Intrusive comic book research, literary misbehavior & pop-cultural observations.
May include nuts, personal opinions and non-academic language.

keskiviikko 13. heinäkuuta 2016

Sing, Study, Stitch

Research blogging challenge again. Task 4: Name a song that describes you as a researcher.


"Grand Experiment" by No More Kings nails so many things so well, I suspect one of the band members has been a grad student at some point. I found no evidence of that with a quick googling, however.

Please observe how naturally the first verse slides from easy socializing with co-workers to the initial, tentative steps of a writing project. And then, deeper into processes and ambitions. ...Until it abruptly skips back to procrastination again! This is my regular work week in a nutshell:

These idle conversations 
let me off the hook
Simple observasions
jotted down in my book
Takes all my concentration
It takes perfect aim
No time for PlayStation
Well, maybe just one game.

...And I could almost quote the chorus in the "methods" and "aims" sections of my research plan:

Run on the wheel,

jog through the maze
I'll break the seal
maybe one of these days
Boil it down,
flatten it out
Distilling the essence
of what life's all about.
I'm still waiting for the evidence...

On bad days, when you can't see the trees for the forest, "Too Far to Turn Back" by my favorite band Abney Park is easy enough to identify with as well:

We're way in over our heads, it seems 
This place is coming apart at the seams
Can't stop or control our direction
The further we go, the less protection.

The song's a great metaphor for a typical researcher's career. Not only because of the lovable expedition theme, but because it describes the growing uncertainty so well: most of the time, you really have no idea what you're doing, so you just go with the flow. The more you complete, the more you are assigned, and the further you get, the harder it becomes to get grants. (Maybe, if you got tenured, you could pick a different theme song at that point...)

Of course, if I was able to see my dissertation as gendered and male, "Frankenstein" by Stitched up Heart would be an distressingly apt alternative:

He's made of staples 
and broken bones
Bruises from chapters
Stories untold
If I had a wish,
it'd be make him whole
He's barely alive.

But I'm gonna call him mine...

Here, the lyrics misuse the name "Frankenstein", so I'm not going to quote the rest of the chorus. But a compilation dissertation is certainly a prime example of "hideous progeny"! 
And this is exactly how I feel about mine at the moment:

I'm not a doctor,
I can't make him better.
All I can do
is try to put him together.

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