216 The Office

As I am typing this, the BBC World Service anchorwoman is reading the latest news about the situation in Mumbai, and the stand-off at the Bangkok airport... My rather beloved Physics textbook, sits open wide on another chair to my right, and my other companion, the whiteboard stands scrawled with equations describing the physics of a capacitors, scattered with some other random equations describing wavefunctions, Kepler's Third Law and superposition on the margin. On the section of the table I occupy lie the whiteboard markers, my faithful Ziploc bag carrying my stationery, and my calculator.
The room hasn't changed much since I moved in, with the exception of my lecture notes which have returned to my other table in my actual room.
If you haven't figured out what I'm describing yet, well... it's OK. No one close to me has had the opportunity to see the little room, which I now affectionately call my "office", in the USP study lounge, otherwise known as "Chatterbox" or "Chatter", in short. Most people were under the impression that the place looks and feels like the "Quiet Area" in the Central Library, or the Study Room in YIH. I assure you, it's not filled to the brim with people desperately cramming for the exams we all were so pressured about. It's sometimes just you, the whiteboard, and a little room by the corner. The occasional visitors are welcomed, and I listen with fascination to their talk about Durkheim, and Weber, and the cunning plans of Prospero in Shakespeare's "Tempest" the lust of the Magistrate in Coetzee's "Waiting for the Barbarians".
I thank this little space, and forgive it for the ridiculously cold nights the air-conditioning has given me, for making my Reading Week and the exam period a wholly bearable one, for the little comforts it provided me in my time of need and the hospitality it has offered.

215.5 Spordniar

Once again, click to enlarge the "poem":

This isn't actually Raindrop Resonance translated into another language. It's an encoded "secret message" written in the form of a poem. Yes, there's always a reason why I write secret messages, I only want certain people who know the encryption method to read it. Notice I always leave the key, yeah, same reason.

215 Raindrops

Click on poem to enlarge:

214 More Quick Random Notes

  1. Overheard at Subways...
    • American Man: I'm very happy today.
    • Counter Lady: Why?
    • AM: The results of the election in my country, erm... the person I supported won
    • CL: (pause) Ah, good. Rainy day, today.
    • AM: yeah
  2. Finished my presentation... for UQR2206, otherwise known as Simplicity, which isn't as simple as the name suggests. A 20-minute presentation in 4 days... not funny. The questions were not difficult and mostly anticipated. So the grilling session was more like a sauna session, slightly uncomfortable, but still enjoyable, and you leave with a nice feeling.

  3. PPT syndrome... or the Post Presentation Tiredness syndrome kicked in after the initial happiness from completing the presentation. Went back for a nap, before heading out to PGP for the end-of-sem-party, which is more of an excuse the USP-PGP residents to get free food. Ended in chatter about topics ranging from how all great works of fictions are based on the same Myth structure (see Paper and Politics for more details), and quantum entanglement.

  4. It is just a coincidence... that PPT is also the short form for Powerpoint....

  5. Did you know... that NUS has its own weather station at the top of E2, the exact place is E2-04-01, which is a very, very, out-of-the-way place which you'll find only if you're really, really lost in the Engin Fac? Only thing is that I wasn't lost, just exploring the deeper, hidden areas of the Engin Fac, that even the final-year engineers don't know about. It comes complete with a rain gauge, barometer, thermometer, anemometer, wind vane (without the rooster), solar intensity reader (or pyrometer) and other interesting stuff. The weather data such as wind speed and direction, rainfall and temperature is uploaded in 5-minutes interval to http://nt2.fas.nus.edu.sg/geog/weather_frame.asp.

  6. Why was I all the way up there?... Actually, as usual, I was illegally climbing stairwells and ladders looking for a very high point for a great view. I have the photos with me and I will upload them soon. Going up tall building at night during a thunderstorm offers great display of lightning bolts, but I was not quick enough to take some nice pictures. And, yes, I know it's dangerous...

  7. Hmm... Terri... should go back to Malaysia, I think I'll have the time to take care of him during the exam period and I don't want him dying then. But I'll miss a good window sill mate, oh nevermind...

  8. I have been getting different songs... stuck in my head on and off lately, either I craving for something to fill my head with or I've been listening to too much music. I don't really know whether it's actually a good or bad thing... stress relief perhaps...

  9. I applied to do running... for the USC productions... why do I keep going back doing things that I've done before. Perhaps I love it, or is it just a bad case of lots of inertia, oh well... it might be greater fun if there aren't so many people this time round. And this time, it could be the Drama Centre at the National Library. Ah, another show, another stage...

  10. Things to do: PC1141 Lab Report, MA1505 and PC1141 Tutorial. It's the last of everything, and time to gear up for the exam period. Here we go...

213 "I'm very boring"

...is perhaps one of the more annoying phrases commonly heard in everyday conversation. Other than the initial silent laugh when one first hears the phrase, the humour turns little bit more sour after every subsequent time those three words are heard. There are others who have the the merit and privilege of joining this list, like "irregardless of". So if you "borrow me" some of your time, I shall present to you a list of the 10 Most Annoying Phrases in the English Language, compiled by a group of Oxford professors:

  1. At the end of the day
  2. Fairly unique
  3. I personally
  4. At this moment in time
  5. With all due respect
  6. Absolutely
  7. It's a nightmare
  8. Shouldn't of
  9. 24/7
  10. It's not rocket science
PS: If you "couldn't care less" about such trivialities, I won't blame you. We "literally" hear these words everyday, and you might believe that "if you can't beat em', join em'".

212 Just Dropping By

Perhaps Physics has a profound impact on how I look at the world around us. Because I found myself photographing raindrops after a lab session one day. It's not that I've never seen raindrops before, but it's because I've never really realised how raindrops look up close, and I was pleasantly surprised when I began examining them at close range.
Has anyone realised how each raindrop looks significantly differently from one another because of the amount of light incident on them, their size, position and the images from the objects around them? ...and it became highly obsessive. I began attempting to take pictures of these raindrops (but more specifically, it's the images they form on due to their property as both a mirror and a lens). The camera doesn't excactly do justice to the pictures, but they still capture some of the more exciting and sometimes spooky features.

PS: Speaking of lab sessions... I ought to be doing my two final lab reports for the semester... but here I am posting pictures of raindrops...

211 An NUS 360: Faculty of Science

Lately, I had developed a strange habit of climbing (climbing, mind you) to the top of the building only known as S17/SOC1 during breaks during and between my Physics lectures. Practically nobody knows about the place, because it involves getting to the 8th storey of an out-of-the-way building, and getting out to a balcony, and climbing a series of ladders (don't worry, there's nothing scary about the ladders because it doesn't involves dangling off the side of the building, climbing old rusty ladders, four storey drops etc.). Being the third highest building in the Faculty of Science, it provides great views of the Science - Medicine - University Hall (Lower Kent Ridge Road section) part of NUS, along with the areas beyond the AYE. Here are some photos:

PS: Unfortunately, the roof of the Physics department building is not as tall and very, very cramped with the airconditioning units and water tanks, as I went up there once while waiting for lab to start. (it's the building on the furthest left in the first picture). So if you need to do this, find some other Physics department:

PPS: The answer is 3.60 m, if you're wondering. I'll leave working it out as a practice, a common line whent the lecturer is running of time...