Pieces of my world

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Temprament + Fresher's Pack

Ha! Finally, finally, AOL/Blogger (I don't know which is responsible, but as a person intimately acquainted with the tempramental nature of AOL, I rather suspect the former) is behaving and letting me post images to my blogs. For the past few days the routine has been: paste my typing in. Click 'add image'. Enter URL. Click 'post'. Ping! The screen disappears and a prompt (and irritating) 'reconnecting' message pops up. In fact, my computer is being tempramental full stop. Although we bought it four years ago, at a time when Dell was actually good, lately it revs up like it's preparing for takeoff. Chesty splutters and chokes emerge from the fan, which is whizzing at a furious pace. The crashes/ screen freezing have become more and more numerous. The poor thing, after just minimal running (we’re talking 20 minutes here), runs a temperature and demands calpol, a cold face cloth and lashings of TLC (ie: repeatedly switching it on and off throughout the day to “give it a break”). Loading complex graphics dependent programmes is frankly beyond it's addled brain (something I’m feeling keenly, as I’ve had to sacrifice my computer games for several months now). If you think this bad, you don’t want to see it in summer. Summer + heat=…well, put it this way: our computer’s almost demise. Oh dear.
Like the title to this entry suggests, my life has been contrary to the extreme at the moment. The above is just one example. Recently, I have been learning touch typing with the help of that (not so) lurverly lady, Mavis Beacon. Except, now that I have finally reached the end of 'beginners', Ms Beacon has decided (very annoyingly),in the manner of Chris Tarrant, that 'no, we don't want to give you that!' So, with no further ado, Ms Beacon pulled a strop and froze. This wasn't just once, but a grand total of five times. Every time I reloaded the program, Ms Beacon would greet me with her friendly, very very American patter, we'd get to the lesson area and...she'd remember and pull a sulk. Indeed, Ms Beacon has been SO badly behaved that I've had no option but to start another screen-name to use. Now, that isn't the behaviour we'd expect from a fully grown woman, is it?
My Fresher's Pack for The University of Durham arrived today. For a brief time, I felt a rush of joy ("Yes! This is it! It's really happening!")...until I opened the large brown A4 envelope. My heart sank as a veritable wad of documents fell out at my feet. It sunk further when I realised just how much I've got to sort out. So many forms to fill in and send off! So many decisions to make in such a short space of time! Modules! Courses! Societies! JCR info! Accommodation! Argh! My mind feels like it's going into meltdown! It's death by paper! My solution was to quietly and calmly place it all back in the envelope. Avoidance may not be a worthwhile occupation in the long term...but in the short term it works. And that's all, to be frank, I care about.

If this is the adult world...it's no wonder binge drinking is a problem in England.


Blogger Kim said...

Thanks for stopping by & commenting on my blog :)

Just going out on a limb here, but maybe, just maybe the reason your computer is being temperamental is because it's four years old. You know, in computer years that's like... seventy!

Ah, I felt the exact same thing when I got my fresher's pack through the post yesterday. Firstly so excited that I got all this stuff through; then by the time I'd opened the envelope and read through a few lines, the excitement became sheer terror. Though I think just being adressed as "Dear Student" was enough to tip me over the edge.

I'm doing a degree in Film & TV at Aberystwyth, by the way :)

8:18 pm  
Blogger OctoberPoppy said...

Sorry I'm late in replying: I'm not good with all things technology related, so it's taken me up until now to realise that for comments to appear, you actually have to moderate them...*doh* :D You're very welcome, it's been great to realise that there are other students out there who are feeling the same way as I am- excited, but a bit overwhelmed by it all!

You're probably right about the whole computer thing, I should go a bit easy on the poor decrepit old thing. After all, it's functioning quite well given the fact that over the years we have rather abused it and had it on for hours and hours pretty much every day. Come to thing of it, I don't think it's had a single defrag either...

Wow, Film & TV sounds really interesting! So is it practical based, as well as theoretical? I'm doing Combined Arts, which sounds interesting, but really is a nightmare to sort out as I've actually got to choose my subjects (which can be a bit of a problem for a person as indecisive as myself). Needless to say, the combo changes from week to week. When do you go to uni? I have to wait until 30th Sept and the suspense is already killing me!

11:56 pm  
Blogger Abel said...

OMG you're making me feel old... the mention of getting your fresher's pack from Durham made me look up at a framed poster I have above my PC from my first term at said august university. TWENTY YEARS AGO. Grrrrrrrr. Hope you're going to have as good a time there as I did (actually, I liked it so much that I came back to live in the area years later).

Really nice blog, BTW: found my way here from a comment you posted on another blog, and like your writing very much.

7:40 am  
Blogger OctoberPoppy said...

Thankyou :) Which college were you in?

9:20 am  
Blogger Abel said...

Collingwood. Back when it was quite new!

My wife's at Ustinov at the moment. At least until she submits her thesis. Which seems to be taking a little longer than it should. Like, two years :-)

12:42 pm  
Blogger Abel said...

Doesn't look like my reply showed up earlier. I was in Collingwood, back in the days when it was new. My wife's currently finishing off her PhD in Ustinov, a little (2 years!) late. Which college are you going to?

4:51 pm  
Blogger OctoberPoppy said...

Your comment didn't show because I've turned on comment moderation, to eliminate spammers/abusive comments. I'm going to St Cuthbert's. What did you read? At first when I read 'Ustinov' I thought 'hmm, where's that? Sounds like some province in East Europe' before the name finally registered...! Good thing I'm not wanting to read Geography :D

7:08 pm  
Blogger Abel said...

LOL and whom are you calling a spammer? Just proves that patience never was one of my virtues!

Cuth's is a lovely college - great location and with a real reputation for having a nicer mix of people than some colleges. (BTW perhaps you should read something by Peter Ustinov, the late Chancellor, before you arrive?!)

I was a mathematician (loved the university, city, people, societies and so on - hated my degree!). Did I notice from one of your posts that you're reading French? Hope you're going to have a truly fantastic time here.

8:44 am  
Blogger OctoberPoppy said...

That would be an idea, although the stack of reading which I'm supposed to be doing (as opposed to being in avoidance and reading trashy novels in lieu) seems to be growing at a worrying rate. My solution is to currently eye the (dry *ahem*, I didn't say that...) educational books lining my shelves and turn a blind eye, I'm afraid to say. It's currently working, although I fear I'm in for a rude awakening when I actually get up to Durham and encounter the well-read masses. My general knowledge is so patchy that everyone will be paying me NOT to join their pub quiz team hehe. (Except I'm quite proficient at the part of the quiz which involves identifying various chocolate bars from their wrappers...but that's not something I should really admit to...)

I'm afraid I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum to Maths- an artist through and through. My degree is a bit bizarre: I'm reading Combined Arts. I don't know whether you're familiar with its workings, but basically I get to write my own degree, within reason. I have 5 choices of modules (the 6th being the complusory Arts Module) and have decided to do 2 modules English, 2 Modules French and one module History (don't ask me why, as I spent the majority of my time at A-Level staring at the desk in front of me, hoping I wouldn't be asked a question!) So there you go, a real hotchpotch to say the least! Did you enjoy your time at Durham? Any advice for Freshers Week?

11:00 pm  
Blogger Abel said...

LOL well I spend most of my final year here reading my then girlfriend’s books from her Post-War British Novel course, rather than working on my Maths. They were far more interesting, and I reckon I would have scored higher in the finals!

Sounds like your bookshelves are as bad as ours – we’re much better at buying them than getting round to reading them. It only takes a trip to the nice second-hand bookstore in Alnwick for our house to groan under the weight of things-that-we-want-to-read-but- never-have-the-time-to-look-at.

As for being at the opposite end to Maths – that’s something to be proud of! You’ll see what I mean when you meet some of the Mathematicians up here. Unusually for someone who did a science degree, I did French A-Level (but “they were much harder in my day” – no, hold on, I sound like one of the “Grumpy Old Men” on TV!).

Combined Arts sounds like fun, with more than enough to keep you from getting bored. I wonder what sort of history Durham specialises in? If they teach anything interesting about the history of the city, I want copies of your course notes…. We picked up a copy of the history of the county from 1892, and amazingly the guide to the cathedral could be used by tour guides today. I just adore the timelessness of the place.

>Did you enjoy your time at Durham? Any advice for Freshers Week?

I loved it. I rather threw myself into the non-academic things (debating, societies and the like), and had a great time. One of the things that worked for me was trying to get out of the city very occasionally, and see something of the surrounding area by train or by bus.

As for Freshers’ Week…. I guess the main thing is to remember that everyone else is probably just as daunted, intimidated and scared as you. (Well, you may not be, but I was). Oh, and watch out for the older students ;-)

6:31 pm  
Blogger OctoberPoppy said...

I don't know about local history, but I've applied to study US history (enslavement, exclusion, assimilation), as I studied purely European and British history at A Level and know nothing about the US.

Oh wow, debating! I got the information on that through the post today and there are plenty of debates to fire my imagination :) "Is the tuition fee hike too much"..."Is the monarchy pulling its weight"..."What is China's place- friend or foe?"...I really want to take part (even though I'll probably be argued down within minutes and the holes in my argument ruthlessly exposed), so I'd better do my homework and brush up on current events! As for societies...there are literally hundreds that I want to join (well, maybe not literally, but lots and lots). Which ones were you part of?

9:09 pm  
Blogger Abel said...

Probably more fun for the academics to lecture on US history: that way they can get to travel the world more for their research!

I was very active in the Union (and half the fun of that is mastering the skill of debating, rather than being expert in the subject). they had a fascinating range of visiting speakers, too. LOL you actually get life membership when you join, but I've not been bold enough to go back to a debate since I came back to Durham!

And then I ran the Industrial Society (probably doesn't exist any more - used to be the second biggest society behind the Union), and was involved in college politics (rather than political politics, if you see what I mean). All great ways wasting time :-)

My wife and I are looking fwd to reading your posts when you do get to Durham - it'll be fun to see what Freshers' life is like these days. Great fun, I'm sure.

And we'll have to guess which of the thousands of new students milling around is the one who writes the cool blog :-)

7:01 pm  

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