Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Up for the challenge

While finishing my final paper (due tomorrow at 5 p.m.) for the semester. I emailed my professor (for the 1millionth time) to ask her (the 1 millionth) question about my research. I wanted to make sure I chose the correct statistical test for analyzing my data in this particular proposal.

She wrote back affirming and said "if you really want to get flashy..." I could use a different statistical test.

One I didn't know much about.

One I have not used before, even in practice stuff.

So what am I doing?

Of COURSE I'm doing the other statistical test! :)

It's 1 a.m., and I'm rocking the ANCOVA.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Today is a very special day.

19 years ago today I was sitting in Mrs. Andes' first grade classroom. In the afternoon, I looked up and found my father looking through the glass panel on the door.

He had this look on his face:(Dad, Jennie, & Me)

He also had a stack of pink bubblegum cigars under his arm. I was able to hand them out to my classmates at the end of the day, which, understandably, made me very popular.

My dad was there to tell me that my sister had been born.

Jennifer Rae came screaming into my life, made my parents' house too small, had us move, had me switch schools, made me the oldest of four, and became the best sister (and friend) a gal could ask for.
We'll keep her.

Happy Birthday, Jennie.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I've learned a new vocabulary

This year has brought about a new vocabulary. I found myself explaining the Rozelle-Campbell baseline to Hal on Tuesday as I showed him the graphs from an amazing presentation by one of my class members. I sat explaining what the graphs meant and yadda yadda, and he looked at me and said,

"You know how to calculate that?"

I said, "You know what? I do!"

And I DO! The formula is written down in my notebook somewhere, but it's not a hard one.

Tonight, I calculated a Scott's Pi Reliability Coefficient BY HAND. And this is the formula:

Pi = (Po -Pe) / (1-Pe)

(In case you are curious, the Scott's Pi tests to see how reliable my coding sheet is, and involves me testing the agreement of my coders, namely, me and Hal, against the possible agreement by chance. And my coding sheet passed.)

Thursday, I explained to my class my very simple Pearsons Correlations and why or why not they needed or didn't need significance tests.

Friday, I read regression outputs on SPSS.

I will tell you all that approximately 7 months ago, I had no idea what a regression was. I had no idea how to calculate a Scott's Pi and couldn't imagine why I would ever want to, even if I had, in fact, known what one was.

This year, I remembered that once upon a time I knew how to do math. And while the math I have been doing this year has been very computer-based and not so much of my own brain doing the calculations, it's still nice to know that my brain can still function in terms of math. I have learned so much in terms of research methods, and have done, now, two full studies which employ quantitative (math) methods -- what a surprise! I had no idea that this was what I would be doing when I got here. In fact, I had no idea WHAT I would be doing when I got here. It's been a crazy and very interesting year.

And it's almost over.

My final paper is due on Wednesday. I have two papers due on Monday. One of those is almost done, the other is about half done -- but the hard part (all the calculations and tables) is out of the way. So while I don't really have time to reflect right now, I did want to let you all know that I did, in fact, learn something. I did, in fact, learn LOTS.

(I hope my grades show it!)

I will update at some point in time in the near future. Until then, I'm sitting in my chair writing about obesity, technology, and experiments.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I was a weird kid

As I sprint toward the end of the semester, I am so happy to see sunlight and warmth again. It's been a long winter.

Of course, I've spent much of it coding, which makes it even colder.

Today I was thinking about some of the things I believed when I was a child that I know are no longer true. There are the normal things that every child learns the truth about, but I also had some odd beliefs that perhaps simply verify the fact that I was a very strange child.

1. I believed my Uncle Walt sold anvils door to door.
Yes, anvils like the coyote dropped on the roadrunner. Those big metal things that I think are used for blacksmithing? I think that's right. Anyway, I thought my Uncle Walt sold them door to door and I always used to wonder just how he was able to carry them in a suitcase (because he had to have more than one for selection purposes, correct?). I marveled at his strength!

In reality, my Uncle Walt works for a company that does security systems, among other things. To this day I have no idea where my previous job description came from.

2. I thought I would never be hungry again after First Communion.
I am Catholic, and in school we prepared for our First Communion as second graders. A lot of emphasis was put on the fact that taking the Eucharist allows us to quench our spiritual hunger. I must have missed the hunger part. The day of my First Communion, I came home to a fabulous party with a huge cake, and didn't feel hungry for any of it. Because, of course, I was never going to be hungry again. I'm sure I got over this quickly. I'm still bitter about missing out on the huge cake.

In reality, I am, of course, hungry constantly. This is one of the reasons I need to work out more. And whereas I still take the Eucharist every Sunday, I do not have a period of non-hunger after it. Maybe it only works the first time?

3. I thought the mean old man was going to shoot me if I stepped into his yard.
Doesn't everyone have a mean old man? The rumors in our neighborhood abounded about the mean old man, who lived close to us. He yelled at Kenny and the other boys. He fired warning shots into the air to make you run off his lawn. We didn't even know his real name -- he was simply the mean old man.

In reality, I never saw the mean old man, and was obviously never shot by him. I did venture into his yard several times on dares (I was quite the daredevil!).

There are many things like this, of course. These are just a few while I'm thinking about it. I need to get back to work now.

What kinds of things did you believe as a child that you know are no longer true?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alas, no Tshirt this year.

So there was a rumor that I was going to be doing Swim to Summer because I will do just about anything for a free Tshirt.

Of course, the sign ups for Swim to Summer occurred mere days before my study was due for AEJMC. So I put off signing up.

Then I kept putting it off.

And that brings me here, weeks into Swim to Summer with no swimming accomplished.

I didn't even SIGN UP!

I officially stink.

And actually, I DO stink! Because I just finished doing a little jog around the block. A very SLOW jog, but a jog nonetheless. We'll see how long that lasts -- so far, it's been 2 days.

Even though I won't get a Tshirt for jogging around the block, I suppose it's ok. In fact, I have plenty of Tshirts. The one I'm wearing right now is from 1991 (I stole it from my mom). Hal would say that I have an overabundance of Tshirts and I need to get rid of a ton.

However, because of Hal, I have found two Tshirts that I must have. Perhaps I will buy myself one of these Tshirts if I meet some sort of goal.

Here they are: Tshirt 1 and Tshirt2!

And it's true that I'm a huge dork.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fashion notes

I find it odd that anytime a person comes to my blog through a search, they have searched for galoshes. I posted about galoshes awhile back. I do think it's weird that this fashion phenomenon has brought random people to my blog.

Also, my friends doubted my leggings sightings. Because they have real jobs and actually dress up to go to work, they don't have contact with college girls wearing leggings-as-pants. I ranted about this style in detail as we traveled to Chicago together, and we were able to have a leggings-as-pants sighting while shopping in H&M (well, while they were shopping; H&M apparently had nary a shirt that fit me in an appropriate way). They were, of course, horrified. They truly doubted that many girls wear leggings-as-pants at school. So I did a very unscientific observation exercise -- I looked out of the window of the bus and counted people who were wearing leggings-as-pants. I came up with 5 in less than 10 minutes. That's pretty ridiculous, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Hostel Living

Hal has decided he wants to go to Europe one more time before we become grownups and start thinking about having a family! :) So we are planning a jaunt through Europe in May of 2009. We are thinking about starting in London (I've been there twice, but Hal hasn't been there), then going to Paris (only for a day and a half -- neither of us have been there), and ending up in Rome (neither of us have been there, either). Or just going through Italy. Or heading through Poland and Germany and ending up in Rome somehow. We have no idea quite yet.

Hal thinks it will be so adventurous if we "rough it" and stay in hostels. This is spoken like a person who has never stayed in a hostel. I have.

In 2003, I took off for London for spring break (I was there right around this time!) with friends Emily and Andrea. We spent the first weekend in London with Keith, who was studying abroad in Manchester, who I was totally in love with, and who, coincidentally, was the boy who gave me a high five on New Year's Eve. The girls and I found our room (Keith happened to be staying in another part of the hostel because he booked separately than us, or because he didn't think he could stand to spend THAT MUCH time with me, take your pick!).

Our room was shared by about 9 others. Most of the others were living in the hostel, so the room was quite lived in. Which was fine, and everyone was super nice. (One of the guys even stopped smoking something that didn't smell quite like regular tobacco in the common kitchen one night to tell off a bunch of Spaniards who had followed us back to our room and wouldn't leave us alone -- and that's class.) We locked our valuables in our personal lockers, but for the most part, we felt comfortable with letting our clothes sit under our bunk beds.

Possibly the most telling story of staying in the hostel was coming home at 2 in the afternoon from a morning of touristy stuff and finding on of our male roommates passed out drunk ( AT 2 PM!) on his bed, a top bunk, wearing (I swear) a T-Shirt and socks. That's it. Which, if you are keeping score, leaves out something very important. That's right --- PANTS. And I don't mean he was sleeping in his T-shirt and boxers. Oh no, not so much. He was allowing us a view of (how do I put this delicately?) ... the total package.

Noticing our horrified looks, another boy in our room draped him with a washcloth. (Which was hilarious!) And we went about our day.

It was SO FUN for that week.

But I was 20. That was 5 years ago.

I think I'm too old to do that again.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Windy City: a whirlwind trip in pictures

I was going to name this "Chi-Town," but that put in terrible images of the Chi Squares I did last week. All 10 million of them.

So, I renamed this the Windy City, even though that nickname was a misnomer for Chicago this weekend.

The girls and I headed to Chicago for Anne's bachelorette party.

Anne is getting married on May 17 and we were able to head to Chicago because Anne's cousin Megan has a house in a downtown area. I know almost nothing about Chicago because I had only previously been there once but we were excited to get up there. We had shopping on the agenda as well as pizza and various other ideas.

On the way up in the car, Anne decided to tell us that she had a surprise for us. Cousin Megan was able to score Cubs tickets for all of us in the luxury box of the firm her husband works in. So we had that to look forward to on Saturday!

Friday night was spent gorging ourselves on pizza and playing one of the greatest of all games -- American Idol on the XBox. Which basically means Karaoke.

Anne sings and Amanda celebrates her platinum status after she belts out Elton John's "Tiny Dancer." I sang all sorts of things, including "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones, which I didn't know had any other words but "I can't get no satisfaction, though I try," etc. However, it does have other lyrics, they're just ridiculous.

Saturday was the Cubs game at Wrigley! LtoRL Dawn (Anne's sister), Anne, Amanda, Megan, Cousin Megan, and me. The Cubs won 9-7 and it was a fun game -- and excitingly different from the Reds' games, where no one really cheers. Those Cubs fans were all pumped up.

That afternoon we shopped and that night we went to dinner at Lux Bar, where we had some mini burgers (one of mine was a mini-fillet mignon) and the above martinis. There we also gave Anne some gifts.

Anne models her assorted bachelorette wear. Notice that she doesn't have on anything scandalous -- she is not that kind of girl. We were low key.

After dinner, we headed out to a local bar where we danced to all sorts of crazy songs (I don't have those pictures on my camera) til the wee hours. Above are two from the club -- the top is Megan, Amanda and I and the bottom is Amanda and I.

It was a very packed weekend, and I'm still exhausted from it! The next thing on the wedding itinerary is Anne's Shower Redux, which was rescheduled after the first shower was terminated by the blizzard of 2008. If it snows on April 19, we are going to discuss the wedding. :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Well, the AEJMC deadline was last night at midnight and I was actually able to submit a paper! But the horror and statistical nightmares I went through to get that paper finished is still making my head hurt, so I won't talk about that right now.

But I did want to make a note about a ridiculous conversation over Easter that highlights my family's craziness.

My immediate family (minus Donnie, of course, who wasn't able to come home for Easter) went out for dinner on Easter right before we all went back to school. My father often tries to get my sister and brother to transfer back home from school because he misses them.

So during dinner he decided to try to convince my sister to come home and said he would offer her room and board. Because my family likes to be silly, we tried to figure out what board meant.

"A diving board?" we asked him. "A head board?" "The Eastern seaboard?"

And on. And on.

You'd be amazing at how many compound nouns have to do with board. We kept shouting them out during dinner.

"Switchboard!" "Control board!" "Bordeaux!"

For the next couple of days, my sister and I would call each other and leave messages -- often with just a couple of words.

"Boogie board! Brilliant! Call me back!" she'd say.

Well, before you are "bored stiff" I will leave you, with plenty of other things to throw your way in upcoming posts. I am headed to Chicago for the weekend, but other than that, I will be a little freer for the next couple of weeks.