after taking a few days off from the knitting hobby, i started fooling around with this aquamarine colored cotton yarn i've had in the stash for awhile. beware of knitwit behind cut )

next quarter

Nov. 28th, 2007 09:34 am
arguchik: (Default)
i am registered for dissertation credits for next quarter, and i am seriously considering doing the following rather than busting my ass to find a teaching gig:

1. taking out student loans (at this point...should i bother worrying about my total student loan debt anymore??? i currently have no other debt...)
2. finding a 10-15 hour/week part time job, perhaps working in a bookstore or--HA!--a yarn shop. i would consider tutoring or some other job on campus, as long as it didn't require me to bring ANY work home with me. the purpose of having this job would be threefold: a) bring in some extra money (i could probably live on the loans, but it would be tight); b) get me out interacting with people more regularly; and c) give my days a little bit more structure.

i have established a good writing rhythm this quarter, and have built up a nice amount of momentum--the pages are accumulating. i'm not sure i want to deflect any of that energy into a new teaching assignment right now. if my goal is to finish my dissertation ASAP, it seems like i should do everything i possibly can to protect my time. (this was one of several problems i had with my last "part-time" non-academic job...so it's something i worry about.)

the question, of course, is whether or not this will hurt my CV. i think not, as long as i'm continuing to develop myself professionally--submitting papers for publication and going to conferences, participating in groups and going to talks on campus, etc. and, of course, as long as i continue to make steady academic progress.

any ideas?

(sigh)

Nov. 12th, 2007 05:42 pm
arguchik: (frustration)
today my work is making me feel nauseous. or nauseated (per [livejournal.com profile] glaucon). whatever. it makes me want to puke.
an interesting thing happened today, as i was getting ready to eat lunch. after preparing my food and setting it on the kitchen table, i went to my bedroom to get the novel i've been reading in my spare time (fyi, i am still working on dan simmons' olympos, which i haven't finished for reasons that will become apparent in a moment). the novel was resting on my nightstand, and on the floor nearby sat my copy of the cultural studies reader, edited by simon during. last night i read most of an essay by stuart hall about the theoretical legacies of cultural studies, and i had marked a couple of other essays that i want to read as well.

guess which book i ended up grabbing? if you guessed the cultural studies reader, you're right. i didn't even hesitate. to be fair, this novel isn't exactly thrilling me, but it has my attention and i am enjoying it more, the further i read. i think i would have passed up even a completely gripping novel, though--perhaps even the 7th harry potter book, at least the way i feel today.

i should be clear: i am not reading these essays for my dissertation, at least not specifically or directly. i am reading them partly for fun, and partly because i am so fascinated by my chosen field that i truly enjoy extending my knowledge of it--which is the same thing as saying "for fun," i guess. not surprisingly, the essay has actually helped me to clarify an issue that is relevant to my dissertation: the theory/praxis dichotomy, and the question of how to enact the necessary (though always provisional) theoretical closures that enable political action/activism, without sacrificing the theoretical flexibility necessary to the critical enterprise that is cultural studies in its more academic instantiation.

this is a new/old impulse (i.e. the grabbing of the more "thinky" book); it is reflective of the fact that i am starting to take more joy in my academic work again, and that makes me happy.

yesterday evening i participated in the mock trial proceedings at the UW law school, where my friend L is a 3L. i played one of the witnesses for the defense. it was really fun. one of the other witnesses was played by a 1L who mentioned having had a class with one of my committee members (it turned out that he'd had a class with another committee member as well, but i didn't find that out until later). the class was organized around michel foucault's concept of biopower, which is a major focus in my dissertation work, so this 1L and i had a pretty interesting discussion about it. afterward, when he was "called" as a witness (they had us sequestered in a separate room, because the room where the mock trial was being held was too small to fit all of us), i pulled out a pad of paper and jotted a bunch of notes about my dissertation. as a result, i am having a good writing day today (finally--yesterday was not very productive).

it's good! i have plans to go see a free movie tonight, so having a productive day will make me feel more like i "deserve" that...or something. also, i need to drop off my absentee ballot at the polling place sometime this afternoon. (i usually mail these in early, but i forgot about it until last night, and i simply don't trust that it will get counted if it's postmarked the day of the election. i know, i know, it's supposed to and the law says it will and all of that; yet i persist in my irrational disbelief.)

rainy day

Jul. 20th, 2007 10:39 am
arguchik: (old tyme bob)
(mega-dose of advil on board, and no st john's wort...my headache has declared a truce, at least temporarily.)

today is rainy and gray. i love days like this. i can sit indoors and work without feeling tugged toward the door by seattle's normally gorgeous summer weather.

i feel like i'm finally getting into a productive writing groove. reflections on work behind cut )
i've always (ok, not always, but at least since i was in junior high) dreamed of having this really great home office space. you know, the place conveniently located in your own home, where you can go and work productively, then emerge in the evening feeling like you've been all...productive. my conclusion is: this is a pipe dream for me. working at home makes me feel isolated from and irrelevant to the outside world, like my existence is meaningless (which it is anyway, i guess, in an existential sense, but i might as well enjoy it while i've got it). i work better when i'm out somewhere. the problem in both contexts is that i distract very easily, and that i get sleepy when i'm bored. it doesn't help that my default work ethic was hard wired back when i was punching a clock and working for the man, which i did from the time i was 16 (13 if you count babysitting, which i kinda do) until i was what, 29? even when i was an undergrad, i worked on the side (sometimes 2 or 3 different jobs) to pay for tuition and other stuff, and my attitude toward that work was quite a bit different from my attitude toward school work. while at work, i worked. i was organized, good at developing productive patterns, and i didn't waste time. when i studied, otoh, my approach was haphazard and last minute; i needed the pressure of a deadline or a looming exam to bring me inspiration and insight. it worked, then; it worked fairly well in graduate seminars, too; but it is completely maladaptive to the process of writing a dissertation, which requires the steady, methodical accumulation of ideas and writing. so i need somehow to recreate that "clocked in" experience, only with myself in the role of "the man."

right now my "home office" is inconveniently located in my bedroom, in close proximity to my bed (which isn't all that tempting--i spend virtually no time in bed after i get up in the morning; it just sets a casual, work-unfriendly tone, ya know?) and to my bookshelves, which house my extensive collection of Very Good Books, including a bunch of novels that i have collected but haven't yet read. plus there's all kinds of other distractions at home--laundry, a refrigerator that needs regular purging, toenail polish, a nice sunshiny stoop to sit on, and various little establishments that are ideal for the odd, invented, "essential" errand. the really unfortunate thing about this arrangement is that my desk tends to accumulate a bunch of junk that doesn't belong there and that renders the desk inhospitable to work--i can't stand working in the midst of a bunch of clutter. i can live with it, but i can't work with it. if i could only cordon off the desk and label it "reserved for work."

here's what i'm going to try: 1. leave the house in the morning. i have to teach from 8:30-10:40 every morning for the next 5 weeks, so hopefully this will establish the desired pattern of getting up, getting ready to be out in the world, and leaving the house. 2. when leaving the house, take a backpack that has only dissertation and teaching related materials in it, including my laptop. no novels (unless it falls under the diss-related rubric). no magazines. wi-fi disabled. cell phone powered off. 3. do not piddle away the entire afternoon running pointless little errands; do it at lunchtime or after working. 4. a very good suggestion from [livejournal.com profile] glaucon, which might seem intuitive to many of you, but i am a late bloomer when it comes to developing good study and self-motivational skills: keep regular "office hours" every day, at a set time and in a set location. do not schedule a bunch of crap during these hours. if people want to set up meetings or whatever during those times, say "i can't, i have to work." if i have to schedule a dentist or doctor's appointment during those times, that shouldn't be an excuse to take the whole afternoon off.

[livejournal.com profile] glaucon said one other thing that is worth repeating (as one repeats a mantra):

"if you show up at the same time and place every day, sooner or later your muse will meet you there."

wahoo!

May. 29th, 2007 10:20 pm
arguchik: (platform shoes)
i'm so geeked right now!! i just got a notification in today's mail that i've been awarded a fellowship for fall quarter. it will cover tuition, health insurance, and a stipend equivalent to a TA salary, with NO TEACHING!

because i'm already planning to live on savings and loans (ha! i can't say that without laughing...) this summer, this fellowship means that i'm pretty much set until january, at least in terms of living expenses.

that's 6 solid months to write!

glam dancing

Apr. 11th, 2007 04:49 pm
arguchik: (platform shoes)
prospectus draft completed, check. prospectus draft printed in duplicate, check. cover sheet with questions for my committee completed and printed in duplicate, check. materials assembled and delivered to the requisite departmental mailboxes...

BIG FAT CHECK!!!!

glam dance, glam dance!!!

novel reading

Mar. 12th, 2007 09:03 am
arguchik: (meat chica)
finished marge piercy's woman on the edge of time this morning. what a fascinating novel. i really enjoyed it. i'm just jotting some notes about it here because i think i might like to write about it at some point. caution, spoilers behind cut )

running log

Mar. 5th, 2007 09:33 am
arguchik: (mongoose)
i ran 3 miles today. that's 6 for the week. today's run was sloggy the whole way through. just one of those days, i guess. tomorrow's a rest day; hopefully wednesday will feel better than today. next week i'm going to throw in a 4 miler on sunday.

now i'm going to shower. then i'm going to sit down and write for several hours. i need to expand the section on biopower in my prospectus--as it stands, i barely shorthand the concept, and i need to explain what it means (from foucault), how it has been revised, and how i plan to use it. then i need to tighten up my chapter outlines.
ran 2.5 today. it's sunday, so that's 2.5 for the week.

i spent some time in cap hill working today, at victrola on 15th--reading sandra harding's is science multicultural?. this evening i'm reading vandana shiva's biopiracy: the plunder of nature and knowledge. diss work.

i had a great meeting with my advisor last week, and got some good feedback on my prospectus, including the suggestion to look at shiva's work on biopiracy (i've read parts of it before--i used to "do" ecocriticism); i picked up the harding text on my own initiative. she reiterated that i should read agamben's homo sacer; i told her i've been reading it, but the first section is nearly impenetrable (well...it's penetrable, just frustratingly esoteric). she said i should just look at the section entitled "homo sacer," just to get a good handle on the concepts of "homo sacer" and "bare life," so that's what i'm going to do. anyway, i'm going to turn in a revision of the prospectus by the 15th. she thinks i should be able to get it approved by the end of the quarter. yay!

after i left victrola, i stopped by a friend's place for an hour or so, then walked home. it was a nice walk--along lakeview blvd, under I-5, down eastlake ave, across the university bridge, then along 40th through wallingford (nice view of the city), up and over aurora (there's a little pedestrian bridge at 41st st), and home sweet home. now i'm eating a salad and some pizza that was frozen until i baked it in the oven.

and that has been my day.

running log

Jan. 31st, 2007 08:43 am
arguchik: (Default)
running log behind cut )
yay!!!!

just heard back (via email) from my advisor about the prospectus draft i submitted to her, and she had very positive things to say. she said, "it sketches out a rich and exciting project."

well. it seemed rich and exciting to me, but when you've been agonizing over something for so long, and you're so wrapped up in it, it's virtually impossible to see it in a larger frame. later i'll be able to, but for now it is deeply reassuring and gratifying to hear (read) her words of support and encouragement.

it is still very "drafty," though, so hopefully she'll give me some advice about honing it. it's also way too long, at 30 pages.

(heh. i said "honing.")
hey all--
happy thanksgiving! this one has already been action-packed. spent yesterday evening assembling and baking 8 pies--6 pumpkin and 2 cherry (that means 5 recipies of crust, fyi)--with [livejournal.com profile] glaucon.

celebrating with him and a huge group of "orphans" today--18 people are expected. crazy!

i hope everyone out there has people to sit down and enjoy a meal with. of all the u.s. holidays of "too muchness," this one is my favorite. most of the others i can live without, but i really enjoy sitting down and sharing a meal and conversation with a group of nice people.

and i'm just going to reiterate a portion of [livejournal.com profile] glaucon's thanksgiving invitation: as you sit down to your meal, dig as deeply into your pockets as you do into your food, and if you have anything at all to spare, send a donation to one of the very worthy food banks or homeless shelters around. share the too muchness with those who don't have enough. [livejournal.com profile] glaucon suggests the following charities in Seattle, and i'm sure you can find something similar if you live elsewhere:

Union Gospel Mission: http://www.ugm.org (if you're religious or religion-neutral...i'm not sure how much proselytizing they do along with their services...i'm including them here because i know they do good work)
Northwest Harvest: http://www.northwestharvest.org (my choice--because i'm neither religious nor religion-neutral. you can make an online donation with a credit card, which is what i did, but not with a debit card, alas--not sure if this also means they can't run a debit card as a credit card...)

in other news, i wrote for about an hour today, and produced a really solid 3 pages of text! my project is slowly but surely coming together. it's funny, i was able to produce this much writing because i approached it as a "freewrite" rather than as work on a "draft." that let me open up more, and to articulate more clearly what i think, in my own voice.
running and writing log )
running and writing log )

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