OK, so here we are at that lovely time of year when the weather suddenly gets really sunny and hot and everyone not aged 16 – 21 is out and about having fun, i.e. exam time😦

I have my first exam tomorrow and I have done 0 hours revision. At least that’s what I’m telling everyone. I can’t tell them the truth, that I’ve made so many notes my mum had to forcibly prise my pen from my hideously deformed fingers, because if I fail people will think I’m swotty and dumb. Which is definitely not a good combination.

Anyway, I take a two minute break from revising the chemical reactions of aldehydes (possibly even more boring than it sounds) to check over my appearance in the mirror. Hmm, not good. Partly this is because it never is, but also there’s the fact that I haven’t brushed my hair or changed my clothes in three whole days. Added to this, I have dark circles under my eyes from mass caffeine ingestion and a whole minefield of spots on my face from mass Snickers ingestion.

Yesterday, Davey, who used to get even more worried about exams than me, emailed over a few de-stressing tips which I finally make the time to look at. They are:

1 – Go outside and take some breaths of fresh air. (Be careful not to get run over by a bus!)
2 – Put on your favourite song and dance around like a crazy idiot (Don’t break your arm – at least not the one you write with!)
3 – Google some images of things that make you happy. (Don’t electrocute yourself by spilling liquid on your keyboard!)

I like number 3 so I carefully move my coffee well away from the keyboard and Google some pictures of baby ferrets. Do I feel calmer? Yes, a little🙂

There again, I suddenly can’t remember the first thing about the reactions of aldehydes! The baby ferrets have pushed the chemistry info out of my brain! Why is Davey telling me to look up non-exam related stuff on the internet? He wants me to fail is why!!

10 minutes later…

OK, so I have been outside and taken some deep breaths. I have re-revised the aldehyde stuff and think I can remember it. Phew, panic over.

If you have any tips (preferably better than Davey’s) for dealing with exam stress, please let me know in the comments. And if you are unlucky enough to also have exams soon, then good luck. If you’re anything like me you’re probably gonna need it!

Are you a coursework or exam person?

Do you thrive on the horrible stress of sitting in a hall, in absolute silence, while trying to answer insanely difficult questions which have the power to affect the rest of your life? Or do you prefer to take some time over your work, enlisting the help of family and friends or, better still, the Internet, to ensure you get everything perfect?

I used to think I was more of a coursework person (horrible stress and me don’t really get on) but after this morning I’m not so sure…

“What happened this morning?” I hear you ask and although it is still painful I will tell you. But first a bit of back story….

For the last 3 months I have been writing up my biology field work. My study was “The effect of soil thickness on the abundance of the moss Ceratodon purpureus.” Yes I know it sounds fascinating (sarcasm alert). But weirdly enough I got really into moss. Not literally; I wasn’t rolling around in the stuff, at least not often, but certainly I was starting to find moss quite engaging.

Anyway, I spent many hours poring over academic studies; drawing, rubbing out and re-drawing graphs; wearing out my calculator buttons with sums; choosing just the right moss pictures out of the many millions on Google; not to mention experimenting with every conceivable font in Word, until I had THE PERFECT report. Yep, all the hard work and anally retentive diligence had paid off. I could still do really badly in my exams but, with this ‘killer report’, I probably wouldn’t fail, or at least not quite as dramatically.

Well, today was the deadline for handing it in. I stopped off at a stationers in town and bought a plastic cover with a bright orange edge that contrasted nicely with my green moss pictures. I carefully placed my ‘magnum opus’ in the cover, hugged it to my chest (bit weird but hey) and carried it carefully into my lesson where I laid it on a table with stacks of others. It was pretty hectic in class with quite a few people (losers!) desperately inserting sheets, rubbing stuff out, renumbering pages, swearing loudly etc. but I could sit smugly down knowing my report was perfect just how it was🙂

Ms Wilson (quite attractive for an education professional) started to gather up everyone’s work. Unfortunately, other people had stolen my idea of the plastic cover and so the reports started sliding everywhere. Then, with a painful stab of anxiety I watched as my report skidded to the floor, its cover peeling back at a horrible angle. I ran to scoop it up before any more damage could be done and handed it to the waiting Ms Wilson.

“Thanks Josh,” she said, smiling.

“No problem,” I said, smiling back.

And then, just as she bore my masterpiece away I caught a glimpse of something under the plastic cover. Something pressed flat like a flower, except that this wasn’t a flower, it was…

A pube!

And not just any pube. A bright ginger one!

I stood there helpless, mouth open, heart pounding. There was nothing I could do; Ms Wilson was placing all the reports in a cupboard under her desk which she then locked. My beautiful pristine report had been… defiled!

An hour or so later…

“Maybe it was a beard hair? says Davey, as we sit in the park eating our cut price, past-its-date,  Indian snack selection. “Pubes can be similar in consistency to beards… So I’m told.”

“That’s true,” I say, feeling slightly encouraged. “Does anyone in our class have a ginger beard?” We both think about the motley collection of people who make up our biology classmates. We do have a few hipsters…

“Sarah Lupton!” announces Davey.

“Sarah doesn’t have a beard!” I say.

“She has a mustache!”

“This wasn’t a mustache hair Davey! It must have been… like 3cms long!”

“Curled up or stretched out?” says Davey.

“Urgh I don’t know. Oh this is gonna mean an instant fail.”

Failing biology is bad enough but the thought of pubes working their way into perfectly pristine reports is also putting me off an excellent onion bahjee. I chuck the Indian delicacy to a passing crow who spends a long time tossing it about in his beak – presumably checking for body hairs.

“Nah,” says Davey. “It may mean a few marks deducted but that would depend on if Ms Wilson thinks it’s a pube or a beard hair. If she decides it’s a beard hair I’d say a 5% reduction in overall percentage. Pube hair? Probably more like 20%.”

“Great,” I say. “I spent about a hundred hours on that report!”

“I spent around five,” says Davey.


Davey nods. “But then luckily I don’t have a pube lowering my score. So we’ll probably come out even.”

I grab the last spinach pakora and shove it in my mouth. It’s Davey’s but he could do with losing some weight… not to mention smugness!

Six hours later

At home this evening I decide to look up coursework nightmares. Hopefully there will be other people who’ve had really, really bad experiences which will make me feel loads better.

There aren’t.

I do however find an article on 25 original excuses for not handing in your coursework – http://list25.com/25-creative-excuses-for-not-turning-in-your-homework/ (Don’t say I never do anything for you!) They’re pretty good but I would add a number 26. My coursework was invaded by an attack of random body hairs. I bet that’s an excuse no one’s ever used.

This latest post has been prompted by a recent incident at my mate Peter’s. Peter had invited a few of us over to celebrate him getting a job stacking shelves after hours in Tesco. So, there we were, listening to the usual rubbish music while stuffing our faces with tortilla chips and Tesco Finest sundried tomato houmous, when who should come in but Ollie…

Ollie, who never cries, gets sick or has a girly hissing fit.
Ollie, who is scared of no one and nothing, not even really enormous spiders.
Ollie who would rather die than break his word or lose at Battlefield 4.

As you can see, Ollie is quite a macho kinda guy….

So why on earth was he wearing black eye liner?

For a while I didn’t say anything. It was dark in Peter’s so I needed to get close to Ollie to actually be sure I wasn’t imagining things.
“Why are you staring into my eyes?” said Ollie as I sidled up to him on the sofa.
“I’m not!” I said, lurching back.
“Mate, if you get much closer you’ll be sitting on my lap!”
I cracked my knuckles, took a large gulp of beer and burped loudly. It was no good, I was gonna have to come right out with it. “Are you wearing, er, um, you know, um, makeup?” I said.
“Yeah,” replied Ollie. “Guyliner.”
I was about to ask why the hell he’d want to do that when Peter bounced over. “It suits you,” he said. “And you could make the look even better by adding a hint of Manscara.”
“Yeah, I may,” said Ollie, nodding. “Good idea.”
“You know you’d look great with guyliner Josh,” Peter said, turning to me and grinning. “It’d bring out the blue of your eyes. And a touch of blusher would nicely plump up those cheeks.”
I felt myself sway a little. I wasn’t sure if it was the beer, the houmous (which I noticed was on its date) or the fact that Peter had just suggested I plump up my cheeks!

Make-up? You get that stuff near me - I kill you

Make-up? You get that stuff near me – I kill you

Back home, a couple of hours later, I am doing some research on male makeup on the internet. I am shocked to see that according to a survey reported in the Huffington Post :

54% men use moisturiser
33% use wax (?)
29% have manicures
24% facials
13% eyebrow waxing
19% fake tan
9% foundation
11% bronzer
10% concealer

God, I suddenly feel the need to put on some Children of Bodom right now. Good old macho metal. The sort of music that takes no prisoners, that grabs weakness by the nuts and spits in its eye. That’s what I need now.
I open my latest CD and stare at a picture of Alexi Laiho that’s inside. He is giving the metal salute and there is…  there is nail polish on his fingers! It’s black admittedly but it’s nail polish all the same. It’s no good, I have to face the fact that my guitar hero is wearing make-up!

Hello and welcome to my blog! As this is my first ever post I thought I’d write it on something close to my heart, i.e. my lungs!

Only kidding, I am writing it on ferrets (or about ferrets). It would be difficult to write it actually on a ferret due to all their fur so I’m writing it using my computer keyboard.

Anyway, there are a lot of misconceptions about ferrets which lead some people to think they are smelly and nippy (as in prone to nip, not super fast, although they can be that too!)

To try and dispel some of these nasty, anti-ferret myths here are some genuine facts about these excellent pets (or hugawoozels as they are sometimes called):

  1. The name Ferret means thievin’ b***tard in Latin. This is a perfect name as they steal anything they can get their thievin’ little paws on. They are also known  as fuzzies, stretched kittens (aww🙂 ), carpet sharks, and little f**kers.
  2. Ferrets can be a bit smelly (due to glands) so they need to be washed every now and then, however, it is best not to try and bath your ferret unless you want to end up in the emergency department of your local hospital. Having said that, I’ve heard some ferrets actually like baths and swim around happily in the water. My ferret, Ozzy, isn’t one of them.
  3. Ferrets are extremely famous in popular culture. They frequently have starring roles in sitcoms (Only fools and ferrets ), movies (The dark ferret rises), and Broadway musicals (can’t think of one – musicals are crap)
  4. A ferret sleeps for about 20 hours a day. Because they sleep so long, owners often think they’re comatose or dead. (Word of warning: this can happen to you too. Ollie’s mum once thought he was comatose when he stayed asleep for 22 hours straight. Interestingly she didn’t bother calling an ambulance…)
  5. In Ireland it is traditional to dress up your ferrets in little green waistcoats and booties. Strangely, many Irish ferret owners have fingers missing.
  6. Ferrets have absolutely excellent taste in music, i.e. they love metal.
  7. Of all mammals, including most humans, ferrets show the most talent for quantum physics – I can confirm that this is God’s truth as I read it on the internet.


A ferret in typical playful pose, note the beady eyes and razor sharp claws

I hope this shows you that ferrets are multi talented and interesting pets. Of course my ferret, Ozzy, is also extremely cute, loads of fun and mad as a bag of, er, ferrets. It’s true that he does pee in my trainers, chew my guitar books, sleep on my face and cover my clothes in millions of hairs, but no one’s perfect, not even me.

Join me next week for another exciting ferretin’ out the truth blog post, probably on male make up. As a way to get you in the mood, I will leave you with this conundrum: Guyliner, Manscara and Male Polish? Yay or nay?

Till next time, keep it metal.