Thursday, April 15, 2010

Information Junky

So yesterday I arrived at work and found out that we don't have an Internet connection. A colleague of mine and I tried to fix the problem but after checking everything we decided that the problem was from outside our network. We just had to wait till somebody else arrived who could fix the problem. I sat at my desk and since there was nothing I could do without an Internet connection I just started killing time doing whatever I could do with a computer without Internet.

Ten minutes later I found out I was just looking through openSUSE software catalog, reading descriptions and finding about software packages I didn't know about. I stopped for a moment to think about what I was doing. It appeared that I could do nothing else besides going through some sort of information. Had I become an addict to information? It certainly appears so. I've noticed that if I'm not reading something on the Internet, I feel numb and anxious. I have tried it. I've tried getting out of my chair, trying to practice Piano, read a newspaper, call a friend or do anything besides killing time on Wikipedia, and I immediately feel I want to get back at my computer and forget about everything else.

This can be at least part of the reason why my grades have fallen lately. I don't study, so what can I expect? My advisor and my instructors are not happy with me. I seem to need to refocus.

Alcoholics and drug addicts have support groups to help them quit. I haven't heard of a support groups for informaholics. Maybe I can find something online. :) You see even now that I feel I have a problem I'm blogging about it! There's something seriously wrong with me. I need another big dose of information to calm down!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Teabags and Cigarettes: The Legend of a Cafeteria

I spent six years of my life to get my bachelor's degree at IUST (Iran University of Science and Technology, or Elm-o-San'at). If you ask me what is the most vital part of IUST life, I will answer "the cafeteria;" there is no doubt about that. Others seem to agree with me. In just a few days the IUST cafeteria page on Facebook has more than 550 fans, and counting. (This is also a testimony to the fact that the government censorship of the Internet has practically no effect. Facebook is blocked, but everyone is on Facebook.)

We're talking about the boys' cafeteria of course. In Iran there are separate cafeterias for the boys and the girls. The girls sometimes came to our cafeteria though, but I never saw the girls' cafeteria during all those years. A female classmate of mine once told me that their cafeteria more like a dungeon. The girls never seemed to find their cafeteria very important. As to the the boys', the complete opposite was true. The cafeteria had sort of a religious importance to us. We used to joke that it's a "vajeb" (Islamic mandatory) to show up at the cafeteria everyday.

The quality of the food served at the legendary cafeteria was poor, so what was so interesting about it? I have two words for you, teabags and cigarettes. Of course, cigarettes weren't sold in there, we had to buy it from outside the campus. But then, we would come to the cafeteria, get teabags and hot water in paper cups, sit with our friends (and there were always a few people we knew in there) and kill endless time talking about trivial things.

That's all I miss now from my IUST days: a cup of tea, a bag of cigarettes and a few friends to kill time with forgetting everything else in our life.