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Yo, Madcity Expat ...

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Yo, Madcity Expat ...

Postby kurt_w » Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:43 pm

Back on December 7, Madcity Expat wrote:
kurt_w wrote:
Madcity Expat wrote:I just wasted the last half-hour composing a reply to your first line of bullshit. If I have time I may get back later to reply to the other stuff. Maybe.


Is your dissertation getting written? Don't make me come over to Milwaukee and kick your butt.


:lol:

Slowly, my e-friend, slowly. My advisor has given me a deadline. I'm defending on 11 May. I still have several chapters to write and many, many revisions. I'm gonna be busy for the next few months - wish me luck.


Are you still on for May 11th? We want to know when to celebrate.
kurt_w
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Postby Madcity Expat » Wed Apr 25, 2007 12:06 pm

Hey Kurt, thanks for remembering!

Truth be told, date's pushed back to early October. That's a good thing, I needed the extra time. It's sorta complicated, but my dissertation involves comparison and I didn't really have the comparative element worked out fully until recently.

Anyway, it's all good - I'm well on track for a fall defense. (it's why I haven't been around the Forum much the last few months) I'll keep you posted.

Cheers.
Madcity Expat
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Posts: 1261
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Location: mill-e-wah-que..."the good land"

Postby Madcity Expat » Wed May 14, 2008 2:55 pm

Yo Kurt, just in case you still lurk 'round these parts...

I did it. (woo-hoo!)

Perhaps you've seen this before - pretty well sums it up:

Lord of the Rings: an allegory of the PhD?
The story starts with Frodo: a young hobbit, quite bright, a bit dissatisfied with what he's learnt so far and with his mates back home who just seem to want to get jobs and settle down and drink beer. He's also very much in awe of his tutor and mentor, the very senior professor Gandalf, so when Gandalf suggests he take on a short project for him (carrying the Ring to Rivendell), he agrees.

Frodo very quickly encounters the shadowy forces of fear and despair which will haunt the rest of his journey and leave permanent scars on his psyche, but he also makes some useful friends. In particular, he spends an evening down the pub with Aragorn, who has been wandering the world for many years as Gandalf's postdoc and becomes his adviser when Gandalf isn't around.

After Frodo has completed his first project, Gandalf (along with head of department Elrond) proposes that the work should be extended. He assembles a large research group, including visiting students Gimli and Legolas, the foreign postdoc Boromir, and several of Frodo's own friends from his undergraduate days. Frodo agrees to tackle this larger project, though he has mixed feelings about it. ("'I will take the Ring', he said, 'although I do not know the way.'")

Very rapidly, things go wrong. First, Gandalf disappears and has no more interaction with Frodo until everything is over. (Frodo assumes his supervisor is dead: in fact, he's simply found a more interesting topic and is working on that instead.) At his first international conference in Lorien, Frodo is cross-questioned terrifyingly by Galadriel, and betrayed by Boromir, who is anxious to get the credit for the work himself. Frodo cuts himself off from the rest of his team: from now on, he will only discuss his work with Sam, an old friend who doesn't really understand what it's all about, but in any case is prepared to give Frodo credit for being rather cleverer than he is. Then he sets out towards Mordor.

The last and darkest period of Frodo's journey clearly represents the writing-up stage, as he struggles towards Mount Doom (submission), finding his burden growing heavier and heavier yet more and more a part of himself; more and more terrified of failure; plagued by the figure of Gollum, the student who carried the Ring before him but never wrote up and still hangs around as a burnt-out, jealous shadow; talking less and less even to Sam. When he submits the Ring to the fire, it is in desperate confusion rather than with confidence, and for a while the world seems empty.

Eventually it is over: the Ring is gone, everyone congratulates him, and for a few days he can convince himself that his troubles are over. But there is one more obstacle to overcome: months later, back in the Shire, he must confront the external examiner Saruman, an old enemy of Gandalf, who seeks to humiliate and destroy his rival's protege. With the help of his friends and colleagues, Frodo passes through this ordeal, but discovers at the end that victory has no value left for him. While his friends return to settling down and finding jobs and starting families, Frodo remains in limbo; finally, along with Gandalf, Elrond and many others, he joins the brain drain across the Western ocean to the new land beyond.
Madcity Expat
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Posts: 1261
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: mill-e-wah-que..."the good land"

Postby kurt_w » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:31 pm

Madcity Expat wrote:Yo Kurt, just in case you still lurk 'round these parts...

I did it. (woo-hoo!)


[Begin drive-by de-lurking ...]

Congratulations. That's great. I'm really pleased to hear it. Thanks for posting here and letting me know.

Dunno if you have something lined up now, or if you're on the tenure-track job market, or what. If you're looking for a position, I wish you the best of luck. Actually, I recently went back into academia myself. I was ready for a change, and ... no idea how this happened, but an unnamed Ivy League institution made the seriously bizarre mistake of offering me a position, so I took it. Clearly, somebody in the dean's office here must have been drinking heavily at the time.

So I left Wisconsin shortly after announcing my "resignation" from foronship. A clean break from the past, and all that. But I happened to stop by to take a look at the Forum, and couldn't miss the chance to congratulate you. I'll raise a beer to you this evening after work (you can take the Kurt out of Wisconsin but you can't take the beer out of Kurt's fridge).
kurt_w
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Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm

Postby Madcity Expat » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:47 pm

Kurt! Many thanks. It's good to hear from you. Congrats on your new gig. I'm on the market but it's tough out there for historians. My wife's got a good job here in Wisconsin and we're near family so I'm not really casting too wide a geographic net right now (maybe some day). I got some temp teaching work lined up for the time being and I'll keep my eye on the local/regional market.

Anyway - best of luck. Hope you drop by from time to time.
Madcity Expat
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1261
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2003 2:02 pm
Location: mill-e-wah-que..."the good land"

Postby kurt_w » Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:57 pm

BTW, I have nearly zero free time nowadays, and (argh) never get to read much unless it's work-related ... but I'm about eight chapters into Howe's "What Hath God Wrought" right now. It's taking a while because I only get in a few pages a day, mostly on the bus to and from work. But I'm loving it.
kurt_w
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 5389
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 3:11 pm


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