28 February 2007

A chance meeting at a meeting

I've been crazy busy the past week or so at work and at home so have had absolutely no time to blog for a while. You have no deadlines for a month or so, then all of a sudden they drop a half a dozen jobs on you that need to be done by the end of the day all at once. Bastards.

Last night I went to a small conference, held in Toronto, with some of the other engineers at the office to meet with structural steel fabricators, engineers, erectors (no jokes please), and researchers. The purpose was to discuss measures to streamline design codes and make the relationship between consultant engineers and steel contractors friendlier. Looking around, I saw all the engineer stereotypes abounded: all men, save one woman who's an engineer but currently working for the steel construction institute organizing events such as these; almost exclusively middle aged; mostly white guys, but some asian and middle eastern thrown in for good measure; and ample beer. Just as I thought to myself that I was going to be the youngest one there, by a lot, I heard some young, incoherent voices across the room. Further, it was the alcoholic/druggy sounding loud voice of one of my university friends who I hadn't seen in almost a year. Relieved at no longer a) not knowing anybody there at all, and b) being the youngest person there (not only is my friend a year younger than me, he was there with a colleague that looked even younger), I immediately bounded over to them, shook his hand, and bellowed, "What the hell are you doing here?!" - for I knew he hadn't graduated yet.

Anyway, he's here because his lease ran out so he moved back home to finish writing his thesis, but got a job instead. So the last month's worth of work on his thesis will now take him another 3 years to write. News from home is that my prof's cheap ways are rubbing off on the other profs, resulting in a whole crop of grad students whose master's degrees are taking longer than they should to complete and who don't get any help from the technicians.

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