Tag Archives: Aradhna

Family Friends Games Work

Blog Catchup… Again

Oookay, it’s been a while since the last blogtacular update but I have been kind of busy.

I managed to get all of my moving stuff sorted out and I am now (happily?) settling in at Leeds – both the city and the University. It’s kind of weird living by myself, but my flat is so hella-awesome that it makes up for it.

Quite a few things have happened over the past couple of months, some of them with pics (and videos) to go with them.

There was a SingStar extravaganza at Irina’s place before I left Manchester for good:


SingStar Party


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Family Friends Games Work

Blog Catchup

I think the chances of me actually catching up with past events in proper detail so I’ll just make a short (ish) summary of events from the new year post ’til now so I can get to the good bit. Almost everyone I know already knows it though. Makes it seem kind of pointless in a way…..

Anyway! After the awesome new year celebrations, I was up working with Steve doing my usual server configuration and other bits and pieces. One of the schools was to have a new IT room with the usual complement of 30 PCs and one projector/smart board combination, but the electricians were unable to finish on time, so we were left with not much to do there and had to leave it until a later date. Following that, there was a visit from Martin (alone, initially) and eventually Sarah as well. Always good to spend time with them, even if we did seem to spend a rather large amount of time walking around… We were showing Wolfgang, one of Sarah’s friends, the delights of Manchester. Among these was a space invader that Sarah hadn’t managed to get a good picture of in the past. I had my trusty new phone to hand to catch the moment, and here is the invader in all his (?) glory:


After saying my (internally) tearful goodbyes to Sarah, Martin and Wolfgang and getting absolutely DRENCHED….. TWICE…. I found myself in Blackpool for Kirtika (aka Kitu) birthday celebration as well as a celebration of Lodi. Lots of nice food was on hand and I ended up staying for a couple of days to help out with homework etc. I found myself re-living the experience of teaching Anu fractions, decimals and percentages all those years ago. It was kind of enjoyable but also a bit trying – it’s probably the first time I have made Kitu (and Piku) sit and study and have to fend off their attempts at wriggling out of it. In all honesty, they probably took a lot longer to do the work than they should have and there was far to much giggling (from them) for it a proper study session like the ones I was subjected to. Anyway, I think that they still like me and that they actually learned something new. Not only that, I think that they, Kitu at the very least, were HAPPY that they had learned how to do these things. I felt really very good about myself for a change :) I also got to spend some time around their new (ish) baby brother, Krish. He still cried whenever I went near him, but at least the amount of time it took to happen seemed to be getting longer! There are some pics from the Blackpool happenings here:


I would have stayed longer, but I had to get back to Manchester to get a job application in on time. A few days after that, I got an email saying that I would have an interview (at Leeds university) in just under a weeks time. In the mean time, I had to put that out of my mind since I was preparing for a visit from AK followed by a fancy dress SingStar party at her place…. Oh yes. So I managed to get hold of some slightly tattered blue jeans, a white t-shirt, a leather jacket and some HUUUUGE and hideous sunglasses to go as George Michael. I didn’t manage to get hold of any crucifix ear rings, but I went without shaving for a good few days before the event to make up for it. The party itself was good – SingStar is never bad – there was even sushi to be had…. how cool is that? I managed to pollute/corrupt/subvert many of the people there with White Russian, which was kind of funny. I don’t have any pictures of the party – I was too busy singing to be all trigger happy with my phone – but I will try and get hold of some and get them online.

A couple of days later (23rd of Jan) I was on my way to Leeds for my interview. Not only was this interesting because of the possibility of getting a “real” job, but also because I would be hopefully meeting up with Mitch. Anyway, the interview went quite well… a few tricky questions, but that was to be expected really, but on the whole I felt reasonably happy with the way it had gone. It was a bit odd having lunch with the other people applying for the job, but it was certainly an interesting experience. Anyway… after around 5 hours and 2/3 interviews I was free to relax with Mitch. While we were in the student’s union playing pool (me not sticking out in my suit at all), I got a call offering me the job! So I am now officialy going to Leeds to become “Grid Support Officer” for the NGS service and White Rose Grid. Exciting and kind of scary all at the same time. In case you are wondering exactly what that will entail, you can get a look at the job description here.

Now, I’m in the process of trying to sort out all of the details of moving (bills, new place to stay etc.) and to finish off my thesis. Neither is happening at a rate that is to my satisfaction. Possibly the only plus side to all of this is that it has made me actually start organising my in a more efficient way – I’m using Google Calendar to map out when things should be happening in order to make sure I get as moved as possible to Leeds before I start on the 1st of March. They wanted me to start on the 1st of Feb, but that was just not enough time for me to get myself sorted out…. The extra month might not be enough either! The weeks since finding out and the coming weeks seemed to have filled themselves with events and house hunting stuff to such an extent that the thesis is taking more of a back seat than I would have liked. Although it’s all very stressful, it is exciting. Getting it all down in blog form makes it all seem a bit more… something, not sure what.

At least I’m mostly caught up now. :)

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Belated Christmas Blog

Yay! Christmas came, the geese got fat and I did, in fact, put a penny in an old man’s hat – he was playing some rocking tunes in an underground station.

Sooooooo… I have had a very eventful few weeks, much like everyone else I would imagine. There was the dreaded group meeting, where everyone in the particle physics group stands up for 5 minutes and talks about (i.e. justifies) their existence in the group for the past year. On the evening of the first meeting day (with free lunch – woo hoo!) there was the group xmas dinner. I managed to convince people that going to Revolution (a vodka bar, for the deprived people who don’t know) before the meal itself, and the night got off to a great start. The dinner was at Cafe Istanbul and was awesome. After the meal, we ended up in a club called Mojo. To be honest, it probably wouldn’t have mattered where we ended up – we would still have had an amazing night out. There are, of course, many pictures to be had of the evening, some of which can be found here:

The next day was a bit horrible, not only because of my horrendous headache when I woke up, but also because I had to give my presentation that day. Like most presentation situations, I got overly nervous about it and felt like I messed it up a bit. Even though it was a group of people I know pretty well, it was still an awful experience. The lameness experienced there was very quickly replaced by the awesomeness of having Daniel and Sabrina over for dinner. So quickly that I was only left with 30 minutes to cook up a storm after getting home from the meeting. They didn’t seem to notice it was rushed and even complimented me on my daal. “This daal is fantastic!” Not bad for a boy – not as good as mum makes, but still.

The day after that, I was on my way to London for the xmas period. The whole experience was made all the sweeter by the fact that I knew that the new Zelda game, Twilight Princess, was waiting for me. As if that wasn’t awesome enough (which it was) me and Aradhna managed to cook up a Christmas dinner of sorts which was truly fantabulous. It can be viewed in all its collaged glory by clicking the following thumbnail:

After the “big day” had come and gone, I went out for food, food and food with Sarah (best. day. ever.) including a trip to the Japan Centre, which has a whole floor that sells food and fish we managed to avoid seeing. Looks like we might have to go there again… It’s a tough life. The sushi there was excellent, if a little pricey. I think that Ikkyusan is probably better value overall.

Other than that, I managed to get a much needed new coat. Me and Anu braved the January sales and went hunting and managed to come back with a kill that managed to satisfy me, my sister (she “wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with me in it”) and even my mother. Wowza indeed.

After that, it was back up to Manchester to prepare for the trip to Blackpool for New year celebrations….. more on that later. For now I need sleep!

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Shiv Kaushal – Singstar Liason

Long time no blog then… It was good going for a while, I guess, but I am slipping back into my previous habits quite quickly. I have had many interesting things go on since last time, a lot of which I am sure I will forget to put down here but I am sure that the following summary will convince the reader beyond any doubt that the life of a PhD student is anything but taxing. The thing is, it should be taxing – if I was putting in a reasonable amount of work, I would be finished writing up by now.

First off, there is the awesome news that Nicki, who you can see getting married HERE, has had another bundle of screaming joy. Blaney George Phillips was born on the 3rd of November and both are doing well. Loads of congrats and love to Nicki and Marc!

So last the last few weekends have been filled with SingStar awesomeness. The weekend after Irina’s birthday/flat-warming, I was in Blackpool and got to introduce all the lovely people there to the phenomenon that is SingStar. I even got to play with Kitu and Piku (my amazingly fabulous nieces) and even had the sense to capture the moment in digital image and video form. There is a lot of that kind of stuff I have still to put up on my Picture Page, I will post again when I have it availble for hypertextual consumption. Not only was Kitu and Piku rocking the house amazing in itself, but I also had a new disc to enjoy – SingStar Legends. This brought the total number of songs at my disposal to 200 – killer.

That weekend also saw Birthday celebrations for my cousin, Amar, . The whole thing was lots of fun not only because of the large fireworks (it was on the 5th of November, after all) but also because I got to tend to a bonfire (awesome) and even saw Vijay dancing. There was also a guitar shaped birthday cake, which particularly struck a chord (groans all round) with me – more so for Amar, I guess.

After word got out that there was another SingStar disc to be had, Ella Fitzgerald and all, we were back at Irina’s the following weekend. It was an absolute belter of an evening. I was introduced to the amazingness of White Russians and loved them even without having seen “The Big Lebowski”. The huge selection of songs meant that we were singing away through the night and I got home after eight in the morning! The following couple of days were pretty messed up and unproductive for me but led nicely into Aradhna’s fencing match in Manchester last Wednesday.

Keele Vs. Manchester should, I suppose, give me some kind of moral dillemma as to which team I should be supporting but I found it quite easy to cheer on Keele without any guilt. I really am dead inside….. Unlinke the unhappy outcome of the same fixture last year, Keele won, much to the delight of the team captain (Aradhna). While I don’t fully understand what’s going on sometimes (sabre is just too weird) I do like watching the fencing. I especially love seeing Aradhna, aka AK, do her thing “on the piste”. There is such a slow, measured, calm and deliberate approach in her style that is actually quite menacing. I should probably never upset her ever again. Videos may follow soon.

This weekend was yet another SingStar flavoured one, but in Cambridge this time. Sarah’s workmate Laura was having a birthday party with the added twist of being a cocktail party with a formal dress code. I had also been asked to bring along my bag of SingStar tricks and I was happy to oblige. After several large White Russians – having watched The Big Lebowski earlier that day – the music started flowing. Watching men suited and booted and women in fancy dresses – in the good way, not like vampire costumes, but even those can be good at the right time and place – watching them all sing away was really an odd sight to behold. It made dragging the PS2 up and down the country (or down and up in this case) worth it. Went to Ikkyusan for sushi buffet again with Sarah and Vijay, before getting on the train back to Manchester and it was even better than last time. Spending time with Sarah and Martin was great, as ever and I look forward to seeing them again soon – probably on the 12th of December when Dr. Sarah is in Manchester for her graduation. Can’t wait.

Thesis has been crawling along, which is not surprising if you consider all of the singing I have been doing lately. I think I might have to crack and start putting in diagrams to pad it out. I did manage to find out how to put fancy fonts in through latex though and they are fancy. You can see an example here. Probably not the best use of my time, but I am thinking about starting every chapter off with something similar – there doesn’t seem to be anything in the guidelines against such fonts.

Somewhere in the blur of the past few weeks, I also got a letter from CCLRC saying that I was on the reserve list for the job I had applied for and then another one saying that they were unable to offer it to me. Lame. Not that I expected much from my first interview anyway. I guess that the outcome is better than I was expecting, but nobody likes rejection. According to Sarah, I already have an unofficial job – one that seems to appeal to me. The job title will make more sense if you have seen Van Wilder, but I am apparently now to be referred to as Shiv Kaushal – SingStar Liason. Sweeeet. There are plenty of worse things to be known for, that’s for sure.

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Totally Lame Excuse

Well… The last couple of weeks seem to have slipped by without even a thought for my blog. I had such good intentions as well. My only defense is that I have been too busy/distracted by other things to write anything interesting.

So after the evil sore throat from hell, I was visited by a rather interesting stomach thingy that also inflicted itself upon Marta. Being the stubborn stupid person that I am, I refused to go to the doctors, since it was only giving me alternating hunger pangs and loss of appetite. I thought that the two evened out and that (as always) I would have to wait for an appointment so long that it would have sorted itself out anyway. I was right.

I have also been away from Manchester for the (long) weekend, due to the festival of Diwali. I’m not particularly religious, but these things are always a good excuse to have a good time with family so I do actually look forward to them in a way. The trip to London included the now mandatory visit to the Trocadero Centre in order for me to have a go on the arcade version of Drummania. Sadly, it was not switched on when we arrived (having walked through possibly the worst rain I have ever walked through) and I was not pleased. Me, Anu and Vijay managed to entertain ourselves with Time Crisis 3, Out Run SP2 and the arcade version of Mario Kart though, so it wasn’t all bad. We rounded off our adventure with a few rides each on a mechanical bull! Here are some videos in the stupid 3gp format that most phones use:

http://www.shivkaushal.co.uk/pictures/bulls/

We also managed to get to a restaurant called Ikkyusan in China-Town that runs an all-you-can eat sushi deal for £14-ish on certain days. The price includes other foods (Pad Thai, mmmmm) but the sushi is the star of the show and is actually pretty good, even if some people think it’s slimy. I will be going there again sometime soon, I’m sure.

While I was in London,somebody tried to break into my house AGAIN. Not cool. They were trying to get in through a window, while Marta was in the house, and didn’t seem at all deterred even after seeing her. It’s all very worrying and quite upsetting, but luckily nobody was hurt and nothing got taken. It still makes me a sad panda….

I came back to Manchester to find that I have a job interview tomorrow! It’s all a bit scary but hopefully all will be well. I was supposed to be going out shopping for interview-clothes today, but I managed to put it off so much that I decided that I had run out of time. I will have to make do with wearing on of my suits, which should be okay – it’s hard to look bad in a suit really – but I really wanted to use this opportunity to make myself buy some things I have needed for a long, long time. I hate shopping for clothes, probably because I am (and also the reason for me being) so rubbish at it. It’s a circular problem that I will break one day.

Yesterday was also the PhD viva for the Dr. FormerlyKnown as Sarah. Minor corrections aside, she is now no longer “one of us” and may soon start talking about students in a very unflattering way. Seeing someone else get through it all is really encouraging for me and kind of motivating, but I also have a feeling of dread that grows every time I talk to someone about how their viva went and what questions they were asked. I guess I will get to my own ordeal in due course. For now though, WELL DONE SARAH!

Speaking of which, the thesis – almost forgot about that for a second! – has grown by a few pages since last contact, and not because I just added some figures either. The pace has been far from blistering over the past week or so, but it’s hardly surprising all the distractions that have been coming my way lately. The interview tomorrow and plans for Friday and the rest of the weekend mean that this will have been an extremely lean week when it comes to writing… Next week is when the real work begins. Honest.

Final thing – I promised Sarah Dr. Dyer that I would post an image of one fo the extra characters from an anime called Yakitate!! Japan for her – here is Brad Kidd in all his glory:

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It’s Not My Fault!

So I managed to get very little done today as I was in Stoke-On-Trent fixing my sister’s PC and wireless network and “everything”. It gives me some sense of satisfaction to be useful though – who doesn’t want to feel needed?

Never the less, the fact remains that I got very little in the way of my thesis done. I did manage to start filling in a job application which is due in tomorrow (!) which is kind of interesting. I have been avoiding the idea of the real world after Uni as much as possible but I guess I am going to have to grow up at some point.

That’s all well and good, but the fact is that I am not going to get much done tomorrow either since I am teaching programming in C to the 2nd year undergraduates. It seems like the idea of posting every day is only going to highlight my lack of progress. At least for today and tomorrow I can exclaim in true Han Solo/Lando Calrissian style – “It’s not my fault!”