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Summary| Highlights| 2004 (Year View)

01.01.2004Thursday 1 January – New Year’s Day

I guess it’s the two thousand and fourth day of our Lord, or thereabouts, and the world still hasn’t ended – perhaps next year, perhaps tonight, who knows. So far, it has been a hot, moist, humid and damp but not raining year, and I’ve been able to do things for the first time “all year”, all day – but that got sort of clichéd a few years back now.
I felt all righteously indignant at the stupidity exhibited by the majority of humankind, but in particular the admin of Bohica, so thought I’d satiate my indignation with a pointless email.
  It has recently come to my attention that DCC (filesend) is blocked on at least Bohica. It appeared to work on the other servers I tried. I believe, as is rather obvious, that DCC is an integral part of IRC, and that blocking it is a stupid step towards a molly-coddled network that does not put its users first.
  I’m not sure what the logic behind this is, perhaps an attempt to protect users from the transferral of viruses? Regardless, I’d like to officially complain and request that either DCC be re-enabled on Bohica or the server be removed from Austnet. DCC is direct client to client, it does not affect server bandwidth and is not the server’s responsibility to attempt to control or limit.
  I, for one, do not wish to have my IRC limited on the off chance that someone may send something undesirable. It is a case of ruining it for everyone for the sakes of a few.
  Please de-link or re-enable DCC on Bohica.
I’ve been for a walk out to the halfway spot, then up to Dad’s, then back in the dark barefoot on the very sharp cracked gravel – so my feet hurt. Dad wasn’t there but I met him just after I’d left, driving back, so spent a while there talking before heading back here, eating some two minute noodles, and watching “The Majestic”, which was better than I was expecting. I’m now tired and needing sleep, and a bit fed up with people who seem unable to fathom anything logically, and end up distorting the truth so badly that nothing is even distinguishable anymore – and they don’t even seem to know they’ve done it.
“I dislike Allegory – the conscious and intentional allegory – yet any attempt to explain the purport of myth or fairytale must use allegorical language.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

02.01.2004Friday 2 January – Mum’s Birthday

I woke up a bit earlier than usual, excited to give Mum her present, but just missed her as she went to town. I then became tired and lay down again.
I set up Mum’s new stereo and Mum enjoyed playing her music. It seems to be all good, which I guess it would be, being brand new.
  Recently one of my friends, a computer wizard, paid me a visit. As we were talking, I mentioned that I had recently installed Windows on my PC; I told him how happy I was with this operating system and showed him the Windows CD. To my astonishment and distress, he threw it into my microwave oven and turned it on. I was upset because the CD had become precious to me, but he said “Do not worry, it is unharmed.” After a few minutes, he took the CD out, gave it to me and said, “Take a close look at it.” To my surprise the CD was quite cold and it seemed to have become thicker and heavier than before. At first, I could not see anything, but on the inner edge of the central hole, I saw an inscription, in lines finer than anything I have ever seen before. The inscription shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth:
  “I cannot read the fiery letters,” I said. “No,” he said, “but I can. The letters are Hex, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Microsoft, which I shall not utter here. But in common English this is what it says:”
  One OS to rule them all, One OS to find them,
  One OS to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Jade drove over and I took my camera, with the wedding photos I’d taken at Shan’s wedding, back over to Joneses and picked up some photos Shan had sent Jade from Thailand, and then drove up to Shan’s place where, with much trouble and waiting, I managed to burn three copies of my and their photos onto CD’s.
Mum and I listened to some of the music I’ve got on this PC on her new stereo, and then watched “Black Robe”, which is almost too realistic to be enjoyable, but impressed with its realism, realism of a level not often seen nowadays with all the politically correct garbage surrounding indigenous peoples and their histories.
Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mystic’s Dream”, from her “The Mask and Mirror” album is astounding, and reminds me of “The Lord of the Rings”, in which I believe it is featured. I can’t even begin to describe it – it’s like perfect music, and on that note (no pun intended), I shall retire for the night.
Comment by kathryn – Monday 25 October 2004, 10:00 AM
  Loreena McKennitt's heaps cool. I was going to sing Come by the hills for the HSC music but then i bailed.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 26 October 2004, 1:07 AM
  I agree. Some of my favourite music at the moment is hers.
Comment by kathryn – Saturday 6 November 2004, 7:30 PM
  he he he you wrote back. It's funny cause i expected to comment and then for it to get lost in cyber space. I only have one of her CD's at the moment from my old music teacher so by the sounds of things i should get a wriggle on and get her most recent stuff. I'll tell you who is really groovy Karl Jenkins Adiemus- the eternal knot.
  ps i sent u an e-mail so check it O.K
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 9 November 2004, 7:16 AM
  I’m afraid I never got an email?

03.01.2004Saturday 3 January – Ghosts, Creed and the Astral

I chatted. It was hot. It seems to have cleared up now, there’s not even that many clouds left.
I went for a walk out to the halfway spot and swam in its icy cold spa – it was a bit late for swimming really, but I’m so tough that I did anyway.
Mum and I watched “Shanghai Knights”, which is actually quite witty at times, and an enjoyable, fun movie. I then spent some time chatting online, listening to some music, and reading various forums before heading to bed. Some of Creed’s songs are quite good – but not quite right, there’s always something that lets them down. I have so much music, and so much of it is bad – lacking skill or sounding awful.
This monitor looks like it has a bruise – the top left corner is gradually going a bluey-green. It needs degaussing, and I need sleep.

04.01.2004Sunday 4 January – Nude in the Flow

I awoke, and spent the evening online, chatting, procrastinating, emailing, “surfing the net”, and so on and so forth.
I walked out to the halfway spot, which was cold as it was a bit late, but I forced myself into the water, he-man style. I’d been relaxing and thinking about ice bergs for a while, so decided I aught to get out before I froze to death, so stood up, turned around, and saw two people sitting on some rocks – not facing my way, fortunately. Had I known who they were, I’d simply have got out, dressed, and left, but I had no idea who they were and didn’t want to embarrass them – or me, so I lay in the water, closed my eyes, and pretended it wasn’t cold. After a while, I got used to it and it seemed warmer. There’s that many bubbles in the water it’s pretty much air, and as I just lay there, plummeted by the water falling and rushing around me – I realised I could no longer tell what was air or water, whether my arm or leg was under water or not. It’s very peaceful in a funny sort of way, and I quite enjoyed it for a bit, until I began to get sore from the water pounding against me, which is quite strong, but gladly, just before it became uncomfortable, they left and I was able to get out and walk home.
I’d thought on my walk, how I should add the capability to my online journal, of representing linefeeds (or carriage returns). It sounded like a simple idea, but like many simple ideas, wasn’t as easy in practice as it sounded. After a few failed ideas, and a search through Google, I ended up having to use a recursive XSL parser, just to replace carriage returns with line breaks. That’s the problem with XSL, it’s so hard to do deceptively simple things – it took me ages to work out how to count words and truncate a paragraph, for example, and Meunchian grouping still boggles my mind, it’s like recursion without the recurs.
  Oh, and now that I have a fancy journal that supports linefeeds, I shall use them!
  He he.
Comment by keight – Monday 5 January 2004, 10:52 PM
  you forgot to mention your awesome chat in hashmaths
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 6 January 2004, 1:36 PM
  Oh yes, I went to #maths, a channel on Austnet, and left in disgust after being informed that engineers are scientists, as part of an argument on why the Information Technology degree is somehow worse than any engineering degrees.
Comment by DM – Thursday 8 January 2004, 1:34 AM
  Ah, I guess this linefeed stuff would explain that exclamation of yours I somehow recall seeing in #bits.
  I wonder if comments like them, too.

05.01.2004Monday 5 January – Second-hand Fire

Mum and I drove to town, where we picked up Sarah, and did some shopping. The second hand shop burnt down last night. It was the first thing we noticed upon arriving in town – it is totally burnt down, just a blackened pile of tin and old chairs. Two fire engines and a pile of fire fighters, including Matthew, were sitting outside along with some police. It’s all taped off with police tape and looks a bit sad. Apparently, the butcher next door has suffered some damage too, and people were complaining that it took half an hour for any fire engines to arrive. I’m surprised Cooktown has two fire engines, unless one was sent up from somewhere else, which seems doubtful, the nearest place being four hours or so away.
I walked up to Shan’s, where Jade and Ella were copying some CD’s, and talked for a while, before heading down to Nui and Koi’s to have a look at their computer, or computers, as it turned out. After a quick trip back here to get a dialup phone number to authenticate their satellite, I installed their various bits of software they wanted installed, and set up the satellite stuff. There’s only a very small window of time to get a transmitter lock, before the auto-phase protection stuff shuts you down, and we couldn’t get a lock on any valid transmitter rate. Because they’re so paranoid about VSAT’s (you need to be a registered transmitter site to actually use one, which are they’re location-sensitive, and they’ve got to have safeguards built in so you can’t do anything bad, fry people, or interfere with anyone else’s services), any transmit error shuts down the entire system – so shut down it is. Telstra is going to send someone around to have a look tomorrow morning apparently.
I had planned to chat online, as per usual, however I kept getting disconnected, which was rather annoying – not to mention expensive. After being disconnected for the umpteenth time, I decided I’d have an early night instead, and went to bed.

06.01.2004Tuesday 6 January – Till Human Voices Wake Us

I went and looked at the phone line, to see why it was being so bad yesterday. The reason why was obviously apparent – it was snapped, totally snapped, not connected in any way whatsoever. This begs the question – how then did it work at all last night? I swapped to another two different wires, and it seems to be working again.
I walked out to the halfway spot, dipped my toes in the water, decided it was too cold for humans, and walked home again. I had planned to bring Shan’s wheelie bin down to be emptied tomorrow, but their drive sort of opens onto the telephone and it looked too open and public, so I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the poor wheelie bin there by herself. I’ll have to go bring her down early in the morning instead.
Mum and I watched “Till Human Voices Wake Us”, a somewhat disturbing, but brilliant, Australian movie. In fact, it has really impressed me – just brilliant, the sort I’ll think about all night, rather like “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, but not grim. That was terrible the night I watched that... watching it at 2 AM in the morning and then staying up all night while remarkably stressed probably wasn’t such a good idea either. At least this movie, while suspenseful when watching it, is over now and I’m not bothered by it.
New Year’s Resolution
I thought of a New Year’s Resolution I could make, but didn’t, and probably shan’t. I could resolve to write not only a journal, but also a diary – to include how I feel about things, not just the things. The problem with that is... I don’t know how. Like today and tonight – how do I feel now? Well, I’m not sure. I feel normal, perhaps a little saddened by the speed with which time passes, and the changes that brings – things that were, that never will be again, things that weren’t, and now never can be, things that should have been, had I only known, and things that aught never have been. Or something like that.

07.01.2004Wednesday 7 January – Enrolling Woes

I walked down to Shan’s and put his wheelie bin out for the rubbish collectors. I then went online, of course, and that was that.
I walked down to the pump, taking Karl’s wheelie bin back down on the way, covered it up, and then walked up to Shan’s and took his wheelie bin back inside. I stayed up there for a while messing around on his computer until a big storm began to brew outside – very dark and foreboding, with deep, scary, rumbling thunder.
I tried to enrol in next semester’s subjects, but had difficulty figuring out what to enrol in, and then, just as I began to figure it out, SINET, UQ’s online student information portal thing that is usually overloaded and failing, went down for its scheduled nightly downtime. I reckon they’ve stolen its server for the holidays, and are away playing network games on it, while it’s left running from an iMac.
The lightning and thunder, which seemed to pop up randomly and ferociously throughout today and tonight, made me remember when I was in Cairns last, walking down the esplanade. Sarah and I were walking along when Sarah noticed that my hair was standing on end – literally. As was hers. I’d not seen such a strong attraction before – any loose bits of hair were raised straight up towards the sky, trying to get the lightning to hit them... it was a bit scary and we left pretty quickly.
Comment by DM – Thursday 8 January 2004, 1:39 AM
  Funny. I was just musing today about what subjects I'd be doing next semester, too. Haven't come up with a good way to balance the engineering and the arts subjects, though, so I've decided to find out how to talk to an academic advisor. After all, it's their job to know this sort of stuff.
Comment by keight – Thursday 8 January 2004, 3:15 AM
  Oh, and Ned forgot to mention that he enrolled in SPAN1010 -- Introductory Spanish A.

08.01.2004Thursday 8 January – Big Shed Website

Dad, Mum, and Ned drove into town. They dropped Ned off at the supermarket, where he bought a milkshake for breakfast, and then walked up to the Big Shed Hardware. Once there, he quickly disabled the guards and made off with the loot. No wait, he actually spent an hour or so discussing things, before beginning to design a website, eventually finished several hours later. It was very hot outside and nice and air-conditioned inside, so this was good. Ned charged them $130 for his services, which he thought was reasonable considering the site, borrowed several CD’s, and walked back down to the supermarket where he met Rick, of Rick and Kerry fame. Rick drove down to the wharf and had a look at a sunken and now beached boat, which was too far gone for anything more than a bonfire, and then out to the Maxwell’s Transport depot where he picked up eight chairs and a table. He then drove back to the supermarket, picked up Jolene, and drove Ned back out to Rossville.
Later, just after dark, Ned walked up to Shan’s – he is still overseas on his honeymoon. Ned then used Shan’s CD’s and his computer to copy the discs he’d borrowed – all fourteen of them, which took ages. He was very glad to be finished, as it was hot, stormy, and towards the end, swarming with mosquitoes.

09.01.2004Friday 9 January – Cooktown the mighty, the brave

Ned was woken up by someone arriving – in this case Jean. Fortunately for him, she only wanted to see his mother, so he was able to go back to sleep, only to be awoken shortly after by Ella. Mandi had driven up to get the key, as they needed to access Shan’s computer for some tax records or something exciting like that. Seeing as the key was in Ned’s caravan, along with the sleepy occupant, she had to come and get it. Luckily Ned has known Ella forever, because he doesn’t sleep fully dressed.
Ned had to drive into town to drop off the CD’s he had borrowed yesterday. He noticed a few some fires on the way in. Once in town, he checked his mail, posted a letter, dropped the CD’s back, bought a thickshake, a punnet of salad and a few bottles of soft drink, and then drove home again.
By the time Ned got home, it had clouded over, and was threatening to storm. Thunder was rolling in the distance, and it didn’t look like very good weather for walking. Undeterred nonetheless, he decided to not only walk out to the halfway spot, but to also lie in the rock pool spa watching the lightning overhead – hoping none struck him or the water nearby. My, what a daring lad he is.
  Just as he decided the water was very cold and got out, it began to rain. By the time he was home, having walked through a true tropical downpour, he was as wet as it is possible to get without actually being underwater. He’s quite glad it’s not cold up here, or it wouldn’t have been much fun.
Only a few minutes after he had arrived home, it began to thunder and lightning. Ned made his way out to his caravan, where he started up his computer, just before an immense thunderclap, so he quickly unstarted up his computer, and cowered on his bed waiting for a tree to javelin through the roof. One lightning bolt sounded as though it hit a tree in the bush just beside his caravan – making such a loud and thunderous noise that his ears rang for quite some time after.
  After sleeping for a few hours until the thunder had gone Ned again started up his computer and spent the night online, doing things, as he is wont to do.
Comment by keight – Saturday 10 January 2004, 4:44 AM
  Did your money order arrive yet?
Comment by Ned – Saturday 10 January 2004, 9:41 AM
  No, it hasn’t. I don’t know what’s up with it? :-(
Comment by keight – Sunday 11 January 2004, 10:58 PM
  Well, it is in the hands of Australia Post. God know.
  If it dosent arrive soon, I'll see if I cant cancel it.

10.01.2004Saturday 10 January – To Cairns we go

Jade and Ella came around and we left for Cairns. The drive was rather uneventful – the road is bad though. We hit some pretty big and nasty potholes, which probably isn’t too good for Jade’s small Asian car, but it’s even worse trying to go slowly.
  We drove straight to Jade and Ella’s grandparent’s place, where we picked up a gate key, and drove into Cairns, parking at the new car park beside the new lagoon on the esplanade. Jade and Ella went swimming, while I checked into the “Bellview Guest House”, at $18 a night for a bed in a six bed dormitory, although I was the only person there.
  Half of Rossville and Mungumby were also enjoying the new lagoon, apparently also down there for Jenna’s going away party tomorrow.
  We had dinner at McDonalds, or at least I did. I bought one of their new “Salads Plus” veggie burgers, which aren’t too bad really and actually contain some real, live salad, while Jade and Ella had some disgusting thick shake and apple pie monstrosity.
We went and saw a romantic comedy, “Love Actually”, at the City Cinemas. While definitely not my style of movie, it was enjoyable nonetheless – and I think the girls both liked it. It was going on midnight by the time it finished, so the girls drove back to their grandparents and I went to the Bellview and slept. It was quite hot too, and I was too stupid to close the window and turn the air-conditioning on, so I sweated all night instead.

11.01.2004Sunday 11 January – Raymond and the Rings

I woke late, showered, found an internet café, checked my emails, chatted, found Raymond online, and arranged to phone him back and meet him in a while. I then went to the night markets and bought some pasta for lunch.
I phoned Raymond, who happened to be nearby, and then found and met him. We went and saw “The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King” at Central Cinemas, and it was good, although I can see that as a standalone movie it doesn’t really make much sense. After that, we spent the evening wandering around the pier, until I got a message from Joneses that I was to meet them at 7 PM.
Jade and Ella turned up, and we drove and bought an Eagle Boy’s pizza, which we ate on the esplanade, and then went to an internet café for Jade to find out something about guitars, which took ages and I wanted to go see a movie.
We went and saw “Cold Mountain”, a somewhat depressing romance set during the American Civil War. It was a good movie, but the tinging of sadness at the end wasn’t exactly what I needed before bed.

12.01.2004Monday 12 January – Lingerie, Guitars and Falafel

I was supposed to meet Joneses at the Bellview at 10 o’clock, but due to my watch being three or four hours wrong, I hadn’t even got up or got ready when the Bellview man came in and told me Ella was downstairs waiting – and checkout time is 10 AM.
  After a mad panic rush to get ready, I went and met Jade and Ella, and we went shopping. I bought the shoes Mum had requested from Woolworth’s, dropped Ella’s photos off for printing, and went to a guitar shop. Jade spent quite some time playing various electric guitars, before finally choosing one for Craig – and then we went and spent quite some more time at an op-shop, where I amused myself by trying to get Ella to buy sexy things, looking at belts and ties, playing with kitchen utensils, and various other exciting things.
  We went and picked up Ella’s photos, which weren’t at all suitable for framing in her frame, so we had to leave them there for another hour and have them enlarged.
I bought a nice, large, falafel roll, which I then ate half of and got full. Jade and Ella shared a small bucket of horrible potato chips and some silly fruit juice, and then tried to finish off my falafel roll but also got full. Jade drove off to a flute lesson, and Ella and I went and watched “Honey” at Cairns Central. Ella really enjoyed it, and I didn’t mind it either – although mainly because she enjoyed it so much.
After the movie, Ella and I walked down, picked up her photos, and waited for Jade to return – which she did. After checking the photos against the frame we found there wasn’t any way they could fit, so amidst Ella’s instant plunge into the realms of depression, we took her photos to another photo shop, along with the frame, and had a chat to the woman there who says she can print them to fit, but it will take an hour.
  To fill in the hour, we drove to Earlville and went to Stocklands, bought some chocolate wafer things for Craig and some women’s panties (oh, what exciting shopping), and then drove back to the photo place. This time they pictures did fit, and Ella was happy, so we all lived happily ever after.
  Actually, we drove back out to the girls’ grandparent’s place and dropped Ella and her pictures, happily in their frame, off at Jenna’s place, and then me back at the Bellview, where I checked in again, this time for $20.
I phoned Sarah, having phoned Kelly an hour ago and found she was at training, but she was too tired to do anything. She had worked ten hours today, and had to be up at some horribly early time tomorrow, so I went and bought myself a mini pizza from a shop on the Esplanade, ate that, and then went to an internet café to await “Welcome to the Jungle”.
I watched “Welcome to the Jungle” at Cairns Central, and really enjoyed it – it being a fairly mindless but amusing sort of Hollywood action movie. After the movie, I planned to go straight to bed, as I have a wakeup call scheduled for 7:30 AM tomorrow morning, but it was not to be.
  When I got back to my room, after a quick (and free) drop in at an internet café to check for last minute email from Shan, I found one Swiss girl, one German man and three Swiss men. They were hiding from the fearful prowler, that mighty guarder and noise-killer, the night watchman of the smoking-not-allowed-inside. Women aren’t allowed inside either, for that matter – how potentially immoral!
My throat got sore, having been talking non-stop for the past few hours, so I went to find a shop selling drinks. Amusingly, some of the Swiss were there buying drinks too, on their way home from the Woolshed. They’d gone out a few hours ago, after a bit of a chat, and I’d been chatting to the others ever since. It was quite interesting – they were very inquisitive, and intelligent, as was I (especially the intelligent part!), and we discussed a wide range of things from our different perspectives, from world politics through to the important matter of the relative size and weight of our respective coinage and the fancy see-through window in our notes, compared to the silly all-one-sized American notes, and wondering how blind people deal with that. We all need to get up around seven...

13.01.2004Tuesday 13 January – And home again

I am awoken by whomever it is that wakes people up at the Bellview.
Jade and Ella picked me up, and we drove, stopping only for petrol, back home. The road was as rough as the way down, and it rained on and off. The drive was enjoyable, and seemed to go faster for some reason – probably because Ella and I are so simple-minded and easy to amuse, and both tired.
I arrived home, and promptly retired to recover in front of my radiation-emitting cathode ray.
Here I am, still awake, and stupid. I’ve spent most of the evening online messing around reading things, chatting, doing a few things on my website, configuring the new version of Dreamweaver – nothing too exciting. Now I’m hugely sleepy and off to bed.

14.01.2004Wednesday 14 January – Mowing

I was woken by Jade and Ella banging on my door. This was the start of a rather unpleasant day. After quickly gulping down a glass of soymilk, we drove up to Shan’s place, unloaded two mowers and a whipper-snipper, and began the ordeal.
  The grass is hugely long, three or four feet high in spots, and very thick everywhere else. The mower I’m using can’t handle it. I have to mow backwards, at an incredibly slow speed, lifting the mower – basically carrying the mower into the grass. Anything else and it stalls. Four hours later, and we’ve succeeded in mowing an area that would take not more than half an hour normally. I’m dripping in sweat, my head pounds, I feel sick – what is it about mowing that makes it so much hotter than any other sort of task? The on and off rain didn’t help the humidity any either.
  Just before collapsing entirely, we stopped and went for a swim down at the Home Rule Bridge.
I spent the evening recovering from the morning, quietly online.

15.01.2004Thursday 15 January – Ranting and Raging

I have had a quiet day so far, nothing much has happened. I walked down to the hall, and saw what I believed was Shan getting home, and then confirmed on MSN with his sisters that he is indeed back. That’s about all that has happened so far. I ate a chilli in my soup for lunch and it was hot. I changed the location of the files used for various hit counters across my site, so they’re all in a central location. Silas’s payment for hosting was denied due to possible fraud. Oh, and I’ve probably almost got indigestion – apparently eating chillies and ice cream and nothing much else isn’t that good.
From the scum who steal our money while lying about representing us, comes this:
  “The University of Queensland Union will actively fight to remove the Liberal Party from Government at the next Federal election. UQU will further move to exclude through democratic means, from within the organisation members of the Liberal Party.”
  I might not mind so much if I weren’t legally obliged to belong to, support, and pay these vile creatures. So much for that farce known as democracy – the sad and scary thing is that so many believe it.
I have regularly been disgusted with the management, or mismanagement I should say, of the IRC network I frequent ever since I had a series of disagreements with some of them ages ago, but today a series of wallops went too far, and I had to complain. After receiving these wallops, which potentially anyone on the network can receive:
  15•09 ••• !Kwahraw! I AM A STUD, THE REST OF YOU ARE NOT!!!!
  13•08 ••• !Kwahraw! I am a f*ckin moron, just thought I'd let the world know.
  15•16 ••• !Zardoz! [16:14] <reverend> someoen needs to tell that kwharawh to stay the f*ck off wallops [16:14] <reverend> he is always telling me about his friend's birthdays and sh*t <–– everyone take note please
  15•16 ••• !Kwahraw! I don't have friends, and if I did, they wouldn't have birthdays.
  15•18 ••• !Kwahraw! since the ONLY thing on wallops is oper comments, if you don't like it, you can -w
  15•18 ••• !Kwahraw! thats done by /mode YOURNICK -w
  15•25 ••• !Kwahraw! noteeth says he is lonely, and wants to be messages. He especially liks poofts. /msg noteeth
  15•26 ••• !Warder! poofts? sounds like a cereal
  15•27 ••• !Kwahraw! i think its like queers/fags/butt pirates/anal spelunkers
  15•27 ••• !Warder! oh poofs
  15•28 ••• !Kwahraw! yeah, thats what noteeth likes
  15•28 ••• !Zardoz! Are you drunk?
  15•29 ••• !Kwahraw! no, just.... out of my mind. I agreed to have dinner tomorrow night at my ex-gfs place-– the one that I've been spending the last month trying to get over.
  15•29 ••• !Warder! haha ive just had 10 or so ppl ask me that as well
  15•29 ••• !Kwahraw! alcohol doesn't drive me this insane.
  15•31 ••• !Akron! Kwah dude hasent anyone ever told you never to go back? bad bad idea!
  15•31 ••• !Warder! unless u r desperate and have low self-esteem
  15•32 ••• !Akron! rofl so true.
  15•32 ••• !Kwahraw! what if I'm in love with her?
  15•32 ••• !Akron! same thing?
  15•32 ••• !Warder! then may god have mercy on your soul. never love them, only use them
  15•33 ••• !Kwahraw! or if I just miss the sex?
  15•33 ••• !Akron! isnt that expensive down the street....
  I felt required to send this email:
  I would like to officially complain regarding the use of various global services, in particular wallops, in a manner that is both reprehensible and not suitable for the general public, or Austnet's image.
  I understand that IRC is an unmoderated medium, and as thus, users are held responsible for whatever they may see or do while on IRC, however I feel that certain aspects should be suited to any audience. These would include the official channels such as global messages, wallops and so on.
  I do not think it is right that one should be required to shield their children or themselves from wallops (or any other official Austnet service) in order to avoid their exposure to coarse language, racist, sexual, or other slurs that I feel are totally inappropriate for any staff member acting in an official capacity.
  I would hope that those involved are reprimanded and that this does not occur again.
  In addition, I question the legality of using offensive and mature orientated language, as shown by various people when involved in their official Austnet duties, in a medium that has global exposure across a network supposedly suited for all ages.
  Printed on 100% recycled electrons.
Without wanting to get into the issues of rendering, standards support, vulnerabilities and other such exciting things – I thought I’d mention that I have found MyIE2 to be markedly faster (in all ways) and less resource-intensive than Mozilla, Firebird or standalone IE, and I have used it on several computers ranging from old, slow, memory lacking machines up. Also, MyIE2’s user interface, with its excellent tabbed support, mouse gestures, shortcuts and so on is rivalled only by Opera – none of the Mozilla family can match it.
  In my opinion, Mozilla and the various other Gecko based browsers are the most up-to-date insofar as rendering and such – although this is seriously offset by the fact that most sites are designed for and tested with IE. Their actual interfaces and the application itself I find to be clunky, slow, buggy and basically not as good as either Opera or IE. They have the best rendering engine... but that’s it.
  Opera has the nicest interface and “user experience”, but isn’t free and has a few “interesting” features/bugs. It’s nice and fast, and all current browsers could take a few hints from some of the non-traditional functionality they’ve added, especially their accessibility support. Their tabbed interface is the best, no questions asked.
  IE is... well everyone knows what IE is – basic, functional, most widely supported and used but rapidly becoming outdated.
  My personal preference is MyIE2, a wrapper for IE. It adds the best functionality from Opera (which Mozilla/Firebird etc cannot yet match) and combines it with the integration and compatibility you get from IE. The main downside is IE’s age – it simply doesn’t support the latest “cutting edge” stuff. Avantbrowser is similar to MyIE2, but not as good, I find.
  Of course, this only applies to Windows.
Comment by Raina – Friday 16 January 2004, 10:21 AM
  Ok, where do I get MyIE2 ? And what functionality does it add apart from 'tabbed support' and mouse gestures? (I like the idea of tabs)
Comment by Ned – Friday 16 January 2004, 2:06 PM
  Their site at sums it up nicely: “MyIE2 is the most powerful and fully customized browser on earth”. I agree, and I have used the majority of browsers currently available under Windows. It took me a while to get used to using it, now I couldn’t do without it – I have my own customised keyboard shortcuts, am used to using the tabs and drag and drop to open new windows, save pages, organise things. Oh and mouse gestures are excellent once you get used to them, I can’t do without them now... never again click a back button :-)
Comment by Ned – Friday 16 January 2004, 2:11 PM
  Oh, one other thing... don’t necessarily install all the crud that comes with it. It comes with all these bundled roboform auto password filler-outters and stuff. They’re probably really good for all I know, but if you don’t want that stuff – ensure you don’t select it when installing, not that it’s hard to uninstall again.

16.01.2004Friday 16 January – Cooktown, Shan and Kylie
I wouldn’t mind purchasing, and they had an advertisement on their site that it was for sale so I sent them an email and got this reply:
  “Dear sirs:
  Thanks for your interest in
  I would like to quote you the price range from 2,500 to 3,000 USD for the domain name.
  Then, I will be pleased to release it to your company.”
  Now, they’ve updated their site with details of an auction for the domain name, which I quote:
  “Sorry to announce that this website was closed due to our financial problems.
  Therefore, we wait for a new owner or investor of this website. If you are interested in purchasing this website or domain name, please make your best bid via e-mail.
  Anybody can bid from US $3,500 up to US $5,500 for this domain, the highest bidder will get this domain.
  The auction will be done by email. The starting price is US $3,500 and if anybody reaches to US $5,500, this auction will be automatically closed. This auction period is 45 days from the first bid.”
  It’s annoying. I have checked often – it has never been used, it’s always some stupid holding page type thing mentioning that it’s for sale.
  Is “thei” the most wanted name in Asian business or something... or are they just insane?
Mum and I drove to town, where we did shopping. How exciting. We also got a few DVD’s: “Mean Machine”, “Hidden Agenda”, “The Cat’s Meow”, “Liberty Stands Still” and “Hamlet”.
I went for a walk around the school loop and then out past the Home Rule Bridges, missing Shan and Kylie in the process. They dropped by here, and went looking for me but Mum told them I’d gone the other way, so they missed me.
Mum and I watched “Mean Machine”, or we were watching it, right up until Shan and Kylie arrived. We didn’t hear their car over the movie, so it was a bit of a shock. Mum went inside, and Shan and I played some computer games he’d bought over in Thailand until Kylie got very sleepy, and they drove home. Mum and I resumed watching the movie, which ended up being good. Not much really happened, and that which did was quite predictable, but it managed to predictably not really happen in an interesting and involving sort of way, and I enjoyed it. British films are just somehow different to American ones.

17.01.2004Saturday 17 January – Black Image

I walked up to Shan’s. It began to rain just as I left, of course, and I got wet – my umbrella leaks. Why they don’t make things like umbrellas out of something waterproof has me stumped. Shan and Kylie were halfway through watching “Hidden Agenda”, so I got to see the end half of that, which, not surprisingly, made no sense. Jade and Ella arrived not long after I did, and we spent most of the evening playing computer games, talking, and laughing at Shan and Kylie wrestling. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other, and I guess wrestling is about as intimate as you can get without it being erotic.
Jade dropped me home, but just as I got out of the car, Shan pulled up behind and asked if I wanted to go out to Home Rule, which I did. We spent an hour or so out there, looked at Shan and Kylie’s honeymoon pictures, and generally messed around before they drove me back up here.
Mum and I walked down to the hall, to see how “Black Image”, who were playing there, were going. Ninety-nine percent of the people there were murris, and eighty percent of them were standing around outside the hall listening and wouldn’t have had to pay, so I’m not sure how their cover charge was going to cover anything. It definitely wasn’t my crowd, so we left.
Shan and Kylie walked up. I got a bit of a shock when they silently arrived at the door whilst I was chatting online. Apparently they were having trouble sleeping, and probably bored too I guess, so had walked up to see if it was any more interesting up here. We looked at pictures and talked until midnight, and then walked back down to the hall to see how that was going. It was pretty much the same as last time so we didn’t stay. We’d discussed dark evil presences and all those other sort of scary things that lurk in the dark on the walk, which made me a little freaked on the walk back by myself, especially after seeing a star with an interesting sort of mist effect – I hope no one reads this.
  I then chatted and read online until the wee hours of the morning.

18.01.2004Sunday 18 January – Pumping Up

I have had a lovely quiet day, disturbed only by Mum ordering me to pump up. This involves a dangerous and very hot trek through the jungle, during which I have to carefully jump across mud-filled ravines, navigate slippery mountainsides, treacherous riverbanks, and dangerous suburban areas – twice, once to start the pump, and once to shut it off. This is all assuming it starts of course, which it did. And that’s assuming it runs after I’ve started it too, which it didn’t, so I had to start it three times – stupid small motors. Jean came around at some stage too, to get me to have a look at her computer, which I’ll try to do on Tuesday.
I got disconnected, and when trying to reconnect, received an “Error 691 – Access was denied because the username and/or password was invalid on the domain”. After several attempts, I decided either Dodo is having problems, or my account has been disabled. Hopefully not the latter, and hopefully they’re transient problems and I’ll be able to connect again soon. If not, I guess I’ll have to phone them tomorrow. Perhaps I should go watch “S.W.A.T.”, which I have here on DVD. It’s still showing in the cinemas so I’m guessing it’s probably reasonably illegal to have a DVD. Perhaps I should point out that I do not own the DVD, and, technically, do not know from whence it came.
Yay, online again! It must have been a transient fault. What a relief! How traumatic that was. Now I’m all stressed that I’ll get disconnected again and have to go to bed or something terrible like that.

19.01.2004Monday 19 January – Symlinks at last

After a hard night’s chatting, I finally went to bed.
I woke up, and, of course, went online.
Shan and Kylie came around, and proceeded to make Ella very angry by threatening her, via MSN, that they’d come around and borrow her satellite decoder and she’d not be able to talk to all her lovers – she’s such an angry girl. They also borrowed a few DVD’s.
After an abortive attempt some time ago to figure out a way to mirror my content in two locations (on the same server), I again and successfully tried using symlinks. I can now serve my journal, for example, from and without affecting its existing structure – something I have wanted to do for some time.
Mum and I began to watch “The Cat’s Meow”, but it was terrible so we stopped. Plus, it had awful audio and we could hardly hear it over the rain, so we watched “S.W.A.T.” instead, which was much better and we both enjoyed it – although it’s very predictable and typical and not that good.
I went to bed, late – yet again.

20.01.2004Tuesday 20 January – Jean’s WordPad

I wake up. I thought Mum was going to town, but she decided not to, so I spent most of the day online chatting instead.
Jean’s computer has some problem apparently, so I walk down to see what it is. I meet Jean just before I get to her place, and get a lift the rest of the way. It ends up, she’s printing a document she typed, and there are a few errors and inexplicable formatting problems in it, but each time she prints it, it comes out just the same regardless of what she does. She even went so far as to retype a page. She’s using WordPad, which I’d never really bothered to look at before – but it’s remarkably poxy. It doesn’t even support pages – instead everything is one long line, and you can wrap it at a specified ruler width if you want. Her print queue had about 20 documents in it, all in various states of failure, so that probably has something to do with her problems. Over two hours later, which involved such enjoyable tasks as feeding paper into a printer, one page at a time, removing large chunks of jammed paper, waiting considerable amounts of time for printer to return to life and rebooting an old Pentium 2 with 64 megs of RAM.
I got back from fixing Jean’s computer.
Shan turned up, dropping off the DVD’s he’d borrowed. He only stayed a few minutes – he and Kylie both looked very sleepy.
After messing around with my site all night, updating and changing things, I finally went to bed.

21.01.2004Wednesday 21 January – Liberty Stands Still

I phoned Dodo technical support, because I got another of those “Error 691 – Access was denied because the username and/or password was invalid on the domain” errors. They said they’d phone me back, which isn’t much use as either I’m not here, or I’m connected to the internet, tying up the one phone line.
Seeing as I can’t go online, and because I usually go for a walk anyway – I went for a walk. It’s nice walking in the rainforest once the heat of the day has passed. Everything is so green and lush, there’s so many different types of plants, trees, vines, grasses, ferns, berries, birds, bugs, insects – even just the noises. The place is teeming with life – little life, the sort you miss if you’re in a car. I enjoy the peacefulness and find I can think really well when I walk up here.
Mum and I watched “Liberty Stands Still”, which was actually thought provoking, so not too bad really. Not the most exciting movie around though. I then stayed up way too late online trying to get rid of a crappy problem with my website – I ended up having to copy another several hundred line file, checking through it line by line, before it would work.

22.01.2004Thursday 22 January – Dean’s Commendation

We all did go to town, at which we set upon the post office to discharge its mail, being as it was ours. I was pleased to obtain, in a large manila envelope, a Dean’s Commendation for Excellence. Dad and Mum were well pleased.
  A milkshake, a talk to Bob and Peter, and some shopping later, and we drove home. We met the Jamaican and another bloke broken down near Ron’s, had a quick look, and then helped them phone the RACQ. I then collapsed in front of the fan and went online.
Mum went to get a can of three-bean mix out of the cupboard, but got a black snake instead. For some reason, she didn’t like this, and screamed and threw the can on the floor and made quite a fuss. The poor snake was very alarmed and angry. Mum wanted it to go away, but it decided not to, so it’s still there now. It seems to be a bit happier now, all curled up behind some jars.
It’s raining nicely. I’m slowly getting sleepy, but don’t think I’ll go to bed for a while yet.
Comment by DK – Saturday 31 January 2004, 9:04 AM
  Well done re: Commendation ;)
Comment by Ned – Monday 2 February 2004, 1:20 AM
  Thanks :-)

23.01.2004Friday 23 January – Cooktown, Pizza and Chips

I sleep.
I enter a deeper state of sleep.
I enter a semi-awake state of sleep, during which I dream a lot, but I forget this by the time I wake.
Walk. The spa is intense. Rain has swelled the waters. I am pummelled.
I arrive back from town. Shan turned up a few hours ago, with Kylie, Jade and Ella – on their way to town, a spur of the moment anti-boredom measure I think. We had a good time – bought chips, milkshakes and pizza from Joe’s, which we ate down at the wharf, and some drinks from the servo, before driving home again. I really quite enjoyed it – it’s nice to be able to do these sort of things with Joneses (and now Kylie), as I’ve never been able to before, as they were too young.

24.01.2004Saturday 24 January – Reign of Darkness

I woke up, to hear Mum screaming and carrying on. She’d put her hand in the cupboard to get a plate, and got a snake instead. I suppose I can understand that making her scared, but I can’t understand her stupid insistence that I not go near the snake. It’s the same snake from the other day – about five feet long, quite black, with a pink tinged greyish underbelly. Mum seems to think that it can magically morph its way through jars of food, leap through the air, and bite me – all in the twinkling of an eye. This necessitated Dad and Ron arriving, complete with a broom and a rake, and poking the poor snake until it fell out, ran under a cupboard (from whence emerged a rat – very amusing) and then outside.
I decided to go for my normal evening walk out to the halfway spot. I was about halfway back from the halfway spot when I met Shan and Kylie, driving out to Home Rule, about halfway to the halfway spot. I got a lift out to Home Rule with them, where they planned to use Ella’s satellite dish and phone line to authenticate Shan’s satellite decoder. Unfortunately, they’re experiencing power problems – apparently there’s air in the pipe, so we didn’t have any power for a few hours so stayed for dinner.
  By the time we got the satellite stuff done and left, it was bucketing down rain, and going on midnight. Jade and Ella came along, and we all drove up to Shan’s and watched “Reign of Darkness” – a very B-Grade horror movie, but I didn’t mind it too much.
It was funny – they all fell asleep watching the movie, even Shan. I hoped I didn’t offend any of them, but I snuck out and walked home, rather than wake anyone up.
Sometime around here, my site would have been moved across to its new server, although DNS will take much longer to propagate so I don’t expect anything to actually change for a while.
After messing around with the new server for a while, and chatting online, I went to sleep.

25.01.2004Sunday 25 January – Server Move

I wake. I have a bit of a sleep around midday because I feel terrible.
I shower because I still feel terrible.
I go walking, to try to come alive. I then spend the night chatting and waiting for DNS to resolve and messing around with my sites, which were moved to a new server not long after midnight last night, trying to fix them.
I finally go to bed.

26.01.2004Monday 26 January – Australia Day, Bruised and Battered

I am so tired and worn out, aching and sore. I’ve been swimming for hours, being bashed, battered, bruised and gashed against rocks – and to top it all off, scratched, bleeding and lacerated from an ongoing altercation with some violent femmes.
I woke up, which isn’t that hard to imagine. I then did the obvious – and went on line. I was trying to fix up my website so it will work, as well as possible, without XSLT, but every time I tried to something went wrong. FTP died, DNS resolved at random, randomly – the power even failed for ten minutes and kept playing up after that.
In fact, that was a little scary. The power cut out for about ten minutes, just as I was finally about to upload a fixed page for my journal – having already tried several times before and been unsuccessful due to stupid text encoding problems. I leapt up and pulled the plug on the PC in case the power came back on suddenly and blew it up, and then wandered around aimlessly inside, getting some ice cream. After the power came back on, and seemed to be staying on, I rushed out here and started up the PC – and it made about 30 little beeps, but then booted normally.
Not long after the power failure, Shan messaged me on MSN and asked if I wanted to go out to Home Rule for a swim, which I did. We drove out there and walked up to the Blue Marker, and swam. That is somewhat of an understatement. We actually fought the current, and each other, getting smashed against rocks, scratched, gouged, and generally exhausted and bruised in the process. Kylie managed to take skin off fingers on both all of my hands – which hurts now that I’m typing, and my sore ankle was the only one anyone ever grabbed.
  After our exhausting ordeal, we spent some time at Joneses, before driving up to Shan’s and walking down to his pump. Small motors, and pumps in particular, are horrible sadistic things. After we’d got the water out of the exhaust, we spent quarter of an hour pulling its stupid little starter, before I cunningly tricked it into starting. Small motors are bad, there’s no two ways about it. It sure didn’t do my already very exhausted right arm any good either.
Shan and I spent a while looking at the new GameDude site, and picking mulberries, before I walked home. I then had dinner, which was nice but made me feel so exhausted and sick. I think I’ve overdone the exertion today.

27.01.2004Tuesday 27 January – Town and CD’s

Mum and I drove into town, I’m not quite sure why. We didn’t really do anything. Sarah is back, having left her wallet on the bonnet, driving off and losing it with her licence and Vince’s credit cards in it. To top it off, their phone died while they were away and they’ve lost a job.
I walked up to Shan’s, talked about blank CD’s, and then out to the halfway spot. I ordered 50 “Laser” brand 48× 700MB blank CD’s for $25 from GameDude, having priced them in town where they cost over twice this. I chatted to Silas, who is trying to figure out which MP3 player to buy.
I’m listening to Loreena McKennitt’s “The Mystic’s Dream” from her “The Mask and Mirror” album before going to bed. It’s such a good song.

28.01.2004Wednesday 28 January – The Man in the Iron Mask

I slept in late, being woken by someone looking for Sarah, and spent most of today online chatting and messing around updating bits of my website.
I went for my normal unexciting walk out to the halfway spot and back again.
Mum and I watched “The Man in the Iron Mask”, which I quite enjoyed despite its somewhat predictable plot, horrible accents and Leonardo DiCaprio.
I can’t believe it’s so late and I need to get up reasonably early to go to town. Argh!

29.01.2004Thursday 29 January – Cooktown

Mum and I drove into town and did shopping. I had my traditional milkshake followed by a punnet of pasta salad and felt traditionally sick afterwards. We also got another five DVD’s, “Born Romantic”, “Rush Hour 2”, “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?”, “Blade” and its sequel, “Blade Ⅱ”.
I arrived home to find Jade and Ella on MSN telling me Kylie wanted to talk to me, and a frantic email from Shan and Kylie asking if I’d drop a DVD back for them as they were going away over the weekend, down to Kylie’s Mum’s place. The fuss seemed a little excessive for a simple DVD return, so I talked to Kylie about it. It seems they had gotten a porno movie – probably the first either of them had seen, and weren’t very keen for anyone to know – especially not Jade or Ella. It seemed somewhat funny at the time.

30.01.2004Friday 30 January – Site Moved

What an ordeal that was. I woke up to find that Robert had moved my site over to another server, as promised, because with the crazy random problems they are having on the new SolidInternet server, he wasn’t willing to mess around trying to get Expat, mod_ssl, Zend and Sablotron to co-exist peacefully.
  I updated my site to use all its XSLT features again, but my syndication feeds update script gave a “404 File Not Found” error. This seemed odd because the file definitely existed. After some messing around, I realised it was actually giving a “500 Internal Server Error”, but due to the way I’ve handled unfound pages, that gives a “404 File Not Found” error.
  Once I’d figured that out, I thought it would be easy to fix, but no. First, I discovered that every time I attempted to execute the file, it caused a 10 MB core dump in its directory. This was exciting but unhelpful. I rewrote the script – several times. I then tried copying other existing scripts I had that did almost exactly the thing, and modifying them to work – but they didn’t. I figured it must be some sort of file permission problem, probably caused when my files were copied from the other server, so I chmodded them to every known permission, changed the directory they were in, changed their name and type, overwrote existing files, used rename() to copy them to other files, and anything else I could think of, before deciding it must be something else.
  I then attacked the XSLT file that performed the transformations, thinking that perhaps this server had a different version of Sablotron installed, which was having problems with something – but it’s such a simple transformation that I couldn’t really see any problem with it, there’s just nothing that I could change.
  Fortunately for my sanity, I had the rather obvious brainwave to change the input data file to a last year’s journal – and it worked. This narrowed down the possible problems to this year’s journal data file, which seemed very odd and hence why I hadn’t considered it could be a problem. Once I’d worked this out, it was easy. I truncate the output to 30 words, by trimming on word borders, and if I’ve an element in the input that is the first content element for a specific day, and has only one word, it tries has a heart attack and dies. My shoddy coding I guess, although I’m not quite sure how to fix it yet.
  I skilfully changed the one word element “Sleep” into the two-word element “I Sleep”, by the dexterous placing of a single “I”, and all my troubles went away. Or rather, they should have... I tested it and it worked, so I fixed up the original files, copied over the working code from the files I’d been testing it in, and uploaded everything. Clunk. It all died. Totally. Everything stopped working. FTP didn’t work, XSLT died totally – it was a shambles.
  I was just about to give up and go back to using HyperCard on a Macintosh, when I remembered the 10 MB core dumps. Now that I’ve deleted them, and freed up some space, everything works again.
After a walk out to the halfway spot while it was drizzling and a nice warm shower when I got home, Mum and I watched “Born Romantic”, which Mum quite enjoyed. I liked it too, but it’s not really my style of movie. British comedy is usually good though – leaves for dead that incredibly obvious rubbish the Americans call comedy.

31.01.2004Saturday 31 January – Dad’s

I had planned to go over to Home Rule and try to install some stuff for Ric, but was advised by Ella not to – so that sort of messed up my day and I spent the rest of the day doing not much and wishing it wasn’t so hot.
I went for a walk up to Dad’s and had dinner there.

01.02.2004Sunday 1 February – Very Hot

It was an incredibly hot day, and I sweltered uncomfortably all day long.
Mum and I watched “Rush Hour Ⅱ”, which I have seen before, but is quite amusing. I then stayed up late online, updating my links page and a few other similarly exciting things.

02.02.2004Monday 2 February – Lightning

Joe phoned up and left a message for me to call the uni dentist, which I did. I now have an appointment to see the oral surgeon – something I’m not looking forward to.
Mum woke me up to see if I wanted to go to town with her, but I was too sleepy and the only reason I had for going was to buy chocolate – something I haven’t eaten in ages now – so I went online instead, and I’m still here.
The usual evening storm began to brew and move across towards us, so I shut down and unplugged the computer, and went inside. The lightning got closer and closer, thundering all around us, before it passed over towards Home Rule and the rain began. Then, just when we thought the worst was over, there was a loud hiss and a bright flash, followed immediately by a huge, rolling thunderclap and then an ominous silence – no thunder, no lightning, not even any rain. This lack of ferocity was scarier than the lightning, but not for long – a huge spark, with its own huge spark noise, hit down just outside somewhere, which was the worst. Another closer raging thunderstorm followed, the highlight of which was when we had a spark from within our inside meter box, and the smell of burning plastic.
  Once the storm had passed, the power tried to come back on. The lights were a dim orange for a while, then some fellas from Ergon turned up at the power pole up the road and did their magic, and the power worked. Surprisingly, after resetting the core balance breaker, everything seemed to work again, so whatever plastic melted obviously wasn’t too vital.
  Once the power had been on a while and seemed to be staying on, I reconnected the computer and went to go online – but there was no modem found. After a bit of fiddling around, it became evident that the modem was fried. The phone would work when the computer was off, but turn it on and the phone stopped working. Now that I think about it, it was pretty stupid – but I used to unplug the phone line from the wall jack inside, but leave the other end connected to the modem, so it had fifty metres of buried extension lead joined to the modem. I would probably have been better off leaving it plugged into the wall, where at least it would have been connected to some lightning protection.
  I walked up to Shan’s to ask if I could borrow his modem. They were about to go over to Home Rule for dinner, and said they’d pick up the modem while they were there.
Mum and I watched “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” – which is very stupid, but so stupid it’s almost funny. Not long after we’d finished watching the DVD, Shan arrived with the modem, and I tried installing it. The computer won’t even boot with it in the same PCI slot that the old modem used. Sometimes it will initialise the graphics card and fail on memory test, other times it won’t even initialise the graphics. I’m guessing that means either that slot is dead, or, probably less likely, the BIOS still thinks the old card is there. I couldn’t be bothered resetting the BIOS or ESCD. The borrowed modem will detect and seem to work properly if I put it in another PCI slot. It will even pick up the phone, but won’t dial. It simply fails to dial, saying no dial tone is present until I told it to ignore dial tones, and now it just dials for a while, and after a few attempts gives a generic 777 hardware failure error.
  After a while, I got sick of it, and plugged in a trusty external modem and used that instead, but storm circled around and came back, so I had to shutdown, unplug and go to bed anyway. I’ll try to borrow another internal modem tomorrow and test using that.
  I slept hoping the tree above me doesn’t get hit by lightning and fall on me.

03.02.2004Tuesday 3 February – Rocks, Rapids and Vampires

I vegetated, suffering slightly from hay fever.
Shan and Kylie picked me up and we drove out to Home Rule, where we walked up to the Blue Marker and went swimming. The creek was stronger than last time, having flooded and been over the bridges some time during the night, which made for fun, although sometimes painful, swimming. I strained a muscle in my right leg, was battered and bruised, and rather nastily scratched by Kylie – who is quite vicious, even though she’s just playing. It was good fun though, and good exercise and I enjoyed it.
  After our swim, Shan and I played around with the network, trying to figure out what, if anything, had been blown up by the lightning and why nothing worked. We spent ages messing around, eventually admitting defeat. It’s a bit hard with someone else, every time I would go to do something, Shan would do something different – so I said I’d come around tomorrow and have a look while Shan was at work.
I installed Jade’s modem into the same PCI slot that my modem was originally in, and the computer booted up fine – even detecting the modem. However, while I can communicate to the modem, I can’t get it to dial. I took the network card out, and swapped the modem into its slot – and voila, it all works. I haven’t got around to testing anything more, but it’s a bit confusing. My modem doesn’t detect in either of the two lower slots, Shan’s modem detects in one of them but won’t dial, and prevents the BIOS from initialising in the other one, and Jade’s modem seems to work fine in both of them, but won’t dial. They’re all reasonably cheap software modems, so they should really work. I’ll have to play around with them a bit more tomorrow.
I walked up to Shan’s, and we watched “Blade”. It’s not actually scary – in fact, I wouldn’t classify it as a horror movie at all, despite its horror rating. I enjoyed watching it, although a fifteen-inch monitor isn’t the best way for three people to watch a DVD.

04.02.2004Wednesday 4 February – Stupid Girls, and a Little Water

Well, that was an annoyance. I walked four kilometres, in extreme humidity, out to Home Rule to troubleshoot their lightning-struck network. Only Kylie and Ella were there, and Ric down in his van. I went and installed a few games and things on Ric’s computer, which, apart from one game that has exciting fatal errors, mostly went well. Kylie and Ella came down after a bit to tell me Mum had phoned and that they were going up to Kylie’s place. Considering that I’d come over specifically to fix their network, which is a huge pain in the posterior, and I am not being paid for it, I thought them leaving was a bit rude. The other problem is that I don’t know Ella’s password so can’t really reboot her machine – very handy when trying to fix it.
  I used Ella’s computer to ask her, via MSN, what her password was, so I could reboot her computer. Not only did she not tell me, but I was rudely ordered to go offline immediately because their limited download quota was nearly up – and when I didn’t go offline right away (ironically, I was actually offline because their satellite dropped out due to the inclement weather, but MSN didn’t register it), I was yelled and sworn at. I was a bit surprised with how rude they were, considering I’m not obliged in any way to help them out, but Kylie has been consistently rude and offensive to me – I can actually tell when it is Kylie using someone else’s MSN because the level of conversation degenerates. Perhaps as Shan’s friend, I’m still posing some kind of threat to her even though they’re now married – I don’t really know, but if Ella wants me to fix her computer again, she’ll be paying and I’m hoping it breaks down. Unfortunately it is Ella’s computer that has the internet connection out there, so when the network is down, it disadvantages Jade and Ric and doesn’t really affect her, so I’ll probably end up out there again trying to fix it for Jade’s sake.
I am very, very annoyed – the power just failed, and if it weren’t for Word’s auto recovery, I’d have lost half my rant, and all of yesterday’s journal entry. I’m glad Word managed to recover the bulk of my rant, but I’ve now decreased its auto-save time from ten minutes down to three. I am not having a good day, it’s horribly humid, hot and sweaty, Sarah isn’t coming out after all, and my leg hurts quite a bit – I guess it’s one of those strained muscles that are supposed to be kept off, not walked on.
I need to get to bed, but first I must write this: I’ve just finished watching the demise of a certain family of vampires, and the continued existence of Blade, and his friend Whistler, in “Blade Ⅱ". The DVD was scratched, so I couldn’t copy it and had to watch it tonight. I’ve installed PowerDVD, which is better than WinDVD on slower computers like this one.
  Earlier in the night it rained – and rained, and rained, and rained. Tropical downpours – the sort that would drown a weak Melbournite, have been sadly rare up here recently, so it’s very nice to get some rain. Unfortunately, not long before midnight, Shan came over and dropped off some DVD’s for me to take back to town tomorrow, and said that Joneses Causeway was over. I got him to check the Home Rule Bridge on his way home, which he did, and told me via MSN that it’s about two feet over. The inexorable law of cause and effect took hold of Mum, and she walked down to the pump to check how high the water was. Twelve feet below the pump, and worryingly high she reckoned – statements which are mutually exclusive, as twelve feet below the pump would put the water lower than its normal level, if anything. We then did the only logical thing to do, and disagreed. I pointed out that if the water was twelve feet below the pump, not only do we have nothing to worry about, but there’s obviously no flood either. Mum pointed out that if I weren’t so lazy, I would have walked down with her. I wasn’t impressed, seeing as how I’d offered to walk down with her, several times, but she had said she would be Ok, and in fact had rudely walked off.
  Several disagreements later, Mum came back out and suggested we go move the pump anyway – which we did. Sliding down the cliff, sludging through the mud and flooded gully – at midnight in the dark and pouring rain isn’t my idea of fun, although I can think of worse things to do. The water was around five, perhaps even less, feet below the pump – who knows how Mum estimated twelve. After painfully removing the stupid hoses and spraying water everywhere (not that it made any difference in the rain), I lugged its awkward weight up the hill a bit and out of harms way, covered it in plastic, and fought my way back home. Sheets of almost solid water were falling from the sky by this time, and that’s the end of my story.
Comment by chrisj – Wednesday 4 February 2004, 9:36 PM
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 4 February 2004, 10:34 PM
  I have always thought that sometimes when women wear less clothing, it solves problems, but that doesn’t apply to men. As for the wig, it’s an admirable idea, but I’ve no idea where I could buy one up here.

05.02.2004Thursday 5 February – Cooktown and Drama

Mum woke me up, and Dad, her and I drove into town. We had a late breakfast at the Mad Cow with Sarah, did some shopping, and then drove home again. The creek still looks like it’s pretty flooded, but I haven’t been down to check. I should probably go down and have a look now.
The modem I bought seems to work fine in the same slot the old modem was in. This is strange – I’ve tried four modems now, including my old one. My old one doesn’t work anywhere – simply isn’t detected. Shan’s modem, when in the same PCI slot that my old modem was in, prevents the machine from booting. The BIOS has major problems – actually stalling halfway through writing the POST messages onto the screen, and that’s just if it actually gets around to initialising the graphics. I tried it in another slot and it detects and installs and responds, but won’t dial – and similarly with Jade’s modem, although it did actually dial and work in one slot, and then this new one I bought (which I believe is identical to Jade’s) works just fine. Strange, yet typical.

06.02.2004Friday 6 February – Rain and Car Sales

I added the capability to my journal to authenticate users, so that I can allow certain people to view private entries, based on specified levels of privacy. So far, it seems to work well.
It has been raining a lot – it seems like proper wet season weather at last. I hope we get enough rain to make up for the dry years.
Adam came and wanted to buy the old Mazda for parts. He’s gone up to see the car and Dad about it now.
  Rory came and tried to buy the old Honda. He said his parents knew, but Mum phoned his Mum, who said she hadn’t heard anything about it – so he was sent on his way.
Shan, along with Kylie, Jade and Ella dropped in for a minute to pick up his and Jade’s modems. Telstra reset his satellite account and he needs to re-authenticate it.

07.02.2004Saturday 7 February – Voting and Flooded

I slept in, and then spent most of the middle of the day online. The new modem I bought still seems to work quite normally in the same slot the old modem was in, and due to power failures, I’ve had to reboot several times since then, so I guess it’s ok.
The power failed, and I lost most of what I’d written here – which is annoying. I’ve decreased the auto-recovery period to one minute now. I’d written how I walked down to Home Rule Bridge, and it is considerably flooded. I’m not quite sure how high the water is, but much too high to walk or drive across. I estimate it is five feet over the bridge but it’s hard to tell – it has been so long since I last played around in a flood down there. I met Rory on the way back and he asked if Mum had mentioned anything about the car, and if “thingo” had come to fix it yet. I don’t want to get involved, and didn’t know anything about it anyway, so said I had no idea what was going on.
I’m actually in a bit of a mood. I’m not entirely sure why – I guess there probably isn’t any logical reason for it. I think it’s because it is flooded – I should be tubing but I’m not, because I don’t have anyone to tube with. Neither Shan nor any of his sisters are online, and I feel abandoned I guess – but that’s not really true either. I know they’re most probably offline because their satellite connections won’t work through the heavy cloud cover, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Home Rule had no power – and it is voting day so they could be in voting. Nevertheless, I am in a mood. I wish I were tubing and having fun, but instead I’m here wishing I were tubing.
Apparently Mandi, Jade and Ella are stuck up at Shan’s place. They went in to vote and now it’s too flooded for them to get home. Shan says he was there up until around lunchtime, and back by about three o’clock, so I’m guessing the bridges weren’t too flooded at lunch but were by three.
Someone from [], port 2263 keeps wanting to send UDP datagrams to port 1026 owned by ‘Internet Information Services’ and 1027 owned by ‘SYSTEM’ on my computer. The strange thing is, I have a dynamic IP, so I wouldn’t expect the same host to keep trying after I’ve been disconnected and changed my IP.
Comment by Soren – Tuesday 24 February 2004, 7:39 PM
  This person keeps doing a port scan on my PC, very annoying.
  You talk about home Rule, is that the place near Gulgong?
Comment by Judy – Monday 1 March 2004, 3:26 PM [] I keep getting this annoying message (very regularly)and decided to type it into Google. Yours was the only link that appeared. What one earth is this message all about? I am sure it not your "job" or even interest to answer this so please feel free to ignore and I won't feel at all rejected.
Comment by Dirk – Tuesday 2 March 2004, 1:35 AM
  Same here, Also got a dynamic IP¨but he keeps showing up. IP is anyway of finding out who it is ?
Comment by Raul – Tuesday 2 March 2004, 1:22 PM
  You are all hack by devnull nederland power!!!!!!!!!! especially you dirk!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 2 March 2004, 7:46 PM
  I’m not “hacked”, but I am quite curious – especially as it has now happened from two computers across two totally different internet access accounts.
  And no, “Home Rule” is the name of a mine, or what used to be a mine, now a resort, in north Queensland.
Comment by Dirk – Tuesday 2 March 2004, 9:14 PM
  You mean "hacked" ?
  Strange... you have not showed up today :).
Comment by moses – Tuesday 9 March 2004, 6:49 PM
  ok me too just last night. i strayed over a couple of porn sites, and whether it was a co-incidence or not, now the bastards have messed up my internet explorer, cause i can't load google (neither or This really wants to hook into my ports !!!
  btw - you can get around it temporarily by using the ip address of google, - has anyone worked out how to get rid of this nuisance
  and restore Iexplorer (for at least access google) ?
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 10 March 2004, 1:46 AM
  It’s highly unlikely being port scanned is going to affect your browser in any particularly long lasting way.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 10 March 2004, 1:47 AM
  Try either Adaware or your favourite virus scanner, or preferably both.

08.02.2004Sunday 8 February – Happily Drowning

I had a bad morning – doing nothing online and in a mood.
Shan picked me up, and we drove out to Home Rule where we went swimming at the Blue Marker. It was considerably flooded – much higher than the previous time. I nearly drowned – or at least I think I did. I am not sure how easy it is to drown, but being caught at the bottom of a waterfall is probably a good way to find out. Each time I managed to come up for air, I was sucked back down to the bottom again.
  When I wasn’t drowning, I was being smashed against rocks, logs, or fighting my way against vicious undertows and currents. It was great fun, but very, very tiring. Kylie, Jade and Ella nearly drowned too – I think Shan managed to escape.
I watched “Bare Witness”, which I’d borrowed from Shan and Kylie. I didn’t mind it, as I managed to get engrossed in the plot, but the acting is definitely poor.
I’ve downloaded the latest version of ACDSee, which seems to have major bugs – it crashes every time I change directory. It does, however, allow me to add EXIF metadata to images without existing metadata – something I needed and something the previous version did not allow, so that’s good at least. I’m trying to upload some pictures to my web server, but it’s being very slow. I am suffering mild shock from the time. I thought it was around 2 AM. I can’t believe the time has gone so fast. I had planned to get up relatively early, and perhaps go over to Home Rule and have a look at Jade’s PC, but all that’s in doubt now because I’ll probably be asleep all day. At least it’s raining a little now – not very heavy though. The more rain we get the better really, to a certain extent anyway. I wish these uploads would hurry up so that I can go to bed. I suppose I could go lie down and leave them going.

09.02.2004Monday 9 February – Uni Enrolment

After a measly six and a half hour sleep, I woke up to find people in the uni channel saying sign-on had opened for university courses, and I hadn’t even enrolled in all my subjects yet. I did a quick and complex comparison in Excel, and have now selected:
  INFS2200 — Relational Database Systems
  COMP2301 — Systems Interface Programming
  COMP3601 — Software Specification
  COMP3300 — Operating Systems
  They all sound bad and I’m now traumatised. On the bright side, sign-on for my subjects doesn’t actually open until early Thursday morning – so that gives me a bit of time to figure out my immensely complex timetable.
I went for a walk just on dusk. It was very beautiful; very clean after all the rain. I walked down to the Home Rule Bridge, dangled my feet in the icy flooded water, and enjoyed the peacefulness. The mountains formed a lovely backdrop. I met Shan and Kylie walking their dog, and went up to their place to pick up a DVD to take back to town.
Comment by Tjousk – Monday 9 February 2004, 3:17 PM
  Ooh, I can comment!
  not that I have anything useful to say...

10.02.2004Tuesday 10 February – Cyclone

Jade and Ella drove over and picked me up, and Kylie on the way back. I messed around with her PC, eventually getting it to work. It was a typical stupid problem. Her onboard network interface is dead, and the PCI network card simply does not work. Another PCI network card I took over worked fine, and, crazily enough, the other PCI network card would also work after I installed my other one. After installing my network card, then her modem, then swapping my network card for my other network card it all worked – and that’s the only possible way to get it to all go. Logic need not apply.
  I disabled Word’s auto-list conversions for Ric and cleaned up a document he was writing. Word can be so hard to use sometimes.
My new modem seems to be working: Dodo Internet via ESS ES56H-PI Data Fax Voice Modem @ 31200bps for 1d 16h 14s (13.02MB up, 46.78MB down). I also got this message: “ISP does not support modem on hold. If you accept incoming call, your internet connection will be terminated. Do you want to accept the call?” Unfortunately, I was asleep at the time so I couldn’t click “yes” and see what happened.
I watched “12 Monkeys” – a good movie really, but with an annoying end. It was also scratched in several spots, which is annoying.
  I was informed of a cyclone threat. We are currently under a Cyclone watch. While waiting for the 2 AM advisory, the power failed so I left the lights on and went to bed.
I’ve woken up and the power is back on. It’s still raining quite heavily. I hope it’s not flooded. I still have hay fever too, which really isn’t pleasant.
  At 2 AM Tropical Cyclone Fritz, Category 1, with gusts to 100 km/h, was located 52 km east of Cape Melville moving west at 22 km/h. Cyclone Fritz should cross the coast between Lockhart River and Cape Tribulation just south of Cape Melville in the next 2 to 3 hours. Gales are likely to persist mostly just south of the cyclone for the next few hours then gradually ease as the cyclone moves inland.
  Heavy rain and local flooding are expected over the Peninsula and Northern Tropical coast.
Comment by Lucas – Friday 13 February 2004, 12:24 AM
  funny, i have a friend named fritz....

11.02.2004Wednesday 11 February – Flights, Floods and Fear

Horribly Early
Mum woke me up to tell me that it is flooded. I didn’t have a very good night’s sleep, staying up until the power failed some time after midnight, then going to bed for a while and waking up when the power came on again around 3 AM, getting back to bed sometime around four o’clock and then being woken up before six by Mum. The 11 PM cyclone advisory put us in a warning zone, so I was staying up to check the 2 AM advisory when the power failed – or rather my fan stopped. I turned on the light to see why the fan had stopped, but it didn’t – only glowing a dull orange instead. I pulled the plug on the PC, turned all the lights on, and went to bed. The power tried to come on a few times, glowing orange and then dying, before I fell asleep. After a while, I began to have funny dreams about bright lights ala “12 Monkeys”. I then woke up to find the power, and lights, were back on, so I checked the cyclone advisory, saw we weren’t about to be exterminated, updated my journal, and went back to bed.
  I walked down to look at Joneses Crossing, and it is indeed flooded. I believe we could drive through, but Mum doesn’t and she’s not going to risk losing the car. I went online and contacted Shan, who had already been down to the bridges and taken a photo, which he sent to me. Not bad considering it’s before six. The creek is high, the bridges are deep under water, and Mum needs to be at the airport by eight o’clock.
  Mum phoned up everyone she could think of – not what you really want to do early in the morning, but no one was home, or willing to risk getting to town. Eventually, I went back online and arranged with Shan to get a lift in – or at least as far as the next bridge and see if it was passable. He actually drove through Joneses crossing without being washed away, so there’s a reasonable chance we could have too. Each crossing we came to, we expected the worst – but they were all just under. The water was almost lapping on the Mungumby Bridge.
  After what turned out to be a rather uneventful drive into town and out to the airport, we were told that Cairns Airport was closed and to come back at ten o’clock, so we dropped Mum at Vince’s and bought breakfast at the bakery.
  An apple turnover (with fresh cream) and milk drink later and we were actually awake. Once the supermarket was open, Shan and Kylie did some shopping and I bought a few emergency supplies just in case I can’t get back in for ages, went and fuelled up and did some hardware shopping. The hardware has its Chinese imported motorbikes now – and they’re very cheap. $1,299 for a Coyote, from memory. We then hung around down near the wharf until the video shop was open, took back our old DVD’s, got some new ones – two lots of five, and drove home. I (randomly) ended up with “Gone in 60 Seconds”, “Dungeons & Dragons”, “The Truth about Cats & Dogs”, “Pitch Black”, and “The Quick and the Dead”.
I went online, felt tired, and decided to have a little lie down. An hour or so later I was awoken by Shan at the door, wanting to go out to the Blue Marker. We arranged with Jade and Ella to get picked up from other side of the Home Rule Bridge, and drove down there and waited, and waited, and waited. It was just low enough that we could struggle our way across without having to walk miles upstream and swim. While we were waiting, a young girl jumped in, went under water, came up, went under again, and managed to swim her way across to a tree and sat there screaming. Shan and I were on the other side of the bridge, and we weren’t quite sure if she was just screaming as girls do, or screaming for a reason – and it was too hard to tell if the redness on her face really was blood. Kylie went down to her and seemed concerned, so we struggled our way back across. She’d hit an underwater rock or something and cracked her head open by the looks – but it was a bit hard to tell through all the blood. Someone ran and got her Mum, and we continued waiting.
  After waiting half an hour and still no Jade or Ella, Shan and Kylie drove back up to their place to go online and see what was happening. Of course, as soon as they left, Jade and Ella arrived. Apparently there’d been six small trees across the road and they’d had to stop and clear them off before they could get through. We drove up to some person’s place to drop off Jade’s power steering pump, then crossed the creek again and, after Shan took their dog back home, drove out to Home Rule. The silly dog turned up on the other side of the creek just as we were about to go. Kylie freaked out that it would try to follow us, and be swept away, and Shan had to get across to it as fast as possible and take it home.
  After pumping up my tube with Joneses compressor (so much faster than a bike pump), we walked up to the Blue Marker. It was huge. Jade, Kylie and Ella weren’t game to go in. Shan and I carefully made our way across to the other side by swimming flat out while being washed downstream, and moved some sharp and dangerous logs that had fallen in the water, before trying to get close to the rapids. It was too strong – we had very little control, having to go with the flow. There was a calmer spot close to a waterfall, where the rush of water came up, and we could just manage to stay in there. It wasn’t too bad really, because when we were sucked under we’d be thrown out further down where we could swim to safety – but it’s hard to override the body’s natural instinct to try to stop itself from drowning.
  After we’d declared it semi-safe, Ella came in. We told her that she had to go with the flow – when she was sucked in, she had to wait until it spat her out again otherwise she’d get sucked in over and over again and die. However, the self-preservation instinct is quite strong, and everything in you says it’s bad to let yourself drown down to the bottom at the mercy of the water – so she struggled. We could see the look of panic in her eyes, and she weakly said “Save me” as she floated past me – Shan and I were both about to jump in and try save her if she went under again, but the water spat her out and she managed to float ashore where she sat crying for a while.
  I then got my tube, and played around on that, which was more fun but probably harder – there’s a bit of an art to staying on a tube when you’re being buffeted from all sides by rapids and a waterfall – flipping over and hitting your head on the rocks behind the waterfall isn’t a good idea either. We managed to get Ella back into the water, to her credit, provided one of us was with her and she had the tube, but we didn’t swim that long – we needed more than one tube, it was just too strong, and we were too much at the mercy of the water.
  After out swimming adventures, we set up Ella’s computer so they could play DVD’s through their television, got a lift back to the bridges with Jade (they’ve gone down a bit, and are now easy to walk across) and walked home.
I’m defensive of too many things – it sucks. A bloke in one of the forums I read was ranting on about Internet Explorer is a “pile of sh**” compared to other browsers, so I felt obliged to point out that it isn’t really, even though it is in some ways...
  IE is, in my opinion, the best browser – however, that’s arguable so I won’t argue it. Firefox is not the most standards compliant browser – Mozilla itself is slightly more standards compliant than Firefox (it shouldn’t be, but it is, who knows why) and Opera supports more CSS than Mozilla. However, the “standards compliant” title, while admirable, fails to take into account anything realistic. Don’t get me wrong – standards compliance (which really only means HTML/XHTML and CSS standards compliance in this case) is a great thing, and both Mozilla and Opera have much better standards support in this case than IE. In IE’s defence – when the current version was released it had much better standards support than any other browser – by an order of magnitude, however it has not been updated since (except for some security bug fixes). However, back to what I was going to say – while this is great for people who use cutting edge XHTML and CSS positioning (like me); it isn’t actually very useful in any real world sense. IE renders most sites more accurately than Mozilla, and supports a lot more “things” – Mozilla didn’t even support vector images last time I looked (which pisses me off) and they’ve only just got any decent type of XML support now (which still falls behind IE).
  Anyway, enough rant – but IE is definitely not “a pile of sh**”, and it’s dinner time
I’ve finished the gruelling task of going through all the possible options and selecting the best out of my university timetable. Now I just have to hope that it doesn’t change (at least not for the worse), that I can sign-on to the right things in the morning, and that enough other people do so they’re not cancelled due to insufficient numbers. I also have to eat this cup of mixed lollies, do my fangs, and go to bed so I can actually wake up in time to sign-on.

12.02.2004Thursday 12 February – Class Sign-on

I was supposed to get up at 5:45 AM – I even set the alarm, but somehow I didn’t wake up then. It was nearer eight o’clock by the time I woke, and rushed to sign-on for my “COMP3300 – Operating Systems” tutorial. Last semester, I meticulously planned my timetable, but by the time I went to sign-on, the times I wanted were full. It ended up it didn’t matter, I just went to the full ones anyway, but I’d rather be signed up for the right things this time. Out of the thirty places available for the tutorial I want, fifteen were already gone when I signed up. There’s only seven left now.
  After the exertion of getting up early, I felt sick. Actually, I think I felt sick before I got up. Either way, I felt sick so I went back to bed and dozed, waking to check the time every ten minutes. That’s not a good way to get a restful sleep, so I didn’t feel very good when I finally got up at eleven o’clock either. Sign-on for “COMP2301 – Systems Interface Programming” practicals opened at eleven. It wasn’t open when I logged in, but was open when I refreshed the page and I was the first to sign-on. By the time my sign-on had been submitted – not more than a minute after it opened, there were five other people who had signed up, so I’m glad I got in early.
I’ve just finished watching “Gone in 60 Seconds”. I’ve seen it at least once before – but really enjoyed it again. Now I’m going to eat some lollies and ignore the dishes and various other things I should be doing.
I went for my usual walk out to the halfway spot – the water is just level with the bottom of the bridges now.
  I watched “The Truth about Cats & Dogs”, which I didn’t really enjoy as much as I should have – as it’s not a bad movie, I just wasn’t in the right mood for a romantic comedy. By about halfway through I began to enjoy it, and towards the end, I was curious to know how it finished.
After doing the dishes – something I’ve not done in a while now, I made vegetable pasta for dinner and, needless to say, ate it.
I just watched “The Quick and the Dead”, which I hate to admit did engross me, although I can’t say I enjoyed it. I’m a simple person who enjoys movies with a clearly defined “goody” who clearly wins, but when they’re all doing bad things, it ruins the nice moral effect.

13.02.2004Friday 13 February – Earwigs and Acronyms

I’ve spent a quiet day mostly in my van online. It’s about as relaxing as possible now. No one is here – even Mum is down south at the moment, which means I have to cook my own food, but also means I can just relax without having to consider anyone else.
  Graeme from the Big Shed phoned up and I said I’d go do some more on their website on Wednesday, as I need to pick up Mum then as well.
While cooking dinner, I saw an earwig sort of thing. A very large earwig sort of thing, to be precise – it would be longer than eight inches. They’re not particularly rare – I’ve seen this one, or one similar, several times in the kitchen, but something about it tonight gave me the creeps. When bugs and things are so large that they begin to do animal types of stuff – making footstep noises like that huge spider Ric and I saw, or scuttling noises like this earwig thing, for example, they give me the creeps. Speaking of that spider, it was bigger than the biggest ever recorded spider – so I wish I could see another one when I had my camera with me.
Well, it’s somewhat early. I didn’t mean to stay up this late. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to automatically get lovely acronym tags into my journal. It sounds simple – I have a file with a list of acronyms, and another file with my journal data. I use XSLT to transform the journal data into whatever format I happen to need at the time – in this case XHTML. Surely it would be simple to incorporate something that finds any acronyms and replaces them with the appropriate acronym tag, but no... it isn’t simple – either that or I’m stupid. It seems that I’d have to check every single word in my journal against every acronym in the acronyms list, one by one. That doesn’t sound very efficient to me. I thought about ways of checking blocks of text for occurrences of any acronym and only parsing individual words if there’s an acronym present and various other schemes to increase the efficiency, but I couldn’t really think of a way I’d be happy with or that I could get to work nicely, so I signed up for the XSL mailing list again, and asked them. I wish they used a newsgroup, mailing lists suck.
  I then got chatting for a while and now it’s nearly light outside! I’m glad I don’t need to get up early.
Valentine’s Day
Hallmark’s website is still down, so I still can’t send any Valentine’s Day e-cards, which is roughly equivalent to the end of the world as we know it – or perhaps not, maybe it’s the thought that counts, ha. Besides, Valentine’s Day sucks – another silly excuse for commercialism. I guess it’s not actually Valentine’s Day yet anyway, seeing as it’s about five o’clock in the morning. I wonder how it all works with time zones and stuff. They confuse me.
I am so tired. Hallmark is still down. The first insane birds are beginning to sing – they need counselling. I am going to bed. I probably need counselling too, but then again, I don’t eat worms.
Comment by DM – Tuesday 17 February 2004, 1:52 AM
  I guess this would be a good time to learn about some advanced search algorithms if you could be bothered. I was thinking about how to do something along similar lines today, as well (checking ip addresses visiting a site against a list of stored ips).

14.02.2004Saturday 14 February – Valentine’s Day

Yesterday was Friday the thirteenth. Lucky I didn’t notice until today when krait mentioned it, or I might have been worried.
I woke up quite late, just in time to find Shan messaging me to ask if I wanted to go for a swim. Shortly after he and Kylie-Anne turned up and we drove out to Home Rule, walked up to the Blue Markers, and went for a swim. It was surprisingly big, considering it hasn’t rained all that much here. I suppose it’s been raining up in the hills somewhere. I managed to bruise myself lots, smashing onto most of the rocks I possibly could. I think because it was still quite strong, but nowhere near the levels the other day, that I wasn’t as careful as usual. I didn’t nearly drown this time, but I’m going to be sore later.
I stopped in here for a minute to brush my hair and get some dry clothes, then Shan, Kylie, Jade, Ella and I all headed off to town. In retrospect, I think there was some tension before we actually left – but I’m too sensitive that way, always wondering what people might be thinking. Shan and I had just begun to play Unreal Tournament 2003 (which, interestingly, we ran without installing on our computers, running it across a network from Ella’s program folder without any problems), when everyone decided to go to town. We didn’t even get to finish our game.
My teeth hurt, my jaw hurts, my ear hurts, my shoulder hurts, my foot hurts, my leg hurts, and my eyes hurt. My jaw hurts lots. I hate people and moths and dust, and everything else too.
It seems I keep getting into “discussions” about browsers recently, which end up with me defending Internet Explorer. This is ironic in some ways, because I probably know its failings and limitations better than most, but someone has to stop the hordes of rabid Linux freaks and their total lack of coherent logic!
  This reply to a forum got so long; I thought I’d include it here:
  “What a lot of codswallop.
  IE won the “browser wars” because it was vastly superior to the competition at the time. IE (when released) has always been more “standards compliant” than its competition. The latest version, IE6, was more “standards compliant” than its competition when it was released. IE has consistently been the first to implement the latest “standards”, web technologies, browser tags, or whatever you want to call them. In fact, this has often caused problems because IE has often supported various “recommendations”, which have then been changed to be incompatible after IE was released. This has happened on several occasions and is the direct fault of the various overseeing bodies such as the W3C.
  Check down this list of standard XHTML tags: Note the columns showing the earliest versions of IE and NN that supported each tag and note that IE supported virtually all tags considerably before NN. The same applies to this list of standard CSS properties: Suffice to say that each version of IE, when released, has been a cut above any of its competition. Many people have this, especially Linux users who seem to hate anything Microsoft, have this preconceived notion that IE is somehow bad, supporting its own crazy Microsoft standards and to hell with anyone else – in fact, IE was the first browser to support the various W3C standards, and Microsoft is an active member of the W3C. A validly coded page should render correctly in the latest versions of IE, and should render better in previous versions of IE than it will in previous versions of any other browser. Various exceptions do exist – certain code trips up certain browsers. The various bugs in IE’s rendering are well known.
  But enough history – fast forward to the present day. IE6 is getting old. Mozilla is constantly updated, and the latest versions of it and Opera therefore support things that weren’t even around when IE6 was released. People somehow confuse this with them being “better”. It would be more accurate to say they are “newer”, and if you happen to be viewing a page that uses any of these new technologies that have been incorporated into Mozilla and Opera since IE6 was released, they will obviously display it better than IE6 is will. That said, it is very rare that you will actually come across a site using such technology and there’s some very sound arguments against using that technology at all. The main aim of the various web standards initiatives was to create an interoperable web – one that was based on common standards, so that any device supporting these standards could be expected to render your content in a standard manner. This is an admirable aim, and one that was largely realised with the introduction of the version 6 browsers – IE6, NN6 and their equivalents.
  If everyone had stopped there, things might have been good. Unfortunately, more and more standards were conceived. New versions of everything were created. The very purpose of the standards was lost. What good is a standard if only the latest build of Mozilla supports it? No good at all – that is no better than the woeful “browser wars” when competing browsers introduced their own competing mark-up. Just because something is codified in some “standard” somewhere does not mean anyone should use it. I would like an interoperable web, where I can code something to a specified standard, and be secure that my code will render correctly in all browsers both now and in the future. I can now do that, provided I code to the current standards that IE6 (and all other equivalent version browsers) support. Anyone coding to suit Mozilla or Opera and any of their “bleeding edge” technologies is, in my opinion, just as bad as those who used to slap “Designed for Netscape Navigator 4” stickers on their sites that wouldn’t work in IE (or vice versa).
  I say, stick to the original idea of web standards – code to a common standard that is currently supported and forget the bleeding edge until such a time that it is commonly supported – anything else makes standards irrelevant and we may as well pick our favourite browser, introduce whatever we want, and use that, ala the infamous “browser wars”.
  So, the way I see it, it then boils down to whichever browser’s user interface and whatever added features it may have suits you best. In my experience, I have found Internet Explorer (using MyIE2) to be more stable, more efficient, and offer more and better features than any of the other browsers I’ve used. Some of this is my personal preference – I don’t like the “clunky” and featureless interface Mozilla and its kin use for example, but IE definitely loads faster (because it’s basically already running anyway), and I frequently have forty or more IE windows open at once – something I can’t easily do with Mozilla, it’s kin, or Opera. Therefore, for me, IE, using MyIE2, is “better”. People not running Windows, who use their browser differently, prefer different styles of interface, etc. may find another browser “better”.”

15.02.2004Sunday 15 February – Unmountable Boot Disk

I woke up (after one o’clock too, I should add) to find the computer with a blue screen error – unmountable boot disk. The first thing I thought, of course, was “Oh no, the hard drive has died”. I then did all the normal things, tried booting into safe mode, ran a RAM check because I’ve had problems with the RAM in this machine before, removed the secondary hard drive in case it had died and had the swap file on it or something odd, and then went to find an XP CD to run the recovery console – and couldn’t. My XP CD must be in Brisbane.
  I walked up to Shan’s to borrow an XP CD from him, but he didn’t have one either, so I had to drive out to Home Rule and borrow theirs. Only Mandi was home, the rest apparently up along the hydropower pipeline somewhere because a tree fell on it last night. After rummaging through piles of lingerie for a while, I found an XP CD – where else would you keep your CDs?
  Once I had the XP CD, I ran the recovery console. I was unable to get a directory listing – it gave some weird error, so I ran CHKDSK, which said it fixed a few errors. I was then able to get a directory listing, so I rebooted into Windows – and it worked. I did a full disk scan, with no errors, plugged the secondary hard drive back in, and connected to the internet. Apart from the modem saying it’s connected at its maximum port speed of 115.2 Kbsp, everything seems normal. I’m very glad, as I was worried the hard drive or something worse had died and I’d have to drive to town tomorrow and buy one, possibly at an exorbitant Cooktown price just so I could get online, and probably more importantly, so I could get the PC fixed and running before I left for university.
  lulu says I pinged out at six past five this morning, and Shan says his computer had rebooted, so I’m assuming there was a power failure, probably right in the middle of my computer writing a change to its file system, which corrupted it.
  Mandi also invited me over on Tuesday night for Ella’s birthday, and I noticed that there’s probably not enough fuel in the car to get to town – something of a problem seeing as I don’t have any spare fuel here and the nearest fuel is in town.
Shan, his wife, and two sisters arrived and invited me up to watch a DVD. Unfortunately I’d just made something to eat, so they left while I ate that and discussed Australia’s laws dealing with the age of consent, and then walked up and saw “Dungeons & Dragons” at Shan’s place. I couldn’t help comparing it to “The Lord of the Rings”, as the plots are mildly similar – but the acting, direction, and realism aren’t even in the same class.
I ended up staying up all night chatting and messing around online. I found a link checker run by the W3C so figured I might as well check all the links on my site. I found a couple of broken ones, and a few that were being redirected, and fixed them.

16.02.2004Monday 16 February – Hot

I try to decide whether to get breakfast, or go to sleep. As part of my decision making process, I lay in bed to see what it feels like. It feels good, so I choose sleep.
I woke up, after my mid-morning sleep. Since then I’ve done nothing – spending all day online. I played around with my site, giving the journal section the same CSS template system that I’ve used on the rest of the site and fixing a few things. Jade and Kylie came around in the afternoon on their way back from town to drop off some petrol. I then spent the rest of the evening online. Not exactly what I’d call very exciting.
  In online news, I’ve been rudely ignored, cursed, offended, and some word I can’t think of – that typical thing women do trying to lay guilt trips on us poor innocent men. If it weren’t for the fact that they’re all delusional schizophrenics, I might think I had a problem myself.
  Oh, and in other online news, shamrock turned up again, wanting to re-link eerie.
I’ve just finished watching “Exit Wounds”. It wasn’t until two thirds of the way through that I remembered that I have seen it before, and that it has a really poor ending. This is a bit of a shame because it’s not such a bad movie otherwise. I’m now quite hot and uncomfortable too – even a bit stressed. Time is running out, I’ll be back at uni before I know it.
In exciting IRC news, I have access to lulu’s channel again, having got sick of being unable to change boring topics, kick evil bots and lord myself over those less accessed than myself.. Now I can get busy power tripping and making everyone angry again – hmm, now I remember why I was on my self-imposed hiatus.

17.02.2004Tuesday 17 February – Ella’s Birthday

I spent a quiet day relaxing.
Shan and Kylie came around and gave me a lift up to their place. Their dog, Spirit, had gotten out so we spent a bit of time pegging down a bit of the fence where he’d crawled under, and then we drove out to Home Rule for Ella’s sixteenth birthday. After a nice dinner and beautiful Birthday cake, Ella drank some Bacardi and promptly got sick with a fever and had to lie down. It’s not the first time she’s drunken alcohol, and she didn’t drink much, so we’re not sure what happened.
  Shan and I played Unreal Tournament for a while, and then we all went home around eleven o’clock.

18.02.2004Wednesday 18 February – Mum arrives home

I realised, to my horror, that it was nearly morning time – and I had to be awake early tomorrow. I downloaded “Banshee Screamer Alarm”, plugged in some speakers, and set that to wake me up five minutes after my normal alarm.
I woke up. The computer alarm was snoozing. Did I wake up, hit snooze, and go back to bed, or does it automatically snooze after a while? I don’t know. Either way, it failed to wake me up.
I left for town, having tried in vain to wake up while getting ready. I had a milkshake from the wharf, dropped off some DVDs, checked my mail, and then headed up to the Big Shed. After talking to both the Mathew’s for quite a while, I spent three hours finishing off and adding a few more pages to their website, for the princely sum of $100.
I went online in the library for a short while, managing to get told off by Diana for not asking to use the Internet before dialling up. Some women then wanted to use it, so I walked down to Peter’s, and spent a few hours chatting to him.
I drove out to the airport, waited a while, and picked up Mum from the plane. She had a great time and they plan to make this a yearly event. We then drove home, via the bottle shop, picking up Dad from the Den and a hitchhiker from just before the Den.
I talked to Dad and Mum, talked to people online, and generally did normal stuff.
I’m worrying that I’m spending too much time on IRC recently, but it’s so relaxing. Tonight, at precisely three past midnight, jeze joined, and said hello to everyone who said hello to her – except me. This was a humiliating crisis, which required a swift resolution. Apparently, she’d ignored me the other day while drunk – or something like that because she can’t remember. So she un-ignored me and quit. How exciting.

19.02.2004Thursday 19 February – Ella may have Leptospirosis

Mum woke me up around eight o’clock after I’d gone to sleep around four o’clock last night, to see if I wanted to come to town. I didn’t, and went back to sleep again. I suppose her and Dad went to town. By the time I woke up again, closer to lunchtime, Mum was home.
I’ve just spoken to Jade on MSN. Ella went into hospital, and they think she has leptospirosis. Apparently she’s on a drip and pethidine, and feels as though her back is going to break in two, with a hot fever and everything aches heaps. Mandi is spending the night with her while they continue to monitor her, and she’ll be sent down to intensive care in Cairns if she gets any worse.

20.02.2004Friday 20 February – Ella returns and I consider privacy

I did very little, enjoying what’s probably my last relaxing day of the holidays. It’s a bit stressful thinking about packing and going back to uni and all that stuff. I’m also a bit worried about the drive down now, because I had a chat to Jade today, and it seems she has a different idea on how it’s going to go than I do. I’d like to, and had assumed we would, drive all day until we got tired, but it seems Jade wants to and has assumed we’d stop in towns and get a room for the night. The problem with getting a room, apart from the expense, is that we’d have to stop in the first town we come across on dusk, which is a real waste of time, and it would be annoying for me to sit around for hours each evening with noting to do when we could be driving. The ideal compromise would be to drive all day until we’re tired, camp somewhere, drive all the next day but then stop and get a room. That way we’d probably not get too tired, still get to shower, but still make good progress. I just hope Jade, and the weather, agrees.
Ella came home. She’s still sick, but presumably not about to die or anything if they’ve let her come home. Apparently, she’s also lacking calcium and phosphor, but they’re not sure if this is because of her sickness now or something else.
I went for a walk out to the halfway spot with a spattering of light rain behind me, worrying about treading in puddles and catching leptospirosis.
Mum and I watched “Hamlet”. I didn’t enjoy it all that much, and I don’t think she did either. Tragedy is a stupid genre for enjoyable entertainment, Shakespeare’s plays suck in some ways, and this wasn’t a particularly inspiring rendition.

21.02.2004Saturday 21 February – Swimming and midges

Shan, Kylie and my amazing self drove out to Home Rule, where we went for a swim at the Blue Marker. Despite being smaller than most of the times we’d been swimming there prior, or perhaps because of that, we really enjoyed it. Ric, Craig and Mandi came up and went for a swim too. It was good fun and I didn’t hurt myself too badly for a change.
  Ella has a new motorbike, JS125Y-A to be precise, one of the ones from the Big Shed. It’s her birthday present. She rode that up to the Blue Marker – it’s the first time she’s ridden it, as she’s been too sick. After we had finished out swim, we all went down to Home Rule, where some young girl was having a birthday party, but Luke, Rory and Vasco were there, so we ended up sitting around all evening while they took turns riding Shan or Ella’s motorbikes. Shan ran his bike out of oil once a while ago, which must have ruined the oil rings, because it uses more oil than petrol now – huge billows of smoke follow it everywhere. There were huge amounts of midges and I didn’t have much of a good time because I felt a bit left out – I think I’m just too old. Shan and the other boys can drop their maturity down a level to match that of the younger kids, but I’m that little bit older. Still, it wasn’t too bad, although the midges definitely were.
  I ended up having dinner with Joneses, and then being driven back here by Shan.

22.02.2004Sunday 22 February – Packing to move back to uni

I walked down to the pump and had to carry it back down from where we put it to keep it out of the way of floodwaters. I then spent ages trying to get the stupid hoses on – they are very bad, I think they’re slightly the wrong sizes or something. It started first pull, amazingly, but only ran for about a minute and then stalled. After several starts, and several stalls a minute later, it finally ran and I walked back up and had a cold shower. The pump did stall later, but by that time the tank was mostly full so it was ok.
I drove up to Dad’s, but he wasn’t home, so I walked up to Shan’s instead. He was just finishing off copying some CD’s so we talked for a while before I picked up the CD’s and walked home again. Dad arrived not long after I did, followed shortly after by Vince and Sarah and some people they’d picked up somewhere. They came and picked up the fridge, I said goodbye to Sarah, and they left.
I’m writing this, having got all (I hope) of my stuff ready to pack. Once I’ve written this I’ll back it up and burn it to a CD, remove my hard drive, and set up the computer for Mum again.
I’ve just said goodnight to Dad and Mum. I think I have all my stuff packed. I just have to fix up this computer, backup my data, remove my hard drive and pack it, and then try to sleep. I don’t feel sleepy. Not only have I stayed up late nearly every night, but I’m stressed or anticipatory or something now, and don’t feel like sleeping at all. In fact, I feel sad. I have had the most wonderfully relaxing holiday – I’ve done almost nothing, just lazing around doing whatever I wanted to. Now I have to go again, and I feel sad – I’ll miss Dad, Mum, and Sarah. I feel guilty for not spending more time with them, but I guess that’s how it goes.
  Well, I’ll finish off and upload this, and see if I can get to sleep.

23.02.2004Monday 23 February – Depart Home, Cairns, arriving Mackay

Mum wakes me up. I pack, take the computer inside, set it up, and go online. Ella says Jade’s car has a leak so she’s delayed.
Jade arrives. I pack my stuff into her car, say bye to Dad and Mum, and off we drive, up to Shan’s place. Only Kylie is there, Shan having just left for work. We catch up to Shan, along with Craig and Gary, just down the road out the front of Gary’s, where we say bye and head off towards Cairns.
We arrive in Cairns. The drive wasn’t too bad, although the road is – but I had some sort of stupid hay fever style affliction where my nose just ran and ran, which wasn’t much fun. We drove to Jade’s grandparents, talked to them for a while, and then went shopping. It is very hot.
  We left around 2 PM, with Jade driving. After a few hours, we swapped and I drove. The first thing I did nearly got us all killed. We were stuck behind a slow car, with a truck in front, going around a lazy bend. I could see the road for a good kilometre or so in front. There was no oncoming traffic. I pulled out to overtake. Once I was abreast of the car – not something that’s easy to do in Jade’s sluggish 1.5 litre thing, an oncoming car appeared out of nowhere. I am not sure how, it must either have been somehow hidden by the truck or in a dip that I couldn’t see. Happily for all concerned, the road was just wide enough for three cars, and I just managed to slip past. I shall definitely be dropping back a gear before any future overtaking exploits, as I wasn’t game to change down when seconds from collision in case something went wrong and we’d all die painfully – or even worse, live happily ever after but have to spend much time fixing the car.
  The next exciting thing I did was take a wrong turn – or in this case not take a right turn, in some silly little town where the highway turns hard left for no known reason and without enough huge signs. I kept going straight ahead, of course. We both kept commenting on how the road really didn’t seem quite up to the standards required by a highway, as it kept getting smaller and smaller. We began to really wonder when it turned into a one-lane road for a little while, and ended with a “no through road” sign shortly after. After some clever analysis of mailboxes, I figured out we’d driven thirty kilometres the wrong way, and I was right, of course. I even managed to speed past a police car with its speed radar out on the way back to the highway – fortunately I’d just slowed down from 120 to 110, and hopefully they didn’t get us.
  Because of my exciting misadventures, we nearly ran out of fuel – but just when we were about to run out, we came across a funny little service station tucked away in the middle of nowhere somewhere before Townsville. Despite appearing to be open, complete with man at the counter, it was actually shut, or more probably, a mirage or stuck in some type of time warp. Townsville is strange, as is everything surrounding it.
We arrived in Mackay quite late, and tried several “24 Hour Check In” motels, most of which ignored out pleading bell pushes. We finally found a $65 room, the last in that motel, incidentally. It seems they’re all pretty booked out – a lot had no vacancy signs, and I’ve a feeling the ones that ignored us were either full or close enough to that they couldn’t be bothered getting anyone else. I enjoyed the shower and sleep, but had quite a sore throat.

24.02.2004Tuesday 24 February – Rockhampton and Breakdown

We left the motel and Mackay. I feel terrible, as does Jade I think. It’s probably due to having the air conditioner on all night. My sinus is still dripping and annoying me.
About 100 kilometres north of Rockhampton, while Jade was driving through searing heat, the car lost power and stalled. We changed the high-tension leads because Jade said how this had happened once before and Craig had fiddled around with the air cleaner and found a spark plug lead not properly on. After that the car went, but failed again after a few kilometres. After fiddling with everything, it again went. After failing several times more, we figured that it was something overheating and that cooling the car down for a while made it work again. And thus we got to Rockhampton, slowly and painfully, cooling the car for quarter of an hour every quarter of an hour.
  We asked at the first service station we came to, and followed their directions to a garage. The man there wasn’t much help – saying he was busy and recommending we go buy a coil and try that. On the way to finding a coil, we found another garage and called in there. They spent a few hours looking while Jade and I walked up to a supermarket nearby and tried to re-hydrate ourselves. The mechanic couldn’t find anything wrong with the car and told us to come back at 8 AM tomorrow.
Jade and I stayed at “Ramblers Caravan Park” in a $40 shack without air-conditioning and a communal ablutions block, which wasn’t such a good deal considering we’d seen a $43 motel advertised with air-conditioning – but I wasn’t the one making the decisions. Jade phoned home and talked for ages and ages from a public payphone, and I phoned home after her, and talked for a normal, reasonable amount of time until my small change ran out. After that, we went got pizza for dinner, then watched some TV before going to bed.
Comment by Matt – Wednesday 3 March 2004, 9:25 AM
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 3 March 2004, 7:41 PM

25.02.2004Wednesday 25 February – Rockhampton, Rain, and Brisbane

We wake up, pack our stuff, and drive around to heat the car up and find the mechanic again – which was harder than it sounds.
We dropped the car off at the mechanic’s and walked up to a nearby plaza so Jade could join the RACQ – something she should have done before she left, in my opinion.
We went and watched “Mona Lisa Smile”. There were many babies and parents with small brains, children rather, there. They all ran around in the aisles doing things and making noises. It didn’t bother me because I was engrossed in the movie, which I enjoyed although I’m not sure I’d say it was particularly good. Jade, however, seemed distracted by the kids and I don’t think she liked the movie very much – at least she said she didn’t, but you never know with women.
  After that, we walked back to the mechanics, only to learn that they still can’t find any problem, despite, or perhaps because of, all their computerised equipment. At least they didn’t charge us anything.
We left Rockhampton, going inland on our merry way towards Melbourne once again. After about ninety kilometres, we broke down again, just the same as before. A few car-cools later and we managed to limp into a tiny town, where we waited half an hour to let the car cool nicely. Even after this, we only got halfway back to Rockhampton before it broke down again, but the heat of the day was beginning to wear a little thin, and a quarter hour cool down was enough to get us back into town. In fact, the car performed nicely after that.
  We arrived sometime around 5:20 PM, and the mechanic was shut, so we decided to try driving down the coast now that it was cooler, and see what happened. At the worst, we should at least get to the next town and try the mechanic there tomorrow.
The car went fine. We drove into some spectacular lightning storms and huge deluges, which Jade drove through very slowly.
We arrived in Brisbane, my (amazing) self driving. It’s strange driving through a deserted city. There’s no one at all anywhere – not a single car. I can drive in any lane I want, on either side of the road, at any speed I wish, through whatever colour light I fancy, without anyone even knowing – except Jade, and she’s not very adventurous, so I didn’t. It did make it remarkably easy to find the road to Ipswich though, and eventually head out to the Cunningham Highway.

26.02.2004Thursday 26 February – Queensland, New South Wales and then Victoria

I drove all night non-stop, apart from buying fuel and coke. It was quite fun really, although bad edges right on the sideline while trying to get past tailgating B-doubles at 120 km/h at 4 AM when all lights look like huge blurs is a bit hairy.
Jade insisted on driving, worrying that as I’ve been up since 6:30 AM yesterday, and driving for a lot of that time – I might be slightly sleepy or something silly. I was more worried about her, because I’m used to staying up all night, and know what I can handle, but she was admittedly sleepy.
We stopped somewhere or other with a funny hard to pronounce name, and I rang Mum and ate some food and stuff like that.
I am writing this at Jerilderie, at a caravan park. It’s $35 for a caravan. We’re apparently about 3½ to 4 hours from Melbourne now. I’d drive on if it were me, but Jade won’t, so we’re staying here the night. Jade says she feels like she’s falling backwards and everything is big. I feel a bit tired, yet she dozed all night while I drove all night – go figure. I’ve also had stupid sinus/hay fever/whatever it is problems all the way down, which is not fun.

27.02.2004Friday 27 February – Melbourne

Jade woke me up, and we left at a quarter past six, which is a quarter past seven Victorian time, Victorians being stupid people.
Fifty kilometres outside Melbourne we enter the haze™, and what’s even worse – we could smell it, and it was not a pleasant smell. What type of person lives in a city that you can smell from fifty kilometres away? The answer is obvious.
We drove around Melbourne, spending immense amounts of time stuck behind trams. What kinds of people have a modern city with trams down the middle of the road? They’re like buses that can’t pull over, that stop in the middle of the traffic, and spew forth their people into the traffic to be run over. Once again, the answer is obvious.
  We manage to get lost, because we can’t go the right way, as it requires an e-toll thing, but there’s no easy way to buy that. Typical. Melbourne has to have the worst transport and roads of any modern city, and there’s no way they can deny that while they’ve still got trams – not to mention that they’re famous as an example of how not to run your public transport system.
Fortunately for us, after asking directions, we do eventually arrive at Jade’s place. Unfortunately, no one is there so we can’t get in. We drive to Shannon’s workplace, but she’s not there. We walk across to a fish and chip shop where Shannon’s sister works. She tries to phone Shannon, but can’t get through, eventually telling us to come back before 5 PM (silly Victorian time, so that’s 4 PM in human time).
  We take a train into the city, find an internet café where I book a flight back to Brisbane ($139 with Qantas – The Spirit of Australia!), go on IRC and chat, check my email, and exciting things like that, before having a quick wander around Brisbane and then back to meet the sister of the girl Jade is staying with. She says she’s meeting her sister and will drop the key off at ten to seven, which is ten to six in human time.
Jade and I went to a library where I read forums and stuff online. The old PC froze loading my chat applet, so I gave up on that. After the library closed, I went and took some photos of Melbourne from the other side of the toxic effluent, river I mean, and had a milkshake.
Shannon’s sister turns up, over half an hour late as women are wont to be, with the key and Jade and I are able to get inside.
Shannon hasn’t turned up, and Jade and I are both very tired, so Jade has written a note and gone to bed, and I’m going to sleep on the cushions from the couch on the living room floor.

28.02.2004Saturday 28 February – Melbourne, the elimination thereof, and Brisbane

We wake up to find there’s still no Shannon. We go to the train station, where there are trains. They are fat and wide. I had forgot how much wider the gauge is down here. They have five seats across, compared to Brisbane’s four seat trains, and the seats and aisles are still wider.
We catch the 9:52 AM train into the city. Jade continues on to wherever it is she goes, and I walk around looking at things.
I phoned Joe.
I’m on the 3:05 PM train back to Newport from Flinders Street Station.
Melbourne, and Victoria itself, needs to be eliminated, for the good of all Australia. I have formulated a simple five-point plan:
  First, a special tax will be applied to Victoria, to help fund its removal.
  Secondly, a fund will be set up to ease the struggle caused by the aforementioned tax. This fund will provide quick and simple loans to everyone.
  Thirdly, a special levy will be levied on everything possible within Victoria to fund the above fund.
  Fourthly, all loans from the above fund will be called in, immediately, along with an increase in the tax and levy to cover the costs of repossessing Victoria.
  Fifthly, the cold parts of Victoria will be given to Tasmania, so they can have some of the mainland and get to see what normal people are like. The useless parts will be given to South Australia, so they can grow more grapes, or whatever it is that they do – and any good bits can be merged with New South Wales. Melbourne itself would probably make a good indigenous reserve, or perhaps nuclear waste dump.
I arrive at Newport station, where there is no Jade.
Jade arrives, and we drive out to the airport without any problems – it’s an easy drive. Qantas flight QF632, departing Melbourne 18:05 (funny time) and arriving Brisbane 19:10 (human time) is fifteen minutes delayed due to the cleaners being late, and is a Boeing 737-800, not full.
Here I am on the train to Roma Street, back in Brisbane again. The weather is pleasant – it feels the same as Melbourne so far. I can really notice the narrower train gauge.
I arrive at Joe’s place. Liz is here. I have a pleasant chat to Joe, eat some “Chinese” he thoughtfully bought for me, and crash into bed for a great night’s sleep.

29.02.2004Sunday 29 February – Back to normal again

I unpacked all my stuff, finding that my Leatherman is missing. I phoned Qantas, and then Brisbane Airport, and filed a lost/stolen complaint and got a number to follow it up tomorrow. I can’t quite imagine that someone would steal it – it wouldn’t seem like the type of thing someone would find. Perhaps it somehow fell out, there is a minute rip in the bottom of my bag, but the chances of it somehow falling out of that don’t seem very high.
I set up my computer. The hard drive seems to work, which is good. The CPU fan doesn’t though, which is bad. In fact, everything seems to be running just how I left it. I went online, synchronised this data from my backups I made up north, installed the latest versions of everything, and everything seems to be working.
I drove up to Smith Road and bought $6 of chips, a piece of fish, and some scratch-its for Joe. I was surprised at the large amount of chips we got – they came in a large box. Joe had a large assortment of salads, and we had a nice dinner of chips and salad.
I’m sitting at my computer, writing out my journal.
I guess I should go to bed, but hey – this day only comes once every four years!

01.03.2004Monday 1 March – First day of Uni

I had my first lecture (“Operating Systems”) at midday, so caught a train into uni for that. It all seemed very normal. I’ve slipped back into the Brisbane thing again straight away, back on the train to uni again and it all seems as though I never stopped. There was one shock at uni – the main refectory no longer has free sauces, in fact, they’re charging 20¢ for those small rip-off punnets of tomato sauce. That really sucks, and I feel like firebombing the union, but I probably won’t. The computers in the union building where I used to chat in the morning have been replaced with Macintoshes now. They appear to have a realistic firewall or something blocking things, so I probably won’t be able to chat from there anymore. I fail to see why people use Macintosh for things like that – they’re simply worse no matter which way you look at it.
I had a one-off “Systems Interface Programming” lecture in the evening, and it sounds as bad as it did when Silas did it. We have to create things in various programming languages, and we don’t really get any help. There are no lectures, course notes, or textbook. There are two tutors, but if it’s anything like last year, they will not have time to actually tutor anything. Oh, and it’s pass/fail, or ungraded pass/not pass, as he insisted on calling it. Not passing anything means I won’t pass the course, so now I have to learn C and write a stopwatch sort of thing with no help, within the next three weeks, and that’s just the first easy assignment. After that, I caught the train back home again. Tonya was here along with some guy – I forget his name, and I went to bed.

02.03.2004Tuesday 2 March – Once upon a time in Mexico

My alarm went off at 7 AM, but I didn’t get up until the last possible moment, and had to walk fast to make the 7:40 train. I bumped into Matt outside the main refectory and sat with him while I was trying wake up, eating a donut and drinking ice coffee, before heading down to my “Operating Systems” lecture, which was followed by my inaugural “Software Specification” lecture. “Software Specification” doesn’t sound very good, it being set theory based and nasty.
I had originally planned to hurry home and do some washing and shopping, but Clint mentioned going to the Indooroopilly, so we did that instead. We watched “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”, which wasn’t that bad really – somehow different and kind of powerful and a bit gruesome and violent. It’s almost borderline artistic, I suppose – not the average wham bam mindless action, it’s Mexican action! We’d been told it was a terrible movie, and almost didn’t go see it because of that, but what’s good and what’s not is too subjective.

03.03.2004Wednesday 3 March – Resting

I don’t have to go to uni on Wednesdays, so I don’t, of course. It’s my mid-week weekend, which I find quite handy. It gives me the time to catch up and prepare for the eight o’clock starts I have on Thursday and Friday.
I phoned the oral surgery and changed my appointment tomorrow to 10 AM, and phoned Centrelink to let them know I’m back here, and need a fares allowance claim form and rent assistance claim form. I also got my very own personal PIN number, so I feel special now.
Joe insists that I not run a fifteen metre extension lead down the hallway, across the kitchen, and into the phone jack, so I got the wheelie bin and painstakingly wheeled it up the stairs and down the hall under the manhole and climbed into the roof. It was very difficult to do, and I got some splinters – all the wood is so dry up there. Still, I found the phone line so all I’ve got to do now is buy some cable and joiner things and make a little line to pop into here.
I went shopping – the first time I have since being back. It was quite heavy to carry my groceries back and now I feel tired.
  For the benefit of Mum and anyone else who is convinced that I’m about to die from eating only ice cream and lollipops, this is what I bought. I can only carry one backpack’s amount of stuff at a time, so it will take a few more shopping trips before I’m fully up to stock. It costs too much to buy any more than this at a time anyway:
  Two litres of apple juice
  Two litres of milk
  Half a litre of olive oil
  One jar of Dolmio pasta sauce with basil
  250 grams of butter
  500 grams of cheese
  Six vegetarian sausages
  Mixed herbs
  Multivitamins to keep me alive
  Vitamin C to keep me energetic and alive
  Three litres of soft drink
  One bunch of expensive parsley
  Half a bunch of celery
  Three bananas
  Three tomatoes
  One kilogram of frozen vegies
  Three pasta mixes
  Six packs of two-minute noodles
  Two cans of baked beans
  It cost a total of $47.75, which includes $1.67 GST.

04.03.2004Thursday 4 March – Printing and Phones

Kieran, Marcus, and my fantastic self, made our ways to POD, where we managed to print out over seven hundred pages, thirty-six pages to a page. This wasn’t very helpful, and neither Kieran nor Marcus thought buying a microfiche machine and reading our notes that way was a good idea, so we had to reprint the lot. I also had to get to the oral medicine clinic, so we left Kieran to wait for the printing, which ended up at about 750 pages for $43, and Marcus drove me into town.
I was supposed to be at Turbot Street by 10 o’clock, but it didn’t seem to matter, as I had to wait a few minutes anyway. It only took five minutes, a few students asked me questions and the same girl who did the cryosurgery last time had a look, told me it’s all ok, and I’ll go back in six months for another check-up, then a year later, and then I’m all fixed (hopefully).
Clint and I caught a bus into the city, where I bought some phone line, a phone socket, some tape and some solder. I also had a meal at Govinda’s, which was nice, before heading home where I climbed into the roof and spliced the new phone socket into the existing line. It wasn’t much fun, but it all seems to work nicely now.

05.03.2004Friday 5 March – Storms, Samurai and Stuff

It was supposed to storm and we’d all be destroyed, but it didn’t – at least not here, although it did get quite windy and wet for a while. Marcus and I drove through the rain to QU Books, where we both bought “Operating Systems Concepts (XP)” for $89.95 and “B Method” for $74.95, which, for those similarly mathematically challenged as me, is $164.90 all up. I hope they’re actually useful.
  I then became dropped off in the city, where I again was, and ate a meal in Govinda’s, before making my way out to Indooroopilly where I saw “The Last Samurai” and then headed excitingly home.
I finally went to sleep.

06.03.2004Saturday 6 March – A quiet and restful day

I wake and do stuff, etc.
I started my stopwatch code. If I knew C, it would be much easier. We start with the default “Hello World” application that Visual Studio creates. They make it in the most complicated C++ manner possible I believe, to demonstrate C++ features I suppose, but it doesn’t seem to be a very easy basis for writing a C application on. It took me ages just to figure out what was going on.
After chatting and coding, it is not time for bed.

07.03.2004Sunday 7 March – The Passion of The Christ

I decided to go and see “The Passion of The Christ” and “Master & Commander” while it was still showing in cinemas. The train trip into the city then out to Indooroopilly was normal and unexciting, with me arriving on time. It was quite busy at the cinemas, with queues everywhere, so I picked the shortest one and waited in that. It was ludicrous; the girl serving was ridiculously slow. All the frozen coke machines behind the counter were out of order, but instead of saying that, this girl would serve one, when it didn’t work, she’d walk outside of the counter area, out into the public frozen coke machine, wait in the queue for a few minutes, get a frozen coke, come back with it, find it was too runny, try all the other machines, finally say it wasn’t working, and serve the next person in the same manner. If you wanted popcorn, she’d walk right to the other end of the counter, get a container, walk back down to the other end, get some popcorn, go up to the other end and do something, then come back. It was so farcical that it was almost amusing, I’ve never seen anything like it before – but it took ten times longer for me to get my ticket than anyone in any of the other much longer queues, and I couldn’t get a frozen coke.
  “The Passion of The Christ” is very intense and very emotional – and while it’s not possible to say, it seems as though it could be realistic, in typical Mel Gibson style, similar to “Braveheart” I guess. I think I found one of the most emotional movies I’ve seen – at least I came closer to crying than I can remember from any other movie. I’d highly recommend it, especially to Christians or people who believe the events depicted did actually occur, although not necessarily as depicted.
  After a yummy falafel kebab, I walked down to the ElDorado8 cinemas, buying a milkshake from the Cold Rock Ice Creamery on my way past, and saw “Master & Commander”, which wasn’t too bad but not in the same class as “The Passion of The Christ”, so somewhat overshadowed by that.

08.03.2004Monday 8 March – An awful way to spend 1/7th of your life.

Having a midday lecture for the first lecture of the week is a good idea – I don’t have to get up particularly early.

09.03.2004Tuesday 9 March – Hot and Late

My train leaves now, but unfortunately, I’ve only just woken up. Seeing as I’d missed the train, I didn’t figure there was any reason hurrying, so I casually got ready and made my way down to the station, where I discovered that I could still get to my lecture on time on the next train if I ran everywhere, so I did. I should also mention that today is the hottest day in 18 centuries. I sweated 18 gallons 9 ounces – and that’s in the air-conditioned train. Once I got to the lecture theatre, after jogging down to the ferry and from there to the lecture theatre, I collapsed into my seat and made my own personal pool. I believe the lecturer said stuff, but I can’t remember any of it.My “Operating Systems” lecture, which was mostly about basic C coding concepts, finished early so Kieran, Marcus and I wandered down to the lab and had a quick look at my almost semi working stopwatch code, before heading off to our “Software Specification” lecture, which is running through a revision of basic set theory – which isn’t always that basic.
I’ve spent the past few hours down in the labs trying to get my silly stopwatch to go. There’s a few other people here also working on their stopwatches, and none of us have yet been able to implement a Windows timer using SetTimer( ) and WM_TIMER – it simply does not work. We appear to have done everything precisely right, and the tutor has no idea why it doesn’t work, so after wasting hours on it, I gave up. I’ll stick to my endless while loop and get all the drawing code working, and then I might consider figuring out some way to time it properly.
Neither Joe nor I are having a very good day. Joe arrived home at the same time as I did, and ordered pizza. I then went online and began to download some songs for Mum. The pizza never turned up, so Joe phoned them and complained – disconnecting me. None of my downloads were resumable, so I had to re-download them all, and the pizza turned up less than a minute after Joe phoned – but he promptly dropped his into the laundry sink, which had water in it. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Joe had asked for Diet Coke, and they’d sent normal Coke, so I got that and Joe got soggy pizza and soapsuds. I did enjoy my pizza though, right up until the part where I’d eaten it all, and drunk the entire bottle of coke, and was worried what would happen if I were required to move in the next few hours.
Oh dear, I think it’s late. I’ve stayed up doing very little, adding EXIF metadata to my photos, downloading songs for Mum, and generally messing around online.

10.03.2004Wednesday 10 March – Midweek Weekend

Today is my day off, and glad for that I am. I did very little, not getting up until after two o’clock, spending some time coding, and then going to bed.

11.03.2004Thursday 11 March – Timers that don’t

Another normal day at uni, and an eight o’clock start. I stayed at uni for ages, spending time in the labs with Marcus and then again later, trying to get my timer code working – which I couldn’t.
Kieran turned up for our prac, and a bit later Matt turned up as well. Matt managed to write a mostly working line algorithm using just a red pen and a piece of paper, and in less than half an hour – impressive I thought. I wasn’t particularly worried about writing my own though, and was leaving it to the end because I knew, if all else failed, I could just write a literal representation of one of Bresenham’s line drawing formulas – which was, in fact, the recommended way of doing it. I’d already written about eight when I was messing around, some sort of worked but in strange ways – and some would have made nice screensavers, but now that I know how to do it and it works, that’s even better. I was actually in the lab trying to find out how to get a timer working, as nothing I did seemed to work. It ends up what I had was perfectly right, but I had to invalidate some part of the window before it would repaint, irregardless of whether and how I called repaint – something of a stupid way of doing it I think, and probably not something I’d have worked out by myself any time soon.
Comment by Matt – Saturday 13 March 2004, 10:12 PM
  "Later in the day, I spent a bit of time in the labs in ITEE, when Matt came, and wrote me a line drawing algorithm. If it wasnt for him, I never would have got it done, and had to hand in code that I stole off the internet - Just like the rest of the people in my class. Good thing that Matt came down, then, isnt it."
Comment by Ned – Sunday 14 March 2004, 5:31 PM
  You will find I have updated my journal entry above to include my life-changing meeting with the great and usually wrong Matt. We hope this fills you with much joy.

12.03.2004Friday 12 March – Govindas & Guido

Another eight o’clock start, with me awake and ready and all. The first lecture wasn’t too bad. The tutorial following it wasn’t too bad either – both tutors are Russian. It was the lecture following that tutorial that got to me – two hours of Guido rephrasing and rewording the lecture slides. He needs to give us a bit of credit and assume we can understand basic explanations of basic things and not pore over them for so long. I nearly fell asleep for the first hour, and then for the second hour Marcus and Kieran found me, so Marcus and I quietly read a book on C programming. It’s hard to read and understand the notes with the lecturer talking in the background!
  After uni, Marcus and I went down to the labs for a few moments, where I met Clint at the BITS BBQ and politely invited him into our tutorial group, which he politely accepted, and then I went into the city and had lunch at Govindas, before dozing my way home. I’m not sure why I am so sleepy, I didn’t even have a hugely late night.
The cleaner has obviously cleaned the place. Even my dishes are put away – which is good I guess, although I didn’t want them put away. I see no logical reason to put away dishes that I am going to use each night. The carpet is all fluffy and clean looking and the sink and washbasin are clean and stuff like that – it is good.
  I am too sleepy and stupid to write. I’ve been sorting out songs I’ve downloaded for Mum – hopefully I’ll be able to send them on Monday.

13.03.2004Saturday 13 March – Shan’s Nanna passes on

I have had an almost dramatic day, except none of it involved me. I was woken by Michelle calling out to me, because she couldn’t get in and Joe is away at some bowling thing. I had to try to get dressed, wake up, and begin thinking (in that order) in about thirty seconds while not falling down the stairs. Once I opened the garage door, I found Tim, Michelle and Tonya there. Tonya, and her cat, is moving in here for a while. Tim and Michelle stayed for a coffee, and then left.
I had a chat to Dale online, and arranged to arrive after lunch on Thursday, although I haven’t actually booked anything yet.
Ella mentioned on MSN that her Nanna passed on.

14.03.2004Sunday 14 March – Computer Market

I woke up when my alarm went off, snoozed it several times, and just got to the train in time. I wasn’t able to buy a train ticket, as I’d forgotten that on Sunday’s the ticket office is unmanned, so I had to stress all the way to Ferny Grove waiting for a big hairy ticket officer with large biceps to come and get me.
  Once safely at Ferny Grove, I located Marcus and his friend and we drove to the Pine Rivers Shire Showground and paid our $2.20 entry fee to get into the Computer Market. I didn’t actually buy anything, as the only things I need are a new CPU fan and a new graphics card fan. The graphics card fan seems very hard, and perhaps impossible, to get.
I caught a train out to Indooroopilly on the way home, to see if there was anything worth watching at the cinemas, which there wasn’t, so I became caught in the football mania instead. Piles of crazy football fans jammed the trains, and sang songs and so forth.

15.03.2004Monday 15 March – Farcical C Tutorial

My midday start was nice. One lecture followed by two tutorials. Unfortunately, Marcus and Kieran decided they were both something resembling C programmers and because I’ve actually finished my C based assignment, I must be even more of a C programmer, so we became the C programming group and were supposed to write iterators and linked lists. Kieran wrote some, I disagreed with it and he thought I was stupid, our group broke down, and all the other groups answered all our questions – probably not a very good precursor to our “Relational Database Systems” group assignment we’re doing soon, but I guess that’s the idea of group things, to learn to work in a group.

16.03.2004Tuesday 16 March – B, C, C++, CD & VB

I went to bed after watching “Enter the Dragon” because I couldn’t go online for a while, while Tonya waited for a phone call.
I got on the train to uni. Exhilarating lectures on threads, set theory and crazy b-method syntax were followed by a trip to the post office where I posted some CD’s to Mum. Loreena McKennitt’s beautiful albums “Book of Secrets”, “Elemental”, “Parallel Dreams”, The Mask and Mirror” and “The Visit”, Nina Simone’s much less beautiful “Little Girl Blue” and “Universal Masters Collection”, an album called “Flute of the Andes, Vol. 1” by a collection of artists, and Traffic’s “Shoot Out at the Fantasy Factory” should, hopefully, now be on their way to Mum. I then made my way down to the labs, where I got my “Systems Interface Programming” Assignment 1 – a stopwatch, passed and submitted. I’m quite happy with it, considering it’s my first attempt at coding in C, excluding the nasty AVR assignment from last semester with which I was eventually happy, especially after getting more than 100% for it. I’ve been told this “Systems Interface Programming” is a hard course, and when Silas did it last year, something like three quarters of the class either quit or failed, so I’m making an effort to start its assignments early and get them done with time to spare. Not knowing much C, VB, or C++, not to mention the B and nasty relational database theory stuff I have to learn, doesn’t help either.
I discovered that the physiology refectory gives out more tomato sauce than the measly eight millilitres the main refectory gives, and still has free vinegar, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.
I dozed on the train home, being woken up by a sexy ticket inspector. I’ve never missed my station yet, but it can only be a matter of time. Tonya bought chips, so I had chips and salad for dinner. Joe has been at some interstate transport bowls thing, which they won today, and Dave has turned up to pick up Tonya’s cat and they’re downstairs talking now. I think that about sums up the present state of my exciting life. After today’s lecture, I can probably describe it all in terms of threads, priorities and suspended idle states.

17.03.2004Wednesday 17 March – Hot, Relaxing and Fast

I was awoken by the phone and Joe waking Tonya, several times. Every known relative and friend must have phoned her this morning. Eventually it got too hot to lie in bed, and I was forced to get up, shower, and face the day. I decided to decrease my computer’s memory management settings to a slower and potentially more stable setting to see if that fixed the unusual problems I’m having with Adobe Audition, ACDSee6 and NVIDIA’s nvDVD. I don’t seem to have any problem with any of the other programs I use, but I find it hard to believe that those three programs could possibly be as buggy as they appear to be, and figured it was worth a try.
  Once in the BIOS, however, I foolishly decided to overclock the RAM to the maximum, just to see what happens. I also, in the process, upped the system and PCI bus speeds considerably, and rebooted. Not surprisingly, the computer wouldn’t start, which isn’t normally a problem. What was a problem though, is that it wouldn’t start somewhat drastically, and that I have fancy failsafe dual BIOS, which I have set to reset the main BIOS if, after twenty seconds, the machine hasn’t gotten past the POST, and if that fails, to revert to a prior BIOS version. The problem was that I had a bad feeling I’d overclocked things too much to leave the machine on for twenty seconds so it would reset, and because there shouldn’t normally be a need for it, my computer doesn’t have a CMOS reset jumper like most do. It seemed to be looping through the low-level hardware initialization – I could hear the hard drives constantly seeking and resetting which was what worried me the most. The power LED did an interesting strobe, which I haven’t seen before and I suppose is some sort of error indicator.
  After a read through the motherboard manual, which includes a reasonably detailed schematic of the actual logical (as well as physical) layout of the motherboard, I managed to find what would, hopefully, reset the BIOS’s CMOS without having to remove the battery and lose all the RAID settings and stuff. I went and sharpened a screwdriver on a file and managed to short across the two tracks I intended to, which sort of did what I hoped, and rebooted. The BIOS was probably corrupted, because it reverted to a backup BIOS with default settings, which let me reboot the computer and enter the BIOS again, where I set everything back to how it was originally, checked that everything ran, and then rebooted again. Interestingly, this time it used the newer BIOS, but with the settings from the older BIOS, which seems a bit odd considering one is an Award BIOS and the other Phoenix BIOS, but it all worked.
  I then, having determined that all hardware was functional and apparently stable, noticed that some programs, specifically ACDSee6, no longer ran. They gave cryptic error messages, which were no help at all, and refused to quit. I messed around for ages, eventually deleting all registry references to ACDSee, along with all its databases, uninstalled and reinstalled it and some older versions before noticing that my system clock had reset back to 2002. After adjusting it to the current time and date, everything except ACDSee6 worked. I still haven’t got ACDSee to run as it used to, but that’s probably not surprising, as there’s about ten and a half copies of it installed with several different and overlapping databases and plug-in repositories.
I drove up to Smith Road, where I bought some scratch-its for Joe, $1 of lollies, and $6 chips and six potato scallops, which we ate for dinner along with some salad.
I’ve just had an argument in the #bits channel, as usual. I made the terrible mistake of asking “is anything faster than SCSI”, which, after Clint helpfully pointed out that light was, I quickly clarified to mean “is any (semi-normal or common) external computer interface faster than SCSI”. They then proceeded to say, repeatedly, that “fibre optic” was faster than SCSI, which is clearly mixing two different issues. “Fibre optic” might be faster than “copper” or “electrons down a wire”, but that isn’t an answer to my question. I tried to counter their anal-retentiveness by rephrasing my question to “available protocol”, but it was too late. Someone then pointed out that “speed” is equated to “distance per time”, but they didn’t seem to be able to understand the basic concept of context. “Speed” could equally validly be interpreted as “data per time” (which was clearly what I meant), methamphetamines, a transmission gear, the sensitivity of a photographic film to light or any number of other things, depending on the context, and the context in which I used it was pretty clear – all of which I pointed out, but to no avail. Once they reach critical mass in there, they all back each other up, begin ridiculing their opponents on unrelated (and often illogical) matters, and generally become immature and annoying, before banning whoever it is that dared to point out they are wrong or ask a simple question. It’s a bit annoying at times. At least the great “Linux versus the known universe” and “open-source versus happiness, food and wellbeing” debates weren’t involved.

18.03.2004Thursday 18 March – Burning for Burners

After an exhilarating eight o’clock start, requiring a pre-seven o’clock train, and some uplifting, joy-filled lectures and tutorials, Clint and I caught a bus into the city. It was supposed to be a bus to Milton, but the woman driver didn’t stop, despite us having pressed the “next stop” button, so we had to walk back to Milton. Clint had a CD burner to pick up from Umart, which is just a warehouse with a few people sitting around on boxes with computers giving out computer parts. It was very hot too, and I nearly died from dehydration. In fact, the only good thing that happened on the whole excursion was on the bus back to uni, which was overcrowded, hot and very bumpy, a sexy girl kept falling on me and myself and this other guy had to be heroes and save her.

19.03.2004Friday 19 March – Tired & Banned

Friday is my worst day at uni, I’m not sure why. There was no way I could stand two hours of Guido’s Relational Database lecture without notes – I could feel it sucking knowledge out of me rather than the other way around, so I went down the labs for the second hour. If they put notes online more than
Once in the labs, I checked my email, and found this log (names changed to protect the evil and spelling fixed to protect readers) from what used to be my favourite channel:
  [07:21] <NoteOP> Note 6 from ChanOP –– Sent Thu Mar 18 21:32:23 2004 AWST
  [07:21] <NoteOP> evil!...@... deleted you from #channel
  [07:21] <NoteOP> Note 7 from ^evil –– Sent Thu Mar 18 21:41:31 2004 AWST
  [07:21] <NoteOP> I deleted your access yet again. This time you don't need to lie to get it back. I noteoped the OPs. You know that I don't want you here. Please go and leave the channel the way it was before you came. Thanks. That is the decent thing to do, and you know it.
  [07:22] <victim> back
  [07:22] <victim> evil what is the problem? I have never lied at all – I don't know what your problem is with me?
  [07:23] <@random> –_^?
  [07:23] <victim> random, evil has deleted my access again, I have no idea what I have done wrong, or why she dislikes me – she sent me a note and asked me to leave the channel.
  [07:24] <@random> hmmmmmmm
  [07:26] <@random> I wouldn't know anything about it, myself. Wasn't even here.
  [07:26] <victim> neither was I
  [07:26] <victim> I went to bed at 11 my time, I was deleted and sent the notes at 12:30 and 12:45
  [07:26] <@random> Curious. . .
  [07:57] <bot> any hot bots wanna chat?
  [08:01] * evilAway is now known as ^evil
  [08:01] <@evil> Do you deny victim that you lied to anon to get your access back when I deleted you last time?
  [08:01] <@evil> And you may not appeal to my OPs here to stay. i asked you politely to leave.
  [08:02] <@evil> If I were in a channel and the owner asked me to leave, I would leave.
  [08:02] <@evil> Your problem is that you, of all people, do not accept that I own this channel.
  [08:03] <victim> I did not lie to anon at all.
  [08:03] <victim> of course I do.
  [08:03] <victim> I am on the phone brb.
  [08:03] <@evil> and also, no way would I have to be asked in the first place. I should not have had to do that.
  [08:06] <@evil> You told thei that I deleted you. You got him to try to get your access back. Thei failed. You messaged anon (while you were swimming) and asked him why he deleted you. anon gave you the access back. You took it, fast. I deleted you again when I found out that you got it from anon. I then gave in and gave it back anyway.
  [08:07] <@evil> I am still asking you to leave.
  [08:11] <victim> actually this is the truth about what happened. I assumed you deleted me (as I didn’t have noteondel on). I didn't know why because as far as I know I have never done anything to you. I asked thei if he knew why. He pointed out I didn't know that it was you that did it – I said only other person could have been anon.
  [08:11] <victim> so next morning I msged anon just after I had changed my nickname, and asked him if he had deleted me.
  [08:11] <victim> then went swimming and then to uni.
  [08:12] <@evil> That is not true.
  [08:12] <victim> when I got back, he had left a msg saying of course not, and that he was adding it back. I had two noteops
  [08:12] <victim> one from anon adding me back, and one from you adding me back.
  [08:12] <victim> I had no idea what happened with anon or you or whatever.
  [08:12] <victim> that is exactly true – I have logs of everything with everyone
  [08:13] <@evil> You were talking to thei while I was talking to him about me deleting you. That is all more lies.
  [08:13] <victim> I then put noteondel on so I would know who deleted me from then on.
  [08:13] <victim> actually no, I had no idea he was talking to you at all.
  [08:13] <victim> ask him.
  [08:13] <@evil> it is beside the point, too, as you got it back, didn't you.
  [08:14] <victim> I have no idea what your problem is with me, evil.... I don't have anything against you, afaik you have just turned around and assumed all this stuff about me, and decided you dislike me
  [08:14] <victim> I have not ever ever lied, or done any of this stuff you are saying
  [08:15] <victim> I thought you were a nice person and this channel was wonderful, and I have made a lot of friends here
  [08:15] <@evil> Well if a channel owner dislikes you and asks you to leave, what is the decent thing to do?
  [08:15] <victim> errr I figured you would get over it if I just kept on being nice, considering I have done nothing to trigger it
  [08:15] <@evil> I am not going to argue about that.
  [08:16] <victim> and unfortunately I like the other people here, chat a lot here (which I don't do elsewhere) and thought that most people here get on well with me too
  [08:16] <victim> I don't know why you are being so unreasonable and hate-filled towards me, when I have never done anything against you or the channel
  [08:16] <victim> it’s so opposite what I thought was your character
  [08:16] <@evil> I disagree with that totally.
  [08:17] <@evil> so I have said all I am going to.
  [08:20] <@evil> I can't ask you any nicer to leave. Do you accept that I own this channel?
  [08:21] <victim> ok evil, I will leave the channel, as per your request. I will come back when you aren't here, to say goodbye to the nice people I have met.
  [08:21] <@evil> No, you shall not!!!!!!!!
  [08:21] <victim> you certainly are a lot different person than I thought you were.
  [08:21] <@evil> You may not come back.
  [08:21] <@evil> and destroy things here
  [08:21] <victim> I guess the truth comes out eventually, so you will reap what you are sowing.
  [08:21] <@evil> Well stay out of my channel then. I am no fool.
  [08:22] <victim> I have done nothing wrong evil
  [08:22] <victim> you are being unfair and unreasonable.
  [08:22] <victim> but so be it.
  [08:22] <@evil> You may whisper your goodbyes. You have enough sense to find them.
  [08:22] <victim> goodbye.
  It seems the owner is a paranoid schizophrenic. The sad thing is that she used to be a good friend. I joined and tried to find out what was going on, but after an argument, was banned. She then proceeded to ban half a dozen others, who were also innocent victims.
Comment by bv – Sunday 28 March 2004, 4:15 AM
  I don't understand a word of what's going on, so I think I am best qualified to explain it to your readers.
  * NoteOP is pregnant with evil's baby and is also secretly having an affair with Roger, who later died in a tractor accident.
  * random is actually the infamous Raymond. Before you start carrying on like the magistrate about proof blah blah, can I just point out that he PUT A FULLSTOP AT THE END OF HIS LINE.
  * evil obviously has a livejournal, as he (she? stay tuned for this twist in a future installment) manages to give the impression that each line they say is bad nihlistic poetry.
  * victim may or may not be Ned himself, we never get to see his face. My running theory is that it is in fact Ned's long lost twin, his face scarred in an explosion at a swimming pool warehouse.
Comment by DK – Monday 29 March 2004, 8:46 AM
  * Sigh. Power went to her head I think, seen it all before :(

20.03.2004Saturday 20 March – Paycheck

After a late wake up and relaxing evening doing nothing, I caught a train into Indooroopilly, and saw “Paycheck”. It is a very average movie – but, as usual, I enjoyed it. It was quite busy too, both at the cinema, in the cinema, and on the train back. I was nearly abducted by a group of female Swedish journalists from uni, wanting to go party in the valley but unsure where to go, but came home and went online to write this instead – of course.

21.03.2004Sunday 21 March – The Butterfly Effect

I was bored, and impulsively decided to go catch another movie. I had about ten minutes to get to the train when I decided, so it was a bit of a rush. I watched “The Butterfly Effect”, and was surprised – it’s a very good, thought provoking movie. I spent the train ride home trying to fathom the concept of no time. They say you can attain enlightenment just by dwelling on that. There was an interesting chap on the train, who was either insane, possessed, tripping, or some combination of the three, and who urgently needed one cigarette paper and was willing to pay nearly anything for it. In the end, after arguing with several people who didn’t appear to exist – at least not in a form I could see, I think he swapped a cigarette for a paper with someone, and rolled a smoke right in the train, which quieted him down.

22.03.2004Monday 22 March – A normal day at uni

I woke up at ten o’clock, arrived at uni in time for my midday lecture, attended same and two following tutorials, went and visited Kieran and saw his new, expensive, and rather pointless dual Xeon server, helped a guy in the labs, and caught the train home. It was nearly dark by the time I got home. Joe wasn’t here, but arrived not long after with Liz.
ITEE runs a news server, which we can connect to via an SSL connection, and participate in the university newsgroups. It’s been buggy ever since I came to uni, but recently got a lot worse, requesting authorisation at random times and denying it as often as not. I sent an email off to the student helpdesk, and received a reply, “[the ITEE news server] is not a currently supported service”. The problems are the result of “bugs in the (unsupported by the vendor for over two years) news cache server code” and are beyond their control, given their resources, they say. The officially recommended way to view the newsgroups is via a web interface, which is so bad that it’s only barely useable. I think this sucks – surely, it can’t be that hard or expensive to upgrade a news server to something that works, but there isn’t that much I can do about it.
Comment by Yuri Johnson – Tuesday 23 March 2004, 9:47 AM
  you go on endless rants about your everday life (and that's cool) yet you have consistently failed to mention that Philip Machanick is the funniest man on campus. I trust you will fix this soon
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 23 March 2004, 11:03 AM
  Who is Philip Machanick?
Comment by Redbeard – Tuesday 23 March 2004, 2:20 PM
  hmmm Yuri, your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Comment by Yuri Johnson – Friday 26 March 2004, 8:56 AM
  Philip Machanick is your Comp3300 Lecturer. If you listen very closely to any one of his lectures (particularly the ones in 24-s304) you will disover that he is the funniest man you've ever seen. Extremely subtle, though. I often find myself getting his jokes about 4 hours after they are said, usually resulting in me looking stupid and having people look at me in the labs. Now I have made you understand the brilliance of Machanick, i trust the same burden will be put on you, my son. Courage Ned, this could be your final hour....
Comment by Ned – Friday 26 March 2004, 12:13 PM
  Yes, I was being sarcastic. I’m aware of at least some of my lecturers’ names and I notice all his “subtle” humour – which is often blatant and sometimes amusing, sometimes awful. I’ve had at least two “funnier” lecturers so far, although Philip is perhaps the second closest I’ve yet had to a genuine BOFH style “traditional” lecturer – or perhaps a BOFH wannabe considering he uses a Macintosh. The second lecturer for COMP2500, whose name currently escapes me, was by far the wittiest, funniest, and I’d hazard to say, most insightful, lecturer I’ve had. He managed to describe, in a way I could understand, some complex concepts very efficiently while still managing to be amusing – and let’s face it, anyone who starts a lecture on recursion in Java by stating that both Java and recursion, and specifically recursion in Java, are awful – rocks.
Comment by Yuri Johnson – Friday 26 March 2004, 5:08 PM
  do you mean Anthony MacDonald (in reference to the comp2500 lecturer)? If so, i have him this semester, and i agree he is very exciting. But there's something inherintly funny and crazy with Machanick, almost as if he is trying to amuse himself rather than the audience. I hopr you one day come over to my point of view. But if we're talking crazy Java lecturers, you can't go any further than Roger Duke for pure insanity. Now thats good eatin!
Comment by bv – Sunday 28 March 2004, 4:03 AM
  ahahah Roger > *
Comment by Ned – Monday 29 March 2004, 9:36 AM
  No, I don’t mean Anthony, and yes – Roger would have to be the best lecturer I’ve had so far, I actually enjoyed going to his lectures and learnt lots – not something I’m sure I could say about anyone else so far.

23.03.2004Tuesday 23 March – Stopwatches & Goodbye Lenin

I skipped the second hour of my “Software Specification” lecture, as it was a tutorial-style demonstration of the BToolkit we have to use to develop our horrible B-Method stuff. I have no idea why I am doing this course, except that it’s recommended in both the study plans that I’m paying attention to and compulsory for software engineers. Perhaps I should be asking why it’s recommended, because I really can’t see it being of any use to anyone ever, and the few people I’ve mentioned it to sort of chuckle, yet it’s looking like being quite hard and if I don’t really apply myself, it will drag my GPA down.
I spent from one o’clock until four o’clock helping a girl with her “Systems Interface Programming” stopwatch (using only pixel manipulation in C) assignment in the labs. I couldn’t believe it was four o’clock when we finished, but it was.
  I also had quite a long chat to the lecturer, while he tried to justify the course layout – it’s obvious he receives a lot of criticism about the way the course is structured, which isn’t surprising I guess. I can see how it’s a good idea to have a course where you’re just given a sparse (and intentionally wrong in the case of our next assignment) specification and told to implement it with virtually no assistance. Those who actually manage to learn the basics of an entirely new coding language within two weeks and successfully implement the specification, and then repeat it all for another language and specification the fortnight after, will probably be able to do the same in this fabled “industry” to which people keep referring. On the other hand, we’re at university – this is where we’re supposed to be taught things, not just told to do things. Forcing me to learn the basics of the C programming language serves some purpose, namely it forces me to learn the basics of the C programming language, but considering I’m paying good money for the privilege, I’d like to be taught how to code good C – something that is not going to happen at this university. I actually think the learning style (can’t call it teaching style because there’s no teaching) used by “Systems Interface Programming” is a good idea – but only after, or perhaps concurrently with, another course teaching us good programming practices in the languages we’re being forced to use.
  I then spent some time in the library discovering how to use their online Neuro-psychoanalytical journals with Clint, before discovering that it would take more than half an hour to buy a pizza from the Schonell and having to settle for unhealthy potato wedges with a free allowance of 8 millilitres of tomato sauce instead. We then went and saw “Goodbye Lenin” at the Schonell, which wasn’t as bad a movie as it sounds – although I’d rather not have seen it while sitting inside a cold room, the air-conditioning was a bit harsh.
It was after ten o’clock by the time I got home.

24.03.2004Wednesday 24 March – Relaxing

I spent a quiet, relaxing day at home.
I switched to using Clint’s university dialup connection, as a test. It seems that he can use it from college through the college network, which has quota limitations, and I can use it via dialup, which does not have any limitations, simultaneously. This will cut his and my ISP bills in half – an immense saving of nearly nine dollars.

25.03.2004Thursday 25 March – HECS Increase & Protest

The UQ Senate decides whether to raise HECS, and if so by how much, today. The rabid loonies at uni have, with their useful lack of anything resembling intelligence, decided that blockading the building in which the UQ Senate is going to meet until quorum expires and the meeting is invalid is the best way to avoid paying more for their “education” (for want of a better term). I decided to go along for some fun.
  There were a several hundred slavering protesters blocking the doors, a few of whom weren’t militant lesbian, but carried signs complaining about the impact an increase in HECS would have on the queer community instead. There may have been some normal students there somewhere, but I couldn’t see any. There was also a surprising lack of anti-Iraq signs, or perhaps they were just hidden behind the various unions and the gay community’s signs. I suppose we should all be thankful the rate of genetic mutation isn’t faster.
  I ended up with the twenty or so humans there, surrounded by the mire, protesting against the protesters. We were “young liberals” or something apparently, and although I don’t have any political affiliations or leanings, anything that wasn’t “them” had to be good – and it was fun (and easy) to have a bit of fun at their expense.
  They were all quite happy, thinking they’d successfully prevented the senate from meeting, although who knows whatever good that would have done – it’s all a stupid publicity stunt and just makes normal people think they’re idiots, but the senate held a telephone hook-up from another boardroom. They have now approved an across the board increase in HECS by 25%, exceptions being granted for education and nursing.
Clint and I headed into Indooroopilly and had dinner. We were considering catching a movie but there wasn’t much showing.

26.03.2004Friday 26 March – Gold Coast

I spent uni doing uni things, and then went home after. Profound.
My train was supposed to leave at six o’clock. I was ten minutes early, but just as I was arriving at the station a train arrived. I ran for the train, just jumping aboard before it left, and without time to buy a ticket. I then stressed that the ticket gorillas would come along and eat me, but I managed to get safely to Beenleigh without being caught. It sort of disorientated me though, as my train was ten minutes early, or perhaps my watch was ten minutes slow, and when I went to buy my ticket at Beenleigh for the Gold Coast, the man behind the counter told me the train I’d just arrived on (and which had just departed) was the train I wanted. He was only joking, but coupled with the train mistiming it managed to confuse me. Ironically, the six o’clock train that I was supposed to have caught arrived ten minutes after I did, and just before the Gold Coast train left. The rest of the journey was unremarkable.

27.03.2004Saturday 27 March – Relaxing

I relaxed far from computers and online journals, making sure I didn’t think of all the assignments I had rapidly approaching, or the time I would lose going to Dale’s wedding.

28.03.2004Sunday 28 March – Relaxing

I had a very nice and relaxing day, which despite the fact that I slept for a large proportion of it, actually made me sleepier.

29.03.2004Monday 29 March – Duran & Tonya

Amazingly, just as I was walking into my street, I met Duran, who I haven’t seen since Cooktown. Apparently, he and his sister are living nearby. I then had a normal day at uni, where I did normal uni things and so forth. Once home again, I tried to book flights to and from Dale’s wedding. It’s remarkably difficult, and I also realised that my “Operating Systems” assignment, which is due on Tuesday next week, but has a twenty four hour early hand in bonus so is effectively due on Monday next week and which I haven’t yet started, will be due on Wednesday this week for me, as I’ll be away from Thursday onwards. This is not a good situation. After hours of working out times and deciding it was impossible, I finally managed to book flights down to Dale’s wedding, and a tentative train/flight combination back, after which I then collapsed into bed stressed.
  Tonya has also moved in. When I got home from uni, there was a hired truck out the front, which had all her stuff in it. The entire place is full of stuff. I didn’t realise she’d have so much.

30.03.2004Tuesday 30 March – Merge Sorting & Cheese

Clint, Kieran, Marcus and I had our first “Relational Database Systems” group meeting. It was the expected waste of time. We were planning to discuss something, Kieran and I argued about something else, and Kieran noticed later that we’d totally forgot something, which partly invalidated what we’d argued about anyway.
I didn’t leave uni until a quarter to ten, after eating a Schonell “Lollobrigida – Lots of Cheeses (5 types), Oregano, Sun-dried Capsicum” pizza with Clint. I’d been down the labs frantically coding, or trying to figure out how to code, my “Operating Systems” threading assignment. I managed, after discussing with a few other people in the lab, to get the reading and sorting working. I can now read n files with n threads and sort those files with another n threads. I now have to figure out how to merge the sorted files together into an output.
I arrived home.
I went to bed.

31.03.2004Wednesday 31 March – Women, Wine, Breasts, & Threaded Merge Sorts

Normally today would be my day off, but because I’ll be away Thursday, Friday and next Monday, and because I’m slack, I’ve got to finish my horrible “Operating Systems” threaded merge sort thing – so to uni I go, nice and early, to get this horror over with. Well, that was the theory – in reality I slept in, did my washing, acted as an electronic rendezvous between Michelle, Tonya, and Joe, and didn’t get to uni until midday.
  A group of schoolgirls got on the train, and proceeded to draw on each other’s breasts with a waterproof marker. This seemed somewhat unusual to me, but girls are odd anyway. I managed to escape being autographed, perhaps because I don’t have very large breasts, and they managed to escape the police who were apparently looking for them, so all was well and the sun smiled down on us.
  Once at uni, I embedded myself into one of the computer labs, and didn’t emerge for several hours.
I went and saw the lecturer for some help, which was a bit helpful but only in a theoretical way. I then ran out of time trying to figure out how to do stuff, and ended up implementing a fully working solution – but one which fails “to exploit maximum parallelism”, as the specification says. I’m hoping I get good marks, because it does work nicely (or seemed to when I tested it) and I’m such a nice person, but I haven’t used enough threads. As Michelle said – may dolphins bless my programs.
I arrived home to find the house a shambles. The corridor has beds in it, on their side. The kitchen has furniture in it. The bedroom opposite mine has wet paint in it. The bedroom beside that is full of Tonya’s stuff, and the bedroom beside that is also full of Tonya’s stuff. The bathroom is full of Tonya’s stuff. Outside was full of Tonya, Dave and Amy – who has flown down on a spur of the moment thing. I had to help make nachos, drive to the bottle-o (which netted me $15 before (and after) tax), and pretend to be a normal semi-social person. I’ve also got to get ready for my flight tomorrow morning, shower, shave, pick my nose, and get to sleep – all in time to wake up for a horribly early train into the airport while there’s loud music, drunken women, puppy, and the cat, outside. Hang on, that’s supposed to be “pack my trunk”, not “pick my nose”.
Joe is home now, and the party continues. Music has this annoying tendency to sound strange from a distance. I can only hear some frequencies, and it sounds spastic. I still haven’t got around to packing anything either – I should start that now.
Comment by mrhetero – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:23 AM
  Edited: Poster is a moron
  Rough translation: “You said girls are odd, does this mean you are gay?”
Comment by Filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:26 AM
  Edited: Poster is a moron
  Rough translation: “I hear crack is good, have you tried it yet?”

01.04.2004Thursday 1 April – Wagga Wagga & Temora

After getting to bed at a quarter to four, with my alarm set and the computer alarm set five minutes after so that as soon as my alarm goes off, I have to jump up and turn the computer one off before it wakes everyone up, I was a bit sleepy when I woke to catch my early morning train to the airport.
I ran down to the train station – running all the way. I missed the train by about eight seconds. This was not good at all, considering I’ve a flight and a connecting flight to catch, both of which are non-refundable. Fortunately for me, another train got me into Central in time to buy a toasted sandwich from McDonalds before transferring to the rip-off airport train.
Virgin flight DJ216 to Sydney left on time with me safely in it. It’s a Boeing 737, as are all Virgin’s planes, I believe – and the flight was short and uneventful. I dozed while the time and I both flew, and before I knew it, we were descending into Sydney.
Qantas flight QF2225 to Wagga Wagga also left on time, also with me onboard. It was a small Dash 8 with only twenty or so people onboard. I think they seat around thirty-six. We were taken on a bus from the terminal out to the aircraft. It’s only a fifty-minute flight, and being Qantas, refreshments were served, so I was in Wagga Wagga in no time.
  I sat at the airport for half an hour before Dale, Silas, and hj arrived. We drove to the nearest pub and had a counter meal and a few drinks, before heading to a suit hire shop where Dale arranged to pick up a suit later, and then back out to the airport via a coffee shop to pick up Dale’s brother. After picking up the suit, all four of us drove to Temora and I met Dale’s parent’s house, and his parents, for the first time. The house is a mansion, and quite impressive.
We did things, but those things I do not remember. I highly doubt Dale, Silas, or hj remember either.
Comment by filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:33 AM
  Edited: Poster is a moron
  Rough translation: “Do you not remember because you’ve repressed those memories, as too awful to remember?”

02.04.2004Friday 2 April – Temora

Dale says we had a “blinder” last night, so I guess we did. I’m reasonably sure we did lots of stuff today too, but I can’t remember any of it, so I guess it must have been the good stuff. I do remember it was enjoyable.
The reverend came over for a practice wedding, as did Gemma the bridesmaid.
Silas, Dale, hj and I played pool on their full-size billiard table until quite late. Silas eventually got too tired and went to bed. I stayed up until around three o’clock. Dale and hj were still going when I went to bed. Apparently, Jim met them on their way to bed when he woke up in the morning. Suffice to say that they were both drunk for half of tomorrow.

03.04.2004Saturday 3 April – Dale and Ragnhild’s Wedding

Everyone ran around becoming stressed and preparing for the wedding. Silas and I escaped and went down town to buy some flowers, cards, and chocolate as gifts. Dale and hj soon escaped as well, and we went down to the pub for a while, where I had steak and chips without the steak, before heading back to the stressful preparation for what’s supposed to be the happiest day of their life.
All the guests had arrived, so the wedding began. We trooped into the elaborate dining room where it was being held. Gemma and Silas walked down the aisle. Dale and Ragnhild walked down the aisle. The reverend performed the rites, and they were married. The ceremony was nice and lovely and stuff, although the part where the reverend talked about growing a garden and avoiding the foreign weeds was almost going a bit too far – funny though.
After the ceremony itself, and the photo taking, everyone headed out to the pool and got drunk. One bloke fell over and knocked himself out on a tile. Two fell into the pool. Some others played billiards. I wandered around, taking photos, talking to people, and saving Gemma from a newfound friend who was a bit too interested in her for her liking. hj had to leave at midnight to catch his train. He was rather drunk. Dale and Ragnhild didn’t head off to their motel room until way too late – sometime after three o’clock, once all the taxis had stopped, so walking they did go. Silas and I waited up until everyone had either gone or been put to bed. It was after four in the morning when I got to go to sleep.

04.04.2004Sunday 4 April – Recovering

Dale and Ragnhild arrived back, and we all had a mellow sort of day, recovering from last night. Nothing seemed to be broken, and we cleaned up the place. Interestingly, every can of “Melbourne Bitter” was drunk, but there was a lot of “Victoria Bitter” left – similarly, but less interestingly, with the red and white wine.
We ordered tons of “Chinese”, which was quite tasty. After that, we watched “Seabiscuit”, a thoroughly unimpressive movie. Gemma turned up for a little while, and then we all had an early night.

05.04.2004Monday 5 April – Brisbane

Dale drove me around to the house where Mum used to live, and I took a few photos of it.
Qantas flight QF2228 to Sydney lifted off from Wagga Wagga, and Silas and I arrived in Sydney fifty minutes or so later. I was originally booked for a 3:15 flight, but they let me change my flight after making it clear I wasn’t allowed to with my fare.
  Once in Sydney, we caught the first train to Circular Quay and took a few photos of the Opera House and the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, with Silas in front and such exciting things as that. It was overcast, windy, cold, and had been raining, so we didn’t stay long.
  Once back in the warmth of the airport, and through the scary check-in procedure, I bought a veggie burger from Hungry Jacks, and Silas and I chatted until his plane was ready for boarding, at which time I headed across to my terminal, checked in, and waited for my plane.
Virginblue flight DJ249 to Brisbane didn’t crash on takeoff. I was in the second row, and only one other woman was in it on my side, which was something of a contrast to the flight down where the plane was totally full and I was in the second last row. The clouds and sunset were very beautiful, and then it got dark so I dozed until we arrived in Brisbane.
  I caught the train to Central. At ten dollars, it is a rip-off. I bought a veggie burger from McDonald’s, and an ice-cream sundae, and then caught the train home.
I’m home, semi-unpacked, and stuff. Amy is still here, and plans to stay until next week I think. I had a bit of trouble connecting to the internet, but unplugging the phone in the hall seems to fix it.
I modified the privacy and authentication system I’m using for my journal. Certain categories of private entries are now totally hidden until a user is appropriately authorised, which will hopefully help prevent people trying to (usually dramatically incorrectly) second-guess what’s in my private entries based on what’s happened either side of them, but will still let suitable people read them. In addition, authentication is no longer done through a forbidden error page – something that seemed ok to me, but wasn’t very logical.
I need to be at university by nine o’clock tomorrow morning, and I haven’t even packed for it yet. I really don’t want to go – after the lovely relaxation of the past weekend, uni and assignments sounds terrible.
Comment by Filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:28 AM
  Edited: Poster is a moron
  Rough translation: “Is Silas your boyfriend, and if so, you should consider yourself lucky. All the best etc.”

06.04.2004Tuesday 6 April – Back to uni

I didn’t really feel like going to uni today. I’m still tired after my weekend down south. Our “Operating Systems” assignment was due by five o’clock, and I wanted to begin my “Systems Interface Programming” assignment, as that’s due soon too, so I ended up spending all evening in the labs helping Marcus get his last minute panic assignment finished. He submitted it three minutes before the deadline, and I went home to continue with my assignment. I’m also trying to make something that’ll view images easily off a CD, now that I’ve finally got most of my photos under control, all tagged and sorted.

07.04.2004Wednesday 7 April – Tonya’s Cable

I had a nice sleep in. Tonya got a phone line and cable internet connection installed today. The bloke who did it was here for hours, drilling through the floor and messing around. It’s ironic, I’m sitting here with a slow dialup connection, which, being the university ISP, doesn’t work very well and is currently experiencing drastic packet loss, while there’s an unlimited, permanently on, high-speed internet connection in the next room. The modem has both USB and Ethernet connections on it but I only have a crossover cable – which I tried connecting with anyway, just to see if it would work, but it didn’t.
Comment by keight – Friday 9 April 2004, 12:22 AM
  do you want me to give you a network cable, ned?
Comment by Ned – Friday 9 April 2004, 12:33 AM
  Thanks for the thought, but I probably wouldn’t be able to use it for anything more than to test it actually works – and it would have to be quite long.
Comment by keight – Saturday 10 April 2004, 4:22 PM
  Why would you only be able to use it to test if it actually works? And I've long cables, if you do decide to change your mind

08.04.2004Thursday 8 April – Starsky, Hutch & XSLT Powered Image Viewing

I was supposed to go to university today, but woke up half an hour after the train went. I did some more work on my XOR encrypting and decrypting “Systems Interface Programming” assignment, getting a few menus and stuff working, and then got sick of it. It would be so much easier if I knew C – obviously. Every little thing takes ages because I don’t know how to do it.
Having got sick of both my assignment and sitting in front of my computer, I decided to head into town, get some dinner, and see a movie. I had a rice curry thing from a shop in Indooroopilly, went and bought some chocolate, browsed through a stereo and television shop, and saw “Starsky & Hutch”. The price has gone up fifty cents – it now costs $6.50 for University of Queensland students, and we don’t even get that on Saturday evenings. I guess I can’t complain – that’s still considerably cheaper than what everyone else has to pay. The movie was fun, and quite full. There was a big queue waiting to see it, and it was shown in one of the larger cinemas.
I guess I should go to bed. I’ve been working on making an XSLT powered image viewer for use on photo CDs. It seems to work. Currently it reads information from an XML file (which I generate using ACDSee) including descriptions, filenames and various other bits of information about the images, and creates an HTML page showing thumbnails of the images and a listing of the description of each image. JavaScript is then used to show an auto-sized pop-up window with the full-size image and various bits of information about it. It all works fine with my version of Internet Explorer, although it uses a phenomenal amount of memory, mainly because the thumbnails aren’t actually thumbnails – they’re just full-size images sized in the HTML to a thumbnail size.
  Mozilla and its kin seem unable to use JavaScript from a client-side XSLT page generated from XML – which doesn’t surprise me but is annoying. This means the pop-up full-size image viewer doesn’t work, but it degrades gracefully, just showing the image in the browser instead. Mozilla doesn’t handle the thumbnails as well as Internet Explorer either – they work but it’s slow to load them, and they change slightly the first time the mouse is hovered over them, but other than that, it seems to work fine in both major browsers so should work on virtually any PC. I might try to test it out on Tonya’s computer tomorrow and see if it works on that. She’s running Windows 98, with a lot less RAM than me. Another interesting test would be the Solaris machines at uni – I might try it on them before I declare it complete and make some CDs. Hmm, come to think, I probably can’t because they don’t have CD drives. Maybe I can use it via the Windows machines somehow; I’ll have to think about it. Anyway, I’d better get to bed or I’ll wake up tomorrow evening and waste all the morning sleeping again.
Comment by keight – Saturday 10 April 2004, 4:24 PM
  Did you go to the 8:40 session of Starsky and Hutch, perchance?
Comment by Ned – Sunday 11 April 2004, 2:54 PM
  I don’t recall – but it was probably a bit earlier than that.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 11 April 2004, 10:22 PM
  Correction: It was the 8:40 PM viewing.
Comment by kathryn – Sunday 2 January 2005, 4:37 PM
  random note this is my birthday and i remember seeing Starsky and Hutch and being dissapointed with the 80's humour.
Comment by Ned – Monday 3 January 2005, 2:26 AM
  Happy Birthday!

09.04.2004Friday 9 April – Good Friday & Bungi Gallery

I had a quiet, relaxing day. I managed to install and configure a PHP image gallery program, imaginatively called “Gallery”, for Dale on his new site, I’m impressed with the program actually, it makes it trivial to upload images, have them auto compressed and resized and displayed, and presented in a (potentially) pretty way. I haven’t looked into it in-depth, but I’m not sure how easy it is to customise the way it looks, but other than that, it seems to be good. It even has a client-side java application to facilitate the resizing, rotating and uploading of images with their comments, which is simpler and easier to use than many similar commercial programs I know.

10.04.2004Saturday 10 April – Amanda, Sonder, & Charlie the dog

I caught a train out to Ferny Grove, where Amanda met me and we drove back to Sonder’s, then on to Amanda’s, then Kell’s, then bowling, then the shops, then back to Sonder’s, then Amanda’s. I was embarrassingly last at bowls – being beaten by three women just isn’t on.
  When we got back from bowls, Charlie, Amanda’s dog, didn’t seem very well. He was shaking and didn’t seem happy at all.
  Jim, Jamie, Sonder, and Kell came around to Amanda’s for a very yummy dinner, after which we played “Articulate” until we got too worried about Charlie and phoned a vet. The vet was on another call, so we had to wait over an hour until she got back to us. Jim and Amanda drove Charlie to the vet, who said he probably had a bowel obstruction and we’d just have to wait while they did x-rays and such.
  Amanda stayed at her place, but the rest of us headed back to Sonder’s, where we watched “Big Chill”. Just as the movie was ending, Amanda phoned to say the vet had called back, and they had to transfer Charlie to a larger veterinary clinic for ultrasounds and more advanced treatment. Jim and Amanda headed off to the vet’s, and Jamie drove me back to Amanda’s, where I waited up watching Looney Tunes and some late night movie that was showing until Amanda got back shortly after three o’clock.
I also wore my jumper for the first time this season, tonight.

11.04.2004Sunday 11 April – Easter

The vet phoned to say Charlie had taken a turn for the worse, and they’d had to revive him. Amanda and Sonder rushed off to see him, while Kell phoned me – we were still planning to go around to her parent’s house for an Easter Egg Hunt. Charlie, however, had taken another turn for the worse, and it was decided not to revive him. He was 14 years old, and had had a full life. Jim and Kell came over, and we dug a hole down by the bananas in Amanda’s backyard. Fortunately for us, the soil was sandy, loamy, and easy to dig, and after Amanda and Sonder arrived back with Charlie, he was laid to rest there.
  After the burial, we made our way to Sonder’s, where we had breakfast followed by an Easter Egg Hunt.
Jim dropped me at Roma Street Station, and, after a veggie burger for lunch, I headed train-wise homeward.
I’m back home again, very tired and avoiding bright lights.
The music I was listening to just slowed to a jerking halt, and I remembered I’d left one of the computer’s fans turned off. My secondary monitor is covered in weird tyre tracks in pretty colours and white speckles. I’ve turned the fan on now, and hope it fixes up. The PC is responsive again. The monitor isn’t coming back – I’m going to suspend and let it cool down.
  Gah, the phone rang and unsuspended the computer, and now it’s hung when I went to resuspend it. I guess I should just buy a new, or somehow fix the existing, fan on the secondary graphics card and save myself all these problems. I think I’ll go have a lie-down.
After sleeping a few hours, and then fitfully dozing for a while listening to people downstairs, I finally decided to get up and see what was going on. Joe, his sister Lizz, Amy, Tonya, and (I presume) a friend of Tonya’s are down there watching movies.
It’s cold enough for me to put my jumper on – the second time this season!
Brrr, I’ve got my woolly socks on now too, and a tomato pasta broth sort of thing boiling up on the stove.

12.04.2004Monday 12 April – Scooby Doo

After ages in my room, in front of my computer, I got thoroughly sick of it, decided to head into the city, and get something to eat. I ended up getting a very yummy felafel kebab from a kebab place at Indooroopilly and seeing “Scooby Doo 2 – Monsters Unleashed”, which is just as embarrassingly silly as it sounds, but sort of fun too.
I’m currently attempting “Systems Interface Programming”, a pass/fail course where we are required to submit a coding assignment each two weeks. We are given the specifications of what is required – however they are deliberately sparse, even going so far as to have intentional “mistakes”, or rather, parts left out that make them ambiguous. We, as a course collective, must figure out how to do things in a standard way because our submitted code or its output has to interact with other student’s efforts. There are no lectures. We are literally just told to do this, and then we have to go do it. It’s in a different language each time – so far, I’ve done C, the next one is in VB then C++ after that (I think). A lot of us (me included) don’t know these languages, so we have to learn them, and produce a working application that meets the specifications (including the ad-hoc specs we come up with to make them interoperable) within two weeks – and failing any one means we can’t pass the course.
  Many students complain because there are no lectures – no teaching of any sort, we’re all on our own and thrown in at the deep end, but everyone I’ve talked to “in industry” has said how fabulous this course sounds. It probably forces us to learn a lot more than we’d learn in a “normal” course, and not just how to code, but how to interoperate, how to learn the necessary skills to get a job done – and fast, and how to produce what’s required, within the required timeframe, whether we initially know how to or not. In this respect, “COMP2301 – Systems Interface Programming” is probably the most “realistic” course I’ve done so far.
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 13 April 2004, 5:05 PM
  OOer, sounds spooky. but might be the real world, which can be spooky and with no help of the usual sort available. Just like real life. Can see why it might be included. Hope all goes well.

13.04.2004Tuesday 13 April – Food is procured

I didn’t do much today, although in the evening I did walk down to the shops and buy some much needed food. I also bought a pizza and had that for dinner. I also sort of began my “File I/O in C” assignment, although I didn’t really do that much, but I began the process of seriously thinking about it, which usually leads to discovering things I need to figure out, which I often can’t, but often the solution comes to me after time, or a night’s sleep.

14.04.2004Wednesday 14 April – File I/O in C

I phoned TPG, because they’ve billed me the next three months payment for my dialup internet connection, despite the fact that I cancelled the account. Apparently, I am required to give two weeks notice of account cancellation, and I emailed them on the sixth, which they then didn’t process until the twelfth, but which is still not two weeks before today – the day my dialup would have expired but now won’t until the fourteenth of July. The man on the phone said he’d forward my request on to the refunds department, and they’d get back to me via email – so hopefully I can get a refund or something.
I chatted online to krait, and got some insight into how I should go about some of the trickier aspects of my unpleasant “File I/O in C” assignment, and actually began to make some progress in it. By the end of the night, I had the basic framework coded – although with tons of bugs and other inherent features lurking around.
I went to sleep, having managed to write a lot of code – some of which actually worked. I think I have more code commented out than I do actually running though.

15.04.2004Thursday 15 April – Coding

I woke up.
I worked on my nasty “File I/O in C” “Systems Interface Programming” assignment all evening.
After almost exactly 12 hours awake, I went to sleep.

16.04.2004Friday 16 April – Coding at Uni

Around lunchtime, just after waking up, and shortly after getting an email from Michelle asking me to give a message to Joe because I was online and she couldn’t phone, I decided to head into uni and code there. Happily for me, I made the breakthrough that I needed and got my code working. I also spent quite a while talking to the lecturer about lots of things, not many of which related to this course, and even fewer of those to this assignment.
  As even approached and my lack of lunch became more pronounced, I made the startling decision to go to Govinda’s for dinner on my way home – which I proceeded to do.
  Amy was gone by the time I got home.
Comment by sfsaf – Sunday 18 April 2004, 3:13 PM

17.04.2004Saturday 17 April – Inside where the sun isn’t

I slept in ridiculously late, waking well after lunchtime, having a nice dinner that Joe made, and then spending half the night getting my nasty “Systems Interface Programming” assignment into what I hope is its finished and ready to pass form. I’m a little worried, as it can’t decrypt all the files on the newsgroup, but I can decrypt many more than ten – so hopefully the ones I can’t are faulty and not my program.
Comment by Mum – Sunday 18 April 2004, 9:02 AM
  OOer, sounds spooky. but might be the real world, which can be spooky and with no help of the usual sort available. Just like real life. Can see why it might be included. Hope all goes well.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 18 April 2004, 2:48 PM
  Well, I don’t know, but by “more than ten” and “all the files”, I can decrypt 99% of them – there’s currently only one file that I can’t decrypt but which is apparently decryptable...

18.04.2004Sunday 18 April – Lazy

I slept in terribly late again, which doesn’t make me feel that well when I do finally wake up – although I did wake having a nice dream. I then diddled around fixing up and testing my assignment code – it’s all done I reckon, although I’ll test it further at uni tomorrow. I’m a bit hesitant to change it anyway, as it has become a bit complex and doing stuff has weird and unusual results in different parts of the code that are beyond my level of understanding.
It’s just after midnight, and I’ve packed ready for uni tomorrow. I plan to go in a bit earlier than I need, and print out whatever I’m lacking, so I can actually get a grip on things. I’ve several assignments’ due dates looming, and a mid-semester exam, so I think it’s high time I get serious about actually learning what I need to know to pass these things.
From a post I made to the “Systems Interface Programming” newsgroup, explaining why I used an array of char, rather than something else, for my assignment:
  “I do not know C, yet I have to produce a program within a short period of time so the least I can learn to do this, the more chance I have of successfully completing it. The lower I can get the learning curve, the more likely I’ll be able to climb it within two weeks. So, based on this logic, from our previous assignment, I know that a char equals a byte, that an array of chars is a “string”, and that I can pass arrays of chars around (or at least pointers to them), which is the same as passing arrays of bytes around. I needed a way of holding and passing around a 5 byte “key”, so an array of 5 bytes seemed the logical way to do this, hence the array of chars.
  Everything in my assignment is char (byte) based, I read one char (byte) at a time, XOR it with one char (byte) of my array of chars (bytes) “key”, and write the resulting one char (byte) back to an output file. To make the key I request a five char (bytes) “string” from the user, split this into a series of two char (byte) “strings”, and convert each two char (byte) “string” into one char (byte) and store that in my five char (byte) key. Add a little bit of file selection and so on (which is all just reading in arrays of chars (bytes) from the user and doing stuff with them) and it’s done. Doing it this way meant there was nothing particularly new that I had to learn. The only real learning curve I had was fixing the stupid pointers and memory issues I had and ensuring no string functions were used on something that could contain a string terminator in the middle. I’m sure there’s many better ways to do it, but I managed to do it using only my existing vague knowledge of arrays of chars (bytes) and avoided using any malloc’s, calloc’s, bitwise operators, or other new and nasty things, and thus reduced my learning curve – and will (hopefully) pass.

19.04.2004Monday 19 April – Clint Slides Gracefully

I didn’t need to be at uni until midday, but wanted to print out a few lecture notes and tutorials before I had to attend them, so headed in a bit earlier. I went down the labs, where I met Matt, and figured out what I needed to print. Half an hour seemed as if it should be plenty of time to get the few lecture notes and tutorials I needed printed out, but it was forty minutes later that I arrived at my lecture – ten minutes late.
  Two tutorials and a lecture later, and after a short visit to Kieran’s room to ponder an issue with PCI-X and SATA on his new computer, and I was once again back in the labs. The plan was to begin my “Software Specification” assignment, using dreaded B, which is a stupid set-theory based proofing language. It appears to have a limitless supply of slight variations on the theme of what I previously knew as an “arrow”, all of which mean new and horrible things and look almost the same. First, though, I needed to help Kieran as his “Systems Interface Programming” assignment had gone horribly awry. However, he was not willing to accept my advice – despite the fact that my program appears to run flawlessly and his doesn’t run at all, so I got sick of trying to help him, said so, he muttered something involving Microsoft, his ulcers, and the dire disadvantages this would have for the lecturer, and left. Admittedly, he has the flu and is probably sick to death of this assignment, but his attitude isn’t going to help.
  I then proceeded to waste away the afternoon helping, or at least trying to help, a few other people, until Clint turned up and suggested we go get pizza. After a short discussion with Igor about the latest and greatest video card from NVIDIA and why it’s absolutely and obviously necessary for his future, Clint and I headed towards the pizzeria – although we never got there. I never did get any of my B assignment done either.
  Clint and I ended up catching a bus into the city, where we went round and round in circles for a while trying to get to the eatery under the Myer Centre. A kebab later, and after an amusing slide by Clint on a wet patch in the tiles, I was once again back on the homebound train. We were delayed for a minute or two because there was an “issue” at Moorooka, and “the police were involved”, but other than that, it was a nondescript journey home.

20.04.2004Tuesday 20 April – Tired

I’m so tired, having stayed up late last night. I had to be at uni by nine o’clock, which I was despite the train being fifteen minutes late. I then sat through an hour “Operating Systems” lecture, and two hours of thrilling, edge of your seat, “Software Specification” – the language of arrows, before heading down to the labs where I had to wait two hours until I got my “Systems Interface Programming” assignment passed.
Getting the assignment marked was, as usual, something of a disappointment. After all the hard work I put into it, they didn’t even see or test most of the application. I should learn just to do the bare minimum required instead of doing the perfectionist thing and trying to get it all as good as possible – it’s just a waste of time. I’ve not yet done an assignment at uni that was marked based on its excellence (or lack thereof). Oh well, I guess that’s just how it is.
After getting a kebab from a new place that’s opened down at the Ville, I went and saw “Spanish Apartment” at the Schonell. It’s a brilliant movie and I really enjoyed it – definitely one of the best movies I’ve seen lately.
Comment by krait – Wednesday 21 April 2004, 10:52 AM
  Your assignments work, that's step one. Learning along the way writing them, that's step two. The more "elegant" your solution, the more you learn. Therefore, it's not "just a waste of time".
  Keep up the good work, mate.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 21 April 2004, 1:58 PM
  Yeah... I guess I shall try.
Comment by hodjpokol – Wednesday 21 April 2004, 6:53 PM
  Just had to ask, Ned; how does it feel being a cult hero in the UQ IT department? Has fame changed you?
Comment by Ned – Thursday 22 April 2004, 11:49 PM
  In subtle ways my friend, in subtle ways.
Comment by clint – Saturday 24 April 2004, 11:58 PM
  I am tempted to rewrite my food review thing that you stole, but I fear that commercial outlets such as that awful kebab shop will sue me. Maybe I need a pseudonym.

21.04.2004Wednesday 21 April – Stress builds

I didn’t do much, trying to read my B-Method text, but didn’t manage to read very much of that either. I had a quick look at my next “Systems Interface Programming” assignment, “User Interface in Visual Basic”. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem – appearing much easier than the previous two, so it’s getting pushed back into my spare time sector while I concentrate on finishing (or even starting at this stage) my “Software Specification” assignment which is due horribly soon, and preparing for my “Relational Database Systems” mid-semester exam. It’s all bad – the stress levels are climbing!

22.04.2004Thursday 22 April – Kill Bill

My alarm went off, and I had to get up in preparation for the train to uni. Eight o’clock starts are a little too early – nine o’clock I can handle. I spent a while down in the labs after my lecture, helping a few people with their “Systems Interface Programming” assignments, before heading to another lecture, and then a lift into Toowong and Centrelink with Marcus to lodge a rent assistance questionnaire and fares allowance claim.
Clint and I caught a train to Toowong, went shopping where I bought a small sewing kit, and some glue, and then went and saw “Kill Bill: Volume 2”. I wasn’t as impressed with this as I was with volume 1, but it was still a good – and quite powerful, movie, and I enjoyed most of it.

23.04.2004Friday 23 April – Assignment Panic

After a normal uni day of lectures, I headed down to the labs to begin my “Software Specification” assignment that I’ve left to the last moment, but did not find the required motivation, so did some work on my “User Interface in Visual Basic” assignment for “System Interface Programming”. It is actually fun as I’m intentionally doing it as hastily and poorly as possible, after becoming disenchanted with the marking methods used (or rather, not used) with the last assignment and the amount of time I “wasted” with it.
  Today is the last day that people can get their “File I/O in C” assignments marked off and there were a few people down the lab frantically panicking and trying to get their stuff finished for marking, so I ended up spending my time helping them. A couple had either gone off on some strange tangent, or had code that was too unfinished or convoluted to fix in time, and failed – which fails them the entire course, but most I was able to help hack together a solution in time. One of the markers stayed half an hour late, or a lot more would have failed. I then pretty much finished off my next assignment – I’m glad it’s so easy.

24.04.2004Saturday 24 April – Software Specification

I lazed in bed, sleeping in until after midday.
I headed into uni, to begin my “Software Specification” assignment, which has been out for weeks, and is due on Tuesday morning – but I am too slack to have started. I met Marcus and Kieran down at the labs, and got hungry. Clint had to buy cordial, and Coles shut in fifteen minutes, so Marcus and we drove down there, where a kebab filled my hunger, allowing Marcus and I to get the basic framework of this assignment done – with help from Kieran. Hopefully tomorrow Marcus and I can work through the proofs and verify our solutions are indeed valid.
Austnet has been suffering some type of major DDoS attack, and I have been unable to connect all day. I can only hope they manage to prosecute, successfully, the morons responsible.
Comment by clint – Sunday 25 April 2004, 12:03 AM
  mein alkohol!
Comment by Ned – Sunday 25 April 2004, 12:15 AM
  Mein herz brennt (nach übermäßigem spiritus)

25.04.2004Sunday 25 April – ANZAC Day

I actually managed to get up shortly after eight o’clock, and be in the city just after ten, when the ANZAC parade started. I watched that, and it was quite moving. I can only imagine how the veterans must feel, walking through a cheering, clapping crowd. There was non-stop clapping and cheering for the full two hours, which impressed me. The atmosphere was quite emotional at times.
  After the parade, I tried to rush to uni to meet Marcus. I’d arranged to meet him there at midday, and would have got there about half past, had they not closed the road where the buses left, and put up notices saying they were leaving from another location – but they weren’t really, so by the time I figured that out, they’d left from the closed road, and so on. By the time I got to uni, it was two o’clock and Marcus had gone home, so I spent some time talking to Kieran, went and saw Clint, and figured out how to declare my own data type and use arrays of them in Visual Basic.
  After my riveting code learning experience, I went and saw “Strange Bedfellows” at Indooroopilly, because just going home seemed boring. It’s isn’t the best movie of the year, but it was pretty funny – and Australian, so I enjoyed it.
  On the way home, all the trains were messed up. The displays had wrong info on them, and all the trains at Roma Street were terminating there, turning around, and going back the way they came, and apparently had been for a few hours. This made everyone confused, which was funny when the majority were also drunk, and had been partying.
The Ode
They shall grow not old
  As we that are left grow old
  Age shall not weary them
  Nor the years condemn
  At the going down of the sun
  And in the morning
  We will remember them

26.04.2004Monday 26 April – ANZAC Day Holiday

I headed into uni, arriving around 2 PM. I was planning to go for a walk cum adventure with Clint, but he had already left by the time I got there, so I procrastinated down in the computer labs for a while, before finding Kieran in his room – at which stage Clint turned up. We all went off and rummaged through a skip full of thrown out old computers and found a few semi-exciting things. Clint and Kieran then went and had dinner, so I walked up to the Schonell and bought a pizza. By the time I’d eaten that, Kieran and Marcus were in the labs, and we went through the proofs the BToolkit wasn’t able to prove, and submitted our assignments. With a bit of luck, mine is actually right and I’ll get good marks. Marcus dropped me at Roma Street Station, and I caught the train home. I met Duran on the way back from the station, and got his address, so I’ll have to pop over and see them soon.

27.04.2004Tuesday 27 April – Chocolate, Visual Basic & Capped Results

I was at uni before nine o’clock, attended both my lectures – where I may have learnt stuff but I can’t remember any of it if I did, and augmented my slide towards destitution by buying lunch at the main refectocide .
After my lectures, I went down to the labs where I found out from the newsgroup that I was required to save my “Systems Interface Programming” clock’s state across different sessions, which initially sounded hard, but ended up being remarkably easy to implement in Visual Basic. After that, and commenting my code, I got the tutor to pass it (he made me tidy up my intentionally “as bad as possible” interface, which I could have argued against as there’s nothing in the specification that says it has to look good, but it only took about 10 seconds to do so I didn’t bother), submitted it, and was all finished – on the day it came out. This is a record for me.
  Clint and I then went for a walk down to Coles at the Ville, where I bought chocolate and apple juice. I was planning to go see my “Operating Systems” lecturer, and complain about my result, but after talking to Clint, and him saying it made sense to him, I didn’t. To me it doesn’t make sense. I received a bonus 5% for early submission, and had 15% subtracted for not maximising parallelism. I was also capped to 70% for using a cascading merge implementation. This resulted in a mark of 60%, which was upgraded to 70% when the cascading implementation cap was upped to 80%. It seems clear to me that my result was set to 70%, then 15% was subtracted and 5% added, to result in 60%. Then, when the cap was changed to 80%, my mark was changed to 80%, and the 10% was again subtracted, resulting in my current 70%. Regardless of whether this is a fair result for my assignment or not, I believe the method of working it out is wrong – that’s not how a cap should work – at least not that I’ve ever seen. My result should be calculated normally – and then capped to 80%. In this case, I would lose 15% for not maximising parallelism, giving me 85%, gain 5% for early submission, giving me 90% – and this would then be capped to 80% because I used a cascaded merge, giving me a result of 80%, not the 70% I have currently. I also find it somewhat contradictory losing marks for not maximising parallelism and using a cascading merge – isn’t that being penalised for the same thing (failing to exploit obvious opportunities for parallelism) twice? Clint, however, seemed to think it was reasonable to subtract marks from a pre-capped result, so perhaps he’s right.
  I was very tired on the train on the way home, and fell asleep several times.

28.04.2004Wednesday 28 April – ☢☣☠❢

I woke up after midday, and procrastinated away the evening, adding search boxes to the drop-down menus on my website and doing some washing.
I have been studying for my “Relational Database Systems” exam on Friday. I’ve read the first three-week’s notes and the third week’s recommended reading (as the first two weeks recommend a text I don’t have). I also looked at the solutions to the tutorial questions and said to myself, “ah, that’s just how I would have done it”. Tomorrow I plan to study the next three weeks.

29.04.2004Thursday 29 April – Rain, Uni & Study

It began to rain last night, and has been raining on and off most of today. I spent a normal day at uni, having to get up early to get there by eight o’clock, and spent the evening studying for my “Relational Database Systems” exam tomorrow.

30.04.2004Friday 30 April – Relational Database Systems Exam

I got out of bed ten minutes before my train was due to leave. I couldn’t afford to miss the train either, as I had to use every spare moment of time to study, so it was run, run, and run. Jumping out of bed, into clothes, and running – all before seven o’clock and within the space of a few minutes is not my favourite way to begin the day. Trying to avoid coronary failure, breathe, and read my textbook on the train isn’t the best way to begin a day either. I had to skip my first lecture, and go down to the computer labs and study for an hour there. I then went to my “Relational Database Systems” tutorial, which was apparently supposed to be exam revision, but wasn’t. I couldn’t see any logic in learning about query optimisation the hour before an exam that would not examine query optimisation, so headed back to the labs and did some more study with Clint and Kieran, before heading up to the exam.
  I can’t believe how stupid I am. You’d think I’d have learnt my lesson by now – but no, it doesn’t look like I ever will. I went well the day before yesterday – studying weeks one through three and even the tutorial solutions, so I left weeks four through six for yesterday. But, of course, I was slack last night, and didn’t start studying until late, and then, unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, someone on the BITS IRC channel mentioned last year’s practice exam, so Clint and I obtained that and attempted to do it. It was fortunate actually, as the exam ended up following the same format exactly, but it meant that I ran out of time to study and only ended up studying up to week four, when we were examined up to the end of week six.
The exam was held during our normal lecture period, and in the same location, which was quite full – unlike during lectures. It consisted of twenty very poorly designed multiple-choice questions. Most of the options were either ambiguous, or (I thought) irrelevant for finding out our understanding of the subject matter – which is surely the entire point of the exam. It didn’t really test understanding of the basic subject matter at all. To answer the majority of the questions one had to rely on a combination of advanced (in the context of this course) knowledge of the subject matter, ability to decipher the meaning of the question and its five possible answers, and a certain quirky sense of illogic to find the “most right” out of what seemed to usually be several semi-correct or mostly incorrect answers. Because I’d not studied enough, I didn’t have the required advanced knowledge – but I’m not sure it would have made any difference anyway, because even when I did understand the question and knew all the answers – I was still left guessing between one of a few ambiguous and usually incorrect options.
  Here’s the first question from the paper: “Question 1. The process of requirement engineering (RE) has the following steps: Domain Analysis, Elicitation, Negotiation and agreement, Specification, Specification analysis: Validation and Verification, Documentation and Evolution.
  A: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a final software for the testing.
  B: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system implementation environment for software developers to implement the system.
  C: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system requirement document as a prerequisite of the software engineering.
  D: RE is process that will go through the above 7 steps and create a system requirement document including system design and specification as part of the software engineering process.
  E: All of the above”
  That’s about as clear as they got – perhaps it’s just me, but to me that’s unnecessarily confusing, and that’s one where the answers actually made some sense – a lot of the others, especially those on last year’s practice exam, were worse. Somehow, it seems illogical to answer a “Does this do that?” sort of question with “Yes, if this; No, if that; Never, if that; and Perhaps, but only when this” all at once. Generally, if something doesn’t do something, you can’t answer that it does do something as well. The questions where each option was also a question were a bit confusing too, and the question that misspelt “Extendible” as “Extenbile” four times was a good one. Still, having done very little study, I can’t complain too much.
After the exam, I headed to Kieran’s room, and then found Marcus down in the labs. He and I wandered around for a while, watching bits disorganising their BBQ, where he joined, before driving into the city where I went to Govinda’s for a late lunch.
It’s quite cold – cold enough that I’m wearing woolly socks. Marks have been released for our INFS2200 “Relational Database Systems” mid-semester exam, in which I achieved fourteen out of twenty – something I’m not happy about but can’t complain, as my study definitely wasn’t what it should have been. I’m also waiting to see if I can find out what the marks distribution and average is.
I have site problems. and are resolving to different servers, which they weren’t previously. All sites have XSLT errors (“Fatal error: Call to undefined function: xslt_create()”). This probably means that XSLT is not installed on the server that is on. I wasn’t aware that any of my sites were being moved.
Comment by BITS – Tuesday 4 May 2004, 1:16 PM
  Hey, all INFS2200 people... JOIN BITS OR DIE
Comment by Ned – Thursday 6 May 2004, 1:19 AM
  You forgot the (said all in one breath) “Written and authorised by Clint ♈♉♊♋♌♍♎♏♐♑♒♓ for the University of Queensland Bachelor of Information Technology Society”
  (Name zodiacized upon request to protect the guilty)

01.05.2004Saturday 1 May – Vegetarian Deep Fried Chicken

I went and had a look at the Buddha’s Birthday Festival at Southbank. It was much the same as last year – many people and a myriad of hanging red paper lanterns. I’m not sure how they justify the several “$1 a wish” items on display, and I wasn’t entirely convinced by the “Vegetarian Deep Fried Chicken” either – perhaps they only use spastic chickens.

02.05.2004Sunday 2 May – Buddha’s Birthday Fireworks

I needed to get out of the house, and I planned to see the Buddha’s Birthday Festival fireworks, which didn’t start until half past seven, so I needed to fill in some time. I’d decided to go see “The Dreamers”, an art-house movie showing at the Palace Centro, which was supposedly good – so I caught the train into Brunswick Street, and realised I didn’t know where the Palace Centro Cinema was. I’d been there once before, a year ago, in the dark and in a rush. I had half an hour to find it, so after buying a veggie burger from McDonalds, I just walked in what I felt was the most probable direction, past things I seemed to remember. Sometimes trusting vague memories works – I walked straight there, but had I been logical, I’d have realised there was no way I could find it in half an hour, somewhere in or around the valley, and I would have had to ask directions – which, without even the street name, probably wouldn’t have worked and I’d have missed the movie.
The Palace Centro was bustling, as it was the last time I went. “The Dreamers”, while undeniably powerful and masterfully directed, neither satisfies nor makes any meaningful point. I rate movies based on two criteria: how successful the movie is at engrossing me while I am actually watching it; and how provoking the movie is – how long after I see it do I find myself still pondering it. This allows me to subjectively rate movies that I might otherwise simply think I did not like – it lets me separate “like” from “enjoy”. Thus, this movie rates highly – I sat engrossed by its poignant imagery and still find myself thinking about it now; that said, I did not like it and found it disturbing.
I managed to walk from the Palace Centro Cinemas, via a train from Brunswick Street Station to Central Station, and then through the city to Southbank, with no delays at all. A train was leaving just as I got to the station, and all the traffic crossings went green as I got to them – bar one where I was beeped at and nearly run over, but a little thing like traffic wasn’t going to stop me after such a good run.
  The fireworks were rather average. I think I’m too old to appreciate them now – they’re no longer magical. I did enjoy it though, taking a few photos, wandering around, even coincidentally meeting a guy from uni.
Because XSLT isn’t currently working on my site, I had to disable temporarily my journal and comments systems, so while I was at it, I converted the dynamically generated menu systems for and my amused site into a static system that’s generated only when needed, rather than every time. My journal and the comments system are both still fully dynamic, but that should be all right unless traffic to them increases drastically – which it isn’t likely to any time too soon.

03.05.2004Monday 3 May – Labour Day Holiday

I slept in. Tim and Michelle came over in the evening, so I pretended to be social and not agoraphobic, actually went outside where there was sun and stuff, and said hello. After they left, I made myself some coconut rice, watched “Serendipity”, and put warm woolly socks on. I wonder whether true romanticism can be realistic, or if realism and romanticism are inevitably antagonistic.
In other news, my web host has managed to get expat and Sablotron to coexist and XSLT is now working again. I’m just waiting on a few last DNS foibles to resolve themselves, and it should be all back and running nicely.
I’m listening to Traffic’s “Fourty Thousand Headmen” from their self-titled album. Considering it dates from 1968, I’ve been surprised by how much I enjoy the album. I’m not looking forward to getting up tomorrow and heading in to uni. I’m not sure if these long weekends are worth the effort of getting back into the regular routine again afterwards.
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 4 May 2004, 7:02 PM
  Traffic always a good quality British band. Good quality lasts.

04.05.2004Tuesday 4 May – Goannas & Bundy Rum

Got up. Walked to train. Entrained. Detrained. Walked to ferry. Embarked. Disembarked. Walked to main refectocide. Bought apple turnover. Met Matt. Went to POD. Physiology students had “bogged down” their “system”. Went to “Operating Systems” lecture without notes. Am blaming physiology students for possible bad marks. Finished lecture. Went to “Software Specification” lecture. Languished in misery while lecturer pointed out correct solution for assignment. Skipped second hour of lecture – may as well blame physiology students for bad marks in this too. Went to labs. Helped numerous poor souls in labs. Laughed at Kieran. Drove to city. Ate donuts. Entrained. Detrained. Walked to shops. Shopped. Walked home. Put away shopping – I now have food again. Put rubbish out. Got rubbish back in. Showered. Watched TV. Chatted to Mum. Chatted on IRC. Spammed newsgroups. Checked email. Sorted many albums.
News from Home
News from home: “Last week Tom fell asleep when he was cooking and left his caravan door open and this HUGE goanna came in and Tom woke up (I mean this goanna must be over 6 feet long, more, it is really big) and this goanna and he had a fight and the outcome of it is that Tom has several wounds and the poor goanna is no longer.”
  In other news from home, Mum has added to her enamel Christmas tree that she won from the Full Boar Kickboxing Club with her latest win – 20 litres of Bundaberg Rum. It’s all in one very large flagon too. Apparently, Ron is going to buy it a bottle at a time, half price.
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 5 May 2004, 10:18 PM
  No. I have no room for the 435 IT UQ students who are en route to here. Bundy rum container been sold to poor soul in Cooktown. Hope so I am not en route for litigation in assisted suicide. "Away, away with Rum by gum, Rum by gum, Rum by gum. The song of the Temperance Union" the Brothers Four, from about 400 years ago, USA Uni band. "We're coming, we're coming our brave little band, on the right side of temperance we do take our stand, we never eat fruitcake because it has rum, and one little bite turns a man into a bum.....Can you imagine a man eating fruitcake until he gets tight, and one little bite......." Yes, well okay what would YOU do with 20 flamin litres of the bloody stuff?

05.05.2004Wednesday 5 May – Van Helsing

“Director, Stephen Sommers revives the classic movies monsters – Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s creature – in a horror adventure in which vampire hunter, Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) travels to Transylvania on a mission to destroy the powerful and seductive Count Dracula.” That’s what Birch Carol and Coyle’s website so concisely says about the movie, and it was premiering today, so Clint and I had to go. The real reason, of course, was that I had planned to start the assignment that I now plan to start tomorrow, today, and if I didn’t go do something else, then I’d feel really guilty for not starting it – or even worse, I’d actually have to start it. I actually, after my embarrassing but sadly normal sleep-in, sat at my computer for ages and even got as far as reading the specification and entering a search term into Google, before running (a few hours later) to the train.
  The movie was a sad disappointment. The special effects and all that were fine – excellent in fact, but they are in all movies nowadays. The plot was terrible – childishly immature, and unbelievably predicable. It’s hard to believe they could spend so much money making a full-blown movie, but then forget to upgrade from their kindergarten pre-reader plot. All in all, an enjoyable movie.
I caught the very last train home, with half an hour wait at Roma Street, which went fast as I listened to the station master talk about the good old steam train days. It was quite cold walking back.

06.05.2004Thursday 6 May – Group Meeting

I had to get up shortly after six o’clock. This was not good having gone to bed shortly after three o’clock. In fact, it was not good at all. It was also cold. I then had to sit through an hour of “Relational Database Systems”, which was not good either. As if all this wasn’t enough, I then had to attend a group meeting for my “Relational Database Systems” assignment for three hours. I managed to miss the first part by wandering around the labs, configuring my email and then trying to find printers that worked. The first one wouldn’t work at all. The second one fell apart – literally. I had to press on its special spots before it would go, and then it spat out unreadable grey paper. The third one worked nicely, but by the time I got back to the meeting, they’d changed the page I’d printed out so much it was no longer relevant. I then drew a page of circles and lines while they drew several pages of circles and lines. My group work mentality is not very good – I do the same thing the rest of the group is doing, but on my own, better and faster.
  This assignment looked like drawing out forever. We hacked together a very rough and almost certainly wrong draft entity relationship diagram, and they were planning to meet again next week to discuss the next stage – which would have ended up being redrawing the entity relationship diagram, which would have meant we’d have to meet again next day to redraw it again... Seeing as I do actually want to get some marks for this, I offered to go home and do it myself, email them the result, and this way next meeting we can have hardcopy to actually work with. Even if I put together some very dubious diagrams, it will give us a basis to work from and something to discuss. The obvious downside to this is that I could end up doing most of the assignment myself, or at least duplicating a lot of effort.
  One could be forgiven for thinking that after this much suffering, I would get a break – and yes, I did. My “Software Specification” lecture was very simple, and finished early. I then went down to the labs to begin my “File I/O in C++” assignment for “Systems Interface Programming”. Marcus had to finish his assignment for marking, so I watched him do that. I then got sleepy so had to walk up to the ice cream place and get a thick shake. This made me feel sick, so I had to walk around in the sun looking at a road-paving machine for a while. Then, by the time I got back to the labs, the tutors had arrived and marking had begun. Marcus got his assignment passed – and was told that he shouldn’t have bothered putting comments at the top of each function – or whatever functions are called in VB. Then people began to find they couldn’t run the Visual Basic IDE – something to do with user profiles, so I logged a few people in with my profile. This meant I had to hang around until they were finished, which gave me more time to do my assignment – which I didn’t. Then, a girl who was using my account as she couldn’t run Visual Basic in hers, was told she had to write a comment for every function by the other tutor – totally contradicting what Marcus was told earlier. Not only that, but she had to fix every other little minor detail. One tutor is very strict, and another is very lax. It sucks – I feel like complaining, but can’t because I’ve already complained about something else, as per below:
  The Visual Basic 6 application in lab GPS-109 has severe issues. For some users it only requests a CD to install, which can be avoided by clicking cancel between one and three times. For other users, it will not run at all.
  It seems this issue is a known issue, as I am aware of at least two students who have taken this issue to whoever it is that’s supposed to be responsible for fixing this, however it’s still not fixed.
  This evening several students were forced to use my and other’s accounts to get their work marked, as they were unable to run Visual Basic 6.
  Visual Basic 6 is essential to passing COMP2301 Interface Design – and the deadline for this particular assignment is tomorrow. I, for one, don’t think it is acceptable that this problem still exists, and request that sufficient effort be applied so that essential lab services are, at the very least, useable.
  I believe another marking session runs in lab GPS-109 from 10 until 12 and again from 2 until 4 tomorrow (Friday), during which I expect many people will again require Visual Basic 6 in order to get their assignments running and passed. I would hope this problem is fixed before then.”
Comment by Mum – Friday 7 May 2004, 6:52 PM
  Geez, is it always this slack?
Comment by Matt – Friday 7 May 2004, 10:48 PM
  No. Ned is just being melodramatic. As per usual.
Comment by Ned – Friday 7 May 2004, 11:28 PM
  Actually, this is an accurate and undramatic account of my day (and a word for word transcript of the complaint I sent).
Comment by Matt – Saturday 8 May 2004, 3:12 PM
  Yes. But your email was melodramatic.
Comment by Matt – Saturday 8 May 2004, 3:16 PM
  Not only that, I feel that the solution to the problem is very easy. The other day I was in the labs, and VB was doing its whole Insert CD thing. A re-image of the machine then allowed me to start VB with no problems whatsoever. In which case, this would not make it the ITEE admin's fault. I can't find a problem with the new image for the machines, and updating the image on a machine is a fairly standard thing to do on communal machines like the ones in GP South, and should at least be tried by people who are having problems before sending emails of complaint.
  Did you try this, Ned?
Comment by Ned – Saturday 8 May 2004, 4:57 PM
  Official word is that this issue is a problem with some student’s profiles, and resetting your profile should solve this problem. I was under the impression that all students (at least in that lab) were unable to run Visual Basic without it attempting to install some .NET component and requesting a CD (or freezing up), but perhaps it’s only the students with problematic profiles. Typical Windows, I guess – but at least it’s not Linux.

07.05.2004Friday 7 May – Cold

Yet another eight o’clock start, necessitating an early wakeup and cold walk to the train. For the first time this year, I wore a jumper to uni – I guess this means global warming is a farce. I was very tired, having not got enough sleep last night or the night before. My “Relational Database Systems” tutorial consisted of going through the mid-semester exam solutions, and when I added up my result, it wasn’t the same as my recorded mark, so I’ve either accidentally filled in the wrong circle on my multi-choice answer sheet, or they’ve read and added my marks incorrectly. Considering that I carefully checked what I’d written three times before handing it in, and that the markers probably marked several hundred as fast as they could, it seems more likely that the markers messed up. I mentioned this to the lecturer at the end of our lecture. He said that our multi-choice answer sheets will not be released but he could have a look if I emailed – so I have.
Marcus kindly dropped me off at the city on his way home, where I went to Govinda’s and got lunch, before catching the train home for some much needed rest. After resting for a while, I gave Silas a call – he’s now in Brisbane staying at Tim and Michelle’s place.

08.05.2004Saturday 8 May – Lazy & Wet

I slept in considerably. It has been wet and raining most of the day, so it was cosy in bed. I watched “Con Air” on DVD, which I’ve seen it before but it was still enjoyable. Then Joe cooked some nice pasta stuff, and he, along with Dave, Tonya, and me, watched “28 Days Later” – which neither Joe or I liked. Silas phoned up at some stage, and spoke to Joe – apparently he’s planning to come out here tomorrow.
Comment by SteveK – Tuesday 11 May 2004, 7:44 PM
  Sit, stay. Good dog.

09.05.2004Sunday 9 May – Silas & Eternal Sunshine

Tim, Michelle, and Silas drove over and stayed for a while. Silas checked his email and various exciting things like that. I caught a train in to Tim and Michelle’s just after they left (due to Silas and my amazing organisational skills, it was easier to do this than to get a lift back with them). I had a look at some photos and memorabilia Silas had got from the mine, and had a good chat.
  Ben and Alex came over for a while, and then Tim, Michelle, Silas and I went and saw “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind” at the Southbank Cineplex. This is the first time I’ve been there, and I was expecting a small cinema – but it’s quite large and normal inside. The movie itself was rather scatterbrained and hard to follow. After the movie, we went and had a (in the case of Time and Michelle) coffee or (in Silas and my case) glass of wine at a place not far from the cinema, and then headed back to the lift to the car park. It was stuck. There was a gaping lift shaft ready to fall down. The bottom of the lift could be seen at the top of what would normally be the lift door. There was a half-foot gap, and some people stuck inside. Someone had gotten them some free drinks, and they were waiting for a lift technician to arrive and let them out.
  Silas and I walked down to the train station and I caught the last train home.

10.05.2004Monday 10 May – Silas, Notebooks & Banks

I went to my first lecture at uni, then phoned Silas, then went to a tutorial, and another, then Silas phoned back, and I rushed over to Tim and Michelle’s, and we drove into the city. We went to a computer shop, where Tim and Michelle, on Silas and my advice, bought themselves an Acer notebook (which wasn’t currently in stock so they can’t pick it up until Wednesday) and Canon multifunction printing, scanning, and faxing, toasting, hair curling, and coffee making device. Silas and I also walked up to his credit union and a travel agent.
  I ended up staying for dinner and watching “Pirates of the Caribbean” on DVD – which really is an amusing, clever movie. It was quite late and dark by the time I got home.

11.05.2004Tuesday 11 May – Silas Flies North

I managed to pull myself out of bed – I imagine this is what a mollusc feels like crawling out of its shell. Fifteen dollars and a quick walk through the snow later, and I was on a heated train with a new weekly ticket, on my way to joyful uni again. I went to one lecture, and skipped the second one to phone Silas, who turned up in the labs an hour or so later.
  Shortly after, we walked back to Tim and Michelle’s, and drove in to the airport. As usual, I was “randomly” selected to be the terrorist, and had to subject myself to the electronic explosives trace blah thing. The funny thing was that, after we’d been upstairs inside the terminal for a while, Silas realised he’d left his jacket at the x-ray check, so we went back down, and Tim got selected for a “random” explosives test – and he complained about how obviously “random” it was, the two guys with long hair get checked and no one else. He was told that the checker randomly selected people as they came through the gate... but he hadn’t come through the gate. It’s stupid – if anyone wanted to carry explosives on, all they’d have to do is get a manicure beforehand and they’d never be suspected. Alternatively, they could or feed in from a rural terminal where they don’t check the bags at all, and then transfer to a city flight – so really all this checking stuff is absolutely useless and a stupid waste of money.
  Silas flew out safely, and is now on his way to Cairns. It’s been nice seeing him – like old times for a few days. Tim, Michelle, and I drove back to their place via a baby shop, and I headed back to uni to go see Clint and Kieran and find out what had happened at our “Relational Database Systems” group meeting.
Whosesoever, of whomever; whosever, the one or ones of whomever; such excellent words, I shall have to try to use them more often.
Ella came online, having just got home after completing her first four and a half hours work at the Sovereign.
I need to get up tomorrow at some stage so I can do some study, and after two late nights and one early morning, one where I got only three hours sleep, and the other less than six, I’m as incoherent as I usually am not – so, then, it is to bed that I shall go.
Comment by Yuri Johnson – Wednesday 12 May 2004, 11:56 AM
  God bless you, Ned

12.05.2004Wednesday 12 May – Email Dies

Ned has a day off today, so he didn’t go to uni. In fact, he denies having done anything, so he won’t be writing anything here today. He asks that you come back again tomorrow. Thank you for your time.
Irish Jokes
Tim and Michelle left Ned with these two Irish jokes, both of which he found highly amusing:
  An American, Australian and Irishman are in a barn in wartime Germany, when they hear some Germans coming. They all jump into some sacks that are nearby, and the Germans enter. They go up to the first sack with the American in it, and kick it. The American goes “oink, oink”, and the Germans go “Och, dis is schwine”. They then kick the second sack containing the Australian, and he goes “baa, baa”, so they go “Och, dis is only scheep” and continue onto the third sack – the one with the Irishman inside. They give it a good kick, and the Irishman says “Potatoes”.
  There was an American, an Australian, and an Irishman on a TV game show. There is only one question remaining. It is the American’s turn. The show host says, “Fill in the missing word and spell it – Old McDonald Had a...” The American says, “That’s easy, it’s ‘ranch’! r, a, en, c, aitch!” The crowd groans. The games show host moves on to the Australian, and asks him the same question – the Australian replies “it’s ‘station’, ess, tee, a, tee, i, o, en”. The crowd groans again. The game show host moves on to the Irishman, and asks him the same question – “Complete this sentence and spell the word, Old McDonald had a ...” The Irishman becomes all excited and yells “Farm! Old McDonald had a Farm! The word is farm! e, i, e, i, o!”
Ned’s email has died. No one can send him email. It bounces with retarded error messages. He isn’t impressed.

13.05.2004Thursday 13 May – So Sleepy

Eight o’clock in the morning is not a good time for lectures. It’s definitely not a good time for “Relational Database Systems” lectures by Guido. I am so tired. I need to get more than three hours sleep a night.
  We had our last Thursday “Software Specification” lecture today, which is depressing – it means exams are looming.
  I spent some time down the labs trying to get my “File I/O in C++” assignment for “Systems Interface Programming” to work – well, that’s an overstatement. I spent time in the labs looking at the specification and other people’s codes, wondering what I was supposed to be doing. Then Clint came and we went into the city to try to buy a criminal looking IRA style balaclava, but it was too late and the shops were shut.
My email is still dead, but email sent to me no longer bounces, it just never turns up. I had to whinge on my web host’s support forum. Apparently, “when updates were made to the server (and other servers) overnight [the] cPanel system is hard-linked to an old IMAP binary. It caused conflict with the new one. Thus a cPanel update was needed to remove the old binary.” Now my email works again.
There’s a man who sits on the sidewalk at the Queen Street Mall and uses spray-paint to paint spacey scenes. He apparently says, “Have you ever had a staring competition with yourself in the mirror and won?”

14.05.2004Friday 14 May – Was a pineapple

Too long, I stayed up last night, and too sleepy I was this morning and too convoluted this sentence is. My “Operating Systems” lecture I was able to attend, though my breakfast was embarrassingly loud. Eating is forbidden in lecture theatres, and I seem to be the only one who eats. Each morning I buy breakfast from the main refectocide and take it to my first lecture, where I then eat it. Breakfast is usually one of either a custard-filled doughnut, or either of a veggie roll, or a pair of thingamajigs, where thingamajigs are small rolls created from left over cabbage and other vegetable waste. All three of these come in crinkly white paper bags. Oh, spring rolls, that’s what the thingamajigs are called – or “vomitory” as Clint would prefer. Vomitory has such a good definition that I find myself compelled to include it here: Vomitory: Of or pertaining to vomiting (archaic); Causing vomiting; emetic (now rare or obsolete). That said, we return to the white paper bags, which as said before, are crinkly. This in itself isn’t an issue – I have nothing against crinkly white paper bags, but when the only one eating in a lecture is I, and eating my food reminds people of Thor trying not to wake his wife, when sneaking home drunk – then, I don’t like them. I am also still unsure whether the lecturer’s various food and starvation jokes are directed towards me in any way.
  Following was a “Relational Database Systems” tutorial, which taught me more than the past three lectures, and the two-hour lecture directly following it, of which I only went to the first hour.
Marcus and I attempted to find Clint, but he was hiding in the shower and it required braver men than us to enter a college shower, so I ended up in the labs waiting.
  Clint didn’t drown, eventually turning up, and he and I caught a CityCat into the city to buy an IRA style balaclava. I also went to Govinda’s for lunch.
The train I caught home was a school train – the first I’ve been on in a while. Sat across from me were two young boys, perhaps ten years old. They were on their way home from an expensive private school, I’d guess – but definitely a school. They were discussing methods of tying ties, and the one was showing the other different types of tie knots. The second not only knew all their respective names, but also knew the precise lengths, number of loops, twists, turns, and so on, to produce a perfect knot in a variety of styles – and he was going to ask his father to teach him another style over the weekend. Apparently, neither one nor the other is either allowed to remove neither their jackets, nor either their ties, while in public. Directly they got off, two young girls of a similar age, once again presumably from some private school, took both their places. Both had identity cards hung around their necks on cords – and the cords had their school name emblazoned on them. This made me wonder what type of parent subjects their children to indoctrination of this type, and for what purpose, but then the public school children began to entrain, and I realised why.
Was a pineapple
This is Clint’s idea of a funny joke: “Why did the bus crash? Because the owner was a pineapple”. Somehow, it’s hilarious. Luckily, he followed up with a real joke: Two cows are walking along and one goes “I’m a bit worried about this mad cow disease” and the other replies, “I’m not, I’m a chicken”.
I’ve been posting stupid things into the uni newsgroups, but IT students don’t appear to have a sense of humour.
Posted to the newsgroup
For Sale – One Life
  IT student no longer requires life. All available time spent sleeping or underground with computers. Life is largely unused and in good condition. This is a once only sale, so get in quick.
Posted to the uq.wanted newsgroup
Wanted – Genius
  Wanted – Genius who actually enjoys completing assignments, to complete assignments for student who does not enjoy completing assignments. Satisfaction gained from successfully completing assignments will be payment.
Posted to the uq.itee.general newsgroup
Urgently require unimportant things to do
  G’day, I have an exam on Friday, and I haven’t done enough study, so I am urgently looking for unimportant things to do. I’ve cleaned, washed, and sorted everything I own, tidied up my website, trolled the newsgroups, and annoyed numerous people on numerous forums and IRC channels, but now here I am in the labs – threatened with the horrible prospect of having to actually study. Please help.
  At least this one got a few responses, some of them witty.
Puppy was in the back of the car when I got home, so I assumed Joe was about to drive somewhere, but he wasn’t here. After discounting aliens, terrorists, and that peculiar thin ad at the movies where the fellow drops down a drain, I found a note from Joe saying he’d gone to the bowls club, so I let puppy out. Not long after, Tonya arrived home, and Joe phoned up, and I drove down to the bowls club, and I picked up Joe and Liz, and I drove them to the bottle-o, and I bought fish and chips, and we drove home, and we ate them, and were filled, thus spake Ned, son of Dad, son of Pop, in the fifteenth day of the currently very cold month of the not yet three-score year of the reign of our queen, Liz – long may she live.
I need to get to sleep.
Comment by Mum – Sunday 16 May 2004, 7:26 PM
  IRA? Balaclava? Holy Mackerel, what have you done NOW?
Comment by Ned – Sunday 16 May 2004, 8:29 PM
  It’s all his fault, I wasn’t even there, I have an alibi, I was overseas, I was asleep, I couldn’t have done it.
Comment by cf – Tuesday 18 May 2004, 2:35 AM
  Your son is a bad influence on me. I actually went into the city to purchase an ink refill for a pen to assist me in my studies and a pair of sensible shoes, but Ned, pausing momentarily from harassing innocent passers by, insisted that I "should buy a balaclava and perhaps some plastic explosive". He also insisted that I feign an Irish accent.

15.05.2004Saturday 15 May – Tonya’s Party

I had a relaxing day doing very little. I’d stayed up very late last night, so needed to sleep in to recover. I noticed that TPG have refunded my $50.97 internet fee, dated yesterday – which means I won’t have to phone them again and complain. It certainly took them a long time, but all’s well that ends well.
Tonya had expected several people to come to her party, but for one reason or another, most of them couldn’t come. Some got lost, some simply didn’t come, yet others missed their train and so on. The end result was that only two people came, and Tonya was not impressed, as she’d gone to a bit of trouble to set it all up. We ended up having a fire, burning lots of dead palm fronds, and staying up late.

16.05.2004Sunday 16 May – Relaxing & Ice Cream

I slept in until after midday. It was nice – I needed it after staying up most of last night.
I drove Joe around to one of his mate’s birthday party, and dropped in on Woolworths on the way home, where I bought some baked beans, cream, and ice cream.
I drove Joe home again.
I walked down to Duran’s flat, but no one was home, so I ended up watching most of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and eating pizza with Joe and Tonya.
Comment by Yuri Johnson – Tuesday 18 May 2004, 11:22 PM
  I know i've said it before, but i'll say it again: God bless you, Ned.

17.05.2004Monday 17 May – I feel sick

I feel sick. I suspect it may be something to do with dinner last night. I had one veggie supreme pizza, one large bowl of cream and ice cream, and then a litre of lemon line and bitters. In retrospect, this may have been unwise.
I feel sick. I suspect it may be something to do with dinner last night. I had one veggie supreme pizza, one large bowl of cream and ice cream, and then a litre of lemon line and bitters. In retrospect, this may have been unwise.
I feel sick. I suspect it may be something to do with dinner last night. I had one veggie supreme pizza, one large bowl of cream and ice cream, and then a litre of lemon line and bitters. In retrospect, this may have been unwise.
I feel sick. I suspect it may be something to do with dinner last night. I had one veggie supreme pizza, one large bowl of cream and ice cream, and then a litre of lemon line and bitters. In retrospect, this may have been unwise.
Comment by mum – Friday 21 May 2004, 3:44 AM
  Beware the jabber my son. The slimey tothes that bite, the pizzaz that fizzaz all in the loathesome tum. The wok. The wok. Jabber.... My son.

18.05.2004Tuesday 18 May – Troy

Another normal day at uni, where my immense intelligence was again insulted with learning.
Clint and I, along with a friend of Clint’s, caught a CityCat into the city. Clint and I then went and saw “Troy” at Southbank Cinemas. I’d originally assumed they were a small, artistic, cinema and lower quality than a Birch Carol and Coyle cinema – but I changed my mind after attending them with Silas, and then reading on their website that they have Australia’s largest screen. “Troy” was packed – a full house, which surprised me considering it’s Tuesday and traditionally quiet, and they seat five hundred. The screen is indeed huge, but the seating is angled, and set a fair way back from the screen, so the effect isn’t as impressive as it could be – but I still found myself noticing just how large it was throughout the movie. The movie itself isn’t that bad either – although I don’t like tragedies, it’s nice to see that they haven’t Hollywood-ised the ending into the typical “happily ever after”.

19.05.2004Wednesday 19 May – Missing Things

The Schonell was showing “Thirteen”, its last screening. The movie had had some good reviews, so I decided I’d head into uni and see it, this being my last chance, and my mid-week weekend. It was an ill-fated decision. By the time I’d gotten ready, I had three minutes to get to the train. It takes about five minutes to run, so I ran fast – all the way. It’s been quite a while since I’ve run hard for the train – in fact, I think this is the first time I’ve had to run fast all the way this year, and it’s not good. I can just get there running fast all the way, but I’m near dying when I arrive. Still, I didn’t miss the train – so could collapse into that and monitor my heart for bursting.
  There were two interesting blokes sitting near me, discussing building some cargo and passenger ships. I believe they were on the way to the airport, on their way to Japan. The conversation was very interesting, and it wasn’t until we stopped at Southbank that I noticed we were at Southbank, past Dutton Park. I then managed to miss the train from Southbank back to Dutton Park, due to talking to the aforementioned fellows, so detrained at Roma Street instead, where I managed to miss the next train back to Dutton Park, and in the process, the train to Central as well. I waited for the next train to Central, and then, after a quick walk through the city, missed the bus to uni, and ultimately the movie, so caught a train out to Indooroopilly and watched the pleasantly titled “Monster” instead, which I didn’t particularly like, but I couldn’t just turn around and go home after my adventures in getting there.

20.05.2004Thursday 20 May – Big Cowboy

I woke up in time to attend my eight o’clock lecture, and decided that it would be suicidal to get out of bed this early and attend Guido’s “Relational Database Systems” lecture, and it wasn’t worth dying for that. I woke up again in time to go to my midday “Software Specification” lecture, and decided that, as I’d already missed one lecture, there wasn’t much point attending another. This was fortunate, as I later found out that it wouldn’t have been on anyway. Once I did finally get up, I headed into uni as I have to start my horrible looking “Operating Systems” assignment, where I’m supposed to code a module to simulate a “first in first out” page table scheduler in C, or something like that – it doesn’t sound good or easy.
After helping a few people in the labs, Clint turned up and wanted to go to the Ville, so I left and walked down there, where I learnt all about the exciting things that have been happening in Clint’s life recently. I never did get any coding done – I had a look, read through the existing code, read all the newsgroup postings, read the specification a few times, and decided it all made no sense.
There’s been some excitement and consternation about a forum known as “Big Cowboy”, at college. Clint recently obtained the source code to a forum that two rude and ignorant morons, Perlboy and Chesapeake, run, with official permission, for the collegians at uni. It’s apparently poorly coded, and Clint immediately found several vulnerabilities and faults, and did a few amusing things with them. Chesapeake had given him permission to play around and find faults, provided he posted them to the bugs’ forum – which he did. However, another collegian apparently shut down “Big Cowboy” in an attempt to gain a higher post count, or something along those lines, and a few other funky things happened, where posts were deleted and it seems Chesapeake’s pride was hurt. It’s now become a big drama, with accusations flying and it’s all very exciting compared to the routine dull normality. Clint had to attend some meeting and argue his case, and other such dramatic happenings.
I caught a bus into the city, bought a veggie burger from Hungry Jacks, and then caught the train home. It was freezing walking from the station to my room. I’m only just starting to feel fully well again, after my pizza, ice cream, lemon, lime and bitters escapade.
Comment by mum – Friday 21 May 2004, 3:49 AM
  Bad food combination
Comment by Ned – Monday 24 May 2004, 12:01 AM
  I think I’ve learnt this the hard way now :-(

21.05.2004Friday 21 May – Milkshakes

I felt much better, and ate more than the previous days. I bought a milkshake around lunchtime, and because I went home via Indooroopilly to check what movies were showing, I bought another milkshake from the Cold Rock store there later in the night. This was a very stupid idea, but didn’t make me feel sick, just full, and I figured I was, perhaps, finally better.

22.05.2004Saturday 22 May – Segfaults & Itchy Welts

I went into uni, and spent a day in the labs. I managed to get a lot of my “Operating Systems” assignment done – or I think it’s done. It’s a bit hard to test, considering it takes half an hour or something ridiculous to execute a full set of traces, and mine segfaults after about eight minutes.
  Towards the end of the day, I noticed itchy welts developing around my waistline. I had worn my coarse wool jumper tied around my waist, so I thought it was perhaps an irritation caused by that – even though it didn’t actually contact my skin. On the bus home, I dropped my ticket on the floor while sitting at my seat. When I went to bend over to pick it up, I felt a sharp pain from my abdomen – reminiscent of a very full bladder. This alerted me to the fact that I felt as though I should urinate – not quite the same, but a similar feeling, and once at Central Station I tried but didn’t need to urinate as much as I would have expected from the feeling. This led to one of my early theories, that whatever organ lives near the bladder wasn’t happy, and this was somehow causing the itchy welts.
  Once home, I discovered to my shock that the welts had spread to splotchy spots around my body – under my arms, a few spots on my upper torso, and my upper legs. I wondered what it could be, showered, and went to bed. Around 3 AM, theory two sleepily occurred to me – that perhaps, due to not eating normally all week, I could be drastically lacking some vital nutrient – so I got up, discovered the welts had spread more, and had two multivitamin tablets.
Comment by Alana Savage – Monday 31 May 2004, 9:27 AM
  Ahhh dude, I don't think that you should be telling people this sort of crap, I don't think that anyone, at all, wants to hear about your goddamn herpes.
  Get a life, and some friends. And some cream for that rash.
Comment by Ned – Monday 31 May 2004, 9:47 AM
  So don’t read it. If you’re online reading someone else’s journal and finding it unpleasant, I recommend you get a life, and some friends, and something worthwhile to do.

23.05.2004Sunday 23 May – Itching

When I woke in the morning, the welts were mostly gone – with just a reddish remnant remaining in a few spots, so I had another multivitamin tablet and went to the train station. By the time I had gotten to the train station, the remnants of welts, mainly around my waistline, had become slightly more pronounced. They remained mostly static for most of the day, during which time Kieran, Marcus, Sméagol and I drove out to the Sunday Computer Market, and I tried to ignore them (the welts, that is). Towards evening, they began to become more pronounced, and itchier.
  I had been in a computer lab at uni coding for some time, trying to make sense of my “Software Specification” assignment and debug my “Operating Systems” assignment, and went with Marcus and Kieran down to the Ville to get something to eat. I got a falafel kebab, and a small bottle of Sprite soft drink. By this time, the welts had become quite itchy and spread down my upper legs, but were still most pronounced around my waistline. There were a few small ones under my arms, similar to Saturday evening. The welts gradually spread. I kept coding for some time, but eventually the welts had spread to spots across my upper torso, and my upper arms, and I realised I had better go home. On the train home, the welts spread in blotches across half of my upper torso, and most of my arms and legs – but only in patches. Now, after showering, they cover most of my body in patches, similar to when I woke up Saturday night. I’ve had several theories, ranging from kidney failure through to sugar imbalance – although my current theory is that I’ve a kidney or urinary infection or other similar malfunction caused by a combination of acid and lack of drinking, and this is causing hives. This seems to best model the current symptoms. I had a very acidic stomach after last Sunday, and I didn’t drink (or eat) much since then as I felt unwell.
I am so itchy – it’s like chickenpox. Great self-control needed. I’ve had three cups of tomato soup for dinner, that being the most alkaline and liquid dinner I could manage, and I think I’ll try sleeping – not something that’s going to be easy while itching this much. The welts are slowly moving around. They’ve now moved away from my upper arms, further down onto my hands, up my neck and down my legs but mostly away from my waistline. They’re odd. I’m a bit worried, as one seems to have begun on my cheek – so I’m hoping sleep will fix that.

24.05.2004Monday 24 May – Doctor’s

I woke up when the alarm went off, but was too tired or lazy to get up, so slept in for a while.
  Once up, I caught the train into uni, without any welts anywhere. I was a bit worried I might be cured, but if you keep reading, you’ll find out that I’m not. I went to the university medical centre, told them I was near death, and they appraised me, finding that I would probably live for a few hours – at least, so didn’t classify as an emergency, and couldn’t be seen without an appointment. However, they did recommend that I see a doctor today – just because I’d live a few hours didn’t mean I’d live the night, and they didn’t want me suing them after I’d died in the morning. Following their comprehensive instructions (“ask the ladies in the information booth opposite Hungry Jack’s”) obtained me the closest medical centre to Hungry Jack’s, which, after sitting in its reception for over an hour, divulged a doctor.
  After quickly relating my story, the doctor took a urine sample, which said everything was fine, and destroyed my favourite theory. After a quick examination, the doctor decided I had a “medical illness”, wrote a certificate saying so, and prescribed an antihistamine to alleviate the symptoms. He also gave me what I suspect is the textbook standard talk applicable to hives, rashes, infectious diseases, rashes, skin blotches, and runny nose – including such intelligent things as “change your linen” – this despite me getting welts at uni, and them being gone after sleeping all night on my linen. So, the end result of all this is that I have something to help alleviate the symptoms, but no cure and no idea what the problem is.
  After the doctor’s, I caught a bus in to uni to try and get an extension for my “Software Specification” assignment that’s due at 9 AM tomorrow. The lecturer wasn’t there, so I went down to the labs to email and met Kieran and Marcus doing B. Welts had begun to form around my waistline, as per the weekend, so I took one of my fancy drugs. Fast forward past seeing Clint, walking to Coles and getting some fruit and nut mix, and here I am, sitting at home, with the welts all but gone. I guess the drugs are working, but they’re only attacking the symptoms, not the cause – and based on today, I don’t know if they work enough for me to spend late nights at uni, which I really need to do right now.
Comment by cf – Tuesday 25 May 2004, 2:49 AM
  Unclean! Unclean!
  In my highly educated medical opinion, you either have leprosy or hives. Hives have something to do with bees, so stop eating honey and walking too close to trees.

25.05.2004Tuesday 25 May – Doctor’s Again

I went to uni, and had a rather normal day, I think. The infamous welts were well behaved, starting a little on the train, so I took drugs to make them go away, which they eventually did.
I went to the university medical centre, where I was examined, discussed things, and so forth. No startling discoveries were made. She seems like quite a nice doctor. I am now more reassured.

26.05.2004Wednesday 26 May – Thunderstruck & Relational Databases

I had planned to get up earlier, but didn’t, because it seemed a good idea when I went to bed, but in the morning it didn’t. I did still go to uni though, arriving before midday and waking up Clint, who reckons he has flu and stuff. Clint, Marcus, Kieran and the me spent the evening in the labs – Marcus and Kieran doing their “Operating Systems” assignment, while Clint and the me worked on our group “Relational Database Systems” assignment.
I caught a bus into Indooroopilly and saw “Thunderstruck”, which I enjoyed. There were very few other people at the cinemas.
The good news is that I didn’t have any welts – or any anti-welting drugs, today. I did have a few itches though, but that’s perhaps normal – I mustn’t be a hypochondriac now. The bad news is that I have to go to uni tomorrow and it’s a quarter past three in the morning.

27.05.2004Thursday 27 May – B, INFS

I headed into uni, where I worked on my nasty “Software Specification” assignment. It took hours, and was not fun. Kieran and Clint were also there, working on our group assignment, and kept asking me for help, which made it hard for me to do anything. I totally disagreed with what they were doing, and ended up telling them I was out of their group and wasn’t going to do it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter, the assignment being due tomorrow (although we do have an extension until Monday due to my welts). I eventually got my assignment done and submitted. It was actually overdue, but I also had an extension for it, again due to my welts. It was quite late by the time I left, and I didn’t get home until after eleven.

28.05.2004Friday 28 May – Kieran is Not Impressed

Kieran, Marcus, Clint and I were supposed to have a group meeting, and work on our “Relational Database Systems” group assignment. We all went up to Kieran’s room for a discussion about whether we should begin our assignment again from scratch, as it was sadly wrong, or continue as it is. Many goldfish were mentioned, along with references to dual Xeon’s and various other totally irrelevant subjects, which annoyed Kieran no end. The last straw was when Clint changed Kieran’s computer’s desktop background to a RedHat logo. Kieran chased us out and slammed the door. We might almost have got away with this, except Clint had stolen Kieran’s keys, and proceeded to use them to open Kieran’s door. Kieran wasn’t very impressed, and we had to run away before he killed us with his flying mouse. After we had gotten over our mirth, we headed down to the labs to get some work done. The computer labs were totally packed, so Marcus, Clint and I ended up in Clint’s room trying to figure out what to do. Marcus ended up going home to use his computer, and Clint and I worked on our assignment for way too long, but did end up getting a lot done. Kieran turned up a few times, and threatened to go to the lecturer and complain about us, and various other dire things.
Clint and I caught a bus to Indooroopilly and saw “The Day After Tomorrow”. The theatre was packed. The movie was enjoyable – a typically predictable Hollywood action blockbuster.

29.05.2004Saturday 29 May – Mouseless in St Lucia

I slept in dreadfully, as usual, and then headed into uni, as usual. Marcus, Kieran, Clint and I ended up in the labs working on our “Relational Database Systems” group assignment (after Marcus and I had driven out to his place to get his computer). Kieran was quite good, considering how much he hated us yesterday. Apparently his flying mouse is decidedly broken, though.
  The lab computers and related facilities are pathetic – any that had re-imaged (which takes half an hour) didn’t work. We had to go through a hardware installation procedure, which takes from ten minutes towards half an hour, before the mice would work. It then took me fifteen minutes to download a one-megabyte attachment from my email before we could begin work. Then the network died entirely. It’s a bit sad when my dialup connection at home is much faster and more reliable than a university network. I’m not impressed with the computer labs or their management – there seems to be a different problem every week. Getting an IT degree from people who don’t seem to know how to manage computers isn’t confidence inspiring.
Marcus drove me to Roma Street Train Station, just in time to catch the 11:09 PM train home.
It is very cold. I might go to bed.
Comment by Shazza – Sunday 30 May 2004, 4:09 PM
  Edited: Offensive
  Rough translation: “Your blog is not good, come see my (rather pathetic) blog to see how a blog should look”.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 1 June 2004, 11:04 PM
  This is not a “blog”, it’s a “journal” – there’s a difference. I don’t write how I feel, or how depressed I am, or prove I’m clinically insane (like most livejournal users do) or argue how my personal interpretation of some obscure standard is the only valid one – I just record what I did each day.

30.05.2004Sunday 30 May – Relaxing

I had a relaxing day wherein little was done. I spent a bit of time working on our group assignment, and watched a DVD Dave or Tonya must have got, “Knockaround Guys”.

31.05.2004Monday 31 May – Group Assignment Submitted

Kieran, Marcus, Clint and I worked on, and managed to finish and submit, our “Relational Database Systems” group assignment. I’m not expecting particularly good marks, but it would be nice to do well.
It just took me a little over 15 minutes from log on to working, on the last remaining available computer in GPS-109. This is not including re-image, which presumably had already happened. On log on, it first complains (several times) about modified files, and the correct versions being on a CD (which I don’t have access to so can’t do anything about even if I wanted to). It is fun navigating through the error messages without a mouse, when they’re obscured by my normally auto-hidden start menu, which is open because of an “oh so helpful” yellow tool tip informing me that new updates are now available (shame it’s software, not staff) – and which I can’t get rid of as I have no mouse...
  It then finds and installs drivers for a “generic volume”, which involves clicking (without a mouse) several “This is an evil, evil driver that hasn’t been approved by Sir Bill and may destroy life as we know it” messages, and various next, finish and continue buttons – and then it moves on to the next driver. After 14 minutes or so, it gets around to doing the mouse driver, and then requests a reboot. It wouldn’t surprise me to find that if I was stupid enough to reboot, it would then re-image.
  You have to love the modified files message, just after the new updates are available message, and before it has even installed enough vital drivers for you to be able to use the machine.
  Just another day in the dysfunctional labs – and I’m apparently a bad bloke for complaining.
My website exceeded its 10-gigabyte transfer limit, and was temporarily disabled. It should rollover sometime tonight or tomorrow – whenever its end of month occurs.

01.06.2004Tuesday 1 June – Feels like Swot Vac

I had planned to go to my nine o’clock lecture, but this didn’t seem like such a good idea when I woke up, so I went back to bed.
This is the first day that’s felt like swot vac (swot vacation – the period allocated for exam preparation, during which there’s no formal teaching). I woke up meaning to study and attend uni, but didn’t feel like it. I then slept for several hours more, and worried that my assignment, which I haven’t yet begun, is due in a few days – so proceeded to waste more time, washing my linen, watching the end of a movie, editing out some offensive and plain moronic comments from my journal, and various other stuff not related to uni.
I ate too much dinner and now I feel sick. At least I did begin my assignment – just barely. I’m now sick of it again, so I’ll have to hope I can do it tomorrow with no problems. I think I’m going to explode.
Comment by scruff – Thursday 3 June 2004, 10:09 PM
  SWOTVAC = Study without teaching vacation.
  I'm right. Don't even think about correcting me.
Comment by Ned – Friday 4 June 2004, 12:25 AM
  The term is “swot vac”, two distinct words.
  Definitions from the Oxford English Dictionary:
  Swot: Study (a subject) hard or hurriedly.
  Vac: The period between terms (esp. of a university).
  Literally, a vacation for study, a study period, a swot vac.
  Interestingly, “Swot” originated from the word “Sweat”.

02.06.2004Wednesday 2 June – VB Networking

I’d planned to get to uni before lunch, but it wasn’t until a quarter to two that I left home. Then, once at uni, I wasted precious time watching Clint be nearly killed by a flying stereo-to-mono headphone adaptor. I didn’t get to the labs until late in the evening. I really should have gone earlier – as I still have lots to do on my VB networking assignment, and failing this fails me the whole course. I caught the 10:40 bus from uni into the city, and got the train home.
I guess I’m stupid. I have to get up at 7 o’clock, and here I am playing around with a cool little program for splitting mp3 albums. It checks for common wrapped formats, and extracts them if found, otherwise splitting the mp3 on sync errors if found. It’s worked remarkably well – managing to split an mp3 album by finding sync errors, well enough that the id3 tags were still present in the split output. If it can’t find any sync errors, it has an option to query an online cddb database and generate a cue sheet, and then split the mp3 based on this – with optional silence offset detection. If this fails, it can attempt to detect silence and split on that. All very useful, but I should be in bed. Perhaps I work better under pressure.

03.06.2004Thursday 3 June – Systems Interface Programming Completed

In retrospect, staying up all night was an ill-conceived idea. I only ended up getting a few hours sleep, waking up twenty minutes later than I had planned, and having to run around like a lunatic getting ready, and then for the train – such a nice way to begin the day. I then spent from around nine o’clock until a quarter to three working on my “Basic Networking in Visual Basic” assignment – a networked naughts and crosses game, and helping others get theirs going. The end result was a horrible kludge, with no error handling at all, but it passed, which is all that matters in this course, and actually ended up better than a lot of others I saw. This also means I’ve now successfully completed (pending electronic plagiarism detection) COMP2301 – Systems Interface Programming. It has taught me a lot, and met all its objectives perhaps better than any other course I’ve done at uni so far – at the same time it’s all applied, with no theoretical aspect, and as such doesn’t gel with my conception of what a uni should be teaching. Nevertheless, I’m now much more confident in my programming, problem solving and problem management skills. This is also the last time it’s being run – at least in its current format.

04.06.2004Friday 4 June – Sleepy

I was woken around eleven o’clock by Joe, warning me that the cleaner would be here soon and would want to clean my room. I was then woken again a minute or so later by Dave, asking if I had a bootable floppy disk for Tonya’s computer, which couldn’t find any of the lovely files Windows 98 requires to run, and wouldn’t boot from a CD. I had a sleepy look, set the CD drive to boot first, which made no difference, disabled booting from the hard drive, which made no difference – and, just as I was about to prescribe the motherboard or IDE controller, or something related, dead, decided to try another bootable CD, which worked. Strangely enough, after removing the new CD, the original CD then worked as well.
  It was about this time that I realised that staying up late, and waking up before midday, is not a good combination, and then the cleaner arrived so I couldn’t go back to bed, so I headed to uni, where I did very little. I then went home again, via Indooroopilly, with Clint who was on his way to the BITS end of semester dinner. I’d planned to see a movie, but suddenly felt very tired, so came home instead.

05.06.2004Saturday 5 June – The Punisher

I slept in, as usual, and when I woke there was a family BBQ happening here, which I just wasn’t in the mood for, so I escaped to uni, where I wasted much time at college.
Clint and I went and saw “The Punisher” at the Eldorado, due to a series of missed buses and trains, and the fact that the Indooroopilly Birch Carol and Coyle doesn’t offer special UQ student tickets on Saturday evenings. It’s quite a good movie, in its own somewhat basic way, and I enjoyed it.

06.06.2004Sunday 6 June – All-day Sleep

I woke up at 5 PM. I was shocked, and thought it might be 5 AM, but had a bad feeling it was actually 5 PM. This makes for the worst sleep-in I’ve had in quite some time. Perhaps it’ll make up for the sleepless nights I should get while studying.
Joe, or Dave I think it might have been, made a quite nice pasta sauce, which I had for a very large dinner, amidst jokes about me exploding and so on, while watching “Scooby Doo 2” on TV.

07.06.2004Monday 7 June – Cheese & Printing

I headed into uni, after a pleasant sleep-in. The weather worsened the closer I got to uni, and was raining by the time I arrived in the city, where I purchased a veggie burger and then headed out to uni. I had to print notes, so I can study and not fail my exams. Clint had to print notes too, so we came to the amazing conclusion that we’d print them together, as some overlapped. Unfortunately, the printing thing messed up, and everything Clint printed, it tried to print twice, and everything I printed, it tried to print once, despite Clint asking it to print once, and me asking it to print half of mine twice. This caused the POD-man to complain, and we ended up with lots of duplicates. I then hung around college for a while, getting a cheese pizza, and then headed home, having done no study at all.

08.06.2004Tuesday 8 June – Famous & Lazy

I slept in. I did little. I planned my next two-week’s study, but didn’t get around to doing any actual study. According to my study plan, I was only supposed to study one week’s lecture notes today anyway – which I was about to do when Tonya’s PC died again, so I put XP and a working firewall on it, and we’ll see what happens next. Then I felt very tired, so watched “Underworld”, which wasn’t that flash hot, and now it’s eighteen past one at the wrong end of the clock, so I’m off to bed – as I’m planning to head into uni tomorrow, get past exam papers, and do some study.
In other dreadfully exhilarating news, Matt posted to UQ’s general ITEE newsgroup,
  “Is it just me, or are Ned Martin’s posts on here more of an annoyance then anything else?
  Who votes to have him banned? :)”
  This rapidly gathered an alarming number of replies – I’m infamous, in a limited and sadly geeky sort of way.
Comment by yj – Wednesday 9 June 2004, 8:27 AM
  god bless you, ned
Comment by scruff – Sunday 13 June 2004, 12:15 AM
  I couldn't help but notice that it is the 13th. And there is no journal update!!!!!!!!!!!
  I know exams are important.. but what about your fans, NED?
  WHAT ABOUT YOUR FANS?!?:!?!?!??!?!

09.06.2004Wednesday 9 June – Twisted

I headed into uni, arriving some time after lunch. Leo’s water main had burst. I looked at Leo’s burst water main. I went to Indooroopilly and saw “Twisted” on the “wall to wall, which is, as the name would suggest, somewhat twisted.

10.06.2004Thursday 10 June – Not Studying

I spent all day not really studying, and decided that I have a critical and probably incurable mental incapacity to study at home. Tomorrow I am going to head into uni and study there, because if I don’t start seriously studying tomorrow, I will fail.

11.06.2004Friday 11 June – Harry Potter

I managed to be at uni by nine o’clock, which impressed me. I actually got quite a bit of study done, so I’m learning all about “Software Specification”, or more accurately, the crazy language “B” – hopefully enough that I can pass the exam.
Clint, Rhett, Sméagol, and my fantastic self, went and saw “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” at Indooroopilly – and it was absolutely packed. The movie got a bit unbelievable after everyone turned into werewolves, but was a fun watch nonetheless, although I still hold that the books are mass-produced, low quality literature.

12.06.2004Saturday 12 June – Studying

I spent the evening lying under a desk in the smaller Solaris lab, studying “Relational Database Systems”, while Kieran and Clint sat on chairs like the boring normal people they are. Then again, Kieran is a self-professed Microsoft worshipper and “dark overlord” and Clint has a fixation with the word “mittens”, of which he managed to change my desktop image to a picture of while I was off searching for paper, so perhaps they’re not quite as normal as they could be.
Comment by Mum – Thursday 17 June 2004, 9:52 PM
  Thank goodness

13.06.2004Sunday 13 June – More Studying

Off to uni, via Hungry Jack’s and a veggie burger, for some hard-earned study – then back home again. Such is my dedication to the cause.
The past week is such a blur – I don’t really remember it at all, at least not in any clearly defined way.
I spoke to myself, from uni while I am at home. This is rather unusual. I left myself logged onto one of the Window’s computers at uni, and on the uni IRC server, before I went home. Then, all of a sudden, I, online at uni, began speaking. It seems an admin by the name of “Murox” (Rob Green) found my locked account, unlocked it, and had a quick chat while “security checking”. The fact that admin check security after midnight on public holidays is, I suppose, commendable. As Professor Simon Kaplan, our head of school, says, “there is NO private right to usage of ITEE facilities”.

14.06.2004Monday 14 June – Well, um, yeah.

On the train on the way to uni, he forgot to stop at a station, stopping instead in the middle of nowhere. Then, on the bus, we went through a red light. On the way home, the bus stopped in the middle of a roundabout and picked up people. It’s times like these you need minties. As “ZZ Top” says, “My Mind is Gone” (from their “Rhythmeen” album).
  Anyway, be that as it may, um, I forget what I was going to write.
  Degenerating to basic form: Woke up. Train. Bus. Uni. Study B. See Kieran. Talk to Kieran re B. See Clint. Walk to Ville, purchase chocolate, biscuits, cream, and custard. Get Pizza with Sméagol. Learn that cheese pizza is good once, but not twice. Catch bus, then train, home. The Uni Women’s Speed hump (disclaimer: this is not sexual in nature) was broken tonight. 145 km/h between oval five and women’s speed humps.
I need to be awake at seven o’clock tomorrow morning. This will not be an easy thing to do.
Comment by yj – Wednesday 16 June 2004, 9:48 AM
  we're praying for you, neddy

15.06.2004Tuesday 15 June – Studying B

Four and a half hours is not enough sleep, but study calls, so off to uni I go, where I spent the day studying for my “Software Specification” exam tomorrow. I’ve gone from not knowing “B” at all, to knowing basic “B”. I’m not sure that this is the sort of accomplishment I would tell anyone about, but hopefully I now have a chance to pass this exam tomorrow. “B” sucks – it is a thoroughly awful specification language, with very, very limited real-world uses, and being introduced to it in this way isn’t going to benefit anyone that I can think of. I don’t know it well enough to actually use it for anything, and there’s no more advanced course available that I’m aware of, even if I was strange enough to do it – so it was, as far as I can tell, a total waste of time, albeit a well organised and well taught one. I guess I have been introduced to the concept of a software specification language – perhaps that’s handy in some way. It shouldn’t’ be compulsory for engineers and highly recommended for IT though.

16.06.2004Wednesday 16 June – Software Specification Exam

I’m at uni, down in the labs with Marcus, panicking for my exam and feeling generally tired. Actually, I’m surprisingly unstressed – I should be more worried as I don’t really have a clue what the exam is about. The fire alarm went off while we were in the lab and a fire engine came and we were told not to evacuate and it was a little bit more exciting than studying “B” for my exam.
I sat the “Software Specification” exam. I was ill prepared, as always. If I were able to study all semester, then I wouldn’t have to panic at the end and I’d get top marks all the time. It would be so much easier – but I don’t know anyone who can. I’m not sure how I went in the exam – I could have got anything from everything wrong, to most of them mostly right, it’s impossible for me to know. I wasn’t entirely sure about anything, but it’s all pure logic in a way, so I just don’t know. Time will tell.
After driving down to the Ville with Clint, Kieran, Marcus and Sméagol, where I ate a falafel roll, Clint, Kieran and I spent the evening studying for our “Relational Database Systems” exam on Friday.
On the way home, I learnt that the Cold Rock Ice Creamery under the Myer Centre is open until half past nine or later most days. This means I can buy super shakes on the way home from uni if I’m not too late – which I did, of course.

17.06.2004Thursday 17 June – INFS Assignment Marks

I woke up in time to get to uni by nine o’clock, but felt that getting up could be the proverbial straw and I the proverbial camel, so set the alarm for another hour, and went back to sleep. I think this is the first time this has ever worked – I actually felt refreshed and rested (or at least I didn’t feel as though I was about to die). Normally, setting the alarm, or using snooze, to get that little bit extra sleep just doesn’t work, and I end up feeling the same or worse when I do eventually get up – and then it’s late.
I spent pretty well all day in the labs studying “Relational Database Systems” in preparation for my exam tomorrow. Clint and Kieran came down after a while, and studied with me. I am not well prepared at all. I don’t know hardly anything. I should have studied during semester as I was supposed to. Woe. There is one bit of good news though – we got our “Relational Database Systems” group assignment marks back, and at 17 out of 20, that, combined with the mid-semester exam results, is enough that I only need to get 19 out of 60 for the exam to pass the course, or so Clint says. This should be doable.
Due to the recent excessive bandwidth use on and my journal site, I’ve had to disable temporarily my amused site – or within a day or few, I’ll have run out of my month’s data transfer allowance.
It is freezing cold.

18.06.2004Friday 18 June – Relational Database Systems Exam

I burnt some songs onto a CD-RW for Clint, which then failed, so I re-burnt them, which then failed again – but I’m getting ahead of myself. I only just had enough time to burn the CD before running for the train, so burning the CD the second time meant I had to run hard all the way. It nearly killed me. I felt sick and awful all the way to uni. Jumping out of bed into the icy cold, and running hard a few minutes later just can’t be a good thing to do. Still, I just managed to make it onto the train – it was leaving as I collapsed onto the platform.
Once at uni, I spent the slightly less than two hours before my exam going over a summary of what I hoped to know with Marcus, then Clint, and then Kieran. I’ve managed to learn a surprising amount in the last few days – I hope.
We all trooped down to the Gymnasium, where we waited around for a while and I learnt the log rules for calculating the cost of various database operations. I then sat my “Relational Database Systems” exam. Two hours, eight questions, all of which I managed to answer with what I believe is at the least a partially correct answer, so I’m optimistic about the results. Experience has taught me though, that when I think I’ve done well, I’ve often done poorly, and vice versa.
  After the exam, I headed to Kieran’s room, where I collapsed while he made a few phone calls. We then collected Clint from The Red Room, and headed into the city so Kieran could buy a suit, and I something to eat. I had some veggie curry from an Indian place in the Myer Centre, and a Cold Rock Super Shake. This made me feel suitably sick, and we headed back to uni, where I hung around for a little while before heading to Indooroopilly and the movies.
I bought the last remaining ticket and saw “Shrek 2”. It’s a great movie – as good as the first from what I can remember of it. It’s always good when a movie gets the entire cinema laughing – and the cinema was packed tonight. Sitting right in the middle of the front row is good – I always get my favourite seat, even when I buy the last ticket. I’ll never understand why people would rather sit right to the side in the second row than in the centre of the first row – or even worse, right up the back where the screen is only as big as a large television and there’s no surround sound effect at all.
Comment by yj – Saturday 19 June 2004, 4:19 PM
  how you looking for COMP3300, Ned? i started studying for it a few days ago. I can't bloody stand it.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 19 June 2004, 8:04 PM
  Very bad thanks. I began studying today (Saturday), and have not got much done at all. Woe.
Comment by yj – Saturday 19 June 2004, 9:55 PM
  its a freakin lot of stuff to know. And even when you do know it, relevant questions in sample/past exams/quizzes still manage to bamboozle me. I just know im gonna put all this time into studying this course, and fail miserably. Machanick is guilty by association with this material. Damn him. Woe is me.
Comment by mum – Sunday 20 June 2004, 11:03 PM
  dear yi, if you already know that you will fail miserably, you have already set yourself an agenda for failure. You have to re compute the failure mode of your brain and set it for success. Relax. Re compute for success. Never say die. Never, ever, ever.
Comment by mum – Sunday 20 June 2004, 11:15 PM
  dear yi and son and all others. All very well for me to write things, easy peasy. Thinking about you. Hope so that all is going well or at least bearable. Hang in there.
Comment by yj – Monday 21 June 2004, 8:51 AM
  your words of wisdom have soothed my sorrowful heart. I thank you.
Comment by sweet – Tuesday 22 June 2004, 7:53 PM
Comment by anon – Monday 28 May 2007, 9:07 PM
  Made you feel suitably sick? Might of been the ghb that is put into drinks and food in the myer centre that made you feel sick

19.06.2004Saturday 19 June – Lakshya & Late Night Labs

I headed into uni, as usual, and studied. I’ve so much I need to learn before Wednesday, and my CPU fan has died so I can’t use my computer until I put a new one in.
I saw a poster in GPS that the Schonell, or actually Taj Entertainment at the Schonell, was showing a Hindi film, “Lakshya”. I’ve found Hindi films are often quite good, and this has the same leads as “Mission Kashmir”, which was excellent, so I wasn’t going to miss it. The only problem was that it finished around midnight, and the last bus is rather earlier, which would leave me stranded at uni.
  The movie cost me $14, but was shown in the larger Schonell cinema, which is much better than the smaller – almost cinema quality. It had an intermission, in is a typical Indian style action movie. Almost all the audience were also Indian. I loved it – it effortlessly blows away anything I’ve seen come out of Hollywood in the past few years, with its excellent mix or realism and surrealism (something Hollywood seems totally unable to match), and managed to contain all the typical elements of a movie, without going overboard on any of them. I really enjoyed it – in fact, this movie is the most engrossing and simply enjoyable I can remember seeing since the “Lord of the Rings” marathon, and perhaps “The Spanish Apartment” – although this was better than that. It’s not often I see a movie which can make me smile, cry, laugh, and think – all in one. I can’t understand why no one watches good movies. Everyone goes to the latest Hollywood crap – which is often fun to watch, but usually mindlessly predictable, but hardly anyone seems to turn up to these other far superior movies. It makes me worry that there’s very few intelligent people out there.
It’s quite cold, and I’m stuck in the labs. After the movie, I walked down to Leo’s College with a few blokes from the movie, and talked to Kieran, then Clint, for a while, before heading over to the labs, where I plan to spend all night studying.
Study is not possible. Labs are deserted. No one is anywhere. I showered, walked around in my socks, drank pineapple juice and ate an energy bar, all before anyone else had arrived at uni. It’s sort of peaceful, just me and rooms full of computers. They randomly beep, I’m not sure why.

20.06.2004Sunday 20 June – Sleepy

Well, I’ve now spent all night at uni. I didn’t get any study done, unfortunately, and now that I haven’t slept all night – and this after my late night and lack of sleep the night before – I expect I’ll have trouble studying today too.
  It’s so cold. I walked down to the Ville with Kieran for breakfast, and nearly froze. A potato bake thing from the bakery, and milkshake, later and I’m feeling just as cold, but less hungry.
  Studying makes me sleepy. I’ve found that if I read my text with only one eye, I can conserve vital energy, and read for longer before feeling tired. I can then swap to the other eye. Silas also had this problem – it sucks. Every time I study at home, I get really sleepy and have to lie down. I can usually study at uni, because I can’t lie down I guess.
  It’s so windy and the wind is icy cold. I keep finding nice sunny nooks to study in, but the wind finds a way through the trees and chills me, I’ll have to head back to the labs.
Marcus came in with his DVD drive, and the day elongated towards night. I eventually arrived home, installed a new CPU fan and heat sink – which was remarkably difficult, and Marcus’ DVD drive, which was easy, and spent the next few hours backing up all my music onto DVD’s.
I set up a Google “GMail” account to have a look at it. It seems, at the moment, to be very sparse and rather unusable compared to the more traditional web-based email services like Yahoo. It’s almost all client-side JavaScript, which makes it very responsive (although slower to load initially), and allows some cool features with their real-time address auto-completion, spelling checker and so on. I guess they’ll add more features to it as they get around to it. It’s still a beta trial at the moment.

21.06.2004Monday 21 June – Cold

I headed to uni around lunchtime, going past Govinda’s for lunch. I tried to do study, but didn’t end up getting much done. I spent a bit of time in a group study room at the library with Kieran and Clint, printed out some stuff for tomorrow at POD, talked to Marcus about studying but didn’t actually study, and various other equally exciting things. The printers in the labs are broken so I couldn’t print anything once POD shut.
  It is seriously cold – apparently getting down to one below here tonight, and three below in Ipswich.
Comment by yj – Tuesday 22 June 2004, 8:33 PM
  best wishes for Operating Systems. If the test pisses me off i'm going to officially withdraw every non-derogatory comment i've ever made about Phillip Machanick.
  God bless you, Ned.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 22 June 2004, 9:26 PM
  Thanks. Exam Bad. I am doomed. Woe am I.
Comment by A normal person – Tuesday 22 June 2004, 9:49 PM
  You are a huge nerd
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 23 June 2004, 2:19 PM
  Hi, thanks for the compliment. Am I right in assuming you're a small nerd?
Comment by mum – Saturday 26 June 2004, 12:53 AM
  to "A normal person": being mother of "huge nerd" I can only assume that you are a small turd. Get a life!

22.06.2004Tuesday 22 June – 1 I, Lay Me Down 2 Sleep

Studying makes me sleepy. I’ve found that if I read my text with only one eye, I can conserve vital energy, and read for longer before feeling tired. Then I can lay me my head down for a minute and begin again with the other eye. This worked for quite some time, until time began to jump, and I would go from reading with one eye, to being in a different position and not reading with one eye, without any time in between. It was then that I decided divine intervention would have to suffice – study was not working.
  Moral: Sleep when the cuckoo is.

23.06.2004Wednesday 23 June – Operating Systems Exam

It’s fortunate that I’m realistically pessimistic, or it would have been as bad as I expected it might be. I missed the train. I slept in, and didn’t even hear my alarm. I would have missed my exam and failed, except that I expected I might sleep in, miss the train, or the train be late, or tracks iced over, or nuclear holocaust, etc., so I still had time to catch the next train and get to uni before my exam.
I rushed down the labs, and rushed through my notes as fast as I could, finding all the places where mathematical symbols had printed as arrows, comparing them to the lecture notes online, and fixing them. I then rushed off to my exam.
I found the exam to be quite good, as far as exams go. Multi-choice questions are never a good format for testing understanding, as there’s no leeway and any ambiguity comes into play, but these weren’t as bad as most. I had enough time to check all my multi-choice answers in the textbook, accidentally come across “VMS” in the index and read all the sections referring to VMS, VAX and Alpha, and then, just as I was about to leave, remember the bonus questions and answer them – and still leave early.
  There were, as always, a few multi choice questions that weren’t clear, and since reading this newsgroup, I’ve realised my explanation and solution to the “race condition” was probably flawed, but I felt the exam tested my understanding of the course matter quite well, without testing my understanding of non-course related stuff like most exams seem to. I didn’t need to know math, “Guidospeak”, or divination – just operating systems.
  My entire study consisted of reading (one eye at a time, as I was too tired to use both at once) all the lecture notes and summarising their main points and the slide numbers on their cover page, in the lab yesterday evening, on the train home, and on the train into uni this morning. In other words, I studied as fast as possible and poorly. In the end, I didn’t refer to my notes during the exam anyway – the few points I wasn’t clear on, I looked up in the textbook. I DO NOT recommend this study methodology to anyone, and you should never drink more than three redeye drinks, or equivalent in coke, an hour if you plan to sleep – ask Marcus – he was up all night sick, even if he does blame McDonald’s.
  I reserve the right to change this opinion after receiving my results.
After the exam, and after spending a while at Kieran’s, Marcus and I travelled to the lands of the North, to replace some RAM. We then journeyed to the lands of the West where we found that the motherboard wasn’t available, and was on backorder, so we made our way through the wastelands of Marcus Home, past the fabled flatmate, to mount Indooroopilly and watched “Thirteen”. It was good, although a bit disturbing, and perhaps thought provoking – although I can’t verify this, as I don’t have any thoughts left after my exam. I then journeyed, alone, to the lands of university – remembering on the way that I’d left my bag in Marcus’ camel, so I had to go see Kieran and chat to Marcus on MSN, to get him to bring it back. We then helped Clint learn nothing in the labs for a few minutes, for his exam tomorrow that isn’t about “Programming in the Large” despite being called that, before I began my long voyage home – safely traversing the perilous cold rock under mount Myer, and a few red green stop go men.
Comment by Maz – Thursday 24 June 2004, 1:57 AM
  that was a good movie. i'd say it might have been disturbing to the people who didnt know what the real world has become. i can see some people recieve a very rude awakening.
  Look out people... there's a real world out there and it sucks.

24.06.2004Thursday 24 June – No Flights & Pizza

I had to book an airfare home. I discovered that airfares aren’t cheap this time of year. The cheapest was around $355, with many being more than $1000, and going via Sydney or Townsville. I guess lots of holidaymakers are clogging up my travel space. After considering several options, such as sharing petrol money with buxom Swedish tourists who are scared of spiders, wide open spaces and the dangerous outback but want to drive to Cairns, or couriering myself express in a large box covered in “fragile – no forks” stickers, I decided that the $180 tilt train was the best option. The tilt train leaves Friday evening, and Monday evening, and takes a full twenty-five hours to get to Cairns. I’d originally planned to get the Friday evening train, which would have got me into Cairns Saturday evening, and I could then have got a Sunday evening flight to Cooktown.
Having decided what I was doing, I headed into uni and spent the evening with Marcus and Clint, buying pizza, watching them play Counter Strike, and various other exhilarating experiences that I have forgotten or repressed. By the time I got home, I’d decided that leaving tomorrow evening wasn’t a good idea. It would mean I’d have to stay up all night so I was tired, pack, clean, sort the computer, and generally panic. I’d also miss a party Friday night – and just didn’t feel like rushing around. I had a chat to Mum, and decided to take the Monday train, arriving Tuesday evening and flying Wednesday morning into Cooktown – this happily decided, I went to sleep.
Then, when I woke up tomorrow, I checked airfares again before phoning the rail centre to book the train, and discovered a $190 flight on Wednesday. After a bit of considering and a phone call home, I decided to take this flight instead of the train, meaning I’ll now get into Cooktown Wednesday evening, rather than morning, but I’ll have a few more days down here to relax and pack, and only two hours on a plane compared to twenty-five on a train. But wait, this is tomorrow...

25.06.2004Friday 25 June – Marcus & So On

Not long after I got up I checked for any cheap airfares that might have magically appeared since I checked yesterday, planning to phone the rail centre to book the tilt train north after, and discovered a $190 flight on Wednesday. After a bit of considering and a phone call home, I decided to take this flight instead of the train, as it meant I’d get into Cooktown Wednesday evening, rather than the morning, and that I’d have a few more days down here to relax and pack, and only two hours on the plane compared to twenty-five on the train.
I relaxed online, now that I don’t have to panic and rush around.
I headed into uni, via Govindas where I had a nice dinner. I spent a bit of time at uni with Clint and Kipps, who were celebrating the end of semester, at least for UQ, and Marcus, who, like me, had finished a few days ago, before heading out to Marcus’ place, where I spent the night – getting to sleep sometime around five, comma, and comma.
Comment by Mum – Saturday 26 June 2004, 1:05 AM
  Have dusted off the jaffle iron and ordered in the olives and screeched aloud against the rain and drizzle, pumped up the tractor tubes for frigid rages down the Wallaby and other exciting things and cannot wait.

26.06.2004Saturday 26 June – Marcus, BBQ & Teeth

I was awoken by Sophie, one of Marcus’ flatmates, after I’d only had three, or perhaps a bit less, hours sleep. I feel terrible, despite, or perhaps because of, drinking almost nothing last night. Actually, I had a sore throat before heading into uni yesterday – and a lack of sleep probably didn’t help. Either way, it sucks.
  Marcus and I drove into uni where we saw off Clint. Uni, and college, is a bit sad during holidays, with nearly everyone gone and most of the remaining people QUT students, who don’t finish until next week sometime. They also start earlier, end up with a less worthy degree, and don’t have any ducks – enough to make one wonder why anyone goes there. Ironically, the head of school here at UQ ITEE is rumoured to be departing to become Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology at QUT. This undermines the “QUT sucks, you should transfer to UQ” arguments a bit, but not the fact that QUT sucks and its students should transfer to UQ.
  I then spent the evening at Marcus’ before heading home, where I found we were having visitors and a BBQ, so BBQ I did have. Unfortunately, my teeth are all on edge from drinking too many acidic things, so I can’t eat anything hard – not easily anyway.
I signed up for Google AdSense on my Amused site. Hopefully I can make enough money to cover hosting, as I’ve had to buy extra data transfer, as my site has exceeded its limit for the second month running.

27.06.2004Sunday 27 June – The Prince & Me

I caught a train into the city, then out to Indooroopilly, where I met Matt and we went and saw “The Prince and Me” – which, while I think we were the only two men in the entire cinema, wasn’t too bad, especially considering it’s something of a romantic comedy cum romantic fairy tale. I then caught the train home again, and that about sums up today.
I should head to bed I guess. I’ve just spent the past few hours “surfing the web” – mostly finding and reading various enterprise computing, and specifically Itanium or VMS related, news sites. It’s nice not to have to feel guilty that I’m not studying.
Well, I should have slept, but I didn’t. Instead, I began to read about logical names in OpenVMS. It’s a shame I don’t show the same interest in my uni subjects, or alternatively, that uni doesn’t teach interesting things. What’s new?
Comment by scruff – Monday 28 June 2004, 11:36 AM
  "wasn't too bad", he says.
  *shakes head*
  That movie was pretty good.

28.06.2004Monday 28 June – Mean Girls, Club Dread

I woke up around half past three, with a sore throat, having gone to bed sometime around six o’clock this morning. I have a feeling I slept with my mouth open and the dangly thing at the back of my throat dried out and swole up.
  After some breakfast and a shower, I caught a train into Indooroopilly, had dinner, and watched “Mean Girls” and “Club Dread”, catching the last train home. “Mean Girls” was better than I was expecting, although nothing spectacular, and “Club Dread” was worse than I was expecting, and once again definitely nothing spectacular. They were, however, both enjoyable – which is the idea.
Spam mail sucks. Apparently, spammers can make a lucrative living even if only fifty in every million people respond, as the spamming costs are negligible. Thanks to the US’s seemingly bottomless stupidity, we have another American law with global reaching consequences for the rest of us less affected by nationwide moronity, isolationism and placidity. While the rest of the world has been busy cracking down on, and illegalising, spam, the US has legalised it. Apparently, we should be thankful, because the act requires spammers to provide a working opt-out system. Unfortunately, as anyone who has any email experience will know, using any of the current opt-out systems generally ensures your email address is marked as “active” and continually spammed. This means that, until all spammers comply with the new American law, which isn’t ever likely to happen, Americans can now legally spam us all and we can’t stop them. The stupidity behind this act would be hard to believe, if we didn’t already have a myriad of other examples where the US puts marginal interests before its citizens, affecting the rest of us in the process.
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 29 June 2004, 8:48 PM
  Uncle Spam
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 29 June 2004, 8:50 PM
  It is not 10.48am, but 8.49pm????
Comment by Ned – Friday 2 July 2004, 1:16 AM
  All times are GMT/UTC/Zulu

29.06.2004Tuesday 29 June – Packing

Worth noting this is technically tomorrow, not today, unless using biblical days in which case it isn’t, and that neither midnight nor midday actually exist as defined times, and nor is there a 12 AM or 12 PM. That noted, let us begin.
  I burnt a collection of CD’s for Mum: Traffic’s “Traffic” and “When the Eagle Flies”, the Wolfe Tones’ “Rifles of the I.R.A”, “20 Golden Irish Ballads” (Volumes 1 and 2), and “Sing out for Ireland”, along with Gregorians’ “Masters of Chant” and “Masters of Chant Chapter 2”. I also burnt Apollo 440’s “Electro Glide in Blue” and “Gettin’ High on Your Own Supply”, Sonicanimation’s “Orchid for the Afterworld”, Panjabi MC’s “The Album”, and The Chemical Brother’s “Come With Us” and “Singles 93-03” for Sarah. Then the dog jumped the fence, and I heard heaps of whelping, yelping, and other words that end in “ing”, and had to run downstairs to find the poor dog hanging from her back leg. She had obviously climbed or jumped the fence, and got her hind paw stuck in the top of the fence, which is quite high. I had to run out onto the road, jump next-door’s fence, and rescue her. Her leg doesn’t seem to be broken, just sore.
  After all that excitement, I began to pack, burnt my backups onto CD, and set my alarm as well as the computer’s alarm. I find that if I set the computer’s alarm five minutes after my alarm, and make it very loud, when my alarm goes off, instead of going back to sleep, I have to jump up and turn off the computer alarm before it wakes everyone else – and this gets me out of bed and up. It’s very clever, I should patent the idea.

30.06.2004Wednesday 30 June – Back Home

I am awake, it is cold. I hibernate the computer and pull out the phone lead from the roof – a touching and sad moment. The walk to the train is particularly cold. As usual, I am late and have to hurry. The train takes me to Central Station, where I find that McDonalds doesn’t do veggie burgers before ten o’clock, so I have to settle for a toasted sandwich and “milkshake”, although one wonders whether the milk in said shake is anything resembling moo milk. A $10 train ride later, and I am at the domestic airport. Check-in is very busy, and the plane was called before I got halfway through the queue, so I got to escape the queue and go to the front. Other than that, it was uneventful – I wasn’t even “randomly” picked for explosive sniffing, perhaps shaving works?
“Albany”, my trusty Airbus A330-200 plane, with two, four, two seats, flew me to Cairns. I sat in seat 27D, which is the aisle seat of the middle row, on the left hand side. There was a real brat sitting in the row in front, who would not do as her parents (or anyone else) said, and used the situation to blackmail her parents. It’s a shame the windows don’t open.
I arrived in Cairns and took a taxi to City Place Taxi Rank. The first thing I noticed was that there were sweet little birds singing. I guess there mustn’t be in Brisbane, as I’ve never noticed it before. I then walked to Cairns Central, bought a box of RJ12 connectors at Tandy to fix the phone extension when I get home, and booked a ticket to “The Amazing Spiderman 2”, before buying a milkshake and walking to Mago Internet and checking my email and chatting and all those other vital things one must do at least daily.
I watched “The Amazing Spiderman 2”. The large cinema at Cairns Central seems to be larger than the largest at Indooroopilly, which sort of sucks, but the movie was enjoyable, although highly predictable and almost identical to the first, and the cinema was almost packed. After the movie, I walked down to the Esplanade, watched a street performer for a few minutes, and then back to the taxi rank, where I caught a cab out to General Aviation and the Skytrans terminal, and eventually a small plane to Cooktown.
Dad and Mum picked me up from the airport, and we drove home via the wharf and supermarket. Actually, we stopped at the Lion’s Den and had chips and pizza, which was lovely, although the jalapeños got to my throat and made it tickly. The new owners are apparently quite nice, and have done a lot to fix the place up. It’s nice to be home – so very relaxing, and I am so tired. This is the first early night I’ve had in a very long time.

01.07.2004Thursday 1 July – Town

After a pleasant sleep-in, and a pleasant breakfast, and a pleasant shower, Mum and I drove pleasantly into town, where I had a pleasant milkshake from the Mad Cow. It’s really pleasant and relaxing being back, so far. I am very lethargic, very tired. Anyway, once in town I went and talked to Peter for quite some time, and then headed up to the Shire Hall where Vince, Sarah, Shan, and Kylie were kickboxing. We then had chips from the wharf, and drove pleasantly home again. I really am so lethargic – everything is pleasant and dreamy, it’s almost like being on morphine or something.
I carried the computer out into the van and set up the phone extension. Happily, the green and corroded phone plug inside still works, as I am far too lazy and lethargic to put a new one on. This monitor is a bit blurry too, but I’m too lazy to fix it.

02.07.2004Friday 2 July – Results are released

First semester results were released. I have achieved two credits (5) and a distinction (6). The other subject I attempted, “Systems Interface Programming (COMP2301)” is a non-graded pass/fail subject, in which I achieved a non-graded pass. I achieved my credits in both “Operating Systems (COMP3300)” and “Software Specification (COMP3601)”, and my distinction in “Relational Database Systems (INFS2200)”. While I should be happy with these results, I am not. I feel that I should have gained three distinctions, but the reason I didn’t is almost entirely my own fault so I’ve only myself to blame – and the unfair marking scheme in the “Operating Systems” course. Next semester I plan to study more, go into my exams with good marks, and confidence, and come out with distinctions and a semester GPA not less than six.
Other than my results being released, I had a quiet, noncommittal sort of day, doing a bit of work on my website and generally messing around in a lazy sort of way.

03.07.2004Saturday 3 July – Shan’s

Mum and I walked down to the Rossville markets, which were very quiet, so after a very strong chocolate fudge sort of thing, I left. Shan said he was about to watch a DVD, so I went up there and saw “8 MM”, and then spent a pleasant evening talking with him.

04.07.2004Sunday 4 July – Lion’s Den

Mum and I drove down to the Lion’s Den Hotel, where they were having their inaugural monthly market, followed by a band. Dad was already there, having gone in earlier with Ron. We ended up spending most of the day there, and it was quite enjoyable, in a peaceful sort of way – not too hectic, but very scenic and somehow down-to-earth. Most of the people, and the place itself, typify the sort of relaxed life we live up here, somehow different from anywhere else I’ve seen. The markets themselves weren’t very big, which isn’t surprising considering that it hasn’t really stopped raining all year. The rain has quietened everything down – there are fewer tourists, because, apparently, down south, everyone still thinks we’re flooded in with impassable roads.

05.07.2004Monday 5 July – Relaxing & Rainfall

Dad and I were planning to walk up the mountain this morning, and find out why his water has stopped, but it was sprinkling when I woke up, so I went back to bed and didn’t end up getting around to walking up to his place until after lunchtime.
While looking through an old “Cooktown Local News” the other day, I discovered the May Rainfall figures. Rossville has had 3168 millimetres of rain this year, up to the end of May. To put that into perspective, that’s over 124 inches – or more than 10 feet, of rain. Only Daintree Tea had more, at 3321 millimetres. This contrasts starkly with Coen, with 113 millimetres this year, to the end of May.
I spent the evening chatting to Dad, and had a quiet, uneventful, night.

06.07.2004Tuesday 6 July – Water & Mountain Climbing

Dad and I walked up the mountain behind his place, to find out why the water had stopped. It’s quite a walk, very steep most of the way, with a few nearly vertical sections requiring rock climbing and holding onto roots – hoping they don’t snap. The ground is very soft, torn up by pigs and birds, and liable to slide away from underneath me as I climb. I was quite surprised how far up the mountain the pipe goes. In the end, the problem was that leaves had blocked the intake – simply clearing them off fixed it.
I went for a walk out the Home Rule road, as far as 1K. It’s nice to be walking out in the bush again – I find it very good for thinking.
After playing around building a new site for the Big Shed Imports that I can actually update without having to wander through half an hour of nested tables, I became enthused and decided to redesign my Uni site, which I did. After an hour of trying to learn JavaScript, which wasn’t very productive until I discovered a forgotten element at the top of my page that had the same ID as the one I was trying to play around with, I managed to get a menu expanding script to work, but I’ve got to get up early tomorrow to go to town, so that’s as far as it’s going to go today. I’m quite happy with the result really, it even validated first time. I’ve actually learnt quite a lot and can knock up a standards compliant site, which works in all modern browsers, is semantically marked-up, accessible, and looks like what I want it to, in only a few hours while messing around and chatting online.

07.07.2004Wednesday 7 July – The Sun & Matthew & Matthew

The sun came up, slowly, and before long, was up more than it was before. Not content with this, it continued, and before evening, it was noon, and after noon, it was evening, which was before afternoon, during which the sun went down more and more, until eventually it was no more, and then we were in night and inky blackness. Then the moon came up, slowly, and before long was up more than it was before.
Mum and I drove to town, as Mum was doing a CPR course. I went and saw Matthew and Matthew at the Big Shed.
Comment by cf – Friday 16 July 2004, 12:45 AM

08.07.2004Thursday 8 July – Town, Helicopters & Pizza

I walked up to Shan’s, where I met Samuel, and then Dad, Mum, and the fantastically wonderful me, drove to town. I walked to Matthew’s, where I fixed a radio receiver module for a helicopter by soldering the antenna wire back on, thus proving beyond any reasonable doubt that I am still wonderfully capable – and a genius to boot, and then we drove home again, stopping at the Lion’s Den for yummy pizza.

09.07.2004Friday 9 July – Climbing, Water & Pumps

Dad and I once again walked up the mountain behind Dad’s, this time patching a few leaks in the pipe on the way up, and installing a new filter to the intake, as the previous one seems to block within a few days.
After just arrived back from fixing the pipe, Monty arrived to ask for help. He’d, before even having a coffee, taken his pump down to the creek to pump up, and it didn’t start. Dad and I went and had a look at it, for three and a half hours, pulling various exciting parts off it, and eventually getting it to run, but not for more than a few minutes. I particularly dislike small pump motors, as the only time I ever seem to have anything to do with them, is when they’re broken, and out in the bush somewhere, and it’s usually pouring rain, after midnight, and I have to slide down cliffs into lakes of mud to get there. At least today, it was clean, light, and dry.
After a walk out the Home Rule Road, where I bumped into a pile of guys, Rhiannon, Jolene, and a car stuck on the side of the road with a lot of oil coming out the bottom, Mum and I watched “Kandahar”, a particularly disappointing movie about nothing much. The short movie/documentary included as a bonus was much better than the main feature itself. I then stayed up late, messing around with my website.

10.07.2004Saturday 10 July – Sleeping

I slept in, woke up, didn’t do anything for a while, then went and didn’t do anything else for a while, then went back to bed and lazed around daydreaming, before going for a walk out the Home Rule Road. I then added ads to my uni site, not that anyone ever goes there, but now that it’s all redesigned and all, I felt it needed ads for that extra professional look, and it’s fun “monetizing” my site.
Mum and I watched “Analyze That”, which I’ve seen before, but it’s quite funny in spots, although a bit too stupid in others.

11.07.2004Sunday 11 July – XSLT, Recursion & Hay Fever

It’s been raining, or sprinkling, most of the day. I slept in extraordinarily, which is probably not surprising considering I stayed up late last night. Now I have bad hay fever, and because of the rain, I can’t walk around outside – the only temporary relief, apart from sleeping and eating, that I am aware of, even if it doesn’t work that well.
I stayed up all night redesigning my journal. I wanted to add automatic acronym replacement, but using XSLT results in an amazingly convoluted and inefficient method, so I’ve changed my journal so that it statically caches each day – meaning they only have to be generated once. I tried for a while to figure out how to replace acronyms myself, and ended up having to ask for help on the XSLT mailing list – it’s quite recursively complex, although I had it nearly right, sort of.
  I store the list of acronyms to be replaced as a fragment tree, and then I check against the first acronym. If the input text doesn’t contain this acronym, I recursively call the template again, passing it the input text and the rest of the acronyms – that is, all the acronyms but not the first one. If the input text does contains the first acronym in that list, I break the text into two parts – the text before the first occurrence of the acronym, which by definition doesn’t contain that acronym, and the text after the first occurrence of the acronym, which could contain that acronym again. I then recursively call the template again with the text before the first occurrence of the acronym, passing it the remainder of the acronyms, that is, all but the first acronym. Then I generate the acronym itself, and recursively call the template again, passing it the text after the first occurrence of the acronym, and all the acronyms – as this part could still contain any acronym. Once I got my mind around the terribly recursive things this does, it actually made sense.
  As if this wasn’t already horribly inefficient enough, I then call the entire acronym replace template itself recursively, from within my replace new lines with HTML breaks template, which also calls itself recursively – it’s a bit like a nightmare, except in XML. However, it does work, although I’ve not yet thought of any good way to test that an acronym isn’t within another acronym. Currently I’m just ensuring that the acronym is the correct case, and has a trailing space, period, comma or bracket. This appears to work for all cases except that where the acronym is the last term in a sentence and isn’t followed by a period – which I guess, should never happen.
  It was actually surprisingly easy to convert my journal into a statically caching system. Now, if someone attempts to view a day that hasn’t been statically cached, it will create it and cache it, and if it has already been statically cached, it will simply show the cached version – meaning that the acronym replacer should only have to run once per day. This has broken my private entry authentication system, as that was dynamically handled in XSLT, and I haven’t yet bothered fixing it – but that shouldn’t be too hard. Staying up all night probably wasn’t the best idea, but the more engrossed I got, the more my hay fever went away – either that or it was just going away anyway.

12.07.2004Monday 12 July – Blank

Mum was away all day. My recall has died. That’s all folks.

13.07.2004Tuesday 13 July – Let there be Light

I walked up to Shan’s to fix his spotlights. His lights are silly ones that switch both the negative and positive at various points.
Mum and I watched “The Shipping News”. Mum and I then had an argument about it. Consequently, I have no official opinion on this movie.

14.07.2004Wednesday 14 July – Relaxing

I had a quiet, uneventful day, going for a walk in the evening. Wayne and Renee dropped by with their new car; they want me to have a look at their stereo some time. Mum and I watched “We Were Soldiers”, which I’ve seen before, but it’s a good, very intense, movie.

15.07.2004Thursday 15 July – Town

I woke up at a horribly early hour, to sign on for my evil COMP2801, which is apparently a bad sort of group-orientated thing. I’ve gone from having an all but perfect timetable, to a pretty average timetable, to a rather bad timetable with two eight o’clock starts and a five o’clock finish on Friday – due to tutoring. Hopefully it’s worth it, and everything works out ok. I’ve chosen COMP2502, “Algorithms and Data Structures”, which is compulsory and sounds particularly math intensive and bad, COMP2801, “Software Engineering Studio”, which is also compulsory, and COMS3200, “Computer Networks I”, which isn’t compulsory, but which I probably should do so I can learn something for a change. I still needed a fourth course, and after looking through about a hundred courses, the best I could come up with was COMP3502, “Information Security”, which I’m not particularly happy with. I’ve been told it’s a bit math intensive, which I’m trying to avoid, but I couldn’t find anything better, so I’ll have to see how it goes. I was nearly going to do an English Literature course, until I was warned that it would most likely be very time consuming.
Mum and I drove to town. Sarah was selling raffle tickets outside the supermarket. I got a thick shake and felt sick afterwards, as usual. I bought some chocolate. We drove home.
Sarah phoned, wanting tickets booked, so I booked tickets for her and Vince down to a fight in Brisbane next month.
Comment by DM – Friday 23 July 2004, 1:33 PM
  You know, tutoring may extend your days a little, but as far as it goes, it's a pretty good state of affairs to be in :p
Comment by Ned – Friday 23 July 2004, 1:59 PM
  “Fatal error: Call to undefined function: deleate_day()”
  I wondered why the comments weren’t showing up ;-)
Comment by Ned – Friday 23 July 2004, 2:01 PM
  I’m hoping tutoring is good for me.

16.07.2004Friday 16 July – Arcing, Stereos & Mud Wasps

A few times now, today, this monitor has done scary stuff. It’s as if something inside is arcing, which is exactly what’s happening I suspect. There’s a loud arcing noise, the screen goes particularly bright, and large, then back to normal, so I’m guessing the high voltage is either arcing, or probably more likely, it’s overdriving and arcing inside the tube and the limiter is cutting in. I have a feeling it doesn’t bode well for the monitor – but I’m really hoping it doesn’t die right now, as I’ve no way of getting a replacement in a hurry, especially while Shan isn’t here.
In other exciting news, Renee brought over their stereo, which, after the removal of several hundred screws, and then the removal, some time later, of the last screw that I didn’t notice, I took apart. Symptoms included not working, so, after checking obvious things like fuses and diodes in the amp, I removed the headphone jack sub-board from the stereo, then the headphone jack from the headphone jack sub-board, then the back part of the headphone jack from the headphone jack, and then the mud wasp nest from the headphone jack, and then put it all back together, and told her it was fixed – which indeed it was.
I went for a walk along the Home Rule Road and practiced running into the bush and hiding from cars, managing to nearly fall down a cliff and getting wait-a-while spikes in my feet in the process – but at least I wasn’t seen.

17.07.2004Saturday 17 July – Fundraiser

It rained all morning, only beginning to clear a little towards evening.
Mum and I drove into town to attend a fundraiser for a local family whose father has recently died of a heart attack, after phoning Sarah and finding that it was sunny there. The fundraiser went until just after midnight, with seven local bands and all the normal things they have at stuff like this. Mum and I got home quite late, but it was a good fun night.

18.07.2004Sunday 18 July – The Sunday Session

I was woken by Sarah phoning from the Den. Vince, Dad and she are there, so Mum and I are going to head down as well.
Vince told me an interesting story about this time a shark nearly ate him, just a few weeks ago I think. He had one of his daughters and a young bloke from kickboxing swimming with him, and was diving himself into a ball of fish – I forget what type, when he turned around and saw a very large tiger shark coming towards him at extreme speed. He decided, in a split second like you do in situations like that, that he was going to be killed without any doubt, but wanted to save his daughter, so he swam upwards as fast as he could, pushing off the sharks nose as he left the water. The people in the boat said he flew out of the water, flippers and all. The shark never looked back, and had disappeared by the time he landed back in the water. He felt confident after this, and kept diving all evening. The next day, when he went to go diving again, he couldn’t – and he’s never been able to keep diving when he sees that sort of fish since.
I spent the evening, and most of the night, at the Lion’s Den Hotel. “Roadtrippers” were playing, although they apparently hadn’t left town until nearly six o’clock this morning, and so were a little late getting started. The atmosphere at the Den was pleasant and relaxing, and I had quite a good time. I had pizza for lunch – they make very good pizza too. Vince and Sarah left around six o’clock, although their dogs had run away. They turned up later and Mum phoned Vince, who came back out to pick them up, and ended up staying a while longer. It was quite busy for most of the day, with a small local market when we first got there, and a lot of tourists and locals later as the band were playing. By the end of the night, only the four owners, the two English barmaids, the band, a local or two, and us, were left – and the band started jamming around and having fun. It was quite a good night, somehow very Aussie and homely.

19.07.2004Monday 19 July – Peter Puppy passes on

Mum and I drove up to Jean’s place. Mum is driving her to town, and I am getting a lift with them. After dropping Jean at the doctor’s and getting a milkshake, I went and lay on the grass in the warm sun at the wharf for a while until some ants came and annoyed me. I then walked down to Ricci’s place, and lay in the sun there for a while, before walking back to the supermarket, where I met Vince and Sarah. Vince had just been told by Kevin that Peter Puppy-dog had passed away last night. I went to the bakery to get a salad roll for lunch and met Larnii, who had also heard about Peter. Word spreads fast.
I saw Matthew at the Big Shed, went to Sarah’s, talked to Peter for a while, and went and installed Ad-Aware for Diana. After walking to the wharf and getting chips, I then went to Matthew’s, where we played games, watched TV, and flew his smaller electronic helicopter, which now works. I then walked to the shire hall, and Mum, Jean and I drove back home again, getting home tomorrow.

20.07.2004Tuesday 20 July – Quiet

I phoned the travel place in town, where I found there’s no three-day advance fares available, and I need to have an exact return date to get a local fare, so had to book a full fare to Cairns. I then went for a nice walk out the Home Rule road, came home, and fixed up the authentication system on my journal, which was a bit complicated for a while. I think it’s all working statically now.

21.07.2004Wednesday 21 July – Congestion, Student Fees & Caching

I was woken by Renee phoning, and then had a pleasant morning dozing, followed by a pleasant evening walking and thinking. I also got around to paying my “Student Fees”, by which I am undemocratically forced to support a scummy union full of rabid left-wing extremists with less brains than the average household cockroach, who in turn support causes that I do not wish to support. Exactly how something like this is justified in a supposedly democratic country, I am not sure.
Shan and Kylie-Anne are home, and dropped by to pick up their mail and have a chat.
  I decided it would be a good idea to make the pages of my amused site cacheable. There’s a surprising amount of information around on how to prevent pages being cached by proxy servers, caching servers, and client’s browsers, but not nearly as much on how to ensure the pages are cached. I eventually managed to find a few different bits of information, and now have it so that my amused site is sending “Last-Modified” and “Etag” headers, and returning a “HTTP/1.1 304 Not Modified” header if the cached copy of a page is still valid. I was just about to test the “Etag” code when the connection dropped, so I’m not sure whether it works, but it’s essentially identical to the “Last-Modified” code, which does work, so it should. This should cut down data transfer from my site a little, and potentially make return visits to pages faster. I guess I should add as many “Please Cache this for a hugely long time” sort of headers and tags as I can find, so as many caches as possible actually do, thus cutting down transfers from the web server even more, but that’ll have to wait until I’ve a working internet connection again.
Apparently Jade has just discovered that her flatmate is lesbian, after living with her for over a year. This strikes me as amusing, somehow.
The modem thought there was an incoming phone call, which I ignored. It then began messing around trying to renegotiate a connection, and eventually dropped the connection. I tried to reconnect but got an engaged signal. I tried again, several times, eventually getting a recorded message, “Service to the telecommunications network you are calling is temporarily congested, we apologise for any inconvenience. Please try again later. This is a free call. D R S E”. I tried a few more times, and then just kept getting an “Error 777: The connection attempt failed because the modem (or other connecting device) on the remote computer is out of order”. The interesting thing is that the modem gives this error without even attempting to dial, leading me to suspect that it’s some type of timeout after a specified number of failed attempts to connect. Either that or it’s broken, but it will dial any other number without problems.
The modem will dial the ISP’s number again now, so I guess that error was just some precautionary timeout to comply with Australia’s telephone laws. Unfortunately though, the telephone network seems to have died. All 0198 numbers seem to give the same congested message, and 1800 numbers aren’t even attempting to dial. Local numbers appear to work, and I can’t afford (or be bothered) to try any others.
Service to the telecommunications network that I want to connect to is still congested, so I’m guessing there’s been a reasonably major, although perhaps localised, fault with the telephone network, and which isn’t likely to be fixed very soon – or perhaps it’s those aliens again. Either way, I’m off to bed.

22.07.2004Thursday 22 July – Town, Telstra & Dialup

Now, when trying to connect to my ISP, I simply get no response at all – so I phoned Telstra, who did their normal things, checked the line, phoned the ISP from wherever their office is, and said they could find no problems. I tried phoning a Brisbane 1800 number, and Joe, both of which now work – so I guess that’s slightly better than last night when even 1800 numbers didn’t work. The lady from Telstra phoned back, and very politely attempted to convince me that the problem is probably just with my ISP’s number, and that it’s probably due to local congestion and thus unfixable, despite the fact that it’s never happened before, and occurred at four past midnight last night, and affects numbers other than my ISP’s number. I had to insist there was a problem before they’d actually report it. Rumour has it that a tech from Telstra will phone me back after having a more detailed look. I’ll probably be in town.
I figured I might as well phone Dodo and complain to them too, so Mr “Dodo Messaging Service” got to take my username and contact number, and assured me that someone will, eventually, phone me back – probably when I’m in town and can’t be contacted. I’m glad I paid my student fees yesterday, as it might be a bit difficult had I had to pay them today.
I tried dialling up again, and it worked. I suppose it’s been fixed.
Dad noticed a pinprick leak in one of the smaller radiator hoses, and while he and I were replacing it, we inadvertently snapped part of the small thermal block that it joined to, which was badly corroded. We then drove to town, where I paid for my airfare to Cairns. We also dropped by the “Golden Spanner”, bought a bit of hose to bypass the broken thermal block, and ordered a replacement. We stopped in at the Den on the way home, to drop off three boxes of frozen pies from the bakery, and a quick drink.
Shan and Kylie-Ane drove up, and, after driving out to Home Rule and collecting Ella, we drove to town, where they got some DVD’s, and we all got a pizza and some chips, before heading home via the service station and a drink and ice cream. We ended up staying out at Home Rule for a while after dropping Ella there. Her and Kylie had managed to go entirely stupid on the way home, and proceeded to excel themselves at this, which makes even the silliest joke quite funny. I wouldn’t normally laugh at something as stupid as the stupid “Badger, Badger, Badger... Snake!” thing, but it’s hilarious when there’s other people rolling around on the floor laughing uncontrollably. We progressed to my amused site, and had a look at a few of the funnier things there, with everyone finding the “Telstra Customer Experience” quite entertaining. Watching Kylie and Ella get shocked by the surprises at the end of the “Illusions” and “Vision Test” things was good too, and it was quite a good night.
I’ve added a header parsing and sending section to my amused, the-i, and uni sites. This should allow caches to cache them more often, thus reducing bandwidth, increasing site performance (from a client perspective) and theoretically saving me money. There’s a lot of info available on the ‘net explaining how to prevent browsers and servers from caching a site – but precious little on how to ensure they do cache it.
  There’s no guarantee that the way I’ve done it is entirely correct – but I went through the entire HTTP/1.1 RFC while figuring it out – and can already notice the speed increase as my browser locally caches pages I’ve visited, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
  I see this as the logical conclusion for those people who, like me, have gone to trouble to turn their “dynamic” URI’s into “static” ones. Whether it makes any difference to search engines or not, I don’t know, but it would make sense if they cached pages that are less dynamic in preference to those that are more likely to change. Obviously, if your pages actually do change frequently, you wouldn’t want to use this technique – or would at least want to modify the “expires” header to something a bit closer than a year from the current date, which is what I’m currently using and also the maximum recommended.

23.07.2004Friday 23 July – Packing, Pirates & Rain

Due to the late night last night, I slept in. It was raining when I woke, and rained for most of the day.
Dad came around and we watched “Pirates of the Caribbean”. I then drove him to the Den for the pool comp, as he thought there might be a memorial sort of pool comp for Peter Puppy-Dog. The road is surprisingly muddy and slippery. It hasn’t rained enough for the slick surface to wash away, and there hasn’t been enough traffic to chew up the firmer ground underneath.
I’ve put all my stuff onto the couch beside me here, but am not finding the motivation to pack it. I don’t really want to go back to uni yet. I wish I could travel up here more often – coming up for the mid-semester break would be good. I might even look into it, although it’s probably too expensive to bother and there’s generally uni work I should be doing.
It’s still pretty wet, but not actually raining. I’m going to try burning my email and web folder and stuff to CD to backup. I should burn “Extreme” for Matthew. Hmm, I had better get the number for my Cairns to Brisbane flight too.
I’m off to bed.

24.07.2004Saturday 24 July – Flight to Brisbane

Mum wakes me.
I have moved the PC inside, and packed away the last of my stuff ready for taking back to Brisbane, and am now setting up the PC again and drinking an “ecco”. We are planning to leave around a quarter to seven. It is still raining and wet.
Dad, Mum and I drive to the airport. The road is quite slick in spots, and it rained quite heavily in a few spots too. Sarah is waiting at the airport with their two dogs.
There are only three people, and the pilot, on this flight. The flight is uneventful, although it feels as though there are pins behind my eyes when we’re landing – blocked sinuses are not good for flying.
I arrive at Cairns General Aviation, where I catch a taxi around to Cairns Domestic Airport – having forgot to pick up my ticket, lie down, watch the tourists coming and going, and have a bit of a rest for an hour, before checking in my luggage, buying a veggie burger from Hungry Jack’s, and spending another hour in the departures lounge.
My Virgin Blue Boeing 737-700 series takes off, without crashing, and I settle back and go to sleep. It’s six seats across, three on either side of the aisle, and I’m in a window seat, 8F, with no one sitting beside me – one of the advantages of checking in early I think.
I arrive in Brisbane, ten minutes late, wait for my luggage – which is the third piece out, another advantage to checking in early perhaps, and catch the air train to Central Station where I buy one of the new weekly tickets and catch the train out here. A short walk later, and I’m at Joe’s place. Dave and Tonya are here, Joe is showering and about to go out, and I’m tired, so after unpacking a few things, having a shower and setting up my computer, I connect to the internet and do nothing much for the rest of the day.
Joe orders “Chinese”, so I eat half a punnet of “Chinese noodles”, not long after eating a cold can of baked beans, from the can. Feeling suitably healthy, I chat for a bit, and then head to bed.

25.07.2004Sunday 25 July – Shopping, Washing & Lazing

I slept in, did some washing, went grocery shopping with Joe, and I am now relaxing in front of my computer.

26.07.2004Monday 26 July – Second Semester Starts

I wake up, for the first day of semester two. It’s nowhere near as cold as I was expecting. After everyone saying how freezing it would be when I got back, I think it’s actually warmer here than it was up north. My silly hay fever cum cold that I always seem to get when I return from up north is abating too.
I manage to leave on time, even managing to find the time to check my emails first.
The train departs the station, also on time. Everything seems to be going a bit too smoothly.
The train arrives on time. I walk to the ferry, which leaves just after I get there. I walk to GPS, where I meet Marcus just about to leave. I print out my timetable. Everything seems to be going too well.
Kieran, Marcus and I attend our inaugural two-hour COMP2801 lecture – which was not a good lecture. In fact, it was almost ludicrously bad. Two hours of complete waffle about basic common sense principles and team related nonsense – the lecturer, or course coordinator, as I think we have a different lecturer for at least part of the course, seems to be horribly similar to all the jokes I’ve heard about “management”. Still, we in the back row managed to have a good time (if that’s the right phrase) making fun of most of what he was saying.
I went and saw Soon-Kyeong Kim, lecturer for COMP1501 – after she’d finished an hour-long phone call to her Mum. It seems I’m tutoring three hours a week, Tuesday ten to eleven, Thursday eleven to twelve and Friday two to three. I’ve also been allocated an additional two hours a week for “admin” related tasks, and I think perhaps a few more for marking assignments here and there, for a total of seventy-five hours this semester.
COMP3502 started oddly. The “lecturer” introduced himself, and ran through the basic course administration. After ten minutes or so, another man walked in, apologised for getting himself lost on the way here, and introduced himself as the lecturer, same name and all. Everyone was very confused for a minute until the lecturer, the genuine one this time, explained we’d all just fallen for the simplest antitrust trick in the world, impersonation. He then went on to talk about the difference between trust and trustworthy, show us a few short movies, and make a few jokes – managing to make quite a good impression, although I’m far from convinced that the course itself will be any good.
After the lectures, I went and saw the lecturer for COMP2801 to find out if he’d let me attend only an hour of a two-hour prac, which he quite rudely, but perhaps justifiably, didn’t. I then went and saw Clint, Sméagol, Clus and Kipps, all of who seem to be just as mad as last semester, and then, very tired, caught a bus and the train home – via Cold Rock in the city.

27.07.2004Tuesday 27 July – I, Robot

I woke up when my alarm went off, at six o’clock, and again eight minutes later. Eight o’clock starts aren’t my favourite things. Nevertheless, I managed to get to uni on time, and it wasn’t even that cold. I found the right room for my COMP2801 practical, and formed a group with the three people sitting nearest me – all of whom I happened to know, vaguely. I had been a little worried that I’d end up being automatically assigned a group of dumb people – less intellectually endowed people, I should say, or people who wouldn’t do any work, couldn’t speak English, were intolerable, had multiple open wounds, etc. I just wasn’t quite sure what people would go to an 8 AM practical, because, by my logic, no sane person would intentionally sign up for something that early. Fortunately, though, I think the group I’ve managed to get are reasonably intelligent, willing and able to try, well versed in basic English and other associated communication skills, including, but not limited to, the ability to write and talk in an understandable manner, and so on, and so forth. In other words, I’m hopeful that I’m in a good group.
  We then proceeded to “bond”, by attempting to survive a plane crash in snowy, sub-zero northern Canada, in a wooded area crisscrossed with creeks and roughly 20 miles from the nearest town. Luckily, we had some vital survival equipment, such as a lighter with no fluid, a ball of steel wool, and two dead pilots. We had to individually rank these (and several other) items in order of importance to our survival, and then do the same again but as a group. We then compared our results to that of an “expert”, who, I suspect, would accidentally kill himself (and several innocent bystanders) while trying to survive a trip to the local supermarket. Nevertheless, we bonded, and, apart from one member who took the whisky and headed towards town and certain death, and another member who didn’t place enough importance on the lighter and froze to death, and myself and another member who left the steel wool behind and not only froze to death but were also unable to signal for help due to the unreflective properties of Crisco shortening, we all survived.
Kieran, Marcus and I went to our inaugural COMS3200 lecture, and I wasn’t impressed by it. Admittedly, it’s only the first one, and I can’t actually remember anything that was said as I was designing and drawing detailed plans for a butter-curling machine at the time, but what I do remember wasn’t promising. The lecturer, who is a woman, is, as usual, foreign, and didn’t appear to be at all engaging. I found the lecture boring, and I’d probably have learnt more from reading the notes at home. I’ve heard COMS3200 is difficult, so didn’t really want the added burden of a boring, difficult to understand, and unengaging lecturer. Apparently, we’ve another lecturer who will teach half the course, who is new to UQ, having just come from Zurich – so maybe he will be better. Or perhaps this lecturer will warm up to the topic – as two hours of her today wasn’t pleasing.
I went and saw Kieran. Kieran and I went to POD and printed $28.80 worth of pages at 6¢ a page. Kieran and I went to the union bookshop and didn’t find any textbooks. Kieran and I went to Clint’s and found one Clint, slightly worn. I went to the labs and didn’t do what I planned to go to the labs and do. Raymond came to the labs. Raymond and I went to Clint’s room. Clint, Raymond and I met Sméagol. Sméagol offered to drive us to the bus stop. Sméagol drove us all the way to Indooroopilly. I ate a felafel kebab. Clint ate something that may perhaps have been a chicken, once upon a time. Raymond had already eaten college food, and isn’t feeling sick, yet.
Clint, Raymond, and, most importantly of all, me, bought tickets and “super-mega frozen coke with both flavours please”, and went and saw “I, Robot”. We met Kieran, who was already there, having decided to, after having decided not to, come – so to speak. The movie was movie-like, and had loud sounds, but unfortunately decidedly Hollywood. Even so, I had fun – and then, as Clint would say, “Train station”.
Comment by maddox – Thursday 29 July 2004, 11:07 AM
Comment by Ned – Saturday 31 July 2004, 3:36 AM
  Amusing, and accurate – in a way...

28.07.2004Wednesday 28 July – In which I am lazy

Comment by Mum – Friday 30 July 2004, 10:26 PM
Comment by Ned – Saturday 31 July 2004, 3:35 AM
  Good idea.
Comment by io – Saturday 31 July 2004, 1:59 PM
  Your mum.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 31 July 2004, 2:35 PM
  That’s right.
Comment by crappo – Sunday 1 August 2004, 10:15 PM
  XD...XD hehe lol

29.07.2004Thursday 29 July – The Chronicles of Riddick

Another eight o’clock start, necessitating a six o’clock wake up – not good. We managed not to miss the train, although we nearly froze on the way there, and made it to our lecture on time. Kevin Gates, from “Internet Interface Design” fame, is our lecturer for COMP2502. This is probably not a good thing. He spent the entire hour explaining the course profile, asking rhetorical questions and waiting for someone to answer them. Usually, no one does, so he has to answer them himself. Still, it’s only the first COMP2502 lecture we’ve been to, so we’ll have to reserve our judgement.
We had to print out our airfare confirmations, from our email, so headed down to the labs to do this. Once in the labs, we found that they weren’t running optimally, which gave rise to our first newsgroup complaint of the semester:
  “Welcome to my first complaint for the semester.
  While I wait in the labs for my 170K PDF file to re-download and wish I had a connection as fast and reliable as the Dodo dialup I used during the holidays, I thought I’d whinge about the lack of PDF opening software. Adobe Acrobat Reader isn’t installed on these machines (GPS-110), making it difficult to view PDF files. This seems somewhat foolish, given that the majority of ITEE course material is given in PDF format. Of course, if it’s a bandwidth saving measure and we’re no longer expected to download and view PDF files from the labs, I’ll understand – the network was obviously not designed to cope with such bandwidth intensive tasks. If not, it might be a good idea to install it in the default image, as downloading the 8 to 23 MB file every time I want to view a 200K PDF seems a tad silly.”
  This engendered a reply:
  “Somehow I imagine that could have been posted with marginally less acid.”
  This, in turn, prompted me to reply:
  Did I mention it then took me nearly half an hour to locate and view two emails, due to it taking up to five minutes to view each email page? Performance like this doesn’t lead to a happy me, and is inexcusable from a university that used to proclaim it was “World Class”, although I see they’ve removed this now – perhaps scared they’d be done for false advertising?”
  This led to another reply:
  “Funny they have removed “World Class”. Maybe they have started to listen to costumers like Ned Martin!
  Ned, maybe you should start adding disclaimers to your postings? Last semester someone apparently read one too many of them.”
  That about sums up my thrilling newsgroup experience for the day. I hope “costumers” is an unintentional typo.
Clint and we went to Toowong, by omnibus. He had to hand in a rent form or something, and we had to claim fares allowance. We then ate a donut and milkshake for lunch as part of our new healthy diet, before heading back to uni where we waited around in the labs killing time and talking to “Dogmatix Man”. Yes, it does look a little odd when written out like that. Clint and “Dogmatix Man” then headed off to a BITS meeting, and we caught another omnibus into the city and went to Office Works, where we bought a file carrier thing, and then went to Govindas for dinner before heading back to uni again. We got a bit bored then, and Maz did too, so we went and saw “The Chronicles of Riddick” at Indooroopilly. We got there a bit late and the theatre was mostly full, so we ended up down the front. The movie was average – nothing particularly special, but fun to watch anyway.

30.07.2004Friday 30 July – King Arthur

Two hours of Algorithms and Data Structures isn’t good. It got into math, which made no sense at all. I’m hoping that’s because parts were left out and not just because I don’t understand. This was followed by a Computer Networks lecture, so it wasn’t the best of mornings.
I met Matt at Central Station, and we caught a train out to Indooroopilly and watched “King Arthur”, which Matt particularly likes. I enjoyed the movie, but didn’t find it spectacular – it aimed for, but fell short of, achieving epic status, but was a fun and engrossing watch. The plot, with a Roman King Arthur fighting crazy savage Celts led by Merlin, sucked – why couldn’t they use a more traditional King Arthur plot?
On the walk back from the train, my lung began to hurt. It’s hurt many times before, and each time I worry that my lung may have collapsed again. It’s because, in the past when it has collapsed, it’s been similar. I’ve always known though, when it has actually collapsed, that it’s really collapsed – but I can never be sure that it hasn’t again, so it stresses me out. It seemed a little worse than usual tonight, and I’m sick of it. I’m going to make an appointment with the doctor on Monday, probably for later in the week, and see what they reckon. Perhaps they can send me for more tests, or explain that it is normal to hurt like this, or send me off to a psychologist for fixing or something. I don’t really know – but I’m sick of being scared to do anything.
Comment by Matt – Monday 2 August 2004, 8:37 AM
  Arthur didn't fight Merlin and his people, in the end it was the Romans and whatever the name of the race that Merlin belonged to's people that joined forces to fight the Saxons.
Comment by Martin – Monday 2 August 2004, 2:07 PM
  That COMP2502 lecture was awful. He waffled on at the start then didn't explain anything when it actually got to the technical bits and the slides were all out of order. Read the textbook, it helps explain it a bit.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 3 August 2004, 8:33 PM
  I’ve just bought the textbook, so perhaps I can make sense of it all now.

31.07.2004Saturday 31 July – Sleeping & Hotlink Protection

I slept. I then woke up. After that, I slept again, before waking again. I then analysed the logs from my amused site to try to figure out why I’d had one and a half gigabytes of a one hundred and eighty kilobyte MP3 downloaded in the past few days, and discovered that quite a lot of my content was being directly linked from other places. This inspired me to build a complex session based anti-hotlink script, which seems to work, although no one not allowing cookies will be served any images – including search bots. It’s simple in theory – if the user doesn’t have a valid session set by my site, it won’t serve them any directly requested files. If they try to access a file and don’t have a valid session set, it’ll return a “forbidden” header and log them. I’ll see how it goes. It’s already blocked a ton of people, and now that it’s logging, I can see who is trying to link to stuff.

01.08.2004Sunday 1 August – Joe’s Birthday

A few of Joe’s friends came over, along with SSS and his girlfriend, and, just before I left, Tim and Michelle.
  I caught the train to South Bank, and then walked to the CityCat. It was late. By the time I arrived at West End, I had only five minutes to get to the ABC Ferry Road Music Centre, so I ran. It nearly killed me. I arrived, just on three o’clock, about to go into cardiac arrest – to find the doors closed. It’s a live broadcast, so no one is allowed in after it’s started. I asked if I could watch from the upstairs studio, which impressed the bloke I asked, as he wasn’t expecting me to know it existed, and so I got to watch from what’s got to be the best seat in the house, in my opinion. Moreover, I felt special, so, apart from the imminent cardiac arrest, all went well.
  After the concert, Raymond and I caught the CityCat back to UQ and went and visited the infamous inmates of Leo’s C-Block. They weren’t doing anything, so I caught the bus into Indooroopilly, had dinner there, and watched “Laws of Attraction”. Apart from being a silly movie, it was quite enjoyable and made a nice change from the (supposedly more serious) action ones I’ve been watching recently.
  I was nearly killed, for the second time today, after I got home. Joe forced me to eat many odd and unusual pickles, olives, strong cheeses and their kin.
Comment by DM – Monday 2 August 2004, 11:10 PM
  You seem to have this knack for thinking of the last seat in the house as that of the highest quality. Millions upon millions of years of evolution have served you well.
Comment by DM – Monday 2 August 2004, 11:11 PM
  Oh, unless you subscribe to creationism, that is.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 3 August 2004, 12:09 AM
  I’d much rather sit up in the studio, overlooking the whole thing, with the sound engineers. Perhaps not always, as it’s debatably no longer a “live” performance from there – but as a one off thing, it was cool.
  And yes, it’s pretty obvious we were not “created” by an almost infinite and supposedly “random” series of evolutionary changes. Anyone who thinks a man was once a worm is patently stupid. A woman, on the other hand...
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 3 August 2004, 7:26 PM
  A woman, on the other hand..... is the holy vessel, from which all you ratbags sprungeth. A woman, on the other hand, is the mother who sat and waited and worried, whilst all you sprung ratbags cavorted until 2am. A woman, on the other hand, is the sister who patiently abided with the egoism of elder brothers who knew everything, been everywhere, done everything, whilst she had the socks, soup, soap, and key to the tractor. A woman waits.
Comment by DM – Wednesday 4 August 2004, 12:17 PM
  She had the SOUP? Now that's powertripping :)
Comment by Mum – Friday 6 August 2004, 8:54 PM
  Yergh. Soup. Would rather the tractor meselfn.

02.08.2004Monday 2 August – Sleepy & Late

I woke up just after my train left, and decided, in my groggy, half-asleep state, that as I’d already missed my early lecture, there was no point rushing to my tutorial. Thus did Ned end up at uni three hours late, just in time for his COMP3502 lecture.

03.08.2004Tuesday 3 August – The Hero & the Mouse

Woe unto those who awake early in the morning, for it is cold, and their toes may freeze. A pox upon those who set eight o’clock compulsory group practicals, for their fate is a sad one.
Wherein our righteous hero learns about CVS, and is reminded of the shortcomings of open-source UNIX based systems.
Wherein our valiant hero tutors 1501 for the first time this semester, with Mandy, and finds the labs mostly full, but has no major problems.
Wherein our noble hero discovers he is too tired to sit through a two hour COMS3200 lecture, and has to alternate from eye to eye as he doesn’t have enough energy to power both at once – eventually resorting to closing both for only a minute at a time, to revitalize.
Wherein our gallant hero eats too much at Govinda’s and feels sick.
Comment by Mum – Friday 6 August 2004, 9:00 PM
  Oh gallant one, how is thy tum?
Comment by Ned – Friday 6 August 2004, 11:26 PM
  Wherein our unwell hero eats an extra strong mint because his throat is sore.
Comment by Matt – Sunday 8 August 2004, 11:46 AM
  while (Ned.isSick())

04.08.2004Wednesday 4 August – Relaxing & My Site Guide

I slept in, relaxed, and created a new section of my site – “Ned Martin’s Site Guide”. I’ve put quite a bit of time into figuring out how to do some things for my sites, and, being the perfectionist I sometimes am, they usually end up being quite detailed solutions, complying to the appropriate RFC’s and recommendations – so I figured I might as well share a bit of this, and try for some Google Adwords revenue at the same time.

05.08.2004Thursday 5 August – Man on Fire

I had an eight o’clock start, which I didn’t miss. I sat through two hours of my COMP2502 lecture. He began the lecture we’ve already had – and didn’t notice. A student had to point it out. This is probably not a good sign. I then had a tutorial for the same. I didn’t understand the questions – even after having them explained. This probably isn’t a good sign either.
I tutored 1501, and met Julie, the other tutor. Not as many people came today – only around thirty, and everything went well.
Doctor’s Appointment
I made an appointment to see Dr Caligaras at 2 PM on Thursday 12 August, regarding my lung.
I went and saw “Man on Fire” at Indooroopilly. It’s a movie that I’d recommend – much more realistic than the normal Hollywood crap. It was also quite busy.

06.08.2004Friday 6 August – A slow day

I missed my train, by sleeping in, but still managed to get to my first lecture on time, due to there being an extra Brisbane Show train. I need to sleep more. This getting less than six hours sleep every night just isn’t working.
From a UQ press release yesterday, “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 2005 edition of the Good Universities Guide”
  “This is the eighth consecutive year that the Good Universities Guide has assessed UQ at being at the top of the State’s academic and student status hierarchies”
  UQ received the maximum five-star rating for eight main categories: prestige, getting a job, positive graduate outcomes, non-government earnings, student demand, research grants, research intensivity [sic], and toughness to get in"
  “Our staff have earned more national teaching awards than any other Australian university”
  “Today 34,000 students are enrolled at the University, including almost 8000 postgraduates. The University offers more than 5000 courses and 360 programs.”
  In other words, it’s big, and it’s better than QUT.
After two unexciting lectures and three unexciting tutorials, one of which I tutored, I went and phoned Sarah, who is now in Brisbane, and then went and saw Clint and his C-Block harem. Today’s 1501 tutorial was very un-busy. At one stage, there was only one student. I believe I’ve simplified and standardised the Apache, PHP and mySQL installation procedure as much as is possible now. I guess I had better test it on a clean lab machine just to make sure it actually works as expected.
  Clint had to go to BITS’ highly exciting “Meet the Exec” night, where a group of geeks go and discuss the latest Linux kernel while getting passively drunk from the fumes at the Royal Exchange, so I went home, via Govindas – a tasty habit which is beginning to get expensive.

07.08.2004Saturday 7 August – Sarah, Kickboxing & Cold

I, after staying up almost all night, got up at eight o’clock to phone Sarah, and then went back to bed, waking in the evening. I am sick – my throat is sore and my nose runs. I don’t feel particularly good.
I caught a train down to Beenleigh, and found my way to the Beenleigh Arena, after asking for directions several times. I then spent the next few hours watching kickboxing with Sarah and Vince, who was judging. A few of the fights were quite good, although only one was a full Muay Thai fight. One kid also cracked his cheekbone, and it was apparently bleeding into the bone marrow or something exciting like that – not exactly pleasant.
  After the fights, some time around half past eleven, I walked back to the station. It was extremely cold – hopefully cold enough to kill my cold.

08.08.2004Sunday 8 August – Sarah & an hour late I am

I went and met Vince and Sarah at the station, and showed them around here for a bit, before heading into the city, where we ate lunch, walked around, and I eventually left them at the station on the way to the airport. I was planning to get to the ABC’s Ferry Road Music Centre before three o’clock, so I left Central Station around three, but must have had a brain blockage, because that seemed fine at the time. I decided to try and take a shortcut, and ended up down near QUT’s Garden Point campus, and had to race the CityCat up to North Quay – so I was very puffed when I got onto it. I’d just about recovered by the time I got to West End, ten minutes before four – so I ran all the way to the ABC Music Centre, arriving on the border of cardiac arrest, as usual, only to find the place locked. It wasn’t until a few minutes later when Raymond, and everyone else, came out – that I realised I was an hour late.

09.08.2004Monday 9 August – Clint & Clus on Fire

Clint, Clus and I went and saw “Man on Fire” at Indooroopilly, the second time for me – but it is a good movie. We had to run for the bus, and it was very full so we had to stand most of the way. I think that about sums up my exciting day, although there was a bit of uni in there somewhere too.

10.08.2004Tuesday 10 August

I had to tutor, and attend an eight o’clock group practical for COMP2801, so didn’t want to be late. I had also stayed up most of the night, as usual, so had to use my psychological trick to wake up – setting the computer’s alarm to play something loud five minutes after my alarm, so when mine goes off, I have to get up to turn the computer’s one off before it goes off.
  It was very cold – one of the coldest mornings so far I think.
Lectures, the practical, my tutoring – it all went well.
I came home via Govindas. Once home, I dialled up, as usual, but wasn’t able to access anything external to uni. It ends up that Clint has used up his entire quota downloading stuff after reinstalling Windows a few times, which in turn means the dialup portion, even though it’s unlimited, is now essentially disabled. I eventually managed to connect using Mum’s Dodo account, and uploaded the new, semi-finished “Demon Wheels” site.

11.08.2004Wednesday 11 August – Ned Relaxes, Shops, Discovers Cure for Common Cold

Ned doesn’t go to uni today. He doesn’t do anything else either, if he can help it. Unfortunately, he had run out of food and clothes, so he had to do his washing and go shopping. This cost him quite a bit of money, and he’s now quite broke. On the up side, he did have a relaxing day. On the downside, tomorrow is Thursday.

12.08.2004Thursday 12 August – Walking Tall

For an eight o’clock start, well it went, and there I was. To be feared are Algorithms & Data Structures, for suck they do. Impossible was the tutorial, and wholesome the answers thereof.
Clint was visited, and Clus was on fire for great hilarity – “Codename Eagle”, it is so good. Oh, and the zeppelin, funny he was, and so big.
More Later
Run we did, catch the bus we did, and to Indooroopilly we went. “Walking Tall” was seen, and too short it was. But fun we had, Kieran, Clus, Clint and I.
Much More Later
Moreover and furthermore, to bed I shall go – for whosoever cares, tired I am.
Comment by richard strawman – Friday 13 August 2004, 2:05 AM

13.08.2004Friday 13 August – No Power, Many Doors

I had a normal day at uni, and came home afterwards. Once it got dark, the power failed – for nearly two hours. It was a disaster. I could not do anything. I was half way through adding cacheability to my journal when the power failed, and we’re so dependant on electricity down here – I couldn’t shower because it was dark, I couldn’t cook dinner because the stove is electric, I couldn’t think, play, or enjoy myself, because the computer is electronic. Luckily, Tonya had some candles so we could sit and complain about the power failure without walking into doors.
Abel Tasman on discovering Tasmania, “Too far south for spices and too close to the rim of the earth to be inhabited by anything but freaks and monsters”.
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 18 August 2004, 6:59 PM
  What! Good heavens! I thought all the freaks were up here!!

14.08.2004Saturday 14 August – Walking Tall Again

Joe wanted scratch-its and chips, but had already opened the bar, so I drove down to the local shops. The traffic signals weren’t working, so the drive was a bit more complex than normal. When I got to the shops, I discovered why the traffic signals weren’t working – there was no power. No power means no chips and no scratch-its, so I had to drive to the far away shops. There was lots of smoke too, it appears that somewhere is burning down and, apparently, 80% of the houses there have been evacuated.
Matt, known more appropriately as “scruff”, insisted I come and see a movie with him. I tried to say I couldn’t afford it, but he pointed out it would cost me only $5.50 for entry, as I already had everything else I needed. I tried to say I couldn’t make it because it was too late, but he pointed out that I could, so I ended up catching a train into Southbank and watching “Walking Tall” (again) on Australia’s biggest screen. I also bought Pringles and a frozen coke look-alike, so I’m broke again.

15.08.2004Sunday 15 August – Percussion & Chocolate Frogs

I actually managed to get up, onto the train, and into the city in time to catch a CityCat to West End in time to walk to the Ferry Road ABC Music Centre in time to get in. In fact, I got there before Raymond, and had time to buy a felafel roll from Southbank. Today’s concert was the Isorhythmos Percussion Ensemble, which was quite different to most other things. Anyone who can play those wooden whacky things with four fuzzy-ended-sticks at the same time, while only possessing two arms, earns my respect, and an ensemble who can have sixteen fuzzy-ended-sticks playing two wooden whacky things while only possessing eight arms also earns my respect. Nevertheless, there’s no denying the similarity between percussion and dishwashing time at a school for the gifted. It just doesn’t quite have the same effect as, say, a guitar virtuoso who can play lead and bass at the same time – that’s not to say they weren’t quite impressive.
  After that, I went home after dropping into uni, where everyone was, as usual, totally bored and boring. I did manage to support some good cause by buying two large chocolate frogs though, so I guess that was good. One was strawberry, and the other was green flavour – peppermint I suppose.

16.08.2004Monday 16 August – The Joys of Uni

A COMP2801 lecture was had, as was a COMS3200 tutorial, followed by a gap and then a COMP3502 lecture and then a reading of several very boring PDF’s from IEEE about trusted computing. Such is the exciting day I have.

17.08.2004Tuesday 17 August – Fear of Examinations, Meteors, Vampires

I woke up about fifteen minutes after my alarm. This is bad because I allow half an hour from alarm to ready, and then fifteen minutes from ready to train. I can, however, get ready in less than ten minutes, and get to the train in less than five – although the health risks are probably not worth it except in extreme cases, such as examinations and meteor strikes. Anyway, enough of that – the point is that it’s not good waking up late because I don’t allow long to get to the train and running straight out of bed makes me feel sick and unwell.
We had a group meeting for COMP2801 during our prac, which went quite well. We managed to delegate tasks to ourselves in a way that seems to make everyone happy, without really meaning to, while telling lots of doubtful jokes and stuff. It seems Flash is Mr CVS, Stephen is Mr PowerPoint Designer, and Lachlan and I are your presenters – with Lachlan being more comfortable talking, and me being less comfortable talking, so I’m Mr Click Things and he’s the inimitable Dr Voice. It’s all going good.
I proceeded to tutor, and then to relax, and then to attend a lecture, late because I went to POD to print notes, and then the same lecture, second half, late again because Matt and I went to the refectory for sustenance. I was then going to read many things about the trustworthy computing initiative, otherwise known as “pirates are bad arr”, but it sort of didn’t happen. I ended up going to Umart with Marcus and Clint to purchase geeky hard drive brackets, and then to Marcus’s place to install said hard drive brackets, and by the time we got back to uni Clint had to go eat dinner. Marcus and I went down to the labs to study, but ended up playing around with Eclipse, a Java IDE. Then Clint and Kipps came down and we all went to Indooroopilly to buy stuff to eat, because college doesn’t serve edible food anymore. After that, it was dark and stuff, so I had to go home for fear of vampiric lab dwellers.

18.08.2004Wednesday 18 August – CT Scans

I headed into the city, and out to Indooroopilly – nearly missing the connecting train at Roma Street because I went to the doughnut shop and got a milkshake. At Indooroopilly, I had a quick meal of rice and dhal, before going to the CT scan place, for what I thought was going to be “a CT scan”. It ended up being around sixty CT scans over a half-hour period, during which I wasn’t able to move – at all. I was asked if I’d have trouble holding my breath for twenty seconds, as I’d have to hold my breath for that long for the CT scans. It didn’t sound like that long, but it’s actually quite a long time – doing it many times in a row is a good way to become very light-headed. The Medicare rebate is somewhat funny – I paid $234.45 by EFTPOS at the clinic, and then walked across the road to the Medicare office, and they gave me the same amount in cash. It was sort of like an extended EFTPOS cash withdrawal. The prints took about an hour to be analysed, printed, and whatever else they do, and then I caught the bus to uni.
  It was really cold and I had forgotten to bring my jumper, having slept in and had to get ready in a hurry and run for the train. I photocopied the prognosis thing that the doctor at the clinic wrote, and dropped the prints off at the doctor’s for tomorrow.
Chest CT
History: Past history of recurrent pneumothoraces on the left. Had talc pleurodesis 2 years ago. Since then has had frequent episodes of left upper pleuritic chest pain in the left axillary region ? cause.
  Technique: 1mm scans were performed every 10mm with fine scans through the apical region.
  Findings: There is fibrotic change present at the left apex anteriorly. There are several small bullae present at the extreme apex antero-medially on the left ranging in size from 10 – 20mm, located on the pleural surface of the lung and there is a little adjacent pleural thickening posterior to this. No other bullae were identified elsewhere in the lungs. There is also a small fibrotic stand at the left apex postero-medially. There are also some fibrotic strands present anteriorly and laterally in the left upper lobe and in the lingular segment. There is no evidence of hila or mediastinal adenopathy and there are no pleural effusions.
  Impression: Several very small bullae left apex antero-medially and associated fibrotic change. There is scattered fibrotic change elsewhere through left lung in keeping with the previous surgery.
  Dr Jennifer Schnell.

19.08.2004Thursday 19 August – Doctor & Sleepy at Uni

I’ve an eight o’clock lecture today, which isn’t the best fun. Tutoring was quite busy today too, the lab was full and both Julie and I were flat out the whole time. I spent the evening reading PDF’s about this trustworthy computing stuff that I need to know for my report I need to have written before two o’clock on Monday. I’ve some type of annoying psychological sleep problem. When I study, I get sleepy. After reading the PDF’s for a while, I got too sleepy to continue and had to go home. But once home, I managed to stay up for a few hours online relaxing, before getting sleepy enough to go to bed. It sucks, and is quite detrimental to my study.
I went and saw Dr Anne-Marie Caligaris again. She explained the CT scan a bit, but it is not her area of expertise, so she has referred me on to another doctor more qualified in the area of lungs and so on. Her educated guess, but still only a guess, is that one or some bullae burst from time to time – the event that would normally trigger a pneumothorax, except that I can no longer, or it is highly unlikely that I can, suffer a pneumothorax in that lung. However, I shall have to wait until I see someone more qualified in the thoracic area to get a more qualified answer.

20.08.2004Friday 20 August – Woefully Busy

I slept in a bit, having stayed up too late last night as usual, but still managed to get to my lecture just on time. Tutoring was quite busy today, with all three of us tutors marking people, and I still ended up going twenty or so minutes overtime. After tutoring, I had a group meeting for COMP2801. I almost forgot about it, and because tutoring ran overtime, I was late. After the meeting, Clint, Clus and I went into the city for an exciting night of Cold Rock and Hungry Jack’s.
  I am so busy right now – it’s not good. I have an assignment due before 2 PM Monday, another due during my two-hour eight o’clock practical on Tuesday and another due on Friday. I also have a fourth assignment that I should be doing, but I haven’t even looked at it so don’t know when it’s due. Then, on top of that, there’s a few things relating to my tutoring that I have to do, several little things around here I need to do, paperwork and computer stuff, and I need to go shopping and do some washing.

21.08.2004Saturday 21 August – Study, or lack thereof

After a guilt-filled but relaxing afternoon during which I realised that I am psychologically unable to study, I headed into uni, figuring I might be able to study there. I did manage to read quite a few PDF’s about trusted computing, but I didn’t manage to write anything.

22.08.2004Sunday 22 August – During which my sanity leaves uni before I do

I went into uni, and spent the rest of the day working on my COMP3502 assignment, trying to write 1500 words on the Trusted Computing Group. Marcus came in after a while, and he and I didn’t end up leaving the labs until after four o’clock in the morning. After our sanity had left, and after Ian had arrived, it was almost fun. Hyperactivity is helpful for some things, although writing coherent reports isn’t one of them. I ended up sleeping the night at Marcus’s place.

23.08.2004Monday 23 August – Last minutes & Hilarity

Maz and I got to uni sometime after eleven, and spent the next few hours finish off our assignments – getting them handed in a mere few minutes before their two o’clock deadline. I remember the rest of the day as something of a comic pantomime, although I did manage to sit through the first hour of my COMS3200 lecture, and then remembered I was supposed to hand in my COMP3502 tute two hours ago and had to get my timesheet signed off for tutoring, so I left and did that. I then went home, and had an early night, getting a whole seven hours sleep. Surprisingly, I woke up by myself a few times before the alarm went off.

24.08.2004Tuesday 24 August – Presentations & General Stupidity

I headed down to the labs, via the refectory where I bought a terrible pretending pizza thing that was so bad I had to throw it out. After a little not-preparing for our group presentation, and hmm, I dropped chocolate into my keyboard, so I turned it upside down and shook it, and now the “T” key is stuck down. More shaking is needed. gfrttgv5r6grrg6ttttttttttttttttttttttrrrffggtttttttttttttttttttttttytyttythhththttttttteyteutyweutyhdsjthdjtytytttt – it seems to be fixed now. So, after three quarters of our group finished not-preparing in the labs, we went up to the other lab and, after the fourth quarter arrived we presented our program – “UMLet”, a Java based UML drawing program, which I insist is pronounced as “omelette”. It was a ten-minute presentation, during which Lachlan spoke and I cleverly manipulated our PowerPoint slides and the actual program. This was followed by rapturous applause (or so I insist on remembering), and then Stephen (the Gordon one) took a break from losing sleep over Slashdot to demonstrate his immeasurable CVS skills – and that was that. The rest of the groups ran through their presentations ranging from one who had a simple script and read it out without any computer involvement to one who had a fully scripted presentation with all four participating. We were the only group who ran to time, and successfully covered all points on the criteria sheet with a live demonstration of the program, so I’m hoping for marks. We might even get an excellence and innovation mark for Stephen’s installation and run script.
I spent the rest of the day tutoring, talking to Clint, and going to a lecture – but didn’t do any of my COMS3200 assignment that’s due on Friday. I can’t believe how stupid I am.
  On the way home, via Govindas, I walked to the video store and shops, buying some noodles and a cheesecake. I had wanted to get “The Bourne Identity” on DVD before seeing the sequel, but all copies are, not surprisingly, out.
Comment by Mum – Friday 27 August 2004, 9:48 PM
  I can believe how stupid you am

25.08.2004Wednesday 25 August – Woe

Woe is the word. I am supposed to have today off, but due to not starting my COMS3200 assignment yet, I had to head into uni.
I spent half the night in the labs with Marcus, attempting to do my COMS3200 assignment. I ended up staying the night at his place.

26.08.2004Thursday 26 August – More Woe

Marcus and I managed to get to uni early-ish, and spent the majority of the day working on our COMS3200 assignments again. I had to tutor from eleven to twelve, and Maz had a group presentation to attend in the morning, but other than that, we spent the better part of the day buried in the labs coding. Kieran came down and did a lot of work as well. I once again spent the night at Marcus’s, it being too late to get home.

27.08.2004Friday 27 August – Woe Again

Back down the labs again, working on this crud assignment again.
The deadline for my COMS3200 assignment is four o’clock, but as I’m tutoring from three to four it’s essentially three o’clock for me, and I’m not finished. It’s disheartening to spend two whole nights working on something and then not manage to get it submitted on time. I lose ten percent per day late, but the weekend is taken as one day, so if I can submit it before Monday I’ll only lose ten percent. I am not overly happy – but this is what I get for starting late, coding asleep, not taking anything seriously, and wasting phenomenal amounts of time. I just wish it wasn’t worth twenty percent of its course – which I don’t agree with either as only a portion of the assignment deals with networking and I have all that part working just fine. Most of the problem comes from being burnt out. I’d been weeks without sleeping enough, surviving by sleeping all day once or twice a week and bugger all the rest of the week, and then stayed up all night working on my COMP3502 assignment – and now this. Oh well. An annoying thing about the COMP3502 assignment – the assignments weren’t collected until fifty-two hours after the deadline, so I didn’t need to rush.
To celebrate not handing in my assignment on time, I went and saw “Around the world in eighty days”, which is quite funny, although quite stupid too.
Comment by Mum – Sunday 29 August 2004, 10:13 PM
  Just go to bed earlier and do not be tempted by chat or whatever it is that you get up to on internet. Simple. It is your own fault.
Comment by moi – Wednesday 1 September 2004, 10:01 PM
  Ned, quit whinging. I work a full time job, about 55-60 hours a week, and do comp3502, coms3200 and comp3402, and I'd coded in Java once (infs3202 last semester) before this. And I got it finished by the deadline and working perfectly, but yes, it was a lot of work. Oh, and did I mention I live interstate and thus I have almost zero access to tutors, lecturers, etc apart from the netnews. But hey, that's my problem.
  So, no offence but you can do it. Be pragmatic - most of the coms3200 assignment _was_ involved in the RPC calls and so on, and the rest of it was handling a datastructure with merely a treemap (doors) and a hashmap (or whatever, for your cards). Oh, and some java.util.regexp parsing. Perfection is the enemy of done.
Comment by Ned – Thursday 2 September 2004, 11:18 AM
  Very little of the COMS3200 assignment actually involved networking, and the parts that did I had finished and working within hours, basically by copying and pasting his example code. I then spent days parsing text, figuring out what to output where, ironing out ambiguities in the specifications, learning about Array Lists, Sorted Tree Maps, and various other non-networking things.

28.08.2004Saturday 28 August – Riverfire & Happy People

After sleeping in, I headed into uni and spent the latter parts of the evening realising what a disaster my assignment has become. I was obviously asleep when I wrote it.
Clus came down to GPS, where we met Matt and some of his friends, and went up to the top of GPS to watch the “Riverfire” fireworks and an overfly by some air force F111’s. Once there, however, we decided that the top of the maths building would be better, so we ran over there, collecting Kieran, Clint, Maz and Kipps on the way.
I left the labs, ran to the bus stop, caught a bus to Roma St. Station, and a train home. There were only two other people on the bus, right up until we picked up what appeared to be a large, and well-imbibed, party from some obscure bus stop. The train, on the other hand, was quite full because of “Riverfire”. I am not sure if I’ve just fried my brain attempting to fix the mess my assignment has become, or what, but everyone in my carriage – at least at my end, seemed nice. They all seemed happy, but not just happy because they were drunk as I think they were sober, and somehow nicer than I’ve become used to. I usually sit on the train and sleep, but tonight we were all smiling, laughing and joking together. It makes a nice change to meet people who are nice, and who can make a joke out of their surroundings without resorting to crudity.
I need to get to bed, having finished the last of my chips and eaten a quarter of my cheesecake.

29.08.2004Sunday 29 August – Regrettably Wasted

I spent yet more time at uni, working on my hapless COMS3200 assignment. There’s nothing more to say. Working at uni on a Sunday is sad.

30.08.2004Monday 30 August – The Bourne Supremacy

The Bourne Supremacy started with a scene in Goa, which immediately brought back memories of what was, perhaps, the most carefree period of my adult life – so far. So, from that point on, my opinion of the movie was biased. I actually recognized a few places that I’ve been to, particularly the bleak Panaji Bus Interchange, which is sort of cool. Apart from that, the movie is good, but not amazing. Jason Bourne, who, as you might guess, is the main character, has flashbacks to some disturbing event in his past, but is unable to remember exactly what it is – or even who he is. Fast forward a few scenes and he’s running for his life – or driving as the case may be. Then, in predictably typical Hollywood fashion, his girlfriend is killed instead of himself, and dies in his arms – or as close to that as you can get when drowning underwater. This sets the mood for the rest of the movie – the classic man who has lost everything theme, and Jason sets out to find out who he is, and why. Being fit, highly trained, and sought after by the omnipresent CIA and the Russian secret service means that the movie is, even if sadly predictable, not boring. The Bourne Supremacy falls into its archetypal Hollywood mould all too familiarly, which is a shame although to be expected, but it was just different enough to avoid being entirely predictable, and managed to be an enjoyable and interesting watch.
I handed in my ill-fated COMS3200 assignment, did my COMP3502 tutorial and emailed that off to whoever has been randomly chosen to mark it this time, attended a two-hour COMP2801 lecture, and then skipped a COMS3200 practical to drive out to the airport with Maz, to drop off Tracy. I then went to the first hour of my COMP3502 lecture, and skipped the second half, as I had to see Soon about assignment marking, and then became sleepy and eventually found myself in Indooroopilly, at the cinemas, having been unable to convince anyone else to come.

31.08.2004Tuesday 31 August – Asymptotical Avoidance

I arrived at uni in time for my eight o’clock prac, which was supposed to teach us how to use Rational Rose – an awful and overpriced program by the looks of it. I had considerable problems getting it to do anything useful, and many other people couldn’t even start the program – although, admittedly, this was a problem with ITEE’s setup, rather than Rational Rose itself. Following that I did an hour’s tutoring, attended two hours of COMS3200 lecture during which I learnt a grand total of three things, three of which weren’t related to COMS3200, and then spent the evening coding stuff for my COMP2502 assignment. Actually, I got a lift to Domino’s Pizza in Taringa with Maz first, bought a cheese pizza, and caught a bus back to uni, stopping at Coles for coke and chocolate. Thus suitably equipped, I managed to code all the code portion of the assignment, and arrived home shortly after midnight. It’s been wet and raining most of the evening, so was quite cold. This COMP2502 assignment looks like it might not be as hard as I’d first feared. The code portion is almost trivial, although I’ve gone overboard and done it as well as I can – it is entirely modular and object-orientated, and about as good as Java can get I believe, so that’s a guaranteed 25% I’d hope. Now I just have to figure out what “asymptotic analysis of algorithms” actually means, and what I’m supposed to do.
Comment by Mum – Friday 3 September 2004, 8:07 PM
  algorithms are the things you get in your guts to torture you after foolishly eating cheeze pizza (did you have greens?) followed by Coles chocolate and Coles coke. "Thus suitably equipped" you managed to get algorithms. Good boy! i think....

01.09.2004Wednesday 1 September – Day On

Today is supposed to be my day off, but I have so much assessment due, that I can’t take the liberty anymore.
I go offline.
I go online.
I go marking COMP1501 assignments.
I come after marking COMP1501 assignments for three hours, thirty-two minutes and three seconds.
I go to uni. I complete COMP2502 code.
I go online, at home.
I go sleeping.
I go asleep.
I come after seven hours, twelve minutes and thirty-eight seconds sleeping. It is now tomorrow.
I go to uni. Don’t forget that it’s now tomorrow.
I go online, at home, tomorrow night.

02.09.2004Thursday 2 September – Warped, Time

Remember to see yesterday, for what happened today. Then, see the day after tomorrow for an explanation on how I can so easily see through time.
There were two boys stuck in the lift, a fire truck, four firemen, four policemen, and one train. The police, having got sick of pulling faces at the boys stuck in the lift, were checking tickets.

03.09.2004Friday 3 September – Study, & The Beginning of Woe

Clint and I spent all night in the labs, doing COMP2502. I’ve found that if I get a bottle of cola and sip it all night I have no problems staying up indefinitely. In fact, we went pretty well. Kieran came down a few times, and together we all got a lot done – except not together, collusion is bad and so forth. The main difficulty with this assignment was figuring out what to do. Seeing Kevin the other day cleared that up, so there’s really nothing complex left – it’s all just a matter of time now.

04.09.2004Saturday 4 September – Insanity

I caught the first bus out of uni, and the first connecting train home. I then slept.
I woke up, and headed back into uni. The train driver had a sense of humour, producing such hilarity as “Which Bank? Sunnybank”, when we got to that station. That’s probably not funny unless you’ve seen any of the Commonwealth Bank’s “Which Bank?” ads – and even then, it’s probably not funny, but I sure am.
Clint and I did another all-nighter finishing off COMP2502 and learning how to see through time (it’s not that hard).
Marcus mentioned Rembo, the boot manager used in the labs, and less than a second later, all the machines in the lab rebooted and re-imaged. This is hilarious at midnight after a litre of cola. Then again, so are gas-lift chairs with wheels – they can go sideways and around at the same time.
Clint and I climbed onto the rooves of as many high buildings as we could find, making interesting observations like “bats, bats everywhere”. I want to climb the crane at the building site near GPS but it is locked. I also want to put a red rubbish bin on UQ’s main flagpole.

05.09.2004Sunday 5 September – The Insanity Continues

While drinking 2 litres of L.A. Ice Cola and finishing my assignment, I thought of some questions:
  Why do people sleep at night?
  Why does time bend, and how does L.A. Ice let me see around corners?
  Why does Coles close at 5 PM on Saturdays but 6 PM on Sundays?
  Why do the lab machines, for an hour or more after they've closed all the stuff I was working on by automatically re-imaging and made me wait half an hour while they re-image, prompt for a password for “ntadmin” when logging on, and refuse to find my roaming profile, reverting to a local one instead?
  Why, a few hours after automatically re-imaging, do all the lab computers sing, and their login prompts automatically login, then logout, and the “ntadmin” thing goes away? And how come they all do this at different times?
  Why do I always leave my assignments until the last possible moment?
  Why 42?
  How come pressing the air-conditioner button in the lab turns off all the lights, except for two seemingly random ones?
  Hmm, it's light outside now. I must go visit the GPS shower and exercise my toothbrush.
I caught a bus into the city. There’s very little open early on a Sunday morning, so I had to settle for a Hungry Jack’s veggie burger. I went and wandered around the inaugural King’s Square Markets for a while, and then caught a CityCat back to uni, and went back down to the labs. I have to be careful because my reaction times may, or may not, exist at any given time. I need to avoid traffic, and walk in straight lines – slowly. I want to get a hat with a flashing orange warning light on top to match Clint’s “train station” witches hat.
I spent the rest of the day in the labs working on my COMS3200 assignment. It looked really hard to start with, but after a bit of research, I’ve figured out how to do the networking primitives – or at least, I hope I have. It’s all communicating now – the client sends messages to the server, which receives them and replies. I haven’t written any of the processing stuff, so the messages don’t actually do anything, but that should be trivial. I’m a little worried about how I’ll handle concurrent messaging in the client, but that’s something to worry about tomorrow.
Clint eventually woke up, and we walked down to the Ville for food. I felt as though I needed something healthy, so I purchased myself a cheese and salad sandwich. By the time we got back from the Ville, Marcus had arrived, so I went and saw him for a little while, giving him his swipe card back, before heading home. I also have a USB key-drive that someone left in the labs. The journey home was interesting. Large gaps got lost. I think I need to sleep less – there has to be a limit that I can manage, some minimum sleep level without becoming wrecked. Sleep is such a waste of time.
I am supposed to get up at 7 AM, so going to bed right now would be an excellent idea. Oh, and in other news, has, finally, been transferred over to me.

06.09.2004Monday 6 September – A day that wasn’t

I am of two minds whether this day really occurred. Logic and past historical events tend to indicate that it did, but I don’t believe it did. I am not entirely sure when what is, or what was when, anymore.
  One thing that didn’t happen today: I didn’t see a man walking across the train station carrying a very large chainsaw, and he didn’t tell me to stop staring at him. I wisely stopped, as he didn’t seem to be in the greatest mood.

07.09.2004Tuesday 7 September – A normal day for a change

I pretended the world was round and that today was just another day, and headed into uni. I attended my COMP2801 prac, during which we planned how we are going to try to do our COMP2801 assignment, and after that, I repressed all thoughts of assignments. I even came home in the evening. What a normal day.

08.09.2004Wednesday 8 September – Not my day off

Jan the cleaner apparently comes on Wednesday’s now. This I know because she came today.
I headed off to uni, to complete my COMS3200 assignment. This I did faithfully do, all evening and all night. I considered coming home, and heading back early in the morning, as I’d say this is a more efficient way to manage my time, but knowing me I’d sleep in, so figured I’d better get my assignment done while the going was good. To do this required a trip to Coles, a bottle of L.A. Ice Cola, a block of peppermint chocolate, a bag of black jellybeans, a can of Pringles, and a packet of potato chips. This is a highly successful formula.
Tomorrow Morning
Marcus and I left the labs just before dawn broke, and headed to his place. Ironically, I couldn’t sleep and was still awake when Hollie got up and left for work, and had only began to doze when Cassie got up and left for work. I think I then got an hour or two’s sleep before Marcus’s alarm went off and he woke me up.

09.09.2004Thursday 9 September – Day is Night

Marcus and I arrived at uni some time around ten o’clock and I headed down to the labs to finish off my COMS3200 Instant Messenger assignment. Several hours later and I submitted my COMS3200 assignment, about two minutes before reading something in the newsgroup that made me realise I had a bug that I had to fix. I then resubmitted it. I believe I should get 100% for this. I sincerely hope I do, after messing up the first assignment, and then putting in an all-nighter to do this.
I left uni for home early – before dark, that is, although it was dark when I arrived home.

10.09.2004Friday 10 September – In Which I Do Very Little Study

Early in the Morning
I had planned to get up early, and get to uni before eight o’clock. This seemed to be a good idea last night, as I have more things to do than time to do them. Peculiarly, though, this didn’t seem like such a good idea at six o’clock this morning. I ended up arriving at uni not long before nine o’clock.
Not Long Before Nine O’clock
I made my way straight to the GPS computer labs, after buying a veggie roll from the main refectory. Seeing as I’d slackly slept in, when I had too much study I needed to do before now, I hadn’t another minute to waste. Then I met Clint, just leaving the labs as I arrived. He had stayed up all night completing one of his funny political rants and now he was hungry. He urgently needed to go to Hungry Jack’s in the city.
Almost Midday
It was almost midday by the time we got back from the city, and I’d done no study at all. With this in mind, I headed down to the labs to panic-study. I had hardly had time to check the newsgroups for trolling opportunities, sign on to IRC (strictly as a study aid), and check my email, say hello to Lachlan and Jervina who happened to be there, and it was time to go to a COMP3502 tutorial. Considering that the COMP3502 mid-semester exam is what I’m supposed to have studied for all morning, I figured attending its tutorial was a justified study-break. Directly following that tutorial, was a COMP2801 tutorial, and as this was the other thing that I was supposed to be doing, I decided it might be a good idea to attend it as well.
Not Yet Late in the Evening
After my tutorials, I wandered past Kieran’s over to Clint’s, on my way to study. It ended up that Sméagol was there, and they were just about to drive down the Ville, so I had to go down there too. After I got back, I had to help Dom, and then talk. Then it began to get late, and I realised that I might actually have to go study, or I would fail this mid-semester exam, so I did.
Late in the Evening
A quarter of International House got into the same bus as I. Three quarters of International House then got onto the same bus as they, and I. The first quarter apparently dislikes the other three quarters, which isn’t that surprising considering their condition. They had, according to one fine member, been “sculling goon”, and proceeded to enjoy themselves on the way to the city. Enjoying themselves involved some rather amusing, highbrow political jokes along the lines of “Howard Sucks”, “Latham! Latham! Latham!”, “You’re only saying that because your Visa application was turned down!”, and so on until it would go full circle and revert to the usual sexual innuendos – without the innuendo. It did make for a much more interesting than usual bus trip, although not conductive to study.
After Dark
The train arrived at Central Station, all six cars of it, and promptly turned off. Interestingly, when turned off, no one can open the doors, so everyone was trapped inside. It took several minutes until the orange-vested train-fixers could fix it, and then the doors opened and engulfed us all. The strange thing is that, when I got off at my station, the train was only three cars long. Somewhere along the way, it had lost the other three cars. This has never happened to a train that I was on before, and I didn’t even notice it happening.
After After Dark
I threw on some washing, and went and did some power relaxing (synonymous to power napping, but without the nap). I then put the washing on the washing basket, with the heater blowing through the holes in the basket. This is supposed to make it all dry in time for me to pack for Sydney.
I can’t remember exactly when – I think it was sometime after leaving Clint’s room, but my lung hurt again. It’s a quarter past one now, and it’s still sore. It worries me and I don’t like it.
Comment by yj – Saturday 11 September 2004, 10:11 PM
  you may or may not realise it Ned, but quite a decent portion of your fan base is at International House (and i'm not joking). There is a good chance that at least 3 of the loud bigots in your bus trips are avid readers of your site. I'm not sure what the moral of this story is - perhaps you can work that out for yourself. Best wishes.
Comment by Soph – Tuesday 14 September 2004, 1:45 AM
  But Howard does suck and so does LAtham. They all suck. Btw, study sucks, and yeah, just thought I'd add that. And since you read my journal, I thought I'd read yours. :P Silly me. Anyways, slacker!
Comment by Mum – Friday 17 September 2004, 5:26 PM
  Gah! Bah! Excuses, excuses. (Ever noticed what a strange collection of vowels and consonants "excuseseses" am?) Hardly seems as if it could be a word in the Ingriss lingo, but guess it am. Plenty need for it., especially with upcoming political crap. Politics, Scrub ticks, neuro Ticks, hysteri Ticks,................gah ,bah, all the same to me.

11.09.2004Saturday 11 September – Sydney

When I was figuring out the train times to get to the airport, then from the airport to uni in time for my exam on Monday, and so forth, I made a mistake. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the mistake until this morning. I had calculated the times from Dutton Park to the airport, and set my alarm so that I’d have enough time to catch the train from Dutton Park. This is remarkably unhelpful when I live three quarter’s of an hour from there. I had to jump up and run straight for the train, which got me to the airport just under half an hour before the plane left.
Virgin Blue flight 222 departed on time. The Boeing 737-800, with three seats either side of the aisle, was almost entirely full. I had an aisle seat roughly in the middle of the plane, and the flight was uneventful – which is how they should be.
I caught a train from the airport to Circular Quay, and a JetCat from there to Manly. The wind, and it was quite windy sitting up on the top deck of the cat, was quite cold. Once in Manly, I walked down the Corso, had a quick look at the beach, and dropped in at the police station to say hi to Greta. She, along with her police partner, drove me to her place to drop off my bags. We then went and picked up another policewoman and dropped her back at Greta’s to pick up her car, which she had left there the previous night. I then got a quick tour of the northern beaches on the way back to the police station, which is rather cool in a police car.
  Once back in Manly, I went for a walk to Queenscliff and had a look at the rock. It used to seem so large when I was young – and take half an hour to climb. Now I can climb it in seconds. The stairs up to Pop’s seemed shorter than before too – I remember them as something of an endless staircase. The wind along the beach is icy cold.
I met Jim at the Steyne, and we chatted about things geek for half the evening, before heading off to a small restaurant near the wharf for dinner. I had “Voodoo Vegetarian Vegetables with Sizzling Curry”, which literally sizzled – and was very nice. It began to sprinkle a little while we were eating, but had largely stopped by the time we finished. We then headed back to the Steyne, where I met some of Jim’s friends, and we all chatted for a few hours, heading down to the Old Manly Boatshed to watch a band around ten o’clock. The music was good, the atmosphere was good, the ratio of women to men was something approaching two to one, everyone seemed happy, and a good night was had. Then, to top off a great night, I got a free, personalised, bus trip home.
  Around half past one, just after leaving the Boatshed, I asked the first bus that stopped which bus I should catch to get as near as possible to Greta’s to get a taxi, as I’d forgotten how to get to her place. The bus driver said that an appropriate bus wouldn’t be along for ages, and he’d drop me at some stop further down, which would be a bit closer and I’d be able to get a cab from there. As there was no one else in the bus, I stayed up the front chatting to the driver about today’s youth, their lack of discipline, and various other things. He must have decided I was a nice kind of chap, as he offered to drive me home – pointing out that he’s not allowed to do this. He turned off all the lights, and dropped me as close as I could remember to Greta’s, and didn’t charge me anything. This was great, and certainly unexpected, but still left me with a small problem – namely, being stuck in a suburb I didn’t know, at two o’clock in the morning, and not knowing where I was or where I should go.
  Fortunately for me, two of the undisciplined youth that the bus driver had been complaining about came along, angry and arguing. One had just dropped and smashed a bottle of something and the other was throwing his bike around and swearing. These seemed like the ideal people to ask for directions, when along in a dimly lit Sydney street at two in the morning, so I did – and as it ends out, the street I was searching for was right along the way they were going, so they took me there, and I had a lovely sleep.
Comment by Reubot – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 6:51 PM
Comment by Ned – Thursday 16 September 2004, 12:54 AM
  Very soon!
Comment by Mum – Friday 17 September 2004, 5:32 PM
  Good karma

12.09.2004Sunday 12 September – Sydney & Pop

I woke up latish, and chatted to Greta for a while. I phoned Pop and Greta booked a shuttle bus to the airport for me tomorrow morning. I then caught a bus into Manly, popped into the Steyne and said hello to Jim, and walked up to Pop’s. I chatted to Pop for a while, and then walked back down to the Steyne, but Jim wasn’t there. I bought some lunch from a small Indian place, ate that, and walked back to the Steyne. I spent the evening chatting with Jim and some of his friends.
Sadly, I’ve only the weekend down here, so I had to leave. I caught a bus back to Greta’s place. She was on-duty, but Sean arrived shortly after I did and we watched “Behind Enemy Lines”, before heading to bed.

13.09.2004Monday 13 September – Back to Brisbane

I woke up, packed, and waited outside for the shuttle bus, which arrived around a quarter to six. There were three ladies already in the bus, who were laughing and joking. The driver was great fun, cracking jokes and grinning. We picked up another girl from nearby and a backpacker from further afield, and then headed out to the airport. The driver pointed out the “Giraffe Houses” that ventilate the tunnels, and the whole trip was great. The entire weekend has been great. It’s almost surreal – everything has gone amazingly well, everyone was happy and smiling, and stuff that would normally go wrong, went right. I got a free tour of the area in a police car. I had a great night. What could have been an expensive taxi ride turned out to be a free personalised bus trip, which is in itself pretty cool and unusual. What could have been a nasty (and rather cold) situation with me lost, turned into a short walk and pleasant chat. What would normally be a boring trip to the airport, ended up being quite hilarious. All in all, it was an excellent weekend.
Back in boring Brisbane again, I began to think about my upcoming COMP3502 exam. I even went as far as thinking about reading the lecture notes on the train home from the airport. I had about an hour at home to unpack, shower, read my email, and all those other vital things one must do, before catching the train back to uni again – and this time I actually read my lecture notes.
I attended my COMP3502 class test, which was multi choice, and in which I achieved 14 out of 20. I am not at all happy with these results, but as both Kieran and Marcus did worse, I did almost no study, and I’ve not seen any class averages, I shall hope that this is above average. I had planned to spend all night at uni finishing off what I needed to do for COMP2801, but decided that I’d die if I did that, and went home instead.
Comment by Helen – Monday 20 September 2004, 8:31 PM
  Awww! I quite miss "boring Brisbane".. :)

14.09.2004Tuesday 14 September

I was at uni by eight o’clock, which isn’t much fun, to attend my COMP2801 practical. We were supposed to have completed our individual parts of our group assignment by now, but only one of us had actually done that. I felt guilty for over two moments, but then I got over it. I then managed to spend the rest of the day adeptly avoiding COMP2801. I tutored, which went well, and attended my COMS3200 lecture, which made me very sleepy. I drove into the city with Sméagol, Clint and Kipps, to drop Kipps’s unwell LCD monitor at a repair place, bought food from the Ville, and generally did many non-study things. I did end up staying late working on COMP2801, catching the second last bus out of uni, and arriving home quite late (and angry).
I have just arrived home. I am very, very angry. The train home was, for some reason, rather busier than usual. It was one of the new style trains, with fewer seats due to their wheelchair accommodation. I was sitting, along with several other blokes, towards the end of one carriage, on the bench seats parallel to the carriage wall. Several Samoan types, along with an aboriginal man and woman, and a white boyfriend of the aboriginal, were also sitting there, discussing, among other things, wanting to “do over” some particular service station. Just before the train stopped at Woodridge, they got up and surrounded a young bloke – probably eighteen or younger, and the white boyfriend of the aboriginal woman stole his bag, and jumped off the train. No one was paying particular attention to them – I had, almost subliminally, assumed they knew the young bloke and were teasing him. It makes me very angry that I – along with several other people, were sitting within a few seats of all this – and could probably have prevented it. We got the young bloke to go talk to the guard, as the trains do have closed-circuit video monitoring, but the chances of anything coming of that are, I suspect, very slim. I guess this is a good lesson or warning – I haven’t expected anything like this to happen under such circumstances before. There are always circumstances where one is wary – but I have never considered this type of thing happening on a well-lit, semi-crowded train before. He obviously didn’t steal the young fellow’s bag for the money, as there was a businesswoman and several other obviously better targets sitting nearby. The whole suddenness and confidence factor – and probably fear, must have prevented the young bloke from saying anything – as he didn’t call out or do anything at all. Everyone was asking after, if something had actually happened, as it seemed somehow surreal. After, on the walk from the station back to here, I got talking to another young bloke around my age who had been sitting in the next carriage down. He asked me what had happened, and was as disgusted as I. Interestingly, he said the person he’d been sitting next to had been worried, as he’d been in a similar situation, with the same people, before. Apparently, he’d been on a train, and sat near these rejects while they talked about their various illegal activities, and then been followed to his father’s car. People like that deserve to have their legs broken, and if I see something like this happen again, I’ll do my best to ensure they do.
Comment by Cassie – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 12:29 AM
  I agree. D*ckheads.
Comment by Maz – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 12:32 AM
  count me in. some people should accidentally find themselves in front of speeding trains.
  give em one for me.
Comment by Kipps – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 12:37 AM
  As someone of aboriginal origin, I am offended
Comment by seed – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 8:37 PM
  is it just me or should all the people of aboriginal descent be sent to the centre of austrlia and set free? i mean they don't really belong in the cities as they get hooked on the alcohol and drugs and as a result they do things like this. but then again, i am a synical bastard with short tempter and lack of respect for anyone else who is not me.
Comment by to seed – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 8:55 PM
  Haha, learn to spell "cynical" you idiot
Comment by martin – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 9:08 PM
  While obviously this was a terrible thing to happen in a train I think Seed's comments are racist and insulting in the extreme. Notice that some of the assailants were samoan and one was white. Do you think white people should be sent to the centre of australia, or maybe back to where they came from (europe)?
Comment by Matt – Wednesday 15 September 2004, 10:37 PM
  It should be quite clear that the white fellow was under the influence of his aboriginal "friends" and did not want to take part in the theft, it just kind of happened.
  So no. Seed is right.
Comment by Ned – Thursday 16 September 2004, 2:33 AM
  I saw no evidence that any aboriginals were involved. The person who stole his bag was Caucasian, and while his girlfriend was aboriginal, assuming that she caused him to steal is far-fetched. Whether or not he was attempting to impress his friends does not change the fact that he was the sole instigator and assailant. I am unsure whether his friends intentionally assisted by surrounding the young bloke, or whether that is just how it ended up. Obviously, they are partly to blame in that they did not stop him (and assisted, at least indirectly), but inferring anything further than that would be baseless given only my description.
Comment by Reubot – Thursday 16 September 2004, 12:10 PM
  Glad I'm not on Beenleigh line...
Comment by seed – Saturday 18 September 2004, 8:16 AM
  in case you haven't noticed...there was a little bit of sarcasm there and who needs to know how to spell anyways?

15.09.2004Wednesday 15 September – Tim Passes On

Tim passed on last night.
I slept in considerably, going to uni in the evening via Govinda’s, as I don’t currently have any food here at home, and attempting to complete my individual portion of the COMP2801 group assignment.

16.09.2004Thursday 16 September – Not a particularly good idea

Having arrived home around midnight, I then proceeded to stay up until three o’clock. This was not a particularly good idea.
I headed off to uni, bright and horribly early, did all that studying stuff one does at uni, and some reasonably busy tutoring.
To sleep, I go.

17.09.2004Friday 17 September – Assignment Submitted

I headed off to uni to complete our COMP2801 assignment. I am supposed to have gone to uni earlier, but, for some strange reason, I felt quite sleepy when I woke up and didn’t want to go. I had to rub references to Perlboy’s website from half the whiteboards in GPS, in-between proofreading our COMP2801 assignment, making a few minor changes, and then submitting it. It’s a grand total of 42 pages, and should definitely get us a pass, if not better.
I’m home early for a change, and am not even going to think about my next four assignments until Monday.
Comment by Reubot – Tuesday 21 September 2004, 9:47 AM
  The new Kewn?
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 21 September 2004, 7:52 PM
  A one-man Kewn, proudly supported by the ultimate language, Perl.

18.09.2004Saturday 18 September – Some Kind of Monster

I re-seated the CPU heat sink, as the processor was sitting on 70° no load, due to the warmer weather. It’s not running around 55° with no load, heading up to 60° with a bit of load.
  I went and saw “Metallica – Some Kind of Monster”, a documentary about the band, at the Dendy. It was actually quite interesting, although there’s no telling how stage-managed it was.

19.09.2004Sunday 19 September – Amanda & The Terminal

I phoned Amanda, and, after watching about half of “The Bourne Identity”, caught two trains into Indooroopilly (not at the same time) and saw “The Terminal”. We’d originally planned to see the “Shark Tale”, but it doesn’t open until tomorrow. I wasn’t sure how “The Terminal” would be – but it’s actually not bad. The plot is unusual, but they’ve managed to turn it into quite a watchable movie.
  I spent the evening after the movie at Sonder’s place watching TV, before heading back to Amanda’s for dinner.

20.09.2004Monday 20 September – Sick & Woeful

Amanda dropped me at Ferny Grove train station, from where I made my way to uni, via the city and a bus. I arrived just before my first lecture, with enough time to buy a coffee milkshake for breakfast. I have a sore throat, and feel terrible – but looking on the bright side of things, there’s a door in the whiteboard in the lecture theatre. It’s actually built into the whiteboard – or the board around it is probably a more accurate description. I hadn’t noticed it before as it has sliding whiteboards that would normally cover it, but a door within a whiteboard almost sounds like something out of the Chronicles of Narnia.
  I skipped a tutorial to complete my COMP3502 tutorial. These are “peer assessed”, which means we complete them, email them to a randomly picked student, and see if they bother to mark them and return them. Not surprisingly, they often don’t, and when they do, they often as not mark them incorrectly. I disagree with the entire process, as we’re getting fifteen percent of the course’s mark from it, but there’s little I can do apart from whinge, make my tutorials hard to mark, and then resubmit them for remarking if there’s even the slightest doubt about the marks. Anyway, due to going away over the weekend and generally being slack, I hadn’t done my tutorial yet, and it was proving harder than normal. I’d managed to complete all bar the last question when Marcus arrived, logged on, and found the marked solutions... This made it considerably easier to figure out how to do the last question, and also allowed me to check my answers before I submitted them – I’m pleased to announce I only have one wrong (because I didn’t have time to figure out how to do it). It’ll be interesting to see how I am marked.
I learned about asymmetrical encryption and something else and something else in two hours of COMP3502 lectures. I had planned to stay until nine o’clock working on an assignment, but felt too sick, so went home shortly after six.
Comment by seed – Tuesday 21 September 2004, 8:29 AM
  it is that time of the year where we do not sleep or socialise in order to get all of the work done. it sucks, but that's uni for you. i only have a month left, yay!
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 21 September 2004, 9:00 AM
  Verily - with woe.
Comment by ascian – Tuesday 21 September 2004, 5:00 PM
  If you spent less time procrastinating, you would have more time for sleeping ;)
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 21 September 2004, 7:53 PM
Comment by Mum – Thursday 23 September 2004, 6:10 PM
  A door? In the whiteboard? Beware the jabberwock, my son.

21.09.2004Tuesday 21 September – Sick

I attended my eight o’clock COMP2801 prac, at great risk to my health. I’m still feeling sick and terrible. We made up a list of a few things to consider for assignment three – re-factoring the code (an obvious and generic choice), adding print functionality, adding colours, documenting the code (another generic choice), and adding a tip of the day module (which Flash has already written). This doesn’t sound like much, and isn’t very exciting, but it should fulfil the assignment criteria. Adding colours, if that’s a plausible option, would involve quite a bit of object-orientated nastiness, as changes would cascade across stacks of classes. The print option should, hopefully, be plausible and shouldn’t be too hard to add on without modifying too much existing code. Flash has gone home for the holidays, and the rest of us have other assignments due sooner, so we’re giving them a higher priority.

22.09.2004Wednesday 22 September – Still Sick

This is my day off, which I don’t get off anymore because I’m too slack. I left for uni shortly after lunchtime, stopping at Govinda’s on the way to get lunch. The idea was that I’d do a lot of work on COMP2502, but that didn’t happen. I can partly blame being sick – I feel crappy and can’t think straight, but it’s mainly slackness. I did do a bit of research, and I think I understand the basic concepts of what I’m trying to do now, so perhaps I’ll be able to code it without any problems when I actually get around to doing it. I also got my marks back for the first COMP2502 assignment – one hundred and five percent. I’d be interested to see what the average marks were, as it seems to have been marked quite leniently.

23.09.2004Thursday 23 September – Harold and Kumar go to White Castle

I am not overly happy. In fact, I have decided that everything sucks – people in particular. Someone else must have agreed with me, as they ended at Indooroopilly railway station, forcing my train to appear on the wrong platform. Or perhaps they were an annoying Linux bigot and got pushed – who knows.
I have time-management problems. Basically, I can’t do anything. I have spent the last three days doing no work at all on my COMP2502 assignment. This morning I had to get up unreasonably early to get to Prince Charles Hospital by eight o’clock. It’s quite big, and they must have paid someone a lot of money to get the place organised – everything went quite smoothly. I was given a ticket and a list, and had to take the list around to different departments, each of which would then give me another ticket, do various tests, and check them off the list. Once all the tests were done, I would take the list back to the main desk, and await the calling of my ticket number. All the tests went into some kind of database accessible to the doctors. It all worked quite well, but my doctor’s registrar was away, hence the doctor was bogged down and my appointment was late. All the efficiency and organisation in the world, and it’s still let down by the human factor. I ended up having to annoy the receptionists until they moved me up the queue, and I still missed the first half of my tutorial.
  Once I’d finished tutoring, I made the mistake of visiting Kieran, then Clint. I should have gone straight to the labs and worked. Clint convinced me to come into the city with him, and that we’d be quick. We weren’t. First Clint spent an hour talking about immature college antics until I got sick of it and headed off to the labs, but the thought of an icy Cold Rock Super Shake soothing my sore throat made me change my mind, so I headed into the city and bought a falafel roll for dinner. By the time we got back it was too late for me to begin any serious study, although Clint decided he had to study for his exam tomorrow – despite it being pass/fail, at 3 PM, him completing the practice exam in two minutes flat, and even if he fails, he gets another two attempts at it. That’s confidence for you.
  With nothing much else to do, I saw “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle” at Indooroopilly. It was quite busy, and I was late and the queue was horribly inefficient. Fortunately, though, I’m about the only one that likes sitting at the front, so I still got to sit in the second row, right in the middle, which is about the best seat in the cinema. The movie itself treads the thin line between incredibly stupid and dumb, and incredibly stupid and funny. I quite enjoyed it – and with a full cinema laughing there was a nice atmosphere, but I’m not sure there’s really anything of worth in the entire movie. Still, a crude and overtly racist film can’t be all bad, particularly if you don’t attempt to think while watching it.
It seems I’m 185 centimetres tall, weigh 82.5 kilograms, have a lung capacity estimated at 73 percent of that expected for my height, age and weight, but normal gas transfer. The end prognosis was a qualified “I don’t know”. Doctor Zimmerman suspects that the pain could be caused by small recurrent pneumothoraces. The plan is that I’ll go see my local doctor and get a form, and then attempt to have another CT scan while I’m suffering from a potential recurrent pneumothorax. This sounds like it could be hard, or impossible, to do but I’ll try. Then, after checking that, I’ll do a full stress test at hospital by riding a bike that becomes gradually harder and harder until I can’t anymore. If I pass that, then the idea is that I’ll be confident (and probably safe) to do anything else.
Comment by Reubot – Friday 24 September 2004, 11:15 AM
  Maybe it was that Energex dude.
Comment by Maz – Saturday 25 September 2004, 2:15 AM
  Design an array based implementation of the cinema lines to increase efficency. Or better yet, a binary tree, because in that case you will have started 2502 at the same time. "Up here for thinkin'. Down there for dancin'."

24.09.2004Friday 24 September – Null Pointer Exception in Title

I woke up to go to uni, and decided that I didn’t feel like going to uni, and went back to sleep. I then woke up again later, and went to uni. Such an exciting life I lead. I should probably have worked on my COMP2502 assignment, but I didn’t feel so inclined. I actually arrived home before dark, for the first time in a long time. Hmm, this music, speeded up fifteen percent (and lowered a semitone to compensate), is quite exhilarating – even boring music sounds much better.

25.09.2004Saturday 25 September – Zatôichi & The Spider

I awoke shortly before the sun went down, and went and saw “Zatôichi” in at the Dendy (after getting a Cold Rock Super Shake, of course). I guess I needed the sleep – at least psychologically. “Zatôichi” is a traditional Japanese style Samurai film, complete with spurting blood, unrealistic sword fighting and a nonchalant sense of exigency that Hollywood can’t match.
It was 4 o’clock Sunday morning. I was sitting at my computer chatting to a friend, just about to head off to bed. He’d just said “I pulled out the folder with all the records in it this morning, and a honkin’ great spider crawled out,” when I looked to my left and less than a foot from my head was The Spider. I grabbed my camera to take a photo, but the battery went flat after the first flash, and by the time I’d changed batteries, The Spider had run behind my computer. It then swung down my phone lead, jumped onto the floor, and ran towards my feet. I don’t normally mind spiders. When they stick to doing spider-like things, such as crawling, I find them reasonably harmless and not too scary. But spiders oughtn’t to swing down phone leads, jump, and run – they’re supposed to just crawl. I ran and got my torch so I could take photos of it in the dark, but when I got back, I couldn’t find it. I shone the torch around looking, and finally found it – less than a foot from my foot! The Spider then ran towards my bed, so I ran and got a broom to head it off, but by the time I got back it had jumped onto the side of my bed. I fought with it, via the broom, but it won – hiding in behind my bed. I had to drag the bed away from the wall and fight it with the broom again. I eventually got it behind the door, and went back to tell my friends online the good news. When I got back to have another look, The Spider had once again disappeared. I found it running down the hallway at high speed, just before it vanished into another room, where I suspect it still is.
  Spiders are okay, but large spiders within jumping distance of my head, or hiding in the dark where I put my feet, or hidden away in my bed, aren’t okay. They’re even worse at 4 AM directly after talking about spiders.

26.09.2004Sunday 26 September – Taxing Times

I awoke quite late, did very little, had dinner (Singaporean noodles that Joe ordered) with Joe, Michelle, Tonya and Dave, built a shopping cart thing for COMP1501, and then filled out my tax. Unfortunately, I can’t actually submit my tax until I phone the scary people at the taxation department tomorrow and convince them I’m actually me. Dave’s car broke down out in the semi-middle of semi-nowhere, and he was held up at knifepoint, and his wallet, a watch and various other things from the car stolen. The criminals were subsequently caught when attempting to steal petrol from a service station while an unmarked police car was behind them, so he got most of his stuff back. I wish I had a concealable weapons licence – that would be fun.
Comment by Someone – Monday 27 September 2004, 11:30 PM
  Edited: Offensive, stupid and unqualified – strikingly similar to the poster, I suspect.
  Rough Translation: “You, Ned my dear friend, are a genital-brow.”
Comment by Mater – Friday 1 October 2004, 7:30 PM
  The word "criminal" comes from the word "crime". A criminal is one who commits a flamin bloody mongrel crime. If anyone does not know what "crime" means, well.....poor fellow you. Try sashaying down some dark alley at midnight or worse. When I were a choild I could sashay down any alley and there was never ever ever any worry ever at all. There was not even anything to worry about and no one would have thought any thing unusual or worried us with dire warnings. Feel so sorry for all you new blokes, girls, try to be happy and not paranoid. Get out into the bush and get away from perverts and aggros.

27.09.2004Monday 27 September – Cat Woman, True Lies & Negative Affirmation

I’m not quite sure what happened. Last time I looked, it wasn’t that late, but now it’s nearly half past four – in the morning. I’ve just watched “True Lies”. It’s such a good movie – one of my favourites. I’ve also decided to rank movies as I watch them, but instead of giving them stars or something boring like that, I’ll fractionise them against other movies, with “True Lies” being the starting point. In other words, a movie twice as good as “True Lies” would be worth two “True Lies”, while one only a quarter as good would be worth four sixteenths of a True Lie – or roughly nine cat women.
  Speaking of cat women – I saw the movie this evening. It sucked. The only possible redeeming feature it could have had would have been the cat woman herself – but no, they used Halle Berry, so it had no redeeming features at all. So, as I said above, it takes thirty-six cat women to make one true lie – not a good recommendation. There was one good thing about it all though – I discovered a good new way to get to the movies. Negative affirmation. It works wonders. Being driven to uni by Dave and then spending the evening there discussing the marking criteria for COMP1501’s second assignment, chatting about the IT degree (or lack thereof) with a previous lecturer, and building and modifying a shopping cart example for COMP1501 made me hungry, so I headed into the city to eat. After a nice meal at Govinda’s, I thought I’d try something new, so I bought a super shake from the Cold Rock. I knew that “Catwoman” was showing at ten past seven, and that it was theoretically possible to get to Indooroopilly in time to see it if everything went well. I also knew that not everything ever goes well, and that’s how the negative affirmation started. I left Cold Rock and began walking towards Central Station. The city was busy, as usual – the tail end of peak hour. Each time it looked like I was going to be hemmed in by people, I’d think to myself “oh well, I’ll get stuck behind them”, and a pathway would open up. As I began to get close to the first street crossing, I saw that the happy man was flashing green, which reminds me, how come they have a green man for go, but a red woman for stop? Anyway, I figured it would turn red just before I got there, and all the banked up traffic would go for ages, and I’d be stuck – and I affirmed this to myself, quite negatively. The angry red woman came up just after I got there, and I walked across unhindered. Breezing effortlessly through the crowds, I got to the next road crossing, negatively affirming that they would remain red. It went green just as I got there, and I could walk straight across. I knew that there wouldn’t be a train, I’d have just missed one and by the time the next one came, it would be too late. I affirmed this to myself, very strongly and negatively, and there was a train departing just a few minutes after I got to the platform. Unfortunately, I forgot to think about how crappy and terrible the movie was going to be, or it might have been brilliant, but at least I got there.
  Oh dear, now it’s a quarter to five. I’m sick of natural gummy snakes and I’ve run out of chocolate. I need to do stuff today. I can’t afford to sleep in all day. I have assignments due and a movie to watch. What’s with gummy snakes anyway? I guess they’re better than gummy worms, but why couldn’t they choose a nice, cuddly sort of animal? Gummy pandas or jelly dolphins? Perhaps I should look for a career in marketing.
  I have a bit of a problem now. Firstly, I’m not actually sleepy – but I know that if I do lie down, I will sleep. Secondly, I know that if I do sleep, I’ll want to sleep for more than two hours. I’ll end up sleeping all day. By the time I wake up it’ll be too late to do any work. Worst-case scenario, I could even sleep in so much that I missed my movie. But, on the other hand, if I don’t sleep at all, I’ll get so sleepy later that I’ll have to sleep, and then I’ll miss my movie. Either that or I’ll just be stupid and hyperactive and not get any work done, then not be able to sleep tonight, and wake up terribly late tomorrow and have all the same problems then. Oh dear, what a quandary – I think I’ll sleep on the matter and see if the solution seems any clearer when I wake up.
Comment by IO? – Tuesday 28 September 2004, 9:44 AM
  You need sleep or you will be IO.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 28 September 2004, 3:26 PM
  Yes ;-(
Comment by io – Thursday 30 September 2004, 8:14 PM
  Oi, io doesn't stand for Input Output as you have marked above. Well not necessarily. I'm io.
Comment by Ned – Friday 1 October 2004, 12:17 AM
  What does it stand for?
Comment by Matt – Saturday 2 October 2004, 6:28 PM
  The square root of nine is plus or minus three
Comment by Mater – Sunday 3 October 2004, 10:56 PM
  Oly oly oly, oh, Oh IO, dunka dunka dunka, oh IO, dah dah (insert much manic IOrish music) Oh, IO, oly oly oly, oh IO, oh IO, " let them free", oly oly oly , oh IO, oly oly oly, oh IO, let them free (etc, ad infinitum...courtesy Wolfe Tones) ............the real meaning of IO (with tin whistle)

28.09.2004Tuesday 28 September – The Moon & Jeux D’Enfants

I went to uni, via Govinda’s for lunch and a Cold Rock super shake, in what’s becoming a habit. Once there, I actually did some work on my COMP2502 assignment. Not much, but it’s a start. I then caught a bus into the city with Igor, and another bus to the valley, where I managed to become lost and had to ask for directions to the Palace Centro, where I saw the hauntingly disturbing “Jeux D'Enfants” (“Love Me If You Dare”) – a so-called “comedy” that’s entirely too dark to deserve the name. I’ve a feeling I won’t be forgetting it in a hurry – which is the definition of “hauntingly” I suppose. It’s incomparable with a movie such as “True Lies”, but as I must rate it, I’ll give it six cat women.
  I had an interesting train journey home, for reasons I can’t really say. One bloke who got on had a pushbike modelled as a fat boy, low rider sort of thing. It really stood out, although I’m not sure how useful it would have been. The walk from the train station to here has made me pensive. It’s such a beautiful night. The moon is bright and racing clouds, the air is crisp – and it really sucks being stuck in the middle of a city. It’s nights like these when one should be out in the wild – or at least sitting on some beach or mountainside stargazing and pondering life, and definitely not inside sitting under the harsh glow of a fluoro light, in front of a computer monitor. This whole career/money thing sucks, to be honest.
Comment by dog – Friday 1 October 2004, 3:47 PM
  very profound, Ned. After I complete typing this message i'm going to incinerate my computer and become a hermit. Thank you Ned. Thank you.
Comment by ned martin – Sunday 3 October 2004, 11:23 AM
  ned martin tries to be funny, but fails
Comment by Ned – Sunday 3 October 2004, 2:35 PM
  This is an entirely serious entry – it is not meant to be amusing in any way.
Comment by Mater – Sunday 3 October 2004, 11:22 PM
  The road was a ribbon of moonlight. God hath ways into our soul, ghostly galleon, the moon doth shine on you and me alike. Think upon the rainforest a'glimmer and drag self away from monitor and look at Joes garden. Same moon. A galleon, in full sail. Perhaps a little less glimmer due to leckertricity, still the same Majestic Lady Galleon. Hare.

29.09.2004Wednesday 29 September – Recursively Parsing & Somersaulting

I go to bed.
I go to uni. Uni is looking grim – so much for days off. I have three assignments due this coming Monday. In order to get them completed, I must forgo sleep. So, with this in mind, I spent all day and night at uni. I completed my COMP2502 assignment – a recursive descent parser that builds an integer expression tree, evaluates it, and prints the expression and its answer. It is perfect, handles all possibly valid input, prints all sorts of informative error messages on invalid input, and is generally good. I shall be most upset if I don’t get full marks for it.
  I also saw “Somersault” at Indooroopilly with Maz. Despite being quite pretty and artistically filmed, it didn’t seem to have much substance. I’ve a feeling it might mean more to women, but to me it didn’t amount to much. I’ll give it a grand total of four cat women. Spending all night at uni is sort of interesting. I go through stages where I become sleepy and totally unproductive, and then later on I wake up more. The worst part is probably between six in the morning and around nine – before I’ve had time to wake up and get into the day.

30.09.2004Thursday 30 September – And again...

Maz dropped me at Toowong station in time to catch the first train into the city and hence home, where I promptly went to sleep.
Having surprisingly woken up, I unsurprisingly headed back to uni, where I proceeded to stay – all night. This COMS3200 assignment is terrible. I’m trying to code a peer-to-peer client and server thing in Java. It doesn’t have a great deal to do with networking. I guess it has in a way, but there’s far more string parsing and semi-complex data structures than networking. Just understanding the specification is all but impossible – I am really not impressed. It’s just too complex given its intended purpose, and is not suited to mass black-box testing.

01.10.2004Friday 1 October – Blurred & Erratic

Spending all night at uni blurs two days into one – today feels like yesterday to me. It also makes me very sleepy and strange. I’m not sure which would be more productive – working hard and getting the last bus home, sleeping, and heading into uni as early as possible, or staying at uni working all night and then trying to work the next day while stupid. Once day had broken and the buses begun, I caught one into the city and bought a super shake from the Cold Rock to attempt to wake up, and then spent the rest of the day working on something or other. I went home in the evening and slept.
For some reason, I feel sleepier than normal, so I think I’ll go to bed right now – much earlier than normal.

02.10.2004Saturday 2 October – Amberley Air Show

Today I went to the Amberley Air Show. I caught the train into the city, then to Ipswich, and a bus from there to Amberley. It was very busy, very hot, and very dry and dusty. I managed to get a bit sunburnt. The air show itself was great. Every aircraft Australia has in operation was on display, and flew. I found the Caribou the most impressive. While F-111’s and F/A-18’s doing dump and burns and barely subsonic flypasts just a few hundred yards away are incredibly imposing, there’s something unutterably impressive about a full-size airplane dropping two tonne pallets from a metre above the ground, or landing within a few hundred metres, and taking off within another few. They’re absolutely amazing aircraft – there’s apparently not much else out there that can match them. Anything that can fly a metre from the ground without being able to hover impresses me no end, and their landing and takeoff seemed to defy gravity. A car dropped from a Chinook has a certain “coolness” about it as well. In fact, the whole show was quite good – the roulettes were spectacular, all the jets ooze power, Blackhawks and Super Seasprite’s are cool, Hercules are just big, and the rest had complicated names I can’t remember. We also got to witness an unplanned demonstration of airstrip fire fighting after an incendiary bombing raid unsurprisingly but unexpectedly caught the surrounding countryside on fire, creating dense smoke. It was quite interesting having a close look at fighter jets and helicopters too – they had several navy helicopters powered up showing some quite interesting avionics and scanning stuff.
  I dropped by uni on the way home, but didn’t stay long.

03.10.2004Sunday 3 October – Amanda’s & Shark Tale

I was quite tired when I arrived home last night, and had planned to go straight to bed, but somehow I didn’t, and it was approaching four o’clock by the time I did.
I awoke, refreshed, and was out of here and on my way to uni before one o’clock.
I headed off to Indooroopilly, where Amanda and I saw “Shark Tale”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the past few animated films have been, but it still managed to be watchful and a little amusing. I’d give it three somersaults. I stayed the night at Amanda’s place.

04.10.2004Monday 4 October – Back to Uni

Amanda dropped me in the city, where I caught a bus to uni, and did the whole going to lectures thing. The mid-semester break hasn’t been a break at all for me. Uni is actually quite tough at the moment – I’m not sure whether it’s a coincidence with the courses I’ve chosen all consistently having assignments due at the same time, or if it’s just getting harder as I do more advanced courses. Either way, it’s now too hard to leave things to the last minute and cram them – it’s simply not possible to do that anymore. Time management skills – here I come. Actually, a more realistic statement would be – sleep, what sleep?

05.10.2004Tuesday 5 October – Wherein I discover I can no longer afford to sleep

I went to bed shortly after three o’clock, and I left for uni around a quarter to seven – that’s less than three hours sleep, and it isn’t enough, but I had to be at uni by eight o’clock for my COMP2801 group practical. I then spent a normal day at uni, doing normal things. That is, I spent all day sitting in the computer labs programming. I wish UQ had an IT degree, so I didn’t have to do this crappy “Software Engineering (Lite)” degree.
Comment by Mitchell – Monday 11 October 2004, 11:23 AM
  Umm. I think sleep would be a good idea. The delusion, hallucinations etc. are a sign of pyschosis. It's brought about usually by sleep deprivation && stress | smoking weed. I dont need you putting on a performance in Comp2502 lectures. Kevin is entertaining enough.
Comment by Ned – Monday 11 October 2004, 1:20 PM
  Hmmm.... purple elephants!

06.10.2004Wednesday 6 October

Jan came and cleaned. I went to uni and worked on my COMS3200 assignment. It is turning into a nightmare. It is excessively complex for the marks given, and most of it isn’t anything to do with networking. I also went and got our marked assignment two for COMP2801 back. We’ve got eighteen out of twenty, while the average mark is 12.9 and the median 11.5 and only one other group got higher – at 19, so I think we’ve done quite well.
Comment by Mum – Saturday 9 October 2004, 7:43 PM
  Good on you. Am so pleased.

07.10.2004Thursday 7 October – Uni

Uni all day. There really is nothing more to be said. All spare waking moments were spent attempting to do uni related things. Apparently it’s election time again at uni – all the weirdos are out promoting various stupid things. It seems one mob want a Subway on campus and who knows what the other ones want. I’m surprised none can think up anything useful.

08.10.2004Friday 8 October – Uni Again

I’m quite tired and worn out. I spent all day at uni, most of it working on my COMS3200 assignment that I was supposed to have finished by last night. I really can’t afford to spend any more time on it, as I’ve COMP3502 due on Monday, and haven’t even begun it yet. Everything sounds odd. For a while, I thought my music was playing fast, but it’s not – it just sounds odd. My monitor seems overly large and clear too. I don’t remember it being so big.
Comment by Reubot – Saturday 9 October 2004, 5:48 PM
  a) You are hallucinating
  b) You've only just gotten enough sleep to wake up in order to take in things properly

09.10.2004Saturday 9 October – UQ Sucks

I went to Govinda’s for lunch, and then to uni for the evening. Dommie the Narc drove Clint and Kipps to the nearest polling station, so I went along for the ride. I left my bag in his car when he parked, and waited with Clus while they voted. A while later we got a phone call to say that they had waited for ages for us and were leaving any moment. We headed out to the car park and couldn’t find them, so we caught a bus back to the Ville and met them there. It was fortunate I had some small change or we’d have been stuck. As it was, I had to buy an adult ticket, which is annoying considering I already had a valid ticket in my wallet. Apparently Dommie, Clint and Kipps are retarded, as they claim they walked out the same door where we were waiting without us seeing them and didn’t see us, and even waited an additional five minutes in the car park after phoning.
  I’m trying to research my COMP3502 assignment, but the network and computing facilities here are so crap they’re unusable. I am getting download speeds of 500 bytes per second, meaning it’s taking me half an hour to download tiny files. This makes it very hard to research anything as I’m attempting to get journal articles from online databases. I am sick of the crappy facilities and the crappy IT degree in general, and the crappy attitude of the people who (pretend) to run the whole thing. I don’t care why they’re crap, or why they can’t be fixed, or what the behind-the-scenes politics are – I just care that I am paying good money for a sub-standard degree backed by sub-standard facilities. I don’t know what, if anything, I can do about it (other than transferring to another uni), but I wish there was something I could do. Perhaps this is just how life is, everything falls below even the most basic expectations and no one else cares?
  Overhead in a foreign accent on the bus on the way home: “Your Dad just bought a car? When? Today? Where? Oh, in Australia? A BMW? A Ferrari? Like a hatchback? Like the Beatles? I am so confused”.
Comment by Mitchell – Monday 11 October 2004, 11:18 AM
  Unfortunately UQ is crap. As far as I know, there is no way you can really launch an investigation into the state of the Uni, particularly the ITEE school. It's a poor Uni, and unfortunately looks like most people who decided to come here have been cheated. No matter what, they will win, wanking on about how good their Uni/School is.
  How about, we form a rally, get EVERYONE to leave the Uni/School and see what they do about it. Probably nothing, they won't have noticed because they will be too busy on their "lets re-invent the wheel slightly different" research projects.
  From what I see. Uni in the US looks the go. You pay a lot $$$$ but, they appear to be very accountable. None of the HECS rubbish, so that by the time you actually start earning enough money to pay it off, you r
Comment by Reubot – Tuesday 12 October 2004, 7:46 PM
  Why didn't you just go to the library?
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 12 October 2004, 10:41 PM
  How would going to the library have helped me?
Comment by Reubot – Wednesday 13 October 2004, 8:43 PM
  To download your files.

10.10.2004Sunday 10 October – All Night

I have to finish COMS3200 and start and complete COMP3502 by tomorrow. COMP3502 is due at 2 PM, and COMS3200 at 10 AM. With this in mind, I headed into uni (via Cold Rock in the city) and spent the night working on them. I bought two litres of coke and a block of chocolate from the Coles at the Ville, which lasted me most of the night. Unfortunately, I’ve not had enough sleep last night to pull an all-nighter tonight, so it wasn’t much fun. Marcus and Lachlan spent the night in the labs doing COMP3502 as well, along with several Asians that I don’t know. I was surprised how many people spent all night there. I guess there are a few assignments due tomorrow.

11.10.2004Monday 11 October – Assignments Are Done

Around four o’clock I began to feel really sleepy. Maz and I dropped by his place so he could get some new music, and dropped in at a twenty-four hour service station on the way back to uni where I bought some coke and chocolate to keep me awake. It worked, but by around six o’clock I felt amazingly bad. This has been a really bad all-nighter for some reason. I can generally handle them quite well, but this time it did not work. Still, I did manage to get all three assignments finished off and submitted, so I guess that is what matters, although I think I’ll try not to do it this way next semester. Around ten o’clock Maz and I, along with Clint, Clus and Kipps, went to McDonald’s for breakfast, after which I went back to completing my COMP3502 assignment. What a night. I think I shall give up drinking Coke too, it’s terrible stuff but it’s the only way I know to stay up all night without being engrossed in something. There has to be some other healthier way though. Ah dear, incoherence. Bed calls.
I’ve just finished dinner, and I’m feeling very sleepy – I think I’ll take a shower and head to bed.

12.10.2004Tuesday 12 October – Of which little is said

I had to be at uni by eight o’clock at the wrong end of the day for my COMP2801 practical, so I was. The rest of the day followed along, as if by clockwork, one moment at a time and never two at once. By the end, it was over and ready to begin again.

13.10.2004Wednesday 13 October – My day not off

Today used to be my day off, back before I realised that uni is harder than before. Because I don’t have any lectures, I did sleep in, but still went to uni in the evening to do some work on my COMP2801 assignment. I had wanted to go see a movie tonight, but Clint and Maz convinced me to wait until tomorrow, so I stayed at uni until late instead.

14.10.2004Thursday 14 October – Shaun of the Dead

Another exciting day of fun and study, but that is not all. Today, Maz, Clint, Clus and I went to the movies. We drove all the way to Indooroopilly, and saw “Shaun of the Dead”. The movie is a successful synthesis of British humour and American gore, managing to be both amusing and entertaining, and ranks around three quarters of a True Lie, although being incomparable and all makes such a ranking difficult to decide upon. After the movie, I started on my COMP2801 time management reflection, and that ends the uni portion of my day.
I had a chat with Soon today. She has been asked to take COMP1800 next year, and plans to offer it second semester. She asked if I would be interested in tutoring again, which I said I was, and that I’m interested in helping redevelop the course, should she require any assistance. I also went and had a chat with Philip Machanick about what I should do. The way I see it, I have three options – continue with my current three year IT degree and try to get a job at the end, continue with my current degree and do honours, or switch to another, possibly dual, degree or a degree from another university. After a chat with Philip, the general consensus (within myself) is that I will continue with IT here at UQ, and consider honours at the end of next year, unless I have a good job offering instead. There seems to be little point in changing to a dual degree without a specific and applicable goal in mind, and it is hard to justify the extra time a dual IT degree with something such as computer systems or electrical engineering would take.

15.10.2004Friday 15 October – Reflections on Time & Jolt

I woke up to go to uni, decided that I was sleepy, and didn’t. This means I missed both my lectures. I did eventually end up at uni, because I had to tutor and had an assignment due by evening. Ironically, I did not complete the assignment, which is a reflection on my time management, until five minutes before it was due. This, I believe, shows the precision of my time management. I also voted in the union elections, voting for “Jolt”, as they are more right, and hence less wrong, than the rest. “Focus” seems to be the most popular, but they are boring and stupid. I had dinner at Govinda’s on the way home, and the train stopped for ages, twice, due to powerlines over the tracks.
I would like to know why every single musk lifesaver breaks into four pieces when I remove it, even though I am into the third roll.
Comment by Reubot – Sunday 17 October 2004, 10:12 AM
  Who the hell were the other groups? I had no idea who Truth, Freedom, Bolt and Opportunity were....
Comment by Ned – Sunday 17 October 2004, 10:29 PM
  I have no idea – I don’t follow Union politics, and wouldn’t even belong to the Union if it weren’t compulsory, which is a travesty of democracy in itself.
Comment by Lucas – Monday 18 October 2004, 12:07 PM
  There is something so contradictory about compulsory unionism. I've ranted on about this so many times before before:
Comment by Reubot – Friday 22 October 2004, 7:14 PM
  Now Howard controls the senate (after June next year) I'd assume they'll push forward with VSU again, since it was part of the original Higher Education Package.
Comment by Ned – Saturday 23 October 2004, 12:21 AM
  In a country where voting is compulsory, it makes sense to have compulsory unionism – as neither concept is democratic.
Comment by Reubot – Saturday 6 November 2004, 1:59 PM

16.10.2004Saturday 16 October – Another Normal Day

Another particularly normal and uneventful day, during which I present myself at uni in order to fully add colour to our COMP2801 program, fail to do so, and so on. I also read perhaps the funniest geek joke ever – two strings walk into a bar. The first string says to the bartender, “Bartender, I’ll have a beer. u.5n$x5t?*&4ru!2[sACCErJ”. The second string says, “Pardon my friend, he isn’t NULL terminated”. After a day of programming, that really is quite hilarious.
Comment by krait – Monday 18 October 2004, 1:46 AM
  Wow, that's one *old* joke. 1990, IIRC ;)
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 7:42 PM
  No savvy long dispel tok

17.10.2004Sunday 17 October – Rain & Little Else

I slept in for a while and then caught a train into uni where I did my COMP3502 tute, some coding for COMP2801, talked to Kieran and Clint, and then headed home again, after buying a falafel roll from the kebab place down the Ville. It’s now raining and a bit cool.
Site News
I’ve modified the search page on most of my sites so that it’s embedded, rather than linking to an external Google page. This is really pressing Google’s terms of service, so I hope they don’t mind.
  People write URI’s on the whiteboards at uni, which is often rather stupid but not really a problem, but when people write the URI of my site on the toilet walls at uni, and other people gouge it out again, I begin to wonder. This doesn’t happen to anyone else – should I be worried?
Comment by Reubot – Monday 18 October 2004, 11:34 AM
  Which toilets?
Comment by io – Tuesday 19 October 2004, 12:20 PM
  Ned lives only at GP South, so I assume it's those toilets he is talking about.
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 19 October 2004, 3:50 PM
  Yes, the toilets in GPS. Ironically, and perhaps worryingly, someone has now rewritten a gouged-out URI.
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 19 October 2004, 8:12 PM
  These things give me the pip. Cant you just try to be a nice ordinary nonentity, easily forgettable, bland, blase, boring as all shivers, so Mum doesna hae to worry, mon? (O' te greying hairs).
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 19 October 2004, 10:06 PM
  I haven’t intentionally done anything different to anyone else – although obviously I have somehow.
Comment by sef – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 3:44 AM
  What kebab store?
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 4:06 AM
  It’s interesting that you should ask.
Comment by Lucas – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 11:53 AM
  You should take pictures of the URI's and put them up, both gouged and non-gouged (if there are any).
Comment by Reubot – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 11:56 AM
  I kinda meant which toilet location, I did a good check of the 2nd-level male toilets and a semi check of the 1st-level ones in GPS but I couldn't find them...
Comment by Reubot – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 2:05 PM
  Alright, I went down to GPS and found it this time....Can you say NEDDAGE? (Maybe you could say the wall was nedded).
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 20 October 2004, 2:35 PM
  I always wanted to be famous, but I’m not quite sure if this was what I had in mind...
Comment by graham – Thursday 21 October 2004, 10:28 PM
  perhaps someone just wanted to get mentioned on your site, Ned. You are a celebrity, after all.

18.10.2004Monday 18 October – Lightning, Rain & Collateral

Insert exciting rant about uni and stuff like that here. It seems to be raining and there was lightning this morning so I couldn’t go to my first lecture of the day, which was just a guest lecturer so not actually about the subject. I also tutored today, something I don’t normally do, but we’re having a Monday tutorial this Monday and next Monday to handle anticipated increased demand.
Maz and I went and saw “Collateral”, at Indooroopilly, which was rather average, equalling three quarters of one Shaun of the Dead. It wasn’t the mindless action I was expecting and looking forward to, and couldn’t quite keep up the façade of anything more. Still, it was ok. Sadly my brain is fried, and I can’t think, let alone type.

19.10.2004Tuesday 19 October – Uni

After four hours sleep, or something woeful like that, I had to get up and go to uni for my COMP2801 practical, during which my group cleverly divided the remaining tasks. I then rushed up to POD, photocopied my tutor evaluation things for students to fill out, tutored, attended the sleepy COMS3200 lecture, where I always get sleepy for some reason, and then got some dinner from Govinda’s on the way home.
I discovered yesterday that the follow-on information security course I’d planned to take next year is no longer going to be offered, so, in a probably vain attempt to get the course reinstated:
  Request for Expressions of Interest – Proposed follow-on to COMP3502 “Information Security”
  I’m currently taking COMP3502, “Information Security”, which I am finding informative, well taught, and relevant, and I believe this is a field that will become increasingly relevant as more and more critical information is stored and managed digitally. I had planned to take a proposed follow-on course next year, but have recently discovered that this course is no longer going to be offered. I believe it is courses such as this, and not the standard run-of-the-mill programming courses, which will provide the knowledge necessary to build the skills that will produce distinguished and long-term employable graduates. Let’s face it – programming in Australia, per se, is a menial, dead-end, career choice – somewhat analogous to the situation Australian factory workers would have found themselves in, in the not so distant past. It is simply more economically feasible to outsource such menial tasks to a cheaper country – yet it is graduates suited to these tasks that UQ is producing, as they drop IT courses and focus the IT curricula on the perceived, and largely expendable, “basic skills” common to IT and engineering.
  I would like to graduate with the knowledge necessary to develop skills that are in demand, required, essential, and as permanently applicable as possible – which is the main reason I wished to take the follow on course to COMP3502.
  If any other students are interested in a follow-on course to COMP3502, I would be interested to hear from them, as I am planning to write to the head of school for reconsideration of the cancellation of this proposed course, should there be sufficient interest.
Comment by Reubot – Thursday 28 October 2004, 9:27 AM
  As someone planning to move into an ITEE based program next year, I'm wondering which courses you mean as the ones you wouldn't recommend people do because they are not theory based enough?
Comment by Ned – Thursday 28 October 2004, 12:25 PM
  A lot of things are changing next year, so it is impossible to say.

20.10.2004Wednesday 20 October – The Football Factory

I went to sleep around six o’clock in the morning. In retrospect, this wasn’t a particularly good idea, as I then didn’t wake up until one o’clock in the evening, and still felt stupid all afternoon. After eventually waking up, I headed into the city and got something to eat from Govinda’s, and a Cold Rock Super Shake, before heading into uni. I went to Clint’s room but half the block appeared to be having some type of domestic, and they all left just as I got there, leaving me a little confused, so I just hung around wasting Clint’s Internet quota and helping Dommie with some coding. They eventually returned, all still alive, and I got a lift to Indooroopilly with Sméagol, where I watched “The Football Factory”, a rather rough, but partially tongue-in-cheek, look at British football hooligans. The movie had a lot of potential, which it didn’t manage to live up to, and was quite good in parts but very average in others. It wasn’t a bad watch, so I’ll give it one “Collateral”, although it did make me miss the train, meaning I didn’t get home until after one o’clock.

21.10.2004Thursday 21 October – Sleepy

I went to bed around four o’clock, and got up two hours later to get to uni for my eight o’clock lecture. Strangely, though, I felt quite sleepy, and managed to convince myself that I should skip my lecture, and its following tute, and get an extra hour or so sleep. While this helped a little, I still felt rather like a zombie while tutoring, and didn’t do much for the rest of the day.
Maz drove Clint, Kieran and I to Umart, where I bought a 200-gigabyte Western Digital hard drive.

22.10.2004Friday 22 October – Very Hot

Despite going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting a full seven hours sleep, I didn’t wake when my alarm went off, meaning I missed my lecture. Fortunately, however, I didn’t miss tutoring, which was quite busy and went an hour longer than it was supposed to. After tutoring, I went and wasted some time down in c-block, which always makes me feel intelligent. I then went and watched HMAS Tobruk presenting arms at King George Square, and had dinner at Govinda’s, before heading back to uni for a little while.
It is remarkably hot. I don’t like hot nights.

23.10.2004Saturday 23 October – Incredibly Hot

It’s very hot, once again. I made my way into uni in the evening, in order to prepare for our group’s COMP2801 presentation on Tuesday, but due to another of the speaker’s assignments refusing to compile and being due yesterday, no preparation was done. I did, however, manage to fix up a silly bug I’d had with my colour support, so the time wasn’t wasted. This hotness is ridiculous – there’s voluble waves of heat rolling in, one can feel them hit. Perhaps it is the end of the world, as we know it.

24.10.2004Sunday 24 October – Satanism, Gauls & Arguments

It is a sad day when satanic rituals are officially endorsed onboard royal navy vessels – according to the BBC, “The British Armed Forces has officially recognised its first registered Satanist, according to a newspaper report”. How anyone, religious or not, can believe this type of behaviour, basically officially recognising “evil” as “acceptable”, is in any way normal or acceptable is beyond me.
Today has been another really hot day. I spent the morning in bed asleep, and the evening at uni. I met up with Flashpix and Insomnix, two indomitable Gauls still holding out against the house drawing, team project and sprinkler-mapping invaders that have overtaken all the other labs. We did much great COMP2801 teamwork, which can be summarised roughly as “Hey yeah, so we better do stuff, but Coles shuts soon and I haven’t had breakfast yet so I’ll see you later ok? Yeah, I’ll do some work tonight and we can compare tomorrow. Cool, see you then”. There was also something I was supposed to do tonight, so that we can compare it tomorrow, but I can’t remember what it is so I shan’t be doing it.
I was going to go to bed several times, but the ongoing, and now rather vindictive and melodramatic, argument has kept me awake, so I’m running my backups onto the new hard drive.
All seems quiet now, and my backup has less than half a minute to go, so I might try to get some sleep.

25.10.2004Monday 25 October – University is as University Does

I spent the morning attending lectures and tutoring, and the evening with Lachlan preparing for our COMP2801 presentation tomorrow. Nothing of any great interest occurred, although Clint and Co have begun an anti-Kipps campaign, which I am supporting by linking to their page from each of mine in an attempt to Google bomb Rhett’s name – not that anyone would ever search for it other than himself.

26.10.2004Tuesday 26 October – Presentation Woes

After a little less than four hours sleep, I got up and headed into uni so I’d be there by half past seven, to finish preparing for our COMP2801 presentation. Not surprisingly, I didn’t feel fantastic, and I don’t think Lachlan had had anymore sleep than I.
Our group was drawn out of a hat third place, meaning we presented third. The first group had a comprehensive and highly detailed slideshow – there was probably too much information on it, as they didn’t cover it all. The second and fourth groups had what I’d call average, but good, presentations, although the second group was too pre-planned and choreographed, as they were in the first presentation. Our presentation went terribly, I felt. Despite Lachlan and I having done a reasonable amount of preparation yesterday, coupled with both our lack of sleep, it simply wasn’t enough. I don’t know what our presentation looked like from the observer’s perspective, but I was very aware that we didn’t cover much of what I’d hoped to cover, and what we did was confused. I am, however, very impressed with Lachlan’s ability to make up stuff on the spot, something I don’t think I could do. All I can do is hope, vainly I fear, that Doug is also impressed.
I tutored from ten o’clock through to noon, and then attended the first hour of my two-hour COMS3200 lecture, going back after and tutoring from one o’clock through to three o’clock. Ironically, the one hour I didn’t tutor, I was meant to tutor – from noon through one o’clock, but wasn’t aware of this. TO make it even worse, Mandy, who was also supposed to tutor, didn’t realise either so there were no tutors in the labs at all. Hopefully not too many students turned up and found no one there.
I had planned to do things, but got suddenly tired and hungry, so walked down to the Ville with Clint, Clus and Maz, but once there didn’t feel like eating anything anyone sold, so caught a bus into the city, went to Govinda’s, and then caught the train home. Now that’s it’s just gone one o’clock, I’d better head to bed.
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 27 October 2004, 7:13 PM
  You dont sleep enough. For goodness sake, when I was your age, I didnt sleep enough. And look what it did for me! (It really annoys me that I have to get out the microscope to find the exclamation mark on this keyboard). Just about all the things I could plague you with on this journal site need lots of exclamation marks. Just gotta remember that they are linked with No. 1. Shouldnt be hard, I guess. Go away Mum. Yerrs, okay.

27.10.2004Wednesday 27 October – Sleepless in St Lucia

I got less than four hours sleep again last night. The clouds are pretty; they float along like sheep, but without the legs. No eyes either. This heat is bad – I don’t like hot weather. People that sauna need their heads checked – does boiled cabbage appear healthy to you? I vaguely remember going to uni, where I wrote a two thousand-word addition to my team journal, mainly by pasting stuff from this journal and slightly rewriting it. Now for some two minute noodles.
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 3 November 2004, 7:15 PM
  You don t get enough sleep

28.10.2004Thursday 28 October – Doctor’s Appointment

Mum reckons I don’t get enough sleep, but I don’t know why she says this.
I had to be at Prince Charles Hospital by 9:40, which meant a train and bus ride. I only slept for around two hours last night, so didn’t feel hugely alert and joyful, however nothing at all happened – I had the de facto respiratory tests and saw a doctor, who made an appointment for later, and then I headed into uni.
I wrote a Junit test for my Colour class, which is nearly more complex than the class itself, walked down the Ville and bought a kebab, gave Igor my new hard drive, and very little else.
I had better go to bed, partly because I need to get up at eight o’clock tomorrow, but mainly so I am not banned from the university newsgroup. In a (successful) attempt to prove to Clint that I’m a far superior troll, and because I’m intolerant and sick of inanity, I posted a flurry of blatantly provocative posts, which drew the expected response from the usual suspects. However, I don’t want to press the point too far, so I shall stop now.
  It’s sad – there are so many interesting topics in the IT field, but the most that the average geek student seems to be able to handle is arguing why their favourite operating system or browser is better than life itself. Do computer-related degrees attract the intellectually inept, or is this the state of humanity in general?
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 3 November 2004, 7:16 PM
  You dont get enough sleep
Comment by Mum – Wednesday 3 November 2004, 7:18 PM
  "I only slept for around two hours last night...." You dont get enough sleep.

29.10.2004Friday 29 October – End of Semester & The Manchurian Candidate

At uni, I proofread and slightly modified our COMP2801 document, before handing it over to Insom for the final addition of UML diagrams. That’s the last of this semester’s assessment, and marks the end of semester – only the exams remain. BITS had their annual general meeting today, although apparently it was a special general meeting due to some obscure reason or other, and elected next year’s exec. Insom is president, with Grit and Tim taking up positions, so perhaps next year’s society will actually be worth joining.
  After that, Maz and I went and saw “The Manchurian Candidate”, which ended up being an interesting, but not fantastic, movie, getting around the same rating as “The Football Factory” in my opinion.
Comment by Mum – Thursday 4 November 2004, 7:14 PM
  You dont get enough sleep

30.10.2004Saturday 30 October – Sleeping

I awoke at four o’clock in the evening. Hopefully this monumental sleep has caught me up after my previous sleepless weeks. Not surprisingly, the rest of the day was ruined as far as doing anything goes. Around midnight I felt like lunch, and went to bed some time later.

31.10.2004Sunday 31 October – A Man’s Gotta Do All Hallows Eve

Maz and I went and saw “A Man’s Gotta Do” at Indooroopilly. It’s a great Australian comedy, and overall good movie. Every time they got to a place where a normal Hollywood movie would make some stupid plot choice, they made the right choice. I’d give this movie a whole two Manchurian Candidates – making this the first movie I’ve rated higher than “True Lies” (at forty and a half cat women or one and a half Shaun of the dead, for those counting). I went via uni to see if Clint wanted to go, but he was otherwise engaged or unable to get ready in time or something, so missed out on the best movie in a while.
  On the train home, we met a group of spunky American boxing kangaroos, with pouches full of candy, attempting to introduce some American Halloween culture to us Aussies. Halloween is an odd tradition – I fail to comprehend how all the conservative American Christians can dress up their young children as ghoulish demons and monsters in an apparent glorification of evil on All Hallows Eve, the evening before All Saint’s Day, and not think anything unusual of this. I’m surprised that handing out candy to small children in the dark is seen as something to be encouraged too, it almost makes me think of a Michael Jackson joke...

01.11.2004Monday 1 November – Marking

I was at uni by midday, down in the labs with Soon, Mandy and Julie, discussing marking COMP1501. This I proceeded to do for most of the evening, as well as trying to find if there’s anything available for tutoring next semester, which as far as I can tell, there isn’t. All the lecturer’s teaching courses I’d be able to tutor already have their tutors picked out. I also took my new hard drive into uni again and Clint copied some (copyright free, obviously) music and I finished getting the one thousand greatest rock songs of all time, which I may even listen to at some stage. I currently have 21,983 songs in my play list, but that would include quite a large amount of duplicates, which I may try to sort out over the summer break.
I had subway for lunch, with Clint and Clus, who also turned up in the evening for a rush into the city for Cold Rock but we missed the bus so had to settle for doughnuts from Seven Eleven instead. Once home, I had intended to go almost straight to bed, but Joe was watching the end of what seemed to be a good war movie, and it’s always interesting watching them with him as he adds little observations from his own experience.

02.11.2004Tuesday 2 November – Not Studying & Not Sleeping

I was supposed to study, but I did very little. I did manage to make a study plan though – a pretty coloured Excel spreadsheet detailing just what I won’t do and just when I won’t do it. I also managed to stay up nearly all night.
I half-heartedly applied for a job that was posted in the ITEE jobs newsgroup. It’s twenty hours a week, from four o’clock through to nine o’clock, setting up AV equipment and so on, so I’m not really sure if I can take it. I’d miss all the movies, and it’d put more pressure on my study schedule – which will apparently be harder than this semester, although it would probably be doable. Still, I figure if I’m actually got offered the job, I could always decline. What probably wasn’t the wisest idea was staying up all night preparing a CV – my first. I’m not really sure what it’s supposed to include, but it’s all done and sent now.

03.11.2004Wednesday 3 November – Marking & No Study

I was up shortly after seven and at uni by nine o’clock – not an easy task when I’d gone to bed a mere two hours before. Hardly surprisingly, I felt tired – but two iced coffees later, I could do more than just contemplate the screen. I then spent most of the day finishing off COMP1501 marking with Mandy, including an argument with Dommie the Narc over his assignment and the precise meaning of “lab environment”.
  After marking was completed Clint, Maz and I went down to the Ville where I cleverly purchased, and subsequently ate, myself a felafel roll. Maz and I then managed not to do any study and get really sleepy for a while, before we headed into the city with Clint and Clus to get Cold Rock, meeting someone at Myers and discussing IRC, the FOK Rhett Kipps campaign and various other amusingly geeky things. I also bought fifty blank Verbatim CDs, which will hopefully be more successful in non-CDR tolerant CD players than my last CDs.
Comment by Maz – Thursday 4 November 2004, 3:49 AM
  I prefer "Maz".... " completed Clint, Marcus and "
  Ice cream is a tool of the devil.
  It's 4am. ahahahahahaha. At least you went to bed earlier.
  I'll see you at uni. hopefully not too late. Is tomorrow a 2502 day?

04.11.2004Thursday 4 November – Studying

My computer froze after attempting to open a file with QuickTime Movie Player – an inherently evil application on Windows.
I’d meant to be at uni as early as possible, but didn’t end up there until after midday; although I did manage to do some study – making for a rather unexciting day.

05.11.2004Friday 5 November – The Forgotten

I was at uni by nine o’clock, and spent the morning and early afternoon remarking some COMP1501 assignments and studying for COMP3502. I met Maz in the evening and we tried to study COMS3200 but it wasn’t happening so we went to Indooroopilly and saw “The Forgotten” instead. This has used up any leeway I may have (but probably didn’t) had, and now I have to study non-stop if I’m to get any sort of reasonable marks for my courses. The movie was reasonably good, and got suddenly quite good after the first “boom”, but the ending was a big letdown. It seems the ending is the hardest part to write. I’m giving it five ninths of A Man’s Gotta do, or five sixths of a Shaun of the Dead – which sums up the movie pretty well.
Loreena McKennitt’s “All Souls Night” from her “The Visit” album is brilliantly beautiful – and on that note, I go to bed.

06.11.2004Saturday 6 November – Thunder, Lightning & No Milk

I headed into uni to study. Exams are fast approaching and I am unprepared, as usual. Due to sleeping in all morning and then there being a big thunderstorm, I couldn’t get to uni until the evening, which means I’m going to stay all night and study.
Maz came in and we began our famous all night study, including a few parts where we actually studied between walking to the river, checking out construction sites, falling in holes, looking at ducks, finding an unbroken vending machine that had iced coffee, and all the other things one does when studying.

07.11.2004Sunday 7 November – Hero

A few hints I’ve come up with after my all-nighter:
  Chocolate flavoured soymilk isn’t as good as it may sound. It makes you very sick.
  Do not ever drink 2 litres of apple juice in one sitting, even if you have given up Coke after nearly dying last all-nighter and don’t ever try walking after drinking that much apple juice.
  The nearest non-broken vending machine that sells milk is at General Purpose North, which is sort of the opposite direction from General Purpose South, and involves walking through rain.
  Jellybeans are far better than Green Aero Chocolate, despite their appearance.
  There is a disgusting water-filled hole near the main refectory that you will fall into if you are looking at the flag hanging on the big fancy building in the great court instead of watching where you’re going.
  One in twelve flavoured milks will burst when bought from a vending machine. Opening the lid on this burst milk will cause the leak to worsen rapidly and is not a good idea when the leak is facing towards yourself.
  Never rely on people who say they will get pizza with you – they’ll end up going to Maccas without you and you will be hungry all night.
  Throwing confetti into fans is funnier in theory than practice, and may result in being threatened with scissors.
  Cold Rock doesn’t open early enough in the city and the Queen Street Mall wireless network will fail if you rely on it to be online at 8 o’clock in the morning on a Sunday, as one does.
  Staying up all night to study only sounds like a good idea the day before, – but it makes a nice change from sleeping peacefully, cosy in bed, listening to the rain.
I got very sleepy. I walked to the Ville. It rained all over the place, but particularly under my umbrella. I got wet. I bought a foot-long from Subway, half of which is still in its bag sitting on my floor. I then froze in the air-conditioned labs in wet clothes and completed my COMP3502 amazingly brief summary and table of contents, before heading off to Indooroopilly with Raymond to watch “Hero”, which was quite different.
The cinema was quite busy, and “Hero” was shown on one of their bigger screens so all was good from that perspective. The movie itself is quite different to what most would expect from a modern Jet Li movie, being subtitled Chinese, and aimed at being artistic and stylistic, rather than realistic. It was quite an interesting movie, but so different to most Western movies that I’m not sure what to think – yet I enjoyed it so I guess that is all that matters. I’m giving it one and one fifth of “The Forgotten”, which works out as precisely three quarters of a true lie.
Apparently, there was a big storm here while I was at uni. The water has come inside where it shouldn’t be, and is lounging around on the carpet. It is refusing to go back outside, and is becoming something of a problem.

08.11.2004Monday 8 November – Study & Sleep

As usual, I’d planned to be at uni much earlier than I was. In retrospect, seven hours sleep was probably an unrealistic goal after getting none the night before, so I just slept through my alarm, waking up hours later, and getting to uni late in the afternoon. Admittedly, I did stop at Govinda’s on the way there.
I managed to write an index of all the COMP3502 tutorials for its impending exam, and complete the second part of last year’s exam and post my answers to the newsgroup for comment.
Something a little unusual happened on the way home. I was snoozing on the train, as usual. The lights went out. There’s nothing unusual about that – they can’t run all the trains in Brisbane on one circuit, so the lights regularly go out when they’re changing across from one circuit to another. The unusual part is what I thought. In my mind, all of a sudden everything went black and I thought “oh no, I hadn’t saved” – exactly the same feeling I get when I’m halfway through doing something and my computer crashes or the power fails. I think the moral is clear – I’m not spending enough time around computers. In fact, I must be spending so little time around them that my mind has to play computer games with itself – so I shall make an effort to spend more time at a computer in future.
Comment by Reubot – Tuesday 9 November 2004, 10:04 AM
  Man, thats whacked!
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 9 November 2004, 10:50 AM
  Don’t worry – I’m sitting in front of a computer, deep underground, at the moment, so this should cure it.

09.11.2004Tuesday 9 November – Study

I studied hard at uni. Well, I didn’t really study anything, I just indexed all the keywords and concepts I could find, but in doing so did actually do a lot of study. As it ends up, the majority of what I indexed wasn’t actually used in the exam, but I managed to find almost everything asked in the exam, either in the lecture notes or in marked tutorials, within seconds using my index – so it really helped and I’ll be using this same technique for my other open book exams.
Comment by tracy – Friday 12 November 2004, 10:47 PM
  toads sounds remarkably like ducks
Comment by Ned – Saturday 13 November 2004, 1:17 AM
  Except lower.

10.11.2004Wednesday 10 November – Information Security Exam

Today saw me heading into uni by nine o’clock, doing some last minute studying, printing a few files, running up to POD when all the printers in GPS ran out of paper, and attending my COMP3502 exam.
The exam was three hours long and open book, meaning we could take in any written material. The exam had sixteen questions, all of which had subparts. My answers ended up being twenty-five pages long. I ran out of time (but it was entirely my own fault for spending too much time on other questions while avoiding those that I didn’t know the answers for). My comprehensive indexing helped heaps – by the end of the ten-minute perusal period I had located the relevant sections in the tutorial answers, lecture slides or my notes for questions one through ten. I don’t know if we can get bonus marks for spending too much time and effort on small questions – but I’d like to hope we can. I even cited sources for one, using the correct IEEE citation style. Unfortunately, this also meant that I had more difficulty with the questions after ten, skipping some, nearly forgetting one, running out of answer booklet, having my arm die, and getting entirely sick of the whole thing around the 2-hour mark, at which point I discovered the interesting deco above the doors. After pondering the wisdom of drinking my bottle of coke first and having only water left, attempting to locate friendly faces without looking suspicious, and checking that my pencil still had lead as I’d snapped it roughly two hundred times, I finished off the remaining skipped questions. There were a few I wasn’t confident about, one stupid statistical one I couldn’t be bothered working out so approximated a roughly correct answer (John said later that I’d get an approximately correct mark for it), and one question about something I hadn’t heard of before but apparently guessed correctly. While I did run out of time, I believe the difficulty of the exam was almost spot-on. It seemed to me that anyone with a basic level of understanding would have no trouble passing it, but to excel and get high marks would require in-depth knowledge – which is exactly how exams should be.
  Overall, I think COMP3502 may be the best course I’ve done so far. I would like to see a follow-on course (which was proposed at one stage), as this was very much an introduction to a varied, highly relevant and growing field (not something you can say about most of the other IT courses UQ offers). I posted a request for interest in a follow up course some time ago, but didn’t take it further due to an apparent lack of interest. Perhaps if there’s enough interest, I’ll be able to petition the head of school next semester.
Clint, Maz and I wandered around the city for a while; where I did the unusual and bought a Cold Rock Super Shake before dozing my way home. I almost missed my station, jumping up at the last moment – the third time in a row I’ve done this, having never done it before.
It appears to have become somehow later than I had wished. This is, I believe, a side-effect of the diminishing power of the Catholic Church, and the subsequent heretical belief that the earth is not only round, but no longer at the centre of the universe – something which is, to the best of my knowledge, still unproven.

11.11.2004Thursday 11 November – Taxi

Sleep, for it is that which makes men able.
Uni, for it is that which makes men IT professionals.
After a full day studying, Maz and I went to Indooroopilly and saw “Taxi”, with Raymond. Clint and Clus had originally said they’d come, but rudely left with Sméagol, without warning, and didn’t come. The movie didn’t finish until nearly half past eleven, by which time there were no buses back to uni, so Raymond walked back to Maz’s with Maz and I, and from there headed back to uni, getting a lift with Flash. The movie was good, just what I felt like watching at the time. I couldn’t have handled anything with too much of a plot, or any class – a classless and semi-mindless action movie with fast cars, an unrealistic plot, and very little else, hit the spot nicely. I’m giving the movie three quarters of a Hero, which is exactly half of what a Man’s Gotta Do.
Comment by kathryn – Wednesday 17 November 2004, 2:59 PM
  i saw taxi, with a bunch of people (of the two legged kind) and they all really liked it, but basically i went because i drove them and it's not safe to leave boyfrind, bestfriend and little sister alone without supervision. I found the movie very taxing on my sensitive blood and viloence scale, i can't take it when movie props that are supposed to look like arms covered in red sauce come flying at me. I haven't been in a war zone or in a traumatic event that explains this disliking, but i still don't get it how it's entertaining.
  ps i'm not one of those people that faints at the sight of blood or can't dissect a rat.
Comment by Kathryn – Wednesday 17 November 2004, 3:01 PM
  oh by the way tom crusie and washington where very good in taxi, and i hope i never come across a dead guy on a train.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 17 November 2004, 10:33 PM
  Aww, poor rats.

12.11.2004Friday 12 November – Wherein Ned’s Brain Dies

Today Ned’s brain died. He cannot think. He cannot remember. He cannot speak coherently. He’s finally realised, as he did last exam period, that study is not a good way to learn anything. In fact, he’s going as far as to say that study is not a good way to do anything. He says the only good thing about study is that after a while, he doesn’t care anymore, and sees everything as so funny.

13.11.2004Saturday 13 November – Study, Sleep & Very Little Else

Going to bed a bit earlier may not have been the world’s worst idea, but it’s harder to change the past than it’s worth, so two o’clock it is.
I headed into uni, and stayed the night at Maz’s, having spent all day at uni studying COMP2502 and a bit of COMS3200 with Maz.

14.11.2004Sunday 14 November – Study & Woe

Apparently Maz woke me up, but I didn’t feel like getting up, so we didn’t end up getting to uni until after ten o’clock. I spent all day in the labs studying, mostly COMS3200. I’m not very confident about COMP2502, but because it’s multi-choice, I’m planning to employ an “educated best guess” technique, where I’ll have something of a clue what they’re talking about sometimes... hopefully. COMS3200, on the other hand, appears to be quite difficult and is open-book, so I’m devoting a lot of time to it. Logically, I should have spent a lot more time on COMP2502, as I should have been able to achieve a good overall result in that course a lot easier than in COMS3200 – but logic isn’t a strong point during exam period.
  I had to put up with a gaggle of depraved Union sluts on the bus into the city on the way home, but the train journey was uneventful. I attempted to read a little of my COMP2502 text, but snoozed instead.
Comment by Maz – Monday 15 November 2004, 11:30 AM
  COMP2502 was bad. very bad. fail doom and woe. I just made a bet with someone so I wont come out empty handed. I'll get $3 and a lollipop. I blame you. If you woke up an hour earlier I may have learnt something!
Comment by sef – Tuesday 16 November 2004, 1:33 AM
  Who the f$#% are Union?
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 16 November 2004, 2:33 AM
  Union College.
Comment by Mum – Tuesday 16 November 2004, 8:44 PM
  Slut is an awful word and ought not to be repeated. Makes me ashamed to even type it. It has a muddy gutter sound to it and ought not to be applied to the female race even if you think so. These females will eventually be mothers, aunts, and other nice things not at all to do with muddy gutters. Get a more long range perspective. And a little respect. Yeah Ma.
Comment by Reubot – Tuesday 16 November 2004, 9:46 PM
  I thought you meant our student overlords, UQUnion.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 17 November 2004, 12:21 AM
  I attempt to use the most suitable word for the situation, and here, that is “slut”.
Comment by tracy – Wednesday 17 November 2004, 1:14 AM
  thats so cute

15.11.2004Monday 15 November – Algorithms and Data Structures Exam

I got up early to get to uni before my exam and do some panic study, which basically comprised of reading through the two-page summary Maz had made. I then completed the thirty-two multi-choice questions to the best of my abilities, picking the ones that I thought were most correct, and so on and so forth. The exam wasn’t too bad, with a lot less ambiguity than I was expecting after reading the sample exams. I’m reasonably confident I passed, but above that, I cannot say. I always seem to think I’ve gone well on multi-choice exams, but then get dismal results.
I attempted to study for my COMS3200 exam tomorrow, getting a bit of study done. I’m using the same method I used for COMP3502 – I’m going through the lecture slides and writing down a comprehensive index of all the keywords I find, in the hope that I can search for them fast enough during the exam to get away with not actually knowing anything.
I was about to go home when Bronwen turned up, and Tom shortly after, so I stayed and studied COMS3200 with them, although I think we did more laughing than studying. Tom gave me a lift into the city and I caught the train home. There was an interesting scene on the train – the two seats in front of me, one on either side of the aisle, both had young couples in them. On one side there were two young, very love-stricken youth – possibly still school aged, and on the other side there were two slightly older semi-punk, semi-gothic people, apparently just as in love. The contrast was remarkable, two groups of people, probably quite similar and in similar situations, yet so different.

16.11.2004Tuesday 16 November – Computer Networks 1 Exam

I was at uni by nine o’clock, and I studied, sort of hard, right up until my exam. I also got less than five hours sleep, which probably wasn’t the best thing to do. There ended up being a few of us, Kieran, Maz, Bronwen and Tom, who I all gave my index to, and who helped me work through the past exam, which was quite helpful as I didn’t have much of a clue. I was told that I like pretending to be “conventionally dense” – I’m not quite sure if that’s an insult or not, particularly as I wasn’t pretending.
The COMS3200 exam was held in the UQ Centre, and I was in seat 518, which was a purple card. We’d rushed up to POD to print some stuff just minutes before the exam, which meant we had to rush to the exam, which meant we had very little time to buy drinks, which meant that Tom bought his and mine, which meant that he grabbed the first lemonade looking drink, which meant that we both ended up with soda water. Surprisingly, despite tasting like soda water, soda water actually quenches the thirst quite well.
  I was quite worried about this exam, as everyone has been saying how hard it is, and the course itself covers quite a lot of material, but in the end, it was just another exam. In fact, I found myself actually enjoying it – which is something I haven’t had happen before and is a bit worrying. I turned up just late, did the easy half, spent ten minutes looking around trying to find people (which is remarkably hard to do, I couldn’t see Maz or Kieran anywhere and figured they’d left early, but they hadn’t) and looking at the roof thinking how high the projectors were, should I ever have to fix them, and then did the hard half. I’m pretty sure I’ve passed, but I’m not confident I’ll get a good mark. I hadn’t a clue about anything, and just looked it all up – once again, my indexing saved me.
I’d planned to ask Bronwen if she wanted to catch a movie or something after the exam, but just moments before we left POD for the exam, she went off to do her exam elsewhere – I’m not sure why. After the exam, I had some food with Tom and a friend of his, and he attempted to ring Bronwen a few times but her phone was off. I ended up back down the labs quite depressed. For some reason, finishing an exam makes me depressed. You’d think it should be the other way around, but it’s not. I think it’s the whole passing of time and change and stuff associated with finishing something and moving on. Bronwen turned up down in the labs while I was there, and we talked for a while, giving me an opportunity to ask if she wanted to see a movie, which she, in the typical feminine way, didn’t say yes or no to. She did, however, turn up again shortly after, which managed to dispel my depression.

17.11.2004Wednesday 17 November – Paparazzi

I got a full seven hours sleep for a change, and didn’t head into uni until the afternoon, at which time I attended a COMP2801 consultation and picked up our marked final assignment for that subject. We’ve achieved terrible marks, bad enough that I’ve managed to write over a page of the things I disagree with, and sent that off to the lecturer, so I’ll have to await his response. I’d then planned to study for the COMP2801 exam, which, worryingly, only has two questions, but I only ended up printing out a list of books that might be suitable, and then went to the movies with Clus. Unfortunately, I haven’t bought the prescribed text, which isn’t good when we’ve an open book exam. But anyway, the movie we saw was “Paparazzi”, and it’s not too bad – a similar level to Taxi, The Manchurian Candidate, The Football Factory, and Collateral.
Comment by Ricey – Thursday 18 November 2004, 5:32 PM
  Edited: Poster is stupid
  Rough Translation: Dear Ned, You are what one may call someone who is forced to work with computers, possibly against their will.
Comment by Ricey – Thursday 18 November 2004, 5:33 PM
  Edited: Offensive
  Rough Translation: Please do not use your IT skills to do things to my computer that will harm my computer.
Comment by Reubot – Thursday 18 November 2004, 10:39 PM
  Nice translations.

18.11.2004Thursday 18 November – Books

Uni, where I found library books a-many, then to the labs to deduce what I could – also the Ville for food.

19.11.2004Friday 19 November – Panic Not-Studying

I headed into uni shortly after midday, where I should have studied COMP2801 much harder than I did. I then stressed all night, meaning I didn’t get to bed until around three o’clock. I should not be stressed about this, but I am. I also didn’t eat anything all day and didn’t go to bed until four o’clock last night, so perhaps I’ve just burnt out.

20.11.2004Saturday 20 November – Software Engineering Studio Exam

For some reason I wasn’t overly stressed about my three previous exams, but this one I am – even though I was expecting this to be the easiest of the three. I’m ok today, but last night I was all stressed. I think it might be because I don’t know how to study for this. It was easy to study for the other exams – for the two open book ones I simply read the appropriate notes and made an index of any keywords I found, and for the closed book one multi-choice one I worked through a past exam and looked up the things I didn’t know. At least, they were easy to study for in theory – in practice I did very little study for any, relying on my indexes to allow me to look up things fast enough during the exam, and the fact that multi-choice is inherently easier (although a terrible way to test anything). This exam, however, is different. It has only two questions, and they’re both on UML and software patterns – things which are subjective and can really only be learnt through practice and experience, things which are somewhat difficult to obtain on the day of the exam. I spent most of the morning reading semi-random paragraphs from the prescribed text, which I had temporarily stolen from the high-use section in the library just after arriving at uni. Then, with only a few hours until the exam, I realised I was wasting my time, realised the only way I know how to study is by making an index, so made an index of what pages in that text and my other software patterns book referred to which patterns. I then read the chapters on sequence diagrams and class diagrams from my UML book, and, suitably unprepared, made my way to the exam.
The exam was held in the UQ Centre, and I had no problems with the exam, finishing early despite having to read entire chapters out of my two Software Patterns books on Observer patterns (not that I actually understood anything from reading them). My only complaint with the exam would be that I may not have gone particularly well on the exam due to the subjective nature of UML and the small amount of highly weighted questions, and could even have failed. Then again, considering that my entire study consisted of skimming a paragraph on each pattern on a book I got from the library, indexing the patterns from the prescribed (and inferior, in my opinion) text which I also got from the library, and photocopying some sample UML diagrams, I probably can’t complain. The UML in the exam is also the first UML I’ve ever drawn, so I guess slackness is the word of the day. I’m a little worried because my UML and sequence diagrams took were very basic and took very little time to draw but everyone else I know ran out of time. I hope I haven’t missed some major concept. I guess only time will tell.
Maz and I went back to St Leos college where we c-blocked for a while, before heading to the Royal Exchange with Clint, Clus and Dommie the Narc. Yobbo pubs aren’t what I’d call “my scene”, but I stayed for a while and had a good time. It seems my reputation has preceded me – four blokes sitting on the balcony above the door, none of whom I knew, called out my name as I walked in from checking what time the last train was – which is a bit disconcerting but also slightly cool.
  The train journey home was a bit more interesting than usual, due to the track work being carried out. There was a lot of pretty cool machinery parked at Roma St Station for me to look at, and then they ran me half the way home in a long articulated bus – sitting on the turntable of which beats sitting in a boring train the same as every other night.

21.11.2004Sunday 21 November – Without a Paddle

I set my alarm for half past eight, and woke up at a quarter to twelve. I rushed into uni, which is rather hard to do when the trains only run half the way to the city due to track work, and I had to take an articulated bus into the city – which probably ended up quicker than the non-express train anyway. From there I caught a bus to uni, after the obligatory Cold Rock Super Shake, and saw off Clint and Clus. Marcus was also there, so I got a lift back to his place where I stayed for a little while, before heading into the city, and then back to Indooroopilly where I saw “Without a Paddle”, which was quite stupid but comedic in spots. I give it three quarters of a Paparazzi, which works out to the rather obtuse twenty-seven sixty fourths of a True Lie, and led to an in-depth discussion with Maz about which is better for general Math – fractions or decimals. The answer is obviously fractions for everything, but Maz doesn’t agree.
  I ran into Sam (and Jess) at the station on the way home. We had a short but suitably geeky discussion about the diagnosis of the health of very hot objects shortly before they blow up, the technical effects of blue lights on computers (and the fact that red goes faster and to Beenleigh, while blue goes to Shorncliffe), and her lack of further edumucation due to having now gradumutated.

22.11.2004Monday 22 November – Doctor’s & Veer-Zaara

I had breakfast from an Indian curry takeaway place at Brunswick St Station on my way to Prince Charles Hospital.
I attended Prince Charles Hospital, where I undertook a stress test on an exercise bike. I pedalled for thirteen minutes, with the bike getting progressively harder to pedal each minute. As far as I can tell, the results were normal, although I’ll know better on Thursday when I see the doctor.
I had lunch at Govindas and then headed out to uni for a while where I had a look at Dommie’s new computer, which is not working at all. It appears to be failing its POST, but it doesn’t have a BIOS speaker so I can’t really tell what’s going on.
I went and saw the Hindi film Veer-Zaara at the Regent. It was pure propaganda – enough to make me proud to be Indian, something I don’t see any Australian movies doing. It was also a spectacular film, at least three True Lies worth. At around three and a quarter hours long, and with a ten-minute intermission, it also felt like good value for money. I don’t think any Western scriptwriter has written anything that can compare since Shakespeare stopped writing, yet Indian’s seem to manage it all the time. I don’t know why Western romance movies, and Hollywood movies in particular, are usually so trivial and baseless – it’s a bit worrying as I suspect it’s an indication of the audience. Virtually no one was at this movie (which isn’t that surprising given that it’s in Hindi, I guess) despite it being far better than anything Hollywood has produced this year – or probably in the past decade.
Comment by DM – Tuesday 23 November 2004, 5:58 PM
  UML exams pale in terms of subjectiveness next to your movie reviews, I'd say.
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 24 November 2004, 6:34 PM

23.11.2004Tuesday 23 November – Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason

I had a relaxing morning, followed by a relaxing evening during which I saw “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason” with Amanda, which ranks a surprisingly high one twelfth of a Veer Zaara, although that only works out at one quarter of a True Lie. I was expecting the movie to be quite bad, and wouldn’t normally have watched it, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting.
I ended up spending an unplanned night at Amanda’s.

24.11.2004Wednesday 24 November – When the Last Sword is Drawn

“When the Last Sword is Drawn”, showing at Southbank Cinemas as part of the Japanese Film Festival, garnered two and a half Bridget Jones, which, once the math is done, works out as five eights of a True Lie. I have to admit though, that I didn’t pay as much attention to the movie as I probably should have. On the way out, a girl that I don’t know wanted to know if I was I, which is kind of cool in an infamous sort of way.
Amanda drove me to the train station, where she and I caught the train to the city, her getting off at Bowen Hills to get the train to the airport, and me continuing on home. I phoned Bronwen to ask if she wanted to come see “When the Last Sword is Drawn”. She was at work, but said she’d come. I then spent the rest of the day online, catching a train into the city a bit early after phoning the cinema and having them tell me it would probably be booked out. This ended up being wise, as we met two people after, who were unable to purchase tickets. I met Bronwen at South Bank Cinemas, and we took our seats in the second row. It was quite full, and she is quite beautiful – meaning I didn’t pay as much attention to the movie as I perhaps should have, instead cuddling Bronwen.

25.11.2004Thursday 25 November – Doctors & National Treasure

I headed out to Prince Charles Hospital for my doctor’s appointment, getting Subway on the way for breakfast, and then into uni to pick up my mail via Govinda’s for lunch, then to Centrelink at Toowong, and then to Indooroopilly to see a movie. While at uni, I got my tutoring evaluations back. I was very pleased to note that there were no bad comments about me, or my tutoring – only good ones.
Centrelink & Doctors
The doctor said there’s nothing overly abnormal about my stress test results. Apparently, it was my heart that prevented me from going further, so they’ve scheduled a heart scan for next year just to cover all the bases, although it’s typical of someone like me who hasn’t done any exercise in the past two years.
  I went to Centrelink at Toowong. I handed in my rent assistance form, got them to take me off casual employment so I don’t have to fill in earnings each fortnight (saying I finished last Friday), picked up a travel assistance claim form, and told them I’d be going home so redirect my mail.
I knew “National Treasure” would be a crappy movie, but it was fun to watch (which is half the point of the movies I guess), and the only thing that was showing at the time. I rate it three fifths of When the Last Sword was Drawn, that being half of a Shaun of the Dead and three eights of a True Lie.

26.11.2004Friday 26 November – Bronwen & Uni Results

I headed into uni to pick up some stuff from Soon, and get my remarked COMP2801 assignment, but the lecturer wasn’t there for that so I went home, only to head back to Toowong later to meet Tom via uni to pick up my COMP2801 assignment now that the lecturer was there. He’s given us an extra two marks for it, which isn’t much but is probably all I can justify getting. If there’s anything that I’ve learnt from COMP2801, it’s how to manage groups – which is something that could be very handy considering I have to do a yearlong group project with a randomly chosen group next year. I’ve learnt that, at least in a uni context, the group can never be trusted with my marks. Next year I plan to insist on regular demonstrable progress checks. Anyone falling behind will be expected to have a very good reason and convincing argument on how it won’t affect the group overall, or explain to the coordinator why he is letting down the rest of the group, and the coordinator can do something about it – because I’ll be buggered if I’m going to put in the effort for good marks only to suffer due to someone else’s work, or lack thereof. I wouldn’t be surprised if this will make my group dislike me, but I can handle that and, if what other people have told me about the course is true, it’ll probably be reciprocal anyway.
I found Tom in a gaming and internet parlour in Toowong receiving his tutoring, and we went and had dinner at a café nearby, before heading out to Bronwen’s place. We arrived early so went on a short wander around the neighbourhood and marvelled at the price of some very expensive antiques. The night was pleasant, Bronwen was lovely, and the wine was red. It’s nice to have some intelligent conversation in a nice setting – something I miss from home. Tom then drove me home while telling me horror stories about the area involving sawn-off rifles and so forth – something I may remember next time I’m dozing on the train.
Uni Results
University marks have been released. I am not at all happy. I have got a four (Pass) for COMP2801. I was tentatively expecting a seven (High Distinction) or confidently a six (Distinction). I have no idea how I went so badly – I was sitting on a seven before the exam and found the exam easy, answered all the questions and finished early. I also achieved a six (Distinction) for COMP2502, which I am also not happy with as I was unfairly rorted out of marks and should have got a seven for that course, yet even after arguing with the lecturer, my marks were not rewarded to me. Each semester so far I’ve learnt to be less forgiving of errors and general slackness, and this semester is no exception. Next semester, any lecturer not following their course profiles and marking criteria to the dot will be giving me (and the head of school if necessary) a damn good explanation why. I think the trick is to not assume a single thing and follow precisely what the lecturers, assignments and so on say without thinking, and if it ends up they’ve assumed something (which they always do) then complain – and ask about anything that’s even remotely ambiguous. I have had too many assignments now, that are not marked according to the criteria we’re given, or extra things are assumed that are not stated – like with COMP2502. Next semester I’ll be asking just what I need to do to get a specific mark in an assignment, and I’ll meet that criteria – and hopefully not get rorted again.
  Looking on the brighter side, I got sevens (High Distinctions) for both COMP3502 and COMS3200, but any benefit this might have brought me is entirely negated by the four I got for COMP2801. In one way, I can’t complain too much as I did very little study (as usual). I only did four of the ten tutorials for COMP2502 and then (after mass chaos and many lost assignments) successfully argued to get the marking criteria changed so that I still got eight out of ten for them, and then doing less than a day’s study for the exam. Similarly, the UML I drew for my COMP2801 exam was the first UML I’ve ever drawn – which says a lot about how much study I did for that exam. On the other hand, I was confident of a six or higher in both COMP2502 and COMP2801, as they’re only second level courses, and felt I did well on both exams, answering all the questions and finishing early – which should have been enough to get me good marks in both. I am attempting to query the results for both of these, but it’s hard as I’m flying home soon and not entirely sure of the correct procedure to follow, but it can’t hurt to try.
Comment by Yuri – Saturday 27 November 2004, 5:01 PM
  Like you, i was sitting on a 7 for COMP2801 going into the test. Like everyone else, however, i struggled to get the test done in time and basically left the exam room thinking id buggered it up. However, I somehow managed to get out of the course with a 6. I can only think that you had made some fundamental error in the way you approached the exam. The test was a sham, though - you should definitely approach the lecturer about the grade. I worked hard for my semester mark, like you, and i'd feel completely ripped with a 4 (i even feel slightly ripped with a 6)
Comment by geek – Saturday 27 November 2004, 6:21 PM
  Do you really think you deserve a 7, given the fact that this was the first time you attempted to draw a UML diagram?
  Maybe you should take the blame yourself for being slack.
Comment by Ned – Monday 29 November 2004, 9:57 AM
  The exam is essentially (supposed) to be a check that we have not cheated or sponged off other group members during our group work - it has basically found that I cheated and/or sponged off others, neither of which are true - so yes, I would say I deserve a six or higher. I am also convinced that the UML I drew is correct, at least from a UML perspective - it may not model the Java code as accurately as I would have like and practice would probably have helped, but I had two much harder third level courses to concentrate on (both of which I got sevens for), this being my easy bludge subject (or so I thought).
Comment by anon – Wednesday 15 December 2004, 2:16 PM
  You'd hope that John Yesberg doesn't read this...
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 15 December 2004, 7:45 PM
  I am curious. Why, exactly, would I hope that John Yesberg doesn’t read this?
Comment by Agent Shaver – Wednesday 16 February 2005, 2:44 AM
  ] I think the trick is to not assume a single thing and
  ] follow precisely what the lecturers, assignments and
  ] so on say without thinking
  "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
  Teach a man to fish and he'll ask if salmon roe
  is on the exam."
  -- Jaded Lecturer
Comment by Greg Roberts – Tuesday 22 March 2005, 12:10 PM
  why don't you stop blaming other people and actually do some work
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 22 March 2005, 12:16 PM
  Why don’t you acquaint yourself with the facts before making statements like that?

27.11.2004Saturday 27 November – Bronwen’s (Part One)

I spent the morning doing very little.
I arrived at South Bank and made my way to the Nepalese Pagoda, where Bronwen was waiting, and we made our way chatting down South Bank, over the Goodwill Bridge and through the botanical gardens along the riverside, stopping for a rest and cuddle on a bench. We then walked hand in hand to a bookstore in the West End, where Bronwen’s parents invited me home for dinner. We then walked back to Bronwen’s place, stopping for a milkshake and sorbet on the way at a nice little place in the West End, and picking up “Secret Window”, which we watched half before dinner, and the rest after. Dinner was quite nice, and Bronwen even nicer, particularly cuddling her during and after the movie – which was where I was when the last train left, leaving me little choice but to spend the night. Admittedly, we were aware that the last train was soon, but leaving wasn’t really a valid option at the time.
Much Bronwen cuddling, but very little sleeping, was done.

28.11.2004Sunday 28 November – Bronwen’s (Part Two)

Getting up seemed like a terrible idea, so we didn’t. Heaven knows what Bronwen’s parents think of me – not emerging from her room all day.
Dinner, on the other hand, seemed like a good idea, so we did.
As the day was now gone, there wasn’t much point in me heading home to arrange my flights up north, so I stayed the night – actually managing to get a little more sleep this time.

29.11.2004Monday 29 November – Remark Request & Flights Booked

Bronwen’s Dad dropped me into the city, where I made my way to uni via Hungry Jack’s, and hung out in the library for a while, feeling sleepy and waiting for half past eleven.
I went and saw Dr. Carrington to find out why my COMP2801 marks were so bad. It seems I’ve been caught out by a mix of mistakes, ambiguities and assumptions. Submitting for a remark involves getting a signature from the head of school, who was not there at the time, so I had to leave my remark request form with his secretary.
  It seems my UML diagrams are fine from a UML perspective – any problems with the diagrams are with my interpretation of what was required and some assumptions I made which differ from assumptions made by the markers but not explicitly stated, and it is on this basis (along with some other issues) that I have requested a remark. As an example, when designing the system for the first question, I did literally as stated – designing a system in such a way that I felt it fit within the given information, was logical, and was how I would build the system – including making (and stating) some assumptions. Unfortunately, the system was apparently precisely specified (although clearly not being so) and there was no room for assumptions such as those I made – and the assumptions I made (which I believe were reasonable and would have worked fine) had a flow-on effect causing me to lose marks on all aspects of the first question. I believe if I make and state an assumption and then lose marks due to contradicting assumptions made by the marker (or exam writer), that unless those assumptions are explicitly stated, my assumptions must hold. To generalise this even further, I do not think I should lose marks due to anything other than that clearly stated on the exam – any assumptions made by anyone during the writing or marking, if not stated, should not be assumed to be inferred, and should not cost anyone marks. Furthermore, I believe my answer satisfied all the required information, except that which was inferred. In a way I have misunderstood the question (as it was meant to be understood), but on the other hand, the question was written in such a way that I believe I can argue my interpretation of it is as valid an interpretation as anyone else’s. As Dr Carrington said, it was “intended” to mean something other than what I understood it to mean – which I believe is an unacceptable reason to lose marks.
  I also appear to have lost marks for directly paraphrasing the set text’s description of an Observer pattern. I find this highly unusual, as if the text we are given is insufficient in an exam, what else are we supposed to have used?
  However, I lost the majority of my marks for not directly tying my argument about whether there was an Observer pattern present in the given code in the second question or not, with the given code. I argued on a higher, more abstract level – I was supposed to have compared the actual code, including its method names and so forth, with the code I used to demonstrate an Observer pattern. In rereading the question, it does indeed state that such a direct correlation should be made, but I feel the marks I’ve received for this question are extraordinarily harsh. I got three out of twenty five marks for what I feel is a valid, justified answer, but unfortunately one that does not use specific names of methods or classes in the given code. I understand that the question asked us to refer to the code in a detailed comparison with our example Observer pattern, and that this infers that I should have used actual class and method names, or line numbers of the given code, or something similar. Unfortunately, at the time I felt that simply referring to the code itself, rather than line by line or method call by method call (as in “The code given in Question 2”) was suitable. I understand this is not what was required, as Dr. Carrington explained to me today. My issue is that I feel my answer still demonstrates the required knowledge, although not in the precise format required, and as such should receive some marks – particularly given that there is slight ambiguity in the phrasing of the question, where the phrase “detailed comparison” is taken to mean that one must provide detail about the differences or similarities between the two pieces of code being compared, making reference to its method calls, class names and so on, rather than a detailed description of why one does or doesn’t think the code exhibits an Observer pattern as compared to the definite Observer pattern (which is what I tried to do). This may be obvious to some, and in retrospect, it seems a reasonable assumption to make although it is still an assumption that’s not clearly stated as such. I don’t want to appear too picky – I just feel that the marks I got for this question were unjustifiably harsh; especially taking into account the logic I’ve used to arrive at my answer.
  Unfortunately, there’s no provision to argue my case (other than a short few line reason for why I want a remark), so it appears unlikely that the markers will even know the way I saw things or why I did what I did, meaning I can’t argue ambiguities and unstated assumptions, and making a positive remark much less likely. This is the only exam that I recall having this problem with, and judging from the comments from others on the newsgroups, I am not alone. I achieved my expected results for the other three courses I did this semester, without having any problems in their exams, although I disappointingly didn’t achieve the seven I’d hoped for with COMP2502 and had some issues with its last assignment. This has made me wonder whether I will even bother aiming for high marks in future, as there is really no long-term benefit, and issues such as this mean that regardless of how well (or unwell) I may know a course, my marks will just as likely be rewarded based on other issues.
  Despite the harsh and perhaps vitriolic way I talk about some aspects of uni, I’m really not as concerned as it may sound – it is a relatively easy matter to complain and fault find in an attempt to gain extra marks that I feel are justified, so I do.
I went home via Govinda’s, and should be packing now, but am writing this instead. I feel quite tired, so I’ve just finished off two litres of Coke, in the hope that will give me the energy to finish packing. I’ve already done my washing and booked my flights – only packing and cleaning is left.

30.11.2004Tuesday 30 November – Homewards Bound

I had originally planned to do most of my packing last night, and then the remaining little bit this morning, catching a nice leisurely half past nine train out to the airport in time for my flight. Because of this, and because I’m slack, I hadn’t done any packing by ten o’clock, which was about when I changed my plans to catch an earlier train, meaning that I ended up staying up late packing, getting only a few hours sleep.
I pulled the phone line out from the roof, turned off my PC, checked to see what I’d forgotten, and lugged my awful bag down to the train, nearly chopping off my fingers in the process. For some reason, halfway into the city, my right eye got really itchy so I scratched it – then, after a few minutes, the itchiness transferred to my left eye, my right eye got better and I arrived at Central, but for the rest of the day I had a very bloodshot left eye.
  I met Bronwen at Central Station, put my bags into a locker, and we went wandering around the city until it was time to get my train to the airport. For some reason they were flying the US flag – not even the Australian flag with the US flag, just the US flag. This would have all been good and great, had not Central Station entirely shut down the moment I arrived to catch my train to the airport, meaning I had to rush to Roma St Station to check for buses to the airport, of which there were none in time, meaning I then had to catch a taxi. It would have cost Bronwen and me ten dollars each on the train, so the thirty dollars in the taxi wasn’t actually a great deal more expensive, but the rushing my finger-slicing bag through the hot sun wasn’t fun.
Arriving late is the best way to fly – there’s no waiting in queues, and I still got to choose my seat. Getting through security wasn’t as easy though – they first made Bronwen throw out some forks, and then hide a pocketknife, twice, because the first place she hid it wasn’t acceptable. It’s such a joke, as anyone who is going to go to the trouble of spiking someone with a fork is going to be fully aware of the extra spikiness of a ceramic chopstick (or the fact that you can feed into the domestic air system via any number of rural hubs without any x-ray scanning at all). Still, being seen off to my flight by a beautiful woman who will miss me is something new for me.
Virginblue flight DJ873 was a Boeing 737-something, as per usual, and it arrived in Cairns, with me having slept for nearly all the flight. In case I ever want to know, it cost $147. A quick (but expensive) taxi ride later and I was at Cairns Central, where I left my bags at a hostel, went and bought a milkshake and some shoes, and wandered down to the esplanade. I met Carla, who I was surprised to find now manages a trendy Cairns bar, bought a kebab, and discovered that topless sunbathing is now underway on Cairns esplanade.
Another quick but expensive taxi ride later, and a half-hour wait at the Skytrans terminal, and I was on my way towards Cooktown. The flight was uneventful and expensive ($106) – which is how flights should and shouldn’t be, respectively. I dozed most of the way, waking up to have a look at where I live from the air and noticing a lot of smoke from fires.
Dad and Mum picked me up from the airport, and we drove into town. I bought a few things from the supermarket and went up to the shire hall to see Sarah, Vince, Shan and Kylie who were all there for kickboxing, although Vince has the flu so they didn’t end up doing any training. We stopped at the Den on the way home and had a very nice pizza, and I had a relatively early night, quite tired.

01.12.2004Wednesday 1 December – Relaxation & Computer Woe

I slept in quite late, enjoying the fact that I had nothing else to do and no reason at all to get up. Some would call it boredom, but I call it absolute relaxation – I believe the only difference between the two is in the mind.
  After waking (obviously), I moved the PC from inside out into my van, and installed the hard drive I’ve brought up. When starting it up, it tried to check the third partition on the disk, which I cancelled, but after Windows has started, I realised that only the first two partitions of the new drive had worked – the third was being seen as an empty (although formatted) partition, so I rebooted and let the disk-scanning thing do its work. It took half an hour, during which it did many file allocation adjustments and recovered a considerable amount of “orphans”, and after which the drive appeared to have all its files again. Unfortunately, though, the files themselves don’t actually work. There is, or was, sixty gigabyte of music on that drive – there now appears to be about fifty gigabyte of corrupted files that won’t play, and ten gigabyte of random chunks of music that do play, but which are all chopped up and not even remotely related to their file names. I am not sure what happened, but I am not very happy about it. I’m also worried that this could mean the entire drive is on the way out, and I could lose the data on the other two partitions. Halfway through the disk checking process I noticed that the CPU fan wasn’t actually spinning – it was just jerking a little bit. The heatsink was too hot to touch, but I assume that it’s been this way for a while – it seems unlikely that it would just die the moment I get here, so hopefully the processor can handle not having a fan.
I went for a walk down to the Home Rule Bridge and had a look at the creek, and then back up to the local hall, where I met Shan on his way home from work, so got a lift down to his place. We had a chat for a while, found that one of his fish had died, found an old Pentium processor fan that might fit on my heatsink with a bit of modification, and then I walked home, had a lovely Mother-made dinner, pulled the top off the heatsink and managed to sort of jam the new fan in. It isn’t going to work remarkably well, but might stop a meltdown.

02.12.2004Thursday 2 December – Very Hot & Relaxing

I’m writing this on what could best be described as a dysfunctional computer. Winamp is frozen, unable to display its window, but is still playing songs just fine and accepting DDE calls, Maxthon is frozen, having had a heart attack when JavaScript requested to parse a document to hide a menu, and nothing much else is working – all because I’m trying to parse the various file systems found on my broken hard drive. I don’t understand enough about NTFS, but there appears to be three different concurrent file systems on the one partition, and several master file tables, some of which link to files in entirely random places, that I can’t see could conceivably even be on that drive. Basically, it’s looking like I won’t get my data back, leaving me with two choices. I could get Maz to buy me a new hard drive and copy the data back onto it and post it up, and then I’ll copy what I can off this drive onto it, send this drive back under warranty, and end up with two new drives. Or, I could accept the loss of the data until I get back to Brisbane and can recover it, and hope that the drive itself isn’t about to fail entirely as I do need some of the data on one of the other partitions.
  But onto less geeky things – today was another relaxing day in what looks to be a relaxing break. I slept in until it got too hot to sleep. I modified the login system for my journal, so it’s more secure – and removed the caching support I’d added, which is a shame as it took a lot of adding and made the site considerably faster on slow dialup connections, but browsers and caches aren’t supporting enough, causing problems. Hang on, that’s still rather geeky. I went for a walk down to the creek with Mum. I wandered out the Home Rule Road to the halfway spot and had a look at the swimming hole there, but didn’t feel like swimming in icy cold water in the gathering dusk. I got remarkably hot and sweaty – I guess I am not used to this humidity again. I ate chocolate, custard and cream, Pringles, and a very nice dinner. All in all, relaxation at its most relaxing – although I’d be happier if I could recover this data.

03.12.2004Friday 3 December – Geeky Pop-Ups

More relaxation amongst the humid rainforest was had. I also added a clever JavaScript tool-tip to my “thei” site, which takes the alt and title attributes from any images, and displays them in a styled tool-tip like pop-up div. I couldn’t decide whether to leave the on-click pop-ups, or make them all traditional captions, so this solved that dilemma without me having to make a decision – something that would have required thinking. I also discovered that it’s essentially impossible to use delays in JavaScript for anything non-trivial.
  After it had cooled down a little, I went for a walk around the school loop and down to the creek past the old airstrip. The gravel road is quite harsh in spots, so my unaccustomed feet are now a bit sore. It’s also quite dusty – some rain would be nice. In fact, a rip-roaring flood would be great.

04.12.2004Saturday 4 December – Taps & Walking

I was woken up in time to go to the markets, which I duly did. They’re very small now, so I didn’t stay long – just buying a piece of cake and leaving. My achievement for the day has been changing a tap – without letting all the water out. It had a broken handle, but it’s not possible to buy just a handle, so I had to put in an entire new tap. Very exciting stuff, I know.
I went for a brisk walk out to the Home Rule grid, at which point it began to get dark. Not particularly feeling like being stuck with the wild pigs in the jungle in the dark, I then went for an even brisker walk back again. Despite being late in the evening, it’s still humid enough to get up a good sweat, and I can feel the walk in my legs. Thus is begun my return to fitness.

05.12.2004Sunday 5 December – The Den

A quiet morning was disturbed only by Vince and Sarah arriving, and the temperature rising above human limits. As evening drew nigh and it got cooler, we all headed off to the Lion’s Den Hotel where Roadtrippers were playing and the pizza is particularly nice. A pleasant and relaxing night ensued, watching the band, the locals, and their dogs.
I phoned Bronwen and chatted for ten minutes or so. She’s out at Stradbroke Island on her mobile, so couldn’t talk for long.

06.12.2004Monday 6 December – Cooktown

Mum woke me ridiculously early – even before eight o’clock, and we went to town with Jean. I did exciting things like buy a new CPU fan, print out documents for fares allowance and a healthcare card claim from Centrelink, and took them into the local Centrelink office. I also went and saw Peter, and had a chat for a while.
I spent lunch at Sarah’s, then most of the afternoon at Ricci’s, heading to the hospital after to see how Sarah went. Apparently, she will live without surgery. I then attempted to purchase custard and cream – but disaster struck and nowhere in town had any cream, so now I have a container of entirely useless custard and no cream to eat with it.
I bought chips from the wharf, which I sat and ate watching the sunset over the river, and went and saw Matthew until I had to go up to the shire hall to meet Mum and Jean.
We arrived home.
I went to bed, missing Bronwen, having spent the past four hours on the phone with her.

07.12.2004Tuesday 7 December – Sleepy & Oscar no more

I slept until it got hot – it seems distance is no barrier when it comes to keeping me awake all night. Once awake, I procrastinated by messing around with my website, before going for a walk, followed by more messing around with my website. All in all, another unproductive but relaxing day.
Oscar the dog was shot today. They say that he was very sick and unwell.

08.12.2004Wednesday 8 December – Scattered Showers

Some rain was had, but not enough to make much difference – just enough that I had to slide down cliffs, risking life, limb – and possibly worst of all, missing something online, to cover the pump.
In Between Day & Night
On the way back from a walk along the Home Rule road, I met Craig, on his way back from Cairns with a new Ute he’d just bought. By the time I’d made my way to the bridge, I met Shan and Kylie also on their way back from Cairns, followed soon after by Spirit, their dog, probably not on his way back from Cairns.
I finally stopped procrastinating and began doing some work on Graeme’s website, which I ended up doing all night, broken only around midnight when I got such a lovely email from Bronwen that I had to phone her, during which the phone helpfully died a few times.

09.12.2004Thursday 9 December – Cooktown

I woke up five minutes before we went to town, because I could hear the car waiting for me, already running – something I was doing a few minutes later. Apparently going to sleep just a few hours before getting up makes one tired. It was really, really hot in town, and quite exhausting – but I got done what I needed to do. Probably more importantly, I also had a milkshake, something I’ve been missing out on while up here, causing concern over the possible imbalance it might be causing to my diet.
As embarrassing as it is, I actually slept for most of the evening – catching up on my sleep from last night I guess. I then continued working on Graeme’s site, before going to bed shortly before two o’clock.
I appear to have run out of toothpaste.

10.12.2004Friday 10 December – Wherein I relax sufficiently but it is hot

I didn’t wake up until after lunch, as one should whilst on holidays, and then I didn’t do anything much, as one should whilst on holidays.
I tried taking the three-kilogram weights with me on my walk, which wasn’t too bad apart from being really hot and humid, causing me to sweat ridiculous amounts. I carried them to the halfway spot, walked the rest of the way without them, and picked them up again on the way home, dumping them behind an old truck near the bridges.

11.12.2004Saturday 11 December – The Storm that Wasn’t

I woke having a rather strange dream – about having holes drilled in my teeth and wire put through them, which was a bit annoying as it got in the way of my tongue.
It has become quite dark and stormy looking, is beginning to thunder, and some satellite users just east of here have just dropped offline, meaning it’s probably pouring down rain there. I quite like big storms, although I don’t like lightning so much since being knocked out by it. Rain, however, is lovely – I particularly love the tropical downpours we get up here, where the entire world goes a strange white and for a short time, we become water-beings again. The ensuing flooding is great fun too.
Well, the storm blew over, missing us entirely – which is a bit disappointing, but I made up for it by changing the menu system of my Amused site. We got all of thirty drops of rain, despite it pouring down, just down the road. I’ve now dined, walked and showered, and am ready for another exciting night of relaxation and not much at all.
I guess I’d better head to bed, having spent the past few hours messing around with Graeme’s site, messing around with my site, missing Bronwen, phoning Bronwen and getting a dead arm after forgetting to move it for an hour and a half, eating chips, drinking terrible orange fizzy stuff, finding new toothpaste, and now cleaning my teeth. What a hard life it is.

12.12.2004Sunday 12 December – Lion’s Den

First, I’d like to say that drunks suck – anyone who gets drunk is an idiot. Moths also suck, and any moth that flies around a monitor should be shot. Then I’d like to say that today was so hot, I couldn’t move. I woke up not feeling one hundred percent, and the heat didn’t help. I’d then like to follow up by saying that my sister came out and we had lunch without moving, before heading to the Lion’s Den Hotel, which had a band playing. Once at the Den, it was surprisingly cool and my sister and I went for a swim, cooling down even further. Santa Claus then arrived on a fire truck, which is almost embarrassing. All the small children were scared of him and I was too mature to get a bag of lollies. Having now heated up again, I went for another swim with the girl that Sarah works with, the name of which I forget, and stayed in for too long and got a bit sunburnt. Then, after watching the band for a while, Sarah had to go into town to take photos of the Carol’s by Candlelight, and Mum wanted to go home, so home we went. Mum and I then spent the night talking, except for when Bronwen phoned, during which time Bronwen and I talked, and now it is four past half past four, past my bedtime, badly.
Comment by seed – Tuesday 14 December 2004, 1:53 AM
  I like the moth shooting idea, but because I have been drinking lately, I disagree with the whole not liking drunks because I have been on of these drunks lately and you should not hate me because I have been drinking because the drinking is only a celebration that Uni is over so drunks are ok when it is appropriate.

13.12.2004Monday 13 December – Morose & Thoughtful

Christmas fast approaches, and the mindless spending spree increases, but out here in the jungle, all is peaceful. Birds sing, leaves fall, innumerable insects crawl and fly. The pigs snuffle along like blind tax collectors, looking for that hidden delicacy, and I walk, sweating like a pig. All seems well up here in the tropics, but I find myself strangely morose. There’s so many greens, so much beauty, everything is balanced – except me. I think I think too much. Instead of just enjoying life, I think. As Bronwen said, “Che Sara Sara” – what will be, shall be. Speaking of which, it’s now past three o’clock, so bed shall be.
  Morosity aside, today has been pleasant, albeit uneventful. The most exciting thing that happened was on my way home from my walk, just on dusk, a car came so I jumped into the bush, via a wait-awhile tendril, which fortunately only grabbed my sock and shoe, and missed the skin. I then careered headfirst into a fallen tree, my foot held up by the wait-awhile, just managing to dive underneath, grabbing another tree and narrowly missing plunging headfirst into a hard ant nest on the ground. Then, because I had a small tribe of aboriginals and their dogs not far behind me and didn’t want them to catch up, I had to rush, already tired – so it ended up being quite an exhausting, but good, walk.

14.12.2004Tuesday 14 December – I visit Shan

I spent the day doing normal day things. We even got a small, rather insignificant, storm, which brought a bit of rain with it and cooled everything down nicely. It also gave me a good excuse not to go for a walk.
I spent the evening up at Shan’s, chatting and having a look at the animation Kylie is making for Graeme’s site. It ended up being a pleasant night, and when I got home, Bronwen had emailed asking me to help her sleep, so a pleasant phone call was had.
Comment by Maz – Thursday 16 December 2004, 4:15 PM
  Of course you slack out of a walk. Weren't you going to be getting fit this holidays? Not that I can talk.
Comment by Ned – Thursday 16 December 2004, 11:17 PM
  Well, it had rained – the ground was moist in places and could have been slippery and trees would have dripped on me!
Comment by Maz – Friday 17 December 2004, 11:53 AM
  Ewwww! Tree water. You're right to have not gone. You could have died, or even worse.. GOT DIRTY!!! OH NO!!!

15.12.2004Wednesday 15 December – Wherein I feel awful and people graduate from UQ

Today hasn’t been a particularly good day for me. First, it was very hot – but I’m getting used to that. Then, I slept in, and had to rush to get ready to go to town when Mum turned up early from work. Rushing is not a good thing to do when it’s hot. Then I had hay fever, felt terrible, and everything went wrong. Actually, in retrospect, the nachos were quite nice and not much went wrong at all – but it seemed like everything at the time. Once back home, I had a short lie-down, before going for a quick swim down near the pump, where I managed to get two wait-awhile prickles in my foot, neither of which will come out. I then went for my evening walk, and nothing went wrong, strangely.
I posted off Bronwen’s Christmas presents today, which ended up being a bit of a fiasco. The crocodile would not fit in a tube, and being so long, wouldn’t fit in anything less than a huge box, which left me out of ideas of how to send it. I ended up buying the largest unpadded envelope and wrapping it in a bit more bubble wrap and sending it, along with the little wooden figurine, in that. Unfortunately, I’d wrecked the wrapping a little when trying to get it into the tube, and it’s not really that well padded, but it’s the best I could do at the time.
According to Ella, she is now home with Jade – who will be feeling the heat after Melbourne, I expect.
I decided to phone Bronwen, but she phoned me just as I was about to phone her. I am suitably in awe at the coincidental nature of this. I am also missing her – she is too nice on the phone.
My throat is quite sore, and my “fizz buttons” (Black & Gold’s answer to fizzy lifesaver lollies) are not helping it, so I am considering drastic action – going to bed.
Comment by Maz – Thursday 16 December 2004, 4:12 PM
  Don't look now. my head is going to explode. I got lost and found myself here. Now that I know where I am I might head off again in search of fabled centerlink payments.
Comment by Reubot – Thursday 16 December 2004, 7:34 PM
  Maz: You should get started on your "Kewn plan".
Comment by Ned – Thursday 16 December 2004, 11:08 PM
  I’m curious why you’re leaving messages for Maz here – he does have his own site, complete with the ability to leave comments, and how it’s now become his plan... However, there’s really nothing any of us can do while not at uni – I myself am currently thousands of kilometres away, there’s no audience, and, unlike Kewn, anything we do shouldn’t be directly associated with us, nor would I want it restricted to the geek domain, as they were. Whether anything actually happens or not, I don’t know – but I’m sick of boring people who aren’t game to do anything, and don’t want to become one of those myself. That, and I believe wit is the surest indication of intelligence – and surely a university has a higher overall level of intelligent people than most other places, making it the ideal location for daring, witty escapades?
  Ideas are welcome – they must be clearly motivated by nothing worse than “high spirits”, and somehow daring and amusing.
Comment by Reubot – Friday 17 December 2004, 1:21 PM
  Sorry, I was kinda taking a side-swipe at Maz getting lost....also when I said get started, I meant start thinking about planning or something like that.
Comment by Ned – Friday 17 December 2004, 3:32 PM
  That’s OK. I forgive you!

16.12.2004Thursday 16 December – One Month

A quiet day was had, me sleeping in as usual, and going for an evening walk as usual. Last night I couldn’t sleep properly, partly because I had a sore throat, and partly because when I woke up, I was too sleepy and stupid to think straight, so lay around feeling delirious instead of figuring out how to get back to sleep. I also finally got the intro for Graeme’s site from Kylie, and put that up. I’ll just have to wait and see what he thinks now.
Last night, while talking to Bronwen, I asked her what time she felt we first had got together, and she answered that it was the evening we’d met in the labs, after our COMS3200 exam – the evening I asked if she’d like to see a movie with me, and she gave me her address and invited me to her graduation party instead. Then, around 2 o’clock, I realised that today is actually one month after that day, Bronwen and my first month anniversary, so, after checking online, I phoned Interflora and had them deliver a single long-stemmed rose in a cylinder, with the message “I’ve loved you for a month. Here’s to many more. Love Ned”, by 6 PM, costing $36.70.
Tonight, Bronwen phoned, whispering, “guys like you just don’t exist” – and later I received a loving email from her, which is very nice.
Comment by Maz – Sunday 19 December 2004, 2:54 AM
  I have some great randomness ideas but i'll fortgeth them so i;m leaving message here.
Comment by Maz – Sunday 19 December 2004, 5:25 PM
  I suggest you delete that last comment. And this one too.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 19 December 2004, 9:02 PM
  I’d delete it, but I’d forget too.

17.12.2004Friday 17 December – Waiting, Computer Woes & Cairns

I went to turn the computer on, but it didn’t auto-start. This isn’t particularly surprising, so I tried again – and it still didn’t auto-start, but I noticed sparking noises coming from the wall plug, and that it would start if I pushed the plug right in, so I switched to the other wall plug, and it started normally. Once started, just as it would normally have connected to the internet, it blue screened with an “IRQ not less than or equal to” error, so I restarted again, with similar results. This happened a few times, until I restarted and let it run for a while without connecting to the internet, without any problems. Strangely, even after connecting to the internet, it still worked. This is all a little worrying up here, as I rely on having a computer and internet access and there’s no redundancy or cheap way to get computer parts in a hurry.
  After my exciting start to the day, I then packed for Cairns and spent the rest of the evening waiting for Shan to get home from work.
Shan finally arrived home, late. Kylie wasn’t particularly pleased at this, but it seems they came across some women who had rolled their four-wheel-drive on a bend and were delayed. Half an hour later or so and they’d dropped their dogs out at Home Rule, it had begun a light drizzle, and we were on our way.
After a few hours of driving, we arrived in Cairns, bought a very large pizza from a place on the Esplanade, and made our way to our room at the Costa Blanca, where we excitingly went to bed, and I had a bad sleep because I’m not used to going to bed before three o’clock, and I got hot. The drive down went well. We passed a group of Murris drinking just outside the alcohol exclusion zone on the Cooktown side of Wujal Wujal, making a bit of a mockery of the whole thing. We were pulled over by the police near Wujal Wujal, but after a quick check in the boot, they decided we weren’t running drugs or alcohol, and let us go with a warning not to display blue lights without permission from the police commissioner.

18.12.2004Saturday 18 December – Cairns, Team America & The Grudge

We all drove to the Esplanade for breakfast, then Cairns Central for shopping, then Earlville for shopping, then saw “Team America: World Police” at Cairns Central, then did more shopping, then went and visited Kylie’s parents who were staying in Cairns as well, then saw “The Grudge” at Earlville, then went to bed. We also went for a swim back at the Costa Blanca somewhere in there.
  The shopping thing isn’t too bad, because I’m poor and I don’t believe in the commercial present giving thing of Christmas and consequently am not buying any presents, I don’t have to worry about looking for presents or spending money on presents, meaning I can just window shop while Shan and Kylie do all the worrying.
  “Team America: World Police” was interesting because of its puppetry, and cleverly sarcastic in spots, but unnecessarily crude, and too stupid, in typical American style, gaining it three quarters of a true lie, or two national treasures. “The Grudge” was a bad idea from the start. I don’t see what people find attractive about horror movies, so I don’t normally see them – I only went because Shan and Kylie were going, and I hadn’t seen any for a while so I thought perhaps I’d now realise why people see them. But no, being scared or shocked isn’t pleasurable, and I conclude that people who like horror movies are mentally disturbed, and subsequently rate the movie one quarter of a national treasure, which works out to an eight of the world police – even though it may have been a reasonable movie from a technical perspective.

19.12.2004Sunday 19 December – Cairns, Ocean’s 12 & Home Again

I had a good sleep, showered, and we went to get breakfast at Cairns Central but decided to go to Earlville instead as Kylie wanted doughnuts, so I bough a milkshake there, then went and saw “Ocean’s 12”, which Shan and Kylie had already seen. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but was a fun watch nonetheless – Earlville cinemas are good too, being quite new. I give the movie three quarters of the world police, making it worth nine sixteenths of a true lie.
We all did some more shopping, had lunch at Central – where I bought a very nice looking, but unfortunately terribly salty and inedible, Indian lunch which I ended up throwing out and having a milkshake instead. Shan and Kylie had gone off on their separate ways for half an hour to buy each other Christmas presents, so I took the opportunity to walk through the muggy heat and buy a proper milkshake at what used to be a proper milkshake place halfway to the esplanade, only to find it’s now changed to another of the stupid Ice-Age places with their unpleasant tasting ice cream. Once there I saw an internet place, so checked my email before heading back to Central where I met Shan at the cinemas. We had planned to all meet there in time to see “Lemony Snicketts: A series of Unfortunate Events”, but Kylie didn’t turn up until too late, so we ended up driving home instead.
I got two lovely emails from Bronwen, one of which is an amazing poem she’s written, which manages to sum up why she loves me in a way I can only wish I could for her.
The drive home was uneventful. A party of Murris were drinking on the Cairns side of the Wujal Wujal restricted alcohol area this time – it’s a bit of a farce, they might as well build a bar there. Wujal Wujal itself is a mess of discarded plastic bags, broken cars, angry aboriginal racists, and assorted rubbish, in what would otherwise be an idyllic rainforest setting – and is as good an argument as any that either the aboriginal people aren’t capable of, or interested in, reaching what we’d consider normal liveable standards, or there’s something very wrong with the way they’re being handled.
  I arrived home just on dark, showered, cooked myself a two minute noodles, found that the computer does still run, spent a few hours on the phone to Bronwen, and got to bed around half past two.

20.12.2004Monday 20 December – Hot & Normal

I finally got around to phoning Telstra and finding out what the answer to “Where’s the best coffee?” is so that I could reset my Telstra password, view the phone bill, and find out if I need to skip the country or not. Unfortunately, the bill only shows up to the sixteenth, so I can’t really decide much yet.
A very sad thing occurred tonight – I ran out of custard, and we aren’t planning to go to town until Thursday, but fortunately, Bronwen phoned, easing my sorrow for an hour and a half. We’ll end up paying more in phone calls than the airfares would cost, at this rate.
After much consultation, I have concluded that it is nighttime. This comes as no surprise to some, who have for years held the view that nighttime precedes every day, although these views have proved controversial to others who believe that nighttime succeeds every day.
Comment by Maz – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 12:08 AM
  Where is the best cup of coffee? Don't say McDonalds... their coffee is crap
Comment by Ned – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 2:02 AM
  It’s not in my nature to be mysterious, but I can’t tell you, and I can’t tell you why I can’t tell you.
Comment by Clint – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 10:08 PM
  Caltex St Lucia. If you hit the jackpot and ants come out when you hit French Vanilla Latte, you get it for free. This is the sole reason Tom and I go there.
Comment by io – Tuesday 21 December 2004, 11:34 PM
  Apparently McCafe coffee ain't that bad. But yes, normal maccas coffee is awful.

21.12.2004Tuesday 21 December – Webpage Woes

I noticed yesterday evening that my last Centrelink payment was considerably lower than usual, and discovered today that it was actually my fares claim reimbursement and that I’d not been paid, so a phone call to Centrelink was had. Apparently, I’m supposed to fill out fortnightly forms now that I’m not actually studying, but they sent them to Brisbane, despite me going and visiting them and getting my postal address changed to here. I hope that it’s all sorted out now. I also ordered an identical new 200-gigabyte hard drive to replace this one, although the mounting bracket I ordered along with it is currently on backorder and delayed, so I am waiting for that. The idea is that Maz will pick it up for me, copy over the data I lost in the great data loss of 2004, and post it up – then birds will sing, flowers bloom, and children everywhere will rejoice and be happy.
I fought webpages. I fought them in the streets, I fought them in the jungle, I fought them until I ran out of RAM and my browsers froze up. It had occurred to me that pop-up “nice titles” on my links, similar to those already on my images, would be nice, so I set about making them. That part was actually fairly easy, but then my perfectionist streak struck, and I had to spend hours trying to get silly cross-browser things to work so that the pop-ups work nicely when they’re near the edge of the page, or would have appeared off the page. Then, to make things worse, Maz had crazy problems with stuff he was doing on his site, and decided to get the whole thing to validate as XHTML, and Matt had CSS problems. I learnt that a body element containing only absolutely positioned content is essentially empty, and various JavaScript functions will treat it as empty – which sort of makes sense now that I know it, but was very confusing at the time. I suppose I should point out that the whole evening wasn’t spent being geeky; I also went for a nice swim down the creek, where I lazed around for a while despite it being surprisingly colder than last time, a walk out the Home Rule Road, and even had a shower, complete with soap.
I am apparently “building character”, although I prefer the more simplistic “missing Bronwen”.
Comment by io – Friday 24 December 2004, 1:01 AM
  Aww... You miss her.
Comment by Ned – Friday 24 December 2004, 2:46 PM
Comment by io – Saturday 25 December 2004, 2:04 AM
  Aww... thei hearts Bronwen.
Comment by Ned – Sunday 26 December 2004, 1:37 AM

22.12.2004Wednesday 22 December – Who is Robert Henley?

I slept, of course, having stayed up far too late last night, of course. I am on holidays, after all.
I took some photos of the track down to the creek, and the creek itself. I haven’t looked at them yet, but if they’re any good, I’ll try to put them up on my site tonight. Maz went and picked up my new hard drive, and will probably copy the data across tonight, hopefully posting it tomorrow. I wonder why Word says, “Use of ‘hopefully’” whenever I use “hopefully” – obviously I’m using it. I also like the way Word recommends replacing “night time” with “nighttime” and then says “nighttime” isn’t a word, recommending it be replaced with “night-time”, which it then recommends be replaced with “nighttime”, which it will then say isn’t a word – it’s lucky I’m just a lazy perfectionist and not suffering from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder or that could be fatal.
Someone has camped at the halfway spot, where I usually stop on my evening walk. I didn’t want to disturb them, so kept going further, ending up late and hot, but exercised.
Bronwen phoned. It has also begun to sprinkle lightly.
Bronwen had to go to bed and I made the mistake of going back online. I had planned to look at some photos I took today, with a view to putting some of them up on my site, but somehow I was sidetracked and that didn’t happen. The sprinkle has turned into what I’d nearly call rain.
It’s now raining, it’s nearly six o’clock tomorrow morning, and I’m still up – why? Well, it all began several hours ago when Clint came online and said, “What is this neurocam stuff?” Having never heard of Neurocam, I made my first mistake – asking what it was, a sort of stupid question given what he’d just said, but he gave me their URL (, hardly surprisingly, although it appears it used to be, a company specialising in brain signal analysis) and a link to an article about them in The Age. I then made my second mistake – reading the article, and becoming interested, despite it seeming to be just another hyped non-news article designed to interest silly people who stay up too late. Nevertheless, I figured I’d do a little digging around to see if I could figure out what kind of joke this place was, and, several hours later, I’m more confused. I’ve discovered an interconnected web of sites and comments with connections intricate and tenuous enough to seem implausible to fake. What originally seemed like an elaborate façade now seems just too elaborate, but the alternative is unreasonable – I found cross-references across numerous sites, and many more cross-referencing seemingly unrelated information from those sites with yet others, lending a scary credibility to an otherwise incredible story. Parts of the twisted tale seem incredulous and ridiculous, with mention of strange neurological drugs and memory experiments, and other parts seem almost believable – I’m definitely interested now. On the other hand, it’s just getting light outside, so I may not be at my logical and cynical (and, I modestly mention, intelligent) best. Either someone has gone to incredible lengths to create this whole façade as some type of strange art experiment, or there’s truth lurking somewhere in there – obscured by a lot of crud and internet hysteria. Lies are easy to detect, but lies with a basis in truth are much harder to weed out, and everything is harder when your browser can’t open more than thirty pages at a time because your computer only has 256 MB of RAM and it takes more than that to load stupid QuickTime plug-ins. In other less geeky news, the rain has intensified and, if it continues at this pace for the next week, might actually do something useful like flood.
Comment by Maz – Friday 24 December 2004, 12:27 AM
  Oh no! Now I'm sucked in. It's so weird.
Comment by Ned – Friday 24 December 2004, 2:45 PM
  It is weird. They’ve done a good job keeping up the mystery, and have managed to create a shroud of confusion – apparently by accident, as much as anything else. I had a chat to one of their long-time operatives, which cleared up a lot of the confusion but not the main question – is it a strange art experiment or way to create some peculiar film (which seems most likely) or is it something entirely different? Unfortunately, I’m not currently in Melbourne, so I can’t easily find out.
Comment by DM – Friday 24 December 2004, 9:51 PM
  I figure that if we wait long enough, Dan Brown will write a book about it.

23.12.2004Thursday 23 December – Cooktown & Flying Ants

According to my journal, I didn’t get to bed until just after six o’clock this morning, which could explain why I didn’t feel remarkably joyful when Mum woke me up and said she was going to town as soon as possible. The trip itself was uneventful, apart from when the mudflap fell partially off, became stuck in the tyre, made terrible noises, and I had to pry it free with a long pointy screwdriver. I met Rachel and Andrew at the Mad Cow, both of who are now in the army, and had a chat for a while. I was asked to help reinstall one of the supermarket’s point-of-sale terminals, after its hard drive crashed. This seemed a bad idea to me at the time, particularly after the man who was supposed to be installing it mentioned that DOS seemed to have a problem connecting to the graphics device, and lacking the profit drive required to enthuse me in such a challenge, I left it to him. I also did not think that risking bringing their entire system down on what’s possibly their busiest day of the year was an extraordinarily good idea.
I nearly didn’t go for a walk because it’s a bit wet, and I’d had a rather large milkshake in town, but I did. I should have stayed home. The walk out was without incident, as was most of the walk back. It seems there’s something about the last stretch before the Home Rule Bridge. I used to think it was just psychological – something to do with being the last canopy covered section (and hence dark) before the open road and on the “wrong” side of the bridge, but I am beginning to wonder. Tonight, as I was walking back through the gathering gloom, I walked straight into a swarm of flying ants. Flying ants aren’t the world’s most intelligent creatures. In fact, they’re probably on a par with Tasmanians, although perhaps not blonde ones. Anyway, me being all hot and sweaty, their wings all stuck to me. Flying ants are actually normal ants, plus detachable wings – wings that detach when they’re stuck to a sweaty chest, back, arm, cheek, nose, etc. This leaves normal ants, which crawl and bite. Fortunately for me, I was only minutes from the Home Rule Bridge where I could jump into the water, which might have been romantic under different circumstances – the moon reflecting off the quietly flowing water, while all around was silent. Under the circumstances though, it was icy cold, dark, I was covered in dying flying ants, and anything could have been lurking under the water. Then, as I was huddling my cold, wet and dripping self home from the creek, another flying ant flew into my eye, which promptly closed. This annoyed the poor little ant, who thoughtfully bit my eye to let me know it was there, before burrowing under my eyelid, leaving its wings lodged everywhere else. Something about having large portions of wildlife lodged in ones eye socket triggers a primordial sort of instinct – logic departs, and wildlife must be removed from eye socket with utmost haste, preferably without removing eyeball itself.
Who is Robin Hely?
I had a chat to one of Neurocam’s operatives, and unmasked much of the mystery that had intrigued me last night.
Bronwen and I solved a few of the world’s more pressing problems, including such questions as “why?”, and “but why?”, along with more traditional dilemmas such as creationism vs. evolution vs. Erich von Däniken and how to hold a phone for nearly five hours without losing contact with your limbs. Then I decided to temporarily block my Peace and Protection site until my bandwidth accounting problem can be sorted out, found a 101 MB core dump filling up my web-space, searched for other core dumps but couldn’t find any, had apache shut down somehow resetting half my hit counters just as I was attempting to upload my modification, leading me to assume that Windows had broken everything while searching for core dumps, panicked, discovered the truth on my host’s forum (and to think some people travel all the way to the Himalayas), noticed flying ants beginning to invade, and went to bed, but not before using many commas in a rather long sentence.
Comment by sef – Friday 24 December 2004, 3:52 PM
  Are all your pets named Erich?
  Considering Däniken's infamous feline theory how can you even consider that evolution rubbish?
Comment by Ned – Friday 24 December 2004, 4:00 PM
  I don’t consider that evolution rubbish, except to convince other people of its absurdity. As for cats, haven’t you seen the movie “Cats and Dogs”? The future casts a shadow my friend.

24.12.2004Friday 24 December – Raining

For reasons inexplicable, wake bright and early I didn’t. Bronwen is duly blamed. Rain precluded action. Ground wet from drizzle and some heavy rain but not enough for a flood. Some pictures were added to my site. Sleep was late. Journaling is sparse.

25.12.2004Saturday 25 December – Christmas Day

Comment by Maz – Monday 27 December 2004, 12:30 AM
Comment by Damian – Wednesday 29 December 2004, 2:41 PM
  Very interested in getting in touch with you
Comment by Ned – Wednesday 29 December 2004, 5:15 PM
  I have your email via Mum. I’ll see what she has to say, and get back to you.

26.12.2004Sunday 26 December – Silas & St Stephen’s Day of Boxes

It rained most of the day, although not usually heavily. I was woken by Mum, giving me a message from Bronwen, so I phoned her back and pretended to be awake and sensibly coherent. I then did the only logical thing, and went back to bed to enjoy the rain.
Silas rang, and we had a chat about his holiday, and life in general. He said it rained enough to flood down at Cape Tribulation, but not at Bloomfield. Shan’s car broke down out at Lakeland on Friday, and is still there. Apparently, the fuel pump stopped and they tried using a water pump, and gravity, but while the car would start, it wouldn’t keep running. Dad and Mum spent all evening at the Den, but I decided not to go as it was raining and wet, and I wasn’t in the mood to trap myself inside with a group of drunken people I don’t know, without even being able to head outside or down to the creek. In fact, I’m not in a particularly happy mood – I think it’s a subconscious reaction to Shan having a week off, Bronwen being away, Silas being back, and it being too wet to do anything. It feels as though I should be doing something other than what I already did all month – but I’m not. I’m hoping it floods.

27.12.2004Monday 27 December – Wet & Very Monday

I noticed on my walk that the Home Rule Bridge is covered in debris, so the water must have been over it. I didn’t think it had rained enough for that, but obviously, it did somewhere upstream. Unfortunately, the creek has now gone down again, it’s only a foot higher than it was last I looked. Still, it does seem as though the wet season is slowly arriving – it’s been raining slowly all evening, and everything is getting pretty wet. The downside to the wet season is that it rains all the time, and most outside things don’t work quite the same when it’s raining, meaning that there’s often not a lot to do. Everything also goes mouldy, but that doesn’t affect me so much. The upside to the wet season is that, in a horribly dry country like Australia, it rains almost all day, almost every day – and I love rain, at least for the first month. Most of Australia is dry and either desert, or bordering on it, so it’s very nice to be in a tropical rainforest. Many people don’t like the humidity, mould, multitude of things that buzz and bite, nasty prickly and stinging plants, and general harshness – but I can’t think of anywhere better. Everything up here is alive, everywhere you look, there’s something living – even if it is a nasty crawling thing with large nippers, in stark contrast to the rest of Australia. It also floods, which is great fun although dangerous. Still, it hasn’t flooded enough to go drowning yet, and because of the rain, about the only thing I’ve done outside all day was my evening walk, as it was only sprinkling at the time – I think I actually stayed drier than when it’s hotter, from not sweating as much.
Comment by kathryn – Thursday 30 December 2004, 12:35 PM
  it's interesting to see how much it is raining up in the far north. This Christmas and holiday season i'm futher from my comfort zone of the central coast( the people who named it had a superioity complex) to the relative filled Brisbane. Having never been in a real tropical rainforest, but being already amazed by the diversity living under rocks at uni i can't imagine the creepys and crawlies up north.
  Hint don't wash your car in flying ant season, they leave wings everywhere.
  this has been another random message from someone you don't know
  over and out
Comment by Ned – Thursday 30 December 2004, 5:04 PM
  They say there’s probably more diversity in a single small pocket of rainforest up here, than the rest of Australia. It’s a strange dichotomy that the rainforest is actually some of Australia’s least nutritious, most uncultivable land – yet supports more species per area than anywhere else on earth, expect perhaps some of the Amazonian rainforests.
Comment by kathryn – Friday 31 December 2004, 11:54 AM
  It’s a dam good thing not to try and cultivate it because the second you do try is the second we stuff it up. The only reasons the rainforests are so diverse and so wet is the vegetation.
  A hundred years ago silly white man (yes, I’m a silly white woman) said “hey look there is lots of trees and water in rainforests that would make ace grazing land for our cows sheep and lamas” (except I guess they would of said all of the above in a British accent). #see note post for conclusion
Comment by kathryn – Friday 31 December 2004, 11:56 AM
  So they cut down trees and they cleared the land and then poof the one inch of fertile soil and the water and the animal’s disappeared and then they wondered why the grass wouldn't grow and the cows all went hungry. Because the cycle is not there, the rotting wood and the decomposers and the canopy are all needed to create the fertile environment and with out them it just dead soil.
  Ok that’s enough of my environmental rant, sorry if you already knew all that, hooray if you learnt something today.

28.12.2004Tuesday 28 December – Cooktown

Today is apparently a holiday. This would have been a handy thing to know before I got a lift to town with Mandi and Ella. I arrived in town and everything was shut – and then had to spend the rest of the evening there, as Mandi and Ella weren’t going home until after nine. I managed to have a reasonable time – went and saw Matthew and Sarah, but it was a waste as far as business went. It also rained a fair bit, and there was a bit of lightning dragging thunder around behind it.
I found out when I got home that Shan and Kylie have gone down to see Kylie’s parents. I’m a bit miffed Shan didn’t bother to tell me, but I guess there’s no reason why he should. It’s a bit sad how things change – I’ve not really got any friends left up here now, they’ve all either left, changed, or haven’t the time to spend with me anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if they think the same about me. Introspective reflection is all well and good, but too often leads to gloom.
Comment by kathryn – Thursday 30 December 2004, 12:43 PM
  for me gloom with time and space leads to creativity
Comment by Ned – Thursday 30 December 2004, 4:58 PM
  You’re very right. I’m too lazy to be productive up here, but I’m very creative – at least mentally. I find that when I’m in Brisbane, I just go about life without really thinking a great deal, but when I’m up here, I spend lots of time just pondering, wondering why, thinking how things could be done better, inventing things... it’s a very good break from the city. I feel sorry for people who have never been out of a city for any long period, although being in some of the small farming towns doesn’t sound too good from what some of my friends say, but up here is fantastic.

29.12.2004Wednesday 29 December – Raining

I’ve had a quiet day. It’s rained most of the day, so everything is wet, although it hasn’t been heavy enough to cause any flooding. I nearly skived out of walking because of the rain, but figured I’d go anyway and it was nice – not too hot, and quite peaceful.
Comment by Damian – Thursday 30 December 2004, 11:37 AM
  Your journal is much appreciated, a veritable glimpse into your life. Did you reply to my previous comment? "I have your email via mum..." ???
Comment by Ned – Thursday 30 December 2004, 4:55 PM
  Yes, and I’ve now emailed you as well.

30.12.2004Thursday 30 December – Cooktown & Thick Shakes

I drove to town to check my mail and do some shopping. I also made the mistake of buying a Mad Cow Thick Shake, so now I feel sick; it being the only thing I’ve eaten all day probably doesn’t help either. The stuff I was expecting from Centrelink wasn’t there, although the hard drive from Maz was. Because of this, I phoned Centrelink when I got home. They said they’ll repost it, and then phoned back to say that I only need to phone them, so it should now all be sorted out until next fortnight when I’ll phone them and find out what the next problem is. I then went for a walk, got stuck in a spider web, complete with a myriad of dying bugs and baby spiders, had to jump into the icy cold creek to debug, and retired to my van to discover that the new hard drive has precisely the same problem as the old one. Windows cannot recognize the third partition on the new hard drive – it thinks it’s raw or corrupt, but I’m definitely not letting it fix it by deleting all my data again. It seems rather unlikely that I’d get two drives with similar symptoms, so I’m suspecting something else now, and will try finding another computer I can put the drive in to test it.
Bronwen had said she’d phone me from Woodford, as it would be difficult for me to phone her, as she’d not be able to answer the phone while working or dancing. However, when she still hadn’t called by today, I thought I’d give her a call, thinking perhaps there was no reception. I first called before going to town, and did get a standard sort of “phone switched off or not in a reception area” message, but called again after phoning Centrelink, and got through right away. She had just left work, and it sounds as though she is having a good time. She mentioned she’d written me a letter because she hadn’t phoned, because she didn’t want to “disturb” me, which seems very much like a bad excuse – she had no problems disturbing me any other time. Because of this, I’m a little worried – is she just too interested in what’s going on, or not interested enough to bother calling, or something worse? I don’t know, but I worry.
I am surrounded by extraordinary amounts of flying insects. There are millions of different types, and they’re everywhere. They crawl down my neck, reset my computer (or so I suspect – it randomly BSOD with a “Memory Management” error), and generally make great nuisances of themselves. They even made me sit on my headphones. Outside it’s still raining, and just getting heavier. It looks like being a delightfully wet, but sadly Bronwen-less, start to the New Year.
I’m listening to Nirvana’s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night”, not normally one of my favourite songs, but it fits my mood at the moment – and on that note, I’m off to bed.
Comment by kathryn – Friday 31 December 2004, 12:40 PM
  well tonight is new years eve and i am boyfriend-less too, he's back in NSW working. The only exciting news is that there will be poi and fire dancing at the suncorp piazza in the city somewhere. See to get what i'm talking about.
  Have a good one.
  i'm missing my tin roof and the sound of rain.
Comment by Ned – Friday 31 December 2004, 2:08 PM
  Nothing too exciting planned up here – it is still very wet.

31.12.2004Friday 31 December – New Year’s Eve

I’ve had an uneventful and rather gloomy day to finish off an uneventful and rather gloomy week, although I’ve decided I won’t be gloomy next year.
As the day progressed, so did my worries about Bronwen, which pretty much ruined my day – although I wasn’t in a terrific mood anyway. Just before leaving for the den the second time, I sent an SMS via ICQ to Bronwen, Silas, and Maz, wishing them a happy New Year. I’m not sure if it actually works.
I drove Mum down to the Lion’s Den, where she was working. There weren’t many people there, so I came home and messed about online for a while, before heading back down shortly after ten o’clock. By this time, there was quite a crowd, all enjoying themselves. A good night was had, no fighting or unpleasantness was witnessed, and the police only arrested one person.

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