Thesis update: waiting….

So I feel like I am entering the final stage of the long saga that has been the PhD. I just wish it would speed up a little now.

Before James and I headed off to Hamilton Island last month I sent a full draft of the thesis to my supervisor. It had taken an effort to get to that stage – I had edited on paper all my changes and all those Jill, my supervisor, had recommended onto a paper version, then transfered them into the electronic version and wrote my introduction and conclusion. Jill had seen my intro and conclusion before the whole draft, and raised some issues with the conclusion, so I had gone away and edited it. When she had seen it again, she still had some concerns, so I had taken it away and tried to play with it again – and had a small crisis. I reread it and was't happy. It didn't quite work. The problem was that I was trying to separate out history and collective memory and nostalgia, and it jsut didnn't work. There has been so much written about the question of what history is and isn't, that trying to come to grips with it in a couple of pages in a way which was meaningful to the conclusions I was trying to draw, just didn't quite work. So I spent a day feeling miserable. That was the Saturday of the October long weekend.  On the Sunday of the October long weekend, I went into my office at uni in the afternoon and sat and thought. I went back to basics – what was I actually trying to prove in my thesis? What was, in fact, my research question? After an hour or so of mostly thinking and rereading, I worked out that what my thesis was really about was the relationship of the "present" in which a representation is made with the past it is representing, This meant that the issues I had been struggling with were no longer particularly relevant….hey presto, problem solved. I then spent the Monday and the next week fiddling with parts of the thesis to recast it to reflect this thesis question, felt much much happier with the conclusion, and got it to Jill before I got on the plane to Hamilton.

And now I am still waiting to hear back from Jill. It is important to hear from her – if she is reasonably happy with it, one final edit and I will submit. I really would have liked to have submitted before Christmas, but it is getting too late for that now – I need to put in my formal notice and decide on examiners and have them notified etc etc. So it will probably be the end of January, which does give me a little more time to make any final tweaks. I had however been looking forward to the idea of  the Christmas holiday season completely thesis-free…. I am really hoping that Jill doesn't have any major issues – I might have to debate her to see if the thesis will survive them, as I am just not keen to do much further reshaping – I think I have finally reached the sick-of-it phase. James has, in the meantime, read it and done some proofing and assured me that it works as a thesis – he said it reads like "proper academic work" which is high praise. Hopefully Jill will call this week….

In the meantime, I think I finally today thought up a title: "When I was young…" – the Sixties in the Reagan era: how the present impacts on representations of the past." I like it. The Animals song is used in a couple of the films I discuss and the attitude in the song reflects the kind oof way that the Sixties was seen in the films…When I was young it was more important, pain more painful, laughter much louder…..

So hopefully the next time I write about my thesis in much detail it will be on its way to my examiners!

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Iron Chef Maple Syrup

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Because Steve and Shell don't have a dining room, and their kitchen is without a lot of bench space but they have an excellent back yard and bbq, we decided to take a different approach to Iron Chef for this round. Hence, Iron Chef Maple Syrup Brunch.

A fine array of maple syrup infused or topped dishes were presented for consumption. We had poached pears with maple syrup infused yoghurt balls, french toast cakes with sausage and apple filling, homemade baked beans with maple syrup, banana and maple syrup muffins, maple soaked pumpkin and almond salad and pancakes and bacon with maple syrup.

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We drank cranberry and champagne and Sebastian dark ale and enjoyed the lovely weather. Later we moved to the more lunch aspect of the day and ate maple syrup and pepper salmon popsicles and maple glazed pumpkin and blue cheese pizza, before finishing off the food component of the day with a maple syrup cheesecake. All was absolutely delicious and very relaxing under the shady apricot tree.

The boys ensured a traditional Australian aspect to the afternoon with a round of backyard cricket.

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All in all, there are a lot worse ways to spend a Sunday.

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An array of boys

Sick little Zacky is in the background….

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The junior etymologist phase commenced today with the discovery and capture of a snail. Now residing in a jar, the boys were most concerned to find appropriate food stuffs for it.

Having their great success with the snail, the boys went on to explore the garden and discover slaters which were transfered into a bowl for further observation.

The fascination of nature is endless…

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Mr Self-Sufficient

Zachary decided he wanted vegemite on his toast. So he did it himself.

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I’ve been eating too many blueberries!

Cloudy day at Henley Beach

The Mushroom Experiment: The Eating


So the life span for any good mushroom is short, and what better way to end it than in breakfast…..

Very tasty!

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Boy Olympics: the Adelaide events

While in Adelaide, the small boys decided to take advantage of the athletic coaching prowess available to them to work on their skills. With two coaches of Olympic athletes available to them (including their Poppa) this was a priceless opportunity.


First their was some work on the shot put. Sebastian did quite a good job, despite the heaviness of the shot, and Zachary managed to avoid dropping it on his toes.


Then onto the long jump, where Jude excelled himself and I nearly managed to sprain my ankle. That's what happens when you wait 20 years in between long jump sessions…..

There was also some very basic pole vaulting instruction – I think the more advanced lessons might await slightly more advanced size….

As the visiting expert javelin coach, Debbie provided the boys instruction in this event. Jude decided to emulate a number of Olympic throwers by dramatically falling over as he released the javelin every time. Fortunately for everyone, we weren't using anything pointy.


Then it was time for some enthusiastic sprinting. Zachary didn't care how far behind he was, he still kept going.

After this much excellent athletic performance, there needs to be some kind of reward. So, at the BBQ that evening, a medal ceremony was devised. The boys were completely thrilled to receive real medals. And there were no half measures – there was a medal girl, the crowd sang the national anthem with flag and everything. They boys were very respectful and solemn through that. And the visiting New Zealand dignitary presented the medals….


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Zonked out

This is what happens to you when you haven't slept enough for days and days….

A bit of hysterical screaming first, then four hours just like this….

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