Monday, January 29, 2007

Holiday from home

This morning I dropped off our cat at a local cattery and the dog at my partner's parents place and then drove over to my mum's house, where I unpacked the car and spent a bit of time settling in to her spare room. We're staying here for just over a week while our house is painted and the back of the house next door is demolished.

It was kind of a shock to discover that our neighbour's renovations were to start so soon, but we've decided to make the most of it and so booked the painters to do our place while they do the worst of the demolition work next door. We weren't keen to stay there, not just for the noise, but also because the neighbour has an outshed with asbestos lining. We have been assured they are taking the correct precautions to eliminate asbestos dust but we've had difficulties with this neighbour in the past and after her architect was rude and unhelpful on the phone, funnily enough, we didn't feel assured at all. We warned the painters and have asked them to look out for any dust plumes. If they spot any I'm on to Workcover so fast they won't see what's hit them.

So here I am - staring out at the yachts bobbing about on the bay and the occasional ferry chufing past - a very different side and view on Sydney than the charming, higgly-piggly innerwest I'm so used to. I've only ever stayed here overnight. That was a few years ago when my partner and I returned from a holiday early after fires started in the Kosciusko National Park where we were camping. That was a few years ago now, maybe 2003 or 2004. The park was probably just starting to recover and this year it's under threat again with more summer fires.

But it's pretty nice here and very luxurious - a waterfront mansion on the North Shore. The views are spectacular and I'm hoping they will give me some extra inspiration on my thesis. I'd like to have an introduction roughly drafted for a meeting with my supervisor this Thursday. One aspect of the house that concerns me is its energy wastefulness. I have taken a rather soft stance on this in the past with my mum and her husband, not wanting to impose my views and way of doing things on them, but since I'm here for a week and half I'm going to see if I can at least get a compost and better recycling system in place. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Taking shape but still a sack

Why can't you copy and paste text from Microsoft Word for Mac into a blogger post? I have to take an indirect route by pasting text in my stickies first and then copying and pasting it into the post. I thought the problem might disappear when I upgraded my Mac OS but alas no. Anyway, that's not what I wanted to say.

I’m now up to the tenth interview processed. This process I’ve been undertaking constitutes my analysis to date. It has become somewhat systemitized as I've evolved my own special analytical method. I listen to the recorded interview, compare it to the typed up transcript and attempt to correct typos and fill in inaudible sections. This is not done very easily since whatever the transcriber couldn't make out I generally can't make out either. I make handwritten notes – to mark the main quotations and answers in the text in my exercise book. I then type up the notes by reading through the transcript again and simultaneously extract relevant and interesting quotes into examples and issues (if the quotes aren’t likely to be used in my thesis for example).

I am mindful of the kinds of issues that might be useful for the organisation in relation to potential recommendations about how to develop their IT system and strategies and note these below my other observations. I have started to index all of these example quotes and issues under major headings.

Something is starting to emerge. What it is I'm not quite sure. At the moment it’s so embryonic its difficult to say what it is or what shape it has. Maybe a sack. My thesis is a sack. My supervisor tried to help me transform it into chapter headings for my thesis the other day. I so wish the material would fit neatly under these headings and I have redone my thesis table of contents based on these headings but alas, I’m not so sure they do very well...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

First day back

Hello 2007. My first day at work on my thesis in the new year. It feels strange to be back at my desk by the 2nd of January although it helps that it's pissing down with rain and quite chilly for a Sydney summer day. In previous years I have taken a longer break over this period and often I go out of town. Last year this time I was in the UK with my partner after travelling around Eastern and Central Europe for a month. In Australia, this is traditionally the time when most people take their annual hols. This year, I've taken off just one week at the same time that my partner took her leave.

Celebrations around Christmas and New Year were great and I always enjoy the feast of food and family but after a week of it I am ready to crawl into a nice, little, solitary corner with a book and be alone with my thoughts. Some people really thrive on being surrounded by people and activity and find it an energising experience but for myself, I need to have time alone to recharge.

Just before Christmas, I had a very inspiring meeting with my supervisor recapping on what I was up to with my analysis and how to move forward with structuring my thesis. I hope I can recapture some of that inspiration two weeks on.