Monday, June 19, 2006

It's that time of year again

AMIA (American Medical Informatics Association annual conference) acceptances and rejections are starting to come in.

I just got word that my paper on my dissertation work ("A Graphical User Interface for a Comparative Anatomy Information System: Design, Implementation and Usage Scenarios") was accepted--woo-hoo! (And it's in DC again this year, so we all know what that means.)

Still waiting to hear about the sun bear vaginal cytology one ("Bearly Different? An Application of the Structural Difference Method to an Ursine Reproductive Conservation Initiative")...

Even if the second one doesn't get accepted, this news makes the February/March blur worthwhile!

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Fear the Sparrow

I hope to get the chance to go over and visit some avian friends tomorrow, and see how they're doing. I used to bird-sit for them, and their owner just mentioned to me that if they should ever need to be captured for any reason, that wrapping them in a towel was a good way to proceed. That reminded me of an old story about a job I used to have, that I hadn't thought about in a while...

Back in my earlier university days, I used to have a total jerk of a boss--a real city boy from Manhattan, although I'm not drawing a causal connection between the two attributes, because I know a lot of city boys I get along with just fine, some of them from Manhattan. But I think that detail may be relevant to the nature-phobia in the story. (I also know other people who are phobic about birds, but because they're kind, decent people, they don't engender this kind of Schadenfreude about it, either, and I wouldn't dream of laughing at them about it.)

One day, a sparrow flew through the open window into our office, and I have never seen anyone freak out and panic like he did over that tiny brown bird! I chased it out into the hall, and took a typewriter cover (and now you see how old the story is!) with me to catch it.

Ultimately, I was successful, and captured and released the sparrow, but I remember the funniest little detail: as I went out into the hall after it, my jerk boss slammed the door behind me--and then I heard the deadbolt fall into place! That's how scared he was of that little bird!

I laughed my ass off (and still do, every time I think about it), because this guy didn't mind a bit being abusive and truly evil to the people he supervised, yet an errant sparrow made him have to cringe behind a double-locked door.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006


When I grow up, I'm going to be an urso-informaticist.

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Putting the "anal" in "analytic cytology"

Sometimes when you're in the middle of projects, it seems like they'll never end, but fortunately, that's (usually) just a trick of perspective. Several things are culminating this week, and frankly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself when I'm not running in multiple directions at once. (Oh, something will happen, though, I'm sure of it...)

The data chapter in my dissertation is coming along; my advisor was pleased so far, although she wants more examples in more detail. From various papers, the other chapters are mostly written, so it's as much about compiling them as it is about writing de novo.

My business partner has seen the light--that trying to produce a full-length book in Word is extremely aggravating along not just one, but multiple, axes, and we're converting the book to LaTeX as a result, in preparation for indexing and finishing it.

I'm finishing up the Public Health Informatics course and turning in the final drafts this week, as well.

And one of the longest projects--3 years now, for me! (more for the PI)--the sun bear cytology data, is in good shape; going to hand it off to the PI on Friday. I'm especially pleased with the classifications schemata we've come up with--I did PubMed and Google searchs, and asked cyto, lab med and pathology specialists, and to the best of my knowledge, there is no standard classification schema for mucus, white blood cells, or bacteria on the slide. So we developed our own for encoding data, which--if I do say so myself--I quite like! Also, color and other categories are coming right along as well.

So I'm very tired, but also very happy this week...

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