28 May 2007

Tidbits and Oddities

I love literary sound bites.

"Shock news: Grown-up critics think e.e. cummings sucks. I honestly didn't know. I read him in high school, put him in the "good" box, and left him there." - Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

"I'm an irreverent person because I believe reverence is usually misplaced when it isn't faked, but I felt reverence for his reverence then." - William H. Gass, A Temple of Texts (Mr. Gaddis and His Goddamn Books)

"The philosopher David Hume thought Tristam Shandy the best book written by an Englishman for the past 30 years, though he rather spoiled the compliment by adding 'bad as it is.'" - Terry Eagleton, The English Novel: An Introduction (Ch. 4, Laurence Sterne)

And on addressing "instant classics" in literature:
"Maybe that's why you have to give books time to live before you decide that they're never going to die. You have to wait and see whether anyone in that multitude is really listening." - Nick Hornby, The Polysyllabic Spree

Current book-in-progress: A Temple of Texts, The English Novel, and waiting for The Buccaneers to arrive at BN so I can start on the next book for the LbW board.
Current knitted item: The shrug - I got the stitches picked up for the collar (Eydie had Addis!! Although I'm glad I went with the 32" circular, I can't imagine working it on a 24" like the pattern called for!)

21 May 2007

Can I add just one more thing?

Call me crazy, but I added on yet another activity to my already over-scheduled and totally manic life (and you all wondered why I consume so many caffeine-containing beverages...).

I agreed to be a reader-moderator at BN Book Clubs for two boards - knitting (duh) and the Literature by Women board (taking over from pmath - yay pmath!).

Now, for everyone who thinks I'm a slave to the company, the BNBC is an entity that I think does many great things. Yes, it replaced the old BN University, of which many participants have fond memories and were sad to see its demise; however, I think the new BNBC has so much more potential. BNBC is far more transparent because you can see all the threads without having to register. With BNU, you had to sign up and "join" a class to see what it was about; I didn't join BNU for a while because I thought it would be too "academic" for what I was looking to do. At BNBC there are more classics discussed, for longer that then very limiting month (i.e. Paradise Lost with Laurel) which is great, but readers are starting their own threads in some of the general discussions supporting all different types of books. This is wonderful and, IMO, it's what a book club should be about. Reading. And having fun.

So stop by and see how I do (not terrible, I hope - yipe!). The knitting board is just for chatting, reviewing pattern books, etc. The LbW board is starting A.S. Byatt's Possession this month.

Current book-in-progress: Mostly The Master and Margarita as of late (it's really good I promise), but I need to get caught up on Possession for my new role
Current knitted item: The shrug - now working on the other sleeve. I hope Eydie gets Addi circs in size 5 before I really need them!

17 May 2007

CSI - what?

So all three of my favorite TV shows - the CSIs - all had their season finales this week. CSI: Miami ended on a good note, but a little ambiguous as regards the relationship between Calliegh and Eric. CSI:NY ended with Mac, Stella, and Sheldon foiling the Irish Mob's attempt to raid the police lab and get their cocaine back; Danny and Lindsey got together which was about damn time.

So CSI was tonight. Talk about cliffhanger (stop reading here if you don't want to know). Sara winds up under a car after being kidnapped by the Miniature Killer and Grissom is trying to shake the information out of the Killer. Literally. Sara had better make it on the season opener in the fall; haven't heard anything about Jorja Fox leaving the show but it will suck big time if she does.

Current book-in-progress: The Brothers Karamazov and The Master and Margarita
Current knitted item: The shrug - only 8 rows of ribbing left on the first sleeve.

Current favorite-screw-up-by-other-research-assistant

As some of you know, one of my (least) favorite tasks at the research job is to take over a study from another RA. My main reason for (not) liking this is because the study is usually screwed up in some way - data collection, study design, bad analysis, you-name-it. And then I have to fix this, which neccessitates pointing out what is wrong to my boss which then makes me feel like a rat.

Like the current POS, er, study I am trying to fix so the fellow can get her article out of it and get herself a job. 2/3 of the data was collected by the fellow, the other 1/3 was collected by one of my fellow RAs (who no longer works for us because she moved up in the world and got a new job). The data collected by the fellow is pretty robust, few few mistakes and most of those are entry errors I would have caught during analysis (i.e. getting the date wrong because your finger typed 2006 instead of 2005). The data collected by the RA....ai-yi-yi (I should have known this was coming because this same RA made tons of data collection errors on another study that I'm trying to piggyback a new analysis off of - and I find myself essentially recollecting the previous data because it's full of holes). My personal favorite mistakes so far today? The one where the RA listed the subject as being male (when the subject is really female) and the next subject on the list was listed as deceased at the end of current admission (when she was both an outpatient as the time of study entry and had completed a physician's office visit two days ago). GAAAAAAHHHHHHH!! An undergrad could do better than this (and would be cheaper, too).

I promise I'm really not an obsessive-compulsive science rat, but I'm not attaching my name to ANYTHING that could potentially suck this bad. This is why science gets a bad rap - sloppy work. Sloppy. Sloppy. Sloppy.

Current book-in-progress: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (for the SF group, and I'm a little behind, but I just got the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Award for Translation winner by Pevear and Volokhonsky, so I got kind of excited about it again.
Current knitted item: The shrug - I'm working on the ribbing for the first sleeve.

16 May 2007

Minor Confession

I still call my parents and tell them my grades. Guess I still like to get that pat on the head (who knows, I might even get dinner out of it - traditional rewards for earning good grades in the Ward household consist of going to a swanky restaurant sans younger siblings).

Now, I'm going to strut a little....got an "A" in my Modern American Fiction class. I think this is a good accomplishment for someone with two science degrees trying to go back for a grad lit degree - the brain definitely has to rewire itself for this to work. I also scraped a "B" out of my incomplete from last semester. Party!!!!!! I was pretty convinced I was going to receive an "F" out of sheer spite since I had avoided the professor for the better part of three months.

Current book-in-progress: Lots of them! The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, The Book of Air and Shadows by Michael Gruber, The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay, and A Temple of Texts by William Gass (and many more)
Current knitted item: Serious start-itis since semester ended. Yes, I still have Eeyores. And a Christmas stocking to finish. But...I got this awesome knitting book Fitted Knits with about 10 patterns I want to knit. So I started the two-color shrug (mine is light blue and royal). I also keep trying to knit socks, which is a disaster since I can't get the toe cast-on to work correctly. I'm also making a surprise for our Harry Potter party at the store (Shhhh!!!)