The all singing, all dancing blog of Alex Guite

Friday, May 19, 2006

Imperial College: Purveyors of Higher Education to His Majesty the King

Just received my alumni registration form.
Quite possibly the best list of titles to choose from ever!

However, despite being able to choose from a list including 'Senator', 'Dr Group Captain', and 'Dott' (wtf?), there is no option to choose 'TBR' for Imperial's very own TBR's Martin Archer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Super-investigative-exposé: the man behind the comments

In between all the marriage proposals and signed knickers I've been receiving in my fanmail, I've recently been getting a lot of requests from readers who want to know more about prolific blog comment artist, Gavin.
Operating under various nom de plume, but mostly under his classic tag 'Gav', he has bought us some of the greatest insights of the 21st century. Who could forget the masterly:

London people wear scarves whatever the weather. Fact. Richard Bacon is not cool. Fact. The Sultan is not me. Fact. Alex Guites needs to be done with this. Fact.

Or how about the tear jerking:

Al - update your blog for fizzle's sake. I'm bored of searching the motherfizzling internet for things to read about people I don't fizzling know!

So what motivates Gavin? Why has he chosen to share his sageness and perception through the medium of this blog and not peer reviewed journals? Why does he never wear a shirt in photos?
I decided the best way to investigate this living legend would be to spend a day with him at a fashionable auction house as he expanded his germinating collection of objet d'art.
During a pause in the breathless bidding, I sneaked in the first question. Some people with a penetrating eye for rhyme, have started referring to Gav as 'Gav the Chav'. I wanted to know what he thought about this label.
"You know, Alex", he started, using his endearing method of repeating a person's name as he began his answer, "in my line of work you have to be ready for this sort of reaction. They're probably just jealous that they've never mistaken a large rock for a lilo."
The lilo incident reminded me of another question I'd wanted to ask the Llanishen High School graduate. "You once drank sixteen shots of sambuca in just one club as part of a night out-". He cut me short. "It was eighteen; eighteen shots of sambuca" he corrected me. It led me to wonder whether given the choice he would rather drink pepsi or coke. His answer, as with so many aspects of the interview such as the Jack Russel Terrier which was still humping my leg, surprised me. He raged that I'd offered him a false choice, that I'd tried to trick him with the question and even threatened to end the interview.
I took the interview back on to territory I knew he'd feel comfortable discussing: his much publicised love of Skittles. I asked him about the Skittles advert he'd just finished filming which premiers this summer, a photomontage of his record breaking Skittle consumption feat.
"At the 14kg mark I wasn't sure if I was going to make it, but I knew that thanks to all my training I could get through it. The 17th kilogram was the most lonely kilogram of my life. But once I got to the 20kg benchmark I knew the record was in sight. But I didn't just want to limp past the record weight. I wanted to completely destroy the previous record. I'm not the sort of person who wants to just set stupid records. I want to be the person who sets unbeatably ludricous records."
"So that's why you ate 31.4kg of Skittles?" I prompted.
"Yes." His answer said it all.
As Gavin returned to bidding, this time on a set of art deco gym mats, I left realising that although there is much still to discover about 'Gav' or the 'Big G' or 'anonymous', his answers did shed some light on the mystery that lies within the man behind the comments. But maybe it's not about the questions he answers, but about the comments he makes.
Let's see.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Stuff I ate and didn't eat today

I'm always turning down offers from publishing houses to write the latest fad diet. But as a special treat, I thought I'd give you a quick gastronomic tour of my day.
It's revision period and everyone knows that a healthy and well balanced diet is key to good work. That's why today I selected to eat a four person strawberry trifle for lunch. It's got all the major food groups: whipping cream, custard, sponge layer and jelly. I can't claim to have eaten it all myself, after about three servings I had to enlist a little help from my friends. You could say, it was a trifle too much for me. Thanks go to Pete, Tim and Charlie, who showed great panache and choreography whilst eating trifle with a knife.
All popular diets include some forbidden food and my diet is no exception. The big no-no is food with blue plastic in it. Today was a great case in point. Imagine the scene: me, going about my normal business, ready for a quick snack. So I reached into my bag and pulled out a ham and mustard-flavour-sauce sandwich. I'd had such sandwiches before, so as I tore back the plastic sheath to reveal the cheeky snack, I was already salivating in anticipation. But imagine my surprise as I discovered two bits of blue plastic in my food (see diagram for further details)! As Tim sagely pointed out "Dude, that's probably a piece of a catering plaster. I found one in my Mc Donalds once". Basically, the blue plastic indicates that it is a forbidden food.
OK, so for those people reading this who I have already told that I found a plaster in my sandwich, the picture probably looks a little disappointing. You'd probably tell me to eat around it. Initially I agreed with you, "Be a man and eat it" I told myself. Literally nanoseconds later (yes, that's how fast I think on food related matters) I performed a complete u-turn. "How about not eating this and not getting a disease" I decided instead.
So I took it back to Tescos to get my £1.14 back. You would have thought they might have been slightly apologetic after a loyal customer found a plaster in their sandwich. Quite the reverse in fact: I left feeling like it was my fault that some dude had left part of their plaster in my snack food. I guess you could call it finger food. At least I got my money back in the end. I declined the offer of a replacement sandwich.

In other breaking news this evening, TBR's Martin Archer is using facebook as a college networking and dating service. Speaking exclusively to thedudenextdoor, Martin Archer revealed "I've just been poked back by the hottest girl at Imperial. Now I've sent her a cheeky message and added her as my friend". An independent eye witness, Andy Smith, corroborated the story, and added "phwoar" when shown the profile of the 'hottest girl at Imperial'.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Always first with the lastest trends

As I've probably mentioned to you if I've met you in the last few days, internet phenomena are up there in my top ten methods for distracting myself during revision periods.
As if the arrival of facebook at Imperial wasn't enough, there is actually a double whammy in the shape of Google Trends. Apparently "with Google Trends, [I] can compare the world's interest in [my] favorite topics". Which is great, as I've always wondered whether the world prefers the infrared region or the ultraviolet region of the electromagnetic spectrum. It turns out that people generally prefer their light with wavelengths between 10μm and 1000μm, except for a brief period in early 2006 when the world showed considerable interest in the ultraviolet region. You know, infrared is so 2005.
An imaginary person, conceived entirely as a method for starting this paragraph, recently complained to me that there is just too much hustling and bustling nowadays. I decided to check this out. I can't deny that there is a significant and growing amount of 'hustle' about, but their claim that there is an equal amount of 'bustle' simply doesn't stand up to rigorous scrutiny.
One of the great claims of the internet is that it connects people. So are people
principally 'here' or 'there'? During most of the year in the United Kingdom, people are chiefly 'there', except for a number of brief periods in which a large proportion of the citizenry suddenly migrate to 'here'. Subsequently, they return to 'there'. Interestingly, the majority of Bradford's population claim to be 'here', whilst denizens of other British cities predominantly assert that they are in fact as expected 'there'.
I was pretty disappointed to discover that a search for Alex Guite doesn't yield enough search volume to produce graphs. I'd been really looking forward to comparing incidences of my name with searches for "most compelling blog description of the events following the disappearance of a flatmate's toothbrush".
I always like to thing that my blog posts have a strong moral dimension to them. Recent morals have included: always eat your greens; don't kill cute cartoon animals; and so forth. It looks like it's paying off: there is a whole lot of love out there.
Unfortunately, people don't seem to share my passion for the Taylor series so much and only have one thing on their mind.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

facebook @ the IC

Popular internet phenomena facebook has finally arrived at Imperial.
This is great news during the exam season as other Imperial revision avoidance techniques, such as heatedly discussing the relative merits of the Maclaurin and Taylor expansions, were starting to get a bit old. (Hint: it's the Taylor expansion which is the most elegant).
So if you're at the Imperial College, you should go ahead and register.
Then add me as your "friend".
If you're into this sort of thing, I'm afraid my "wall virginity" has already been taken.
We truly live in disturbing times.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

This flat says 'no' to poor dental hygiene

About a month ago I wrote one of my favorite blog posts to date. It told the story of what happened when my housemate's toothbrush got blown out of our apartment's window. The post had everything: great character development and a plot so gripping I should probably have reminded readers to return from the edges of their seats after reading it.
Avid followers will recall that the drama began when my housemate, TBR's Martin Archer, invited answers from Andy and myself to the following question: "Guys, where's my toothbrush?". Neither of us knew the answer to that question, but we did know the location of our own toothbrushes. They were in our own bedrooms charging up, ready for the kind of top class dental scrubbing that leads nine out of ten dentists to recommend electric toothbrushes over their manual counterparts (note: statistics may be fabricated).
Concerned that Martin may loose yet another toothbrush to the soft breath of a gusting wind, Andy and I took the opportunity of Martin's 22nd birthday last Monday to buy him a top of the range, dual head electric toothbrush. In addition to cleaning action so virile that Martin's winning smile will soon be featured on a billboard poster near you, a strange symmetry has descended on the flat. In every bedroom, an electric toothbrush stands tall and proud on it's inductive charger, impervious to the strong hand of the wind, each one an affirmation of humanity's dominance over dental plaque.
Quite by coincidence, last Tuesday all three of us found ourselves in the bathroom together cleaning our teeth, as Martin tried his new electric toothbrush. For the first time the three of us were able to nonchalantly stand around and allow our motorised toothbrushes do the hard work. Always quick on the observational humour, Andy quipped "Alex, I bet you're going to blog about this".

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

MSci Report: now with complimentary CD-ROM!

About seven hours ago I handed in my MSci report, concluding almost a year's work in the organic solid state.
As you can see, it's an attractively bound document with some sweet formatting on the front cover. Apparently it even looks like LaTeX. In reality it's just faux-LaTeX done in Word.
Not shown is my first attempt at binding my copy of the report, in which I punched the spine into the wrong side. I'm keeping that one to entertain future interviewers with my novel approach to document presentation.
In other report related news, I had an excellent trip to the library yesterday with Alon to get some stuff for our project. As is his want, he got out yet another book on neo-conservatism (unrelated to our project) which led me to a surprising find: the number of non-science books in the Imperial College Library. Being the stereotypical scientist that I am, with no interest in metaphors, analogies and alliteration, I automatically head straight to the Physical Sciences section to pick up the latest learned article. What I'm missing is literally tens of shelves of non scientific texts. I was somewhat surprised to find some Steinbeck listed under 'humour'. Most excellently I found an 'Encyclopedia of Rhetoric'; make no mistake, I'll be reading it.