August 2009


Yesterday three federal states hold elections for their parliaments (and in another one communal elections took place as well). As usual on election days I spent the evening sitting in front of the TV and watched the announcement and the interpretation of the preliminary results.

The primary results based on SPIEGEL:

Saarland 2009 Diff. to 2004 Saxony 2009 Diff. to 2004 Thuringia 2009 Diff. to 2004
CDU 34.5 % -13% 1 40.2% -0.8% 1 31.2% -11.8% 1
SPD 24.5% -6.3% 2 10.3% +0.6% 3 18.5% +4% 3
Grüne 5.9% +0.3% 5 6.4% +1.3% 5 6.2% +1.7% 5
FDP 9.2% +4% 4 10.0% +4.1% 4 7.6% +4.0% 4
Linke 21.3% +19% 3 20.6% -3% 2 27.4% +1.3% 2
NPD 5.6% -3.6% 6
Others 4.6% -4% 9.1% +0.7%

The results are widely discussed because in four weeks the federal election will take place, and therefore the outcome is used as a seismograph. It is very tempting to shuffle the results together for interpretation, but that just does not work out properly.

I know it is so easy to scold politicians, but seriously –  a lot of their statements after an election are so tiresome. Even after they lost many of them try to sell well and pick on the other parties instead. And it is always so refreshing to listen to someone who states honestly: yes, we lost.

And it is tiresome to listen to journalists who ask so many stupid questions as well.

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Bl*gger does not seem to like my comments – I have no other explanation for its refusal to let me comment on this blog as well.

Girlorange: Fall is such a gorgeous season – foliage, hot apple cider, pumpkins…

(And even W*rdpress wants me to struggle with it. Quite a few comments have been swallowed by the software on Yaeli’s and Frau Freitag’s blogs. )

Last night we finally watched “A touch of spice” which sounded promising  – family life, food and politics.
Fanis Iakovides who lives in Athene is expecting a visit from his grandfather who lives in Istanbul but instead receives the news that his grandfather had to got to the hospital. Fanis travels to Istanbul to visit his grandfather in the hospital, and on his way we are transferred three decades ago into the past: Fanis family lives in Konstantinopel. His grandfather trades spices and teaches him a lot about food and life.
In 1963, however, due to the increasing tension Greece and Turkey, the family is deported to Greece. The grandfather is a Turkish citizen and is allowed to stay. He promises to join the family soon, but will never do so.
Fanis has troubles  integrating into Greece. He spends his time cooking and with this linking to his memories.
When Fanis arrives in Istanbul, he meets his childhood love who is married now, and for a second there is the idea of getting together.

The movie is picture wise beautiful, but I am a bit disappointed by the story line. There were a lot of interesting plots (maybe too many to cover them accordingly) – the developments between Turkey and Greece or the problems of a family trying to integrate into a country that is only on the paper their home, feeling alienated, or the passion for food. The stories do not develop very deep and stay a bit superficial – but maybe I am just so disappointed with the ending  – this love story just did not really fit well into the plot, no happy ending or not.

This chapter is driving me nuts. I have no idea where to start, or how to set it up.  Every section is interwoven with the other ones. It is like the Gordian knot and I cannot find the beginning of it.

Note to self: if you set up a writing-schedule like the one on Wednesday – do not forget that you are actually employed and need to go to the office sometimes as well. Ooops. So much about working on that section for two days.

Office was alright. I got all my stuff done, graded papers, and had a nice chat with my collaegues.

So finally I printed the chapter and took the printout and my magic revision fountain pen to the park nearby where I sat down and read it. As I have mentioned some time had passed since I worked on it for the last time. The only thing I remember is how much I struggled with it, especially I am not sure yet how to arrange the different sections.

And while I read it I constantly though: Oh my. What a piece of not-connected stuff. I knew that there is still so much work to do, but this chapter right now does not deserve the title as chapter. More as a collections of fragments.
I am so glad that I took some time off (though it would have been helpful if that time off would not have taken that long), because now I am not involved in all those pieces and can take a perspective from above. This might help me while working on it.

I have decided to treat each section as a paper of its own (well, not the first time that I came up with this idea, but time is running and I have a lot of pressure now.), and during the next vacation The Husband has to read them and tell me if their arrangement makes sense 🙂 Or my thesis advisor (right, I _do_ have a thesis advisor.)

So, we have pieces for the following sections (of course all the titles are sort of alienated)

  • Introduction/aim of the chapter (status: okay)
  • What I aim to do with the theory (status: fragments)
  • Theory based on discipline 1 (status: fragments)
  • Connection to discipline 2 (status: does not exist)
  • Theory based on discipline 2 (status: fragments)
  • Empirical evidences (status: fragmentary fragments and missing a lot of literature as there is so much out there. Not regarding the aim of my study, but slightly connected. Or hardly connected at all, but still interesting.)
  • My conclusion (status: fragments)

Wow, listening it like this sounds so easy.

Anyway, today and tomorrow I write a 5-page paper called “What I aim to do with the theory”.

Of course I did everything to avoid looking at The Important Chapter yesterday. I grabbed a couple of books and went to the nearby park, sat on the lake and read. Why is every other research question so much more interesting than mine? Will it be a useful contribution to the academic discourse? Will I pass the defense? Why did I not know what I know now years ago when I started working on my thesis? And will I ever get it done?

Goal for today: read The Important Chapter!

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