Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Sport, sport luverly sport

Listening to: banter on Radio 1

We've drawn the test series (mainly due to England's inability to keep victory/the cricket ball from slipping through their hands) and won the ODI series without breaking too much of a sweat. Two left to go...care for a whitewash, anyone? Apparently they've brought in Vikram Solanki for the rest of the series. Fair enough, I guess, considering that KP and Collingwood are limping around or something...but IMO all the batsmen in the world can't back up such wayward bowling. If they sort out Mahmood and Plunkett, KP won't have to score at least 50 in every match for them to have a fighting chance. I guess it's a blessing that Duncan Fletcher doesn't read my blog (I think) :D.

That said, we've got our own problems to sort out...but as long as Mahela and the gang can cover up the potholes with some superb individual performances, no one will realise that we've got a long way to go before West Indies next year and we'll go there and fail miserably again. GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER, GUYS!!!

So England are through to the Quarters. Some people say the performance was lackluster, some say it was solid. I don't know 'cos I didn't watch. But here's what I think...the winning team has to deserve to win...and if even one person thinks that England's performances are mediocre, they do not deserve to win.

Yay!!! My second favourite sport in the whole world :D. As expected, it rained on the first day of Wimbledon, while it was relatively dry everywhere else in London (I think)...I swear English weather is the worst thing about this country (or maybe it's the food). I usually support the underdogs in sports that Sri Lanka doesn't feature, but not in tennis...c'mon Roger Federer! Although it would be A-M-A-Z-I-N-G to see Agassi kick his ass before retiring. OK I've changed my mind...Agassi! Agassi! Agassi! :D.

OK meeting with my would-be Cam supervisor in 45mins...now might be a good time to go get ready. Oh and I'm drinking white coffee again...bring on the milk, baby!!! And my parents are currently in transit at Abu Dhabi en route to Heathrow...could today get any better? :D.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Cockles and Mussels

Listening to: 'Is It Any Wonder?' by Keane [Under the Iron Sea]

Yeah so the mussels have kinda ruined my weekend. I'm having strange cravings - I can't have anything with milk in it, but I get excited at the thought of eating rice...and muffins (not at the same time, thankfully). Very strange, I know. I think I want some grapes now. Hmm...

Other than that, life is good. Went punting yesterday with the old college crowd...nothing much has changed...it felt nice. Then watched the highlights of the 3rd ODI, followed by the Argentina v. Mexico game. Apparently England are 1-0 v. Ecuador. I think I've mentioned before that I'm not that into footie, but it's a bit difficult to avoid it when living in England! It would be nice if England go through, but I'm not really fussed. As long as we thrash them in the cricket, I'm happy :D.

Oh and I can't get that nonsensical Brittany Murphy single out of my head. Well it's not by her, but she's singing on the track. I don't even like that kind of music. Radio 1 pleeeeeeease stop playing it...you're brainwashing me!!!

Hmm now where were those grapes...?

Friday, June 23, 2006

What are parents for, eh?

Listening to: nothing (yet)

Just got off the phone (well, MSN video) with my parents. It's amazing how the words "what is this nonsense? grow up men!" can knock sense into the thickest of skulls (i.e. mine). I'm no longer droopy about my grades...it's now a case of "if I didn't deserve a 2.1, they wouldn't have given me one...so I must've deserved it". I can still recite the course backwards (not really, but I can give it a shot) so it's just that my question-answering technique is a bit shit. But who cares...I'm never gonna have a written paper ever again!

So yes, I've cheered up. I was to go to Norwich tomorrow to see some old teachers, but I'm gonna call them now and cancel 'cos my stomach doesn't seem to be able to manage anything more than cream crackers. Bloody mussels. Maybe it's like a revenge mechanism - "eat me and I'll take you down".

Anyway, thanks to the luck that Cambridge undergrads always hope for, I've scraped through and made the required grade...now all that's left is to show that I am worthy of the "Dr." I'm aiming for.

Also, good luck South Korea!!! Please please please go through to the knock-out stage. I don't really care about any of the other teams.

And it all comes crashing down

Listening to: 'In the Morning' by Razorlight [-]

Remember I wanted to see how I had done (i.e. in the class list)? Well I found out...and now I wish I hadn't. The term "scraping a 2.1" never had more meaning. I guess there goes my funding. So Venus, to answer your question...it doesn't mean I'll be in Cambridge. The conditions for the Cambridge offer were twofold:
1) get a 2.1
2) show us that you have £66,000 in the form of liquid assets and/or loans.
The first condition I just managed to satisfy. The second, well I can't satisfy that, period. If I received Commonwealth Trust funding it might be possible, but considering the sorry state of my breakdown, I doubt I'll get even a penny. As for UCL...hopefully they won't take the value of my 2.1 into consideration. Otherwise I'm totally screwed, and worse, my parents will be mortified.

Add that to the fact that yesterday's mussels haven't been treating my digestive system well, and today is one shitty day.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Spot the Sachin!

Listening to: 'I Can't Make You Love Me' by George Michael [Ladies & Gentlemen]

As promised, here is a photo of the Maestro himself, being 'shipped' back to the dressing room by security guards, while we stood by screaming his name :D. BTW I wasn't using the zoom.155 in 119 balls, with 25 fours and 3 sixes - pure and utter joy. I think I'm more elated about seeing him than I am about getting my results :D.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

News just in...

Listening to: nothing

Results are out. Yours truly has got a 2.i again, which means I'm all set for my PhD. They haven't put the breakdown online yet, but I imagine it'll be out soon. Either that or I'll find out on Friday. For now, it doesn't matter where I am in the class list...the fact that I've got what I needed is the main thing. A total of 16 out of 22 got 2.i's, which I think is amazing...only 3 got firsts.

I'm at Shorty's place at the moment so probably shouldn't waste time blogging. Will update when I know more about my breakdown.

Until then, I'm off to London tomorrow to get my Indian visa and chat with people from UCL. And maybe we'll go clubbing tomorrow night once I get back...*fingers crossed*.

Oh yeah in other news, I saw Sachin...like really close...I have photos but as I'm not at my computer, I haven't been able to upload. Will post a few later. Cambridge is such a happening place where cricket is concerned.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

PseudoRandom is an evil Babushka doll

Listening to: 'Barely Breathing' by Duncan Sheik [Barely Breathing]

The Museum of Communism in Prague has a very interesting advertisement, as displayed here. For some reason, I found the 'Vampire Babushka' doll quite endearing. Even more worrying, she reminded me of myself: traditional and essentially 'correct', but (or possibly therefore) bloody scary. I'm known to be quite snappy at times, and the explosions are almost always due to others not living up to my lofty principles (this has been discussed ad nauseam in previous posts).

I've always had this theory that anyone who becomes a good friend of mine is bloody brave (and crazy). I guess this impression has been fuelled by many people telling me (for example)
When I first saw you, I thought you were very proud.
At first you were scary and I didn't like you, but I guess now you're OK.
So basically, if my 'monster' exterior hasn't put you off after the first few meetings, congratulations! But then, my close friends would probably agree that my interior is as soft as a marshmallow. So essentially, that makes me some sort of Halloween sweet (?!).

This is a random post, I know...but I just wanted to show the similarity between Ms Babushka here and myself. Oh and apparently 'Babushka' means Grandmother in Russian...and apparently, I have a knack for mothering people...another coincidence? Maybe.

"Hi I'm PseudoRandom, and I'm an evil Babushka doll" - has a nice right to it, don't you think?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

I'm back!

Listening to: 'Art of War' by Vanessa-Mae (Sergei Prokofiev) [Best of Vanessa-Mae]

Flew in last evening. Wow, what a trip. I have to say, Prague isn't the most amazing city I've ever been to (Rome, Florence and Barcelona are way cooler), but it is up there with the best. It is also one of the cheapest - the whole trip (6 days), including travel from college to the coach station and back, cost less than £250...beat that! Luckily my visa was free...the Czech Embassy in London seems to like Sri Lankans for some reason. And of course how could a trip with two of my bestest friends on the planet not be amazing?!?!?!

So yeah, here are the highlights. If you're planning on visiting Prague, make a note of these. It helps if you're a student and have a student card - there are opportunities to get major discounts on touristy entrance tickets. That said, if you go converting stuff into Sterling, you're gonna be laughing your ass off the entire time...stuff is dirt cheap (e.g.-7 day travelcard for £7).

Prague Castle:
The main castle in Prague, seat of the Czech kings during the Middle Ages...I won't bore you with the Lonely Planet description, just Google :D! It's also a popular concert venue, so you might wanna time your trip accordingly.

Old Town:
It has a funky Astronomical Clock, which you can read about here. These days, the highlight is a big screen for World Cup matches.

Jewish Quarter:
There are lots of Synagogues in Prague...I had never been to one and I'm not too clueful about Jewish culture, so I found this quite enlightening. I found the Pinkas Synagogue quite a sobering experience.

Karlštejn is about a half hour by train from Prague, and home to a castle (bearing the same name) that houses the crown jewels (which we didn't get to see, unfortunately). It's not as fairytale-like as those commissioned by Bavaria's mad King Ludwig, but it's still quite picturesque.

Kutná Hora:
A quaint town about an hour by train from Prague, and once home to the deepest silver mine in Europe. Apparently the silver trade made town very rich (in the 15th century), but they had dug out all the silver by the 16th century, reducing the town to...nothingness: a perfect example of unsustainable industry! Now it has a funky Silver Museum and a beautiful Gothic cathedral dedicated to St. Barbara, the patron saint of miners. The town was hit by the deadly Plague, and one of the results was the Sedlec Ossuary - eerie, but amazing. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There's a lot of other stuff to see, like Loreta, Petrin Hill and Vyšehrad, but the ones I mentioned were the ones that I liked the most. I also saw Antonín Dvořák's tomb at Vyšehrad, and learnt that Albert Einstein and Franz Kafka were thick buddies. I also found out that Johannes Kepler discovered two of his Laws of Planetary Motion while in Prague. Oh and I saw a century-old telescope used to observe solar activity...and it still works! The Philosophical Library and Theological Library of the Strahov Monastery (on Petrin Hill) were also quite cool.

We took lots of photos (about 500 between the three of us), although admittedly quite a few of them are a bit random - I swear Bang Bang is in love with her feet! I still haven't seen all the pics myself, but will hopefully venture onto Flickr once I've sorted all mine out...it'll be easier than posting everything here.

The 'girly trip' aspect was covered too - I've giggled more in the past week than I've done all year! We came to the conclusion that Czechs are very pleasing on the eye, especially those of the male variety. However, it's a tad difficult to see a guy's face when his tongue is down his girlfriend's throat. Oh well, they still qualify for eye candy (i.e. not when they're busy snogging)! We didn't shop, mainly 'cos we're perpetually broke students and also 'cos we were too busy sight-seeing (or sleeping).

There are loads of lovely memories from Prague, including lazing on the grass at the Royal Palace Gardens, singing on the train from
Karlštejn to Prague, and scaring the poor Americans who had to share a room with us - I don't think they'd met such giggly students in a while! All in all, a wonderful week with wonderful people in a wonderful city.

BTW commiserations to the Czech team for losing to Ghana (!!) - poor Petr Cech must be distraught! Oh and way to go South Korea for forcing a draw with France! I'm not really into footie, but seeing as one of my closest friends is South Korean, I can't really cheer for anyone else :D. Too bad Cha Du-Ri's not playing...he's cute ;-). As for the cricket...well if England keeps bowling badly, we can't help but win now, can we?

I guess I have to put at least one pic here, so I'll leave you with this night shot of Prague Castle, taken from across the river Vltava.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Heigh-Ho Heigh Ho, it's off to Prague we go!

Listening to: 'Follow You Down' by Gin Blossoms [Follow You Down]

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Shorty and Bang Bang are in my room (both asleep in fact) waiting for the taxi to come and take us to the coach station. I'm really looking forward to this holiday - I've heard that Prague is beautiful, but I don't know much about the place, and I haven't been on a touristy holiday since September. I know that doesn't sound like long, but considering how busy this year has been, it feels like ages.

So yeah, you won't hear from me for awhile. I'll be back on Saturday, with lots of hopefully decent pictures.

Hope you have a peaceful week.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The End of an Era

Listening to: 'Say You Say Me' by Lionel Richie [The Definitive Collection]

No, I'm not back on a Lionel Richie loop...I didn't know what I wanted to listen to, so I let wmp decide for me.

So yeah, I'm done. Woo hoo...kinda. 4 years in Cambridge, 3 years in ChemEng...it's been one hell of a journey. There have been good times, brilliant times, bad times, and near-suicidal times - I've done the entire lot.

I've heard people say that as you grow older, the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. I'm feeling that right now (like the fact that I've been in Cambridge for 4 years and still not been to Girton!!!). I'm not gonna dwell on each and every little thing I'm going to miss, 'cos that'll just be daft. But, now that I'm by myself, I'm thinking...that may have been the last time I ever see those people again. Ever. Now it could be said that in certain cases, that wouldn't be such a bad thing...but still, I wish them well. But there are some people...certain people I will sorely miss. This isn't the first time I've parted from friends...but for some reason, this time seems the worst.

Apologies if this post seems a bit incoherent...I think I've been around too much alcohol (no I don't drink, but my friends were downing pitchers as if they were pints). I think I shall stop rambling now, and leave with a few words from that Queen of Pop, Madonna:
Take a bow, the night is over
This masquerade is getting older
Lights are low, the curtains down
There's no one here...
CET IIB 2006, you guys rock.

Here's how it all went down... [Parts 1-6]

Listening to: 'Don't Look Back In Anger' by Oasis [(What's the Story) Morning Glory?]

Hehe no, they haven't started yet - I have 32 hours and 49 minutes left (sorry, just felt like being pedantic). I just thought, seeing as tomorrow will be full of last minute revision, talking to parents, and other extremely important activities (like choosing my pens and deciding what to wear), I'll set the tone for this 'extended' blog post today...

I've always maintained that regardless of the topics covered in this blog, it's essentially a place for me to dump all my excess emotional baggage. So in keeping with that theme, I'm gonna spill the beans on how 'they' went as and when they finish...a sort of 'ball by ball commentary'. This'll serve two purposes - I'll be able to get over any disastrous papers with one short rant on this page and then get back to work, and anyone who asks the dreaded "so how did it go?" can be referred here for the lowdown. Aren't I a genius? ...yeah don't answer that.

In other news, we actually managed to get Kevin Pietersen out for under a hundred...way to go Lanka! Sanga please please please score...PLEASE!!! Oh and I've been rediscovering Oasis. Wow.

So yeah, this post will be updated throughout the week - I have 7 papers: 2 on Monday, one each on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and 2 on Friday. Friday's entry will probably be made on Saturday...or Sunday. I've got a heavy post-exam schedule worked out already :D.

OK might as well start now. Ever get that feeling where you're stressed and calm at the same time? I do know stuff...but I'm not as confident about it as I'd like to be...so I need to consolidate my knowledge with some last minute reading. And yet I still find myself on Facebook, as active as ever. What the hell is wrong with me? No I'm not addicted to Facebook as such...and to be honest I haven't messed about much on it in the past few days...but it's soooo easy to waste time on the wretched thing. And I somehow find time to read every single article in the Entertainment section of BBC News. Angelina Jolie had a daughter. I swear everyone wants to be her or be 'with' her (or both, depending on your fancy). OK I promise I won't start jabbering about Brad Pitt (I'll dream about him instead). Speaking of dreaming, sleepy time has arrived.

Monday - States of Matter, Engineer & Society; Catalysis:
Oh goodness gracious me. In one word: bittersweet. Or maybe (chronologically speaking) it should be sweetbitter. The first paper, some would say, was a gift. I knew stuff...can you believe it?! I was so worried about it, but it wasn't bad at all.

Now the second paper, some would say, was a bitch. Again, I knew stuff, but the questions were worded in such a way that it made me think that I didn't know stuff I knew...and in the process I panicked and forgot the stuff that I did know that I knew. If you think that's confusing, you should try the paper. AAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!!! Oh well, what to do. I may have managed to salvage one question, but it took me an hour (instead of the 40mins it should've taken), so I have no idea what I wrote for the other question. The comforting thought is that all the others were suicidal after the paper too. At the end of the day, it's all relative.

I came back to college prepared to vegetate for a bit, but Murali was tearing through England and that had to be watched. 8/70!!! Unbelievable. The guy is a legend. And I have a photo with him. I feel cool. Please do not burst my bubble.

I have to do work after dinner, but I'm so knackered it's almost impossible. And Catalysis was supposed to be one of the better papers!!! Anyway, 60% of the marks for this year are done. Five more papers to go...bring it on.

Tuesday - Combustion:
Hmm...iiiinteresting. It wasn't awful. I ran out of time but I think it was, on the whole, OK. I was quite nervous 'cos I couldn't concentrate last night after the Catalysis debacle, so I'm feeling pretty decent today. Thankfully I now have an entire afternoon and evening to prepare for tomorrow's exam. This 'two papers a day' business sucks.

Oh and for those of you who are worried about the Devil, today's probably an important day! Apparently the entertainment world's jumped on the bandwagon, but that's nothing new. I hope the people who have exams today aren't too concerned! Apparently the technical term for fear of the number 666 is Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia. Quite a mouthful, eh?

OK...gonna chill for a bit and get back to work. Almost half way!!!

Wednesday - Fluid Mechanics & the Environment:
Oh crap crap crappity crap. Is it that I can't integrate? Is it that I can't read? Is it that I'm just too plain stupid? "Show that [-] = [$]" questions are usually the safest, if you know the theory behind it. And I did...or so I thought. I left the exam knowing that I had messed up, but not knowing where. Frustrating. And to add to all the misery, panadol in the morning hadn't been able to quieten the cries of my wisdom tooth. It has a habit of making its presence known every so often...and it chose today of all days. Not that it was unbearable...but it was annoying. I'm very irritable these days...not good for the blood pressure.

[Ed: 12.20 a.m. - I just figured out where I made the mistake in the question I mentioned above. Rookie mistake - I deserve to be shot. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Luckily today hasn't been all bad. I practically ran from the exam room - not because I was upset, but because I had a hair appointment :D. Now my hair looks all pretty (hair straighteners are amazing), if I do say so myself. Then I exchanged money for the Prague trip. Then I met up with Shorty and had a hot dog lunch. Our chat brought to my life a certain level of normalcy usually associated with non-exam time banter. I strolled back to college, frappuccino in hand...and now here I am.

Oh I'm so fed up, I want it to end. My brain is screaming "torture!" and I just feel like collapsing on the bed and sleeping till graduation. Someone please remind me why I didn't just go become a rock star after school?!

P.S.- Please spare a thought for Venus and her family in their time of grief.

Thursday - Optimisation:
This is a tad late, mainly due to the fact that Blogger was down for maintenance for most of last evening. Anyway, quick entry before I go get ready for today. It was OK. One question was more OK than the other, but on the whole, I wasn't suicidal. Which, as I've come to learn, is good.

I'm exhausted though. Mentally and physically. Thankfully I'll be done in exactly 8 1/2 hours. Except that there's 3 hours of exams in that time. Fingers crossed they'll be nice to us for once. I'm almost there...but not quite. Finding it increasingly difficult to stay motivated.

OK I need to go now.

Friday - Rheology; Sustainability:
Rheology - now that's how a paper should be! LOL it's nice to leave an exam room knowing you've already got 40% without even getting it marked!

Sustainability was, interesting. I wasn't expecting to be able to answer anything, so being able to answer some bits made me happy. Anyway we'll see.

Yes I know I said I had a lot of post-exam celebrations lined up, but I seem to have somewhat jinxed it. That said, I did spend 3 hours in the pub and 1 1/2 hours at Nando's. Mmmmm I love Nando's. Anyway, now I'm back in my room, sorting out my seemingly endless list of things to do before the parents arrive. Wow I'm gonna be busy. But of course first, there's Prague!

BTW yes, it is anticlimatic...but more on that later.