The Christmas break has provided some opportunity to do a bit more work on the disso - ordering a few more books; trying to get some research funding and/or finding other ways to support the proposed US trip.
A piece of good news today is that one of my pieces is set to be published in Spaceflight, with the issue due out about a month from now. Less good news yesterday was my department's announcement that it has no money to fund MA research projects....in fact it seemingly doesn't have any money at all at present! I'm still trying to get a few quid out of the grad school, but who knows if that will bear any fruit.
My alternative route is to make the research trip a working trip too and try and get a commission or two for travel writing - not easy in this economically tight market. Still, I'll keep plugging away.
I got some good feedback from a professor at the University of Texas on my application for research funding to visit the LBJ presidential library. Having been knocked back in October, I'm now much clearer on their requirements - and what lights their candle - and will probably reapply for the March/April round of grant-in-aid applications.
I've now been offered two dates for completing the disso - September 2009 for a December grading or March 2010 for a June grading. Both would still enable me to complete the Masters in time for a July 2010 graduation, but the later date offers no fall-back time if the disso goes wrong and needs to be resubmitted. I sincerely hope that won't happen, but am aiming to get the work completed by the end of this September as planned - giving me a better chance of landing some PhD funding for a late 2010 start.