Fresher’s Week – Part Three

By Sunday I’d caught Fresher’s Anthrax – a little like Fresher’s Flu but, as Kit reports, just that little bit more lethal. Hell: it was enough to make me bed-bound for a good few hours during the day, and that takes something. I blame lack of vitamins… I haven’t yet replaced my “litre of orange juice a day” I typically have at the office while I’m working full-time since returning to full-time education.

I’ve sat in on a few of Claire and Paul‘s lectures this first week. It’s amazing – as you study, you don’t realise how much you’ve learned until you really look back. I’ve also particularly enjoyed hearing Mark Ratcliffe, a lecturer in the department who primarily deals exclusively with the first year, teach again – his style is quite unusual and remarkable: eccentric, involving, comprehensive. Very impressive: I’d forgotten how good he was.

My friend Faye has launched her new personal web site, which kind-of confused me because I was under the impression that she was moving to a URL she asked to host with me. No matter, but I wonder why she changed her mind. In any case, go visit or don’t as you please.

Note to self: I need to find a supervisor for my proposed final year project – part of my dissertation – by Friday.

Fresher’s Week – Part Two

I’ve registered for modules this year which better than last year reflect my individual interests within my field – an emphasis on telecommunications and the internet and on software engineering practice, and away from artificial intelligence and from hardware-layer stuff. Some of my new modules – many of which were not available as courses last year – look quite stimulating.

As the end of the week approached I helped Nightline to lay their new carpet – the benefit to the organisation that the money we raised by selling hot dogs – in their office. This involved first removing their old carpet, laying it out on the road, and using it as a stencil for the new one, such that the new one fit almost exactly before we began to stick it down (an important consideration when laying flooring in a room no larger than 11 by 11 feet). I made hats for us all out of the offcuts of the carpet and masking tape.

Saturday Night’s Troma Night saw Liz bringing a date along, Rob (or was it Bob?), who we managed to scare off before the opening credits of the first film had finished rolling or any pizza had been consumed. Apparently all is well, though.

Aberystwyth’s first sex shop, part of the Little Amsterdam chain, is due for it’s delayed opening on Wednesday. I’m arranging for a party to go and visit on it’s opening day to applaud it on it’s success over the efforts of many members of the council, and for it’s manager’s success so far in court in another (possibly related) case.

Update: 25 October 2017 – fixed a minor spelling mistake.

Fresher’s Week – Part One

And I wasn’t all the things;
I tried to make believe I was.
And I wouldn’t be the one to kneel,
Before the dreams I wanted.
And all the talk and all the lies;
Were all the empty things disguised as me.

– “Sympathy”, The Goo Goo Dolls

The first half of Fresher’s Week I spent with Kit, Claire and the gang, selling hot dogs at the Fresher’s Fayre – an annual event at which the societies, sports clubs, and some independent businesses, make their presence known to all the new intake of students. The profits from these hot dog sales were donated to the Nightline here in Aberystwyth – a volunteer run student listening and information line.

Unfortunatley the powers that be thought otherwise of our plan, and as we set up stand on our second day – having just acquired a heap of new, fresh stock – we were told (by proxy) that the owners of the hall in which the event takes place were no longer happy with us selling food on the premises, as we had “left a mess on the previous day” (in actual fact, we’d merely left our equipment out, as we had been instructed to).

Nevertheless: with many phone calls and a lot of chasing around we were able to acquire a cheap 3Kw petrol generator, a bench, and extra gear, and by lunchtime we had a new stand – out in the car park (under somebody else’s jurisdiction). Quite impressively we still managed to make a profit – a benefitial donation to a most valuable organisation.

As if the fun weren’t enough, both Claire’s and my records – by an amazing coincidence – got mixed up by the Department of Computer Science, and neither of us were able to register for our courses in the usual manner, and instead spent the best part of a day chasing academics around the campuses, collecting signatures. Insanity.

It feels good to be back – properly – in academia again.