The Bran Report

It's good for parts of you that you'd probably rather not think about.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Image heavy!

This weekend is a bank holiday, and to celebrate the fact that I've yet to be paid for four weeks of work, I'm probably going to buy a t-shirt from an internet vendor. You see, the webcomic industry is pretty much a t-shirt based economy. And I consider myself a patron of the modern arts. If you want to buy a shirt, and make me feel like I'm helping an idealistic business model to gain some credence, you'll find each of them images is a link to the site selling it.

So, odds are, some time in the next four to six weeks I'll be walking around with one of these designs on my chest. But which one? Only time will tell!

Edit: So I got to feelin' bad about hitting you with 26 unexpected images. To see what I'm talking about, retreat behind the cut: >>Go!>>

The Dark Knight
Ask a Ninja
Sharing makes me happy
That's right.
The most helpful deity in all mythology
It's Ironic!
Where is my elephant?
TIE incoming!
Let's start overI like pi
Finding answers, ignoring factsI guess it's symbolical?
It is the presidential peanut of successI still believe this to be true
What are they like?That means ACTION!
Creepy!This is not entirely representative of my opinions.
Guys, we need a lot more science up in hereCongratulations
Most noble of all made-up animalsIt's an internet thing
Babies are like monkeys, except that people who own monkeys don't take them to my favourite restaurantsWhen it's full, you can shoot power from your sword
Han Shot FirstIf you've ever rolled a d20, you'll understand

Friday, August 25, 2006


I am eating stale doughnuts for breakfast! YAY GO DIABETES


Also, yesterday people were talking about dreams over coffee, talkin' about how they dreamed of index systems or terrorist threats in familiar locations. I chimed in with:
"I had a dream. It was something to do with the Red Hills of Georgia."
Everyone looked at me and said "What?"

Even the cheapjokes aren't easy any more.

We aren't in Kansas any more, Toto.

Three's company

A certain accomodation has set up between the three of us sharing Dale, the fifty-room warren that my college rents out. We're all complete strangers and, being Anglo-saxon, have quickly settled on a relationship of absent coexistence. I think we are now the ideal of English neighbourhood: We wave at each other on our way to work, and I have no doubt they'd give me an egg if I wanted to make a frittata and I asked politely. However, if we go a week without ever seeing each other, no-one's going to be put out by that. If our conversations don't get past stating the time of day, then that's OK. The main way I interact with the people I'm sharing four rooms with is by dozing in the interval between my alarm going off and the sound of the bathroom lock opening.

I think it's one of the big differences between British and American culture: in Britain, "stranger" is not a friendly greeting. It implies someone towards whom you owe certain duties and a base level of polite tolerance, but not (for example) lively conversation or a barbeque in your garden. Or more accurately, we're happy to be quasi-strangers. Americans seem to want to turn that category of people- neighbours, postmen, shop-keepers- into quasi-friends.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The rumour mill

I'm finding it difficult to stick to my previous resolve of not blogging about the people I work with. You see, audience, I have a sense. It tells me that you want to know the dirt.
Which of the bookmoving team was almost crushed by movable shelving units when they fell asleep in the bookstacks? You want to know which of us is in a relationship with a fighter pilot from the twenties. You want to know which of us admires Obi-wan Kenobi so much that they grew a beard "in tribute".
You want to know how much fragrant untruth I'm stirring in here to defuse the fact that I'm basically making a descriptive list of things it would be unwise to talk about. You want to know which of us is called "The Bullet", and the much-less-cool-than-you'd-think reason for that name.

In short, audience, my blogosense tells me that you want to know the trivial details of my life.

Further Things they don't tell you when you start to grow a beard

If you cycle home in the rain your moustache will become bedraggled but bushy, so that it looks like the emoticon for "I just cycled home in the rain" :(

More accurately, trillions of stars

There is a place in the universe, about 94 thousand, six hundred and eight million million kilometres away, where two clusters of galaxies are colliding at millions of miles per hour. Well, more accurately, this all happened a hundred million years ago, it's just that we've only just learnt of it.

The explosion caused by this unimaginable collision has certain properties that seive the dark matter from the rest. In case you don't know, dark matter is a substance that has gravity but no other properties: it is invisible, untouchable, and is everywhere. Generally, speaking, this is a hard thing to measure. High fives all round, humanity, because we've done it.

There are those, of course, who don't have any truck with something of unimaginable scale that couldn't be seen until we had vast telescopes at various points around the globe. They're the ones who maintain that there are lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. For people, in other words. Interestingly, someone who themselves believed this once accused me of 'worshipping' mankind, as opposed to the worldview they were selling as a more enlightened, cosmic way of seeing.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


It occured to me yesterday that I probably shouldn't be makin' blog posts about my co-workers down the bookmine, since my audience can probably be described pretty accurately as
(The set of people I work with) + (the set of people I link to).

This puts me in a bit of a bind, because what with doing this ridiculous "Slightly less than fourty hour" working week I don't have much left to talk about, unless you want to hear about any of the following.

  • Stupid websites about ninjas or ninja-doctors.
  • How I'm risking botulism by cooking old fish for dinner
  • The plotlines of videogames that came out in 2005
  • Long-dead socialist property developers

I'll go and think about it some more.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Joke of the Day

"I just finished an eight-hour shift shelving Astrophysics periodicals, and boy are my arms tired. It's like that time I flew in from Denver."


Office humour

I've been working in the book-mines for three weeks now, and I'm still not sure what the acceptable limit for humour is.

In Regent street, before our visiting students fled back over the ocean, we had a social agreement that the bar was pretty damn low: in the name of jokes, you could get away with saying some truly horrendous things. For some reason, my personal clich├ęs were Baxter Bragg, Ketamine and the Trail of Tears. Not all at once, of course.

The thing is, I don't know how muich will be accepted with levity at my new place. Regent street was largely populated with street-urchins and nihilists, you see. I have tested the limits and proved that in the context of a friday afternoon it is OK to joke about the Bay of Pigs, Collectivisation, and to describe Haiti after a hurricane as "A slip-n-slide with guns". I'm not sure about that last one, but that might just be because I think the slip-n-slide is an American phenomenon.

WJB and TD have, perhaps, pushed the comfort zone with their running joke about

HOLY crap, the laptop started slipping and in the process of catching it I catapulted soggy bran onto the keyboard. Do you see what I go through for this gimmick? Do you See??

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A poem for sunday

The integral sum of the displacement field over any surface is equal to the free charge within that surface.

The divergence of magnetic flux density is zero.

The curl of the magnetic field is equal to the current (including the displacement current).

The electro-motive force induced around a loop is equal to the rate of change of magnetic flux cutting the area bounded by that loop.

In the name of Faraday, Ampere and the Holy Gauss.