Monday, 9 March 2015

Untitled: Miscellaneous

"Gio, are you going to write about this on your blog?"

I've had this question posed to me in a somewhat strange frequency over the last couple of weeks, and some of you may too be wondering where I've been Although, having said that, it's not unusual for me to disappear for months at a time, quite like Kim Jong Un - North Korea's self proclaimed world hide-and-seek champion - if you squint hard enough.

But likening the situation to that of our younger selves when we 'forgot' to hand in homework by the set deadline, my excuse story this time includes moving house, working and mock exams I'd rather not be reminded of. But of course, I never failed to complete my homework on time and similarly never once had to resort to the use of the classic 'my dog ate it.'

I did today, however, swear blind that we were never set work when it was this morning demanded by one our two biology teachers. Now, I'm not one to exaggerate, but either she is out of her mind or 90% of our class have developed some sort of degenerative disease that wholly affects our hearing. I'm not joking, it couldn't have been more than three people who got out of lunchtime detention.

I know! It's absolutely ridiculous! We're all mature young people who very much value our education but were given a year 7 punishment as a completely unnecessary reprimand. What I find even more ironic is the fact that we're constantly being reminded of the fact we're A-Level students and so should be adopting a proactive towards our learning.

I appreciate that this shouldn't be difficult to achieve, but when 'lessons' involve making plasticine models and reception-style colouring activities, to name just a few of many such examples, we literally end up teaching ourselves, forever playing catchup in order to compensate.

Biology rant over, but fully expecting to face the music tomorrow for my related tweet, as did my friend for a completely harmless Instagram update, I'll continue to explain the exchange with which I opened this slightly rebellious post. But before I do, I must make note of the fact that our engineering project has finally done me some good, since today's lunchtime meeting meant that I was so unfortunately unable to attend detention, which for me has now been rescheduled for tomorrow. Not that I'll show up though!

"It's funny you should ask, because I've just been thinking about writing a new post, and this may feature, yes."

I've recently been less inclined to rush straight into a new post and was even tempted to wait until after this coming weekend to write my thoughts, however I decided against it for fear of exhausting my reserves of creativity before then. I prefer sharing my miscellaneous - and sometimes humorous - ramblings as they unfold, plus I simply could not wait to share this latest biology episode (along with the following)!

Oh, and by the way, I had originally been under the impression that I would make use of the primary title when writing a not-so light-hearted post, however I couldn't conjure up a better alternative so I guess we'll all just have to live with it. Either way, enjoy.

My 200 metre backstroke race at counties is the event that my brother was enquiring about in the car, and at first you may ask what could possibly be so interesting to quantify significant mention. Well. Let me continue. I can't guarantee you will all appreciate it's humour, however I'm sure a few people will share our hysteric reaction.

What can I say? I'm fully aware of how little I've trained compared to before, however by eleven-thirty I was already having a really quite poor Saturday morning. My first race of a competition never tends to go all that well, but I'm not sure the 100 metre backstroke could have concluded in any a worse fashion. Nevertheless, I continued to finish my 200 metre individual medley in a slightly less humiliating time and then proceeded to stuff my face with 'lunch,' as is well-known custom at swim meets.

For someone who was having trouble with their backstroke form, having all three distances in one day made it very painful. So for the 200 I decided to take an alternative approach. It's common knowledge that I struggle to compete relaxed, and my coach therefore told me to chill out and attempt to enjoy it...

So I did exactly that.

Needless to say, it didn't work, but a surprising number of people including myself found the race - if you can even call it that - rather quite hilarious. Not a single sh*t was given during whipping, primarily because I was too busy warming-up in the cool-down pool to even bother making an appearance. I then climbed straight out, only to re-enter less than five minutes later in full training gear - I'm talking briefs and all!

But maybe the highlight for most people was the fact that I looked like a Sunday lunch public swimmer who was oblivious to the entire situation and took the longest glide into the wall anyone's ever seen in order to conclude my paddle, as I like to call it. Quite typically, two days later and my backstroke feels great due to a minuscule technical alteration. Seriously uncool.

I'll have to be honest, I'm pretty sure my lifeguard colleagues on shift were ready to get their shoes off too. Oh, have I not told you? I'm now a casually contracted lifeguard! £2 and an empty bottle of J├Ągermeister are included within the perks of the job, as well as changing room turds and blocked drains. I'm living the dream. But then again, I did pack my uniform in the event that no one else was available to cover the late shift.

Passing my course four months ago is crazy in itself, but what's even more insane is the fact that a whole year has flown by since last year's Cambridgeshire County Championships. I'll have to admit, being beaten by 12/13 year olds swimming at the standard I myself was competing at three plus years ago is more than just a little disheartening. It's absolutely humiliating. Especially when no matter how hard I try I continue to remain stuck in reverse, season after season.

But on a more humorous note, it'll be my seven-year-old sister next! Having tonnes of fun with Evie in the dying sunlight bathing the adjacent park in a tranquil pool of luminescence undoubtedly beat another four drawn-out hours on poolside for one 50 metre race, mind you.
Yet more frightening than the above is the fact that my AS exams commence in less than two months, and as I'm sure many of my peers can relate, I'm nowhere near prepared, or even beginning to prepare for that matter. On a more positive note is the fact that our engineering report is finally on the verge of completion, and we now have a 3D model that vaguely represents a bridge, so that aspect of year 12 is nearly over. And not a moment too soon!

In addition to producing a presentation for my sections of the report and learning the computer programming language Python, I've also been preparing for a Physics Olympiad that defies all logic. One of the questions from last year's paper, for example, asked 'if Jon has seven apples, two of them green, three red and two of an unknown colour, what's the angle subtended by the moon when observed from the Earth?' And it's meant to be a test of physics knowledge! Hopefully you realised that I'm just kidding, but the types of question really are ridiculously difficult. And I'm talking Mensa, 180 IQ standard.

On the topic of moving house, aside from still living in a maze of half-unpacked boxes, I've now actually accepted to call this slightly claustrophobic labyrinth 'home.' It really wasn't easy for any of us, but after an isolated three-hour sob to multiple Coldplay tracks, drowning out all existence in my mum's car, I faced the fact that we wouldn't be going back. Besides, it actually does feel a lot more homely now anyway. So that's a positive, as is my discovery of this revolutionary thing called a TiVo box. I think.

Having the power to fast-forward, rewind and even pause television is great, but I think my favourite feature is won over by that little circular red button that means you can complete school work, go to the gym, or even sleep and then still be able to watch all your favourite shows when it suits. I'll definitely be recording the new series of Game of Thrones, since I've recently been convinced to begin to catch up on the previous four, although I'm not too sure it will be entirely beneficial to my exams.

One thing I did know for sure was that our south-facing garden would be the feature I missed most once we moved. So, as any normal person would do on a weekend with weather as nice as it has been, Sunday morning I decided to sit outside in my underwear, playing guitar in an attempt to start building up my tan early this year. I'm sure the new neighbours are cool with it. I mean, they haven't said anything as of yet...

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