Monday, 29 October 2012

That One Guy

My favorite class this term is easily Conservation psychology. It's with one of my favorite Professors who I got to know really well. In fact I'm getting him to write a reference letter for me and I call him by his first name. The class is interesting in that we basically sit and discuss. Pat presents a problem, we talk/debate over it, someone makes a crude joke, we laugh, we move on.

Even better is that after class we generally go for beers at a nearby pub. And I've gotten to know a few classmates and Pat better this way. Professor Pat is an interesting man and he's led an interesting life. I have no idea how he went from serving in the British Special Forces to teaching Psychology at a University.

But there's one caveat to this course, and that's one single student who everyone is kind of sick of. His name is Jason. And he won't. Shut. Up.

And everyone has this look on their face when he talks.

Now it's not a problem with him talking all the time. I talk all the time but I have something relevant to say that's on topic. Jason says stuff to simply be contrary. You know what I'm talking about, someone who says something that opposes the thing you just said just because he can. Half the time conversations with prof. Pat and Jason go something like that:

Jason: [Insert inane banter here]
Pat: . . . .
P: So what's your point Jason?
J: Uh, I don't have one. I was just stating that.
P: Well what's the point in that?
J: Um, I don't know.
P:  Ok, let's not get off topic here. Moving on.

And then the same conversation with happen in about 15 minutes later. Meanwhile the rest of us are making glances at one another, nodding heads in agreement, or shoving our heads into our palms.

Simultaneous facepalms all around!

Did I mention that Jason specifically is doing this for attention? Yeah, he admitted after class one day that he was an attention seeker. He would probably argue that rape is ok, or that we should reinstate slavery, or that the Jews did 9/11. He's just being contrary, half the time he's mumbling barely coherent sentences and it's driving us crazy.

Oh wait, I think some of those topics did come up in class and almost everyone turned and just stared at him. I can't remember. I've just learned to tune out his voice and shove my head into my hands whenever he opens his mouth. Though when people start to glare at him it means he said something really bizarre or very offensive.

What is he even talking about?

Curious thing happened the other day though at the pub. Jason decided to accompany us there for once and it came up in conversation that he was a furry.

And suddenly everything made sense to me.

I apologize if any of my readers are furries but I have never had a good experience with one before. They all seem to have varying levels of social and mental imbalances. I have never met a furry online or in real life that was not disturbing to other non-furries. Feel free to explain yourself if you're out there.

And to anyone who does not have the pleasure of knowing what a furry is. Basically, people who enjoy anthropomorphic animals to the point where they will dress up as them (i.e. fursuits) and engage in adult activities in said apparel. I understand that this is a very broad generalization of them but I'm not willing to go deep into the various subcultures and genres.

Long story short: Every furry I've met and heard of has been a deviant both socially and mentally.

Not posting pictures of furries. Not on my blog.

So Jason clearly has some issues that may or may not be related to him being a furry. Either way, he's a pain and lately he's been randomly missing classes much to the delight of the class.

I just hope he stops soon. It's not a big issue but after many classes of the same nonsense it starts to get to you. It's always the little things in life eh?

Friday, 26 October 2012

I am Alive

Sometimes I don't know how I manage to survive. During exam weeks I've been known to eat one meal a day and sleep 5 hours (at most) a night. It's by no means a healthy lifestyle, and I do not recommend it to anyone who wants to live past the age of 40. But it's just this habit I've fallen into and I'm too stupid engrained in it to stop.

That being said, I can return back to normal now that all my midterms have been completed.

Hahahaha, not really.

What was really bad was that I didn't start seriously studying for my Cognitive psychology midterm until 2 days beforehand. That's never a good thing to do. It adds additional stress and the chances of you remembering anything are greatly reduced.

And yet somehow I felt that that exam was the easiest midterm I've written so far. I could have very well been delusional, maybe just cocky. Sleep deprivation does strange things to a person's mind. And not eating. Ok, being unhealthy in general does bad things to your brain.

And while we're on the topic of health, something is wrong with my lung or lungs. I don't know what, but it refuses to fully recover. I'm still feeling spasms of pain, random bouts of breathlessness. I mean, it's certainly less frequent than it was 2 weeks ago but it should be back to normal by now.

I really do hope it's just due to me not taking care of myself for the last little while. And I'm only admitting this on the blog because I know Theresa has exams herself and can't take the time to read any of my posts. Otherwise she'd drag me to the nearest emergency room. By the time you read this Dear everything will be all better.

Or I'll be dead. Either or.

Good timing. It's almost Halloween.

With exams out of the way I can actually start focusing a bit on my Slenderman costume for Halloween. I ordered some stuff but it still hasn't arrived yet so I'm a bit anxious.

Ok, end of blog post. I need some sleep before I pass out in my chair again. See everyone on Monday.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Status Report

Hello hello. Again, I apologize because I think this is the longest I've gone without commenting on another blog. And at this rate I'm going to continue breaking records until midterms are done. Actually, because of one midterm but we'll get to that in a moment.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me so far. Much appreciated.

Online friends are the best. I love you all.

In good news, my lung has (mostly) recovered I think. Just a brief case of things being worse than normal. I honestly can't tell if poor sleeping causes my lung to collapse or the collapsing of my lung taxes my body so much that I'm more tired than usual. Or maybe it's sudden waves of stress. That can causes both so let's just blame University.

Speaking of University. Midterms are slowly being written. Social Influences and Aging psychology has been done. I'm not sure if it's me but the midterms feel harder. I'm doing alright in them but I really want to be hitting A's and A-'s to increase my chances of getting into Speech Pathology. Conservation psychology DOES NOT have a midterm which I am so grateful for.

And then.

And then we have Cognitive psychology.

Yeah... I really, really, really wish I could have crammed a different Science course into my schedule because I am getting torn apart in this class. It's not that the prof is bad, he's enthusiastic, knows the material, he even wrote the textbook and gave it to us free online. Anyone who saves me a few hundred dollars is a friend of mine.

That being said, the material is still very dense, very hard to get through, and the weekly quizzes are kicking my butt. Let alone what the midterm will do to it. It's all written, no multiple choice. The last time I was required to write anything for an exam was years ago. All that training from High School is gone. I am not looking forward to writing a short essay on comparing the theories of how the brain may comprehend and understand the world.

I guess I shouldn't have assumed that a higher level Cognitive psychology course would be similar to the lower level ones. Or maybe I've been studying for this class all wrong. I know a girl in my class who is getting by quite well just by reading the notes. I've been doing the equivalent of slamming the textbook PDFs into my eyes until something breaks.

I still have a day to try and save myself. Wish me luck, I'll see everyone Friday.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Generic Midterm Post

I really do wish my life would be more interesting during midterm weeks. Would give me more to talk about and more time to do my blogging round.

I seriously have just sat on my butt and stared at a computer screen and various notes for the weekend so far.

If something worth talking about happens by Tuesday, I'll do a post about that until then.

Don't worry, the thing most likely to kill me is sleep deprivation.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Well that went Downhill Quickly

It's not usual for me to have upbeat posts about myself on my blog. I try to remain realistic and skeptical about things in life, keeps me levelheaded. So while it was nice to have a semi-optimistic post last time, it's funny how fast things can change.

To start, I have a decent amount of school work in the upcoming weeks. Nothing too big, nothing too serious. Just some nicely spread out assignments and midterms. There's going to be some stress but it's nothing I can't handle, I'm used to this stuff.

But generally I find that it's not one big thing that kills us, it's many little things that constantly eat at us that eventually wear us down.

Where we are the potato chip and ants represent problems.

Such as my Mom getting in a car accident the other day.

Thankfully, she's fine. The passenger side of her car however, is not. Long story short, some idiot jaywalker caused my Mom to make a turn and an oncoming car collide into her car.

Unfortunately, this is still my Mom's fault.

This means that I no longer can use the spare car to drive to school and work. A 10 minute drive now becomes an hour and a half long bus ride so that means no more sleeping in for me. Also, this is Canada and that means it's already started snowing around these parts. But that's ok, I'm used to being sleep deprived and being cold. I'm a veteran student, I'm still young, nothing I can't handle.


If I wasn't sick already.

Yeah, I'm not sure how, but I think I've caught something. Which again, not too bad. On it's own, all I usually need is a good night's sleep to recover. Except I can't really sleep in anymore (no car) until the weekend and being out in the cold waiting for the bus is just going to make things worse. But this isn't even the worst part.

I think my lung has collapsed again.

I've been in denial for a while now but then again I've also been having trouble breathing for a while too. Like all the previous occurrences I was just sitting around when suddenly BAM, mild trouble breathing. The best way I can describe it is imagine having a lump in your throat, except now it's a lump in your chest. Thankfully it (usually) doesn't hurt but it's true that you never notice your lungs until something is wrong with them.

Easy for you to say.

Individually, these issues would be fine on their own. Together, they become problematic. I can't drive to go see a doctor at the moment, not without arousing worry from my parents. It's not like I have time to bus to see one either thanks to my school work. And busing would compromise my immune system even further, I really hope I'm just feeling cold and achy and not catching something.

And even if they found something wrong, I can't take time off anyways. I know the only thing they can do for me is more surgery. It took me 6 weeks to recover the last time I went, I can't do that if I want to have a chance at Speech and Language Pathology next year. The earliest I could possibly go is in May.

I can only power through this and hope my lung fixes itself like it usually does. It's a bit worse than usual so fingers crossed.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Midterms Round #2

You'd think that having all your courses crammed on two days would also mean a lot of overlapping exams and assignments. So imagine my surprise when everything is nicely spread out for me to do. It's pretty great, I really wasn't expecting this.

It means that this term is a lot of relaxing than the last one. And for all my regular readers who remember, it was kind of a nightmare near the end.

This term should hopefully be a piece of cake in comparison.

My assignments for Conservation and Social Influences psychology have been done in advance so no need to worry about those. There are papers for both of them however and I really should start working on them as soon as possible. They don't seem hard at all which is great, I'll just need to take a weekend off and power through them.

Social Influences is even nicer in that that paper is basically the final. And I am more than happy with writing one less final in December. The midterm for this class is this Thursday though, and I haven't touched my notes yet.

I'll read them later.

In the meantime, another Aging Psychology midterm is next week as well as a Cognitive Psychology one. I still haven't got the hang of the Cognitive Psych quizzes yet, but I think I'm finally noticing a trend. Hopefully I can start doing well on these things.

I also opted to do volunteer service for my Aging psych course instead of writing a paper. Investing 20 hours in community service seemed a lot better than writing. I ended up getting placed with a caregiver's society and what they want to do is expand their online influence. So I'll basically be helping them with blog posts.

Blogging as school work, who would have expected that?

I'm working, I promise.

Lastly, I've finally registered for the GRE. I'll be taking it at the end of November and it's a 4.5 hour long exam broken into multiple segments. It's just the general one which is good, I really don't want to relearn Physics, Chemistry, Biology, or Calculus. I'll begin hunting for study guides and what not after this last wave of midterms are done.

Oh, and some people were interested in where I got the My Little Pony figurines for Theresa. I originally wasn't going to share it (because I don't want her knowing how much they cost) but then I remembered she's too busy to read my blog anymore.

The person is called Krowzivitch and she does some very nice work. She has exploded in popularity however and if you don't grab a commission slot within the minute it opens you won't get in. Here's a sample of her work:

Alright, back to work. See you guys on Wednesday.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Happy Birthday Theresa!

It's time for another post about Theresa because it is her birthday tomorrow! Happy birthday to you Darling. I know you get easily embarrassed whenever I have a post dedicated to you on my blog but you've been too busy with Med school to even read my blog so it's all good.


I've been finding it more difficult to get her gifts as of late. Simply because I'm running out of creative ideas. I mean, I could go with the generic card, flowers, and a baked good but that's boring. Plus, she hates flowers except for lilacs. And lilacs have to be specially ordered in due to their short lifespan. I would know, I've gotten them before.

Either that or I've been duped and paid extra for nothing.

Why can't Theresa like something more generic like roses?

What I've resorted to then is custom unique gifts. I'm very fond of finding odd things online because I spend way too much time on the Internet. So when a writer on Reddit had a Kickstarter for his horror novel (Theresa loves horror novels even though it prevents her from sleeping) I immediately funded it. Penpal was successfully funded and if you want you probably could find the original story on Reddit if you don't want to buy a copy.

Theresa is also fond of My Little Pony. Now I'm not sure if anyone is aware but the toys released by Hasbro are kind of garbage. I guess it makes sense, these are for kids to throw around and get hidden under furniture and what not. Not to be put on display. So when I found someone who was making high quality resin models I jumped on as soon as possible. It was pricey, I'm not going to lie, but I think it was worth it just because it was unique.

And of course Theresa likes the nerdy one.

The last material gift I got her was a laptop cooler. Hers has been heating up nonstop and we haven't been able to play anything together lately. Well, I like to blame her laptop because blaming Med school is kind of irrational.

I'm hoping to take her somewhere nice for dinner on Saturday, but knowing her, she'll want to go grab tacos or McDonalds. Sweetheart, you're not 8 anymore, you're an adult and it's not proper to have Happy Meals on your birthday as an adult.

Oh wait, I've gotten her Happy Meals before.

. . . .

Screw it, I'll get her whatever she wants. It's her birthday, she calls the shots.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving!

We do things differently in Canada, I never understood why milk came in bags, why we're so polite or why we have Thanksgiving 1 month earlier than our American cousins. But we do, and nearly everyone got a long weekend. Didn't make a difference to me because I normally get Monday off anyways.

Having all your classes crammed on two days is pretty awesome.

Even if I am using my off-days to work at my part-time job.

Anyways, I hope everyone in Canada enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinners. And an early Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers. I'm not sure how things work in Europe, so Happy Thanksgiving to you guys too?

For all 3 days all the relatives that I had in the city came together and we had dinner at someone's house. The only problem I had was that there wasn't any pumpkin pie. I love pumpkin pie, I'm not even sure why I like it so much.

Maybe I'll just run out and buy one for myself to inhale.


Anyways, it's a holiday so short post. See you guys on Thursday. Eat lots everyone.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Speech and Language Pathology

I've alluded to the Master's program that I've been eying for a while, and now that I've done a bit of looking into it, I think I can talk about it with a bit of confidence. I'm going to be trying to get into Speech and Language Pathology (as if the title of this post wasn't a dead giveaway).

It's a type of medical therapy and I basically help people with speaking problems. This can range from kids with mental or medical problems, or people who have suffered brain injuries in accidents.

I'm a type of doctor right?

To be honest, I'm really not too picky with what I do. As long as I'm helping someone and it's somehow related to Psychology. I originally got the suggestion from a fellow Psych classmate to enter the field and decided to go to a recent conference held by the department to get a better idea of what it was like.

First thing I notice, there is A LOT of women in Speech Pathology. I mean, there are a lot of women in Psychology to begin with, but it's even disproportionate there. Also, very few Asians. Though it could possibly be because maybe male/Asian speech pathologists don't like conferences? Either way, there was about 100 people there, a dozen males and a dozen Asians.

And only one Asian male, yours truly.

I was there mostly to figure out what I needed to have done in order to get into the program next Fall. First off, I need to do the GRE or Graduate Record Examination. It's a standard test for anyone wanting to get into Graduate studies in many English speaking areas. I'm only required to do the standard one but I've heard a lot of horror stories about the exam in general so not looking forward to that.

I'm also going to need to take Linguistics in the Winter, also haven't heard that many great stories about Linguistics. So fun times with that as well. I didn't think I'd have to keep taking courses after I had gotten my degree but what do I know?

Time to buy more of these.

That is assuming that I get in of course. There were a lot of people at that conference and it's hard to say how many were people trying to get into the program. I'd estimate maybe half of them? There are only 40 spots open a term and it's fairly competitive.

Apparently the minimum GPA requirement changes each year (depending on the students that apply and what not) but last year the minimum was 3.7. I'm sitting at a 3.3, maybe a 3.4? I'm hoping to use the grades from the next two terms to bump it up.

Or maybe they'll let me in because I'm technically a minority in this program. Yay for being the rare Asian male.

If anyone has any suggestions or helpful tips that be great. I think TriGirl is also a Speech Pathologist? And I am vaguely aware of other Bloggers off getting their Masters.

I hope I get in, it be nice having some form of direction once again.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

FTL: This Game is Incredible

Today I'd like to talk about a success story from Kickstarter. Basically for those who haven't heard of it, Kickstarter is one of the better known crowd funding sites. Here, people promote their product and ask for donations so that they can successfully fund their projects. Without Kickstarter, many smaller, independently owned companies and groups would not have been able to see their ideas come to fruition. A good example would be Brian and Brandon's book.

Another would be the game Faster Than Light.

The game revolves you, your crew and your ship. The Galactic Federation has been all but destroyed by Rebels but you have critical data that can defeat them. Somehow, you have to jump across enough sectors using your faster than light warp drive to deliver this data in one piece.

And this is all while the Rebel fleet is right behind you, trying to catch up and stop you. Each sector contains an exit that will allow you to jump to the next sector, and every sector is broken up by various waypoints which your ship can jump between.

Everytime you play the sectors are randomly generated so it's a new and unique experience each time. 

Sound simple so far? Here's where it gets tricky.

Here we go...

I know I have several Sci-Fi fans, people who loved shows like Firefly, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica. Who's ever wanted to command their own crew? Yell at someone to fix the engines because a volley of enemy missiles have damaged them. Meanwhile you divert power to the shields to protect the ship but intruders have boarded so you need to to stop them too. You target your own lasers to destroy the enemy weapon's array but by now the boarding party has already destroyed the oxygen generators (causing your crew to slowly asphyxiate).

At least someone is extinguishing the fire in the medbay.

FTL lets you do all that and more. Every possible function and upgrade in a starship is available to you. Every system of your ship requires power to work, upgrading a system means it needs more power and with limited power you have to balance and make sacrifices to survive. I play extremely defensively, maxing out my shields, grabbing cloaking abilities, and using weaponry that disable enemy systems. My friend prefers to max out on offensive weapons, destroy your enemy before he touches you. I've see other people use automated drones or send their own crew to infiltrate other ships.

Every waypoint you travel to has a chance of an event happening. It can range from a simple automated Rebel scout attacking you, to answering a distress signal, or entering an asteroid field with Pirates waiting. And you could just decide to run away from a fight, sometimes distress signals are traps, and maybe the Pirates upon realizing it was a bad idea to attack you, beg for their lives. But it's up to you to spare them or not.

Every jump is random!

I'd recommend FTL to anyone with any interest in the Sci-fi genre. It is not an easy game and it's not a forgiving game either. If any of your crew members die, it's permanent, shops and repairs are uncommon and who says you can afford their wares anyways? All it takes is one bad encounter to cripple your ship for the rest of the mission and if you die, you have to start over.

And you'll want to start over. Just one more time, maybe you'll be luckier, maybe you have a better idea of how to do things, or you could be just masochistic. Whatever your reason, FTL has additional unlockable ships, achievements, high score recordings and potential for modding. Available on PC, Mac and Linux for only $10 on Steam I thought it was well worth my money. I even ended up buying the soundtrack but that's because I liked the electronic music in it.