Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Look what I found on Facebook...

Ho ho ho. Should I add him as a friend?


Monday, May 29, 2006

I’m in studying mode

“How’s your revision going today?”

That seems to be the thing everybody is asking everybody else these days, now that exam is starting and all. For some people. Mine is still a bit more than a week away. However, considering the fact that I haven’t finished revising everything yet, it is quite scary. I’ve taken some initiative, though. I started the routine of switching my laptop off just before breakfast so that I will not be distracted by it. I only turn it back on some time before dinner, when I’m too hungry to do revision. That’s a big accomplishment. Really.

I talked to a few Malaysians the other day. Somehow it seems like they all have achieved first class in their first year. Is it that easy? I’m pretty sure its not. And the fact that they are the kind of people who spend ages playing World of Warcraft sure doesn’t help any.

Sigh… exam period sure is an awkward time.

I peeked at some past papers recently, and now I’m pretty confident I can get second class upper without stressing myself out. But then again, I have a feeling that I really should do my best this time around, so I’m getting more serious now. Which probably means less updating my blog for a while. Not that I update it much anyway, he he.

So… I’ll probably let you hear from myself again on the 14th, or sometimes during the exam week if I have the time (and feeling nasty enough to bore you with meticulous details on how my paper that day went). Until then, wish me luck.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Hmmm, that's random

Found this while I was walking along King's College. It's on one of the stone tiles.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Paper airplane frenzy

We had our last chemistry lecture last Tuesday, and the lecturer warned us beforehand to prepare paper airplanes for the lecture. We had no idea what it’s about but whatever it is, it should be exciting. After all, the lecturer is actually deemed by students to be the best in the NatSci course because of his interesting lecture. Usually, halfway through his lecture, he usually has a few minutes break in which there will be a demonstration, gory stories or just interesting tidbits about chemistry. In the first term, he soaked a BIG lump of cotton in the shape of a sheep with some chemicals and set fire to it. There was a blinding flash and I could have sworn half of the lecture hall could feel a blast of heat in their faces. The other day he read to us some erm…obscene poems and comments that past students wrote in lecture questionnaires. One read, “I love you. You can inspect my cleavage mechanism anytime.” There’s another one that says, “Dr. W, would you gain a pair of electrons and become a HOMO?” Ha ha ha.

(For those who don’t know, in chemistry HOMO stands for highest occupied molecular orbital ;p )

Anyway, at the end of that lecture, he prepared boxes in front of the hall containing some nitrogen compound that can rapidly decompose into gaseous nitrogen if subjected to a force. Our job is to throw the paper planes so that they hit the compound and produces a bang. So for the next 30 seconds, the air was filled with paper planes. Coz I was sitting at the front, some of them hit me instead of the boxes. One of them did go bang, though. The others didn’t.

I would not want to be the janitor at the end...

You need a plane that can hit its target for this, so I couldn’t show off my amazing fancy special turbo airplane that can spin around and come back at you, he he. Oh well, some other time, I guess.

Yaz, Paper Master (if you don’t get this, go watch Read or Die)

Saturday, May 20, 2006


We all know how stressful exams can be. Therefore, in order to keep students sane and stop them from tearing their hairs out, the chaplains of Trinity College has provided a massage service. No, not from them (can you imagine how ridiculous it would be if chaplains start massaging people) but from a professional therapist. Obviously this will be in high demand so there’s a sign down sheet for it. But still, a free massage…wow!

Apart from that, they’ve also decided to give free doughnuts to students at the library (every day if I’m not mistaken) at two o’ clock. Yay!! Repeat after me…mmmmm, doughnuts (Homer Simpson style).

I went to the library at one minute past two yesterday because I have cravings for those doughnuts but they were all gone! And I was just one minute late!

Nooooo, me wants me doouughnuts!!!

Yaz is hungry. Not good.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Can’t think of a title


Just finished my physics lecture a few minutes ago. According to the schedule, we’ll have two more next week, but technically, this one’s the last one of those that will be asked in the exam. The next two will be on non-examinable material, so they’re kinda optional. We’ll be learning cosmology, and as the lecturer put it, “Next time we’ll cover the whole history of the universe in one lecture.” Is it just me or that is kinda funny?

Guess I’ll be saying goodbye to physics and chemistry since I’m starting chemical engineering next year. I would rather continue with natural sciences, but then nobody’s gonna give you a scholarship just to be a scientist (at least in my case). A friend asked me just now, can’t you not do chem. eng. but stick to nat. sci? I think my Materials Sciences lecturer/supervisor was also dropping not so subtle hints on how she would like me to continue with my subjects. Oh well, sorry guys (or girls, to be pedantic) but it’s a no go.

I’m getting kinda scared. Probably because my friends are turning into politicians, or at least political commentators. Eeurgh, politics…nasty.


Just kidding about the politician bit. Well, it does scare me a little, but I’m more scared about what my friend said the other day, that to get a first (top ten percent) you have to go against all these nerds and super nerds and ultra-geniuses that you’ll probably don’t have a chance. I’m targeting 2-1 now, looks like a more reasonable aim, doesn’t it?

On that note, the room privilege that goes with being a first only applies in the third year. I already know where my room is next year. Got a nice one (I was lucky with the ballot) which probably is nicer than the one I’m in now.

Well, there’s my rambling of the week. I was writing this on my laptop while occasionally staring out the window, watching the weather turned from windy to bright to a drizzle to sunny to a drizzle again… all in ten minutes. Half the time I don’t know what I’m actually writing but hey, it’s my blog.

Think I should rename it “The annals of insanity”?

P.S. To Keste: Oxford?? What’s that? Never heard of it. Can it be eaten?


*sigh* don’t mind me…


Thursday, May 18, 2006


Just one more week of lecture, yay!

I woke up at half past one last Sunday morning. Not being able to go back to sleep, I studied chemistry for two hours. Somehow it seems to roll over until today. I think my biological clock went haywire for a bit, and then it adjusted itself, much like a jet-lag. So now I woke up at five and went to sleep at eleven. It’s like my day being shifted a few hours early. Probably a good thing though. I was never able to study at night anyway.

Oh well, undoubtedly I’ll be very busy for the next couple of weeks. My exam’s in mid June, and there are only five papers, so it’s not that overwhelming really. Some people here are targeting a 2-1, which, they reasoned, is good enough since it’s comparable to a first class anywhere else. At least, that’s what they say. I’m not getting my hopes up high (somehow I have a habit of saying this for things I really want) but I’d love to get a first, cause then I can get the nice room in college. Well, you need something to motivate yourself, right? Repeat to self: nice room…nice room…nice plush room...


Monday, May 15, 2006

Cambridge pastime?!

Trinity College has this society called the “Magpie and Stump”. It’s basically a debating society, and they organised a debate almost every Sunday for people in Trinity to watch. The twist is that the motions are humorous and absurd, and it’s more of a hilariously comical debate that anything. Guess what this week’s motion is? “This house believes that breast is best”. Perverted? Probably. Ha ha. And to think that people wonder what Cambridge students do in their free time.

I didn’t get to see it yesterday cause I’ve been busy. Hmmmmm…is that a good or a bad thing?

Friday, May 12, 2006


I guess the general consensus is that scientists don’t have a sense of humour. Or they do, but it’s all in-jokes and obscure references that you need to study at least 4 years of physics to actually understand what the punch line really is. I remembered cracking a joke in maths class about differentiating ex. There was silence for about 5 seconds. Then somebody said, “Is that a joke?”

(In case anybody from Atlantic College is reading this, I was also the culprit who wrote about the horse having infinite number of legs on the blackboard, although Irene, my former maths teacher should have guessed. But that was too good a joke to just let pass)

Anyway, when I learnt quantum mechanics some time ago, I got this sort of epiphany because I finally understand one particular joke that I’ve heard. I’m pretty sure most of you will have heard it coz it’s really famous. It’s on how to measure the height of a building using a barometer. There is the original joke, but I’ve found this science joke website a couple of years ago where people just keep adding solutions to the original joke. There’s one about throwing the barometer from the basement and measuring the probability of it being able to quantum tunnel to the top. And then I learnt quantum mechanics, and suddenly it all clicked.

Anyway, if you’re into science jokes, or just want to see what sad bunch of people scientists are, hehe, then just check the website (or alternatively just type ‘science joke’ in google). Then you can either double up in bubbling laughter or shook your head sympathetically. Enjoy!

Here is a version of the original barometer joke for your perusal : ]

There's the Physics student who got the following question in an exam:

"You are given an accurate barometer, how would you use it to determine the height of a skyscraper ?"

1: He answered: "Go to the top floor, tie a long piece of string to the barometer, let it down 'till it touches the ground and measure the length of the string".

The examiner wasn't satisfied, so they decided to interview the guy:

"Can you give us another method, one which demonstrates your knowledge of Physics ?"

2: "Sure, go to the top floor, drop the barometer off, and measure how long before it hits the ground......"

"Not, quite what we wanted, care to try again ?"

3: "Make a pendulum of the barometer, measure its period at the bottom, then measure its period at the top......"

"..another try ?...."

4: "Measure the length of the barometer, then mount it vertically on the ground on a sunny day and measure its shadow, measure the shadow of the skyscraper....."

"....and again ?...."

5: "walk up the stairs and use the barometer as a ruler to measure the height of the walls in the stairwells."

"...One more try ?"

6: "Find where the janitor lives, knock on his door and say 'Please, Mr Janitor, if I give you this nice Barometer, will you tell me the height of this building ?"

Yaz, whose trying to be cheeky...unsuccessfully.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Punting anyone?

My junior from Atlantic College sent me an SMS the other day asking if he can visit Cambridge before going back to Malaysia. Seeing that I will have exams on the 9th and a trip to Hungary straight after that, I told him I’ll be busy. He’s persistent, though, and being the kind-hearted bloke that I am, I think I ended up agreeing to it, heh heh. Oh well, I guess a weekend distraction a week before your exams will not hurt…much.

I just found out that besides the punts owned by the punting companies, Trinity College also has its own punts that I can hire. Guess what the price is? One pound per hour! Gosh, that’s like, one of the cheapest things ever. For those who don’t know, punts are these boat-like things that you steer using long wooden poles instead of an oar. It’s the main activity that goes along River Cam.

With the weather being ‘summer-like’, amateur punters have sprouted out of nowhere. Sometimes, when I stop by the bridge, it’s really amusing to see these people who obviously have no idea how to punt try and go about it. By these people, I mean Brits, coz the Asian tourists all go on the guided tour punts, with tour guides and everything.

Ooooooooo, punting traffic jam!

Sheesh, it's punting, not a tightrope balancing act.

There's this punt that passes under the bridge. Somehow, the pole got stuck at the bridge and they have to paddle to get it back.

On a side note, you don't really have to use the paddle. It's just there for emergency precautions.

So yeah, when my junior comes, I’ll definitely hire one of those punts coz I never steered one of those things before. I’ve been punting, but only on the guided tour ones (paid about £10 for that). On that note, I now feel deeply obliged to apologise to Keste for not noticing this earlier, hehe. O’ Keste, forgive my humble and unworthy self. Also, apologies for not realising that as a Cambridge student, I can enter any of the colleges for free. Please don’t kill me. Of course, if you want you can always visit Cambridge again : ]

Yaz, the ecstatic punter-wannabe.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Update on the weather

Regarding my last post, being the guilty conscious git that I am, I feel obliged to state that Cambridge has moved on from its abysmal weather to a much sunnier spell. In fact, last Thursday was the hottest day that I've ever experienced in the UK. Kinda makes me wish I'm in Atlantic College again where the sunniness is always accompanied by a gust of chilling breeze from the sea.

The exam pressure has started to take a toll on us all. While the chronic exam symptoms hasn't yet appear (symptoms like grumpiness, crankyness and erratic and radical change of attitude for some people), the exam hung like a distant thunderstorm cloud on the horizon. I hope I'll do well on this one. It'll probably take a heck of an effort to compete with these eggheads over here, but I really really want to get first class. If you get first class, you'll get the Scholar title, and then you'll have all these special privileges like being moved up on the room ballot. That way, you can pick all these nice spacious rooms with showers and all and live the entire year in your own plush private space... *dreamy sigh*

Every weekend I go to this friend's room for the weekly cookout, and since Trinity College doesn't allow p2p or torrents, I always bring my computer there and freeload on the wireless internet connection that I found there. This is the time when I download all my stuffs through limewire and torrents. However, for the past few weeks, I haven't been able to connect to the network. It's still there, open network and all but it's like I've been banned from connecting to it. Noooooooo!! How will I ever be able to watch movies again????

It's times like this when I really wish I'm an uber computer hacker. Sigh...


Monday, May 01, 2006

A collection of random events

It's April, and it's the time of year when the flowers bloom and sun shines...NOT!

I was getting used to the fact that everyday I will be woken up not by my alarm clock but by this ray of blinding sunshine that penetrates my curtains at half past six every morning. Guess that's what happened when your bedroom faces east. Not today, though. It was really chilly and gloomy and there's this heavy drizzle going on. Nothing better than to be greeted by the wet and cold in the morning, isn't it?

I went to breakfast anyway as I have this new term resolution of having a healthy lifestyle, or maybe it's just due to the fact that I realised that it's about as cheap as buying a sandwich in the department just before lecture. During breakfast, I met this guy who is in my tutor group but whom I never talked to until now. Turned out to be quite a cool person really. Slightly surprised that he can tell that I'm a Malaysian (he's a Dutch/Frenchman). He told me that that's because there were about 30 M'sians in his previous school (I'm not aware that there are that many there. Illegal immigrants?). Anyway, that's better than my neighbour across the corridor who doesn't know where Malaysia or Singapore is. I think he told me that he once thought India is in Africa. Yeah, in the Paleozoic era maybe. Not belittling him or anything, he's a nice guy, just not adept enough in geography.

Got my exam timetable. Turned out that mine will be on the last week of full term. Just great...I'll be having exams while other people are finished with theirs and are partying and laughing and dancing and singing like crazy. It's like the IB all over again.

There you go, a collection of random things for the sake of updating. Just to add to the randomness, Cambridge has this May funfair thing going on. Today's the last day and I might go there for a while after this since I missed the toffee apples and cotton candy.

Mmmmmmmm, cotton candyyyy!