DONE

DONE DONE DONE – After many many many years in school, I am done school. Its a hot hot day outside right now- there’s a heat warning and I have the AC inside cranked to the max because heat makes me panic; and I didnt want to panic with my freaking doctoral defense happening on freaking Zoom of all things today! But I am please to say I passed, with a need to edit some tenses. I can’t actually fathom this. It has not really hit me. But I think I have about 5 days to do these edits, then I am sending it to my faculty and applying for convocation. After two bachelors, a masters and a doctorate, I am now done with school. Like forever I think. I briefly thought about a post doc but I definitely do not want to do a post doc. I want to just learn at my own rhythm

Originally this was supposed to be a reflection blog post at the end of 2020, to reflect back on one hell of a terrible year and eventful year for everyone. And to some degree it will be a post about that- I gotta finish my captions for my photos I took down here; but there are a few other points I think I have to make in reflection.

The beginning of the 2020 year began with me doing a first review with my new supervisor- lots of apprehension came from me in wondering what their thoughts might be on my paper- as always my biggest fears of study design being torn apart were at the forefront; this didn’t come- yet. My second committee member came on and this is when the study design began to be dissected- right at the beginning of 2020; as I dealt with all the changes the pandemic brought, I also started to panic about my overall design and immediate catastrophic thoughts came to mind about my entire doctoral career being thrown into the wind. However, panics and reactions to comments came with reason after I spent more elbow work on the paper- a revision to the design came into place, and this seemed to make sense. My initial supervisor’s comments also came with promise- there were edits but they were doable. Edits always came with apprehension anytime they came in the email. But after my initial three committee members agreed with the final product, I began to have some light at the end of the tunnel. I actually prematurely bought some of the items I had intended to aware myself for completing my dissertation- in came a new body and lens (a99 mark II and 70-200 SEL f4 G).

The defense itself was an interesting affair- I got word in April and immediately blocked off 2 weeks to study for the exam- I knew that my line of work really prevented me from focusing entirely on the defense; this was challenging as I absolutely love the work I do, but I needed that time to myself; it was initially a difficult time figuring out my dissertation- it had been a significant time since I had thoroughly reviewed my paper in entirety. Most of my time had been spent on the latter papers as opposed to the initial chunk that came years ago when I had done my candidacy exam. But it came back quickly- time in the park outside reading the paper over and over again, making a fake mock presentation for the entire document to build real familiarity and reading every comment made by committee members was the initial week. The next week was frustration reading a really long document. Then work started again. But shortly after, I got a date!

The journey has been a really long one- I defended my masters in my initial month of my doctorate studies. It worked out fine, but it was a busy affair; course loads clashed with working hours and maintaining a student life while trying to have a personal life was challenging; it certainty delayed focus in school as I tried to build a career as well- I wanted to not wait until I was done school to get the ball rolling there. But I remember making real connections in my practicums and networking as hard as I could being worth it- I ended up starting my provisional hours earlier than planned- this was a huge boost to my drive, as I felt like I was finally starting my journey. While I was having the time of my life though, my dissertation work fell on the side- it would haunt me in my dreams, with monthly nightmares of walking into a classroom and an exam waiting for me that had entire textbooks unread and me in a very unprepared state. Eventually, it became critical for me to get my candidacy done so that I could get my internship hours completed for school; I was definitely very much focused on the clinical aspect of my career and less so on research. But I needed to get this done. I managed to pass the candidacy, and subsequently I made a decision to drop work- I just simply could not complete my research and maintain a clinical practice at the same level as I was doing; my hours dropped to nearly half the load I had been doing for years, but it was welcome. Research and analysis took a huge jump start. I really enjoyed my time here- spending my time away from work churning out data and reading papers and learning in general. I went to coffee shops and all my favorite haunts in undergrad that were reminiscent of my amazing undergrad years with friends. I spent time listening to music and doing work, something I sorely missed in clinic work. One of my best memories was getting my classes in summer completed to register as a provisional – I spent many hours in the Central Academic Building basement where I had much time in undergrad and high school eating lunch/reading notes in the hot summer, or in the bio sci building cafeteria where I felt it a bit quiet in summer with nobody really around. I remember reviewing the horrible JVC headphones that I thought would be like the MDR-1R (it was so bad I dont remember the name other than being related to essence- its actually called esnsy I think)

Anyways, the dissertation defense was intense. I knew there was nothing that came to mind that I should prep more for- I knew methodology would always be my greatest fear- it turned out to be much true today! The hardest questions for me were methodology. Because I am first a clinician and secondarily a researcher, the clinical questions I felt most comfortable with but I certainly felt my heart drop on methodology questions. But its done. I did do a round of Ring Fit Adventure prior to help calm my body as I could feel it building up- I have recently made a circuit that takes 10 minutes but can bring my heart rate to 170 BPM. Pretty stoked about that as a calming tool in my emotional tool kit.

The year 2020 ended recently- a fairly disruptive, awful overall year really. We took a walk through the legislature grounds on New Years because there were fewer things to do with COVID 19 rules and gathering restrictions- the gyms had been closed, outdoor gatherings were banned and indoor gatherings also banned. At least the Christmas lights looked really nice here. Highlights of 2020? Spending a lot more time with family and appreciating time when I do get to see family and friends. We spent a lot more time exploring our local neighbordhood and parks, using local businesses and avoiding big corp ones if possible, and I had a lot less time in the local second hand market. Instead I spent a lot of time hunting finds on kijiji and my local camera store’s used section. Lows of 2020? Being uncertain how business would flow, and continuing to do so, although my fears are not as much as when COVID happened; and primarily the biggest one for me- politics; I hated the politics this year. Whether it was politics at the government level in Can/US or the politics in science and medicine, it was quite unruly and disturbing and only compounded the frustrations with COVID. 2021 started off with a storming of the capitol in the US, so it didnt end with 2020.
Trying out the ultrawide 13mm lens on the iPhone 12 Pro Max- the three lens multi camera set up has been really fun to use on the iPhone 12 Pro Max- much more so than the dual lens set up on my previous iPhone 8 Plus – there is a real distinction in focal lengths, and the IQ seems to be better although I haven’t actually done a side by side- 13mm, 26mm and 65mm I think. I would have loved the extra length the other phones are putting out- I’m seeing 135mm and 240mm in some of the Huawei and Samsung flagships using periscope lens tech, but I’m definitely not going to Huawei with its lack of Google services support and also apparent possible sell off because they are struggling with the bans, and Samsung…well I don’t have too much against Samsung and their s21 Ultra but I just don’t want to use Android Wear anymore and the Apple Watch has me locked to Apple. Anyways, I do like this shot- this looks like a higher end compact shot to me, something I would have taken with my old Nikon P7700 maybe. It was a mild winter here to end off the year.
I picked up some additives to my a99 rig- vertical grip, 50mm Zeiss and f43m flash! Its a beast now with the additives on it and a substantial move away from the compact discrete convenience of the iPhone 12 Pro Max camera system. What I have really liked is the vertical grip brings the total system capacity to three batteries. Really solid, especially with winter and shooting in the cold. Its obviously much larger and heavier but now I am worried less of battery depletion in the cold. The vertical grip unfortunately is very plasticky, surprising for the price compared to the vertical mounts for e-mount versions which now are metal based. Its not a deal breaker, but I would have preferred a matching build quality to the a99 metal build. I do like the full button implementation- the a7 vertical mount barely replicates any of the buttons on the a7 body. Oh and the Zeiss comes with a plastic lens hood- not even like a hybrid metal plastic lens hood on the Zeiss e-mount lenses or a solid metal hood on the 85mm Zeiss. I’m quite surprised they did not provide a more premium hood for a lens of this caliber. Cost savings should not be on their premium line- you can see this with generic sony lens caps on their modern emount Zeiss lenses. Shame.
Managed to pull these off with open box sale prices. The Zeiss was one I was humming and hawing over the years- I have a 50mm F1.4 already which is a rebadged Minolta lens from their film era; its very small, well priced….and not that great with IQ. It really reflects the lack of resolution need in the film era- what I read and what seems to make sense, is that with film being much less sensitive than digital, it was more critical to have fast lenses than sharp lenses and this was a compromise shooters were fine with at the time of film era- i.e. looking at super fast lenses of yesteryear including the Canon 50mm f1.0, or even f1.2 which was a more modern interpretation, the resolution lags behind the modern RF equivalents. Perhaps reflecting modern technology, but also less of a need for such high resoloving ability. Anyways, the Sony rebadge shows this readily. The more modern SAL Zeiss has a faster AF system with SSM ability, and much larger size/price tag/build quality. I debated spending this much on another SAL lens vs getting the e-mount equiv, but I shoot A mount primarily first, and e-mount for fun. Down the road I will likely grab more e-mount lenses, but for now its not my main kit. The differences are obvious here with my old 50mm. Definitely very very neat with the better AF and IQ upgrade.
This happened. As alluded above, I did an upgrade- really really liking the upgrade. The overall body is similar to the 8 plus body but the screen adds a lot more real estate because of the smaller bezels. I am a fan of the blue color. The screen is a big upgrade to me- its a pain to use it being so big but its nice to have that much more space- OLED is also nice, although I think the 8 Plus was decent so its not as big compared to the OLED upgrade in my Asus Zenbook Duo Pro vs previous IPS or TN panels in my older laptops. Its the camera as I have noted above that makes the bigger difference. While its not as revolutionary image quality wise- you can see the water color noise smearing in low light compared to any large sensor camera. But having three distinct focal lengths with decent image quality that is with you always? super nice. I actually want to take pictures with it vs. what I felt with phone cameras before where I saw them for snaps when needed but not much else.
Playign Star Wars Squadrons with the new DLC B-Wing starfighter- a first in games (I think it was playable as a hack in an older Rogue Squardon game but super limited). I’m using the Asus as a console on TV to run this; so far its super slick.
Workouts have been weird in COVID- my gym shut down immediately in the pandemic, leading me to over train in stairs to compensate my lack of cardio since I didn’t train in outdoors during winter. Blowing my foot out as a result of that was fun, and has definitely shifted my workouts- I am no longer doing stairs as frequent. However, I did take up winter running as a result and that has been grand. Some really exciting times workoing out in this new challenge- I took a -45 C day to see how well I could muster it- I took my hand out once for five minutes and it was numb for 3 days. Insane. I am currently working on building my chest up to the NFL combine record – two plates at 55 reps. I dont have access to a gym right now, so benching is off for me, but single arm dumbbell floor press at 100 lbs I can get to 55 reps after doing 11 sets of 20 reps. I am excited to get there. My single arm shoulder workout above is also solid- 80 lbs at 12 sets of 16 reps.
I’ve been making more of an effort to eat clean in the last little while. Its been an off and on process but it adds on to my workouts and Ring Fit stuff to feel some degree of overall healthiness
Winter fun with friends and H- the weather permitted us to get together, which was a real blessing in the lockdowns during COVID. We also got hit by a winter squall so that was pretty unforgettable. With restrictions lifting and vaccinations coming in place this summer (second dosages just got announced today!) I’m quite optimistic about this summer.
I actually managed to find two antiques today for a bit of nostalgia- a sealed in box MDR-EX71SL in white, and a MDR-Q33LP in silver/blue; both of these headphones were significant memories for me- custmizing the colors in high school to suit my style that day or mood; and one of the first in ear monitors before they became mainstream and effectively killed off traditional ear buds. Of course the short cable also is reminiscent of the remotes I used to use with my MD players.
You can see the frost all over my balaclava up there; and all the layers I wore to run on the worst day of winter- I was pretty mad- I shrunk the wool sweater that I NEVER wore because it was not really my style until this year when it became a perfect winter running layer- but I threw it in the dryer. My elementary school winter jacket was a nice throw away winter running jacket- I didn’t want to have expensive running jackets ruined by constant washing and sweat. Really fun this winter to do this- so glad I picked it up this year- would not have happened without COVID actually- I would have stuck with treadmill running. I’m likely to still do it this winter, but I am also aiming to add spin cyclying to my cardio workouts and this might take hold of some of my time in winter.
Got real jealous of the new Zephyrus SE Duo Pro with a tilting screen for better viewing angles and additional fan intake for cooling. My Zenbook Pro Duo secondary screen is really hard to see but I do prefer having an OLED screen. The new S17 has the tilting part as a keyboard with fan intakes underneath. Really neat stuff, but my Zenbook is still killing it quite fine.

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