Overwhelming sense of wellbeing and euphoria

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I’ve been keeping busy on the piano and have recorded another song, this time one that is more my kind of thing. I don’t know what the Americans must think of me!

Life has been very busy these last few days. And yet, at the same time, it’s not been very busy. I’ve just been either working hard, or been very social – and that can sometimes take up more time than is expected.

Last Tuesday, I had an excursion to Ralphs. I still can’t stand the place, and my 11 items set me back a cool $36, not that I bad an eyelid to that anymore. I bought a mixing bowl and some scales, since I am of the opinion that the use of cups brings into question the view that man is nature’s last word. They are a completely impractical, unscientific and utterly useless form of measurement. I couldn’t buy 6 eggs, since this is America, but no matter because I could pick up 18. Now what do I do with that many eggs? Margarine proved difficult too, since you can’t buy anything closely resembling a box of Stork, or any of the other brands available at home. I finally plumped for one which I’ve since decided is not what I’m after. I got self-raising and all-purpose flour (both containing plenty of salt for these American diets) and granulated sugar (which turned out to be the non-existent caster sugar) and some Philadelphia.

I got cracking with making my cake, and an hour later I was tucking into a rather delicious slice of it. Success. It hadn’t risen particularly well; something for which I lay the blame at the door of the sub-ASDA quality flour and margarine, but that is neither here nor there. I can work on that. Of course I cleaned everything up afterwards. The kitchen is still lovely and clean, for now. The tray of dirty dishes that my roommate needs to return is still sitting on the table though, with a few additions having been made throughout the day. I’m going to have to be more obvious. Perhaps I should start playing ‘A spoonful of sugar’…

“For every job that must be done, there is an element of fun…”

Now, time to move onto the issues surrounding the Solids II Midterm that I related last week. Here is the posish:

  1. On Q4 they took 22 marks off since I got the right answer but used a different method.
  2. On the same question on Quiz #3 (word for word) they gave me full marks for doing it that way.
  3. The book describes ‘Expand the stress determinant’ as getting σp3 – I1σp2 + I2σp – I3 = 0, which I did. From there, you just solve it for σp, with nothing hinting one way is more right over the other.
  4. I got the right answer.

I had a chat with the Professor yesterday which yielded little, and I still fail to see what is so hot about the other method. A bit hint at its usefulness should be that the book fails to mention it at all.  Of course I’m civil though, and the soon conversation descended into a light-hearted affair focusing on the weather. I sent the TA another email when I got back, highlighting the issue I have with the quiz and midterm being marked differently and the confusing this inconsistency can cause. I was not amused at all by his frankly useless reply of “You were lucky on the quiz then. Yeuok.” He completely missed the whole point, viz, that he has messed up. I would have liked him to at least just say “I’m very sorry; we must have made a mistake on the marking of the quiz.” But then again, not everyone says sorry like the British.

I confronted him again before the discussion session today. I’ve never really felt the need to complain about anything before, but in my own inimitable way I really went for it today.  I explained my points clearly and concisely, without resorting to talking slowly or loudly. His solution was that I could have Quiz #3 remarked and then I’d still get some partial credit on that question. I rightly pointed out that because I’d seen this was right before, that was the reason I used it again. I’d much rather have lost the 2 points on the quiz rather than lose 22 on the midterm. From his blank expression this seemed to make no sense, so I said it again. It still didn’t seem to hit home, as he just said I could have the quiz remarked again. I drew myself up, did my final little flourish and ended with “What I am hoping is that you will learn from this. You should take more care to ensure you marking is correct in future so we can all be sure of what is expected from us. That is all; just see that this mistake doesn’t happen again.” With that I popped off and sat down. He may have never have come close to being accomodating like some TA’s would have been, but it is most definitely one up to me.

Now, maybe I should find someone to play tennis with?

“Hard cheese”.

On Friday I played the piano for a little in the morning until 9am, at which point I headed down to the bus stop to catch the 921 bus to Mira Mesa. I had been fiddling around on google, and had found a model shop there. It was my intention to sus the place out and see if it was worth further investigations. It was only when I hopped on the bus though that I realised that perhaps it would have been worth having another look at the map. I couldn’t remember where it was. I got off at the last stop on the route, and then walked up Black Canyon Rd, which rang a bell, past the numerous trailor parks. There isn’t really that much in Mira Mesa. I got to an intersection with Laurel Canyon Rd. This name also rang a bell, but it looked very residential so i decided to just go two more blocks before coming back to further investigate this road. Just over the crest of the hill, I caught sight of a couple of retail units/lots. This looked more promising! I crossed over Laurel Canyon Drive (that’s why I remembered Laurel Canyon) and made ho for the emporium. Inside they had a rather good collection of RC stuff, many shelves of US railroad trains and scenery, but Hornby were noticeable in their absence. The main purpose of going of course was to look at the slot cars. They had a good collection of Fly, and being curious to compare the prices to those back home I asked the price of the Kyalami Porsche 917. The assistant took it out of the display cabinet, and told me it was $97. This is expensive! Enough said for me. I came up with a quick answer along the lines of “oh yes, that is similar to the prices in England then” Actually, it’s just crossed my mind, that is not including sales tax, so actually its $110. Crikey! In England the same model is £52, about $80. 

I just missed the 10:50 bus back, and had to wait for another half hour for the next one. After Vibrations at 2pm, it was off to dancing. It was raining by this point, and everything spelt nice and fresh as I walked over. I did a bit of dancing, talked to a few people, and then got rather wet walking home. No, I mean I got very wet walking back! I had just over an hour before Liana was due to come pick me up for Synergy. I can’t remember what I did. Initially me, Scott and Liana were the only ones there from the UCSD crowd. For the first half hour or so we did a bit of dancing here and there, and often me and Scott stood and watched. I am not so good at asking complete strangers to dance. I went to bed rather late in the end and so didn’t get up till 8am on Saturday morning. I wrote up the Propulsions notes early on, and then decided to have a crack at the Solids homework. I went to the library to do this, and while I was there the heavens opened once more. The rain poured down. I had some success with the solids, but need to ask a few questions tomorrow about it. I made sure I was home by 4:30 as I wanted to make a cake for Sunday before I went out in the evening. There was a ‘Hustle Jam’ in Mission Bay.

The Hustle Jam began with an hour long lesson, which introduced a new move. I would have liked several new moves as opposed to just one that was a bit awkward to do socially, but no matter. After the lesson finished at 8pm, it was social dancing from thereon in. There was a larger contingent of UCSD than there was the previous night, so there were a few more people to talk to/dance with. This went much better, and I came out once again thinking I was ok. After a few more dances, I was watching David and saw a move he did that I wanted to copy. I asked him about it, and for 10 minutes we struggled through trying to work it out. Once I thought I’d sussed it out, I found one of my friends and tried it on her. It worked pretty well, and gives me another pretty cool new move to do. I also backed into two other new moves, and so my hustle repertoire had shot up! I drew a star on my name tag as a reward. The best one was when Diferente, by Gotan Project came on. This is a tango, that can sort of becomes a hustle midway through. I found Michelle, who is always fun to dance with, and we tango-hustled our way though. I loved it, because for once I knew the song really well and so could plan ahead somewhat. I knew when the tango ended and did a pretty smooth move in the transition into the hustle steps. I then aced the slow bits/violin bits/all the bits(!) and we had a good dance.

By 11pm, we were almost the only group of people left. For a moment, they all thought I could tap dance, because I did a nice little tap to a song, but I had to answer in the negative. At 11:30, we eventually made a move. Someone reckoned they fancied Wendy’s, so that was where we headed.  I was still in Lissette’s car, and I was the only one who noticed us overtake Liana. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but 2 minutes later I did…

After turning off the 5, we were heading down Grand. I don’t know how she did it, but Lissette missed the change of the lights. It all happened very quickly. There was a yelp, some rapid hand movements and suddenly we were doing a rapid right hand turn at a significant rate of knots. Lissette was breathing heavily, and feeling rather embarrassed. She then caught sight of a plain white car with bright lights in her mirror. We did a U-turn, so did the white car. It dawned on me that Liana had had a white car and she had said she didn’t know where she was going. I related my news, and there was a sigh of relief that it wasn’t a police car.

Wendy’s restaurant isn’t open 24hours though, just the drive though, so we assembled outside to discuss the next plan. It was decided to get the drive through, and then head back to Jake’s to eat it. Lissette asked if Liana was ok on her own, and wishing for a safer ride I began to motion and offer to go with her, when she said “Matt, you can come with me.” That saved any chance of me offending Lissette. Scott came with us too, and since we were a bit slow, we rolled up at the back of our 5 car convoy in the drive through. We had a good little chat while we waited, and eventually found our way to Jake’s. He lives in The Village, which is right near I-House. They have the same style, but are not as nice. I felt extremely glad I wasn’t living there. After eating our food (I’d got a milkshake, it was too late for food!) and about an hour of conversation dominated by the few and listened to by the many, I asked if I could head to the bathroom. It was downstairs in the double story place. Descending the stairs was like descending the stairs into the engine room, or the lower compartments of the Titanic. There was also the very unpleasant smell of marijuana filling the air. You wouldn’t be able to get away from it down there! I felt an uncontrollable urge to want to clean their sinks, but then I remembered the time (not at 1am!) and the smell. I guess that’s a hazard to accept when 8 chaps live in one place, but it’s certainly not for me. I was thankful to get back upstairs into the (relatively) fresh air. Eventually we managed to make a move, and bed beckoned. Not before time, it was gone 2am.

On Sunday I had planned to work in the morning, but due to the second late night in a row, a lie in till 8:30, looking at the F1 news and a very enjoyable hour long talk to Scott in Edinburgh, I scratched that idea. I did a little work before getting some lunch, but then got distracted by learning a new Noel Coward song. After lunch I began to prepare my afternoon tea. The cake looked great, sadly the second batch of scones failed (I blame the oven, they weren’t cooked inside, but beginning to burn on the bottom. Was it hot enough?) I cut off the bread crusts and made the finger sandwiches of both Philadelphia and Cucumber, and Smoked Salmon. Halee was on time, and I put the tea pot/thing on and we sat down and had a chat while picking away at the sandwiches. I think she enjoyed it, and after I’d poured the second cup of tea, I brought out the cakes. There was my Victoria Sponge, Scottish shortbread, Cadbury fingers, a big bowl of strawberries, and Halee had made a lovely tea cake. Luckily it went down well, and due to the sheer volume of food, the absence of the scones was not to critical. I think she enjoyed it.

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Michelle had invited me over to watch a movie with her and some of the other dancing people in the evening, so after tidying up, I wrapped up what was left of the cake in Saran wrap, got some strawberries and set off. We watched a dancing film, which was rather good, and then The Bourne Supremacy, which was also very good. They loved the cake, and I got plenty of compliments about my accent and my baking.

Just to side step a moment, when it comes to my all too obvious good looks (*he says with a cheeky smile and his tongue firmly planted in his cheek*) there is one thing that is bothering me in America, and I don’t know what to do about it. My skin, in the last 2 months, has erupted in several spots. I keep washing it, and cleaning it with special stuff but it seems to make no difference. After the Roaccutane I’ve enjoyed years of lovely skin, but now it’s becoming red and scarred again and I’m fed up to the back teeth with it. I’m 21! My skin is supposed to be good now. Ergh.

After watching the films and walking back from Revelle college, which is about a 20 minute walk, it was close to 2am before I went to bed. I was up again at 8am this morning. Today is a holiday as it’s Presidents Day (George Washington’s Birthday) I’m looking forward to a nice early night tonight!

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