Sunday, March 18, 2012

Out of the data dungeon

I submitted my last data chapter today, so that means one more chapter to go biznillah! I thought this was going to be a short chapter, but it ended up 60 pages, so I think el-wa7sh may need to go on a diet.  Of course this is the chapter where I have to get all intellectual and discuss what the theory means for the data and the data for the theory, etc, and yeah, it doesn't really fit like that . . . .into the theory thicket I go! (Can  you tell my brain needs istiraa7a?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dissertation Addiction

Is it possible to be addicted to your dissertation? Because now that the end is in sight, I kind of can't stop working on it.  Even when I know I should be sleeping, my mind is racing through the pages, and when I can't sleep, I'm tempted to just work on it in the middle of the night, although so far I've convinced myself this isn't good.  I get annoyed when I have to stop to teach (and I love teaching!) and it takes me half an hour to comment on a blog, because I open the page, go back to my dissertation, type a sentence, go back to my dissertation, eventually finish the comment, go back to my dissertation, and then post it.  I feel like I could take a break, and still submit my draft on time, but I just want to be done.  But then I'll start something else . . .

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Spring Break Dissertation Writing Complete!

Late last night, I finished the chapter I've been working on all break.  When I pasted it into Mellel to do the final formatting I was surprised to discover that it was 125 pages long (or 39,245 words for those that like it that way).  A lot of that is quotes from my interviews and other data, many of which have to be translated and thus double in size.  I knew it was long, because it took forever to edit, but I didn't quite realize it was longer than some complete dissertations in my program! Thus, my new nickname for my dissertation is الوحش!

In any case, I though I was 1-0 with el-wa7sh, having wrestled him into submission a day before Spring Break ends, which means I would have today for some lesson planning and relaxing.  Alas, el-wa7sh had other plans, and went racing through my brain causing serious insomnia, which meant that when I finally did fall asleep, I slept late, and then there was daylight savings so it's even later, and now I feel like the day's over before it began.  So perhaps the score is 1-1.

But hey, that chapter's done!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Break!

I am now officially on Spring Break, with cat in lap, cappuccino next to laptop, and foam on cat tail due to an unfortunate mix between the first two items.  Despite being in school for many years, I think the last time I did something exciting for Spring Break was when I was in high school.  In college, I was on a sports team and always had training, in grad school I was either visiting my husband long distance or doing fieldwork, and this break I will be writing the trickiest chapter of my dissertation.

So far, tricky chapter is coming along well.  Mostly because I have done the majority of the data sorting, and am working on the writing up part, which is much more fun, even if it does involved the ever annoying part of trying to combine right to left and left to right scripts, which can be sent awry with a backspace or return*.

The class I am teaching this semester is also a little time consuming (why didn't your previous teachers make you work on pronunciation, such that I could comprehend your recordings?) although thankfully not as frustrating as last semester (you want us to read texts in Arabic? and like speak in class with our own words? our previous teachers just skipped the texts, and spend class reading the vocab list out loud and having us repeat it).  So, it is nice to have a break from that as well.

* Yes, I could use transcription, but that's a) more time consuming b) harder to read c) ideologically frustrating, as I don't think arabizi transcription would fly :-)