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Year View| Summary| Highlights| June 2003 (Month View)

01.06.2003Sunday 1 June

Yawn. I wake up. I look at the clock, wondering if I’ve woken early or late. I think that perhaps it’s around 9 o’clock as that’s about what the light looks like. I am shocked that it is half past four. How can it possibly be this late? How did I sleep in this long? I don’t know.
Joe went and got chips, which I smothered in vinegar and tomato sauce. I now feel greasy and unhealthy.
A bowl of ice cream with strawberry topping and cream, followed by a bowl of custard and cream, with a handful of cashews to bide me over the time between.
I am constantly surprised how people manage to survive without their brains, but I guess animals manage? I am fast becoming convinced that humanity is comprised of utter morons interspersed with the occasional mildly intelligent person. Statistically, I am probably a moron.

02.06.2003Monday 2 June

Here I am writing this. I haven’t been to bed. I am upset and depressed and can’t sleep. I guess having slept all yesterday probably doesn’t help either.
I have dreams and aspirations, perhaps they are stupid, I don’t know. Some dreams I have are just dreams, I know they will never be true, but when a dream seems like it can become reality, and then I realise that it is nothing more than a dream after all, then it breaks my heart.
I am so frustrated. Some things seem so easy to do, but are made impossible by the actions of others. Some people are so frustrating. I have just had an argument on chat with someone – they claimed to have said something and that I replied. I never saw them say it, and definitely never replied. They insist I did. How can I hope to argue against something like that? How can anyone even argue that? They even went so far as to say perhaps their ICQ was hacked, presumably meaning that someone hijacked what they actually never said, and replied back to it with what I never said. I can’t believe it. I had quite a long argument about this. Now I am left wondering – are they delusional or just lying? I really don’t know, and I’m not sure what would be better.
I guess I have a problem here. I’ve stayed awake all night, and now I have to try to get to uni without falling asleep on the train and missing my station. I also have to try to stay awake during my lectures and actually learn something. Then when I get home, I’ll have to sleep, instead of study for my exams. I guess I should have gone to bed early last night like a normal person. I think I’m going to fail Mathematical Foundations. In fact, I’m fairly sure I’ll fail. It doesn’t seem possible to pass it – I don’t understand anything at all. I don’t know if I’m an idiot or just haven’t studied. The reason I haven’t studied is that I couldn’t understand it. I’d sit down, look through my text, and be unable to understand even the examples in the text. I am worried because it seems that not only can other people understand it, but also it’s not even considered very hard. I’ve always thought that I was reasonably intelligent, able to grasp ideas quickly and solve problems as fast as most, but now I’m beginning to wonder. Why can’t I understand this course? It’s an introduction to maths, so basically “why can’t I understand maths?” How come everyone else can but I can’t? Perhaps at the start of the course no one else could understand anything but, unlike me, they kept on persevering with it and now they can understand. Maybe they all had a better grounding in math than I had, or possibly, they don’t all understand it and just seem like they do. I know some do because they can answer things in the lectures when I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. People always say, “It all sounds like Greek to me” – now I know what they mean. Anyway, I better go get ready for uni.
I was nice and awake on the train – much more so than on a normal morning. It’s funny how staying awake does that. I had two good lectures, or better than normal anyway, and headed down the labs for a short time before heading home. I stopped at Woodridge and went to the shops, dropped the XMEN DVD back, and bought a few groceries.
I had been lying down dozing for about half an hour when Joe called me to hold the dog while he drove to work. After that I didn’t go back to sleep, but I was too tired to do much study. I sort of awake-dozed the evening away.

03.06.2003Tuesday 3 June – Amos arrives to look for a car

I slept in, and then spent the rest of the day trying to study. Amos arrived just after Joe left for work. He’s down here looking for a car.
I added comments to my amused site. I’m happy to say they’re stored as XML, parsed by XSL, no databases have been used and an absolute minimum of server-side PHP scripting. What I’m not happy about though, is Internet Explorer’s lack of support for colour inheritance in CSS. It sucks.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 4 June 2003, 11:42 PM
  I’ve now added a comments system to the journal. It’s still under construction, probably buggy and may do weird things! But feel free to try it out :-)
Comment by alexdlm – Wednesday 4 June 2003, 11:56 PM
  Internet Explorer sucks in general.
Comment by io – Wednesday 4 June 2003, 11:59 PM
  You can tell that I'm either bored or stupid when I cross post about how bored I am. That live spamcounter ["You may leave a short comment, not longer than x characters. (x)"] is pretty cool.
Comment by alexdlm – Thursday 5 June 2003, 12:01 AM
  /kick io Damn.
Comment by io – Thursday 5 June 2003, 9:06 AM
  do ya rekkon he'd mine at all if we just used this page for all our irc needs????????//?? :D

04.06.2003Wednesday 4 June – Introduction to Programming Practical Exam

It is wet and overcast, which makes it warm. I caught the early train in to uni, had two lectures, and then spent a bit of time down at the computer labs.
I, along with fifty or so others, went and sat our Introduction to Programming practical examination. We had half an hour to read the 3 questions, or tasks, and then two hours to code them in java using Kawa. They were relatively simple, designed to test basic understanding of the java language rather than sort us into our ranks. We had to read a file, work out how many lines it was, add that to an existing array of integers and print that out into a window. That was task one. For task 2, we had to extend an existing class to modify it and our third task was to create a window with a red circle in it that would dynamically resize with its outer edge on the mouse pointer and change blue when a button was pressed. It took me about an hour to do them, and submit them online. It was an open book exam, so we were allowed to take any printed mater we wanted, but no web access and no floppy disks, USB drives etc. I wish all my exams were that nice.
I spent a bit of time in the labs chatting on IRC, and then came home where I added comments to my journal, talked to Amos, and tried to study.

05.06.2003Thursday 5 June

I slept in and didn’t go to uni. There wasn’t much point in going in today so I didn’t. I have an assignment due by tomorrow so I need to do that. I also fixed and got the comments in both my journal and amused sites working. I’m proud of them now.
Amos is here ringing up about cars, still trying to find that bargain.
Comment by Helen – Thursday 5 June 2003, 6:46 PM
Comment by Helen – Thursday 5 June 2003, 6:48 PM
  actually, looks like a bug in Syndirella. Works fine in IE. :)
Comment by Ned – Thursday 5 June 2003, 10:26 PM
  Hi, I'm using Syndirella here...
Comment by Ned – Friday 6 June 2003, 8:52 AM
  Here I am at uni, just about to go to my Math lecture. I need to get remote blogging set up so I can enter journal entries rather than just commments. Five minutes to lecture time, I guess I better go...

06.06.2003Friday 6 June – 2Fast, 2Furious

I managed to make it to uni on time for my 9 o’clock Math lecture, and glad I am that I went. We went through a sample exam paper, which as the course was drastically changed since last year, is the only one there is. After sitting for 15 minutes waiting for the lecturer to turn up for my 10 o’clock Internet Interface Design lecture, I gave up and went down the labs for a bit of relaxation.
I headed home not long after midday. I have my third Internet Interface Design assignment due by 5 o’clock this evening. I haven’t yet started work on it.
I’ve just submitted my assignment for the second time. I spent the past few hours writing it up, and just after submission I placed it on my website to show a few people in the UQ IRC channel, and noticed a blatant error so had to edit and resubmit it. Most of my work is submitted electronically. I don’t think there is a non-electronic way to submit it. If you don’t have a computer you’re expected to use one of the uni ones I guess.
After talking to Silas on IRC, I am going in to meet him. Amos is off somewhere looking for cars, and will head towards Silas’s after he’s finished.
This is when the train left here, with me on it, heading towards the city. I hopped off at Silas’s station and after only a minute or so of walking met him and Amos running towards the station. We caught a train to Indooroopilly with the intent to watch a movie, but when we got there Amos didn’t want to, so I ended up watching “2Fast, 2Furious” by myself while Silas and Amos went to the RE (a pub in Toowong frequented by UQ uni students). The movie must have only recently opened, as it was quite busy and still in one of the largest theatres, which is good as the screens are bigger. I sat in the front row, where the screen took up my entire field of view. I’ve never really understood why everyone seems to sit up the back. The further back you site the smaller the screen appears, and from the back, it’s not much larger than a current large-screen television. The sound also diminishes and you start to lose surround effects. I can understand why people don’t sit in the front row like I do, as it’s a bit intensive with the screen filling one’s entire field of vision, but I think the more intense the better when it comes to action movies? It’s nearly always less crowded down the front too. As for the movie itself, I enjoyed it but it’s definitely not Oscar material (although based on what seems to win them nowadays, who can say?). I kept Silas’s mobile, so after the movie I gave him a call and discovered they were at the RE, which I then went to and spent a while there before we caught a train back to Roma Street and from there home. Amos and I discussed the world in general, various get-rich schemes, and why some people seem to do so little with their lives. I’ve often wondered myself. There’s a whole world out there, why don’t people feel the urge to go see?
I’m still awake and enjoying the weekend. It’s Friday night! My last assignment has been submitted! I only have exams to go... Oh dear, what a sobering thought, I had better not think about that.
Comment by BITS – Sunday 8 June 2003, 12:15 AM
  And you suck cos you didn't go to the bits events.

07.06.2003Saturday 7 June

Well, I didn’t sleep. I stayed up all night doing geeky things. I also found a good definition of the difference between a nerd and a geek: “A nerd is someone whose life is focused on computers and technology – but a geek is someone whose life is focused on computers and technology, and likes it that way.” I am a geek.
From the University of Queensland’s “Private Access to Computers by Students” policy: “The policy rests on the assumption that the time has now come when all students need private off-campus access to computers. In addition, it reflects the expectation that the graduate attribute of competence in the use and management of information technology will be incorporated into all the University’s teaching programs in the very near future.” “The University expects its students to have private access to: a computer with a CD-ROM drive that supports basic Windows-style platforms, including word-processor and spreadsheet programs; and the UQNet and the Internet.” In other words, to complete a course, it is now required that students have access to a computer and the internet. I guess this is a natural and obvious progression. They probably had a similar policy back when they changed from stone tablets to parchment, and then again to paper.
After staying up all night, I slept in to some ridiculous time. I think it may have been three o’clock but I don’t remember. When I woke, no one was here, so I went online and relaxed. I don’t even want to think about studying today.
Joe, his sister Liz, and Amos arrived back from wherever they’ve been, and I drove them down to the local bowls club where they stayed until late. I dropped into the local Pizza Hut on the way back from the bowls club, and got two tomato-paste and onion pizzas and a bottle of Solo. Pizza hut calls them “Veggie Supreme”, but that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I ate one for dinner and drank my drink, followed later by some ice vanilla cream, with strawberry topping and cream. That’s all I’ve eaten today.
Another late night. I’m going to sleep.

08.06.2003Sunday 8 June

I had a dream the other night, that I only had six months left to live. It was interesting to see what my reactions were.
I slept in, of course. I also washed my clothes and sheets.
Amos and I looked for cars online. We didn’t find any amazing bargains, but Amos wrote down a few phone numbers. After Amos dropped Joe down his club, we decided to go into Silas’s and do something, so Amos went on MSN chat to find some women. He met an exotic dancer who offered us cheap entry to some place in town, who he then arranged to meet. We left here at 7:32, which seemed reasonable at the time, but when we arrived at Silas’s, he pointed out that there would be no trains running late enough to get home if we went into the city or saw a movie, so we had to stay at his place – which we did.
While waiting for the train to come, which because Silas told us the Roma Street departure time instead of our station, was rather a while, we had some girls looking at us rather strangely. We worked out they thought we were undercover police and that they were impressed. Amos had on a jacket that looked the same as those worn by the ticket collectors on the train, and that coupled with the girls’ reaction gave us the idea to pretend to be ticket collectors. We walked down the train, and it was quite surprising to see the reactions of all the people. I think I looked like a criminal and Amos looked like either a ticket collector or police officer. We had many people obviously hating us, and some others impressed; a few called out and said various things. I think they thought I was being dragged off the train. It was surprising to see what an obvious difference it made when people thought we were somehow official. I guess that’s a big reason why people become security guards, ticket collectors, police officers, etc.
Joe arrived home just before we did. I had a nice hot cup of soup to warm my hands, and then spent some time online.
Comment by lulu – Tuesday 10 June 2003, 3:07 AM
  This has to be my favorite of all your journal entries. I had a good laugh over the ticket collectors! lol I am not through laughing yet.

09.06.2003Monday 9 June – Queen’s Birthday

Today was the Queen’s Birthday holiday. I had a quiet day, with nothing particularly worth writing happening, so I won’t write too much about it. I walked down to the shops and did some shopping. When I got back, Joe and Amos were back and starting a BBQ. Amos has put a down payment on a car, a Mitsubishi Pajero 1988 Turbo Diesel, 180,000 km for $7800, down from $8990; a 13% reduction Silas has just informed me. Silas preferred another car, which factored heavily in the bargaining, and Joe spent a lot of time (after a bottle of Jim Beam) justifying why this car was better than the one Silas wanted. Joe told some of his Vietnam stories, Amos and I swapped a few travellers tales, and it was a nice night.

10.06.2003Tuesday 10 June

Today began with a morning, and ended with a night. Sort of like yesterday. Of course, technically, it began with an undefined period of no-time known as midnight, and ended with an undefined period of no-time, known as midnight, but I find it confusing when a day begins and ends at the same undefined period of no-time that the next day begins and ends with. But anyway, that’s not really the point. Come to think – there isn’t a point.
I woke up. Amos went with Joe to his work and to see the busway, and to get the money for his car.
I caught a train into town, meeting Amos and Silas at Silas’s train station and then heading into Indooroopilly and the cinemas. Amos watched the Matrix, while Silas and I had some dinner from a Pakistani eatery below the cinema. It wasn’t too bad either – I enjoyed it. Similar to the cheap food I ate in India, pretty well the same as what I’d expect to eat at an Indian bus stop. Silas and I then watched “Whale Rider”, which didn’t overly impress me. I enjoyed it, as I do most movies, but it was a bit... the acting wasn’t the best, and the excitement levels weren’t quite high enough for me. After that, we all came home and lived happily ever after.

11.06.2003Wednesday 11 June

Amos bought his car today, and drove it out here. I went and looked at it of course, and shortly after Amos and I drove out to Silas’s place. Amos had to pick up some stuff to take back home for Silas and I had to show him how to get there. Between sleeping, looking at his car, and driving out to Silas’s, there wasn’t much time for study – and to make things worse, once I got back from Silas’s, I began to feel poorly. What had previously been a small sore throat began to feel like flu. Amos decided to get Joe a bottle of Jim Beam as a thank you for having him stay here and driving him around looking for cars, and I needed something for my throat, so we drove down to the supermarket where I got some soft drink and throat lollies and Amos got his Jim Beam. I went to bed early – or at least earlier than my normal late time, and slept well.

12.06.2003Thursday 12 June – I get galloping lurgy and Amos leaves

I am sick. I have a sore throat, and generally don’t feel good at all. I woke up in time to see off Amos, who left around 9:30. I then tried to study but was unable to, instead lying down for an hour or so. I’ve now got back up again and finished off watching “Fugitive”. It’s quite a good movie – I enjoyed it. I have to go and try to do some study now.
I am still sick. I drove Joe down to his club, or actually, he drove to an ATM to get money, and then down to his club, and I drove back. I haven’t done much at all today, very little study. I had some hot pasta and vegetables for dinner, and Joe arrived home and ordered “Chinese”, so I had some fried rice as well. I’ve been sipping on lemonade and nibbling Pringles trying to get my sore throat to go away. I shall now go to bed and hope that I feel better in the morning and can study hard.

13.06.2003Friday 13 June

I did very little.
I heard an interesting story in chat today. A good friend of mine was woken up at 2:45 AM by the police. The police said they’d received a “non-response call” from her. As she’d had a broken sleep, dreaming and waking, she was worried that she may have sleep-phoned the police – not really something you want to get in the habit of doing. She was also worried they may have thought she was trying to seduce one of them, or even worse, that someone may have broken into an office at her place and used that phone, but the police said it was probably caused by static on the line. Apparently when a line gets too much static it can dial the police, which isn’t all that uncommon when there’s heavy rain. I found this unusual – I’ve never heard of static causing a phone to dial a specific number. Perhaps “troubled dialling” (hitting random numbers as if you’re dying and can’t dial properly) automatically contacts the emergency services? I really don’t know.
Silas doesn’t have a computer anymore. Amos took it when he left. So I can only email Silas when he’s at uni, which he was this evening. We exchanged a few emails and arranged to meet at the Schonell Cinema at 7:30 to see “The Man Without a Past”. I forgot my weekly ticket had expired and when I arrived at the station, I had no change to buy a ticket, so I stressed all the way into town waiting for the ticket collectors to arrest and torture me. They never came, so I survived. The movie was held in the lower theatre, which I hadn’t been in yet. It’s a dungeon sort of place, made from brick, with a multitude of small lights in the ceiling, each of which has a small glass tube coming out of it, and looks quite good. The movie was very normal, very realistic. Unfortunately normal is rather boring, so it wasn’t the most exciting movie I’ve seen. A man is attacked, losing his memory in the incident, and the rest of the movie shows how he deals with his new unknown identity, and how he gets back on his feet. It’s an interesting look at how people deal with life, but a bit too normal for my liking. Nevertheless, it’s well made and quite believable.
I walked back to Silas’s, where I stayed for a short time waiting for the train, and then went down to the train station and caught the train home. I spent some time online and then went to bed rather late.

14.06.2003Saturday 14 June – The Core

I am home. It is rather coldish outside. 11.4° according to the chaps on the BITS IRC channel.
Laugh and the world laughs with you
There were two girls and a guy sitting in front of me in the train home, along with perhaps 15 or so other people in the carriage. The girls were from Griffith uni, the guy was an old friend who hadn’t seen them since school. They had been in town celebrating one of their birthdays. Everything was normal, people staring out the window making sure they don’t make eye contact with anyone else, and then the trio began laughing. Funnily enough, they were each laughing about something different. They laughed and laughed, and then one of them started with this noise – one of those noises only someone who is gasping for air and laughing uncontrollably can make. It was quite loud, and quite indescribable. Everyone in the carriage grinned, and one by one began to laugh. Some just laughed a little, trying to remain aloof; others slapped their thighs and laughed until they cried. We all laughed from Roma Street to Park Road, and then someone handed around some chocolate bars, the guards came, and a few people took some crazy photos. The atmosphere was broken, and people chatted and grinned for the rest of the journey.
The Core
I caught a train into Silas’s station and walked up to his place. The kerosene heater was nice. I spent a half hour or so there, had a cup of tea and a chat, and headed back to the station to catch a train onto Roma Street, which I did. From there I caught a train to Indooroopilly, after asking the station-kiosk-with-darkly-tinted-windows man what time the last connecting train home would be, and walked up to the Indooroopilly Megaplex. Alas, Brisbane is such a small pokey city that everything shuts early, so I had to eat a dire very-few-veggies burger from Hungry Jacks. I guess I know why he’s hungry. I also made the usual mistake of buying a so-called “shake”, chemically strawberry. There were quite a few people at the cinema, with three thirty or longer queues waiting for seating. I sat in the second row from the front, having decided that sitting in the front row was not only stupid, but crazy, idiotic and unhealthy as well. The Core is yet another apocalyptic movie in the style of all those aliens, meteors, tidal waves, viruses, and large lizards from a few years back. In fact, I believe they’ve all read the same “Dramatically Destroying American Landmarks for Dummies” book, and are all members of the New York Suspenseful Movie Writers Association. Because they were going inside the earth, rather than out in space, they had to add a few little bits here and there, but most of the movie was the standard American hero footage that I’ve seen so many times before. Why can’t Hollywood make good movies? There’s so many books out there just crying out to be adapted to film, books that have both a plot and some cunning, and Hollywood continues to follow the same boring formulas used so many times before. Moviemaking has come to the stage now that realistic special effects are no longer amazing – they’re simply expected. I can see that reality is usually boring, but why can’t Hollywood manage to create a film that is both realistic and suspenseful, dramatic and exciting? Kiss of the Dragon remains my favourite action movie, as it has managed to do this. Having said all that, I quite enjoyed The Core; I needed an unashamedly crowd-pleaser movie like this.
The good chaps in #BITS have informed me it’s now 7.6°, centigrade of course. I dislike naming units after people – it merely complicates matters. Perhaps that’s why my fingers are cold. The weather today has been quite nice, clear and not too cold. I slept in, dozing and refusing to get out of bed until Silas phoned.
Oh dear. Bedtime. I’ve been making my journal site accessible. Adding hidden things that no one will see unless they’ve got CSS disabled or using a text-only browser or something similar.
Comment by azure – Sunday 15 June 2003, 3:14 AM
  mmm 7.6c, aka 280.76K. mmmm absolute zero.
Comment by io – Sunday 15 June 2003, 3:32 AM
  Temp at 03:30 - 7.4°C
Comment by io – Sunday 15 June 2003, 3:45 AM
  Temp at 03:30 - 8.0°C. I should sleep.
Comment by io – Sunday 15 June 2003, 3:46 AM
  oops, I think the first "03:30" was supposed to be a 03:00.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 15 June 2003, 3:58 AM
  Sleep is for the intelligent.

15.06.2003Sunday 15 June – A Man Apart

I had a quiet day.
A Man Apart
I entrained for Indooroopilly, as I felt I needed to get out of the house for a while. I saw “A Man Apart” at the Megaplex there, had a nice milkshake and bought some Pringles, and then headed home again – arriving back not long before midnight. I enjoyed the movie, but none of the movies I’ve been seeing has been of any remarkable quality, they’re just cheap, crowd attracting fun – which is why I watch them I guess. Anyway, the movie was OK. I enjoyed it; it had some good parts and some silly parts. I’m too sleepy to write anything even remotely intelligent sounding, so I’ll waffle instead. Waffle, waffle, waffle. There, I’m done.
Comment by io – Tuesday 17 June 2003, 12:43 AM
  mmmmm. Jaffles.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 17 June 2003, 2:01 AM
  Oh... Now I get it... Waffle... Jaffle... Ha ha ha. Very funny :-) I think I’m not so good at thinking this time (2 AM) of night. Speaking of time, I’m off to bed.

16.06.2003Monday 16 June

I did so little of any interest that there is simply nothing to write here. Oh, I just remembered – I did some washing today.

17.06.2003Tuesday 17 June – Bulletproof Monk

Normal. Average. Uninteresting.
I made a split-second decision to go into town again and get some food. There’s none here and I don’t feel like shopping. After running around getting ready, I had about 5 minutes to get to the station. It takes about 5 minutes to run there, and I had to buy my ticket first. I recovered as I was entraining towards Indooroopilly. Once there, I had a very nice bowl of Pakistani food, basically rice and four curries. I enjoyed it even more as this was the first meal I’d had today. In fact, I think my stomach has shrunk since I’ve been on my one-meal-a-day diet, as for the second time in a row I couldn’t eat all my dinner.
After my meal, I walked – or rather escalated, upstairs to the cinema and watched Bulletproof Monk. I was surprised, and quite liked the movie. I think it’s reasonably good. It has enough action to satisfy me, and a good storyline – mixed with some humour. Unlike some of the other movies I’ve seen recently, I walked out of this one thinking about the plot – not the movie.
I bought a nice strawberry milkshake, which I then had to hide on the train as it had both ticket collectors and guards, and went home to bed.

18.06.2003Wednesday 18 June

Nothing exciting to report.
I walked down to the shops and bought some groceries. It is nice to have some food for a change. Dale turned up on IRC for a short while, he reckons he’s engaged to his Norwegian sheila and will be back in Cairns in a week or so. Hopefully Silas and I will also be in Cairns around the same time.

19.06.2003Thursday 19 June

I recollect not what this day did entail.

20.06.2003Friday 20 June – Introduction to Programming Exam and Internet Interface Design confrontation

I had my Introduction to Programming/Software Engineering exam today. I also made my first, and hopefully last, complaint about a course.
What I wanted
I want personal feedback including the criteria used and justification of my result. I want to know how many people marked the assignments, and if one or more of those who marked them gave inconsistent results, and if so, a full and fair remark – free of bias, and if not, what efforts were made to cross-mark or normalize personal marking differences between markers. The criteria with which we will be assessed must be made available before the assessment. The criterion that we were given to do our assignment is not the same as that used to assess the assignment. Therefore, my, along with everyone else’s, assignment was completed to meet different criterion than that with which it was marked. I believe this is unfair and against university policy; and I wish to know what Kevin thinks on this matter. I want to know why some assignments that appear to have met most or all of the criteria have achieved marks well below others that appear to have met fewer of the criteria – or to put that simply, I want to know why crap sites often got better marks than good ones. The results just seem unfair, biased and wrong to me. I want to know why, and getting feedback to see exactly how my site got the marks it did is the first step in answering this.
I’m outside the building formerly known as Computer Science, waiting for anyone to turn up. I walk around to another entrance and meet two guys from the #BITS IRC channel there. We walk around to the main entrance and meet another #BITS boy. We wait for a few minutes and then make our way up to the seventh floor and to Kevin’s office. It takes us 15 minutes to see Kevin, during which time a few more students turn up, around 10 in all. Chesapeake (as he’s known in #BITS) and I appear to have the most confidence and became de facto ringleaders, which also means we’re the first into Kevin’s office and get the two seats there. The rest of the entourage troop in and place themselves awkwardly around the wall. I don’t think they felt too comfortable and, with the exception of one girl – Sam, they mostly listened. We started out with a discussion of the upcoming exam – this was, after all, an exam consultation, and then brought up the subject of Assignment 2. Chesapeake talked – lots, and I handed Kevin a printed statement of my demands. I almost felt sorry for him as I handed it to him. His face was a picture. I think he was expecting some sort of unorganised rabble, which based on what’s been going on in the newsgroup would be what I’d have expected as well. I don’t think he was expecting a well-written and courteous demand, complete with the relevant sections of the university policies and procedures. We spent a little over an hour talking, with Chesapeake, Sam and I doing the majority of the talking. Chesapeake seemed content with Kevin’s replies, whereas Sam and I would rather have taken a somewhat stricter stance. She wants the course converted to pass/fail, as do I, although I believe this wouldn’t be practical. Many people had been making grand threats of seeing the lecturer or some head of department to complain, but, as is often the case, it still takes someone to take the initiative before anything will happen. A notice in the course newsgroup and some discussion in the #BITS channel seemed to be enough to achieve the required critical mass. I’m glad I received the support that I did from the other students who came along, although I can now see some advantages in going alone or with just a few people. More than a few times Chesapeake and the others (except for Sam, who seems to hold the same views on this as I do) readily agreed on matters that I would have preferred to have pursued further. Nevertheless, all of us turning up like that definitely made the statement that we were trying to make.
What I got
Any student may request feedback and a remark (with the risk that your marks may go down), however a deadline of 27 June has been set – after which no more requests for remarking will be accepted. Apparently, three people, including Kevin, marked assignment two. Kevin admitted there was clear bias, and that one marker had returned results that were noticeably below the other results. Some or all of these results were adjusted upwards in an attempt to normalize them against the results returned by the other two markers, and Kevin remarked some of these. All markers were supposed to fill in the feedback sheet for each student, however apparently only Kevin did. Kevin acknowledged that we were not given clear criteria showing the marks allocated for each criterion, however there is not much that can be done about that now. He also stated that he has been particularly lenient in an attempt to offset some of the problems – particularly those experienced by people who may not have had any or much experience with HTML or PHP. Essentially, Kevin admitted that results have been unfair, biased and wrong – and that he is aware of the shortcomings and problems and is attempting to rectify what he can. Students must request a remark before 27 June or their current results will stand. While I am not happy with the biased results that we’re stuck with – I don’t really see any practical solution this late in the course. The one issue that was not addressed, that I believe ideally should have been, is that some assignments seem to have achieved too high a result, unfairly disadvantaging those who deserved a higher result and skewing the results – but it’s clearly unfair to lower already released marks unless that student requests a reassessment. I believe that this concludes the assignment two saga, although I’d still like to see the course converted to pass/fail – the fairest thing to do in my opinion.
I went down to the labs and talked to Silas. The first year labs are closed for the holidays, so unless someone lets me in and logs me on in one of the other labs, I can’t access a computer.
I left my bag outside the UQ Exhibition Centre and took my numbered card to my numbered seat for my Introduction to Programming/Software Engineering exam. It was somewhat confusing, as I had thought the exam was two hours long, but it said one hour on the front. It consisted of twenty multiple-choice questions, with five choices per question. I hadn’t bothered to study as I felt that the exam would be easy. I guess working the sample exam would have been a good idea, but I hadn’t bothered to do that either. I did have a quick look at it, but that’s all. Not surprisingly, the exam was much harder than I was expecting – although I believe I did reasonably well. I finished about a third of the exam in the fifteen minute perusal time, and spent the next forty minutes or so checking over my answers and attempting the more complex questions. I ended up with three questions that I could only narrow down to two choices each, so took the best guess of the two for each. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling that within the last fifteen minutes of exam time I wouldn’t be allowed to leave, so I left just before.
I went up to Silas’s and spent a few hours there. Tim went to an aboriginal disco for his school, and Ben, one of his son’s, came over and we had what could best be described as an amusing “humour session”.
On the train on the way home, there were three rather drunk youth, two of which needed to urinate – rather urgently. One found a plastic soft drink bottle, which satisfied his desire, much to the mirth of the rest of the carriage, and the other desperately hung on for a few more stations while everyone made jokes about drinking water, swimming in heated pools and such. Eventually he decided that it would be better to urinate in the train than in his pants, but just as he was about to perform the wicked deed, over the loudspeakers came “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’re on camera”. Needless to say, the rest of the carriage erupted into laughter, while the poor boy was rather shocked. I believe it helped him to hold on for a few more stations though, along with the security guards who turned up, talked, and joked with us. It was an amusing train trip, and I found out that the cameras do actually work, and according to the security fellas, they’re quite good – able to zoom in and move around. Incidents like this break the ice between strangers and reassure me that there is still hope for humanity.
Comment by Sam – Sunday 22 June 2003, 1:16 AM
  So what happened to the softdrink bottle?
Comment by Ned – Sunday 22 June 2003, 1:20 AM
  It achieved a velocity great enough to overcome gravity for several metres, losing this only after colliding with the ground outside a train station that will remain unnamed because I can’t remember the name...
Comment by Tim – Monday 23 June 2003, 4:41 PM
  Wow, I didnt know the 1st year IT student union kicked kevins ass LOL. Sorry I missed it.
Comment by Your mum – Friday 27 June 2003, 9:59 AM
  ure such a geeben
Comment by eddie (adelaide) – Saturday 28 June 2003, 11:55 PM
  you have a wicked life man, what colour is your wee? when you cut your toenails do you do right foot or left foot first? have you ever seen a turle? you should include interesting stuff like that on your site
Comment by Bon – Wednesday 17 September 2003, 1:22 AM
  Ah, I never knew other students at UQ had such interesting lives... either that or I just don't catch the train often enough ^^'' Pity I wasn't around to see you take on the authority *grin*
Comment by Filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:23 AM
  Did you drink the wee? At least it was fresh.
Comment by sesso – Wednesday 20 December 2006, 4:24 PM
  Soddisfare emozionante. Siete buoni a fotoricettore-progettate!

21.06.2003Saturday 21 June

I slept in, waking some time after I went to bed. I phoned Mum in the evening, but she wasn’t home. Just a minute after ringing her, she rang me back from Sarah’s – a strange co-incidence. She didn’t seem normal, perhaps slightly depressed or something, which in turn has affected me. Joe ordered “Singaporean noodles” for me, which I enjoyed.
Comment by Michelle – Tuesday 24 June 2003, 12:26 PM
  Singaporean noodles.... Yum.

22.06.2003Sunday 22 June – Bruce Almighty

I went to Indooroopilly and saw Bruce Almighty with Helen. Unfortunately, due to the imminent exams and associated brain drain, I’m writing this on Wednesday and my brain is fried, so I don’t have much to say. I can, though, say that I quite enjoyed the movie – it being much better than I expected, and the Pakistani meal beforehand was nice too. I wonder how many people noticed the golden calf.

23.06.2003Monday 23 June

Joe drove me down to GameDude where I bought a BenQ DVD1650S 16× DVD (and 50×CD) drive for the princely sum of $59.
Marks were released for my Introduction to Programming exam. I got 14 out of 20, and I am shocked. I felt that I had 17 correct, and the remaining 3 I had eliminated from five choices to two, so I don’t know how I only ended up with 14 correct answers. I achieved 93.5% overall – well in the seven range, but this is downgraded to a six due to my having failed more than five questions in the multi-choice exam. I am not happy, but I guess I’ve only myself to blame.

24.06.2003Tuesday 24 June

I entrained for uni, stopping at Silas’s and picking him up. He went and saw one of his lecturers, who just happened to be near one Roger Duke’s (Introduction to Programming lecturer) room, so I popped in and asked about the exam. It isn’t viewable, but he did tell me what questions I had wrong – which isn’t much help when I can’t remember what they are. He also said that he’s not entirely happy with the way the results are calculated, but that they’ve not successfully managed to apply any fairer marking schemes. After that, I caught a bus to Toowong and found the Centrelink office there, where I proceeded to wait a century or three in a queue. I talked to a friendly man who explained what I needed to do, or rather what Mum needs to do, and also gave me the forms for fare allowance. I then ate a falafel roll and trained home.

25.06.2003Wednesday 25 June

I went to uni to study. I had been told that I might be able to meet someone on the sixth or seventh floor of the Fryer library, so I tried to go there. After going up and down lifts many times, I became entirely convinced that the seventh floor was a fable, so I tried the sixth floor, which happens to be a staff only area. This was slightly confusing, so I did the next best thing and hid in the postgraduate study area on the fifth floor and fought their proxy server. It blocks any URL containing “mail” – not very helpful for checking email. I did, however, manage to complete quite a bit of study. I left in a brain-daze once I began to glaze, rather than understand, what I was studying, and walked through the drizzle to Silas’s place. He was just doing his last minute panic before his exam. He was quite worried he’d fail.
I was supposed to do some study for my exam tomorrow, but first I had to relax. Then I had to feed the animals. Then Joe came home early – he’s had a bad day and he wants to go down his club, so I drove him down there. Then I showered. Then I made dinner, and it was late, and Ned looked and saw that it was late, for darkness had fallen upon the face of the earth, and his will did tremble, and his feeble mind schemed, and he came up with the an idea. He’ll catch the 5:36 AM train tomorrow, arriving in time for the first 6:30 AM Dutton Park ferry, which, along with the time on the train and the time before his 8 AM exam, will give him enough time to study. What’s to bet he sleeps on the train instead?
Burning Bush
I saw a burning bush today. It burned and there was no fire. In fact, it was raining and it still burned. It would have been a miracle were it not for the powerlines touching it.
Silas emailed and he’s rather happy – he has finished his last exam and he thinks he went “quite well”. I just hope I feel like that after my exam tomorrow, but I’m not hopeful.
Comment by matt – Thursday 26 June 2003, 3:50 PM
  good luck with your comp1501 exam
Comment by Ned – Thursday 26 June 2003, 10:38 PM
  Thanks, I’ll probably need it :-) It’s hard to know what to expect from a course like that.

26.06.2003Thursday 26 June – Mathematical Foundations Exam

It is raining and cold, which keeps it a bit warmer than a clear morning. I’m on the train and studying hard for my Math exam. If I had a brain, I guess I’d have done some study before now, but you know how it goes...
I’m on the Dutton Park ferry, waiting for the CityCat to get out of the way so we can go across to uni.
I’m sitting in a very cold and draughty corner of the Great Court studying. I’ve managed to do nearly an hour and a half of study now. I hope this helps me.
Having got my pretty green number card and found my seat, I’m now waiting for the start of the exam. Silas insists that 900 people sit in here, but it looks more like 500 to me.
I have ten minutes exam perusal, starting now. I’ve never quite been able to understand why they have exam perusal, it seems a silly idea to me. How is a two-hour exam, with ten minutes perusal, different to a two hour and ten minute exam?
The exam starts. I’m amazed to find that I can actually do a few of the questions. There’s seven questions, most of which are divided into two parts, and I manage to complete about five of them. I skip the complex number question and the matrices question – seeing as how I have no idea how to do them. A few of the answers I’ve just written, with no justification (because I don’t know how to justify them), so I’m not sure what my marks will be like. I reckon I have a slim chance of passing – which is more than I expected. I guess my early morning study has paid off. It would be nice to pass this course.
The exam ends, and io and I head towards the math lecturers office to see if we can find out why we do not have any result for our first math assignment. I bought a chocolate milkshake on the way past the milkshake shop, of course – and drank it, hardly surprisingly. After not seeing our lecturer (he has a messy room, I must try to get a photo), io and I hid ourselves in the bottom of the Dorothy Hill Physical Sciences and Engineering Library with the email terminals and IRC’ed. He then went home and I made my way up to the third floor and studied in a small enclave for many, many hours until I nearly fell asleep, and then walked to Silas’s place. I stayed there for an unspecified time interval, which I’m in no doubt can be easily integrated over the complex plane to show something very interesting, and then caught a train home. Two Beenleigh trains came at the same time, which is rather unusual. Someone said the first one had hit somebody and had to wait until somebody cleaned up the mess before it could go again.
I tried to study, but couldn’t. Shan came on MSN and asked me to phone Mum, so I did and we talked about when I was going up there and then I went and fed the dog and cat and then I had baked beans on toast and then I wrote this. I think what little brain I occasionally had is now gone.
I’m finally famous, and have a rabidly, ahum, rapidly growing fan club. Some pertinent gems of wisdom from one of the university newsgroups today: “Ive been reading the newsgroup and ive come to one conclusion. Ned is some kind of uber nerd – made in a laboratory from parts of lesser nerds. Maybe u cood have some more interesting journal entries if u tried getting off ur computer and going outside. However, ur supreme nerdiness has proved useful for doing the sample exam – so thnx. Riggers” I wonder where Mortis is?
Comment by Michelle – Friday 27 June 2003, 10:21 AM
  Ned, you may be a nerd, but I still think you're cute. Riggers is right, though, that you do need to get our more. And get laid.
Comment by Ned – Monday 30 June 2003, 2:40 AM
  Holidays... and back to the jungle soon. What does a nerd do in a jungle? *tarzan_noise.wav* :-)
Comment by DM – Tuesday 1 July 2003, 5:25 PM
  You're right about Mike Pemberton's office being a mess. I had to go up there one day to get an assignment sheet, and I couldn't believe the piles of stacked books, papers and all sorts of other miscellaneous crap in there. Very impressive, from a "fit as much stuff as possible into a limited space" perspective.
Comment by wtf – Tuesday 12 May 2015, 2:46 PM
  You're a deadset weirdo hey

27.06.2003Friday 27 June – Internet Interface Design Exam

What a relief to have an eleven o’clock exam, rather than eight. Probably just as well too, as I didn’t get to bed until around four last night. I got up at nine and caught the next train in to uni, which got me there in time for my exam. The exam was much as I’d expected it to be, somewhat subjective – making it hard to know how well I did. I managed to fill up all the available space with rambling, and I reckon it sounded complicated and meaningful, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the markers thing. I’m hoping for a reasonably good result, but there’s simply no way to tell with an exam like this – and especially not in this subject. Anything is possible.
It was very important that I study after my exam. This is the last possible time I have to study for my math exam tomorrow and I really need to, as I’m amazingly moronic. So I met Sam for lunch and spent the evening with her instead. We talked to some guy from the High Society (druggies, not skydivers) for a while and then bought some chips and Sam took me through several kilometres of passageway and out into a hidden courtyard somewhere down in the scary psyche area. It’s a nice place though, very quiet and secluded, and I didn’t hear any screams or see any evidence of the secret experiments I’m sure they’re all performing. After that, she showed me an iMac lab, which was nice and empty and MSN actually works from there. I went on IRC of course, as did she, and we teased the funny fellows in #BITS for a while. I then went and saw my math lecturer, who wasn’t there so I couldn’t see him, and went home.
I studied, and studied, and studied, until I could study no more. Then I went to bed around two.
Comment by Sam – Thursday 3 July 2003, 1:19 AM
  I offered to help with your study - you declined. Tough cookies for you ;)

28.06.2003Saturday 28 June – Discrete Mathematics Exam

I have my Discrete Mathematics (MATH1061) exam at eight today, and we’re allowed to take in one A4 sheet of paper with anything we want written on it, provided it is handwritten by ourselves. I awoke at six, caught a six thirty train to Silas’s and summarised as much of my notes as I could onto an A4 sheet of paper. I jogged up to Silas’s and dropped my camera off there, and wrote the rest of my notes onto my sheet. I then had to run for the ferry, rather worried that I’d be late for my exam. As it ended up, I had plenty of time. The exam was hard for me. I completed eleven of the fifteen questions, and guessed another two. I hope that I’ve passed, but I’m not expecting a particularly good grade. Typically, the one chapter that I skipped entirely due to lack of time and understanding, just happened to have three questions based on it – which just sucks and I’m annoyed about that.
After the exam, Silas came over so I could take some photos of him before he leaves. Seeing as he forgot to bring the camera, I didn’t take any and we didn’t stay long. He’d parked his car at the ferry, and we drove down to a tyre shop and picked up two new tyres that he’s bought, and then drove back to his place and fitted them. Tim and Michelle arrived back from wherever they’d been, we had a cup of tea, and then Silas and I caught a train out here, arriving around four. Tim and Michelle arrived not too long after, and had a BBQ. Since Michelle and I are vegetarian, we had a semi-BBQ. Joe, Michelle and Silas got rather tipsy, to put it mildly, and it was a laughter filled evening. Not long after Tim and Michelle left, one of Joe’s Vietnam Veteran friends, Brian, arrived and we spent the rest of the night talking, mostly about cars. I’m a bit worried about that sentence; it seems to have an overabundance of commas. Silas has just gone to bed, and I’m writing this before heading that way myself. After having completed three exams in three days, along with getting up at five o’clock and going to bed at two and three o’clock, studying at six o’clock for eight o’clock exams and then studying again after the exam for the next day – I am completely worn out. My brain is dead. I went to buy an iced coffee after my exam today and could not add up the small change in my pocket. I struggled to make conversation at times tonight, just too mentally exhausted.

29.06.2003Sunday 29 June

It’s technically tomorrow I guess, but I’ve had enough with technicalities, I’ll go on the Biblical day instead. Silas woke me around nine o’clock this morning (technically yesterday morning, but as I said before, I’m going on the Biblical day). We drove to the DiscShop around about lunchtime to get some RAM for Ben (Tim (Michelle (Silas (My friend)’s cousin)’s boyfriend)’s son)’s computer, but despite it being in the pricelist they didn’t have any and only get it rarely they said. These budget computer places are terrible. GameDude is the worst I’ve seen. As customer urgency, disgust, and annoyance approaches infinity and remaining time until the end of lunch and they need to get back to work approaches zero, their speed approaches stopped – but in the best mathematical sense, it never quite gets there. It has me stumped why they don’t try to provide a bit of customer service, perhaps they don’t want personal customers. It does appear to be a bit of a warehouse. They may make most of their sales online. I don’t know. Anyway, the DiscShop didn’t have any suitable RAM, so Silas bought a $5 CD holder pouch and we drove back, stopping at a newsagent to get Joe some of his lotto things.
Silas and I caught a train back to his place and took a few photos. We then headed into uni, where I took some more photos of Silas doing silly things. For some reason, I can now logon in the UNIX labs, which I wasn’t able to do before, and I’m probably not supposed to be able to do. In fact, I’m not supposed to be in them. Uni is different in the holidays and on a Sunday. The labs were empty – no one at all. There weren’t even any people in the Great Court.
After catching a train back from Silas’s and walking up here, I began to clean the kitchen. Joe and I ordered pizza, which provided a welcome break from cleaning, and then I cleaned the bathroom, showered and began to pack all my stuff into boxes. Even though I’m leaving it all here, I want to have it all packed up and clean.
I’ve now packed nearly all my stuff away. I just have to pack the computer and its monitors, the stuff I’m actually taking with me, sweep the floor, and go to bed. I need to be at Silas’s before ten tomorrow, so I guess I should consider sleep soon.
On the other hand, I could just stay up.
Comment by Sam – Thursday 3 July 2003, 1:24 AM
  How's the jungle, Tarzan?
Comment by Ned – Thursday 3 July 2003, 10:25 PM
  Grunt grunt.

30.06.2003Monday 30 June – Silas and I leave Brisbane

After staying up most of last night, I had the alarm set for 8 AM and planned to get up, finish packing, and catch a 9 AM train. Fortunately I woke an hour early, as it would have been absolutely impossible to have gotten ready in time. As it was, I ran around and only just managed to get packed and my room cleaned up in time, and nearly missed the train anyway, because Joe was going to drive me down but his car wouldn’t start. It seemed to have a flat battery.
After a standard train ride to Silas’s, where I kept remembering things I’d forgotten and then finding that I hadn’t actually forgotten them after all, I spent two or so hours helping Silas pack.
Silas and I leave, and drive around in circles for a while looking for “Mick’s Nuts” to buy some oil for Silas’s Mum. After finally finding it, we find it doesn’t sell what we want anyway, but it does sell some very nice mixed fruit and nuts, and some of those funny coloured rice cracker things, which we ate over the next two days. After our abortive shopping mission, we drive out of Brisbane (the wrong way) and head into the future. It is nice to be out of Brisbane and on our way. There is always something exciting about going somewhere.
We drive all evening until around nine, by which time we’re in the famous Marlborough axe-murderer strip, which seems a good place to sleep. We pull over into an old cutting on the side of the road, and lug our swags a hundred metres or so into the bush so the axe-murderers can’t find us, and sleep. I heard one mosquito and then fell asleep, not waking until the morning.

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