Tuesday, October 31, 2006

GRE, authentic signature?

I went to the Thompson-Prometric test centre this afternoon to ensure everything works just fine tomorrow morning (need to be there at but-crack dawn). After having a rather meaningless chat with the receptionist, I shifted the conversation towards identification requirements. My passport is dating back to the middle 90ies, an almost ancient document without any artificial intelligence. Thus, I’m allegedly 1.56m, having blue eyes, specs are an innate part of my face and the signature has absolutely nothing in common with today’s. In fact, I’m now 1.85m (6’1”), my eye colour is green and I haven’t used my glasses for almost five months. Nevertheless, according to the GRE test committee I need to sign in with exactly the same signature as on my bloody 10year old passport, how smart… «go practise it».

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Saturday, October 28, 2006


I managed to attract a bunch of rhino- and coronaviruses, which now feel very comfy and homely in my nose and throat. My ultimate treatment is hardcore hat and scarf usage as well as tea consumption without measures. Meanwhile I set the thermostat (wait, we only have lousy radiators with a screw) to maximum, i.e. I'm boiling myself - wonder when I'm done and ready for consumption.

Several friends decided to enjoy «The Nutcracker» briefly before the Christmas holidays in the royal opera house. Hapless as I am, I don't even have a suit with me (lets conceal that my old suit is 3 sizes too big) and a mere 60 quid are no peanuts for an old curmudgeon like me.

Eventually, I grudgingly accepted that (even though my intransigence shouldn't permit) there is no easy way around the GRE. Thus, I'll make a more belligerent attempt and deceive the Americans that my virtues aggrandised over the past three weeks to the standard of a native speaker. ... Who am I fooling? Took me 5 minutes to construct this absolute nonsense sentence above.

Update: Wow, «The Nutcracker» ticket cost 79 sterling, usury. I somehow understand that ballet remains entertainment for the rich and elitist upper class.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I feel like a real nerdy scientist

... when I consider my scope regarding general GRE issue task topics. It's within my capabilities to summarise G-protein coupled receptors within 900 words, but I cannot write more than a mere 200 words about art critics. Judge yourself (this is absolutely genuine):

"Although, critics who write about the arts tend to deny the existence of any objective standards for evaluating works of art, they have a responsibility to establish standards by which works of art can be judged."

Art is subjective. What one person considers to be directly produced by devine intervention, another evaluates only good enough to be put on a toilet wall. I therefore agree with critics. The only estabilished standards applicable to classify arts, don't classify in good or bad art, but in genres; e.g. Money and van Gogh as expressionist or Salvador Dali as surrealist.

What can be judged objectively are techniques used, though even this can...AHHHHH, I FUCKING HATE ARTS!!!!

Let me extend my last statement: I fucking hate the GRE exam as well. Since the issue task is all about reasoning, let me underscore my argument with sufficient material: aberrant, abscond, aggrandize, ambiguous, ambrosial, anachronism, antediluvian, arbitrate, attenuate, audacious, aver, barefaced, blandishment, bombast, buttress, cadge, caprice, castigate, chicanery, complaisant, conflagration, corporeal, corroborate, craven, culpable, dearth, deference, depict, deprecation, depredation, descry, diatribe, diffident, disabuse, disparaging, dispassionate, dissemble, dogged, eclectic, emollient, encomium, enervate, engender, ephemera, equivocal, erudite, eulogy, exacerbate, exculpate, extant, fathom, fawn, feign, fervid, fervent, fledgling, florid, floundering, garrulous, gossamer, guile, guileless, hapless, headlong, iconoclast, impecunious, imperious, implication, improvidence, inchoate, incorrigible, indelible, ineffable, ingenuous, innocuous, insensible, insipid, insular, intransigent, irascible, leviathan, loquacious, lugubrious, magnanimity, malevolent, misnomer, misogynist, mitigate, nefarious, noisome, obdurate, obviate, occlude, ossified, panegyric, peccadillo, perfidious, petulant, placate, plethora, ponderous, pragmatic, precipice, prevaricate, prodigal, propitiate, Pulchritudinous, pusillanimous, quiescence, rarefy, reproof, rescind, sagacious, sanguine, sate, saturnine, savant, sedulous, specious, tacit, taciturn, temperate, tirade (diatribe), tortuous, tractable, turpitude, tyro, vacuous, venerate, verbose, vex, viscous, voracious, waver, wretched.

Memo to myself: be less vulgar.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

That's it, they are dead!

I usually don't care when somebody is scruffy, sluggish or messy as long as it does not concern me directly. However, people leaving the kitchen such as pictured on the photo below are either bloody ignorant or spoiled kids. I have the strong suspicion that this fat Korean dude was cooking again and soiled the whole working area. Watch out for your ass *insert culprit's name here*, I might be right behind you! (no, I'm neither gay nor a racist)


Sunday, October 22, 2006


The result of being fed-up with GRE and RNAi, a little holiday money and a GIMP session:

PS: only valid in Mikeworld.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Spaghetti Bolognese refined!

As I promised earlier today the revised and improved recipe:

We need: 250g minced beef, 250g minced pork, 3 to 4 onions (depending on size), 200g tomato puree, 1 can of chopped tomatoes (400g), 1 red pepper, 1 carrot, olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary, basil, oregano, garlic (the more the better), Parmesan. That should be enough to feed up to 8 people (depending on the amount of pasta you make and how hungry your fellows are).

  • As every good meal it starts with chopping up onions and frying them until slightly golden.
  • Knead the minced meats to a homogenous mass and fry it with the onions. Some folks might want to increase either the beef or pork content, I made the best taste experience with a 50/50 mixture. It's crucial to rip the meat into smallest possible pieces while frying as this ensures a better "taste distribution".
  • Season with salt and pepper. The sauce requires quite generous amounts, since the saltiness will be "diluted" by the pasta.
  • Chop the carrot and red pepper into smallest pieces (again, taste distribution) and add into the pan.
  • When the meat is fully fried chuck in the tomato puree and fry it a little before adding a cup of water.
  • Add the canned chopped tomatoes and garlic (or use a garlic press).
  • Season with Rosemary, Oregano and Basil. It's enough to slightly cover the pan with each of the herbs. If you add too much the taste is going to turn somewhat bitter.
  • Simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes to allow the essences to distribute evenly. Now is the time to throw some Spaghetti into salted boiling water.
  • When the pasta is aldente, serve on hot a plate with a tumbler full of sauce and small heap of Parmesan. Traditionally, Italians eat the dish with forks only. Et voila, bon appetite.

What was left after 700g of pasta and 30 minutes of today's dish:

Hmm, my entries are actually not nonsense any more, I should reconsider the blog's purpose.


Spaghetti Bolognese refinement

My friend Philipp is absolutely obsessed with my Spaghetti Bolognese. So until the end of the academic year we will waste our Saturdays in recipe fine-tuning. So far we have agreed that a mixture of minced beef and pork is probably better than beef only. We might have to reduce the amount of rosemary as well.

Stay tuned, I will post today's attempt later.


Thursday, October 19, 2006


This little list just flew into my mailbox.

  1. Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
  2. It is OK for a man to cry ONLY under the following circumstances:
    • When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
    • The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her blouse.
    • After wrecking your boss's car.
    • One hour, 12 minutes, 37 seconds into "The Crying Game".
    • When she is using her teeth.
  3. Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and eaten by his buddies.
  4. Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
  5. If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever unless you actually marry her.
  6. Moaning about the brand of free beer in a buddy's fridge is forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
  7. No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is strictly optional. At that point, you must celebrate at a strip bar of the birthday boy's choice.
  8. On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
  9. When stumbling upon other guys watching a sporting event, you may ask the score of the game in progress, but you may never ask who's playing.
  10. You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your girlfriend.
  11. It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach... and it's delivered by a topless model and only when it's free.
  12. Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.
  13. Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
  14. Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
  15. If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.
  16. Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
  17. A man in the company of a hot, suggestively dressed woman must remain sober enough to fight.
  18. Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
  19. If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.
  20. Never join your girlfriend or wife in discussing a friend of yours, except if she's withholding sex pending your response.
  21. Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting Weights:
    • Yeah, Baby, Push it!
    • C'mon, give me one more! Harder!
    • Another set and we can hit the showers!
  22. Never talk to a man in a bathroom unless you are on equal footing: i.e., both urinating, both waiting in line, etc. For all other situations, an almost imperceptible nod is all the conversation you need.
  23. Never allow a telephone conversation with a woman to go on longer than you are able to have sex with her. (Keep a stopwatch by the phone. Hang up if necessary.)
  24. The morning after you and a girl who was formerly "just a friend" have carnal, drunken monkey sex, the fact that you're feeling weird and guilty is no reason for you not to nail each other again before the discussion occurs about what a big mistake it was.
  25. It is acceptable for you to drive her car. It is not acceptable for her to drive yours.
  26. Thou shalt not buy a car in the colours of brown, pink, lime green, orange or sky blue.
  27. The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" With "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox. End of story.
  28. There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's Gymnastics. Ever.

Finally, we've all heard about people having guts or balls. But do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you Informed, the definition of each is listed below:

"GUTS" is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being Assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to say, "are you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"

"BALLS" is coming home late after a night out with the guys smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and having the balls to say, "You're next!"

We hope this clears up any confusion, The International Council of Manhood, Ltd.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's Wednesday night

Contemplating the day: I'm fed up with GRE revision. So far I listed roughly 350 vocabularies used at the time of King Arthur, just to achieve a better mark on this damn verbal section. When I consider the ridiculous time of 0.789 minutes available per question for a total of 38, including two reading comprehensions, I just feel the sudden urge to move to the US, start the bank account with the rifle and shoot the inventors of this condemned idiocy. It very much describes the American way of evaluating performances: rather than assessing the person's real skill, it favours those who invested hours and hours revising and learning by heart. In addition, it gives a rat's ass about non-natives!

Research projects are still not allocated, I read couple of 1989 science HIV Zidovudine resistance papers, the EMBL Heidelberg application made me miss a dear friend's birthday party and finally my girlfriend almost chopped off her finger at the attempt to cook dinner (The irony: she didn't cut herself in the whole anatomy course during the past 6 weeks). I call that a day; back to GRE...


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gran's old recipes - Sachertorte

Prelude: British people think that butter cubes with vanilla taste and sugar make good deserts. As a child from the land of marvelous sweets and plain fare I'm authorised to introduce some culture to these people (wow, what a hackneyed introduction). Before I came to the land of microwave spaghetti from a tin can, my granny was kind enough to provide me with an almost ancient cookbook, she once taught her student with. Accordingly, the author uses quite archaic language, keeps talking from the "housewife" and how to achieve very cost-efficient meals. Astonishingly, the book manages to accommodate 600 recipes plus "hints for the housewife" on a mere 245 pages.

Enough waffling, let's get this bitch started. Since I was boasting about the Austrian kitchen culture with the Sachertorte, it deserves the honour to be "published" first.

The original German text talks about two batters, a cheaper and a better one. Forget the cheap batter, we go for the fine stuff.

Batter: 100g butter, 200g white sugar (preferably powdered), 3 eggs, 40g dark chocolate, 1 tablespoon cacao powder, 125ml milk, 250g flour, 1/4 pack of backing powder.

Whisk the butter, sugar and egg yolks until smooth and foamy. Add the molten chocolate (bain-marie, wather-bath), cacao powder, flour (sieved with the backing powder) and milk to the above mixture and stir to a homogenous mass (add in sensible portions). Subsequently, beat the egg whites with some sugar to a quite solid mass and carefully lift it under the rest of the batter.

Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and bake for roughly an hour at "medium heat" (that's what the text says; my interpretation is around 160°C). After cooling, the cake can be halved horizontally and filled with jam (usually apricot).

Icing: 200g white sugar, 125ml water, 3-4 "ribs" from a dark chocolate bar (20g butter).

Boil the sugar and water until it gets quite viscous (the book talks about a "pearl consistency", meaning that a drop of the hot mixture will bubble off a spoon on a thread of the fluid), cool slightly and slowly add the chocolate. The butter results in some extra shininess of the icing, but need not be added. Pour the warm (not hot) mixture over the cake. Usually, that's the part when the kitchen becomes quite messy.

Recipes from a (bio)chemist, for chemists. Probably the most useful post on my whole blog.


Pah, great start in the day

Internet in my halls is once again bolloxed up and I had to make my way to the faaaaar away science library cluster room. In fact, that's only a five minute walk, but I really can't be bothered to leave my warm cosy room early in the morning. Furthermore, I had to stuff all my PhD application files onto my iPod, just realising in the library that the damn cluster PCs won't accept it as an external drive. To piss me even more off the fire alarm started and the library had to be evacuated. Now, I don't have my application files, nor proper PC or chair, sitting in the crappy Windeyer cluster room, which seems to be from the last century.

And it's not a Monday...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Research projects

I launched another fruitless attempt to find out about the allocation of final year projects. This time Andrea Townsend served as a victim. We ended up chatting about grad-school application and how much MCAT and GRE sucks. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation Chris Taylorson popped in and both started betting about when Prof Saggerson may finish his arcane processes of name juggling. Bets have to be settled by tomorrow, the pool comprises 20 quid so far.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

I have secret skills!

Even though investment-banking isn't my area of expertise, I have some insight. Anyhow, Merrill Lynch considers Austrian as an additional language skill besides German. Yes, I'm officially bilingual! What other yet undetected competences might slumber inside all Austrians?

I also discovered my personalised beverage in a cafe at Euston Station: the 'Mike Mocha'. "Deliciously naughty" - hell yeah!


Friday, October 13, 2006

Welcome to the dark ages

Have you ever wondered how a more "privileged" London undergraduate accommodation might look like? Here it comes:

the sunlight never reaches me ...

As you will realise I have to share a room, since my financial situation is a little precarious, or rather I'm not throwing out mummy's money with both hands. My history of room-mates is somehow peculiar itself.

My fist cohabitant studied dance (note: straight!) and was a little too much affiliated to smoking certain weeds. He was also a passionate winter-surfer, permanently exposing me to a cloud of viruses.

Number 2 was quite the contrary: 40 year old american member of Opus Dei obsessed with conspiracy theories. Both had one thing in common: they couldn't shut up for a second (no offence meant, they had their positive sides as well and we shared a lot of entertaining moments).

Leo on the other hand is probably the calmest person I've ever met, almost mute. Most of my questions are answered with laconic phrases reducing the possiblity for conversations to an absolute minimum. I'm living with a stranger ...


Thursday, October 12, 2006

How to waste an afternoon reading gossip

Only minutes before dinner Alex told me gossip from investment banking circles. Apparently, a guy called Aleksey Vayner had the boldness to send an eleven (!) page cover letter to UBS' IB central office in New York, including a tiny little link with tremendous consequences. Namely, a video about himself boasting about non-existing achievements and weird ideologies, more suitable for cult-meetings than investment-banking applications. The whole thing had a leak and the blogging culture went on tearing Aleksey into pieces.

Being an eager scientist I spent the last two hours (or so) browsing the web for more information about the dork, realising there are already 5 facebook "appreciation" groups and several blog/news sites reporting about Aleksey. Wow, such publicity within 4 days? Nevertheless, after squandering that much time I can proudly announce myself as Aleksey Vayner/Garber's fraud expert *ahem-ahem*.

One good thing about me wasting time in the vastness of internet: I discovered the IvyGate blog covering all kind of B.S. and gossip about some east coast Ivy League universities with a lot of subtle and less subtle humour.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Farewell, it was time for a change

After unsuccessfully reminding myself to buy a new toothbrush every time I brush my teeth, I finally managed to purchase the same exquisite model for a "mere" 1.69 quid.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It was definitely worth seeing, if I could only get in...

As I wrote on Saturday I intended to go and see Steve Jones' lecture criticising creationism and intelligent design today. Unfortunately, approximately 5 Million other people had the same idea. Consequently, the Darwin Building was stuffed up to the ceiling and a thick queue was winding back outside on the pavement of Gower Street to the entrance of the Anatomy Building (~150m). Eventually, security locked up the Darwin lecture theatre. 250 lucky people were able to see the presentation - I wasn't ... Even my attempts to enter the lecture through the "secret" back entrance were unsuccessful.

The morale of this story: next time don't go home to have a snack for lunch!


Monday, October 09, 2006


Every time I leave my room only for the faintest moment, I have the impression someone will call me or leave an MSN message. And truly that's exactly what happens all the time. Leaving the room taking a leak - the phone rings. Leaving the room for a shower - someone knocks on my door. When I leave my mobile in my room, it's almost certain that I have 3 missed calls. Why do these occurrences always come concentrated within 15 minutes of a whole day? Might there be a general, secret, undetectable human sense for such things, or is it just a "Mike-specific" skill?


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Definitely worth seeing

Why Intelligent Design is Stupid
Tuesday 10 October 2006
Professor Steve Jones - UCL Biology
Darwin Lecture Theatre, Darwin Building, 1.15pm to 1.55pm

I wear glasses. My eye lens has become stiff and no longer focuses well. That's life, or a hint of impending death, for in the days of nuts, berries, and sabre-toothed tigers I would have starved or been eaten by now. Evolution cares only about the next generation; I am too old to pass on genes, and my eyesight is hence of no interest to Darwin's machine. I have nobody to blame - but what about advocates of Intelligent Design, the notion that the eye is so complicated that it needed a Designer to do the job? Some wear spectacles. Do they never have doubts about their astral engineer, who could give them a BMW of an organ rather than an Austin Allegro? I will show why theirs is the argument from ignorance, idleness and incuriosity - and why evolution is a far better theory.

Sounds like it's going to be an interesting lecture, pepped up with the usual sophisticated Steve Jones humour and his quirky appearance. Hence, everyone who's near or at UCL and reads my (sometimes rather confused) weblog statements, come and enjoy the lunch hour lecture.

By the way: This post is presented to you by 100% chlorine free bleached electrons. (Hmm, in many cases this assumption is already out of date, but I browsed through my random stuff.txt again)


Thursday, October 05, 2006

There's a Redbull can on my roof

It's been there for ages. I think the first time I took notice is now a year ago.

If I let it out there a little longer and keep it warm, it might morph into one of those: (at least that would be unflappable evidence for divine intervention, haha)


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The show of a thousand flashes and bangs

Yesterday evening, Andrea Sella invited to his annual chemistry lecture "Odeurs et Lumieres". Besides blowing up coke bottles with liquid nitrogen, using hydrogen as rocket fuel for Pringles cans and letting methane/oxygen mixtures explode, he raised some important issues about climate changes and global warming due to increased carbon dioxide emissions. The whole lecture's ongoing topic concentrated on alternative fuels, spectacular recycling and methods to reduce our atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Such as several ideas for lighting, some of which were rather inefficient but entertaining - Pickles produce a nasty sound and smell when exposed to high voltages. Unless you like fried pickles, I'd take an LED based approach instead.

Andrea also introduced critical thoughts about carbon dioxide production due to travelling. In fact, consumption of fossil fuels in travel results in much higher outputs of the gas, as by heating a household. Even though most English houses only have single-glassed windows (my school in Austria had triple-glassing!).

Disregarding almost every safety measure (for himself) Andrea managed to present an entertaining show, as well as conducting critical thoughts to the public (i.e. mostly us students).

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The top 10 unintentionally worst company URLs

Out of mere boredome I browsed through my "random stuff.txt" file and found this hilarious listing. No idea where or when I picked it up, but that's an criteria to end up in this text-file anyway. Enjoy.

Everyone knows that if you are going to operate a business in today’s world you need a domain name. It is advisable to look at the domain name selected as other see it and not just as you think it looks. Failure to do this may result in situations such as the following (legitimate) companies who deal in everyday humdrum products and services but clearly didn’t give their domain names enough consideration:

  1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is


  2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at


  3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at


  4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at


  5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…


  6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:


  7. If you’re looking for computer software, there’s always


  8. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is


  9. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:


  10. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at