Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lupron as Treatment for Autism?

Seriously?? This is the castration drug given to sex offenders.,0,242705.story

We know other parents in town who have tried to work with these "doctors." Their kids go through extensive blood tests (checking for what, I'll never know), and the people running the office indicate the tests will be covered by insurance. When the bill for $10,000 arrives, the doctors LAUGH at the parents when they ask about insurance. I'm not making this up.

I hope this article contributes to the demise of the Drs. Geier's careers, but I doubt it will.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Screen Porch!

I'm back on the screen porch again here at Chesterley. LOVE IT. It's been a productive day, in spite of the noises coming from the installation of the new roof and siding on the house next door.

I've finished what turned out to be a longer-than-expected transition of documents from the old Word 2003 version to the newer 2007. I had some chapters in the old form, and these newer ones in the new, so now everything matches. Check.

The next step is a crash-through of the participant descriptions, which will be chapter 4. I hope to have a horribly-awful draft of that done by the end of the week. I've pretty much written it: I just need to get it into a better, more readable format.

After that, it's onto finishing up the theory chapter, or Chapter 5. That'll be the doozie. I have about two pages of that one started.

I'm resisting the temptation to go back through the older chapters in the proposal and a) move the verb tense to the past (currently it's in the future tense, as proposals should be), and b) change the voice to the first person. I wrote the initial proposal in the third person, but as I get into the analysis, the first-person voice is going to be far easier and more appropriate to a qualitative study. An example that combines these two things involves changing this sentence from,
"The researcher will interview sixteen undergraduate seniors..."
"I interviewed sixteen undergraduate seniors..."
It's not difficult, just tedious. And yet, right now it could be an awfully good way to procrastinate from the main writing task I have before me, the synthesis of the results, which WILL be difficult! So, I'm avoiding doing this easier task, even though I actually would really enjoy that sort of mindless-yet-productive work right about now, and will attempt to move onward with producing new text.

When I get to the point where I'd feel comfortable with editing, changing, and reformatting, then I know I'll be close to finishing up this puppy.

Alright, back to it. Glad to be on the porch again!

Monday, May 18, 2009

I have a dilemma. Our cell phone contract is up and it's time for renewal. This is good, as I like having a choice. But knowing the choice has implications for the next two years inspires me to do a little research. I am a researcher, after all.
Ergo: please consider responding to the survey on the right column of this blog. It is completely anonymous and has not been certified through IRB. Deal with it.
Do we stay with Verizon? I have had good luck with this company for about seven years. Also, our entire extended family is on Verizon, so we all can call each other for free. However, they do not have the iPhone, and I'm a Mac, not a PC. Can I really bring myself to get a Blackberry? Also, would I really want to switch away from Verizon? Friends have told us they think the Verizon network is more reliable than the others. What's the use of having a cool phone if the supporting network isn't as strong? But man that phone is cool, and enough people seem to have success with their network...
I presently have a Palm Treo which I love, but it's beginning to die a slow death, and I don't want to get caught in the dark as I did the night before leaving for a meeting in March.
Any thoughts? I'm taking open-ended comments in this post and quantitative-ish data in the poll to the right.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Front Porch Plants

At long last, we finally started planting live shrubs in front of Chesterley instead of only ripping out all the old overgrown stuff. Moose posed in a few of the photos I took last weekend. Thus far we've installed two azaleas, two boxwoods, and, as of yesterday, the yellow daylilies (how do you SPELL that?) that were sitting in the ugly black pot in these shots. We still have a way to go: adding purple coneflowers in the gap between the lilies and the boxwood on the left, and we're considering a border of lariope around the edge. Not sure about that, though. Mulch will be added when it's done. So, it's a work in progress, but we're glad it's in progress.

There were several tortured pine shrubs (tortured by being shaped into odd little shapes) which were sitting in a bunch of old mulch. When we cleared out this bed, we removed the mulch to find trash. I'm not kidding. Garbage. Literally. The original owners must have smoked cigarettes with the plastic cigarette holders and simply dumped them into the shrubs. We also found a gazillion old plastic toy soldiers and cars. A real treasure trove, lemme tellya. In addition, they apparently had low-voltage lighting because we found wire and even a couple of light bulbs. Our next-door neighbors have lived here over 20 years. I asked, "Do you recall there being lights in that flower bed?" and a look of recollection came over their faces: "Yes! Must have been at least 10 years ago!" I showed them the worn out old lights and the frayed wire that was still in the bed, and we all had a good laugh.

Meeting Minutes

Yesterday's meeting with DC went very well. I like her. We went out for lunch and got caught up on our lives. One of the few advantages of taking so darn long to complete the dissertation is that I have built a bit of a friendship with my chair. It's not like we hang out together socially, but she knows my wife and son (she knows all about the problems we had living with autism disorder in SCT), and she's even met my mom. So we spent the lunch just catching up on families, general life transitions and the like. Then, we discussed the dissertation back at her office for over an hour. I'm grateful for the lengthy amount of time we were able to spend on the subject, let alone the helpful, yet challenging, advice she provided. I don't miss living in SCT at all, but I do miss the closer proximity to people like DC.

As an undergraduate, and even as a master's student, I always wondered what in the world the doctoral students would DO when they would have these lengthy discussions with faculty. And now I know. I shared with her the 8 details I mentioned in the previous post. She was pleased that I was very well steeped in the data and could pull out stories or quotes as needed to back up connections I was making. There were a few parts of my reasoning that she wasn't following, and I attributed that to a need for ME to go back and figure out where I was going with certain things. I had a couple of wake-up calls, but they were healthy.

Bottom line, she agrees with me that the analysis is officially complete, and now I just ("just!") need to write it up and finish. I came away with a good way to structure out what I have left to write. I am pleased with the fact that the few pages I wrote very quickly the preceding morning were decent enough for her to understand where I was going with them. All in all, it was a good meeting.

Now I just need to carve out the time to write. I like writing, and I write pretty quickly. Most of what I've written for this degree has been pulled out of my brain, via my ass, during late night, last-minute, coffee-laden, mad-hatter writing sessions. This crazy timing of my writing has served me well. So, I may not sleep very much this summer, but there is a chance I may have the bulk of this puppy written up before Labor Day.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Prepping for Meeting with DC


So I'm meeting with DC in about 10 hours. I think things are going to be fine.

Alright, let me clarify this concept called "fine." For every meeting I've ever had with her since the spring of 2005, I walk in feeling like a complete and utter idiot. I struggle through finding the words I need to attempt to express myself, in spite of my sheepish idiocy. I sweat profusely, have rampant bouts of self-doubt, I question how I was ever accepted into this doctoral program in the first place, the whole nine yards. I exaggerate for effect only slightly.

And yet, I always leave these meetings feeling like a scholar. A young, budding scholar, but scholarly nonetheless.

The reason for this is DC's consistent philosophy, which is simply stated like this: "Everyone has a theory." She respects my theory, always. To be clear, she continuously suggests manners in which the theory can be improved. I suspect I will realize the weight of the work I still have ahead of me as a result of this meeting, but I know inherently she will respect the work I have done thus far. Wish I felt that way on the surface as I prepare for this meeting, but deep down, I know it's going to be "fine."

BTW, I have started writing two chapters at once. I have a good number of pages of each. Why in the WORLD I'm writing two chapters at once is beyond me, but it just sorta happened that way.

I'm bringing several documents with me to this meeting: 1) the data analysis process I used [at some point I needed to write this out as a sort of bread crumb path-finding thingamabob so I'd remember what the hell I've been working on since last fall], 2) the big coding grid that snapped together like a deck of cards (I think she's going to like it), 3) my initial concept map with several of the key themes written in to help connect the various points in the study, 4) a very rough outline for the structure of the theory I'm constructing, 5) a rather random, yet important, paragraph I wrote during The Two Weeks that presents what I think is the major catalyst behind the theory, 6) my code writing list, or basically my to-do list for the theory chapter, 7) the beginning of chapter 4 on participants, and 8) the beginning of chapter 5 on the theory (much of which I wrote this morning (alright, technically Tuesday morning).

One may think I'm wasting my time by writing all this out in my blog, but it's actually helping me organize my thoughts for what the hell I'm going to actually discuss with DC tomorrow (today).

Again, I think it's going to be "fine." However, the process of getting there is going to kick my ass.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Just Writing

Today is my 'day off' from work to write. It's going well. Got things organized and then wrote about a page this morning. Am planning on another page or two this afternoon.

I use the term 'organized' loosely, today. I'm really not all that organized, but if I keep trying to get organized, I'm not going to get anything done. So I've decided just to write and not think so damn much. At least words will appear on the page instead just swim around my foggy brain.

Good news: I have a meeting next Wednesday with DC down in Small College Town. So, this gives me a hard deadline to have SOMETHING prepared for her by that time. I'm looking forward to some feedback and focus on how to proceed as a result of that meeting.

OK, gotta go 'just write' some more.