Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In which I probably jinx everything

I've been working on the first bit, I mean third, I mean half, no, huge honkin' chunk of my dissertation for a couple of years now. It has morphed through several incarnations:

  • somewhat small extension of a method developed by Drs. Nice and Brilliant (let's call this method A1, initially supposed to be the extent of the project)
  • extension of method A1 for a different type of data (method B)
  • comparison of method B to someone else's method
  • Ooo! Eureka! We can do better if we do it THIS way! (method C)
  • Hmmm, someone else is doing method C1 - here's a way that we can do the same thing, but more easily than method C1 (method D)
  • If we don't have any controls in the data, we can still do it. (Dr. Brilliant: "Ruth, why don't you program that? It shouldn't take more than a day." Ruth: "Huh?") (method E)
  • For more fun, why don't we add the ability to use even more types of data? Easy, right? (method F)
Throw in personality conflicts between my advisors, miscommunications, lack of communication, trips to conferences and other continents, and tables in a draft paper that contain columns for information that everyone should know we don't have available...

It's been a nightmare.

As each method has piled on, the previous ones have become irrelevant. It's hard for me to believe how much work I've done that isn't even publishable because we've rendered it useless with subsequent ideas. (Great attitude, I know.) We have been trying to get to the finish line to submit a paper forever.

I think it might finally be happening.

Right now, Dr. Nice has all of the data and simulations results that we agreed we'd need. The random table columns have all been figured out and filled in, the appropriate comparisons have been made to others' work, our relevant methods have been compared (methods D and E, if you're playing along at home), the drafts have been revised and nit-picked. I'm sitting in front of my computer, waiting for emailed questions from Dr. Nice that are coming slowly, if at all, now. We might actually send this thing off, and I will get to move on with my work and a new project.

When this paper is submitted, I won't have a baby bottle big enough for the margarita I plan to make.

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