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Wednesday, 1st December 2004

The problem with...

...advent calendars

I am of course referring to those advent calendars which have a little chocolate behind each door (or in my case, a little Cadbury Crunchie Bite). Now, this is (in my opinion) a Good Thing. However, the excitement of a little block of chocolate each day is cruelly at odds with the other promised excitement of advent calendars: namely, getting up each morning and opening a new window. All well and good — but I can't eat chocolate at that time of the morning!

I'm afraid the only solution seems to be getting up in the afternoon. Or using the Uborka Advent Calendar instead.

...having street lights outside my window
I live in a nice hall of residence. There are a number of trees around. There are a number of birdies in said trees. Unfortunately, said birdies have not gained intelligence by osmosis (which is what's meant to happen at university) and thus conclude that, from any time between about 1am and 7am, the combination of street lights and quiet streets mean that it's just about dawn. Yes, round here the birdies tweet and twitter their way through the dawn chorus all night.
...going to bed consistently late (1)
Results in getting so tired in the process that silly things happen such as a) buying a newspaper (amongst other things), getting home and realising that, for all your neat and efficient packing in the supermarket, you managed to leave it there, and b) managing to retrieve a ringing and newly-hidden alarm clock (hidden so I have to hunt for it before I kill it), setting it in its usual place, and turning it off completely without waking up.
...going to bed consistently late (2)
Your body refuses to even think about going to bed any earlier than about 1am, even though you're tired, and consequently you find yourself staying up doing silly things... like reading the whole of A Little Princess online because of a sudden whim. And this was after the maths paper that I finished at 2:30am, and then had to get up at 7:30 the next day.
...having a compulsory "essay writing" module on a Comp Sci course
Not just that the general standard of English is evidently so low that we're required to take this (cases in point — (1) the mildly insulting sheet we were given yesterday helpfully explaining the difference between there/they're/their, effect/affect, continuous/continual, etc. and (2) the essay question I've been assigned contains the word "egalitarian". I've spoken to half a dozen students — oh, and the teacher — on the subject, and not one has known what the word meant (or, in the case of the teacher, at least how to define it). Here endeth the cases in point) but the fact that we have to give a 7-minute presentation on the essays which we have yet to write. *me runs in fear*

Wednesday, 15th December 2004

Life update

Sheesh. Long time no blog. What can I say, I've been revelling in the new-found freedom of being at home for the Christmas holidays — no lectures, no having to get up at silly times of the morning (where "silly" is equivalent to "before 10am"), peace and quiet when trying to get to sleep, and a pitch-black room to sleep in once more. Bliss.

Our term ended two Fridays ago; Kevin came up early to help with packing and I stumbled around going to last lectures and a Java coursework review for marking. (The nice thing about this coursework as opposed to the previous coursework is that the robot actually got better at navigating its way through the maze — and when trying a maze for the second time, could go directly to the target — rather than having a broken robot that inevitably got stuck. The lesson that time was "the customer is not always right".)

I managed to spend a reasonable 24 hours at home (and scar both parents by showing them Shaun Of The Dead) before whizzing off to Essex with Kevin for the week. It proved to be very relaxing, as was intended for my slumping phase to unwind from the last few weeks of stress at uni. As a bonus I got to feel all Christmassy by helping to decorate Kevin's Christmas tree over the course of about five days or so.

Saturday saw Kevin and me toddling up to London to meet up with Missiedith and attend the end-of-year Blogmeet. Although we had to leave far too early in order to catch the nearly-last train, it was fun. You should have been there.

Thursday, 16th December 2004

Hair update

About three months ago, on a whim, I coloured my hair to be a slightly coppery shade.

This week I decided that my hair had grown enough at the roots for it to be worth redoing. I couldn't find just the right shade again, so I went for something slightly different.

It's a little bit more rubiginous than I'd hoped. Can you say "blood-red"?

(To be fair, it did fade a little after washing. And three handfuls of shampoo. But still, a bit of a shock when I've been brunette — or very close to it — for 19 years.)

Thursday, 30th December 2004

So long Christmas, we hardly knew ya

The problem with saying "long time no blog" in a blog post, and then leaving an even longer gap between the next couple of blog posts? Sheesh. I just go on setting new records for myself, don't I?

To be fair it was Christmas. The shocking thing is that it seems so long ago now — in fact, by Tuesday it felt as if it had been weeks since Christmas. I am surprised by this every year; for months beforehand we're inundated with Christmas imagery and decorations, music, themed advertisments everywhere you turn, and every shop in sight trying to make you buy festive goods. Traditionally it all gets too much for me, and by early December I am — shock shock horror horror — feeling festive. Three weeks of being full of Christmas cheer and then suddenly the big day comes and goes, you're left with the tidying up and leftovers, and the shops have all started selling Easter eggs. Lovely.

As was possibly predictable, my post-Christmas number-of-books-I-own-but-haven't-read-yet is now exceeding fifty again, and my shelf is bending under the weight. (Though since one of the books is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, this may account for the weight all on its own.) What is depressing is that it may take me forever (and then some) to get through them all — I don't seem to read as much at uni as I used to in a previous life that didn't involve a degree. In the last ten-week term, I read only eight books. And one of those barely counts, because it only took about two hours to read. Grr. My New Year's resolution may be to start going to bed earlier and reading for longer, rather than just falling in bed when my eyes won't stay open any more and consequently only reading a few pages before turning off the light.

My DVD collection is also growing nicely, though I did have to completely redo my storage case (I keep the discs themselves in a carry-case, and the covers separately at home, for reasons of portability) because I store my films in chronological order. Um. That doesn't make me a geek, does it?

And now I come to the downside of having finished our first term right at the start of December — it's back up to Warwick on Tuesday, lectures begin on Wednesday. Gah. And me with holiday homework still to finish (and start)...



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