Silence is not an option!

Can’t get it out of my head is quite simply music.

I’m always listening – at breakfast (when I usually write my posts) walking to work, at work, walking home, after dinner, studying, driving, walking the dog, sleeping….

I’m always browsing the small number of CD shops we have in Adelaide, grazing through Spotify, sorry Pandora, for me it’s my favourite streaming service. ITunes Match means all my CDs are at my fingertips.

I have always been one to listen to a whole CD or artist collection but with streaming I am being seduced into Playlists. Spotify’s Radio Button is a great way to get variety when I need a short break from Springsteen, Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, The Beatles, Rick Wakeman. I can’t believe how much Rick Wakeman I listen too!

Silence is not an option for me.

Study – it’s a marathon not a sprint!

It’s a marathon not a sprint is a term often used when describing a challenge or task that covers a significant period of time. So for me I need to understand that embarking upon study is a long term activity which hopefully ends up with me achieving my goal of a PhD a few years from now. I can’t allow myself to get burnt out by going to hard to early.

My week is a packed with 4 days work a days annual leave to attend University and then the weekend with study packed in around some social activity. I’m glad I’m an early riser otherwise my bike riding would be going by the wayside.

This week has seen the submission of my first assignment only 4 more and an exam before 30 June. About 10,000 words by my calculation and heaven knows how many more journal articles and pages of text. It’s quite overwhelming.

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Study and what to listen too?

I have always studied and worked listening to music. It provides a background to block out other distractions and it’s a technique I have used since my school days.

My year 12 was completely dominated by Born to Run!

Through Uni, the first time, it was Dylan, Springsteen, Melanie, Supertramp, 10CC and so on.

When I completed my Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance in the early 2000s, it was a combination of old favourites Dylan, Springsteen, Rick Wakeman and newer music REM, White Stripes, Silverchair, and Muse. My children made sure I was listening to what was current as I would usually say I like that and then buy the complete collection – it was a good plan on their behalf! I also filled in a lot of gaps in my music collection across those 3 years.

I am back to study again and after a few weeks of late nights and full weekends with my head in a text book and searching the University library databases it’s all been with the headphones on. I started with the downloads of Springsteen’s Australia and new Zealand concerts, at about $10 per concert they are great value. But even as a Springsteen obsessive that isn’t going to be enough to sustain me. My iTunes library has also had a fair working over as has the recently released iTunes Radio, Spotify and to a lesser extent Pandora.

Whilst I like the concept of the Radio Buttons on iTunes, Spotify and Pandora they tend to see the same songs come up on the play list a little to regularly for me and they can be a little distracting. I prefer to listen to the whole album, the complete collection or whole concert rather than jump around. So apart from Springsteen and the Radio Buttons there has been a little Tori Amos, James Taylor, Carole King and this weekend Joni Mitchell.

As I was taking a break I started to think about what new music there might be to listen too. Surely I can’t sustain the next 2 years and beyond with music from my own youth!

Suggestions will be welcome!

It’s better to give than receive

We had dinner with a friend recently. Someone my wife and I see through my work. It was a fabulous dinner with maybe more wine than we should have consumed for a work night with an early start the next day, however it was fun.

Whilst much of our talk with our friend has been about where I’m at with my life, this time as the conversation and wine flowed we turned to where my wife was at with her life.

Too often this involves running around after our adult children. Bluntly she seems to be their unpaid PA! Whilst I know she is happy to take on that role it seems that she doesn’t have enough of her own time. That was a theme we discussed at length.

Through the conversation my wife talked about writing.

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Quite possibly the craziest thing I’ve ever done!

This wasn’t an impulse, but after a week if feels like about the craziest thing I’ve ever done.

Enrolling at Uni whilst still working fulltime seemed straight forward. I’ll use a days annual leave this semester and then revise my working arrangements for next semester. I can fit the other seminars in around lunch and that should work just fine. So I thought!

Week One and I’ve had a full day at Uni, finding my way around only after my daughter, a third year student, came to show me around. The Workshop was daunting, I couldn’t turn my computer on or save a file without help; that was before I even considered the Workshop content! Then the three hour Seminar – I was exhausted only to be go confronted with a large reading list. That was just Monday!

Then it’s been late home from work every night, followed by a work event every night bar Friday where I thought it would be good to spend time with my wife and daughter. After we’d had dinner it was just relax in front of the TV and a movie, Cast Away which I hadn’t seen for years.

At least now I’ve got a long weekend to do my Uni reading, write my monthly article for The Adelaide Review and catch up on some work.

It all seemed easy last year when I experimented putting Herminia Ibarra’s fabulous book, Working Identity into practice with a couple of undergrad subjects at Uni. The reality of commencing Honours with an eye to a PHD is quite different – this is serious in fact crazy.