Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Let's face it. It's Thanksgiving weekend. I'm in Philly with the fam. Am I really going to write anything substantial on my blog anytime soon? Doubtful. Happy T to the Giving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gone Fishing...

I wish. Actually I'm in the midst of midterms. I will be back later today after my dreaded biostats midterm. I miss you, six readers!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Worst Blogger Ever

I know all six of you have been holding your breath waiting for the latest update in the life and times of Jacktoschool. So, I apologize for the delay. But I am writing right now to tell you that I will write more later. Please forgive me, six readers. But I'm finding that this school thing has been taking up a lot of quality blogging time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Not all charming in Charm City

I just woke up from a nap to find a text from a friend that said "what are you doing tonight? do you want to go out? Maybe in Canton to avoid the serial rapist?" Waking up from a very deep sleep nap to seeing that on my cell phone was a bit confusing. I called her back and said that yes, we should meet up at some point tonight... oh, and what was that about the rapist?

Yeah, so apparently there have been six rapes in the past month in my neighborhood of Mt. Vernon.... on my street... four blocks from where I live. When I first thought about moving to Baltimore, I started watching The Wire and talking about how funny it was that I was moving to Baltimore, where just like on The Wire (!) all this crime went down. I felt so bad-ass. Now, I'm genuinely scared. Until now, I have gone about my business feeling confident that all the crime took place over there... in Wire territory. But apparently not. It takes place over there and a few blocks from my apartment. (And in the locked parking garage across the street where I park and where in the past few weeks two cars have been broken into, necessitating two security guards there at night. Awesome.)

The rapist has been breaking into women's apartments through fire escapes in the middle of the night. I happen to live in an incredibly safe building with a 24 hour doorman, but still. The rapist hasn't been caught, the Baltimore Police and the media have only now come out with the news. It's all quite unsettling.

Read all about it here and here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Oh, right. This is supposed to be about school.

I am once again up before 7 am. What is going on? Actually I know exactly what is going on. I went to bed embarrassingly early last night. That's what I get for trying to read the driest of dry public health theory after dinner. I realize I haven't written about actual school in a while, aside from the ever-fascinating biostats bitching. But there's actually a lot more to school to biostats. Who knew? Not you.

First of all, I have three classes with group projects this term and in each group project I'm working on a different health behavior campaign. Among the three, the one I'm most excited about is a social marketing campaign we're working on to prevent STIs in retirement communities and assisted living homes. It's a huge problem! Especially with Viagra and with so few men for so many women. Condoms, grandpa! I wanted to focus it in Boca Raton, but we're doing the pilot project in Baltimore. I can't wait for the preliminary research where we to talk to old people about safe sex. It probably won't be as funny as it is in my head, but still. I'm excited. The other two projects are on more widespread and well-known problems, drinking and driving and exercise, but each with their own unique twist. Stay tuned.

Yesterday, in one of my theory classes, we discussed media theory, particularly having to do with television. All I kept thinking about was how ridiculous it was that here we were, discussing esoteric theories about television and its impacts, while people actually creating TV (i.e. me three months ago) never even give this stuff any thought and would most likely be rolling their (my) eyes about how in depth and seriously it's taken in academic settings. Alas, I was torn. On the one hand, I was rolling my eyes. While on the other hand, I was thinking that maybe this is important to study. I mean, sure, TV has an impact on society. But, how much of a problem is it really? And will it ever really be changed? I'm here to work with TV, not fight against it. It's important to understand, but at the same time, the idea of studying and understanding TV is almost laughable to me. I guess the part I find funny is that there are highly trained brilliant academics studying the mindless shit that people like me write, in between updating their blogs, playing online Scrabble and stuffing their faces with free food. And I left that world, why, again?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This Post Needs a Better Title

I woke up early today (before 7 am. what?) so I could study for my midterm that's today and start the 8 million things that are due by midnight tonight. But I just spent half an hour on facebook and several minutes reading about an interview of Sarah Palin. Really? She's still in the news? My only guess about her still being newsworthy is that the country still wants to marvel for a bit longer at her stupidity. Otherwise, back to Alaska already.

Speaking of Alaska, it's freaking cold here. I miss LA. Seeing my friend from LA perform the other night made me miss my friends there even more. But I will be there soon enough and until then I'm here enjoying my life in Baltimore with only one and half more months and an ass-load of work to go until my month-long vacation. And I seriously need it. This whole staying up late to do work thing is so not for me these days. Maybe I really am too old for this?

Back to Facebook (nice flow, huh? my blog could use an editor). My brother decided to run with my suggestion about how the Obamas should get a Muffin (er, a Maltese) as the First Pet... So, he grabbed the picture of me and Muffin off my blog and started a Facebook group to campaign for Muffin in '08. Won't you join? (And by the way, lesson learned about putting pictures of myself up. Thanks, Bill).

Now Jack to work.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mutt or Muffin?

It's 72 degrees, sunny, there's a movie shooting in my neighborhood, I'm going to see a comedian friend perform tonight, and I went to an organic restaurant the other night with locally grown food. I know what you're thinking, "What? Jacktoschool, you moved back to LA?" Nope. I'm in Baltimore. (And yes, I just referred myself as Jacktoschool. It's kind of weird, but I kind of like it.) Plus, full disclosure: I'm seeing the friend perform in D.C, not Baltimore. Close enough. And I have no idea what movie is shooting. But who would have thought? All this in Baltimore.

Not to dwell on this perfect Baltimore weather... and I know it's totally wrong and un-p.c., but, um, I'm kind of pro-global warming. Excuse me, climate change. Melting icecaps, shmelting shmicecaps. At least right now, I'm pro. Like today. When it's 72 degrees outside in November. Luckily my blog is only read by 5 people, so no threat of angry environmentalists writing letters. Whew.

Onto Obama, since I'm so not over this incredible new reality we're living in. I kind of love that the biggest news that came out of his first press conference was what kind of puppy he'll get his daughters. (Also, every time I hear the sound bite, "A mutt like me" I want to pinch his adorable cheeks. And by the way, when the last time I wanted to pinch a president's cheeks? Maybe this should be the last time. And maybe I should have kept that sentiment to myself. Creepy, Jacktoschool. Creepy). Anyway, everyone has their own opinion on what kind of dog the Obamas should get. A pitbull named "Lipstick" is the obvious option, but I have my own opinion: a Muffin. Duh.

Have you seen a cuter face? Oh, and the dog is nice, too. That's me at a frisbee tournament my junior year of college, with my Wesleyan-requisite short haircut growing out, and my adorable Maltese, Muffin, may she rest and pee all over doggie heaven. Granted, Muffin was no way in hell a shelter dog, as Obama would like, nor was she a mutt, but rather a purebred. A very white, almost Aryan, purebred. (Her brothers and sisters were show dogs, but she had a flaw on her nose, so no show for the Muffdog. But seriously, a flaw on her nose. Even that's adorable.). Okay, Muffin was nothing like the Obamas. But, hey the Obamas are all about diversity, right? I got Muffin when I was 10, the same age as Malia, and I was deliriously happy with her. Not to mention, Malteses are hypoallergenic. Plus, Muffin-- and thus all Malteses-- it's my blog and I can generalize if I want to-- was quite liberal in her views and loved everyone equally. She licked all people regardless of race, religion, age, political views, or color. (Some would say she was a slut in that manner, but I prefer to think of her as open-minded). Also, having her reproductive rights taken away from her at a very young age, she was adamantly pro-choice. Anyway, she's been dead for about four years. And it's getting to be a little weird how much I'm personifying my dead dog on a public blog. So, I'll stop. But seriously, Obamas, get a Maltese and name it Muffin. Do it for your country.

Addendum: Because the owner of the dead Mr. Wuv is too lazy to have her own blog, I was told to give a blog shout-out to Mr. Wuv: Hello, Wuv. You are sorely missed. I hope you and Muffin and getting along up there. (Yes, these are grown women obsessed with their dead dogs).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America Chooses the Carrot Cake!

Amazing. We chose the carrot cake. President Barack Obama. I kind of don't know what to say. I've never not been cynical about this country and about American politics, so it's an entirely new feeling. (Okay, there was one time I wasn't cynical about this country-- after 9/11 in New York when there was a sense of true unity in the city). But, this is the first time ever I'm inspired by an American president. It's hard not to sound cliche, but holy shit, this is an incredible day. (That rhymed! I'm even inspired to write poetry today.)

I watched most of the results last night with a few friends, including my friend and former roommate Jane. Eight years ago, Jane and I watched the election results together in our apartment in Brooklyn. What a difference. Eight years ago, we went to sleep not knowing who the president would be, and then a week later were angered by the results. Eight years later, that anger is finally gone.

I've never been moved to tears by American politics before. Yesterday, I waited in line (at what I just discovered is my gorgeous public library) in Baltimore for an hour behind an elderly black man with a walker. Tears came to my eyes. Then, when Barack Obama won Virginia, where I canvassed for him a few months ago, and Pennsylvania, where I'm from, it was over. I found myself actually crying tears of joy. When he spoke about the grassroots nature of his campaign, of actually being able to make a change, I thought about what I'm doing in public health school... and how most of what I'm learning (fucking biostats aside) is about the upward battle to fight against powerful companies with tons of resources in order to make a change for the better in people's lives. Inspiring public health changes is far from easy, I'm learning. But after last night, watching Obama give his speech, I know that it's possible.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or Treat or Biostats Can Kiss My Ass

Biostats is ruining everything. I am so over it. One term was enough. It takes up too much of my precious time that I'd rather use studying for other classes. There is no need for me to be spending time typing code into some statistics computer program that I will never use again. Especially because I don't even understand what I'm typing. And regression? Linear, multiple and otherwise. Isn't going back to school at age 30 enough regressing for one person? I am a regression model. But, seriously, folks. I'm not kidding around. I know you think I'm joking. You think, "That Jackie. She loves biostatistics. Why does she try to trick us on her blog and make us think she hates it? She's such a kidder." What do I have to do to convince you? Why won't you believe me?! I don't like biostats. (Yes, I am fully aware that bitching about biostats makes for a thrilling blog. You don't have to tell me twice!)

One class I absolutely love this term is my Persuasive Communications Theory class. If you're ever at Hopkins and you have the chance to take it, I highly recommend it. Or, just read the fascinating and pretty quick book, Influence, one of the required books for the course. (I just typed in "Influence" into Amazon to get the link for you all and make your lives easier. It turns out Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen have a book by the same name, which is not required for my class. It isn't even recommended! What? I need to talk to the professor about that.)

All right. I have nothing more to say today. I just need to finish this asinine problem set so I can get to the good stuff and start saving lives millions at a time.