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well. it was my blogiversary. two days ago. but i was sick. like snotty-faced┬áhead cold sick. and i even attempted to write a post in that state, but upon perusing it again, realized it makes no sense. it’s all tylenol cold meets shots of whiskey. thus, you get the two-days-late celebration of a year of wasting spending my time writing on this blog. there have been good times. bad blogger times. and all around inappropriate times (that post’s picture, much to my chagrin, is the most clicked on picture on my blog. i don’t know what that means, but it can’t be good). i think i have done a pretty bang up job as a bad blogger and a recovering technophobe. but just to convince you, dear sweet readers who hide from me, i will list some of my accomplishments over this past bloggyrific year as a way of saying screw you, i am gonna keep blogging and nobody can stop me (unless i actually get a job and they force me to). a year in the life of jacks-as-blogger or jackablogger:

  1. i have gone from bitching about starting my dissertation to being close to done a complete first draft. this has resulted in a search for gainful employment. when i began this blog, i hoped it would help motivate me and be an outlet and procrastination place. it has paid off in spades, my friends. spades. (i have no idea what that means).
  2. i taught myself how to use blogger and then moved over to where dr. beth, the alpha-bloggess told me all the cool kids were, that is, wordpress. THEN i taught myself how to use wordpress. it is like i am a computer genius or something. the really, really cool kids pay for their own domain but i am okay being a second-rung cool kid because i have never been one to kowtow to the whims and trends of others. or maybe i am. i have no idea.
  3. every time i think i will never be as pumped about another research project, i discover something like fat and fall deliciously, hopelessly in love with the idea of talking to people about it and turning it into something thinky (and bloggy) .
  4. i went to my first american conference (and blogged about it!) and it made me fall deeper in love with fat studies.
  5. i spoke at a blogging conference about my research.
  6. as a bona fide member of the wordpress community i have so far appeared in the “possibly related posts” section of three different blogs. they are: fat feminism: musings of a rubens woman – which, i might add, actually makes sense and looks like a cool blog; some kid’s blog who wrote a post about incest – okay, this was a little bit of a stretch but from what i saw, he was trying to be witty. i hope; and this blog, which i think is about nordic skiing. the link here – say with me folks – is a blog post about being a un-sexy pole dancer. get it? ski poles, stripper poles…anyhoo. it appears that “possibly related should be highlighted and bolded. i fear that the nordic ski people might not be getting the kind of pole-action they want (however, i posted the ic of when i went pole-dancing just to add to the confusion. hehe. take that wordpress!).
  7. i cat blogged once! sorry shells. and everybody.
  8. this list has to be ten. so here is number eight.
  9. blogging has inspired not only my future research project (about blogging and fat! wheee!) but it has also inspired that creative writing spirit that i lost roughly after i got my license. before that i would crank tori amos or classic rock (i can’t even stand the doors anymore because of how much i listened to them in my angsty youth. borf) and write really.bad.poetry while my father worried for the state of my mental health. it’s good to be back to the good ole days.
  10. basically, i kept it up for a year. and i am friggin’ proud of myself. *big shit-eating grin*

so during this little yay me blogiversary partay, i realized i don’t have a list of my categories. and i still don’t know how to tag things. um, dr. beth? help me…

oh yeah – and how could i forget: HAPPY H-WEEN kids! costume pics to come! (and tell me what you are going to be/were. now. NOW!).

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not everyone likes looking for a job but i dig it. it’s kinda like winning something. and being in a contest that you can win, unlike every other contest out there. i mean, i did snag five dollars in that recent lottery that was $43 million so maybe i’m super lucky and CAN win any contest out there. we’ll see.

the part people particularly hate – resume writing – is the part i like the most. i know. how messed up is that? but it is fun. especially when i write resumes for other people. so then, when i make shit up about them, i don’t feel so bad cause i don’t know it’s not true. do i? i often initiate the question game – like the one where you ask questions and then everyone has to answer in an attempt to learn interesting and unknown facts about the people you know. [note: this game works best under these two conditions: 1) there is nothing else to play or you are trapped in a car; and 2) there are copious amounts of alcohol. play at your own risk]. anyhoo – during the question game people often ask what the worst job you have ever had was and this normally results in uproarious laughter because you find out someone you know and love wiped old people’s bums or posed nude for art classes (the latter is less funny and more an opportunity to picture that person naked). alas, i have no good answer for this because i have had so few jobs and even though one required me to wear a dress from the 1840s, it is simply not that funny. nor dramatic. nor tragic.

maybe it is because i have been lucky with the jobs i have had which makes me excited about the process of job-getting or maybe it is my naivetee about all the shit jobs out there. i have this weird idea – that i swears is not ekhart tolle inspired – that you throw shit out there and see what sticks. and what sticks is usually the right thing because it is what is (okay – that last part was tolle – i admit it!). but i mean, as cliche as it sounds/is, where you end up teaches you something , if only about yourself.

i have also been thinking a lot about the misrecognition of self, not only because my most recent dissertation chapter is about it, but because i think many of us misrecognize ourselves as not enough or too much – whatever form that might take. i’m too fat, not smart enough, too critical/negative, not ambitious enough, etc. we can’t see past the past that no longer defines us. has become outside our lived experience but exists within us as a cancer. a plague of doubt. you know what people never hear enough of? praise. and the sentence that they are enough. better, they are perfect just as they are. fine. good. complete.

a job doesn’t give us fulfillment, but it offers a chance to live fully through our doubts and fears. through and beyond the nothingness that is the phrase: “i am not good enough.”

anyhoodle – what was your worst job? tell me. now. cause i want to laugh and possibly picture you naked.

(and forgive me for the help wanted poster. i couldn’t resist!).

despite the fact that i will one day revel in being referred to as “dr. jacks” (without the “almost”), i shy away from the label of expert. we could chat about why this may be (not knowing of what i speak, making things up, blatant lies;), but suffice to say that i try follow in the footsteps of the most unpretentious woman i know, my supervisor. plus, pretentious people, in general, give me the shits so there is no reason to be one of them. and, most of the time, when i tell people i am a graduate student, and a phd student at that, they invariably (no joke, invariably) say “good for you!” like a am a potty-training toddler that just waved bye-byes to mr. poopy. so proclaiming expert status, whether i wanted to or not, would prolly result in something equally horrifyingly humiliating like someone trying to change my diaper and/or burp me. like you don’t wear a diaper. anyhoo. my point is that you don’t always get the response you are looking for which is why i am less and less inclined to discuss my dissertation topic at parties.

for those of you who know me, and those of you who don’t cause i keep telling you, i am an attention-whore. this results in interesting choices such as dramatically changing my hair and then disdaining of anyone who draws undue attention to it or choosing ridiculous things to study and then reacting with horrified anger when they say things like “you got a master’s degree after spending a couple of months on a nude beach,” “sociology is a nice hobby but you can’t feed yourself with it,” and my personal favourite, “well what is your phd actually in? online datingology” (followed by guffaw, guffaw, guffaw). most people’s reactions, are by and far, very positive. so positive, in fact, that i often get advice on how to do my doctorate. the standard party conversation goes like this:

stranger: “so what do you do?”

me: “i am student, which basically means not gainfully employed in any meaningful way.”

stranger: “oh yeah? that’s cool.”

me: “actually, i am a graduate student. i study sociology. but it is basically equivalent to unemployment and poverty-like conditions.”

stranger: “you’re doing your m.a.?”

me: “nopers. i’m a phd student.”

stranger: “GOOD FOR YOU!!!”

me: “gee. thanks.”

stranger: “what is your thesis on?”

me: “i study online dating.”

stranger: “no you don’t!”

me: “yeah. really. i do.”

stranger: “well that’s interesting!”

me: “not what you were expecting, huh?”

stranger: “NO! i didn’t even think you could study that!”

me: “yup.”

stranger: “so how successful is online dating? i mean how many people that you talked to get together?”

me: “i don’t really study that.”

stranger: “cause i mean, if you algorithmically calculated all the components of a good match, well then, you could -“

me: “i could sell my work to an online dating company?”

stranger: “YES!!! all it would take would be crunching the numbers and then putting together a detailed proposal -“

me: “are you an engineer?”

stranger: “yeah! how’d you know!?!?!”

this exact situation has happened to me twice. the exact same thing. and i wasn’t at an engineering convention about how to sell your work in the marketplace. swears.

so since chatting about my dissertation isn’t getting me the popularity i feel i want and deserve (read: need), perhaps i will start talking about it more on here. cause all ya’ll can’t talk back.

and all of you certainly can’t be engineers. (not that there is anything wrong with that).

alrighty. so back to the problem at hand. you see, i have this dissertation thingy to write. and it’s a lotta words. lemmie tell ya. what i have accomplished so far (while not entirely true) feels like what my blog post pic illustrates. a whole lotta nuttin’. i mean sure. it is kinda like writing the great american (canadian?) novel. it’s big. it has to start somewhere. and it feels like it is never gonna end. i don’t want this to be a bitch and moan session – oh pobre me – i have the entire summer to write a draft of a dissertation that like, four people total, will probably end up reading. i know, i know. woe is me. rather, i would like to either shame myself into it (a particular strategy that i excel at) or at least come up with a productive means of, you know, doing something, um, productive. as a side note, last time i visited the dentist, i asked the dental hygienist to shame me into flossing more (even though she didn’t notice that i floss, um, sporadically – and i’ll try to stop saying um now) and she thought that was 1) self destructive in some way and 2) kinky. i have since changed dentists. i mean, if you can’t productively shame me into action, what good are you?

so i have this weird thing that i know i’ll finish, and i know i’ll finish in good time, but i need to fret about it. i need to be all like, “damn, i’m procrastinating, isn’t that bad?” or “i have a new deadline, poor me, huh?” maybe it is the exorbitant attention i need, OR maybe it is part of my process. this is a conclusion i came to perhaps a couple of years ago (or like, yesterday) and i have tried to go with the flow of it instead of resist it. a fellow blogger, author and artist recently remarked in her facebook status that faith means more than effort (you know who you are). i guess this is the resounding idea behind my “process” idea. i fret. i worry. but i always have faith that what must get done will get done. and it does. faith instead of effort. i should get it tattooed. another one of my dear sweet friends, J., frets for fun i’m sure. and it makes her a functional adult and academic. perhaps fretting makes us feel important. functional. or dysfunctionally productive. or somethin’.

so back to shame. i actually think shame operates as a motivator for me. doesn’t anyone else feel this way? i mean, you can be shamed by someone and their judgement can motivate or it can squash. which sounds better to you? perhaps it is highly dysfunctional, but i think the best kind of shame is personal shame. it is a motivator, a sidekick, a best friend. or maybe just mine. whatevs. my point is, that everyone’s process is unique, possibly dysfunctional, and ultimately productive, right? we all get stuff done. i mean obviously, we should all be less judgmental, to others and ourselves, but don’t we all live in a world that compels us to live up to the expectations of others in order to avoid their disappointment and our inevitable shame? perhaps it is just a matter of not taking responsibility of oneself. i mean, i have to assume that my supervisor cares about deadlines set, or dissertations written, otherwise why would i produce? i have to create a spiral of expectation and shame. otherwise nothing matters – right? i’m not a masochist okay? i’m just justifying why i am not doing stuff, why that is okay, and why it will all work out in the end. in an obviously tongue-in-cheek, non-creepy way. right? gulp.

as for productivity, here are some simple solutions to take my mind off actually doing work.

1) obviously, faith, not effort. perhaps my dissertation will be written on faith alone. does that mean i can take a vacation?

2) personal shame is the answer to all life’s roadblocks.

3) watch oprah when experiencing writer’s block.

4) assume my supervisor has more investment than i do in actually getting things done. that way, they will. come hell or highwater.

5) go outside and drink chai lattes (my new ingestive of choice) for inspiration.

6) instead of doing research, make phonecalls. long-distance ones to people you haven’t spoken to in a long time in order to maximize the call length and time-wastage.

7) make lists on your blog that mean nothing. to anybody. including yourself.

8) enjoy facebook’s new chat system.

9) consider ways to make my life more eco-friendly in acknowledgment of earth day. and/or get irritated by sandra bullock schlepping her soy-based candles after following #3 above.

10) consider other career opportunities that do not require a completed phd. suggestions?

any others to add? also, feel free to shame me now that i’ve fired my dental hygienist. and don’t go easy on me as this could happen to you.