The Bran Report

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

Saturday, September 23, 2006


  • Childhood
  • School
  • GCSE
  • A-levels
  • Physics degree
  • MSc (Renewable Energy Science)
  • Doctorate
  • World-famous energy consultant and bon-vivant

We're moving through the list, people. Depending on whether the strangers I'm moving in with this afternoon are as addicted to data as I am, I may or may not be bloggin' on a regular basis over the next week. Stay tuned to find out.

(Though thinking about it, finding out that I don't update wouldn't be very interesting.... ah hell with it, it ups my page-view count. Just stay at home Sunday hitting 'refresh'. It's the classy thing to do.)

To the M40!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Descent

Today is my last day in the bookmines, and I have failed.

We make heavy use of a good old cage-lift, the kind you might find in an expensive American hotel or a Welsh coal-mine. Not long ago we discovered that you can open the doors mid-flight, and that doing so causes the lift to freeze for thirty seconds or so. At that point I had the greatest idea ever: posters.

That's right world, I want to recontextualise posters by putting them inside a lift-shaft. Sadly, I don't have any.

I had considered printing out some edgy internet humour, but Dinosaur Comics have two drawbacks.
1) Scrolling the archives, I found I had picked out thirteen strips that were particularly awesome, and had only examined one month.
2) Jokes about computational linguistics given out by dinosaurs can be difficult to really appreciate when they're sliding past you behind bars at five metres a second.

I also thought of putting a poster for the film "The Descent" on the walls between sub-level one and sub-level two. The problem is that I don't have said poster, and welll... OK, I'll say it: given a choice between giving up on my idea or going to see "The Descent" in a cinema just so I can get a promotional poster, well, my choice is fairly clear.

So, yeah. Failure!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Invisible City

File in Rythm by Beight

I have an obsessive turn of mind when it comes to music. Two weeks after I added Teardrop by Massive Attack to my iTunes library, it had accumulated a playcount in the low fifties.

Right now, I am constantly humming Invisible City by Beight. Sadly, so far I only know two lines of lyric- five words, if you don't count "Woh-woh".

I dropped five Pounds Sterling on the album and since I did so from the record label of the future, Magnatune, I am legally entitled to pass on the download keys to three people. Two I already have in mind: Anyone who comments to this post and helps me deceive myself that I'm a blogstar may have the third.
The rest of you are stuck with the other option: Go to the Magnatune site and hit "play". You can stream the entire album at radio quality.

I feel that this is a business model that competes well with the more traditional rights you get when you buy a CD- you know, "This music maynot be traded, lent, performed in public, or played on a personal MP3 player at sufficient volume for someone sat next to you on a quiet bus to maybe overhear a little bit of it".

Now, I'm not the kind of person to start neddlessly ambitious projects at whim, but it makes me want to start a podcast. On reflection, it might be a little repetitive.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Extracts from the Library Lexicon

I know that you fellows like to daydream about what it might be like to work in the Bodleian bookmines with me and the team, so I'm going to share a little slice-o'-life with you in the form of the neologism we're spoutin' on a daily basis.

J-crisis, noun. Anything that goes badly wrong and has long term consequences. Originally the term referred specifically to the two weeks of lost time due to having to work around a team of Joiners. However, it is now not uncommon to hear someone exclaim "Man, what a jay". It's also been aplied to human beings, though of course I would never be that uncharitable.

The Moran, noun. Something that never turns up and has to be worked around or replaced. The be properly termed the moran, there should be no warning and no explanation. e.g. The work of the electricians over-ran, so in week two to six, access to level six was the moran. More generally, something you need but are never going to get.

(To take a) Burrows, noun and verb. To push a trolley around with nothing on your mind and no particular destination, maybe humming a januty tune. Mostly used to regain emotional and spiritual peace, but also to extend tea-breaks to the union-mandated 45 minutes.
In an early episode of the hit TV series Scrubs, Dr. Perry Cox can be seen "taking a burrows", though in his case he's pushing a cadaver in a wheelchair.

I think these words should have a wide applicability in workplaces everywhere, unlike more specific terms such as Endbend, Red Boxers, or to "do some h. c.". See if you can introduce them in your place of work this week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Bonnie Prince Billy

The evidence suggests I'm going a bit country. If I'm not listening to songs about where the metaphors are horses, roosters, or small towns in Georgia, then I'm just not happy.

In much the same way that I think Neighbours would be better if they introduced an android character, I now find myself listening to Don't Fear the Reaper and thinking "OK, but where's the banjo? You need some more banjo on here, guys".

Anyway, I'm going to cut the navel-gazing short at this point. Taking eight hours out of my day somehow adds up to "If I'm going to do my dishes at all, it'll be between 08.30 and 08.35 on Tuesday mornings".

Monday, September 18, 2006


Hold onto your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because I'm about to tell you what I had for dinner last night.

It's a variation on a favourite recipe of mine, called "Beef Misery", where you brown some mince and onions in a frying pan and cook it with tomatoes and beans for between six and eight hours. It's very English.

If it turns out that the kitchen for the flat college has given you doesn't have a frying pan, try "shallow boil". I'd like to imagine that I invented the shallow boil, but it probably has a technical name in French. So yes, boil your meat and onions in a half-inch of water. You should choose a white onion if you like the strong taste, but I prefer the more fragrant red onion. If your upbringing makes you incapable of throwing away food, you can replace the beef with pink-grey meat frozen by your one of your housemates at some point in the last fourteen months.

I served it with some bread, cutting the crusts off because as anyone who's lived alone knows, they succumb to mould first. I was already a little worried about the kidney beans- don't you have to be sure they cook well? Don't bad things happen? I'm not yet blasé enough to make a meal where two ingredients might cause me to convulse and see witches.

I have a friend with a pretty serious nut allergy. She once told me that when presented with Pesto or chocolate or whatever, her approach was to tentatively sniff a little and carefully watch for the first stages of horrible death. My attitude to this meal was a little reminiscent of that.

It was delicious.