Friday, October 29, 2004

Everybody's talking at me

Surprisingly after yesterday's efforts I did not sleep well, and my mind was churning with things I should do for work. I had some ideas about new experiments (sad but true) and I thought about a phone call I got yesterday. More news of a failed grant application. I really couldn't understand it. This guy had a great CV and his project was on the patients that he was treating in his clinic. However he was changing fields and some of the referees didn't like it. He sent me the comments of one particularly poisonous reviewer. I recognized the pompous style immediately. Nothing constructive, and putting the knife in at every opportunity. The guy had put in enough detailed criticism to make it seem to a casual observer (average grant committe member) like he knew what he was talking about. But he didn't. Why am I getting so upset? Because I am convinced this sod has knifed a few of my grants too. Now the first thing I write in a new grant application is " I would appreciate it, if Prof X, of X uni, is excluded from being a reviewer. He is a competitor in my field, and would have a conflict of interest."

I spent the morning buggering about, deluding myself that I was working well but still relieved I had sent grant#2. On a whim I had a look at the file I had sent off. Wait a minute, none of the corrections/additions were in the document. Arghh! Panic! Had I deleted the file by mistake? Did I lose more than 5 hours of work? After a frantic search of the hard-drive I discovered that opening the same file 6 times won't make non-existent text suddenly appear. Then I had a brain wave, and looked in the "Saved files" directory created by Entourage. Thank god it was there. I had of course been lazy and started working directly on the file that had been attached to an email. But I sent back the file that was on the desktop. Then I remembered how I made the mistake. Just as I was about to send the file, I got the phone call about the grant. Simulataneously a colleague came in for a chat. It's called taking your eye off the file. It just shows that some people are not cut out to be multi-taskers!


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