I found out on Friday that, despite having long ago given up on getting funding and thus doing my PhD, I will be receiving just enough money to keep me in value-range tinned food through the course of my studies/breakdown. Thus, despite having missed the start of term by at least three weeks and counting, I was coerced into taking up the offer. The main culprit in this was the Svengali of a man I once believed to be my good friend over at Herding Cats, whom I shall call Empson to protect his identity. I would like to point out that he stole the expression from me, and I stole that from someone even cleverer. I suppose this means we are both well on our way to embracing good, old-fashioned academic traditions like intellectual theft. Maybe I am ready and able for this thing after all. In any event, without time to consider the full long-term impact of this mad undertaking I allowed myself to be duped into submission and so, for posterity and the researchers who may one day choose to delve into the deep, dark, downward spiral that will no doubt comprise the next three years, I am compelled to record the tale faithfully.