Monday, November 24, 2008

Dr. Makita

Yep! I managed to convince my 4 committee members that I am worthy. I successfully defended my dissertation. I got my committee members to sign the form, and I'm not giving it back.

So, that's Dr. Makita for everyone.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tasks ahead

Thanks for all your encouraging comments. Twelve hours after I submitted, and I'm still running on no sleep and lots of caffeine. I killed even more trees today and printed out 3 copies of my dissertation to hand out to committee members. It's not over yet. I'm starting a new counter to keep track of the tasks at hand. I think I will keep this on top for a while, so I can amend as necessary.

1. Finish statistical analysis
2. Add to chapter 3 results section and discuss
3. Maintain cultures
4. Check reference list
5. Check buffering capacity of medium
6. Schedule exit seminar
7. Reserve room for seminar
8. Prepare mini version of exit seminar for defense day
9. Prepare exit seminar
10. Work more on chapter 4, topic 1
11. Work more on chapter 4, topic 2
12. Add in table for chapter 3
13. Get paperwork together for employment authorization
14. Organize defense date (coffee and stuff)
15. Ask hubby to help pick out clothes for defense and exit seminar
16. Buy shoes for F1-2 who is getting a brand new brace for his leg
17. Start job hunting
18. Incorporate committee members comments
19. Convert dissertation to pdf with Acrobat ("save as pdf" is unacceptable)
20. Submit final dissertation
21. Update CV
22. Defend dissertation

All this needs to be done by the end of the month. So I can guess I'm still in the running for InaDWriMo 2008, with adjusted goals.

Dissertation Submitted!


If my writing is a bit disjointed (or as F1-1 would say, discombobulated), it's because I worked through the night, and turned in the dissertation at 6:30 am this morning. Yesterday a student colleague, our labmanager and I worked all day on trying to get a statistic calculated and tested that my adviser wanted me to add. I must have killed two trees in the process. All the intermediate steps needed t be analyzed carefully for model fitting, numbers to be used in subsequent steps, and such. I had only done this exercise in a class more than 3 years ago. And the others I worked with were a bit rusty themselves, but eventually we managed to figure it out for one of my experiments. I ran out of time to finish up the second, but now that I know how it's done, it ought to go quicker. It was too late to put it in the dissertation at this time. I'll add it in before final submission.

Now I've done 2 of the 3 submissions. I have to defend it in 2 weeks, if I pass, I'll have to incorporate comments from my committee members, before final submission.

No break for me though. I have to print the dissertation up for at least one of my committee members, take care of my plants in the greenhouse, start up fungal cultures for inoculation next week, finish up model fitting and statistics, incorporate last-minute comments from my adviser. Ideally I would also start working on my exit seminar, but that seems overly ambitious at this point.

I ought to feel elated. I always thought that if my adviser said my dissertation was good enough to be sent to the rest of the committee that it was just a formality from there on end, and pretty much a done deal. But now I feel numb, edgy, and unable to estimate whether it will be good enough. There are some pretty major gaps in my work that I am very painfully aware of. I simply ran out of time. If I would start on this project now, I would do a kick-ass job in a fraction of the time that I did a shitty job on this degree. It feels so inadequate. And deep down, I'm convinced that my committee members will see through the whole farce and realize that I'm just not up to the task.

I know it sounds pessimistic, and I probably shouldn't be writing this on virtually no sleep and lots of coffee, but there you go. That's how it feels. Not good at all. Just another hurdle in a string of them.

I'll be starting up a separate counter for all the steps that need to be done from now on.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A break from your regularly scheduled dissertation writing

Important breakthrough! Autism is linked to rainfall. Finally all speculation can stop. All kids can get immunized against dangerous, deadly diseases. Move to the desert, and you children should be safe.

In other news: I worked until 3 am last night. Check out that progress meter!

Monday, November 10, 2008

InaDWriMo 2008 Update

I underestimated the number of words of this dissertation. It'll be at least 30k, so the progress meter will be updated. On the bright side, I've done a good chunk already. On the not so bright side, chapters 1-3 are about to go into the 3rd round of revisions. The second round of Chapter 4 revisions still needs to be submitted. All 3rd round submissions need to be complete by November 14 at the very latest.

I have been working very hard, but very productively, so a pat on the back for me.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Busy , busy. But I really ought to make some time to introduce my readers to yet another friend who started her own blog: Under A Creosote Bush. Inspired by InaDWriMo 2008, she hopes to let the world know of her world. And an interesting one it is!


I'm setting my progress meter to joyful right now! My adviser told me that chapter 2 is in good enough shape to send on to the rest of my committee. I'm tickled pink. This will give me enormous energy, hopefully enough to finish the last two chapters this weekend. Look at the progress meter, I must say it's good to see progress.

Update: Ok, enough joy. Back to work

Friday, November 7, 2008


I'm beat. I worked all day. It wasn't easy, but I managed to finish the second draft of my literature. The counter has been duly updated. The number of words hasn't changed appreciatively, so I kept the numbers the same. I'm going to bed now and catch some zzzzz's. I'll change my progress meter accordingly. Tomorrow: chapter 4.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election night was good for me

Few could have imagined the impact it had on my productivity. Although I was a bit distracted by the tv, and wanting to check on election results, it did make me stay up late enough to finish the second draft of chapter 3. The counter will be updated appropriately. It turned out to be an additional 500 words, so I'll update the total number of words too, so as not to give myself an unfair advantage.

No celebration for me though, I have to move on immediately to the next one.

Also, of course, I have to eat my own words. More than a year ago, I claimed that if the US even had to ask whether they were ready for a black president, they weren't. Little did I realize that Barack Obama would fight the uphill battle, and aided by some bad choices by McCain, but most importantly (I think) by inspiring a new generation of voters, would win this battle. He fought a hard fight, and his win was well-deserved. I don't envy him his position to try and fix the damage of the last 8 years, and the enormous task to be everyone's president. He sure has poise, charisma, and the will the do just that. Time will tell.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Concentration issues

I stayed home today to write. And it's not going so well. I'm easily distracted today. I really, really need to submit this chapter today, and it looks like I might be up all night. If I could only get my act together now...

In the late afternoon, I'm going to the lab to quickly end an experiment that is a repeat of 2 previous ones. Last week I couldn't stand the idea of walking around the lab with nothing to do but water my plants every few days, so I figured I might as well start another experiment. Today is the last day for that, so I'll be going in to take the last batch of measurements, quickly run the statistics on the lab computer, then pick up the little girl and the big boy, then head back home to add the data to the chapter and send it off already.

Concentrate..... concentrate.....

Monday, November 3, 2008


Dang! I don't think there is any way that I can turn in the next chapter today. I was really hoping that I could and working hard. But it'll have to be tomorrow, I'm afraid. That pushes everything up with a day at the very least.
So I'm hoping to do this:
Ch 2 2nd draft submitted
Ch 3 Tuesday Nov 4
Ch 1 Friday Nov 7
Ch 4 Sunday Nov 9
And then I'll have to get ready for the next round of revisions. And then another. All of these have to be finished by the end of November. It'll be really tough.

I'm working fairly productively today, it's just not enough. Back to work.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

InaDWriMo 2008

Ok, I'll be participating in InaDWriMo 2008, hosted by Brazen Hussy.

Since I already submitted the first draft, I'll be counting revised chapters. I have turned in 1 first revised chapter, 4 more to go. If and when my adviser approves the chapters (with more revisions, of course), I can send them to the rest of my committee.

Because I'm doing revisions, I think I'm going to count the revised words per chapter, so if I revise chapter 1 (see below), I will count them as 3000 revised words, and count my way up to the approximately 20,000 it'll be in total. The word count is divided up as follows:
Ch 1. Literature review, currently 4000 words
Ch 2. Experiments with RGS, currently 6000 words
Ch 3. Characterize new pathogen and more RGS experiments, currently 5000 words
Ch 4. Side project, currently 3000 words
Ch 5. Overall discussion, currently 2000 words

Until this torture is over, the progress meter will be on top of the page. I submitted the revised version of chapter 2, which accounts for the 6000 words of progress made so far.

Thanks to Sciencewoman for encouraging me to do this.

It'll be a roller coaster ride. Hang on tight!