Monday, November 27, 2006

Behind, yet thankful

We had a thankful holiday weekend here at Chesterley. My mom came in from Chicago and we all a lovely time. My mom is a very good photographer, and she attempted to snap several shots in an effort to help us get find a greeting card photo. See the album linked here if you're interested. Only a couple turned out OK, but of course either my eyes are closed too much, open too much, or Moose is looking the other way. C'est la vie, I suppose. Wife looks fantastic in all of the pictures, of course!

SCT has a neat tradition of lighting up the courthouse square for the holidays on the night after Thanksgiving. We went for the official lighting event for the first time this year. Pictures of that are also in the album linked here. Really is quite beautiful.

I got a little bit more done on the diss, but not as much as I had hoped. So, I'm feeling behind, but I suppose it's understandable. I'm thankful for many, many things, and this weekend was a time to celebrate those. Sure the damn diss is still hanging over my head, but I'm not really stressed about it today. However, my sense of awareness is heightened that time for the completion of the proposal is running out quickly if I indeed want to collect data next semester. So, I guess I have a mixture of emotions today, but remarkably none of those involve stress. Guess we all needed the holiday.

Any thoughts on which picture(s) to use for the holiday photo? Speak up!

Geeky part: Also, am still deciding whether or not to keep using the Google Picasa feature for posting these, or if I should fork over the $25 for a Flickr "pro" account to share pictures more widely. Hmm...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Feedback Received on Draft 1

...and it was good! And now I know I need to kick my @ss into gear, FAST, if I want a chance in hell of collecting data by the end of the year.

  1. Tweak chapter 1 (glad I'm in the tweaking stage now)
  2. Finish chapter 2 (she told me I don't have to do as much as I thought...but I do still have a bit left to do)
  3. Draft chapter 3 (this won't be nearly as tough as chapter 2)
  4. Get a committee together (oh yeah, THAT)

If I can get a draft of all of this by November 27 (um, that would be 10 days from now), I'll feel MUCH better.

The light at the tunnel has gotten a bit brighter. Can I really pull this together between now and the end of the year? Well, I've had more end-of-semester work to do in the past, so if I can kick up the work gear just a bit for this final push, I should be good to go.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thanksgiving is Next Week?

I shudder to think that we're already nearing the time when seeing holiday decorations is appropriate and not too early.

I was out of town at the end of last week and into the weekend. It was a stellar experience, truly one of the highlights of my doc student career. I attended a conference, well more of a workshop, that explored creating a new research domain around the notion of creativity. The focus was on participation in the arts when in college: right up my alley. And I'm making a pretty major connection between creativity and some other concepts in my dissertation, so this was a WAY COOL experience. I have much more to say about it, but I'm not yet ready to share those thoughts here.

Now I need to synthesize all this information and get the damn lit review done. I think I'm almost there, and I meet with DC on Friday to get my first round of feedback on the first 20 pages I gave her a few weeks ago. Since then I've written another 15 pages or so, and hopefully that will increase by a few more pages between now and Friday as well. Gotta get these thoughts out of my head and get the literature cited.

The looming Thanksgiving date is a bit daunting. If I don't finish the proposal by the end of the year and start collecting data next semester, then I'll either need to change my entire topic or wait an entire year to collect data: I'm attempting to research seniors in their last semester of college: um, that sorta starts in two months. I don't want to wait a year.

I suppose things could be worse. As far as I know, I'm not dying anytime soon from some unknown disease (except maybe Wife may wring my neck if I don't get this done soon). But I am so sick of having this hanging over my head. Just want it done.

I'm glad the weather has finally turned cold. Makes me want to hit a pub and drink several thick beers with friends and wife. There's no time for this, I realize, but it's what I like to do on rainy cold grey Midwestern days like today.

Wait, it's only 10AM and I'm thinking about beer? This is bad!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Elekshun Dae

I haven't really ever posted anything political on this blog. I guess expostulating on the state of world affairs isn't my strength, so I don't attempt to do it very often. However, I vote in every election and feel very strongly about doing so. I come from a line of relatives who were highly involved with various civic responsibilities, though thankfully (my opinion) none of them ever really ran for an actual political office. My parents and grandparents always seemed to be volunteering their time for the betterment of society in some way shape or form. My grandmother, especially, continued this sort of work until just before her death at age 98, earlier this year. I have yet to meet another with the same sort of "do it to improve society" determination that she had.

Growing up in this "engaged" family (ack, did I just say engaged?), I always thought it was normal for people to get involved in a cause, even if it meant working with those who held different political or religious beliefs (hell, my family had, at minimum, two very different religions within itself). Disagreement was just a part of a good conversation. Not only was it acceptable, in fact it was expected. Discussing where people differed in their views was a crucial part of my childhood education. Don't get me wrong: this wasn't always easy, and sometimes it really sucked, but this sort of thing taught me a great deal.

I realized something sort of funny a few weeks ago while hanging out with a buddy who was the best man in our wedding. If I based my friendships on agreement in political affiliation, I literally would have had NO groomsmen! These are four of my very closest friends, two from high school and two from college. I don't think it occurred to any of the five of us that our friendship was somehow impacted by my "different" political views. I guess we're all able to see a little bit of both sides of political arguments, and we don't let it get in the way. I can pick right up with any of these guys at a moment's notice, no matter the time, place or situation. In spite of their unfortunate thoughts on certain issues (and they're all WRONG! haha), I can't imagine not having these four guys as good friends.

And yet it seems this country is completely torn apart by politics. Why? Is it turning into a civil war of sorts? I'm not sure. What I do know is that I think our society needs to learn how to have a good, healthy argument without completely losing its cool. We all need to be more comfortable disagreeing with each other. Where's the joy in a good discussion unless there's disagreement leading toward growth? I don't think I'm being too idealistic when I ask this last question.

Well, the election coverage on the network television station I tend to watch started about 50 minutes ago, so I should go see what's going on. I hate this part of the night, but I'm looking forward to the end of the political advertisements and telephone calls.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Deadline Loomethed and Passethed

Earlier today I turned in a draft to CPA Kim, the one who works across the hall from me and is helping me find the extrinsic motivation to kick ass on the proposal. She gave me an "incomplete," which was appropriate, but I was grateful for the deadline to actually make myself progress. Being accountable to someone else (funny word choice in "accountable," since she's a CPA) (I digress) is what made all the difference.

She moved the deadline back to next Wednesday, the day before I go out of town to confer at a conference. I now have only two sections left of Chapter 2 to write before going back and trying to make better connections between the sections. The goal is to have the two sections written before the end of the morning on Wednesday. Shouldn't be nearly as tough as the first portion I've already completed, because these last two sections deal with areas I've already read about. The first two sections involved exploring some new territory. I anticipate doing some editing on the plane to & from the conference and in the late evenings at the hotel.

"It" is getting easier. Finding the inner energy to get this done and not take it so damn seriously is how I'm defining the "it" in this case. The light at the tunnel's end is getting brighter each day, and I think that's my main motivation at this point. I can practically taste what life will be like when I'm done. That sort of sounds pathetic, because it seems these last four plus years are culminating into an attitude of "just get it done!" Not sure I like that too much. On the other hand, it's a hell of a lot better than sitting around and basking in academic masturbation, i.e. having great thoughts but making no progress whatsoever. Tee hee.

"It's Friday out," and I need to finish up a project at work before going home to mow the lawn/rake the leaves. Just thought I'd get this thought out of my head before the day's end. K, bye.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

National Novel Writing Month

Well shit. I mean, isn't a dissertation nothing more than a really really organized novel? Perhaps I should join this group on the National Novel Writing Month. I could be done with the proposal before December hits.

What's ironic is that I clicked on the web site for the organization ( and the page isn't working. How am I supposed write my dissertation in a month if the site is down?? It's almost the end of November 1 - I only have 29 more days!!! ACK!

OK people, gimme a fuckin' break and let's get real. I mean, are we expected to quit our jobs and do nothing but write a book? Are we living in fantasy land? Oh yeah...oh SHIT. I quit my job over four years ago to start this degree. Forgot about that detail.

[Rob goes to crawl into a hole now and ponder this fantasy land life he's been living much too long...]