Closing Time Part Two

A few more old posts from an old blog, circa 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

one small step…
Just heard back from one of the other readers of my diss., and a provisional greenlight was given. Yikes! I was expecting to go through a whole new give and take process. So much for being able to blame aloof and out of touch academics for slowing me down. Only one person to blame for not getting the work done, me. That sucks, I’m not keen on responsibility…

upswing
Current mood: bouncy
Still feeling the positive effects of a successful conference in Baltimore. While only having three people in the audience is a little disheartening, it was nice that one person came specifically to hear my presentation. Yippee ..1! I also held my own with full faculty members from a selection of Universities, even out performed a few, though the bar was pretty low if we go by the worst performance. Yippee ..2! Finally, found out from a faculty member here at LUC that we attended regional conferences of the same organization. Feels good to know that I’m working on something that can get accepted at a pretty high level. I know, I know, getting a paper into a conference isn’t exactly a challenge, but hey it is something. No more travel though. It just isn’t worth the headache and time away from the family. I’ll stay local. Back to work, feeling good…

A break? not so fast…
Current mood: optimistic
It has been a great couple of weeks as far as getting work done. Really was hitting the bricks as it were, and as my shrink recommended, I had all these great plans for a week off. Maybe see a movie, go to my work cafe and just read trash for a day or two, buy a soccer jersey. Except my plans did not take into account a sick 3 year old. Usually, he’s sick for a day, and back at it. Not this time, the boy just can’t get over this, what ever this is. The doc says its just a virus, but man the little guy just can’t break his fever. So my week off has been at home, taking care of the boy. Even a semester ago, I would have said “well, looks like I’m taking another week off.” But that thinking leads to two weeks off, before I know it, I haven’t done jack shit for 3 months. Nope, this wasn’t the week I had planned, but it still is my week away from the grind. Monday, back to it, child’s sickness is no excuse to lurch into a months long break…

getting down to business
Current mood: accomplished
So, the chapter, draft, whatever is finished. I hit some high notes, and some of it is, in a word, crap. As long as their is enough silver to make a presentation on Sunday, then I’m okay until November. i’m not nervous about the presentation just yet, but I haven’t read the paper yet either. I could go through my draft and think “wow! this sucks!” and that will cause some problems. After the presentation, I don’t know what to do next, keep working on this chapter, make it stronger, and more sources, examples etc. or move to the next chapter, keep drafting new stuff and edit as I go? I’ll figure it out sometime next month…

Trey at the Vic
Current mood: cheerful
Okay, the way to go to a concert is with low expectations and a low stress level. The last time I saw Trey Anastasio, I had horrible seats, just failed part of my comp exams, and was hoping a jammy, phishy-style show would boost my spirits. It didn’t. Instead, I sat there, obsessing over my failed exam and what the hell was I going to do if I failed the retake. Fast forward to 10/19/06. Exams are history (ooh, bad pun) and life is good. I didn’t expect much from the show, and was of course blown away. Part of it is definitely from the intamacy of the Vic, but also Trey was REALLY into the show as well. I’ve seen Trey 4 times and Phish 40 and I’ve never seen him quite so enthusiastic, considering it wasn’t a “special” show. (i.e. NYE, halloween, a festival) I’ve thought all along that Phish would be back together in 10 years, now I’m not so sure. The last couple of Phish shows I saw were good, but looking back the joy wasn’t there like it had been say in 1994, when Phish was still playing venues like the Vic. I still think that Trey and Co. will get back together, maybe it’s wishful thinking. Some of the jams produced were on par with Phish on their best night, but the magic of a great segue, or a quick shift that comes from playing together 20+ years wasn’t there. Trey might miss that magic in time. Maybe so, maybe not…

My Awesome wife
Current mood: grateful
Just had a great conversation with my wife, if you haven’t guessed is the stunning woman in the id picture. What made this conversation so great was that we talked about my dissertation for a good 20-30 minutes and she helped me to flesh out some ideas. I know according to some writing guides, talking things out is a bad idea, but I’ve always found that once I’m in the middle of something, I go through vicious mood swings. One minute I think I’ve written something brilliant, the next that I, along with what I’ve written is a piece of crap. So, having a sounding board, who isn’t just indulgent, but is genuinely interested in what I’m working on is an incredible asset to me and my work. BLK not only listens, but asks good questions and gets me to think about what I’m working on in a different way, usually a different perspective than what a fellow historian might say. Like I said, awesome.

slow and steady
Current mood: tired
A very busy weekend, but still managed to get some work done, not a lot, but still, work is work at this point. Unfortunately, no time to celebrate, more work to do! It was nice to have a little time alone with my wife, but I’m ready for my kids to get home. Mornings have been all out of sorts these last two days. Without them, there is no reason to rush through the morning, instead I kind of walk around confused for fifteen minutes. I think normal is better for writing…

Well, now!
Current mood: chipper
Okay, back to it! the proposal is finished (again!) and off to various proofreading folks. One big step for the month down, one more to go. In some ways easier, in some ways harder. I have to write a new chapter/presentation for a conference. Easier, in that I can just sit and write and get it all out. I’m not a big fan of editing, then re-editing, etc. For people like me this is the worst part of the process. I would imagine that this aspect of the thesis/dissertation adventure claims a fair amount of victims as well. It is harder to start a new project in that I have so little time to celebrate the small victory. Big victory party when the conference is over!

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