Self Realization, 2011

Thursday, 29 December 2011
I'm reading a book (for class) by Erving Goffman. "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life" is about social mobility, how people fit into society and the roles we play in North American culture.

He explains that a person is a "performer," on a stage, playing a part for observers. Goffman writes that we all present a front which may or may not meet cultural expectations leading up to an ideal. These fronts can be dramatized (student wants to look attentive in class so badly that he is concentrating on looking interested and isn't able to pay attention at all), expressed rather than acted (people struggling economically bring out good food and wine for visitors but live frugally in private), and even negatively idealized (American college girls who play down intelligence around datable men).

What does this mean? Goffman proposes that our personas are degrees of performances, often changing for different groups of observers and our true selves are not what we present to the world. Also, the fronts we perform are not created but instead selected because of various stimili or even audience expectation and reaction.

So who are we really?

I actually do not mind getting older. I find that as I celebrate the beginning of another year, I'm a little bit closer to knowing who I am. Our secret selves are a mixture of black, white and gray. Perfection is fleeting and to seek or expect it of ourselves or others, can often cause heartache.

This is what I know to be true about my inner self (good and bad) as I prepare to say goodbye to 2011:

I feel emotional pain deeply but choose not to show it.
I love fiercly.
I react quickly and passionately.
I laugh loudly and often.
I foster insecurities.
I crave knowledge.
I am committed to seeking happiness.
I am a good listener.
I radically protect my inner self.
I seek shelter in close relationships.
I have a hard time asking for help.
I am a perfectionist.
I work hard and play harder.
I rarely cry.
I hate hurting people.
I forgive easily.

I'm thankful to those who love me for me. It isn't easy to understand a person, to dwell with them in happiness and pain and deal with flaws but life would be cold and dull without shared experiences. My hope is that those who share life with me (that's you too, reader) feel joy and peace. 

What did you learn about your true self in 2011? Who do you hope to be in 2012?

The 25th of December

Wednesday, 28 December 2011
In the D'Arcy house, we like to eat, drink and be merry.

Mom puts up a tree in the front room and the den and even stuffs stockings for Dannen and I. What are we going to do in a couple of years when we have children and no longer get babied? Throw a fit perhaps...

We have a tradition of Monkey Bread and mimosas on Christmas morning. The breakfast cake is a mixture of biscuits with a gorgeous cinnamon, brown sugar, butter and sugar topping. It comes out of the oven golden brown, piping hot and melts on the tongue. Add eggs, bacon, a glass of good champagne with orange juice and you have a party.

Once we prepped all of our dishes: corn pudding, sausage homemade stuffing, spiral Rosemary-infused ham with a citrus/port wine sauce, fresh green beans and new potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, relish, fluffy rolls and dessert, mom and I put together our traditional flower arrangement for the center of the table. We used two dozen red roses, white hydrangeas, cedar clippings, rose hips, small pears and crystalized branches.  

We found a lovely new flower shop, Ober's in Easton Town Centre. The owner helped us pick out a few blooms and we enjoyed planning and preparing for the arrangement. 

After cooking, opening gifts and watching the cats go crazy over wrapping paper and ribbons, we sat down to dinner. Our dishes turned out well and the sweets were a hit too! Mom dug out our family recipes to bake date walnut cookies, pumpkin pie, pecan tassies and fudge.

I hope you have had a lovely holiday season thus far. 

5 Star Fun

Monday, 26 December 2011

We love going to the Refectory in Columbus. It is a five star restaurant and a few nights a week, they serve a bistro menu that is to die for. Mom, dad, Dannen and I were finishing up some last minute Christmas shopping on Thursday and stopped by. Matt served us at the bar and we ordered some amazing food.

First, we tried a couple of the Smoked Salmon and Lobster Paupiettes with herring caviar, spring herbs and creme aigrelette. This was certainly my favorite dish of the evening.

My other favorite is the gorgeous roasted goat cheese with shallots and olive oil. This dish was served with small, sliced yellow beets. It had a creamy, woodsy flavor. Yum!

Up next was the Grilled Artichoke Salad with rabbit cervellas and criolla vinaigrette. 

Mom and I paired our meal of appetizers with a Patricia Green Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). Fun evening! 

Time in the Windy City

Sunday, 18 December 2011
I adore Chicago. I love the high energy, bright lights, interesting high rises, amazing restaurants and sophisticated people. I'm in town for a few days to see a friend and we have made the most of it!

Friday we spent the day walking around Old Town. We stopped by a very cool shop called Old Town Oil. Patrons have the opportunity to taste olive oils, balsamic vinaigrette and wine vinegar. The blood orange olive oil was amazing and the blueberry balsamic vinaigrette, to die for. I picked up a bottle of the champagne wine vinegar to drizzle over the salmon mousse appetizers my mom and I are planning for the holidays.

From the Old Town Oil website

Next stop in Old Town was the Spice House. I couldn't help thinking the whole time we were in there that my grandmother would love it! We sampled crystallized ginger, truffle oil salt, different BBQ rubs and amazing spice mixes for roasting beef, chicken and fish. The employees are super friendly and helpful. This shop is worth the five minute cab ride from Michigan Avenue!

From the Spice House website

That evening, we put our name in at Purple Pig, a newer restaurant on the Mag Mile and went across the street to Eno, a most fabulous wine/cheese/chocolate bar. The atmosphere is incredible and intimate with hip decor, great lighting and an interesting way to serve wine flights and cheese. I had the "Pinot Envy" wine flight and it included a great pinot grigio and two pinot noirs. 

The spot also serves inventive truffles and the menu had a great quote: "Exercise is a dirty word. Every time I say it, I wash my mouth out with chocolate."

From Eno's website

The Purple Pig (voted Top Ten best new restaurants by Bon Appetit 2010) was so amazing with their reservation service that they call your cell phone within 10 minutes of your table being ready. Unheard of! The seating is family style so you'll likely be sitting next to some hip Chicago folks and enjoying the round, Northern accent. We tried, of course, different pork dishes including the best prosciutto I've tasted (yes, I've eaten it in Italy and Spain), butternut squash and pork fried balls and scallops with lemon sauce, chickpea aioli  and a touch of bacon. This is certainly a restaurant to try! Don't miss the dessert. I sipped on a dessert wine and my friend ordered the ricotta and chocolate chip filled fried brioche to share. It. Was. Amazing. 

Academic Pet Peeves

Saturday, 10 December 2011
I've decided to blog about whatever the heck I want to blog about from today until January 10th. I know I should probably pontificate on the research I'm preparing for my contributions to the academic review and supplication of journalism but I just don't have the will today.

Instead, I'd like to write about a few academic pet peeves. I feel that now, since I'm at least into my second semester, it isn't too soon to break out the complaining. Here's a previous Pet Peeves post.

Top 5 PhD first-year pet peeves:

5. The saying, "Grades don't matter in a PhD program." Lies.
4. Institutional Review Board forms (must be filed and approved before beginning any research methods)
3. No sunlight or cellular service in our pod offices (in the basement of Comm building)
2. Uninformed debates over qualitative versus quantitative research
1. My cohort still hasn't found a decent Wednesday night happy hour location. We have Monday and Tuesday covered.

Moving On

Friday, 9 December 2011

It. Is. Over. My work in our 660 statistics class is complete!

I still really don't know how to use SPSS (statistic software that most academic researchers use) but I understand the underlying concepts of statistics pretty well. I believe that was the goal of the class and I feel confident that my cohort gets it... well, at least the basics.

I'll need to sign up for software tutoring before I can really know what my survey data means, however. We know how to input data but then really - how to properly use software to output needed information is beyond me. Yes, that's a little disappointing after four months and hours and hours of homework and studying but I survived!

Time to move forward. I'm just thankful that I'll have more time to conduct and write up research next semester. Some of us literally spent 12-18 hours on each homework assignment for statistics and every assignment was worth... wait for it... 10 points.

Now we're drifting into a month of "vacation." Doc students don't really get vacation. The down time is to be used to get work done. I have two major research projects due by next Weds (nothing to do with grades) and I need to get a pilot survey out for the paper I'm finishing for a conference in February.

On top of that, I need to finish final grading for the class I teach and get my reading list ready for December. My 615 research class for the Spring semester already has six book assignments that need to be read by February. Sweet!


Wednesday, 7 December 2011
As a way to knock out a blog post AND do some studying before the final exam, I thought I'd type out - from memory in most cases - some of the concepts and formulas needed for today's test.

Let's start with t-tests, shall we? There are three types of t-tests: simple, independent and dependent. A t-test determines whether the means of two groups are statistically different. For instance, if I find the average number of drinks students have weekly at the beginning of the semester and the average amount of drinks they have weekly at the end of the semester, I could run a t-test to measure whether there is a statistically significant difference.

Simple t-test. 
t = ybar 2 - ybar 1 / (s/square root of n)
Degrees of freedom for a simple t-test. df = n-1

Independent t-test. 
t = M1 - M2 / Sm
Where Sm = square root of [n1(s1)sq + n2(s2)sq / (n1 +n2) -2 x (1/n1 + 1/n2)]
Degrees of freedom for an independent t-test. df = N-k

Dependent t-test. 
t = ED/square root of [n(EDsq) - (ED)sq / n - 1]
Where D = x1 - x2
Degrees of freedom for a dependent t-test. d = N - 1

Once you have a t, you'll look up the "critical value" on a t-table using the degrees of freedom and determine from those numbers (both a positive and negative value) whether your number is significant. Does it fall within the critical value or outside the value? If your number falls outside the tcrit, you'll reject the null hypothesis, basically saying that there IS evidence to show a difference between the means that you were testing.

If you find a statistic that is significant, you'll want to test the effect size. There are two ways of doing that: Cohen's d (1988) and rsq.

d = t[square root of (n1 + n2) / (n1 x n2)]

rsq = tsq / tsq + df

E = sum
sq = squared

ANOVA - this is a process similar to regression. Through ANOVA, you can analyze the variance between and within results. We need to be able to HAND COMPUTE One-way, Two-way and Three-way ANOVA for the exam.

Let's start with a One-way ANOVA. We are going to begin with building an ANOVA table from imaginary data

First, compute the Grand Mean.
GM = n1(m1) + n2(m2) / n1+n2

Next, find the Sum of Squares between, within and total.
SSb = n1(m1-GM)sq + n2(m2 - GM)sq

SSw = (n1 - 1)(s1sq) + (n2 - 1)(s2sq)

SSt = SSb + SSw

Then, find Degrees of Freedom

dfb = k-1
dfw = N-k

Next, compute the standard means

MSb = SSb/dfb
MSw = SSw/dfw

And now you are ready to find your omnibus F statistic!
F = MSb/MSw

The F stat is what you can now use to measure whether there is a difference. Figure out the Fcrit using the degrees of freedom.

Fcrit = df = k-1/n-k

Then, go to the F table, find the value and if your number is greater than the Fcrit, you have evidence to show there IS a statistically significant difference.

Don't forget to calculate Eta squared (N2). That measures the effect size just as Cohen's d and rsq measures it for a t-test (see above).

N2 = SSb / SSt

Unfortunately the F stat can't tell you WHERE the difference is so you can utilize a post-hoc test to show where the difference lies.

Those include: Tukey's HSD, Scheffe's test, Dunnett's test and Bonferroni's test.  
HSD = q[square root (MSw / n)]

Two-way ANOVA has some crazy degrees of freedom that I need to get back to studying now...


Sunday, 4 December 2011
A good friend texted me yesterday to ask if I was okay. She said that I'd fallen off the Twitter and Facebook grid and she was hoping all is well. (I haven't had time to post anything.)

All is well and it will be even better on Weds at 5pm. My statistics final will be complete and my research proposal will be locked and loaded onto our online submission site.

I'll be moving into the library today at 3pm and you can find me there until at least 3pm tomorrow. Yes, the blue sleeping bag is mine.