Tag Archives: Loughborough

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:(

Another weekend, another train journey and yet another blog post. Despite my rather upbeat post I wrote when on my way to Loughborough, things took a turn for the worse when I got there. I was supposed to be meeting Vijay and Viney at the train station but after turning up at 8.30 in the evening, I found out that they were still in Basingstoke. In the end, I had to “amuse myself” for the couple of hours it would take for them to get there… I managed to find a pub where I could sit and read through some thesis stuff and have a quiet drink. By the time that Viney and Vijay turned up, I was 6 double vodka-lemonades worse off and enthusiastically helping a random couple I had met with their pub quiz answers. Things were looking up. The Chinese food we got from “Mr. Chan’s” was awesome, followed by “Click” starring Adam Sandler – all was looking well.

The following morning (Friday), having had about three hours sleep, me and Vijay made our way to the nearest McDonalds for some breakfast – I know, I know… I just LOVE their breakfasts, especially the hash browns. Awesome… Or so I thought. Having stupidly put my phone on the table we were eating at, I got up for less a really short time to talk to Vijay and came back to a table that was one Samsung D500 lighter. LAME. It’s not too bad though. I am past the 12 month point of my contract and was looking for a new phone, especially since mine was a bit broken. I had also just gone through the process of transferring all of the pictures/videos on it to my PC. The only real major problem with this is the hassle of being without a phone for a weekend and however long it takes me to choose a new one.

From then on, there were jokes aplenty forthcoming from Vijay and Co. about what the time was (I use my phone as my watch/alarm clock) and why I wasn’t answering their phone calls. I did manage to salvage some enjoyment from the weekend though. That evening, we were at Palu’s place, where I was helping him build his amazingly powerful new computer. After getting it up and running, we installed the OS and then started on testing out his shiny new graphics card with the best thing for it – games. The end result was that, apart from Viney, we all stayed up the whole night.

The next morning (Saturday) Palu had to go off to work and the rest of us went back to Vineys place to do some tidying, cleaning and gardening… Quite why anyone thought it was a good idea to give a petrol powered strimmer, which was actually leaking, to a sleep deprived person with a history of accidentally burning things, is beyond me…. in any case, after a rather large lunch and watching Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure (during which Vijay managed to get a few more hours of sleep) we got back to it. The evening was spent in a snooker hall playing some pool… Considering the fact that I’d had only 3 hours sleep in the past 50 I was amazed to find that I was actually playing better than usual – I was beating Palu and Vijay with reasonable consistency. Awesome. I almost found myelf agreeing with a weird guy I saw on YouTube that “Sleep is for babies.” Kind of worrying, but I can almost see how he got to the state he was in if he really had been up for 5 days.

I finally collapsed in a heap at about 4 AM on Sunday morning and managed to start moving at 2 in the afternoon. A few more hours of “tinkering” with the new PC and a bite to eat later, I am now on a train on my way back to Manchester. I’m still a bit fried from the general lack of sleep and annoyed with the lack of phone in my pocket but on the whole, the weekend was pretty good.

Now to get back to writing thesis and my slightly more mundane University existence…. there’s always next weekend though. Woo Hoo!

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Another Long Weekend

Yay! Blog time.

This time, I am on my way somewhere rather than on my way back. The long weekend syndrome doesn’t seem to be fading at all. On the plus side, thesis work is progressing at a much more reasonable pace, so much so that I think I might even meet my own aim of getting all (might have to settle for most) of my writing done by the end of the year. First draft at the very least. Awesomeness. I am currently at 75 pages, which might not seem like such a huge leap, but it includes removing loads of bullet points and replacing them with (somewhat) coherent sentences, so I am feeling much happier about it. I have also managed to get some of the nastier diagrams out of the way and pasted in some screenshots so the whole thing is looking a lot nicer as well. Lots more screenshots to go in as well.

Currently, I am on my way to Loughborough to spend some time with Viney and Vijay as well as to help Palu build a shiny new PC. I will post some suitably gratuitous shots of PC “bits” laid bare after the event. Nice…..

Speaking of pics, I am now starting to use Google’s image hosting service, it’s a bit of a Flickr rip-off, but it gets the job done a bit more easily through Picasa – Picasa is Google’s image organisation/tweaking software, which, quite awesomely, is available for Linux. I got the idea after seeing someone else’s and realising that my Manchester HEP web space probably won’t last forever. In any case, you can see the first lot of pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/shivkaushal and I will be migrating all my existing pics and uploading more new ones in the near future.

I am currently mourning the loss of new South Park and Lost episodes from the ol‘ USA. I am quite unhappy that there won’t be any more of either until next February. Given that the lack of new shows seems to coincide with my sudden burst of productivity, it might not be such a bad thing. There are plenty of older episodes to keep me amused anyway… Must look up “Good Times With Weapons” some time soon.

That’s about all for now. Apart from not being paid over £400 by the University that I claimed for some time in September. It’s made worse by the fact that I am not really getting any money from anywhere since my studentship expired at the end of September (last payment was in July!). The rage starts to boil over from time to time, but I manage to calm myself down by thinking of flowers and puppies and other wonderful things…. yeah, sure. Seriously, not cool.

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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.