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Rest and peace in Houston

In Attractions: football, cinema, music, Erkan as a dissertation writer, Erkan's habitus, Erkan's readings on December 14, 2008 at 22:13

 

After all, what I do need is some rest and this is what I do after my first post-defense days. Now it sinks in well, that I finished up my long educational life and I achieved what I intended to do at the end of high school. I had secretly changed my study topic a year before the nationwide university entrance took place and despite my parents’ agony, I had chosen to study in social sciences. In my 15th year of studentship in academia, I now have a PhD degree in anthropology… My parents are also happy in the end…

Oh boy this place is excellent. I probably had my biggest steak in Taste of Texas thanks to Ertan and Ebru who insisted to go there….

My analogy for Houston, but particularly for Rice Campus in these pre-Christmas days is "rest home for old people". It is such a restful, peaceful environment. I can see how I am getting relieved of tension I had accumulated in the last six months… I could have a more hectic life here but I choose to have it like this. Another phase of hectic life in Istanbul will begin soon. I need rest.

In the mean time, I go to campus every day and I work on my revisions in the temporary campus Ebru stays in now. Ebru’s defense is scheduled to be in April and I believe she can easily meet the deadlines. Chris (Kelty) used the analogy of "videogame" for the 800 hundred-page text I had produced. Like in a video game it is hard to progress when you are a beginner, but as you learn to play, you progress quickly… Now I am working on the text to make it more readable and understandable. In the beginning, it seemed to be hard work, but now I actually enjoy it. Working on a text that has already been accepted as a valid PhD dissertation. I am going to finish up most of the work before I leave for Istanbul. I have enough time and peace of mind to do that.

A typical day starts with me and Ebru buying a cup of coffee from the newly opened pavillion the campus. If Ertan can make it, he meets us in the evening. Or I meet with some other friends but I must single out Julie (Kutac) who is a great host and company. She has had some good news this week and I am very happy about that.

Well, what else? In peace, I read Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle.
Watching a few movies I could not see back in Istanbul. Such as Grindhouse Presents, Death Proof
or Vicky Cristina Barcelona – another enjoyable Woody Allen movie and of course my belly grows due to my obsession with all-American food places.

 

IHOP vs Hooters? I always prefer IHOP!

Erkan’s thesis is accepted…

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on December 9, 2008 at 02:02

…with some revision requests. I will work on these while I am in Houston as I had already planned….

 

Now I just want to have a peaceful sleep…. Photo credit: İpek Martinez

Today is the day.

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on December 8, 2008 at 08:29

So here comes the day. The very raison d’etat of this blog. The defense ritual will start at 14:30 (at 22:30 in Istanbul)

Stress, recovery, stress, recovery…

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on December 6, 2008 at 20:20

Ebru and I had managed to stress ourselves to the end last Friday night. I don’t know how it started. We had studied in Ebru’s temporary office all day, in a base-floor office with no windows. It was an unlikely cloudy and depressive weather Houston had. Ebru was working on a particular chapter she has been writing. She plans to defend in April. I was writing my acknowledgments section and working on Monday’s defense presentation. I was anxious with my messy, sometimes chaotic writing style. This grew in me so intensely that I had lived another night I don’t want to have another one ever again.

Good things. I now know to whom I will dedicate my dissertation. It is a public figure, not someone I know directly. Guess who? I am happy to have decided that. 

 

Erkan’s fascination with all-American food places. Wings n Things was visited yesterday:)

Anyway, now Houston has its another bright sunny day. I recovered and I am on my way to the campus….

Day 3 and 4

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on December 4, 2008 at 23:26

 

Defense will take place in this room… Anthropology Reading Room as it is known.  

Oh boy, I was stressing about driving. As if I have not mastered driving in Istanbul. But getting to know the car is important. My Hyundai Getz, my very first car is comfortable. This older Ford car is not that comfortable. When it rained, I could not find out how to start wipers in the middle of highway:( It is over, I am fine with it now…  Anyway, after much planning in road maps, I made it to the Rice campus and started to do… what? I don’t know what to do. I know I will have to do some revisions but i have to see that after defense. I am in Ebru’s office now. She is temporarily staying in Houston and planning to finish up some chapters. Her defense might be in April. Well, I am basically disrupting her study. I have to make new friends around:) I hanged out with Carole, our department coordinator, and we opened up a Facebook account for her. I saw Steve (Tyler), who inspired me to work on metaphors, and in rhetoric in general.

Oh but yesterday, I met with an old friend Julie Kutac. Thanks to her, she gave me a ride to Rice Campus and I could briefly see my advisor Jim (Faubion). He won’t be in town before the defense day so it was in this brief moment I could see him after 4 years. Nothing seems to be wrong so far though.

Early hours of the third day…

In Erkan as a dissertation writer, Erkan's habitus on December 3, 2008 at 18:02

This is the third day. I haven’t made it to the campus yet but it is still noon. It is Christmas time and Ayhan, who hosts me, is extremely busy. We will rent a car soon and I can then be mobile. Today Ayhan Yuce was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article. Congratulations Ayhan!

Last night I, Ertan and Ebru met. Ebru did something amazing and after checking her luggages, she missed the flight in Dallas! Ertan and I went to Hobby Airport to pick her luggages and George Bush Intercontinental Airport  to pick up her who could come later. So we did virtually traveled all the city from one end to the other.

Ertan and Erkan at House of Pies. 

We went to House of Pies at Kirby Drive to have coffee and food. Ertan likes the place only for good talk but not for food but he had to put up with us due to his infinite hospitality. This all day open diner was one of my favorites spots where I would always find peace and happiness in my three-year stay.  I and Ebru re-stated the fact that my third year in Houston, that is, 2003-4 academic year,  was probably our happiest year in our lives. Ertan did not admit that but I am sure it was one of the best years for him, too.  So we have met again after 4 years when I was back in Houston for a short time.

I talked to Ana Wandless, another grad student who is defending next week. It looks like our moods are quite similar at the moment. I don’t know what she did last night, but I had some annoying dreams about my defense. I should go to campus as soon as possible and talk to my professors…

Erkan is in Houston

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on December 2, 2008 at 17:17

My dear readers, please accept my apologies. I have had some hectic days and I stopped blogging completely. I have arrived Houston last afternoon and slept in until a few hours ago.

I still yet to settle down and start my usual online life. In the mean time, i wanted to drop a line.

For the long run, I will be happy to hear from you. How should I continue in the blog? One thing I will not be doing is the news clipping service as Hans named once. I will probably do round ups but these will be fewer. But what you like or you don`t like at all. Drop a line here or send me an email!

Anyway, I hope to be back soon again. Love y`all!

Revised draft sent, Erkan will soon be in Houston…

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on November 28, 2008 at 13:06

 

Now that draft sent, Erkan can enjoy Saturday night derby between Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe. It is an away game for Beşitaş. Photo, from Beşiktaş-Eskişehir game, credit goes to Milliyet daily. 

 

I have just sent the 10th (last) chapter.  This means I have just sent the revised draft.

I will be arriving Houston on Monday at noon and I will have 22 days before I fly back to Istanbul. I hope this gives me enough time for any possible editing etc my readers suggest. 

My defense day (8 December) happens to be the first day of Feast of Sacrifice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_Sacrifice). Although I have lost much of beliefs, it is still a social phenomenon and you are supposed to be happy when there is a feast. Hopefully, this might be the best Feast I will have in near times. 

Current list of chapters:

001 – An Intro

002 – A snapshot: Yol vs. Kapı: Journalistic Metaphors in Understanding EU-Turkey Relations

003 – Methodological issues

004 – Blogging as a research tool for ethnographic fieldwork

005 – An outline of Turkish press

006 – Ways of Production

007 – Internet Urban Legends on the EU

008 – The EU process; an assemblage of ideas, events and agents

009 – Conceptual Wars

010- Turkish Journalists: Independent political actors? 

Just one more chapter to go…

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on November 26, 2008 at 12:47

From the Beşiktaş-Eskişehir game last Sunday. Yes, I could not keep my promise, I am back to the games.

A week later, Erkan feels fine. I had gone through three major chapters. Created a new synopsis in which I believe I have a real argument and I am getting ready to send my revised chapters. I sent the synopsis yesterday. Chapter 009 took much of my time and it seems that my final and most conclusive Chapter 010 needs more work. Today I will send 2 of them and will be working on the final chapter and maybe I can send it by midnight.In the mean time, some of my theoretical claims go hand in hand with most recent observations such yesterday’s NYT piece. Of course, all my writings may be too abstract since I do not share any of them yet. Please wait a little bit more. I have to be sure about what I am doing first:)

It is a sunny autumn day and I felt like a loser staying indoors, all windows and curtains closed when I went out for grocery store.  I will probably get to campus now after I see the weather and of course I may spend some time with chitchatting. But well I need air.

the Battle of Chapter 009

In Erkan as a dissertation writer on November 22, 2008 at 13:06

So now with hope and more confidence I am working on the draft. I can now think there is more or less coherence in most of the chapters and with a better introduction, I can provide a more organized draft. There is one chapter left that is the most chaotic but theoretically the most colorful one. I now start on that one, Chapter 009 – Conceptual Wars, and let me see what I can manage today…

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