Thursday, 24 May 2012

LinCon and the awesomeness of reality

Another gaming convention come and gone. Another weekend of feeling utterly at home and enjoying every second of good company and board games and general geekiness. Even the signature social panic managed to stay away this time. Might be a one-time lucky accident, or I might have leveled up on the social skill. Yes, not freaking out in social situations is definitely a skill, one I'd like to master some day. 

I'm beginning to feel human again after having remedied some of the sleep-deprivation. Now it's back to racking my brains in the never-ending attempt to understand reality. Star-quakes, spectral lines ad infinitum and the Zeeman effect at hundreds of mega(!)Teslas. As much as I love escapism in various forms, reality can be totally fucking awesome.

Love and awesomeness,

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


Huh. I guess there really is such a thing as a win-win situation. A situation where something either will happen—and it will be awesome; or it won't happen—and it will also be awesome, must count as one, right? Please ignore the awkward punctuation in the previous sentence; I don't think I'm entirely awake right now. I am, however, pretty damn happy and hopeful. 

It's a wonderful life!

Monday, 14 May 2012

How to keep sane in times of stress

It hadn't been a good day; sanity was a distant memory.
— Terry Pratchett (Pyramids)

Another weekend past. As usual I didn't finish a third of the things I set out to do. Ye gods, remind me to never study more than 100 % at the same time ever again. I seem to have a harder time to handle stress constructively the older I get. Wasn't it supposed to be the other way around? At least I've learned the hard way to get my priorities right; nowadays I try my best to put my health above results and deadlines on the neverending to do-list. 

That would mostly explain this week's lack of progress. Have been feeling under the weather both physically and mentally the past week, made all the worse by too much stress and things to do. I think I've managed to turn it around; I feel happy and motivated again, and my body seems to have returned to something resembling health. It took most of my energy and time just to get back on track, though, which means the ever-growing pile of stuff to do has grown even higher in the meantime. Oh well, I'll work my way through it, one thing at a time. And stand the shame of meeting my supervisor without having any work at all to show, if that's what it takes. Some day I'll graduate, but since I value enjoying the journey there higher than doing so quickly and with best results I think I'm gonna keep having sanity above homework on my priority list.

Speaking of sanity, apparently doing practical things for a change can be good when trying to keep from thinking too much. This weekend I've assembled the aforementioned book-case (called Billy, of course), while humming this tune:

Now there is no longer any lack of shelf-space in my home. Hooray! This is a very dangerous thing though; what is now to stop me from buying more books than I can afford? Hah, the i-landsproblem (please enlighten me to the english term!) of today, I suppose.

Another therapeutic thing is watching things grow! We've started cultivating things on our terrace (isn't it just awesome that we have a bloody terrace at our new apartment?), and small green things are coming up out of the soil. Whee, it's like some kind of magic! Allright so maybe I'm just a physicist getting over-excited just because I don't understand living things, but you've gotta admit it's pretty cool taking care of plants that were just small seeds when you got them until they turn into things that you can eat. I'm not sure how well it will turn out since I haven't been gardening or anything since I helped my parents back when we had a garden and I was really small. But we're learning, and this is kind of an interesting experiment. Like I said, as a physicist I'm not used to working with living things, but I'll do my best not to fuck things up.

I've also heard that eating healthy things and on a regular basis is good for keeping the sanity intact. These past few days have included awesome smoothies with avocado, bananas and chocolate; enchiladas with chili sauce, potatoes, pumpkin seeds and nettles (they're not just for soup and burning yourself, you know!); home-made pizzas with lots of vegetables and fresh basil; and pie with chick peas, broccoli and chanterelles. Clearly a success in the kitchen-domain, in other words.

Last but not least, a couple of walks in the wonderful weather probably did much for my well-being as well. It's been windy and rainy for days, and as I went out about an hour before sunset yesterday the raining had stopped, but the briskness still lingered. None of the pesky heat, just some evening sun, dew in the grass, fragrant flowers all around, and the wind in my hair. And, since I live just by the edge of town, animals running and flying around everywhere. If you go out around sunset (and probably around sunrise too, I wouldn't know) here you can be almost sure to spot at least three of the following: pheasants, hedgehogs, cats, bats, mice and rabbits.

Am I ready for being punched in the face by the fact that it's Monday tomorrow? Probably not, but I guess I have given myself the best possible prospects of picking up and assembling the pieces of myself after the blow.

Love and sanity,

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Vegan ice cream, IKEA, and fear of growing up

Still busy as hell, therefore lack of updates. The weekend did offer some nice and well-needed distractions, though. Played an awesome concert with the orchestra. Included in the repertoire was Dvořák's ninth symphony, which was fun and engaging to play.

Got a visit from mom, who brought with her an ice cream-machine. A first experiment was conducted in the form of vegan banana-ice cream with chopped walnuts and pieces of chocolate in it. Delicious in every way! I now cannot see any reason why I would ever miss dairy-ice cream again. I have a feeling this magical machine will be used in abundance, with summer coming up and all. (Although who said winter was a bad time for ice cream? I never did, I'm sure...)

Lastly there was a not-quite-as-fun but well-needed trip to IKEA to acquire some complementary furniture. I was running low on bookshelf-space, and throwing books away or locking them in some basement would be sacrilegious. A new one was clearly the only solution, since I cannot seem to stop buying books no matter how non-materialistic I keep telling myself I am. Who am I kidding? A home without books is like a body without a soul. Or, say, a body without life in it, as a reservation in case the soul turns out to be non-existant.

Also bought myself a blackboard, for writing equations or notes or drawing silly pictures on. They are not so easy to come by these days, but at last I found one in the section for children's furniture, not in the office section as might have been expected. Grown-ups seem to have moved on to those pesky whiteboards. *shudder* Another reason to never want to grow up.

Though I guess I should come to terms with that I am growing older and more responsible by the year. Not only have I moved to a new, bigger apartment, I also have a cohabitant which I haven't managed to scare away even after a couple of years. Even though I'm not the easiest person to get along with. What with all the advantages of living alone, living together with someone can actually be quite nice. It seems to do good things for the sanity level, keeping the voices down and all that. Whoa, that sentiment feels really mature.

That being said, I think my inner child still has the upper hand most of the time, considering I'm still doing things like baking cookies instead of making a proper dinner, staying up until 3 AM for no particular reason and reading comics as a means of forgetting that I really have to study.

Some day I might grow up for real, but I'm not really looking forward to it.