Don't Panic!

August 24, 2013

C25K- Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — anonomousangel @ 1:33 am
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Okay so I’m into the 6th week of the Couch to 5k program. I have to say that’s probably further than I thought I would get, especially because week 5 ends with a 20 run, the first time there’s no walking, and it’s a fairly long time considering how much I struggled with 60 seconds in week 1.

The system has actually been pretty good, even though each time the running intervals increased I thought I wouldn’t manage I actually have, so that’s good. I definitely prefer going out with someone else to do them though. Even though I usually end up doing the actual running myself since the other person is streets ahead of me it’s still nice to know that they are somewhere, and we’ll be together for warm up and cool down.

Running with my sister is definitely the best though because we are both at similar standards so it’s easy to run along together, having a chat and spurring each other on. We arranged to do the 20 min run together as well which was good because it was definitely the most daunting one so far.

I’m getting a lot better at knowing when to go as well, not going on an empty stomach, not going right after eating, drinking enough but not too much… it definitely makes a difference. Today I messed up, I hadn’t had a lot to drink during the day and I forgot to bring a bottle with me, it really made a difference, I was struggling early on and I gave up on the middle run. I felt really bad about it though so I ran for a bit extra when I was finished to get the right number of minutes in though. But it was amazing the difference it made, what was manageable before just seemed impossible. Definitely not a mistake I’ll be making again.

Another benefit for me is that I’m actually drinking water, something I have avoided for my entire life. I mean fair enough it makes sense to drink it while I’m running and after, but in general I can actually stand the taste a lot more and have been having it with some meals as well, which has to be a positive change. And yes I know water isn’t supposed to have a taste but it has one to me and it’s not a nice one at all. I definitely need the water to be cold though, icy is best.

I think the next few weeks of the C25K are going to be the hardest, because it’s getting close to the end. The run I’m doing on Sunday is the last one with any walking breaks, so from then on it’s just running (well, jogging/shuffling) for longer and longer. I’m hoping that the knowledge that I managed the 20 minutes will help me with the 22 I’m due to do next Wednesday, and that one will spur me on for week 7.

I’m hoping the running is something I keep up when I’m back in college next month because even though I don’t always enjoy it when I’m tired and breathing heavily and my face is red and my legs hurt. I do find that I kinda feel better about myself when I know I’m making an effort to do something that’s good for me. Plus I’m so slow that I will have to carry on for a good while before my 30 minutes actually has me covering 5km.

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August 7, 2013

CTYI

Filed under: College,CTYI — anonomousangel @ 3:11 am
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Okay so thanks to a couple of people mentioning an article that was on thejournal.ie (here) about CTYI, the fact that I reread a post Tommy wrote about it quite a while ago (here) and the flurry of comments that it inspired I’ve been thinking about it a bit this evening, which is something I don’t do that often. And thinking turned into talking to Ais and now I’m blogging cuz she’s busy reading a book.

It’s 6 years since my first day at CTYI and 3 years since my last, and it really doesn’t feel like that long ago. This summer was the first time that I had no idea when CTYI started, there was no mention of it on my facebook… but that makes sense because most of my friends from CTYI are well finished with it now and also most of my friends from CTYI aren’t my friends anymore. 3 years is a long time to keep in touch with someone you knew for 3 weeks. In fact, of the people I do keep in touch with there is only one who I only knew for one session, all the others had connections other than CTYI or we had multiple years at CTYI together.

Since starting college, I’ve come across a fair few people who know about CTYI. My conversation style is fairly anecdotal so occasionally I’ll be telling a story, and if it’s about CTYI I’ll almost always say it was about a summer course I did, and if they ask more I’ll say it was a nerd camp, but there’s a few people who turn around and go “oh was it CTYI?” and it’s weird but I kind of feel almost apprehensive about saying yes, as if I then need to clarify to them that although I attended I’m not an arrogant sod.

I was about to say that I don’t know why that is, but then I remembered that I actually overheard someone in the same company moaning that everyone who went to CTYI *is* an arrogant sod (or words to that effect) so that probably rationalises that one.

It’s weird though, that because of a small few people I feel apologetic about what was a seriously fantastic experience for me.
My views on CTYI are still overwhelmingly positive, I really really loved it and I got a lot from my time there.

There is one main reason that I saw going to CTYI as something special, the fact that no one else in my family did it. I’m the youngest in my family and I’m very like both my sisters, in different ways. We all enjoyed swimming as a hobby, me and Ais are both musical and were in the same band and orchestra for a long time. Academically I love maths and science, just like Aoife. I was in the student council and the school musicals, with Ais. I was constantly called the wrong name in school. CTYI for me was one thing that no one else had done, I wasn’t anyone’s little sister there and I loved that.

The fact that you had to qualify for CTYI didn’t matter that much to me, the day I got the news that I’d gotten in, one of my best friends got in too so it’s not like I could ever consider it something unique. My first year there I did a maths course and it was fantastic. It was a chance to look at things I would never have come across in normal classes, even though I did have excellent teachers who were really good about noticing that I worked quickly and giving me stuff to do when I was finished. It was also the first time that I was ever really really baffled by a concept, my group had to do a project on Euler’s Totient Function and I can remember just being incredibly confused and bewildered by it, to be honest I still don’t know what it is. But the course was great because it made me have to deal with not knowing what was going on, something that can be incredibly difficult the first time it happens.

I’m not really sure what I’m trying to get across here so I’m gonna try sort this out in my head.

1) My first point is definitely that CTYI was amazing for me. I really really loved it and it benefited me a lot. It gave me a place where I wasn’t compared to anyone else in my family. It gave me a lot of friends. It gave me a chance to be annoyingly hyper and have people not mind.
The courses I did at CTYI were excellent. I loved the maths course and there are things I picked up there that have still been helpful, for instance a basic understanding of binary made digital electronics a lot easier to follow this year. The maths course in particular was great for me because it was something that I love, in a way that was different to how it’s done at school. It also helped me out because it was the first time I’d been around that many people who also really liked maths. I think maths, more than any other subject, is generally hated. One of the biggest complaints first year science students at Maynooth have is that maths isn’t optional. It’s nice to find people who enjoy something you enjoy, particularly when it’s considered unusual to like it. More than anything the maths course at CTYI helped me because I wasn’t very good at it. Maths in school hadn’t presented much of a challenge to me and I think it was important to have an experience when it didn’t come easily to me. The maths olympiad I did in 5th year was another example of this. Last semester in college was the first time I’ve really struggled with maths that wasn’t voluntary, well, I picked the course but you know what I mean. I really worked at the hard module, Mark helped me a fair bit as well. What I found especially frustrating was that I didn’t even know what I didn’t understand. I had a lot of problems when I couldn’t explain what was confusing me, I just couldn’t find the next step myself, as soon as the lecturer or Mark suggested something I could see that it would work, but I could have been looking at it for a year and I’m sure it wouldn’t have come to me. I spent a weekend before the exam with Mark helping me sort out in my head what was going on and finally got to the point when I didn’t just have question marks buzzing in my head once I read the question. I hated the module for the whole time I was doing it. But I’m more proud of the first I got in it than any other grade in college so far. I didn’t always cope with the struggling bit very well, so I can only imagine how much worse it would have been if that had been my first time not understanding.

The other courses I did helped me out in a different way. Not enjoying the biomedical diagnostics or medicine courses that I did was a big part of helping me decide that I didn’t want to be a doctor, and I’m seriously grateful for that now. I think that a degree in maths is definitely the thing that makes the most sense for me. I also did a far less serious course when I did Writing for Life, which covered all sorts of creative writing and was really really fun.
I had 4 fantastic sessions at CTYI and I have some wonderful memories of the place.

2) The other thing I was trying to talk about here was kind of the perception of CTYI. For most people I know, CTYI is a good memory. But for a lot of people the name is synonymous with a gathering of pretentious kids with ideas above their station. And that kind of …irritates me a little. I think the primary reason that it annoys me particularly is that people are really prone to generalisation, so if I hear people saying that everyone at CTYI is arrogant or pretentious obviously I’m gonna disagree. The other thing is that it can be hard to talk about personal experience with school or anything that you’re good at without making yourself seem seriously big headed, so a lot of the time I find it hard to try and talk about this stuff without basically contradicting my own argument.

The main thing I’ve always thought about CTYI and arrogance is that CTYI doesn’t make someone arrogant. In most cases, I’ve found that being at CTYI made someones intelligence a non issue. I mean, if you specifically put a group together because their favourite colour is blue, it’s not like anyone is going to make massive deal about how they like blue… you’re gonna go in assuming that everyone likes blue and it’s not like you need to prove your allegiance to the colour to continue in the discussion. And if someone comes along thinking that the fact that they like blue is the most important aspect of their personality and that no one else can like blue quite as much as them and why am I dealing with you people who only barely like blue when I am clearly the most loyal person to blue in the world ever,well I think it’s fairly likely that that person was an ass before they ever got into the group who liked blue. Arrogant people exist everywhere, but that doesn’t change the fact that the majority of people aren’t gonna be like that.

There are probably other things that I could think of to talk about on this topic, but it’s 4am so I think I’m safe enough leaving it here.

August 3, 2013

67 Books- List

Filed under: Uncategorized — anonomousangel @ 11:31 pm
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Okay, to follow on from the previous post, here are the actual books in question. This probably isn’t the order they will be read and if I have to read something to prepare for one of the ones in the list I’ll probably mention it here too when I get to that.

1. Mary Poppins – P.L. Travers
2. The School at the Chalet – Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
3. Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren
4. Life, The Universe and Everything – Douglas Adams
5. So Long and Thanks for all the Fish – Douglas Adams
6. Mostly Harmless – Douglas Adams
7. The Frog Princess – E.D. Baker
8. Frozen Fire – Tim Bowler
9. The Prophecy of the Gems – Flavia Bujor
10. Junk – Melvin Burgess
11. Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer
12. Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident – Eoin Colfer
13. Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code – Eoin Colfer
14. Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception – Eoin Colfer
15. Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony – Eoin Colfer
16. The Supernaturalist – Eoin Colfer
17. The Wish List – Eoin Colfer
18. What Katie Did – Susan M. Coolridge
19. What Katie Did at School – Susan M. Coolridge
20. What Katie Did Next – Susam M. Coolridge
21. Secret Diary of a Demented Housewife – Niamh Greene
22. The Star of Kazan – Eva Ibbotson
23. Castaways of the Flying Dutchman – Brian Jacques
24. The Angel’s Command – Brian Jacques
25. Different Seasons – Stephen King *
26. The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
27. Goodnight Beautiful – Dorothy Koomson
28. Marshmallows for Breakfast – Dorothy Koomson
29. The Horse and His Boy – C.S. Lewis
30. The Silver Chair – C.S Lewis
31. The Last Battle – C.S Lewis
32. Desperado Darlings – Sam Llewellyn
33. I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore
34. The Life of Pi – Yann Martell
35. Back Home -Michelle Magorian **
36. A Spoonful of Jam – Michelle Magorian **
37. The Borrowers (6 story collection)- Mary Norton
38. A Lion Among Men – Gregory Maguire
39. The Ragwitch – Garth Nix
40. Shade’s Children -Garth Nix
41. Across the Wall – Garth Nix
42. House Rules – Jodi Picoult
43. Harvesting the Heart – Jodi Picoult
44. Dark Inside – Jeyn Roberts
45. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
46. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
47. Treasure Island – R.L. Stevenson
48. The Slap – Christos Tsiolkas
49. Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
50. Saving Grace – Ciara Geraghty
51. Watership Down – Richard Adams
52. The Finders – Nigel Hinton
53. The Wizard of Earthsea – Ursula Le Guin
54. Thunder and Lightnings – Jan Mark
55. The Peppermint Pig -Nina Bawden
56. The Haunting – Margaret Mahy
57. Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIHM – Robert C. O’Brien
58. Finn Family Moomintroll – Tove Jannson
59. A Dog So Small – Philippa Pearce
60. The Three Musketeers – Alexander Dumas
61. The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
62. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
63. The Happy Prince and other stories – Oscar Wilde
64. Rip Van Winkle and other stories – Washington Irving
65. The Call of the Wild – Jack London
66. Starseeker – Tom Bowler
67. Victoria and the Rogue – Meg Cabot
* This is 4 novellas, I’ve read one of them already.
** I’ve read one of these two books and can’t remember which so will just read both.

Other books I read while I was doing this.
1) The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and six others – Roald Dahl
2) The Ambassador’s Mission – Trudi Canavan
3) The Rogue – Trudi Canavan
4) The Traitor Queen – Trudi Canavan

August 2, 2013

67 books

Filed under: Uncategorized — anonomousangel @ 11:34 pm
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I blogged a couple of weeks ago about sorting out my books. After I dealt with all the books that were in my room, I realised that there were a lot of books I probably didn’t need to keep, books that were for way below my age range, books that had never belonged to me in the first place etc. I held on to some childish books, ones that were a bit wrecked or ones that I have been known to reread, but must have removed about 100 books from the shelves. This obviously left me with some empty space, so I reorganised yet again. I took a few books from Ais from series that we own between us that she couldn’t fir on her shelves so now I have almost full shelves again and the great option of just giving books back to Ais if I need more space for new ones.

So then I was looking at all my books, actually I was trying to pick one to read cuz I had a few hours to kill between going to a talk in the afternoon and meeting Mark for dinner, and I was thinking about how many books are there that I haven’t read. Some I’ve never even picked up, like The Three Musketeers, which is part of a box set that has lived in my room forever. The Little Princess, The Railway Children, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz all show signs of having been read multiple times but there’s other books in that set which I don’t think anyone in the family has read. Also the set is missing The Secret Garden which is really annoying. Then there’s books that I’ve picked up but never finished, either because I got bored of them or because I forgot that I was reading them when I got something new or something like that.

So that evening I counted. There are 67 books in my bookcases that I have never read, or never finished at any rate. Actually, now there’s only 66, since I finished Mary Poppins this morning. So I’m planning on reading all of them, which will probably take me a while, especially cuz some will require me to reread books that come before them, eg I can’t remember a thing that happens in Son of a Witch, so I probably won’t manage A Lion Among Men without going back over that.

It’s something to do to save me struggling to choose my next books anyway. Although I think the ones that I have given up on for a reason might be hard going, for instance I’m reading The Prophecy of the Gems now and I can kind of see why I gave up on it before, the writing is quite stilted or something and I’m not really drawn in. I dunno if the lack of flow is due to it being a traslation though… I am really glad that The Lord of the Rings isn’t on the list anymore though, since I really had to fight to get through that last year and if it was only the start of a long list I probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.
I will probably do an update if I ever finish the list just to say I did it.. since if you don’t document finishing a challenge it’s just not really done!

July 20, 2013

C25K- Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — anonomousangel @ 11:52 pm
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I’m really really horrendously unfit. Always have been, probably because I dislike moving. I mean, I walk around a fair bit when I’m in college cuz I walk to the train and then around Maynooth and stuff, but that’s about it. I used to swim when I was younger but the only sport I ever liked was netball, which didn’t involve too much running.
Every so often I decide that this lack of fitness bothers me, but I generally go eat some sweets and I feel better.

The other day my sister told me about this Couch to 5k (C25K) program which is meant to slowly build you up from being a couch potato to being able to run for 30 mins. It takes 8 weeks, 3 night a week and you’re encouraged to repeat weeks if it’s going too fast for you. I decided that it seemed like a good idea to try it out. Since I’m not very good at following through with my ideas I figured that I would tell lots of people that I planned to do it, and set specific days to go and that way I’d feel really guilty if I didn’t.

So on Thursday I started out. Week 1 is a 5 minute warm up walk followed by alternating 60 seconds of jogging with 90 seconds of walking. I thought that this wouldn’t be too bad, 60 seconds isn’t that long after all.. wrong. I quit after the 6th run (there’s 8) and had to walk 20 minutes to get back home from there. I was pretty annoyed at myself for not doing all of the runs, but at the time I wanted nothing more than to stop the running…

Today I roped Mark into going out with me, which turned out to be a good and a bad thing. The good news was he convinced me to keep going when I wanted to stop in run 6, but the bad news was I felt pretty bad when I was there puffing and red faced after run 1 and he was fine for all of it. I’m gonna be on my own again the next time I do it so it’ll be a challenge to keep going without the motivation of not wanting him to judge me (I know he’d judge me as soon as I told him, but when I’m actually running that doesn’t really help).

I’m pretty nervous about carrying on with the other weeks when I’m struggling a lot at this point but according to the internet, lots of people find it hard at first but are able to build it up as they improve, so hopefully that’ll work for me. I think the fact that my sisters and my brother in law are doing it as well will help spur me on as well.

The next time I go I’m gonna track my distance as well, since knowing how far I go should make it feel more like an achievement. I don’t think the 8 weeks are gonna be easy or fun, but I hope they’ll be doable and I’ll be fitter at the end of it.

July 17, 2013

Presents

Filed under: Uncategorized — anonomousangel @ 1:42 am

When I was younger my dad used to go away on business. He still does but not as much. There was a period when he was going to Brussels every couple of weeks and used to bring us back Airplane chocolates, which were chocolates shaped like planes and they were awesome. I always end up blaming Dad for the fact that when people go away I just expect presents…I mean it’s not just me, my sisters are the same, it’s just how things work in our family. Actually the last time he went to Brussels he came back with chocolates that weren’t shaped like planes and sure they were tasty, but it just wasn’t the same…

But Mark has been going away a fair bit lately, and when he goes to the states he brings me back milk duds because he knows that I love them. He also brings back peanut butter M&Ms for a friend of mine, and also for Ais if she’s in the country. And the last time he was extra awesome and got me a cool Doctor Who shirt that my dad may have stretched out when he accidentally stole it off me last week.
But then Mark went to Spain and he got back and I was like.. “Where’s my present?” And okay that sounds really bratty and demanding, but I’m blaming my family for the fact that I was just genuinely surprised…

When my sister got back from the states she got me an awesome t-shirt with the periodic table on it that glows in the dark!

Aislinn has pointed out that a lot of the time the presents are souvenirs from cool places, like my South Africa bag, my bracelet from Lesotho and the fact that the chocolates were Belgian chocolate.. but I think if my parents couldn’t find something they thought we’d like it was chocolate that we got, so it just became something like “I left you, have some chocolate”
But anyway Mark got back from Istanbul this weekend and I now have a massive toblerone in my bag so I’m pretty happy… he left me, I got chocolate. The system is restored.

July 13, 2013

Clean up

Filed under: Uncategorized — anonomousangel @ 12:45 am
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I really don’t like tidying my room. I don’t generally spend a massive amount of time in there other than on my bed so it doesn’t really matter to me if the floor space is clear or not. I’m generally pretty good at knowing the best way to navigate through the clothes/books/DVDs/various other things that litter the floor of my bedroom when it’s messy. For instance for the last few months, since I needed to look up a reference in a proper physics book, I’ve known where to step so that I land on the nice hardback book that supports my weight nicely and doesn’t risk me damaging anything else on my way. I really do find it easier to deal with the messy floor than to clean it. My mum doesn’t really agree that this is the proper way to go about things.

So every 6 months or so my mum gets really annoyed and lay down a date to have my room clean, this time it was the day of the Wimbledon men’s final. Normally she tells me this 2 weeks or so in advance, but then I know that if I act on it too soon then everything will be a mess again by the time she actually wanted it to be clean for especially if it’s meant to be clean for someone visiting, although actually I can only think of 1 time in the last year when I actually gave up my bed and I didn’t actually tidy my room then…

But anyway, when I do have to do it, I usually go for the put everything out of sight and hoover the middle of the floor route. But every so often I decide that I’m actually going to make more of an effort and dust and bin lots of stuff and things like that. When I tidy though things tend to get worse before they get better, cuz I pull everything off say my desk, and then dust my desk, and then try to limit the amount of things I put back on to the desk to reduce the clutter that’s on there… So my halfway point was like clear desk, chest of drawers, bedside locker and empty bookcase and a seriously messed up floor.

The next day was a lot of hoovering and dusting and chucking stuff that was gross and dusty and wondering why I keep things like every certificate I ever got in school, my 3rd year history copy, birthday cards or a large stack of empty folders when I know that I’m unlikely to ever start needing them. I also have a bunch of things that I always end up finding such as books, pencils, hangers, juggling balls, CTYI stuff, sheet music, broken sets of headphones and cars from a plastic game.

This particular room tidy went even deeper though, firstly it was the first time I can ever remember emptying my bookcase, but after dumping all my books in Aislinn’s room, I used my now clear floor to empty out my wardrobe and the space inside my bed. These were particularly weird to tidy because they have the kind of things that haven’t been touched in the 10 years since I stole this room from my brother (in fairness he’d already chosen to move out when I stole it) so I ended up finding loads of things like my old tennis racquet and board games and jigsaws and a surprising amount of art things considering no one in the family could really draw.

I got rid of a lot of stuff like dolls and my little ponies and board games that I knew were missing pieces, I also tried to get rid of some things like games that haven’t been played in 10 years or a scaletrix with no cars, but my dad was very insistent that I hold on to them, so back into their respective homes they went.So I currently have a pile of stuff that is due to go in the landing, as well as a chair and a box and a TV that I’ve put into my other sister’s room for now (I dunno how I would have managed this tidying if they still lived here) so the rest of the house is suffering but my room at least is pretty clean.

The next step was to deal with my books. I have a lot of books.
I know the picture quality isn’t great but that’s almost all of them.
I decided since it was the first time I could remember having them all in front of me like that I might as well attempt to organise. So I started alphabetising and tried to put them away like that… it didn’t quite work though because my bookcase outside my room has a short top shelf, so none of my A books would fit…so I had to put my Bs up there and have the As on the 2nd shelf. I also had to split a series that was in different sizes, which annoyed me.

And then in the middle of C I got stuck because to keep alphabetical would have meant splitting another series, but I decided that it was worth keeping them together so I swapped Conroy and Cleary. Then I ran into problems when my Sherlock Holmes collection and 2 of my Roddy Doyle books were too tall for my second bookshelf, so they couldn’t go in. But the main problem was that I ran out of shelf space mid way through the Ms, and again I had to mess with things a bit, leaving Gregory Maguire on the floor and instead giving the far more flimsy books by Anne M Martin the shelf space.

I decided to keep going and sort all the other books as well, so the finished product is

Throughout the process I noticed a few things.
1) I have a lot of duplicate books. Or rather, we as a family do. A few of these are because of damage like the 4th Harry Potter, our first one was wrecked by the time I wanted it, a few are because they came as presents when we already had them, some are parts of box sets, stuff like that. I think the worst is we have 3 copies of the last 3 Harry Potters, because we’re not good at sharing, and I have 4 copies of A Scandal in Belgravia… and that’s after I gave one away at Christmas.
2) I accidentally steal books sometimes. I uncovered books from both of my primary schools as well as one I know I borrowed when I was 10, unfortunately didn’t find the library book that I lost when I was about 12 and is the reason I can never again try to borrow books from my library (they frequently forget that they agreed to stop the fine on that and used to try tell me I owed them seriously massive amounts of money). But that leads me to…
3) My house eats books. Attempting to bring together different series led me to notice how many books weren’t there that should have been. I can count about 10 books that I know I own that were nowhere to be found despite me clearing out every hiding place in my room. It’s not just me either, my Dad has been looking suspiciously at us for months trying to figure out who lost The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo since it isn’t in his bookcase anymore.. but since none of us have ever read it, I really do think it’s the house to blame.
4) I like books that match. There’s something so nice about a series where every book is the same size with has a matching cover. While I was sorting I found myself cheering on authors who, despite a 7 year range of books, manage to keep their sizing consistent. Sometimes I can’t really blame the authors, it’s probably not Robert Muchamore’s fault that his publishers decided to suddenly make his books bigger, but only in Ireland… but seriously it bugs me because I have 16 of his books that are the same size and then 3 that are a different size altogether, and then a world book day book and one hardback which ruins everything. I do love the fact that my A Song of Ice and Fire are all the same size and they contribute to that large chunk of M books in the last picture that are all perfectly sized and great, but the first one is the TV version so it ruins everything, this is particularly annoying because Aislinn bought it for me and she gets just as annoyed when books don’t match as I do.

Anyway I got a new bookcase today which should help with some of those books, although I’m not entirely confident they’ll all fit. But for the moment I’m pleased because everything in my room is basically sorted for the first time in a good few years. I even refolded all my tshirts today in a more space saving manner. Hopefully now I can avoid cleaning my room for ages, cuz it’s not actually that fun.

July 8, 2013

Murray Magic

I love Andy Murray. He’s my favourite tennis player, a hotly contested spot because I’m quite fond of a lot of them. It’s a weird thing, I choose my favourites based on so little. I mean, I favour the top guys because I see them play more often, and I am heftily biased to some who I find particularly attractive… but at the same time there’s players I dislike for no particular reason, or on little things like how they hit a ball or how they came across in one particular interview.
At the moment my list is as follows:
1. Andy Murray
2. Novak Djokovic
3. Roger Federer
4. Juan Martin Del Potro
5. Grigor Dimitrov

Even then that’s not always how I feel when I’m actually watching them play. I was shouting for Del Potro in his semi-final against Djokovic, mainly because I was so impressed with how much fight and determination he showed, and how hard it must have been for him to keep chasing down every point even though he was playing his best tennis and having it trumped. At the end of the day the only reason he lost that match is because Djokovic is better than him, when they were both playing their best, Juan Martin couldn’t keep up.. but he wasn’t going to let that stop him trying.

It’s something like that that made me start to love Murray as well, I admired the way he dealt with years of being eclipsed by Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and then by Djokovic as well. He has also had the weight of the British media on him for the whole time which must be an enormous pressure. I mean for years and years he’s been good, but just not good enough to get the prize.

I was incredibly happy for him last year when he got to his first Wimbledon final, and when he lost it almost made me cry, because he was crying and I’m a sucker for other people’s displays of emotion.
“I’m getting closer” were his first words in his runners up speech last year and he was so right. Just 28 days later he was on the same court, against the same opponent, but with a totally different outcome as he beat Federer to win Olympic gold.

He then went on to play a fantastic US open and reach his 5th grand slam final. It’s worth noting that no one had ever lost their first 5 grand slam finals, and that’s still the case as Murray played a fantastic 5 setter against Djokovic and at last claimed grand slam glory. And that was great, incredible achievement but he still wanted Wimbledon.

In 2013 he reached the Australian Open final, but lost to defending champion Djokovic, and pulled out of the French Open due to a back injury. He won the Aegon Championship for the 3rd time to start of his grass court season.

Today he claimed his first ever Wimbledon win, beating Djokovic in a stunning 3 set match. The match was fantastic to watch, no game came easily and nothing was guaranteed. I really really enjoyed it and I’m so happy for him. Accomplishing his life long goal is pretty special.

andy-murray-600

I’m also feeling in the minority because I couldn’t care less than Britain haven’t had a male champion since 1936 and Scotland haven’t had one since 1896. I care that Andy Murray is one now.
Now I can’t blame anyone who is supporting him based on his nationality, I mean I got massively excited about 3 years ago when an Irish guy almost got to play Federer, so I can’t judge. And it might be because there’s not exactly a chance for national pride in this particular sport that I tend to go on personality rather than birthplace…
But for no other reason, I’m pleased because now I’ll have a fairly long wait before there will be complaints of how long it’s been since they’ve had a British *male* champion (the amount of articles that seem to forget that the last female champion was in 1977 are ridiculous).

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed Wimbledon this year and I couldn’t be happier that Andy has finally done it.. I’d also quite like if he could defend his US title and win some more next year, but I’m sure there’s a few guys who will try and stop that…




Gif Credit: http://sirandymurrray.tumblr.com/

June 29, 2013

Wimbledon

So the first 5 days of Wimbledon have been massively exciting for me, I’m having a great time watching. But since I’ve been at archery 3 of the days some of the excitement has been transferred through useful text updates from Ais.
On Monday I was really happy when Nadal, who I dislike for reasons that I can’t quite define, was knocked out in straight sets by a player ranked 130 places below him. It was one of the biggest upsets since.. well since Nadal got knocked out in the second round last year by a player ranked 100 in the world. While I didn’t get to see the match I was very excited every time I got updated by Ais. It’s Nadal’s worst performance in a grand slam *ever*. I don’t think anyone saw it coming, especially since Nadal had won 7 out of the 9 tournaments he’s played since coming back from his 7 month injury leave. The fact that he was struggling on his knee in the third set has led to a few questions about his ability to compete on grass in the future. Everyone else I cared about on Monday got through fairly comfortably so I was pretty happy.

Tuesday was a little less interesting, I watched Djokovic go through and thanks to the Wimbledon app was able to keep track of Dimitrov as he won his match, something that can be difficult since he doesn’t get on tv that often. Tuesday evening was less tennis focused though because I was busy getting an awesome present of a periodic table t shirt that glows in the dark!!

Wednesday though was seriously exciting. Dubbed Withdrawal Wednesday, Wacky Wednesday or Black Wednesday it was full of injuries and upsets. 4 players withdrew from play with injuries before stepping on court, including Darcis (the guy who beat Nadal) which totally sucks for him because even though a lot of people who play the match of their careers tend to crash out in the next round (eg Rosol, who beat Nadal last year) it must be pretty painful to not even get to try to go further. Then another 3 players retired in the middle of their matches including Tsonga who is one of my favourites.

The number of falls caused a lot of the commentators and players to start asking questions about the courts and if they were the same as other years. It’s well known that in the first few days of a grass tournament the courts can be extra slippy, but this did seem excessive. However a statement by the club and the opinion of a few players who were questioned was that the courts were as good as ever and it was just unfortunate for the players who were affected by injury. Not to mention that quite a few of the injuries were nothing to do with slips and more to do with bangs and damage that way.

The main shock of the day though was definitely Federer, who lost in 4 sets to a player he was meant to stomp all over, Sergiy Stakhovsky, who I can honestly say I had never heard of until that day. The match was really entertaining though, both players really struggled to break the other’s serve, leading to a tie break in 3 of the 4 sets. It was the kind of match where I just kept waiting for Federer to come back with his usual brilliance and he just didn’t. In fact, unusually for him, he seemed to lose his composure a bit on court getting frustrated about his play, which probably didn’t help him at all.

The one thing that really struck me on Wednesday actually came from going online in the evening though. I was on tumblr, and there were tons of people saying that the whole championship may as well be over now that Nadal and Federer are gone.. which really annoyed me. I guess I’m a bit biased because Murray and Djokovic are my favourites, but in this competition they’re the 2nd and 1st seed respectively. The final can still happen exactly as it was meant to, although I’m hoping that the 2nd seed wins it. Not only that, but the whole point of the tournament having 128 players is that 128 people have a chance of progressing. If they only thought the seeds were worth watching then they could cut out the first two rounds entirely!

I thought that this could be Andy Murray’s year to win from the start. I think he’s come a really long way since losing in the final last year and while he hasn’t been tested against Nadal in that time, he’s shown that he’s capable of beating Djokovic and Federer when he’s on form.
But now that Federer and Nadal are gone, I’ve heard (or read) a few people saying that Andy will have really messed up, or that he’s incompetent if he doesn’t win this year.. which I think is pretty insulting to everyone who is left in the draw, and also kind of forgetting that his biggest road block is still there, in the form of the world number one. Still, I believe he can do it and really hope he does!!

Thursday and Friday really couldn’t live up to the excitement of the first three days, especially when rain delays meant that only centre court got play (the roof was a genius move!) Still I was happy when Andy and Djokovic got through their matches, and sad when Dimitrov lost his.

I also watched the film Wimbledon last night, so that’s that tradition fulfilled. I’m hoping that there’s some good matches left in the bottom half of the draw, and I’m excited that there’s a guarantee of having a first time semi finalist, since there’s only one person left in that half who’s been a semi finalist before. But yeah, Wimbledon is great. I get incredibly invested!

June 20, 2013

Accuracy

Filed under: College — anonomousangel @ 11:52 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

So yesterday I read this post, while on Skype to Ais… which meant it took me ages cuz I’m bad at listening and reading at the same time. And it got me thinking.

I can’t come out of an exam without trying to have an idea of how I did. I can’t walk out of an exam and push it from my mind until results day, I just can’t. When I came out of my applied maths exam in the leaving cert, my teacher was there to greet us.. since it was a small voluntary class she knew us all pretty well, and was aware that we wouldn’t be able to walk away without comparing answers. So much as she tried to get us to think it was a bad idea, she knew she was fighting a losing battle.

My exams are usually pretty easy to analyse though, a lot of them are numerical questions, so you usually have a good idea if you got an answer or not, and the mark breakdown is given quite well. As part of studying for everything I work out how much continuous assessment I have, so I know exactly what I need to get in the exam to pass.. and then I ignore that because usually it’s only a little bit under 40% anyway.

So for instance I walked into my physics exams knowing that I needed 12 of the available 30 marks to pass. Then as I answer questions I know how many marks I think I’ve got, allowing for incomplete answers, guesses or stupid mistakes. In modules where I’m worried about passing it’s very helpful to be able to say yeah, I really do think I’ve done enough here to pass. I don’t think I’d cope well with having like an essay where if I know it wasn’t great I can’t reassure myself by doing a break down.

In subjects where the aim is to do well, not just pass… so in maths, I’m not really looking at the paper saying okay can I pass this, I’m doing the paper and then analysing afterwards. So like in analysis this semester I was trying to work out how I’d done and I got confused because when I was adding the total marks on the paper they were totaling 91 instead of 100 and I was concerned, but then I realised that I had just forgotten to add in the first question and I decided I should probably go double check my paper since I was clearly making silly mistakes.

But then after I did that and the paper had been collected, I was able to look at which parts of the paper I thought I’d answered well and make a guess at my grade, assuming it was marked quite nicely and they didn’t take marks off for that assumption I made but didn’t prove.. and I did quite well, in fact my guess was off by 1%.
I wasn’t as specific with my other modules, but I gave 10% brackets, and I was right for all of them…

The nature of my course and the fact that I tend to know when I know what I’m doing or when I’m totally making it up means that I can usually predict my grades with a measure of accuracy…. this does lead to a certain panic when I genuinely think I didn’t pass an exam, because I have good cause to trust myself…
So I was really worried about one of my maths physics modules since I couldn’t remember answering any questions in that paper. Also the one question that I had drawn a beautiful butterfly for (well it was a Lisajouss figure, but a lot of the time they look like butterflies) had sparked a class wide debate on if you should have drawn a butterfly or if you should have drawn a different thing, so I wasn’t confident about those marks either…
But apparently he liked the butterfly cuz I totally passed the module, yay!

So now I get to never do physics or maths physics again. How great is that??

I kind of lost my point in this post somewhere up there… but it was basically that I’m actually really good at predicting how my exams went but since I was only wrong on 1/6 this semester I’m pretty glad that it was the one I thought I’d failed.
Also I’m not good at waiting for results when I think I have a good idea of how they went, so I can only imagine how bad I’d be at being an arts student and waiting for them…
And also I got into third year and that’s awesome.

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