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Summary| Highlights| 2003 (Year View)

01.01.2003Wednesday 1 January – New Year’s Day

The first day of 2003
It rained. I’m not sure how much rain as I slept in ridiculously late, but rain it did. The ground was wet and the creek is apparently up. It continued to sprinkle throughout the day. Mum and I watched Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life in the evening. I phoned Silas but he was still out at the reef somewhere. He phoned me back later in the evening, we are still planning to go to Cairns tomorrow evening or possibly early Friday morning.
This file
I’m also messing around with the format of this xml file and its associated xslt and css stylesheets. I like the way it is now – with separated content with time attributes. Unicode is good too – no more limitations on what characters I can use. If it exists in Unicode and can be saved as utf-8, then I can use it. It’s then up to the browser at the other end to display them.

02.01.2003 Thursday 2 January

I’ve lost track of what happened today, but I believe it wasn’t much.

03.01.2003 Friday 3 January – Drove to Cairns with Silas

Silas came in the morning, and we drove to Cairns. It was a four hour drive and rather uneventful. I made the foolish mistake of playing with the air outside my window all the way down – resulting in a rather severely sunburnt left arm. When we arrived in Cairns it was a tad warm. Very hot actually. We went around to Silas’s brother Eric’s place, and probably did a few other things but I don’t really remember them.
Eric, Silas and I went and saw “MY BIG FAT GRΣΣK WEDDING” at the City Cinemas and then went to the Cock and Bull for dinner – then slept at Eric’s. Both Silas and I had a fitful sleep, due partly to the bright lights streaming in the windows, the traffic driving noisily past – and also the slight apprehension from a story one of Eric’s flatmates had told us...
The Story
Eric has two flatmates. Some time ago, one woke up to find the other had got the two sharpest knives and two garbage bags and was going to kill the other and put him in the bags. The reason? Who knows? However it made us mildly uneasy.

04.01.2003 Saturday 4 January – Watched Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers

Silas, Eric and I drove to a bakery and got some breakfast coffee and baked croissants and a sweet stick thing for me. Silas and I then went to an internet café and checked our emails and such stuff. Silas had a few friends he wished to visit and I had a few movies I wished to see so we separated, Silas going to see his friends and I heading towards the cinemas where I saw “The Fat Chick” and “The Tuxedo”. The Fat Chick is incredibly stupid, which was roughly what I thought it would be like. The Tuxedo isn’t a great deal better, but contains the usual Jackie Chan excitement and was a fun watch. I also did the shopping which needed doing.
Silas and I went and saw “The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers” in the evening. It was, as expected, superb – although I was somewhat disappointed at how they’ve glossed over certain parts and indeed totally excluded others that I felt were vital to the storyline. Nevertheless, the acting, the scenery, the realism – it is hard to beat. I can’t think of any other movie offhand that I’d say would beat this one.
We then went back to Eric’s and went to sleep.

05.01.2003 Sunday 5 January – Saw James Bond

Silas did some more visiting and I did some more movie watching, seeing “Sweet Home Alabama”. We drove out to Josephine’s to use her Mum’s car to pick up some furniture from Eric’s as he is moving to another place. The furniture didn’t fit in the car, but we picked up Josephine instead.
James Bond
I drove Silas, Ben and Josephine to the Esplanade, and then drove out to Earlville cinemas where I saw James Bond – Die Another Day. I quite enjoyed the movie, although it is always disappointing to see how they’ve let the Bond character down and how americanised it is – I would like to see more of the British style, and less of the extremely blatant American style in the Bond movies... but it was nonetheless typical Bond, with lots of action, lots of large explosions and incredibly improbable events (which, unfortunately, are all too predictable at times – another downside to the American movie style). They should have got someone better than Halle Berry too; I’m not a fan of her.
After the movie finished I drove back in to the Esplanade where I rang Silas. He was at the Woolshed, so I went and got a thick shake for dinner and then headed to the Woolshed. After circumventing the admission charge, I spent an hour or two (I think we left around 2:30 but I’m not sure) there with Silas and Josephine. We then went for a walk around looking for other nightclubs and then drove back to Amy’s place and went to bed.

06.01.2003 Monday 6 January – Returned home from Cairns

Silas and I both awoke late, followed shortly thereafter by Josephine. Once we managed to summon the energy, we drove Josephine home, stopping at a bakery for some food on the way. We stayed at her house for a while during which time it clouded over and began to rain.
Silas and I drove back to Amy’s and did some cleaning up, sweeping, the dishes and such. We then went to Cairns Central where I bought a falafel roll and some fruit juice, Silas a Dona Kebab and some coffee, and a doormat for Amy. After lunch we drove back to Amy’s and left the mat and began the journey home.
We left Cairns and headed for Mareeba, managing to arrive there without any accidents or other nasty incidents. Silas had to buy some milk, and we fuelled up. The drive home went well, it being overcast and not too hot. It rained on and off. We stopped at Lakeland where I was going to phone Mum, but the phone was faulty.
I arrived home just after dark, and just as it began to rain. Silas and I watched “mullet”, a DVD which Mum had got from town. Silas then went to bed in his swag inside, while I went on chat and wrote this. I am very tired as is Silas.

07.01.2003Tuesday 7 January

I slept. Then I woke. Then I slept again. I am very tired, and have a sore neck. I think the few days in Cairns with broken sleep at night and the eight hours driving have worn me out.
It is raining lightly. Maybe the wet season is finally upon us? I am worn out again. I still haven’t caught up on my sleep. I put Silas’s monitor on my old PC, started up, and the video card couldn’t find enough resources to run... After disabling various other things, and reinstalling the drivers, I managed to get it to work. I then connected its crossover cable to my new PC – no link lights. I cried, banged my head on the wall, sacrificed some chickens, rebooted several times, installed the drivers for the network card in the old PC, re-setup the “Windows Home Networking”, suspended my new PC, unsuspended it – and it worked. I’ll have to do some more tests to work out what’s going on.

08.01.2003Wednesday 8 January

I woke up and started my PC as per usual. It wouldn’t accept my login password – and the password was many letters too long. This was weird. For every key I typed, three characters were appearing. Because passwords don’t show the actual characters, just ••••••, I couldn’t see what was going on. I rebooted. I changed the keyboard from USB to PS/2. Nothing helped. I plugged my old keyboard in and booted up my old PC which doesn’t require a login. Now I could see that for each key press, it was typing seemingly random characters. Fortunately my old keyboard worked, so I used that and pulled this one to bits. An hour later and after cleaning it all, I had it back together again – and it worked. I’ve no idea why but I’m glad, it’s a $100 keyboard.
Jean Haak phoned. Her printer won’t. I went for a walk down to her place and fixed it all. I met Dad walking, while I was walking home, so we stopped and talked for a while. I have to try to remember to remind Mum that Jean needs a lift to town on Monday for a doctor’s appointment. Mum is quite sick and has been in bed all day. She says she feels as though she has some type of flu, with an upset stomach and aching.
It’s late and I’m tired. I’m going to bed. I’ve spent ages fighting Dreamweaver. It corrupts xml files and I can’t work out why or how to stop it. It is all too complicated with Unicode, utf-8, ansi, weird fonts, the same file appearing differently in different applications... argh!
Oh... and...
I also applied for a credit card from the Commonwealth bank online. Maybe I’ll get one. I hope so as they are the only way to pay for many things nowadays.

09.01.2003Thursday 9 January – QTAC Offer Received

I had a quiet day, spending most of it at my PC and online talking to my chat friends and messing around trying to revamp my journal site and get XSLT and XML to work. Robert installed Sablotron (an XSLT plug-in for PHP) on SolidInternet but something had problems, and Apache had to be recompiled, then the server had to be restarted and I don’t know what else, but it was down for maybe fifteen minutes and some very weird things happened, but eventually it all worked and I could get to work on my journal site. I hope to have it all finished and working – or at least functional, by tonight.
Shan dropped in on his way home from town, where he has been doing tech for his apprenticeship. We talked for a while and then he went home.
I’ve just spent hours hacking code and getting my revamped journal website to work. It now works! I’m very happy with it, it’s all glossy, shiny, functional, neat, ordered, validating and so on and so forth.
It is technically Friday, and I am about to go to bed. I am a bit excited, because I’ve just logged into QTAC’s Applicant Online Services, and received an offer in Bachelor of Information Technology, The University of Queensland.

10.01.2003Friday 10 January

I had a fairly quiet day. I went up to Dad’s in the morning to see if I could catch him before he went to baby-sit the insect man’s place, but he was already gone. I messed around with the website for this journal, and chatted to my friends on IRC. It was very hot.
I drove over to Joneses and took the DVD “The Bank” over for them to watch, and borrowed two DVD’s which they had. I ran over a large snake on the way home.
I attempted to make a RSS feed for this journal, which I have managed to make, but it doesn’t look very pretty. I’ll have to mess around with it some more later. Now its bedtime and I’m very sleepy. I think I will sleep in tomorrow – that should be a refreshing change from all the midday sleep-ins I’ve been having recently.

11.01.2003Saturday 11 January

We have power – at least temporarily. The power has been on and off for the past two hours, not very handy for my PC and the UPS-without-a-battery. After my shocking sleep-in (I didn’t wake until 2:30) there wasn’t much day left. Jade and Shan drove over in the evening on their way to buy the paper and stayed for a while. Mum and I watched a DVD, “The Wedding Planner”. Neither of us were very impressed. As Mum said, it is “eminently forgettable”. I also managed to get RSS versions 0.91 and 1.0 feeds, as well as a CDF feed available for syndication.
Oh, and I forgot – Silas phoned earlier and says he may be able to get me accommodation in Brisbane, and that I should be able to get a lift down with him when he returns.

12.01.2003Sunday 12 January

Not much happened today. I drove over to Joneses and spent the afternoon there. Later on, Mum and I watched “The Bank”, it isn’t the world’s best acting, but a good storyline and enjoyable. It kept my interest throughout, and the twist at the end was a refreshing change from the average boringly predictable movie endings.

13.01.2003Monday 13 January – New RAM and HDD’s

I woke up to hear a strange noise, like a loud lawnmower flying around. I went outside and had a look, there was a helicopter flying around in circles overhead. It was black and with a large pole of some type poking several metres out the front on one side, but it didn’t sound like any helicopter I’ve heard before. It didn’t have the typical beat which a helicopter has, but just a strange high pitched whine. I thought maybe it was a gyrocopter. It flew around three times and then flew away to the south west. I went back to bed.
I woke up and looked at the clock. 2:46 PM! Eek! That is way too late to sleep in, even if I had already been woken by the weird helicopter noise. I guess I need to get to bed earlier. I stayed up until a quarter to four last night, and it shows.
I went for a walk up to Dad’s in the evening, meeting Vince and Sarah on the way up there. He still isn’t home but I met Mum as I was walking home and as she was dropping Jean home, so I got a lift back with her.
Mum had my Christmas and Birthday presents from Becky. Three largish boxes, expensive postage too. Some very pretty wrapping, she sure knows how to make things look good. A very touching birthday and Christmas present, and so many parts. There’s some lollies, there’s the expensive computer hardware, there’s a hair brush, there’s some blank CD’s in her favourite purple... it’s all very nice and touching. Thank you Becky.
I installed the new 512 MB of RAM and put the two 80 GB Western Digital 8 MB Cache HDD’s in. I also drove over to Joneses to get some HDD screws and an IDE cable. I haven’t got enough HDD power plugs from the PSU to actually run the new HDD’s (I want to run them as a striped RAID array). I have just noticed that the HDD LED is on dimly all the time, so I might shut down the PC and unplug the IDE cables from the new drives and see if that helps.

14.01.2003Tuesday 14 January – New CD-RW

I walked up to Dad’s early in the morning but he’d already gone to work at Ron’s so I walked to Ron’s meeting Dad there. I then spent the middle of the day on chat and at my PC, and went to Joneses in the evening as my late birthday present from Shan had arrived; along with the parts for a new PC Shan is building for a friend. I helped Shan put the PC together (well... truth be told I just watched and gave advice...), and then brought my new PCI modem, floppy drive, case fan and birthday present – 48/24/48 CD-RW back home. A quick call to Silas to confirm that I would like to go to Cairns with him on Friday and then into the hardware install.
I installed the floppy drive but I need to wait until tomorrow when I can get a few adaptors for the power supply plugs before I can plug it in. I installed the fan and swapped the other ones around, managing to make the PC lots noisier in the process. I then installed the CD-RW and NERO Burning Rom (which came with it) and thought I better test it out.
First up, the basics, does the door open? Yes, of course it does. Do disks go in and work? Yes they do. So, how does it go with audio CD’s? It freezes up the application trying to read them. Hmm... that’s no good. Disable digital audio, ahh it works now. So what’s it like at extracting digital audio? A full 59 minute, 16 tracks CD ripped in 1 minute and 54 seconds at a maximum of 43.8x (average 31.1x). This is using burst mode (and a clean CD) in Exact Audio Copy (currently the best CD ripping program). Wow that’s fast. I can’t detect any audible errors either.
I’m now going to try an extremely scratched CD now and see what happens.
I just ripped my Placebo CD. It is very scratched – I mean severely scratched. I don’t think it even works in my other drives. I ripped it using burst (non secure) mode, averaged around 8x ripping, so far I can’t find any errors. Amazing. I’m now going to find my most scratched CD.
I just ripped another scratched CD using the insecure burst mode – ripping around 16x and so far it seems no audible errors. Very good.
Testing burning a CD-RW now. Successfully burnt a 10x Verbatim disc at 12x, so that seems good. And... the burner has a dual-colour LED which glows green when reading and red when writing, just like my old drive so that’s good too. Call me silly but I really wanted a dual-colour LED rather than how some drives do it – just a normal LED that flashed on and off. Thanks Shan!
I just reconnected to the internet and happened to have my headphones on – and I heard the modem dialling through my headphones. That is cool. I’ll have to test it tomorrow and see how it works, maybe I can use the modem as a phone call recording device.

15.01.2003Wednesday 15 January – Received QTAC Confirmation

Mum woke me up and we went to town nice and early. I checked my mail and also went to the computer shop and bought the power adaptors I needed for my new hard drives, and another IDE hard drive lead. I got “The Matrix” out on DVD as it’s been ages since I last saw it. I met Bob and Peter at Peter’s shop and had a short talk to them, and then Mum and I drove home again.
I received my QTAC confirmation and enrolment information from UQ, with lots to read and lots to think about. I found out the key dates – orientation week is 24th to 28th February and the actual course starts 3rd March. That’s not all that much time, I should start panicking now. The other letter I received wasn’t so pleasant. A notice from Centrelink to repay approximately $1300 which they claim was wrongly paid to me because I wasn’t studying at Cairns School of Distance Education during the fourth term last year. I never claimed I was. I was studying from Brisbane School of Distance Education. This has happened several times now; I thought that this confusion between Cairns and Brisbane schools had been sorted out last time I had this problem. Theoretically it should be easy to sort it out as Centrelink are quite obviously wrong – but unfortunately there are complications. Centrelink has said they require proof that I was enrolled and proof that I was returning adequate work units to be classed as full-time. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but... During that period I was in hospital, and after I was discharged from hospital I contacted the school to discuss my options as there was no longer sufficient time to study for and sit the examinations. The school told me to send them a doctor’s letter and they would continue my enrolment until the end of the course, after which I then sat the STAT test rather than the examinations I would otherwise have sat. So it would appear that I have accidentally violated a Centrelink’s definition of “full-time” study, but satisfied the school, and now I have a problem. I should be able to provide proof that I was enrolled during that term, but I can’t provide proof that I was returning work – because I wasn’t (or at least not enough to classify as full-time, I was in hospital). I guess I am supposed to have informed Centrelink that I was in hospital and unable to study, but I didn’t. I really don’t have the money to repay them, and I especially don’t need this on top of moving to Brisbane and UNI. Oh well, I’ll contact Brisbane School of Distance Education when they open on the 23rd of January.
I installed the power plugs on my new hard drives and the floppy drive, created a striped RAID array and formatted the disks. So far everything seems to work although I haven’t actually had time to do much with it. I also began using XMLSpy to create the XML source for this journal as DreamWeaver and EditPlus both have separate UTF-8 issues. EditPlus seems to incorrectly read or write certain UTF-8 characters and DreamWeaver (seemingly randomly) corrupts or deletes parts of the data. I also created a schema which validates this file.

16.01.2003Thursday 16 January

Former Day
Wow what a day? Where do I start? The beginning I guess... Well... I woke up. Beat that. Then I had breakfast, followed by a period of inactivity. I mean – inactivity. You can’t get better than that. Then I had lunch. Yes, you read it right. I had lunch. Just like that – I had lunch. Followed by a period of inactivity. So, I guess that just about concludes it, I’ll start another section for the latter parts.
Latter Day
I drove up to Dad’s and dropped off some UNI stuff for him to look at, stayed an hour then came home and drove to Joneses, dropped off Shan’s IDE lead and “The Matrix” DVD, stayed a while then came home, watched “The Matrix” with Mum, had dinner, did a few things to get ready to go to Cairns tomorrow and went to bed.

17.01.2003Friday 17 January – Silas and I drive to Cairns

Silas phoned around lunchtime to let us know he would be arriving around 2 o’clock, which he did, with his younger sister Renae. We stopped at the Lions Den Hotel, where Silas and Renae had a few beers. Then, an hour or so later we stopped at Lakeland Hotel where another beer or two was purchased, enough to get us to the Palmer River Roadhouse, the beer from which just about got us through to Mount Carbine hotel, by which time I was driving and Silas was resting in the back...
It started raining not long after Mount Carbine, and was pretty wet all the way from there to Cairns. It makes it much harder driving at night down the Kuranda range when it’s wet, with the poor windscreen wipers on the Falcon, the slippery and very windy and steep road, all the too-bright headlights... but we made it safely and dropped Renae off at Josephine’s where Silas, his brother Eric, and Renae had dinner. I didn’t eat anything as it was meat. After dinner Silas and I drove to his Cousin Amy’s place and went to sleep.

18.01.2003Saturday 18 January – Cairns

Silas and I drove Amy to work and then went to a nearby bakery for breakfast, then on to an Internet Café to service our vital communication needs. After leaving the Internet Café Silas and I went and did lots of shopping for his family, spending hours in the supermarket and driving around to a few places, then it got too late (as places tend to close half day on Saturday). Silas and I then drove over to the van park where his brother Eric is staying and him and his friend came and we all went and watched James Bond (the second time for me – it is an enjoyable movie to watch). Interestingly Silas agreed that the first half is ok but the second half has become too americanised and Halle Berry wrecks it to an extent by the way she’s portrayed. I then went and watched "Analyze That" at night while Silas and some friends went to some nightclubs. I joined them after the movie finished (around 11:30) and we talked for a while and then the friends went home and Silas and I went to “The Woolshed" (which is a night club) and stayed there, getting home 4 AM. A bit boring for me because I don’t drink and wasn’t trying to pick up a girl, having instead to avoid some, but it was all interesting. We then drove back to Amy’s place (Silas’s cousin) around 4 AM and went to bed.

19.01.2003Sunday 19 January – Cairns

This morning we both woke late and eventually went and got some breakfast from Cairns Central (I had a falafel kebab) around lunch time, then went back to Amy’s (she’s working) and stayed there up until late afternoon, when we went to Rusty’s Markets (an Asian type fruit market) and bought some potatoes and onions, then bought a milkshake and headed for an Internet Café to once again service our vital communication needs. Silas and I ate dinner at the Night Markets and then headed out to Earlville Cinemas to see “Catch Me if You Can” with Josephine and Renae. It’s an OK movie, but that’s about all I’d say, but nevertheless it was enjoyable. We then drove back to Amy’s and watched “Waiting for Godot” on SBS, getting to bed late due to watching that.

20.01.2003Monday 20 January – Arrive Home

Silas and I woke up in time to get Amy to work by 9 AM. We then drove the short distance from the café she’s working in to Cairns Central and had some breakfast. A milkshake and apple croissant look-alike later and we headed off to start shopping. Firstly back to Amy’s place to unload a few things from the car to make space, then off to do shopping. We drove all over the place, getting a new tyre, water pipe fittings, cistern parts, electrical cabling clips... and many, many other things. Around 2 PM we arrived back at Amy’s place, as did Amy (having got off work early). After a short rest Silas and I packed the car and headed off to Eric’s to drop off some food, then on to Josephine’s to pick up a few things (and have a cup of tea), then up to Mareeba. We arrived at Mareeba just on five o’clock and went to the supermarket to buy a few cold goods. I bought some chips and soy milk and Silas got a pie from a nearby takeaway shop, then we headed for home. A few hours, and several million bumps, later we arrived home. I had some mail – I have received a credit card, so now I should be able to purchase things which only accept credit cards.
Silas is sleeping out in the yard in his swag and I am about to go to bed.

21.01.2003Tuesday 21 January

I had a quiet and restful day. Silas slept in the yard in his swag last night and it rained, so he got a little wet. He left here around 9 AM after having written a few emails, and headed off to Bloomfield. I checked into the UQ (University of Queensland) site and set up my personal details and HECS information and such. I spent the rest of the day resting, going for a walk up to Dad’s in the evening to get some papers I needed to check my uni enrolment and walking back just after dusk had fallen. There has been a little bit of strong rain today and it is very overcast, maybe the wet season is finally here?
I am quite tired; I guess still worn out from the trip to Cairns, so it’s off to bed I go.

22.01.2003Wednesday 22 January

I actually managed to wake up at a normal time for a change – before 10 o’clock! I phoned up and enabled my credit card, then got it linked to my statement account, then had it linked to my NetBank. And all this before lunch – I’m on a roll.
Marriette phoned to say her PC no longer works. It says it has files missing. I walked up to her place and diagnosed the hard drive as terminally sad, and took it out and put it in another PC to try and copy any files off it. I managed to get most of the documents off it at slower than floppy drive speeds. Then I walked home again, by which time it was rather dark and I had to feel my way down the road. When I felt leaves I knew I was off the road. Fortunately I didn’t break any toes on sticks or stones, or poke any eyes out on branches.

23.01.2003Thursday 23 January

Mum woke me up in the morning and we drove into town. I went down to Peter’s shop and talked to him for a while, and then got a lift up to Peter’s place around lunch time where I edited some pointers to non-existent files out of the registry on his computer, then we went down to Ken’s and picked up my monitor. It cost $80, and Ken said it has the best picture he’s seen in a while and is also well designed and built. Unfortunately I seem to be unable to find its stand. I think that I may have not received a stand when I got its replacement, so I may only have one stand. I also got two DVD’s, “Braveheart” and “Rain Man”. Sadly my DVD drive won’t recognize the “Braveheart” DVD.
I drove over to Joneses and took my old 15 inch monitor over for Shan to use as I now have my other old 17 inch monitor fixed. Shan’s DVD drive can read the “Braveheart” DVD with no problems yet mine won’t even recognize it as a disc – so I’m not really happy about that. I did a bit of reading and ended up downloading a few files and then flashing the DVD drive’s bios. My Sony DVD drive is no longer a Sony drive – it’s now a LiteON drive. It sort of cuts down the “It’s a Sony” impression when you realise that this drive is made by LiteON, is identical to the drive LiteON sells, but has a Sony front-plate and Sony bios – or did have until about half an hour ago. Regrettably the drive still wouldn’t read the DVD, but it does now rip audio CD’s much faster and much more reliably. Sigh. I wanted to watch that movie too.

24.01.2003Friday 24 January

I had a quiet day, with nothing particularly interesting happening. I messed around with my webpage and phoned BSDE regarding my Centrelink issues (I spoke to Marylyn Temperton and she said she would fax a letter to Centrelink). Hopefully that will sort out my Centrelink problems, although I’ll just have to wait and see. I stayed up adding some geeky humour to my amused website.

25.01.2003Saturday 25 January

This morning was quiet. I slept in and spent the morning online.
At 3:33 PM I noticed that Outlook was unable to connect to my email server. A quick check showed that many sites on the Internet were experiencing problems, and it was getting worse. Ten hours later and my site still isn’t available. Apparently there’s a worm going around which infects MS-SQL servers, spewing out a lot of data and clogging up routers. In the meantime I walked up to the shop, but it was closed. Apparently they now open at 8:30 and close at 5, so I came home and had a shower, then Mum and I watched “Rain Man” on DVD. It is an evocative and moving movie, and well acted, although not at all my style. But I enjoyed watching it. I was then unable to connect to Telstra Bigpond Home. Phoning them didn’t help much either, they said to wait until midnight and try again. What’s the bet they’re patching all their MS-SQL servers?

26.01.2003Sunday 26 January – Australia Day

I am listening to Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”. And wishing I had some doughnuts. I really wish I had some doughnuts right now. I have been eating “Mississippi Cheese Straws” and “Mississippi Mud Puppies”, both very strong.
Obey your master. Your life burns faster. Obey your master – master – master of puppets, I’m pulling your strings – twisting your mind and smashing your dreams. Hmm, a good song, anyway back to the food. I still wish I had some doughnuts. Or is that donuts? That’s one of the problems of being Australian. I never know if I should be using the Americanised (or is that Americanized?) versions of words, or if I should be using the British equivalent. Oh well, I guess there’s larger problems in life than that. I’ve been over to Home Rule to see Shan this evening. I nearly hit a tree on the drive over. I came around a corner and there was a tree in the middle of the road. Quite a rude tree it was too, refusing to budge. The road was wet and muddy, probably something to do with the rain, so I only just stopped in time. Fortunately for the tree, I managed to squeeze around one side.
Woe. No doughnuts.
Anyway, Shan and I played Unreal Tournament for a while; using the new PC he’s made for Jass. These songs bring back memories. I was probably 13 or 14, living in a remote valley out West from Gympie. My best friend Aaron and I used to “camp out” most weekends in an old caravan. It was quite a way from anyone else, in a very scenic location beside a small creek. Their block had a road down the middle of it – the road in fact, as there was only one. Their house was on one side, the caravan on the other, and probably a kilometre or so apart. After school Friday’s I would walk over to Aaron’s place, or he mine, and we’d play around doing not much. We were both into electronics in a very basic way, so we’d pull things apart. Then, as it got late and after dinner, we’d get two litres of milk, drink some, mix ice-cream topping in as flavouring, collect lots of batteries, some chips, our walkman, some speakers, many candles and a few other things and jump in an old Nissan Patrol and drive down to the caravan. We were both interested in candles at that time too. Aaron had a metal bucket full of wax and wicks, and I had some metal tins with a wax/kerosene mix in them which would burn without a wick once lit. We’d light up our candles, open the chips, drink the milk and listen to Master of Puppets. When I hear it now, I remember those carefree times before I reached year ten and exams. The past has such a rosy glow to it, even events which at the time left me aghast, now seem so trivial and all I remember are the good times.
Time for another Mississippi Mud Puppy I think. Chock-full of fine chocolate chips, sweet cream butter, pure cocoa, flaked oats and pecans... Apparently “krapfen” is German for “doughnuts” – funny people the Germans.
I am surrounded by moths. They come to the light of my monitors. The rain seems to bring more moths. I guess they don’t like getting wet. I wonder where moths go when it rains. Maybe they hide under leaves. Somehow I can’t imagine rain being very good for them. At least I haven’t swallowed any yet.
I slept in this morning. I really do have a sleeping-in problem. Hardly surprising considering I stay up late, and probably not going to change until I take the “problem” part of the preceding sentence seriously. At the moment I don’t mind, although it is a waste of daytime. I’m up to the track “Orion” now. I like instrumentals. To me, vocals often tend to destroy good music. Unless the vocals are really good and really fit in, I find they detract from the instruments. But on the other hand, if the vocalist is up to the task, it can really enhance good music. There’s so much mediocre music available. A synthesizer, a few loops, a beat – and a sensual video clip with enough Latin women and you’ve got yourself a number-one hit – for a week if you’re lucky. But to be so popular and so famous years later – then you know there was some substance to the music. Hence the saying, “stand the test of time”.
I appear to have spouted a considerable amount of nothing. There, my modem just disconnected. I’ve been connected for ten hours. It’s probably time for bed.

27.01.2003Monday 27 January – Australia Day Holiday

I feel miserable. Firstly I didn’t go to sleep until after 7 AM. Then, as is to be expected, I didn’t wake up until the afternoon. But that’s ok. What isn’t ok is that I have hay fever – severe hay fever. I drip. I sneeze. My nose runs, my eyes water. My nose is red and raw. I can’t think. I can’t breathe. Ok, maybe I can breathe a little bit, but I don’t feel all that good.
ⓐⓢⓒⓘⓘ ⓢⓣⓤⓟⓘⓓ ⓠⓤⓔⓢⓣⓘⓞⓝ ⒢⒠⒯ ⒜ ⒮⒯⒰⒫⒤⒟ ⒜⒩⒮⒤

28.01.2003Tuesday 28 January

I received an email from Silas regarding accommodation in Brisbane. It seems he’s back in Cairns again. He said he’s phoned his uncle and I could probably stay there temporarily, but he’ll talk to me later.
Silas arrived. He’d driven to Cairns, and then driven back up with Eric in Eric’s car, then back to Cairns again and now back up here in his car. Apparently his uncle doesn’t want a permanent tenant but is quite happy to have a temporary one. So I can stay there until I find somewhere better. That’s a relief, as that was the most immediate problem I had with moving to Brisbane – hopefully now solved.
I upgraded SmartICQ to the latest version – it really is an amazing script, and began using Shan’s MSN script. Both are mIRC scripts, allowing me to chat to ICQ, MSN and IRC people all from the one application and in a common environment. It does make it easier, and also allows for easy scripting for add-ons and such.

29.01.2003Wednesday 29 January – Doctor’s appointment

I phoned Doctor Hill and made an appointment for 11:15. Mum and I then drove in to town, where availed myself of the Internet services at the library, which for a humble four dollar fee, allowed me to check my webpage on an older version of Internet Explorer and chat to my friends for nearly an hour. I then rushed off to the doctors.
After my doctor’s appointment, Mum and I went to the video shop and got a few DVD’s. “An Everlasting Piece”, “What Women Want”, “The Man Who Sued God”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Lethal Weapon” and “Lethal Weapon 2”. I copied them to my hard drive to watch later, and plan to take them over to Shan’s later this evening, along with a small food grinder of his Mum’s which we had borrowed.
Mum and I watched “Lethal Weapon”. It was refreshing to watch some fairly mindless action, and refreshing to watch a movie in this genre which actually has a semblance of a plot. We both enjoyed it. I then had some chocolate cake, and now I’m quite full and ready for bed. Shan says his old hard drive is dying. It makes nasty noises and reads slowly... Anyway, bedtime for me.

30.01.2003Thursday 30 January

The sun rose, as it is wont to do.
The sun set, as it is wont to do.

31.01.2003Friday 31 January

Shan came home from work early and had the rest of the day off because he had gotten a bit of metal in his eye. I drove over in the evening, taking our DVD’s over and returning their grinder. Argh! There are mosquitoes in the van and attacking me. Bad! I stayed over at Joneses until dark, then came home and watched “Lethal Weapon 2” with Mum. It’s about the same as the first one really. We both enjoyed the mindless action. I had my journal website tested with the latest Mozilla and Lynx running on Linux, and Internet Explorer on a Macintosh – fearing that my use of “smart quotes” wouldn’t work on a non-Windows machine. It seems I need not have worried; they worked fine – even in Lynx.

01.02.2003Saturday 1 February – US space shuttle Columbia disintegrates

Mum and I walked down to the markets in the morning. I bought a piece of cake and an icy-cup, and then a UHT strawberry flavoured milk from the shop on the way home. Flavoured UHT milk is not a good idea. I felt sick after drinking it.
My web server was upgraded. Unfortunately the upgrade didn’t coexist peacefully with the extensions I require to perform XSL transformations on my XML files, so my journal has been offline since 5:09 PM.
I had an argument with lulu on chat. Then Mum and I watched “L.A. Confidential”. I enjoyed it, but Mum didn’t. We then managed to have an argument about why I enjoyed it and she didn’t. After that, I joined chat again and found my website still wasn’t working, so I had an argument with my web host.

02.02.2003Sunday 2 February

It is another hot day, so I’m taking it easy.
My site has been down since 5:09 PM yesterday evening, almost exactly 24 hours. HTML and PHP work, there’s just no XSL support. They’re trying another compile now, and hopefully this one will work. I’m using Sablotron under PHP. Sablotron is a fast, compact and portable XML toolkit implementing XSLT 1.0, DOM Level2 and XPath 1.0. Needless to say, I’m not overly impressed with the response time, but I am impressed with the level of support I’ve received considering I’m using the budget “no support” plan, which offers support only via forums. It hasn’t helped that one of Myacen’s data centres in New Jersey have been experiencing power problems (so much for their backup power, apparently the third floor backup power failed as well...), and that this is where the support forum was hosted. Add to that the fact that the support tech who was supposed to be on duty in Australia also had a power failure (which is heading into its ninth hour now) and his backup is operating from a dial-up modem as his DSL modem is away for repairs. Call it bad timing, I guess.
Mum and I watched “What Women Want” – an amusing comedy for all the family, starring some actors and stuff.

03.02.2003Monday 3 February

I enrolled in some uni courses today. I’ve no idea what I’m doing, but so far it goes: Introduction to Programming, Internet Interface Design, Mathematical Foundations, Discrete Mathematics, Information Technology Project, Introduction to Information Systems and Calculus and Linear Algebra I. All in all, it sounds a bit too mathematical for my liking.
I went for a walk down to the shop, buying a watermelon and pineapple icy-pole, and then heading down to the Home Rule Bridge. I met Ric while I was walking down, and seeing as there weren’t any togless women swimming, I walked home again, and then up to Dad’s. I met Mum on her way home with Jean just before I got to Dad’s and got a lift the last part of the way. I stayed up there until dark, walking home and having a shower, and then phoning Silas – but he wasn’t home. Mum and I then watched “The Man Who Sued God” – not the most inspiring movie I’ve seen, but amusing nonetheless. I think I need to improve my writing, I may not have anything to write about but I doubt anyone could manage to write in a more uninspiring manner.
In totally unrelated and irrelevant news: Jas got the PC Shan built for her today, and is apparently setting it up as I type.

04.02.2003Tuesday 4 February

My lung was a bit sore. I hope its ok. It has been good so far – I’d really hate for anything to go wrong now, just before I move to Brisbane.
Ella went to the doctor’s. Apparently she has severe tonsillitis, and they did a blood test for Glandular fever. She’s on antibiotics now, and hopefully it will clear up. It was too hot to do much else so I re-watched “L.A. Confidential” to see if I could understand the plot properly this time.
Mum went down to the creek to start the pump. It wouldn’t. I went down and did a cursory check. Everything seemed ok except that the pump wouldn’t run. It will start with the choke on, as usual, but will stall as soon as the choke is turned off. Hopefully we can get it fixed before we run out of water.
An old childhood friend of Mum’s phoned. Apparently she’s now in Cairns, and has heard that Mum is also up here – fairly close considering she was in southern NSW before. Shortly after, Silas returned my call from yesterday. He’s still got a bit of work to do on the bathroom he’s building in Bloomfield, but is hoping to have finished the majority of it by Thursday. I may phone him Thursday night and possibly spend the weekend down at his place.
I’m a bit hungry – I should go inside and see what there is to eat.

05.02.2003Wednesday 5 February

I had a quiet morning. Dad cleaned the carbie on the pump, but it still wouldn’t run. Then, typically, it just ran. I guess we’ll have to wait until next time to see if it still runs.
I went for a walk down to the shop, meeting Shan who happened to be there buying a drink. I bought a Hava-Heart ice cream, talked for a while and then walked home – and that about sums up my achievements for today. For some reason I got very tired and had a lie down, inevitably falling asleep for nearly an hour. When I woke I went on chat, and started talking to a friend, who had not long ago woken up and was getting ready for her workday. Halfway through our conversation, and for no apparent reason, she started to ignore me.
I initially thought that AustNet had packed it in, which isn’t all that uncommon, but it soon became apparent that she was simply ignoring me. I really do wonder what (if anything) goes through some people’s heads at times. One thing I do know, whatever it is – it’s not logical. Factual existence (or otherwise) of events doesn’t appear to make any difference, she just makes up her own to suit the situation. I’m a bit sick of it at the moment. She claims to be my friend – and usually acts it, but then at seemingly arbitrary times what appears to be a self-generated alternate reality takes over and factual existence, logic and all things sane go bye-bye. One word comes to mind – schizophrenia. A psychotic mental illness characterized by a breakdown in the relation between thoughts, feelings, and actions, usually accompanied by withdrawal from social activity and the occurrence of delusions and hallucinations. I wonder if relying on IRC as the sole medium of socializing would classify as withdrawal from social activity? Something tells me it would. I’m quite sure I’m not delusional, yet what she claims happens sure isn’t what I see happening. Lucky it’s only IRC. The scary part is that I know enough people who are like this in real life.
Pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space, ’cause there’s bugger all down here on earth.

06.02.2003Thursday 6 February

Dad, Mum and I drove to town to do our shopping. Nothing interesting happened. I got out a few DVD’s in what is starting to become a habit. “Lethal Weapon 3” and its sequel “Lethal Weapon 4”, “True Lies”, “The Blues Brothers” and one of Mum’s picks – “Chocolat”. When I got home I found that “Lethal Weapon 4” (which is a double sided disc) wasn’t recognized by my drive, and “True Lies” wouldn’t read past 50%. I wasn’t very pleased. I’ll have to buy a new DVD drive, it seems this one isn’t working as well as I’d like anymore. Shan’s PC is in even worse shape – he’s got one hard drive almost dead, and it’s the drive he boots off. I drove over to his place and made his other drive bootable but for some reason his PC just reset itself with that drive as the master. We brought his DVD drive over here and used that to copy the DVD’s to my PC – without any problem, then took my hard drive over to his place to see if his PC would boot from that one – which it didn’t. I arrived back home just on nine and phoned Silas, but his Mum answered and said he’d gone to bed so I’ll have to give him a call in the morning. Speaking of morning, I better get to bed before it finds me.

07.02.2003Friday 7 February

I phoned Silas and arranged to phone again tonight. The day then passed, another hot day it was too. I went for a walk out the Home Rule road to the half way spot, passing the shop on the way and buying an ice cream and some chocolate. I sat down the creek at the half way spot for a while and let the little fish nibble my feet. They seemed to like it when I stirred up the stuff that grows on the rocks for them to eat. Thousands of them came and nibbled around. I met Jade, Shan and Ella just on their way home from the house next to Jack’s when I was walking home. They drove down to the Home Rule Bridge and we sat there and talked for a while. Ella was practising her driving; I think it might be the first time she’s been allowed to drive on the road.
I rang Silas and tentatively arranged to go fishing tomorrow, weather permitting. Mum and I then watched “Lethal Weapon 4”. We both enjoyed it, and that’s all that matters. I’ve now got to pretend to be sleepy and go to bed.

08.02.2003Saturday 8 February – I go to Silas’s

Silas rang in the morning to let me know they weren’t going fishing early, so I could come down at a civilised time. I arranged to meet him at Bloomfield Wharf at ten o’clock. I packed a few things and left here at nine thirty, arriving just on ten. The road is fairly bad at the moment. I managed to avoid all the large rocks and didn’t fall in any huge ruts and nothing’s flooded so I guess it’s not too bad by Bloomfield standards. It is something the city folk who buy shiny four-wheel-drive cars should see though. Silas showed up shortly after, and we drove (in his car) down to the fuel place and got some fuel, then up to the Ayton store and bought some food, then boated down to Silas’s place. I managed to get quite sunburnt on the way.
Silas and I messed around fixing outboards and bits and pieces. We went out to a close reef and did some snorkelling, where Silas speared a fair sized (5 to 6 kg) but unknown bright orange speckled fish. The jellyfish were so thick in places that visibility was down to about 2 metres. I saw at least ten types of jellyfish ranging from tiny worm-like things to quite complex and colourful ones. Unfortunately most of them seem to bite.
Someone phoned Silas to let him know the interior light in my car was on. It has never worked before; I guess the bumpy road fixed it somehow. This was a bit of a problem as it would have already been on ten hours or so, and by the time we got there tomorrow evening the battery would almost certainly be flat. It is about fifteen minutes from Silas’s to Bloomfield Wharf on a good day, and longer in pitch dark at low tide trying to avoid the reef. I don’t know how he does it, but he managed to miss all coral in the pitch black, although we nearly hit a log and a submerged boat. There was a lot of phosphorescence, which makes a nice backdrop against some lightning in a storm out to sea. To make matters a bit more interesting, after I’d turned the light off and we were on our way back it began to rain – heavily. Not only was it now pitch black, but we could no longer see any lights on shore. Silas headed straight out to sea until he was sure we must be around most of the reef, and then using the angle of the waves as a guide, headed back towards where he hoped land would be – and specifically his beach. He was pretty close, when the rain eased off enough for us to once again see lights, the light’s we saw were those of his neighbours, so we headed to the next beach down, navigating through the reef with the help of some bicycle reflectors on a stick and a torch. I think I might smash the bulb in the interior light tomorrow. After our ordeal, Silas and I went down to their creek and turned their turbine on, as it is now flowing again. This is the first time the creek has flown in a while. Then we had hot cocoa and went to sleep.

09.02.2003Sunday 9 February – I return from Silas’s

It rained during the night. Silas and I woke had toast for breakfast, and it started to rain again. Silas phoned his friend Jamie to see if he wanted to go fishing, but we decided to wait and see what the weather did. Silas and I climbed up the creek to move some piping in case it flooded, and then climbed up a gully to chop some wood, getting soaked by the rain in the process.
Jamie and Melanie arrived and we had lunch, discussing whether to go fishing or not as it was still raining. We decided to go, so packed a few things and headed down to the boats. We headed out to Hope Island, trawling a bit on the way and watching the rain pass down from Cooktown through Rossville, past Cedar Bay and down towards Bloomfield. A few hours later we arrived on Hope Island, which is actually two islands. The larger island doesn’t have any ground, it’s all mangroves, so we stopped on the smaller island and ate a small afternoon tea, after Silas forgot to bring any matches or cups. Luckily he can make fire and we found two plastic cup-like things and shared them. I jogged around the island, and then we headed back home. We did some more trawling, and stopped for a while to line fish, then it began to get dark. All up they caught two marlin, three cod and many small fish.
We motored back towards Bloomfield as it got slowly darker and rainier. Once we got to Silas’s I ran up and got my bag and left for the wharf with Jamie and Melanie. It was nearly nine o’clock by the time I got to the car. I was a bit worried that it may not start after leaving the light on last night, and when I first turned the engine over it only tried for a second or two and then died, but (much to my relief) when I tried a second time the car started straight away. I think I was pretty fortunate as the battery must have been fairly flat to have only turned the motor over a few times and stopped. I drove home very slowly, peering through the foggy windscreen and the rain and mist at the ruts and potholes in the road. I got home around 9:30 and had some dinner.
I am now very sunburnt and have a sore back and butt.

10.02.2003Monday 10 February – Shan buys his first car

Shan told me via IRC that he’s bought a new car. That was where he was yesterday – in Mareeba purchasing it. He has a ’94 model Commodore sedan, dark blue with tinted windows and raised suspension. It looks nice and seems to go well too. I forget how much it cost him, but it seemed cheap for a ’94 model. He drove over in the evening and I had a look and took a few photos. He also got to see Kylie-Anne while he was in Mareeba so I’m sure that made him happy too. I’ve got itchy bumps on my neck and hands from all the jelly fish which bit me when I was at Silas’s, but my arms aren’t peeling yet.
I watched “True Lies”. I’ve seen it a few times now and I still really enjoy it for some reason.

11.02.2003Tuesday 11 February

I phoned Centrelink to see what was going on with my repayment issue. They were short staffed from flooding, and had me phone back at 3 o’clock – which I did. No one knew anything so I’m to phone again Thursday morning. Apparently Shan fell from a roof or through a roof or something similar today and is all sore and unable to walk.
I’ve just finished having an argument on IRC about time. If there’s one thing which is fixed, exact and unarguable... that would have to be time. It started out as a discussion about daylight saving time and its effects on poultry farmers. I quoted a poultry farmer from an article on the history of daylight saving time which I happened to be reading. One of the women in the channel disagreed. Ironically her boyfriend is a poultry farmer and she got him to come in and tell me how daylight saving time doesn’t affect poultry. I made the mistake of pointing out that the quote was about it affecting poultry farmers, not their poultry, and he began to tell me all about time. Apparently it comes from an atomic clock. When it is daylight saving time, the clock is changed one hour, then when daylight saving time finishes, it is changed back one hour. I mentioned the sun – but apparently the time comes from the moon and the sun. This was too much to bear, so I had to point out that the moon plays absolutely no part in timekeeping. Our instructive poultry farmer then informed me that months come from the moon. I pointed out that calendar months aren’t the same length as a lunar month, and was told that months should all be 28 days long. When told that a year isn’t an exact multiple of 28 (although it is pretty close), I was advised, in no uncertain terms, that the year we have is based on the Julian calendar and has nothing to do with the sun or the moon, but that it should be based on the moon. I reminded our friend how the earth goes around the sun, and, in an attempt to simplify such a mystifying concept a little, pointed out how summer comes at the same time each year – I think it was when he stated that the climate is changing and asked (with the attitude of a man who knows he’s clinched an argument) how I’d explain the hotter periods in March/April that I gave up.
Mum and I watched “The Blues Brothers”. It’s a good laugh and we enjoyed it. I’m not really a blues fan, but the movie was fun. I’m sure the police learnt a lot about high-speed chases from that movie.

12.02.2003Wednesday 12 February

Blah. People suck. I don’t like people. I prefer animals, trees, plants, even rocks.
Mum and I drove to town this morning. We did shopping and boring stuff like that. I checked freight prices to Brisbane.
Shan drove over in the evening and we talked for a while. He took the DVD’s which Mum and I got in town today.
Mum and I watched half of “Terminator”. That was all I could stand. Firstly Mum kept muttering comments about some interview she’d seen with Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he said he was a nice family man – but the movie was violent so obviously it was all lies. Then we had a large and voluble argument about her feet on the knee rest on a chair. This ended in Mum storming outside swearing and driving off, and me watching the rest of the movie. I then managed to get banned from a few channels on AustNet and piss off a few people. I have decided that I am not nice and that I don’t get on well with people so will avoid them. I can get on well with people in a professional manner, I have no problem with that, but forget friendships – people are too stupid.
Late Night
I am supposed to get up early tomorrow, but I have no alarm clock. I’m not in a sleeping mood either.

13.02.2003Thursday 13 February

I phoned Centrelink and found out that they’ve not received anything from BSDE, so phoned BSDE. They said they’d fax something to Centrelink. I hope this gets this sorted out, as I’m now having my payments docked.
I went for a walk out to the “Half-Way Spot” on the Home Rule Road, buying an icy-pole at the shop on the way.
Mum and I watched the ending of “Terminator” which she didn’t see last night, then we had dinner, followed by “Payback”. Robert messaged me that he’s got my DVD drive and Shan’s hard drive, so I payed the postage and he’ll post them tomorrow morning.

14.02.2003Friday 14 February – Valentine’s Day

Shan drove down to Ravenshoe to see his girlfriend. He’ll be back Monday night apparently.
Mum and I watched “Chocolat”, a heart-warming (and almost certainly fattening) romantic comedy. It made a pleasant change from all the Schwarzenegger action.
It has begun raining, quite heavily for a while but easing up a little now.

15.02.2003Saturday 15 February

The power just failed, and auto-recovery didn’t auto-recover what I just typed. Typical. Anyway, I was saying that nothing’s happened today. I slept in. I went for a walk to the Home Rule Bridge. Mum and I watched “Ordinary Decent Criminal”. A good movie. Entertaining, amusing, good plot – we both enjoyed it. I better save this before the power fails again.

16.02.2003Sunday 16 February

I had another quiet day. Mum went to town and got out “Lord of the Rings – Fellowship of the Ring”, which is still an overnight hire. I had a midday nap. I went for my daily walk down to the Home Rule Bridge. We watched “True Lies” – and that about sums up another day in the life of Ned Martin. I wouldn’t mind one of those Harrier jets for personal use; although I’ve got a feeling they’d have a nice sized fuel bill. Half way through the movie a large beetle walked up onto the mouse wheel and paused the movie. I couldn’t help but wonder how city folk would handle this remote life. The beetle is over three inches long and looks remarkably like Darth Vader. Earlier a large snake-like lizard (which Mum mistook for a snake) startled Mum by running out from under the stove while she was cooking. This reminds me of a while back, a few years ago during the wet season. My sister, Bianca and I used to go tubing down the creek when it was flooded. This time we took along another girl – Gillian. She had just arrived from Melbourne a few weeks before, having lived all her life in the city. Once in the water she was too scared to get out without Bianca. There were too many scary things that could be out there. Anything from killer cows to woman-eating beetles, snakes, lizards, grasshoppers, biting ants... to her it was just too scary to be in the bush alone. To us it wasn’t even bush, it was just the creek bank, right near the road and not at all scary. I have been “out bush”, several hours from anywhere else, and hurrying home through the gathering dusk hoping to make it back while I can still see where I’m going. I’ve never yet got stuck out bush, but it has been close. A few times I’ve had to feel my way back along the road once I get out of the jungle. After that I took to taking a torch. I’ve even been a few hours into the jungle after midnight with only small maglights – I doubt a lot of city folk could handle that. The thick darkness, the omnipresent rustles, the myriads of unseen movements all around – a dingo howls in the distance, sounding worse than any movie ghost. A catbird screams overhead, so like a woman being murdered that they still startle me – and something large rustles by in the bush. Glowing mushrooms light up the tree trunks, whole areas of ground glow softly in some areas. Fireflies move through the trees like lost souls, sometimes flashing, sometimes staying lit and sometimes flying up close and bright – they can be bright enough to read by. I got good at walking in the dark. I could sense where a root would be (occasionally before I tripped); sometimes I would even manage to see the tiny but deadly wait-a-while tendrils in moonbeams which penetrated dimly through the thick canopy, before they could rip into me. I was always worried that one would get me in the eye and puncture my eyeball, as I had plenty get me on the forehead. I took to wearing a beret to keep them out of my hair. The spikes have a nasty habit of snapping off under the skin and going septic. I guess I must have been crazy. No sane person would walk around in the jungle at 2 AM. But I enjoyed it.
It is raining a little. It has, in fact, been wet for a few weeks now but we still haven’t had any flooding and our rainfall is down quite a lot on the average. If we don’t get more rain soon it looks to be a grim dry season, with the water table already low from the past years lower than average wet seasons and the almost non-existent wet season last year.

17.02.2003Monday 17 February

Mum drove Jean into town. I slept in.
Mum came home. I went for a walk to the Home Rule Bridge as per usual. Mum brought home some mail from Centrelink – the review of my repayment debt which I requested has been successful. Due to information sent from BSDE, Centrelink have reversed their previous decision and will reimburse the money they reclaimed. This is good news for me, in a time where I really need as much money as I can get.
Shan got home from his girlfriends place. Mum and I watched “Sneakers”. I remember now that I have seen it before. It’s not overly memorable or inspiring, but I’ve seen worse. After staying up all night last night, I should probably try to get some sleep.

18.02.2003Tuesday 18 February

I began the unpleasant task of sorting out all my stuff.
I drove over to Shan’s and stayed there until dark.
Mum and I watched “The Debt Collector”. What a movie. I have nothing good to say about it whatsoever. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and has one wondering how they got the funding. Depressing, unpleasant, violent, incoherent – the plot fails to entice, the visuals disappear into a blackness of low-light compression artefacts, the soundtrack was so inspiring that I don’t remember it. I highly recommend this movie – for any aspiring movie producers. Learn from your mistakes.

19.02.2003Wednesday 19 February

It rained on and off today. We’re not getting a great deal of water, but when it does rain it has been coming in short, sharp downpours, and just cloudy and wet for the rest of the time.
Shan and Ella drove over and picked me up and we went to town. Shan had to go to the court house and change his car over into his name. I got an application for Austudy in the mail, which I’ll have to read tomorrow. We got a few DVD’s out from the video store – “Thirteen Days”, “Eraser”, “Kiss of the Dragon”, “Eyes Wide Shut”, “The Fast and the Furious” and “The Art of War”. We went down to Ricki’s to see if Jade was there, but as she wasn’t we picked up Ricki and went into town to wait for Jade. We then drove down the wharf and had hot chips, driving home after.
I began to copy the DVD’s onto the hard drive so that I could take them over to Shan’s tomorrow for him to watch. So far I’ve not been able to copy “Eyes Wide Shut”, “The Fast and the Furious” or “The Art of War”. I’m not very impressed as I bet Shan’s drive will read them all with no problems. I can only hope my new DVD drive arrives very soon and that it works better than this one – preferably before I have to return these DVD’s to the store. On a non-technical note, there have been myriads of mosquitos over the last few days and I mistakenly left the caravan door ajar and some have gotten in and are biting me.

20.02.2003Thursday 20 February – First flood

I am so very tired. I had a wet day, ending up getting the car stuck on the wrong side of a flooding creek.
I phoned Centrelink and found out that the Austudy application forms which they had sent me only apply to people over 24 years old. I need Youth Allowance forms, which they said they will send poste haste.
I walked up to Cassidy’s and installed a new hard drive on one of their PC’s and fixed the graphics problem on their other. I pulled the card in and out a few times, seated it firmly, and it worked – typical for up here. While I was up at Cassidy’s it rained, heavily. I drove out to Joneses once Shan got home from work. The water was fairly well below the bottom of the bridge when I crossed it. I stayed out at Home Rule for a bit over an hour talking to Shan and dropping a few things off for Ric, then drove back home just as it was getting dark. When I got to the Home Rule Bridge I was surprised to find the water a few feet over it. I reversed the car into a small clearing above the bridge and walked across before the water got too high cantankerous. Fortunately for me Brett had just dropped in to check the level of the creek on his way home from town and he gave me a lift home.
Mum and I watched “Eraser”. It is yet another Schwarzenegger movie, much like most other Schwarzenegger movies – I enjoyed it. I was going to walk down to the creek and see if I’d be able to get the car back across the bridge yet, but it began to rain a little and the thought of the metre high pile of sticks that I’d have to clear away from the bridge in the dark wasn’t really all that appealing. I’ll just hope it doesn’t rain too much during the night and get the car in the morning.
It is raining, but not too heavily. My computer just froze – fortunately for me auto-recovery actually worked this time. I’m off to bed.

21.02.2003Friday 21 February – I go to Cooktown

Silas arrived without phoning me first due to a small misunderstanding. When I phoned him on Wednesday he got the impression that I wasn’t coming to town with him, so didn’t bother to phone first – so I had to run around getting ready while Silas checked his email. We drove into town. I checked my mail. The DVD drive and Shan’s hard drive had arrived, as did an overdue notice for a few videos and such from BSDE, which I’m fairly sure I have already returned. I met Sarah at the supermarket. I used the Internet at the library for an hour and then went up to her place. I went down to Ricki’s later in the evening and we went for a walk through the bush and along the beach, ending up at the wharf where we had chips for dinner. I slept at Sarah’s.

22.02.2003Saturday 22 February – I stayed the night in Cooktown

I went down to Peter’s and said goodbye to him, then made my way down to the markets where I met Sarah and Vince. We stayed there an hour or so, then I went walking and visiting a few people. I bought some lunch from the supermarket and visited Ricki and Sarah at various times and had a shower or two as it was so hot. I also managed to get a bit sunburnt.
I met Silas driving by on his way to visit some friends, so I got a lift towards Ricki’s place, where we once again went for a walk down to the beach and arrived at the wharf, also meeting Kay who was taxi driving but managed to spend some time talking.
Ricki and I had some potato wedges from the shop down at the wharf for dinner, and sat down there talking for a while. We walked back up to Vince and Sarah’s where I slept the night.

23.02.2003Sunday 23 February – I return home from Cooktown

Vince and Sarah went spear fishing. I sat and waited for Silas. Once Silas arrived, he and I went to the supermarket, then down to the bakery where I bought a vegetarian pasty. Then we headed back home, via the service station. Silas checked and sent a few emails from my PC and then headed back to Bloomfield.
I tried phoning Shan but the phone was first engaged, and then rung out. However, Shan phoned me. His PC has died. It has some type of hardware error at random (and quite frequent) times. I drove over and took my old PC over. We stripped Shan’s PC down to its components and put a few of them in my old PC and set his up how it originally was when he bought it so he can take it to Cairns for warranty repair. I also gave Shan his new hard drive. Jade and Ella joined us for a swim up at the Blue Marker, which was rather cold but flowing fast enough to be enjoyable, although there were a lot of antelopes trying to get into our mouths. Not long after, Shan and I drove up to Jim’s with Ric to see what was wrong with a new PC which he had bought from Cash Converters. The monitor was out of focus, and at around $90 and only 15 inch, it wasn’t cheap either. The computer itself was an IBM desktop of some sort, and there was also a printer and scanner. The scanner had no power supply, so was useless. I don’t think he got a bargain – far from it. After we got back to Joneses Craig wanted some tobacco, so Jade, Shan, Ella and I drove down to the Lions Den Hotel. Unfortunately they don’t sell tobacco anymore, only cigarettes, so we drove on into Cooktown – where we bought a tub of ice cream and ate that on the way home. It was a nice evening and a nice way to spend it.
I drove home and installed my new DVD drive, accidentally set it to region 2 (thus wasting one of the 5 region changes allowed) and tried copying the scratched discs I’d been unable to copy with my old drive. This drive at least reads the discs – which is more than the old one would do, but it still couldn’t perform any miracles. A scratched disc is a scratched disc, and once the data has gone, it’s gone. It’s now rather late and I’ve finished watching “Eyes Wide Shut” which, sadly, was too scratched to watch completely, and I think I missed some rather important scenes as it didn’t make a great deal of sense. I suppose it is bedtime now.

24.02.2003Monday 24 February

I’ve decided to write this backwards, just because. I went to bed, and then Dad, Mum and I watched “The Lord of the Rings, Fellowship of the Ring”. They both appeared to enjoy it. It really is a long movie, and very good. I was engrossed the whole way through. Shortly after, I drove over to Joneses. I had to hurry as we wanted to watch the movie before it was too late. I took my old DVD and CD-RW drives over so Shan can put them back in my old PC when he’s going to send it down. I also picked up my old demo DVD which my old DVD drive wouldn’t read. I’m pleased to announce that the new drive has no problems with it. Then I spent the afternoon watching “The Fast and the Furious”. The disc was badly scratched in one part so I had to skip over that, but I enjoyed it although it’s very obviously aimed at car enthusiasts. After that I spent a lot of time messing around on my PC doing not much, thinking about packing and what to pack and how and why and when and where and so on and so forth ad infinitum – except I did eventually finish. Afterwards I phoned both Cooktown Overnight Express and BSDE. BSDE about my loaned calculator and video’s which they say I haven’t returned (and they would be right), and Cooktown Overnight Express about sending some stuff to Brisbane. It’s all drawing very close now, leaving Thursday – I better start packing soon. Next, of course, I woke up.

25.02.2003Tuesday 25 February

Well... I’ve finally started packing, or at least sorting stuff.
I spent most of the morning doing not much.
I drove over to Joneses to say goodbye. I stayed for a while talking to the kids, then said my goodbyes and left.
The Plan
Tonight I mess around doing computer backup and things like that and then go to bed. Tomorrow morning Mum wakes me up earlyish. I put my big new monitor in its box ready to send off. I then sort out all my junk, basically everything I want to take which isn’t vital. This could take some time. I’ll basically just be going through everything in here and putting what I want to take into a pile and throwing the rest back. I then put this all in another box. We then drive to town and send these boxes to Brisbane. We go to town and back as quickly as possible, maybe say another goodbye to Sarah if she’s home. Once I get home, I then pack the vital things which I am taking with me in the car. These are my PC, one of my old smaller monitors, keyboard etc, clothes, toiletries etc. I then go up to Dad’s and spend the evening with him. Then I’ll go to bed. In the morning I’ll pack the last few things which I couldn’t pack before, my toothbrush and all that and wait for Silas to come. He said he’d try to come "early". I have a feeling this just means "not late" and he’s not likely to turn up too early, but he’ll try to come before lunch... but I don’t know. He may very well come early. I’m leaving everything right to the last moment. If something comes up tomorrow that I find and have to sort through and it ends up taking ages then I’ll have a problem. In one way it sort of doesn’t matter. If I get down there and realise I’ve forgotten something important a simple phone call to Mum or Shan (if it’s something technical Mum won’t recognise) and they can post it down to me, express post if need be and I should get it within a day or three.
Mum and I watched the “The Art of War”. We both enjoyed it. It seems very slick, well edited, the scenes flow into each other well. I then spent a few hours sorting through all my old bits of paper, throwing out a lot and keeping some others.

26.02.2003Wednesday 26 February – I send things to Brisbane

Mum woke me up, and I began panicking. That’s supposed to read “packing”. I use a simple technique. Start at one end of the caravan, pick up each item and either place it in the garbage pile, the “to take” pile or put it back where it was – or get preoccupied seeing if it still operates. This worked well for most things. My hundreds of CD’s took a while to sort through. My quadrillions of papers took even longer. I ended up with three garbage bags full of rubbish, mainly papers and boxes, and two smallish boxes of things to take, plus another small pile which I’ll try to take with us in the car.
I packed up my nineteen inch monitor and my boxes and headed off to town. The monitor’s box won’t fit in our car (or practically any other family car) so I had to take it folded up. This meant I had to put the monitor into its box in town. That didn’t sound too hard. Unfortunately I didn’t take into account the midges – the myriads of bloodsucking midges. They nearly killed me. There is a limit to how many midge bites I can sustain. It’s somewhere around the million mark, and after that I begin to feel a bit itchy. Then I start scratching and swell up, develop lumps, and run away screaming. But, due to the imminent rain, I couldn’t leave the monitor out in the open and run away, so I had to endure. Luckily I lived, although it was a close call. The boxes I posted and the monitor I had to freight as it’s too large to post. It cost me $44 to send the monitor to Brisbane. I said goodbyes to Bob and Peter, met Sarah and Vince at the Mad Cow Café, took our DVD’s back to the video shop, checked my mail and renewed my post box for another year for the princely sum of twelve dollars, bought a thick shake and felt sick afterwards, then drove home.
Later Evening
Ron dropped in on his way home from the Den with Dad. Shan then drove over. Shan and I found some files which I have and he lost when his hard drive died so we went and picked up a few blank CD’s from his place as all mine are in a box on their way to Brisbane, and put the files on them so he can get them back. We sat and talked for a while, then said goodbyes and he left.
I phoned Silas, but the phone was engaged. I phoned Silas, but the phone was engaged. I phoned Silas, but the phone was engaged. Sarah phoned. I decided to watch “13 Days”. As my speakers are also in a box on their way to Brisbane and Dad and Mum were inside talking to Ron I decided to watch it alone. Silas phoned. He says he’s been chopping timber all day and spent the last hour packing and now he’s tired so he’ll pack in the morning and I need not expect him before midday tomorrow. This is good news for me as it means I too can stop packing and pack in the morning. I only work under pressure and now the pressure has eased so I watched the rest of “13 Days” and quite enjoyed it, although the action wasn’t very actionable. In fact, it wasn’t very existent at all. Excitement wasn’t this movie’s redeeming feature. I tend to enjoy good action movies best, closely followed by good movies.
Later Night
I decide, after due deliberation, reflection, thought, and consideration, that the best course of action (or inaction as the case may be) is sleep. Based on the assumption that sleep is good for me, I figure I must be very good – and not wanting to blemish this record I shall retire to rest.

27.02.2003Thursday 27 February – I leave Rossville

I spent most of the morning wasting time. I then packed everything as fast as I could, just finishing by midday – which was when Silas might come.
Silas arrived around one, and we packed my stuff into his car. It all fit, although there sure wasn’t much room left over. I hugged Mum goodbye, shook hands with Dad, and without further ado Silas and I drove off. We drove the four and a bit hours to Cairns and headed for Pam’s place. She’s one of Silas’s friends, and it ended up that Jack lives with her, so I knew someone there too. We had the traditional coffee and waited for Silas’s younger brother Eric to arrive.
Eric, Silas and I went down to the night markets where we had some dinner. Some vegetarian ravioli later and we headed back to Pam and Jack’s place where Silas and I stayed the night. We tried to get their computer to work before we went to bed but were unable to. Silas had a very poor sleep due to the coffee he’d had, but I slept well.

28.02.2003Friday 28 February – I begin travel to Brisbane

Silas and I went down to a bakery where we bought some croissants and I had an apple turnover with cream. We ate these back at Jack’s place and then headed into town to find an internet café. Silas found he had a fee due today, and I needed to print out my lecture timetable, but right about then the university’s server died. Silas and I bought a BIOS battery for Jack’s computer which we took back and installed – and it worked. We then headed back into town to find another internet café as Silas was worried about getting a late payment fee. This time the university servers worked and I printed out my timetable.
Silas and I left Cairns at Midday and drove south. We stopped every 400 to 500 kilometres for petrol, but apart from that drove non-stop.
We drove and drove and drove.
It began to rain after Townsville and as Silas and I got sleepier and sleepier and it got later and later it got wetter and wetter. Finally, as 1 AM approached and about 40 kilometres north of Rockhampton the rain stopped. Silas and I pulled over onto an old gravel pit on the side of the road and rolled out our swags. Many mosquitoes instantly descended onto us, but we figured that we were too sleepy to be bothered by them. They were extremely large mosquitoes, the type which crackle and splat when hit. Several million came. Silas found some liquid mosquito repellent. I popped the lid open. Unfortunately it was very warm and runny and a large amount went all over my hand. Unfortunately it was too dark to see so I wasn’t aware. Unfortunately I assumed a small blob of fairly rigid mosquito repellent would be on my hand. Unfortunately I went to rub this into my face. As you would expect, I got mosquito repellent all over my face, in my eyes, and all over the swag. Unfortunately I dropped my torch into the spilt repellent and unfortunately I then put the torch into my mouth to see what was going on. Now fully mosquito proof, both inside and out, I wrapped myself into my swag and tried to sleep. Unfortunately the mosquitos began to lick the repellent off to get to me, so Silas and I got some old plastic mosquito nets we had with us and I placed one of them on my head, all piled up. This kept the blood sucking beasts a little way away although they made a loud noise trying to get at me. Silas, meanwhile, had put his mosquito net over his entire swag condom style. He had also found some insect repellent in a spray can so he sprayed his swag and himself with this, all over his hair and all, then crawled inside his swag and mosquito net. The mosquitos buzzed around his nose, unable to bite him through the net but enough to stop anyone from being able to sleep. Silas, being the brainy man he is, closed his eyes and sprayed all over the net (which was only inches from his nose). When he opened his eyes it dripped in them. Then it began to rain. I lay and willed the rain to stop, but it didn’t, so I moved into the car. It was very hot. I had all the windows and doors closed and began to swelter. My brain, in ways it only can when extremely tired and half poisoned, began to wonder how oxygen would be able to get into the fully sealed car. The more I wondered, the hotter I got, and the harder it became to breathe. I pulled the door open and rushed outside to get some much needed air and cool. The mosquitos didn’t allow me to stay out for long, so I rushed back in and tried to forget about my impending suffocation. Just before I suffocated fully I rushed out for some more air, but a few hundred mosquitos managed to get back inside with me so I couldn’t risk letting them in to the only safe place I had. I decided suffocating was the lesser of the two evils, wiped the sweat off me and the next thing I remember is waking up.

01.03.2003Saturday 1 March – I arrive in Brisbane

Silas and I awoke, amazingly still alive. After discovering one of the headlights was falling off and taping it back on, we continued on our way.
We drove and drove, taking turns. We passed through Gympie, saw the turnoff to where I used to live, and continued on. The small two lane highway changed into a four lane freeway and we drove into Brisbane. We passed over the Gateway toll bridge, got lost by missing the right exit, drove around a few suburbs and found an alternative route, found the right road and once we were close enough Silas’s memory kicked in and he recognized where we were and we found Joe’s place. We said hello and headed upstairs for a much needed shower. I don’t remember exactly when we arrived, but it must have been close to six o’clock.
Silas’s uncle, Joe, had a few whiskies and Silas had a few of his home brews and we all talked then went to bed.

02.03.2003Sunday 2 March – My first day in Brisbane

I awoke just before Joe had to go to a meeting. Silas woke up a while later and we talked and messed around all morning until Joe got home just after twelve.
Silas and I walked down to the train station so I’d know where to go tomorrow morning. It is only a five minute walk from here, and about a half hour journey by train to Dutton Park Station, which is close to the university ferry. We walked on to the supermarket and bought a few supplies. When we got back Melanie (Joe’s daughter) and Tim (her fiancé) were here. We all talked for a while and then they left. Silas, Joe and I had a barbecue, although seeing as I don’t eat meat it wasn’t much of a barbecue for me, and then Silas left to go to Melanie and Tim’s place, which is where he stays. Joe and I walked the dog. It is a funny dog, very scared of any men it doesn’t know, but not at all afraid of women. It wouldn’t come with me for a walk, so Joe had to come as well. Hopefully it will get used to me quickly as I’ll probably be looking after it for a while. Joe is a bus driver, and works from about 2 PM until after midnight, so I’m going to be feeding the dog (and the cat) in the evening when I get home from university, and in two weeks Joe is going to Sydney for a week or two, so I’ll be looking after the dog and cat fulltime then.
I watched a movie (or the ending of a movie), and then headed upstairs to type this and make myself something to eat. The house has an upstairs and downstairs. Joe lives downstairs. He has everything he needs down there and apparently rarely comes upstairs. I have a room upstairs, and can use the kitchen, toilet, shower etc. up here while he has his own down there. As I will most probably be going to university most mornings and as Joe works most evenings, we won’t actually see each other all that much. This sounds good to me, as I’d like to just do my own thing as much as possible and keep quietly to myself, at least until I’ve settled in a bit. I think I’ll go cook up something for dinner now.
Seeing as I have to catch the 6:27 train tomorrow morning, I might go to bed.

03.03.2003Monday 3 March – My first day at University

I woke at six when my alarm went off. I got up at ten past six, when my brain woke up. I had brushed my hair, got breakfast, and looked at the clock.
I ran out the door and headed towards the 6:27am train. By the time I got to the stairs over the overpass I was about to collapse. Walking up the stairs wasn’t easy, and I don’t think I should run so soon after eating either. I just managed to buy a ticket when the train came. Half an hour later I was at Dutton Park Station and Silas arrived there shortly after I did. We walked past the dead centre of town, down a path through a nice park towards the river and to the ferry station.
$1.20 got me across the river on a ferry, and then Silas and I walked around the university until it was time for my eight o’clock lecture. It was mainly an introductory thing. This was followed by my nine o’clock lecture, which was also an introductory thing. After this I went and sat in with Silas’s two hour lecture. After that we went down to the computer labs and messed around. I couldn’t gain access as it wouldn’t accept my login so I had to use Silas’s. ICQ works, IRC doesn’t. Fortunately my email works, even though it uses port 2082. I guess they have a strict firewall.
Silas and I left university and walked to where Silas stays. After a cup of tea and a chat we walked down to the post office, and then the train station where I caught a train home. I fed the cat and dog, fed myself, and collapsed exhausted.

04.03.2003Tuesday 4 March

I slept in.
I planned to arrive at uni around eleven, and headed down to the train station at the appropriate time. But it was not to be. The train was delayed forty five minutes. I arrived at my lecture just as it started, and I just about had to run to make it too. After my lecture I met Silas. We caught a bus to Indooroopilly shopping centre and did some shopping. I bought some lead and some pencils, ring binders, paper and lecture pads. I wanted to buy a twenty five metre telephone extension lead but couldn’t find one. Silas bought a few similar things and then we caught a train back. I continued on to my station and walked back here. I then walked to the local shopping centre. I managed to find it straight away, which I thought was good. I did some shopping, loaded my backpack up and still had two bags left to carry, and decided to be brainy and find a shorter way home. I am quite sure you can guess what happened. As the frozen things in my bag slowly froze my back, and the sharp things poked into me, I walked across a toxic waste dump, down a street, around another street, up another street, down another street, up another street, across a road and found my street. Just as my legs were failing I arrived home. I fed the dog and cat, had a shower, got my things ready for the early train tomorrow and went to sleep.

05.03.2003Wednesday 5 March – I bought my textbooks

Another eight o’clock start at uni. This time I didn’t need to run to catch the train, but I did walk fast. I think I need to allow more than fifteen minutes before the train leaves. I can’t wake up, eat, brush hair, and wake up again in that time. Today was lots of math, Yuk.
Silas and I caught a bus out to QU Books to buy textbooks. It was fortunate for me that I had Silas with me, as I’d never have found it otherwise, and the books are cheaper than at the uni book shop. I spent $222.85 and got “Calculus”, “Java Genesis” and “Discrete Mathematics”. Yuk. They were heavy too, and I was tired of carrying them by the time I got home.

06.03.2003Thursday 6 March

It was raining lightly, so I got slightly wet and cold. Some of the lecture theatres at uni have very cold air conditioning, which is even colder when I’m wet. However I survived.
Joe ordered some Chinese takeaway, which was delivered shortly after, and we ate that. I then went to bed.

07.03.2003Friday 7 March

I needed to be at uni by nine, so I headed down to the station fairly early, after a quick breakfast. I had a one hour math lecture, followed by two hours of Internet interface design lecture, and then an hour of programming. I then headed down to the computer labs to use a PC to sort out my timetable, as I’ve discovered I need to add another two practicals. Hopefully this will now be my final schedule for the rest of the semester. I’m reasonably happy with it; I think it is not too bad, not as bad as Silas’s anyway. I’ve managed to get most things fairly consecutive, as it is too far to travel in and out more than once a day.
I headed for the ferry and then Silas’s. He and Gus were home. Silas and I walked down to Jaycar Electronics where I bought a 30 metre telephone extension lead so that I can move my PC into a far room where there is a table and get it up off the floor. Then, hopefully, I can actually type with ease again. Silas and I made an eggplant and potato curry for dinner and ate that, after which I caught a train home, arriving back here around 9:30. I spent some time on the Internet, happy in the knowledge that I don’t have to get up early and go in to uni tomorrow.

08.03.2003Saturday 8 March

I had a sleep in. Joe went to a car wrecker and got a starter motor and handbrake cable, which he put in his car. While he was doing that I moved all my stuff down to the end room. I now have a table and can sit at my PC. This makes it a lot easier to do things.
Joe and I ordered pizza, which we ate while watching TV. I also installed Kawa and a Java SDK, so I can start on some things I need to do for uni. My website is partly unavailable, as the xslt component is not currently installed because the servers underwent emergency maintenance to patch a security hole which was recently discovered.

09.03.2003Sunday 9 March

Joe mowed the lawn and I did as little as possible. Silas rang and we arranged to go into the city. I caught a train in to Silas’s station and walked up to his place. We messed around with his computer for a while and installed some hardware temperature monitoring things. His computer overheats.
Silas and I walked into Southbank and went to the museum and library and generally had a look around, and then walked back to his place again. I caught the 6:17 train back home and had a shower.
Tonya, one of Joe’s daughters, came around with her boyfriend/husband/fiancé, so I’ve got to meet all three of Joe’s daughters now.

10.03.2003Monday 10 March

Today was an early start. I got up particularly early so I wouldn’t have to run and just walked very fast instead. I did the uni thing, and met Silas after. We caught a train, then a taxi (because the station we stopped at was in the middle of nowhere) to Gamedude Computers. The DiscShop happened to be right beside it, so we went there as well. We then tried to walk back to civilization, but got stuck in an industrial estate and ended up walking for a long time and a long way until we got here. Silas bought an 80 GB hard drive, so we formatted that here and copied a few DVD ISO’s which I had across, plus some music, then he headed home and I had a quiet and uneventful evening.

11.03.2003Tuesday 11 March

I went to Centrelink at uni and discussed what and how to fill out the various forms so as to get paid. I had a short day at uni today, as I didn’t go to my tutorial because I haven’t done the assignment which needed to be handed in at my tutorial. Joe had left for work by the time I got home. I phoned Mum and arranged to express post some Centrelink forms which she needs to fill out, then phoned some couriers to arrange to pick up my monitor. The rip-offs tried to charge me $60, but I eventually found one who would do it for $25. They should deliver it tomorrow evening after I’m back from uni. I hope. Now, after spending ages filling out complex Centrelink forms, time for bed.

12.03.2003Wednesday 12 March

My alarm clock went off.
I woke up.
I got up.
I ran around in circles getting ready as fast as I could, checked my email, brushed my hair, got dressed, packed my bag, forgot the water, and headed out into the drizzle. I was quite fortunate rain wise. It drizzled on me as I walked swiftly down to the station, and then began to pour as I got on the train. By the time I got to Dutton Park and walked down to the ferry, it was back to a light drizzle. The instant I got under cover at uni it began to pour down.
I went to my lectures and did the uni thing, then went to the uni Centrelink. They were quite rude, which was totally uncalled for as I was nice and polite. They also said I had to go to Centrelink in Toowong, so I emailed Silas, who was down in one of the computer labs, and we went to Toowong. I express posted a form up to Mum for her to sign, and went to Centrelink and got, filled out and lodged another form. We both also bought small fold-up umbrellas, which turned out to be a good idea.
Even Later
Silas and I caught a train home, he hopped off at his station, and I changed trains and continued on here. It was raining when I got to my station, so I used my new umbrella for the first time.
Even Later II
I opened my discrete mathematics text and started reading – for the first time. That’s quite enough said about that, it is not fun. I then watched “Open Your Eyes” in Spanish. It was a strange experience. That is the movie which “Vanilla Sky” was based upon, and although I don’t remember it, I must have seen “Vanilla Sky” some time before. All throughout the movie I would see a scene and remember it, sort of like déjà vu, but different. I couldn’t quite remember what would happen, or what was coming next, just that I had seen this before. I suppose because it is actually a different movie, and also I don’t understand a word of Spanish. It did make it very interesting to watch a movie with a plot like that, and have an eerie feeling that I knew what was going to happen, but somehow couldn’t place it.

13.03.2003Thursday 13 March

I didn’t need to be at uni until midday today, so I had a bit of a sleep in. Fortunately for me, Joe was heading off to the shops at the same time as I was heading off to the train station, so I got a lift. The train took the usual thirty four minutes to get to Dutton Park, where I walked briskly through the light rain to the Dutton Part ferry and caught it across the river, a rip off at $1.20. I met Silas at the ferry, but as we were both running late we rushed straight to our lectures. I did the lecture thing at my lectures, then headed down to the computer labs and did my first java assignment and met Silas. We walked up to his place and stayed there the evening. Then I walked down to Park Road train station and caught a very full train back home – and that about sums up my day. As usual I was tired, stressed and worn out. It’s nice (that might not be the right word) to see Silas isn’t fairing any better, he reckons he’s sick from stress, and he’s been at uni for years and this is only the second week! I talked to a friend who is also doing an IT degree, but in South Australia, and he’s got it so much easier. Woe to me.

14.03.2003Friday 14 March

I had to be at uni by nine today, so I left on the 8:02 train. I almost fell asleep and nearly missed my station. By the time I walked to the ferry and waited for it, then walked to my lecture I was about two minutes late. This was enough though that it took me fifteen minutes to figure out what was going on. It was another wet day, although there were a few sunny periods.
I only had morning lectures today, so I was home before three. Mum phoned to let me know she received and has sent my Centrelink forms, so I’ll hopefully get them soon. I walked down to the shops and did some shopping, spending valuable money, but I did get some Milo so I guess it isn’t all bad. What a boring journal entry, but then that’s what it’s like at the moment.
So – I have survived two weeks at uni. I’ve got the hang of the lectures and tutorials, I’ve settled in to here where I’m staying, I’ve worked out the trains and know my way from the train station to here to the shopping centre and back again, and how to get to the uni ferry and back again. I’ve also realised that it isn’t going to be enjoyable at uni. It is hard, stressful and unpleasant. It requires a lot of time, a lot of study, and a lot of worry. People all around are joking about how stressed out they are, and how much worse they’ll be when it’s nearer to exams – but I think the joke is at best half hearted. I guess I’m handling it ok, I’m not too worried (yet). I just hope I manage to pass everything – good marks would be an added bonus. The main problem I’m having is that I get too tired. Maybe that’s how I handle stress. By the time I am on my way back from uni, it is all I can do to stay awake in the train. Once I walk back from the train station and get into my room, I really couldn’t handle studying – I literally couldn’t. I open a book and can’t keep my eyes open. It has to be at least partly psychological because I can turn on my PC and mess around doing nothing and I will eventually get over my tiredness. Silas has exactly the same problem. I really can’t keep my eyes open. They actually just close so I can’t see anymore. It’s interesting; I’ve only ever had this happen when driving back from Cairns a few times. I guess I’m just mentally exhausted by the time I get home. It is fairly demanding. A brisk (often very brisk as I’m running late and don’t want to miss the trains, which only run every half hour except during peak time) five minute walk down to the station in the morning, then thirty four minutes sitting in the air-conditioned and quite comfortable train, then another brisk five minute walk to the ferry, a few minutes wait for the ferry, then a minute or so to cross the river, then another few minutes walk to wherever my lecture is. So far most of my walking has been ultra brisk, bordering on running, because it has been either raining or I’ve been late. There’s also quite a hill on the way to the ferry. This leaves me a little exhausted physically, and then I sit in a cold lecture theatre and try to understand and not get sleepy. After fifty minutes of that, it is another brisk walk to find my next lecture. After two or more hours of this and the corresponding trip home, I am both physically and mentally exhausted. I’m not sure that I will get any more used to it either, Silas says he has been like this all last year (and the years before...). Oh what joy.

15.03.2003Saturday 15 March

I slept in, and really enjoyed it too. I drove Joe to his friend’s place, from where he went to the airport on his way to Sydney to go bowling. This means I’ve got the house to myself until Friday. It is a pleasant relief to be alone again. I really don’t like living with people, I wish I could get a place on my own but I don’t have the money. This was also the first time I’ve driven in Brisbane and, with the exception of some Indian cities, the biggest city I’ve driven in. Joe guided me, turn left here, turn right there, take the second left after the s-bend, then the underpass, then the third exit on the roundabout, then onto the motorway, then keep to the left lane, then off this exit, then around a complicated roundabout, a few more twists and turns, a couple of back streets and we’re there. Then it’s easy to get home – just go back the same way. I knew that I hadn’t a chance remembering the exact way home so I didn’t even try. I just drove in the direction I thought would probably be right, taking any street which went the right way... and I got home twice as fast, without having to use the motorway, without any roundabouts or complex twisted streets... In short, a much better way home, and Joe’s a bus driver and lived here for ages – I’d have thought he’d have known the best way around. I then spent the afternoon resting and enjoying being by myself again. I fed the animals and went online for a while, then went to bed.

16.03.2003Sunday 16 March

I slept in. Silas phoned to ask if I had any Linux distributions down with me, which I don’t. I spent most of the day relaxing, watching TV, surfing the web, chatting on IRC and so on. I also had to do two math assignments, one of which was due last week, the other of which is due tomorrow – yucky. I had to feed the animals, shower, cook, eat and all that too. It takes a lot of time just to live; maybe I need to get married?

17.03.2003Monday 17 March

Today was an early start day at uni, so I was up before six, and down at the train station in time for the 6:27 AM train. I wonder if anyone will find this and stalk me, there’s probably enough information in here to accurately locate me at specific times... Anyway, I caught the train in to uni, went to my lecture, tried to understand what the lecturer was talking about, and went to my next lecture, which I did actually understand most of, seeing as I actually got around to reading some of the things I was supposed to read beforehand. Then I made my way down to my discrete math tutorial, meeting Silas on the way to one of his lectures. I handed in last week’s assignment, finished off this week’s assignment with a bit of help from the tutor, and handed that in, then made my way down to the computer engineering labs to check my email (such a worthy use of computing resources), after which I tried to find Silas’s lecture, but he seemed to have already left it so I went back to the labs and met him there. We walked over to his place and spent the evening planning to build a computer for Silas’s brother Amos. I caught a train home just before four, and watched a bit of TV, fed the animals, had a shower, dinner, Milo, and the various things which one must do to sustain life – like avoiding study. My forms arrived back from Mum today, so I’ll take them in to Centrelink tomorrow. I have lots of study to do tomorrow, so I guess I better head off to bed. Oh – I also reconfigured my email, seeing as I now have three email servers, and having to check them from various locations (namely uni and home) I’ve switched back to using IMAP, so I can synchronise my mail a bit better. I made a pile of rules in Outlook to shuffle mail around; so far it seems to be working. Now it is definitely bed time, nearly midnight.

18.03.2003Tuesday 18 March

Well, it’s yet another day in my dismal life. Today will be no different to yesterday or tomorrow. I will wake worrying and depressed, then go to uni to get more worried and depressed, then I will come home again and worry and depress some more. Then I will go on IRC to forget it all and try to talk in a channel which is full of people who either dislike me or are indifferent. Then I will try to ignore the knot of worry in my stomach long enough to go to sleep, for a short respite from the constant grind, before I inevitably have to awaken and face yet another day, the same as the day before. Every day I think of what I didn’t do the day before, and it adds up until to even begin to tackle a simple task has become an overwhelming undertaking. I’d be worried that there was something wrong with me, but everyone else I know is already on antidepressants, and the suicide rate just keeps climbing.
Just remembered
I gave Centrelink the forms today, but they said that they won’t be processed for at least 28 days, so I guess I’ll go broke.

19.03.2003Wednesday 19 March

Today was an 8 AM start, so it was early to wake and early in to uni for me. I went to my two lectures then up to Silas’s for a short while, then back here. I did some washing, studied and completed an assignment for my programming course, then went to bed – that about sums up today.

20.03.2003Thursday 20 March

This is short because I’m tired. I had a normal day, went in to uni, did uni stuff, submitted two more java lab assessment items, met Silas, stayed at Silas’s place for the evening discussing politics, came home, did things, went to bed.

21.03.2003Friday 21 March

I went to uni, did the uni thing, and then came home. Joe arrived home from Sydney, happy because they won all three games (of bowls) and got to bring his trophies back. I drove Joe down to his bowls club to celebrate and then came back here and studied. The stress made me sleepy and I ended up falling asleep before 6, waking up on and off all night, but being too stressed to get up. Sleeping is sort of peaceful, more so than wakefulness anyway.

22.03.2003Saturday 22 March

I woke reasonably early seeing as I went to sleep so early yesterday evening. I couldn’t bear to get up and face the world so I slept (or rather dozed) in for a while. Once I’d managed to wake up and get motivated I studied for as long as I could and then caught the train in to Silas’s, arriving around 5, planning to go catch a movie, but in typical Silas and I style we never quite got around to doing it and instead spent the evening procrastinating. We ended up watching a video. A bit of a storm came over and the last train had gone, so I stayed the night there.

23.03.2003Sunday 23 March

I left Silas’s place before lunch and came home and studied. Apparently last night’s storm had been much more severe here and a few branches are down. Joe and I ordered pizza for dinner, and his daughter Tonya came over for a while, but I just studied. I took a bit of time out to watch “The One”, which a friend recommended I get when I told him I’d enjoyed “Kiss of the Dragon”. Very Jet Li action, times two – literally. I enjoyed the fight scenes, but it doesn’t compare to “Kiss of the Dragon”.

24.03.2003Monday 24 March – Grandpa passes on

I woke up ten minutes before the train left, having already missed the right train by over half an hour. My alarm clock was in time-set mode and the time had changed. I guess I’d awoken when the alarm went off and changed the time while trying to turn the alarm off, and then gone back to sleep. I jumped up and ran for the train, arriving just as it did. Unfortunately I hadn’t had time to get the things I needed, but fortunately I’d packed some things in my bag last night. If I had packed a pen and my timetable it would have been even better. After my early morning and breakfast-less sprint to the train I felt quite sick, but still managed to run to the ferry and from the ferry to my lecture, arriving only a few minutes late to find it was cancelled. The lecturer is unwell.
I got an email saying Grandpa passed on this morning, and no one has been able to contact Mum. I phoned Sarah but Mum wasn’t there so I got Shan to drive up and let Mum know.

25.03.2003Tuesday 25 March

Uni wasn’t too early today, so I slept in. My day was quiet, uneventful, and normal. The only thing out of the ordinary today happened after I got home. I fell down the stairs and hurt my neck and back. I have a bad feeling it might be worse when I wake up. I hope not.

26.03.2003Wednesday 26 March

Normal and uneventful, although my neck is very stiff and sore.
I hopped off at Woodridge station and went to the video store to see what I need to do to join. Apparently photo ID and a letter with my current address will do. I’ll bring them tomorrow.

27.03.2003Thursday 27 March

I went to uni and attended my lectures and so forth. I went and saw a lady in student services to see why my HECS was double Silas’s. Apparently some political ploy back when Silas first enrolled ensures that I pay double what he pays. Now seen as a desirable place for foreign students who can pay over three times what an Australian citizen pays to attend the same courses at uni with the knowledge that they won’t (within limits) be failed, the introduction of semi-guaranteed degrees rather than aptitude based degrees has undermined the value of degrees and will eventually undermine the Australian universities themselves, and once the foreign students stop coming, they’ll all go broke. As it is, this year a record number of Australians were denied placing’s at Australian universities, and not due to their school results.
I dropped in at the video store on my way home, and was told that photo ID and a letter with my current address on it is no longer sufficient to join, I need two pieces of ID, both with my current address and one of which must be photo ID. I think I’ll start asking people to put in writing and sign everything they say.
Joe ordered pizza. I am very full now, and off to bed. Oh, and puppy is back from her holiday.

28.03.2003Friday 28 March

For the first time in ages I made a great effort to get ready and leave in time so I didn’t have to run for the train. I actually arrived at the train station over ten minutes early and was very proud of myself until I realised that I’d read the PM timetable instead of the AM timetable... I still got to uni safely and on time, so I guess that’s all that matters. I had three lectures, which I attended, then phoned Silas to find out where he’d disappeared to.
Silas and I then spent the evening down in one of the computer labs frantically modifying his code to conform to a complex style-guide. Around three o’clock we’d gone to submit his assignment before the 4 PM deadline and discovered that it had to conform to a strict coding style which was specified in a 27 page style-guide. It would have been nice if they’d mentioned this fact somewhere other than in the tutorial which Silas missed – the assignment information might have been a good place? Twenty seven people out of a total of seventy failed to hand in their assignments by the deadline, effectively failing that course. By the time we’d finished editing his source code it wouldn’t compile, and with only a few minutes left, we did the only feasible thing and panicked – then once the time ran out, submitted it anyway. Silas is a bit worried as all assessable items in this course must be passed to pass the course. Now that we’re both stressed out we caught the rip-off ferry across the river and calmed down at Silas’s place.
Silas and I caught the rip-off ferry back to uni again and went to the Bachelor of Information Technology Society’s (BITS) movie and pizza night. We saw “Dogma”, which is a terrible movie. It’s a typical American comedy, entirely unamusing and preposterously absurd, but it was interesting to meet a few people. After the pizza we caught the CityCat catamaran back to Southbank and walked to Silas’s from there, from where I caught the train home.

29.03.2003Saturday 29 March

I slept in for a while. Today was an uneventful day. I drove Joe down to his bowls club where he spent the evening, and I messed around here. I stayed up all night stressing.

30.03.2003Sunday 30 March

I slept in late. I spent most of the day doing my math assignment. Joe did housecleaning and I cleaned the kitchen. Michelle came over in the evening, and later Tonya.
Hosting Problems
Here’s the reply I got when I queried about why XSLT hasn’t been re-installed on my web host. What’s a guy supposed to do?
“Why simple, I already tried it before moving everyone over. You should know the story thei. It doesn’t work with 4.3.1. Currently I don’t see any point of going back to 4.2.3 as we will need to upgrade sooner or later and 4.3.2 is on the verge of coming out. Heck, I have spent many hours troubleshooting as to why it will not compile. How about I give you root access to a spare server I have and you can try to compile it.”
“In a perfect world things would be smoothly but they don’t at times sure I could say "screw him" but people fail to see what we do behind the scenes. You are not the only customer on the server, and while you want xslt others want the new php. And it’s hard to keep everyone happy. I can remove mcrypt which will allow xslt to compile but then our order form won’t work and vice versa.”
“Thus why I am trying to find the proper solution. Sure it’s taken me more time than I would have liked, but being down is costing us money also. That said I stated in the other thread that I will fix our issues when everyone elses had been fixed.”

31.03.2003Monday 31 March

Today was another eight o’clock start, but fortunately also an early finish. I managed to complete the remaining two questions of my assignment which I’d not been able to do, with some help from the tutor, so I was happy about that although with the huge amount of time it took me I don’t have much chance in a timed exam. I hopped off at Woodridge on the way home and walked to the Department of Transport’s office and had the address on my licence changed. I then walked to the local video rental store which allowed me to join now that I’ve enough proof. I hired “Dr No”, “You Only Live Twice”, “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”, “Live and Let Die”, “Man with the Golden Gun”, “Diamonds Are Forever” and “Thunderball”. Most of the old James Bond movies I’ve either not seen or was young when I saw them and don’t remember, so I’ll see if I can watch them all.

01.04.2003Tuesday 1 April – April Fools Day

I went to uni as per usual, met Silas for a while, and then came home again – as per usual. Then I had dinner and watched the next instalment in my James Bond fix – “Thunderball”, which I enjoyed. After all that excitement I retired to rest.

02.04.2003Wednesday 2 April

I’m on the train, but only just. I don’t know why I am always late. No matter what time I get up, I am late. I had to skip breakfast and run to make the train, and then by the time I get to the train I’m ready to collapse. It takes me the whole journey to stop feeling sick, then once I get there, as often as not I’ve got to run to get the ferry to get to my lectures on time. The trains arrive just in time, so it’s just possible to make a lecture on time but only if the ferry is waiting and I run. This means by the time I get to my lecture and sit down, the sweat breaks out all over and I’m boiling hot. Very romantic I’m sure.
I watched the next part in my James Bond fix, “You Only Live Twice”. I don’t think I’ve seen this one before. They’re good movies, although the acting isn’t very realistic in places. Lots of the dialogue is out of synch, I’m not sure if that’s how it is, or if that’s an artefact that was introduced when they transferred the movie to DVD.

03.04.2003Thursday 3 April

Today I didn’t need to be at uni until 12, so I could relax a bit in the morning, although I still had to walk fast to make the train. I met up with Silas and went over to his place in the evening and didn’t get home until around six. It was thundering and storming, but fortunately not right here. I watched “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” before going to bed. I’ve seen it before, but quite some time ago now. I enjoyed it, it’s better than the other’s I’ve so far seen. I think the romantic touch is well done. My throat is still sore, and was sore all day. I don’t feel any worse, but I’m not sure I feel any better either. I’m hoping I don’t get any worse, as I can’t afford to miss any time from uni; I’m struggling as it is.

04.04.2003Friday 4 April – Ned Kelly

I can’t remember what I did today, so I guess it wasn’t too interesting. A bit of backwards deduction says I probably went to uni, went to my lectures, there’s a good chance I met up with Silas after and may have gone back to his place for a cup of tea before coming home. Oh, I’ve remembered now. After uni Silas and I met and caught a bus to Indooroopilly and from there a train to Graceville, where the Regal Twin Cinema is. Unfortunately when we got to the cinemas we were told that the movie we were after was not on at this cinema, but was at the Eldorado8 Cinema, which we had already passed on our way here. A short train trip back again, and we arrived in time to watch “Ned Kelly”. We both enjoyed it. I’m not sure I’d rave about it – it seemed too short and eventless, but I did enjoy it and thought it was well made. After the movie I caught the train home and met with a fellow UQ student, studying law, and talked to him about his experiences working and being sent to buy “chequered paint”, until he hopped off at his girlfriend’s station.

05.04.2003Saturday 5 April

I did some washing, did some study, started watching “Live and Let Die”, and didn’t really do much of any interest at all.

06.04.2003Sunday 6 April

Joe washed my sheets. I studied. Nothing exciting happened. I finished off the last of “Live and Let Die” from last night.
The phone rang. I jumped up and pelted down the hallway and had just started down the stairs when it stopped ringing and I heard a funny knocking sound behind me. I turned around and there was Silas at the window, mobile in hand. He helped me finish off my Java assignment which I was doing, and then stayed for dinner. Joe ordered “Chinese”. This is a tradition it seems. Once a week he gets “Chinese” and once a week pizza. I’ve not been able to refuse either yet. Pizza I don’t mind, although I can’t justify the cost, but “Chinese” is very expensive and not at all Chinese. I get a plastic punnet full of semi-cold chopped up vegetables. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to be, but it isn’t worth the money, especially when I’ve not got much.
I stayed up late, online. My web host finally found and fixed the problem which has stopped a large part of my site from working since Saturday, 8 March. Needless to say, I’m pleased it’s back online and working, and although I’m not at all impressed with the downtime, I must say that they probably spent more time than one client warranted in getting it working. As far as I know, I’m the only person who requires XSLT.
I lapsed into unconsciousness.

07.04.2003Monday 7 April

Argh. Yuk. 8 o’clock start. I nearly missed the train and had to run. That’s never a good way to start a day. The good news is that my website is still working.
I met Silas after our lectures, and went back to his place for a cup of tea. I ended up staying for a while talking, and then headed for the train. I detrained at Woodridge and took last week’s DVD’s back, and got a new lot. This time I got the James Bond movies “The Spy Who Loved Me”, “The Living Daylights”, “License to Kill” and “Tomorrow Never Dies”. That was all that they had in at the time, but I have to get seven to get the cheap deal, so I also got “Run Lola, Run”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Die Hard: With a Vengeance”. I finished off “The Man with the Golden Gun” which I started watching last night. I’m getting a bit blasé when it comes to Bond movies now, but I am enjoying them.

08.04.2003Tuesday 8 April – Train accident

I phoned Centrelink regarding a letter they’d sent me, saying I had to go in for an interview for intensive assistance. The lady on the phone said it is all sorted out, and I am now down as a full-time uni student, and that money would be paid today. I checked in NetBank and it has indeed been paid. $736.58 has been credited to my account, putting me back to $364.12 in the black. I’m very glad for this, as I was getting worried.
I was good today. I got ready with plenty of time to get to the train station. I casually walked down there, arriving with a good five minutes spare. Unfortunately the train didn’t arrive. Instead an express airport train came, and stopped. This was a bit unusual, violating the first rule of express trains – never stop at my station. Then, to make things even more confusing, everyone hopped off and practiced looking neurotic. About fifty of us found the stationmaster and asked what was going on. Apparently a bus hit a train at Sunnybank, so no trains are running on the Beenleigh line. We all waited around for an hour, during which time not once did the stationmaster get on the public address system and inform us all what was going on, people had to individually ask him. This meant that the crowd sort of surged from the train station and to the adjacent bus station and back again. A few people would start walking over the overpass to the bus station and everyone else would think they knew something, so would follow them, and then a little later they would all come back again. I thought it was very poorly handled, the way no one told us what was going on. Eventually, after waiting an hour, a train came and took us a few stations up, to Kuraby. Here we all got on a pile of busses, in my case a large articulated bus which hit painfully and loudly on all the speed humps. They drove past all the stations, letting people off, until we got to Rocklea, where the train met us again. From there it resumed its normal timetabled run. I got to uni just over two hours late and just in time to meet Silas.
Aid for the blind
Silas and I walked to an Aid for the Blind op-shop in Fairfield, after a quick cup of tea at Silas’s place. Alas, the shop was no longer there, but luckily there were three smaller op-shops across the road, so after spending ten minutes trying to cross the road, we went to them instead. I bought a warm woolly jumper and Silas got a shirt. Then we both walked back to Fairfield station and I caught the train home – this time with no interruptions.
I watched “The Spy Who Loved Me” and quite enjoyed it. It’s a bit better than the past few I’ve seen. Either that or I was just exhausted enough that I enjoyed it more. Then, of course, I went to bed as I have an eight o’clock start again tomorrow.

09.04.2003Wednesday 9 April

The grind. The drudgery. Life. Up before six, the weather has turned cold. I wore my jumper for the first time, and glad I had it. I made it to the train on time without having to run, and it arrived on time and everything went according to plan – a nice surprise. I tried to understand my lectures, learning about graph theory and complex number sets. I spent a bit of time down in the labs afterwards, and then headed to home.
I had a snooze on the train on the way home, and then another one once I arrived here. Uni is exhausting. There was a letter from Mum waiting for me, which was nice. After I woke up I watched “The Living Daylights”. It’s confusing having so many different characters playing Bond. It really breaks the continuity between the movies, although I guess I’m not really watching them in order. I enjoyed this movie; I think they’re improving with time. I find that the older the movie, generally the worse it is.
I had much too much curry and spice in my dinner, and now I’m not tired and can’t get to sleep, and don’t feel super good. Oh well, I guess I better go try lying down.

10.04.2003Thursday 10 April

I watched “License to Kill” this evening. I quite enjoyed it, although maybe not as much as the last Bond movie I saw. I’ve nearly run out of them again, I’ll have to drop in to the store and see if they’ve got any more there yet. All the others were all out on loan when I got these ones.

11.04.2003Friday 11 April

I had a day. I did some shopping and watched “Tomorrow Never Dies” too.

12.04.2003Saturday 12 April

I slept in.
I studied and watched “Die Hard”, but not at the same time. I’ve found that my study follows a regular pattern and can be graphed in an exponential manner. I start studying, and then take a break, and the study periods get gradually shorter as time goes by, until there’s simply no time left to waste and it’s an emergency, and then the study periods get rapidly longer again.
Tonya and her boyfriend came over for dinner, and we all had pizza.

13.04.2003Sunday 13 April

Study, study, study.
Study, study and more study.
Run Lola, Run.
I enjoyed the music in Run Lola, Run. It’s good music for a stressed man.
Study, study, study.
I found that in the sample exam there’s a question using Diophantine equations, which isn’t covered at all in my textbook, so I had to study that online.

14.04.2003Monday 14 April – My first exam

I got up nice and early and headed for the train station. I read my notes on the way to uni, and then again once I was at uni. I had a math lecture which I didn’t understand a word of, and then my discrete math exam. I was worried as I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I hadn’t studied enough. It was 50 minutes long and comprised of five questions worth 24 marks, with 20 marks being 100%. To my surprise, I managed to answer all the questions, and they didn’t have a question about Diophantine equations, which was rather a shame as I spent hours last night studying them online (because they’re not even mentioned in my textbook). I’m not quite sure how I went, but I at least think I understood all the questions.
I met Silas on the ferry, also on his way home, so I dropped in at his place for a cup of tea before heading home. I came home via the shops, where I dropped the videos off and got out “Die Hard 2”, “Blow”, “Get Shorty”, “James Bond – Goldeneye” (the only Bond movie which I haven’t yet watched that they had at the time), “Enemy of the State”, “Mission Impossible 1” and also “Mission Impossible 2”. I’m aware that’s a very poor pick of videos, but the way their pricing structure is, it’s cheaper to get seven DVD’s out at a time. It costs $7.95 for seven weekly hire DVD’s, or $2.20 each.

15.04.2003Tuesday 15 April

I had a quiet and uneventful day.

16.04.2003Wednesday 16 April

I had a non-eventful day at uni. I watched “Goldeneye” in the evening. It’s the James Bond movie I think of when I think of James Bond, because I’ve played the Nintendo game so often, and it’s such an accurate representation of the movie. Tonya brought puppy back.
I was halfway through doing my java assignment when Dad and Mum phoned, and I talked to them for quite a while. This made me have to stay up late, but I’ve just completed and submitted it and going to bed now.

17.04.2003Thursday 17 April

I slept.
I had a leisurely day at uni, not needing to be there until midday, and with one lecture cancelled due to the holiday tomorrow. I posted a letter to the family. I met Silas at two, and went back to his place for a while.
I watched “Die Hard 2”, and die hard they did. I stayed up late on IRC celebrating the fact that tomorrow is a holiday.

18.04.2003Friday 18 April – Good Friday

Today is a holiday, so I didn’t go to uni. I also have the next week off. I slept in until nearly two o’clock after having stayed up until around 4 AM last night. I watched “Mission Impossible” 1 and 2. They’re a bit silly but I enjoyed watching them. I went on chat again in the evening but it was a bit unpleasant, and then I went to bed. All in all, a rather boring and depressing day.

19.04.2003Saturday 19 April

I slept in until 11, and then didn’t do anything all morning.
I drove Joe down to his club, came back, had a shower, and arranged to go in and meet Silas.
I caught a train in to Park Road and walked up to Silas’s place. I stayed there for a while and then we caught a train to Brunswick Street, where we met two Japanese friends of Silas’s and went looking for a pub with lots of good looking women. Unfortunately one of the Japanese wasn’t aware that covered shoes would be required and had worn sandals. Sandals are apparently all you need in Japan. This meant we couldn’t get into most places and we ended up back at Silas’s after only an hour or so. We stayed there a while and then the Japanese and I caught trains home before the trains stopped for the night. I spent the rest of the night on chat messing around with a script and replying to emails.

20.04.2003Sunday 20 April – Easter Sunday

I spent a quiet day not doing much.
I decided that I had run out of food and that it would be a good idea to go shopping. Unfortunately, it happens to be Easter Sunday and nothing is open, so I ended up going to the video store instead. I got out “XXX” and “The World is not Enough”.
I spent a quiet night on chat.

21.04.2003Monday 21 April

I slept in as usual, although I did manage to watch “The World is not Enough”.
I went for a walk down to the shops and took my DVD’s back. I also bought a small pizza for tomorrow and did a bit of shopping at our local Woolworth’s store. Silas arrived shortly after three and we began our barbecue. An hour or two later we were all too full to move. We sat and talked for a while and then Silas caught a train home. Joe, his sister and I stayed up and watched TV for a while, and then I retired to my room and went online. Joe’s sister stayed the night.

22.04.2003Tuesday 22 April

I slept in, but not to such a ridiculously late time as usual. I watched “XXX” and ate my pizza from yesterday. I quite enjoyed it, despite the mediocrity of the performances and the action-or-die ethos of the entire movie. I guess that’s why I enjoyed it. I showered and am now waiting for Joe. He’s going to take me on his bus run in about fifteen minutes.

23.04.2003Wednesday 23 April

I slept in, and began to watch “Enemy of the State”, but was interrupted by Silas phoning to see if I was doing anything this afternoon. I arranged to go in and watch a movie, so I caught a train to Silas’s, arriving around a quarter to six. We went and saw “Fat Pizza” at the Eldorado 8 cinema at Indooroopilly. I wasn’t very impressed – too crude and stupid for my liking, although I did enjoy some parts that were quite amusing. I might go watch the rest of “Enemy of the State” now, or I might just go to bed – I’m not sure yet.

24.04.2003Thursday 24 April

I spent the morning quietly doing not much. I spent a bit of time on chat. Joe tried on his coat and put his medals on in preparation for tomorrow.
I went to the video store and got “Spy Game”, “The Fugitive”, “Executive Decision”, “Terminal Velocity”, “Sensitive New Aged Killer”, “Get Carter” and “Face/Off”. I’ll be the first to admit they all sound like junk. I then ordered a pizza, went to Woolworth’s to do grocery shopping, then picked up my pizza and walked home and ate it. After that and halfway through my garlic bread – I was very full. I spent the night on chat relaxing after my pizza, and had a slightly earlier than usual bedtime, as I have to get up earlier than normal tomorrow to drive Joe to into town.
I also watched "Get Shorty" at some stage today, or possibly tomorrow. That just goes to show how good my memory is.

25.04.2003Friday 25 April – ANZAC Day

I woke up in time to get ready and drive Joe and myself into the City. I dropped Joe near the Mater hospital so he could go find his mates and go in the march, and then parked at Silas’s place. Silas had breakfast and then he and I headed into the city to watch the parade. I took lots of photos, but one part of the parade looks much like another part when it all boils down so I didn’t get anything very interesting. I spent the evening at Silas’s and then drove home. Happily, I managed to get straight home without getting lost anywhere. I then made a webpage with some of the photo’s I’d taken at the parade and went to bed.

26.04.2003Saturday 26 April

I watched “Terminal Velocity” and then drove Joe to one of his clubs. He didn’t have much fun because it was overtaken by “young” folks, doing crazy “young” stuff, so he came home early and we got pizza. Seeing as I’d already had a large pasta, I ended up quite full.

27.04.2003Sunday 27 April

Today is a dismal day of much stress. The highlights, which are few and far between, are as follows: I watched “Get Carter”, good movie, quite enjoyable; Joe ordered “Chinese” but mine wasn’t vegetarian so I couldn’t eat it; I failed to figure out my math assignment and had to leave it until tomorrow – definitely the last minute; I cleaned out my wallet; I sorted all my paperwork into its big folder thing; and I had a sleep in.

28.04.2003Monday 28 April – Shan is engaged to Kylie-Anne

The present agony
Hi ho, it’s off to uni I go. 6:27 train, cool morning but not too cold, arriving at uni just before 7:30 and checking my email from a computer in the union building while waiting for the main refectory to open so I can get some breakfast. Heading off to my lecture after eating a lamington and a drinking a soymilk, and then trying in vain to understand a single concept. Following on with my Discrete Math lecture, this the first with the new lecturer – Barry. At first he seems harder to understand but maybe it is the content he is trying to teach us. An hour spent down the labs rounds off the university day, and it is back to the train station I go. A train to Woodridge and a walk to the supermarket and I am home with some supplies, ready for my assignment. Some washing is done, and to work on my assignment I go. Feeding the animals breaks my agony, and then it is back again. Two hours later I have done questions one and two and dinner is calling. A quick mix of Mexican Rice fulfils dinner.
The agony to come
Shan, his two sisters and his girlfriend come online in MSN and we talk. He has been engaged today, and is just now home from his girlfriend’s place. We talk about how fast things change and how fast a family breaks apart. His eldest sister is planning on going to Melbourne in around a month, and he is planning on getting married within the year, then it will be only his younger sister at home. I have left home, as has my sister. All of a sudden, it struck me that 22 years of family are gone forever – never to return. What we had we can never have again. Never again will my mother have us kids as her own kids that live at home with her; never again will we be living together as a family – except perhaps on holidays. It will never be the same again. For us children, we have our future, our dreams and plans, our desires and aspirations. For our parents, we are their future and their dreams and aspirations. I can only imagine what my mother must feel when she realises her children are gone – forever. Her children have grown – and are children no longer, although I am sure she will always see us as her young children. I am trying to think of a suitable Mother’s Day gift, as I think it would mean a lot to Mum to know that I am thinking of her.
Mental torture
I begin to download Service Pack 1 for Windows XP, so have to stay online for a while. I use the extra time to complete question 3 of my assignment. Only one more question to go now, I will have another look at it in the morning and see if I can figure it out, otherwise I’ll see if I can ask the tutor tomorrow. I’m not sure if they’re allowed to help with assessable items, but I shall explode if I think any more tonight.

29.04.2003Tuesday 29 April

I haven’t done anything interesting today. I went to uni as usual. I went to my Math tutorial in the evening to hand in my assignment, but managed to get some extra time – handing it in on Friday now. On the downside, I couldn’t get any help with the question I don’t understand. The tutor asked me what I did understand about it, so I told him, and he said that’s all he can tell me... What’s the good of that? The contrast between my two Math subjects is stark, and graphically illustrates the difference a good lecturer, organised course and enthusiastic tutors can make.

30.04.2003Wednesday 30 April

I’m on the train on my way to uni, having already woken up and gotten ready. Impressive don’t you think?
I’m having my first lecture of the day.
I’m onto my second lecture.
I’m heading home to do some study. I have to do a java assignment in time for submission tomorrow.
I stayed up until 4 a.m. I’ve decided that’s not a good idea, and that I should plan things a bit more in advance.

01.05.2003Thursday 1 May

I had a quiet day at uni, with nothing out of the ordinary happening. I met Silas in the evening and spent an hour in the labs with him working on his VB assignment. I then walked back to Silas’s place and had a cup of tea, before catching the train home. I had to detrain at Woodridge and walk to the video store to take back my DVD’s, and I saw that Pizza Hut (which is right beside the video store) had $3.95 large pizzas again, so I got one. I also did a little bit of shopping, but as it was getting late and dark, I hurried home.

02.05.2003Friday 2 May

I went and did the normal uni thing, except that I slept in and missed the train and thus my first lecture. I then had a terrible day and ended up chronically depressed and not wanting to go home, so Silas and I went in to town and saw X-MEN-2. The cinema was absolutely packed; I’d say they were turning people away. The movie, as expected, is remarkably stupid – but I’m almost immune to stupidity now and enjoyed parts of it anyway. I wouldn’t go so far as to recommend it, but I won’t declare it absolutely terrible like Silas did. It was going on midnight by the time I got home.

03.05.2003Saturday 3 May

I slept in, and spent a quiet day online. Joe and I drove down the road and got some chips for dinner.

04.05.2003Sunday 4 May

The morning was quiet. I don’t remember what I did; I think I did some study.
I caught a train into the city in the afternoon and watched “Daredevil” at the Myer Centre Cinemas. I then walked to Silas’s and found Buddha’s Birthday celebrations at Southbank, so stayed there a while taking photos. I had a Hare Krishna meal from the Hare Krishna’s tent. It was very yummy and reminded me of the food I ate in India. I dropped into Silas’s but he wasn’t there and a quick phone call found him still at uni, so I wandered around the city taking some photos until late and then headed home. I found out the next day that Silas had missed the last CityCat and gotten stuck at uni and had to walk two hours home.

05.05.2003Monday 5 May – Labour Day

I had a quiet and very uneventful day.

06.05.2003Tuesday 6 May

I had another normal uni day. When I got home, around six o’clock, Tonya and her boyfriend were here, and Michelle and her boyfriend turned up shortly thereafter and cleaned out the room opposite mine. That took an hour or more during which time they giggled, laughed, and made silly jokes almost constantly, so I didn’t get the most intensive study done.
Web Hosting
I also bought another SolidInternet web hosting account, as they’re having their second birthday and offering the first twenty people who sign up double the disk storage space and ten add-on domains. It’s the add-on domains that I’m interested in, as under the normal plan I can’t get any add-on domains but I need at least one.

07.05.2003Wednesday 7 May

I was really sleepy this morning. I only just managed to drag myself out of bed and down to the train; although I woke up okay once I was on the train. Uni was the same old; I spent some time down in one of the computer labs and dropped in at Silas’s on the way home. I detrained at Woodridge, walked back past the shops, got a few groceries, and looked around for something for Mother’s day. I got the idea of a photo frame and a photo, so I went home and made up an “I ♥ U” photo of me, which I hope looks somewhat cute and not plain stupid. I’ll see if I can get it printed out tomorrow.

08.05.2003Thursday 8 May

I spent the morning sleeping, and then the evening at uni. I met Silas down at the computer labs and went to the library with him to get a book, then dropped my Mother’s Day photo off at the uni chemist to be developed, or printed. I’ll pick it up again tomorrow. I then came home around 3 o’clock, right when the school kids are crowding the trains. I spent the evening attempting to do my math assignment for tomorrow, and I’m still doing it now. I’ve shaved, showered, dined, fed the cat and dog, put the rubbish in the bin ready for collection tomorrow and now I’m having a bit of a break online chatting, writing this and reading. I have to go and try to finish off another question (or ideally more) before I go to bed. The stress is awful.
About time
I phoned the DiscShop about my hard drive, which has been away under warranty since 11th December last year. I phoned them on 5th February and they told me it would be a week or two, and then I emailed them on the 15th April, but got no reply. After a bit of haggling, the guy on the phone told me he’d found an IBM hard drive out the back somewhere and he’d post it tomorrow or Monday.

09.05.2003Friday 9 May

I went to uni, did the normal stuff, handed in a math assignment, picked up Mum’s Mother’s Day photo, stopped off at Silas’s on the way home, stopped off at Woodridge shops and bought a photo frame, did the home stuff, fed the animals, etc. etc., and then watched “Face/Off”. I didn’t like it. Then I went to bed.

10.05.2003Saturday 10 May

I read math, more maths, and more maths. I don’t like math. I didn’t think “maths” was a word, but it seems it is now. I don’t think I did anything else worth mentioning.

11.05.2003Sunday 11 May – Mother’s Day

I slept in. I phoned Mum around lunchtime and talked for quite a while. I did some washing. Actually, Joe did it. I paid the rent and my part of the phone bill; at only $10, it is much cheaper than last time. I drove Joe to the bowls club. I started to watch “Sensitive New Age Killer” but didn’t like it and didn’t finish it. I’ll watch the rest some other time I guess. I printed out a letter for Mum, packaged up her photo ready to send off tomorrow, and packed my uni stuff so I don’t miss the 6:27 AM train tomorrow. I wonder if it’s a security risk mentioning train times in a publicly available journal.

12.05.2003Monday 12 May

Nothing exciting, just university.

13.05.2003Tuesday 13 May

I stayed up quite late working on a website for my Internet Interface Design class. By the time I got to bed, it was less than three hours until I had to get up again. Hardly surprisingly, I nearly didn’t wake up in the morning, but that’s a story for tomorrow.

14.05.2003Wednesday 14 May

I very nearly missed the train. I woke up a short while after the alarm went off and just had time to run for the train. It was eight minutes late, so I didn’t need to run that fast anyway. I spent the normal time at uni, and worked out how to get onto AustNet from within the computer labs, so I did that. I also went to an “Industry Conference”. Speaker John Moore from TechnologyOne spoke about "The Top 7 Things done by Top Software Developers". Not really the most thrilling subject I guess, but the first conference I’ve been too.
I stopped off at Woodridge and walked past the shops. I bought two vegetarian supreme pizzas for $3.95 each and a few sundries at the supermarket, and then walked home. I spent most of the evening completing two java lab assessment tasks, and then the rest of the night working on my website assignment.

15.05.2003Thursday 15 May

I guess university must have been the epitome of noncommittal today, as I can’t remember anything about any of my lectures. That just goes to show how good my memory is. What I can remember though, is that I asked someone on the BITS channel on the UQ IRC network if it was possible to access outside IRC networks from inside uni, and it turns out that it is possible – and easy. Ironically, I’d tried several possible ways to do this, using SSH and various things I thought might work – but I never tried the most obvious and simple. Telnet to the student server, and that’s it. The student server has outside access, and has the ircII IRC client installed. This is excellent news, now I can waste more time at uni easier and more efficiently than ever before – which I promptly proceeded to do. I spent a few hours chatting and enjoyably procrastinating, because today I have an excuse – I’m waiting to meet Silas and go see a movie.
After spending a while down in the computer labs, I left and walked up to Silas’s and spent an hour or a little less there, before we both headed back to uni again to watch “Talk to Her” at the Schonell Theatre. It’s a Spanish movie, subtitled; however, I tend not to notice subtitles, subconsciously converting them into speech. It was quite good, almost in the style of a Shakespearean tragedy. I was impressed by the theatre too. I’m not sure what expectations I had, but they weren’t right. The theatre we saw the movie in is brick, with spider-web like things stuck to the walls with lights behind them, creating the effect of being deep underground in some sort of cave, and it was quite large too – much larger than I had expected, easily full cinema size.
After the movie, I walked back to Silas’s and caught the next train home. I then stayed up until just after 3:30 AM finishing off my website for submission. In the end, I gave up and submitted it anyway, with a few blatant errors still there.

16.05.2003Friday 16 May

I slept in, missed my train and subsequently my first math lecture, but managed to make it in time for my second lecture. I learnt how to use an event listener to capture input from a keyboard in java, and how to evaluate effectively various software interfaces. I obviously didn’t learn any math, as I was snoozing on the train at the time.
Now that I’ve discovered how to IRC from the computer labs, I can easily kill a bit of time by chatting to my online friends and reading a few forums and various things that I do online. Considering I can do this without having to clog up the home phone line, I spent a while in the evening down in the computer labs chatting and surfing before heading for the train station and home.
Joe wasn’t home when I arrived back here, and the car was here, the dog tied up, the house locked, and his iron still turned on sitting on the ironing board. This had me almost worried, but I did the usual thing, came up, vegetated in my room, and forgot about the outside world. Joe and his sister Elizabeth turned up some time later with “Chinese”, so I spent an hour or so eating and talking downstairs, and then came back up and wrote this. I seem to have gotten over my extreme tiredness I had at uni and on the way home now, but I don’t think I should stay up too late.

17.05.2003Saturday 17 May

I slept in with great enjoyment. Lucky there’s weekends.
I caught a train in to Silas’s, waited around an hour or so, and then caught another two trains to the Eldorado cinemas at Indooroopilly to see the “Matrix Reloaded”. It has had such a large amount of hype; we were both interested to see what it would be like, and both expecting it to be a bit of a let down. I don’t think either of us was expecting it to be pathetic though, which it unfortunately is. The fight scenes, which make up the majority of the movie, were some of the worst I’ve seen in a long time – which was a surprise coming from this movie. Not only were they meaningless (and should have been left out), but no one appeared to get hurt. They reminded me of a scene at close of trading in a stock exchange – not really what you’re supposed to think when watching a fight scene from the Matrix. There were a few short moments where they used their fancy fast-frame multiple camera swinging shots to good effect, but these were out shadowed by the numerous times they paused ridiculous shots of people doing back flips in mid air. I think they should leave the martial arts to people who know how, and think up something a bit more futuristic. You have agents who are all but invincible and a guy who is bordering on superman and the best you can come up with is ineffective karate-style fighting where no one even gets hurt? Pathetic, really pathetic. The few parts of the movie that weren’t dismal and pointless fight scenes were mostly taken up with overly long dialog, which also seemed to be rather meaningless. This movie has totally lost any of the “cultiness” the original had, and is bound to be a great disappointment to nearly everyone. Even the soundtrack was awful, just lacking the punch when it was needed, and with some unusual selections in strange places. Definitely a big disappointment. As Silas said in the first ten minutes and halfway through one of the copious fight scenes with businessmen ineffectively flailing around, if it gets anymore boring, he’s going to sleep. Oh, and if that wasn’t bad enough – there wasn’t any coherent plot and we’ve got to wait for the next movie to find out if it even makes any sense.
I arrived home well after midnight, and spent precisely four hours online (as that’s how long my ISP gives me before disconnecting me). This gave me a very late night, or perhaps early morning.

18.05.2003Sunday 18 May – I am depressed

Life is a bitch, the lucky die.
Night is darkness. Darkness hides the pain. My life is darkness. Even when I smile, inside I am hurting. When I was young, I cried openly. Now I have learnt not to cry. Now I cry inside.
I feel so alone. I cannot stop crying. I am listening to Mark Knopfler’s Prairie Wedding from his Sailing to Philadelphia album.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t have anyone to turn to anymore. I hate life. I hate it. Life is pain. To love is to hurt. To love is to open your heart, to open it wide for people to drive in their stakes.
I have just watched “Blow”. It is a good movie. I cried. I guess I should phone my mother. I don’t want to worry her. I wish I had some money. I need to get out of Australia. I need to get away from uni, away from everything. I have been thinking, but it is hopeless. I don’t have anything that I can sell, I don’t have any skills, there is nothing I can do. Nothing at all. I have no friends, no one to turn to, no one that will help me.
I have learnt to trust no one. Giving someone trust is only a way of betraying yourself. I will never trust anyone again. I will never love anyone again. I have learnt. Pain is pain. Pain can be handled. It is emotional pain that cannot be got rid of. Trust, love – it is these that curse a man until he is broken. If I trust no one, love no one, then I am able to survive.
My computer is all I have now. I am alone with only a computer. Western society is the worst in the world. People living alone in concrete jungles, the hunter and the hunted. Everyone going about their little lives, alone. In little boxes alone. Parents have children. Children grow and leave home. They have children. They grow and leave home and have children. Life continues but there is no continuity. Humans are not capable of living alone. It is obvious, it is everywhere, the pain, the anguish. People are crying out. Society is crying itself to sleep. People ask why youth suicide is skyrocketing in the countries with the highest standards of living, yet it is not a problem in third world countries. Are they stupid? Yes, probably. The most obvious facts of life, the simplest little things, these escape so many people.
A crowd is bad. A crowd is stupid. A crowd is not the same as its individual parts. A crowd is not human. We are a crowd. We are no longer human. Single people, small family groups – that is the most human we are now. Anything larger is a crowd and is not human. Once upon a time we could go and cheer our local football team. We could go to dances on weekends, and know everyone there. Now we watch football on television. Do the people exist, or is it a computer simulation? We all know they exist, but does that matter? It may as well be simulated. We have lost the very thing that makes us human. As a society, we are no longer human, and we are paying for this in lives, misery and anguish.
They say a city is the loneliest place on earth. I can walk down the road, past so many houses, past so many families, but I do not know any and they do not know me. No one will look me in the eye. Everyone is too scared in case they are seen to be an individual, in case they separate from the crowd and become their own. People are no longer able to do anything, because they don’t have any roots. If you’re very lucky, you have parents you can visit occasionally, and a few good friends that you see every so often. For the rest there’s not even that.
I used to think I was right. Now everyone tells me I have been wrong all along. Everything I do, everything I have done, it has all been wrong. I have learnt it makes no difference. Nothing makes any difference. If I do something, or if I don’t, it makes no difference. If you had a house, and you were blind, would you mind what colour it was painted? The world is blind. People see only their selves, if they chance to see someone else, they will interpret it in their own light, as an extension of themselves.
Everything is ego. There is God, and then there is ego. Ego is the only reason anyone does anything, ever. People are happy when their ego is happy. But this world is a temporal world of causality. Nothing is ever fixed; nothing is ever permanent in this world. It is simple logic, if you are happy now, you will be unhappy later. If you are unhappy now, you will be happy later. The best you can hope is to be happy more often, and unhappy less often. The logic is infallible. There is only one loophole; perhaps other worlds are not so temporal. But who knows, who can say? Religion says one thing, science says another, and both are interpreted only through an ego, which pollutes all with its identify as self.
Now what am I to do? It is one of the curses of humanity that one cannot do nothing. At the very least there are always thoughts. What would make a person happy? To have their ego pandered, that is the normal route to happiness. It is a temporary and unsatisfactory happiness that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when it is gone. Beautiful women grow old and fade away. Strong men grow feeble. All life fades, anything good will be gone with time. To serve others perhaps? Religion teaches that the truest form of happiness is to serve others. To try and make others happy, and then one becomes happy themselves. But to make others happy one must pander to their egos? It is a vicious cycle? I see no solution. Life is inherently flawed. It only takes one of the myriad elements to ruin the entire scheme.
We are not here to be happy. That should be obvious to anyone. It makes no difference how hard you seek happiness, it is not here. You may find some temporary relief from your suffering, but you may be certain that it will be temporary. Afterwards you are back where you started, a little older, a little wiser, but no happier. I challenge anyone to deny this.
Then why. If we can never be happy here, then why are we here? Are we really here to be unhappy? Are we just here to propagate a species? Are we perhaps merely chemicals, evolved by a random impossibility? Of course not. That is one thing that brings a smile to my lips, thinking of people – eminently intelligent people no less, who spends their entire lives trying to work out how we evolved from something that had no life, into something that does. Of course, they will never figure it out, and they will be unhappy while they try. At the same time we have religious leaders who have no answers either.
People have given up seeking answers. People have turned to science, because with science they can get answers to some simple problems, with the promise of more answers to come. Deep down everyone seeks the same thing. Everyone seeks to be happy. But no one is happy. Because this is a temporal world, any happiness is fleeting at best. There is no true happiness in this world, no permanence at all. Seeking happiness here is a waste of time, doomed to failure, doomed to unhappiness. Happiness and unhappiness – they are like light and dark. One is not equal to the other. When there is light, the darkness retreats, but it is still there, and as soon as the light goes, the darkness is back. Everything is darkness, with small points of light interspersed throughout. Remove a light, and there is darkness. Happiness is the same. Everything is unhappy. Happiness can banish unhappiness to the realm of the forgotten, but not forever. Unhappiness lurks, lurks in the dark, the same as the dark, ready to return as soon as the happiness is extinguished. Light triumphs over darkness. Darkness flees at the sight of light, but darkness is never conquered, never gone forever. Remove the light and darkness is returned as fast as the light retreats. Happiness and unhappiness – they are the same. When there is happiness, unhappiness is banished, gone, seemingly never to return. But as soon as happiness takes flight, unhappiness is here, the same as before. There is no way to be happy in this world, barring for a short time. Unhappiness is always lurking with the darkness, ready to strike the instant happiness and light falter.
They say God is light. They say God is love. God says – I am who I am. In their incessant search for happiness, people always end in the same place. Eventually, they find it is impossible, in this world there is no permanence, and no permanent happiness. Just as one can never banish darkness forever, so one can never banish forever unhappiness. They are left with only two solutions. Either there is no happiness, or there is happiness elsewhere – because there certainly isn’t any here. I don’t know what happens to those who decide there is no happiness. Perhaps humans are incapable of making that decision. However, I do know what happens to those that decide there is happiness elsewhere. They seek it. They seek, through religion, through drugs, through death – they seek happiness anyway they can. Anything that can take one from here to somewhere else is a possible candidate for happiness. Different people try different things, most with no success. Has anyone ever found true happiness? That would depend on who you believe. People say they have. People tell others how to follow.
It becomes a matter of faith. To seek something that does not exist here, to believe that it exists elsewhere when we have never been elsewhere, to believe something that we can never prove, that is faith. The search for happiness is what drives people. Faith is what keeps them going. I believe without faith we would not exist.
I have faith that there is truth. That something is always true. To use a cliché, true love. There is no true love here on earth, just as there is no true happiness. But perhaps God is true love, perhaps God is truth. As Jesus once said, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. So many people use this single statement as the be all and end all argument to Christianity as the only way, yet are so blind that they fail to see the obvious, that Jesus is not talking about himself.
Most people say religion is not logical. Religion and logic cannot coexist. I say they must. Truth is logical. For religion to be true, it must be logical. Faith must be logical, by its very essence, or it would not exist. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A common saying, which people have no trouble in understanding, but they use that saying all over the world and not only when they’re in Rome. These same people can’t understand how Jesus can say he is the truth, the way and the life. What can’t they understand?
I can tell Christians I’m Hindu. They will tell me no man cometh to the Father but by Jesus. Therefore if I’m not Christian, I’m headed for hell, or at least not going towards the Father. They say God is love.
I can tell Hindus I’m Christian. They don’t mind, they think Jesus is a holy man. But they think Christians have lost the plot and aren’t going anywhere fast. I agree with them, but I don’t think their elephant headed gods are going anywhere fast either. If you were a god, would you have an elephant head?
And atheists will tell me I’m wasting my time. They will say I’ve come from a random chemical structure, developing and evolving over untold eons. Somehow they think that ridiculous scenario excludes the existence of God.
Everyone is confused. No one knows anything beyond what little they know. Science can only probe the known. There is no one that can know the unknown.
Comment by unknown – Wednesday 3 December 2003, 1:46 PM
  You should watch your language because kids ACTUALLY do go to this site in case you didn't know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 3 December 2003, 2:58 PM
  ... What?

19.05.2003Monday 19 May

Sigh. It’s before six thirty and I’m on the train. I’ve already woken up, run around in circles getting ready, and rushed downstairs, put on my shoes, petted the dog, rushed out the door and locked it, and jogged down to the station. I can get ready in about five minutes, most of which is brushing my hair, and then it takes about five minutes to the station if I run all the way – that is not a recommended way to wake any morning.
I’ve arrived at Dutton Park station. I walk up the stairs and onto the road, following it along until there’s a break in the traffic and I can cross over to Dutton Park, where I can walk down a bicycle path to the river. The ferry is in, and just about to go so I pay my $1.20 and board. The second ferry is just undocking from the other side – they run two ferries during peak times. A minute or two and we’re across the river and debarking on the other side. I walk through the rainforest section, past a few ponds with their geese, ducks and assorted long-legged birds looking for early worms, and up to the main refectory – which isn’t yet open.
I’m in the foyer of the UQ Union building, signing into MSN and checking my email. Unfortunately, I can only check my uni email from here as they’ve blocked external websites.
The main refectory has just opened, so I can go buy chocolate milk and some hot chips if they’ve cooked any yet. It looks like they’ve just made some chips, but the potato wedges are looking particularly good this morning, so I buy a cup of them instead, which I smother in tomato and barbecue sauces. Picking up a few napkins, I head out and into a sunny spot on a wall where I sit and eat my wedges and wait for my lecture.
I’ve walked around to the Pizza Hut where my Mathematical Foundations lecture is, and got a seat in the third row. It was already quite full when I came in, it’s hard to tell but I’d guess there’s probably somewhere around 300 people in here, but I could be quite wrong. We’re learning more methods of integration today, which I can actually understand. Regrettably, I didn’t manage to grasp most of the things we’re supposed to have learnt before now, so when our lecturer says we’ll differentiate this over the complex plain using the trigonometric identities I am left behind. I can do it all on my calculator, but I’m unable to do it in my head as I’m probably supposed to.
Well, I’m glad that’s over. Now I have to head down to the UQ Centre for my Discrete Mathematics lecture. The UQ Centre had one of the largest lecture theatres at uni. I get a seat in my normal position, a few rows from the front and near the centre. I really have no idea how many people are in here, I guess there’s a few though because it’s big. I really couldn’t even estimate. Looking around, it looks like it’s probably an eight full or less, there probably isn’t anymore than 10 people in each row, and perhaps 25 or so rows. That’s 250 people – I really don’t know, I’m just guessing. I think this lecture theatre holds around 500.
I am walking out of my lecture with many formulas going around in my head. As I go out the door, the sun hits me – he was still shaving and waking up when I went in, now it’s very bright. I squint my way up to the main refectory again, and past down to General Purpose South. It takes me five minutes or so to walk down there, walking fairly fast. This is where ITEE, Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, and subsequently me, lives. I head past the display of random dot stereograms and downstairs, along a hallway, and into first year lab 122. I guess there are 40 or perhaps a few more computers in here, and it’s rather full as usual. I walk down to the second last row and log onto a computer, where I can check my email, log onto UQ’s IRC network and now that I’ve worked out how – Austnet’s IRC network as well. I read all my emails and reply to the ones that require a reply – mostly IRC crap from Becky. I check the uni newsgroups – I can only access the ITEE ones from home, at least easily. I find the “wanted” and “selling” newsgroups and spend a bit of time reading them. There’s quite a few bargains, none of which I need. Halfway through the network loses all connectivity with the outside world. I found out later that what used to be the Australian university network – I forget the name, was down entirely. It took a while to come back up too, so I spent a bit of time checking the newsgroup while I was waiting.
I’ve wasted enough time down in the labs, and it’s time to head home. I walk back towards the main refectory, but head down a side path through the parks near the colleges towards the river, and past the ducks in their ponds, and down to the ferry, which is just on its way to the other side. I sit on a bench and wait a few minutes until it gets back here and picks me up. Another $1.20 gets me across the river where I can walk back to the train station. Ten minutes or thereabouts later and I have walked up the bicycle path through Dutton Park, a minute or 2 to get across the busy road up the top and a short walk down to the bridge that crosses the railway tracks, and down the ramp to the station. I check on the timetable on the wall of the little building they have on the station and see I have a 19 minute wait for the train.
The train arrives on time. I get in the second carriage, and as usually happens, get quite sleepy as soon as I find a seat. I doze and rest until it’s time to get off.
I’ve arrived on time, and walk briskly home.
I’m home! The cat is outside waiting for me to let him in through the garage roller door. There’s a little bit of junk mail that I collect. The poor dog is on the chain, but Joe wouldn’t have been gone long so she shouldn’t be so wriggly to see me. I let her off, give her a quick pat, unlock the front door, take off my shoes, head up to my room, throw my bag on the floor and plug my computer in. I go and wash my hands and get a drink while my computer is starting up.
I’m sitting at my computer. The modem has just connected and I’ve just joined IRC, opened Outlook and begun to download my emails, and I’m just starting Syndirella to check the latest news.
I’ve collected up my dirty washing and am taking it downstairs to the machine to wash.
I go down to check my washing, but it’s still wet. I play with the dog for a bit, feed her and the cat, and have a shower.
I come back to my computer and connect to the Internet again. I spend the rest of the night messing about online.
I decide my clothes are as dry as they’re going to get tonight, so I go down and bring them up. They’re still slightly damp, so I get some coat hangers out of the room across the hall and hang them all up in my closet.
I am tired and Joe has just arrived home, so I’m going to bed.

20.05.2003Tuesday 20 May

I woke up just after midday. I couldn’t believe I’d slept in so long. Not only did I not have a late night, but I didn’t even have to get up early. 10:45 would have been quite adequate. I think it was just too depressing to wake up, perhaps subconsciously. After waking that late there wasn’t much point heading to uni as I only had one lecture and that began roughly 10 minutes before I woke up.
And so it was, I stayed home. I spent some time redesigning the backend to my new website, which was a dismal failure from the functional side – I ended up undoing everything and putting it back how it originally was. The theoretical side, however, gave me the insight I’ll need next time I try – I hope.
I went down to the shops just after dark, picked up “Accidental Spy” and “Blue Crush” from the video store, a Veggie Supreme from Pizza Hut and some groceries from Woolworths. I began work on assignment 3 for Introduction to Programming. Unfortunately, I don’t have it finished, so that’ll no doubt be a late night later. I watched “Accidental Spy”, quite amusing in a Jackie Chan sort of way – I enjoyed it.

21.05.2003Wednesday 21 May

In stark contrast to yesterday, I woke up as soon as my alarm went off and didn’t have any problems getting out of bed. I got to the train without having to run, and had a very normal journey into uni. I took the camera with me so I took a few pictures of the road and the ferry and the walk up to uni, the refectory and such. I was even brave enough to take a picture inside the lecture theatres with all the people in them! After my lectures, I went down to the computer labs and spent some time there.
I walked around uni taking photos. I found a demonstration outside the new CSIRO building and a sports carnival in the great court. I haven’t looked at the pictures yet so I don’t know what they’ll turn out like. I took around 200 photos, so at least a few should turn out ok. I stopped in at Silas’s on the way home, quite hot after walking around with a full backpack taking pictures. When I plugged the camera into his computer, his computer would crash – so that wasn’t very handy. I stayed a while and then got a train back to Woodridge, walked to the video store and dropped the two DVD’s back, went to Woollies and didn’t buy any cream (because they only had thickened cream), and then walked home.
I spent all night doing nothing good whatsoever, and still didn’t manage to complete my java assignment, which is now in time-critical phase.
Comment by brad – Thursday 19 August 2004, 3:10 PM
  how did you get into the maintainance tunnel
Comment by Ned – Thursday 19 August 2004, 5:42 PM
  I walked into it. A semi-hidden door leads to the maintenance tunnel. It’s not the sort of door anyone would normally notice.
Comment by Sam – Friday 17 May 2013, 1:36 AM
  Where is the semi-hidden door!?
Comment by Ned – Saturday 18 May 2013, 8:12 PM
  There are actually a few access doors around the great court, but they are all locked.

22.05.2003Thursday 22 May – Sarah’s Birthday

Here I am, fast awake. I’ve just submitted my assignment. I’ve spent hours and hours doing it. I was so frustrated with it at one stage – but now it is done! The problem I have now is that if I go to bed, I’m only going to get a few hours sleep at most, and I probably won’t wake up, but if I stay up all night I might fall asleep on the train and miss uni altogether.
Which is now yesterday morning, or to put that another way, it is now tomorrow. I went to uni, did uni stuff, dropped in at Silas’s on the way home, came home, did home stuff... oh wait, that’s evening.
There we go. I came home and did home stuff. That’s about it really. Then I started on my assignment, and that takes me back to the first entry.
I phoned Sarah and said happy birthday. Dad and Mum were also there, as she’s going away for the weekend and they’re going to look after the place, so I got to talk to them too. Apparently Dad is going to be looking after Monty’s place for a few months while he goes overseas.
It’s 11.2° C outside, and inside, and slowly creeping into my bones. I’m all ready for bed now, but I’m not sure if it’s any use going to sleep. I’m fairly sure I won’t wake up in time if I do, and I’ve got a download which still has ¾ of an hour or so to go.
Bedtime. Alarm set for 7 AM. Not good.

23.05.2003Friday 23 May

I’m awake. It is 9°C – easily the coldest yet. I’m freezing. I get ready and walk swiftly down to the train station, freezing all the way. The sun is just starting to come out, and it’s just on the bearable level. If it were windy, it would be awful. Thankfully, the train is heated, nice, and warm. I manage to stay awake in all my lectures, and get home around 3:30. I spend the evening quietly doing nothing much, and have a few hours sleep.

24.05.2003Saturday 24 May

In what’s becoming a nasty habit, I’m awake early again. This time it’s because I’m driving Joe down to the bowls club as he’s meeting a group of mates and a bus there, and going away for the weekend.
I spent the day procrastinating and messing around on the Internet. I got virtually no study done, which is bad.
public class Ned extends Person implements Geek { I feel important. I met the only female geek in Brisbane and she wrote about me: “I just want to get down to it and actually do some work so I can get all these nasty assignments finished and get on with the important things in life. Like meeting geeks on IRC who actually have an opinion on the age old XML vs relational database debate. :D Though I was much too polite to really argue about it with someone I had just met. Or just too surprised to put together a coherant argument!”}
I caught a train in to Silas’s and we caught another two trains to Indooroopilly and went to the Eldorado Cinemas and saw “Bowling for Columbine”. I found it to be highly biased, which makes it ineffective and discredits the (often conflicting) messages they’re trying to portray – which is unfortunate as it could have been interesting. I liked a contrast made between Canada and the United States, but the rest was either too biased to credit or irrelevant.
Well, it’s three o’clock. I don’t know what’s going to become of me. I guess I’ll sleep in tomorrow.
Sleep. Beautiful sleep.

25.05.2003Sunday 25 May

Today was quiet. I slept in, after staying up until 4:40 last night, and enjoyed having the house to myself. Joe is away at some bowls club do.
I stayed up all night doing my Discrete Mathematics assignment. I’d rather not think about it right now.

26.05.2003Monday 26 May

I woke about five minutes before the train was due to leave. 32 seconds to put pizza in my bag, 85 seconds to brush hair, 60 seconds to go downstairs and put my shoes on, 25 seconds to get out, lock the house and the garage and put the key in my bag, 3 minutes to run the 10 minutes to the station. The train door actually hit my shoulder as it closed and I jumped onto the train. And I only had 2 hours sleep.
Mathematical Foundations and Discrete Math were on the menu today. I’d rather not remember either, so I shan’t write about them here. I dropped my assessable assignment in to my Discrete Math tute, hopefully I got most of it right, and then headed down to the labs as usual. I stayed down there for a while and just as I was leaving I bumped into Silas, so we went back to his place where I waited for the train.
I tried to do my Mathematical Foundations assignment, but gave up. I’ve written all the answers, but haven’t justified them in any way whatsoever. It asks to “justify briefly” so I’m not expecting remarkable marks from this. I hope that I have the answers right and might get a few marks that way.
I had to phone Centrelink as I’ve been cut off my payment, their reason being that I didn’t respond to a previous letter. Fortunately for me, I’ve taken to emailing myself the receipt number, name, time and anything that was said between Centrelink and myself, and then I keep replying to that email until the matter is resolved. That way I have an up-to-date record of what’s going on which allows me to quote to them just when I did contact them about this letter, and who spoke to me. In fact, I even contacted them twice, but despite having been told the matter was resolved (twice by two different people a week apart), the best they’ll do is give me a fortnight’s remission until I can get supporting documentation to prove what they’ve already told me was no longer an issue, and which I already provided.
I worked on my webpage, having now figured out how to parse both XHTML and PHP files into my template. The backend is a lot cleaner now, and should pave the way for me to conglomerate a few of the sub-domains I now have into one coherent site. As usual, when I fix something, something else breaks, so I spent a while fixing little bugs and weird things. I’ve been inspired by Helen’s web log to do something I’ve been meaning to get around to for ages – implement a web-form so I can update my journal from anywhere. I’ll probably use it from here too, because it’s a bit silly uploading the entire year each time I add another day. I know how to read, parse, manipulate and otherwise contort data from an XML file, but I’ve no idea how to write data to it, at least, not to the right place in the file, but I’m sure Google will come to help me. I guess I need to treat my XML files as a database, and if I can get that going well, I might even consider allowing others to add comments. I don’t think anyone really reads my online journal, but it would be cool to have the ability there. Alas, I don’t have the time right now.
As usual, time has slipped away and it’s got late. I’ve got an archive RAR’ing, and it reckons its got 46 minutes to go. I don’t want to cancel it, and I don’t want to stay up for another ¾ hour and I don’t want to leave the computer on all night... I guess I’ll go brush my teeth and think about it.
The RAR’ing is finished, and so am I.

27.05.2003Tuesday 27 May

Today I had the pleasure of a 12 o’clock lecture, rather than 8 o’clock. I also got until Friday to hand in my math assignment. I really find the mathematical foundations tutorials rather useless. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve found them no help at all, compared to my discrete mathematics tutorials, which are very helpful.
I went grocery shopping on the way home, and had a nice falafel roll.

28.05.2003Wednesday 28 May

Sigh. Another early start. After the beautiful weather yesterday, today is cloudy, overcast and raining. Nothing interesting happened. I went to my lectures, met Silas down the labs, and caught the train home.
I phoned Mum, and she said she’s faxing a letter to Centrelink and posting me the original copy. I hope that will satisfy them.

29.05.2003Thursday 29 May

Here I am at home, having first missed the train and then decided not to bother going in to uni. I have three java lab assessments due today, which I should be able to demonstrate to a tutor in the lab tomorrow if I can get them done today, so I’ll stay home and do that. I also need to do some washing, which is down in the machine making washing noises right now, and go down to the shops later.
Online Journal
I’m not sure how to go about this. I’ve spent a while looking through Google, and have now posted questions to a newsgroup and mailing list. I want to be able to take two XML files as input, and transform them into one XML (actually XHTML) output file. I’m using XSLT (specifically Sablotron under PHP/Apache/Linux) and not sure if this is possible. Secondly, I wish to be able to grab a specific section of an XML file, load it into a web-form, allow it to be edited, and then save it back to the original XML file in the same location. It has to be UTF-8 throughout. This is what I’m trying to do: I have an online journal that I currently update manually. I want to make a page that will allow me to update it from anywhere. I want this update page to be able to add a new “day” to the XML file, which will contain “sections”, and to be able to load existing “days” and edit them or add new “sections” to them.
Well, duh!
The US-led campaign against terrorism has made the world a more dangerous place, Amnesty International says.
I’ve just finished converting and uploading a whole pile of pictures I took of St Lucia/University Queensland to my website. I have been preparing my last three weeks of java lab assessments so I can get them assessed tomorrow. That will be the last of the java stuff until the practical exam next week. Joe ordered “Chinese” so I have some fried rice and vegetables to take in for lunch tomorrow. I just hope I can wake up in time and not miss the train. I don’t want to miss any more lectures, and the first one tomorrow is at 9 o’clock.

30.05.2003Friday 30 May

I slept in and missed my first two lectures. Who cares what I did for the rest of the day.
I’m disturbed by the news that Internet Explorer 6 is the last stand-alone release, all new releases will be an integrated part of the operating system and thus aren’t available without upgrading your entire operating system – rather expensive. I fear this will mean that people will remain using IE6 for a lot longer than they otherwise may have, which will in turn drastically slow down the uptake of new technologies, or rather, the uptake of existing technologies. There is very little point in building websites that can’t be viewed by the majority, and the majority are now stuck with IE6. Mozilla and Netscape are still not, in my opinion, good enough for general use – and neither is Opera. One possible consequence I can imagine is that people might be able concentrate on building pages that will work in IE6, which apart from its box modelling is quite good, rather than the never-ending race to implement the latest cutting-edge feature. I find that I can work around IE’s positioning and box modelling quirks, and a simple fix for their incorrect font-size representation, but I can’t work around the problems my site has in Mozilla. Why? Because the problems are caused by bugs in Mozilla, whereas IE incorrectly (according to the standards) interprets CSS, but at least it’s rather bug-free. To the best of my knowledge, my site currently works in IE5 with a few cosmetic issues degrading nicely, and works almost perfectly in IE6. Switch to Mozilla and the bugs become apparent, which really annoys me as there’s no way to work around a bug, and they’re the same bugs present in Netscape 6, I’d have thought someone would have got around to fixing them by now. Mozilla (and Netscape) doesn’t even work properly on my secondary monitor – and I’ve tried it in three different operating systems and two sets of video cards so don’t try to tell me it’s a driver issue. Opera, well... I have Opera open right now, marvelling at the numerous relatively simple things that it doesn’t get right with my fully-standards compliant code. I have links, which are justified and have a border around them, sounds simple – Opera can’t handle that. Anyway, that all got rather long winded and wasn’t what I meant to say at all. I was supposed to be coming to the point, which I’ll try to do now. The way I see it, IE has very good real-world support. I can make a site and it works in IE without any bugs and in a consistent manner. My code is fully compliant with the W3C’s recommendations – I don’t even allow a CSS warning. Admittedly, I have to be a bit sneaky to fix IE’s font sizing, but if you want to be pedantic, you could say that IE’s font sizing works just fine – it’s just different to the current standard, although it wasn’t when they first implemented it. The rest works as it should. That’s what I’m trying to get at – it works as it should. Perhaps not as the standards say it should, but it’s easy to code something that will look exactly like I want in IE. Doing that in Mozilla however, is anything but easy – and impossible with Opera. They simply have too many inconsistencies. I currently have issues where Mozilla can’t handle element resizing, changing elements from display none to display block causes grief to the surrounding elements, switching from display inline to display block works, but switching from display block back to display inline doesn’t. It’s just not consistent.
I dropped in at the shops on the way home from uni and did some shopping and got XMEN out on DVD, which I later watched.

31.05.2003Saturday 31 May

I didn’t do much.
I trained in to Indooroopilly and saw XMEN-2 with Helen. It made a lot more sense after seeing XMEN last night. We spent a while after the moving discussing geeky things. It was enjoyable, and I nearly missed the last train home.

01.06.2003Sunday 1 June

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

02.06.2003Monday 2 June

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

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

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

04.06.2003Wednesday 4 June – Introduction to Programming Practical Exam

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

05.06.2003Thursday 5 June

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

06.06.2003Friday 6 June – 2Fast, 2Furious

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

07.06.2003Saturday 7 June

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

08.06.2003Sunday 8 June

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

09.06.2003Monday 9 June – Queen’s Birthday

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

10.06.2003Tuesday 10 June

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

11.06.2003Wednesday 11 June

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

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

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

13.06.2003Friday 13 June

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

14.06.2003Saturday 14 June – The Core

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

15.06.2003Sunday 15 June – A Man Apart

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

16.06.2003Monday 16 June

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

17.06.2003Tuesday 17 June – Bulletproof Monk

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

18.06.2003Wednesday 18 June

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

19.06.2003Thursday 19 June

I recollect not what this day did entail.

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

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

21.06.2003Saturday 21 June

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

22.06.2003Sunday 22 June – Bruce Almighty

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

23.06.2003Monday 23 June

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

24.06.2003Tuesday 24 June

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

25.06.2003Wednesday 25 June

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

26.06.2003Thursday 26 June – Mathematical Foundations Exam

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

27.06.2003Friday 27 June – Internet Interface Design Exam

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

28.06.2003Saturday 28 June – Discrete Mathematics Exam

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

29.06.2003Sunday 29 June

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

30.06.2003Monday 30 June – Silas and I leave Brisbane

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

01.07.2003Tuesday 1 July

I was woken by the sound of an unusual and obviously mutated rooster, which turned out to be Silas. Apparently he’d woken up every time a truck went by, and as we’re on the top of a hill and beside the main highway, that is about every five minutes and they’re quite loud.
Silas boiled the Billy and made tea, and we shared a can of baked beans and headed off again. We drove all day, stopping only to refuel a few times, and for a coffee (and milkshake for me) at Cardwell. We arrived in Cairns sometime around six and drove to Silas’s brother, Eric’s place, where we spent the night.
Jack and Eric have a dog, which has a pup. We were standing around downstairs looking at a car motor when we noticed the pup walking blindly, zombie like, in circles. We took it outside and laid it on its bed, where it appeared to be disorientated and dying. We thought it may have eaten a toad. Happily, it seemed to stay alive, and perhaps even get better, so we went to bed and left it be with its mother.

02.07.2003Wednesday 2 July – Silas and I arrive in Cairns

Silas and I went and did some shopping for his mother, and visited a friend of Silas’s and had coffee.
After another coffee with Eric, we left Cairns, stopping at a butcher on the way. Unfortunately, the wrong butcher, so we had to head back into Cairns and the right butcher, where they seemed to have never done a phone order before despite having done several for Silas’s mum in the past and it took half an hour or so to sort out. This left us a bit late.
I phoned Mum from the ferry across the Daintree River and told her we’d be at Bloomfield Wharf at six o’clock. We arrived at the farm where Amos works a while later and had a quick coffee and chat. It’s a pecan farm where tourists can stay in some cabins. He does bush walks and also works on the farm. It’s similar to a penthouse sometimes, but I had better not say that in public. We left Silas’s Falcon here, and took Amos’s four-wheel-drive. After driving about a quarter of the way Silas noticed that the fuel gauge showed rather empty, so we turned back. There’s simply no safe way to drive fast on these roads, they’re too thin, too windy, and too unpredictable, and so we were an hour late. Luckily there were some people at the wharf who had lit a fire and kept Dad and Mum company, and Silas’s mum had phoned a friend who came and told them we’d be delayed and also picked up Silas’s dad when he arrived.
Silas and I arrived at Bloomfield Wharf, where my Dad and Mum were waiting for me. They drove me back here and we talked for a while and then I went to bed, back in my old bed in my caravan where I used to live. It feels a bit strange to be back, it’s hard to explain. In one way, I am only on holiday, temporarily up from Brisbane and returning there soon, but in another way I’m coming home after having been away for a while – so it’s a bit unusual.

03.07.2003Thursday 3 July

I had a quiet and restful day, settling back in and not doing too much.
I drove over to Home Rule and saw Shan and his girlfriend Kylie-Anne, along with Ella, Craig, Mandi and Ric. This is the first time I’ve met Kylie, after having heard quite a lot about her. She is just as I had pictured in my mind, so no surprises there. I stayed late, having dinner there and leaving after midnight with my old PC that Shan has been using.

04.07.2003Friday 4 July

I drove over to Shan’s to pick up some CD’s to get my computer going. He wasn’t there, but I ended up spending a while looking at Ric’s PC. He has quite a nice gaming setup with a 21 inch monitor, although I get an electric shock touching his computer case. I installed a few programs for him and explained a few things and then came back and setup my computer, installing the operating system and a few programs. It’s hard to use this after being used to my fully-installed and customised dual monitor computer down in Brisbane. I haven’t got anything installed here and it is horrible trying to fit everything on this wee little 17 inch monitor.

05.07.2003Saturday 5 July – I get my university results

Mum and I walked down to the markets where I bought an ice cream. They’re very small, not more than ten people. I guess it is the school holidays and many people are away.
I went online and checked my results. They’ve now been posted. I have a pass (4) for Mathematical Foundations (MATH1050). I’m very happy with this, as I’d resigned myself to failure in this subject. That two hours of early morning study before the exam is what got me this pass. I’m glad I did it. I have a credit (5) for Discrete Mathematics (MATH1061), which I’m also happy with as I’ve been pretty slack and done less than half the assignments and such. I have a distinction (6) for Intro to Programming (COMP1500) which I am not happy with, as I achieved 93.5%, which is way above the 85 percentile required for a seven, but as I failed more than five of the multi-choice questions I can only get a six. Nevertheless, I’m happy to have a good result. I also gained a high distinction (7) in Internet Interface Design (COMP1501), which I am happy with. Due to the poor and inconsistent manner in which that course was run, I really was not sure what result I would get. I feel that, with the exception of Intro to Programming where I should have received another high distinction, that the results I have here are what I deserved and similar to what I expected – although I had resigned myself to a quite possible failure in Mathematical Foundations. Overall I am happy that I have not failed anything and considering that I did not more than a few hours study for Mathematical Foundations for the entire course, I should be grateful that I’ve passed – which I am. Admittedly, I did not study at all for Intro to Programming either, so I can’t be too annoyed with that result, and I didn’t study for Internet Interface Design either – but I don’t really see how I could have studied for that.
I walked down to Dad’s and converted the satellite TV to A/V. It sucks. When the satellite decoder and VCR are both turned on, there’s some sort of interference. I guess they’re using IF that interferes with each other, and as one TV has a long length of cable already run to it, I can’t just change everything to A/V. Vince and Sarah drove by while I was at Dad’s, so I walked back up here and showed Sarah the photos of uni and Brisbane that I’ve taken, and a few of Shan’s girlfriend, Kylie-Anne. Sarah and I walked back down to Dad’s, and then onto the Home Rule Bridge and the markets, where we met Vince and they drove back into town.
I walked up to Gary and Marriette’s to see what was wrong with their computer. The telltale beeps on start-up (along with the failure to start-up) made me think the video card wasn’t working. The fact that the video card fan wasn’t spinning sort of helped too. Reseating the video card several times fixed it. They have a pile of videos that aren’t yet released, along with a few that are only in theatres but not yet on video. They’re not ripped copies either – they’re apparently legitimate videos. I’m not sure how they got them but they mentioned something about a friend in America and raffling them to support the upcoming Wallaby Creek Festival.
Comment by DK – Saturday 5 July 2003, 9:03 PM
  Congrats with the exam results!
Comment by Ned – Saturday 5 July 2003, 11:02 PM
  Thanks :-)
Comment by krait – Sunday 6 July 2003, 12:52 AM
  Congratulations on the results. I knew you would do well. Keep up the good work, mate!
Comment by lulu – Sunday 6 July 2003, 4:52 AM
  Congratulations, Ned!!!!! Wowwww I told you would do it. I can't wait to see next terms. :)
Comment by Ned – Sunday 6 July 2003, 1:41 PM
  Thanks :-) I am scared of next term.
Comment by Michelle – Monday 7 July 2003, 7:36 AM
  Hey, congratulations on the marks. You passed everything. How long are you home for?
Comment by Elvis – Monday 7 July 2003, 12:51 PM
  well done, remember, you only a squillion more exams to go, so concentrate on having fun.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 8 July 2003, 12:05 AM
  Thanks :-) I am home for a few weeks and I’d rather not think of any further exams while I’m here.

06.07.2003Sunday 6 July

I’ve just had an argument, via MSN, with the girlfriend of a good friend of mine. She’s accusing me of being two-faced, dishonest and a liar, apparently because I told my friend’s sister that I thought she felt threatened by me and my position as one of his best friends, and that she was acting bitchily towards me on MSN. I’m stumped how that’s dishonest or a lie and I can’t quite see how that’s two-faced either. Ah well, I hope she doesn’t destroy his and my friendship, and I hope it works out for them as they’re both still in their teens and talking about marriage.
I slept in a bit today, not really feeling like getting up. Once I did get up, I spent the next five hours online. For some reason I was depressed and moody. I woke up happily, and then a dark gloom settled over me. I really don’t know why. Sadly, I was quite mean to a good friend on chat for no reason other than my mood. She didn’t deserve it at all. I also had a look for airfares back to Brisbane, and they are quite expensive right now – the tourist season I guess. I’m not sure if I should book now in case they get more expensive and harder to get as time passes, or if I should wait in the hope that a cheaper fare will become available.
I showered, shaved, and remembered that I had to get Mum to write and fax a letter to Centrelink within fourteen days of my having seen them at Toowong, which must have been nearly fourteen days ago. I then had dinner, phoned a friend in town and another friend out here and arranged a lift into town tomorrow.

07.07.2003Monday 7 July

I woke up and got ready to go to town, and then went online and chatted to a friend while waiting for my lift.
I got a lift into town with Jean Haack. I went and talked to Bob and Peter at Peter’s shop where they were working for a while, and then just as I was walking up to the supermarket to get a drink, both Mum and Sarah turned up at the same time, which was rather coincidental, so I talked to them for a while and then got a milkshake.
After buying and eating some pasta salad from the small deli in the supermarket for lunch, I dropped in on Matthew at the Big Shed Hardware where he was working, and then walked out to Ricci’s place and talked to her for a while. We both walked back into town to see a guy known as Lizard about some photos he wanted taken, but he wasn’t home.
It was raining on and off, and overcast, which prevented me from walking up Mount Cook and getting some photos as I had planned to do.
I visited Matthew for a short while in the evening, but he was just about to go up to the fire brigade and do some training, so I went and saw Ricci and Lizard at Lizard’s place. Lizard has a large bottle collection that he wants photographed, or at least that’s what Ricci said. After seeing them, I’ve a feeling Lizard has a large bottle collection that Ricci want’s Lizard to get photographed, but either way, they want me to photograph them. I had originally planned to stay the night at Matthew’s, but I made the mistake of leaving my bag at Ricci’s place when we walked in to see Lizard. Lizard got remarkably drunk and rather unpleasant and I was stuck at his place until Ricci wanted to leave, as I had to go back to Ricci’s to get my bag. She didn’t leave Lizard’s place until nine o’clock, by which time I’d lost a lot of the inclination to stay in town and instead jogged down to the shire hall where Jean was giving dance lessons, and got a lift home with her, arriving home some time after eleven.

08.07.2003Tuesday 8 July

I slept in and spent the overcast, wet and dismal morning online chatting, arguing and selecting my courses for next semester.
I’ve chosen Information Technology Project (COMP1800), Computer Organisation (COMP2302), Programming in the Large (COMP2500) and Intro to Information Systems (INFS1200).
The Information Technology Project will apparently introduce me to the discipline of computer based information technology, and I will become familiar with windows based interfaces and learn how to use different types of application packages. I will be prepared to tackle small information technology projects, and I will develop the skills required for analytical writing and argument with emphasis placed on writing, reading and speaking practice. This sounds rather awful to me and horribly like the pseudo confidence-English they’re teaching in place of real English in schools nowadays. It doesn’t sound too hard though, but I guess only time will tell.
Computer Organisation, also taught as Introduction to Computer Systems and Fundamentals of Computer Engineering depending on whether you’re an Information Technology, Engineering or Computer Science student (don’t ask why) is an introduction to how computers work at the lowest levels and will cover topics such as binary numbers, logic gates, assembly language and some basic C programming. I’m supposed to have a basic understanding of how computers work and be able to develop programs for a microcontroller based computer once I’m finished this. As the profile says, “In mind-numbing detail, it is expected that upon successful completion of the course, students will: [follows a list of 35 items detailing what I’m expected to learn, not one of which sounds pleasant and which I don’t understand]”. This doesn’t sound good at all, in fact it sounds positively horrible, but it’s what I need to learn and is a compulsory part (albeit second year) of my degree. The profile says it’s no longer current and changes are expected this coming semester but that I’m to wait until nearer to the semester before a new profile is made.
Programming in the Large, or Advanced Software Engineering as it’s known to the post-grad students, is a software engineering course aimed at developing the technical abilities needed for me to become an effective member of a large software development team. Apparently I’ll be introduced to the software life cycle and will focus on the design, implementation and testing phases of the aforementioned cycle. Java will be the programming language used to teach us by the sounds of it, and I’ll be introduced to the UNIX operating system and will develop my communications skills through group work and tutorial presentations. Oh dear, tutorial presentations... that sounds horribly like public speaking. I think this is the logical follow-on to the Introduction to Programming course I did last semester.
Introduction to Information Systems is a compulsory component of my degree that I’m supposed to do in the first year. It will hopefully introduce me to the area of computer based information systems including the basic concepts necessary to design and implement a small information system. It’s also a prerequisite to most (if not all) the more advanced information systems and database related subjects.
It’s just started raining again, but I might go inside and see if I can summon up the motivation to shower and eat. I’ve also just ordered an internal modem for this computer, as it currently has an external one and I’m planing to try and set it up for Mum when I leave. She’s currently computer illiterate as well as a card carrying member of the technophobia association and I don’t think a fancy external modem with all its leads, noises, switches and scary glowing screen that says such fearful things as “Carrier 31200, Network 6, SQ:029, LL:012” is what she needs to help her ease into the computer age.

09.07.2003Wednesday 9 July

I had a quiet, damp and overcast sort of day, achieving nothing much, but not aiming to. It’s known as “being on holiday”. The damp, overcast, muddy rain part is known as a “tropical paradise”, but I must say, I’ve yet to see anywhere better.
I found a $146 flight to Brisbane. That’s nearly half the price of the next cheapest. I’m not sure why there’s just one cheap fare out on its own but there is so I grabbed it. It’s with Qantas too, who are generally more expensive. I haven’t received an email confirmation yet but the money has gone from my account, so I guess it’s booked.
Comment by io – Friday 11 July 2003, 12:01 AM
  I'm jealous about your $146 ticket.. It costed $259 for me on that raunchy red 737 with 3-3 seating to fly Brisbane to Cairns ONE WAY!!

10.07.2003Thursday 10 July

It is yet another overcast day, raining on and off.
Dad, Mum and I drove into town and did shopping. I performed daring and exciting deeds such as buying a pie from the bakery and a thick shake from the Mad Cow Café. I also went to the video store and got “Gandhi”, “The Wild Bunch”, “Dead Poets Society”, “Kiss of the Dragon” and “Romeo Must Die”. I only wanted to get one DVD to ensure the new DVD drive in this computer worked, but then I thought I had better get two in case one DVD was scratched, and then I found another so decided to get three. When I went to pay the lady at the desk told me I could get five for $11, which is cheaper than getting four and better value than three, so I got five. We dropped in at the Lion’s Den Hotel on the way home for Mum to check something about cleaning, so I took a few photos.
Mum has been invited to a “Jean’s Drivers” dinner at Home Rule with all the other people who have helped Jean while she’s been unable to drive, so I set the “Gandhi” DVD copying so I could drop it out to Ric later and got a lift out to Home Rule with her. I took two DVD’s that I’d already copied, “Dead Poets Society” and “The Wild Bunch” and set the DVD region on Ric’s computer and messed around with it for a little while, setting up a few things, and then walked up to Shan’s. Shan and I messed about on his computer and I had a little dinner and some pudding, then Mum came and picked me up again and we drove home. When I got back the DVD drive had skipped over three thousand read errors and was still trying to read the disc, and not much more than halfway through. This reminds me of how I ruined my last DVD drive – left it reading a scratched disc while I went to town and several hours later it was still trying to read it. It seems this one still reads DVD’s, but it doesn’t seem to handle scratches like my other drive down in Brisbane – either that or these DVD’s are more scratched.
Comment by DK – Friday 11 July 2003, 6:35 AM
  Is it a good idea to admit you "copy" DVDs on the web?
Comment by Ned – Friday 11 July 2003, 2:18 PM
  I should perhaps clarify the term “copy” in this context. A temporary image of the movie contained on the DVD is created on my computer. I then watch the DVD from this image, which is deleted after viewing. It should be thought of as temporarily “caching” the entire DVD for playback. On this computer, this provides a much smoother playback experience and avoids the problems caused by scratched discs during playback. At no point do I copy or duplicate, edit, broadcast, exchange, hire or lend the movie or the disc upon which it is contained.

11.07.2003Friday 11 July

The morning began, proceeded and departed before I awoke. Then I awoke, and that’s enough poetry for today. As it was drizzling when I got up I wasn’t going to go outside, and as Mum had unplugged my phone line I couldn’t go online either, or at least not without going inside which would necessitate going outside, which as I already said, I wasn’t going to. So I did the next best thing – I watched a DVD. “Romeo Must Die” was the DVD of choice, although in the end he didn’t. There’s a lot of action and a lot of fight scenes, some of which are quite unbelievable. I enjoyed it, which is really all that matters if you think about it. Reviews are all well and good but they don’t seem to gauge popular opinion or enjoyment well at all.
Shan came over for a while and had dinner, and then Mum and I watched “Dead Poets Society”, with a short break when Sarah rang up all worried because Vince hasn’t arrived home from Atherton yet. The movie seemed unfinished to me, I wasn’t expecting the end when it came and that was rather disappointing. I thought the movie was good up until it suddenly ended, and that ruined it all. I spent the rest of the night looking for a cheap alternative to Telstra Bigpond as that’s just too expensive for what Mum will need. The best I’ve been able to find seems to be $9.90 per month for 70 megabytes from Dodo.
And now to think about sleep.

12.07.2003Saturday 12 July

Having had it pointed out to me that “I had a quiet morning in bed, alone, which rained a little, as usual” isn’t one of the best sentences around, I’ve decided to change it to “Arise! For lo! The morn has broken. Arise! For lo! The rains are coming. Arise! For lo! While he sleeps alone, the world awakens”. I didn’t get up until around lunchtime and then spent the afternoon online chatting.
I phoned Silas to see what he’s up to and had a whinge about people who want their computers fixed which takes hours and hours, but there’s no way either Silas or I can say no or charge them $700 as they’re friends or friends of friends. I tested Windows XP’s “Remote Assistance” feature with Shan. It seems to work quite well although somewhat lagged, presumably because we were going through a satellite link and I’m connected via a slow modem – or slow line rather. It is exactly what I need for helping Mum when she’s got silly problems in Word or something similar.
I showered and drove into Cooktown not long after eight o’clock and arrived about half an hour after that. I went to get petrol but discovered that the Cooktown Ampol no longer sells Lead Replacement Petrol. This is the first servo I’ve seen that doesn’t sell it, although I expect there’ll be a lot more soon. However, as there’s no other servo open in Cooktown at this time of night I wasn’t left with many options so didn’t get fuel, just driving down to the Shire Hall where the party was instead. I then walked down to Bliss’s Pizza and bought a small vegetarian pizza, which was quite nice, and spent the rest of the night at the Shire Hall losing my hearing. They had dj’s, the “Buzerk Brothers” from Atherton, who seem to be able to make loud noises as well as any, and definitely did.
I’ve just arrived home. The party was okay, I enjoyed myself which is, of course, what makes it okay. I’m not quite sure how many people were there, I’d say about one hundred at any one time but it’s very hard to say – I could be quite wrong. I guess Sarah will know tomorrow. It’s good to see all the old Cooktown people again. There’s Mad Dave with the swastika tattooed on his nose – quite a nice fellow apparently, Shannon – who no one much likes but fortunately didn’t fight tonight, or at least he hadn’t by the time I left. He’s been known to bite sizeable chunks out of his opponents, and should be enough to convince most sceptics that demonic possession didn’t die out with the inquisition. There were a few ferals with their dreadlocks and hippy clothes, presumably up from Auravale, and the motley of semi-retired hippies from Rossville with their tie-die and happy attitudes. There’s Rainforest who, as usual, danced flat-out non-stop longer than any normal human can – and he’s not on drugs. I think he took Amy home, so he’s probably happy. Levi was there, looking almost exactly like Wolverine from X-Men, along with Matthew who’s growing his hair again and still planning to buy that multi-track recorder so he can make an album (which I hope he does as he’s far and away the best guitarist I’ve seen), and Justin who’s just recovered from a broken leg caused in a motorbike accident, but apart from that seems to be exactly as he used to be. It seems Cooktown and surrounds are going along their merry was unperturbed by my absence, although I’m always surprised by the number of people I don’t know or can’t remember who welcome me back. I nearly wasn’t going to bother going in but I’m glad I did, as it was worth seeing the Cooktown gang. I’m not really a party person – in fact I think I’m something of a loner.
I’m listening to Metallica and the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Mad Russian Christmas and thinking how much more pleasing melodic music is compared to that dance music I’ve been listening to all night. That electronic music gets very repetitive after a while, and just can’t compare to an orchestra or some good guitar.

13.07.2003Sunday 13 July

I became very tired, but did not want to go to sleep and waste away my Sunday, so struggled to stay awake, failing about half an hour later when I collapsed into bed and slept until midday.
I woke up, having either forgot to turn on my alarm, or more likely, having woken up and turned it off, and then gone straight back to sleep without remembering.
I modified my journal and amused web sites so that their URI’s don’t contain any question marks, slashes, ampersands or other complicating legacy things such as file extensions, having tested my modifications on my UNI site last night. It’s surprising how slowly people uptake new ideas, or rather, how ingrained old practices become. The huge majority of URI’s out there end in a file extension, which is standard across the entire site. For example, if a site uses plain HTML files, chances are every page on that site will end in “.html”, and every URI across that site will also end in “.html”. What happens if it is decided to switch from plain HTML to a server-side language such as PHP, and change the file extensions to “.php”? Immediately, all page-specific links to that site become obsolete, any entries in search engines, people’s bookmarks, magazines, or anywhere else are no longer valid. The same thing happens if you decide to change the way you’ve organised your files, the directories they’re in, or practically anything else about your site. There’s no reason that URI’s need to be tied to the logical location of their files in a local file system. In fact, to do so is arguably foolish and very short sighted. Technology moves so fast that tying a URI to anything is asking for trouble. The problem I am facing though, is that I have an existing site that is currently flat-file HTML, with direct links to the pages, and I wish to convert that to a template based system without having to change or lose any links (or edit any pages), and at the same time I wish to supersede those links (without obsolescing the existing links) with a more future-proof and pleasing link system. I have the template system to parse the existing HTML files, and now I’m testing the link system – which is working well so far. The three forms,, and all serve the same file, allowing me to use the first type while still remaining compatible with the existing two forms. Now all I need is the motivation and the time. As a nice side effect, all search engines should see my links as “normal” links and crawl them. Plus I never liked question marks in links, and refused to use ampersands, and it is good practice at coding websites, as I don’t have any fancy software to help me up here – although I’d never plummet as low as Notepad, it doesn’t even support multiple undoes.
After my website binge I went for a walk down to the Home Rule Bridge and looked at the water, and I’m afraid that’s about the only time I’ve been outside today. I blame the weather – it’s still overcast and sprinkling on and off.
I fall into bed and enter a state of semi-awareness, interspersed with ultra-awareness, although my waking self is unaware of anything at all. That sounds good, although I’m not sure if it makes any sense.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 31 August 2004, 1:33 AM
  Spambots appear to be attacking me.

14.07.2003Monday 14 July

I phoned Qantas to get them to re-send my confirmation email, which, like the first one, I did not receive so I posted a query on my web host’s forum and found out that Qantas sends malformed emails for their confirmations and my mail server rejects them – so handy. I also phoned Joe around eleven to let him know what time I’d be arriving, and then spent the rest of the morning online multitasking.
It cleared up and I went for a walk out the Home Rule road to the halfway spot and sat by the creek for a while, then it clouded over again and I came home. It’s nice to be walking around in the pure air, knowing I won’t meet anyone. It really is quite beautiful up here; I have yet to see anywhere nicer. This is definitely the best time of year too – a nice temperature, not too wet and not too dry.
I drove out to Shan’s and picked up the DVD’s he had, to take them back to the video store tomorrow. I’ve now remembered in graphic detail some of the reasons why I bought a new computer. After rebooting to get my DVD drive back out of PIO and into UDMA mode, I rebooted as the computer froze up, and then again as it froze up again – both times due to DVD reading problems. I then downloaded an ASPI driver from Adaptec, which didn’t work, so I went and got the Nero one, which did work, and rebooted again because the computer froze up again. After this, I finally managed to get a DVD reading correctly and made an image of it, with only two read errors, and was delighted to find that it played with some choppy sound and no video, and of course froze the DVD playing program every time. So I deleted that image and rebooted again, twice as I had to set the DVD drive back to UDMA again and the only way I know how is to uninstall the hard drive adaptor, reinstall it and reboot. All this so that Mum and I could watch “Romeo Must Die”, which we eventually did. Mum enjoyed it and I understood it better the second time around. Oh, and I should add – while Mum and I did manage to watch the movie, it froze up twice on scratches and I cannot parse either the UDF or ISO9660 file systems on the disc properly, but it works quite normally over at Shan’s in his computer.
I’ve spent hours and hours and hours preparing my “” site for its transition from a flat-file to a template-based system, and it is still not at all ready, because I’ve been doing it all wrong. The more I do, the more I think of better ways to do it. It seems this is how I work. I think about something, figure out a way to do it, and then begin to implement that. Halfway through I’ll think of a better way to do it and change things accordingly, and then towards the end I’ll realise that I’ve been going about it all wrong and I need I’m too sleepy to continue, so I’ll sleep on it and think about it while I’m sleeping and then in the morning I’ll awaken knowing what to do next. If only I could sleep on something and do it right the first time, but it seems the effort is what triggers my thinking processes, or perhaps I’m just too lazy. At least I’ve all but worked out how to convert my site; in fact, it’s running through a PHP template at the moment, although it appears almost exactly the same and still uses the old “.html” style links. It’s quite hard coding on this small seventeen inch monitor after being used to a nineteen inch dual monitor system. I have to do everything one at a time, switching from window to window.
I think I should go to sleep, especially as I’ve got to wake up sometime tomorrow morning and go to town. I don’t like going to bed with an unfinished task in front of me but I know it will take hours and hours to complete and the nitty gritty of how to do it hasn’t fully gelled in my mind yet, although I can feel it starting to congeal.

15.07.2003Tuesday 15 July

Mum woke me and we drove into town, where she got five more DVD’s, “Sword Fish”, “A Beautiful Mind”, “Amelie”, “A Few Good Men” and “Moulin Rouge”. Not really what I’d have got myself, but it’s interesting to watch things other than what I’d normally see. I’m often surprised when I end up enjoying something which I didn’t think I’d like. I bought my customary thick shake from the Mad Cow and Mum and I shared some nachos, so now I’m very full.
Internet Hysteria
“Internet hysteria” annoys me. In today’s news, a former US marine has flown to France with a 12-year-old British schoolgirl, and his family says he was under the impression she was 19. They met in an “internet chatroom”. Let’s face it, when you’re “on the internet” you spend most of your time behind a monitor, safely at home, far from the “dangers” of the net. That’s a lot safer than going to school or into any town at night.
The media has done a very bad job at portraying nearly everything – especially the internet. Stories like this, while presumably true, fail to mention that there are many, many more similar events that are totally unrelated to the internet.
I know a lot of people who spend a lot of time on that evil thing known as “chat”, which is where all these evil deeds supposedly come from. I also know young people who are computer savvy, but who’s parents are either terrified or plain uninterested in computers – which means that the parents do not know what their child is doing, and people who are scared stiff of the “big bad internet” and who think it is quite bad or dangerous to allow kids to access it. I disagree. I’ve had my fair share of people “warning” me – mainly after some high profile sex/rape/murder story on the news that mentions some “chat room”. A quick visit to a “teen” chat room could be quite enlightening if you’ve never been. They’re the online equivalent to a cross between a nightclub/pick-up place and a brothel. Of course, most people don’t run away with other people and a lot never even meet – they’re probably lacking social skills, that being one of the reasons why they’re online in the first place, but you may be sure that a lot do meet. What I’m trying to get at here is the impression that people who don’t know seem to have – that the internet is either evil, destroying society, out of control, not a place for kids, dangerous, full of murderers etc. and at the same time that things like this are isolated incidents. Both are untrue – I firmly believe an average school is much more “dangerous” to a child, especially in a moral sense, and on the other hand while most online 12 year olds aren’t running away with 31 year olds, a lot of 16 year olds are trying their hardest to meet anyone they can for a bit of a good time...
I have a website and an online journal that contains enough information for anyone to find my precise location at a given time, and you should see the reaction I get when I tell some people that. Somehow, I’m just not concerned about crazy axe murderers from the net hunting me down, or my daughter running away with a paedophile she met in a chat room, but I’d sure be worried she might get involved with the wrong crowd at school.
I’ve messed up my website and struck a problem and now I don’t have the motivation to fix it so it’s back to flat-file HTML until I get that motivational urge again. I think the large lunch I had today may have something to do with this. My site is getting large now, 118 megabytes, 834 plain hypertext markup language (html) files, 121 cascading style sheets, 3594 images, 34 JavaScript files, 191 hypertext pre-processor (php) files, 10 server-side include (shtml) files, 43 text files, 69 plain extensible markup language (xml) files, 45 extensible style sheets and 5 schemas. All up I’ve got 5836 files and 289 directories in various states of disarray and confusion.
I’m now tired and off to bed. I am so sick of hay fever. I’ve had it almost constantly since I’ve been up from Brisbane. It’s not too bad, it’s just annoying and my nose is starting to get sore. Mum and I watched “Gandhi” tonight. At over three hours, it’s quite a long movie, and even has an intermission; however I feel that every minute is worth it. Some movies just don’t fit into the hour and a half that seems standard nowadays. I’d have to say I think this is a brilliant film. I’m no expert on Gandhi so I can’t vouch for its accuracy or otherwise, but it’s very believable and enjoyable throughout. I was engrossed from start to finish and thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie. Truly an epic movie and an epic story well told. I’d recommend “Gandhi” to anyone. I also ate some of my dark, rich peppermint filled chocolate and opened a packet of sour cream and chive chips, which, coupled with the good movie and an enjoyable chat online afterwards, made for as pleasant a night as any. Soundgarden’s “Spoonman” from their Superunknown album isn’t such a bad song either: “Oh, hmm, feel the rhythm with your hands (steal the rhythm while you can), Spoonman. Speak the rhythm on your own (speak the rhythm all alone), Spoonman. Spoonman! Come together with your hands – Save me! I’m together with your plans – Save me!”

16.07.2003Wednesday 16 July

I didn’t get to sleep until 3 AM last night, so I’m proud I even woke up. It could have had something to do with Mum telling me she was heading into town in half an hour.
Mum and I drove into town to do shopping. Some of my major purchases included 3 blocks of chocolate – peppermint, strawberry and coconut filled, some custard and cream, a milkshake from the Mad Cow Café and a pie from the bakery.
I have had bad hay fever all evening, slowly getting worse. It’s very frustrating. I can’t call it pain as it doesn’t hurt, so I think extreme discomfort is the best description – not at all enjoyable. Mum and I watched “A Beautiful Mind” – an interesting movie and well made. One thing I do not like about it is that it lies. While it cleverly hides the fact that half the cast is imaginary until the end, they have gone a little far. In one scene that I can remember, an imaginary man fights and pushes a table around. An imaginary person cannot move a table. But apart from that, it’s a reasonably good movie, although not quite exciting enough for my tastes. I spent the rest of the night chatting online, web-paging, fighting code and generally relaxing. One funny thing is that while I was engrossed in the movie, my hay fever did not bother me too much – perhaps this is somehow psychological or perhaps just because I was leaning back relaxing and watching a movie rather than peering at my monitor finding bugs.
I urgently require sleep and my hay fever is killing me, so sleep I shall.

17.07.2003Thursday 17 July

Mum woke me in the morning, but I slept in for another half hour or so, eventually getting woken by the phone. I spent a quiet day relaxing and hoping my hay fever didn’t come back too badly. It seems to be much better today.
Shan and Ella drove over and we messed around for a while. Ella screamed lots, as is to be expected, and Shan borrowed a couple of DVD’s. He’s apparently planning to drive down and see Kylie this weekend.
Mum and I watched “A Few Good Men” – perhaps more aptly “A Few Boring Hours”. I’ve not got much to say for it – it’s centred on a courtroom, what more need I say?
I’ve been fighting code again, and it’s winning. I have temporarily given up. Time has me stumped. As I’ve posted to a support forum, “I have a PHP function that is passed an ISO 8601 date in the format CCYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ssZ and returns a date in English. However, the ISO time is in GMT, the time returned isn’t and I don’t know how to fix it.” It’s one of those things that messes with your mind, with time offsets, time zones and midnights. At the moment the times on my amused site’s comments are five hours wrong. My hay fever is just starting to get bad again, but I’m managing to hold it off. I’ll go to bed when it gets too bad, and hopefully it’ll be even better (or joy of joys, gone) in the morning.

18.07.2003Friday 18 July

I had another 3 AM night last night, and quite enjoyed it. It really is nice not having to wake up early for anything – I have a feeling I might get a bit of a shock when I’ve got early morning lectures again, but if I don’t think about that then at least I won’t have to worry about it until too late.
I figured out how to fix my time problem, or to be honest, someone else did. It’s rather simple too – remove the “T” from the timestamp and it works – typical. But the good news is that it does now work, and shows the correct time, and I can format it however I want, site wide, by changing one function – which was the original idea. I also added a “view source” link to my UNI site, and generally messed around a bit wasting time.
Mum somehow managed to lose the picture down at Monty’s, even though there’s only five buttons on the satellite decoder. Admittedly there’s also a VCR and two TVs to take into consideration, and an IF interference between the VCR and the satellite decoder that means you’ve got to have the VCR turned off to view the composite output on the secondary TV, but turned on to use the AV output for the primary TV, and rather obviously, on to watch a video – which would necessitate changing one channel up on the secondary TV, but changing to AV1 on the primary TV. Then, to watch television on both TVs at once requires that both TVs be set to channel 1 and the VCR turned off, but to watch a video, both TVs must be changed to channel 2 and the satellite decoder switched off (and the VCR on, obviously), but to watch television or video on only the primary TV, both the satellite decoder and VCR should be switched on and the TV set to AV1. Nevertheless, there’s still only five buttons on the satellite decoder, so I had to go down and fix it before Dad got home from the pool comp, as he had to fix it last time and I’m not sure he was entirely impressed.
Another late night, how lovely it is to be on holidays.

19.07.2003Saturday 19 July

I exercised my democratic right to do nothing whatsoever, otherwise known as “holidays”.
I showed Mum the basics of “Windows”, left and right mouse clicking, the “Start Menu”, taskbar, folders, close buttons... It’s all new to her. Hopefully in a bit less than a week I can gently show her enough to successfully use this computer while I’m not here.
Mum and I watched, or tried to watch “Swordfish”. Unfortunately the disc was rather scratched and we had to skip about ten minutes in the middle, which, of course, was vital to the plot and the rest of the movie didn’t make any sense. I’ve seen it before, and from memory, it didn’t make all that much sense anyway. Their use of computers and computer terminology is extremely embarrassing, but I guess most people don’t realise what rubbish they’re talking. These scratched discs are a problem, I hired quite a few DVD’s while I was down in Brisbane, and I only had a few scratched ones, and of them I don’t think any were that bad that I couldn’t watch them, whereas in the few weeks I’ve been up here we’ve already had a few DVD’s scratched badly enough that I’ve had to skip chapters. It’s rather annoying.
Yet another late night by the looks of it, hurrah for holidays.

20.07.2003Sunday 20 July

It rained. It has rained almost non-stop since I’ve been here. Gladly for me, I’ve not minded. I have had a few things I wished to do and a few I should do but don’t wish too, all of which require dry weather – but I am just enjoying the relaxation. There’s not much more relaxing than sitting around listening to the rain fall in a tropical paradise where it’s never too cold, and at night hearing the wind howling above the trees and the rain blowing through the leaves and dripping to the ground, snug and cosy in my bed. I don’t need to feel slack for my inaction because it’s too wet to do anything, and I don’t need to do anything because I’m on holidays. This is markedly different from my normality, where I need to do lots of things, but don’t do anything, and feel guilty as a result – so I’m really enjoying the break. I’ve also been staying up half the night every night, but that’s not so unusual. Not having to worry about cooking but still getting good meals is nice too. In general, I’m doing absolutely nothing and enjoying myself doing it. Ironically, I’m writing a page a day about the nothing that I’m not doing.
Mum learnt how to use Outlook to send and receive email today, and how to attach a file to an email and send it. At least, I hope she learnt. Tomorrow is Word and Internet Explorer day, and from then on she can do things herself.
Mum and I watched “Amelie” tonight. As is becoming horribly normal, we couldn’t enjoy normal playback, it was slightly jerky (in a strangely smooth manner) throughout. But it is an excellent movie, French and subtitled. We laughed. It was great – so romantic, so lovely. This is the best movie we’ve seen since I’ve been up here, which isn’t saying much. I also ate an entire block of white coconut chocolate, so I’m hyper now. Bounce, bounce, bounce! But back to the movie – a thoroughly enjoyable, thoroughly happy, joyful look at one woman’s romantic dream coming true; and quite absurd in places. I love it. Subtitles are funny, I do not remember them. Even now, I don’t remember there being any subtitles, it seems that my brain replaces the dialogue with what I read. I often can’t remember whether I read something or saw it in a movie – my imagination does such a good job padding out what I read that I can clearly remember the visuals afterwards. I also spend a lot of time simply thinking, planning, designing, and daydreaming. When I had to lie in bed unable to move for weeks I was so scared that I’d get bored that I didn’t let myself get bored, the logic being that if I got bored once there would be no stopping it and I’d lie there bored to death and dying – but ever since then I’ve lost my fear of boredom. I can, often, be just as happy (if not happier) by myself doing nothing, simply thinking. When in India, I found myself quite enjoying the train rides. Even though they were very long and I was surrounded by so many other people, I, being the only westerner, would find myself, in a sense, alone, and there’s something about a train’s motion and noise that is very soothing. I had excellent sleeps and great daydreams, finding myself at peace and able to just sit in a door and enjoy the passing countryside, or stare blankly as the fields rolled by and think up complex designs and scenarios. I think, in retrospect, they were some of the most peaceful times I’ve had, and in retrospect there’s almost more commas in these last few sentences than letters.
Comment by lulu – Monday 21 July 2003, 5:55 AM
  It's called the Faulkner Syndrome and is caused from suppressed poet inclinations. Don't worry; it isn't bad or contagious. Oh, and they give prizes for it.

21.07.2003Monday 21 July

I honestly have no idea what, if anything, I did today. I suspect it wasn’t much or I’d probably remember. Then again, I’ve not done much anytime in the near past either, yet I’ve remembered them well. Oh, yes, now I remember. I phoned the travel agent and made a booking on a flight to Cairns, and I phoned Silas but his phone wasn’t working, and I forgot to phone the Bellview to make a reservation there.
“Moulin Rouge” was tonight’s movie, and although I have seen it before and didn’t remember it being too sad, I was expecting a sad movie as I’d been told by a friend who’d just watched it herself to expect to cry. This put me in the wrong frame of mind, as I kept waiting for the horribly sad tragedy that never came, but it also made the movie all the more enjoyable when it never did end up being terribly sad. Mum and I laughed quite a bit, and definitely didn’t cry. There are a few sad bits, but I’d hesitate to call them tragic – it’s too dramatic, too obviously overacted, to be truly tragic. We both enjoyed it and I think it’s quite a good movie.

22.07.2003Tuesday 22 July

Mum, after getting home from work, woke me up and I phoned Silas, who is now in Cairns, homeless and unemployed. It doesn’t sound like I’ll be able to stay with him on the weekend so I phoned the Bellview guesthouse and made a reservation there and shortly after I drove in to town. My first stop was the supermarket, as I had no money and needed EFTPOS, so I bought some “TV Mix” assorted chocolate-coated things, and some chocolate caramels and toffees. I then walked down to the travel shop and paid my airfare, all $83.60 of it, picked up my ticket and walked back up to Peter’s shop. He was looking for leaks in the air conditioning of a truck, so I waited until he’d finished and we had an enjoyable talk. I then drove up to the Big Shed and bought eight metres of black plastic to replace the old stuff over the caravan, torn when a branch fell through one corner a few days ago, which has now ripped off entirely and is flapping all over the place. It’s such a windy place up here, with Home Rule being much, much worse, although that is probably the nicest place to live that I have ever seen – at least from a scenic point of view. After the black plastic, I drove down to the Shell servo, seeing as the Ampol has replaced their LRP with Premium Unleaded – and bought twenty dollars of fuel, as instructed by Mum. I then drove home after a quick stop at the Mad Cow Café and the Supermarket where I got a chocolate milkshake and punnet of pasta salad, which I ate and drank on the way home.
I was going to go over to Shan’s place and see him, but I found out that his girlfriend is there so Mum and I watched “Kiss of the Dragon” instead, which I think is still my favourite action movie. She seemed to enjoy it although we had a small disagreement over what “realistic fighting” meant. I must admit, it didn’t seem as good as I’d remembered from last time, I think because I was watching it with Mum who didn’t seem amazingly happy about the movie – although she said it was good. I opened the lollies I’d bought earlier in town, and connected to the internet – several times. I kept getting disconnected, so after a few reconnections at 22¢ each I cleaned the phone plugs and went inside and cleaned them there as well, and reconnected. I had the connection properties box open, waiting for it to disappear indicating that I’d been disconnected once again – and disappear it did, but somehow I wasn’t disconnected. Explorer had quit, and it quit again each time I tried to run it. I hope Mum doesn’t have any problems like this, that’s the last thing she needs when she’s going to be struggling to keep Word under control. A reboot seemed to fix the problem, as is usual with computers.
After days of hay fever, it’s finally starting to catch up with me. Now, when I sneeze, my brain hurts. I’m hoping it’s some sort of blocked sinus thing and not a brain haemorrhage or anything too interesting like that. Shaking my head, even stamping my foot hard, all hurts my brain. Looking on the bright side – I guess this is proof that I have one.
I am becoming a late night person.

23.07.2003Wednesday 23 July

Dad and I (with some help from Mum) replaced the black plastic over my van with a new piece.
I went for a walk around the school loop and down to the creek and the old airstrip. It’s very nice and peaceful walking up here, no people, no cars, no noise – just green plants. I also had a brilliant idea regarding the transfer of thoughts, feelings and ideas; I just have to get a brain interface set up first.
I noticed that I was receiving email destined for Mum, so went to investigate. It seems that when I set up her email and tested it, I did all the testing from my own mail server, which worked, but unfortunately, that’s all that works. Mail sent from any other mail server to Mum is routed to me. This isn’t that surprising considering I set up the routing myself. If I’d remembered that, or thought to test it from somewhere other than my own mail server, it could have saved me a lot of bother – but of course I didn’t. If I knew what I was doing it would probably be easier too, but of course, I don’t. Anyway, to cut a short story even shorter, I added every sort of mail record I could think to my DNS, which as I can only think of two types, didn’t take very long, and then scrapped that DNS and transferred to another. The problem is that this can take upwards of forty-eight hours to propagate around the world, so my site stopped working, as did all my email.
Mum and I watched “The Wild Bunch”. There’s one word to describe this movie – boring. And they laugh too much. I don’t know what it is with old movies, but I’ve seen very few that were any good – they all seem to be boring.
Having spent ages writing and rewriting string parsers, switch statements and nested if-then-else’s to get my journal to accept URL’s in the way I want it to, I’m suddenly very sleepy and collapse into bed. I have to get up around nine tomorrow morning, so I had better sleep double-time.

24.07.2003Thursday 24 July

Dad, Mum and I drove into town and had lunch at the Mad Cow Café with Vince and Sarah. It was very filling and enjoyable. We then did some shopping and drove home.
Shan rode over on his motorbike with Kylie on the back. It blows so much smoke, half of it out the front and I asked why he’d painted the back tyre – it is not paint, it is oil. He dropped off two DVD’s, “The Ninth Gate” and “The Cell”. Seeing as I don’t really want to “enter the mind of a killer” or see The Matrix meet Silence of the Lambs, I’ve abstained from watching them. I don’t like horror, or indeed anything scary. I simply don’t understand how people enjoy that. As “The Cell” says, “veers from the seductive to the uncomfortable to the truly horrific”. Perhaps I’m missing something from the definitions of “uncomfortable” and “horrific”, but neither sound like desirable states of mind to me.
Mum and I sat inside in the dark and had a nice talk and cuddle, and then I went online for a while. I’m glad to say is now resolving.
Comment by Helen – Friday 25 July 2003, 10:00 PM
  Your mum sounds really nice :)

25.07.2003Friday 25 July

I had a quiet day, not doing too much, setting up the computer for Mum and trying to get everything to work simply and not too confusingly.
I took the computer inside for Mum and got all my stuff together ready to pack, then drove out to Home Rule and said goodbye to Shan and co. I dropped in at Monty’s where Dad is staying on the way home and stayed there for a while. I was supposed to go home and pack, but ended up staying at Dad’s too long and had to go straight to bed when I got home. I couldn’t even go online as I’d set the computer up inside for Mum.

26.07.2003Saturday 26 July – My last day in Rossville

I woke up not long after 5:30 AM and remembered that I hadn’t written any information about my flight anywhere – it was all online and in my email. I had to rush inside where I’d set up the computer for Mum and go online to check my email – where I found I’d deleted that mail (by accident), so I had to dig out my backup CD and find my email backup and find my flight number and time in there. Fortunately, I found it or I’m not sure what I’d have done. I guess I could have phoned Qantas and they’d have found my ticket from my name. Having wasted my packing time finding my ticket information I had to run around in a panic packing my stuff, jump in the car, and head off. We picked up Dad from Monty’s where he’s looking after the place until Monty gets back from his holiday and drove into Cooktown arriving at the airport spot on time. The plane was ten minutes late. The take off and flight was nice, but when descending my sinus, and behind my eyes felt like they had pins in them. My head felt like it would explode and it wasn’t very nice at all. To add to my discomfort my nose began to run – and run it did, non-stop and everywhere. Tissues galore – I did not enjoy the landing at all. This is the first time I’ve had any problems like this but I guess after almost a month of hay fever it’s not that surprising.
I caught a taxi into Cairns, remembering halfway that I’d forgot to pick up my luggage. How stupid can I get? I walked out of the airport and jumped in the first taxi, not even thinking. That’s what hay fever does – I shall blame it. I couldn’t get through to Silas, so I walked around taking photos and looking at the new esplanade redevelopment they’ve been doing and the fancy lagoon they’ve made and watched a magician perform. I went and spent an hour online, where I checked my email, sent a few to Mum and Becky, and went online and chatted. Then I managed to get through to Silas but he didn’t sound very healthy. Amos came and picked me up a short time later in Silas’s car, and we went and picked up his car from where it was parked in town. I drove Silas’s car out to Eric’s and then swapped to Amos’s car and we drove out to the airport to pick up my bag, and then back to get Silas’s car and out to Silas’s new place. He’s renting two rooms down he bottom of a flat. He wasn’t yet alive, having had an obviously too big night last night, so Amos and I went into town and did some shopping that Amos had to do and then came back to Silas’s after that, by which time he was partly alive. Amos had to leave as he’s taking some tourists on a night walk. Silas and I talked for a while and Silas showed me the documents he’s got from JCU and his new job.
Silas and I had dinner at the night markets. I had pasta ravioli Napolitano or whatever it’s called, which was quite nice, and then sped to Cairns Central where we watched “Terminator 3”. It’s a great movie, lacking something that I can’t quite put my finger on, but great nonetheless. I enjoyed it a lot. Silas then had to leave for bed and I walked back to the Bellview where I was staying, but couldn’t bring myself to sit and mope and get sentimental so I walked back to the cinemas and watched “The Real Cancun”, which is remarkably stupid. I do not recommend that anyone watch it, but I did manage to enjoy it and it passed the time well, and I even found an internet café that was open until midnight so popped in there on the way back from the movie, making it a bit of a late night by the time I crashed into bed.

27.07.2003Sunday 27 July – My first day back in Brisbane

I was woken at 4:45 AM. This is not a particularly good time to be woken. There were a few of us up, all catching planes. We phoned for three taxis, but after the first had come and taken its people and the second wasn’t anywhere to be seen, the other two lots of us flagged down a passing cab and took that instead. I hope our taxis weren’t too annoyed when they turned up, but at least it ended up cheaper – I only paid $5.
I was late, of course. I am almost never early for anything. By the time I arrived at the airport they were calling for any passengers for my flight to go straight to desk two, which suited me fine as there were at least fifty people waiting in line for the other check-in desks. There was no one at desk two so I got checked-in straight away and headed out through the scary terrorist-finders and out to the plane. I sat in the farthest back left-hand side window seat. The flight was normal and rather boring. We didn’t crash. No one stabbed anyone with their fork (or anything else for that matter), and the most exciting thing was when the lady two seats across from me was sick and had to request a sickie bag. The flight was faster than expected – an hour and three quarters later I was in Brisbane. When descending, my nose ran again. I so hate hay fever and all the joys it brings.
I caught a train from the airport into the city, then a train from the city out to here, and walked here for the first time in nearly a month. Joe was home, and I said the perfunctory hellos. Puppy was happy to see me, but I was really too tired to think, let alone play – so upstairs I went, and in bed I lay, and to sleep I did fall. A few hours later I woke up and unpacked, went down and talked to Joe, and set up my computer.
Joe got me to drive down to a particular (and rather far away) newsagent to get some scratch-its, which I did without incident, and shortly after getting back he decided he needed to head towards a bottle shop to refill, so we did. I’d never been to this bottle shop before so Joe was guiding me, and told me “See that car (which was turning right at an intersection)? Follow it”, so I did. Having pulled into the right hand turning lane, I could see three or four green lights, the car in front of me turned right and so did I. Another car came hurtling through the lights at me, and I very narrowly missed hitting it – probably a matter of inches. It turns out that the central light, which I can’t see from the turning right lane when there’s any large traffic in the lanes to the left of me, has arrows – the turning right one of which was, of course, red. There are probably six or more lights at this intersection and only the central one has these arrows, which I had obviously not seen. What had happened, of course, is that I’d seen all the green lights and followed the car in front, not realising or being able to see that the right turn arrow was red, and the car coming the other way had simply driven through its green light as per usual. The lights had assumed no one would turn right, as there was a red right turn arrow. If I could be bothered, and if I hadn’t been in the wrong and nearly had an accident, I’d complain to someone as it’s extremely dangerous. After driving through I let Joe off at the bottle shop and had a look around the intersection to satisfy myself that there really were arrows there, and I can’t see how anyone is expected to see them if they’re already at the intersection when the arrow changes to red. It is almost above the car and to the right, difficult to see at the best of times, and perhaps impossible if there’s anything sizeable pulled up or passing in any of the left lanes. I’m very grateful I didn’t clip that car, as it was very close and would possibly have swung the car around and caused a nasty accident – or at the least some expensive damage to the other car and I’d have been in the wrong. Come to think, I hope they don’t have red light, or should I say red arrow, cameras there or I might still be in trouble. I had better dust off my Mexican alibi.
Joe’s sister, Liz, came over and later Joe’s daughter, Tonya and her boyfriend and we all had “Chinese” for dinner. Joe got quite drunk and I spent the night online – enjoying my new computer again, and its nice, large and clear monitor.

28.07.2003Monday 28 July – Start of Second Semester

Well, the first day back at uni and the start of my second semester – and what a day it was. I had to be at uni by nine o’clock, which means I had to be on the 7:40 train, which means I had to get up by about seven and leave here quarter of an hour before the train – all of which I managed to do without freezing entirely solid – although it was a close call at times. I didn’t get to bed until after two thirty last night, so I’m proud of myself for waking up on time.
It is very cold. I guess I have got used to the warmth up North – but I think it is plain and simply cold down here. Anyway, having safely arrived at uni still partly alive and functioning, I attended my very first “Intro to Information Systems” lecture, which promises to be interesting – or so I hope. I’m almost looking forward to learning about databases, which is the main purpose of this course, as I’ve never had anything to do with them before and know little about them. This was followed by a visit to the computer labs and a journey through cyberspace and onto an IRC network to have a quick chat and to check my email – then back up to the main refectory and lunch with io. Next came my preliminary “Computer Organisation” lecture, which should also be interesting – I hope. I have a bit of background knowledge about how logic circuits operate at a low level, but I know little about them at higher levels. A few interesting facts about this course: 345 students are enrolled; 52% are engineering students, followed by 29% IT, 6% arts, 3% science, 2% business management, just under 2% commerce and 3% other; 81% are male; 63% are first year, 26% second year, 8% third year and the rest are obviously fourth or higher. This is a two hour lecture, but the second hour was free so io and the two hardcore geeks (I forget their names) and I walked up to “General Purpose North” to have a look, as I’ve not seen it before. Surprisingly, it looks somewhat like a building. This was followed by another “Intro to Information Systems” lecture – two hours long, which was a bit much. My hay fever after-effects kicked in and I didn’t feel so good. io, who has a cold, looked as if he was having an even worse time, and I think we were both pretty happy when the lecture ended. I made my way home and sat, fish like, unable to think and totally exhausted having stopped at the shops on the way home and bought some basic groceries. I must be in a bad way – I went to bed amazingly early, before midnight.
Mum made it online! I talked to her in MSN for a while and received a short email. I’m glad she’s managed as I was becoming worried.
Comment by Helen – Thursday 31 July 2003, 8:57 PM
  Do you call your IRC friends by their chat names even IRL? :)
Comment by Ned – Friday 1 August 2003, 1:12 AM
  Sometimes, particularly when I can’t remember their real names, but generally when I think of them as that name - which usually happens when I know them better, or have known them first, from IRC.

29.07.2003Tuesday 29 July

I woke up in a panic, instantly aware that I’d slept in. A quick look at my clock showed I’d only slept in a few minutes and could still get to the train on time, although it nearly proved fatal. By the time I’d got to the station I couldn’t think straight or breathe. I felt like I was hyperventilating but I didn’t have enough brainpower left to control myself and breathe properly and didn’t really care. I really think that jumping out of bed when it’s cold enough to freeze goldfish, running around in circles losing vital body temperature, then running down the road when any sane person is in bed is simply not good for the body – but I did make it to the train and my breathing slowly subsided. By the time I got to uni my brain was functioning enough to acknowledge the existence of people once again. I blame my hay fever – it’s nastily hard to keep up the pretence of semi-normal humanity when suffering hay fever or its after-effects. I do think it’s going away though. I haven’t felt as though I’ve had hay fever since arriving back in Brisbane – in fact, it feels more like having a cold now.
I had another nine o’clock lecture, and then a two-hour break until a midday lecture – “Programming in the Large”. So far, all my lecturers sound as though they might do a good job, and that I may be able to find the subject matter at least a little engrossing. I hope that I can manage to motivate myself and enjoy some of these courses as I know I can get very good results if I’m motivated and enjoying it – but wait, I must be delusional, this is university. After my lecture, I went and got a swipe card, which allows me to access some of the locked computer labs. I tried getting into one of the UNIX labs to see if my card worked – which it unfortunately did. I logged into one of the solaris terminals to see if I could, which unfortunately I could, and then I, unfortunately, couldn’t log out. I closed the terminal window – by logging out of it, and that was that. I guess I have some learning to do. The problem was, as there weren’t any nice people standing about and I’d have felt too stupid asking anyway, I had to lock the terminal and leave it locked. No, that’s not entirely true... I pushed every button in various combinations to see if there was some amazingly secret (and probably terribly obvious) way to logout or reset the terminal, which regretfully included the lock workstation button – and no password I could think off would unlock it again – so it’s probably still sitting there locked – I hope I don’t get into trouble! I shall deny any knowledge of the entire lab. After that embarrassing debacle, which (for the record), never happened – I walked back to the train station and caught a train home.

30.07.2003Wednesday 30 July – Hulk

I have nothing on at university today and I feel terrible, so I’m going to do nothing and relax, and hope I can get enough energy to finish the week. At least that was the plan. What ended up happening was slightly different.
I slept.
I slept.
I slept.
I woke up and went online. I checked what movies were on, with a view to possibly watching one this weekend. I was performing my famous motivation-seeking-screen-stare when I noticed that “Hulk” was having its last showing today – so if I wanted to see it, 8:50 PM was my last chance. Of course, I couldn’t let an opportunity like this pass me by. A quick shower later and I was on the train, switching trains at Roma Street and heading out to Indooroopilly. I arrived with plenty of time, bought a 40¢ ice cream from Hungry Jacks, a ticket from the ticket office and a large frozen coke from the Candy Bar and headed into the theatre. The movie itself was actually much better than I expected, concentrating more on the relationships between the cast rather than the actual special effects Hulk himself – which wasn’t very well done and looked awfully like a computer game. It wasn’t a high-class movie, or indeed a very good movie, but I wasn’t expecting much and I enjoyed it, as usual. One of the problems with living in Brisbane is that the public transport stops so early. I caught the last connecting train from Indooroopilly and the last train full stop from Roma Street, and didn’t arrive home until quite late. Had the movie started at nine o’clock I’d have been risking being unable to get home – which I think is rather pathetic. I guess I’m used to Cairns where nearly everything is within walking distance and everything is open late because of the tourists.
Comment by Ned – Friday 1 August 2003, 8:12 PM
  Testing the comments after changing a few $_SERVER[] variables to fix a change in my webhost.

31.07.2003Thursday 31 July

I had a tiring day at uni, printing out my notes, along with io and kjpyro’s to get above the 200-page limit required for cheap printing, and slept when I got home. Oh, io and I also went and found the printery hidden behind the new CSIRO building and got our printouts nicely hole punched (except I think they drill them) – for free.
I went to the shop and bought 1 kilogram of Milo. For those of you who don’t know – Milo is a real man’s Ovaltine.
I drove Joe down to the newsagent and we bought some chips. I also set up his new answering machine he got for his birthday, and then ate the chips. Joe managed to have quite a pre-birthday celebration, getting quite drunk. He made the mistake of phoning Tonya, who, unbeknownst to me, got quite upset and phoned Michelle. I was blissfully unaware of the unfolding events and online by this time, and Michelle couldn’t get through. She phoned Silas in Cairns, who happened to be chatting to me on IRC at the time from the computer of the girl upstairs that he’s renting his room from, as his computer won’t start ever since he left Brisbane. He told me on chat, I phoned Michelle, reassured her that Joe hadn’t died and everything was Ok, and stayed up until half past one and went to bed quite tired – geek emergency protocol at its best, I love it.

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!

01.09.2003Monday 1 September – Spring

I woke up about the same time my train left, and had to do the traditional run and die to get to uni on time from the next train. Sometimes I notice how young the majority of first year uni students are – they’re still kids, just left home. During our “Intro to Information Systems” lecture, we were told we’d have to form groups of four for the second part of our “Intro to Information Systems” assignment, so I’ve formed a group with Matthew, Nick and Tim, who are both my age and happened to be sitting beside me – a few years can make quite a difference sometimes. They’re now added them to my MSN so we can collaborate electronically when and if any of us get around to working on the assignment – how high tech and exciting!
“A team of students had four members called Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done. Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.” (Gibbs, 1995)

02.09.2003Tuesday 2 September

“Because we are safer, our liberties are more secure.” – John Ashcroft, US Attorney General
I caught the train to uni safer, because my liberties are more secure, although I was very sleepy. I had a prac exam today – had to draw up a small logic circuit in “LogicWorks”, a computer logic simulator, and then draw a schematic diagram and wire up the circuit on a breadboard and show the examiner, and get a pass mark. It was easy, really just a check to ensure we’d actually been attending our practicals.
I, very bravely (but more safely because my liberties are more secure), went to St Leo’s College with two guys from the prac exam, Marcus and Kieran, to pick up a CD – but they both ran away to a tutorial and left me stranded. I went to the labs and tried out IBM’s UML development tool, “Rational Rose”, in the hopes that it would somehow help me draw my entity-relationship diagram for my “Intro to Information Systems” assignment, which is due on Thursday and I haven’t even read the assignment specification yet. As it turns out, it is much too complex for this and the time it would take me to figure out how to draw an ER diagram wouldn’t be worth it. I then headed back to St Leo’s, saw Clint for a few minutes, found Kieran and Marcus again, picked up the CD, and went home.

03.09.2003Wednesday 3 September

Today is my day off, so I didn’t go to uni, instead staying home and doing my “Intro to Information Systems” assignment. This is the first time I’ve actually read the assignment so I guess I can’t complain too much – I should have done it weeks ago.
Assignment one, part one for INFS1200, “Intro to Information Systems” has now been submitted. After hours drawing poxy arrows, entity relationship diagrams and relationship schemas in a combination of Visio, Photoshop and Word (as none of those will do what I want by themselves), it is done. I just hope I get a good mark.

04.09.2003Thursday 4 September

My first lecture was cancelled. I’d just sat down, the lecture theatre was just beginning to fill, and the lecturer, resplendent in a bright orange beanie, walked down the left aisle, put a notice “Lecture Cancelled – Anthony has lost his voice” on the visualiser, walked up the right aisle, and was gone. For a second we weren’t sure if it was some type of joke, it was almost surreal. My second lecture isn’t a lecture this week, but is a tutorial for people who don’t know basic HTML, so no point in going to that. I then have two hours of “Information Technology Project” practical, followed by an hour of “Intro to Information Systems” practical, neither of which I’ve yet used for their proper purposes. This was in turn followed by an hour-long “Computer Organisation” tutorial, which took me roughly two minutes to complete – and that’s only because I couldn’t find the programmer’s notepad thing we’re using to do it. In other words, I didn’t do anything at uni today.

05.09.2003Friday 5 September

What a woeful speechmaker I am. I think writing a short speech after midnight last night, reading it through in my head once and briefly summarising it does not constitute rehearsing and learning. In fact, after having stood up the front and been unable to think of much to say, I am entirely sure of that. I’d even go so far as to say I’d have been better off not writing anything at all. The problem was, I wrote what I thought was a relatively good five minute speech, and then tried to deliver that based on the very summarised notes I had, which as I’d not read it enough I found I was unable to do, but because I had read it, I tried to speak on something I couldn’t remember. It was rather awkward until I gave up and just made it up on the spot. This is the first time I’ve ever given a public speech, so I guess I learnt a few things. One thing that did annoy me is that the few people before me all gave their speeches as we’d been told to do, so I tried and sort of managed to, but nearly all the people after me simply got up and read a prewritten speech. I could have so easily taken my prewritten speech and just read that if I’d known.
Directly after my debilitating speech giving, I had to present in our “Programming in the Large” tutorial. Typically, our group got the hardest bit of code, which I don’t think anyone short of an experienced coder could manage to convert to a dynamic abstract data type representation in the time we had as we only had half the tute, the second half being devoted to questions about our assignments. We scribbled some code, helped a lot by one member who’s currently doing a course almost entirely on abstract data types, and I presented it to the rest of the tutorial. Then we were given our assignments, and the perfect result I had partly made up for my definitely less than perfect performance in my speech this morning. The fact that everyone else there seemed to have worse marks helped too.

06.09.2003Saturday 6 September

I’m annoyed. The internet is very slow and at times not working. It seems to be a generalised problem, at least in Australia, and not just my ISP. I have had a bad computer day. Originally, I was on the internet, doing normal things, and everything was working. Then I noticed my secondary monitor had a few red and green tyre track things on it, and a few random pixels, which usually means its graphics card has gotten too hot. I opened all the windows and cooled it down a bit. Then the internet died. I was getting some phenomenal amount of packet loss. I needed to find bus times to get to the mars viewing tonight, but I couldn’t access any web pages. Then, after rebooting to see if I could get the internet to work, and wasting another 22¢ connecting, my CPU fan alarm went off. The fan had dropped from its normal 6000 rpm down to 4000 rpm. It then went up and down in speed as if it were a variable speed fan. It’s rather alarming to see my processor temperature increase 5 degrees in about five seconds just because the fan has slowed. I pulled the side of the case off and fiddled with the fan but it seems fine. It kept going up and down and the internet wouldn’t work, so I disconnected and watched “Sudden Impact” instead. It’s not such a bad movie for its age – I quite enjoyed it.
After the movie, I tried connecting to the internet again and managed to get enough packets through to find that my train left in quarter of an hour, so I ran, showered, ran, dressed, ran, shoed, ran, jumped on the train, and arrived at South Brisbane station with no idea what bus to catch. After asking two drivers who didn’t know, I found one who gave me a short free ride and dropped me off at another bus stop where the Mt Coot-tha bus departs from. Unfortunately, it doesn’t run at night, so I had to ask another bus driver, who guided me to another bus stop where I could catch a bus to Toowong, near to where I wanted to go. This driver kindly drove me to a roundabout near to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and let me off there, so it was only a short walk. There were tons of people, and something rather obvious but which I hadn’t really thought of – it was dark. They’d put garbage bags over the lights, leaving just a few red ones so people could develop a bit of night vision, and it was really hard to see anyone. A few people from uni had been talking about going, so I’d wanted to see if I could meet them, but soon realised there wasn’t any point looking in the dark. I did manage to bump into Raymond and two of his friends, and went around with them. We waited in line for ages to see the moon magnified 94 times through a 100 inch high telescope, which had a 20 inch mirror making it an f5 telescope, or something like that – I know nothing about them but that sounds similar to what the guy managing it said. The moon was impressive, looking the same as it does in photos, but Mars wasn’t at all impressive, looking like a white circle – I had a look at it through a few telescopes and wasn’t impressed at all. All four of us caught a taxi, letting me off at Toowong and taking them back to uni. I caught the train from there home.
I went online and watched a political discussion (read “argument”) in #BITS, which, coupled with my being alternatively disconnected, lagged, unable to reconnect or receiving the argument in large bursts, made it entertaining for about half an hour. After that I began to realise no one had a clue about anything, and they are all dim-witted, brainwashed, and arguing for the sake of it. I tried saying the silliest things I could think of that slightly fit in with their argument, but I couldn’t think of anything sillier than what they were already saying and I had a bad feeling I would appear the same as them to an outsider, so I left.
Comment by DM – Sunday 7 September 2003, 10:19 PM
  I had been wanting to go along to the Planetarium last night, but my hopes relied on my brother also going along (he could give me a lift there). In the end, he decided that he had too much uniwork to do, and by the time he told me this, it was too late to organise alternative transport. Ah well, can't always win.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 7 September 2003, 10:52 PM
  I saw martians!

07.09.2003Sunday 7 September

I watched “Identity” at Indooroopilly. I’m not quite sure what my opinion is about this movie, I think it hasn’t developed yet (my opinion that is, not the movie). It wasn’t too bad I guess, but probably not my favourite genre, but it was an enjoyable outing, which is what matters.
Pole dancing
We were subjected to an impromptu display of pole dancing and various semi-erotic acrobatic performances performed on the handholds that hang from the roof of the Indooroopilly train on the way to Roma Street. It made for a more interesting than usual train ride, I will admit.
I’ve discovered a new definition of chaos – Roma Street Station when there’s “signal problems”. I caught the 7:39 Beenleigh train at about five to ten. There were no less than six trains scheduled to arrive on platform six at the same time, while all other platforms seemed mostly closed. Buses were transporting people between intercity stations, Gold Coast trains were cancelled, and it was utter chaos. I listened to the station managers on their radios while I was waiting. It’s scary. They have heaps of people scheduling trains over the one channel – I can only imagine how easy it must be to make a mistake. They’re just radioing “operations” the time and the train number as each train arrives, and they’re radioing back instructions as to where the train should hold. I can imagine them in “operations” drinking coffee and using thumbtacks and monopoly pieces to indicate trains on some big map, and some person mishears “shhhhzzzzt click ding Beenleigh six twenty seven platform chhhhhzt six Roma Street chhzt click” as platform seven and derailing me.
When I un-hibernated my computer, neither monitor turned on. I reset the computer, and tried un-hibernating again. This time the monitors worked but my keyboard didn’t. Fortunately, though, my keyboard is PS2 and USB, so I could pull the PS2 out and USB took over, but it is worrying on top of the overheating and other weird problems I’ve been having. I think this probably has a simple explanation – when I moved the computer around to check the CPU fan yesterday, I probably moved the keyboard lead a bit and the plug wasn’t connecting properly. At least my internet connection seemed normal today.

08.09.2003Monday 8 September

University, which precludes anything else, studious student that I am.

09.09.2003Tuesday 9 September

I slept in and missed the train (by about an hour). The rest of the day was rather uneventful. I went to my “Computer Organisation” practical and discovered I was supposed to know assembly language. It would be nice if uni taught things, I was under the miscomprehension that’s what they were for, but I’ve realised otherwise now. Seeing as I don’t know assembly language and wasn’t prepared to learn it without any resources and on the spot, I left and watched some third year mechanical and electrical engineering students having a robot-soccer match with LEGO robots.
I’ve been working on my “Information Technology Project” – project one. I’m making a VB sliding tile puzzle, or trying to. I’ve never used VB before, and as usual, instead of starting six weeks ago as I was supposed to, I’m doing it now that it’s due on Thursday. This, along with my “Programming in the Large” assignment due tomorrow evening and my “Intro to Information Systems” stuff due on Tuesday – which is a group affair, so I can’t let my group down and have to do that too, should keep me busy. Oh, and there’s upcoming mid-semester exams too.

10.09.2003Wednesday 10 September

I finally have all the errors fixed and can submit this awful thing before the five o’clock deadline. I’m not very confident on getting a good result, as I pretty well just hacked together something that looked right, and edited it until there weren’t any errors. This has been an intense assignment. I started around half past one, after waking at midday, and spent half an hour commenting and formatting code, then an hour sorting out a test plan, and another hour and a half implementing that test plan, messing with Roast, command prompts, Java errors and other awful things. “Roast is a framework designed to support automated testing of Java APIs. Roast scripts are typically highly automated, with programmatic input generation and output checking.” It’s a good idea, but its syntax leaves a bit to be desired, although I think it’s a bit ironic that a Java testing system uses Perl. Now I just have to finish off my other assignment that’s due at my practical tomorrow, and draw up some entity relationship diagrams to show my INFS1200 group tomorrow.
Comment by DK – Wednesday 10 September 2003, 8:08 PM
  Good luck - I am sure you'll be OK (re: uni work) ;)
Comment by Ned – Thursday 11 September 2003, 1:15 AM
  Thanks. It looks like I might need it this semester. I’ve just discovered that one of my upcoming mid-semester exams is worth 30% of the course. That’s terrible.

11.09.2003Thursday 11 September

Train Accident
I lazed in bed too long, and had to run hard to catch the train. I got to the station, exhausted, right about the same time the train leaves – in fact I could see the train only a few hundred metres from the station as I was approaching. Funnily, it didn’t seem to be any nearer by the time I’d run down the ramp and onto the station. It wasn’t any nearer an hour later either. A fire truck arrived, closely followed by an ambulance, then another ambulance, then some railway engineers, then another ambulance, three police cars and some railway public relations folk who went around organising taxis for all those passengers who had urgent appointments. It seems either the train hit somebody, or somebody hit the train. I’m not sure if it was a suicide or someone playing chicken, but they managed to shut down the station quite effectively. It took over an hour for Queensland Rail to hustle up some charter buses, the first of which transported the people from the injured train who must have been sitting in there over an hour. Shortly after that, a bus came and took a few others and me to the next station where I caught a train into uni as usual, although we had to wait for a clear track. I don’t fully understand why hitting someone has to close the entire station for hours, but I guess police and official procedure must have their way.
I alternatively ran and walked fast, from the train to the ferry, then from the ferry to uni, hoping to catch Marcus as he came out of the lecture I’d missed as I’d arranged to meet him and pick up a hard drive. I was about ten minutes too late, and also the group meeting our “Intro to Information Systems” (which is a fancy way of saying “Database”) group was having, and they’ve told me they missed my voice of reason and needed someone to tell them they didn’t know what they’re doing – perhaps they’re as delusional as I am?
VB Project
I got my Visual Basic project for our “Information Technology Project” marked by a tutor today. Mine worked, and met all the criteria, so I got twenty out of twenty. They weren’t marked very hard, and for a 20% mark, six-week long project, I’d have expected there to be a more involved marking process. I also met Marcus and got his hard drive.
Clint and Raymond showed me how to get to the “Ville”, a small shopping centre near uni – where I bought a veggie burger from Subway. We then walked around half of uni on the way back, lost Raymond, and I came home, skipping shopping as it was too late, using the hard drive I had as a poor excuse – I didn’t want to squash it or get it wet.
Comment by DM – Saturday 13 September 2003, 12:37 AM
  I heard about that train accident/delay from someone in my German class on Thursday morning. She arrived just in time to say hi to everyone as we were leaving the class. Also, congrats on the results of the VB project.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 13 September 2003, 1:43 PM
  Thanks :-)
Comment by io – Monday 15 September 2003, 11:35 AM
  "I’m not sure if it was a suicide or someone playing chicken".. lol that's a terrible uncertainty Ned! Oh well, lets just hope that he was playing chicken and it was all just an unfortunate and coincidental sequence of events.

12.09.2003Friday 12 September

Ned slept in and missed his train – again. He needs to get to bed earlier, he said, noticing the ominous three on his clock. His train ride was made more interesting this morning, by playing “stares” with a good-looking girl who sat opposite him, something he’s not done since primary school and which seems sillily childish, but somehow funny. You know the game – see how long you can stare into someone’s eyes without looking away.
After arriving at uni, Ned went looking for Marcus but couldn’t find him, so went and did his written assessment for his “Information Technology Project”, writing a short, three-hundred-word report and drawing a small diagram. He’s hoping to get good marks in this, as he’s uncomfortably confident he’ll be getting abysmal results for his oral presentation. He finished his quite some time before anyone else, so he’s hoping that’s good and not bad. He then made his way down to the labs where he met Marcus looking for him, and returned his hard drive. After this, he found an INFS1200 tutor and tried to work out a problem his group had when trying to design an entity relationship diagram last night, but the tutor didn’t seem entirely confident himself, so he emailed his lecturer and arranged to meet her after his COMP2500 tutorial – which, as he didn’t need to present, went well. The lecturer, Shazia Sadiq, was quite helpful, explaining where he and his group had mistakenly interpreted the universe of discourse. She probably thinks he’s an idiot now, as the mistake was a simple grammatical one, incorrectly reading something in the first few lines of the assignment – however, the other three members in his group also made the same mistake so it’s probable many other people have as well. He’s not sure how many other people would have tried using disjoint inheritance, ternary relations, and/or constraints, looped relationships, object relational modelling, and actually skimmed the entire two chapters relating to entity relationship diagrams in his text, so that may have impressed her – or perhaps shown her that he really doesn’t know what he’s doing. One good thing about this group assignment – it’s forcing Ned to do something, rather than waiting until the last moment and panicking as he’s usually done in the past. On that note, one bad thing about this group assignment is that it’s forcing Ned to do something, whereas in the past he could have lazed about staring idly into space.
Something Ned forgot to mention – it has been rather hot both today and yesterday, seeming that winter has gone and summer has arrived.
Ned did his shopping today. It’s funny how he seems to run out of everything at once. He’d run out of nearly all his pastas, most of his herbs and spices and all his fruit and veggies except celery and mandarins. He hasn’t had milk for a week, his bread has gone stale, his parmesan cheese is struggling to become blue-vein cheese, his toothpaste needs medical implements to coax it from its tube, and his shaving cream isn’t much better – not to mention he’s totally out of cordial, cream, chocolate, biscuits, lollies, and running perilously low on ice cream.
Ned bought some “Cedel family anti-dandruff medicated foam” this evening, which he hopes is a posh way of saying “anti dandruff shampoo”, as he’s noticed he’s starting to get dandruff and it’s not going away, no matter what he does. He wonders if it’s to do with the water down here or his diet, but he has an inkling in the back of his mind that he’s read somewhere that dandruff is actually caused by a fungus or something weird like that. He should have a look online tomorrow and find out. Hopefully this will get rid of his dandruff without ruining his hair, and hopefully it’ll be permanent and it won’t come back. He’s hoping it’s not something permanent to do with the water or climate or some other unknown thing, as his sister reckons she gets dandruff if she uses her local water.
Comment by DK – Sunday 14 September 2003, 9:52 AM
  Good luck with playing stares ;-) and please look after and feed yourself :-)

13.09.2003Saturday 13 September

Group Work
Group work sucks for merit based marking. How exactly can you expect to mark someone on his or her merit when someone else did the work? I spent a bit of time messing around with “our” ER diagram, eventually giving up. Ironically, the members of my group did eventually come online, one to tell me he’s going out, the other apparently not available until very late tonight, and the third to tell me how he’s pissed at the other two for not being here, so I decided to go out too. I didn’t feel mean enough to point out that he’d only turned up after I’d already spent hours working on “our” ER diagram.
Joe, Dave and Tonya had a barbecue, which I missed, as I wanted to see a movie.
I entrained to Indooroopilly, arriving at half past eight, just in time to see “Pirates of the Caribbean – the Curse of the Black Pearl”, but it was sold out so I went and ate some fried rice and saw the nine thirty screening instead. This was a bit risky as it finished only ten minutes before the last train, and the station is probably five minutes away. The movie was pretty average, as can be expected from a pirate movie, and it had a pathetic ending, as most movies do, although I enjoyed watching it, as I always do, and it was shown on the biggest screen seeing as it has just come out. They’re starting to advertise the third Matrix movie now too – it seems somewhat ironic after the failure of the last that they’re showing trailers that embody all the things that are wrong with the second movie.
The living dead
After watching the living dead at the cinema, it was interesting to run down to the train, catch it into Roma Street, and find the place swarming with more real live living dead. I’m glad I didn’t watch “28 Days”, as I didn’t have a machine gun handy – and I think it’s illegal to shoot them as I imagine they’re legally still considered human. Apparently, there was some Marilyn Manson concert somewhere, which would have been a good opportunity to eradicate them all, but, rather obviously, no one took the initiative so the living dead were going back to wherever it is that they normally avoid the light. When I hopped off my train and walked home in the dark, some time after one o’clock, it was comforting to know that somewhere behind me I had several guys wearing chains, spiked dog collars, painted white faces with blood red effects, and full leather bondage gear – and at least one girl in nothing more than underwear and fishnet, complete with vampire teeth.

14.09.2003Sunday 14 September

I had a quiet and uneventful day. Joe had some friends over in the evening and we all had “Chinese”.

15.09.2003Monday 15 September

Our INFS1200 group had a meeting today, where we sorted out a few things, went and talked to Shazia again to clarify a few points, and settled on a final ER diagram. I’ll draw it up as soon as I get home. Nick is going to do the mapping and normalisation.
I’ve drawn up the ER diagram, now into its fifth revision, and sent it to Nick.
It seems Microsoft have implemented their new security measures on their Messenger network, locking out older versions of the messenger client. Mum can’t connect, and neither can Ella.
Nick has done the mapping but given up on the normalisation. It’s too hard, too late, I’ve confused them all with my minima and maxima notation, and he still has to do his peer reviews. Speaking of peer reviews, I’d better go do mine.
I’ve finished my peer reviews and sent them along with what we’ve done of our assignment to uni so Tim and I can finish it off tomorrow. Now I’d better get to bed or I won’t wake up in time to get to uni tomorrow.

16.09.2003Tuesday 16 September

I slept in and had to catch the later train, which means I have to run to uni to get there in time. I even made a special effort of running harder so I wouldn’t be late and let my group down – how naïve.
Group Assignment
Our group assignment is due at five o’clock this evening. I have a full day with no spare time and feel that I’ve already done over half this assignment, so I planned last night to meet Nick at this morning’s lecture, and would hope that Tim turned up, so I could get him to finish off the assignment as he’s not done as much as Nick and I. I figured, if Tim didn’t show up, Nick could phone him, and if Nick didn’t turn up, I could phone him, although Nick had assured me he’d be at this morning’s lecture. In fact, I actually made a point of asking him if I could get Tim’s phone number just in case, for some reason, he didn’t turn up to the lecture. Of course, when I got there, not only did Tim not turn up, neither did Nick, and I didn’t manage to catch up with Matt either. This left me with no way to contact them, apart from their student email, which they don’t seem to check very often. I wasn’t overly impressed. This left me with only two options – I could attempt to complete the assignment on my own or try to get some sort of recognition of my individual work. I decided the best course of action was to try both options, so I emailed a complaint to Shazia, which she noted. I then managed to find Tim on IRC (where he was looking for me) and get him to come in and we went through Nick’s attempt at normalisation, which seemed to be mostly correct although neither of us had the time, skill, or inclination to go through it from scratch. We added a few things, fixed a few other things, rewrote the original mapping based on Nick’s, and then left Tim drawing arrows using Word drawing tools while I went to my lecture – poor guy. I met up with Nick, Matt and Tim in my tutorial and did the final changes to our assignment while they did their tutorial. I then walked back to the GPS labs, as Visio isn’t installed in our tutorial lab, and tried to submit our assignment. Even this didn’t go well. I got the unusual but sadly common problem where things just go very weird. Text stops displaying, dialogs are blank and strangely sized, text boxes and pull down menus don’t work... making it remarkably hard to do anything, and meaning I don’t have any proof of submission. However, I also emailed my submission to Sham and Shazia, as Shazia suggested, just to be on the safe side. I do disagree with my being mark being based on someone else’s work – it seems so wrong.
I met a man at the railway station, who must have driven to the station, caught a train somewhere, imbibed, and returned somewhat the worse for the experience. He had wisely chosen not to drive – but this left him stuck at the station with his car, so I drove him home. Unfortunately, he doesn’t live where I do, so I had to walk, with my pack digging into my back, a lot longer than I normally would and I’m so tired by the time I get off the train. Somehow, dozing on the train on the way home makes me so tired, and I’m always zombie like getting from the station to here, although I usually perk up after I’ve relaxed for a bit.
Shazia, our INFS1200 lecturer, sent the entire course an email, listing all the course members in the TO field. Someone replied to everyone with “I just had to do it”, which seemed a little silly, so I replied with “If I send you all our assignment, does that invalidate all your assignments under the collusion rules? ;–)”, which seems even sillier – typical of me. If it had stopped there, I don’t think anyone would have minded, but unfortunately, a pile of other people decided they’d begin using this email like a mailing list, and a few sour-lipped geeks were ridiculously upset about it and complained. I got a misconduct warning, followed, somewhat confusingly, by a pleasant email thanking me for contributing to the newsgroup and, in reply to my apology, hoping others would follow my thoughts regarding email privacy (which contrasts nicely against the rabid Linux users and their panophobic attitudes in the #BITS channel) – so I don’t think I’m expelled yet. Speaking of the #BITS channel, they banned me for a week, which is slightly annoying, as I’ve been using that channel to meet my assignment group. It’s also slightly unfair considering my little reply-all escapade isn’t related to BITS, #BITS, or IRC.
Comment by DK – Wednesday 17 September 2003, 6:56 AM
  Good on you to put yourself out to help a stranger! Hope you get good marks for your assignment :)

17.09.2003Wednesday 17 September

Today is usually my day off, but I needed to go to Centrelink, so I had to head in to the city. My train was just leaving the station as I got there, so I had to wait half an hour for the next one. Centrelink says they’ve sorted out everything, and I should be back payed my rent assistance, and I’ve been paid my fare allowance, so hopefully that is all going well.
I went and saw “Legally Blonde 2”. What a crappy movie. It’s only redeeming quality is that it’s funny. The only problem with that is that it’s not funny. I don’t think I even smiled, let along chuckled. It is a bad, pathetic, not funny movie, which should probably be offensive to blonde women, as it portrays them as incredibly stupid. Anyway, I was told it was worth watching because it was funny, so I’ve seen it and know better now.
I received Shan and Kylie’s wedding invitation today.

18.09.2003Thursday 18 September

I met Nick to figure out what’s wrong with our database, and why it won’t work. I’m not entirely sure what the problem was, but the best way to describe it would be “Microsoft Access Sucks”. We were having strange referential integrity problems, with things looping and needing simultaneous population to work and many other hard to understand and probably inexplicable things that only happen in Microsoft programs. Anyway, we spent an hour looking at it, talking about it, and rebuilding it from scratch, and then Nick had to go to something, so I spent another hour or more fixing it. I’m not quite sure how, but it works now so I’m not going to find out why.
Microsoft Access, another term for mental agony. I shall not mention it again. I have made my form for updating the database, but not my report. I will have to do that tomorrow. I even had a BSOD – something I don’t usually get since upgrading from Windows 98.

19.09.2003Friday 19 September

I slept in longer than I had planned, and got to uni later than I’d planned, but then I stayed up last night later than I’d planned and completed less of my assignment than I’d planned. I spent all my spare time trying to make reports in that horrible program that I’m not mentioning again, taking a break for my COMP2500 Java tutorial, and didn’t get my report and form for my INFS1200 assignment completed until after half past two. I’m not happy with them either, but at least I think they work, and they’re submitted now.
After my marathon assignment attempt, I needed sustenance having skipped both breakfast and lunch (although I will admit to having bought a doughnut). Clint and I took his laptop for a walk the long way to Subway, where we both bought “feet-long”, for want of a better plural – essentially a foot-long hamburger (or veggie burger in my case). We then dropped in on Raymond, being the first time I’ve been to King’s College, and I’m glad to say I survived – both psychologically and physically. In fact, Raymond’s room is quite good, not too small, and he has a nice view of the river out his window. All this gallivanting around made me late home though, and it was just getting dark when I got home. Dave is still here, I think he’s staying a few days and he’s fed the animals, which is nice.
On the train home were three men from PNG. They played a variety of simple word games, and laughed so hard they had to get up and walk around. I couldn’t help laughing along with them – some of the stories and word associations they came up with were hilarious. It’s quite nice to see people having fun in such a simple, clean, easy way.
Back before the problems with my lung, I used to think things would only happen to other people. If I felt that something bad was wrong with me, I’d feel safe in the knowledge that something bad wouldn’t happen to me, because it was rare, and I was young and healthy. Then, of course, something bad did happen, which was rather hard to ignore, and forced a rethink. Ever since then, every time my lung felt a little strange, I’d worry that it had collapsed again. The fact that it actually did, on several occasions, did nothing to help my confidence. Now, though, a few bad things have happened and I’m rapidly losing my health confidence. I’m no longer always sure where to draw the line between worrying and ignoring possible symptoms. My infected finger was a good recent example. When it was just a blister, I didn’t worry. When it turned into a nasty infection, I began to worry a bit, but figured it would just fix itself. Each day, as it slowly spread around my fingertip, I worried but hoped it would just get better – I mean, I knew there were nasty infections out there that could spread and I’d end up with my entire arm amputated, but that sort of thing just wouldn’t happen to me... Then, when it became evident that it was not going to get better by itself, I went to the doctor and got it fixed – which I should have done in the first place.
I’m worried my heart has problems. A few nights ago, when I went to bed, I became aware that my heart seemed to be doing a funny palpitation sort of thing. At least, it felt like my heart. It is quite hard to describe. Strangely enough, the first thing that came to mind was that a valve in my heart was remaining open during one pump cycle when it shouldn’t be. I know very little about hearts and don’t know why I’d think that, but that’s what I did think – I guess that’s what it felt like to me. My heart would sort of stop, during which time my entire body would be effected, then it would go again. That’s what it felt like to me, I really don’t know if it even was my heart.
Having had some nasty anxiety attacks while in hospital, I think I know fairly well what a heart attack feels like, so I wasn’t worried I’d die or anything too glamorous like that, but thought it warranted further investigation. I did the obvious thing, and monitored my pulse. It also seemed to skip a beat when my heart palpitates. It’s a little hard to be certain, because when my heart does its palpitation it sort of effects the rest of my body – everything pauses and waits for it to begin again, making it hard to know if my pulse has indeed stopped, or if my brain has just stopped registering the pulse while it’s in its little panic mode. The immediate consequence was a bad night’s sleep. I got hot and sweaty trying to figure out if my heart was indeed stopping every so often, or if it just felt like it was, and then I got anxious (which is likely to effect my heart even more) and didn’t have much fun at all. I’ve slept in and missed my train every morning since, as I just am not getting the sleep I need – although my current overload of assignments and impending exams are also to blame.
The immediate problem I have, assuming for a moment that I’m not about to die, is that I don’t know what to do. My heart has seemed to ache a little ever since, but I am almost certain that’s psychological, but there’s always that doubt – perhaps it really is aching. I have developed a healthy phobia for hospitals, and have an irrational fear that any surgery, no matter how minor, will do something very bad to me. I guess surgery isn’t exactly a very rare thing to be afraid of, but I can blame my lung experience for this. Something about going to hospital, having wondered all week if there was any improvement, only to find out it was worse, week after week, caused an unreasonable fear of hospitals, or more specifically, situations where I might get bad health news – such as going to see the doctor about a possible heart problem. I’d even go so far as to say that I’d rather my heart stopped, than to find out I’ve got a serious problem requiring extensive surgery – I just don’t think the pain, fear and worry are worth it again. The irony of all this I’m now scared that I’ll be unable to breathe and have an anxiety attack worrying about the fact that I might have an anxiety attack caused by worrying about my heart – even though I’ve never had any anxiety problems outside hospital. It also sucks not being able to relax or get to sleep easily. I think I need to stop thinking and writing about this – it’s making me worse. I guess it all goes to show what a powerful part the mind plays.
Oh, and one other thing while I’m whinging – I don’t have any food that I feel like eating. I feel like cream, ice cream, sugar, yummy things, and I only have healthy things. I don’t have any nibbles at all.
Comment by Me Again – Friday 19 September 2003, 11:31 PM
  If you can't sleep properly, try some valerian - natural herb sleeping tablet. And stop being paranoid.
Comment by Ned – Friday 19 September 2003, 11:33 PM
  Yarr! (It’s international speak like a pirate day, and as I can’t speak any Asian languages, this is the next best)
Comment by DK – Saturday 20 September 2003, 8:57 AM
  It is worth having your heart and lung seen to, ECG and lung function tests etc., as they can put your mind at ease one way or another. Opening up a body involves risks, likewise taking any medications that will alter your physiological state. Live a little, die young but happy, that's my motto. Hence I eat/drink/do whatever it takes my fancy! As the saying goes, life is too short ;-) And yes, Access sucks!

20.09.2003Saturday 20 September

I got sick of sitting in the hot behind my computer, feeling guilty because I wasn’t studying, so I decided to go see a movie. I nearly organised to go see it with some friends, but in the end they were all busy and I wasn’t really in the mood – I just wanted to be away from my computer and this stifling room. As is my norm, I left it too late to get the train but decided there was no way I was going to miss it – so I ran, fast. I can get to the station within two minutes if I run, although I may not be alive when I get there. I think it is time to slowly take up some exercise again now, and hope my lung is permanently fixed. At the moment, as I’m busy with uni, I might try to run to the train each day, and walk the long way to places. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I actually enjoy a good run every so often – I used to enjoy my sprints along the Home Rule Road, and being faster than everyone else wasn’t bad either.
I bought a milkshake from the Cold Rock shop near Indooroopilly station. They make good milkshakes. This, along with two chocolate bars, a Hungry Jack’s soft serve and a mega size frozen coke makes this probably the worst food day I’ve had since moving to Brisbane, as I don’t think I ate anything else all day.
Bad Boys Ⅱ
Bad Boys Ⅱ mustn’t have been out for all that long, as it was quite busy and still in the largest cinema – which is good because it also has the largest screen and best sound. I really quite enjoyed it, being in the mood for some American action escapism garbage – which is about all the movie is. I had great fun sitting in the front row by myself, with the screen fully filling my field of vision. It even seemed the sound was better than usual, but I think it’s more likely I was just in the right mood for it.
Hollywood Homicide
I didn’t really feel like going home after the first movie, so I watched Hollywood Homicide, which began not long after Bad Boys Ⅱ finished. It’s actually even worse, but it rounded of my movie night quite well, and I didn’t feel guilty for not studying while watching it. Funnily enough, I enjoyed watching these two movies much more than I’ve enjoyed many other vastly superior movies, simply because I was in the right mood for mindless crowd-pleasing action.
Late Train
In line with my newly established get fit routine, I jogged back to the station and caught the second last train home, which was unfortunately rather boring.

21.09.2003Sunday 21 September

I woke up after midday, which is a terrible waste of daytime. I did some study, and hope that I am ready for my exam tomorrow. Dave and Tonya left again today, and Silas says Tim and Michelle arrived at his place in Cairns around eleven o’clock this morning. Silas reckons he might have chicken pox, or perhaps, as he says “I was feeling much better during the day though, which leads my to speculate that maybe it is Anthrax, and today was the "Anthrax Honeymoon", of course for the moment this is pure fabrication. Else I will die tomorrow”, so I guess only time will tell.
They that have power to hurt and will do none, ¶ That do not do the thing they most do show, ¶ Who moving others are themselves as stone, ¶ Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow ¶

22.09.2003Monday 22 September – Intro to Information Systems Exam

I think at least one person doesn’t believe me when I say I have no spare daylight, so here’s a typical day. It’s probably worth noting that I don’t usually get to bed before midnight, and often closer to three o’clock – with at least one all-nighter so far this week. Actually, that was Saturday night so I guess last week – but it is close enough.
My alarm goes off.
I get up, brush my hair, get dressed, grab my bag, have a drink of water, fill my water bottle, run downstairs, put on my shoes, pet the dog, lock the garage, and jog down the road to the station eating an apple.
I arrive at the station and recover on a seat for a minute.
The train arrives. Unfortunately, it’s an express train and doesn’t stop where I need to get off.
The train arrives at Park Road, as do I. I walk up to Dutton Park and down to the Dutton Park Ferry. The ferry usually leaves just as I get there, making me wait ten minutes for to get across the river.
I arrive at the main refectory; buy an iced coffee and bucket of chips, which I smother in tomato sauce, take around to a bench and eat, and then head down to my first lecture.
I attend my “Intro to Information Systems” lecture, sitting near the front with my group members, now my ex-group members I suppose.
I have a two-hour practical that I’ve never been to. I go down to the labs and chat online, interspersed with study for my exam.
I attend my “Computer Organisation” lecture, sitting in the middle with Kieran and Marcus, so as not to appear to be actually concentrating. This lecture has a two hours assigned, but the second hour is rarely fully used.
I go up to the ice cream shop and buy a milkshake, bringing it back down to the lecture theatre and sitting outside with my INFS group, discussing important last minute examination tactics when good looking women aren’t distracting them.
I head in to my INFS1200 mid-semester exam, and attempt it. It didn’t seem too hard, but it’s a bit subjective, so I don’t really know how I’ve gone. I finished with plenty of time spare, and pretty well did it all twice or more, so I guess that’s a good sign. I’m not overly confident about my result though – a lot of it wasn’t much more than educated guesswork. Only time will tell. This exam is worth 30% of the course result, so I’m hoping I’ve done well, as I don’t think we’ve gone very well in our group assignment.
The clock in the exam was wrong, so I’m not exactly sure what time I left, but it was probably around twenty past three. Clint, Kieran and I walked down to the Ville where they buy alcoholic celebrations and we get some ice creams, then on to Kieran’s rooms, where we stayed for a while. Somewhere along the way, I somehow managed to hurt my ankle. I guess I strained it.
I head off towards the ferry and train station. The ferry usually leaves just as I get there, making me wait ten minutes. The guy in front of me dropped his change overboard before he could pay.
Having power-walked from the ferry, across the park, through the deadly traffic and down to the train station, the train arrives. I get on and doze. Most of the other people seem to be dozing as well. I always feel stupid dozing on the train – I think it’s something to do with security; somehow sleeping in public is, subconsciously, bad.
The train arrives at the other end and I wake up. I’ve never missed the station yet – let’s hope admitting that doesn’t jinx me. I walk briskly home, with a very sore ankle.
I arrive home, play with the woof for a few minutes, pet the cat, drop my bag in the middle of the floor, shower and begin to feel slightly human again.
I heat up some fried rice left over from the weekend, grate lots of cheese on top, and head towards my computer.
I sit down and relax, reading my mail and then going online and checking my email, the uni newsgroups and a few other things, as well as going on chat.
I take my washing downstairs, feed the animals, load the washing machine, come back up to get my sheets, throw them in as well, take Joe’s washing off, set the machine washing and head back upstairs again.
Silas says, “I go watch Fat Pizza – More important than passing uni”.
I arrive back at my computer and talk to Silas about his exciting day going to work with the pox, and all the soon to be poxy people he met.
I talk to Becky while she gets ready for school.
Becky goes to school.
I unsuccessfully try to create some symlinks for my website.
I post a request for help on my web host’s forum, and reply to a few other people there.
I get annoyed with the uni news server, as it drops yet another post, and post a complaint.
Silas goes to bed. I begin reading the news and various other sites I read.
I enter into pointless discussion regarding headphones on the #BITS channel.
Joe gets home and the headphone discussion degenerates into a discussion about steam – and specifically whether it’s a gas, vapour, or the same as water vapour. Alex and Raymond unknowingly end the discussion with their traditional “ur mum”, “no u r” exchange, which is somehow considered normal. I go and fold the washed sheets and get some new ones for my bed.
I write all this. Fairly soon I will brush my teeth, get my stuff ready for uni tomorrow, and go to sleep.
Comment by DK – Thursday 25 September 2003, 6:24 AM
  YUK!!! Fried rice with cheese!!! ;)

23.09.2003Tuesday 23 September

I am not happy. Today began normally, with me missing my train and having to catch the later one, then needing to run to get to my lecture in time for it to be of any worth. In the evening Nick, Matt, Kieran, Marcus and I all went to our stupid “Computer Organisation” practical and essentially wasted time. We’re now supposed to be proficient in programming our AVR microcontroller in its AVR assembler language, as well as using C – which we’ve had no support in learning. The tutors don’t really help, we asked them a few times and each time their response was similar to “this is wrong” – decidedly unhelpful in a learning sense. If that wasn’t bad enough – when we do manage to complete something, we have no way of knowing if it’s right or not. I am greatly disillusioned with university – it is not a place of learning, light and truth. It is a place of abominations, UQUnion (same thing), and lacklustre courses designed “in participation with industry”. The scary thing is that UQ has a reputation of being less TAFE-like than many of the other universities around, yet it’s still much too “industry orientated” to actually be of much use. Still, they give out degrees, so I guess that’s all that matters.
I hopped out the station before mine and walked back via the shopping centre, where I bought some ice cream, cream, cheese and milk to satiate my craving for dairy. It was nearly dark by the time I got home, and strangely, the woof was scared of me when I came in. I checked around and everything seemed normal – perhaps it’s the first time she’s seen me in my black Microsoft tee shirt.
Mum can’t reply to emails. There’s absolutely no problem – she just can’t reply. It took me two hours to figure this. She insists that when she presses the “reply” button “nothing happens”. That is inexplicable, as I discovered when trying to explicate it. I became rather fed up with her, especially when I found out she was saying “nothing happens” when many things were happening.
Joe arrived home and got me offline so he could phone triple zero for the fire brigade. He’d come across a burning industrial estate on his way home. I have no sympathy for people who do things like that – if they’re underage then they’ll have less of a debt to repay to society, so there’s less loss when they’re incinerated. I bet a few public incinerations would drastically reduce the arson problem, and if it didn’t, then we’d be able to reduce some of the filth passing themselves off as people – it’s a win/win situation.
The #BITS channel that I frequent has some strange people. I’m not quite sure why, but unfortunately one of them has decided to pick on me, and the sheer illogicality and incessancy of his arguments just isn’t going down well with me tonight. I can usually ignore him – I just know he’s going to disagree with anything I say (regardless of how obvious it may be that I’m right, or if there’s even a possible alternative to what I’ve said), and try to prove his polemical nonsense with monumental amounts of unmitigated absurdity. Then, when everyone else has minimised the channel window and gone off to do something else, shaking their heads, he’ll state, “I rest my case”. It used to be funny but the novelty is fast wearing thin and I’m afraid I’m going to end up publicly executing him if he doesn’t stop – which I’d rather not do. There’s also another person who says rude and hurtful things to me, seemingly randomly – but at least he doesn’t take an hour to say them a few words per line.
I am uncomfortable, unhappy, upset, disappointed, stressed, sore and angry – not to mention awake at three o’clock in the morning.
Comment by DK – Thursday 25 September 2003, 6:27 AM
  <--- hugs Ned (hope you are feeling better!) ;)
Comment by Ned – Friday 26 September 2003, 2:08 AM
  Thanks. Unfortunately, though, I'm not feeling much better. This assignment is getting to me, as I don’t seem to be able to do it – along with it being hot and several other things.

24.09.2003 Wednesday 24 September

I slept in, which I needed after having to get up early the rest of the week, and had breakfast for the first time in a few days. I don’t normally have time before uni.
I phoned UQ’s Turbot Street centre, but it was too late and they told me to phone back tomorrow.
After a nice, but probably not very healthy, hot dog dinner, I went through my “Programming in the Large” assignment specifications and tried to understand them. I think I’ve got the basic idea of what I’ve got to try to do now, but I’m not sure how. This would have to be the hardest assignment yet – or at least that’s how it seems at the moment. I had to read a lot of posts in the newsgroup and take notes just to work out what I’m supposed to be doing. I guess, really, the specifications we were given should be clearer, but a lot of the confusion comes because I’m not coherent with the programming language, and the lecturer who wrote the assignment presumably is.
There was a loud bang. I knew instantly it was some loose tiles in the shower falling – I’d noticed that they were loose a few times before, and in fact had worried they’d dislodge while I was showering earlier. I went and looked, and sure enough, the four tiles had fallen, two of them shattering. There was a pile of little cockroaches behind them, which I thought might have eaten out the glue, but when I told Joe later he said that it was just age – apparently, they all need reglueing.
I’ve just finished watching “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. That, coupled with the stress of having an assignment which I’ve yet to make a serious attempt to start and don’t understand due on Friday – there’s no way I can go to sleep now.
I collapsed into bed, having made almost no progress on my assignment. In fact, I’d say absolutely none – although I’ve read heaps of web pages, my text book over and over and most of my lecture notes at least fifteen times now, so I might have slightly more idea of what I’m supposed to be doing than before. I’ve a sneaking suspicion though, that I have less of an idea, after reading about vectors, dynamic lists, and a ton of other things I don’t recognise. I’ve gone from understanding the principles behind linked lists and iterators but being unable to code them to being very confused about integrating my iterator into my linked list and still not knowing how to code either of them. Heads, tails, circular lists, queues, dynamic arrays, stacks, first-in-first-out arrays, vectors, multi-dimensional data types... but nowhere is there a clear example of a doubly linked list with its own iterator, and the segmented example in our text is really beginning to annoy me.

25.09.2003Thursday 25 September

I had the alarm set for nine, but unsurprisingly I didn’t wake up then – it was getting closer to midday by the time I looked at my abhorrent assignment again.
I phoned uni’s Oral Medicine department and made an appointment for 7 October. It was either then or this evening as they’re closed over the mid-semester break, and there’s no way I can get my assignment done and go into the city, so then it was.
I worked all day on my assignment, achieving absolutely nothing, going around in circles, becoming confused, getting annoyed by some idiots on #BITS and their unhelpful, arrogant attitudes, and generally not having a good time.
I drove Joe down to the shops. He’s taking today and tomorrow off work, as am I, I guess. I got quite annoyed as Mum was online, and every time I went to talk to her, something would happen and I’d have to go offline. First, the shops, then Joe wanted to phone someone, then someone else, and then he needed the phone to order “Chinese”... It’s enough to drive a man insane – so how’s someone like me supposed to handle it?
I gave up on my assignment and decided that, for 6% of this course’s result, it wasn’t worth the stress. Besides, I’d stayed up to six o’clock this morning trying to get this assignment done, and spent all afternoon on it – and it wasn’t much more than a pile of strange pseudo-code interspersed with lots of commented out code snippets.
Having given up, I now felt much better about my assignment, so I actually began writing code – having decided that there wasn’t a good example piece of code anywhere online in this time-space continuum, or probably, the next.
That’s it. I’m sick of my assignment again. This is ridiculous. It now compiles. It doesn’t work though, and some of the major parts aren’t even coded in – but the main body is there, the idea is there, and it’s compiling. If I’m incredibly fortunate, I may be able to get this horrific code to actually work tomorrow, and get it submitted on time. I can only hope.
It’s definitely time for bed. I am so tired and exhausted, hot and uncomfortable. My hands are sore from typing and holding the mouse. I’ve started to feel allergic to plastic – just touching it feels bad, and my eyes are sore. I’m getting good at complaining though.

26.09.2003Friday 26 September

I woke late, of course, and began my assignment immediately. No time for food or anything like that – today is assignment panic day. This is the first time I’ve been unable to complete something on time, and I don’t think it’s because I was slack or started late either – I’ve just had many problems and trouble getting my head around the concepts. I did not have a fun day – hot, frantically typing, compiling, testing, typing, reading, compiling, modifying, compiling, testing, checking the time...
I submitted my incomplete assignment. It doesn’t work. It partly implements some of the things it is supposed to, incorrectly implements others, and doesn’t implement many at all. In the end, I simply ran out of time, despite spending a huge amount of time on it. I think a lot of the problem was that I read too many different ways of doing linked lists and iterators. I would have been much better off coding everything else first, until I had a clear and concrete idea of what my linked list would need to do, rather than the other way around. I ended up with a linked list which didn’t match it’s iterator – although I think it’s better than the one in our text, it doesn’t help much if I can’t get it to do what it’s supposed to. Problem being, by the time I realised the list wasn’t doing what I needed, I didn’t have the time with my limited understanding to fix it or work out a way to get it to do what I needed.
Well, that’s that. Submission is closed. My submission may get me one or two marks if I’m lucky. Resubmission has a 20% per day penalty, but the weekend is considered one day, so if I resubmit before morning Monday, I could theoretically get 80% – which is going to be a lot more than I’ll get from my current bodged submission. I really don’t know if I can bring myself to do any more work on this. The stress probably isn’t worth the overall 6% this assignment is worth. I need to be a bit careful and balance things out – I have a feeling if I do too much more I’ll get sick or quit uni, I’m already not feeling too healthy. This heat hasn’t helped either.
Joe and I drove down to the newsagent. A very black storm came, and there was lots of rain and lightning. It’s the first storm since I’ve been here, but passed over without too much excitement – I wasn’t even hit by lightning this time.
Joe ordered pizza, so I got my usual – vegetarian. We watched a movie, which I’ve forgotten the name of, but it was good, and funny. I had planned to head in and see a movie at the cinema, but the storm put an end to that idea – it also made me unplug my computer, which stops it working and stops me from chatting.

27.09.2003Saturday 27 September – Mid-semester break

I had a quiet day, not doing anything at all. It’s the first day of my weeklong mid-semester break and I plan to do as little as possible, at least study related. I do need to get out in the sun though, I simply do not get any sun at all during uni – I’m always inside some thing at uni during sunlight hours.
I jogged down to the train station, caught a train (or two actually) into Indooroopilly and watched “Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”. It was quite stupid, but fun to watch being the big action flick that it is. I was a bit disappointed, as it could easily have been a lot better – but I had fun so I guess that’s the main thing. It was also quite busy – the theatre was full.
I had a very bad night, not getting to bed until after 7 AM. I almost had an anxiety attack, had many heart problems, and generally stressed out. Looking back on it, I think it’s all a good indication that my heart problem is stress induced. I’ll try to relax as much as possible over the mid-semester break, and see if that helps. It’s a shame I have assignments due the day after the break ends – the scum. As one lecturer said, it’s a “lecture free period”, not a holiday – we’re still expected to study.

28.09.2003Sunday 28 September

I drove down to the Smith Road newsagent, cashed Joe’s winnings, and bought him some more scratchies.
I caught a train into the city, and ended up eating expensive pasta with an expensive Italian name, which must have translated to “bland pasta with bland mushrooms with a bland ultra-mild cheese”. However, it did do a good job of filling me, and got me out of the house.
What I didn’t do was my assignment. After last night, I decided I’d be foolish even to think about it.

29.09.2003Monday 29 September

I had a quiet morning sleeping in bed, followed by a quiet later morning online chatting to friends.
I entrained for Uni, where I took some pictures of the great court to make into a panorama later. I then had a pizza from the “Schonell Pizza Caffé”, which was quite a good pizza – although I’m a heathen who doesn’t particularly like mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini or artichoke; somewhat dampening my appreciation for what was definitely a fine pizza.
After my pizza, I watched Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot” at the Schonell “Cement Box” Theatre. I quite enjoyed it – making this one of the best old movies I’ve seen I think. I generally find them terribly aged and quaint, but this I quite enjoyed, and it’s quite humorous too. It must have been good for it’s time, or perhaps the few movies from that era that I’ve seen have been bad examples.
It was surprisingly late when the movie finished, much later than I’d expected, so I hurried to the CityCat terminal and caught a CityCat to Southbank, where I was blessed to find Cold Rock had been kept open late by customers – and I was able to get a caramel supershake before they closed. This gave me enough energy to get to the train station and on home without sleeping through my station.

30.09.2003Tuesday 30 September

Govinda’s Restaurant
I caught a train into Central Station and got to Govinda’s Restaurant shortly after one o’clock. The food wasn’t terrific, but it’s not bad either – very similar to what Mum would cook for me at home in fact, and I quite enjoyed it. It’s a shame they’re only open for lunch, making it all but impossible for me to get there any day except Friday and Sunday, when they’re open for dinner as well.
I caught a CityCat as far as it goes – down to Brett’s Wharf, and then back to Queensland University of Technology, where I looked around and had a look at the botanic gardens while I was there. QUT, or at least their Garden’s Point campus, is much smaller and urban than UQ’s St Lucia campus – although they say they have more students. They boast that they provide the largest number of bachelor degree graduates into full time employment in Australia each year – something to be proud of I guess, although why anyone would go to uni to get a job I don’t know. I’m glad I’m at UQ because the gardens are nicer and we have more ducks.
I caught the train to Fortitude Valley and had a look around there, and then entrained for home. It doesn’t sound like much, but that filled my evening very well.

01.10.2003Wednesday 1 October

Nothing happened. Existence may as well not have been.
Transinfo online told me to train to Altandi and catch the 130 bus from there to Griffith University, and the 150 bus from there to Garden City Plaza, where the cinema is. However, the 135 came instead, and took me to the same place, where I caught the 111 bus, which took me to the same place the 150 would have. I don’t understand buses.
“Boom” – any movie that has a scene where three supermodels kill a man while robbing a bank – and they all, including the dead man, break out into wild dance is, in my opinion, automatically good. Not to mention that they then kidnapped the wrong man, intentionally, to fool the gang lord who was holding them captive and using them for extortion, and proceeded to successfully turn each of the gang lords against each other and take over the entire show. I missed some of the finer nuances of the plot, as I could write my entire Hindi vocabulary on a cigarette paper – in chalk, and still have space for a nice haiku, but, apart from that, I really enjoyed it. A cross between Charlie’s Angels, James Bond, Monty Python and Snatch, and, if that wasn’t enough, it was in a huge cinema with a huge screen and excellent audio – how could anyone not enjoy it? The American Hollywood stuff we’re constantly plastered with seems to lack a certain subtlety. The way “Boom” managed to portray its sexual innuendoes, with subtlety but making it obviously clear without being crude – I’ve never seen in a Hollywood production. It definitely made a pleasant change from the other blockbuster crud I’ve been watching recently – well worth the full adult fare they made me pay.
I caught a 150 bus directly to Fruitgrove station, and a train from there back home. Much simpler than how I got there.

02.10.2003Thursday 2 October

I quietly did very little, waking late. Interestingly, I received an email from a past lecturer enquiring as to whether I’d be interested in tutoring. I’m not sure what to reply yet – it could be an interesting opportunity or it could be an unneeded diversion. I also did my washing.
Just as it began to rain, I headed down to the train station. Once I was on the train, it began to lightning and storm, but by the time I’d got into the city, it was all over, leaving only puddles. I entrained for Indooroopilly and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, eating pasta napolitana and a milkshake from the “Café lé Net” beforehand. It was incredibly busy. There was a queue of people waiting for the movie extending over fifty metres and I was worried by the time I got in there wouldn’t be any room left. Fortunately, the cinema was larger than the others I’ve been to so far, and I was still able to sit in my normal position in the middle of the front row, although even that filled up fast. The screen was huge, fully filling my peripheral vision – as it should, and the sound was thunderous and all was good. The movie is an action extravaganza, which although lacking any of the subtleties or finesse that would make it memorable, is nonetheless highly enjoyable and about as good as mindless action gets.
I caught the very last train from Roma Street. It’s almost scary seeing all the screens black, no people, no trains. I hope I never am stuck in the city after the last train has gone – a fate worse than death, which (according to something I just read) isn’t as feared as public speaking.

03.10.2003Friday 3 October

I went to sleep.
I woke up.
I carefully planned out my time so I could go to uni, see Soon about tutoring, head into the city, eat dinner at Govindas, head to Indooroopilly to see “Japanese Story” and then catch “Sex and Lucia” in the valley before heading home.
I trained to uni and went to see Soon about tutoring. It seems I’ll be tutoring seven hours a week, beginning Monday, for two weeks while another tutor is away. I’m skipping one lecture, the first hour of a three hour “Intro to Information Systems” lecture which usually follows the notes fairly closely so hopefully won’t be a problem. I hope I have enough time to do it all.
I realised a major flaw in my night’s plan. I’d allowed for how long it would take to get from place to place by train, but I’d forgotten to allow for train departure times. I’d accidentally assumed as soon as I got to a train station the train would be there and it would only take me however long it takes on the train to get to the next stop. Of course, after waiting nearly half an hour for the train to arrive to take me from uni into the city, I was rather behind schedule, and by the time I got to Indooroopilly, I’d well and truly missed my movie and the second movie was out of the question. Ironically, though, after waiting for the second viewing of “Japanese Story”, I met Raymond and some friend’s of his standing in line to buy tickets to the same movie, so I went and saw it with them.
I went to Govindas and had a particularly enjoyable vegetarian meal.
“Japanese Story”
I wasn’t impressed at all. A movie that spends five minutes showing a woman trying to get a dead body into the back of a car isn’t really my style. I think this movie could be compressed, without losing any of its simplistic plot, into a fifteen-minute movie – and it might even be watchable then. It was thoroughly disappointing really, and I’m not sure how it even managed to get funding and released. After the disappointing movie, I headed home, arriving sometime after midnight.
I went to sleep.

04.10.2003Saturday 4 October

I slept in late, yet again – but then, it is the holidays.
After a quick check of movie times and train timetables online, I figured I had just enough time to shower and catch the 5:02 train into the city, head into Indooroopilly and watch “Gettin’ Square” and then head back into the city and catch “Sex and Lucia” at the Palace Centro, which would hopefully be a nice night. The shower and train parts worked out ok, although I did nearly miss the train due to Joe coming to walk puppy and meeting another puppy on the way. I even managed to get to Indooroopilly in time to watch “Gettin’ Square”, and got my frozen coke and into the cinema before it started – impressive really. It’s an excellent movie too; I think perhaps the best I’ve seen this year, or at least the best since the last good movie I saw, although I can’t remember what that would have been. I really enjoyed watching it – great Aussie cinema with a good plot and well made, in stark contrast to the movie I saw yesterday.
After the movie, I walked down to the train station to catch the 8:49 train back into the city, which should give me just enough time to find and get to the 9:15 viewing of “Sex and Lucia”, and found that no electric trains were running. There was a power failure, the entire Corinda to Roma St line was out, and we’d have to wait for a bus. The bus didn’t show up for a long time, and by the time I got into the city it was nearly half past nine. I didn’t want to go home in an annoyed mood having missed this movie for about the fourth time, so I hurried down to the City Regent cinemas and watched the 9:30 viewing of “Matchstick Men”, which wasn’t too bad although nowhere near as good as “Gettin’ Square”. One thing I didn’t consider was the end time of the movie, and got a bit of a shock when I came out and found it was going on midnight and I wasn’t entirely sure when the last train was, so the walk to Central Station was swift, although I ended up waiting a while anyway.

05.10.2003Sunday 5 October

I had a quiet relaxing winding down sort of day. I drove down to the shops for Joe at some stage, and ate some hot chips at another stage. I watched something on TV with Tonya at some time in the evening, and went to bed early. I didn’t sleep very well, having got used to going to bed at about the same time I had to wake up over the last week.

06.10.2003Monday 6 October – Uni again

I was a bit worried I mightn’t wake up, having not got up before midday for most of the week, but as it ended up, I woke up about quarter of an hour after getting to sleep, and every quarter hour thereafter. I hope that my sleeping patterns have now been successfully re-modified.
A veggie roll and iced coffee began my regular university diet again, after its weeklong holiday.
I went and saw Ms Nicolette Drake to arrange the official details of my tutoring, and then spent some time chatting on IRC before going to see Soon to collect the marks book for tutoring.
I did my first tutoring for “Internet Interface Design – User-Centered Website Development: Theories and Technologies”, which was very quiet and I spent half the time talking to a girl I knew – I’d say less than ten people turned up to actually do any work, the rest were just using the computers.
Many lectures were had, some of which I attended. I also phoned the oral medicine clinic to find out what time my appointment was, as I had a card, which didn’t say any times. I found, after phoning, that the time is written on the back of the card. Luckily, only Clint was there to witness the embarrassing revelation.
Having once again visited Soon to obtain the revered marks book, I completed my second hour of COMP1501 tutoring. This time it was much busier, with quite a few people needing help or wanting their lab assessment tasks assessed. I quite enjoyed it, and ended up staying a quarter hour longer than I should have helping a guy with his PHP. I had a slightly worrying minute when I found the office and Soon’s room were both closed, but fortunately, I found someone else in Soon’s room to take the marks book.
Toot toot, chugga chugga chug. It’s raining outside but I’m in a train, toot toot. Happily, the rain had lightened to little more than a mist by the time I had to get off the train and walk home.
First Israel illegally occupies the Golan Heights, then they blatantly attack sovereign Syrian territory, and in the resulting United Nations Security Council meeting, only one diplomat doesn’t speak out against this obvious transgression – the United States ambassador, as usual. The sooner someone figures out how to get the US out of the UN, and preferably the rest of the world, the better it will be for everyone, including them. I wonder why Americans are so blindly and stupidly jingoistic, it doesn’t mix well with their apparent total lack of knowledge of anything foreign. Ironically, I asked several people, not all of whom are Australian, if they could think of a word that meant “apparent total lack of knowledge of anything foreign”, as I have the word on the back of my mind but can’t quite get it – and amongst “redneck”, “isolationist”, “xenophobe” and “sequestrator” they all said “American”. I’ve nothing against Americans – I’m sure they’re much the same as Australians, but there’s a vocal few giving the rest a bad name.
Comment by wagusa – Wednesday 8 October 2003, 3:30 PM
  Many of us in the US also want to get the US out of the UN. Perhaps we are too jingoistic, but IMHO we act slightly less out of self interest than others

07.10.2003Tuesday 7 October – Cryosurgery

I awoke and caught a train into Central Station, from where I made my way the short distance to UQ’s School of Dentistry. I filled out the required paperwork and waited a short while until I was seen, around 10:30. Several young, mostly female, presumably dentistry students had a look at me and decided to wait for the specialist before making any diagnosis. The specialist, who looked as though he would have only been in his late thirties, arrived after a short while and diagnosed my mucous cyst, and prescribed two twenty-second freezes. The idea is to cause a controlled amount of tissue damage, which will heal and resolve the original condition. In my case, it should kill the glands that have been producing the saliva that is trapped, and the surrounding tissue. My body will repair the damaged tissue, although the glands will be gone forever. I was assured that there are many more glands so killing a few will not be a problem – but to me it doesn’t sound like a good thing to do. It doesn’t inspire great confidence hearing the specialist instructing the young woman who performed the operation, to “turn the point while applying pressure, no – not like that or it will slip like it just did”, but the freezing itself was less painful than the four needles I was given beforehand, probably because of the needles. I was out within half an hour.
I walked down to a nearby chemist with my lip feeling extremely large, bought some ibuprofen painkillers, and then caught a train home. When I got home, I was alarmed to find that my lip was in fact as large as it felt. Usually, a numb lip feels huge but isn’t in fact any larger than normal, so I had assumed mine was perhaps only a little larger than usual – but it was huge. I sat an ice pack, or frozen 2-litre bottle of water, on it for quarter of an hour as instructed and then spent some time online. After a while, I became really sleepy, and the painkillers are only to be taken with food, yet I can’t eat, so I lay down with an ice pack on my lip again and fell asleep.
I woke up and it was nighttime. I must have slept for a few hours. I spent the night online, interspersed with my ice pack and saline mouth rinses, achieving very little of any use. I ate some tomato soup, and later some soft cheesy pasta, and later again a little ice cream.
INFS1200 Marks
Results have been released for the INFS1200 “Intro to Information Systems” mid-semester exam. I achieved 24.8 out of 30, which is above average (the average being just over 20), so I’m happy with it I guess.
I think I’m now tired enough to go to bed. This is all bad timing, I have two assignments due on Friday and simply couldn’t bring myself to look at either, and now I’ll wake up late tomorrow. It has also stopped raining, having rained almost all day, and on and off for the past few days.

08.10.2003Wednesday 8 October

I didn’t wake up until after two o’clock, and even then only because Joe woke me up to see if I’d died or not. I then spent the evening procrastinating, and the night trying to do my horrible COMP2302 microcontroller assignment.
Le Connoisseur
A friend wrote “A guide to things that resemble food on the UQ St Lucia campus”. It is the most accurate survey of campus food since Whitlam, so I have decided to steal it in its entirety. Seeing as I am a purist who does not allow his journal to be polluted with HTML tags, the closest I can give to a link is
Main Refectory, Union Complex
Run by the UQ Union, this eatery has a guilt complex over charging you. This is good price-wise (although do remember that you’re paying for this with your compulsory union fee) but not overly fun when you’re trying to put sauce on something. In order to put sauce on your recently purchased item, you must first cut through the people using the free hot water dispenser to heat up what looks like old socks in a bowl, then line up whilst the people in front of you squeeze all the tomato sauce into Tupperware containers for usage at home. The only food I’ve had here are buckets of chips, which are okay despite having the texture of hard-boiled eggs. This can be remedied by emptying half a bottle of the free vinegar on them and squeezing out the remainder of the “liberated” tomato sauce.
Physiology Refectory, near Centenary Drive bus stop
Much the same as the main refectory, although they also sell apple slices that are about as thick as a business card. Proceed with caution.
Biology Refectory, near Mayne Hall
Possibly the crappiest of the refectories. Last time I went there not only did they not serve me for an aeon or two, but the sausage roll gave me leprosy. It’s probably safe to eat here though, because bio students presumedly know where your organs are and can carry out MacGyver-style surgery with pens. Also the site of union propaganda that informs you that without the union, tomato sauce will not exist, so beware.
Wheel of Death, Floor 1 GP South
A bizarre electronic dispenser of all sorts of things used in combination with a microwave that is believed to be broken. Expensive AND dangerous, only for IT students who need a snack at 2am whilst doing projects in the labs.
Vending Machines, everywhere
These are great, because a) the union staff haven’t touched them and b) It’s not the Wheel of Death. Ignore all the morons that tell you that Cherry Ripe + Fanta isn’t a healthy lunch.
UQ Lolly Shop, Union Complex
Overpriced but safe, as everything they sell is in sealed packages. See Vending Machines for further advice.
If you know someone from college, they may be able to get you in for a casual meal for about $4. This is either good value or bad value depending on what is being served and how many weeks ago it was cooked. If it’s in the form of a hamburger it was probably originally served as steak in 1982.
The Red Room
Don’t know if they serve food, but they serve beer, which is far more important.
ARGH! I have read innumerable pages of microcontroller datasheets. This “Computer Organisation” assignment really sucks. We have to answer a set of sixteen questions about four different microcontrollers, the idea being that we’ll learn a lot about microcontrollers in doing so. I guess I have learnt some things about microcontrollers, such as their inability to have good datasheets written about them. The overhead in searching through the datasheets, trying to figure out what means what and where it’s likely to be all but makes this assignment nothing more than an understanding datasheets exercise – I don’t like it.
“The founder of an animal welfare group which campaigns for the protection of grizzly bears is killed by a bear in Alaska.” “Park rangers later killed two aggressive bears they discovered at the campsite and closed the park.” Somewhat ironic.
Time for sleep. My lip is quite annoying now. It has this horrible big white flabby blister sort of thing, which has partly fallen off, and is quite raw and sore, and I instinctively go to lick it all the time.
Comment by - news – Wednesday 8 October 2003, 5:04 PM
  I feel like SCO, you thief!
Comment by anonymous – Thursday 9 October 2003, 9:31 PM
  the red room does sell food. above average food (for uni students anyways) at reasonable prices. and you forgot the pizza cafe, and the sushi and noodle bars
Comment by bv – Saturday 11 October 2003, 12:53 AM
  I only reviewed places i've been. The pizza cafe disturbs me because it's run by the union and hence all their pizzas are named after various pinko revolutionaries and I live at college so uncooked fish is pretty easy to come by.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 15 October 2003, 3:16 AM
  I think they’re actually named after famous Italian actors.

09.10.2003Thursday 9 October

I tutored for an hour, and enjoyed it, despite it being quite busy with lots of people needing assistance and wanting to get their assessments marked off. PHP sessions is being plain dumb and causing a few inexplicable errors. Quitting all instances of Internet Explorer and Apache is often necessary, just to get it to reset its session. Next semester, if I become a tutor, I think it would be worthwhile creating a simple one-step installation procedure for Apache, PHP and MySQL with all the paths and necessary options preconfigured. There have been a few silly problems, which shouldn’t be. Downloading MySQL, which is quite large, and then extracting it, which instantly more than doubles its size, and then installing it, which more than triples its size, quickly fills up the limited storage quota each student is allocated. I think it’s asking a bit much for students who barely understand the concept of compressed files to figure out how to delete the unneeded parts, or use the C drive as temporary storage, just to install something. Then, on top of that, PHP comes with all it’s temporary paths set to “/tmp”, which doesn’t exist on the lab machines, and has to be manually changed in the “php.dist” file, which is then automatically copied across to the windows directory... not the sort of things first year students struggling to understand new concepts need to bother with.
Tutoring again – much less busier this time, although I ended up staying half an hour later than expected helping and marking off a few struggling stragglers. Both today’s tutorials had two tutors, which helps as one of us can try sorting out silly problems while the other marks off people.

10.10.2003Friday 10 October

Despite not needing to be at uni until my tutorial at one o’clock, I decided the best way to get my assignment done was to head in at the same time as usual – arriving around 8:30. After my usual breakfast of iced coffee and a bucket of chips with lots of tomato sauce and vinegar, I went and saw Soon and dropped off the marking book and headed down to the labs to do my assignment. Much procrastinating later, I began to do it, and managed to get most of it finished.
Clint came and we took our COMP1800 English assignments across to the English department and dropped them in the magic box to be turned into marks. We then walked back to GPS and the BITS AGM. It was an utter shambles. Anyone who wished to become a member of the exec could, and did, simply making up a new title was quite acceptable. Raymond nearly became the health and safety officer, until someone pointed out he’d probably have a few legal commitments and need a first aid certificate, so he changed to “checker of sec”, before finally becoming the new “events advisor”. There are also two treasurers and a vice-treasurer, not to mention a technical development manager who didn’t even show at the AGM – overall, very dodgy and unprofessional.
I had to leave the AGM early to tutor. I quite enjoyed it, although we had several silly problems with PHP sessions. The configuration of the lab machines has caused a few headaches, with limited disk space, modifying things to work with NT style pathnames, and plain stupid stuff such as PHP refusing to work if there’s a blank line at the start of the document.
The BITS AGM was followed by a Microsoft Industry Conference, essentially a talk on how great everything .NET is, and why the world must embrace .NET now. It was quite interesting, although one moron decided to try to turn it into a Slashdot style Open-Source World versus Microsoft security argument and succeeded in making a complete fool of himself and annoying everyone, or at least me. The guy giving the conference happened to know what he was talking about, having been a software engineer for several years, and unlike the usual hysterical Linux freaks at uni, he also understood the concept of profit and how the real world works. I learnt a few new things about web services and .NET, which sounded good although I’m sure biased. This is, after all, Microsoft. It amuses me how they tend to not acknowledge the existence of or ever mention Linux or Java.
I had to leave the .NET thing early in order to submit my assignment on time. Each of the 64 questions had to be individually entered into a web form, which was taking around two minutes to submit each question. By four o’clock, this was more like five minutes, and by half past four, the database was unreachable. Shortly after, something died totally and all our roaming profiles and home drive became inaccessible, which not only prevented me from accessing the data I needed to submit, but also from saving the document I currently had open. As the assignment was due at five, I wasn’t overly impressed and decided to go hunt down the lecturer. Half the lab came with me, so we traipsed up to the office, which told us to be nice to the lecturer as he was probably stressed. He wasn’t in his office, but as luck would have it (not that I believe in luck, of course), we found him hiding in a room strategically located near an exit with his laptop and on the phone to the sysadmins. He did look rather stressed, but that’s how he normally looks. We got an extension until 5 PM tomorrow.
I have an exam on Monday. It is an open book exam, and I do not have all the notes for it. I have to print them out from UQ’s POD (print on demand). The POD shuts at 5 PM, so I went up there straight after we’d found the lecturer. It was about a quarter to five when I got there, but that didn’t help much, as they shut at four o’clock on Friday. This is not good. This leaves me with an open book exam without the book to open. I can probably study the online PDF versions, although it will be harder.
I caught a train into the city and went to Govindas for dinner. It was very nice and as I was hungry, I really enjoyed it. I had planned to go see the King’s College and Women’s College Choirs perform, but I couldn’t remember where they were performing so went to Indooroopilly to see a movie instead. There weren’t any movies worth seeing, so I went online instead, found Clint on IRC and he told me the choir would be at St Stephen’s Cathedral, so I headed back into the city and went there. The choir performance quite impressed me, because I was expecting it to be much worse and it was quite good. I met Frizz, who I haven’t met before, and Raymond, who is a section leader (whatever that is) in the King’s College Choir and who I have met before. I’m quite glad I went.

11.10.2003Saturday 11 October

After a late start, I finished off my nasty microcontroller assignment and submitted it. As the evening drew to a close, I drove down to the Smith Road Shopping Centre and bought a lamington and some chips for Joe and I, which I ate while watching some of the “Stargate SG-1” marathon on TV1. Dave arrived home a bit later and I went online and chatted. Apart from a quick look at the practice exam, which stressed me as I didn’t understand it, I didn’t do any study for my exam on Monday.

12.10.2003Sunday 12 October

Waking in the evening has some advantages, but I’m not sure what they are.
I drove and got some scratch-its for Joe, and picked a pizza on the way home. A miracle happened at the pizza place – the girl personally brought my pizza out, offered me a choice of drinks, and even opened the door for me. I doubt this has ever happened in the history of cheap pick-up pizzas before! I shall include it in my memoirs.
I decided that I had better begin studying for my exam tomorrow. Unfortunately, I had bought four blocks of different flavoured (and ultra-dark) chocolate when I went shopping earlier. I ate nearly a block all up, a little from each. This served to keep me awake and alert, and tasted yummy, but I’m not sure it was much good for anything else. My study consisted of reading through the lecture notes, writing down an index, reading the references given in the lecture notes, indexing them, and then going to bed. I didn’t attempt the practice exam, because I am too stupid to do logical things like that.
I went to bed. I have to get up at 7 AM. It is very important that I wake up. If I don’t I will miss my tutorial, and I’m the tutor so I don’t want to do that. I may also miss my exam. I am worried that I won’t wake up. Either I am too worried that I won’t wake up and thus can’t sleep or I ate too much chocolate and can’t sleep. Either way, I can’t sleep. Instead, I am daydreaming. It is fun. The problem is that the more I don’t sleep, the more worried I am that I won’t wake up; because the less I sleep, the more tired I shall be. Of course, this means that the longer I stay awake, the harder it is to get to sleep. I pondered such matters as this until I awoke some time shortly after 6 AM.

13.10.2003Monday 13 October – Computer Organisation Exam

Having woken nearly an hour ago, and only gone to sleep less than 3 hours ago (and probably getting not more than 2 hours sleep), I felt energetic and chocolatised. Trot, trot, trot, choofa, choofa, toot, toot – trains are fun on chocolate and no sleep. I must, however, not go on trains on chocolate and no sleep – it is not advisable for public safety reasons.
Time for a veggie roll and iced coffee. This is where I become suddenly normal again, like Superman before mobile phones.
After getting the marks book from Soon, I went and tutored. It was very quiet, with only a few people turning up, which gave me a chance to print out some stuff I needed and check out what
I wandered into the UQ Centre and my COMP2302 exam. It was nasty. Forty-five minutes and twenty-five multi-choice questions about the AVR microcontroller instruction set architecture and various other exciting things – not fun. I had five or more that I guessed madly when time was nearly up. Being an open-book exam, I had my text, notes and an instruction set summary, and chewed up too much time going through them. I got 14 out of 25, while Tim, who sat beside me, and whose notes I had copied (and he some of mine), got 23 out of 25. Either he’s a genius or I’m a moron. I’m afraid it’s the latter (as unlikely as that might seem). Moral of the story – chocolate does not equate to knowledge, under normal circumstances.
I tutored for an hour. It was quite quiet and I had another tutor with me, so had very little to do. As soon as the hour was up, I caught the train home and spent the evening procrastinating, while I should have been studying or working on assignments. Actually, I think I’d have died if I didn’t have a rest. My lip is much better now. It still has a nasty wound, but it’s now a small nasty wound, and not so sore. I haven’t taken any painkillers and it’s not too bad.
I shall try to go to bed today. I have two minutes to do it, so I don’t like my chances.
I failed. It’s tomorrow and I’m still awake. It has been three weeks, three days, twenty-two hours, thirty-four minutes and seventeen seconds since I rebooted or my computer. I think this breaks my previous uptime record. Ever since installing a new version of Nero, I haven’t had the silly power management problems, although I still don’t have any power profiles or way to change the one that’s stuck on at the moment. The most dangerous applications on this computer are my sound generation, visualisation and monitoring ones – running any of them guarantees that the 16-bit subsystem will die, permanently, and very little will work until I reboot. Exact Audio Copy and DVDDecrypter (which, by the way, I don’t admit to having on this computer) are the next most dangerous. Accidentally accessing the same drive twice at the same time will do bad things. The DVD players are pretty nasty too – if they come across some bad data in a DVD ISO (which, as pointed out once before, is a temporary cache – not a copy), they turn into runaway processes and I can’t always control them.

14.10.2003Tuesday 14 October

Today’s uni was the same as most other day’s uni. We have a new COMP2500 lecturer. He is, to put it simply, brilliant. He managed to explain almost two lectures worth of material, interspersed with about half a lecture worth of wit, in such a way that not only did I understand, but I did not get bored, uncomfortable or wish that I was elsewhere. On top of that sizeable achievement, he also managed to get more class participation in a single lecture than we’ve had in any of the previous lectures. Managing to explain, clearly, binary and n-ary trees, recursion down and along such trees and the use of a binary tree to reference nodes in an n-ary tree all in less than an hour, without boring me, and in such a way that not only did I understand, but I actually enjoyed learning, is very impressive. He embodies what I had, prior to last semester, though of as a “proper” lecturer. What really clinched it however; he stated several times that Java and QUT suck.
I went to Kieran’s room for a while, and then on to Clint’s. Clint and I were sent on an official BITS mission to discover the source of all input in the lab they’re planning to show a movie in tonight. We had fun with the touch-screen control panel, turning the lights and projector on and off. After a while, we heard people outside and tried to turn everything off before we were arrested, but in a Microsoft sort of way, it was too intelligent to turn off. Obviously, no normal user would want to turn anything off after they’d turned it on. After our narrow escape and the subsequent trip to the labs to report our findings on IRC, we walked up to the main refectory, where I bought some leftover pizza topping with rice and Clint had tomato sauce with some vinegar and chips in it. Our health satiated, we went exploring and discovered some new buildings, including one with a door. I also managed to skilfully and semi-accidentally find the cutaway jet engine again, and show Clint. It has lots of moving parts that require moving to make sure they move, so we had to move them.
Clint, Raymond, Simon and I, having sat at a table and discussed train timetables, newspapers, movies, Raymond and wine – amongst other similarly important things, went and joined the eager throng at the BITS Movie Night. We, along with a meagre scattering of others, watched “Minority Report”. Amusingly, the Linux machine showing the DVD died shortly after someone made a Linux versus Windows joke, and was replaced by a Microsoft Xbox, which worked well. Halfway through the movie pizza arrived. Two cans of soft drink and a vegetarian pizza later I left to find the ferry before it stopped running. It was freezing outside, and my cold can of Coke didn’t help. I had to wait about half an hour for the CityCat, listening to two girls comparing their marked assignments on some obscure English-type subject. I then had to wait almost an hour at South Brisbane Station for the train, which made it a late night, although I did get to snooze on one of the station’s un-ergonomically designed, flat and very hard wooden seats.
Comment by keight – Wednesday 15 October 2003, 4:14 PM
  OMG Ned, NO! Our new 2500 lecturer is... CRAP. his lectures are some of the most TEDIOUS I have ever sat through.. If you find them 'interesting', I'd hate to think what you find boring.

15.10.2003Wednesday 15 October – Sex & Lucia

I planned to wake up early, do lots of my Java assignment, then go and see a movie, as today is the last day it is showing. Sadly, by the time I awoke it was too late to do much study, so I’ve not done anything more than read the specification.
I had an Indian meal from a small take-away style restaurant near Brunswick Street Station, which wasn’t very nice, and then asked my way, via Mac Donald’s and a thick shake, to the Palace Centro Cinemas.
The Palace Centro surprised me. It’s brand new, classy, and everything the Schonell isn’t. It also has a slightly tilted-back screen, which is something I haven’t seen before. “Lucia y el Sexo”, or “Sex and Lucia” as it has been translated, was the movie and it was good. This is the only movie I’ve ever seen with an accurate portrayal of online chat, so accurate in fact, that I couldn’t help thinking of Becky, and imagining her chatting just the same. I got slightly lost in some parts of the plot – it’s quite complex and all the people looking the same, along with subtitles and its switching from present to past make it confusing. I’d like to see the movie again, as it would make a lot more sense now and I’m still not sure which parts were supposed to have actually happened and which were imagined. I think it’s a brilliant movie, the type that has me thinking about it afterwards, and enjoying it throughout. On the way out from the cinemas, I was surprised again. The place was packed. People were everywhere, which I wasn’t expecting on a Wednesday evening. Perhaps it’s a trendy dining area.
There’s some dumb football on, and all the trains are messed up. I ended up catching an express to the Gold Coast from the wrong platform at the wrong time, which was running express to Woodridge for some unusual reason. It is so much faster when they don’t stop at stations. I think the trains need some sort of stop signal like the one buses have, so they don’t have to waste time at stations where no one wants to get on or off. Apparently, I should revise my previous end of sentence preposition. “On or off” isn’t good enough, Word says. Neither is “off or on”, and I can’t think of anything else that means the same thing. Where no one wishes to cross the boundary between the train and the platform. There, that’ll do. Oh, no it won’t. Word says that entire sentence is a fragment, and I should consider developing that thought into a complete sentence by adding a subject or a verb, but I don’t want to.
I should go to bed. I have begun my Java assignment and written a few notes and a basic framework that might, if I’m incredibly fortunate, be the right way to start. I shall try to finish it off tomorrow, and if I can’t, I shall freak out instead – or more likely, I shall freak out trying to finish it regardless.

16.10.2003Thursday 16 October

Upon arriving at the uni side of the ferry, I was accosted by a group of rabid uni staff shouting that they were striking to protect me. I guess they’re all from the arts faculty, because I’m not sure there’d be a complete brain amongst the lot of them. Then again, I didn’t read any of their propaganda, so I suppose they may have had some sort of valid point.
Tutoring went well, and I quite enjoyed it being busier.
I spent the evening after uni wasting time and most of the night making up for the time I wasted, trying to do my COMP2500 Java assignment – successfully I hope, and getting to bed around 3 AM.

17.10.2003Friday 17 October – Kill Bill

I’ve only got one thing on Friday’s now – my COMP2500 tutorial. This one was easy, as Dina was presenting and she’d taken the time to write down solutions for everything before she came.
My last hour tutoring went smoothly. I’ve decided I’d like to tutor this subject again next semester, if possible, as I think I can contribute in a way most others probably can’t, seeing as it is basically my hobby – plus it’s a paying position and good experience. Generally, only postgraduate students get tutoring positions, and it’s apparently well contested – so I probably don’t have a very good chance but I’ll see how I go.
I went and saw my COMP2500 lecturer about some ambiguities in our assignment specification, and then went down to the lab to iron out those ambiguities in my assignment, which I then submitted.
Kill Bill
After handing in my tutoring timesheet, Clint and I bussed into Indooroopilly. I ate a curry with fried rice, à la the Pakistani food place, which wasn’t too bad, although not as good as the Pakistani place, which is now a Subway. At least it’s still possible to buy food. We then went and saw “Kill Bill – Volume One”. It’s a good movie, which I quite enjoyed. The violence is rather... violent, and terribly graphic but somehow not as disturbing without the pathos with which most movies surround their violence. This movie is a good example of why gun control is bad – none of the gangsters have guns, resulting in mass carnage. One gun would have stopped it all. If Tarantino’s second volume gets away from this terribly unrealistic anime induced swords and ninja revenge-centric violence and introduces something a bit more realistic – like, say, a gun... I think it will be a classic movie. This is the second time I’ve seen a movie in the large cinema at Indooroopilly, and the second time I’ve thought the sound noticeably better than the other slightly smaller cinemas – the opening with Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” was a fantastic.
Tomb Raider
Clint and I almost made a fatal mistake – buying dark chocolate, which we ate while watching “Tomb Raider”. Luckily, neither of us died, but it was a narrow escape. Tomb Raider didn’t improve with a second watching, but was fun nonetheless.
I struck up a conversation with a woman waiting for the train, which proved to be a bit of a mistake. It ends up she was on her way to what would probably turn out to be a break-up with her boyfriend, who was apparently suspiciously busy for large amounts of time, and she wanted to know why. She was also obviously feeling insecure and discarded, and was seeking someone to seduce her and make her feel wanted – which was apparently where I came into the equation. I managed to escape, but she was pretty sexy.
I decided it would be a good time to implement some “404 Page Not Found” error pages for my site, and fix up the hit counters. It shouldn’t have taken me long, and in fact didn’t take long, except it wouldn’t work. No matter what I did, nothing worked. The more I did, the fewer things worked. Things I’d not even touched began to fail. Things became very confusing. Edited files would turn into magical blank files, which seemed to have some magical property that prevented them from being anything but blank files. Various programs began reporting errors closing files, while still reporting they’d performed their operations successfully and converting anything they modified into these special blank files, which isn’t very good for data integrity. In desperation, after seven o’clock in the morning, I restored everything from a backup, having already irretrievably lost some data, and went to bed.

18.10.2003Saturday 18 October

I woke up at a quarter to four, in the evening. I couldn’t believe it. That’s despicable, horrible, disgusting – debauched even. It’s also a huge waste of a day.
Having caught a train into South Bank Station, and a bus from there to Elizabeth Street, and a walk from there to the Botanical Gardens, I found the Sunset Cinema, an open-air cinema. It’s quite a nice venue, on a hillside surrounded by the aliens, I mean, plants from the botanical gardens. $10 student entry and a $10 (small and not as gourmet as advertised) pizza made it one of the pricier movies I’ve been to recently. A fair crowd turned up and we settled onto blankets on the lawn to see “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and dislocate our shoulders, numb our arms and generally wish we were one of the intelligent few who’d brought beanbags. I’d failed to anticipate its cult status, so I ended up watching “The Brisbane Horror Show” instead – as the cult moved in, complete with water pistols for the raining scenes, confetti for the confetti scenes, and underwear for all other scenes. With everyone singing along, people dancing down the front in their underwear and the general joviality, it ended up being quite fun. The main downside was my shoulders, both of which ceased to function rather swiftly, but seem to have regained some of their functionality now.
I discovered all my web site woes are because I’ve run out of web site space, which is, apparently, because I’m not assigned to any plan. After getting my quota doubled, everything worked again and I quickly implemented the changes I’d made last night. Now I just have to wait and see if my self-healing atomic hit counter will work.

19.10.2003Sunday 19 October

I slept in despicably late, yet again.
I drove down to the shops and cashed in Joe’s winning scratch-its, bought some new ones, and picked up some pizza on the way home. Joe and I discussed the holidays over pizza. I asked if he’d be happy to have me here again next year, and he said it depends on if I’m happy to be here. He’s a great guy. After that, I spent a bit of time online talking to Mum, and then went and watched “Hart’s War” on TV with Joe.

20.10.2003Monday 20 October

I had a normal and generally boring day at uni, where I did normal and generally boring uni things. I can’t remember anything else, so I’m assuming nothing memorable happened.

21.10.2003Tuesday 21 October

I slept in. By the time I woke up, I’d missed my first lecture, and would have had to run to get the train in time to, maybe, make my second lecture – so I decided to stay home instead and work on my assignments.
Joe just asked me if I’d drive his sister to the airport tomorrow, as he’s got an appointment directly after and wants to have time to make dinner and things before he goes to work. So, it looks like I have to be up at a quarter past seven tomorrow morning, and driving through peak hour traffic to the airport. Oh, what joy.
I didn’t get much of my assignments done. I did, however, make a nice XML list of some of my favourite songs, and a nice XSL style sheet to parse it. Now, as I find songs that I like, I’ll add them to this list.

22.10.2003Wednesday 22 October

I got up before eight and drove Joe to Beenleigh, picked up Liz, his sister, went around a roundabout in the outer lane, was told to get in the inner lane, and was attempting to get in the inner lane when my lane ran out. Travelling in a circle at 60 or more kilometres an hour through a traffic island around a busy multi-lane roundabout during peak-hour with a rather large four-wheel-drive less than a foot from my window isn’t the right thing to do. I have decided not to do it again. I dropped Joe home, and drove Liz to the airport without hitting anyone. I then drove home, missed the exit, drove to Beenleigh again, turned around on the exact same roundabout, getting stuck in the idiotic ending lane again – minus the large four-wheel-drive and Joe telling me to suicidally get into the inner lane, and drove home. Roundabouts are dangerous. They have lanes that unexpectedly end and large vehicles that cut across from the inner lane. I blame it on my lack of sleep. Joe congratulated me on being fast and asked if I’d been through any speed traps.
INFS1200 Assignment, creating SQL queries in Microsoft Access – no more shall be said.
Late Night
Still Assignment, no more shall be said again.

23.10.2003Thursday 23 October

I slept in and missed my train. I’m now worried. I’m sleeping in too much. I don’t know why. I went to be relatively early last night, yet still slept in. I have now missed both my COMP2500 lectures this week. It is not good. I need rehabilitation and counselling.
Looking on the bright side of sleeping in, or at least the less dim side, it gives me time to do my COMP1800 web project – a 6-week project that I need to begin and complete before 5 PM tomorrow.
I have opened numerous web pages relating to the history of the Internet and Internet privacy, and I’m writing copious amounts of incoherent nonsense and paraphrasing large sections. Maybe, if I’m really lucky, it will look so long that no one will want to read it and they’ll just assume I must know what I’m talking about – at least they’ll know I haven’t plagiarised, no one else could write such a disjointed ramble.
I stayed up all night working on my web project. I must have been pretty stupid, because just before I left for uni a friend online pointed out several very obvious and dumb mistakes, and I realised that the file I’d already sent to uni several times wasn’t even what I needed.

24.10.2003Friday 24 October

I did not have a very good day. I do not feel very good. I am not very happy. My feet are cold. I am itchy. My eyes are sore. I did not go to bed last night. I did not fully complete either of my assignments. I did not pass go and I did not collect $200. Instead, I sat for an hour and a half through a cold drizzle with many, many angry rugby fans at Kuraby train station while emergency services scraped dead people from the tracks and dodged lightning.
After staying up all night working on my web assignment, which, because I stayed up all night working on it, is a bodged mess of incoherent rambling, I headed into uni in time for my midday COMP2500 tutorial. I remember thinking that my station was next, then noticing I was at uni – apparently staying up all night is not good for the brain. My COMP2500 tutorial was nice – I’ve missed the past two COMP2500 lectures due to sleeping in, so I had absolutely no idea what it was talking about, and, of course, it was my turn to present. Typically, for the first time, every other member of my group had also missed the last two lectures and had no idea what was going on either. Luckily, we’re all geniuses and managed to write enough blue circles for me to fake some very slight knowledge – and seeing as no one else seemed to know what they were doing either, it worked.
INFS1200 Assignment
After this, and finding the COMP2500 lecturer to collect my marked assignment two, I headed down to the labs to check that my webpage was working. I know it’s very hard to believe, but it seems to be working without any problems – I’m not quite sure why, I guess the problems are waiting until marking time. Three quarters of the people in the lab were attempting to do query ten from our INFS1200 assignment. So much for anti-collusion, everyone was asking everyone else if anyone knew of anyone who’d managed to complete it. Had one person worked it out, I believe all of GPS would have known the solution within a minute. Despite collaborating with around twenty-five people across two labs, attempting to bribe a tutor and trying to find the lecturer, we still couldn’t get it done and I had to leave my submission missing the final query.
After the 5 PM assignment submission passed, I went and saw Clint and collected my marked COMP2500 assignment that I’d left with him the other day, and headed into the city and the Govindas Restaurant. Once I left the roofed area it began to rain, of course – not stopping until I got to the train station roof. Needless to say, it began to rain again when I got to Central Station and again exited the covered area. My meal at Govindas was quite yummy, and in stark contrast to the rest of today, I don’t seem to have become violently ill – yet.
I briefly considered heading out to Indooroopilly and watching a movie, but decided I’d likely be killed getting on the train, crossing the road, or fall asleep in the cinema and wake up in the back of a garbage truck on my way to recycling. In fact, I actually thought I was clever getting on the special train running express from South Bank to Woodridge – it would be a faster way to get home. I didn’t realise there was yet another silly rugby match on somewhere, and when we got to Roma Street, a quarter of a million crazed black and white painted rugby fans got on and we all headed south in our happy, happy party train. Shortly after, while a storm raged around them, a disturbed individual took a flying leap from Loganlea station and met the Airport train running express and rather rapidly, or so they tell me. I imagine there was something of a splat and the driver probably needs counselling. Brisbane City should run public service advertisements for bridge jumps – a cleaner, more exhilarating means of proving life exists after death without annoying one uni student and a quarter of a million rugby fans who’d not only seen their team lose, but had difficulties on the train getting to the game, with many missing the start due to delays.
Because of the storm and lightning, emergency services had the power turned off before they’d go near the bones and body parts. Unfortunately turning the power off means all power from Kuraby to Beenleigh – and electric trains are rather powerless when they’re powerless. In typical Queensland Rail style, we were told to expect a ten to fifteen minute delay at Kuraby and half an hour later told to leave the train and stand on the windy, cold and roofless platform while it drizzled on us. Various people invented conflicting stories about buses and trains going in all sorts of directions and the crowd surged here and there trying to find them. Exactly why they refuse to tell everyone what’s going on, I don’t know. Eventually, after an hour or so, we were sent to another train and told it would continue in about five minutes, which it did half an hour later – but not until our original train had left without us. If I were a lawyer, or knew any sexy postgraduate law students, I should catch pneumonia and sue them to teach them a lesson. We were left standing on a platform in the rain, without being told what was going on, while a warm and dry train sat empty, and eventually transferred to another train, shortly before our original train left – without us. When I did eventually arrive at my station, there were nine or so empty buses lined up – presumably yet another example of Queensland Rail’s amazing malorganization skills.

25.10.2003Saturday 25 October – Intolerable Runaways Underground

I entrained for uni, and saw “The Weather Underground”. It’s an interesting, albeit somewhat boring, documentary on the American “Weather Underground” organisation, of which I know nothing so can’t really say anything more.
I then caught a bus to Toowong, and another bus from there to Indooroopilly, which seemed quicker than catching the direct bus from uni to Indooroopilly. I was forced to buy an unimaginatively named 6-inch from Subway for dinner, as not much else eatable was open. I then went and saw “Intolerable Cruelty”, which was quite busy and surprisingly better than I was expecting – I quite enjoyed it. I’d then hoped to sneak directly into a screening of “Runaway Jury”, due to start at the same time as “Intolerable Cruelty” finished, but I was foiled by Birch, Carol and Coyle’s diabolic cunning – it was screening in the other half of the cinema. I had to walk past the frozen coke selling candy bar to get there, which meant I not only had to buy another ticket too see it, but a frozen coke as well – the scheming capitalistic scum. Luckily, “Runaway Jury” restored my faith in the Western way of life with its portrayal of the ease at which a jury can be bought and the great justice this brings about. Once again, I was surprised to find this movie actually reasonably good and quite enjoyable. Perhaps I was just in a good movie-going mood, but I enjoyed both movies, which were both in nice big cinemas with lots of people, and I wasn’t even stuck at any silly train stations on the way home.

26.10.2003Sunday 26 October – The day of the deadly cheese

After a hard day sleeping, it began to storm so I had to turn my computer off and remove the phone line to stop stray electrons getting in. With my main reason for existence unplugged, I required action to remain alive, so braved what Joe direly informed me was a bad hail storm with severe lightning warnings and caught a train into uni where I met Clint and saw, for the second time, “The Weather Underground”. It is an apt title, considering the reason I was there and that the cinema is almost underground. After the documentary, we both bought five-cheeses pizzas – I forget its crazy Italian name. One of the cheeses turned out to be mouldy, and it was the first food I’d had all day, so hit my stomach rather strongly and I couldn’t finish the lot. After surviving the cheese, I caught a CityCat into South Bank and a train from there home – where I finished off three pieces of pizza Joe had left over, and discovered an alarming fact.
Alarming Fact
I have become aware that I am ruined, and unable to complete all my work in time. Next week, I have due on Thursday (I think) my 6 week VBA project – as yet unstarted, of course. I also have due on Friday another Java assignment – the last two of which have taken at least two days to get going, and one didn’t get going, not to mention that I’ve missed the two lectures which I’ll need to do it. I also have due my C/assembler project – which I don’t have any clue how to do because I don’t know C or assembler, and a prac exam on the same subject, which coincides with a doctor’s appointment so I shan’t be able to go, but it is compulsory. I also have a web review thing to do, which shouldn’t take too long, along with regular lectures to attend and probably something else that I’ve forgotten.
Comment by keight – Tuesday 28 October 2003, 9:52 PM
  the comp2500 java assignment is due on Sunday. you're saved.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 29 October 2003, 2:39 AM
  Wow! That’s excellent! I now have a slight chance to get some stuff done. Thanks for letting me know ☺
Comment by keight – Wednesday 29 October 2003, 8:52 PM
  No problems. Just looking out for Neddy. We cant have you failing, now, can we?
Comment by Ned – Saturday 1 November 2003, 10:04 PM
  Thanks! I’m afraid I need more looking out for though, or I’m going to fail, or die trying :~(
Comment by keight – Sunday 2 November 2003, 2:17 AM
  What? You want the answer? :p

27.10.2003Monday 27 October – Losing the plot...

I attended university, as per usual. We had our last INFS1200 lectures today. I went down the labs and did my COMP1800 “Web Page Peer Assessment”, where I review and assess three other student’s web site projects. I then watched some more lectures and went home.
I began my COMP2302 project. I am “required to modify a program in order to implement additional features. The program is a terminal IO based version of Tetris – i.e. the AVR device (Atmel AVR AT90S8515 – small 8-bit microcontroller) runs the program and provides its graphical user interface via the connected terminal (terminal emulator on the PC) and receives input (keypresses) from the terminal.” If I knew C, it would definitely help. In fact, if I had any idea what I was doing or how to do it, it would help.
I spent several hours going around in circles. Our lecturer has written an AVR simulator in TCL, which while impressive, is too slow to be of much use. The only way I have to code is by trial and error, I don’t know what I’m doing well enough to do it any other way, and the error part is taking half an hour for each error to work through it in the simulator and find out what’s going on. Half the time I don’t know if my code is at error or if the simulator is too slow and has missed my keystroke or something.
This is terrible. I need to pass this project or I fail the entire course, but I have no chance of doing that now. It’s 5 AM and I’ve managed to achieve a grand total of absolutely totally nothing all night. I feel terrible. I am quite sure it took everyone else about five minutes. I feel moronic and useless. The stress isn’t worth it – I’ll die.
I give up. I am going to fail; there is nothing I can do about it. I’m considering all my options – ranging from quitting uni to razing uni to the ground and everything in-between. I feel simply terrible, and depressed, stressed and sleepy. Now that I’ve failed this, I have another project, assignment and a prac exam to fail this week – assuming I don’t die first, which at my current stress levels, is quite likely. This has, I think, been the worst night at uni so far – or at least this semester.

28.10.2003Tuesday 28 October – Cryosurgery Avoided

Train to uni. I felt aware, awake and as though the rest of the world was moving slowly – it is rather cool when everyone seems to be moving jerkily like in an old movie or through a strobe light, but I’ve a feeling it’s not good to see the world this way.
I sat through my COMP2302 lecture admiring the roof, floor, dust particles, and various repeating patterns. My legs ached so much, and after three quarters of an hour, I could only just sit. It was not pleasant.
I sat for an hour at the Turbot Street Hospital of Dentistry admiring the wall and the passing nurses.
I met many student dentists or oral surgeons or whatever they are, and was told that I’ll probably need more scary sounding cryosurgery, but that it should be ok until next year when they start up again – my lip is unlikely to swell up, explode and drown me or anything exciting like that.
I slept.
I drove Joe down to the shops, and began trying to sort out my horrible mess of a project from last night. I scrapped the lot and started again.
I am very tired and achy. I’ve just finished dinner – pasta, and I need to go to bed. I’ve also just seen a comment someone left on Sunday’s journal entry – my Java assignment is now due Sunday, so I have a chance to complete it.
Bugger uni, I am going to sleep.

29.10.2003Wednesday 29 October – More Assignment Woe

I arose from slumber to face the seemingly endless onslaught of assignment-caused stress, and spent the rest of the evening doing so.
I alternated between messing with my COMP2302 AVR nightmare and becoming suicidal with Access and my COMP1800 mess – not my idea of a pleasant night.
I’ve finished as much as I’m capable of doing with my horrible COMP1800 Access/VBA project. Access is horrible, really, really horrible. I am either doing several things wrong (highly doubtful) or Access is just crazy. I can have something that works in one form but not another – despite it being an identical copy and paste. Maybe, if things go unrealistically well, I can see a tutor during marking tomorrow and get it sorted out before it’s marked.

30.10.2003Thursday 30 October – VBA Marked Off

I went and saw Kieran, and my VBA project worked fine in his Access, despite it not working in mine several thousand times last night. I’d have liked to have throttled or otherwise violently injured someone who worked on the Access development team, but I’m not into violence so I had to quietly head down the labs and show the tutor instead. The tutor ended up being our lecturer, and she didn’t know much about Access or VBA, so she had a quick look at my assignment and told me it looked excellent, ticked all the boxes, gave me my excellence mark, and proceeded to make everyone else demonstrate theirs. While I appreciate the special treatment, due in part, I think, to my having tutored, it was almost annoying having put in all that effort and not even having to have demonstrated any of it. Still, it’s marked off now, and I got good marks, so that’s all that matters.
I went and talked to the different parties trying to be voted into the UQUnion. They struck me as all so petty, small and funny – but I guess it’s only university union elections, there’s not really any large issues at stake and they’re almost still kids (with the mentality of preschoolers in a lot of cases). I voted for Mojo – as they’re the only non-left, non-moronic party there, and because all the other parties hate them, so they must be onto something good.
I worked on my AVR assignment all night.

31.10.2003Friday 31 November – COMP2302 Prac Exam and AVR Assignment

Having not slept last night, and having spent most of the night trying to get my AVR assignment to work, I headed into uni in a somewhat fragile state of mind, or perhaps more accurately, out of mind.
I managed to get some time in the lab to test if my creation actually worked on the real AVR microcontroller, but it wasn’t easy. I had to wander around for a full hour, spying on other people’s efforts and helping a few friends who were having trouble. I’m surprised how much I’ve learnt – going from not knowing a word of C to being able to help others in only two nights. Fortunately for me, the tutor let a few of us keep on for half an hour after closing time, so I got to check my project, after waiting a long time until the poxy network would let me download it. Unbelievably, with the exception of one major problem, it all worked as intended – amazing really, and just goes to show what’s possible when I don’t leave things until the last night, but start them the night before!
I submitted my assignment, having fought slow lab machines, which crashed every time I tried to compile it. It’s great fun hitting compile, rebooting machine, wondering why it boots up running two instances of apache (both of which refuse to die), looking at clock, hitting compile, force quitting compiler, re-trying, watching more time pass... but I got it done and submitted 5 minutes before it’s due.
I went to my COMP2302 prac exam. It took me about 30 seconds to complete the required code changes, another 10 or so to compile, and within a minute, I had it downloaded onto the AVR – but it didn’t work. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out that my changes to the code weren’t being saved, despite the editor showing them as saved. It then took another 5 minutes of messing around to try and figure out why, after which time I got worried I’d run out of time and there were only about 3 minutes left, so I complained to the tutor and completed it in notepad, which has the capability to save files, and left. Apparently, a few others had experienced the same problem – just typical for today.
Innovation Expo
I printed out my piece of paper and ticked the features I’d implemented in my AVR project, forgetting to mention the HyperTerminal background colour problem, and went with Clint to see the UQ Innovation Expo, where I managed to find two different flavoured lollies, along with some soccer playing robots, nice Bose speakers and a good-looking stall attendant. I left Clint at the red room where he had a BITS meeting, and headed into the city – very tired, where I wasted some time and went to Govindas for dinner.
I’m amazed I made it home. I vaguely remember getting on the train, settling down to sleep, and waking up at various points in a panic to see if I’d missed my station – and then it being before 7 o’clock when I got home despite it feeling like 3 AM, so I went to sleep and didn’t wake until after 11 tomorrow.
Comment by bob – Tuesday 4 November 2003, 11:15 PM
  you forgot to mention the fact that you got 0wned on the way out of central station... my kung fu > your kung fu

01.11.2003Saturday 1 November

I didn’t wake up until after eleven, having gone to bed at seven, a full sixteen hours sleep. I then proceeded to waste away the evening doing non-uni things, including (but not limited to) walking and shopping in the hot, hot sun, arriving home hot, and then driving past the shops to pick up some scratch-its for Joe, who ordered me “Chinese” in return. Today’s highlight was the woman I met at the supermarket while we were being kicked out (they shut at five on Saturday’s and six on Sunday’s?), she was somehow ultra attractive, although I don’t know why. It made me think about attractiveness, and it’s strangely fickle nature – but I’m too tired to be coherent (16 hours of sleep does not equate to being rested, rather the opposite) so I’ll stop there.
I also achieved the temporary procurement, on a weekly loan basis, of the following video titles: “Wedding, Monsoon”; “Bad Things, Very”; “Ned Devine, Waking”; “Clockwork Orange, A”; “Lolita”; “The Dragon, Enter”; and “Ransom”. I can’t remember why I got them.
I’m talking to Mum on MSN, having done very little of my nasty Java assignment. I really must start again soon.
Comment by keight – Sunday 2 November 2003, 3:09 AM
  Hey ned, Whats your msn address?
Comment by Ned – Sunday 2 November 2003, 6:34 AM
  Hello, my MSN information is (or isn’t as the case may be) here:
Comment by DK – Sunday 2 November 2003, 9:07 AM
  Poor you :( Good luck with your course work! :)
Comment by keight – Sunday 2 November 2003, 11:35 AM
  I've mostly worked it out. MSN if you still nee help, and your awake before submisssion :p
Comment by bv – Tuesday 4 November 2003, 1:02 AM
  Dear Sir, I am writing this to express my interest in being considered for a position as a stalker in your cult/organisation. I have your house address, a street map and a butter knife previously used in animal sacrifice. I enclose further details of my application within. Regards, bv
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 4 November 2003, 4:16 AM
  Dear bv, We regret to inform you that we cannot accept you as a stalker, due to your hairstyle. Your butter knife, however, is urged to reapply on its own.

02.11.2003Sunday 2 November – Wretched Java

Divine Intervention
Just when all hope was gone, a friend I didn’t know I had found me on IRC, and then MSN, and helped me with my COMP2500 assignment. We worked on it all night, until he fell asleep on a stack of textbooks, later falling to the floor when his music scared him (as one is wont to do), and I alternated between doing my assignment, laying in bed thinking about my assignment, and losing chunks of time.
I managed to complete my assignment to a high standard, with no errors and, apart from it not working, nothing else wrong – and went to eat my third bowl of coco pops since dinner last night. Apparently, pineapple juice is the secret.
Recursively objectifying
The idea of the assignment is to learn object-orientated recursive parsing. The traditional “Hello World” equivalent would involve instantiating an Alphabet object, which would recursively call 26 different Character objects, which would each implement English, extend Vowels, Consonants, Wingding, Words, Plurals, Misspellings and Nonsense, and be subclasses of Alphabet itself, hence recursively calling themselves, and at some stage some magical coitus between complexity and ridiculousness is reached, at which point the entire process somehow collapses and prints “Hello World”. Apparently, this is the right way to do it because recursion is “beautiful” and “mathematical” and object-orientated languages are “better”.
Having spent all night and all morning working on my assignment and having reached an impassable impasse – and quite frankly, being totally sick and tired of it and no longer concerned about the lousy 6% it’s worth, another friend I wasn’t aware I had helped me work towards fixing the last few annoying and very stupid bugs. Strangely, it ends up she’s a good friend of my divinely sent early morning guide, but neither were aware the other was helping me, and thus began my suspicion, which resulted in the strange tale of conspiracy and intrigue outlined below.
My Fan Club
It appears that I have a fan club. I guess it had to happen eventually, but I was surprised to find that there’s apparently a group of people who’ve all read or read my journal, and seem to know a scary amount about me – but I know nothing about them. It’s strange enough having people know me by site and name when I’ve no idea who they are, but it becomes almost alarming when they seem to know everything from who emailed me what and when to who I sit with at any time at uni – but it’s still cool having my own fan club – t-shirts coming soon.
I submitted my assignment. Big thanks to Matt and Ana for guiding me – perhaps one day I’ll be able to understand things on my own, or start assignments before 3 AM the day they’re due, but I’m not holding my breath. My current study methods – extreme stress, panic, desperation and an infeasible timeframe seem to work – if they ain’t broke, why fix ‘em?
Tim and Michelle dropped by, and unlike the past few times, I was actually awake – as I hadn’t gone to sleep last night.
I drove up to the Smith Road shops to get some scratch-its for Joe and chips for us both, which we ate while watching an interesting documentary on walruses (the polar bear won) and the finding of GB’s last great warship, the iconic HMS Hood, sadly epitomizing the end of an era, and the rise of the new American Empire.
Funnily enough, I’m not sleepy, despite staying up all night, but I shall go to bed or I’ll never wake tomorrow – as they say, if you’re not wasted, the day is.

03.11.2003Monday 3 November – Medallion

I finally cleaned the toilet, this being the first non-kitchen thing I’ve cleaned in months. No, that’s not true – I clean the bathroom mirror sometimes.
I headed into uni to witness the marking of my COMP2302 AVR assignment. I turned up early and got mine marked straight away, which was good, as I’d been told by others to expect to wait a long time. Because I’d implemented nearly everything, including the group things I didn’t need to, and because I’m just so good and told the marker that all the bugs were memory-saving features, and because, I guess, the actual end result of my sleepless nights wasn’t too bad after all – I got 112%. This will be rounded back to 100, but I was pretty happy with it.
After my marking, Clint and I bussed into Indooroopilly where we had dinner and watched “Medallion”. Dinner, at least for me, was a falafel roll, or kebab as everyone seems to call them now – and some American takeaway goo for Clint. “Medallion” is a Jacki Chan movie, and like most of them, a little too silly in places but still quite amusing and enjoyable. It’s nice when a movie is cleanly funny, something it seems Americans can’t do. Actually, the Irish setting and use of Interpol, rather than the traditional NYPD or LAPD along with the obligatory black wise guy, was nice too.
After the movie Clint and I walked down to the milkshake station, where I caught a train home while drinking a very thick vanilla milkshake. I feel suitably sick now.
I must be an idiot, I’m still awake. I guess staying up for so long so many times doing my assignments has permanently converted me into a late night beast. Feel free to insert a comma into that past sentence, I’m sick of them.

04.11.2003Tuesday 4 November

Today will remain indelibly imprinted into my memory as the day I bought 4 litres of vanilla ice cream, half a litre of cream and three cans of baked beans. All this before picking up two pizzas, a chocolate ice cream thing and diet coke – and I’d already been up to Smith Road to pick up some scratch-its and find Michelle’s winning sweepstakes. It’s no wonder I’m so radiantly healthy, although my getting fat diet doesn’t seem to be working.
After a record uptime of 6 weeks, 4 days, 14 hours and 43 minutes, I had to do an emergency shutdown when my CPU fan all but stopped and the system became unstable. This gives me a good chance to install some security updates I’ve been putting off, and should provide the impetus I need to go out and buy a new fan.
I had wanted to see the first and second matrices, as I’d not seen the first on the big screen, and they’re showing them both tomorrow, but I can’t get home after the second one. Brisbane’s metro sucks, it stops about the same time any sane person would want to go out. I guess the obvious inference is that there are few sane people here, something borne out in the way they set out their footpaths. Anyway, this left me with a dilemma. I could either see the first matrix and go home, or I could see ¾ of the second one and run very fast to central station just in time to get a train home – or I could go see all three and stay the night somewhere in town. I was going to go see all three, walk back to uni from Indooroopilly, and sleep in the lab or something – sleeping in a room full of computers sounds rather like heaven anyway. The problem with this was that I don’t know how to get to uni from Indooroopilly, so it relied on someone from uni coming with me – which Clint was going to do until we found out that if I see all three, I’m stuck in cinema eleven, and he’d not be allowed in, so that ruined that idea. Luckily, I’m a man of many ideas, so I phoned Tim and Michelle and arranged to stay the night at their place and see them at the City Cinemas instead. I even managed to get official permission to jump the queue – apparently, when I go to pick up my tickets, I’ll get a note to give to the usher and he’ll let me wait in the foyer ahead of all the crazed matrix freaks who’ve been queuing for hours. I’ve never done a full movie marathon like this before, and I’m not sure if it’s humanly possible to watch seven hours of the Matrix, with its horribly unsuited and disgustingly loud music and overall greenness, but I guess I’ll find out – it’s a challenge anyway.
I am not sleepy.
I’m still not sleepy.
I’m a little bit sleepy, but this ice cream is waking me up.
I’m still not sleepy, but if I don’t go to bed now, I fear I won’t wake up in time to go to the shops before my movie tomorrow, which would be dismal.

05.11.2003Wednesday 5 November – There is no spoon

Having caught a train into town and managing to get lost in the Myer-centre looking centre next to the Myer centre, I headed up to the cinema and insisted I had a reservation. Apparently, they’re under strict instructions to disallow any phone reservations, and they were quite surprised I’d managed to get one – I’m apparently very lucky. They had to call half the staff to come, see, and figure out how to convert my reservation into tickets, which in the end they couldn’t, so I got new tickets to the wrong movies and cinema instead – two tickets to “Matrix Reloaded” and one to “Matrix Revolutions” in the wrong cinema. Not very handy, but it was eventually sorted out, there already being a few hundred weirdos queuing, I headed down the lift and bought a McDonalds “Garden Salad” veggie burger and Cold Rock “Super Shake” to sustain me throughout the night ahead.
By the time I’d eaten my burger and gotten back to the cinema the queue had gone and I was able to walk straight into the cinema and pick my favourite spot – right in the middle of the front row, where the screen most fully fills my field of vision. I don’t know why everyone else likes to sit up the back where the screen appears about the size of a large home television. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen “The Matrix”, and I never saw it on the big screen, so it was good to see it larger (and louder) than life. The cinema was huge – I didn’t know they had one so large.
After the first movie finished, I rushed downstairs and out into the matrix, Brisbane rather, to buy some reality. I walked around the block, bought some Pringles, walked around the block the other way, and headed back to the cinema.
Once again, the queue was gone by the time I got back to the cinema and I was able to walk straight in and get my favourite seat. The first time I saw “The Matrix Reloaded”, I wasn’t overly impressed. I’d been expecting, or hoping, for something to live up to the first movie, but it didn’t. This time, though, I just watched it without trying to fit it into any preconceived notions – and it was good.
After the end of reloaded, while still dazed and incoherent, we all trooped out to the toilets to be met by a queue of thousands, who’d been waiting for a long time and were all excited. Everyone, sheeplike, filed to the end of their appropriate queue except two others, and I, who waited at the door to the cinema – with a thousand people who’d probably been waiting for hours watching us, and walked right back in, in front of everyone. I even managed to get into the booked out larger cinema, despite having a ticket to the smaller cinema.
I bought $8 worth of Coca Cola (®©™etc) and lollies from the little shop they set up at the front of the theatre, and settled back in the very centre of the front row as hundreds of people poured, sentinel-style, into the cinema. The attendants had to shuffle people around to fit us all in – it was totally packed, I believe there was only one seat spare, and that was the one beside me. I was quite fortunate, getting my perfect seat, no queues and the only person in the entire cinema with two seats. The cinema man came and gave a little “This is the matrix” introductory talk, people clapped and cheered and it began – my first movie premiere.
By this point, having already watched two matrix movies, they all began to merge. I lost track of where one ended, and another began, so I couldn’t say how the third movie was – as it had fused into the first two. The overall effect I got from seeing all three movies as one single epic story was great. Events from each linked, tying the storyline together, and I realised that it actually has a lot of merit – despite the all too numerous excursions into stupidity and very unrealistic, immature nonsense and the obvious flaws in the plot. I, and most other people, stayed through right until the end of all the credits, when some people cheered and others booed, and I walked back out into the matrix, Brisbane I mean, and walked through South Bank to Tim and Michelle’s and tried to sleep.
Not surprisingly, despite it being 3 AM, I couldn’t sleep. I kept going over the movie in my mind, and the more I thought about it, the better I thought it was. Some of the fight scenes and CGI, while overdone, are fantastic, and the plot – ignoring for a moment its failings, really is complex enough to make one think, but coherent enough to work. I judge a movie on its memorability, that is, if it’s worth thinking about afterwards, and how much I enjoyed watching it – so, using those criteria, the Matrix as a trilogy ranks fairly highly. I managed to sit through seven hours, in the front row, without getting tired, bored or even a sore neck – and I’m still thinking about it a day later. Ironically, when I watched the third Movie on its own this afternoon, and when I watched the second part last year, neither impressed me much. It only works as a whole.

06.11.2003Thursday 6 November

I had a nice sleep in, after lying awake for ages thinking last night.
Being already in Dutton Park, I headed into uni, where I got some pasta and left-over pizza ingredients for lunch, checked my email, went on chat for a little bit, and eventually caught up with Clint. He wanted to go see “The Matrix Revolutions”, so I, of course, went with him. Surprisingly, the bus didn’t crash and the journey into Indooroopilly was rather uneventful, apart from bumping into Robert and his girlfriend on the bus – which was also rather uneventful, a bus not being the most social of meeting places.
Matrix Revolutions Take Two
After some moosh for my belly, I retired to the cinema with Clint, a frozen coke and my jelly babies. “The Matrix Revolutions” by itself isn’t anywhere near as good as the entire trilogy, and I was surprised where it started – I’d gotten confused when they merged last night. I’m also still wondering why they needed a Sanskrit assistant.
Going home is boring, so we missed the train into the city, walked around in circles in, out, and through the Myer centre and Queen Street Mall, and eventually bought food from Hungry Jacks before sneaking into Woolworth’s to buy chocolate, and then heading home.
All of a sudden I am tired, so I think I’ll go lie down and brush my teeth – not necessarily in that order

07.11.2003Friday 7 November – Lazy

I did absolutely nothing. I feel apathetic – nay, atrophied. I am utterly lacking energy. I actually think I’m overflowing with energy, but as I’ve not used it up, it’s making me lethargic. Still, I needed a day like this. Tomorrow I have to return the DVD’s, so I’ll have to venture out into the light and use some muscles, walk, and interact with my environment and so on.

08.11.2003Saturday 8 November – Airfare, Kill Bill

My lung hurts, which always freaks me out. I don’t want to be a hypochondriac, but it’s always worrying.
I did done buy me one airplane ticket to Cairns. $129, flying out early Sunday morning, arriving before lunch – I should be able to stay the night at Silas’s and do some shopping the next day, and then try to figure out how to get home. He has his last exam the Tuesday after I’ll arrive (assuming no hijacking), and is planning to move shortly after that, so with a bit of luck I’ll be able to get a lift home with him – not that I believe in luck of course, so I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
I had a feeling I needed to get my DVD’s back by 5 PM, so I left shortly after 4 PM and walked them back to the shop, buying some coco pops and 2-minute noodles on the way home. I hadn’t even watched any of them.
Dave arrived, and Joe was running woefully low on Coke, so Dave and I popped down to the bottle-o to stock up.
Now my shoulder and neck hurts. It feels like a strained muscle, and I’m hoping that’s the only reason my lung feels sore.
Clint and I came to a joint agreement, after much discussion, that anything was better than sitting on IRC feeling guilty for not studying all night. Unfortunately, due to Brisbane’s Stone Age transport policy, it’s not really possible for anyone from uni to stay anywhere later than 10 PM without their own car, and similarly, if I go to uni I’m stuck there if I stay too late. Nevertheless, being stuck at home is far, far worse – and inspired by this collective fear we planned to go see a B-grade horror movie at the Schonell, which just might finish in time for me to get home again. Fortunately for all concerned, Alex was also bored, and offered to drive Clint home after, so we were all able to have a happy, happy night at Indooroopilly instead. I trained into Indooroopilly and Clint bussed, while Alex and Peter drove and we all sat in the Pig & Whistle (Ye Olde English pub) discussing unusual topics before acquiring food from McDonalds and heading to the cinema to see “Kill Bill”. As usual, things had to go differently for me – I had to wait while McDonalds grew my vegeburger, then the girl I bought my cinema ticket from, or perhaps her till, refused to sell me a ticket despite everyone’s best efforts, and then I was sent, ticketless, to the wrong cinema. At least there wasn’t half a thousand people queuing behind me like when they tried to figure out how to sell me reserved but booked-out Matrix tickets. We sat towards the back of the cinema, as everyone tends to do, and I was able to, once again, verify that it is nowhere near as good as sitting down the front, but it was fun anyway – and I even got a lift down to the train station afterwards.
Now my face hurts – it feels like a pinched nerve, or more accurately, many pinched nerves. As usual, everyone just says, “You need to eat better”. I’m not entirely sure how diet affects nerves and muscles but I’m reasonably sure strained muscles and pinched nerves are atypically diet-related symptoms, except perhaps in extreme cases (eating hugely heavy things upside down, for example). Perhaps I’m not getting enough cream with my ice cream.

09.11.2003Sunday 9 November – Indigestion

Too Early
Around half past ten, I had to get up and drive Joe down to his bowls club. I then stayed awake all day, at least physically.
Happy Joe
Joe came home and he’s happy because his meeting went well with few arguments and he won money afterwards. We ordered pizza to celebrate (and to eat).
I ate too much pizza and garlic bread and now I have indigestion. It sucks.
I’m going to take my indigestion to bed.
I got an email: “Hello! I was visiting you site and i wonder. Do you know anything about the CD File system”? It just so happens I do, but I’m stumped as to what would give someone the idea I do. I suppose the wonderful search engines, who have kindly gone and catalogued nearly every day of my journal on its individual day pages as well as the complete year pages, would throw up some funny results for certain searches. Gee, that sentence sucks; I can’t even remember what it means.
I suppose I should continue with my plan of taking my indigestion to bed.
Now I have an email enquiring if the mIRC script that I’m hosting, Peace & Protection, will work under Pirch98. It doesn’t, unfortunately.
Let’s try to get my indigestion to bed again shall we?

10.11.2003Monday 10 November – Undead

Being awoke when, yet morning was over – the coco pops having resurrected in vain.
To dispel the study, which was not, it was to uni. Time ran away, with a shower needed to get the train. This was hard, but in time despite much small change, being glad it fit – worry is not worth the tickets. Clint wore his wrist away, although early out. We ate Subway sandwiches – the pizza was too late from exams and would have overflowed “Undead”, which the Schonell had, and was amusing. Horror, but the suspense was not there so ha-ha. Nevertheless, the spinal cord did walk.
The bus and I met within time, and went to North Quay onto Roma Street Station with the train and home where the animals had food – but no puppy rolls. It took such a long time for the girl to find her ticket that the driver said not to bother.
This is the problem – having awake in the wrong way, it is non-standard yet feels natural.
Comment by bob – Tuesday 11 November 2003, 7:47 AM
  0wned again, neddy!

11.11.2003Tuesday 11 November – Very Normal

Mr Martin
Insert “The Matrix” music here. In one life, I spent a quiet day at home, where I did some washing, fed the animals, cooked pasta and vegetables for dinner and watched “Ransom” before going to bed. In my other life, where I go by the alias “thei”, I spent some time developing an XSLT method of parsing my XML music list – with limited success after getting some help from a friendly woman on a mailing list, chatted a little with a few people on IRC, and experienced a power failure which took two reboots to recover from.
Comment by keight – Friday 14 November 2003, 1:10 PM
Comment by Ned – Friday 14 November 2003, 3:18 PM
  I had to go do some exam study with this funny guy… that took all day…
Comment by keight – Saturday 15 November 2003, 4:54 PM
  Yes, but that dosent take 4 days, does it
Comment by keight – Saturday 15 November 2003, 11:17 PM
  If I'd put $1 each way, on each of those horses, I would have been up $5.50.
  If I'd put $1 for a place, on each of those horses, I would have would have been up $14.50.

12.11.2003Wednesday 12 November – Productive

I went to bed at 4 AM, went to uni at 11 AM, got home at 6 PM and actually had a somewhat productive day. I printed many lecture notes and other horrendous things. I went and got some COMP2500 marks recounted and correctly added up. I went and talked to my INFS1200 lecturer. I did grocery shopping.

13.11.2003Thursday 13 November – This day did not exist

I do not believe this day existed. It is my firm and unwavering belief that it was placed into time for purely mathematical reasons, to pad out the time between Wednesday and Friday.
I live in my own little world, but it’s ok – they know me here.

14.11.2003Friday 14 November – Study

I went to uni and met Matt, who is human and wasn’t quite as I’d expected from talking to him on IRC. I also met Ana, albeit fleetingly. This meeting of IRC people and finding they’re sometimes almost normal is ruining all my ideas about reality and other such IRC concepts. Matt and I studied COMP2302 down the bottom of the engineering library, breaking for lunch in the middle and getting a private study room after. We actually managed to do over a quarter of the two-hour practice exam, which isn’t too bad I guess, considering we had all day to do it. I haven’t procrastinated so sparsely during study in a long time and Matt explained a few things I’m too dumb to explain to myself, so it was good.
I knew if I didn’t study all night, I’d probably fail my exam tomorrow, so I managed to study for a while – although I sort of hit a wall, mentally speaking, after which point there was simply no way I could study, no matter what I told myself. It just wasn’t possible. I felt like a mule, being pulled by the reins and not able to go anywhere until someone stopped pulling.

15.11.2003Saturday 15 November – Computer Organisation and Introduction to Information Systems Exams

I woke up feeling poorly. I then ran for the train, and probably would have missed it, had I not realised while collapsing against a wall at the station, that it’s Saturday and trains run different times – so I ended up having to wait and getting to uni late.
The refectory wasn’t open. I could not buy food. This is a major disaster and just the beginning of a very bad day. I began to feel weak and sick, and the iced coffee I bought from the vending machine near the labs didn’t help.
I studied for my COMP2302 “Computer Organisation” exam in the one remaining open non-postgraduate lab while the bile fought within. Shortly before the exam, I went and bought the only edible thing in the famed GPS “Wheel of Death” – fruit salad yoghurt. Not surprisingly, this did not make me feel any better, and it used up the last of my change so I couldn’t even afford to call a doctor.
Computer Organisation Exam
Tim arrived and spared a few minutes to help me understand a few things from the one lecture I missed of the entire course – which, of course, happens to be the one lecture that dealt with an entirely new concept that is heavily examined. We then walked up to the UQ Centre and sat our two-hour 11:15 AM COMP2302 exam. It wasn’t too bad; I didn’t stress or worry, just calmly wrote down semi-random things and took mildly educated guesses. Statistically, one in five of my multi-choice answers will be right, but because I attempted to apply my learning to the selection it is probably biased and because my learning isn’t very learnt, I really can’t say how I’ve gone – I just hope I’ve at least passed.
Death by bird
After the exam, I walked down to St Leo’s College with Marcus, saw Kieran, and then onto Clint’s room. Clint and I walked back up to the Schonell Pizza place, narrowly avoiding death by bird, bought a pizza, and attempted to study for our INFS1200 “Introduction to Information Systems” exam. Clint’s left shoulder dislodged a crazy ibis from its flight, crash landing it onto my can of Pepsi, which I then had to throw out for fear of deadly bird diseases. I wish Clint would keep his shoulders to himself and let the poor birds fly in peace.
We ended up back in the labs studying, the seats being more comfortable and less windy and the kamikaze birds firmly outside. Overall, I managed a sorrowful amount of study, having concentrated the past day on procrastination and my other exam, believing this one to be the easier of the two. Had I used any intelligence, I would have realised that this exam has to be passed to pass the course, whereas the other one doesn’t – but of course, thinking isn’t my strong point, I wouldn’t be at uni if it were.
Introduction to Information Systems Exam
Alex arrived shortly after, pencil-less, and we all headed off to our exam like sheep to the slaughter, stopping at Alex’s car where he found two pencils and an eraser under his front seat – I dare not think what else is under there. By this time, not only did my stomach hurt, but the majority of my other vital (and not so vital) organs, including my left eye, my head, my other eye, the part between that eye and the other eye, my ears, the part between my ears and my other eye and that eye, and some other parts that I forget the name of. To put it simply, I felt bad. I had (presumably) stress-induced indigestion (although it could be from having no food I suppose), and something resembling a headache but behind my eyes – which I think is from using parts of my brain that I hadn’t used since they were last reinstalled. Fortunately, someone knew where the exam was, as I’d never have found it – we walked through the gym and into what seemed to be a squash court or something with lots of seats. The next two hours and ten minutes were not pleasant. I felt very sleepy, and had to continually fight the urge to give up this unfair fight and just go home. The exam had a woefully small amount of questions – six if I remember rightly. Normally, fewer questions would tend to sound better, but in reality, it means that when I forget how to do one and skip it, instead of losing one or two percent, I’m skipping ten or twenty percent. Similarly, getting one question wrong becomes a much bigger deal. I can’t say how strongly I disagree with this forced, unnatural and very unfair way of “proving” our ability – exams suck, I detest them. Exams that end at 8 PM are even worse. Where are these human rights watchdogs when you need them?
After my dismal performance, which, by my estimation, just might get me a pass if I got nearly everything very right – which is probably not too likely, Clint, Kieran and I walked down to Subway and satiated our indigestion, and then slowly around to the CityCat terminal, from whence I didst depart.
The journey home was strange. I think I was in an alternate reality, or, more likely, everyone else was. Disembarking from the ferry, I ran into a large group of scantily clad, fuzzy pink women – which isn’t what I was expecting this soon before midnight. Then, on the train, the people were just odd. There was one man sleeping on the floor, and another man who was just plain peculiar, and drunk – and the rest were women (who all seemed to act strangely, but that’s hardly anything unusual). There are invariably many more men around after midnight, at least on public transport, so I’m not sure what was going on. Then, when I got off at my station, there was a group of young women sitting on the platform with cans of peeled tomatoes. This is after midnight, on the train station platform – just odd.
Comment by bv – Sunday 16 November 2003, 7:35 PM
  What brand were the cans of peeled tomatoes? Size? Tomato capacity? Amount of tomatoes on the label? Price velocity? What would the New Keynesian school have to say about them?
  I think macro study is getting to me...
Comment by Ned – Monday 17 November 2003, 10:59 AM
  That red and white brand, I forget the name.
Comment by ma – Monday 17 November 2003, 9:39 PM
  Beware the hot tomato my son

16.11.2003Sunday 16 November – Rest

I had a badly needed quiet day after the horror of yesterday. We have a new Dave staying here for a while. He’s apparently Joe’s foster nephew, and hasn’t seen Joe in a while, but was having a bit of trouble back home and had to get away for a bit – or something like that, I haven’t heard the full story yet. Tim and Michelle also came over. Dave and I drove up to the shops and got chips for dinner and that about sums up my day.
I stayed up messing around trying to figure out some multi-level nested Muenchian Grouping to parse my music list into something more logical than it currently is. I wanted songs listed by artist, with their respective albums nested within. This I currently had, but various artists compilations parse as a single track by a single artist, which isn’t ideal. I haven’t been able to think of any way to determine whether a particular song belongs to a normal album all by the one artist, or whether it belongs to a compilation of various artists. Upon deeper thought, I don’t think it’s actually possible – take a song, “[Metallica – St. Anger] Invisible Kid” (which just so happens to be playing now). Looking at that song, is it possible to tell if it’s from a compilation of, say, heavy metal songs by various heavy metal artists, or if it’s track five on Metallica’s “St. Anger” album? I don’t think it is possible. I’ve currently done what I think is the next (and possibly only) best thing – if an artist from a particular artist/album combination has only one song, it’s assumed to be from a various artists compilation unless there are no other songs within that album, in which case it’s assumed to be a single. All other songs, which have more than one song per artist, are sorted as before. It’s not ideal but I can’t figure out anything better yet.

17.11.2003Monday 17 November – Centrelink, In the Cut, 330 Tonne Cranes

I went to uni. I had meant to go to uni earlier, but ended after last night, I slept in. I went and saw Clint, who is packing up to leave this afternoon. We walked down to the local bottle-o, “The Fridge”. I drank a can of Pepsi on the way there and another on the way back because Clint has lots and no fridge or time to drink them before he goes home, and then I felt very sick. Pepsi seems to react with the spring rolls (last year’s spring by the looks) I ate from the refectory, causing imminent almost-death. I also went and saw my INFS1200 and COMP2500 lecturers to find out how to pass my exam I’ve already done, and my one I haven’t yet done, respectively.
I went to POD and printed out last year’s COMP2500 exams and the practice exam, which I will study tomorrow – honestly.
I caught a bus to Toowong and went to that cradle of modern society, Centrelink. I always expect to see riot police outside Centrelink offices, but as usual, there wasn’t. I found out what I needed to know, without having to wait too long in line, and it was all generally good.
In the Cut
I went and saw “In the Cut” at Indooroopilly. Its synopsis sums it up nicely: “A New York English teacher who may have witnessed something vital to a murder case becomes erotically involved with the investigating detective.” That’s the entire plot, including all twists and turns, summed up in one sentence – definitely not my favourite movie, although it could just be my mood. It’s been really hot, and I’m in a sort of annoyed melancholy sort of mood, bordering on stressed insanity.
On the way home via the City to find a supermarket, I came across a 330 tonne capacity, 28 wheeled, 13 storey high solid crane. It took over an hour for them to set it up. It came in on a 28-wheeled truck with a six-wheeled trailer, and five or so semi-trailers. They then proceeded to put the various vital bits onto the crane, including 90 tonnes of counterbalances that took three semi-trailers to carry, and then began to use it to dismantle the fixed crane that had been building a new skyscraper. It was quite impressive and I, along with a group of brainy looking men, ended up watching it for two hours.

18.11.2003Tuesday 18 November – Very Bad Things

I was woken after 2:30 by Joe, to find out how Dave was when he got home last night. I had a very sore throat and didn’t feel good at all. I spent the rest of the day wasting time. I watched “Waking Ned Devine”, which is quite nice and funny, and then finished off watching “Very Bad Things” – which is a very bad movie.
Joe came and asked me if I’d seen Dave, which I haven’t. He figures he’s gone back to his old ways, so he’s no longer welcome here. I am to refuse entry, and call the police if violence ensues.
It’s time for bed. I’ve eaten tons of nasty jelly mix lollies, and am at risk of hyperglycaemia. In fact, the causes of hyperglycaemia are too much food, less exercise than usual, more stress than usual, and an infection or injury – all of which apply to me right now. The symptoms are fatigue, dry mouth and skin, increased thirst, increased hunger, unexplained weight loss, increased urination, blurry vision, and I can’t quite read the next one – I think it says fatigue, but I’m too tired to see...

19.11.2003Wednesday 19 November – Washing

I had an average day, with very little happening. I stayed home and tried a bit of study, did some washing and made some food. The washing machine here sucks and takes half a day to do a load. Instead of pumping the water out, then spinning, it tries to spin with the water in, goes out on its thermal overload, sits for ten minutes until the thermal resets, and then repeats. Each time it pumps a little bit of water out, so eventually there’s no water left and it manages to spin. If I wasn’t so slack, I guess I could have a look at the water sensor, but it’s a big commercial washer and they’re not usually fun to open.
Marks for my COMP2302 Computer Organisation assignment were released today – the one where I had to read through 400 page PDF’s and try to find obscure facts, which took a long time and I didn’t learn a single thing. I got 66 out of 80, which I’m not overly happy with, but compared to the average of 55.4 and the maximum of 77.5, it’s not too bad – I’d say I’ve made the third quartile, and am at least a standard deviation above the mean, which is what I hope for, although 100% is, of course, better.

20.11.2003Thursday 20 November – French, Morons, and Michelle

I got up and caught a train into uni to study – which I managed to do for most of the day.
I was banned for the third time from the BITS IRC channel. It’s pretty funny really – yesterday someone said French was the second most popular language, and spoken by one fifth of the world. This is obviously not true, so I said as much, and the majority of the speaking people in the channel then had an argument with me, over whether French was indeed spoken by one fifth of the world, or second most popular language after English, or more popular than Spanish... and several other wrong or ill-informed things relating to French. After I actually bothered to go find and paste the 2002 estimates of the percentage of people who speak French (around two percent (128 million), which includes all people able to speak French, whether natively or acquired – considerably less than those who speak Chinese, Hindi, English, Spanish, Bengali, Portuguese, Russian or Japanese. French ranks about twelfth in usage as a native language, and a bit higher overall), I was told it was always BITS versus myself, and they can’t all be wrong. I think Clint and I are the only people to have seen the irony in that. Then I was banned. Today I was banned again, twice, because of yesterday’s argument – it never ceases to surprise me how stupid and stubborn some people are. It’s just poor little me (and the linguist’s society, encyclopaedias, world books...) against all of BITS – as they so thoughtfully pointed out, they can’t all be wrong... dimwits. It does make for good entertainment though – normally no one much talks.
I met a guy from my tute while I was at POD printing out past tutorials, so went and had a look at a showcase of some of his art and animations that he’d made, which was impressive. I also bought a milkshake for lunch and met, by accident, the feared alexdlm – instigator of the biased bits bans from this morning. Then, feeling usefully sick, I continue studying.
I stopped studying, having nearly fallen asleep in the labs, and walked to Tim and Michelle’s to do the social thing and say my goodbyes. Neither was home, but Tim’s sister was up from Melbourne so I stayed and had a chat until Tim and Michelle arrived. I’d planned to stay only an hour or so as I needed to get home and prepare for tomorrow, but people just kept arriving until there were many of us, and I ended up catching the last train home.
I got a lift down to Southbank Station, but it was boring so I walked to South Brisbane Station, which was much more interesting. There was the man who kept trying to walk off the platform and didn’t seem inclined to speak – the poor station girl had to keep him from being squished. Then there was a young (and probably ex) couple, who climbed off the end of the platform, somehow made a huge noise sounding something like a cross between shotgun fire and a car accident – and then the girl came back and tried to get a $5 note changed, phoned someone, cried and didn’t seem very happy at all. Some security arrived, and a man got very angry with them, claiming they were trying to rip him off, so they left. Then the stationmaster came, by which time the taciturn man with his strange attraction for the edge of the platform had retired to the phone box, where he seemed to be having a good time making loud noises throwing around some small change. The girl had disappeared off the end of the platform again, presumably looking for the body parts of her ex-boyfriend. It all looked semi-normal, and then the last train arrived. The girl appeared and ran up to the phone and had a screaming argument with the phone-dweller because he wouldn’t let her use the phone. Meanwhile the stationmaster was trying to tell the both of them that this was the last train, and train security looked suitably menacing just in case. They both were left behind. I wonder if either of them survived. I have a mental picture of the platform in the morning – with an uncommunicative man splattered along the rails, a distressed woman dead from cold or cockroaches or something, holding her boyfriends dismembered head and a boyfriend spread for a hundred metres off the end of the platform surrounded by debris.
Joe came and brought me Tim Tam’s, but I need to get to bed. I want to be up early and off to uni to study for my exam. This is all bad – I will be so sleepy and worn out during my exam. I am rapidly developing a dislike for this course. How is it possible to have something called “Programming in the Large / Advanced Software Engineering” and then teach Java? I believe I understand most of the software engineering concepts we’ve been taught, but I don’t know how to implement them correctly in Java, especially not on paper, without the ability to test or debug. I don’t believe this course should require Java, or any language – and it definitely shouldn’t be set out where a lack of understanding in Java means failure despite understanding the theoretical concepts, as it is. It’s effectively “Advanced Object-Oriented Java Kludge”, which is not good. Moreover, Java sucks.

21.11.2003Friday 21 November – Programming in the Large / Advanced Software Engineering exam and last day of semester

Today is the last day of this semester.
I had meant to be at uni by nine o’clock, but after not getting to bed until four, I sort of slept in a little. I still managed to be at uni by ten though, and had actually done a small amount of study before midday, when I could stay awake.
I went and had lunch and sat down beside one of the ponds and admired the big fountain, the ducks, the myriads of birds and some bearded dragons. I have also worked out why bearded dragons, of all the huge and ferocious dinosaurs, were the ones that didn’t die out. They’re lazy. The rest died from overwork – they probably had high taxes.
I studied all evening, when I wasn’t staring blankly at things or laying my head on the keyboard wishing I could sleep. I felt so tired. I just managed to study everything and make an index page (the exam being open book) when Dina turned up, so we went and I bought a Coke from the Schonell Pizzeria, where funnily enough, we met our lecturer eating pizza. He wouldn’t even give a single question away, and when I got to the exam hall, the scary powerful people wouldn’t let me take in my Coke. Apparently, only clear liquids are allowed. I considered pointing out that I could see the lights through my Coke or that it was a medical requirement, or that I was taking in a few thousand pieces of paper so I wasn’t very likely to smuggle an extra piece in my Coke bottle, but decided I shouldn’t. Drinking a bottle of Coke at high speed while everyone else files into an exam is a stressful experience in itself.
I, and a multitude of other lost souls, went and sat our exams at the large exhibition centre. My COMP2500 Programming in the Large / Advanced Software Engineering exam makes up 60% of my course mark, and has six questions. Despite the course name, it had much more to do with Java than any type of generalised software engineering, which, as I said yesterday, is wrong. I’m not at all sure how I went – I hope to have passed, but whether I even did, and if I did, by how much, I just can’t tell. I’d like to get a semi-reasonable result, but I guess I can’t complain too much, as I could hardly call my study effort semi-reasonable – staying out all night and being too tired to keep both eyes open at once and then trying to learn the entire course matter. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for the results and see. I believe this course has sadly failed in its stated goals anyway – a good result in this exam would only show that I’ve learnt some Java, not that I’ve learnt what the course was supposed to teach.
Having finished my exam, and my first year of uni, I walked back to Kieran’s room, talked for a while, and then headed down to the CityCat via the Red Room to see if there was anyone still there. I didn’t think there was, but was told later that not only were some friends hiding in plain view and yelling my name – they actually chased me out the door, but were met by the pizza woman... which explains it all, I guess. I couldn’t have stayed long anyway, so I guess it’s not too much of a calamity. As it was, even after buying a large milkshake from a Southbank shop, I was borderline delusional on the train. I kept thinking I’d missed my station, and that half an hour had passed, only to wake up and find we’d only gone one more station since I last woke.

22.11.2003Saturday 22 November – Packing

It is incredibly hot. I’m sorting through seemingly endless pieces of paper, packing away all my lecture notes, sorting what are vital documents from what aren’t, and storing it all away, in preparation for returning home tomorrow.
I caught a train into Central Station where I met Clint on his way down to the BITS End of Year Party. I stayed until just before it started, and then headed back here again, where I’ve now eaten some fried rice, and am trying to find the motivation to go clean the kitchen. I’ll also do a backup, burn it to some CD’s, copy some stuff across to my spare drive so I can take it with me, and pack all my things. Then I’ll only have to clean this room, pack the PC into its box, and try to sleep. I hope I wake in time to get to the airport.
Comment by Ma – Sunday 23 November 2003, 10:43 PM
  Yes, but, have you eaten your greens?
Comment by DK – Monday 24 November 2003, 10:06 AM
  Wishing you a safe journey home ;-)
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 25 November 2003, 12:45 PM
  No, and thanks, in that order :-)
Comment by keight – Thursday 27 November 2003, 10:07 PM
  oi ned, wheres the damn updates!!
Comment by Ned – Friday 28 November 2003, 5:13 PM
  Hello, I've just gotten home right now, I'll try to upload my updates soon :-)

23.11.2003Sunday 23 November – Flight to Cairns

I caught a horribly early train into Central Station and another from there to the domestic airport in time to catch my 8:30 AM Virgin Blue flight to Cairns, having stayed up all night. We were packed in like sardines, but without the oil. Fortunately, I was seated between two nice women, one of who had a father in Cooktown, and ever since sleeping on rocks, ice, dirty train stations and various other exciting but unconventional things in India, I’ve had no trouble sleeping on demand so slept most of the flight.
I rang Silas from the airport. He could only croak, but he came and picked me up. Apparently, he had a rather large night last night. He already had the flu, but had to go to a goodbye party for work, and it seems the party never ended. As I’d stayed up all night, and as Silas was bordering on death, we both slept all evening. Silas cooked up a nice dinner and then we both slept all night.

24.11.2003Monday 24 November – Wedding Present

Silas panicked and studied for his exam tomorrow, I discussed unusual and obviously meaningful dreams with his flatmate, Alicia, went shopping for suitable wedding attire for Shan’s wedding, annoyed Silas, and went shopping again. I had a nice falafel kebab for lunch, bought some blank DVD’s for Silas, a manual for Mum’s new car, some new shoes, belt, tie, petrol and many other things too exciting to mention.
Wedding Present
I went to every shop I could find that would sell milkshake makers, and ended up buying a blender from Myers. I am quite happy with it. If I needed a blender for myself, I’d want this one. It has a nice solid glass container, a very solid stainless base, and only one simple knob. It’s just what I was looking for really – classy and expensive enough but not too much so, and hopefully something they’ll actually find useful. I just hope no one else buys them one.

25.11.2003Tuesday 25 November – Silas finishes University

Silas and Alicia both headed off to exams in the morning, leaving me free to use Silas’s computer. I went online and did all the normal online things, went on chat, checked email, noted my upcoming state of bankruptcy and so on.
After Silas and Alicia had returned from their exams and Silas had finished complaining about how bad he’d gone and that he’d never graduate and cooking black beans without rinsing out the salty water, we went over to Eric’s place. On the way back there was the tiniest sliver of the new moon, and it was a really nice night – a new moon, perfect for a new start for Silas. After that sooky sentiment, he and I drove up to the caravan park Dale and Ragnhild were staying in, and had a few glasses of wine with them. It was nice to meet the famed Ragnhild after having Dale talk about her for months, and see Dale again, who is looking healthy and happy.

26.11.2003Wednesday 26 November – Amy

Silas packed and messed around selling his computer. Bye the time the first woman came to look, he’d decided he wanted to sell it to another person, so had to work hard to convince this woman not to buy his computer – strange sales tactics, although he did end up selling it to another woman in the evening.
Silas and I drove up to Fairylands, near Kuranda, to see Joe’s daughter Amy, and had dinner with her. We ended up talking about ghosts, ghouls, aliens and all those other things that turn up when the light goes. I also heard a fuller version of the story about my room in Brisbane being haunted – something I will probably wish I hadn’t heard when I hear a strange noise at three AM one night. Apparently, none of the girls will sleep there, although they insist the evilness has now gone.

27.11.2003Thursday 27 November – Dark boat ride

Silas and I drove up to Cape Tribulation and Amos’s place. On the way, we saw a cassowary. It just happened to be in the only part of the road that has a little alley of forest and an alley of grass behind it. I’m not sure why. I crawled into the jungle, got to within a few yards of the savage beast, and took some photos. I wasn’t brave enough to go any closer, in case it killed me. It didn’t seem particularly perturbed, sitting down and snipping leaves with its beak. After a while, I got bored of it and Silas shooed it out into the open grassy bit, which it slowly and unworriedly walked across and into the forest, giving me some good photos. Then a tour bus turned up and we left.
We spent the evening telling a combination of Irish, nurse and scary spider jokes to three Irish nurses at Amos’s, one of which was very scared of spiders. Then, just after dark, Amos drove a tractor down to the beach, Silas drove his falcon truck-like through the bush, and we towed a small tinny from a creek out into the sea, loaded it up, and headed into the night – where we promptly hit a reef and got stuck. There was a bit of a swell, and we had to fight to keep the tinny pointing into the waves while we struggled to get off the reef, or we’d capsize and ruin all Silas’s and my luggage. There was almost no moon and it was cloudy, so we couldn’t see anything. A bit over two hours later, around 9 PM, we arrived at Kangaji Landing, Silas’s parent’s place, which was a little hard to get into due to the darkness, reef and low tide, but we managed with a lot of walking through sharp shellfish.
After a nice, hot Thai style curried rice, we went to bed exhausted. The last thing I remember was wishing I could get up and turn around so the moonlight wasn’t shining on me, but being unable to think the right things, and being unable to sleep because aliens might come down the moonbeams.

28.11.2003Friday 28 November – Home at last

Dad and Mum
After a restful but perhaps slightly delirious sleep and nice breakfast and lunch, Silas and I walked down to the landing and rowed the canoe out to the boat and fixed the motor – or attempted to. We then boated in to Bloomfield Wharf, a half hour or so drive, arriving a bit earlier than intended. We had a half hour wait at the wharf, during which time Jamie turned up having been up to empty the lodge’s wheelie bins. Dad and Mum arrived in their new (old) falcon, and we all lived happily ever after.

29.11.2003Saturday 29 November – Cooktown and Uni Results

After setting up my PC out in the caravan and getting it online, I found out that uni has released my results, and that I haven’t actually failed after all. I achieved a high distinction (7) for “Information Technology Project” (COMP1800), a distinction (6) for both “Programming in the Large” (COMP2500) and “Intro to Information Systems” (INFS1200), and a credit (5) for “Computer Organisation” (COMP2302). This averages out to a semester GPA of 6, and a total GPA of 5.75, with which I am happy although I’d like to do better next semester – if only I could study. Funnily enough, I was very worried about failing INFS1200, as I estimated I’d only get around 20 out of 40 for the exam. I’m wondering if they scaled the results at all. COMP1800 was easy – it didn’t even have an exam, and was sort of a guaranteed seven, which is good I guess. COMP2302 was the most involved, covering a wide range of related material. I think it should be split into two or more courses, personally, although now that I’ve completed it I can see how all the content does tie together at the end. It was really just too involved for me to get any better result than a five without putting in the required effort, which was, of course, too hard. I got what I put in, so to speak. I did not like the way COMP2500 used Java to teach its concepts, but I managed to get a six without understanding much Java, so I guess that somehow it did actually work, although I could probably have got a seven were it a better taught subject, as I think I’ve a sound understanding of the concepts. Once again, had I bothered to learn Java it would have undoubtedly helped. INFS1200 seemed fairly long and involved as I went through the semester, but at the end, it all boiled down to a few basic concepts, many of which were almost self-explanatory. Again, had I done any study I’d have been much more confident, but the very fact that I got a distinction without having done any study or any of the tutorials and stuff says something. Overall, I’d have to say I’m quite happy with my results, and very relieved to have passed everything – something about which I wasn’t at all confident. Interestingly, I have better marks than everyone else I’ve talked to so far, including those who studied seriously, did all the tutorials and actually knew what they were doing, despite my slackness and lack of study. I’d love to do a “Psychology of Learning” course – perhaps mad panic last minute cramming works better than serious study? Perhaps it’s just God helping me. I don’t know.
After a lovely and lazy morning, I finally phoned up Joneses to see what Shan was doing. He was up at the shop with Kylie unpacking things in preparation for moving in, so I walked up and said hello. They’d just had a run-in with their neighbour about water. Their pipeline runs across the road and down a neighbour’s fence line, and they were in the process of working out how to carry their pump down to the creek when they met the neighbour, who was psychotic and unpleasant, to say the least. Then I turned up, so we drove down to the Home Rule Bridge and walked up the creek past a large python skin, many prickles, fallen barbed wire (which I trod on), broken bottles, biting green ants and big scary maybe-spider holes and other such jungle dangers. It’s nice to be back in a non-concrete jungle.
Beneath Clouds
After a quick shave and shower, Dad, Mum and I drove into Cooktown. We did a wharfie just in time to see the remnants of a lovely sunset over the Endeavour, and then drove up to Sarah’s place. They were having their kickboxing break-up party, so there were many drunken bods watching videos of past fights. We then drove down to Ricci’s, where Rachel and Ian happened to be. Rachel and I drove down to the fisherman’s lease at the wharf and watched a pile of short films and a longer film – “Beneath Clouds”, at a Cooktown film festival, literally beneath the clouds and right beside a beautiful river. This wasn’t something I was expecting, considering Cooktown doesn’t even have a cinema. They’d set up a screen on the side of the ice works truck, and we all lazed about in the grass beside the crocodiles in the river and it was nice. I also realised just how sore I was from the boat ride the other day – the ground seemed very hard.
Phil Emmanuel
After the movie finished, Rachel and I made our way up to the Top Pub, where Dad, Mum and Ricci were, along with a small assortment of locals and Phil Emmanuel. I met many of the people I know, and had a good night. Phil’s guitar playing rocked, especially Matthew’s classical requests – Bach and Mozart on electric guitar is impressive.
The drive home was not so nice. The lights badly need adjusting, and it was sprinkling on and off, so I couldn’t see a thing. I just hoped there were no cows, pigs, kangaroos, aliens or aboriginals on the road anywhere, or big rocks, and drove. By the time I got home, my eyes were quite sore and I was very tired so went straight to bed.

30.11.2003Sunday 30 November – Lazy

I woke at midday, and felt very lazy. It is so relaxing up here; I don’t feel like doing anything.
I went for a walk and looked at the town hall, markets and the creek. It has been a really relaxing and pleasant day – this really is a paradise.
Comment by helen – Sunday 30 November 2003, 8:45 PM
  I would just like to say I'm jealous of your holidays. :) Hope you're enjoying them!
Comment by DK – Sunday 30 November 2003, 11:33 PM
  Ha! I knew you would do well in your exams, so congratulations on the good results. Treat yourself to something nice, and have a good holiday, and don't forget to sleep and eat from time to time. Be good, be prepared and be careful >:)
Comment by Ned – Sunday 30 November 2003, 11:38 PM
  Thanks. I always knew I was a genius, just too polite to say so ;-)

01.12.2003Monday 1 December – Heat Exhaustion at the Beach

Mum and I went into town with Jean. I did the obvious, and bought a milkshake, and then went and saw Bob and Peter, before heading towards Ricci’s, but only getting as far as the Big Shed. I popped in to see both the Matthew’s, and ended up discussing web site design, hospitals, lung surgery, and giving a quick demo on the basics of Dreamweaver and web pages in general. They’ve offered me the job of designing a site to sell imported motorbikes and forklifts if I want it.
Ricci wasn’t home so I walked down to Finch Bay by myself. Two busloads of school kids turned up for some sort of sports thing, so I went looking for crocodiles in the mangroves, seeing as I had my camera with me. I didn’t find any, and, probably luckily, none found me. I then walked to Cherry Tree Bay. It was very sunny, hot and muggy. By the time I got to Cherry Tree Bay I wasn’t feeling so remarkably good, and very thirsty. I did get some (hopefully) nice panoramic beach shots though. Walking through Grassy Hill and back into town may not have been the best idea – I think I was bordering on heat exhaustion and sunstroke. By the time I got to the Gatorade at the Shell servo, I was ready to throw up. I’ve only had bad heat exhaustion once – and it wasn’t so fun. Ages ago, out in the Wild West behind Gympie, I went for a bushwalk – in the hot. After a few hours, fortunately once we’d turned about and were making our way home, I got too sick to walk and just had to lie down and close my eyes. Death seemed the best option and I lay there for a few hours while my friend went for help. I felt slightly better once night fell, and was content to curl up and never move again, but someone managed to get a truck in and pick me up and I lived. I’ve also managed to get nicely sunburnt.
I ate a punnet of pasta salad for lunch, along with some milk, and made my way up to Vince and Sarah’s, where Mum wasn’t, then down to Ricci’s, where she wasn’t, then back to Vince’s, where mum then was. Ergon has their backup generators running for some reason. Those megawatt generators use an amazing amount of diesel and make remarkably little noise. I’m impressed with how they can (sometimes) synchronise all of them and they actually (sometimes) work. The gas turbine is cool too.
Mum and I walked down to the wharf and got chips for a satisfying and healthy vegetable dinner, then watched a movie with Vince and Sarah, before Jean turned up and we all drove home. Jean’s two rings never turned up, so I got myself into hero-mode, complete with my custom, patented pure-lead thin plate starved-electrolyte foamed grid-alloy rechargeable cell powered ultra-bright halogen MagLite, and Mum and I drove up to her place to see if she’d died. She hadn’t, so my torch and I went to bed.
Clint found an interesting online journal mentioning him and me. It’s funny in a slightly sad way, so I’ll quote it: “Finally, today I was downstairs at GP South with DV looking for something to eat, and in walk Ned Martin and Clint Felmingham. I’m pretty sure Ned was giving me a bit of a funny look, so what, he can go f*ck himself. He hasn’t updated his sh*tty website though, so I consider my endeavours relatively successful.” Then again, at a slightly earlier date, “As I was getting off the ferry, I saw my arch-nemesis Ned Martin (well, he doesn’t actually know me, but I happen to think he’s a sh*t-eater) walking towards the ferry, so I waited until he was about to walk past me, when I uttered “NEDDY!!!” in a high-pitched voice. I’m sure he was startled, and although now he can put a face to the “Bob Goatse” joker who’s been commenting his stupid daily recount of his boring life, I certainly hope he confronts me during one of the two exams we’ll be sitting together during this exam block, when I can pay him out for being an IT student. Freudian slip? As I was typing student just then, before I could correct myself I had completely spelled STUPID. Now why is that not a surprise...” How peculiar, but I bothered to read a bit of his journal, and came across a good explanation. To quote, “So today I bought “Dude, where’s my country?” by Michael Moore. I’m only up the chapter two, and I already want to go to the Whitehouse and f*ck George Bush’s sh*t up. I had planned to do a heap of study, but ended up just watching Jerry Springer before I went into uni”. So there we have it, the guy’s a sad, misguided moron who seems to admire my journal. I am curious why or how he knows or bothers to think he knows us though, or more specifically, why he dislikes me – perhaps he’s just another of the many geeks badly needing some normal social interaction.
Comment by DM – Thursday 4 December 2003, 3:33 AM
  Your very own archnemesis, and you didn't even know about him. Nifty.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 7 December 2003, 10:03 AM
  I always wanted a pet arch-nemesis ;-)

02.12.2003Tuesday 2 December – Relaxing

I slept in late, enjoying my relaxation. I spent the evening messing about online, and then went for a walk down the creek and out along the Home Rule Road. I met Shan just before the halfway spot, so got a lift out to Home Rule. Everything is looking surprisingly green and pleasant considering we’re in the throes of the worst drought in living memory – I guess that’s what droughts are like in one of the wettest places in Australia. I had a look at Shan’s new camera and a cow with a bung leg, and then walked home. It’s nice to be out in the bush again – it’s only now that I’m relaxing that I realise how stressed I was. That sounds a bit melodramatic, in retrospect I had an easy semester during which I was very slack and managed to pass everything, so can’t complain. What I can complain about is this computer – it takes minutes to edit my journal and there are absolutely no image editing applications at all, I’m viewing pictures in the fax viewer. And I’ve left some of my favourite songs behind.

03.12.2003Wednesday 3 December – Lazy but enjoyable

I had another quiet and lazy but enjoyable day, being woken in the morning by Sarah phoning. Then again, having tried to go back to sleep, I was awoken by Elsie arriving to ask me if I’d go over and have a look at her stereo and re-connect the speakers to it. This I duly did, after a few hours online relaxing electronically. Having driven over to Home Rule and connecting the appropriate speaker and aerial wires to their respective connectors, and having driven back again via Joneses, where only Kylie was – asleep, I again rested. Wayne and Renée turned up in the evening and Mum and I talked to them for a while, before driving up to Dad’s to see if he wanted to come into town tomorrow and walk Sarah’s dogs while she’s working in Cairns. I then ate some nice curried rice and retired to my van to relax, rest and figure out what to do tomorrow.
Comment by keight – Friday 5 December 2003, 2:54 PM
  Lol @ lazy day. Thats what you get in woop woop, when theres nothign to do :)

04.12.2003Thursday 4 December – 20 million of us

Australia’s population has officially hit 20 million. It has been 44 years since Australia’s population hit 10 million. It’s almost hard to believe I’m still the best.
Mum woke me up early and we drove into town, where we stayed at Sarah’s while she’s in Cairns working – their Cooktown work having dried up in preparation for Christmas.
I phoned Centrelink in response to a letter, regarding why I’d not declared my income from tutoring. I was told it would probably be ok as I had a large income bank. I also phoned and had my mail temporarily redirected to my PO Box until 1 March, having been told to tell Centrelink that I am maintaining residence at Joe’s place.
I went and saw the friendly people at the Big Shed and told them I’d not be able to do their website for them: result, I’m going to make a date sometime soon to help them build it themselves – argh. I also went and saw Bob for a while.
I walked too much today, and it’s too hot and sunny and now I’m more sunburnt and suffering from heat exhaustion, sunstroke and gross stupidity.

05.12.2003Friday 5 December – Pizza and Videos

I slept in. The sun was out by the time I got up, but I did manage to double my sunstroke by poking my head out the door to see if there were any clouds.
I went and saw Matthew, who was practising his guitar as usual, and stayed at his place for a while. “Black Image” were playing at the West Coast, so I didst make my way hence, for a short while, before becoming unhealthily hot and dripping home.
Mum and I went and got pizza and some videos, and then stayed up latish watching and eating them.

06.12.2003Saturday 6 December – Cooktown Markets

I did things, such as going to the exciting weekly Cooktown Markets – very slowly, as it was so hot. This sunstroke stuff makes me hotter.
I went to bed early, as I was tired and suffering from heat exhaustion, sunstroke, rabies etc. and Mum was watching some movie that had already been going for half an hour before I got back.

07.12.2003Sunday 7 December – Home again

Mum and I drove back home before the heat of the day could come along and stifle us. Once home, I went online to check if the world was as it were, and the phone kept disconnecting me, eventually dying altogether for half an hour.
Thousands of fans rioted at Sierra Leone’s national stadium today when authorities substituted two local dwarf comedians for a widely anticipated out-of-town midget duo. Today, blood splattered parts of the stadium.
It’s 33° inside my van, and pretty much as humid as it gets.
I headed off for a walk but noticed the shop gate was open, so headed up there instead. Jade, Shan, Kylie and Ella were all there watching a DVD so I stayed there for a while, before continuing onto the Home Rule Bridge, getting home just on dark. I then tried on my pants to make sure they fit, in preparation for Shan’s fast approaching wedding.
I’m tired now, having spent the last several hours discussing everything from crop circles, politics and television shows to hydraulics and FORTRAN with Dad.

08.12.2003Monday 8 December – Joneses

Mum drove into town with Jean early and I spent all day online chatting, having woken up early and then gone back to sleep until it got too hot.
I walked up to the shop and talked to Shan and Kylie for a while, and then watched half of “Who Am I”. Jade and Ella drove up halfway through the movie, so we stopped and talked to them for a while before watching the rest of it, after which I walked home. It was quite an enjoyable evening with lots of laughing, although I felt slightly sad afterwards – imminent change is often sad.

09.12.2003Tuesday 9 December – Town again

I have had a relaxing morning online avoiding the heat. My fan died, seems the sleeves have died or it’s poling, or an anomaly in the earth’s magnetic and gravitational fields has occurred – either way it doesn’t go around very fast anymore.
Fares Allowance
I filled in my fares allowance form, claiming $181, being for a $129 airfare from Brisbane to Cairns on 23 November and $52 petrol costs for travel from Cairns to Rossville with Silas on 27 November, claiming a travel distance of 400 kilometres in a 4100 cubic centimetre capacity motor vehicle.
Mum and I drove into town, where I stayed the night.

10.12.2003Wednesday 10 December – Cooktown

Mum and I drove down to the shops, where I bought several exhilarating items, including a milkshake, wrapping paper, a fancy ribbon thing, a card and some scratch-its for Joe. I also printed out my airfare receipt at the library and lodged my fares claim with Centrelink, also meeting James in the library, and Mandi, Jade and Ella at the supermarket and hairdressers. Mum bought me a new pair of black pants even though I told her I didn’t need them and was happy with my other pair and we had an argument about it, which was cut short by meeting Shan, Kylie and her friend Crystal and us going to the bakery for lunch. Shan is on crutches, having fallen off some scaffolding, I guess yesterday. He’s apparently torn a muscle and done tissue damage to his knee and shouldn’t walk for ten days. His wedding is on Saturday and they’re off overseas for their honeymoon shortly after so I think not walking might not be an option.
After Shan and his cohort of girls left to get a flat tyre repaired and head home, I began to walk back to Vince’s, but met Matthew on his way to the supermarket shopping, so I went shopping again, rather than walk in the horrendous heat. He had a $40 food voucher from the council, apparently we’re all eligible for three vouchers a year – I’m not sure why, but $40 is a lot of ice cream. After shopping, I drove home, went online for about a minute until the phone died, reconnected for a few minutes until the power died, decided that was stupid, drove up to see Dad who wasn’t home, went around to Ron’s and met Dad there, discussed auto electrics, watered Mum’s pot plants, and showered. I also ate some carob buds.
I walked up to Shan’s place where I had dinner with him, Kylie and Crystal, and then talked for a while before walking home. It was quite dark and overcast, with the power threatening to fail, surging, spluttering, and frightening my computer while I was peacefully attempting to reply to some email.
Devil’s Advocate
I watched “Devil’s Advocate”, which I did not enjoy, due to my mood, an imminent worry that the movie was about to turn into a horror movie, and the fact that I was home alone with the power fluctuating and thunder rolling overhead – despite its rather clever plot. I should have watched some mindless American action comedy.
The storm seems to have passed, the power hasn’t failed, the movie wasn’t horrific, and I’m not scared to go inside and get a drink and find my toothbrush before going to bed. I’m also quite tired.

11.12.2003Thursday 11 December – Shopping

Dad came around earlier while I was still in bed designing the perfect camera. By the time I got up, he’d got sick of waiting for me and got a lift to the Lion’s Den, although I didn’t know this. A few hours later, after missing a phone call, and having a hanging up noise on message bank, I drove into town and met Dad at the Den on the way in. We stopped in at Vince and Sarah’s where Mum was, and picked her up and went and shopped. Some time later, we drove home again and I learnt how to tie a tie.

12.12.2003Friday 12 December – 12:12:12 AM

I logged into my web server, and noticed the time – Friday 12th December 12:12:12 AM. What’s the chance of that?
I walked up to Shan’s to give him back his CD but he wasn’t home so I continued walking out to the halfway spot, then turned around and walked back again. I met Shan just before the Home Rule Bridge, just as it was getting dark, and got a lift up to his place. He’s very busy, rushing around doing things. I then drove up to Dad’s, but he wasn’t home.
I carefully wrapped Shan and Kylie’s wedding present. Wrapping presents is a very hard thing for me to do, as I’m too much of a perfectionist to do it normally. A normal person would have used four pieces of crepe paper and not worried about the nasty folds and things, but I figured out how it was possible to wrap triangularly this rectangular box using only two pieces of crepe paper. Unfortunately this left less than half an inch overlap, and less than a quarter of an inch on the corners and took me the best part of an hour, after which I found that the crepe paper is very weak and slides easily over the glossy paper inside so I’m not sure how it will go. Mathematically it has to be the best possible wrapped present there is.
A friend threw out 3,500 litres of brand new Mount Franklin bottled water, 2000 cans of Lift Plus and 30 wheelie bins of bottled soft drink today.
I am feeling a little sleepy now.

13.12.2003Saturday 13 December – Shan is married

I reclined, showered, reclined, chatted online while reclining, and generally relaxed.
I drove up to Shan and Kylie’s, where Shan was busily preparing for his wedding. I’m the official music controller, so I had to go discuss that and pick up the CD’s and such like. I then drove out to Joneses, where I changed into my finery and drove down to Home Rule to await the arrival of the groom, and later his bride. The setting was lovely, very scenic, green, misty and peaceful, as is nearly everywhere up here. It was a small wedding, with only a few close friends and the families of the bride and groom, which is the best way to have a wedding. We all waited around while half past three came and went, four o’clock came and went, and still no groom. As half past four approached and still no groom to be seen, an official search party was despatched. For the first time in known history, an eccentric looking car driven by an eccentric looking driver had broken down right in the middle of the bridge – the starter motor having literally fallen out, along with most of the rest of the car’s vital organs, blocking the entire bridge, it being only one lane wide.
Shan did finally arrive, an hour late, and Kylie-Anne, his bride, arrived long enough after that we got worried she’d also got stuck behind the blockage on the bridge and had just sent another search party. She was looking remarkably beautiful, walking down the aisle on her father’s arm while a few tears were shed, as is customary. The service was lovely, with both parents being happy and impressed by it and the groom and bride looking respectively handsome and beautiful, along with the rest of the bridal party.
After Shan and Kylie-Anne became husband and wife, many photos were taken, with me taking 232 and almost filling my memory stick. Their professional photographer, who is also a close family friend and ironically lives in Brisbane quite near to where I do and attends uni, then spent over an hour doing an exasperatingly precise photo shoot until the light ran out. After that, we all made our way inside and sat around talking and doing wedding sort of things like toasting the bride and groom, or husband and wife or whatever they’re now known as, dancing, eating wedding cake, and worrying that the other present which is exactly the same size as mine is going to also be a blender. The parents all got tipsy, or drunk, depending on whom and how you look at it – and everyone had a good time, although it is, in some ways, tinged with sadness for some.
Shan and Kylie-Anne, now married, and in Kylie’s case, rather drunk and nervous, then drove home in their shaving cream and rum can adorned car and we finished our drinks and did likewise. It’s a bit funny for me, having known Shan since he was born, and now he’s married. I don’t yet know quite how to feel about it. I hope it all goes well for them – it must be lovely to marry your first true love and the day went so well and happily with no fusses or problems, apart from the bridge fiasco, which was rather amusing once it was over.

14.12.2003Sunday 14 December – Rain

I had a quiet, relaxing morning, spending a lot of it sleeping. Mum is in town looking after Sarah’s, and I’m tired from last night and my chronic laziness.
Shan popped on MSN for a minute to tell me his computer password, and then they headed off to Cairns and their honeymoon.
I phoned Mum, except got Sarah who is now home. I was planning to get a lift into town tomorrow with Jean, but after phoning Jean and finding her not home; I changed my mind and decided not to.
Ella phoned, she’s missing her internet connection and trying to get the satellite stuff from Shan’s to work.
I decided to finally finish writing my Indian journal. It took quite a while. I wrote 8379 words, 1000 lines, 21 pages, 322 paragraphs and 45679 characters tonight – and then a whole lot more when converting from Word doc format to my XML journal format. My arm is dead, but it’s done. The old paper copy may now complete its disintegration in a peaceful manner. Some entries have an ℮ at the bottom of them; I’m curious what it meant, as I can’t remember. I’m now feeling acutely homesick for India and the peaceful, worry and stress free time I had while there. To change the subject, it has been raining on and off all night, actually raining enough to get things wet for a while – heavy might be an exaggeration, but it’s definitely better than it has been.
Sleepy, and going to bed.
Comment by Ned – Monday 15 December 2003, 3:18 AM
  These moths... argh... they are everywhere... and flying ants... argh!

15.12.2003Monday 15 December – I love computers

The morning was nice and peaceful, and I slept as usual. I’m thinking of moving the morning to the evening to fit in with my new lifestyle.
Jade and Ella came around, I can’t remember why, but they ended up staying a while and looking at the photos I took of the wedding, and then I went back to Home Rule with them to set up their satellite internet. When we got there, the replacement RAM for Ella’s new computer had arrived so I put that in as well, expecting her PC to work. It didn’t, of course, and everything took so long. In fact, almost everything went wrong. First, I tried setting up the satellite stuff on Jade’s computer, which didn’t work. Then we drove up to Shan’s to see if we could find the info we needed to authenticate the satellite stuff on Jade’s computer, which we couldn’t without the actual decoder. Then I tried reinstalling XP on Ella’s computer using various different BIOS settings, several times with varying rates of success, along with various drivers and other things, eventually getting it to run semi-stably, but not before having to fight every known component and the recovery console several times. It’s now running at a greatly reduced and asynchronous speed, with write-combining, bitmap and cursor acceleration, 8XAGP, and several other performance increasing but stability decreasing features that I can’t remember disabled. It still hangs temporarily on start-up, but then seems to run stably, although there doesn’t appear to be any sound – but I did remove two jumpers from what’s probably a vitally important sound related thing somewhere within the nether regions of the motherboard to connect the front audio stuff. I then tried to install the satellite stuff on it, after getting the installer CD out of Jade’s now unplugged computer where I’d left it, but couldn’t because it doesn’t have a modem, so decided to try installing it on Jade’s, which does have a modem, and seeing if I could find the vital information from that. Of course, after unplugging Ella’s PC and setting up Jade’s again, I had to get the installer CD out of Ella’s powerless computer. Then, after running a long phone extension lead, we managed to authenticate the satellite stuff on Jade’s, and find out the various frequencies and stuff that we needed, so back to Ella’s computer again. I left the installer CD in Jade’s computer again too, of course, which is rather difficult to get out when it’s all unplugged. It was one of those sorts of days. Then we drove back up to Shan’s to get a modem for Ella’s computer, that being the only way to authenticate the satellite stuff it seems. Needless to say, the modem we got didn’t work in Ella’s computer, simply failing to detect or function in anyway whatsoever. Fortunately, an old external modem did eventually work, and Ella finally had her beloved MSN again, at which time I could begin to network their three computers together, one of which has a two hundred metre or something ridiculous semi-buried, semi hung in trees cat5 cable going to it. Not surprisingly, things didn’t go as they’re supposed to, and I had to mess around, find dead leads, reinstall networking components multiple times, and pull small clumps of hair out before everyone could connect to each other and chat on MSN and share their viruses. Ella managed to pick up two virus-like ad sever sort of things within five minutes of being connected to the internet, which probably isn’t that surprising considering she had something like a thousand spam emails from the past three days which she downloaded into Outlook Express. Then, just to add insult to injury, when setting up a few user accounts for her, nothing would work, things couldn’t access the registry, nothing would install, the internet connection wouldn’t run as a multi-user connection, and the stupid virus-like ad things fought each other and refused to go away. It was quite late by the time I got home.

16.12.2003Tuesday 16 December – Real rain

I slept in, once again, enjoying my relaxation. After finally waking, I phoned the cinemas in Cairns and booked a ticket to “The Lord of the Rings” movie marathon, just in case they are booked out later, and phoned the travel agent to find out about airfares down there.
I phoned Jean and walked up to her place to fix her computer, television, videocassette recorder and satellite decoder. Once there I realised I’d need my mouse, keyboard, and some RCA leads, so she drove me home to find same, during which time it began to rain. Jade and Ella were here, wanting to know if I wanted to go watch “2Fast, 2Furious” with them up at Shan’s, which I did but first back to Jean’s. Connecting everything correctly and getting rid of anything that required tuning in various channels fixed her television problems – why people even bother using crappy coaxial television leads I don’t know. Carefully straightening two pins in her mouse plug fixed her PC problem – two lots of two pins had become squashed together and gone in the same holes in the plug, which was enough to stop the mouse, keyboard and Windows itself from working. Having miraculously fixed everything, I got a lift home and jogged in the rain up to the shop – it’s actually been raining properly, with enough water coming down to make a difference. After messing around trying to scan and print a picture precisely twice the size of the original, and having it come out a magnitude or two too big every time – because, unbeknownst to me, the wrong printer driver was installed, Jade, Ella and I watched “2Fast, 2Furious” while the rain thundered down outside.
It’s raining heavily – that proper sort of rain that you only get in the jungle, where everything goes white and the rain ceases to be separate raindrops coming down and somehow turns into a sort of spray, which comes from all directions and just permeates the world.
It seems to have stopped raining now, and I might head inside, clean my fangs, and go to bed.

17.12.2003Wednesday 17 December – Jason and the Argonauts

Mandi, Jade, Ella and I drove into town, where we did town-like things such as shopping, drinking milkshakes, eating food, visiting Ricci, etc.
Jason and the Argonauts
I went over to Joneses on the way home from town, where I got Ella’s computer to work properly – or so it seems. It’s running at its proper speed, and seems to be stable, although I had to reset the BIOS just to get it to boot – why do manufactures put settings in that will cause guaranteed instability? It’s dumb. My BIOS even had an option with a little warning – “never use this option, it will result in an unstable, unbootable system...” duh. It’s now firewalled, running a virus scanner, and already saturated with nasty Internet Explorer add-in spyware online casino search-engine type things. We then watched “Jason and the Argonauts” for its full four hours running time, which wasn’t too bad, although not as refined as would have been nice, before Jade drove me home, where I spent a little time online before heading off to bed.
It has been raining on and off most of the day and night, although not heavily enough to cause flooding – it seems like the wet season may have finally arrived. Here’s hoping that, after its two-year hiatus, it’s a real proper wet.

18.12.2003Thursday 18 December – Mud and Computers

Rainy Morning
Janet dropped in and asked me if I’d go have a look at her computer, which I, being the nice sort of person I am, agreed to. Apparently, she’s bought a CD burner, but can’t install it due to an “incompatible version of the RPC stub”, a known and easy to fix problem, although I didn’t know it affected Windows 98 as well. In addition, she had a few other little problems – some silly thing blocking Internet Explorer pop-ups (and most valid links), a useless and time-wasting Windows logon screen, a badly integrated Acrobat Reader not working with Internet Explorer (as usual), a dead “A drive”, and a noisy fan. Hopefully it all works now.
Rainy Evening
I lazed about, lying down for a while and listening to the rain. This weather is nice, in its own way. It’s not too cold and not too hot – there’s a sort of peacefulness and isolation, with the rain forming a sort of curtain, a barrier, between the big bad world and our own paradisiacal corner.

19.12.2003Friday 19 December – Cooktown and Computer Problems

Mum and I drove into town, where, after picking up Sarah and checking my mail, I broke my fast, and almost my belly, with a caramel milkshake. Feeling bloated and sick, I bought a 50¢ Lions fizzy lifesaver thing, to offset the creamy milk, which I ate. Now feeling fizzy, bloated and sick, I bought a can of Solo, to wash away the rest with its sharp, aerated lemon tang. It didn’t work of course, but such is life.
It poured down for a little but just as we were driving out of town, and the windscreen wiper broke. Upon closer inspection, some dim-witted person had fitted the wrong sized blade to it, so we had to go buy the right sized one and put that on, along with a lot of un-squeezing to get it to fit where they’d bodged it up to hold the smaller blade. Not exactly exciting, but that’s what happened. Mum got a few DVD’s out too, “Lantana”, “Charlotte Gray”, “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Beware Greeks Carrying Guns” – along with “The Fast and the Furious”, which I got for Ella.
Jade’s Computer
Jade’s computer won’t connect to the Internet anymore, so I drove over to see why. Her problem was easy to fix, the new version of Kerio’s Personal Firewall, which is sadly much worse than their previous version, doesn’t support running as an internet gateway in the free version – but it did for a day or so before the “demo” part expired, so much for being free. With the firewall uninstalled, everything worked – for a while.
Ella’s Computer
Originally, it wouldn’t run stably at all, rebooting at random and having numerous blue screens of death. When he swapped the RAM with RAM from a friend’s computer, it seemed to work, so he sent the RAM back for warranty replacement. This is where I come into the story. My task was to go around and install this RAM, along with a satellite transceiver. After installing the RAM, the computer would automatically reboot just before it would get to where the Windows XP login screen would normally be. I reinstalled XP (Professional), during which I had some random rebooting problems, but eventually managed to get it to boot properly. I then noticed that there were graphics problems. Little lines would be drawn at random on the screen and certain images and windows would be garbled. Turning off “write combining”, cursor, and bitmap accelerations seemed to fix these garbled graphics problems, and I even reset the FSB and DDR pulse back to their original full-speed settings without any problems. Everything seemed to almost work well, the computer only randomly rebooting once when I went to install something. It then ran for a few days without any problems – until I went over today, installed WinDVD, and attempted to play a DVD. WinDVD starts, then the monitor blanks momentarily, then WinDVD appears all white and frozen, then it begins to play – but with severe lines and artefacts, before either resetting the computer or causing a STOP error. I then installed PowerDVD, which runs, and plays, but did eventually cause the computer to reset, although it worked for a while, and didn’t seem to have any weird drawing problems.
I’d thought to replace the motherboard – which is a bit hard to do as I’d have to send it back to Brisbane, 2000 kilometres away, and probably over the Christmas break while they’re closed, but I don’t want to do that and then find, a month later when I finally get the new motherboard, that it has the same problems. Someone mentioned doing a disk scan to see if there’s any corruption on it, and that’s about all I’ve been able to come up with, apart from trying to install something entirely different, perhaps Windows ME, in case it’s some sort of driver problem. The motherboard is an Albatron KM18G PRO nForce2 with an AMD XP2200+ processor (running at 1.8GHz) and 256 MB of DDR RAM (running at 333 MHz). Any ideas?
I might try to get an early night in. I’ve had reasonably bad hay fever all day today, which makes me tired. I hope it goes away.
Comment by DM – Saturday 20 December 2003, 1:15 AM
  My only suggestion for the computer problem is that I've heard that some recent motherboards have been having trouble implementing AGP 8x too well. I've got no idea if the computer's using that at all, but as the problems all seem to be graphical in nature (and the comp is resetting when displaying DVDs:- most DVD players write 'directly' to the video card, so it's something a bit out of the ordinary), it could be something worth checking out. If the computer's using 8x AGP currently, try forcing it down to 4x in the BIOS, or something like that.
  Also, I really enjoyed Lantana. Thought it was a great local (read: Aussie) film.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 20 December 2003, 1:56 PM
  Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve tried disabling AGP 8× support, but I’ve a feeling that it only applies to add-in AGP cards, not the onboard solution. Either way, it didn’t seem to make any difference. I saw Lantana a while back – when it was on at the cinemas I think, but I don’t fully remember it now. Mum hasn’t seen it though.

20.12.2003Saturday 20 December – Latin is dying

I can’t find a free online English to Latin translator.
I went for a walk, coincidentally ending up at the Home Rule Bridge just as Jade drove by on her way up to my place to drop off Shan’s key, as they’re going down to Cairns for a few days. We went up and opened Shan’s place. It smelt a little musty so we decided we should leave it open for a while to air, which was a good excuse to stay and watch “xXx” on Shan’s computer – which isn’t such a bad movie really.
Sarah had left a message on the answering service that she would be able to get Vince’s car for our exciting and hopefully uneventful adventure to Cairns to see the best movie ever made – “The Lord of the Rings”, so I phoned the Bellview and booked accommodation. Mum and I then watched “Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns”, which wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped – although not too bad I suppose. I enjoyed watching it, which is what matters.

21.12.2003Sunday 21 December – Hypocrisy

I did nothing, as per usual.
Vince and Sarah came around, having been spear fishing and caught a nice trout, which Vince ate for lunch. I showed them Shan and Kylie-anne’s wedding photos, and then drove out to Joneses, who are away in Cairns for a few days, to bring Ella’s computer over here for a more detailed problem analysis. Once there, though, I figured I might as well try a few things before bringing it over, as they’ve a much faster internet connection than I, which would be handy if I needed to download anything. Three hours and two hundred and fourteen reboots later, and I believe I have the monster of a machine tamed. At least it will play DVD’s with both PowerDVD and WinDVD now, without them randomly quitting or the entire thing rebooting – although it does have some sort of artefacts in the picture. I’m guessing the memory is poor quality, even though it’s rated at 400 MHz and I’m only running it at 333 MHz, after adjusting some of the memory parameters it runs stably – or has so far anyway.
Mum and I watched “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Halfway through, Shan came online, so I stopped and talked to him for a while. It seems they’re both having a good time despite having not had any good weather yet, and Shan’s knee hurting him. I guess that’s what wedded bliss is like. They’re apparently going to take a short break from sex tonight, to go watch some Thai women mud wrestling, which prompted an argument between Mum and I. I hope Shan really loves Kylie, because I’ve yet to meet an intelligent and logical woman, and it’s more bother than it’s worth trying to put up with illogical people, at least for me. It just amazes me how the most obvious logic, to some, just isn’t – or even worse, what they think is clearly logical doesn’t even make sense. Bah, people are stupid.
According to the BBC, Arab states have responded to Libya’s pledge to abandon its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programmes by demanding that Israel do the same. Of course, the moronic Jerry Springer believing West, and America in particular, will, while amassing their own weapons of mass destruction and invading or otherwise threatening anyone else who attempts such a heinous, inhumane thing, continue to support Israel in all its aggression. Obviously, North Korea can’t be allowed to have nuclear weapons, or Iraq or, apparently, Libya – but a country that openly flaunts basic human rights, international law and several UN resolutions, in addition to being widely considered a nuclear power, will be provided as much military aid as they want. Not to mention that anyone with even half a brain can tell that countries like Israel, who are hated by all their neighbours, are a far greater threat to any sort of peace than isolated countries like North Korea or, ha-ha, Iraq. I guess we’ll be seeing weapons inspections of Israel’s nuclear capability – yeah, sure. The hypocrisy makes me sick.

22.12.2003Monday 22 December – And the Cat ran away with the Spoon

I wasted many electrons, all with varying degrees of spin, disagreeing with the commercialism of Christmas and being abused for such.
I walked down to the Home Rule Bridge and had a look at the Hartley Creek, with a view to walking up it and trying to get some beautiful rainforest creek photos, but it’s only just trickling so I’m not sure if there’d be that much moss and nice things around now.
I walked up to Dad’s and spent the evening there, until Mum came and got me and we went and watched “Charlotte Gray”, which sucks. Not only does nothing happen, but it managed to not happen in a boring sort of way.

23.12.2003Tuesday 23 December – Nolan Creek Walk

I went for a walk up the Nolan Creek, taking photos. It was very hot and I walked too far, too fast, too hard, and without drinking and got heat exhaustion and felt sick. When I got home, I drank a 1.25 litre bottle of red Fanta, which didn’t help me feel any better, making me feel much worse instead – not surprisingly. I was so sick that I didn’t even try ice cream to see if that would fix the soft drink, as I normally would.
I watched “Lantana” with Mum. It’s not a bad movie; the social interactions it portrays have been illustrated very well.

24.12.2003Wednesday 24 December – Christmas Eve

Dad, Mum, myself and I drove to town, where we picked up Sarah and to the shops did go. It was quite busy, the shops being closed tomorrow for Christmas. The DVD’s “Shanghai Noon” and “Shanghai Knights” were hired by Sarah and I, to watch, obviously. Some nachos did then satiate my appetite, before we drove home
Sarah and I walked down and had a look at the markets, which were being set up for tonight’s Christmas Eve party, before walking out to the halfway spot where I went for a swim, Sarah being scared of getting wet. I then had a lie-down to think, before going for another walk by myself, also to think. I dropped in to the Fire Brigade’s fundraising Christmas Eve Party on the way back, which wasn’t very busy yet.
I updated the BIOS in this crappy BENQ DVD drive, and it actually sort of works now – I can finally rip DVD ISO’s, insert legal disclaimer here. Or I could if all the DVD’s up here weren’t so scratched – blah. Sarah and I then watched “Shanghai Noon”, which I’ve seen before – but it’s funny enough that I enjoyed it. Shan and Kylie-Anne came online halfway through and I had a quick chat to them. Shan has some sort of flu, and Kylie-Anne is bored and homesick, thinking of Christmas and all, but they’ve been having fun, go-karting, jet skiing and travelling. After the movie, I walked down to have another look at the Christmas Eve party, but it had pretty well finished.
I’ve been giving and receiving Merry Christmases and Happy Birthday’s from friends online, and am now going to bed.
Comment by DK – Thursday 25 December 2003, 6:10 AM
  Happy Holiday and Happy Birthday! :D
Comment by Ned – Thursday 25 December 2003, 2:52 PM
  Thanks :-)
Comment by keight – Sunday 28 December 2003, 7:00 PM
  Put Mr. Sheen on your scratched dvds. Leave em for about an hour, and then wipe Mr. Sheen off with a tissue.

25.12.2003Thursday 25 December – Christmas

I went and looked at the pretty wrapping, presents and dangly Christmas things on the stump inside, and then we all sat around while Dad and Mum opened their presents, and then Sarah opened hers, but I didn’t feel like opening mine, so I didn’t.
Mum made a veritable feast, a smorgasbord of things we only get at Christmas time, and spread them out across the table. I have eaten too much now and can’t walk with safety.
I went online and sent Christmas greetings to various friends and relatives. People phoned and wished us Merry Christmas. I opened my presents.
Sarah and I walked up to the shop, where we met Jade and Ella and talked for a while. This is the first time Sarah’s seen them for quite some time, and the first time she’s actually had a talk to Jade since moving in with Vince, I think.
I’m apparently twenty-three years old. This is older than I’ve ever been before, at least this lifetime, so I’m impressed. Sarah and I watched Shanghai Knights.
I had a long chat with Raina, who was having a good night drinking wine. I ended up staying up quite late, until morning, and had an enjoyable night myself. Apparently, I’ve gone from being an ASD-hater, to an ASD-lover.

26.12.2003Friday 26 December – Boxing Day

I went for a walk out the Home Rule Road, going for a swim in the spa-like rock pool near mollies. It’s quite a good rock pool; I reckon I could fall asleep – suspended by the water with only a foot touching a rock to stop me washing away.

27.12.2003Saturday 27 December – IRC

It’s been sprinkling on and off for most of the day. I did absolutely nothing whatsoever, apart from a walk out to the halfway spot.
Mum and I watched “Shanghai Noon”, which she’ll hopefully remember to drop back into the video store before next Wednesday. I then chatted on IRC until the cows came home.
I should be in bed, this is crazy. I’m going to Cairns tomorrow to watch an all-night movie marathon and I’ll be so tired.

28.12.2003Sunday 28 December – Cairns and The Lord of the Rings

Sarah was supposed to arrive, but didn’t.
I phoned to find out why Sarah hadn’t arrived. Apparently, she had to change the oil in the car and then it took her ages to get clean... typical woman, bah.
Sarah and I left for Cairns, an uneventful four and a bit hour drive.
We went around to the cinemas and picked up our tickets. As I’d expected, we had problems. What is it with these people? When I bought my tickets to the “Matrix” marathon, I reserved them over the phone and got special permission to jump the queue, but when I turned up at the cinema, I was told that it was impossible to reserve tickets – that they’d been specifically instructed not to. So I had to wait, while holding up two hundred or so people trying to buy booked-out tickets, while they went and found their manager, who also said it wasn’t possible, but that I was listed as reserved in their computer but that they couldn’t sell me a ticket because there were no free seats. I didn’t accept that, of course, so they gave me a ticket to the wrong cinema and I used that instead – also managing to jump a huge queue in the process.
  Then, when I bought my ticket to “The Lord of the Rings” marathon, I just did a credit card purchase over the phone, but when I tried, a few days later, to purchase a ticket for Sarah, they told me it wasn’t possible. I pointed out that I’d done it successfully a few days ago, and my credit card had been debited so it damn well had better be possible, so they went let me do it again, as it was obviously possible. When Sarah and I went around to pick up our tickets, the bloke at the cinema said, you guessed it, credit card bookings are impossible and there is no way I can have a pre-booked ticket. After getting his manager, he found the envelope with our tickets, armbands, and properly printed credit card receipt and tickets.
I had a Pasta Napolitana from the Night Markets while Sarah ate a pile of funny things from some Chinese place there.
Sarah and I went to the cinemas, where there was an immense queue of people, complete with pillows. We thought we’d be waiting for half an hour and get squashed in some terrible seat, but as we already had our armbands we were allowed straight in – effectively jumping a queue that would have been 200 or more people long and getting our pick of seats. I’m beginning to think pre-booking tickets is a good idea. We sat in the very middle of the front row – my favourite spot and definitely the only place to sit for a marathon, the ability to sit on the floor is a real back-saver.
  I’m not sure how to describe the movie – it’s just brilliant, without doubt the best movie ever made when considered as a whole. It’s a bit of a shame they weren’t showing the extended versions, but I guess there’s a limit to how long anyone can sit for. It’s not possible to make a movie of the books, not one that’s viewable in less than a week solid anyway, but they’ve done a remarkably good job of capturing the main thread of the books and making it understandable as a standalone movie – and done so in such a stunning manner that each of the three movies is itself a spectacular. I believe I can safely say that this movie will remain the unchallenged pinnacle of cinematic production for quite some time.

29.12.2003Monday 29 December – Cairns

Movie finishes. Sarah and I feel surprisingly normal, considering we’ve just watched a nine and a half hour movie, although it’s probably lucky nothing unusual happened after we left the cinema, as I’m not sure what our reactions would have been. It’s still raining a little bit too. We drive around to the Bellview and check in there, and go to sleep. I feel sorry for all those who had to go to work. That marathon was unquestionably something not to be missed.
After barely two and a half hours sleep, Sarah and I get up and go shopping. I spend all my time trying to buy a stereo for Mum’s birthday. I’d originally budgeted $200 for it, which would have been alright, had I been able to accept that I wasn’t going to get the “perfect” stereo for that price, but there was just something major wrong with every one I found. I am just too fussy and couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on something I wasn’t happy with. Eventually, after driving all over the place, Sarah and I got sick of it, and decided we’d get this one out at Stockland’s, which was on special – reduced by over $100. We drove the 10-minute or so journey out there, but it was crap – I think they just lie about the reduced prices, either that or they’re stupid. Sarah was sick of it by now and just wanted to buy any one, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that – it seemed a waste, so I decided to buy a slightly more expensive $254 Sony one I’d seen at Myers. Sarah and I drove the 10-minute or so journey back again to Myers, I having spent hours looking at this stage while Sarah did her shopping, and found it was $354. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going insane or what was going on, until I remembered that the one I’d looked at was definitely turned on, whereas the one at Myers wasn’t plugged in, so we went searching and found it at Target – on special and $100 cheaper than at Myers. I can’t wait to give it to Mum and see how it goes; it’s a very nice looking mini stereo.
Sarah and I went and saw “Scary Movie 3” at Earlville. It’s a very stupid movie that I cannot recommend at all. After the movie, we drove back to the Bellview, checked out, and left Cairns.
It began raining shortly after the Kuranda Range, getting quite heavy. By the time we got to the gravel, it was evident that there had been a lot of rain since we had left. The road, which was good on the way down, was now bad – rutted and potholed, with mud and water everywhere. At one stage, we were driving through what looked much like a lake – fields of water on either side of the road and most of the road underwater – with no land in site anywhere apart from narrow strips of road a few feet wide poking out here and there. It was the first time Sarah has driven through stuff like that, so she was a bit nervous. Fortunately for us, we didn’t get stuck in any hidden washouts or anything exciting like that, and arrived home around 1 o’clock.

30.12.2003Tuesday 30 December – Wet and Unhappy

I woke up – it is so late and I feel terrible. I’ve a bit of a sore throat too, which I hope doesn’t develop into anything. I’m somewhat depressed and unhappy, Mum doesn’t seem very happy either – I’ve no idea why. My shoulder hurts, my eyes hurt, my nose hurts, even my tongue hurts – I think I’ve broken it.
Mum watched “Legends of the Fall”, perhaps the worst movie ever made. Admittedly, I didn’t actually watch it because it was too bad to watch, so perhaps it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. I’m unhappy, angry, uncomfortable, depressed and so on. Why are people so stupid? I honestly cannot fathom how stupid some people are.
Oh dear, it’s so late. I need to start getting to bed earlier – this is ridiculous.

31.12.2003Wednesday 31 December – New Year’s Eve

I walked out to the halfway spot, where I met Jade and Ella, and had a swim – or Jade and I did, Ella being too scared of getting wet. I then continued on out to their place to show Ella how to load and play a DVD image. I didn’t realise how late it was, and had to walk back very fast so we could go to town and the Kickboxing fundraiser New Year’s Eve party.
Dad, Mum and I drove into town. It was the worst possible time to drive – just on dusk and the lights on Mum’s car are atrocious. The right-hand side light points to the right and up, shining optimistically on the powerlines on the other side of the road, while the left-hand side light shines up in the trees ahead, handy for spotting possums but not handy for seeing rocks and potholes on the road. Out-driving one’s visibility isn’t good at any time, but it’s particularly bad on a road that’s covered in cows, pigs, kangaroos, indigenous folk, washouts and rocks.
New Year’s Eve
When we arrived, there were very few people down at the fisherman’s lease, so I drove up to Sarah’s and hid Mum’s birthday present in the boot to bring home, and then went and had a look at the various pubs.
  The Top Pub was busy, the West Coast was packed – they have Tamara Gibson there, who all the Murris like, the RSL was also quite busy along with the Bowls Club, and, as usual, the Sovereign was almost empty.
  People slowly wandered down towards the wharf where they congregated at and around the fisherman’s lease. It’s a nice spot really, at the foot of grassy hill and beside the Endeavour River, with the moonshine on the river forming a backdrop on one side and the dark presence that is Grassy Hill on the other. It is as far as you can really go in Cooktown – without drowning or being dashed to pieces on rocks anyway.
  Protégé provided the music, Vince, Sarah, and the Full Boar Muay Thai Kickboxing Club organised it all and provided the beer – their source of income, and it was good, although perhaps not as busy as it could have been. I met Marcelle, and spent most of the night talking to him – it was nice to meet a few of the people I used to know again.
  I had chips for dinner, drove up Grassy Hill with Marcelle once, walked up and had a look at the band in the Shire Hall a few times, and generally just wandered around talking to people, avoiding mud, and being bitten by ants. The actual countdown to midnight was, as usual, a silly anticlimax. I felt no different the second after.
The bar was supposed to close at a quarter to one, with the event having to be shut by one, but it was nearer two o’clock by the time the music stopped and everyone was kicked out. The drive home was not fun, as I couldn’t see a thing – bah at the lights or lack thereof. I think everyone had a good time; Dad and Mum seemed to enjoy themselves, as did I, although Sarah worked the bar most of the night.

Summary| Highlights| 2003 (Year View)

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