Have submitted my final claim for the year ending 31st July 2007. A receipt for wireless keyboard and mouse worth £12.99. So the amount left in my research fund is £13.33. Hmm.. come to think of it, I should have bought TWO wireless keyboards and mouses instead!
Yes! After seven consecutive weeks of losing to Kevin, I've finally managed to beat him 9-4 in our weekly backgammon duel. I was trailing 1-4 and the thought of not winning for the full two months started to form in my mind. But then I realised that I had nothing to lose and started to play aggresively. Whenever my pieces look promising, I immediately offered a double cube. Sometimes he declined it and sometimes he accepted the offer. And lady luck was on my side as I was finally in front at 6-4. I tried to put more pressure on him by offering a double cube again in the next game. He accepted it and after few moves decided to offer back the double cube to me. The positioning of my pieces doesn't look good but it was too early to tell.
So I've been thinking, either let him win this game and tied the score at 6-6 or I can just finish off the match altogether. And maybe I was crazy in accepting back the cube but when I rolled double sixes at the last moment, it was such a sweet victory. I am going to cherish this moment, at least until I meet him again next week.
Mike the porter gave me this, a 2006 Manchester United calendar. What struck me most is the cover. There are seven players portrayed on the cover. All of them have sweet memories during the 2006/2007 season except that they are not necesarily celebrating it together. Rooney, Ronaldo, Heinze, Ferdinand and Scholes can at least have a party among themselves to celebrate the return of Premiership title to Old Trafford.
Nistelroy on the other hand will celebrate the La Liga triumph with his new Real Madrid teammate. And Keane will celebrate in different kind of way when he guided Sunderland to a Championship title not as a player but as a manager (Who would have thought that is possible considering that when Keane took over, the team was nowhere near the top). On top of that Ronaldo has also won the PFA Young Player of the Year and PFA Player of the Year, a feat not achieved since 1977 by Andy Gray. And another kind of record is in the making if Heinze is finally allowed to crossover to bitter rival Liverpool, last time such a dreadful thing happening is in 1964 when Phil Chisnall moved to Merseyside.
Two days ago one of the Malaysian undergrad here is going home for good. Obviously she could not carry all her stuff to Malaysia so the usual hand-me-down took place. She gave us her two duvets (I want to keep them for the new family from Malaysia who would be coming this September), kitchen stuff and her PC. My wife and I are very happy with the PC because this means my children can play games in their own PC instead of having to share with me. My wife can also use the PC for her own benefits and this will free up my notebook considerably in term of data storage and usage.
Unfortunately, the mouse and keyboard are not working, so today my wife went to the PC World and bought them, a wireless version. The only thing is, our flat is having a bit of connection problem with the data point (my notebook is using wireless connection so no problem in there). Apparently when the flat is being refurbished back in 2005, they must have forgotten to check the internet cable connection whether its working or not. Report has been made so the wait continues.....
Today the Lancaster University Islamic Society decided to make a visit to Madrasah Jamea Al Kauthar, situated near the Lancaster city centre. I tagged along since I was curious myself. This madrasah is quite unique, in a sense that it is one of the largest in the UK, due to the fact that it occupy one of the famous historical building in Lancaster, Royal Albert. It used to be a hospital and even a school for the mentally handicapped. The building is very huge (30,000 square ft) and and surrounded by 20.5 acres of greenery. You can have more details on their website (http://www.jamea.co.uk/). It costs them £750,000 when they purchased it in 1995 but now it's worth is close to £50 millions. Talk about shrewd investment!
ANSARA (Persatuan Bekas Pelajar Sains MARA) to which I belong has initiated their own co-operative called ASMARA (Koperasi Anak Sains MARA Berhad). Their official website is www.asmara.com.my and I think it is a very good and noble idea. Membership is open to former and current students and staff of MRSM. Initial investment is only RM1000 and there is an option of RM50 monthly subscription. It has a quite impressive list of pro-tem committee members and it has also already outlined its future business projects. Let's just hope it will become amongst the most successful co-operative in Malaysia.
My officemate asked whether I have spent all research money that have been allocated to me and I asked her why. She said, 'Well, they are going to close the account in less than a week, so you'd better start spending it!' I thought that £250 (in which about £42.50 has already been spent on seminar accomodation last year) allocated to me was supposed to last for the duration of my PhD, which is 3 years. How wrong I was and how generous my deparment is. They are giving me £250 to spend every year! So today I started shopping and these are what I have bought (so far):
1x Western Digital 120GB Passport V2 External USB 2.0 2.5" Hard Drive and 1x Western Digital Elements 250GB FAT32 USB 2.0 External Hard Drive
Total cost: £103.17
I'm going to buy an EndNote X software which will cost me £68.
And I've been thinking on buying cordless keyboard and mouse. So that will leave me with few pounds to spare. And starting this August, the budget will be replenish to its £250 limit again. Hmm.. I wonder how much a new laserjet printer costs nowadays....
One more Malaysian managed to get his Doctorate today from the Math Department of Lancaster University. He managed to pass his viva with minor correction and happily reported to his UPM employer the good news. So four successful viva this year already for the Malaysian students in Lancaster and I think there will be at least two more coming up this year. Hopefully they will also be as successful as their friends. And I hope the trend continues until 2009, the year I'm supposed to have my own viva.
I received an e-mail from my former Lancaster junior that he will be coming back here because his wife is pursuing a Master degree. And turned out that they will be staying next to my flat starting this September. They also have two young children. I'm sure my own children will be quite happy to have some friends to play with.
We've been playing badminton regularly amongst the Malaysian in Lancaster since last year and things have really been improved in term of, everything! (except of our skill I think, nahh just kidding). We have our own Yahoo Group, complete with its members details, pictures, database and so on. Our finance couldn't been much better, that some say sooner or later we will have more money than Lancaster University Malaysian Students' Society (which I doubt since we had to constantly renewing our supply of shuttlecocks). We have our own club t-shirt (see below) and we have had players joining us for a game from various nationalities, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian, Welsh, Sri Lankan, Arabs, and even women joined us from time to time. Hopefully in the near future we can have an invitation tournament with other Malaysians in various parts of the UK. At least while I'm still here!
I met my supervisor yesterday and had the usual discussion regarding my ongoing thesis. And then he mentioned about the philosophy of science and suggested that I should read books by Sir Karl Popper. Apparently he is the guy who offers a critical assessment on the classical observationalist-inductivist account of scientific method by offering his own theory of falsifiability. Hm.. interesting. My supervisor said that I should put more variety into my readings and not just concentrating on the subject matters, which is accounting. I told him I read some economics book (Freakonomics comes into mind) but stop short of telling him that I just bought two books on football from the car boot sale last weekend. One of the book is titled 'Football Fanatic'. And if I had to choose between reading a book on philosophy on science and a book about a guy who watch a match at all 92 Premier and Endsleigh League football grounds (plus Berwick Rangers) in less than a year, well....
This year alone, 3 Malaysian students in the Lancaster University have successfully got their PhD degree. Two of them are from UPM and another one is from UKM. There is another one from UPM waiting for his viva sometime in July. So in short, good news all around!
I have just finished reading Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly. He is one of those authors who just love to tell a full action-packed story to the max and I have a full collection of his books. His books will always have a hero inside them and they will suffer various tribulations and setbacks but somehow managed to escape through some near impossible (well, impossible anyway in the real life) escapes. And this latest book by him managed to put an interesting story on the Capstone of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.
Now, I am starting on The Lost Army of Cambyses by Paul Sussman. This is his first novel from the two published so far, so I don't have any high expectation here. But that somehow reminds me of John Darnton with his brilliant Neanderthal novel.
Anyway, I've finished updating my books collection in my file. So far I have 148 books in my collection (most of them are in my father in law's house in Malaysia) and I haven't read 40 of them! Looks like I had to really catch up then.
I went to Boots today and whilst waiting for my wife to pay for all those multi-vitamins and other prescriptions, decided to throw away some coins into the weight machine. Well, this machine can do other things as well, such as calculating your B.M.I. (Body Mass Index) which you can easily calculate if you have a calculator or a handphone with you and Body Fat. And why do we need to know the exact composition of our body fat is beyond me but since I was bored and never knew my exact height before (I put 177cm for my height in my passport because double 7's look cool), then why not.
So here is the printing that came out from the machine:
Weight: 12st 11lb 81.4kg Height: 5' 8.8" 1.75m
Body Mass Index (B.M.I.) is calculated as Weight (kg) / Height (m)2
Less than 18.5: UNDERWEIGHT From 18.5 upto 25: IDEAL WEIGHT More than 25: OVERWEIGHT
Your ideal weight for a B.M.I. between 18.5 and 25.0 is:
8st 12lb to 12st 0lb 56.6kg to 76.5kg
Body Fat (%): 25.1% Body Fat Mass: 20.4kg Age: 31 years Male
So I am overweight with an average to poor body fat. And I am actually 2cm shorter than what I thought. Considering that I'm playing 3 badminton sessions per week with each session lasting more than an hour, I know what I should focus on, that scrumptious four letter word starting with an 'F':
From now on, cutting a little bit of everything. And I will go to Boots in one month time to see if there is any progress, or hope at all.
Oh, by the way, my wife B.M.I. is 21.6 (Ideal Weight) and her Body Fat is 26.3% (Good to Excellent). Lucky her.