The Gun Seller

Let's have a show of hands, shall we? How many of you know of actor Hugh Laurie's novel "The Gun Seller"? OK, and how many know the story that led to it being written? That few, eh? Then let's review, shall we?

According to James Hugh Callum Laurie, OBE (isn't he?) himself, on "Inside the Actor Studio" with James Lipton, at some time in his life he meant to keep a diary. Shortly after, he became bored with his own diary, and began to make up events to make it more appealing, even if only to himself.

I might thake a page out of Laurie's book. Not "The Gun Seller", of course, but making up some first person fiction here on the blog. When I started in early 2006, i had envisioned some random rambling, not unlike what it came to be, but I expected it all to be far less dull. So perhaps I might begin posting some purely (or not-so-purely) fictinal entries, to liven things up. Don't worry, I'll be sure to let you know when I'm telling an outright fib for the sake of entertainment. Or will I?

So, starting soon, stay tuned for... you know, I haven't thought of neither a title nor a theme to the fiction that might ensue. Stay tuned for that as well. Have a say in it.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark sets out in search of adventure, peril, glory and glamour. Oh, look, there's some...


Pun or spelling mistake? Take your guess.

Why can't I do good (I mean really good) on examinations?

Take the latest example, Algorithm Analysis and Development. See, I'm on top of my game here. I don't mean to brag (OK, just a little bit), but I can deliver a 2.7 out of 3.0 worthy presentation without the aid of fancy transparencies or a PowerPoint or PDF, just all-talk and some scribbling on the whiteboard (Rapid rotation Algorithm for Raster Grafics). I can submit a 95% worthy program-and-paper assignment (Tiling problem. Neat stuff). Then why can't I scrape more than a just barely pass grade on the exam? And by just barely pass I mean It becomes a pass grade when put next to the dazzling other work, but is an otherwise high fail grade on its own.

See, what did me in here was the multiple choice part. Half of the global marks were on multiple choice questions, and most of them carry this little trick I dread. Suppose option A) is clearly wrong and B) is clearly right, C) could be right and D says "Both B) and C)". Now, this is a tiny nightmare for me. I could say B), because I know it's right, and I won't say C), even if it might be right, but if it is, then only D) is the right answer. And that, my friends, sucks.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark isn't terribly worried about this one, though. He's made the grade, even if one assignment has grade pending. But he's confident that it will wield a nice contribution to the already sufficient grade. It's a recursive backtracking algorithm to find out how a knight chess piece may start at a given position on a variable size chess board and step in eache square exactly once. Neat stuff too.

The pox on the supermarket people!

So today I went to the supermarket. I hadn't exactly planned on it, seeing as I had just been there yesterday, but I had gone for dinner in the vicinity, and one member of my dinner party had to shop, so we all tagged along. This is where I usually refrain from shopping altogether or shop on impulse. Today I went with door number two.

So one of the items I impulsively acquired is of a rather intimate nature. Call me overly conservative, but, for some reasons, I'm not entirely at ease shopping for certains things. In that sense, the new-ish do-it-yourself, self-service quick cashiers have been a breath of fresh air. Now, of course, they're far from perfect, but they do well enough, most of the time.

Now this particular item is boxed and then wrapped in celofane. Just as luck would have it, the celofane seam lays right across the barcode, making scanning rather difficult. This leaves me with two choices: either manually input the product code (which I can't really read, the print is too small) or call for assistence (which I'd rather not do). SO I take the creative way out and tear the celofane right then and there, enabling easy scan of the barcode.

Then, on my way out, the detectors beep madly at me, as if I'd shoplifted anything. I resent any such accusation, but, then again, the machine does work kind of funny, and I immediately suspected one of the cookie boxes hadn't registred propperly. I expected security to be called to deal with this matter (and really would have prefered it had been so), but instead, a very petitte attendant in charge of the self-service cashiers steps up. Now, if I had indeed shoplifted, I could all too easily have just lumped her and dashed for it, she would have nary a prayer of stopping me, and I'm not even the strong type. But still she comes to check for my bags, and soon finds out that it is the exact same rather embarasing item that set off the alarm. As it turned out, there's a sort of capacitor circuit sticker (you know what I mean, right? It looks like a silvery square-ish spiral) thingy inside the box which must be de-activated at a pad of sorts. Now, the box, though not really very large, is of a suis-generis shape, and hard as all hell to conceal. Why, ye gods, why should then that be chosen for marking with a device that prevents all discretion? It can't be easily stolen! Trying to embarass shoppers? The pox on you all!

On the brighter side of news, with final marks out today, I just found out I have finally rid myself of a thorn on my side for two well over a year now, and for good. Sadly, this means I might very well never again attend a lecture by master Borges.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark wishes to put great emphasis on that he is by no means sarcastic about regretting not working under master Borges's tutelage again. Wish that more masters would be any measure like him. Honest. And you can't know what embarasing item it was all about.

Keeping on

So today, on Shark Nibbles, "The Year In Review", 2007 edition.

2007 started in utter agony, as, likely for the penultime time, I found myself greeting the new year standing on dearly sore feet, crushed amidst a mass of complete strangers for really no better reason than to appease dear ol' mom. At the stroke of midnight, were I not a soulless heathen, I'd let out a prayer that 2007 would see the end of the excruciating pain from my yet-to-be-diagnosed hernia, as well as the distrophy on my left leg it induced. I relly hoped it would be, however. And it did, but not before a whole one-and-a-half months of excruciating pain, which meant the January exam season was pretty much shot to hell (not that it needed that much help, after the hellish "pick in early october" system they had devised). Then, come second semester, between surgery and post-op, I missed on what I considered to be the most important of classes in the new subjects. With that and my unparalell skill to procrastinate, second semester was an all-round cock-up.

March would see me move to my first ever all-mine flat. After a rocky first weeks, just about everything turned out just peachy.

Come Summer 2007, after I had completely fallen out of shape, which I had acquired with much dedication and self-sacrifice, from the long inactivity following my hernia and recovery from surgery, I found myself still not sufficientely healed to re-take on my calistenics routine. On the other hand, my brief experience with contact lenses and cool, curvy shades goes on the "good things" plate of the scales. Nevertheless, even though my vacation, cut short though it turned out to be, was pretty awesome, with most of every afternoon and even night outtings with my best mate, I left with a sense of unfulfilment I cannot explain. Perhaps I should have gone out more. Or less. I don't know.

First semester in 2007/2008 started up smoothly enough, with some ugly business in one course turning out mitigated well enough (though my faith in certain sorts of people has been irreparably struck), some other ugly business in another course only came up as a realisation of my not-unexpected fears and yet a third mishap took me completely by surprise, and I have only myself to blame for it. But, hey, comes with the territory. On the plus side, a colleague of mine who I barely knew and I became far closer, and I couldn't be happier about it.

Late 2007 saw me grappling with Chrismas Season Anxiety for the first time (and all the wrong reasons). Then London (London!) and some untimely epiphanies, not the least of which, in the final moments of 2007, that I was (for the last time, let me assure you) ready to welcome the new year standing on extremely sore feet in the middle of a sea of the flesh of complete strangers for no more benefit than I could have by watching BBC One, except for the joys of fooling a rude spainyard (redundant?) into believing I can't speak a wod of English after his nth attempt to shove me out of my hard earned spot.

All in all, 2007 sucked. It's pointless to wonder if I'd erase all its memory and its events from history if given the power because it's plainly not going to happen. Let's just take the good with the bad and be done with it.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark will now return to getting settlet to welcome in the weekend, after an exhausting week of procrastination and dealing with it's consequences. Oh, like you've never done it!

Lady London

Well, I seem to have collected quite a bit of a backlog since I last posted, last year. Don't worry, I'll let it out slowly... one post at a time...

First and foremost: London!

What can I say that hasn't been said or that you don't yet know? It's London! European capital of eccleticism, elegance and sophistication (among other things hardly worth mention). This time ranks up there as very likely the best trip yet. Of course I can most vividly compare with last time, when I was twisted in pain from my hernia, and, as such, this time around was incomparably better. However...

Of course, the down side. First off, airports. I don't mind flying, mind you, but airports kind of annoy me. Lines at the gates and check in counters and the mind-numbing wait for the luggage not withstanding, it's airport security I complain about. So I'm about to pass security on the trip there and I completely forget about the iPod strapped to my arm, beneath my shirt and jumper. So I empty out my pockets and go through the metal detector, which beeps. So I take off my mechanical all-steel watch (which might have some small measure of metal in it...) and give it another go. It still beeps. So security comes in and starts to frisk me. Oh sure, the guy doesn't like this any more than I do, but still goes down my legs, along my arms, over the iPod, which could just as easily be way over 28 grams of C4 (remember the bomb shoe nut?), over my shoulders and chest, the headphones in protective casing which could just as easily be a trigger device and lets me go without further inquiries. Sure thing, guv'nor. Now I know how things are in this country, so, I figure he thinks it might be more trouble than it's worth to pick on these potentially dangerous little things.

Then, on the way back, they make us take off our shoes before going through security. I knew the folks at Heathrow get a little paranoid this way, but, hey, no big deal. At the metal detector, I figure I might get away with the iPod, so I go through with the iPod and the heavy watch and (go figure) the thing goes off. Cue in security officer. This fellow is more into the frisking business, I think. I'm not entirely sure what he did doesn't count as foreplay. DIdn't do much for me, though. Yet again he went straight over my personal audio gear without a second thought. Then he brought out the handheld metal detector, and I thought he'd sure pick up on the thing on my arm. Turns out he was only interested in waving the thing in front of my crotch and my rear. Come to think of it... wierd...

So let's get this straight: The aluminium replica of a shark's tooth I used to have as a keychain ornament which they confiscated back in 2002 or 2003 - bad; perfume and nail polish, as some friends of mine report having been made to dispose of - bad; small to medium lumps of unidentified substances and wiring of undisclosed nature - now that's all good. Riiiiiiiight...

But then Picadilly Circus and Leicester Square come up into view and make it all better.

Another thing: I stayed at the Hilton. And no, I didn't come to any situation suitable to a Paris joke, but they managed to botch up a simple reservation. We had booked a twin executive room, not a double executive room. I don't much fancy the thought of sharing my bed with my mother, if that's alright with you. But, really, for all they advertised, such as spacious rooms and marble bathrooms, save your money. The rooms are as cramped as the rest, and marble bathrooms means you get as marble countertop around the basin in the bathroom. And the room layout is so bleeding boring. It feels as though in all my trips I've stayed in three different rooms, only one of them was in several different hotels. The honorous mentions go to myHotel in Bloomsbury and the very expensive (but worth every last penny) Sanderson Hotel, in Berners Street.

Pax vobiscum atque vale.

ArabianShark would like to take this opportunity to remind you that everyone's favourite blog (i.e., this one) celebrated its second anniverary just days ago. You'd have been invited, if only you'd answer the polls more often.