G'day everybody, welcome to AussieDidge's Alaskan Adventures, and I certainly hope you're prepared for a bumper edition of tales because I've got an entire month to discuss with the fine folks of DeviantART. There's scintillating stuff about schoolwork, news to blow the roof off your house and dancing party girls to make your dreams come TRUE!!!
Ah, who am I kidding... Listen, if you've already been following my adventures since the beginning, you know that I do tend to be overlong, and I understand that can get rather unpleasant, especially when you have other things to do. However, the stories I have to tell I'm sure will interest somebody out there, and writing serves as a great way for me to just let loose and have some fun sharing some tales.
Now with the disclaimer out of the way, let's begin:
This journal begins with the period from the 1st to the 5th of November, and my God I would never imagine how busy student life at UAA could get until those days arrived. With the looming prospect of tests hanging in the balance, combined with major projects that had to be completed during that time, I was barely able to scratch my backside, let alone relax for an hour or two.
I had a Stats project due on the 3rd where I had to study some data, perform all kinds of statistical analysis and hypothesis tests and THEN write up 2 reports in total (Over 4,000 words in the end in the one day, talk about losing the will to live.) This, combined with an SUA project due on the 5th, and a possible test on that same day I had to study for, really left me in some hot water.
As luck and my own attitudes would have it, I was unable to complete the SUA and was forced to hand it in badly incomplete. I couldn't blame anybody else but myself in this case, and that feeling went double when I eventually received a grade of 47/150 for it, a dismal 31% (To be clear, a pass is 60% )
I guess, for all intents and purposes, I was glad that happened in a safe environment like university as opposed to the workplace; stuff like what I did would probably kick my arse out of the company faster than you could say "Fuck!" I get the feeling that not all is lost; after all, I won't be focusing on four separate subjects in my line of work, so I can at least focus on the matter at hand.
Speaking of more lighter news, I was able to experience my first-ever snowfall in Alaska; unbelievably late considering the average but nonetheless it brought me sheer pleasure.
I could recall with vivid detail building an unofficial "mascot" on the trash can outside my residence hall, crafting a giant snowman with the help of half-a-dozen other students (which ended up being pretty lewd, but whatever) and even performing the ultimate in fun-filled jackassery when we blocked the bridge to the Commons and forced others to go alternate routes.
It was hard to believe just how soft and wonderful the snow felt; light as air in the palm of your hand. Of course, getting whacked with its cruel and cold interior left much to be desired. Indeed, it soon descended into a free-for-all snowball fight where there were no rules; just snow, your hands and SO MANY targets.
Overall, it was a very enjoyable part of my holiday in Alaska thus far, but I sure hope after the exams that I get the chance to explore more.
Back to sadder news now, and man was I panicking when my ASUS laptop, one that faithfully served me for my first two years in university, croaked thanks to a display panel problem, which I suspect was caused by an impact in the USB mouse drive.
So, as a result of that, I had to try for repairs (it was only diagnosed as said problem after three days in the repair shop), then back up all the data (repairs weren't worth it, for both time AND money) and collect myself a new laptop. Luckily, my project partner kindly helped out and took me down to Best Buy where I bought a new ASUS VivoBook, and a Microsoft package for just $700... I'm not kidding. A similar package back home would be in the $1,000 area, easily.
So, after more time spent installing class-required software and anti-virus software and so forth, I'm happy to report things are relatively normal again. There's still trying to get used to Windows 8, but for the most part, I'm okay with it. I guess I should also mention that my Sennheiser headphones were frozen in the cold, so I had to buy new ones on top of that, but that will come later.
Moving back to schoolwork now, and let me tell you, you could color me relieved upon hearing that the test was moved back to the 12th of November, giving me another week to not only participate in class, but study and learn the material too. When I eventually performed the test that date, I was able to sneak in extra revision thanks to a presentation that helped us learn more about Excel.
It was probably why I scored a massive 99% on that test, and am approaching the fourth test result with a real swell in confidence (It was a QuickBooks test, pretty easy if you've been doing the work.) Talk about some serious encouragement...
Around the middle of November, I also purchased the Legendary Edition of Skyrim, which included the original game and all three DLC packs that were released, for only $60 at Gamestop. So far, in about three weeks of play, I have already clocked 85 hours, reached level 51, and have maxxed out Smithing twice.
The new DLC really adds a different layer to what is already a truly full game, with more quests, special combat, new spells, shouts and so on, the ability to build your own house I believe... Let's just say that once I finish using my roommate's PS3, I'm going to be having really bad withdrawal symptoms...
Graphics, as I already remember, are nothing short of astounding for Skyrim; it really is a living, breathing world of its own. My guess is I'll be spending hundreds more hours on it when I finally get back home to Australia...
About three weeks after I finished my Stats project, the results came in and I was floored... a total mark of 135/140 over the two projects, straight-up near perfection. It was a great spur on to better things, that was for certain.
My partner, while working with me again for the second project, also invited me to his workplace, a sushi and sake bar about 15 minutes from college. Talk about so many new experiences... I hadn't even considered touching Japanese food before coming down to Anchorage, or even meeting up with Eric, but now I realize I was missing out.
A tasty salad, heart-warming bean soup, a delicious salmon teriyaki with more sides than I could even imagine, and so much more food that I simply couldn't eat it all. The water left lots to be desired, but it was a minor stain on an otherwise wonderful meal. There might be plans to head back there again in the near-future, actually.
And it made a humble man out of me in trying out "training" chopsticks... Oof, talk about reasons to use a knife and fork...
Most recently, on a bitterly cold Friday morning, as I traveled to Rasmuson Hall to work on a project, my headphones (Sennheiser HD 202s) utterly froze over and refused to work. Talk about really pissing me off... It was a bad day punctuated by slipping over on the ice and having to backtrack back to the library to find a door that WASN'T closed thanks to Thanksgiving holidays...
It meant I had a new pair, and thanks to my buddy Eric again, I headed off to Walmart and found (from a rather poor selection to begin with) some iFrogz for about $44. Plug it in, have a listen, ugh... Fucking god-awful to say the least. I have plans on taking them back ASAP.
On the same day, I was able to ask a favor of my roommates to go down to Best Buy so I could get a new pair, and since they had to go too, they obliged. I eventually settled on another pair of Sennheisers (HD 201S) but I feel they really lacked the quality and punch of my previous headphones (Still, $22 was a good steal for them, I'm just a picky audiophile. )
It was also during November that I took on a daring new look and shaved my head bald (you might've noticed it as my new profile picture recently!) It was an incredibly freeing feeling to be rid of the lump of crap I used to call my hair, and I'm pretty certain that soon I'll be introducing the razor to my scalp as well.
Needless to say, when I contacted my parents on Facebook and showed them live, they were really surprised; Mum's face was two parts shock to one part horror, and Dad gave a real hearty laugh that I have tended to miss since I've been away. Mum grew to appreciate it in the end, but it took a while I can assure you.
Last but certainly not least, my Thanksgiving break was spent on the college campus with some RAs over in the main apartment complexes. They had prepared so much glorious food; from turkey to ham to delicious desserts, that it was hard to choose what to eat.
In the end, I settled for both turkey and ham, a bit of bread and a couple slices of chocolate cream pie. Throw in some hot chocolates and American football as well, and you had the makings of a wonderful first Thanksgiving.
Now let's see the word count here... Oh good grief, 1,700 words? I really gotta stick to my promise of making weekly entries...
I am so, so sorry for writing this much, but unfortunately, that's what happens when you have a month's worth of events to write about. I can promise that once exams are over and I'm packed up ready to leave for Ramada International Hotel, that I'll have LOTS more time to write and comment on artwork, just like the old days.
In the meantime, these journals will have to do I'm afraid.
Special thanks to everyone who has stuck with me even after my periods of inactivity and I'll be sure to return in due time. For now, this is AussieDidge wishing you well from the Last Frontier. Ciao!