Sunday, 1 August 2010

Shetland and Orkney trip 2010 (1)

Oh I remember I have a blog. I submitted my thesis at the end of June (more on that later) and came upto Scotland to help a friend move house so I decided to take a trip to the northernmost extent of Scotland: the Orkney and Shetland Islands.

Thursday (aka the day of many different transport methods)
I got a lift to the bus station and after a coffee in Macdonalds (it was the only place open, I couldn't really diagree with my driver) to get the 0815 coach from Fort William to Inverness, arrived a bit early around 10am, this was not good as my train didn't leave until 1242 (the next coach arrived about 15 minutes before the train left and seeing as I HAD to be on that train). I pottered around Inverness (despite having been there 5 days earlier to go to the cinema). Got various things then found a pub with decent coffee and free wifi. I sorted out a bunch of work stuff. I got on the train and had an interesting set of coach companions. The highlight was an elderly gentleman who was wearing a tie in the SNP yellow. He had copies of TotalPolitics and Private Eye. He asked the train buffet trolley person for a "no fuss coffee, no bells or whistles, none of the silly froth, just a boring black coffee with cold milk".

I got into Aberdeen around 10 minutes late as we had to wait for the train coming the other direction at Elgin (apparently its a physical token system). I could have got straight on the ferry but I was going to spend 14.5 hours on it at least so decided to visit the Maritime Museum beforehand. It was very well done and had some spectacular views of the harbour. At around 4pm I got on the ferry to Lerwick (via Kirkwall). Despite being told the importance of photo ID for check in, it was hardly glanced at! The shared cabin was pretty good, more comfy and roomy than the Caledonian Sleeper, plus it has tea and coffee makng facilities and is en-suite. The food on board isn't too unreasonable (I'd checked online beforehand). More amazing (to me) was the provision of free wifi onboard, that I could get in my cabin. However, it was temperatmental (but they did have notice up saying so). I had a good conversation in the bar with someone who's boyfriend is from Bressay and got a decent nights sleep. I was woken (as I was warned I would be) by the 630am intercom announcement about breakfast being served, then the 7am car drivers announcement followed by the 730, we've arrived. They let you stay on the ship until 930am so I had a coffee before disembarking and walking to the hostel.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Personality Test : Signal Patterns

So I took a personality test I saw at VWXYNot?. Its from Signal Patterns. I like this because of the cool picture it generates and it is the most accurate test I have ever taken. It picks up on research, travel and reading. I'm not sure I'm that volatile though (or maybe that's what writing up does to you).

You are in touch with your emotions, and sometimes you react before you think. The good news: you don't tamp down your feelings. The bad news: you sometimes say or do things that you later wish you could take back.

You do not live your life on an even keel; you do not go for long periods without experiencing some mood swings.

You enjoy teamwork, play well with others, and prefer getting along to winning.

You're not compelled to win every contest nor to be right all the time.

You appreciate art, beauty, and design; you know that they are not superficial but absolutely crucial to living the good life. You have good taste, and you're proud of it.

You don't think it's pretentious to be moved by art and beauty. You're not one of those who believe it doesn't matter what something looks like as long as it does its job.

Those with a high score on the "aesthetic" trait are often employed in literary or artistic professions, enjoy domestic activities — doing things around the house — and are enthusiastic about the arts, reading, and travel.

You are comfortable in your own skin and don't need to throw your weight around. You'll often choose to be the one who is told what to do rather than the one who's doing the telling, and you sometimes avoid confrontations even if it means that you won't get your way.

You aren't interested in making others bend to your will or in always dishing out criticism. You're not a pushy person, and you like it that way.


You go with the flow when it comes to your emotions. Whether you're happy or sad, you show it, and when something upsets you, or you're feeling stressed out, those around you will know it right away.

You are not necessarily the one person in any group who can be depended on to stay calm, cool, and collected in a crisis; you aren't known for keeping your emotions under wraps.

You are good at solving problems, coming up with original ideas, and seeing connections between things, connections that most other people miss.

You do not shun abstractions and concepts in favor of the concrete and tangible.

People with a high score on the "creative" trait often are employed in such fields as finance and scientific research, and enjoy avant garde and classical music as well as literary fiction and scholarly non-fiction.

You strive to master everything you undertake. You tend to learn quickly and do not shy away from challenges.

You are not a "que sera sera" type of person, nor do you go easy on yourself when attempting to master a new skill or get a job done.

You are thoughtful, rational, and comfortable in the world of ideas. People find you interesting to talk to. You're the living embodiment of the saying "You learn something new every day."

You do not avoid abstract conversation, experimenting with new ideas, or studying new things. It bores you to stick to the straight and narrow of what you already know.

In general, those with a high score on the "intellectual" trait are employed in such fields as teaching and research, and are enthusiastic about reading, foreign films, and classical music.

You have a knack for knowing what's going on in the hearts and minds of those around you, without their having to tell you explicitly. People tend to turn to you with their problems because they know you care, and that you will likely offer good advice and a helping hand.

You do not feel that people with sad stories are just looking for attention, or have brought their problems upon themselves.

Stressed Out
You often feel that there's too much on your plate, that you don't have the strength to deal with the bad hand you've been dealt, or that you're going to lose it if you have to deal with one more problem.

You don't always bounce back quickly from adversity; sometimes when you get bad news it can hang over you for a long time.

Friday, 6 February 2009

PhD advice

I received an email the other day from a friend. She is currently doing voluntary work abroad but thinks she may want to do a PhD when she gets back. She sent me an email asking me about my experiences and how to get started on the application process. We're fairly close so I was brutally honest about my experiences, it made me reflect on my experiences and what I wish I'd known when I started. Excerpts below are edited high/lowlights.

I summarised the finding somewhere to do the PhD as decide on topic - find suitable supervisor - this finds your university for you...

Bear in mind that a lot of the below is fairly standard for social sciences/humanities but probably reflects my experiences (both good and bad). I'm also very aware that I ended up in one of the most sociable geography departments in the country and there's no way the experience would have been as good without the amazing people I've met along the way and shared an office with (as reflected in my current PhD acknowledgements!). Also I am in the final stages and am sick of writing up so any negativity has to be taken with a pinch of salt. The other thing is that I was offered my PhD place along with the job (with the department paying for my tuition fees) which was enough to make me turn down the PGCE course place I had (and I can always go back). Having said that one of the reasons I didn't want to do a PhD originally (despite attempts from various lecturers) was partially the funding issue and the relationship I was in at the start of my final year (but thats a whole other story). I've also been fairly honest about my experiences to temper the good with the bad, some of it may be TMI but its mainly around things I knew before I started.

Would I do it again? definitely yes everyone I know reckons that I would have ended up doing one even if it had been in education!

Despite my current trials and tribulations I would never not start on my PhD, the chance to do my research, work in the field, disseminate, go to conferences, do some teaching. You never get a better opportunity to work on something you choose (within limits, see funding stuff below) for three odd years at a time. I'm a total geek and its given me more confidence than ever (despite still having imposter syndrome), partially because you get to work in with a bunch of people as into the subject as me and therefore its perfectly acceptable to talk about subject related stuff in the pub or something vaguely related. There is no other experience (and taking into account this is my weird post-doc as a pre-doc research position) that I could have done that gave me the opportunity to research, travel, teach, convene a fairly high profile conference session, be a scientific secretary as part of the 3rd largest division of a European Science Organisation, meet some amazing people, talk to farmers in the field one day and government advisors the next and learn how to administer a research grant (and discover that organising academics is worse than the UL at peal weekend, something I never thought that would be surpassed!).

Something I wish I'd considered more before I started is why I was doing a PhD, as soon as I figured that out it meant I was more focused. For me the reason I do my PhD at the moment (and to be honest the reason I didn't walk away in the last couple of months, which have been really really hard, how hard very few people know about) is that it is a passport, if (and hopefully when) I get a job in the USA the fact I have a PhD means its easier to get a visa (by definition you are the only person in the world skilled in that subject). However, this is the main reason at the moment the thing that got me into it was the chance to research the thing I'd got interested in as an undergrad, but couldn't get further without lab work (which is $$$ per sample), other reasons include the fact you need a PhD to lecture and stay in academia, another slightly amusing (to me) reason is the chance to get rid of a title that identifies me as female straight off. I want to go into academia as I don't want to do just research or just teaching and in theory it will be fairly adaptable for when I settle down and start a family.

How many other students and who you know in a place is an important consideration, its so useful to have a support network outside of uni to escape sometimes. Ringing is perfect for this but its a consideration if trying to decide between places.

Something that people gloss over a bit is the emotional side of doing the PhD. It is lonely, by definition its all your work, you are the only one who can do it and the only person responsible for writing it (I also have a problem writing for myself, if its work its fine and easy to do). Its tough on relationships (romantic and friendships) as its hard to explain to someone who doesn't fully know whats going on why its so involved and time consuming at the same time you can't survive without these friendships. If you get through the final stages of writing up a PhD its a friendship for life! Things external to the PhD seem to have hit me harder than they would have done otherwise but at the same time I know what I want more and am less prepared to compromise on what I want out of life.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

25 Random things about me meme

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

(To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I have been in education since I was 4, and when I finally get my thesis I'm planning on staying in academia for as long as possible.

2. I had the same bedroom from when I was born until I went to university.

3. In an ideal world when I eventually have children I'd love to be able to stay home with them for as long as possible (both made harder and easier by #1)

4. I read everything and anything, books, magazines, backs of cereal packets.

5. I was baptised in the United Reformed Church (to parents from with methodist and Church of Scotland/Church in Wales backgrounds), chose to get confirmed in the Anglican/Episcopalian church, and have attended Church of England and Methodist churches since.At and since uni I've never deliberately looked for a CofE church, just a church where the preaching is good and I felt comfortable.

6. I didn't wear own a skirt that came above my knee until I was 22.

7. I would love to work on a short research contract in Antartica.

8. I adore travelling, I like flying and long train journeys, taking the boat and going to new places. I get this from my Dad.

9. My parents brought us up as far away from the sea as possible but took us there practically every holiday. Consequently being by the sea is one of my favourite places.

10. Places I have lived for over one month: Earls Barton, London, New Jersey, Wellingborough, Lusaka.

11. Cities I wouldn't mind living in: Philly, LA, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Exeter, San Francisco.

12. In sixth form when I was stressed I used to bake gingerbread men.

13. My new year's resolution for this year was to cook a new recipe once a week, I'm managing to do this more than half the time.

14. I have been on been on BBC World Service (in Spanish).

15. I prefer driving on country roads to motorways.

16. I adore thunderstorms.

17. I have a habit of finding good accommodation online.

18. I'm a nightowl and am allergic to mornings.

19. I was nicknamed "Staircase Mum" in my first year at university in halls.

20. I have/do play the recorder (descant&treble), flute, cello, piano, sing and used to compose.

21. I want to learn Hebrew.

22. I love to watch films and will watch pretty much anything within reason.

23. I can survive a day without coffee, but a latte or very milky coffee is generally the closest I get to breakfast.

24. My favourite meme is the five things meme (what you were doing 10 years ago, to do list, snacks I love, if I was a millionnaire, places I've lived, jobs I've had).

25. My Mum says I was born in the wrong climatic zone, I love heat and sun and am not a fan of damp, grey days.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Movie meme: I'm not a film geek really...

(x) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(x) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Universal Soldier
(x ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(x) Along Came Polly
( ) Joe Dirt
(x) KING KONG (original)
Total so far: 12

(x) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
(x) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
(x) Dumber & Dumberer
(x) Final Destination
(x) Final Destination 2
(x) Final Destination 3
(x) Halloween
(x) The Ring (the original and the Hollywood remake)
(x) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving -MAS
( ) Flubber
Total so far: 22

( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
(x) Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
(x) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
(x) Hellboy
(x) Secret Window
(x) I Am Sam
(x) The Whole Nine Yards
(x) The Whole Ten Yards
Total so far: 30

(x) The Day After Tomorrow
(x) Child’s Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
(x) Ten Things I Hate About You
(x) Just Married
(x) Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
(x) Sixteen Candles
(x) Remember the Titans
(x) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
Total so far: 40

(x) Bad Boys
( ) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
(x) Lucky Number Sleven
(x) Ocean’s Eleven
(x) Ocean’s Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
(x) Bourne Supremacy
( ) Lone Star
(x) Bedazzled (original only)
( ) Predator I
( ) Predator II
(x) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
(x) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
Total so far: 50

(x) Independence Day
( ) Cujo
(x) A Bronx Tale
(x) Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) ET
(x) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
(x) Rush Hour 2
Total so far: 60

( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
(x) She’s All That
(x) Calendar Girls
(x) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
(x) Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(x) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
Total so far: 73

(x) X-Men
(x) X2
(x) X-3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
(x) Sky High
(x) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday (seen both)
( ) Reign of Fire
( ) The Skulls
(x) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
Total so far: 86

( ) Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
( ) Old School
(x) The Notebook
(x) K-Pax
( ) Kippendorf’s Tribe
(x) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
(x) Boogeyman
(x) The 40-year-old-virgin
Total so far: 92

(x) Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Ring
( ) Lord of the Rings The Two Towers
( ) Lord of the Rings Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Total so far: 96

( ) Baseketball
(x) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
(x) Elf
(x) Highlander
(x) Mothman Prophecies
(x) American History
( ) Three
Total so Far: 101

(x) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
(x) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
(x) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
(x) Willard
Total so far: 109

( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(x) Hulk
(x) Dawn of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicle Of Narnia The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
Total so far: 115

(x) Kill Bill vol 1
(x) Kill Bill vol 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
(x) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave aka the Day of the Woman
( ) The Last House on the Left
( ) Re-Animator
(x) Army of Darkness
Total so far: 119

(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
( ) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
( ) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
( ) Ewoks Caravan Of Courage
( ) Ewoks The Battle For Endor
Total so far: 123

(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix Reloaded
(x) The Matrix Revolutions
( ) Animatrix
( ) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
(x) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
(x) Hannibal
Total so far: 130

( ) Battle Royale
( ) Battle Royale 2
(x) Brazil
(x) Contact
(x) Cube
(x) Dr. Strangelove
( ) Enlightenment Guaranteed
(x) Four Rooms
(x) Memento
(x) Pi
(x) Requiem for a Dream
(x) Pulp Fiction
(x) Reservoir Dogs
(x) Run Lola Run
( ) Russian Ark
(x) Serenity
(x) Sin City
(x) Snatch
(x) Spider
(x) The Sixth Sense
(x) The Village
( ) Waking Life
( ) Zatoichi
( ) Ikiru
(x) The Seven Samurai
( ) Brick
( ) Akira

Total 148

OK I've watched a lot of movies (including many many not on this list that I deem classics)

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

100 things I may or may not have done meme

Bold what you've done. . .As seen at various blogs/.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (not good when sleeping in a tent)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. (Been there but in 2003 they didn't let you up there)
18. Grown my own vegetables. (grown my own herbs)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (98% totality)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run. (hit a full rounder once)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted (I had lots of friends who did art at school)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (well a mock one in Burbank)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check. Amazingly no.
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House. I've been to the White House; I've never been inside.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake. My sister sunk. Heh.
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee. First and second time within 2 hours of each other.
100. Ridden an elephant

Friday, 21 November 2008

Five things meme

Seen this in so many places, thought it would make a nice break from attacking my thesis.

5 things I was doing 10 years ago.

  1. In my first year of a Chemistry degree, enjoying labs and french but not the rest.
  2. About to do to my first ringing society dinner and start a very serious long term relationship.
  3. Loving exploring and discovering London.
  4. Still managing to work, ring, play my flute and sing.
  5. Getting used to having high speed on tap internet on my first computer.

5 things on my to do list today
  1. Bake a cake for a friend's birthday.
  2. Pack for the ringing society dinner and weekend in London.
  3. Work on finishing off a chapter and formatting stuff on others.
  4. Have lunch with my Grandmother.
  5. Chase up my fellow convenors for session at international conference in April.

5 snacks I love

  1. Hot chocolate
  2. Sesame snaps
  3. Jammy dodgers
  4. My Mum's version of Pret a Manger's Love bars
  5. Grandma's chocolate crispies

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire

  1. Find a job that let me do research, teach but in the USA and part-time
  2. Donate to various causes
  3. Go on an international travelling gap year
  4. Buy a house (or several in the USA, UK, possibly a small island off Belize)
  5. Pay off my student loans

5 places I've lived

  1. small village, Northants
  2. London (South Kensington, Turnpike Lane, Edgeware Road, Tottenham, Bow, Honor Oak Park, Wimbledon, Bloomsbury)
  3. Summer Camp, New Jersey
  4. Lusaka, Zambia
  5. another small village, Northants

5 jobs I've had

  1. Music teacher (many different forms including camp counsellor, Saturday morning music school)
  2. Credit controller
  3. Research Assistant
  4. Lecturer
  5. Research Chemist

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Big questions in Geography

In the attack each chapter in turn thesis strategy that is occurring in response to the great PhD meltdown of 2008 I'm currently going through my introduction.

Something I'm finding hard, and I'm sure its the imposter complex along with not wanting to sound big-headed is the contribution of my work to the big questions in my discipline. In my case this is Geography/Environmental Sciences.

Cutter et al. (2002) addressed the issue of what the big questions in Geography are. The article is from an American stand point (similar to Pattison, 1964), having come out of discussions out of AAG# but is useful in shaping my argument somewhat.

Cutter et al. (2002: 307) think that the 10 big questions are:
1. What makes places and landscapes different from one another, and why is this important?
2. Is there a deeply held human need to organize space by creating arbitrary borders, boundaries, and districts?
3. How do we delineate space?
4. Why do people, resources, and ideas move?
5. How has the earth been transformed by human action?
6. What role will virtual systems play in learning about the world?
7. How do we measure the unmeasurable?
8. What role has geographical skill played in the evolution of human civilization, and what role can it play in predicting the future?
9. How and why do sustainability and vulnerability change from place to place and over time?
10.What is the nature of spatial thinking, reasoning, and abilities?

My work fits into (5) and (9) as it involves contamination of resources (water and food), coping strategies that may be sustainable (urban agriculture, food networks, food security), issues of vulnerability (the poorer members of society having less choice and therefore perhaps less concern with risk*) and alongside these questions concerns perceptions and policy relevance.

Alongside my usual pigeonholes of environment and development (including health, pollution, toxicity, sustainability) its sometimes easier for me to say what big questions I'm trying to answer as my work by its very nature is inter/transdisciplinary.

#The differences between 'geography' in the British and American contexts let alone in university departments is definitely a subject for a post all of its own.

* Something that has often come up in focus group discussion with urban agriculturalists in the field is that they say they can't afford (in economic terms) to think about the quality of the food they eat, only getting enough in quantity. I wonder if anyone has done any research at what point in the economic growth cycle people start to become concerned with quality rather than just quantity issues (like when people start spending money on non-essential items).

Cutter, SL., Golledge, R. and Graf, WL.(2002)The Big Questions in Geography, The Professional Geographer, 54(3): 305-317. ( DOI link )
Pattison, WD. (1964) The Four Traditions of Geography, Journal of Geography, 63(5):211-216.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


International Dissertation Writing Month (InaDWriMo) is a variant on Blog a post each day of the month (NaBloMo) which is a variant on write a novel month and I've signed up at Dr Brazen Hussy .

I've had a major thesis melt down this past couple of weeks (which had been coming for a long time) so this has come at the right time.

My aim is to finish the four chapters that are mostly written (have had comments from one or both supervisors) that is the study site, heavy metal levels, food consumption and the risk measures/health issues chapter. Also I want to have the theory and methodology for the last empirical chapter done (this is the bulk of new writing). This is not word busting just sorting stuff out really. Therefore, in an ideal world (but its not in my official target) I'd make a good go at the THQ chapter (which uses stuff from the HM and food chapters). I have all the figures for this from various EGU posters and after my main supervisor's revelation that he is OK with 1000 word chapters it can be quickly writte. Especially as my office next door neighbour got rave reviews for an emprical chapter written in a day. However, I'm newly enthused about getting through the hoops to get the piece of paper so we shall see.

I love designing research, carrying it out, talking about it, doing posters, but have an issue with writing. I'm also really missing teaching this term (I've been banned so I don't get distracted).

I probably should also mention that I don't really like working on Sundays. This often becomes not working the whole weekend, something I'm trying to change or sometimes I work half of Sunday. Sometimes its weird as after ringing, church, coffee its 2pm and I'm raring to go.

Friday, 4 July 2008

US States

Well, its the 4th of July, the day the US celebrates kicking out the British once and for all. So while my American friends enjoy a day off and fireworks (I still shake my head at the difference in attitude in fireworks between here and there) I thought I'd give a brief resume of the US states that are ticked off, I've been to more than the below but they are edited highlights. I am a bit of a travel geek evidenced by the itinerary I sent to my parents and sister for my upcoming trip (which I am so counting down the days to, haven't quite got down to hours, but am close).

New York: NYC (June 2001, September 2001 [a whole post in itself], August 2003), Hamilton (August 2006)
New Jersey: Elmer (my home for 9 weeks June-August 2001)
Pennsylvania: Philly (June 2001), Wynnewood (August & September 2001), Reading (August 2001)
Washington DC: (August 2001)
Massachusetts: Boston, Amherst (August 2001, September 2001)
California: LA, SF, Merced, Yosemite (August 2003)
Washington: Seattle, Vashon (August 2003)
Oregon: Portland (August 2003)
Illinois: Chicago (August 2007)
South Dakota: Rapid City, for Mount Rushmore (August 2007). I was so surprised by South Dakota, it was filled with National Parks, another place I want to spend some more time.
Colorado: Denver(August 2007), I adored the whole feel of Denver and Colorado, I'd love to spend some more time there and go to Boulder.
Utah: (August 2007) Train from Denver to San Francisco went through Utah, I got off the train in Salt Lake City as I'd done so much about the Mormons in GCSE History when we did the American West.
Arizonia: (August 2007) Flew into Phoenix, drove to Flagstaff, visited Grand Canyon and Sedona.
Florida: Orlando and Key West (August 2007) on Dad's tour, Key West was my choice to chill out after the rest of the trip. We drove through Miami and I would have liked to spend some more time there.
Georgia: (November 2007) for a friend's wedding
Texas: (November 2007) visiting friends in Austin while I was out there for the wedding

This trip I'm not going to any new states this time (unless a certain someone has other ideas) but am picking up some new places. Its going to be good to re-visit DC and Philly along with spending some time in LA in less of a tourist mode. We are however staying in an amazing B&B in La Quinta for Joshua Tree. This is a place that has lots of the features that we talked about in a dream house, except being by a lake instead of the sea.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

the past two weeks or so...

Random points from the past two weeks or so (in no order so whatsoever chronologically or of importance).

* Five days in South Wales with Mum, sister and Grandmother. View from living room was the sea (and the north coast of Devon if clear). Walks on the beach, sun, sea, and an awful lot of writing.

* Coffee , Lunch, canal side walk. pretty train journey, lots of good conversation (including some while we're on trains going on opposite directions) on different occasions with a good friend. Although we've known each other for 9 nine years (with some ups and downs) this friendship has really developed into something different and deeper in the past six months. Where it goes neither of us knows but are happy in the friendship.

* A good friend from the USA being over with a people-to-people ambassadors trip. Last time I saw her was the day after her wedding in November, and will spend the weekend with her in August on my way back from the west coast to the UK going via Atlanta.

* A series of very emotionally honest emails with the boy triggered by me discovering some old emails from four and a half years ago in the college email changeover and sending a bit to him. Nothing brand new from either of us but sharing stuff neither of us would have done a couple of years ago. This along with some amazing text and a 2 hour skype conversation confirms the fact that to quote something from Glamour magazine this month about long distance relationships "you have to write your own love story". The boy and I know what we have and are OK with it, despite that fact that it doesn't have a name. Also knowing he is looking forward to my trip as much as I am is very reassuring.

* I have an outfit for the boy's sister's wedding, and shoes and the most amazing earrings. I'm not normally this girly but its a fairly important thing for us and I'll be meeting most of his extended family en masse.

* Writing is getting there on the thesis. I'm very much in the get it done and over (my finances really need this to happen) and its progressing.

Friday, 13 June 2008

My life as a flikr mosaic

I really like flikr and need to get myself organised with it and put some of my photos up.

So from Cady.

1. type your answer to each of the questions below into flickr search.
2. using only the first page of results, pick one image.
3. copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into big huge lab’s mosaic maker to create a mosaic of the picture answers.

the questions:
1. what is your first name?
2. what is your favourite food? right now?
3. what high school did you go to?
4. what is your favourite colour?
5. who is your celebrity crush?
6. what is your favourite drink?
7. what is your dream vacation?
8. what is your favourite dessert?
9. what do you want to be when you grow up?
10. what do you love most in life?
11. what is one word that describes you?
12. what is your flickr name

I'm amazed at some of the things that came up, a steam train is not the first thing associated with my secondary/high school.