A return to writing

Published on: Thu Dec 17 2020

It looks like graduation is not happening. 7 years of work (okay only 4 for the PhD ... I still have a masters on paper at years 3, 2016 something.) Anyways, after 4 years of work, it turns out that the only assessment is that it is all garbage, and nothing is worth publishing. I should just forget that I ever worked on anything and instead write a new topic in 3 months on (get this..) Lidar!!! It looks like the 238 pages of suspected BS (bull shit) with about 25% good work ruled into it is actually just complete and utter trash.

I keep going back over my prior works to figure out what happened. It seemed to me like everything was moving along quite nicely. I wouldn't have gone to wonderful, there are definitely hiccups and problems I've been finding but I also thought I was solving them too. Maybe the big problem happened about six weeks before September 25, 2020 (My 35th birthday and what I thought was the date of my graduation from UCSB. Now it's just the date of my 35th birthday. Ironic how I feared that when I turned 35 I would become irrelevant to the world (Just bc that's a female actor trope or sterotype, that they are washed out at age 35 and have nothing left to really contribute.))

Some things to know about the times this happened in, is the year 2020 has a pandemic. Also, I have two young children, one is born in 2019 the other in 2016. Sometimes I wonder if having the children is what caused everything to end up so extremely wrong but since I had them for quite some time and still thought everything was okay, it probably wasn't the children only side effects from them. Also things could have gone wrong way before the children. Like maybe my undergraduate degrees are also mistakes that I was only given because of who I am and what I look like. So it's probably not the children then what was it. Anyhow. In the year 2020 childcare is really difficult since there is a pandemic this means you are stuck with your children only in your house 24-7. I got lucky and I'm able to still continue sending them to childcare because I work for an essential services company (outside of UCSB, I can't just work at UCSB because I don't get paid enough there to also pay for daycare + cost of housing) But if I didn't have outside employment I wouldn't be an essential worker and I would have zero childcare. Anyways, even though I have childcare if the child is sick you have to take them home for a long time right away. And that is what happened six weeks before September 25th.

To finish my thesis the department has arranged a fellowship for me and work has also allowed me to take a leave of absence, so, the only things left for me to take care of are some spill over work on re-writing a few things at work (for work though, not research) and caring for the one sick child at home and the one healthy one at home. Of course keep up with the housework empty and fill the dish washer, sweep floors, laundry those things. But these are extra. Anyways, to get work done with the two kids I have to fit it into the hours between 10pm-12pm, The older one is healthy and he has tons of energy usually stays awake until 10pm playing with me.

The sickish children are stressing me out, but I decided to write down all the weeks results and present those to my advisor an hour before our next meeting with another research group. So I started writing Wednesday the week before, writing code and text, and eventually I was able to get together a 4 page write up about my thoughts on the topic and how I was interpreting results. I sent that over Sunday late at night though and asked to meet at a different time than normal because I wanted sick child to be asleep when I talked it over.

Then Monday happened and as far as finishing my Thesis goes that seems like a good point for when things went terrible because by the end of the day the professor from the other research group would never speak to me again and my own PhD advisor "Doesn't buy it" and thinks I am just "using the tools wrong". But before getting there, it was only 10am and I was feeling anxious because the sick child finally went to sleep and I had not heard anything about moving the meeting time. So I sent a couple messages while the little guy slept, but it did not work out. He woke up and was feeling energetic plus he wanted his normal lunch time.

But now it's time for the meeting to begin. I should also mention that I thought in this writeup to have solved a rather puzzling problem of "How to communicate when neither party has agreed to use zeros or ones in their message and also do not allow either party to use reset to get into a known starting state?" I was really excited to share the good news too. So I began excitedly talking about Figure 3, but it turns out my advisor had not read the attachment to the e-mail asking to meet early. And Now I've lost miniutes of child peace just to find it out. So I tried for a quick recap of the important information from the 4 page write up. But now it turns out that the recap is all wrong according to my advisor. Also the sick child has now decided he really needs attention and he is banging on the table for his food. So I sort of argue back but then the table banging makes it hard to hear and I can't respond very well because I need to feed the sick child.

Now my Advisor has some excellent advice finally, if I have a playpen to put the child in I could put the child there in his bedroom for the rest of the meeting before this other meeting so I'll be able to get myself organized enough or whatever. I'm not sure what would be the point of having me present work that was just called all wrong to another professor, I'll probably just get called all wrong all over again. So I just decided to skip the next meeting, I can't contribute with the chaos from the noisy children and I already wrote my thoughts down in the 4 page sheet.

Looking back now it seems like skipping the meeting was the big mistake because instead of the other research professor appreciating the 4 pager something must have happened and they agreed I am wrong because he has not spoken to me since then. But I still thought things were okay. I kept working and writing more stuff and responding to emails and trying to get something done. But it does not matter because all of my work is garbage, I know that now. It's why I'm writing this instead of continuing to work on my thesis or my defense slides. Anyways, after this disasterous meeting the week both kids are home from daycare, eventually I managed to

Thats get one of my encoder - decoder pairs to transmit a reasonable representation of a thesis through itself. Whatever, this is really a trivial step to make sure that the body of text that is the thesis can be successfully encoded and decoded using the practices outlined in the document, but finally I have managed to succeed at that, nd it turns out the route I took to get there was somewhat enlightening into how to really build that sort of machine. This might be another big mistake I made, because I know it's definately not a completed work of a thesis and I forgot some things that have become common place with my work. (1) Do not show it to advisor until the work is published. (2) Expect to get rejections.

It's a bit tricky though to not show your PhD advisor your thesis until it is published because they are basically the determining factor and get to be the one who accepts or rejects your thesis. Except I haven't actually gotten my own advisor to 'accept' any of my prior papers or even to encourage the completion of an unfinished work in progress. He is really good at suggesting completely new research directions, so at his suggestions I've done several unpublished or partially published works and the thesis would fit right in there with the other unpublished works