(alternate title: Why I really need a girlfriend)
I finally have a cell phone -- but no SIM card. I finally found a third place to have lunch -- after two and a half weeks. And I'm still no closer to finding a pair of slippers.
Yesterday morning, I went walking along Byers street looking for a cell phone. As I passed each store, I glanced in to see how many salespeople and customers there were. If there were more salespeople than customers, I kept on walking. I don't like sales people.
Eventually I found a relatively big store with -- it seemed -- an acceptably low ratio of staff to customers. Unfortunately, it turned out that one of them was free, and he began talking to me as I was looking at the display of "pay as you go" cell phones. I stated that I wanted a cheap phone with minimal camera capabilities, so he pointed at the cheapest one with a camera. I started looking at the difference between that one and other slightly more expensive ones, but he just stood there, so I got flustered and took the cheapest one. It was only £25, so I figured it couldn't be too bad a buy. I also got £10 of airtime.
Upon later examination, I found that this provider was more expensive than others (£0.25/minute for local calls, compared to £0.10/minute for another one!). And I also I discovered that the phone didn't come with a SIM card. Huh.
The SIM card thing was annoying, but the provider was offering a free SIM card online, so I ordered that. And to be fair, I suppose the same thing could happen in other domains -- somebody could buy an ultra-cheap violin without getting a bow, or buying a cheap desktop computer without a monitor. So I don't blame anything but my own ignorance for the lack of a SIM card.
The poor deal for the provider was also a matter of ignorance, but a less acceptible form -- I'd already been looking at cell phones from two famous providers in the UK. I should have gone with one of them and ordered the whole thing online.
As previously mentioned, the cell phone has a camera. When I first used it, I was amazed at the poor quality. Then I realized that 1) I was viewing a 640x480 (I think) picture on a 200x135 (or something like that) screen, and 2) there was a bit of protective plastic wrap over the camera. I'd taken the plastic wrap off the main display, but missed that tiny bit on the back of the phone.
(as a completely uninteresting side-note, my ipod nano (won from a opinion survey submission to UVic) still has the plastic wrap on the cover. I've had it for 3 years now!)
Now, the phone has bluetooth -- but neither my netbook nor my desktop has bluetooth. One can theoretically get a USB cable for the phone, but one end is a propriatary connector, and various discussions online state that nobody (including official stores!) has such a connector.
So I ended up buying a micro-SD card. It's a bit annoying to transfer photos, since I need to take the entire back of the cell phone off to get at the card, but it works. And I won't need to do that change often -- I wanted to get a 128 or 256-meg card, but the smallest one offered by the next store I went to was 1 gig. That'll hold thousands of VGA-resolution photos! Especially since it seems that even the "High quality" pictures on this phone use jpeg compression.
Pictures of my room, university, and surrounding area will be coming, but I'll spend a few days taking everything I can think of, then do a mass upload.
As for lunch... as previously noted, I hate going to a new eating establishment. Oh, I definitely dislike shopping in general, but interacting with food places merits a whole new level of feeling. It's ok if I'm with another person, since I can let them go first (in all things -- even just walking through the door. People probably think I'm being polite, but it's really that I want whatever dangers are in the restaurant to focus on them, while I get adjusted to the new environment).
As a result, until yesterday there were precisely two places I could have lunch: a small custom-made sandwich place (which my supervisor frequents), and Subway. The joy of franchises is that you know what to expect, no matter which country you're in.
Anyway, I noticed a small "mom and pop"-style place selling kebabs, pizzas, burgers, etc. We went to one at the ICMC conference, and I've seen a fair number of them around Glasgow. The middle eastern accent was slightly difficult to hear, but in an odd way, it was comforting to have difficulty with a non-English accent -- yes, some Glaswegians are hard to understand, but they have more of a claim to be speaking "proper English" than I do. So I had some much-needed meat (a burger) for lunch, and added a third place to my lunch options.
It's a shame that the "lab culture" here doesn't include having lunch together; I'm sure that there's loads of other (better?) places to eat within walking distance of our building.
As for slippers... in the morning, I went to a few clothes shops to look for shoes. They did have some... but only a dozen or so. These stores are tiny!
Based on my misadventures with shopping, I think I'll order them online, rather than continuing to walk around hoping to stumble upon a decent shoe store. Or maybe I shouldn't be looking in shoe stores at all... I must admit that in Canada, I'd check in the Bay or Zellers instead of going to a shoe store. Of course, at a mall, going to various stores is much, much easier. I never thought that I'd say this, but I miss malls. :(
So... can anybody recommend a place to buy slippers online? What do I want, you ask? Well, think about a sleeping cat curled up in the winter. Now imagine sticking your feet into the cat.
Yes, I want cat caracass slippers. I want to have a shower at night, put on my pygamas, shove my bare feet into something furry, and sit at my computer for a few hours without getting cold. Note that my room temperature is about 15C, because the heat still isn't working. (although we have hot water again!)
In honor of the name of the blog, I'll give bonus points for suggestions of stores which include bunny slippers.