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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Every Thurday. Every Freaking Thursday.

According to the new scheduling system that caters to part-time student - me being one of the only full time student so I have to adher to their preferences – Thursdays will be my night class days.

When I woke up at 6am, fully refeshed from a good night’s sleep and ready for activity, I wondered maybe I should just stay at home until the late afternoon, say 4pm, seeing that I didn’t really feel like sitting down in the PC lab for an entire day.

Bang! Crash!
*hiss* MeeeeeeeeeooooOOOOWWWW! *growl*
Waaaa- *hiccup* -aaaaaaah!

Looks like baby nephew’s coming over today. That’s my cue to depart.

7am: Bathed and ready to go!
7:10am: Help Mak vaccum broken glass from kitchen.
7:20am: Pry headscraf from BabyNabil’s naugthy fingers.
7:25am: Clean strawberry jam smudges from headscraf.
7:35am: Failed, changed headscraf. Now I’m ready to go.
7:50am: Stuck in Damansara Toll traffic jam.
8:10am: Offically decided that I hate all forms of jams.
8:20am: Finally arrived at school. Mentally kick self for forgetting to bring Java textbook.
8:25am: Waiting outside school workstation along with 5 other early bird students, most comprises of new students.
8:30am: Listen vaguely to PakGuard’s repeated jokes. He tells the same thing every day to impress various new students..
8:35am: Enter school workstation and signing into the network.
8:40am: Downloading Mystery in London from Reflexive Arcade.
8:45am: Upload photos in ( had been firewalled in all school PCs).
9:00am: Post Taco Bake entry in Blogspot. Finished downloading Mystery in London game.
9:30am: Check all favourites bloggers.
10:40am: Post I Love to Hate my Lecturer entry in Blogspot.
10:00am: Check Project Petaling Street website. Ping blog’s entries.
10:30am: Check Gmail. Received Santana ft. Chad Kroeger mp3 music from little brother, Genius (he’s in Malaya University, studying Electronic Engineering).
10:35am: Exit school network and signing-in again (there’s a two hour limit. You just sign-in the same PC again).
11:00am: Open Gmail again and send 2 sci-fi themed desktop-quality pictures to Genius as a thank you.
11:50pm: Check blog for comments.
12:30pm: Exit school network and signing-in again.
12:35pm: Check into forums.
12:45pm: Check into and remove the map file from file server. Upload Santana mp3 in Mediafire.
13:10am: Did some neck exercise. Declined a friend’s invitation to McD lunch on excuse of doing homework (actually, no money-lah!).
13:15pm: Bored. Actually doing homework for a change.
13:50pm: Check blog for comments again.
2:00pm: Check Google for open source Java applet codings.
2:25pm: Stop and exit workstation for mid-afternoon prayers.
2:55pm: Check to see if PC Lab have classes. None. Signing into lab network (they don’t have time limits).
3:05pm: Downloading 3 new mp3s (Yay! Insecured firewall!).
3:30pm: Start on thesis project chapter 1 report; alternately check for open source Java applet codings.
4:10pm: Sign out of lab network because of immensely slow internet. Now officially hating bandwidth jam.
4:20pm: Reach parked car. Late afternoon is good time to park car in No Parking Zone.
4:25pm: Signing back into PC Lab network again.
4:45pm: Write third, untitled blog entry.
5:30(?)pm: Stop for late afternoon prayers.
5:55(?)pm: Check into Lab 3 for MP class.
6.00(?)pm: Joustle for good, unbroken, non-blurry, fast working PC with part-time students.
6:15(?)pm: Ended up getting bad PC anyway.
6:30(?)pm: Lec. Java comes in and shooed the strangglers out.
6:35(?)pm: Changed PCs.
6:45(?)pm: Reviewing last week’s chapters.
7:00(?)pm: Praying, devoutly praying, not to be chosen to showcase last week’s exercise.
7:05(?)pm: Getting to present answers to last week’s exercise anyway.
7:10(?)pm: Lec. Java presents correct answers to last week’s exercise.
7:30(?)pm: Stop for evening prayers (thank God!).
7:50(?)pm: Starting chapters on Java Graphics and GUI.
8:35(?)pm: Given this week’s exercise to take home.
9:45(?)pm: Full dark. Get to car parked in No Parking Zone safely.
10:00(?)pm: Reach home safetly, bathe and crash into bed.
11:00(?)pm: Late-night snack. Tip-toe around house not to wake up parents.
11:30(?)pm: Read a bit of fiction books before finally falling asleep.

Yup, a completely full day. Alamak...

I Love to Hate My Lecturers

I’m not a slow learner; I just don’t like to pay attention to people in suits. I have this primary school childhood fear of teachers. Teachers being angry, teacher embarrassing students in front of other students, students ganging up to bully the scolded student during recess...

In short, I was hoping for distance learning after secondary school, preferably while I travel. But my parents will have none of that, as they’re the ones paying for my tertiary education. They’ve learned their lesson of letting their children run wild with my older brother, Arsenal, who came home from USA no richer than $100,000. In debt.

Since my personality is a lot like my older brother, I ended up never even stepping foot out of PJ after SPM for my degree. And it was straight to degree too, no diploma. I had wanted diploma first, then get a little bit of job experience, then go for degree.

But again, overruled. Denied. Zippo.

I kind of understood all that. Parents always wanted the very best for their kids, whether the kids wanted to or not. This is to ensure bragging rights in their old age, trying to impress other parents about ‘oh-my-son-is-a-lawyer’ or ‘hey-my-daughter-drives-a-Porsche’ or ‘why-don’t-your-daughter-meet-my-son-and-join-their-bank-account-so-they-can-send-more-money-to-us-after-they-get-married?’.

I hate high expectations. I’m a simple girl. I don’t want a super-job that gets me super-money. I can only drive one car at a time, sleep under one roof at night and eat only 3 meals a day. That’s the downside of big families who need big support in their old age. Big expectations.

That’s why I’m thankful to finally becoming a majoring student this year. I have 3 lecturers and a supervisor now, all encompassing the major subjects and the thesis project part01. Their experience with students on the threshold of last university days prior to the rat-race reality encourages me to give them more respect than I do to my parents.

My ED lecturer is whom I shall call Lec. Whoops. This is because something always have to go wrong before she teaches, either PC breakdown, projector image blurry or the buggy classroom door knob getting locked - with all of us still in it. Being resourceful, she actually gave us a pop-quiz while the security guards look for the keys.

My VR lecturer is whom I shall call Lec-Xercise. She always seemed to be out of breath before coming to class for some reason. I later realized that she had just become Head of the Multimedia department (her first time and she didn’t asked for it) and that she didn’t like that the VR classroom is too damned far away from her office.

My MP lecturer is whom I shall call Lec. Java. It’s not just because she’s teaching advanced Java but it’s from her constant unflagging energy. For God’s sake, the class is at 6pm-9pm and she’s ready to get us do PC-lab tests and large coding discussions while everyone else is halfway to Zzz-land.

Lec-Xercise could learn a thing or two from Lec. Java, if Lec-Xercise could keep up with her and if Lec. Java could stop talking long enough to hear her.

And last but not least... Dr. Visor. He’s my new supervisor for this semester. For some reason, he got shackled with me even though he’s from Networking department. Maybe there’s a system here I didn’t know about. My last Supervisor and her superior-in-terror, Super-supervisor, was from Software Engineering.

Anyway, seeing that the man is a phD. I was scared that he might have expectations (and you know I hate high expectations). He’s in Networking and I want to propose building a game software. Would he want it online? Can I find an online system in time? Would he even accept a game system? Would he prefer I do something more mundane, like a forum community? I support open-source but does he approve?

Naturally, I was stuttering by the time I got my teaspoon of courage outside the department offices. I kept asking the receptionist for Safian or Sifuan instead of Sufian. Unable to wait for him to open the glass door, I got in through as another student was coming out.

There were two other students in the reception room. Five minutes later, there were only two of us. Unable to stop pacing, I decided to look for his office myself and asked a passing lecturer for his office (again, I stutter; I just don’t know why).

She actually looked amused. Then she pointed to the student behind me.

Oh crap.

Dr. Visor was actually waiting for me, nicely sitting there for the last 5 minutes, watching me pace around like a hungry puppy. I freaking thought he was a student, really. He was wearing plain white shirt and jet-black pants, standard uniform for all students from the Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

If I hadn’t been so nervous, I would have noticed; no need for FHTM students to hang around inside the FIT department.

Both lecturers had a good laugh as I really wish I could sink into the floor at that moment (I just have to make do with covering my red face with my textbook). At least it wasn’t like my primary school teachers; this was good clean embarrassment.

Least to say, the rest of the meeting went okay. He approved of the game system, taught me how to write the first chapter and encourages me to contact him once a week. He didn’t ask for online systems or additional programming. I can achieve those goals.

However, this doesn’t mean I’ll thank him for that trick. My next new blog will be about distance learning.

Recipe: Taco Bake with Corn Chips

This is a pretty easy recipe to make and doesn’t take an hour to cook; but there’s a whole lot of activity going on. You got to fry the meat, boil the pasta and then bake the casserole. But I tell ya it’s delicious! If you’re on a diet, stay away from this picture-filled message.

This is a warning; you’ll gain kilograms while you’re reading this.

1 whole large onion, finely chopped
A few cloves of garlic, also chopped
Some paprika powder or chili powder (optional)
1 bottle of salsa
1 brick of cheddar cheese, shredded
Some Sunglo sour cream (I got mine at Giant hypermarket)
1 packet of Ramly brand frozen minced meat (400grams, beef or chicken)
1 packet of Old El Paso Taco Seasoning mix (found at Giant hypermarket or Cold Storage)
1 Kraft’s Deluxe Macaroni n’ Cheese dinner (bought at Cold Storage)
1 medium-sized bag of Chachos corn chips

*Note: make sure the frozen minced meat had defrosted into room temperature; otherwise you’ll get meat lumps when you fry ‘em.

Heat a pot of water until it boils. Then add the macaroni pasta as this one takes the longest to cook.

Fry those chopped onions and garlic until soft and fragrant, then add the minced meat.

When the meat is half cooked, add in the Old El Paso Taco Seasoning mix. Keep frying until the meat is cooked, then take it off the heat and let it cool in the wok.

*Note: You can also add a little bit of chili powder or paprika powder as well to make it spicier.

The pasta would have been cooked right about then. It should be white and soft but firm, not mushy because otherwise they’ll break to pieces after baking.

*Note: Now you should preheat your microwave oven to 180’Celcius to get ready for baking.

Drain the pasta and while still steaming, pour ‘em into a mixing bowl. Add all the Kraft’s cheese sauce and about a cup of the sour cream.

After mixing them well, add ONLY HALF (yes, just half) of the macaroni mix into a casserole dish. Then add a layer of the spicy minced meat. Using ONLY HALF of the shredded cheddar cheese, add a layer of it OVER that meat layer.

Add all the remaining macaroni mix over all that. Add a thin layer of salsa sauce over the casserole for taste. With the remaining shredded cheese, divide it into HALF and use just one half to spread a layer over the casserole.

Bake the casserole for just 15 minutes. Add the rest of the cheddar cheese, then bake a little while longer for only 5 minutes.

You can lick the cheesy mixing spoon while you wait. Mm-mmm...

Once done, crush the Chachos corn chips and spread ‘em all over the casserole.

Now eaaaaaaaaaaaaattt!! This recipe feeds 6 people; it’s very filling. I really wish you could smell the spicy taco mince meat cos it's really great. The touch of the salsa sauce alongside the saltiness of the cheese sauce melting on your mouth is just soooooo good. Chewy macaroni pasta and crunchy corn chips-, not saying anything more.

My folks always have this dish with a side of fresh, tossed salad drenched in thousand-island sauce. Other having a nutritional, balanced diet (Mak’s a food pyramid freak), the mix of tomatoes and lettuce leaves just seem to work superbly, sort-of like, it refreshes your taste buds as you eat.

Why am I writing this? Because I’ve decided that it was absolutely futile to stick to my New Year’s Resolution, that’s why.

Spread the cheesy love...

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