Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Magician's Tattoo Update, and Vocab


As some of you will know, I am writing a fantasy novel. Until recently this had been on hold for various reasons and hadn't been worked on properly for about a year. Now, I am just getting back into writing it and have decided before continuing chapter 5 it might be worthwhile just thinking about where I am actually going with the story.

Just because I haven't written much for it in a while doesn't mean I don't think about it. Characters are forming in my mind and I am thinking about moving what was going to be the ending to the middle and making the story a bit longer.

And, to prove I am keeping up with learning new words here is a paragraph with a sample of new words:

This paragraph is being written holus-bolus with no fore thinking, hence the fact the spurious quality compared to my normal writing. I do plan that learning new words will fructify for my writing, whose vocabulary is currently verging on entering an inane. What is nice about writing, and specifically writing on WDC are the random douceurs I get for doing different activities. I, like many people, know of troglodytes who have no regard for quality writing, but my ripostes are normally enough to stop it happening again as I often use periphrasis in them.
I was in Skyrim admiring the many sastrugi, but then I took an  arrow to the knee!

In normal lingo this reads:

This paragraph is being written all-at-once with no fore thinking, hence the fact the non-genuine quality compared to my normal writing. I do plan that learning new words will benefit for my writing, whose vocabulary is currently verging on entering an empty void. What is nice about writing, and specifically writing on WDC are the random pleasant gifts I get for doing different activities. I, like many people, know of recluses, who probably dwell in caves, who have no regard for quality writing, but my quick responses are normally enough to stop it happening again as I often use a longer phrasing in place of a possible shorter phrasein them.
I was in Skyrim admiring the many wave like ridges of hard snow, but then I took an  arrow to the knee!

Matt B

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Exams nearly over


My January exams are nearly over. In fact all my AS exams are over; I only have my A2 ICT exam to do on the 26th.

The biology exam went better than I was expecting. It was easier than many of the practise papers, but still relatively challenging. The physics exam couldn't have gone any better. The questions asked were generally all ones in my best areas and only one or two stumped me for longer than the time allowed. However due to the quick speed I answered other questions I had time to spare. The chemistry exam was by far the hardest exam I have ever done. Ironically it is also the only exam with the first 20 marks being multiple choice. Some of the questions were really hard and there were no 'wow, that's easy' questions. I thought chemistry would be the best exam then physics, then biology, yet it seems that the order was completely different.

I have a bit of time before the ICT exam and there is little I can do in the way of revising as it's one of those subjects where you need to revise as close to the exam as you can whilst still getting it all in. I'm going to use this time to catch up on some writing, reading, and Skyrim playing.


Friday, January 6, 2012

Doctor to be?


As all of you who have read my profile or the blog description will know, I aspire to go to medical school and then become a doctor. However, I've been thinking about the future, as you do when a new year starts, and started asking my self some probing questions. Why do I want to be a doctor? Well, the honest answer is that I want a job that challenges me daily and will push my academic abilities to their limits. The thing that shocked me was that money came (all be it low down) on the list above wanting to help people. I hadn't realised that wanting to help people wasn't actually very high on my list. Money is not going to be what I base my future career on as I want to be happy in my job more than I want to be paid for a job I'm not happy in. The fact was that I needed to rethink.

So, I got out my 'Getting into medical school 2012 entry' book and flicked through the pages until I found a page titled 'Commitment' on page 30. On the page was a list of things I should have done or be in the process of doing if I seriously want to become a doctor or go to medical school. Granted the first 3 questions I answered yes. The fourth question 'have you attended a first-aid course?' I answered 'only if one I did when I was 10 counts'. The fifth question 'have you arranged a visit to your local GP?' I could answer yes, but I only did so because I had to to have any chance of getting into medical school. The next questions 'Have you arranged a visit to your local hospital to see the work of doctors first hand?', 'What day of the week does your favourite newspaper publish a health section?', 'Do you know what the main causes of death are in this country?', my answer to those were No, Don't know, I only know because I studied them in school respectively. Doesn't bode well, does it.

By this point I realised that I seriously needed to think about my future career, so I sat down and asked 'What is my favourite subject?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What am I most interested in out of all the subjects I've ever studied?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What subject am I best at?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What subject do I really want  to take further?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What subject should, therefore I be thinking about taking at  uni?' Answer:  Chemistry.

Well, I think that little session was fairly conclusive in where my interests actually lie. So, I dug out some old (well, 2010/2011) university prospectuses and looked up Chemistry. To my surprise there were actually a number of different Chemistry courses including one that immediately caught my eye. MChem Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Chemistry including 1 year in industry. Well, that is pretty much exactly what I would love to study at university. It has my passion for Chemistry, my interest in chemical side of medicine and a years placement to help get into a career at the end of it. I did a bit of digging on the university website and found that the requirements were AAB, so it wasn't going to be a course people did because they had bad grades. I also found that the final year is actually a big research project within a real research group. Perfect!

Of course, finding this out is all well and good, but I am not going to get ahead of myself yet. I couldn't clearly find out what the university wanted on top of the grades. What work experience is expected? What external interests are they looking for?

There are certain ideas for answers to those question I came up with my self. I know that I read around science out of school so if they need someone interested and knowledgeable about Chemistry I would fit the bill. I also know that online collaboration in science is becoming increasingly popular with projects such as PolyMath being so successful and  other fields becoming increasingly interested. So, how does this help me? Well, although completely different in so many ways, I do run an online fantasy writing group with around 95 members. I delegate responsibility to certain members, I keep others in check and on the whole I keep the whole thing running. The reason this is good is that I am no stranger to online communication and organisation. It shows leadership skills in both an online environment and of a large number of people.

Ever since I first started enjoying science at an early age, I knew I wanted to 'be a scientist when I grow up'. Well, now I am at the stage where I need to make the decisions which will very likely dictate what I will be. Medicine may have sounded a good option for a while, but when I got down to thinking seriously I knew where I wanted to go. I know I want to research and hold an academic position. I also know I want a PhD and, although you need one to specialise in certain areas of medicine, that I want one in an area I am interested in. A four year Chemistry degree including industrial experience followed by a 2-3 year PhD in something Chemistry related all ending with me getting a job in Pharmaceutical/Chemical research would be my dream future.

And, also to prove that I am keeping to my new year's resolution of learning new words here is a paragraph including all the new words I have learned so far:

Ab ovo of 2012 I have been striving to improve myself without turning into a bit of a popinjay. Of course if I improve myself to the point of getting a high paid job then I will need to ensure my relation with the bank remains a professional, fiduciary one, without causeries becoming unheard of. I can assure that any bank manager wishing to steal my money can expect to be keelhauled. In a way this blog has become an omnium-gatherum of random, somewhat connected things.

In easier speak this translates to:

From the beginning of 2012 I have been striving to improve myself without turning into a bit of an arrogant, vain person who struts about. Of course if I improve myself to the point of getting a high paid job then I will need to ensure my relation with the bank remains a professional, trusting one, without informal chats becoming unheard of. I can assure that any bank manager wishing to steal my money can expect to be severely rebuked (or hauled under the keel of a ship). In a way this blog has become an miscellaneous collection of random, somewhat connected things.

I'm well on the way to becoming a literary master of words no one uses any more!


Matt B

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Resolutions


I hope you are all enjoying your first day of 2012.

The bad thing about a new year, other than spending the first few months of it writing 2011 instead of 2012, is that you need to make a resolution or two. Normally I set one which I fail. Last year I think I resolved to finish The Magician's Tattoo. Ha! In the whole of 2012 I think I wrote a chapter and half and edited the other chapters a little. There is too much other stuff going on. I did, however write 3 short stories and 12 articles which is good. Sadly that was not my resolution.

This year, I'm going to make things easier for myself and set realistic resolutions.

1. I resolve to upload 52 posts to this blog in 2012. The aim is one a week, but by saying 52 I can allow myself to catch up on weeks I miss and still succeed.

2. I resolve to write more than 2011. I have not quantified this so that I don't get bogged down in numbers. If I continue with my article a month and an annual halloween and christmas story plus a contest story I will succeed on the grounds that I write 2 chapter this year.

3. I resolve to revise more than in 2011. Simply by revising for the January exams will let me tick this one off. GCSE allowed me to get good grades with minimal revision... A Levels don't!

4. I resolve to learn over 150 new words this year. This one will be easy. For Christmas I got a page-a-day calendar called 365 new words a year. The calendar ab ovo has taught me a new word. Ab ovo, by the way is the first 'word' in the calendar and means 'from the beginning'. Its current meaning came in the 16th century when Sir Philip Sidney adapted it to mean 'from the beginning'. Originally 'Ab ovo' meant 'from the' and was followed by any suitable word. For example Horace, the roman poet, wrote 'Ab ovo usque ad mala' which translates to 'From the egg to the apple'. You can see in that sense 'ab ovo' means from the. OK, I'm going off on a tangent here, but you get my drift.

5. To get an A in all of my AS levels and an A or above in Fast Track A2 ICT. This is more of a requirement for the rest of my life as med schools need those As

I will be emailing this list to myself through 'futureme' and I will receive it next year.

Thanks for reading

Matt B

New year

Happy New Year!!!


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