A Thirty-Something Flying Blind

Destination: ¯l_(ツ)_l¯


September 2015

M.A. & Ph.D. Music Mixes

Things have been busy as of late, but I will try to make up for it with some old music mixes. In particular, I made these mixes while working on my master’s thesis and my PhD dissertation.

First of all, I listen to music all the time when I work. It is an old habit from middle school and high school that persisted through the college years. Seriously, I bought my first ipod at the end of my sophomore year of college to save money on all the portable CD players I would wear out. Some people don’t get how I can read extensively or write papers with music (with lyrics) and still function. It works for me because it blocks out all external noise. The caveat is that it has to be music I know well so I can weirdly enough, tune it out. I’m weird, I know.

Anyways, on to the mixes!

I made the first mix in 2008-2009 in the months leading up to the submission of my master’s thesis. A graduate student a year ahead of me gave me the idea. For her classmates, she made a music mix dedicated to the Major Area Paper (essentially a mini-thesis due at the beginning of our second year), and she passed down the mix to my class. As a follow-up, I decided to make a mix for my classmates. I *think* my classmates liked it (or perhaps they said that they liked it to indulge my whims), but I know I listened to it a lot. I’ve posted the original version form in 8tracks and the slightly modified Spotify version (no Beatles in Spotify).

I made the second mix a few years later in 2012. I have not shared this mix as it was a personal mix at the time. I made it in Spotify, and it slowly took shape and changed as I listened to it. I actually lost a couple of songs that left Spotify over the years, so I made a YouTube playlist with the original version and I listed the changes. Of course, I made this mix longer as it was for my PhD dissertation (37 songs rather than 19 songs). I also did not want to use the same songs from the thesis mix. With Spotify, the mix became more eclectic than the first mix.

Like most of my mixes, they are designed to be played in order; however, I can’t stop you from using that shuffle button. 😉  Anyways, I hope you enjoy!

Minor edit:  Apparently the old songs appear in the embedded Spotify, but don’t play. Also, the reason you see two copies of The Clash is that one version stopped working so I replaced it with another. Only one song should play though.

Thesis Mix

Dissertation Mix 

Original & complete version:  YouTube playlist

Changed Songs

I had Alex Vargas’s cover of “More”, but I substituted the Usher version available (still not the original, but a remix).

Omitted Songs

After Eve 6, Mark B & Blade “Ya Don’t See The Signs”

After P.O.D., Joanna Pacitti “Watch Me Shine” (I think I watched Legally Blonde one too many times)


Woolly Sheep: Australia vs. New Zealand

One thing I learned while living in Australia and during my visit to New Zealand is that there is a bit of a (mostly friendly) rivalry between these two countries. It is understandable–they are both former British colonies that share a lot in common, but each country still has its unique history and national pride. This nationalism commonly presents itself in national rugby and cricket matches, but it is also expressed in everyday banter between countries (e.g., I heard Australia referred to as the “West Island” as a joke in NZ, among other things). New Zealand is the smaller of the two countries in terms of size and population (around 4.6 million in NZ and 24 million in Australia). As such it seemed to me that Kiwis dislike being called Aussies by mistake, just as Canadians dislike being confused for Americans. This issue of mistaken identity carries over to their similar flags, which is why New Zealand will vote whether or not to change their flag (follow-up here).

But for the love of God, do not get in the middle of the debate of which country made the awesomeness that is pavlova. Just don’t do it.

After this week, I think this rivalry might take on a new form: overgrown woolly sheep.

First off, New Zealand, the country more well-known for its sheep. On my South Island tour, I did get a chance to visit a sheep farm, which was cool. En route, my tour guide told our group of the story of Shrek the sheep. Shrek was a sheep who alluded capture for six years. He was caught in 2004, and he was huge due to lack of shearing (27 kg of wool, or almost 60 lbs). This overly woolly sheep appears unnatural, but my guess is that sheep have been selectively bred to produce more and more wool under the assumption of regular shearing. He was sheared on live TV, and Shrek became an odd cultural hero in New Zealand (and his popularity raised a lot of money for charity). In 2006, they even flew Shrek the sheep by helicopter to an iceberg, and sheared him again on the iceberg. He even had obituaries when he died in 2011.

This week, Australia found its own woolly sheep. Chris the sheep was found this week near Canberra, barely able to walk due to his huge fleece. However, it appears that Chris’s wool was bigger than Shrek’s, coming in at 40 kg (88 lbs). I don’t think Chris has any other national engagements at the moment, but we’ll see. Still, I absolutely love the picture of the kangaroos looking at Chris with a total “WTF, mate” look.

Now obviously, this post is tongue-in-cheek. I obviously don’t think New Zealand, Australia, or anyone else should try to beat this record as it obviously causes the animal harm–when a sheep can barely walk because of the wool, that is really, really bad. Both cases were accidental. Still, this news was a little bizarre for me. I just learned about Shrek a couple of months ago, and I now have seen the same thing again in Australia. Just another bizarre connection between these two rival countries. Only in Australia and New Zealand.

The Hemisphere Swirl: Clockwise vs. Counter-clockwise?

I love educational videos on YouTube (yes, I am a nerd). Sure, YouTube has its share of cat videos and other random crap, but there is also some awesome content out there if you know where to look. And some videos have educational and fun topics, such as…

Do toilets (or drains) swirl differently in the northern and southern hemispheres?

I’ve heard this question a few times, especially after I moved to Australia. A couple of science guys on YouTube took up the challenge and posted these videos a couple of months ago. One is from Destin at Smarter Every Day (aka, the nicest guy on YouTube–seriously), and the other is from Derek at Veritasium. The videos are meant to be played simultaneously–they synced them up with cues so the timing works well. I embedded both videos below so you can quickly click each of them and play them at the same time when instructed (just don’t go full screen). It is totally worth the effort.

Here we go….

Smarter Every Day


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