Gabriel's shared items

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

End of Term - a Reflection on the Past, Present, Future.

Just had my last formal lectures today. There's an optional Numbers and Sets lecture tmr. Don't believe I've completed a whole term here already! It's all happening so fast!

Ah, so many things on my mind now...

  1. Sunday - Mathmo Cookout @ Allan's, Homerton Choir Concert.
  2. The term gone by - by God's grace, I haven't fallen the least bit ill!
  3. Expenditure - have spent approx £650.
  1. So many example sheets to catch up on! Got supervisions tmr and on Friday.
  2. Cooking for Cell, gotta get stuff from cho mee's.
  3. Return Lib books and loan it out for holidays.
  4. Pack for houseparty. Get item for gift exchange.
  5. Pack for trip home, Make travel arrangements, sort out documents and tickets.
  6. Go shopping for stuff to bring home.
  7. Prepare for journey home. Find out flight details, change euros.
  8. What to do with my belongings here, my bicycle! How to protect it in my weeks of absense. As it is, it's already rusting quite badly... Maybe will get some oil... and a cover. Find out where people put their bikes for long periods of time. Will also have to see if where I can put stuff.
  1. Driving lessons back home.
  2. Going to Malaysia.
  3. Meeting up with people.
  4. Mugging!!! Really need to use this time to catch up!!! Gotta list down what i'm supposed to know and fill in everything I couldn't follow!
  5. Getting laptop, and other items. Gotta list them down soon! This is when previous blog entries come in handy ;)
  6. Spruce up my blog and my website. Got lots of new links to add and a bit more content.
  7. Upload pics when back home!!! And display the nice ones on prominent parts of my website...
Won't expound on the details yet... just unloading what's bothering me now...

Friday, November 25, 2005

Let it SNOW! Let it Snow. Let it snow....

It's finally snowing today!!! Detected the first signs of it today as I was outside Sainsburry, saw these blurry particles falling in front of my face and realised that it was SNOW!!! Went into Sains and saw a whole lot of Singaporeans there, including some geographers - Dexter and Xiayi. Had heard rumours first from Dexter, and from other people about one week back that it would snow on Friday, but did not believe they can predict the weather so accurately in advanced, precise to the day, a week before! But today I am convinced at the prediction of the meteoroligical stations here! Anyway when I told the geographers that it was really snowing, the first thing they both said is "believe the weatherman" so I guess they really know what they are doing!!! So cool!!!

As I'm blogging, the snowflakes falling outside my window are begnining to grow in size, so beautiful!!! It appears like the fake foam snowflakes we get back home, except it's for real!!! Up til now, there's no snow on the floor cos it is still warm, but based on the rate at which the snow's falling, hope we'll be able to make a snowman by cell tonight!!! Woohoo!!! Sooo fun!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Week Gone By...

Play, Cookout, Jazz at StAG, History of Math lecture, Visit to the Center for Quantum Computing... Roughly one event a day since I last blogged...

Cookout on Sunday!
Had Singapore Curry Chicken, Onion and Mushroom Omellette, Mixed Vegetables for the main course, Oranges and Peach for fruits, Crynsenthemum and Red Wine for drinks!

Atushi contributed the vegetables and wine, and Choon Howe contributed the peach, and we had a really fulfilling meal!

The curry chicken went quite well, considering Atushi's compliments that the chicken was very tender. This could probably be attributed to me losing track of the time I've been boiling the chicken. The instructions said boil chicken for 15 -20 minutes, I think I left it in there for something like half an hour... But it turned out to be a good thing. Forgot the potatoes, but wonder if the potatoes would make the meal any nicer, and whether it would be worth the mess and hassel to peel the potatoes. Furthermore, I dont have a potatoe peeler. Another thing I'd need to get. Oh yes, and can opener!

Rice: One cup full of rice can feed a grown guy satisfactorily, and 1 kg of rice runs out after 6 cup full. So one grown guy can consumes approximately 130g of rice in a meal.

Finally got round to making the Crynsenthemum brought over from Singapore. Originally had the problem of straining the tea leaves, flowers rather, out... Decided to brew the concortion in the thermal flask on Sunday... Killed two birds with one stone that way: Water is kept hot, and tea leaves are removed without a hassel. And I'm using the thermal flask, which has been quite under utilised. One problem is that the capacity of the flask is actually very limited. It amounts to one mug full of fluid. So have to perform the procedure multiple times to get substancial volume of cryncenthemum. And one themal flask full of cryncenthemum goes with approximately 4 teaspoons of sugar.

So much for the cookout... Think I'll arrange to cook with the portrugues mathmos this weekend...

Jazz at StAG
Quite a nice event... It's amazing how the decorations can change a regular Focus dinner into such a posh looking event! Nice music, good food... Hagan daz ice-cream, After Eight chocolates. Conned Alvin along, he didn't regret it...

History of Maths Lecuture
That's the best lecture I've been to here in Cambridge! It's informal and informational at the same time! And I get quite a good understanding of the transition of the ancient civilisations to modern day Europe. It's on every Wednessday and Friday, and it's in between my supervisions, so guess it'll be a good way to relax between them. Think my supervisions this week went quite well... Perhaps because feeling the pressure letting up with the term drawing to a close.

Visit to CQC
Met Andrea, the Russian Quantum Physicist Fellow from my college, today at the CMS. Finally got a chance to follow him round his office. The office itself was not very intersting, just a regular office at the CMS. But they did modelings on the computers there... Andrea briefly introduced me to what he was working on... What I gather is that he's working on a storage device for entangled photons, or photons in a quantum state. Got introduced to how such photons are created, and how polarisation of a photon is actually measured. It wasn't the regular direction of polarisation I had originally thought was being measured. Rather, it was the spin, or angular momentum of the photon which was carrying the infomation.Quite an insightful experience. Maybe I'll work in that field one day...

Some out of place comments...

Anyone reading my blog appreciates Jeffery Archer books? Yuch? Shian? I just saw a hard cover Jeffery Archer Sons of Fortune title going for £1.00! I know a good bargain when I see one, but hardly read myself... So if you want a nice christmas present specially from Cambridge, let me know!

Speaking of books, don't know if I should buy a sorta textbook to bring back to Singapore to study during the holidays... It's available in my library, so I haven't needed to buy it. Costs £17, and not sure if I'll be needing it after this course.

K, here's a substancial entry to make up for the lack of posts over the past few days...

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Some Stuff I'm Looking For...

  1. Can Opener - around £2
  2. Knife - around £5
  3. Apple Skinner - around £1.50
  4. Leather Gloves - around £10
  5. Ski Pants - ?
  6. Guitar - around £50?

Friday, November 18, 2005

It's Beginning to Feel Like Christmas

Snow! Well almost...
Found frost on my bicycle seat today as I was unlocking it... That means the temperature in the night was below freezing. And Parkers Piece was covered in a thin layer of white frost. Quite hopeful that it'll snow soon!

Cycled to Tesco after lectures. Almost like ASDA. Not very much cheaper also. Got my groceries there. Milk all over Cambridge cost the same: £1.11 for 4 pints. Found leather gloves going for £10.00, will keep looking around to see if that's a good buy. Chicken thigh for £3.00/kg. Quite standard. The mushrooms look more expensive at Tesco. Canned food sold in Tesco comes with a tab so that it's easier to open. Canned curry chicken goes for £0.30 too!

Bought peanut butter, milk and sugar.

Will need to buy more stuff on Sunday for the cookout... Namely the chicken thighs, mushrooms, eggs, and onions.

Don't know if I should cook tmr, could try making sphagetti again. Don't seem to be having anything on tmr. Or maybe I should just use up my canned food. Have cans of 'Irish Stew', 'Beef and Onion', and 'Chicken Curry' seating in my room now... Think I'll use them tmr. Will try to cook the rice properly too... Last time realised that I used too little water.

Consolidating some of my alternatives...
Some off-the-shelf sandwich options...
  1. Sainsbury
  2. Marks & Spencer's
  3. Boots
Supermarket Options:
  1. Sainsbury
  2. ASDA
  3. Tesco.
Some out of place comments...
Ahh!!! Still cant get group theory!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A few things...

I'm currently doing very interesting topics in the lectures, namely Partial Differential Equations, and Group Theory. It's amazing how much we've covered during this term!

These are some of the topics I was curious about a while back, I'm doing them now, but I haven't quite grasped the essense of the topics yet. Hope it hits me soon.

Random term used in lecture today: A Pringle Point, used by the lecturer to explain a Saddle Point.

Just arranged to have a cookout this Sunday with a Japanese student living in the same compound. Need to plan what to do on that day...
  • Buy Groceries after StAG on Sunday
    1. 750g of Chicken
    2. Half Dozen Eggs
    3. Mushroom
    4. Onions
    5. Sugar
  • Start preparation at 1730.
    1. Make Chicken Curry
    2. Fry Eggs
    3. Cook Rice @ Jack's Room
    4. Arrange Room
For drinks, could try making the crynsenthemum I brought over. Or lime juice! For fruits, could try retrieving apples off the tree...

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Stuff... Lots and Lots of Stuff.

As much as I hate to admit it, i guess the lack of my blogging last week can indeed be attributed to the fact that I feel like I'm lagging behind in my work, otherwise known as the 'Fifth Week Blues'. Ah, not feeling much better at the moment with my supervision work due tomorrow, and I'm hours away from completing them...

Blogging now as I feel like I've got many things on my mind and I need to organise them.

Immidiate Matters
Here's a list of chore's due tomorrow:
  1. Return Library Books
  2. Find out about Bursary
  3. Cash Cheque
  4. Buy Bread
  5. Do Laundry
All that on top of completing my Example Sheets and handing them in before the time due.

Just found the cheque for my participation in the music experiment last week in my pigeon hole. Yay! Earned £8.00 just like that! Gotta cash it in. And find out about how to manage my bank account.

Not So Immidiate Matters
Another thing on my mind at the moment is my National Express coach trip back to Heathrow. Don't know if I'll need to reserve a seat in advanced. Gotta call a certain number to find out. Also need to photocopy my passport and student card to register for 'Word Alive', a CCCF retreat in the Easter Vacation.

Also gotta think of what to bring home with me. Will definitely need to revise my work, so my notes will be in the list. And need to plan the details of departure day already. It's so fast! 10 weeks over just like that, but I feel like I've accomplished a lot in that time!

It's also getting cold, and feeling less comfortable riding my bike around in the cold. My upper body is ok, the woolen vest and jacket provide ample insulation for my upper body, but my hands, legs, and face often feel very cold when I ride around. Think I'll pay a visit to a sports shop to look for some winterwear - Ski-mask, leather gloves, and perhaps a Gortex like raincoat pants, the kind I used in army. I also wanna get a portable thermometer so that I know exactly how cold it is when I feel cold...

Also, executed my first emergency meal on Sunday for dinner. Bought canned curry and 1kg of rice from Sainsbury. Realised when I wanted to prepare dinner that I lacked a can opener. Had to chisel the lid out with a knife and a pot. Turned out quite gross, but it's very cheap! £0.26 per can of curry, and £0.52 for 1 kg of rice that can last me around 8 meals. Have a can of curry handy in my room now, just in case I need a meal.

Asian Food Festival
Helped out at the Asian Food Fest organised by Cumsa on Saturday. Very fun experience, especially so being Daryl's helper. Spent most of the time in a small kitchen with Daryl, frantically trying to salvage a pot of overly spicy mutton curry. But the outcome was amazing! Everything turned out very well. The kitchen we were in was very poorly ventilated, and the boiling curry served to make the atmosphere worse. Was very hot, stuffy and spicy in that kitchen, but at the end, we were left with an access of lime and some sugar, and Daryl decided to make lime juice out of it, it was incredibly refreshing! Took some of the access lime home that day, and made some for myself. Did not enjoy it as much as when I was suffering in that environment. Guess sometimes you need to be subjected to extreme discomfort before you can really enjoy real refreshment.

Rememberence Day
Quite interesting how people here commemorate the end of WWI. Never knew that it was such an important event. The first sign of it was when there was an unexpected two-minute silence during lectures on Friday at 11am. And the Sunday church service made references to and held a minute's silence for the end of WWI.

Ah... Just randomly posting some of the interesting things that happened.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

My Week

Wow! Another week is gone! And I haven't blogged for about a week now. My parents are beginning to wonder if it's because I'm getting busy. Well, I was busy, but I've always had quite a lot of work to do, and this week wasn't much worse. Haven't blogged this week cos there doesn't seem to be anything new anymore, so I don't have anything that I particularly wanted to write about. Anyway, here's the things I've done this week, you'll get what I mean when I say that there's nothing new...

Monday: Lectures, CCCF service, Trinity Maths Society Lecture on Computing and Algebra.

Tuesday: Lectures, Hand in Example sheets, A lecture about card shuffling, Focus @ StAG.

Wednessday: Lectures, 2 Supervisions, and the day was pretty much over.

Thursday: Lectures, Went up to Fitz to do some work, Spent 5 hours figuring out what was happening in lectures. Yvonne's Birthday cookout @ Jiahui's.

Friday: Lecture, went to CMS to do work, attended a lecture on the 'Philosophy of the philosophy of Mathematics'. Tried doing some work at the CMS. Met Allan who was a great help. Had Cell.

Today: Going to lecture, and will be helping Daryl out at Asian Food Festival.

So, there's my week. Would probrably experiment cooking some Chinese food tomorrow with some Fitz mathmos.

And I need to have different kinds of meal alternatives for different occassions. At a glance, they are:
  1. Spghetti - Affordable, Simpler to make, not too healthy. Ingredients are perishable, so need to be planned.
  2. Emergency Meals - Got this idea when seeing Ja making lunch out of canned curry and rice. Think I'll keep a few cans of curry and some rice just in case i find myself in my room without any other alternatives.
  3. Sandwiches for lunch - need to work this out. I've been buying sandwiches from Sains for lunch, and I always thought it would be much better for me to make them myself, but can't make up my mind what to get for the sandwich.
  4. Full Chinese meal - For the occassional celebration / major cookout / cell meeting at my place.
Also, need to find out if I have to reserve a national express seat back to Heathrow, got a return ticket here... I'll be going back in less than a month's time! Time really flies!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fifth Weekend?

I've lost track of the number of weekends I've spent here, I figured since I'm into my fifth week of school, this must be my fifth weekend. Anyway, this was the first two days I'm here with a working palm. Took a few interesting things, really liked the video clips I took, they were of:
  1. A physics demonstration of a superconductor cooled by liquid nitrogen levitating and gliding round a track made of magnets. The demonstration was for the physics lecture before our maths lecture, so we got a glimpse of what the nat sci people did. Really interesting!
  2. A busker with singing dogs! Very cute!
  3. Guy Fawke fireworks.
Unfortunately, cannot upload the pictures from my room, need to trouble people with a laptop, think I'll look for Jack, but he seems very busy, not very nice to trouble him...

And tried cooking on my own these two nights, in fact now I'm eating the fruits of my labour as I blog this entry. Cooked Spghetti v1.1, and Spghetti v1.2 last night and tonight. Spghetti v1.0 was done with Choon Howe's help. Think I'm getting better at it. Anyway, here are the recipy of the Spghetti I made.
Spghetti v1.i , i = 0,1,2
  1. 1 x Onion
  2. 5 x Mushrooms
  3. 125 g of Minced Beef
  4. 125 g of Spghetti
  1. DEFROST BEEF!!! Forgot to do that a number of times, consequence: waste of time.
  2. Boil Spghetti.
    • Boil Water,
    • Throw Spghetti into boiling water
    • Turn down heat lest water overflows. Overflowing water is annoying but not fatal.
  3. Slice Onion, Mushroom - Done concurrently with boiling Spghetti.
  4. After Spghetti is done, remove Spghetti to free stolve. Replace with frying pan, pour a little bit of oil.
  5. Fry onion. Realised that this is a delicate procedure. Undercooked onions taste stinging, and overcooked onions taste too blend, it's as though they are not there at all. Well cooked onions add flavour and do not sting. Had undercooked, overcooked and well cooked onions in Spghetti v1.0, Spghetti v1.1 and Spghetti v1.2 respectively.
  6. Fry the beef. This is quite a foolproof procedure. Just throw the beef in, chop it up and stir it until the beef changes to the familiar grey colour. When done mix beef with onions and throw in mushrooms.
  7. Quite hard to tell if mushrooms are cooked as there's not much visual indication. usually will stir in the mushrooms and they look cooked once there's oil all over them.
  8. Throw in Spghetti. Learnt this from Choon Howe. Back home, used to make the sauce and pour in the Spghetti. Now I'm making the Spghetti and pouring in the sauce. But it tastes nice too! Can even be eaten without the sauce!
Version 1.2 saw improvements by means of adding tomatoes. Figured I'll cook the tomatoes last as it can be eaten raw. Only need to apply heat to make it softer. Cut it up into 8 pieces. Think I need to mix them into the Spghetti more so that it wont feel so seperate from the rest of the Spghetti. Next I'll try using garlic :p

Getting more proficient at making the meal. Did it within 30 mins tonight. All in, I think I took about one and a half hour to cook, eat and wash up. And it's very cheap!
Cost Analysis
Cost for 4 Servings:
  1. 500 g of beef - £1.29
  2. 500 g of Spghetti - £0.27
  3. 500 g of Sauce - £0.58
Per Serving:
  1. Onions - £0.12 approx
  2. Mushrooms - £0.20 approx
  3. Tomatoe - £0.10 approx
Approx cost per serving: Under £1.50! And I can eat my fill for that £1.50!
Will do a cost analysis of my breakfast soon! I've been eating cereal with milk and bread, so it's very hard to calculate, as it is all bought seperately. Will average the cost of breakfast over the course of my time spent here.

There was fireworks all over Cambridge last night! Very specticular. And one wonders how Singapore can spend millions on national day fireworks while over here there is fireworks all over the city, some of the intensity is comparable (and even surpasses) what we have back home for national day.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My Clie's Revived!

Woohoo!!! Was going through my stuff today, meddled with my palm, and thought of getting it fixed. Took it out and charged it. Then when was fiddling with it while I was supposed to be studying just now, I realised the cause of the problem: I had accidentally switched the 'hold' switch on! Dont know how I figured that out. Didn't really know what the hold button did, but when I switched it the other direction, the palm came back to life!!!

Yay! Now I have my own camera to take pictures of this beautiful place with. Only problem is that the computer in my room does not have a USB port, so will not be able to upload the pictures so conviniently. Will have to look for someone who has a modern laptop to upload my pictures through. But at least now my palm is working!!!

Bought Bike Lights, Visit to ASDA, Cooking Spagetti, Assinated!

What an eventful day today was!

Was quite bored of mugging at Fitz everyday for the past week or so, so decided to take a break from afternoon studying today. Went back to hall for lunch, paid a vixit to the bike shop along the way to get bike lights so that I wont be liable for the £30 fine when I cycle in the night without lights. Lights costed £11.99 for both front and back lights.

Had lunch, met Choon Howe, a law student from Malaysia, and mentioned my plans to cook spagetti for dinner tonight, and casually invited him to join me. Then went to Peterhouse to hand in my example sheet. Proceeded to explore the far reaches of Cambridge on my bike, the part near the rail station. Headed towards a certain Beehive Center, and found a large supermarket there called ASDA. It was huge! Like the Carrefour in Malaysia. I felt very liberated from the claustophobic city center as I roamed the supermarket. Checked prices, about the same as in city center. Except saw some jeans going for... believe it or not? £3! No need for jeans yet, and not in the mood to go through the hassle of trying it on, so did not buy it... I kinda like that place, somehow reminds me of the family trips to the big supermarkets in Malaysia, looking for good bargains.

Came back to college room, tried to do some work, ended up sleeping for half an hour. Got up and prepared the ingredients for dinner, Choon Howe came early, and helped me with the preparation. Fortunately I asked him along, or I would be quite lost what to do with all the ingredients I had.

The Assination

It was a dark, stormy night. Had left the front door opened as the ventilation fan wasn't working, then half way through the cooking, saw, out of the corner of my eye, a figure in black walking out of the front door from my room. Was quite freaky. So decided to go and investigate it.

I walked out of the door, and saw the figure making his way down the stairs. I called out to him. He stopped, turned back and asked if I was "Gabriel Wu". I confirmed my identity as he approached me. Then, pulling out his pen of doom, he told me he had come for me, and plunged the wicked object into my heart.

It happened too fast for me to react! And I was without my own weapons! He was really lucky man! I had only left the door wide opened today as I needed ventilation for frying the food, and this was the first time I was cooking. Quite dissapointed that I was out of the game without making any assination attempt of my own, but hey, I'm now part of the police force! That means I can kill anyone who is incompetant!

So that was the highlight of the day (or evening)... Continued with the preparation of the food, and then settled down to consume it. Turned out quite nice... Even without the spagetti sauce... Think I'll explore cooking more often, perhaps this Sat. This time, I'll try doing everything myself. And the proportion was indeed 1:1:1. and 500g of spagetti ingredients can cater for about 3 to 4 servings. Went down to the garden to knock down some apples for fruits, and had Cadbury chocolate to top it off.

Now back to reality: Really need to start doing some work! I still have 3 hours before the clock strikes twelve.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Music Experiment, Focus, New Lecturer, Lunch with John, Supervision.

As usual, the things that made the past two days.

Tuesday, 011105
Went for lecture, by bike this time. Followed Fitz mathmos back to college for a while. Went to CMS to do wor,. and prepared for supervision. Met Dr Andrew. Found out that he meant for supervision to be on Wednessday. Went to Music Faculty for music experiment.Quite interesting, was conducted for and by a PhD student testing a music theory. Supposed to rate how well two chords complete a certain tune. Did over 200 such tests. Probrably to eliminate random errors. Bought groceries from Sains at 6 plus, could cycle back to college, put the items down, and go to StAG in time for Focus at 7. Great time of bible study and sharing. Bible study was on Luke, about the faith of the Centurian.

Wednessday, 021105
Had new lecturer for A&G today! And he gives out notes! I hope this changes how I've been feeling about the lecuters... Into the first lecture, and already I'm liking his style. He has this air about him being british, and he likes to make fun of other European countries. One of the jokes he cracked that stuck with me...
Eigenvector is one word because it comes from German...
...and in German, everything is one word.
gotta test this lemma one day.

Had lunch with John, the leader of the cell group at Focus, he was a mathmo too... Related his experience at Cambridge with me, so now I get a better idea of what to look out for...

Supervision today at CMS, first N&S supervision. Did not cover as many questions as I had wished to. But went through some important theorums and proofs.

Dropped by at Sains to get ingredients to cook spagetti tomorrow. Hall won't be serving dinner again cos of Formal Hall. Found the ingredients quite cheap... 500g of spagetti, 500g of sauce, 500g of minced beef, some mushrooms, one big onion, and a bottle of oil for under 3 pounds! I think I can cater for 3 meals with the ingredients I have. Will test out the quantity tomorrow, as well as the proportion. See if the proportion is indeed conviniently 1:1:1, Spagetti : Sauce : Meat.

Think I'll try to do some work now. New impetus to do so with the notes given by Dr Korner.