Perceptions

The “Turn Wi-Fi On” button can be dangerous space.

I’ve been sitting around for a while, working on the last—would you believe it, the last?!—big assignment I have for this term.

Of course, that meant my Wi-Fi has been firmly turned off, blissfully isolating me from the almost other world we call the Internet.

For all the physicists complaining about how we haven’t, and never will, have enough energy to open an interdimensional portal, and one wide enough for people to traverse through it, well, they’re not looking hard enough. Right here, for a dime off your phone bill, exists a portal to an alternate reality where even your best friend may not be who they seem.

But I digress!

The point is, often, you can’t really keep away from the Internet. If not to avoid distractions or hour-long breaks, then you’d have to check back in because half your work in online, and being a computer science student, that’s all the more so true.

So every now and then I need to hit that unstable metaphorically-red button and hope that nothing blows up. You know, like a lot of time.

But today, opening up the dropdown options to reconnect, I saw this.

Screenshot 2019-03-31 at 1.22.54 PM.png

Ordinarily, I’d have interpreted that as someone hitting a random letter on their keyboard and keeping it pressed. It turns out, people are absolutely terrible when it comes to naming stuff. Ask any computer science kid ever, in particular. That’s probably how we ended up with an application called Facebook in the first place. Shed your familiarity with the term for a minute and really look at it. Face-book? We’re in 2 AM territory!

Naming something we’ve been working days and months on really puts us on the spot.

Naming variables is a nightmare.

Naming 25 test case files is a nightmare.

I have a friend who gave up explaining what exactly he was testing on each file’s name midway and just calling all his remaining test files Testpacito_(1/2/3…). It was a glorious moment.

At this rate, it’s a wonder I have a name at all, isn’t it?

So one might imagine someone would’ve thought, Well, it’s a Wi-Fi connection, but just calling it ‘Wifi Konnekt’ probably means I’ll never find it again. Hmmmm…

What about my dog’s name? But no, every time I ask someone to connect for me, my dog’s going to get confused hearing her name!

What about that mean first grade teacher I had?

Oh, lord, she was awful! She made us write our times tables out every morning! I can’t even begin to…

(five hours later)

Oh well, what the hell, I’ll just hit a random letter on the keyboard!

Only now, with the context of approaching finals, I’ve been having different ideas for that ending.

(five hours later)

No, wait, what? It’s been five hours already?! But–but, it was literally five minutes ago…
Have I really been trying to think of a wifi name for the last FIVE HOURS? Oh dear, who’s going to round the errors on those physics readings I took? Who will mess up the French grammar in my place? Complete, debug and turn in my coding assignment??*

AAAAA, SO MUCH WOORKKKKK!!!!

(hits ‘aa’ on the keyboard at random out of frustration)

Some random wifi checker: *name is valid*

Wait… did — after five HOURS, did you just—

Oh well.

I guess its a miracle any of us are named. We struggle, we name, and then some. Whose idea was a band name?

*Yes, you code first, feel hella proud of yourself, and then run into 17 bugs per line. 

And now, seeing how I plugged right back in and have spent the last half hour most definitely not doing any of my work, I’m going to make a quiet exit.

Better get going before the imps of either the Internet or Time find me strolling in the digital park!

Chewing On Nothing In Particular

Have you ever entered a library with the intention of staying and studying all day, determined to last as long as the summer sun (which lasts a while once the DST cycles kick in again, which is also a royal pain when you happen to be up and studying at 1:50 AM, comfortable, only to find that ten minutes later, it’s 3 AM), garner sole attention from the librarian when she comes around at 9 PM to specifically kick you out since they need to close, and then trudge home with the feeling that you’ve done something simply because you weren’t at the table beside your bed, in your nightdress all day?

Oh come on, come finals season, you will see someone in their nightdress down here. It’ll probably be me, for all you know. 

Well, if you do plan this like I do, you probably bring everything you can think of with you and try to find the sunniest, most comfortable spot. You’re gonna be here a while. 

And then you notice, there’s someone sitting next to you 

Or at least, there should have been. But they’ve probably gone to the restroom, and/or asked their neighbour to please watch their stuff for them. 

Do you sit there and wonder who’s sitting next to you?

Do you sit by, and ignore your proofs to play Sherlock on someone else’s major? Wonder what they’re learning, what they find hard, what assignments they’re working, grinding on today? 

I probably shouldn’t. 

I plan on being here a while, and I’ve a midterm tomorrow. I should be curious about my proofs. 

What goes into a Big Oh proof? Can I play Sherlock and sniff out the shape of a graph? What might I deduce from this squiggly line on a paper that my cat would produce as art?

(That’s the point. I don’t have a cat. No cat in their right mind would draw a graph that’s Theta of n squared. Not even accidentally.)

But I should. I should go do it. 

The library’s probably thankful that it’s midterm season and not yet finals. 

They’ve seen me till 12:30 before, and they sure would see me again once the library’s finals-only 24 hour runs begin. 


Where I sit in the library, albeit a strange angle, I admit.

I Call Dibs

Yeah, no, I don’t in fact know why I’m writing this in the first place.

So I’ve been slacking off schoolwork recently in the most counterintuitive, dumbly geeky way possible (it’s almost recursive, except I can no longer use that term ironically being a CS student, except when I’m using it HYPER-ironically): I’ve been shirking off my CS work to work on my own little CS project.

It’s a tiny little thing. It was something I started working on last weekend at a hackathon that focussed on sustainability. As a tiny contribution to a team of first years in a sea of third years, I started working on a search engine enhancer that randomly adds sustainability hotwords to your search.

So if you were trying to be a little more environmentally conscious with your day to day choices, looking up a coffee through my little code might lead you to organic coffee, or sustainable coffee, or something related.

Of course, given I’ve been working on it in little snippets, it doesn’t do anything super impressive. At the moment, the code doesn’t know enough about your search term to add sustainable words related enough to your search. It simply picks a random word from a bunch of hot words my team and I spent half a day googling up.

So we’ve had some pretty funny results coming in (and it’s no surprise we won peanuts at the hackathon– actually, we did pick up pizza. Tons of pizza. Pizza’s practically a ritual at any computer science event. Heck, half the people only attend for the pizza. So we did get pizza. I suppose that’s a win), with some pretty strange bedfellows showing up in my search bar: we’ve had waste management coffee, and degradable pillows (who knows, that may be a thing some day! I’m cocky enough about my blog that I amn’t deleting this for quite a while: to you all reading this in 2525 now, don’t laugh and think me a backwards 21st century douche with nothing but primitive technology as you sit by hugging your short-lived, 150% sustainable, biodegradable pillows sipping your flavoured AirPuffs™©® (requires no containers and leaves no waste behind!) reading on your no power consuming Apple next-gen iCanreads (but can you anymore?).

Just to be perfectly clear, there was more a reference to a White Stripes song hidden in there than an actual expectation that anyone in the year 2525 will still be able to read.
And any 26th century readers that have a beef with me can take it up in the comments.

So yes, we had some funny results coming up, and here’s one that’s particularly stuck with me.

My friend was testing my search function out today, and decided to see what kind of sustainability a cat could have.

Mono-unsaturated fat cats.

I’m pretty sure that came from mono/unsaturated fats being not so healthy and having somehow snuck into my Ctrl+C.

Either way, this one just stuck. I like the name. Drop one unwieldy “un” and it sounds even better.

Monosaturated Fat Cats.

It’s brilliant. It’s chemical, its edgy, and it’s the perfect band name.

If I ever do numb my brain long enough to go bandmate hunting (and I really might), I call fucking dibs on this name, it speaks to me.

So, in summary, the point, if there is any at all, in this long, pointless post, is that you all know where you heard it first. Watch out, world. ∀ n ≥ n0, I mean, eventually, the Monosaturated Fat Cats are taking over.

Just you wait.

Philosopher’s Look

12 AM math be like

I have a soundtrack

That keeps track

Of how far I’ve gotten

And a playlist scroll

To tell me how much further I have to go

And its meant to be stimulating

And to pick my mind

Till I can search its depth and find

The answers I need

Visualise my graphs and proceed

Get ahead with calculus homework

All courtesy of the good professor

And it ends up being

A soundtrack of white noise

Sleep’s rejoice

As it conquers this no-resistance city

And so if you see me

Hunching backwards

Eyes skyward

With a deep, blank stare,

Stop admiring my philosopher’s look

And know that I’m not there.

Hi, thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading, and at this hour too! Wish I had a coffee to offer you. How’s a greeting instead?

May the snow melt before it falls on your head.

Or maybe,

Sunnier days are ahead!

Or perhaps something I wish people wished me more often,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

I’m sticking with the last one.

This poem wasn’t so much a poem as me awakening at 2:15 AM to a math video for school playing in my ear. It was more of a ramble that accidentally ended up almost rhyming.

And that’s the story. So I’ll let you have your promised greeting now,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

Here’s A New Comic To Keep You Company

Just a little something I’ve been working on instead of studying, which is something I’ve should really really do given I’m 48 hours away from TWO midterms.

But really, people just panic first and never bother trying to charge their phones.

Must be fun being in the IT department.

Then again, it must be fun writing proofs to show people your code must run alright all day.

Cheers from the Dazzling Department of Computer Science!

(drowns)

Art Attack (On My Budget)

My favourite kind of person is that one who walks into the art supplies section of your school’s bookstore and tries out pens on a sheet of very public paper by penning down ironically sad, depressing poetry and leaving it there for all posterity. 

This really did happen today, and I was oddly amused and impressed. I should probably do the same. It’d be just like that Los Angeles street artist who scribbled down poetry on Post-It’s and stuck them all over town and on his Instagram. Except this would probably be cooler. 

Or it could be worse, because I’d be a bumbling perpetrator who couldn’t get off the crime scene: I have a massive affinity for art supplies, and every time I have to be in the bookstore, I end up staying in the stationery aisles for a solid half hour.

Heck, I’d probably be standing around admiring the pen I just scribbled with while everyone else reads through my incomprehensible scrawl and stares at me. 

(Incomprehensible is the very definition of university life. Am I relatable now, or what?)

We’re allowed to use our left over meal dollars at the bookstore, and I know that if I have any spare left when I’m graduating, I will come and blow it all on those specially handcrafted pigment liners: manga version, that come in seven different point sizes, because the lay comic book reader is So-o-o finely attuned to telling the difference between 0.6 mm tip and 0.7 one. And because as an Artist (TM), I should be horrified at having to compromise on that 0.1 millimeter. 

Vive le capitalisme!

(I’m just a broke, cynical pseudo-artist. Don’t mind me. The pens look good all the same.)

So if you see someone walking out with a ridiculously stuffed bookstore bag of pens with a gigantic, almost idiotically pleased smile on their face, you’ll know who it is. Come and say hi. Tell me something flattering about my baby blog and fan my ego. Or something. 

On a completely random note: has anyone ever successfully studied for a test the next day from inside their warm, cozy blanket, in bed, when it’s freezing so much that the Celsius and Fahrenheit naysayers both agree on the temperature, when it’s 1 AM, without falling asleep? What’s that you say? No? Oh well, just checking. 

Asymptotic Allegories

There’s a white waterfall over me
Not a conspiracy theorist, but I think it’s whitewashing me
Found a spot dead in the middle of the floor
I’ve just begun and I can’t take it anymore
There’s a sign with ten red cautions on the door
Push me open, they silently implore

Grey lines race across grey carpets on the floor
Oddly calming anathema to what’s in store
For me, why can’t I see, it’s looming over me
Was I just never tested for ADHD

Unemployed sociologist undercover
See a girl run up and pounce on her lover
He makes no move, his face is a cloud
Just as I sit here, weaving my own shroud

What you need lies not beyond but on your table
Under your nose, it’s a challenge, are you able
When everyone’s calculated but I can’t do a thing
Writing trashy poetry won’t save my math from a failing grade

 

I’m sitting with my math book in the library. It’s past midday. My midterm’s tomorrow. What am I doing with my life.

Formally Speaking

I’m here to say something, but now I know that to just say, is really never enough.
You must be precise.
You must be rigorous.

And because I’m a full year math student, I will do do just that, and throw in some fancy looking quantifier symbols in all probability too, and then return to crying over my horrible math grades.

So here we are! First up, define all your variables.

Let us define Radiohead to have made an album.
Let a decade have passed.

“This is the worst crap I’ve ever heard”
—Radiohead, probably

“The meaning of life has been found”
— every critic ever, probably

It’s probably not that pretty looking a theorem because everything had a certain amount of uncertainty. Heck, even the uncertainty is really uncertain.

Which leaves me with my math grades, I suppose. Recursion, anyone?

Though we sort of can agree that Radiohead’s awesome.
Let’s make that an axiom.

Anyway, if you really need me, follow the salty blue trail.

(Sorry if you actually were waiting for those symbols. Turns out WordPress’s internal special character tab isn’t made to handle first year university math.

Will pie do for you? Pi?   π?

∴ π.   Thus we end. (More like you run away).)

“Only When The Time Is Right”

Ever since I walked into our shared room on the first weekend of the month with two bags badly balancing on my shoulder and a guitar slung on my back fumbling with the keys and stumbling through the door, my roommate has been asking a lot about my music habits. I’ve always replied, I’m going to wait for the weekend, late in the evening, just when people get home and free from the week’s work (Friday) or busted out from a party I’m going to blast out (whatever my music vocabulary for the day consists of), either on my guitar if I can, or through my laptop speakers.

So far, the day hasn’t come, but perhaps she’ll realise that in retrospect, that’s a blessing lazing in the middle of our room. I’ve been sitting around for the past hour (intermittently) reading through my brand-new computer science assignment and realising, once again, that my education so far (university included) has been a lie and I’m staring at pretty much my personal equivalent of coding Google from fucking scratch.

Okay, so maybe it isn’t really that bad an assignment. But it is 11:30 in the night. And I know I’d rather be crying about my ‘hard’ CS assignment due in two weeks than actually be working on the psychology assignment I need to hand in Sunday night.
Oh well.

And thus, making all the logical connections, my musical vocabulary of the day is emo punk. Or at least, what some folks like to call emo. I just call it My Chemical Romance.

This one, in particular. Fitting?

Anyway, I decided to start watching the reference video for my computer science work, and my roommate looks at me.
I’m putting my earphones in my ear. Am I just going to chicken out of blasting my music again, as I most unabashedly declared priorly? I feel I owe an explanation.

“I’m just doing my CS work, don’t worry”, I say.

“I’ll take it off when I get to blasting the music. After all, music is meant to be shared.”

“But as a rule of thumb, in CS, you’re meant to die alone.”

 

On a completely unrelated note, it’s really windy outside and I’m sitting at the window (on my table too, my poor roommate…) and it’s going to rain tomorrow! : )

 

 

The Heat Is On

I know, after my last post, I’m not even supposed to be here. I wasn’t planning to, the idea was to keep my phone off all week. Or more.

But today is 5th February, and as close as that is to my exams, I have actually been waiting for this for, what, seven months? However long it’s been since the end of July.

Today begins the (for me, and hopefully a lot more people too,) long-anticipated India vs South Africa women’s ODI series. It’s not inconsequential. The winners get to qualify directly for the 2021 Women’s World Cup! No qualifiers cup like last year.

Unlike a lot of other cricket boards, the Indian board hadn’t had any cricket lined up for ever national team for seven months. It’s true, the girls have welcomed the period, there being a lot of fatigue and injuries in the team, but it does seem a bit too long. But they’ve put up with a lot more in past decades, so oh well.

In the meantime, we have had some pretty interesting clashes around the world, the women’s Ashes and the New Zealand White Ferns triumphs in and away from home have been amazing to watch.

But when a team that was pretty dominant last year, with a very impressive win percentage throughout the calendar year, the World Cup finalists from the 2017 Cup, who lost the finals by but a margin of 9 runs, finally returns to the international circuit, don’t you think it’s a LITTLE exciting?

An opponent in the feisty South Africa, whom India only narrowly beat in all their encounters last year (save one), makes for a super-anticipated clash.

In all honesty, it’s a real bad time to be out of the cricket loop, with so many interesting series coming up!

There are both, the men’s and women’s India-South Africa ODI series going on right now in South Africa, the Tri series in Australia between Australia, New Zealand and England, and the upcoming White Ferns-West Indies clash in March. (I spent all afternoon (Okay, more like ten minutes) syncing both the Black Caps and White Ferns’ annual schedule, or as much as has been planned, to my phone.

It’s an altogether different amount of time I spent trying to figure out how I’ll be able to watch them all… not a good time to be having exams, I guess!

But New Zealand cricket is how I relax. I’m a fan, I’ll find a way!)

Now, what I’m here to rant about.

This is such an anticlimax.

The only reason I switched on my phone today was to watch (parts of) the Ind-SA women’s game.

I check all the usual sites, I look for unconventional sites, and I turn up blank.

I thought they were broadcasting.

After all the interest women’s cricket garnered in the World Cup, it should’ve been a default next step.

But no, it’s not being streamed, it’s not being televised. Please tell me if I’m wrong, I wouldn’t mind wasting a whole rant-post if I could still get the highlights.

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Every once in a while though, I do get this. Thank goodness for twitter!

Come on, if no one else will do it, I should! All I need now is a good camera and an intercontinental flight ticket. Asking for much?

 

But from my, ahem, sources (I’ll always have those!) Indian captain Mithali Raj has won the toss and is batting first.

India are currently 135-1 in 31 overs, having lost opener Poonam Raut early on, for 19 runs. Ayabonga Khaka, who took her wicket,  is the only South African  bowler to have taken a wicket yet.

Opener Smriti Mandhana (of a hundred in India’s WC opener against England fame) is going steady on 79 off 89 balls, with 8 boundaries to help along the way. Skipper Raj is at the other end on a 31 off 52, 2 neat fours.

Now wouldn’t this make for a wonderful watch??

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Not only is that grammar awful, but so is its contents!

 

Searching for sources to follow a game can be exhausting. Drinks break has been called!

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Bless the ICC, I guess.

Just spoke of blessings, here comes a curse for the Indian team!

Mandhana’s just gotten herself out, Khaka nailing her second victim of the day, and the game goes on!

(I’m happy, honestly, I am. I’m getting the game in some form. And I really am trying to study too. Just in five minutes.)