Friday, March 31, 2006

Friday at last!!!

Hi all!

It's finally Friday! The week has finally come to an end! I am so tired but on the other hand, I was talking to a friend of mine at university and we concluded that even though it is Friday, this week hasn't been very hectic. We didn't really achieve all that much. This term has started off very laid back.

Well, today, I got up at around 9:30 am. I did the usual stuff, breakfast, cleaning up and all that, and then just waited for a friend/tenant of ours to arrive home so that I could give him some music of mine for a computer game that he is busy programming. My grandparents own two adjacent properties and on both are a house and a small cottage. On the property that we live on the cottage is rented out to a guy called Bernard and his girlfriend Simone. She seems to hate me for no apparent reason. Honestly, I have spent many days trying to figure out what it is that I did to get her to hate me but as of yet, it continues to elude me.

Anyway, Bernard and I are friends and he is a computer programmer. He is trying to produce a game and has asked me to compose and produce some music for it. I do it as a hobby. I use a program called Fruityloops which I do all my music through. It is actually tons of fun! I make mostly trace and chilled stuff but dabble in a little house and drum and bass too.

Anyway, eventually he arrived and I went over to take him the music. He had someone over, a friend I think, and I had to go off to varsity. So I stayed for 5 min and then bolted off to varsity. By this stage it was 10:40 am and I got to university in only 15 min. This is rather odd as it usually takes me half an hour.

As soon as I arrived, I was nabbed by my friend Helen to help her set up an experiment that involves large asbestos boxes and very heavy bricks. So I helped her, with the constant worry of working around old, dissintegrating asbestos boxes. I am probably being silly but I just am paranoid about getting skin cancer or worse from the stupid stuff!

The task involved sealing the lids of the large boxes with duct-tape and within the first half an hour we were out of tape. So I went off down the road to buy some more. The traffic was scary and it took me about an hour to drive there and back. It usually takes about 10 min! We then proceeded to tape the boxes to death, until we ran out of tape again. By this stage I scidaddled as I still had not read over the pre-lab material for the practical this afternoon. It was a snail dissection and I don' t make a habit of storing the anatomy of the snail in my head.

So I ran off and did as much reading as possible before the lab started. I then went off to the lab to prep my bay and make sure that I knew exactly what was potting. The students arrived 20 min early and Helen was nowhere to be found. So I had to look after bother her and my own students for the first part of the lab.

Any teachers who are reading this may understand this part. I have not seen my students for a while and it was so nice to see them all again and help them to get a grip of their work. I get attached to them. They are all really nice kids and they don't give me any hastles at all!

So we did the dissection and it all went well appart form two of my students who would pack up into fits of giggles every time I said the word 'penis'. As part of the practical, we the TA's have to mark their dissections on technique, neatness and the students knowledge of what it is that they have been chopping up. These two students requested that I specifically not ask them any questions pertaining to 'the P-word' as they refered to it. It was rather funny! They are all so nervous too! Some of them were literally shaking when I asked them to point out certain structures on the snails.

After that I helped Helen add the final touches to the boxes for her experiment. I then returned home, exhausted and starving! After some food, I let Bernard know I was home, as per his request, to play computer games over at his flat. He was out and so I just went off for a bath. I'm reading Dan Brown's 'Angels and demons'. It's really good! I then came back here, to the familiar screen and updated my blog.

Thats all for the moment folks. Remember never to take anything that you have for granted, particualrly the people in your lives! You never know when they will be gone...


By the way, formalin-soaked snail smells really good on the hands...(Sarcasm for those of you who would be foolish enough to take this phrase literally!)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I've failed...

Hi all

I have failed you and I am terribly sorry. I forgot to update my blog yesterday. How can I face the world now...

And in other news, today was rather fun. I got to university at about 9:00 am and got to work on all of my admin straight away. It is amazing just how much admin one has to get through every day just to get to the stuff that is really important. I must dedicate at least 60% of each day to doing nothing but admin. It can get rather tedious.

Well, I sorted out my e-mail with the departmental secretary. I was apparently on the department mailing list but never seemed to get any e-mail from them. So today I (hopefully) got that sorted out. I also had a meeting with my supervisor about some data that I collected for my project two weeks ago. It had turned out that I had used the incorrect data collection technique. As a result I was rather concerned that all that data that I had collected during that time was going to prove useless. Luckily its not.

Appart from the vast desert of administative duties, I also went to a pre-laboratory tutorial, in which it was explained just what it is that I am going to be teaching my group of 1st yr students. I am a teaching assistant, or TA as we refer to it. This means that for certain courses, I have the duty of assisting the 1st yrs while they conduct their practical laboratory work. It is essentially playing big brother to them and making sure that they don't get themselves completely confused. We also have to teach them things like how to use a microscope and how to go about doing a dissection. Tomorrow I have to do a snail dissection with them. This should be fun.

The whole TA thing is compulsory for the honours students. We have to work a certain number of hours a week. Usually, we would get paid for it (not much, only R23/hr) but due to the fact that I recieved a bursary this year, I am required to work off a number of hours first before I can get paid for it. Hopefully I will have all of my required hours done by the middle of the year so that I am free to concentrate on my theory topics and my project at the end of the year.

After the working day had ended, I went off to the biological society pub (biosoc) to support the pub in a competition. The competition is between all the pubs on campus, and there are quite a few! One of the major beer companies here in SA, Castle, has said that they will donate R10 000 to the pub that most needs to be 'pimped up'. The money will essentially go towards giving the pub a new look and stuff. So all of the pubs have to host aparty for their members to make a video of how brilliant the place is and thus why they should get the money.

So the biosoc party was today. It was somewhat annoying because the only stuff that they had to drink were castle beer and brutal fruit. Now for most this wouldn't be a problem, but I am very fussy about what I drink and I hate beer! It's just got such a revolting taste! I rather drink cider. I realise that most of you will be appalled by this but it is true...I detest beer. So I ended up drinking three brutal fruits (strawberry as the alternative was grapefruit, which I just refuse to consume!) and went home early. I was rather tired and had to be home to go fetch my sisters and a friend of theirs from the movies.

So I came home, had some dinner and spoke to my mother. It turns out that the doctor has diagnosed my grandfather! He apparently has an anurism (spelling?) in his stomach. He will have to go in for surgery some time within the next two weeks to sort it out. I don't know how I feel about this right now...

Yesterday was a completely different kettle of fish! My one sister came with me in to university. The other was writing an exam and as a result couldn't come. They are now on holiday so that's why she was free to come.

Anyway, she came along and spent the entire day sitting at my desk in the office, playing cards on the laptop. And whenever I would ask her if she was bored, she would reply in the negative! Nutter...So, in the evening I had a statistics lecture to attend. My sister came too just to see what it was like. There is a break between the two halves of the lecture and during this break she left. But she got to see my stats lecturer.

This woman is the most unfortuate individual I have ever seen in my life. I know that this is all very nasty but it is true. The very first time that I saw her, the first thing that popped into my head was 'Orc'. She is hideous! And the woman has pants that could probably fit about three to four people into them! I will try to somehow get a photo of her to put up on the site.

The point of this story is that I have a friend who has developed a habit of drawing characatures of people in the class during stats. But the rules of this thing are that the drawing must be done in 30sec or less. Last week they drew me and it ended up looking like some kind of cowboy. Well this week I challenged him to draw one of the lecturer...and he did! It was the most hysterical thing ever! After the lecture he showed me the drawing and I just cracked! The likeness was uncanny!

After that merry event I came home and just chilled for the evening. I had and still have tons to do but I pretend that its not there.

Well I hope that this satisfied your voyeuristic appetites to know what has happened in my life at the moment. I really enjoy writing this blog. I don't even know if anyone reads the damn thing but I will go on anyway.

Never forget that we are all human, none better than the other.

Until tomorrow...(hopefully!)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

I'm rather surprised that I'm actually doing this!

Salutations internet readers!

I am rather amazed that I have managed to keep up my blog for three consecutive days! I usually am not nearly this good at maintaning a blog. I had one at another site at an earlier stage and I ended up updating the thing on a monthly basis...for three months. It was rather a dismal performance.

So anyway, I have managed to get my computer set up with all the correct proxy settings so that I can now use the Wits University network. This is great because we have a computer room that is available to all of the honours and masters students but then you have to fight for a computer at times and it gets a bit annoying. Also, by using my laptop I can listen to all my music and stuff as I work and don't have to worry about anyone else!

So what's been happening...Well, to begin with, last night I played 'Icewind Dale 2' online with my cousin. It was realy cool. Mostly because I downloaded 'Roger Wilco' and so the whole time while we played, we were able to chat to each other. I realise that this is most probably old news to most of you but being an internet gaming virgin I was quite impressed.

Today I got up at the crack of dawn to take my sisters to school again. It turns out that my grandfather has a problem with one of the muscles in one of his eyes which has made his vision rather untrustworthy. As a result I am forced to act as driver for my sisters. It is not too bad but it's just really annoying when you have to get up 7:00 am when you only would have to be up at 9:00 am otherwise. I am one of those people that value their sleep greatly! I can sleep for 14 hours straight without any hastles!

So I got home after taking them off to school and went back to bed for half an hour. It usually takes approximately 30 - 45 minutes to get them to school and then another 15 to drive back home. So I got in at about 8:00 am.

I was supposed to get into varsity at about 9:30 am to help a friend move some stuff around for their experiment but I was so tired that I just told them I would be late and arrived there at around 10:30 am,by which stage it had all been done already. Feel kind of bad about that...

I had an SRC meeting this morning but none of the people showed up. For those who have no clue what I'm on about the SRC (Student Representative Council) basically runs the students side of the university. I'm on one of the sub-commitees. It is as a favour to a friend but I'll ramble on about that some other time.

I'm now at university and have spent the day doing various different admin jobs and have pretty much finished up for the day. I think that I'll go home soon. I'm due to go to the movies with some friends this evening so I figure that I might as well leave now and just chill at home.

Well, I'm off. Love yourselves!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Day 2

Hi all

I managed to keep my promise about adding in a second entry today! Hooray! Now to see if I can keep this amazing performance up. As you may have noticed, in comparison to yesterday, I am in a much better mood. I was somewhat depressed after reading my cousins blog. He is manic and his lows get really low. I have tried to convince him that he should see a shrink but he doesn't think it 'll help.

Anyway, today I went to Pretoria, north of Jo'burg, to go and hear a talk by Dr. Jane Goodall. It was really amazing! She is such a good speaker! I suffer from mild ADD and as a result I often find that even if a talk or lecture is about something that I find totally fascinating, my mind tends to wander within the first ten minutes. With this talk however, I was captivated for the whole hour and a half that she was up there! What an amazing person! She has recieved countless awards for her work with the chimps as well as various humanitarian awards too. And in my opinion, she deserves every one of them!

Her talk was simply about the state of chimp conservation and the importance of conservation in a global context with reference to global change. It was very interesting to hear from her that there are other kids in the world that feel the same way that I do about the state of the planet and the necessity to change our lifestyles to something more sustainable. Her talk was very saddening at the same time because it made me think about how much there is wrong with the world we live in and it made me feel somewhat helpless about the whole situation. But by the end of the talk I felt so fired up and I am going to go do some online research to see if I can go and help at the chimp sanctuary that they have set up here in SA.

Apart from that I had to take my sisters off to school this morning as my grandfather, who usually takes them, had to go off to the doctor to do some tests. He seems to have some sort of neural problem that is affecting his vision. He can see perfectly with each individual eye, but once he uses both at the same time, he can't see very well. I forgot whether I mentioned this yesterday but my sisters are identical twins.

After the talk I went with some of my friends from varsity to go have lunch (at 3:30 pm) at a resurant called 'Fruits and Roots'. It is an organic resturant and they have all kinds of health foods and vegan-friendly menu items. I had a pizza with, wait for it...NO CHEESE!

I know what you are thinking. How on earth do you get away with making a pizza without cheese!? They used a substitute that had a name, but I can't remember it right now. It was really great though! Alternatively, you can have a pizza with tofu instead. But I didn't have all that much money on me so I figured it was safer to just go with what was on the menu. Very nice though!

Now I'm currently at the university. We just got back and I'm going to go home as soon as I'm finished this. I stuck around because I'm waiting for the traffic to ease up a bit.

I'm going now. Bye! Remember to always treat one another with respect!


Sunday, March 26, 2006

First entry

Hi there

I am writing a blog in the hopes of keeping an online diary of the crazy world I live in. I hope that it doesn't bore the crap out of whoever reads this. I am doubtful that anyone will but you never know. Hope springs eternal in the human heart. That was just lame but I'll leave it in there anyway. I always feel that no matter what you do, you must not ever forget or try to forget that you did it. It is impossible to take back what has happened or what was said so why bother trying! Instead try to learn from your mistakes and allow them to make you a better person.

On a similarly preachy tone, bear in mind that you are never too old, too young, too smart, too stupid, too good looking or too ugly to learn! Never take advice for granted! It is said for a reason and ignoring it is immature and foolish. Not to say one should do everything that people advise you to do. But to take all advise into consideration. Think and reason it through, then act.

This isn't at all how I planned for this blog to start! I really am never this deep! It's odd that that all came out. I intended this to be the 'I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and then went walking the dog' kind of diary, not the 'What is the meaning of life anyway?' kind.

Well, to start, I am 22yrs old. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa (SA), with my grandparents, two sisters and my paraplegic uncle. I didn't know that that was how you spell learn something new every day. My parents live in Italy. They moved up there in 1999. I was with them, along with my sisters but I returned home, to South Africa, after 6 months due to the fact that I couldn't cope with schooling there. It was really horrid! So I went to high school here in sunny SA. My sisters arrived back here for similar reasons in 2002. They have been living here with us ever since.

I attend the University of the Witwatersrand, here in Jo'burg. I have completed a BSc degree in Zoology and Ecology. I am currently doing my honours in Zoology. More specifically, I am studying Animal Behaviour and am doing research on the foraging behaviour of chacma baboons in a relatively small nature reserve just south of the big city (Jo'burg).

I have quite a vast number of friends. However, most of these are the kind that you just have fun with, not the kind you can talk to. Thus I am blogging in an attempt to find someone to connect with.

My best friends, the ones I can talk to about certian things, are my cousins Duncan and Sarah, two high school friends Alice and David and a friend who I knew in high school but never really got to know until I was in university with her, Vanessa. Vanessa has had a crush on me for the past 6 odd years. But last year she confronted me about it and now we are just good friends. That is something that I lack in my life. A friend that I can talk to with complete honesty and someone who isn't afraid to tell me exactly how they feel.

Anyway, I think that that is enough for the moment. I'll try to write another update tomorrow while I'm at university. Look after yourselves and remember to always love one another.

Man, I sound so daft!