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Out, Out Damn Spot

I woke up this morning thinking about MacBeth. Or more accurately, thinking that it is a Sunday morning and I am going to get up and go into uni and spend the day doing experiments. This led to thoughts of “why am I doing this” (I really do enjoy my PhD usually, and don’t regret having done it so far, although I am getting to the stage where I want it to be done.) which, in turn, led to thoughts of “why don’t I just stop” which, led to thoughts of “In PhD stepped so far ‘twere as tedious to return as to go o’er.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the basic story, MacBeth is not a story about a woman who kicks the dog out of the house. (I did make that suggestion once with a totally straight face and oh, never mind.) Anyway, MacBeth is a story about a politics and social sciences (yes, social sciences is an oxymoron) PhD student named MacBeth who has an evil supervisor, who we’ll call LM for brevity. MacBeth did very well in his undergrad days, and his undergrad thesis supervisor, Duncan, gave him some interesting work to do and was all set to give him a really good PhD project which would give him lots of good papers. Unfortunately, he listened to LM and she had him do some fairly ethically dubious experiments. These experiments all served to give him more work he had to do, so he didn’t even get weekends off while LM got more and more power and kudos. In the end MacBeth doesn’t even get to graduate.

So anyway, after the last life update, hope has started making a comeback after the last crushing defeat. Hence I am in here on a Sunday waiting for an experiment to be ready to start. At least I can put on my CDs and listen to them while I am waiting. (I’m not sure about using hour long CDs instead of timers though). Not that I haven’t had my CDs on anyway. On Friday I bought myself The Blackeyed Susans’ Spin the Bottle. I like it (I hope my lab mates do too, because I have played once or twice or more).

Friday was POETS day, so we went to the pub for a beer or six after work. After we left, on the bus back home (see previous post), the lady who sat next me made a comment about the bus driver sounding drunk (yes, she was right, he did), to which I asked, “what’s wrong with being drunk?” She responded, “Nothing, unless you’re driving.” You can’t argue with that, can you? We then had a discussion, about what she was studying etc. and she said that she had an exam tomorrow (being Saturday). I told her she should get a religion which prohibits her doing an exam on Saturday. You guessed it. She’s Jewish. The alternative they had given her was to do it at 6AM on the Friday. So Saturday it is. We then had a nice chat about Judaism as practiced in Brisbane and New York. It occupied that leg of the bus ride, anyway.

That's the second time such things have happened to me. When I was Switzerland half a lifetime ago, I was at a party and a guy came up to me and said "Nikola" (in that strange way French speakers have of not paying to much attention to consonants - he was saying his name, Nicholas). I looked blank. He asked, "French?" I shook my head. He asked "English?" I smiled and said, "Yes, English." He returned the smile and asked, "Or German?" To my surprise, though, his response to my, "No, Hebrew?" was "Hacol Beseder" - It's all good. So we had a chat in Hebrew through the night. I will point out at this point that my Hebrew grammar has moments of being passable, but my vocabulary has atrophied to the point that the vocab muscles need to be treated very gently when I want to use them.

The high point of the last few days has been phone calls from Rebecca. If we take that as “aaww, isn’t that sweet” then it can distract us from how that suggests everything else is going. I am also still trying to work out how to put the site together. My ambition seems to out rate my skills, but we’ll see how it ends up.


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