Dr NOir – 66

The light is fading fast, and this coffee is getting cold if only I had spent more time planning I wouldn’t be in this mess.

Hunched over the mechanical keyboard, trying to put words on the screen with the intention of contributing to an ever-expanding stream of content that provides no inherent value. Not only is the premise long forgotten, but the mundane nature of discipline bleeds out all of the interesting.

The coffee-shop smell of this room still isn’t strong enough to build a narrative on, and she, the only thing that matters is too distant to see. Ever since I could remember, she is the only thing that mattered. She is the only thing on my mind, the only thing I write about and the only thing that holds my attention any more.

Its Wednesday, I had spent all of Monday weighing out samples and then adding the highly aggressive organic solvent to extract the chlorophyll from my plants. I switch on the machine only to discover it has given up. Perhaps I should have secured several different machines for every experiment I do; given the notorious temperamental behaviour of scientific equipment, I should have known.

Another week, another chance squandered. I am now in the throngs of a back and forth with the owner of a new one of these machines, hopefully by Tuesday I will have access. Now I am stuck at home and out of action, with nothing left to do but analyse the data that I collected well over six months ago.

I have a conference to attend tomorrow, which requires waking up at 5 am, I didn’t try and get a decent education so that I could wake up at 5 am! Either way, someone from the lab group has to go, and the conference is closest to my area of study – not close enough to warrant the couple hundred pounds I am going to have to spend to get there. With these delays and distractions, she seems further away than ever..

Its late at night at kings cross station, and as expected the conference was not worth my time. However, I did see what the people look like who have always known what they want to do with there life and then spent 20 years pursuing it. Needless to say, they make us normal people pale in comparison.

Time to catch this train, and get some sleep, after all, I have a presentation to give tomorrow.

I had fun with this one! Someone in the comments suggested I try and do one of my normal posts in a noir style. I thought that my writing was getting stale and I needed a challenge; this is why this post exists.

Stumbling towards productivity – Week six as PhD student.

This week, I feel that I am finding my feet a little bit. I am still unsure what I am doing, but I have been doing something, which is progress in some sense. I have one training course this week that was about creative thinking and problem solving, as expected I felt about average in the group with my problem-solving skills. The creativity part was easily the most fun, as we just played games essentially. I noticed that the main effect of the creative activities was the awakening of my competitive side. For anyone else out there that has a highly competitive personality, you will know that is the best and worst of you at times. I feel that creativity is more fun in many ways, but often feels devoid of meaning, so I will not be donning my kimono and silk trousers anytime soon (I don’t know).

I Learnt how to use a new program (ImageJ) which made me feel productive for the first time in a while. However, I also tried to learn how to use scikit-image, the python module for image analysis and had a nightmare installing the module. If anyone has tried to switch to Linux from the ‘other two’ you will be well aware of the time-sink that can occur trying to get stuff to work, that you know would take minutes on the ‘other two’. I installed Linux as I wanted to learn a bit more about the technology I had been ignorantly using for the majority of my life. The massive positive is that my patience has drastically increased. There are so many problems you have to solve using Linux, such as getting the spellchecker to work in Libre Office, which was a good half-day. There have been many instances similar to that, however, i have not yet come across a problem that I could not solve eventually. I would recommend switching only from a hobbyist point of view or in professional circumstances, you would certainly be more productive in the ‘other two’ operating systems. But, having said that, most of the best things in life are due to their difficulty; there are also privacy and ethical issues to consider, but I will not get into that. Wow, that was very rambly, I do apologize.

In summary, it is coming along slowly, I still feel lost. The consolation is that everyone I speak to is feeling the same, and thankfully misery loves company.