Day Eight

Isn't eight a funny word to write? How strange it looks, especially in the lower-case. And especially with that funny g with the hoop under, sat there in the middle like a deformed... eight. I can't quite work out which is the meta-reference to the other, but I'm very certain it is one of them. Very curious. Another nice word to look at, I feel, is globalization. I'm not sure if I prefer it with the s or the z, but I find it very pleasing to look at.

Unfortunately the effects of globalization are quite demonic, but I feel I can balance my adoration for the word 'globalization' out morally by buying fair-trade bananas every now and then. But this is nonsense of course, and not scientific in any true sense. I'm trying to blot out the day you see. Fill my head with rubbish to avoid confronting my true feelings. I'm really rather depressed.

You see, the bank called today. It turns out I am now one-hundred and forty-two pounds in debt. I can't think how, as I haven't really eaten in the last few days, much less ventured outside the house. Something is eating away at my funds and I'm not sure what. The bank told me in no uncertain terms to repay my overdraft, or there'd be charges, and eventually debt-collectors. I explained to them that I was a struggling scientist on the brink of Nobel prize-money, but they were none-the-interested.

I resolved to call Doris and ask her help, but she was out, apparantly for lunch with Donald. Albert filled me in. "Doltsby! You old dog, how are you? I haven't heard from you in ages! Keeping yourself busy? No, my wife is out for lunch with Donald's wife Marticia. What, all this time, then you phone asking for money? Tsk Doltsby. How much? Oh, well, I guess that's okay." etc. He drove round in his Honda and gave me the money. I asked him if he could take me round to the bank, and he sighed and agreed.

The lady is the bank seemed especially pleased to see me. She was dead-set on helping me out in any way she could. By the time I left I had a loan for fifteen-thousand pounds and a shiny credit-card. I decided to use my new wealth to take Albert out for lunch at The Stupid Duck, our local gastro-pub. It was the least I could do after he had sat waiting for me in the car for an hour-and-a-half.

Half way through our bottle of Merlot and Roast-Beef and Yorkshire-Pud, a very strange and positively undesirable thing happened. Albert, usually so affable and chubby, suddenly burst in to tears. "I think my marriage is over" he told me, in a torturously slow manner, punctuated by sobs and sneezes. I told him I needed the toilet and walked home. It turned out to be a bad decision, as it was now raining quite heavily and I had neglected to bring a jacket. Nevertheless, I used the time to think about science, briefly, before remembering I was on strike from it. Darn. After all those hours in bed I had completely forgotten what I was moping about and accidentally got on with real-life when the bank phoned. I resolved to mope when I got home.

And when I did get home, I was provided with all the more reason to mope. Not only had my milk gone sour and lumpy, thus preventing me from truly enjoying my good-coffee, but also I had no mail, and hence no new science-form to fill-in for my science-grant from the Department for Horticulture, Development, and Natural Philosophy. And on top of this, Albert had left a bizarre message on my answer-phone calling me a rotter and a magpie. This I could have delt with, I feel, but then, just as I hung up the phone, I saw a lout wandering aimlessly in the street outside. "What right does he have to lout about in my perfectly nice street?" I thought. Then suddenly, I got a rush of adrenaline. I got a hero-urge.

This lout had to be stopped, and actions speak louder than words, so I banged my window, shook my fist and shouted "Clear off, you yob!" I'm not sure he heard what I had shouted, but he certainly became alerted to my presence. This I know, as he is still outside my house shouting obsenities and throwing stones. How wrong I was to try to be the hero. Hopefully he will go away soon, as after a day like today, I don't really feel up to phoning the police. If he is still there in a half-hour I will offer him some money to go away I think.


Day Seven

I woke early today eager to fulfil a hectic schedule which I had assembled in my dream-think; a thousand somnial post-it notes on my brain-wall. One of which read "A. Phone the department for science and pensions. B. Complain to the internet about wrong sort of compass. C. Assess debts, consider re-financing." (Notice the use of A, B, and C in place of the more commonly used numerical bullet-point priority system. Admittedly, even I can't help but read bullet-points of such form as options rather than to-do thingies. But in the war for consistency we must accept that some of the minor-battles will seem absurd, pointless and unhelpfully confusing...) The other nine-hundred and ninety-nine post-it notes were decorated with perfect circles of varying sizes. Sometimes I think that all that circles have in common are their variances. And their shape, of course.

These thoughts flew through my head as I brushed my teeth, which have pranged in mild agony whenever I have bitten into a toffee of late. I scrubbed extra-hard, probably removing the enamel-layer in doing so. I really should go to the dentist, but mine has recently gone private, and really, no-one could afford to see a private dentist on a scientist's wages! Unless their specific field of science was dentistry of course. I really ought to look for a new NHS one, but I'm reliably informed by Doris that NHS dentists can't be found for love nor fillings in West Medding. And who am I to buckle trends?

Then it struck me, quite suddenly as I gazed into the mirror at my unusually handsome face. Yesterday I entirely forgot to dress in my science-clothes! What a juvenille delinquency. No, that's harsh, for I'm certain I cannot recall intentionally eschewing them. Rather, it is a harsh reminder of time's determined continuity, and its ravaging effects on my agedness. Yes, this discrepency was a minor act of senility. Perhaps it's time I had a mid-life crisis. Perhaps I'm already having one? How would one know, exactly? Is personal crisis to be known to oneself, or observed by ones colleagues and surrounders? I must ask Doris.

Feeling quite philosophical, I clamberred into my science-clothes and stared forth-right into the mirror. I felt quite ridiculous. "What a sad man I am becoming." I thought to myself, before weeping a silent tear. It glinted in the mirror, back at me, a gentle reminder, saying "Doltsby, don't be daft. You're not sad. You're sensitive. Deep. Caring... Attractive." Afterwards I felt quite buzzed and eager, ready to get on with my day. I think it's good to get deep sometimes, and outsmart your problems like that.

I resolved immediately to have some fun, and picked my phone to call Doris, and as I did so, lo and behold, it rang of its own accord. "Doris!" I said, "Come round fast, I have something important to tell you, and I must tell you it staring into your eyes, as you stare into mine, with our hands clasped together... Oh Doris, it really is the only way possible!" A man on the other end eventually interupted my childish hippy nonsense by saying "Err, sir, this is the department for horticulture, development, and natural philosophy. We've came across your application."

It transpired that there has been a recent government shake up, and the department for science and pensions no longer exists! All this waiting for nothing. The chap said he would post out the correct form for me post-haste, and distraught, I headed straight for bed, even though it was only eleven-thirty in the morning, to sleep until its arrival. Science! Consider me on strike from you.


Day Six

Oh dear, ludicrous mischief! I was awoken by a booming knock this morning at ten minutes to eleven. In my confusion I panicked - what was this strange noise, this strange place, I found myself in? It seemed that only seconds ago I was contentedly picking up a strangely infinite number of olive-monies from the cobbled Cuban floors of Mexico, Errol Flynn cheering me on and making suspicious comments about poppers and strange insertion practices that I could only assume where sporting in nature, as they certainly didn't sound pleasurable. Another knock, and another, and it struck me that I had been harshly awoken from another one of my indulgently Utopian dreams.

I pulled on my gown and saw to the door. A rather dishevelled human of one or the other gender grunted me a package, and I grunted back a signature. The eyes, they seemed male, but the expression of horror that wiped over them implied femininity to me. I closed the door over and turned back to my hall-way and looked in the mirror. An expression of horror that, in retrospect perhaps implied a hidden feminine innocence I never knew I possessed, wiped over my face. A segment of my functions, dangling low and to the left, was clearly visible.

I almost fainted in horror. Then all of a sudden my alarm-clock went off, and I can only presume it was the fright that tipped me over the edge.

After a few hours recovery time, some washing and some scrubbing, I remembered that I had not yet opened the parcel! What youthful ineptitude! I gleefully teared open the recently-delivered packages, ordered just four days ago on Margaret's internet. And so it was; just as I ordered, a compass, a calculator and a measuring-tape. I sat for a few minutes happily shaking the compass, and in doing so sending magnetic north thrashing from left to right, no doubt sinking ships the world across. Then it struck me; this was the wrong type of compass.

Of all the infantile mistakes I could make, this was the most likely. The sheer scale of the obvious probability of this particular calamity was at least mildly soothing to my scientific mind. Yes - If something had to go wrong, I suppose it would have to have been this. Also, I hadn't really thought of this before, but it isn't actually possible to bend a measuring-tape around a drawing of a circle and gain an accurate measurement. In the context of this day of travesties however, this set-back barely bothered my bottom belly-button.

Determined to make at least a little scientific head-way on this blackest of days, I resolved to draw round the vaguely-round compass with a pencil and analyse the circle-drawings. Of particular note I felt was the fact that it was more oval-shaped than circular, and had four little nubs around it which protruded (one for each day of the directions that there are). Also, it wasn't very easy to trace round. On several occasions my pencil skewed off the page, and on one particularly nightmarish venture the hand I was holding the compass still with slipped and I was unable to re-find its correct position in the context of my warped drawing. Infuriated with the days progress, I resolved to phone Doris and invite her out for a late lunch.

"Late?" She tittered, "Let's just call it supper!" And how right she was! In all my agonizing the day had befell me - it was almost ten at night. Never-the-less, Doris came round and we shared a platter of cheese she wisely thought to bring with her. We sat it on our knees together and watched a strong-man competition on the television, all close and together. She fell asleep after a while, her head rested against my shoulder. At that point, I woke her up and sent her off home so I could write up my day's science.


Day Five

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear. On re-reading my pointless drink-prattle from two-days back, I must admit my instant reaction was to reach to tear the page from the record. But I cannot, for dishonesty in one's life is the first mincing step towards dishonesty in science. I can only hope that my indiscretion here will stand me firm in the annals of science as the epitome of honest-man and honest-scientist.

Incidentally, I have been I feel wholly re-affirmed in my decision to take pi as "three and three-twentieths" after a chance discovery that I made watching QI with Doris on christmas day. It transpires that if you take the first one-hundred and forty-four digits of pi in its traditional form, and add them all together, they equal six-hundred and sixty-six : the number of the beast! While I am not a religious man, I feel this deviance is certainly to be avoided, even in the face of evidence I learned from the exact same program which informed me that the biblical number of the beast is actually six-hundred and six-teen.

But this one iota of pleasant news can not account for the distinctive lack of science this last two days. Since my last update, I admit shamefully, all I have done is lay in bed hungover, alternating between states of sleepful serenity and wakeful despair. Luckily Doris has been on hand to replenish my bed-side glass of water at regular intervals, for if she was not I fear I may have died of dehydration for all the salt I have lost in crying. Doris remarked to me that the bosom of her upper-garment has become almost starched solid through my salty excretions these last thirty-six hours.

As an upside to this malady, I have at least managed not to creep any further into debt since christmas. However, I fear tomorrow will be a different story as I will be required quite certainly to telephone the Department for Science and Pensions to inquire of the progress of my grant-claim. With the advent of "0844"* numbers, I can only dread the damage this will do to my spending powers. I apologise only to myself, and also to the scientific community, for my failure to provide any serious scientific insights these last days, and can only console myself and the scientific community by assuring myself and them that I have set my alarm clock for eleven a.m. tomorrow, and intend upon performing some intensive science-researching.

One can only hope that the calculator, compass and measuring-tape that I have ordered will arrive now that the festive holidays are ended.

* I have allowed myself to use the numbers "0844" in digit form rather than in written form as I am merely quoting a telephone number. The alternative, which I can't help but see as "eight-hundred and forty-four" would fail to suitably inform the reader of what it was that I might have meant, I feel.


Day Three-ish

Christmas so it is, and I guess it shall remain so, for at least as long as I slur my words so. I must admit, my earlier hopes have been dashed, and while I have of course tried to hold the divinity of circular science up to the where-with-all of brutal reality, I am happy to concede the certain redundity of my efforts. In consideration, I happily concede that the barble of previousity only betrays my drunken actuality.

My presents were sparsely received. A new shirt, from Doris, which I had previously noted on an earlier window-spree as one I liked. Well, it's nice to know you are listened to. My other was the God Del-ish-thingy-whatever by whatsit-dworkins or-whatever was the other stocking-filler. [ But that's unimportant. Mainly, ouch. I can re-read and re-read, but at this point, on this day (Christmas day!), I just don't have the scientific fervour to correct my medley of in-astute reakly syntax.] I meekly grinned at her and withdrew, hoping to dearly god that the cheque for eighty-one pounds (as calculated by my previous debts combined etc.) would suffer as a well thought present. Albert, Donald and his wife Marticia had to do with un-enveloped cards...

In all honesty, I struggle to think of any relevant science committed today, and, if completely honest, I admit I am currently typing with one eye open only, so I feel it is only fair for I, you, and circles in general, that I re-continue tomorrow.

Too much merlot, I fear...

EDIT: I wish to clarify my comments. I recieved two presents; 1. A shirt (from Doris), and 2. "The God Delusion" by Dawkins. I gave Doris a cheque for eighty-one pounds as a (I thought at least) thoughtful gift. For my other friends, I wrote cards (message: Happy Xmas, Doltsby) and I would have provided envelopes, but I was one short, and hence, I think at least, democratically, decided, that no one should receive an envelope.

Science, for one day, was betrayed by drunkenness and festive fervour. Luckily Doris dragged me out of the bath and good-coffee'd me up about ten minutes ago. Still no news from the Department of Science and Pensions. After cheque bounces, one-hundred-and-one pounds in debt. Boxing day is another day-ish.


Day Two

Today I awoke with my brain ablaze with scientific fervour, and headed straight for the coffee machine. Unfortunately, it transpired that I was all out of the good-coffee. Dispirited, I used the last of the foosty old bad-coffee, before retiring to the bathroom for my bi-daily routine of functions, shower, shave, moisturise, dental (brush-plus-floss), nostril hair, armpits (shave-plus-deodorise) and of course, my foot bath-and-creme.

Slightly buzzed by my fresh minty-odour (a breath of fresh air after the foosty bad-coffee, indeed) I decided to sit in the garden and think about circles. Alas the cold Christmas weather thwarted my plan, so instead I put on two pairs of trousers, three tee-shirts, usual pants but thermal-socks, a woolly jumper (diagonals pattern) and my pink-dotted lab-coat, and crouched myself next to the three-bar-fire next to the mirror. Unfortunately, the excess heat made me feel rather drowsy and unable to think clearly about scientific matters, so instead I took advantage of my position next to the mirror, coupled with my closely grasped pencil and paper, to draw a few rudimentary sketches of myself receiving the Nobel Prize for science, from numerous angles. In the first I drew focus to the award and handshake, in the second the cheque, and for the final five or six I concentrated on which facial expression I should pull upon accepting the award.

Unable to choose which expression made me look most handsome, I decided to phone Doris, who is my friend Albert's wife, and get her round to help me choose. After much oohing and ahhing, she settled on option three; though only after several hours of my posing for her. Remembering my cash-flow problems, I asked her if I could borrow twenty pounds, to which she happily agreed, before driving me round to the shops. "It's okay Doris" I told her, "You can leave me here and I'll just walk home." She must have been in somewhat of a hurry judging by the speed she drove away, which made me all the more appreciative of the time she had already devoted to me today.

Margaret, the shop lady, was very helpful in finding me a suitable calculator, compass and measuring tape for only nine-teen pounds. However, this did not leave enough for me to purchase some good-coffee, so I decided to instead buy some cheaper alternatives on the internet. Luckily Margaret had an internet at her shop that she let me use, and I was able to find similar items for just ten pounds. I spent the remaining ten on some non fair-trade pasta-salad, and good-coffee. Of course, I shall be more moral when my grant comes through!

On my walk home I had some time to reflect upon circles and my progress in the field, and realised the errant and obvious stupidity of my yesterday's work. Three and one tenth is simply to inglorious a sounding number to be pi! I immediately resolved to redefine it as three and three twentieths.

On returning home I had a whole decanter full of good-coffee, and set about some serious research. Although I was still not in possession of a compass, I felt that I simply needed to get properly started, so I drew about ten circles free hand and looked at them. I was struck by their similarity to ovals. "Ovals," I thought, "How noble..." The relationship, it seems to me, between the oval and circle, is one which deserves serious investigation. Which one came first? Is one the cause of the other? Which is bigger? Exhausted by speculation, and without but a single answer to mind, I collapsed in mental agony beside the dvd player.

I woke just now with a splitting headache, and changed for bed. So far it seems my research has only served to create more questions, each one more philosophical and profound than the last. Financially, things have moved from bad to worse. Now eighty-one pounds in debt, I fear it may not be long before I am forced to discontinue writing numbers with letters, lest my account books become unmanageable. I resolve to phone the Department for Science and Pensions tomorrow to enquire of my applications progress.


Day One

Today will be forever remembered as a momentous day in the field of science, as it was the first day of my research into the phenomenon of circles. A more detailed description of circles will follow, but at this stage I do not wish to overwhelm you with complex information. You see, I would like this journal to remain accessible to even the most non-science-literate amongst us. To put it briefly, a circle is a round thing, in two dimensions. However, this description only opens up further avenues of discussion, which it would be dangerous to look at in any greater depth for now.

The day started with me putting on my white with pink-polka-dot lab-coat. I know that white is traditional, but this is cutting-edge research, and so requires avant-garde clobber. But clobber that retains a foot-hold in tradition non the less. For this reason, I abandoned my earlier plan to dress in baggy trousers, basketball shirt and "colors", feeling that is was avante-garde to a degree that demeaned both science and hip-hop. After pouting in the mirror for several hours, I couldn't help but be taken by the notion that my face was particularly attractive. I struggled with this immensely, and eventually decided to don a rather unattractive pair of dame-edna-style glasses to detract from my unusual qualities of beauty.

Unfortunately my research is quite intensive on looking at pieces of paper with words and diagrams on them, and this activity was made difficult by the second-hand glasses which contorted the words on the page into a form I could no longer visually recognise. They also fell off regularly, but this was not a significant detractor due to the handy chain attached to either leg which insured they did not strike the ground, although they did once bump off the table. All things equal, I decided to ditch the glasses. This debacle has cost me eight-teen pounds, which means I am now running at a defecit until my grant comes through.

The day was still young however, so I opted to take a break from research to clear my mind and prepare it for some intense science. I phoned Doris, who is my good friend Albert's wife, and we arranged to meet to go on some messages then have some lunch. We popped round to the local co-op, where I purchased the Telegraph, and some free-range cous-cous. Then it was round to The Stupid Duck, our local gastro-pub, where we shared a bottle of Merlot and some sandwiches. After a glass and a half of Merlot, I realised that I was surrounded by circles. "Doris" I said, "They're everywhere, we really must get out of here!" She laughed that infectious snorting laugh of hers, and I couldn't help but notice a yawn in my libido - I'm not sure yawn is the right word here, but I am at a loss for another that describes the feeling so perfectly. I had to ask her there and then. "Doris" I said. "Yes darling?" she asked. "Will you get out of here with me?"

After getting out of there with her, I finally returned home at around 10pm having spent a further forty-three pounds, and, feeling sprightly, I got on with some research. At around 11pm I made an important decision - I decided that I will wherever possible in my research spell out numbers with letters. As a result of this, I will be using fractions rather than decimal points, as decimal points are generally cumbersome. For this reason, I will be taking pi in my reasearch as "three and a tenth". While this is not entirely accurate, I feel it is close enough, and more importantly, looks elegant on page, and even more importantly, is quite easy to multiply by, as I can not at this stage afford a calculator, being already sixty-one pounds in debt.

I have just now sent off my application for research funding to the Ministry of Science and Pensions, and await news of its acceptance, which I imagine will come swiftly, this being the festive holiday period after all. In the mean time, I am considering asking Doris to lend me twenty pounds to buy cous-cous (I have just now realised I left my earlier purchase in the pub, and fear dying of hunger before my research comes to fruition), a caculator, and, if it will stretch so far, hopefully a compass as well.