Monday, December 31, 2012

Raise your glasses (to the year that was)

It's New Year's Eve. We survived the "End of the World", Xmas madness, and now the next hurdle will be how many will feel like they'll ever survive the epic hangoverss that greet them in the morning...

In the merriment of ringing in a new year, a blank slate, a new beginning, I have to pause and think about what 2012 meant to me.

It's been a big year. A year where I made new friends, a year where things went up as fast as they went down, a year where I had new adventures and a year that when I look back on it, I think I learnt more than I ever thought possible. In fact, it's all happened in such a blur I'm not sure if it all really was just some kind of crazy dream, but then I pinch myself and realise, that well, I'm awake. Life really is short, and it seems to just get faster and faster.

So what was 2012?

2012 was the year of in the time it takes to blink everything can change. My opinions changed. The way people treated me changed, and most of all I changed. I expected to be unemployed right now but have finished my PhD. I didn't expect to be back in my hometown for years. Instead in the space of a couple of months I moved over 2000km, am now employed, but alas the thesis isn't finished (but it will be soon, I hope!)

2012 was the year I realised some people weren't meant to be my friend. I also realised that people who I considered friends, were in fact not my friends at all. That people who I thought were good, were in fact, not good at all. All in all, I learnt the hard way that assholes happen and that not everyone will like you, no matter how hard you try.

It was a year I learnt the power of my voice - that if I want to make a difference to the world, I can. It's hard work to make an impact, but I wish more people realised the power they hold as individuals, and that their dreams and goals are achievable.

I learnt the power of hard work, a kind word and how just being there for someone can make profound differences.

I saw the power science has to change the world - from the Higgs Boson, to landing on Mars to the ENCODE project I saw how science inspires others and how many people get excited by science. This has motivated me immensely to ensure to I share my passion and love of science with others.

I learnt that Rome wasn't built in a day.

2012 was a full-on year. A year of growth, of challenge, of living. It is amazing to think a year ago, there were people I talked to that now I don't, there were friendships to be made, there was knowledge I now have that I didn't then, and that I was living in a different town. A lot can happen in 365 days.

So before I ring in the New Year, and new challenges and adventures, I pause to look at the year that was and realise, that living is full of one thing - change; and even though at times I'm afraid of it, and it is hard, that at the end of the day I do welcome it. I also thank the people that in various ways have made 2012 awesome - there are those that make me laugh, made me cry, make me think, make me feel inspired and at the end of it all, made me who I am.

Happy New Year - may it be full of science, prosperity, adventure, living life to the fullest and most of all, full of wonderment.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Christmas Tale: "The Ginger Army"

'Twas the day before Christmas, and a mad scientist planned a feat,
to make gingerbread men that would rule the street.

She mixed up spices, butter and flour;
and let the mix stew for several hours.

While working to the chants
of Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, Jack White and Robert Plant,
she carefully crafted each and every one,
Rolled, cut and baked, second to none.

Next came the bones made of icing,
The army was cooled and ready for an uprising.

Along the way a few lost arms legs or heads,
but it didn't matter, for they would still fight to the end.

The mad scientist admired her army,
and giggled in delight at her plan to take over Christmas, however it was slightly barmy!

However the mad scientist realised, there was one key issue that would lead to defeat,
for chewy gingerbread were delicious to eat!

The army ran and hid,
however, there was one small problem - they were too numerous to fit under the lid.

The scientist had a thought - maybe it would be best
and give the plan for world domination a rest.

Instead, she decided, let the gingerbread by consumed,
and rule Christmas through good food.

So the ginger army has been shared and eaten
another Christmas treat that just can't be beaten!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Excuse the Tumbleweed...

Well, that certainly went fast. One day I'm planning on updating the blog, the next it's several months later...Seriously that is exactly how it has felt. I've always said you never know where science will take you, and the last few months have demonstrated that things can be flipped around in the space of not months or weeks, but days.

While I've been sparse on blog posts, I've certainly not been sparse in living.  I've seen some major changes in my life - I've moved interstate, taken up a new job and am now finishing my PhD part-time rather than it being all consuming.

I came across the opportunity to move back to near family, and in the world of science this can be rarity. In fact, I was thinking it would be 5 years or so before I could be within 'quick visit' distance of my family.  Despite not being completely finished with the thesis, the fact I may soon be out of money was at the forefront of my thoughts and I had been applying for jobs in the hope I landed something sooner rather than later.  In many regards when it comes to finishing a PhD you are damned if you are and damned if you don't. 

In order to be able to finish your PhD thesis and walk into a job at the right time is really down to luck - luck with timing, luck with funding, and to be able to continue working on exactly what you want is even another level of luck again.  However for the majority it's one way or the other - you continue to work on the thesis full time, submit and end up unemployed or you find a good job and finish writeup in your spare time; really it's stress about money or stress about writing up, there's no in-between.

I've managed to find a job in my hometown, and even better it's in something I want to be working on - I count myself amongst the lucky (especially in the current economic climate).  And best of all, I'm happy to say I really like the new job.
 However, the relocation, the farewells, the establishment of a routine where I'm making actual progress on the thesis - some things (like this blog) were pushed aside while I dealt with the perpetual whirlwind that seemed to consume the last few months.

 So with things now settling down, it's time to breathe some life back into this blog....welcome back to paradigm of one in (almost) 7 billion.