Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New buildings and teething problems

I really wanted to write this post once this "new building" saga was over; however my impatience and the fact that there is no end date to it, has me sat here... typing!

Thursday was a BIG day for the Alan Turing (AT) Building. A woman was going to grace us with her presence and shower blessings upon us. On Wednesday I was informed of this, and told to take all my posters down for this event. My curiosity was sparked. Who is this person I questioned, but soon I figured it was best to do what I was told. Nevertheless our agreement consisted of me putting the posters back up once this celebrity had left.

Unfortunately due to my busy schedule on a Thursday (4hours in a row +1hour), I wasn't destined to meet this personality. Never mind though, for I wasn't concerned with blessings but getting my viewpoint across, as to how ridiculous it was that my posters had to be taken down just for her visit. Thursday at 4pm, after my final lecture of the day, I returned to the AT building to take care of certain things. One of these things was to stick the posters up again due to the honoured guest no longer being there. (Note: I think everyone was told to take their posters down, but some people didn't). I was in the AT building till 5:15pm, annoying people whilst sticking the posters up too. Unsurprisingly I had less posters to stick up, but still it took me some time to do this.

Now we come to the "main scene" of our little (read long!) story. On Friday I was in a particularly cheerful mood (touch wood!) after having a nice metric spaces lecture. Walking towards the AT building I found my mood still on a high, and someone littering did little to dampen it. The doors of the building were now in my site and ignoring the button, I pulled the door open and hungrily entered the building.

It was 11am. I saw George grimacing. The smile on my face disappeared as I saw the objects in his hands. My lovely posters were lying dejectedly in his arms--defeated.

I demanded answers. Why were my posters not on the walls? I had stayed till 5:15pm painfully sticking them up for a second time. My body was contorted in a slow rage, that was building up at what I was being told. Yesterday our celebrity and her VIPs had spotted some posters on the walls. Not mine but posters like "Toilets" or "Stairs" which have been stuck on doors for the general public. They didn't like them and told us to make sure that no posters were found on the walls etc. I couldn't do anything about this and no matter whatever came out of my mouth, it was futile. With my growing rage I noticed that the lift was out of order. Upon enquiring about this (to distract myself) I was told that there had been a fire alarm in the morning and everything was resetting itself (I think).

If you have read Steinbeck and are a master of spotting foreshadowing, then what more needs to be said? The scene was being set for a massive outburst. Mine possibly?

Still in control I had taken my posters from George, dumped them on the table and bought some tea. My nerves were on edge and it was indeed one of the most difficult cups of teas that I have had. Especially when all I wanted to do was go on the hunt for a solution to this problem. Fizz told me to relax but I was in no mood for such a thing. Eventually Milo joined us and it was then that I realised how close I was to erupting in frustration. ("We" were discussing something and I was not backing down. It was then that I suddenly had shut up after realising that I was heading into danger zone.) Being around people and discussions was a bad thing. Downing my tea, I grabbed my posters roughly and found George again.

This time I was slightly calm; enough to interrogate some names out of him. Two names were given to me and my mind was already typing an angry email to them, telling their royal highnesses at how absurd they sounded. Rational thought was no longer available. George told me to take it easy, but I shrugged this away and went to see Dr. Coleman instead; for more information on the two names and to safely store my poor posters.

It was the estates people. The university policy (I think) states that you can't stick anything on the walls, but only on notice boards. I wasn't sticking anything on the walls to start with, I shouted in anger. My posters were on doors!! My outburst happened in DC's office. Thankfully it was controlled (well I didn't throw anything and my vocabulary was void of expletives that my mind was shouting!!) I was just frustrated and the worst thing was that I couldn't see a solution. (Reminder to self: apologise for my childish antics!) My voice and indeed my body had shook in rage. Actually come to think of it, I don't know how I managed to control myself. So that can only mean one thing readers: my long due "outburst" is still imminent. When will it happen? Keep reading. (Haha-as you can tell I am feeling better now and had a good day!) If I may digress for a moment, I think I don't have "major eruptions" because I have small ones on weird things like maths or football. Not that I mind though...

During my angry conversation to a very calm Dr. C, a little part of me was telling the rest of my mind to give up. Maybe I was getting slightly more on edge because I sensed defeat? Nevertheless I didn't have much time to discuss an "attack on the enemy" with DC, due a lecture in the next minute, and his comments about the people concerned didn't reassure me. (As didn't the fact that he couldn't do much for he had attended a meeting about something similar, and the outcome hadn't been very positive). The only thoughts on my mind, as I rushed to my lecture were the draft email I was going to be sending two people. A very angry email it was turning out to be too.

Understandably the lecture was a daze. My neighbour had enquired about my well being as my pointy features couldn't disguise the storm they were covering, so I calmly informed her about the situation. All throughout the lecture I conspired of ways in which we could advertise The Galois Group lectures, and where exactly I could stick my posters, but it was to no avail. I processed the ideas away for discussion with George or DC.

At 12:40pm, as I wrote the next sentence down, a truly marvellous thing happened. The lights went off. My eyes sparked with life again, and the first true smile broke onto my face. We tried the lift switch but it was to no avail. The lights had stopped working and the lecturer could not continue, due to people having difficulty in seeing the blackboard. The happiest person on the planet, at that moment in time was me. Undoubtedly. Not disguising my delight I had rushed to see George to see what had happened and to explain my happiness. It seemed as we stepped out of the room, that the whole electricity in the AT building had gone off. Computers were off, lifts not working (again), lights off and people were congregating everywhere, wanting answers and the electricity.

Not finding George I saw a group of people gathered at the front desk and one happened to be the head of school. People were curious as to why I was looking like I had won a million pounds, and so I had excitedly explained to the head of school that my lecture had been cancelled! He replied that I shouldn't be happy by that, and putting a sober face on I explained that I was so distraught that I was smiling with misery. (If that doesn't make sense then you're reading this at 3am and need to sleep!) And then I had for a few painful seconds, pretended to be quite upset that my lecture had been cancelled. I thought it was best not to worry them with my reasoning. But as I walked away from them, I made it clear to them that I had NOTHING to do with this problem. Nothing whatsoever. (There eyes were unsure of the truth though as were many others!)

So why was this bean over the moon? Why did this bean feel exponentially happy, when darkness was surrounding everyone in the AT building?

Well to those who saw me bouncing from one room to another; from one person to another, you'll know that I felt that this was some form of my "revenge". I'm not going to pretend to grow up and behave like an adult. After muttering a lot of gibberish as to how to describe this sensation, "What goes around comes around" was what I will settle on. Some higher power had probably felt sorry for me, and seen and understood my anguish. I didn't care for that matter, and even though the power failure didn't affect the two people I was after, it soothed my heart. I was quick to point out though, that I wasn't pleased if someone had lost their unsaved work due to this (etc), but it was the Sith's revenge. My revenge. (I'm still not listening if you're saying "grow up beans".)

Alas though, all good things must come to an end, and as I was once again on the look out for George, the lights came back on. Dang. At the same time George entered the building too, having been called back. I pleaded my innocence to him, not disguising my happiness of course and he told me to behave! (Let's just say we have an understanding. He's cool though because if he ever takes my posters down, he never throws them away but returns them to me). I ran my new ideas for advertising past him and he told me not to get my hopes to high, and to try emailing the people first.

The circle for my misery continued, when after my final lecture of the day I had gone to see Dr. C again (firstly to hysterically laugh at what had happened earlier) and secondly to discuss other means of advertising. I was given a third persons name, and at this stage my anger had dissipated so the previous draft email in my mind had been discarded. The events of the day told me that someone was on my side and I wanted to meet this celebrity who dictated university policy. I asked Dr. C how I could meet this woman, who instead of "showering her blessings on me" had cursed me with pain and misery. I thought that some things can' t be communicated properly via email and meeting her was the best way to resolve this. However it seems that meeting this woman is similar to wanting to meet the president. I.e. impossible.

I headed home on Friday, a very exhausted and drained bean, not knowing what to do next. (My mums birthday went fairly well though, which was a positive of the day. However I was unable to eat much, due my current loss of appetite, which was a shame for the food looked great!)

Since it has been a while when I last wrote a long post, I am tempted to write about the developments that occurred on Monday and today. BUT I sense your uneasiness having read that line, and hopefully will inform you later of the events that took place since. It is enough to say that I spelt like a baby that night.


Jean-Noël said...

Sorry to hear about your posters. Those talks look rather interesting. I did my first year project on the rubik's cube. It's pretty neat stuff. I hope that the event will still turn out to be a success.

Beans said...

Hi Jean-Noël,

Yes they were very interesting, and I'm glad that the event turned out to be great!

What kind of project did you do in the first year? I mean was it part of a module or just something general? I'm just curious because we have a project module but it's to do with group work.

Having been to that lecture, I think I may stop being stubborn and actually try solving the cube using an algorithm. (As opposed to doing it arbitrarily!)

PS: The poster dude hasn't replied to my email, and I'm going to email the "woman" if he doesn't reply by Friday.

Jean-Noël said...

The project in the first year was an individual project (we had a group project in the second year). It wasn't part of any of the courses. One had to say in which subject areas one would like to do the project in and if one was lucky enough they'd be assigned a supervisor in that area. I essentially knew that I wanted to do something on the Rubik's cube because I knew there was a lot of group theory that one could look at. Luckily my supervisors subject area was algebra and I successfully pitched my idea :P He proposed that I should look at how many different classes of cubes there are (ie. if you can get from one position to another using 'legal' moves then the positions are in the same class - but if you physically take the cube apart and reassamble it you can get positions that you can't get to using 'legal' moves).

Beans said...

So it was voluntary! Wow. It's pretty impressive that you knew all that sort of stuff in your first year. Sorry to bug you about this, but I'm considering doing a project in my third year--is it something you'd recommend? (I am feeling reluctant due to my nature!)

(You should speak to Jake about the Rubik's cube; his talk was very interesting. I was talking to someone about it today i.e. the commutators etc. and once again I feel it's best that I find an algorithm to complete mine!) I don't think I'm very good at algebra. :o

Jean-Noël said...

The project wasn't voluntary. There was just a certain amount of freedom/luck as far as choosing the subject area was concerned.

I don't know if it's something I'd recommend as a 3rd year project. I had a good time doing it in my first year and learned quite a bit but I don't think I'd want to do another project on it.

As far as projects go in general I'd always recommend choosing an area that you like. Once you know roughly what area you want to do it in you can ask a few lecturers in that area whether they can think of a neat 3rd year project.

Beans said...

Thanks for your comments. The project list for this years students is here.

So I guess I have to decide which topic interests me and approach the supervisor. Alternatively, as you say, I could first find an area I like (ERM??!!) and then find a supervisor.

Hmm, I'm stuck on what area I like though! I'm not particularly great at any area...

Beans said...

Link to third year projects.

(Sorry my fault--I was being an idiot and forgetting the equals sign!)