Well, the thesis is officially handed in, although not before one last snafu.
Wise ones say you will always print out your dissertation twice, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. I had thought I was all done last night, but this morning I realized that my "extra abstract form" was o-so-slightly mis-formatted (the "extra abstract form" is not actually part of the thesis, but is something we hand in to the publishing company). So I trudged back to my office (through the first snowfall of the year) to re-print. Problem was, when I re-formatted, it didn't quite fit on one page. The title didn't quite fit on one line and it consequently forced the last line of the abstract onto page two. That short, runty little line on page two was completely irritating, but it took me a little while to squish it back onto page one without totally running afoul of the formatting police. Finally re-printed, I marched to the dissertation office and handed it in.
All in all, it's a pretty great birthday present to be done with it. I've been in school almost continually since I was five (with only a few breaks here and there), so it is very exciting to at least symbolically close out one phase of my life and begin another. In fact, I think I just may goof off tonight.
[PS- If anyone really wants to look at my thesis, I've put a PDF version on my website. Beware: it's a very large file (~8 MB). In due time the paper will be published and posted various places on the web that are easier to access.]
[PPS- A smaller, more readable version of my thesis paper can be found on www.arxiv.org at this address. It should be published in the Astrophysical Journal come June, and I'll post the final version after that. (05/08/2006).]