Tuesday, October 25, 2005

LIFE OF A GRAD STUDENT


It appears now that, with 14-16 hr work days becoming the norm, this blog is for all intents and purposes temporarily in suspension.

If anyone is interested in what it is like to be a PhD candidate, I recommend picking up a copy of Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell's first book.

In it he describes a life of subsistence consumption and toil in the bowels of an upscale Parisian hotel restaurant: work all day and sack out on the floor--because there is no sense wasting precious time travelling back to your cold water flat to sleep when you just have to be back to the toil in a short few hours.

Orwell pretty much captures the exhaustion and delirium of nonstop work. The only real difference is that instead of washing dishes, I do differential equations and all kinds of other scary things most sane people have no need to know about.

Also, instead of slaving in steamy boiler rooms, I am COLD. So I've taken to making what I like to call Uncle Phil's Oatmeal (primarily because Uncle Phil first made this for me). Here is Uncle Phil's recipe, verbatim, as well as some suggestions for slight modifications to account for the fact that your plumbing may be in better operational condition than a 70+ year old man.

Uncle Phil's Oatmeal

1. Cook up some 5 minute oats (Uncle Phil prefers the Quaker variety)
2. Mix in some generic all-bran cereal (This is "for fiber," according to Uncle Phil)
3. Add some Grapenuts for texture
4. Mix in raisins to taste (for sweetness, and also for fiber)
5. Finally, top with two dried prunes ("To help with digestion")

Dayenu!

Uncle Phil uses no additional sweeteners, but suggests you might like to add some jam to the mix. For those with more sensitive composures, I recommend skipping the all bran, grape nuts, and prunes. I have found that dried cranberries and dried blueberries make a nice addition and give better flavor than raisins.

If this doesn't get things moving, so to speak, you may want to seek medical help because you are likely sporting a tumor the size of Rhode Island on your colon.

Uncle Phil's oatmeal is also nice in the morning when you wake up to an unheated 45 degree apartment. Brrr. It keeps burning in your belly all day long (or at least until...well, you know).

Enjoy.

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