Yep, I'm in one. I'm in the midst of trouble-shooting whatever the hell went wrong with my FavoriteAntibody. Final step of BullshitExperiment requires use of FavoriteAntibody. FavoriteAntibody seems to have recently given up the ghost.
In some ways, this is excruciatingly depressing. Finishing BullshitExperiment will allow me to finish the draft of the ManuBeast for submission.
In some ways, it might be a relief. Not finishing BullshitExperiment might mean not putting it in the ManuBeast. I think that this might be a better option since the BullshitExperiment is well, bullshit. Trouble is, GrAdvisor lllluuuurrrrvvvvs this experiment. I hate it. A positive result would be potentially interesting but exceedingly unlikely. A negative result will be utterly inconclusive. Like I said, bullshit. I have explained this to GrAdvisor several times now but it just goes in one ear and out the other. "Hmmm, I think I see what you're saying," he says. "I'll think some more on it." Then the next time I see him, "How are things progressing on BullshitExperiment?" Grrrr.
I'd like to drop BullshitExperiment altogether but I know I won't be able to without a fight. So I am planning one last-ditch attempt to get interpretable results from it, after which (assuming the likely event of uninterpretable results), I will propose to GrAdvisor that we submit the ManuBeast without it. This will leave fewer holes for reviewers to stick their fingers in, but it will also mean that the ManuBeast will be more likely to be rejected without review from TopNotchJournal, which has gained the unfortunate reputation of rejecting papers based on our ClassicalUnsexyTechnique. Then again, with the BullshitExperiment (which is hardly the central finding of the paper), this manuscript has the distinct possibility of turning into Swiss cheese in the hands of reviewers if they choose to focus on the BullshitExperiment rather than the ones that do lead to the central finding, so I'm not sure which scenario presents the least likely for rejection possibility.
In short, learning when to keep trying and when to throw in the towel on a tricky experiment is a skill I've not yet mastered. Learning how to convince GrAdvisor that we should/should not throw in the towel is something I'm still working on too.
I could include results from PotentiallyInterestingObservation (which I had hoped to turn into a "short report"), but it will take some time to chase down the results from PIO, delaying ManuBeast submission even further if we combine them with the ManuBeast. And I'd really like those results to stand alone.
Blech. I've blogged about this before. Several times in fact. At least it feels as if I have. Sorry if I'm sounding like a broken record. All that crap has been running circles in my head for the last several nights. I have spent the hours between 1 and 4am for the past three nights thinking about this crap and not making any progress towards conclusion. The sleep deficit has not been good for my demeanor.
I need to shake this funk before Friday so I can be excited for my next post-doc interview. For my last few interviews, it seemed that ManuBeast submission was just around the corner, so it was pretty easy to be enthusiastic about my own work and the possibility of starting on something new. Right now, I don't feel particularly interested in either. Nor are my auto-pep-talks effective. Come on AA. Time to get back on the pony and ride. Science isn't always this crappy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Ugh.