A Great Yesterday: a dull tale indeed

And by Yesterday I don't mean Friday but Thursday.

I broke my computer. Well, its OS installation at least. I was upgrading to Fedora 14 (yay!) after testing the LiveCD and finding things were nice. However, I foolishly needed my computer to go and interrupted the upgrade when I thought it was safe. I was wrong. The package manager and my installation were left in an inconsistent state. D'oh.

Consequently, I didn't have access to my computer for a couple days. Rather than sleeping, I spent my time trying to fix it, and having failed that, I departed for the Thursday morning train at 3:30AM not with my laptop but with a borrowed PowerBook G4 and none of my work :)

The walk was wonderful. It was November chilly. It made me glad to feel cold. To see a starry night. To have an hour-long walk to catch a train. It was wonderful, though I panicked to my girlfriend with late night phone calls discussing my dread of this and the day to come. I even recovered a couple hours of sleep on the train and then in the CS building as I waited for class.

Class itself was great. I fell asleep near the end, but the first half was all delicious as NLP usually is. Afterward, I went to attend the project demonstrations for the course I TA. Napoleonic naval battle simulations? DELICIOUS. It was nice seeing the work they had done, and seeing how it was shaped by their previous programming assignments. Also, because all the students have to interact across 5 teams that interact with each other on interfaces and functionality, there was a class-wide enthusiasm for what they were doing which I never got to experience in my undergrad. I am jealous! The latter half of the lab I spent regrading assignments and helping give grades to students whose assignments before didn't seem to do... anything. Most of the time, my marking was hindered by the process in which I tried to make it work. My reasonable protocol could not be handled by everyone, and while that deserves some deductions, it's good to be able to mark what can work and recognise the work done.

One group of students afterward invited me to join them for sushi. I figure it's not a conflict of interest as I'm still paying for myself and I don't remember student names anyway! HA. I didn't realise that we were going to go to Fuji sushi downtown, where I was already planning to go as part of OCUS Eats Out in the evening. However, I went and was glad. We discussed their project a bit, but ended up mostly eating. I will discuss the food later.

After this, I hurried back to campus to go to AI and meet my group. More Information Theory. The group work was well-divided and scheduled, hooray. Then I made my way to OCUS. At first I felt like a great outsider but our current OCUS president (?) is very inclusive, and I got a ride with PhD student who was even in OCUS during my undergraduate. It was a great car ride, and I learnt a lot, and a little gossip. We ended up having a large party arrive and got to sit in the fancy section with the long tables. Now for the food, though.

It was awful. At lunch, the green tea was served unsteeped so in the evening we just took the pot to pour it ourselves. The edamame was barely salted and we too young at lunch, so we didn't order any at supper. They forgot parts of our order and the stuff ordered first came last in the afternoon. In the evening, with our larger crowd, we were split into 4 sections, and my section waited 45 minutes for the bulk of our food while all the other sections had theirs arrive in a steady stream. I almost ate a Forest Roll because I was told it was vegetarian when it really had crab. Would recommend.

This was my first time eating All You Can Eat sushi, and I can see the appeal. You can order food gradually as you've a taste for it. You can get dessert. You can sit for a while and enjoy yourself (up to 1.5 hours, a limit to prevent you from living there). I have heard people describe it as a bad thing, as a waste of fish, with so much being eaten all at once. Since I don't eat fish, though, that one criticism doesn't apply to me, just the general overconsumption of food does, which seems somewhat reasonable if resources allow when there is cause for a feast. Feasts, I've noticed, are a big thing in human culture. Food. Nom.

While the restaurant's service wasn't great, and their vegetarian selection wasn't either, and some of their dishes were lacking in quality, the reason I went and would go again is entirely the social experience. When you want to eat with a large group, it seems like a great idea, especially since it's served almost like dim sum. Food for a group and you pick away at it. I think I'd like to have that experience with exclusively vegetarian food, though. I've had that once with my Vancouver landlady, my girlfriend, and a friend, but I'm more familiar with having to pick and choose what goes on the plate through work lunches and stuff.

The two groups were fun and funner. The first group had a vegetarian who ate fish and my evening group had another vegetarian who didn't. Since the latter and I were at different tables (the OCUS group took up TWO long tables with almost 16 people at each), we even offered pieces between tables as demand and supply allowed near the end. I remained disturbed at the difficult I have at remembering names of late. I credit it with being on campus only twice a week and dealing with so many people. In earnest, though, it's probably largely the result of passively learning their names rather than actively. At the latter, I got to talk to a PhD student who's been TAing for years and had his undergraduate in CS. Elsewise, there was a lot of humour, and once I missed my train, gossip. The gossip is somewhat strange since I have a faint idea of who a lot of the people concerned are from when I was there before, but I don't know them very well, or they're knew people who I don't know very well. My interest in gossip is benign and educational of course, and I eschew malice in it. :D

Afterward, I returned to the OCUS lounge to work but ended up finding that one of the girls had indeed bought a new comic from the Firefly universe, Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale, as had been threatened at supper. I ended up reading that and consequently was dragged along to OCUS's dodge ball game, where I loudly cheered "Sink their battleship!" and "Smash their skulls in!" and, when we had too many people on the sidelines of the enemy side "Good, you've got 'em surrounded, now blast 'em!" We ultimately lost 2-3, but our victories were truer, you know, as we won by clearing their court both times, while they only could win by having more units still on court after time.

An argument on the epicness of Scott Pilgrim vs the World occupied my double-walk back to the lounge where, in a fit of other people working, I pulled out my Ace: Dutch Blitz. 3 people quickly gave up any hope of productivity and joined me in 4 fun-filled and educational rounds before I had to depart to catch the last-possible-train-which-I-really-shouldn't-miss. I naturally left the addiction behind for them to better habituate themselves to my favourite way to play.

The bus ride down was a typical late Thursday night affair: rowdy students. My walk to the station was typical: a free muffin from the Salvation Army's late night table. My train ride home was the usual sleep-deprived fight to do something on a computer. My walk home was the usual "I just want to take a nap in these bushes" late-night affair. Once home, I talked to my girlfriend about her day and enjoyed useless speculation on life before finally sleeping for a hundred hours straight.

1 comment:

  1. Your days are strange days without sleep! Group food is great, indeed, if you're mercenary about getting the yam tempura. XD

    Nice adventures, Hero.



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