Setforwards and setbacks.

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Well! You will be interested to know that quite a lot has happened. Today, being October 1st, is the first day of my project 333 challenge. I haven’t finalised the whole of my selection, and I plan to allow myself a liberties, but it has definitely started. The first 6 of my 33 are what I am wearing today, as represented (pretty well) in the collage below.

Collage

This includes

  • a reversible, transformable skirt from Zand Amsterdam,
  • a cobalt blue wool jumper from Monsoon,
  • a purple and pink backpack from FUBU,
  • burgundy 14 eyelet boots from Doc Martin,
  • black wool tights from Icebreaker, and
  • sunglasses that I used to have in high school (they are SO 1990’s).

I am particularly happy with the skirt because it is reversible (one side a retro brown and cream pattern, one side a mish-mash of brightly coloured floral vertical panels) so I get two skirts in one. Actually, the waistband is detachable and also reversible (both sides have black and white floral-ish prints) so that I can make four different skirts, as well as wearing both sides of the waistband separately as a belt with other outfits. It also has a detachable pocket that can be clipped onto the waistband (which may or not be attached to the skirt at the time) or can be worn separately as a handbag. Is it cheating to call this one item? Not my problem. I LOVE multi-way, multi-purpose clothes like this. I have several of them and I use them, in their many different guises, regularly. I am calling it one item and anyone who disagrees can shove it.

I have also been keeping up with the running schedule. The persistent cough, which I think was bronchitis, is starting to clear up and I am getting better at managing the timing on when to use the various inhalers to get the best out of them. I am already feeling better after a run than I was expecting at this early stage, and so far no puking. True, my speed is still not up to scratch, and I have to take breaks to stop and catch my breath or to walk for a bit, but this is a process, not a destination.

So those were the setforwards. Now for the setbacks. My PhD supervisors were not confident that they could properly critique the philosophical elements of my thesis, so they called in a philosophy professor from upstairs to read it and give his opinion. That professor said he thought it was all wrong, that I was not using concepts the way philosophers use those concepts, that he didn’t think I was interpreting some of my sources properly, that he didn’t understand what I was doing or why, and that he didn’t like my thesis. Look away now if you are not prepared to read some swearing.

Cockwomble! This cunting ass-hat is worse than a massive sack of dicks! Someone hold my handbag while I prepare to smash his shitstained, fuckmented toss-featured face in!

Fortunately, he is talking utter and complete bollocks. I am definitely not interpreting my sources in an uncommon or bizarre way. I am using the contested philosophical concepts in a way that many other philosophers have used them. What’s more, it seems that he only read 4 of the chapters (the intro, two content chapters and the conclusions) and obviously didn’t read those very well because he told me that I ought to consider doing something that I clearly and obviously did do. He said that he fundamentally disagrees with some of the ideas that I lay out, which has apparently impaired his ability to read, think or engage with my argument. You know, all those things SCIENCE PROFESSORS are normally expected to do. I suspect he just took a dislike to my thesis from the introduction and couldn’t be professional enough to read it at all or to read it without letting his preconceived negative attitude prevent him from understanding it.

The arsebadger.

One of my supervisors said that this is not the disaster that it seems because it would be much worse if he agreed with my fundamental ideas but found lots of inconsistencies and errors that needed correcting. As it stands, we could just ignore most of his criticisms and look for another philosopher that is not so closed to the ideas I suggest. Not insurmountable, but I have not yet had a chance to talk to the other supervisors. We’ll see what they say.

Unless they agree with him, which seems unlikely given the things that he actually said, the biggest problem this will cause is more delay. That means I need to find a way to extend my residency and visa before my current one expires and I have to leave the country.
Le sigh.

It’s the beginning of a story

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To tell the truth, every moment is the beginning of an entirely new story, so the title is a bit of a wash. Never mind. Here is what has been happening.

  • I jogged a very slow and wheezy 4K yesterday. It was 1K short of what my training schedule said I should have done, but it was also, miraculously, faster that what the schedule said I should have done. I didn’t use my race watch, so I was kind of winging it. Lesson learnt for next time.
  • I put a load more clothes, shoes and bags in the off-season suitcase. How much? This much.
    IMAG1461
  • I found a few more things to donate to charity, including a vintage white leather jacket that I LOVE but which just doesn’t fit me. C’est la vie.
  • Between the additional off-season clothes and the charity donations, the wardrobe and dresser are now pretty darn empty. In fact, there are probably about 22 items of clothing left, far less than the 33 allowed in the project 333 challenge. I will have a separate post on what those items are later so that you can all be nosy and see what I chose. Unfortunately, those 22 items do not include accessories, shoes, bags, jewelry, gloves, sunglasses, etc. I am having a devil of a time deciding on these, because I just don’t know whether this winter will turn out to be blisteringly cold like the one 2 years ago, or quite mild like last year. I might have to cheat (ish) and swap out some items half way through if the weather takes a turn.
  • I attended the PhD defence ceremony of a colleague this morning, which made me really eager to just get mine done and out of the way. She is going on to be an assistant professor in Beijing! Well done to her. I don’t imagine that I will have such a short route to proffessordom, although maybe I could if I were applying to universities in China. I imagine that their universities are growing along with their economy, unlike all the universities (and economies) in Europe.
  • The double knit scarf is coming along, albeit slowly. I doubt I will finish it before it becomes scarf wearing season. Fortunately, there are other scarves to use in the meantime.

Motivation

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So, my partner and I signed up for a 10K race on October 26th. That is not a whole lot of time to go from where I am now (haven’t run more than 5K in months, haven’t run at all for weeks) to being able to finish a 10K in under an hour without puking (that’s my current definition of a successful 10K).

Standing in my way are:

  • a persistent and occasionally productive cough,
  • exercise induced asthma,
  • a sudden onset of autumnal weather,
  • a serious amount of thesis-related stress and anxiety,
  • and a deep, but hopefully temporary, ambivalence to my own sporting achievements.

Normally, when I get in a fitness funk I find that signing up for a race gives me a bit of motivation. You know, a kick up the backside that sets me in motion. I set up a new training schedule on myasics, which you can check out if you want to see what I think I will need to be doing in order to train. I will also be logging my runs on there so you can check it out to keep me honest, if you feel so inclined.

I set it up for three times a week, but I had a bit of trouble because sometimes websites are too damn clever for their own good. For example, since October 26th is not so far away, it wouldn’t let me select that date as the date for the race. The closest I could get was October 29th. Then, I put in a vague estimation of how fast I think I could reasonably run a 10K right now if I had taken a dose of my asthma inhaler and were being pursued by wolves, as well as how fast I wanted to run a 10K on race day. The website thinks I can’t make that much improvement in the allotted time, so my paces and final estimated finishing time are slower than I would like. Harrumph.

Will this be enough training? Will signing up for this race be enough motivation? Will this training help me clear up the cough, reduce the impact of the asthma, and keep a handle on the stress and anxiety? I will tell you as the race draws nigh.

Think positive!

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To bring you up to speed on developments since last week:

  • I do have asthma, the doctor did give me an inhaler to use daily, in addition to the one to use just before exercise. All seems to be going reasonably well.
  • I have managed to gain .6 of a kilo. How I did that is a mystery, as all my clothes are hanging off me. Whatever.
  • The gym I normally go to does not have a body fat measuring device, but I can use my same card to access another location that has said device. I may have to go slightly out of my way one day as I head into work. Actually… I could stop by on my way home today…
  • Core exercises are continuing at the office. I try to alternate days I do planks (forward and sides) with days I do crunches and reverse crunches. Today was a crunch day. So far, 40 crunches, 40 reverse crunches. Boo. Yah.
  • I am feeling less hungry now that Aunt Flo has left. Thank god for that because I was about to ruin our weekly budget on a load of junk food.
  • I forgot my phone today, so no belly pic. I will try tomorrow.

And on an unrelated note, my partner and I are thinking of signing up for the Lisbon half marathon in October. That should give me plenty of time to finish this damn thesis and still train for a longer distance than I am currently training for. The course looks lovely (all along the water!) and Lisbon has one of the longest bridges in Europe. Wow.

 

On another unrelated note, I have decided to participate in the #100HappyDays photo challenge. You just have to post one photo every day for 100 days of something that makes you happy. Simples. There is nothing to win, except for a more positive mental outlook, and nothing to lose, but a bit of time. Since I like photo-a-day challenges, I don’t mind losing that tiny bit of time and I am quite interested to see if I can win a sunnier disposition. I started yesterday and can already think of about a billion things to post pictures of.