Talking Up A Storm

Monday

I did not channel Michael Scott!Today has been spent pretty much on the phone conducting three research interviews.  Once again three very different and three very information rich sessions, so my hat is off to the folks I spoke to.  Definitely think three interviews a day is probably my maximum, what with preparation and post interview transcription duties – not going to get these all done today, and suspect with my workload this week, that come the end of Friday I’ll still have a backlog.  But that’s fine, as these are just all very interesting sessions and I’m happy to devote the time.  Have a slight niggling worry my course work due in a week on Friday’s going to get a bit short shrift, but so be it!

Last day with Mrs Llama at home, before she finally returns to work after sick leave.  The house is going to be very empty and quiet tomorrow – which perhaps will be a nice change.  Will miss her really though.

Tuesday

Nope - this isn't them!More interviews and more transcriptions   This is hard work; well the typing up is, the interviews are honestly a pleasure to conduct.  That pretty much filled my day – in between a bit of tidying up as we were receiving visitors from Japan in the evening; my old friend Michael and his lovely bride-to-be Yuki.  It’s their wedding this Saturday so they were doing a bit of a UK tour before hand.

It was really great to see them and catch up.  Michael’s an English language teacher over there, and has been for the past four years.  He loves it out there and I can’t blame him, he seems to be having a great time.  They’re having a wedding blessing in October back over in Japan and I’d love to get to that.  Not sure if Mrs Llama and I will be able to work that one out – but we’re going to try as it would be great to have an excuse to go to Japan.

Oh and they left us some cookies.  I kinda liked them, Mrs Llama was a bit more doubtful.  More for me then!

Wednesday

It's a national obsession! On campus day virtually all day, but I managed to squeeze in 45 minutes or so of transcription before I had to head out of the door.  Before lunch (which no, I didn’t eat as usual on a Wed) we had the monthly/semi-regular meet up of the PhDs in my dept.  Or at least half of us.  Was a useful occasion just to catch up on what everyone is doing.  As the junior member of the group they’re all months/years ahead of me so it is very interesting and useful to hear their advice.  Have a few things to follow up as a result.

The session sort of broke down towards the end into “Understanding the British and British Culture” as the rest of them cross examined me on the idiosyncratic nature of living in the UK (I’m the only home student in the dept, the rest are all from far flung exotic places like Mexico, Poland and Saudi).  I think my lecture on “How to queue” will serve them all well, though I might have lost them when I got onto to explaining basic British tribalism through the analogy of Sileby and Mountsorrel.

A short RPC-A session on the practical art of making a research poster followed.  Useful, especially as we were using MS Publisher which I’ve years of experience using.  However, I’ll worry about my poster once I get the philosophy essay out of the way.  The final treat of this long day was a session in the philosophy module on Science and Its Critics.  When the tutor asked who had enjoyed science at school and my hand went up, we were all told that usually Arts and Humanities students don’t like science.  Not my fault I was top of the school*!  Not for the first time did I feel like the cuckoo in the humanities nest.  The session, like all the philosophy sessions we’ve had was engaging and a bit challenging, but thankfully not anywhere close to as challenging as Heidegger!

We were also presented with the feedback form for the B module at the start of the class, which was a bit odd – given we had this week and next week still to sit through.  All the same, I wrote fairly glowing praise as I have genuinely enjoyed these sessions; even if the coursework has given me nightmares.  Apparently from next year it’s not going to be taught to 1st year PhDs, but rather be an optional 2nd year session.  I think that’s to the RPC course as a whole’s detriment, given the often…slightly haphazard nature of  the other half of the module.  I suspect I might not have taken it if it had been a second year option, and that would be my loss.  I do hope they strong arm as many people as possible to take it!

*In Chemistry and Physics – shocking, I know!

Thursday

UoL  Student's UnionA bit of a chaotic day that left me utterly wasted at the end.  Had to be up at the crack of stupid (okay, 7am, I AM a student you know!) to drive my car into Leicester.  By 8am I was working on my final philosophy essay in the Uni of Leicester student union.  Rather than waste my time moping about the shops, I’d arranged to interview a couple of people from Leicester and De Montfort Universities in person.  As it was I also bumped into some old faces at Leicester and had a good chat.  Didn’t dare darken the doorstep of the library though, just in case they’ve still got their snipers out looking for (I jest).

Really good couple of interviews, with a few surprises from both of them, made for an enjoyable morning.  However, the couple of hours my car would take to fix turned into a whole day, so I schlepped across town, caught the train home and worked there until early afternoon.  Then back on the train to collect the car.  By the time I got in, having walked across half of Leicester twice and done the round trip two times as well I was shattered; though I managed a bit of transcription.  Bedtime couldn’t come soon enough!

Friday

No waffle in this essay!For once I didn’t have to go anywhere, so a day of interviews, transcription and a couple of hours working on my essay.  As this one has to be short and clear (500-850 words) there’s even less scope for waffle.  But I think I’ve got a reasonable 2/3rds first draft.  Just as well as the deadline is a week today.  No chance of any work this weekend as the wedding is all day tomorrow, and I’ll need to take some time to relax on Sunday for what looks like being a very busy couple of weeks!  Did spend a bit of time trying to work out how to force Open Office to create a bibliography from EndNotes, and I think I’ve found a workaround.

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