Trust Me, I’m A Doctor

So today I celebrate the 1st Ph.D.-versary of my dissertation.  That’s right folks, today marks the day when I brought my Ph.D. home from the university, after a very lengthy gestation period.  I can’t believe my little Ph.D. is officially 1-year-old.  For those of you that might not be aware or perhaps have forgotten, my Ph.D. dissertation goes by the name

Multivariate Spatial Poisson Mixtures With Applications In Disease Source Classification,1

but I just call her Ms. P. Mix for short.   One year old already – how time flies.

The most expensive piece of paper I own. Amazingly, it looks the same today as it did the first day I brought it home.

In all seriousness, my Ph.D. never would have been a reality if not for the help and support of so many people.  I do have to mention one person in particular; a certain Dr. Stephanie Dixon, to whom I dedicated my work.

For Steph; my sounding board, my confidant, my support, and the best friend I could ever have asked for.  I have no idea what I did to deserve someone like you next to me during this process, but I’m eternally grateful to the Fates for bringing us together.  You are my academic soul mate, my awkward cousin.  You have made me a better person, and I can never ever thank you enough for all that you have done for me.2

I wrote the dedication ages ago, well before my Ph.D. was even finished.  Amazingly, the words mean more to me now than they did to me then.

But, you might be thinking, what have I done since then?  And that is a very valid question.  I wondered that myself.  And being the list-making kind of guy that I am, I sat down and started to make a list.  I’ve categorized the list (as I’m a categorized-list-making kind of guy too), mainly for my own entertainment and reflection.  I present it to you now (in chronological order), for your reading pleasure.


  • My niece was hospitalized with flesh-eating disease (she’s fine now 🙂 )
  • Steph and I had a Ph.D. Prom
  • I turned 35
  • I got some more tattoos (12 greek letters remain)
  • My first nephew (Ethan) was born
  • Celebrated Lobster-fest
  • I adopted Elliot


  • Winnipeg (May, 2010)
  • New York (May, 2010)
  • Europe [Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria] (June/July, 2010)
  • Calgary (September, 2010)
  • Ottawa (November, 2010)
  • Ottawa (January, 2011)
  • Hawaii [Big Island, Oahu] (January, 2011)
  • New York (February, 2011)
  • Ottawa (March, 2011)


Not-So-Bucket-List List Accomplishments

  • Finished my Ph.D. (item #2)
  • Taught my first Statistics course (item #7)
  • Taught Differential Equations (item #6)
  • Travelled to Manitoba (item #132)
  • Travelled to New York with Steph, and Gerarda, again (item #135, and #147)
  • Bought a new fitted suit (item #63)
  • Determined my net worth (item #36)
  • Went to Hillside (item #65)
  • Had a Ph.D. Prom (item #67)
  • Travelled with Matt (item #146)
  • Saw a live sex show (item #72)
  • Biked 30K, 40K and 50K (items #77, #78, and #79)
  • Travelled to Prague and Vienna (item #126)
  • Celebrated my 35th birthday in another country (item #119)
  • Travelled to Alberta to visit Rick, Karen, and Adam (item #122, and #128)
  • Walked the Athabasca Glacier (item #13)
  • Climbed Mount Yamnuska (item #11)
  • Ran 10k in 50 minutes (item #101)
  • Ran 12k in 60 minutes (item #102)
  • Ran another 10K (item #107)
  • Ran another 1/2 marathon (item #106)
  • Did a 30 day hot yoga challenge (item #98)
  • Went on 3 dates in as many months (item #120)
  • Went to visit Matt, Mark, and Jhona (item #137)
  • Had a scotch tasting night (item #44)
  • Had a wine tasting night (item #46)
  • Saw Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert (item #31)
  • Started a full time faculty position (item #1)
  • Set up a budget (item #40)
  • (Re-)Started a blog (item #121)
  • Travelled with Rick (item #148)
  • Hiked a lava field again (item #22)
  • Went on a helicopter ride (item #21)
  • Climbed an active volcano (item #23)
  • Went snorkelling (item #18)
  • Went skydiving (item #19)
  • Invited to speak at a conference (item #9)
  • Paid off over $15000 in debt (item #22)
  • Saw my first Ballet (item #23)
  • Managed to do 4 sets of 8 chin ups (item #38)
  • Saw Sarah McLachlan in concert again (item #39)

So how am I going to celebrate my 1-year-old Ph.D., and all that I have accomplished since then?  I’m going to go home, have a beer, think about all the amazing things that have happened in my life over the past year, and contemplate where I want to go next.  Oh, and I’m also going to go for dinner with 2 very awesome friends.  And not just any friends.  I’m going to dinner with the 2 people who understand the trials and tribulations of my Ph.D. in Statistics best – my fellow Doctors of Statistics; Dr. Stephanie Dixon, and Dr. Gerarda Darlington.  I’m so freaking lucky, it’s ridiculous.

Happy Ph.D.-versary to me!

1 Sounds riveting, doesn’t it? I can say without a hint of a lie, that each of the 272 pages are better than the last. If ever there was a page-turner, this was it. Okay, in all seriousness, I’m probably the only one that reads it3 without falling asleep after the first sentence.

2 P.S. No, it didn’t.

3 I probably could have just ended the sentence here, and it would have been just as true 🙂


18 Comments Add yours

  1. Stephanie says:

    No you hang up…No you hang up….
    I love you more, No you hang up!

    1. dangillis says:

      No you hang up 🙂

  2. Beth says:

    You guys are adorable!

    Also, happy first PhD-versary, Ms. P. Mix! My little bouncing baby PhD is 4! She’s practically ready for kindergarten!

  3. Rockwatching says:

    Got the boot from Uof G long before I got that far

    1. dangillis says:

      What did you study?

      1. Rockwatching says:

        Started as an Aggie, then when I got the boot I worked for 2 years in a factory and went back in geography – did that at night and by correspondence and finally graduated. Upon reflection geology was really my passion and most of my spare time is devoted to earth related stuff – gemmology and caving.

        1. dangillis says:

          Caving – Very cool. I’ve explored a few caves – in Milton, and outside of Calgary. Some pretty tight squeezes, but a lot of fun.

          1. Rockwatching says:

            I thinkl I saw a post you did on Rats nest. Just in the process of opening up a cave today.

            1. dangillis says:

              Yup. Explored Rats Nest last October I think. It was a blast.

              Which cave are you opening?

            2. Rockwatching says:

              I discover wild caves across Ontario – am presently digging out a clogged tunnel entrance up north, and today recovering from the effort. You would not know the name of the cave as it is only just discovered by myself and caving colleagues – we call it the Tooth Tube. Thus far it goes a short distance, but has promise to open to tunnels deeper down. Found a decent wild cave near Hamilton last year and we are still to reach it’s end. I have a book out right now on the subject. My first book was Rockwatching (on geology and caves) This last book is purely on caves of Ontario.

            3. dangillis says:

              Oh cool. I’ll have to check out your book.

              Is this new cave called the Tooth Tube for a reason? I’m imagining a hole in the ground that looks sort of like the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi. 🙂

            4. Rockwatching says:

              The cave is called the tooth tube because its like a tube and I found a skeleton of some type buried in the clay (glacial), one real neat thing was this filthy yellow molar that lay amongst the bones. I believe the bottom end of the skeleton was unearthed by our dig, but the top end still lies buried so without a skull it’s hard to say what kind of skeleton. We are thinking that the tube drained a glacial lake that once lay above and if it’s anything to go by – there is another cave not to far away with a tube that runs a straight line underwater distance of about 4 kilometers.

            5. Rockwatching says:

              The latest book is ‘Caving in Ontario; Exploring Buried Karst’

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