Monday, December 28, 2009

Reviewing 2009

Each year I come up with yearly goals with little consideration and reason and post them to this blog. Time to review the junk I posted last year and see how I did.

1) Finish Dissertation. OK, no. Working on it. I won't say more or I will go into a dissertation on the dissertation's state.
2) Submit 2nd paper with J-W. Actually did this. Check!
3) 25 minute 5K. I was running again for the first half of the year or so, but it's been sporadic to non-existent this second half. Try agin next year.
4) Average 7 hours of sleep per diem. At night. Falling asleep on the floor of an office doesn't count. Hmm... Probably not, but could be 6 and a half or so.
5) More recipes! I think I did this. I haven't posted as many, but I've been cooking.
6) Read two fiction novels. I actually think I did this, but I'd have to scour around to figure out what they were. Pretty sure. Check!
7) Paca and N night once a month. Um, no, but I've been doing better about couple time. Just not great.
8) Attend 2 parties/dinners with classmates. No cafeterias can be involved in this. Borderline. I have to count meeting a former classmate for coffee for half an hour and a movie in the conference room with the Psycholinguistics Interest Group. But they were social-esque.
9) Watch Titans win Superbowl. Let's not talk about sports.
10) Spit out that paper on poverty of the stimulus and causation finally. I wrote another 7,000 words this last summer, but it's not resolved. It's basically a philosophy paper, so I've put it on hold again.
11) Pursue 2 of the most worthy research projects from the acquisition class' work. No.... and that's all I have to say about that.
12) Be organized for almost all classes I teach each day. Yeah, I did okay here. I never went in blind.
13) Get B enrolled in some sort of activity. Not really. He's done some stuff, but it was all in the service of child care so that we could work. Non-check.
14) Attend sister's wedding. Completely did this and did it in style. Double check.
15) Work through first Korean language book. Uhhh... no. I was sitting in on a Korean class for about 6 weeks. Then I got the flu and then my dissertation called me. "Hellooo, Pacaaaaa. Write meeeeeee." It does that a lot.

I count that as 7 of 15, using my special math, which puts me right under 50%. If you take out the Titans winning the Superbowl thing, since I technically can't really do that for them, it puts me at exactly 50%, same as last year.


I will come up with 2010 goals in a couple of days. Now off to get that 7 hours of sleep. Or... looking at the time... 4. My bad.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I am not sure I know what is predictable and what is a miracle.

One of the common arguments against evolution is to list all the things that would have to be just right for life to emerge. It's just so so improbable. You start listing all the parameters and it does come to 1 over billions or something.

But what is the chance that I'm writing this post to you now? An entire universe had to happen just so for this event to occur. My parents had to attend Tulane in the 60s. Their parents had to meet in whatever way they met. I know my grandmother took a teaching job in northern Louisiana. Without that, no blog post.

Each of their parents had to meet, and theirs before that, and what if Genghis Khan had turned right instead of left so that my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma doesn't hide in the same bush as that nice guy. So I'm writing this to you now because Genghis Khan turned right. Thanks, Genghis!

Of course, it doesn't stop there. While I have been thinking about chance for a few weeks, it was reading a related post over at Mother Reproduces' blog that made me write today. What if she'd had a headache that day on March 21, 2008, and not written that post. And I was reading that entry because I was at McK's where she linked to Whirl and then Mother wrote a comment on Whirl's blog.

In short, billions of people over thousands of years had to do just what they did, a vast conspiracy, for this amazing event, this blog post, to occur.

Yet here it is.

And it's such an ordinary blog post at that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

For the record

I've been making a lot of progress with the R statistical software package and programming environment over the last 6 weeks. The frustrating part about programming is that you always at some point come to what seems like it should be such a simple task and yet nothing works. I lost about 3 hours today to trying to remove some rows from a table. For the record, it appears I needed this:












Now back to my life.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Not learning

A couple of days ago a 20-something year-old man here on Oahu was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He had been racing his car around 100 miles per hour on suburban streets when he lost control, killing one of his friends in the car and disabling another for life.

Yesterday Cincinatti Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry fell out of a pickup truck and this morning he died.

Yesterday a 4-year-old on Oahu was struck and killed by a car.

And last night, some of my neighbors came flying around the driveway in a pick-up truck, swinging the back around as hard as they could like they were doing stunts in a movie for a thrill - with several people in the back. I heard a woman almost in dry heaves she was so panicked that she was going to die. It took her about 2 minutes before she could regain control of her breath to get out of the pickup's bed.

And of course the driver and his buddy thought it was all awesome.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What I learned from Nanowrimo 2009

First up, I know I've abandoned my blog. Just insanely busy. I will try to update soon. In the meantime, here are a few things I learned from doing Nanowrimo, the National Novel Writing Month extravaganza.

1) One really can't write a novel on the side when trying to write a dissertation. Even if all your cool friends are doing it.

2) I'm not really a Nanowrimo personality in that I don't see any point of writing all willy-nilly. I'm not a serious planner in my writing. I will "outline" but the outline is a bare sketch of notes about a page long. Then I sit down to write, see what I come up with, and then perhaps sketch some more notes. In short, I plan just enough to write a few pages and that's it. But I really do want to think about what I'm going to write. If I'm going to write a story of a migrant family fixing wind turbines in 2150, which was the setting, I'm going to read about wind turbines. I can't just skip that in order to get some word count up.

3) I really, really liked writing my 3,000 words of mediocre stuff, reading it to B, and seeing that he enjoyed it. I think I could have a children's novel voice. However, I don't have that voice yet. The stuff I wrote on Day 2 sounded very different than the stuff I wrote on Day 1.

4) When I say I could write a children's novel, I really don't have in mind the current publication genres. Instead, I'm writing the stuff I remember loving as an 8-year-old. The stuff filed in the classic section for kids at B&N. Narnia, Kidnapped, 20,000 Leagues under the sea, etc. Does that stuff even have a genre anymore? It's too adult in language compared to today's middle grade, but it's also supposed to be enjoyable for 9-year-olds. Of course, if I really do write this for publication, I will have to find a way to make my interests fit with business interests.

5) Overall, the experience was good in that, while I only wrote about 3,000 words, that's 3,000 words more than I wrote in any other month of 2009.

6) I still like my idea. A girl and her family travel around the countryside fixing the tens of thousands of wind turbines that power the world she has no chance to participate in, mostly power for The Dop, the amazing transportation system that can take you anywhere in the world in an hour. Of course, one day she steps on one of those "trains". She also learns to fly with the help of a Hawaiian boy and saves her family's livelihood. Now, if I can just get my career out of the way, I'll "write it up".