Tuesday, 31 July 2007


Chap at work has decided that he doesn't want a drawer full of belemnites and has given them to me. :)

Belemnites make me happy - trilobites are better, but I'll have any fossils he's handing out. Better loved by me than unloved in a drawer. One of them is all shiny and crystalized, I haven't seen one like that before.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Sedimentary Processes

Well, I may only be 12 pages into Block 4, but so far I'm liking this sedimentary stuff. Maybe it's because the software for this section is very entertaining, or maybe it's because I can visualise things better after seeing some of this stuff last week. :)

Friday, 13 July 2007

Summer School

Well, I'm not exactly packed, but everything I'm taking is laid out ready. Hope I've remembered everything. Still it's not exactly Outer Mongolia, Durham does have shops and there is a free afternoon, so if anything is forgotten I can always go buy it!

Looks like they've chosen our week to be interviewed for The Material World. I missed out last year because they chose a different week. Maybe it'll be interesting.

Must try and read more of the course text today. It's been really heavy going and is an awful lot to try and shove into my teeny brain.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

New Kit

This summer school, and the potential weather conditions, is really tempting me into buying new stuff. I know I need a new pair of trousers, but surfing the Millets website is trying to convince me that I need a new fleece to act as a midlayer. It's probably right as I don't own that sort of layer. I suppose I could do with proper socks to protect my feet from all that evil rain.

But is my backpack suitable? It's only a tiny one that packs down into an even tinier bag. It's worked for me so far, so there's no real reason to abandon its services now. It can hold all my writing gear and a bottle of water, but can it also hold an upper layer and my lunch? I'm not sure it's up to that.

I'm taking John's rucksack with me to carry my clothes there and back, but it's a bit big for every day use. I've not completely finalised what I'm taking to School with me, but if I get a new day pack then maybe I can pack that instead of John's larger rucksack. Last year I took a big suitcase, but that was a mistake as it was really hard to carry. Lesson learnt, which is why I said this year would be a small case / rucksack combo.

Of course, they suggest that you take all your S260 text books (as well as the SXR260 textbook and gubbins) and you have to take your maps. Not to mention the coathangers and towels (made a mistake there last year as well, you need more towel surface area than you'd think in a week, not the same as being at home). I've transfered all my textbooks to a third bag, if they go into my suitcase I'll never be able to pick it up!

I think tonight needs to be a pre-packing session, just to see how much space all this will take up. I would take half what I need and a bottle of travel wash, but somehow I doubt they'll have their heating on in July. I'm ready for cold rooms and no way of drying stuff.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Organic chemical structures

I always seems to be doing assignments and not studying. Why is this? I'm only taking two courses, so it shouldn't be all about the assignments should it? Anyway, I find myself studying simply to get through the TMAs with very little time to study for the fun of it.

I did manage to finish the Geology TMA two weeks in advance and then polished off the rest of the text book over the weekend. The geology course is not what I was expecting when I signed up for it. I was hoping for more "This is a piece of gabbro, this is where it comes from." or "This is plate tectonics." But so much of it is deep and molecular. They got into mineral structures really quickly after doing a block of map reading.

Maybe they're right to do it this way as we only have a year to do it in, but I don't half feel rushed, like I'm trying to do a second year course without having taken any first year courses. Which is crazy, because I did get through S103 last year, so I do have my scientific grounding.

The thought of the exam for both courses is a little horrifying.

Today I started the TMA for Planetary Science & the Search for Life. Usually I try to spend my lunch hours studying, just to fit in any little bit of time I can and it's normally quite helpful time to get started. But today Imanaged to spend 45 minutes staring at the same three pages trying to work out five chemical structures. Think I figured out three of them. This is pathetic when the choices are only carbohydrate, lipid, nucleic acid and/or protein. Even the amazing Wikipedia is being less than helpful at this point.

We're not even supposed to use external sources, everything you need to know is in the book - or so they say. I'm not at all convinced that the molecules in the assignment feature in the course text. True to all OU assignments, however, without figuring out the first part you can't answerthe following parts either, because all the questions are interlinked. Evil.

I came across Molecule of the Day, in the midst of trying to find out what type of organic compounds were coming up in the assignment and completely side-tracked myself.