Books

I finally regained the use of the laptop after ten million years (i.e. a week) of it lying inert on my desk. Here is the sequence of events:

  1. Find US to some-other-pin type of plug; call this Plug A.
  2. Insert power adapter (charger) pins into this Plug A.
  3. Find some-other-pin type plug to Singapore plug; call this Plug B.
  4. Insert Plug A into Plug B.
  5. Insert entire contraption into wall socket
    1. Pray nothing terminal happens to self, laptop, charger or plugs.
    2. Creatively realign plugs using supports, guesswork and luck such that plug arrangement begins to charge.
    3. Threaten anyone within hearing distance that said arrangement is not to be disturbed, on pain of death.

Last week, the sequence of events was enlivened at Step 5.1 when a popping sound, accompanied by a flash of light, was heard, and every single light in the house went out.

So much for the Arrangement.

When the switches had been taken care of and order had been restored, it was discovered that both Plug A (which was falling apart) and Plug B (which was missing a large chunk) were essentially useless. After my first week of work, during which I couldn’t find time to buy the plugs, my parents went on an expedition to Mustafa, which is the answer to everything.

So now I have plugs!

In other news, the First Work Week is now done with, and I can definitively say that weekends are far more enjoyable when the week has actually included some honest to goodness work. So far, the best bits of the job are a) being the first to read the news (some of it gets sent out immediately, on the international news wires, to all the writers), b) sitting next to some of the editorial personalities, like the Mata Hari writer who may or may not be working on this crazy thing, and the defense expert, and c) researching this huge spread that’s coming out in Saturday, working out the article angles.

The worst things are that I don’t really know what my working times are – since it’s a newspaper, most people end up coming to work late and leaving very late, because ST gets put to bed around midnight and then delivered hot off the press by 6 am or so. And the fact that next to no one knows or cares that I’m an intern there. Oh, the senior writers are all very nice in general and I get to read their articles being edited, which is always cool, but I’m not working with a team as such, just under one person, who constitutes the whole of the Tech and Science desk. This next week, that supervising writer is finally returning from a trip to Germany for a Nobel winners conference (!) so I should be getting down to some real work and interviews and such.

This will likely leave me with a little less time to do my reading, but what the hell, that’s what train journeys are for. Haul No. 3 was for more AI-concentrated reading material. 2001 I borrowed partly for nostalgia and partly because my thesis is likely to be based off some of it; HAL, to be precise. And The Golden Age, which I don’t know anything about. Rainbow’s End and this book are both by authors I haven’t tried at all, but which were recommended for the artificial intelligence aspect.

Now I’m into Rainbow’s End, and the premise is fairly interesting – somewhere after 2015, a man who’s been cured of Alzheimer’s “comes back to life” to realize that he’s absolutely out of touch with technology. While he’s catching up, he realizes there’s some kind of huge conspiracy going on. That’s all fine, but it doesn’t bode well for me if I managed to figure out who the villain is before the prologue itself revealed him. On further reading, though, the technology looks to be really interesting: contact lenses and clothes that plug you into the Internet, for instance.

And then T dragged me down to the children’s section and made me borrow a Diane Wynne Jones book, The Magicians of Caprona (part of the Chrestomanci series, as it turns out) which I finished sometime early this morning. Now I’m hooked, dammit (and can easily envision a Chrestomanci-crush developing). Plus, it has Italians! Perfect.


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