A few years ago, I knew what I wanted to do with all the certainty and energy of a teenager coming of age, discovering what it means to be alive.

I wanted to travel the world- to drift with ease wherever my heart takes me. I wanted to meet people at the drop of a hat, and find my way; fearless, unapologetic. I wanted to see the world through a lens that was not coloured by anxiety, by regret, or any shade of grey, and i wanted to leave my mark before i fade to credits.

But I'm no superman. Instead, I discovered a world that is not friendly to enthusiasm or diversity. Even harder to deal with, I discovered that I could not move through the world with the grace and emotional resilience my youthful self envisioned. I felt myself falling into the same emotional anti-patterns that plagued my early teenage years; the self-conscious, the helpless introspection, the walls closing in that grow harder and harder to break free of.

But I've done this a few times now. I see my young expectations are rather unrealistic; It takes time to settle, to meet people, and you don't have to be happy all the time. I realise that the things that matter to me take time to build, and I don't need to make myself worry if I have made no progress in a few weeks. The timeline of my life is measured in years not months.

I know I wanted it all and that was foolish, but thats okay. I'm not superhuman.

Destructive Tendencies

Humans are social creatures by nature, so it not surprising that too much of the opposite can send some of us into darker days. What should manifest as fleeting moments of loneliness instead spirals into serious depressive or anxious states, which can take some time to climb out of. Seems a tad counter-productive from an evolutionary perspective- a defect if you ask me.

I've always prided myself on being able to detect and avoid downward spirals of thoughts and emotions. But truth be told, pride is both foolish and a sin- pride clouds ones own vision with a smug smog that hides the inevitable imperfections in your perspective. Needless to say, I'm realising I'm not as good as I thought I was at stopping destructive thoughts.

Whole schools of thought have been built up around preventing these negative thought spirals. My favorite authors on the subject, M. Williams and D. Penmen, have written Mindfulness: A guide to finding peace in a frantic world, which guides the reader to understand these patterns and learn/practice techniques to overcome them.

“Overthinking ruins you. Ruins the situation, twists it around, makes you worry and just makes everything much worse than it actually is.” - Unknown

Following the mindfulness school of thought, I would like to think I am slowly observing my own destructive patterns, in the hope of avoiding them in the future.

So heres mine, in some rought chronological order:

  1. "Oh, I haven't spoke to anyone for a while, and there is nothing exciting planned for the near future". Cues mellow music
  2. Hmm something feels wrong. Why do I feel wrong?
  3. I feel wrong because of {Insert insecurity here}. SOMETHING IS MISSING.
  4. Omg im so lonely/sad/isolated
  5. Cue anxiety about meeting people, general gloominess, depeleting thoughts and negative re-enforcement
  6. Doesn't get out there to fix it due to pt. 5

An update.

Its been a while.

My wonderful time at uni is coming to a close. The things I have learnt, the memories I've made and the people I've met are all fantastic. Now that I face my final semester, the remaining 6 months are colored with a tinge of finality and nostalgia. I'm going to miss it.

Career wise, things are going well too. While I am studying I.T, I have always had a keen interest in electronics and engineering. While interning at a software company, I saw an opportunity to move into a team developing new products - working on both the software and hardware sides. As this is something that interests me greatly, I took it. It is immensely challenging, but the work is very interesting and I am learning so much. Even better, I was offered a very flexible casual contract to continue my work following the internship, so I will continue working at this company. Exciting times.

I have long held the idea of moving out to be important next stage in my personal development. Working two days a week over an hour from home, AND juggling full time uni is no easy feat, so I am considering renting an apartment/studio somewhere in the city to reduce the complexity of some things. This is by no means a small mental barrier - but it would be a big step forward for me.

In terms of keeping myself organised, I have a number of things on my event horizon. As usual, this consists of a combination of self-development/organisational/work-related and personal projects:

  • Recycle old shirts that no longer fit me to reduce clutter in the amount of clothing I have
  • Throw out old socks / jackets
  • Find a rental property for the next 6 months - either on my own or with a flatmate (M.M)
  • Clean/consolidate my room, preferably putting the things worth keeping into boxes
  • Get all important toolchains working on my laptop - so I can work anywhere


  • Panel creator cad program - for creating DXFs for laser cutting
  • PIC Web IDE - to make programming PIC micro controllers as easy as arduino
  • 145MHz Oscillator circuit and custom PCB - my first entry into the world of RF electronics
  • ESP8266 mesh network node - Building a mesh network using the popular wifi SoC. Each node will have a large battery and a solar panel.
  • Access Control System (ACS) for the BioFoundry bio-hackerspace - built using ESP8266s, electric door strikes, and relays.

Project wish list:

  • Generalised communications system (probably based off IRC) for a chat network or signalling in a distributed system.

  • Generalised plugin architecture for running code and gathering data in the field - for general infosec research.

  • RTL-SDR tool for finding and decoding data bursts in the 433Mhz range (for finding and decoding transmissions from arbitrary devices automatically).

As always, stay frosty.


Dear Tom

Its funny how the words can find you in the nosiest of moments, as drunk uni-students brush past you like the crisp winter air, with the lights of the city filling the shadows of your footsteps. Each step connects itself in solidarity to every other lonely walk, every twilight city stroll, reviving old memories and feelings lost to all but the mellowest parts of my being.

Goals are, for the most part, eternal. You're never finished with them. You never stop reaching for them. And in the darkness and solitude, your dreams, achievements, and goals lay themselves out across the streets and intersections of the city. Some of those streets you have already tread, illuminated by the moonlight, intimately familiar. Others are marked at the crossroads - their names foreign and the path bumpy - the ones which are yet to be faced at some undetermined time in the future. In this lonely journey, you are faced with crossroads every day, but turning down them remains the hardest choice of your life.

Each crossroad offers a unique challenge, and forms a new characteristic or skill, through which you can find and define yourself. The hobby and curiousity driven ones are the easiest, easily travelled with reading and thought, and you often take these in lieu of the harder paths that lay before you. You have to pick your battles.

But the night sky reveals all, and the roads ignored are as obvious as the nights in which they were discovered. Every time, the night fades a little with the realisation.

This is you, Tom. This is me, every broken self promise and dream and wish almost forgotten about and every time you moved on. Every girl you ever liked where they never knew it, every first-year night rampaging the city with friends, every time you knew what you needed to do to push yourself - just say something, just call someone - but in your mind you had already confined it to a thought almost as soon as it manifested. This is us.

And once in a while, just like every once in a while, something happens. A force from within, a drive, a mighty bulldozer smashes through the walls in your mind and frees you from the containment of self conditioning. You find the space within you to do what you always imagined yourself doing, without a hope for redemption or failure either way. The dark roads light up, the crossroads align. Through this grace, we find the means to break into a new district of our journey.


Moments Pt. 3 - Time

An ecstasy of waves gently lapping the bow of the ship. The sunset casts shadows across the Brisbane cityscape, giving colour to the wind as it spirals across the deck, beckoning passengers closer. We lean away from it's edge, edging towards each other.

The boat docks. Strangers take their seats at the bow. Enter a traveler, run away to Australia to meet the world. Half a world away, she lands sitting next to us. The specifics are a fantastic blur as I snuggle into you.

A euphoria of laughter in the biting wind. Our mysterious traveller, a German, meets two misfits who unceremoniously collided on a casual night in a cold place.

Despite the moment, I couldn't help but savour the feeling.

A rapture of possibility,

us travellers drifting, tumbling,

through a chasm of entropy

yet settling perfectly for the happiness of two young souls.

The red pill

Its like standing at the edge of a chasm, looking down at the void which waits below. You know what you want to do - what you need to do - but you are afraid to upset the balance of the status quo; to step outside of your comfort zone. Somehow, you take the first step across the fragile bridge, aware that every and any misplaced step would be your last. It has begun; and now only moving forward is an option - fearful that the mere action of turning back would misbalance you and throw you into the void, lost forever.

You have taken The Step into the unknown, leaving your past self, its moments, and its infinity of possibilities to live on only in your memories. All that remains is the hope of a brighter infinity shining out your eyes.

“We cross our bridges when we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and a presumption that once our eyes watered."

-- Tom Motherfucking Stoppard

Who we are

We are creatures of emotion; living to maximize positive energy, hits of dopamine.

We know we have the capacity to do better; to do what we want to or aught to do. But, almost simultaneously, we are slaves to a system we cannot control, a system which drains that capacity without diminishing our free will.

We are living out of anticipation; craving the future but not appreciating the present.

We are slaves to a sense of belonging; willing to compromise huge parts of ourselves just to fall in line.

Our whole selves are slaves to a system which we cannot ever hope to understand.

What does that make us?

Red pill or blue pill?

Its fairly easy to idle through life. You simply live; go with the flow, and let circumstance take you in interesting directions. You end up at various places, normally out of your control (ie: At university because your parents/social-norms etc have taught you that's the next step). You let surface interactions, and routine dictate your life.

Then you tell me, are you satisfied? Where is your sense of direction?

Simple answer is no.

The problem is that we as humans naturally (and often subconsciously) build up buffers to challenging situations, rejection and awkward/unusual circumstance. This occurs both mentally - through subtle control of habit and thought - and also physically; though subconscious manipulation of circumstance - taking chances, places we go, people we interact with. To put it simply, we tend to live in our comfort zone - the blue pill.

So what does that make us? It makes us self-conscious, forcing us to conform our outward appearance and personality to align with that of which society expects. Moreover, we condition our behavior to minimise the possibility of an uncomfortable situation (by sticking to ourselves, or people we trust, highly unwilling to venture outside that safe little bubble we have created for ourselves).

So, without a personal goal to work towards or achieve, we sink into a self-reinforced monotonous routine. What's more, is that a lot of people don't even realise that its themselves that are doing it, and instead feel like their trapped inside someone else.s master plan. All in all, they are not satisfied.

There is only really one long-term solution to this kind of problem. The solution is to finally take risks; and break down the prison of a existence we have trapped ourselves in. You need to have a sense/pride of-self which is greater than the opinion of others. You need to step outside your comfort zone and take the steps towards doing what we want and being who we want to be. You need to take the red pill.

From there, you will take control of your own life.


I learnt to think and reason from a very early age. I learnt to look at my problems at face value, identify the root cause, and commence action to solve them. From this, I learnt nearly all the skills I have now; from general knowledge, programming, I.T skills, dealing with stress, and introspection. This helped me a great deal, and in some ways created the person who I am.

I got so used to this kind of thinking - a form of boolean logic and reasoning - that I felt it was the only way to think. Everything in my life at the time could be reasoned and solved with that system.

The truth is, I embellished those things that I could reason using this logic - maths, sciences, I.T, intellectualism, cadets - whilst shunning things that I couldnt explain; without considering that I was actually pushing those things into the corner - english, sociology, emotion. And now, as I try and build up my skills in these areas that I shunned, I am finding that nothing works.

The efforts I make don't seem make a dent in my incapacity. Whatever dent it do make in the short term doesnt last. Fundementally, I presently incapable of operating using a different level of logic; fuzzy logic, or even non-logic.

And this leaves me feeling sidelined, and alone.

Its like I have been working on something all my life - logical intellectualism and all those skills - but now that I stop and look at all parts of living, I feel like I have been barking up the wrong tree and all that really matters now lies in the dust. And now, what I really have, what I really have been doing all these years, is now nothing.

Its the feeling of trying to join in time and time again to something you want to know, but left unengaged, sidelined. Helpless, and depressed.

How can I ever hope to be who I want to be?