Tag Archives: Weekend

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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:(

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.

Work

Soft, Strong and…

Incredibly Long

My weekend was long-ety long – and not just because of the extra hour of sleep that people convince themselves that they are getting. The long weekend started (as they always seem to for me) on Thursday, with getting ready for my interview at CCLRC. Having left myself no choice but to wear a suit I was up early agonising over which tie to wear with my “trendy” lilac shirt. There were only four to choose from, but it still seemed to give me trouble.

I THINK that the interview itself went better than I was expecting, but I will have to wait a couple of weeks to see how well it really went. I got back to Manchester at around 7pm only to make my way home, change, pack some clothes and leave for the train station to go up to Steve’s to help put with some stuff for the schools. The next couple of days were pretty intense and sctually gave me a headache from staring at a computer screen for two solid days. I don’t think that has ever happened before.

After leaving Steve’s feeling pretty drained, I got back to Manchester in time to go to Irina’s birthday party where there was a SingStar extravaganza that lasted until almost 6 AM – including the extra hour that we had “gained”. There are pictures of all the fun and games for anyone interested.

Needless to say, all of this left me feeling pretty fragile for all of Sunday and even some of today. Today is a new day though.. the physics admissions interviews started up and I got to restart my job of picking people up from the train station and doing a brief intro to Manchester and all of its goodness. Add to that that I found out that there is a new version of SingStar and things don’t seem too bad.

Thesis progress over this period of time actually fell to an amazing low, but I promised that I would try and get some done tonight… I don’t think it’s going to happen though. After spending over an hour on the phone to Vijay and then writing this it’s getting to the point where I am having trouble staying awake. I hope I will be forgiven for not getting any done tonight. I am hopefully going to be handing in my notice of submission form tomorrow, which really should kick-start the thesis work since it will give me a hard deadline to work towards.

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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: