Thursday, June 29, 2006

Open Day

Wonderful weather today. Today is one of those days that you wish it could last forever. Or that everyday could be like today. Wonderful warm sunshine and fresh cool flower-scented air blowing gently at your face. And when you lie down absorbing this wonderful warmth, you feel the tension in every single muscle fibre fading away, and time slows down. You feel at peace with the world, and very calm and relaxed. Until the next hottie walks by and your heart rate jumps up ten-fold. Yes, there are many hotties around today, as today is Open day too. Open day is the day where the University and all its departments are opened to parents and prospective students to come tour and sample the courses and their delights. Basically, its “show off “day. You see huge stands and flashy demonstrations being set up to try to entice the prospective student to choose Bristol Uni as his/her place of study. And some of these female students are……whew! Its gotta be illegal to wear something like that in Uni. But still…..the eye candy was good! I got into a conversation with one of these hot babes, apparently she was lost and couldn’t find her way around the University.

Her: “Hi! Could you tell me where is the Queen’s Building?”
Me: “Yes, its…..(I give her the directions)…so are you new here?”
Her: “Yes.”
Me: “Going take up Engineering ?”
Her: “Yes! How do you know ?”
Me: “Well, I can tell. You’re suitable to be an engineer….at least you meet the
Her: “Haha! That’s funny!”
Me: “Great. Good luck and see you around.”
Her: “Wait! Could you gimme your number….”

Damn! Its great to be in Bristol!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

First Class

I got my results on Friday, and guess what, I got a 1st class degree with honours! It was totally unexpected. Well, I was expecting to get a second upper class (which is the next lower classification) but this totally blew it all away. After what I've been through during my exams and the last 4 years, this really made my day. It hasn't really sunk in yet but I guess it will sometime next week. I will probably sit down and think: wow! unbelievable!
A great personal achievement on my part, and now at least I can put some letters behind my name......

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Animal Encounters VIII

Now that the weather is excellent, the animals are almost raring to go! For this eighth edition, we've got:

The South American Fur Seal

The fur seals belong to the same family as sea lions (Otariidae, meaning eared seals). They are more agile on land than the 'earless' seals as they can move their hind limbs forward underneath their body which is raised as they move. Using their front and hind flippers alternately, they can move almost at a gallop on land. In the water the front flippers are used in a rowing movement but the rear flippers are not used at all. The fur seals also have a different type of coat from that of the sea lion, having considerably more secondary hairs, forming a dense undercoat which effectively insulates the body. Other seals have a thick layer of blubber to keep them warm, rather than a layer of "fur". Bulls grow to an average length of 6 ft. (1.9 m) and a weight of 348 lb (158 kg), cows being considerably smaller at 4.5 ft (1.4 m) and a weight of only 110 lb (50 kg).

In the breeding season, this species prefers rocky coasts, where adults haul out onto the rocks. They are particularly numerous on the coast of Uruguay and numbers are stabilising or increasing in other areas since hunting has been controlled. When not at their breeding colonies, these superbly adapted marine mammals spend their time hundreds of miles from land chasing shoals of fish and small shrimps called krill. They can sometimes be seen in the open ocean breaking the water surface to breathe. Their natural enemies in the open ocean are sharks and killer whales.

Check out the ears!

Like all fur seals, this species was hunted almost to extinction for their rich, warm fur. Until very recently they were still being killed in Uruguay, but in 1991 the hunt was finally stopped. Another growing threat may be the reduction of fish stocks that the seals depend on, as a result of large-scale industrial fishing.

Vocal displays

At Bristol Zoo Gardens, the seals enjoy the water. Lots of objects are put in the pool to keep them occupied such as rafts, floating logs and balls. They swim around and climb on top of these "toys". They are sometimes given ice blocks with frozen fish or fish blood inside. They play with them as they melt and obtain the treat inside. Food balls are attached to buoys which they have to play with and knock about until food falls out. This stimulates the behaviour that is natural to them in the wild.


Recently, the female seal has given birth to two pups, of which one is on show while the other is still in care. There's been plenty of new births at the zoo recently and I'll be profiling the cute newcomers in the following weeks to come.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Life in the slow lane

Now that my finals are over, things are settling down abit. It really does feel strange, not having anything to do. My results should be out by the 23rd of June and I'll probably start biting my nails on the 22nd. In the mean time, besides watching the World Cup, I'm trying to pick up my banjo again. I bought my banjo 2 years ago. And strangely enough, each time I start to get real good at it, I've got to put it down due to other committments. And when I pick it up again, I need to start from the basics as my fingers have lost their touch. I guess this stop-start behaviour tend to represent most of the things I do in life. Picking up new hobbies and then stopping it once I loose my interest. I'm trying to change the habit as I know its not very healthy.
Also, since my exams are over, I am doing things at a really relaxed pace. The sense of urgency that was always behind my actions is now gone. And it feels quite liberating! Oh I'm stopping to smell the flowers too!

So what are my plans now? Well, for starters, I'm looking for a new place to stay with a couple of friends. Its time to move out and move on with my life. Don't get me wrong, the house (Hodgkin House) which I'm staying in is an excellent place and I get to meet interesting people from all over the world. I've had many memories, both happy and sad, in this house. But I realise that I'm now no longer a student (not for long anyway!), its time to grow up and get on with another phase of my life. But I shall miss the people and will always have many memories of this place.
Next, graduation! The ceremony is on the 17th of July and my family is coming! I've got to start drawing up some kind of itinerary for them as this will be their first time in Bristol!
And finally, I shall be meeting my destiny when I go to South Africa at the end of July. I'll be in Cape Town (or nearby) for just over a month and I'll be working with an organisation dedicated to the conservation of Great White Sharks! I'll be involved in (I hope!) sighting, tagging, cage diving, recording, and filming of the great white in its natural environment. Oh boy I just can't wait! So that is my summer in a nutshell. Of course there will be many more wonderful events before it ends (will it ever end?)....parties...BBQs....summer of love..... Aaahhh, life in the slow lane.....

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Its over!

Its finally over!

I'm done! I've finally finished my exams! The whole purpose of my 4 years being here, all over! I'm now coming out from my self-imposed exile. I feel so exhuasted. It feels like I've aged many years. But at the same time, I feel this joy bursting out from my heart. Like water overflowing from a cup. It feels so strange, not having anything to do. Not having to study or write reports or meet deadlines. Now its just the waiting for the results, which should be out in a couple of weeks. The mouse has emerged.....