Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

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I have some wonderful news! My supervisor has signed off on the current draft version of my PhD thesis, which means that very soon I will be able to set a date for the defence. My life can start moving forward again! Hooray! And huzzah!

Also, I am more than a week into the Project 333 challenge and have fixed the first 20 items. Here they are. Stand back and admire their glory.
Collage2

Actually, most of these are not the exact items, but I feel they represent them well enough. For example, my lighter coloured jeans have ripped knees and my black hand bag has added studs and spikes. But you get the idea.

  • Two wool sweaters
  • 3 t-shirts
  • One pair wool leggings
  • Two pairs of jeans
  • Two skirts
  • One wool and silk dress
  • One wool blazer
  • One denim waistcoat
  • One wool hat
  • One wool buff (another multi-way, multi-purpose item of clothing)
  • One pair of sunglasses
  • One pair of boots
  • Two bags
  • One ring

I considered the rules about jewelry and have put this ring on the list as a provisional item. I already have several pieces of jewelry that I wear every day (actually, I can’t remove them without special equipment… body piercings being what they are) but none of the rest of my jewelry is the type that I can leave on to sleep in or shower in. I have several pieces that I wear frequently, all of which are sentimental and special as well as amazing, but I decided to pick just one (so far) and wear it every day during this entire challenge. If I do another round after I will pick a different piece to wear every day. If I do manage to wear it every day, then it won’t count as a list item, but it occupies a place on the list for now until I see how good I am at remembering to put it on every day.

Some important things that stand out for me on this list. First, my favourite neutral is grey. I would never wear black at all, except so many very useful things only seem to be available in black. Second, my favourite fabric appears to be wool. Well, natural fibers anyway, because the non-wool items so far are either cotton or linen, but there are at least 4 more wool items that will get added to the list in the near future. I just can’t get on with synthetics, except for specialist sport clothing which I only wear while doing sports or sleeping (ever worn a technical sports t shirt to sleep in? Heaven.). Third, how the heck have so many people managed to create Project 333 lists with no hats?!? I assume they use umbrellas instead and have decided that umbrellas don’t count as accessories, which seems unfair to me. So far I have only used the wool fedora, but I have two other hats that I will probably be adding to the list when weather conditions make them necessary. Plus the buff can become a hat and you better believe I will be wearing it, possibly underneath a second hat, when the weather gets cold. Double hat. I will also be gloving and double gloving, with the gloves to be added to the list very soon.

The running is carrying on fairly well. I ran 7 kilometres on Sunday, and then 4 on Tuesday but will be taking a break for a few days since we have guests in town. My pace is still too slow to meet my sub-1 hour target, and I still need a short break to catch my breath at the turning around point, but I shall keep you posted.

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.

Flawed but forgiven

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Hello all! I am sure you will be delighted to hear that I have been working on the double knit scarf as shown in the featured image.

I think it is looking pretty good. There are, however, a couple of flaws, including at least one time that I failed to move both yarns forward (or backward) when I switched from a purl to a knit, and at least four stitches where I apparently had a massive brain fart and just broke the pattern. Ah, well.
I have learnt a few useful things. First, bigger needles is easier, possibly because of the fuzziness of these yarns. I started with smaller needles and just had a devil of a time trying to see which stitches were knit and which were purl. Second, it is important to twist the yarns together immediately after the first stitch of each row. This keeps the two sides from separating. It isn’t so important during the rows that start with both colours in quick succession, but it is important for the rows that start with big patches of solid colour. And third, relax. It is hard to maintain an even tension of you are not relaxed. Remember, this is a hobby, so should be fun, not work or anxiety producing.

One the wardrobe challenge front, I have identified at least 3 more items to pass on the the charity shops. I have also identified at least 3 more items that can go into the off season clothing storage to make more space in my limited wardrobe (and also to make the project 333 challenge easier by virtue of not having to look at loads of items that are not in my 33).

The thesis is making less progress, although there is really nothing I can do about that at the mo’. I have implemented all the feedback and comments that have been given to me and am waiting on the supervisors to make the next move. I do plan on printing out the first two chapters to give to me partner to read. Mostly, I need him to tell me if there are any typos, Americanisms, confusing parts, or illegible graphics. I suspect there will be more than a few. In the meantime, I am searching for and applying to job offers, prepping one chapter from the thesis as a journal article, and continuing to work on the scarf during my RSI breaks.

The wheels have been put into motion.

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First off, minutes (and I literally mean minutes) ago, I submitted all the required paperwork to initiate the PhD graduation process. Bam! (Emeril Lagasse style… you’ll just have to imagine that in your head.) There are six parts to this paperwork and I just submitted one and two, which are arguably the easiest ones. Despite being the easiest, they were still a pain in my ass. Honestly, why do they need to see the grades from my masters degree when I also submitted the diploma from my masters degree? Fortunately, it turns out I did have a copy of those grades and didn’t need to contact my old uni to get them.

Next, I have started the double knit scarf (no picture yet because it is only one and a half rows in and doesn’t look like anything) but have learned that fuzzy yarns are not ideal for learning to double knit. They just make it hard to see which loops are knit and which are purl. I originally bought this yarn for a stranded knit-in-the-round hat, which of course only ever has knit stitches so the fuzziness was not an issue. Nevertheless, I shall overcome. Mostly because the fuzzy yarn is what I have to work with but also because I can be very bloody minded when I choose.

Then, I started the wardrobe detox. I took 4 dresses, one skirt, one t-shirt and a pair of trousers to the charity donation box. I feel good, and I vow never to buy cheap crap from H&M again. All but two of the items were H&M and I really should know by now that their stuff doesn’t hang well, doesn’t fit well, doesn’t wash well and doesn’t look good. There is also a pair of sandals that I think might get the boot and some belts and scarves that I haven’t used in a while. I should also go through my jewelry, but that is a little emotionally charged so I am not sure I am ready to do that.

I also swapped out the clearly summer stuff for the clearly winter stuff from the suitcase where I keep my off season clothes. Flip-flops, summer dresses and swimsuits are gone, sweater dresses, sweaters, knit hats and furry coat liners are out. Unfortunately, the winter stuff takes up more space so the drawers are still crammed full, despite the trip to the charity box. Le sigh. I may have to be a bit more ruthless than I originally thought. My partner is out of town this weekend, so I may take the opportunity to lay everything out and have a good look at the big picture without worrying that he will make fun of me for my OCD tendencies.

Two new kick-ass goals.

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So, since I have been struggling with the fitness goals, and because things are so up in the air right now and I don’t feel comfortable signing up for any runs, I am setting those goals aside. This decision took a bit of soul-searching. I have to be ok with not reaching all of my fitness goals, and ok with not working on them right now, without being ok with quitting them altogether. This is just part of a acknowledging that life is fluid and unpredictable and that changing my mind and reorganizing my priorities to deal with life’s vagaries is not a bad thing.

But I do like to have some goals on the go at all times, and they should always be kick-ass. Naturally, I still have the goal of getting my PhD. That one is highest priority, and definitely a sound, kick-ass goal. There is still a lot of work to do on that, and it does involve some work every day. Nevertheless, that goal is clearly a career thing and I need some non-career goals to occupy my time outside of office hours. I have selected two.

First, I want to teach myself to double knit. I have been crocheting for a decade or so, but only took up knitting in January 2013. I have taught myself a lot, like stranded knitting, knitting in the round, seaming, etc. I have made some items that I am pretty happy with, including a pair of spats that I recently wore to a wedding (they received confused compliments, and some gifts for others (I promise they weren’t horrible). Now is the time to raise the bar again, so I will be making this pattern, in blue and off-white, as a gift for my partner. I made him a hat last year out of the same yarn, so it should be a nice set without being too matchy-matchy. I shall keep you informed.

Second, I want to overhaul my wardrobe. I have been researching capsule wardrobe plans, clothing challenges, etc. I have previously done a few wardrobe challenges, like the six items or less challenge, which was really enlightening and surprisingly easy. I have been wanting to do something like that again. At the same time, absolutely all the clothes that I own have to fit in half of a tiny wardrobe, slightly less than half of three drawers in a dresser, a drawer in a nightstand, a rack of scarves and belts, a rack of jewelry, a shelf for hats and half of one suitcase for out of season clothes. That sounds like a lot of space, and I honestly classify myself as a minimalist, but I am seriously struggling. I haven’t had a clear out recently, I have inherited a fair few new, high-quality and emotionally charged items, and I have purchased a few new things of my own recently anyway. For example, my partner encouraged me to buy a new dress for a recent wedding (the one with the spats) rather than re-wear the dress I had bought for a wedding earlier in the year. I thought the first dress would be fine for all the weddings I would need to attend for the next year or so, but the partner found it distressingly 90’s. I also bought a fedora in what a shop clerk described as `petrol’ coloured, and I picked up a few new things in the sales that perhaps I did not strictly need.

So anyway, I am feeling overwhelmed by the clothing, the lack of space and the emotional baggage. Thus, I will be overhauling the situation and using this blog as an emotional outlet and progress tracker throughout the process. What’s that? You are not interested in knitting or wardrobe organization? Well then, to quote Malcolm Tucker… Fuckety-bye!