Tad Williams' Message Board

Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It's hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It's round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you've got about a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- 'God damn it, you've got to be kind.'
-    Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

Welcome to the message board for tadwilliams.com. All comments are welcome, whether kudos or brickbats. However, please bear in mind that Tad would like this to be a friendly, civil message board, at least in the relations between users. We reserve the right to remove postings, or even ban postings, from anyone who crosses the boundary of reasonable taste. Basically, you can argue vigorously with someone, but watch your language, okay? We have a lot of young readers as well as grown-ups, so please show them some respect.

But the main requirement here is: have fun.


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#51 2016-10-02 22:45:30

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Sounds like a good reason to be angry to me :-/
Not a good way to start the week.

Classes all week again?


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#52 2016-10-02 23:08:24

Mortola
Pilgrim
Registered: 2014-11-02
Posts: 254

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Yeah.

And I can't even be angry.

I tried to sleep for a while, now I feel a little less like I'm going to cry if one more thing goes wrong.


I'm my own evil twin.

This is an outpost of the Mint. Therefore logic is forbidden.

 

#53 2016-10-02 23:10:22

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

You know you'll be fine with everything else in the end, but missing the first hour of classes sucks :/


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#54 2016-10-03 00:00:59

Sahi
Mantis
From: Assendelft (the Netherlands)
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 44999
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

*hugs magpie*


"Because it is scientifically impossible to have enough books." - Patrick Rothfuss

Scrollbearer
First member of the Shadowmarch Council of Sages, Official Quiller's Mint Historian
You may call me the Porcupine Lady, or if you are feeling generous the Erinaceous One.

 

#55 2016-10-03 01:07:37

Mortola
Pilgrim
Registered: 2014-11-02
Posts: 254

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Okay, the thing that was on my mind yesterday evening (and for a couple of days before that, but it was easier to ignore when I was keeping busy):

You know how I keep saying I need to work on my Meisterarbeit/? (The paper I have to write to be able to become a master horticulturist, in which I'm supposed to plan the construction of a new greenhouse, find out what it would cost, and whether we would be able to afford to build it.)

And I keep saying I should, but I never do anything. Partly because first work was too busy, and then studying for the exam was more important, and then there was always some other excuse.

But even more because I just don't know how, and every time I think about starting, I get so anxious about not knowing how to do it, what to do exactly, that I just can't.

(And it was doubly bad after the exam, because thinking about anything school-related sent me into another spiral of "I probably failed that exam".)

And I know it would be better to write something bad than to not write anything at all, but I can't make myself do it.

And last week we got an email that in a little over two months we have a workshop where we have to present our mostly-finished papers. And I haven't written a single thing. And since I have to get estimates from greenhouse construction companies, I can't just write it at the last moment.

And yeah, I do have an adviser. Who I should ask for help with that. But I keep getting stuck in this endless loop of, “Just ask him.” - “But he'll think I'm stupid for not knowing anything!” - “Who cares? Lots of other people don't know stuff either.” - “But he's someone I'll have to keep talking to even after I graduate*, and he'll always remember how stupid I am.” - “Yes, but it's his job to help me, that's why he's my adviser.” - “But I don't even know what to ask him, I don't even know enough to come up with a question.”

Because I hate looking helpless and weak and stupid, but at this point I don't think I've got a choice, I've got to tell him this and hope he can help me without making me feel even more stupid.

Because I can either do this, or just give up, and not go to that workshop or the rest of my classes and just let all the money and work I've put into this go to waste. Which would be stupid, especially since I've got plans for which I actually need to finish this.

(And things like this were one of the reasons why I gave up on university. Although there were several other important reasons too.)

So that is one email I have to write today.

And I think it's about time to find myself some help, because I can't spend the rest of my life reacting like this whenever I don't know how to do something. And because I think depression is creeping up on me again, and sticking my head in the sand and pretending it's not isn't going to help.

So that is the other email I have to write today.

(Because I can handle emails, but I wouldn't be able to handle phone calls.)


* he's the horticulture specialist at the Chamber of Agriculture, so he's the person for us to contact if we have any questions

Last edited by Mortola (2016-10-03 01:08:31)


I'm my own evil twin.

This is an outpost of the Mint. Therefore logic is forbidden.

 

#56 2016-10-03 01:35:13

Sahi
Mantis
From: Assendelft (the Netherlands)
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 44999
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Good luck magpie! I know a little of that perfectionism-trap combined with 'asking-for-help-is-scary' myself.


"Because it is scientifically impossible to have enough books." - Patrick Rothfuss

Scrollbearer
First member of the Shadowmarch Council of Sages, Official Quiller's Mint Historian
You may call me the Porcupine Lady, or if you are feeling generous the Erinaceous One.

 

#57 2016-10-03 01:36:08

Sahi
Mantis
From: Assendelft (the Netherlands)
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 44999
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

By the way, do you want me to take over the Christmas card exchange this year?


"Because it is scientifically impossible to have enough books." - Patrick Rothfuss

Scrollbearer
First member of the Shadowmarch Council of Sages, Official Quiller's Mint Historian
You may call me the Porcupine Lady, or if you are feeling generous the Erinaceous One.

 

#58 2016-10-03 02:07:41

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

That's a bunch of stuff to work through, Magpie. And it's the kind of stuff that is always easier to look at from the outside.

You know, all this sounds almost exactly like it looks in my head all the time. And I guess that's true for a lot of people. I have the same fear of looking stupid, the same tendency to procrastinate and then look at a huge pile of work as one monolithic, overwhelming mountain, instead of a bunch of smaller tasks that are easier to wrap your head around.

I also know you are smart and anyhing but weak and can analyse this at least as well as I can, but the stupid brain thing doesn't want to believe the reasonable voice in your head.


So what can you do? You can write that email to your advisor. If you want to feel smarter, you can try to break it down a bit and then write the email, asking smarter questions. So what exactly do you want to know from him and how much do you know about the project already?

I would look at this from two angles:

1) Business side: How would you actually plan the greenhouse

1a) How much usable space do you need? Are you replacing an existing greenhouse, or do you want additional space to work with?

1b) Do you have enough space for it and where would you put it on the company grounds?

1c) What are the other considerations? Are new greenhouses more energy efficient? Are there any other features that would make your life easier or the company more profitable?

1d) Now that you know roughly what you want, look around for greenhouse companies and ask them for a quote. If there are different energy efficiency classes, etc. you may want different offers from the same company even.
(This is the part I would absolutely hate. How do I find a good greenhouse company? There are probably a lot of them. Maybe you have conctacts that have recently had a greenhouse built and can tell you if they were happy with the result?)

1e) Crunch the numbers. Which of the greenhouses is going to be cheapest in the mid and longterm. Can you sell more plants and would benefit from additional area or is this not going to pay off? If it pays off longterm, but not in the midterm (say 10 years), can you afford to lose out midterm for longterm benefits?

2) The thesis side

2a) How long does that thing have to be?
2b) Any formal requirements like a university thesis or more informal like a school work?
2c) Which aspects should you focus on

Unless they told you anything about that, you'll probably have to write an email asking about all the things in 2. 2a) is pretty important to know, because this influences your timeplan. Getting quotes from the greenhouse companies is also important, because waiting for them when you are already in a hurry would suck.

If you just do this as a case study for your business, it's probably in the 10-20 page range and would take a couple days to write. If it needs to be longer, what can you do to fill the space? Probably calculate several options and present all of them.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#59 2016-10-03 02:46:37

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Second email is probably a much simpler mail. The bigger question is who you want to write the email to?
Have you selected a therapist, if that is what you are looking into?

Anyway, hope the rest of your day goes much more smoothly and feel free to throw thoughts and ideas at us (or me) any time.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#60 2016-10-03 03:01:59

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23418
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Mortola wrote:

The train left just as I had bought my ticket.

Taking another train to St Pölten now, but then I'll have to wait about 45 minutes for the connection to Langenlois. And then I'll be about an hour late for school, and the list to sign up for lunch will already be gone, so I'll have to figure out how to get lunch after all, and probably fifteen other things...

I know there are way worse things that could happen, but I just want to whine right now.

Whine away, Magpie! We'll listen! :)

Sorry about the lateness. Hope your day is going better, now.


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#61 2016-10-03 03:18:11

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23418
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Mortola wrote:

And last week we got an email that in a little over two months we have a workshop where we have to present our mostly-finished papers. And I haven't written a single thing. And since I have to get estimates from greenhouse construction companies, I can't just write it at the last moment.

And yeah, I do have an adviser. Who I should ask for help with that. But I keep getting stuck in this endless loop of, “Just ask him.” - “But he'll think I'm stupid for not knowing anything!” - “Who cares? Lots of other people don't know stuff either.” - “But he's someone I'll have to keep talking to even after I graduate*, and he'll always remember how stupid I am.” - “Yes, but it's his job to help me, that's why he's my adviser.” - “But I don't even know what to ask him, I don't even know enough to come up with a question.”

Because I hate looking helpless and weak and stupid, but at this point I don't think I've got a choice, I've got to tell him this and hope he can help me without making me feel even more stupid.

You won't look "helpless and weak and stupid"; you'll look like someone who needs some good advice, and he'll provide you with some advice: what he's paid to do. We even like to give advice; it makes us feel helpful. You'd be doing him a favor to ask for advice. If you don't ask for advice, he may feel bad. "Why doesn't Magpie ever come and ask for advice?" he'll think. "Maybe I'm a terrible advisor." You don't want Herr Berater to feel bad, do you? For his sake, you better ask him for advice, even if you don't need it; it will make him feel better.


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#62 2016-10-03 04:15:53

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

You are getting a good picture of the way Austrians think today...

"This doesn't affect us"
(even when it's happening right next to us)
This one is slowly dying.

"The customer is a bloody nuisance"
We've had kings here, we don't like them. If a customer wants to spend money, be slightly impolite and look as annoyed as you probably are. This is especially bad in Vienna, I guess.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#63 2016-10-03 04:33:47

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23418
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Peter wrote:

That's a bunch of stuff to work through, Magpie. And it's the kind of stuff that is always easier to look at from the outside.

You know, all this sounds almost exactly like it looks in my head all the time. And I guess that's true for a lot of people. I have the same fear of looking stupid, the same tendency to procrastinate and then look at a huge pile of work as one monolithic, overwhelming mountain, instead of a bunch of smaller tasks that are easier to wrap your head around.

Yeah, the "monolithic mountain" thing gets me, too. It was only recently that I actually realized this. If my house is a little messy, I can clean it up easily. But if it gets too messy, I break down. I don't even know where to start. And then I can't start. It's impossible to start. It's so stupid, because there shouldn't be that reaction.

I try to never let the mess get to that point, because then the "monolithic mountain" mindset takes over.

I also know you are smart and anyhing but weak and can analyse this at least as well as I can, but the stupid brain thing doesn't want to believe the reasonable voice in your head.


So what can you do? You can write that email to your advisor. If you want to feel smarter, you can try to break it down a bit and then write the email, asking smarter questions. So what exactly do you want to know from him and how much do you know about the project already?

I would look at this from two angles:

1) Business side: How would you actually plan the greenhouse

1a) How much usable space do you need? Are you replacing an existing greenhouse, or do you want additional space to work with?

1b) Do you have enough space for it and where would you put it on the company grounds?

1c) What are the other considerations? Are new greenhouses more energy efficient? Are there any other features that would make your life easier or the company more profitable?

1d) Now that you know roughly what you want, look around for greenhouse companies and ask them for a quote. If there are different energy efficiency classes, etc. you may want different offers from the same company even.
(This is the part I would absolutely hate. How do I find a good greenhouse company? There are probably a lot of them. Maybe you have conctacts that have recently had a greenhouse built and can tell you if they were happy with the result?)

1e) Crunch the numbers. Which of the greenhouses is going to be cheapest in the mid and longterm. Can you sell more plants and would benefit from additional area or is this not going to pay off? If it pays off longterm, but not in the midterm (say 10 years), can you afford to lose out midterm for longterm benefits?

2) The thesis side

2a) How long does that thing have to be?
2b) Any formal requirements like a university thesis or more informal like a school work?
2c) Which aspects should you focus on

Unless they told you anything about that, you'll probably have to write an email asking about all the things in 2. 2a) is pretty important to know, because this influences your timeplan. Getting quotes from the greenhouse companies is also important, because waiting for them when you are already in a hurry would suck.

If you just do this as a case study for your business, it's probably in the 10-20 page range and would take a couple days to write. If it needs to be longer, what can you do to fill the space? Probably calculate several options and present all of them.

I don't know how Austrian papers work, but that seems like a pretty good break-down to me.


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#64 2016-10-03 04:43:15

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

I'm pretty sure it differs a lot from school to school. University would like a bunch of formulas with some case studies thrown in. I assume this school is more practical and just wants something on this particular project, maybe with calculations for a few variants to show which is most cost effective (for the given scenario, you may want to try different scenarios as well (what if customer count increases or decreases and which scenario is most likely)).

But I am only guessing and I can't even guess at how they want it presented. University grade stuff would be a 100 pages with lots of meticulous references to other research, but I hope this is far more down to earth.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#65 2016-10-03 06:21:27

Ad1tu
Pilgrim
From: Buffysadharc
Registered: 2004-02-22
Posts: 6460

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

And here I was, going to complain about how it was dark when I woke up this morning. (And complain about how apparently we need to yell about football this morning. Stupid sports.)

I think Peter's breakdown on how to attack your paper is a good place to start. Also not knowing any of the particulars.

When I was doing my mini-thesis in college, my professor & I had regular meetings, and he was pretty good about steering me in the right direction. (Of course, he wasn't so good at responding once I was making progress, but that's another story.) I had a really good relationship with my advisor in college, and honestly any of the professors I went to in the physics/chem or math depts were incredibly helpful. They all seemed to want to help me succeed.
Heck, even the one class I went to 3 times and then stopped going to because I thought it was dumb (not in my field), when the professor asked me about and I told him what happened, he was completely understanding about it. I was afraid to say anything because I thought he would take it personally, but he was totally okay with it.

I've definitely had the "monolithic mountain" feeling before. It's never fun. I felt similarly about finding a therapist myself to go to. Where to start? So much information, so many people, how to choose, etc.. So I ended up emailing a couple, very vague "I think I need therapy, can we set up a consultation appointment" emails. One ended up calling me back and we spoke for about 20 minutes, while he explained the process of starting therapy, some of the different types, where to look for therapists, questions to ask potential therapists, insurance things to think about. For absolutely no benefit to himself, because he doesn't accept insurance so there was no way I could afford to see him. So that was incredibly helpful and reassuring, and it definitely made it feel like a (tall) hill instead of a mountain.


If you should do what makes you happy, and no one can tell you what makes you happy, then that means no one can tell you what to do!

Tamishu's Ramblings

 

#66 2016-10-03 06:27:52

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Thinking about this some more:

If you want to send the email today, but want to look as smart as possible, formulate a plan of attack, then send an email with pointed questions (how long does it have to be, etc.) along with a short description of your plan of attack.

"This is how I would write it, does that work?"


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#67 2016-10-03 06:29:39

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

And a foreigner (that is anyone not from Korea, in Starcraft terms) just won a high profile tournament in Korea. Which has not happened for 16 years and has never happened in Starcraft II. He also absolutely crushed his opponent in the finals.


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#68 2016-10-03 06:49:34

Merenwen
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 2391

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

*peeks in for a short drive-by post*

Welcome back, Libra!

And good luck with your classes, Magpie!

I guess I will read all the the posts at a later time. You guys were busy here, I see. :)

*waves to everyone*

 

#69 2016-10-03 06:50:18

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

*waves at Merenwen as she wooshes by*


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

#70 2016-10-03 07:53:55

Kia
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-06-08
Posts: 1124
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

*emerges from the flour dust*

*waves to everyone while brushing off flour and dough pieces* well, operation 'go for bread' was a success. I spent the whole Sunday in the kitchen for living up to the reputation of Germans being totally bread-maniacs, but I was rewarded with:

4 breads (2 wheat whole-grain bread and 2 walnut-spelt-oat bread),

a tray of Ammerländer applecake and

a try of apple-nut-cinnamon-rolls

...since the freezer is filled, my mom and I are munching ourself through the apple cake *is a happy muncher* (^_______^)

Thanks for national holiday I did sleep 10 hours after working the whole Sunday on operation 'go for bread'.

Took me a while to catch up here, but I made it in the end.

Magpie, when I was writing papers for university I always found it useful to start with the inner structure of the paper to escape this terrible 'where to start' feeling. Therefore you need to decide which topics you want to cover and which order you are going to do that. You could use the points Peter mentioned to start a mind map. In this you could collect more points and ideas you want to cover. Once you are satisfied, you could start to develop the structure. At the end you should have chooped down the whole-paper to manageable slices, on which you can concentrate on by one...
Do you have the possibility to take a peek into other 'Meisterarbeiten'? Maybe from you classmates or from former classes (even if they did work with a different topic)? I could help you to develop an idea about how to approach the topic and how you want your structure to be...

I don't know if this approach would be helpful to you, but it might be worth trying. However, meeting with the advisor sounds like a good idea. Good luck!

 

#71 2016-10-03 08:01:08

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23418
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Kia, those look delicious!


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#72 2016-10-03 08:24:18

Kia
Pilgrim
From: Germany
Registered: 2014-06-08
Posts: 1124
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

(^____^) *offers Firs a slice of Ammerländer applecake*

 

#73 2016-10-03 08:28:56

Firsfron of Ronchester
Mantis
From: Ronchester
Registered: 2001-06-04
Posts: 23418
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Transporter technology, where are you already!?


Scrollbearer, Keeper of the Firsfronicon, Message Board Poet Lariat and Guardian of the Wild Range.
Co-titan of fact-checking and priceless source of Osten-Ard-iana
Now-official Osten Ard consultant for Tad Williams

Ommu is horrifying; Akhenabi is f**king evil; Makho is Trump with a badass sword; Jijibo is the crackhead version of Towser.  And Saomeji is creepy. --Cyan

 

#74 2016-10-03 09:42:54

Mortola
Pilgrim
Registered: 2014-11-02
Posts: 254

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

Class was good, and even though there was only one person there that I know (the rest are all second-years). I'm in my room now,  I can try to reply.

It's going to take a while, because I keep tearing up. Not in a "I can't deal with this" sort of way any more, but in a "I'm so grateful I have all of you" sort of way.


I'm my own evil twin.

This is an outpost of the Mint. Therefore logic is forbidden.

 

#75 2016-10-03 09:55:17

Peter
Pilgrim
From: Austria
Registered: 2001-08-23
Posts: 39625
Website

Re: QM - The Haunted Mint

*hugs Magpie again*
I don't think you need any email reminders, since they are basically all over this Mint :D

Kia's idea of looking at other (successful) Meisterarbeiten is excellent. Even if they aren't made public as a rule, there are probably some on the internet. There is some of everything on the internet.

Last edited by Peter (2016-10-03 09:56:32)


"hitting the snooze button is totally an act of worship and not laziness"  -Magpie, slightly out of context

 

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