Still here.

Jan. 1st, 2014 11:46 pm
morsla: (Default)
It's not much of an epitaph for 2013, but it's appropriate enough: in most regards, it feels like virtually nothing has changed since I sat here last year (and didn't end up writing anything back then...). One thing I've learned this year is that some kind of writing is better than nothing at all, so here I am again - this time, putting some thoughts onto the screen for the benefit of some future self to take a look at.

In 2013 I made only a few changes to my life, but the effects of those have shaped everything I've done.

I resigned from a job that I had loved and then grown to hate. In doing so, I left a job with a stable income at a time when [livejournal.com profile] aeliel was planning to be out of the workforce for at least a year. Financial stress over that decision was crippling me, but I made the right choice: I'd lost all sense of value for myself, my skills and my time. I felt as though I was constantly failing to be smart enough, work hard enough, or work long enough, and walked away from the job loathing myself. That took some time to move on from.

For most of the year, I've worked on various part-time and casual jobs: trading stability for flexibility, and balancing uncertainty over my jobs with far more agency over my life. That has made a huge difference to my state of mind: feeling back in control of who I am, and far more capable at negotiating the demands and expectations that others have of me. It also gave me the opportunity to put my family first, finding work that fits around the time that I want to spend figuring out how to be a Dad. That time has been priceless.

Jobs come and go. Money comes and goes. If my choices meant that I missed out on a "perfect" job, I reasoned that a truly perfect job would still be around in a few years from now. Spending time watching Ariadne grow up though... that is something that I know I would regret missing out on. She has changed so quickly over the year that I feel as though the rest of my life may as well have stood still. As luck would have it I did end up finding work with a company that I have enormous respect for, and that has family-friendly working arrangements at its core. Work and money have still been extremely tight at a few points this year (a family and a mortgage on half an income has led to plenty of stress on that front), but I don't regret the year that I have had.

Of course, the other factor dominating my year (and the years before it) has been my PhD, and that really did look like it had stalled - or at least slowed to a glacial pace. On that front I'm in essentially the same position as I've sat in for the past two years: close to the end, and trying to get it finished. Each time I sit down to write, I think I manage to halve the remaining distance between me and the submission day. There's some faint light at the end of that particular tunnel though - the slightest glow of something approaching, still hazy and indistinct. It might be dawn finally breaking out there in the wider world; it might be the headlight of an oncoming train. Either way there's a change on the way. I gave an 80,000 word thesis draft to my supervisor just before Christmas, and have a few weeks to finish writing before the university gives up on me entirely.

So: few outward changes in 2013, but an important time to make hard decisions about the type of life I want to have with my family. In 2014, it's time to finish this PhD before it kills me, and then move on to all the rest of my life - some new challenges, and some things that have been put on hold for the last few years. I've stayed here long enough to know that I want to go somewhere else: the coming year will be a time to embrace the changes, big and small, that will help me to get there.
morsla: (lookin)
At midnight last night, I remembered that the new year was arriving today - helped on its way by a barrage of fireworks from over in Footscray. If you listen to the Chinese astrologers, 2012 is a Water Dragon year: larger than life, and full of change.

There's a lot of change on the horizon. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel is a few days away from finishing and submitting her Masters thesis, which will conclude three years of work into giftedness, engagement, learning styles, talent development and video games. She'll also be starting back at work full time, a couple of days after Arcanacon.

I have a lot to learn and write about before I can finish my own thesis. The biggest issue is transforming myself back into more of a 9-5 kind of worker, instead of a "do little bits of work at all hours of the day and night" person. I know that I'll be pushing hard to finish on time, but I don't want to disconnect myself any further from reality than I already have... after all, I'll need to quickly find a job once that final stretch of writing, revision and re-writing is done. That particular source of stress deserves to be thought about in more detail somewhere else, though.

For now: Happy New Year! I hope you can spend some time with family - whether they are the ones you're related to, or others that you've chosen instead ;) I'm planning to have my relatives over on Wednesday night, when I shall fill them with as much festive Chinese food as I can cook over the next few days.
morsla: (lain)
It's 2012. Actually, it's now well into 2012, but I've spent such a languid week that the realisation of arriving in a new year has taken a few days to make it from my synapses to my typing fingers, so I'm only just getting around to writing about it.

This is generally the time when I look back on the last year, decide that it would be a good idea to look forwards at some stage, and then the year starts up in earnest - and the forward planning never happens. At least, that's the way that things have gone in most of the last ten years, now that I can check up on that kind of thing.

It's time for a change of pace, though. I've been in much the same place in my life for a few years now: an odd kind of limbo, filled with enough to keep me happily distracted, but without any tangible sense of progress to anything. I could stay here forever without really doing anything, and that should be warning enough. It's time to start packing up and moving on.

Some things are good. I live in a great part of the city, surrounded by friends. In 2011 I travelled overseas and met people who are doing some fascinating work. I remembered how much I love cooking for friends, and how much I dislike being a hermit. There have been two major problems, though.

My PhD has become a huge part of my life, overshadowing everything else. That's understandable - if it didn't, I don't see how I could still do it. It's now been almost three years though, and it's time to get it finished. That will involve a lot of work over the next seven months. Some of that work involves writing the thesis, but I think the harder job will be breaking bad habits that I've taken ten years to refine: getting used to writing more, spending less time chasing up details, and letting other people read my work. That last one is particularly hard, but will be vital.

The other bugbear I've fought over the years is my health, which has caused problems since I began this journal. Two years ago I was very unfit and unhappy about it. In 2010 I joined a local gym, but it never really became part of a routine. It did get my confidence up though, and helped me return to Kung Fu in January 2011. I've been training ever since, and feel like I've returned home again.

Injuries, health problems and excuses have been disrupting my training for eight years. Last year, I beat the bastards, and got back to doing something that I love.

My PhD has only had three years to build up a backlog of jobs that need to be done by July. It's one hell of a pile of work, but it's time to finish it - I want to find out what comes next.
morsla: (Dawn)
Happy New Year, you lot :)

Since it's too hot to sleep at the moment, I thought I'd write my new year's post at 2am on January 1st. I seem to have done a lot of looking backwards in previous years, so this time I'd like to look forwards to 2011. In a few hours it will be dawn for the new year, so it seems appropriate to keep a weather eye on the horizon.

Last year's list seems to have gone fairly well. My PhD changed dramatically during the year, so the first one isn't really appropriate any more - but the others have mostly fallen into place.

My wishes for the new year are threefold, and apply equally to myself, my friends and my family.

Firstly, I wish for health. It's been my bugbear over the last five years or so, and I've finally begun to feel healthy again. I have some plans for returning to training in 2011, and have a full year of gym exercise behind me now.

Secondly, I wish for happiness. 2010 might avoid the dubious honour of being the bleakest year on record, but it has held a lot of sadness for three people close to my heart. Whatever the new year brings, may we be able to enjoy ourselves throughout it :)

Finally, I wish for a productive year. There is plenty of work to do - so I hope we're all healthy and sane enough to take the opportunities that the new year brings. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel is about to start her Master's thesis, and I'm making headway on mine. By the time day breaks on 2012, we should both be well on the way towards graduating.
morsla: (Dawn1)
This time last year I was looking backwards, and never really got around to writing about the year ahead. While 2009 certainly had its share of events, I think I spent most of the year in stasis: waiting for what comes next. Life is moving again now, so it's time for a change. I'd like 2010 to contain more Awesome, for all of my friends.

Five is a good number: Five directions, five elements, five resolutions. During the next year, I will:

Air
Finish the primary research for my PhD. That's a bit of a scary thought. I now have Ethics approval to conduct interviews for the project, and will be spending most of this year finding out everything I can about how micro-businesses and online communities work. I spend most of my life immersed in online communities, so I love the fact that I can make it part of my work and study as well.

Water
Drink a lot more tea :) While rummaging through the cupboards this morning, I realised that I have a bit over 20 different green teas in the house, and eight teapots. Some of them came back with me from China in 2003. While I'm familiar with the concept of "he who dies with the most stuff wins," I also quite like drinking it...

Wood
Regain the health that has been fading over the past year and a half. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel and I are joining the gym and pool down the street. I stopped training when Dad got sick, and haven't done much at all since moving out to Somerville. I'm looking forward to getting back some strength, flexibility and endurance, and to feeling more comfortable in my own skin again.

Fire
Be more connected to the people I love: my family and friends. Living away from family means that I'll need to make more of an effort to keep in touch with them, which is probably a good thing - I've learned never to take them for granted. At the same time, we're living much closer to friends. After spending last year living too far away for spur-of-the-moment visits, I really appreciate having people close enough to drop in on at a moment's notice.

Earth
Spend over a year living in a house that I own. Already loving it, and intending to keep settling in over the next few months. When our budget isn't stretched quite so thin, we might even buy a couch so we don't end up with people sitting on the floor to watch DVDs, like they did last night...
morsla: (alchemist)
We have finally finished moving out of North Melbourne, though it will be at least a few weeks before we make any real progress on unpacking in Somerville. Since spending a full day moving on Saturday, I've spent 6-10 hours every day cleaning, carrying boxes down stairs, loading and unloading the car. I'm now very, very tired.

Disgusted at the sheer volume of stuff I own, my new year's resolution is this:

By December 31st, 2009, I will find new homes for at least half of my possessions.

I've taken many boxes to the Red Cross donation bins over the last month, but haven't made a dent in the majority of things. Most of what I own is not essential. Too much of what I own has been retained out of habit or sentimentality. I'd like to break the former, and have no room left for the latter.

In order to make a start on things, here are a few categories:
  • Models: In order to buy any new figures, I will sell two that I already have. I'm already limiting myself to only spending money raised from painting; now I'll actively reduce the number of figures as well.

  • Roleplaying books: If a publisher won't sell PDF copies, I'm not interested in their products. I have bought my last paper RPG for the forseeable future.

  • Music: I already only buy digital copies, unless I'm at a concert. This won't change. Many old CDs can also be given away.

  • Paperbacks: Give away anything I won't re-read often. Join a library or three. I've bought my last novel for the year.

  • Clothes: Keep only what I'll wear often. Give away all the rest. Sentimental clothes only stay if they are still being worn. I've aleady sent all my old shoes and boots to the Op Shop.

  • Kitchen equipment: If one item can do the job of several, all the other items can go. I like cooking for people, but don't really need enough equipment to serve 20 people at once. The Op Shop will be getting a load of old cutlery, crockery, pots and pans once I unpack those boxes.

Unsurprisingly, this will be a year when I take Discardia far more seriously than I have in the past...

(PS: still using dialup this week - if anyone needs to contact me, call me instead as I won't be reading LJ or checking email often)
morsla: (Default)
In 2007, I:

Trekked around Kosiuszko National Park. Quit my last formal job. Went back to Cradle Mountain. Proposed to [livejournal.com profile] aeliel. Started setting up a business, following a fractal plan. Travelled up to New South Wales, and then left the country for only the third time in my life. Won a painting trophy at GenCon Indianapolis, and visited Games Day UK. Met old and new friends in Chicago, Toronto, Dublin, Edinburgh and Oxford. Wandered the Irish coast on my birthday. Visited London, Perpignan, Barcelona and Paris. Did lots and lots of painting.

Now that I think about it, it turned out to be a fairly busy year after all. I wonder what the next one will bring?
morsla: (Default)
Happy Chinese New Year, all :)

The best New Year's gift so far is the arrival of the cool change... now that the humidity has dropped, I can start painting again. I hope that was the last week-long heatwave for the summer, as I really can't afford another week of lost productivity at the moment. I'm already counting down the days (45 'til Conquest) until the next wave of conventions and tournaments arrives. It's going to be a busy year.

In other weekend news, [livejournal.com profile] aeliel bought a bike! Well, she actually bought it last weekend, but it didn't get taken out for a ride until Saturday morning. I'd like to start exploring the bike trails along the river, now that the mercury isn't pushing 40°C. It's as good an excuse as any to get back into the habit of riding again.

We went out for yum cha on Sunday, with most of the contactable members of Dad's family. I haven't seen most of my cousins for at least four years, and I was actually looking forward to catching up with them. Of course, when we arrived at the restaurant we were split onto two tables (they don't own tables big enough for groups of 16), and Louise and I were promptly made part of the "grown ups" table when the other one filled up. Didn't really get much chance to speak to my cousins at all, in the end. I guess that's what happens when you're the oldest...

The theme for my year looks like it will be travel. So far, I know of four trips that I'll be making, and five countries that I'll visit along the way. If the journey's the part that matters most, my journey will take some interesting detours along the way.
morsla: (Dawn1)
...and get back to writing something in here.

I got back to Melbourne on Sunday night, but I've been a bit of a hermit since then - slowly readjusting to a world where there are actually lots of people, and far fewer marchflies :) The trip to Three Mile Dam went well, and I'm slowly sifting through the mass of photos that I took while away. I bought a shiny new memory card before I left, and came home with about 370 images.

Many of them are now stitched together into panoramas. I woke up before dawn on Thurday morning, and went on a wander through the mists at the shores of the dam. It seems to have become a camping tradition now... go walking with camera, take lots of sunrise shots, get very cold, and walk back to camp in time for a hot breakfast. I'm always amazed at just how still everything is, in that hour before dawn. Sensible folk (and sensible waterfowl, magpies and insects) are still in bed, and the misty moors are devoid of all but the most insomniac wanderers. As a result, I have lots of pictures of the sky slowly changing colour... I've borrowed one of them for the icon used in this post.

I've started to put photos up in my Summer 2007 photo gallery - only a few at the moment, but more will be added when I have time. I haven't yet found a way to link directly to Gallery2 images, unfortunately, but please take a look and let me know if the page is working... it's been a bit temporamental lately.

For the curious, there are also a few photos under the cut - including a curious (but HUUUGE) insect that I'd love some help in identifying. What's 6cm long, looks like a leaf, and was spotted crossing a gravel road in the Snowy Mountains? Read on... )
morsla: (Default)
Since I last wrote anything here, I've left CSIRO for a few months of wandering aimlessly before I start studying again. There's no sense doing anything half-heartedly, so I'm wandering with a vengeance - wandering all the way to Tasmania this weekend for eight days on the Overland track, and then spending some time in Hobart for R&R. My fellow conspirators are [livejournal.com profile] aeliel, [livejournal.com profile] fetnas, [livejournal.com profile] geserit, [livejournal.com profile] mousebane and [livejournal.com profile] futurelegend...

We're catching a bus from Launceston to the Dove Lake/Cradle Mountain camping area, and starting the walk on Monday morning. If all goes to plan, we'll reach the southern shores of Lake St. Clair eight days later, and jump on a bus that takes us down to Hobart. Considering the amount they're charging for those bus tickets, I'd like to see platters of beluga caviar and buckets of champagne laid on for us, but I think it'll be more a case of tired and dirty people hoping to get some hot food in Hobart.

I've spent the last few days drying out fruit in the dehydrator I've borrowed from home. It'll be running around the clock until Saturday, churning out dried apples, nectarines and strawberries as fast as we've been buying them from the Vic Markets. Hiking food seems to have three sources of appeal: preparing the meals (which I seem to enjoy...), eating the meals (always a good thing), and feeling the pack get lighter after each meal (hurrah!).

Tomorrow is a day for waterproofing everything I can. I know a few people who've been caught in snow on the peaks, even in mid January... so the extra coat of Sno-Seal could come in handy. Then it's off to buy the last of the supplies, and wait for everyone to come over on Saturday night.

I'm taking my camera and a tripod, on top of all that food. I think my basic plan is to eat, take photos, eat, walk, and take photos. I'll have to renew my Pbase subscription when I get back, so I can upload a new gallery. If anyone's interested in the pictures from last year's trip, you can find them at http://www.pbase.com/morsla/summer_2005

Should be fun.

Resolute!

Jan. 4th, 2005 10:58 am
morsla: (Default)
New Year's Resolutions:

1. Flexibility. I've lost too much of it, in the last few months - however, I've managed to stretch a little bit each day lately. If I can keep it up for the year, it won't be a problem any more. Two years ago I could drop into the splits cold... I can still comfortably kick above my head, but I'd like something other than my hamstrings to be able to stretch...

2. Training. I'd like to get back to two classes a week, at least. Lack of time, a crucial lack of money (I pay per month of classes usually) and apathy have stopped me from getting to more than one class a week since late September. I now have a park across the street, with a paved area large enough for my Tai Chi forms - once I get a little more in shape, I'll start Liu He again.

3. Finishing things. There are all sorts of half finished projects hanging over my head. I'm good at planning and starting things, and good at teaching other people how to finish them - but I rarely seem to finish things on my own. That has to change in the next week, though...

Here are a few of the things brewing at the moment: Games in progress... )

Ow...

Jan. 1st, 2004 05:22 pm
morsla: (Default)
Happy New Year, everyone :)

A last-minute decision to go out, and an even more last-minute change in plans due to stumbling across some tickets, saw me completely missing the turning of the hour at the Psychonaught/Camilla's NYE party. I lost track of the time when I went inside, figuring that someone would do a countdown of some sort... and then Yasmin came up to me looking surprised, and said "It's 1:30! We missed it!"

Maybe that's the way of it... cursed for our ignorance by the spirit of the season, Dan, Yas & I will be 90 minutes late for everything, over the coming year. If this is the case, I might add "Putting my clocks forward an hour and a half" to my resolutions list...

The night was good fun, except for the part where I sat out with leg cramps for the last hour... I had been dancing for seven hours by that stage, though, so I guess I got my money's worth :P I think I know why the clubs normally close at about five or six in the morning - if you keep going 'til after 7am, it gets kinda painful. Living like a sloth for the last few weeks didn't do me any favours, either... one extreme to another...

"...In chaos and riots, the screech of machines
No right and no wrong and no in between
Fall one by one, the queen to her fool
Dos dedos mis amigos - everything's cool
Everything's... "


I managed to completey destroy the innersoles in both boots, too - impressive, as it meas I put enough pressure on a shock-absorbing gel to cause them to rupture. Apparently ten-up steelcaps aren't designed for that amount of bouncing around :D

The only really disappointing part of the night was the reactions from about half the people I talked to. Sure, you may not really feel like a long conversaiton with a complete stranger, but that's no reason to treat them like they have three heads and some kind of nassty disease. Last I checked, politeness was still free...

Must go and stretch a bit, now. In about 28 hours, [livejournal.com profile] delphaeus comes over and we head out dancing all over again... I'm in a "test to destruction" kind of mood, I guess :)
morsla: (Default)
As uncomfortable as the hotter bits of the day can get, I'm loving this weather. It's perfect for wandering late at night, out in the dark and quiet streets - the air is still, and the breeze is cool. Even if life throws you stuff that disrupts your sleep, at least you also get some still moments to think about it all. I've done a lot of thinking, lately.

I found http://www.epitonic.com and I think I'm hooked. Company at last, on my late-night updates... I've added some drum'n'bass and psytrance to the (rather louder) music I had already. Something about this sort of music just fits right in with the stillness outside my door - it just glides in underneath it all.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jilavre, too - my sad lack of Ani has been rectified now. For a change, I don't have to listen to the songs from my hazy memory - something I'm grateful for, as my memory is getting more holes each time I stretch it. Maybe it's perishing in the heat, like an old rubber band...

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