Ok, so its been a long time since I updated here but believe me, it was a justified hiatus. Since my last post, the vast majority of my time has been split amongst three things with the first taking the lions share: PhD qualifier, Red Sox, and Patriots. I guess I should probably address all three at this point and that should cover about 90% of what I've been up to and thinking about for the past month. First off, my qualifier. My topic ended up being about a new technique for detecting metabolites in maize (corn). It could have been fairly cool but ended up being a nightmare and I'm glad that I only had to write about it in theoretical terms. Doing the work I outlined would have been a bitch and a half. The extra half bitch is because we are getting to be on par with paris hilton, naomi campbell, amarosa, and for those biblically inclined, delilah (go ahead, look it up...she was pretty bad). In the end, after all was said and done, I produced a fairly dense 15 page (a pretty short limit if you ask me) proposal for research that I submitted to my exam committee to look over and critique. Then last week, I gave a seminar on the proposal to the department. It went, OK but not great. I think I should have focused on some parts more than others in hindsight and that some important points might have been lost in minutia. Either way, I then proceeded to the private defense in front of my committee. That was less than pleasant all in all. I suppose I got off kind of easy because it only took about an hour and fifteen minutes, which I gather is a good deal shorter than some of them. Questions were not unreasonable but I certainly couldn't answer all of them. They did a good job of finding every weakness that I had found and exploiting them though I was hoping they might not notice. I guess, in hindsight, that was a less than stellar strategy for such a thing. In the end, after tearing apart my proposal and telling me it wasn't very good, they kicked me out of the room to discuss and eventually took me back in to say that all was well and that I passed. PHEW! After that, we went to lunch and I attempted to calm down for a while before heading back to the lab for more experiments. The whole thing was a little anti-climactic in that I spent a lot of time over the preceding two and a half weeks preparing the work to have it boiled down to an appraisal of "its good."
Tuesday followed, with Ally's thesis defense for her masters. She seemed nervous to start but all in all it was pretty good and she was very funny. She is quite the character and has a certain way of pulling people in and speaking in a way that makes it easy to understand. These are things that I certainly do not do and could probably stand to learn a few things. Long and short of it is that she is actually done, though she isn't leaving the department quite yet. After she finished, she announced that she had bought me a cake and we got together with the department later to have it and some champagne that her advisor had brought in. It was really great in all respsects. Besides all that excitement the only things that have been pulling at me are sports related. This has been a long post so I will just say a few words on boston sports. First off, the red sox are starting to drive me crazy...i'm starting to return to the mindset that is just waiting for a monumental collapse and the ensuing collective guilt/dismay/hope for next year mentality that beset red-sox nation before 2004. It might not be all bad, it could weed out some of the "pink hat/green jersey" crowd from making tickets impossible to get for the rest of us...you know who you are. The patriots on the other hand...are becoming the Yankees of football. The only difference is that instead of overpaid superstars that flounder when the games really matter we have superstars that are willing to take a pay cut to keep the team competitive (see Randy Moss and Tom Brady) and still come through in a clinch. When do the, "Patriots Suck" chants start...that will be a good day. Depending on how this evenings game goes...this might be the last sports mention for a while or at least until i recover from the astounding victory/defeat of the Red Sox. Patrick OUT!
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