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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another Week In the Unknown Household

Another week gone by, with the usual ups and downs.

Last week's Friday the 13th episode continued the next day with a phone call from the Unknown Elder Brother to tell me that my mother (age 78) had caught her foot on a rug, fell, and broke her hip. So, we packed ourselves into the car and drove the 80 miles to the adjoining state and to my hometown to see her after she got out of surgery.

The next day, we got another phone call to tell us that she was disoriented and having difficulty speaking. We though a stroke was a possibility, but it resolved itself in quick order, and turned out to be just a reaction to the anesthetic. So now she's in rehab for the next three weeks.

The following day, we got the Shrek-quality toxic waste out of the car (detailing was well worth it), followed by the kids having their last day of school before summer vacation.

The remainder of the week passed without incident, and turned out to be a pretty good one as far as research went. The programming for one project has turned out to be a bit of a hairball (the measure I'm constructing to measure analyst performance is not behaving well). I'll figure out what's the problem, but for now, I'll getting a bit sick of it.

So, I put it aside for a few days to work on another project. I'm looking forward to this one for a couple of reasons: first, because it's with two classmates from graduate school. Second, because it's using a relatively new dataset (I have another paper using the same data set in progress, but one of my coauthors got extremely sick, and we're putting it on the shelf until he recovers). And finally, I just think it;s a pretty good idea. The initial results look as good as any I've seen in recent projects, and overall, it looks like it has the potential (if the results hold up) to be the makings of a really good study.

Then I got preliminary results on another study (with another new coauthor) that also look pretty good. So, this almost makes up for the multiple rejections last week. Hey - it's all part of the game.

What makes both projects kind of interesting is that they both use either a data set or an approach that was initially tried in another project or projects that didn't work out. However, they did give me some ideas for other projects which seem to be coming together.

Finally, we have a minor guest infestation starting tomorrow (the Unknown Wife's college roommate is in town for a couple of days). So, while she madly cleans the house, I took the Unknown Kids to see the Incredible Hulk. They didn't understand a lot of it, but 9-foot tall hyper-thyroidal, muscle-bound savages that like to fight and throw things (like cars) translate to all ages pretty well.

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