Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tales of No Importance...

... to sum last week up.

The Cockroach

It was early in the morning - I just got to work. I was reading the news online, and rather absorbed in it, when I noticed a shadowy movement at the edge of my keyboard. I looked harder and I saw them - two long, thin, black antennae feeling the side of my keyboard, my monitor, my keyboard again... followed by their owner, a two-inch long, BIG cockroach. I gave an involuntary squeal and jumped away from my table. The faculty was empty save for Ms W, who came over immediately to see what was wrong. I told her about the vermin. She stood watch while I rolled up newspaper and prodded the thing out of the underside of my keyboard. Came out, it did, and flew towards Ms W's direction. I screamed; she screamed and ran. The cockcroach disappeared under someone else's table, then crept towards Ms W's table. That was the last straw for her! She took the rolled-up paper from me, and whacked the disgusting 6-legs while it was on the carpet. It stopped moving, but it's legs were still wriggling a little. Ms W said it wasn't dead yet, and whacked it a few more times. OK - stopped moving completely (what with being a little flat now). Ms W then pulled some tissue paper to clean the mess up. She threw the tissues on top of the cockroach, but didn't pick it up. Instead, she lifted her foot and step-step-stepped on it a few times. "Just in case" she said. Then, she picked up the mess and threw it into the wastepaper basket. Problem solved! Hurrah Cockroach Killer!

The Coffee-Bag

It was one of the typical mid-workday whim - a nice, big mug of steaming black coffee. The water was boiled, my thermal mug was ready and I was holding a 2-in-1 coffee and sugar mix bag wrapped in plastic foil. The top of the wrapper was cut zig-zagged, so naturally one would tear the wrapper from that end - which was what I did. And there - the wrapper was torn along with the coffee bag in it. Yikes. So how was I supposed to make my coffee now, without spilling the coffee powder into the drink? Think. Think! Tie the rupture up with a string! That's right! Where to get a string? I took a look at my messy table and at a corner, bits and pieces of strings from the semesterly final exams. Amongst these, are small strings that students use to tie their answer scriptes together. Perfect! I took one, cleaned it, tied the torn part of my coffee bag the best I could, and went on to enjoy my mug of strong, steaming, black coffee, without coffee powder leakage. Another problem solved :)

The Smart-Asses

Two of my students from last semester came to look for me. I was wondering why, since they were the ones who gave me really bad evaluation that time. I met them anyway - one guy asked me outright "how to solve" two very classic programming tasks (1. convert decimal number to binary digits; 2. determine if a number is a palindrome). I looked at him for a moment (with a smirk on my face) and I asked if he was expecting complete solutions in softcopy from me. " No, no!" he immediately denied, and said they only wanted me to "teach" them. I looked at both of them for a moment longer, and I noticed both brought no stationery with them, except for the second guy holding a USB memory drive in his hand. "Oho!" I said - no pens nor paper (for making notes of the "teaching") but a memory stick (hopefully to copy solution from Ms neil)? They had nothing to say (looking sheepish now). Upon further questioning, I discovered that the two tasks which solutions they tried to pry out of me were actually their assignment questions this semester, by another lecturer. So, try to get solution from previous semester lecturer (who failed you, by the way) for this semester's assignment? Smart, but not smart enough. Problem not solved - but this one's not my problem =)

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