20 August 2010

Full speed ahead

I thought August was going to be a quiet month for me as far as my research went, but so far, it has been anything but.

After the initial frustration of not getting the essays to mark from Birmingham in the first week, I have gotten some of my 和 (wa) back: that is, I was able to focus on other things. This included revising my Language@Internet article, which has now been sent off and I feel positive about. Even if it doesn't get into that journal, the work that I have done with it will allow me to send it elsewhere. I also am getting close to finishing the article I am writing from my pilot study, and as I said before, I will be sending it to a big journal. It's good though: I have been looking carefully at another article from the same journal based on the same sort of analysis I am doing with a different dataset. I think I will be able to make a case for it, but we'll have to see. That will be done by next Friday.

I had a meeting with my supervisors on Wednesday that went really well too. Well, it started off a bit unnerving when we were talking about the end of my studies coming very quickly and what, pray tell, what I planning on doing after my PhD. Teach? Teach at a university? My one supervisor suggested I save up some money in case I can't get a job and I have to support my family for three or four months while I wait for my viva. No, I said, I will be on a plane to Japan well before that. I don't have family here. Don't have leave to stay indefinitely. No, if the shit hits the fan, we will have to go elsewhere.

Well, she said, hope for the best, prepare for the worst--Very good advice. I have stockpiled ammo, canned beef, and salt tables. We are also raising chickens to kill, if need be.

Well, then yesterday I had a very big breakthrough in thinking about my dataset. I had been looking at sort of loose connections between videos based loosely around how people were distinguishing between real and fake Christians (as they are called) or the religious vs. the saved. This was all fine and good, but I was having a had time seeing connections, meaningful, demonstrable, empirical connections between videos. I had one from February 2009. One from June 2009. One user appearing to respond to another user after three months. Very disjointed.

But I remembered an episode where the main person I am watching called some atheist 'human garbage' in anger, but it was a term he stood by and defended from scripture. Anyway, the initial video was gone, but all the videos around it, and his defensive of it again and again, were still up. The search term 'human garbage' gave me about 20 videos and looking around got me another 6 at least, meaning that I have the corpus of videos I need, I have direct connections between videos (as the use of the term ties them together), I have responses and responses to responses, I have atheists and Christians disagreeing and reinterpreting things, and I have people (atheists and Christians) quoting scripture to each other to defend themselves. I have the issues going away and re-emerging as something else. I mean, I have everything I want in a dataset, but mostly, I have a dataset that I can defend very easily as being tied to this term 'human garbage' that is both a category and a metaphor.

Oh, I am breathless just thinking about it. Basically, I have my dataset now. And that makes the endgame much, much more clear. We are talking about thesis chapters now, coming out of the articles I'm writing.

Otherwise, my body is feeling good. My shirt is feeling big today and I thought to myself, perhaps I don't want to lose so much that I have to go out and get new clothes. I was planning on going down another 2 or 3 kgs from where I am, but I'm not sure if I'm going to do that. I feel and look pretty good now, I think. What's one point of BMI, anyway. Well, 3 kgs is not a noticeable difference, I don't think, so my clothes should be okay. I don't want to look like I'm swimming around.

Interesting. This says that basically, if you can avoid heart problems and lung cancer, you really reduce your chances of dying here. How is it that 7 men in the East Midlands died of breast cancer? I didn't think we had breasts. Anyway, prostate cancer: now that is a bastard. Best to keep my prostate healthy.
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