Cathartic release.

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Haven’t really let out a good cathartic blog in awhile.What has happened? I’ve been super busy the last few weeks and in a good way. Update- now in a bad way.

Updates- parenting- its harder than I thought it was- its ridiculously rewarding but its also ridiculously draining- the good thing is that I can relate more to my clients and understand where parenting distress can exacerbate existing problems. Its like I get to learn in the moment! The bad thing is that its stressful haha. Oh well. Every week we think we have an understanding of what our little pumpkin is doing, she throws a curveball and we get confused again. The good thing is that the more parenting books I read, the more comfortable I feel- luck of the draw is that I also feel better in my clinical work with my same age clients. The bad thing is that most of the time I still don’t know what my daughter wants.

The good thing is that I have been BURNING through my psychological textbooks to get a better foundation of my parenting and clinical framework. Definitely really impressed with myself here – I’ve straight up sent 5-6 textbooks to the reading grave in the last few weeks, so I’m feeling really good about that- what have I learned? Hmm…hard to say. I’m focusing more on synthesizing and incorporating information into my head, rather than rote memorization so its hard to say exactly what has been going on- it feels like I can only say small snippets of brunt facts, but my confidence in understanding my field seems stronger, as lame and flimsy as that sounds. Right now I have been focused on ADHD and executive functioning, while previously I had been looking at normal development in 0-3 year olds, as well as bullying. Also, I’ve updated my Sony Reader and I have a new Dr. Sears book in it- Sibling Rivalry. Really enjoyed his and Dr. Thompson’s ADD Book and looking forward to this one- if I can get to it with my ridiculous proposal edits in need of attention. Perhaps that’s the most frustrating thing- I feel like my time at this point clinically is far more valuable in reading rather than writing, but unfortunately school is here to throw that into the ground.

In terms of gains at work, I have managed to land a private practice clinic and am currently interviewing for a permanent spot at my internship clinic! So that’s been really good. It looks like there is really tough competition for this spot so I’m definitely a little worried. If I get it I would be definitely hyped up and happy- if not, I can think of a myriad of reasons why I didn’t, and I wouldn’t be too choked up, but definitely still choked up. It was also a good confidence booster in my clinical skills and self worth haha. I really felt I nailed my interviews down- primarily with knowledge of myself as a clinician and the clinical framework I work through. UPDATE- Alas I did not get the position- I was held back by being unable to be a full time employee because of the private practice work- oh well. The good news is that they have placed me in a mat leave temp spot, so I’m moving up from being an intern to a clinician level in terms of pay. I thought it was pretty clear when I asked the question in my work what would change if I got this position and they said nothing would change. I’m doing the work of a regular clinician- so at least I have that pay change to reflect it. Just not the job security. Its bittersweet to be honest. While I understand why I didn’t get the position, a bit of me always feels like its personal. I know its not, but it’s a bit of a blow to my self worth when I don’t achieve. The sweet part is moving up at least- while a temp spot is not great security wise, its definitely better than my indefinite stay as an intern well after my funding has run out and I’ve been magically floating along. We will see in a couple months how this all pans out. Its hard for me to get over the bitter part though- while I won’t know all the reasons why I didn’t get it, I struggle with the fact that I feel like I deserved it. I gotta admit, watching them announce the winner of the job competition was really tough to swallow. L Gotta keep working at it I guess.

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My proposal finally got freaking approved by my methods person in my doctoral committee. I cannot say how frustrating this is- I remember reading a former prof’s recommended advice for prospective students and one of them was simply tenacity in spite of everything thrown at you as a Ph.D. student. This definitely feels like a long and drawn out affair. The good thing is that my research in the field is clinically applicable in the line of work that I do, so that’s really nice- it doesn’t feel like I am totally all over the map- just have to reflect on the connections with my line of work. AND before I even got to post this, its over. Got another email from another committee member saying that there is need for massive overhaul. Not going to lie- I feel like quitting at this point. Its been such an incredibly frustrating ride. I honestly feel like I have a communication disorder- my written expression is just that shitty that I cannot convey the breadth and depth of the ideas that seem to flow so smoothly out of my oral expression. I’m seriously choked and this just sucks. So much back and forth. So much going in a circle. I suppose a PhD shouldn’t come easy- I just never thought I would be harpooned by writing efficacy rather than ideas. Of course, ideas are also an issue. Sigh. I suppose that I am writing this that in hopes that years later, I will reflect back on this post and go HAHAHAHA I’m DONE IN THIS MOTHER!D#@@#~!. That’s the way it usually goes- I’ve survived far worse than a critique on my writing, and I’m still here to reflect on those rainy days. This just seems….like its raining razor blades and salted lemon juice to make the cuts extra painful. I don’t think I’m in a despair mode, but I’m close. The good thing is that I have a great family to keep me afloat despite this gong show. I think PhD Comics sums up my 2015-16 school term exactly to a tee so far. FML. I know that strength is being able to handle adversity and not how far you have come, but damn it I wouldn’t mind it if the adversity could tone it down a bit. That’s the spice of life though I guess. Without adversity, life would be dull. It certainly doesn’t feel dull right now!

TAing is coming down to an end for me – a really fizzled out affair to be honest- it got hairy at times, with late nights at the clinic but nothing like what I experienced as a student watching the TAs go through my protocol marking. I definitely felt I learned a lot this term- partly with psychological assessment and particularly with management skills with people. I’m a little bit sad I won’t likely have time for this line of work next term, as I shift to private practice, but I’ve also heard its going to blow up in workload so I guess that’s a good thing. Its also a bit sad for me in the clinic- I always felt like it was living out my dorm life again- having friends around all the time every day. As a TA, that really didn’t come back for me- the best years were probably in my masters rather than my doctoral work – tight cohort, hanging out, freaking out, all together.

DSC08387 (2)I’ve been out running outside the last few weeks and it has been pretty fantastic- the sunny weather and outdoor trails have been really amazing and satisfying. Particularly the stairs again. I’ve been getting crazy pumped about the warm spring air and sun burning as I get my sweat on.  The hard part to be honest is not the running and stairs- it’s the worry that I will be reinjuring my foot. I have done three runs in my new Nike Air Max’s and they are really solid- you can really tell the difference in support with old and new runners. The nice thing is that I can now cycle them a bit so I don’t wear them down as fast- once the air leaks out, theres a complete lack of support and they really feel crappy after that. I nabbed them at an incredibly low price- like half off the clearance price I usually get my Air Maxs at the outlet store so happy for that. Love the bright electric yellow too. Its not the usual style I get but I’m digging it regardless- especially the black and yellow contrast.  DSC08388

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I’ve managed to snag some really awesome jewels on the used market again- this time it comes through Lenovo- managed to get a mint condition X301 for hella cheap- this was the second generation Windows answer to the MacBook Air back in the day- obviously that makes this hella old- in order to get it this thin without a giant heatsink in the pre-Haswell efficient days, they took an ultra low voltage CPU so it runs slower than usual notebook CPUs. The good thing is that with an SSD already built in and a decent chunk of RAM, it runs just fine- I’m excited to review this unit, as its just a tank in feel, exactly the machine that I like. One thing I’ve been disappointed about, although I already knew about this, is the screen technology. The resolution is pretty decent for its time (1440×900) but the TN panel is awful. Quite limited viewing angles, even for a TN panel. Colors are also washed out and meh looking, and the screen brightness could use a jump start- despite the anti-glare coating, it basically dies in the sun because it can’t overcome the sheer brightness of the ambient light. I’ve had meh TN panels, but this is pretty awful. I know Thinkpads at the time were meant for productivity and not media consumption, but I bet anybody willing the pay the original MSRP (close to 3 grand CDN!) at the time would have cared about a panel that actually looked good. Even word documents and powerpoints would have benefited from a better panel, so I don’t think the productivity only argument makes sense to skimp on the screen. Considering that Apple had been making high quality TN panels for years prior to this, it really should have been in place for a flagship machine. Finally, I absolutely love the rigidity of the overall machine and the typing experience. Its an absolute blast to churn our long documents on this.

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Also managed to pick up a camcorder, a real one this time. I say real, because the only other camcorder I have owned was a bizarre discman shaped gadget, the DCR-DVD7, that never got real good use from me because it was so darned awkward to use and clunky in handling. The Sony HDR-XR200V is a good jump for me to a full HD (wow is this 2004?!) res video in a much better handling body- while smartphones can do video recording, they just can’t emulate the video experience from a pure camcorder. So far I have really enjoyed having a dedicated device to have all my movies in- the shooting experience is also a lot better than any other video recording device I have used so that’s awesome too.

DSC08393I love that it has GPS. I have no idea when I would ever use it.

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Finally, I bit the bullet and ponied up for a VAIO Pro 13 in not mint condition- most of it is in good shape but there are a few oddball damages that I can’t understand how the previous owner had happen. ITS FREAKING INSANE how much lighter and thinner this is- I am not a proponent usually for thinner lighter, because so manay compromises usually happen, but it really is mind blowing to me to feel this thing- its 20% lighter than the 13 inch Macbook Air, but has a touchscreen. Theres only a few computers even now 3 years later that can match that. What really blew my mind is that the Core M processor in the Macbook 2015 is equivalent to the 4200u in the VAIO Pro 13 and Duo 13- really impressive how much Intel has shrunk the needs of the same processing power in that amount of time (the Core M is a fanless design! And gives a ridiculous amount of chassis space for battery). Anyways, also really neat to see and honestly a bit of excitement for me to now have two of Sony’s best offerings from that generation. One thing that I have noticed is that this thing is ridiculously flimsy in feel. It’s a common complaint about VAIOs that they are very flexible compared to their similar (sometimes cheaper) priced Mac brethren. Comapred to the Macbook Air series, you simply cannot just pick up the corner of this laptop and feel safe. The unibody metal construction of the Mac just kills the flexible nature of the VAIO. Especially concerning is that this is in the body and not just the screen where the complaint usually points out. I’ll dig more into this when I review it, but it certainly is an eye opener.

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Finally, I’ve been really impressed with VAIO’s spread in their US line up. For a company that is coming from such a dramatic change, its got a sweet line up that I hope is doing alright. They certainly have upped the pricing- whereas before, prices seemed to have dropped to more reasonable Ultrabook levels (i.e. the Pro 13 vs. 2012 Z costs), VAIO seems to have pushed it back to the extravagant price range again- this matches their push to get the premium market and avoid the low/middle end altogether. I’m particularly interested in the VAIO S – it’s the update to the Pro 13 and offers a slight decrease in weight, and an increase in ports- an extra USB, VGA and LAN. Not bad for an already ridiculously crazy laptop design. I’m a little disappointed in the VAIO Z Flip- its quite similar to the previous Flip line – while that wasn’t bad, it wasn’t marketed as a premium line up, more of a midrange one. I would have liked to see added incentive here like dedicated mid range GPUs (the Flip 15 was available with a Nvidia 735m but I would like to see more given the premium push).

DSC08386I really love the design language- lots of angles to distinguish it from the Macbook Air Has beens. Its so ridiculously thin and light. Very impressed by the engineering here.

DSC08384DSC08376Also had lunch at the local Japanese restaurant and had a really solid, if not unexciting chirashi bowl- really should have gotten a traditional bento box and had more items to choose from- definitely prefer variety over just pure sashimi. The raw squid was heavenly though! Haven’t had that ever I think.

 

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