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I’m ashamed to admit this week I’ve had a minor meltdown of sorts.

It started last week in the most normal way- I had a horrible nightmare about an observing run. Or rather an observing run that didn’t happen because I was an idiot and put off travel arrangements so much that I *forgot* to go on the observing run.

Now for most astronomers I don’t think this would phase them. As I’ve learned from twitter, the observing run nightmare is common amongst most of us. I think I actually qualify as some people’s nightmares as I’m rarely ever ready at dusk for observing, though in my defense it’s because I’ve learned to go with the flow because inevitability the instrument acts up at dusk the first night. But given that I’ve been in this field for way over a decade, having my first observing run nightmare scared the shit out of me.

I came to the conclusion however that this was all because I hadn’t seen the fall telescope schedule yet. See in October while I was at the DPS meting I may have requested a week of observing in the spring. And I may have put Feb to April as acceptable months. Back in October this date range hadn’t made me think twice, but now with a defense date set in late April and a committee submission date of April 1, I was a little stressed out.

Well apparently a comedy of errors took place and in fact the night I had that nightmare was the night the preliminary spring telescope schedule was sent out to every institution except University of the Frozen Tundra. A kinda soul at one of the other universities forwarded me the schedule Sunday night. . . Guess who got scheduled for a week of observing starting March 30th?

But of course I didn’t know that University of the Frozen Tundra hadn’t gotten the schedule. . .I just though my advisor “forgot” to tell me the schedule had gone out. I spent Sunday night freaking out and trying to figure out how to draft an email with a minimum amount of 4 letter words yet a catchy subject line. Apparently the subject “Preliminary Spring Telescope Schedule, oh crap no” was what was needed.

In the end the run is getting cut down to 3 nights which I find more reasonable. Otherwise I was looking at 10 nights of travel (with the 7 nights of observing and then travel days) like I did in Late October for Hartley 2 observing support which really wore me out. And I’m still not clear if I’m observing or if my advisor is doing it for me (or drafting one of the poor grad students out of the lab that doesn’t even do solar system!) but I’m glad I had a meltdown because the resolution was a huge weight off my shoulders.

Now I just need to submit paper #3 of my dissertation and finish writing paper #4 on the wee asteroids (or weesteroids as they have been termed by some) and then maybe I can stop having meltdowns about my dissertation deadline.

So earlier this week I had to request a graduation packet from the University of the Frozen Tundra. It not only has handy documents like the Reviewers Report (the yes, this is or no, this isn’t ready for defense form), but it’s the only way I can actually get the formatting guidelines for the dissertation!

The grad college is quite helpful in that they make templates available in LaTeX and Word so you don’t run afoul of the ruler wielding person in their office, and they clearly state the margins on the website, but other items like font sizes are missing. I had to require the packet to find out that only standard fonts 10 point or larger are accepted and it must be double spaced (okay that one I figured out from the LaTeX template). Oh and there is an exception for examples, quotes, tables and charts that say “similar size and easily readable” followed by “no smaller than 9 points”.

Shit. Guess who has tables that only fit on the page in /rotate with /tiny in LaTeX? I guess I’m going to have to break up tables. And I need to figure out who to write to request permission to reprint my thesis articles in my dissertation. Guess with this last manuscript when I submit the copyright form I can double check things.

So what did I see in my inbox at University of the Frozen Tundra, but the colloquium schedule for the next term and at the end of the month, my advisor’s other senior grad student is scheduled to defend in the standard colloquium slot.

While this other student has been around longer than me by at least a year, it’s hard for me to not be jealous. Ze’s scheduled to defend because he has a job lined up. One I heard about last time I was in the Frozen Tundra which makes me a little uneasy. I don’t think he has the experience. I also think that this person defending is problematic as they have zero first authored publications right now.

In the end this all doesn’t really effect me, but I am a bit pissed that I have 3 first authored pubs right now (with 3 more lined up, one should be submitted in the next month) and I’m living in rejection city. More often than not I’ve been feeling like I can’t win- I don’t have a famous advisor and I’m not doing something like cosmology which is sexy and has like 80 million postdoc postings.

So for today, I think I may have a quality sulk with my next manuscript and will plot all my fellowship applications for the next two months.