Category Archives: Dissertation

physical and spiritual wellness are integral to a successful life

The concepts seem a little fuzzy at times, but the overarching thesis is that it is time to rethink the common wisdom of how to achieve success: sleep four hours a night, work 20 hours a day, see your family rarely and never admit the need for downtime. … The answer? To create a movement that embraces the idea that physical and spiritual wellness — from meditation to exercise to good nutrition — are integral to, not separate from, a successful life. … Another answer: To build workplaces where empathy and kindness are rewarded, in the somewhat corny terminology of the speakers, where a go-giver is as desirable as a go-getter.

Alina Tugend

four, maybe five hours of pure work

The common advice is, if you are a designer, you should be designing all day. Or making pottery, translating, illustrating, or writing all day.But here in the real world, you should shoot for four, maybe five hours of pure work. That is, writing from scratch, designing from a blank page, translating raw text, building brand new code, illustrating out of thin air.That’s all the human brain can muster. The holics who say they ‘work’ eighteen hours a day aren’t actually ‘working’ all that time.  Most of that will be foof like paperwork, email, phone calls, tinkering, fiddling, meetings. Of the ‘real’ work, the devilishly painful work, four hours is all you can do.

Walt Kania

June-ish update

  • Sorted out Zotero/Scrivener, imported lists.
  • Read qualitative coding manual.
  • Chose coding methods
    • 1st cycle:
      codes – initial (descriptive)
      categories – themeing the data
    • 2nd cycle:
      themes/concepts – focused
      theory – theoretical
  • Updated lists.
  • Pulled all page 69 hard copies, ready to mark up! [first coding pass, DONE]
    • Categories: memory/time; religion; the corporeal body; (im)migration; family.
  • Page 69 paragraph/sentence analysis (106 to go!)
  • Chapter analysis (proper nouns + communication technology – 51 to go!)

the risk that something unfinished will be published

“The peculiarity of being a writer,” [Joan] Didion says, “is that the entire enterprise involves the mortal humiliation of seeing one’s own words in print.” (Just by making this statement Didion clearly inserts herself, the writer, into the story.)

Yet even worse than publication, she says, is the risk that something unfinished will be published.

Adrienne LaFrance

omg. this. so much this.

Just tried to track down the article this piece is about [Joan Didion, Life and Letters, “Last Words,” The New Yorker, November 9, 1998, p. 74] and was foiled. None of the databases go back far enough (seriously what’s up with databases that only go back to 2002?). Will have to go to the VPL and track down the print version. SFU has its old issues on microfilm. Microfilm! How… 20th century.

ETA: So I actually went to the library and found the old New Yorkers in the stacks, located the right volume, and… some asshat who’s apparently never heard of a photocopier had torn out this essay. #fail

Summer 2013 – dissertation update 1

Yes, I’ve tired of the weekly/biweekly updates, but I’m still keeping track of my progress (and yes, still making progress). Occasional updates from here on.

  • Data analysis…
    • Twitter data (DONE)
    • Page 69 vocab data (DONE)
    • Acknowledgments data (DONE)
  • Skim/read 7 ebooks (DONE with all ebooks/books).
  • Backed up project (a few times, getting paranoid ;))

the reader and the author

The students in my short fiction class this spring were fascinated with second person. The biology majors, especially, liked the idea of a narrator that was instructive and universal, the reader and the author at once.

“You” could do what “I” couldn’t, they told me. Their yous told semi-fictions about souring romances and abusive parents. “You” learned you couldn’t go home again, and you are right.

Thomas Page McBee

I don’t know if it means anything, but I found it intriguing, this remark that it was the biology majors that were fascinated by the reader/author duality. Hmm.


I’ve been feeling a bit meh this past week because it’s annual progress report time and I’m still not done The Dissertation. On the bright side, I think one more semester should do it (in terms of finishing the draft).

Anyway, I went to campus to drop off the aforementioned report and whilst there checked my mailbox. In it were my TA evaluations from past semesters. And in amongst the inevitable “too sarcastic”* and “hard marker” (if anything, I’m too soft, so that remark always amuses me) comments were so many positive comments, the most enthusiastic comments I think I’ve ever received from students. Warm fuzzy! 🙂

*Example of “too sarcastic” thing I might actually say: “So! I’m sure everyone’s done this week’s reading!” {implied “not!” due to past experience, but with much enthusiasm and the secret hope that they might all say “Yes!” I’m an optimistic cynic.} I know! So mean, right?

I don’t think this is a me problem specifically; I think it’s a Gen-X/Gen-Y generational difference. It comes up online quite a bit. Whenever I see Gen-Ys complaining about someone being too “mean” or “sarcastic,” inevitably the person being discussed is Gen-X and just as inevitably, what a Gen-Yer interprets as “being mean” I interpret as joking/teasing. Gen-Yers just have different expectations than Gen-Xers. Gen-Xers are snarky. Gen-Yers are adorkable. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

In fact, snark might be the key characteristic in defining Gen-X. Hmm. Perhaps I should code for snark. Ooh! Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could work snark into my title?! Yes. I must make that happen.

Hmm. aykb, I can relate anything to Seinfeld, but now it seems I can also relate anything to The Dissertation. Seinfeld still sneaked in there, though 😉

Spring 2013 – Weeks 14 + 15

What I did this week:

  • Read/skimmed + took notes on 3 lit review pbooks. Eliminated one. (DONE! with print books, anyway)
  • Polished up overview tables + inserted into project.
  • Updated lists.
  • Backed up project.
  • Returned all-but-one SFU books (kept the one on coding).
  • Read 3 + took notes on 2 ebooks.
  • Page 69 data (converted all 112 to words-only + did word-count analysis).
  • Worked on revising title. (Yes, this is important b/c I had another mini-breakthrough re: focus. It’s an ecology, not a history. Which, forehead slap. But you know. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.) Getting happier with sub-title. Still in need of linkbait main title 😉

Worth mentioning, because it’s on-topic. Maybe it’s because I’m a visual-kinesthetic learner, but it’s so, so satisfying to see library books move from ‘unread’ stack to ‘read’ stack and then exit the house! I’ll miss that feeling as I move onto the remainder of my reading (pdfs of articles — more convenient, but not nearly as satisfying).