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That is all.



I doubt whether anybody glances at this ole blog malarky anymore, but a great big hello to anybody who might. It's been a long time, but I feel a great urge to come back to y'all. And this time I plan to come back proper and stay for a good while.

So what's happened since last I updated here. Well let me first check when that was...

It turns out I was just finishing the first year of my PhD. Well that PhD lasted a full four years and I finally finished last September and became Dr Paul. After that I tried to find work, which was difficult - I kept getting interviews and getting close to the job, but always got pipped at the post by someone with different experience. Talking to one of the interviewers in a rejection phone call, he told me that 150 PhDs had applied to the position and I'd come in the top 3. Good to hear, but very frustrating nonetheless.

So I ended up getting a job in Waterstones in November while I continued applying to jobs. Anyone who remembers me may well remember my obsession for books so this was a not altogether unwelcome happening. However, the low pay and shitty managers doesn't the happiest of people make, despite the decent discount and constant inspiration for book-buying. In February, I applied for a wonderful-sounding job in the US with little hope - I had no published papers yet and most non-UK employers simply won't consider you without one. So you can imagine my surprise when I got two phone interviews for the job and, within a week of applying, got offered the position! Woo!

So now I live near to Washington, DC, working at the National Institutes of Health on more malaria stuff. It's pretty awesome so far, though I've still not got round enough to know all the good stuffs. I'd become pretty well at home in Manchester, knowing where all the best stuff was and it's going to take a while to get to that point here. But anyways, you don't really want to know all that. I imagine if anyone is still here, they're more likely to be interested in the ole personal life.

Well I have a ladyfriend nowadays by the name of Ruth. She's wonderful and beautiful and everything else you could hope for, but unfortunately is also in Manchester, so all is not perfect. Seems to be working out so far though and I imagine I'll talk about it a lot more when I settle back into this whole livejournal malarky.

Anyways, if there is anybody here, how the devil are you??? There are definitely people I've missed here, as strange as that may sound considering most of you I've never met. Anyone remember me? I hope all is super and I'll be more involved from now on.

Love and smooches.

Mar. 16th, 2007

Yo yo yo. I thought I'd best do an update considering all the kindly thoughts you were all sending to my dear mama. Well she's much better now, not amazingly well, but her hearts beating regularly now and not waking her up in the middle of the night and she's somewhere approaching how she was before these recent problems. Thank you all for being such lovely lovely people.

So what have I been up to recently? Coughing mostly. It's annoying the crap out of me! I've had this cough now for about 2 and a half weeks by my reckoning and it makes me sound like a bloody TB patient! Plus there's the obvious pain and annoyance of just having a cough - tonight I couldn't go to the cinema because I would've been incredibly disruptive. Grrrr. This is made somewhat worse by the fact that having croup as a baby has made a significant proportion of my coughs sound like some sort of bizarre mating call of a seal. Couple this with a cough-induced lack of sleep (I really should be sleeping right now) and you've got one ill-feeling Paul. Yes I'm moaning, but I don't do it in real life so I like to do it here.

Anywhos, anything else? Well I'm now having regular jazz piano lessons - still in very basic stages so far since I've never had proper teaching of the sort before so I need to learn about all the chords aside from just the major and minor and all that jazz (bedoom tish). Also, I've finally sorted out some Portuguese lessons from a lady I bumped into on the old LJ, so I should be starting those in a few weeks. Other than that sort of stuff, life's been OK. Having fun with the youngsters still at work i.e. undergrad project students and the ERASMUS fella Nico (I say youngsters, in fact all but one of them is older than me. I'm just being patronising).

Last night, we went to 'Love Train' night at the Ritz which is a 70s night. So I went in a suitably frilly shirt and got wasted. So wasted in fact that I ended up on stage in a dance contest. Came runner up too!!! I think the reason I didn't win is because the other guy was actually dancing and wasn't just a very drunk fool doing stereotypical Saturday Night Fever-style moves. Oh so much fun though! I actually knew most of the songs being played (rare for me at a club) and it was just a reet old hoot!

I'm sure other stuff has happened, but I can't be bothered to think right now. I'm going to try to stop coughing and go to sleep. Hope you're all zipedeedoodah.

Mar. 7th, 2007

Well yes, I am rubbish. I just haven't been arsed to go a-netting recently. Thus, not only have I not updated in 27 years, but I also haven't read your happenings in recent times. Well I'm afraid nothings changing at the moment; I just can't bear to sit at a computer and read things for any more than an incredibly short period of time. It's some sort of lethargy. I just feel a bit blah towards computer life at the moment.

For a short summary of what's going on at the moment. Mother's not doing too well. She's having more heart problems and tomorrow they're going to stop her heart in an apparently routine operation type jobby. I fail to see how stopping someone's heart can be described as routine. Anyways, fingers crossed she'll be OK. She's had heart problems since before I was born (probably didn't help her much in my parasitic days in the womb), so hopefully this'll just turn out to be a little bump in that road and nothing major.

Other than that, I've got my very own funny German who's on ERASMUS and doing a project in our lab. He's great and lab life is finally coming together somewhat socially. I'm a bit sad that he'll be leaving in just a month though, he's hilarious. I've also started going to the Uni film society and may become more involved with that. It just involves showing films so it's pretty easy, though I'm trying to encourage them to visit the upcoming Latin American and Chinese cinema festivals which will be visiting Manchester.

And obviously there's the normal shite that goes on in my life to do with being a scientist and a student in the hip and happening city of Manchester. Despite most things actually going pretty well in life, I'm still being my old mood swingy self sometimes happy sometimes shite. At most times I've no reason to be especially one way or the other, but I invariably am. Anyways, that's a quick summary of what's going on. I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up with your stuff. Don't think I don't care; I do. I just feel so... blah everytime I sit at the computer.

Hope all is well

Feb. 20th, 2007

Hey, sorry I'm shit. Barely been on here recently... I'm sorry to say I've even missed out on reading a lot of your posts. I'll get round to it mind, I'm just feeling almightily lethargic. As soon as I can be arsed, I'll write a full post full of self-involved ponderings and witticisms only found amusing by those with minds as labyrinthine (probably not a word, I realise)and warped as mine.

'Til then, know I am relatively tickediboo and shall be back in no time.
Howdy doody. By the bye, the title of this post is completely unrelated to how I'm feeling or anything like that. I'm just on a power-ballad kick at the moment. I was just gonna make a power ballad icon, but the best picture I could find of a fist clench was this one. Admittedly it's brilliant, but without explanation, it doesn't really suggest powerballad. What I need is an Eighties woman with big hair fist-clenching.

I still reckon that this bloke is probably listening to Roxette.

Anyways, despite having internet at home, I am, right now, updating from work. I KNOW!!! I'm still at work! And I'm gonna be here at least another hour. Poo. Well everyone else in the lab has gone home so at least I feel comfortable updating my journal here.

Well what's been going on in the world of Paul? Well I forget. I keep meaning to post stuff here when stuff happens, but I always end up leaving it til I'm too tired to be arsed. The house is still much duller without Stoke Dave. I'm the only one singing/squealing now. The fact that no-one else is also takes quite a bit of enjoyment out of it. Life's pretty OK right now though to be honest.

I got a collection of 1000 short stories from ebay the other day for only £6!!! That's 20 large volumes!!! See here. Admittedly, the postage was £15, but still, that's damn cheap for such a fine collection of books. I originally planned to find volume XX and just buy that from somewhere because it's got a couple of stories my great granddad wrote in it; but for SIX SQUID!!! I couldnee resist.

What else has gone on... hmmmm... well I got a delightful CD and note through the post from that lovely little Ms Regina from the ole US. Oooh, on a completely unrelated note, I think I get take-away withdrawal. I've been having a lot of take-away recently because the local supermarket closed, but now I've been getting some food in from a supermarket in town - and all of a sudden I'm constantly knackered!!! I'm sure I'll get over it, but I love my fatty fatty take-aways!!!

I'm sure I had stuff that I wanted to post. Exciting things happening in the life of Paul, but they can't be that exciting because I've forgotten them all. Oh, I did have an interview about my literature review on Monday (everyone has to have one). It went darned tootin' well I have to say. My writing style was particularly complimented which is damned nice when you're a scientist. We're generally known for our complete ineptitude when it comes to communication, so that was nice. In the notes sent to the graduate office, they wrote that the style was excellent and of PhD thesis standard already! Score! Well enough bigging me up.

Oooh, actually, on that note I do want to continue (not the bigging me up, the writing thing). I'm thinking about the future of my career and it occurred to me that I have no options at the moment. I haven't considered what to do if at some point I decide I don't want to go into research. One thing I was thinking of is perhaps writing either for a science magazine or writing science stuff for newspapers (please believe me, the writing you see on here is not representative of my writing as a whole, this is just the spewing of my mind). The thing is that I have absolutely no experience at all plus I have no English qualifications. Does anyone know of any reasonable newspaper/magazine/whatever which might accept articles from unknown writers, or does anyone know of any other way of doing that sort of thing?

Anyways, enough of that. I feel like ranting, but I don't really have anything in my head to rant about at the moment. Sure, I could have a go at the churches and their attacks on the law providing equality for all homosexuals but that's just too obvious. Oooooh, I know. Well it's not really a rant, it's more of a gloat. Anybody ever heard of Kent Hovind? Well he's a creationist nob. I don't just mean that he believes in creationism. That just means that you're ignorant of science. This guy proper attacks evolution and all those who espouse it. The man constantly calls us nazis because apparently natural selection says that it's OK to kill the weak or some shite like that (I'd like to reiterate that it doesn't and, while I'm sure some people have probably used natural selection as an excuse to do bad things, religion can hardly have a go. Has anybody ever used religion to justify bad things?). Anyways, this guy's been put in prison for tax evasion. Yes, he's the Al Capone of our time. Nice.

And after that note of randomity (I know it's not a word, shut up, it should be), I shall bid you adieu. Toodles

Christ do I gotta be like that

Hey hey. So what have I been up to? Well not whole heaps. Just normal life mostly. Work and sleep. I'm starting to like Scotch Dave more and more. He's a really nice guy. I can't see us being amazing friends though. He's quite quiet and we don't share any interests we can both get passionate about. I think part of the problem is that I'm probably comparing him with Stoke Dave who was always up for a laugh and wanting to jam and whatnot.

Anyways, as I say he's a nice guy, so it's not really a problem. This Thursday and Friday I had to do a course on Statistics and Data Handling in Biology (YAWN!!!). I really hate statistics, as do most biologists. The only scientists who actually know statistics are statisticians and ecologists. Everyone else just asks statisticians what to do when they need it (i.e. when they're publishing stuff). So needless to say it wasn't the most exciting bunch of lectures and stuff. I got quite a number of sudokus done though.

Thursday night, I went out with my friend Alex's lab-folk for a curry and many drinks. It's really weird. I'm more integrated into his lab than I am in my own. I barely have any sort of social situation with my own lab. I get the impression that I'm not well liked. They don't seem hostile towards me, just sort of apathetic. I try to start the occasional conversation, but they rarely last longer than a couple of minutes. I've been out drinking with Alex's lab a number of times now and we have a hoot every time I do.

Anyways, 'twas a good night with much drunkness and much curry. I had lots of fun and got into an argument with a tory. HA! It was fun. I like having arguments with someone who's passionate about what they believe. This guy absolutely bummed Margaret Thatcher (despite being a Northerner) and so we had quite an argument about it. I have to admit I nearly spat out my food when he told me Hitler was left wing though (his whole basis was that Hitler nationalised many industries - he wasn't just incredibly insane). Mind you, I on the other hand argued for Stalin being right wing. 'Twas a fun politically charged argument.

Anywhos, didn't really do anything on Friday night. Sort of planned to maybe do stuff, but it never materialised. I've done very little over the weekend, but on Saturday night, I did manage to go out with Dave and Fiona to see Rocky Balboa. It's hilarious. It sticks faithfully to the old Rocky format. In fact, I'd say the plot is more or less identical to the first film. The world champion takes on a fighter who is thought to have no chance. In the end the result of the fight is the same in both films.

It's definitely directed with a different style though. Fear not! There's still a good old-fashioned training montage and a sort of Adrian replacement. It suddenly goes weird during the fight itself though. There's a montage of sorts so that you don't actually have to sit through 10 3-minute rounds, and suddenly it goes all arty. There are lots of flashback things and random black-and-white shots showing only the red of blood and stuff like that. Bizarre. Definitely worth seeing if you love Rocky films though. It's cheesy as fuck and has a vast plethora of cheesy lines. You know the type "You'll show em that the last thing to age in a man is his heart" "Life's not about how hard you can hit, it's about how hard you can get hit and keep going". Fuck yeah! Motivation and a half!

Afterwards we went out to 5th Ave and got really quite drunk. I discovered that my self-made Bob Dylan t-shirt attracts random people to come and talk to me to tell me how awesome my t-shirt is... which is nice. Afterwards we came home, got a little stoned and discussed shite. Nice.

Oooh, I noticed another thing about myself recently (I seem to be doing a lot of self-discovery recently). I judge people based on the newspaper they're reading. Not people I know, people I see in the street, on the train etc. I only really noticed when it came to extremes. I looked up from my Prospect magazine on the train the other day (I only recently discovered this magazine - it's brilliant!) to see the man across from me reading Zoo magazine (for any of you foreign types, this isn't a zoological journal, but rather a lewd magazine boasting headlines such as "Britain's best boobs") and I suddenly realised I'd immediately judged this man as an immature ignorant perve - a harsh judgement I'm sure you'll agree.

I then started thinking about it more as I went through my day. My opinion of somebody reading something like the Times or the Telegraph isn't really altered. I tend to think of people reading the Mail or the Express as right wing and probably at least slightly racist and my view of people reading the Independent or Guardian tends to start at a higher level. Having noticed this, I'm starting to consciously stop doing it, but I found it rather striking that I could judge someone off something so meagre.

Anyways, I was listening to 'Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie' a minute ago and it's just sooooo good. The words are amazing and the following passage really stood out to me:

And there's something on yer mind you wanna be saying
That somebody someplace oughta be hearin'
But it's trapped on yer tongue or sealed in yer head
And it bothers you badly when your layin' in bed
And no matter how you try you just can't say it
And yer scared to yer soul you just might forget it
And yer eyes get swimmy from the tears in yer head
And yer pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead
And the lion's mouth opens and yer staring at his teeth
And his jaws start closin with you underneath
And yer flat on your belly with yer hands tied behind
And you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign
And you say to yourself just what am I doin'
On this road I'm walkin', on this trail I'm turnin'
On this curve I'm hanging
On this pathway I'm strolling, in the space I'm taking
In this air I'm inhaling
Am I mixed up too much, am I mixed up too hard
Why am I walking, where am I running
What am I saying, what am I knowing
On this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailin'
On this mandolin I'm strummin', in the song I'm singin'
In the tune I'm hummin', in the words I'm thinkin'
In the words that I'm writin'
In this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinkin'
Who am I helping, what am I breaking
What am I giving, what am I taking
But you try with your whole soul best
Never to think these thoughts and never to let
Them kind of thoughts gain ground
Or make yer heart pound
But then again you know when they're around
Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down
'Cause sometimes you hear 'em when the night times comes creeping
And you fear that they might catch you a-sleeping
And you jump from yer bed, from yer last chapter of dreamin'
And you can't remember for the best of yer thinking
If that was you in the dream that was screaming

I very nearly put the whole poem up, but it's too long. So much of it 'speaks to me' though, to be incredibly cliched. Well since I'm putting so much music up today. Why don't you have a listen yourselves: Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie

By the bye, before I forget, I was compelled by ms_elusive to start a last.fm thingamajig so if any of you are into that sort of thing, add me or whatever it is. I'm CheeesusChrist as you might expect. Well toodles.

Jan. 19th, 2007

Howdy doody! So first of all, I should be getting the ole internet in the house next week. Huzzah! I'll actually be able to do proper posts then and, what's more, I'll be able to potter around on the internet without thinking I should be working (not to mention being able to upload my lovely fantastic beautiful music to you lovely fantastic beautiful people). Nice.

Anyways, what have I been up to recently. Just normal stuff really. Dave's leaving today which is utter nob. A new Dave, a Scotch Dave is apparently moving in on Saturday, but I can't see him being as cool as our Stoke Dave. Anyways, I'm gonna be heading down to London tonight, or at least I hope I will. The ridiculously high winds that we had yesterday up North meant that all trains out of Manchester were cancelled yesterday afternoon. It's nearly always windy in Manchester, but yesterday was truly something special. I have to walk up a ramp that's in about a 10yd gap between two buildings to get into work. Problem is that this gap acts as a sort of wind tunnel. I swear it was like walking in treacle yesterday, trying desperately to close my coat so it didn't act as a sail. On the way back is just as bad too since you have to try not to completely topple over and die.

Anywhos, I'm going down to London because my friend Sinthiya's organised this huge Mega Maalai for all the Sri Lankan societies in London. She's hired out the Hackney Empire and it's a pretty big deal, so I have to go see it really. Not that I don't enjoy going down to London - I really do. It's just that I already went down two weeks ago and I'm not made of money! I'll have a ball though I'm sure. I really miss my London friends. I don't know why, but the last time I left two weeks ago seemed so much more painful than it has before. Anyways, gotta move on and all that shite.

In much more upbeat news, I now have the best MP I've ever had. Having lived in a number of constituencies, I have wrote to four different MPs in my time (I'm one of those annoying fuckers who tries to use democracy) and the normal response to my writing is a sort of 'I agree thanks' or 'I don't agree. sorry.' with nothing more to say. No talk of how they're gonna try to do anything about anything. Plus, this reply usually doesn't come for a couple of weeks at least. So imagine my very pleasant surprise when on the 18th, I received a written reply to my e-mail of the 17th from my MP Sir Gerald Kaufman:

"Dear Mr Southworth

Thank you for your letter dated 17 January. I am grateful to you for writing to me about this issue. I have long believed that blasphemy laws are completely out of date and should be repealed. I shall put this issue to the Home Secretary and be in touch with you when I have his response.

Best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Gerald Kaufman"

Awesomeface! It seems like I actually have an MP who gives a shit about what I say to him! Someone who actually plans to approach the relevant people when I complain about something. Nice. Anywhos, hope all is well with you all. Ta ta

P.S. By the bye, did everyone sign the MSF petition? If not, do it now! http://www.msf.org/petition_india/international.html

Ranty McRantrant

This article is bugging me. I obviously despise the very basis of nazism and the awful effects it had on people across Europe and the rest of the world. However, I think banning the swastika, or the nazi salute, or holocaust denial is fundamentally wrong.

Personally, I don't think it matters that the Hindus use the symbol for peace and the nazis used it for bigotry. The point is that you should be free to express your views even if to the majority, your views are abhorrent. The holocaust shouldn't be treated as some sort of sacred event which can never be questioned. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything, should be questionable.

Maybe it's because I'm a scientist that I hold these views. The whole basis of experimental science is questioning how, why and even whether things happen. All the great breakthroughs of science have involved questioning the status quo - often to intense criticism and disgust. The greatest biological breakthrough, Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection, still draws fierce opposition in countries like the USA.

Of course I'm not saying that by questioning the holocaust somebody's going to make an incredible scientific discovery. I believe the holocaust happened and there are over 6m dead people to vouch for it. All I'm saying is that we can't pick and choose what people can question. It is the equivalent of having laws banning questioning of biblical events or outlawing questioning of the actions of the British in Imperial India. If someone says something stupid and wrong, you can slate them, you can criticise them, you can call them a cunt, but being stupid and wrong shouldn't be outlawed.

Talking about silly laws banning freedom of expression. That bastarding bastard that is Stephen Green of Christian Voice, one of the few small fundamentalist christian groups in the UK, says that he has begun the process of bringing a private prosecution for blasphemy against Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC and Jonathan Thoday, the show’s producer, for their part in broadcasting Jerry Springer -- the Opera on BBC2 two years ago.

First of all, I don't know how you can bring blasphemy prosecution against a performance which, as far as I'm aware, didn't include Jesus, God, Mohammed, Ganesha or whatever (mind you, if it had included any non-christian deities, it couldn't be prosecuted for blasphemy anyway since the law only covers christians). EDIT: OK scratch that bit. Jesus is in it. Nevertheless, my views remain the same. I find it incredibly unlikely that someone could win a lawsuit like this, especially considering that there have been various shows actually portraying god and jesus in mockable forms.

But more to the point, I find it utterly disgusting that a law such as this is still in the books! As a human, I have a basic write to criticise, condemn, insult and verbally attack whomever I wish so long as in doing so I don't try to incite anyone to physically harm anyone else or to commit a crime against anyone else. Just because the person I'm criticising happens to be Jesus or god, why should it matter? And so for the second time, I've written a very complaining letter to my MP (a different MP this time mind) expressing my disgust. Sigh!