13 May 2013
Protest Slogans #2:
Here’s a few funny protest slogans that I saw during the student loan demonstrations in 2011, which I thought might amuse you: “Another Generic Angry Sign!”; “I love toast!”; “F*ck this – I’m off to Scotland”; “Hey Government ...leaves those fees alone!”; “I very much regret voting for the Liberal Democrats”; and “I’m off to Hogwarts!”
06 May 2013
It’s come to my attention that there are loads more ‘buzzwords’ that annoy you! Here’s some more that get on your nerves: 110 percent; Flagging up; it’s on my radar; it’s a win-win situation; level playing field; shake the tree and see what falls out ...and my favourite (not!) “so now we have the waffle – let’s put some syrup on it” Aaaaaaaaaaargh!
29 April 2013
Protest slogans #1:
I was watching the news about a protest taking place in London and it reminded me of a march that I took part in to demonstrate against the rise in student tuition fees. It reminded me in particular of some of the funny protest signs that I saw. These included: “I hate signs”; “I’ve no idea why I’m marching”; “Is this the queue for Justin Beiber tickets”; “JLS to win”; “I’m marching because my friends are”; and, “A generic political slogan”. Have you seen any worthy of a mention?
22 April 2013
I’ve always been led to believe that honesty is the best policy ... However, I’m beginning to have second thoughts as I’m not convinced that being honest is allowing me to reach the conclusions that I want!
08 April 2013
Matter of perspectives #4:
I was moaning about my PhD the other day - until Ollie put it all into perspective by saying: However bad your PhD may be, it must STILL be better than asking, "Do you want fries with that?" ...fair point I guess!
01 April 2013
Methods translator #2:
Here are a few other ways of translating a paper’s methods section: 1) “Experimental variables were selected using empirically realistic observations” – This can be translated as ‘we basically just made stuff up!’; 2) “We used a 2nd evolution <45 Sign. 000.5**** P-test to 5 degrees of freedom” – This can be translated as ‘nope, we have no idea what it means either!’; and 3) “All experimental procedures passed stringent ethical guidelines” – this should be followed by the line ... ‘at least we think they would, we never really bothered to look!’ Anyone think of any others?
19 March 2013
Having read loads of papers during my PhD, I have begun to notice that there are often ways of translating what is being said, particularly in relation to the methods section. For example, when a methods section states that ‘the experiment was left to stabilise overnight’, you can translate that to mean that the researcher chose a social engagement over his lab work. Or when a methodology says ‘experimental and technical configurations were changed, based upon a changing environment and evolving objectives’ they really mean that they just fiddled with the model until it worked. Or if it says ‘analysis was performed using widely available statistical tools’, then it means that they basically just stuck their data into the first EXCEL statistics package that they came across and out came their results. Many thanks to Steve Wason for this cartoon idea! :)
12 March 2013
There are (many) times when I can’t be bothered to work ...but need to look like I am working. Here are a few suggestions for avoiding work whilst at work 1) Perfect the art of the concentrated stare – normally at your computer screen 2) The complementary tea and fag breaks 3) Walk around aimlessly ...but looking ‘busy’ 4) Delegate everything so that there’s nothing left for you to do, and 5) just redo everything that you did the day before. If you have any other ideas, I need to know (as I think my supervisor is wising up to me!)
04 March 2013
Lost in translation:
Found Olly looking gutted earlier today, so obviously I asked him what was the matter. He told me that he’d asked his parents for some cash to buy a new laptop to help him with his work. “I guess they said no then?” – I replied. Found out Olly was actually gutted because they’d sent the laptop instead!
18 February 2013
Chatting with my friend yesterday who has just finished his PhD. Asked him how the job hunting was going and he replied that he ‘can’t get a job because he doesn’t have any experience because he can’t get a job because he doesn’t have any experience because he can’t get a job because he doesn’t have any experience because he can’t get a job because he doesn’t have any experience because’ ....well, you get the picture. Is it really going to be this hard when I finish?!?
11 February 2013
Irritating things people say:
The other day a friend asked me when I planned to get a real job – obviously this p*ssed me right off! However it got me thinking of other things that people say that really rile me! Here’s a few others that I came up with: My well earned taxes fund you; so you won’t be a ‘real’ doctor then; your work is of no practical importance is it; and, you know nothing of the real world do you! Aaaaaaaaargh!?! Can you think of any others? DrDoodles@findaphd.com
21 January 2013
The next set of annoying buzzwords coming right up – as suggested by you! 1) Blamestorming 2) Circle back 3) paradigm shift 4) work smarter 5) on the same page, and 6) Dialogue offline. Personally I’d rather someone shoot me in the face than have to hear any of these ‘buzzwords’ again! Anyhow, keep them coming!
14 January 2013
Looks like buzzwords don’t just annoy me. Here’s some more that seem to get your goat as well: 1) At the end of the day 2) Win/ Win 3) Face time 4) Low hanging fruit, and 5) Synergy. Anuva made a good point – it’s often not the words that are annoying – it’s the people who make them! Anyhow, if you can think of anymore – just let me know
07 January 2013
I cringed earlier today when my supervisor used the term ‘Going forward’ as I hate buzzwords. However it got me thinking of others, so with the help of Olly and Anuva, here’s a list of some other words and phrases that make us want to guage our eyes out with a blunt spoon... 1) Blue sky thinking 2) The perfect storm 3) Thinking outside of the box 4) Mind grapes 5) Touch base 6) shoot me an email. The list goes on but if you can think of any that irritate you – just let me know!
17 December 2012
Matter of perspectives #3:
Here’s another round of examples to illustrate how students and their supervisors see things differently! Have you noticed that when we try to impress our supervisors, we’re crawling, but when they please their boss then they’re co-operating. Or how’s about when you do well, your supervisor never remembers, but when you muck up, they’ll never forget. Finally, when you’re out of the lab then you must be wasting time but if they’re out of lab, then it must be for important business. Thanks for sending your ideas in – If you have anymore, please send them in.
10 December 2012
Matter of Perspectives #2:
Looks like there’s a few of you out there who have noticed that their Supervisors look at situations slightly differently to the way that we do – for example: When we do don’t do a task then we’re lazy, but when our supervisors don’t, then they’re just too busy to do it. Or when we do something without being given permission, we’re overstepping our authority, but when they do the same, then that’s initiative! Or how about when we’re off sick, then we’re always sick ...but when they’re off ill that must mean that they’re gravely ill! Thanks for sending your ideas in – If you have anymore, please send them in.
03 December 2012
Matter of Perspectives #1:
Have you ever noticed how some things are just a matter of perspective? Take my Supervisor for example – When I take a long time over a task, then I’m being slow ...but when he takes a long time, he’s just being thorough! Or when I make a mistake then I’m an idiot, but when he makes a mistake, he’s only human! Or how about when I stand up for myself, I’m considered to be bull-headed, but when does then he’s just being firm! How about you – do you have any examples that you can think of?
26 November 2012
Another blog post will be added next week....
19 November 2012
Reasons I’m not a Fresher anymore #4
Need more proof that my Fresher days are over? Ok then, here are some more signs: 1) Having to wear 5 jumpers because the heating’s bust is just not acceptable these days! 2) Shopping lists now consist of more than beans, cheap lager, multipack crisps and more cheap lager 3) A 3am fire alarm just isn’t funny anymore! 4) You’re pretty sure that you know the names of everyone sleeping in your house. Got any other ideas?
12 November 2012
Reasons I’m not a Fresher anymore #3
More proof that I’m not alone in realising that my Fresher days are well and truly behind me! Other signs include: 1) 1pm to 6pm is no longer considered as ‘potential nap time’ 2) When you sit down at the computer it’s normally for work! 3) Drinking at home to save money before going to the Union sounds like a crap idea now 4) Trips to Tescos are now made alone – not with your mates . Keep them coming!
05 November 2012
It’s bonfire night again, and in order to win this year’s prize for the biggest and best firework, I’ve gone out and bought ‘The Terminator’ ....although it may as well be called ‘The Supervisor’ because like a supervisor it promises the world, and it’ll probably go on for ages with no meaningful sense of direction, but ultimately it'll end up fizzling out with a whimper, leaving me deeply disappointed!
22 October 2012
Reasons I’m not a Fresher anymore #2
It seems that I’m not alone in realising that my Fresher days are well and truly behind me! Here are some other signs that prove it: 1) your potted plants are still alive 2) Sleeping on the couch is NOT comfortable! 3) drinking on a school night just doesn’t feel right, and 4) that guy who collected road signs in his living room just isn’t that funny anymore. Keep them coming!
12 October 2012
Reasons I’m not a Fresher anymore #1
Last night, I realised that I’m just not as young as I used to be ...well, young enough to consider myself a Fresher at any rate. Reasons I came up with were: 1) I now keep more food in the fridge than beer 2) I’m always pretty sure I know where I am when I wake up 3) 7am is when I get up ...not when I call it a night, and 4) I now use a hoover! How about you? What signs tell you that your fresher days are but a distant memory?
27 September 2012
It’s been noticed in our office that there’s a positive relationship between coffee availability and office output ...I’m addicted to the stuff and can drink gallons of it! In fact I get so wired on coffee that I’m literally bouncing off of the ceiling before I even switch on my computer in the morning – in fact, I drink so much that Olly once had to point out that caffeine isn’t a major food group! You might think I’m exaggerating but I’m not ...what about you guys? Anything you can’t do without?
19 September 2012
I’ve begun to realise that since I’ve started my PhD (what was I thinking!), that I live by a few hard and fast rules. The first is that if I get given a task, whatever it is, whoever it is for, and however important it is, I will only start it at the very last moment. The second is that if I am in a lecture, and the lecturer asks a question, I will automatically get my head down and pretend I’m making notes. The third (and last for now) is that when I talk to my supervisor, I always imply, in every possible way, that he is smarter, more experienced, more knowledgeable, more humble, and more successful than he really is.... When I come up with some more, I’ll let you know
07 September 2012
Well, it’s the start of a new academic year and Professor Blamty has asked me to make a list of all my successes and failures over the past year. I managed to reel off plenty of failures, including missed deadlines, flunked exams, disastrous presentations, failed experiments and rejected funding bids. Successes were slightly harder to list, in fact, all I could come up with was the fact that I’ve managed to remain a PhD student for another year. Not sure if I can if I can technically call this a success but I’ll take whatever positives I can...
31 August 2012
It never ceases to amaze me how differently my supervisor and I see things. A couple of months ago I gave him a paper proposal of mine. I’d worked really hard and spent ages on it, and I was sure it was insightful, novel, cutting edge and without doubt, unrejectable! Anyway, I gave it to him and he said he’d give me some quick feedback ... so, two months later and I’ve just received it back – and he’s absolutely shredded it! It was completely covered with red pen - corrections, arrows, symbols and cross outs to tell me just how bad my work was. I’m sure if I said the sun will rise tomorrow he’d disagree ...obviously, it’s never crossed my mind that my work could just be crap!
27 August 2012
Found out this morning that one of my friends has just landed himself a cushty little postdoc - and it got me thinking about the future. In fact, I wasted the rest of the day dreaming about what I want to be when I get older ...In the end I decided I want to be fabulously rich, incredibly successful, unbelievably famous, obscenely good looking, and of course, ridiculously attractive to women ...and then I realised that right at this moment I’d happily settle for just being able to finish this f*cking chapter by the end of the day!
13 August 2012
Annual Progress Report Part 2
I’m a bit worried - looks like I was a bit too creative with my annual progress report! Professor Blamty has just set up a meeting next week to discuss it ...which gives me about a week to start and finish three thesis chapters, two posters and one ‘ready for submission’ paper... Apart from going all out to avoid Blamty for the next month or so – I don’t know how I’m going to get out of this. Anyone got any ideas? ...please don’t anyone say ‘why not just do the work?’
25 July 2012
Annual Progress Report Part 1
Just been reminded that it’s that time of the year again – time to fill in my ‘annual progress’ report (‘Progress’ - don’t make me laugh!). Why do I need to write a report anyway? If (and it’s a big if) I’d made any progress – don’t they realise I’d be telling everyone and anyone that would listen! Anyhow, the way it is, I basically need to think of ways of making ‘farmville’ and ‘Call of duty’ sound like research – time to get creative!
16 July 2012
Hijacked by Facebook
Jeez, what is wrong with me! I know I should be concentrating on my work ...I’ve got so much to do! I’ve got papers to write, presentations to prepare, experiments to finish! Yet what do I do as soon as I switch on my computer?!? Yep, straight onto facebook - to let everyone know just how busy I am. Then before I realise it – the days been hijacked by facebook! I’m beginning to realise one thing - doing this Ph.D. maybe a lot easier with the internet around, but I’ll be blaming facebook if I fail! Anyhow, got to go – got a status to update...
09 July 2012
Students Trash Talk
Sitting on the bus yesterday, I overheard someone say that students know nothing of the real world. A bit harsh I thought - so I asked Zoe and the others whether they’d heard anything similar. Judging from their responses, it seems that trashing students is a popular sport. Here are a few examples of what they’ve heard: that we need to get real jobs; we’re the great unwashed; we’re funded by THEIR taxes; our work is of no real importance; we’re all bone idle, we’re always moaning about having no money; we think we’re so much smarter than other people and; we don’t even know we’re born! This may sound a bit depressing but when I mentioned this to a friend he asked me whether maybe the reason it hurts was because it’s all true! What do you think?
02 July 2012
Every month or so (I’m obliged) to go on a training workshop. They say it’s necessary to make sure that I have the necessary skills to both pass my Ph.D. and to make the most out of it when I get it, but I think they’re just covering their backs – cynical? moi? I hate workshops for so many reasons and always find myself asking: Are they actually necessary? Couldn’t this have been dealt with using email instead? Why can’t they stick to topic? The issue has been dealt with – why am I still here? I could go on... Anyway, today’s workshop was meant to cover procrastination with hints and tips on how to deal with it but I’ve just been sent an email informing me that it’s been postponed – the irony!
25 June 2012
Spent the last few days preparing for my monthly meeting with Professor Blamty, and to my surprise he decided to turn up for a change. That, however, is about as good as it got! He spent the first ten minutes on the computer with his back to me (I’m not even sure it was turned on...), and when he did turn around it was obvious that talking to me was the last thing he wanted to be doing. When I did get his attention, I asked him whether he’d had a chance to look at the draft paper I’d sent him nearly two months ago. After his initial look of complete surprise, he said that he had given it a very thorough going over and would comment on it shortly (even though I had noticed on my way in, that my paper was still sitting unopened in his inbox). He spent the last ten minutes batting away my questions, staring at his fingernails and looking at me with a mixture of pity and amusement. All I wish is that when I ask him a question he could at least pretend that he doesn’t think I’m an idiot! Anyone got any ideas? I’m thinking, maybe he‘ll take me more seriously next time if I start crying!