Friday, August 31, 2012

Episode 1439: Bought The Believer Bundle!

Managed to get another good chunk of words in today, so I think completion by the time the Library closes on Sunday won't be a problem and I won't have to relocate to the Learning Grid to finish up and get it printed. Thought I was going to manage to finish covering my first poem pairing by tonight, but have to leave soon because the Library's closing. Might just carry on writing when I get back to my room, I guess? On the bright side, I persuaded my mum to let me buy that bundle of The Believer, which worked out to just over $700. (Cards Against Humanity is also back in stock, and now there's even a second expansion, but I thought buying more stuff on my credit card would have been pushing my luck.) Also got a 10% voucher from The Book Depository that's valid for just over another two weeks, so I'll be getting those Penned in the Margins books once I'm back in Singapore! Tried to start off the process of getting my stuff shipped back via Seven Seas, but the website was having none of that. Tried a couple of times and failed to get the form to accept my input. Will have to try again on my laptop, but I'm a little worried that it won't work there either, and I'll have to scramble to find another company...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Episode 1438: Still Buying Books...

On impulse, I've broken my sort-of rule about not buying hardcover books and ordered a copy of David Moody's Trust. I've been slowly collecting Moody's novels as the paperbacks come out from Gollancz, and there is actually a paperback version of Trust available on his website. The limited edition hardcover comes with an essay on the book's history and his influences though, which I'm really interested to read. Today's been an okay day work-wise. Collected my dissertation from the Bookshop and did the e-submission, and I'm going to bring the bound hard copy in with my elegy essay on Monday. Supervisor got back to me about my second chapter and said it looked great, so I figure that since the last chapter and the conclusion felt of similar standard to me, and were written in pretty much the same style, I should be fine. (Bet it'll all come back and bite me in the form of an unexpectedly low mark now, won't it?) The elegy essay, on the other hand, is up to around 1200 words, but it feels like really slow going. I've been quoting a lot so far, and I know that was an issue in my last essay for Emma Mason, quotes not being well-integrated into the body of the essay, so I'm really trying to make a conscious effort to only quote things that advance my line of argument this time. Hopefully, I'm succeeding, and like with the dissertation, once I hit the close reading portion, the amount of secondary reading being quoted will fall dramatically anyway.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Episode 1437: £125 On Chapbooks!

Reading's all done for the essay and I've got my first paragraph down on the page. Possibly a bit quote-heavy, partly because I'm trying to recapitulate where the phrase 'the consolations of form' comes from and how it fits into my own thesis about Gunn and Monette, but I think it should be fine. Probably another two or three paragraphs, and then I'll move on to the close readings. I think I'm probably going to do three sets of comparisons, since I've managed to find three pairs of poems that broadly speaking, have the same themes or settings, and I think it'd be interesting to approach that from my angle about the formal aspects of Gunn's poetry versus the 'openness' of Monette's elegies for Rog. Also, I finally went ahead and spent £120 on chapbooks from Knives Forks and Spoons Press and The Red Ceilings Press. Speaking of buying stuff, I really wish I'd known earlier than a week or so ago that McSweeney's was going to have a garage sale. I'd have saved up some money then, so that I could shell out now for a chance to get 84 issues of The Believer at one go! Still considering persuading my parents to let me charge it to my credit card...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Episode 1436: Still Reading...

Could've had my dissertation sent off for binding by now, except I've forgotten to scan the cover of the anthology for the appendix, so it's going to have to wait till tomorrow now. Am wondering how much further reading for my elegy essay I should be doing, especially given that I'm trying to keep my line of argument quite straightforward. I've already amassed a quotation word count that's approaching a third of the total length of the essay, and this is just from reading general stuff on elegy, not even the articles that specifically discuss Gunn or Monette, which you'd think would be more important. I'm inclined to say that quite a fair amount of what I got from the general articles/books needs to be trimmed, but it requires me figuring out the overall direction of the essay, right till the conclusion. I've already got some thoughts on the introduction, which would involve briefly talking about Iris Murdoch's comments on the consolations of form. (Yeah, turns out Frank Kermode quoted her, and the article that was reviewing his book conveniently didn't mention this, probably because it was too busy disagreeing with him.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Episode 1435: Dissertation's In The Bag!

So the dissertation's finally in the bag. I finished it at just after 5 am, having listened to the new Owl City album. Twice. (I was never really into 'Fireflies', but I really like 'Good Time', his collaboration with Carly Rae Jepsen, and the rest of The Midsummer Station pretty much sounds like that, i.e. unabashedly cheesy, summery pop, and we all know how much I love that kind of music.) Now just the elegy essay to go! Probably not going to start writing that till Wednesday, since I still have some reading that I want to do for it, and I'm honestly not going to get much done today. Still way too sleepy! Not even going to try and read an article or book chapter. Figure it's better to just go to bed at a 'normal' hour for a change. Also had a piece of good news in the afternoon. Found out a story I submitted to The Misfit Quarterly has been accepted for the inaugural issue, which is out in a couple of months. I'm really pleased by this, as I think what Misfit, Inc. does in general is pretty cool, so it's an honour to be part of their new journal.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Episode 1434: I Don't Care How Late I Have To Stay Up Until...

Or technically, I suppose it's how early I have to stay up until, since I'll be working into the early hours of the morning to finish. Yes, you read that right, to finish. Felt ill all morning and the early afternoon (guess two Tesco curries in two days wasn't such a great idea after all), so after church and lunch in Varsity, I came home and took a nap that just went on and on. It may have involved a slightly surreal dream in which I was in the kitchen of my HDB flat, with the cast of Covert Affairs, except I think they were there as their real-life selves and not the characters, since I vaguely remember telling Christopher Gorham that yes, I was aware that he plays the awesome Auggie. (True story.) I also remember at one point, Piper Perabo looked out the kitchen window, and started shouting to some construction guys across the street. So, uh, I guess she suddenly became her character Annie at that point? (This is also how I know it was my flat, as I could see the church that's across the street from my block.) It's like my dreams have turned into this trippy meta-liminal space. Or basically, I need this dissertation out of my life as soon as possible.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Episode 1433: Just Missing The Conclusion Now...

I am now genuinely just over two-thirds of the way till all my academic work is done. Have finished up the last chapter, which I've managed to keep shorter than it was looking like it would be, but only by pushing one poem that I was going to spend a paragraph on into the conclusion instead. Think it probably fits better there anyway, so I'll write it all up tomorrow after service. (Yes, after weeks of oversleeping due to my atrocious sleeping patterns that I have just decided to live with for now, I'm finally going to make a serious effort to make it to church tomorrow.) I've also managed to find something that tells us about how the dissertation should be presented, e.g. what the cover page should look like. It's a PDF hosted on the Warwick website, but I arrived at it via the History department, since the English department's page on the dissertation for postgraduates doesn't actually tell us anything about formatting. I suppose in the greater scheme of things, they aren't going to be terribly picky about it, if their attitude to formatting in the past has been anything to go by, i.e. they say there's a way to do it, but really, they'll accept pretty much anything that isn't ridiculous. Still, this is one of those things that really brings out my inner obsessive-compulsive.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Episode 1432: 66% To The Finishing Line...

Well, sort of. Am a couple of hundred words short, but at least another poem's analysis is in the bag. Would have done more work, but after getting back from the pub quiz and Tesco last night, I stood chatting with Takoiya till around 2 am, and then came back to my room and watched all the TV that I haven't kept up with the past couple of days. Played a bit of Granado Espada too, so I only went to bed at close to 6 am. Was supposed to go to Kasbah tonight with some of the MA people, but we collectively agreed that it was a bad idea so close to our deadlines, so that's why I even managed to add anything to my final chapter. Am going to be all caught up on TV shows soon though, and there'll only be one or two shows to catch over the weekend, so I should still be able to finish my dissertation by Sunday night. Monday night, at the very latest. Then I can start working on my elegy essay! I'm sure it's going to be awesome, given how long the ideas for it have been percolating in the back of my mind. Am thinking that I probably have more than enough 'theory', given the reading that I did months ago, to structure a compelling line of argument, but I'll still read the articles I've amassed, since there aren't too many of them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Episode 1431: Sometimes, I Surprise Even Myself

Another thousand words or so added to my dissertation and the chapter is now half-done. I'm actually really surprised at how I've been managing to add substantial chunks, every time I've sat down to do some work. I mean, there's always been the usual procrastination, e.g. constantly refreshing Facebook, so really, if I got rid of that, just think of what I could accomplish! (Yeah, I think it's pretty funny too.) I think if I keep the analysis in the rest of this chapter tightly focused on the line of argument that feeds into the conclusion, my final word count will be over 16000, but still within the 17600 that the +10% leeway affords me. Would be quite hard to cut anything out at this point, due to the way my paragraphs have been chained together in sequence. Also, it turns out that the poet whom I thought was a bit naïve because he was young actually isn't that young at all. I made the mistake of assuming he must be new to the literary scene, just because I hadn't heard of him before reading the anthology. Rookie mistake!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Episode 1430: Auspicious Start To The Final Chapter!

Was beginning to worry that I would never get started on my final chapter, but instead of succumbing to lethargy, I've had a good start, adding just under 700 words to my total word count. I think I'm definitely going to end up making use of the +10% allowance for word counts, as I've just decided to include another poem for close reading, as it seems to make my case about liminality pretty well, in spite of some parts of the text that I find problematic, which I, without intending to condescend at all, ascribe to the poet's youth. I'm starting to think that it is actually quite difficult to imagine any of the poems written by the CAP participants as being in the same league as the Merlion poems by the more experienced writers. Edwin Thumboo replied in his e-mail to me that he was looking to see what the younger poets thought and not so much thinking about whether they could stand alongside the earlier poems. That would be a question for the literary critics. Well, as a literary critic, I'm going to stick my neck out there and say that by and large, they don't.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Episode 1429: One More Chapter Down!

Just got back from drinks in The Dirty Duck with the MA people. All this hanging out is probably what I'm going to miss most about being at university. Can't imagine that Singaporean teachers, in particular, have a lot of time to just randomly meet their friends for drinks whenever they feel like it! Anyway, my second chapter is done and sent to my supervisor. Might tweak it when I re-read it tomorrow, but otherwise, onward to the final chapter! Don't really know why I bothered sending it to him though, since if he takes more than a couple of days to get back to me, I won't have time to make any changes anyway, before I need to send the whole thing in for binding. I am starting to wonder if I might have to cut words out, by the time it's all done, even with the +/- 10% leeway given by the department. I suppose the final chapter will be shorter, since there won't really be critics that I need to reference, which does tend to eat up the word count very quickly. The problem is that there are four poems that I want to focus on in this last chapter, which feels like too many, although to be fair, I'm only looking at the really specific bits that fit my thesis, as opposed to going through the whole poem. We'll see...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Episode 1428: 50% To The Finishing Line...

Went to the Library today, but couldn't seem to get any work done. Ironically, I've now forced myself to push this chapter's word count until the point where I finish analysing Alfian Sa'at's 'The Merlion'. I'm struggling to word this last paragraph just so, but once that's done, I'll be able to tie up the whole chapter tomorrow and start on the final one, which might have to be shortened as well, since I'm now already about 500 words over what I'd allocated to this middle chapter. From here onwards, there's very little secondary literature that I can rely on to guide my line of argument, at least at the level of doing close reading, which is both scary and liberating, since it's now strictly my interpretation of the poetry, and I'm understandably concerned about confirmation bias in my literary analysis. My supervisor did sign off on the conference paper though, and I've only been expanding the line of argument presented in that, so I guess I should be fine. Need to get more work done tomorrow because a bunch of us are having drinks in the evening, and I'd feel guilty about not having written anything all day, especially since I'm 11000+ words into the dissertation and the end of that is in sight.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Episode 1427: 50%, Just Not The One I Need

About 50% of my music is now back on my iPod. I did do a little bit of work tonight, trying to incorporate my supervisor's feedback on the introduction and first chapter. I think I'm going to have to disregard some of his comments though, since he did say it's ultimately my judgement call to make, and I don't think those particular suggestions are necessarily helpful to try and incorporate. Also tweaked the ending of what I wrote for the second chapter on Thursday, which was decent, but I rushed off to the pub quiz before I could read it over a few times, so in preparation for heading back to the Library tomorrow, I've rejigged some of what I wrote on Lee Tzu Pheng's 'The Merlion To Ulysses', to hopefully make it clearer that while I recognise the bitter irony of the poem, I think it's unhelpful because of how it needlessly polarised the debate surrounding the Merlion and thus thwarted any actual discussion for a time, at least within the realm of Merlion poetry. It feels like a pretty bold claim to make, but I really believe that Lee's poem set succeeding Merlion poems on a particular trajectory that more recent poets are only just beginning to escape.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Episode 1426: Epic Farewell Dinner!

Malcolm McDowell is going to appear on Season 4 of Community! Have only seen him on Franklin & Bash, but he was pretty much the best bit of the show for me. (The show might be headed for cancellation, I'm hearing, so at least the recent season finale provided a reasonable amount of narrative closure.) iPod still not fully restored, but at least I had a really good (and crazy) time at Toby's farewell dinner party last night. It turned into one of those stay-up-till-sunrise affairs, which is amusingly turning into a recurrent theme when this group of friends hangs out. It did mean that I slept all the way till past 3 pm, and then figured, I'm not going to do any work today. Instead, I've spent the rest of the day catching up on my TV shows, as well as continuing to work on getting my music library back into shape. Have just another week to go in which to write my dissertation, which if the experience of writing this middle chapter so far is any indication, is plenty of time, if only I could wake up earlier and thus have more hours to do work in (and procrastinate).

Friday, August 17, 2012

Episode 1425: Bad News, Good News

So my laptop hard drive has been on the verge of failure for some time now, but it's continued to function reasonably. Lately though, it's begun to be an issue when syncing music to my iPod. I recently realised that songs have been going missing on my iPod, which I thought was due to issues with the iPod hard drive getting messed up by repeated interrupted syncs in iTunes. In a moment of frustration, I decided to wipe and restore my iPod to factory settings. That was when my problems really started. While trying to add my music library back onto my iPod, I found a number of corrupted music files, likely stored on the damaged part of the laptop's hard drive. There's no way of telling which files are going to cause problems though, so it's a case of adding songs and keeping track of which files trigger the laptop's freezing. The tedious part is replacing those songs, usually just one single track out of all the songs from a particular artiste. I have managed to put about a third of my music back on the iPod so far. I know it's such a waste of time, but I'm slightly obsessive-compulsive about this. Something did go right today though, as my supervisor got back to me with comments on what I sent him a couple of weeks ago. He likes it, had only suggestions for some tweaks here and there, most of which shouldn't take more than an hour or two of work to incorporate, so it looks like I will be on track to finishing my dissertation by the end of next week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Episode 1424: Chapter's Getting A Bit Longer Than I Expected...

Finished the chunk on the second poem for this chapter, just in time to head to the pub quiz at The Maudslay. Looks like aiming for between 500-1000 words between now and the end of the month is a reasonable way to move forward. I probably should have expected it, but the chapter is going to end up longer than I'd planned for. It just means having to cut back on the conclusion, I guess, since I suspect the next chapter is going to see a similar expansion. Most of my friends who are also writing dissertations seem to have been in contact with their supervisors less than I have been, at least in recent weeks, so I've decided that I might as well just finish the whole thing without worrying about whether it's 'good enough' in his eyes, even if he will be marking it. I'm pretty much writing in the same style that I've been doing throughout four years of university, and statistically, it seems to pay off. Not spectacularly, but enough that it could be considered slightly irrational of me to be worrying about the quality of my writing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Episode 1423: Never Change, The L.A. Complex (I Guess?)

The L.A. Complex is a weird show. I like it, but it's so un-American, I don't even know what it's doing on The CW, even as summer programming. At first glance, its oh-so-pretty cast looks right at home with everything else on The CW, and well, American TV in general. Yet the way it handles its storylines, which are sort of grim (even in an age when we have shows like Revenge, everyone on this show is messed up in ways that typically get glossed over on a TV show), means that its audience was always going to be niche, as the ratings have proven. I can't decide if I think the actors would be better off on something more 'mainstream' (seriously, throw anyone from this show into something else on The CW and they wouldn't look out of place at all), or be impressed that Canada is still making TV shows that are tonally so different from typical American fare. Anyway, I wrote more today than I did yesterday, so even if this upward trajectory continues for just one day more, my middle chapter will be nearly done.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Episode 1422: Writing More Than Yesterday Is Progress, Right?

So I didn't make my 1000-word daily goal today, but 600+ words is still pretty good, considering I only started writing sometime after 6.30 pm, and left the Library not long after 9 pm. Just think what I could accomplish if I started working once I actually arrived in the Library! (That itself hasn't been happening early enough these past two days, which I hope to change tomorrow.) I find it frustrating that I put off getting started, simply because I know if I actually did a full afternoon and evening of solid writing, I could have this chapter in the bag, and with another session, probably the final one as well. This dissertation could be done in a week! Knowing me though, I'll probably take until the end of next week, which is the absolute limit I'm giving myself for finishing because I want to devote the last week to writing my EN954 essay and tweaking the dissertation (as opposed to writing new material). Maybe I should aim to finish the whole middle chapter tomorrow after all, since I'm only looking at three major Merlion poems in detail, plus a brief overview of recent ones that demonstrate the chapter's overall point.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Episode 1421: America Loves Me

They do seem to love me across the pond, just a little. First there was a student researcher at Brown, who wants to ask me some questions about Eunoia Review for his project on online fiction. (I'm curious to know why he picked the journal, and I've asked him as much.) Then there was a professor at Ohio University, who sent me an e-mail to thank me for my close reading of her poem in my review of the latest 20x20 magazine. (It really wasn't much, just a paragraph.) Maybe I should just move to America already? (I jest.) My middle chapter is up to 1000 words, I had a good chat on Facebook with Alvin Pang about Merlion poems, and I think I've eased myself back into writing the dissertation, after a couple of days of not really getting much done. Going to the Library was good, although chatting about my work on Facebook, as opposed to actually writing it, probably wasn't the greatest idea I had all day. Will have to rectify that tomorrow. (Still haven't gone to Tesco, by the way.) I'm aiming to at least double my chapter word count, which is absolutely doable, working out to only four paragraphs. Once you get into really detailed close reading, the words just accumulate naturally.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Episode 1420: 1000th Piece Up At Eunoia Review!

Elected not to go to Tesco in the end because all I really wanted to do was go to bed. Just means that I'll have to go tomorrow! Decided that I wasn't going to do any work today, and ended up watching the Olympics closing ceremony instead. Can I just say that I had no idea Taio Cruz is British? Based on the kind of music he makes, I've always assumed that he's American and based in Los Angeles. Also, while I like a couple of Jessie J's singles, there's something about her live singing that just puts me off. It's like there's not enough control to it. Anyway, today was also a historic moment for Eunoia Review, as the 1000th piece of work went live on the site this afternoon! (In less pleasant news, the e-mails from family of one writer urging me to nominate her for the Best Of The Net anthology continue to arrive. The latest is even spammier than usual, since the e-mail signature informs me that 'Nobody should have to overpay for insurance, please refer your friends and family.' The bizarre mixing of fonts in the body of the e-mails also continues. Are the family members just copying chunks from a chain e-mail the writer circulated to them? Frankly, if these poems had any shot at getting nominated to begin with, she pretty much ruined it for herself.)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Episode 1419: London Jaunt

Spent the day in London, which was fun, even if my feet hurt after all that walking. Hung out with Eva, Laura and Lesedi in the afternoon, then relocated to Hyde Park after Lesedi left. We tried to get into the screening area to watch the Olympics on a giant screen, but the queue for getting in was at least half an hour, so we didn't in the end and just sat by the lake. Eventually made it to The Euston Tap for Nick's birthday drinks, which is really more like two mini-pubs set within Euston Square Gardens, one specialising in beer, the other in cider. It's a pretty unusual venue, so good choice, Nick! We ended up wandering about for a bit in Chinatown, trying to find food, before landing in a Wetherspoon's. Stayed about an hour or so, before heading to Victoria Coach Station with Laura. We cut it pretty close, getting there just as Laura's coach was boarding. Mine wasn't for another hour and a half, so I doubled back to Victoria Place to do my usual thing when I'm in London of eating a meal at KFC. (Didn't have time to do my other usual thing of visiting Oxfam.) Now watching this week's flashback episode of Suits while waiting for my coach, and trying to decide if I really want to go to Tesco when I arrive at Cannon Park later...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Episode 1418: 33% To The Finishing Line...

Am about a third of the way to the combined word count of my dissertation and essay, which is a reasonable place to be, I guess? Still have three weeks to go before they're due. Was so determined to write something today (managed two paragraphs in the end) that I denied myself the new episode of Suits. (Am saving it for the coach journey to London tomorrow, which is typically stultifying. Might also bring along a Thomas E. Sniegoski novel or two, am really getting into his Remy Chandler series. It reminds me of Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, but substituting a seraph-turned-PI as the main protagonist.) Although I think I've proven to myself that I don't need to be in the Library to write a decent-sized chunk, I'm wondering if it might be worth relocating next week. Fairly sure that if I could get up early, one full afternoon of work, two at the most, could see me producing a good second chapter, i.e. not requiring major revising in my supervisor's eyes. Of course, I could be wildly misjudging the calibre of my writing here, and maybe that first chapter I sent him is horrible and I'm basically screwed, but I'd like to think that's not the case.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Episode 1417: Too Many Late Nights...

So everyone thought Cards Against Humanity was pretty great! Drinks at the pub sort of turned into a repeat of Toby's birthday drinks, in that we went to Cryfield for a bit after closing time, and then ended up in Heronbank and had food in the early hours of the morning. Went to bed around 6 am, so it's not surprising that I haven't got much work done today. I did start on the opening paragraph of my second chapter, but then I went to this pub quiz that a bunch of us have been going to for the past couple of weeks, so that was it, as far as getting work done went. Am going to write a bit more tomorrow though! Kind of have to, since I'm spending the whole of Saturday in London. I was actually hoping to have this middle chapter done and dusted by this week, so that I could finish the whole dissertation by the middle of August. Might've been too optimistic, but at least I did leave myself a buffer of a fortnight, even if half of that was really meant for writing the essay on Thom Gunn and Paul Monette. Ah well. I'll work it out somehow, like I always do. Just need to keep writing something each day and the words will accumulate!

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Episode 1416: I Should Really Be Working...

Have just discovered the fancy new Kyocera printers that've been installed in the Library and the Learning Grid. (They're black and look very state-of-the-art. Turns out Kyocera is a Japanese company. Figures.) Instead of each printer being named for its location, the system's now designed so that you send a print job out, and then you have to sign in at individual printers to 'pull' the job. Cuts down the hassle of having to rifle through a stack of papers to find what you printed, I guess. Only realised there were new printers because I'm printing off Cards Against Humanity so that a bunch of us can play it later in the pub. Going to have to cut all the pages up, which might take me a while. Really should be writing my second chapter instead of going to the pub, but I figure I could actually do the entire chapter in just one day, if I worked on it continuously, without the usual procrastinating. Ditto for the final chapter. Makes me glad that I did get to do the conference paper, since this is precisely why I wanted to do it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Episode 1415: Desperation Is Never Classy

Urgh. Tried to be good and went to bed at just past 1 am, only to wake up at half past 3 and be unable to fall asleep again until it was around half past 6, and waking up around 2 pm. So basically, no different from the past week or so. Ended up chilling for the rest of the day, but it's okay, I think. Supervisor's only getting back to me with comments on what I sent him early next week anyway, so I can probably take the rest of this week to work on my second chapter, starting from tomorrow. Anyway, it recently came to my attention that nominations for Sundress Publications' annual Best Of The Net anthology are closing soon, so I asked people following Eunoia Review on Facebook and Twitter if they had any recommendations. Not many have been forthcoming, although one writer seems to have interpreted this as an open invitation to get her relatives to start spamming the journal's submissions e-mail to recommend her work. I don't think there's anything wrong with getting your family to drum up support for you, since it's perfectly reasonable to expect them to be supportive. What I'm unimpressed by is how transparent the attempts at self-promotion have been. I mean, it's one thing to post a comment or tweet putting oneself forward, but no one else has seen fit to start sending me typographically schizophrenic e-mails that I'm pretty sure have crossed the line into spam. At the end of the day, I'm not going to choose who gets nominated based on a popularity contest, okay?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Episode 1414: Recharging...

Was up till nearly 5 am, finishing that first chapter. As soon as I'd sent it off to my supervisor and switched off my laptop, of course I remembered that I hadn't really talked much about the one thing that he remarked in one of our past sessions that he supposed I would be mentioning in this chapter. Not sure where I could fit it in now though, without interrupting the flow of the chapter as it stands. So I'm hoping he doesn't call me out on it, to be perfectly honest. I've given myself the entirety of today off, but it's back to the grindstone tomorrow (evening). The going should be easier, now that I'm onto the chapters that are about the Merlion poems themselves, so it's more about the close reading now, which is what I tend to be better at. Barring any major disasters, it's feasible to have the whole dissertation done by the end of next week, as long as I keep writing at the same pace (but preferably with better sleeping habits), which would leave two weeks for tweaks and writing that other module essay. Not going to be a terribly fun August, but then again, everyone else on the course should be in the same boat. Right?

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Episode 1413: Go Murray!

So much for waking up to attend morning service. Only got to sleep at around 6 am, and briefly contemplated not sleeping and staying awake till it was time to go to church. Then I figured that if I did that, I'd end up sleeping the whole afternoon away anyway, which meant my usual habits of procrastination would mean not doing any work until way after dinner. In the end, I ended up watching Andy Murray play Roger Federer for the tennis men's singles Olympic final, which Murray won in straight sets! I particularly liked how he sealed his victory with an ace. Then I wound up messing around with iTunes for most of the evening anyway, so I didn't start writing until, once again, around 9 pm. Am still going, although I'm wondering if I should just pack it in and continue tomorrow. Part of me thinks it makes sense, going to bed at a reasonable hour. Part of me thinks that I should just man up, finish the chapter, and send it off to my supervisor, however late I have to stay up. Then I can take a breather for the whole of Monday, genuinely not touching any academic work at all. I really just want to get it over with, but I'm also concerned that in my haste, I'll end up repeating myself needlessly in my writing, and of course, this will be my blind spot and I won't be able to tell. A couple of people have responded to my request for extra pairs of eyes to go over the chapter, but let's face it, ultimately the only person whose opinion matters at this point is my supervisor, right?

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Episode 1412: Amazingly, Still On Track...

I'm actually surprised at myself. Despite waking up at nearly 2 pm and frittering a couple of hours away in the afternoon on Granado Espada, I'm still on track to finish my first chapter by tomorrow night. (In fact, if I start working right after going to church and having lunch, I could actually be done by dinnertime, if I wanted to be.) I think part of it is having only one TV show to watch today, which was Common Law. My enthusiasm for this newest USA Network offering is waning somewhat, now that there's only one more episode of this freshman show to go. I just don't feel like there's been enough character growth over the season, beyond the sort of throwaway moments that other shows can get away with because they build their characters up consistently. Common Law started off with basically cop and therapy clichés aplenty, and then seemed happy to rely on the 'blue skies' branding of USA Network to carry the show forward. The other thing that I watched today was a documentary about the Gifted Education Programme made and uploaded on YouTube by Choon Hwee, whom I've known since our primary school days in NYPS. For any of my non-Singaporean friends who've ever wondered what kind of schooling I went through back in Singapore, it's worth checking the video out because it probably does a better job of explaining things than I would. It's a slightly surreal feeling, recognising about 50% of the people she interviewed for the documentary, some of whom I haven't seen in years.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Episode 1411: If You're Not Watching Suits, You Really Should Be

After seeing this week's episode of Suits, I think I might have to qualify my comment on Teen Wolf a couple of days ago. That will henceforth be described as my favourite teen drama, whereas the USA Network show is my favourite drama. I've loved Suits since it's first season, and I think it's probably the best show airing on that cable network right now, followed closely by Covert Affairs. It's just one of those shows where I couldn't imagine anybody else playing the characters, which is saying something, given the relative interchangeability of American actors and actresses these days. Gabriel Macht is especially brilliant as Harvey, and I also particularly love Sarah Rafferty as Donna. Anyway, I was thinking of having an early night, since I started working on my dissertation chapter around 9 pm (which is early for me, considering I woke up at 2 pm), but I'm so caught up in it that I'm once again probably not going to bed till something like 3 or 4 am. At least this time it'll be because I've been doing work though, instead of procrastinating by refreshing Facebook or something equally sad.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Episode 1410: Messed Up Sleep Cycle!

So I think staying up till the morning last Saturday after Toby's birthday drinks has completely messed up my sleeping patterns since. Only managed to fall asleep at around 4.30 am today, which meant I got about four hours, as I had to wake up to meet Sarah to tidy up Kidz Klub stuff. Would've taken a nap after I got home, but I ended up chatting to Alex about this site he's got an idea for. Essentially, the site would kind of curate all the good free stuff on the Internet, including things like self-published books, webcomics, videos, etc. Sifting to find the gems basically, so that other people don't have to. Didn't do any work today either, as I went to a barbecue with some of the MA people, and then the pub quiz next door after that. Oh well, it just means having to write about 1000 words per day, over the next three days! That's perfectly manageable, and at least I've had an idea since yesterday what I need to write next. Partly also the reason why I couldn't fall asleep, as I kept going over what I wanted to say and how it would link to the next point, and then the next point, etc. I'm hoping that I'll be so tired tonight that I'll have no trouble falling asleep, and that this will sort of reset my sleep cycle.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Episode 1409: Just. Keep. Writing.

My sleep cycle appears to be completely out of whack these past couple of days, but at least that doesn't seem to be stopping me from getting work done. Have written nearly 1000 words of the first chapter now, which means I'm still on track to finish by Sunday. I think the shape of the chapter is finally starting to emerge, which is reassuring. In any case, I've decided that I need to force myself to just keep writing, as long as I have a direction that'll keep me going for a couple of paragraphs. Once I've got a chunk of material down, I'll be less inclined to keep mentally shuffling potential ways of linking all the ideas I've got and more inclined to just fit things into what's already on the page. There's really no part of what I've researched so far that would be completely irrelevant, so it's a case of how much can I string together in a coherent fashion that will lead into the next chapter sensibly and serve the dissertation well as a whole. I mean, everyone that I've ever spoken to about my ideas for this chapter (and the dissertation in general) agrees that they make sense, so I can't be too far off, can I?