forbiddencharm: (brain)
( Mar. 19th, 2007 10:24 am)
passed the second written exam! oh, happy day, oh joy, oh neat-o. no more writing to do (except for the dissertation itself, but we will, for the sake of my happiness, ignore that today).

now all i have is the oral, which frankly terrifies me. it's funny, because i have no fear of speaking in front of people, even important people who know more than i do. but i completely and utterly suck at answering questions extemporaneously. i need time to collect my thoughts--even things i know, i end up babbling like a fool, and things i'm not sure about i can easily talk myself into a corner i never believed and don't intend to support.
forbiddencharm: (Default)
( Mar. 13th, 2007 02:56 pm)
yay, happy. so tired, but happy. it came in at a respectable 31+ pages, which is only double what it was supposed to be, so i'm feeling pretty good. also, i think it's really quite good, much better than the last. watch this be the one that gets my ass handed to me, yikes. ok, off to sleep now, and then there will be turkish food.
forbiddencharm: (rackham birds)
( Mar. 12th, 2007 12:19 am)
twenty-four pages. and i'm not close to finishing. CRAP!!!

ETA: in thinking on it, it's mostly just revising left, i've got the text i've just got to make it coherent and pretty. so i achieved my goal to finish writing by the end of the day!! go me.

she gussied up my reasonable questions so they're impossible to answer in the five pages it's supposed to take--honestly, review the major trends in theory and discuss a case study exemplifying each one? when there are at least seven major phases? is going to take more than five pages. i'm going to freaking have to play with font size and go to space and a half.

how sad is my life that i play font games to make things shorter?
forbiddencharm: (south park)
( Mar. 10th, 2007 08:28 pm)
making good progress. this is so much better than the last one, i'm kind of surprised. i think with a good camp-out at the library tomorrow i'll be good to go, get the text done and leave me with revisions for monday and tuesday morning. this may be overly optimistic, but a girl can dream!

question for the academics in the crowd: when the question specifically refers to 'current controversies', how far back do you feel safe in going? i'm still debating the third question that i'm going to do, as i have two with equally good outlines.
forbiddencharm: (Default)
( Mar. 8th, 2007 12:03 pm)
yay! just got back from a meeting with my chair, and i passed the first exam. got a bunch of snarky comments from the reader who was a last minute addition, but i think this was to be expected. and we've agreed that i will re-write the least good question (which i knew full well was iffy) for the oral so i have something to talk about, which makes me happy both from the perspective of 'i get to make it right' and because it will actually be useful. he does want me to ask the last-minute-reader to be on my oral committee, which i was hoping to avoid, but there seems to be no way around it. i have to admit that i hope she won't do it--i don't want someone who has no vested interest in whether i pass to be there--but all i can do is hope. fingers crossed!

in other news, five solid pages down, fifteen to go. and revision.
the questions for exam number two have arrived, and i think they're doable. not super fun, but both possible for me to answer and useful for writing the theory chapter (which in my little dreamworld i will finish by the beginning of june. shut up!). they will take a lot more thought than the last set, though, since they're about my own application of various theories instead of just summarizing other folks. interesting.

please excuse me while i become surgically attached to my laptop, while contradictorily attempting to resist the urge to check email/read blogs/look at the news constantly. if only i could restrict the internet to the library and amazon for the duration, i would have many fewer will-power battles!

ETA: wow, apparently for livejournal determination is inevitably paired with anger!
forbiddencharm: (cosmic)


( Feb. 28th, 2007 09:37 am)
well, my exam has been put off until next tuesday, so that's nice. a few extra days to think deep thoughts and begin writing the answers to questions that may or may not be the ones i get. good practice regardless! and this means i get to hang out with my friend will and some other folks who are visiting this weekend, which i wouldn't have been able to do if i were taking the exam, so it's good timing overall.

in other news, i auditioned for the spring plays and got called back for three out of four of them, which is also nice. i thought my audition kind of sucked, so it's nice to hear that it didn't! i may or may not get anything, but i'll be one of them if i don't get cast, so i'm pleased on the whole.

it's a good day.
forbiddencharm: (aurora)
( Feb. 13th, 2007 11:40 pm)
only a few pages left to write. feeling good about what i've got, but the last couple of pages need to stew a little. why is it that i can never, ever manage to finish these things early? no matter that i start writing a week early, and i only need 15-20 pages, it always comes down to the last six hours. 'work expands to fill the time allotted' indeed.

and on thursday, sigourney weaver is teaching my acting class. how cool is that?!
forbiddencharm: (river leaves)
( Feb. 9th, 2007 12:41 am)
got the questions at noon, and i have no doubt that i'll be able to answer them well enough. also turned in my other set of questions to the other exam chair, to general approval, and she's not going to modify them without warning. i'm feeling much, MUCH better about the whole process. i can do this! the glorious feeling of actually getting your test and realizing that you've been studying the right things (not that i could have been studying the wrong ones, given that i picked the bibliography and wrote the initial draft of the questions, but you never know what they're going to do to make them more difficult). wish me luck!
forbiddencharm: (Default)
( Feb. 7th, 2007 09:56 pm)
in an unprecedented show of not-togetherness, our admin appears to have FORGOTTEN than she was supposed to send me my exam questions. Called at the time, just to check in, but no answer, called fifteen minutes later and sent email, no response. Have emailed my chair to let him know i'm starting tomorrow, so it's not actually a problem as such, except for my emotional state, which can best be described as...overwrought. another 12 hours until I can read the damned questions and relax into the actual writing of the paper. NOT. HAPPY.
forbiddencharm: (hokusai great wave)
( Feb. 5th, 2007 12:32 am)
less than 72 hours until the exam begins. oh, shit. i'm repeating 'this will be ok, this will be ok' over and over, and will calm down once i actually have the questions, but the interim period, the not knowing, the fear that they've turned my very possible questions into something horrific that i can't answer is really getting to me. argh. can't do much of anything, can't concentrate, can't work (although i have memorized the final four pages of a doll's house, so i guess that's something). i do have to hit the library tomorrow and write up a little piece on my theoretical positioning within the literature on clothing in archaeology, because this is the perfect time to do that, but otherwise, i'm trying to keep a completely empty slate in there. no thinking about the exam topic, if i don't know it (or more crucially, where to find it) by now, i'm not going to find out in the next three days.

i'm also noticing, i seem to have an almost irresistible impulse to write in lists. i wonder if this has anything to do with having been reading ibsen and chekhov recently, or if it's just something i do?
he approved my application! as this is a BIG MAN in archaeological circles, he had been very clear that he wouldn't let me submit anything he was not proud to have his name associated with. which i took as a hint that the last thing he'd seen wasn't good enough for the nsf. and getting almost no sleep for the week before i turned it in worked, because he said that he didn't have any revisions he wanted from his first read through, that he'd go through in more detail to look for anything small, and that he thought it was a really solid proposal. yay!!!

in fact, he said that the only reason he thought i might not get it was because of him. i discuss some of the more, as he put it, 'touch-feely' theories, which i am reacting against, but because those theories grew from some of his work he is associated with them, and since the nsf is not a fan of the touchy feely they might reject it because of that association. and heck, i can totally handle being rejected on account of him!

happy girl!
forbiddencharm: (kaylee: light)
( Dec. 11th, 2006 12:07 pm)
i have discovered that there is a simple little form i can send the irb people to say, 'hey, i don't think it's worth anyone's time to do the full application, what do you think?'. yay!

and, bits of the nsf sent off to my chair. fingers crossed that he approves it with only minor changes. the man always, always wants minor changes, i'm dreading the thought of dissertation revisions with him!
got the budget and the plan for data access finished. and the one page abstract. just stupid revisions on the actual proposal, and i'm good to go. grrr...
forbiddencharm: (wash: betrayal)
( Dec. 6th, 2006 11:13 am)
so, i met with my chair today, and he wants me to turn in the nsf before the end of the quarter, instead of at the start of next quarter. grrr. there is no due date, so i don't see the rush, but fortunately, it will only require a few modifications. i hope. apparently there's a 50% success rate for the archaeology dissertation grants, so i guess my odds are good, but with the nsf you can never tell who they're trying to make a point to. i have a feeling they'll be going to the most 'science-y' projects they can find, so it's all down to how well i sell the statistics-using aspect of mine. i'm just annoyed, i had planned to clean my apartment thoroughly before i left and now i'll be lucky if i can find the time to sleep. wish me luck!
forbiddencharm: (brain)
( Dec. 5th, 2006 11:23 am)
so i'm attempting to fill out the human subjects protocol so i can get my dissertation project cleared by the irb. why, you may ask? i have no fucking idea.

every single person i will be studying has been dead for no less than 8,000 years, and in many cases 9,000. how the hell can i possibly violate their privacy and/or rights? i couldn't even if i wanted to, since i don't know enough about them or what they might have considered culturally sensitive-- no hidden sexual orientation, illegal behavior, shameful diseases. not only do i not know their names, i don't even know what language they spoke! they are not related to the current inhabitants of the area, who recognize that and thus don't care what behaviors are attributed to them. and, of course, they're already dead, so i can't cause them physical harm. in the process of this research, i will not be photographing, interviewing, recording (video or audio), surveying, or otherwise taking data, observations, personal information or indeed anything at all from a single living research subject. i don't even have an outreach program because the site has that covered.

i completely agree with the concept of the human subjects protocol and irb review for anyone who actually works with human subjects. the dangers are far too high, and people far too sucky to allow unregulated experimentation, since there are still problems even with the IRB in place. but i work with dead people- 90 percent of the questions i am answering n/a, and the other ten percent are just a longer and more complex version of n/a. why are they making me waste their time like this? they have hundreds of these applications to go through, one would think they would prefer not to have to look at those that are so patently absurd. it seems likely that spending too much time with proposals like mine would make the board more likely to skim the ones where it actually matters.
forbiddencharm: (msr belves-foulon)


( Nov. 7th, 2006 01:36 pm)
reading baudrillard for class today, and i realized two things.

a) baudrillard would give me a headache if i could muster up even a little bit of caring that he makes very little sense: "it is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real, that is to say of an operation of deterring every real process via its operational double, a programmatic, metastable, perfectly descriptive machine that offers all the signs of the real and short circuits all its vicissitudes". i am unclear on how this relates to the neolithic, with its lack of post-modern ironic critique ; and

b) baudrillard is quoted in the matrix! 'the desert of the real', from a book he wrote on 'simulations and simulacra' in 1988. crazy!
things are going well academically. not only have i been getting a lot of dissertation-oriented reading done, i've also begun pondering the structure of the thing and figuring out how many chapters i'm going to need and what they'll be on. i've started deciding exactly what i need to be looking at next summer when i'm over, and if i will need to spend some non-summer time there. i was even inspired with a douglas adams quote to stick either in the title or in the introduction!

but i'm having a little bit of a difficult time actually getting started with the writing, and i think i've figured out why. my research for this project, while centered around the analysis i have been doing of the worked bone produced at the site, also necessarily relies heavily on work done by others in the four years of excavation in the 1960s (not too many artifacts, but i can't re-examine most of them because they were lost in a housefire, so they're not comparable to the stuff i've done myself) and in the eleven years of the modern excavation before i joined (over a thousand objects. which, given that a) it takes me three weeks to analyze two hundred in optimal nine-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week working conditions with no distractions, and b) most of the objects can't be removed from the site, which is only open for max eight or nine weeks a year--three of which have to be for new stuff--would take me at least three years to re-examine, without allowing time to look at any of the other things i need to, and thus simply can't be re-examined completely). i think there are two things going on here.

1. i hate relying on other people's work. while i know and trust rissa, i also know that she wasn't looking at the same kinds of things i am, and she doesn't have the experimental background in the area, so she probably hasn't seen everything i need her to have seen.

2. i kind of feel like it's cheating to be doing an archaeology dissertation on stuff i didn't excavate, so i keep trying to shoehorn excavation into my research plan. while there is a lot of discussion in the discipline on the value of new excavation given the quantity of material that remains unexamined from completed excavation, there is still a very strong sense that if you're not an excavator, you're not really an archaeologist. and i know that this is just lingering traces of positivism and the masculinist notion that archaeology is a macho field requiring dirt and harsh living conditions on the edges of civilization, but it's still hard not to buy in. because let's be honest, archaeologists love indiana jones as much as (if not more than) the next guy.

it feels as though, by staying in the lab (even though the lab is in the field and i have just as crappy living conditions as the excavators-no one appreciates a good strong european-style-toilet flush more than me when we hit the big city on our days off!) and working with pretty things like jewelry and figurines and paintings, i'm taking the easy way.

perhaps having expressed these thoughts will allow me to get that freaking introduction finished this quarter!