IMPORTANT: The following journal is intended for the use and viewing of approved persons only and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons with low self-esteem, no sense of humour or irrational religious beliefs. Any dissemination, distribution or copying of this work is not authorised (either explicitly or implicitly) and constitutes an irritating social faux pas. Unless the word ‘absquatulation’ has been used in its correct context somewhere other than in this warning, it does not have any legal or grammatical use and may be ignored. No animals were harmed in the creation of this journal and a minimum of Microsoft software was used. Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards.
01.01.2003 – Wednesday 1 January – New Year’s Day
- • The first day of 2003
- • It rained. I’m not sure how much rain as I slept in ridiculously late, but rain it did. The ground was wet and the creek is apparently up. It continued to sprinkle throughout the day. Mum and I watched Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life in the evening. I phoned Silas but he was still out at the reef somewhere. He phoned me back later in the evening, we are still planning to go to Cairns tomorrow evening or possibly early Friday morning.
- This file
- • I’m also messing around with the format of this xml file and its associated xslt and css stylesheets. I like the way it is now – with separated content with time attributes. Unicode is good too – no more limitations on what characters I can use. If it exists in Unicode and can be saved as utf-8, then I can use it. It’s then up to the browser at the other end to display them.
03.01.2003 – Friday 3 January – Drove to Cairns with Silas
- • Silas came in the morning, and we drove to Cairns. It was a four hour drive and rather uneventful. I made the foolish mistake of playing with the air outside my window all the way down – resulting in a rather severely sunburnt left arm. When we arrived in Cairns it was a tad warm. Very hot actually. We went around to Silas’s brother Eric’s place, and probably did a few other things but I don’t really remember them.
- • Eric, Silas and I went and saw “MY BIG FAT GRΣΣK WEDDING” at the City Cinemas and then went to the Cock and Bull for dinner – then slept at Eric’s. Both Silas and I had a fitful sleep, due partly to the bright lights streaming in the windows, the traffic driving noisily past – and also the slight apprehension from a story one of Eric’s flatmates had told us...
- The Story
- • Eric has two flatmates. Some time ago, one woke up to find the other had got the two sharpest knives and two garbage bags and was going to kill the other and put him in the bags. The reason? Who knows? However it made us mildly uneasy.
04.01.2003 – Saturday 4 January – Watched Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers
- • Silas, Eric and I drove to a bakery and got some breakfast coffee and baked croissants and a sweet stick thing for me. Silas and I then went to an internet café and checked our emails and such stuff. Silas had a few friends he wished to visit and I had a few movies I wished to see so we separated, Silas going to see his friends and I heading towards the cinemas where I saw “The Fat Chick” and “The Tuxedo”. The Fat Chick is incredibly stupid, which was roughly what I thought it would be like. The Tuxedo isn’t a great deal better, but contains the usual Jackie Chan excitement and was a fun watch. I also did the shopping which needed doing.
- • Silas and I went and saw “The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers” in the evening. It was, as expected, superb – although I was somewhat disappointed at how they’ve glossed over certain parts and indeed totally excluded others that I felt were vital to the storyline. Nevertheless, the acting, the scenery, the realism – it is hard to beat. I can’t think of any other movie offhand that I’d say would beat this one.
- • We then went back to Eric’s and went to sleep.
05.01.2003 – Sunday 5 January – Saw James Bond
- • Silas did some more visiting and I did some more movie watching, seeing “Sweet Home Alabama”. We drove out to Josephine’s to use her Mum’s car to pick up some furniture from Eric’s as he is moving to another place. The furniture didn’t fit in the car, but we picked up Josephine instead.
- James Bond
- • I drove Silas, Ben and Josephine to the Esplanade, and then drove out to Earlville cinemas where I saw James Bond – Die Another Day. I quite enjoyed the movie, although it is always disappointing to see how they’ve let the Bond character down and how americanised it is – I would like to see more of the British style, and less of the extremely blatant American style in the Bond movies... but it was nonetheless typical Bond, with lots of action, lots of large explosions and incredibly improbable events (which, unfortunately, are all too predictable at times – another downside to the American movie style). They should have got someone better than Halle Berry too; I’m not a fan of her.
- • After the movie finished I drove back in to the Esplanade where I rang Silas. He was at the Woolshed, so I went and got a thick shake for dinner and then headed to the Woolshed. After circumventing the admission charge, I spent an hour or two (I think we left around 2:30 but I’m not sure) there with Silas and Josephine. We then went for a walk around looking for other nightclubs and then drove back to Amy’s place and went to bed.
06.01.2003 – Monday 6 January – Returned home from Cairns
- • Silas and I both awoke late, followed shortly thereafter by Josephine. Once we managed to summon the energy, we drove Josephine home, stopping at a bakery for some food on the way. We stayed at her house for a while during which time it clouded over and began to rain.
- • Silas and I drove back to Amy’s and did some cleaning up, sweeping, the dishes and such. We then went to Cairns Central where I bought a falafel roll and some fruit juice, Silas a Dona Kebab and some coffee, and a doormat for Amy. After lunch we drove back to Amy’s and left the mat and began the journey home.
- • We left Cairns and headed for Mareeba, managing to arrive there without any accidents or other nasty incidents. Silas had to buy some milk, and we fuelled up. The drive home went well, it being overcast and not too hot. It rained on and off. We stopped at Lakeland where I was going to phone Mum, but the phone was faulty.
- • I arrived home just after dark, and just as it began to rain. Silas and I watched “mullet”, a DVD which Mum had got from town. Silas then went to bed in his swag inside, while I went on chat and wrote this. I am very tired as is Silas.
09.01.2003 – Thursday 9 January – QTAC Offer Received
- • I had a quiet day, spending most of it at my PC and online talking to my chat friends and messing around trying to revamp my journal site and get XSLT and XML to work. Robert installed Sablotron (an XSLT plug-in for PHP) on SolidInternet but something had problems, and Apache had to be recompiled, then the server had to be restarted and I don’t know what else, but it was down for maybe fifteen minutes and some very weird things happened, but eventually it all worked and I could get to work on my journal site. I hope to have it all finished and working – or at least functional, by tonight.
- • Shan dropped in on his way home from town, where he has been doing tech for his apprenticeship. We talked for a while and then he went home.
- • I’ve just spent hours hacking code and getting my revamped journal website to work. It now works! I’m very happy with it, it’s all glossy, shiny, functional, neat, ordered, validating and so on and so forth.
- • It is technically Friday, and I am about to go to bed. I am a bit excited, because I’ve just logged into QTAC’s Applicant Online Services, and received an offer in Bachelor of Information Technology, The University of Queensland.
13.01.2003 – Monday 13 January – New RAM and HDD’s
- • I woke up to hear a strange noise, like a loud lawnmower flying around. I went outside and had a look, there was a helicopter flying around in circles overhead. It was black and with a large pole of some type poking several metres out the front on one side, but it didn’t sound like any helicopter I’ve heard before. It didn’t have the typical beat which a helicopter has, but just a strange high pitched whine. I thought maybe it was a gyrocopter. It flew around three times and then flew away to the south west. I went back to bed.
- • I woke up and looked at the clock. 2:46 PM! Eek! That is way too late to sleep in, even if I had already been woken by the weird helicopter noise. I guess I need to get to bed earlier. I stayed up until a quarter to four last night, and it shows.
- • I went for a walk up to Dad’s in the evening, meeting Vince and Sarah on the way up there. He still isn’t home but I met Mum as I was walking home and as she was dropping Jean home, so I got a lift back with her.
- • I installed the new 512 MB of RAM and put the two 80 GB Western Digital 8 MB Cache HDD’s in. I also drove over to Joneses to get some HDD screws and an IDE cable. I haven’t got enough HDD power plugs from the PSU to actually run the new HDD’s (I want to run them as a striped RAID array). I have just noticed that the HDD LED is on dimly all the time, so I might shut down the PC and unplug the IDE cables from the new drives and see if that helps.
14.01.2003 – Tuesday 14 January – New CD-RW
- • I walked up to Dad’s early in the morning but he’d already gone to work at Ron’s so I walked to Ron’s meeting Dad there. I then spent the middle of the day on chat and at my PC, and went to Joneses in the evening as my late birthday present from Shan had arrived; along with the parts for a new PC Shan is building for a friend. I helped Shan put the PC together (well... truth be told I just watched and gave advice...), and then brought my new PCI modem, floppy drive, case fan and birthday present – 48/24/48 CD-RW back home. A quick call to Silas to confirm that I would like to go to Cairns with him on Friday and then into the hardware install.
- • I installed the floppy drive but I need to wait until tomorrow when I can get a few adaptors for the power supply plugs before I can plug it in. I installed the fan and swapped the other ones around, managing to make the PC lots noisier in the process. I then installed the CD-RW and NERO Burning Rom (which came with it) and thought I better test it out.
- • First up, the basics, does the door open? Yes, of course it does. Do disks go in and work? Yes they do. So, how does it go with audio CD’s? It freezes up the application trying to read them. Hmm... that’s no good. Disable digital audio, ahh it works now. So what’s it like at extracting digital audio? A full 59 minute, 16 tracks CD ripped in 1 minute and 54 seconds at a maximum of 43.8x (average 31.1x). This is using burst mode (and a clean CD) in Exact Audio Copy (currently the best CD ripping program). Wow that’s fast. I can’t detect any audible errors either.
- • I’m now going to try an extremely scratched CD now and see what happens.
- • I just ripped my Placebo CD. It is very scratched – I mean severely scratched. I don’t think it even works in my other drives. I ripped it using burst (non secure) mode, averaged around 8x ripping, so far I can’t find any errors. Amazing. I’m now going to find my most scratched CD.
- • I just ripped another scratched CD using the insecure burst mode – ripping around 16x and so far it seems no audible errors. Very good.
- • Testing burning a CD-RW now. Successfully burnt a 10x Verbatim disc at 12x, so that seems good. And... the burner has a dual-colour LED which glows green when reading and red when writing, just like my old drive so that’s good too. Call me silly but I really wanted a dual-colour LED rather than how some drives do it – just a normal LED that flashed on and off. Thanks Shan!
- • I just reconnected to the internet and happened to have my headphones on – and I heard the modem dialling through my headphones. That is cool. I’ll have to test it tomorrow and see how it works, maybe I can use the modem as a phone call recording device.
15.01.2003 – Wednesday 15 January – Received QTAC Confirmation
- • Mum woke me up and we went to town nice and early. I checked my mail and also went to the computer shop and bought the power adaptors I needed for my new hard drives, and another IDE hard drive lead. I got “The Matrix” out on DVD as it’s been ages since I last saw it. I met Bob and Peter at Peter’s shop and had a short talk to them, and then Mum and I drove home again.
- • I received my QTAC confirmation and enrolment information from UQ, with lots to read and lots to think about. I found out the key dates – orientation week is 24th to 28th February and the actual course starts 3rd March. That’s not all that much time, I should start panicking now. The other letter I received wasn’t so pleasant. A notice from Centrelink to repay approximately $1300 which they claim was wrongly paid to me because I wasn’t studying at Cairns School of Distance Education during the fourth term last year. I never claimed I was. I was studying from Brisbane School of Distance Education. This has happened several times now; I thought that this confusion between Cairns and Brisbane schools had been sorted out last time I had this problem. Theoretically it should be easy to sort it out as Centrelink are quite obviously wrong – but unfortunately there are complications. Centrelink has said they require proof that I was enrolled and proof that I was returning adequate work units to be classed as full-time. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but... During that period I was in hospital, and after I was discharged from hospital I contacted the school to discuss my options as there was no longer sufficient time to study for and sit the examinations. The school told me to send them a doctor’s letter and they would continue my enrolment until the end of the course, after which I then sat the STAT test rather than the examinations I would otherwise have sat. So it would appear that I have accidentally violated a Centrelink’s definition of “full-time” study, but satisfied the school, and now I have a problem. I should be able to provide proof that I was enrolled during that term, but I can’t provide proof that I was returning work – because I wasn’t (or at least not enough to classify as full-time, I was in hospital). I guess I am supposed to have informed Centrelink that I was in hospital and unable to study, but I didn’t. I really don’t have the money to repay them, and I especially don’t need this on top of moving to Brisbane and UNI. Oh well, I’ll contact Brisbane School of Distance Education when they open on the 23rd of January.
- • I installed the power plugs on my new hard drives and the floppy drive, created a striped RAID array and formatted the disks. So far everything seems to work although I haven’t actually had time to do much with it. I also began using XMLSpy to create the XML source for this journal as DreamWeaver and EditPlus both have separate UTF-8 issues. EditPlus seems to incorrectly read or write certain UTF-8 characters and DreamWeaver (seemingly randomly) corrupts or deletes parts of the data. I also created a schema which validates this file.
17.01.2003 – Friday 17 January – Silas and I drive to Cairns
- • Silas phoned around lunchtime to let us know he would be arriving around 2 o’clock, which he did, with his younger sister Renae. We stopped at the Lions Den Hotel, where Silas and Renae had a few beers. Then, an hour or so later we stopped at Lakeland Hotel where another beer or two was purchased, enough to get us to the Palmer River Roadhouse, the beer from which just about got us through to Mount Carbine hotel, by which time I was driving and Silas was resting in the back...
- • It started raining not long after Mount Carbine, and was pretty wet all the way from there to Cairns. It makes it much harder driving at night down the Kuranda range when it’s wet, with the poor windscreen wipers on the Falcon, the slippery and very windy and steep road, all the too-bright headlights... but we made it safely and dropped Renae off at Josephine’s where Silas, his brother Eric, and Renae had dinner. I didn’t eat anything as it was meat. After dinner Silas and I drove to his Cousin Amy’s place and went to sleep.
18.01.2003 – Saturday 18 January – Cairns
- • Silas and I drove Amy to work and then went to a nearby bakery for breakfast, then on to an Internet Café to service our vital communication needs. After leaving the Internet Café Silas and I went and did lots of shopping for his family, spending hours in the supermarket and driving around to a few places, then it got too late (as places tend to close half day on Saturday). Silas and I then drove over to the van park where his brother Eric is staying and him and his friend came and we all went and watched James Bond (the second time for me – it is an enjoyable movie to watch). Interestingly Silas agreed that the first half is ok but the second half has become too americanised and Halle Berry wrecks it to an extent by the way she’s portrayed. I then went and watched "Analyze That" at night while Silas and some friends went to some nightclubs. I joined them after the movie finished (around 11:30) and we talked for a while and then the friends went home and Silas and I went to “The Woolshed" (which is a night club) and stayed there, getting home 4 AM. A bit boring for me because I don’t drink and wasn’t trying to pick up a girl, having instead to avoid some, but it was all interesting. We then drove back to Amy’s place (Silas’s cousin) around 4 AM and went to bed.
19.01.2003 – Sunday 19 January – Cairns
- • This morning we both woke late and eventually went and got some breakfast from Cairns Central (I had a falafel kebab) around lunch time, then went back to Amy’s (she’s working) and stayed there up until late afternoon, when we went to Rusty’s Markets (an Asian type fruit market) and bought some potatoes and onions, then bought a milkshake and headed for an Internet Café to once again service our vital communication needs. Silas and I ate dinner at the Night Markets and then headed out to Earlville Cinemas to see “Catch Me if You Can” with Josephine and Renae. It’s an OK movie, but that’s about all I’d say, but nevertheless it was enjoyable. We then drove back to Amy’s and watched “Waiting for Godot” on SBS, getting to bed late due to watching that.
20.01.2003 – Monday 20 January – Arrive Home
- • Silas and I woke up in time to get Amy to work by 9 AM. We then drove the short distance from the café she’s working in to Cairns Central and had some breakfast. A milkshake and apple croissant look-alike later and we headed off to start shopping. Firstly back to Amy’s place to unload a few things from the car to make space, then off to do shopping. We drove all over the place, getting a new tyre, water pipe fittings, cistern parts, electrical cabling clips... and many, many other things. Around 2 PM we arrived back at Amy’s place, as did Amy (having got off work early). After a short rest Silas and I packed the car and headed off to Eric’s to drop off some food, then on to Josephine’s to pick up a few things (and have a cup of tea), then up to Mareeba. We arrived at Mareeba just on five o’clock and went to the supermarket to buy a few cold goods. I bought some chips and soy milk and Silas got a pie from a nearby takeaway shop, then we headed for home. A few hours, and several million bumps, later we arrived home. I had some mail – I have received a credit card, so now I should be able to purchase things which only accept credit cards.
- • Silas is sleeping out in the yard in his swag and I am about to go to bed.
26.01.2003 – Sunday 26 January – Australia Day
- • I am listening to Metallica’s “Master of Puppets”. And wishing I had some doughnuts. I really wish I had some doughnuts right now. I have been eating “Mississippi Cheese Straws” and “Mississippi Mud Puppies”, both very strong.
- • Obey your master. Your life burns faster. Obey your master – master – master of puppets, I’m pulling your strings – twisting your mind and smashing your dreams. Hmm, a good song, anyway back to the food. I still wish I had some doughnuts. Or is that donuts? That’s one of the problems of being Australian. I never know if I should be using the Americanised (or is that Americanized?) versions of words, or if I should be using the British equivalent. Oh well, I guess there’s larger problems in life than that. I’ve been over to Home Rule to see Shan this evening. I nearly hit a tree on the drive over. I came around a corner and there was a tree in the middle of the road. Quite a rude tree it was too, refusing to budge. The road was wet and muddy, probably something to do with the rain, so I only just stopped in time. Fortunately for the tree, I managed to squeeze around one side.
- • Woe. No doughnuts.
- • Anyway, Shan and I played Unreal Tournament for a while; using the new PC he’s made for Jass. These songs bring back memories. I was probably 13 or 14, living in a remote valley out West from Gympie. My best friend Aaron and I used to “camp out” most weekends in an old caravan. It was quite a way from anyone else, in a very scenic location beside a small creek. Their block had a road down the middle of it – the road in fact, as there was only one. Their house was on one side, the caravan on the other, and probably a kilometre or so apart. After school Friday’s I would walk over to Aaron’s place, or he mine, and we’d play around doing not much. We were both into electronics in a very basic way, so we’d pull things apart. Then, as it got late and after dinner, we’d get two litres of milk, drink some, mix ice-cream topping in as flavouring, collect lots of batteries, some chips, our walkman, some speakers, many candles and a few other things and jump in an old Nissan Patrol and drive down to the caravan. We were both interested in candles at that time too. Aaron had a metal bucket full of wax and wicks, and I had some metal tins with a wax/kerosene mix in them which would burn without a wick once lit. We’d light up our candles, open the chips, drink the milk and listen to Master of Puppets. When I hear it now, I remember those carefree times before I reached year ten and exams. The past has such a rosy glow to it, even events which at the time left me aghast, now seem so trivial and all I remember are the good times.
- • Time for another Mississippi Mud Puppy I think. Chock-full of fine chocolate chips, sweet cream butter, pure cocoa, flaked oats and pecans... Apparently “krapfen” is German for “doughnuts” – funny people the Germans.
- • I am surrounded by moths. They come to the light of my monitors. The rain seems to bring more moths. I guess they don’t like getting wet. I wonder where moths go when it rains. Maybe they hide under leaves. Somehow I can’t imagine rain being very good for them. At least I haven’t swallowed any yet.
- • I slept in this morning. I really do have a sleeping-in problem. Hardly surprising considering I stay up late, and probably not going to change until I take the “problem” part of the preceding sentence seriously. At the moment I don’t mind, although it is a waste of daytime. I’m up to the track “Orion” now. I like instrumentals. To me, vocals often tend to destroy good music. Unless the vocals are really good and really fit in, I find they detract from the instruments. But on the other hand, if the vocalist is up to the task, it can really enhance good music. There’s so much mediocre music available. A synthesizer, a few loops, a beat – and a sensual video clip with enough Latin women and you’ve got yourself a number-one hit – for a week if you’re lucky. But to be so popular and so famous years later – then you know there was some substance to the music. Hence the saying, “stand the test of time”.
- • I appear to have spouted a considerable amount of nothing. There, my modem just disconnected. I’ve been connected for ten hours. It’s probably time for bed.
27.01.2003 – Monday 27 January – Australia Day Holiday
- • I feel miserable. Firstly I didn’t go to sleep until after 7 AM. Then, as is to be expected, I didn’t wake up until the afternoon. But that’s ok. What isn’t ok is that I have hay fever – severe hay fever. I drip. I sneeze. My nose runs, my eyes water. My nose is red and raw. I can’t think. I can’t breathe. Ok, maybe I can breathe a little bit, but I don’t feel all that good.
- • ⓐⓢⓒⓘⓘ ⓢⓣⓤⓟⓘⓓ ⓠⓤⓔⓢⓣⓘⓞⓝ ⒢⒠⒯ ⒜ ⒮⒯⒰⒫⒤⒟ ⒜⒩⒮⒤
29.01.2003 – Wednesday 29 January – Doctor’s appointment
- • I phoned Doctor Hill and made an appointment for 11:15. Mum and I then drove in to town, where availed myself of the Internet services at the library, which for a humble four dollar fee, allowed me to check my webpage on an older version of Internet Explorer and chat to my friends for nearly an hour. I then rushed off to the doctors.
- • After my doctor’s appointment, Mum and I went to the video shop and got a few DVD’s. “An Everlasting Piece”, “What Women Want”, “The Man Who Sued God”, “L.A. Confidential”, “Lethal Weapon” and “Lethal Weapon 2”. I copied them to my hard drive to watch later, and plan to take them over to Shan’s later this evening, along with a small food grinder of his Mum’s which we had borrowed.
- • Mum and I watched “Lethal Weapon”. It was refreshing to watch some fairly mindless action, and refreshing to watch a movie in this genre which actually has a semblance of a plot. We both enjoyed it. I then had some chocolate cake, and now I’m quite full and ready for bed. Shan says his old hard drive is dying. It makes nasty noises and reads slowly... Anyway, bedtime for me.
08.02.2003 – Saturday 8 February – I go to Silas’s
- • Silas rang in the morning to let me know they weren’t going fishing early, so I could come down at a civilised time. I arranged to meet him at Bloomfield Wharf at ten o’clock. I packed a few things and left here at nine thirty, arriving just on ten. The road is fairly bad at the moment. I managed to avoid all the large rocks and didn’t fall in any huge ruts and nothing’s flooded so I guess it’s not too bad by Bloomfield standards. It is something the city folk who buy shiny four-wheel-drive cars should see though. Silas showed up shortly after, and we drove (in his car) down to the fuel place and got some fuel, then up to the Ayton store and bought some food, then boated down to Silas’s place. I managed to get quite sunburnt on the way.
- • Silas and I messed around fixing outboards and bits and pieces. We went out to a close reef and did some snorkelling, where Silas speared a fair sized (5 to 6 kg) but unknown bright orange speckled fish. The jellyfish were so thick in places that visibility was down to about 2 metres. I saw at least ten types of jellyfish ranging from tiny worm-like things to quite complex and colourful ones. Unfortunately most of them seem to bite.
- • Someone phoned Silas to let him know the interior light in my car was on. It has never worked before; I guess the bumpy road fixed it somehow. This was a bit of a problem as it would have already been on ten hours or so, and by the time we got there tomorrow evening the battery would almost certainly be flat. It is about fifteen minutes from Silas’s to Bloomfield Wharf on a good day, and longer in pitch dark at low tide trying to avoid the reef. I don’t know how he does it, but he managed to miss all coral in the pitch black, although we nearly hit a log and a submerged boat. There was a lot of phosphorescence, which makes a nice backdrop against some lightning in a storm out to sea. To make matters a bit more interesting, after I’d turned the light off and we were on our way back it began to rain – heavily. Not only was it now pitch black, but we could no longer see any lights on shore. Silas headed straight out to sea until he was sure we must be around most of the reef, and then using the angle of the waves as a guide, headed back towards where he hoped land would be – and specifically his beach. He was pretty close, when the rain eased off enough for us to once again see lights, the light’s we saw were those of his neighbours, so we headed to the next beach down, navigating through the reef with the help of some bicycle reflectors on a stick and a torch. I think I might smash the bulb in the interior light tomorrow. After our ordeal, Silas and I went down to their creek and turned their turbine on, as it is now flowing again. This is the first time the creek has flown in a while. Then we had hot cocoa and went to sleep.
09.02.2003 – Sunday 9 February – I return from Silas’s
- • It rained during the night. Silas and I woke had toast for breakfast, and it started to rain again. Silas phoned his friend Jamie to see if he wanted to go fishing, but we decided to wait and see what the weather did. Silas and I climbed up the creek to move some piping in case it flooded, and then climbed up a gully to chop some wood, getting soaked by the rain in the process.
- • Jamie and Melanie arrived and we had lunch, discussing whether to go fishing or not as it was still raining. We decided to go, so packed a few things and headed down to the boats. We headed out to Hope Island, trawling a bit on the way and watching the rain pass down from Cooktown through Rossville, past Cedar Bay and down towards Bloomfield. A few hours later we arrived on Hope Island, which is actually two islands. The larger island doesn’t have any ground, it’s all mangroves, so we stopped on the smaller island and ate a small afternoon tea, after Silas forgot to bring any matches or cups. Luckily he can make fire and we found two plastic cup-like things and shared them. I jogged around the island, and then we headed back home. We did some more trawling, and stopped for a while to line fish, then it began to get dark. All up they caught two marlin, three cod and many small fish.
- • We motored back towards Bloomfield as it got slowly darker and rainier. Once we got to Silas’s I ran up and got my bag and left for the wharf with Jamie and Melanie. It was nearly nine o’clock by the time I got to the car. I was a bit worried that it may not start after leaving the light on last night, and when I first turned the engine over it only tried for a second or two and then died, but (much to my relief) when I tried a second time the car started straight away. I think I was pretty fortunate as the battery must have been fairly flat to have only turned the motor over a few times and stopped. I drove home very slowly, peering through the foggy windscreen and the rain and mist at the ruts and potholes in the road. I got home around 9:30 and had some dinner.
- • I am now very sunburnt and have a sore back and butt.
10.02.2003 – Monday 10 February – Shan buys his first car
- • Shan told me via IRC that he’s bought a new car. That was where he was yesterday – in Mareeba purchasing it. He has a ’94 model Commodore sedan, dark blue with tinted windows and raised suspension. It looks nice and seems to go well too. I forget how much it cost him, but it seemed cheap for a ’94 model. He drove over in the evening and I had a look and took a few photos. He also got to see Kylie-Anne while he was in Mareeba so I’m sure that made him happy too. I’ve got itchy bumps on my neck and hands from all the jelly fish which bit me when I was at Silas’s, but my arms aren’t peeling yet.
- • I watched “True Lies”. I’ve seen it a few times now and I still really enjoy it for some reason.
20.02.2003 – Thursday 20 February – First flood
- • I am so very tired. I had a wet day, ending up getting the car stuck on the wrong side of a flooding creek.
- • I phoned Centrelink and found out that the Austudy application forms which they had sent me only apply to people over 24 years old. I need Youth Allowance forms, which they said they will send poste haste.
- • I walked up to Cassidy’s and installed a new hard drive on one of their PC’s and fixed the graphics problem on their other. I pulled the card in and out a few times, seated it firmly, and it worked – typical for up here. While I was up at Cassidy’s it rained, heavily. I drove out to Joneses once Shan got home from work. The water was fairly well below the bottom of the bridge when I crossed it. I stayed out at Home Rule for a bit over an hour talking to Shan and dropping a few things off for Ric, then drove back home just as it was getting dark. When I got to the Home Rule Bridge I was surprised to find the water a few feet over it. I reversed the car into a small clearing above the bridge and walked across before the water got too high cantankerous. Fortunately for me Brett had just dropped in to check the level of the creek on his way home from town and he gave me a lift home.
- • Mum and I watched “Eraser”. It is yet another Schwarzenegger movie, much like most other Schwarzenegger movies – I enjoyed it. I was going to walk down to the creek and see if I’d be able to get the car back across the bridge yet, but it began to rain a little and the thought of the metre high pile of sticks that I’d have to clear away from the bridge in the dark wasn’t really all that appealing. I’ll just hope it doesn’t rain too much during the night and get the car in the morning.
- • It is raining, but not too heavily. My computer just froze – fortunately for me auto-recovery actually worked this time. I’m off to bed.
21.02.2003 – Friday 21 February – I go to Cooktown
- • Silas arrived without phoning me first due to a small misunderstanding. When I phoned him on Wednesday he got the impression that I wasn’t coming to town with him, so didn’t bother to phone first – so I had to run around getting ready while Silas checked his email. We drove into town. I checked my mail. The DVD drive and Shan’s hard drive had arrived, as did an overdue notice for a few videos and such from BSDE, which I’m fairly sure I have already returned. I met Sarah at the supermarket. I used the Internet at the library for an hour and then went up to her place. I went down to Ricki’s later in the evening and we went for a walk through the bush and along the beach, ending up at the wharf where we had chips for dinner. I slept at Sarah’s.
22.02.2003 – Saturday 22 February – I stayed the night in Cooktown
- • I went down to Peter’s and said goodbye to him, then made my way down to the markets where I met Sarah and Vince. We stayed there an hour or so, then I went walking and visiting a few people. I bought some lunch from the supermarket and visited Ricki and Sarah at various times and had a shower or two as it was so hot. I also managed to get a bit sunburnt.
- • I met Silas driving by on his way to visit some friends, so I got a lift towards Ricki’s place, where we once again went for a walk down to the beach and arrived at the wharf, also meeting Kay who was taxi driving but managed to spend some time talking.
- • Ricki and I had some potato wedges from the shop down at the wharf for dinner, and sat down there talking for a while. We walked back up to Vince and Sarah’s where I slept the night.
23.02.2003 – Sunday 23 February – I return home from Cooktown
- • Vince and Sarah went spear fishing. I sat and waited for Silas. Once Silas arrived, he and I went to the supermarket, then down to the bakery where I bought a vegetarian pasty. Then we headed back home, via the service station. Silas checked and sent a few emails from my PC and then headed back to Bloomfield.
- • I tried phoning Shan but the phone was first engaged, and then rung out. However, Shan phoned me. His PC has died. It has some type of hardware error at random (and quite frequent) times. I drove over and took my old PC over. We stripped Shan’s PC down to its components and put a few of them in my old PC and set his up how it originally was when he bought it so he can take it to Cairns for warranty repair. I also gave Shan his new hard drive. Jade and Ella joined us for a swim up at the Blue Marker, which was rather cold but flowing fast enough to be enjoyable, although there were a lot of antelopes trying to get into our mouths. Not long after, Shan and I drove up to Jim’s with Ric to see what was wrong with a new PC which he had bought from Cash Converters. The monitor was out of focus, and at around $90 and only 15 inch, it wasn’t cheap either. The computer itself was an IBM desktop of some sort, and there was also a printer and scanner. The scanner had no power supply, so was useless. I don’t think he got a bargain – far from it. After we got back to Joneses Craig wanted some tobacco, so Jade, Shan, Ella and I drove down to the Lions Den Hotel. Unfortunately they don’t sell tobacco anymore, only cigarettes, so we drove on into Cooktown – where we bought a tub of ice cream and ate that on the way home. It was a nice evening and a nice way to spend it.
- • I drove home and installed my new DVD drive, accidentally set it to region 2 (thus wasting one of the 5 region changes allowed) and tried copying the scratched discs I’d been unable to copy with my old drive. This drive at least reads the discs – which is more than the old one would do, but it still couldn’t perform any miracles. A scratched disc is a scratched disc, and once the data has gone, it’s gone. It’s now rather late and I’ve finished watching “Eyes Wide Shut” which, sadly, was too scratched to watch completely, and I think I missed some rather important scenes as it didn’t make a great deal of sense. I suppose it is bedtime now.
27.02.2003 – Thursday 27 February – I leave Rossville
- • I spent most of the morning wasting time. I then packed everything as fast as I could, just finishing by midday – which was when Silas might come.
- • Silas arrived around one, and we packed my stuff into his car. It all fit, although there sure wasn’t much room left over. I hugged Mum goodbye, shook hands with Dad, and without further ado Silas and I drove off. We drove the four and a bit hours to Cairns and headed for Pam’s place. She’s one of Silas’s friends, and it ended up that Jack lives with her, so I knew someone there too. We had the traditional coffee and waited for Silas’s younger brother Eric to arrive.
- • Eric, Silas and I went down to the night markets where we had some dinner. Some vegetarian ravioli later and we headed back to Pam and Jack’s place where Silas and I stayed the night. We tried to get their computer to work before we went to bed but were unable to. Silas had a very poor sleep due to the coffee he’d had, but I slept well.
28.02.2003 – Friday 28 February – I begin travel to Brisbane
- • Silas and I went down to a bakery where we bought some croissants and I had an apple turnover with cream. We ate these back at Jack’s place and then headed into town to find an internet café. Silas found he had a fee due today, and I needed to print out my lecture timetable, but right about then the university’s server died. Silas and I bought a BIOS battery for Jack’s computer which we took back and installed – and it worked. We then headed back into town to find another internet café as Silas was worried about getting a late payment fee. This time the university servers worked and I printed out my timetable.
- • Silas and I left Cairns at Midday and drove south. We stopped every 400 to 500 kilometres for petrol, but apart from that drove non-stop.
- • We drove and drove and drove.
- • It began to rain after Townsville and as Silas and I got sleepier and sleepier and it got later and later it got wetter and wetter. Finally, as 1 AM approached and about 40 kilometres north of Rockhampton the rain stopped. Silas and I pulled over onto an old gravel pit on the side of the road and rolled out our swags. Many mosquitoes instantly descended onto us, but we figured that we were too sleepy to be bothered by them. They were extremely large mosquitoes, the type which crackle and splat when hit. Several million came. Silas found some liquid mosquito repellent. I popped the lid open. Unfortunately it was very warm and runny and a large amount went all over my hand. Unfortunately it was too dark to see so I wasn’t aware. Unfortunately I assumed a small blob of fairly rigid mosquito repellent would be on my hand. Unfortunately I went to rub this into my face. As you would expect, I got mosquito repellent all over my face, in my eyes, and all over the swag. Unfortunately I dropped my torch into the spilt repellent and unfortunately I then put the torch into my mouth to see what was going on. Now fully mosquito proof, both inside and out, I wrapped myself into my swag and tried to sleep. Unfortunately the mosquitos began to lick the repellent off to get to me, so Silas and I got some old plastic mosquito nets we had with us and I placed one of them on my head, all piled up. This kept the blood sucking beasts a little way away although they made a loud noise trying to get at me. Silas, meanwhile, had put his mosquito net over his entire swag condom style. He had also found some insect repellent in a spray can so he sprayed his swag and himself with this, all over his hair and all, then crawled inside his swag and mosquito net. The mosquitos buzzed around his nose, unable to bite him through the net but enough to stop anyone from being able to sleep. Silas, being the brainy man he is, closed his eyes and sprayed all over the net (which was only inches from his nose). When he opened his eyes it dripped in them. Then it began to rain. I lay and willed the rain to stop, but it didn’t, so I moved into the car. It was very hot. I had all the windows and doors closed and began to swelter. My brain, in ways it only can when extremely tired and half poisoned, began to wonder how oxygen would be able to get into the fully sealed car. The more I wondered, the hotter I got, and the harder it became to breathe. I pulled the door open and rushed outside to get some much needed air and cool. The mosquitos didn’t allow me to stay out for long, so I rushed back in and tried to forget about my impending suffocation. Just before I suffocated fully I rushed out for some more air, but a few hundred mosquitos managed to get back inside with me so I couldn’t risk letting them in to the only safe place I had. I decided suffocating was the lesser of the two evils, wiped the sweat off me and the next thing I remember is waking up.
01.03.2003 – Saturday 1 March – I arrive in Brisbane
- • Silas and I awoke, amazingly still alive. After discovering one of the headlights was falling off and taping it back on, we continued on our way.
- • We drove and drove, taking turns. We passed through Gympie, saw the turnoff to where I used to live, and continued on. The small two lane highway changed into a four lane freeway and we drove into Brisbane. We passed over the Gateway toll bridge, got lost by missing the right exit, drove around a few suburbs and found an alternative route, found the right road and once we were close enough Silas’s memory kicked in and he recognized where we were and we found Joe’s place. We said hello and headed upstairs for a much needed shower. I don’t remember exactly when we arrived, but it must have been close to six o’clock.
- • Silas’s uncle, Joe, had a few whiskies and Silas had a few of his home brews and we all talked then went to bed.
02.03.2003 – Sunday 2 March – My first day in Brisbane
- • I awoke just before Joe had to go to a meeting. Silas woke up a while later and we talked and messed around all morning until Joe got home just after twelve.
- • Silas and I walked down to the train station so I’d know where to go tomorrow morning. It is only a five minute walk from here, and about a half hour journey by train to Dutton Park Station, which is close to the university ferry. We walked on to the supermarket and bought a few supplies. When we got back Melanie (Joe’s daughter) and Tim (her fiancé) were here. We all talked for a while and then they left. Silas, Joe and I had a barbecue, although seeing as I don’t eat meat it wasn’t much of a barbecue for me, and then Silas left to go to Melanie and Tim’s place, which is where he stays. Joe and I walked the dog. It is a funny dog, very scared of any men it doesn’t know, but not at all afraid of women. It wouldn’t come with me for a walk, so Joe had to come as well. Hopefully it will get used to me quickly as I’ll probably be looking after it for a while. Joe is a bus driver, and works from about 2 PM until after midnight, so I’m going to be feeding the dog (and the cat) in the evening when I get home from university, and in two weeks Joe is going to Sydney for a week or two, so I’ll be looking after the dog and cat fulltime then.
- • I watched a movie (or the ending of a movie), and then headed upstairs to type this and make myself something to eat. The house has an upstairs and downstairs. Joe lives downstairs. He has everything he needs down there and apparently rarely comes upstairs. I have a room upstairs, and can use the kitchen, toilet, shower etc. up here while he has his own down there. As I will most probably be going to university most mornings and as Joe works most evenings, we won’t actually see each other all that much. This sounds good to me, as I’d like to just do my own thing as much as possible and keep quietly to myself, at least until I’ve settled in a bit. I think I’ll go cook up something for dinner now.
- • Seeing as I have to catch the 6:27 train tomorrow morning, I might go to bed.
03.03.2003 – Monday 3 March – My first day at University
- • I woke at six when my alarm went off. I got up at ten past six, when my brain woke up. I had brushed my hair, got breakfast, and looked at the clock.
- • I ran out the door and headed towards the 6:27am train. By the time I got to the stairs over the overpass I was about to collapse. Walking up the stairs wasn’t easy, and I don’t think I should run so soon after eating either. I just managed to buy a ticket when the train came. Half an hour later I was at Dutton Park Station and Silas arrived there shortly after I did. We walked past the dead centre of town, down a path through a nice park towards the river and to the ferry station.
- • $1.20 got me across the river on a ferry, and then Silas and I walked around the university until it was time for my eight o’clock lecture. It was mainly an introductory thing. This was followed by my nine o’clock lecture, which was also an introductory thing. After this I went and sat in with Silas’s two hour lecture. After that we went down to the computer labs and messed around. I couldn’t gain access as it wouldn’t accept my login so I had to use Silas’s. ICQ works, IRC doesn’t. Fortunately my email works, even though it uses port 2082. I guess they have a strict firewall.
- • Silas and I left university and walked to where Silas stays. After a cup of tea and a chat we walked down to the post office, and then the train station where I caught a train home. I fed the cat and dog, fed myself, and collapsed exhausted.
24.03.2003 – Monday 24 March – Grandpa passes on
- • I woke up ten minutes before the train left, having already missed the right train by over half an hour. My alarm clock was in time-set mode and the time had changed. I guess I’d awoken when the alarm went off and changed the time while trying to turn the alarm off, and then gone back to sleep. I jumped up and ran for the train, arriving just as it did. Unfortunately I hadn’t had time to get the things I needed, but fortunately I’d packed some things in my bag last night. If I had packed a pen and my timetable it would have been even better. After my early morning and breakfast-less sprint to the train I felt quite sick, but still managed to run to the ferry and from the ferry to my lecture, arriving only a few minutes late to find it was cancelled. The lecturer is unwell.
- • I got an email saying Grandpa passed on this morning, and no one has been able to contact Mum. I phoned Sarah but Mum wasn’t there so I got Shan to drive up and let Mum know.
14.04.2003 – Monday 14 April – My first exam
- • I got up nice and early and headed for the train station. I read my notes on the way to uni, and then again once I was at uni. I had a math lecture which I didn’t understand a word of, and then my discrete math exam. I was worried as I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I hadn’t studied enough. It was 50 minutes long and comprised of five questions worth 24 marks, with 20 marks being 100%. To my surprise, I managed to answer all the questions, and they didn’t have a question about Diophantine equations, which was rather a shame as I spent hours last night studying them online (because they’re not even mentioned in my textbook). I’m not quite sure how I went, but I at least think I understood all the questions.
- • I met Silas on the ferry, also on his way home, so I dropped in at his place for a cup of tea before heading home. I came home via the shops, where I dropped the videos off and got out “Die Hard 2”, “Blow”, “Get Shorty”, “James Bond – Goldeneye” (the only Bond movie which I haven’t yet watched that they had at the time), “Enemy of the State”, “Mission Impossible 1” and also “Mission Impossible 2”. I’m aware that’s a very poor pick of videos, but the way their pricing structure is, it’s cheaper to get seven DVD’s out at a time. It costs $7.95 for seven weekly hire DVD’s, or $2.20 each.
28.04.2003 – Monday 28 April – Shan is engaged to Kylie-Anne
- The present agony
- • Hi ho, it’s off to uni I go. 6:27 train, cool morning but not too cold, arriving at uni just before 7:30 and checking my email from a computer in the union building while waiting for the main refectory to open so I can get some breakfast. Heading off to my lecture after eating a lamington and a drinking a soymilk, and then trying in vain to understand a single concept. Following on with my Discrete Math lecture, this the first with the new lecturer – Barry. At first he seems harder to understand but maybe it is the content he is trying to teach us. An hour spent down the labs rounds off the university day, and it is back to the train station I go. A train to Woodridge and a walk to the supermarket and I am home with some supplies, ready for my assignment. Some washing is done, and to work on my assignment I go. Feeding the animals breaks my agony, and then it is back again. Two hours later I have done questions one and two and dinner is calling. A quick mix of Mexican Rice fulfils dinner.
- The agony to come
- • Shan, his two sisters and his girlfriend come online in MSN and we talk. He has been engaged today, and is just now home from his girlfriend’s place. We talk about how fast things change and how fast a family breaks apart. His eldest sister is planning on going to Melbourne in around a month, and he is planning on getting married within the year, then it will be only his younger sister at home. I have left home, as has my sister. All of a sudden, it struck me that 22 years of family are gone forever – never to return. What we had we can never have again. Never again will my mother have us kids as her own kids that live at home with her; never again will we be living together as a family – except perhaps on holidays. It will never be the same again. For us children, we have our future, our dreams and plans, our desires and aspirations. For our parents, we are their future and their dreams and aspirations. I can only imagine what my mother must feel when she realises her children are gone – forever. Her children have grown – and are children no longer, although I am sure she will always see us as her young children. I am trying to think of a suitable Mother’s Day gift, as I think it would mean a lot to Mum to know that I am thinking of her.
- Mental torture
- • I begin to download Service Pack 1 for Windows XP, so have to stay online for a while. I use the extra time to complete question 3 of my assignment. Only one more question to go now, I will have another look at it in the morning and see if I can figure it out, otherwise I’ll see if I can ask the tutor tomorrow. I’m not sure if they’re allowed to help with assessable items, but I shall explode if I think any more tonight.
18.05.2003 – Sunday 18 May – I am depressed
- • Life is a bitch, the lucky die.
- • Night is darkness. Darkness hides the pain. My life is darkness. Even when I smile, inside I am hurting. When I was young, I cried openly. Now I have learnt not to cry. Now I cry inside.
- • I feel so alone. I cannot stop crying. I am listening to Mark Knopfler’s Prairie Wedding from his Sailing to Philadelphia album.
- • I don’t know what to do. I don’t have anyone to turn to anymore. I hate life. I hate it. Life is pain. To love is to hurt. To love is to open your heart, to open it wide for people to drive in their stakes.
- • I have just watched “Blow”. It is a good movie. I cried. I guess I should phone my mother. I don’t want to worry her. I wish I had some money. I need to get out of Australia. I need to get away from uni, away from everything. I have been thinking, but it is hopeless. I don’t have anything that I can sell, I don’t have any skills, there is nothing I can do. Nothing at all. I have no friends, no one to turn to, no one that will help me.
- • I have learnt to trust no one. Giving someone trust is only a way of betraying yourself. I will never trust anyone again. I will never love anyone again. I have learnt. Pain is pain. Pain can be handled. It is emotional pain that cannot be got rid of. Trust, love – it is these that curse a man until he is broken. If I trust no one, love no one, then I am able to survive.
- • My computer is all I have now. I am alone with only a computer. Western society is the worst in the world. People living alone in concrete jungles, the hunter and the hunted. Everyone going about their little lives, alone. In little boxes alone. Parents have children. Children grow and leave home. They have children. They grow and leave home and have children. Life continues but there is no continuity. Humans are not capable of living alone. It is obvious, it is everywhere, the pain, the anguish. People are crying out. Society is crying itself to sleep. People ask why youth suicide is skyrocketing in the countries with the highest standards of living, yet it is not a problem in third world countries. Are they stupid? Yes, probably. The most obvious facts of life, the simplest little things, these escape so many people.
- • A crowd is bad. A crowd is stupid. A crowd is not the same as its individual parts. A crowd is not human. We are a crowd. We are no longer human. Single people, small family groups – that is the most human we are now. Anything larger is a crowd and is not human. Once upon a time we could go and cheer our local football team. We could go to dances on weekends, and know everyone there. Now we watch football on television. Do the people exist, or is it a computer simulation? We all know they exist, but does that matter? It may as well be simulated. We have lost the very thing that makes us human. As a society, we are no longer human, and we are paying for this in lives, misery and anguish.
- • They say a city is the loneliest place on earth. I can walk down the road, past so many houses, past so many families, but I do not know any and they do not know me. No one will look me in the eye. Everyone is too scared in case they are seen to be an individual, in case they separate from the crowd and become their own. People are no longer able to do anything, because they don’t have any roots. If you’re very lucky, you have parents you can visit occasionally, and a few good friends that you see every so often. For the rest there’s not even that.
- • I used to think I was right. Now everyone tells me I have been wrong all along. Everything I do, everything I have done, it has all been wrong. I have learnt it makes no difference. Nothing makes any difference. If I do something, or if I don’t, it makes no difference. If you had a house, and you were blind, would you mind what colour it was painted? The world is blind. People see only their selves, if they chance to see someone else, they will interpret it in their own light, as an extension of themselves.
- • Everything is ego. There is God, and then there is ego. Ego is the only reason anyone does anything, ever. People are happy when their ego is happy. But this world is a temporal world of causality. Nothing is ever fixed; nothing is ever permanent in this world. It is simple logic, if you are happy now, you will be unhappy later. If you are unhappy now, you will be happy later. The best you can hope is to be happy more often, and unhappy less often. The logic is infallible. There is only one loophole; perhaps other worlds are not so temporal. But who knows, who can say? Religion says one thing, science says another, and both are interpreted only through an ego, which pollutes all with its identify as self.
- • Now what am I to do? It is one of the curses of humanity that one cannot do nothing. At the very least there are always thoughts. What would make a person happy? To have their ego pandered, that is the normal route to happiness. It is a temporary and unsatisfactory happiness that leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when it is gone. Beautiful women grow old and fade away. Strong men grow feeble. All life fades, anything good will be gone with time. To serve others perhaps? Religion teaches that the truest form of happiness is to serve others. To try and make others happy, and then one becomes happy themselves. But to make others happy one must pander to their egos? It is a vicious cycle? I see no solution. Life is inherently flawed. It only takes one of the myriad elements to ruin the entire scheme.
- • We are not here to be happy. That should be obvious to anyone. It makes no difference how hard you seek happiness, it is not here. You may find some temporary relief from your suffering, but you may be certain that it will be temporary. Afterwards you are back where you started, a little older, a little wiser, but no happier. I challenge anyone to deny this.
- • Then why. If we can never be happy here, then why are we here? Are we really here to be unhappy? Are we just here to propagate a species? Are we perhaps merely chemicals, evolved by a random impossibility? Of course not. That is one thing that brings a smile to my lips, thinking of people – eminently intelligent people no less, who spends their entire lives trying to work out how we evolved from something that had no life, into something that does. Of course, they will never figure it out, and they will be unhappy while they try. At the same time we have religious leaders who have no answers either.
- • People have given up seeking answers. People have turned to science, because with science they can get answers to some simple problems, with the promise of more answers to come. Deep down everyone seeks the same thing. Everyone seeks to be happy. But no one is happy. Because this is a temporal world, any happiness is fleeting at best. There is no true happiness in this world, no permanence at all. Seeking happiness here is a waste of time, doomed to failure, doomed to unhappiness. Happiness and unhappiness – they are like light and dark. One is not equal to the other. When there is light, the darkness retreats, but it is still there, and as soon as the light goes, the darkness is back. Everything is darkness, with small points of light interspersed throughout. Remove a light, and there is darkness. Happiness is the same. Everything is unhappy. Happiness can banish unhappiness to the realm of the forgotten, but not forever. Unhappiness lurks, lurks in the dark, the same as the dark, ready to return as soon as the happiness is extinguished. Light triumphs over darkness. Darkness flees at the sight of light, but darkness is never conquered, never gone forever. Remove the light and darkness is returned as fast as the light retreats. Happiness and unhappiness – they are the same. When there is happiness, unhappiness is banished, gone, seemingly never to return. But as soon as happiness takes flight, unhappiness is here, the same as before. There is no way to be happy in this world, barring for a short time. Unhappiness is always lurking with the darkness, ready to strike the instant happiness and light falter.
- • They say God is light. They say God is love. God says – I am who I am. In their incessant search for happiness, people always end in the same place. Eventually, they find it is impossible, in this world there is no permanence, and no permanent happiness. Just as one can never banish darkness forever, so one can never banish forever unhappiness. They are left with only two solutions. Either there is no happiness, or there is happiness elsewhere – because there certainly isn’t any here. I don’t know what happens to those who decide there is no happiness. Perhaps humans are incapable of making that decision. However, I do know what happens to those that decide there is happiness elsewhere. They seek it. They seek, through religion, through drugs, through death – they seek happiness anyway they can. Anything that can take one from here to somewhere else is a possible candidate for happiness. Different people try different things, most with no success. Has anyone ever found true happiness? That would depend on who you believe. People say they have. People tell others how to follow.
- • It becomes a matter of faith. To seek something that does not exist here, to believe that it exists elsewhere when we have never been elsewhere, to believe something that we can never prove, that is faith. The search for happiness is what drives people. Faith is what keeps them going. I believe without faith we would not exist.
- • I have faith that there is truth. That something is always true. To use a cliché, true love. There is no true love here on earth, just as there is no true happiness. But perhaps God is true love, perhaps God is truth. As Jesus once said, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me. So many people use this single statement as the be all and end all argument to Christianity as the only way, yet are so blind that they fail to see the obvious, that Jesus is not talking about himself.
- • Most people say religion is not logical. Religion and logic cannot coexist. I say they must. Truth is logical. For religion to be true, it must be logical. Faith must be logical, by its very essence, or it would not exist. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A common saying, which people have no trouble in understanding, but they use that saying all over the world and not only when they’re in Rome. These same people can’t understand how Jesus can say he is the truth, the way and the life. What can’t they understand?
- • I can tell Christians I’m Hindu. They will tell me no man cometh to the Father but by Jesus. Therefore if I’m not Christian, I’m headed for hell, or at least not going towards the Father. They say God is love.
- • I can tell Hindus I’m Christian. They don’t mind, they think Jesus is a holy man. But they think Christians have lost the plot and aren’t going anywhere fast. I agree with them, but I don’t think their elephant headed gods are going anywhere fast either. If you were a god, would you have an elephant head?
- • And atheists will tell me I’m wasting my time. They will say I’ve come from a random chemical structure, developing and evolving over untold eons. Somehow they think that ridiculous scenario excludes the existence of God.
- • Everyone is confused. No one knows anything beyond what little they know. Science can only probe the known. There is no one that can know the unknown.
- Comment by unknown – Wednesday 3 December 2003, 1:46 PM
- You should watch your language because kids ACTUALLY do go to this site in case you didn't know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Comment by Ned – Wednesday 3 December 2003, 2:58 PM
- ... What?
22.05.2003 – Thursday 22 May – Sarah’s Birthday
- • Here I am, fast awake. I’ve just submitted my assignment. I’ve spent hours and hours doing it. I was so frustrated with it at one stage – but now it is done! The problem I have now is that if I go to bed, I’m only going to get a few hours sleep at most, and I probably won’t wake up, but if I stay up all night I might fall asleep on the train and miss uni altogether.
- • Which is now yesterday morning, or to put that another way, it is now tomorrow. I went to uni, did uni stuff, dropped in at Silas’s on the way home, came home, did home stuff... oh wait, that’s evening.
- • There we go. I came home and did home stuff. That’s about it really. Then I started on my assignment, and that takes me back to the first entry.
- • I phoned Sarah and said happy birthday. Dad and Mum were also there, as she’s going away for the weekend and they’re going to look after the place, so I got to talk to them too. Apparently Dad is going to be looking after Monty’s place for a few months while he goes overseas.
- • It’s 11.2° C outside, and inside, and slowly creeping into my bones. I’m all ready for bed now, but I’m not sure if it’s any use going to sleep. I’m fairly sure I won’t wake up in time if I do, and I’ve got a download which still has ¾ of an hour or so to go.
- • Bedtime. Alarm set for 7 AM. Not good.
03.06.2003 – Tuesday 3 June – Amos arrives to look for a car
- • I slept in, and then spent the rest of the day trying to study. Amos arrived just after Joe left for work. He’s down here looking for a car.
- • I added comments to my amused site. I’m happy to say they’re stored as XML, parsed by XSL, no databases have been used and an absolute minimum of server-side PHP scripting. What I’m not happy about though, is Internet Explorer’s lack of support for colour inheritance in CSS. It sucks.
- Comment by Ned – Wednesday 4 June 2003, 11:42 PM
- I’ve now added a comments system to the journal. It’s still under construction, probably buggy and may do weird things! But feel free to try it out :-)
- Comment by alexdlm – Wednesday 4 June 2003, 11:56 PM
- Internet Explorer sucks in general.
- Comment by io – Wednesday 4 June 2003, 11:59 PM
- You can tell that I'm either bored or stupid when I cross post about how bored I am. That live spamcounter ["You may leave a short comment, not longer than x characters. (x)"] is pretty cool.
- Comment by alexdlm – Thursday 5 June 2003, 12:01 AM
- /kick io Damn.
- Comment by io – Thursday 5 June 2003, 9:06 AM
- do ya rekkon he'd mine at all if we just used this page for all our irc needs????????//?? :D
04.06.2003 – Wednesday 4 June – Introduction to Programming Practical Exam
- • It is wet and overcast, which makes it warm. I caught the early train in to uni, had two lectures, and then spent a bit of time down at the computer labs.
- • I, along with fifty or so others, went and sat our Introduction to Programming practical examination. We had half an hour to read the 3 questions, or tasks, and then two hours to code them in java using Kawa. They were relatively simple, designed to test basic understanding of the java language rather than sort us into our ranks. We had to read a file, work out how many lines it was, add that to an existing array of integers and print that out into a window. That was task one. For task 2, we had to extend an existing class to modify it and our third task was to create a window with a red circle in it that would dynamically resize with its outer edge on the mouse pointer and change blue when a button was pressed. It took me about an hour to do them, and submit them online. It was an open book exam, so we were allowed to take any printed mater we wanted, but no web access and no floppy disks, USB drives etc. I wish all my exams were that nice.
- • I spent a bit of time in the labs chatting on IRC, and then came home where I added comments to my journal, talked to Amos, and tried to study.
12.06.2003 – Thursday 12 June – I get galloping lurgy and Amos leaves
- • I am sick. I have a sore throat, and generally don’t feel good at all. I woke up in time to see off Amos, who left around 9:30. I then tried to study but was unable to, instead lying down for an hour or so. I’ve now got back up again and finished off watching “Fugitive”. It’s quite a good movie – I enjoyed it. I have to go and try to do some study now.
- • I am still sick. I drove Joe down to his club, or actually, he drove to an ATM to get money, and then down to his club, and I drove back. I haven’t done much at all today, very little study. I had some hot pasta and vegetables for dinner, and Joe arrived home and ordered “Chinese”, so I had some fried rice as well. I’ve been sipping on lemonade and nibbling Pringles trying to get my sore throat to go away. I shall now go to bed and hope that I feel better in the morning and can study hard.
20.06.2003 – Friday 20 June – Introduction to Programming Exam and Internet Interface Design confrontation
- • I had my Introduction to Programming/Software Engineering exam today. I also made my first, and hopefully last, complaint about a course.
- What I wanted
- • I want personal feedback including the criteria used and justification of my result. I want to know how many people marked the assignments, and if one or more of those who marked them gave inconsistent results, and if so, a full and fair remark – free of bias, and if not, what efforts were made to cross-mark or normalize personal marking differences between markers. The criteria with which we will be assessed must be made available before the assessment. The criterion that we were given to do our assignment is not the same as that used to assess the assignment. Therefore, my, along with everyone else’s, assignment was completed to meet different criterion than that with which it was marked. I believe this is unfair and against university policy; and I wish to know what Kevin thinks on this matter. I want to know why some assignments that appear to have met most or all of the criteria have achieved marks well below others that appear to have met fewer of the criteria – or to put that simply, I want to know why crap sites often got better marks than good ones. The results just seem unfair, biased and wrong to me. I want to know why, and getting feedback to see exactly how my site got the marks it did is the first step in answering this.
- • I’m outside the building formerly known as Computer Science, waiting for anyone to turn up. I walk around to another entrance and meet two guys from the #BITS IRC channel there. We walk around to the main entrance and meet another #BITS boy. We wait for a few minutes and then make our way up to the seventh floor and to Kevin’s office. It takes us 15 minutes to see Kevin, during which time a few more students turn up, around 10 in all. Chesapeake (as he’s known in #BITS) and I appear to have the most confidence and became de facto ringleaders, which also means we’re the first into Kevin’s office and get the two seats there. The rest of the entourage troop in and place themselves awkwardly around the wall. I don’t think they felt too comfortable and, with the exception of one girl – Sam, they mostly listened. We started out with a discussion of the upcoming exam – this was, after all, an exam consultation, and then brought up the subject of Assignment 2. Chesapeake talked – lots, and I handed Kevin a printed statement of my demands. I almost felt sorry for him as I handed it to him. His face was a picture. I think he was expecting some sort of unorganised rabble, which based on what’s been going on in the newsgroup would be what I’d have expected as well. I don’t think he was expecting a well-written and courteous demand, complete with the relevant sections of the university policies and procedures. We spent a little over an hour talking, with Chesapeake, Sam and I doing the majority of the talking. Chesapeake seemed content with Kevin’s replies, whereas Sam and I would rather have taken a somewhat stricter stance. She wants the course converted to pass/fail, as do I, although I believe this wouldn’t be practical. Many people had been making grand threats of seeing the lecturer or some head of department to complain, but, as is often the case, it still takes someone to take the initiative before anything will happen. A notice in the course newsgroup and some discussion in the #BITS channel seemed to be enough to achieve the required critical mass. I’m glad I received the support that I did from the other students who came along, although I can now see some advantages in going alone or with just a few people. More than a few times Chesapeake and the others (except for Sam, who seems to hold the same views on this as I do) readily agreed on matters that I would have preferred to have pursued further. Nevertheless, all of us turning up like that definitely made the statement that we were trying to make.
- What I got
- • Any student may request feedback and a remark (with the risk that your marks may go down), however a deadline of 27 June has been set – after which no more requests for remarking will be accepted. Apparently, three people, including Kevin, marked assignment two. Kevin admitted there was clear bias, and that one marker had returned results that were noticeably below the other results. Some or all of these results were adjusted upwards in an attempt to normalize them against the results returned by the other two markers, and Kevin remarked some of these. All markers were supposed to fill in the feedback sheet for each student, however apparently only Kevin did. Kevin acknowledged that we were not given clear criteria showing the marks allocated for each criterion, however there is not much that can be done about that now. He also stated that he has been particularly lenient in an attempt to offset some of the problems – particularly those experienced by people who may not have had any or much experience with HTML or PHP. Essentially, Kevin admitted that results have been unfair, biased and wrong – and that he is aware of the shortcomings and problems and is attempting to rectify what he can. Students must request a remark before 27 June or their current results will stand. While I am not happy with the biased results that we’re stuck with – I don’t really see any practical solution this late in the course. The one issue that was not addressed, that I believe ideally should have been, is that some assignments seem to have achieved too high a result, unfairly disadvantaging those who deserved a higher result and skewing the results – but it’s clearly unfair to lower already released marks unless that student requests a reassessment. I believe that this concludes the assignment two saga, although I’d still like to see the course converted to pass/fail – the fairest thing to do in my opinion.
- • I went down to the labs and talked to Silas. The first year labs are closed for the holidays, so unless someone lets me in and logs me on in one of the other labs, I can’t access a computer.
- • I left my bag outside the UQ Exhibition Centre and took my numbered card to my numbered seat for my Introduction to Programming/Software Engineering exam. It was somewhat confusing, as I had thought the exam was two hours long, but it said one hour on the front. It consisted of twenty multiple-choice questions, with five choices per question. I hadn’t bothered to study as I felt that the exam would be easy. I guess working the sample exam would have been a good idea, but I hadn’t bothered to do that either. I did have a quick look at it, but that’s all. Not surprisingly, the exam was much harder than I was expecting – although I believe I did reasonably well. I finished about a third of the exam in the fifteen minute perusal time, and spent the next forty minutes or so checking over my answers and attempting the more complex questions. I ended up with three questions that I could only narrow down to two choices each, so took the best guess of the two for each. I wasn’t sure, but I had a feeling that within the last fifteen minutes of exam time I wouldn’t be allowed to leave, so I left just before.
- • I went up to Silas’s and spent a few hours there. Tim went to an aboriginal disco for his school, and Ben, one of his son’s, came over and we had what could best be described as an amusing “humour session”.
- • On the train on the way home, there were three rather drunk youth, two of which needed to urinate – rather urgently. One found a plastic soft drink bottle, which satisfied his desire, much to the mirth of the rest of the carriage, and the other desperately hung on for a few more stations while everyone made jokes about drinking water, swimming in heated pools and such. Eventually he decided that it would be better to urinate in the train than in his pants, but just as he was about to perform the wicked deed, over the loudspeakers came “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’re on camera”. Needless to say, the rest of the carriage erupted into laughter, while the poor boy was rather shocked. I believe it helped him to hold on for a few more stations though, along with the security guards who turned up, talked, and joked with us. It was an amusing train trip, and I found out that the cameras do actually work, and according to the security fellas, they’re quite good – able to zoom in and move around. Incidents like this break the ice between strangers and reassure me that there is still hope for humanity.
- Comment by Sam – Sunday 22 June 2003, 1:16 AM
- So what happened to the softdrink bottle?
- Comment by Ned – Sunday 22 June 2003, 1:20 AM
- It achieved a velocity great enough to overcome gravity for several metres, losing this only after colliding with the ground outside a train station that will remain unnamed because I can’t remember the name...
- Comment by Tim – Monday 23 June 2003, 4:41 PM
- Wow, I didnt know the 1st year IT student union kicked kevins ass LOL. Sorry I missed it.
- Comment by Your mum – Friday 27 June 2003, 9:59 AM
- ure such a geeben
- Comment by eddie (adelaide) – Saturday 28 June 2003, 11:55 PM
- you have a wicked life man, what colour is your wee? when you cut your toenails do you do right foot or left foot first? have you ever seen a turle? you should include interesting stuff like that on your site
- Comment by Bon – Wednesday 17 September 2003, 1:22 AM
- Ah, I never knew other students at UQ had such interesting lives... either that or I just don't catch the train often enough ^^'' Pity I wasn't around to see you take on the authority *grin*
- Comment by Filthy – Monday 31 May 2004, 11:23 AM
- Did you drink the wee? At least it was fresh.
- Comment by sesso – Wednesday 20 December 2006, 4:24 PM
- Soddisfare emozionante. Siete buoni a fotoricettore-progettate!
26.06.2003 – Thursday 26 June – Mathematical Foundations Exam
- • It is raining and cold, which keeps it a bit warmer than a clear morning. I’m on the train and studying hard for my Math exam. If I had a brain, I guess I’d have done some study before now, but you know how it goes...
- • I’m on the Dutton Park ferry, waiting for the CityCat to get out of the way so we can go across to uni.
- • I’m sitting in a very cold and draughty corner of the Great Court studying. I’ve managed to do nearly an hour and a half of study now. I hope this helps me.
- • Having got my pretty green number card and found my seat, I’m now waiting for the start of the exam. Silas insists that 900 people sit in here, but it looks more like 500 to me.
- • I have ten minutes exam perusal, starting now. I’ve never quite been able to understand why they have exam perusal, it seems a silly idea to me. How is a two-hour exam, with ten minutes perusal, different to a two hour and ten minute exam?
- • The exam starts. I’m amazed to find that I can actually do a few of the questions. There’s seven questions, most of which are divided into two parts, and I manage to complete about five of them. I skip the complex number question and the matrices question – seeing as how I have no idea how to do them. A few of the answers I’ve just written, with no justification (because I don’t know how to justify them), so I’m not sure what my marks will be like. I reckon I have a slim chance of passing – which is more than I expected. I guess my early morning study has paid off. It would be nice to pass this course.
- • The exam ends, and io and I head towards the math lecturers office to see if we can find out why we do not have any result for our first math assignment. I bought a chocolate milkshake on the way past the milkshake shop, of course – and drank it, hardly surprisingly. After not seeing our lecturer (he has a messy room, I must try to get a photo), io and I hid ourselves in the bottom of the Dorothy Hill Physical Sciences and Engineering Library with the email terminals and IRC’ed. He then went home and I made my way up to the third floor and studied in a small enclave for many, many hours until I nearly fell asleep, and then walked to Silas’s place. I stayed there for an unspecified time interval, which I’m in no doubt can be easily integrated over the complex plane to show something very interesting, and then caught a train home. Two Beenleigh trains came at the same time, which is rather unusual. Someone said the first one had hit somebody and had to wait until somebody cleaned up the mess before it could go again.
- • I tried to study, but couldn’t. Shan came on MSN and asked me to phone Mum, so I did and we talked about when I was going up there and then I went and fed the dog and cat and then I had baked beans on toast and then I wrote this. I think what little brain I occasionally had is now gone.
- • I’m finally famous, and have a rabidly, ahum, rapidly growing fan club. Some pertinent gems of wisdom from one of the university newsgroups today: “Ive been reading the newsgroup and ive come to one conclusion. Ned is some kind of uber nerd – made in a laboratory from parts of lesser nerds. Maybe u cood have some more interesting journal entries if u tried getting off ur computer and going outside. However, ur supreme nerdiness has proved useful for doing the sample exam – so thnx. Riggers” I wonder where Mortis is?
- • Snore
- Comment by Michelle – Friday 27 June 2003, 10:21 AM
- Ned, you may be a nerd, but I still think you're cute. Riggers is right, though, that you do need to get our more. And get laid.
- Comment by Ned – Monday 30 June 2003, 2:40 AM
- Holidays... and back to the jungle soon. What does a nerd do in a jungle? *tarzan_noise.wav* :-)
- Comment by DM – Tuesday 1 July 2003, 5:25 PM
- You're right about Mike Pemberton's office being a mess. I had to go up there one day to get an assignment sheet, and I couldn't believe the piles of stacked books, papers and all sorts of other miscellaneous crap in there. Very impressive, from a "fit as much stuff as possible into a limited space" perspective.
27.06.2003 – Friday 27 June – Internet Interface Design Exam
- • What a relief to have an eleven o’clock exam, rather than eight. Probably just as well too, as I didn’t get to bed until around four last night. I got up at nine and caught the next train in to uni, which got me there in time for my exam. The exam was much as I’d expected it to be, somewhat subjective – making it hard to know how well I did. I managed to fill up all the available space with rambling, and I reckon it sounded complicated and meaningful, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the markers thing. I’m hoping for a reasonably good result, but there’s simply no way to tell with an exam like this – and especially not in this subject. Anything is possible.
- • It was very important that I study after my exam. This is the last possible time I have to study for my math exam tomorrow and I really need to, as I’m amazingly moronic. So I met Sam for lunch and spent the evening with her instead. We talked to some guy from the High Society (druggies, not skydivers) for a while and then bought some chips and Sam took me through several kilometres of passageway and out into a hidden courtyard somewhere down in the scary psyche area. It’s a nice place though, very quiet and secluded, and I didn’t hear any screams or see any evidence of the secret experiments I’m sure they’re all performing. After that, she showed me an iMac lab, which was nice and empty and MSN actually works from there. I went on IRC of course, as did she, and we teased the funny fellows in #BITS for a while. I then went and saw my math lecturer, who wasn’t there so I couldn’t see him, and went home.
- • I studied, and studied, and studied, until I could study no more. Then I went to bed around two.
- Comment by Sam – Thursday 3 July 2003, 1:19 AM
- I offered to help with your study - you declined. Tough cookies for you ;)
28.06.2003 – Saturday 28 June – Discrete Mathematics Exam
- • I have my Discrete Mathematics (MATH1061) exam at eight today, and we’re allowed to take in one A4 sheet of paper with anything we want written on it, provided it is handwritten by ourselves. I awoke at six, caught a six thirty train to Silas’s and summarised as much of my notes as I could onto an A4 sheet of paper. I jogged up to Silas’s and dropped my camera off there, and wrote the rest of my notes onto my sheet. I then had to run for the ferry, rather worried that I’d be late for my exam. As it ended up, I had plenty of time. The exam was hard for me. I completed eleven of the fifteen questions, and guessed another two. I hope that I’ve passed, but I’m not expecting a particularly good grade. Typically, the one chapter that I skipped entirely due to lack of time and understanding, just happened to have three questions based on it – which just sucks and I’m annoyed about that.
- • After the exam, Silas came over so I could take some photos of him before he leaves. Seeing as he forgot to bring the camera, I didn’t take any and we didn’t stay long. He’d parked his car at the ferry, and we drove down to a tyre shop and picked up two new tyres that he’s bought, and then drove back to his place and fitted them. Tim and Michelle arrived back from wherever they’d been, we had a cup of tea, and then Silas and I caught a train out here, arriving around four. Tim and Michelle arrived not too long after, and had a BBQ. Since Michelle and I are vegetarian, we had a semi-BBQ. Joe, Michelle and Silas got rather tipsy, to put it mildly, and it was a laughter filled evening. Not long after Tim and Michelle left, one of Joe’s Vietnam Veteran friends, Brian, arrived and we spent the rest of the night talking, mostly about cars. I’m a bit worried about that sentence; it seems to have an overabundance of commas. Silas has just gone to bed, and I’m writing this before heading that way myself. After having completed three exams in three days, along with getting up at five o’clock and going to bed at two and three o’clock, studying at six o’clock for eight o’clock exams and then studying again after the exam for the next day – I am completely worn out. My brain is dead. I went to buy an iced coffee after my exam today and could not add up the small change in my pocket. I struggled to make conversation at times tonight, just too mentally exhausted.
30.06.2003 – Monday 30 June – Silas and I leave Brisbane
- • After staying up most of last night, I had the alarm set for 8 AM and planned to get up, finish packing, and catch a 9 AM train. Fortunately I woke an hour early, as it would have been absolutely impossible to have gotten ready in time. As it was, I ran around and only just managed to get packed and my room cleaned up in time, and nearly missed the train anyway, because Joe was going to drive me down but his car wouldn’t start. It seemed to have a flat battery.
- • After a standard train ride to Silas’s, where I kept remembering things I’d forgotten and then finding that I hadn’t actually forgotten them after all, I spent two or so hours helping Silas pack.
- • Silas and I leave, and drive around in circles for a while looking for “Mick’s Nuts” to buy some oil for Silas’s Mum. After finally finding it, we find it doesn’t sell what we want anyway, but it does sell some very nice mixed fruit and nuts, and some of those funny coloured rice cracker things, which we ate over the next two days. After our abortive shopping mission, we drive out of Brisbane (the wrong way) and head into the future. It is nice to be out of Brisbane and on our way. There is always something exciting about going somewhere.
- • We drive all evening until around nine, by which time we’re in the famous Marlborough axe-murderer strip, which seems a good place to sleep. We pull over into an old cutting on the side of the road, and lug our swags a hundred metres or so into the bush so the axe-murderers can’t find us, and sleep. I heard one mosquito and then fell asleep, not waking until the morning.
02.07.2003 – Wednesday 2 July – Silas and I arrive in Cairns
- • Silas and I went and did some shopping for his mother, and visited a friend of Silas’s and had coffee.
- • After another coffee with Eric, we left Cairns, stopping at a butcher on the way. Unfortunately, the wrong butcher, so we had to head back into Cairns and the right butcher, where they seemed to have never done a phone order before despite having done several for Silas’s mum in the past and it took half an hour or so to sort out. This left us a bit late.
- • I phoned Mum from the ferry across the Daintree River and told her we’d be at Bloomfield Wharf at six o’clock. We arrived at the farm where Amos works a while later and had a quick coffee and chat. It’s a pecan farm where tourists can stay in some cabins. He does bush walks and also works on the farm. It’s similar to a penthouse sometimes, but I had better not say that in public. We left Silas’s Falcon here, and took Amos’s four-wheel-drive. After driving about a quarter of the way Silas noticed that the fuel gauge showed rather empty, so we turned back. There’s simply no safe way to drive fast on these roads, they’re too thin, too windy, and too unpredictable, and so we were an hour late. Luckily there were some people at the wharf who had lit a fire and kept Dad and Mum company, and Silas’s mum had phoned a friend who came and told them we’d be delayed and also picked up Silas’s dad when he arrived.
- • Silas and I arrived at Bloomfield Wharf, where my Dad and Mum were waiting for me. They drove me back here and we talked for a while and then I went to bed, back in my old bed in my caravan where I used to live. It feels a bit strange to be back, it’s hard to explain. In one way, I am only on holiday, temporarily up from Brisbane and returning there soon, but in another way I’m coming home after having been away for a while – so it’s a bit unusual.
05.07.2003 – Saturday 5 July – I get my university results
- • Mum and I walked down to the markets where I bought an ice cream. They’re very small, not more than ten people. I guess it is the school holidays and many people are away.
- • I went online and checked my results. They’ve now been posted. I have a pass (4) for Mathematical Foundations (MATH1050). I’m very happy with this, as I’d resigned myself to failure in this subject. That two hours of early morning study before the exam is what got me this pass. I’m glad I did it. I have a credit (5) for Discrete Mathematics (MATH1061), which I’m also happy with as I’ve been pretty slack and done less than half the assignments and such. I have a distinction (6) for Intro to Programming (COMP1500) which I am not happy with, as I achieved 93.5%, which is way above the 85 percentile required for a seven, but as I failed more than five of the multi-choice questions I can only get a six. Nevertheless, I’m happy to have a good result. I also gained a high distinction (7) in Internet Interface Design (COMP1501), which I am happy with. Due to the poor and inconsistent manner in which that course was run, I really was not sure what result I would get. I feel that, with the exception of Intro to Programming where I should have received another high distinction, that the results I have here are what I deserved and similar to what I expected – although I had resigned myself to a quite possible failure in Mathematical Foundations. Overall I am happy that I have not failed anything and considering that I did not more than a few hours study for Mathematical Foundations for the entire course, I should be grateful that I’ve passed – which I am. Admittedly, I did not study at all for Intro to Programming either, so I can’t be too annoyed with that result, and I didn’t study for Internet Interface Design either – but I don’t really see how I could have studied for that.
- • I walked down to Dad’s and converted the satellite TV to A/V. It sucks. When the satellite decoder and VCR are both turned on, there’s some sort of interference. I guess they’re using IF that interferes with each other, and as one TV has a long length of cable already run to it, I can’t just change everything to A/V. Vince and Sarah drove by while I was at Dad’s, so I walked back up here and showed Sarah the photos of uni and Brisbane that I’ve taken, and a few of Shan’s girlfriend, Kylie-Anne. Sarah and I walked back down to Dad’s, and then onto the Home Rule Bridge and the markets, where we met Vince and they drove back into town.
- • I walked up to Gary and Marriette’s to see what was wrong with their computer. The telltale beeps on start-up (along with the failure to start-up) made me think the video card wasn’t working. The fact that the video card fan wasn’t spinning sort of helped too. Reseating the video card several times fixed it. They have a pile of videos that aren’t yet released, along with a few that are only in theatres but not yet on video. They’re not ripped copies either – they’re apparently legitimate videos. I’m not sure how they got them but they mentioned something about a friend in America and raffling them to support the upcoming Wallaby Creek Festival.
- Comment by DK – Saturday 5 July 2003, 9:03 PM
- Congrats with the exam results!
- Comment by Ned – Saturday 5 July 2003, 11:02 PM
- Thanks :-)
- Comment by krait – Sunday 6 July 2003, 12:52 AM
- Congratulations on the results. I knew you would do well. Keep up the good work, mate!
- Comment by lulu – Sunday 6 July 2003, 4:52 AM
- Congratulations, Ned!!!!! Wowwww I told you would do it. I can't wait to see next terms. :)
- Comment by Ned – Sunday 6 July 2003, 1:41 PM
- Thanks :-) I am scared of next term.
- Comment by Michelle – Monday 7 July 2003, 7:36 AM
- Hey, congratulations on the marks. You passed everything. How long are you home for?
- Comment by Elvis – Monday 7 July 2003, 12:51 PM
- well done, remember, you only a squillion more exams to go, so concentrate on having fun.
- Comment by Ned – Tuesday 8 July 2003, 12:05 AM
- Thanks :-) I am home for a few weeks and I’d rather not think of any further exams while I’m here.
26.07.2003 – Saturday 26 July – My last day in Rossville
- • I woke up not long after 5:30 AM and remembered that I hadn’t written any information about my flight anywhere – it was all online and in my email. I had to rush inside where I’d set up the computer for Mum and go online to check my email – where I found I’d deleted that mail (by accident), so I had to dig out my backup CD and find my email backup and find my flight number and time in there. Fortunately, I found it or I’m not sure what I’d have done. I guess I could have phoned Qantas and they’d have found my ticket from my name. Having wasted my packing time finding my ticket information I had to run around in a panic packing my stuff, jump in the car, and head off. We picked up Dad from Monty’s where he’s looking after the place until Monty gets back from his holiday and drove into Cooktown arriving at the airport spot on time. The plane was ten minutes late. The take off and flight was nice, but when descending my sinus, and behind my eyes felt like they had pins in them. My head felt like it would explode and it wasn’t very nice at all. To add to my discomfort my nose began to run – and run it did, non-stop and everywhere. Tissues galore – I did not enjoy the landing at all. This is the first time I’ve had any problems like this but I guess after almost a month of hay fever it’s not that surprising.
- • I caught a taxi into Cairns, remembering halfway that I’d forgot to pick up my luggage. How stupid can I get? I walked out of the airport and jumped in the first taxi, not even thinking. That’s what hay fever does – I shall blame it. I couldn’t get through to Silas, so I walked around taking photos and looking at the new esplanade redevelopment they’ve been doing and the fancy lagoon they’ve made and watched a magician perform. I went and spent an hour online, where I checked my email, sent a few to Mum and Becky, and went online and chatted. Then I managed to get through to Silas but he didn’t sound very healthy. Amos came and picked me up a short time later in Silas’s car, and we went and picked up his car from where it was parked in town. I drove Silas’s car out to Eric’s and then swapped to Amos’s car and we drove out to the airport to pick up my bag, and then back to get Silas’s car and out to Silas’s new place. He’s renting two rooms down he bottom of a flat. He wasn’t yet alive, having had an obviously too big night last night, so Amos and I went into town and did some shopping that Amos had to do and then came back to Silas’s after that, by which time he was partly alive. Amos had to leave as he’s taking some tourists on a night walk. Silas and I talked for a while and Silas showed me the documents he’s got from JCU and his new job.
- • Silas and I had dinner at the night markets. I had pasta ravioli Napolitano or whatever it’s called, which was quite nice, and then sped to Cairns Central where we watched “Terminator 3”. It’s a great movie, lacking something that I can’t quite put my finger on, but great nonetheless. I enjoyed it a lot. Silas then had to leave for bed and I walked back to the Bellview where I was staying, but couldn’t bring myself to sit and mope and get sentimental so I walked back to the cinemas and watched “The Real Cancun”, which is remarkably stupid. I do not recommend that anyone watch it, but I did manage to enjoy it and it passed the time well, and I even found an internet café that was open until midnight so popped in there on the way back from the movie, making it a bit of a late night by the time I crashed into bed.
27.07.2003 – Sunday 27 July – My first day back in Brisbane
- • I was woken at 4:45 AM. This is not a particularly good time to be woken. There were a few of us up, all catching planes. We phoned for three taxis, but after the first had come and taken its people and the second wasn’t anywhere to be seen, the other two lots of us flagged down a passing cab and took that instead. I hope our taxis weren’t too annoyed when they turned up, but at least it ended up cheaper – I only paid $5.
- • I was late, of course. I am almost never early for anything. By the time I arrived at the airport they were calling for any passengers for my flight to go straight to desk two, which suited me fine as there were at least fifty people waiting in line for the other check-in desks. There was no one at desk two so I got checked-in straight away and headed out through the scary terrorist-finders and out to the plane. I sat in the farthest back left-hand side window seat. The flight was normal and rather boring. We didn’t crash. No one stabbed anyone with their fork (or anything else for that matter), and the most exciting thing was when the lady two seats across from me was sick and had to request a sickie bag. The flight was faster than expected – an hour and three quarters later I was in Brisbane. When descending, my nose ran again. I so hate hay fever and all the joys it brings.
- • I caught a train from the airport into the city, then a train from the city out to here, and walked here for the first time in nearly a month. Joe was home, and I said the perfunctory hellos. Puppy was happy to see me, but I was really too tired to think, let alone play – so upstairs I went, and in bed I lay, and to sleep I did fall. A few hours later I woke up and unpacked, went down and talked to Joe, and set up my computer.
- • Joe got me to drive down to a particular (and rather far away) newsagent to get some scratch-its, which I did without incident, and shortly after getting back he decided he needed to head towards a bottle shop to refill, so we did. I’d never been to this bottle shop before so Joe was guiding me, and told me “See that car (which was turning right at an intersection)? Follow it”, so I did. Having pulled into the right hand turning lane, I could see three or four green lights, the car in front of me turned right and so did I. Another car came hurtling through the lights at me, and I very narrowly missed hitting it – probably a matter of inches. It turns out that the central light, which I can’t see from the turning right lane when there’s any large traffic in the lanes to the left of me, has arrows – the turning right one of which was, of course, red. There are probably six or more lights at this intersection and only the central one has these arrows, which I had obviously not seen. What had happened, of course, is that I’d seen all the green lights and followed the car in front, not realising or being able to see that the right turn arrow was red, and the car coming the other way had simply driven through its green light as per usual. The lights had assumed no one would turn right, as there was a red right turn arrow. If I could be bothered, and if I hadn’t been in the wrong and nearly had an accident, I’d complain to someone as it’s extremely dangerous. After driving through I let Joe off at the bottle shop and had a look around the intersection to satisfy myself that there really were arrows there, and I can’t see how anyone is expected to see them if they’re already at the intersection when the arrow changes to red. It is almost above the car and to the right, difficult to see at the best of times, and perhaps impossible if there’s anything sizeable pulled up or passing in any of the left lanes. I’m very grateful I didn’t clip that car, as it was very close and would possibly have swung the car around and caused a nasty accident – or at the least some expensive damage to the other car and I’d have been in the wrong. Come to think, I hope they don’t have red light, or should I say red arrow, cameras there or I might still be in trouble. I had better dust off my Mexican alibi.
- • Joe’s sister, Liz, came over and later Joe’s daughter, Tonya and her boyfriend and we all had “Chinese” for dinner. Joe got quite drunk and I spent the night online – enjoying my new computer again, and its nice, large and clear monitor.
28.07.2003 – Monday 28 July – Start of Second Semester
- • Well, the first day back at uni and the start of my second semester – and what a day it was. I had to be at uni by nine o’clock, which means I had to be on the 7:40 train, which means I had to get up by about seven and leave here quarter of an hour before the train – all of which I managed to do without freezing entirely solid – although it was a close call at times. I didn’t get to bed until after two thirty last night, so I’m proud of myself for waking up on time.
- • It is very cold. I guess I have got used to the warmth up North – but I think it is plain and simply cold down here. Anyway, having safely arrived at uni still partly alive and functioning, I attended my very first “Intro to Information Systems” lecture, which promises to be interesting – or so I hope. I’m almost looking forward to learning about databases, which is the main purpose of this course, as I’ve never had anything to do with them before and know little about them. This was followed by a visit to the computer labs and a journey through cyberspace and onto an IRC network to have a quick chat and to check my email – then back up to the main refectory and lunch with io. Next came my preliminary “Computer Organisation” lecture, which should also be interesting – I hope. I have a bit of background knowledge about how logic circuits operate at a low level, but I know little about them at higher levels. A few interesting facts about this course: 345 students are enrolled; 52% are engineering students, followed by 29% IT, 6% arts, 3% science, 2% business management, just under 2% commerce and 3% other; 81% are male; 63% are first year, 26% second year, 8% third year and the rest are obviously fourth or higher. This is a two hour lecture, but the second hour was free so io and the two hardcore geeks (I forget their names) and I walked up to “General Purpose North” to have a look, as I’ve not seen it before. Surprisingly, it looks somewhat like a building. This was followed by another “Intro to Information Systems” lecture – two hours long, which was a bit much. My hay fever after-effects kicked in and I didn’t feel so good. io, who has a cold, looked as if he was having an even worse time, and I think we were both pretty happy when the lecture ended. I made my way home and sat, fish like, unable to think and totally exhausted having stopped at the shops on the way home and bought some basic groceries. I must be in a bad way – I went to bed amazingly early, before midnight.
- • Mum made it online! I talked to her in MSN for a while and received a short email. I’m glad she’s managed as I was becoming worried.
- Comment by Helen – Thursday 31 July 2003, 8:57 PM
- Do you call your IRC friends by their chat names even IRL? :)
- Comment by Ned – Friday 1 August 2003, 1:12 AM
- Sometimes, particularly when I can’t remember their real names, but generally when I think of them as that name - which usually happens when I know them better, or have known them first, from IRC.
25.08.2003 – Monday 25 August – Computer Organisation Exam
- • Woe. Dismal morbidity. Morbid dismality. Gloom. But enough of that, it’s slightly possible that life may, perhaps, still go on. To cut a short story shorter, I didn’t do very well in my exam.
- • I woke, swallowed my antibiotics, caught my train, ate my fried noodles, and went to my “Intro to Information Systems” lecture. A friend and I went down to the computer labs where I used my rather pointless “Information Technology Project” practical to study for my “Computer Organisation” exam. Fortunately for us, a guy who just happened to be in the lab at the same time and noticed us studying showed us his nice printed cheat sheet he’d made, and as we’d both been too dim-witted to make our own, we went and photocopied his. If I did pass, I shall credit that cheat sheet.
- • Lots of us trooped into the UQ Centre, put our bags down the front, made our way to our seats, and prepared for our exam – forty minutes to attempt twenty-five multiple-choice questions. It was hard. Of the twenty-five multi-choice questions, I ended up guessing between six and ten as I had run out of time. This is probably a good place to express my strong disagreement with time-based examinations. I do not believe a time-based examination tests one’s knowledge or one’s ability to solve the given problems. I believe that the only thing tested during a time-based exam is one’s ability to complete a given set of tasks under pressure and at high speed. While this may be a desired skill in certain fields, it is not the purpose of most examinations. A university style examination should, and is supposed to, test one’s knowledge of the subject matter and give the examinee an opportunity to prove to the examiner that they have indeed mastered whatever they were studying, or at least achieved a specific level. Time-based examinations are often used to divide a class into different grades, based on the horribly wrong assumption that those who are able to complete, correctly, more of the exam in the time given understand and have learnt more than those who don’t. This is where the problem lies. They are effectively testing and marking on someone’s ability to complete something fast, and not their knowledge of the subject matter. I understand that examinations do need a time limit, but that this time limit should be calculated so that the majority of students are able to complete the examination, and be marked on their ability to answer the set questions. This transfers the onus of accurately representing the levels of understanding that the examinees have achieved onto the exam itself, or more accurately, whoever set the exam. If an examinee has done well in the exam, this would indicate that they have understood the content and been able to apply that understanding to the exam problems and successfully demonstrate their knowledge, rather than merely showing that they have the ability to complete a set number of questions in a set amount of time. I believe that, given more time, I would be able to achieve much better results – which more accurately indicates my level of achievement as, regardless of the time taken, solving a problem does indicate that one is able to solve that problem and understands the problem. The thing that worried me about this exam is that as I was walking out I overheard someone say, “Well that was easy”, and another person saying, “I managed to complete all the questions and had time to go back over them and check them”. Perhaps some study would help. I doubt I’ve done more than three hours study since the beginning of semester, in this subject, although I have been to all the lectures and tutorials. I’ve learnt my lesson too, the same lesson I learnt at each of my exams last semester – I must study if I wish to prevent myself dying from stress or get good marks. I guess it’s lucky I’m a genius or I would have totally failed outright. As it is, I think, or hope, that I may have at least passed this exam.
- • Two hours of skull numbing “Intro to Information Systems”, a milkshake, a piece of pizza and three bits of garlic bread later and I was back on the train heading home. I feel sort of self-conscious eating pizza and drinking milkshakes in the lecture theatres, and almost feel guilty every time I walk past the “No Food or Drink” sign, but I’m claiming it’s for health reasons. These lectures could quite easily cause permanent skullnumbery without a milkshake. Once home, I walked around the yard taking macro images of flowers and plants, and a few normal photos of the back yard. I hope to get some time to look at them tomorrow.
- • Oh dear, I am terrified. I’ve just received an email that the preliminary results for today’s exam have been released. Woe am I, sixteen out of twenty-five. 64%. Pathetic. I’m such an idiot for not studying. I hope I’ve learnt my lesson and don’t do this again. Not happy. Test statistics are as follows: Number sitting test: 326 (out of 341 enrolled students); Maximum mark: 25 (out of 25); Minimum mark: 6; Average mark: 14.6; Median mark: 14; Standard deviation: 4.1; Number with passing mark (13 or higher): 214 (66%). It looks as though at least someone got 25 out of 25. I am so jealous.
- Comment by lulu – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 9:05 AM
- Congratulations, thei! You at least attended and passed. Plus remind everyone about your flu and sore finger. :)
- Comment by Ned – Tuesday 26 August 2003, 10:17 AM
- Thanks, I got above average :)
- Comment by Monte – Thursday 12 August 2004, 2:05 PM
- Congrads, enjoyed your site, keep up the success.
- Comment by Ned – Friday 13 August 2004, 2:14 AM
- Thank you! I am trying to.
22.09.2003 – Monday 22 September – Intro to Information Systems Exam
- • I think at least one person doesn’t believe me when I say I have no spare daylight, so here’s a typical day. It’s probably worth noting that I don’t usually get to bed before midnight, and often closer to three o’clock – with at least one all-nighter so far this week. Actually, that was Saturday night so I guess last week – but it is close enough.
- • My alarm goes off.
- • I get up, brush my hair, get dressed, grab my bag, have a drink of water, fill my water bottle, run downstairs, put on my shoes, pet the dog, lock the garage, and jog down the road to the station eating an apple.
- • I arrive at the station and recover on a seat for a minute.
- • The train arrives. Unfortunately, it’s an express train and doesn’t stop where I need to get off.
- • The train arrives at Park Road, as do I. I walk up to Dutton Park and down to the Dutton Park Ferry. The ferry usually leaves just as I get there, making me wait ten minutes for to get across the river.
- • I arrive at the main refectory; buy an iced coffee and bucket of chips, which I smother in tomato sauce, take around to a bench and eat, and then head down to my first lecture.
- • I attend my “Intro to Information Systems” lecture, sitting near the front with my group members, now my ex-group members I suppose.
- • I have a two-hour practical that I’ve never been to. I go down to the labs and chat online, interspersed with study for my exam.
- • I attend my “Computer Organisation” lecture, sitting in the middle with Kieran and Marcus, so as not to appear to be actually concentrating. This lecture has a two hours assigned, but the second hour is rarely fully used.
- • I go up to the ice cream shop and buy a milkshake, bringing it back down to the lecture theatre and sitting outside with my INFS group, discussing important last minute examination tactics when good looking women aren’t distracting them.
- • I head in to my INFS1200 mid-semester exam, and attempt it. It didn’t seem too hard, but it’s a bit subjective, so I don’t really know how I’ve gone. I finished with plenty of time spare, and pretty well did it all twice or more, so I guess that’s a good sign. I’m not overly confident about my result though – a lot of it wasn’t much more than educated guesswork. Only time will tell. This exam is worth 30% of the course result, so I’m hoping I’ve done well, as I don’t think we’ve gone very well in our group assignment.
- • The clock in the exam was wrong, so I’m not exactly sure what time I left, but it was probably around twenty past three. Clint, Kieran and I walked down to the Ville where they buy alcoholic celebrations and we get some ice creams, then on to Kieran’s rooms, where we stayed for a while. Somewhere along the way, I somehow managed to hurt my ankle. I guess I strained it.
- • I head off towards the ferry and train station. The ferry usually leaves just as I get there, making me wait ten minutes. The guy in front of me dropped his change overboard before he could pay.
- • Having power-walked from the ferry, across the park, through the deadly traffic and down to the train station, the train arrives. I get on and doze. Most of the other people seem to be dozing as well. I always feel stupid dozing on the train – I think it’s something to do with security; somehow sleeping in public is, subconsciously, bad.
- • The train arrives at the other end and I wake up. I’ve never missed the station yet – let’s hope admitting that doesn’t jinx me. I walk briskly home, with a very sore ankle.
- • I arrive home, play with the woof for a few minutes, pet the cat, drop my bag in the middle of the floor, shower and begin to feel slightly human again.
- • I heat up some fried rice left over from the weekend, grate lots of cheese on top, and head towards my computer.
- • I sit down and relax, reading my mail and then going online and checking my email, the uni newsgroups and a few other things, as well as going on chat.
- • I take my washing downstairs, feed the animals, load the washing machine, come back up to get my sheets, throw them in as well, take Joe’s washing off, set the machine washing and head back upstairs again.
- • Silas says, “I go watch Fat Pizza – More important than passing uni”.
- • I arrive back at my computer and talk to Silas about his exciting day going to work with the pox, and all the soon to be poxy people he met.
- • I talk to Becky while she gets ready for school.
- • Becky goes to school.
- • I unsuccessfully try to create some symlinks for my website.
- • I post a request for help on my web host’s forum, and reply to a few other people there.
- • I get annoyed with the uni news server, as it drops yet another post, and post a complaint.
- • Silas goes to bed. I begin reading the news and various other sites I read.
- • I enter into pointless discussion regarding headphones on the #BITS channel.
- • Joe gets home and the headphone discussion degenerates into a discussion about steam – and specifically whether it’s a gas, vapour, or the same as water vapour. Alex and Raymond unknowingly end the discussion with their traditional “ur mum”, “no u r” exchange, which is somehow considered normal. I go and fold the washed sheets and get some new ones for my bed.
- • I write all this. Fairly soon I will brush my teeth, get my stuff ready for uni tomorrow, and go to sleep.
- Comment by DK – Thursday 25 September 2003, 6:24 AM
- YUK!!! Fried rice with cheese!!! ;)
27.09.2003 – Saturday 27 September – Mid-semester break
- • I had a quiet day, not doing anything at all. It’s the first day of my weeklong mid-semester break and I plan to do as little as possible, at least study related. I do need to get out in the sun though, I simply do not get any sun at all during uni – I’m always inside some thing at uni during sunlight hours.
- • I jogged down to the train station, caught a train (or two actually) into Indooroopilly and watched “Lara Croft, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life”. It was quite stupid, but fun to watch being the big action flick that it is. I was a bit disappointed, as it could easily have been a lot better – but I had fun so I guess that’s the main thing. It was also quite busy – the theatre was full.
- • I had a very bad night, not getting to bed until after 7 AM. I almost had an anxiety attack, had many heart problems, and generally stressed out. Looking back on it, I think it’s all a good indication that my heart problem is stress induced. I’ll try to relax as much as possible over the mid-semester break, and see if that helps. It’s a shame I have assignments due the day after the break ends – the scum. As one lecturer said, it’s a “lecture free period”, not a holiday – we’re still expected to study.
06.10.2003 – Monday 6 October – Uni again
- • I was a bit worried I mightn’t wake up, having not got up before midday for most of the week, but as it ended up, I woke up about quarter of an hour after getting to sleep, and every quarter hour thereafter. I hope that my sleeping patterns have now been successfully re-modified.
- • A veggie roll and iced coffee began my regular university diet again, after its weeklong holiday.
- • I went and saw Ms Nicolette Drake to arrange the official details of my tutoring, and then spent some time chatting on IRC before going to see Soon to collect the marks book for tutoring.
- • I did my first tutoring for “Internet Interface Design – User-Centered Website Development: Theories and Technologies”, which was very quiet and I spent half the time talking to a girl I knew – I’d say less than ten people turned up to actually do any work, the rest were just using the computers.
- • Many lectures were had, some of which I attended. I also phoned the oral medicine clinic to find out what time my appointment was, as I had a card, which didn’t say any times. I found, after phoning, that the time is written on the back of the card. Luckily, only Clint was there to witness the embarrassing revelation.
- • Having once again visited Soon to obtain the revered marks book, I completed my second hour of COMP1501 tutoring. This time it was much busier, with quite a few people needing help or wanting their lab assessment tasks assessed. I quite enjoyed it, and ended up staying a quarter hour longer than I should have helping a guy with his PHP. I had a slightly worrying minute when I found the office and Soon’s room were both closed, but fortunately, I found someone else in Soon’s room to take the marks book.
- • Toot toot, chugga chugga chug. It’s raining outside but I’m in a train, toot toot. Happily, the rain had lightened to little more than a mist by the time I had to get off the train and walk home.
- • First Israel illegally occupies the Golan Heights, then they blatantly attack sovereign Syrian territory, and in the resulting United Nations Security Council meeting, only one diplomat doesn’t speak out against this obvious transgression – the United States ambassador, as usual. The sooner someone figures out how to get the US out of the UN, and preferably the rest of the world, the better it will be for everyone, including them. I wonder why Americans are so blindly and stupidly jingoistic, it doesn’t mix well with their apparent total lack of knowledge of anything foreign. Ironically, I asked several people, not all of whom are Australian, if they could think of a word that meant “apparent total lack of knowledge of anything foreign”, as I have the word on the back of my mind but can’t quite get it – and amongst “redneck”, “isolationist”, “xenophobe” and “sequestrator” they all said “American”. I’ve nothing against Americans – I’m sure they’re much the same as Australians, but there’s a vocal few giving the rest a bad name.
- Comment by wagusa – Wednesday 8 October 2003, 3:30 PM
- Many of us in the US also want to get the US out of the UN. Perhaps we are too jingoistic, but IMHO we act slightly less out of self interest than others
07.10.2003 – Tuesday 7 October – Cryosurgery
- • I awoke and caught a train into Central Station, from where I made my way the short distance to UQ’s School of Dentistry. I filled out the required paperwork and waited a short while until I was seen, around 10:30. Several young, mostly female, presumably dentistry students had a look at me and decided to wait for the specialist before making any diagnosis. The specialist, who looked as though he would have only been in his late thirties, arrived after a short while and diagnosed my mucous cyst, and prescribed two twenty-second freezes. The idea is to cause a controlled amount of tissue damage, which will heal and resolve the original condition. In my case, it should kill the glands that have been producing the saliva that is trapped, and the surrounding tissue. My body will repair the damaged tissue, although the glands will be gone forever. I was assured that there are many more glands so killing a few will not be a problem – but to me it doesn’t sound like a good thing to do. It doesn’t inspire great confidence hearing the specialist instructing the young woman who performed the operation, to “turn the point while applying pressure, no – not like that or it will slip like it just did”, but the freezing itself was less painful than the four needles I was given beforehand, probably because of the needles. I was out within half an hour.
- • I walked down to a nearby chemist with my lip feeling extremely large, bought some ibuprofen painkillers, and then caught a train home. When I got home, I was alarmed to find that my lip was in fact as large as it felt. Usually, a numb lip feels huge but isn’t in fact any larger than normal, so I had assumed mine was perhaps only a little larger than usual – but it was huge. I sat an ice pack, or frozen 2-litre bottle of water, on it for quarter of an hour as instructed and then spent some time online. After a while, I became really sleepy, and the painkillers are only to be taken with food, yet I can’t eat, so I lay down with an ice pack on my lip again and fell asleep.
- • I woke up and it was nighttime. I must have slept for a few hours. I spent the night online, interspersed with my ice pack and saline mouth rinses, achieving very little of any use. I ate some tomato soup, and later some soft cheesy pasta, and later again a little ice cream.
- INFS1200 Marks
- • Results have been released for the INFS1200 “Intro to Information Systems” mid-semester exam. I achieved 24.8 out of 30, which is above average (the average being just over 20), so I’m happy with it I guess.
- • I think I’m now tired enough to go to bed. This is all bad timing, I have two assignments due on Friday and simply couldn’t bring myself to look at either, and now I’ll wake up late tomorrow. It has also stopped raining, having rained almost all day, and on and off for the past few days.
13.10.2003 – Monday 13 October – Computer Organisation Exam
- • Having woken nearly an hour ago, and only gone to sleep less than 3 hours ago (and probably getting not more than 2 hours sleep), I felt energetic and chocolatised. Trot, trot, trot, choofa, choofa, toot, toot – trains are fun on chocolate and no sleep. I must, however, not go on trains on chocolate and no sleep – it is not advisable for public safety reasons.
- • Time for a veggie roll and iced coffee. This is where I become suddenly normal again, like Superman before mobile phones.
- • After getting the marks book from Soon, I went and tutored. It was very quiet, with only a few people turning up, which gave me a chance to print out some stuff I needed and check out what
- • I wandered into the UQ Centre and my COMP2302 exam. It was nasty. Forty-five minutes and twenty-five multi-choice questions about the AVR microcontroller instruction set architecture and various other exciting things – not fun. I had five or more that I guessed madly when time was nearly up. Being an open-book exam, I had my text, notes and an instruction set summary, and chewed up too much time going through them. I got 14 out of 25, while Tim, who sat beside me, and whose notes I had copied (and he some of mine), got 23 out of 25. Either he’s a genius or I’m a moron. I’m afraid it’s the latter (as unlikely as that might seem). Moral of the story – chocolate does not equate to knowledge, under normal circumstances.
- • I tutored for an hour. It was quite quiet and I had another tutor with me, so had very little to do. As soon as the hour was up, I caught the train home and spent the evening procrastinating, while I should have been studying or working on assignments. Actually, I think I’d have died if I didn’t have a rest. My lip is much better now. It still has a nasty wound, but it’s now a small nasty wound, and not so sore. I haven’t taken any painkillers and it’s not too bad.
- • I shall try to go to bed today. I have two minutes to do it, so I don’t like my chances.
- • I failed. It’s tomorrow and I’m still awake. It has been three weeks, three days, twenty-two hours, thirty-four minutes and seventeen seconds since I rebooted or my computer. I think this breaks my previous uptime record. Ever since installing a new version of Nero, I haven’t had the silly power management problems, although I still don’t have any power profiles or way to change the one that’s stuck on at the moment. The most dangerous applications on this computer are my sound generation, visualisation and monitoring ones – running any of them guarantees that the 16-bit subsystem will die, permanently, and very little will work until I reboot. Exact Audio Copy and DVDDecrypter (which, by the way, I don’t admit to having on this computer) are the next most dangerous. Accidentally accessing the same drive twice at the same time will do bad things. The DVD players are pretty nasty too – if they come across some bad data in a DVD ISO (which, as pointed out once before, is a temporary cache – not a copy), they turn into runaway processes and I can’t always control them.
05.11.2003 – Wednesday 5 November – There is no spoon
- • Having caught a train into town and managing to get lost in the Myer-centre looking centre next to the Myer centre, I headed up to the cinema and insisted I had a reservation. Apparently, they’re under strict instructions to disallow any phone reservations, and they were quite surprised I’d managed to get one – I’m apparently very lucky. They had to call half the staff to come, see, and figure out how to convert my reservation into tickets, which in the end they couldn’t, so I got new tickets to the wrong movies and cinema instead – two tickets to “Matrix Reloaded” and one to “Matrix Revolutions” in the wrong cinema. Not very handy, but it was eventually sorted out, there already being a few hundred weirdos queuing, I headed down the lift and bought a McDonalds “Garden Salad” veggie burger and Cold Rock “Super Shake” to sustain me throughout the night ahead.
- • By the time I’d eaten my burger and gotten back to the cinema the queue had gone and I was able to walk straight into the cinema and pick my favourite spot – right in the middle of the front row, where the screen most fully fills my field of vision. I don’t know why everyone else likes to sit up the back where the screen appears about the size of a large home television. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen “The Matrix”, and I never saw it on the big screen, so it was good to see it larger (and louder) than life. The cinema was huge – I didn’t know they had one so large.
- • After the first movie finished, I rushed downstairs and out into the matrix, Brisbane rather, to buy some reality. I walked around the block, bought some Pringles, walked around the block the other way, and headed back to the cinema.
- • Once again, the queue was gone by the time I got back to the cinema and I was able to walk straight in and get my favourite seat. The first time I saw “The Matrix Reloaded”, I wasn’t overly impressed. I’d been expecting, or hoping, for something to live up to the first movie, but it didn’t. This time, though, I just watched it without trying to fit it into any preconceived notions – and it was good.
- • After the end of reloaded, while still dazed and incoherent, we all trooped out to the toilets to be met by a queue of thousands, who’d been waiting for a long time and were all excited. Everyone, sheeplike, filed to the end of their appropriate queue except two others, and I, who waited at the door to the cinema – with a thousand people who’d probably been waiting for hours watching us, and walked right back in, in front of everyone. I even managed to get into the booked out larger cinema, despite having a ticket to the smaller cinema.
- • I bought $8 worth of Coca Cola (®©™etc) and lollies from the little shop they set up at the front of the theatre, and settled back in the very centre of the front row as hundreds of people poured, sentinel-style, into the cinema. The attendants had to shuffle people around to fit us all in – it was totally packed, I believe there was only one seat spare, and that was the one beside me. I was quite fortunate, getting my perfect seat, no queues and the only person in the entire cinema with two seats. The cinema man came and gave a little “This is the matrix” introductory talk, people clapped and cheered and it began – my first movie premiere.
- • By this point, having already watched two matrix movies, they all began to merge. I lost track of where one ended, and another began, so I couldn’t say how the third movie was – as it had fused into the first two. The overall effect I got from seeing all three movies as one single epic story was great. Events from each linked, tying the storyline together, and I realised that it actually has a lot of merit – despite the all too numerous excursions into stupidity and very unrealistic, immature nonsense and the obvious flaws in the plot. I, and most other people, stayed through right until the end of all the credits, when some people cheered and others booed, and I walked back out into the matrix, Brisbane I mean, and walked through South Bank to Tim and Michelle’s and tried to sleep.
- • Not surprisingly, despite it being 3 AM, I couldn’t sleep. I kept going over the movie in my mind, and the more I thought about it, the better I thought it was. Some of the fight scenes and CGI, while overdone, are fantastic, and the plot – ignoring for a moment its failings, really is complex enough to make one think, but coherent enough to work. I judge a movie on its memorability, that is, if it’s worth thinking about afterwards, and how much I enjoyed watching it – so, using those criteria, the Matrix as a trilogy ranks fairly highly. I managed to sit through seven hours, in the front row, without getting tired, bored or even a sore neck – and I’m still thinking about it a day later. Ironically, when I watched the third Movie on its own this afternoon, and when I watched the second part last year, neither impressed me much. It only works as a whole.
15.11.2003 – Saturday 15 November – Computer Organisation and Introduction to Information Systems Exams
- • I woke up feeling poorly. I then ran for the train, and probably would have missed it, had I not realised while collapsing against a wall at the station, that it’s Saturday and trains run different times – so I ended up having to wait and getting to uni late.
- • The refectory wasn’t open. I could not buy food. This is a major disaster and just the beginning of a very bad day. I began to feel weak and sick, and the iced coffee I bought from the vending machine near the labs didn’t help.
- • I studied for my COMP2302 “Computer Organisation” exam in the one remaining open non-postgraduate lab while the bile fought within. Shortly before the exam, I went and bought the only edible thing in the famed GPS “Wheel of Death” – fruit salad yoghurt. Not surprisingly, this did not make me feel any better, and it used up the last of my change so I couldn’t even afford to call a doctor.
- Computer Organisation Exam
- • Tim arrived and spared a few minutes to help me understand a few things from the one lecture I missed of the entire course – which, of course, happens to be the one lecture that dealt with an entirely new concept that is heavily examined. We then walked up to the UQ Centre and sat our two-hour 11:15 AM COMP2302 exam. It wasn’t too bad; I didn’t stress or worry, just calmly wrote down semi-random things and took mildly educated guesses. Statistically, one in five of my multi-choice answers will be right, but because I attempted to apply my learning to the selection it is probably biased and because my learning isn’t very learnt, I really can’t say how I’ve gone – I just hope I’ve at least passed.
- Death by bird
- • After the exam, I walked down to St Leo’s College with Marcus, saw Kieran, and then onto Clint’s room. Clint and I walked back up to the Schonell Pizza place, narrowly avoiding death by bird, bought a pizza, and attempted to study for our INFS1200 “Introduction to Information Systems” exam. Clint’s left shoulder dislodged a crazy ibis from its flight, crash landing it onto my can of Pepsi, which I then had to throw out for fear of deadly bird diseases. I wish Clint would keep his shoulders to himself and let the poor birds fly in peace.
- • We ended up back in the labs studying, the seats being more comfortable and less windy and the kamikaze birds firmly outside. Overall, I managed a sorrowful amount of study, having concentrated the past day on procrastination and my other exam, believing this one to be the easier of the two. Had I used any intelligence, I would have realised that this exam has to be passed to pass the course, whereas the other one doesn’t – but of course, thinking isn’t my strong point, I wouldn’t be at uni if it were.
- Introduction to Information Systems Exam
- • Alex arrived shortly after, pencil-less, and we all headed off to our exam like sheep to the slaughter, stopping at Alex’s car where he found two pencils and an eraser under his front seat – I dare not think what else is under there. By this time, not only did my stomach hurt, but the majority of my other vital (and not so vital) organs, including my left eye, my head, my other eye, the part between that eye and the other eye, my ears, the part between my ears and my other eye and that eye, and some other parts that I forget the name of. To put it simply, I felt bad. I had (presumably) stress-induced indigestion (although it could be from having no food I suppose), and something resembling a headache but behind my eyes – which I think is from using parts of my brain that I hadn’t used since they were last reinstalled. Fortunately, someone knew where the exam was, as I’d never have found it – we walked through the gym and into what seemed to be a squash court or something with lots of seats. The next two hours and ten minutes were not pleasant. I felt very sleepy, and had to continually fight the urge to give up this unfair fight and just go home. The exam had a woefully small amount of questions – six if I remember rightly. Normally, fewer questions would tend to sound better, but in reality, it means that when I forget how to do one and skip it, instead of losing one or two percent, I’m skipping ten or twenty percent. Similarly, getting one question wrong becomes a much bigger deal. I can’t say how strongly I disagree with this forced, unnatural and very unfair way of “proving” our ability – exams suck, I detest them. Exams that end at 8 PM are even worse. Where are these human rights watchdogs when you need them?
- • After my dismal performance, which, by my estimation, just might get me a pass if I got nearly everything very right – which is probably not too likely, Clint, Kieran and I walked down to Subway and satiated our indigestion, and then slowly around to the CityCat terminal, from whence I didst depart.
- • The journey home was strange. I think I was in an alternate reality, or, more likely, everyone else was. Disembarking from the ferry, I ran into a large group of scantily clad, fuzzy pink women – which isn’t what I was expecting this soon before midnight. Then, on the train, the people were just odd. There was one man sleeping on the floor, and another man who was just plain peculiar, and drunk – and the rest were women (who all seemed to act strangely, but that’s hardly anything unusual). There are invariably many more men around after midnight, at least on public transport, so I’m not sure what was going on. Then, when I got off at my station, there was a group of young women sitting on the platform with cans of peeled tomatoes. This is after midnight, on the train station platform – just odd.
- Comment by bv – Sunday 16 November 2003, 7:35 PM
- What brand were the cans of peeled tomatoes? Size? Tomato capacity? Amount of tomatoes on the label? Price velocity? What would the New Keynesian school have to say about them?
I think macro study is getting to me...
- Comment by Ned – Monday 17 November 2003, 10:59 AM
- That red and white brand, I forget the name.
- Comment by ma – Monday 17 November 2003, 9:39 PM
- Beware the hot tomato my son
21.11.2003 – Friday 21 November – Programming in the Large / Advanced Software Engineering exam and last day of semester
- • Today is the last day of this semester.
- • I had meant to be at uni by nine o’clock, but after not getting to bed until four, I sort of slept in a little. I still managed to be at uni by ten though, and had actually done a small amount of study before midday, when I could stay awake.
- • I went and had lunch and sat down beside one of the ponds and admired the big fountain, the ducks, the myriads of birds and some bearded dragons. I have also worked out why bearded dragons, of all the huge and ferocious dinosaurs, were the ones that didn’t die out. They’re lazy. The rest died from overwork – they probably had high taxes.
- • I studied all evening, when I wasn’t staring blankly at things or laying my head on the keyboard wishing I could sleep. I felt so tired. I just managed to study everything and make an index page (the exam being open book) when Dina turned up, so we went and I bought a Coke from the Schonell Pizzeria, where funnily enough, we met our lecturer eating pizza. He wouldn’t even give a single question away, and when I got to the exam hall, the scary powerful people wouldn’t let me take in my Coke. Apparently, only clear liquids are allowed. I considered pointing out that I could see the lights through my Coke or that it was a medical requirement, or that I was taking in a few thousand pieces of paper so I wasn’t very likely to smuggle an extra piece in my Coke bottle, but decided I shouldn’t. Drinking a bottle of Coke at high speed while everyone else files into an exam is a stressful experience in itself.
- • I, and a multitude of other lost souls, went and sat our exams at the large exhibition centre. My COMP2500 Programming in the Large / Advanced Software Engineering exam makes up 60% of my course mark, and has six questions. Despite the course name, it had much more to do with Java than any type of generalised software engineering, which, as I said yesterday, is wrong. I’m not at all sure how I went – I hope to have passed, but whether I even did, and if I did, by how much, I just can’t tell. I’d like to get a semi-reasonable result, but I guess I can’t complain too much, as I could hardly call my study effort semi-reasonable – staying out all night and being too tired to keep both eyes open at once and then trying to learn the entire course matter. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait for the results and see. I believe this course has sadly failed in its stated goals anyway – a good result in this exam would only show that I’ve learnt some Java, not that I’ve learnt what the course was supposed to teach.
- • Having finished my exam, and my first year of uni, I walked back to Kieran’s room, talked for a while, and then headed down to the CityCat via the Red Room to see if there was anyone still there. I didn’t think there was, but was told later that not only were some friends hiding in plain view and yelling my name – they actually chased me out the door, but were met by the pizza woman... which explains it all, I guess. I couldn’t have stayed long anyway, so I guess it’s not too much of a calamity. As it was, even after buying a large milkshake from a Southbank shop, I was borderline delusional on the train. I kept thinking I’d missed my station, and that half an hour had passed, only to wake up and find we’d only gone one more station since I last woke.
23.11.2003 – Sunday 23 November – Flight to Cairns
- • I caught a horribly early train into Central Station and another from there to the domestic airport in time to catch my 8:30 AM Virgin Blue flight to Cairns, having stayed up all night. We were packed in like sardines, but without the oil. Fortunately, I was seated between two nice women, one of who had a father in Cooktown, and ever since sleeping on rocks, ice, dirty train stations and various other exciting but unconventional things in India, I’ve had no trouble sleeping on demand so slept most of the flight.
- • I rang Silas from the airport. He could only croak, but he came and picked me up. Apparently, he had a rather large night last night. He already had the flu, but had to go to a goodbye party for work, and it seems the party never ended. As I’d stayed up all night, and as Silas was bordering on death, we both slept all evening. Silas cooked up a nice dinner and then we both slept all night.
27.11.2003 – Thursday 27 November – Dark boat ride
- • Silas and I drove up to Cape Tribulation and Amos’s place. On the way, we saw a cassowary. It just happened to be in the only part of the road that has a little alley of forest and an alley of grass behind it. I’m not sure why. I crawled into the jungle, got to within a few yards of the savage beast, and took some photos. I wasn’t brave enough to go any closer, in case it killed me. It didn’t seem particularly perturbed, sitting down and snipping leaves with its beak. After a while, I got bored of it and Silas shooed it out into the open grassy bit, which it slowly and unworriedly walked across and into the forest, giving me some good photos. Then a tour bus turned up and we left.
- • We spent the evening telling a combination of Irish, nurse and scary spider jokes to three Irish nurses at Amos’s, one of which was very scared of spiders. Then, just after dark, Amos drove a tractor down to the beach, Silas drove his falcon truck-like through the bush, and we towed a small tinny from a creek out into the sea, loaded it up, and headed into the night – where we promptly hit a reef and got stuck. There was a bit of a swell, and we had to fight to keep the tinny pointing into the waves while we struggled to get off the reef, or we’d capsize and ruin all Silas’s and my luggage. There was almost no moon and it was cloudy, so we couldn’t see anything. A bit over two hours later, around 9 PM, we arrived at Kangaji Landing, Silas’s parent’s place, which was a little hard to get into due to the darkness, reef and low tide, but we managed with a lot of walking through sharp shellfish.
- • After a nice, hot Thai style curried rice, we went to bed exhausted. The last thing I remember was wishing I could get up and turn around so the moonlight wasn’t shining on me, but being unable to think the right things, and being unable to sleep because aliens might come down the moonbeams.
28.11.2003 – Friday 28 November – Home at last
- Dad and Mum
- • After a restful but perhaps slightly delirious sleep and nice breakfast and lunch, Silas and I walked down to the landing and rowed the canoe out to the boat and fixed the motor – or attempted to. We then boated in to Bloomfield Wharf, a half hour or so drive, arriving a bit earlier than intended. We had a half hour wait at the wharf, during which time Jamie turned up having been up to empty the lodge’s wheelie bins. Dad and Mum arrived in their new (old) falcon, and we all lived happily ever after.
29.11.2003 – Saturday 29 November – Cooktown and Uni Results
- • After setting up my PC out in the caravan and getting it online, I found out that uni has released my results, and that I haven’t actually failed after all. I achieved a high distinction (7) for “Information Technology Project” (COMP1800), a distinction (6) for both “Programming in the Large” (COMP2500) and “Intro to Information Systems” (INFS1200), and a credit (5) for “Computer Organisation” (COMP2302). This averages out to a semester GPA of 6, and a total GPA of 5.75, with which I am happy although I’d like to do better next semester – if only I could study. Funnily enough, I was very worried about failing INFS1200, as I estimated I’d only get around 20 out of 40 for the exam. I’m wondering if they scaled the results at all. COMP1800 was easy – it didn’t even have an exam, and was sort of a guaranteed seven, which is good I guess. COMP2302 was the most involved, covering a wide range of related material. I think it should be split into two or more courses, personally, although now that I’ve completed it I can see how all the content does tie together at the end. It was really just too involved for me to get any better result than a five without putting in the required effort, which was, of course, too hard. I got what I put in, so to speak. I did not like the way COMP2500 used Java to teach its concepts, but I managed to get a six without understanding much Java, so I guess that somehow it did actually work, although I could probably have got a seven were it a better taught subject, as I think I’ve a sound understanding of the concepts. Once again, had I bothered to learn Java it would have undoubtedly helped. INFS1200 seemed fairly long and involved as I went through the semester, but at the end, it all boiled down to a few basic concepts, many of which were almost self-explanatory. Again, had I done any study I’d have been much more confident, but the very fact that I got a distinction without having done any study or any of the tutorials and stuff says something. Overall, I’d have to say I’m quite happy with my results, and very relieved to have passed everything – something about which I wasn’t at all confident. Interestingly, I have better marks than everyone else I’ve talked to so far, including those who studied seriously, did all the tutorials and actually knew what they were doing, despite my slackness and lack of study. I’d love to do a “Psychology of Learning” course – perhaps mad panic last minute cramming works better than serious study? Perhaps it’s just God helping me. I don’t know.
- • After a lovely and lazy morning, I finally phoned up Joneses to see what Shan was doing. He was up at the shop with Kylie unpacking things in preparation for moving in, so I walked up and said hello. They’d just had a run-in with their neighbour about water. Their pipeline runs across the road and down a neighbour’s fence line, and they were in the process of working out how to carry their pump down to the creek when they met the neighbour, who was psychotic and unpleasant, to say the least. Then I turned up, so we drove down to the Home Rule Bridge and walked up the creek past a large python skin, many prickles, fallen barbed wire (which I trod on), broken bottles, biting green ants and big scary maybe-spider holes and other such jungle dangers. It’s nice to be back in a non-concrete jungle.
- Beneath Clouds
- • After a quick shave and shower, Dad, Mum and I drove into Cooktown. We did a wharfie just in time to see the remnants of a lovely sunset over the Endeavour, and then drove up to Sarah’s place. They were having their kickboxing break-up party, so there were many drunken bods watching videos of past fights. We then drove down to Ricci’s, where Rachel and Ian happened to be. Rachel and I drove down to the fisherman’s lease at the wharf and watched a pile of short films and a longer film – “Beneath Clouds”, at a Cooktown film festival, literally beneath the clouds and right beside a beautiful river. This wasn’t something I was expecting, considering Cooktown doesn’t even have a cinema. They’d set up a screen on the side of the ice works truck, and we all lazed about in the grass beside the crocodiles in the river and it was nice. I also realised just how sore I was from the boat ride the other day – the ground seemed very hard.
- Phil Emmanuel
- • After the movie finished, Rachel and I made our way up to the Top Pub, where Dad, Mum and Ricci were, along with a small assortment of locals and Phil Emmanuel. I met many of the people I know, and had a good night. Phil’s guitar playing rocked, especially Matthew’s classical requests – Bach and Mozart on electric guitar is impressive.
- • The drive home was not so nice. The lights badly need adjusting, and it was sprinkling on and off, so I couldn’t see a thing. I just hoped there were no cows, pigs, kangaroos, aliens or aboriginals on the road anywhere, or big rocks, and drove. By the time I got home, my eyes were quite sore and I was very tired so went straight to bed.
04.12.2003 – Thursday 4 December – 20 million of us
- • Australia’s population has officially hit 20 million. It has been 44 years since Australia’s population hit 10 million. It’s almost hard to believe I’m still the best.
- • Mum woke me up early and we drove into town, where we stayed at Sarah’s while she’s in Cairns working – their Cooktown work having dried up in preparation for Christmas.
- • I phoned Centrelink in response to a letter, regarding why I’d not declared my income from tutoring. I was told it would probably be ok as I had a large income bank. I also phoned and had my mail temporarily redirected to my PO Box until 1 March, having been told to tell Centrelink that I am maintaining residence at Joe’s place.
- • I went and saw the friendly people at the Big Shed and told them I’d not be able to do their website for them: result, I’m going to make a date sometime soon to help them build it themselves – argh. I also went and saw Bob for a while.
- • I walked too much today, and it’s too hot and sunny and now I’m more sunburnt and suffering from heat exhaustion, sunstroke and gross stupidity.
13.12.2003 – Saturday 13 December – Shan is married
- • I reclined, showered, reclined, chatted online while reclining, and generally relaxed.
- • I drove up to Shan and Kylie’s, where Shan was busily preparing for his wedding. I’m the official music controller, so I had to go discuss that and pick up the CD’s and such like. I then drove out to Joneses, where I changed into my finery and drove down to Home Rule to await the arrival of the groom, and later his bride. The setting was lovely, very scenic, green, misty and peaceful, as is nearly everywhere up here. It was a small wedding, with only a few close friends and the families of the bride and groom, which is the best way to have a wedding. We all waited around while half past three came and went, four o’clock came and went, and still no groom. As half past four approached and still no groom to be seen, an official search party was despatched. For the first time in known history, an eccentric looking car driven by an eccentric looking driver had broken down right in the middle of the bridge – the starter motor having literally fallen out, along with most of the rest of the car’s vital organs, blocking the entire bridge, it being only one lane wide.
- • Shan did finally arrive, an hour late, and Kylie-Anne, his bride, arrived long enough after that we got worried she’d also got stuck behind the blockage on the bridge and had just sent another search party. She was looking remarkably beautiful, walking down the aisle on her father’s arm while a few tears were shed, as is customary. The service was lovely, with both parents being happy and impressed by it and the groom and bride looking respectively handsome and beautiful, along with the rest of the bridal party.
- • After Shan and Kylie-Anne became husband and wife, many photos were taken, with me taking 232 and almost filling my memory stick. Their professional photographer, who is also a close family friend and ironically lives in Brisbane quite near to where I do and attends uni, then spent over an hour doing an exasperatingly precise photo shoot until the light ran out. After that, we all made our way inside and sat around talking and doing wedding sort of things like toasting the bride and groom, or husband and wife or whatever they’re now known as, dancing, eating wedding cake, and worrying that the other present which is exactly the same size as mine is going to also be a blender. The parents all got tipsy, or drunk, depending on whom and how you look at it – and everyone had a good time, although it is, in some ways, tinged with sadness for some.
- • Shan and Kylie-Anne, now married, and in Kylie’s case, rather drunk and nervous, then drove home in their shaving cream and rum can adorned car and we finished our drinks and did likewise. It’s a bit funny for me, having known Shan since he was born, and now he’s married. I don’t yet know quite how to feel about it. I hope it all goes well for them – it must be lovely to marry your first true love and the day went so well and happily with no fusses or problems, apart from the bridge fiasco, which was rather amusing once it was over.
25.12.2003 – Thursday 25 December – Christmas
- • I went and looked at the pretty wrapping, presents and dangly Christmas things on the stump inside, and then we all sat around while Dad and Mum opened their presents, and then Sarah opened hers, but I didn’t feel like opening mine, so I didn’t.
- • Mum made a veritable feast, a smorgasbord of things we only get at Christmas time, and spread them out across the table. I have eaten too much now and can’t walk with safety.
- • I went online and sent Christmas greetings to various friends and relatives. People phoned and wished us Merry Christmas. I opened my presents.
- • Sarah and I walked up to the shop, where we met Jade and Ella and talked for a while. This is the first time Sarah’s seen them for quite some time, and the first time she’s actually had a talk to Jade since moving in with Vince, I think.
- • I’m apparently twenty-three years old. This is older than I’ve ever been before, at least this lifetime, so I’m impressed. Sarah and I watched Shanghai Knights.
28.12.2003 – Sunday 28 December – Cairns and The Lord of the Rings
- • Sarah was supposed to arrive, but didn’t.
- • I phoned to find out why Sarah hadn’t arrived. Apparently, she had to change the oil in the car and then it took her ages to get clean... typical woman, bah.
- • Sarah and I left for Cairns, an uneventful four and a bit hour drive.
- • We went around to the cinemas and picked up our tickets. As I’d expected, we had problems. What is it with these people? When I bought my tickets to the “Matrix” marathon, I reserved them over the phone and got special permission to jump the queue, but when I turned up at the cinema, I was told that it was impossible to reserve tickets – that they’d been specifically instructed not to. So I had to wait, while holding up two hundred or so people trying to buy booked-out tickets, while they went and found their manager, who also said it wasn’t possible, but that I was listed as reserved in their computer but that they couldn’t sell me a ticket because there were no free seats. I didn’t accept that, of course, so they gave me a ticket to the wrong cinema and I used that instead – also managing to jump a huge queue in the process.
Then, when I bought my ticket to “The Lord of the Rings” marathon, I just did a credit card purchase over the phone, but when I tried, a few days later, to purchase a ticket for Sarah, they told me it wasn’t possible. I pointed out that I’d done it successfully a few days ago, and my credit card had been debited so it damn well had better be possible, so they went let me do it again, as it was obviously possible. When Sarah and I went around to pick up our tickets, the bloke at the cinema said, you guessed it, credit card bookings are impossible and there is no way I can have a pre-booked ticket. After getting his manager, he found the envelope with our tickets, armbands, and properly printed credit card receipt and tickets.
- • I had a Pasta Napolitana from the Night Markets while Sarah ate a pile of funny things from some Chinese place there.
- • Sarah and I went to the cinemas, where there was an immense queue of people, complete with pillows. We thought we’d be waiting for half an hour and get squashed in some terrible seat, but as we already had our armbands we were allowed straight in – effectively jumping a queue that would have been 200 or more people long and getting our pick of seats. I’m beginning to think pre-booking tickets is a good idea. We sat in the very middle of the front row – my favourite spot and definitely the only place to sit for a marathon, the ability to sit on the floor is a real back-saver.
I’m not sure how to describe the movie – it’s just brilliant, without doubt the best movie ever made when considered as a whole. It’s a bit of a shame they weren’t showing the extended versions, but I guess there’s a limit to how long anyone can sit for. It’s not possible to make a movie of the books, not one that’s viewable in less than a week solid anyway, but they’ve done a remarkably good job of capturing the main thread of the books and making it understandable as a standalone movie – and done so in such a stunning manner that each of the three movies is itself a spectacular. I believe I can safely say that this movie will remain the unchallenged pinnacle of cinematic production for quite some time.
29.12.2003 – Monday 29 December – Cairns
- • Movie finishes. Sarah and I feel surprisingly normal, considering we’ve just watched a nine and a half hour movie, although it’s probably lucky nothing unusual happened after we left the cinema, as I’m not sure what our reactions would have been. It’s still raining a little bit too. We drive around to the Bellview and check in there, and go to sleep. I feel sorry for all those who had to go to work. That marathon was unquestionably something not to be missed.
- • After barely two and a half hours sleep, Sarah and I get up and go shopping. I spend all my time trying to buy a stereo for Mum’s birthday. I’d originally budgeted $200 for it, which would have been alright, had I been able to accept that I wasn’t going to get the “perfect” stereo for that price, but there was just something major wrong with every one I found. I am just too fussy and couldn’t bring myself to spend the money on something I wasn’t happy with. Eventually, after driving all over the place, Sarah and I got sick of it, and decided we’d get this one out at Stockland’s, which was on special – reduced by over $100. We drove the 10-minute or so journey out there, but it was crap – I think they just lie about the reduced prices, either that or they’re stupid. Sarah was sick of it by now and just wanted to buy any one, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that – it seemed a waste, so I decided to buy a slightly more expensive $254 Sony one I’d seen at Myers. Sarah and I drove the 10-minute or so journey back again to Myers, I having spent hours looking at this stage while Sarah did her shopping, and found it was $354. I wasn’t quite sure if I was going insane or what was going on, until I remembered that the one I’d looked at was definitely turned on, whereas the one at Myers wasn’t plugged in, so we went searching and found it at Target – on special and $100 cheaper than at Myers. I can’t wait to give it to Mum and see how it goes; it’s a very nice looking mini stereo.
- • Sarah and I went and saw “Scary Movie 3” at Earlville. It’s a very stupid movie that I cannot recommend at all. After the movie, we drove back to the Bellview, checked out, and left Cairns.
- • It began raining shortly after the Kuranda Range, getting quite heavy. By the time we got to the gravel, it was evident that there had been a lot of rain since we had left. The road, which was good on the way down, was now bad – rutted and potholed, with mud and water everywhere. At one stage, we were driving through what looked much like a lake – fields of water on either side of the road and most of the road underwater – with no land in site anywhere apart from narrow strips of road a few feet wide poking out here and there. It was the first time Sarah has driven through stuff like that, so she was a bit nervous. Fortunately for us, we didn’t get stuck in any hidden washouts or anything exciting like that, and arrived home around 1 o’clock.
31.12.2003 – Wednesday 31 December – New Year’s Eve
- • I walked out to the halfway spot, where I met Jade and Ella, and had a swim – or Jade and I did, Ella being too scared of getting wet. I then continued on out to their place to show Ella how to load and play a DVD image. I didn’t realise how late it was, and had to walk back very fast so we could go to town and the Kickboxing fundraiser New Year’s Eve party.
- • Dad, Mum and I drove into town. It was the worst possible time to drive – just on dusk and the lights on Mum’s car are atrocious. The right-hand side light points to the right and up, shining optimistically on the powerlines on the other side of the road, while the left-hand side light shines up in the trees ahead, handy for spotting possums but not handy for seeing rocks and potholes on the road. Out-driving one’s visibility isn’t good at any time, but it’s particularly bad on a road that’s covered in cows, pigs, kangaroos, indigenous folk, washouts and rocks.
- New Year’s Eve
- • When we arrived, there were very few people down at the fisherman’s lease, so I drove up to Sarah’s and hid Mum’s birthday present in the boot to bring home, and then went and had a look at the various pubs.
The Top Pub was busy, the West Coast was packed – they have Tamara Gibson there, who all the Murris like, the RSL was also quite busy along with the Bowls Club, and, as usual, the Sovereign was almost empty.
People slowly wandered down towards the wharf where they congregated at and around the fisherman’s lease. It’s a nice spot really, at the foot of grassy hill and beside the Endeavour River, with the moonshine on the river forming a backdrop on one side and the dark presence that is Grassy Hill on the other. It is as far as you can really go in Cooktown – without drowning or being dashed to pieces on rocks anyway.
Protégé provided the music, Vince, Sarah, and the Full Boar Muay Thai Kickboxing Club organised it all and provided the beer – their source of income, and it was good, although perhaps not as busy as it could have been. I met Marcelle, and spent most of the night talking to him – it was nice to meet a few of the people I used to know again.
I had chips for dinner, drove up Grassy Hill with Marcelle once, walked up and had a look at the band in the Shire Hall a few times, and generally just wandered around talking to people, avoiding mud, and being bitten by ants. The actual countdown to midnight was, as usual, a silly anticlimax. I felt no different the second after.
- • The bar was supposed to close at a quarter to one, with the event having to be shut by one, but it was nearer two o’clock by the time the music stopped and everyone was kicked out. The drive home was not fun, as I couldn’t see a thing – bah at the lights or lack thereof. I think everyone had a good time; Dad and Mum seemed to enjoy themselves, as did I, although Sarah worked the bar most of the night.