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Year View| Summary| 2004 (Year View – Showing Highlights Only)

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?

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 :(

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.

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?”

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.

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.”

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.

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

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)

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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".. :)

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.

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'."

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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