Posts Tagged personal

I’m glad I went

I went to an outdoor music festival thing (Igloo Fest) in Montreal today,  on the recommendation of a friend.

I almost didn’t go. But I’m glad I did.

It was kind of amusing.

They had a fire, and people were giving out marshmallows on sticks, so I grabbed one and toasted it. And as I was standing there, with thousands of watts of speakers thumping about 100m away, the wind kicks up and I end up squinting through the snow and wood smoke with tears in my eyes.

And then two girls next to me kiss each other. Not making out, just a short kiss, and they both walk off, presumably to get marshmallows.

It took a moment to register.

But then I started laughing to myself.

Simply because it was so absurdly different from what I’d experienced so far.

I was standing in the middle of a crowd (I don’t usually like crowds), toasting a marshmallow (Admittedly, I’ve done that before), squinting against driving snow (a rare experience for me) and wood smoke (more experience, but still rare), watching two people share a semi-intimate moment with each other. (Erm… TV.)

I do not believe I’d ever see any combination of that anytime soon in Singapore (even without the snow).

I can’t put my finger on why it struck me so much. But it did.

The only thing I could think of was that I’ve been isolated, partly by choice, partly by circumstances; and now I’m opening up to new experiences. And the world is going “Oh hey, you know that place you lived in for 18 years? Yeah, well, the world is a whole lot more messy. And dirty. And different. But it’s a whole lot more interesting. Enjoy.”

Hello world.

(Alternate title was The Real World Incorporated – from a TDWTF forum topic about expectations not matching to the world. But then I remembered a line from a song I heard somewhere.)

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Midterm week – A retrospect of my first 6 weeks of uni

So… I’m at university. University of Waterloo to be exact. It’s been almost a whirlwind – it’s both more and less hectic than IB, if that makes sense. There’s more to do – activities, events and maintenance things (laundry, grocery shopping and so on.) And the same time, there’s less – schoolwork isn’t as demanding as I found IB – fewer projects meaning less homework, minimal travel time to class. So I’ve got more free time now that mandatory stuff is reduced – but also more things to fill that free time with.

In terms of classes… well, they’re are pretty enjoyable. I’m finding CS137 the easiest coming from IB CS, followed by surprise, Math 117, aka Calculus. I’m enjoying Physics, again, thanks to groundwork in IB. Linear circuits is ok, but I’m finding the work, with all the sign changes tedious and annoying, because if you just make one mistake… yeah, you’re gone. SE 101 is the boring class – half lectures, half project. Lectures turn into what’s been termed Facebook parties, and projects are where we split off into a group and 3 people discuss stuff to do, and the other 3… well, we don’t do much. I’m hoping after midterms that’ll change though.

And the last class… Linear algebra. It’s probably my horror class – so much new stuff, and I’m not finding the textbook too helpful. I can get it in class, I understand what the prof is doing… and then when I get home and try it I’m an utter blank.

Profs are hit and miss too. though I’m not sure if that’s a result of my liking the subject or not. ECE105 & Math 117 are awesome, profs are good at making things easy. Math 115 and CS 137 are ok – profs are ok. They aren’t as interesting though. SE 101 and ECE 140 are not as great – they tend to read directly off their notes.

As for midterms, since I’m in the middle of them… So far, not as bad as I expected, but not as great as I hoped, especially Physics today. They’re sneaky and include a fifth option on their MCQ – “None of the above”. And the marking is purely correct/wrong, no partial marks due to its MCQ basis. I’ve got 2 more exams to go – linear algebra and CS. Worried about lin. alg., not too worried about CS.


And on a more personal note…

I signed up for the Made with Marmalade/Blackberry promotion to see what the Blackberry Playbook is like – they’ll ship a Playbook for free to me for 6 months, and if I publish an app on the Blackberry App World I get to keep it. Making an app is something that’d be good for a resume, so it’s win-win. (I’ve thinking of making a sudoku game, and writing it in Java so I can port it to Android because I don’t like any of the sudoku games that I’ve tried on their.)

I’m also ramping up my VPS plans and (re)creating a personal site. Most stumbling block – nginx isn’t playing well with php-fpm. I’m hoping to follow a LEB script to get it up and running. Random trivia: I’m liking Cloudflare’s Mirage and the SSL support that comes with Cloudflare Plus – at the $9.95/month it costs is more than the $9/month I’m paying for a VPS.

I’m also planning to get back into photography – time lapse astrophotography right now. I’m hoping for a clear Saturday night so I can set up my tripod and camera and let it run for a few hours. Problem of course is that I have no area to leave it overnight, so I’ll need to stick with the camera, and in the cool weather… yeah, it’s not going to be too fun. Also, something to do during that time. Staying out for 2 hours is one thing. Staying out for two hours with nothing to do… that’s another story. Thinking about it, there’s a picnic table outside my dorm, and a fairly empty patch of land with a clear view of the sky.

So, yeah… dinner time now, so I’m off. Meeting with my friends for dinner, chat for a bit, and then come back and continue linear algebra revising.

Because I’ve been using the writing of this post to distract myself from revising for it.



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One more time…

Went back to SAFTI today to see people. Can’t say I miss working there, but I do miss the people and the camaraderie. But it was nice to actually sit and talk to people after being in Canada for a month, and only talking to people over a fairly bad Skype connection.

Also started polishing my resume and linkedin profile, now that I’m back and looking for a job for the next 3 months. I’d be much more confident if I didn’t end up doing generic resumes that I’m having to friends who are willing to ask around – I much prefer to tailor resumes to jobs.

For example, got a hardware position? Excellent, I’ll feature my hardware side more prominently – I oversaw the maintenance and upkeep of more than 120 terminals while I was in NS, doing troubleshooting and component replacement, so that’s a nice bullet point. But it looks strange in a resume next to “Freelance Website Designer” and “Freelance Systems Administrator”.

But it’s probably a good thing I’m fixing up my LinkedIn profile and the various about pages… Nothing like looking at the About page on your site and seeing “Last edited on December 11, 2007 at 8:34 pm”. (There was a brief “Oh wow, I’ve had the site this long?!” moment, I’ll admit…)

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