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(possibly) the end of a beautiful relationship [30 Nov 2012|09:22am]
This may be the final post in this journal. I have passed my viva and am now Dr javafox, which is the culmination of many years of hard work. I'm not sure what else I have left to say here, and this place seems to be getting spammy and so different to how it was ten years ago. Ten years! A passport's worth of time.

I'm stifling the urge to talk nostalgically about the past decade, and instead I shall think toward the future.
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[07 Aug 2011|09:41pm]
[ mood | mischievous ]

I have just written something ridiculously smutty, and am tempted to post it here. I worry I may offend the delicate reader, however, as said smut contains scenes of an adult nature, and words and actions and thoughts which not everyone will find a turn-on.

I think I need to lock this journal though.

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The black dog that just won't leave. [31 Jul 2011|09:26pm]
[ mood | menstrual ]

Last Sunday I participated in my first ever half marathon event. It was not a 'race' as such, because it was in reality a walk to raise money for breast cancer charities. But I treated it as a bit of a race, because I wanted to see how quickly I could power walk a half marathon. And it turns out that I can walk thirteen point one miles in under three hours and fifteen minutes.

Link to the route

I'm really proud of walking that distance, as well as the training I did for it. I got a medal at the end, which is also awesome, because I feel that I earned it. I think I have the marathon/racing bug now: I have registered my interest in participating in three upcoming events in 2012. I like having a goal, I have discovered.

And today, a week later, I went for a five mile walk. I'm taking it easy because I don't want to push myself too hard too quickly. But at the same time, I really miss moving around and exercising. And I really, really would like to lose this stone I've put on during my MA and PhD. So I'm going to train for a marathon in April, irrespective if I receive a place in the London Marathon (charity place), because I need it. Walking regularly helps me deal with my mind, which increasingly is not the easiest thing to deal with. I refer the gentle and observant reader to the subject of this entry.

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power [19 Jul 2011|07:00pm]
For someone so concerned with power dynamics in my other writing, you'd think that the power section in my theory chapter would be easy peasy, lemon squeezy. But it's not.

That's all I wanted to say right now.
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The past ain't coming back. [18 Jul 2011|10:46am]
[ mood | accomplished ]

Man, I miss the early days of LJ when you didn't get spam comments if you mentioned certain trigger words. I guess we shall never return to those naive and simple days of talking at length about certain electronic devices, certain pharmaceutical goods, or certain pop stars who attract a great deal of media attention.

I've just finished a little piece of writing, which has absolutely nothing to do with my thesis, and of which I am absolutely, incredibly proud. I could really use a good subeditor though, and also I just want to share it with someone, because I'm so damn proud of what I've done in a very short amount of time. Two thousand words, a short story, written in three days, from conception to completion. I don't think it's perfect, mind, which is why I'd like comments, but I'm afraid I'm rather precious about both the story (in its current form) and to whom I trust it for comments. There are three people to whom I would send and trust it, none of whom I'm naming here but I can bet they know who they are.

I've got this bloody Oasis song in my head, stuck there from when I went on an Oasis bender last week. I can see it's going to be more Oasis today.

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July 2011 [15 Jul 2011|07:03pm]
[ mood | amused ]

An old, dear friend has requested I come back to LJ, so I'm really going to make an effort to do so. I miss her, and I kind of miss this place. I hadn't really looked around for a long time, and it's really changed! Thankfully this interface isn't so different, but sheesh. Though okay I guess fair enough, it's been a while since this site has existed, and thinking about it, you gotta change or you're dead.

And maybe now is a good time to celebrate my time here. I joined in April 2002, which has nothing to do with today's date, but I hadn't realised that it will be ten years for me come next year. I have another outlet for my ramblings which I prefer to keep private, the brilliant 750words.com, but there is no replacing Ell Jay.

And here is the obligatory PhD update: I am about to transfer to 'writing up' status (WUS), which begins a (scary and unchangeable) countdown to the time when I MUST submit my thesis. When I go to WUS, I have exactly one year to complete my thesis and submit. So I fucking well better not get sick, go nuts again, etc. And nobody I know better get sick or die or whatever, because I can't be taking time off to clean up your messes. Hah.

But apart from scary real life threatening to enter my lovely cosy ivory tower, my thesis is going pretty well. I've got my argument sorted, I've got a solid table of contents (aka 'scaffolding'), and I am DEFINITELY going to finish my theory chapter (first draft) this weekend. OR ELSE. Believe me when I say that I would rather be doing a million other things than writing in my theory chapter, but it's gotta be done. And once that's finished, then I will finish the first draft of my discussion chapter, and when that is done, then I shall have a complete draft of my thesis. FUCK YES.

Whew, all this updating is making me hungry. Later, kids.

EDIT: My friend is not 'old' as in she's a zillion years old, but I've known her a long time. Jeez I feel like a dork. Okay that is all.

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[04 May 2011|05:12pm]
[ mood | satisfied ]

Hah well I reckon I should start updating more often in this journal, because otherwise it might just be overtaken by spam hacker phishing comments, like the one I just deleted. Fuckers. Piss off with your hacking spam phishing bullshit! This is a live journal, as in active, as in I sporadically post. There is no home here for scrotal sacks like the spammer I just banned. I love banning spammers. Seriously, I get a thrill that I don't think has a physical world equal. Maybe witnessing the cops pull over a speeding driver?

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update to previous entry [22 Jan 2011|01:29pm]
[ mood | cold ]

My interruption was approved :-) Much relief from time pressure. Still working toward goal of submitting thesis on 31 Aug 2011, but now it's not SO crucial if I take a few more months to solidify my argument and tighten writing in chapters. I recently attended a workshop at my university called "The Viva", which was extraordinarily helpful with preparing me for what I may be faced with in my viva. It helped me be a bit more confident in my work, and also opened my eyes to exactly how specific and in what style my writing and overall thesis needs to be, or is expected to be. I would highly recommend this type of workshop or seminar for anyone in their third or later year of their PhD.

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red tape-a-rama [19 Jan 2011|08:34pm]
[ mood | stressed ]

I have to admit, I'd very nearly forgotten about this journal, but how could I forget about my dear old LJ? So many good times spent here.

I suppose it's the combination of PhD, Twitter, and 750words.com that I never seem to post here any more. Also, few people read this, so it's mainly for my own sanity (or so it seems). I recently got a comment on an old entry about my upgrade, and it made me smile that my trauma could help someone. I reckon it was useful at any rate. So I suppose I'll talk a bit more about PhD Hell.

Well I didn't realise that I could (and should) have applied to interrupt my studies when I was going through a rather rough patch, shall we euphemistically say. So when I realised about the interruption malarky, I thought hang on, why was I not told about this? why did I not know about this option, and why was I not advised to interrupt, to allow me to gather myself and regroup? Ha. Well I can come up with several reasons why not, but none of them are appropriate to publicly post.

So I was advised to apply to retroactively interrupt my studies, which my university does not normally approve, but I was told that I have a pretty good case for approval. Well that was back at the end of October, and I applied as soon as I could. Submitted my application to my department on 30 October 2010. it was approved by the head of my particular school, and then forwarded over to the Research Degrees Office (RDO) for the head of the college to approve (or not approve). That was in the first week of November. I'd not heard anything for six weeks, and didn't follow up on it for three reasons: 1) I had better things to do, like work on my thesis; 2) I assumed that I'd get an email from the department admin regarding a decision; and 3) why should I have to be nanny to adults who should, in theory, be capable of doing their jobs without me checking up on them. I should not have to do this.

Well I got an email from the fees department just before Christmas break informing me that I owed £10,500 for the year, and could I please pay as soon as possible? Cue me stressing and freaking that shit will hit the proverbial fan, and so on and so forth, but cue also me attempting to quell that freak-out and telling myself that I'll sort it out in the new year.

The new year arrives. I go to RDO to find out what the eff is going on. Dude who can help me is not back from Christmas break yet, okay that's fair enough, I was taking a chance that anyone would be in the office given that I went there the day after the bank holiday (note: I went on an actual working day, but you know how it is, nobody can bear returning to work after Christmas break apparently). There was someone in the RDO who looked in my physical file, but doesn't see any application for an interruption of studies. Um, okay? she says her advice is to reapply. uh... sure. okay. I'll get right on that.

I go to my department's postgraduate admin office, seeking at least someone to hold my hand and tell me everything will be alright. Nobody's there because everyone is out of the office until the term begins the following week. Well terrific. Finally someone turns up, the only one in for the day, and we sit and have a long old chin-wag about "things". She promises to get on it, and if she can't get answers, then she'll get someone on the case who can get answers. She's true to her word, and I get an email the following week addressed to the dude in RDO who originally advised me to retroactively apply for interruption, with me CC'd in on it, asking in a slightly terse yet diplomatic way, what the eff is happening with this application?

That was two weeks ago. STILL have not heard anything from RDO. So I finally go to head of graduate studies of my department, who happens to be my second supervisor, and with whom I have recently reconciled after a falling-out which lasted over two years. He promises to get on it, and true to his word too (thank God there are efficient people at my university!), he emails me yesterday to tell me that indeed the RDO has NO RECORD of my interruption application, despite my department's admin delivering it to them the first week of November 2010. My department's admin has redelivered ANOTHER copy of the application (thankfully they keep copies of all interruption applications) to the RDO, this time I believe it's been hand delivered. And it will take a month to process.

There is, mind you, no guarantee that it will be approved. I'm stressed. Do not do a PhD unless you are prepared for many years of stress.

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Easter holiday musings [03 Apr 2010|06:45pm]
[ mood | waking up ]

So I'm still mostly asleep and my eye is still wonky (like looking through gauze). I'm drinking coffee and listening to reggae. It's a good day so far.

Went to see Kick-Ass, which was really kick ass! Good script, witty, rolled along, with a voice over. I love a voice over, and don't get people who diminish them or think they're a sign of poor writing/screenplay/whatever. I say get over it, a voice over is a good tool for plot development, character development, and potential source of humour. Directing was good too, it was directed by Matthew Vaughn, the partner in cinema crime of former Mr Madonna Guy Ritchie. So obviously this was an ultra-violent and very funny (at the same time) film. What more could you want? Oh of course lots of guns, shooting, violent fighting, a bazooka, confused sexuality, more violence, and great set design. A fake "Hirst" "spot painting", which I'm really surprised they didn't credit him or thank someone for the use of a replica. Oh and a skull painting, obviously another nod to Hirst. There were two genuine (most likely replicas) Warhols, which did get a thank you in the credits. No, all in all, it was a great film, very funny, a good use of two hours on a Saturday afternoon.

It's funny how my mental health is changing too, getting better than it has been in the past few years. I didn't mind watching the film with other people (usually I like my cinemas to be empty, or only have a handful of old people because they don't talk or do other rude shit that young people do), I didn't mind the adverts before the trailers, I thoroughly enjoyed the trailers (looking forward to seeing something called Hot Tub Time Machine), and didn't mind the closing credits music. In fact, I was tapping my toes! I'm so friggin happy that life is getting better for me. Thank God.

Oh there's more coffee in the pot. Oh Hallelujah. *scuppers off to drink coffee and waste time poking around on teh interwebz*

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follow up to hacked email [19 Feb 2010|12:46pm]
[ mood | irritated ]

I downloaded a fantastic free virus scan for Macs:


Scanned my BRAND NEW IMAC LESS THAN A MONTH OLD and found FOUR infected files.

I would STRONGLY encourage anyone who got a spam email from my yahoo account to do a virus scan.

I also downloaded ClamXav onto my Macbook Pro, and found SEVEN infected files.



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bloody hackers [17 Feb 2010|11:21am]
[ mood | annoyed ]

my Yahoo email account was apparently hacked into this morning, at around 8.20am GMT. A total of six spam messages were sent to my entire contacts list. HUGE apologies if you got one of these; most of them fortunately bounced back as I don't use yahoo for anything much other than advertising.

And to any hackers: I've changed my password to something pretty impenetrable, so don't try it again. So there.

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state of the union drinking game! [27 Jan 2010|10:50pm]
Gametime: 21.00 Eastern Standard Time - sadly too late for me in the UK :-/

The 2010 Rules
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the joy of rap lyrics [18 Jan 2010|08:46am]
[ mood | groggy ]

Best quote of the day so far:

"This is Bill Gates county fool

Oh I love Sir Mix-a-lot.

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Desert Island Discs version 1 [11 Jan 2010|12:03pm]
[ mood | working ]

Avoiding work, so of course I"m writing here.

I'm in the process of compiling my Desert Island Discs. So far (in no particular order at the moment):

1. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis - Tom Waits
2. Yoda - "Weird" Al Yankovic
3. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now - The Smiths
something from Nick Drake
something from Pink Floyd
possibly 1st movement from "Winter" - Vivaldi

Jeez, you only get nine songs, this is hard. Huh.

Probably something from Johnny Cash.
Probably something from Flatt & Scruggs.
Oh, of course, Der Hölle Rache (2nd aria sung by the Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute) - Mozart

I'm sure I'll revise this at some point.

(Can you tell I'm listening to music again? It's great!)

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it won't stop snowing [08 Jan 2010|09:43am]
[ mood | cold ]

As I write, it's been snowing I have no idea how many hours. But the UK is all white, as seen from satellite photos. It's striking, and beautiful, and pretty. But it's very cold, like Canada cold. It's not got above freezing (0C) for quite a few days now.

In other, non-weather related news, my MacBook Pro is dying a slow death. Well, ok, to be specific, the hard drive is dying, so I've got a new iMac on order. I have left the laptop-as-main-computer crowd, as I don't travel as much as I used to nowadays.

I'm listening to Pulp's Different Class right now. God, it's good. I think the last time I actively listened to music was a year ago, and that was to just test new computer speakers. I just haven't had the desire. But something is lifting, perhaps my mood or perhaps my depression, and I'm excited and happy to listen to music again. I just read an article about Vampire Weekend, which I dismissed when they came out as cheap and flimsy Talking Heads wanna-bes. But now I'm kind of thinking, hmm, maybe I'll Spotify them and see what the fuss is about. We spend New Year's Eve cleaning the kitchen, listening to Weird Al VERY LOUD, and that was terrific. I sometimes think I want "Yoda" played at my funeral, just for fun.

Today is ideally a day of writing: working on Chapter 3, my methodology chapter. I let a deadline slip, as it was meant to be in complete draft form by 30 Nov 2009. I have no excuse, really, for the slippage, so I've got to put extra effort into it now. Holidays are over, it's time to get cracking.

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a milestone achieved! [22 Oct 2009|07:51am]
[ mood | relieved ]

My upgrade viva has taken place (yesterday), and I am delighted to say that it was successful, and I have been provisionally upgraded from MPhil student to PhD student. Upon submission of a revised timetable for completion of my thesis, I will be officially be upgraded to PhD student.

This is the culmination of quite a lot of hard work. It also confirms that others more experienced than me in academic thinking and writing have confidence in my ability to complete a thesis in four years. I didn't quite understand the monumentality of that statement until I actually tried doing it. A thesis is quite a beast: it's one very long argument, and it's imperative that I don't repeat myself in it (because examiners will definitely catch it, and give me a dressing down for it). I need to maintain my argument throughout, and ensure that everything in the thesis is there for a reason, not just superfluous filler. This sounds quite straightforward, but at times is quite a challenge.

I got very useful comments at the upgrade viva yesterday, all of which I will (and am expected to) incorporate into new versions of chapters. But it was good to have other academics besides my supervisor and my other half read my work and critique it. I'm very pleased with how yesterday went - and ecstatic that I am allowed to continue with my research and work toward my PhD!

So I'm taking today off from PhD stuff. I have a massage booked at 10am, and then I'm not quite sure what I'll do. Maybe snooze! Or up my jewelcrafting in WoW...

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how time flies [08 Sep 2009|05:44pm]
I'm updating so that this journal doesn't look abandoned. I've submitted my upgrade materials for my upgrade from MPhil student to PhD student status. I have my upgrade viva later this month. I'm feeling pretty good about it - confident, like.

Not sure what else I fancy sharing with the world. Funny how I've had this journal for over seven years, and the longer I've had it, the more private I feel I want to keep my life. I am considering just closing this, but then I get all nostalgic and think, oh but think how long this LJ thing has been a part of my life. And so I keep it, though I don't know what actual benefit it provides me.

Though I did discover two LJ communities which tickle my fancy, so perhaps that's a reason to keep this active.
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well now [25 Jun 2009|05:46pm]
[ mood | a bit surprised ]

Oh noes y'all -- Farrah Fawcett is dead!

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This journal is still active [12 Jun 2009|03:20pm]
[ mood | stressed ]

Ah the lifespan of computing.

The new iPhone 3G S has the same processor speed and RAM as my 2002 iBook.

This is basically a post so that my journal doesn't look like I've abandoned it. I've not, I've just been very busy with research, writing, and other things. Sadly I have nothing new to post, apart from a HUGE desire to drink champagne and get a massage. Not necessarily together.

Well as long as I'm here, I might as well talk about the trials and tribulations, to coin a phrase, of doing a PhD in the UK. So I was supposed to "upgrade" from MPhil to PhD student status. This is a standard process here apparently. For the first two years of the PhD I'm "officially" registered as an MPhil student, which I guess is a Master of Philosophy, so in case you fuck up and don't complete your PhD you at least get something. After two years, you undergo a "viva", or oral examination, to upgrade you to official PhD student status. I was scheduled to do my upgrade viva in May, just after I'd returned from a week away. I go to meet with my supervisor before the viva, and she gives me the news that my viva is being "postponed" until September, basically because nobody thinks I'm ready to upgrade, and everything thinks I should be further along in my research and argument construction.

This is a bit disappointing, and frustrating, because it's true: I should be further along, and have been dropping the ball for the past few months. I think there are several things causing this: lack of desire (mid-thesis slump), lack of motivation (see previous), fear of success, fear of failure, uncertainty of what I'm doing, lack of confidence in my argument construction skills are the top reasons. And World of Warcraft.

Anyway I'm back on track, because this "postponement" was quite a kick up my intellectual backside. I've spent the past couple of weeks going over my data, and thinking a lot about what my overall argument is for my thesis. I've also read a few theses in my area, which have been particularly helpful, because the structure of a PhD thesis is quite different than the structure of a Master's dissertation, or book, or even journal article. I've also made contact with a really interesting academic at Western Michigan University who is actually researching what I am, flight attendant/pilot communication, but from an aviation psychology/safety/CRM approach. That is, she's not coming at it from a theoretical, linguistic anthropology framework.

So that's how I'm occupying my time right now. A distinct change from what I was doing with my life 5 years ago.

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