Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rejected Dedication

Idly dreaming of the far-off day when I submit my thesis and take those first tentative steps into the real world, I started thinking about its dedication. My dad set the bar pretty high with his dedication, which I'd imagine he chiseled into a stone tablet at Jurassic U.

Which got me thinking.

"For my parents, who set the bar high,
for my colleagues, who helped me reach the bar,
and for my friends, who reminded me that there's more than one type of bar."

No? Too much? I'll take another shot at 'er later.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

20,873 words

I have been a very, very bad blogger. Terrible, even. For which I am sorry, about as much as a guy can be sorry for not updating his web log. If it makes you feel any better, I also haven't been riding my bike much at all.

While I may not have been blogging, I have been writing. After the Motor Control Summer School, 2 months (or 11 posts) ago, I resolved to write one page of my thesis every day.

And so I have. Some days I took a break from writing, and others I wrote as many as three. I took a half a week off before each new chapter, to review the literature and flesh out an outline. I found a few great new spots for working, because the lab just wasn't a good venue for prose-synthesis.

Ducks are catalysts

The Intro, at least the first draft of the Intro, is finished. Three chapters ("Brain Injury and Rehabilitation", "Motor Control Analysis", and "PAMI Development and Assessment"). 63 pages in 58 days. 20 thousand plus words. More citations than I care to count. Plenty of late nights at the Highland Park Dunkin Donuts.

It's been a fantastically productive summer. As the senior grad in the lab, it's been my responsibility, and moreso my pleasure, to mentor the undergrads and help run some fun side projects. Getting things done has sometimes required that turn myself inside out, working consistent long days and never really leaving my troubles in the lab, but I have genuinely enjoyed the past two months.

It's just that after all of that, I have trouble applying myself to blog posts. It's not that I'm too busy to blog, it's just that there's a limited amount of writing in me, and it's all been used up for the thesis.

My thesis outranks my blog. A travesty if there ever was one.

When it's all said and done, the Intro as it stands may be a case of biting off more than I can chew. The rest of the thesis probably won't be as long, and the breadth of the background is likely a bit too ambitious. We'll see what the committee says. Better to have too much content than too little, though, right?

I'll be taking a week off from writing (although not from revising, and not from continuing work on manuscripts that I'll be submitting to journals), so hopefully I'll soon have the energy to compose some decent posts.

In the meantime, here's a pygmy marmuset that I photographed at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Do not feed after midnight.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The email that caused my deep sigh of relief


I just checked your transcript and you have enough credits to finish with
your PhD.

Graduate Secretary"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My New Website

It has come to my attention that potential employers have been Googling me. Apparently, they have not taken me at my word.

So I Googled myself, and I was not at all surprised to find that anyone trying to find me would find way, way more about my mediocre race results than about my professional background. There is no way that this could be a positive thing.

With that in mind, I set out to improve my career prospects by putting my best foot forward. The non-cycling foot. I brushed up on my html, and with the help of a free template, I made a website.

Disappointed that the word "website" wasn't a hyperlink? Well, there will be no link to my website in this post. Nor will the website have any links to the blog. No good can come from a clickable connection between the two.

To find my new website, go to the address that consists of the following:

"first name" + "last name" + ".com"

If you don't know my last name, then I'm quite okay with you not being able to find my professional website. Please continue enjoying this frequently-updated, content-rich, super-good blog.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

If you play guitar, I need your help!

I had an idea. To make this idea happen, I need to choose a song that consists of the following chords:

G, D, C, and Em.

More generally, what I really need is a song that consists of I, IV, V, and vi. It has to be recognizable, so no obscure indie hipster junk. Just a song. So far, I've got Brown Eyed Girl... but that only has rare vi chords, so I'd like other options.

Can you help?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Letter of Recommendation

('cause if you're not on Facebook, then the following is actually new content to you!)

In my quest to find a post-doc position, I've been asked by my recommenders to write my own letters, which they will then revise and sign. Which is weird. So, here goes...

To whom it may concern,

Don is as brilliant as he is handsome. He is creative, energetic, curious, ambitious, charismatic, innovative, clever, and smart. From what I've heard, he's a dynamo in the sack, too.

It is my recommendation that you hire him. And pay him a lot. Like, a LOT. For reals.

Don's Recommender

P.S. Also, he's a ninja