All entries for September 2005

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.


Network

Please excuse the interruption of the diary service to bring you this rant.

It really frustrates me that a University that prides itself on its Computer Science and IT courses can't get fully-working networking up after Freshers have been here for 4 days.

The networking's down in the halls, the outgoing mail server isn't responding from anywhere, and the Internet gets randomly slow even in the library.

Sigh. I'm catching up on comments and emails now but as outgoing mail is down I can't respond. Don't fret, parents!


Day 5

Note: posted a day light from the library due to network being out in halls.

Midnight: I fired off a message to Warwick Resnet support about the slowness of the network. I couldn't even access the lecture notes I was meant to be reading it was so slow. The advertising for the accommodation clearly stated broadband Internet access, so if I don't get it they're breaching trading standards. (English law is nice that way!) I was polite and gave all details, as well as removed the external areal from my wireless card. It now transmits all of 5 feet, encrypted, in stealth to only my laptop. If they have to come around and at the same time complain about that, well, I'm bollocksed.

Just to give an example of how messed this network is, I have a seven second lag on text-only services, most webpages time out, and I get a 1,500ms ping to Google UK with dropped packets. It took my until 3 to get the PDFs of the Philosophy reading material off of the mail server, and by that time I wasn't able to understand it and went to bed.

Morning: I got woken up by some helpful CS students who wanted to see if I'd go with them to the optional Introduction to Economics model. I decided against it, mainly because economics are mathematical, full of abitrary facts, and pretty much a lie anyway. Also, combined with Philosophy and Statistics which I definitely like, it'd be way too much workload for the term.

I then voluntarily cleaned up my room! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, critters and space aliens, I David Mark William Byard Esquire G.C.S.E A.S/A.2 cleared my room and made it tidy! Mainly because I wanted to meet the cleaners in a more ameanable surroundings.

However, I found I had a package, and not one to foresake shinies just for the purpose of meeting a cleaner no matter how friendly they are, I skedaddled off to the post room after treating myself to home-made Plum Jam on toast. Which made me a bit homesick, again, bugger it. This like of my parents cannot be healthy. I should be complaining with all the other people about how restrictive their parents were and how glad they are for freedom. In fact, I had more freedom at home. The rules here are ludicrously tough, especially in the fact the rooms and kitchens must not be any anyway untidy more than two days in a row.

My package contained [a legitimate copy of] iWork '05 student edition for Macintosh! My first bought product ever, and it's the classiest office 'suite' (presentation and word processor) made. Only £25, too. Apple sure know how to make a decent product: there were two, chunky printed manuals explaining everything to do with each of the programs (Keynote for presentations and Pages for word-processing), two shortcut quick references, a license sheet and the program itself. Not only that, there was a detailed installation guide (double click 'install iWork') and proof-of-purchase coupons for if you lose the box. This is how software was meant to be, and almost makes me feel better for buying a closed source product.

Olga messaged me to say economics was horrendously boring and I felt a bit better about not giving it a chance. After I iWork it a little spin I arbitrarily decided to investigate the Computer Science department and see if I could meet my tutor. He wasn't in the office so I walked back and got a sandwich and returned. I caught him on the way out and asked him if it was a good idea to start the exercises in his programming document early, and he said that it was, so I headed downstairs, jacked into the network that actually works and started downloading the needed files.

I intricately constructed solutions to the very simple problems at the beginning, taking perverse pleasure in making a five line program into a 50 line monstrosity with so many checks and fallbacks that it could've been used by a monkey. Then I got bored and randomly asked the person next to me what they were doing. They explained they were making a Physics calculation engine for their final year project. We got talking, then a bunch of others came over, and we got into a hodge-podge of random technical conversation. The subjects:

  • Windows sucks (3 people).
  • Windows rules (2 people).
  • Mac rules (me).
  • CS 1st Year is really easy (5 people).
  • CS 1st Year looks tricky as I have to do Philosophy (me).
  • WTF??? (5 people).
  • Seriously, look at my time table (me).
  • Animé (4 people).
  • LAN gaming (1 person).
  • Potential membership benefits of the Computing Society (me).
  • How amusing it is the day after a deadline night where you walk into the computer room and see people asleep on the keyboards (5 people).
  • Need to go for a meeting (all except me and 1 person who I left with anyway).

Then everyone left and I got walked around by a very interesting chappy called Euan (I believe how that's spelled). As we were crossing from the central piazza to the Rootes area a teacher, oblivious to the others doing the same, jumped on us and yelled at us for walking on the grass. I apologised profusely and suggested a sign would be good as it wasn't obvious that the area was not for walking on. I got yelled at more for causing erosion and not caring and the fact a sign isn't needed. I apologised more, and he walked off in a huff. Jeeze, who rattled his cage?

We walked the entire campus in the rain as he showed me around, then I went back to my place and we chatted random tech. He said it was really good to meet a first year who actually knew anything about computing at all, as generally 1st years tend to be computing newbies. This surprised me, I thought Warwick was quite strict on having some previous knowledge before coming here. Anyway, we chatted until I had to go cook dinner.

I made a chilli, with help! I forgot the tomato puree and had to cook the mince separately (it cooked really quickly so I asked someone to confirm it was cooked, they said it was cooked so I left it for a minute longer to be sure). It was a mean chilli! Everyone around me vacated the area.

I retreated to my room, and the network was out again. I rung up central support to complain and they apologised and said the campus network had been brought to its knees by viruses, especially in my building (Arthur Vick). Sigh. Apparently it'll be fixed within a week, they're considering banning the computers that are infected from using the network. Yay for using Mac and Linux machines!

I came back to the room to find that people were playing the PS2 at last. They were having fun, and once they finished I showed some of the people present the wonderful delights of Beyond Good and Evil and ICO. They all loved BG&E, especially the arty intro, but ICO they said was just trippy and silly. Ah well!

Then one of them ran off to fetch a movie they'd made in their spare time. It was Postman Pat Uncut, about Postman Pat after he snaps and goes on a rampage of death and destruction. It was very good, delightfully amateurish. I wish I had the stamina to keep at something long enough to make something like it.

They all went off into town, leaving me behind as I can't stand loud noises as of late. I think I might have some serious wax in my ears. It's also hard to hear people sometimes and I'm getting ringing sounds in my ear again. I'll have to check that out tomorrow when I get the check-up with the nurse. I headed around to Olga's to while away a few hours.

I played The Longest Journey. Fascinating game but way, way too much abitrary dialogue. Olga kept on trying to offer me food and drink, I must've said I was OK around 6 times… she's very hospitable!

I phoned my parents to leave a message on their answerphone, as the network is completely down and likely to be tomorrow, so I couldn't post this post, and may not be able to phone them tomorrow using Skype.


September 27, 2005

Walk To Shops #4

I found I'd taken pictures of the walk to the local Supermarket, Tescos. Check the phone photos gallery on the left. All four in there are of the trip.

Day 4

Woken up by Dad at 8:30. Didn't answer in time as the phone was hidden under the bedcovers (??). Went back to sleep, and woke up again at 10:10, feeling really refreshed. Ah! What it is to lard around and not be commented on, but rather one to comment on the cat-draggings who saunter into the kitchen after a night of wild fun last night! I remember vaguely that I had to lock my door as one or two kept on accidentally opening my door at midnight and apologising for entering the wrong room.

I had a shower. Glorious! 5 stars! Instead of the dribble of water that's either freezing or boiling (I have to bounce between medium and low constantly to get the right, if sinusoid temperature) from our electric shower at home I get a big, manly WHACK of water at just the right and proper temperature. And no, the shower doesn't remember your setting and took another 10 minutes to figure out whilst I froze. Not so nifty. I went for breakfast in the common room, and everyone jumped and looked freaked, apparently someone had asked two seconds before where I was. I had breakfast, and they all scarpered after some brief conversion.

It seems that I'm the only person in the corridor who actually rejected Oxbridge and chose to come here. All the others either didn't apply to Oxbridge or were rejected. It's a bit annoying, as there does seem to be just that slight undercurrent of envy or even anger at the fact I decided Cambridge was a hot-house from hell. I tend to keep quiet when people ask about where people applied to now.

I then spent a while configuring Apple Mail to use the Warwick mail system. I eventually settled with IMAP SSL with password authentication to the host smail.warwick.ac.uk, and unauthenticated SMTP to web-relay.warwick.ac.uk. IMAP is generally better as it's design for displaying a remote mailbox as opposed to polling and downloading everything to a local mailbox. Id est, webmail won't lose the messages I download.

I got a panicked phone call from mum – apparently she can't comment on my Blog and has been talking to IT support here. They're investigating it. I've heard this seems to be a problem all over the shop. Sheesh! At least Warwick are investigating it… I hope.

I went off to town and met up with Olga. Amid discussion about the person I bumped into yesterday (we're both of the impression he was a bit of an arrogant tart, much like me I figure) we went to the Philosophy lecture after I bought a pad of paper and a sandwich from the Arts Centre, determined to give them a second try. The sandwich was actually relatively nice (Prawn Mayo) for the price (£2.00). Not as good as the sarnies I had at my Gap Year job, though.

We found the room for the lecture and got thrown out as we were 15 minutes early. That lecture then managed to go on 15 minutes late, and I got talking to people in the corridor. I found out that the people doing Introduction to Philosphy are largely Philosophers, though there were a large cluster of Computer Scientists as well. I met a couple who were discussing the games they'd been playing on the local LAN. I offered to play something with them, but they all have really powerful computers and play games mine would choke at. Not that I'm too bothered, it sounded like they were just playing bang-bang shoot-em-ups anyway.

The Philosophy Lecture was… difficult at first, but fascinating when bits of it clicked. It for the life of me just looked like common sense defined, with a spattering of random jargon. However the lecturer was certainly bubbly and interested in his stuff and made philosophic jokes than the audience actually got, such as the fact that colour is subjective, especially after drinking some of the stuff available at the dance last night (apparently called 'Baananorama'). I actually managed to make a fair few notes and definitely will look up the reading that was mentioned, a contemporary piece of Philosophy by 'Mackie'.

The lecture ended and I signed myself up to a seminar with 10 or so others, surprised to find wireless in the lecture theatre allowing me to access my timetable and email, finding that Computer Science had set me up with an account for their machines (did I mention Warwick seems to think centralisation is a political swing?). Olga and I left to the Computer Science building (the receptionists are using Macs, I discovered) and tried the computers. They're very well set up Linux machines. You can use any of them and retain all of your settings and so on between them, as they all have the same software (and oodles of it!).

I headed back via Costcutter, parting with Olga, and tried to find lamb mince or tissues. They had none! Nooo! I eventually found someone who wanted to go to Tescos with me and acquired the two items. The walk to Tescos took forever! 25 minutes! The scenery was absolutely stunning though, and I saw three tamish squirrels scurrying and digging, seven territorial ducks and something else large in the bushes that I'll fancy was a fox, but probably wasn't.

I bought the ingredients needed for spaghetti meatballs and chilli, got back and found that the introductory session to statistics had been rearranged, sadistically, to six PM! GAH! Culinary dreams dazingly dashed disastrously! Digging for delighful delicacies, I made Pepperami Noodles mixed with soup, and a French salad with a quick dressing. It was messy but pretty gorgeous! I hung around in the common room, waiting to head off, playing various games with the other such as wink murder and catch the plastic bag.

Anyway, I went to the statistics introduction which was largely pointless and just a way to get a handout and to laugh at the lecturer's jokes (and even more at her name). It looks like it'll be easy so I'll definitely give it a shot. We got back and found out that the meeting in the kitchen had almost finished, so went off to another kitchen to hear it. It turns out Arthur Vick has very strict rules on accomodation, but in return we get golden service. I settled down in the kitchen for a chat and (for others) a booze-up. It rather fell apart. Some random guy came up to me and said Macs were crap and I shouldn't use one, without me even saying anything. In return I told him he could play on the PS2 if he wanted, deciding to disarm with friendliness. He left and the rest just listened to pop, got drunk, discussed random pop-culture and I eventually left when I'd drifted so far into the background I became part of the furniture.

More surfing and an early night for this antisocial, and to read up on the philosophy. In the process I found the philosophy notes AND REQUIRED READING were in MS Word format, despite being assured it was in PDF, and they didn't work in NeoOffice/J or iWork on my Mac. Damn it! Why should I have to pay an MS tax to study? I wonder if I should risk talking to the professor about it.


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!


September 25, 2005

Day 2

My night was really rough after staying up to message someone on the Internet. I couldn't sleep properly on the hard bed and kept on longing for my soft, queen bed at home. I woke up, and immediately tried to get a shower. It took me ten minutes to work it out – you control overall flow by twisting, but temperature by pulling and twisting. This means it remembers the temperature you want, which is really quite nifty.

I then got some breakfast, branflakes. There were more arrivals, including one girl who'd apparently bought the contents of a local hardware store. She was friendly enough, and it was curious to see her mother going through exactly the same motions mine did. Maybe I act a little decadent and spoiled? Hmm, introspection.

Anyway, I phoned Olga and went out to do chores with her. Queue-o-rama. I had to queue for 10 minutes in Cost Cutters to get my sarnie for lunch (chicken and mayo, prawn and mayo, egg and mayo triple that was quite nice). I had to queue for 25 minutes (luckily with a wireless signal) to register with the doctors, who just referred me to the health centre as I have a Critical Condition. Pfeh.

Then I queued up for my NUS card, the queue actually managing to extend down two stories, out of the building and across the entire courtyard. That took 45 minutes. When I got there they wanted my enrollment printout which I realise I'd left behind. Being annoyed at the length of the queue I just opened my laptop and showed them the page that I'd saved and printed. They accepted it, though I got the most filthy look imaginable. I then went and fetched my welcome pack.

Welcome Pack

  • 2x Pot Noodles (did you know that can give you scurvy?)
  • 2x Pepperami Noodles (well, it may have protein in it)
  • 1x Unisex Deodorant (the Lynx effect: you're cheap)
  • 1x Mango Drink (very nice. No negative comment here)
  • 2x 'Long Lasting' Condoms (probably unsuitable for gay people…)
  • 1x Energy Drink (those things give me heart palpatations)
  • 1×6 pack Hair Gel (go on the razz looking like someone puked on your head)

Is it me or are Endsleigh on advertising overdrive? I have their insurance and I've already been given 3 different leaflets about it. Half makes me want to cancel out of annoyance!

Anyway, headed back and showed Olga my room. She was jealous! I also got to the common room and found the power for the speakers on for the PS2, which was nice, suggests someone other than me is actually playing it as opposed to thanking me (my ego will blow if inflated any more!). I also found out that you aren't allowed to use wireless to extend the network so I turned down the power on my router to absolute minimum so it won't permeate the walls and disabled ESSID broadcast, and enabled encryption with an incredibly strong password.

As I went to the kitchen I hung around in the central kitchen and waited for some people to show up. Lots of friendly faces, most particularly a Catholic drama school student and a very nice young lady in a pink top who seemed to be in every conversation going. We got talking and oddly the main discussion turned to where people were from and whether they were state or public school. Lots of people seemed to be 'aggressive state school likers'. I'm not the only one!

There was random banter. I can only remember a few strands of conversation:

  • Outrage at the lack of TV signal (even analogue) given the prices we paid for the rooms.
  • Registration, and what it felt like to leave your parents.
  • Where in the world people'd travelled to. I won! (Sydney)
  • How bad everyone was at cooking. Even I tried it, but for some reason everyone now assumed I'm a scatty-brained Master Chef.
  • Societies, where I managed to come out. Everyone seemed cool with it. The Catholic drama student seemed a bit uncomfortable but assured me he was fine. Then we went into a complete fiasco of cooking and I made myself far too much Spaghetti alla Putanesca and ended up stuffing myself and cooling some for later.

We ate, and then we all settled down to listen to some music whilst I made paper planes and got asked how old I was. It's amazing how much all of our tastes differ. I got a panic-stricken call from my mother because I hadn't heard my alarm to ring her as I was having far too much fun.

We then went to The Bar again. It was noisy, but as I was turning to leave one of the people from the corridor spotted me and managed to convince me to stay. We did, and one of my neighbours performed at the Karaoke. She was simply stunning, to the point it wasn't Karaoke, more a cover. Still, there were plenty of bad Karaoke acts afterwards to make it up, and I found that JD and Coke isn't a bad drink. Oh, and that Warwick bars are disgustingly expensive (said JD and coke was £2.80).

We came back and had some random discussion, but I think the girls were a bit drunk as they kept on linking things back as innuendo. Two girls came in with handbags and cake and were intolerably posh, sneering at pretty much everyone else. They left to have a smoke.

So, bedtime again. Hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight… I'm missing home a bit less now I've spoken to parents on the phone.


September 2005

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