b3ta.com user Legionary
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...hi :)

I'm Andy. I'm a bloke. You can visit my website if you like:

If you want to get hold of me, my email address is (almost):
jadedplanet.net at andy.

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» Your Weirdest Teacher

What is a 'technology college' anyway?
My secondary school was unique as far as I can tell, in that it's the only one I know of that has its own farm. I don't mean a seperate site somewhere - half the school grounds were set aside for this. "Agricultural Science" was one of the GCSE options, and every year some kids would come around selling various pork products made from the school pigs. One lad from the year above mine spray-painted one of the sheep when he left...

Anyway, teachers. We had our fair share of both great and crap teachers (I still feel sorry about the RE teacher that left before her first week was up after we got her to break down and swear at the whole class) but by far the oddest was my physics teacher, Doctor Carson.

Doctor Carson was (and, I suspect, still is) a loveably eccentric teacher. He used to stick pencils up his nose, in an attempt to dissuade kids from chewing the ends of them when they had to borrow a pencil. He also spent many a lesson wandering around the classroom with his foot stuck in the metal dustbin (step, clank, step, clank). One particular lesson half the class was missing (damn skiving History students) and Doctor Carson, as head of science, had just recieved a new load of educational gadgets that he'd ordered. We spent the lesson electrocuting the poor lass we attached to the new Van de Graaf generator by touching her with our feet, and scaring some first years with a gooseneck-mounted camera.

Another particularly memorable lesson, we were told to split the classroom in half using tables, and pile the chairs up round the edges. Then we were given a hundred or so pieces of paper, told to screw them all up into balls, and put all the balls on the floor on one side of the room. Then - without explaining why - Doctor Carson split us into two groups (one on either side) and had us throw paper balls at each other for ten minutes. Once we'd set the classroom back to rights, he explained how this was a demonstration of diffusion. (The pictures he took of that lesson got published in a magazine somewhere, apparently.)

One day, Doctor Carson told us told us that our next lesson would be watched, as he was being assessed for 'super teacher' status (I have no idea what this was, but I'd guess another government initiative). The rest of the lesson was spent regaling us with stories that we could never tell the assessor - "particularly that one about the boy that ate a stick of chalk instead of taking a detention". Sure enough, the next lesson, there was a twenty-something official-looking woman sat at the back, so we spent a cheerful hour telling her everything we could think of.

Inevitably, Doctor Carson was given this 'super teacher' award. We knew this when he arrived for our lesson wearing red underpants outside his trousers. Same lesson, he took the effort to sneak out of the storeroom and round the classroom in a (successful) effort to surprise the head of year - who had just popped into the class to ask him about something - by jumping on her from behind.

Needless to say, we all got good grades for physics.
(Thu 10th Nov 2005, 12:54, More)

» Teenage Parties

Oh god
Having read most of the posts, I thought I'd have a look back through my photo collection to see if there were any interesting ones from parties I went to. There were. There were also some videos I'd apparently recorded for myself:

(@Legionary) oh god
(@Legionary) I've just found a video from Sarah's 18th :/
(@Legionary) about 80 people drunkenly singing "happy birthday" :/
(@Legionary) er
(@Legionary) and me getting progressively more drunk
(@Legionary) quote: "I am sufficiently pissed, that recording a message to myself seems like a good idea"
(@Bodzilla) from you? :)
(@Legionary) yes :/ I've just found another bit where I forgot my own name
(@Legionary) also, I'm wearing a Megatokyo tee
(@Legionary) it doesnt get much worse
(@Legionary) eheheh. "Sober Andy, my friend. You will probably have a hangover in the morning."
(@Legionary) "Dan's just fallen over, I'm going to give him a hand. Dan! Get up. Up! Up is this way!"

I'd post the videos, but then I'd have to commit ritual suicide (even if they are from a few years ago now).
(Mon 17th Apr 2006, 16:36, More)

» On the stage

Teardrop on the Fire
Before I moved away to university, I was involved in quite a lot of technical theatrics. I'd started at secondary school with the annual school plays, I sometimes ran the sound for my parents' church in York, and I was part of the local amateur operatics society. I also went to a few of the more technical Pied Piper gigs, including spending one dark evening projecting large red triangles into the sky using a GoldenScan.

It's from the operatic society that the more amusing of my stories come from. Our production of 'Annie Get Your Gun' completely ruined a metal dustbin because we used it to detonate maroons in (being far too cheap to get hold of a proper bomb tank). The show we did with dry ice gave one of the techs a black eye - but if you stick dry ice and boiling water in a bottle and screw the lid on, what do you expect?

One evening, many hours after the rest of the cast and crew had stopped rehearsing and left for the night, myself (sound) and Lee (lighting) had to let Martin (lead spotlight) and the rather attractive female lead out of the backstage changing room, where they'd been locked in because they had been ...hiding. Rather energetically.

My favourite play, though, was at secondary school. At the time, I'd do more or less anything to get out of normal lessons (computing, technical drama, anything - I must have been the geekiest kid in my year) and so I got involved in the school play. This meant three full days of rehearsals, and another day for us techies to set up first. After the first show I did, I was hooked, and when it came time to choose my GCSEs, I was the only person in school to do Lighting and Set Design instead of Drama.

So when I was asked by the head of drama (Mrs Hawes, lovely lady) to run lighting and sound for a group of year elevens I was more than happy to help. It turned out they were doing quite an emotional piece - rape was involved - and they wanted some music to accompany one particular scene. Anyway I ran the lighting and the tape for the rehearsal and, if my memory serves, for their assessment; but Mrs Hawes had asked them to perform the play in the school assembly.

So for said assembly, I'm sat at the front of the hall next to the cassette player, so that I can run the music and fade it out at the right points. The group is introduced, the play is performed, and when all was done I don't think there were many dry eyes left through the whole school.

To my shame I can't remember much about the play itself, but I do remember the music. Whenever I hear Massive Attack's "Teardrop on the Fire" I'm transported back seven years to that assembly hall.

Unfortunately, all that remains of that period of my life is a working knowledge of lighting and sound equipment (came in useful at a Latin American society gig I got invited to), and the fact that the headphones I wear about the house are more appropriate for an on-stage foldback engineer at a gig.

Anyone - amateur theatre, pro theatre, venues, bands - in [south] Manchester looking for a sound/lighting engineer? My email address is in my profile...
(Fri 2nd Dec 2005, 18:08, More)

» Best and worst TV ads

That "We Buy Any Car" drives me utterly mad. I genuinely can't stand to listen to it - there's a frenzied dash to mute the television whenever that smug newsreader appears. The appearance of the newsreader was a blessing - prior to that I simply had to deal with the music for the three seconds it took me to grab hold of the remote and hit the right button.

In fact, I was discussing this with some friends the other day, and one said "Well, you can't deny it's effective in getting you to remember the brand". She's right, I can't, but the net effect is that I will never, ever, in my entire life have anything to do with We Buy Any Car, Carcraft, or any of the other UK Car Group companies.

That's how annoyed it makes me.

[edit] Yes, okay, it's an obvious choice, but there's still only the one advert that I simply cannot bear at all. The rest are just annoying.
(Thu 15th Apr 2010, 15:30, More)

» Essential Items

Many things
Most of which are thoroughly mundane, for instance I always wear a watch - everyone else that I know spends five minutes rummaging throught their pockets/handbag to find their phone so they can check the time.

I did think I was fairly odd for carrying a multi-tool around all the time, but after reading some of the other posts, perhaps not...

Odd? For the last few years, I've been carrying a couple of playing cards around in my wallet - a joker, and the five of hearts. This is not simply so that I can cheat at poker, more because of a drinking game me and a whole load of people (who are mostly now my friends, but who I didn't really know at the time) were playing. It worked like this: Each of us - in exchange for a fifty pence coin - was given a card with someone else's name on it. Whoever had the card bearing the name of the first person to, um, talk on the porcelain phone, was given the cash.

I've had the card I was given (the joker) and my card (the five of hearts) ever since. They've got pretty pictures from the Isle of Man on the back, and have come in useful for me to scribble incomprehensible notes on.

By the way, Dave won. Mostly by forcing people to drink shots of Bailey's and lime cordial at the same time.
(Fri 28th Oct 2005, 22:33, More)
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