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Tuesday, May 11

The Sparks, They're A-Flyin'

I woke up this morning (OK, so it was actually closer to lunchtime...) to be told by a couple of my housemates that yet again we had no hot water. This usually happens when two or three of us use the shower in quick succession, using all of the water heated overnight in the immersion tank.

However, in the past few days and weeks, we've had a series of fuses go in the lower of the 2 plugs which power the immersion heater. This has evidently been happening for a little while, because the plug socket is quite charred from other fuses which have gone violently. Thankfully, ours have just gone without exploding.

Well, until this morning, that is.

We plug the immersion heater in through a timer, which only heats the water for a certain period each day, and usually stops the fuse from blowing in the plug itself. That didn't happen last night.

Nope, this time the fuse blew, and I mean quite literally. It managed to melt the casing of the plug and also the casing of the timer, fusing the two together into an inseperable lump of plastic. There was no way of seperating the two, even after I took apart the timer in an effort to save the plug.

It was shortly after this that I managed to electrocute myself.

I decided to have a quick look at the wall socket itself, to check that that hadn't been damaged by the series of fuse blow-outs over the years. I took it apart alright, but when I put it back together, the live wire touched the screwdriver on the pen-knife I was using and gave me a fairly hefty jolt. The circuit-breaker in the main fuse box tripped instantly, but it wasn't a pleasant feeling.

Thankfully, there was no sizzling flesh and no hair standing on end, and I was OK. It was at that point that I remembered to switch off the electricity supply to those sockets before I started taking them apart. You live, you learn.

The plug was simply not going to come off the timer that it was melted onto, so I figured that I'd have to go get a new plug and then rewire it onto the existing cable. It'd been a while since I'd done one of those, but I knew that I could do it. Whilst in the electrical shop, I picked up a new timer, to replace the melted / broken one.

I got home, stopped for lunch, and then had a go at replacing the plug. This time I remembered to go turn off the electricity before I touched anything. I rewired the plug pretty quickly (it has a guide), and set everything back up to be switched back on.

The immersion heater is powered by two sockets, one plug going to the top of the tank, and one to the bottom. I switched both switches off before going to the fuse box and supplying power back to them both.

When I went back up, I flicked the top switch first, because I hadn't done anything to that socket or plug at all, save for switching it off. What could go wrong here, I thought.

A big 'CRACK' and a pretty big spark, that's what.

For the second time in the day, I jumped back and swore very loudly.

I'm still not sure exactly what went wrong with that one. The spark and bang came from the black box on top of the tank, where the wire comes out, rather than the plug socket. We've switched that on and off before, and nothing like that has ever happened.

I decided to not even risk turning on the switch which powered the plug I had rewired. Even I know when to stop and not risk something any more.

I managed to get hold of my landlord, and an electrician is coming round tomorrow to sort it out. Until then, it's cold showers all round...

In other news, my thumb is actually starting to worry me. I can bend it alright, and it works fine without any pain, but there is no sense of touch on the thumbprint area or the tip. It's very disconcerting.

Oh, and all of this has been happening whilst I really should have been revising. At least it's only 4 in the afternoon, and I can get some done now. He says, with the internet being so open and inviting.

One final thing: I've just bought on eBay the boxed set special edition of Full Metal Jacket for a very good price. A very, very good price, to be honest. I like buying DVDs, it makes me happy...

What was that about getting a job to pay for these DVDs? Pah! I have been applying recently, including one at my uni over the summer, and hopefully something will come up if I keep badgering enough people. Anyone out there want to hire me?

Keown - A Man, A Legend

I did mention last week that I'd managed to get a ticket for Martin Keown's testimonial, right? Well, 2 little updates on that: Firstly, more names have been confirmed to play for the England XI, including the captain himself, Mr Beckham, which is a pretty big coup for the match. Other invitees include Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Joe Cole. No players from the Scum or the other Scum (Spurs and Man Utd, for the uninitiated), which can only be a good thing. Also, tickets for the game have now SOLD OUT, which makes me very pleased to have got one. I shall be taking loads of photos at the game, if my camera's battery decides to play ball, and I'll get some posted here soon.

I swear I've said that sentence before numerous times with no end result...

One other thing I forgot to mention in the last post: somehow in the course of the exam I have managed to completely numb the thumb on my right hand. I think that I have trapped a nerve by the way in which I hold my pen, and it feels very, very strange. Actually, it doesn't feel at all, which is very, very strange.

It makes texting quite difficult, and I keep hitting the wrong buttons, including the big red 'Cancel' one, which is so incredibly annoying. It feels very weird, with a slight pins and needles sensation, but yet no sense of touch. Coupled with my complete ignorance as to how it was caused, and I'm a little worried...

I'll sleep on it, and see if it's any better in the morning. Speaking of which, it's time to go to bed.

PS. Check out Blogger's shiny new comments feature. And by "check out", I mean, of course, "use".

The Tort Exam.

Remember this time last year, how I posted about the cock-ups that befell my Contract Law exam, my first exam that year? I'll give a brief summary: The invigilators and organisers didn't know their ass from their face, and we were all fucked over by sheer incompetence.

Thankfully, that didn't happen today. I think I would have quite possibly collapsed on the spot if anything like that befell me today. I was little nervous, you see?

I'll start with last night, because, well, that's where I want to start. I was still revising until just after 1, fiendishly trying to complete as much as was humanly possible before my brain exploded from overuse. I figured that I wasn't going to get to sleep immediately, because my mind needed to wind down a little if it was going to switch off completely. I'd been revising solidly (except for Minesweeper-moments) for nearly 48 hours, and I needed to switch off before going to bed.

Darts seemed the obvious remedy.

We have a dartboard in our living room, so I popped into there to find only Pete still up. I threw a few darts and collapsed in a chair for a little while, before deciding that I was sleepy enough to fall into a deep slumber pretty sharpish. I had to be up the next morning to finish off a "tiny" (see later) bit of revision and to psyche myself up for the 2.30pm start of the exam.

Of course, I couldn't get to sleep. My brain was still running as it if it was on either Red Bull or speed, or possibly even both. I just couldn't stop thinking! One moment I was thinking about this September, when I move to Germany (this involved thinking in German for a brief period, which was pretty cool), and then I had this random idea for a film screenplay. I ran through almost an entire plot in my head, along with visualising various scenes and how they would look on screen. I'll be damned if I can remember all of the details right now, but I think it was pretty damn good.

So yeah, I couldn't get to sleep for at least 45 minutes, but eventually I drifted off. I woke up before my alarm woke me up, as per usual when I set an alarm. I don't know how my body clock does it, but if I set an alarm, I wake up before it goes off. If I don't set an alarm, I'll sleep right through, but somehow I wake up and have to wait for the shrill ringing noise to get my ass up and out of bed.

I have to put the alarm clock away from my bed, you see, because too often I have rolled over, stuck out an arm to switch it off and been back asleep within seconds. If I have to physically get out of bed to switch it off, that means I'm properly up. I've learned, although there have been far too many classes that I've missed or nearly missed because of putting the alarm clock within arm's reach.

But I digress. I'm good at that.

I did indeed make it out of bed at the designated hour, but before I could start doing any revising, I had to get out of the house for a short while. I'd been cooped up in my room for literally the entire weekend, and needed a break. Even if that break was only a 5-minute bus ride down to the local WH Smiths to replenish my pen stocks. I'd gone through too many in the course of my revision, what with writing out over 30 pages of solid text. I'm talking barely any white space here, and that's a lot of ink.

Sorry, I just stepped away from the computer to count the number of pages that I'd written over the course of this weekend, and the wad was a hell of a lot thicker than I thought. I must have worked very fucking hard!

So yeah, a trip to WH Smiths was my attempt to leave my room and my house for at least 20 minutes. I have such an exciting life at the moment.

The "tiny" bit of revision that I left myself turned into an hour's extra work, and because of that I wasn't really in the mood for going through the revision notes one final time. In hindsight, a last-minute flick through probably would have helped, but then hindsight is perfect sight, is it not?

I only live 2 or 3 minutes away from the exam hall this year, which is one of the best items of news I have received all year long. I live out in North London, and many, many of my friends on the law course have at least an hour-long journey to make to get here. I laugh at them, hahahaha.

A couple of mates popped round to my place before the exam, since they were quite early, and then we strolled on up, basking in the sunshine and the group feeling of intense nervousness. No mention of the exam was made, to be honest, because none of us wanted to admit that we were worrying about it.

I had to pop to the loo for about the 50th time that day before I went into the exam hall, as per usual before exams. That's the only way I show any kind of nervousness, to be honest. Even if I drink very little (as I tried to do today), I still have to piss like a racehorse every 5 minutes. Meh, what can you do?

Leaving my, erm, nervousness aside, what about the exam itself? I think the questions were pretty kind to me, and I would have been able to answer 6 from the 8 we were given. I only needed to do 3 in 3-and-a-half hours, and I chose to do 2 essay questions and 1 problem question. Most people usually do 1 essay and 2 problems.

When I say "essay", all of course are full written essay answers, but essay questions generally ask for your thoughts / knowledge of a specific area of tort law, rather than applying the knowledge to a given fact situation, which is what a problem question requires. You are forced to do 1 of each, and then have a choice on the third.

I, as per the norm, spent too long on the first answer (the problem question), and had to slightly rush my two essays. I think I still did pretty well though.

The best part of the exam (apart from the end) was the beginning of my answer to the final essay question I attempted. It was about how a particular case (Hedley Byrne) has undermined not only tort law, but also other areas of law, such as contracts and wills. I gave my answer the title "The Destructive Effect of Hedley Byrne", and started with the sentence "In the beginning, there was no liability for pure economic loss, and it was good. The law then created the Hedley Byrne excpetion, and chaos once more ruled the land."

I'm not quite sure why I did that, but I guess it's done now and there's nothing I can do to alter it. Unless....

I have to admit that the rest of that essay was particularly good (if I may say so myself), and I had put that intro in quotation marks before continuing to explain it, so it might not have a completely bad effect. It might even grab the examiner's attention after he's read through 2 other boring answers that I have given.

After the exam, we all bundled out, and I bumped into a few people who I hadn't seen for over a month, two of which invited me to post-exam parties at the end of the month. Don't mind if I do.

I tried to convince a couple of mates to come back to mine and to sink a few beers on the roof (it was still bathed in glorious sunshine), but there is another big exam tomorrow morning for a module that I don't take, so no-one was able to come.

I wasn't going to miss the opportunity, so I ended up sat up there with a couple of Sols (the perfect sunny day beer) and a Bill Bryson book that was lying around the house. I needed to relax for an hour or so, to do nothing and to forget everything I'd spent the last week cramming into my brain. Don't you just love exams?

And so now onto the other 3 that are remaining on my timetable. I have Evidence this Thursday, which I know I'm going to do terribly in, because the subject no longer interests me. It's open-book (thank God), which means I won't have to subject myself to quite the same punishing revision schedule tomorrow and on Wednesday, but I'm still going to need to work pretty flat out.

After that, it's another open-book exam next Thursday, and a final closed-book exam on the following Friday, the 28th. I'm going to get ridiculously drunk on that day, incredibly so. I'll finish the exam at 1, and I fully intend to be drinking beer by 1.10, preferably not stopping until the Monday evening (it's a bank holiday weekend...). Oh, and then I've got to get me a fucking job!!!

Or could I just spend my summer sitting on my ass and catching some rays? Now there's an idea...

The Somewhat Inevitable Catching-Up Post.

Oh come on, you knew it was coming!

Apologies for a complete lack of posting activity on my part for the past few days, I have been revising pretty solidly from about Wednesday onwards. Well, apart from Thursday, when I quite stupidly decided to reward myself for doing a day's revision on the Wednesday by, erm, taking a day off.

It's not even as if I did a huge amount of stuff that day! I watched a few too many episodes of Family Guy (after I'd promised myself that I'd watch one and then do some revision), and then it was dinnertime, and then there was football on the TV, and then it was 10 o'clock, which meant no revision at all. It's funny how these things add up, and how it gets to the very late evening before you realise that you have in fact thrown away an entire day of your life.

Oh, how many days have there been recently where I've done that?! I'd say 90% of my days between Easter and the middle of last week were completely wasted, in that I managed to accomplish absolutely nothing worthwhile in them. I wasn't even wasting my time that I should have spent working by going out too much, I was just wasting them by doing absolutely fuck-all!

I did keep telling myself to do something, even if it wasn't revision of any kind, but laziness and laxadaisicalness (is that even a word) took over. Lethargy, that's the word I want. I was very lethargic for pretty much an entire month, which is probably not the best way to spend your life.

Thankfully, the past 3 or 4 days have seen an upsurge in my energy and readiness to do something. Unfortunately, that "something" has been "cramming an entire year's worth of classes and notes into 3 days of revision". I am the master at leaving things to the very last minute.

I am also the master at finding little things to do whilst I am supposed to be revising. I should learn not to turn my computer on in the mornings, because it means that Minesweeper and Freecell are just a double-click away for the entire time that I'm sitting on my bed, trying to learn the exceptions to the general rule that a defendant is not liable when the plaintiff suffers a pure economic loss (amongst other fun things).

I only turn my computer on so that it can run KaZaa all day, but the lure of Minesweeper is too great for me. I have no willpower when it comes to not playing it. Freecell is even worse when I start. No matter whether I win or lose a game, my fingers have this reflex action of hitting in quick succession F4 (to check the statistics), Enter (to close that window) and F2 (to start a new game). I can't help it, they now do it by themselves!!! And of course, once a game is started, you have to try to win it, because it affects your overall statistics. I'm currently standing at a 73% success rate, with 842 games won and 314 lost. I'm most proud of my highest win streak of 16 games. Remember, this is all since I had to reformat my hard-drive at Christmas. Too many lost minutes and hours to Freecell...

Since you asked, my Minesweeper best times are as follows:

I seem to go through "hot" days on Minesweeper. I can go for ages without beating my best time on Expert, and then when I do I usually beat the other two times on the same day. Must be a confidence thing. Either that or complete overuse...

So yeah, anyway. See, I'm even getting distracted whilst writing!

Revision. Christ did that hit me like a ton of bricks. I spent the majority ot the time (or at least the non-Minesweeper time) sitting on my bed, my back up against the wall with two textbooks on one side of me, a pile of notes and lecture handouts on the other, and a writing pad on my knees. The ideal working environment? Probably not, but it worked for me.

Excuse me for one second, but I'm just going to blow my own trumpet.
I make fucking good lecture notes. Honestly, I really do. I'm not the kind to rewrite my lecture notes after each lecture, mainly because I'm a lazy cunt, so I make sure that I write with clarity whilst in the lectures. I'm usually working about 30 seconds behind the lecturer because I wait until I've heard everything he says on a case / piece before I translate ("translate" is definitely the word in law lectures) it into my own full sentences. I've often looked at other people's notes, and they are all over the place, without much coherency. How are they going to be of any use when it comes to revision?!

My revision notes are similarly neat and clear. I figured that if I take my time to make them neat and tidy, I will be able to visualise them better come exam time. I'm a very visual learner (we did a test back at secondary school once to find out), and I need to rewrite things in order to revise.

It's actually very difficult to rewrite a summary of a case when it has been summarised in a textbook, and then I've summarised it again when making notes for that week's class. It is quite an effort to avoid making it a copying exercise when it comes to revision, because that way you don't learn anything. If I have to think a bit on how best to rephrase or summarise an already summarised piece, it goes in and sticks.

I should take a photo of those revision notes, to be honest, because they were so very neat and organised. Just like me, sort of. Except that I'm not neat. I like things to be neat, but I don't make an effort to keep it that way every day. I'll have a sudden thrust of energy, from which I will fairly obsessively tidy for an hour or so, and then I will let it go to pot again for another week. If only I could be more strong-willed every day, it would save doing these big tidy-ups! Meh.

I ramble when I write, don't I? I guess it's just my style.

That will suffice for this post. I'll start the next one with the details of my exam today. It was, shall we say, interesting.

Monday, May 10

Not Dead

No, I'm not dead, contrary to what you may have read in the society pages. I've been busy revising for the exam I had a few hours ago, and haven't got anywhere near a computer in days. Well, that's a lie, but I will explain all a little later this evening.

Also, shiny new Blogger! Altogether now: ooooooooh, aahhhhhhhh, ooooooooooooohhhh! I'm just testing whether the little comments thing works or not, as well as a couple of other little new features.

Until later, then.
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