Classic evening

Tonight was one of the more fun evening's I've had in a long time.

Laura and I arranged to have dinner with Stephanie to catch up and whatnot. She invited Andy at the last minute which ended up being a good way to round out the group. We chilled at the condo for for a couple hours with wine and good conversation, before realizing that it was 8 o'clock and we were getting hungry.

We walked down to the Sit Down, which is the only sushi place I know of that also serves pizza. To succinctly explain how eclectic this place is, the soups they offer are chicken rice, pasta fagioli,  jambalaya, and miso. So yeah, all blocks covered. We got a ton of sushi to go with the wine we BYOB'd from Kimbark.

Since we finished dinner around 9:30, it provided the perfect opportunity to catch the Navy Pier fireworks from the Point. So we started walking down 53rd, when I called Sarah and invited her to join us, which she did, once she dragged herself out of bed :) Made it to the Point just as the fireworks were starting. It's such an awesome perspective, because you know the fireworks are huge and very high above the ground/water, but they look so small from a few miles away.

After the fireworks concluded, we were not quite ready to leave, because we were curious just how cold the Lake Michigan water was. Climbing carefully over the large, uneven rocks, we got down to where we could get our feet in the water. Unfortunately, that proximity also put us in range of some rather large waves.

The park closes at 11:00, so (slightly damp) we headed back home along 55th, planning to catch a bus to make the trip much less effortful. We got sidetracked, however, when we passed the hookah lounge on 55th, where they were advertising "$20 Hookah To-Go." Mostly intrigued by the concept, we popped in and asked just how that worked. It turns out, they sell you the hookah for $15, and set you up with the water, tobacco, and even light the coal for you. This was a great deal, so we got a green hookah and raspberry shishe. Unfortunately, now having a fully lit hookah meant riding the bus was totally out of the question, so instead we walked, smoking the hookah all the way back to Drexel, a good mile plus walk, sharing between the 4 of the 5 who chose to partake. We received many curious looks from passers-by, and some questions from those who obviously thought our tobacco to be of the wacky variety. It's a very surreal experience to traipse around the street holding a hookah and blowing large plumes of delicious smoke behind you. It was definitely a great way to conclude the night.

  • Current Mood
    amused amused

USA 2-0 Spain

Most of you reading this probably couldn't care less, but Team USA Soccer just shut out Spain in the FIFA Confederations Cup semifinal. Ever since being in England during the '06 World Cup, I've fallen in love with international soccer.

There are many reasons why this win by the US was huge:
1. After showing a total lack of heart in opening losses to Italy (3-1) and Brazil (3-0), the US needed a miracle just to make the semis. They defeated the African champions Egypt (3-0) while Brazil shut-out Italy by the same score for the US to advance having scored more goals than Italy (you can argue that the tie-breaking process is lame, but it is what it is)

2. Spain is the #1 ranked team in the world. The USA has only won one other match in history against a top-ranked team was 1998 against Brazil. This game ended some huge streaks for Spain: 35-game unbeaten streak (ties a world record), 15-game winning streak (set a new world record), had not given up a goal in the first 3 games of the tournament.

3. USA was out-shot 11-4 by a talented Spanish squad, but made good on its only 2 shots on goal while keeper Tim Howard made 6 spectacular saves for the shut-out, despite being under heavy fire the entire 90 minutes.

Awesome, simply awesome. Team USA advances to its first final in a FIFA tournament ever against the winner of South Africa/Brazil.

  • Current Mood
    excited excited
  • Tags
PHD: Vortex

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of an Advanced Degree

So I’ve been meaning to make a post of any kind, and more importantly a massive life update. I’m taking advantage of the fact that the power has been shut off* in the condo to sit down and write this.
*No, it’s not that we didn’t pay our bills, we’re just having work done on the A/C power hook-ups on the roof.

Starting out with the academic front: there’s been lots of good and bad points this year.

+ Revised a paper with Becky on which I’m 3rd author and it’s been submitted to a journal for publication. This is the majority of the work I did with her at Wash U from 2004-2005, and thus I really would love to see it published.

- This paper was initially rejected from a different journal on, what seemed to all involved, less than sufficient reasons. I think some revisions and clarifications would have been enough, but the editor didn’t see it that way. It’s a bummer because this journal would have had a wider impact than the journal we just sent it to.

+ Finished my trial research project after a whirlwind process of planning what the project would be. And there were some interesting results that fit into my idea about preschool children’s thinking and talk about location.

- The paper is still not in a publishable state, and will need a lot of work and more data to get there. In writing up the paper and making it into a presentation, I realized that one of my RAs had absolutely no idea what she was doing and her data (despite having only done 1 subject) really skew some of the results.

+ I think I’ve figured out how to discriminate between prepositions (now “spatial relational terms”) and “place names” for my research in a meaningful way. Collapse )

- I didn’t finish my MA this year because the 2 classes I still need to take ended up not being offered. One because my advisor ended up getting really really sick and missing most of Winter quarter, and thus not wanting to teach in the Spring quarter. Which threw me into a really odd situation, not really knowing what was going to happen to me as her only grad student.

+ I now have an emergency plan in place to easily change advisors should my current advisor take a turn at the mortal coil shuffle. A little unnerving to need an emergency plan, but I’ve got one, so yay.

- I’m finding myself undermotivated. And it’s really a problem that I’m having a hard time snapping out of. I’m hoping that this summer I can really devote to getting back on track.

- I feel like my lack of motivation is only being spurred on by the fact that my advisors can’t manage to get in the same room so I can defend my project and be done with it. It’s really frustrating, and I feel like “If they don’t have time for a 30 minute meeting to talk about my project, why do I need to put so much effort into it?” But that’s a stupid way of looking at it, and I know it.

OK, wow, that was long. I don’t think the rest of this will be as long.

Wedding stuff! Things are starting to fall into place. We hit a long time where we thought everything was taken care of. Only to realize about a month ago that we had NOTHING PLANNED! Sure we had a photographer, but we need a list of the pictures we want to be taken. Sure we have a DJ, but we don’t know what songs to play for which dances. We have someone to be the officiant and we’re doing a wine and chocolate ceremony, but beyond that, we haven’t written the wedding ceremony.

It’s all the little details of actually having a wedding, and it’s really fucking stressful. Unfortunately, Laura and I have the same reaction to stress, avoiding the whole damn thing. Which really doesn’t accomplish anything. Anybody else want to do this for us? I’ll pay well :)

All that being said, I can’t wait to marry Laura, it’s really weird to think that in 74 days I’ll be her husband. I know that nothing will really change about our relationship, which I think is probably the best part.

Well, School and Wedding are pretty much devouring my life at this point. So I guess I’ll leave it there.

Expect more frequent updates now that the Sword of Damocles isn’t hanging over my head so much with school.

XKCD: wrong

iPhoto faces

So I got iLife and iWork '09 from my mom. One of the new features on iPhoto is the ability to organize photos by people, based on face recognition software. The program picks out faces and tries to guess who it is based on previous entries, sometimes with hilarious results. Such as:
- Is Laura's Grandmother Cara?
- Is this statue of Nellie Fox or mummy Brad?
- Is this wall/rock/piece of metal/rhinoceros shoulder anyone at all?
- It also confirmed the belief of the Bear's Den staff that rainingtulips and coralia13 look alike.
- In my picture of the Sistine Chapel, it recognized all the faces of the humans, but not God or the angels.
- Am I my father?
XKCD: wrong

Quote of the day!

$500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus. -James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm.

That's right, half a million dollars just doesn't go as far as it used to. And President Obama's new CEO salary cap will leave these men begging on the streets...just to make the payments on their shiny new Bimmers.

It's about time the Gov't limited the extravagant salaries these corporate execs are making. If only they could do it for every company, and not just ones taking bailout money. Yes that's socialism, and I'm a socialist, but I'm sorry, does that extra million dollars really make your life better? Better to the same extent as it would for the number of poor who could be fed with what you make in a day?

Do you really deserve to be showered with cash as you burn your company to the ground? No.

This sickens me.
  • Current Music
    Enter Sandman - Metallica
  • Tags
false memory

Stupid Kid Tricks

I commented on this post over at Shakesville's Question of the Day:
What monumentally stupid thing did you do as a child that you're now surprised to have come through unscathed?
Here's my comment:

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned swings yet. I was a swinging dare-devil.

For anyone who ever saw the old Nickelodeon short cartoon "Inside-out Boy," I was convinced that if I got enough momentum, I could go right over the bar (although I was fairly certain I wouldn't get turned inside-out, that would just be an unexpected bonus).
While such attempts were unsuccessful, they led to an even more exciting habit: jumping contests for both distance and height. My mom got mad every time I came home with another shirt that got torn on the chain of the swings, I was mad that it ruined my release, thus costing me precious inches on my jump.

I also developed some entertaining swing tricks: The Tarzan, in which I'd jump off the seat, grab one of the chains, and swing back and forth until the momentum ran out. And another favorite which I never managed to name (but still scares friends when I do it now), but I'd straighten out at the peak of the backswing and keep stiff through the arc, so I looked straight at the ground (and my head came just inches from smacking into the ground) then the chain would slack, because my weight wouldn't shift, and snap me back up. This went seamlessly into the backflip, when I'd let my legs fall back and effortlessly (once I got the timing right) dismount the swing flat on my feet.

What crazy things did you do as a kid?
  • Current Music
    Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash
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WW: Big Block of Cheese

Rahm Emanuel = Josh Lyman

Here is an image of what we can expect from the new White House Chief of Staff.

Read more about "Rahmbo" in this article from Rolling Stone.

Honestly, I think this is exactly the kind of person the Democrats need running the White House. He'll drive people to actually get things done. Sure he's a little crazy, but so what?

I'm...NOT published

So apparently, there was a mistake on the CV that I came across. No paper, just the poster. Lame, but also, not that surprising, because, as Krystina pointed out, most journals require the signatures of every author before accepting a paper. Still a bummer though.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
  • Tags
false memory


So, I was killing some free time at the conference today by writing up a CV. I know, I'm really exciting, but what are your options for killing a half-hour at a psycholinguistics conference?

I presented a poster at Psychonomics in 2006 on the research I did while at Sussex for study abroad, in combination with some other related work from one of Brendan's other students. I thought that was pretty awesome, how many people get to present the work they did in one semester at a major international conference? But I definitely figured that that was the last I'd be hearing about it. I was happy with the work, but I didn't think it was all that impressive.

Apparently my advisor and the Journal of Psychophysiology felt differently. After googling my name, my advisor's name, and the year, 2006, I was greeted with the CV of one of Brendan's chief collaborators. And there I found this little tidbit:

Weekes, B.S., Mulqueeny, K., & Holliday, R.E. (in press). Phonological false recollection: An
EEG study. Journal of Psychophysiology.

Yeah. That's the paper I wrote when I was at Sussex. EDITSame title and everything. My title was not quite the same, so I have the feeling that my work was rolled in with the other stuff that I presented at psychonomics. I have not heard a word about even the idea to submit the paper for publication, let alone going through revisions and it being accepted. I've since gotten over the surprise and feeling like it was done behind my back (my name is on it, after all) and I'm enjoying the fact that I've got a sizable addition to my CV without any additional work on my part.

Apparently they also presented it as a poster at the British Association of Cognitive Neuroscience. Huh.