The Bran Report

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

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Fake Science January Sale

Lord knows, I've done enough writing today, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point my loyal readers towards the promotion over at Fake Science. Basically, if you've bought from them before you get two mixtapes (one electro, one indieish). If you're not a customer, why not pick something up today? The Harbours are pretty good. If I remember rightly, that was $8, but you can snag an EP for $2 if you're OK with it being some dude from California recording on his iBook.

The indierock sampler has some fun stuff, actually. If you have a charitable attitude to music, this is a good chance to get a lot of new music for the price of a Budvar in the Cricketer's Arms on Iffley Road, Oxford.

Guaranteed1 to make you more indie and therefore more attractive2.

1). Not a guarantee.
2). Take a look at what the same characters look like after another 653 issues. I have been reading that whole time, because I am a nerd.

The roadmap

Do you remember what I said on Tuesday about the division of labour between The Bran Report and the Plain of Shinar? Yeah, I thought about it some more and, being the goof liberal I am, I'm going to flip-flop.

Over here, I'm going to stick with all those qualities you associate with the word blog: topics chosen at random from the utterly trivial and breath-takingly overambitious ("I had toast for breakfast. God doesn't exist."), all delivered in an idiosyncratic style that says "I don't allow people to respond to me on equal terms".

Meanwhile, on the Plain of Shinar I'll try to produce posts that you could like without neccesarily liking me.

A blog that's not a direct outgrowing of my own frontal lobe? Is that a bold startegy to improve your breadth as a writer? Perhaps. Is it the act of a man who is almost pathologically conflict-avoidant? Absoloutely.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I'm so confused

Geogre Bush is advocating one of my pet causes. Who am i supposed to hate now?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Top Five Animals I Wouldn't Fuck With

Sorry to drop the F-bomb on you, but this is a meme I'd like to see do well. Credit goes to Maxwell Edison.

#5 Hippopotamus (real)
What? A Hippo? But they're cute! They look like they're made of soap! Come on, Hippos are herbivores. They're totally not dangerous.
Yeah. That's what they want you to think.

#4 Cassowary (real)
A flightless bird native to the rainforests of south-east Asia. They killed Japanese and British-Australian soldiers in WWII. Why? I don't know. They're birds. How do you reason with that? Look how they're coloured. Look at those mad eyes. Those things will kill you because they mistake you for the moon.
Allow me to follow my academic bent and quote Wikipedia:
"More recently, Cassowaries have been known to lose their natural fear of people. As a result, large areas of Australian National Parks have been temporarily closed to avoid human contact with the bird."

#3 Fenrir (Norse mythology)
I won't go into the story here, but Fenrir is scary on two levels. One, he's a collosal, immortal wolf with superhuman intelligence. OK, so there's that. But he's also the externalisation of the fear of the gods. Fear, as we know, leads to anger, and anger leads to hate. At the end of the story Fenrir is chained up in a cave, gagged with a sword, and will remain there until the end of the world. That's a long time to build up resentment. The strange thing is, he doesn't do anything ba duntil he's struggling to get free and in roder to chain him the gods resort to deceit and Tyr ends up loosing a hand. I feel virtually certain there's a political allegory to be made here.

#2 Stonefish (Horrifyingly real)
The Stonefish is an artefact of pure malice. It spends it's whole life hiding in sand offshore, waiting for someone to stand on it. The venomous spines on their back deliver a poison that is both agonizing and quickly fatal, and that can only be defeated with torniquets, fire, or amputation (the common folk practice, of screaming and going into violent siezures, is less effective). The Stonefish, meanwhile, smugly scoots off to a different part of the beach. These are the reason I refused to go into the sea for years.

#1. The Locusts of Abaddon (Biblical)
From Revelations 9:7-10.
"And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months."
Monstrous portmanteux creatures designed and built to hunt down those of us who jumped the wrong way in the celestial game of guess-the-card. That's scary.

Dire news for the Bran report

There are many definitions of the word "awesome". One of them is walking around at night during a gale- especially if it's the night after an even bigger gale, as then the streets are littered with branches and such. It's not easy to feel adventuresome in the LE11 postcode, but heading out over the blasted heath (read: civic playing fields) on a rickety bicycle under wind-blown stars is half-way there.

If only I had taken more care, though. A cow came whiffling through the tulgey wood and bit me on the neck. I beat it off with my wind-up torch and, sense of adventure thoroughly dissolved, went home.

I ate my bran distractedly and soon retired for the night. I could find no rest, though: I tossed and turned, my stomach feeling like a drum and soundinglike the later works of John Lennon.

At the stroke of midnight the terrible truth was made plain: I was now lactose-intolerant.

Editorial note: Actually, I don't know if it's the ridiculous amount of milk I drink that is causing a problem. In the name of Science, I am going to swear it off for a while, then do milk shots all day. Under normal circumstances that's a terrible idea, but this is for SCIENCE.

If I can't live on milk anymore, I can't bran. If I can't bran, I can't blog. That's just how it works. Posts here may reduce.

I might manage something else, I suppose.

Monday, January 22, 2007


I just grated my thumb. Now I know how Job felt.

Neologisms without a hope

Slithy: I don't care what Charles Dodgson says, this means "Simulateanously sweaty and parched". You become slithy as a consequence of exercise while wearing waterproof clothing.

Dartmoor lung: Condition where deep breathing causes a sharp pain just behind the sternum. Caused by hard physical labour in cold, windy conditions. Causes panic, euphoria.

Dartmoor cufflinks: a consequence of getting slithy in cold weather. When your arms are Florida and your hands are Maine, you should expect an unpleasant sensation around the cuffs.

Oliver: Verb. Enjoying a meal or snack so delicious that immediately on finishing it you go and make some more. Equivalently, making food for two nights and chompfing it all down in one. Causes self-loathing in women, pride in men.

Between Brithnoth and the Devil: Idiom. A secret or question is said to be "between Brithnoth and the Devil" if it is unkowable, sinister, and possibly terrible.
Brithnoth was the Anglo-Saxon commander at the Battle of Maldon. Despite being very tall, he lost the battle due to his ofermod. No-one is really sure what ofermod is: it is an adjective that sounds a bit like "too much mind", and in the corpus of Old English it's only used twice: of Brithnoth, and of the Devil.

Awexsome (sometimes spelled aweXsome): Extremely awesome. If something is normally awesome, then it is awexsome on a critical hit.
Usage: Awexsome should only be used when awesome is insufficient. It describes things that cause emotion sufficient to use L3375p33k unironically. It should also not be used in Tolkeinian contexts to avoid confusion with "Orcsome".

Tycho in Rome: Figurative. When you claim that you'll be too busy to post much, then post twice as often as normal out of guilt. Two or three weeks of posts from here are essentially what seperates the modern blogger that I am from the guy who used to write A4 pages of cynicism on a 386 PC, print them out, and leave them lying around the computer lab.

If any of these get in the OED, I'll put it on my CV. Also, I'll eat a bunch of hats.


Some things that have annoyed me this weekend.

  1. The boiler broke down, meaning we were all walking around wearing loads of clothes. This did not bond the house as well as you might hope. One house member spent the night in someone else's bed just for the warmth and, annoyingly, it wasn't me.

  2. When we called the called the landlord to beg for heat, he said that I hadn't ever paid rent and was not happy for this situation to continue.

  3. I got a letter from Oxford telling me that I owed them a heap of cash and that they weren't happy for this situation to continue.

  4. Although I emailed Durham a month ago, they have not responded. I can take loosing opportunities due to my own sloth and ignorance- it's kind of my hobby- but to do so due to administrative error is, well, annoying. Also, I hate writing reminder emails and have now been forced to do so.

  5. I sit exams in a week. This is really more of a circumstance bonus to the previous troubles than a problem in it's own right: after all, this is my ninth consecutive year of exams (not counting SATS and other cakewalks). They're kind of fun, in a way.

So, yeah! It's just as well I'm in such a beautiful location, or I might be quite down about my life decisions now.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Patent pending

When you have a moustache, eating toast with peanut butter is a sticky experience. That's a real shame, because I love toast and P-but (as I call it). Still, you can't simultaneously eat P-but toast, have a moustache, and be sexy.

Unless, that is, you turn the toast upside down before you put it in your mouth.

I'm the smartest man alive.