Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's Spiked Math led me on short little journey into hilarity. Starting with the comic which is all about cake (thereby combining two awesome things: cake and maths), I followed the posted link and found out that I'd missed the comic reference: the cake equation comes from something called the Drake equation. So I went on my way to Wikipedia and came across this description:
The Drake equation (sometimes called the Green Bank equation or the Green Bank Formula) is an equation used to estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy.
Except that I read "detectable extraterrestrial civilizations" as "delectable extraterrestrial civilizations". XD

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Probably not what the lecturer intended me to learn from that lesson...

In Linguistics we have been studying how language changes. Something interesting about English, Modern English at least, is the fact that we only have one form of the second person pronoun, the word you. Most other languages have a separate term for plural, and possibly even a different word when showing respect.

English used to have these forms: thee, thou, and thy were singular forms, and ye, you and your were the plural forms. The plural forms were used to show respect. When addressing a superior one would use you and that person would respond using thou. The use of thou also showed familiarity; one would use thou when speaking to family members, but use you when addressing strangers.

Because of major social changes (urbanisation, the rise of the Middle Class) people didn't know who was who anymore. They couldn't tell who to be polite to, so they were just polite to everyone, using the plural form in all contexts. It then became standard to refer to all strangers as you, whatever the hierarchy. Eventually, we lost the familiar thou altogether.

Thou does still exist, in religious contexts. The reason for this is interesting. We think that thee and thou show respect, when in fact they were originally used to show familiarity; these words were used when referring to God because God is our father. Now we hear thou used in some older versions of the Bible and we think it is because when speaking to God we ought to show respect. It just shows how we keeping distancing ourselves from God. It's the same with the word abba. We know that abba means "father", but (I don't know about you) when I say abba I (used to at least) put that same sort of respectful distance into the word. Remember that song that goes: "You are awesome in this place, Mighty God. You are awesome in this place, Abba Father..."? In fact, abba is the Hebrew equivalent of daddy.

We think we ought to be proper and perfect, call him sir and never step a foot out of line, when all God really wants is to be our dad. He wants us to call him daddy, to know him well enough to use thou. To run into his arms full of dirt and grass-stains and tear-filled eyes and tell him we fell down again, even though he has told us a million times not to run so fast. To bring him all our failures and mess-ups and let him kiss them better. To not be afraid to come to him before we are perfect, and trust him to love us completely despite the dirt and the brokenness.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Playing with Putty

Adventure doesn't feel like adventure when you're in it. It's hard, it's tough, you have to make decisions and trudge through drudgery. Adventure involves long journeys to walk and bigger-than-you monsters to fight. I've been too busy slaying dragons to notice any reason to be excited about this whole Life thing.

But it's 4am - there must be something exciting enough to keep my awake at this hour (besides the coffee).

It has been quite a day. I approached this weekend with much trepidation, and in explanation as to why I will list for you some reasons. First of all I have three things due for Monday - one being a big maths project which I couldn't wrap my head around until today, an English research essay due for Wednesday which is my entire English mark for this semester, a maths test on Thursday, and work stuff for Friday. Besides all the usual hand-ins.
I postponed the essay, and the other later stuff is chilled, which leaves the three most stressful things for Monday, and they are:
A Matlab project I thought was an Insurmountable Mountain of Horror, but is actually Not That.
A Matlab tut to hand in.
A pre-interview test for a position I applied for for next year, and the thing I want to talk about now.

I applied for the geekiest job on earth. And possibly the most daunting: System Administrator. Basically, looking after the Rhodes network (all the connections and servers and mail systems and everything). In true geek style, we aren't getting interviewed for this job (well possibly, but that comes later). Instead we've been given A Task. It looks like this:


A nice little system which is running FreeBSD which I've never used in my life, and I now have to install Apache, mailman, Postfix, etc etc before the end of Sunday (meaning midnight). Fun things. What makes life amazing is that Rhodes uses a proxy. That just makes connecting to the internet (and installing things via internet) Pretty Tough.

(If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then you're basically on the same page as me).

So why did I apply for this job again? Not because I know anything. I applied because I really want to learn. I do have some idea of what these things are all about, but I want practical knowledge of it. And I'm gaining that just by doing this task. Google is my friend, yo! Except that nothing seems to work...

Yeah. I should probably get back to it. It's almost 5am now - that means it's already Sunday and I still don't know what I'm doing wrong. I also still have to finish my project, and maths tut, and hopefully sleep at some point too. Or maybe just drink more coffee coffee coffee..

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What I've learned from Numerical Analysis (and other parts of maths):

I want a formula to solve everything. But what I'm supposed to be learning is a process.

At lower levels, memorising formulae is all you need to do. Later on in life, however, things get a bit more complicated. All you are given is a general method, and you have to adapt it for specific situations.

I miss that magical feeling of plugging in a formula someone else discovered and Hey presto! Right answers where you need them.
But magic is hard to find in the real world.

And sometimes you have to be the one to discover the formula.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


On first glance I thought my linguistics textbook was laughing at me, as I opened it up to study mere hours minutes before a test. Turns out, however, that Hehe is actually a language, spoken in Tanzania. Go figure.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Getting bored in MATLAB

If you ever come across the program MATLAB (Matrix Laboratory - it's like a very complicated calculator, but not really), then ask it "why". You might get something like this:

>> why
The bald and not excessively bald and not excessively smart hamster obeyed a terrified and not excessively terrified hamster.
>> why
To fool the tall good and smart system manager.
>> why
The rich rich and tall and good system manager suggested it.
>> why
He wanted it that way.
>> why
The programmer suggested it.
>> why
Barney suggested it.
>> why
To please a very terrified and smart and tall engineer.
>> why
The tall system manager obeyed some engineer.
>> why
To satisfy some programmer.
>> why
Damian wanted it that way.
>> why
Can you rephrase that?
>> why
Because Damian wanted it that way.
>> why
How should I know?
>> why
Because they asked the terrified and smart and tall and tall programmer.
>> why
To fool a young tall hamster.
>> why
For the love of a bald and terrified mathematician.
>> why
It's your karma.
>> why
Some terrified and rich system manager knew it was a good idea.
>> why
Don't you have something better to do?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The conversion is complete!

I wrote this post three times, and each time was just too philosophical for something so superficial, too wordy about something that I just wanted to write a quick blog about. So here goes take three, maybe I'll finish it this time :) A brief description of me and my life:

Before I knew anything about anything, I tried to be something but didn't quite get it right.

I then went to university and met Shark and Tea who transformed me into this:

Through Shark I discovered hardcore music. Tea slowly got me used to the sound of metal (by never playing any other music, and I spent a lot of time with her), and she also put the dreadlocks into my hair.
They dragged me (kicking and screaming) to a Dead Will Tell gig, which is where it all began (a story we've never told, but we have told part 2).
(And I didn't actually kick and scream. I should have. In the mosh pit. Grin :D )

Now, one thing everyone knows is that to be a true hardcore/alternative kid you need to have a pair of skinnies, and not just any skinnies, but the trusty pair of black jay-jays skinnies that will last you through everything. The pair that Shark owns that I wish I could steal except I'm never the same size as anyone I'm friends with. These skinnies:
It's all about the clothes, of course, and you can't be alternative unless you follow the alternative crowd (duh).


Look at me, I'm so hardcore.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

while !(endOfTerm) study();

(I looked back at a few of my old posts, and realised they don't really make that much sense. Sorry, I will try to be more coherent in the future, and maybe try to post at hours other than 2am :)

I can't wait for the holidays! But not to rest (did you really think I would allow myself to do nothing? That's not what a holiday is for!). Well, a little bit of rest is of course a good thing, and I will try to get some, in between reading my english books and other textbooks for next term, making sure I see everything there is to see in Cape Town (where I will be), working on a project one with some of my other classmates, and best of all: doing vac work.

I think people have the wrong idea of work. To illustrate my point, go play this flash game, every day the same dream. The background music is awesome, so make sure you can hear it, though it's not essential to my point. Come back only once you've finished, or at least played to the end of one day.

(What did I tell you about the sound track? ^_^)
You noticed the game is a little bit depressing, right? Now, are you thinking, "oh well that's life"? Mundane. Boring. Greyscale. Not really much choice but to keep going till you want to kill yourself. Yeah?
No. You see there's one problem with this guy's day. It ends at the part where the real game ought to begin - where he sits down at his desk. No wonder he's depressed, he never gets to actually start his adventure! Adventure isn't reserved for errant knights or hole-dwelling hobbits. Pssh, LIFE is supposed to be an adventure. Have I quoted John 10:10 yet? Jesus said He came to give us life in abundance. I don't know about you, but every day the same dream doesn't look very abundant to me.

That doesn't mean you have to stay away from desk jobs to find adventure. Your job should be your adventure. We are programmed by society to choose work that earns us money. A desk job can be fun, we just have this mindset that it's not, because we choose "good" jobs rather than ones we're interested in. You should choose work that you are passionate about, with money as a by-product. That way you'll automatically put enough effort into it that it will reward you. You will go the extra mile, you'll earn that overtime, because you want to, and you'll be having fun while doing it.

That said, I am so excited to work this holiday! I will finally be able to do what I really want to - make code that is actually useful. In my entire almost-3 years at university I have learned a lot of bits of computer languages, but not how to actually use them (except in simulated environments). I wouldn't be able to make you that app that you want, or program that game.. example: I can make you a website, but I don't know how to actually get it on the web. I can write all the code, but I can't get it to where it's actually useful.

So I decided I wanted to see how code is used Out There in the Real World. The illusive link between academics and real life. I asked some guys my sister knows in Cape Town if I could act shadow-like for a month, and they seemed fine with it (read: they're stoked too). I start on Tuesday. They're even paying me. Can you think of anything better?! Just one more exam to get through and then it's time to go from one crazy schedule to another, and learn what this Computer Science thing is all about. Can't wait!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Long awaited things

Firstly: This shirt
Secondly: The blog about receiving it

Lovely T-shirt loveliness is mine ^_^
I ordered it from Fueled By Ramen a while back, because they had marked them down to $5, which, with the exchange rate and shipping costs, turned out to be about as much as I would pay for a band T-shirt here. Which isn't exactly the cheapest, but how often do I get to buy a shirt of an overseas band that I really dig? Very seldom (read: never). This was, in fact, my first online order I'd ever made. I was a bit worried about its arrival. But it did indeed arrive and now happiness is mine :)

The band that makes such lovely things, is This Providence, who do indeed look a little bit silly with their hair and funny clothes (which I love, of course), but they make pretty rad music. Their self-titled album is my favourite of theirs, and my favourite track is Walking on Water. It was apparently used in the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which I now have to see. It's also my theme song: life is often stormy and those waves are pretty hectic, but with my God I'll turn it into a playground :)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friends: make life bearable

The week before Week Of Doom (mentioned in previous post), I was stressed (surprise!) because of upcoming tests for a subject (maths) that I'm not doing so well in.
The Wednesday of this week had been a particularly long day. By the end of it, however, I became pretty motivated, and was down at the computer labs working on whatever work I had to work on. (I happened to lose all that motivation by Friday, but that's another story) (which concludes with the previous post, as before mentioned).

The purpose of this story is that when I arrived home after this long day, at around 1 in the morning, I discovered this on my door:

A yummy (though cold) vegetarian (hence not a puppy) Steers burger to make my heart happy :)
Friends, they're nice things to have. I like them :)

"Put music to our troubles and we'll dance them away."

I find myself running out of words.
Which is ridiculous; I am a writer. Or at least I pretend to be one most of the time.

But words you must have. So I will pull some out from the inside of my brain, and excuse me if it comes out garbled.

The introduction to this story is a week in which I would not have minded if the world did indeed end right then (as someone had predicted it would). I was pretty tired of this place, and everything in it.
I can't even pinpoint it to any one thing, but something triggered something, and I got thrown into the strangest state of existence I have ever been in. I was incredibly negative about life, and that is strange for me because I can always find the good side of things.

It came down to this: The world is pretty broken and no matter how much we try to fix it, well it still remains broken. And often just gets worse.
I was tired. Tired of trying to fix things. I just wanted it to end.

Now, let me speak about metal. Ah, what a genre. Most music is based on the maxim that less is more. But not with metal. With metal, more is more. Everyone is going crazy - the drums, the bass, both guitars, the vocals. It's insane! It's incredible :)

Live metal is even better: the music is loud, loud enough to move you. The band can't stay still, and they don't just tap their feet, they tend to jump around the stage like crazy people. The crowd won't stay still either, neither do they settle for a mere jump here and there. No, it's so intense, they have to slam into each other or fling their arms and legs in every direction because it is impossible to contain all that energy and emotion.

This is what I love.

(stolen pictures, again :) - these are from The Dead Will Tell's facebook page).

And you know the best part about this weekend? It totally restored my will to live. And it wasn't just the loud music and the fast beats and the intense screaming. It wasn't just the fact that I could dance again with everything that I am. It wasn't just being able to lose myself in the moment, to scream and jump and go crazy.
It's more than that.

Because there's this other thing about a lot of metal bands that I love. Not only do they understand that the music is important, they also know that there's something else. That music moves people, and not just to dance. They have a message to bring and it's usually pushing positive.

Ah, I must tell you something about this band, Truth and its Burden. You see, first of all, the whole gig started really late because they'd had to travel to PE all the way from Durban (after travelling to Durban from Joburg the day before), and the equipment was late, so each band had to cut their set short. Also, Truth and its Burden landed up only paying three songs (or was it two? I think it was three) because their vocalist was just too tired to play any more (he happens to be the guy who was organising the entire thing, so its understandable)(bleak though). Yet they gave everything they had into those three songs. Ashley (vocalist) was saying he was tired, and yet he was still jumping around stage like a crazy person.
Thing is, even though they didn't play many songs, the fact that they were on this tour made my get a hold of their music and listen to it beforehand. And I discovered they're really pretty awesome, so I'm glad of that :)

Now, what I wanted to tell you is what they said about one of their songs. They wrote it, he said, during a time when things really weren't going well for them. Days were pretty bleak. But this was a song of hope. Hope even in the darkest times.
I heard them speak of this, and it was exactly what I needed to hear - I needed that hope. I couldn't even hear any of the lyrics, but that didn't matter. There was a message in the music and I was getting it.

That was the entire gig for me - hope. I was myself again after that weekend. The world is still pretty messed up, and I'm still pretty bleak about it, but I'm ready to get back into the battlefield and fight for change. There is still a shred of hope in the world, there is still a chance to make a difference, and I'm going to hold onto it with all that I have.

Edit: Maybe I mean hardcore, not metal? Darn I'm not good at this genre thing at all :P Besides everyone seems to define themselves differently. Well, I'm talking about the music that I am talking about. Yeah. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I will attempt, at a later stage, to string something together to try and convey to you the incredibly amazing time that was my Saturday night. In the meantime, I give you pictures! They were all taken by one Juliette. I take no credit for such awesomeness.

Now go check out The Dead Will Tell (if you haven't already), Truth and its Burden, Facing the Gallows and The Ghost Inside.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Writing about a crazy life means having a crazy life which leaves very little time to write about it. This is my current dillemma. Or one of them.This post itself should have been posted about 2 weeks ago, but I've only gotten around to doing it now...

One of the other dilemma's is work, of course. I don't know if I've yet mentioned that I'm doing far more than I should? I have too much on my plate.

But I want all of them! (Greedy much? Possibly...)

Let me explain. I am currently a student, which involves studying. The subjects I do are:
Combined English, (half English, half Linguistics) to keep the BA in me happy.
Computer Science, my main subject and biggest love.
Comp Sci 303, an elective, which is all the fun stuff like game development and web tech.
Mathematics, simply because I wanted to understand maths comics like spikedmath.com loved the subject too much to drop it.

I'm not entirely sure why I do all of this. Despite the fact that I love all of it, even when it's annoying.
Oh, and these are all at third year level, if I hadn't mentioned that already. When everyone else is doing 2 subjects, I'm doing 4 o.O IKNOWRIGHT (iamgoingtodie).

ANDYET, despite this massive craziness, with a Linguistics test looming on Thursday evening I had not yet studied for, a prac due on Thursday afternoon for Computer Science, and an assignment due for Maths on Friday, I decided the perfect way to spend my Wednesday evening would be to go to this:

And indeed, it was.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sometimes there's only one thing to hold on to.

-Emily Dickinson
(I desperately tried to find the original source for this image, but couldn't, so here it is on weheartit)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Around about here..

..is where I begin.
To tell you what this is all about.

This is about me and my crazy life. My ideas are sometimes not the most normal, sane, careful and controlled ideas that would make for an ordinary, carefree life.

No. I'm looking for an adventure.

I was promised an abundant life by my creator. And I intend to take Him up on that promise ;D So far it has been quite a ride. I've done many adventurous things, and met a whole lot of incredible people already. One of these things I've already written about (over the last 3 posts) and some of the people who have contributed to making my life incredible I have linked to on the side bar, so you can check out their adventures too :)

So there it is. Welcome to my adventure :)