As I head into my PhD, I have been put to task to re-read my MA thesis, and take note of any ideas I had that did not get the chance to be fully developed (due to time, space and depth of my theoretical understanding at the time it was written). I am nervous to head back to my thesis; I am nervous to read ideas that perhaps seemed perfectly clear in my head only to find out that I hadn’t quite articulated my ideas. Yet on the other hand, I am looking forward to reading my thesis as a text outside of the stress and deadlines that enveloped its conception. As a piece of work seperate from myself as author.
The direction for my PhD is a little different than that of my MA. Moving from Sociology to Cinema, I am hoping that my love of social theory will compliment questions surrounding aesthetic and design, and how these things translate or transform into play, social and personal identity formation (of both player and character).
Classes start next week – and I have to say, I am looking forward to being in a new environment, with a new group of students, new theoretical cannons to explore and new perspectives to view my work and ideas through.
The other one still in the room.
I have been home for a week now and I have done little, except playing some really addictive (and geriatric) solitaire games I downloaded many eons ago. I met with my new advisor and talked about the upcoming year, projects and people. The meeting was energizing, finally getting to see what my schedule will look like this fall. So far so good – with the obligational Doctoral seminar, I am also hoping to take a class on mobile cinema (hopefully will get to look into mobile gaming as an offshoot). Seeing as cinema is not my field, I am taking a first year undergrad introductory course on cinema theory, should be fun.
After barely a week at home, I send out my first batch of recycling to be picked up this morning only to have one of the dedicated recycling bags thrown back into my walkway -rejected. I was confused and a little bit angry about it. Guess I have to get used to the city’s idea of ‘recyclable’ as compared to ‘dry’ recycling, which is what I have been doing all summer at my sister’s. At least there, their “dry” list is clearly printed out and laminated with tons of items or item types on it, so I can figure out what goes in the blue bag or the black bag (sesame street recycling!). The list I was given by the city of montreal has three categories, a few hand drawn pictures and basically states “paper, glass & plastics”.
The rejected bag this morning contained packing styrofoam (from a table), which has a recyclable symbol all over it. It is accepted as “dry” recyclables in New Brunswick, and was once accepted here. I am frustrated as to what I can put in the clear bag and what not. The list I did read seems so random. And now I have to rebag it into a black bag, as the garbage men will not pick up clear recycling bags.
Enough whining I suppose, and back to work.
After seven weeks of holidays, visiting family, days on the beach and evenings on the patio, and the random bonfire, I have to say, it is good to be home. Of course I miss my sister and her family (who graciously houses my family every summer) but after a while, I miss the city.
Now that we are home, it is time to get serious – I start my PhD in a few short weeks, and am looking forward to learning a new field, new cannons and new ideas. It will also be nice to have a new direction to blog in.
Last night, after dinner, I opened up my fortune cookie and it said:
“You function best when you can apply your sense of organization and structure”
How apropos 😉
Well, after much rambling yesterday, I have decided to continue on with my vacation. There will be plenty of time (like 10 months!) to be in the city, and summer vacation only lasts so long. As a good friend told me last night, I would be a little crazy to come home before I absolutely had to – most people try to extend their holidays, not cut them short. (Perhaps having a second day with a decent internet connection has changed my mood as well – who knows heh)
But since I am sticking around for 17 more days, I figure I must get some of the work done that I have had on my play since I left Montreal. The book review that I am writing for RCCS is almost done – if anyone is interested in helping me edit it (only 1,000 wrds) please let me know – the two people who usually edit are currently MIA. I have to write a wrap up report for a project that I started eons ago (a reminder why it is important to get everything done all at once – so hard to get back into the headspace of the research no matter how much I read over the material. And finally, sitting on my bedside table, collecting dust is Derrida’s Of Grammatology, which I FINALLY got through the translators preface last night! Now if it can stop being sunny out, maybe I will get some work done!
*could I have found a cheezier title… maybe… if I thought hard enough about it.
It has been a pretty good summer so far. I cannot believe it is the first of August already though. Decision time is upon me – when to go home, formally end ‘summer vacation’ and get back to ‘work’…
I have had very little access to the internet over the last 5 weeks (it is harder than you think to find an open wireless connection out in the country!). It has been a mixed blessing. We all talk about ‘getting away from it all’ and ‘recharging our (mental) batteries’ but how much is too much? I have come to realize that without a steady connection, after about a week I start to feel anxiety and an urge to go home, back to the city where I am garanteed my own secure network, whether in my office or out on my back balcony – but if all else fails, there is always one of many free wireless networks to connect to (usually institutional ones – i promise). Not that I need to be online all the time, but just knowing that it is there if I need it… If I get into an argument over the definition of something, having google at my fingertips … If I am hired for an impromptu few hours of reference mining, then I can turn the computer on, open a beer and search at my leisure. Instead, I have been chained to my sister’s 10 hours of dial-up /mo. on her IBM pc purchased in 1997 (nary an upgrade to speak of to boot!).
But is it really just about my being able to connect when I want to? As much as I hate to admit it, I think its a bit more egocentric than that… I miss being able to check my email a few times a day. I miss feeling like I am in the loop (cannot believe that I havent turned on trillian in over a month!!). And it is not simply lacking internet that makes me feel this way… I think…
Being away for the summer can be rejuvenating, but it can also be alienating. It’s funny, because a good friend of mine, who stays in the city all summer, always talks about feeling like she is missing something when we all go away for the summer. Ironically enough, I feel the same way when I am gone. Not to take anything away from the incredibly wonderful time I get to spend on the east coast. Seeing my family, swimming in the ocean, having regular bonfires and marvelling at the stars (and how clearly we can see them) while laying on the grassy hill behind my sister’s house is nothing to balk at. And to be able to do it for 5-7 weeks a year, complaining would just be downright rude – but if I could only have my cake and eat it too…private jet?? teletransportation?? or maybe just a nice high-speed internet connection at my disposal, the line between summer and the city might not seem a thousand kilometers away (well, 1,011 kms to be exact!).