Saturday, January 30, 2010

Moving along

I'm wearing my trendy new bifocals and am sitting back in the library trying to get more work done on the friggin results chapter. I may be a pound heavier, too. Oh well. It's been a long week. Am happy for the serenity of the library for a while.

More later.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weight Battle

If you'd rather not know about my weight gain and loss story, then simply don't read this post, Mom. :-)

I am a member of the online version of WeightWatchers (WW for short). In the fall of 2001 I lost 30 pounds. This was weight I gained during the time when Wife was pregnant with Moose. He was born in July, and in September (soon after 9/11, but with no strong connection), I hopped on the WW bandwagon. By the holidays of that year, I had dropped about 30 pounds, and I kept 25 of those 30 off the remainder of the academic year, until we moved to Indiana. So, I was 202 lbs when we moved to SCT in '02, down from 227 just a year earlier. I stand at 5'8", and according to WW I should be at 158 at the most.

I changed my lifestyle when we moved to Indiana (staying up late studying, sleeping later, etc.), and I went off of my weight maintenance routines. But I still do track my weight on as much as I remember to do so. When life gets really busy or stressed, I tend not to check into the site, deal with depression shit, eat more/exercise less, and what a shocker I gain weight. Then a few months pass and I get my life back in order. I get more organized, less stress, less depression, and I stop eating like an idiot and I lose weight. I know exactly a) what causes it and b) how to get it under control. It's not easy for me, but I do know what it takes. It's just that sometimes I don't give a rat's ass, and other times I do.

A year ago I was getting into a decent exercise routine. I didn't really change my eating patterns, but since I was exercising I was at least fitting into my clothing well. The summer hit and I took off a chunk of time to work on TFD. It paid off: I got a lot done, but I stopped exercising and started eating. Then I hurt my shoulder on our vacation and I didn't go back to the gym for a while till that healed. October, November and December flew by with only one trip to the gym.

As a result, I'm now officially 11.5 pounds heavier than I was one year ago. Yesterday morning I was 224.5...almost up to the evil 227 of 2001. Now, I'm proud of the fact that I've never crept up to the 227 in about eight years, but this is getting too close for my comfort.

So, it's back on WW again, drinking lots of water, limiting sugar, keeping things in moderation. The last time I did this in full force, I was applying to doctoral programs. That worked well: I lost the 30 pounds and I got into everywhere I applied with assistantship offers at more than one location. Maybe getting back on WW again will help me keep the rest of my life organized to keep plugging away on TFD.

Ten Pages to PR1

Earlier this afternoon, I sent off about 10 pages from the results chapter to PR1. That's the local peer reviewer friend (see the case of characters in the column to the right).

That felt a little weird, because that was among the pages that were really easy to pull together earlier in the week. I'm interested to hear her thoughts on how this went. If she thinks I'm remotely on the right track, then it'll be some smooth sailing ahead. If not, well, then perhaps I'll have a better idea of what track to hop on in order finish up this puppy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Another round of glasses

Age catches up with me. I ordered new these glasses this evening. Bifocals. My friend Rachel would call them "bifuckols," and I'd completely agree. I do think these frames look pretty darn cool, however, in spite of them giving me great age and wisdom. In addition, I admit every time I try the bifocals, the reduced strain on my eyes when reading things up close is really very nice. At least I shall age in up-t0-date, rather stylish, frames. They arrive in a week or so.

LMUU has a sweet supplemental vision benefit package that gives us nice discounts on eyeglasses, so I decided to replace my prescription sunglasses as well.

I'm excited about these puppies. My current sunglasses are several years old, as is the prescription in them. I guess I have become accustomed to driving in the sunlight and having things a tad blurry. Probably not the greatest idea. Hmm. These will be ready tomorrow, so if I decide to venture back to the big-ass mall, then I could pick them up at that time.

An unfortunate thing happened while we were there. It was about 8:00 PM, and a group of about five or six young adults...not sure how old...late teens/early 20s?...came in and spread around the store, looking at frames. Personally, going glasses shopping is not something I did on a Friday night with my friends before we had Moose; we only went tonight because it was convenient. The person helping me got visibly disturbed by their presence. I wasn't sure why at first, but I understood what was really happening a little too late. By the time the young adults left, they didn't purchase any glasses. Instead, they stole three frames. At least!

C'mon people: grow up. What are you gonna do with those frames anyhow? And what about the loss to the store? And what about others who may have wanted to purchase those legitimately?Finally, what did you just teach my son about your behavior? You should set a better example instead of working to bust up a decent society. Geez.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This seems too easy

I'm in the throes of my results chapter now, officially. I'm simply writing up the facts as I saw them in the study. It's a bit refreshing not to be attributing every other sentence to somebody else. I'm slowly getting accustomed to writing sentences starting with, "I found..." or "I viewed..." or "I heard...". Me me me, all about me. Guess I'm finally finding my own voice in this process.

So why did I feel like I was going to throw up yesterday when I got together with my writing group? I sounded like the worried Rose (Olympia Dukakis) in Moonstruck. I sat writing in the cafe, wringing my hands, groaning with worry, wondering what I'm missing. This seems too easy. I'm cranking out text, telling the story in my own words, placing quotes where appropriate, and it's easy? The chapter I thought was going to kick my ass for the past six months or more is easy? Are you fucking kidding me?

On second thought, it better be easy. I mean, I've been looking at the interviews, spinning my wheels about all this for YEARS at this point. I practically have these 14 interviews memorized. It shouldn't be a surprise that it's easy.

But it still makes me want to throw up.

So. I guess it's going well.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Results Chapter Structure

I am pleased to report that I've worked between 15 and 90 minutes on the TFD each day this week. It's progress. Yesterday wasn't great. I attempted several random queries of the database to see if I could get a good baseline of quotes to use when writing the sections. This didn't really work. It felt like I was pulling back a bow string ready to shoot an arrow right at a target, but I couldn't find the right arrow. It's like shooting blanks and expecting a target to get hit. It was useless. Pointless. Dumb. Horrible. I couldn't sleep last night as a result. That was fun.

Tonight was a different deal: I remembered that I did get quite a bit of writing done on this chapter last summer. Something during that process was the catalyst to put the writing aside for a while and work on recoding the phuquing interviews. So, I thought, why not go back into what I had actually written, refresh my memory of where things stood early in the fall, and then start to fill in the gaps with quotes and such from the data. Brilliant!

I wrote about 36 pages last summer. Thirteen of those comprise the chapter with participant descriptions. The other 23 were actual text for this beast of a results chapter. Wow...23? Didn't realize that. And fortunately, these are brief descriptions of the six major themes I found in the data... I think I have my structure for how I'll finish the writeup. Cool! Light-bulb moment! Each of the six themes is comprised of about 3-4 codes. For now, I have a separate Word document for each code that I've summarized, and now I'm explaining its significance to the study and using quotes to support each idea. I think what I need to do first is to finish writing up the individual codes while adding quotes as evidence. Then, I need to weave together each code per its parent theme. Finally, I'll pull together all of the themes, somehow...hmm...not sure how. But I'll leap that hurdle when I get there.

Now I just need to plug away and write it all out of my head. This is supposed to be the toughest chapter, and I can certainly see why. But I think I've figured out, finally, where the hell I'm going with this. Maybe I'll sleep tonight.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Welcome to 2010

The mandatory week off last week went relatively well. I finished all but just one-half of the last fucking interview, which I intend to finish tonight.

I'm determined to work no less than one hour per day on this sucker for the indefinite future. Seven hours per week is better than what I achieved last semester, so we'll see.

It's going to be a late night, though, seeing it's 9:30 PM and I'm just getting started. This is typical, though, after a late dinner and Moose's bedtime routine. Oh well: sleep is an under-rated waste of time anyhow. :-) Glad I have a glass of fruit-of-the-vine in hand.

It's not really a new year's resolution, but I'm seriously considering pursuing better living through drugs. Not illegal ones, silly. Rather, the "get rid of the dissertation blues" kind. Or, as my buddy Jason puts it so well: happy pills. I'm generally not a big fan of using stuff that alters my body (beyond caffeine and alcohol in moderate amounts), but I figure these may be worth a shot at this point. I'm discussing all this with Jason on Friday and Gibsyn via e-mail when I can, and I'm certain both will offer good insights in their own ways.

Off to finish the last blasted interview.