chess: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2005 11:28 pm)
Michelle,

Congratulations on getting a 2.1! You were ranked top of the Churchill
IB Computer Scientists this year.


I AM WIN!

I'm not actually sure how well I did on this paper yet, hence another Phoenix post-mortem to stop me trying to work it out in my head all the way home. It was a bit frustrating; all of the questions I could answer ended up having last parts which I could probably explain to someone in a handwavy fashion but couldn't actually get right whilst writing down.
Question-by-Question randomness ) Conclusion: Not quite as lousy as I thought, and still right on the border between 2.1 and 2.2 in general.
...brought to you from the Phoenix Room, so that I can stop it spinning around in my head for the entire half-hour walk home.

Considering my dire predictions of doom for this exam, it didn't actually go all that badly, I think; I'm fairly sure I got at least half marks, which is entirely adequate for my worst paper.
Post-Mortem! )
chess: (doing some serious work)
( Jun. 6th, 2005 05:29 pm)
As I confidently predicted, today's paper went fine. However, I still feel rather like I cheated somehow, because it only went fine because I revised the Exact Correct Thing To Revise this morning, which I feel is almost certainly the effect of the people who are praying for me... credit should also go to [livejournal.com profile] tienelle who explained my Data Structures and Algorithms course to me far better than the notes or the textbook managed (or, indeed, my supervisor, who suffered from English Not First Language problems).
An extensive post-mortem follows, of course )
I should probably do some last-minute revision for the next few papers, since today's last-minute revision worked so well, but first - Spod!
chess: (doing some serious work)
( May. 23rd, 2005 02:30 pm)
Um, in the hope of not sounding tremendously mopey, I had a wonderful day yesterday. I started out by giving [livejournal.com profile] mdavison a lift to the Noise, which is an 'event' our church does every now and again where we do odd jobs for the people in Kings Hedges, mostly old ladies who need their garden de-jungled. Then I weeded a garden for a nice old lady who gave us orange juice and talked about her grandchildren, with two girls I vaguely know from church who were quite entertaining and talked about teaching and psychology. When we'd finished, we went back to Daily Bread (a health-food co-operative that we were using as a base) and I talked to Marika in between her running around organising things (which involved little running around and many phone calls - I lent her my phone after both hers and the other organiser's ran low on batteries and needed to be saved for incoming calls). I shared lunch with a bunch of people, then I took a full car of people home around Cambridge.

The afternoon was a bit of a wash-out; I was half-blind and numb from the mental paralysis I've been experiencing lately, so I played computer games until Nicholas showed up. We went to Chapel, which was, as usual, 'nice' but vaguely disappointing, especially because the speaker was talking in fluent Theology rather than making any sense, while repeatedly asserting that what he was saying was essential for everyday Christianity without actually describing any application or giving any proof of this. Then we faffed for a bit, and I finally managed to persuade Nicholas to tag along to Douglas' barbeque.

The actual barbeque bit kind of happened in the garden, and I stayed in the kitchen, because when I got there people were being organised for food preperation, so I spent most of the evening making salads. I like making salads, especially when someone's done all of the difficult and boring going-to-the-shops-and-getting-ingredients stage, and there are plenty of people to eat it so it won't become sad and pathetic and dead. So I made two quite impressive-looking layer salads. It was dark and cold in the garden and there weren't enough seats, so I don't think I would have enjoyed trying to be sociable out there anyhow, and I wasn't very hungry. There was some very nice cheese bread and garlic bread which I nibbled, as well as some nuts.

Eventually I finished making the salads and Nicholas and I went into the nice, well-lit room indoors that nobody was using, and ate nice biscuits and chocolate. I heared Sunhawks on the playlist and commented that it was very good, which led us to fiddling with the computer to make it give us the rest of Oathbreakers, and then Louise bringing out the whole Lackey collection when everyone gradually migrated indoors and found me dancing to Oathbreakers.

I sat listening to cool music and talking to Louise about how Treasure Trap needed more filk for quite a while, until she got bored and changed the music back to the dull playlist, at which point I discovered I was very tired and ought to go home. Once we'd ascertained that Louise actually couldn't make it to TT except possibly for an hour or so on Friday nights, we ran off. I was quite happy and drove home in a slightly dangerous but most enjoyable fashion with loud Evanescence playing. Proving that I was in fact not drunk (I was feeling vaguely passively drunk, although of course I hadn't had any alcohol) I decided against going for a run up the M11 with loud music, and pulled in to Churchill sensibly.

We then played music for a while before falling asleep. In particular, this is remarkable for the line 'And praise will come to those whose kindness leaves you without debt', from Faster Than Light by Neil Finn, which I felt summed up my day - and why it was so excellent, and why life should be like that - quite well.

It's sad that the world doesn't work like that, because I think if I was doing all of the things I am 'meant' to be doing voluntarily then I would find it a lot easier to get them done. There is something about having to do something to 'survive' or to 'be socially acceptable' that makes it almost impossible for me to do it; hence most of the problems I am having.

I am hoping that most of this mind-blankness is due to me being slightly messed up on hormone pills at the moment, as my period is now due, and maybe if I manage to bleed this week I will be back on form for some serious cramming the week before the exams. But... I'm not actually stressed, or worried, or unhappy, although occasionally I feel very frustrated and occasionally I try to make myself feel unhappy because I feel that I ought to be disappointed with myself. I just feel... content. I'm not sure how to actually accept this, though, or indeed whether it's a good idea to.
chess: (just a lizard)
( May. 23rd, 2005 02:12 pm)
I appear to be entirely incapable of working. Instead of working I have been sitting around on #larp and basically sitting on the internet reading porn. (My definition of 'porn' in relation to 'reading porn on the internet' is anything that I read for no particular purpose except immediate distraction.)

I think I may fail my exams. (Where Fail = Get a 2.2, because I already know enough to get a 2.2 whether I do any work or not.) This prospect does not fill me with the requisite amount of horror; lots of people appear to survive significantly worse jobs than I'm likely to get coming out of Cambridge with a 2.2 in Computer Science. I am just not good with stress, and tend to react to the general Exam Doom Vibes by being mentally paralysed and incapable of doing anything useful rather than being encouraged to do work. (Actual Work Deadline Doom Stress, as tested by the Group Project, seems to actually inspire me to get stuff done, so I should be okay when I get out of this place.)

I guess this summer I'll find out whether I am really going to be all right when I get out of here, or whether I'm just completely doomed.
I keep slipping behind on LJ. There are bits of your LJs that I am probably never going to read now. There are posts on your LJs that I wanted to reply to but have been lost in the mists of time. I would like to apologise for this, but I feel that apologising for it would mean that I wouldn't do it again and would try and repair it, and I *could* read everything and reply to everything, but then I would never get my head back.

I kept quite a comprehensive diary of most of Spring Harvest, but I don't have my Psion cable so I can't post that right now. It was entertaining but not necessarily very useful. I seem to be just drifting through life at the moment, but this is probably due to a combination of holiday-itis and my period being due for the first time in two months. I do seem to have lost touch with God to a slightly worrying extent, though.

There was a week between Word Alive and JemCon, but I have no idea what happened to it. In the middle of it there was a Data Connection interview, which was fun. Unfortunately I'd neglected to inform my dad that it would take 4-5 hours, and so he sat in the car the whole time, which had the additional entertaining effect of making the battery flat, causing us to have to call up the AA and sit around in the car for an additional hour. (With no music, because the car battery was dead.) The 'On-Time Repairs' franchise that was doing AA in the area took rather a while and many frantic phone calls to find where we were parked, and then took about thirty seconds with some jump leads to get us going again. Then I ate food which I remembered as nice and edible but which turned out to be full of onions.

JemCon was entertaining. The first night was taken up with playing Munchkin until everyone lost the will to live (and a rather sick and twisted little game called Lunch Money which was the card game of playground fights, although I still maintain it would have been much better if everyone had actually read out the card text in creepy-little-kid voices), and the girls went to the funfair on the way to get food (we went on the carousel and the waltzer, and got whiplash because surprisingly enough the car full of screaming girls got much more attention than the one other that had a little black kid and his dad, meaning we had four guys spinning us around, and were hugely disappointed because they had no bouncy castle and the trampolines were swarming with very small children). The Saturday contained two games (well, four, but running in parallel); I chose the 'conspiricy theories' game (over Deadlands) and the Vampire game (over 'action movies').

The Conspiricy Theories game was a little slow in places, and my hacker character required more thinking than I really felt like doing, but did manage to get beaten up by the party and almost crawl away in time to be the only survivor but then failed their 'get past the bad guy' roll. The Deadlands game looked more interesting, but I don't know if it was. The Vampire game was great fun, as our party consisted of a diablerist, a hippie, a Lasombra and my character, a gangrel-caitiff sociopath. There was lots of killing, in which we discovered that ghouls are much harder opponents than vampires and my character fell into torpor for a couple of months but was rescued by the hippie (the other party members having cut and run).

On Sunday I ran a cut-down version of London Below; the party had the standard introduction, then 'time passes' to level up a couple of times, then had to rescue the fairy girl (which they weren't related to in this case) from the goblins, having been sent by the druids. They insisted on trying to wander up and down the tube tracks a few times trying to rescue the girl, which meant they had to be rescued by Darkhunters once and took down a patrol of Drow despite only being 2nd level characters *but then just went back to Keshton and lost all their progress down the track rather than carrying on*. Um. I was quite astounded by the stupidity of that last move, but it did let me give them some Bardic Knowledge and Gather Information to get them on the track I thought they'd take after they got vampired. I'd invited [livejournal.com profile] dr_vannacutt along but he decided to play Lunch Money instead of a game he'd already seen the first bit of.

That went on slightly later than I was planning, so it was really quite late by the time I set out across London to attempt to get home. I'd carefully planned out a route on the map beforehand, but unfortunately was scuppered by the A10 having inconvenient one-way bits, and ended up wandering around until I found the A1 and got out onto the M25 a couple of junctions down.

For the last couple of days I have mostly been sleeping, prodding my email, and playing computer games.
chess: (Default)
( Mar. 31st, 2005 06:06 pm)
I am going to JemCon (http://www.jemcon.50megs.com) this weekend. This will be fun but will not solve either my sleep patterns being messed up (even going to bed at 10pm didn't save me from not waking up until noon today) or my general vague depression (because it's still not orgainsed getting-on-with-stuff so won't put my head in the right place).

A to-do list mostly for when I get back )
chess: (Default)
( Mar. 28th, 2005 12:28 pm)
I think my sleep patterns may be irredemably screwed up, which is a shame, because I need to be up early tomorrow to hand in a cheque to the Finance Office.
chess: (Default)
( Mar. 27th, 2005 05:25 pm)
I have subsequantly determined that it was my saucepan in the box, with a bunch of other stuff, which appears to just be Stuff Housekeeping Found Lying Around. So I now have a saucepan. The soup was very tasty.

I should post about the week soonish, but now I want to wash up and cook myself some tea.
Tags:
chess: (Default)
( Mar. 27th, 2005 03:20 pm)
I went to get some food today, and I managed eventually to find an open shop, and bought lots of nice thngs to cook and eat. Then I looked in my cupboard, and there was no saucepan.

I'm not sure what to do. I'm sure I had a saucepan, but it's possible I left it in the kitchen absent-mindedly and it wandered away / was binned by Housekeeping. Now I want some lunch, and I want to eat the nice soup I got, but I have no saucepan. There are two saucepans in the kitchen which are other peoples. I am wondering about using one of these. But I have no idea whose they are or if they're touchy about that kind of thing.

Wah.
Tags:
chess: (just a lizard)
( Mar. 21st, 2005 11:05 am)
If I ever manage to extract myself from the computer to pack my bag (a task I've been putting off on account of some of my clothes still being wet), I'll be driving to Skegness for Word Alive (part of Spring Harvest) today. I'm still slightly apprehensive as I don't really know the people I'm going with that well and Nicholas has ended up going with a different group, and we'll be surrounded by lots of Scary Evangelicals; also, I still feel a bit dazed from being ill.
Tags:
chess: (just a lizard)
( Mar. 7th, 2005 12:36 pm)
Because I was too lazy to get up early and do testing properly, one of the vital features of our group project was still broken at noon.

This is a public service announcement on the topic of 'How Much Chessypig Sucks'.

I will now continue my ignomious faliure by hitting my head unsuccessfully against Complexity Theory work, now that I am doomed to get a 2.2 and hence fail life (or something).
chess: (doing some serious work)
( Mar. 4th, 2005 09:32 pm)
Yesterday I discovered I had turned into a racist. I was looking at the pictures of the CUSU candidates, and one of them looked vaguely Indian (subcontinental? because I can't tell Indians from Pakistanis by sight, and have about the same prejudices for both, although I think I've had more contact with the former), and I immediately thought 'loud, untrustworthy, sells himself well and networks aggressively, got lots of contacts of the same race that he uses shamelessly to get ahead of more polite people'.

The problem is, I was probably right. About 50% of people of that extraction seem to fit that stereotype; the others fit a different one - quietish, work insanely hard, generally much smaller in stature than the first 50% and much less likely to have facial hair.

I've tried quite hard not to be racist in the past, but, dammit, people *do* tend to have racial characteristics. I can't describe the ones I have in my mind for 'black' and 'oriental' quite as closely, and I think I've met more exceptions in those groups, but I know they're there, subsconsciously affecting how I react to people. I tend to characterise oriental people as more manipulative than usual, more likely to layer on the social lies until you can't tell who they really are, and black people as more likely to be violent and in your face, or overly defensive (although Yorkshiremen come to mind for the second one - I even have regional prejudices, and *they're often right too*.)

I'm not really sure what to do about this discovery. I know that having any reactions based on someone's race is meant to be bad, but I'm not sure I can avoid making correlations when they seem to fit so often.
chess: (doing some serious work)
( Mar. 2nd, 2005 12:05 pm)
With fifteen seconds to spare, I handed in, well, *most* of the stuff we were meant to hand in today for the group project. My personal report irritatingly failed to make it in the batch of stuff, but I suspect we can hand a bunch of stuff to our 'client' tomorrow and he'll pass it on duitifully. Still working on stuff, hence, but marginally less frantically. I think we have probably won, if the people doing the marking are being remotely fair.
Tags:
chess: (Default)
( Feb. 25th, 2005 12:24 am)
Um. You guys? You guys are great. (The ones who commented on my last post, specifically, but the rest of you I'm pretty sure are also great, even if your talents don't lie in the area of Cheering Up Depressed Chessypigs.)

I am now very tired and am going to sleep, but I just wanted to thank everyone because I needed to hear the things you've been saying.

Night.
I am currently in one of those 'I am worthless, woe is me' moods.

This is because nobody has successfully managed to lift the belief that I've done everything that I came here for - everything useful I will ever do in my life - and I ought not to exist any more, because the only thing I'm capable of is causing people suffering.

This isn't helped by worrying that Nicholas won't like Word Alive and will be miserable for the whole week because of me, like at the CU Houseparty I dragged him to, and have wasted money and holiday time on it. It also isn't helped by my supervision having been delayed for an hour, giving me time in which I can do little else but sit around and be morbid - I can't get on with Group Project stuff because I'm waiting on other people having done things, I can't get on with supervision work because I need to be in my room with all my notes to do the only bit that's outstanding, I can't sort out the Room Ballot thing because I need to hear back from my parents, I can't tidy my room or clean it because I'm in the lab, not there, I don't have enough unblankness to write anything that people will enjoy reading, and whenever I try and pray it always gets around to 'but I'm so useless I don't see why You put up with me' and then I start to cry, which is not the best of things to do in a public computer room.

Only ten more minutes to my supervision; but the depression is an ongoing thing and I'm not sure what to do about it. I think it's being caused by the Group Project stress, but I've basically not got up all this year - I lost how to live in the summer, lost even more of it over Christmas, and now I can't find any joy in anything. Life still has its moments, but the background level is lower than it used to be, I'm sure - instead of looking forwards to a time when I can do whatever God's been preparing me for, I feel like I've done it and now I'm just dead weight, that I'm finished with. And a part of me wants that because it means I can be lazy and not do anything and not bother (which is different to not worrying, but it also pretends that the difference doesn't exist).

Also, I have Not Been Drinking Enough Water. Recently my water bottles seem to catch the dreaded Tastes Of Algae disease almost immediately, and I've been spending a lot of time in the lab where I'm not allowed to bring water. This really doesn't help my state of mind, but I'm not sure what to do about it. Any suggestions for keeping water bottles fresh? I think I would be an awful lot happier just through the simple expedient of eating better and staying properly hydrated.
chess: (just a lizard)
( Feb. 21st, 2005 04:55 pm)
On reflection, I should have gone back to Churchill before it started snowing.
Summary: I did lots of work. The Internet went away and came back. There was a small amount of surreality. I did even more spod.

The boring details:
Tuesday 15th )Monday 14th )Sunday 13th )Saturday 12th: )Friday 11th: )Thursday 10th )Wednesday 9th )Tuesday 8th )Monday 7th )Sunday 6th )Saturday 5th )Friday 4th )Thursday 3rd )Wednesday 2nd )Tuesday 1st )
So, uhm, that's the month so far. Now my long-delayed period is due, so I should be Great Fun for the next few days...
chess: (Default)
( Feb. 3rd, 2005 05:00 pm)
Why I discovered today that I am a natural manager (of tech things, at least):

- I can easily model systems in my head. This is a bad description of my talent. It is the talent to be able to listen to people talking about a thing they are building and then be able to answer someone's questions on how the system works. It is the talent of being able to put together all of the small parts of a system and hav a good overview.

- I can answer questions fluently. I do not need to stop and think if I am even slightly prepared on a subject. This way I am always confident, and also generally correct. I also know when my knowledge of a subject stops and I should ask someone else to carry on, or give a reason for my team not having thoroughly investigated that subject yet.

- I can work out what people are competant at, even if they claim to be competant at something different. I know that the art of management is to let people manage themselves as far as possible but also to know how to step in when necessary and how to spot when productive dialog has ceased and a meeting is just thrashing, and how to get it back on topic.

- I understand delegation and division of labour. I can keep a good, useful overview in my head without having to know implementation details, and answer almost any question from the overview, and know who to defer to if the question is too deep into one part or other. I can use other people to do research and to implement things and do not need to know every detail of what they are doing to be sure it continues to fit in.

These are the things I am good at. I am passable at a wide range of other things, but these are the things which I am *better than other people* at.
.

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Michelle Taylor

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