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Monthly Archives: October 2009

a return phantasy of phinishng a phd, originally uploaded by Mister Wind-Up Bird.

So for those keeping track at home, I took leave of my position at Worio last month to go back to work on my PhD full-time. I’d been either a non-student or part-time for the last two years, which seemed kind of incredible to me. How the hell did a six-month leave turn into two years? I guess by extending it and then getting sponsored to be a research intern, is how, but that answer seems too literal and lacking the existential resonance I was hoping for. So I’ll just say that the PhD is simultaneously the best and worst thing I’ve ever done. I’m glad to be back and gladder that the end is finally in sight.

But for now, I’m fully immersed in the full-time grad student lifestyle again. It all came back easily, as I immediately had to dive into submitting a paper to a fairly high-profile conference. Which means the past month has been the tick-tock of an approaching paper deadline with far more to be done than time to do it. Days with the sickening feeling of knowing you’re procrastinating and feeling powerless to stop it. Other days enjoyably lost in elaborate code, listening to Four Tet and Aphex Twin. The sudden happy click when a once-obscure paper starts to give up its secrets and make sense, or the rush of getting a really clever idea for solving a problem. And then biking home from the lab, exhausted, in the early morning hours, and passing through Kitsilano, which is still and quiet and smells like flowers and marijuana and the ocean.

All that, and I kind of think the paper I submitted was not-so-good. The code stayed buggy, the experiments unconvincing and the writing something less than a model of clarity. Oh, well, the “good” news is, there’s always another conference deadline coming up soon!

Until I’m finally done, and then there isn’t.