and mentos experiments

I found these whilst doing a bit of browsing yesterday, if you haven't seen them already, do it! There are these couple of guys in lab coats, armed only with a few bottles of diet coke and some packets of mentos..with careful coordination they have somehow created a phantasmagoria of a performance: a proper firework display of fizzy pop, lol you must see it! Oh, and if you were wondering what would happen if you used a real human being as a vessel for this interesting experiment, well 'is it safe to eat mentos with your diet coke?' after all, then look no further... see the results here.

Oh yeah, and come on INGERRLAAAND!! Just watching the Trinidad & Tobago match at the moment! Update: yay! 2:0

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Now that's what I call World Cup fever to the extreme!

Brighton: WorldCupFever!
Originally uploaded by kipperfrog.

This is a house on the road adjacent to us, near to Preston Park. What is their landlady going to say when she sees that?!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Brighton graffiti

Originally uploaded by kipperfrog.

I've decided to post the whole lot of graffiti photos on flickr, have a look at them by clicking on this picture.. they really are so artistic!

The optimistic surfer of Brighton

aww miyte, try Newquay! Poor guy, look how disappointed he looks! =( where are all the waves?!

On the up side, I mastered the art of throwing stones, and hitting them mid-air with other stones yesterday, how good is that! Almost as cool as free running if you ask me.. hehe.. lol, maybe not, free running/Russian climbing/Parkour is AMAZING!

Brighton: the unseen bits

Well, today we decided, as we only have a few more weeks in Brighton we will try and see as many of the bits we haven't been to before as we can, and get some photos of random places that day trippers normally miss.

This evening we walked up the backway to the station past all of the building works (they're building a whole load of NY style appartment blocks and offices up there), and got some piccies of the graffiti on the boards put up around the site.. seriously that stuff is amazing! If you are going to do graffiti, do it proper like these guys! I've been meaning to take some photos all year actually, each time I used to walk down from the train I used to spend ages looking at it all, so I'm glad to have snapped 'em before they pull the whole lot down!

Red sky at night: this was taken on the way up to the station, on top of the arches is the Brighton -> Seaford line which I caught to uni every day!

I'll post more pictures a bit later if it lets me lol..

Then we went up to the Seven Dials! The novelty hasn't worn off this place yet, I still think it's amazing we found it just up the hill from us at Preston Circus! Ok, so it's just a crazy seven way crossroads really, but I like it! Ever since I first came down to Brighton 3 years ago, I've heard people talking about this elusive place, and never have I known what it was or how to find it! It just seemed like everything great was happening at the Seven Dials, this magical invisible place.. it was even where the Canadian lady with the diapers lives (but that's another story). There's a stange combination of exclusive looking restaurants/exciting looking estate agencies and bookies/kebab shops up there, with a scattering of interesting looking Brighton shops! We will have to go up there to get some food I think, the Japanese restaurant has been highly recommended!

Photos to follow!

Around by the station was really bizarre, at about half past 8 at night there were still random shops open, people wandering about singing loudly to themselves (and England weren't even playing today!), and the pubs had people milling about outside so you could hear snippets of conversation as you walked by.. this combined with the music playing from various houses about the place, and no doubt the happy chappie with the cuddly dog and toy guitar's stereo, created an ambient noise not dissimilar to the ye olde London of the London Dungeons' Jack the Ripper experience or something. Surreal.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happiness is..

giant silver tower fan shaped! It's great!! =) It even has an ionising (de-stinkifying) function, which is just as well because I think we have a festering rat or something in here.. I definitely heard something moving about behind the blocked up fireplace.. hmm.. ick.. oh and it has a remote control, posh eh?

man, it is so much cooler in here now! result!

Too hot!

Am slowly roasting.. heatstroke is near.. I forgot to bring my fan down to Brighton with me last night and it is just tooo hot in this room! Ugh.. I don't think I'd survive very well in the jungle! MAPLIN is going to be doing good business from us today, I just did a stock check on their Silver Tower Fans (5 in stock) -I think it will have to be done when James gets back, and also.. the power supply unit has just died on my PC, doh!! So that's another MAPLIN thing! Well, they'll be pleased!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Lego meta-art

Damien Hirst's themaldehide shark

Marc Quinn’s ‘Self’ is a sculpture of his own head made from his own frozen, congealed blood. Quinn donated the 4.5 litres of blood over five months.

Apparently there was an exhibition of these in Brighton for the festival. They were made by these two guys called the 'Little Artists' who dress always in orange and blue!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Biggin Hill Photos II

I'm thinking that maybe posts on here are limited in file size, so maybe I just need to divide it up into a couple of separate posts for all these photos! Anyway, here are a few more..

Biggin Hill Photos

provost 1955 jet powered training planes

PS2 flight simulator!

mini helicopter

hmm.. blogger won't let me up load any more photos at the moment for some reason.. so more later (maybe --if I'm allowed!)

Brighton set for the summer..

We walked over to the seafront yesterday evening to eat our dinner on the beach, and it was absolutely packed with tourists! I couldn't believe it! I don't know where they all came from all of a sudden! There was also a life guard sitting in a little pen by the sea, and a Jimi Hendrix tribute band playing loud music outside one of the cafes. It felt every bit like the summer holidays, or a bank holiday weekend. Only a few weeks ago we would have had the entire beach to ourselves and a dog walker or something, lol. The funny thing is, most people think that this is what Brighton is like all the time, because it always seems like a good day to go to Brighton when it's a nice sunny day in July!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Presentations cancelled =)

"Unfortunately the situation with regard to the AUT boycott of assessment has not changed since April, and it does not seem likely that the boycott will be lifted in the next few days. Since we are almost at the end of the exam period we have run out of time to schedule and give adequate notice of when presentations should take place. I am therefore cancelling the presentations. I'm not doing this lightly, because I know that you've put a lot of effort into designing and developing some great systems. But there is no reasonable alternative. I can't pre-judge what the exam board will decide to do about the missing marks, but I'm sure it will try as hard as it can to be fair to all."

Well I'm glad I don't have to do that, but they'd really better mark my dissertation or there'll be trouble! Oh yikes! BTW, have you seen the date today? As Fink just pointed out, it's: 06/06/06 the day of the beast! Now that's not going to happen again for a while! That reminds me actually, I found this really good postcard a few years ago which I nearly put up on my door when I lived on campus:

but I thought it maybe wouldn't be the best way to make friends ;P

Monday, June 05, 2006

Anyone want a Java programmer?

Ah goowan.. I can do SQL, Prolog, Java, and Flash too!

All the temping agencies in Brighton told me to go away because I'm a graduate, so I guess it's time to seek out a proper job! I think I may have to learn C++ though because it seems Java remains a relatively new and underused language here in the South East! I'm also starting on my first Flash game to put in my portfolio!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Save the tadpoles and the puppy!

Unbelievably, today was another sunny day, so we went out in the garden and I noticed that the pond was completely covered with algae.. no tadpoles in sight! We started fishing out dead leaves and stuff and then the odd ripple started to appear in the water.. then moved the bridge away.. and there was mayhem! Thousands of the poor lil things had crammed themselves into the one tiny bit of pond left not entirly saturated by green slime, so we got out as much as possible and gave them a bit of fresh water, so hopefully they'll be a bit happier now!

In the meantime, Psyche leanrt how to open the side gate with her nose and legged it off down the street! I only noticed when I got up and saw the gate wide open.. so after walking round the fields shouting "Psycho/e" for half an hour to the amusement of various dog walkers, James caught up with me and said he'd found her! Phew! He just drove round the block in the car and there she was looking v scared.. lol.. she just jumped straight in the car when she saw him.. silly puppy!

Sunshine and Biggin Hill Airshow

So we woke up on Saturday.. and summer was here! We thought this would probably be our one opportunity to enjoy some some sunshine this year, with the English summer usually lasting about a day at most, so off we went to Biggin Hill airshow! This is the first year we've actually gone inside, because usually you can get a pretty good view of the displays from our garden at home, or from Biggin Hill town, but after many recommendations we thought it had to be done! Inside there were tonnes of stalls, a bit like the South of England show, but with a bit more of a military theme, loads of army and air force surplus stuff for sale which was quite tempting! Lol we saw a couple of people wandering round trying to look like pilots in their blatantly air force surplus uniforms.. hehe.. well there's nothing wrong with getting into the part I s'pose (no worse than spock ears), as long as you don't get any big ideas about any of the fighter jets scattered about the place, yeah they even let you sit in them! Oh they did have some of those RAF fighter jet helmets for sale too, which WERE really cool! I also found out that there is such a thing as an air cadet, I guess its obvious really seeing as there are sea cadets and army cadets, but it just never occurred to me; I wonder if they get to fly as much as I got to sail on the T.S. Ark Royal in Redhill, lol, "Ready aye ready!".

What they had there for the actual airshow I'll show in pictures.. they will be uploaded in a sec.. update: or not! for some reason blogger won't let me upload any photos to this post! sorry!

Anyway, when we got home we were so tired, and just looking forward to a "nice cup of tea and a sit down" lol, well a glass of water anyway, but then we realised we'd both forgotten our keys. Isn't that always the way?! So it turned out we made a bit more of a day of it than we'd planned, and headed out to find somewhere with a nice cold drink! We ended up at the 'Blue Anchor' in Reigate where we sat in the beer garden and watched the cricket over the wall, before heading off for a walk around Priory Park. We climbed up 'breakneck' hill to look at the view towards Dorking, and then got confused about what the hill we were on was actually called. Hmm.. I mean, we always referred to it as either 'Seal Hill' or 'The Top', but then James pointed out that if you approach from Woodhatch then it's called 'Cockshott Hill'. To complicate matters further, Dad said later that it, and the surrounding area of South Park used to be referred to as 'Light Hill', so I have no idea! Seems like a glance at an ordinance survey map is in order! I so want it to be called 'Seal Hill', that's my favourite!

Oh yeah while we were up there we also tried to be good brownies and help out an old lady who'd apparently lost her friend "that stupid man!" and his dog, who had somehow managed to desert her at the top, with a dislocated ankle and a fractured something else.. mutter mutter.. he was meant to be taking her to visit her dog's ashes up there, but for some reason had disappeared and left her! Lol we searched around for him, went down to the bottom of the hill to where his car was parked and couldn't find him, but then when James ran back to report, this old guy finally reappeared behind her on her way down.. Ooh he was in for such a telling off!

So we headed back home after that, and decided as Mum & Dad were just setting off home from Horsham we still had some time to kill before we could be let in, so we nipped in to Morrisons to get some stuff for BBQII! Not bad going, two in a week! This time we did Salmon steak and grilled vegetables which was lovely! =)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

BBQ SOS & A's first birthday!

Ooh we had our first ever BBQ in Brighton yesterday out on our concrete roof garden. Made my special watermelon, red onion, rocket, feta cheese and black olive salad, yummo, and James cooked his peppered beef steak lovely! My veggie sausages.. less successful! Must be something to do with the less than 5% fat content, lol. We got through about 5 or 6 firelighters in an attempt to make it a bit more enthusiastic, and also tried pouring some parafin on the coal (setting part of the wall on fire in the process), but to no avail! How do you get these things to cook on a BBQ?! They ended up kinda singed and blackened, and thoroughly uncooked in the middle! Suffice it to say, I enjoyed some lovely OVEN grilled veggie burgers (sitting in front of the BBQ at least)!

In the eve I went out with some of my coursemates to celebrate the end of degree, and belated birthday drinkage for Tom! We went to the black lion, audio on the seafront, and then the honey club afterwards (lol, I had to go there once during my whole time at uni), and ended up eating chips on the beach at about one in the morn. Excellent! I'm really glad they didn't search me at the hc though because I was carrying a pen knife! I only realised in the queue when I saw all the signs up about zero tolerance of just about everything, oops! Well, you never know when you might need one!

And today, of course is little A's first birthday, so we went over to Horsham for his birthday tea at Pizza Express! =) Hopefully he will enjoy his 'Pound N Cheese' toy: it involves whacking multicoloured mice into a piece of cheese with a hammer, cruel but fun, I think he was getting quite into the hitting stuff with a hammer thing!

Blah blah blah mashed potato blah blah..

I don't know why, but I've had that stuck in my head for what feels like weeks.. it's a line from that spoof Enid Blyton 'Famous Five' adventure with Dawn French, Adrian Edmondson etc. in it, called ''Five Go Mad in Dorset" or something. I'd really like to see that again, will have to look out for it online! It's taking the mick out of the way in Enid Blyton books, the baddies are always whispering, and all that can be heard is "blah blah blah.. midnight.. blah blah blah.. old castle .. blah blah blah.. hostage..", well you get the idea lol. So in the film, the characters playing the baddies actually say all that blah blah stuff... well you probably have to see it to appreciate it lol, but I think it's quite funny. A bit like in that episode of the X-files called "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" told from Scully's pov, where all the characters are saying "bleeping" this and "bleeping" that, lol.