Your friend LP

It's been real! 2011 – 2016

Month: March, 2015

Moving on

Last Friday, I needed to hand in the introduction to my thesis. Which was already quite strange considering that said thesis has not been written yet. And if you think it can’t get any stranger than that, yes it can: despite having passed the midterm that consisted of my thesis proposal, this exact (well, 99% identical) thesis proposal was then rejected by the thesis committee. Yes, I’ll give you all a minute or so to let this sink in, it also took me a bit.

The feedback was minimal: it said “feasibility?” on top of my proposal. Being bad at mind-reading-through-osmosis, I have no clue WHAT was considered unfeasible: the setup of my experiment? Do I have too many parameters? Is the amount of research excessive? Is my entire proposal a pile of shit? All things that I need to know to move forward, I’d say? Thankfully, I was able to make an appointment with my appointed supervisor last Thursday. Who turned out to be as in the dark as I was on what They wanted. While we did discuss some useful ways of restructuring my proposal, this left me with a situation that just didn’t work for me: I was expected to write an introduction to a thesis that not only doesn’t exist, but that was also rejected and might not ever see the light of day.

If this had happened to me two years ago, I would have taken this all extremely personal, and would have cried very loudly for hours and hours, bemoaning my utter stupidity and incompetence, after which I would have hovered with my mouse over the “deregister” button on the university website until I fell asleep on top of my laptop. Now however, and thereby proving that I DID learn something during my time at university, I didn’t. Instead, I decided to not be deterred by the fact that the thing I’ve written will not make me pass the class, hand it in anyway and move on. In the next 9 weeks, I will have at least one 1 essay/paper/story deadline a week (yes, this is excessive), and I can’t afford letting a non-successful paper trip me up, I just need to move on to the next piece of work that needs to be done.

In the coming week, on top of starting two new classes, I’ll be going on a quest to find the person who commented on my thesis proposal and try to pry more info out of them, as I don’t want to end up with a “You rewrote the part we liked” and/or “You rewrote it, but you should have switched topic completely” situation, as that would be a humongous waste of time for everybody. An update on this situation will of course follow in a couple of weeks.

Trudging through molasses

In the last few weeks, I’ve been struggling with writing blogposts. Part of it is time and energy: I’ve had deadlines every week for the last couple of weeks and this will unfortunately continue for the foreseeable future. The rest of it is that I am really done with writing posts about my studies and more specifically the type of “I am frustrated because nobody at that place knows how to plan and/or communicate said (lack of) plans in a proper way, making me have to schedule and reschedule my schedule all the #@$#$@ time”-posts. Unfortunately, this is a very big part of my life right now.

It is SO terribly frustrating to have EVERY. STEP. OF. THE. WAY. be like trudging through molasses and to continuously have “emergencies” on my part pop up due to bad planning and awful communication on their part. Every time I manage to solve one of these “emergencies”, a new one presents itself at the most inconvenient time. For some reason, The Powers That Be seem to think that students have nothing going on in their lives besides waiting for their half-baked instructions, that then get reworked and updated again at least 5 times. There are few things in life that I hate as having my time wasted and right now, that’s what happening.

Unsurprisingly, I am having the hardest time keeping myself motivated and staying positive. Which is a bummer, as I was doing so well with the whole debittering and basically fooling myself that I’m somebody else. On Thursday, I’ll hopefully know how to handle the latest hurdle that has quite unexpectedly been thrown in front of me, and on Friday I have yet another deadline for a paper that will hopefully make me pass a class, so I’m forcing myself to continue despite wanting to just pack my bags and my cat and start walking in a general direction of Paris. This weekend however, I’m going to 1) go shopping and 2) finish up my Sketchbook Project 2015 entry. I will of course take pictures and write a blogpost about it. I’m seriously looking forward to it.

The results of the Dude/Bro questionaire

Since I’ve got my results back from the linguistics class I did the questionaire for, I can now freely explain what that questionaire (and the rest of my research) was all about.

The class focussed mostly on sociolinguistics and for our project we were instructed to recreate a part of one of the studies we studied and discussed, after which we were supposed to compare our data to the original study. I chose Kiesling’s “Dude” study, which focussed on, and this is the original abstract of the article:

The patterns of use for the address term dude are outlined, as are its functions and meanings in interaction. Explanations are provided for its rise in use, particularly among young men, in the early 1980s, and for its continued popularity since then. Dude is used mostly by young men to address other young men; however, its use has expanded so that it is now used as a general address term for a group (same or mixed gender), and by and to women. Dude is developing into a discourse marker that need not identify an addressee, and more generally encodes the speaker’s stance to his or her current addressee(s). Dude indexes a stance of cool solidarity, a stance which is especially valuable for young men as they navigate cultural Discourses of young masculinity, which simultaneously demand masculine solidarity, strict heterosexuality, and nonconformity.

That sounds like a lot and it is a lot, so I chose to focus on two things:

1) a slightly modified version of Kiesling’s questionaire. I tested for “dude” and “bro”, where he tested for “dude” and “babe” and, since I assumed I would have quite a bit of non-L1 English speakers who responded, changed one of the questions from “Where did you go to high school?” to “How often do you speak English?”. I wanted to see if in the last 10 – 15 years, people’s attitudes towards both the word “dude” and “dude-sayers” had changed;

and

2) I analysed the usage of “dude” in two teen movies (“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”) that he also mentioned in his article, but only in a general sense e.g. “The lead character is a typical dude-sayer”. I was curious what characters used the word, how often and whom they addressed;

To not make this blogpost as long as the paper I wrote, my results in short: there was indeed a slight change in how people saw the term “dude”, it seems to be less marked, people considered it something “everybody” (so also non-males amongst eachother or to males) says and didn’t have as many preconceived notions about “dude”-users. Sure, the stereotypes of “surfer dude, not too smart stoner guy” were mentioned, but the participants specifically mentioned that they considered these clichés. Despite this change, there was no difference in the type of addressee: both in Kiesling’s research and in mine it was obvious that people only refer to their peers as “dude”. Parents, teachers and other authority figures are obviously not dudes.

This was also the conclusion from the movie data I analysed: despite the word only being used 6 times in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, all instances were in peer contact. The same goes for extreme dude-sayers Bill and Ted, who use the word 70 times during the movie, but never to address their parents or teachers.

Of course my paper also touched lightly (due to time and word count constraints) on how “dude” being a way for heterosexuaaaaall young men to be close to each other “no homo”-style (all together now: yes homo!) comes with a not-so-nice side of casual homophobia (evident in both movies), and how the fact that one of my gay male respondents reported to refer to his boyfriend as “dude” could hopefully be interpreted a change in the right direction, though of course more research would be necessary to determine if this is the case or not.

I would like to thank everybody who participated in the survey, I literally couldn’t have done it without you! For those who like questionaires: there is probably (depending on if my thesis research proposal gets accepted in its current form) a new questionaire coming up soon-ish. I will keep you all posted.

Same old, same old

As frustration levels have been up and rising due to endless repetition of the same old, same old (= general incompetence on the part of The Powers That Be, basically) combined with a significantly lowered tolerance level on my part due to still being quite tired and oh, also because of almost 4 years of same old, same old, I did not manage to produce a blogpost that didn’t have me complain endlessly about how tired I am of, you guessed it, the same old, same old. Things will however have to be solved (or solve themselves) by the end of next week, as that is the end of this block.

Fun posts will eventually happen here again, fear not. For now, have a nightly canal picture:

Carre

Back on my feet – sorta

Some of you might have noticed that I didn’t update last Sunday: I unfortunately got struck by the tail end of the Sonic Deathflu™ that was making its rounds around here. My illness was short but heavy, only by Thursday was I well enough to venture outside for a doctor’s visit, who concluded that it was indeed the Sonic Deathflu™ and nothing more serious. I am still extremely tired, but will be starting classes again this Tuesday.

In the meantime all sorts of things have happened at the UvA: the Bungehuis building that was occupied by students was evacuated by riot police, and now the Maagdenhuis building is being occupied. I am quite curious what, if anything, will come out of all the talking and consenting finger-waving happening there at the moment. I personally feel zero need to involve myself with the proceedings, as I personally don’t believe (the Humanities at) the UvA can be “saved”, nor that they should be saved in their current incarnation, really. Had I known beforehand what I know now, I would have never even started this degree, let alone at this particular university, but now that I’m “stuck” here, I just want to get it over with and leave, never to return again. Just 10 more months.

This “getting it over with” is slowly but surely moving forward: I just got word that I passed the linguistics class I did the questionaire for, so I will soon be writing a post on the what and the how of what I was researching. But first I have to rewrite the rewritten version of the second first draft of my thesis proposal, to be handed in this week. Wish me luck!