Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Deadlines looming

I have been told that finishing your PhD is anti-climatic, because there is no single deadline. There are bunches of them. For example:

My first submission deadline is in 2 weeks. That means I have to submit the manuscript to the university for review of formatting issues and such. It will be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) for me to meet that deadline. There is no way I can put all my data in, and I don't have time to work on my data right now. All I can do is write. So I will hopefully submit the first draft to my adviser next week, so that he can sign off on that. This is necessary for me to do the first submission.

Once I've killed nearly myself meeting that deadline, I have to go back to the lab, gather more data, and revise the manuscript in about 2 weeks, so that I can submit the revised version to the rest of my committee too. More killing of myself to get it to them on time.

Time to sit back and relax? Hell, no! Of course, I will not manage to get all the data in on time, so there will be more crunching of data, statistics, quick repeats of experiments that need confirmation, and putting in the final data as I go along. Oh yeah, and prepare to defend. That would be the next deadline. In the third week of November I'm scheduled to defend my work. That means I have to convince a group of 5 or 6 faculty members that I am worthy of carrying the same degree they have. How am I going to fool these people into thinking that I am worthy?

Big sigh and a break after that? Hell, no! My committee members will give me a list of things to change in the final document, and I will work for a full week to implement those. There might even be some last minute data to be added. I would be surprised if there will not be any of that. The final submission deadline is in early December.

So you see, it's not one final burst of activity, culminating in this big sense of freedom. Right now, the road is blocked by 4 major hurdles, with hardly any time to breathe in between. Who ever thought this was a good idea?

Adding insult to injury, P1 is leaving for the weekend. As in: going out of town, and I'm stuck at home with a couple of little kids when I'm supposed to be working on this. Anybody want some kids for the weekend?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Cyclone Living in Miami

Check out my friend's blog. She's from the Midwest, and lives (for now) in Miami. Will she need to rename the blog when she moves away?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Reasons to believe in god

I forgot exactly when this happened, but it was quite a while ago, so I'm guessing F1-1 was about 5, maybe 6 years old. He started a conversation about god. He wondered why people believe in god. So I returned the question:

"Yes, F1-1. Why *do* people believe in god?"

He looked at me with a blank expression for a few moments before he responded, very sure of himself:
"Because some houses have flat roofs on them."
Several moments of silence.
Then I said: "You know, that is as good a reason as any other."

It still is the best I've come across so far.