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Looking up

Last week at the Western Gateway Building, University College Cork.

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Oxford scammer (?)

I have previously shared my encounters with scammers and con-men on the street, trying to get money or other stuffs, but mainly money. These posts are filled under the tag scam.

In general I would skip and ignore such things. Though I would seldom give such people asking for money a chance. This time it was in Oxford, England.

Within my brief stay at Oxford of around a week, random people asked me for small changes, 25p , 50p etc. I do not know how the city works, and if it is normal (I don’t think so), therefore I see this as a tapping method to see where is your wallet. Later, an accomplice of will carry out the main task.

I met a guy in Oxford who was originally from my city. It was our last day and we went to a good place to have dinner. After dinner we walked towards Balliol College where we were staying. It was around 9pm. Suddenly a frail young British woman (assuming from the strong accent) approached me and asked for some money. She looked helpless. Her story was she has to take a bus to meet her mother, and she doesn’t have money. I did what I do in my city, kept on walking without even slowing down. I had no intension to give any money to this woman.

Suddenly this guy, who was with me, stopped and told me “hey what do you say, should we help her?”, I told “ofcourse not!”. We talked within ourselves in a different language than English.

As the guy stopped, I also had to stop. Now the woman stood in front of me with her hands together, and she was crying. She told even if I don’t want to give her money, I can buy her a bus ticket. I told my man “let’s go!”. I think he just felt really bad for the woman. It’s not his fault, he is a kind person, I felt bad as well. As I have explained in my previous posts, not everytime we could go with the benefit of doubt.

He reached for his wallet and I stopped him immediately. I handed the woman whatever coins I had in my pocket, should be around 2 to 3 Pounds. Then she asked for some more from my man, as this is not enough for the bus fare. I just asked this guy to walk away from her. He was like, “maybe it is not enough …” and took out his wallet and got her a few more pounds, while a staggering amount of cash peeking out of his wallet.

I tried to get him out of this as quickly as possible. Finally we were out. She went somewhere.

Now, it’s not a big deal, as always, to give a few Pounds or Euros or tens or a hundred Rupees, but as far as I know this is one of the basic scams. Maybe she’ll get a drink or something else, or maybe she’ll buy food, or maybe she’ll really take a bus and meet her mother.

As I have mentioned before in the previous posts, most of these, in fact, almost all of these are scams, but there is always a chance of a genuine case.

It is important to keep an eye open for people in genuine need.

Guinness

There were visitors last month. I showed them a few places along with the Guinness storehouse. I always wanted to take a good and clean picture of the iconic Saint James’s gate. This time I got a good one and here it is.

Strong Winds

Last day I needed to go for an appointment early in the morning, but, I would have been happier if I didn’t have to go, as I did not sleep well a few days. Also, when I woke up, the predictions were the winds might go upto 60 Kilometers per hour. I had to get up.

Last night the predictions were not that severe, so I left the windproof jacket hanging on my desk’s chair. Therefore I went out with whatever I had to reach my desk to to get the outer shell from the chair. Also, I left with just my sandals last night, so I got my shoes as well, which was under my desk.

It was truly very windy. I am not a very heavy person, possibly the lightest person within my age-group. Still, people were performing Michael Jackson moves due to the wind, and sometimes being pushed backwards as the wind was too strong to beat and go forward. At a point, I couldn’t just proceed and had to hide behind a wall for a minute, before pushing through the wind again.

There was another problem, the wind was so strong the rain was hitting the people almost horizontally. The estimated feel was around -2 degree Celsius at that time, so it was not that enjoyable. I needed to get to the bus stop and then get a bus. My trousers were all wet till that time. Fortunately I had a track pant kind of stuff underneath  which was still dry.

After that, the cloud cover started to move and such a surreal scene was revealed. Therefore the picture, while still struggling to stand due to the wind.

Afterwards, the weather fluctuated like crazy. For example, it was raining when I got into the bathroom, when I came out it was bright sun without any trace of rain. That’s not surprising, given the country.

Here is another picture when the cloud cover removed and while I was waiting for the bus.

Washrooms

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A few days ago. Liked the symmetry with the the water nozzle and the power socket breaking it.

No one there

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No one is there at this moment of time.

Audio Cassette

A lot of the young (or younger) people these days does not know what a cassette is. It is something like this.img_20170129_110154878

 

It has a tape with a kind of a magnetic layer on it which has music (data) encoded on it.

In an audio cassette, you have to play from the beginning, and you cannot just skip to the next song. You  fast forward the player, so that the tape reel rotates fast, and then stop the fast forward and play  it to check if  you have stopped in the correct place. Although there were some high end players which can sense the silence between the two adjacent tracks and stop it automatically, but seeking to the next song was purely a skill. Also, no random jumping, just sequential. This cassette has 11 songs by John Denver.

A magnetic reader can read the audio and play it (an audio cassette player). This is a cassette which I used to listen at home more than a decade ago, possible fifteen years ago. I got it out today and played it. Once one side has ended it felt indescribably good to take the cassette physically out and change the sides (which you have to do). This was fantastic.

I kind of like all the old stuff. I have an old Aiwa Walkman (portable audio cassette player), Intel 80486  system, and Intel Pentium MMX, an  Intel Pentium D,  an AMD Athlon X2, old iPods, 3.5 and 5.25 inch floppy disks and their drives. A few very old printers, including the old dot matrix printers, Punched cards and their reader, old physically large hard disk drives which can hold, say, a few hundred megabytes. Also, I believe we still have the old rotary phone, and also Nokia 1100, and a lot of other things, including calculators, memory units, wireless phones and etc. I love all of them and have still preserved all of them. These are fantastic pieces of hardware.

After playing the cassette, I remembered all of these things. After I compared these to the kind of phone I carry, I think still, these things have a greater value than anything. In fact, whatever I have used, and is not being used, is still kept in my home, even if they don’t work, as they record a piece of history and represents.

I am pretty sure, after a few decades, these will be gold.

 

 

Helium balloons

Someone retired today, so there was a farewell gathering. After everything happened the helium balloons were still there at the break out area.

There were quite a few balloons tied to a weight. I was thinking if I could attach something light enough, so that the balloons float, and do not move up or down, it would be fun.

Someone else had this idea too. As he was doing exactly the same thing. I joined him. After quite some time, we were able to get a decent weight with a spoon and a few pieces of paper, that it floated, well, kind of. There were a lot of air flow through the vents, but the balance looked cool and it was real fun. We reattached the heavier weight and left it as it was before.

Sometime later, we thought why not inhale the Helium and have fun? The fun is, if you inhale Helium, and then speak, your voice will change and will have a higher pitch. It will sound like Donald duck.

Another guy was passing by, he joined us. So we took one balloon and started taking rounds inhaling the Helium and speaking. It sounded hilarious. Although the voice will change only while the Helium is inside the lung.

It was real fun to try these stuffs. Also, all these just from a Helium balloon.

Renewals

It’s that time of the year when I need to renew everything. Which includes the domain registration and domain mapping of the other blog. In other things, health insurance, residence card, visas.

These were a few things which you have to deal almost every year. Though for me it seems I need to renew a few more things. The clothes and shoes are falling apart. The pocket of the snow jacket is not working anymore, the shoe has torn apart, need to correct the prescription glasses power, laptop servicing, lost gloves and a somewhat long list.

All these implies, tighter budget this month.

Although the most important thing to be renewed, or more appropriately, refreshed is the mind. It was necessary to get out junk ideas (work related) with which I was stuck, and get out of the vicious cycle of these thoughts, so that I can start working in a fresh mind. I think I was able to do it during the Christmas time.

Most of the things are done for now, but again next year (or so) they would require another renewal or the “reset” or “refresh”, till then, let’s keep the pressure on.

 

Life line: Centra

During the winter break, the shops in the campus closes. For this winter the campus Centra closed as they are expanding the store, and they will remain closed till 10th this month. Most of the buildings was locked during this time, although we had access cards and could enter. But, those few days the heating would be turned off and there would be no cleaning of the bathrooms, the university became uninhabitable.

I would have preferred to come in if the Centra was open. The Centra is the life line of the people here (who stays all day and night), it is open till 10pm, therefore you can stock essential food whatever you need for the late night. Although there is a Pizza Hut across the road, but it is expensive, and more importantly, it is horrible. Although it also have saved lives quite a few times.

The other nearest super markets are two Spars, which are kind of far, and will take an 30 ~ 40 mins at least to do the trip, where the Centra runs take around 20 mins depending on the queue.

Now things have opened, but unless the term starts, the shops close early, as early as 3pm. Which is understandable, but ridiculous. Therefore either spend money and order online, or stock stuffs in the kitchen.

Yesterday I was very hungry at night and pulled out a can of baked beans only to find that the can needed a can opener and did not have built-in mechanism to open. As none of the shops in the campus was open, I had to order a shitty pizza, which felt very good as it was the first meal of the day after not-eating all day.

Things are sorted out now. I have soups, breads in the fridge now and some emergency instant noodles. Tomorrow I will stock bread, different kinds of cheese, butter, salami, chorizo, mustard and a few other stuffs to make big sandwiches.

But, if Centra is open, then I could get bread and stuffs for a big cold sandwich, or just those pre-made wraps and sandwiches or get a warm chicken fillet roll or a wrap or a hot lasagna or other stuffs. There are options if the campus Centra is open.

The tag line “For the way we live today” makes perfect sense. I would be possibly the happiest when the campus Centra reopens.