Saturday, 23 May 2009
- I was sitting in the toilet (try not to visualise!) when the fire alarm went off! I had no idea what to do! Let's just say I got caught out! Originally I thought maybe I'll just keep going and hope the alarm would be short-lived and no one would notice I was still in the toilet. The only thing is that if there was a real fire and I died, they'd find my body with my pants down (assuming my body wasn't completely burnt!)...
- I was sitting in the business school foyer eating my rice with beef and some sauce out of a container. I tried to pick up a piece of beef with my fork when I accidentally pushed my container off the table! Fortunately I was able to catch the container to limit the spillage but I still got a bit of food on the ground and on my schoolbag! I tried to smile, clean up the mess and then carry on with what I was doing, pretending it never happened.
Later when my friend Alice came to hang out, I tried to steer her away from that area! Instead we hung out a few levels above in the business school which was actually quite cool!
- Yesterday after class and on my way to the bus stop, I dropped in to McDonalds to pick up an apple pie. As I had just finished the fries I had bought from uni and had dirty hands, I went into the toilet to wash my hands. The lower pocket of my shorts got caught on the door briefly though and when I made it in to the toilet, I noticed my pocket was almost ripped off! Why do I always seem to wreck my clothes? They were a good pair of shorts too! Maybe it was a sign from someone up above trying to tell me to stop wasting my money at McDonalds...
- And finally, Calum's Official Umbrella Death Toll and Inversion Count:
Since Monday 18 May 2009, Calum has reported 2 Umbrella deaths and 8 Umbrella Inversions.
The worst is when you're crossing the road and the umbrella blows out. You try to spin around, trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing so it can blow the umbrella back in the right way, and as soon as it returns to it's proper configuration, it gets inverted again!
This particular day was last Tuesday. We had a guest speaker for our arthritis lecture and as she finished, the course-coordinator came down the stairs shouting at us
"Alright you lot sit down and sh^t up!"
He then went on about how we as pharmacy students and future pharmacists should be acting in a professional and ethical manner, which means not cheating and so on. He was referring to how nearly all of us pharmacy students have copies of the answers to the workshop and pre-workshop case questions, and the answers to the multiple-choice quizzes. Someone from the year above us must have passed it down to one of us, and then just like all things good it got spread around amongst us. Apparently someone in our year accidentally left her USB drive in the lab, and it got handed in to the pharmacy school. The academic director looked at the files on the USB drive to try figure out who owned it, and came across these 'answers'. The course-coordinator told us that if we had them we had to delete the files as soon as possible or else if we got caught with them we'd be in serious trouble.
It's certainly got pharmacy students in my year talking! Quite a few aren't happy at the fact they are looking through our USB drive, while others can't seem to understand why they are unhappy about us having the files, as we're not even assessed and we're just using them as another learning resource.
There are at jokes going on too about keeping an eye on our USB drives just in case the pharmacy school picks it up and goes through our files!
Another case was a week earlier when the afternoon MEDSCI lab stream got yelled at by their lab tutors because apparently some lab reports from students who took the paper last year must have been circulating amongst current MEDSCI students, as the plagiarism-detection website turnitin.com detected a bit of plagiarism going on!
There's definitely a fare bit of drama going on, and with exams coming up soon the pressure's certainly growing!
Monday, 18 May 2009
The first to start it off was this girl two benches away from me who pulled out her drawer full of glassware a little too far. The drawer came out, hit the ground and most of her glassware smashed! That was pretty much the big kahuna of smashes in the chemistry lab! That resulted in gasps, some laughs and heaps of eyes staring!
Not too long later, there was a smash that sounded like it came from the bench a few rows down. I didn't see who did it but I saw a lab tutor putting pieces of glass into the bin.
My friend beside me then knocked her glass stirring rod to the ground and it broke into three pieces! She could still use a third of the stirring stick though. I'd say it became easier for her to stir!
With all these smashes, I was starting to feel left out! I wanted to smash something! No I didn't really, but I had this feeling that sometime soon I'd be next to smash something. I did drop a glass spherical cylinder thing (can't remember it's proper name), but instead of smashing on the ground, it bounced along the ground a few times! Phew!! While we were standing around for an hour waiting for our mixture to reflux as well, I was talking to a few people and swinging my stirring rod around the place and nearly dropped it but fortunately caught it just in time! Double phew!!
Sunday, 17 May 2009
Even though I've read and heard about these lunchtime performances at the library, I've never actually attended one, so Aonghas and I weren't exactly too sure where the performance would be except that it was in a room with a Maori name on Level 2, and there was only one room with a Maori name!
Aonghas and I were probably the youngest in the audience, but that was OK. Epsom Girls Grammar brought along their choir, a few pianists, a string quintet in which Jenny played, as well as the chamber orchestra. I was blown away. Epsom Girls Grammar sure have a great music department! Their choir was great, their pianists impressive and Jenny was great as usual.
I don't think she saw us but that doesn't really matter. I don't know if they like me being there haha but I enjoy watching and supporting familiar faces, it makes you really proud...plus you get to skite that you know them! ;)
The very next day (Friday) was Aonghas's and my turn to perform at a library - Waitakere Central Library. We were performing on our accordions as part of the library's NZ Music Month programme. Funnily enough we didn't actually play any New Zealand music! We weren't sure about the details of the performance either which made us a little anxious about the performance. It turned out we were just going to perform in the foyer by the entrance to the library. Aonghas and I took turns playing pieces, although I did most of the playing! We ended by playing Bohemian Rhapsody as a duet. We didn't have much of a crowd, but got maybe around 20 people at one stage.
We didn't play all that well, making a few mistakes here and there. We really didn't do enough practice, as it's becoming increasingly difficult to find time to fit it in with uni and all.The most staggering thing though was that after we had played for about 45 minutes and decided it was enough, the librarian who invited us to come perform came to us to tell us that a few people had asked if we had a CD available or if we had a business card they could get! Another guy also asked us for our business card but when we told him we didn't have one and gave him our contact details instead, he said he'd try get some work for us! That gave us a few ideas on how to improve our music, maybe trying to incorporate different instruments into our trio or maybe trying out some different genres of music.
So I guess if pharmacy doesn't work out, I can just hit the resthome circuit!
Friday, 15 May 2009
We've had this lecturer recently. She's not too bad, she has a bit of an accent however. She also likes to read her lecture slides and then explain them by rearranging the words on the slides. She'll then repeat it not too long after. My favourite:
"...can be easily swallowed. This means you can swallow it easily."
I guess that can be good in a way, just in case we miss what she says the first or third time.
Because of her accent, people had a little bit of a giggle when she said a few words that sounded like something...different...I admit I smiled slightly as I heard it, and then felt a bit bad as I wondered if it was only me who had a dirty mind, but it turns out there were quite a few others who were thinking the same! You see she was trying to explain to us this machine where you put six tubes in it. To some it came out as
"you have to put sex juice in this machine"
Why do my pens keep disappearing? When I go off to mix a chemical or rinse something in a sink, someone must borrow a pen or pencil from my pencil case and I end up keeping on having to buy more pens and pencils! I'm sure I've gone through at least 4 pens already this semester! It's lucky I stocked up on pens at the beginning of the year when they were a lot cheaper!---
Today we were learning about powder flow properties in the lab, which involved filling a cylinder with powder and then releasing it onto paper to measure the diameter of the pile and the maximum height of the pile to determine the angle and so on. I found it amusing how they've given this rather simple cylinder a fancy name - Flowdex! It sure makes this cylinder sound like a high-tech device!
What was even more exciting though was this machine were introduced to, called the tapping machine. Guess what that does? It taps containers! Cool huh? In our lab manual it talked about having to tap this measuring cylinder filled with powder 1600 times or something like that. I was thinking about how long that would take when we were told there's a machine that will do it for us!
Come to think of it, what can't you do with a machine these days? No need to mix test tubes yourself thanks to a Vortex Mixer. No need to manually do titrations, let the computer do that. Now you don't need to tap your containers, just give it to the tapping machine!
People are never going to forget the stupid remark I made during the first pharmacotherapy lecture of this semester are they? (Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time in terms of pharmacy? I will have left pharmacy...)
I asked one of my friends who had recently taken up a job at a pharmacy if she would recommend that I work at a pharmacy. She replied:
"I wouldn't recommend you get a job at a pharmacy since you hate pharmacy!"
At my pharmacotherapy workshops as well whenever the tutor tells us to commit something to memory as we'll have to know it for the rest of our lives as pharmacists, someone in my group will remark
"Except Calum...he's not going to be a pharmacist!"
I don't hate pharmacy...honest! I just have a love-hate relationship with it. When things go well it's not so bad, but when things go bad...well...I actually have motivation now to pass...screw the degree I'm doing it for the graduation teddy bear! Last week was graduation week at uni and as I sat in Albert Park watching the graduates in their gowns holding their graduation teddy bears and taking photos with family and friends, I thought to myself, I want to be where they are, and I want to get there as soon as I possibly can! So I will be studying hard, or trying to!
Monday, 11 May 2009
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ZIPPO!! (too bad she's not a mother or else it'd be a double whammy!!)
On Sunday night our youth group helped out with other fellowship groups in making these little ribbon things that would be given to mothers during the Sunday service. To be honest I don't think they really trusted us and the job we did, as when we were handing them out to the mothers at the service in the morning I couldn't recognise any of them! I also had to pay off a bet I had lost, but more on that later.
It was pretty cool though. I think we had enough gifts to give to the mothers, who were asked to stand as we handed the gifts out to them. As they all eventually sat down, husbands and non-mothers were asked to stand and sing a song for the mothers which was nice, even though it probably wasn't done out of choice for many of them!
Later that Sunday night my family and I went to this Chinese restaurant to join the Tan family, our family friends from church. We ordered several dishes, which included lemon chicken, beef, beans and the other usual Chinese stuff like rice. It was really fun being at a Chinese restaurant, it's been so long since I've had dinner at a restaurant! It was small but it was so full with all these Chinese people around. The talking and the clattering of dishes and cutlery was so noisy you had to talk up to be heard!
In one of the dishes Leonie found a piece of plastic and showed one of the waitresses who said she'd replace the dish. However, the head chef came out and said it was impossible for a piece of plastic to be found in the dish as the food was cooked in a wok and any plastic would have melted. So how'd the piece of plastic get in??
The Tan family brought a cake with them, which is funny because there were signs on a few walls saying
'No food or drink allowed' (I'm assuming they mean you're not allowed to bring your own food or drink in to their restaurant!)
but they managed to! Not only that, but they also asked for some forks and plates and they gave them to us! That'll mean more dish washing for them, but hey we found a piece of plastic in one of their dishes!
It was a pretty good meal overall though, and Winston paid for it all, offering to shout us all, but we refused, and insisted we pay for our half! It was fun though; hopefully we go to restaurants a bit more often!
And as for what we got our mother for Mothers Day? Well she bought some jewellery for herself, so we'll just pay her back, plus she didn't pay for dinner tonight so we'll be paying for her! (Our mum likes to buy her own stuff. She doesn't trust us to buy the right thing for her!)
Sunday, 10 May 2009
The friendship between Mr Hirst and our family started off way back when I was still in primary school. It was customary for birthday cards to be handed out at assemblies, and my birthday happened to be on the same day as the principal's, so he would always write a special note for me. He later discovered that I had an interest in planes and gave me some stuff, as well as invited me to come watch him fly model planes.
After Mr Hirst retired and we left Henderson Primary School, we continued to keep in touch. Every year on his and my birthday we'd wish each other a Happy Birthday, and my dad would often email him about various topics. I just regret that I didn't keep in touch with him as much as I could've/should've.
The funeral though was quite nice and wasn't too long either. The room was full so we had to go upstairs and watch it on the TV screen. We met up with Megan, and also caught up with a few old primary school teachers like Mrs and Mr Wheeler, and the old school secretary Ms Williams. It really brings back so many memories!
From what I heard at the funeral it did sound as though Mr Hirst had an impact on many people's lives as a teacher/principal, and he certainly accomplished a lot. For a start I never knew he was a member of a group who won the Mobil Song Quest many, many years ago!
Attending funerals does certainly makes you think about things and put things into perspective. I wonder who would show up at my funeral, what they would say and how they'd evaluate the 'worthiness' of my life, if you could put it that way. It's happening right now and rather than thinking about things I probably should be doing something about it, steering it in the right direction and making the most of it!
It's ironic, that in a week I've gone from attending a wedding to a funeral. Now if only I had attended three more weddings, then that'd make Four Weddings and a Funeral!
As for Mr Hirst, at least he's not suffering anymore and hopefully he's in a better place, having a great time!
The first concert I attended was the Auckland Symphony Orchestra's 'Invitation to a Dance' concert in the Auckland Town Hall last Sunday afternoon. My brothers, mum and I went along with Cleo, a friend from our youth group who wanted to come along as her school orchestra is playing a few of the same pieces the orchestra would be playing at that concert. She plays percussion so she wanted to check it out. It was the first orchestral performance she was attending too! We also went with the Tan family (our family friends from church) and our mum went along with them, while I drove my brothers and Cleo in our car.
The concert was pretty cool. There were quite a few catchy pieces, and there were quite a few pieces that were accompanied by dancers (well then again the theme of the concert was dance music!). The orchestra performed 'Dance of the Comedians' which is a piece we've played on the accordion before. My favourite piece, which came as a surprise to me was Danzon No. 2 by Arturo Marquez! It was conducted by Peter Thomas, the orchestra's Associate Conductor, and also the Head of Music/conductor of Cleo's school orchestra! It was funny too because Jenny, this other girl in our youth group who is also the lead violinist of their school orchestra was in the audience down below and we heard her shout out loud when Peter Thomas first came on stage!
What was really off-putting about the performance however was the fact that we were surrounded by infants and young children! Now there's nothing wrong with them, but when you have one beside you who keeps squeeling as he tries to conduct, and one behind you who is trying to give her mum directions to the toilet, you can't exactly focus on the music!
We had a bit of trouble finding where we parked the car after the concert though, as we couldn't remember where the carpark was! I admit they were following me, which could've been a mistake. Aonghas soon guided us in the right direction.
On our way to the car though I came across Mischa, my friend from intermediate school who I haven't caught up with since! It was really cool actually talking to her in person this time! She was playing cello in the orchestra.
As for the second concert I attended, I have to say to be completely accurate, I didn't attend the WHOLE concert, just the last third of it. It was the University of Auckland Graduation Gala Concert, and Aonghas and I stayed behind at uni and were going to join with our parents and Hamish to attend the concert.
There was one slightly problem we weren't expecting though. When Aonghas and I got there, there was a queue forming from the upstairs entrance to the Town Hall all the way towards Burger King! We got in the queue and nearly made it to the entrance. Aonghas was trying to ring Hamish to find out where they were, and Hamish told him that they were on their way. Not too long after that a lady walked alongside the queue telling everyone the Town Hall was completely full and told us to come back next year (while the Crunchy Comedy Festival people were trying to get us to attend their shows)! We then got a text from Hamish saying they were sitting upstairs in the audience! They must've gotten in through the back way!
Aonghas and I were walking towards Burger King when we caught up with Winston (from the Tan family as mentioned above) who was originally planning on attending the concert with his family as well. His family were still looking for parking by the time the hall was full! We ended up waiting outside the doors for seats to become vacant though, and eventually we got a seat...for the last performance!
It was a bit of a shame as I just missed out on watching my pharmacy friend's older sister perform the flute. The last girl who performed piano though was pretty good. We were seated right at the back, and I'm sure I could hear a lady behind me snoring, while a lady in front of us was watching through binoculars!
The music was amazing nonetheless, and the great news - my friend's sister won the competition! Now I really wish I hadn't missed that performance!
Being able to attend these musical performances really motivates me to try get more into music. I really want to continue with music theory and eventually pass grade eight, but it's just time and uni getting in the way! Oh...and also I'm still tossing up between Royal Schools vs Trinity. I've been doing Royal Schools up till now but have heard Trinity is slightly easier for the higher theory grades. Any thoughts anyone?
Thursday, 7 May 2009
Going all the way back to two weeks ago when uni started up for the second half of the first semester, I had three tests on the first three days back! I actually thought I had two on the first day back and then one more a couple days later, but after getting an announcement the night before, I realised I was wrong! I swear I did do enough study. The Friday night before the tests I had to organise activity night for youth group though, and because everyone wanted to stay at church I ended up going with one suggestion given to me - a debate! It was kinda cool as people who weren't as keen and confident in public speaking gave it a go.
As for the tests - the tests didn't go too badly, except for maybe the last one which was MEDSCI303. The night before the test I missed my bus home and so instead of watching the Dancing with the Stars Grand Final on TV, I spent those extra hours doing some productive study at the university library!
Anyway back to the test...half of it consisted of calculation-based questions, and the other half were theory questions. I started off with the calculation questions only to discover the calculator Aonghas had lent me wasn't working! I tried thumping and banging it, keeping in mind the environment I was in. Nothing would work, so I decided to do the other half and come back to it. With 20 minutes to go, I still hadn't done much of the calculation section. I decided I might as well try ask one of the guys running the test if he had a spare calculator or else I'd feel stupid if he did and I didn't ask! It turns out he did have one, only I didn't know how to use it and now 10 minutes remained! To end the test, the lights went out and the guy didn't know how to switch them back on, so he just ended the test there!
I've passed two tests so far. As for MEDSCI303, results are still pending..
The following week I had this massive lab report for...you guessed it MEDSCI which was due on Friday. The only thing was I also had two dinners to attend, a birthday dinner with my church Sunday School class for Winston (24th birthday) and his sister Leonie (21st birthday) on Tuesday, and then the 3rd year pharmacy class dinner on the following night. I was having second thoughts on attending the pharmacy dinner, but since I had already paid for it, I decided I might as well attend and eat my money's worth!
The first birthday dinner on Tuesday night was at Bongane Restaurant, this Korean restaurant just down the road from our Sunday School teacher Sherman's student hostel that he runs. We all had to meet up at his hostel at 7pm and we'd walk down to the restaurant together. I only finished a workshop over in Grafton at 5pm though, so I had to walk all the way back into the city and meet up with Hamish. We tried to find a birthday present for them too, but we couldn't come up with anything good!
So we all met as planned and made our way to the restaurant. There was Sherman, my family, Winston and Leonie's family, John and his daughter (he's one of the helper teachers in our class) and Jennifer and her family. Aonghas came late as he had an engineering test that finished at 7.30pm.
The food was pretty good, I had a bowl of rice and chicken with teriyaki sauce. We all tried to have different dishes so we could compare what they were like!
After the dinner we sang Happy Birthday to the birthday boy and girl before eating cake! They brought a cake, but weren't aware that Sherman had brought one too, so we got to have two cakes!
The following night was 3rd year pharmacy dinner at the Turkish Cafe in Newmarket. I heard that some others had pulled out because they were worried about their lab report, and I was about to follow suit but then I didn't want to let my class rep down! So I ended up attending.
I tagged along with my pharmacy friend Edwin and a few others as I didn't know where I was going. I tried searching for the restaurant with Google Streetview and got Burger King! I suppose it was kinda close to the restaurant though...We got there slightly early though and caught up with a few other pharmacy people before going into the neighbouring The Warehouse just to look around to kill time. The girls spent most of the time looking at toddler toys and clothes though, how typical!
We went back to the restaurant to find a full house! It was packed. It took about half an hour for the food to finally come out. We were promised a buffet dinner but they only served big plates of food (maybe big is an exaggeration..) in the middle of our table and we had to scoop our own food onto our plate. Most of it was rice and pita bread. I spent most of the night taking photos of our table. I couldn't really be bothered going to the other side of the restaurant to take photos with others though, as the place was a little short on space!
It was funny when it was time to leave. It seemed as though everyone just got up all at the same time and walked out together! Edwin, the girls we were with and I wandered along the street to the nearest bus stop to catch the bus back into the city. I went to Sky City with Joohee, this Korean girl in pharmacy whose bus stop was there too. I went off to mine just around the corner when I saw my bus go past! At that time I didn't realise it was mine, but I did realise I had no more trips left on my bus pass, so I rushed to the nearest dairy to see if they topped up bus passes. They didn't though, so I crossed the road to the nearest Kiwibank ATM to get money out, only to find they weren't giving out money at that time! I had to go all the way to the bottom of the street to get my bus pass topped up, which is where that crazy racist guy came in (see my previous post!).. I did get home though, just an hour later...not good when you've got a lab report due!
I ended up doing an all-nighter that Thursday night, trying to get my lab report done. I only managed to finish it at 12pm the next day, with a couple hours to spare before the 2pm deadline! I rushed to Grafton to hand it in before heading into the city where I had to meet up with my friend Lisa to show her where a lecture theatre was, and then go off to the chemistry lab for a chemistry LAB TEST! Arrgghhh! Being sleep-deprived was bad enough!
What made the lab test even worse was I started off adding a chemical to the wrong flask and had to start again. Throughout the lab test though I noticed my mixture was different to the people beside me. I was tempted to ask a lab tutor if I was doing the right thing. I asked one lab tutor
"If I ask you a question will I lose marks?"
"OK doesn't matter"
After a while though I gave in and asked this lab tutor if what I got was supposed to be what I got. She gave me this really sarcastic reply, something along the lines of was that supposed to be a question and she couldn't magically make product appear...She gave a similar sarcastic reply to the next person who asked for help. Why can't the lab tutors of CHEM390 be as nice as the past CHEM labs I've attended??!
I ended up with a 6% yield.. that's right only 6%. I barely had enough product to do a tlc, a melting point test and by the time I wanted to get an IR spectrum printed off with that machine I had hardly any product left in my container! The tutor told me scrape it back off the machine and into the container. Because there are a limited number of machines as well, I had to wait in line to get my IR spectrum printed off. By the time I did, I only had a few minutes to analyse it before time was up and I had to hand in my lab report! WORSE LAB EVER!!
Fortunately to end two weeks of hell I got to attend a wedding the next day at our church. To be honest I didn't really know the people who were getting married, but the bride was a daughter of my mum's friend (I think), and so since she was invited, so were her family. I was cool with that. I haven't been to a wedding in years! My brothers and I all dressed in shirts. I wish we wore ties too that would've been cool.
The weddin was supposed to start at 2pm but didn't start for another half an hour. Apparently the bride had problems getting into her dress, or something like that. While we were waiting in the hall, people were being told not to step on the long red carpet that stretched from the door to the front of the church.
We were all waiting for the bride and groom to come in when this random lady came in through the wrong door! She was quickly ushered out.
Once the wedding got underway though it was pretty cool. I maybe didn't feel the love as much as others since the whole procession was in Chinese, but then again love should have no barriers or blablabla...right?? haha
There was a sort of reception in the main hall afterwards which was nice. There was a two-tier cake and some finger food which my brothers, Jireh the pastor's son and I stoked up on before the speeches. We were asked to help with distributing slices of cake to people though, so at least I contributed something to the wedding!
Apparently there are at least another three weddings to be held sometime later this year. I'm hoping I get invited along to a few of those!
Monday, 4 May 2009
1) I was waiting in line at the Star Mart checkout one night wanting to renew my bus pass quickly before my bus arrived, when this guy came in and asked the Indian man if he had a marker on him. The Indian man told him he didn't have one, and that's when the man launched his racial, bad-mouthed tirade at the Indian man as he walked out. In a slightly more pleasant way, he replied to the Indian man
"How can you not have a marker you man of Indian origin?" (Insert your own expletives where appropriate)
2) Today I was waiting at the traffic lights as I was walking back to the city from the Grafton campus. There was a group of people at the traffic lights, and this man on his bike had just cycled to our corner of the intersection. Instead of getting off his bike and pushing it through the crowd of people, he remained on his bike, trying to walk/cycle it amongst the crowd. That's when a man tried to remind him it was a footpath and not a cycle track. The man on the bike turned around and in a more pleasant way of putting things said
"A footpath? A footpath? You want me to go and bike on the road you aged man?" (Insert your own expletives where appropriate)
It's quite sad we're treating each other this way these days. What happened to being nice to each other? I suppose if it's cool to to be different, and being nice is a rarity these days, then it's cool to be nice...right?