my dissertation process, in ten steps

1. enthuasiastic, willy-nilly start on chapter
2. realization that damn it, I should have written an outline like all the writing experts tell you to
3. struggle with said outline for way too long
4. complain a lot about the chapter and how terrible it is. Throw outline away and write a new one (repeat steps 3&4 at least three times)
5. re-start writing, now with 80% less enthusiasm
6. feel like it’s never going to be done
7. keep slogging until I suddenly realize I have a first draft and the end is in sight (hallelujah!)
8. cut out half my footnotes (sob!)
9. turn it in to my advisor, ignore nagging fear that it’s mediocre work
10. start new chapter with step 1.

I turned in four chapters to my advisor yesterday, and am now facing the final one. (Chapter three, on diversity in Meet the Mormons and “I’m a Mormon” ads.) Wish me luck.

(alternative images for this post can be found here, here, and here.)
(good advice on dissertation writing can be found here and here.)


book of lists

Some lovely bloggers I read (like Kerri, over at Your Wishcake) are participating in a ‘Book of Lists’ project. Basically, what they do is

Every month there will be a topic for a list, and the object is to craft it on a blank page, take a photo of your list, then blog it. You can get elaborate scrapbook-style, or even jot it down with your favorite pen. If you want, you don’t even have to make a book and you can just blog about the list topic (even though then it’s not really a book of lists, but that’s cool). My style is somewhere in the middle.

Sounds both fun and simple, right? I thought I’d see what I could come up with. Because I like words more than I like crafts, my lists will find their way into my regular journal, pretty much unadorned (at least for now.)

I have a thing for composition notebooks.

I have a thing for composition notebooks. I bought this one at the BYU bookstore last summer.

This month’s topic was wishlist, and there’s what I came up with on Monday. It’s a mixture of long-time goals and things I’d like right now, and some things I might not ever get. (I’m looking at you, extrovertedness! Luckily I got new socks last night, so I’m covered on that front.)

1. a house big enough to hold all my books
2. new chairs for at the kitchen table
3. a new laptop
4. a leather satchel
5. extrovertedness on demand
6. a new church home
7. my own little family
8. brightly colored socks
9. an espresso machine
10. the ability to write poetry


(If I ever find out a way to photograph things well in my dark apartment, I’ll show you the page itself. Until then, I’m just blogging the list.)

You can see what other people are doing over here, at the original post. What’s on your list?

how (not) to deal with foreigners: a case study

You could act like o2:

1. Make it really hard to contact you. Ask your customers to contact you through email, then give out a defunct email address.
2. Or, alternately, give out two correct email addresses and only respond to one.
3. Don’t employ customer service representatives that speak any English.
4. When someone calls and asks if you speak English, say, “Nein!” and hang up on them.
5. Send a form email saying you’ve received my emails and then don’t respond.
6. The next time someone calls and asks if you speak English, tell them to have someone call back that can speak German and hang up on them.
7. Force your customers to figure out the problem themselves so they can tell you what needs to be done.
8. Act really impatient with their limited German and keep interrupting them.
9. Finally acknowledge what needs to be done and take two weeks to do it.
10. End the entire process with a letter patting yourself on the back for your problem solving capabilities and superior customer service.

or, you could emulate ING-DiBa:

1. When someone calls and asks if you speak English, tell them, “One moment please!” and transfer them to someone that does.
2. Solve the problem.
3. Wish them a nice day.

The latter seems a much more preferable process to me, but what do I know, I’m just a consumer and a foreign one at that.