Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Good Day

Today was one of the best days I've had since coming to England. The first reason for this is that I was notified I have passed all of my courses from the second semester. All that stress and hard work has paid off and now I can just concentrate on my last project and a few loose ends.

The second reason for this wonderful day was my project's ethics proposal has finally been approved. This means I can go home, conduct interviews, and begin to write my analysis.

Two very good reason that this is a wonderful day.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Voices

I've come to the conclusion today that I'm altogether too bored for my own good. There is only so much internet surfing, reading, and research one can do while waiting for a long-awaited decsision from a slow-moving committee before the mind begins to atrophy. Although, I did discover a new voice that got me through this mind-numbing day.

Pixie Lott. (Love the name, by the way)

I hope your day went faster than mine.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekend Plans

This weekend I've felt like little pixies have beaten my body. Throat is sore. Arms are sore (from archery) and all I want to do is this...

And maybe some of this...

But here is my to-do list:

1. Get train tickets from Birmingham Airport to Nottingham

2. Book a hostel room in Salzburg, Austria

3. Buy a plane ticket to the States.

4 Buy train ticket to the Airport for flight back to the States.

5. Buy train ticket from the Airport for getting back to Nottingham.

Here's the rub. I can't do any of this until Monday when the exchange rate lowers a bit. And I am on pins and needles waiting for my ethics proposal to go through successfully.

Wish Me Luck! And have a Great Weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pudding Crawl!!

This last Wednesday (June 10th) I was invited to a Pudding Crawl. What’s a Pudding Crawl you may ask? It’s a sober version of a Pub Crawl. Instead of hopping pub to pub getting a drink in each, a Pudding Crawl consists of hopping restaurant to restaurant getting a dessert (aka pudding) in each. Understandably, I didn’t eat any dinner that night.

The first stop was a Japanese restaurant, Wagamama. It had the best coconut ice cream on God’s green earth. It had mango sauce and toasted coconut flakes. So lovely I didn’t want the dish to end. Granted, my love of this ice cream probably had something to do with my hunger and I have never tasted coconut ice cream before. So I may even go back to test the dish, just to see if it tastes the same. For experimental purposes of course. I live to ensure quality control.

Adds, Ray, and Nicola waiting for their first dessert of the night.

Add's in Deep Thought.

The next stop I wasn’t as enthused to visit. TGI Friday’s. It had the most gaudy American décor that I almost had a culture shock. The best part was my friend Amy asking whether all American restaurants were like this? God, I hope not. Otherwise, I may never want to set foot in another American restaurant ever. The most popular dessert was something called “Dirt Cake”. But knowing eating heavy desserts on a marathon of eating was not a wise move, I opted for Mini’s Mousses of Mint and Oreo.

James, Nicola and Ray.

On the crawl to the last stop. This is Amy trying to expalain something chemistry related.

The last place, our little group had swelled to nine people. We went to a little Italian place, Frankie & Benny’s. Some were wussies and couldn’t down another dessert. Such a shame I party with such lightweights. I decided on a heavier dessert of Apple & Rhubarb Crumble with vanilla ice cream since I could see this would be the last place. I could have had a fourth, but from the looks of my crawl mates that was unlikely.

The Whole Gang.

Monday, June 8, 2009

BBQ Mayhem & Slow Supervisors

So yesterday I went to the Archery BBQ, which ended up as being more chemistry-themed as the evening progressed. The weather was dismal in the morning. The heavens had opened up and the BBQ was in serious question. Nevertheless, the show went on and chaos reigned. It may have included a pre-BBQ show of lighting “water” on fire in the BBQ, on the patio, wet grass, and in the hedge. The best bit was watching everyone trying to extinguish the “water” from the wet grass only to have the flames spring back up twice as large. Fifteen minutes later we finally put all the flames out. There may also have been some shaving cream fights? Cream cracker eating contests? And possibly drunken readings and mocking of my romance reading tendencies. Maybe.

Other than that, I’m trying to get my supervisor to approve my project proposal so I can go home and conduct interviews. Finding a national helpline for people with financial crises that hasn’t been scamming people is difficult to find. There are so many! I ended up picking two that had no complaints. Which one is better is anyone guess. Then thinking up relevant open-ended interview questions was the next task that took some time. I think I nailed it down to ten questions that hopefully give me some good information and themes for my dissertation. At this point I’m just crossing my fingers and praying everything comes together soon. If it doesn’t I may find myself seriously pressed for time in August. My main problem right now is getting timely responses from my supervisor. It takes her forever and a day to respond to me, and forget deadlines. She breaks even the ones she gives herself.

Weather: Low, angry clouds with glimpses of sun.
Reading: Anything on Thematic Analyses.
Discovery: “Water” is actually flammable.
Mood: I want to strangle my supervisor. Slowly.
Word of the Day: Nous - Good sense; shrewdness: "Hillela had the nous to take up with the General when he was on the up-and-up again" (Nadine Gordimer). *Rhymes with "mouse".

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dissertation Confusion and Travel...

While I am ecstatic that finals are over and done with it’s my dissertation that is giving me heart palpitations and nervous jitters. At first I thought a survey would be a fantastic project, since once you get all the data, analyzing the data is a snap. However, finding participants and companies willing to give me the time of day has been a struggle. So, my advisor suggested a thematic analysis, which would only require 10 participants, rather than 200. This I can do. Now I am writing up a new proposal. I may have to do this in the States though, since I don’t even know 10 people here that work outside the university. In the States at least I can possibly use family friends and my old co-workers from Barnes & Noble. So that’s good news. Once I made the decision to switch from quantitative to qualitative, it was a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders. Ten interviews seem much more feasible, than conducting 200 surveys by myself. I will have to learn quickly how to analyze the data, but luckily this method of research is easily learned, just time-consuming.

Okay, I'm done venting. Other than that, I've been reading and researching as much as I can. I've also been planning my trip with Annie to Germany, Austria and Prague. That trip will be a 10 day whirlwind, since she wants to visit four cities. This translates to about a day and a half in each city with traveling in between. I suggested we only visit maybe three, and that was knocked down. She wants to visit both Salzburg and Vienna. While I agree Vienna is a sight to see (I've been there briefly before) I wasn't too sure whether it was worth the effort to see Salzburg too. Oh, well. The trip should be exciting, if not exhausting.

Weather: It's been sunny for the last four days. No, really. Honest.
Reading: Ghostland by Jory Strong and Queen Emma and the Vikings by Harriet O'Brian
Discovery: The mumbling I've heard next door for months is my neighboor praying.
Mood: Frustrated with the world.
Word of the day: Chunter - (sometimes chunner) to mutter, to grumble, to talk continuously; "What's he chuntering on about?"