June 7th, 2001

ankh

ugh, stress.

I've just checked my past journal entries and it seems I didn't mention The Fax, so I have to talk about that now to make any of this make sense.

One of the things I've done as part of my PhD is write a paper. Actually, I helped co-write another paper, but that one doesn't really count for much because it was on a subject that is utterly unrelated to the stuff that's actually going to be in my thesis (believe me, we did try to make it fit, but we couldn't think of any title that would let me have that stuff in as well). This paper got sent off to a journal, and after much to-ing and fro-ing and rewriting it got accepted. As part of the process, I'd sent them an almost fully-typeset version (it was in Microsoft Word format), and I suppose I thought that would be it.

On Tuesday, I had two phone calls from college. I didn't get either of them because I was out with my mum trying to sort her life out (she's just been diagnosed as having a food intolerancy to wheat and yeast - this is possibly the cause of many of her health problems. As bread and pasta are practically all she eats other than junk food, she was in a terrible state due to being unable to find anything to eat. I found that there were 7 things in my cupboard that were suitable, so I fed her the soup, crisps and rice pudding and we headed out to the shops). The first one simply asked when I would be coming in again, but the second one was more urgent - it said that I'd received a fax from the people at the journal urgently requesting that I check over the manuscript prior to publication. I called back, and discovered that I have to get this done before tomorrow (Friday), or Bad Things Happen.

So I stayed up all night trying to get everything done online that would distract me from working, and around 10.30am yesterday collapsed in a heap in bed. I literally slept all day - having only had about 3 hours sleep the night before I was pretty tired - and I woke up at 2am. I ate something small, took my tablets, and went back to sleep, waking up again about 6.30am. I should've got up then, but I couldn't face it. I stayed lying in bed hugging Luka because I felt too stressed to deal with things. Eventually, I got up, and started ringing friends for some support.

In the past couple of hours I've gone from entirely stressed out to near catatonic - I've gone through the shaking and crying and wanting to curl up in a ball and howl to being almost too passive for my own good. Typing this is actually taking a huge amount of effort because none of my muscles seem to want to work. I just want to lie down on the floor and flop and not have to think about anything or do anything. At least I'm no longer in abject fear of having to ring my supervisor, but I feel too utterly floppy to bother.
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ankh

grrr.

So, I finally pick up the courage to call Ralf. And he's not there. Try again 45 minutes later and - he's still not there.

Argh.
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Political joke of the day.

So I went to vote with my mum, and afterwards she occupied both me and my computer for an hour looking on "Boggle" for the Latin name of the plant "Red Robin". I found three: potentilla fruticosa, polygonum aviculare and photinia x fraseri. They're all completely different types of plants, so I hope she's able to work out which is the right one...

Then I had a quick look at uk.transport.london, and discovered that someone had posted a rather funny joke there. Thought I'd repost it here rather than emailing it to you all:

Three candidates arrive at a house where on the gate is a large "BEWARE OF THE DOG".

The Liberal candidate says "You wait here, my party is friendly to animals" as he opens the gate and walks up the path.

No sooner has the Liberal rang the door when around the corner comes a huge rottweiller which duly chases the candidate over the fence leaving only a piece of trousers as a memento.

The Conservative says "You've got to be firm with animals", and holding his umbrella ready to fend off an attack walks calmly toward the door. But alas, the rottweiller is having none of it and just like the other candidate, the Tory is left umbrella-less, with a torn suit and damaged pride.

The Labour candidate says to the others "You're going about this the wrong way, it's all to do with presentation! Hand me your pen!". He writes on his hand, jumps over the gate and as the dog rushes toward him, thrusts his hand into its mouth.

The two other candidate watch horrified as the animal starts to bite the hand, but suddenly the rottweiller yelps, spits out the hand and runs away.

The Liberal and Conservative wait in bewilderment for the Labour candidate to finish talking at the door, and as he opens the gate they both ask: "How did you do that?". The labour candidate shows them his hand:

"NO NEW TAXES"

"Not even a rottweiller would swallow that!"


I voted Lib Dem, by the way. I know some of my friends voted Conservative, and I wish they hadn't. I used to be a Tory myself, but I started to become disillusioned when William Hague took over, and the Section 28 fiasco was the last straw. Added to which I'm not really sure about their policies on Europe - I tend to think on the whole that the euro is a good thing. The biggest problem is that as the Labour party have gone from left to right-wing, the Conservatives have gone even more right-wing than they were already - and I was always on the left side of the party before. (I remember having a big argument with most of the people in my local branch of the Young Conservatives when they wanted to scrap prescription charges and have everyone pay the market price of the drug - I pointed out that I wouldn't be able to afford to stay alive if that was the case).

I feel somewhat sorry for having laughed at Lib Dem supporters in the past. Certainly this time round they were the only party I could support. Ah well.
ankh

Ralf.

I forgot to say: I called Ralf every half hour from 4pm to 6.30pm, and didn't get an answer any time. I suppose he must have gone home early today. I've certainly never known him stay later than about 6.15pm, so it wasn't that he was in a long meeting.

Bah. Must email him now (to let him know that I did try to ring), and keep all my courage around me so I can ring first thing in the morning. No more wibbling!