Spiraling Somewhere


Spent the day editing the chapter.  Managed to work my way through the whole thing in one go, which was a major step forward.  However, really getting to that word blind point now having stared at it for so long I’ve started thinking I’ve duplicated sections…only to find, I’m just remembering the last time I read it on Friday.  Did manage to cut another 1000 words out though, which is good but it’s still longer than my supervisor wanted it to be before he saw it.  Having chatted with Mrs Llama though I think I’m going to seek his advice, as otherwise I’m just going to keep editing and re-editing it without end.  I need to know where it is shite, and where it might actually be okay.  Kinda hoping there might be more of the latter and less of the former, but suspect it’ll probably be the other way around.

On the other hand thought I can now talk about the marketisation and neoliberal reform of UK HE without recourse to any notes, so I must have learned it all!


My manifesto (such as it is) for student school rep went out.  There’ll be an election shortly, but I’m actually off to the university research committee meeting on Wednesday this week to see what it’s all about, so that should be fun.  It’s got a three hour agenda, so I may have to take matchsticks with me to prop my eyes open.  On the other hand, watching academics in the wild at a meeting where actually I probably won’t need to say much this time beyond “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya” will make for a nice change.  Haven’t sat in a meeting of that kind for a year and a half!

It was also nice as I’ve been chatting to the other person standing for the rep, who seems a delightful sort – which rather makes the fact that we’ll be sharing the responsibilities to a degree between vice-rep and rep (whoever wins the election gets to be rep) quite acceptable.  Frankly I’m sure either of us will do the role proud.

But obviously, vote for me if you can 😉

Oh the PRP (aka RPC) has come back from the grave and IS now offering block teaching so I’ve signed up for that next year.  I may yet get this damned certificate.  However, the other modules we have to take…well I’m horribly confused by it all still.


Horrid weather today, it’s really gone into full November mode – cold, wet, horrid.  Although there was a glimmer of sun I think mid-afternoon.  Not that I saw it as I was working on the dining table reading a few papers and reports.  Having got my supervisor to agree to give my chapter the once over, we’re meeting on Thursday so he can tell me how awful it is.  Not helped that two of the papers I read today had factoids that would have been perfect for inclusion – and are now glaring omissions as far as I’m concerned.

In the morning though I finished and sent off my two conference proposals.  No idea if either of them have much of a chance of succeeding, one’s an academic conference and one’s a library one and they’re both running on similar topics.  Would be really nice if I could get one of them done, as I really want to get out there and start talking about my research as I’m (slowly) beginning to have something to say.  There will be a whole lot more once I analyse that sack of data I’ve got waiting for me.

Signed up for my student rep training as well.  Turns out there was a session I could have gone to today, but I wasn’t aware, so I’ll leap-frog into another session next week and pretend to be a law student.


Lecture day and this week it’s leadership theory.  Good stuff again, and amusing to see the undergrads suddenly panic a little when they’re reminded that they’ve got a test coming up in two weeks.  That’s the one bit of doing this module that’s easier for me – I just attend the lectures, do the background reading and prepare the seminars.  I don’t have to take the test.  But, I do have to mark the test for my seminar group – which should be an experience as I’ve not done any marking in a while.  Rather looking forward to reading what they’ll come up with.  Hope their handwriting is more legible than mine!


Campus day again for my weekly seminar, although thanks to funerals, strikes and the like it’s only been every other week.  And look, next week’s a RED week so it’s not on either. Arg.  But before we get to that I had a meeting with my lead supervisor to discuss my thesis chapter.  And shock of shocks he was quite pleased with.  Okay, he did have a lot of comments on how it could be made much better, but he was really pleased to see how my academic writing style has come on in the past 6 months and the speed at which I’ve produced this.  Speed?  It’s taken 2 months of blood, sweat and erm, printer ink to get here.  However, this is high praise indeed from him as he’s not someone who hands out praise verbosely, so I shall bask in it for a minute at least.  He wants me to walk away from this chapter now for a couple of months and then re-read and edit with fresh eyes.  He suggested over Xmas, but I suspect Mrs Llama would not be impressed by that (she almost made me sit on my hands for a whole week last year…and that was the last time I took anything like a holiday so I suspect she’ll want me to do the same this year!).  So probably Jan 2014 then we shall be reunited.

That'll be 3 column shifts of knockback...
That’ll be 3 column shifts of knockback…

After that I delivered my weekly seminar, this week looking at leadership.  Having been a leader (of various kinds) over the years, it’s an area I’m always interested in.  Students had to do some group life-boat exercises and then reflect on their leadership styles to come to their conclusions.  Softhearted fine people that they are, none of them took up my solution (which was to off a couple of members of the party so as to stretch supplies further).  I also managed to work in my old manager, and my ability as a leader of a LARP group as an example of leadership styles.  Not sure they were quite sure what LARP was and probably just filed it under “Uncool, mad things lecturers do”.  That I found a d10 on the floor afterwards was kinda a surprise…

After that came home and fixed the (nice) neighbour’s laptop.  Which probably means they now worship me as a god next door as I seem to be able to work miracles with their technology.  I might have to tell them it was 5 minutes of Googling and 10 minutes of hoping.  Then started to write-up the notes from my meeting – mostly editorial comments, and important to get them down now before I move on to the next thing, especially if I’ll not be returning to the chapter for a while.


Slightly odd day.  Don’t really want to plunge straight in to writing my next chapter (which I’ll talk about next week) on the last working day of the week.  Half tempted to take a day off, but sadly my work ethic doesn’t really let me do that when there’s still plenty of things to do.  So I think what I shall do is do some more reading and note taking before moving onto my next big task.

Started off by finishing off writing up the editing notes from yesterday and sharing them with my supervisors.  I’ll wait on getting their comments on the notes, just in case I’ve got any of them wrapped around my head.  It’s all too possible I suspect, and I’d rather have them clear at the start than going off down a dead-end late because of a misinterpretation.

Ended the day reading through a 1985 report – which was heavy going, and was glad to reach the weekend.


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