Category Archives: Books

The Year That Was

I assume you’re humming the theme of Jaws right now.

I stumbled on this website last night (whathappenedinmybirthyear.com) and I thought it was rather cool (assuming you, of course, are interested in random trivia). The gist – provide the website with the year you were born and it will provide you a string of information related to things that happened that year – news, movies, books, music, etc.

For example, assuming you were born in 1975 – which, in my completely unbiased opinion is a rather spectacular year, and I’m not just saying that because I may or may not have been born in said year – you’d learn the following (which is only a partial and slightly modified extract from the full website text):

In 1975, the world was a different place. There was no Google yet. Or Yahoo. 

The top selling movie was Jaws. 

The academy award for the best movie went to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The top actor was Jack Nicholson. The top actress was Louise Fletcher. 

The number one US bestseller of the time was Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow. 

Altair 8800 is released, sparking the era of the microcomputer.

The United Nations proclaims International Women’s Day.

Bobby Fischer refuses to play in a chess match against Anatoly Karpov, giving Karpov the title.

The Suez Canal opens for the first time since the Six-Day War.

NBC airs the first episode of Saturday Night Live, with George Carlin as the first host.

The wreck of the HMHS Britannic is found in the Kea Channel by Jacques Cousteau.

Victoria, Australia, abolishes capital punishment.

The video game of the day was Pong.

Anyway, check it out. It’s kind of cool in a completely nerdy kind of way.

Cleaning House – Nerd Style

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

Being the a place for everything and everything in its place kind of man who I am, I have taken on the task of revamping my Not-So-Bucket-List list. I did this mainly because I was getting tired of searching for things in the ever-growing list. I also didn’t like the aesthetics of such a massive list where some items were crossed off, and some were not.

I like clean lists.

I like organization.

My Not-So-Bucket-List had neither of those characteristics.

To deal with these issues I decided to take action. I poured myself a large cup of coffee, grabbed a snack, put on some writing tunes, and set myself to task – clean up, clear out, organize, overhaul, and improve my existing Not-So-Bucket-List list. And that dear readers is why I present to you my New And Improved Not So Bucket List list. You can find it up there in the menu bar labelled NAI-NSBL. The NAI stands for New And Improved.

But what’s so new and improved about it? you’re probably wondering.

Well, first off the list is now categorized. You’ll be able to find items classified under one of the following categories: Academic, Adventure, Culinary, Culture, Exercise, Finances, House, Other, Reading, and Travel. Second, the categories are also alphabetized1. Crazy, right?

To avoid the New Coke vs. Old Coke type of mass hysteria the old list will live on here, but it will no longer be updated. Further, in order to keep things spic-and-span, I’ll be moving all of the things I manage to do to another list known as my Not So Bucket List Been There Done That (NSBL-BTDT). In this way, I’ll be able to easily figure out month-over-month and year-over-year statistics. Yes, I am that nerdy.

For those with a keen eye, you’ll also noticed that some of the incomplete items on the original list have not made it onto the new list. Some have been removed because I was advised by my good friend and chiropractor Dr. Mark that they were really bad for my back2, while others were removed because the danger factor was deemed to be far too high3. I’m sure my mom will be relieved to read that.

As always, if you have any crazy ideas of items I should add to my list please pass them along. I’m always open to new and crazy adventures.


1 Because 4 out of 5 Scienticians suggest that alphabetized categories are about 315% better than non-alphabetized lists.

2 I’m specifically referring to all of the sit-up challenges I had on my list.

3 Base-jumping, how I wish you weren’t so deadly. And honestly, the only reason this is really off my list is that the time commitment required to get to the point where I could base-jump is far outside of the time I’d actually have available to do it. I think. I may re-evaluate this at a later date.


Epic Presentation Fail

Presenting without slides. All the kids are doing it.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, today was the day that I was scheduled to give my talk titled Signal Processing for Species Identification. And as I had also mentioned in yesterday’s post, as of last night I still had to finish said presentation.

Of course, last night was also the traditional banquet for the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada. As with all good banquets, wine was provided on each of the tables. There may also have been a beer ticket or two in my pocket. Mix that with an excellent spread of food, and it will come as no surprise to anyone that I was stuffed, and fully one-beer-plus-some-wine buzzed by the end of the eve. As such, last night was all about celebrating statistical nerdery, spending time laughing and chatting with friends and colleagues, and doing anything but what might be interpreted as work.

Last night’s celebration also meant that my presentation wouldn’t be finished until this morning. With that in mind, I made sure that I was up at 5:30 this morning so that I could have a few hours to put towards perfecting it. For your viewing pleasure, I have embedded it below with some fancy pants HTML compu-geekery. As with most of my presentations, there is very little in the way of text, as I prefer to tell a story and use the slides as a visual aid. For a change this time around, I also opted to not use equations – no one really reads them, and I think they are more often than not distracting1.

One fish over two fish plus red fish plus blue fish. The answer is so obvious!

Anyway, flash forward to this morning at 10am when I arrived to set up2. I quickly discovered that our room lacked one major item that was crucial to my and the other presenters’ success: a computer that could be hooked up to the projector system. After a bit of running about by some volunteers, a computer was found. This of course cut into each presenter’s time, and ultimately meant that I had no time to set up. Crapshite.

What was the result of all of this?

Well, let’s just say that I wasn’t able to even use my slides. That’s right folks, I presented without my slides. Fortunately, as I mentioned previously, they were set up as a visual aid and not as the presentation. This meant that I could still tell a story without the pictures.

DNA equals fish. This makes perfect mathematical sense.

Worst presentation ever? Thankfully no – and I’ve got confirmation of this fact from Rick, Justin, and Lauren. Biased opinions perhaps? Perhaps. But, their verdict was corroborated by several other attendees of my talk. So while I was disappointed that my slides weren’t used, I was still happy with the overall result. It definitely wasn’t my best presentation, but it clearly could have been much worse.

Anyway, the SSC officially came to a close today. It was definitely a good time; I managed to visit and chat with many colleagues, sat in on some very interesting (and relevant to me) talks, and learned that I could present without the use of slides.

Not too shabby. Not too shabby indeed.



1 Okay, I lied a little. I technically had two equations in my presentation (as indicated). Best equations ever!

2 As a good little statistical presenter, I made sure to be in the room 15 minutes before the session was to begin for just this purpose.


The Wild Rumpus Never Ends

A simple memorial to Maurice Sendak at the Bookshelf, downtown Guelph

I found out yesterday that Maurice Sendak – author of the beloved children’s book Where the Wild Things Are - died on Tuesday May 8, 2012.

To say that Where the Wild Things Are was/is/will always be one of my favourite books would be an understatement. It would also be a disservice to the masterpiece that I discovered when I was really young.

You see, this book has always been more to me than most other books because it was the book that instilled in me a love of reading. That is no small statement. Who I am today has been very much shaped by the books that I have read. They have taken me places that I never dreamed possible, they have fostered my curiosity, they have provided comfort, and they have pushed me to always strive to be a better person.

And it all started with Where the Wild Things Are.

Naturally, hearing about Sendak’s death struck a chord. In an instant I was back on the island with the Wild Things, wearing my crown and living in a world free from responsibilities, and chores, and going to bed early, and doing homework, and eating my stupid stupid vegetables. I was once again the six-year-old kid that first discovered the book that would be forever my book. 

And then reality hit and it dawned on me that this creative man who gave the younger-me the greatest escape from reality that a child could have – an imagination – was gone. Forever. Dust to dust, ashes to ashes, and suchlike. Now clearly I didn’t know the man personally – so I didn’t feel a sense of loss on that level. But I did feel as if a small part of my childhood had just vanished.

And so I took a few moments to mourn that loss. The memory of me as a kid running to the library to find my book flashed through my mind. I remembered the feeling I had when I would hold the book. I remembered dreaming about the island, about the Wild Things, about the freedom. I remembered my crown, and how I would make up all the rules. But I realized it was more than just this. You see, I not only remembered these things – I was reliving these things. It was at that moment that I realized that mourning was not appropriate. It was then that I realized that I should instead be celebrating the life of a man who essentially shaped my early years.

So instead of focussing on the loss, I’ve opted to sit down for a few minutes this eve to reread my book; to return to the island that I found myself visiting so frequently as a child, to visit with my old friends the Wild Things, to wear my crown and demand the start of the wild rumpus, to let my imagination run free. That was his gift to me, and to not do so would seem more than just wrong, it would seem insulting. It also feels like the most appropriate thing I can do to honour a man who gave me some of the grandest adventures a young-me could have asked for.

Rest in peace Mr. Sendak.


The wild rumpus.

I’ll Take Quotable Quotes For 1000 Please Alex

What is ConsumedByWanderlust?

The other day whilst perusing the interwebs, I stumbled on several quotes and inspirational bric-a-brac that I quite liked. Some of it cheesy, some of it funny, some of it not-so-much. There were also quotes which once read I felt the need to conquer a small country, or take on a task of almost insurmountable challenge.

Point is, these quotes moved me in some way.

With this in mind, I decided that I really needed a place to house the quotes so that I could refer back to them whenever I needed a large dose of Awesome with a side of Kick-Ass. I figured my blog was as good a place as any to store them. In fact, it’s probably the best place as I tend to lose things if I write them down; worse still if I try to set them to memory and later attempt to recall them. My grey matter doesn’t appear to retain things like that anymore. I’d like to believe this is due to the fact that my grey matter is filled with equations and statistics and mathematical tchotchke. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m getting older.

Oh Jillian Michaels, you sadistic bitch - I love you.

Anyway, I’ve added a new menu to the blog. You’ll see it up there called Words. It will contain quotes of all sorts; some that make me laugh, some that make me think, some that inspire me to live each day as if it were my last, and some to remind me that I need to stop and smell the roses. Others are those that motivate me to train for a marathon on days where I’d much rather curl up in a ball with a blanket, a book, and a large bowl of scotch. Yes, I wrote bowl. Stop judging me.

I hope you’ll enjoy some of the quotes that I’ve listed. And if you have any that you find particularly awesome, please feel free to share.


Related articles

A Not-So-Bucket-List Review

YES! YES! YES! 1000 TIMES YES!

Last night I received the following text (left) from Rick. Clearly my answer was an immediate yes. Well, technically I responded with “I think we both know the answer to that :)” Anyway, after a few texts flew back and forth, we agreed that Winter Ice Climbing was going to happen, and it should be added to my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Flash forward to this morning. After adding this new adventure to the things I have to do, I realized that the deadline for the original posting of was almost here (May 12, 2012). Okay, it’s still just over 6 months away, but time flies and such. So I figured I’d check out what still needed to be accomplished, and maybe prioritize those items such that I can accomplish as much of my original list as possible.

Without further ado, here is my original list (reposted below, from here). Of the 166-item long list (31 of which are actually due after May 12, 2012), I am happy to report that I’ve accomplished 80 of them. That’s 48.2% of them. If I exclude those items that are due after May 12, 2012 that have been accomplished (5), then I’ve actually accomplished 75 of 135 due by May 12, 2012 items (55.6 %). Not bad. And I still have 6+ months to go. W00t! I wonder how many of these I can cross off in that time.

Of those yet-to-complete activities, there are 40 that I would say are quite probable should I actually get off my duff and do something. Of those 40 yet-to-complete items, 6 are in the works and will likely be completed before the year-end. Further, 15 of the 40 are health-related goals, 11 are related to food or drink. Only 1 is related to travel (crazy).

Of course, I’m not the type to lament those things I didn’t or won’t have time to accomplish. Somehow, for whatever reason, these were clearly the lesser items on my list, and as such, are there for tomorrow. I’ll simply leave them on my list, and try to check them off as soon as I can.

Ultimately, I think what makes me extra doing-a-happy-dance happy about the outstanding list, is that the items on it are rather mundane compared to some of the other things I’ve done. They definitely aren’t skydiving, or hiking a volcano. And they definitely aren’t as difficult as finishing a PhD or running a marathon.

Inside, I'm doing a happy dance.

Complete by Description Date Completed
12-May-12 1. Find a full time faculty position OR a full time Academic/Job 01-Jan-11
12-May-12 2. Finish my PhD 09-Apr-10
12-May-12 3. Publish 3 articles in 1 year
12-May-12 4. Publish 5 articles in 1 year
12-May-12 5. Publish 10 articles in 1 year
12-May-12 6. Teach Differential Equations 16-Aug-10
12-May-12 7. Teach my first Stats Course 11-Jan-10
12-May-12 8. Teach the same course twice 30-Sep-09
12-May-12 9. Be an invited speaker to a conference 31-Oct-10
12-May-12 10. Bungee Jump
12-May-12 11. Climb another mountain 07-Sep-10
12-May-12 12. Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and go on Safari
12-May-12 13. Glacier walk 05-Sep-10
12-May-13 14. Hang Glide
12-May-12 15. Insane 10K race with Matt
12-May-13 16. Niagara wine tour
12-May-13 17. Not Since Moses Race (Nova Scotia)
12-May-12 18. Scuba or Snorkel 24-Jan-11
12-May-12 19. Sky Dive (see Adrenaline Smells Like Awesome for details) January 28, 2011
12-May-12 20. Zip line (again)
12-May-13 21. Helicopter ride 21-Jan-11
12-May-13 22. Hike a lava field – again 16-Jan-11
12-May-13 23. Climb an active volcano 16-Jan-11
28-Sep-13 24. No pants subway ride
28-Sep-13 25. La tomatina (tomato fight), Brunal, Spain
28-Sep-13 26. Cage dive with sharks
28-Sep-13 27. Go to a shooting range
12-May-12 28. Raise over $1000 for BBBS bowlathon
12-May-12 29. Go to the symphony (again) 02-Jan-10
12-May-12 30. See a Ballet with Steph
12-May-12 31. See a play (Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with Rick) 28-Dec-10
12-May-12 32. See an Opera
12-May-12 33. See Sarah McLachlan in concert (again)
12-May-12 34. See Stevie Wonder in concert (with Gerarda)
12-May-12 35. See Tori Amos in concert
12-May-12 36. Determine Net Worth 18-Nov-10
12-May-12 37. Invest $20000
12-May-12 38. Pay off ~$15000 of my debt (not including mortgage)
12-May-12 39. Save $500 in change
12-May-12 40. Set up a budget 18-Nov-10
12-May-12 41. Have a champagne tasting night 13-Mar-10
12-May-12 42. Have a gin tasting night 31-Oct-09
12-May-12 43. Have a port tasting night 19-Sep-09
12-May-12 44. Have a scotch tasting night 30-Sep-10
12-May-12 45. Have a tequila tasting night
12-May-12 46. Have a wine tasting night 06-Nov-10
12-May-12 47. Have the rents over for a home cooked meal
12-May-12 48. Learn to cook a good fish dish
12-May-12 49. Learn to cook coque-au-vin
12-May-12 50. Learn to cook Goulash
12-May-12 51. Learn to cook lamb medalions
12-May-12 52. Learn to cook lamb vindaloo (and make it comparable to the Diana)
12-May-12 53. Learn to make chocolate tofu cheesecake (a la The Cornerstone)
12-May-12 54. Learn to make dairy free banana bread
12-May-12 55. Shop at the market 4 Saturdays in a row 26-Sep-09
28-Sep-13 56. Learn to make 2 types of bread
28-Sep-13 57. Learn to make pasta from scratch
28-Sep-13 58. Try 30 new wines (see Wines for details)
12-May-12 59. Buy a $100+ bottle of port and drink it with Gerarda & Alan
12-May-12 60. Buy a new camera
12-May-12 61. Buy a new MacBook Pro 08-Sep-09
12-May-12 62. Buy a new road bike
12-May-12 63. Buy a tailor made suit, or a fitted suit 25-Jun-10
12-May-12 64. Buy an indoor bike attachment for winter biking
12-May-12 65. Go to Hillside with Steph 12-Jun-10
12-May-12 66. Have a double bingo scrabble game 29-Aug-09
12-May-12 67. Have a PhD Prom 26-Jun-10
12-May-12 68. Learn Linux
12-May-12 69. Learn more Spanish
12-May-13 70. Polar bear swim
12-May-12 71. Read Oryx and Crake
12-May-12 72. See a live sex show 28-Jun-10
12-May-12 73. Get to bed before midnight (with at least 6hrs sleep) for 2 weeks straight Jan-10
12-May-12 74. Stop cracking knuckles and joints for at least a week Jan-10
12-May-13 75. Run, 30k Around the Bay
12-May-12 76. Bike 160K
12-May-12 77. Bike 30k Jun-10
12-May-12 78. Bike 40K Jul-10
12-May-12 79. Bike 50k Jul-10
12-May-12 80. Bike 60k
12-May-12 81. Bike 80K
12-May-12 82. C.N. Tower Climb (again)
12-May-12 83. Complete 100 push ups in a row
12-May-12 84. Complete 100 sit ups in a row 21-Aug-09
12-May-12 85. Complete 140 sit ups in a row
12-May-12 86. Complete 200 sit ups in a row
12-May-12 87. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 10 chin ups
12-May-12 88. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 10 pull ups
12-May-12 89. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 4 chin ups 07-Jan-10
12-May-12 90. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 4 pull ups
12-May-12 91. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 6 chin ups 10-Jan-10
12-May-12 92. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 6 pull ups
12-May-12 93. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 8 chin ups
12-May-12 94. Complete 4 consecutive sets of 8 pull ups
12-May-12 95. Complete 50 push ups in a row 23-Aug-09
12-May-12 96. Complete 60 push ups in a row
12-May-12 97. Complete 80 push ups in a row
12-May-12 98. Complete the 30 day yoga challenge 17-Nov-10
12-May-12 99. Develop abs (clearly subjective)
12-May-13 100. Run a 1/2 marathon (again)
12-May-12 101. Run 10k in 50 minutes 09-Sep
12-May-12 102. Run 12k in 60 minutes 09-Sep
12-May-12 103. Run 5k in under 22 minutes
12-May-12 104. Run 5k in under 25 minutes 28-Sep-09
12-May-13 105. Run a marathon
12-May-12 106. Run another 1/2 marathon 17-Oct-10
12-May-12 107. Run another 10K Jun-10
12-May-12 108. Try yoga or hot yoga 22-Aug-09
28-Sep-13 109. Do another 30 day hot yoga challenge
12-May-12 110. Buy new energy saving appliances (all 5)
12-May-12 111. Paint a wall with chalkboard paint (or set up a plexiglass wall), and use it
12-May-12 112. Paint my guest bedroom
12-May-12 113. Paint the kitchen
12-May-12 114. Paint the main bathroom
12-May-12 115. Replace the carpet in the bedrooms with hardwood
12-May-12 116. Replace the carpet in the living room with hardwood
12-May-12 117. Stretch carpet in the upstairs hall
12-May-12 118. Get a new light for the upstairs bathroom 31-Oct-10
12-May-12 119. Celebrate 35th birthday (plus/minus 1.5 months) in another country Jul-10
12-May-12 120. Go on at least 3 dates in as many months Aug-10
28-Sep-13 121. Start a blog 20-Jan-11
12-May-12 122. Travel to Alberta Sep-10
12-May-12 123. Travel to Asia
12-May-12 124. Travel to at least 1 Canadian Territory
12-May-12 125. Travel to at least 1 of: Prague, Vienna or Budapest 31-Dec-10
12-May-12 126. Travel to at least 2 of: Prague, Vienna or Budapest Jul-10
12-May-12 127. Travel to BC
12-May-12 128. Travel to Calgary to visit Rick & Karen Sep-10
12-May-12 129. Travel to Chigaco to visit Ben (again)
12-May-12 130. Travel to visit Arlene
12-May-12 131. Travel to Iceland, the UK, Ireland or Scotland
12-May-12 132. Travel to Manitoba May-10
12-May-12 133. Travel to Montreal 25-Nov-09
12-May-12 134. Travel to New Brunswick
12-May-12 135. Travel to New York Feb-10
12-May-12 136. Travel to Nova Scotia
12-May-12 137. Travel to Ottawa to visit Matt & Jhona 15-Oct-09
12-May-12 138. Travel to PEI
12-May-12 139. Travel to Portugal, Spain or Andorra
12-May-12 140. Travel to Quebec City (again)
12-May-12 141. Travel to Saskatchewan
12-May-12 142. Travel to South or Central America (again)
12-May-12 143. Travel to the Caribbean (again)
12-May-12 144. Travel to Vancouver to visit Beth (again)
12-May-12 145. Travel with Aidan 22-Dec-09
12-May-12 146. Travel with Matt Jun-10
12-May-12 147. Travel with Steph & Gerarda again Feb-10
12-May-12 148. Travel with Rick 14-Jan-11
28-Sep-13 149. Attend Carnival in Brazil
28-Sep-13 150. Travel to the Galapagos
28-Sep-13 151. Travel to Mt. Everest base camp
28-Sep-13 152. Travel the Great Wall of China
28-Sep-13 153. Travel to the Taj Mahal
28-Sep-13 154. Travel to Angor Watt
28-Sep-13 155. Travel to Germany (again) for Oktoberfest
28-Sep-13 156. Travel to Kruger National Park for Safari
28-Sep-13 157. Travel to Las Vegas
28-Sep-13 158. Travel to Petra
28-Sep-13 159. Travel to Christ the Redeemer
23-Sep-14 160. Travel to the World Cup in 2014
12-May-12 161. Watch Battlestar Galactica Season 1
12-May-12 162. Watch missing shows from Dexter Season 3
12-May-12 163. Watch Dexter Season 4 01-Jan-10
12-May-12 164. Watch Dexter Season 5 26-Dec-10
28-Sep-13 165. Watch 150 movies on IMDB top 250 (already viewed movies count)
28-Sep-13 166. Learn to do a hand stand (without ending up with stitches)

KenKen is FunFun

Following my surgery a few weeks ago, my friends Gerarda and Alan dropped by with a most excellent ‘get well soon’ gift. The gift included a hilarious card, a trashy tabloid, and the book that I’m holding in the picture to the left. That book is a book of KenKen puzzles.

What the hell is KenKen?

Think Sudoku, but better.

Like Sudoku, KenKen starts with a grid of numbers. Within this book, there are grids that are 4×4, 5×5, and 6×6, but other sizes exist.

The rules are simple; fill in the digits 1 through n where n is the length of one dimension of the grid (i.e., the grid is n\times n) in each row AND each column. The catch, you must do so while satisfying the hints that are provided in the squares, and each row and column can contain each digit only once. As you can see below, the grid is divided into several sections. One of the squares within each region will have a clue. The clue will give you the result of a mathematical formula, and the operation that is to be used (+, -, \times, \div)

For example, in the 6×6 grid to the right, we have 3 squares in the upper left corner that must multiply to 80 (80x). Since this is a 6×6 grid, we can only use the digits 1 through 6. I begin by trying to figure out what can’t work. Since 80 is not divided evenly by 3 or 6, I can ignore these numbers. That means I could use 1, 2, 4, and 5. If I opt to use 1, that means the other 2 digits must multiply to 80. But, we don’t have digits large enough to get to 80 with only 2 of them. Note that the largest digit available (that being a 5) when multiplied by itself, only brings us to 25. So 1 can’t be used here either. We are left with 2, 4, and 5. Clearly, I can’t use 2 either or the remaining two digits would have to multiply to 40, and as we just determined, we can’t get to that value with the digits we have available. Hence, we need to double up one of the numbers. In this case, we can use 4, 4, and 5.

Since we have the rule that each row and column must contain the digits 1 through 6 only once, we would necessarily have to separate the 4s, as illustrated in the picture. And from this, we continue to fill in each of the rows and columns using the information provided.

Cool stuff!

Anyway, these are very addictive and I’ve been playing them almost daily since Gerarda and Alan dropped off the book. So, a huge thank you to Gerarda and Alan for this. It has made the recovery process so much more tolerable.

For those that want to give it a try, check out the KenKen website. It goes up to the challenging 9×9 grid.

 

 

 

Merry Stats-mas Everyone!

Yesterday I received an unexpected email from my friend Michael (who just so happens to be a fellow Statistics nerd). Anyway, it seems that in his recent move he came across a box of statistical textbooks that he no longer needed. He was curious as to whether I’d be able to give them a good home.

Clearly the answer was yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

Even better, he offered to drop them off for me – clearly saving me the awkward bike ride home with a large box full of statistical awesomeness. One wouldn’t want to bike with such a large collection of statistical knowledge, for fear that one might crash and damage the books. True story.

Anyway, after he dropped them off I brought them upstairs and left them sitting on my kitchen counter. I guess I could have opened the box immediately, but it felt a little like Christmas so I decided that I would wait until morning. And that is what I did.

You can imagine how excited I must have been last night. Just lying in my bed, wondering about the box of books that I knew was sitting patiently downstairs, waiting to be opened.

In the morning, I scrambled down the stairs and tore into the box. Well, okay, I had breakfast first, then I tore into the box. One needs strength to get through such a roller coaster of emotions that this box of statistical goodies was sure to bring.

When I finally opened the box, the first thing I saw was a wrapped gift on top. Seriously. A wrapped freaking gift. What the what? Not only had Michael just given me a giant box of awesome, he also included a gift in honour of my recent appointment to the position of Ass. Prof.

Clearly, Michael is a large slice of Awesome Pie.

The gift: an actual record. Not a CD or an MP3. A shiny piece of modern vinyl. The band – The Speakeasies. The song…wait for it…wait for it…

He thinks Calculus is easy.

Hi-freaking-larious!

The books that were in the box-o-statistical-nerdery were also quite awesome. I had to take pictures of them, so that you too could share in the nerdery that was my morning. I’ve already read some of these, but not all of them. I’m not saying that I’m going to sit down and immediately start reading them, but I’m also not saying that I’m not going to do that.

Thanks again Michael. This was the best Stats-mas ever!