Thursday, September 27, 2007


Math has never been my strong suit.

Well, I was in accelerated math all through high school, which ended after my junior year when I elected not to take a math my senior year. So I haven't had a real math class since 1999.

I did take approximately a month of elementary calculus in my first semester at UK. I dropped it when it became quite clear to me that I would probably fail if I stayed in. I still don't know what a derivative is. Unfortunately, without calc, I was supposed to go back and take college algebra. I decided to try to test out and just go straight into logic and statistics. I approached the math department, which sent me to the person in charge of the bypass exams --- MY CALC TEACHER!

He was amazingly nice and allowed me to bypass my bypass exam because of my time in calc. That was very exciting. So I took logic (not math, just like geometry proofs -- loved it) and then I took statistics. Which was ridiculous. My teacher was a lunatic, and very funny, but there was not much math done in the class.

So I really haven't been a math person in about 9 years.

Cue graduate school. Now, I am in a JOURNALISM program. There's very little math in journalism, not because there shouldn't be, but because the majority of us loathe math and avoid it. I mean, the business people do money math sometimes, but I tried never to do it.

Thus, I didn't expect this grad program to have much math. Now, I saw on the course list there was a little required class for PhD students called "quantitative methods for mass communications research" or something like that. But I'm not a PhD, so I wasn't going to worry about it.

Last night, we read a chapter that had more equations than I've seen in awhile! My intro to research methods class is currently looking at correlations and statistical probabilities. I had homework problems. I had to find a calculator with a square root! It was madness. It seems that I did get the problem correct, so that gives me some extra confidence. But then my teacher started saying something that sounded like:

"Social science researchers often look at correlations of .5 and say they're good. We then ask them to use the r-squared equation to determine the variance of the prediction."

I was very confused. I blurted out, "I'm sorry, I have no idea what that means."

Everyone started laughing. I think some of them were secretly glad I asked, though.

He explained and then told us that obviously some of the readings contained information about high-level statistics. He doesn't want us to be able to DO them (sigh of relief here), just to be AWARE of them. Thank goodness.

So, strong suit or not, it appears that I will have to do some math. It's no secret that I designed my research project to involve as little math as possible (although since I'm not really sure how to do my research project, that could change!). More on that later.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

High fashion

Today, it rained.

This is exciting because we haven't seen rain in a long time. And today, it poured.

The weather is important because today I saw some cases of high fashion. You see, this makes sense because today it was raining.

However, I have seen these things more than once on people since I've been at school.


That's right, plastic boots. With shorts. Or skirts or pants. In patterns or plain.

Now, again, galoshes in the rain make perfect sense. You don't want your feet to get cold. If you're wearing jeans, you can tuck them into the galosh and therefore not have water up to your knee.

And some of the galoshes are cute. Lady bugs, pink plaid, pink galoshes in general. Where in the world does one get galoshes?

But why in the world would you wear galoshes when it's NOT raining?

I know I haven't had cable for a couple of months, but I don't recall anything on the America's Next Top Model marathon I watched yesterday about galoshes. I don't remember seeing galoshes on the magazines in the grocery check-out line. Perhaps I simply live under a rock, but I had no idea that galoshes were in. Jellies came back a couple of years ago, yes. My freshmen all wore those brown fuzzy clog things last year (and I have a pair. They're comfortable, but they were indeed against the dress code. I didn't enforce it -- I would have had to give detention to dozens of girls). The flip flop, shoe of choice for America's college student, is still totally in (and still on boys. Sigh, I loathe flip flops on boys. And Hal wears them, too). Tennis shoes (some call them sneakers), yes.

But galoshes?

Need I remind you that it's been 100 degrees lately?

You're encasing your foot. In plastic. In 100-degree weather. Although it might be cute on the outside, can you imagine the nasty going on on the inside? Ewww. I shudder thinking about it.

So tell me, am I totally out of the loop? Are galoshes all the rage and I just had no clue?

Or am I right?

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Hal decided that since I'm making a couple extra dollars a month now with my TA job, we can finally afford to get cable.

And it actually makes sense to get it now. We held off during the summer when not much was on TV, but we have several shows that will be coming back soon and we need to get ready to watch.

Boston Legal. House. Jericho.

So on a brilliant Saturday morning, the cable man showed up and delivered us from DVD-land. It's good to have TV again. Although I had gotten used to watching all sorts of stuff without commercials. I think I saw a commercial for the MySims game on the Wii about 399 times yesterday. I must have that game; the Sims rock. Therefore, we must get a Wii. ;)

Hal and I were surprised to see Rachel Ray had her kitchen remodeled, and were relieved to see that the jerky guy is still a judge on Iron Chef. We watched some UK football (go Cats!) and I caught my very first episode of Ugly Betty (I liked it!).

Now the challenge is to stay focused when the idiot box is back in full swing.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jeans in the mail --- Stacie demonstrates maturity.

Because I am now 25, I am incredibly more mature than I was at 24. Take Wednesday, for example, when I contained my giggles in law class. We were discussing Cohen v. California, which involved a young man entering a courthouse wearing a jacket which said "F--- the draft." (It was Vietnam.) So I got to listen to my professor, my classmates, and the lawyers (we listened to the oral arguments before the Supreme Court) say the F word all morning. It made me giggle. (On a side note, Cohen won, making the F-word one of the few constitutionally protected words -- at least when worn on a jacket.)

OK -- so maybe that's not the best example of my new-found maturity.

However, I shopped recently and demonstrated my maturity. I have a problem with jeans. I have always been hard on my clothes. When I was little, the biggest problems I had was wearing holes in the knees of all my pants. This happened due to the fact that I often liked to pretend I was a dog or fox and therefore would crawl around. While I don't do that anymore, I still have a problem with my jeans blowing holes in them, usually in the inner thigh region (blast! those soccer thighs!).

So I had worn through my most recent pair of jeans, which had been purchased at Old Navy. I decided that since I am a college student, jeans (and not just capri jeans) are incredibly important to have. After discussing this with Hal, we decided that I needed to buy a pair of jeans that would last longer than a year, which seems to be my breaking point. His idea was that I needed to spend more money than the $20 I usually spend on the pants to get something with more quality.

Now, those of you who know me know I'm not a label person. I could care less where my clothes come from. In fact, my jeans in high school often came from the Carrollton outlets. I had a pair once that cost $8. Sigh, the good ol' days.

So I asked around. If you are a girl, you know that pants are funny things. Sometimes they fit. Sometimes another pair in the same size do not fit. Sometimes they fit one day and not the next.

Upon the recommendation from one of my friends, I decided to look at - gasp! - Lane Bryant.

Now, Lane Bryant is a store for larger women. Said friend told me that she wasn't recommending it to me because she thought I was fat (perish the thought!) but because she randomly had a pair of jeans from LB and it is her favorite pair.

Because I am now mature, I was more concerned that the blasted things fit than I was about the idea that I was going into a store for larger women. I marched into the store and declared my largesse to the world.

What a fantastic experience! LB has a new line of jeans psychologically programmed to make you feel better about yourself. They are organized by color and then resized. I wear a 2! A TWO! I didn't wear a two when I was two. My Lord, I don't know what single digits on pant labels look like! I would buy all the jeans in the store that put me in a two! Fantastic! Even better, I was a two PETITE! I feel skinnier by the moment! Even though the petite just means I'm short, it also implies the sleek body of a supermodel. America's Next Top Model, here I come! If I continue to run/walk with Layla, sometime LB might not let me in the store because I will have exercised myself right out of their sizes. Oh day.

Of course, the store didn't stock very many twos. In fact, they only had one in the lighter color I wanted. Of course. They were also running a special.

Which is why I bought three pairs of jeans off the Internet. Originally $40 a pair, I got the three of them for $56, including shipping. I am an Internet shopping queen.

They came in the mail today, and wouldn't you know, they all fit! Of course, each of them fits a little differently, because that's apparently how girls' clothes roll.

But I now have jeans and will be able to look like a real college student again. I put them on after admiring the inside label in a sort of narcotic single-digit pants size haze. I never knew, ladies, what all the fuss was about. Even though this single digit is a hoax because in every other store I would still be in a double digit, I still feel amazed at my skinny mini-ness.

Then I will put out of my mind the pros and cons of being a two in LB as opposed to the horrific number I will see in a month when I get measured for a bridemaid's dress. I will, like a woman of supreme confidence and love for herself, befriend my body, even with all its quirks and annoyances. I will accept myself and envision myself not on America's Next Top Model, but the Dove Real Beauty campaign.

After all, that's what a mature person would do. Right?


Fridays are always interesting days over here in B-town. I don't have classes on Fridays, so I try to reserve the day to read my homework for the upcoming week.

This never happens.

Today, I woke up early to go to school for Pop with the Prof. In the class I AI/TA, the professor has designed a brilliant scheme to get to know some of the students in the 166-member class. He and I have held various hour-long sessions called Pop with the Prof, in which groups of four to 12 students hang out with us and eat cookies and drink soft drinks (they call it pop here, is that weird?). It's a great idea and I enjoy being able to meet some of the students instead of just looking out at the mass of them and seeing a conglomoration.

After PwtP, Hal and I went to lunch with Hal's officemate, Raj. We went for Falaffel sandwiches because I have never had one. As Raj said, It's like a meatball without meat. Which caused me to quote Rent, "With meatless balls.' 'Ewww.' 'It tastes the same.' 'If you close your eyes!' 'Is that it here?' 'Wine and beer!'" (It's frightening that I can do that.) To answer your questions, the sandwich was very yummy, and the main component was like a meatless meatball.

Now, finally at home, I should be doing some work on the take-home research methods test I have due on Tuesday, or reading what is sure to be piles of information for law and theory. I haven't done either, although I did start looking up some answers to my test. It seems that once Friday rolls around, I really decide that I'm too lazy to do what I know I should be doing, no matter how much I enjoy reading the studies and the law textbook. In fact, right now I could take a nap.

I will not. I will press on with the homework because I know that great is my reward if I do --- a Sunday of peace instead of reading!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

the cap's off the bottle

If you know me ridiculously well (as in, you're my family), you may have recognized at some point in time that while I am generally laid back, I have a couple of very anal idiosyncratic behaviors.

The one my family probably most makes fun of me for occurred often at the lunch table in the midst of making turkey clubs after church on Sundays. This doesn't happen at home as often anymore as we now employ the tradition of going out to breakfast/lunch after church with the extended family.

However, during these turkey lunches, and occasionally other meals, my family would often have at the table several 2-liter soft drinks. My siblings and parents often would pass these bottles around and do something that would just Drive. Me. Crazy.

They would leave the caps OFF the bottle!

During the meals, I would often be seen grabbing caps and bottles in order to reunite the two, enduring snickers from my siblings (read: Stephen), who would sometimes leave the caps off the bottles ON PURPOSE just to annoy me.

I have no idea where this comes from. It might be a valiant effort to keep the coke from going flat and having to pour it all down the drain. I'm not sure. Although, I also do this when I have bottles of water.

I am relating this story because tonight, Hal and I were sharing some Barq's Root Beer with our chicken quesadillas at dinner. He poured and then, you guessed it, LEFT THE CAP OFF THE BOTTLE!

Hal had no idea that this is a bothersome thing to me. We don't share 2-liters all that often, mostly because they often get flat before we can finish them. He was mystified at the idea that I cared enough about something so silly to get crazy about it. He is a CPA, which give him license to be anal-retentive, but as a weird "creative-type," I am messy and "whatever" by default. Except with bottle caps.

I am glad to know that even though we have been together 4 years on Tuesday, I still can surprise him! ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Joanna's wedding

This weekend, my first friend, Joanna, was married to Heath. Joanna and I met when we were three years old and my family moved two doors up from them. Joanna offered me some potato chips through the fence and I was ready to be her bff.
She and I were basically inseparable from the time we met til the time I moved away after second grade. People thought we were twins (we are almost exactly the same age, our birthdays -- hers Aug. 17 and mine Sept. 9 -- are very close. We were huge tomboys and played lots of hide and seek and war. We had many clubs and often were beat up by the boys in the neighborhood. We didn't care. Although she and I ended up taking wildly divergent paths through high school and college, we were the type of friends that didn't need to hang out all the time to be close. We talk every couple of months and it works. We also have the benefit of sharing our childhoods and our families.
She was a bridesmaid in my wedding and I was very honored and pleased to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.
Her wedding was very beautiful. She had a service at Blessed Sacrament at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8. They didn't have a full mass because Heath isn't Catholic.

Heath blubbered when Joanna walked down the aisle (they did not see each other before the service, and we spent lots of time before the ceremony making sure that Joanna was hidden from his view up in the choir loft. They had thoughtfull readings, including one read by Joanna's friend and boss, Dr. K. Joanna has been working for Dr. K for many years (he's in the first picture up at the top with Jo and Heath). He is a doctor who was rendered a quadrelplegic in a body surfing accident. Joanna, along with many other (coincidentally beautiful) girls, provide company and in home care for him. It was very moving watching him read.
It was great to see Joanna find a wonderful guy. Heath is incredibly nice and he is also the biggest man I have ever met. He played football at Ohio State. For comparison, Joanna is about 5'9" and she's wearing big shoes. :) He seemed so happy as she walked down the aisle; it was very touching to watch.
Gina and Billy (Jo's parents) put on a beautiful wedding and lovely reception, which was held at the Millenium Hotel in downtown Cincinnati.
I can post more pictures later, but I wanted to give some people who have been asking a little eye candy. Hal took all of these and did a very good job.
Next: OMG, I'm 25!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Pictures Part 2 -- my walk to campus

This first picture is a lie. It's not, in fact, on my walk to campus. However, these are the Sample Gates, and they're important because they are kind of the emblem for the university.

My walk through campus is pretty cool. As you can see, it's very outdoorsy. Now, these photos were taken in the evening, so the light is coming from the opposite direction, but you get the idea. The path I take leads me by a creek and through this patch of trees (picture immediately to my left on the left side of the path is a huge field where people often lay out or play frisbee and other collegy things). Across the creek, you see things like the picture above (with the steps). There are at least three bridges on my way to the J school -- some are wooden, like below, and the one closest to Ernie Pyle is this stone thing below. All of these pictures are taken as if I'm walking towards the J school, except for the stone bridge, which is taken facing away from the Jschool. It doesn't matter, though.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Pictures, part 1 --- the buildings

On Sunday I ran around campus for a couple of minutes to snap a few pictures of where I am everyday! Enjoy!

Ernie Pyle Hall is my destination! I LIVE in Ernie Pyle Hall. Although it doesn't have the impressive steps like the Grehan Journalism Building does at UK, it does have "Journalism" etched in stone above the door. Makes it hard to get rid of us, eh?

This is the ginormous student center. It's one of the biggest student centers in the nation. Attached to the student center is a hotel (picture right next to here!). This building is all behind the J school, taking up lots of room. The Student Center has a bowling alley, arcade, food places, computer labs, the bookstore, and many other rooms and meeting rooms.

The student center has gorgeous rooms like this one, where students hang out to study by the fire place. This is a very "Harry Potter" room. (And it's Sunday, so there aren't many people here.)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Easily Amused

Hal and I discovered this site when Jennie and Peter came to visit. Hal is ridiculously amused by it and plays it often to annoy me.

IU doesn't believe in the American holiday of Labor Day, so while the administration and support staff, like Hal, have the day off, the rest of us still have to go to class. It's very strange to think that everyone is going to be having fun on Monday, and I'm not even going to be home trying my best to avoid the fireworks. Hal, being the proud possessor of a three-day weekend, is heading to Lexington tomorrow to sing at Fr. Tom's 25th anniversary mass. I am staying here to read and do some laundry. Our new church is having a grad student cookout, too, so I will probably attend that and eat a hot dog.

Today we went to the 4th Street Festival. It is an arts and crafts festival on, you guessed it, 4th Street. There were some amazing things there, but not a whole lot we felt like affording. There were a lot of places that were selling cool art and clay objects as well as places that sold some beautiful jewelry. We also saw a desk Hal thought was awesome, but it was $2,500!!! We did buy a present for Joanna, who is getting married next weekend. While there, we ate at The Laughing Planet, which sells organic burritos. It is very yummy and relatively inexpensive.