Saturday, December 31, 2005

"that sounds technical!"

So I spent today mainly in search of the answer to one question. Would Excel be enough to handle all of the data analysis I want to do for this study? I figured this would be a good chance to check out the Palatine Public Library, apparently just named the 7th best library in the nation by people who judge such things. In any case, my main alternative to Excel was going to be Matlab, since SPSS is way overkill for what I need to do. So I type "matlab" in to the card catalog, and there are no results. I go ask the reference librarian to make sure that a "keyword" search covers any word in the title or subject. She's like "mat what? that sounds technical!" :) To which I replied, yes, it's a technical math program used by pretty much every mathematician, scientist, or engineer. Her reply was "oh, we have books on engineering!" To which I shook my head and left, most likely never to return :)

My travels then took me down to Herald Washington, where although I can't check out any books, I can copy whatever I need. As suspected, they had a few dozen books on matlab, and a whole shelf of "data analysis with excel" sorts of books. I love that library! :)

I thought I'd at least do something fun on new years, so I went over to Karyns Cooked for an early dinner, but they closed at 3, so dinner was Taco Bell in the train station before heading back up to Palatine. I'm off to ring in the new year in front of Excel. Sad, but it's actually going to be kinda fun and I need to get this stuff done :)


Friday, December 30, 2005

whs (or rmhs) educations...

I had a long conversation with an old friend today about many things, but especially about WHS and how it prepared (or didn't prepare) us for our times and MIT and Duke and careers after that. So I was wondering for all of you out there who went to WHS (or RMHS since it was the same curriculum), how do you think you compared to the other students in your college? What were some of the strong or weak points?

I'd say that thanks mostly to debate and math team and other activities I was involved in, I came into MIT at a pretty average level. Certainly I was lacking in mathematical theory due to a less-than-stellar calc class but I feel that physics-wise I came in pretty darn high (thanks physics-man!). I'd also say that my writing skills were below average (even for MIT writing!) especially in critical-thinking/analysis sorts of things.

In any case, I think WHS did pretty well and is continuing to do well...with some Harvard, MIT, Duke, Caltech, etc coming along since our time, I think that seems to speak for itself. I am worried about the future though. Looking at some students from our FIRST team from a few years ago, I'm not seeing those same top students with a desire to learn and get ahead, and that's troubling. But that's a conversation for another day.

Happy new year everyone!! :)


Thursday, December 29, 2005

a year in review...

Susan did this and it looked like fun...

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
Finally visited Europe, bought a condo, wandered around Tokyo

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't really make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My cousin Eric and his wife Megan just had a baby daughter three weeks ago!

4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?
England, China, Japan

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
To see friends more often! That means you...

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory?
April 14 - the closing on my condo

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I got a paper accepted to CHI! Yay!!!!

9. What was your biggest failure?
My dating life

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Ha, cut my nose up pretty bad helping stacie install a stereo - long story. Other than that, still haven't gotten sick since 2001.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My kitchen table.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Some of know who you are...for moving on and being happy when faced with hard times.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
George W Bush, and the rest of his administration

14. Where did most of your money go?
To my condo. At least it's not going away to rent!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Visiting Helen in London!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
hahaha...the songs from the Motorola Demo we did at the consumer electronics show, Let's Get it Started, Lose My Breath, and American Idiot

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? sadder
ii. thinner or fatter? always the same
iii. richer or poorer? poorer, I bought a condo!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spending time with friends

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Wasting time thinking things would work out with people there was no chance with...

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my parent's house with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Good times!

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
Sadly, no.

23. How many one night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Daily Show, Numb3rs and MythBusters

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
There's only one person I've ever hated, and yes they are still on that very short list :) Especially after the head shaking incident.

26. What was the best book you read?
Courtroom 302, or maybe Kite Runner

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
The soundtrack of Rent

28. What did you want and get?
Bunches of Cubs tickets, due to freezing standing outside wrigley in February!

29. What did you want and not get?
Tickets to a Cubs World Series (idea stolen from Susan)

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

31. What did you do on your birthday?
Worked, and had dinner with my parents. Pretty low key this year.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Dating someone for more than a month or two :) (I can't believe it's been over two years since Laura)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Personal fashion concept??? Um...I stick to my khaki's and dress shirts or sweaters most of the time.

34. What kept you sane?
IMs with Helen and Stacie

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? one?

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Lies around Iraq, torture, etc.

37. Who did you miss?
All my friends in Boston and other far away places (but totally looking forward to seeing all you boston people a ton this spring!!)

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Didn't really meet many new people this year. But did get back in touch with a lot of old high school friends I hadn't seen in ages!!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.
Always remember what your stop looks like in Japanese symbols before jumping on the subway :)

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true


Tuesday, December 27, 2005

nyc anyone??

I love MoMA....who wants to go see this sometime? It's a Pixar exhibit that uses podcasting to get audio to go along with what you're seeing. I should be in Boston sometime in January, and NYC is a quick Fung Wah trip away :)


good weekend...

So the weekend was good! Saturday night I went over to my parents house for dinner. Nothing fancy since we keep all the celebrating for Christmas day. :) Then headed off to church where I met up with some old friends from church that I hadn't seen in years! It was so good to see them and hear about all of Sara's crazy travel plans :) I didn't even recognize her when she walked in!!

Christmas was good and my parents loved their phones!! They actually didn't get each other gifts because they were going to go out this week and buy some phones, so it's a good thing they didn't do that last week :) I got my dad the ROKR and my mom the BLK RAZR. And I got some books, a DVD, and a PF Chang's gift card (as usual) :)

The last few days have been jam packed with work. There's so much that I'm trying to get done right now. The MIT Chicago holiday party is tomorrow night though, so I'm excited to get out and see some alums and current students again. If you're in the area and are from MIT you should totally come!!!!


Friday, December 23, 2005

christmas fun

Stacie's Christmas party was fun last night. Lots of good wine, vegan egg nog, meatless meatball sandwiches (do they taste the same if you close your eyes?), and good times with fun people! Even when one of stacie's friends broke out the karaoke set :) Oh my... I think I know way too many cheesy 90s songs...

So today should be a fun's really warm outside (like 45F!) so I think I'll head into the city and buy one last Christmas present and try to get some reading done on the train. I have totally not been focused to get lots of work done these past few days so I'm looking forward to some time to get some work reading done. I have much that needs to get done in the next three weeks! And then maybe I'll get to take some time off...maybe extended trips to Boston or San Francisco, we'll see...

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!! I'm making the 20 minute drive up to Wheeling for Christmas with my extended family. Should be a good time as always! I totally hope my parents love their gifts!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

fun with google...

check out these graphs of google searches. So cool! :)


Saturday, December 17, 2005

excellent few days...

The last two days have been very nice indeed :) Thursday night I visited the Smart Museum down at U Chicago to see this exhibit they had on sustainable art/architecture. It was a cool exhibit with everything from solar powered handbags (to charge cell phones, iPods, etc while you're out, to 'housing' for homeless that inflated with exhaust from building's ventalation systems, to shelters made out of recycled bottles and cardboard, to this guy who recycles paint into new colors. Highly recommended. It goes until Jan 15th so Susan, it looks like you'll miss it :( It's traveling afterwards though...

After the museum I had some good Indian food at Rajun Cajun. Yes, despite the name, they serve indian food. And good food too!! :) Even though it looks like a Subway from the outside ;)

Yesterday was another fun day as well! We had the lab Christmas Party at Fox and Hound which was a lot of fun and then I met up with Laura and Dustin to see The Santa Abductions, which turned out to be really good! Maybe not Daredevils good, but very good! It plays until the 23rd for anyone who might be interested. I'm really really really looking forward to their next show, A Child's History of Bombing. It runs from Feb 4 to March 11.

OK..I need to go get ready to do another MIT interview now.

OH!!!! I forgot! Our CHI paper got accepted!! I'm going to Montreal in April!!!! :)


Thursday, December 15, 2005

back to the steam engine?

Are we going back to the steam engine as the propulsion of choice?? It's a hybrid that uses steam from exhaust to power a steam engine to get extra "free" power. Pretty cool.

Oh, and for all you who were waiting, the PEBL is out on t-mo!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

life in a research lab...

Today was a wonderful day that reminded me of how awesome it is to work in a real research lab. After doing some data analysis from our study in the morning, Karrie came up from UIUC with one of her students for a talk which led to lots of good conversation over lunch and fun talking about social software and MIT :) And after work I had a good conversation with a coworker over patents, software architecture, and veggie restaurants. Yay! What a great day!

Now I need to get some work done though :)


Monday, December 12, 2005

in the past two weeks I have....

...driven 641 miles
...conducted 14 interviews
...transcribed 46 pages of data

Now I'm at that fun part where I have all the data and get to figure out what it all is saying to me. Which is the super super fun part!!! :) :) It'll be a good week now that I don't have to be driving all over!

Also, I've become hooked on the TV show Cash Cab on Discovery. Basic conecpt = jeopardy in a cab in NYC :)


Saturday, December 10, 2005

good food in the city...

I enjoyed my first day off work in a long time today and headed down into the city to get some christmas shopping done. In the end, not a whole lot of shopping was completed, but I did end up with a nice dinner. It was this place called Karyn's Cooked and it's down at Chicago and Wells. Awesome vegan restaurant with super nice people and totally amazing food. I had the slab of 'ribs' and they were just wonderful!! Totally the best dining experience I've had in the city in a long time.


Friday, December 09, 2005

old news, probably...

So this is probably old news, especially if you're on MySpace, but have you seen the videos for the Chrismahanukwanzakah songs? Um...bizarre. And they're trying to sell phones with this? It's from Virgin Mobile...


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

blast from the past...

So I was running around like crazy at work today. And I hear my phone rining just as I was about to head out to another study participant's house. And guess who is on the other end of the line? Mr T! No, not like bodybuilder Mr T, but Don Tantillo, my old WHS debate coach and one of my all time favorite teachers (although I never took a class from him)! Apparently he had googled me and found out I was at Motorola and had read my papers and my thesis and everything. How cool is that?? Very :)


Tuesday, December 06, 2005


It's me! :) OK...must get back to work!


Sunday, December 04, 2005


Sorry for the lack of posting, but it's been a crazy busy week! The study is going along well, so that's good! And I had a fun weekend as well in between working :) Connie's holiday party was great. And I just love living on the train where I get a few blocks walk on each side to get downtown :) And I got to have a birthday shot at midnight after we made it through the entire advent calendar and the eight days of Chanukah in one night :)

Yesterday was a lot of work, but I got to have a birthday dinner with my parents. I can't believe it's the first year I've been in Chicago for the entire day of my birthday since high school! But dinner was good, eating a Leona's big fat vegan burger with soy cheese while watching the snow build up on the cars parked along the street. It's very odd...there's almost always snow in Chicago on my b-day.

This should be another crazy busy week but then things should be relaxing again starting a week from tuesday!