All entries for Sunday 16 October 2005

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!


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