Mar. 1st, 2008 07:13 pm
notmatt: (Enceladus)
In a week, I'm off to Houston for the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. And it may well be the end of my professional career. I submitted two abstracts and was given two talks (which rarely NEVER happens).

The first abstract I've made little progress on since December thanks to:
1. An upgrade to the cluster, which causes my code to fail.
2. A class I'm teaching that consumes far more of my time than it ought to, preventing me from debugging it properly.
So I have few results to present that were not in the abstract.

The second has been submitted for publication. The problem here is that it's based entirely on 2D models and not 3D (because of the aforementioned computing issues), so it may not be received that well.

My short term employment is not in jeopardy. But my current supervisor (Francis) is happy to keep me for another year (and longer assuming we can continue to grant money). But it is a soft money position, and it's not permanent. I haven't heard back from any of the faculty job searches I applied to (and if I don't soon, I'm probably not going to). If I embarrass myself at this meeting (which I feel is almost certain), I'll have even less of a chance of getting a permanent job. Plus, I'll be embarassing my co-authors. The result is that I feel guilty for not working round the clock to fix these problems, but don't seem to be motivated enough to actually do that, despite the deadlines. I'm sure part of that is that I don't think there's anything I can do to resolve this before the conference. Even if everything were working right now, it still takes a couple weeks for the calculations to run.

I'm enjoying teaching the class, but my time management skills are apparently awful. The appointment is supposed to be for 15 hours a week (with my postdoc being the other 25). But I must be spending 30-40 hours a week on the class, most of which is spent preparing the lessons, and much of it in the evenings. And I haven't been giving another 25 to research. Probably more like 10. When I do have a chance to do research stuffs, diagnosing the code is not what I want to do. When I debug a code, I need to have a large continuous chunk of time to devote to it, something I don't get much these days. An hour at a time is not much use to me.

Despite all this, Francis is still happy with me. The real problem is that if I do get a faculty job, I'll be expected to do this regularly. Teach classes and crank out several publications a year. So maybe it's just as well I haven't received any job offers. I have to learn to multitask better first. I had no trouble with this as a TA, but teaching on my own is a lot more demanding. The last time I taught a class, I wasn't supposed to be doing anything else.

Well, that's enough ranting for now. I should probably be working instead of ranting, but it's so hard to get motivated to work on a Saturday evening.
notmatt: (Default)
We got back from our Christmas / Disneyworld trip yesterday. It was fun. Crowded, but not the nightmare I was expecting. The trick is apparently to get up early, go to the parks when they open, muck about until around 2, go back to the hotel and flop for a couple hours and then go back out for dinner. None of the waits were really that bad. We only ended up using the FastPass option 2 or 3 times the whole week. We have several hundred pictures which will be posted eventually. I'm lazy.

Our flight home required us to get up at 3:30 in the morning. Our original plan had a 4 hour layover in LA, but we managed to reduce that to 0. The early flight to Oakland was running a bit late and was in the next gate over, so we were able to just hop right on it and come home. Around 4 we went down for a nap so we could be awake for New Year's. When we woke up 13 hours later, that plan obviously failed. We totally missed it. But we caught up on our sleep.

Now to finish planning my class that starts in one week. And figure out how the hell I'm going to get my LPSC abstract in by next week as well. I'm tempted to skip the meeting. It requires me to find a substitute for the last week of classes or cancel them altogether. But failing to present something there may be professional suicide at this point in my career. Can't do anything today on that topic.

Today's dedicated to flopping and the postponed holiday baking. The tree's going to have to stay up a few days longer.


Dec. 18th, 2007 09:51 am
notmatt: (Default)
Got into work yesterday planning to start the calculations whose results I want to put in my LPSC Abstract. It's due in about 3 weeks and the calculation takes on order 1. Then I get a message that our cluster is going down for two days for an upgrade starting on Wednesday. Oh, brilliant. That will still work assuming a) it doesn't take much longer than that and b) it doesn't frak things up to the point where my code won't run on it. Neither is a terribly valid assumption. Why did I wait so long, you ask? Because AGU is in mid-December, and LPSC abstracts are due early January. There's just not much time in between. In a pinch, I suppose I can use my preliminary results. The parameters are not quite right, but the end result ought to be the same. We really want to get something out on this because we'll probably get scooped otherwise.

Then about noon we get a message from the university saying power's going down in two hours for an emergency repair. Now we get similar notices all the time. I think the power grid on campus was installed in the Middle Ages and is maintained by Emperor Cartagia. However, they usually manage to switch to a backup system and the power only truly goes down sometimes. And even then, not for long. And they usually give several days if not weeks notice. This is the first time they've had to shut down completely. Why they couldn't wait until next week when everyone's gone, I don't know. The admin for the cluster decided to move up his upgrade work to coincide with the power outage. I think his building has a backup generator.

The power was to go down at 2 pm. I was frantically trying to get my job application polished and printed before that happened, because it had to go in by Express Mail anyway to get there by the deadline. Printed the last page at 1:53, and shut down my computer. 2:00. Nothing happens. I work on putting together my expense form for AGU. 2:30 nothing happens. Do some other stuff that can be done without a computer (there's little of that to be had). 3:00. Nothing happens. Go to the post office and mail my application (this does not happen quickly), and go home. 5:00 Check email. "The power will go down at 4:30". Oh, so you make everyone go home early because you're so hungover that it takes you two and a half hours to turn off the power?

I decided not to bloody well go in today. I can telecommute. AGU is over and I can't do any real computing right now, so there's nothing that requires me to be in my office. So why wast the gallon and a half of gas? I'm mostly going to be preparing for my class next quarter. And it's raining, which is unusual in itself.

AGU was interesting last week, but will have to wait for its own post. And we went to Hakone Gardens with [livejournal.com profile] cblack and [livejournal.com profile] jlfranklin Saturday. Pictures will be posted eventually.
notmatt: (Zapp Brannigan)
I stepped on something in front of the house a few nights ago, but could never make out what it was, given that it was dark out. I'd assumed it was just a leaf, but when I put my foot down it went "crunch" and then "squish". And the crunch wasn't a leafy crackle, it was much louder. I thoroughly cleaned my shoe in case I'd stepped on a roach or something. I've heard that is a common method of getting roaches into a house: stepping on one, bursting the egg-sac and tracking the eggs in. We definitely don't want that. We have enough problems with ants at the moment. They seem to keep getting into the master bathroom of all places. I assume they're after water, but there's plenty of that outside. We don't really know how they get in since we never see them anywhere else and there are no obvious cracks or holes anywhere. We'll spray and they'll go away but a couple weeks later we'll spot one.

Tuesday, I finally spotted the wily banana slug on campus, the noble mascot of UC Santa Cruz. I nearly stepped on it too, since it looked like a rolled up yellow leaf until I looked more closely. I should just avoid leaves. My boss and I were on the way to acquire coffee when this happened. He mentioned that if you lick one, you get a tingling sensation. I did not ask why he knows this. Then again, this is Santa Cruz, the city that makes Boulder seem like a drug free zone. Putting 2 and 2 together, I realized that the other night I must have stepped on a snail. Someone imported a bunch of escargot snails, they got out and generally wreak havotc on the local ecosystem. There's dozens (or "tens" if you prefer) of them in the garden, especially on the lemon tree right by the front door. The shell would go crunch, the "body" would go "squish" when stepped on.

Speaking of molluscs, this Saturday is the Santa Cruz Clam Chowdah cookoff. Might go to that if we can find parking by the wharf. Especially in light of the fact that we missed the Capitola Wine and Crab Tasting because I didn't find out about it until a month after the fact. [livejournal.com profile] kathleenroberts is displeased because those are two of her favorite foodstuffs. However, we have another thing to do on Saturdays now. I finally found the Anime club on campus. I tried to find it when I first got here, but no luck. No flyers (until last week), no contacts posted, and the website was three years out of date.

Icarus finally returned the reviews of the revised paper. They are asking for further minor revisons, but it looks like it's going to be accepted and not sent out for more review. I think. The decision is "Further Minor Revise" with no indication of status otherwise, but both reviews are favorable, and the revisions are not substantial. I may be able to get that resubmitted tomorrow. I am so ready to be done with this paper. I'm coming up on the first anniversary of its initial submission to Nature next week.

Posting from the office this time, since I never seem to remember when I get home.


notmatt: (Default)

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