Spirit Night 2011, Superbowl XLV, Midterm madness, and more events to look forward to

First let me talk about last Saturday’s Spirit Night 2011. After my afternoon out in Del Mar, at 4pm the RA’s for Black Hall (our building) put on a tailgate party on the 2nd floor patio. This had nothing to do with tails or gates, but they provided pizza and drinks for us and made fun of my lack of knowledge of Disney tunes. They announced that following the events of the week (???) Warren College was leading the point standings. A quick glance at the results from previous years showed that that was something to get excited about, as one could have been forgiven for thinking Warren had made 6th place out of 6 its permanent home. With the Pizza all gone, everyone began to make their way over to the RIMAC Arena to watch the NCCC Women’s Basketball game. I decided to give this a miss and instead just catch the men’s game which was due to begin at 7:30pm. Omead had said to give him a call when I got there so I could find them, but he wasn’t around when I got there. I didn’t mind too much. I’m a fan of the game, and was happy being on my own to watch it in my own way. It was evident that I had turned up for the men’s game, and not the women’s. The women won convincingly, the men squandered a 10-pt lead in the last 5 minutes to lose miserably. My run of luck with home teams at sporting events continues!

After the game they announced who had won the Spirit Cup 2011. It came down to Warren and Eleanor Roosevelt College (ERC). I could see my friend Halee, who is in ERC, across the court with her fellow college-mates. The tension was high, and I hadn’t even got a clue what was going on! The announcer did his joke stutter, and then said that Warren were first. Our section burst out onto the court, and I sent Halee a simple text “Tough break. :)” ERC win it every year apparently, so they won’t mind losing this once.

Sunday was Superbowl Sunday. I’d been looking forward to this event for many months now, and I couldn’t quite believe it was finally here and the football season was almost over for another year. I had decided some time before hand to support the Green Bay Packers, if only because Pittsburgh had won two of the last 4 Superbowl’s. I went to Ralphs in the morning wearing my cowboy gear. I like going out in my gear as it makes people smile. I know they are probably laughing at me, but I don’t care. It makes me smile too, and the sun is out and everyone is cheerful! Happy days! After lunch I got ready for the game. I had arranged to go over to Home Plate and watch the game there with Halee and her friends. I got there about 3:30, just before kickoff, and not being able to see anyone I knew, I sat outside in the sun for a bit. After about 15 minutes Stefan came by and asked if i was going upstairs. Ahh that’s where everyone is! I headed upstairs to a room that was booked for a private function (the I-House Superbowl viewing) and joined Halee’s table. Every now and then they came around with some nice nibbles for us. French fries, Buffalo wings, that sort of thing. Besides the game, I was eagerly awaiting the adverts. Where they going to be just like I had imagined?

When it came to it, the adverts were actually pretty poor on the whole. The VW Passat one was pretty good, and all the Bud Light adverts were terrific as ever. The rest? Poor at best to be honest. The Chevy and GoDaddy.com ones were the worst. Oh, also one with a strange talking baby, that was just weird. 

As for the game, Green Bay made a good start by capitalising on Pittsburgh errors, and got two touchdowns in the first quarter. It was looking good. Pittsburgh rallied to score touchdown at the end of the first half to get to within 11pts, so it was still a close game at the half. The Black Eyed Peas halftime show was spectacular in it outrageousness. The 2000 superbly choreographed dancers in glow in the dark suits were quite impressive! In the 3rd quarter Pittsburgh turned the screw and started to get much closer. As the 4th quarter started it was 24-17 and all to play for. When Pittsburgh scored another touchdown and made the two point conversion afterwards to make it 28-25 to GB, it looked like they had the momentum and were going to snatch the title. A field goal from Green Bay made it 31-25. Pittsburgh then got nowhere on their last drive and the game was over, with Green Bay being a very popular winner.

On Friday at dancing, everyone asked me at various times how my week had been. By then end, I think I perfected the reply. The last week has been one of those up and down affairs, with its good and bad points, but come Friday at 3pm everything has averaged out, all is forgotten, and things are pretty much as they were a week ago.

Monday and Tuesday were fairly quiet. Wednesday passed without incident, and I found some episodes of Father Ted on YouTube, which sort of reminded me of the dear old homeland and made me laugh. Dougal driving a milkfloat is always good!

On Thursday we could collect our midterms from Solids II that we took last week. I collected mine, and then immediately knocked on the TA’s door to get an explanation. On question 4, we had been asked to “calculate, by expanding the characteristic stress determinant, the principle stresses acting on an element.” This I had duly done, and got correct. I should point out that there are two ways of solving this problem though. There is a rather cack-handed way of doing it that only works if it is the most simple and unrealistic of systems, or a more accurate and reliable method. I, of course, learned and used the more practical accurate method. For my troubles they took 15 marks off for that part of the question. Huh?!? For part b, we had been asked to calculate the direction cosines for the principle stress. This I had duly done correctly, (and got a more accurate answer as they were just after n1=2n3, and I also worked out n1 and n3) but for my efforts they took off a further 7 marks. Huh?!?

I raised my concerns with the TA, whose failure to grasp the English language I usually try to smile through. Now however, I began to get just a little frustrated. Surely they interview these people prior to giving them jobs? If it’s clear that they can’t speak English well, then why employ them because it sucks for those of us who rely on them to explain things. It took me five minutes to convey to him that I had given up trying to understand what they wanted on part a and was now talking about part b.

I was now quite frustrated, and felt as though I had been given an injustice. My mark of 68 should be a 90. I felt bad because the professor had begun Wednesday’s class with a 5 minutes spiel about how she was disappointed with the midterm scores being love, an average of just 65. Well, I didn’t want to be lumped with the people who were disappointing because I actually knew what I was doing and worked hard for it. I arranged a time to meet up with the professor to discuss it, who despite being rather scatty might understand my questions better than if I had another round with the TA.

Still feeling wronged and firmly believing what I did to be completely correct, I was very happy to find proof at about 7:30pm. While flicking through the quizzes from class, on quiz #3 there was a question that was exactly the same as the midterm one, word for word (just slightly different numbers). In this instance, I had answered it in the same way and got full marks. Now, to me this means that I deserve full marks for the problem on the midterm. Or, they marked the quizzes wrong. But even if I did that I have evidence of their incompetence to prove that I saw no problem in employing this other way. I see no reason why the method I employed should not have been correct in this case. Just to remind you, I got them 100% completely right. With the evidence of the quiz in hand, I feel confident now about seeing her on Tuesday. I have a Cast Iron case. I could be like Matlock, or no wait, Columbo! “Ahhh, just one more thing!” Check mate!

Now, onto more cheerful subjects!

I booked up my tickets to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach the other day. It’s on the 15th-17th of April, and after some thinking about it I have decided that I can get away with taking Friday the 15th off. I have a 3-day admission, with seats in the grandstand by turn 1 for Saturday and the race on Sunday. I also have a paddock pass for Friday so I can wander around the paddock and hopefully catch one of the drivers. Indycar or ALMS I don’t mind. Seeing England’s own Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon would be good, or Scott Dixon who I’ve always liked, or Edinburgh’s 2x Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti. I’m looking forward to it! I’ll stay in my hotel in downtown LA for Friday and Saturday nights, and just have a weekend of non-stop sunshine and racing entertainment. Fantastic! It’s the Monaco of America, minus the glamour, the casinos and the celebrities. Conversely, Monaco is a European version of Long Beach, minus the Queen Mary, but plus everything else. Being a huge Indycar fan, if I didn’t go, I’d have kicked myself forevermore. Good thing I booked up when I did, another week or two and there wouldn’t have been any tickets left. Speaking of which, the tickets are quite reasonably priced in my opinion. Yes, I cannot wait! With Röyksopp at the end of March too, there are several things to look forward to now!

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