All entries for Monday 26 September 2005

September 26, 2005

Day 3

Got woken up this morning by a call from Olga. She seemed a bit annoyed at my very fuzzy, hazy answers. It's hard to estimate times to exact minutes when you're a 19 year old male woken up after 7 hours and 30 minutes sleeptime. I went to get breakfast, and was just sitting down when I got a call from Olga saying she was outside. So I invited her in and had breakfast, but she was getting very concerned about the time and I had to throw the rest away and run to the introduction speech.

We got to the arts centre and were ushered into a hall upstairs. It was showing a live feed of the speech going on inside. The vice-chancellor actually managed to say everything he said on Saturday, except directed to the students. The SU director likewise, though she did give some useful contacts. We then shuffled out and went over to inspect the library.

The library was very good. There was a fantastic modern art exhibition of 'book art', though Olga thought it was stupid and wanted to go. Pity, I think I'll go back there to check it out again. We went into the main library. Very modern, with self-checkout and self-checkin desks, five floors and (thankfully) an elevator. There are also dedicated librarians for each subject who can give you books tailored for your course.

We then headed over to the Computer Science building and found the pigeon hole. Unfortunately, the information we'd been given was as confusing as the horrible enrollment documentation. There were three forms to fill in:

  • A laboratory safety form (understanding signs)
  • Another address information form (because centralisation is just a boring buzzword!)
  • A form for the tutor to fill in (to say you know he exists)

We went back to the arts centre and had some food from the expensive café. It was awful. The soup was leek and potato soup with no potatoes or leeks in it to speak of, the roll looked (and probably tasted, though I can't confirm that) like a bizarre sex toy, and the sandwich actually made me retch (but that's not their fault, just the fact I hate peppers. The sandwich was actually OKish).

We headed back to the Computer Science building to see what we could find. I tried to log on to the Linux workstations (no Windows in sight, actually), but I couldn't. So I tried to use the network access, but that needed the same password. Sigh. I went off early to meet my tutor, who suddenly looked slightly stunned, and said "I remember your face! You were at the All Hands Meeting! You asked [name] for some Mac display drivers!" The All Hands Meeting was a conference that my gap-year job invited me to go to, and I did as it was something to do. The wonders never cease!

Despite already having met, our tutor is a brilliant guy. Great fun, good at joking, and my tutor comrades and I (there are 7 of us) immediately got talking. He explained the confusing time-table (go to everything marked L at first, we'll decide what to drop later) and we all discussed where we came from, and other such banter. The modules look a bit daunting, I figure I'll go to every single one's introductory and if I don't like it not go to another. I need 30 points of modules this year, though, so I may have to put up with something boringly easy (statistics) or hard (economic modelling/philosophy). I asked the tutor what he worked in and he seemed surprised, but said he worked in reliable computing (24/7, no down-time stuff that governments need). We all chatted a bit and I went off next door to meet the very surprised person who gave me Mac help. In return I told him some information on some software that he may find useful.

I headed back to the common room in Arthur Vick. On the way I completely startled someone whom I recognised from the Cherwell. They didn't remember me and didn't really want to talk, but I felt good at managing to pounce someone in a sea of faces walking past. When I got back there were some friendly people to chat with who put up with me as I tapped away, recording what had happened so far. I offered to show people a bit of Look Around You series one, a wonderfully bizarre ice-breaker, but they had all sloped off whilst I was typing. Blogs are antisocial, it's official.

Anyway, I got back to my room and found my computer wouldn't start. Tried phoning Dad but couldnb't get through, so I opened it up and sneezed like hell from all the dust. Then it started working again. So I left it open, whilst I backed up all my stuff on it as it currently worked, and closed it up and put it back. Looks like I'll have to find around £120 for a new machine some time…

I lounged a bit, then went back to the common room to try my first pot noodle, for a laugh. "Southern Chicken Flavour." It tasted really boring but dangerously addictive. It wasn't filling at all, either. Will, the Catholic drama student, was there, cleaning up a mess someone had made in the fridge by leaving their milk on its side. I learned that lesson two days ago!

I walked past someone's room who needed computer help. I kid you not, this was a machine that had never been connected to the Internet in its life and never used except for software bought on disc, and it was completely unusable. The Programs menu from the start menu had disappeared, the desktop wallpaper didn't work (showing an Active Desktop recovery message), all icons in the task bar were default 'unknown' icons and it crashed 50% of the time if you logged in. People wonder why I hate Windows! At least I set up my parents' machine well enough to not die like that, I hope…

I went off to Olga's to see if I could borrow a game from her that's available for Mac, but she wasn't able to save it in a format that my Mac could understand (I needed .iso, but Nero only saves in .nrg). So I came back to eat my dinner, but found someone had taken the stuff I'd cooked and put in the fridge last night and scoffed it themselves! At least, apparently, they liked it. So I warmed myself some soup and put on Look Around You and got a few chuckles.

I went back to my room and got invited to go to a dance night of cheesy music. I rejected, because I really can't stand crowded dances and I heard there were queues of around 100 people… I've decided I'll have a quiet night in surfing the web and go to bed at a decent hour ready for my first lecture.

It's amazing how much I can write in 30 minutes, eh? I need to tone down this blogging thing!

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