Favourite blogs for ChrisBlog

My favourites » The Rat's Nest (Post-Angst)

October 18, 2005


I've got too high a workload (and too busy a life) to keep on tapping away at this blog. So I'm afraid I'll shut it down for now.

Thanks for all those who've read it.

October 17, 2005

Sunday, 17th October

Today was very short. I woke up at around 15:00 (!) and had a shower to wake myself up. I got some toast for 'breakfast' and spent a while writing up the previous two days' blog entries. I then decided to give my mother a nice long phone call. I also talked to my father. Good to catch up with them both!

I then by complete chance found I had the ingredients to make a chilli, so I did. Anika wondered what it was, and commented it looked nice. It was very nice, but the pan that I made it in stuck. I was also trying to watch TV at the same time and spilled half the bowl on my shirt. Oh well…

The rest of the evening I can't remember much of, really, a very lazy day. I do remember the following:

  • Helping Anika get perl set up on her laptop so she could do some coursework.
  • Watching a bit of Star Trek with Will, who turns out to be somewhat a fan.
  • Fiddling with the composition software on my iBook, and hence half-heartedly creating a trance remix of the Wallace and Gromit theme. It probably violates all kind of copyrights, so consider it a parody. link (AAC, plays in VideoLAN [www.videolan.org] fine).
  • Signing up for the Computer Game Programming Competition.

After some nasty washing up I sloped off to bed.

October 16, 2005

Saturday, 15th October

Saturday is also from memory, but it's fresher in my memory.

Saturday was actually very short as I was conscious I had to get myself around to normal sleep schedules. I woke up at 14:00 with a headache, so I took some paracetamol. I talked to Dementia a bit before trying a bit more of Half-Life 2. He then showed me his dance mat downstairs used to play dancing games. I was very bad at them but he was phenomenally good. We then got some late breakfast and he showed me a few more games on the computer, whilst we traded some music. I kinda miss playing games, especially as they've got good, but I still don't think I could ever knowingly get myself into the vicious upgrade cycle where you go obsolete in 10 minutes. Dementia has, and the money he spends I could travel the world with and meet people who have computers I can play on!

We had to zoom to town as we'd agreed to see Wallace and Gromit. The bus I travelled on was a very, very rickety old double decker that felt like it was going to fall apart on every turn. I can remember that the setting sun (it was a hazy day) was especially beautiful and that we both got forced to the back of the bus by some maurauding wasps. When we got to the Odeon cinema, we were a bit too late so bought tickets and headed into central Coventry.

I roamed around trying to find a Subway or a Chinese Takeaway for some reasonable food, not desiring junkfood. I asked two people. The first was a guy from Poland and I actually ended up talking to him for 5 minutes whilst Dementia looked slightly stunned about Poland and experiences of England. Then I asked some old people at the local bus shelter, who fitted the description of batty old crones perfectly, each one of them giving a completely different answer. (I bet if I'd asked the fourth, she would have said 'well Betty lies, and Henrietta there always tells the truth. But old Esmeralda there, well, you never can tell with her…')

We actually stumbled upon a Subway! Thus began my big chain of borrowing money from Dementia. I borrowed money to buy a Subway (I got a club sub, gorgeous, he got a chicken sandwich. He apparently hates salad though does eat vegetables). then we dropped off in a pub in central town that was lovely, chatted a bit and I borrowed some money to get a drink. We went to watch Wallace and Gromit.

Wallace and Gromit you all must see now. It trumps every single Hollywood cliché and manages to be distinctly original in this age. It also manages to be simultaneously charming and also very cheeky. Without giving too much away, they put in jokes that will make the adults roar with laughter and cause the little ones to laugh for entirely other reasons.

Afterwards we decided to get meal from a Turkish takeaway and head back onto campus. I had to borrow the money for both from Dementia. We decided to head to the gaming session, which was a smaller affair but good fun. Not much to describe about gaming, though near the end things got silly as people just started trading funny Flash movies they'd seen on the net. We managed to set up a fair old racket. Dementia was tired and had to go home. I wished him well but went back until the session almost ended.

I left at 4:00, walking with Euan (aka zx64) and a first year and we had fun trying do see if we could set off the speed cameras by running down the road. We couldn't, unfortunately. I got home at around 4:20 and went to bed, knowing if I went to bed the next day at around 2:00 I'd be back to normal for lectures.

Friday, 14th October

Unfortunately I didn't write any notes for Friday as I was so tired. This is from memory.

I went to bed rather late (but in time to get 8 hours' sleep) doing the Logic homework and it still wasn't done by the time I got to sleep! That stuff was tricky. Then, I got woken up 4 hours later by another fire alarm, this one everyone in the halls just got themselves all dressed slowly and ambled out into the front given it was the third one. It was a drill and everyone just grumpily went back in. I tried to sleep again, but it was almost impossible due to the interruption and hence began a very long and arduous day.

I remember waking and zooming over to the Statistics seminar where I managed amazingly to not fall asleep on the desk, though when I got asked a couple of questions I wasn't able to really answer them with anything coherent, more a series of intellectual mumbles. I then had two hours to kill by staying in the computer science computer room. For the first 30 minutes I played a game on my iBook, but then Olga came in and we chatted and she showed me a game on her laptop called Knights of the Old Republic 2. Now, I don't usually go for angsty and franchise roleplaying games but from the first hour or so of it I could say it was a better game than most. For reference point, though, I benchmark games I play to these standards:

  • Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. (Glorious, kid's fun action.)
  • Adventure: Beneath a Steel Sky. (Brilliant plot.)
  • Puzzle: ICO. (Gorgeous, just gorgeous.)
  • Action: Silent Hill 2. (When I completed this game I couldn't sleep that night due to thinking about the plot.)
  • RPG: Seiken Densetsu 2 (old, old, old game for SNES) or Beyond Good and Evil.
  • FPS: Half-Life. (Classic.)

We had to run to the Statistics lecture and we managed to find a position near the back. The material was nothing new again, so I successfully dozed off at the back, though someone 'helpful' prodded me awake. I felt a tiny bit refreshed but still exhausted. That nap saved me in Mathematics for Computer Science where I was actually able to keep awake as Set operations were discussed (I think why I keep falling asleep in those is because they're always late in the day). From there I skedaddled of to the Programming for Computer Science seminar with Candle where we spent 5 minutes trying to explain to the Seminar Tutor that we wanted to work on our coursework in the laboratory below before he understood and said it was OK. He seemed distracted or tired.

I did that, and rewrote a lot of what I'd written already for the coursework so that it conformed a bit more to what was expected. I'm still really annoyed that what I have actually obeys the specifications written in the coursework, but the questions asked don't expect the solution to be done in the way I've done it and therefore I can't answer one of the questions without just saying 'my implementation doesn't do what's assumed.' I'm worried and guess I should probably start from scratch and do things in a way that others would do it if they didn't know how to program. Anyway, after that I chatted with Candle a bit before ambling back to halls.

I sent Dementia a message to say to meet up at the computer science social and put on some restful music. I didn't (or maybe I did?) sleep but after 2 hours of lying down I felt really energized. We had fish and chips (actually quite nice) and went off to gaming for two hours where we whiled away playing Tetrinet and GTA2 (surprisingly fun in multiplayer). Then I decided to head over to Dementia's to see his pad. We arrived there at about 1, and he showed me his room. There was a futon and a completely crazy computer that looked like if it was any more powerful it'd cause the local substation to collapse. He showed me Half-Life 2, a game released recently to much critical acclaim.

I think the reviewers are up their own asses. In only 30 mintues' gameplay I noticed:

  • You had no choice in the slightest in what you do. It was like a movie that you had to press buttons to proceed in.
  • Despite the shininess, the lighting was completely static. No cloud shadows or anything like that.
  • I hid behind the same box for 15 minutes whilst I fetched something and the enemies hadn't thought of deploying anti-terrorism units, instead content to shoot at said indestructable box from the helicopter.
  • Boxes bounced around in a realistic fashion but a crowbar didn't dent pipes on the walls.
  • The plot was disjointed and felt like a new game only made popular because it had bits of Half-Life stuck into it.

I managed to get a bit drunk on Reefs and after much silly giggling got to sleep at around 6:00 (so I took my twice daily tablet before I slept). Oops!

October 15, 2005


No blog written up today, too late and too tired. I'll try to write one from memory tomorrow.

October 13, 2005

Thursday, 13th October

Before bed I tried ordering my brother a birthday present, but all the online sites rejected my Electron. So I went back to bed in a bit of a mope. I decided I'd not go to the Thursday Statistics seminar in order to sleep in. I decided to take the Friday one instead.

I woke up, completely exhausted again. Another rough night. However, when I woke up I was alerted to the fact there were some clean sheets in the room on top of my bag that hadn't been in there the night before! It surprised me enough to go outside and check if there were sheets outside or the like, but there weren't, so I just replaced the sheets on my bed and resolved to ask the others what to do with the old ones. I got into the shower and tried ot relax, but the water speed was being very variable (though the temperature was pretty much constant). I headed off the to the kitchen to make some toast, and left it toasting whilst I went back to my room to check out #compsoc for a while. I ended up talking with some people about the chores I had to do for the LAN party:

  • Help set it up.
  • Work on the music server.
  • Help distribute out cabling and power.
  • Be a 'person in charge'

However, at this point all Internet access froze, completely blocking me off from everything. I decided to phone my mother, but the signal died. I tried again, but it died again. I went outside, and the signal still died. I went right outside into the open, and got three bars signal. Mum told me I could use their credit card to make my order and gave me a number to get an electron card converted to a proper visa debit (the number was 08453000000). She also seemed upset that I hadn't responded/read her email she'd sent, but I the internet had been down for a while. I promised to read it when I got to somewhere the Internet was working.

I had to run to my lecture, so my toast got forgotten. Instead I bought a breakfast/lunch sandwich and pack of crisps from the Arts Centre café. I caught up with Olga outside and her apparent friend who was quite friendly. I then went into the lecture, absolutely determined to stay awake and to understand the contents. I got prodded awake by the person next to me who told me that I'd been seen dozing by the lecturer. I immediately went to maximum alertness and even put my hand up to answer the next question. I really wish this didn't keep happening. I need to do well in Boolean Calculus and I find it very tricky.

After the lecture I headed to the Computer Science room where I worked on my Boolean Calculus (jargon time: and set up XFCE to run from my home directory on the computers there). I also tried a modern game quickly on my iBook G4 to see how well it did, it was playable. We all had to depart to a Programming lecture pretty smartly.

The Programming lecture was funny as usual, with one episode of note where the person next to me corrected Dr Jarvis and Dr Jarvis seemed to think it was me who'd corrected him from then on. (Serves me right for almost getting my iBook out mid-way through to check something.) However, what happened next was very interesting. Someone came in and asked for SSLC candidates. The SSLC is the liason committee between people doing a subject subject and the staff. They needed three, I volunteered as I like political things. There were five, so we all had to give a speech and go to a show of hands vote. I said, "I worked in industry for a year so I know how hard it is for the little guy to not get heard. I'd try to be easily accessible for concerns." It was the most political of the three. I got voted in, interestingly by most of the girls in the room!

Afterwards we headed back to the Computer Science room, were just about to do something when in came Sadiq and some pals with a supercharged remote control car that sped around like a demented gerbil. Everyone got a go and much fun was to be had. The time flew, and we headed off together to meet up someone else, but we had to get to a Philosophy lecture so parted ways.

The Philosophy lecture was interesting, debating various aspects of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God:

  • God is perfect.
  • If God didn't exist, he wouldn't be perfect.
  • Therefore, God Exists.

The lecturer was a bit long winded explaining things, but I gather the strongest argument against this is:

  • Is existence a property?

I also managed to send a couple of silly pictures to some random person via Bluetooth for no reason whatsoever in that lecture whilst he was preparing slides.

After that I went to the DDR or 'dance mat' society's social session for a laugh, which consists of loads of people crowded around the single DDR machine and each paying a pound and getting five games. It was the first time I'd played DDR properly. I could get B on 1 foot and 2 foot songs, D and E on anything higher. Apparently that's OK, some poeple fall over on their first go. At the time there was a tribute act being done to John Peel, so we couldn't actually hear the machine and were working solely on sight whilst trying to ignore the loud beat in the room. After that I headed with Dementia (who was at Dance Mat) back to halls.

He rested for a bit as he'd danced himself to extreme as I'd accidentally picked him a 10 foot tune (he got D on it). He tried playing Poker on my Linux box but it was buggered. I sorted out a few things on the Internet and headed to the kitchen. He had to go. Just before I left I saw the BBC article on bird 'flu. That disease is somewhat worrying.

This is where my day got boring. Apart from reheating a pizza and having some salad, the rest of the evening was spent doing the Mathematics/Logic/Boolean Colculus sheet for 4 hours. I'd already spent 3 and a half hours on it the day before and 1 hour the day before that. I couldn't do two questions and I swear the rest were a bit dodgy. The only interesting thing that happened is someone mentioned for a while there had been a collection of rubber ducks in the fountain in front of Arthur Vick before they cleared the water of the bubble bath (and the ducks, evidently).

At 23:20 I called it quits, and decided to relax for a bit, have a drink and go to bed.

October 12, 2005

Wednesday, 12th October

Woke up at 09:00 feeling pretty rested, though another hour's sleep really couldn't have gone amiss. I quickly got into my shower, washed, dried, dressed and sloped off to the kitchen in slippers to get some breakfast. There was no-one in there except cleaners, who were friendly but giving off that slightly poisoned ayre of restrained chatter. I looked at the table. There was a lot of stuff on there. Oh dear. I made sure to wash my dishes very well in front of them and put them away!

I went back to my room and made a haphazard attempt at cleaning up before it got to 09:50 and I had to head off to my first Mathematics for Computer Scientists seminar. Th route was quick this time, five minutes, but I still made the mistake of almost walking into the carpark because I was stuck in my own little world. For some reaosn, I couldn't get the Beatle's song 'She Loves You' out of my head. And, as of writing this, hours later, I still can't. Gah!

The Mathematics seminar was really good. Our tutor was helpful and really cleared a few things up, indeed, he practically retaught the entirety of the last two lectures with clear and concise examples that made me feel much more confident about the homework sheet due in for Friday. Things were marred a bit by the alarm for the lecture going off in the middle of the lecture, making everyone think my phone was ringing, though!

I went from there to the Café Library with Simon, chatting with him about the presentation we had to do later, which was cheap but didn't accept plastic so I wasn't able to buy anything. We parted ways and I went back to halls to the kitchen to rest for a while and read up on a bit of logic. I was interrupted by someone in the room sending to me a random sound file over MP3. It turned out to be a quote from a movie with the most long winded, daffy sounding 'noooooo!' you could imagine. When I commented I then got bluetooth-mania with another three things sent including an MP3 of the Cillit Bang remix. My phone beeped and I realise (thanks to the wonders of alarms) I had to run to the Philosophy seminar as it was at 12:00, not 14:00.

Outside the seminar the tutor was a tad late so I leeched off the wireless (funny how there's a perfect open wireless signal in the top floor of social studies but no open signal at all in the Computer Science building). Our tutor came by really flustered and apologising for being late, though we were all cool with it. All four of us, that is. We set down immediately to the presentation, I ended up using the laptop screen along with a USB optical mouse attached to it for going forwards and backwards.

The presentation went well, though a few things cropped up:

  • I didn't know much more than what I'd put on the slides, so I had to refer to Simon a lot to add examples (he was very good at those)
  • One of the slides had gone completely AWOL so I had to remember it from memory (and I managed!)
  • No-one in the room agreed with anything the presentation said so we got a lot of questions, though we'd only put down what Mackie believed.

Our tutor clarified a few things, specifically the difference between first and second order moral skepticism, and then we got launched into a complete five way argumentative debate about subjectivity and objectivity. Some of the viewpoints were:

  • Morals are systematically subjective
  • There is no subjectivity
  • Colours are objective as they are induced by properties of an object, leading on to…
  • Systematic subjectivity is objectivity because it comes down to properties of an objective substance
  • Subjectivity is merely the definition of a golden point of abstraction of objectivity
  • That chair really would be blue even if we weren't around to see it
  • That chair would only have the potential of being blue if we weren't around to see it, it wouldn't really be blue as blueness is a subjective creation in the mind of a human
  • But the potential of being blue is always there, it doesn't just start being blue just because someone observes it
  • Yes it does!
  • No it doesn't!
  • Metaphysical questions of objectivity of subjective values when considering the physical properties of a brain

The seminar only finished as the next group came in to the room, a bunch of economists. We ended up arguing over the objectivity and subjectivity all the way back to Rootes, where I parted ways and went back to Arthur Vick. I talked a bit in the kitchen, before frying up the rest of the vegetables I didn't eat last night to have as a lunch. It was a bit bland but edible and hopefully healthy. I went to my room and played on the computer a bit, procrastinating homework, until I had to head to the doctor's to meet him (as I have a heart condition).

The lady on the desk couldn't find my name. Her monitor was in plain view, so I looked to see if I could help her. I got a minute long lecture on how I was violating privacy and how I shouldn't look and she moved her monitor around with a big humph. Charming, it was an accident and she shouldn't have the monitor facing that way. I sat down in a humph and got called in by the doctor. He was a very nice guy, wanted to know some of my medical history, my medicatoin, and note down the type of heart murmur I had. I manageed to forget about flu jabs.

I got back hope and tried to ring my mother on Skype, but the network was so slow it was unusable. Eventually she rung the payphone and we chatted for a good while, and I found out I'd forgotten to ask the Doctor about getting a 'flu jab. After she hang up I rang the health centre and asked, but they're not doing them until next Monday as they haven't yet received them yet. I headed to the common room and started to do my maths. problem sheet.

I spent 3 hours trying to do it. I got the hang of it but there was some horrible simplication problems that I just couldn't wrap my head around. I eventually gave up as my mind was frazzled and cooked a frozen pizza, which was sugary but nice enough. Whilst watching it I heard an amazing comment from a presenter on the ITV news: 'there was a story about getting mobbed on arrival… even if this is a rumour, it shows the tensions..' Talk about presenting opinion, even perhaps incorrect information, as fact! Cripes!

I went back to my room and was about to start my stats when some people invited me to the Linux Users Group. I decided to go over and I'm glad I did. Everyone was friendly, despite the fact I was using a Mac laptop running OS X, and we had a generally good time and discussion. I recommend the LUG to anyone remotely interested in using or trying Linux. During the event the sign-ups for the LAN party started, and we watched in amazement as it only took 2 minutes for all 30-ish spaces in the LAN party to be filled up. I was number 24, but I pulled out after I realised I had a guaranteed space anyway as I was on the techteam (?). The LUG finished after a while and I walked back home with a friendly chap who was on his way to a late-nighter at the Computer Science building. I headed to my room and worked on my Statistics homework (insanely boring) before ordering a present for my brother on Amazon and going to bed. If you're reading, bro, sorry it's late! I messed up my timings…

October 11, 2005

The Bubble Project

Writing about web page http://www.thebubbleproject.com/01.Bubbles/BubblesFrameset.htm

Interesting link to a social project that someone started. The results are quite curious.

Cheers to Kyle for passing it on.

Tuesday, 11 October

I didn't sleep very well, not being able to sleep until around 2:30, and I woke up at 10 feeling absolutely exhausted. I managed to get back to sleep but woke up at 11 feeling much the same. I dragged myself to the kitchen to have some breakfast, it looked like most other people were just as knackered as I was. I put on some of my self-washed clothes, curious to find that some of the garments completely stank of something unidentified. I resolved to put them through the wash again, and sat down to read up on some Philosophy before the lecture. I also chatted in the Computing Society chatroom, having fun with someone who needed to chill a bit (note, bits might be snipped due to chatroom spam):

[10:31] murphster: and i'm thinking hmmmm
[10:31] db_rat: Deep insight into your cognitive processes there. ;p
[10:31] murphster: shut up you.

[10:35] Inciner: impressive, away for a whole 1 min 5s
[10:36] murphster: don't you start with me

[11:15] db_rat: I had one of those as a work laptop. They are shite. 1 hour's battery life and weird buggy components. 100% Linux compatible, though.
[11:15] murphster: ah, a retard, i see

[11:17] murphster: yeah just because something happened with /your/ laptop that doesn't make it gospel for every other laptop of the same make
[11:18] murphster: gah you are really annoying in a Penguin 6 months ago kind of way
[11:18] db_rat: It was the office standard. I speak for around 3 laptops…
[11:18] murphster: i'm off

[11:18] sadiq: just wait till everyone's cycles synchronise!
[11:19] murphster|away: fuck you too

So much anger in so little time! He must have felt like a caged animal. Anyway, I got a message from someone in the Tech team about possible ideas for the Computing Society website. The guy had some really good ideas and thoughts and concerns, and I ended up installing the Drupal CMS to give it a slight jiggle around with, though I expect it may not plug in to our current framework well enough to be more than a toy. Plus everyone has serious reservations about PHP applications as no-one has yet made a good one that isn't full of holes. Anyway, I skedaddled from that off to my Philosophy lecture.

I caught Simon (the person doing the Philosophy presentation) just outside the Philosophy lecture and asked him to join me in the lecture. Just as I was sitting down in the lecture my laptop noted an incoming bluetooth file transfer. I cancelled it and did a scan. There were 23 bluetooth devices in range! Blimmin' 'eck. That could be fun. However, I put away the laptop and got out my trusty pen and paper.

Unfortunately today the lecturer managed to make his points (arguments against Moore's argument for the objectivity of values based on a literary analysis) very long and drawn out. I only got half a page of notes from the hour. In fact, at one point I started writing the notes for contradiction 2, dozed off, woke up, and continued where I started, though apparently he was concluding contradiction 4. I didn't even realise. Oh well, after the doze I felt a bit better and headed off with Simon to the library. In the library we worked a good solid hour on the presentation, fleshing out the draft I'd made and correcting some of the rather late-night logic that I'd made. From there we went to the Statistical Laboratory. I looked over the notes and found out that there was still nothing new so I managed to spend a lot of that lecture abusing the bluetooth by attempting to send pictures of ducks and squirrels from the campus to random people. To my surprised, 1 people accepted. Their bluetooth ID was 'Pirate Pete'. I couldn't see around to check who it was, but it was a very slow rate so they were probably quite far away.

From the lecture I headed off with Simon to go shopping at Tescos for the week. He needed to drop off some stuff in his room at Rootes. The Rootes accommodation isn't bad, actually, though naturally Arthur Vick is much swisher. They haven't got en suite but the room feels larger as for living space. The community was very much more studenty, Arthur Vick feels a bit like a hotel or a hostel in the way that it is run. He fetched what he needed and I noticed on his wall a poster for the Game Development Society, which I'd completely forgotten to go to the night before. Bugger!

We walked to Tescos and I did a shop that I hoped would be weekly. On the way round I bought:

  • 2x stirfry veg (easy and somewhat nutritious)
  • 1x noodles (spotting a theme?)
  • 1x stirfry sauce (guess what I'm making tonight!)
  • 1x fresh chicken fillets (correct!)
  • 1x lemon juice (Martinis!)
  • 2x frozen pizzas (unhealthy, but…)
  • 2x salads (these should balance them)
  • 1x sandwich (late lunch)

I kept an eye out for deals and absolutely made sure that I didn't impulse buy anything. The total came to £10, which isn't bad for at least 4 days' worth of nosh. I paid for it with a card and headed back to campus with Simon, but parted ways to put my shopping in the kitchen. It looked like we'd got a new freezer to replace the one that was broken, so I claimed a half-shelf of my own in it (it was completely empty). I popped back to my room for a while before heading back to cook. I decided to risk chicken.

I coated the chicken in olive oil and soy sauce, and put some oil in the frying pan. I heated the oil, added the chicken, and cooked it and turned it until it was all light in colour and starting to go golden, before adding the stirfry sauce and stirring until it sizzled. I then tossed in the stirfry veg and turned that around until it went softer, and finally added the noodles and stirred for a further three minutes. All the way through I was so worried about the chicken I kept asking people if they thought it was done. They did, so I trusted them.

Whilst I was cooking someone was watching a soap on TV. It was luidicrous – something about a girl being stalked, meeting a murder suspect and needing a policeman outside her door. Also, during the adverts, the person watching the TV flicked channels like mad. It's interesting how the advert breaks seem to be synchronised so that the only way to avoid the in-your-face assault of product placement is to mute the TV or switch to the BBC. Anyway, I sat down and scoffed most of my stir-fry, though after a while I couldn't stomach any more. There wasn't enough to save so I guiltily threw it away, and proceeded to wash up and put things away, which took more time than the actual cooking did!

I returned to my room and feeling tired and grumpy decided to surf the web and chat with friends (and in the CompSoc chatroom) for a while, before pulling in to a relatively early night. However, some people from the corridor (Ben and Charlie) knocked on my door to ask if they could see their room size, commenting that Matt-Mark's seemed to be bigger. I let them look around, and went off with them to Matt Mark's, and they were right! It was a lot deeper. I guess it's luck of the draw. They were looking for people to play a game of Articulation so I asked them to knock on my door when they were ready.

I played around on the Internet a bit, but it got near bedtime so I headed off to the kitchen to get a snack, saying hey to everyone there. I heard laughter from near Ben's room, so I headed over. I heard someone describing something in a long-winded Articulation way, I guess they forgot to knock my door. Oh well, I was tired and may have seemed a bit dismissal earlier, and probably wouldn't have been very good at it. I sloped off to bed quietly, hopefully to be somewhat refreshed for the morning.

October 10, 2005

Monday, 10th October

I had a rough night. I kept on tossing and turning and having strange dreams that I can barely remember. Also in the middle of one tossing session I got woken up by a searing pain in my leg than took half an hour to subside, and when I finally woke up bleary-eyed in the morning it was hurting dully. I must have pulled a muscle.

I woke up at 9:30 and dragged myself out of bed to have a shower, and after chatting to a pal on the Internet who's a long lost friend who went through a really rough spot and seems to be coming through (keep on troopin'!) I headed off to Costcutters to get some milk so I could have some breakfast in the hope that the walk would make me feel better and more woken up. It did, and it also wore off the horrible pain in my leg. I bought some bread, some snacks, some milk and a sandwich.

I got back to the kitchen and my Branflakes had gone AWOL. Bloody hell, I'd bought some milk especially. How desperate can people be to take some Branflakes? They're about as nutritious as cardboard. Instead I had Marmite on toast again whilst watching a somewhat fascinating Channel 4 documentary on the Millennium bridge and the fact that its wobbling was caused by the synchronity of footsteps of thousands of people. Apparently an oscillating structure encourages people to walk in step to the oscillations, a phenomena never seen before. Anika came in the room so I chatted to her a bit about her phone, which was an impressive piece of kit. I then tried playing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time for a while but I'd lost the knack.

I finally managed to haul myself out of the room and hunted down the central laundrette, which all the other halls of residences use except Arthur Vick. It was absolutely packed and had a brilliant buzz in it, but by the time I found it I only had around 10 minutes to go before my lecture started. I checked the price of the spincycles, it was only 20p for a drying cycle! In the Arthur Vick residences (when they were open) it was 50p a drying cycle! Bloody hell. Lucky I was forced to come here.

I lugged my wet clothes over to my lecture, which mercilessly was in the MathStat building, or the absolute further building from the point I was in, full stop. By the time I got there, despite stopping off for a few minutes midway at the library for a breather and to get a Five Alive, I felt like I wanted my clothes to be thrown out… soggy materials are so heavy, and a plastic bag digs into your hands so much that they go red. Owch. Anyway, I got into the Programming lecture. These lectures are really easy, but Dr Jarvis is so amazingly funny that I go to them anyway, though eventually I had to stop putting my hand up in audience participation to give the others a chance. Dr Jarvis seemed rather impressed that I'd managed to bring my wet laundry to his lecture. It's not been done that much before.

After the lecture I met up with Olga and chatted to her a bit as we headed towards the Arts Centre. We talked about the gaming sessions (apparently she'd gone, though I didn't see her… I was in the corner of the second room with Dementia most of the time) and a few other things, but she had to part ways to go and buy an iron. I sloped off to the Rootes laundrette and put a load in, and went to CostCutters.

I have found five things about CostCutters:

  • People laugh at you if you go down the wrong aisle.
  • It has nothing you need.
  • But it has everything you like.
  • At obscenely high prices.
  • It's physically impossible to retreat from there spending less than £3.

I met Anika and her friend in the queue and chatted with them a bit, as they were both doing Computer Science. This passed the time of the obscenely long queues and I realised that I'd managed to exit the store with my un-tumble-dryable indecently flowery shirt and the boxes of cereal in the same bag. By this time, I had parted ways with Anika and her pal and there was no-one I could plead with for a carrier bag. This was a dilemma and a half! However, when I got to the laundrettes I found a plastic bag discarded on a washing machine. Looking shifty, I pilfered it and put my groceries in there. I retreated to the lounge area of the laundrettes and felt guilty for at least 20 minutes. I guess I'd make a really crappy thief. After my laundry was done, I took it back to halls and fetched the next set, which I had to take to my next two lectures in two bags as it was too late. Darn! I'm going to be getting a reputation as the laundry guy!

The lecture was interesting but I really struggled to keep awake through it. I don't know why, but it's only Mathematics for Computer Scientists where I have to actually squirm in my seat to avoid falling asleep. It must be the fact that the lecturer's voice, albeit jolly, is constant or something like that. I decided I best actually look at the homework due in for Friday some time soon. It reminded me that I needed to chase the guy who was working on the Mackie presentation with me. After the lecture I joined up with someone who is in charge of the CompSoc gaming server and asked them if they could run ET on it, though I doubt we'll ever get enough players interested to play a decent game of ET (you need at least 8). We chatted for a bit before I realised I'd walked with him to the CompSoc building. Sigh… it was a long and winding road to the the Rootes laundrette, but when I got there a very kind girl said she'd put too much in a drier and I was welcome to use up the extra ten minutes. As it was a large load, I put in an extra 14 minutes on top and sat in the lounge being nice and antisocial with my laptop.

I headed back to my room (noticing on the way that someone had put bubble bath in the fountain in front of Arthur Vick 1 – seriously) and went into the kitchen to cook. I created a random pasta and sweetcorn dish with those pasta parcel thingies. It was a bit boring but nice. I then retreated to my room for a while to write up some stuff and to talk with a few Internet friends. On a whim I headed into the kitchen at around 21:30 and there were people playing a game called Articulation. It was a fantastic game, and I was glad to join in. The rules are that you're given a subject and the other person on your team has to guess what's on the card, but you're not allowed to say the item itself. We got one exceptional corker: "Big, large, long things.. druids! Salisbury plain has them!"

People filtered off to the Top Banana dance promising to get drunk and play another game later on. I got my maths homework and joined the rest in attempting some of the questions. I decided to bring the Martini, and interestingly after one shot the questions got easy, after two they got tricky and after three I just joined in watching TV (Little Britain). At that point Will commented I was just drinking Martini and looked somewhat surprised. I just grinned, and after stomaching as much Little Britain as I could headed off to my room, bidding the others good night. The fabled drunken game of Articulation never happened.

PS. Ernest is now mostly black and looks half-way to the grave…

October 09, 2005

Sunday, 9th October

Today I woke up at 11:00, a rather optimistic proposition given the fact I went to sleep at 4, but I was trying the brute-force approach to solving the problem of being in the wrong time zone. I managed to stay up long enough to take a heart tablet and get a drink of water, when I made the foolish decision of telling myself that lying on the bed for a second would clear my mind.

The next thing I knew was someone was banging on my door. I got up, got dressed quickly, and headed out into the corridor to see if anyone was around. They weren't so I went to the kitchen, which was similarly empty. I found a bunch of people in one person's room apparently preparing to head out, so I asked if one of them wanted to talk to me about something.

Then Georgina came out of her room and started completely blowing up about me about something negative I'd said on my blog on the first few days. She'd associated them with her and Madeline, and told me they'd hurt and that I should say things to her face. I apologised, said I'd been warned this might happen, and explained I had troubles talking to people. I also added that I thought she was quite nice now, would post a retraction if she wished. She stormed off.

Anyway, at that point, I made a very, very, very silly mistake. I posted a very angsty message to my blog stating it was closed, and went off for brunch. By the time I got back I had so many comments of support I wavered, tried a few half-hearted attempts at puffing up my outrage, but eventually I gave up and wrote everything that had happened so far into my trusty Smultron window on the iBook. Maybe I was wrong about Marmite and it gives you guts in trade for being the effect of a ten megaton nuclear bomb on your tastebuds.

There is a feeling that I learned for the first time today, as well. It's the feeling that is the culmination of:

  • I'm in the wrong timezone!
  • I'm starving!
  • There is nothing palatable in the cupboard whatsoever!
  • I have a presentation on Mackie to write!
  • My laundry has been left behind!
  • I have lectures tomorrow at times earlier than I'm waking up!
  • Costcutters is a 5 minute walk away!

This feeling I would like to name, 'bleeeurrrrg'. The only solution to 'bleeeurrrrg' is to not go back to sleep again, and to instead solve all of the problems in order. The order I decided upon was:

  • To go to Costcutters to buy supplies and a premade sandwich from said.
  • To set a timed shutdown on the computer so it'd switch off at 1:30AM no matter what I was doing.
  • To ring up the person I was meant to be writing the presentation with on Skype.

I got a comment on my blog from Georgina and something in my mind snapped. I walked over to Georgina's room and confronted her, about my feelings for the first time and it went very well, in reality she's actually quite understanding albeit very feisty! I also apologised to James for a comment I'd made yesterday and we discussed how things were with the kitchen group as a whole. I really, really should have given these people more chance straight from the beginning. I actually do think I might actually be a bigot about some things, and I should change. But this is what University is for! I resolve now to never resort to hiding in my room unless it's a pre-arranged thing, as these people are really nice. I don't think I could have struck luckier. Plus Georgina gave me a cigarette lighter, and I'm hopelessly addicted to it like anything shiny!

I headed off to Costcutters and spent a tenner on foodings. Most of them were reheatable boring stuffs, but I did buy some onions and some fancy pasta so the bling-bling shopping spree should last me at least three days. I put my chicken into the freezer (look mum, first time I've frozen something!) and promptly talked a bit to the people in the common room before taking the refuse out. I felt proud at my attempts of reintegration into the kitchen community, in fact, proud enough to head back with my laptop in order to do some of my Mackie presentation.

Some people were doing Economy in the corner but got distracted by someone's ringtone being the Cillit Bang remix. I promptly showed people the original on my laptop. That thing is pure genius. I personally don't understand why Cillit Bang don't just use the remix as their advert, it's actually slightly less ludicrous than the original as it wasn't meant to be taken seriously! Then everyone disappeared to the cry of 'ice-cream van' (I guess they know their market!) and the rest (pretty much all of the girls) watched the X-Factor to cries of 'ooh! He's cute!'

I blast-reheated a Chicken Tikka I bought from Costcutters out of laziness, to see what £2.59 of chicken Tikka looked like. I can reveal it looked like chicken pieces in a spicy gravy on rice. Actually, this is what Chicken Tikka was originally for, according to rumours. Some posh person in a restaurant in Birmingham asked for gravy with their tandoori chicken. Unfortunately, there was nothing posh about this nosh, but at least it was filling. It tasted like generic salty spicy chicken gunk. Each mouthful was a fusion of E-numbers and preservatives. Mmm… At least it tasted nice after some reparative surgery:

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mild Chilli Powder
  • Garlic Powder

I may have well cooked for myself! Still, after that it was actually quite nice, though the chicken pieces were stringy. At this point I saw Madeline shaking the DVD player in the corner like it was a hi-tech rattle. It turns out a DVD had got stuck into it. So I fetch my computer repair kit, earthed myself, and promptly unscrewed the thing and someone removed the DVD, and helped me with rescrewing it. It worked fine after that. It's funny that I was the only one in the room who thought of actually opening it. At this point I noticed on my email that a war had started on my Angsty Blog Post comment tree. I tried to quell the flames a bit but luckily the whole thing petered out.

I went upstairs to fetch the laundry I'd put in the night before, but there was a sign on the door saying not to use the laundrette. I figured I wasn't using it and went in to fetch the clothes. I phoned mum and talked to her for a bit, but I was so frazzled I only remembered two things:

  • Get clothes dried tomorrow or mildew will ruin them.
  • Dispute a debit card transaction.

I headed off into the kitchen to see what was up, everyone was watching a film. I cleared up my stuff for the morning and went back to my room, and pulled in for an early night.

Apologies for Angst

Thanks for comments. Service will be resumed. I resolve to continue posting things here, but at the same time say things to peoples' face. I've spoken to Georgina and made up and I'm sorry for upsetting people in the corridor.

No blog is complete without angst, so I'll leave the post below up.

I think making decisions when hungry is a bad idea. It only took a Marmite sandwich to make me gain some spine again…


  • Today the first thing that was said at me was Georgina completely blowing up about me about something negative I'd said on my blog on the first few days. She'd associated them with her and Madeline, and told me they'd hurt and that I should say things to her face. I apologised, said I'd been warned this might happen, and explained I had troubles talking to people. I also added that I thought she was quite nice now, would post a retraction if she wished. She didn't really listen to that as far as I can see, so I commented I thought it was strange due to the fact in later entries I'd referred to them positively and from then up until that moment I'd actually really quite liked them. I couldn't say that to her face, as she stormed off, so I said it to her back.

  • Today the first email was one alerting me of a comment on my blog suggesting I could get in trouble for some of the network activities I was doing. I'm pretty confident they'd never be found out about except for the fact I mentioned them here.

  • Today I realised that honesty and telling the public what you really think on a public weblog has no position in this University unless you want to be a rather unpopular person.

  • Today I close this blog/diary, exactly two weeks after it started. Now people will just have to guess what I'm thinking, I'm fed up of putting it down in the only format I was comfortable with.

Saturday 8th October

I woke up at 13:30 and felt really well for the first time in ages. I hauled myself up and promptly vegetated in front of the computer for a while, fiddling with a mondo idea I had to get around the Resnet's incredible slowness (idea with-held to avoid it getting slower). Look at me! 700Kbytes/sec! NYAH!

I then went onto the CompSoc chat server for a while to chat, and ended up in a horrible flaming argument with someone whom I took offense to calling something crap without justification, and whom took offense to me calling him a troll/close-minded for not considering external arguments. Fun to be had by all. I felt proud that I could continue until he couldn't be arsed to counter me whilst doing around 4 other things at once. Argumentation is so reflex I can do it without any effort at all. Is that a bad thing?

I ended up talking until well-gone 16:00 with a friend online, at which point I had to excuse myself to go do laundry, which was probably about the most untypical thing I could have done. I went to the central kitchen and found the kitchen completely packed with Anika and apparently a bunch of friends and the living room completely full of people watching a football game. It was packed! I found a bin-bag and asked if I could borrow it for laundry, but Will said it was best not to and instead to gave me two carrier bags, which was really kind of him. He also told me that the machines take one pound and two twenties, though one is broken and may go for free. The drier takes two twenties and a ten. I thanked him and packed all of my coloureds into a bag, figuring I'd have to go for a coloured load and a non-coloured load.

I had to ask Anika to take me up to the room. There were two washers and two driers, capable of taking two bags' worth. I managed to shove in whites in one and coloureds into the other, and set them going. Interestingly the washer on the left was broken and didn't need any money, you just whacked it in the right fashion and it went off. I didn't have the foggiest idea how much powder to put in without a scoop, but there was a very friendly English student there who showed me the right amount by sprinkling in the powder. I headed off to my room and fiddled around on the Internet whilst the machines rambled.

When I got back every single machine was in use and there were two Law students and two Maths. students packed into the small space. Apparently the driers had been just set off, so I bided the time buy buying a drink from the drinks machine in the room and chatting to the people about the subjects they were taking. There was a bit of a scramble for the drier on the bottom, but it turned out the lint filter was absolutely disgustingly filthy, and in return for taking the plunge and cleaning it I got to put my loads into the drier first. It was getting close to the buffet dinner that the pride were putting on, so I figured that I'd have to come back some time in the evening to pick up my dried washing. I still have another load to go! I should really get into the habit of doing this weekly instead of daily.

I got to my room and just as I got in my mum phoned me on the computer. The network was too clogged down to actually talk and I couldn't reroute Skype to get around the Resnet's speed deficiency, so I sent a message instead. I got rung on my mobile, and chatted for a bit, but got interrupteed. I can't mention any names or specifics, but someone was shy and needed someone to walk with to the Pride welcome buffet. I was honoured, and I went there with them.

The buffet had party food and lots of odd, though friendly, people. I generally talked to people about where they were from and experiences they had, and got on quite well with the person I went with (though he disappeared shortly after) and a few other people from different cultures. The only annoyance was that a lot of people kept on asking if I was going to Rainbows and when I said it wasn't my thing got really, really loud and almost sounded insulted. There were a few other conversation strands:

  • Experiences as a child (parents, etc).
  • Travel, and experiencing culture-clash.
  • What courses people did.
  • Clubbing scene, though I largely stayed out of it. For some reason, most of the people I talked to weren't interested in dating or relationships at all.

I ended up talking to a very nice young looking boy about a multitude of different subjects, before I found out just before she left that he was actually a she. Dementia arrived just before I made that mistake and I couldn't get over it. Eventually people started filtering away from the buffet to go to Rainbows (the local gay bar) and Dementia and I wandered back to my room for a while. I put on some chill-out music and he almost ended up falling asleep, so I started playing him some of the more ecclectic parts of my music collection, including:

  • Tipsy — Kitty Takes a Ride
  • Oingo Boingo — Queen's Revenge
  • Queen — Flash

We headed off to the Computing Society gaming session where we largely chatted. We got bored pretty quickly (1 o'clock) and left, and I headed back to halls to my room. I was about to go to sleep when someone knocked on my window from the outside. I heard noise from the kitchen as well and I headed over there, the windows were open, there were strangers outside the window. I asked them who were the prats knocking on the windows and they said there had been some youths running past with shopping trolleys. Just at that point a bunch of strange people walked into the kitchen followed by Will looking very confused and tired. They looked around, laughed a lot and went off. I suggested we get the subwarden but I was overruled by James because 'they weren't causing any harm… we could always lock the door.' I headed back to my room and messed a bit on the Internet some more before heading to bed, knackered.

October 08, 2005

Friday 7th October

I woke up after 6 hours' sleep and got dressed. I felt surprisingly refreshed and happy and then got a phonecall from mum, at which point 6 hours' sleep hit me like a wet brick and I felt like going back to bed. After discussing with her about life, the universe, and Dementia, I headed off to the main common room to have some brekkers.

Now, there are two things I noticed in this breakfast session. Firstly, the best invention seriously is sliced bread, because if you try to slice bread with a steak knife you get one of three eventualities:

  • Bread wafers, that could theretically be rolled up to make reconstituted breadrolls.
  • Jagged, mis-shapen slices that make good blunt weapons.
  • Slices thicker than my arm, and almost bigger than my mouth, which is quite a feat.

I settled on the latter. At least that didn't waste bread! I had marmite and home-made plum jam on my bread. At once. Nummy nummy. I settled down on the chairs and watched TV for a few moments before realising that my braincells were slowly being rotted away by a very Americanistic entertainment banality, and I asked if the channel was MTV. Apparently not, it was Channel 4. The show I was watching was about a bunch of people who went joyriding and the organisation you can get behind street-racing and the like.

I retreated to my room to recover some of the braincells I was missing by chatting computing on #compsoc. I couldn't, they were lost forever. Channel 4 should put health warnings on their products! In the conversation I managed to discuss some web developer, get put on the #compsoc technical team, and ask some random person ('Tozak') to meet me outside the Computer Science building before the stats lecture. They agreed.

I headed out half an hour before determined to find a more optimal route to the Computer Science building than crossing a field and walking along the wrong road for around 100 metres. I managed to walk through a bunch of graduate accommodation before finding myself at a carpark. Undeterred, I walked in a straight line towards the carpark, and bounced off it. I decided I may have to compromise in my alternate, direct route a tad and navigated around it, over a bridge and found myself at the Computer Science building, where I waited. And waited. I got asked by Olga who I was waiting for, I said I didn't know. She shrugged and headed off to the lecture. I eventually followed, and got into the lecture.

The lecture was OK, but I'd covered it all before. The lecturer was very friendly, with a persistant and clear voice, with a habit of shouting 'wakey wakey!' if someone fell asleep: so napping proved to be somewhat sporadic. Luckily, I had directly after a lecture of Mathematics for Computer Scientists, and en route I bought a fizzy drink which made me hyper. Although that lecture is always easy to sleep through, the drink and the new subject matter plotted against my desires and I had to pay some attention some of the way through! In the rest of it I showed off Olga the cool features of MacOS, like inverting colours and zooming in and minimising windows whilst they're playing video. You know, useful stuff.

From there I headed with Olga to a Programming for Computer Scientists seminar, trying to navigate the horrendous maze that is Social Studies. We found the room eventually and got registered. I was in a different seminar group. I excused myself and dashed all the way to Computer Science, just as the seminar tutor was closing the door in finality to late entries. I excused myself and asked if I could just sit in the corner and do my coursework. He didn't understand until the 3rd attempt of clarifying myself, and apparently he made quite a few mistakes in his teachings, according to conversations I had directly after.

Afterwards I managed to latch on to a really, really, really tall guy who needed some assistance. I couldn't help him so I went down to the Computer Science laboratory and chatted with him a bit whilst doing some admin on the machines. We compared our answers for the exams and talked a bit, though I was a bit tired and prone to sound a bit irritable, so I don't think I made a very good impression. We parted ways and he said he'd be at the gaming session later on. I headed back to the accommodation via my new, almost optimum route (damn carpark!) and grabbed a sandwich before retreating to my room to attempt napping. It failed. I ended up talking on the chatroom with everyone and getting way too distracted to talk. I arranged with Dementia to go and have some food before the gaming session.

I padded off to the kitchen and lay done in there, trying to use the rhythmical drone of the voices and the TV to get an hour's kip. It didn't work as Will being very friendly checked I was OK. I said yes, and that I was tired, and went back to my room to get some shuteye. It worked, I went to sleep straight away, but after an hour I woke up feeling incredibly tired – I felt like I'd been woken up after an hour's sleep as opposed to feeling refreshed after a nap. I managed to drag myself over to the Bar and sat around waiting for the others to come.

Most of the CompSoc people I recognised arrived, but Dementia was late. When he got there we ordered a pizza between us and scoffed it, before heading over to the gaming session.

The gaming session was very interesting. The CompSoc had coded their own front end system that downloaded and installed games from a central server and ran them, however the interface was very buggy and you had to do lots of 'h4x' and tricks to get around 'speshul' aspects of the system. Dementia and I had fun:

  • Playing Quake III (bang bang)
  • Playing Tetrinet (the noises that made.. it's the most brutal puzzle game around, you could hear people yelling from the other room when you did a nasty move)
  • Random hugs that scared people around, though oddly they just thought that it was Dementia's corrupting influence.

Dementia left, so I started to go back home, but decided against it on a whim and I'm glad I did. I went back and eight of us played a tactical shooter until 04:30 AM, having a great time. I got a reputation as a bit of a teamkiller as my shooting style was 'anything that moves'. I wandered back to halls with some of the people there and wondered what to do as if I slept I'd mess my timezone, if I didn't I'd be completely zombified the next day. I eventually decided I'd sleep, as long as my body wanted.

October 07, 2005

Thursday 6th October

Thursday 6th October
I stayed up far too late with Dementia/Nick, filling in a really clever online personality matching service name OkCupid!. We also talked and discussed and I did my programming homework in 5–10 minutes at 1:30AM.

This turned out to be a bad idea. When I woke up an hour before my lecture in the morning I was really ill. Exhausted, shaking, shivering, I couldn't swallow properly at all as there was something large (it felt like) in my throat and I was retching if I tried. I managed to force myself to down two paracetomal (that was really tough) and went back to sleep, alarm set for 50 minutes later. When I woke up my throat was more clear but I still felt ill. I grabbed a very quick heart tablet and went off to my lecture. In my somewhat unpleasant state I ended up getting completely lost, finding myself in humanities, then chemistry, and then finally at Physics room 3.36 15 minutes late. I managed to understand and participate in the lecture, though.

I then headed off to my next lecture, in the arts centre, feeling more exhausted than ill by then. I brought myself a large brunch and scoffed it in the back of a maths. lecture. I couldn't concentrate at all, the subject matter was too complicated for my brain in such a state, so I decided I'd read over those notes when I felt a lot better. The lecture seemed to drag on, and on, and on, and I was pleased to get out and back to halls.

When I got back to halls I found there was a delivery notificate final paycheck from work along with a tax refund of £80! Woohoo! The government paying me for once! In jubilation I waited for two girls who were going to the postroom to get ready, though only one ever managed it, and headed off to the postroom to collect my package. It turned out to be a package containing:

  • My PS 2 memory card (yay!)
  • My shaver head (??)
  • My cheque books (maybe useful!)
  • My Zovirax (useful!)
  • Bubble wrap (BODACIOUS!)

When I got back I proudly inserted the memory card into the PS2 and retreated to my bedroom for a much needed shower. I wanted to nap but for some reason I just didn't feel like it after the shower, so I resolved to force myself to an early night (or a late morning if that was possible instead). I fired up the laptop and talked a bit to pals on the Internet and wrote up a few things that were pending. I skedaddled off to a programming lecture to see what was what.

The lecture was as funny as usual, though before-hand I ended up trying three separate vending machines just to get the new fangled Lion bars. Gah! It was awful, layered softness. In my day Lion bars were big and manly and were used to remove wobbly teeth! I grumbled about it to random people and went into the lecture. Dr Jarvis sent off a random student 5 mintues in to find replacement batteries for his wireless microphone, but they failed (and got an applause). The lecture started off with a picture of a primate, mentioned 42, and ended off with me talking to Dr Jarvis about the coursework. Go figure!

I then walked off to the Computer Science building to leech off the internet there for a while, but ended off showing my Mac laptop to all of the Linux users around me. I checked out the computing society's shell server and checked up on Dementia's reputation by checking his quote history. He's a bit of a cheeky bugger, but got a very quick wit! For example:

  • A: What the hell is dbus?
  • Dementia: It's dthing that goes down dstreet.

Time flew and I found myself running to my philosophy lecture, which was clever but starting to get a bit tedious. The only way I can describe these Philosophy lectures is by comparing them to a typical hangover of mine:

  • You feel like you're poisoned.
  • Things make clear sense but you don't want them to.
  • You feel like it should give you a headache.
  • Your bum hurts after a while and it vaguely worries you.
  • You're in no mood for the horrible tricks that can be played on you by the English language.
  • Philosophy starts to make sense.

With these complaints swimming in my head I beelined back towards the Arthur Vick halls, and seeing someone vaguely interesting randomly said 'Hello!' to them. They backed off, so I went back in silence. Oddly, just before I got to the hall he responded, 'Are you going to the ball tonight?' I responded that I didn't know. He said I wasn't, then, as the tickets were sold out. Oh well!

When I got back to the kitchen I typed up a bit of the blog entry before setting to making a vegetable stir fry. The stirfry was gorgeous, and I stuffed myself on it. I then played on the PS2 for a while, playing Kingdom Hearts, which I haven't played in months. Leaving it for a while hadn't actually helped me with the fact that the Ursula boss is disgustingly difficult and I died 5 times in a row. When I looked up, people asked me if I was going to the Fresher's ball and I said I might tag along if I felt better. They said it'd cost me £18 and I'd have to pre-register, so I essentially said no. I don't have that money available just like that after this week's spending sprees!

I headed back to my room and played around a bit, interrupted by a rather gruff and rhythmical, almost cultish chanting of 'Davey, Davey, Davey!' I opened my door and there was the most unlikely sight ever. Five of the boys from the corridor dressed in black suits ready for the ball. I congratulated them on their style (they did look very well dressed) and wished them well at the ball and headed back in as they headed off, still with their strange but ego-puffing chant.

I went back in and watched a movie I'd downloaded a few days earlier (legitimately!) called Star Wreck: The Pirkenning. It was absolutely fantastic. Funny, well-scripted, well acted, great effects, independent and free! I'm buying the DVD as soon as I can because it was just so good. Released under the Creative Commons here linkBUY it!

Sleepy time for me.

October 06, 2005

Wednesday 5th October

I stayed up way, way too long speaking on the computing society chatroom, mainly because I apparently found the only Pride and Compsoc member. The chatroom itself seemed to be not exactly homophobic but more cheerfully naïve about subjects that some of other orientations may find very sensitive. Anywya, I got to bed around 2AM, as my first seminar was around 12.

I got woken up at 9:30 by an alarm for a seminar! I swore I didn't have one (out loud, too, very colourful swearing it was). But I crawled out of bed, found my last set of clothes (laundry tonight, it seems) and skedaddled to get breakfast. The room was a mess again and the cleaners were in there. They were lovely people, happy to accommodate, but they are having enough. So am I. I was about to write a note to the people in there saying I was going to have to be an asshole and check up on you was and wasn't cleaning before I realised (munching away on branflakes) I apparently had to be in CS 1.01 in five minutes. I ran all the way there and arrived at the room panting. Damn, damn, damn. I remembered now – seminars in week 2 were cancelled. But I had forgotten to remove the alarm. I crawled into the computer room in a panting, wheezing wreck and oozed over the desk in front of an Internet connection lead and calmed my nerves with information overload.

After a bit I sauntered back to the halls. I found some people there are told them I would like a team meeting as the cleaners weren't happy. I just got brushed off. Oh well, their problem. I headed off to a philosophy seminar, and when I finally found it (apparently S is Social Science, though that's SO on the map) there were two computer scientists outside. We got talking a bit:

  • Me: "McDown says that first order sceptics can't exist because there's a paradox in that they're taking a stand on something."
  • A: "But what if they don't debate at all, just say something's wrong?"
  • B: "They're still a moral sceptic because they are applying values to the world."

Damn! I'm dangerously close to being a philosopher. The seminar was fun. Our seminar tutor was young, the class was small and he was really into the subject. He got over administration and started talking to us about a brief history of philosophy and the various strands, and managed in his discussion to disprove the existence of God twice without even thinking. Apparently modern philosophers tend to assume a Christian God doesn't exist even if he does because it makes philosophising too difficult with all of the contradictions that it entails. At the end of the lecture I volunteered for the first presentation along with another guy on Mackie. Apparently it doesn't matter what we come up with as long as it's about Mackie and a presentation of sorts (rap tunes not allowed). I also found out I need to sign up for the modules I want to take by tomorrow, which was scary. See? Not having Internet access in the halls meant I couldn't do this earlier!

After the lecture I convinced two people to go with me to Tescos. One was a very friendly, northern-sounding individual. The other was a tall person with a very well enunciated accent. I asked about it and he said he was from Boars Hill, Oxford and went to Abingdon school. We got chatting about about Oxford and various things such as travel. He's a nice chap! The other guy was just friendly and instantly likeable, though he didn't talk much. In the supermarket I bought all the ingredients I could possibly need for at least two stir-fries. The others bought cooking utensils. The walk back was enjoyable and I exchanged contact details with them (luckily one was the one I'll be collaborating on my presentation with).

I got back to halls and no-one was around at all! Disturbing. I put my stuff away and used the working, and fast as it wasn't in much use, network connection to do chores and write up some stuff. I called the person I was working on Mackie with (Simon, I found his name was) using Skype and discussed the Mackie project. At the same time I tried to register for modules, but couldn't as it was just giving me a blank page. I gave up on that and discussed more on the presentation, deciding to convert our notes into presentations and then comparing the two. I headed off into the kitchen to do a stirfry.

It worked spectacularly, though I had to juggle around Anika who was cooking as well. Her religion made her vegetarian so I was careful not to contiminate her stuff with my chicken spatterings. The stirfry was very overcooked for safety but was gorgeous, and was largely an accident. Afterwards I sat down to chat with the people in the room (James, Mark, Anika) and ended up trying some of Anika's potato mixture. It was gorgeous, and spicy. We talked a bit more, with subjects including:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala (apparently a Tikka is what some indians wear on their heads, a type of bead)
  • Public/state schools (I was the only one in the room who'd been to a state school, it seems. And no, I didn't start this conversation thread!)
  • The giggles (Anika and I broke into giggles over practically nothing)
  • Oh shit, I'm late for Debating Society.
  • Ah bugger, too late now, thirty minutes so. I'll skip it and go to the next one.

I retreated to my room to bathe in the glow of working internet access for a while. I headed off to the Computer Society social and sat down, letting the cool weirdos like me filter in around me. Coversation topics:

  • Me: can I help set up.
  • Me: Hello! Hi! Hello!
  • Person A: What are you interested in?
  • Me: Website, administration, Python, Linux, blah.
  • Person A: Good! Meet Person B!
  • Person B: Want to help me with webpage?
  • Me: Yes! Talk, natter, natter.
  • Me: I was meant to be meeting someone tonight.
  • Person B: Who?
  • Me: Long hair… 4th year.
  • Person B: That narrows it down… maybe…
  • Person C: Hello! (Turns out his nickname is Dementia.>)
  • Me: Bugger! It's you! Your hair isn't that long. Want to see my laptop?

So, after managing to sign up with helping the Computing Society with their webpage I managed to end up talking with Dementia for the entirety of the evening, he turned out to have so much to say! I'd met him the night before on IRC, he is the only other dual pride and computing society member. He turned out to be very talkative, charming, witty, quite cute but for some reason had got a reputation for himself as being a complete danger to all things male. I think it's because he had a habit of randomly hugging people. I guess I'm used to that from some of the scarier conventions I've been to. Anyway, the evening was great fun.

I ended up wandering around the campus a bit, before to my surprsie I'd gone home with him. He's the first person I've ever had in my room! We ended up trying an online matching service to see how closely matched we were, and I dhowed him a few clips I had lying around. I then logged into the Computer Society IRC and pasted a nice, simple message to get them tittering:

  • Guys! I took Dementia home!

They immediately filed the quote and put it against my name. I'm getting a reputation already, and it's a good one! Anyway, writing this is antisocial, need to get back to talking with Dementia. Nightnight.

October 04, 2005

Tuesday, 4th October

Oops! I slept through my alarm and missed a seminar! Luckily that subject's very easy on its seminars and I can just go to the next one on Thursday, but that means I'll have 5 lectures and seminars on Thursday. Bugger! I had a shower and messaged people on the Internet, having left my computer connected to a messenger service (for some reason things work once you're connected but take around 2 hours to connect to anything). My cleaner came in, she was very friendly, but I skedaddled off to the kitchen to get some brekkers.

Apparently the cleaners had threatened us with a fine this morning as the place was disgusting again. Enough said. Our kitchen needs to clean up its act, I can understand complaints after two days of slobbishness (although yesterday's were uncalled for). Not to sound like a whingebag, but I wash up everything of mine and put it away. Sigh…

I left for the Fresher's Fayre, and on the way met up with Ben on the way to a Medieval English class. Seriously! He's taking lessons and exams in medieval English for his English course and will hopefully be able to pretty much speak it fluently by the end of them. How insane can you get? I wonder if Computer Science would let me take that as an extra module.

I got to the fayre and got suckered into signing up for a lot of things I didn't want, but luckily the cash makes the final selection. By the end of it I'd signed up for:

  • Comedy club (lots of cheap/free tickets to great comedian/comedienne acts)
  • Computing society (I had to. I hope to teach some Python lessons there)
  • Paintball!! (£40 for a daytrip of paintball. Can't wait, though where I'll get the cash I don't know… Christmas present maybe?)
  • Photographic Society. (Always been a vague interest.)
  • Warwick Debating Forums. (I'm a devil's advocate, so this'd be perfect.)
  • Chamber Music Society. (String quartets!)
  • Live Action Roleplay Society! (Yay! Silly costumes and stupid plots… just my cup of tea!)

The total cost was £35.50 for all of them for a year. Renewals per year are £2.50/society. Owch. But worth it… ooh, so totally worth it. I didn't join the Warwick Pride just yet as firstly I didn't want to mention it to the cashier (they looked a bit rough) and secondly I'm not so sure about them any more. Their welcome pack and their attitude in the discreet sign-up session made me a bit uncomfortable. I guess I'll go to the welcome buffet just to see what's what, though.

I headed upstairs to leech off the wireless, then skedaddled to get a nice sarnie from the arts centre, before heading to a Philosophy lecture. The lecture was fascinating, providing so many counter examples and layers confusing the argument that I can see why Philosophers have an image of being debaters of abitrary nonsense. After being given a very good description of subjectivism and objectivism our lecturer proceeded to smash it with an example so naïve and simple that it was depressing. It went simply by taking things too literally. Then he provided another fudge to that one leading us along to the grounds of Physicism. I'm half thinking that Physicism is a good retreat, at least it's easily defined! For some reason the lecture exhausted me and I almost fell asleep. I ran to the library after finding out where the hell R0.51 was and napped on the desk with an instant messenger and email program open.

I got two very detailed and very nice comments from the heads of the Computer Game Development Society in response to what I said about them yesterday. I was a bit mean with what I said, it seems that I was misled by someone present there. I'd like to apologise to them about the comments and I'll pop along to their next meeting to give them a proper chance, and I may end up even joining! (Though I've already got 7 societies paid for… arrrgh, I'm easily convinced.)

Then I zoomed to the lecture for Statistsics, which turned out to be stuff I'd done in Edexcel S1 statistics. Unfortunately the lecturer's voice was too erratic to nap through, so I played with my fingers to bide the time. After escaping that I went to the library again to check up on some of the compulsory reading on the network, check out some compulsory forums, answer emails, fan the flames on comments on my blog, all that general stuff that you should be able to do in your halls of residence. I also caught up with an online Canadian pal I hadn't seen in a while. I'm planning on visiting them next year if I can muster up the funds! I left the library and the upstairs walkway to exit was so clogged up with students that it'd grinded to a halt. I actually had to go back into the library, down the stairs just inside and out again to get anywhere. Pedestrian gridlock!

I got back to halls. Everyone was missing! There were only two people in there at all, which was strange. I asked what had happened and it turns out the network was back up and everyone was in their rooms on the Internet. There goes all forms of socialising! I went back to my room to check it out as well as the Computer Society chatroom (IRC). It was a random compilation of programming and arbitrary linking, but seemed friendly enough. I fiddled around with that a bit and caught up with a few more of my online friends before going back to the common room to see what I could eat. There was nothing at all. I had to go out in only an hour to a comedy event that I'd apparently signed up to go to a week back as well so I decided to buy something on the way.

So! After weeks of ranting and moaning the network is back up. Now I need something else to rant and moan about. Suggestions can be mailed to me at AV1 001. The winner will be drawn at random from a hat, and will win a whack with a rubber mallet. Not open to friends or family or members of any affiliated activism group.

I found out to much shock there was nothing in the room. So I had to run all the way to Costcutters, buy random food, run all the way back, reheat it and scoff it before dashing over to the Arts Centre to see what I'd signed myself up for with the kitchen group. It turned out to be a Ross Noble show.

Ross Noble was random. He was so arbitrary that he was side-splittingly funny in the first half, really annoying in the second half and very amusing during the questions and answers session with the audience at the end. Still, it was very enjoyable. It was 22:30 afterwards, and I felt exhausted. I asked if anyone wanted to walk with me back to the halls, but everyone else wanted to go clubbing. So I went back alone and caught up on my emails and online pals, after reading up some more of the stuff I was meant to have been reading online earlier in the week.

So, back to posting before bed for me, now the 'Net's back up!

Internet Up

The network's back up, so that line of incessant ranting will cease.

I can only hope my constant whinging made a difference! :-)

Addressing Comments Regarding Outages

Thank you to all people who are reading the blog. All comments, negative and positive, countering or agreeing are great. I will now address a few of the better ones.

Comment 1

  • The admin's network wouldn't be down for 8 days because no one using the admin network blatently breaks the usage rules (for instance by pluging in wireless access points)

I love a straw-man flame. I answered this comment with a comment of my own:
I unplugged the wireless when the network wasn't working, in case I was creating a routing loop. Now, straw-man arguments are oh-so-very common in the IT industry. Happened at my previous job a lot. Take a comparison of these:
'Sorry, we can't help you, as you're running Linux and we don't actually know any technical data about what we provide.'
'Sorry, we can't help you, as your router wasn't bought from our to-do list and doesn't match our checklist support system.'
'Sorry, because you plugged in a wireless router, turned down the power so far it doesn't get out of the room and removed the external arial and have taken it out since outages occured, you're in no position to blame student computing for the outages on the network.'

They all create a new argument and use it to prove another. This is the fundamental of a straw man argument.

The wiser of you will realise that my retort in itself is a Straw Man. This is because fighting fire with fire is funny, until you get seriously burned!

Comment 2

  • The difference being that running most of the apps that are running on the network here would be a sacking offence at most research establishments…

I got told by student computing the problem was caused by worms, viruses and peer to peer activity. As for viruses and worms I think the comparison is somewhat fair. Peer to peer is a much more tricky one because here although it's banned it's not a single-strike policy like it was at that establishment. However, the techincals ways in which to contain the problem are very much similar from what I've been told.

If the problems were being caused by an overabundance of legtimate activities such as recreational downloading, legitimate peer to peer such as bittorrenting legitimate files or Skype, and gaming… I'd definitely retract my complaints and put it down to a network that's just starved for bandwidth, which no-one can do anything about.

Comment 3

  • Pfui. SCS is just being a buncha lazy nerks. They can fix it, they just don't want to go to the trouble, so they are wingeing to the residents.

Probably not as bad as all that! What I will say is I really would expect to see them forced to add some kind of system to prevent this type of thing in future. But hey, I'm just a student who can't access reading notes, the mandantory-to-use forums for lessons, or sensitive information such as Warwick Pride guides in his room and instead has to do so in a public place.