The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Valé, Mike

Friday 23 October 2009 at 9:07 pm

There are many reasons I’m grateful that Facebook returned the news feed to its former coolness today. But perhaps the most important is that it was how I learned about the passing of Mike Neville, who at UWA was the person most responsible for getting me working with computers at all.

I echo Alex’s thoughts — he was a great bloke who’ll be sorely missed, and he absolutely deserved more time. But with what time he had, he was a dedicated mentor to many, and I always valued his counsel; more management-ey types (for he was never really one of them) would’ve probably used platitudes like “change agent” and “thought leader”.

And he believed in technology’s power to be at once cool, and able to change the world. Even with something as small as the home page of Facebook.


End of uni, egad!

Sunday 5 November 2006 at 7:24 pm
  • Briefly: while I am happy with the verdict in the Saddam Hussein trial, I’d argue that capital punishment is hardly the best way to deal with him. I thought the idea was to create a climate of international justice, not one of revenge killings by the victors of war. Then again, the trial’s hardly been perfect overall.
  • Meanwhile, my first & last exam yesterday actually went better than I expected (which hopefully isn’t a bad sign?) and I’m going to miss the caffeine-fuelled cramming with my comrades in our corner of the Scholars’ Centre leading up to it.
  • So this means that … yikes! I have actually finished (both of) my degrees!
  • Somewhat fittingly, my exam (i.e. last ever activity at UWA) was in Engineering Lecture Theatre 1, the same room as my first ever lecture at UWA. I ended up sitting pretty close to where (I think) I was in that class, too. Oh how I miss the days of Maths 101 …
  • As for next steps? Over post-exam drinks at the Queens last night (rather than the uni tav, damned Saturday exams!), several of us decided that feminism, while generally awesome, needs refashioning within a broader social justice agenda and with a more modern PR stance that is better reflective of its wide ambit. Consider yourselves warned. Vive la révolution! ;-)


Friday 27 October 2006 at 11:12 pm

The first East Asia Summit: potential challenges to greater regional cooperation

Six months, 13 116 words … and as of this afternoon, it’s all over.

Today has been an insane day — frantic panic to finalise my referencing, followed by a minor crisis when printing, then an awesome afternoon at the End of Semester Show, and the first fun night out I’ve had in ages.

I am now going to sleep. A lot. If you’re trying to contact me, don’t expect a prompt response :-)


Confirmation of my impending doom!

Saturday 7 October 2006 at 3:55 pm

Of late, many people have asked me how my thesis is going, and my standard answer has been “behind schedule, but under control. I feel, however, that impending doom is not far away”.

But thanks (or curses?) to Bernard, I now have confirmation that horror is upon me, in big red letters! I think this has tipped me over the edge and into the land of “completely terrified” …

The Thesis Countdown Timer (for UWA engineers and politics students)


My Monday checklist

Monday 2 October 2006 at 12:18 pm
  • Four thousand word essay written in two days: check.
    (Actually I should be more precise: four thousand words of dribbly and incoherent stream-of-consciousness ranting, check.)
  • Impressive Eagles win that I had to miss on account of said essay: check.
  • Remaining alive despite having had about 30% of my RDSI (recommended daily sleep intake), due to several factors including said essay: check.
  • Change of leadership in Japan that was supposed to confirm one of the points of my thesis, but has actually invalidated it: check.
  • Leaving previous employer on account of being generally overworked: check.
  • Confusing, horribly eventful, and altogether up-and-down birthday last week — from being surprised by Awesome Helen with cake, to being stressed over not completing stuff on my last afternoon at work, to catching up with other awesome people at lunch, to being forced out of the Social Sciences building by a fire alarm at 8.30 pm, to forgetting to do a bunch of crucial tasks, to ROFLing at Adam’s take on Monty Python: check.

Now with all that out of the way, I feel like I might actually get something done now!


Down with the old building!

Sunday 9 July 2006 at 10:21 pm

I shall chalk up my lack of posting to suddenly falling ill in the last few days, and to my attempt at clawing back from a position of behind-schedule-ness (with, alas, only limited success). But while I’ve been at UWA all week, I did get a chance to pull out my camera, as a response to the constant crunching sounds of demolition equipment bringing down the old Chemistry building.

The new chemistry building behind the half-demolished old one   Trails of rubble left by the demolition gear   It's 1.12 in a top floor lab

The once-busy UWA chemistry entrance   Backhoe framed by trees and grass

On the one hand, it’s kinda sad to see labs in which I spent so very many hours back in first-year reduced to rubble. On the other, I’m glad to see such an ugly building taken away from the campus … although I’d be far more glad if it hadn’t been replaced by an even uglier building.

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