A 90-Day Lookback

I haven’t posted a general update in almost exactly three months. So here you go, in no particular order.
Joint Statistical Meetings. Last week, I attended the Joint Statistical Meetings in Boston, Mass. The conference was lovely — as always, it’s high on theory, but there are enough applied sessions to keep things interesting. I chaired a session for the Section on Statistical Learning and Data Mining that included an eclectic mix of various “Big Data” subjects. I also presented a poster summarizing the 30-year history of the Quality and Productivity Section (for which, I serve as the webmaster). My colleague Erica attended with me; one night, we had tasty sushi in Chinatown then walked around Boston Commons and the Public Garden. One nice thing about the convention center — it has a Sam Adams brewpub inside, so you can have beer between conference sessions. Overall the food was good: I had several bowls of chowdahhh as well as a plate of lobster mac and cheese that was more lobster than pasta. The one downside of the trip was the return flight — the Detroit-to-G.R. leg featured a broken airplane, a confused plane switch and unfortunate attempts at humor by Delta employees. Compound this with a late-night schedule and screaming toddlers, and patience wore thin.
Scuba Diving.  Last month’s trek to Gilboa was aborted at the last minute on account of thunderstorms sweeping through NW Ohio that weekend: As a general rule, it’s imprudent to play around 40′ below the surface during an electrical storm. We rescheduled for this month. Just yesterday, however, Tawnya and I dove Lake Versluis in Kent County. Visibility was awful at less than five feet. The lake did have a lovely thermocline, though, and we accidentally came across the diving bell. I don’t think we went too deep — I’d be surprised if we ever got below 30′ — but it was good prep for Gilboa.
Higher Education. Although I was accepted into the graduate-certificate program in applied statistics at WMU beginning this fall, I’m going to ask to defer to January. I’ve got way too much going on through the end of the year to add a class or two in Kalamazoo to the mix.
Publishing. Work on the publishing house, now named Caffeinated Press, Inc., has largely concluded — at least, for the start-up phase. We now have a C-corporation with a five-person board of directors. In addition to serving as chairman of the board, I’m also chairman of the editorial committee. Lots of work involved in starting a company — and even more when it’s a full-blown corporation with other people involved. I am confident that we’ll have our first work released generally before Christmas.
Writing. The first project for Caffeinated Press is an anthology with content based on the writing prompt of “all goes dark.” I am submitting. I’m not sure what I think of my story, but it only needs to be around 10k words so … I can do it. I’ve also met with Kiri to begin a two-person writer’s group. Should be fun.
“Data Analytics.” Earlier this year, I participated in a Delphi session in Chicago for the National Association for Healthcare Quality, related to NAHQ”s project to define the next generation of professional competencies for health quality practitioners. The larger framework having been completed, NAHQ is now diving into two competency areas — data analytics and population health. I’m chairing the former group, with work to unfold over October and November as a rapid-cycle project. Exciting stuff.
NAHQ Conferences and Webinars.  Speaking of NAHQ, next month features that group’s annual conference in Nashville. I’m attending, and am both presenting a session (on the effect of ICD-10 and the ACA on data trends) and co-leading a breakfast session that’s closing in on 175 attendees. Wow. Concurrently, I’m working with NAHQ’s staff leadership on a national webinar program. My colleague Linda and I co-led a webinar in June that received good scores from the roughly 100 participants.
MAHQ Conference. The annual conference for the Michigan Association for Healthcare Quality convenes in late September. I’m chairing the planning committee. We’re in a busy spot right now — planning for medical continuing-education credits, soliciting vendors/sponsors and prepping brochures. I’m really looking forward to October: Conference planning is hard work!
Mini Hiking Trek. Looks like my brother and I will do an overnight section hike of the North Country Trail in mid-September. Should be fun. I think we’re going to do a full off-trail camping experience, too. We might put in at a specific trailhead, hike until dusk, set up camp, then return the same way the next day.
Mom’s 60th. Tomorrow my mother turns 60. Wow. And in five weeks I turn 38. Time, you accursed trickster! I clearly remember my mother’s 30th.
Contract Auditing. One of my clients, a national service-journalism company, has brought me in to do a different kind of post-production audit work that’s much more in-depth. I’m finding the process illuminating. And with the new work that the company is issuing, the last few months have been lucrative.
Cat Personalities. As my little fuzzies sit on their pillows on my desk, it occurs to me just how different they are. Fiona is the aggressive huntress, welcoming of humans and willing to cuddle next to me at night. She rarely meows, but she will chirp when I get home. Murphy is shy and almost codependent, but he’s more adventure-seeking. He’s also the most loquacious feline I’ve ever encountered. Much to my amusement, he doesn’t like it when his sister fails to fully cover her droppings in the litter box, so he does shovel duty after he hears her use the box.
Social Stuff. I’ve been super busy since … well, last October. Lately I’ve had a few social events worth noting. I saw Guardians of the Galaxy with Duane last weekend. The week before that, I hosted a cigar night at my house featuring dry-aged steaks supplied by Scott; we had seven guys over for nearly five hours on a weeknight. The weekend before that, AmyJo hosted the annual writer’s cookout at her house. Regrettably, though, I haven’t been able to hit a Game Night because a certain someone (ahem Brittany) insists on scheduling them when I’m not available.
Music & TV. I’m still on a strong 30 Seconds to Mars kick, but I recently discovered some Shinedown stuff I wasn’t previously familiar with that I’m digging (Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide is just fun, and I got chills the first time I heard the acoustic version of 45). I gave the newest Chevelle album another listen, but as much as I like their early stuff, the most recent album has not a single track I like. On the TV front, although I don’t have time to watch much, I’m looking forward to Capaldi’s run on Doctor Who and I enjoy my “fangirl chatter” with Jen about Teen Wolf and Supernatural even if Julie rolls her eyes. Otherwise, Netflix is slowly passing through Haven.
OK, all for now.

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