Sunday, January 06, 2008

New year - new ideas?

As I'm writing this, new snow is falling on the frozen ground. The last few days have been cold, crisp, wintry, just like they should be, except for the lack of snow. And that is being fixed now, too!

Just before Christmas I read the first paragraph of a newspaper column, some idiot was writing about how lack of snow and thus climate change is good, as it makes driving more pleasurable. I didn't read the whole thing, so I'm not sure if he was being ironic, but I think not. I thought that was the extreme in egocentricity, but unfortunately this guy was just one of many, many, many, who only think of me, me, me.

Reading the afternoon newspapers is bit like eating an expired yogurt: it tastes bad so you give it up half way through, you start to feel slightly sick and decide not to do it again, until the next time, of course, when that expired yogurt is the last thing in your fridge and the shops are already closed. I read some of these papers over the holidays, and found them mostly incomprehensible. They are full of celebrity gossip and so-called lifestyle-stuff, and they only make sense if you know the celebrities and care about those lifestyles. Reality TV stars, new pop singers, actors... mostly it looked like an appendix to a TV, and as I don't have one, I didn't know any of the people.

There were some news, as well, and the newest fad that has taken over the morning papers as well: comments and opinions by the so-called "normal people". Most bigger nest stories now come accompanied by comments of 3-5 members of public, who get their pics and opinions posted to the paper. Usually there's a link to the newspaper website where there is a discussion forum where the "debate" can continue. This is all good, although I'd prefer to hear the opinions of people who know something about the issues, either because they study it, work with it, or are influenced by it.

It was notable, however, that most of these people had similar trains of thought than the guy with a gas-guzzling 4X4 who prefers snowless winters (I have no clue what car he drives, it just seems fitting to assume that a person with such idiotic opinions has the most idiotic car imaginable). Whatever the issue, ALL the commentators based their opinions on their personal situation alone. The price of alcohol: "they could rise it even more, I don't drink", or "I never buy vodka, it could be more expensive, I buy wine and it should be cheaper". The availability of firecrackers: "They should ban them, I never use them anyway", or "they should not be banned, I like them". Is it just the way these questions were asked, the way the answers were edited, or do people really have their heads so deep in their own asses they can't even formulate a proper opinion about a NATIONAL POLICY?

Well, whichever the case, actually the epitome of egocentricity is doing a PhD. And I need to get even more selfish with my time and energy to be able to crunch mine to the finish. I have decided to surrender to a calendar and have booked weekly slots of research time. During this time I will be invisible to everyone and also blind to everything but the work. Last term I tried softer approach, and everything else seeped to my research time. Whenever lecture preparation was going slow, it ate the time I had planned for writing. I was a bit too generous in offering supervision times and they broke some otherwise solid research days. Et cetera.

So, I suppose in keeping with the zeitgeist, my new year's resolution is to add some me, me, me to my world, at least until the damn t***** is finished.


Lady V said...

Happy New year!
Excellent resolution, good luck!
Good choice of songs in last fm ;)

TH said...

Happy new year to you, too! And thanks! I see you're writing a blog now as well, I'll add it to my morning-coffee procrastination-list... :-)