Busy busy

I’ve been cleaning the house for most of the day. Jac is coming home tonight. I expect her just after 10pm. I’m so excited! I was quite happy here by myself and was too busy to get sad or mope, but I really really really missed her.

All sorts of stuff has happened this past week, and I’ll just sum it up for you now:

The chipset fan on my Asus A8N-SLI motherboard decided to shit itself. Apparently the early batches of this particular mobo were shipped with a crap chipset fan. A lot of people have had problems with the fan – it gets unbelievably noisy or just dies completely. I wasn’t aware of this problem when I bought the mobo (otherwise there’s no way I would’ve bought it). Basically on Sunday I woke up in the middle of the night to a strange sound, sort of like a grindy moan. It was the damned chipset fan. I opened the side panel and watched as it slowed down and sped up, making this horrible noise. It normally ran at 8000-9000 rpm, but according to my ASUS probe software that monitors my chipset, CPU and chassis fans the chipset fan had been slowing down to 500 rpm. Ugh. It sounded like it was definitely dying. I ended up bringing it back to MCG Technology where I bought it, and they took the old fan off and installed a new and improved different one. To anyone thinking of buying an ASUS A8N-SLI motherboard – DO NOT buy the Deluxe or basic model. Buy the Premium, which is fanless. The whole exercise was a pain in the arse – I had to disassemble the pc to remove the motherboard, then of course had to reassemble the pc again. The timing of this was very inconvenient – I was starting my invigilating and didn’t have a lot of spare time. Consequently I missed a family dinner… and durian! Damn! But anyway, I’m glad the pc is all sorted. So far so good – it seems to be stable once more. The new fan is so much quieter. While I was at MCG I also bought a Soundblaster Audigy 2 Value sound card, which I just love – my speakers sound even better now.

I presented my paper on Friday at the seminar at uni. It went pretty well, I think. I do have a problem though, where no matter how I’m feeling… good, bad, nervous, whatever, as soon as I start giving my paper my mouth goes completely dry – like absolutely parched. I felt like the inside of my top lip was stuck to my top gums – I delivered the whole paper feeling like I was snarling (apparently I wasn’t). It was a good day. We had delicious sandwiches for lunch (my favourite were chicken, sundried tomato, swiss cheese, mayonaise and avocado… though I can’t stand avocado and gave mine to MK). The day ended with hot nibblies and drinks.

I’ve had a very good run of luck lately (apart from the chipset fan as detailed above). I got a call telling me I’d won a $100 voucher for the uni bookshop. I filled out the annual student guild survey and was entered in the draw. I’d forgotten all about it. I also got a letter from uni on Wednesday telling me my scholarship has been upgraded. What does this mean? Well, the two main scholarships PhD students apply for are the APA (Australian Postgraduate Award) and the uni scholarship (unnamed so I don’t have to provide the name of my university). The APAs are determined by academic merit and thus go to the top students. The uni scholarships are determined by academic merit and research potential. The uni scholarships are worth less than the APAs. I got one of the uni scholarships. The upgrade letter told me the uni had a number of additional APAs to allocate, and they chosen students to be upgraded based on academic merit. This time I made the cut. What it means is I get around $40 extra a fortnight, but the best part of it is they will be backdating the upgrade to the beginning of the year! So I’ll be backpaid the extra money I would’ve received if I’d been on the APA at the beginning of the year. How cool is that?

Exam invigilating has been just fine. I can’t believe how many people need to go to the toilet during exams. I might write more about it later on when it’s all over. I have another week to go.

I haven’t really felt like writing anything, but I thought I’d post today just so you don’t abandon tfp all together! Here are some pics of the nibblies from Friday’s seminar. They’re not the best photos as I had to take them in a hurry (and of course more people think I’m very strange now!).

We were served big, buttery, very sweet cookies at morning tea.


These were very popular and were eaten up very quickly. Ricotta and asparagus puffs. They were freshly deepfried, hot and greasy, crisp on the outside and soft and gooey on the inside. They were damned gooooood.

Ricotta and asparagus puffs

These looked like sausage rolls but were actually chicken and mango rolls. The chicken was chunky breast meat. The dipping sauce was homemade tomato with a hint of curry.

Chicken and mango rolls

I don’t remember what these are called, but they are sort of like bruschetta/guacamole/sour cream savoury tartlets. They had a lovely flavour, but the tart pastry was soft, rather than crisp… I would’ve preferred crisp.

Savoury tartlets

These were my favourite – I think I ate about half a dozen of them. Tahini chicken with a smear of plum sauce, served on a bit of lettuce on mini toast and topped with a slice of asparagus.

Tahini chicken on mini toast

I’ve cleaned the kitchen and am reluctant to make any cooking mess, so I might have to order pizza or walk to the fish and chippie.

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