Friday, 30 April 2010

A funny thing happened the other day...

Ok, so I've been spending all my time writing my stupid thesis and I havent been able to have enough conversations with people. Usually I get this out of my system when I hang out with my friends on Sunday, but I havent been able to recently so I have a couple of funny stories that I need to tell. You have to imagine that I'm telling them in my comedy voice.

Story number 1
So, the other day I was demonstrating in the first year zoology prac the same as I do every week. This week, though, the firsties were dissecting cockroaches. There was the usual range of enthusiasm - some couldnt wait to pick them up and start playing around with them, and others wouldn't even touch them with their forceps unless they were wearing gloves. A group of four boys that sit at the back bench (and usually behave like boys sitting in the back row always behave) were ready to start the rather fiddly task of removing the mouth parts from their cockroaches so I was showing them how. I had them all holding their cockroaches in one hand and using their fine forceps to locate each of the different mouth parts with the other when suddenly there was a highpitched scream from the big, tough looking guy closest to me as he threw his cockroach back in the dissecting dish. The whole class had turned around and he very sheepishly said "I thought I felt it move" and went bright red. It made my day.

Story number 2
I told the last story to my dad on the phone the other night, but this next story has yet to have made a public appearance anywhere so you are they very first people to enjoy it.
I was getting ready to go to uni the other day, putting my shoes and socks on while I drank my coffee and watched Sunrise on the tv. Whatever they were talking about on tv must have been quite interesting because it took me a while to put on my shoes and socks. I had one foot shoed and socked and was about to sock the other one, but I couldn't find my sock. I looked around. I looked in the shoe. I looked under the cushion on the couch. I checked to make sure I wasn't sitting on it. But I couldn't find it.

I was pacing up and down around the room trying to figure out where on earth my sock had gone when I realised that the shoe that I was wearing felt a bit tighter than usual. Somehow I had managed to put both socks on one foot without realising. It made me LOL.

So there you are, dead cockroaches and missing socks. I lead an interesting life : )

Illogical Physiology

The way the human body responds to stress is illogical. At least when you put it in the context of writing a thesis, it is illogical. When you put it in the context of an immediate danger like being chased by a grizzly bear, it is actually perfectly logical. But I am not being chased by a grizzly bear, I am trying to write a thesis.

Stress causes the body to do all sorts of strange things like dramatically increase the production of adrenaline to facilitate either escaping from the stressor or defeating it (flight or fight response). Adrenaline is pretty incredible stuff and can make the average human body faster and stronger than most elite athletes, but only for a short amount of time. Its like a NOS injection system for the body. When the stressor is acute (like being chased by a grizzly bear) the physiological stress reaction is short-lived and harmless (although usually results in shock when its wearing off) and saves lives.

But when the stressor is chronic and prolonged (such as writing a thesis) the whole system goes wonky. Prolonged stress can result in a plethora of different physiological responses which in turn produce quite a number of different physical and mental symptoms. The most common of which are probably having problems sleeping, headaches, and stomach aches. And that's where things start to get illogical. You have a deadline to meet and your body's solution to the problem is to deprive you of the sleep you need in order to think clearly enough to meet that deadline, and also throws in a headache and stomach just to distract you that little bit more. So the more stressed you get, the less work you can manage to get done, and the less progress you make, the more stressed you get. How does that make sense?

I have only had one good nights sleep in the last week and its starting to get very, very annoying.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Good News

I just found out that I dont actually have to do first year prac demonstrating the week after next because the little firsties have their prac exam that week.

That means that instead of having to go to uni and work the day after I submit my thesis, I can spend all day doing whatever I feel like (I'm guessing mostly sleep). Yay!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

We're moving...

Randomness and chaos is going to get a makeover, and a change of address. Why? Because I feel like it. Plus is just too long and complicated. Half the time, I can't even remember the address to give it to people.

Of course, none of this is going to happen until at least May 11 - I'm just announcing it now so that I can stop dwelling on it and focus on my thesis and so that you have an opportunity to get used to the idea.

So if there are any suggestions on things that you would like to see in the new look version get commenting.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The 101 most annoying things about writing a thesis...

Number 46: Having to wear glasses.

Normally I don't have to wear my glasses very often, but when I spend a lot of time reading or staring at a computer screen (like say when I'm writing a thesis) my eyes get tired and I can't see without them. Problem is that when I'm wearing my glasses I can't see any further away than my computer screen. This means that I spend a lot of time putting my glasses on and taking them off again.

It goes something like this:
Getting up from my desk to get myself a cup of tea and wondering why I cant see, taking off my glasses, getting a cup of tea, sitting back at my desk, wondering why I cant see, putting my glasses on .... getting up from my desk to go downstairs and retrieve something from the printer and wondering why I cant see, taking off my glasses, retrieving printing, sitting back at my desk, wondering why I cant see, putting my glasses on...

The problem is mostly that I actually have to stop and wonder why I cant see every time, and there is always that momentary panic that I'm going blind, followed by the momentary relief that if I go blind, I would get an extension on my thesis.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Two posts tonight because the first one got a bit too full of thesis related nonsense to fit in a bit more general update of how everything is going.

My life is currently full of many little ups and downs as it always is, but the pressure of the upcoming very important deadline turns these into a rather dramatic emotional rollercoaster. Speaking of which, in case you haven't noticed, look to the right of the screen - thats the deadline. If you look a bit further down the right of the screen you will also see another new gadget I found on the weekend. For some reason, when you are looking for a countdown gadget for your blog its much easier to find a fish tank gadget. I liked it, so it stayed.

One of the "little" downs that I had this week was finding out that my supervisor had (again) left the state without warning. This time he is at a conference in Paris and won't be back until the end of next week. Have another look at the deadline on the right of the screen. That's a big chunk of the remaining time without a supervisor. I had a bit of a meltdown last night. After taking some time today to calmly evaluate whether or not I could get enough done without him to survive, I have decided that its going to be ok (but only just).

To cheer myself up after my meltdown last night I had some fun giving Bernard (my laptop) a bit of a makeover. To cheer myself up tonight after yesterday's meltdown, I blogged :) (twice, even). Check out the photos of Bernard (I'm wondering if maybe I should have called him Penny after all? Oh well, Bernard likes flowers - remember his summer girlfriend).


After :)

P.S. Don't forget there is a second post tonight - read that one too.

Thesis Writing

Thesis writing is horribly, tremendously boring. Everything in the world is more exciting than thesis writing. Everything.

Consequently, I have really been struggling to knuckle down and actually write my thesis. That's not to say that I haven't been writing, but every word that I type is an effort. A big effort.

I have had to clear my life from distractions. But because everything in the world is more exciting than thesis writing, everything is a distraction. So I have only been able to get rid of the biggest distractors. These are (in order of time that I would spend doing them if I wasn't so self controlled):
  1. TV shows (including what's on my computer, on iview, and what's actually on tv)
  2. Games
  3. Facebook
  4. Checking my email constantly
  5. The Cheeseburger network websites
  6. All the other websites I regularly entertain myself with (mostly blogs and webcomics)
  7. Texting (hmm...maybe technology really is evil)
  8. Finding that song that I've got stuck in my head
  9. Wondering what to cook for tea
  10. Doing my nails
  11. Everything else in the world.
So, the solutions to these problems. Setting (and sticking to) some ground rules, and physically removing as many of the distractions as possible.

I have had to get rid of all the tv shows on my computer (yes, even the episode of House that I have seen roughly 32 times is still more interesting than writing my thesis) and put them on my portable hardrive for safe keeping. I have also baned myself from watching tv between the hours of 8am and 6pm (because even Oprah is more interesting than writing my thesis!). I am also only allowing myself a modest amount of all the other technology related distractions: email - maximum of once per hour, facebook - maximum of twice per day, all other websites - maximum of once per day, texting - only if I'm actually communicating important information that can't wait until later (See how boring my life is becoming). I am only allowing myself instrumental music to listen to while I work so I don't get distracted with lyrics, I plan a week's worth of meals in advance, and I only do my nails on the weekend (as if they would ever need to be done any more often than that any, but apparently I currently have a bit of an obsession about it).

All these rather stupid sounding rules and regulations have helped quite a bit. However, if you catch me breaking any of these rules, you aren't allowed to tell me off because they are my rules and only I am allowed to punish myself. So if I text you meaningless nonsense when I should be working, just ignore me.

Friday, 9 April 2010


Well, Easter was great. A really nice long weekend with my family. I'll just give you a quick overview of the highlights because I don't have the time to go into all the details (and you probably don't have the patience to read it anyways).

Dad and I were the only ones around on Friday (Rob in Devonport, Mum at work) so we had a bit of Daddy-daughter time on the wharf at Beauty Point watching the start of the three peaks race. That night, with Mum and Clinton (cousin whose family is up in outback Qld so we adopt him when we are having family outings) we went to Rob's place in Devonport for the night. We hung out, watched Black Books and The Big Bang Theory, played cards, and, of course, were diligent Catholics and had fish for dinner :)

Once the whole house was finally up, showered, and dressed (except Neptune) we got going, all piled into Dad's Big Blue Car (except Neptune) to go to Cradle Mountain. At this point I should probably explain something. When we were growing up, Rob and I were taken all over Tasmania, and later mainland Australia by our parents. We got to experience all the tourist spots as well as plenty of places off the beaten track, but the one place we never went to was Cradle Mountain. It was always somewhere we were saving for later. So finally it was decided that this was enough later and we went. Even with the very upsetting episode with the leech I really enjoyed it. Cradle Mountain is glorious and I'm definitely going back one day.

By this point we were all back at Mum and Dad's place, so the five of us (and Fidget) had a pretty typical Sunday. Sleep in. Church. Sunday roast. All the usual stuff.

Clinton left us on Sunday afternoon, but Rob was still at Mum and Dads. Another sleep in, and a day spent doing nothing in particular. Rob left us in the afternoon to go back to Devonport, so then it was just the three of us. After tea that night, the power went out and Mum and Dad and I played cards by candlelight until it came back on.

I spent the day at Mum and Dad's doing honour's work, then hung out with Mum for a bit in between her shifts. Then hung out with Dad for a bit. Also hung out with Fidget for a bit.

I came home :(

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