Now

I finished another field trip in March, where I’ve caught the most number of seals ever in a single trip. Like the previous field trips, this one was a mixed bag of positives and negatives. The good thing was that I’ve deployed 31 GLS (light) tags on the female seals, more than I did during last year’s field work. We (supervisors and I) hope that deploying more tags would mean better tag recovery rates. Last year I deployed 15 and managed to get 6 back, but one failed so I ended up with 5 tags with useable data.

The negative… I had technical issues with the GPS tags, which we were very excited to see bring amazing results. But as I’ve learnt again, that field work tends to go wrong more than it goes right. And when it goes right, we should pray to the gods and treat ourselves to vegan tim tams or something like that.

The GPS tags failed last year as well, and this year we went with a different brand of GPS tags, which provided underwhelming results. It’s not that GPS is impossible, but the hardware has from both companies failed to perform as they were described to. The main important difference between GLS and GPS is that GPS provides more accuracy foraging locations (fine-scale vs coarse-scale). But whatever, at the moment, I’m on #teamGLS – they are small, reliable (so far) and much cheaper than GPS tags.

I also finally gave my PhD confirmation talk (which was overdue by almost a year…) today (28th April 2017). I admit it’s one of those things I’ve been avoiding because I don’t like public speaking. I understand it’s partly due to a focus on the self and for this talk I tried to step outside myself, and aim to DELIGHT the listeners. It was good advice I heard on the Tim Ferriss podcast – focus on the Other, and you can’t lose. I still got nervous and stumbled in my presentation at the beginning, but managed to pull through.

I can finally allow myself to return back to Singapore for a couple of weeks now that I’ve got my confirmation over and done with! I’m looking forward to it. Especially because I can train BJJ intensively (twice a day if I wanted to). It’s hard going away on fieldwork and not be able to train consistently, I know sporadic intensive periods of training isn’t really ideal (because consistency is key right?) but that’ll do for now.

What else I’m doing now:

  • Playing around with satellite data – trying to produce a paper that describes the environmental conditions of fur seal foraging areas. A paper that sort of “sets the scene” for the rest of my thesis. I was recently introduced to my lab group’s R Studio Virtual Machine – it’s amazing, where have you been all my life?
  • Slowly preparing for my next and final field trip in winter.
  • Recently bought an electric skateboard, and learning how to ride it confidently. So far it’s got me arriving to Uni and training early and on time because I overestimate how long I might take to reach as I’m afraid that I’ll feel too noob on the board and decide to play it safe by walking with the board for most parts. A good thing maybe?
  • Cold showers every morning for 1 min. Sometimes I have to take a hot shower before I switch to cold. The first step under the cold shower is the hardest. No actually, getting out of bed is the hardest because I wake up and lay there immobilised by the thought of having to take a cold shower. But when I finally step out of the shower the moment the timer hits 1 minute, it feels SO GOOD!
  • Wim Hof breathing almost every day. 30 deep breaths, hold on the last exhale for as long as possible, then 15 seconds hold on the next inhale. And sometimes I repeat with 15 deep breaths and 30 hyperventilating breaths. That tingling sensation also feels SO GOOD!
  • Getting back on intermittent fasting now that fieldwork is over. I feel like 15 hours of fasting suits me better.
  • Getting together documents I’ll need to apply for permanent residency in Australia.

Reading:

  • Graveyard book by Neil Gaiman and Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Listening: 

  • Tim Ferriss, Rich Roll and Joe Rogan podcasts (ALWAYS!)
  • Mindful Music channel

Pondering on:

The best strategy to life is to love all of it and fear none of it

Last update was 28th April 2017

This is part of the nownownow project by Derek Sivers.

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