Another thing I dislike about this particular blog layout is that it blows the pictures up so much that it’s apparent to everyone that my photos are low quality shots from my iPhone. Oh well. What you can luckily also see in this featured image of the day is that the grass was still wet from the morning dew, even at noon (when this picture was taken). That’s how humid it is here; the sun beats down on the city for hours (it starts getting hot at like, 7 am) the water refuses to evaporate. It has no where to go. I would describe today’s weather as oppressive and therefore I spent as much of the day as I could hiding indoors.
(Sidenote: Isn’t it ironic that we dislike the heat and hate mugginess but that our solution is to crank the A/C, which adds to pollution and uses fuels that aren’t renewable and therefore adds to the problem?)
Anyway, I was walking out of the house this morning to attend my research group meeting and I noticed this picture on the wall:
I must have some serious observational problems because it’s taken me three weeks to realize it’s there and I’ve walked past it every day. I really like its message, though. I’ve been starting to consider my place here a home, even though I miss my family and keep wondering why I decided to go to school 9 hours away from half of them and 15 hours away from the other half (by car). My story is certainly beginning here, and I’m lucky that I’ve found such a nice, comfortable place to call home!
Tonight we watched Mary Poppins, Tarzan, and The Little Mermaid before Ashley left for work. I learned that my love for Disney will never die and also that I know nearly all the songs in The Little Mermaid by heart even though I haven’t seen it in years.
And, I finalized my research plan! I’ll be examining whether the presentation format (integrated or separate) of responses by an automated decision aid affects operators’ response speed and accuracy. The task is a “speeded length judgment task,” meaning that participants have to respond to the stimuli as quickly and accurately as they can. I’m pretty excited to finally have this nailed down. I’m supposed to begin a literature review for next Friday as well as start programming the task into the lab computers. I really like my adviser. We spent a few hours together today (between the lab group meeting and our one-on-one meeting later in the day) going over articles and figuring out ePrime. My get-to-know-the-programming-model assignment was to program an experiment mimicking the Stroop task (a psychological classic). ePrime can be finicky, so he helped me sort out the bugs. He’s really expressive, very funny, incredibly understanding, and conscious of what we’re going through as first-year grad students. Nicole (my research counterpart) and I vented to him and the PhD student who also works in our lab about our Struggles with Stats and felt reassured afterwards. Turns out no one knows what’s going on at first, even if they’re pretending like they do. I’ve felt a little overwhelmed in class because I’ve never been taught stats in this way. I really wish I hadn’t sold back my textbook from freshman year because it had a very detailed and easy-to-understand way of explaining ANOVAs. I may need to purchase the book again; the text we use in this course is really hard to get through (and even when I do make it through a chapter I’m left wondering, “what just happened?”).
I’m going to have a nice relaxing Friday night to celebrate the end of a successful week of classes. Time to fall into bed with some tea, a good book (I still have one that I started in Italy), and calming background music. I’ll have extroverted fun tomorrow, but tonight I’m going to indulge myself in relaxation at home. I wish I had a kitty to purr on my lap!