wildfillysama: Thesis, and how to avoid it.

I spend a lot of time on the computer. Currently averaging four hours a day typing thesis-related or other work stuff, and an extra inordinate amount cruising around the internet for no good reason. There are lots of downsides to this kind of lifestyle.

My keyboard, for example, should not be looked at too closely under good lighting. The less said about its cleanliness, the better. Biscuit crumbs, drops of coffee, and crumbs from my week-long pancake experiment have left a minor trail of destruction and a testament to why snack and meal breaks should happen away from the desk. The start-up fan makes a noise that can only be described as unwholesome. The dent in one corner of the screen is a testament to poor navigational skills in the dark. Yet the laptop has soldiered on. It was my first Ph.D. related purchase, and hopefully will survive the entire process.

I’m coming towards the end of my candidature. 17th January 2014 is D-day. That means that the next few months will be dedicated to rewriting, editing, rewriting again, and progressively less healthy means of self-expression. Beer helps. So does denial. Writing nothing for a fortnight and then thousands of words in a night is also a brilliant way of dealing…

If you’re thinking about undertaking Ph.D. studies, or writing anything in general, be it a short story or a full-length book, here are a couple of less dangerous coping mechanisms that I’ve found helpful along the way in my four years of Ph.D. study.

1. Make lists. Itemise your workload and make sure that some parts are super-easy to tick off. Makes it feel like progress, even when you’re in a really unproductive mood.

2. Don’t just sit there if you get stuck. My process is one-part incentive, two-parts punishment. For example, if I write 250 words non-stop, I get to check a favourite website for a few minutes, then start up again. If I write 250 words slowly and badly, I get five minutes off once it’s done, but have to do sit-ups during that entire time. If I can’t even get 250 words, I have to do five minutes of sit-ups, then alphabetise 3 pages of bibliography, or something else suitably menial but easy.

3. Taking breaks is fine, but make a routine for it. Don’t just get into the habit of taking a break every time you get bored, otherwise you’ll start finding more and more excuses to stop. Pick a word or time limit and enforce it.

4. Coffee can be distracting. When you really don’t want to work, drinking a cup of coffee non-stop without typing “because I don’t want it to get cold” becomes an extremely lame and valid excuse. The instant you see yourself doing it, ban the coffee and only have it once the work/time limit has been reached.

5. Don’t underestimate the power of menial tasks to get your brain going again. If you’re stuck or unmotivated, go and empty the dishwasher. Dust/tidy your desk. Do something that frees up your brain but keeps you active.


Lastly, and most importantly, stay off eBay. A bored brain is bad with money, and ends up with way more Labyrinth merchandise than it can ever truly justify.





marsy: Neko Nation

Today I will be writing about Neko Nation – an anime/gaming themed party that several of the angryalphanerds went to last night. It’s always good fun for me, because I’m one of those people who loves to let loose and dance, embracing the fact that I look like an idiot while I do so. The music last night was certainly much better than it has been previous occasions, although there was a distinct lack of anime music for an anime-themed event. After a previous event, it was a great decision made by the Neko Nation people to pump air-conditioning throughout the building. Don’t get me wrong, there was still a horrific wall of heat and B.O. that hit us as we descended into the depths of the hall, but it was a lot less likely to make people pass out. It was also cool enough that I could spend the whole night dancing in a fleece onesie.


The heat was worth it to look as majestic as I did. My only complaint is that a random lady tickled my tummy as she walked past – I guess it was just too tempting! It was surprising that the one in the most clothes was the one inappropriately touched though!


Now for my favourite thing this week – streetpass on 3DS. It really makes my day when I get home from a day out and have gathered heaps of streetpasses (I think I need some new hobbies!).

EbolaBooze’s Fortnightly Astro Corner – The Lagoon Nebula

The first stop we’ll be taking on EbolaBooze’s wild astrophotography ride is Messier 8 (M8), more commonly known as the Lagoon Nebula.

You’ll be able to see this emission nebula in the constellation Sagittarius with the naked eye, if you’re in a dark-sky area and your vision has sufficiently adjusted.

With binoculars you’ll see a faint grey ovoid shape (since the human eye isn’t sensitive to colour at low light levels), and you’ll start seeing more detail, like the various dust lanes within the nebula with a small to medium sized telescope.

Graduate to a half-decent astrophotography rig, and this is what you’ll see.


M8 MkI Eyeball

Pretty, isn’t it?


Inside that glowing patch of gas approximately 4,100 light-years away, new stars are being born.

Clear skies!

Whiteboards: The Oldest Art Medium

Hi all, the gang’s mostly here!  Big miss for our wildfillysama, who is right now 60,000 feet up.  That’s a lot of legs.

So we have done our first joint art project, lay out a whiteboard, and all draw on it.  See if you can figure out who was sitting in which corner, yes, there are five of us.

We had a few themes in mi- DONGSDONGSDONGSDONGS -nd. Consider it rated and NSFW.



So that was a lot of fun.  Then we played hangman until it was time for someone to fetch the horse lady from the airport.  Lots of fun!

Have a great weekend all, and enjoy the long weekend! I don’t know what it;s for, but I’m sure it’s important.

lorekai: Just want to say that I had nothing to with and want nothing to do with the outbreak of dongs…



PS: This is what happens when you leave wildfillysama

Who I want to be in 5 years

This morning Windfyre and I were sitting on the couch with coffee, clicking through foxtel, looking for something to watch before I got ready for work. He noticed that by sitting through the end of Beyblade we could watch the beginning of a Transformers show. Once we had flicked it on Windfyre became privy to what I had known for some time: Beyblade is really bad.


I love it though.


I saw Beyblade on Cheez TV a few times when I was about 15 years old. I enjoy bright colours but this show was TERRIBLE! I watched in disgust as the random cat-eyed Chinese kids feuded over a bit of plastic, recoiled at the sight of the art and clamped pillows over my head every time Tyson spoke.


I sat through it though. God only knows why, I can only tell you what got me hooked, not what got me watching. Let’s presume it was my unwillingness to get up and change the channel post-Digimon that kept me going long enough to start looking for the DVDs.


The character design was tragic is can be but there was a girl named Mariah in white “Chinese” clothes, with pink hair and a bow that looked vaguely like cat’s ears. I am a sucker for pink, cats and girls. I also enjoy the odd Chinese collar, as most of the angry alpha nerds do.


What draws me into spectacularly crap shows like Beyblade is the compulsion to redesign the characters and their costumes. Once upon a time, before I found the entrance to the magical land of Real Estate at the back of my closet, I wanted to be a costume designer.


Any show can grab my attention if I see a poorly executed idea in the designs. I swoop in and concoct my own poorly executed version. Then I hoard them all in my art books, mulling over them, musing to myself how talented I am and utilising alleged talents to accomplish nothing.


Maybe that’s the way I like it. Maybe I feel if I actually publish something it may not turn out well. Maybe I’d become super fantastically famous and hate it. Maybe nobody would ever buy or comment on it.


All that makes for a great excuse to not bother finishing my drawings. Because I can work a pencil but I will have to learn a whole new set of skills to finish anything beyond sketching. I don’t like practicing new skills, I’m used to enjoying what I am immediately good at and avoiding things I struggle with.


What I hope to have learned by the time I am 30 is how to grit my teeth and slog through things I don’t want to do. I will make my life so very much better when I do 🙂

The Easy Hardness

I Love Videogames.  I don’t think I’m alone in that.  Hell, I don’t think I’m alone in this room in that, and everyone else went to bed a while ago.

However, more and more I am divided from the commoners, as besides a few notable exceptions, I don’t play multiplayer. I don’t like multiplayer.

But why do I play games then, if not for the ability to socialize? (That is a very strange sentence..) I do it because I love plot.

Stories are my life, my blood, a chance for the creative brain juices to escape the white matter and be multicultural in the grey matter.  So I play games that have an interesting tale to tell.  So, some of my favourite games are things like Infinite Undiscovery (JRPG), Jericho (Horror FPS), Force Unleashed (Lucas money-maker) and Halo.

Ah Halo.  Our romance (game-mance?) must wait to be told another day.

So, you can tell a lot about what a person wants from a game by how they play it.  And I play on the easiest difficulty. Because I don’t want to have to grind away, I don’t want to need to utterly master my thumbs before I can take it to the next level (my thumbs and I already have a good rapport, but not a great one).  I want to enjoy a story as much as I do reading a book.  And I don’t care if that’s wrong (It is).

So the next game you play, enjoy the campaign as much as fragging noobs (not current lingo, current lingo is “get on my level, plebs”). After all, you paid for the whole package,