A couple of weeks ago I went to Sydney to accompany Heidi at her graduation and the following graduation ball. It was also a good opportunity to catch up with my former workmates and students at ViSLAB.
Images and details after the jump.
I visited ViSLAB on Wednesday (for a $5 pub lunch) and met up again with some ViSLABians on Thursday (for Pho and bowling). Unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera with me for these escapades.
The entire School of Information Technology at the University of Sydney is moving (now moved?) to a new building. As a result, ViSLAB was full of boxes when I stopped by. This made it simultaneously the tidiest and messiest that I have ever seen it. It was great to catch up with Masa (looking busy), Steve (looking incredibly fit), and all the students (looking… studious).
Thanks to Michael for organising things on late notice, John for looking a little too excited to see me, and Enoch, Daniel, Mat, Parnesh, Kelvin, and Shea for hanging out.
Random related note: There was a sign near the entrance to the University of Sydney (opposite the WentWorth Building). It read something like “Winter School starts soon! Go to www.summer.usyd.edu.au for details”.
Heidi has been a doctor for a while, but her graduation ceremony was on a Friday just over a week ago. One of her friends (also graduating) pointed out that it was a little uncomfortable to mention this to patients. Imagine a conversation along the lines of:
- Doctor: Your surgery went quite well and I’ll check up on you on Monday.
- Patient: I’d like to go home for the weekend, can’t I see you tomorrow?
- Doctor: Sorry, I won’t be available for consultation tomorrow.
- Patient: Why’s that?
- Doctor: I’m graduating…
- Patient: (WTF?!)
The graduation ceremony was held in the Great Hall and took around two hours (it was meant to be only one hour!). It was a packed house, maybe in part because it was for the 150th graduating class in Medicine at The University of Sydney.
I’m suspicious about the official photography and picture framing. The graduates accepted their degrees with their backs to the audience, and I’m fairly confident that this was so that only the official photographer (positioned at the side of the stage) could get decent photographs. The picture framing seemed quite expensive and appeared to involve superflous (time-consuming) performance elements (maybe to justify the price).
Since I didn’t get any decent pictures of Heidi accepting her degree, here’s an image of her in front of The Quad:
Random related note: The video screen showing images taken by the photography company had a sign under it that read something like “Please respect our copyright and do not take photos of this screen”. Um… but it’s a picture of me! Please respect my copyright and not display my likeness in public or sell it to anyone!
The Graduation Ball
Heidi’s graduation ball was held in The Rocks near the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Heidi had bought an amazing ball-gown that exuded something between Baroque amorous dalliance and modern South-East Asian tackiness. After we bought it I described it to Jim as:
nickl: i don’t think that anything i own (or will ever own) can match the magnificence of heidi’s gown
jamess: hehe, its nice huh?
nickl: it’s like a pheonix rising out of the ocean
nickl: and basking all that behold it in it’s warming light
nickl: the sort of light that warms the soul
Not only did we find this amazing piece of magic made corporeal through the wonders of modern dress-making, we somehow also managed to find a neck tie to match. Miracles never cease.
The ball was more like a dinner/dance and we didn’t stay for much dancing. Like most events of this nature, the meal consisted of more food than I (and probably anyone in a tight-fitting dress or suit) would feel comfortable eating. After the ball we walked down to the harbour to take photos and catch a cab.
The photos turned out suprisingly well. I didn’t have a tripod, so I had to put the camera on anything nearby at the right height. Hence this photo has Heidi right in front (rather than to the side) of the opera house:
The composition turned out a little bit better for the shot with the bridge in the background. Heidi’s brother later mentioned that it looks rather like a studio set complete with a cheesy life-saver and a printed image of the harbour in the background:
Random related note: While we were walking to Sydney Harbour a number of people in passing cars commented on the dress. I was anticipating cat-calls and yelling, but was pleasantly suprised to have people slow down and genuinely say “Awh, that’s a really nice dress.”
Random related note: When I was taking the picture of Heidi in front of the Sydney Opera House, a man sauntering by casually offered this: “Congratualaaations guys.” … It’s an orange dress! Orange! It was a nice gesture though.