Archives for posts with tag: adventures in academia

I love my workload, I really do. Wait, today is Opposite Day, right?

I kid – as heavy as the last few months have been, I don’t have much to complain about. Well, until the semester ends and I have to find another means of gainful employment for a few months, at least. But in the meantime, I have work aplenty to do, we’re cheerfully busy in the Academic Skills Centre and the change in my working week, while shorter thanks to the joy that is recent education cuts, allows me to spend more time at my desk in the research area working on My Future.

I’d add “… as a scientist…” but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Once I qualify?Then I can toot my own trumpet. Right now, I happy to enjoy the hustle and bustle of developing something that can make a difference to the world that doesn’t directly orbit the hulking gravitational mass that is my own ego. You know: the real one, as opposed to the fancy one with elves, robots and nostalgia ghosts that exists inside my head.

Right now, I’m throwing myself into Chapter 0 in order to prepare for the PG1 form and ethics review. The former is an enrollment document outlining my intentions and aims, while the latter is to make sure I 1) know what I am in very clear terms doing, and 2) am not a raving lunatic. Most people would be intent on just getting the first chapter done and out of the way, but not me, I have notions.

Insouciance aside, they’re important milestones that I want to get right the first time around so that I can focus on the research without distraction. Chapter 0 is based on the notion that I will have heavily rewritten it to Be Not Terrible by the time it comes to the final submission. I’m fully aware of how bad first drafts can be and end up editing to the point of a lily more gild than chlorophyll. Right now I have five A4 pages of notes scribbled in that scrawling joy that is my hand-writing to my side detailing the ethical considerations I need to address, with more yet to follow.

In anticipation of same, I presented a poster based on the few months of work to date, which was simultaneously stressful and essential. For all the wailing and gnashing of teeth in trying to fit what I needed into the beast, it did help me to lay down what needs doing over the next few months in a way that sitting at your desk while spinning on your comfy chair can often preclude. So many gaps and flaws and weaknesses to be addressed, so little time by comparison.

It’s fun. Remind me I said this is six months time, won’t you?

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I promised talk of Japan last blog post, which is part of why there was a slightly larger delay in my babblery than is normal. It felt a little bit odd to talk about how amazing the trip was when the country was smack dab in the middle of a natural disaster. That I had started rereading Akira when it happened was practically zen. The passing of time may not heal wounds as well as can be claimed (and certainly not this quickly), but thinking positively of the place and encouraging people to visit is important for the process. It’s an amazing place and that needs to be focused on, rather than holding the world’s best pity party, however well-meant.

Also: Akira has possibly the finest closing pages to any story ever, and you would do well to consume said tome if you have not already.

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Fun fact: In spite of being an obnoxious godless type who takes too much pleasure from arguments regarding deistic existence than is healthy, I am once again Off Stuff for Lent. I get asked by a lot of people why I do this, given my alien ways and all, to which the most common response is “Did you enjoy the Christmas present I got you?” It’s mostly an excuse to cut out a bad habit for a time, spurred on my the reassurance that other people are similarly going without as well. It’s not quite peer pressure – I’m an adult who realised the horrible truth about Pancake Tuesday long before now – but for some reason I manage to go the distance during Lent that I somehow don’t manage at other times of the year, to the extent that any similar such foregoings tend to get called Lent as well in a desperate attempt to stay the course.

As usual, this means forswearing sweets and chocolate with my traditional caveats:

  • Desserts are acceptable so long as they are not chocolate/candy-based.
  • Chocolate sprinkled on top of a frothy coffee is acceptable, should the barista do so. The chocolate/sweet on the side is to be given to someone else.
  • The above also applies to sauces and incidental ingredients applied by a third party.
  • Caramel macchiatos don’t count, but mochas do.
  • I take this stuff far too seriously for someone who isn’t catholic.
  • Upbringings, man/lady. You can only do so much to get away from them.
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Man, it’s a pretty good time to be a nerd, isn’t it? New Doctor Who in a few days, while in the time that’s mean Game of Thrones is a damn fine adaptation of the books (presumably getting a blog post of its own when I’ve watched a few more episodes). The Pale King is finally out and so far is as lovely and melancholic as I hoped, albeit a tome I’ve barely started. I’ve discovered a new author to follow in Ben Aaronovitch, whose Rivers of London and Moon Over Soho are excellent and will similarly get a blog post down the line. Dragon Age 2 is wonderful, having not only made a genuine effort to address the notion of Games as Art, but also experimenting with tropes taken for granted by other narrative forms, such as the unreliable narrator, all the while playing hard and fast with the idea of what choices a game should present to the player. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate it, bugs and glitches be danged.
Okay, let’s just assume I’ll be talking about all of these things over the coming weeks, shall we?
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My nimble and clever friend Emer has a new blog wherein she’ll be talking about theater, soc-pol, PhDery and more. Emer is one of a group of people whose surname I forget and or confuse with someone else’s every two and a half years for reasons I’m not sure of. Help me assuage my White Man’s Guilt by popping over and saying hello, won’t you?
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Or so at least does my intention go. The planning of the pseudo-indie wedding commingling aside, I have a full dance card and I will force myself to get through it by way of public announcement (and therefore should I fail receive instead a public hiding). Also, the interests of others are involved, so reassurance is also the name of the game, to whit:

1. Artwork x 5
Five artworks are in need of my doing – ‘Cathy & Cian as Superheroes (possibly with Penguins)’; ‘Cute Girls and Bees’; ‘Guilt’; and two as-yet undefined jobs. Oh dear, oh dear – two of these I meant to have done last year (and I did prep sketches on a train to Westport to boot)! So, to the Demure Lemur and Evil Monk I apologise and offer the assurance that they will be taken care of immediately after I finish Cathy’s Big Prize For Fanciest Dress.

2. Master’s Proposal
Intent to land upon the lands of linguistics and information resource studies (with a glint in his eye shining at infographics…), I have a direction in mind and must now put pen and paper into commitment, paired with impressing the supervisor I have in mind with the project. Feeling both the elation of my recent MSAP test scores and the sting of a minor stumbling block, watch as I now throw myself into getting this right.

3. The Writing Projects
Three notions I have in mind, all of which have working titles. I have intentions towards the world of writing once more. Will these efforts be published? I do not know! Will they get made into shiny movies? Probably not! Will they get written? I say thee YES!

4. Comics
Because comics are awesome and I used to make a lot of them. Admittedly I thought they were better at the time than they actually were, but still.

5. Update my details with, er, many relevant parties…
Because it’s getting slightly ridiculous how many companies I have yet to notify about my moving house. And city. Last November. Will my insurance be okay? Were they worried that I wasn’t writing them back? Or do they think I’m looking at other policies behind their back? Man, they must think I’m such a corporate whore.

6. Work on my communication skills
I may be able to rock verbiage with the best of them in the written form (recent form notwithstanding), but when it comes to those insanely difficult and complex matters like, oh I don’t know, talking to be people, I tend to be suddenly far less than effective.

More To Do’s to be added as I think of them!

I was going to write an essay on the socialised structures of video games (two in fact – one within the fictitious game world story structure, character interaction and the potential for enhancement of immersion; the other looking at how we communicate socially in video games which is in no way spurred on by witnessing Olivia’s superficially weird silent gaming in Team Fortress 2), but then I was distracted by Doctor Who trailers and other such shiny things.

Instead, and because I have been more quiet than I would like, a plug for the sterling post-graduate works of my former sidekick and platonic partner in crime Claire, who is busy being a Creative: Phoney Productions, and their inaugural work, Drama Quinns…

Did you know that in the world of linguistics – or more to the point, in the fertile realm which plays host to the origins of dictionaries – there is, in regards to the notion of all that is good and proper in our manner of communication, a Crips & Bloods-style feud between the Prescriptivists and the Descriptivists?

Because there is and it is exceptionally funny, right up to the point wherein they torture me with a sharpened comma for the structure of this sentence, before they riddle me with full stops and cast my punctuated body into the