25 April 2013

ANZAC day 2013

The last couple of weeks I have been properly hard at work on my thesis, which makes for a rather dull and tiring couple of weeks with very little interesting stories to tell. It started last Monday, which feels like ages ago and not just last week, when I had to drive up to Dunedin to use some microscope software at extremely short notice - as in, I got an email at 10 am saying that the microscope would be free that afternoon, but after that not for at least two weeks. So I had to collect all my thesis stuff and jump in the car, on a very rainy day that wasn't really suitable for driving in. I also had to dump my poor doggy at doggy-daycare, even though she had a cut on her foot that I didn't want to get worse. So I drove up to Dunedin, picked up a hitchhiker on the way to keep me alert, found my way to the electron microscope unit and after awhile I managed to remember how to use the software and did what I had to do - which after a three hour drive ended up taking no more than an hour. I'm not used to driving long distances so between that and being in a dark room on a computer for an hour I was already pretty tired, so I couldn't just drive back. Luckily I managed to get in touch with a friend so I had someone to eat lunch with, we caught up and chatted about all sorts of things, and then I had to drive back to Invers. Did I mention that as soon as I had driven out of Invercargill the driving rain disappeared? So I drove back into darkness, because it was late afternoon, and rain, and when it was all over I was very tired. The dog, on the other hand, was far from tired and would not stop jumping all over me - an entire day away is a bit much for her, she still has some separation issues.

After that very exhausting Monday I finally had access to all of the data I had been missing, which meant that I could continue re-writing one of my thesis chapter drafts. However, the next day I finally got an email from my supervisor with edits and comments on what I had sent her so far - in some ways good because I could include all of that in my new draft, but in other ways not good, because she expected a response and my draft wasn't ready yet. Which is why I worked really long, exhausting hours for a few days (because, though it may not seem so to some people, spending the whole day staring at a computer is actually really hard). Then I sent the draft to her, and had to quickly write up the assignment that was due for the publishing diploma that I'm doing part-time - hopefully it was good, I almost never leave things to the last minute like that! Then I had to get straight back to finishing the images I was working on for my thesis - I spent the weekend figuring out how to do what I wanted to do using photoshop, which is a very annoying program sometimes, completely un-user-friendly, and which I think I need to buy when I get a job because my copy (that is, a pirated copy, how bad am I) seems to be having issues. And my shiny new computer is having issues too - or perhaps it's Windows8, which may be a great new thing for tablet users but is really irritating for real computer users. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that because of computer/photoshop/windows8 issues I had a huge scare a couple of days ago when the images that I had nearly finished vanished from my computer! As did the new draft of my thesis chapter. I keep all of my thesis backed up on the internet through GoogleDrive so things aren't supposed to be able to just disappear, yet they were nowhere to be found. Luckily, I did eventually find them - in the trash of my online GoogleDrive, which is very strange because to get there the files would have to have been deleted, but all that happened was that my computer crashed while the files had been open. Both strange and worrying - as soon as I got all my documents back I made a new back-up of everything, for just in case.

Now that I have finished the second draft of that chapter I need to do the same for my other chapters. I'm working on an easy one today, because it is a public holiday after all. In fact, maybe I should stop working and make some ANZAC cookies - yep, that's definitely a good idea on this cold, rainy day. As well as my thesis work and my publishing diploma work (which luckily I find quite easy, so it doesn't take up much time) I have found a job to apply for, so I need to write an awesome cover letter, fix up my CV, maybe phone the place up with some queries, and sort out references. The references will actually be the worst bit - I will have to ask my supervisor, and first of all knowing that I am looking for a job may make her be even more negative about my thesis work, and second of all, I'm not sure if she will give me a good reference, on account of our precarious relationship and her apparent antipathy of my attitude to this PhD research (as in, she clearly thinks that I am incompetent and haven't completed tasks to the best standard - which is a load of bullshit, what is really going on is that I no longer give a f***). So anyway, you can see why I would be wary of asking her to be a reference, even though I have no choice as she is my most recent employer. Perhaps the 11 hour time difference will mean that there are no phone conversations, just emails, and that it will all stay vague and friendly. The job is electron microscopy technician at Massey University in Palmerston and I think I would really like that sort of a job - for awhile at least, and then we'll see. Plus, there isn't a lot of choice really, even if I look in Australia there are not a huge amount of jobs for someone with my specific science skills. So fingers crossed for this one! Time to go make bikkies...

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