Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sick of it

I am sick of talking about my dissertation with other people. It's getting humiliating, actually. Not the work itself, but the time its taken me to complete it. Technically I'm two years ahead of my final deadline, which for me as a last-minute type of guy is a pretty big deal. Still, I'm sick of the judgmental looks I get from people when they ask about it. I'm sick of sharing small personal victories for myself about my progress that no one else really seems to believe are that big a deal. It feels like I'm being looked down upon when I talk about the progress I'm making, even though my progress has been decent lately. For example, instead of being happy for me that I've received feedback on this second-to-last chapter, and that it went well, I have seen colleagues roll their eyes. Or, they simply say nothing. Perhaps they are skeptical that I'll ever finish. Perhaps they wonder why I'm still bothering to work on this. I've even seen others literally fall asleep right in front of me when I do discuss the finding or the progress I am making, even when they were the ones who asked. Apparently, I have that effect on people. When did I become boring?

It hardly makes me want to walk at graduation because I won't be finished by then, and I don't think anyone is really going to understand that.

At this point, I'd rather end all of this dissertation stuff quietly, without anyone knowing about it, without all the pomp and circumstance, without hearing all the, "Finally," or, "At last!" comments I'm going to hear. I guess they'd be well-meant comments, but really, I don't think I'll want to hear that shit. From my point of view, I'm going as quickly as I can and still maintain a decent life at home and at work. This is not my top priority, and it never has been. The fact that I've still stuck with it, for me, is a pretty big deal.

So perhaps it's easier if I just stop talking about it till about a month or two after it's all over and done. I dunno, though. Wish I were better about keeping my big mouth shut.

Findings Chapter Feedback

I had a good conversation with DC on Monday about my findings chapter. She said, "For a first draft of a findings chapter, this is quite good. All of the data are there. I've seen worse. But you still have a lot of work to do."

I don't think I could ask for more, honestly. I realize I have a lot of work to do, but at least I'm not starting over on a 45-page chapter.

It's funny: I honestly don't know what I'm doing with any of this. I'm literally learning about it as I go through it. It's funny what you learn in coursework, and what you don't. I know how to conduct a research study from start to finish. I even know how to write up the results. But writing up a dissertation is apparently an entirely different thing, and I've obviously never done this before. So, there were a few things I left out of first draft because I thought they should be written about in the closing chapter. Apparently I was wrong. OK then. At this point, I'll pretty much just do whatever I'm told to get this done. It would have been nice, however, to have been told how to structure these last two chapters before I started on them in the first place!!! Ah well. After Monday's conversation, I think I've got a better handle on how to finish up this fucker.

In other news, I learned that my minor advisor (and committee member) retires at the end of this year. Good for him! Fortunately, a possible defense date either this summer or next fall will not conflict with his retirement plans, so apparently all is still well. However, it is yet another sign that I simply need to finish up very soon.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Starting Sucks

I hate starting to write something. I have learned to overcome this hatred by just starting to write whatever is on my mind, as if I was telling it to someone who gives a rat's ass. Sometimes these start in the middle of a sentence, but I don't give a crap. I keep writing, knowing I'm going to have to go back and edit out the shittiness at a later date anyhow.

So I've started the last chapter. It sucks, but it's started. And now I can move on through completion.

I haven't posted photos from the bath renovation here just yet. And, I may or may not do so soon. So far it's looking good. They are moving faster than I expected, which is pretty amazing. Also, they are CLEAN. Our garage, where the supplies are being stored, is cleaner now than before the guys started. No joke.

Back to it. I wish it were raining. Would make it easier to focus, knowing the weather sucks. Instead it's in the mid-60s and sunny. I don't want to talk about it.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Master Bath Renovation

Today Chesterley is getting a bit of a face lift, inside. We're starting on a renovation of the master bathroom. This is a good thing, seeing we've not used the shower stall in there for about 8 months. Fortunately it's not the only bathroom on the second floor.

We're really nervous about it. In prior fixes to things in this house, there's always something unexpected that pops up. We know something will appear here as well. We just hope it's not too much more expensive than what we've planned.

I'll post a few photos later.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chester's 11th Birthday

Happy birthday, Chester! I can't believe you're 11 years old today.
This photo was snapped just after Christmas, a few months ago. Not a great picture of him, photographically, but it's what I have on me today, in my phone.
I still remember very clearly the day we brought him home from the farm where he was born. We were living in our two-bedroom apartment in a mid-size city in the Southeast. It's strange to reflect back on all that has happened in our lives since Chester joined our family, but it's really neat he's been with us the entire time. We're really lucky that for now he hops around the house as if he's still quite young. I do notice his stamina isn't quite what it used to be, but that's understandable for an old dog.
Here's to several more happy, healthy years with Chester!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Results Chapter Delivered

The editing took forever! That, and the fact that I had to change the spaces between sentences back from one space to two, due to the new APA style guide that was released last year. Pain in the ass, but it's done.

And you know, it doesn't suck. It's really not half bad. We'll see if DC agrees.

Onto the final chapter now. Wow, that's pretty damn cool.

2AM - not too bad

I finally finished writing around 1:00 AM. That took longer than I thought, but again this is not news to me. I decided not to include that one last section - it should be shoved into the Theory chapter anyhow.

I was cutting/pasting all these little Word docs into something bigger, but I was falling asleep at my desk. Ack! As a result, I feared I had cut/pasted things out of order, all over the place, in my sleep. Yikes! Fortunately I had a backup copy of one important piece I messed up, so I started part of it over.

Anyhow, it's 46 pages in a pretty raw, rough form. I will do the edits tomorrow morning and will plan to have it turned in by Noon. Whew!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Almost there

It's been a good, productive week. I've carved out time in my schedule to do both dissertation work and work-work. I've started using Twitter again (got a MUCH better app for my Damn Blackberry), so I can quickly post things up here I'd like to remember.

I have a small part of one section left to do this evening. That literally fell together quite quickly, during my last hour or so at the office today, after I had two meetings in a row. Where do I find the energy? Then, either I'm going to pull together the last section very quickly, or it'll be end up as part of the theory chapter. I haven't decided yet. Guess I should get on that soon.

When I'm done with the actual writing, I then need to pull together 12 small Word documents that I've been constructing into one big-ass document that will form the chapter in its entirety. I've been considering how I'll actually arrange all of these for some time now, so it may actually come together rather quickly. It's funny: I still don't know how many pages this chapter is going to be. That sort of cracks me up.

I may be up half the night, but that's alright. Honestly, there were some papers in my coursework that I started at 9:30 PM the night before they were due, and I would usually get A's. Tonight I'm much farther along, I'm just shooting for a draft to be done for tomorrow. No problem!

I'm not exaggerating when I say I have never been so relaxed going into An Evening before A Paper is Due in my entire academic career...and that's been a LONG career!!!!!!!!!!!!!