Sobriquet Home | Author Index | About Us | Book Reviews | Music Reviews | Email | Punk Encyclopedia | Punk Links | Writers

Sobriquet

Dissertation Blog Home
About the Blog
Email & Comment Policy
About the Zine
Record Reviews
mediaconsumption
D.O.T.S.T.
Sobriquet on Facebook
Sobriquet on MySpace
Sobriquet on Twitter
Sobriquet on Tumblr

Academia

PhinisheD
The Chronicle
The MLA

Sports

Cincinnati Bengals
New York Yankees
Cleveland Cavaliers
Montreal Canadiens
ESPN

News

Reuters
New York Times
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Newark Star-Ledger
Chicago Tribune
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
St. Paul Pioneer Press
Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
San Francisco Chronicle
Christian Science Monitor

Twitter

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Powered by Blogger

    eXTReMe Tracker

    RSS Feed Readers

    Sobriquet 55.16

    Monday, June 29, 2009
    I'm going to try to keep today's entry about as brief as I can for reasons that, I hope, will become clear soon enough. The anxiety with which I woke yesterday returned this morning with something of a vengeance. Initially, I'd hoped to sit down and get some more writing done, edging ever closer to the conclusion of the seemingly interminable Disgrace chapter on which I have been working for more than a year. When I sat down to work on the chapter, however, a whole new wave of anxiety swept over my mind. I didn't feel comfortable writing on a different computer from that which I feel is "home," and, in a moment of prolonged frustration, I began exploring the possibility of buying a new, cheap laptop so that I could soothe my jangled nerves with a fully-functioning computer I could call my own. At one point, I even started contemplating buying a cheap laptop on credit.

    Then it hit me with the force of Nolan Ryan fastball: I was responding to a miniature crisis in the most extreme of ways. The logical solution, of course, would be to wait a few days for my Mac to emerge from the shop all polished, ready for a mulligan. Instead, I was letting my self-imposed deadlines to get in the way of some very reasonable thinking. I felt as if I needed to finish my chapter immediately and ship it off to my supervisor, even though no such deadline exists. And, since I will finish it soon, regardless of whether or not my hard drive can be scavenged for lost files, there is really no reason I should push myself so hard to write anything in the handful of days between now and when I learn the ultimate fate of my computer. Duh.

    So, I got to thinking, wondering how, exactly, I let myself get so worked up over what is, ultimately, a very minor inconvenience. I concluded that, like many people, I have grown just a bit too reliant upon computers. And, rather than sit around aching like an addict going through withdrawal, I have decided to take a brief vacation from technology. In other words, I am leaving computers and the internet behind; I am signing off for a little while and deliberately placing myself in a situation in which the white noise of the digital age will be blunted, though I will make some key exceptions for safety and transportation reasons. I will have my cellular phone with me and I will, in all likelihood, post occasional mobile updates to Facebook to keep my loved ones informed of my whereabouts. Likewise, I will use my automobile and I may even bring my iPod...but fuck computers. A dissertation is nerve-wracking enough as it is; screw worrying about technology for a few days.

    For tomorrow and Wednesday, at the very least: Shun the internet in favor of reading books.

    Labels: , ,

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    I woke up this afternoon (yes, afternoon) feeling pretty miserable, the previous two days' worth of computer-related stress no doubt playing a large part in my mood's gradual development from morning (figuratively speaking) melancholy to afternoon anxiety. There's just something so utterly depressing about losing one's digital existence. I mean, while there is still technically some hope that the good folks at Apple will be able to salvage some of my files, I haven't much hope left on that front. Like many people in the digital age, I tend to feel somewhat incomplete without my computer and not knowing what's going on with it only exacerbates an already hefty dose of unease.

    As a result of this discomfort, I suspect, my normal level of restlessness ratcheted up a few notches and I found I simply could not sit at home. Not wanting to throw away a perfectly good day for dissertation-writing, I dug up the old laptop on which I wrote my Master's thesis, packed it in my car and set out on a drive to who knows where. In my mind, I envisioned myself checked into some inexpensive motel, hunched over the damaged display clacking away at the Disgrace chapter or else doing the same thing in a park somewhere. I mean, I just had to get away and I knew I couldn't succumb to the temptation to wallow in my own misery, either. So, off I went.

    Of course, I didn't get any writing done in my car or at the desk of some Spartan motel room, but I did spend a few hours driving around in the rain, weaving in and out of the towns and hamlets dotting central New York, enjoying the scenery and listening to Chelsea's Evacuate. When I finally got home, I felt a tiny bit better, but still had to push myself to write anything.

    After a suitable amount of hemming and hawing, I finally did get a bit of work done. Earlier in the day, as I prepared to drive around, I bought myself a new flash drive on which to back up my files so that, in the event another catastrophic disk failure befalls me, I would not have to deal with the stress of having to collect my key files from a variety of de-centralized storage places. For some reason, that little bit of plastic and metal inspired me and I set myself up with this old laptop, a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, and a box fan; climbed into bed, propped myself up on some pillows, and got out of my shoes; and listened to the patter of rain while my cat snuggled up next to me (an affectionate cat, I am learning, can do an awful lot of good). It turned out to be a productive evening.

    The main reason I wanted to write, though, was because I knew that the sooner I accepted the reality of my situation and acknowledged that I could and should proceed as if nothing happened, the sooner I would return to a more normal mode of dissertation-writing. I mean, it feels weird writing about Disgrace on this laptop and it did take me a few moments to realize that the slight difference in pagination between my Mac-formatted chapter and my Word-formatted version of the same text owes to the fact that Mac's default "Times Roman" font and Microsoft's "Times New Roman" font are just a tiny bit different. But, I figured, one must move on, even if it feels weird, even if the computer on which I felt at home is spread out in the sick bay of some distant computer workshop. If there's anything I have learned while writing this damn dissertation, it is that not everything goes as planned. Furthermore, my life experience has taught me that it is at the times one feels most discouraged that one must rally.

    What I have learned, I hope, is to be even more vigilant with backing things up. I mean, when floppy disks were the de facto method of storage, I used to save everything to a backup file regularly but, when CDs briefly became the go-to, I fell out of the habit somewhat, put off by the relative inconvenience of burning things to a disk. Now, though, flash drives are about as convenient as can be, so it's about time I return to that old habit. The other thing I have decided to do is switch back to Microsoft's Word as my default word processing program. When I switched to Macintosh last year, I opted for Mac's proprietary Pages program, which has some distinct advantages. But, since I now know just how few computers (including my friend's Mac!) cannot read .pages files, I will be opting for the more common .doc files. Certainly, Pages can open and save things as .doc, but the transfers are still a bit on the messy side and, given my recent experiences, I am not too keen on having to worry about compatibility issues. I just want to finish the fucking dissertation, pass Go, collect my $200, and settle on Marvin Gardens. Or, you know, the postgraduate equivalent.

    But, yeah. I'm still uncomfortable with things, still feeling unmoored by the lack of a digital home base for my dissertation, but I made some progress which is, given my mood today, a big deal.

    So I'm rewarding myself with movies. I just finished watching I Am Legend, a not altogether disappointing interpretation of Richard Matheson's novel. As is all-too-often the case, Hollywood has defanged an interesting text as it processes the story for mass consumption, but Will Smith delivers a solid enough performance to make a rather weak script more than bearable. Still, the novel, with its darker ending and philosophical overtones is a much more satisfying work.

    For tomorrow: Try to write a bit more. Failing that, prep or read.

    Labels: , ,

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Saturday, June 27, 2009
    I'm writing this entry from a borrowed computer, my hard drive having died yesterday. Fortunately, a good friend of mine helped me extract the current chapter of my dissertation from the burnt-out hunk of metal before it went completely kaput. I'd saved it as a PDF file, fortunately, so I was able to access it on an old PC I had lying around and, while the fonts and spacing did get a bit messed up in the transfer, I was able to do a relatively quick transfer and now have a presentable Word document with which to work from a living computer terminal. While it looks like the vast majority of my files will have been destroyed, I have been able to locate a pretty good percentage of my key documents in various backup arrangements, so I am not as miserable as I might otherwise be. True, I did lose some recent photographs and probably a handful of word processing documents, but having found ways to access all my Disgrace notes, a relatively recent copy of my bibliography (which I have since revised, updated, and reformatted), and the aforementioned chapter-in-progress has mitigated what could easily have been a really, really bad predicament. Furthermore, in my scouring of email, old disks, and even older computers, I have found most of my notes on Elizabeth Costello, too. Not to mention countless other memories in the form of photographs, scans, and the like.

    All I can say now is that I really want to finish this damn thing. I had intended to get some writing done this weekend and I would still like to do that, though the eight or more hours I spent fixing fonts and replacing footnotes and looking up bibliographic references has wiped me out for the rest of today, I reckon.

    For tomorrow: Read, write, prep...just do something to get closer to the end of this behemoth.

    Labels: , ,

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Monday, June 22, 2009
    Although I spent a good deal of the day kayaking and updating the Decrepitude of the Southern Tier project, I did get a bit of reviewing done for my dissertation, so I am pretty satisfied with my Sunday.

    Since I have a packed schedule for the next week or so, I may not update this blog as often as I would like, but I do intend to continue the review in preparation for the next mini-section of the Disgrace chapter.

    For tomorrow, etc.: Review and/or read.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Sunday, June 21, 2009
    Having had an uncommonly productive day yesterday and coming off a solid week of writing, I took it easy today, simply culling notes for the next subsection of the Disgrace chapter. I anticipate this bit of the chapter being comparatively easier than the last bit, so that should be a nice little respite before the relatively major home stretch.

    For tomorrow: Prepare.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Saturday, June 20, 2009
    Today started off as another one of those mornings when, upon waking up only to see a weak light diffused through thick Southern Tier cloud cover, I really had no desire to do any work at all. I was groggy, too, and, after a less-than-halfhearted attempt to rev myself up for another afternoon of writing, ended up watching some Conan O'Brien sketches and napping for the better part of the day. When I finally woke up, I was considerably more alert and, with anxiety rising as I contemplated writing, I decided to run some errands. Oddly, though, just when it seemed as if I had burnt through an entire day, I sat down, opened the word processing file containing the chapter, and ended up writing more than I have in any single day in recent memory, effectively finishing the subsection of the Disgrace chapter I've been working on.

    For tomorrow: Begin preparing for the next, mercifully brief, subsection.

    Labels: , ,

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Thursday, June 18, 2009
    Sitting here playing the Anti-Nowhere League's first album, I can hardly recall how uncomfortable this afternoon's writing process was. This seems to be a fairly common occurrence, actually. I'll wake up, grumble, procrastinate in one way or another, settle down to write another bit of the chapter, grumble some more, struggle to write, rest my head on my crossed arms, sigh, wrestle with my writing, squeeze out just enough to call the day productive, doubt the quality of my work, check it over, eventually make my peace with it, close the document, do other stuff, sit down to write my blog entry, play some punk rock, and forget how frustrating it was earlier in the day. But I did get something done.

    For tomorrow: Try to write a bit or, failing that, read a bit of the Elizabeth Costello criticism.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Wednesday, June 17, 2009
    I got sick of myself this afternoon or, rather, I got sick of the anxiety I felt about resuming the writing of my chapter on Disgrace. My solution to the problem was to say Argh! Grad school takes too long, so I had better get my ass in gear and start writing this thing now. And so I did.

    For tomorrow: Write or prepare.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Tuesday, June 16, 2009
    There's still not a whole lot for me to report other than that I have continued reviewing my notes on Disgrace and will begin outlining tomorrow. I should begin the real writing process in a day or two.

    For tomorrow: Outline.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Saturday, June 13, 2009
    Although I had an even longer day than yesterday and an even later night than last night, I did finish the sifting process I began yesterday. I'll spend the next couple of days rereading the notes and plotting out a mini-outline and I should be good to go on the next bit of the Disgrace chapter.

    For tomorrow: Reread and such.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Friday, June 12, 2009
    I had a late start to the day, so it took me until after two in the morning to get my dissertation work done. Although I was hit with a wave of anxiety as I sat down to work, wondering what do I do now?, I eventually settled on sifting through my notes and breezed through the process with little real difficulty. I would like to finish the sifting process tomorrow, though, so that I can focus on turning the raw material into a written product. Ideally, I want to resume writing the chapter no later than early next week.

    For tomorrow: Finish sifting.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009
    I finished reviewing Disgrace this afternoon by playing the audiobook version of the novel while cleaning my apartment. For the next few days, I'll be going over some of my notes on the criticism and should return to the actual writing of the chapter within a few days. Finally.

    For tomorrow: Review and plan for the next section.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Monday, June 8, 2009
    This afternoon, while eating a sandwich, I picked up a copy of the local paper and read a story in which a local businesswoman discussed her career. As it turns out, the woman had earned her doctorate in English at an Ivy League institution and had, understandably, hoped to land a university teaching position upon graduation. Finding the job market barren, however, the woman decided to try a different vocation and ended up starting a small retail outlet. By most standards, she is a success, content in a profession she finds rewarding both financially and otherwise.

    Stories like this are fairly common. People routinely put a decade or more work into earning an advanced degree only to discover that there is no job waiting for them at the end of the process. What the individual does upon at that point, and how he or she responds to the reality of a dream dissipated, says an awful lot about them.

    I can't help but think of Sisyphus.

    For tomorrow: Continue prepping.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Friday, June 5, 2009
    Right now, the big thing I have been struggling with, dissertation-wise, has been overcoming the sense of stasis that my month-long break from writing the Disgrace chapter has brought into my life. I keep feeling as if I have forgotten where I was going or what I was going to say, though I don't think this is really the case. Still, that's where a good deal of the anxiety I have been feeling while preparing to finish up the chapter seems to originate. It's times like this, too, that I grow frustrated with myself for taking so long to finish the dissertation, even though a year-and-a-half of work is hardly out of the ordinary for someone to get through the amount of stuff I have done. It's not always easy to remember that, though.

    For tomorrow: Keep reviewing.

    Labels: ,

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Wednesday, June 3, 2009
    Having well-neigh wiped myself out researching some of the philosophical background material for my Elizabeth Costello chapter over the past few weeks, I decided to make today a relatively easy day for myself. Though I did begin reacquainting myself with Disgrace in preparation for the final phases of that chapter, I made sure to devote a significant chunk of my afternoon and evening to reacquainting myself with Screeching Weasel, Bikini Kill, Tom Waits, and American Steel, as well.

    For tomorrow: Continue reviewing and prepping.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________
    Monday, June 1, 2009
    Well, I finally finished the project I have been working on for the past three weeks, so I am officially returning to Disgrace and preparing to begin wrapping up that chapter. Since it has been a while since I have really worked with that material, I will spend the next few days reacquainting myself with the novel and my research on it.

    For tomorrow: Review.

    Labels:

    Permanent Link
    © Sobriquet Magazine

    Share: StumbleUpon Toolbar del.icio.us Add to Mixx! Digg!


    ____________________________________________

    Literature

    William Gaddis
    The Modern Word
    Kurt Vonnegut
    Chuck Palahniuk
    Free Audiobooks

    Blogs

    Ben Weasel
    Ed Kemp
    The Irascible Professor
    Jeremy Hance
    Ielle Palmer
    MinxyLand
    Literary Chica
    Rex Parker
    Tiffany Roufs
    Pop Sensation
    Lime Plate

    Diversions

    South Park Studios
    Garfield Minus Garfield
    The Onion
    Urban Legends
    NNDB
    Daily Rotten
    Rotten Library
    Six Sentences
    Freerice.com
    Eric Mattina's Film Reviews

    Ideas

    Arts & Letters Daily
    Stirrings Still
    Logos

    Magazines

    The Atlantic
    CounterPunch
    Foreign Affairs
    Harper's
    National Geographic
    Skeptic

    Politics

    National Initiative
    Mike Gravel '08
    Ralph Nader '08

    Academic,  Learning & Educational Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

    Add to Technorati Favorites

    Add to Google

    Site Visits:
    This site was built by modifying a template designed by Maystar Designs. All text, unless otherwise noted, is copyright 2001-2009 by Sobriquet Magazine (ISSN 1930-1820). © 2009 Sobriquet Magazine. All rights reserved. Sobriquet Magazine and the Sobriquet Magazine logo are registered trademarks of Sobriquet Magazine.