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More of the same
You'd think going to take a job half way around the world would be exciting, wouldn't you? An adventure? A challenge? While I now have my computer, and am trying all sorts of things to set it up properly, I'm still not getting any actual, useful work done. And I figure I may as well set my computer up properly first, so that I don't delete something useful later on.
Mr Jekyll and Dr Hyde
The hard part is the choice of material, really. The story writes itself. I wonder if I can write Hyde out of it? No, I don't think I could pull it off. Challenge to the reader: have a go at writing Hyde out of the story while still maintaining some sort of overall point relating to the original.
As the story begins, a couple of post graduates, Utterson and Enfield, are having a nice chat while they work. Enfield recounts a strange story about how he came across a first year PhD student in tears. On questioning, it turned out that she had been told to book some equipment time for her group, but someone from one of the other groups had come through and booked all the equipment time for the next month, thereby trampling her 8 month old candidature as she had her first year report to prepare. Utterson thinks for a bit and asks, "Did the other group use a key to get in to book the slots?" As if they couldn't just go and look at who had booked the equipment and as if the reader doesn't know who done it anyway.
That afternoon, Utterson goes looking at the booking sheet and finds strange references to a Dr Hyde.
A couple of weeks later, Henry Jekyll presented a seminar which Utterson attended. Henry Jekyll was a hard working, conscientious, bright individual who was half way through his PhD.
After the seminar, Utterson confronts Jekyll, asking about the mysterious Dr Hyde. At this Jekyll becomes upset, telling his friend that he can collaborate with whoever he chooses. Jekyll then apologises, and begs Utterson to look after Hyde when he goes off on his postdoc.
The story then resumes a year later, with the field in an uproar as the body of work of Prof Danvers Carew is in tatters, following a series of sharp notes published by Dr Hyde. The community, however, was unable to find Dr Hyde anywhere, or a trace of his past.
Utterson then confronts Jekyll over Dr Hyde's behaviour. Jekyll swears that he is done with him and won't work with him anymore.
Some time passed, during which Jekyll devoted himself to his write-up. Once his thesis had been submitted, Jekyll became a new man. He presented. He helped other students. He was generally friendly and likeable. He played well with others.
One seminar was notable for Jekyll and his old rival, Dr Lanyon, presenting a joint piece of research. Shortly after, however, a note appeared accusing Lanyon of falsifying data. Lanyon's career was dead.
Some time later, Utterson and Enfield walk past Jekyll's office. Utterson tells Jekyll that he should relax a bit and take the afternoon off and come with them. Jekyll says that he wishes he could, but he has a grant application due the next day. As he finished his words, a look of terror overcomes him and he slams the door shut on them. The two men only glimpsed it briefly before the door was shut, but they were overcome with disgust at what they had seen.
Some time after, Utterson noticed that Jekyll rarely left his office. Even worse, Jekyll was now supervising students, so his door was permanently closed and he only communicated by sporadic email. Utterson comes across a document Lanyon had sent him for when Jekyll graduated. In the document Lanyon describes how Jekyll had come to him after their seminar and told him, "Inside every researcher there are two distinct people: a collaborator and an administrator."
"Most postgraduates are predominantly collaborators. As they progress, they still maintain their collaborative side, but they are forced to do more and more administration. I wondered to myself whether there was a way to totally separate the two sides. I began by totally ignoring other people as I filled out grant applications. Particularly students."
"I thought I could control it, and after filling in the paperwork I would be able to get back into the lab. But then the paperwork started taking control of me. And I just needed to fill in more applications. And get more grants. And have more people doing the work for me. And sabotage other academic's careers. And I found that I couldn't actually do my own research anymore."
One day Utterson was walking passed Hyde's office, and discovered to his shock that the transformation was now complete, for there on the door was the name plate "Professor Edward Hyde"
My favourite procrastinations
The Head Heeb - Jonathan provides a balanced view on various Israeli and (former) colonial states in less developed regions of the world.
The Bladder - a sports satire site. Well worth a look.