Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Nights Like These

It's nights like these, nights spent drunk that the stars seem to align themselves for you... Yes there's something magical about alcohol.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

I've Got Clan MacGregor To Keep Me Company

I don't know of it's the booze or the combination of booze and an aspirin pill that's making it hard for me to type but it in anycase. Hell's yeah, I'm drunk. Alcohol sales haven't been resumed but I was fortunate enought to bump into a certain somebody that was able to hook me up with some alcohol.

It all took place in Abu Nawas along side the river. A little earlier

The Evil That Men Can Do

India scared the crap out of me, just thinking about it now gives me the chills. If what he told me turns out to be true and indeed becomes reality, It would be mad. Sheer madness. It'll be the end of it all. The whole country would turn upside down. New powers would be created. The flood gates would finally break. And a new vector of chaos will churn the already violent world Iraq has become. I'm starting to think that I'll have to take drastic precautions should the chance arise. What India told me it that there's talk about alcohol being banned. Could they do that without a formed government? I'm expecting alcohol sales to resume next week. If they were to open for just a small window of time, I'd be able to stockpile the stuff assuming that the price isn't inflated based on such a fear. I don't really understand who tells the alcohol stores not to sell. During Saddam days it was just Fridays and the month of Ramadhan that they weren't allowed to sell. But now all it takes is the whim of a bunch of scary dudes.

Well heck if they do ban the stuff, there's a weak chance but which in time could increase of a new sub-culture being formed. That similar to the prohibition days of America, but that's wishful thinking when comparing to Saudi Arabia or Iran (doesn't Iran ban alcohol?). This is such crap.

I remember when the war had just finished, and I was sitting with a foreigner outside of pizzeria drinking down a cool beer. And it was the best feeling ever. Openly drinking a beer basking in the warm sun on a main street watching the people passing by and waiting for the pizza. Things have really taken a wrong turn since then.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Big Belly Bulging

Crap Just got disconnected. The internet's been really pissy with me of late. Ah the phone just rang. Somebody's been trying to call. I've had the line occupied for the past 8 hours at least. I'm too evil. Well heck everyone has mobiles now.

Since the 5th of March I've spent about 80 bucks on internet cards. I think this points out clearly that I'm better off spending my money on a wireless internet subscription for about 50 bucks instead. Now I just need to buy the hardware. And I'm really confused about that. I've got another pc upstairs in Nahida's part of the house that's broken down and I think that all it needs a new motherboard. I'll also need a UPS. The good news is that Nahida got herself a power line from one of the neighbour's generators, which means that she'll have electricity even when the national grid cuts off.

The PC upstairs is already connected to a grid on the roof and my laptop has wireless connectivity. Now what's the best way to share the internet between the two computers? Do I buy a router and stick a little antenna to the pc upstairs or do I get a USB wireless thingy that I stick to my pc upstairs. The first option is better in the sense that I won't have to rely on a constant flow of electricity assuming that a router can run on a simple UPS device for hours (need to find out if that annoying beeper can be cut off). The second choice is cheaper, but could end up being a real hassle.

This sucks, there are alot more explosions in my neighbourhood the past few days. I just heard one, and though it wasn't window shaking strong, it did have a strong crisp bass, it was probably small and close. Nearly skipped a heart beat.

I'm pretty sure there was a time when I heard more explosions in my neighbourhood than I do now, but it's been really peaceful for a great deal of time until now.

I just sent my uncle a really long e-mail in response to his request for help and advice about his inherited farmland. My dad split up the farmland and my uncle doesn't like how it's been split up. I think what's happened is that alot of people want to build rifts between them so they've been spewing crap talk to my uncle. Yeah the folks from my farm love to talk shit. So I sent an e-mail trying to be as diplomatic as possible, explaining to him that his threat of "holding my dad responsible" for his 'unfair' share of the inheritance was an empty one since there wasn't much he could do about it.

That same uncle got nominated for a really important government post today. I wonder what he makes of it, being miles away from here. I don't think he'd take it. I don't think it's his thing.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Damn Pirated DVDs

Saw K today. The first thing I noticed about him is how pale he's become from the lack of sun he gets in the UK. He got me some books to read. He got India the whole Friends collection. I'm glad to have K back in town.

I didn't get to see 'Waiting...' or 'Rent' yesterday. They were both 'cinema' copies. The kind that was filmed within a cinema that is. That really pissed me off. I got 4 films so far from that DVD store so far, and 3 of them turned out to be 'cinema' copies. He's a fair guy and told me that I can switch them if they turn out to be 'cinema' copies. But it's really too much effort if I have to keep returning 3 out of every 4 films. I'm just going to have to keep swaping these 2 DVDs till I got a couple good ones. And not buy anymore.

My belly is growing out of control. My shirts are about to pop. All part of being Iraqi. I'm hungry, the internet makes me hungry somehow. I'm not getting any studying done. It's terrible. Next thing I know I'll be overwhelmed by tests.

So I'm getting really bored these days. I've installed mIRC on my pc. I don't really know how to use it for anything besides chatting. I can't seem to find any Iraqis there either. I tried #iraq channel on undernet. And they don't accept visitors. The punks.

I've been listening to alot politics the past couple of days from cab drivers and friends. From what I understand things are not good at all. I don't think we have a democracy anymore.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Stuck At Home Again

I heard an explosion an hour before I left home for college yesterday, and today I hear the same explosion. Well they all sound the same to me. I walk to my main street today and all the traffic that I'm used to seeing is gone. I ask a man what's going on he tells me that he heard that there was an explosion further down the street.

I walk for maybe 20 minutes to the opposite end of the main street, no traffic there either. Saw an Iraqi army guy give a warning shot at an incoming car. I was surprised that the soldier didn't shoot into the sky, which is a good thing. I still wasn't sure if this whole thing was just specific to my neighbourhood or was city wide. I didn't dare ask any questions to the cops, I often get mistaken for an Arab by cab drivers, and now wasn't a good time to get mistaken as such by a cop.

I started to feel that I needed to finish my morning's dump and realised that I had forgotten my phone at home, so instead of walking another 15 minutes in hope of finding some open roads beyond the horizon, I chose to walk back home. On the way back, I overheard that the explosion took place at an intersection further ahead in the direction I was now walking. I hope the land registry didn't get hit, cause that might suck.

Now that I'm home I'm thinking of watching one of the DVDs I bought yesterday. I got the choice of 'Waiting...' and 'Rent'.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Happy To Go To College

Yippee! I'm going to college in a bit. I'm finally going to get out of my house. I'm all ready, had my coffee with milk, my bacon, eggs and baked beans, a shit, shower and shave, I even brushed my teeth (something I usually skip). I'm really ready. And I can almost see all my excitement and high spirits vanish within sight of college.

I was just taking a look at the google ads on my page and even though they're not targeted at me, they are chosen by google by what I post. And in response to all those quit alcohol ads! I wish I was in a position to quit, cause those alky stores are still bleeding closed.

I usually don't haggle with the cabs that take me to college, I've been quite happy paying 5,000 I.D. maybe 1,000 I.D. over what the price I could get if I haggle hard. But last time, they were asking me for more, and I had to haggle those busters down. I wonder how's it going to go today.

When I was a kid I used to haggle much better than I do now. I don't know if it's because I lost my touch much like I've lost my touch when it comes to many things or if I just truly don't care. Maybe it's easier to haggle when you're a kid in country suffering badly as a result of sanctions.

Alrighty I'm off, it's a good thing I've only two classes today. And when I come back I got to take the car to the petrol station. Musn't forget that.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Another Sloppy Day

Nahida woke me up today telling me that my dad is asking why I'm not speaking to him on the phone as regularly as normal. She repeated the question to me. Still in the process of waking up, I didn't give an answer though a few were running through my head. I've been in a bad mood, I'm ashamed that I bought the laptop before getting his authorization, and yeah I've been in a crappy mood.

Nahida just told me that I had left my internet connection on thoughout the night again. This month is some sort of experiment to see how much money I spend on an internet connection at home and then I'll compare the cost to a monthly wireless fee. At this rate the wireless fee, will probably prove itself cheaper. With few days of college, this month might've been a bad month to try this out.

I had thought I told the pc to hibernate after an hour, I guess it didn't if the power had come gone and come back. Which is pretty unlikely. Just checked my account log, looks like Nahida and her nephew were tripping, cause the log says that it disconnected at 6 AM like it was supposed to.

I didn't get to watch Futurama last night, I fell asleep. What's the big idea of putting cartoons at 4 and 5 in the morning? Ackh, I'm going to lie down for a bit.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Get Nothing Done

I had completely forgotten that I should've got petrol today. I would've done it had I remembered to call Zaif, like I had told him I would. I passed by his place around 6 in the evening. I really need to get out of the house for a bit. He told me that the petrol queue was shorter than usual around 4 o'clock today. And that he was expecting me to call since he had told me that he had ran out of phone credit.

I didn't study anything. All I've done is had numerous meals, watched the tellie, and another DVD that I bought on my way back from Zaif's. Now I'm hoping the electricity will come back before my laptop gives in.

There's a chance that I might be wrong about the booze prospectus, and that maybe tomorrow or the day after the liquour stores re-open finally. Fingers crossed.

Back To My Old Self

5 days since I've last been to college. Staying at home is really getting to me. I've reverted to the slob I am. I'm waking up in the middle of the day. I still haven't studied anything. I'll pick up some material to study after lunch.

K arrived from the UK, still going to have to wait a couple of days to see him. Zaif dropped by yesterday, we went to a juice bar, we then went to a video store, he rented an Angelina Jolie Video CD and I got Last Days on DVD. So far it's crap.

Staying up all night has lost its magic effect. But I've found out that at 4 AM Family Guy, The Simpsons and Futuruma show on One TV (Satellite channel on NileSat). When I woke up today I found that my computer had been left connected to my dial-up internet connection till around 12 in the afternoon. That hurt cause I pay for internet by the hour. That was like 5 bucks out of the window.

I need to brush my teeth. Oh and I need to go to a dentist to get that filling. I need to go to drag Nahida to the hospital with me too.

Fozzy wants me to contact my uncle to see if he wants us to manage his farm. I doubt that my uncle would refuse. I just hope that this won't lead to any problems in the future. I'm trying to think of all the possibilies that could occur. It usually is the assumptions that cause the problems. I'm not in the mood of sending the e-mail now.

Today's my day to drive, I really ought to go out for a drive after lunch. Wow, within a matter of minutes I've decided to push back my studies. Where's my lunch. I'm going to have rice with chickpeas and beef.

I'm so sick of sitting on the internet. I'm actually beginning to miss watching TV. I would go watch some TV now if there was some electricity. I ought to go and buy another DVD perhaps.

Need to draw up another accounting calender. Need to borrow some more money too. I don't have any cash anymore. That's something I can try taking care of now.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Happy Pancake Day

After 5 days of whining about wanting some from Nahida, she finally made me pancakes today.

Got no college for the next 3 days. A great chance to catch up some material. I'd suprise myself if I did more than 2 hours worth.

I watched Schindlers Liste today. What a great experience it is to start watching a movie and finish it hours later. I didn't understand how the man died though.

Yeah it looks like I've got a long boring night ahead of me again. Earlier I started reading that book I got. I fell asleep on page 36. It's looking good so far. It takes place during the 50s. The fifties must've been great.

When I was a kid I remember thinking that the world is always becoming better. Now I lean more towards the belief, that the world is just getting worse. People used to work and participate in society until a later age than now. Companies paid more taxes than citizens. Artisan work was still flourishing. I imagine people were happier.

People had more freedom to think, sure enough social barriers, taboos and injustices have been set right since then, but so many new ones have been built under our noses and without control such as the need to look beautiful or the want to have more than we need, and a largening of the gap between the rich and the poor or big brother governments.

And Iraq was a better place.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Foo Hoo

I'm nearly bored enough to pick up that book I got to read. Maybe I should study something. I've done nothing productive since I've woken up 2 hours ago. I'm not sure if I've got classes tomorrow. Kind of hope that we don't.

I'm spending too much time on this laptop. I really need to get off of it. But it's so easy to just mindlessly click on stuff.

Last night I finished watching Basilisk, a 24 episode Japanese cartoon about two feuding ninja villages that have been under a peace treaty with unsubsiding hate towards each other that now by order of some shogun they must kill the other. However, the two protagonists in the story, the leaders of both villages were about to be wed and love each other but can't help prevent the killings from taking place so strong was the hatred between the two villages. It was such a sad story.

What shall I have for lunch? Remy gave me a recipe that uses those Dried Shitake Mushrooms that I had bought a short while ago: fry it up with bits of chicken, broccoli, olive oil and soy sauce. Note to self: get broccoli. Now I still need that recipe for minced pies.

Kiki and his friend in Malaysia has just moved into a new appartement with a couple of chinese girls and a brother of one of them. He's now paying 50 bucks a month and is getting greenish-yellow tap water because of the rusty pipes.

I'm going to see what's happening in regards to my lunch.

Someone Owes Me For This

grumpth frunk rarkh pich... (Damn it! I lost again)... If you're happy and you know it clap your hands, if you're happy and you know it and you really want to show it clap your hands. If you're angry and you know it click right here, if you're angry and you know it and you really want to show it click right here... We now return to our regular programming... ghakhiki shhesghsh

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

One More Minute

And the power should go out just about now... uhh any second now...

Still not gone.

It's 4 AM. It's been a while since I've been awake this late. Doing this from time to time is pretty funky. Sitting at home, with the lights off, everybody's asleep, feeling a little drowsy but with no will to surrender to sleep.

And then someone from out of the blue appears on-line on msn messenger. I paused at that name earlier today while going through all the names on the list. This one in particular is one of those that I haven't spoken to in years. First time since that I've seen them on-line. I wonder in what time zone she lives in. Oh she's gone off-line, that was quick.

I'm spending way too much time on the internet. I might get piles again.

8 minutes past 4, and the power is still not gone.

I just finished watching Lord of War. Certainly an entertaining movie. Damn I'm hungry and ready to sleep. But armed with cigarettes to last through the night I fight. I remember hearing that sleep is the brother of death. Oh she's back on-line. No I'm not going to initiate a conversation. My batteries are too low.

In 5 hours I've got a bleeding pathetic test that I haven't studied for yet. I could probably get a just barely failing mark without studying, and make up for it with ease. The stupid things I study. I really hate my major.

I really need to find some food. I've got some Hob-Nobs stashed away, but I'm saving those for a farm trip. When I took a peak at the cupboard I also saw some Robinson's Minced Meat. Hey I wonder if they still put a picture of a scallywag... Nope no scallywag. Did have a picture of Willy Wonka as depicted by the artist, forgot his name, that illustrated the books. It had something to with some Roal Dahl promotion. Did you know that Roal Dahl has been to Iraq? As an RAF pilot. In his autobiography there's a pic of these amazing arches that I got to see a few years ago, when Kiko and his mate came from Lebanon for a visit.

It's a good thing that the mince meat won't expire for another 2 years. Cause I haven't got the foggiest clue of how to cook that stuff.

The things I miss to eat in the UK... Scotch Eggs, Cornish Pasties, Minced Pies, Jam filled donuts covered in sugar and a Full English Breakfast from a greasy spoon cafe. Oh and burgers from Schwartz! But the Scotch Eggs are my favourite.

I'm starting to get worried about that blood test result. I still haven't gone to the hospital to check it out further.

4 more hours till the test. I wonder when I should start studying.

And the power's gone. So did my internet connection, but it's back now. Nahida just had a go at me for being awake.

I'm thinking tea now... Just made myself a mug of peppermint tea, too lazy to add honey. I just walked past the window I opened earlier and now I'm cold.

Peppermint tea is good, and since I recycled the mug there's still a taste of honey.

I might run out of smokes soon. What would I do then? Probably fall asleep. I don't think I've much of a choice, cause I'm ready to go. Damn with only 3 and a half hours to go for the test. Let's see half an hour to shower, shave and get dressed and another half hour for breakfast, an hour to get to uni. That means I should start getting ready in just over an hour.

I can hear the morning birds chirping.

I can barely type anymore. Will I sleep or not? I don't know.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

I've Been Losing All Day

There's this game, it goes like this it's very simple: If you remember it, you lose and you have to say:"I lost". That's it. Well I've learnt this game over 5 years ago, and I think this morning I laughed at myself for remembering about it. The problem now is that I can't stop remembering it. Plagued by the game, I began teaching it to other kids at college. Some got it, some didn't. But it didn't help me get it out of my mind.

I resorted to sending an e-mail to the guy that taught me the game. The evil Kasofa. By the time he reads it he would've have lost too and that will be my final consolation. Oh and there's also all of you've who have read this post are now also infected. mwahahaMWWWWAHAHAHAHAHA

I still feel aggravated.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Late For Bed

A very uneventful week-end. There was no anticipated traffic ban on Friday, which meant that I could've gone to the farm. But I didn't and gladly so, because the day before I had slept over at Fal's with India and Wath. That sleep over screwed up my sleeping schedule which is no surprise at all, happens every time.

Lilly's been really bugging me on yahoo messenger with her buzzes, 'I'm bored' and 'I like you alot' messages. This girl is dumb beyond beyond belief. The recurrence of the 'I like you alot' worries me. Well I hope it's something she tells all the guys and not an infatuation, it's hard to tell with such an airhead. Just now I started to give her advice to see a shrink in regards to her 'I'm bored' messages. Unfortunately she didn't buy it.

I think I'm... I forgot what I was going to say. Got interrupted by some Iraqi chick on yahoo messenger she just showed up on the hi5 website a few months ago. Weird girl, she's Iraqi and lives in Holland or Germany and pretends to be stubborn much like Iraqi girls do here thinking it's cool. I don't really know what drives a chick to chat to me, I don't really understand why someone would want to chat to another person that they don't know in person and even don't share some kind of activity or interest in life. Guess she's hitting on me maybe finding herself a husband from Iraq that her parents might approve of, or more than likely just wanting to chat to some dickless dude from Iraq.

I have some kind of prejudice against Iraqi expatriots. They usually have a tendancy to talk with authority about everything to do with Iraq. Sure enough I do find a brotherly bond towards any Iraqi I meet abroad. And I respect those that I see who are struggling and in whose eyes I can see a true Iraqi that's gone through all the shit there is to have gone through. But then there are those who seem to have had it so easy, and they're the loud ones that have the luxury to talk, getting all patriotic on my ass, it's dispicable. From another point of view I might see them as deserters.

I'm already past my bed time, it's going to be so hard to wake up for college tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Day At Medicine City

Od called and woke me up at 6:30 in the morning today. Told me I had 15 minutes to get ready. He came and picked me up. We went to his uni. I sat with him and a couple of classmates who were getting ready for their test. I read some notes about obstectrics.

Around about 9 I went off to get a panoramic x-ray for my wisdom teeth. At the entrance to the building they took my mobile phone from me, which is quite normal. It took me 2 hours to get it. The x-ray lady was at a meeting I think. And then when I took the x-ray she gave me my old x-ray from 8 months ago and lost the one I just took. So I had to take it again.

After that I went to donate blood where at the entrance they took my pack of smokes instead of my mobile phone, that was a first for me. First I had to give my information name, address and phone numbers, then I had to take a blood test which I had to take to a doctor to check. The doctor told me that I had too much blood. So I said that's bad for me but good for you quizzingly. And again he told me I had too much blood and that I had to go to Ibn Al Nafeess hospital. After a little confusion I understood from him that I the test result showed that my PCV level was 52% and should be 45% and that he won't accept it. It would've saved time had I asked him to explain in English. Doctors study in English here, and can express themselves in medical terms quite well. That doesn't mean you can always have a real conversation.

I then met up with Dina at the hospital building where she worked nearby. I haven't seen her in ages. I had called her yesterday to tell her that I was coming. And oh my she looked good. She keeps telling on the phone how she doesn't like her job, but she really does seem competent and enjoying it or maybe was it that I caught her at the end of her shift. She explained to me that I have too many red blood cells and that it's because of smoking. And that these red blood cells could clog up my blood vessels. And I guess that explains why instead of taking my mobile phone at the door, they took my pack of smokes.

After spending half an hour with Dina we met up with Od, and I then walked her half way to her cab. Caught up with Od and left. As we were driving out of the car park, Od pointed out an Iraqi Police Technical (a pick up truck with a machine gun on the back) carrying a dead bloated body blindfolded with a head cloth and hands tied behind his back. Od pointed out that the man had been tortured and thrown in the water (Od's been studying his forensics).

We decided to go get some lunch instead of going home. We called Zaif to have him have lunch with us near his uni. Zaif and I had some chicken shawerma, Od ordered a basterma and egg burger which is really tasty but takes ages to cook. Zaif and I had finished our food by the time his burger was ready.

Now I'm home and waiting for my 'good morning' coffee that I missed in the morning.

And I hope my blog page opens up now, cause it hasn't been working eversince the last time I posted. Damn I forgot to find out what my blood type is.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Home Just Before Sunset

Checking out the prices for a DSL connection at home at the Uruklink website. Uruklink is part of the State Company For Internet Services (I think that's what the SCIS acronym stands for). I think the DSL service is new. Alot of things are cheap, very cheap even in Iraq from petrol at 17 cents a litre to a manual labourer for 60 cents an hour, but an internet subscription is so bleeding expensive. Check it! 100 bucks a month for 64kb/sec connection and 270 bucks a month for a 256kb/sec connection.

Heard loads of booms at college around mid-day at college today. Pretty funky. While we were sitting in our last class of the day we could hear the voices of the guys in central plaza of the campus roaring mockingly in unison each time a boom was heard. There's a recurring message from all our teachers that goes along the lines that despite all the crap that's going on around us, we have to get on with what we've got to do, otherwise we won't get anywhere.

Od called just now suggesting that I come to his to sleep over, so that I may come with him to his uni for fun tomorrow. I didn't want to go to his in my car because then my car would get stuck at his place because tomorrow's a odd-day, and the day after I need to go to uni. Od tried to get to my house but there was too much traffic. So I'm just going to try and wake up really early tomorrow so that he comes and picks me up on his way to uni. It's a medical uni, so I'm planning to try to donate blood and finally find out what blood type I've got. I also want to get a panoramic x-ray of my teeth to check out where my wisdom teeth are now cause they've been kind of stuck for the past few years.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I Got a Notebook

Wahay, I've got a new toy. I finally have my own laptop. It's the first time that I own a laptop. uhm, I mean notebook. Still stuck on calling them laptops for some reason. It's a Toshiba Satellite. It's got a widescreen and a DVD writer. And it's very warm. I wonder if that's okay.

I woke up early today and made it on time for class. And now I'm awfully sleepy. Must stay awake. I think it's this laptop that's making me sleepy.

My brother in the UK gave me a missed call on my mobile phone. I called him back told him I got a new computer and not to tell dad. He then passes me my dad, and my dad starts talking about how when all the farm accounts are done that he'll buy me a computer. A few minutes later I called my bro to make sure he didn't tell my dad. Sure enough he was about to, but didn't but I would be sleeping easier had I not told my bro that I did got a new computer.

Well I'm going to be able to make alot more posts now that I don't have to go to the internet cafe anymore yippee.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Friday Afternoon

Spent the past couple of hours tweaking my iPod. I'm now downloading some vintage cartoon and making my pictures viewable on the iPod.

A few days ago I went over to the dermatoligist to get a skin rash on my chest checked out. He said I got it because I've got such a hairy chest. He prescribed me some ointement and some pills to take. A couple evenings later I reached into the pack of pills and found that it was some some kind of head pill. That I didn't really like. And I've become really pissy during the evenings. I don't know if it's the pills or something else like my bad mark in marketing or Nahida's looming presence when I get back home.

The other night I was asking myself if I was dead. If somehow I was born again. Portions of my life seem so disconnected. There's very little left to connect one portion. The friends I had are no longer in my life except on the odd occasion that we chat on-line or call each other.

It's nice having the internet cafe to oneself. I wasn't aware that today there was ban on car traffic. But the internet cafe is awfully close to my home and I don't need to pass through any checkpoints. I think the curfew just ended now that it's 4 O'Clock.

Was supposed to go to the farm today. But I couldn't be bothered, and didn't have to put much of a fight since I was in such a bad mood yesterday. Nice one.

India is being such a dick for not lending me his iPod charger, and I'm going to hold that against him. He says that he doesn't want to lend it to me out of fear that I break and won't be able to replace it. But I can within a few months.

College should restart on Sunday, unless another curfew is imposed. We might've had over a month of vacation since our mid-year exams ended.