Sunday, April 1, 2012

This is Ladies' Night! Alright! Alright!

It turns out that anyone who becomes a social outcast while working on a PhD has no one to blame but themselves.  I've had so many opportunities to meet new people and this weekend was no exception.

Friday evening, I joined some folks from the Department of Preventive and Social medicine for a drink at Ombrellos.  The topic du jour was conferences - how to choose them and how to get funding to cover expenses.  Definitely valuable information.  I enjoyed presenting posters at conferences as an undergrad and now I'm looking forward to putting a year's worth of Toastmasters skills to the test for an oral presentation at a conference in an exotic location.

Next up for the evening was the "Anything But Clothes" party.  At first, I was mortified, but then I realized it was meant to be an opportunity for people to show off their creativity (or, wear a garbage bag).  Kate and I showed up with sleeping bags in hand and shimmied into them before cracking open our beer.

Last night, a fellow grad student with a little help from Facebook's "events" feature, organized a ladies' night out.  There was talk about pink drinks, dancing, and red high heels on the event wall.  It was sounding pretty much like a bachelorette party without the embarrassing rituals.  I was psyched for it!

We met up at Pequeno, located down a dark alley, at 10pm.  I was one of about 16 gussied up gals who showed up for a good time.  The pink drinks that we were looking forward to cost $16-22 a pop, so I settled down with a nice $8.50 glass of Mud House Merlot and took very sporadic dainty sips.

One by one, I met new people.  One person was studying parasites and another was studying possums (research has yet to uncover why they eat what they eat and she was going to be the one to do that).  You can't make this stuff up!

When the dancing mood struck, we moved on to Pop Bar in the Octagon.  It was a small space with a lot of people.  Shoulders and hips were moving from all directions directly at me; I felt like a pinball!  We stayed for a while, enjoying time away from checking email,  Facebook, and (I'm still waiting to find out if Jessica Simpson had her baby!).

Today is all work, no play.

(Thanks, Mom, for the Post-it notes!)

Initially, I welcomed the challenge to teach myself how to use Stata with open arms.  I was bound and determined to become a lean mean analyzing machine.  Then I started reading the 300 page "Stata for Dummies" book.  At some point, I read a sentence about Stata's default date being January 1, 1960.  Every date and time (to the millisecond) is calculated from that point. I think.  The very thought that this program may very well be analyzing data for my journal submissions and my dissertation with a random default date is almost too much to bare.

To put it bluntly: how am I supposed to take this program seriously when it has a random date floating around behind the scenes?

It's like trying to take a powerful person seriously when they have the bottom of their pant leg tucked accidentally into their sock - it doesn't effect the powerful person's decision making, but the silliness of the situation makes you somewhat doubtful about their abilities.

There's nothing wrong with the date per se.  It's just so... weird... to have it in the back of my mind when I'm trying to do something simple, such as calculating women's ages even when January 1, 1960 has nothing to do with their birthdate.

On top of that, this is a program that relies on the user typing in a lot of code.  Remember the days of DOS command line interface?  Yeah, that's a little taste of what I'll be dealing with.

Then again, what's more plausible is that I have blown this Stata thing way out of proportion because I misread something.  Ultimately, I need to embrace it or at the very least allow Stata to be my frenemy.


  1. I *think* we met last week at post-grad drinks, and I LOVE your blog. Hilarious stuff.

    Keep up the good work!