University, Work, Coventry, Towers

Three weeks of University
I’ve reached the end of my third week at the University of Birmingham and it’s been brilliant.

I’m living in a flat with Duncan who’s studying medicine and has a skeleton called Ernie, Fernando from Peru who drinks cocacola for breakfast, Bayo from Nigeria “Stop your jibber jabber” and Hugh. The flat is great because it was completely refurbished (and I mean completely) over the summer so everything is brand new. There were a few teething problems like the inspired person who put our front door’s lock on the wrong way around so when locked people could get in but we couldn’t get out. My accommodation is a 20 minute walk from my department which is a bit of a pain but at least I’ll be getting *some* exercise! The 35Mbit Internet connection is nice except for the *ludicrous* 100Mb per day download limit, but I’m working on that.

I’ve been chucked completely in the deep end cooking cleaning and ironing for myself (OK so it’s three weeks in and I haven’t unpacked my iron yet). I’ve only really had two cooking disasters which I won’t talk about, but I did eat them. Shopping, cooking, cleaning is very tedious.

More interestingly I’ve been out in Birmingham a great deal including a club tour of Broad Street, the Freshers Ball with DJ Spoony and Colin Murray and a night with Scott Mills, The Works which is my favourite and countless bars. We’ve had flat parties with the people in my block and I’ve met sooo many people. I’ve got lost plenty, including the time I left my flat, walked for 20 minutes, looked up and I was back at my flat.

The course is brilliant and exactly what I was hoping for. Despite finding the maths and electronics hard I’m very glad they’re part of the course and the Psychology aspects are fascinating. I get to learn C (though I’m miffed the Bioinformatics students get to use Linux and GCC and I’m stuck with Visual Studio) and I’ve made a circuit board with a PIC chip on it and soldered lots. The work load is going to be hard but I don’t mind it so much when I find it all interesting.

Something that really struck me when I first arrived and we were all in someone’s kitchen upstairs was that people were having conversations with the words “Physics”, “Maths” and “love” in the same sentence. People were having intelligent conversations but nobody was accused of being “sad” or “square”, because we’re *all* geeks!

I’ve tried to join up with societies and the one I want to be most heavily involved with is BurnFM, the radio station. I’ve missed out a lot on that front a bit because they have a four week FM broadcast and due to a bout of Fresher’s Flu and not being at Uni for two weekends I haven’t been able to take part much. I was shown their brand new studio and got to play with it and volunteered to help with the technical side, both sound engineering and web development. I’m helping with some poster distribution tomorrow to try and get back into it though.

I’m bursting with ideas at the moment and addicted watching very interesting events unfold in front of my eyes on the Internet. I’m keeping a note of everything (a wiki actually) but I’m struggling to articulate the things in my head into words. I’m selfishly hoping I get to actually tell people about it before others do it all before I get chance. I’ll be happy if it happens either way but I’m dying to tell people my ideas. There’s a competition for business ideas at the University in a couple of months which I’m thinking of entering. Being around researchers doing fun things is inspiring me (which is bad in some ways because I was showing signs of obsession months before I even got here, here that kind of behaviour is actively encouraged!)

Today I was in London doing an installation with a five-strong Twisted Lemon team and I’m very happy how it’s going. 6am start this morning was hard after going out last night but hey. There’s also the possiblity of some part time work in Birmingham if I want it from one of our major clients. It was really great to see the team again and it’s going to be brilliant working with them.

Also I still seem to have a steady trickle of tolatech work coming out of nowhere which I can’t keep up with.

I’ve spent a weekend with my Laura and she cooked lots of real food for me. I met her cool flat mates and we went out in Coventry. Missing her. That’s all I have to say about that.

Alton Towers
Went to celebrate Big Sis’ very special birthday with a trip to Alton towers which was brilliant despite feeling ill. So nice to see her and J again. Met Ellie properly for the first time and I think she’s great *big friendly wave in the direction of sfr* and of course the rest of the group – Lou, Sigh and attachments. Btw, 0-100mph in 3 seconds is *fast*.

I have a to-do list the length of three arms and need more sleep, more vegetables and more exercise but I’m in good spirits and loving my new life though sad for things I’ve had to leave behind. It’s comforting to know they’re still there when I need them though 🙂

I want to write letters to so many people but I just can’t find the time, why can’t everyone use Email? I find it much easier than this putting ink on bits of dead tree thing. I don’t even have a working printer at the moment so I have to do it manually.

With love from Brum.

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