Monday, December the 5th, 2005

“Though intellectually stimulating, working on fundamental theories can often feel like a thankless task. Results which don’t align with common experience and intuition we’re sceptical of and eager to dismiss, and those that do seem apparent and consistently underwhelm.” — Me, 2005

Rather than be one facet of my existence, being in grad school now seems to be what defines me. I don’t really have a problem with this per se, but sporadic comparisons between life as it stands and life as I envisioned it being by now usually cause some distress. This recently came to the fore yet again, when I was forced to answer a variant of the question every senior grad student dreads to hear—”When are you finishing up here?”

Like everything else in this unnecessarily-hurried part of the world, my landlords were beginning breathing down my neck concerning my leasing decision for 2006–2007. As in, the year after next!

In all honesty, I don’t know what I’m going to do a few minutes later. And besides, for all I know, I could get hit by a truck by 2007. But anyway, I mulled over it since they wanted an answer. A short while ago, I reached a decision, signed my lease (yes, it’s freaking insane), and had a very long (and somewhat awkward) conversation with my parents about my decision to spend another year in grad school here.

And by “another year”, I don’t mean to make it sound like I’m messing with the initial master plan. The grand total at the moment seems five years, as it was initially. It’s just, at some point, it looked like I could be out in four. It’s still entirely possible, but then I thought, what then?

I really like what I do here, and have a ton of ideas as to what else I plan to do. I have little planned on what to do next, besides I’ve assumed it’s going downhill from here since it can’t be better. So what’s the point? What’s the rush? Why not spend a little more time and do a good job, as opposed to a job that’s good enough?

And oh, in these time-scales, the hotness-meter ought to be in the 27,000–30,000 bracket by finishing time!

I quickly jotted down a road-map of what I’d intended to do and planned to learn in the remaining time, and got it OKed by the higher ups. I will con this place out of a couple of master’s degrees and a doctoral degree in more than one field yet.

This is a printer-friendly version of the journal entry “On extended stays” from actuality.log. Visit to read the original entry and follow any responses to it.

6 Responses to “On extended stays”

  1. Adi says:

    Planning has almost never worked for me. It just doesn’t. I go with the flow and that’s somewhat better than planning, at least for me. Somehow, I’m amazed that you made it this far in one-piece(?) and that with uncanny accuracy as per ‘master plan’. Planning for tomorrow can be termed as a ‘master plan’ and beyond that it never works. Anyhow, will the Mini be the top choice by 2007?

  2. pUl| says:

    Stardate 1677927.341251771, Captain’s log: After a tiring day that was spent incessantly exchanging photon torpedos with the Borg, we were pleasantly surprised when an Intrepid-class Federation starship (Deep Space Nine) brought with it reinforcements to help us fight the next battle against the Kazons. The admiral of DSN though well known for his famous two-second victory against the Talaxians, was an eccentric personality. One of his favorite pastimes was reading personal logs of the 21st century (more familiarly known as blogs in that period). Later that day, I got to meet him in person. We started talking and slowly one thing led to another; finally I got my chance to question his hobbies. Soon enough, a discussion on 21st century blogs ensued. We exchanged our ideas on the purpose that blogs served during that period. It was at this point that he came up with an example: actuality.log, stardate -317073.9726027398: “Though intellectually stimulating, working on fundamental theories can often feel like a thankless task. Results which don’t align with common experience and intuition we’re sceptical of and eager to dismiss, and those that do seem apparent and consistently underwhelm.” — wahgnube, 2005″. I was amazed! The thought resemblance was uncanny. Even after several thousand earth years had passed, little had changed in the research domain.

    -Captain William Morton (Alpha quadrant)

  3. wahgnube says:

    Adi: And planning is all I do. I spend way to much time thinking about end points and charting out routes to get there, but never really walk the walk. I don’t really do anything, and stubbornly resist all flows. Yet everything I plan on happening happens. It’s like I will it to be or something.

    Regarding the Mini, I am guessing yes, it still will be. But it isn’t about the car, it’s about the notion of clinging onto something. It is something that imposes restrictions and some financial discipline. So that I don’t give away or spend all my meager income.

    And unrelated, is your web log permanently taken down?

  4. wahgnube says:

    pUl|: I haven’t watched star[trek/wars] and their numerous spin-offs, so I can’t judge the noteworthiness of the actual scene described, but I am going to take it as one of the geekiest compliments I’ve gotten!

  5. Adi says:

    My web-log, for the time being, is being taken down because it’s just too disgusting to see how much I crib these days. My writing has reached a new low with nothing constructive or interesting to read. Just plain mindless bitching. So I thought that for the good of my sanity, and to spare the reader of my bitching, it would be prudent to let go for a while and start afresh later on. I do have plans for another blog. And when that happens, I’ll let you know. It will most definitely not be a ‘A-Day-In-The-Life-Of-Adi’ type of blog though.

  6. wahgnube says:

    Actually, as a mechanism to purge all non-positive thoughts and feelings so you can move onto more productive things, I think a-sad-day-in-the-life-of-me style journals work wonders. I sure as hell know actuality.log has seen some really hard times. But it usually left me feeling better.

8,709,245 people conned into wasting their bandwidth.