succumbing to peer pressure

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


As my boss said on our way out the door today, "Day 2: Check!" Work so far has been great, especially as I've actually been doing work. Orientation is scheduled for Thursday morning, so I'm sure then I'll get my fill of paperwork and bureaucracy, but in the meantime I showed up Monday morning, got a quick tour around the office and a few introductions, then sat down at my desk, plugged in my laptop, and got to work! So refreshingly awesome! And so fun! I spend my hours flipping through Agresti's categorical data analysis book (who knew that was going to turn out to be a useful reference?) trying to figure out if we should be modeling our count data as a poisson process or negative binomial and wandering down to my boss's office to argue about how many systems and interaction terms we need to include and what impact our inflated zero count is going to have.

I also spend a lot of time with the boss as we carpool to work together (along with a rotating cast of the three other coworkers who live within two miles of my apartment). Yesterday conversation centered around some complications with our ongoing project in Liberia, but today I was treated to a history of Liberation Theology (my boss, Doctors for Global Health, which I was referencing, and liberation theology all got their starts in Central America).

The only hiccup so far has been the rather casual mention over lunch yesterday that they want me to go to the DRC! Eep! A coworker (not my boss) brought up a potential long-term project that they're considering starting there and the need for someone to take the lead on it. I'm just sort of hanging out in denial about that until my boss brings it up.

Potentially scary travel assignments aside, one of the things I do really like about my company is they're (so far) not even remotely macho. People seem fairly transparent about the sucky aspects of a lot of the traveling we do (including the fact that some of my coworkers dislike flying just like I do), exercising caution in a lot of the countries we visit, and even personal security issues within SF.

Not that any of that is particularly noteworthy, I just felt like at public health school I was surrounded by a lot of macho peace corps types who sort of liked to brag about the remoteness/unstable-ness/etc. of whatever country they had been to and that there wasn't a lot of room for expressing fear. Just being able to have conversations about the things that scare me and make me nervous is really helpful.

Ok, enough work talk. It's been forever since I updated my reading list, and all the time on Muni and Bart is really going to put a dent in my book pile.

Last mention was from DC, when I was reading A Cook's Tour, which I managed to finish in time to hand off to Kate, which was great (tee hee!). I honestly cannot remember what I read next, so it can't have been all that noteworthy. But I do remember that on the way to SF I started Deja Dead on my kindle. It's a good thing the whole reading-on-kindle was exciting, becase Reichs's debut novel is mediocre at best. Almost enough of a mystery to keep me turning the page, but fairly terrible writing and cliche character and plot development are likely to keep me from picking up any of the others in the series (good thing the tv show is so good!).

Next up was Silent Gondoliers: A Fable by S. Morgenstern, a library book on loan from a friend. It too wasn't all that great, but how can one resist another story from S. Morgenstern? Lots of parenthetical asides from the author, as is his style, pretty illustrations, and trivially readable in an afternoon.

On the way back out to SF I read The Best Nonrequired Reading 2004, a series from Dave Eggers with which I used to be enamoured but which has since lost it's shine. As with previous year's collections, this one is quite uneven, though Transmissions from Camp Trans is a rather noteworthy exception.

I've spent the bulk of my public transportation time plowing through The Eyre Affair, which is so enjoyable I will definitely be tracking down the rest of the Thursday Next novels (and thanks to Reyn for the recommendation!).

When I've needed a bit of a break from literary mystery, I've dipped in to Cook's Illustrated, which I found for the kindle for free thanks to Suds! That, plus my gorgeous new kitchen, plus the amazing produce in CA, and I'm actually sort of excited about experimenting with cooking a bit!


Anonymous Melissa said...

I'm glad you've been enjoying Agresti - just yesterday, one of my coworkers and I talked about how much we hated that book! :)

5:34 AM  

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