Busy Week

I am currently waiting for a lab to start — and it is starting now. I must go, but I promise an update at some point today because I've been fairly bad at posting lately.
6Oct
Location: Lab G46, Computer Science Building, UofR @ 2:09

First Class Over

After one week I have one of my courses (or modules as they like to call them) over with. Well the lectures are over, I still have a research paper due 31st Oct, a presentation to give the week of 7th Nov and an essay due on 19th December. That was my Transferable Skills module. Next week we are onto something a bit more geeky — Advanced Operating Systems and Unix Programming. The funny thing is, I have a sneaking suspicion that they will be starting out pretty simple and basic. This is of course a mixed blessing. It could mean that it will be easy, which is nice, but if it is too easy, then what is the point. But I am in Europe so I can't really complain.
8Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 12:34

Not so bad

This week isn't looking like it will be so bad at all. I guess that is the benefit of knowing all the material ahead of time, because given that he plans to teach C (the programming language) in three hours today, I wouldn't want to be going in there not already knowing it. Lecture time now... cheers.
11Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 3:40

Not for me

If you ever wanted to see three people simultaneously almost lose their breakfast, you should have been in the cafeteria with us this morning as Sissi, Marie and I tried "Yeast Extract Spread". I'm not sure what you would normally put this on, but they provide it with breakfast. We tried it on a tiny bit of toast and it assaulted us like a rabid dog.

So lesson learned? If someone suggests you try yeast extract, tell them no thanks, it is perhaps one of the more horrible things on Earth.

Sarah has provided me with a link to more information on this Marmite — apparently some people really like it. Maybe we didn't spread it thinly enough :P
13Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 3:04

Alarming

There really isn't anything like standing outside in the freezing cold in your underwear for 20 minutes to get you energized. Or pissed off. Especially knowing that it was likely some drunk freshers' idea of a fun time. Let me tell you, the alarms are quite loud in the rooms — which in the event of the real deal is a good thing. However, given that the alarm went off about an hour after I fell asleep, I woke up in a considerable daze — it is no small wonder that when I found myself outside a few minutes later that I was actually wearing a shirt and shoes. I didn't have the presence of mind unfortunately to think to grab a jumper or my coat. At least it will give us something to talk about at Sunday breakfast — and to start rumours about who was seen with whom when the halls emptied out. That is what people love: gossip. It is an international truth. :)
15Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 21:37

Free week, part I

One of the benefits of having one week intensive courses, is that with only 4 courses in total and 10 weeks in the term it works out to be a bit of free time. I use that term very loosely because I spent the past two days writing C code for my project assigned last week. The good news is that I am finished of it now and it isn't due until December. This is clearly some sort of record for me.

The rest of the week will be spent trying to write a paper that I have due at the end of the month. It isn't long, nor should it be that difficult, but like anything it is that initial hurdle of getting the ball rolling that I have trouble with. In this case, the trouble lies in that I can't decide on a good topic. I think that tomorrow I might just settle for an adequate topic (at least in terms of my interest level) and try to run with that. More on the paper will follow as I'm sure it will attempt to get me in the end.

Even though I have no lectures this week, I am still getting up at the usual time and going to breakfast. This is an attempt to keep some sort of routine. Even with my early mornings I still found it necessary to stay up until 2am last night debugging an FTP server (that forks sub-processes no less).

18Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 17:10

Captions

For those who had requested them, I now have captions available on most of my photos — those that I had something to say about anyway. I'm also in the process of adding new photos (with captions) which should be complete by the end of the day.
20Oct
Location: Lab G46, CS Building, U of R @ 9:41

Stonehenge

Today is my field trip/adventure to Stonehenge. I am going as a part of an international group on a bus tour. In addition to Stonehenge, we are also going to visit Salisbury Cathedral. As usual I plan to take more photos than I can deal with and am crossing my fingers that it will be sunny at Stonehenge — if not I'll have to wait 10 minutes and it will be.

The bus leaves around 9:30 or so and I think I heard that we will be back around 18:00.

22Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 2:41

Successful day trip

I think that some of you may have already found them, but I have posted my photos from our trip to Stonehenge and Salisbury. The trip itself was great — and it felt good to get away from campus if even for a few hours. The fact that all of my friends went as well didn't hurt.

It is interesting learning a bit about the history of the area — all part of the reason that one should travel. Obviously what I picked up yesterday is only a tiny portion of British history, but I might get a chance to do a bit more exploring before my term here is up.

23Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 15:23

ISE Debacle

We have class again this week. Internet software environments, which is essentially a class on Java. However, of all the people that I know, not one of them knew where (or when) the class was this morning. Our usual source of information, Blackboard, didn't have any information (that we could see) about the course. So after breakfast I called the program office and was told that the person who knew about our program wasn't in yet. I left my cell phone number and eventually was called back. She said that the information was in Blackboard, to which I said that no one I had talked to could see that information. I asked her for the schedule for today and she said it started at 9am in the Meteorology building.

Great. At this point it was 9:30. So after informing as many people as I could via Skype, we headed over there. There was no one there except the professor. We went in and I explained the situation and we waited for more people to arrive. So we started around 10 instead and people continued to filter in for about an hour. I guess a number of other students simply went to the program office to find out about the location of the class, at which point I hope that they began to understand that there was a problem and that we didn't have the appropriate information.

24Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 6:16

Rootbeer Free

I have learned via comments on the Internet and from my own experience in supermarkets that there is no root beer to found in the UK. This is quite a disturbing concept. Of course, I have survived over a month without it at this point, and I suspect I can survive the remainder of my time here without it, but I don't need to anymore.

Enter AmericanSoda — an online retailer that sells American brands of root beer, Mountain Dew, various candies and grocery items. Unfortunately there is no canadianpop.co.uk, but I think that this solution works well. In fact, they sell IBC Root Beer which I have yet to find in Canada (they might have it out west perhaps) but in my opinion is a very fine root beer. It sells for £16.95 for a case of 24, which is actually cheaper than getting pop from the vending machine and only slightly more than buying from a local store when they have a special on. And it is a flavour that isn't available locally. And if I order by Monday, shipping is only £3.50.

So if any of you find yourself in the UK with a craving for the sweet nectar that is root beer, now you know where to turn. :)

29Oct
Location: Bridges Hall, University of Reading @ 3:59

What Now?

Well, it would seem that for the most part, my Europe Adventure is over. It has been an amazing time. Now, I am reviving the ailing colinbate.com and going to make a go of it over there. All the best.

Times

Nova Scotia, Canada
4:45 (Dec 2, 2020)
Reading/London, United Kindom
8:45 (Dec 2, 2020)
Thessaloniki, Greece
10:45 (Dec 2, 2020)
Madrid, Spain
9:45 (Dec 2, 2020)
Guatemala, Guatemala
1:45 (Dec 2, 2020)

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