October 04, 2005

CGDS

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 think in retrospect that 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. I may end up even joining! (Though I've already got 7 societies paid for… arrrgh, I'm easily convinced.)

As everyone knows, I'm very opinionated and can one minute hate something and the next minute love it to pieces. This blog's more a stream of consciousness from my mind than anything else! Thanks for everyone who comments, it makes me post more.


Monday October 3rd 2005

Monday 3rd October
I had some cool dreams again for the first time in ages!

  • The first one was about being a research assistant in a project that was reanimating a cryogenically frozen head. I was getting very concerned about the comfort of the head as it couldn't speak and raised it as a cruelty issue. So they gave it spider-legs (!) and an artificial voicebox.
  • The second one was about slipping through portals into multiple different worlds. I don't remember much about them, except one of them was zero gravity and looked like a Super Mario 64 level except it had a Barclay's Bank in the corner.
  • Another one was about going to America and meeting some of my friends at an Irish pub that had migrated there for the winter. (Seriously. The pub had wings. Funny how in dreamscapes anything makes sense.)

I got woken up in the midst of the third dream by mum phoning up. I basically grunted. She said that I'd 'agreed' to be rung up at that time. I think the likelihood of me agreeing to be rung up at 8:30 on a Monday morning is very unlikely... I told her I'd ring back at 11 and went back to sleep. I woke up again at 10:30 feeling very refreshed. I went to the kitchen and found it pretty clean but with a huge pile on the table of pots and pans and stuff. Apparently the cleaner had got very stroppy on seeing it and had told Will that she wished she could still throw out stuff that'd been left out. (What a cow! It's in the contract that one dirty kitchen is allowed once in a while, probably after special events, and Will is one of the politest guys you could ever meet. I'd understand her mean-streak if she'd cleaned what she had available but there was a ring-stain on the counter anyway.)

I headed back to my room and phoned mum. She called me back on the payphone and we chatted. It was nice to talk, as I really do miss mum and dad. I need to find some people here who are as great at affectionately random conversation as they are. I headed back to my room and played more Max Payne 2 (I'm addicted). It's so good I almost feel guilty about the fact that someone pirated it for me. But as it's not available natively for Linux, my guilt was short-lived.

I skedaddled off to the Computer Science building via the Arts Centre to pick myself a very nice 'Chilli con Sarni' vegetarian sandwich. It used up all of the coins I was saving to do my washing, but I ignored the potential crisis at the time. I dipped into the Comp. Sci. lab to leech off their working Internet (Student Computing: BOO! HISS!) and posted the previous day's blog entry, before I headed to another Programming Lecture.

It was very simple but great fun. Dr Jarvis is extremely talented and can make even noddy stuff that I learned 8 years ago seem very interesting. We had a discussion afterwards and he said I didn't have to do the noddy seminar problems and could just focus on my coursework, as long as I discussed it with my seminar tutor. That'll be a really big help as I was getting worried that being bogged down with the simple questions would make it harder to find elegant solutions for the trickier problems in the coursework. I headed back to the computer science room to find a game for Ben (Another World for the SNES) and to find out when Warwick Pride did registration.

I headed off and registered for the Pride. They were very friendly, at least up until I said I wasn't really interested in clubbing and they said that there were sessions I could go to but it was very dominantly clubbing, though they tried to explain to me that clubbing isn't just gay men dancing. I joined anyway and thanked them and went to the main societies hall.

They weren't joking when they said that Warwick had a society for everything! By the time I'd left I'd gained leaflets for the Computing Society, the Bridge Society, the Computer Game Development Society, the Debating Society, and had an argument with one of the founders of the Vegetarian and Animal Rights society. I wonder what I'll actually join?

I headed back, via a vending machine to get a kit-kat, to get ready for two lectures in a row in the same room (though after a 23 hour flight to Australia, I'm the master of sitting in a seat). I played with Mario 64 in the lecture room whilst waiting for the lectures to start.

Professional Skills was useless. It's a beginner's guide to UNIX and shell programming, which I had to learn when I was around 13. At least the seminars are voluntary. Following immediately was Maths. for Computer Scientists which was presented by a scatty brained lecturer who was nice but the lecture material was so samey I fell asleep (sorry if he's reading!). I'll have to read the notes to catch up on that, I think.

I got back to the common room after showing a fellow Computer Scientists the absolute beautiful simplicity of Apple's iWork and chatted to them for a bit before getting back. I blast-heated my chilli in the microwave and it was completely dry and gloopy. I added some tap water and it suddenly became beautiful, like the chillis from home. A few people were there blowing up balloons for a birthday party later, and there was talk about having a kitchen meeting about the horrible state of the kitchen in the morning. There was also a TV plugged into the wall, but despite the fact it was plugged into an external areal it was getting a horribly faint picture. I went back to the Union Building to check out the Computer Game Development Society meeting that I'd been invited to…

The Game Development Society was OK but nothing spectacular. It was male-dominated and very based around short-term goals. It was also exceedingly Windows-biased to the point I couldn't really try much of the previous made projects. However, I did drum up some interest in making a graphical adventure game. The main thing with that is we'd need art, and lots of it. It may be an idea for the future, though!

I headed back to the halls to see the birthday party. It was pretty dead, so I headed around to Ben's to give him an old SNES game he wanted. He was pleased, and I went back to the party. It was even deader, but there was some cake left over that I scoffed. I went back to my room and played Max Payne 2 to completion (boring ending), before checking out the welcome pack that the Warwick Pride had given me:

  • Condom/lube combination pack (Why does every introduction pack contains these. I'm collecting them.)
  • Standard condom.
  • Flier for Warwick Anti-Sexism Society
  • Welcome buffet invitation
  • THT how to use a condom guide
  • Guide to gay support services in Coventry
  • HIV & AIDS leaflet
  • Shock-tactic Amnesty International Colombian anti-homophobia campaign flier
  • Gay men's sexual health anonymous survey
  • Coventry and Warwickshire 'friend' helpline service for gay men and lesbians
  • Flier for GYGL (godiva young gay & lesbians) suport group
  • Leaflet containing advice for what to do if you're suspecting you're a young gay man
  • Form for sending money to aforementioned Amnesty International campaign
  • Guide to the society. Nice and informal, but a bit too informal in places. For example, telling someone to notify the Police 'or Led Zeppelin' is funny but placing it in the 'what to do if attacked when cruising' section may be insensitive to those who are reserved about telling the police things
  • THT sexual health clinic flier

It was a very comprehensive pack! A bit biased towards sexual activities and support; but generally I guess that's what young gay people need. After leafing through it I put it aside and prepared for bed. In the process I'd noticed the people in the kitchen had been watching movies. I wish they'd tell me when they were going to do that, I'd love to join in!

Oh, and for reference, here's a completely mad poster I found on the Arthur Vick door [largely paraphrased]:

STUDENT COMPUTING

As you are aware there are issues with the Resnet. (You don't say.)

We have identified the issue as being caused by viruses and peer-to-peer filesharing activity. (You knew that 6 days ago.)

Please:

* Install anti-virus, which you can get free from Student Computing.

* Update the anti-virus. (Only if you provide discs, the network's down, remember?!)

* Update your operating system. (HELLO! Network access is DOOOOWN! Chicken and egg problem!)

* Cease all P2P activity as it is breach of the AUP. (All internet connectivity is P2P. I'm assuming they mean filesharing.)

Sigh. Is it me or does that poster remind you of a fish thashing around stuck out of water?


October 03, 2005

Ernest

Sir Ernest is starving. He's well watered and nice and warm but despite best efforts we can't find any flies for him. He's going brown slowly.

So if you have any flies you'd like to donate to a charitable cause, please post them to AV1 001 and I shall arrange for a private visit to Sir Ernest for you to feed him yourself.


Sunday 2nd October 2005

Internet down, day late, Yadda Yadda
Woke up at 11:30, feeling like crap. I had a shower that refreshed me a bit, but then I felt sick. However, I guessed what that was rightly. I must've starved myself. For some reason i never feel hungry, instead I just feel sick. So I went to the kitchen and had 6 pieces of toast and forced myself to eat them despite my stomach's complaints. Afterwards I felt much better, so pleased with my glutton I played Max Payne 2 a bit more in my room. I think I must be carrying at least three separate ailments. A slightly cobbly stomach, that mean scratch/rash/whatever on my chest and stomach, and general exhaustion/tiredness. Oh well.

I managed to drag myself to dressing and phoned Olga to see if she wanted to head out to lunch. She wasn't actually on campus, so I went off to the Costcutters to buy some staples and some chicken. They didn't have any onions or any chicken. What a useless supermarket! I bought a sandwich and some kidney beans to make some chilli later and took it back. Will and Anika were in the room and I enquired about the laundry room. Turns out the laundry machine is even more specific about the type of money it'll take than the Stagecoach bus drivers in Oxford… I decided to grab my trusty backpack and hiked off to the CS laboratory to bathe in glorious, working Internet access (screw you, student computing. Seriously, screw you. I bet if the admin's network access was down for 8 days heads would start to roll) and to post the previous day's entry and catch up on some much needed news and IMing.

In the middle a nice young chap came over and asked if I had Word on my Mac. I said I didn't but I had Pages and NeoOffice/J. He asked me if I could try converting a .doc file that someone had sent to him to a PDF as OpenOffice on the lab computers was failing to open the file. He emailed it to me and Pages failed to import correctly, but what was really nice is that it gave a summary of exactly what it failed to import (which begs the question: if it knows its faults, why can't they be fixed?). I then tried it in NeoOffice/J and it worked perfectly. I tried printing to a PDF but the program hung (boo! At least force-quit worked) so I used NeoOffice/J's native Export to PDF… which worked. In return I got invited to the stand, as what I was printing was a Bridge Club advertisement. I'll check them out tomorrow.

I caught up with a long-standing Floridan friend of mine in IM, not having been able to talk to him for a week due to the bloody network outage in halls. It was good to chat, the guy's been bankrupt through no fault of his own for a while and finally secured a job. Go him! Go him! I also found out that the guy who I named the plant after had a grandfather called Ernest, which had freaked him a little. Life is full of odd coincidences!

I wandered back to the halls having exhausted the wonders of the Internet for that time. On the way there was a really tame squirrel that bounded up, past, around me twice and into a tree, where it promptly started to groom itself. I tried to snap a picture of it with my phone but I couldn't quite get close enough before its tameness dissipated.

When I got to the kitchen/lounge there were a couple of people in there, and it seemed that for the fancy dress party pirates would be the theme. I started to watch Austin Powers with someone but another group of people were going to Tescos so I latched on to them. They were pretty annoying people and I wish I hadn't. The conversation threads:

  • Sex.
  • More sex.
  • Yet more sex, but with red heads.
  • Did I mention sex?

We got to Tescos and it was closed. Bugger! I backtracked after managing to 'lose' the group I was with and headed back to my room to see what on Earth I had that'd look even remotely pirate-like. The answer was a little less than bugger all, but I threw together a black shirt with black trousers and tried to make a makeshift bandana from my dressing gown's belt. It didn't look bad but it didn't look spectacular, but for zero effort I was proud. The photo is in camera photos, complete with anachronism!

I headed back to the lounge to make some chilli. It was a meeean chilli. I ate it whilst the others in the room milled around, avoiding the meeeean chilli in case it bit them. I tried to make a makeshift sword out of cardboard and tinfoil, but I met with very limited success. We prepared to go to the party. One person in the corridor took so long to prepare that we were an hour late. They eventually went wearing a technogoth blinking eyepatch and a drawn skull and crossbones.

The party itself was loud and a bit boring. However, in true lightweight style I managed to get completely piefaced on just two pints of 'purple', or Strongbow with Ribena. From there I can't actually remember much of the party except fiddling around with Bluetooth a lot to exchange ringtones (a lot of people thought that Verdi's Requiem added a spectacularly unusual oomph to their phone.) From there we headeed past the chipshop, and by then I had a chronic case of the hiccoughs, much like the cartoon drunk. I got chips and gravy on a whim and headed back to the halls.

In the halls there was much random banter but I was a bit too out of it to understand it, except towards the end where a nice English student named Ben discussed everything from Six Feet Under to travelling to Australia with me. In the middle of that some very loud students who'd won the fancy dress competition in the party earlier came around and said that we, 'had to come to Kitchen 5, as we'd won!' Everyone went upstairs, so eventually I got over my grump at everyone leaving the room and followed. It was packed, and almost unbearable. Some of the features of the room were:

  • A large, hairy man who complained I was spoiling the view when I stood in front of a poster of a naked woman.
  • The hosts who kept on filling your glass with horrible, cheap wine whether you asked or not (or even if the glass was empty or not).
  • Music with absolutely no tonality whatsoever.

I escaped and headed downstairs, and to my surprise a few other people joined me. We talked a bit, but they went back upstairs after a while as they'd only come downstairs to fetch a friend. I retreated to my room to see if the network was working. Eventually a few people returned, apparently to see where I'd got to. From then on ensued much hilarity as they convinced me to send silly text messages to someone in the kitchen group.

  • "Your eyes are a most interesting shade of blue."
  • "Your arms are sweet like fairy liquid."
  • "That hat looks very suave."

They eventually found me out and I decided to pull in for the night after much jovial laughing. I played Max Payne 2 on the computer until 02:00, marked down the seminars and lectures I needed to go to in my diary and went to sleep.


October 02, 2005

Day 8 (Saturday)

Still no network access, so a day late, again.

I managed to out-do myself today. I woke up at 13:36. That's really impressive, I managed to miss an entire morning. Still, I dragged out of bed and felt really sore, so I checked myself in the mirror. I seem to have cut myself in a load of places and there are angry red marks over my chest that hurt. Must've happened as I was stumbling around with the fire alarm.

I headed to the kitchen and there were four people. One was trying a fry-up, with moderate success, and another was Kate, a nice young lady who asked after me, how I felt, what I was doing. I replied that I was probably just going to vegetate as most of my friends weren't available today. I made myself six slices of toast and munched on them, when Kate decided she'd buy a TV license for the room and anyone willing could give her a £10 contribution. I said I was in though I may have to wait a bit to give her the cash.

By this time it had reached 14:30. I crawled out of AV and headed off to the library, deciding to surf the web a bit on their wireless connection and to post the day before's blog entry. I also re-worked a lot of my CS coursework to make it work as the text expected. So much for being a smart-arse with my coding! I wasted the while and headed back to the AV common room at around 17:00, where people were playing on the PS2 and cooking. I played around with them for a bit but I noticed a really strange, almost stab-like wound/rash on my stomach. I decided I should see what the subwarden thought of it as she had first aid, but she wasn't in. I tried to find the tutor but I heard voices from the room, so headed back to my room to check if any network access was working. It wasn't.

My rash/wound was hurting quite a bit so I tried the tutor again and he was in. He was very friendly and helpful and said it was probably an allergic reaction, maybe with the wool in the linen. He phoned NHS direct and they said they'd ring in an hour or so and when they did he'd ring my mobile, so I went back to my room and washed the wound a bit to see if it got rid of any possible allergen. He also talked to me about life in general, how things were, what I did today and suchlike whilst waiting for NHS direct to answer. The sub-warden and tutor are both really, really nice people! Pity they have to be so strict when reading out admin stuff.

I went back to the kitchen and told people about my rash and that I should probably stay put with a few people. Then they all went off to see if anyone was around in other kitchens, so I distracted myself by putting on some music and reading a girl's magazine that I found on the floor(!). It was really banal, here were some of the subjects:

  • Someone's ex-boyfriend slashed her face with a razor when she dumped him.
  • Charlotte Church is a stuck-up rich donkey.
  • Someone hit his head and forgot how to love people.
  • Sending raunchy picture/video messages is a form of foreplay.

Some other people returned to the room from shopping and started cooking, and we got talking. We talked a bit about travel, and one lass was talking about her experiences of Holland before one stuck-up cow interrupted and started going on about her experiences and told her to shut up. The interrupted one looked really upset and left-out, so I invited her to talk about where she'd travelled. I couldn't help feeling jealous, she'd been to everywhere from Poland to Egypt!

Then some strange lad came in and started swearing at us and telling us off for not going to other kitchens to socialise. He then told us about a poster, but confused us completely so we went to see the poster. As we did, he ran, tore it off the wall and took it to the sub-warden (what the hell?). Apparently it was a joke poster inviting people to a compulsory 4AM pyjama party. Probably seemed like a good joke at the time. They also told us that student computing services had said the Internet wouldn't be fixed until Friday at the least. That has to be a joke. When I was working at a research establishment of at least 2000 people a complete virus outbreak took a day to recover from.

I got pulled aside by the sub-warden and she explained that the tutor was so tired he'd gone to bed early, so she was the one waiting for a call from NHS direct. I told her if they hadn't phoned by around 11 I'd sleep on it, as the rash didn't seem that bad, but it'd be nice to get some medical opinion on it. She told me to speak to her if anything happened and I went back to my room to escape some of the mayhem.

I installed Max Payne 2 (a gloriously cheesy game that plays like a film noire) at a whim on my Linux box to see if Cedega handled it. To my surprise it did perfectly, and I banged away at that until around 23:00, when the sub-warden popped around to say there hadn't been a call. I decided it was nothing and told her to just phone up and cancel, and apologised for being a bother. She assured me it was fine and that I was welcome to talk to her if I needed to discuss anything over. I don't think I could've been any luckier with these residences, they're really very nice places.

I continued playing the game until I got bored, and at 01:19 wandered over to the kitchen/lounge to see if anyone was still up. I got in and everyone was in sleeping bags on the blimmin' floor, watching a movie on the PS2! I was completely stunned and walked out. Then, thinking, I grabbed my sleeping bag and pillow and headed to join. The film was cheesy and entirely predictable from start to finish, a generic straight romance (boy meets girl, girl drops boy, girl loves boy, boy loves girl, boy is not famous, girl is famous). It was called Notting Hill.

I pinched a bunch of chocolates that'd been left on the table and headed to bed, probably to just be woken up again 3 hours later… I wonder if the fire alarm goes off enough whether people will sleep through it?


October 01, 2005

Day 7 (Friday)

Posted a day late again as no network, once again. This is really annoying. I'm a CS student and having to go to the library every day for every single thing I need to look up on the net is pathetic. The Arthur Vick advertisement mentioned broadband Internet and there hasn't been any for a week. People are getting very angry, and one person said it might even be a breach of standards as they haven't provided advertised goods. All I know is it looks really bad on the University Accommodation if they can't have some form of Internet access after 7 whole days.

Friday 30th September
Morning I got up and fell asleep again. I got up again, and fell asleep again. I got dressed, to be a bit more proactive, wandered to the kitchen, and fell asleep on a chair whilst the others discussed the virtues and horrors of people being drunk and peeing/puking on, around or for people. Students never change! We did check up on Anika, and we also got told that a TV had arrived, but we needed a license for it, which we'll probably all chip in for… Anika arrived, sounding rough, and told us that her alarm went off when she was asleep, and they'd checked her room and it was a faulty alarm that caused the mayhem last night. I dragged myself to my room (gah, 6 hours' sleep, evil alarm). My feet hurt!

I had a shower quickly before the cleaners could reach my room. Then I headed into the main room to chat for a while more, but got distracted by two squirrels I could see through the window either bonking each-other or fighting each other. You can never be sure with the friskier critters. Eventually we decided to part ways for now (lectures, seminars, that boring inconsequential stuff!) but to all go off to a movie (Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy) later in the day. I skedaddled to the computer science department to post the previous day's blog entry and found my card didn't work to get in. Ah, lovely 'automation'. I need to fire an email, but the outgoing mail server isn't working! Luckily a hapless individual was too bewildered to question my authorisation as they opened the doors themselves and I scurried through too at high speed.

I then had lecture-o-phon. I had a very, very boring but very easy Statistics lecture that seemed to go over stuff I did in Statistics 3 years ago. This was followed by a simple, if new to me, introduction to Logic that I only just managed to keep awake through (6 hours' sleep, interrupted… gruuu). Then I went to a CS seminar and was about to set on the work when I realised I'd done it all and extracted myself to a corner where I used my laptop to covertly message people as well as do another few of the problems. Apparently I've managed to complete my first piece of coursework already, which is rather crazy. And I have a nice, clean implementation of a robot that randomly picks a direction to go in but doesn't bump into any walls, as well as reporting what direction it goes in! Woo! Just what every corporate client will need!

I then filled in some admin stuff and headed to the other terminal room. It was ooccupied and I got glared at by a lecturer and stared at by students. Using to my advantage the fact that I've not been here long enough to be recognised, I just turned and made a beeline for the library, where I used the working Internet to catch up with all the news, messages, emails (though I couldn't send them) and other luverly-jubberlies. I also noticed another magpie. It's very curious, here on campus the magpies don't fly away if they spot you 100 metres away. They're big, proud, look slightly like black-and-white crows and act more like pigeons, flying away only if you head right up to them. This is curious, as I once read that Norwegian magpies behave like this, because the culture in Norway doesn't threaten them. In England, the birds are threatened/chased all the time and learned their shyness. So are these magpies just na´ve or Norwegian? One of life's mysteries…

I spent a good hour or more in the library, tapping away at my iBook, receiving messages from all over the world and catching up on events and the suchlike. I really, really, really, really, really hope that the network is usable over the weekend. Most of my corridor-mates are going away and I'll be bored as bananas most of the time if it isn't up. Plus by then it'd have been a week, which even beats crappy NTL for their Internet downtime record at home (6 days). I headed back to my room. The Internet connected to an instant messenger successfully but nothing else. It's a start.

We all decided to head out to watch a movie on-campus so I abandoned my tomato pasta base (after eating it to not waste). The cinema turned out to be one of the higher-class lecture halls, and the screen was stunning, including Dolby Surround. It was also very, very quiet. Though the irritating number of adverts was the same! The movie was OKish, Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. For some reason they managed to make Douglas Adam's material boring and their own slapstick comedy funny, which didn't bode very well as it was mostly Douglas Adam's work.

We headed off to dinner at Xananas, and found out only after being seated and getting a round of drinks they weren't serving their nice, £5 lunch menu. Oh no, they were selling £8 steaks and the like. I settled for some Somerset Pork with onion rings, which came to £8.70. It was… a boring, but functional and filling, dish.

Conversation at that dinner was odd, as I only talked to people who weren't actually in our kitchen group, but instead were 'adopted members' of the kitchen group. They were very interesting, though one of them didn't really mesh around me, especially telling me off loudly for being annoying as I was building towers out of glasses. The conversation topics that worked, though, were:

  • Films (Team America!)
  • Adventure Games (Grim Fandango)
  • Theatre
  • Books (a dislike for Dan Brown, oddly)
  • Sex (there were a few people on the table from undetermined cultures/religions, so I kept low during this one)
  • Booze

We paid up and the others decided to head off to the bar. I traipsed back to my room in the rain, my cold having entered my head, making me feel clogged up from the ears to the fore-head. I managed to knock back some paracetamol that made me feel better, then noticed that in the corridor some nasty piece of work had ripped off all the name-tags on the doors. I told the sub-warden, who didn't seem too bothered (probably some unsavoury people were let in and had since left) and set to picking them all up, identifying them, and putting them back on the doors.

By then the others had come back from the pub, having abandoned it because three of the people had come down with a horrible cold. I talked with them a bit and decided to retreat to my room to catch up with my messages and to work a bit on the Programming exercises. Interestingly, I found out that the solution to an exercise I came up with was far too efficient (my robot scanned the surroundings before choosing where to go, instead of randomly going somewhere unless it would bump into a wall). It meant the exercises afterwards couldn't be done. I resolved to go speak to my tutor about it on Monday.

02:00 For those in the know: An old 'very close friend of mine on the Internet' took a U-turn from their self-centred upset. This is really nice. I think I'll stop pushing them away so much now.

03:40 My mind is racing. It's taking a while to coax it to sleep. I may have to resort to Mackie.

06:42 Warden: "Unfortunately, our fire-system is what is known as buggered. We are trying our best to get it fixed today, but there is a chance it will keep going off at random points during the day. If this does happen you must still evacuated, but we assure you that something is being done about it today." I guess they must have felt just as annoyed as we did: they held the doors open for us to get back in this time. I've determined that a dressing gown and glasses don't cut it, the floor at 06:40 is murderously cold and you need slippers. I'll put them aside for the next time. I was also out 5 minutes before pledging to help someone I didn't know with their new laptop messing up. Bet it's a Windows one.


September 30, 2005

Day 6

Again, posted a day late due to network outage.

Woke up early, around 8:30. I went and had breakfast in the kitchen, asking some people why the cleaners hadn't put out new linen like it said in the handbook. No-one knew. I has some breakfast, before I ventured back to my room to read up on Philosophy. One girl was waiting in the corridor for Will who apparently had been 15 minutes or more getting ready to go to a 9 o'clock lecture, and it was 5 to 9. Some people are peacocks!

I read up on the Philosophy, though I couldn't understand some of the terminology and the network was still down so I couldn't look them up, either. Bugger. I decided to move to the lounge with my laptop to read just in case anyone else showed up. Just then mum rang my mobile, and I gave her the number of the local payphone as there was no network to use Skype. We chatted a bit on that phone and I decided to go to the library to do my studying instead, as well as post yesterday's blog entry. The trip was gorgeous, bright sunlight, lots of birds and the trees in blossom and a steady stream of student life flowing down the campus streets.

The library was nice and functional and had wireless. I studied in there (especially on Philosophy). Well, I also surfed the web a bit, but you need nerves of steel to read Mackie for more than 30 minutes at a time! I'm a bit worried as I just can't wrap my head around the horribly confusing and overblown language in the material. Hopefully the professor will make things a bit less confusing in the next lecture. I also catched up with online pals, which was nice, but some got very angry at the fact I was mostly busy doing my reading.

The time went quickly and I had to look up where to go for my first actual CS lecture, CS for mathematics. It was apparently in the 'ACCR', which after a websearch turned out to be the Arts Centre Conference Room. I wandered over there to take a look, noting that the glorious sunshine of earlier was clouding over, and I didn't have a coat or an umbrella. Sigh.

I went to the ACCR and no-one was there, so I went wandering. I bumped into Olga and went with her to buy a snack, a rather non-descript Blueberry Muffin. Then we went back to the lecture, Mathematics for Computer Scientists. The speaker was an amiable, white haired lecturer with glasses, though nothing much was said and I almost dozed off. Afterwards I went up to him to ask if the lecture notes were in PDF, because a lot of the lecturers are using Word, which I can't read easily. He said they were, and I suddenly remember to also ask him about the wireless he was setting up (I met him on the Open Day). Apparently his PowerBook was pre-wireless, so I recommended a USB wireless card but to be careful as most are Windows only.

I wondered past a plant sale on the way. In a complete impulse buy I bought, for £5 including suitable mineral water, a new housemate for the common room. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome the venus flytrap Sir Ernest Anthony Lavalee Msc., named after an Floridan botanist pal of mine. I bet he'll lynch me if he reads this! (Pictures available in the mobile phone section.) Despite me asking her not to and explaining why, some girl poked a snapper with a key, so I'll have at least one dead head. She wasn't apologetic either. Don't people listen? It wasn't even hers!

Only having 15 minutes to cook by this point I gave in and had another set of noodles with another fresh French salad, promising myself that I'd cook in the evening. For some reason, the irony of ramen with fresh salad makes peoples' minds clog up and cause them to pause, point at the table, stutter and ask me 'whyyy'.

Running low on time I ran to the health centre just getting there on time, and notified them I'd arrived. I got called in my the nurse 20 minutes late who was really surprised by my condition, and I was even more surprised to find that my Medic Alert wasn't around my neck. Luckily I managed to remember all of my details and gave them over. She said I should see the doctor to establish a good doctor relationship and tell some of my closer room-mates about my heart condition just in case. She then looked at my ears due to my strange Morse Code-like titinus in the mornings, but saw nothing and said to give it a few weeks in case it was a lingering headcold.

I had to dash all the way to the programming lecture and almost didn't make it. It was very, very, very easy but Dr Jarvis, who also is my tutor, was fascinatin to listen to and just as humorous as the rest. I think I've managed to get very lucky with the lecturers, as I got told the the one I didn't pick (Economics) has one of the worst lecturers known to mankind. I'm not surprised, with Economics!

I headed to the library, after buying an extortionately priced drink from the 65p for a can drinks machine (I know break-even point is around 40p as I knew someone who ran one in a school common room), and nosied down into studying for an hour before Philosophy. I'd given up on reading the Philosophy reading material until I'd been to another lecture. I really couldn't understand the sea of strange terminology. Now I know what the public feel like when they use a computer, and why they should all use Macs.

Philosophy wqas a complete and utter mindf**k! I was surprised that I understood it. It's just like how they depict it in the movies, people pontificating about practically anything, eventually getting so arbitrary and abstracted that it starts to eat itself. I actually got so confused I asked two questions, what they actually are being a giveaway to the strangeness of the subject:

  • Given objectivism means discussing something that can only force someone to react, is discussing subjectivism objective?
  • You say that colour's subjective, but what about an objective analysis that determines the colour of something?

My head was reeling after the session! I went back and promptly made myself a generic tomato-ey pasta with meatballs and mince (I hope mince can be fried from frozen, 'cos I did). Someone had some carbonara going spare and I mixed my sauce with that. It tasted really odd, but was nice enough. I procrastinated doing the washing up and watched some of the girls playing Prince of Persia: Sands of Time on my PS2. It seems to be taking off, which is nice. Then I caught yet more buggers teasing Ernest. I expect Ernest will die and I'll have to get a replacement and leave it in my room where no-one can poke it with keys.

We all settled down to watch Shrek. I agreed despite not liking the film that much as the Internet was still down. And it gave an excuse not to do the washing up just at that point! The movie was good, everyone enjoyed it, and they immediately started Shrek 2, which wasn't as good. In the middle of it two people tried to catch a cranefly to feed Ernest, but they had very little success and ended up screaming.

Then we wandered around to Kitchen 2 to see who was there but there wasn't anyone, so we came back. We sat and chatted for a while, listening to the end credits of Shrek 2 (and the god-awful Far Far Away Idol extra feature) and the sub-warden came around and we got talking. She's doing a ph.D on 'Cricket and its representation in English and Caribbean literature', so Will and I pointed her to Life, the Universe and Everything by Douglas Adams, which she got really excited and thankful about. Then some people came from Kitchen 10 and got chatting. They were seriously strange, loud and constantly clapping, but friendly enough, but it was late and approaching 1AM so I sauntered off to the land of nod after checking the state of the network. Interestingly it was 'up', but really slow. But it was enough to message a few pals, though I couldn't do anything else. I eventually managed to sleep around 2:30AM.

05:33AM Auuuaruaaarrrrrrgh! The fire alarm went off at 05:15 and some very, very confused and dazzled people were forced outside (I decided to lump this with today as I only got 3 hours' sleep before it happened). I didn't have glasses or any clothes and I ended up freezing outside. Some very kind person whom I was too blind to see offered me some clothing but we got let in just at that point. Someone in our corridor's room seemed to have set off the fire alarm, her name I think is Anika. She looked very stunned when she found out and couldn't apparently speak. The warden was in her room with the subwarden, though from the vague things I heard she didn't do anything that could have set it off. Poor thing. I crawled back into bed, never more awake…. My feet are completely frozen! Grar….


September 29, 2005

Network/Library Staff Involvement

Follow-up to Network from The Rat's Nest (Post-Angst)

This day has a lot of random, non-diary writing! I'll be posting Day 6 later, but I write my entries throughout the day and don't post them until I go to bed.

There are rumours floating around that the problems with the network are to do with malicious viruses. If it's true then I hope the perpetrators get what-for. However, it's just a rumour.

Anyway, I got a nice comment from someone in IT I'd like to address. Apparently IT and DCS are not affiliated with the residential network and my rant was a bit uncalled for. This begs the question: why not?... Their services are reliable and well-maintained and have actually meant I can access my notes from their machines.

I also got a comment from a librarian who'd picked up my comments on using the library. It's become my favourite spot on campus, actually, especially the floor 2 laptop area where you can see students busying around with books and can see tree-leaves dancing with allegresse in the breeze… feels very University-like.

Speaking of which it's very nice that the staff here read blogs and comment, and I'd like to give a big thumbs up for that. Shows the little guys get listened to sometimes. (Grumble, grumble, 5'4 isn't that small…)

Anyway, best get back to the philosophy reading (Mackie). That stuff is brain-rot!


Aha!

Follow-up to Colour Test? from The Rat's Nest (Post-Angst)

link

Whoo! A friend (Harlander) gave me that link. It described statements like the ones the test gives. Fascinating.

Cheers!


Colour Test?

Writing about web page http://www.colorquiz.com/

Another interruption to the diary service!

I did the test at the link marked as a related web page and got:

"Working to improve his image in the eyes of others so as to obtain their compliance and agreement with his needs and wishes."

I expect it puts things that could apply to anyone, though.


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