Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sunshine, lollipops, springtime, et al

It's spring again! 2007 has been very generous with breaking of springs. We must be up to Spring 4 by now, which I believe in Hollywood parlance might be called Spring Returns. Or possibly Son of Spring. In any case, it's sunny, and we've had a new floral attack (tranche 1 is daffodils, followed rapidly by tranche 2: crocuses or is that croci?, tranche 3: magnolias, baby!) which is a weird fluffy white tree thing with no leaves as yet. Very fancy, as if mother nature had decided to arrange a non-stop flower show with lots of variety. Also, the horse chestnut trees, or I THINK that is what they are, are getting their new leaves at last.

There may be something in the crazy N. Hemisphere view that seasons are counted between equinoxes rather than just by months. It doesn't matter so much back home as the weather doesn't really match seasonal patterns anyway, but here it is true that the trees didn't lose their leaves until early December, it didn't get cold until Christmas, and it's only now really getting properly warm and new-leaf spring-y.

And because I can't go for five seconds without thinking about my thesis, I had a meeting with my supervisor this week. He still likes the draft. In fact he apparently likes it even more than last time, which makes me suspicious, because frankly if people refuse to say bad things about my work I kind of assume they are biased or lying or worse still completely incapable of seeing just how awful my thesis really is and how far it is falling short of my completely unrealistic standards of what it should be. For example, I would like people to cry while reading it due to the lyricism of its academic prose, and no-one has done so yet. Possibly they are being distracted by the weight of its 180+ footnotes (still lagging behind - my undergrad Honours thesis for law had nearly 400 footnotes).

However, he does want it to be no longer than 20K words. So I then asked what read as verbose/what could be cut. Whereupon he answered that nothing read as verbose, in fact he liked the way it read, and that nothing could be cut. So what I am looking for is some kind of device that will conceal words from a word count and yet nevertheless enable them to be read. I will let you know how I get on with that.

He also tried to convince me to do a PhD. I explained the few issues there might be with that, including:
  1. Australia is a long way from Queen Mary;
  2. I am about to hop back on that sweet, sweet full-time work bandwagon, with its piled high heaps of cash and its TOTAL ABSENCE OF WEEKEND GUILT FOR NOT STUDYING, and they won't just ask me to write less, they'll PAY me to write less!
  3. I have really had enough studying for the time being. I had my moments of incompetence as a lawyer but most of the time I knew I was good at my job and I knew that because I rarely had to look for the answer, clients paid bills, lawyers sought my advice, and once a month my company gave me a healthy cash injection by way of thanks. I *think* I am OK at this academic caper but it really doesn't have enough constant reassurance for an ego-driven praise junkie like me.
I wouldn't mind doing one in the longer term. We'll see. It would take so long while working full-time that I can't really stand to think about it. I would be lucky to manage it in under 6 years, and the number of times you'd have to refresh research over that period doesn't really bear thinking about.

I didn't get into the US 2-week study program. I have my doubts about the selection criteria used based on people I know who were selected (who are very nice people, but that is not the point). Possibly they don't like my delightful personality or possibly they thought I wouldn't get much out of the program given existing experience with US law or because of my Australian rather than European background, or possibly they went with the others for Reason X. Who knows, but I don't see how they could have selected those they did on the basis of greater knowledge of IP law. For Pete's sake, the copyright lecturer thought I was a copyright lawyer. THAT is how well I can fake it, people. BUT ANYWAY I WILL GET OVER IT.

Grant has been enjoying his week of 9-5 days so much that he is working on Good Friday. I'm sorry, Grant's loved ones, but he's going straight to hell. Various visa-related realisations may however cool his ardour for work a little. These include:
  1. we are about to be actually, for real, financially-solvent British-style, a rather impressive feat considering that last month his efforts paid off in one fell swoop the remaining hefty GBP1,000 left of my student fees AND kept us fed and housed and in copious DVDs, and even more impressive considering that %$! contracting company effectively withheld several weeks' pay last month.
  2. according to my uni, the British consulate apparently accidentally gave me too short a visa - should have been for four months after September, which is more time to sort out plans, and more importantly some time to work up a storm, assuming I can get a job!
  3. we might be able to wriggle something for him to hang off a visa application I file - have to chat to Uni's immigration consultant about that next week. About time I started using the boatload of international student support services that presumably justify the higher fees I pay compared to EU students (wait, let's think about that - most of them are ESL - I speak the language and come from the same legal system - NOW who costs more to support?). I may be able to get them to do most of the legwork on a visa which would be sweeeeeet. And bless the UK, because in between torturing people with overwrought bureaucracy and really really long signage, they do occasionally produce tasty new one-year post-student work visas JUST in time for me to use them.
We don't have any big plans for the weekend other than yum cha/dim sum in Bayswater, probably on Saturday. I'd like to do a day trip but opening hours in regional UK might be chancy at this time of year. Maybe we'll just do the usual stroll about routine. I will miss the usual big Sunday family Easter lunch, but hopefully you'll all save me some for next year.

I'm really missing Queenie this week, not least because of some chicken scraps we had this week that I had to THROW OUT, so if anyone has / can take some photos, send them through.

Happy birthdays for this week to aunts Franny and Susan (in that order) - cards are in the mail :)

Steps this week: embarrassing, not talking about it. I think I would be doing way better if Queenie were here.
Bike kms: ditto
Thesis words: the horror
Actual holiday accomplishments: I worked out how to make a pot pie, but I used bought pastry. Does that count? Also, I performed a loaves and fishes miracle with a chicken (3 dinners - roast dinner, soup, and pot pies; lunch for two - sandwiches).

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