As planned headed into campus mid-morning and grabbed a pile of books on philosophy. Spent a couple of hours flicking through them for inspiration for my book review essay, with a little bit of success in that I began to see a bit more of the essay taking shape in my head. Decided early afternoon to take them home to work…only to discover I’ve maxed out my library ticket. This is somewhat of a trauma as I can’t remember ever borrowing up to the maximum on my library ticket since I was a tiny llama who could only borrow three books from the local library’s children’s section! I get 24 loans – as does every postgrad and staff member. Think that’s a bit mean really, I could do with it being closer to 40-50!
Debated either photocopying chunks of them (since I get free photocopy credits) or PDFing them with my phone, but in the end just made notes of the ones I couldn’t take and left. Once back home, and post a late lunch I did some searching for articles related to my reviewed book’s themes and key philosophers. After about an hour or so of this gave up, as virtually all the articles I found were far too detailed (and difficult to read) for purposes. Guess I’ll stick to working with the books then. Ended the afternoon writing up the revisions I’d made to the essay draft and adding in the references I already have found that are relevant. Not the longest hours I’ve worked, nor do I feel I’ve broken the back of the essay yet. But, I am happy to be making slow progress on it – and this time editing down content as I go, rather than trying to cram a 2,000+ word monster into 1,000 words. Hopefully the first polished draft mid-week should be around the 1,000 mark naturally, which will make for an easier editing process.
Meanwhile, still not heard back from my supervisors on my research proposal. Know they’re busy but it’s been ten days since my last submission, and I’m getting a bit anxious that time is ticking away – and I really ought to be organising my review meeting with my internal assessor. But I can’t do that if my proposal is still not up to snuff. I think it’s time tomorrow to do some supervisor management…a subtle, gentle prod required via email!
Chickened out of mailing my supervisors (though I’m going to make myself mail them once I finish writing up today’s blog entry – no more procrastination Mr Llama!).
Spent the day mostly slowly slogging through trying to make the philosophical book review work. It still doesn’t really, and the philosophy part of it needs so much beefing up right now, it’s more horse than bovine. Highlight of what was a dull day (metaphorically, metrologically and mentally) was speaking to an old colleague and friend and hearing that changes were afoot at UKOLN*.
Have to say I was more than a little shocked, though I think we spent more time gossiping about more mundane matters. Rather nice to have a professional conversation again though, I miss the cut and thrust of the various folks whose paths I crossed semi-regularly in the past 6 or so years. I hope that in time I’ll get a few more professional contacts to chat with in my new field!
*See the article Looking Ahead.
Started the day having a little browse through a How to write your thesis online guide (thank you Elearningcolin). I confess my face is so hard up against the early hurdles that I really haven’t had the time/will/energy to think about this really at all. So for now, I’m bookmarking it to come back and look at once I finally clear the research proposal and research practice course (RPC) coursework obstacles!
Today’s RPC-A session looked at ethnography (or ethnomethodology if you prefer), with a tutor from my own dept. Splendid session and reaffirmed that using ethnographic methods is exactly what I need to do my research. Useful tips, good reading list, and fine lecture. More like this please! RPC-B was about Utopianism, and linked back to last week’s post-colonialism session. Again a thought provoking and interesting examination, though it was a shame we went straight to the examination of the African scene and didn’t spend more time looking at the SciFi aspects. Key questions were asked at the start of the session:
- What is a utopia?
- Is it a positive or negative influence?
- Is it achievable?
For the record my group’s answers were 1) An idealised state or society 2) Negative (this being my input) – as achieving it takes away the necessary drivers for human accomplishment and 3) Unlikely, which probably means it’s not that negative. I’m not suggesting they’re the right answers, but it sparked of an excellent discussion before we delved once again into some more African cinema, this time from Guinea-Bissau director Flora Gomes (Mortu Nega – those whom death has rejected/sent back). Didn’t speak to me as much as the films we saw the previous week, but on analysis it had a fair amount to say in common with utopianism.
Thursday started with a near hospitalisation and minor disaster. As you can see over on my Blipfoto account I managed to almost knock myself out with a falling paint tin. While injury was avoided splash damage wasn’t – I basically killed one of our rugs and turned the dining table into a Jackson-Pollock (underneath). Thankfully I did manage to clean most of the mess up, but the rug is pretty much a right off. Managed to explain it to Mrs Llama without her yelling at me (victory!), but this is one of the occupational hazards when you have to work at home most of the time, and home is upside down for months of renovations and decorations.
After this calamitous start and I’d calmed down I spent the day working on the essay and trying to assemble some sort of philosophical element within it. Not quite sure I managed it, but it did look closer to something I could hand in. I also got my official notification of the deadline for my research proposal (last day of March) and a request for my 6 month progress report. Wrote the latter of these quickly as my progress is mostly about trying to make progress (and reading…lots of reading). Sent it off to my supervisors so they can do their bit (and to remind them that my deadline is a bit close at hand). Not panicking. Yet.
Knocked off just before 5 as I had to get ready to go and see Harry Hill: Sausage Time. Third tour of Harry’s I’ve seen, and once again he knocked it out of the park. If you get the chance, go see the show…just don’t sit too close to the front (we were in the third row…). Just what I needed to round off a day that didn’t start off that well.
Up at the crack of dawn as we had a delivery coming. Thankfully it came around 8am so I won’t be waiting around all day. This let me crack back into the essay, which is nearing readiness To be honest its now at the word limit, has two pages of references and has all the sections finely balanced at about the right kind of lenth.
Of course I’ve still not had any feedback on the first philosophy essay, so that nagging doubt that I’m writing a load of rubbish remains. Ah well, time to park it for the weekend, and go and do some more DIY. And perhaps a sneaky read of this book on Heidegger I found that looks very interesting…