dr_ether: (Default)
      So I thought I should post this. I will get round to a more detailed review of 2009 later in the week.       Ok so lets give a quick highlight of the decade for me:
  • Started A-Levels in Chemistry, Physics and Maths at Lady Hawkins High School (1999). These were finished in 2001. B, B, A.
  • Got offered a position studying chemistry at the University of Nottingham, but I turned it down for my second choice (well actually my first choice but not on the UCAS application) UMIST.
  • Moved to Manchester, staying in Wright-Robinson Hall. J floor, room 13. Met Ciaran at the rock society. Also met my girlfriend of 3 years, Vicky Hare, and also in the year above Viki, who I would then share a house with during PhD.
  • Picked up a copy of Vampire the Requiem.
  • Vicky, ina fit of desperation, cheated on an exam at the end of the year. We have to wait for the verdict and she is made to resit the paper in full. Needless to say I am quite disappointed.
  • For my second year of uni I lived with my course mate, Dave Smith, and others from our floor of uni, getting a shitty house in Victoria Park. 2002 would also see me return to Manchester after a summer away, but with the added bonus of getting a key-time position at the Altrincham store of Games Workshop. Later in the year Vicky Hare would get a similar position at the Manchester store.
  • Ciaran also ends up working at GW Altrincham, having left uni to resit to year again, and so losing his position at the Manchester store.
  • For 2003 we would then live in a better, larger house in Victoria Park, now with Vicky. In August before her final year of Biochemistry we get to travel to New York.
  • Vicky finishes her course and I have the joy of team project work for uni. I face down the sexist, racist member of the group who came from Morocco. This fool spat at the feet of those guys in the other research teams who were gay, and also would refuse to follow the instructions of any of the girls in the group. This led to a confrontation and myself shouting him down. To this day I don't remember it that well.
  • The end of the university year (2004) sees myself, Vicky and Andy Sykes (a floor mate and house mate for the previous years), get a flat together. Both of them finished their courses and don't follow it as a career, both getting full time positions with GW Stockport.
  • In August 2004, while in Leeds, Vicky having gone to her parents as we had been having a difficult time (more to do with her getting a job and me not having to bother as I had a final year to go), she dumps me while we were in the middle of Leeds.
  • Distraught, and after Vicky had been staying at 'friends/work mates house', I move out, thinking things would improve in a few months. I move in with old house mate/floor mate/ course mate Dave Smith. I realise my course mates of final year are in fact some of the most overlooked.
  • I then find out in September that one of the guys who offered Vicky a room while we were apart, well he had fallen for her. This is after my great giving up on her during her birthday. Needless to say I felt very betrayed.
  • Halloween 2004. Halloween of hell. I will still say nothing more about this night. My older sister puts me back together. I fail to turn up at work but my manager understands why.
  • So 2005 begins a new rebuild of myself. I work for my future PhD superviser Dr (now Prof) Paul Popelier for my final year project. What begins is what would be my four year study of water simulations.
  • I find my manager negligent and report him for being poor at his job, and that myself, a part time staff member, have to perform his job.
  • I pass my uni course, a 2.i! I did a double take, then went to find Paul to tell him. I get my PhD given to me on a plate. I start a week later, early. I also leave GW.
  • I start going to the goth night, Sin City, and start to delve into music that I had wanted to find when I was a first year, but never did for some reason.
  • Meet Stacey, Tofu, Gillian and Aidan, Cassi, Alan, Dan, Donda and others of the goth crowd.
  • New Year, 2006, I meet Zoe and Luke and the others of my furture roleplay crowd. I discover they live with Donda. Small world.
  • Start roleplay again, apart from my old friend circle from when I was with Vicky. Start running lots of nWoD stuff.
  • A number of relationships happen which prove to me that I still don't know what the hell I am looking for. Always chasing for something more complete, but to scared of going down a road that I have already traveled.
  • Start playing Etherscope and meet the writers. Start of my chance to do freelance writing.
  • 2006 see's me pass my first year of PhD, and then move in Viki (the biochemist in the year above), her mate James Kitchen, and Phil. We lived in Withington. I had the shite room. I still blame Kitchen for the unfair claiming of the other room.
  • Go to Infest for the first time. Good time was had.
  • Start roleplay with Luke and the others, and so begins the tale of the Itinerant Company for Vampire: the Dark Ages. This would be followed by some classic technocracy gaming and also my Fading Suns game.
  • First paper is published. It turns up in an obscure journal.
  • 2007, year of the great upheaval. In so many ways! In April I would go on to make the biggest mistake of my life before I would go on to make the greatest choice of my life. After the mistake of the gods, I meet Sam via the internet, and then in person. I knew from day one of meeting her that it would be her, forever. But knowing that feeling almost scared me away. It was just so intense.
  • Sam's dad, who I never had the chance to meet unfortuantely dies. I am there at her house the night the police arrive to inform her.
  • I move into the flat in Rusholme. Living in a stoner flat fucks me off entirely.
  • Go to Infest for the second time, this time with Sam. We stay in the Midland Hotel and it is clear in my mind, after just 4 months I want to marry her.
  • In September I find out it's not just me :D !!! We plan to go to Venice in the next year for Carnival!
  • That Xmas Sam meets my parents. Yay!!
  • In January 2008 I turn 25. We dine and drink in Negresco. The Fox of Nod is discovered.
  • Venice!! Almost the entire week in Venice. We go to a Masquerade ball. It's just totaly epic! And Sam and myself get engaged in the Fairy City.
  • April 2008. My mistake comes back to haunt me. Things almost all fall apart. For myself and Sam, Sam most of all, 2008 is a very tough year.
  • 3 more papers are published in this year. My course takes 4 months longer to complete.
  • Sam and myself, despite it all, move in together in a flat in the Northern Quarter, knowing we can only get through this all if we are together.
  • Friendships with others are tested and broken as I know my place is at Sam's side. I feel hurt that others seem to act like she has no reason to be upset. People take my side when I never asked or needed them, when I actually felt they had to support Sam.
  • I have interviews at the universities of Essex, and Warwick.
  • A week before Xmas I get conformation I got the Postdoc in Warwick! Sam heads down on the 23rd of December to sort out a flat while I write up.
  • Jan 2009. Fuck this is a crazy month! I submit my PhD thesis. We move to Leamington Spa in the space of 25 hours. Non-stop!
  • In February we head to Venice for our wedding in the Hall of Mirrors in Palazzo Zenobio, on the 25th. We then spend an extra few days in Verona!
  • I return to Leamington, my job starts, I have my viva and pass!
  • I get another paper published from my time in Manchester. I start my literature review on my field.
  • We meet Mark and Kate (the only other goths in Leamington Spa). And then meet James. Roleplay begins again with me as GM. We start with Unhallowed Metropolis and then onto Vampire the Requiem, where I rerun the chronicle I ran 3 years ago.
  • Sam starts her course in Beauty Therapy.
  • We go to see Phantom of the Opera for Sam's birthday.
  • My sixth paper (the epic literature review) is finished and complete for publishing. I am also on the cusp of finally finishing my first paper for Warwick.
So what more can I say? The noughties... no I hate that term. The Zeros, The Os ? It is the decade of that start of my career. The decade of my greatest failure. The decade of my greatest triumph. The decade of the start of the rest of my life. The decade that ends finding my true love, my wife.

Any questions?

Pictures )

But if there is one picture that sums up the decade. That makes me happy it is this.

Roll on the Teens, the Tens... or as I prefer, the Twenty Tens.
dr_ether: (Default)
      So about this time 4 years ago I was finishing my last exams and my future was not so certain. It had been the best part of a year since my relationship with my girfriend of 3 years (and of course through most of uni) ended, and well as far as my final year of uni was concerned it was not great. Since I was the only person sitting my specialization, Chemical Physics, I was not able to sit the course that would have suited me. No I had to make do with typical normal chemistry. This of course was the reason why my grades were dropping and I came out of my degree with a 2.i. It coud have been better but alas no. But of course my old supervisor could see my aptitude for the computational side which he was fully aware was not being taught. So of course my project work was fine.
      The end of uni was good though. I had learnt I had friends where I had least expected. To be honest then end of my 3 year relationship was not easy. I had to remove myself from certain circles of friends which I found left me quite alone. However, to my surprise, the people who I knew in my year at uni held me in high regard, and so I found that I had more friends then I initially thought. Together we all stood the the edge of the future as none of us were convinced we would be getting the courses we wanted. However, nearly all of us had been offered a PhD in the uni, and mine had the clause that I just had to get a 2.i. Thus the next 2 months were quite nail biting and I was already making preparations for the worst. Of course this was made all the worst because no matter how much there wasn't competition I felt that I had to for the sake of my parents. My sister had straight A's at A-Level and a 1st at uni. Myself, well I was more the rebel it seemed. I had only an A and two B's at A-Level and well I was doing so well at uni.
      July though was to determine my future. After a nervous walk into uni and a double take at the results I found that I got my 2.i. I was congratulated by the my class mates as it meant we were all still together in the coming three years. About a month later or so I quit Games Workshop. My manager was beign an ass, incompetent and well I had no reason to be there. I was being nice. I was clear that I was starting my research early. But no. He crossed a line and I quit.
      Now of course doing a PhD, having a lot more money and meant I had new freedoms, and found many new friends as I discovered the goth scene of Manchester. It was music had liked or a while but for the first time I felt myself. It was good as many of the people I met at Sin City soon became some of my best friends and friends that I respect and in time would be people who would make the effort.
      Now almost 3 years ago I went down to UCL with my old supervisor and some people from the old group to apply for hours on a super computer. It was a farce as I remember and well it didn't amount to much. It was also about this time that I was about to move house to live in Withington.
      2 years ago around about this time myself and Sam, now a fairy new item, headed off to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3. This was still early into our reationship and it was intoxicating as I had not felt this way about someone for so long. Also about this time I was was the filming of the zombie short film. This was the film that myself and Dan had spent some time writing and now was the chance to use expensive BBC equipment.
      1 year ago was not so good though. It was half way through the final year of my PhD. We had got back from Venice about amonth ago which was the best thing ever in my whole life. I was engaged to Sam, but then it all seemed to have nearly fallen apart. I don't need to go through the gory details but lets just say things were on a cord ready to snap, and Sam was hurt and it has now taken a year for her to now be fuly better. But it still means that there is some pain that will never go. We had just started getting a new flat together in order to ground us and repair ourselves, rather more apart. But the worry, pain and unease I had caused now put both my life with Sam and my PhD in danger. I was a wreck, and it seemed that I couldn't turn to some friends as they were being so nonchalant, or because of their own incorrect opinions, or in fact that they seemed to not see it from Sam's perspective and yet understand how I felt her pain. I was angry because I seemed to not be able to turn to anyone because it seemed to me that they thought I would be fine and that Sam was just someone passing by, an unimportant plaything, or a little melodramatic girl. Or that we were both over reacting. Well it's funny how it all turns out in the end. I'm glad that I can say all that is now over, but over the following year, and of course during my final few months in Manchester and my wedding gathering there, you come to realize who you can depend on.
      So thats whats kinda come to pass. Ups and downs yes. Plus a number of papers and here I am now with a official piece of paper with saying I am a Dr of Chemistry. I now have a nice new set of friends down here who also form my new roleplay group. Also we now have more of a chance to see Dan and Stacey and others in London. This last six months have really shown me that I have been right to stick to my guns, and that I have made the right sacrifices. And in some ways I am now happy to have left Manchester behind me, after 7 years of being there I think I am glad to leave it and fine and forge my life with Sam.

    So this week has seen my fourth and third paper get accepted/published on the web. Also today we went for a long walk, almost into Warwick as I got us lost, to the pet shop to look at Dwarf Hamsters. So looks like we are going to get some and fuck what the landlords say. Hopefully won't be long before we can move out. Sam got a job interview at Warwick this week which is also good news.

      In the end it all kinda works out, regardless of what some people may think.

Back this time 2008 I had black hair!

Back in June 2007 me and Sam outside Manchester student union waiting to see Mechanical Cabaret

I think in 2006 my hair was red.

dr_ether: (Default)
So yes if you haven't paid attention to my LJ/Facebook/Twitter then I passed the viva yesterday.

Was it an easy day..... hmmmm. Sort of. I left Leamington Spa at 0945 and made two changes in order to make it to Manchester in time for my viva voce at 1330. I could have got to Manchester earlier but that would have meant leaving at peak time and so my train ticket would have cost double. Yeah £80 return!

Getting to Manchester I made my way to MIB. It was quite different heading into that building. Because I was all dressed up in a suit I just looked like all the other visitors that I have seen come to meet people in the building. Matt from the Popelier group came down to let me in to the building and then I was back in my old office finding out what had been going on since I was gone and what things that they could help me out with for one of my more recent papers.

Then it was time for the viva and I headed down to the office next to Paul Popeliers where the viva was to be held. It was good to see Alan Hinchliffe again. Alan was another of the ex UMIST chemistry lecturers. I took every lecture he gave in all 4 years of my degree and he was my personal advisor in the first year of my PhD until he was selected to be my internal examiner for my PhD. Thank god I get on well with him as it was good to know there was a friendly face in my exam. In comparison Nakul, another ex Popelier group PhD student had another lecturer, Rob Dryfe, be his internal examiner. Rob is a good laugh but in exams he is said to be tricky than the external examiners. Thus the nickname the 'Smiling Assassin'.

My external examiner was Prof Jonathan Hirst who seemed fairly nice. Rob Deeth,  my new supervisor in Wariwck did warn me that Hirst was quite clever. It turned out that Hirst's home town is Leamington Spa so it was nice to chat about the uni and the town.

The first part of the viva was not fun as I got asked to give formulas that I had written down in my thesis. I find those types of questions really shit as I don't learn formula off by heart but I do know how to dervive them and I at least understand them. But other questions were good as I got to talk about the more unique parts of my work and it's relevance. The latter half of the viva was easier as it focused on my work and considering a lot of it is published or in the process of making it to the journals it was rather easy to defend.

So after almost 2 and a half hours I was told to go wait outside, so I went and sat in Paul's office and had a brief chat. Then five minutes later I was called back in and Hirst told me I had passed and shook my hand. Alan was very kind as he had also brought, pre-wrapped, a copy of one of his text books.

And that was it. I was from then on Dr Handley. I waited about a bit as Paul, Alan and Hirst went off for a coffee, and when Paul came back we quickly talked about papers and he said that he was proud that I had passed.

So all in all not a bad day. Just very, very tiring. My brain felt very empty and squeezed.
dr_ether: (Default)
So yes [livejournal.com profile] glittersavvy  and myself have seen the Dark Knight twice. Epic. I'm sure MOST of you have seen it by now. We do plan to see it once more before it's out of the cinema (oh dear IMAX only screenings ;_;)

Lysa stayed over towards the end of July and during August which was good as it allowed Sam to have some fun, and so while I went off to a conference in Edinburgh they went down to London.

It was good to see everyone out for Luke and Michelle's wedding reception and I was coerced into dancing with Sam to the Timewarp. 'TIMEWARP!' - Tim Beasley

We've also been out to see the new Mummy film. Nice visually but the Yetis... oh for the love of god the fucking Yetis! I shall say no more.

We also picked up a copy of REC which if you haven't seen is a great little spanish horror. Very disturbing to the end. Well filmed and really takes the 'reality horror' genre to a new level. Oh and did I say I hate screaming granny like monster throat biting things???

Oh did I say my hair is white again? Go see Sam's/[livejournal.com profile] glittersavvy 's LJ for evidence

The conference. Well those of you who don't know the Faraday Discussions (this one was on the topic of water at interfaces) are very different to others. We get all the papers before the conference and the speakers only have 5 mins to present their work. After that they have a grueling 15 minutes of questions where their work is praised/torn apart by their peers. Needless to say it was quite interesting to learn what the state of the art is in simulations of water and has led to me outlining a project proposal and feelign quite confident about my own work and where it can lead to. My poster was recieved well and quite a few people realised the novelty of it.

Coming back I was welcomed with a nice new top that Sam got for me while I was away. It was hard no being with Sam for just those few days but I was happier knowing she at least had soem company and that she was having a lot more fun that me sat in a lecture hall dosing up on coffee.

Next film on the list of things we have seen was 'The Duchess'. Good period drama, great sets and costumes. Even quite funny in places. Oh except for the fucking harlots that were talking all the way through it sat behind us.

More importantly was Sam's 23 birthday. I think I did well on the presents this year as they are all quite personal or deeply desired. Some Dior perfume that she has been pining for ages and two awesome pictures on canvas. One a montage of Heath/Joker. We has also been out to get birthday cake and bits for a bit of a party for after the meal at Felicini's.

However no matter my efforts the birthday weekend seemed a bit blah. It's upset Sam and myself somewhat. Birthday candles seemed a bit pointless in the end. Thank you to Donda and Phil for coming round though.

Recently work has been getting crazy. I official have no more funding and really can only afford to carry on until the end of October meaning papers are being written and a thesis is being pulled together. It's kinda weird but I am amazed that I have met my objectives of my PhD... just need a job now. Time at evenings and weekends are getting channeled to get this finished.

The plans for the wedding are set and invites for the handfasting/blessing/reception have been given out. I have my outfit for Venice and Sam's should be arriving soon. I do hope everyone who has been invited can make it.

On another note hopefully I should get to see the photo's from Sam's new photo shoot with Rob. There are already 2 up on his website and 2 others which are cut downs of the main one (one in the slide show banner and the other on the faq page I think). Can't wait to see her in the wedding dress now!

November 2011

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