Saturday, January 26, 2002

Two weeks and a bit less to go and I've done the laundry, bought a washing up bowl and a hoover (very cheap, I'm not expecting miracles) and found a missing mobile (in a carrier bag, down the side of the bed). I've also read a couple of non-demanding mind candy books, and slept. Displacement activity, what's that?

And yet, I used to sleep very lightly. Now, it's completely different, I go out like a light, I think because it's a complete retreat from reality. I can't do statistics when I'm asleep, and, thank goodness, I haven't got to that twitchy stage yet where I become one of those spooky Greek characters and have to take a starring role in one of those crazy equations in dreamville. I'm scared.

Friday, January 25, 2002

You only realise how addictive being online is, when you're not. There's some sort of loose connection somewhere, though investigations have so far disconnected the phone. One is thrown back on the resort of Easy Everything, or friends. Work does not approve of anything which doesn't add value to the business; it's useless to argue that whining in an online journal does marvels for the individual's feelings.

Two weeks and a bit to go until my deadline. Damn it, I know what I'm going to say: I shall show that lifecycle management and a variation of six sigma are the prime problem solving tools in the company, with a bit of help from Paretos, Iskhikawa ("call me fishbone") diagrams and quite a bit of brainstorming (should that come before the diagrams?) And I have manufactured a marvellous control chart with the help of my wonderful software. Except that I have a horrid feeling that I should replicate it in Minitab (I've done it in Excel) and I have to use probability theory to back up my reasoning and probability theory to me always means gambling and getting the bets wrong. Plus, I have to do a cusum graph from scratch. I've allocated a week to do that, and foresee that it will be a week with many tears.

So why do it, she asks, using her blunt, ruthless, pragmatic approach to life. Why tear yourself to pieces like this? The answer is because, even though we're all Sisyphuses, we must keep trying. I want this degree, I want to be able to use it, but getting it ... is like being shown a view from open windows I never knew existed, and then being told that I can't use the knowledge I'm gaining. My new boss is using me as a resource, a woman who can't answer back. But, if I'm doing quality work, metrics and statistics, that's what I want to do, right? I wonder ....

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