Monday, October 30, 2006

Ze vampirez are coming

Happy halloween!

In the spirit of Halloween (or rather, despite the spirit of Halloween), I’m linking an article I found on Digg the other day about vampires. You can read it here.

It’s very interesting, considering how simple the maths involved really is. Of course, to make it more complicated, you can imagine that a certain number of vampire victims are ‘sucked dry’ and died instead of becoming a vampire. Wanna try and work out the maths for that one?

While you’re on the Livescience website, you might also want to check out the popular myths section. I was surprised myself at a few of the myths, which I always thought somehow or rather were true.


Saturday, October 28, 2006

Remember ‘Where’s Wally’?

Just came back from London for the PETRONAS open house today. A bit knackered but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially when meeting new first years from AC. They were really friendly and, even though I don’t know how to react sometimes when they referred to me as ‘the Yazid’, I quickly warmed up to them.

Remember ‘Where’s Wally’? It’s a cartoon I watched when I was a little kid when you have to spot this Wally guy in a picture full of people. Funny how I can still remember these kinds of things. How old was I at that time… eight? Seven? Probably a bit younger. Anyway, I was walking through Borders on my way back to college and I saw this:



Friday, October 27, 2006

First match

Our beginner’s team had our first match today against two local teams. To tell the truth, it’s not so much a match as it is a friendly game. We played until 15 minutes is up for a set instead of until 25 points since we booked the sports hall for exactly two hours. You do the maths. Anyway, only five people from our team showed up initially so we had to play at a disadvantage for the first set. Then we got hold of some random guy to make up six players. The other teams were alright. I think we lost a few times to them, although not by much. Bear in mind that we (the beginners team) only had two practice sessions so far. Oh well... all in all, it was a good experience. There should be two more events like this this term so I’m looking forward to it.

Might just be nostalgic bias on my part but I can’t help feeling that MC 2002 volleyball team (from back then) is able to trash them if they were to fight. Oh, the good ol’ times, he he he.


Friend Game

Ooooo, oooo!! This is so cool. I was just checking out the Facebook blog and I realised they have created a feature called the Friend Game. It’s like a quiz where they test your knowledge about your friends.

This will keep me busy for a while…

See ya!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

A tax quote

It’s been a year or so since I did economics in the IB. Wasn’t particularly fond of it, though I did manage to get a seven, probably something my teacher didn’t expect. In any case, we started learning the economics aspects of chemical engineering today and I don’t know why but I just found this quote by the judicial giant, Lord Clyde fascinating:

“No man in this country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or to his property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel into his stores. The Inland Revenue is not slow – and quite rightly – to take every advantage which is open to it under the taxing statutes for the purpose of depleting the taxpayer’s pocket. And the taxpayer is, in like manner, entitled to be astute to prevent, so far as he honestly can, the depletion of his means by the Revenue”.

This basically means that the tax-collecting body can – and has a right to – extract as much tax money as possible from people. Similarly, a person can use means to make sure he pays the least amount of tax possible. It doesn’t matter as long as it is within the law. Somehow I kept imagining in my mind a battle of wit between two parties: each trying to use loopholes and opportunities to get the tax to be the amount that they want. Pretty interesting.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The TV license people are stalking me

Received a letter from the TV license people. Unlike so many other things or announcements where you don’t have to do anything when it doesn’t concern you, in this case if I don’t have a TV I have to call/ write them and wait for them to contact me to confirm it. Otherwise, further investigations will not stop. Gee, make that more bloody difficult, will you?

*peeks behind shoulder* …nope, no TV license people in sight…

Can't help but feeling like a Big Brother kind of thing...


Good timing!

I checked my pigeon hole on Tuesday morning and what do you know… an eid greeting card from Australia! Apart from some text messages, e-mails and blog eid greetings (which I really appreciate), this is the only card that I’ve received this year. Thanks Farouk! The fact that it’s there Tuesday morning means that it must have arrived on Monday, the 1st day of eid. Cool!


P.S I would love to reply it back… if you remembered to include a return address =p

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Great Court run

The run is a special event for freshers where they can run around the Great Court of Trinity at 12 noon and try to complete it before the clock stops chiming. This year, the event was held yesterday. I missed this last year, so I’m making up for it by taking pictures and all…

There are prizes for the first place, as well as prizes for the most fancy-dressed person, so you can see people wearing all sorts of things while running. A few people completed the run but I don’t think anybody this year managed to break the record.

The race starts whe the clock strucks noon

First years getting ready

Started running, run...

Can a caterpillar beat humans in a race?

...caterpillar again...

The run was actually quite short. I didn't stay long so I don't know who got the awards. Oh well...


Scholars Admission Ceremony

It’s long overdue, so I guess I’m going to write something about it. But first, introduction: I got to be a Junior Scholar because I got a first in the exams. I can lose this next year if I don’t get a first again. To be a Senior Scholar, on the other hand, there are two alternatives. You can either get into the top 5 in the university (in your course and your year), which two friends of mine had done though it’s fiendishly difficult, or you can get a first two years in a row, which I’m aiming for.

There’s nothing much to the ceremony, actually. We had to dress up a bit (well, a lot; I finally learnt how to wear a clip-on bow tie, heh heh) and stand in the chapel waiting for our names to be announced. Then, the Master of the college said “By the authority given to me, I admit you as a Senior/Junior Scholar” or something like that. We then shake hands with the Master and made our way to the Master’s Lodge where we had cheesesticks and drinks. I don’t know what the significance is but it’s sort of a tradition where they serve you cheesesticks in the Lodge. I had this last year as well when the freshers were invited for a drink with the Master.

I went to the Jesus Christ iftar after that wearing my ceremonial attire. I felt proud =)

I’m sure there’s a patch of grass somewhere that only scholars and fellows can walk on, sort of like a special privilege, but I can’t tell precisely where yet.

This is the book that they gave us after the ceremony. Click on the picture. Notice anything odd about it?

Did you notice it?

Apparently, it’s actually correct grammatically. I don’t really have a proper explanation for it yet, so I won’t even try. But it’s interesting that we learnt these sorts of things in Cambridge. Last year, I learnt that the correct word for typesetting is actually fount. Then Microsoft (or whoever it was) changes it to font but some of the professors here still use fount and font is considered a spelling error, unless, the professor said, “…you can produce a valid American passport”. I thought that was funny.


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I can walk again

After two whole days of pain-in-the-legs, I can finally walk again. Well, maybe not up to the point of running and skipping around gayly, but still, I finally managed to walk up a staircase without wincing every second. Yesterday was torture, having to walk to class and climb up to the second floor where my lecture room is. I hope I'll be better by next Saturday coz I'm sure planning to play volleyball again.

Just finish my fluid mechanics lab report. A big difference between this year and the last is that we now can finish our reports out of the lab, instead of writing it all in the space of a few hours in the lab. I realised that my results are out by a few order of magnitudes, and that I can't go back to the lab again to recheck the equipments. Well, as they say, no matter how horribly wrong the experiment turned out to be, as long as you can justify why it went wrong in the report, you'll be fine. That's exactly what I did. I sorta blamed the equipments and the lab manual for not being precise and clear, he he. Hey, it's my marks that's on the line here!

I figured out what a band is. It is worn on the collar and it looks like this:

In other news, I got a shock when I found an e-mail in my inbox inviting me to the Jesus Christ iftar(breaking of fast) on Saturday. It turns out that it's actually organised by the Muslims in the Jesus College and Christ College. Ha ha, that was hilarious!


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bow tie and volleyball

It turns out that the Scholars can’t be Scholars without a proper inauguration ceremony. Therefore, we will be having one this Friday in the Trinity College chapel. The event has a strict dress code, though, so I have to prepare these items: a dark suit, white collared shirt, white bow tie, white bands (what the heck is a band, anyway?), black shoes and the college gown. Gosh, they sure are fussy about what we wear, aren’t they? I don’t have a white shirt and I left my shoes at home, so I went shopping yesterday. Got most of the items, plus a few totally unrelated things. I didn’t buy any shirts yet since they have numbers like 39 and 44 for the sizes instead of letters like S or M and they’re all plastic-wrapped, so I can’t try them.

My first white tie event… I’m excited!!!

I went to the first beginner’s volleyball session at the Kelsey Kerridge Sports Hall just next to the swimming pool. It’s a bit of a hassle because you have to pay £1 every time you want to enter the hall. Still, I had a lot of fun. Once you get pumped up, the people didn’t seem as intimidating as when you saw them at first. I guess I did well, probably because it’s not the first and second team sessions where I’m sure I’ll be spiked to death or something. We’ll meet every Saturday from now on, and there are chances of entering competitions with other universities as well.

The aftermath: I'm sore all over. I can't even walk properly!!

Right now I’m listening to defying Gravity from the musical ‘Wicked’. I saw a video on youtube about somebody playing this song on the piano. I wish I can play it like that.

Add to list ‘Things to do before I die’: Learn to play the piano.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Money matters

We had a break in lecture yesterday in which somebody asked the lecturer what his salary is. Naturally, he did not give a straightforward answer. He did mention, though, that it is enough to go by, but probably not enough to satisfy those who are looking for big bucks. Somebody else mentioned that the average starting salary for people like us is probably around £20,000. I’ve heard this figure before, but suddenly it got me thinking about it. Assuming an (extremely low) exchange rate of 6.5, that will be more than RM 10,000 a month. Gosh!

Then I stopped thinking about it because it’s one of those things that make you more depressed the more you give them some thought.

If I say “Don’t think of a pink rhinoceros!” will you not think about it?

I guess being a sponsored student like me means you are getting the average of the deal. In one hand, you receive a more expensive education than most of your peers are getting but you’re paying it in the same way as them. Viewed like this, you win. On the other hand, if you’re good enough, you still won’t be reaping the full potential of your reward, as in you earn less than what you can potentially get i.e. like the situation above.

Of course, without sponsorship I can’t go overseas in the first place, so it’s sort of a moot point.

Found this t-shirt design on the internet. Pity I can’t buy it.

It’s entering the second week of term. I think I need to get used to using the library. Last time I read an old book there, I only lasted twenty minutes.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Books and stuffs

There is a group of shelves in Borders where they usually display the current bestsellers, which is one of my favourite spots in the store. As of now, however, they are filling those shelves with new books for autumn. One of them caught my eye…

Yay, the third book in the Tiffany Aching series of Discworld! I’m gonna wait until the paperback comes out and buy it. Definitely.

Speaking of Discworld, I also saw this in Heffers the other day. Funny how I didn’t notice it in Borders or Waterstones. And since I already have a journal, I don’t know if I’m actually gonna be using it to keep track of things or not. Still, I’ll probably gonna buy it anyway. Nothing wrong in owning a wacky journal once in a while.

Ahhh, the must-have of a chemical engineer. I would also love to have this book, but not in the conventional sense. The book costs about £40 but our lecturer said the other day that BP (if I don’t mix companies up, they are sponsoring an awful lot of things in the department) will give the book for free to each student that gets a first or two-one in the final exam. Gee, companies really do want us Cambridge students that badly huh? I feel appreciated!!

I just discovered that my room has an electric fireplace. Cool! Now I can sit and warm my toes on cold nights while drinking hot chocolate.

Is the above description romantic, homely or is it just cheesy?

I found out that the guy whom I always eat lunch and dinner with is the top student in Cambridge in my year for maths. Huwooooo!!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Welcome to my (new) life

As of today, I’m hereby declaring myself a brand new chemical engineering student. Actually it was really yesterday, but officially term starts today. I don’t quite yet know how this chapter of my life is going to turn out to be, after breaking away from a 5 year routine of physics, chemistry and maths. Not that it’ll be totally different, but it won’t be quite the same either. Guess I’m just a bit sentimental when it comes to these things.

We had an introductory lecture yesterday, in which there was an Exxonmobil talk, sort of, and they gave us freebies like pens, some databooks and a Frisbee. In the evening I attended a party (again, sort of) sponsored by Exxonmobil and we had free pizzas and drinks and just generally mingled around. I felt a bit guilty going to these sort of things because I’m really from a competing company, he he. But, oh well…

The Fresher’s Fair was held yesterday as well. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s where societies set up stall so people can join and sign up. I was spotted by the Malaysian Society people and ended up having to register with them after getting away for a year. No more escaping work for me then.

There was a Trampoline Club but unlike a certain person *ahem* I’m not that desperate to join yet. Highlight of my day was when I noticed the Volleyball Club counter. Yay! Have been searching for this for ages. Finally, a sport that I can play.

On a random note, so far, my neighbour, my lab partners and all but one of my supervision partners are not white. Has this place become more internationalised than I like to think?


Monday, October 02, 2006

I caught a shiny!!

After living with barely minimal necessities for four days, I finally gathered enough willpower to stop slouching around and start transferring my stuffs from the storage room into my new abode. I recruited the help of a friend (thanks, Ubaid!) and a trolley, which is still no easy feat since we had to carry more than half a dozen boxes practically across the college, crossing a few roads and ramps. It didn’t help matters when our trolley almost hit a visitor along the way. Still, we finished our task, unpacked, and now I don’t know what to do with the empty boxes strewn in my room.

Just because I miss it so much (and really, who says you need a reason to), I’m putting some pictures of Cambridge that I took around my place.

My room, the one on the first floor

Isn’t it beautiful? Heh heh.

I caught a shiny shuppet yesterday, woot woot!! Just thought to put that in.