Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Winter is definitely here.

Over the past week I've been greeted rain, rain and yet more rain every time I've stepped out of the house.
However, we did get a beautiful double rainbow last week (only one shows up in the photo, but the second was above it).
Rainbows don't make up for getting drenched though... my walk to the post delivery office the other week in a coat that I thought was waterproof ended up in me being getting soaked through 3 layers of clothes, my feet got soaked today on the way to and from a lecture because I was stupid and decided to wear plimsolls, and tomorrow morning I've got a practical session which involves walking around outside for an hour looking at birds - I'm making sure I'm dressed appropriately for that one (waterproof coat that is actually waterproof, waterproof trousers, walking boots, the works haha)
The days have been getting colder and colder too, and most evenings I find myself sitting in bed under my duvet plus another blanket so I don't freeze while trying to work (or browse the internet...). Because we're all "poor students" the issue of when to turn on the central heating is a hot topic (hah I made a funny), so it looks like most of this winter will be spent wearing as many clothes as is physically possible.

I just bought myself a bat detector on eBay, and I'm rather excited for it to arrive. I've been wanting one for a while, but kinda got put off because they're not cheap. But today when a lecturer said that people who know how to properly use them are pretty much guaranteed a job within a year my enthusiasm was rekindled and I got straight on eBay when I got back haha.
I've gone for a Magenta Bat4 which was £54 with free postage. When I was paying I got a nice surprise when I remembered I still had £15.80 sitting in my Paypal from a bunch of online surveys I did, so only a grand total of £38.20 came out of my bank account. I shouldn't really keep spending money like this, but I'm passing it off as a "birthday present" haha.
It should be here in the next 2 or 3 days, and I'm quite excited about getting to go out and use it. Bats are still a novelty to me as I'd never seen one before I came down here, and I think they're pretty amazing creatures. Plus it's kind of appropriate with Halloween coming up haha.
Yay for being able to buy fun, expensive things and being able to pass them off as educational!

Monday, 18 October 2010

What the.... ? *eye twitches with stress*

This is the statistics program that's highly likely to give me nightmares between now and when the module I need it for finishes in January.

I thought having done an A level statistics module would help me, but oh no, things just couldn't be that simple.

The uni didn't want to spend all of our big juicy tuition fee monies on buying a license so that we can all use the decent, simple software, they decided to torture us with a horrifically complicated open source version instead.

It's not like Excel where you just bung in some numbers, click a few things and get some lovely stats and a pretty graph - there are so many different functions you have to know to even work the ruddy thing, and it's case sensitive so putting t instead of T at the end the first long formula in red in the picture above means that the whole function just fails (as I found out in the lecture earlier when I kept repeating the same fail over and over again. It's the same with ", and I kept missing those out too...)

Still, when I eventually get to grips with this I'll be able to show off my amazing statistical and computing powers, and everyone will be amazed!
(except I'll most likely never use this in my future career and all my time and brain cells will have been wasted, yay).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

101 things in 1001 days

A while back I stumbled across this website, The Day Zero Project, and was inspired to make a list of tasks to complete myself.

I've spent a lot of time mulling over which tasks I wanted to include - some of them were obvious and things that I've been wanting to do for a while, but after those I got a bit stuck and didn't want to include any old meaningless thing just so I'd get to the target of 101 quicker.

After spending ages trawling through the Idea Finder on the site, itching to start on my tasks but not wanting to do so until I'd finished the list, I decided that as much as I didn't want to I might as well start with an incomplete list and hope that ideas for the remaining 9 tasks came to mind along the way.

I started my 1001 days on the 6th of October (my birthday, seemed like a good day to start it on), meaning I'll finish on the 4th of July 2013 (by which point I'll be approaching the age of 23... scary thought!).

I'll be posting with updates on completed tasks/tasks in progress, but I've also added a page (which can be found here or at the top of the left sidebar) to give an overview of my project.

And so, without further ado, here is the list of 92 (hopefully soon to become 101!) tasks I am aiming to complete in the next 1001 days:

  1. Write in a diary every day
  2. Answer the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”
  3. Walk 500 miles
  4. Take a photograph of myself every week
  5. Visit the USA
  6. Pass my driving theory test
  7. Pass my driving practical test
  8. Go diving
  9. Go to Scotland
  10. Visit 5 places north of London
  11. Knit a garment
  12. Sew a garment
  13. Learn the phonetic alphabet
  14. Sell at least one piece of jewellery
  15. Read 101 books
  16. Watch 101 films
  17. Learn to touch-type
  18. Complete my degree
  19. Have a birthday party
  20. Craft in public
  21. Save £5 for every task I complete
  22. Win NaNoWriMo
  23. Give blood
  24. Send a message in a bottle
  25. Host a dinner party
  26. Be a vegetarian for a week
  27. Plant a tree
  28. Write a letter to myself to open at the end of the 1001 days
  29. Make a time capsule
  30. Get properly fitted for a bra
  31. Get a penpal
  32. Go horse riding
  33. Make all my food from scratch for a fortnight
  34. Make a birthday cake for someone
  35. Try 50 new foods
  36. Crochet a granny square blanket
  37. Watch all episodes of a TV series in order
  38. Fill up my change jar
  39. Make a recipe book
  40. Make a new friend
  41. Buy a copy of The Big Issue
  42. Let a balloon go with my contact details attached and see where it ends up
  43. Lose weight
  44. Watch no TV for a week
  45. Do the 200 sit-ups challenge (www.twohundredsitups.com)
  46. Get a pet
  47. Finish a Rubik’s Cube
  48. Take pictures in a photo booth
  49. Learn to cook 10 meals
  50. Make a gingerbread house
  51. Try Geocaching
  52. Finish a 100o+ piece jigsaw without using the picture on the box
  53. Make a list of 101 facts about me
  54. Go camping for a weekend
  55. Take part in a pub quiz
  56. Make a family tree
  57. Make ice cream
  58. Have my fortune tols
  59. Make a stop-motion video
  60. See a dolphin in the wild
  61. See a whale in the wild
  62. Make a list of things I like about myself
  63. Read an autobiography
  64. Take a photo of a place through all four seasons
  65. Write a haiku
  66. Spend a night in a posh hotel
  67. Have a picnic
  68. Spend an afternoon reading outside
  69. Complete at least 100 hours of voluntary work
  70. Swim in the sea
  71. Finish a knitting project
  72. Go for a long bike ride
  73. Give a handmade gift
  74. Spend a day at the beach
  75. Read all of Jane Austen’s novels
  76. Eat at 10 new restaurants
  77. Make a list of my 25 best qualities
  78. Go one week without swearing
  79. Get a job
  80. Find a constellation in the night sky
  81. Enter 10 competitions
  82. List 101 things that make me happy
  83. Go for a walk in a forest
  84. Make a list of 101 of my accomplishments in life
  85. List 25 different species of animal I’ve seen in the wild
  86. Grow a fruit or vegetable
  87. Document one month of my life in photographs
  88. Send 25 postcards via www.postcrossing.com
  89. Write a letter to someone who has changed my life
  90. Pick one random word from a dictionary each week, learn it’s meaning and try to use it in conversation
  91. Don’t say anything negative for a day
  92. Start a new tradition

Any suggestions for things to add to my list will be very welcomed, I'm seriously stuck haha.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

On this day 20 years ago...

... I was born (yay me!)

I've gone from this...

To this...

I wonder what the next 20 years have in store...

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The Catch-Up Part 3: New uni house

After months of grief and arguments and waiting, I finally moved into my new student house in mid-September.

(I tried to be clever and failed... my room is really hard to photograph so this makes it look a lot bigger than it actually is!)

The house is... tolerable. There's mildewy bits all over the place, the upstairs bathroom suite is brown (eww), and we're right on a road so I get all the street and traffic noise. It's also never clean and always noisy, but you get that in every single student house so this one doesn't really stick out.
My room is tiny so I can't have as much stuff as I would like and it's really hard to keep tidy, but smallness means cheap rent so I can deal with it. Plus I'm not finding not having all my stuff here as bad as I thought I would - hopefully this will encourage me to de-clutter when I get home haha.

On the plus side, I do have a lovely view over the River Fal estuary, so I can sit on my bed with my laptop and look out at the boats.

(the other side of the view from my window... not quite so pretty haha)

I've only been back a little over 2 weeks, and in that time tensions within the house have been gradually building up. Now all 6 of us are back in the house though things have been building up even further, and today it all kicked off and at one point I had a door slammed in my face when I asked for help to take the recycling to the nearest collection point because we missed the collection from the house last week (it's collected fortnightly) and we'd got to the point where it was overflowing.
Hopefully we'll all at least manage to at least be civil to each other, because another 9 months of this will drive me insane...

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Catch-Up Part 2: London Aquarium

A week or so before I headed back to uni, my mum and I went on day out to the London Aquarium.

The website said it takes roughly 2 hours to walk round but boy were they wrong; we were there for at least double that time!

It was fascinating watching all the fish just swimming around and getting on with their day-to-day business, I could’ve sat there forever and watched them (although the small children did put me off staying in one place for too long... hearing shouts of “NEMO!!” at every single fish got tiresome after the first 10 minutes, and having the strap of my handbag constantly pulled by children wanting to push their way in front of me made me mad!)

The aquarium has 2 huge tanks in the middle – one reminded me of Finding Nemo with all of it’s colourful tropical fish and a couple of rays, and the other was full of huge sharks (some of which were constantly bearing their teeth which creeped me out a little).

When mum went with one of the people she supports, they saw a diver in one of the big tanks cleaning the glass. Now she keeps pestering me to apply for work experience there so I can do it too, which would be amazing but unlikely (due to the high volume of applicant they no doubt get and the fact that work experience people usually end up being the dogsbody). Who knows though, there’s no harm in asking so I’m in the process of drafting an application letter. Fingers crossed! (and I just applied for a placement at London Zoo so fingers crossed for there too!)

Friday, 1 October 2010

The Catch-Up Part 1: My first finished knitting project!

I’m so bad at finishing craft projects that take longer than half an hour, but this time I actually ended up with a finished product, hooray!

For Christmas Alan got the game Little Big Planet for his PS3, and in a moment of madness one day shortly afterwards I said “I know, I’ll knit you a Sackboy”. For those not up to date on video games (which would include me if Alan didn’t talk about them non-stop), Sackboy is the main character from the game; he is literally made out of a hessian sack material, and in the game you run him around completing levels by avoiding obstacles and running and jumping all over the place.

A quick Google search led me to a pattern, and luckily I didn’t have to hunt high and low for the correct wool as the wool shop in Falmouth had the exact brand and shade recommended in the pattern.

I bought the wool possibly sometime around February and made a start, but something was going wrong with my increase stitches and I ended up with a horribly tight mess that I physically couldn’t do any more stitches on. Becoming disheartened, I shoved all the materials in a bag and gave up.

Procrastination took over, but Alan kept pestering me and asking me how much I’d done and my feeling of guilt was growing. So when I came home for the summer I picked up my needles again and made a proper start on Sackboy. I got one of my mum’s friends to show me the correct way to increase, and then I was off! The pattern wasn’t actually as complicated as I had imagined it to be (although mum told me afterwards that her friend didn’t think I would be able to do something that complicated as a beginner!), and I eventually finished it after a couple of weeks.

And so, I am proud to present...