Friday, July 23, 2010


The last six or so months have felt like a total whirlwind. In one semester, I collected my dissertation data, analyzed my dissertation data, wrote up the results for my dissertation data, worked on a completely different project during half of each week, presented at three different conferences, applied for and got a post-doc position, graduated, drove to LA twice, said goodbye to all of my friends in Arizona, and drove (with my Dad and Laika) to Madison, Wisconsin to start my new job. *Whew* No wonder I'm so tired.
Mostly because of the move, I have decided to try this whole blogging thing again, since I will have lots of new adventures in this totally new place (and area of the country!). Yesterday I braved my first real tornado warning. It was actually kind of scary, even though my colleagues assured me that they never have tornadoes actually touch down here. We'll see.
My Dad and I took lots of pictures during the 3.5 day road trip to get here. Hopefully I will have another post soon with those pictures and a more detailed log of our journey. In a nutshell, we saw lots and lots of corn, Laika was an incredibly good dog during the trip, and we totally lucked out with weather and avoided any kinds of auto problems. Good job us!
In other news, I have been in Madison for a week and I still don't have my stuff - the movers will hopefully get it here sometime next week - so I've been kind of camping in my new house. When everything gets here and I unpack I will take pictures of the place for you all to see.

Books I'm currently reading (in my temporarily adequate free time): House of Leaves (by Mark Danielewski), Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself (by David Lipsy, about David Foster Wallace), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (by Stieg Larsson), and the Stuff of Thought (by Steven Pinker).

Friday, October 16, 2009

dissertation in progress

I made some significant progress in my dissertation this week by actually working on my proposal. Crazy, I know. I had a really good meeting with one of my committee members yesterday and talked to my advisor a bunch and I finally today feel like I have a manageable plan that will actually happen sometime in the near future. The IRB fun stuff is up first, since that needs to get approved and takes a while. Then I will finish the actual proposal in the next couple of weeks and get that approved in hopefully early November. The rest of the semester will be spent planning and refining the materials for an implementation in January/early February. This will give me enough time to analyze the data and write so I can finish in May. phew. It's going to be here before I know it.
In other career-related news, my NARST proposal got accepted to present at the conference in March (so I also need to have data analyzed to talk about then). AND, I got accepted as a NSF CADRE fellow for the upcoming PI meeting in Washington, DC next month. That should be a great learning and networking experience. I can't wait!
In non-career-related news, Laika is still the greatest dog ever, it is going to be 100 degrees here tomorrow (yuck), and I finished reading Infinite Jest (I finished it last month, but I still think it's best book I've ever read).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

cool clouds

there were some awesome clouds today right around the time I got home. there was a summer storm just west of here which is why it was all weird. here are a bunch of pictures (click on album to see more):

cool clouds

Monday, June 15, 2009

Academic English and Orwell

with regard to Academic English, from the text and a footnote of David Foster Wallace's "Authority and American Usage" found in *Consider the Lobster*:
"... in support of this total contempt and intolerance I cite no less an authority than Mr. G. Orwell, who 50 years ago had AE [Academic English] pegged as a 'mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence' in which 'it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.'" -->footnote: "This was in his 1946 'Politics and the English Language,' an essay that despite its date (and the basic redundancy of its title) remains the definitive SNOOT statement on Academese. Orwell's famous AE translation of the gorgeous 'I saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift' part of Ecclesiastes as 'Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account' should be tattooed on the left wrist of every grad student in the anglophone world." (p. 114-115)

point noted.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

back from the dead

My blog is back from the dead. (Not me - I'm not a zombie. duh.) After a semester of neglect, I have decided to continue with the blog even though twitter will still be a much more immediate and consistently updated venue for my thoughts.

The last few months (i.e., the spring semester) was crazy and I have only recently begun to feel like things are back to "normal". I was taking two classes, teaching a class, and doing research. Oh, and working on my comprehensive exam and presenting at two conferences. All that stress is finally behind me and now I can concentrate on making my dissertation proposal (which I hope to have approved by the end of the summer) as awesome as possible. My research is still really interesting and is going pretty well. I just keep having minor panic attacks that the game/technology won't be ready in time and that it won't work and that the kids aren't going to like it and I won't be able to get any decent data and my data won't say anything interesting. So, no big deal, really.

Plans for the summer include: finally reading David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest (with the Infinite Summer groups here on the intertubes), going camping a bunch, going to a conference in Michigan, going to a big research group meeting in Minnesota (I think), possibly going to my aunt and uncle's cabin on the Twin Lakes in California, and of course, working working working on my research.

I have also decided to start capitalizing sentences here. I'm not sure why.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 year in review

well, 2008 is almost over. thank goodness. what a year. even though, being a poor grad student and all, I did not lose a house or a large sum of money in the stock market or my job (being the equivalent of slave labor there is no way they will get rid of grad students) and Obama won the election, it was still an exhausting year.

the first half of the year was reviewed in a previous post.

July: the summer was spent mostly doing work, but I had a couple nice breaks. at the end of June I went to Disneyland with my brother and some friends (pictures). over 4th of July weekend I went to San Francisco to see my step-family. the weather was heavenly and we had a lot of fun.

August: August was a whirlwind. I went camping and almost got eaten by a wild donkey (pictures), went to a research group meeting at Berkeley, went sightseeing and to a wedding in Seattle (pictures), and over Labor Day weekend went to Carpinteria beach as always to hang out with my family.

Fall semester: it all blends together here. basically I was at school upwards of 40 hours a week, plus working at home more than that. I was taking three classes, plus doing 20 hours of research, plus co-teaching a class (elementary science methods for pre-service teachers). good things: I bought an iPhone (it's still awesome), my classes went really well and were interesting, I missed teaching and it was great to have students again, I ran two 5K races and walked one (with Laika), and finally went to the Arizona state fair (pictures).

December: the end of the semester was crazy. I got sick right before finals (of course). also, I had to take the GRE again because I'm applying to Vanderbilt to transfer for next fall. my advisor got a position there so I am considering transferring there. it would mean that grad school will take a little bit longer (like an extra year probably), but it is a really good school and a great opportunity for me. so, start planning your trips to Nashville to come visit me. I promise we won't listen to any country music. :)

New Years resolutions: I have been doing pretty well this year with the watching TV less and reading books more. I also bought another camera over the summer and I have been playing with that. I have also been cooking a lot more and trying new things. all these things will continue. along with cooking more I will be cooking less meat. I stopped eating beef last year for my new years resolution and that went so well (yes, the In-n-out grilled cheese is just as good as the cheeseburger) I will try to eat as little meat as possible. although it will be hard to say no to some tasty bacon.

and, you can follow me on twitter. this blog will be updated only occasionally and twitter will carry some of the things that used to be posted here.

Hope you all have a wonderful 2009!

Monday, November 03, 2008

it's almost Tuesday

I have other things to do. like, work on a lesson plan for the class I'm teaching. also, sleeping. sleeping would be nice. but what I am doing instead? checking obsessively every so often, looking through my RSS news feeds, and updating my facebook status. why isn't it Tuesday yet? I can't take this anymore! I spent about three hours making phone calls on Saturday, reminding people to vote and helping them locate their polling place. that helped a bit. I felt useful. I'm going to try to go again tomorrow when I get back from school. I definitely feel encouraged by the people I talk to (and of course, the above mentioned aggregated polling site), but even the staunch optimist in me is not allowing me to be happy or even less stressed. if anything, I have been more concerned and worried in the last week than I was at any other point. I probably didn't help the situation by re-reading some of the reports about voter fraud in Ohio in 2004 and recalling my own brush with voter disenfranchisement in 2004 (which I am still mad about - and that old blog post doesn't mention that I later found out that this had happened to many many people, not just me). I'm trying to relax and thing happy thoughts about Tuesday night and a big celebration! GOOO OBAMA!

in other news, things are moving forward with me possibly moving to Nashville next year. also, The Big Bang Theory is still awesome. and What is the What was an amazing book. everyone should read it.