Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Kill-A-Cow Day!

Today is Korbani Eid, the day when Muslims sacrifice an animal in remembrance of the time that God provided a ram for Abraham to spare his son. It's not a great day for vegetarians.

But this Muslim family raked in the loot over the Christmas holiday. There are definite advantages to religious tolerance!!

Here's a breakdown of my vaycay:

Hours slept: including naps, at least 15 per day.

Movies watched: three - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I, II, and III. I have seen each movie exactly four times.

Shopping trips: one

Sweater vests purchased for dogs: two

Cookies consumed: at least 20 frosted/sprinkled sugar cookies, and assorted gingerbread.

Strangest task performed: Cutting own bangs with huge orange scissors in Masud's foggy bathroom mirror.

Planned reading list: The Lexus and the Olive Tree by Thomas Friedman and The Curious Feminist by Cynthia Enloe

Actual reading: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo and about 2 pages of The Lexus and The Olive Tree. The entire December edition of Jane Magazine.

Friends visited: two - Tanya (and her sister Sonya) in Ann Arbor, and Shompa (and her husband Shumon) in Canada.

Days left until we leave: four

We've had such a great visit with Masud, but both Isaac and I are dreading the moment when we'll have to leave him. His next visit will probably be in March for Isaac's seventh birthday. It's a long ways away.

It's a good thing I'll be busy with school.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Birthday Birthday Oh What Fun

Take a picture from below, and I have many chins.

Take a picture from above, and the chins disappear!

In lieu of a cake, I had a pickle with a small votive on it so I could make a birthday wish. I ate an entire jar of pickles last night, and really grossed out my new friend Heather who is a pickle hater.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Done and DONE!

Finally! Yesterday I had a bad moment when I realized that the term project paper that I needed to write had to be ten pages, but fortunately it wasn't too bad. Now I have four glorious weeks to do whatever I please!

And tonight, what I please is to party. As you know, as of today I'm no longer a twenty-something. I don't FEEL 30. I remember when I was little and I realized that my parents were in their 30's and I thought they were SO OLD. Three decades of life! I still live with my parents and I'm still in school, and I enjoy stickers, and I laugh really hard when people fart, and I'm still naive enough to believe that I can make a difference in the world. I hope I can always laugh at fart jokes, unlike my friend Miss Lippy, who must remain stern when her students flatulate. I don't think I'd every be able to resist laughing! The funniest thing about farts is when the farter is really embarrassed. Like my dad, he's such a prude. He'll let one slip and he'll blush and say "Whoops." And then I tease him relentlessly. He even gets embarrassed when other people fart.

But enough about farts.

I learned a lot this semester - SAS programming, linear regression, rational choice theory. I also learned a lot about myself. I learned that I can get by on 5 hours of sleep a night, that I am so lucky to have such a supportive family, and that I really have a lot to learn about so many things. I'm already looking forward to next semester and I feel like I made the right decision to come back to school.

Now it's time to kick back and enjoy the rest of 2006. Happy holidays to everyone!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I stole this idea...

...from my blog-buddy Big W. I spend an awful lot of keystrokes on this blog complaining about my life and it's high time that I counterbalance it with some gratitude, so here it goes.

I'm happy that I'm almost done with this semester.

I'm happy that on Saturday, I get to ride a train, a taxi, the El, and an airplane with Isaac and at the end of the journey, I'll see my dear husband waiting to pick us up.

I'm happy that my fish, whose lifespan is supposed to be one year, is currently 3 years old.

I'm happy that my mom does my dishes and makes my bed every day.

I'm happy that my planner is covered with stickers.

I'm happy that my satellite internet got installed yesterday.

I'm happy that last night when I was singing a made-up lullaby to Isaac, he said that I should make an album because my voice is so beautiful.

I'm happy that I have great friends who live all over the country and world.

I'm happy that George Bush can't run for reelection again.

I'm happy that my dogs get so happy to see me when I come home that they pee a little.

I'm happy that my mom got a Christmas tree this year, even though I know she didn't want to but she did it to make the rest of us happy.

I'm happy for dill pickles.

I'm happy that I'll have time to visit my grandparents over break.

I'm happy that I'm in school even though it's hard.

I'm happy that I've made new friends this year.

I'm happy that my dad is in the community theater play.

I'm happy that I know how to speak Bangla.

I'm happy that my sister and I have a great relationship.

I'm happy that we get a year of free Showtime.

I'm happy for The Daily Show.

I'm happy that I'm going to be 30 tomorrow and I still live with my parents (seriously!)

I'm happy that my brother has an awesome dog named Riley.

I'm happy that I know how to make plum jelly without using pectin.

I'm happy that I've stopped eating Kwik Trip vanilla ice cream with oreos crunched up in it every night.

I'm happy that I get to spend Friday on State Street with my mom doing Christmas shopping.

I'm happy about the selection of music on my iPod.

I'm happy that I really like my job and have some good friends there.

I'm happy that Isaac read to me last night.

I'm happy that even though Masud and I live apart, we call each other every day and have meaningful phone conversations.

I'm happy that my birds sing to me in the morning when I get up.

I'm happy that I get to see the sunrise AND sunset every day because I ride the van pool.

I could go on and on - I'm surprised at how easy it was to make this list and how good it made me feel! Thanks Big W!

Monday, December 18, 2006


I just emailed an 80-page collection of essays on "Economic Sociology" to my professor. I also finished a two-hour cumulative statistics exam. Now all I have left is to write up my project paper for my other stats class and I'm home free!

I can't believe Christmas is almost here, and I'm going to be 30 (or, as Pili says 15 x 2) in 2 days! I've become elderly!

Hopefully I'll have enough brain juice to come up with a better post soon...stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cuttin' it close!

I have a presentation tomorrow morning for which I am only 25% prepared. I have lots of work to do today (and had planned on doing it while "working" at my PA job, but came in and found out I have meetings all afternoon!) This morning I got here at 7 a.m., went to the computer lab, cranked out some datasets, and then ran up to my office for my 8 a.m. office hour. I have class from 9-12, which I want to skip so BAD but it's the last lecture and I should go. Then I have meetings until 3:30, which is van time. I always fall asleep on the van even when I don't want to, and then when I get home it's as if the bed has a gravitational pull to rival the moon, and I can't get anything done.

I have to finish tomorrow's presentation (compile data, develop powerpoint, make notes for presenting), write a paper relating to the presentation, write four last papers for economic sociology, study for a cumulative final exam on Monday, and finish a statistical analysis project by Friday. Augh.

And to top it all off, I've caught a contagious disease of tendonitis from my buddy Gina. I bet you didn't know it was contagious, did you? My left hand hurts when I type, and I'm sure it's her fault for forcing me to have lunch with her at Buraka. At least the food was good.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Robert Scissorhands

I'm not sure what Rob is doing with those tongs...

Study break

This weekend I was extremely productive. I sat at the kitchen table for 8 hours on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. My life is so sad right now - I actually caught myself thinking, "OK Katie, one more paragraph, and then for a reward you can get up and do the dishes!"

Friday, December 08, 2006

No comment.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Three days, three panic attacks.

Why do I do this to myself? Thanks to my gloriously slothful weekend, I'm now more behind than ever, and finals week is careening toward me at breakneck speed. I've got to get this stupid SAS program figured out, write 6 more papers, do a big statistical analysis project, study for two exams, and develop a presentation, basically all in the next ten days.

Today as I was sitting in class grappling with the idea of how to compare the probabilities of two samples using confidence intervals and the plus-four method, I felt like standing up and announcing to the class that I really wanted to eat a Choco Taco, and if anyone had one I'd give them all the money in my bag ($5.62).

I restrained myself, and here I am, safely in the computer lab getting ready to pack up for the long drive home. Maybe I'll stop at Kwik Trip for the Choco Taco.

Monday, December 04, 2006

14 hours

That's how long I slept on Friday night. After a relaxing date (dinner and a movie with Isaac), I fell into blissful slumber. I woke up once to let the dogs out, and then fell, oblivious, back into bed. I think Isaac woke me up several times to ask me when I was getting up, but I mumbled "Five more minutes" and went back to sleep. It was as if my body had become one with the mattress. I got up at noon. NOON! I haven't done that since pre-motherhood!!!

Of course it screwed up my sleep schedule for the rest of the weekend but it was worth it.

Page came home for a visit this weekend and showed me how to put on eyeliner so I don't look like a drug addict. Did you know that you actually have to put it on the INSIDE of the eyelashes? (On the bottom at least.) Yeah, that's kinda gross if you ask me.

I've got exactly 11 days left of classes. I've written exactly 8 of 14 papers that are due on Dec. 18. It's taken me the entire semester to this point to write 8 papers, so how do I think I can write six in 11 days? I don't. That's why I had a panic attack last night. But then I wondered, is my professor actually going to read all 70 pages of papers that I hand in? Impossible! I think I'll just put my best ones on the top of the pile.

I also need to finish my SAS program. Last week we learned a little about GIS and SAS - very cool. If I was smart enough, I'd do my thesis with GIS. It's a tool that allows researchers to plot their data on a map so that we can examine spatial relationships in the data. Geography, it's more than rocks and maps.

Speaking of which, I better get back to my homework.

Friday, December 01, 2006

some updates...

1. Che seems to be doing well. The vet thinks that if we stick to a special diet, keep encouraging him to drink water, and get him on IV fluids right away if he starts to throw up, that he'll be okay. El Che says gracias for everyone's prayers!!!

2. Isaac read an entire book by himself last night! He even got some hard words like "through" and "light". I guess his pronouncement at the beginning of the school year that he would "NEVER be ALBE to READ!!!" wasn't quite accurate. Nobel Prize, here we come!

3. Today is World AIDS Day. Let's get rid of this horrible disease!

4. I bit the bullet (what the hell does that saying mean?) and signed up for satellite internet yesterday. $300 to install, and $50 a month, but I will be connected again as soon as Wednesday.

5. I love my friends! I'm so lucky - I've had phone calls and emails and blog comments from so many of you in the past week. TKP even sent me some new tunes that helped me get my groove back. Every single one of you (even some of you that I've never seen face to face!) means a lot to me. (Warm Fuzzies.)

6. I'm thinking about learning Hindi. It'll come in very handy when I'm watching Hindi films.

7. This morning we're having a minor winter storm here in Madison. I had to drive the last leg of the vanpool and nearly killed myself. First I couldn't stop even though I was going S-L-O-W and then fishtailed around a coupla corners. Van=Scary.

8. My plan for this weekend: Sleep in, clean a little, sleep some more, write five million papers, sleep, do lots of stats homework, sleep.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Giant Frog and the Undersea Government

(Today's post courtesy of Isaac)

Chapter 1

Once upon a time there was a giant frog, and she found a nest and laid her egg. But one day when the frog went for a swim to look for food, the government flew over the egg sac and saw that it was an egg. They had a giant claw that they could use to bring it back to the government and they used it to take it back to the government to see what was inside. They made it hatch and found a baby frog.

They had a frog of their own to fight its mother. They raised it, made it fearsome, and trained it very well. It could almost destroy anything.

Chapter 2

When the frog was alive they put it in the great big undersea water convention to lower the mom there, and then it would release the frog from the cage, and then they would kill the mom because the mom almost destroyed the government. But the mom survived, and then she made a comeback by destroying the ship, the government and the baby frog.

Chapter 3

The baby frog denied to eat its own lunch. The mom got to raise her own baby the way she liked it to be.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Doggie Blues.

After my joyous post about how Che had recovered, the vet told my mom that his blood levels were not what they should be, and that he has terminal kidney failure. She gave him until Christmas to live. My mom brought him home with a bunch of medicine and an IV that we were supposed to give him under his skin every 12 hours. This weekend was horrible!

I bawled all weekend and held him and slept with him, and when I had to hold him still for the IV he cried.

But it seems like he's doing fine now. I don't know how it is with kidney failure, but he is eating and drinking (and peeing) like normal. He's even running around attacking Shadow. So I'm hoping that a miracle occurred. We're getting a second opinion today.

Please, if you believe in a benevolent universe, send healthy doggie vibes his way. I can't stand the thought of losing him!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Be glad you're not a potato.

I loves me some potatoes! Thanksgiving has always been about potatoes for me. I never liked poultry, so I'd always load up on carbs. Potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and then a side of dill pickles. My mouth is watering just typing this!

Today is a happy day for me. Masud has been here since Saturday morning at 2 a.m., and it's nice to have our family back together. I had a happy moment this morning when I saw three toothbrushes in the holder. Last night, my mom, Masud and Isaac drove down to Madison and we all went to eat (with Gina and the Raj) at my friend Said's restaurant. I had some good naan, dal and aloo matter, while the carnivores ate spicy lamb curry. After dinner, we went to Trader Joe's to pick up some of their awesome french fried onions for the green bean casserole. Mmmmmm.

My poor dog Che was sick over the weekend and nearly died. We decided that he must have eaten something poisonous because he was vomiting and pooping like crazy. We had to take him to thedoggie ER on Sunday for a subcutaneous saline injection, which probably saved his life, and he's been in the Montello vet's hospital since Monday morning. We weren't sure if he had an obstruction or what, but finally yesterday he ate his breakfast and was able to keep it down. The vet said he could come home today. I have no idea how much it will cost this time, but I'm just so glad he's okay!

And I got a 57 on my hard stats test. I have never done that bad on a test in my LIFE! I guess past performance is not an indication the present.

This will probably be my last post for a while. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! (But don't forget that we're celebrating the beginning of a horrible genocide of the Native American people...let's use this holiday to learn from our past and prevent more atrocities in the future!!! Soapbox out.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Give me stuff.

This year on December 20, I will cross a major milestone. It is a big birthday for yours truly, the big 3-0. I remember thinking that 30-somethings were very, very old, and now here I am, turning 30, still in school, and living with my parents. I guess I'm not too freaked out about it, though. I've seen enough hip old folks that I know I don't have to give up my Chucks or stop putting bumper stickers on my car now that I'm "grown". And I have Page to keep me in line - she always tells me if I'm too old for this or that. For example, I wanted to wear wrist warmers, but she informed me that it would not be appropriate for someone my age. (I tried not to let it hurt.)

Anyway, in the tradition of my good friend TKP, I have a gift request. I need some fresh tunes, so please burn me a copy of your favorite play list, CD, or a bunch of music you think I haven't heard before. I have pretty broad musical taste, but tend to shudder when I hear the steel guitar, so no country (unless it's Dixie Chicks).

This is a shameless request for all of you to break the law by pirating music. It's my small attempt at a revolution - I the proletariat am hereby rejecting the bourgeois notion of "intellectual property"!!!

Email me if you need my address, because I'm too scared to post it online. Some deranged Republican (oops! that's a redundant phrase!) might want to hurt me.

And I'm giving you PLENTY of advanced notice. I need tunes to get me through the horrible paper-writing/project-finishing/final exam period that is to come, so send them soon!

Yes, I am a demanding friend. (Those of you who responded that we are "Cordial" on the survey last week don't have to send me stuff.)

The results are in!!

I'm so glad you guys took my survey! Here are the results, as promised. The only one that surprised me was B. Which three of you feel that we're only CORDIAL! And who's the joker who put "fakey polite"????

1. About our relationship.

A. How long have you known me? (n=23, one skipped)

Ten years or more: 34.8% (n=8)
Five to nine years: 8.7% (n=2)
One to five years: 17.4% (n=4)
Less than one year: 34.8% (n=8)
You have no idea who I am: 4.3% (n=1)

B. Would you say we are: (n=23, one skipped)

BFF’s? 26.1% (n=6)
Pretty good buds? 30.4% (n=7)
Casual friends/work buddies? 26.1% (n=6)
Cordial? 13% (n=3)
Fakey polite? 4.3% (n=1)

C. Ten years from now, how do you see our relationship?

We’ll be closer than ever! 45.5% (n=10)
It could go either way… 27.3% (n=6)
There won’t be any change. 31.8% (n=7)
I won’t even be on your email list. 0%
If you see me in public, you’ll probably stick a fork in my eye! 0% (Thank GOD!)

2. About me.

D. I am a: (n=22, two skipped)

Vegan 4.5% (n=1)
Vegetarian 45.5% (n=10)
Omnivore 18.2% (n=4)
Nothing! I cheat! 36/4% (n=8)

*I say I’m a vegetarian, but I cheat about twice a year!!!

E.Many years ago, I went to a psychic and paid five dollars. The psychic told me:
(n=22, two skipped)

That I was an airhead. 13.6% (n=3)
That I would travel the world. 59.1% (n=13)
That I would hold public office. 13.6% (n=3)
That I had a ghost in my house. 13.6% (n=3)

*The psychic actually told me that I was an airhead! She also said that I would have my butt pinched by a guy wearing a uniform in a bar while listening to country music. I wanted a refund.

F. What is my favorite thing about being a mom? (HINT: I like all of these things, but what is my FAVORITE? (n=22, 2 skipped)

I get to watch cartoons. 4.5% (n=1)
I can enjoy poop jokes. 50% (n=11)
I get to eat lots of candy. 31.8% (n=7)
I get to play with legos. 13.6% (n=3)

*It’s definitely about the poop jokes, people. The candy is a close second.

3. Your opinion about me.

G. Do you think I am: (n=22, two skipped)

More like my mom (creative, intuitive, flakey) 68.2% (n=15)
More like my dad (stoic, methodical, safe) 31.8% (n=7)

*I probably AM more like my mom, but I do have a lot of my dad in me, too. I think I offended my mom by calling her flakey. I say, THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH FLAKEY! THE WORLD NEEDS FLAKEY PEOPLE LIKE US TO MAKE IT FUN!!!

H. Where will I end up living? (n=22, two skipped)

Montello (The Wilderness) 4.5% (n=1)
Some big city somewhere. 13.6% (n=3)
Nowhere! I’ll always be on the move! 45.5% (n=10)
Other 36.4% (n=8)
• Where your heart leads you, I hope.
• Dhaka
• Dhaka!
• Heaven
• Why not ARGENTINA?
• Madison, Wisconsin
• Dhaka
• In your own world!

*I hope I don’t end up living nowhere, although with my track record, it seems like endless moving is in my future. I hope I can have a home base somewhere in the Midwest and travel a lot. Dhaka is definitely on the list, people!!!

I. Give one reason why we’re friends: (n=20, four skipped.)

• your beautiful bubbly openness to the world
• Fulbright!
• Great minds think alike!
• I like your blog.
• your mother
• sense of humor, common sense
• Hey, I just met you
• We both have hearts for Bangladesh
• because we're cool!
• Shit, there's not enough room for all I want to write.... Anyhow, I think one reason is that we're a lot alike! Of course, Rob might have something do to with it too...
• I love your warmth and compassion.
• soul mates
• Are we friends? ;oP because you are a great friend, and me too :o), also becuase you love Economics ;o)
• because we get to enjoy a similar wonderful torture
• husband? owan-peesh...
• We are kindred spirits!
• You are always doing something new and interesting and you are gentle except to Republicans
• The poop jokes!
• You are such a freak, Katie! I can't believe it!

J. Last question: If I were a benevolent dictator, my first decree would be what?
(n=22, two skipped)

That dill pickles are the national food. 27.3% (n=6)
That the male birth control pill is now available. 13.6% (n=3)
That fat people are more attractive than skinny people. 22.7% (n=5)
That mullet haircuts are banned. 0%
That it’s perfectly okay for people to make up bogus
surveys at work and email them to their friends. 13.6% (n=3)
Other: 22.7% (n=5)
• that people lighten up a little - including the dictator herself.
• all of the above
• Everyone will get along , or else no cheesecakes
• The US shall delcare an indefinite "War on Statistics"
• All of the above!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A survey.

I made up a survey about myself. Arrogant, I know, but it is helping me to put off studying! Point your little clicker at this and take the damn thing, already! I'll post results in a week!

My new plan.

I am going to move my bedtime back to 8:00 p.m. I understand that this makes me a senior citizen, but there is no help for it. I am simiply exhausted.

Last night, I tried to implement the plan. Unfortunately, I started trying at 7:58 p.m. (I had to watch the last part of The Biggest Loser!) I had managed to get Isaac in the tub and washed his hair during commercial breaks, but I didn't do my Pre-Sleep Checklist Routine.

1. Locate cell phone and plug into charger (12 minutes)
2. Empty contents of lunch bag and place in sink for washing (1 minute)
3. Figure out what books/folders need to be taken to school tomorrow, and then prioritize based on the weight of my book bag, the relative soreness of shoulder muscles from carrying the book bag, and the scale of laziness. (7 minutes)
4. Decide what to wear the next day and put everything in the bathroom so I don't have to run into the bedroom sopping wet in a towel when it's freezing. (6.2 minutes)
5. Make sure Isaac did his homework. Check his backpack for notes from teacher. Write an excuse note if he didn't do his homework. (4 minutes)
6. Feed the cat so she doesn't harrass me all night (3 minutes)
7. Get Isaac to come into the bathroom and brush while I floss (so that he sees good dental habits being modeled) (12 minutes)
8. Finally get into bed.
9. Remember that I didn't change the finch's water and cover them for the night and get out of bed again to do that (5 mintues)
10. Water the hermit crabs (30 seconds)
11. Wipe up the dog pee I stepped in (2 minutes)
12. Get back into bed. It's now 8:51 and I have to read a few chapters from "the Magic Tree House: Midnight on the Moon" for Isaac's effing Book It! thing. (25 minutes)
13. Isaac isn't sleepy, and neither am I, so I read aloud from the Communist Manifesto. (7 minutes)
14. Isaac's fast asleep, and dad comes in with the dogs. They want to play but I force them to go to sleep by yelling. (12 minutes)
15. I finally, blissfully, drift away into sleep around 10 p.m., two hours past my deadline. I have to get up in 5 1/2 hours. But the dogs wake me up at 1 a.m. barking at a phantom...

So apparently this means that I need to start getting ready for bed at 7 p.m. Since I get home at 6 p.m. when I ride the van, I'll have exactly one hour to eat, interact with my family, and do some homework (yeah, right!) before I have to get in my p.j.'s and start the checklist. This leaves little time for things like watching Family Guy, which I enjoy! Oh well, there are always bootleg DVD's from the Desh.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New Boots

Rob and Lisa's adorable dog Riley is so pumped about his new boots!


I finally signed up for Facebook. For those of you who are not 'in the know', Facebook is sort of myspace for grownups, or at least for college students. It's got some nice features, but it has also made me feel very insecure about my friend networks. There is a big sidebar that lists all of my 'friends', and mine is a little skimpy. Some people have hundreds of friends, and I
have 12. In reality, of course, I have more than 12 friends, but in the Facebook World, I'm a hermit!

And, to add to my insecurity issues, I had to get weighed at the doctor's office on Monday. Let's just say that I've exceeded my normal standard deviation, and it's time
to reject the null hypothesis. (Yes, I had a stats test yesterday.) As much as I loathe physical exercise, I concede that if I don't want to end up using a crane to get out of bed, I better do something about it.

Oh, metabolism, why hast thou forsaken me?

Why is it so easy to commit to a diet in the morning, right after breakfast, but at night when I'm tired and hungry, ice cream andoreos sound like a great idea???

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I am totally procrastinating right now. I have one hour and 26 minutes to study for stats exam number two, but instead I'm blogging. I didn't study this weekend, either. Nor did I write any papers. I DID cook (gasp) and clean, and grocery shop, and spend quality time with my kid, but during my "free" time, I mostly sat around and though about how I should be doing my homework.

I also slept a lot.

Yesterday, I decided that since it's been a month since I got sick, and this sore throat seems to be getting worse instead of better, a trip to the doctor was called for. I went in and the doctor actually said, "Ewww" when he looked in my throat. That can't be good. So I've got strep, and I've probably been infecting innocent hundreds of people, and I'm probably on the edge of developing whatever terrible disease comes from strep when you don't treat it. But at least it's a good excuse for my apparent lack of motivation to do anything except sleep. I guess a raging infection IS good for something!

And Masud is coming home next weekend! He's driving up from Ohio on Friday, so we should see him sometime Saturday. I've been talking about it a lot, and Isaac thought that he was coming home for good. It was horrible to have to tell him that his Baba would leave again a week later. But a week is better than nothing!

Isaac is way cute with his front tooth missing. He's got a lisp.

Okay, I guess I've gotta study now. Anybody know what the difference between P-values and Alpha-values are?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

3 minute post

I have exactly 3 minutes before I have to pack up and skedaddle to catch the van pool, so here's a list:

1. The Stats Test: I didn't finish it, but I know I got a couple of answers correct. Last time, I wasn't even sure I wrote my name down right.

2. Cynthia Enloe: After the horrid stats test, I skipped stats class number 2 in order to see a lecture by Cynthia Enloe (read Bananas Beaches and Bases) on "Where are the women in the war in Iraq? Why does it matter?" It was like an hour and a half of brain massage. I love her, and I'm jealous that TKP gets to take classes with her at Clark U. in Worcester.

3. I'm sick again. Sore throat. Nothing that a little partying won't fix - I'm staying in Madison tomorrow for some much needed social reprieve.

4. Isaac's front top tooth is going to fall out soon. It's so loose that it flaps around when he talks and gives me the heeby-jeebies.

5. I'm way behind on my economics paper that needs to be 60+ pages before December 10th. Help me.

6. I've found two new blogs that are HILARIOUS. I happen to know these two people in real life, and I had no idea they were so funny! The first one will be particularily funny for moms (but everyone will enjoy it) and the second is just all-around entertaining. Lots of bodily-function humor in both. Enjoy!

(Whoops, I'm two minutes late for the van! I'll be crucified for sure!)

More election stuff.

While I'm still depressed about the whole gay marriage thing, I was really happy to hear that a Muslim has been elected to congress!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why can't everyone agree with me?

I really hoped that Wisconsin would "Beat the Ban" on gay marriage and civil unions, but I guess it was too much to expect. I'm really sad though. I feel like the 60% of people who voted to ban gay marriage and civil unions are total bigots. I can't tolerate bigots. Does that make me a bigot against bigots?

We did get some good democrats in the governor's mansion, the senate and the house, though. I'm trying to be happy about that.

And Rumsfeld resigned!

Now, if only I could figure out how to use SAS before my exam tomorrow. HELP!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Ahhh, welcome back to university life. At this point in the semester I always get a little burned out and start the major procrastination. I tried to head it off last week by planning out how many papers I have to write before the end of the semester, and then developing a time line for completion so I won't be all squished at the end. It totally backfired. It only served to solidify my subconscious desire to procrastinate, so much so that I got barely 1/4 of the homework done this weekend that I had hoped.

And I have an exam in my horrible class on Thursday!

Jeebus, I'm such a complainer.

I got an impromptu massage yesterday, though, so that was great.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here pictures of all of my pets...

Voldemort and Sauron, the evil hermits.

Fidget, the elderly betta.

Mert and Lert, society finches. They poop a LOT.

And you all know the adorable fur balls, Shadow and Che.

Pickles the cat has adamantly expressed her displeasure at being photographed. She's not really my cat anyway, so I left her out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


As the season of materialism approaches and the ads for ridiculously expensive Christmas gifts for kids increase, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to "spoil" a child. As my favorite hippie-pediatrician Dr. Sears says, the term "spoiled" implies a gallon of milk that has been left to rot in the fridge. The more attention you give a child, the less likely they are to be spoiled.

I did the whole "attachment parenting" thing, which was met with great approval from my mother in law (extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, knowing what the kid wants before they say it, lots of holding and comforting). However, I have been criticized by people of both American and Bangladeshi cultures for spoiling Isaac. I'm told that I buy too many toys for Isaac, I overindulge him, and that I'm "creating a monster". This might be true - I'm definitely not a perfect parent. But here is my attempt at defending myself.

1. Most of the things that I buy for Isaac are very small ticket items - less than $5. Big ticket items are planned way in advance, and many times, Isaac has to save up his own money to help buy them. So, yes, if you are looking at the sheer volume of toys that he has, it's a lot, especially when it's crammed into a small apartment. But the dollar amount that I spend on him is way less than what it looks like.

2. I would argue that from what I've observed at Isaac's friend's houses, he does not have nearly as many toys as other kids his age. Other people have entire huge ROOMS for their kids' toys, and the kids have their own bedrooms! Isaac has half a closet and he sleeps with me.

3. I DO NOT buy EVERYTHING that Isaac asks for, and I RARELY buy things immediately when he asks for them.

4. Isaac understands that the things he gets are because he has earned them, either by behavior, school performance, or some other measurement.

5. Isaac does not have tantrums when I say "no". Aren't tantrums are a defining characteristic of so-called "spoiled" children? In fact, I deliberately say no and make him wait for certain things because I want him to learn restraint. Also, he understands the value of money. If I decide to get something for him, I tell him that it has to be under a certain dollar amount, and he gets it.

6. Isaac is an only child, therefore we can afford to buy him more than if he had siblings. Conversely, he does not have siblings (or friends living nearby) to play with in order to pass time, so the toys give him something to do.

7. MOST of his toys are things that we play with together. We build Bionicles, have dragon wars, battle our Pokemon decks, and we play Gameboy games together.

8. I admit that sometimes I buy things for Isaac to assuage my guilt. For example, a few weeks ago when I spent the night in Madison, I saw some Dragonball Z DVD's for only 5 bucks apiece in a storefront. I bought them specifically to give to Isaac because I knew he'd be happy and it made me feel less bad about spending the night away from him. But is that so horrible? HE didn't know that I was giving it to him to make myself feel better, he was just happy to get a new DVD.

So, what do you think? What does it mean to spoil a kid?

New camera toy...

I got this rad little device that can be held in front of the camera lense while taking a picture and it produces awesome pictures....

Thursday, November 02, 2006

IF crappyteacher THEN homicide;

I consider myself a pacifist. I don't like guns or violence, and definitely oppose war. But today in my evil stats-computing-programming class, I found myself thinking that my professor will surely be dead in 50 years. His body, which today is living and breathing and spewing forth frustration into my life, will be rotted down to the bone. I watched him walk around the room, and imagined his flesh slowly decaying and falling off his bones, his eyeballs falling out of the sockets, and his teeth rattling in his skull.

Has Halloween gotten to me? Am I really this morbid? Is SAS worth it?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I slept all weekend. It was wonderful.

But then on Monday morning, I was trying to finish my homework for the evil stats class, and realized that I had severely underestimated the amount of time I would need. Five hours later, I was still working on the first problem. All I can say is, this class had better come in handy some day!!

I got a letter in the mail from Isaac's principal. It seems that he's been absent for "10 or more days" this semester, and I am now required to provide a letter from his doctor stating that it was medically necessary. It was cc'd to the school liaison officer. Are they saying that my son is truant?

Speaking of my son, he's rocking the first grade. The kid does math in his head. This is clear proof that "nature" has more influence than "nurture" - he definitely takes after his father. It's almost scary.

My bro Rob and his girlfriend Lisa came to visit this weekend, and it was nice to see them (although I slept through most of it - sorry guys!) Their dog Riley is a sweetheart, and he didn't eat my little dogs, although Shadow was very antagonistic. Riley has nerve damage and drools out of the left side of his mouth - it was kindof gross, but we can forgive him. We fed him lots of people food, and I guess he farted the entire 2 hour car ride to Green Bay. I'm sure Rob deserved that for something...

My big mug.

Gina FORCED me to put on lipstick for this picture.

My new buddies, Tall Mike, GH, and Eric the iPod guy.

Another new friend, Sayeed.

These are pictures from Gina's party which happened on Oct. 20 - a LONG time ago. I'm such a posting slacker!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Saved by the...dogs?

In my sickly state, I accidentally set my alarm for 3:45 p.m. instead of a.m. last night. (My God, there have actually been times in my life when I set my alarm for 3:45 p.m.! How I yearn for the Days of Sleep!) Needless to say, I overslept. By some stroke of fate, my hermit crabs decided to attempt an escape from their habitat, and when they fell off the little plastic palm tree, they made a clunking noise. The noise woke up the dogs, who then started barking in order to save us from the evil crabs. It was 4:30 - 15 minutes before I needed to leave to catch the van.

I made it! I even managed to put on clean clothes!

It's times like these that I understand how order can come from chaos.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My life is a Captain Underpants novel.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure to read Dav Pilkey's epic novels, you have no idea what you've been missing! Be warned, Pilkey's novels are a tad on the repuslive side (think first graders), so if you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip this post.

If my life were a Captain Underpants novel, I'd be in the chapter entitled "The Morphing Mutant Mucus Mountain". My nose has become a neverending fountain of green goo that drips down my face at the most unopportune moments. For example, I got on the bus this morning and had to share my seat with a rather large individual - which is fine - but since I'm also a rather large individual, we had little wiggle room. I felt a sneeze coming on but couldn't maneuver to my pocket for a kleenex soon enough, so I ended up soiling my new 99 cent "magic gloves" with boogers. It was really embarrassing.

Yeah, it was REALLY embarrassing. So in order to feel less embarrassed, I've posted it on my blog so that the entire world can know about it.

I was so embarrassed that I accidentaly got off the bus on the wrong end of State Street and had to walk about 50,000 miles to campus.

By the time I got to my office, I had that terrible hot-and-cold-at-the-same-time phenomenon happening...sweating in the pits but frostbitten on the face and hands. (Remember, I had to take my glove off on the bus, and I didn't want to look like a weirdo with only one glove on.)

It was an exciting start to an exciting day, that's for sure. And I have hours to go before I sleep.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Germs Wreak Havoc

I'm sick. I'm sicker than I've been in a long time. This is partly my own fault, because I started feeling sick on Friday morning, but decided to attend a party on Friday night. It was a great party (pictures to come) and I met lots of new and interesting people. I didn't even feel too sick the next day! But when Sunday rolled around, the germs took over. I spent Monday (incidentally, Eid Mubarak to my Muslim buddies!) in a haze of sleep and mucus.

Since I skipped a day of classes last week due to Isaac's sickness, I forced myself to come to campus today. I checked my temp before I left this morning, and it was 102.3. I'm sure it's at least that now, because I'm shaking and I feel like my head has detached from my body and is floating above me. I hope I infected my horrible stats teacher, because his class really sucked today.

This week is lookin' like a doozie - I've got two work-related events that will be happening in the evening, requiring me to drive and stay late. I've also fallen way WAY behind in my paper writing for the semester, and the aforementioned evil stats professor is leaving me in the dust with his cryptic lectures. Fortunately, I met a dude at the party who seems to know the secret to the mysterious SAS programming language, so I might just make it through after all.

To look on the bright side - this is my favorite time of year! It's crispy cold outside, and there is frost on everything. Although I'm a little stressed (a little stressed?) about my work load, this kind of stress makes me extremely productive. Isaac is doing great in school (only one wrong on his last spelling test! Ironically, it was the word "spell" - he wrote "spel".) Masud will be coming to visit for Thanksgiving. There will be mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie and green bean casserole, and all will be well with the world. Oh, yes.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Anxiety: An Example

Okay, first off, please note the last sentence of my previous post: "Talk to me in 5 minutes, and I'll probably be hyperventilating about something."

After a horrific stats class where I realized that missing one day has propelled me on the fast track for a bad grade, I went to stats class number 2. While sitting in class, my dad called. (Thank Kali-Ma that I remembered to turn off my ringer!) Dad doesn't call often, so I figured it must have something to do with my mom (who is recovering from surgery) or Isaac (who is home sick with a high fever). Since I was in class, I couldn't answer it, obviously.

But then, 15 minutes later, he called AGAIN! There were five minutes left of class, and the prof was going over some really deep reason for doing randomization in experiments, so I had to stay! The entire time, I was thinking about all the reasons he might be calling:

1) Isaac's fever got so high that he is having seizures.
2) Isaac is projectile vomiting again.
3) Mom is in the emergency room with complications of her surgery.
4) The house is on fire.
5) There has been a nuclear attack on Montello.
6) The world is ending.

Finally, mercifully, class was dismissed and I quickly called dad back. He answered and said, "Oh, I just wanted to know how you are."


Finally! A new post!

Whew, what a week it's been! I really hate the fact that I don't have internet at home and must wait until I re-enter civilization on Tuesdays to jump online. Unfortunately Isaac was sick on Tuesday, so I had an involuntary day off. I missed two classes - my first missed classes of my Ph.D. career!!! Now I'm behind!

Anyway, we've had an eventful week at home. My mom had surgery on Tuesday, which turned out fine. She's on the couch recovering, which worked out nicely for me today because Isaac's fever came back. I put his lunch out on the counter so hopefully he can take care of himself today.

I stayed up last night to watch the finale of Project Runway. I hadn't watched the show until last week when I discovered that we had free Bravo and they were showing a PR marathon. I caught snipets of most of the last few episodes and then forced myself to stay up to watch the last one. Ten o'clock is a killer these days.

With all the TV watching that happened this weekend, I must say that my school work was severely neglected. Not to worry, I made up for it on Tuesday. One of the great things about reading all this boring economics stuff is that non-fiction books on things like women and development have become exciting. I crave readable texts like "Development as Freedom" and even Todaro's "Development Economics" has become more readable than before.

Today the Annual Conference on South Asia begins here in Madison. It's a big conference, and I was able to volunteer stuffing folders and alphabetizing nametags for a few hours in order to get free admission. I'm spending the night on Friday so that I can get to the early sessions on Saturday. (Not to mention attending Gina's kegger on Friday night!)

It seems like I might be getting the hang of this grad school thing - I've just got to embrace the fact that I'll always have too much to do and I'm not as smart as I thought I was, but that's okay! For the moment, I'm okay with that.

(Talk to me in 5 minutes, and I'll probably be hyperventilating about something.)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Muhammad Yunus Wins Nobel Prize!

It was only a matter of time, but Muhammad Yunus has been named the newest Nobel Peace Prize Winner for his development of microcredit loans that help poor people (mostly women) to start small businesses. He also founded Grameen Bank and the Grameen Phone program, which put mobile phones in the hands of many rural women and changed the rural dynamic of Bangladesh.

Yay for Yunus! and Yay for Bangladesh!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ani at the Orpheum

Tonight, Page and I are going to see our very favorite righteous babe, Ani Difranco, at the Orpheum Theater on State Street. I've been thinking about the day that Page and I would go to a concert together ever since the day when she was in 2nd grade and I played "Waitress" by Tori Amos for her and we rocked out together.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Welcome Riley

Since my last post was nerdy and a little over the top, here's a new one to take the edge off. [note: I'm no longer on the edge of an anxiety attack, thanks to a chat with my buddy Gina and a hot cup of cocoa.]

Isn't he cute!?? No, I did NOT get another dog. This is my new "nephew", because he now lives with my brother Rob and his girlfriend Lisa. They adopted him from some rescue thingy in Minnesota. Riley looks like he's smirking in the picture, but he's actually got some kind of nerve damage. I hope that his nerve damage was from something nice like a birth canal, not from a mean dude beating him with a stick.

Rob promised that Riley won't eat my puppies when he comes to visit!!!

Hard Test Update

Just because I can't calm down until I tell SOMEBODY what just happened, I am going to torture my blog readers with the following story about my test.

We got our tests back today, and I got 69 out of 113. Yep, that's about the worst I've EVER done on a test in my life. I'm definitely not trying to be arrogant here, because I have this streak of perfectionism that borders on obsessive. Okay, it doesn't even border, it's way out there on the obsessive continuum.

Anyway, I've been actually losing sleep about this test since I bombed it last week, and this morning, seeing that score just about made me vomit. Thank God the prof. put the distribution on the board, so that I could see that 69 was actually the third highest score in the class. Phew.

So fine, now I understand that the professor intentionally makes the exam impossible and then puts it on a curve. Great! But that doesn't excuse the hours of anxiety that this caused me!

Let me give you an example of how confusing this professor is. Here is what he told us to do for part of a homework assignment.

5. [omitted first part of question] Finally, use Emacs to access the man pages on any rectangle commands you used, edit them to remove discussion of any features you did not use, and combine the man page excerpts into a single document showing what rectangle commands and features you used.

Note: He gave us the assignment on September 29 (via email, which I couldn't check until October 2), but didn't explain what the hell "rectangle commands" are until October 3.

I literally spent 5 hours on Oct. 2 working on this homework, which had many other really hard questions, then found out that he had changed the due date from Oct. 5 to October 10. So, yesterday, I again spent 7 hours (I'm not exaggerating) working on the homework. Here is what I came up with for my answer.

Rectangle Commands:

Dr. [name omitted], Is this a trick question? According to both the Unix and the Emacs book, the man pages are only for looking up Unix commands. I looked for rectangle commands and could not find any, so now I assume that Unix doesn't have rectangle commands. Is that correct? I spent quite a long time looking using the following prompts:

m-x man [Enter] r (gives an error message)
m-x man [Enter] R (gives the information for a program named R)
m-x man [Enter] rectangle (gives an error message)
m-x man [Enter] region (gives an error message)

I did use the rectangle command to organize the sessions, but it seemed kindof
redundant because I had already used tab to organize the document into columns.
I guess I'm not understanding what you wanted us to do.

Anyway, here is a description of what I did:
c-x h to select the entire document.
m-x untabify to remove tabs and replace with spaces
c-space to set the mark at the beginning of a column, and moved cursor to end and bottom of column
c-x r k to "kill" the column
c-x r y to "yank" the column (paste)

I hope I can get partial credit for that at least...


Now, here's the funny part. This morning, I log into my email 15 minutes before the homework needed to be submitted to his electronic mail box on Unix, and find this message:

2. Also, homework 3 asked for the man page on the Emacs rectangle commands, which does not exist (since man pages don't cover
individual Emacs commands). Please substitute the man page for the
cat command instead, unless you've already done something else more
or less equally reasonable instead.

Oh MY GOD! This email was NOT in my inbox yesterday when I was working on this at 7 PM at my dad's spa (because I live in the wilderness and don't have an internet connection!!!)

Okay, end of rant. If you've managed to read this far and feel bad for me, you can send Skittles to make me feel better.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

In case you need to brush up on your Marx...

...or if you just thought he was a dead guy with bushy eyebrows like me and need to know what all the profs are talking about in class, you should read this book.

It's even got cartoons.

The future president.

A Night on the Town, and a hard test.

Last night I had to work late so I decided to stay overnight in Madison at my buddy Gina's house. Coincidentally, my friend Kedar was in town. I met Kedar in India while we were both on our Fulbright grants. He's a genius, of course, and now he works for a company that sells "carbon credits" (google it). He and his colleague met me for dinner on State Street, and I felt like I had a bit of a social life at last!

After dinner, Isaac called me bawling because he "just couldn't handle it" that I was not home. Heart...break...

Then I met up with Gina and we took the bus to her house (thank GOD she didn't make me walk again. The girl is all about walking.) I managed to study for a few hours before passing out on her couch (from exhaustion, not drunkenness). THis morning I got to sleep in to a whopping 6:00!! I figured I'd be able to study for my test at work, but it was not to be...

And the test. I did really badly for two reasons:

1) I was over tired, and did not prepare enough. I should have spent some time in the lab on campus going over the commands, but I physically did not have any time! If I had internet at home...whatever.

2) The exam was unreasonable. Who memorizes Unix commands in one week without using them? In real life, when people are learning computers, they usually have a book or notes in front of them that they refer to when they forget a command, but for the test, we were not even allowed to use the computer. We had to write down commands for specific actions. And there were SO MANY commands, and some that we had never gone over in class.

At best I got a C, probably more likely I got a D. Anyone who knows me will understand how freaked out I am about that. But the test is only 10% of the grade, so I can still come out with an A.

Anyway, I'm planning on going to bed IMMEDIATELY upon arriving home. In 4 hours. Wahhh.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A Day in the Life...

2:52 a.m. - Wake up to the sound of dogs barking at the lightening outside. Fall asleep again.

3:45 a.m. - Wake up to the sound of my HORRIBLE alarm clock. Hit snooze and fall asleep again.

3:54 a.m. - Alarm goes off again. Pull myself out of bed and take the dogs outside. Feed the cat. Start the coffee.

4:00 a.m. - Let the dogs back in and watch them run into the bathroom to pee and poop on the floor. Clean up pee and poop.

4:03 a.m. - Shower

4:20 a.m. - Make lunch for Isaac, pack lunch for self: 2 apples, one orange, grapes (I'm on a fruit binge), PB sandwich, 4 mini Snickers, baggie of goldfish crackers, diet coke and water bottle.

4:25 a.m. - Put bagel in toaster, get bags ready - checklist: phone, wallet, books, umbrella.

4:30 a.m. - Blowdry, makeup and finish getting dressed.

4:45 a.m. - Out the door.

5:15 a.m. - Pick up Bonnie and drive together to catch the van.

5:40 a.m. - Fall asleep on the van.

6:40 a.m. - Wake up, jump in the front seat of the van and drive the last leg to school. Park crooked in lot 34.

7:03 a.m. - Stagger into office and check email (this takes an hour).

8:00 a.m. - Study at library. Stats and Unix - exam coming up on Thursday! Read Amartya Sen for Econ class discussion on Wednesday.

9:30 a.m. - Stats 365

11:00 a.m. - Stats 360

12:15 p.m. - Eat lunch outside (quickly), then try to figure out where the "Education Library" is by consulting campus map. Start walking.

12:45 p.m. - Arrive at campus library in time for "RefWorks" workshop.

2:30 p.m. - Rejoice in the discovery of "RefWorks" - sofware that generates a bibliography in APA format!!! Chat with Kasia who is in Bangladesh over Gmail Chat.

3:00 p.m. - Begin walk to lot 34.

3:30 p.m. - Drive van to pick up van poolers.

3:55 p.m. - Get in back seat and try to sleep but talk instead.

4:50 p.m. - Arrive at car. Drop Bonnie off and head home.

5:50 p.m. - Arrive home. Feed Isaac. Feed self. Feed dogs. Feed fish. Feed hermit crabs.

6:45 p.m. - Watch part of DVD from Bangladesh.

7:00 p.m. - Get kicked out of TV room by dad who wants to watch CSI. Refuse to leave and end up wasting an hour watching CSI.

8:00 p.m. - Call Isaac's friend's mom and set up playdate for tomorrow.

8:15 p.m. - Pack overnight bag to spend the night in Madison.

8:30 p.m. - Attempt at cleaning - lasts 30 seconds.

8:31 p.m. - Brush teeth and get into bed.

8:35 p.m. - Get up again to get Isaac's medicine for him. Remember that I have to print test review sheets.

9:00 p.m. - Get back into bed with test review sheets and make a list.

9:30 p.m. - Turn on Enya CD and rub Isaac's back. Talk about the bee sting he got in school today.

10:00 p.m. - Isaac is asleep. Dogs are asleep. I'm almost asleep...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Bipolar disorder.

This time of year in the Midwest is signified by funky weather. It will be 50 degrees one day and 90 the next. Last week I had to scrape frost off of my windshield, and this morning we had the air conditioner on in the van. (note: I was freezing in the van, but I think I might be the only person riding who is not in menopause.) I LOVE this time of year, especially because of the beautiful colors of the leaves. The soybeans in the fields turn a brilliant golden color, the sumac is bright red, and there are litte purple flowers blooming in the ditches by my house.

So, even though I had piles of homework this weekend, I didn't do it until last night. It's a strange combination - I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my performance, but I put things off until the last possible moment and then get stressed out about it. I had Saturday, Sunday AND Monday to finish my piles of homework, but only managed to get about half of it done.

Last night, as I labored over my regression problems for Stats 360, with "Courage the Cowardly Dog" blasting on the TV, I suddenly heard the friendly beep of my phone - a text message! "Hey Chica! I can detect your stress level from here! Hang in there! tkp"

I haven't talked to Tanya for a few weeks, and she lives in Worcester, MA (way far from here), but it's so awesome to have a friend who can empathized thousands of miles away!

I put Isaac to bed, turned off the TV, and knuckled down for the long haul. After kicking some regression butt, I read a few articles on economics, and passed out safely in my warm bed with my boys (Isaac and the dogs). Four hours later, I was on the van, ready to attack another week!

Looks like I'll make it through, bipolarism and all.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

My brain is melting.

My friend Tanya once wrote about how it's so hot in Bangladesh that she could feel her proteins denaturing. I don't know what that means, but I think my brain is denaturing due to the hardness of my economics class.

Today in class, the professor was lecturing about something called "Present Discounted Value", which I thought was a relatively simple concept until he started doing the calculus. He wrote this huge formula on the board and accompanied it with a weirdo graph. I just tried to type it out so you could see the formula and how freaky it was, but it's not possible. Anyway, he stepped back from the board, and said, "You might say to yourself, there are other ways to conceptualize an inter-temporal utility function."

Now, my question is...if I was ACTUALLY thinking to myself, "What am I doing in Mexico?"...does that mean I don't belong here?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

If my life was an ONION headline...

Montello Forest Lane Elementary first grader Isaac Zaman has filed a formal grievance with his mother, saying that the level of paper work expected in first grade is "too, too hard." He is petitioning to be transferred back to Kindergarten, where instruction is based on "movies and nap time." Mr. Zaman's mother was unavailable for comment.

The unidentified woman was found in a ditch alongside Bascom Hill, her bag full of journal articles and notebooks. Also found was a Penguin Dictionary of Economics, a week's supply of Snickers, and 25,482 post-its scattered about her lifeless corpse.

The food pyramid has traditionally included the "four food groups", but a radical new finding by the FDA has prompted the addition of a fifth group: Snickers. FDA director John Smith said, "It's got all the major components of perfect nutrition! Milk chocolate gives you dairy, peanuts for protein, and nougat - did you know that nougat is a vegetable?"

The recently discovered corner, which for weeks had been exuding a putrid aroma, has been found to be the official "hidden poop area" for the two yorkies living at the Zaman/Metcalf residence. Yorkie owner Katie Zaman said, "I was playing the piano and noticed a terrible smell. Since there were no turds evident in the room proper, I peered over the edge of the piano, only to discover a virtual mine-field of turds." HazMat specialist Paul Metcalf remarked, "It's going to take a strong nose plug, and a good supply of paper towels, but we'll get the job done." Because of the lack of turds in plain view, the family had assumed that the dogs were housebroken.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I refuse!

Isaac missed three days of school this week because he was sick with a sore throat and fever (not to mention the weekend barfing spree). Today I woke up with a headache, which is normal, but it usually goes away once I have my coffee. It's still here, and now I can feel my throat starting to get scratchy and sore, and my nose is stuffy.

But I am trying to do the "mind over matter" thing and just refuse to get sick. My dad hardly ever gets sick and he says that it's all about willpower. So I'm willing with all my will to stay healthy! I've got so much work to do!!! Here is my weekend to-do list:

1) Reading for Soc 365: 3 chapters
2) Reading for Soc 651: 4 articles
3) Writing for Soc 651: 3 essays (which will require reading MANY MANY articles)
4) Writing for fellowship application
5) Soc 360 problem sets (statistics) from chapters 3 and 4
6) Soccer game Saturday morning (I think I'll beg off)
7) Finish cleaning my Montello house and find my other bed linens

And that list does not include the long-term deadline stuff that I should have started weeks ago, but we won't go there.

Ewww, the dude next to me in the computer lab has a really gross cough.

In other bodily health news, I seem to have traded my stomach for a bottomless pit. I'm always starving. I am afraid I'm going to balloon to the size of a circus attraction by the time this year is done! Maybe I should be a good Muslim and observe the Ramadan fast that begins soon. (I think it starts on Sunday??)

Can I just have a nap, please?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Puppy update.

This morning, I woke 43 precious minutes before my alarm went off (at 3:45) to the sound of a dry-heaving puppy. Shad had his family jewels removed on Tuesday and didn't handle the anesthesia well. I felt bad for him, but felt worse for myself - that 43 minutes is like gold!

With my sleep ruined, I got up and rummaged through the pantry for the last can of puppy food. After eating he seemed to feel better. I'll be glad when he's completely recovered, though.

Che is back to 100%, in fact he is beating up Shad for once! Isn't there a story in the Old Testament about how a tribe was slaughtered after all their men were circumcised and recovering??? Anybody know what I'm talking about? Well, Che has launched his offensive against the weak Shad - payback time for all the humping he received!

I'm hoping that this weekend will be better than the last. My buddy Gina is coming home with me on Friday (I actually have a social life, people!) and then we're going to a birthday party for a friend on Saturday. Lots to look forward to, but I've also got a pile of econ reading to do in my spare time. C'est la vie.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Help! It's Jim Wolff again!

Check out the latest Jim Wolff piece in the paper. Comments?

Monday, September 18, 2006

My terrible weekend.

Thank God it's MONDAY!

This weekend was awful, and here are the reasons why.

1) Saturday: Isaac's Soccer Game (BTW, I've decided that I am NOT cut out to be a soccer mom. Isaac's decided that he'd rather take piano lessons, anyway.) I was driving home from the game, talking to Isaac about why it's not important if you win or lose, but how much you enjoy yourself while you play (he said, "Mom, I don't enjoy running."), and suddenly my front right tire went a little too far to the right and slipped off the road. I may have been fiddling with the radio or something. Anyway, since I was on a curve and going a bit fast, I lost control of the car and did a 360 into oncoming traffic. Fortunately it was a county road and the only oncoming traffic was a little farmer dude who was going slow enough that he had time to drive out of my way, but it was terrifying. I thought the car would flip over or explode or something. Thank GOD we're both okay, and I think the car is okay too, although it might need an alignment.

2) Sunday: Isaac Doesn't Feel Good. Isaac woke up with a bad headache and a fever. I got out the Children's Motrin and fished out four orange pills, the correct dosage for a 40 lb. kid. Just as I was walking over to give him the pills, he projectile vomited across the room.

3) Sunday: Doggie Overdose. After tending to Isaac in the bathroom, I walked back into the living room to clean up the barf, and caught Che in the act of swallowing the last Motrin tablet. Four tablets is a fatal dose for a 1.5 lb. puppy, so we had to induce vomiting and take him to the only vet hospital that accepts pets on a Sunday - in Appleton (2 hours away).

4) Sunday: I'm Broke. The dog needed an IV, blood tests, and an overnight stay. The bill was $400, not counting the overnight stay that I'll have to pay for tomorrow, which should be cheaper because he was transfered to the local vet clinic in Montello. I also have to pay for their routine shots that they got last week, as well as Shadow's ball-amputation, scheduled for tomorrow.

5) As a result of all the drama, I didn't get my reading done! And tomorrow I have to get up at 3:45 a.m. to catch the damn van.

Can you top that for a sucky weekend? Send me skittles.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Grad school's, like, hard.

Here is your vocab list for today. These are words that people have seriously used in lectures, and I had to write them down so I could google them later.

Tautology: n. , pl. -gies . Needless repetition of the same sense in different words; redundancy. An instance of such repetition.

Hegemony: a term used mostly by Marxist critics to delineate the web of dominant ideologies within a society.

Pareto-Optimal: Having the property that no Pareto-improving change is possible.

Conjecture: (From Gina's friend) a description of a social formation as fractured and conflictual, along multiple axes, planes and scales, constantly in search of temporary balances or structural stabilities through a variety of practices and processes of struggle and negotiation.

Paternalism: describes the relationship of a dominant group, considered superior, to a subordinate group, considered inferior, in which the dominance is mitigated by mutual obligations and reciprocal rights.

Does your brain hurt yet? I feel like I'm learning a new language! My econ class is pretty overwhelming, and the stats classes are alternately boring and impossibly hard - a fatal combination. I had to buy a roll of Rolaids at the gas station this morning. Acid reflux - it's never a good sign.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Che Says...

"The true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love."

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Two cute pictures and one gross one.

el Che Guevera. Isn't he adorable??? You'd never guess that he's acutally a socialist revolutionary, would you?

Che is going to kick Shad's ass when he gets bigger. But Shad's adorable, isn't he? He's still my favorite. Isaac is more attached to Che.

Our spider, whom we have alternately called Natasha, Cleopatra and Drizella, bit the dust. Actually, I think she exploded. If you look close enough, you can see some yellow goop dripping from her abdomen. Ewwww.

More Jimmy - I just can't get enough!

The conference that I attended on Saturday was great, and I meant to run home right afterwards and write up a summary of the "Six Factors" to consider for US foreign policy to the Muslim World, but then I took a nap instead.

But I did realize how important it is that we fight the prejudices that exist towards Muslims in this country. I realized that Jim Wolff probably listens to right-wing, neoconservative radio programming, as does much of the population here in the US. It scared me to think that Mr. Wolff's views are probably very common.

I have typed up Mr. Wolff's two articles on radical Islam and posted them online. (It was a nauseating task, and I recommend waiting until one hour after you have eaten before you read this if you find blatant racism sickening.)

August 17, 2006: "If we accept losing the Global War on Terror..." By Jim Wolff
August 24, 2006: "Are you sure you disapprove of torturing suspects?" By Jim Wolff
August 30, 2006: My letter to the editor as printed in the paper.

After reading these, if you would like to write a (respectful yet poignant) letter to Mr. Wolff, you can send your email to Please cc me on any email you send, as I would like to keep track of this. Thanks in advance to all of you!

[Edit: I fixed the links. Sorry about that.]

Friday, September 08, 2006

Jimmy, Part Three

Thanks for all the great comments about the newspaper article! It's so
nice to have people to bounce things off of, God Bless the Blogging

I'm attending a conference on Saturday called "Young Global Leaders Summit on the Future of Western-Muslim Relations". It should be really interesting. They sent us three articles to read (if you're interested, here are the links...
"Islam and the West: Searching for Common Ground"
"If It's a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution."
, and “America shares the blame: A Response to Thomas Friedman.” Not that I have a shortage of reading materials, but I'm going to read this before I delve into the mysterious world of economic sociology this afternoon.

We had the most beautiful storm this morning complete with a nice lightening show. It kind of sucked when I had to run to my car with my book bag, a bagel, my coffee AND an umbrella, but it was worth it for the sky show. I'm very glad it's Friday so that tomorrow I'll be able to wake up at a reasonable 6:30 instead of 3:45. (Yes, Page, I know it's elderly to talk about my sleep schedule, but right now it's about the only thing I can think about.)

I'll be internet-less for the next three days as I'll be retreating to the Wilderness for the weekend. Expect a conference update on Tuesday.


Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jimmy Responds

I got a response (printed in the paper) to my shortened version of the letter to the editor that I posted last week.

How would you respond to this?

Editor Emeritus' Note: Thank you, Katie, for voicing your opinion. I doubt that you would be able to expouse such comments about Muslim terrorists in many of the Muslim nations of which your husband is a native. There is a big difference between asking our security people to pay more attention to young male Middle Easterners at airports and train depots than they would little old ladies, and vowing to kill all Americans simply for their religious beliefs. I admire that you abhor terrorism, but of course you're not afraid to speak up. You live in America! If Muslim nations wanted to end terrorist activity, they could, but obviously American hatred runs deep, much deeper than any hatred I have for Muslims. If Islam is a wonderful religion, then terrorists should not feel they have put a gun to journalists heads to make them convert as they did a few days ago. I hope you continue to voice your opinion and hope Muslims around the world will come forward to do the same in their countries, if they dare.
-Jim Wolff

Now, if I wanted to be a bitch about it, I would really tear this apart. For example, my husband is not a native of "many of the Muslim nations", only one. And he basically lumps all Muslim nations together into one group, just as he lumps all Muslims into one group. I wish I would have used the KKK example...they are a terrorist Christian group, but the majority of Christians are not like the KKK. I am not quite sure how to interpret the last two sentences...what do you think?

Dog pee and racoons [Edit: raccoons]

My God, the sleep deprivation is killing my spelling abilities!

morning I woke up to the awful beeping of my alarm clock and dragged
myself into the shower. I usually get the dogs up (they sleep in bed
with us and can't jump down) and put them outside but they were
snuggled up all warm and I figured I'd let them sleep. I got out of the
shower and heard some desperate whining. I ran out in my towel and was
too late - El Che had peed on the bed. Of course, he picked the spot
where he could soak through the sheets AND blankets, so now it's all
got to be washed.

Then on the way to meet the van, I nearly
killed an entire family of raccoons but managed to slam on the breaks
in time. I ended up spilling my coffee and breaking the strap on mybook bag
(I have no idea how that happened!!) Just my luck, today I have to walk
to Egypt and back for my classes with a broken strappedbook bag.

And I'm so sleepy!

my classes are great. Yesterday's class in economic sociology was
really intense but it's another good one. I don't know hardly anything
about economics, although I've read three econ books to try to prepare
a little. He was talking about some guy named "Vaber" the entire time. Finally at the end, I realized that "Vaber"
is "Weber" (who I've actually heard of) - a famous classical GERMAN
economist. Sigh. The professor is planning to lecture every class
period for 2 1/2 hours straight. Can you say "Mountain Dew"?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day update and some other thoughts, via list

Okay, I made it. Class number two was a tad numbing, I sorta already had an introductory statistics class way back in Minnesota, so I think the first part of this class is going to be BORING. Boring is better than ass-kicking, though. After class I walked back to the van (which I successfully drove this morning without harming/killing/scaring anyone) and deposited the HUGE packet of reading material for my Economic Sociology class that I picked up from the copy shoppe. I'm not kidding, it's an entire ream of paper, maybe more. I brought the first three chapters with me to the Union because I thought I'd check my email quick and then read it before I went home. Instead, I'm blogging. TKP, I'm feelin' ya!

Here are some thoughts.

1. I live in the wilderness. I subscribed to the Wisconsin State Journal and the people who deliver it won't come down the driveway to drop it off because our driveway is literally half a mile long and it goes through a corn field. I can't get any decent internet access and have to wait until November when they open up the "satellite stream" so that I can pay $399 for them to install a dish, which I'll then have to pay $70 a month to use for internet access. So until then, I can only check my email on the days that I'm at school (Tuesday through Friday).

2. The guy who wrote the nasty comments about Islam in the local paper gave a reply to my letter (they printed a shortened version of my letter). I will try to retype it here if I remember before I recycle the paper. He basically restated his bigoted comments in a euphamistic way and I am too tired to respond.

3. I finally moved the rest of my stuff in to my apartment. It's lookin' good in there, although I have stubbed my toe twice because we have a traffic flow issue with the bedroom furniture.

4. Isaac cried last night because he was nervous about school starting today. It's a good thing it was dark, because I cried, too. First days are hard, man! I was trying to be the strong and comforting mommy. He said, "I wish that we didn't ever have to go to school and that we just knew everything automatically." I wanted to scream, "Me TOOOOOO!!!" I made my mom come in and rub our backs till we both fell asleep.

5. I switched my blogger account over to "blogger beta", which apparently merged my acocunt with my google account. Now I can't post on anyone's blog unless they have a beta account. I tried to post on Tanya, Sonya and Gina's blogs, but dammit, I was FOILED! (TKP - you're post about mistaking the eraser for a bug made me snort loudly in the "quiet study area." Sonya - I wish you could hear Isaac talk about "sugar bugs." After the dentist told him about them, he made up this elaborate story about how they build their houses and have families and live and die, all in the crevices of his mouth! And Gina, Mmmmmmm, Moroccan.)

6. One of the big differences between this university and the smaller one I'm used to is that we are to use our NUMBER instead of our NAME to identify ourselves on our assignments. That freaks me out just a little. The profs said it's to ensure "non-biased" grading, but whatever.

7. I wrote the directions for how to pick up the van pool riders on my hand but they faded before I remembered to transfer them onto paper. Whoops. I hope I don't get lost with that behemoth of a vehicle!!

8. I am trying to have a good attitude about waking up at 3:45 a.m., but I'm having serious doubts. I even had the fleeting thought that I should take up exercising, because isn't there a myth that the more you exercise, the less sleep you need? But if I exercise, I'd probably just end up hating exercising on top of hating waking up early. So never mind.

One down, two to go...

I survived my first class without a major hives outbreak, and I feel a little more confident now. The class seems difficult but it's exactly what I need to know, so hopefully that will help. There's nothing worse than a hard class that will never be useful.

I'll update you on class number two in a few hours...

Oh, Crap!

I'm sitting in my classroom waiting for the professor to show up - I was just in the bathroom and noticed some hives beginning to appear on my neck. What the hell was I thinking??? Ph.D.??? This is scary!

New Puppy

Che (as in Guevera) joined our family on Saturday, thanks to the sale of the old Evinrude outboard motor that we found in the garage. He's only 3 months old, but he's almost as big as Shad.

Shad is alternately pleased and jealous, but I think mostly pleased. He is a camera hog, though.

fat spider

Monday, August 28, 2006


Our local newspaper, the Princeton Times-Republic, runs a weekly Op Ed titled "Correct Me...If I'm Wrong!" by emeritus editor Jim Wolff. The man is consistently annoying but his last two pieces have pushed me over the edge. He's been ranting and raving about Muslim terrorists, and he uses inflammatory and biased language to support his racist agenda. The paper limits letters to the editor to 200 words or less, so I'm publishing my verbose response here.

(It's my blog, I can say what I want, dammit!)

Mr. Wolff:

I have avoided responding to your annoying column in the past simply because I have not felt that your biased writing deserved a reaction, but your recent submissions regarding the war on terror and racial profiling have provoked me to action. Specifically, the sentence in your 8/17/06 piece that “those peaceful Muslims are being silenced by Muslim terrorists every day because they’re afraid of their lives and they will never turn in the bad guys for fear of retribution.” This followed the extremely arrogant challenge for your readers to “name one Muslim nation that allows freedom of speech, of thought, of religion, of press…or respects the rights of women, or has been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.” I was shocked to see this printed in my local paper on August 17, 2006.

Mr. Wolff, I don’t know how many “peaceful Muslims” you know, and I wonder how many “Muslim terrorists” you know. I’m sure you must know a few Muslims, since you talk so freely about our motives and lives. As a Muslim myself, I want you to know that I am horrified by what happened on September 11, 2001, as well as all of the other terrorist attacks that have occurred around the world. I agree with you that terrorism must be stopped. But I am NOT silenced by the terrorists.

The biggest fear I have is of the bigots who perpetuate negative stereotypes. I am afraid of raising my son in a town where the paper publishes blatantly racist statements that encourage racial profiling of “male Islamic extremists”. Tell me, Mr. Wolff, what does an Islamic extremist look like? How would you identify one? Is it skin color? Language? Style of dress?

I am white. As a matter of fact, I was born and raised in Montello, and I converted to Islam when I was looking for a religion that didn’t alienate other beliefs and offered a simple doctrine of love and peace. This description might clash with your ideas of what Islam is, but I would encourage you to find out more by contacting the Council on American-Islamic Relations at I would also be very willing to sit down with you and tell you what I know about Islam. I could even give you an example of a Muslim country that is a democracy and allows all of those freedoms that we hold so dear in the U.S. – and we could also discuss how Muslim countries contribute to the good of the world.

My husband isn’t white, and he comes from one of those useless Muslim countries that you so abhor. He is by no means an extremist, nor a terrorist, but he does speak with an accent and his skin is dark. He is an American citizen, and has been harassed on several occasions while living in this area. I’m not telling you this so that you’ll feel sorry for us, but I would like you and your readership to think about whose freedoms are sacrificed as a result of the war on terror. It is not the Christian white majority that is giving up their rights, but a minority group of people with Muslim names, whether or not they are “extremists”. It’s definitely easy to sacrifice another person’s freedom, Mr. Wolff, but I’m sure you’re thankful that after the events in Oklahoma City, white males were not put under the microscope.

In this era of fear and war, I don’t know if my words can make much of a difference. All I can do is ask you to think about the hatred that you are propagating in your articles. I hope you agree that hatred is not good for the human race. It’s definitely not good for my family, and although I love this place where I grew up, I don’t want to subject my son to bigoted attitudes if I don’t have to.

Mr. Wolff, I don’t begrudge you your beliefs, in fact I agree with you on some of them. I just ask you to please consider the consequences of hatred – a dramatic example of which we saw on September 11, 2001.

Very sincerely,

Katie Zaman

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Van Pool

Yes, I've joined the van pool. It's way cheaper than buying gas and paying for parking, and I can kick back and sleep the entire way if I want to, plus, I'm saving the environment! Sadly, it's not without ickyness, because I have to leave my house no later than 4:50 a.m. to catch the van. I'm sure in the winter it will have to be even earlier to account for slippery roads. Maybe this will help me to establish healthier sleep habits. I'll simply be too exhausted to stay up for late night TV. In order to get my usual nine hours of sleep, I'll need to go to bed at...oh man...7:00 p.m. That's ridiculous. I guess I'll have to sacrifice some sleep, but I can make up for it on weekends, sleeping in to a slothful 7 a.m.

Classes start in a few weeks, so until then I'm just working and trying to get ahead on my reading. Well, okay, I admit it, I'm not really getting ahead - just pretending.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Katie's Critter Corner

In honor of my beautiful friend Wendell (who got married on August 12), I am posting these rather gross critter pics.

This poor woodpecker woke me up one morning by crashing violently into my bedroom window. I thought it might just be knocked out, but later, I noticed that it was being consumed by adolescent box elder bugs, so it must have been dead. Weeks later, Isaac found the skull and kept it in his "science box". Mmmmm.

Now, this interesting spider is an "Argiope Aurantia". We found her one day in our entryway. She's really big - her leg span is about the size of a silver dollar. I know it's a "she" because of the size. My brave dad picked a tick off the dog and fed it to the spider, and it was so interesting that we decided to leave her along. Sadly, the next morning she was gone, but later that day I discovered her again in the corner of my office. There she has remained.

We feed her twice a day with any bugs we can find. One day, we fed her a huge cricket. I'm not even creeped out by her anymore - I like to feed her and watch her wrap up those nasty bugs with her hind legs. She can even handle huge moths (although we DO put the really big moths in the freezer first to keep them from tearing up the web). After all of this feeding, she's actually gotten fat! I'll try to post a newer picture soon.

When her web gets nasty, she rebuilds it. She includes this interesting zig-zag stripe down the middle, which is apparently there to stabilize it.

Here's a video of her wrapping up the bug for later...

Wendell usually follows her grody critter posts with something cute and fuzzy, but I couldn't come up with anything. Sorry W.~!