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Vella Squares Up to Green Life Goblin


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Yay!  Magical beer!  I need that so much.


So my supervisor looked at my literature review today, and gave me feedback.

My feedback was "Excellent structure!!"

And also some stuff about "Just explain this term more, expand this section a bit"

And "You're right, you need to shoehorn some sources in.  Here, have two very short articles that you can use, by very good academics."



T-plus 12 days.

Today, I learned anew the shrieks of a piece of writing as it is disembowelled and stitched back together, into something ... else.  Something similar, but also something stronger, sleeker, with fewer extra body parts, miscellaneous organs, lacking dangling appendices and that odd thing on its left shoulder that you can't help but stare at.

I'm gonna be so glad when this is all done and I can get back into hardcore novel writing; this is driving me more than a little crazy.

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T-plus 11 days.

Today, I learned that there is nothing on this green, but mostly blue and occasionally brown earth that matches up to the dreams one has when one finally gets a full night's sleep (that is, waking up naturally, not to an alarm), but is still stressed out of their brain and on questionable eating habits.

If my subconscious is telling me something, I think the message might be that I consume too much pop culture, and that I need more cuddles than I am currently getting.

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I skipped a day, so here are two.


T-plus 10 days.

Today I listened to my boss tell me that it was good I had a day off class on Wednesday because it meant I could just take an hour or two off to print my thesis and send it in for binding, and work for the rest of the day.  And none of the awful things my brain told me to do or say to that person actually happened.


T-plus 9 days.

Today, my final revision is done, or will be soon, and I only have to write a conclusion to make this thesis a complete entity, requiring only spelling, grammar and formatting checks to be complete.

You guys, I might actually have a chance.


Also, today I realised that I'm about to say something I never thought I'd say.

I want a year off school.

For me, that's crazy talk.  I have never yet even seriously considered taking a year away from uni, gap year, deferred year, anything at all.  Part of me would still love nothing more than to dive straight into PhD.

But I'm 17 straight years into the education system, and a year off is looking very, very attractive.


I'd like a year where my work stays at work, and doesn't follow me home requesting proper MLA citations.

I'd like a year to read whatever books I want.

I'd like a year where I earn real money, and have the time and mental capacity to enjoy that, for once.

I'd like a year where a perfectly reasonable way to spend my weekend is get some writing done, see a friend for Saturday dinner, then spend Sunday playing video games, reading, and learning the harp again.

I'd like a year to pick up all the hobbies I've been neglecting.

I'd like a year where I don't have to drop my writing progress for essays or exams.

I'd really, really like a year where most of my day-to-day activities, and particularly my work, don't actually have any substantial effect on whether I'll actually achieve my life goals.


So that's it.  When I finish this thesis, I'm applying for PhD and then deferring.  I'm getting a job that doesn't even necessarily have to be full-time, it just has to cover my living costs and expenses, and I'm out.  Time to recharge the academic batteries, as well as the life ones because these last three months have been hellish.  Actually hellish.


I am just over a week out from sending this thesis in and I want off the ride.  This isn't fun anymore.

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Good call on Cowboy Bebop

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Level 2 Warforged Druid

STR: 2, DEX: 1, STA: 3, CON: 3, WIS: 2, CHA: 3

"If these people tell this story to their children as they sleep; then maybe someday they'll see a hero is just a man who knows he is free."

Good night and joy be to you all ~Jitters The. Clown

Current Challange: New Challenges Ahead!

Battle Log: Clowning around daily

Past Challenges: Leveling Up PvP Jump Rope Boss Continue? System Failure Systems Online Calling Rush Confirm Reset Select World Select Difficulty, Select Character, Repairs, Press Start, First Timer, Jump Rope PVP Challenge

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T-plus 6 days.

I have been more productive these past three days than in the last month combined.  I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the blind panic and the fact that I no longer give two shakes of a penguin's tail about sleep because there's less than a week left and so help me I can sleep once it's done, because I only need to put in the effort for a day or two at most.

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Bats ... I approve of your genius in making this, but I swear, if you ever make me feels that hard again.... :P


T-plus 5 days.  1.5 hours' sleep at most last night, 8.5 hour work day, no food between the 3am boiled eggs and an 8pm dinner, and everything needs to be done, final-final version, for tomorrow.


And I'd really like to have it done *before* 5am this time, pretty please.

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You got this, Vella.  

Level 2 Warforged Druid

STR: 2, DEX: 1, STA: 3, CON: 3, WIS: 2, CHA: 3

"If these people tell this story to their children as they sleep; then maybe someday they'll see a hero is just a man who knows he is free."

Good night and joy be to you all ~Jitters The. Clown

Current Challange: New Challenges Ahead!

Battle Log: Clowning around daily

Past Challenges: Leveling Up PvP Jump Rope Boss Continue? System Failure Systems Online Calling Rush Confirm Reset Select World Select Difficulty, Select Character, Repairs, Press Start, First Timer, Jump Rope PVP Challenge

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You guys you guys you guys.




The thesis is officially in at the Student Office.  My .pdf is e-mailed to my course convenor.


But hell if it hasn't been a ride to get here.


Yes, I also smell a story coming up.



It was Tuesday night.  I was bunkering down for a night of revisions.

And then I learned that there is one and only one thing that could possibly have made me stop my thesis.  There is one set of magical words that could have convinced me that my impending deadline of doom could wait.

"Pretty please, can you drive us to the hospital?"
Turned out nothing serious - or at least, nothing that wasn't an easy fix.  I feel like a bit of a heel for only dropping them off and then heading back home to study, but it all turned out OK in the end.  But it did take a good chunk out of my study for the evening.  I don't blame them.  I just applaud the universe's impeccable sense of timing.

Oh, and that sense of timing?  More on that in a minute.


So, on Thursday, my kind boss gave me the day off work so I could get my thesis done.

I had this whole list of stuff I needed to do on Wednesday night, because Tuesday night, while it was very productive, also involved 1.5 hours' sleep, after hospital shenanigans and all my revisions.  I got to midnight (for the record, 16 hours awake after that sleep measured in decimals).

Oh, by the way, in that 16 hours, I worked for 8.5

Because that's apparently how I do.

My coworkers knew to keep the coffee coming, like the lovely human beings they are.


Therefore, as you can imagine, I got to Wednesday night, and my to-do list looked like this:
Last mum comments

Supervisor comments




Plus a couple of other things, like "add paragraph to quote this particular source to shoehorn one more source into your meagre bibliography"


To my credit, by the end of Wednesday night, the list was down to referencing, formatting, and go through the last supervisor comments if I had time.

That, I thought, wouldn't take me too long. I'd get up at half past nine, get to work pretty much immediately, maybe after some breakfast.  Referencing should take an hour, max, then maybe an hour to go through all the comments, and I'll whip up some margins and be out of the house at 12pm.  Then I'd swing by the library or Officeworks to get it printed, then to the binders and we'd be all done!


You can tell by the rampant optimism in that paragraph that this is not what happened.

You see, Vella is an incredibly intelligent person, in general, and that is precisely why they decided to cite the article titles for articles from a particular book, and the authors ... but not the title of the book they were all in.

Which means I could not cite this book.

I spent two hours on Google on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, trying to find the title for this book, no dice.


But no biggie, right?  It had to be somewhere at the uni library - I could look up a few similar books and then look through the shelves till I found it, right?

I'd recognise the title, right?

Oh please let me find the title...


So Thursday morning, I started revising and re-referencing, and I have never been so frustrated.  See, past-Vella had this awful, terrible habit of, instead of referencing like a real human being, would put just the title, or just the author and then the page number.
Except past-Vella never actually put the page number, they would write p. [n], trusting future-Vella would have more time and energy to find the references past-Vella was too lazy to get.

Needless to say, at three hours till I needed to leave the house and get this thing bound?  Uh-uh. Nope.  Past-Vella was basically my least favourite person for the space of about 24 hours.


Past-Vella also drastically overestimated future-Vella's skills and speed at formatting.


So, at 2:15pm, after negotiating my "absolute" deadline forward for just over two hours, I finally left for the library.


When I walked into the library, I started to feel a lot better.  I went upstairs, pulled the book off the shelf, put my reference in, saved my thesis compulsively, and then made a decision.

Do I print it here, I thought, or go to Officeworks.

Thinking I had plenty of time till 5pm, when the binder's closed, I decided to go to Officeworks.


Now, the other thing past-Vella did not do was put their phone on to charge, so I walked out of the library, Google-Mapsed myself up an Officeworks, took note of the roads, double-checked that I had my USB with me, and got back in the car.


It was about when I completely missed my turn-off that I decided just to keep going to the other Officeworks because it was easier, to my tired, tired brain, than to find a way to turn around.

Unfortunately, I did not know exactly where the other Officeworks was.  That was fine, I thought.  I know where the big shopping bit in Belco is - it's got to be near there, so I'll just get there, Maps up the Officeworks again, and I'll be laughing.


So you can imagine the range of complex and multifaceted feelings that went through my head when I got to Belconnen and realised that my phone was completely dead.

See, usually my phone does this thing where it dies, but it has just enough battery in it that you can resurrect it for a one-minute-long emergency Google or text or something.

But not this day.


First thing I did was head down the main shopping strip towards the big shopping mall. Officeworks is a pretty distinctive colour, right? So I shouldn't have too much trouble spotting it.

It only takes about seven minutes to walk from that car park to the big shopping mall, but it felt like half an hour, particularly when there was no Officeworks to be found, and no Officeworks in the shopping mall complex, either.

Well, I know when I have to ask for directions, and lost in a shopping mall in a hurry with a looming deadline is one of those times.  I asked the person behind the counter of the nearest shop where the Officeworks was.

"Across that road, kind of diagonally," she said, pointing.

So, I went across that road, kind of diagonally, in the direction I was pointed in, until I got to a whole lot of nothing and also a car park.


In a last-ditch effort to save this thesis, I asked a passer-by for directions, and got a much more sensible "Right at the traffic lights and keep going till you see it, on the right hand side of the road."


Having found the Officeworks, and overcome the ensuing difficulty finding the correct door, I went in to get the thesis printed and as I did so realised that I did not know where the binder's was, beyond a very vague "Go down Northbourne until something, then turn left and something and VICTORY!!"

Thankfully, the Officeworks had two computers set up to connect to the Internet, for the use of customers waiting for things to be printed.


They were both out of order.


Never in my life have I felt so betrayed.


At any rate, I figured I still had a half hour to drive around - ten minutes from Belco back to Northbourne, and then maybe I'd follow the street signs or something?


In my second stroke of luck for that day, the turn-off to Mitchell was clearly marked in contrasting colours on the road sign, as was the next one, and the binder's was on that main road.

It was 5 to 5.  I parked nearby and got out of the car, desperately pleading with fate that I had remembered the website wrong and it actually closed at 5:30.

I approached the binder's, both hurrying because of nerves, and dreading the moment of arrival.


I was wrong.

I had misremembered the closing time.


It was actually 3pm.

















But!  It was open at 7am, so I took my precious thesis home, grabbed some stuff, went to a friend's house, and had dinner and anime.


Now, that night was when two realisations occurred to me.

The first was that when fixing that reference this morning, I had completely forgotten to put in the page numbers.

The second was that the front page of my thesis was lacking the "sub" part of "subgenre".


I flipped through the pages frantically, until I found the bibliography page, and glory of glories, because I'd put page numbers in my reference book, I'd filled those out in the bibliography, and thus did not need to add them that morning.

Which still left the title page.


I reprinted it, on a slightly different gsm paper to the rest of the thesis, and thought no more of it.


The next morning, I woke early, drove down, got my thesis to the binder and realised as I turned to leave that there was one striking difference between my thesis and that of the student's behind me, and that difference was that they'd remembered the little section on the title page that states that the thesis is submitted as part of an Honours degree and that it's all mine and all sources are referenced.

Which I need to sign in order to make the thesis valid.


But I had to get to work.  So I hatched a devious, harebrained scheme that would make everything OK, or at least less awful, and that plan was very nearly foiled by my car getting halfway to the grocery store on Saturday and springing a coolant leak.


My car is now named Moreau, after Jeff "Joker" Moreau - not very old yet, but done a helluva lot of miles, and tends to break easily.


An hour of waiting for the NRMA to come help, and another hour of waiting for the tow truck later, I decided I was very, very done with this week.


But wait!  There's more!  Because the mechanic's didn't open on Saturday after 4pm, or on Sunday, I couldn't talk to them about the car till Monday, which meant I couldn't use the car to get my thesis from the binder's and hand it in.


Luckily, my aunt and uncle are endlessly understanding and I was given the loan of a car for the afternoon, on the proviso that I absolutely must bring it back functioning and in the same number of pieces as it was to begin with.


But what of that signing page?

Well, you see, I hadn't any scissors with me at the time, nor any glue, so I purchased some from the University post office/stationery and emergency chocolate store, then went to the library and printed off some signing pages.


Now, I don't know about you folks, but I wasn't sure that the library was really the best place to be desecrating a thesis so blatantly, but there were no other options, so I took a cubicle-like desk, ripped the scissors out of their packet and started painstakingly cutting out the two paragraphs of the signing pages.


Now, I would like it to be known that the scissors, I'm pretty sure, were not actually made for uni students.  I'm frankly surprised they weren't safety scissors - you'd have to have the hands of a five-year-old to use those things comfortably.  I spent a good five minutes sitting there, cautiously shaving slivers of paper off with scissors that had trouble with the concept of cutting more than three inches in a line, to try and get a straight edge on this damned piece of paper, so I could paste it into my perfect, crisp, lovingly-bound thesis with a fluoro-yellow gluestick.


And that, my friends, is the story of how my thesis, despite being submitted on time (an hour early, even!) went from an intelligent discussion of genre theory as it applies to fantasy literature to a hate-and-sleep-deprivation-fuelled exercise in judiciously removing quotations so I didn't have to flip through that bloody book again, to a primary school arts-and-crafts project.


We'll find out whether it was worth it when I get my marks back.

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