Friday, August 14, 2009

Two Advantages of Leaving Early

The ability to eat all the remaining rum raisin ice-cream in one sitting, and actually feel virtuous about it. Because nobody likes an ice-cream waster.

Lowered* gift expectations. Obviously, an early departure makes severe inroads into the already paltry amount of time available for souvenir shopping. So it's refrigerator magnets all around, and you should all be damned grateful that you get anything at all.

*: If you hadn't already lowered yours, consider this post your cue.

Leaving Santiago

Well, Santiago wasn't all beer and skittles. But there were some definite high points - the visit to Neruda's home in Valparaiso, the wonderful postal and pre-Columbian museums, the party at Brad's uncle Norman's home on Sunday, this week's awesome overnight trip with Norman and Gloria to Cachagua, where we stayed at their beach condo (where I lost my hot tub virginity in their fine jacuzzi):


lunch at the pelican-covered restaurant in Vina del Mar on Wednesday:

birdies on the roof

dinner at the fine 80's video restaurant, innumerable pisco sours, the hamster movie, Ice Age 3, a couple of fine movies that I saw at school, including this morning's fascinating documentary about the 'golpe de estado' on September 11th 1973, two excellent symphony concerts, and the prospect of a third one this evening (a program of tango music, which will put me in the mood for Argentina).

Though my time here was certainly not dull, it will be nice to be home again.

Change in Plans

I am cutting my time short here in Chile to take care of some things at home before continuing on to Buenos Aires at the end of the month. Accordingly, I will be leaving tomorrow evening and am scheduled to get back to San Francisco around midday on Sunday.

As I consider the two weeks I will be at home just an unscheduled leg of my original trip, I will continue to post from home during my time in San Francisco. To those in the Bay Area, I look forward to the chance to catch up next week or the week after.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

To my awesome co-author

One of the undoubted highlights of my professional career as a biostatistician was the year I spent writing a monograph together with my good friend and colleague, Marie Davidian. Mind you, I doubt that either of us would have viewed it as a highlight at the time, but I think both of us are actually still quite proud of the result.

Marie went on to become one of the brightest stars in the statistical firmament. Quite fittingly, her brilliance was acknowledged earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Joint Statistical Societies in Washington DC. A gathering I was quite frankly happy to miss, though I would like to have seen her pick up her Snedecor Award:

Marie receiving the 2009 Snedecor Award

Marie received the award, the top honour in biostatistics, 'for fundamental contributions to the theory and methodology of longitudinal data, especially nonlinear mixed effects models; for significant contributions to the analysis of clinical trials and observational studies; and for leadership as president of ENAR, as editor and as a member of the International Biometrics Society council.' The award, established in 1976, honors an individual who was instrumental in the development of statistical theory in biometry. The award is for a noteworthy publication in biometry within three years of the data of the award. Since 1991 the prize has been given every other year, in odd years, and consists of a plaque and a cash award.

But the woman's talents don't stop there. The immediately following weekend, there she was, with her husband Butch, knocking their socks off in New Orleans, in a frenzy of ballroom dancing excellence, of which this snippet (where she won first prize in her class in the Viennese waltz) is just one example:

Marie and Butch (Viennese waltz)

I've always felt enormously lucky to count Marie among my close friends. This post is dedicated to her, with all my love and admiration.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Photos galore - with actual people!

Yesterday, we were invited to Brad's uncle's. Where there was a terrific fiesta in full swing, in celebration of "el dia de los ninos".

Plenty of pictures here .