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The Ramblings of Mal de Nic
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in 2008 God of Vice's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, May 27th, 2010
3:52 am
Upon life
So, I haven't said much lately, for I haven't had much to say. Or rather I have felt my life too boring to speak of. Though, before that I was mostly tweeting rather than ljing anyway. And now I find myself at the point that twitter doesn't really suit any more either. If only there was some new social media bandwagon to jump upon :P

Anyway, I felt I should say some things. Not that it is that important to say them, but, I don't know, perhaps people would like to know what I do other than nothing, and for my life not to be some empty void. I find myself keeping on saying "Nothing much" when people ask me what I have been doing, which isn't particularly positive on my part. It is hard to be optimistic when you think you aren't doing much. But I have been doing a few things.

Firstly, I actually got a real job. Though perhaps it isn't really a real job, since I only do it once a week (not out of choice, but rather because they only have one shift for me). Also, it isn't really that impressive a thing, since it is the kind of casual job that I could have been doing during uni, and I probably should have been doing something back then. But we cannot change the past.

Anyway, with all that disclaimer out of the way, for the last few weeks I have been working as a theatre orderly at Attadale Private Hospital. In theory my job is about transporting patients to and from theatre, but mostly it involves emptying bins and mopping floors. The shifts vary in length, depending on operating lists, eg. yesterday I worked a full day 0730-1800, but next week I only am working an afternoon. Whilst I wouldn't call it highly exciting, it is surprisingly rewarding, since I feel that I am actually being useful. The nurses show appreciation for my help with things, and the patients appreciate their treatment. It makes me feel more human, and less empty. I guess my role is sort of shielded from the problems/drama/tragedies/whatever that the nurses have to deal with, and I exist in blissful ignorance of things that are going on within other parts of the hospital. Also, it is a quiet, small hospital, 38 beds I think, that mostly does maternity and day-surgery, and I haven't seen anything other than obstetric, gynaecological, and urological cases. So there isn't really as much possibility for tragedy as there might be in other places. Though maybe I will witness some sad event at some point, for now it has only been nice experiences.

As I said, it makes me feel more human, and my experiences so far have reminded me of how I can be a nice, friendly person, rather than the grumpy, antisocial loner that I am used to seeing myself as. On my first day in this job, I was struck by the realisation that I was experiencing a sort of engagement/passion that I had forgotten I could have about work. It was something that I used to have about school, both in my learning and in my achievements, before I became disenchanted and disheartened at some point in the journey (I guess somewhere in year 11 or 12). Another realisation, on reflection, is that my experiences in this job have sort of confirmed for me that I'm not really suited to medicine, as I feel have too little sympathy, and too much empathy: I don't care about people as much as I get emotionally moved by them. It seems to me that doctors and nurses would need to care a lot about the well-being of patients, but not get too emotionally attached or involved in the situation, but perhaps I am wrong in regards to this assumption? Though perhaps I sell myself short on the sympathy side, I mean it isn't as if I don't care at all, I do try to make patients comfortable etc.

In any case I feel that this job is a positive thing in many ways. For a while this year I felt useless. I'd feel that I should really go and find a job, but then I wouldn't feel that I was really qualified or experienced enough to do anything. I found myself endlessly feeling that if I were an employer, I wouldn't hire me, and so how could I expect anyone to want me to do a job when there would, no doubt, be people better suited to do it. This lead to spiralling lack of confidence and self-esteem, and after unsuccessfully applying for a few things (mostly simple lab jobs that I didn't really want that much, but that I thought "well, I don't know what I can do really, but I have a chemistry degree so I guess I might be qualified for something like that", and each failure leading to even less confidence about the next application) I got into a depressive rut where the only point to my life was the occasional social event or party. I'd talk to people, but I wouldn't really feel I had anything really to say about myself, and didn't feel like people should respect me, and I didn't feel like I had anything to recommend myself to new people. I was the spoiled rich kid who'd done nothing with his life, and everyone knew that.

Thus it is good to have something to feel useful and worthwhile about. Even if it isn't really that big or amazing a thing, it is something at least. Some small thing that means that I am not doing nothing. Hopefully now I will have something I can build on, something that will allow me to say "Well, I was capable of working productively at this, and I interacted well with the staff and patients, so therefore I feel that I can do similarly well in position X that I am applying for." And maybe I will be able to find some other job to allow me to use up more of my time doing productive things. As it is right now, I don't really feel that working one day a week entitles me to say that I am working when someone asks me what I am doing with my life.

Another thing I am doing, though I haven't done that much work on it yet, is that my aunty has asked me to write the booklet for the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Veneto Bocce Club, of which my uncle is the current president. I said yes to this, knowing that it would probably force me to do something outside of my comfort zone, since I essentially have to interview a lot of strangers about the history of the club. It is somewhat daunting to turn up to the club, seeing only a few familiar faces, and having lost all the Italian I learned in high-school (which wasn't a lot in the first place). Not that that really matters in terms of talking to people, since nearly everyone is fluent in English, but there is a lot of Italian being spoken between everyone, especially during lunch and dinner, which intensifies my feeling of being an outsider. But at least I understand some of the jokes, and I can appreciate the playful teasing that occurs between people from different regions. The people are nice, and not as scary as they first seem, and there is a certain impressiveness to them, all these stocky men and women with massive, strong hands, and weather-worn faces, that gather in a building that they built with their own labour. There is a confidence and strength of character to most of them, which makes sense since that kind of person seems more likely to be one to choose to leave their country in search of a better life, and it is a warm feeling to feel respected by such people. In some ways I feel more welcome around them than I do around people more like myself (though I guess that isn't surprising since I'm not that welcoming a person :P).

As to the rest of my life currently, it is nice to be relaxed and less anxious, to not be stressed about assignments or exams.
Friday, December 25th, 2009
1:21 am
Friday, November 6th, 2009
8:13 pm
Tell me if this is silly
And, using a silly usericon, here we go.

Since I an unlearned in the arts of computer design, it seems that I can only learn from mistakes. I don't really know how exactly to decipher product names, so I have made (perhaps incorrect) assumptions. As I point out to people in regard to a lot of things, it isn't that I can't work out what has the best of a trait, but rather my problem is usually that I don't know what traits I should optimise.

Prices are VTech / PLE / Foxcomp's "Regular Price"/Online just for comparison's sake :P These three were chosen due to TRS telling me that VTech were a good choice for someone to make it, since they would test it before delivery, Craig is strongly in favour of buying in person from PLE, and some Fresher was boasting about parts he was buying from Foxcomp :P

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Gogo gadget internet people to tell me how wrong I am! :P
Thursday, October 1st, 2009
10:24 pm
On a somewhat related note, and again I may have posted re. this before
I should probably get a new computer organised before/soon-after I finish honours, since then I shall have to give this laptop back.

In other news, thesis is due in a little bit over 2 weeks.

But anyway, I've been being lazy all year regarding getting around to getting a computer to replace my old one that died (perhaps this is a good thing :P), and since it won't just appear in front of me, I should do something.

So, the options seem to be:
Get a Dell/whatever
or buy parts / get someone else to buy parts and put them together

Since I know little to do with such things, I don't really know what I need (or want for that matter). I have been told, by someone I can't remember, maybe Chas or Rowan, to just go to http://www.overclockers.com.au/wiki/Gaming_Machine and buy whatever that says. Whether that is a good idea or not, I don't know.

Essentially what I want is to be able to play the games I like playing, and to play the games that I will like to be playing in the future. Currently the most graphically intensive game I own is probably Empire:TW, and I don't really like FPS, so I won't be playing Crysis at any point. But I certainly wouldn't mind shiny graphics and speed.

Anyway, I can spend up to $3000, though I'm not sure I'd want to spend that much, and I know enough to know I certainly don't need to spend that much. I also need to buy monitor/s, since I don't have any. Ideally I'd like some sort of setup that allows me to have multiple things visible at once, eg. IM/browser and game, or multiple EVE clients :P, but I can live without that, I have lived without that all my life.

But I guess what I want most is to not feel I have wasted money, which I guess means that the best option would be to not buy a computer at all. But we all have our flaws.
9:40 pm
Some Screen Caps out of interest
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First two are from Crusader Kings, which, as a EUII engine game has worse graphics than the EUIII and EU:R images that follow them.

In order from the top they are:
Duncan's character sheet showing how many Dukes (blue ribbons around portrait) he has as vassals.
The inbuilt bride-finder, for not all of your bride-finding needs (doesn't tell you if she is an heiress!).
I renamed the Azores 'Pimpland', the province produces Naval Goods.
The Black-Sea-hugging Rhoxolani chiefdom at it's greatest expanse during a game I was playing last year.
8:19 pm
A gaming Paradox
I'm sure I've already posted about this before, but I thought I should write a new post with my newfound experience.

Of late my main form of computer-procrastination has been playing Paradox Interactive games. Paradox are a company that seem rather cool*, and apart from their own games (now including Majesty 2) they also publish cool things like Mount and Blade. Since people have asked me about the games they've seen me play, and since I now own a title of every series of 'Europa Universalis'-style games, I thought I should write a little something about these "Pausable RTS" games of theirs.

I could go through an exhaustive list of differences between the games, that would be boring. A short summary of the games I own would be thus:
Europa Universalis: Rome 280-27BC Was a simple-ish (compared to other games in the series) empire macro-management, but a recent expansion has significantly increased the role of internal politics. Has the least fans, but seems the most approachable of the games due to its smaller scale.
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You can play any nation in the games (except Muslims and the Pope in CK), and save files are essentially just information on the world, you can change which nation you are playing in the saved game if you want.

It bears mentioning too that those based on the EU III engine (EU III, HoI III, EU:R) have the nifty feature of allowing you to play starting at any day within the time period (except for the last few years). And the world will be an semi-accurate representation of the world on that day. This reaches the extreme in HoI III, where they have actually analysed the documented troop positions and movements, in some cases on an hourly basis.

But as to why I like them, which I guess is the important part, I really like the alternate history aspect. They really are a good sandbox. For example:
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- Playing as Maelsnechtan, Duke of Moray (and great grandnephew of Macbeth), I married the eldest daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, Gascony, and Poitou, killed my new wife's baby brother, and had a son. When the Duke of Aquitaine died, I switched to playing as Maelsnechtan's son Duncan, who then had his father assassinated, and used his army of French knights to successfully contest his right to the Scottish throne. Then as the new King of Scotland and third most powerful man in Europe (after Robert, King of England, and whoever the King of Germany was), I proceeded to invade Islamic Spain, became King of Aragon and Navarra, and then got bored of the game for a while :P
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Some of the games sure are buggy though, but I am patient.

* They are staff-owned, their games are not copy-protected, CD keys exist solely for the purpose of forum registration/tech support, they are very fan-oriented (eg. they are currently working on Victoria 2, which the CEO expects to be unprofitable, but the fans wanted it). Their games are also highly modable, as in I myself have moded games to suit myself (eg. giving Tribal governments the ability to have women magistrates in EU:R).
Saturday, July 18th, 2009
10:52 am
I am no good at apologies. I never feel that I can completely convince people that I am sincere, and that pains me. Apologies normally seem self-indulgent anyway, a manner of making yourself feel better without actually fixing the issue. But in this situation I feel that I can only apologise and hope that I learn from my mistakes.

I didn't mean to hurt tevriel with this comment, but I did. I knew it wasn't something that she'd particularly want to hear, but it wasn't an attack on her person, and I didn't mean it as a comment about her, only as a comment that such things shouldn't happen. I understand how I did not make this clear enough, and I also understand that I should not have said anything. I could defend or explain myself further, but I know I will just dig a deeper hole. So all I can do is apologise, even though apologies seem insincere to me. Even when it all made me cry, who are you to know that? And why should you trust me?

I have had a book beside my bed for the last, hmm, at least 5, maybe 8 or 9, years, and have never gotten around to reading it all. Perhaps this is symbolic since the book is called The Importance of Living. One of the few sections I have read is the 33 Happy Moments of Chin Shengt'an, which aren't really all moments of happiness as we know it, but moments of life, of sensibility, and of authenticity. Moments that he felt most alive.

And one of them is:
"I am not a saint, and am therefore not without sin. In the night I did something wrong and I get up in the morning and feel extremely ill at ease about it. Suddenly I remember what is taught by Buddhism, that not to cover one's sins is the same as repentance. So than I begin to tell my sin to the entire company around, whether they are strangers or my old friends. Ah is this not happiness?"

So that is why I write this here. It may not be shouting it across the rooftops, but it seems to me that here it will reach all the people who would judge me most harshly for my actions. So thus I put this here, and await whatever fate befalls me over this, whether it be further judgement, forgiveness, ostracism. I know that I am not the best person, and perhaps not a person that really makes many people happy. I can't undo hurt and anguish, and I don't know what else I can do but offer this apology, and hope that I can move on to some better actions in the future.
Wednesday, July 8th, 2009
11:00 am
For those not reading my twitter, and not aware already
There is a new vegemite. It is apparently a mixture of vegemite and cream cheese, or something like that.
Sunday, June 14th, 2009
5:15 am
listening to "Little Person (Synecdoche, New York) - " on Blip
Mmmm, there is something to be said for sad, slow, and yet filled with humanity. The teenage feeling, love, loss.
Sunday, June 7th, 2009
1:13 pm
Wordle: Ambiguous Utopia
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
11:33 pm
This is the post in which Craig returns to not reading my posts again :P
So I sitting here, waiting for midnight, so that I can yet again fail to get a booking for the TEM in two weeks time. Or perhaps I shall be lucky, this time. It always seems that all the slots are taken up by mechanical engineers :(

Thus I am here writing - though it is more that I wanted to write, and thus found an excuse.

As per usual, this is a post that began as a comment in response to someone's comments to an lj post, before I decided that, egotistical as I am, I should post it to everyone instead. Perhaps this shall dash Craigs hopes for me posting sensibly, but we can all deal with that.

This morning, in response to theducks comment, I started writing this:
"My mother raised me with the idea (I assume based on her experiences) that there is no "one true love", that throughout your life you will meet a few people that you could be very happy with, it is just that circumstances and serendipity lead us to be with one of them, rather than the others.

I know I can be difficult to be around, and I whilst I usually consider myself to be a patient person, I can be rather grumpy and antisocial at home. Small talk at the dinner table with my family is something I don't particularly like enduring. This is the only issue that my parents have with me, they have always told me that I need to learn to be more tolerant and polite, more social. My mother often unfavourably compares me to her father, who was the kind of cold, hard character that hard times breed (most of my aunts and uncles' stories consist of running away from him whenever something bad happened). It is strange, but in a way I feel that despite my parents being very nice, good parents, they have less faith in my social abilities than any of my acquaintances do. But that is beside the point, the thing is that I often fear that even if I may perfectly enjoy the company of my friends right now, there will come a time of familiarity that I shall become bored and tired of them, and my difficulty will drive them away."

But ended up removing all that from my eventual response, instead keeping simple and not confusing myself by trying to explain where I was coming from. I think saying all that would have been unnecessary anyway (a fact that is quite obvious to you the reader, probably).

Anyway, there are a few counterpoints to such a negative conclusion. Firstly, I am difficult anyway, and my friends accept me. Which is further refined into the thought that my friends have grown accustomed to how I am, and probably don't take my aloofness as personally as my family does. Not that that excuses me for being anti-social in the first place. Secondly, it isn't worth worrying about anyway: if it happens, it happens, and the only way I will know is by living. I don't think I need to go through all the other reasons I could think of, not really much point.

Midnight comes, and I actually get a booking. On the 16th I shall fire a 300keV electron beam at things.

So a final note perhaps? Hmm, what to say...
I don't over-think things, despite what people may think. In fact I don't think a lot of important things through, and end up doing the wrong thing :) What I do do is be overly self-conscious, which makes me feel that I should explain myself and never feel I explain myself well enough. So I construct long analyses in my head to rationalise things, because I am often too insecure in my own intuitions. Paradoxical as it may seem, people criticising me for being unconfident, just makes me less sure of what I feel. Hopefully that description is useful enough for you to work out what I meant to say.
Personally I think I am growing in confidence, and people around me seem to agree. But in order to grow I need to get more experience, and make more mistakes.

Why do I post these things? Because I am interested in "me" and I am interested in other people. It just happens that the easiest way I can understand other people is through observing their responses to the things I say: it helps me see how they think, and helps me get another view upon how I think. Some people see this as self-absorbed, but some think my mind interesting, and what more could you want than for a few people to find your mind interesting?

Which, in turn, reminds me..
Monday, June 1st, 2009
10:01 pm
There are many things I could say about the wedding I attended yesterday, but the only important thing is that Rowan trolled me. He said that his letter to Chas contained "food for thought" (ie. arguments relating to a certain person), but apparently that was just him trolling and his letter was actually nice.

Anyway, today I was discussing with auntpol regarding the usual "these two are completely meant to be together" comments that people make regarding such marriages. We both agreed that this isn't really the case. You find love and commitment because you both choose to love and commit to eachother. velithya and myfyr aren't "perfect for eachother" in some fated, fairytale romance way. At least I don't think so.

I think it is just that people who are nice, patient, and selflessly altruistic will, quite understandably, have good relationships with other people that they share interests and common ground with. Since they are both nice, stable people, they have a nice, stable relationship. Or at least that is how I see it.

And when I think about myself, and my future relationships, the issue does not seem to be whether or not I can find "someone perfect for me", but rather that I am not perfect and may indeed be incapable of being in a relationship as nice as theirs. But that is ok, I don't need to be Chas, as good and noble a person as he is, I have spent too long wishing that I could be more like the people whom I thought better than me. And I don't need some ideal and perfect relationship either, silly teenage dreams are best left in my teens.

I am me, and I shall have the relationships that I have. And if me requires being alone, then I guess that is the price I shall pay. I will evolve and change over time, perhaps becoming nicer or more perfect. But the question is whether I want to, what I truly want to be. Or some random will-to-power rubbish like that :P
Saturday, May 30th, 2009
10:01 pm
I thought people might want to know that Tim Minchin is hosting rage on the 6th of June.
Monday, May 25th, 2009
7:30 pm
I thought that some people without twitter might like to see this:

RT @overingtonc How odd: in the South, in 2009, they still have ``the black prom'' and the ``white prom'' http://tinyurl.com/q6m6tb
Saturday, May 23rd, 2009
11:39 am
More tomorrow, enough for today.
9:12 am
I have often been struck by the whim to post all the essays that I have written over my years at uni, and, now that I have finished my degree, I can. So here goes it. Perhaps you shall see an interesting progression of me getting better at writing as I do more of it? Or perhaps some of my expression degrades over the years? I don't know. I do know that I did a lot more straight-out quoting earlier on in my degree (it was the easy, though not as intelligent, way). I will try to post marks that I got as well.
Friday, April 24th, 2009
11:13 pm
Nerve Links

Is interesting, but we all know the issue already.


Is a rather boring personal essay, which makes me want to give you something good to read, so here is such a thing:


I've linked this before, but it is good, and fits well with my romantic-pragmatic-idealism (as Amber calls it).
Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009
3:40 pm
Happy friends-day!
> Date: Fri, 22 Apr 2005 22:27:50 +0800
> From: auntpol's email address
> To: my student email address
> Subject: Well...
> Hmm, I'm just wondering if this is the Nick who is the UniSFA Nick.
> Because
> (a) I realised I have *no* ways of contacting you. So, that would
> kind of suck, if I had an odd compulsion to tell you something. Which
> is not that unlikely - I enjoy sharing discussion with you.
> (b) I wanted to see if there really was a way to find out email
> addresses through the uni website.
> (c) I don't know. I'm odd, I guess.
> So, if it's you, I would appreciate your *Real* email address. Of
> course, if you want to give it to me.
> If it isn't you - I am crap at trying to find stuff out - disregard
> this and swear at me under your breath (or whatever you feel
> appropriate)
> -auntpol
Saturday, April 18th, 2009
1:11 pm
12:15 pm
A few possible future events
So, certain ideas popped up in my head recently. Despite me being a difficult person to get to come to parties, or whatever, there is the paradox about my person that I do have strong social desires. Except perhaps these desires are inherently idealistic, and not practical at all. Who is to say of gods and men?

Anyway, here are a few thoughts:

1. Mad Men event
Possibly in conjunction with exploration of Mrs Brown Bar (or is it "Brown's", I should double check). I had a compulsion for an event where people dress up in a stylish manner, and sit around drinking stylishly, and these two thoughts combined with aesthetics of Mad Men came to fruition in the thought of a Mad Men style dress up (though rest assured we would not be emulating the smoking and misogynist aspects). This could possibly be done in an outing to some suitable place, or in some suitable person's house.

Mostly day-dream though, I'm not sure if I could be bothered organising such a thing.

2. Leavers Jumper night out
So, most of us have leavers jumpers, and I think that most people's use of them falls into two categories: Wear it casually around the house like a day-pajama, or never wear it at all (mine sits in my drawer all the time). I had the silly thought of having some organised outing to Flipside, or to some pub or party, where everyone wears their leavers jumpers (possibly swapping jumpers at points in the night :P). I don't know why I had this thought, I just did.

3. Next r a g e Marathon: Howling Bells
This will be on the third (16th) or fourth (23rd) Saturday night of May, but they haven't said which. I assume it will be on the 16th though. Time and place will be organised when the night draws closer.

4. Drink at Mrs Brown Bar
This is the new (not even opened yet, I think) wine bar next to, and owned by, Flipside in North Fremantle. It should be interesting, and trendy.
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