Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The New DesksJust had a really nice, relaxing (by my family's standards anyway) Christmas day. Got some very cool gifts including:
  • A watch (thanks Mum and Tati)
  • A new desk for Matt (some contribution from my parents)
  • A little outdoor setting for our little duck out (pressie for us from us)
  • A blender and a baking dish (thanks ZiiZii)
  • A cute bath mat and some Nandos sauces (thanks Elissa)
  • Tea towels and salad tongs (thanks James and Chloe)
  • Door bell and a vacuum cleaner (thanks Matt's parents

I bought Matt a big CD wallet, a desk protector mat thingo, a draw tidy, and Corpse Bride, Night Before Christmas, and a Labyrinth and Dark Crystal double DVD. Matt got me 3 full length mirrors (for when my pole finally gets here), Xenocide (an Ender's Game novel), and one more surprise coming in the mail!

We're having a boxing day family thing tomorrow, but it's going to have to be indoors since it's going to hit 41 degrees tomorrow eek! Get a chance to see how that water cooler air con works in high humidity...

In other news, work is going well! After the break I'll be entering my CEED student on site period during which I'll be gathering info for my final year project. It's starting to look very exciting (and scary!) but it's very promising and I can't wait to work on it. The project itself is to investigate a noise canceling system for the receiver end of an underwater acoustic communication system, but I'll save the details for a later time (and for those who care!).

My Test BoxWork went really well over the summer break. I finally got to solder something! Reaching the end of my engineering degree without having soldered anything was getting embarrassing so I'm glad I finally crossed that bridge. My test box works well and is currently being used a lot, so that's very fun to see. I quite enjoyed making the box from scratch (which involved wiring diagrams, drawings, ordering the parts, drilling the box, soldering stuff, crimping, heat shrinking, and many more very fun things), even though that sort of thing isn't really what the engineers do every day.

We had the office Christmas party at Social on Station St (which is where I had my 19th birthday) and I was disappointed to find out that the adjoining restaurant was not of the same high caliber as the cocktail bar. Also I was looking forward to trying my first cigar but they no longer sell them at the bar, probably due to the new indoor smoking rules. I ended up enjoying the night a little TOO much (engineering student + free wine = mayhem mayhem mayhem!), but on the upside I won a greatly needed cookbook in the raffle, which will hopefully help expand our diet of frittatas and toasted sandwiches.

Hope everyone has/had a great Christmas and an exciting new year!
Warming Christmas Glow

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Results are Out

Results came out a few days early this year - hope everyone went well and passed, and can put the 2007 uni year behind them!

Here's mine:
  • 91 Robotics
  • 84 Analog Electronics
  • 95 Graphs and Geometry
  • 100 Electromagnetic Theory
Electromag theory!! WHAT THE HELL? Those who know me (or read my blog for that matter) will have had to frequently put up with my complaints about how hard that unit was and how I didn't understand anything. That one was completely unexpected!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

News Update

Well my week off between the end of exams and the start of work absolutely flew by, and was mainly chewed up by house stuff and organising my final year project. I'm just about to finish my first week at L3-Nautronix doing some engineering vacation work, and I've also mostly organised my CEED project.

I'm really enjoying my vacation work, and it's really fun to get an insight into what the other half of my degree is all about. I've done 2 lots of vacation work as a software engineer already, but I was feeling a bit uneasy about the fact that I really had no practical electronic engineering experience at all. It's a bit strange at work, and I'm feeling really self conscious about being a complete beginner to the point where I've only soldered something once in my life, and I barely know how to use a multimeter. Oh well I guess you have to start somewhere! It's just strange because if I was programming I'd know exactly what to do, but I need to take baby steps on the hardware side of things.

Although, my tasks have been really fun! I'm in the middle of building a test box and I got to do some catalog shopping for all the parts I needed. Who says engineering isn't girly! I threatened to make the box all pretty, but alas the world is seriously lacking in pink pcb connectors.

VengeanceMy uni friends and I celebrated the end of exams last weekend with a notes burning session mainly aimed at destroying our piles of dreaded electromagnetic theory work. I thought I'd be environmentally friendly and only choose the most scaring of all my work, which included a selection of the worst tutes and some past exam questions. All in all it was actually a very healing experience, probably because inhaling all that smoke burned out the bit of my brain who's purpose it was to remember that I took electromag theory in the first place.

Couldn't WaitChristmas is fast approaching, and Matt and I have already put the Christmas tree up. It's looking a bit lonely without any presents under it, but we just couldn't wait! Although I have a feeling it's going to be a boring Christmas this year, since we'll be getting a lot of "necessary" house items, which we are of course very grateful for, but it's no fun opening a washing machine on Christmas day. I guess having a house on our own is definitely a present in it's own right though.

My CEED project is looking very promising at the moment, and I'm really excited about getting all the details sorted. I'm having a meeting with my project mentor (from Nautronix) and supervisor (from UWA) on Monday, so I'll post what I can about it soon.

I already can't wait until the Big Day Out... Arcade Fire, Bjork, Spoon... YAY! I get a big smile every time I walk past my fridge. (Our tickets are on the fridge... not that I don't usually smile at fridges).
Our Fridge

Friday, November 16, 2007

And It's Over :)

Just had my last exam today (Robotics), which went absolutely great since it was the EXACT exam set in 2005 hahah lazy lecturers (oh well suits me fine). I got out of the exam room and the sun shone a little brighter for me today! Also, congratulations to everyone else who also finishes exams today, which is all of UWA, and Edith Cowan too I think.

I'm pretty much just going to relax tonight by watching a movie with Matt and getting some well deserved sleep, then celebrate tomorrow at Yvonne's going away and a 21st at night. Ahhh it feels so good to relax and not feel guilty about not studying :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

One Down

Just came back from my Electromagnetic Theory exam, and I think it went well! Definite pass, but I'm sure it'll look nicer after scaling. It was all over very quickly which sort of makes all those hours of study seem pointless. No more vector calc, time varying fields, and no more magnetostatics yayyyyy (at least for 6months anyway).

Still to go:
Saturday 10th: 9am Graphs & Geometry, 2pm Analog Electronics
Friday 16th: 9am Robotics

Monday, October 15, 2007

Google Sydney 2007

Google FlashyI had a fantastic adventure at Google Sydney for the 2007 Anita Borg Scholarship this past week, but now unfortunately it's back to reality. I was a finalist again this year, and the winner, Tracy, is from Perth UWA, so it's great to have a Perth girl on the winner's list!

gOOgleThe actual retreat involved spending lots of time at the Google Sydney office, listening to talks, chatting with engineers, and generally meeting a lot of smart people. It was also really fun to meet up with people from last year's retreat! I especially enjoyed the talk given by Robin, which involved the story of how she got to where she was today, and was very inspirational. There were also some "break out sessions" where the finalists were split up into small groups to talk about issues concerning women in computer science, and it was interesting to hear about everyone's experiences of how they ended up in this discipline.

The Opera House at NightGoogle pretty much took care of everything, and spoiled us thoroughly with hotel rooms in the Hilton, snacks provided every hour, dinner on the warf, and a cruise of the harbour. Plus I've made some friends for life from all over Australia, which is priceless given that the engineering and technical community is so tight here.

Tree LizardWe also had a lot of spare time, which I mostly spent with Tracy, Dana, and Liz wandering about Sydney, shopping and the like. We also did the touristy stuff like going up the Sydney Tower and taking lots of photos of the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. On the last day of our trip, Tracy and I went to Taronga Zoo which was voted to be the best zoo in the world a few years ago, and it really was fantastic. The position makes it much more than a zoo, with breathtaking views of the harbour from the chairlift and lookouts throughout. The highlight for me was definitely the giraffes and the tigers, and I'd highly recommend that everyone who goes to Sydney should spend a day there.

So the moral of the story is - APPLY FOR THE SCHOLARSHIP! Going to the finalist retreat at the Google office is a really great experience, so give it a shot girls :)
Aussie Branding

Saturday, October 6, 2007

IKEA Wonderland

Had a very productive day today - shopping wise, not uni wise of course. Matt and I decided to take a trip down to IKEA to see what they had to offer by way of coffee tables and TV stands. We found two perfect pieces among a mostly crappy assortment of furniture, but that's always the way with budget furniture stores.

1. LACK Coffee Table: $49
Coffee Table

2. LACK Shelving Unit: $119
TV Table

3. Enjoying our new dining room: priceless.
OK so it's not priceless - it actually cost $168, but it's great to finally have some non-hand-me-down furniture of our own!

We also took a trip next door to Freedom and Furniture Bazaar, which are both slightly more pricey (but higher quality) establishments than IKEA. We definitely saw a few things to aspire to, but since a simple coffee table can cost over $400 we may put it off for a few years yet!

Matt's New and Improved Site

Matt's new site design is all done and looking shiny! Check it out for some cool widgets and iPhone apps :)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Busy Time

Well it's coming up to the end of semester and boy is there a lot to do! I don't think I've ever had so much stuff due all at once, and considering that Electromag Theory is one of my units, even the simplest* things take me days to finish.

I'm also sorting out my final year project for next year, and it looks about 99% sure that I'll be doing a CEED project with Nautronix (the company I've been doing vacation work for). It turns out that the engineering manager at Nautronix actually did a research project with my supervisor from uni so it looks like the project will go smoothly in terms of everyone getting along!

This weekend I also need to pack for Sydney for the Google retreat next week. I can't wait, but I'll be missing an important lab and also skipping out on my group assignments, so I'm trying heaps done before I leave so I don't feel too guilty. More on that when I get back, yay!

Matt's house is going very well, and I think we've pretty much moved in. We have all the basics; bed, fridge, table, tv, but we're still missing a washing machine so we've been dropping off the washing at mum's (good ol' mum and grandma to the rescue). I'm getting a knack for this cooking business, but given mine and Matt's busy schedule, it's been a chore to keep the fridge filled up with stuff to cook with.

No other major news really, since I've officially had no life since mid semester break. I'm missing the royal show AGAIN this year which is really unfortunate since I've been looking forward to seeing the duck parade again since 2 years ago :( Oh well, next year!

Keep an eye out next week for news on the Google Retreat!

*simple meaning simple to a person with an astrophysics degree

Saturday, September 29, 2007

CUDOS Optical Switching Tutorial

Just got back from Coogee beach, Sydney, after a couple of days at the CUDOS Optical Switching tutorial. It was really interesting stuff! The majority of students there were physics students, but there were also a few electrical engineers. Quite a bit of the material was too in depth for me, since I had no previous experience with photonics, but there were also quite a few sessions on applications and integration which were right up my alley.

The schedule was fairly tight so I didn't manage to see much of Sydney, but I went into the city on Thursday night with a few other students and we spent some priceless time at the Oprah House bar enjoying the views of the house and the bridge.

Had some fun, made some friends, but now it's back to reality and my ever increasing pile of things that are due. Although I'm back in Sydney for the Google Australia Anita Borg retreat on the 11th of October so that'll be another fun weekend to ease the pain :)

The Bridge at Night

Sunday, September 16, 2007

2007 Google Anita Borg Scholarship

Just got the word that I'm an Anita Borg Scholarship finalist again this year! Currently awaiting an email back from Google for the date of my phone interviews which will determine the winner. Fingers crossed :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I Always Wondered How Far I Ran

I just discovered the coolest feature on Google Maps that lets you plot a journey without snapping to the roads. I have two routes that I take depending on how nice the weather is, and depending on whether I feel like walking or running. I'd always wondered how far they were, and I estimated that my run was about 3k (it's actually just under) and I estimated that my walk was about 6k (it's actually WAY over haha). It tells you the distance of the route, and you can also save the routes so you can actually see my walk and my run! How cute!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The House feels more like Home

The LoungeMatt's house is finally officially his, so we've been doing a lot of work lately cleaning and moving lots of things. It's been really tiring, but also really rewarding and every day it feels a bit more familiar and comfortable.

Out with the OldIn with the NewIt hasn't quite sunk in yet that we have a house, and that we can choose where things go, and what to do and when. It's so cool! It's also fun to do stuff on our own, but we still need a lot of help from the parents when it comes to making new electrical sockets and antenna plugs etc. Yesterday we went shopping for a new shower head which we picked and installed in the big bathroom yesterday all by our selves! Ok this all might sound stupid to many people who have already lived on their own before, but this is the first time for me (and for Matt too).

Welcome CakeAnother thing we need to do is to start making friends with our neighbors, who all seem really sweet. One night when we arrived at the house, the couple next door was cleaning up our driveway! Another neighbor left us a welcome cake, which was delicious. We had our first guest over last night, Adam, who came over to watch the old Transformers movie (it gets more confusing every time). We still haven't stayed the night because we currently only have a king single as a bed, and plus my parent's house is only 5mins drive anyway.

UEC Cocktail NightIn other news, the UEC (engineering) cocktail night was on Friday, and I went with a few uni friends. It's Simona's 30th birthday today and I'm just about to start getting ready to go to the bbq at her house. I also need to take Penny (my little mouse) to the vet to get her last installment of itchy cream (she was all itchy behind her ears, but she's almost better now). After a lot of thought, I've applied for vacation work at Nautronix in the hope to get some engineering experience with a company who cares about me. I decided to do this after looking through endless other job descriptions about equipment maintenance and installation, monitoring, writing user manuals, and other boring crap.

And that's about it for now! Oh I had an electromag theory test on Thursday (which went OKKKKK but we'll see), which ended in an interesting way. At the end of the test, everyone had to pass their tests to the end of the row. I was sitting next to Lara, and so Lara and I passed our tests to the guy sitting to the right of me. Lara and I started to talk about the test when I realised that I still had my equation sheet. As I turned to ask the guy at the end for my test back so I could slip my equation sheet back in, I noticed that he had his pen in his hand, and was busy copying the front page of my test onto his paper! Plagiarism at its best! We told the lecturer, but considering that the first page was only worth 3 marks out of the 60, I'm guessing it didn't help him much anyway.

More on the house later!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vacation Work

The time has come to secure work for the summer vacation... and I'm completely lost. I went to the IEEE networking evening and that sort of made things worse. I realised that I have no idea what I want to end up doing after I finish my engineering degree.

Now I could always take the easy way out and go get some software work, since that's always easy to find, but I've already done plenty of software and really want to get some engineering done before I graduate. The problem is with engineering is that most of it in Perth is very evil. Companies that make ammunition and battleships littered the prospective employers at the networking night, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to be involved with stuff that kills people. Of course many will argue that it's defense and someone needs to do it, but still, I'd prefer it not to be me.

I'm quite interested in the water corporation and the Perth transport authority for these reasons, and I'm currently trying to find out more about what kind of work I'd be doing there. Although, I already know that the water corp pays about $17 an hour, which is pretty much what I'd be getting as a sales person at Tandy, so I guess you need to sacrifice money for morality - great :(

She's All BetterIn other news, my car is back, and she's more beautiful than ever! I never realised how much I actually use my car until it was gone for a week and a half. They even vacuumed it for me, which was an unexpected nice suprise! Also, Simona and Chad and their baby Keanu are coming to Perth on the 25th, and Matt's getting the house on the 28th of August. It's Sim's birthday on the 29th and I have no idea what to get her. All this excitement does NOT bode well for my electromag theory test on the 30th...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Kymmy's Gone Again

Kym and ILast night Kym went back to Ireland for two years :( She's going back to finish her (optometrist) degree, and will be back in Perth after she's done. Hopefully she'll make it back for Christmas as well.

Amy and KymAmy and I stopped by her house last night for some goodbye strawberry cheesecake (any excuse will do), and to see her off to the airport.

We'll miss you Kym! But we know you'll make us proud no matter where you are :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Car Troubles

I thought I'd wait until it all got sorted out before I posted about my little car accident. I'm currently at uni waiting for Matt to pick me up (I caught a lift in with him since my car is in the shop), and so what better time to write about why that is.

The ScratchesI was in the engineering car park at around 11am. Circling around the pews slowly, I notice a car coming towards me in the opposite direction (in the other lane of course). As we approach each other, he starts to indicate, slows, and then stops. I didn't see the space he was indicating for but I guess it was behind him. I'm still driving forward slowly while he's stopped, which has been for a while now. At this point I'm next to him, when he starts to reverse, turn, and slowly hit the front-right of my car. He didn't actually notice this, and so I beeped my horn. So he stops, and then drives forward again, hitting me a second time (I'm pretty sure this is when my door got dented).

The DentTwo and a half weeks, two quotes, and a lot of heated discussion later, he finally came to his senses and wrote the cheque for the full amount (he originally only wanted to accept 80% of the blame for some reason). I guess I should be happy with the fact that this is my first car accident in the uni car parks which are packed with students, mostly P platers, desperately trying to find a spot that doesn't involve trekking for 20 minutes to class.

I get my car back on Friday which is nice and speedy.

Monday, August 6, 2007

My 21st Birthday

Last Saturday night I had a small gathering of family close friends to celebrate my 21st birthday (which is actually today)! It was a really fun night (or so I'm told, I was mostly too busy to notice!) and I'll never forget it :)

The GarageI decided to have my party at home this year, and keep it small since our house is spatially limited. My mum worked really hard and managed to turn the garage, which is usually so full of cars and other stuff that you can barely walk through it, into a gorgeous room which I personally thought looked like some sort of Arabian palace. We put some rugs down around the place, and Matt's parents lent me their plastic chairs, so together with a table overflowing with food, we had a nice little party happening :)

And Kym is the Winner!I really wanted it to be as fun and non-formal as possible, and so I refused to give/accept speeches/toasts, and insisted on having a pass the parcel and a Pinata to prove that I am NOT an adult no matter what number candle is on my birthday cake. Although I did go a bit far on the dress, but hey, I thought I'd push the boundaries of my usual style and take a risk. Everyone really enjoyed the games, especially the pass the parcel, and especially Stefan who hadn't ever played either game. The pass the parcel was played to Toop Toop by Cassius with me as the music stopper lady person, and Kym won the big prize which was a beer mug filled with chocolates and lollies.Who Stole the Back of my Dress?

Ashvin's Winning HitI had the first go at the Pinata, and managed to hit it once (very weakly), and missed for both my other goes. When it was Ashvin's turn, I had to leave the garage to take a phone call from Matt's Nonna, and when I came back everyone was crawling on the floor. I assumed everyone had gone crazy, but then I noticed that there was chocolate everywhere and the Pinata was no longer hanging from the ceiling but was in pieces on the floor. I was really upset that I didn't get to see what happened until Matt came running up to me to show me the awesome shot he got just as the Pinata had smashed to pieces! So awesome.

The Manea FamilyApart from that the night was pretty tame. By the end of it though people could barely move because of how much food there was. People had heaps to drink but I think it's virtually impossible to get drunk with the amount of food that was eaten. I forgot to mention to everyone that it is customary for my family to make food for 10x the actual number of people coming, and I probably should have mentioned that NOBODY can say no to my grandma when she's offering food. Seriously though... there were 4 cakes!

Asuka's Eva Unit 02So all in all it was a great night with great memories that will last for ever :) I put up all the photos at my Flickr page including photos of the night and of the pressies, which were all really awesome (OMG I have Eva Unit 02 I can't get over it it's so awesome - thanks Matt!)

Turning 21 is funny - I don't FEEL any different, and nothing has actually changed, except for being able to legally drink in America (FINALLY just what I've always wanted). I guess I'm still stuck at thinking I'm 17, but that was a whole 4 years ago! Time didn't fly by or anything, in fact it's dragging it's ass with uni taking me so long, but I guess I always thought I'd feel mature and responsible at this age...


Blowing out the Candles

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Flickering Screen

My MacBook goes in for repair tomorrow for the notorious flickering screen problem. I'll be without it for about 5 days grrrr so hopefully Winthrop Computers gets their act together and fixes it FAST!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What is it about my car that screams "Please Hit Me"

I'm currently in the middle of sorting out some damage done to my car in the uni parking lot last Thursday. I was in the car at the time when this guy swiped the front of my car while he was reversing into a parking bay. I went to the panel beater this morning, and he'll have a formal quote written up for me tomorrow, but he estimates around the $1000 mark. It's funny how much a couple of scratches and a dent can cost.

More details later when it's sorted out grrrrrr.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Faculty Politics

It's my second day of uni, and I'm currently sitting in the library in hour 3 of my 4 hour break until my next lecture. My timetable will fill out when labs and tutes start, but for the time being I have lots of long waits :(

Because my degree spans over the faculties of Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, I've been part of three very different environments since the start of uni. I've never quite been able to figure out what makes engineers so different from mathematicians and computer scientists, but I think I've finally put my finger on it.

I figured it out when I didn't understand something in my Electromagnetic Theory lecture. We were doing a supposedly simple example (according to the lecturer, not the students), and I was lost quite early on. After the lecture, all the people around me had the same problems as I did, and so we had a chat and figured it out to some degree, during which there were several exclamations of "oh my god this unit is going to kill us".

So I was thinking about how that would have gone about in a maths lecture. Well first of all no one would readily admit to not understanding, and during impossible parts of the lecture people would put on a "hrmmmm I seeeee" face as opposed to an "oh my god hahah what the hell is that" face. In a computer science lecture the discussion would have probably not have happened at all since comp sci students would have either been too asleep to notice the lecture at all, and regardless, seem to have pride about not understanding things for some reason.

I guess engineering is where I've made the most friends because of this, since we work through the crazy together rather than pretending we understand, and rather than not caring at all.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Chicken Laid an Egg!

Did I Do That?Maybe I should mention that we have a new addition to the family - a little orange chicken. She's called Cocolina, after the rooster we used to have called Coco, which is short for cocos, meaning rooster in Romanian.

My grandma originally came home with three chickens, two of which are now soup, and the third is (after a lot of campaigning on the rest of the family's behalf) now our pet. She was in a really mangled state when we got her, but since then she's grown feathers in all the patches where there were none, and she generally looks much healthier. She laid one egg the day we got her, but it's been over a month since then and she completely stopped.

I was outside talking to my mum today when Cocolina started making lots of strange noises that I can only describe as a sounding like a chicken growling angrily. I checked to see whether she had laid an egg, but there was nothing there. It got to the point where me and my mum could barely hear each other over the angry growls, when we checked for a second time and there it was - an brand new egg! Good work Cocolina, we are so proud :)
Cocolina and her Egg

Monday, July 16, 2007

Congratulations Matt!

Just got back from a celebratory dinner (my shout for Matt) for Matt getting the house! His original offer wasn't accepted, but they accepted the second offer, so now he's handling all the fun stuff like getting a broker, a settlement agent, inspections, and whatever other magic you need to do before they'll give you a house.

Not sure what the plan is yet with regard to moving in (it might be leased for a while), but it's a real gem, and I can't wait to make it home :)

Pet Shop Update

It's the last week of uni holidays and, as always, it's gone way too fast. I've been working a lot slower on my game than I planned to, so with uni starting, it looks like it's gonna take me a lot longer than I thought.

I've just finished writing the prototype which was a fully playable version without some of the extra features I'm going to add in later. I got to the point where I wanted to add the possibility of doubling up on items, so for example, you could drag a fish onto another fish, and a little 2 would appear below it. Then, if you complete a pen with ALL the fish attributes doubled up, you'd get double the points. I hacked it in, and it semi worked, but it was a LOT tricker than it should have been since the code has got so convoluted that even the simplest changes are a struggle.

Now that I've proved that it's do-able and play-able, it's time to stop and start from scratch. By making decisions in the prototype I've got a really good idea about how to do it properly now. I'm keeping some of the classes that I wrote really well, (I'm happy with the simpler stuff like my Scoring and ImageLibrary classes, so I'm just in the middle of writing test harnesses for those), and completely ripping apart others.

So that's what's happening with Pet Shop in case anyone was wondering if I'd completely given up on it :)

In other news... Matt's in the middle of fighting for a house in Ballajura. It's pretty much the best house we've seen so far, in a perfect little cul de sac. Fingers crossed!

Monday, July 9, 2007

I'm a (second) aunty!

My cousin Simona just gave birth to her baby boy!
*** Congratulations Sim and Chad! ***
We can't wait to meet him when they come over in late August :)

Results are Out

Today's the day everyone finds out if they're gonna be doing their units for a second (or third?) time. Hope everyone passed and is happy with their results! Here's mine:
  • 100 Artificial Intelligence & Logic Programming
  • 77 Embedded Systems
  • 90 Circuits & Electronic Systems 3
  • 91 Communication Systems
Overall I'm smiling, just annoyed about embedded systems. I'm not complaining, but it was a second year unit, open book exam, and its still my lowest grrrr.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


Well it's cheap ass Tuesday, and I've just came back from seeing the Transformers movie!

Me, Matt and some friends from uni arrived at Innaloo for the 6.30 screening only to find that it had been sold out, so we decided to buy tickets for the 8.00 screening. All of us there had our tickets, but Ro jumped back in line to get Lara's ticket since she was running late. As he was in the line (this is at about 6.50 by the way) the board started flashing:
Transformers: 6:30 (FULL) 8.00 (FEW)
But all was well - Ro managed to get one of the last tickets for Lara, and we had dinner at Fasta Pasta (mmm classy) while we waited for the movie.

I really enjoyed it! It was really fun seeing Matt turn into a little kid again every time something Transformery happened. The movie was really cute and I thought there was a nice balance between the fun and the serious. Although, as expected of any movie with a technological base, it was extremely cringe worthy. We all laughed out loud when the blonde girl (who was meant to be a signal expert? hahah in everyone's dreams) mentioned Fourier transforms :)

One thing that sort of annoyed me was the weight. This is strange to describe, but things look real only if they move as if they have the right weight. I think a lot of the times it looked like the transformers were moving way too nimbly for how big they were so that made it look strange, and also made it really hard to tell what was going on. I think the perfect example of what I mean about getting the weight right is in Asuka's final fight in End of Evangelion.

Definitely worth seeing, I'm glad we FINALLY did!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Smooth Sailing

I just got home from a fantastic dinner with Amy and Kym, my two closest friends from high school, and I just got to thinking how nice things have been these holidays. We had great food and great wine at Villa Da Vinci (a local restaurant in Ballajura). It was really nice to catch up since Kym has been studying in Ireland and Amy and I have both had a hard semester at uni, so we'd been craving a nice night out for a long time. I topped off the night by watching an episode of Cowboy Bebop with Matt, over a warm tea. What a nice end to the week :)

My game's coming along smoothly; I've just worked on being able to drag things between the pen components, and I'm planning on adding a timer next. It's getting to the point where it's almost a real game! I'm really excited that I've finally seen something through, as opposed to having an idea and then getting distracted and completely forgetting about it. I'm really looking forward to putting up a prototype to see what people think, so at the moment I'm hacking a lot of things up, but I'll sit down and redesign the whole thing when it's all operational. Matt's been working on some more graphics which is awesome, so we'll have something complete in no time :)

I'm trying to line up some vacation work for the summer holidays, and I've got my fingers crossed about getting a placement at an engineering company. I'd really like to get some experience in that area of my degree since I'm pretty confident on the software side of things, but am really clueless when it comes to engineering stuff in practice. So hopefully I get some good news from Raytheon!

My cousin Simona is about 11 days off from giving birth to my... I guess second nephew? Bah I'm not sure how that works but I'm gonna call my self an aunty anyways :) She'll be coming over to Perth sometime in August and I can't wait to meet my nephew! It's funny... I'm an only child, and none of my friends have had young siblings, so I've really only seen about 3 babies (apart from the ones you see in strollers in shops), and I've never actually held one! I can't wait to hold him!

Our house hunting has been going pretty well, and Matt's put an offer down on a house we're really interested in. Hopefully that goes well because it'd be fantastic to finally get our foot in the real estate door. Plus it's pretty much now or never cause house prices are apparently on the rise again pretty soon :|

So that's what's been going on for me, lots of nice things to think about :) I'm really enjoying my holidays and I'm taking it REALLY easy. I might be tutoring Kym's bro at some math, and I may be helping out Amy with some work at Video Ezy, but apart from that and my game, it's been smooth sailing for me these holidays :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Pet Shop

I've recently started making a game. I don't actually know why I started, but I just thought of a cute little idea and realised that I'd probably be able to make it if I put my mind to it. It's still in the VERY early stages, and is just a prototype at the moment, but I can already tell that it's gonna be fun to play just from what I've got working right now.

Pet ShopThe game's gonna be called something along the lines of Pet Shop, and it's all about putting together pet bundles. An attribute will appear in the middle of the board, and then you have to place it in a pen. The point will be to get all the attributes of a pet (so the animal, the house, the toy, and the food) together in a pen (each blue area is a pen), which will then get you money (or points I guess). There's also stuff you can't do, like put a bird and a cat together, in which case you'll loose everything that's in the pen with the conflicting animals.

I'm still trying to figure out the game play exactly, but there'll be a time delay that lets you move the conflicting animals away from each other before they fight. I'm also trying to figure out some other details like how the points will work, when and how you loose lives, how you can flush the pens etc. Hopefully that'll all fall into place :)

Matt's been doing the graphics as I've been going along, and we've got a fish and a steak so far :) I really like what he's done and I think it's gonna look really cute when we're done with it. Please ignore the ugliness of the title and the white background etc, it's still a working progress!

So I'll keep posting about my progress and hopefully I'll have a prototype to put on here pretty soon. Watch this space :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Exams... are... OVER!!! YAY!!!

Just had my last exam yesterday and it feels so good to be finished :) I was really happy with how AI, Communication Systems and Circuits and Electronic Systems went, but I'm really worried about my Embedded Systems exam (which was a 2nd year, open book exam, so that was unexpected!). I'll post about my results, which should come out in about a month.

So that's it for the semester :) Although I'm still trying to figure out my stupid enrollment. The uni canceled a unit I was enrolled in (Neural Computation, which I'm actually really upset about), and so now I have to re enroll with either Functional Programming, Concurrent Programming (which is also probably canceled, thus no unit web page), and Human Computer Interaction (which sounds like a slack off unit). Please feel free to give me any suggestions. I'm hoping to pick concurrent, but I'm not getting my hopes up since I'm pretty sure it's not going to be run *sigh*. I need to organise a meeting with a course adviser about the whole mess.

So I've just had a relaxing day cleaning up my study, going for my run (I've been slacking off lately!), shopping (bought some nice speakers for Matt's new LCD tv), and going out to dinner with a few friends. Tomorrow I'm gonna go pay off my enrollment for polemoves intermediate (starting Saturday woohoo!), do a bit more shopping (I've been deprived, OK?), get my hair cut/coloured (so overdue - my colour is about half way down my head), and start on my game!

It's nice to actually be able to think about all this stuff without feeling guilty about not studying for exams!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Optical Switching Tute

Just got an email from one of the CUDOS committee letting me know that I'm one of the 30 students from 3rd and 4th year engineering, physics and science being flown to Sydney for a workshop on optical switching. Yay! It's in September so it's yonks away but it's definitely something I'll be looking forward to next semester.

I really have no idea what it's going to be about, but I guess that's the point. I'm sure it'll be all about how what we've learned in uni is going to be redundant quite soon - but I'm pretty used to getting told that given that I'm doing computer science aswell :| But I'm really interested to find out what it's all about because I've just done a unit called Circuits and Electronic Systems 3 (my exam for that is this Friday... AHH!). I've just spent the whole semester learning about MOSFET's (and to a lesser extent bipolar) transistors, so I'm full bottle on the current uses, speed limitations, etc. This workshop is about the research being done into optical switching which is faster than current technology. How exciting! (look - it's exciting for me, OK?)

As an added bonus the retreat is in Coogee beach in Sydney, which is the next beach up from Bondi, so I can't wait for that :)

Anyway back to exam study :)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I'll Never Get Used To Exams

It's just reaching the end of study week, and exams are fast approaching. I've actually been working really hard all week, but I'm not at all confident this year. I guess it's because this semester it's been 3x Engineering + 1x Computer Science, and the computer science unit (AI and Logic Programming) has been EXTREMELY hard. It's been completely unlike any other computer science unit - mostly theory, completely abstract, and the only programming has been in Prolog which isn't quite programming at all. Also I usually have one maths unit to balance out the engineering units, but this semester it's been full on with the hard core eng. I guess I'll just have to take it as it comes and do my best, and hope it'll aaaalll work out (eeek!).

To keep up my spirits I've been coming up with some Fun Things(TM) to look forward to during and after exams. Helps keep my eyes on the horizon and makes the impending exam doom seem less doomy. I'm looking forward to:

  1. Seeing Pirates of the Caribbean - At World's End - just watched the first two on Matt's new LCD tv... so nice!
  2. Getting my hair cut - for some reason during semester I never get my hair cut and it ends up being all gross by the end of semester
  3. Teaching Penny some new tricks - she's already learned how to walk vertically down a ladder (!) but that's about it so far
  4. Putting up my Space Doggy print - I've had it for about a month now and I still haven't got around to putting up a hook
  5. Starting Polemoves Intermediate - I've been slacking off with the exercise so it'll be great to start classes again
  6. Washing my car - YESSS my car is finally back with a brand-new second-hand (haha) gear box, but it's all dirty and I really need to clean it up (the car, not the gear box)
  7. Working on my game - I've come up with a really cute idea for a little game that I have no idea how to make, so I'm gonna make an effort to try and learn how to do it!
  8. Organizing my 21st - it's not that far off (August 6th) so I should start thinking about what I'm gonna do
  9. Playing Psychonauts - yep I completely stopped that when my units got scary
  10. Looking for vacation work - I really need to find some engineering work experience so I should get my resume together
  11. Catching up with friends - I've been completely antisocial this whole semester so I've got a lot of catching up to do
So that's a nice little list of things to look forward to, but still there's SOO much study and stressing before it's all over. It's always the same thing every year since high school but yet I'll never get used to the whole ordeal. Oh well, come June 18th at 5.15pm, I'll be a free girl! (at least until next semester...)

Monday, June 4, 2007

Meet Penny

I only had Morris for a little while, but I really liked him! I'd actually wanted a mouse for a while when Elissa caught Morris, so when he died I thought I'd go get a pet mouse like I'd planned.

Getting PatsThe pet shop had a variety of mice, but none of them white! I really wanted a little white mouse, but the brown ones were so cute that I sort of didn't mind that much any more. Then the pet shop lady decided to lift up the little house all the mice were hiding in, and there she was - a little beige mouse that I fell in love with straight away! She had dark burgundy eyes and a little white tip on the end of her tail. I named her Penny the mouse and bought her straight away, taking her to her new home :)

Penny In the SkyShe's a sweet little thing, but very slow and lazy! She sleeps a lot, and when she runs on the wheel it's like slow motion compared to Morris. I've been handling her a lot so she doesn't mind people at all. All in all it's been a great distraction from all my exam study, so I'm really glad I got her now.

So welcome to the Manea family Penny the Mouse!

In the Palm of my Hand

Saturday, May 26, 2007

RIP Morris the Mouse, I'll Miss you

He was only with us for a little while, but he was a happy little mouse. I think he died of old age, since he always had food, water and warmth, so at least he died in comfort. I'll never forget how he ran on his wheel, and how he cleaned his whiskers and ears with his little hands. I'll miss you Morris!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

3 Reasons Why I Forgot the Keys in the Ignition

I was ready to leave the house today, when I realised I couldn't find the keys to my dad's car. Why am I driving my dad's car? More on that later... I checked all the usual places; my bag, my room, the kitchen, the garage, pretty much all the surfaces in my house, but the keys were nowhere to be found. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm ridiculously organised to the point where even my shoe boxes are coordinated in terms of colour, frequency of use, and current season, so it's very unlike me to misplace my car keys.

After a while of searching, my dad came back into the house to tell me I'd forgotten the keys in the ignition of the car. I'd just come back from Matt's house and was ready to leave again, so they'd only been in the ignition for about 20 minutes, but still, I felt a bit funny to have done something so absent minded. At first I thought it was just a lack of sleep due to coming back late from a birthday last night, but I realised there's a few more things going on that prove I'm not going crazy, I just maybe need to relax a little.

1. Uni
It's just that time of year where I've fallen completely behind in my lectures, and everything is due at once. I've currently got an "Artificial Intelligence and Logic Programming" assignment in the works which is driving me crazy, and "Circuits and Electronic Systems" assignment due in 3 weeks that I haven't even thought about starting. I've fallen behind in the "Embedded Systems" labs, so I need to go into an extra session to finish that off, and a "Communication Systems" lab tomorrow that involved a pre-pre-lab, a pre-lab, and eventually a lab report that is going to take about a week to figure out. I have circuits test coming up that I really need to do well in, and weekly AI tutorials that are getting increasingly insane. Needless to say, I pretty much have no life right now, and a combination of bad weather and no time means I'm not getting much exercise which is throwing of all my energy.

2. My Car is Broken Again
A couple of days ago I was leaving Matt's house, just about to get out of the residential area onto a main road when all of a sudden my forward gears stopped engaging. I'd managed to leave the spot before this happened, so I was sitting in the middle of a main road, with on coming traffic, and no way to move! I turned my hazard lights on but this didn't stop a few drivers from beeping at me (yeah THANKS A LOT I wasn't AWARE that stopping in the middle of the road is not such a good idea). I finally realised that my reverse gear was still working, so I decided to reverse my way back to Matt's house (which took a fair bit of talent I might say) and call my dad.

It turns out that the gear box needs to be replaced which will cost 2 grand. Keeping in mind my car cost a total of 3 grand, this is... not good. So we're currently trying to get a hold of the only Mercedes specialist in Perth who has a 1 month waiting list at the moment. I've been going into uni with Matt in the mornings, so I've been getting up a bit earlier than my usual 7.30am starts, and this together with 9-5 uni is starting to get crazy.

3. House Hunting
Matt has been house hunting for about 2 months now, and our heads are pretty much all over the place with what/where/how much/when to buy. We've just seen a house that we're really interested in and so now we're deciding whether to go ahead, or wait a bit more. It's all a bit scary really, and it's a bit daunting to think that moving out of home is just on the horizon. Being an only child it's hard to think I'll have to leave my parents, and my nice safe cosy room at my parents house... so nice and safe and warm.

So I guess a combination of stress, lack of sleep, and more stress is why I've been forgetting a lot of stuff lately. Plus Matt's grandma has just sold her holiday house in Yanchep, which has pretty much been our get away for the past 4 years, so there's no escaping to paradise any more! Sigh. So that's my little rant. I'm sure my tune will change after exams, but in the mean time, I guess I'll invest in a new set of stress balls!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Space Doggies!

Yesterday Matt gave me a surprise present! It's a David Lanham print of Space Doggy, which is my favourite digital creation of his. It was a really really sweet thoughtful surprise that I didn't expect! It's been my background ever since I got my Mac, and I'd been going on about how much I loved it and how I'd never get sick of it :)

I'm going to get it block mounted and hang it up above my desk in the study. I guess now maybe I'll change my background to either Shaky Love or In a Pickle. So cute! There's just something about all of them that is so eerie and cute and shiny.

The thing about Space Doggy is that he'll never get the bone! It made my dad REALLY sad - it was so funny he was like "But he can't get the... AWWW poor thing! Look how he's looking at the bone!" I like to think that off to the left of the scene there's a big rocket where he can get out of his space suit and eat all the bones he likes :) Also take a look at the animations they're really good.

This is unfortunately a pretty bad picture, in real life the print looks really vibrant and super high resolution, but you can't really tell. So thanks for that Matt! What a nice pressie!

Space Doggies

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Things that Look Like Other Things

I personally wouldn't have chosen this to be the logo for my company... and I ESPECIALLY would not have chosen to put it on a whipped cream container. Oh Mr Tatua, you got it so, so wrong.

I'm Not Sure About That Logo Mr Tatua...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Photo Booth!

I've really started getting used to my Mac, and I'm starting to be really productive on it. I just set it up to get wireless internet around uni so that's been fun! I'd always been jealous of the people with laptops at uni :)

Coloured PencilI've also just been playing with Photo Booth which is really fun. There's some pretty effects like sepia, black and white, comic book, and some fun effects like (my favourite) the mirror, squeeze, and bulge. Some of the effects are REALLY creepy and I mostly stay away from them since after the funny wears off it gets a bit sickening. Take a look at some of the fanciness and silliness on my Flickr!

Mirror Kiss

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My Poor MacBook

The Corruption BeginsI've just finished installing Windows on my MacBook and I sort of feel like I've betrayed her :( It's really not fun going back to Windows after you've used a Mac. All of a sudden my computer was telling me what to do, making stupid noises every 5 seconds, and constantly winging about security. Oh well I really do need it, so what can you do?

Putting it on was fairly easy using Boot Camp, except for a bit of drama with a system file that went missing. I ended up allocating 20GB for the Windows partition (it's a 120GB hard drive), so hopefully that'll be enough for Matlab, PSpice, Retro and all those other little programs I'm gonna need.

More importantly, it looks like Psychonauts is going to run pretty well! I've got the demo running so that's gonna be fun!

Just Awful, Isn't It?

Friday, April 6, 2007

How to Make a Nurse Outfit in 4 Easy Steps

I bet it's something you've all been wondering, so this post will help put your mind at ease.

The BeltThe ShoesIngredients:
* A plain white dress
* A waisted red belt
* Some white fish net stockings
* Big red buttons
* White electrical tape
* A headband
* Some white heels

The Hat Step 1. The Hat
All you need is a piece of paper and a headband. You just need to fold the paper up in the hat shape, and draw on the red border and the cross/love heart. You then make two loops (out of paper) for the head band to slide through, and sticky tape them on the back of the hat.

The Buttons Step 2. The Buttons
Picked these up from a craft shop for 50cents each, and used some white electrical tape to make the little white crosses on each one.

The Stockings Step 3. The Stockings
It actually took me a while to track down white fish net stockings, and I managed to find some at this little sock stall in a shopping center for $5. Sew a button on each stocking. Some suspenders might also look cute!

The Dress Step 4. The Dress
This was an old under dress I haven't used for years, so I didn't mind destroying it. It was originally flat at the top, but I gathered it up with a button to make it look a bit cuter. Sew the buttons down the front, but leave some space for a waisted red belt which helps brighten up the white.

The Final Outfit
The Whole Outfit

Doc and NurseIn case you're wondering, this whole thing was for Vanessa's 21st. It was a uniform themed dress up, and she got the Party Bus which took us through Northbridge. Me and Matt ended up going as Doctor and Nurse, which surprisingly, nobody else chose.

I was expecting to not be let out of the house by my parents, but they thought the outfits were fantastic! Even my grandma complimented my handiwork with making the outfit, which was a nice surprise.

Vanessa the Sherif and Jess the NurseI was pretty embarrassed about going through Subiacco, but Vanessa was keen to try. We tried the Sapphire Bar and the Red Sea, but neither would let us in due to dress codes (no surprises there). So we ended up just visiting the Queens, the Hippee Club, and ended up at the Dean, where we fit in with all the other wierdos.

It turned out being extremely fun and not embarrassing at all, since everyone thought it was pretty funny and made a point of chatting to us to find out what the hell we were doing! Just a warning to anyone planning to go as a nurse; expect to hear the line "Hey baby, will you take my temperature" a couple of hundred times during the night. I find that the response "I'm not qualified, but Dr. Matt here will do it" usually does the trick.

Oh Doctor!