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May 27, 2008

Sock Wars III

So, awhile back, I heard about Sock Wars III, and thought it might be fun. After all, what could be more fun than knitters trying to "assassinate" each other by making such a deadly weapon as a pair of socks, right? I had to sign up!

So, the pattern comes out as promised, and it turns out to be a wee bit harder than I had anticipated. Not really difficult, mind you, but a little more thinking required than the mindless knitting it turned out that I've been up to these last few weeks.

Fortunately for me, my "death socks" arrived the other day, and my weapons in progress have been turned over to Princess Knitter in Seattle, WA, who is carrying on the good fight.

Posted by chri1010 at 10:24 AM | Comments (640)

May 2, 2008

Writer's Block

I have been working on this project with renewed effort for a week now, and to show for it I have a huge stack of papers in my office, some books piled up next to me, and nearly 20 pages written. Yet, right now, I'm feeling like it's hard to continue, even though I know at least 5 more things that need to be written next. I'd rather be shopping for shoes, or playing the Wii, or sleeping. Let's face it--dissertating is not supposed to be easy. But it's definitely one thing that makes balance a challenge. In the interest of meeting my writer's block with writing something, I'm writing here about an article I've read recently, that speaks to me on multiple levels right now:

Recently I've been reading the article "Teaching Smart People How to Learn" by Chris Argyris (published in the Harvard Business Review). It's an interesting article that observes that people tend to use defensive reasoning rather than productive reasoning in responding to criticism. The article doesn't really fit into my dissertation directly, but I think that productive reasoning CAN be a useful approach to the dissertation process. It's important to make transparent one's premises, inferences, and conclusions to test them in an independent, objective way, as Argryis points out. But I'm not really sure that our educational system encourages us to put ourselves out there like that. There's so much risk involved and potential face to lose. Faculty don't really model productive reasoning, either, so it's hard for us to learn. Yet we have to, because responding innovatively to what gets thrown at us requires the critical insights that can come when only when we're honest with ourselves.

Posted by chri1010 at 10:18 AM | Comments (639)