Thursday, January 24, 2008

Shuffling the deck

I drafted part of this post back on January 4, twenty days ago! Never got around to finishing it, and then I forgot about it. I found it today and felt like resurrecting it, so here goes:

I don't talk about my job in this blog very often, but this time there's a direct connection to my dissertation.

In early January I had my bi-weekly meeting (wait, does bi-weekly mean 'once every two weeks'? Or is it twice per week? I intend to say 'once every two weeks' here) (you know, I love writing phrases in parentheses because you can add stuff anywhere and easily communicate what's really going on in your head without messing with the grammatical structure of the sentence) (aren't I clever?) with my boss. It went well. I like her for many reasons related to our jobs. Also, not only is she supportive of me finishing my dissertation in a timely manner (and is gently pushing me to do so, which is good), but she happens to be very interested in the topic. She allows me to sort of ramble about it once in a while, and her objective, logical point of view, combined with just plain having more experience working at a college than I do, provides me with a good amount of feedback. And none of it is personal; just entirely objective. Two advantages to these conversations: first, I gain a great deal of good feedback from a trusted colleague. Second, she knows I am indeed making progress on the dissertation, which is a good thing for my supportive supervisor to know.

Through her feedback and that of a few trusted others here and there, I'm beginning to share bits and pieces of data and am finally starting to develop a theory out of all of this. I need to continue onward and keep plowing through the grainy details, but now I'm getting excited about what I'm finding and how I'm able to formulate it into something coherent, something I'll be willing to share with My Committee someday.

So, even though there is a hell of a lot of sludge in my dissertation life right now, as mentioned in my previous post, the more that I carefully share with colleauges, the more confident I'm becoming with what I'm finding in the data. Guess the sludge will melt away, perhaps with the melting away of the snow and cold weather this spring? Hope so.

Must run finish a project. Am drinking decaf tea in that I'm finding it difficult to stay warm today. Makes sense when it's only 6 degrees F!


Hugh said...

But I've wondered (which I do from time to time) what happens grammatically when you have parentheses inside parentheses. I know what one does in Excel (which is to say logically (which I'm OK with)): you just double up on the parentheses. But in prose, do you have to change the parentheses into brackets [which I could call (annoyingly) square parentheses]?

And what about curly brackets?

chad said...

Bi-weekly means every two weeks; semi-weekly means twice weekly. "Semi-" means half - think "I found this blog semi-witty" or "this draft is really only semi-revised."

To clarify: You are indeed clever.

Rob said...

Hugh, I share your bewilderment over the curly bracket. However, I find that I often use them when taking notes in a class or a meeting. Interesting. I reserve the square brackets for writing formulas in MS Access, something I attempt to avoid doing as much as possible. Ack.

Chad, I was hoping you'd jump in and assist with my grammar question here. Thanks man. Hopefully sometime soon I'll get back to actually WRITING prose again instead of just using Word Comments to code my interview transcripts...

tommysmommy said...

Adding to the "bi-weekly" discussion: this question was raised on "A Way With Words" radio show on NPR last weekend. It was decided that it is inherantly confusing because no one really agrees on it (although I like Chad's response), so it was suggested that people say "twice weekly" and "twice monthly" to be clear.

And yes, I am - very thoroughly - an NPR geek.