Saturday, January 22, 2005

A cold to go with the cold front

Yesterday it was in the seventies and sunny. It was an absolutely gorgeous day in Aggieland. Today at around noon the cold front started moving through and we went from warm and balmy to windy and cool. On top of all that I seem to have caught the cold that Lidia is almost over. This could be a fun week of sniffles. Thankfully we are already stocked up on hot tea and Tylenol Cold, so I'll survive.

On a positive note, I've finished reviewing papers and just have to survive the meeting tomorrow where we discuss on the papers as a group. Time to relax a little now. Let the computer games begin!

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

I need a new dictionary

I am currently reviewing several papers that were submitted to a conference that will be held this summer. This is part of life as a grad student in my research group. Our advisor receives papers that must be reviewed for a conference, the final decision based on the review is whether or not to let the paper into the conference. We students read the papers, write reviews, and then we meet with our advisor to discuss the reviews and make our decision to accept or reject the paper. This decision is passed on with combined versions of the reviews for the paper as my advisor's official opinion to the conference program committee. Reviewing the papers allows me to keep up with what others are doing in my field, and lets me practice critical reading and reviewing skills that are necessary if I accept a position in academia after I graduate. While it may have shot my plans for the week I appreciate that it is a good thing for me to do.

Now that you know what I am doing I'll get back to the topic of the post. Reading a paper last night the author's of a paper claimed at several points that their approach obviated a previous approach. I used the small student dictionary I have (about 300 5" x 7" pages) to look up obviate. The dictionary offered the one word definition "prevent". This made me deduct points because the statement was false and I assumed that the authors had tried to use a fancy word that they didn't really know. Today I get to school and check on and find that obviate really means "render unnecessary". That definition makes the claim accurate and my opinion of the paper much higher.

The whole point to this rambling post is that the small dictionaries people keep just aren't adequate. I need a serious dictionary for the times when I am offline and too lazy to wander to the computer and check what the all knowing Internet people say about a word.

Monday, January 17, 2005

It's a girl

Lidia and I went to the doctor for the big sonogram last Thursday (the past two Thursdays have been pretty big for us). I continue to be amazed at the amount of detail that you can see with the sonograms. We were able to see different areas of the brain, the baby's kidneys, stomach, and bladder in addition to the arms, legs, fingers, and toes. It is incredible.

The baby's due date is June 18th. So now we have right at 5 months to get the office reorganized and made into a baby's room. It's going to be great!

The government says I can keep her

Long time, no update... my bad.

Lidia and I got back to College Station on January 2 and spent that Monday unpacking and recovering from the drive. We didn't have long to rest though. Thursday, January 6, we went to San Antonio for our interview with USCIS (formerly INS) to prove our marriage wasn't a sham to get Lidia around immigration laws. The interview wasn't really interesting, the agent was able to tell we were a couple so the questions asked were just to verify the information on the application. The agent did make a point of asking Lidia all the questions, including my information, so I guess she didn't make the interview a complete formality. Lidia now has conditional permanent resident status since we've been married less than two years. In two years we'll file one last form, pay one more filing fee, and then she'll be unconditionally permanent and here to stay.