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Cake should never be complicated!

(the title of this post is presented to you as being my Witty Comment Of The Week... not that I have such a thing... it was an off-the-cuff comment on someone's Facebook posting that tickled me ^^ )

So... yet another ridiculously long gap between my postings on here... makes me wonder why I bother with a paid account really! Still... cancelling it seems like so much effort...!

A quick word on the intervening period; *very* slowly things are getting better... Masters resumed in september to avoid a massive fees increase... not the best idea ever, but I'm muddling through... brain is *very* slow though... coursework takes forever and exams are no where *near* long enough! Anything that requires conclusions, insights, etc, I struggle with, resulting in a 50% and 40% (thats a fail) for such coursework... the more practical coursework... the "calculate this things for this project" and the "apply this process" assignments I did a lot better in, getting my customary 70+% (I can't remember the exact marks.. might be 76% and 78%)... I know one of my (unmoderated) exam grades, and it wasn't as bad as I'd expected... the other one I'm nervous about, as I managed to get totally sidetracked and ended up writing about railway signalling......... I didn't even clock that that was a bad thing until about 5 minutes after I'd gotten out of there... up til then I'd been feeling OK about it! Oh, and I put in for (and have had accepted) Extenuating Circumstances for almost all last term's assessments... there is *no* way an assignment should take over 100 hours when we're only supposed to be doing about 10 hours/week/module... (that'd be about 120 hours/term/module). That one assignment took up nearly the whole *term's* allocation of hours...! add on the 80+ hours spent on the 2nd assignment... well... you get the picture!

And I've been struggling this term too... one of the modules is Research Methods... its basically a get-ready-for-the-dissertation module... basically we have to select a dissertation topic/question and do a proposal for it... I've been seriously struggling to think of *anything* I wanted to do mine on... and having had no response from the tutor to emails, I kinda went into "stick my head in the sand" mode... *NOT* a good idea really, but there you go... its a bad habit that comes out when my brain isn't good... and its still not... despite the medication... *better*, but not good....

Anyway, last week I got an email from the dissertation module leader about a possible opportunity to do a dissertation working with a commercial partner... I'm not gonna go into any specifics, but it sounds *really* interesting...

So, after a few days deciding whether I was able to cope with (a) putting myself into a position where there's more than just my masters on the line, there's people's investments (and b) whether I could cope with interviews, etc (cos interviews make me physically *sick* with nerves even when I'm doing OK...) I put myself forward for it.

Had a telephone interview yesterday, and I think it went OK... I won't say it went *well*, cos the nervousness came out as my brain running at a million miles and hour, and I suspect I ended up babbling at times... but its better than the way it *usually* goes which is to render my ability to make sense of anything utterly ineffectual!

But also, as a consequence of thinking about the ins and outs of the commercial project, I managed to (*finally*) come up with a concept for a dissertation that I could work on... however, I emailed the tutor again and, again, no response to my query as to whether it would be suitable... I mean, *I* don't know the criteria by which these things are assessed as dissertation candidates...

Anyway, up until the other day when I was looking into that particular concept and I stumbled across a bit of the course notes that I'd missed, I'd been under the miscomprehension that the dissertation had to have a connection to an aspect of Software Engineering research.... and this had caused me to reject various ideas.... what I found in the course notes was a section entitled "But I just want to write a piece of software..."! Joy of joys, a section that matched what I'd been thinking all along!!! Having read that half a page, it turns out that this is perfectly acceptable; the act of specifying, designing, etc is counted as being research (who'd've thunk it? All these years I've been a Software Engineering researcher... and I just thought I was a computer geek! ;-) )

So, rather than putting in a load of effort trying to research the concept I'd come up with (which I'm not sure there would actually be a lot of material on...) I decided to revisit one of my discarded early ideas....

So now I'm a much happier bunny than I was... I have a chance at getting a *really* cool dissertation opportunity... and even if I don't (which I *really* hope doesn't turn out to be the case...), I've got a fall-back that is also pretty cool. :-)

Oh, and I managed to just about repair my auto-reverse double cassette deck too... two of the belts had perished and snapped... annoyingly, they were also both just wrapped around one part of the mechanism (the same part in both decks), so I had to figure out where on earth the belt was supposed to go! I *think* its right... atleast, the playback deck will do fast wind, play and fast play in both directions.... although it does seem to sometimes get confused about which direction fast-wind-to-the-right-hand-spool is (ie, what would be fast forward in a traditional unidirectional cassette deck)... The record deck though, well, thats not confused at all... it thinks *all* fast wind and fast play operations should wind the tape onto the left hand spool (ie, rewind on a unidirectional deck)!!! I've decided I can live with it like that... atleast pressing play now makes things go round and the recording come out of the speakers!

All in all, this has been a pretty good week so far ^^