Friday, September 29, 2006

Data Collection Rolling at Tech

I have been trying -- and failing -- to be more regular about posting. However, I do have good news to report. We are collecting data in the lab! Sure, it's not physiology data. We are waiting on the order from Coulbourn Instruments. However, we are collecting data ... as I speak.

The lab is already bustling with a Ph.D. student, two master's students, and two undergraduates hard at work.

It's good to have data rolling in again.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not Dead, Just Busy

Mid terms. IRB approval. Experiment starts tomorrow. All good. But no time for the Weblog.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Kids Get First Taste of Big XII Football

When I was a kid, I never realized that it was difficult to be a good parent. Really difficult. The trade-offs are endless.

During my time as a doctoral student at Indiana, I always was impressed by my colleague Johnny Sparks' dedication to his role at father. Johnny was always including his son in sporting events. For a sports fan, that's difficult. Even gung-ho kids are in it for the food.

I have tried to do better in this regard. I took the girls to several women's soccer games at IU, and both of my older girls attended men's basketball games at Assembly Hall (unofficial motto: In 49 other states, it's just basketball. But this is Indiana).

We have been to women's soccer games here at Tech, but last night was the first adventure for college football on the big scale. Three kids amid 50,000 people. Just getting them to walk from the car to the stadium was a chore.

They don't really want to watch the football game. They liked the pre-game show wherein the masked rider rides onto the field atop the midnight matador. But after that, they're strictly in it for the food. And Coca-Cola. And more Coca-Cola. They danced a bit as the Goin' Band from Raiderland played at halftime. But then it was fidget-city.

At the end of the night, they had fun. And I had fun. But you don't normally have to work that hard for fun.

It was the perfect game to introduce three disinterested kids. Tech played Southeastern Louisiana, an overmatched I-AA school. The final score was 62-0. We left after the third quarter. It was a beautiful night on the South Plains. The temperature was in the lower 70s, and only a few clouds dotted the sky. As night fell, the city lights (such that they are) were beautiful.

As someone who makes their living studying mediated communication, I could not help but believe there are some things that are better in person. College football is one of those things. I remember when my brother, Lance, was a student at Fort Hays State University. I was fairly young, but we drove out there one weekend. It probably was parents' weekend.

I remember exactly four things about that weekend. I recall the longest lines I had ever seen at a McDonald's. I recall my parents buying me paint pens at the bookstore (they were all the rage). I recall going somewhere to see some bison. But more importantly, I recall going to the football game. I am sure I was a pain. I'm sure I was in it for the food. But more than two decades later, I remember going to the game.

At a time in my life, when I cannot seem to remember what I had for breakfast, this is pretty impressive to me. It's why I carry a 35 pound kid on my shoulders for more than a mile. It's why fidget city is worth it.

Sure. They won't remember who won. Or what happened. But hopefully, they'll remember going with their mom and dad (and friend Wendy). And that makes it all worth it. And that's something you'll never get off of a television.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dorothy Correct: Home Tops All

There's no place like home.

That pretty much says it. And Lubbock feels a lot like home.

This morning I was driving down University Ave. after leaving the barber. The West Texas sky was a brilliant blue, and the dry air was about 60 degrees. I was headed to Jones AT&T Stadium to buy football tickets.

Days do not get much better than that.

And perhaps the best thing of all is that my day gets even better when I get to work. This is truly a collegial, fun place to work. I look forward to seeing my colleagues. They're good teachers and good researchers.

Pound for pound in terms of experimental researchers, I'll put Texas Tech up against any other Ph.D. program in the country. And if we land just one of the high profile candidates whom we're recruiting this year, then we'll be over the top.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

First New Lab Equipment Arrives

Exciting times here in the Hub City.

A box just arrived with a shiny new oscilloscope. Of course, it's about the last piece of equipment we need to get the psychophysiology lab started, but I will take it.

More will be coming soon.

The first lab meeting was yesterday, and it was nice to be getting back into the swing of things. It's especially nice considering that I will be here more than a year.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Great Day for the Research Churn

If you start putting marbles in a piece of pipe one at a time, it takes a while before they start coming out of the other end. Early in my graduate school career, I was taught that research is much like that pipe. You have to keep putting marbles in if you want them to come out of the other side.

Of course the marbles in this case are peer-reviewed journal articles. If there is an empty spot in the pipe, then there will be a time when no marbles are forthcoming.

Yesterday was a good day for marbles. In the afternoon, former master's student Tim "Anonymous" Laubacher and I submitted his thesis to a journal.

A couple of hours later, Annie Lang wrote to say that a piece we did at Indiana has been accepted by Erlbaum's new journal, Communication Methods & Measures.

I love days like those!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Televised Football Provides Social Link

There I sat. "Ohio State" blazoned across the chest of my T-shirt. My red block O ballcap fitting snug. Next to me sat my advertising colleague, Harsha, with a burnt orange T-shirt with a white cow's skull on it.

We both came to Texas Tech to join the advertising faculty. Last year Harsha was finishing his Ph.D. at Texas, and I was on faculty at THE Ohio State University. And here those schools were playing football in perhaps the biggest regular season football game of the season. No. 1 vs. No. 2.

Beer was consumed. Trash was talked. Points were scored. Well, by the Buckeyes at least. Har!

Identification is a powerful force. It is one of my pet interests, and it always comes to mind in moments such as these. Graduate school makes it difficult. I have degrees from New Mexico State, Kansas State, and Indiana University. I am loyal to -- and identify with -- all three.

So there I sat cheering the Bucks. Yes, I left OSU. But a couple of the players were in my class this spring, and I met Heisman hopeful Troy Smith during a research project. So I identify with those guys. By the way, that was NOT a helmet-to-helmet hit by Jay Richardson!

Intermixed with overzealous smack talk on Harsha (sorry!), I watched the ticker. K-State finally figured out how to score. Yeah! Indiana barely rallied to top Ball State. Weak! And the Aggies' rally against the University Near Mom fell short. Ugh!

When the Bucks finally iced the silver spoon Longhorns, we immediately flipped over to the Texas Tech vs. UTEP game. The betting line on this game was 7 points all week, but to listen to the homers on Lubbock sports radio (they over identify), the Red Raiders were destined to win by at least 10 touchdowns.

Having followed the Miners as of late -- although they are a hated rival, the school is just 45 miles from NMSU -- I knew they would put up a fight. When you are a small school, and a ranked opponent comes to town, you give it your A+ game.

Now a room full of Tech faculty -- and recently adopted Ph.D. student extraordinaire Wendy Maxian -- were on the edges of our seat. The only one in the room to actually hold a degree from Tech, director of the Institute for Survey Research Joel West, had been listening to the entire Tech Game with a earpiece radio.

As I might have expected, UTEP took it to overtime. A career long field goal had to barely careen in off the upright to push Tech to victory. Never one to under-identify, I jumped up and down like Tech had won the national championship and I had been branded with a Double T at birth. So what if I've been here only 10 weeks.

A little more Buckeye smack for Harsha, and then it was time to head home after midnight for the first time in years.

Good times had by all. Football and identification.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Mass Comm Welcomes New Faculty

On Wednesday night, the College of Mass Communications formally welcomed its new faculty members to Texas Tech. Although festivities are not normally my strong suit, I quite enjoyed myself at the event.

The university's provost had many kind words to say about the college, and it was impressive that so many of our administrators turned out to meet us. There were also several members of the Lubbock mass communications industry present -- an interaction that characterizes our desire to stay relevant to industry.

The reception was yet one more piece of evidence suggesting how many good things are going on in this college. We're hiring four new faculty members this year (photojournalism, video production, and a junior and senior position in public relations), and I already am looking forward to next year's new faculty reception.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Classes, Research Leave Weblog Bare

Sorry. Working too hard to write much here.

The advertising campaigns class has been divided up into agencies. There are four great teams.

I am working on data for OSU honors student Kristen Coffaro. As she predicted, interactive Web ads are better recognized and get more attention.

Tonight is the college's new faculty reception. So I get to go be received. Some kids have all the luck.