All entries for October 2005

October 09, 2005

Sunday, 9th October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Mild Chilli Powder
  • Garlic Powder

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

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

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

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

Apologies for Angst

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Saturday 8th October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 08, 2005

Friday 7th October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 07, 2005

Thursday 6th October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleepy time for me.

October 06, 2005

Wednesday 5th October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Guys! I took Dementia home!

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

October 04, 2005

Tuesday, 4th October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Internet Up

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

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

Addressing Comments Regarding Outages

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

Comment 1

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

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

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

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

Comment 2

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

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

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

Comment 3

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

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

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