The Blog The PhotoBlog The Current Robcam Image My Ever-Expanding Music Collection My Bookshelf NOT YET READY The basic info about me which you might need. She hates her job, but she won't leave. Instead she'll moan. Genius. Possibly crazy, but thankfully as inept financially as myself. My favourite blogging student lesbian. Not that there are loads. Just another student, raking his way through the daily pile of crap. Life in Canada. It's scarily poignant at times. Not preaching, more informing. With laughs, beer and tall tales. London's resident party animal and freebie fanatic. Can you feel the sleaziness? Yet another one of us blogging student types. Except he's funny. Sort of... Glorious b+w white photos of London and other places. Simply the most passionate blogger around. His days must be full to bursting with things to do just to put on the blog. A Scottish mother who loves the pipes. Read into that what you will. A great little blog by an American college girl. She even plays a British sport... Yet another of us blogging students. Yes, we really are that lazy. A Swedish (I think) guy who includes me in his 'Blogs As Literature' section. i.e. possibly mad. A London blogger who is fascinated by the overall concept of blogging. He's written a few papers on the subject too. One if the most dedicated blogs, a Londoner who gets up to fifty times as much stuff as I ever do. A British media student / graduate who loves his music. And his boozing. A disgruntled teacher, buried somewhere in Europe. A Canadian mother who seems to like my blog. The so-called Expert Analysis of this very blog, as spoofed by one of my ex-housemates. An American girl who has a thing for British guys. Fair play. An Aussie guy who used to be on a messageboard I was on a while back. The single greatest source of news the web has ever seen. And it's British! My source of Arsenal-related news and gossip. Also has fantastic forums. Where I get my mp3s. Oh-so-cheap and oh-so-easy to use. Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. A US-based media watchdog. Where I get all of my torrenty goodness. Good forums for newbies too. Gathers together hundreds of news sources from across the web, and is the best place for instant news. An English political and media commentary site, with some brilliant articles on all manner of topics. Groups together all of the left-leaning opinion and editorial pieces from English-language newspapers across the world. Previous Blog List All Blogs A Random Blog Next Blog

Saturday, May 24

Random Crap

OK, so as I type this, I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Covent Garden because the stupid King's College server has decided to crash, and probably won't be fixed until Tuesday, because of the bank holiday. And I'm having to pay for the privelige. Not happy about that.

What I am happy about is that I've had to walk through Leicester Square and Covent Garden at 9pm on a Saturday night, which means a tremendous amount of lovely ladies walking around in not very much. I like that. I like that a lot.

But a bad thing is that yesterday I saw Wednesday morning girl with what looks like a boyfriend. I would be heartbroken, but I met this girl last night, a friend of a friend. She was at Propaganda on Tuesday night too, and we kind of hit it off. Mental note: get her number from my friend. I'm slightly unsure about how to approach my friend about this, because I think she likes me too, but I love her too much as a friend to want anything else. Hmmm, this might require all of my subtlety and sucking up skills, and then some.

Another plus for today is that I saw 28 Days Later on DVD earlier. Man, that film is cool. A zombie film, but set in the UK, and with soldiers and this guy who just becomes psychopathic. Nasty scene towards the end where he has his thumbs shoved full into somebody's eyes. You see it on screen too, it's very sickening.

This stupid internet cafe needs some earphone sockets, I hate doing anything without music. All I can hear is typing and the world passing the shop by outside...

One final point: Chinese takeaways which deliver absolutely rule!!!

1 Addiction Satisfied, Another Begins

OK, so I reached absolute breaking point today. I knew that I was going to see the Matrix Reloaded at 4.40pm, but by about 1 I was really, really excited. And christ, did that film not disappoint! It is my new favourite film ever. It had action, a great plot, sex, swearing, comedy and it was just, well, The Matrix. Some of the best action scenes in the history of cinema are in this film, and the plot was developed to a somewhat different level. And yes, the ending will make you groan, becuase you realise that you have to wait until November to see Revolutions, the third in the trilogy. And if that wasn't enough, they tease you even more by showing a trailer for Revolutions after the credits. Damn them, damn them all. Now I'm going to get all excited about seeing that film, but I've got 6 months of build-up yet. At least in the meantime there is....

BIG BROTHER!!! I am addicted to this show already, and it's only been going for 4 hours, of which I've watched nearly 3. I know I'm very sad, but I just love this programme. I missed the first 2 going into the house, but I've watched it fairly constantly since... Here begins my summer addiction. My money's on Ray or Cameron to win, they seem like cool guys. Stupid, stupid endemol for coming up with the Big Brother concept. Do they not realise how my social life is going to be destroyed?!

I even rang my mum up straight after the launch show to talk about it with her. She was totally addicted to BB2 and 3, just like I was, so I knew she'd be watching. We're very, very sad people, but so sue us. Look at it this way: at least it's not pornography.

Speaking of which, I'm currently reading Porno by Irvine Welsh, and I am completely engrossed in it. Every time I pick it up, it takes me about half a page to slip bak into the Edinburgh vernacular, but as soon as I've got it in my head, I find myself thinking with a heavy Scottish accent for the rest of the day. Not handy when you read it whilst eating your breakfast...

Big Pun - New York City Giants
Aerosmith - Walk This Way
Sevendust - Wired
koRn - Falling Away From Me

Thursday, May 22

Left Out

There are days when I feel slightly left out by the people I live with. This is one of them. I like all of the people I live with, and I think that I'm going to live with a few of the guys next year. But, I sometimes think that they don't like my company as much as each other's. The first discussions about where to live / who to live with didn't include me, and I still don't think that I'm 100% welcome to live with them all next year. Every so often a copy of Loot, the free ads paper turns up in our kitchen, with a few ads for houses ringed by the guys. The problem is, most of these houses are for 5, whereas with me there's 6 of us. Not the most inspiring thing ever. Also, whenever a couple of people have a day off and go into Camden or wherever, I don't get an invite. One thing which has really pissed me off is that I said to Chris that when he's finished his exams, I'd be quite happy to go do all of the touristy type things in London, because neither of us have done much of it, and we've both finished our exams. So yesterday, I was in the kitchen with Chris and Pete, and Pete asked Chris when they were going to start seeing the sites. I didn't get so much as a mention...

I know this may seem petty, and a little bit pessimistic, but I keep getting this sort of vibe from them all. We'll see, we'll see. Don't get me wrong, I really like all of them, but I am coming round to the point of view that maybe they're not as keen on me...

Pantera - Fucking Hostile
Amoebaassasin - Piledriver
(Let's see if this throws up any search engine results...)
Dieselboy - Render
Crazy Town - Butterfly

Wednesday, May 21

You Absolute Fucking Bastard!

You absolute fucking bastard! You absolute fucking bastard! You absolute fucking bastard!

Ok, so I was in Propaganda last night, enjoying myself a whole lot. I had about 4 different groups of friends there, so I was chatting to everyone and anyone between going to the bar and drinking. I was up dancing for a while, and was even working my way towards pulling this girl, when the worst thing ever happened. For once, it wasn't even my fault. I didn't even injure myself or anything.

Nope, I was vomited on.

I sat down on one of the sofas to chat with a couple of my friends, and there was this really drunk guy sitting there too. I kind of recognised him, a friend of a friend of a friend I think, but didn't speak to him, mainly because he looked fairly paralytic. He was lolling about all over the place, completely wasted. A couple of minutes later, i felt this wet patch on my arm. I thought it was just a drink spilt on it or something, but when i pulled my sleeve round to look at it, I knew it was sick. And all down my side as well. Not good, especially since I was wearing a white shirt. And one of my favourite white shirts at that.

I dashed to the loo, and began to wash it under the tap. The toilet attendat suggested i took it off to clean it fully, so there I was, half-naked in the middle of the toilets, washing my shirt under a sink. It's actually quite comical, looking back on it, but I definitely wasn't finding it funny then. I gave the toilet attendant my ticket for the cloakroom, and he brought back my jacket. I put that on, wringed out the shirt as best I could and stuffed it in my pocket. That was when I decided to leave. It was already 2.30, I couldn't be arsed walking around a really hot club in a huge, zipped-up leather jacket, and my mate Chris was ready to leave, so we thought bugger it.

I'd completely and utterly sobered up by this point. I do that sometimes. I can be absolutely wasted, then one thing will just completely sober me up. Didn't get rid of the hangover this morning though. I drank some milk when I got back to my halls, surely that should have helped? Might have been the Bacon Double Cheeseburger and Large Fries at Burger King though. Too much salt = dehydration = killer hangover. I'll live though, certainly had worse.

One good thing to come out of last night: we've made a decision to go to Lord's for the first day of the Test Match between England and Zimbabwe. I'm talking cricket for all of you who are confused. All day drinking beer and chanting, followed by the pub for the England football match that evening. Sorted.

Metallica & London Symphony Orchestra - Nothing Else Matters
Moth - Candle
Binary Finary - 1999
Artists Against AIDS - What's Going On?

Tuesday, May 20

Big Problem

Just realised a big, big problem. If I'm going to see Reloaded at 4.30 on Friday, followed by a night out with the boys, when am I going to watch Big Brother. It's the first night on Friday, and I really, really want to see it. Hmmm, may have to cunningly guide them to a bar with a TV on about 9pm...


Nothing particularly interesting going on today, except I've bought a ticket to go see Matrix Reloaded on Friday afternoon, followed by a bit of a drinking session with the boys. Therefore, I thought I'd share with you some of the search engine queries which lead people to click on my site... My site stats tell me everything, don't you know?

My favourite so far is "alcohol intravenously." Who searches for that kind of thing?! "Kristalnacht" has come up twice. I hope this means that there are history students finding this blog rather than neo-nazis... "Kingpin" has thrown up my site as a result, as has "chaos." I like that. You search for chaos and you find a site which details my life. "Mike Riley" has been searched for twice, as has "Matrix Reloaded." One I hate, one I love. Guess which way round...

The common ones are obscure band names or song titles, such as "amoebaassasin," "emerge" and "mp3s" as a whole. I like the way "+" results in my site as a result. Not quite sure why though...

Iio - Rapture
Papa Roach - Between Angels And Insects
Disturbed - Bound
Rasputina - Brand New Key

This or That?

1. Large or small family? Small
2. Potato chips or pretzels? Potato Chips (Crisps, dammit)
3. House or apartment? House
4. Zebras or giraffes? Giraffes
5. Candles or potpourri? Candles. Flames!
6. Flowers or trees? Trees
7. Right or left-handed? Right-Handed
8. Model trains or dolls/stuffed animals? Trains, or Warhammer-esque stuff. I used to be into that in a big way
9. Comedy or drama? Either, really, depends on my mood
10. Thought-provoking question of the week: The city of Boston has recently banned smoking in all restaurants and bars. Would you want to see such a law passed in your city/town/country, or not? Definitely, I'm the biggest non-smoker ever!

Monday, May 19

Reaching Breaking Point

Why won't Thursday come any quicker?!?!? I'm am so, so excited about seeing The Matrix: Reloaded on Thursday I can't stand it. I must have listened to the soundtrack CD about 50 times since I got it on Saturday, and the actual film's score on the second CD just makes we want to see it even more. There's crescendos everywhere, which bodes very well for the film. Even if there is one point which makes me think of The Snowman. You know, the classic kid's Christmas cartoon from the mid-80s? Anyway, there's a little bit on the last track of the score CD which sounds like it's going to break into the music from The Snowman. I won't bother trying to describe it hear, because it's impossible to do it. Just picture me humming the tune or something. Let your imagination do the work.

I figured that I should reward myself today for all of the hard work I've done in the past fortnight (and the past year, to be honest), so I got up (relatively) early, and walked into Hampstead. I love Hampstead, it makes you forget that you're in London. Very picturesque and quaint, for want of a better word. Anyway, I went to Cafe Rouge for a big fried breakfast, which was worth every penny, and sat and read my book (Porno, by Irvine Welsh) in there for a while.

But damn you Waterstone's. Damn you and your "3 for 2 paperbacks" sale! Books have become my new vice since I've been at uni. I used to be addicted to CDs, buying at least 3 every month, but that's dwindled slightly to be replaced by books. I've got a wicked collection of books now, some classic greats, and a lot of very modern cult-classics. Plus some random stuff that I just enjoy reading. Today I picked up Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, Globalization And Its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz and Twelve by Nick McDonnell.

A bit of anti-globalisational feeling coming through there, I feel. I'm not that much of an anti-globalist, or anti-corporations or anything like that, I just like to know that our rose-tinted view of the world that we're shown by the TV networks and the brands isn't 100% true. I think No Logo, by Naomi Klein, first started this in me. Some of the things in that book frighten me. Export Processing Zones for one. Go have a quick Google search for them, and see what goes on there. Twelve is a novel along the lines of Bret Easton Ellis, or so the cover says. Bret Easton Ellis wrote American Psycho, which is one of the best books that I have ever read. It's horrifically violent, but it paints an accurate picture of the culture which the late 80s thrived on and incubated. Apparently Twelve is like that, but for the 90s. I almost picked up Branded, which is a bit like No Logo, but concentrates on how teenagers are / have been targeted by the marketing people. Being 19 now, and fairly brand-oriented, I'm interested to read this, just to see how many of my favourite ad campaigns have been specifically targeted at myself and my peers.

Underworld - A Hundred Days Off (The album)
Matrix Reloaded OST (Repeatedly)

It's 2am. Stairway To Heaven is on my Launchcast. I'm on an 8-game winning streak at Yahoo Pool. Life does not get any better.

More Analysis

Courtesy of Alanna, the Essential Difference Test. This looks fairly scientific in nature, and tests your emotional state and your analytical abilities with two seperate tests.

I scored 56 on the Systemizing Quotient, which means I "have a very high ability for analysing and exploring a system. On score about 30. Three times as many people with Asperger Syndrome score in this range, compared to typical men, and almost no women score this high." On the Emotional Quotient part I scored 45, which means I "have an average ability for understanding how other people feel and responding appropriately. You know how to treat people with care and sensitivity. Most women score about 47, and most men about 42."

I think overall this means that I'm an average guy emotionally. I can be detached when I have to be, but I can be involved when I sense the need to be. Not bad, not bad. And I'm totally over-analytical in everything. But most of those questions were concerning technology and that sort of thing, which is one of my loves in life. I'm a mathematician at heart, however much I try to deny it, which entails an analytical and systematic mind. So be it, at least it means I can understand most of the stuff that's going on in the world around me.

Except women, but that is the impossible dream.

Tomcraft - Loneliness
REM - Everybody Hurts
Kittie - What I Always Wanted
Prodigy - Firestarter

Aural Beauty

I've had the most boring day ever, apart from listening to the Matrix Reloaded Soundtrack CD over and over again, so I thought I'd post this, which I wrote a couple of days ago instead of doing some revision...

Two songs popped up on my mp3 playlist just now, and it amazed me how I hadn't heard either of them for so long, and just how good the songs were. They were Salva Mea by Faithless, and For My Fallen Angel by My Dying Bride. For those of you who don't know the bands, Faithless are a dance group from the UK, who are one of the best in the genre. They generally release as singles their big, thumping, trancey-house tracks, whereas the albums are slightly more eclectic and laid back. Salva Mea is taken from their first album, Reverence, which was released in 1996. My Dying Bride are an American Doom Metal band. This basically means that their songs are all about 10 minutes long, mostly slow, but with some heavy, chugging riffs thrown in every so often. For My Fallen Angel is taken from Like Gods of The Sun, which was recently re-released, along with the entire My Dying Bride back catalogue.

Salva Mea starts with a haunting (I am going to use this word a lot, bear with me) violin chord, which is eventually joined by a deeper, but still slow-paced chord from a synth. Dido, who was then just Rollo's (the main guy behind Faithless) sister, begins the vocal aspect with her distinctive voice. It's still very slow-paced, with no beat yet accompanying the burgeoning melody. I really like the lyrics that she sings, so here they are:
How can i change
The world,
If i can't
Even change

How can i change
The way
I am?

I don't know
I don't know

After this, there begins a keyboard melody, supplied by Sister Bliss, which builds for a minute or so along with the violins to a crescendo, upon which the beat kicks in. This is a dance tune, and when the beat is there it's fairly uptempo. When the beat drops, however, the song becomes mellow, soulful and haunting.

Maxi Jazz then supplies his vocal parts, after the violins and keyboard have faded out, leaving just the beat. Maxi is a rapper, but he has a very soft voice, and his flow is quite downbeat, allowing the listener to pick up all of the lyrics. These lyrics are also wicked, judge for yourself:
I want to take a look at the world behind these eyes
Every nook, every cranny, reorganise, realise
My face don't fit the way i feel
What's real?
I need a mirror to check my face is in place
In case of upheaval
Fundamental movement below
What's really going on, I want to know
But yo, it don't show on the outside
So slide

Just below my skin
I'm screaming

I need a mirror for my spirit
Yeah, can you hear it
When I get deep I want to hear my soul speak
Not drowning
Tumbling around and around
In the voices
Like a crowd in my head
So loud
I wonder what it's like to be dead
I hope it's quiet
Noises in my head
Like a riot
Any remedy you have for me
I'll try it

Just below my skin
I'm screaming

He does another verse a little later, but the lyrical content isn't quite as good. After this the violins kick in again, as does the keyboard melody. There is another vocal hook, a strained voice saying "Brother! Sister! Help me!" but it's fairly contorted. This occurs throughout, and I think it is the basis for the name of the song. Salva mea means save / help me in Spanish. Eventually the beat drops, to leave the final minute with just the slow violin and low strings chords. The fade-out is done to perfection, and it leaves you feeling as if you've experienced something special. Not a single second of its 10 minutes and 47 seconds length is wasted.

For My Fallen Angel is a very, very slow track. It also uses lots of string chords, but they are generally from the lower end of the scale. I thought of calling them tumbling, but that implies some sort of pace in them. A better descriptive word is flowing, because they rise and fall in volume throughout, but very slowly. The vocals are spoken, not sung, and the speaker has a voice which is particularly easy on the ear. It is a very deep voice, and displays some emotion, if not an extreme amount.

As you can probably guess by the title of the song, it is a song about a dead loved one. The verses are intermittent, with gaps between them often coming in at over a minute. There is no chorus, just 3 or 4 verses. To me, the lyrics seem slightly over-thought out. They are good lyrics, but they just seem slightly artificial and unemotional. This may have been the intention, but who knows? These are two seperate verses, spread out across the track; take a look:
As I draw up my breath
And silver fills my eyes
I kiss you still
For she will never rise

Like a thief in the night
The wind blows so light
It wars with my tears
That won't dry for many years

The slight artificiality of the lyrics doesn't detract from the song much though. Try listening to it just as a piece of music, and you'll be amazed at how haunting and beautiful it is. It's slightly macabre, because there are very few, if any, sounds towards the high end of the scale. It's very dark and could be regarded as depressing, but I just find it beautiful.

Go get hold of these songs as soon as possible, and just switch off when you listen to them. Close your eyes and concentrate on nothing but the music. I find this the best way to listen to this kind of music. Let me know how you got on with them.
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