So very much has happened since my last post, dear Skirt!istas. First and most importantly, I’ve submitted my PhD thesis! Yes, that’s right, the long-awaited day has finally arrived. After literally years of toil, the product of all my effort has been converted into a 200-page comb-bound document. (Temporarily–it’ll get put into something fancier after my viva voce exam in June, when I’m given all the corrections.)
It’s telling, of course, that for me handing this thesis in was way more significant than any silly little international news item like ALL THE AIRPORTS IN BRITAIN getting shut down. But then, as a friend pointed out, now I can always say, “Remember that day that the volcano started spewing a giant ash cloud and all the airports in Britain got shut down? That was the day I handed in my thesis!” An auspicious occasion if ever there were one.
The volcano news was exciting as well, of course. I mean, how many times do you get to read a BBC article about the massive pulsing column of ash? (Massive Pulsing Ash Column…good name for a band.) It’s always exciting when geology decides to commit some hijinks, especially if you’re not directly affected by them.
It was only later it occurred to me that I may very well be affected by the ash cloud, because I’m supposed to head off for a conference in Toronto on Thursday. Theoretically I’ll be giving a paper about belly dance in Second Life (yes, I know…weird on so many levels) but in fact, I may find myself stranded in London. This of course would be no great tragedy, as I have many friends who live up there and I can have a merry old time poncing about the town. But it would mean missing out on a visit with my mom and my aunt, who are planning to come see me talk in Toronto. Plus if I can’t go I’ll miss all the glittery fun of the International Belly Dance Congress. Moreover, I won’t get to be all smug about the kinds of conferences I get to go to when my friends tell me about the 14th annual Slugs, Snails and Slimy Things conferences (or suchlike) they’ll be presenting at in Weston-Super-Mare.
Plus, the convener of the panel has very kindly offered to read the paper in my stead. Unfortunately, what I’ve actually done instead of writing a paper is to write a 20 minute presentation that is heavily dependent on the very visual slides I’d intended to share. Which means that I now have to get my academic brain in gear and actually write a real paper. Before next Saturday. That’s what you get for not doing it properly in the first place, I suppose.
In other news, my dad has been following the volcano proceedings with great interest. I find that all men of a certain age take a very proprietary interest in the movement of large weather patterns, and I am mildly curious about why this should be so. Somebody should do a study. But anyway, he’s decided to send me a number of charts, graphs and articles explaining that the little volcano which is currently erupting is right next to a really, really big volcano and if the little volcano’s magma system gets all caught up in the big volcano’s one, havoc may ensue. Basically he’s concerned that a massive cloud of sulphur dioxide might descend upon the British Isles and kill us all. Fear-mongering and wanton stirring of trouble, I hear you say, but in fact it’s happened before. The BBC article I previously referenced talks about a volcano eruption in 1715 in which many people on the west coast of Britain (where I live) died as a result of that exact phenomenon. In response, Dad has requested that I purchase one of these as a safety precaution. I’ll be the most stylish girl in the Southwest. But also possibly the least dead, so I suppose I can’t complain.