Monday, February 21, 2011

A Degree of Modesty

Last week I decided to pop by the university and get a PhD. Since then, a lot of people have been asking, "do you feel any different now that you have a PhD?"

Well yes, of course I do. Whenever I insist that someone call me "doctor Phronk"—whether it's government documents, or my friends, or the lady serving me shawarma—I get a nice little reminder that I am, in fact, superior to all the common people without PhDs. That's a great feeling.

It also feels different knowing that I'm now qualified to force my opinion about anything on anyone. Also, I don't know if you knew this (you don't have a PhD, after all), but a psych degree comes with a free license to kill. It also makes you a god in the sack, lowers your THAC0 by 3, and allows you to glow when you get in a fight.

Actually, I set up a camera to record my PhD defense so you can see what it was like:

Err but for reals, being The Last Dragon a doctor is, for me, a relief but otherwise no biggie.

These past 6+ years of grad school have certainly been important to me, but my degree was only one project I was working on. It's not what has defined me as a person. So I'm proud of checking one more thing off my list of accomplishments, sure, but it is only one thing.

As a polymathic sort of person, I get pleasure in pursuing a variety of goals. Reaching those goals is rewarding, but often secondary to the pursuit. I don't feel different when I complete a multi-year project, because the ongoing learning and building I'd been doing all those years was already fulfilling the reasons for starting the project.

Now I can focus on some other pursuits more. Substantial ones like kicking ass at my job, publishing some of my research, and finishing up those half-completed novels that are sitting around, but also more nebulous ones like building relationships with kickass people, blogging, and contributing to the good of mankind.

(Speaking of which, I will be sharing some of my knowledge, academic and otherwise, at Podcamp Toronto this Saturday. Come if you're in TO and bored.)

I'm proud of my PhD though. Sometime I should tell you guys what my research is all about, because I was extremely lucky to be able to study what I actually wanted to study, and it turned out pretty cool. Until then, cheerio.

-- Dr. Phronk, M.Sc., Ph.D., O.M.G.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Family Ties

I'd like to have kids someday, but even more, I'd like to have grandkids. With those things, you get all the fun of kids being around, without them being around all the time. What would be ideal is having grandkids without having to raise kids first.

Is this possible?

I began to think of the ways. Of course, my first idea was the old biogenetically-engineer-a-fetus-to-be-capable-of-childbirth-then-give-birth-in-the-womb-then-abort-the-babymomma trick, which gets a grandkid without a kid, but doesn't really solve anything.

Then I thought, maybe I could adopt someone who's about 25-30. Peak childbearing age. My new children would not have to be raised, but would soon have their own kids — my grandkids. Problem solved!

Going even further, how about I adopt a woman about my age, then having a kid with my new "daughter". Then I have a genetically related grandkid who's also my kid. Hmm...I guess this doesn't solve the problem of having to raise a kid, but obtaining a daughter, a wife, another kid, and a grandkid all within 9 months would have to be some kind of world record. this legal? this ethical?

Maybe, just maybe, it's a bit creepy. But so is this picture:

Touché! Eh?

Furthermore, am I the only one who isn't crazy about that Modern Family show?

OTHER NEWS: Today, February 12th, at 2:00pm, I am co-hosting the first maybe-annual Coffee Hack! If you're in London, come on down and check it out. More details at our sister-site (also wife-site; sorry, these sites just don't respect boundaries), Putting Weird Things in Coffee.