Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Experiment Fail?

With no experimenting for my research occurring still for a few weeks, I think I've been a bit bored. As such, I've become quite a bit more experimental at home, mostly with cooking. That is, until I came across this blog. Here, a (by all appearances) sensible not-crazy person decided to stop using shampoo and conditioner and start just using bicarb soda (AKA baking soda) and vinegar. I have to say her hair looks actually quite nice, and when I read some of the comments, and found other blogs also saying this is what they did, and perhaps coupled with the fact that I'm still kind of dizzy and going a bit stir crazy stuck at home, I decided - well perhaps this is for me!?

The ingredients I used (though I realised the items are out of order)
From a (sort of) scientific standpoint, the reason behind it kind of makes sense. Bicarb soda is a super weak alkaline and is well known as a gentle cleaning agent, so it can potentially be used as a shampoo when mixed with water. Some people even use it for toothpaste. To stop the scalp from going dry you can also add a bit of tea-tree oil. Vinegar (also known to be used in cleaning) is then used as a detangler/conditioner to counteract the alkalinity of the bicarb and restore the hair's pH. You can then add essential oils to make it smell a bit less vinegar-y.

So after purchasing all the necessary ingredients, I decided to test it out Monday night. As with many of my experiments, Husband allowed me to go ahead, and nicely kept most of his strange looks and incredulous comments to himself. That is, until I came out of the shower after trying it saying "something happened!"

My skin seemed to have a super bad reaction to one of those ingredients (my suspect is one of the oils), because my face and neck became extremely itchy and was bright red with welts. I was pretty concerned, as I had a meeting with a lot of people today, and as post-grad rep I am meeting all the new students for orientation tomorrow. I didn't want to be known as "the one with the weird skin". Thankfully, after a couple of hours the redness and itch disappeared, so it must have been an allergic reaction, and not some sort of burn. It was then that I remembered to actually check my hair, and I have to say - it's actually quite clean and really soft!

I might change the quantities around a bit, and try it one more time. I'll just be a bit more careful to miss my face/neck (since my scalp didn't get itchy or red) now that I know I probably won't die. So for right now, I will say it isn't a total failure, but I'll also be a bit more cautious in future.

Questions for you:
- Has anyone else tried this?
- Do you now see me as a crazy hippy?
- Do you have any similar mishaps to share?  
- Are you relieved or secretly disappointed I didn't share a picture of my skin freak out? 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

30 Days of Movies - 1. Your Favourite Movie

Hopefully you don't get sick of this (or hopefully I don't get sick of it and stop part-way through), but I've decided to do the 30 Days of Movies Challenge. However I don't plan to post one every day, and more than likely I'll have other posts in between, so it may take a while - so bear with me. I hope you find my answers interesting, and may make you choose to watch (or avoid) some movies I suggest!  

Day 1- Your Favourite Movie
Day 2 - The last movie you watched
Day 3 - Your favourite action/adventure movie
Day 4 - Your favourite horror movie
Day 5 - Your favourite drama movie
Day 6 - Your favourite comedy movie
Day 7 - A movie that makes you happy
Day 8 - A movie that makes you sad
Day 9 - A movie that you know practically the whole script of
Day 10 - Your favourite director
Day 11 - Your favourite movie from your childhood
Day 12 - Your favourite animated movie
Day 13 - A movie that you used to love but now hate
Day 14 - Your favourite quote from any movie
Day 15 - The first movie you saw in theaters
Day 16 - The last movie you saw in theaters
Day 17 - The best movie you saw during the last year
Day 18 - A movie that disappointed you the most
Day 19 - Your favourite actor
Day 20 - Your favourite actress
Day 21 - The most overrated movie
Day 22 - The most underrated movie
Day 23 - Your favourite character from any movie
Day 24 - Favourite documentary
Day 25 - A movie that no one would expect you to love
Day 26 - A movie that is a guilty pleasure
Day 27 - Favourite classic movie
Day 28 - Movie with the best soundtrack
Day 29 - A movie that changed your opinion about something
Day 30 - Your least favourite movie

Day 1: Favourite Movie.
When I was deciding whether to start this challenge or not, I first checked whether I actually had answers to all the questions, so I wouldn't run out of things to say half way through the challenge and abandon it. The one that I had the most trouble with however, was this one. Picking just one favourite movie was extremely hard. However it is not the movie I've seen the most times, nor does it have my favourite actors. However it does always make me smile, and one thing I do love about it is that I saw it before I met Husband, and I was happy to find out he loves the movie too and so we can always watch it together (awww/vomit!). It is: The Wedding Singer.
Some Adam Sandler movies are very silly and nonsensical, but this one has just the right amount (for me anyway) of random whimsy. It is also extremely sweet. The songs Adam's character comes up with "Somebody Kill Me Please" and "I Wanna Grow Old With You" are great. It has one of my favourite movie quotes ever (though I ended up picking another one for that category later on so as to not double up): "He's losing his mind... and I'm reaping all the benefits!" 

I can't seem to get the gif to work, so click the picture! [via]
Questions for you:
What's your favourite movie?
What do you think of The Wedding Singer? Love/Hate?
Will you find this challenge boring/annoying to read?
Any bets on when I give up and abandon this challenge? :P

P.S. Want even more movies? Gina is also doing the 30 days of movies challenge (which is where I first saw it) and Kirsti is doing Movie Mondays.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Disclaimer: The following post is not a bid for sympathy, more just an expression of my bemusement at events of late.

I have an ear infection that is causing dizziness. I think. I did go to the doctors, but I'll explain in a bit why I'm still somewhat unsure. Firstly, the irony of the whole thing. 

I have mentioned previously, that one of my 30 things to do before I turn 30 is to swim in the ocean. The reason for this is that I nearly drowned once, and since that time have never gone in the water at the beach above my knees. I basically have stood there for a little bit, started to feel a bit uncomfortable with the waves and just gone back to the sand. However not this past weekend but the one before I'm happy to report that I did go for a swim. Husband and I went for a nice walk on the beach that is not far from our place, and realised it was great swimming weather. We quickly came home and got swimming attire and went back, and I swam! I had a great time (with Husband being told to stay close just in case he had to rescue me), and was especially pleased when later I realised I'd crossed another thing off my 30 before 30 without actually intending to. So the ironic part is, it's most likely that this is where my ear infection is from. D'oh!

So after a few days of dizzy, I decided to go to the doctor. Unfortunately the one I like was not there, so instead I saw this very old dude. Seriously, he had to lean closely towards me to hear what I was saying, and would sometimes go off on waffling tangents. When I told him I felt dizzy, he asked me to follow his finger with my eyes and then said "you have an ear infection" (is it mean I also found it a bit ironic/amusing that the hard of hearing doctor was telling me I had something wrong with my ear?). I haven't actually had much ear pain, but apparently no further tests were necessary and he said "the dizziness might go away in a couple of weeks". Err - great. There's the slight problem of not really being able to go anywhere or do much in the meantime however, but he actually wasn't going to prescribe me anything for it until I specifically asked. Just as I was about to leave, he said "Oh wait, is your cycle regular? BUT DON'T GIVE ME TOO MUCH INFORMATION! You're not pregnant are you?" I found this also amusing, since well firstly I wasn't going to give him too much information, but also surely he's heard it all by now since he's obviously been a doctor for a long time!

When I went to the pharmacist to pick up my prescription, it turns out it was for anti-vertigo medication, and nothing to treat the infection. When I expressed my surprise at this the pharmisist looked at my prescription and said "Oh you saw Dr -----? Yeh he's... interesting isn't he?". Not the most comforting thing to hear! However I will say that I Wikipedia'd Labyrinthitis (cool technical name hey) and since it can be from viral infections, antibiotics may not have done much anyway. So I guess I have to wait, and hope this medication helps until the dizziness subsides (unfortunately a big side effect of the medication is being drowsy).

Irony #3: I actually feel like doing uni work, now that it's quite difficult to do so! 

Question for you:
Have you ever had an illness with a cool sounding name? Feel free to share - but perhaps refrain if it's something a bit overly personal or gross :P

P.S. To answer a potentially obvious question: If you're so dizzy, how did you write this? Well, it took a long time, that's for sure! 

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Dear Teenage Lozzz123

So after enjoying both Kirsti and Gina's letters to their highschool selves, I thought I would jump on that bandwagon when I realised I had plenty to say to the teenage version of myself. How this younger me will actually get this letter however, I haven't decided. I'm either thinking time-travel phonebooth...


...or letterbox that can deliver mail to the past. 


(Highschool Lozzz123 loves Keanu Reeves, so it's only fitting that I should use the time travel movies he's been in as inspiration).

Dear Teenage Lozzz123,

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I May Regret This...

Starting in March, besides my PhD, during the week I will also be teaching a 2nd year Psychology course, and also helping out and lecturing a bit for a Masters night course. I also applied (and got accepted) to do a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education at uni. Also, I put my hand up to be Postgrad Rep (a person who liases between the students and faculty to highlight relevant issues etc.) this year. Perhaps you may be thinking: 

Go crazy? Don't mind if I do! [via]
"Lozzz123 - are you going CRAZY!?"

To which I say - yeh, probably. However, the course is free for university staff, and it's actually only 4 hours of class every fortnight. It's a great opportunity to learn how to be a good lecturer/course coordinator before I actually may get a full time job doing that (it's interesting that this is not compulsory and although pre-school, primary school and high school teachers all need specific degrees in teaching, most university level teachers don't have any teacher training except perhaps a 1-2 day course, but that's a completely different issue)! As for the Postgrad Rep, I'll be sharing the responsibility with another PhD student too, and besides a meeting or two each week and emailing/talking to any students that have questions it shouldn't be super time consuming. And well, all the teaching/helping/lecturing is good money.

Considering I'll be trying to fit testing for two experiments and trying to write up my thesis in there too (and well, having a bit of a life possibly) it will make for a busy and slightly stressful year.

The thing is though, I actually seem to function better when I have so much stuff to do, that I don't have a choice but to do it NOW. As mentioned previously, when I only have one thing to work on without any immediate looming deadlines, I seem to flounder, get bored easily, and just generally procrastinate and not do much at all (unless you count non-uni activities like cooking and running, which I don't).

I just hope I haven't bitten off more than I can chew this time...! 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Psychology Pet Peeve: "We Only Use 10% of Our Brains"

Do you ever remember being told that we only use 10% of our brains, and if we could only figure out how to use the 100% we'd be geniuses, and possibly psychic as well? Considering this concept (or parts of it) has been attributed to people such as Albert Einstein, I can see why it would be believed.

I thought it was one of those things that most people knew by now to not be true, so imagine my surprise when last year the movie Limitless came out, with the premise that you could take a pill to make you use 100% of your brain. To be fair, I haven't actually seen this movie, but hearing about it in the ads made my blood boil so I thought it best to avoid (Bradley Cooper, we're still cool though).

The truth is however, unless you've had some sort of brain damage - you use all of your brain! If you were using 10% only - which part are you using while the rest is switched off? If you think about even some of the things the brain is doing simultaneously - controlling your senses, accessing memories and thinking about the future, planning and executing movements including speaking and walking, regulating hormones, and oh yeh, making sure you keep breathing - well I'd be a bit concerned if my brain was only working 10%! Also, our brains take up a major chunk of our energy resources: up to 20%! If only 10% of it's working, that's a bit of an energy waste and could be considerably smaller in that case.

Like our friend Homer here! [via]
Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you're an idiot or making fun of you if you did believe this previously - to be honest, I kind of thought it might be true until the first week of my Psych courses where they specifically mentioned this is a myth. My pet peeve is more to do with poorly researched articles and movies perpetuating this sort of thing. It also seems to be a particular pet peeve of this guy, who actually wants you to contact him if you find someone stating this so he can correct (yell at?) them.

Ok gripe over!

Question for you:
- Do you have any pet peeves (doesn't have to be psychology-related, though if it is I'm sure I'll commiserate with you)? Feel free to share in the comments.

P.S. Albert Einstein in fact never said that.
P.P.S. To pester me, sometimes Husband says things like: "Oh I guess I forgot to do the washing up, because I only use 10% of my brain" aargh!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cooking and Running Adventures of Late.

(Not doing both at the same time - though wouldn't that be interesting!?) 

One of the things I've been doing while working from home (well when not actually working), has been collecting recipes. I'm not sure I'll actually cook most of the recipes, but I do like imagining I have, and how they would taste. For this I partly blame Pinterest, as there are heaps of delicious looking meals on there. 

The other day I made chicken, mushroom, spinach and cheese filo pastry. Sorry I didn't think to take a picture, mostly because I learned the hard way that you don't put any pans on the bottom of the oven. It might seem obvious, but it turns out that the bottom of the oven is very hot and cooks things SUPER fast. So mostly I spent the evening trying to get rid of the horrible burnt smell that often fills our apartment (what must the neighbours think!). Husband liked them so much though, that he salvaged what was left of the burnt one (thankfully the main tray was not on the bottom so the rest cooked fine) and still ate it. 

[from here]
Today I made cornbread muffins, with ham, cheese and chives. Again I didn't take pictures because we ate several pretty quickly. So here's someone else's picture, which actually looks pretty much how my ones did (though to be honest, might were slightly overcooked in comparison). Pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.

Another thing that I've had a bit of time to do recently, is go running. As I mentioned last year, it is my aim to finish the couch-to-5k running program. I didn't do much last year, but have been running a bit more this year. I am now up to week 5, which is over half way. I'm enjoying running much more than I expected, and as such my friend and I decided the other week we would participate in the annual City to Surf run in Sydney - which is 14km. It is in August, so if I keep up the running it might be possible I can run a fair bit in it, but I'm still expecting a lot of walking to occur. We decided we must have awesome costumes for the event, so our plan is daggy 80s sports people, who've unfortunately been recently zombified and are therefore not running for fitness, but to chase other racers for their brains. I'm very glad I have a reason to re-wear my bloody shirt from the last time I was a zombie (see below). 

Again, I turned to google in the hopes of a picture, and there doesn't appear to be a zombie from the 80s dressed in sports attire. So, again instead of photoshopping I'll allow you to use your own imagination based on this combination of pictures, until August that is, when I will look like that! 

[p.s. the pic of not-me is from here]

So my questions to you are:
What have you been cooking lately?
- Are you going in any running events this year?
Have you ever done running and cooking at the same time?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Bored people are boring.

Usually in January/February in my PhD office it is extremely quiet. The new PhD students don't start until March, and neither does teaching. A lot of people (not me, unfortunately) take this to mean they have an extended holiday. Also, besides a couple of weeks of summer school, there's no first year psychology students to experiment on. So really, all that leaves to do is writing. 

I am definitely keen to finish my thesis this year, but am expecting it won't be until the end of the year. I don't seem to go very well with long term goals like that. Also, with no teaching or testing, there's no real reason to go into the office as I can read and write at home. 

So here I am, at home. I try to work, but it just doesn't seem to happen. I could always set shorter goals for myself, e.g. write 1000 words today, but I can always rationalise those sorts of things. What happens if I don't write 1000 words today? Well, nothing. My supervisor is working on a paper I sent her, so she doesn't really need to see any other work from me right now. So I don't even have that as a motivation. I guess I need to recapture the initial excitement I had for this project - I was one of those nerds in my office who got started early on their PhD by coming in to work even when my office computer hadn't been delivered yet, and was pestering my supervisor for suggestions of readings to do. How I can feel that again however, I'm not sure right now. It's not that I hate my project now, but I have no new experiment findings to think about, and no new experiments to plan (all the experiments I'm doing for my thesis have been planned, some finished, and others started, but I now have to wait until March to continue).

So I have some questions for you:
- Do you ever have problems like this?
- What do you do to overcome motivation problems?
- What do you do to overcome procrastination problems? 
- What do you think of this picture?

[via imgur]
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