The Perils of Editing

I am doing some editing work, and so, have been spending many hours learning the rules behind the things I write instinctually, so that changes can (or cannot) be made. What one learns quite quickly in editing, is that there is rarely any hard and fast rules that govern grammar and punctuation with an iron fist. So, I have been spending much of my time trying to find multiple sources to either confirm or contradict what my desktop guides say (I work from an APA guide and a Grammar Desk Reference – checked against various reliable, online sources). In dealing with the conundrum that is the using of the word ‘comprise’, I stumbled upon this candid explanation of the debate at hand. Quite worth the read if you’ve ever had to defend your choice.

Productive 24 Hours

Attended a talk last night given by Katherine Hayles – I was in no mind to be critical, but rather just enjoyed hearing something new that I haven’t really thought about.

Attended TAG’s open house today- it was a nice opportunity to see some old familiar faces and chat with a few new people (and squeeze in a game or two of Rock Band). Afterwards, had a great discussion with a colleague of mine, who really helped me unblock the dam that was my proposal writing process. With pages of notes – I head into the weekend refreshed and eager to get it all hammered out.

Finally, for a short and comical read – check this link out – if you ever wondered what really drives people towards their academic paths.

Technoculture, Art and Games Initiave (TAG) Open House Tomorrow

From the group at TAG (bits and pieces of gameCODE + fresh new members and initiatives):

Come to Hexagram – Concordia this Friday for the AbTeC – TAG – Interstices Labs Open House!

Who: The Technoculture, Art and Games initiative, along with the Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (AbTeC) and Interstices Research Groups

What: an open house held jointly by three Hexagram labs conducting gaming research at Concordia University

When: 11AM – 2PM, Friday, February 13th

Where: EV-11.425 Hexagram – Concordia 1515 St. Catherine St. West, EV 11-455. Montréal, Québec. H3G 2W1

Why: to play cooperative multiplayer games (Left 4 Dead and Rock Band and more) on the two 42″ TVs, meet other nice people interested in games, and eat free food during your lunch hour!

Everyone is cordially invited to come play games, chat, and eat good food during their lunch hour as we break in the new Technoculture, Art and Games space at Hexagram – Concordia. We will have a number of cooperative multiplayer games available, including Left 4 Dead and Rock Band, as well as independent games such as Facade. In the Hexagram Projection Room the Interstices group will be displaying their most recent work to the public. Finally, we will also be accepting donation of gaming-related swag, so please bring your game-inspired art, posters, toys, retail standees, etc. for future decoration of the space!

Writing Rituals

So, I have been sitting in front of my laptop for the last few days, working on my thesis proposal, typing a word here, a phrase there (I am about 1/4 of a way through being finished …). I have been trying to think of ways to get myself into that super-fiend-work-mode that I find myself in when confronted with a hard deadline and being three steps behind. I am trying to avoid that ulcer inducing work mode (that got me this far, but still, I don’t think I can sustain it for my PhD), so i got to thinkin’ – what work rituals do I usually perform to get it going? I know that good conversations with colleagues always gets me motivated to work (however, the bus ride home usually takes a bit of wind out of my sails); sometimes going over my reading notes that I took to prepare for the particular project helps and I usually have to clean my office so all is neat and tidy (since my ideas are messy and all over the place). But what I would like to know is, what other rituals do people have to get themselves deep into work mode? I cannot imagine (or at least hope) that not everyone is naturally motivated and inspired 24/7 as needed – so please – share any tips or tricks you might have.

Working Through The Process

I am working (read: struggling) through writing my thesis proposal. In theory, it shouldn’t be as difficult as it currently is. I have five sections that I need to write on over the span of 7,500 words; problematic, hypothesis, justification of corpus, state of the question (lit review) and theoretical framework/methodology. Simple enough – as a Sociologist, almost everything I have ever written follows this structure. However, what I am struggling with is trying to write each section as discreet units. When I submitted (what I thought was) my problematic, my advisor came back to me and said that what I had, in fact, was a short (5 page) proposal that included all the above-mentioned sections (albeit very briefly). I found it strange, since in my head (a scary place to be sometimes) it was really just my problematic. As I started to take out each section and paste them into separate word docs, I realized that I couldn’t say something without contextualizing it from the get-go. So, my original problematic was peppered with references, methods and hypothesis’.

Now that I have acknowledged what I was doing ‘wrong’, I am hoping that I can chalk it up to being part of the process. A process that is slightly different than the one I have been working with for the last several years. By acknowledging that I am working with a new process, hopefully it will help unclog the mental block that has been hindering my proposal progress.

Another Month That Just Flew By! (Or: another unfinished to-do list)

I can’t believe it is February already! I feel bad that each month, I write about being astonished – but – it is crazy when the days on the calendar seem to slip by you without you even noticing! I am sad that I didn’t get everything on my to-do list accomplished. I did manage to submit to one conference, with a solid abstract in the works for a second. Managed to get some reviews done for a few scholarly journals. But what I didn’t manage to finish is my thesis proposal – which is vital, since within my program, it is the basis of your primary comprehensive exam.  For all the years I have said that I just wanted to work on “my” work, the time is here and I find myself constantly grappling with what it is I am actually trying (and wanting) to say. I have had many conversations where it all makes sense, but getting it down on paper – articulately – seems to be a challenge (one that I am not that used to facing).

So, goals for the month of February; finish proposal; finish secondary comprehensive exam paper (at least it is shorter than the primary); finish AoIR abstract for submission and begin guest lecture prep (since I am speaking only a few days after my sister and her family visit for spring break) and … hmm.. workwise, I think that is all (besides finishing the reading I started in Dec/Jan – the pile of books on my nightstand could be a health hazard if not).