20 August 2012

Stalled when you can't stall

The sky is a fish, my three year-old daughter says, looking up. Autumn clouds, my wife says.

My daughter is understanding and talking about clouds in comparison to fish, I think: how could this be evidence of a cognitive mapping?

This is what happens when you get a PhD in metaphor studies. You ruin the world for yourself.

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It's Monday morning, again, and I have sent my supervisors a draft of my literature review. 18,000+ words of the thesis, so a biggish part of it. I have 'finished' it, to my liking at least, and then done a once over on the methods which was probably under 10,000 words, but is now close to 13,000 because I added in what was Chapter 5 (Description of Data) to now be a part of Chapter 4. That gets me up to the 16–110 pages of 317 in good shape (for me, again, not for my supervisors). I also spent some time cleaning up my references and adapting APA to meet the needs of my citations, which you can do at the OU. You can actually use any citation system you want (make up your own!) provided it is consistent and it allows the examiners easy access to the materials. That was pages 285–306. 307–317 is Appendices and also in good shape. So now, I have to work on my abstract (first set of notes back from supervisor) and then work on Chapter 9, my conclusion, to send to them by midday Thursday. The abstract and the conclusion, although very short (well, the conclusion is still like 6,000 words, abstract is 300) need to be pure gold. The purest gold.

Still, I send something to my supervisors and I've learned, after almost four years of doing this, that what I think is good enough is not good enough and will need to be retooled. At this point, however, we're running out of time. The viva panel is set. Next comes the viva date (mid/late November). Once that's set then I have a hard deadline for submitting the thesis (six weeks prior to the viva). Now, I'm shooting for 28 September, but depending on the date of the viva, I could get another two weeks if I want them. I don't though. I want to submit within my funding period. Call it a personal goal.

This is boring shop-talk, but what is consuming my life now with stress. I was doing good dealing with the stress until this morning when I just ate and ate and ate. I finally got on my bike and left, but it was not good. I get so, so hungry when I'm stressed.

We did, as a family, have a good time this weekend and I managed to avoid, like the plague, my own aggression and anger. The counsellor I've been seeing said to me about three weeks ago, 'Aggression is pretty useless emotion, don't you think?' I agreed. I mean, not historically and not all the time. But around the house? Definitely. With your wife and kids? Definitely. So we went to the pool, had pizza on Saturday, went for a long walk yesterday, and then talked to my family last night. You can manage your aggression, I've found. When it wells up, you dismantle it instead of encouraging it. Everyone's happier, and you have control of yourself.

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Our house is also falling apart. Doorbell broken, hob mostly not working, lawn mower broken. We are limping to the finish line.

And now, I need, need, need to get some sort of employment. Doing anything. Anywhere.

Sheeps, goats, and wolves. Which one are you?


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