Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Spike Activity

Right then.  Since I last spouted:

- Finished those pesky classes.  All wrapped up rather nicely.  This year I successfully tricked the philosophy guys into thinking I was a philosopher, the psychologists I was a psychologist, the linguists a linguist, and computer scientists are still unclear about how what I do has anything to do with computers.  I win.

- Worked through writing a respectable article which my supervisor and I are submitting to be published.  The process basically amounts to finding and jumping through various technical hoops.  More on this later.

- Was accepted to a couple PhD programmes and finally accepted an offer at Trinity College Dublin.  It’s renown for its humanities division, its progressive acceptance of women, and its deplorable exclusion of Catholics and, of course, its impeccable lawns.  I’ll be studying under these two jokers.  I plan on calling the second “Carl Stallman” (long hair + emacs obsession = rms).  The other has so-far eluded a nick-name, however, his demeanor is reminiscent of a certain loud-mouthed PLU faculty member...except the Trinity version's dress-code belies his capitalist sympathies...

- So.  Right now I’m finishing the minor thesis.  The idea: metaphors applied to common financial objects (stock, market, economy, etc...) will be of a few domains (spatial, physical, war, etc...).  But!  The linguistic instances of these metaphors will take a number of forms, many of which are antonymic (fall & rise, soar & plummet, rally & retreat, etc...)  My job is to compare the collocates (words that occur nearby) these various antonym pairs.  The hypothesis: those antonyms that are less agreed upon (experimentally based) will exemplify a more diverse set of collocates in the corpus even though they statistically occur most-often as describing the action of a small set of objects.  Got it?  This is important because 1) it reaffirms that metaphor is cognitive not linguistic but comes at this from the top-down as a corpus-based study, 2) it suggests that some objects make more metaphorical sense when used to describe either positive or negative events, but maybe not both, and 3) the method is an example of a corpus approach to cognitive-linguistics, and more specifically, metaphor.  Bing bang boom.  A+.

- Was lent a Roland electronic drum-set for a month.  Strong points include more-than-real rebound on the toms, a very sensitive snare complete with rim-shot, quiet, and lots of “styles” of drum-set (my favorite was named “power-house-fusion.” Hah!)  Weak points include a very soft hi-hat that offered nearly no rebound, and that its compact size would likely become a crutch, making it hard to go back to bigger set.  In the end it was an absolute joy to play for the first time in a year.  Thanks P.C..  Huzzah.

- Will be moving from the UCD campus to Renelagh (still in Dublin) -- living with architecture students.  Lord help me.

- Reading Nabakov.  Lovely.

- New bands include The Riot Before, The Flatliners, The Menzingers, Turin Brakes, Austin Lucas, and old motown stuff.  New albums include Against Me! - White Crosses, Murder by Death - Good Morning Magpie, and Gaslight Anthem - American Slang.  All well worth buying.

- Someone mistook me for a messenger.  Two Bicycle Points!  Two people asked me directions, questions I could answer.  Two Dublin Points!  And one person on the phone thought I was from Galway.  One Irish Point!

Points abound.