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Posted on Monday 14 September 2015 at 7:24 am

Diss Ch. 1 - Done-ish

I've been messing around with chapter 1 of my dissertation for months now. I've said for a very long time that the intro and chapter 1 would by far be the hardest, and I seriously hope I'm right.

Wednesday I got an email from my advisor saying he had a meeting about his grad students' progress so could I give him an update and he'd pass along what I told him. I said I was done with all but the opening and the last substantive section of the chapter and they depended more on sources for chapters 2 and 3 (which overlap and will be written together, I think) than sources for the rest of chapter 1 so they'd take a while. On Friday he replied asking if I could put something in his hands before his Monday meeting as that looked better. I went to print it and realized I was wrong. I didn't have all but the last section done. I had all but the last two sections done. So Saturday I organized and detailed the outline for the one that I had the sources pulled and Sunday I wrote the blasted thing. 4,200 words in 11 hours was nothing when I was doing undergrad and even grad class papers. For the dissertation, which is so much more complex and matters to me so much more, I think that's a daily record. It also led to me taking brief breaks on FB to whine including things like these:

Why is it I can say something in about 100 words or I can say it in about 100 pages but absolutely nothing in between, like say the 5 to 7 pages I really need?

An example of my problems in a nutshell: within the next say 2 hours I need to write c. 500-1000 words on the childhood of William III and its ties to larger issues of Dutch political culture and nationalism, especially the tensions between federated republicanism versus Calvinist nationalism and Orangism.

I really can explain all that. I just keep having issues with whole "2 hours" and "c. 500-1000 words" pieces. Can I have 2 months and 50 pages?

Oh well. It's done now. I'm counting this as being done with the rough draft of chapter 1 even though there's a couple bits undone because I really do need to work on them with chapters 2 and 3 so mentally need to move on and I gave it to the advisor so that's a pretty clear dividing line. Now on to chapters 2 and 3... well, today on to fixing the footnotes in that last section that I frantically wrote yesterday then on to chapters 2 and 3.

Bratty - quill
Posted on Monday 20 July 2015 at 3:51 pm

Muse of Fire Interviews

When I'm doing dissertation work that requires a little brain power but not a lot*, I have a tendency to listen to the interviews at globeplayer.tv/museoffire of various actors, directors, etc. sounding off about Shakespeare. The project began as two guys doing interviews for a documentary, which I have and quite like, so some of the interviews talk about that. Now they're just doing more interviews because they are awesome. From watching the interviews, I have learned the following general rules:

- Ask any actor, director, etc. about Shakespeare and they will almost inevitably say "Da dum da dum da dum" before too long. Some people love it, some hate it, and most view it as a tool to be used when useful and discarded when not, but everyone has to mention it.

- There is an old film Russian Hamlet which is the epitome of.... well.... everything (watching it is now on my To Do list)

- Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet is the greatest cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare (despite the Russian Hamlet being everything)

*E.g. adding footnotes or flipping through the annotated bibliography for works relevant for the next section I'm going to write or the like rather than actual writing.

I goofed off in the morning - worked on the Lego Star Destroyer I'm currently building, played a solo game of Legendary: The Marvel Deck Building Game, and played around on the internet.

I talked to my family on the phone for a while. We were partly discussing the mystery scratches that have appeared on the roof of my car, so that parts a bummer as they'll probably be expensive to get fixed, but still always good to chat with the family.

I worked on my dissertation for a few hours, reading some articles I've had on the "you need to get to these eventually" pile for far too long, one of which solved a problem I've been wrestling with for a couple weeks in the section I'm currently writing so that made me VERY HAPPY.

I got my laundry done while doing various of the above and I ran out and got groceries for the next few days somewhere in there, too.

This evening I met up with a friend at a local small movie theater to see a showing of Singin' in the Rain on the big screen.

So, yeah. Productive, relaxing, and fun all in one day. Best Sunday in a while in many ways. I need more of these.

Nothing new and major has gone wrong lately! In my world in 2015, that really is something to celebrate. My grandma still isn't doing well after the late May car accident. From everything I've heard, I will be somewhat surprised if she makes it to the end of the year, but I'm trying to keep that kind of in the back of my mind since I don't know a timeline and can't do anything about it.

My dissertation progress is in a really weird place. Things stalled for several weeks as I just got really frustrated with some of the background stuff I've been trying to write. It's a bunch of discrete chunks that I need to be able to write in maybe 7-8 pages each, but I can figure out how to write it all in a paragraph each or in 50 pages each and can't seem to find the middle ground I need. The past couple days have been a bit better, though, so maybe I've found the magic spot. Here's hoping!

Sort of Recs
BBC Radio is doing new Rumpole with Benedict Cumberbatch! I so very much love Rumpole. I wish they'd bring back Timothy West for the back-and-forth between older and younger Rumpoles that they mentioned, but I'm not holding my breath on that and will take whatever Rumpole they can give me. Anywho, the first two of the four new episodes have aired already and are on iPlayer. I liked the second a bit more than the first but wouldn't put either as best or worst Rumpole episodes of all time. Middle-of-the-pack Rumpole is still pretty good, though.

I've been in love with Good Tickle Brain, a mostly Shakespeare Webcomic for a while now. The creator posts a few times a week and recently opened an online store with tshirts, books, and the like. I bought a Complete Works of Shakespeare shirt on the day she opened the shop and the next day received an email saying that when she went to the post office to ship everything in the first round of orders, she found that actual shipping was cheaper than the automatically calculated online amount so she'd be adjusting that for the future and refunding a couple bucks or so to everyone who ordered in the first round. I thought that was pretty awesome. So if you like Shakespeare, you should read her webcomic and if you like what she does and want to buy some stuff then she'll be awesome about that, too.

In other Shakespeare not-really-news, several years ago I bought a CD audio version of a stage production of Othello. In my mind, it's always been Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello, Ewan McGregor as Iago, and a bunch of other people I didn't recognize. I listened to it when I first bought it back in like 2008 and then listened to it again a couple years later but haven't listened to it again since even though I remember really liking it. Just too much new stuff, I guess. I recently found out that the "bunch of other people I didn't recognize" included Tom Hiddleston as Cassio. So I listened to it last night and it's as good as I remember and it was kind of fun recognizing Hiddleston this time. I also realized as I listened that I knew another voice, that of Edward Bennett who played Roderigo here and who I knew previously from playing Laertes in Hamlet with David Tennant.

And in other "I'm behind the times" recs, I just read Octavia E. Butler's 1993 novel Parable of the Sower. Wow that thing is amazing and brilliant. It is a near-future take on an America in the grips of massive draughts thanks to climate change and the worst stuff that happens in the novel, and it gets pretty bad, is all so frighteningly plausible. There is a sequel, Parable of the Talents that isn't quite as good and isn't necessary so you can just read the one or read both if you really like the first and want to know more but I definitely recommend reading at least the first one.

BBC Radio
Posted on Tuesday 30 June 2015 at 10:40 am

New John Finnemore Radio Series


Excerpt for anyone link leary:
John Finnemore is working on a new comedy series for Radio 4. The creator of Cabin Pressure and John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme is now working on The John Finnemore Project.

The new shows will consist of six standalone half-hour comedies. Each one will be a self-contained story, with its own cast. There is no linking theme between the episodes, although the station does jokingly say "all strictly adhere to the overarching theme of 'ideas John has had for this series'."

Talking about the episodes, the BBC explains: "They range from hot-desking office workers attempting to conduct a romance at the rate of four minutes a day, to a band of explorers beginning to wonder if they'll ever reach Australia's Great Inland Sea.

"Others feature characters ranging from a charming burglar to a charmless bath saleswoman; from the worst teacher of English Conversation in contemporary Germany to the best imaginer of tigers in 1950s Britain."

The creator says: "If there's one thing they all have in common... I'll be very surprised. And a bit annoyed."

The John Finnemore Project is being overseen by David Tyler at Pozzitive Productions, the same producer who worked with Finnemore on Cabin Pressure.

The John Finnemore Project is scheduled to be broadcast in the 11:30am slot on Radio 4 from Friday 16th October 2015.

Bratty - drum
Posted on Sunday 21 June 2015 at 8:43 am

Meme: Answers in Songs

Tags: , ,
I'm feeling better at the moment. Nothing new has gone majorly wrong for me this week, though I have some friends in various rough patches. You know how sometimes when you've been down for a while and are desperate for anything good, the tiniest little good thing can make you happy all out or proportion? Well, I saw BBC Radio posted that there will be four new Rumpole episodes with Benedict Cumberbatch starting in two weeks and I spent a couple minutes jumping and dancing around my home office. I love Rumpole!! It's been like a year and a half since new Rumpole and that was only two episodes but we're getting four this time! I can't wait!! See what I meant about tiny things making me ridiculously happy?

Anywho, this meme was going around a while back and I copied the directions from someone (sorry, didn't note who) and intended to do it but life was just too crazy. Now that things have hopefully not temporarily settled, I thought it'd be fun.

Using only song names from one artist/band, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title.

My Band: Creedence Clearwater RevivalCollapse )

Posted on Monday 13 April 2015 at 8:34 pm

My Sammie Baby

no title

This is my Sammie baby. She is also the middle puppy in the userpic. The other two in the userpic are (far right) KC and (far left) Oshie. Oshie is the son of Sammie and KC.

Sammie was diagnosed with cancer in January and the vet (who is also our next door neighbor) said there wasn't anything we could really do and she'd have a few months. It was a slow, steady downhill since, but, you know, she was hanging in there. Then suddenly over a couple of day the slow and steady became a dive off a cliff. We lost Sammie yesterday. She was almost 13. We've never lost a dog younger than 15 before. I wasn't ready for this, even with the cancer. She's my parents' dog and I love all my parents' dogs and still think of them as mine, but Sammie was a little more mine than the other two. My folks got her when I was an undergrad. I was going to be home all summer with no job or anything (my last one, I think) and so I was responsible for the puppy while everyone else was at work all day. So Sammie and I bonded and I got her in the really bad habit of playing fetch/keep-away/tug-of-war all as one game rather than proper fetch. I'm not even sure it's she was my dog more than the boys were as much as she'd decided I was her person more than the boys ever did. She attached to me that first summer and was always the most excited of the dogs when I'd come home and wouldn't leave my side for the first few days. And now she's gone. Since I'm in Virginia and she's in Texas, I wouldn't have seen her again until December anyway, but knowing she's not there and won't be next time I'm home... I miss her so much.

This has been a really shit year thus far.

Posted on Wednesday 8 April 2015 at 9:49 pm

50 Q Meme

Hi! Long-time no see as seems to be happening a lot lately. This year has just got off to a very rough start. April hasn't been too bad so far, though, so I'm hoping the worst is over with. Just to say "Howdy!" again, I stole this 50 question meme from qwentoozla.

My oh so fascinating answers to 50 rather random questions.Collapse )

Yesterday I...

Goofed off on the internet

Cleaned up then read part of an epub file of the first folio of Hamlet because I want to compare the various versions and didn't have a good copy of that one

Went for a long run / walk without a jacket on the first absolutely gorgeous day in a while

Talked to the family in Texas

Built a Lego model of the Back to the Future De Lorean that I got from my parents and listened to Cabin Pressure while working on it

Had friends over to chat, play a game, and eat Black Forest cake

Curled up on the couch and started reading Who Fears Death, a fantasy novel set in a post-apocalyptic Africa

In other words, it was a perfect and perfectly-me birthday that I really needed after the very rough and rocky start I've had to the year, a birthday which could only have been made better by the inclusion of more family and friends and perhaps by being longer by more than just the hour lost due to the US changing for Daylight Savings this morning.

Posted on Wednesday 28 January 2015 at 1:41 pm

Computer Woes

My computer has been acting a bit funny for a couple of days and this morning randomly reset all the settings on several programs, refused to write anything to my external hard drive, and generally was a pain. When I tried to do a system restore to a save point last week, it kept erroring out and giving me a blue screen of death, which is never what you want to see. So I've spent all day today deleting programs I don't use, having everything do self-scan and repair tasks, backing up anything that hasn't been backed up in the last few days (I'm pretty good about backing up everything), and all that kind of stuff. It seems to be running OK at the moment so I'm hopeful I won't have to do anything further. If it resets all the settings or stops writing to the external again, though, I'm going to have to do a full factory reinstall of Windows then reinstall all my programs and files, which is such a waste of time.

At least it waited until after I got the chapter to the advisor and the funding app in last week!

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