Monday, October 27, 2008

Least Unsatisfying

It seems that the powers that be either felt sorry for me today, or they want to keep me alive long enough to throw other misfortunes onto me! Everyone seemed to be very nice to me today, well apart from when Dr. C was being mean but he said that I was misunderstanding his humour (fair enough I replied, tis a Monday after all!).

Well actually Dr. C might have been mean twice come to think of it! It goes without saying that I often say a lot about not a lot, and an easy way to distract me is to get me started on a completely different topic about which I can say a lot. (I now know his plan and will not fall into this trap again!) Anyway politicians are famous for saying a lot about not a lot, but is suggesting that I be a politician an insult?! I didn't take it as one (you'll be relieved to hear so Dr. Coleman is perfectly fine and healthy...) but this did distract me from interrogating him about the email he was supposed to have sent to all undergraduates, and instead I went of on the road about when I was interested in politics!

Anyway, let us move onto the nicenesses of today for it is rare for one to ever say "I had a nice Monday". I was four lines and a diagram late for my 9am lecture but that was due to bad judgement from a fellow Mathematician and myself, when "choosing" which bus to catch. (One often does not have the liberty of choice in such matters, which is how it should be...!).

The lecture had an involved proof which did not involve me (!) but when a little bit of group theory was mentioned, I was relieved that it made sense. Come now it was only about cosets, you mutter, and basic properties about them! That being so, the lecturer did give me a heart attack when he made a typo and wrote Ha = {ha | h \in H} as the left coset of H in G! Having done my group theory coursework test and defined that to be the right coset, I began to wonder whether I had just lost 10 whole percent of that module. Fishing my group theory notes out I relaxed for the remainder of the lecture.

I stayed for half of the example class as I had posters to make! This is when the stormy clouds came out of no where. The computers in the cluster are the most disgraceful invention to mankind, well maths students in particular. I have been disgusted for quite some time to note that TeXnic Centre is no longer installed on them, whereas it was available last year. Today however, my issue was with open office. You spend 5 minutes finding a computer which actually logs you in but then you find that the blimmin software won't open. I had 15 minutes until the Topology lecture and try what I may, I just couldn't get the software to open.

Finally when I had had enough and decided to log off, it "installed". Pfft. The Topology lecture was better than last Mondays and I am happy to say that my incessant, unprovoked attacks on Dr. E (!) might have got me somewhere! One (!) of my complaints had been that we should continue the lecture in the first period of the example class, for then one could leave and not stay for the example class if one didn't want to. Unlike previously where I used to wait around and doodle during the eg class and then barely be concious when Dr. E finished the lecture. [I actually did stay for the eg class today, but at least I didn't have to be 100% awake for it.]

I'm actually quite pleased to report that I once again had some lunch today. Well I forced myself to ignore the posters and other TGG issues until after my last lecture of the day, and sat with the Tweenies for a bite and some tea. Hopefully I can keep this up!

It's funny, how us humans are built for survival, or perhaps how our survival instincts kick in. You see normally after lunch I have a further two hours of lectures. Normally I am able to struggle through the first hour and remain alive for complex analysis at the end of the day. Today however, after the group theory lecture, when I knew that I no longer had to keep my brain alive, I slumped exponentially! It was quite amazing how all of a sudden I lost the ability to speak and understand simple things, and could just mumble myself along to the computer room for my previously postponed activities!

At 3pm I was in the computer room and it was 3:20pm when open office finally opened. However after only five minutes of it opening the whole computer crashed! There's nothing like anger to get your brain charged again, and so, turning the computer off I stormed out of the cluster to find other computers. Well the ones in the Brian Hartley (BH) room to be precise. They're not for undergraduates but I had previously spoken to DW and she said that since I needed WinEdt for Infinite Descent, she was okay with me using them. It seemed however, that open office was not installed on them computers as well! Defeated and having wasted a lot of time chasing dead ends I decided to get to work on the magazine.

You won't be surprised to hear that I faced an equal amount of problems with WinEdt. I think once you get the hang of it, it doesn't look too bad; but how was I to know that the pdf file would be in my documents? They're meant to pop up automatically once compiled! Giving up, steam coming out of my ears, I decided to see if I could bug Dr. P (an IT genius) about the perfect solution floating in my head. This is when the clouds changed faces. I saw Dr. P crossing the atrium bridge and quickly tried to intercept his path. He saw me in the corner of his eyes and thus walked faster, but I did manage to catch up with him!

My problem: would it be possible to install TeXnic Centre on the cluster computers or get star office to work instantly on them? My solution (for the answer to my problem was obviously no!): install open office and texnic centre on one of the computers in the Brian Hartley room, which I could then use. My Monday morning well wishers were working hard at this point and Dr. P seemed to agree with my solution (but I left it till later to drop mention of TeXnic centre). So we strode to the BH room and he used his administrative powers to set me up with what I needed. It took a while so I went to complete other errands whilst it downloaded.

On my travels I first went to see DW, who has saved me a lot of embarrassment and trouble as I had wrongly assumed that the next Galois Group lecture is in room G.205, when it is in G.207! I also happened to bump into Professor Borovik (after some time) and at the end of our conversation I made the same mistake again: I said the "fingers crossed". For those who read Prof. Borovik's blog, you might recall an incident which involved his finger. I might one day report on the circumstances of that incident, but the magic words "fingers crossed" had been said by yours truly before the fatal injury. Thankfully though, I was happy to see the finger looking much better!

Back to the Brian Hartley room Dr. P was finishing up but I had enough time to ask him the burning questions which have been haunting me for my whole life! Well since I got started on TGG if you want to be fussy.... I tend to send an email to Dr. P or Rob or PG asking them to print the posters in colour for me, as the computers downstairs only print black and white things. Now this is quite a messy situation (and being the graph theorist I am!) I am trying to make the process more efficient. So can I not print the posters myself, I wondered loudly (and in the most "unobvious" manner of course!). It can be done it seems, but I will leave such matters to another Monday when my well wishers are hard at work again!

So I now have my own computer in the "post graduate" cluster - yes, the software (TeXnic Centre and open office) is only installed on one computer which will now support an "out of order sign" courtesy of yours truly - thus it's always going to be available when I need it. Muhahahaha. Don't go around telling anyone my cunning and discreet plans though for they might take this "privilege" away from me.... Well in my humble opinion, it's about time that I had epsilon benefits for working on TGG! So now I have my "own" computer and a nice little corner where I can sleep without being disturbed by anybody. Perhaps I won't have to do postgraduate studies after all? (And my Webmail account maintenance means I get 300MB instead of the current meagre 50MB) I did conjecture that perhaps the powers that be are giving me such perks for they are trying to tell me that I don't need to do post graduate studies after all!

I was quite lucky to bump into Dr. C today, for I was actually leaving the BH room to go home, when he walked into it. He did try his best to evade me but he can't always hide inside the TLO! I was also lucky to bump into Prof. S' whilst I waited for Dr. C to stop playing hide and seek. He was very kind in telling me something which he hopes to do at the start of tomorrows lecture. (By doing this he ensured that I won't be shell shocked during the lecture, which would have been a shame indeed!) Note: I actually informed him of something else (which he didn't know) without any hidden clauses! So I'm not such a git after all... . ;)

The calculating careers event is this Wednesday and obviously all the lecturers remember to remind the undergraduates about it at the start of their lectures. They even have a fancy acetate which they stick onto the OHP - how very thoughtful. This is a perfectly reasonable method of advertising, but it once again shows how many people actually read my emails, for I send separate emails specifically asking everyone to mention TGG lectures in a slightly similar\{ohp thingymajib} way. "Remark": cheers to all those people who do help me with advertising TGG lecture events, and you have my blessings to help promote this calculating careers event! Ha. :D [I saw George today and grudgingly thanked him for his consistency in taking certain posters off the walls! If anyone knows what George likes to eat, then please drop me an email. My next plan is to bribe him so he all of a sudden can't see my posters that might appear in the lifts....].

My eyes drift to the title of this post, which I must credit Dr. Coleman for. Isn't that such a brilliant way of confusing people when telling them something which you might like? I have to marvel in its brilliance and I must confess to having overused the title already, as Po is on the verge of insanity! (Two points for the Bean!) I don't mind it if you find my posts least unsatisfying... (Though I wonder how long I've gone on for as I typed most of this in word pad!)

I will end with something I read on a wall or other:

"The test of fairness is how fair you are to those who are not".

I really like that or should I say that I find it least unsatisfying! It makes sense in a weird way, and on that note I will retire to my slumber. (Tomorrow it is going to be more hectic than today...).

No comments: