Thursday, September 30, 2010

Daily Rumbling

It is scary to think that there is only three more weeks to the end of the semester and my undergraduate courses. Not to mention I have heaps of assignments due before the exams. Although the recent test results revealed a rather alarming lack of improvement, I think I will do better than my last 5 semesters combined.

Next year I will probably do BSc Hons, if my exam results convince the study committee to let me in. I went through the list of available projects and could not decide between 18 equally interesting topics. The use of RNAi to treat neurological disorders seems quote promising, so is the isolation of anti-necrotic proteins in maggots. Even if I don't get in, I will probably carry on with BioMedSci and find out whether I am meant to work for science.

Despite the exams looming on the horizon, I have applied and got a new part-time job. It is not for the money, but just to keep myself in contact with people while having nothing planned for the summer.

Out of the cave aye ;-)


Onto happy memories:

On Tuesday I was made an honourary member of World Jewry, together with two other (non-Jewish) friends for helping out at the Jewish Awareness Day, which involved putting up posters of Somali Jews and Israeli swimsuit models around the quad, as well as handing out free Israeli food: Crispy falafel, fresh couscous salad and lots of hummus.

I am not sure if the event helped to raise the profile of Jews in the land of long white cloud, but it was good fun. Somehow we found ourselves right next to the Meat Club's weekly barbecue of a gigantic pile of sizzling sausages and bacon. And behold, they got extremely uncomfortable and one of them went as far as getting someone from AUSA to ask us if we had permission to be there. This amusing minor incident reflects on the society in general where the atheistic/agnostic/apathetic are more easily upset than genuine believers.


BTW, please let me know if you have spotted a heavily used iPod Nano with the menus in Polish, it could be stolen property, thanks.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Music of Our Time

56k warning: This is a video heavy post and I recommend a fast internet connection (with some dedicated reading/listening time) to make the most of it. 

Maybe it is just me, but certain tunes always remind me of a bygone era. Here I have complied a small list of songs for each year since 2000. Some titles included here may be of rather poor taste and rather embarrassing, yet my memory remains unapologetic.


WANDS - 世界の終わりまでは/Till the World's End

Assuming you grew up in the 90s, your life is not complete without Slam Dunk. I mean it,full stop



Ricky Martin - La Copa de la Vida

While not a real fan of any competitive sports, I am still able to polymorph into a hooligan every for years for just for the FIFA World Cup. I guess this is where everything started.

Nevertheless, if I could only choose one Ricky Martin song to listen to for the rest of my life I'd go for Linvin la Vida Loca; for HG.




Bee Gees - Melody Fair

Dad gave me a (rather flash back then) Onkyo brand CD/MD player for 10th birthday and some albums that only people of his age would be interested in. I had no alternative and ended up listening to a lot of doo-wop, jazz and pop standards, many songs I am still fond of.

By the way, the movie in which the song had an honourable mention was fortunate to have been filmed before the Katakana plague of the 90s set in. While Melody will always be cherished as 小さな恋のメロディ, poor kids nowadays have to watch stuff like ロード・オブ・ザ・リング(I shall refrain from any attempt to pronounce or it might give me a heart attack.).

Another twist of the story is the device itself, which had MD player failures every six months. We had it repaired several times under the warranty but eventually gave up after the third claim.  Never bought any Onkyo equipment again.



Bon Jovi - It's My Life.

This one is especially notable because of the music video above. Admittedly, I have seen no movies back then and it totally blew my mind. It took me years to realise they ripped the idea off Run Lola Run. Well, I can forgive their deadly sins for the music.

Also, I have not met any Bon Jovi fan in years, not a single soul.



Jay Chou - 安静/Silence

Jay is probably the last M-Pop (no, he does not do R&B) musician I have paid some attention to. He continued to produce exceptional songs in the upcoming years however his second and third album will always be my personal favourites.



Avril Lavigne - Sk8er Boi

Fast and catchy, something that suits pubescent teens. It is actually of little relevance to my life but somehow got imprinted into my mind every time I think of 2002. Maybe whoever in charge of the student TV back in BBI played it too often.



Chisa Yokoyama et al - 夢の続き/Lasting Dream

For some time between 2002-2004, my best friends all belonged to this Sakura Taisen fan club. Looking back it is kind of scary since many of them are Takarazuka fans in heterosexual disguise. I spend most of my time not caring about the theme but talking to whatever normal people present and trolling the lesbos.

To this day people from the group still make up over 50% of people on my MSN contact list, although many of them never appear to be online. I remember one, to whom I had a rather exciting conversation with one day only to find her blocking me from the next day, still have not figured out why but I'd probably blame PMS.

Folks, I don't know where are you or what are you doing, but I appreciate everything you did for me:

Thanks to V-gun for listening to my pointless rants.

Thanks to legato for sending me all the episodes of Last Exile, although I never had time to watch it.

Thanks to toby for cheering me up at the hard times, I wish you will find your dreamed one soon.

Thanks to xephon who kept contact with me till this day. I pass through your city almost every year without stopping and I really hope to meet you again some day.

Thank you all.



L'arc~en~ciel - Ready Steady Go

My aptitude for Anime peaked around this time and my selection became rather Anime-centric. I would not normally listen to L'arc~en~ciel or any Visual-kei band but this song was in the first FMA anime series. So be it. 



Angela Ammons - Always getting over you

It was a rather pleasant time. I transferred to another school and everything appeared to be on an upward track. My interests also shifted and I was once again, back in love with easy listening mainstream pop.



Kuribayashi Minami - Shining☆Days

Things were still holding out fine and I decided to give Anime one more chance. Rather than following new series on a weekly basis, I bought several completed series and watched all episodes in one sitting during the winter holidays.

Turns out my selection was rather good: Mai-Hime, Stand Alone Complex 2nd GIG, Speedgrapher and Cowboy Bebop. Nevertheless by the end I was kind of turned off by too much Anime goodness, knowing that I will never be the old fully-fledged otaku again. I still watch occasionally but mostly moved on.

P.S. Had to copy and paste that star, why some songs must contain un-typable symbols?



Groove Coverage - She



Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue

Dr Colin Quilter introduced country music to me, an genre that I had previously neglected. Above all, country music reinforced my reactionary tendencies, and Johnny Cash convinced me that it is feasible to do drugs and get away with it.

Taylor Swift came into the picture a bit later but just like Jay Chou, she is doing a fine job albeit on something different, certainly not country.



Laura Marling - New Romantic

It was all a blur, all I remember is inebriation, truancy and melancholic British love songs.



Sukima Switch - 全力少年/Boys with All Our Might


積み上げたものぶっ壊して 身に着けたもの取っ払って

Stop seeking answers in the stagnant scenery!
Right now a new light passes through the muddy water

Destroy the things that have piled up
Get rid of the things that weight you down
Riding a parabola of many dreams
We're definitely always going to be boys with all of our might
I will be the one to open up the world
My eyes also become clear

Finally, getting back on terra firma. Looking back I wish I had done things differently, but it is all of this big thing called life.

In other news, today marks my 9th year living in New Zealand. Still lovin' it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tempus edax rerum

You are time. Foul time, who steals the gold from a maiden's hair and takes the sapphire from a child's eyes. Dark time, who has stolen from every thing there ever was all the things that it held precious and divine... And left nothing but ashes and memories and the grave.

-----Neil Gaiman

Five more weeks, the three unremarkable years of my life as an undergraduate student will be over. What have I achieved in almost three years apart from passing all my courses with mediocre grades?

To be honest, not a lot. What I have picked up were mere facts that can be gathered in no time with the right tools; the rest that mattered hardly moved at all in three years.

You know what it is? I just don't think about it

Your misfortunes are nothing but the result of your negligence with time; what are you doing now and what you should be doing? 

More sighs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Practical Inception

 What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed - fully understood - that sticks; right in there somewhere. 

---Don Cobb

I quote from movies all the time, however the one above stands out because something I witnessed today. 

We were about to start a routine toxicology lab and the lab supervisor was going over the safety procedures. After some politically correct information about ethics, he mentioned " of the problems we had in the past years was people fainting, so if you are known to faint to blood don't sit on the stools and fall to crack your head open..."(I did not chronicle word for word but the meaning is close). At this moment, the noise of a soft object hitting the ground was heard. Someone actually fainted; fortunately he fell forward and did not hit anything. When he came to, he had no recollection of events before the blackout.

Later, several people had fits of malaise both before and after taking blood samples, including my lab partner who had to spend several minutes sitting on the floor before work resumed.

The affected appear healthy and in sound mind. None of them is known to be haemophobic or have any other related phobia (Trypanophobia, traumatophobia....I am sure one can spend a lifetime counting phobias.). Blood sampling is not novel either; the same has been done in one of the bigger labs last year using the same equipment, and nobody showed any adverse reactions. 

So what went wrong? First, the speaker suffers from self-admitted Stage IV pessimism, which definitely did cast a bad outlook on this lab. The language used was also suggestive (If you are......) and came from someone of authority(He's a professor so he must be right), which tricks the subconscious to believe the possibility of fainting(This can happen). The ideal parasite grows, traveling up the vagus nerve to shut down conscious. Although only one person came down initially, the event itself reinforces its presence in others and the cycle keeps ticking.

Inception, self-fulfilling prophecy, massive hysteria or whatever, it is working in our subconscious to deliver some surprises.
Before I close this topic, I must mention that yawning is contagious. Yeah, seeing, reading or even merely thinking about yawning is enough to induce yawning, again unconsciously. Next time when the chain reaction start while you are giving a speech, try not to blame them. 


Emotional rollercoaster explained in songs:

First I was like this

Then I was like this

Deep down



Also, you can follow me on Twitter @DillADH. Another late conversion here but I am learning fast.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Official Summary of the break

Managed to cook a couple of good meals and move all my stuff into one room.

Made around $500 and spent about twice as much.

16 hours spent on various assignments, 6 hours on the test first day back, and lot's of Baileys.


In other news

Former PM Kenvin Rudd is appointed the foreign minister following the formation of a minority Labour government from the (still hung) 43rd Australian Parliament.

Weston Cage, best remembered for his cameo appearance as the young Ukrainian mechanic, is now a metalhead. Unfortunately his musical talent is approximately on par to his father's theatrics.

Bought a CL from Jonathan B of Cream TV with the intention to shoot some film, he gave me a homebrew SR44-PX625 adaptor despite the camera has a non-working meter. It was a good deal.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I must not panic already

A piece of  advice I often give to others but rarely heed well myself

It would be overt generalisation to say that men are incapable of multitasking, but maybe it is good to be taken with a grain of salt. I don't handle stress well and I always knew it. The mere thought of a looming deadline(still below the horizon but somehow visible) is enough to drive me mad.

Well, it is just an one page abstract, how much harder could it get?

And I must not forget about music.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The break continued

Another friday, although this time the intra-semester break is already half gone. I have intentionally put aside the few more important things that i must complete before the semester resumes, including but in no way limited to: two upcoming tests to study for, two research projects and one lab report; a good proportion of them are due on the first day back. Thing will get hectic eventually, nevertheless for now I am having a good time idling (mostly) each day without thinking about much stuff with a glass of JD in my hand. The weather has been wild, on and off, so I will probably not be able to drive aimlessly to the south of taupo according to the plans before the break.

I like driving.  Ideally it is to be done on a relatively straight stretch of motorway (the shore comes to mind) without too much traffic at night. There is nothing in the world but the wheel and the road in front of you, one of the rare occasions that I will be able to enjoy the benefits of a calm mind. 

It has to be my personal sort of instant yet short-lasting nirvana.

I have acquired a bottle of 200mg caffeine capsules and they work wonders. Priced at 20c a pop, it provides a much more affordable and convenient alternative to flat whites which I am already dependent upon. Energy drinks are overrated for students who spent most of their time on their bums. The only component that matters is caffeine; the rest such as taurine, proflavin, intosol etc, may help to increase physical performance by enhancing calcium transport in muscles, yet they have no effect on your white or grey matter at all. Back to the topic of caffeine, usually it reaches peak plasma concentration 30 minutes following ingestion, then it is gradually excreted via the kidneys over 6 hours. Therefore, a giant serve of coffee with breakfast may keep you livid for a couple of hours before the excitation wanes. The best strategy is not to fetch another large latte, but to replenish lost caffeine by small supplyments. For those who wish to follow this regimen with style, I can highly recommend Black Black gum by Lotte. It is a especially minty gum with 5mg caffeine, which is readily absorbed by the oral mucosa. Find it in your local JapanMart or really good dairies.