Tuesday, April 20, 2010

He who knows not that he knows not is probably a lot happier

In the midst of a particularly busy end of semester season* I managed to section off two whole days to work on my proposal. I've not made any substantial progress on it in a long while for reasons both valid and self-indulgent (high maintenance students with a penchant for time wasting, and the withering fatigue that arises therefrom). I've longed for two whole uninterrupted days to work.

Yesterday I completed my proposal's selected bibliography, no small feat in itself and would certainly have taken much longer were it not for the wonders of Endnote. I banked on devoting today to methodology and chapter abstracts and organisation. Because of a concurrent extra curricular commitment, my email program remained open and blooped with a frequency sufficient to constitute a new glitch pop track or ├╝ber-minimalist raver anthem. A fellow mash-up researcher forwarded a copy of his recently defended dissertation, which I immediately downloaded and read to the detriment of today's work plan. Three hours later I was both enthralled by the rigourous ethnography and simultaneously horrified to discover that two chapters of theoretical discussion virtually mirrored my proposed approach to the same topics.

My torso slumped into the hard wooden curve of my office chair and I stared blankly out my office window. I've always heard the dramatic tales of people whose researched was scooped or conceived simultaneously by a scholar in an entirely different brain farm. The fables always ended with a dramatic flourish tantamount to the flashlight-under-the-chin campfire thriller. "...No one ever saw him again, but some say that every April and December they hear the distant clicking of a computer keyboard and his otherworldly sobs of resignation."

The gravitas of the situation hasn't yet settled, but I'm trying desperately to figure something out before I find a bloody hook hanging from my rearview mirror.

*The unfortunate byproduct of overextending myself.

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