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So what have I been up to? Apart from recovering from a bizarre quart-life crisis (I know! How bourgeois! I'm actually quite proud of myself for doing/going through something mid way normal for once) and third year of physics degree... quite a bit. I'm about a third of the way through the first draft of the YA science fiction novel (technically should have been finished last summer, but the summer placement did take a lot of energy. At least I finished most of the plotting but you know how these things change as you write them...) and have completed the script for the next Captain Hamish adventure whilst editing the first comic and working on the website. I also found a small independent theatre group that's looking for more scripts and quite nicely invited me to try my hand at writing for them so I'm polishing those off too.

Then there's the science. Initially I had some very ambitious plans about creating a basic Monte Carlo simulation of intracellular microrheology (a spin off from last summer's placement) but there's a lot to learn first before I can even start coding this 'basic' simulation so I don't think I'll get that far. I'm working through 'Computer Simulation Methods' by Harvey Gould and 'Non-Linear Physics' by Lui Lam, but as is so often the case, I am constantly reminded of things that I still need to work on. For instance, my linear algebra is still pretty weak (well, appallingly so for what I want to be able to do) so there's a lot of revision to be done in that regard as well. I've discovered I'm best at Statistical Mechanics and Solid State/Materials stuff so I figured I'd put more work into furthering my understanding in those areas which will hopefully give me something to aim for. Quantum Mechanics is one of those topics that I'm much better at than I think I am (I had a verbal interview earlier last week and aside from brain farts when it came to the scientific vocab/jargon, I could problem solve my way through pretty easily) and I managed to find a copy of Zettili's 'Quantum Mechanics' which is one of the best books for a student as it's full of problems, solved examples and - get this - answers*! Unfortunately, there are only two copies in the entire library so I have to whizz through it to hand it back. JOY.

Went home over the weekend for Father's Day and I think it's safe to say we have made peace, my father and I. It's hard to explain but essentially, in a family with two or more children, there's usually someone who will take after one of the parents specifically. My younger brother and sister are an interesting mix of both my parents' whereas the youngest is a re-imagining of my mother and I am most definitely the female version of my father, complete with melancholia and chronic day dreaming/overreaching. There's usually some law of nature that decides we will somehow offend each other by the end of my stay (to be honest, we are both very, very easily offended and tend to hold grudges. I like to think I'm more gracious about it, though... of course) but this time he jokingly begged me to 'stop torturing him' to which I retorted that there are many people in the world suffering today who could only wish that they were being tortured by the person that is myself and he should be grateful for what he's got. Mother also voiced her agreement so, as ever the wise Igbo patriarch, seeing that he was outnumbered, he accepted we had a point.

Over the course of various examination periods, I've also discovered an unhealthy addiction to a TV show called 'Come Dine With Me', the analysis of which would pretty much cover an entire PhD in Social Anthropology. In fact, owing to my spending a considerable amount of brainpower if not working on physics, then worrying about physics, I think it's safe to say I've become a veritable connoisseur of trash TV. 'So You Think You Can Dance', 'Made in Chelsea', 'The Apprentice'... heaven. Forget socialism, it is trash TV that overcomes all class divisions and tensions. Muslim, Atheist, Christian, Sikh and Jew can all sit side by side masticating peanuts and mini oreos as bask in the light of the telly and join in the eternal chorus of 'WTF?"

And I had my first romantic-ish-y-not-really entanglement today! It was strange. I know I am very strange when it comes to such things but it's even stranger to have it rubbed in your face (not in this case by the fellow in question who is smart, chivalrous and interesting but by the situation itself). I am shocked by the fact that I was able - even with the predictable polite nonsensical murmurs - to lay it out straight that I am not interested in any sort of relationship that might even contain the merest promise of sexual relations (there is no reason for this; it's just the way I am. Apparently it means I'm a sociopath, or so the lolbertarian housemate says (albeit, admittedly, somewhat jokingly). Good thing he said it too, or I might've felt tempted to give in to my suspicions that I am the only real human in the world and everyone else is just pretending. Funny though. Most people would call it some variant of asexuality but what would I know?). 

What's even weirder is that if there is one person who gets this (apart from my sisters who are by and large the same but use lack of said desire in a rather more Machiavellian fashion), it's actually my father. I think mother thinks he is being naive in typically dad fashion but oddly enough, for once he isn't. It's strange how sometimes parents can completely understand one part of you but then be completely clueless as to another and stranger still how they can make up for the others' deficiencies.

 I had plans to buy a new microscope but that has become a pipe dream as what I really need is a new laptop. My poor old man that is my iBook G4 has started blacking out again. Obviously the Power Manager needs to be reset, but it isn't falling for the usual tricks anymore. Ah well. It's certainly lasted.

*This is one of those never to be solved mysteries of science. Despite being constantly reminded that science is all about practice, we of studentkind always find there are remarkably few problems given for us to solve and even fewer with any sort of answer to check whether we are right. I suppose it's training like that which separates the weedy and wannabe from the Nobel Prize Winners. Sometimes, I've often wondered if it isn't some kind of cruel torture passed down by generations of scientists - "so you want to be a real scientist, huh?" they seem to be saying, "want to feel the pain of never knowing if what you've spent your life (ok, half an hour) working on will even turn out to be right? Well suck it up, ducks - if we had to suffer, you must too! This is what real science feeeeels like!"

The funny thing is, those of us who want to be lecturers/researchers have already admitted that we will likely be just as bad, if not worse, to our poor descendants in the path of science.
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