NB: There are more panels after the “Read More” break.
The Onion Knight
What if A Song of Ice and Fire initially focussed on Davos instead of Ned? A Clash of Kings/season 2 spoilers, to be overly cautious.
NB: There are more panels after the “Read More” break.
Is was the unforgiving winter of 2013 that overstayed its welcome. Many of the sickly students perished, and my housemates fled south that Easter in hope of a fresh hot meal that has no place in the barren wasteland of Coventry. Looking back, I imagine myself having a bushy beard, but there’s no evidence to say that’s even possible.
Although I could stand my ground by sleeping with a hammer under my bed, it was the late April exams I needed to settle to secure my place here. Solitude is a dangerous thing. Solitude makes you clean the house four times a day. Solitude makes you stare at a window, murmuring to yourself until the charity person goes away. I had listened through my iTunes library a hundred-fold, and about a fifth of the views for most of YouTube were by yours truly. I needed something new to accompany throwing my stress ball at the blackboard, hoping I could hit it hard enough to detach that chalky mess from the wall and come crashing down like my aspirations at the start of the academic year.
But there was something. It was foreign, yet I liked it. It was a patriotic speech laced with so much bullshit that it had to have a good tune to stop people from noticing. It was, ladies and gentlemen, a national anthem.
I shit you not, they are actually great little things. The fact that most of them are incomprehensible to non-polyglots means they won’t distract studying (or whatever you do). And when you’re free from exam peril, you can laugh at how the lyricist got away with their babble. Anyway, have a look at some of my favourites:
East Germany. This was composed specifically for the East as the traditional “Deutschlandlied” was used by the West. I liked it the instant the music changes about 35 seconds in.
France. Yes, I actually like the French national anthem, but you’ll never catch me saying that publicly.
Soviet Union. This is the boss. It stems out of the victory in World War II, with the original and Paul Robeson’s English translation being similar to this but with references to Stalin that were later removed during de-Stalinisation.
It takes two to mango…
Yes, I’m still alive. It’s getting stale that I have to remind you every time I post (but as the third and fourth website birthday posts are both on the main page I feel I have no choice). I’ve been busy, sure, but not too busy to avoid looking at cats. I suppose I’ve not found much to talk about, at least to a large audience where most of whom have not met me and know nothing about me except that I’m a past paper pirate who likes moaning about things. So what have I been doing lately? Well take a seat, the news might be disturbing.
A large part of university is experimenting. Students are young, a lot of them have emerged from a sheltered existence, and the appeal of new things that don’t instantly reveal their dark side seems nothing more than an innocent temptation. Students question once firmly held beliefs and ideals. Consequences are for people with jobs and families. I am no different. I have been experimenting as well. I have my own dark secret that came to being as harmless curiosity. I don’t want you to judge me, but accept me for who I am.
It started with seeing what the fuss was about, thinking a small investigation couldn’t hurt. Yeah, sure, the Bible was against it, but the Bible is against a lot of things. This is [insert year here], get with modernity. I liked it. It was something new. Behaving as a man in such a colourful fashion seemed unacceptable, unconventional, unnatural. But natural was the only word to describe my true feelings. Although I kept it from friends and family, I accepted my true self. This true self dressed to impress, took up personal grooming, even got fitter. I was even a platonic shoulder to cry on for the fairer sex. I knew there was no turning back when I went to Blackpool in another man’s arms.
But what about my friends? Sure, homophobia is as extinguished as smallpox. But no number of Facebook red equals signs could quell an unaccommodating reaction from what used to be my dearest friends. It taxed what was left of me when I finally told them the truth. The truth…that I dance.
Yes, I dance. I’ve been dancing for exactly one year. I put on a waistcoat and move around a fancy floor, keeping a rigid frame with the crack of a whip, or I half-arsedly do some suave-looking arm and leg movements. Being old fashioned (and tall), the former is my preference by far. I do find it funny how the sport (yes, sport!) with the most favourable gender ratio is considered gay, but the bottom line is that I love it. It’s a skill that’s only practical at weddings and at gunpoint to impress a deranged former dance coach, but practical skills are boring. I’d highly recommend it, a lot of universities have their own dance club (and Warwick’s is amazing!).
I won’t leave it this long between posts, I assure you. Turning twenty was my punishment this time.
Forty days and forty pints…
I was moved in a few weeks before term started, but after settling in and sorting out teething problems my housemate and I were rather bored in an otherwise free house with no control or supervision from real adults. After finding out we can access the shed we thought we should probably utilise it. A small crystal meth lab was the first option but this wooden shed was too damp and not particularly sterile. We also would have to wait for the key to the backdoor gate so we don’t have to wheel barrels of methylene through the house. Then came the epiphany: as students we spend a lot of money on beer. Beer isn’t a particularly high-profile drink, but a lot of the time the price-tag suggests so. With an insultingly low cost of production, why not homebrew?
A nice idea on surface, but what were the practical difficulties?
1. Don’t know shit about homebrewing.
2. Where would I get the ingredients and tools?
3. Our incoming housemate is female so will moan and nag us about how silly this idea is.
So I did my homework through forums, YouTube, and generally making good friends with Google. The general principle is making a sugary mixture (wort) and adding yeast to convert this sugar into ethanol (i.e. the alcohol), and carbon dioxide gas in a process called fermentation. Fermentation is variable but usually takes over a week. You’ll have an alcoholic beverage by then that reminds you of beer, but the flat, awful beer you find at the end of your bottle or glass. To get something more drinkable you either keg or bottle and carbonate the beer. I chose to bottle, and you carbonate by adding sugar in the bottles then capping them so the remaining yeast will ferment with that sugar and the carbon dioxide gas produced is the gas that makes it fizzy when you crack it open. But for carbonation to finish, you’ll have to give the bottles two weeks or so to prime (the current stage I’m in).
Then was the matter of getting what I needed. Getting the individual ingredients and preparing them would be long and more likely to fail, so I got a pre-made kit from Wilkinson (Cooper’s Lager). It contains the ingredients (barely-malt and hops) in the right ratio and with a packet of yeast. It’s about £13 and makes forty pints. The rest of the shopping list was as follows:
1. Cooper’s kit ~ £13
2. Brewing sugar, 1kg ~ £2
3. Fermenting vessel ~ £12
4. Thermometer ~ £2.50
5. Hydrometer (it checks how much is fermented) ~ £3.50
6. Steriliser, 100g ~ £1.50
7. Siphon ~ £2.50
8. Trial jar ~ £2.50
7. Big spoon ~ £1.50
This racks up to about £40, approximate values due to rounding, price changes over time and place, etc. After you’ve made your first batch, you’ll only need the kit, sugar and I guess more steriliser. £16.50 for forty pints is not bad. That is, if you have forty pint bottles, a capper, forty caps and probably a lot more steriliser. The capper is about £12, and is just another start up cost. Caps are around fifty for £1. Bottles are tricky. New pint bottles made for homebrewers are about 70p each, annoying considering how much empty glass you and the bartender throw away. However, thankfully old glass bottles are fine as long as they’re washed with a pretty aggressive agent (something with ‘Oxi’ in the title will do, and this will remove the label) and sterilised. Brown bottles are a lot more preferable than green or clear.
Although you ferment forty pints of wort, you won’t really get forty pints because gunky dead yeast sinks to the bottom of the vessel (and if you’re clumsy like I was you spill as much as you bottle). Whatever downsides I’ve found, it’s something I’d heavily recommend, that is, until I crack open my first bottle in the next few days and taste something akin to feet sweat at best and at worst spend my night in Hotel NHS. I’ll keep ye updated.
Oh, problem 3? Ignored her and did it anyway.
The three Rs…
I have an empty section on the top bar, I’m writing a couple up at the moment and by the end of the month should have something uploaded. They will be on further maths topics for the mean time but hopefully if they’re any good I’ll branch out to the maths commoners.
There may well be a domain change soon to something shorter, but I’ll renew thomas-reddington.com for another year (Sept ’12 – Sept ’13) and redirect to it so the seasonal hoards of A-level students don’t get startled and confused.
Running from the law
I got a PDF letter from Nelson Thornes requesting to take off the answers to the exam-style questions for physics by the end of the month or there’ll be legal action. In the next 24 hours I will have taken all the answers down as by the looks of it they will have to come down eventually. The exam papers, for now and hopefully for the future, will be unharmed.
Disclaimer: just to let you (but mainly companies with a wanted poster of me depicted as a question marked silhouette and fancy fedora in their offices — not reflecting a large ego of mine at all) know, this website does not make a single penny. It costs a certain amount a year to keep the domain(s) and if I’m not on Weebly Pro my hosting is provided for free by Weebly, costs that are not expensive but costs I do not get back. The only benefits I get from supplying third-party material to help pupils in their exams is a larger audience for my posts and a warm feeling inside akin to a nice cup of tea. Of course this doesn’t override a legal right for me to remove stuff, it’s just something to take into account if the warrant happens to be signed.
Evenin’. I guess you could say I’m back now to regularly post and stuff. But just a one sentence update about the crap that’s happened in my life since the last post before I begin: finished exams, got a 2:1 overall, got back home at the end of June, went away to Devon for a week, all the time I was draining resources and ignoring any website obligations.
Anyway, I like a good war film, and by that I mean one depicting an actual historical war. I like learning when country X sent an array of tanks into country Y and how the men of country Y have a sudden career change through mass conscription, and how we find out some way in the film (before the Americans join in on behalf of country Y and claim total victory to further their well-fed egos) that the men of country X are not just youthful images of their dictator but are fathers and husbands and detest this monstrosity of a war as much as the Y soldier he just bayoneted. These films can be very powerful, showing the unimaginable feats and ordeals the men have actually had to go through (and not too long ago either), as I watch them on my sofa, increasing my cholesterol level and complaining about hay fever.
Though it’s not universal praise from my part. There is an issue that goes unnoticed and uncared for by a lot of people: most wars, contrary to how some films depict, don't have every single combatant speaking English. Believe it or not, there are some wars between countries where neither of them have English as an esteemed language. So you may have guessed, I’m a subbed man and not a dubbed man.
My objection is that if you inherit the English language into the characters, along with a native English accent and not that of character's motherland, it severs the reality and the characters adopt the mannerisms of the accent (Pushing it a little: soldiers with British accents sound like they’re in a Carry On film). What’s worse is that some directors just go “fuck it” and allow British and American actors to use their natural accents and mingle together as naturally and unnoticeably as females in a LAN-party. An important part of a film, especially one depicting a slice of history, is immersion. It’s hard to believe that the men in The Bunker and Hitler: The Last Ten Days are as German as the Kaiser when we have the polite happy go lucky British Hitler, and the American Goebbels commenting on the American enemy. (Although I’ve yet to watch it) I can’t dare passively watch Enemy at the Gates if I find Red Army soldiers speaking the Queen’s.
I do allow a compromise to this, however, and examples include Defiance and The Pianist. In Defiance, Daniel Craig and everyone in his community are Belorussians hiding in forests from the Germans. They’re supposed to speak Belorussian (Belarusian) in reality but on film they speak English with a slavic accent. Russian soldiers speak Russian and German soldiers speak German, but their appearances in the film are secondary to Daniel Craig’s group. This works because I’m convinced in the film that they are Belorussians and need no reminding, and there’s no confusion between who’s one of the three (I must say Daniel Craig doesn’t do a bad job with the accent at all). The use of spoken English is perhaps better because most Western viewers cannot distinguish between Russian and Belarusian. A similar example lies in The Pianist. Adrien Brody and Polish characters speak English with a slight Polish(-Jewish) accent, some don’t bother which doesn’t help, but the language barrier between “Polish” and German is displayed adequately when Adrien Brody collects his German words when reasoning with SS men.
Just to note why these examples tend to involve Germans in WWII: it’s because my personal collection of war films are set in the 20th century Europe during World War II or one of the East Asian wars such as Korea or Vietnam. I can’t use the East Asian war films in my examples because they have the languages accurate for the belligerents, and for two reasons:
Academia, academia, academia…
Well I’m in the midst of exam season and by the looks of it I’ll end up wounded enough to earn a nice military pension if I come out alive. Consequently if you’ve tried to contact me about site stuff I’ve likely only replied now.
Anything on the A-level stuff section is all I have for now and all I will have until some time after exam season (unless people send me stuff to fill the gaps), and as I can’t host ZIP folders as they are too inconvenient for me to bother with at this stage into the exam season.
But I come here with something for people who aren’t finishing this year: maths guides. After exams I’m going to write PDFs with LaTeX (the program that makes maths text look neat and pretty) on A-level maths and further maths topics to break it down for any of you that might need alternative explaining (bearing in mind I don’t assert any credibility as a maths tutor). Each volume will be on a subject (like Functions, Complex Numbers, Differentiation I…) instead of following strict module and board specifications. There might be exercises but there will definitely be worked examples. Expect stuff popping up some time in July.
I finish on 15th June, just a heads up.
So I turned 19 on one of the Mondays between my last post and this one. It was marked by a beautiful sunny day and a 9:30 a.m. exam. I kept pub celebrations to one hour as I had another exam (mechanics & relativity) on the Wednesday, unfortunately that one hour was dilated to four hours outside the pub’s reference frame. So obviously I’ve been busy giving the impression that I’m putting in the assumed amount of work adequate for my incoming eight exams (from Wednesday in two weeks’ time to 15th June), after which I’ll still have two weeks of accommodation (as with everyone else on campus) so for my remaining tenure I’ll be eating my breakfast of barbecues and having my five a day via slices of lime jammed in Corona bottles.
Anyway, I realised it’s the middle of May and the A-level stuff section isn’t updated, so I’ll tend to it now. After today I don’t intend on updating it for a while, unless heavily badgered by you lot. Posts themselves, as they’ve been for the last year or so, will continue to be quite stagnant, but hopefully will flourish a little in the summer.
Another cameo appearance…
Afternoon. The last time I posted was the end of my first term at uni, a couple of weeks ago I came back home from my second term. Don’t get me wrong, as far behind you may perceive Coventry we do actually have internet there, it’s just that in the midst of skipping lectures, assignments, and daylight hours in general, I still can’t find the term or effort to throw some words together and make a post. I have three more weeks off and if I find something to talk about I will.
Anyway, it’s not been a bad term. I had a couple of exams in January and got 60% in both (I was expecting something in the 40s). I aim to do better in my ten exams this summer, and I might if I learn (not revise) the material this Easter. My work ethic passed away recently after battling a long illness. It’s very difficult to get out of bed at 8 a.m. when no one in administration cares where you are. It’s surprisingly difficult to get out 2 p.m. as well. I suppose it’s the hard way of developing self-motivation and hopefully I’ll grow out of it.
Just out of interest, I went to Geneva at the end of term. I was there for two days, primarily to visit CERN. The trip was good but living in 2010s airport security being unable to bring back a CERN Swiss army knife broke my heart. Here’s some pretty pictures:
Anyway, back to business. I’m uploading A-level stuff updates now, to avoid an inevitable broken promise this term. I might upload stuff for people on my course if it’s worth it. Oh, and if you want to contact me about a mistake or a request or anything else that I need to reply to, please e-mail me. I read all the comments eventually, but I don’t login and approve them for ages, so I don’t reply any more as it’s unfashionably late. If you just want to send love or hate mail, comments are fine.
Not dead yet…
Evenin’ all. To the three people still following this, you would’ve noticed I haven’t posted in like two months. Uni life has been good, and I could talk to you about my course as well if I was actually doing some work (I’m just suppressing the thought of my two January exams).
I’m not going to shove empty promises about new features for this site – all I hope is that I keep it going for the moment. As for the heavily prized A-level stuff, I’ll add the 2011 papers and do necessary updates soon (hopefully before New Year’s), so please stop asking. If you have any requests, please e-mail me via the e-mail on the sidebar as, as you know, I have an annoying habit of not replying to requests in blog comments (it’s laziness, not spitefulness, I promise). If you‘re still waiting on a reply, just repeat your question as an e-mail please.
Back to me, I’ve been home now for about ten days after a ten week term. I’ll be back sometime between the 3rd and the 9th. It’s been a fulfilling experience, packed with anecdotes that tend to always involve our much loved character, protagonist or antagonist, The Bottle.
Oh, get this: I did stand-up. Like hell I’ll let you watch the video, though.
It’s Christmas Eve, isn’t it? Merry Christmas to all, I’m getting a nice new suit. I was browsing Wikipedia this morning (or 2 p.m. as I like to call it), and only just found out about the Christmas truce in World War I, one of the most beautiful things I’ve heard of in history.
Welcome to my site. To the left of you are hundreds of posts where you might find something mildly interesting. If you’re here to use mark schemes, look up. For a further introduction and description, try the concise about section.
Any comments will have to be approved before they are published. I read all comments (usually within two years) but probably won’t reply.
I’m TomRed. I’m a twenty-two year old maths graduate from London. A little more about me can be found over here at the bottom.
People I know
Here are a few sites run by those I know: