25 September 2007

Z-Curves, Chinese Lions, and a French Toccata

Today was a very varied day. It started at around 5:30 AM. I had set my alarm clock-cum-cellular phone to alarm at 5:30, which I reset to 6:00 AM at 5:30, and to which I reset at 7:00 AM at 6:00. However, I finally woke up at around 6:52, eight minutes before the third setting.

So, I woke up and fixed myself some tea. Morning Thunder to be exact. While the water was boiling, I plugged in my computer. I started working on the Excel sheets of my experiment data, computing the average for different parameters that I isolated. I was hoping to finish that by today, which I did later.

I then took a shower and headed to campus at around 8:15 AM. I arrived well ahead of time for my Statistics class. Today was a rather engaging lecture. We talked about the different sampling distributions and their relations to each other, such as Z-curves, chi-squared curves, F-curves, and T-curves.

After that, I went to my office and continued on my work. And then at around noon, I went with a couple of my friends to the Founders Plaza, where there is a "Meet the World" event. There was free lunch (which was the main reason why we went), and a couple of performances with an international flavor. So there was a Chinese lion dance, a Latin jazz performance, and a couple other interesting gigs. There were also booths of the different student organizations. I spent some time hanging out in the Latin Graduate Student Association, where I know some people from different parts of Latin America.

After that, I then proceeded to my office and continued on Excel work, which I finally finished. I then sent copies to my adviser, and I also arranged a meeting with him later in the week, before he flies to Paris for a conference. I am somewhat driven with this research at the moment, due to the fact that we had a rather pressing meeting about deadlines in the graduate program last week, and also because my adviser suggested that my research may be conference-worthy, which I am itching to go. There is a conference next year in North Carolina whose theme matches well with my research. We'll see in the next few weeks.

Then, I had my class on Mesoamerican languages. This is a little bit ethereal, due to the fact that the instructor cannot properly convey what he wants us to do. But at least he recognizes the fact that there is miscommunication, not like the other professor I had a couple of years ago who just acted like nothing is wrong and we cannot complain.

Now, I am back in my office, listening to a CD of the complete works by Maurice Ravel, while doing stuff for my other classes. Hopefully, this will keep me entertained for the time being.

Speaking of classes, the schedule for next semester is already posted online. I looked at it and I don't have a clear idea yet of what I may be doing next Spring. I know I am teaching one class, and in fact, my name is already up there. I also need three classes to take, and two of those are already chosen, namely, the second half of my Field Methods class, and the second half of my Advanced Statistics Methods class. The problem is the third class. I don't know what to take. There are classes offered in my department but I don't like them, namely, because they aren't my specialization. So, I may play the Elective card (I have two), and the choices are the following:

  • Quantitative Methods in Linguistics: This is a seminar offered by my department. This may be helpful for my experimental research, but I don't know how much of an overlap this will have with the year-long statistics class I am currently taking in the Psychology department.

  • Statistical Inference: This is a class offered by the Mathematics department. Again, it may be helpful for my research, but this may be more of a theoretical side, given the fact that it is after all, from the Math department. Also, I am not too confident of my higher-level math skills. After all, I never took a math class in undergrad, except for a general education math appreciation class. And honestly, I cannot see myself as taking a class from the once-dreaded math department.

  • Modal Logic: This is a class offered by the Philosophy department. Given my interest in formal semantics, this may be interesting as well. However, I don't know whether the content will be relevant in my research or not. Also, they may be dealing with things other than natural language, which then puts it outside the concern of linguistics, which is still after all, my home department.

So, I may be finding myself in one of those classes next semester. However, it still is a long way from now, we are just in the fifth week of classes (which means that one-third of the semester is already over by the end of this week). And things are picking up fast.

(Flags of Ecuadorian provinces, from my La Mitad del Mundo Series)

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