Wednesday, 24 January 2007


Its snowing, and with no small enthusiasm. For the moment its too warm, or the snow too wet, to hang around, but it makes for a pretty view out my window. With a little luck it'll make its way over to Switzerland in the next couple of days to lay down some powder for Mick and Chris to go skiing/boarding this weekend.

choose your weapon

My biggest distraction over the last week has been choosing my examiners. Its a weird process, whereby I don't specifically choose my examiners, but am extensively consulted with by my boss in the selection. It comes back to the same thing. Its a weird vibe, kind of like choosing one's own firing squad. If I have top-notch examiners, it looks good on my CV, and makes me feel validated if they approve of what I'm doing, but it does expose me to more risk.

So the score thus far in the process is 2-3, in that 2 of the people I've asked have said yes, and 3 have said no. The no's have been bigger, in that they've come from the side where I know fewer candidates, which has led to a good deal of head-scratching between my boss and I. I only need two examiners, but two of them have to be professors (strictly speaking, have HDRs, but that pretty much means profs or readers), which is not the case for one of the two who has accepted.

If anyone has suggestions, I'm open to them :)

3 years and counting

Someone asked me on Saturday night how long I'd been in France, and I realised it had been 3 years. My first post to this blog was on the 20th of January, the day I arrived in France, and talked about taking myself out of my comfort zone, which I guess happened, albeit that after a period of time I have pretty much adjusted.

So anyway, its a little shocking to me that its been a week since I posted. I've been unsuccessful in having a complete draft (minus french summary) ready, but that's not overly surprising, I guess. Still disappointing, though, because I think I'm still a week away from that point, albeit not because I haven't made progress. I went into the lab yesterday for the arrival of my new office-buddy, and actually made reasonable progress, so went in again today hoping to duplicate it, with only moderate success.

On Saturday I went along to see the Avenir girls rack up another 100-point game and easy win, then followed them over to RPA to watch the Ouistreham game. I probably could have gone on to the creperie with them afterwards, but conscience drove me to bail and go home, not that I was likely to get any work done between 11pm and 1am. Anyway.

Monday, 15 January 2007


I guess, while I'm posting gruesome photos, I might update, since I haven't done so since Christmas.

I had a quiet Christmas, really. I chatted with Chris and Mick in Basel, and my family in Toowoomba, both via webcam, and also with the extended family who were in Mullumbimby by phone. I watched a bunch of films, and had a pretty luxurious dinner with ham and smoked salmon, followed by a roast chicken, and date and walnut pudding for desert. A bottle of Champagne awaited me in the fridge, but my medications forbade it, so it remains in the fridge, perhaps awaiting submission of my thesis. I also managed to find a nurse, who came around in the evening to give me my shot of anticoagulant.

The nurses (3 in all) came every day until last Monday, to give me my heparin shots, change my dressings and take my blood test. On boxing day, I also started physio, which I've been doing 3 times a week since then. I've been impressed with my progress, which has been noticable, and the physios tell me I'm coming along very quickly. The rehab doctor, who I saw last Friday, agreed but encouraged me to take it slowly.

In between physio and being stabbed by nurses, I've been making progress on the thesis. Its been a bit sporadic, though. After Christmas was pretty slow, then I had a good week after New Year's. Mick arrived for a few days on the 5th, which slowed me only a little, since he was happy enough to amuse himself for at least one day catching the train down to Vannes.

I went into work last Tuesday for a meeting with Jean-Marc, and he seems to agree that I'm still on schedule to send it off in early February. I hit a bit of a speed-bump on Thursday, with a design change to Kermeta setting my finish date for Chapter 3 back by a few days. I got back moving yesterday though, and today has also been productive. With a little luck, I will start Chapter 1 tomorrow, and after a week or so on that and Chapter 5, I can give Jean-Marc a fairly complete draft. Mark has been kindly riding me to keep making progress every day, which is good of him.

I guess the other thing I've been doing is watching films in ridiculous quantities. I've seen 42 in just 22 days since getting out of hospital, which is obscene.

Anyway, back to it.

knee to now

A little slideshow about the progress of my knee since surgery. This was taken on my phone while I was in hospital - I think it was the day after the operation, or perhaps two days after. The little tube is draining out bad blood into a bottle strapped onto the brace. The left leg has a compression stocking as collateral damage.

Knee in Hospital

A few weeks later, at home, before taking off the last bandage.

Knee with bandage

Skip to today, nothing left except a scar, pretty much. There's a stitch hanging out at the top, and a couple on the side, all of which I'm assured will either dissolve or fall out at some point, presumably without my knee falling apart at the same time.

Knee with scar