Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On being multiple

I hate personality tests, they seem to assume I'm a stable personality when i have insider knowledge that clearly I am not.
However, I can accept that there are particular contexts inside of which my behaviour is more of this and less of that. At least retrospectively this can be measured. I still have problems with the presumption that this is a forward measure of what I may be like in the future, and the very effect of my having been measured, and found wanting, in some respects may well negate the validity of such testing....
However, I found i could not help myself and slipped my blog into a blog personality profiling website that uses for its analysis Myers Briggs type profiling; presumably it will have a rubric that favours certain words in certain ways (thanks to Heli for the link)
and this is what i supposedly am:
INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

I wondered if that's just what blogging brings out, esp for a blog oriented on PhD.

I was amused to see on Heli's blog others whose analysis seemingly annoyed them: a scientist who didnt like getting scientist in the analysis, lol. I presume she is too far gone, contaminated, and now a meme carrier for the language of science?

Maybe I really am insensitive?
Am i really that indifferent?

I think its just the blog brings out a particular type of me, the part of me that gets distributed here. The Mummy part of me gets distributed at home.
We r multiple ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

not getting very far, fast

I have been around a lot of students lately, the one that lives here is promising a month of pmt, and Im thinking it must be that time of the year.
The ones training to be counsellors on a young people's helpline for two weeks have been practicing skills on each other; number one issue is not getting the work in, they describe it as a fear of procrastination. They seem hard on themselves. I think they are tired.
And its how i feel too; I found i had spent an hour reediting a chapter having forgotten what was in it, after putting it down for two weeks, and then discovering it was an old copy...
I'm concerned that I am losing the plot for a lack of thinking time.
And worried if i dont do it all the time, i'm back to forgetting what i had done...

So, having been practiced on by a novice counsellor, I went searching for the a time management tool to block time, so i would at least have tracked a path of work in another way. ..
instead distracted, not procrastinating, i found this. Its worth repeating. It's by Julian le Grand and he talks of PhD supervision, but also of academic papers.
He describes - where 90% is done but it doesnt get finished
Ive felt 80% finished all this year...
he suggests a misplaced perfectionism
I have re-edited and re edited and then removed patches...

All the loose ends have to be tied up, every argument must be polished, every counter-argument effectively rebutted.

oooh i havent yet rebutted...
Once the thesis is submitted, the article sent to a journal, or the book manuscript dispatched to the publisher, they are open to judgment. No longer can they, or their author, remain in the realm of glittering potential; now they, and their author, are out there in the open, for peer assessment - and for peer criticism.
No i dont think thats quite it
Nonehteless he does say , both positions are needing to be faced. And then he says
Nothing can ever be perfect, nothing immune from potential critique. There will never be a finishing point where it is all done. To misquote someone else – Iris Murdoch, I think, but irritatingly I’ve never been able to find the source - you never finish a piece of academic work; you only abandon it.

I know it will never be perfect...i just want it strong enough to survive.
And I know it just needs a bit more time in the womb.

Today's writing was slow, but it was an uphill part of the journey.
Having meandered my way a path, i could mark the distance covered, the journey taken, map the scenic route and fix it. Ive got a route mapped retrospectively, cleaned it up. looks like i knew where i was going before i got there. Nice tidy research. Retrospectively.
I have alot more respect now for Deleuze, G., & Guattari(1987) A thousand plateaus... daring to write in a stream of consciousness. Dont think the thesis committee of markers would like it though. Maybe a postscript will suffice. or i save it for here :) where grammar and trajectories don't matter.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


am finally reading some John Seely Brown...I have a working premise that useful connections will hit on me at least twice.
Its probably not the most reliable premise for incidental learning, but in being slightly more discerning than 'read everything', its working for me as i continue to be overwhelmed by the too much to read, too little time, of being a phd student who wants to complete.

so when i tripped over this person's name twice...i googled it up...and found some pleasant writing :)

Here's a snippet

Clues provided by context

Consider, for instance, something as simple as a telephone-answering machine. Its use is not quite self-explanatory. A moment's thought reveals that the common message "I'm not here now" is, in the abstract, nonsense.
Whomever "I" refers to should be "here", wherever here is, "now", whenever the phrase is uttered. Yet in practice, despite its formal incoherence, the phrase turns out to be much more efficient than attempts at formal coherence, such as "If you're hearing this message, then I will not be at home at the time at which you will be calling."

What gives the more pithy phrase its effectiveness? Clearly, the words alone do not clinch the matter. To be understood, they rely on peripheral clues for interpretation. Background clicks and whirs, hisses from the tape, and the recorded quality of the voice itself all help callers realize that they are hearing a recorded message, and thus prepare them for a message's particular - if in the abstract peculiar - logic. These peripheral resources are not usually regarded as part of the information with which information technology is concerned. Yet, appearing unproblematically in the hiss of a recorded message, peripheral contributions can nevertheless be quite informative, allowing someone leaving a message and someone hearing it to communicate with a simple efficiency.

Important though they may be for design, these peripheral resources are not necessarily designed themselves. More usually, they evolve, as people - often quite unreflectively - enlist the support of contingent properties of a technology to keep things simple.

He writes directly, and he writes how the detective novel clues are missing in this webpage of subtitles and headings. There's playfulness; enjoyment and enticement in the multilayered approach.
And it reminds me of bits of my thesis writing.

He argues for the use of materiality, or performativity, though these words are not found on this page. He argues for simplification, yet what is here validates the complex.
and here he writes what i feel...and do...how clever is that?
"the new information generated in one year is more than a thousand times larger than the size of the entire print collection in the Library of Congress. It is hard to grasp the consequences of this much new information being generated each year, year after year. But people have invented their own strategies to navigate through this immense sea of information."

And here another snippet...here i am ...unable to sleep...and turn to my computer for a useful way to while away my time...i might as well be doing something useful....a phd...and that requires engaging with thinking- my own and others...so im blogging up my thoughts...
Communication technologies have become our central tools to socialize, exchange, build knowledge, they have become part of our private and domestic lives.

I'm entering into ... media as an environment (see macluhan or melkowitz) a context not as imaginary world or of distant world with me as voyeur...but of connection.

Im in it...and if you are reading this, you are too.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

on being an incidental on one' s own thesis

Or at least, sssslightly invisible...
hey its not so bad.
On some days the thesis writes itself.
on other days it co-opts me to write it.
I'm still waiting for it to co-opt others into it's progression, they seem even shier, shire, shyer, than myself...
i quite like this from my niece and her mum:
Philip Ardagh, author of the Eddie Dickens adventures talks about his latest series of children's books, Grubtown Tales, the joy of beards and how he can't keep out of his own stories
I seem to have this double layered story going
level 1 its a thesis; speak in the third person and occassionally slip into co-opting the audience with an arrogance that says we ...
Then in other spaces, I'm back to being me, I say I, I get listened to...and then i turn into a shrinking violet...