23 June 2009

Looky looky!

Ohhhh I know it's probably really weird to get so excited about this and it's only a measly little poster session (not even a proper one) but look;

That's pretty damn cool, right? No?! Sod ya then. :P


22 June 2009

All systems go!

So, the meeting went well and I submitted the abstract to the secretary on Friday afternoon. She didn't reply Friday, nor over the weekend, but she finally got back to me yesterday (Monday) saying my submission hadn't missed the poster-boat. So looks like I'm doing a poster folks. Yay me!

So now it's non-stop work for the rest of the week! I actually have to try and get some results, which isn't proving 100% successful just yet but progress is being made. The poster is coming along nicely though; I decided to do it in Inkscape (as opposed to the Powerpoint that most researchers do them in), and used a university compliant template I got from the media centre. Don't worry (or should I say, if you care?) I shall share it with you when it's done! :D

Today (or asap) I need to;
  • Finish writing the porgram to control the stage motion (my fellow PhD'er A helped me out with starting it)
  • Understand concepts relating to microrheology, the viscous drag force method, Faxen's correction law and position calibration without using Brownian motion and power spectral analysis
  • Make samples of the liquid crystal and polystyrene beads. I really think I am neglecting this one, it's pretty damn important but I need to calibrate with water first
  • Find out about particle tracking with CCD/video using LabVIEW (IMAQ)
Yes, I realise most of that probably means nothing to most of you and I apologise! To make up for it I'll post something much more your scene soon.

In other news, I'm starving!!


18 June 2009

So abstract.

"Publish or perish" seems to be a popular belief when undertaking (or failing, as I am) a PhD and whilst I'd really like to let you go down the path that your mind is probably detouring to right now, I have to put you straight; I haven't published anything nor am I even a million miles anywhere near publishing my research.

Dude, it's a big thing. I'm gutted that I'm not at that stage yet. And although I'm reassured by people that this is common, I actually feel embarrassed.

And just to add icing to that pile-of-poo-research cake, I'm not really anywhere near presenting a bloomin' poster about my research.

But that, my little tiddywinkles (don't ask, because I have no frickin' idea, seriously), might all be about to change! There is a poster session (for my institute's big wigs) coming up at the end of the month and I decided to grab the bull by the proverbial horns and make a poster for it and submit an abstract.

Yay! Yeh, I thought that too. But it's definitiely not that frickin' easy. Let's break it down, the potential problems, that is;
  • I only decided to do this yesterday
  • the deadline for titles and abstracts is tomorrow
  • I only sent the title & abstract to Super this morning 
  • Super responded pretty quickly, but it was all a little difficult to gauge what his response really meant with phrases like "the poster session is a week on Monday!" and "we'll discuss it tomorrow". Eeek! It feels like when you call your mom/dad and tell them you're staying out late and maybe not coming home tonight, and asking whether you're in trouble. Usual response: "we'll talk about it tomorrow". Yikes! that means I'm in trouble!
  • For my current project (please observe: I say current like I've had several so far, lies!) doesn't actually have any results
  • I have to get results in time for a) the poster session and b) to be included on the poster, which will probably need to be submitted for printing on the frickin' Friday.
  • I have to make the bloomin' poster!
  • Assuming I get past all that, I then have to stand up in front of said poster and face (probably concealed, maybe openly displayed) judgements of why the hell I even bothered to submit a result-less poster and explain it all with a smile on my face

Arghhhh! And there's me thinking this was going to be a beneficial undertaking. Just so that I have something other than a pretty blog, a fancy schmancy new camera and lots of responsibility-dodging volunteer schemes to show for my PhD so far.

Well, I will let you know the outcome of tomorrow's meeting with Super.


17 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Holidays Revisited

{ Black Point Lighthouse, Penmon Point, Anglesey, N. Wales }

1/400s | f/5.6 | Canon Digital IXUS i @ 6.41mm (DigiComp)

{ City of Arts & Science, Valencia, Spain }

ISO 80 | 1/140s | f/2.8 | Kodak C763 @ 5.8mm (DigiComp)

{ Cathedral of Santa Maria, Plaza de la Virgin, Valencia, Spain }

ISO 200 | 1/60s | f/2.8 | Kodak C763 @ 5.8mm (DigiComp)

{ Cathedral of Santa Maria, Plaza de la Reina, Valenica, Spain }

ISO 80 | 1/140s | f/2.8 | Kodak C763 @ 5.8mm (DigiComp)

16 June 2009


I'm wounded, financially wounded!

Almost the worst kind, especially for a student (albeit a fully funded PhD student) like me. The purchase of a digital SLR, along with accessories, has affected me more, and longer, than I thought it would. It's only the middle of the month and I'm overdrawn! What the hell am I spending my money on?!

Granted, 2 siblings owe me money and I am currently 'missing' 2 accommodation deposits, one of which I should get most -- if not all -- of back when I move places. But it sucks. I have a rather large overdraft facility but still, I hate being in this situation. Plus, I have flights, travel insurance and train tickets for the Spainish festival, Benic├ássim, to worry about, too. I'm hoping they won't be any more than £150.

R has managed to save up so much money whilst I appear to have simply squandered it. :( And that's with him getting slightly less funding than me. But my rent is more and he also gets paid for teaching assistant duties.

If I clamp down on my clearly ridiculous spending (I still don't know on what?!) for the rest of this month, get as much of my deposit back as I can i.e. clean my flat phenomenally well, and wait patiently for July's instalment of my funding, I should be fine. Right?

Many moons ago, I used to keep a spreadsheet of my expenditure; maybe it's time to start doing that again. I could also get one of these bad boys?

I always thought I didn't need these sort of money saving devices, but maybe I should reconsider. Or how about one of these;

Now that's a clever piggy bank.

I did have another holiday in the pipeline for September but my Dad pretty much vetoed that (yup, I haven't lived at home for 6 years and my parents are still the boss of me) which I don't really want to talk about. But it's probably a good thing, seeing the state of my financial affairs.

You have simply disgraced yourself, my dear.


15 June 2009

Holla! @ Happiness

Blogging ideas are a bit thin on the ground again this week. Yes, I know it's only Monday and I'm already falling short of content, but allow me, my brain is otherwise occupied with some other junk (= PhD).

So, in the mean time I will give a Holla! @ Happiness and share with you a few things that have made me happy recently...

  • Last.fm
    I know I don't shut up about this radio station style website but I really don't think nearly enough people use it. I didn't understand enough about it -- likening it to Yahoo radio before I'd even visited the site -- but after test driving it, I was an immediate convert. And the number of old school songs that pop up and remind me of my youth are enough to lift my heart!
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    I would love to know why, if any other women know, why crying at a film makes the fairer sex happy? maybe it's not all of us, but I sure as hell love a good cry, I tell ya. Well, I watched this film last week and it was rather sad indeed and, whilst the severity of it's effect might be blamed on my already high monthly hormone levels, it really made me blub. And no, it's got nothing to do with my all out infatuation for everything Brad Pitt (did anyone see Meet Joe Black? I love him, no, both of them, Black and Pitt!). OK,  I probably was a little influenced by my attraction, but it was actually a good film regardless.

Time for your Holla! @ Happiness.


11 June 2009

Happy 1st Blog-a-versary

This is going to be short and sweet...

Happy 1st Blog-a-versary to Me!

Thank you all for making it so much fun for me so far!

10 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday: 'Baked Bean Tin'

The 'Baked Bean Tin' Building, The University of Manchester
ISO 100 | 1/320s | f/10 | Sony DT 18-70mm @ 20mm

08 June 2009

Strawberries & cream!


how was everyone's weekend?

Mine was nice. On Friday, the rain stopped a little and a night out with some friends was still on. It was really fun actually, although we drank quite a lot.

On Saturday, I passed by a little street book sale and, as usual, never expected to find anything but managed to spot a book I've wanted to read for a while now; The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, and for a bargain price too; £2.50! The rest of my Saturday was a little wasted though; I decided not to take up the offer of another night out with friends, and had a lovely night in on my own instead. I finally did some baking and made some strawberries and cream mini-cupcakes.

So I sat down with a good book (although truthfully, the book was Twilight III, not the one pictured) and these deelish cupcakes. I'd stayed up until 3am to finish the book -- onwards and upwards with Twilight IV -- but I had gorged myself on cupcakes, mini or not, well before that!

Sunday I popped into town and just picked up some bits and bobs, toiletries mostly. I did spot a lovely dress in Miss Selfridge (one of my fave shops!) that I could team with Mary Jane court shoes, a quilted bag and some silver jewellery for my cousins hen party that I'm going home for this weekend. What do you think?

A bit of a girly moment here, but allow me that much; I am a girl, after all. :)


05 June 2009

Good intentions

So much for those...

I had all sorts of plans today, lots of tasks to accomplish;
  • Get on top of my mail, especially those that require a reply
  • Do at least some programming
  • Improve upon the data set I took this morning
  • Go exploring with my camera again
  • Bake cupcakes
But apart from er..., oh yeh, none of those were really achieved today. I should probably get myself one of those t-shirts. OK so there is still time to go exploring with my camera. That is, if it weren't for the sudden terrential down pour (with the odd crackle of thunder for good measure) that has just engulfed Manchester. I have to cycle in it, and you know how much I don't like cycling in the rain -- I need not fear though, I have my trusty Kag in a Bag and a new waterproof (I hope!) backpack that I told you about. Don't tell me you forgot?!

Yes, yes, I'd be telling myself there is still time to bake cupcakes too, but not with the insufficient lack of sleep I had last night -- I don't know how I'm keeping my eyes open to be honest with you; I need my 8 hours. Yup, that's a flakey excuse, I know because come on, how much energy does it really take to do a bit of baking? True, true.

Don't condemn me as being lazy juuuust yet though, plans to go out with the girl guiding leaders tonight around 9pm (£2 cocktails at Font!) would have also put to bed any aspirations to shoot some photos or gorge on bake cupcakes, but with this bloody monsoon weather, I am not sure a night out is even really on the cards. Am not decided how I feel about that.

We'll see what happens.

I know I don't need to explain myself to you (the masses that you are. Not.) but come on, it's Friday, it's almost 5pm; I'm going home! Well, as soon as it stops raining...

Happy weekend guys and girls.


03 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday


Credit: Marie-Marthe Gagnon

02 June 2009

Long day

Very boring post today but I feel I should say something.

01 June 2009

PhD Mail

So Friday's meeting with Super was not a complete disaster after all. Far from it, in fact and I would almost go so far as to say, it was a pretty good meeting.

Although I had decided about a week ago now, that I wasn't going to quit -- I didn't want to quit anymore -- I still considered quitting as an option because maybe it was too late for the PhD to be salvaged. I did mentally prepare myself for, depending on how the meeting went, to tell Super in Friday's meeting, that I was going to quit. But after the meeting going quite well, I finally put all ideas of quitting behind me. And I'm really quite happy about it. :D

I imagine Super wasn't amazingly happy that I came into his office with this worried 'I-still-have-no-idea-what-the-hell-I'm-doing!' look on my face, yet again. He asked me if I was confident (maybe about the small part we were discussing) and I just said 'No, not at all. Not about anything really.' I did try to put across to him how worried I was about the lack of time I had left but again, he put my mind, and my nerves somewhat, at ease with the old wives tale (maybe it's true?) that most PhD's don't even get results till their 3rd year, anyway.

So, he doesn't seem to have lost all faith in what I'm doing. I'm sure I didn't impress him too much when he asked me about the Matlab program I'd written -- the topic of which I had admittedly, brought up -- and, as usual, I was taken off-guard and didn't understand, or know the answer to, his question. Ahhhh! Of course, I did know the answer, I just got all freaked out and thought because Super is asking me a question, I cannot possibly know the answer?! But, it's my program and of course he doesn't know the answer because he hasn't seen the program you wrote. Wally.

He did take a trip with me down to the lab, during which he told me I may have to completely move my experiment. Noooo! All the optic alignment took far too long, I cannot start from scratch. But he assured me that because someone above him was making us move the lab, he agreed to it on the proviso that he could use 2 forklift trucks to move my experiment so as not to disturb the delicate optics. Way to go Super!

He set me some tasks and we're going to spend some time together on Friday going through this Matlab program I wrote. 'Could take hours' he said. Eek! But I am happy about it -- even if it does show up my lack of knowledge.