Sunday, January 23, 2011


Hi everybody.

Apologies for any lack of posting. My main reasons for it are a lack of time, energy and interest, a million other things to do and ~R having discovered this blog. I let her use my laptop and I think it appeared in my history.

As such I consider this blog semi-finished and myself semi-retired. My life seems vaguely on track now and it's time for me to start again on new projects. I think that I may pop on occasionally for my own benefit, but any updates here are going to be very, very infrequent. I like the idea of blogging so I may start a new one.

Anyway: here are my new year resolutions for 2011:

1) Get fitter, lose weight (same as every year, and same for most people)
2) Stop procrastinating. Just do stuff.
3) Blog on any one of my new blogs at least weekly.
4) Be happy.
5) Say yes more. Not all the time, but just more.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Happy New Year

Hi everyone! Happy new year!
No posts for ages, sorry. I've been really rather busy. I don't know if there will be a catch up post or not, but at least let's start the new year by posting stuff...

Summary of 2009
  • Relationship with ~R - I had no idea I could get someone I had sought after for so long.
  • Still at med school, passed all the exams but don't really know enough.
  • Still on anti-depressants, mood still fluctuating.
  • Went on an explore round bits of Asia. Mixed experience, but I learned a lot from it.

New year's resolutions
  1. Be happy
  2. Keep ~R happy
  3. Be nice to people, especially my family
  4. Work more efficiently - work when I work, play when I play: keep the two separate.
  5. Get fit. Actually go to gymnastics and master the flips I want.
  6. Make the most of where I am now. Don't compare it to where I could be/should be.
There's loads more things I want to do, (blog more regularly, see more friends, take up new activities, turn up on time to stuff) but they're less important. I think 6 resolutions are already too many, but then again they can be summarised more briefly to.

  1. Be happy and appreciate how good my life is.
  2. Be nice to people.
  3. Be efficient.
  4. Get fit.
Which seems much less over-whelming. 1 and 2 are most important, 3 and 4 may be more challenging.

Anyway, good luck to everyone, and may you have a happy, successful and prosperous 2010!


Friday, October 30, 2009

Life Control

I've spent too long wallowing in depression and panic. Work is difficult and I'm not working hard enough.

As a result: I am going to stop procrastinating.

This will take the following forms:

1) I will only check the BBC news website, Facebook once daily.
2) I will only play starpirates once daily (I haven't linked it as it's a terrible game, but only started playing it to feel closer to ~R when I was stalking her. I knew she played it, and I didn't tell her that I was playing it too.
3) I will take regular breaks from work. Every 30 minutes or so, I will take a short break, do a few press-ups walk around, then come back and work harder.

In addition, to help me feel happier, I will develop a morning ritual. This will involve:
1) Tea
2) Exercise - Probably 20 press-ups
3) Positive thoughts

I am going to take control of my life and happiness again. ~R helps make me happy, but I need to rely on myself.


Saturday, October 17, 2009


To try and earn some money to fund my life, I'm trying to spend a little bit of time tutoring chemistry. I put my details on a tutoring website, and had my first student called M------- today.

I was a bit annoyed as M------- is extremely disorganised. For example, I rang her a week ago asking her to ring me back to confirm a lesson after talking to her parents. I ended up having to ring her the day before the lesson was due to take place (multiple times) trying to get it confirmed.

I turned up after travelling for over an hour to get there, only to find that she hadn't discussed details with her parents till that day. I arrive at her flat, which was squalid, and smelt appalling (seriously ~R, if you think I'm bad, you haven't seen anything - think something off Kim and Aggie). There were three youngish sons from about 6-14 who were running amok (but seemed like really lovely kids).

I met M-------'s father, Thomas, who wanted to talk to me about how we were going to do the lessons and everything like that. I don't mind that, and I normally allow time for that, but it took a lot longer than I wanted. In addition, apparently, M------- hadn't told him my rates before he said it was ok, and he said he can't afford them (having seen their living conditions, I'm not surprised and it wasn't just a bargaining tactic). I agreed to take her for the reduced rate, but we were going to meet somewhere more convenient for me in future. I found it was an example of low socioeconomic background forming a barrier for education, so I thought I'd do my bit to help someone poorer try and improve themselves. To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the father, but the kids were really nice. The sons were clearly crying out for attention, and were trying to impress me - I really think the parenting could do with a lot of work: Dad needs to spend more time with kids without piling on the pressure (I could see him being classic pushy parent with M-------).

I thought after coming all this way, I would do the lesson (otherwise the morning would have been a complete write off), despite the fact that it would make me miss gymnastics. I told them that we couldn't do the lesson in their home (it was far too chaotic and messy and loud with the kids - not their fault, just not amenable to work). So we went to their "local" library - which ended up being quite a long walk away.

I spoke to M------- on the walk down, and my instincts about pushy parenting were confirmed. I asked the questions that I couldn't ask in front of her dad, finding out how big the task in front of us was. My fears were confirmed - her dad didn't realise how bad her results were and how much of a struggle trying to improve them would be. I also found out her motivation for tutoring, as she also genuinely wanted to learn. She realised that if she gets high enough results to go to university she'll have a chance for freedom and space. Sadly due to pushy parenting (dad wanted her to be a doctor) she's chosen a very optimistic course - pharmacy at Manchester - requiring a B. As someone who scored so low in her AS chemistry that her school won't let her take A2 chemistry (so she's doing it from learning with me and self-teaching), I really think that it's slightly mission impossible.

This was only confirmed to me when I actually took her for the lesson. Her skills were appallingly bad. She struggled to balance chemical equations - a skill that I thought was required for GCSE chemistry - let alone A level. I took her through a discussion of enthalpy changes.

In the end I gave about 3 hours to M------- and her dad for 80% of the money that we agreed on for one hour. (Including the travel time and expenses, I took significantly less than minimum wage for this). I've taken on a pretty much impossible mission that I am likely to fail on. I'd really like to see her do well though.

An interesting thing struck me when I was trying to motivate her, and also discuss her study habits. I told her that she had a big task ahead of her, and she would have to work really hard to have even a chance of achieving her goal. She'd have to make sacrifices and start being pro-active with her learning - I asked her to take time to work without distractions, to answer questions and read over her notes. But the rewards were good and were clearly something that she wants.

I realised a lot of this applies to me in my learning. I'm not working hard enough, and I'm not working smart enough. I need to test myself more by answering questions. I need to work without music and without flicking to websites or distracting myself with comic books. When I work - I need to work hard. That will give me enough time to play and be with ~R, my favourite thing in the world.

And the possible rewards for me are great too. I can be a doctor, but not only that - if I work hard enough, I can help ~R too. I know she struggles sometimes, not because she's not smart enough (I think she's actually smarter than I am), just because she's never learned how to apply her cleverness to learning. So if I can find ways to make things she struggles with easy to learn and interesting, it would make me really happy. I love her so much, and would love to feel that I have stuff to offer her. She makes me so incredibly happy, and she says I make her happy. I just want to be good enough, so that she never turns round and thinks I'm not good enough for her and we need to part our ways. I love her and want her for as long as I can have her.

This is an unbelievably over-long and rambling post, so I'm going to stop there.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Ok, suffering a horrible bout of depression. My mood is a roller-coaster at the moment, feels more like plunging falls than exciting twirls or gentle climbs. I feel terrified about this course, terrified about my social skills (or lack of them), terrified about how my family are doing, terrified about how I'm going to live in this house for another year.

Then I see ~R. And everything is wonderful. She almost makes me calm. She nearly makes me forget, and just enjoy the moment.

And then my mind screws things up worse by my realising how important she is to me. How she makes me feel. How much I love her. My mind twists the knife by bringing to my attention how much I need her, how much I rely on her.

But also how unworthy of her I feel. It feels like she's out of my league. I'm reduced to a simpleton in her presence because I'm in such awe of her.

She makes me smile and laugh inside from almost anything she does. I've got a little note in front of me from her that she wrote asking me to go to lunch with her today, and it still makes me stupidly happy.

And I can't bear the thought of losing her.

Aaargh. Why won't my mind just behave?


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Oh, life.

Dear xkcd.
Yet again, you hold a mirror up to life beautifully. Today, you summarise the neuroses that run through a male nerd's mind perfectly.

Seriously - I think this happens all the time, all over the place.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dream egg

Last night I dreamed that all my co-workers found out that this was my blog. It actually scared the hell out of me - I admit to a fair amount of stuff here that I don't want most people to know.

I think I know why it happened - I've got a secret page here with a message for ~R that I never intended to publish. I accidentally hit "publish post" yesterday, so for a few seconds yesterday, a deeply personal story that I don't even want ~R to read was available. Gave me cold sweats for a few seconds - I'm glad that Google's archiver isn't that fast!

I'm going to be supremely careful about where I post from - only going to use computers that can't be traced back to me - and if so, I'm going to make sure I clear the history afterwards...

Paranoia, moi?


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Head over heels

She came back to visit for a few hours yesterday. I was so excited.

Being around her again, feeling her next to me, breathing her scent - it all left me incapable of intelligence. I just drowned in waves of happiness and contentment again.

It was over all too soon. Will have her back next week.

It's really terrifying to realise how far you've fallen for someone. How much power they hold over you. How happy you are when with them, how much is missing when they're away. I was hoping not to fall in love this badly - it makes it harder if/when it ends.

Love you.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009


If you're feeling miserable, small events can really change how you feel
  • Like friends taking time out of a party to come knocking on your door to say hi and making sure you're alright. (Thanks M--- and M-- L---)
  • Or an unexpected gift. (Thanks to my SSC supervisor M---- {I've been really lucky with good supervisors})
  • Or having a enjoying having chat with a friend who seems pleased to see you (Thanks K--)
  • Or getting helpful emails from my family (Thanks mum and sis)
  • Or receiving any flavour of communication from someone you really love (~R xxx)
  • Or even, hearing about people who really have things to be upset about. (I'm really sorry to hear your bad news S-----, my thoughts at the moment are with you and your family)
It's time for me to be more balanced. I still don't feel like socialising so will spend quite a lot of the near future on my own avoiding most people, but have to appreciate how lucky I am.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Summer Holiday

The first half of my summer was spent picking apart body parts. My dissection skills leave something to be desired. I was asked to do a deep dissection - let's just say I went a little bit deeper than they wanted, removing things enthusiastically. I could have really benefitted from a bit more supervision and help.

Second half of the holiday I spent about two and a half weeks travelling around Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Brunei and Kota Kinabalu (in Borneo) with my flatmate L--- (and J-- was in Brunei and Borneo).

The holiday was extremely frustrating. I really fell out with L---. We're like chalk and cheese. I found out that although travelling solo isn't ideal, it's better than a poor travelling companion. I didn't enjoy being the one who had to sort everything and didn't enjoy the general selfishness and lack of gratitude. To be honest, I'm pretty sure L--- didn't enjoy my company either, so I don't think I've got too much right to complain.

Anyway, I should concentrate on some of the highlights of the holiday to make me appreciate the good times out there. Some bits just stand out for me.
  • Having the skin nibbled off my feet by "doctor fish" in Kuala Lumpur
"Goldfish shoals, nibbling at my toes. Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun" - Red Dwarf Theme.

Plunging my feet into a shallow pool filled with tiny fish which attack your feet was a really weird feeling. It's like having your feet firmly prodded and poked - a very ticklish sensation. It's a bit scary, my paranoid streak made me worried that there was a little gang of piranhas hiding somewhere, waiting to pounce. It did make my feet feel noticeably softer and the skin generally felt nicer. I'd really recommend it.

  • Snorkelling with the fishes on the islands near Kota Kinabalu
I never understood the idea behind snorkelling before. Scuba - you could freely wander along the bottom, breathing happily from your big tanks of oxygen. Snorkelling - you have to swim right at the surface, and you still can get water in your snorkel and so you can't go deep.

And then I saw the fish.

The islands near Kota Kinabalu are wonderful for snorkelling. A short boat ride from Jesselton Point, you have the choice of 5 islands to explore. I snorkelled on two small ones - Mamutik and Sapi. The water was warm (bath temperature) and blue. The sand was white. The fish were amazing and diverse: such beautiful colours, different sizes and characters. So many beautiful corals beneath them (I still can't believe that they're alive). I risked my digital camera to try and take photos - putting it in a clear plastic bag and taking it underwater. Sadly this was my best photo...

Sadly there just wasn't enough light to get a good, clear, focussed one of fish with my cowboy underwater camera.

I also kept getting bitten by fish, not as pleasantly as the doctor fish (but no actual damage - getting scratched by corals was more painful).

Anyway, these were a few of my highlights of my holiday, I'll leave it there (coming back to it if I have time)


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Back in the UK

I've been on holiday for the past two and a half weeks - exploring various parts of Asia - 3 countries. It's been fun in places and I've learned a hell of a lot about myself - may even stick a bit about it down here if I have time - I kept a diary while out there, but it would just be edited highlights.

Glad to be back though. Term has started, but I've had an easy start as I've been doing my project - I'm currently learning about the Alexander Technique. More to come about that soon.

I get to see ~R for the first time in 6 weeks tomorrow. I'm so excited and can't wait. A bit nervous again, but I'm just absolutely thrilled.


Monday, August 03, 2009

She loves me...

I've spent the last few days wondering if she loves me or not. I'm a bit paranoid because I got dumped last time after my ex went on a long summer holiday. Also, I really like ~R, so I really don't want it to come to an end. Luckily she sent me a little email today saying that she misses me and would like to hear my voice, so it's putting my mind at rest quite a bit. I really want to tell her I love her and miss her loads, but I understand there are "rules" that you don't come on too strong, so I'll wait for the time being.

In other news, I spent Saturday with my friend T---- and his two sisters (who are also both lovely) and went to see a comedian called Rhys Darby, who is apparently one of the actors in "Flight of the Conchords". It was a bit mixed, but it was a fun evening out (must admit that I preferred the comedian who was his support act). Went to a japanese restaurant called "Hare and Tortoise" near Russell Square tube station which was ok, but very good for the cheap price.

Sunday was spent hanging out with one of my post-docs from my PhD days called L---, who has recently moved to London. He's a lovely guy and I don't see him often enough, I don't think I've seen him for about a year. Anyway, we went to the Imperial War Museum, had crispy pork in Chinatown and walked round St. James' Park, giving us plenty of time to catch up.

It's been a good weekend. Except for receiving a letter from the evil people from NHS bursary who either ignored/missed my PhD funding, or are not allowing it as part of my self-support status. Either way, it's annoying and it's more admin for me to have to do... Grrr...


Thursday, July 30, 2009


I sent my love an email telling her how much I miss her and love her. She sends me a very factual one back asking me to do a favour. No love, no kisses.

I hope this isn't an omen.



Monday, July 27, 2009


Just got an email from ~R. It fills me full of warm, hug feelings. I've been anticipating an email from her for a while. I love her so much.

It mentioned the fact she had an admirer at one of her excursions. I'm not surprised as she's incredibly fun and beautiful, and she said that the admirer was no-where up to my level, but I still feel jealous. I wish I was with her now.

I love you ~R. Can't wait to see you again.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Catching up

I realise I haven't put up a blog post for ages - last post was end of May, so I've gone the whole of June and most of July without updating. As a result, I'm just going to briefly list some of the salient points of the past two months so I feel like I've caught up. If I don't at least mention them here it will feel like I've got an itch that I can't quite scratch.

The main reason I haven't posted for most of this time is due to exam panic. I had a lot of exams around the beginning of July, so I spent a lot of time revising and panicking. I had an entire term's worth of work, which incidentally was the most difficult term of work so far (two modules, one on the musculoskeletal system (and skin) and one on neuroscience and psychiatry), so there was a lot of anatomy to learn. In addition I had a practical exam (OSCE) which tested any of the clinical procedures that we had learnt over the past year. As I only just scraped past the practice OSCE earlier this year, I was terrified. In the event I managed to pass all those exams acceptably well, so will be returning to university next year.

The other central part of my life recently has been the wonderful ~R. I've been spending a lot of time with her and think things have been going well. I'm very much in love with her and she makes me so very happy. I love being with her and having her near me. My addiction to her made it harder for me to concentrate on work, as my mind keeps drifting back to her. I'm really pleased that she too has passed her exams so will be coming back next year. However, she's away in America doing a project with her friend for the whole summer and I miss her lots. She won't be back until the holiday is over. I must admit I'm a bit scared that like my ex-, she'll come back and end the relationship. I really hope not. She's been gone less than a week (since Monday), but it feels like an age already.

Other things:
Well, my sister has moved into a new house that she has bought and it's really pretty. I'm looking forwards to the day I can afford my own house!

I've got a new house for next year, having moved out of student halls. I've moved in with three of my flatmates from this year and we have a little house just minutes from the hospital. It's quite nice, moving was a pain though and the kitchen is ant infested, the bathroom is crap, and the furniture is broken. My room itself is reasonably nice, having come second out of the hat when we were assigning rooms.

I'm off to Asia for two weeks with two of my flatmates at the end of August, just before term starts. One of them (J--) lives in Brunei, and offered to show us around, so myself and L--- are going to visit him. J-- has helped us organise going to Malaysia and Thailand as well, it's going to be amazing and I can't wait, but there's still a lot of organisation to do.

Until then, I've got a little job in the dissecting room. It involves removing all the soft tissue from the arm (below the shoulder blade), leaving only the bones and ligaments (and those muscles that prevent the top of the arm (humerus) falling out of the shoulder blade cup (glenoid fossa)). It pays minimum wage, but it's quite fun, and I'm learning anatomy as I go. There's also some other nice people doing it, so it's quite a fun experience.

Anyway, I'm getting tired, so I'm going to end this update here. If I can I'd like to keep going and maybe go into a bit more detail, but this will do for this post.

Goodnight everyone!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Star Trek

Just saw the recent Star Trek movie with ~R.

I'm not a trekkie, but my only comment is this:

"See that movie, George? That is how you make a Sci-Fi prequel."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

Three words


Three words that change everything.

~R said that to me outside a cake shop in Chinatown. I had been uncharacteristically decisive - after having dinner together, we were thinking of getting dessert and she said she liked one of them. I said we should get it as take-away and strolled in and asked for one. Then I realised I had to choose one for myself - got flustered and finally chose something I recognised. This fit of general incompetence amused her when I sheepishly wandered out with her afterwards, and she told me she loves me.

It means so much to me coming from her. Especially after a slightly roller-coaster weekend where I've gone through a lot of emotions.

We spent Saturday evening and Sunday visiting ~R's best friend K---- who threw a small house party. I adore K----. She helped bat my corner when R- was suggesting that ~R should break up with me. K---- is also lovely and wonderful in her own right. She shares quite a few of ~R's qualities that I love about them both. It also doesn't hurt that she's always been really nice about me. She also told me that she liked the valentine's card I sent ~R. (Apparently, ~R thought that K---- had sent the card, so had thanked her for it. Cue much confusion when K---- knew nothing about it. I would have loved to have been there for that conversation!).

Spending time with her was fun, and it was good to see her happy. It was fun hanging out with her housemates and her friend S----, who was interesting but also had quite a lot of "interesting times" ahead of her. It was nice to meet K----'s love C----, who seemed very sweet, but not quite what I had pictured for her.

One downer for the weekend was my brain being my worst enemy. I don't know if my Prozac's not working brilliantly at the moment, or if my brain is physiologically playing up, or even if it's a reality check, but the voices that tell me that things are going to go wrong were shouting at me again. They told me that I'm not good enough for ~R, that I'm not interesting enough for ~R, that we aren't a good pairing. Worst of all, they were telling me that ~R's friend R- may be right: that this is all one sided and that I love ~R, but she isn't really that interested in me and that she's just going with the flow because I'm calming on her and make her happy. And that when she's sorted or twigs or finds the strength, then it's all going to be over. Problem with that is that I'm really too much in love with her now, and think that if it's going to end messily, it should be sooner rather than later.

I had a cut down talk with her about that on the way back - ~R is really perceptive and noticed that I looked sad, even though I was trying to hide it. I told her that I was sad from thinking about my family (which was true) and thinking about her - and that I was sad because I really like her and that it left me vulnerable about losing her. She told me that I meant a lot to her and that she wouldn't want to hurt me. I told her I knew this because she was a really good person, but I also said that sometimes feelings don't work like that. She told me that I had got to the point that I really mattered to her and that she didn't open up easily, but had opened up for me.

I love her so much. She's so lovely.

Good night my sweet. You make everything better. I love being with you. Spending time with you is wonderful.


Saturday, May 23, 2009


To my grandma who passed away yesterday - I'm thinking of you.

I didn't know you very well, but I met you a few times and you were nice to me. I know how much mum is missing you and hurting right now. When I think how I'd feel if my mum died, it makes me so sad.

Be strong mum, thinking of you too. Miss you.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

PhD Graduation

I had my PhD graduation yesterday... It was a slightly anti-climactic occasion, but it was a nice way to draw a line under one section of my life.

I think this would be a good opportunity to do an awards-ceremony-style thank you list. Technically, I put one of those at the front of my thesis, but that was a formal one where I had to thank certain people and couldn't really be as honest and open as I would have liked. So here is an alternative acknowledgements page:

Firstly and foremost, thanks so much to Jon: my amazingly incredible supervisor. I couldn't really say how fantastic he is in my thesis - but then again, I don't think I have the words to say how brilliant he is anyway. He was an amazing person to work for: someone who genuinely cares about the wellbeing of his students, is incredibly intelligent, enthusiastic, patient; appreciates that we are human and need a life outside of the subject. Jon is incredible and I admire him greatly. I'm really grateful for him allowing me to work in his group.

I'm also really grateful to my industrial supervisor, Jan, who is really intelligent and gave me some really good ideas during the project. He actually spent time thinking about my work and how he could help me - more than most people in his situation do. He also looked after me very well while I was working in the industrial labs.

On that note - I'm really indebted to Merck, who helped to very generously fund my PhD, and also the EPSRC who also chipped in.

Thanks to my group members who have been a lot of fun to work with and who helped me through the tough times: chemistry and real-life. In particular in Jon's group: Dave, Simon, Luke, Sarah, Paul, Phil, Stuey, Ben and M---- (Sorry M----, but your name is just a bit too rare and would remove the anonymity). Also thanks to those of you who I've been lucky enough to share a lab with who have been fun and supportive to be around, especially: Ryan, Seb, Mell, Frankie, Stu and Filipa.

I suppose I ought to thank my ex, M--. She was supportive at the start, but to be honest she did far more damage to my PhD era at the end, so the two things cancel each other out. Well, thank you for the good times anyway.

On that note, thanks to all of you who helped pick me up when I fell (those darkest days). In particular, that would be my family, Jon, Luke, Simon, Sarah, Paul, Phil, Bren, Chris, Dave, Del, Chris and many, many more people. (Special thanks to you Wil and 'Chelle, for being there when I was literally alone in SF. You are possibly the kindest people I've met in the world - ever). But most of all, thank you Joolz. I really needed you, and you were always there. Thank you. I think I may have taken advantage of you a bit - I had fallen out of contact with you before hand, and we've drifted apart since - but you were always there, giving me time, listening to my tear-stained late-night phone calls. I can't thank you enough. Really.

The biggest thank you to my family though: that's you mum, dad, B---- and W--. You've always been there for me, unfailingly, unquestioningly, reliably. The one constant that I know I can rely on, always. Thank you - again, I can't say in words what you mean to me, it would sound hollow and wouldn't do you justice anyway. You're all the best.

And thanks to any of you who I haven't given an individual shout out to. You have made a big impact on my time during my PhD - I'm just having a brain melt. Thank you. I appreciate what you've done.

And on that self-indulgent note, thank you and good night!