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

01.08.2003Friday 1 August – Joe’s Birthday

The phone rang, waking me up. It was Michelle phoning, as she’d said she would last night. I ran downstairs looking for Joe but he wasn’t in bed or anywhere else I could see. I ran outside looking but couldn’t find him there either, and it wasn’t until I’d run back up here that I realised he’s in the shower – just beside my room. I guess I must have been still partially asleep. Then I checked the clock – 7:40 AM. The train leaves now. The next train leaves at 8:05, and I can maybe get to my lecture in time if I can catch that one. A quick run around in circles and I’m on my way to the train station, and a short time later, I’m on the train. I managed to make it to my lecture only a few minutes late, which didn’t really matter seeing as how we weren’t taught anything.
I made my way down to the labs and spent a bit of time fighting the proxy server while waiting for io to finish his math lecture. After winning my battle, io, bv and I headed for the bus stop and Indooroopilly. We narrowly survived the journey and watched “Bad Eggs” after having a meal. I got my usual Pakistani meal and they got heartbreaking KFC and Hungry Jack’s burgers. It’s a bit worrying when people seem to prefer obviously crappy food to reasonably good food. I know there’s personal preference, but honestly, those fast food chains are just garbage – they’re even called “junk food”. Anyway, I think they both enjoyed their small, sad looking and expensive burgers while making jokes about my very nice plate of dhal and vegetable curry on a bed of rice – which was quite nice. The movie was Ok. I’m in two minds about whether I liked it or not. On the one hand, it was Australian, and quite funny in spots, but on the other hand, it was just a bit too silly, a bit too hard-pressed. It looks as though they had a hard time getting the movie to actually gel, forcing scenes just to justify other parts they’d already made. After the movie and a 40¢ ice cream from Hungry Jack’s, I caught a train home via Roma Street. It was just on school train time, so I had the pleasure of seeing two-thirds of the countries youth in the one place at the one time. Hearing might be a better word, as I tried to look out the window and think of daisies and lollipops rather than machine guns and hand grenades.
I am angry. I got home to find out that most of my websites are not working because my host has changed something, and that the practicals sign-on that said it wouldn’t open until midnight tonight was open and filling up fast. To make matters worse, my finely balanced uni timetable, which was relying on getting specific timeslots for these practicals, is now unworkable. Not only was sign-on released when it shouldn’t have been, but also the times I needed weren’t even there – they must have been cancelled. Now I have to try to figure out a new schedule somehow. I’ve emailed the lecturer for help. How is someone supposed to make a complex schedule when classes require sign-ons, which become available just before the start of semester and fill up fast – except for one subject which doesn’t become available until a week into semester, and even then not at the time it said it would. It’s just not acceptable. I don’t need to have to replan my schedule ten times. It’s lucky I don’t have a life, or job, or any of those other things that require a bit of certainty in life. I can already tell this COMP1800 subject is going to be a repeat of the Internet Interface Design fiasco of last semester. The lecturer doesn’t appear to know what she’s talking about, and has so far been so boring that I haven’t listened anyway, and definitely hasn’t endured me towards the course with the random sign-ons and changes in tutorials and practicals. Blah. It is funny how one event can change my perception of an entire day.
Joe just came up and told me he’s had a good day and a good birthday. I’m happy to hear this after his not so good night last night. Apparently, Tim gave him a lecture from Michelle, they all sang “Happy Birthday”, and had some nice Thai food, and he accidentally threw out some unscratched scratch-its in the rubbish.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 2 August 2003, 3:06 PM
  Just checking out my site with Lynx, so far so good :-)
Comment by DM – Tuesday 5 August 2003, 11:27 PM
  I'm assuming you got your curry from Khan's Kitchen? When I eat there (that is, whenever I'm hungry and happen to be at Indooroopilly), I go for the dhal and chickpea curry. Makes for a good meal, I find.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 3:08 PM
  Yep, Khan’s Kitchen it is. I think it’s a good, cheap, and yummy meal although some people have informed me they feel sick after seeing it – but they were eating Hungry Jack’s burgers so I think I can safely discount their eating experience :-)
Comment by DK – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 8:36 PM
  It looks like what I would expect a dhal and chickpea curry to look ;-)

02.08.2003Saturday 2 August – Charlie’s Angels

Snoring peacefully, I doze in contentment.
Sleeping pleasantly, I slowly awaken myself.
Tim and Michelle turned up and we had coffee and bikkies. They didn’t leave until a quarter to five and I had a train to catch at five, so I ran around in circles as fast as I could getting ready and Joe drove me down the station in time to get the train. It turns out South Africa were losing to Australia in the rugby today, 9 to 29 at Suncorp Stadium, which is, of course, halfway to Indooroopilly, which is, of course, where I was going. This meant there were many people on the trains, obviously, and they were, of course, all running late – the trains and the people. In fact, I think they’d scrapped the timetable and were running trains whenever they couldn’t fit any more people in. There were train fellas guiding us to our carriages so we didn’t get totally squashed – just partially squashed. I still managed to arrive at Indooroopilly in time to eat my customary Pakistani meal (which was very nice) before the movie. I watched “Charlie’s Angels”. Sadly, it was as bad as I’d been told. I still enjoyed watching it, but it’s a stupid movie – I have nothing I could recommend about it. After the movie, I bought my traditional “Cold Rock” milkshake – caramel, and caught a train back. It was also very full, and they had another train person sorting us into carriages when I changed trains at Roma Street, but I was put into an empty carriage by myself, which was a good opportunity to take a few photos. Ironically, the first few carriages were packed full. When I got back here, I could hear distant rock music so I set off to find it but the road ended, the footpath ended, the light ended and I feared for my life so I turned back. As someone once said, “How sweet is mortal Sovranty!–-think some: Others-How blest the Paradise to come! Ah, take the Cash in hand and waive the Rest; Oh, the brave Music of a distant Drum!”, or alternatively “Some for the Glories of This World; and some Sigh for the Prophet’s Paradise to come; Ah, take the Cash, and let the Promise go, Nor heed the Rumble of a distant Drum!” or even “They preach how sweet those Houri brides will be, But I say wine is sweeter-–-taste and see! Hold fast this cash, and let that credit go, And shun the din of empty drums like me” – all transliterations of my favourite poem.
In other news, “The University of Queensland has again received the best overall rating of all Queensland universities and one of the best Australian university rankings in the 2004 edition of the Good Universities Guide. The University received the maximum five-star rating for nine main categories: prestige, non-government earnings, student demand, research grants, research intensivity, toughness to get in (St Lucia campus), international enrolments, getting a job and positive graduate outcomes”.
I am angry again. I upgraded “Panorama Factory” from version 2.4 to version 3.0. It seemed like a good thing to do at the time. Unfortunately, version 3.0 is pathetic, moronic, stupid, dumb, idiotic, crappy, retarded, deplorable, wretched, contemptible, worthless and doesn’t run. I hate it – hate, hate, hate! There, I feel slightly better now. The problem is, version 3 doesn’t run on this computer. Who knows why, presumably it runs elsewhere. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad. What is so bad is that I can’t find version 2.4 anywhere – not anywhere at all. I’ve spent a good two hours looking for it in Google and it simply is not available anymore, at all, anywhere. So here I am with a stack of photos waiting to be stitched and no program to do it. I am hopping mad. I even managed to freeze up my computer trying to get the pathetic, moronic etc. program to work and had to reboot. Someone find me a copy of “Panorama Factory 2.4” before I explode.

03.08.2003Sunday 3 August – Free ABC Classic FM Concert

I got to use my new university skills for the first time today. I installed a toilet cistern.
I was sleeping peacefully when Joe woke me up to tell me he’d bought me a present – a new toilet cistern for me to install. A wet while later and I was awake. It’s lovely now. I feel like going to flush the toilet. It refills so fast and doesn’t leak at all. It’s not even about to fall off the wall anymore!
I planned to spend a relaxing evening mowing the lawn, but there was a “direct broadcast from the ABC Ferry Road Music Centre, West End, Brisbane, introduced by Vincent Plush and showcasing the Southern Cross Soloists: Margaret Schindler, soprano; Tania Frazer, oboe; Paul Dean, clarinet; Leesa Dean, bassoon; Peter Luff, horn; Kevin Power, piano and playing Mozart arranged by Paul Dean, Piano Concerto No 13 in C, K415 (K387B) and Berlioz arranged by Kevin Power, Summer Nights, Op 7: selection”. Raymond asked if I wanted to go and explained that the normal English description was “free concert”, and, noticing the word “free” and not understanding any of the other words, I of course agreed. A rush to the train had me arriving at South Brisbane Station not long after two, where I began walking towards the West End. By an amazing coincidence, Raymond drove by in a bus, saw me, and jumped out. After a half hour or so walk, which nearly killed Raymond who’s still suffering from a nasty cold, we arrived at the ABC’s music centre in time for Classic FM’s “Sunday Live” concert. Ironically, we also passed BSDE on our way there. I’ve never been there before, despite having studied from them for years. The concert was an hour long, and as this is the first time that I’ve been to something like this, I wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy it, but I did. For anyone who caught it on 106.1FM, I was the guy applauding along with the rest. It was quite impressive, and they had some nice speakers too. Raymond and I caught a bus back into the city after the concert and walked around for a while window-shopping. I bought some caramel filled white chocolate; my life is indeed very exciting.
Speaking of speakers, I came across this while looking at some very nice “Final” flat panel electrostatic speakers on the web. They’re not only flat panel and electrostatic, they’re see-through too – I want some. “I recently set up a system for my father’s vacation home in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he wanted a music system that would provide stunning playback with the convenience of a 100 CD player but didn’t completely break the bank. I assembled a Krell integrated amp, Pioneer Elite 100 CD player, a Camelot Technology-20 bit DAC and Transparent Audio Cables along with a pair of WATT Puppies”. I’m not sure about the rest, but those speakers cost around $18,000 US. Their bank must be less breakable than mine.
I shall try to get to bed early for a change, as I have a full day tomorrow. Uni proper starts tomorrow, with practicals and tutorials complementing my dismal timetable of lectures.
Comment by DK – Monday 4 August 2003, 5:22 AM
  Glad to hear you have not exploded, yet! ;-)

04.08.2003Monday 4 August

One word for today: Long. I was at uni from nine o’clock until four o’clock, without any breaks.
I had an uneventful train journey into uni and walked down to the Hawken Engineering library to meet a guy and buy some textbooks. He duly turned up and I bought “An Introduction to Programming and Object Orientated Design using Java” and “Structured Computer Organisation” for $50 each, a saving of $60 on the QUBooks Bookshop prices, which are a bit cheaper than the University of Queensland Bookshop. I then ran up to my lecture, arriving five minutes or so late, and spent the next hour in there. This was followed by a two hour prac, most of which I spent online working out my textbooks, timetable and chatting on IRC. Directly after the prac, at midday, I walked back to the Hawken Library and met another guy who sold me “Fundamentals of Database Systems” and “Exploring Microsoft Access 2000” for $65, another saving of around $60, although the current text is “Exploring Microsoft Access 2002”. Hopefully they’re similar enough, and it only cost $15 anyway so it’s not a great loss if they’re not. So I’ve saved around $120 dollars today, which is a much pleasanter way of saying I’ve spent $165 on second hand textbooks. That’s all the set texts out of the way, there’s just one recommended text left, but as it’s a popular reference, I’m unlikely to find it second hand so I might wait and see if I actually need it before I shell out the big bucks. I’m rather stretching the budget right now, and I need to keep my milkshake allowance in the black. Having purchased my textbooks and made my bag heavy, I jogged back to my next lecture, arriving about ten minutes late. This was a two hour “Computer Organisation” lecture, although it finished just long early enough to allow me to walk to the main refectory and buy a bag of lollies, frozen yoghurt and splice ice-cream before my next two hour lecture, “Introduction to Information Systems”. By the second hour of this my legs were aching, I was having trouble staying awake, my concentration was impersonating a faulty fluorescent light and I just felt like lying down. Happily, I have it all again tomorrow.
I did some washing. I cooked some dinner. I tried to work out what to vote in the upcoming referendum on whether the union should adopt a new constitution and gave up. I tried to work out what I was supposed to do for tomorrow’s practicals and tutorials and also gave up. I decided to go and feign stupidity (which comes to me naturally), find out what I was supposed to do and, optimistically, do it all at the same time.
Random curses and coarse language as appropriate for someone who looks at the clock and realises it is horrendously late and he has to go to bed right away but he hasn’t packed his bag yet and in fact doesn’t even know what he needs to take tomorrow so will have to take everything just in case and knows that in the morning he will have great difficulty waking up and will feel terrible by the end of the day and does in fact risk not waking up in time for the train and has found the banana he put in his bag this morning still in his bag but not in the same nice banana shape as it was this morning and not the same nice yellow colour either but a rather ominous bruised colour and somewhat flat.
Comment by io – Tuesday 5 August 2003, 2:44 AM
  PMSL AT SINGLE SENTENCE PARAGRAPH!!! :-D What happened to your commas?
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 28 September 2011, 7:20 PM
  Sadly, I had no time for commas.

05.08.2003Tuesday 5 August

Today I had my first physical practical – university practical that is. By that, I mean that I actually did something physical as opposed to mental or virtual. We had to draw schematics of some very basic logic circuits and then use a breadboard and a few basic chips to create those circuits. We were supposed to have written out schematics at home before we went in, but I hadn’t, so I spent most of my time doing that and didn’t bother building the circuits as I couldn’t see any great advantage to doing that. This was pretty much an introduction to breadboards by the looks of it, and as I’ve used them before I probably don’t need it. Apart from that today was rather bland, very normal, and definitely not memorable. In fact, it was so unmemorable that I can’t remember anything else, so I’ll have to make it up.
I was woken by a high-pitched screaming sound. I jumped out of bed in shock, bumping my head so hard on the wall that I knocked myself out. I’m not sure how long I was unconscious for, but when I woke up I’d missed the train into uni and the screaming, whatever it was, had stopped. I caught the next train into uni, or at least tried. About halfway to uni, while on the train, I got a bad headache and had to lie down in the train carriage, which is rather embarrassing. I hopped out at the first possible station – I can’t remember which one it was, and did something. The problem is I can’t remember what I did, but I must have done something as I ended up at uni with a few cuts and grazes on my arms, and a very sore back. Seeing as I’d missed all my lectures, I went to have lunch instead but discovered that I can’t chew – it hurts too much – for some reason my jaw is really sore and I can’t put any pressure on it. After leaving the main refectory, having thrown my lunch out as it was too hard, I found the “yes” and “no” camps trying to convince everyone to vote their way in the upcoming referendum. I spent half an hour or so talking to them and reading their pamphlets. At least part of the above wasn’t made up.
I asked the “no camp why I shouldn’t vote yes, and their argument went roughly like this: “You must realise that the “yes” camp are young liberals just interested in their hip pockets and they are lying on their little yellow piece of paper, and besides our constitution is less than three years old! To keep a strong union able to support queers, women and the environmental mob, which is where lots of our new members learn to abuse other people in a democratic way, you must vote NO”.
I then asked the “yes” mob why I should vote ‘yes’ and they went through in detail, point by point each issue they’re trying to correct, why they’re trying to correct it and how, explaining how it currently works and how they envision it working with the new constitution. They refuted what was on the “no” camps propaganda, and clarified a few issues that the “no” camp was trying to accuse them of.
I walked back to the “no” camp and asked them some more questions based on what the “yes” mob had told me. Their reply: “You must realise that the “yes” mob are young liberals just interested in their hip pockets and they are lying on their little yellow piece of paper, and besides our constitution is less than three years old! To keep a strong union able to support queers, women and the environmental rabble, which is where many of our new members learn to abuse other people in a democratic way, you must vote ‘no’. They’re also going to allow hugely expensive election campaigns so that any uni students with the backing of major parties or other large funds will be able to mount huge TV ads, aeroplane sky writing campaigns and colourful balloons which is hugely undemocratic. Plus, we need to be able to fight the anti-student, anti-HECS Government in a fast and efficient way which the new bureaucracy the “yes” mob are going to impose will limit. They are also removing that new bureaucracy we just mentioned which makes it unsafe because it was a safeguard against the union being able to quickly fight and potentially make bad decisions. So, obviously, anyone who wants a strong queer and women’s collective and a union able to quickly mobilise in support of illegal immigrants and other such urgent issues will vote ‘no’”.
I walked back to the “yes” mob and asked them to explain, and to me this seemed to be the only large flaw in their new constitution – it’s open to possible abuse by skywriters. Apparently, TV ads are out as election stuff is restricted to campus and no one has yet figured out a timeslot that guarantees only uni students will be watching. Oh, and the “yes” mob had run out of yellow chalk and had their banner stolen.
I’m not political, and in fact, I’d like to see voluntary student unionism, but that’s actually fairly accurate descriptions of what both camps told me today. Ironically, the “no” camp seem to be more organised, or perhaps just richer – they definitely have more of a presence, coming and intimidating us in our lectures and so forth, but they didn’t seem to have much of a valid argument – more anti-“yes” scare tactics involving HECS and the “big bad government”. Having carefully considered both arguments, and realised that not voting is similar to voting ‘no’ as a referendum requires 5% of the student body to vote to be valid with failure keeping the status quo, I think I shall vote ‘maybe’. I do not see why queers and women should have special collectives. Sure, they’re minorities, but so are Catholics, Muslims, sane people, normal people, female IT students, and pretty well anyone else if you think up an appropriate category, but I don’t see anyone marginalising them and setting up collectives for them. I think I shall identify as an indigenous schizophrenic queer woman with several split personalities, at least one of which shall be a single mother, sexually abused as a child of course, and another few could be illegal immigrants – and perhaps then I shall get some value out of the union. I also think the milkshakes at the union run shops need to be cheaper.
Politically Correct
Just to ensure I’m still seen as politically correct, I should say that I believe all people (apart from me) are diversely equal and anyone who disagrees with this philosophy is biased, sexist, bigoted, close-minded and obviously not a member of the UQUnion. I should also state that I do not use makeup that has been tested on animals, and I do not eat animals as that would be a violation of their human rights. It should be noted that only animals that are rare, big or cute have rights, such as dolphins in tuna nets, cute bunnies with myxomatosis and sexually deprived pandas. I also hug at least one tree every lunar cycle and use alternate renewable and non fossil fuel sources whenever my other ones run out, I mean, whenever possible. I shall also refrain from the use of licentious humour, as politically correct people must remain stolidly serious at all times. Finally, I shall call the mailman the person person who delivers my people, although they are really society’s people. I think contact with the union is bad, look what it’s done to me.
I think I shall go to sleep now.
Comment by DK – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 5:02 AM
  Hope you are OK :-S How does one know which bits are made up? :-p
Comment by Michelle – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 6:00 AM
  Don't you just love political agendas?
Comment by krait – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 1:07 PM
  In addition to all that, you *really* need to figure out how to get paragraph tags to work on your web page. My eyes officially hurt after reading that huge paragraph. Do it. Do it now. Or the cute bunny gets it.
Comment by bv – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 1:09 PM
  Why do you hate plants so much?
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 6 August 2003, 3:29 PM
  Ok, I’ve put a few paragraphs in. I think that when I write things late at night, for some reason, I tend to be slightly less coherent than at other times. I guess it has something to do with moonshine – that being the only difference I can think of between night and day. And bv: you’d hate plants too, if they tried to kill you all the time.

06.08.2003Wednesday 6 August – I get sick

I woke sick. I am stupid. Why did I stay up so late last night? Thinking back, I don’t think I ate anything either. Now I’m sick – terribly sick. It feels like flu but I’m hoping it’s just exhaustion and lack of food. I lazed about for the majority of the day, managing to sleep most of the time. I had a shocking night. I lay in bed, feverish and delusional, and then heard a car coming. I figured it was morning, so I checked the time – it was just past midnight and it was Joe getting home from work. I did manage to get a bit of sleep in amongst the fever, but it definitely wasn’t fun. It’s strange being delusional and feverish, I thought about the weirdest things. Every so often, I’d wake up and realise that my feverish thoughts weren’t actually true. It’s not fun lying in bed, aching, sick, incredibly hot and feverish, and just waiting for something to happen.

07.08.2003Thursday 7 August

I woke up at seven. I probably shouldn’t have gone to uni, but I did. I didn’t feel too bad, just weak and dizzy, so I slowly walked to the train station and caught the train into uni. I had a horrible day but I managed to survive. I got home around five o’clock and went straight to sleep. I woke up just before ten and spent an hour or so online, and then slept and fevered through until ten o’clock or so next morning.

08.08.2003Friday 8 August

There’s no way I’m going to uni today. I woke up when my alarm went off, and tried to get out of bed. I couldn’t, and when I finally did, I felt sick and had to go to the toilet in case I was going to vomit. By the time I got to the toilet (which is only about 15 footsteps away), I felt so weak, dizzy and sick that I had to sit down on the floor for ten minutes and get my strength up again. I then had a sip of water, which made me sick again and I had to sit down for a bit, after which I managed to make my way to the bathroom and wash my face – which was covered in all sorts of nasty things. I could hardly see. I think I’ve missed an assessable tutorial today, but I’m too sick to really care. Another problem is that I don’t have much food, having planned to buy food on the way home from uni, so I’m nibbling a banana. It’s taken me about an hour to eat less than half the banana. If I eat or drink, or even move, too fast I get dizzy and sick, so I’m taking it very slowly.
I got tired and cold and had to go lie down. I put on my warmest top, cuddled under my warmest quilt, and froze.
I woke up again all hot and got out of bed. Joe has bought me some milk, cordial, Strepsils and Vicks vapour rub. I’m sipping the cordial; it’s much more palatable than plain water. I’ve actually managed to drink a whole 600-millilitre bottle of it, although I’ve only eaten half my banana.
I might go and have another short lie down.
I woke up again. I felt as though all the sheets were torn off the bed and twisted tight around me, choking me. I had my warm top on, with all the buttons done up tight and had wriggled lots until everything had moved. I also thought it was much later than nine as I’d looked at the clock and thought it said one, but I guess it must have been seven.
I’m feeling cold and tired again, so I guess I’ll go lie down again. I probably should have eaten something – I’ve only eaten half a banana all day, but I simply can’t. The mere thought of eating makes me sick. I’ve been sleeping for so long that I don’t really want to go lie down, but I shall.
Comment by io – Sunday 10 August 2003, 4:16 AM
  Um.. Are you kidding like you often usually do? Cause this sounds quite awful if true. Seen a doc yet? If above applies, then get well soon. ;-)
Comment by Ned – Sunday 10 August 2003, 11:42 PM
  Unfortunately, it’s true...

09.08.2003Saturday 9 August

The phone rang and I jumped out of bed – not that surprising in itself, but considering that yesterday I could barely walk, let alone jump, I surprised myself. I was all sweaty and cold so I went and showered and got myself a weetbix. I don’t remember very well, but I’m fairly sure that I’ve only eaten half a banana in the past two days, so eating a weetbix is an achievement in itself. It wasn’t easy though, it took me an hour to eat it.
I’ve decided to make lunch! I hope I can eat it. I can nearly walk normally again. I still bump into the walls a bit but not too much, although chopping vegetables is scary. It feels as though I’m weightless and floating. It’s almost nice in some ways. It doesn’t seem as though my feet move when I walk either, although I guess they must. I shall make a point to see if they do next time I go to stir my lunch. One funny side effect of being sick and not eating is that I can smell food really well. I can smell my lunch all the way from here. It smells nice too; I just hope it doesn’t make me sick. I have a feeling that if I can eat it normally then I will be all but cured, or at least drastically speed up the curing process. My brain works a bit strangely at the moment, I can think lots of multiple detached thoughts at once – I wish I could think like this normally. I’m quite sure that if I had another two arms and computer I’d be able to type two entirely different documents at the same time. One problem with the whole detached and floating thing is that I don’t trust my sense of time at the moment. I have a sneaking suspicion that something five minutes ago could have actually been five hours ago. I’ll go stir my lunch now.
Yeah, my feet do move when I walk, obviously, and when I look down and concentrate on them it gets rid of the floating feeling. I’m now slowly eating my lunch, seeing if it makes me sick or not. Mmmm – so far it is beautiful.
Well there we go. I’ve managed to eat an entire bowl of sour cheese and chives pasta, and it only took me a little over an hour. I feel full and a bit sick, but at least I don’t feel like I’m about to spew. I’ve also just realised that I haven’t been outside since returning from uni on Thursday. I haven’t even opened the blinds on my windows.
A friend of mine just implemented a print style sheet, or at least I just read that he’d implemented it. I posted a comment saying I couldn’t find the “Print Preview” link anywhere, and realised immediately afterwards that he means the “Print Preview” feature of browsers... I guess I can blame being sick for not thinking straight for a day or two yet... Speaking of “Print Preview”, this gives me a perfect opportunity to point out yet another of Mozilla’s pathetic bugs – it’s “Print Preview” of my site has the hover affect on my links showing – duh. Perhaps Mozilla developers use dynamic paper, or perhaps they’re all underpaid weirdos who can’t code? It amuses me how one of the main complaints about Internet Explorer is how it’s bloated and been integrated into the operating system, yet no one seems to mind that Mozilla now comes with everything from an auto-nose-picker to an IRC client, not to mention the pleasant way they’ve bundled it with the default option of deleting all your IMAP email for you. I’m using MyIE2 now, a shell for Internet Explorer, and I can safely say that it blows Opera and Mozilla (at least for Windows) right out of the water. Of course, it would be nice if Internet Explorer supported CSS a bit better – but let’s face it, there’s no point implementing features that aren’t supported by browsers, and due to Internet Explorer’s overwhelming dominance of the browser market, that can be interpreted as there’s no point implementing features that aren’t supported by Internet Explorer. We may not like it, but that’s how it is. No one is going to make a webpage using totally unsupported features, so why do people whinge about features that are only supported by a miniscule percentage of browsers? Then again, people eat oysters and mouldy cheese...
Something that’s annoying me right now is people who think they know everything, or more specifically think that I know nothing. I have a friend who has a younger sister who comes on MSN every so often. I think she’s fifteen. She’s lived a very secluded life, studying from home and having never attended a regular school. She has very little contact with the outside world apart from what she sees on MSN, which I sincerely hope is not what the outside world has become, but still thinks she knows more about almost anything than I do. Now, I don’t mean to sound egotistical, but I can practically guarantee I will know more about almost any subject than she does, and definitely more about any computer based subject. Of course, I’m being hypocritical here, as Mum has been accusing me of precisely this ever since I first decided I knew more than she did about something, but it is very annoying.
I left the stove on! Sometime around seven o’clock I went outside and fed the cat. I think that’s the first time I’ve been outside since Thursday; in fact, I think that’s the first time I’ve been downstairs since Thursday. I also grabbed a cup-o-soup satchel, boiled up some water, and made a cup of disgusting “Cream of Mushroom” soup. I don’t like mushrooms, but it was either that or “Beef”. I then had another lovely warm shower, went online, messed around making a print style sheet for my journal site (which was much harder than it first sounded because Internet Explorer doesn’t support CSS things properly), and then, sometime after midnight, I walked to the kitchen to refill my cordial bottle. The pot that I’d left half full of water on the stove was empty and strangely brown. The heat was turned to lowest. Oh, I also discovered that the CSS validator is poxy, it warns me about redefining styles across different media, which is quite illogical considering those different media cannot be used at the same time. I’ve sent them a bug report; hopefully someone reads it and agrees with me enough to change it. Anyway, back to the pot drama. I carefully cooled the pot, which seemed to be still round and normal, wiped the brown stuff from the bottom, and I think it’s as good as it was before. At least the house didn’t burn down, but I’m scared to leave my room until I’m better now, my brain just isn’t up to the complex reality that lives outside my room.
I’m sleepy, exhausted, and feeling sick. I’m off to bed.

10.08.2003Sunday 10 August – Free ABC Classic FM Concert

I braved my way to the ABC’s Ferry Road Music Centre again to watch (and hear) Guitarist Karin Schaupp playing York’s Evocation, I Albéniz’s Torre Bermeja, Granados’ Dedication Op 1 No 1 and Spanish Dance Op 37 No 5, Richard Charlton’s Threnody for Chernobyl and Kingfisher Dances, Mertz’s Hungarian Fantasy Op 65 No 1, Barrios’ Contemplation, Dyens’ Tango en skai and finally Sainz de la Maza’s Zapateado. She was magnificent, truly awesome in fact. When someone’s been playing since they’re five and performing since they’re six, you know it’s going to be good. While classical music isn’t always my favourite style (I’d have preferred a more modernistic flamenco influence), I was impressed. It was very good, or at least I thought so. Such fast finger picking is amazing to watch and hear. Unfortunately, though, the journey there wasn’t so amazing. I should have realised by now that in my present mental state I need to triple check everything, but of course, I didn’t. Instead, I simply told Queensland Transport’s online TransInfo site where I wanted to go and that I needed to be there by three o’clock. That was my first mistake. I should have said ten to three, or even earlier.
Second Mistake
My second mistake was showering for too long. By the time I got out of the shower I had thirteen minutes until the train left. So here’s me, wet, naked, sick and with thirteen minutes to get onto the train, slowly shuffling around in circles wondering what to do. Two minutes later and I’ve formulated the only viable plan in situations such as these – panic. I usually try to allow fifteen minutes to get to the station, and I’m nearly always late and end up jogging part of the way – that’s when I’m healthy. Today, by the time I’d got ready (which in retrospect was probably a world record), I think I had three minutes to get to the station. I jogged as fast as I thought I safely could without collapsing, which wasn’t particularly fast considering this is the first time I’ve been further than the carport since Thursday, and managed to catch the train. I guess I should add the standard disclaimer here: Do not try this at home. These foolish acts were performed by a highly experienced psychotic idiopath under controlled conditions. Trying this at home will certainly lead to near death when you arrive at the train, and you will have to lie on the seat, wondering why you are so stupid. Of course, being highly experienced as I am, I survived and was quite proud of myself for making it. My legs did feel as though they were about to have severe cramps though, and I had a strange feeling that getting out of the train at the other end wasn’t a good idea.
Third Mistake
The third mistake flows on from the second. I forgot to write down or memorise where to get off the train station and where to catch the ferry. Needless to say, I was supposed to get off at the other station – South Brisbane Station, but seeing as I didn’t and I knew the ferry was in South Bank somewhere, I got off at South Bank Station. This didn’t really matter. It was probably good. I had been lazy on the train anyway – hadn’t done any neck rolls or ankle wiggles. I was probably about to get blood clots. So I guess the best thing that could have happened to me was that I got off at the wrong station with ten minutes to catch a ferry that was about ten minutes away. Not a problem.
Fourth Mistake
Well, there was one problem. I went to the wrong ferry terminal. Not that this was a problem in itself, rather the fact that the ferry was a CityCat, that it was going upriver right now, that they travel at speeds up to 50 kilometres an hour and that I had to race it to its terminal. Shades of “Run Lola, Run”.
First Mistake
This brings me back to the first mistake, having successfully caught the train and then the CityCat, and successfully got off at the right terminal, I now had less than ten minutes to get somewhere – emphasis on the “somewhere”. I knew what street it’s in, I knew its name, I even knew I was in the right suburb – but when rapidly hobbling down a riverbank none of that is much use. However, all good stories must end happily, so I got there in time, panted into the centre, bought a drink, and had to throw it away because they wouldn’t let me take it into the theatre. It was one of those expensive sports drinks that make you come alive again too. The place was packed – a good few hundred people I’d estimate. I had to sit on a stool thing as they’d run out of chairs and I think I was the last person to turn up. Raymond was already there, along with a few friends that he’d managed to enthuse enough to come along – and they even let him keep his water bottle.
After the superb performance, we all caught another CityCat to uni, and from there Raymond, his friend Alison, and I caught a bus towards Indooroopilly, although Raymond got off at his college. I had the smallest available Pakistanis meal, which was very yum although I couldn’t finish it all and it nearly killed me, and made my way down to the train.
The Train
Brisbane trains are normally good, but today I sensed something was different. I’m not sure if it was the Gold Coast train going down the Ipswich line, the flashing orange lights, or the huge crowds that gave it away – but something was wrong. The Brisbane Show is on, which accounts for the crowds, and rather obviously something was broken, which accounts for all the signals flashing orange – which isn’t at all handy as it takes ages to get anywhere. Exactly why the Gold Coast train was going down the Ipswich line is beyond me though, but they were redirecting Gold Coast passengers onto out train to meet up with it again at Beenleigh. Perhaps it can fly.

11.08.2003Monday 11 August

I stopped off at the shops on the way home and did my much needed shopping, and also got a few DVD’s, namely: “Pulp Fiction”, “The Untouchables”, “Sudden Impact”, “Hackers”, “Laird”, “Bulletproof” and as an antidote, “Serendipity”. I also remembered how, on the way home from the first “ABC Classic FM” thing, I saw a train with eight engines.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 12 August 2003, 12:38 AM
  I added email and website fields to my comments form to allow people to let me know who they are, should they wish too. At the moment, the email verification is beyond buggy, but I have to get to bed and can’t work on it now.
Comment by io – Tuesday 12 August 2003, 3:32 AM
  Testing. Yep, debug error pops up when clicking comment box and website box. But get well soon first. ;-) error log: Also, won't accept my email addy in email field.
Comment by io – Tuesday 12 August 2003, 3:36 AM
  PRIORITY: I hope you haven't implemented this site-wide without testing! :-) Cause people won't be able to leave comments if you have.. Without difficulty anyway. btw, the email addies I've entered are fake.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 12 August 2003, 10:42 AM
  Why? What’s wrong with it?

12.08.2003Tuesday 12 August

I was awoken by the phone, and a short while later, Joe at my door telling me Mum was on the phone. She was worried because some weird window had popped up and frozen her computer, and she couldn’t shut down. I told her to pull out the power, and just before I left for uni, she phoned to say that it all seemed to work well now, so I didn’t give it any more thought and spent all day at uni, doing uni type things, and becoming worn out. I decided to watch “Pulp Fiction”, and indeed did for a few minutes, and then it froze up. I really, really hate scratched DVD’s. There’s something about the anticipation of the movie and the frustration of a stupid digital device that won’t do what it’s supposed to that is just so exceedingly annoying. I then copied it, but I think the image has some bad errors, as the first test play froze the DVD application, and I haven’t had time to check anything else since as Mum came online, spoke a few words and went offline again. This happened several times, Mum finally managing to say, “Windows must now restart because the Remote Procedure Call (RPC) service terminated unexpectedly”. This didn’t sound very good. I couldn’t think of any good reason why this would suddenly start happening, apart from hardware failure, as Mum doesn’t do that much software manipulation to mess up anything that way. Ironically, just minutes before I’d got sick of all the extra port scanning going on and told the firewall to just shut up and block those particular ports, and kept half an eye on the #BITS channel where they were discussing some new worm that’s out. I got the feeling Mum might be a bit distressed over the PC, especially as she’d had to try so hard just to let me know what was going on, and I was rather worried myself in case it was some hardware fault, so decided to ring Mum up and see if I could find out more. First I needed online information, and having only the one phone line, I had to get this before disconnecting to phone Mum, which was fortunate as Shan came online and I had a quick talk to him to see if he’d be able to go fix Mum’s PC once I figured out what was wrong. He’d just patched his computer – from the same problem. So I guess that pretty well solved my problem and Shan said he’d go fix Mum’s some time tomorrow. I phoned her up and let her know, and now, here I am downloading the patch for my computer.
I had a little cuticle on my finger, and sometime this afternoon I noticed that it was a little sore, and on closer inspection saw a tiny blister form. It has grown throughout the evening until it is now a third the size of my nail, and painful and hot. It’s almost becoming too much to type with it now. I think I may have bitten the cuticle, and then noticed the blister after that. A friend told me I could have some nasty disease on there, and should phone the hospital and see what they reckon. Normally something as menial as a blister on my finger wouldn’t bother me, but this one hurts too much and I can’t understand why it’s even there. It looks now, exactly as though I’d burnt my finger and it had blistered – that’s about what it feels like too, yet all I did was nibble a cuticle earlier this afternoon. I would like to be healthy. I realised today, that I can’t remember the last time I was healthy. I’m sure it probably wasn’t that long ago, but at the moment, I honestly can’t think of the last time I was healthy. I guess there’s nothing I can do about my finger. I can’t very well call an ambulance, and I can’t walk to hospital, so I might as well grin and bear it. If it’s bigger or worse in the morning then I’ll obviously have to go in to hospital and have it checked out, but let’s hope it isn’t. I do have to stop typing though, it’s hurting too much.
Comment by DK – Wednesday 13 August 2003, 7:31 AM
  Try lancing it with a clean sharp object such as a sterile needle or the end of a sharp knife sterilised by heat :)
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 13 August 2003, 1:45 PM
  That sounds like torture :-(

13.08.2003Wednesday 13 August – Royal Brisbane Show

When I awoke, the blister on my finger had swollen larger, and was now filled with puss. It’s now officially an abscess, because that sounds more heart wrenching and is what they’re called in all the online literature I found. I’m a bit worried about it. It seems that it’s either the most common finger infection, or an alien implant, depending on what I read. Either way, it needs to be fixed before it spreads or the finger has to come off, and in the case of the aliens, humanity is also doomed – but that comes as no surprise.
As it’s the show holiday today and I’ve never been before, I shall go and see what it’s like, but first, Joe has a friend over, who I’ve just remembered is a nurse, so I went down and showed him my finger. He suggested soaking it in very warm salty water, then putting Betadine on, and if it didn’t clear up within a few days, seeing a doctor. Unfortunately for the soaking plan, my train comes in quarter of an hour, and unfortunately for the Betadine plan, my Betadine expired before Noah’s waters had fully subsided.
I caught a train in to Roma Street, spent $14 on a student ticket to the show, and caught the train on to the Exhibition Grounds. I then spent all evening walking around viewing various things at the show, saying “hello” to all the animals, and all the various things one does at a show. I was surprised at how small it is. I had a mental image in my mind that as Brisbane is much larger than anywhere else that I’ve seen a show (apart from Sydney and Perth I guess) that the show would also be much larger, but it wasn’t. It looked almost the same size as the other shows in much smaller places that I’ve been too. I guess the difference is that this show goes for ten days or so, whereas they only went for one or two days in the other places. I watched the fireworks, and the motocross riding display and a driving display that followed, headed up to sideshow alley, had a look around, took a few photos, and then caught a train home. It can’t have been too far before nine when I left as by the time I arrived at Roma St Station it was after nine. It hurts too much to type with my finger, so I’m stopping here.
Fire Pasta
I found a sign that said “Hottest Meal at the Ekka”, so I bought one. It was pasta, which I shall call “Pasta del Fire con Garlic e le Green Things” for want of a better name. Generally, when things say they are hot, they’re not really – not these public consumption things anyway, they can’t afford to be ridiculously hot, however this one was hot – quite hot. It reminded me of the sun’s corona, and had an aftertaste reminiscent of Mexico’s best fire ants. After paying eight dollars for my plate of pasta with its little pile of virile lava in the centre, I only managed to eat a quarter – at most, and had to throw the rest out in the name of humanity and all things cold. Fortunately, a well-placed soft drink saved me from insanity and a trip to the medical tent, and I stuck to milkshakes and ice creams for the rest of the night.

14.08.2003Thursday 14 August

I slept in and missed my train, but managed to get to my first lecture on time by jumping out of bed and doing the usual sixty-second get ready and train dash. I’m so sick of it. I would like to wake up fully alert, early, and with a burning desire to hop out of bed and go to uni. Then my hair would be perfect – no brushing needed, and I’d slip into my waiting clothes, step into my self-tying shoes, and dawdle down to the train, nibbling on a biscuit and enjoying the sweet morning birds. Somehow it never quite works out like that.
I saw a nurse at the medical centre, who confirmed my finger infection is localised and not spreading rapidly towards my brain or central spinal column or wherever it is things spread. She bathed him and re-bandaid-ed him, and he spent the rest of the day happily inside his bandaid making pus. After I got home I bathed him in hot, salty water and squeezed all the puss out, showered and applied some of the new Betadine cream that I bought at uni today, and re-bandaid-ed him, and left him there, which is where he is right now, making it hard for me to type.
I cooked one of my corns, and watched “Hackers”. Not a terrible movie I guess, although somewhat dated now.

15.08.2003Friday 15 August

Here I am, sitting with my left hand in a tub of warm, salty water, trying to type with only my right hand – not something that is easy to do on a split ergonomic keyboard. The abscess has spread around the front of the nail somewhat, but at the same time, where there was an abscess yesterday is now just red and sore looking, so I think it’s getting better – either that or it is spreading.
I actually woke up before the alarm went off, and was ready with plenty of time to spare and able to walk to the train, rather than run. As the saying goes, “early to bed and early to rise makes a [gender-unspecific person type] healthy, wealthy, and wise”. I had to edit it a little as I realised they’d used the taboo word, “man”, presumably back before people became enlightened enough to realise that using gender-specific words is only permissible if used to refer to a repressed minority, such as non-men.
I had a group tutorial today. We form groups, each of which is assigned a question to answer, one member of which then presents the group’s answer on an overhead projector. Every group gets a different question, so in the best psychological sense – we are all right, which kills any group competitiveness. There’s not enough scope for academic competition here at uni, which is a shame as that’s been the only thing that’s ever motivated me in any previous studies – the desire to be seen as better than someone else, the desire to show off. Somehow, “do well in your studies so you can work hard for the rest of your life” has never quite appealed to me in the way it obviously does to some people. “Do well in your studies so you can earn more money per amount of work that you do while working hard for the rest of your life”, or even “do well in your studies so you can work hard for only most of the rest of your life” both make sense, but aren’t what I’d call highly motivational. They’re not what spring to mind when I think of a sports coach giving a pre-match pep talk.
After uni, I caught a bus to Toowong, and went to Centrelink, after walking around the car park working out how to get there. I stood in line for half an hour too long, spoke briefly to a Centrelink employee, walked back to a table, filled out many little boxes on many pieces of paper – almost none of which made any sense in the context that I had to take them, and stood in line for another half hour too long, only to see another Centrelink employee, go back to the table again, fill in more slightly more relevant but equally ambiguous boxes, and hand them all back to another Centrelink employee – after pushing ahead of the queue. On my holiday, did I use either public transport, and if I did, can I provide receipts, or did I not use public transport, and if so, why couldn’t I use public transport? Well, yes, I flew back, so I did use public transport, however, I drove up, and so I didn’t use public transport. In the end, I answered “no” to every question on one form, and “yes” to every question on another, and wrote a statement, which might, hopefully and highly doubtfully, clarify things a little. The annoying part is that it essentially takes me two hours to fill in and lodge a form for what should be quite normal and simple – a holiday using two modes of transport. At least it’s done – now I just have to wait for the letters asking for additional forms, proof and trouble.
I drove Joe down to his club, and then came home and laid down for the rest of the evening. I didn’t get up until after eight, at which time I went online. Joe and Liz came home a bit later and I went downstairs and we had pizza, and then I came back up here and went online again, and I’ve been here ever since. I think, because I’ve already slept, I’m not so tired now, but even so, if I don’t go to bed now I know I’ll sleep in for some ridiculous amount of time tomorrow and end up wasting away my day. I need to go to bed now, but I’m not tired. The Milo I just drank probably won’t make me sleepy either.

16.08.2003Saturday 16 August

I slept in until after midday and got up rather disgusted with myself for sleeping in so long. I watched “Pulp Fiction”, stopping in the middle to drive Joe down to his club. It’s a good movie – I think; sort of confusing and segmented but all tied together at the same time. I enjoyed watching it, which is really all that matters.
It has been wet and overcast, and has just begun to rain more seriously. It’s very cosy here inside, listening to the wind and rain howl outside while drinking a glass of Milo. I have squeezed the pus from around the front of my finger, under the nail, right around to the back of my finger above the nail, and out a little hole. It’s funny being able to squeeze something around under my skin, it reminds me of the scarab beetles in “The Mummy”. I wonder how far I could squeeze it. I have a feeling I could go as far as I wanted, but I’ve another feeling that I’d be risking opening paths of infection all around the place, so as fun as it may be, I think I’ll just squeeze it out its hole. I think my finger is slowly getting better, but it’s a bit hard to tell – I don’t really know how to tell, it could be worse for all I know. It hasn’t fallen off, so I guess that’s one good thing.
I must go to bed. I can’t understand what it is with geeks and wanting to own a Macintosh simply because they run MacOS X, which looks nice. They’ll argue that KDE is hugely configurable and can be made to look like practically anything – much better than anything Windows can do. They’ll argue that MacOS X is good because it runs most things that Linux runs, and then they’ll even argue that cheap Linux hardware is good and expensive and proprietary Macintosh hardware is bad, yet somehow they add that all up together and come out the end wanting to buy an iBook. It’s crazy. The Linux freak’s argument for buying a Macintosh: Open source is good! Windows is bad! MacOS X uses proprietary code and hardware but will run some of the things my open source (and free) Linux always could (for half the hardware cost), and it looks so nice! Bah. My finger hurts. I am sick of it hurting, and sick of DVD’s being scratched and ridiculous arguments about operating systems. Anything that uses a one-button mouse by default is stupid, anything that uses a perfectly round, symmetric, transparent one-button mouse is incredibly stupid, end of argument.
Comment by Redbeard – Sunday 17 August 2003, 8:36 PM
  Hi Ned, I'm reading this site on an iBook running Mac OS X. I am using a two button scroll wheel mouse that cost me about thirty bucks and works just like one in Windows. But the reason I use a Mac is that it's easy to use. Instead of mucking about recompiling your kernel (Linux) or fighting the millions of virii around (Windows) I can get down to what I want to do (programming, maths etc). So in the end Mac OS X gives you most of the power of Linux with none of the frustration
Comment by Ned – Monday 18 August 2003, 11:45 PM
  Argh! :-)

17.08.2003Sunday 17 August – ABC Classic FM Concert

Just as I was about to leave for the train, Tim and Michelle arrived and offered to drive me to the ABC Music Centre, which is just across the road from where Michelle works, thus allowing me to spend an hour or so talking to Tim, Michelle, Gus and his girlfriend, whose name escapes me right now. Getting a lift was nice, partly because it rained, and partly because my timetabled ferry and train combination would have left me no time to get there, meaning I’d have to have run, and still got there late. As it was, I was dropped off at the door, with plenty of time, and had a pleasant chat on the way over. The concert was, once again, packed out and, once again, quite enjoyable. Gregory Lee on violin and Lance Coburn on piano played Prokofiev’s Violin Sonata No 2 in D, Op 94a and R Strauss’ Violin Sonata in E flat, Op 18. I’m not sure what that means, but it sounded ok.
After the concert, I caught a CityCat back to UQ with Raymond, and from there, by bus, to Indooroopilly, planning to buy a Pakistani meal. I was disappointed to find the shop not only closed, but all boarded up. I hope it’s not shut permanently, although that’s what it looks like. I ended up with some noodles from the “Wok On Inn”. I wasn’t very impressed, flaccid noodles, steamed veggies and mucus-like goo isn’t my idea of an ideal meal, although the “Cold Rock” milkshake I got afterwards warded off the hunger demons. To celebrate my milkshake, I went and watched “The Italian Job” at the cinema, which, judging by the capacity crowd, had just been released. It’s not that often that I sit in the front row with other people, let alone a full row. I don’t think there were any free seats anywhere. Annoyingly, Becky saw this movie last (American) summer, which just goes to show how delayed some of these movies are here in Australia. The movie is good – I enjoyed it. It reminded me of “Ocean’s 11”, which I saw the other day on TV with Joe.
Comment by DK – Tuesday 19 August 2003, 7:43 AM
  So what do you think of the New MINIs? :-D I have not seen the film, just don't fancy it :-)
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 19 August 2003, 10:47 AM
  Hehe, they did the job, weird looking cars though, I'd rather a Lamborghini myself, but that’s just me.
Comment by DK – Wednesday 20 August 2003, 6:04 AM
  Weird car for a weird person, perfect! :-D

18.08.2003Monday 18 August

I woke in time for uni, but I’m so sleepy. Today is a killer day. It starts with an hour of mind numbing “Intro to Information Systems” to ensure no one wakes, followed by two hours of “Information Technology Practical”, which translates to “zombie time” for me, as I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do and go on IRC instead. This is followed by two hours of “Computer Organisation”, which is actually interesting, although not quite to the level of watching grass grow or dead snail racing – and then the real killer, another two hours of coma-inducing “Intro to Information Systems”. I couldn’t handle the last hour today, partly because it looked like it was going to be revision and not introduce any new concepts, partly because the two guys I was with couldn’t handle it either, and mainly because I was going to fall asleep and my brain had already – an hour ago, so I left. This got me home a little earlier than expected, although by the time I’d dropped off my DVD’s and done some grocery shopping it was nice and late again.
I still have to draw out some schematics for my “Computer Organisation” practical tomorrow. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able, but I’ll give it a go. I’m simply too tired, and after a big meal of curried sausages and baked beans, and a nice hot shower, I don’t really feel very motivated. My finger feels as though it has a bandaid on it, although it doesn’t. I think it’s getting better but I’m not sure – the abscess is much smaller, although it has moved, once again, further around the finger. The rest of the finger, where the abscess has already been, is red, sore and rapidly going hard. It is also itchy for the first time, which I think is a good sign. I’m relatively sure it is getting better, and I think I might even leave its bandaid off tomorrow so it can get some air, although I am a bit worried that it might fall off or something exciting like that. The nail doesn’t look too happy either; it wouldn’t surprise me if it decided to emigrate. Here I am rambling on instead of drawing schematics – I must go.
There we go, schematics finished. I wonder if they’ll mind my shorthand style, but I’m buggered if I’m going to draw sixteen switches that do identical things. I need to buy a graph paper book; it is ridiculous drawing schematics on lined A4 paper. I’ll buy one tomorrow if I can remember. I guess it’s time for bed, so I’m not so sleepy tomorrow.

19.08.2003Tuesday 19 August

Wake, to train, uneventful journey, regretfully express train not stopping at my station, slightly longer walk, ferry, iced coffee and hot chips, lecture, newsagent’s for graph book, IRC while pretending to do practical, tutorial, lecture, build 4-bit parallel adder-subtracter, wait for friends to build and rebuild theirs multiple times until it works, ferry, train home, chip shop, chips, vinegar, eat, soak finger, “The Untouchables” DVD, Mum on MSN, Becky on IRC, web host forum, Milo, teeth, bed – and thus another day is filled, filed away, and gone. “The Untouchables” is quite good, perhaps somewhat basic, but good – I wonder how accurately, if at all, it depicted the events of that time.
I’ve come across a rather serious problem. Quoted from the PHP manual, “In PHP, a character is the same as a byte, that is, there are exactly 256 different characters possible. This also implies that PHP has no native support of Unicode.” PHP does provide a function to encode some non-Unicode text to UTF-8, and vice versa, however there appears to be no way to support Unicode in PHP, as it assumes a character is a single byte. I can’t say how stupid this is, but that’s how it is. My site, and all its data, is stored as UTF-8, which is really the only logical format for storing textual data. Tonight I noticed that, as part of my form validation I’m counting how many characters are being input for my comments, and PHP is counting bytes as characters, but I’m inputting UTF-8, so PHP’s character count isn’t the same as the real character count, which is causing problems with my string truncation. Theoretically, I could end up with invalid characters if PHP truncates a multi-byte character halfway through. While I’m sure it’s much easier to stick to simple ASCII, I think it’s time that Americans accepted that there are certain other people in the world, who may live outside America, and who may not necessarily communicate in plain ASCII. Not having native Unicode support in something like PHP is particularly stupid, as UTF-8 is the international standard for textual communications across the internet, and is the required character set for any XML processor and, following logically on from that, XHTML, which is, hopefully, what the majority of PHP code should be outputting. To rephrase that thought in a more readable manner and without the myriad of commas, PHP, when dealing with XHTML (which should be replacing HTML, and which is presumably the primary purpose of PHP), should be required to understand and internally use UTF-8 as an XHTML document is an XML application. I, therefore, conclude that PHP, and any applications coded in PHP, are technically invalid. I’m afraid I’ve used too many commas again, but I do feel a little better after all that. PHP sucks, but I have to use something to support my XML and its XSL, and parse various links until browsers support something a bit more advanced than what they do now – and PHP is what my web host provides.
Oh dear, it is tomorrow. I must go to bed.
Comment by bv – Wednesday 20 August 2003, 12:23 AM
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 20 August 2003, 12:39 AM
  It’s made from squashed trees, and contains carcinogenic green for the lines, as well as carcinogenic white for the parts that aren’t lines, and it has a wiggle-wire up the top that alternatively goes in and out of holes in the paper, effectively binding it together to qualify for the required “bound” attribute so I can take it into my exam, and it has enough holes punched down the side so that I can put it into standard A4 ring binders in both the right and two wrong positions. I bought it from the newsagent near the crazy writer’s coffee shop where the POD is, and I think it cost $3.10 including GST. There were alternative versions available for less at the Union bookshop, but they had doubtful binding, which could have contained elephant’s spittle for all I know, so I couldn’t buy them.

20.08.2003Wednesday 20 August

I had a pleasant and much needed sleep in. After lunch, I read the first page of my “Programming in the Large” assignment specifications, and got waylaid for the next few hours. Admittedly, I was installing and configuring things for my assignment, but it was getting dark outside before I got around to reading pages two, three and four. I now have my computer set up to write, edit and compile java, and run a unit testing application, Roast. I also know how to utilise the standard input and output with java, and parse command line instructions, and how to calculate the standard deviation of a series of numbers. Perhaps not life enhancing skills, but hopefully enough to get good marks for this assignment. In finger related news, the abscess has now moved all the way around the front of the nail, along the fingertip, and is at the base of the nail nearly back where it started. The nail is coming away from the skin along the fingertip, and it’s not very pleasant – but it is less sore today.
I’ve now dined, showered, fed the animals, commented and uploaded my code to the uni server where it will be examined, successfully compiled and tested it there, and am about to clean my fangs and go to bed.

21.08.2003Thursday 21 August – Doctor’s Appointment

The name of my medicine is Sporahexal™. It causes life threatening allergic reactions, which may include skin rash, itching, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, fever and joint pain, swelling of face, lips or tongue and severe abdominal cramps or diarrhoea – especially after several weeks. Other side effects may also occur in some patients. I should not be alarmed by this list of possible side effects, I may not experience any of them; nevertheless, I should go to the accident and emergency department at my nearest hospital. Sporahexal™ can cause bacteria normally present in the bowel to multiply and I may need urgent medical attention. My doctor has weighed the risks of my medicine against the benefits it is expected to have for me. It contains the active ingredient cephalexin monohydrate. Cephalexin belongs to a group of antibiotics called cephalosporins, which are closely related to penicillins, and work by killing the bacteria causing my infection, or by stopping its growth. There is no evidence that Sporahexal™ is addictive.
I went and saw Doctor Amanda Maitland at the Douglas Gordon Health Centre at uni, about what turns out to be a mucous cyst in my mouth and showed her my finger while I was there. She prescribed Keflex™, which the chemist substituted with an alternative, Sporahexal™. I am to take two capsules twice a day, until all are taken or I am incapacitated or hospitalised – whichever occurs first. I must also stop if I get a sore white mouth or tongue or vaginal itching – which I feel is unlikely given the circumstances. As for the cyst, I am to see a dentist or oral surgeon. The cheapest and most stimulating way to do this is apparently through UQ’s Turbot Street centre, where I believe they have undergraduates with knives. This reminds me of the time I was told I needed a hole chopped into my lung, and I let the young doctor practice on me. It was remarkably stimulating, due, I believe, to the total lack of anaesthetic rather than any inexperience on the young doctor’s behalf. I discovered something rather obvious – it hurts when having a rather large hole cut into one’s side. I also discovered something less obvious – the muscle between the ribs is incredibly strong, and took two doctors chopping with great force and another to brace me so I wasn’t pushed off the operating table. It’s also somewhat unpleasant having someone with a sharp blade using all their strength to slice through muscle, which feels nastily close to one’s heart, and without anaesthetic. You can imagine how pleased I was when not only was it unsuccessful, but I was told it was unnecessary – and quite probably not the right thing to do. I was further pleased to find out, after a month in hospital, that, while I shouldn’t have been chopped open, because I was I could easily have received treatment which would probably have prevented the subsequent re-collapse of my lung a while later. I did learn one good lesson from that prolonged and stimulating experience, and that’s to distrust all doctors, always – not that doctors are dishonest, but that they must believe that they are always right and that they will not communicate their doubt even if they’re not sure – and that is why I am online, researching my antibiotics before taking them.
This monitor is scary. I can handle all the lights dimming when I turn it on, and the impressive all-pervading magnetic power it radiates – I can even handle the way it turns off, giving up the ghost in one last outpouring of subconscious power, but what I don’t like is the way it, occasionally and seemingly randomly, redoes its all-pervading magnetic trick. I’ll be just sitting here and the screen will dim and blur, and I can feel the force emanating out, as I assume it degausses. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to do this or not – I suspect not. There’s something almost cosy about my old seventeen-inch monitor, which just sits there quietly, and turns on and off like a normal monitor. Ironically, my new, larger monitor uses less power, despite its apparently overpowered degauss. I think I’ll send it back under warranty just before the warranty expires, and see if it is supposed to have a mind of its own. Apart from its quirks (which it didn’t have before being abused for 2000 kilometres on the back of a truck), I must say I’ve been very impressed with this monitor, and haven’t actually seen another that I think can compare. Don’t even mention LCD displays – I don’t believe they’re fit to be used for anything more graphically demanding than word-processing.
My second lecture of the day was cancelled due to illness, and the three hours of practicals that followed aren’t much more than time during which we’re allocated a computer, which as I’ve got my own far better one at home, isn’t greatly appealing to me. This left me with a lot of IRC time, during which I fiddled around with my java code and had an argument about whether tabs are, by default, replaced with eight spaces or not under UNIX. They’re not, of course. They are replaced, by default, with however many spaces are necessary to preserve eight-spaced tab stops, which means that most tabs will be replaced by less than eight spaces, but it was a bit difficult to convince the arguer of that. After a creamy chocolate roll, I headed to my “Computer Organisation” tutorial with a bar of chocolate and chocolate milk – and all this after complaining that I couldn’t afford a candy bar. The tutor was late and the tutorial was boring but there’s a class exam on Monday and I haven’t even opened the textbook for this subject yet, so maybe going to all the tutorials will help save me somehow. I like to fool myself into thinking that by simply attending all the lectures and tutorials, wisdom and learning will somehow sink into my subconscious, ready to jump out during exams and other times of dire need. Of course, come exam time I realise I should do a little study, and proceed to do four months worth in a few days. It’s stupid, I know, but I haven’t figured out any solution yet. Anyway, after my tutorial I went and printed out a few notes for the upcoming exam, and headed to the doctor. I was considering getting a medical certificate saying I couldn’t type, but that seems a bit pointless now that I’ve completed my java assignment, especially as as I do appear to have adapted to typing with only two and a half functioning fingers on my left hand.
Comment by DM – Thursday 21 August 2003, 8:42 PM
  Ah yeah, the class test on Monday. I guess I really should look at the practice test sometime before then. Hope the antibiotics work.
Comment by Ned – Friday 22 August 2003, 1:14 AM
  Me too.
Comment by DK – Friday 22 August 2003, 6:55 AM
  I do not believe it would be possible for drugs to have no side effects. There needs to be a balance of risk/benefit to the person taking the medications. The idea of patient information leaflet is to provide the user as much information as possible up front, so that one can recognise side effects if and when they develope, and act accordingly. The chances of developing one or more of the serious side effects are very rare, otherwise the medication will not be approved for sale to the public in the first place.
Comment by Ned – Friday 22 August 2003, 2:01 PM
  Ah, like DDT. No wait, that wasn’t a medicine, was it?
Comment by DK – Monday 25 August 2003, 3:47 AM
  AFAIK, DDT has been (and still is in some countries) used in topical applications to deter insects from biting you. Not 100% certain though :-p
Comment by pat – Tuesday 31 August 2004, 11:06 AM
  Edited: Offensive
  Rough Translation: “Dear Sir or Madam, you appear to have genitalia on your head. Have you considered immigrating to Iraq?”
Comment by strange – Sunday 19 September 2004, 3:43 PM
  You are a very wierd person with 2 much time on your hands

22.08.2003Friday 22 August

I guess that it sounds like I’ve been constantly sick, as I’ve had more than one person now mention that I seem to have lots of ill health, but really, I have been healthy up until I got the flu. Many people at uni, Joe, and even Silas in Cairns, got the flu at the same time with the same symptoms. Silas had to go to the doctor for antibiotics for a secondary infection, Joe has now also gone to the doc and has antibiotics, and some people from college were apparently hospitalised. In other words, it was a wide spread and nasty flu. I don’t believe there is much anyone can do about the flu; it seems the healthiest of people still get the flu, although I guess they probably get it less often, and most likely recover faster.
Hay fever
After I left Rossville, I was slightly “fluey”, which I believe was from hay fever. I’m not sure if there’s much difference between hay fever and a cold. Hay fever is when your body attacks something harmless, thinking it is a bug. A cold is when your body attacks a bug, thinking it is a bug. There is probably no difference, except that in the case of a cold the virus can cause other problems (people get a cough from throat infection etc) whereas in hay fever the body fighting its imagined but non-existent bug causes the problems – at least, that is how I understand it. What I’m trying to get at is that I don’t consider hay fever ill health or sickness, rather something certain people suffer from – in my case probably triggered by something in the rainforest or the dust or probably a combination of the two.
When this bad flu came around, which was just after I had gotten over my hay fever, I, along with almost everyone else I know, got it. Ironically, Joe, who isn’t the healthiest person around, “killed” his flu by drinking, as he put it. He took two days off work, and then on the third day went up north and stayed the night with his daughter and was “better” the next day. Meanwhile, I got sick on the Wednesday, went to uni on Thursday but felt bad all day, took Friday off and lay in bed half the day, and was sick over the weekend – gradually getting better on Sunday. I was better enough on Sunday to go to the ABC’s concert. The ironic part though, is that I was (as far as I know) completely over the flu (apart from a sniffle and all those things that come after a flu), but Joe and Silas have both since had to go to the doctor and get antibiotics as they got secondary infections. Funnily enough so did I, but it was my finger. You don’t usually expect to get a flu infection in a finger. While I’m not entirely sure, and probably will never know what bug is in my finger, it’s most probably the flu bug. I remember biting a small cuticle, as I often do, to chop off the little flap of skin, and within an hour I had a blister there – just a normal clear blister. By the night, the blister had turned into a puss-filled blister, and rapidly turned into an abscess, which is really just a fancy name for puss-filled blister. I didn’t know what to do, but figured it would fix itself. The puss filled blister started where the cuticle was, and slowly over a matter of days, spread around the front of the finger, along under the front of the nail, and at the moment has gone right the way around the front of the nail and is up the top of the nail in the middle of the finger. In fact, the puss-filled blister has all but disappeared, but the finger is still red. I mistakenly assumed the blister or abscess itself was the infection, and that the infection was travelling around the finger and was now nearly gone, but the doctor pointed out the obvious, that the infection started at the cuticle, and has spread around the finger. The puss-filled thing is just what happens when the body fights the infection. It’s a collection of dead cells. Therefore, at the moment, rather than the infection having moved around my finger and being almost gone, it has actually spread around my finger and the whole finger is infected. That is why I got antibiotics, which should clear the infection up within 5 days. Antibiotics are amazing things.
Now, the mucus cyst is quite normal. I have always gotten them ever since I can remember. I always thought of them as “pimples”, but they’re actually mucus cysts. Normally, when I got a “pimple” in my mouth, it would go away in a week or so, but this one hasn’t. I wasn’t worried about it, I had it all the time I was back home on holidays, but as it’s been two months and it hasn’t gone away I thought I should see a doc just to make sure. As far as I know, they’re quite normal and there’s nothing serious about it. At least, I have had tons before, just that they clear up and this one has obviously become more permanently blocked. The doctor just said it wasn’t a doctor issue – go talk to a dentist, so I don’t actually know if they will want to manually unblock it or just leave it and see. I will phone up the dentist at some stage and make an appointment. There are three dentist options, a normal paying dentist, the community health dentist, or the uni one. I plan to phone up the uni mob and see if they’re interested – they only accept cases that are of use to teaching their students. As far as I know, the students themselves don’t do anything – they just watch and observe. They aren’t allowed to do anything dangerous or let unqualified people do anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re actually quite good as they’d be dentist lecturers I’d imagine. If they’re not interested, or if I find that they aren’t any good, I will put my name down for the community dentist. I need a check-up anyway. The doctor told me it could be up to a month on the waiting list, which is fine by me.
A possible side effect of these antibiotics is that they can occasionally cause various bugs that normally live in the bowel to multiply out of control, causing thrush and other nasty things. This makes me a bit worried about taking acidophilus, as they actually cause stomach bugs (albeit good ones) to grow, and these antibiotics can cause bowel bugs (also good ones) to grow too much. This makes me wonder if it is a good idea to take acidophilus or not. Unfortunately there’s probably no way I can find out, as I don’t think a normal doctor is going to recommend acidophilus anyway as it’s sort of an alternative thing.
It is always a little scary around large groups of people. Infections, flu, and various other viruses and things like that can transfer so much easier. Since having my infected finger, I have been very aware of all the things I’m touching. Like right now, I’m typing on a keyboard that has probably had a hundred other students typing on it today, and who knows where their hands were or what diseases they have, although there isn’t much I can do about that.
I believe I’m relatively healthy. I have had a bad flu which was going around, and that got into my finger from me biting it, but apart from that, I think I’m normally healthy. Hay fever seems to be one of those things that certain people suffer from, for no easily discernible reason, and I seem more prone to it when I’m in the rainforest.

23.08.2003Saturday 23 August

I had to study for my Monday exam, but I didn’t end up doing much study. Somehow, other things kept happening, I washed my sheets, Joe cleaned the room opposite me, I kept putting it off, and then, at the last minute when I had just started to seriously study, Joe wanted some scratchies, so I drove down to the local newsagent, but they were closed. I drove to the other local newsagent and they were closed too. I returned home, and Joe told me where another, less local, newsagent was, so I drove there and got them. Joe then ordered some “Chinese” for me, vegetarian noodles – which were quite nice, and we ate them. I ended up staying up late, which was a stupid thing to do. I didn’t even have any real point to stay up, and should have been studying. Tomorrow I plan to go to the latest ABC Classic FM concert, which will mean I won’t get much time to study in the morning, especially after staying up so late. I guess I will have to make an effort to come home a bit earlier than usual to study. I’m stressed now.

24.08.2003Sunday 24 August – ABC Classic FM Concert

Study did not work well and someone had put detergent in a fountain in the city, and it had built a huge pile of foam – I wish I’d had my camera with me.
I slept in, due to stupidly staying up most of last night, which was dumb, dumb, dumb! I can’t believe how stupid I am.
I went to the ABC Classic FM Concert. I figured I could easily go to it, and get home in time to study. It goes from three to four, leaving me plenty of study time in the evening. Of course, that is not what happened. The concert, however, was good. The Griffith Trio, comprising Michele Walsh on violin, Markus Stocker on cello and Stephen Emmerson on piano, played Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio in G minor, Op 17 and Rebecca Clarke’s Piano Trio. The hour passed fast, with me engrossed with the cello and violin. I’m not much of a fan of piano, ding, ding, ding – they’re too basic.
After the concert, Raymond and I caught a bus into the city where I stayed too long while he tried to buy weird things, although I did accidentally find the Hare Krishna’s food place, so I might see if I can go there next weekend. After wasting lots of time, I caught the train home. I met an American professor on his way to see a mosque in Kuraby, which is apparently the first mosque to be burnt to dust – ever in the 1400 year’s mosques have been around. He also reckoned Queenslanders are in the Guinness Book of Records as the most racist people on earth based, at least partly, on the burning of this mosque. That sounds a little unlikely to me, but I haven’t checked. I read an introduction to Islam, and some poetry by someone similar to Omar Khayyam, although I forget his name now.
Arriving home horribly later than I’d planned, but still with enough time to study, I planned to begin study immediately, and finish off my hotdog sausages before they go bad. However, Joe had different ideas. He wanted pizza. I told him I didn’t want pizza, and that I had to study, and that I already had dinner planned, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer, he’d been drinking and wasn’t fit to drive, and all the pizza coupons were for a minimum of two pizzas, so we ended up driving down to Eagle Boys. Having managed to drive the wrong way up the one-way drive-through, we picked up two pizzas, one garlic bread, and twelve bite-sized heart-shaped ice creams and drove home again. Of course, I then had to do the polite thing and eat my pizza with Joe, especially considering he did pay for them.
I went online. I did have to go online to pay my rent, and I thought it would be a good idea to check the university’s newsgroup for exam help. There were quite a few posts to read, and it took me a while. Then I had a chat to Mum and replied to some emails. That took a while too. Then I had to complain to #bits about how I hadn’t studied, and listen to everyone else explaining how they’ve studied even less and never will study, which also took a while.
I actually studied. I read the practice exam and tried to get the same answers as the right answers. Occasionally I figured out how to. I then opened my textbook for the first time, and tried to understand the different number representations in binary. After a while of studying, and especially late at night after a late night, my mind stops taking in information and it becomes pointless. This happened, so I went and chatted to Becky for a while and wrote all this. I’m guessing I’ve done less than two hours study. I think I’ll skip lectures tomorrow and study instead. The exam is at midday, so assuming I get to uni at the normal time, I can have three hours study, or if I go to my lecture and just skip the prac after, two hours study. I wish I wasn’t so stupid! I wish I had studied! I have learnt my lesson now. I’m doing four subjects and there’s four useable days in a week, so I’ll do a minimum of one hour’s study each day, one day per subject. I don’t want to set my goals too high or I won’t meet them, but I should be able to manage an hour a day.
Comment by Michelle – Monday 25 August 2003, 12:58 PM
  How is your finger doing? Any chance of us seeing a picture of it? I love pus.
Comment by Ned – Monday 25 August 2003, 6:39 PM
  There are some similar, although not quite as bad, pictures over here:
Comment by DK – Monday 25 August 2003, 8:13 PM
  Not falling for that one again :-p Hope you'll get better soon ;-)
Comment by io – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 4:25 AM
  "I’m not much of a fan of piano, ding, ding, ding - they’re too basic." WhoooOA! That's it. I'm going to find out where you live!

25.08.2003Monday 25 August – Computer Organisation Exam

Woe. Dismal morbidity. Morbid dismality. Gloom. But enough of that, it’s slightly possible that life may, perhaps, still go on. To cut a short story shorter, I didn’t do very well in my exam.
I woke, swallowed my antibiotics, caught my train, ate my fried noodles, and went to my “Intro to Information Systems” lecture. A friend and I went down to the computer labs where I used my rather pointless “Information Technology Project” practical to study for my “Computer Organisation” exam. Fortunately for us, a guy who just happened to be in the lab at the same time and noticed us studying showed us his nice printed cheat sheet he’d made, and as we’d both been too dim-witted to make our own, we went and photocopied his. If I did pass, I shall credit that cheat sheet.
Lots of us trooped into the UQ Centre, put our bags down the front, made our way to our seats, and prepared for our exam – forty minutes to attempt twenty-five multiple-choice questions. It was hard. Of the twenty-five multi-choice questions, I ended up guessing between six and ten as I had run out of time. This is probably a good place to express my strong disagreement with time-based examinations. I do not believe a time-based examination tests one’s knowledge or one’s ability to solve the given problems. I believe that the only thing tested during a time-based exam is one’s ability to complete a given set of tasks under pressure and at high speed. While this may be a desired skill in certain fields, it is not the purpose of most examinations. A university style examination should, and is supposed to, test one’s knowledge of the subject matter and give the examinee an opportunity to prove to the examiner that they have indeed mastered whatever they were studying, or at least achieved a specific level. Time-based examinations are often used to divide a class into different grades, based on the horribly wrong assumption that those who are able to complete, correctly, more of the exam in the time given understand and have learnt more than those who don’t. This is where the problem lies. They are effectively testing and marking on someone’s ability to complete something fast, and not their knowledge of the subject matter. I understand that examinations do need a time limit, but that this time limit should be calculated so that the majority of students are able to complete the examination, and be marked on their ability to answer the set questions. This transfers the onus of accurately representing the levels of understanding that the examinees have achieved onto the exam itself, or more accurately, whoever set the exam. If an examinee has done well in the exam, this would indicate that they have understood the content and been able to apply that understanding to the exam problems and successfully demonstrate their knowledge, rather than merely showing that they have the ability to complete a set number of questions in a set amount of time. I believe that, given more time, I would be able to achieve much better results – which more accurately indicates my level of achievement as, regardless of the time taken, solving a problem does indicate that one is able to solve that problem and understands the problem. The thing that worried me about this exam is that as I was walking out I overheard someone say, “Well that was easy”, and another person saying, “I managed to complete all the questions and had time to go back over them and check them”. Perhaps some study would help. I doubt I’ve done more than three hours study since the beginning of semester, in this subject, although I have been to all the lectures and tutorials. I’ve learnt my lesson too, the same lesson I learnt at each of my exams last semester – I must study if I wish to prevent myself dying from stress or get good marks. I guess it’s lucky I’m a genius or I would have totally failed outright. As it is, I think, or hope, that I may have at least passed this exam.
Two hours of skull numbing “Intro to Information Systems”, a milkshake, a piece of pizza and three bits of garlic bread later and I was back on the train heading home. I feel sort of self-conscious eating pizza and drinking milkshakes in the lecture theatres, and almost feel guilty every time I walk past the “No Food or Drink” sign, but I’m claiming it’s for health reasons. These lectures could quite easily cause permanent skullnumbery without a milkshake. Once home, I walked around the yard taking macro images of flowers and plants, and a few normal photos of the back yard. I hope to get some time to look at them tomorrow.
Oh dear, I am terrified. I’ve just received an email that the preliminary results for today’s exam have been released. Woe am I, sixteen out of twenty-five. 64%. Pathetic. I’m such an idiot for not studying. I hope I’ve learnt my lesson and don’t do this again. Not happy. Test statistics are as follows: Number sitting test: 326 (out of 341 enrolled students); Maximum mark: 25 (out of 25); Minimum mark: 6; Average mark: 14.6; Median mark: 14; Standard deviation: 4.1; Number with passing mark (13 or higher): 214 (66%). It looks as though at least someone got 25 out of 25. I am so jealous.
Comment by lulu – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 9:05 AM
  Congratulations, thei! You at least attended and passed. Plus remind everyone about your flu and sore finger. :)
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 10:17 AM
  Thanks, I got above average :)
Comment by Monte – Thursday 12 August 2004, 2:05 PM
  Congrads, enjoyed your site, keep up the success.
  Cheers M.
Comment by Ned – Friday 13 August 2004, 2:14 AM
  Thank you! I am trying to.

26.08.2003Tuesday 26 August

I spoke to a few friends who had also taken yesterday’s examination, and they all achieved lower marks than I, which makes me feel a bit better, although sixteen out of twenty-five is pretty grim no matter which way I look at it. I also asked the lecturer for a copy of his pretty marks distribution graph, which he said he’d post onto the course website soon, so I’ll be able to add that to my UNI site. I added another page to my amused site – about a cat, who manages to get rid of the family dog. I added a little list to the top of the comments pages on each of my sites showing when the last comment was posted, mainly for my own use in tracking them, which is more important now that my users and abusers can leave URL’s in journal comments. I guess that about sums up today – nothing particularly exciting.
I met John today. I’ve never seen him before, nor has he ever seen me, yet he knew me by name – from my website. I’ve now had a few people come up and say “Hey you’re Ned. You don’t know me but I saw your website!” I’m not quite sure if this is something to be proud of or not, but it’s nice to know people do go to my website. I guess I am a smidgen distinctive looking, for better or (I’d say) worse.
I finished my antibiotics tonight. My finger doesn’t look too good, but I don’t think it’s infected anymore. I’m not sure what to do. The doctor said to come back if it hadn’t cleared up by the end of the antibiotics, but I’m not sure if it has cleared up. It doesn’t seem to have any pus, but it is still red, and the skin is now beginning to fall off. I reckon it’s no longer infected but that the skin that the infection killed will now fall off, but I don’t know for sure. It really isn’t looking that good. I guess I’ll wait and see, if it gets worse I’ll panic, if it gets better I’ll type faster, and if it just stays the same I won’t know what to do.
Two news stories caught my eye tonight. The BBC announces plans to grant full public access to all its archives and the US Justice Department announces that crime has fallen to the lowest level since they began compiling records thirty years ago. Considering that the BBC has the world’s best news, radio and TV archives, and that crime is bad, this is quite good news.
Comment by Michelle – Thursday 28 August 2003, 11:27 AM
  If the finger doesn't look 100%, go back to the doctor. Don't mess around with it. Just don't let it look like that spider bite. Gahhhh!!! Was that your thumb, Ned?
Comment by Ned – Thursday 28 August 2003, 1:27 PM
  If you mean, was the spider bite my thumb, then I don’t think it was. If you mean, was the sexy the-i thumb over at his site,, mine, then yes it was. In fact, it still is. As for the doctor, I shall wait a while and see. The skin is falling off, dead, as I type this.

27.08.2003Wednesday 27 August

My day off, and I slept in until way after midday. What a waste of time. I didn’t do much of any interest for the rest of the day.
Unicode Font
It’s funny what’s available, and what isn’t. I’m used to coding with Courier New as my font, or at least some fixed-pitch monotone slab-serif font, but I can’t find a fixed-pitch Unicode font with enough glyphs to use in my editor. Editing with a proportional font makes it rather pointless indenting anything, but editing a document full of concealed or incorrect characters is even more pointless. Of the more than one hundred fonts installed on this system, only “Lucida Sans Unicode”, “Code2000” and “Code2001”, “Arial MS Unicode”, “MS Mincho” and “Palatino Linotype” contain the subscript characters ₍₀₁₂₃₄₅₆₇₈₉₊₋₌₎, which is what I’m currently using as an indicator as to whether a font is likely to contain any of the rarer Unicode sub-ranges. Out of those, only “Arial MS Unicode”, “Code2000” and “MS Mincho” would allow one to write the mildly amusing phrase, ⓐⓢⓒⓘⓘ ⓢⓣⓤⓟⓘⓓ ⓠⓤⓔⓢⓣⓘⓞⓝ ⒢⒠⒯ ⒜ ⒮⒯⒰⒫⒤⒟ ⒜⒩⒮⒤. “Arial MS Unicode” contains 50377 glyphs, covering all code points within the Unicode Standard, version 2.1. “Code2000”, a shareware font, contains 34801 glyphs but no hinting or font smoothing, instead relying on Windows’ font smoothing, which, for various reasons, I have turned off – so it looks rather grim and I can’t use it. “MS Mincho” contains 17807 glyphs, making it the most complete fixed-pitch font that I’ve been able to find, and thus the one I’m forced to use when editing Unicode code. Sadly, it’s not a nice font, hard to read at small sizes and not at all like Courier or any of the console fonts that I’m used to, but I guess I can adapt. As an interesting comparison, a font supporting the standard basic Latin, Greek and Cyrillic, along with the extended and supplemented Latin contains around 650 glyphs and a standard extended font with Hebrew and Arabic ranges, such as the common “Times New Roman”, “Arial” and “Courier New” that ship with Windows XP contains around 1320 glyphs. It’s probably worth noting that I have found very few applications that seem to be able to handle editing in Unicode anyway – and that’s including those that say they can. Ironically, the basic Notepad that ships with Windows XP handles Unicode and UTF-8 correctly, while expensive things such as Dreamweaver, while claiming to handle Unicode – don’t very well at all. EditPlus, the editor I use for almost everything, can open and save in Unicode and UTF-8 formats (and any other code page installed), but it still stupidly converts any typed or pasted Unicode into question marks, and strongly disagrees with big-endian Unicode. I really hope they get around to fixing it. XMLSpy stands out in this field, able to read and write in any format, without any problems – but unfortunately it’s not well suited to general editing, and still seems a bit immature. Perhaps one day someone will make my ideal text editor, along with my ideal font. I’m curious to know what font Mozilla uses, and where it is, as it seems quite complete.
I phoned Centrelink to find out why my payment had decreased. It seems I have to fill out another rent assistance form, which they’re sending out to me. Apparently they’ve now changed to an automated PIN system and are planning to begin operating similar to phone banking, but when the woman tried to transfer me to wherever it is I can get my PIN from, it didn’t work.
I’ve just watched “Bulletproof”. I wasn’t overly impressed. I’d better get my stuff ready for uni tomorrow and get to bed; it’s already later than I’d wanted.

28.08.2003Thursday 28 August

Pleurodesis Operation
This day, one year ago, I had my pleurodesis operation. I guess it’s gone well so far. My lung still hurts at times, and still worries me a little bit, and I still can’t talk or think about it for more than about five minutes at most before I start going a bit weird, but apart from that, I seem to be doing ok. I’m still too scared to do anything too physical, but I’ve done my fair share of running for trains and things now, with no ill effects. The main worrying thing is that I don’t think I’ve mentally gotten over it anymore than at the time, although I think I handled myself well.
Toothfish Pirates
Can you imagine Columbus or Cook reading the news, hearing that a fifty-metre boat was spotted by an unarmed Australian customs patrol around four thousand kilometres off the coast of Australia, practically in Antarctica, dodging icebergs, and a three week, six thousand eight hundred kilometre chase ensues through a mountainous, freezing ocean dotted with icebergs, with both boats sometimes less than a kilometre apart? The boat was eventually boarded in six-metre seas and forty kilometre winds by forty Australian troops on a South African navy vessel that had joined the chase a week ago, having fought their way through snowstorms, rough seas and treacherous icebergs while a British patrol vessel raced east from the Falklands to the interception point in the Roaring Forties. Why? The vessel was suspected of poaching Patagonian toothfish. Last year a similar sub-Antarctic chase ended after two weeks when Australian forces abseiled onto two Russian fishing vessels from a South African naval helicopter. The running costs of the Australian patrol boat are estimated at $35,000 a day. Amazing.
I slept in, but through the utilisation of specialised high-speed transportation techniques, commonly known as running, I managed to deposit what was left of me onto the train, and remove myself at the other end. The pleasant stroll down through the park was marred only by the impending destination, which promptly arrived. My first lecture occurred and no more need be said. Upon walking into my second lecture, I was informed that no one who knew basic HTML or had taken the “Internet Interface Design” course should attend the lecture, so I didn’t. I spent the next five hours, two practicals and a tutorial in a computer lab alternatively chatting on IRC, coding “Hello World” applications in various formats, reading web pages and shifting uncomfortably in my seat.
I entrained for my residual habitat, planning to get off at Woodridge and walk back via the shops but encountered an insufficient vigour exception and got off at my station instead.
Joe wanted scratchies, so I drove down to Woolworth’s, bought some much-needed sustenance – ice cream, cream, chocolate topping and such like, and drove back again, by which time Joe had made me dinner. Dinner resembled Noah’s Ark in vegetables – two of every known kind. I’m sure it was very healthy.
Comment by Michelle – Friday 29 August 2003, 11:53 AM
  For those of us who are non-Aussies (oh, the shame!!) what are scratchies? Do you mean just generic junk food/snack food, or are you referring to something else? BTW, here in North America, Patagonian toothfish is also known as Chilean sea bass, and is quite a delicacy. I never knew it was endangered and that Australia protected their resources so vigorously. Is 4000 KM away from the coast still considered Australian territorial waters?
Comment by Ned – Friday 29 August 2003, 1:28 PM
  “Scratchies” are a form of lotto gambling where you scratch off a panel or panels revealing something underneath. They’re generally formulated as some type of themed game, crossword of similar, and you usually win by displaying three of a kind, more than a specified amount of words and things like that. Australia, in case you weren’t aware, is the best country in the world, and, as you can see, fishing in our waters isn’t recommended :-) It was 4000 km’s from the mainland, but Australia claims most of Antarctica, and some small Antarctic islands – which is where the boat was spotted. We also have some of the strictest – some say draconian, immigration laws in the world, which a majority of Australian’s appear to support.

29.08.2003Friday 29 August

I overslept, missing my train. It was somewhat good in a way, as when I woke up and checked my train timetable and uni schedule to see what I would miss, I realised that I hadn’t needed to go in that early anyway, as the “Information Technology Project” lectures are currently on basic HTML, which I think I know. I caught the next train in, and got to my tutorial only ten minutes late. I had another group tutorial today – we form groups of four or five and get given problems to solve. One of each group must then explain their solution using an overhead projector – it’s my turn to present next week.
I drove down to the local newsagent for Joe, who then bought me some Chinese noodles, which I ate for dinner. I have a sore throat, which is worrying as I only just have over my previous flu and don’t want to catch anything else. It’s probably just a sore throat so I shouldn’t worry too much, or at least that’s what I’m hoping.
After my abortive attempt to redesign the hidden workings of my site a while back, I decided it was time to have another go. The thinking and experience from my first attempt paid off, and I now have a system where the existing noncompliant pages will work as they did previously, but any new pages will be parsed through my template system. Existing links are preserved, and at the moment, the existing look is also preserved. There is almost no noticeable difference, apart from the addition of an unobtrusive comment box at the bottom of each page. I’m hoping a few people leave comments every so often as it’s interesting to see that people really are looking at my site, and to see what they think. I’m quite happy how this has worked out. No more scary Dreamweaver templates and site-wide find and replace searches to botch. I should now be able to implement a few things that have been sitting in the too hard basket, waiting for some easier way to make site-wide changes. The URL,, has me amused – I guess it must be time for bed.

30.08.2003Saturday 30 August – Riverfest

As usual, I slept in. Not long after I’d woken, Michelle came over for a bit, and then it was late and I showered and got ready to go catch a train into the city.
Joe drove me down to the station where I caught a train into the city. It was the busiest train I’ve seen since being in Brisbane – totally jam packed, rather reminiscent of some of the better Indian trains, except cleaner and slower. I arrived at Southbank around four o’clock, and wandered around for hours and hours. There’s millions of people, billions maybe, also wandering around and some have set up blankets and chairs and even a few beach tents, waiting for the fireworks. There was some jet skiing, some others parachuted, and I even found a little collection of people around a group doing a break dancing display or competition or something odd. There an RAAF Roulette display, which is a plane that flies upside down and exciting things like that, although it didn’t excite me too much. Then, finally after the skywriting, parachuting, waterskiing and everything else, at half past seven, it was fireworks time. An F111 flew overhead with its afterburners on, which was rather exciting, and then the fireworks began. They were perhaps the best fireworks I’ve seen, from a technical viewpoint, but I didn’t find myself all that impressed, or enjoying them so much. I think part of the problem was the atmosphere – fifteen million people standing within a two-foot radius just isn’t nice. The other thing is that one firework is much the same as the next, and after one hundred fireworks, the rest are totally the same and it becomes a bit boring. I have enjoyed the smaller fireworks at Cooktown more, but these were, nonetheless, impressive – just that I wasn’t very impressed. At the end of the fireworks display, two F111’s did a “dump and burn” – an overpass while injecting massive amounts of fuel into their jet exhausts. That was impressive – the planes are apparently about 22 metres long, and the flames were roughly three times that length. I think I found the afterburner overfly more impressive as it was flown quite low directly above me. Perhaps embarrassingly, Australia is the only country that still uses F111 jets, and isn’t planning to retire them until 2020.
After the fireworks, everyone up and walked to the South Brisbane train station. You would have to be dumb to catch the train from South Brisbane. There were approximately two billion people trying to get through a single archway into the station. The queue was fifteen to twenty people wide by fifty or more people long. Hmm, that’s a thousand people – perhaps my estimations are wrong, but that is what I thought at the time. Anyway, you’d still have to be stupid to try to get into that station, so I walked the kilometre or so up to Roma Street Station. Apparently, there was also some boring football match on this evening, which would probably explain why the trains are so extremely busy. The train was already mostly full when I got on at Roma Street, and filled up entirely when we got to South Brisbane Station. You can imagine what happened when we got to Southbank Station, which is even closer to the Riverfest – shades of Indian trains again. It was a friendly, or perhaps just drunk, crowd on the train. They sung songs and told jokes, and it was a pleasant party atmosphere, at least until the woman in the seat across from mine spewed all over the place, enhancing the Indian effect, and realistically, I guess the party effect too. The only joke I can remember at the moment was when the train went across a join in the tracks, going very slowly, we nearly stopped, and the lights went out, as they do when changing lines, and someone yelled out “Sonya, put another $2 in will you love?” Oh, I remembered another one – that same woman yelled halfway down the carriage to Sonya, asking if her rash had gone yet and if she was still scratching, then a short while later, asked if that had helped clear any room for her. Each nighttime train ride is different – something always happens, which is in direct contrast with the daytime train rides, which are usually identical with the same people travelling in to their same jobs, or whatever it is they do each day.
Oh dear, how can it possibly be this late? Why do I always stay up so late? Why can’t I be normal and go to bed at a normal time and do my assignments at a normal time and study normal amounts like all normal people do? Woe is I.

31.08.2003Sunday 31 August

After my compulsory sleep-in, I showered and ran for the train – with about three minutes to get there. Collapsing onto the train, I relaxed until South Brisbane Station, where I walked down to the ferry terminal and waited, and waited... and waited. I run a tight schedule, which sounds better than saying I’m always unorganised and running late, so I would only have had ten minutes to jog from the West End ferry terminal to the ABC Music Centre, and the CityCat was over quarter of an hour late. I ran from the ferry terminal to the ABC Music Centre, but I was still about five minutes late and the doors were locked. I briefly contemplated firebombing the building, but realised I didn’t have a lighter or any petrol, so caught another CityCat to uni and a bus from there to Indooroopilly and watched a movie instead. I have learnt a lesson from all this – don’t go outside, don’t leave home, and don’t even bother with schedules when there’s any sort of public event on – Brisbane can’t handle them.
I ate an overpriced but nice plate of nachos and spent $2.50 on a quarter of an hour of internet access at a net café near the cinemas at Indooroopilly, unfortunately having to leave some of my nachos as “Finding Nemo” was beginning and I still had to purchase my frozen coke. It mustn’t have been out for too long, as it was still showing in their large cinema. It is good; I really enjoyed it and do recommend it, although many people won’t like an animated Disney movie. After that, I watched “The Rage in Placid Lake”, an Australian movie which isn’t too bad either. This got me to thinking – here in Australia we have a mix of mainly American and Australian films, with a few other foreign films, although those are rare and usually limited to some of the smaller, more artistic cinemas. I wonder if, in America, they have smaller American films that play across America but no one outside America sees – I guess they would. Then I got to wondering, because almost invariably, the local Australian movies are better than the larger American ones, do they have better local movies that we don’t get to see, or do they all put up with the same crap that they export? What worries me is that enough people must presumably enjoy all the crud, as it is popular. On this same topic, Khan’s Kitchen – the Pakistani food place that served nice, cheap food is now gone and is going to be replaced with a Subway. I can’t believe it, or rather, I do sadly believe it. Indooroopilly eatery now consists of a donut place, a similar bakery place, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, Hungry Jacks... In other words, there’s no longer any food sold at the Indooroopilly eatery, yet I’m assuming market demand is responsible for this. It worries me, but then again, Australia now has one of the highest incidences of obesity in the world – we’ve just recently overtaken the US, and we’re rapidly climbing the ladder in terms of numbers of unhealthy people. It is sad, but if people are going to be so stupid, I guess it is what they deserve.
As part of our “Information Technology Project”, we’re being taught elementary English as applied to the IT world for four weeks. No one seems very happy about it, there’s a lot of complaining about being taught primary school English at a university where senior level English is a required entry prerequisite. However, be that as it may, we are being taught and we will be assessed on what we’ve learnt, and apparently, in the IT world, we need to write in short, concise sentences – avoiding all ambiguity and any clichés, whilst still maintaining an easily readable, grammatically correct presentation style; stringing thoughts together into long sentences is exactly what we’re not supposed to be doing, and using too many commas, like I tend to do, is sure to be frowned upon – especially when it ends up in overlong, semi-ambiguous, cliché-ridden sentences which are hard to quickly, easily and efficiently browse, allowing our superiors to, without difficulty, extract whatever information they’re looking for. I might try to write short sentences for a few days. Nasty little short sentences with no more than one comma and two “ands” per sentence. What Microsoft Word and I term “fragments”. I don’t like them, but I hope that our English lecturer will. I find my thoughts are fragmented and I instinctively insert a comma when I come to a pause, but it isn’t a new topic. I use commas to string together different but related ideas as I go along. Using periods seems to break up the logical flow I’m trying to impart to my readers. Then again, it isn’t very logical so it doesn’t matter too much. I think I actually like writing. My writing may be a jumble of usually very boring things, but when I’m in the mood, I do quite enjoy it. I don’t believe there’s any good way of writing that previous sentence using only one comma without totally changing it. I’m just rambling on here, and not using commas sucks, so I should finish off.
Comment by AnonymousFool – Monday 1 September 2003, 4:07 PM
  I do believe you mean "cliché" as opposed to "clique". "Clique" is defined as: A small exclusive group of friends or associates; whereas "cliché" is defined as:A trite or overused expression or idea. Enjoy. ;)
Comment by Ned – Monday 1 September 2003, 7:15 PM
  Yes, you could be right. There’s a very good chance I did mean “cliché” rather than “clique”. I shall blame Word until I think of a better excuse or gather the courage to admit I made a mistake (which is highly doubtful, of course). I have replaced all instances of “clique” with “cliché”, so there’s probably somewhere with “cliché” that should be “clique” now, although seeing as I’ve never heard of “clique” before, there probably isn’t.
Comment by Clint Felmingham – Monday 1 September 2003, 8:46 PM
  Blatant attempt to increase google pagerank. I have no shame ;p.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 2 September 2003, 2:19 AM
  That’s shameful :-)
Comment by anon – Saturday 23 June 2007, 1:59 PM
  It could be the fact that alot of food at cfs owned shopping centres contains ghb. the customers could be addicted to this and not the food!

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