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Happiness is...

Happiness is sitting in your university lab at 3:30am on Saturday morning, with a cup of lukewarm tea made with two-day old milk that's been sitting on a ledge outside the window because the fridge isn't working, eating nothing but Mars bars for the past four hours because nothing is open in the city, with half the lights turned off because they flicker unbearably, finally alone after all the labmates had left, and having implemented the Friedman test in python to check your experimental data.

Actually, I'm not totally alone. There's still the Chinese postgrad in the next lab. But that's far enough away that I consider myself alone.

I'm happy.

The experimental data is looking quite good -- the planned "best case" resulted in a p value of 0.00025. For those of you who remember as much about statistics as I did three hours ago, this means "it's really really really unlikely that the difference is due to random chance". Which translates into "you're doing the right thing".

Another set of exercises resulted in a low p value but unexpected results, which is exciting. The last two sets of exercises produced unclear results... but that's the whole point of a preliminary survey. As far as preliminary surveys go, I couldn't ask for anything better!

Residence heat: since the last report, we've lost heat twice and had it repaired twice. We've had heat for the last 8 days, which is the longest we've ever had it. Hopefully it'll last this time!

Speaking of heat, it's been disappointly warm outside. Ok, by "warm", I mean "5-10C", which doesn't strike most people as warm... but I was hoping for snow. Talking to my labmates, it doesn't sound like Glasgow gets much snow. :(

Glasgow seems to have the same Fall weather as Vancouver, which makes me quite at ease. Overcast, mixed rain and drizzle... that's the right kind of weather! I think it's a bit windier here than in Vancouver, although I might be mistaken since my bike path in Victoria didn't expose me to much wind. The rain here is no problem at all, but the drainage is quite poor: the sidewalk gains a few huge puddles -- at times, I walk along the road to avoid the sidewalk-puddles! At other times, I scrunch up against the fence away from the road, since the road has huge puddles which turn into fountains when cars drive through them.

On one such stormy and dark night, filled with chest-high puddle-car-splooshes, I trotted off to the university chapel to turn pages for a clarinet trio. For the non-classical musicians out there, this means "clarinet, cello, and piano". I did a good job on my first page-turning experience... I had to hold the page a few times as the fans threatened to turn the page at the wrong time, and the pianist thanked me for that extra duty.

I've finished demonstrating for the first-year analog+digital electronics class; the last two weeks were making a radio and making some "christmas lights" (just a series of LEDs flashing in a particular order). Next term, I'm teaching the first-year "introduction to C programming" course with my supervisor. I'm really looking forward to this -- especially since everybody (labmates, other postgrads, even faculty!) warns me about how terrible it will be. Bah! I'm not afraid of pointers, and I'm definitely not afraid of explaining them.

Next week, half the lab is going off to New Zealand (and maybe Australia?) for 2 or 3 conferences. With that, as well as the undergraduate teaching being over, I expect things to get much quieter. I should really be able to catch up on my research! Oh, by the way, I went off to a two-day workshop at the Open University at Milton Keynes a few weeks ago. Not really much to say about that trip, other than I met three people (one student, two professors) who were interested in my work and who were doing related stuff.

So, in the near future, I'll have much more time (and energy) for work. I'm getting involved in the 19-tone equal temperament pitch tracker for Rosegarden (we'll do the normal 12-tone as well, since most people would much rather have that). As previously mentioned, my preliminary survey of grading rhythmic exercises is done, so in the very near future I can launch the real survey. And I've already started thinking about the sheet music analysis + rhythm extraction + automatic exercise generation project.

My sleep schedule has been quite poor, so I've decided to go back to my 26-hour cycle. That's a major contribution towards my happiness... not having to worry about going to bed or waking up is a huge relief. I need to do some teaching on Monday and Tuesday next week (filling in for one of the people going to New Zealand), but after that my schedule will be blissfully free for self-scheduled work.