Christmas at home

This year we celebrated Christmas without much fanfare.  We didn't travel, we didn't have a tree, and we didn't even bake cookies.  I did make two nice dinners for Christmas eve and Christmas day, but they were still low-maintenance as far as holiday dinners go.  I missed seeing family, of course, but it was a very relaxing way to spend the holiday.

We did go see the reenactment of Washington's crossing of the Delaware, which was cute, though the actors might shudder to have that word applied to them.  When the first boat crossed, it looked like they were struggling for a bit against the current, but they made it.  One of the highlights was an actor not wearing any pants, which was hilarious.

We bullied this guy into taking a picture with us.
Can you see the fear in his eyes?

The struggle.

Mr. Nopants has disembarked.

The Saturday before Christmas, we went to the mall briefly.  It was a very bad idea; never go to the mall between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Never.  It was very crowded, bustling with people walking everywhere.  In the midst of this, I heard a violin.  I thought I was going a little mad as I stopped in place and turned to NWC and started muttering about how it sounded like there was a live violinist in the mall.  As we kept walking, it got louder and I kept alternating between jabbering about it and enjoying the calming peace it brought amidst the swarms of people.  Eventually, we made it to some kind of indoor central plaza, and there he was, playing along with a subtle recording.  It was very sentimental to listen, as my father plays his violin much more during the holidays.  I got a little teary and just stood there for a minute, like calm in the eye of a storm.  Eventually we moved on to decide that we didn't want to deal with the lines, but we got to pass him again on the way out.  I was glad to have experienced his music, and oddly enough, the contrasting unpleasantness of the mall probably made it all the more memorable.


WiML 2014 workshop

Yesterday was the culmination of many months of planning for the annual Women in Machine Learning workshop.  I think it will easily be my favorite part of being up in Montreal for the duration of NIPS 2014.

We had an amazing program; our invited speakers were Carla BrodleyTina Eliassi-Rad, Diane Hu, and Claudia Perlich with Finale Doshi-Velez giving our opening remarks.  Our student oral presentations were thought provoking, and the breadth of our poster session was immense.  Corporate sponsors sent great representatives, and the round table mentoring session enabled some amazing discussions.  I feel like I can through positive adjectives at basically any aspect of the event, from our volunteers to the food.

I loved working with my fellow organizers Marzyeh Ghassemi, Sarah Brown, and Jessica Thompson.  It was an amazing experience and I'm very glad to have had this opportunity.

Thanks to @kmkinnaird for her photography!