Showing posts from January, 2010

Glowing Screens

The guy at the computer store was either calling me "Madam" or "Mate" both of which made me feel strange, as I am not his mate and far to young to be called madam. But I think he was just trying to be nice to a freaked out foreigner with a dead laptop. On tuesday morning lappy broke and wouldn't turn on properly. After attempting to boot in safe mode and running some futile tests, it became clear it was beyond my skill to heal.
I then fell into an uncharacteristic panic, but after a time, rational thought overtook me and I took it to lappy hospital. I am overjoyed to report that it is back in action after £70 worth of work and all of my data and files were recovered. I have spent the last few hours sorting out my preferences and programs. And having it fixed in the UK now means that my keyboard does cool stuff like the 3 is now £ and not #. And my clock is now on military time. Quirky.

As I wandered through the library yesterday it seemed everyone had a …


I have lived here now for four months. I am comfortable in my part of the city. I've learned short cuts, the best time to go to the library, and when Sainsbury's discounts their baked goods for the day. I am more at ease with the conflict between being here to study and being on vacation. At the moment, it is a calculated balance. I do not need to fret over wasted time, I can just live life. It is okay to sit and watch movies; to have an ordinary day here. Though, I have a feeling that when spring rolls around, I'll be thinking differently.
The novelty of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and shopping in a foreign country is sadly gone for the most part, but having normalcy here is in itself extraordinary. Living like a local is the whole point. Oh yeah, and doing good school work too.

Manchester "original"

Yesterday I continued my tour of England with a trip to Manchester. I like to call it Manchester "original" as I used to work in a town of the same name in New England. In fact, the town took the name on purpose to reflect Manchester original, as both towns had successful cotton mills and textile businesses. Calling the town Manchester was strictly a business move at the time.

We began the trip a bit disjointed and confused as usual. We got our bearings and passed by Chinatown which look and smelled great. From there, the group split up, as we landed at the Manchester art gallery. I could only convince one other person (bless her) to join me here. It was a pretty nice gallery and had a really cool chandelier made out of wine glasses, and an interesting collection of macabre and bizarre etchings by Goya.
When we had our fill, we joined the rest of the group at the Museum of Science and Industry. This is a fantastic, and huge place spanning over five buildings which hou…


Our department is relatively small. Each of my classes has had about 20 students, all requiring resources provided by one third of one shelf in our library. Our modules start on Monday mornings and by Monday afternoons, every relevant book is gone. I don't know how people do it, they must be paying impressionable undergrads (5 quid to check out every book with "Risk" in the title seems fair.) The shelves have an echo and are completely bereft of useful information, down to the dregs of books published 20 years ago on topics that even the best writer couldn't begin to stretch into something useful. I've heard that in other courses, books are taken off of the shelf and hidden somewhere within the library so that everyone thinks it's available but really only the devious student knows where it is. This evil act does eliminate the chance of someone placing it on hold, requiring it to be relinquished prematurely.
Our classes are comprised of a few local full …

Almost like school

I've now finished two more modules toward my degree. Unfortunately the assignment from the last module has lingered and I'm still not finished. So, while enjoying classes this week, in the back of my mind I am still wondering how to finish. The last module was about risk assessment and management. The classes varied from an Italian expert telling us about evaluating seismic risk, to a business expert telling us about corporate risk. Needless to say, some of that was horribly boring for me. I was reminded of my undergrad when we had to take a class in hospital administration and we all struggled (at 8am, no less) to make the subject have any relevance to our lives. As I do not intend to make corporate risk part of my life, I found that lecture brain melting.
Happily, the research for the assignment has been far more interesting, dealing a lot with the psychology behind how different people perceive and accept risks. The writing has been tedious and extremely slow, half d…

Yeah, write more

I guess I should have specified in my "resolution" to write more blog posts, or more academic work. At the time I meant both, but since then have done little of either. I have a paper due next week and have been relatively uninspired by the subject matter.
Because of the paper, the university closing, and people being out of town for the holidays, not much has been going on anyway.
New years was a very unexpectedly good time with some new friends. I ended up staying up late enough to watch the ball drop in times square via webcam. I really did miss hanging out with the fam that day, but I'm sure we'll have plenty to catch up and graze on next year.
This week Coventry finally got some snow like the rest of the northern hemisphere which proved a good time for all (non driving, no obligation students). The snow was very sticky, perfect for snowballs, snowmen, and stuck to everything leaving a beautiful white carpet on the city.
I have a certain reluctance to take down …