Saturday, June 18, 2005

Toy and Dissertation

My wife gave me a new toy for Father's day... a swiss army knife with a 64 meg data chip as one of the attachments!

This is amazingly cool. In the one "knife" I have a knife blade, a screwdriver, a pair of sissors, a nail file, a flashlight, a pen, and the USB 64 meg memory. It is way cool! And I am literally the first on my block to get one, since Mary had to import it from the UK (took only a week) as it is not available in Canada yet.

I got my Father's day gift several days early because I actually needed the 64 megs to facilitate transfer of the files Mary and I were working on last week: her dissertation. (I was helping her copy edit her first complete draft, due Friday June 16. No one can find the typos in their own writing, and I was glad to do it as it was the first time I had read the dissertation through from start to finish, though I have seen the various bits regularly over the last several years. But finally assembling everything into one complete draft gives a very different impression....!) When we printed out the hardcopy and put it into a binder, we were very gratified by its bulk -- it really felt like a book. At 250 pages (and that doesn't count the references, probably another 30-40 pages) it is a nice size for a doctoral dissertation.

I am obviously biased, but I think Mary's dissertation one of the very best I've ever read -- its of publishable quality, IMHO. And in the opinion of a bunch of editors and referees too, because she has already published 2 chapters of it in significant journals, and is sending out two more in the next couple of weeks. It is very very good stuff.

I am a little in awe of my wife's scholarship, both in comparison to the light weight stuff I've been grinding out lately on cyberculture (I think her stuff matters and has the potential to revolutionize her discipline, if her positivist male colleagues can put aside their ideological prejudices long enough to read it -- she actually got heckled at one conference by a group of 60 year old men who did not like her critique of their work, though all the women scholars in the audience subsequently came up to her and apologized for their behavior....), and that, well, that I got to marry her.... I mean, somehow you expect great scholars to be out there somewhere, probably at Harvard or Standford or, at least Queens, not lying next to you in bed. It's like one of those K-Tel commercials: "How much would you pay for this product? But wait, there's more!" Not only is Mary incredibly good looking (initial motivation for interaction) and willing to put up with me (astounding! ) but I find out a few weeks into the relationship that she is a fabulous cook and then a few years in she turns out to be a great mom to my kids (who knows this or even thinks of it as a criteria in the early days of a relationship?) and then I find out that on top of all that she is a significant scholar too. I'm telling you, it just doesn't get better than this!

I just wish I could go back in time to visit myself in my twenties and tell myself to relax, it all works out in the end. Because at the time, I was very envious of all my friends who seemed to be having much better luck then me....Turns out, I wasn't mistaken to wait until I got exactly what I wanted..... though of course, I have to admit in the end, I just lucked out....

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