Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Rest in Peace

Ok - struggle du jour: My mother in law passed away this morning. In the 12 years since I've been with her son, she and I were never close because she was absolutely certifiably crazy, a hypochondriac, conspiracy theorizing whacked-out narcissistic nutjob a la mode (and believe me, I know crazy - I've earned multiple degrees in crazy and have another in the works). She was also nearing 80 and had multiple untended health issues due to her long-standing suspicion of the medical profession and refusal to leave her home. She was one of the most difficult people I've ever known to be around, much less make even the minutest effort to get along with. Most of my conversations with her went something like this, "Uh huh...really...hmmm....You know, I never thought about it that way...That's one way to look at it," et cetera while she nattered on about whatever came into her head.

While I can empathize with my spouse and his family in their grief because you're never too old to need your mama, no matter how crazy, abusive or whatever, I don't feel sad that she is dead, but consider her passing to be a blessing on a number of levels. She was old and worn out and truly is better off - out of pain, not tormented by her own paranoias, no longer ill and so forth. Interestingly, I don't feel guilty about my lack of emotional response, but am puzzled by it since it is so atypical, even for me, the queen of atypical.

The coming weeks and months should be more fun than a large ovoid wooden container of primates, given that she died with only a handwritten will (she didn't trust lawyers either). I can hardly wait.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Holy Crap

My brain is sooooo goddamn fried. As of today, actuaries, professional researchers, CPAs and other number-crunchy types have my utmost respect. I could never do this tedious data entry bullshit for a living. Imagine entering 177 separate bits of data from at least 200 patient files into a spreadsheet that if you get one cell off, it screws up the whole thing. That's right, I have to get 35,400 pieces of information into the spreadsheet with no mistakes or the statistical computations will be off. I can't even make chili the same way twice in a row, so how the hell am I supposed to slog through this? All I ever wanted to do was the testing...fuuuuuuck.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Too damn funny.

Yes, I'm a NeuroNerd. It's my job to dredge up stuff like this.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My Fine Is $850

My best friend and I have been friends since age 3 when my family moved in across the street from hers. Over the course of nearly 4 decades she and I have had many, many sordid misadventures, mostly when we were teenagers, but we've also been known to run rampant occasionally as adults. We've had a long-running argument of at least 20 years now about which one of us is more morally corrupt, evil, kinky, whatever. She, of course, insists that I am "worse" than her and naturally I respond to the contrary. Honestly I've always thought we were about the same until she sent me the following:

This is fun to do. Just read the "offense" and if you've done it, you owe that fine. Keep going until you've read each "offense" and added up your total fine. When you are done, send it back to the person that sent it to you and your other friends.
Title your email "My fine is $........"
You don't have to confess your answers, just the total amount of your fine.

Smoked pot -- $10
Did acid -- $5
Ever had sex at church -- $25
Woke up in the morning and did not know the person who was next to you --$40
Had sex with someone on MySpace -- $25
Had sex for money -- $100
Ever had sex with a Puerto Rican -- $20
Vandalized something -- $20
Had sex on your parents' bed -- $10
Beat up someone -- $20
Been jumped -- $10
Crossed dressed -- $10
Given money to stripper -- $25
Been in love with a stripper -- $20
Kissed some one who's name you didn't know -- $10
Hit on some one of the same sex while at work -- $15
Ever drive drunk -- $20
Ever got drunk at work, or went to work while still drunk -- $50
Used toys while having sex -- $30
Got drunk, passed out and don't remember the night before -- $20
Went skinny dipping -- $5
Had sex in a pool -- $20
Kissed someone of the same sex -- $10
Had sex with someone of the same sex -- $20
Cheated on your significant other -- $10
Masturbated -- $10
Cheated on your significant other with their relative or close
Done oral -- $5
Got oral -- $5
Done / got oral in a car while it was moving -- $25
Stole something -- $10
Had sex with someone in jail -- $25
Made a nasty home video -- $15
Had a threesome -- $50
Had sex in the wild -- $20
Been in the same room while someone was having sex -- $25
Stole something worth over more than a hundred dollars -- $20
Had sex with someone 10 years older -- $20
Had sex with someone under 21 and you are over 27 -- $25
Been in love with two people or more at the same time -- $50
Said you love someone but didn't mean it -- $25
Went streaking -- $5
Went streaking in broad daylight -- $15
Been arrested -- $5
Spent time in jail -- $15
Peed in the pool -- $50
Played spin the bottle -- $5
Done something you regret -- $20
Had sex with your best friend -- $20
Had sex with someone you work with at work -- $25
Had anal sex -- $80
Lied to your mate -- $5
Lied to your mate about the sex being good -- $25

Tally it up and Title it ... "My Fine Is..." Then send it to some friends and the person that sent it to you.

Now in the interest of protecting the guilty, all I can say is that I'm glad I didn't have to multiply the fines for the number of times certain offenses were committed because the fines would be astronomical.

Her "reported" fine is $750, but it's not the end of the argument. I swear she's leaving some stuff out. I ought to know - I was there for most of it.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Too Much Work For Not Enough Meat

Holy jumped-up-Jesus-on-a-pogo-stick! Whoever says, "I wanna be a college professor when I grow up," is clearly delusional. Goodgawdamighty.

Maybe the fact that I have attained the exalted status of adjunct faculty is the problem, but I doubt it. Just setting up the lecture notes and relevant Keynote (sort of like Power Point, but waythefuck better) presentations is chewing up an inordinate amount of time. One must review the text, decide what's relevant, and turn it into something half-assed interesting for a roomful of people who would much rather be abed than listening to a (gasp!) middle-aged woman prattle on about topics they can barely pronounce, much less really give half a fat fuck about at 8 in the morning.

These conceerns don't even take into consideration that in addition to the lectures, I have to write and score the homework and exams, assist with structuring the "major project" and grade it. Oh, and although I have no office, therefore no "office hours," I still have to be available on some level to answer questions, give official ass-kickings, et cetera. Given the amount of work and the time frame involved, it is seriously not worth the money, which is really a trivial amount, even without considering the amount of work involved. Good thing money's not the reason I'm doing it.

The idealist in me hopes that I can touch someone and inspire them to seek a deeper understanding of a field about which I am passionate. However, given the uncivilized hour of the class meeting and the diversity of my students, of which only one has sort-of expressed a desire to study psychology, I am highly skeptical of such an event actually coming to pass.

Anybody got a really cheap dog & pony sideshow act you can rent me until early May? Dancing midget Jell-o wrestlers? Firefighter magicians? Nekkid cowboy trapeze artists with bandanas & Reddi-Whip? At this point I'd consider just about anything.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

How to Make Really (Really) Good Tortillas

Okay, I've been playing in the tortilla dough again, but this time I have adequate tools to do the job. Here's my recipe, with pictures so you can play along at home.

4 cups flour (the higher the gluten content the better)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup fat - (either shortening, butter or lard - melted but just warmed, not hot)
1 cup hot (but not boiling) water

Put dry ingredients in mixer bowl with dough hook attachment.
Turn mixer on lowest speed.
Pour in melted fat and water around edge of bowl.
Mix until dough is smooth and elastic.
(You can get flames for your mixer at FlameKA.com or follow the sidebar link under "stuff I dig right this minute")

When the dough is the right consistency, wrap it up in plastic wrap & let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.

While the dough is resting, pre-heat your tortilla press pre-cooker and comal (tortilla griddle), both available from Tortilla Cocina Mexican Cookware if you don't have a store near you that carries these items.

Line the tortilla warmer with a couple of paper towels. This gadget, also available from Tortilla Cocina, keeps the tortillas warm for a long time. Your favorite Mexican restaurant may serve tortillas in a similar container. If you don't have one of these, you can cover the hot tortillas with a clean dish towel.

Once the dough has rested, pinch off a golfball sized chunk and roll it into a ball.

Flatten your doughball a little and place it off-center in your tortilla press. This one heats up and pre-cooks the dough a little, making them easier to handle. Don't let it preheat too long before you use it or it will get too hot, precook the dough too much and make a loud squeaking noise when you press down the lever. If this happens, unplug the press and let it cool by leaving it open for a couple of minutes, then replug and start again.

Close the press.

Pull the handle/lever over and press down, but not too much. If the tortilla is pressed too thin, it will wind up crispy like a saltine cracker.

Remove the tortilla from the press. Be careful not to burn your fingers.

Lay out the pressed tortillas on a clean surface.

Place the tortilla on the pre-heated (medium heat) comal. You should hear a little sizzle. The dough may puff up, or not. Either way is normal.

After about 30 seconds, give it a flip.

After about 30 more seconds put the tortilla in the warmer and put the lid on.

Store any uncooked tortillas in a zipper bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. The cooked ones will also keep in a zipper bag in the refrigerator for up to a week although usually they don't last long enough to worry about storage.

Never - ever - wash the comal except for the first time you take it out of the box. Just wipe it off. The more it is used the less it sticks. Detergents remove this natural non-stickiness and will make the comal rust. This is bad news for you and worse for your tortillas.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Snowball's Chance...

We were hit again with more nastiness. In case I failed to mention - I abhor cold icy nasty weather. There was sleet, freezing rain and snow all morning that has the entire region in a stranglehold. My home is in the boonies so there's not a sand truck within 20 miles of me. Even though I was supposed to go to the hospital to work on the database, I'd have been lucky to get to the end of the driveway (around 100 yards), much less all the way into Fort Worth. There's supposed to be another wave coming through this afternoon. I can hardly wait.

Maybe I should be thankful for it because I'm saving money not driving the 40 miles into town and it's allowing me to get a lot of other stuff done, but enough already.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My Guilty Pleasure

My name is Sharna...and I'm an American Idol fan. We have 5 minutes to liftoff of season 6. The beer's cold, the pizza's on the way and I'm so excited I could just pee. Oh shit, in the time it took me to type this it's starting - gotta go! -No, really, I gotta go...

We ain't got none o' them tecknalogickabul advantsmints, y'all.

Okay, so Thursday the humanities department chair at the local community college called and asked me to teach a general psych course. Dumbass here agreed, having wanted to do one for some time just for the experience. Friday afternoon around 3, for the sake of convenience, I met him at my local post office to get the textbook, which is an information overload if I've ever seen one. I took a full course - sometimes two or three - over what is covered in each chapter. There is no way in hell anyone can learn all of that in one semester so we're just going to cover the high points. Sometimes too much is just too much.

During the ice storms of the last few days, I've been working feverishly trying to get everything set up because what little I was given seemed woefully inadequate. The official syllabus mainly just addresses plagiarism and the official bibliography didn't have anything on it that had been published within the last 12 years (raise your hand if you can pronounce unethical...). The class scheduling was particularly bothersome because we'll have 2 fewer class periods to address the 14 chapters of textbook material because our final is first in the lineup, and we're supposed to have a "major project" in there somewhere. Did I pay attention to any of those red flags? Hell no I didn't. I was just excited to be offered yet another distraction from that stupid dissertation thingy. I needed another one - no, really - I did. Seriously.

So I get all this crap (including making a blog for class communication since as yet I have access to NOTHING at the school aside from the textbook) done over the weekend, fully expecting the school to be techno-nerd compliant, because it's a college, right? Guess what? It isn't. There's 1 (count 'em) 1 LCD projector for the whole college - scratch that, there is another one that belongs to the nursing department, but it belongs to the nursing department. Psychology is not part of the nursing department. Great.

Shit. Can't show Power Point presentations and minimize 25 people staring at me for an hour and a half waiting for me to say something deep and philosophical that they can can hold in their hearts foreverandever with no LCD projector. Can't do halfassed fun (okay, mildly interesting) live multimedia-driven lecturish kinda stuff with no LCD projector. Luddites. Good thing I'm not in it for the money.

Needless to say, after general introductions and threats of public humiliation for getting on my nerves for tardiness, eating in class, et cetera, plus a potty/water break were over, I reaallllyy should have let them go. Did I? No. Hell no. Not right away at least. No, I stood there and stammered some dumb bullshit about Wundt and introspection and some other dead guys with bushy eyebrows and something about Freud until they started giving me that "WTF!?" look as if I'd grown a third eye. I have a teenage daughter. I am all too familiar with that look. It was at that point I mercifully let them go.

I can pick up wireless internet access from another classroom so it's not a total loss. After class and about a 45-minute wait on the department chair, I received sort of a tour and brief access to the group copy card to make copies of the syllabus, etc., I still have no official paperwork filled out or access to the online component of the textbook (dammit - that's the fun stuff, too), or anything else. So what did I do? I went straight to CompUSA in Fort Worth and bought an LCD projector. I've been considering one for a long time so now I have one. Too bad the salesman sold me the wrong part to hook my MacBook's mini DVI into the VGA cable. I'll go back tomorrow and exchange it for the right part. Oh well, it's only money and time - I pull both of those out of my ass at an alarming rate, right?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Shit it's cold!

The only thing I fear and dread at the same level as statistical analysis is cold, nasty weather. That, my friends, is why I have remained in Texas my entire adult life. It just doesn't get very cold very often, but when it does, look out. We've had ice storms for the last couple of days that are finally beginning to move out, but fuuuuuuuck it's cold. At least I don't have to go anywhere today & we're all stocked up with firewood, groceries & satellite & internet access. The picture is of the view from my patio, facing south. You can see the trailing edge of the storms. Fortunately, the nastiness won't last long and in a few short months we'll all be lounging poolside and the only thing frozen around here will be the margaritas. Somebody hand me another blanket...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

What to do When the Defecation Makes Abrupt Contact With the Rotary Oscillating Device?

Ever had one of those, "OH shit," moments? Yeah, we all have. My latest such event revolves around my recent advice of hiring a statistics consultant to assist in the dissertation process. Turns out there's a recently amended policy for my doctoral program which considers such practice to be academic dishonesty. Nevermind that it's common practice (to the point that most other doctoral programs expect their students to shell out shitloads of cash to hire such a person) and the so-called "stats person" assigned to me by my school isn't offering much in the way of guidance. Have I mentioned that my genus/species is best classified as mathematicus retardii? Sigh. So much for that idea. Good thing I didn't drop a shitload of cash to hire someone who would actually help me.

Yeah, we measure stuff by the shitload around here.

I'll figure it out. I always do.

(cue screaming)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Am I Being Too Harsh?

A local community college called Thursday to request my services in teaching a Psych 101 course, beginning Tuesday. I accepted because, aside from clearly having nothing else to do, the one typical graduate school experience not incorporated into my doctoral program is teaching undergraduate coursework. The pay is negligible compared to the amount of work involved but some things aren't about money. Realistically, it's rather like shacking up, because it incorporates all of the work but none of the commitment or financial gain of marriage (or tenure-track).

Since it's just one section and I'll only be on campus about an hour and a half, two days a week, I've set up another blog, here for class communication. Take a look and tell me what you think. In particular, I'd like feedback about my class rules . These things were important to me as resident nerd during my undergrad work, and back in the day, if the prof wasn't willing to say something to offenders, I wasn't shy about voicing my disapproval. Am I being too harsh? I don't think so, but then again these continue to be my pet peeves.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I will sooooo be the first one on my block.

This is going to be a great summer. In case you've been hiding under a rock the past few days, Apple has finally unveiled its long-rumored smartphone. As a longtime happy Mac user, I can hardly wait until it's released in June. I was at a Cingular store just yesterday getting help adjusting to my brand new Palm Treo 680 (which is "okay," but doesn't really play well with Mac). I tried to get them to put me on a waiting list for the iPhone, but they wouldn't do it. Grr. That's okay because I will be first in line, dammit. Once you go Mac, you'll never go back, baby.

Imagine. A smartphone that works seamlessly with my MacBook, all the way down to using the same operating system! I could just pee. Sure, people are already hollering about the price tag ($599 for the top-end 8gb version), but in my humble and considerate opinion, knowing first hand Apple's well-earned reputation for making their hardware & software work together seamlessly, just eliminating the frustration quotient will make it well worth the price. Oh, and we mustn't forget to add "cool factor" into reasons this is my #2 must-have of the year. What's my #1 must-have this year? Silly rabbits...that piece of paper that says, "drsharna, PhD," also hopefully out this summer.

Monday, January 8, 2007


All my life I've thought I was politically moderate. None of that left wing/right wing extremist nonsense for me, thankyouverymuch. However, as the political climate has swung farther and farther in the direction of the extremist right, I'm finding myself farther and farther to the left - apparently wayyyyy left these days - without ever changing my mind about what is important to me as a citizen of the Greatest Nation on the Planet.

First, as a nation we should take care of our country's most vulnerable citizens (children, the elderly, the mentally ill, the homeless) before we spend money abroad for so-called foreign aid, which is nothing more than bribe money. When is our government going to learn that those countries just laugh at us, take the money and do with it what they want? As long as we have one person in need, our money should stay home.

I think a strong military is important, but don't think we need to go around picking fights or attacking people who didn't attack us first. Sure, Saddam was a bad, bad dude but he was only wreaking havoc within his own borders. Besides, our government put him in power there in the first place. Never did find those WMDs, didja? That's because they never existed. Saddam was set up to forward Big Corporate America's agenda and when he stopped behaving himself and they thought he'd squeal, they had him executed. Nice work.

I think the Constitution applies to everyone, not just a bunch of rich, white men. I don't think giving up my rights as a 40-year-old American born Caucasian band mom is helping fight "the war on terrorism" and I don't see much difference between the government-sanctioned torture our government inflicts on people around the world and what the other terrorists do. We just get better press.

I think that a woman should be in control of her own reproductive tract, who has access to it, if and when she impregnates and whether she should terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The choice to have an abortion is not a decision that a woman takes lightly. Despite all the hype about third trimester abortions, these are normally done when the baby is already dead. The vast majority of women understand that the longer they wait, the more painful the process will be, so they get them done early. Of course the same people who oppose abortion also oppose birth control, but they would never consider limiting access to Viagra. Taking care of the babies that would otherwise be aborted because their mothers don't want them, are unable to properly care for them, are the product of rape or incest or are genetically defective is also out of the question. Once they're born, the government doesn't give a fat shit about them. Nope, in order for them to retain protection, they have to remain a fetus forever. Good luck with that.

I don't remember ever learning that we have government of, by and for the corporate interest, but that seems to be what we have.

I think it was stupid to give a big ol' tax refund to every man, woman and child in the US, then go start a war with no way to pay for it. Nevermind that tax refund was a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of throwing a war. How much is it costing us per day again? And how far in debt are we again? Riiiight. Say it real fast so it doesn't sound so scary.

I think it's important to protect the environment - just in case the rapture doesn't happen tomorrow and our grandkids actually need a place to live after all.

Speaking of, I don't think religion should be so closely intertwined with politics. People can believe in whatever they want, I'm all for that but don't turn your personal belief system into legislation for the rest of us. That's just too damn Taliban-ish for me.

I don't think marriage is about who you're fucking - it's about who you share your life with. Gays aren't out to convert anyone or their children or take anything away from anyone. They just want to have the right to live and love in the manner of their choosing. Sure, it looks different from what's considered "traditional" on the outside (one man - one woman - for life - no divorce), but on the inside they live, work, pay bills, raise kids, have in-law troubles et cetera just like anybody else. Clearly straights take the sanctity of marriage seriously considering the US divorce rate still hovers around 50% or better, depending on whom you ask. That's right, God doesn't want you to get divorced but when you've had it with each other's bullshit, you can't wait to bail - but because it's you, and you're God's Special Person, it's okay.

These concepts have always been just a natural way of being in the world - live and let live but take care of the weak and don't go around picking fights. What's so goddamned awful about that? I don't lean that way because I'm some lefty pinko commie fag or because I have an overabundance of estrogen, that's just what makes sense to me. I'll get off my soapbox now.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Statistical Power in PlainSpeak

One of the things that my statistics person wants me to include in the current revision of my dissertation proposal is a power analysis. I think I mentioned my confusion about all things mathematical in rather gory detail a few days ago. Now that I've stopped hyperventilating about it I can get down to business and try to decipher the convoluted MathSpeak into something intelligible for a math ree-tard like myself. While I'm at it, to facilitate my own learning in the spirit of "see one/do one/teach one," I thought I'd share what I've learned & how I got there.

Okay. I've got my research questions. I've got my database with 300 subjects -half urban, half suburban. Now what the hell is a power analysis and why is it so important?

If you're not familiar with research, "significance" is a Big. Damn. Deal. In plain language, the term "significant" means that we'd be surprised if there weren't a real difference between the groups we're studying. For whatever reason significance is written as a "p" value (as in p=<.05). This is also known as alpha and is written with a small greek letter that looke like a sideways support ribbon. Don't ask me why. I think the way math people obfuscate things is silly. Here's the kicker though. When used in statistics, "significance" does not have the same meaning as when we use it in everyday conversation. It just means that the researcher is 95% sure that whatever he's found can be found in the general population and that it's not due to chance. Just because something is significant statistically, that doesn't mean it's important, clinically useful or even the least bit interesting. Ironically, sometimes a non-significant (meaning that the researcher is lesst han 95% sure that result is due to chance) is more important, clinically useful and/or interesting than the most significant findings.

Granted, if you have enough subjects and look long, hard and deep enough, you'll find whateveritis that you're looking for. The question is, is anybody going to give a shit one way or the other? I have wonderful professor who measures significance in giveashits. I'll ask him if I can share his musings on the subject, but I digress. What I am trying to get at is that the whole point of a power analysis is to determine how many subjects you're going to need to determine significance before going through all the hassle of conducting the research project. So actually it's a good thing because it can save the researcher a lot of grief in trying to scrape up subjects for the study, which can be extremely difficult, especially for psychological research.

A study with too low power (not enough information from enough subjects) won't turn up much of anything, even if the hypothesis is true. A study with power too high will turn up trivial shit that nobody cares about anyway (for example that there is more visible light at noon than at midnight in most places - things that make you go "duh").

Great - so how do you do a power analysis? Hire a statistics consultant who specializes in dissertations or get a software program to do it for you. There are even free programs available for download all over the internet that will do it for you, but you still have to understand what values you are entering for each field and why. In the end, the money you spend is worth not tearing your hair out - unless of course you like that look.

Some great websites that address this issue in (mostly) plain English are:
Statistically Significant Consulting

University of Oregon

University of Texas

Pitfalls of Data Analysis

Some excellent reference books can be found at Amazon (but then again what can't you get at Amazon?)

What the hell is a "Dissertation," anyway?

You may be asking, "What the hell is a dissertation (pronounced: "diss-uhr-TAY-shun") anyway, drsharna? You keep bitching and whining about it but we don't know what it is other than it sounds really big and scary." Well my little neuronerds in training, boiled down to its simplest essence, it is a book detailing a major, unique piece of research that a doctoral student has to conduct to become, well, a doctor. It is also the stuff of nightmares.

The book is usually broken down into four chapters, although your mileage may vary:

1) Introduction. The author states the nature and history of the issue to be pursued in the research, why it is important, what else has been written in the topic area (also called the literature review or lit review), and states the hypothesis (what the research is expected to discover).

2) Method. This chapter outlines how data is to be collected, the way subjects are recruited for the research project, what is done to the subjects (and how) and what statistical analyses (aka number crunching) will be conducted with the data..

3)Results. After all the numbers are crunched, this section lays out all the results. Most people kind of skip over this section when reading research, which is why in order to save space, a lot of publishers print this in a smaller font than the rest of the document.

4)Discussion. This is where everything comes together. The researcher explains what all the number crunching from the last chapter means and how the research may potentially impact the greater world at large, then areas for future research are suggested.

In the early stages of the process, the first 2 chapters together are called the "Proposal," because it outlines for the dissertation committee and the Institutional Review Board (IRB - these are the seeerious academics who decide whether the study meets ethical guidelines, etc.) and anybody else who might want to repeat the experiment later exactly what the researcher plans to do. Right now I'm revising my Proposal for my dissertation committee, who will review everything and tell me whether it meets their approval to send to the school's IRB who will tell me whether I have their approval to go ahead and do the project as is or not. When conducting research in a hospital setting there's yet another IRB approval to go through at the hospital before submitting it to the school IRB. MIght as well shoot myself before I stroke out.

If you've ever tried to get anything done by a single committee, you know how frustrating that can be. The dissertation process involves multiple committees - of academics. These folks rarely agree on anything, so it's a wonder anyone makes it out alive. After all this time, I've yet to hear of one dissertation experience that wasn't traumatic for the author. If you know of such a fairytale, would you please share it as a gesture of hope and inspiration? I could use a dose of both right now. Most of the time, raising my teenage daughter is easier. Sigh.

Just In Case My Nerdiness Is Ever In Question

This was a fun way to confirm what everybody already knows about me.

Pure Nerd

86 % Nerd, 26% Geek, 26% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd, earning you the title of:
"Pure Nerd"

The times, they are a-changing. It used to be that being exceptionally smart led to being unpopular, which would ultimately lead to picking up all of the traits and tendences associated with the "dork." No-longer. Being smart isn't as socially crippling as it once was, and even more so as you get older: eventually being a Pure Nerd will likely be replaced with the following label: Purely Successful.


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in any of the following:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 95% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 39% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 35% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Friday, January 5, 2007

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Lady Sharna the Radiant of Dramble Buzzcock
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Hmmmm. How did they know that my cohabitants are all elsewhere for the weekend & I have the whole place to myself through Sunday?

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Swearing In

Heeeere we go with that whole "The Constitution Only Applies to Me" thing again. Newly elected congressman Keith Ellis (D-Minn) is an American-born, Catholic-raised individual who also just happens to have converted to Islam. Somehow I doubt he represents a national security threat, unless of course he's a Vikings fan too. I think the First Amendment still says he's allowed to be Muslim and express his faith in the manner of his choosing - even if that means being sworn into office using a Qur'an instead of a Bible. Either one seems silly to me, but it's his right to claim so good for him although I'm finding myself taking particular interest in the multiple ironies of his swearing in on Thomas Jefferson's personal copy.

You know, you can sit in the garage with your hand on the carburetor all damn day and you still won't turn into a car, so what makes people think swearing on a book - any book - is going to make someone a good (insert title of your choice here)? It doesn't take a genius to see that plenty of not so good people have been sworn in using a Bible. Don't look now but some of them might even be in office right now.

Where has all this well-thumped Bible swearing gotten us as a country? Shitty, underfunded schools & healthcare, a war that has sucked our collective coffers from a healthy surplus to another crushing deficit (a war which, by the way we're never going to win because the enemy finds honor in death for their cause - but death would have to be better than living in that place, right?). Then there's the economy. Yeah, that. --And who's running the Greatest Nation On The Planet into the ground? A bunch of people who were sworn in using the Bible. Fat lot of good it's done us.

As for me, if I'm ever elected to anything, I wanna swear on another book about believing in something one can't see: Dr. Seuss's immortal "Horton Hears a Who!"

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Power Tools

Today I was brushing up my stats a little so I can halfassed intelligently discuss the power analysis in my proposal. Along the way I found some online calculators for power (and a lot of other nassssty statistically things). The best of the bunch (<--read: nearly math ree-tard proof) can be found here:

Russ Lenth's statistical power & sample size applets

Power Analysis for ANOVA Designs

Statistical Calculators

Links through Hyperstat

My brain is way past tired. Just thought I'd share.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Hives Are for Pussies

It's January 2nd & everybody else in my house has gone back to work & school, so that means I've seeeeriously got to get back to work on the dissertation thingy. Dammit - and I was so digging all the holiday bullshit.

I don't think I've mentioned that I'm a complete math ree-tard. Just thinking about all that number crunching bullshit gives me the shingles. Yeah, that's right baby. Shingles. Hives? They're for pussies. I skip totally over hives & it's straight on to shingleville for me. I don't even balance my checkbook, fergawdsakes! I just eyeball online the balance vs. outstanding checks, and if it all looks Kosher I'm happy. See? I'm damn near hyperventilating even talking about it. Where's my shiraz?

When I got the minor revision request from my "stats person," a coupla weeks ago, one request was a power analysis and another was a proposed data analysis. Fuuuuuuuuuuck. I don't even remember what that means! I scraped through stats 2 & 1/2 years ago and had a ceremonial burning of everything statistically-related once the course was over and my grade was posted, thinking that by this far in the game, that shit was the stats person's job, but NooooOOOOoooo! (my apologies - John Belushi lives on in my head...).

When people start talking that weird-ass convoluted goddamn math language, my eyes glaze over, roll up into my head and my inner 5-year-old immediately clasps her hands to our ears and sings (albeit quite loudly and off key - but with gusto), "IIIIIIIIIIIIII'mmmmmmmmmm nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnoooooooooooooot llllllllisteniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnngggggggggg!!!!!!!!!!" So naturally amid the din I miss the entire conversation. They could be speaking Mandarin Chinese for all I know. How the hell I ever got this far is beyond me. I think I was mathematically traumatized as a child but at this point the memories are still repressed...somebody call Oprah.

One would think it could be assumed that with over 300 participants in the study, we'd be a shoe-in for that thing called power, right? Turns out that's way more than enough to do the job (bless you forverandever Dr. Soper!), but do the goddamn math nerds have to talk all the fucking way around it to get you there instead of using plain English? Hell yeah they do. They get off on watching non math nerds squirm, stammer and generally look stupid because we don't speak their language. Surely it's yet another conspiracy to keep me pissed off.

Then there's the "Proposed Data Analysis" she asked for. WTF? I'm a neuronerd, not a math person. I don't know what statistical analyses I'm going to do yet. That's why we have statistical analysis software, isn't it? You mean to tell me I can't just run every possible fucking scenario in SPSS and report whateverthefuck turns up? (insert rabid Sam Kinison-esque screaming here). Surely with enough orthogonal rotation, SOMEthing interesting will turn up. If it don't fit, force it, right?

Gawd I hate math. Wait. Is that a maddening itch around my midsection? Shit. Where's the Zovirax?

Monday, January 1, 2007

Happy 2007!

Hi y'all,
I wish you all fat bank accounts, full pantries, happiness and health with no drama in the new year. Be well.