Day 253

Today was pretty standard, I believe.  I got up, ate, and went to work.  This was an egg morning.  They were tasty.  As usual, I graded while I was in the lab.  I went to Life Con, we talked about a few things... bleh.  I really wish we could just work through some problems to solidify concepts instead of just saying "you did this in Life Con 1, here's how the formula changes now with two random variables.  Now on we go."  But oh well.  We have our first exam on Friday and he gave us the practice exam today.  I'm going to give it a look over tomorrow.

I forgot salad dressing for my lunch today so I had to go over to Chick-fil-a to get some.  It was way sweeter than the dressing I normally get.  I didn't like it, but it was better than nothing.  After lunch I went back to the lab and finished grading.  Dr. Begum has a class in there at 1:30, it seems, so we all got kicked out.  I might have to change some of my hours because she changed her class times.  We'll see, I guess.

When I got back I studied for probability for a bit.  Most of the question seem really easy, but then there were about 4 that were really difficult.  So we'll see what the quiz is like tomorrow.

After probability, Kimmy and I made dinner.  Today was a ham and pineapple dish from the cook book she gave me for Christmas.  It was quite tasty.  And we had mashed potatoes.  After dinner and clean up I studied for FM for a while.  Something that has been frustrating me recently is that I do all the work properly, but when I check my answer I apparently wrote the wrong letter.  So I really really need to make sure I'm putting the answer down that I mean.  

I just finished studying a little bit ago.  I was starting to miss easy problems, which is usually a sign that I need to stop.

I did a little bit of research for my interview tomorrow with CNO.  Let's hope that goes well!  But for now... good night.


Day 252

Bleh.  I was tired today.

This morning I got up, had breakfast, and went to class.  We handed in our projects for Investments.  We also repeated the last quarter of Friday's class.  I'm not sure why, but we did.  Oh well.

After class we went to the Atrium.  We mainly talked about food.

During Life Con we got out quizzes back.  I did well on it.  We started talking about how life insurances and annuities differ with joint lives, instead of single lives.  We're just continuing our discussion of how the things we talked about with single random variables can be altered to cover things with two random variables.  Mostly it consists of clever uses of the inclusion-exclusion principle, so it's not too bad.

After class Dustin and I went to work out.  I tried a pre-workout supplement that he gave me last week.  I think it was helpful.  It made my face and hands really tingly, which is normal.  I also did something to my shoulder, which made the rest of the workout difficult.  So I didn't get to do a really good work out, but it was decent.  After working out I went over to the Payroll office.  On Friday I got paid about twice what I was expecting.  So I went over there to see what was going on.  Apparently when I signed my new GA contract, the graduate office never let Payroll know that I was no longer active under my old contract.  So I was in payroll twice.  Sadly I don't get a raise and don't get to keep the extra money.  The worst was that she even told me they wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't come in.  I really wish she hadn't said that... Let's be fair.  An extra $6000 would have been nice.  Oh well!

When I got back I was feeling pretty wiped.  I'm not sure why.  It was different from my normal workout tiredness.  I showered, ate lunch, then studied FM.  But I had a really difficult time concentrating.  And the questions just seemed exceptionally difficult.  I got up through question 20 on one of the exams, but I might start it over tomorrow when I'm feeling better.  I haven't looked at any answers so trying it again isn't really cheating.  I just want to try those problems again when my brain is fresh.

Kimmy and I made pizza for dinner.  It was good.  Then after dinner I studied for my probability quiz on Wednesday.  It should go better than the last quiz.  

And I'm really tired, so I'm being an old person and going to bed at 9pm.  Yup!  Good night.


Day 251

And here we go, into another week!

This morning I got up, had breakfast, and went grocery shopping.  I was really excited because I was going to be about $7 under budget.  Then I got to the store and realized I needed trash bags, shampoo, and deodorant.  So... I was $10 over.  Shoot.  Oh well!

Kimmy and I went to church with Jessie and Richard.  Today the pastor talked more about giving stuff to God.  I think that for me recently my biggest struggle has been school.  It's not that I don't trust God can take care of me, it's that it's very difficult to actually give things to God without neglecting your responsibilities.  Sure I could sit back and say "God, I'm going to give my education and future to you" and then sit in my chair, eat Cheetos, and watch God do his thing.  But I don't think that's really what God wants me to do.  So the issue becomes that I get so caught up in working hard that I don't stop to think about how there is a plan for what will happen, and it's not my plan.  So that just takes some time to really solidly think that.

After church we went to Arby's for lunch.  Initially there weren't any open tables next to each other, but soon after we got our food someone left so we took their table.  After lunch we went to Jessie and Richard's apartment for cupcakes!  Yesterday was Richard's birthday and he brought cupcakes to his departments social event.  And they had left overs.

Kimmy and I went to go see Beauty and the Beast 3D today.  It was fantastic.  When we got back I finished up my investment project.  I called Tim and we discussed some issues we were having for about 45 minutes.  But we eventually got it all figured out.  When we were done Kimmy and I made dinner.  It was left over night!  I had some pasta stuff from last week.  With some french fries and cheese sticks.  Originally I was going to heat the past in the microwave and the fries in the skillet, but Kimmy needed the microwave so I put everything in the skillet.  The same skillet.  Kimmy laughed at me.  But it was good.

After dinner I studied some more.  Kimmy did some wedding registering on the Wal-mart website.  I've been trying really hard to slow down and read each question thoroughly when I answer it.  I think it's starting to pay off because I only missed 3 questions on this passed exam and only 1 of them I really should have gotten.  That one was especially frustrating because there was so much work involved and I made a mistake at the very last step.  And of course my incorrect calculation was one of the options.  Jerks.  But I think it's been going well.  I just need to keep practicing taking more time.

I did laundry.  And now I'm going to bed.  So. Good night!


Day 250

I woke up this morning around 9.  I was so happy that I actually was able to sleep in.  I got about 9 hours of sleep last time. It was fantastic.

I made eggs over easy for breakfast.  It was my first attempt and they turned out pretty well.  Flipping them was difficult, but between two flippers I made it happen.  I finished my biscuits, so I need to make more.  Shoot.

After breakfast I showered and then studied.  One of the purposes of studying for so many hours is so that come exam time, I can look at a problem and say "Oh, I've solved one just like this."  Ideally, there will be no surprises on the exam.  There are still a few types of problems that I don't answer correctly consistently, but I'm getting better.  I didn't actually time the exam I took this morning, but over the course of the day I did a full exam and only missed 5 or 6 problems.  2 of them I was in between the choice I picked and the correct one, 1 of them was just poorly worded, and the other 2 or 3... I don't remember why I missed them.  I need to read more on arbitrage.  Arbitrage is a situation where you can make a series of purchases/sales and make money without actually spending any money.  Those questions usually get me.  I understand what it is and can answer most questions about it, but sometimes they'll ask a really weird question about how to set up an arbitrage given a specific scenario and... I don't really know what to do.  I think I just need to read the section some more.  And swaps... some of those questions confuse me as well.

Anyhow, this afternoon Kimmy and I went to the Indianapolis Art Museum with Jessie and Richard.  It was pretty neat.  Kimmy and I are going to take some of the rooms from the museum for our house someday.  We also got to park for free because the machine was broken.  There was an employee trying to make it work, but it continued to not work.  So she just let us go in for free!

We also got lunch at this sub place with a really sweet drink dispenser.  And it had some different flavors of drinks.  I had a lime coke.  I liked it.

When we got back Kimmy and I made chicken and rice for dinner.  We were going to watch a movie, but my PS2 is officially dead.  Sad.  So after dinner we went to Wal-mart to start our registry there.  But this Wal-mart doesn't do wedding registries.  So we'll probably just do it all online.

When we got back we had ice cream and I figured out what I'm going to eat this week.  Woo hoo!  I'm trying a couple new dishes that I found in the cookbook Kimmy gave me.

And now I'm updating my blog!  And going to bed.  Mhmm.  Night!


Day 249

For those who do not know: it is Friday.

On this particular Friday, I woke up to my alarm at 6:30, checked my phone, and saw that I had an e-mail from Dr. Foley.  He canceled our 8am class.  So... I went back to bed.

I didn't actually fall asleep, but it was nice to stay under the warm covers for a little bit longer.  Eventually I did get up.  I showered, got breakfast, and did some studying.  I had a quiz in Life Con this morning, so I studied for that for a bit.  The quizzes are just questions from the homework, so I made sure that I could still do the homework.

I always greet my professors when they come in the room.  The other day Dr. Foley commented on it.  He asked me why I'm the only one who greets him.  I said that he would have to ask the other people in the class.  He smiled and said "you know, I think there's a term for that.  I think they call that brown-nosing."  So today in class, he walked in the room and before I could say anything he very enthusiastically said "Good morning Joel!  How ya doin' this morning!?"  It made me smile.

This quiz wasn't bad at all.  Actually it was quite easy.  He definitely didn't pick the hardest questions.  So I finished in just a few minutes.  When I was done I picked up my grading from Dr. Nelson, then came home.  When I got back I worked on my Investments quiz that's due on Monday, got some lunch, then around 1 I went to Sugarbush for Kimmy and my first apartment tour.  The lady at Sugarbush showed us the one bedroom apartment.  It was nice.  A little small, but nice.

Next up was Creekside.  It is on the far east side of town and where I live now is on the far west side.  School is more on the west side as well.  So it would definitely be a hike, but it would be doable.  Creekside was really nice.  They had 2 and 3 bedroom apartments, so we looked at the a 2 bedroom apartment. It's a low-income living area, so it was really cheap.  If you were in the lowest range, a 2 bedroom was $409 a month.  Unless Kimmy works about 10 hours a week, we would be in the next category, which was $465 a month.  Still very reasonable.  So we're considering that one.

Then we went to Walnut Manor, which is another low-income complex.  Their one-bedroom apartments were $535 or so... so we ruled it out.  Our last stop was Orchard, which is near school.  Probably about a mile.  We looked at the one and two bedroom apartments.  They're also really nice.  We would probably get the 2 bedroom because a) there was only one 1-bedroom apartment left for next year and it was probably going to sell within the next week and b) it would be really nice if I could have an office for studying.  Orchard is $600 a month, but that includes all utilities but electric.  However, heating and such is all gas, so the girl showing us around said that electric would probably be about $10 a month.  I doubt it would be that low, but probably not much more.

So Kimmy and I have been trying to decide between Orchard and Creekside.  There are lots of good things about both of them.  What we've come to realize is that the things that we both have different things that are important for us.  I like Orchard because it's closer to school, but that doesn't affect Kimmy.  Kimmy likes the cabinets in Orchard and...I don't even know what color they are.  So we're still debating.  We like them both.  It's going to be a tough choice.

I studied for a bit when we got back.  Then we made dinner, ate dinner, cleaned up, and then I studied some more.  But I'm tired so I'm probably going bed soon.  So... good night!


Day 248

Today was pretty normal.  I got up, ate breakfast, then went to the computer lab.  "Work" consisted of studying for FM.  I'm realizing a struggle for me: reading the problem in its entirety.  I've worked so many problems that my mind automatically triggers a certain way to solve the problem as I read it.  However, I don't always catch all of the tiny little details when this happens.  So I'm trying really hard to make sure I read the question fully and read all of the answers completely.  I think the worst part of all of this is realizing how well I know this material, but simultaneously realizing how such tiny mistakes will trip me up.  I take the exam in two weeks, so hopefully I get that taken care of before the exam.

In life con we talked about the upcoming quiz and test.  Our quiz is tomorrow and is over the homework I've been working on this week.  Our test is next Friday and will be over this homework and the homework he'll give us (hopefully) on Monday.  We finished up our talk on the common shock model.  I think.  He might talk about it more before the quiz.  I don't really know.

After class I got a quick lunch then went back to the computer lab.  There was a class meeting in there, so I sat in the math office until it was over.  Then I went into the lab and worked FM problems until 2 when my shift was over.  After work I went to go work out.  Dustin bailed on my today, but in his defense he's getting over his injury.

When I got back I showered and prepared for my phone interview.  PJ still never emailed me Frank's info, so I called the corporate 800 number to try to talk with someone.  No such luck.  I tried again...then I tried to call PJ... but I did not get a response in either occasion.  Finally I stumbled across a place where I could instant message with an employee.  So I explained the situation and he gave me Frank's number.  I called right after I got the number and it was 3:44 (the interview was scheduled for 3:45).  So that was a little close.  Overall I thought the interview was very... average.  He was difficult to read.  I suppose I'll just wait until next week when I hear or do not hear results.  The official last day of the internship would be on August 3rd, so I told him that I was getting married on that day.  He made a note and said that normally they don't alter dates, but if I am selected they can probably make an exception.  Which would be nice.  Also, I have an interview with CNO for actuarial internship this summer.  I really hope I can rock that... It's on the north side of Indianapolis in Carmel.  Anyhow, hopefully they like me!  I also have 2 more pending applications with Farm Bureau Insurance.  I applied for about 5 positions, so they are just going through candidates and seeing who they want to fill each position.  I've gotten three rejections so far... but here's hoping one of the other two is good!

I recently had a thought about this whole job and internship thing.  At the moment, I do not have an internship.  This could be in part because I have no exams and did not have a 4.0 undergraduate GPA.  But it's also due to the poor economy.  Regardless, there is a chance of a similar situation after I graduate.  So I'm starting to look into alternative options.  For instance, Nationwide has many open positions for people in their Managing Information Systems departments (many = about 6).  And as a requirement, you must either have a MIS, Computer Science, or Math degree.  I have a math degree! So my thought process is that I can apply for MIS jobs at insurance companies while I continue to take exams.  Companies are more likely to look internally for people to fill spots, so I figure that would work in my favor.  Anyhow, that's just a thought.  I actually satisfy the requirements for the MIS jobs at Nationwide.  I have a math degree, I have 3+ years of experience in a service related job, I'm good with Excel and Powerpoint, and so on.  So we'll see where all this takes me.

During/after dinner I worked through the life con problems again, just reviewing formulae and problems for the quiz tomorrow. Then I studied some more FM.  And now... I'm tired.  So I'm going to go to bed.  Night!


Day 247

Woo hoo.

This morning started out with me waking up at 6 am and realizing that I need to be getting to bed earlier if I'm going to work out 4 days a week.  Ew.  My morning continued at 6:30 when I actually got up.  I had eggs and biscuits for breakfast.  I'm hoping that by alternating breakfasts I won't get tired of them as quickly.  We'll see!

This morning in investments we...hmm.  We talked more about utility functions.  I'm getting the idea that Dr. Foley doesn't really like text books too much.  Our taking home quiz and new homework assignment were not really covered my lecture material.  Some of the quiz was covered in the text book.  Anyhow, more on that later.  After investments we went to the Atrium.  I asked Tim about the apartments that Kimmy and I are considering.  He hadn't heard of any of them. But that's fine.  Then we just worked some problems to prepare for our probability quiz.

That turned out to be less than helpful.  This section of probability is one of my worst.  Combinatorics.  It is an area of math that deals with counting.  Not just nice things like "how many kings are in a deck of cards?"  On the quiz today there were questions like "What is the probability of getting a bridge hand with 4 cards of one suit, 4 of another suit, 3 of another suit, and 2 of the remaining suit?"  That was one of the easier questions.  For those curious, it's just over 43%.  I hope, anyhow.

After this quiz I went to get a hair cut.  I desperately needed one.  Then I went to go talk with Alex for a little bit on my way back.  Nothing serious, just chatting.  Then it was off to go apartment hunting!

I was actually fairly successful.  I think there were 7 apartments on my list and I set up 4 appointments on Friday to see them.  The other 3 were owned by the same company and did not have an on-site office.  They looked pretty run down anyhow, so I was fine with skipping them.  Plus we only had time for about 4 showings, so this worked out wonderfully.

When I got back I showered, got some food (finally) then studied for FM for a couple hours, just working through problems.  For dinner I had left over pasta from the other night.  While I ate I did some research for my interview tomorrow.  I still have not received an email with the contact information for the guy I'm supposed to call.  So I'm going to call the main phone number about 30 minutes early and try to work through their system to talk with him.  We'll see how it goes.  I'm going to at least try to get his email address so that if nothing else I can email him and explain the situation to him.  I also wrote a new cover letter for him.

Then I worked on investments for a couple hours.  We didn't really cover any of it in class.  Well, we covered the first problem.  But the other three... I had to learn some new Excel functions and nonsense.  I hope I did it correctly.  We'll see!  After I finished with that assignment, I did the homework that will be covered by the quiz next Friday.  It didn't take long, so hopefully I did that right as well.

And now I'm going to bed.  Good night!


Day 246

So I'm ready for this exam to be over.  Truly.  And I'm sure you're all ready for me to be done talking about it.  17 days and it will be over!  Hopefully for good...

Anyhow.  I woke up this morning at 6 and did some studying for about an hour. I think I had oatmeal this morning for breakfast.  Yeah, I did.  I remember because yesterday I ran out of biscuits, so I had to make more today.

After breakfast I got all my school and workout materials together and left for work.  I was in the computer lab for 2 hours before life con this morning.  I did some grading for Dr. Nelson and talked with the various people that filter through there at 9 am.

During life con we discussed some of the homework problems, then talked more about the "common shock" joint survival model.  I feel like he spends a lot of time on things that really don't matter that much.  But if he thinks that's what we should spend more time on, then far be it from me to say otherwise.  

After class Dustin and I went to go work out.  The first exercise we did is normally a sitting exercise, but all the benches were occupied so we did it standing up.  This turned out to be a bad idea because both of us, in an attempt to do one more rep, arched our backs a little bit and promptly did something to the muscle right around our shoulder blades.  So we kept going, being very cautious of what we were doing... but ended up quitting early because it was just causing too much discomfort and we didn't want to irritate it anymore.  It was odd that we both did the exact same thing and injured ourselves in the same way.  I'm feeling better now, but I'm glad that we're taking tomorrow off.  After working out I went back to my office to eat lunch.  Then I had to work in the lab for another hour, which I spent finishing me grading.  While I was there I got a call from a company I applied to last night.  The guy wanted to do a phone interview with me, so I told him that I could do it at 4:30, to which he agreed.

When I got back to my apartment I showered, got a snack, then got to work on studying.  For the most part my studying from now until exam time is going to consist of working problems and looking over formulae that haven't quite yet stuck because they are hardly ever used.

So my phone interview.  PJ called me a little after 4:30, asked me a few questions about why I wanted to work for the company, my education, my physical proximity Ball State Campus, and things of that nature.  Then we went on to describe why I want to work for the company (Campus Special).  This seemed oddly familiar from Vector Marketing, but I let him keep going.  The basic idea is that Campus Special creates coupons for college students.  The part where I come in is that they need people to talk with local businesses about participating as vendors.  I asked if I would have to do any cold calling (which would have been an immediate deal-breaker for me) and he assured me that I would not.  For the most part I will given an account/client and working with that account.  I don't mind selling to people who want my product.  I do mind selling to people who don't want it.  So this shouldn't be too bad.  At the end of the interview I asked when I could expect to hear back about potentially progressing on to the next stage, and he said that over the course of the interview he decided to move me on to a phone interview with the head of HR and hiring.  So I have another phone interview on Thursday.  Except that PJ was supposed to email me contact information for this next guy... and he has not.  So hopefully he does that soon because tomorrow is going to be pretty busy.

After I got off the phone with PJ I had dinner.  I finished off the lasagna I made last week.  Then I studied for my probability quiz tomorrow for a while, followed by more studying for FM.  I did that until about 8:30 at which point my brain was done.  So now I'm going to go to bed!  Good night all.


Day 245

Today was a really full day.  Good, but full.

I had investments and life con this morning.  We talked about our quiz during investments.  It shouldn't be too bad, but we'll see.  Part of it is going to involve doing stuff that we really haven't covered at all.  And probably won't cover.  I'm not really a huge fan of this trend...

During life con we discussed a survival model that allows for two people to die at the same time. See, in normal probability two things cannot happen at the exact same time.  To explain, I will use an example.  Suppose you have a room with a perfectly flat floor and you are to drop a pin-head onto the floor.  Assuming that you are dropping the pin-head and not placing it, you can probably imagine that it won't land in the same place twice.  And in fact, it will never land in the exact same place twice.  Similarly, no two snowflakes will have the exact same trajectory down to earth (which is the reason that there are no identical snowflakes).  So this concept of two events not being able to occur at the same time is very important in probability theory.  However, it is definitely possible that two people die at the same time.  So the model has to be adjusted for that.  So that was interesting.  However, we didn't get to any of the homework problems.  So... yay.

After life con I went to go work out with Dustin and Timbo.  We did chest today.  It was not fun.  I had to stop the last exercise short because my shoulder started to hurt.  After working out I went to go talk with Alex, another student from the department.  He recently passed exam MLC (the third exam) so he gave me all of his study material.  I'll have to take a picture sometime.  I would guess that there is well over 4000 pages worth of material.  And he has some more stuff to give me.  So...that exam is going to be fun.  He also was giving me some study tips for FM, which was helpful.  He really encouraged me to just work through problems.  At this point I know the material well enough, now I just need to work through more problems.  Every day work through more problems.  So that's what I'm going to keep doing!

When I got back I showered, ate, then worked on life con homework with Dustin and Timbo.  Our goal is to finish all of this on Wednesday, then we can review everything on Thursday for our quiz on Friday.  Some of these questions are really involved... so I hope that we actually go over some of them.

After they left I just worked through some problems for FM for a while.  Ate.  Worked on more problems.  Alex pretty much said now until the exam should be no fun time.  I can have fun after the exam is over, but the next two and a half weeks needs to be all studying.  And I think he's right.  It's going to be hard, but I really need to just study constantly for the next couple weeks.  Yuck.  Anyhow, I did some grading which I will finish tomorrow at the computer lab.  Then I finished my resume, wrote a cover letter, and applied to another internship for the summer.  This one isn't actuarial.  It's for an "account executive internship."  I'm not too sure what that means, but I applied!  So we'll see where that goes.

And now I'm going to bed so I can get up early and study more.  Yay.... And good night.


Day 245

Today was a pretty normal Sunday.  I woke up, ate breakfast, showered, then went grocery shopping.  I have a lot of left overs from last week, so I didn't have to get too much.  It always seems to be the case that when I don't need much food, I need lots of non-food items.  Like toothpaste.  And paper towels.  And nonsense like that.  Oh well.

When I got back I did a little bit of grading before Jessie and Richard picked me up.  Today at church the pastor talked about committing to God.   I really liked the message.  It's important to remember that we can only do so much, but ultimately God is in control.  I think that my biggest struggle has always been in the mundane activity of daily life.  It's far easier for me to be in a really bad or really good place and say "Well God, this is all you."  But it's much harder when everything is plain.  When I can't really tell if I'm doing something right or wrong.  When it just seems like life is going on as normal.  There is no real time when I can do something big.  So I go about my normal life trying to be a good example and loving person.  And perhaps that's what I'm supposed to be doing right now: just working hard, being real with people, and being loving.  Maybe that's my job.  And I can handle that if that's all, I just wonder if maybe I should be doing more and I'm not?  I don't really know.  So for now I just keep trucking.

After church I had lunch at Jessie and Richard's.  Jessie made crock-pot chicken with cream of mushroom soup.  It was good.  I'm going to have to try it sometime.  After lunch I came back to my apartment and started studying.  Dustin and Timbo came over and we did life contingencies homework all afternoon.  We were assigned 18 problems and we got through...6 of them.  In 4 or so hours.  Yay.  The problem was that most of this material we haven't covered in class.  We've gone over the basics, but not many of the particular types of examples that we did in class.  But I think we did well.  The problems were really hard.  We're going to ask him some questions about it in class tomorrow.

They left around dinner time.  I had some lasagna for dinner.  Then I called mom and dad.  When I got off the phone with them I played a game with Miles for a while.  Then I made my chicken for the week.  This week I used cinnamon and red pepper.  I really like cinnamon.  I want to use that in more things.  And now I'm going to bed.  Good night!


Day 243

Today was pretty uneventful.  I woke up this morning, made eggs for breakfast, showered, did a little studying.  I read over a couple pages of my FM manual, worked a few problems, then took a practice exam.  I did a little bit better than last time.  I had 45 minutes left and got 25 of the 35 correct.  This would have been a passing grade, I believe.  It would have been borderline.  I'm not sure how the rounding works because you generally need a 72% to pass, which is the equivalent of 25.2 correct questions.  So...I think that would have been passing?  Either way, I'm going to keep studying and trying to improve.  My goal is to take a practice exam and get at least 30 correct.  I think that the next time I take one I'm going to re-work ever problem, not just the ones that give me trouble.  With the past two tests that I've taken, I go through once to answer all the questions that seem straight forward and skip anything that seems like it will give me trouble (or ones that the answer seems a little too far from the options).  But I think this next time I'm going to re-read and rework all of them since I have time.  I've been missing 1 or 2 due to misreading the question or apparent calculator error.

I got lunch after my exam.  Then I studied for probability for a little bit and worked some problems.  I tried to take a nap but couldn't fall asleep.  So I laid there for about half an hour then just gave up.  I did some cleaning, played some video games, did some more studying.

Jessie and Richard picked me up for dinner at 6.  We went to Chili's.  It was really busy, but it wasn't too long before we were seated.  The food was good.  I got a quesadilla.  We talked about work and moving and school and all that fun stuff.  Whether we wanted to live in the city or not.  Richard and I are of the impression that if we can't live within driving distance of family and we're going to have to fly to see them, then it doesn't matter so much where we live. Hopefully we can find jobs that aren't that far away, but this isn't exactly the best time to be looking for jobs.  So we'll see!  I think my current plan is to start looking towards the east coast if I can't find anything in the Indiana/Ohio/Michigan area.  But we shall see.

After dinner I came back, thought about grading, then promptly did not grade.  I'll do it tomorrow.  But now it is bed time.  Good night!

Day 242

Today today today.  It began with how cold it is outside.  No really, it's cold.  But I am grateful, for it is not the middle of the summer.

Anyhow.  I got up and showered and ate and then went off to class.  This morning in my investments class we talked about how look at interest rates as a probability distribution.  See, future interest rates cannot be known.  They can only be predicted.  So mathematical analysis can be done to known information to acquire probable interest rates.  I suppose that is what we'll be learning about next.  We'll see!

In between classes we went to the Atrium.  Tim had some riddles, but that didn't last long.  We didn't really talk about much.  I had a bagel.  It was ok.

In Life Con we had another day in the computer lab.  I didn't really need it, since we had pretty much finished it on Tuesday.  So I spent the period formatting my work to make it look nice and trying to help the people around me that had not quite finished the assignment.

After class Dustin and I went to the gym and worked out.  It was not fun.  My arms were less than pleased.  But we made it!  Hopefully I can maintain this routine.  We celebrated with a lunch of Burger King.  And I do not regret this decision.  Nope!

When I got back and had showered I continued my standard Friday activities.  I have a hard time doing homework on Fridays.  So I take advantage of this.  Since I won't be able to concentrate on school, I don't even try!  Instead I get other things done that I neglect the rest of the week.  Like cleaning.  Or dishes.  Or straightening my room.  Today I did all of those.  And I began working some more on my resume.

For dinner I made a chicken/pasta thing.  But I didn't let the noodles cook long enough, so I was kind of upset.  Oh well!

Later on Clifton came back to the apartment.  He and I had a nice talk about how we argue.  And optimism versus realism/cynicism.  I really hate how realism and cynicism are so often seen together.  Perhaps they truly are the same.  Maybe to see the world as it really is you have to be a bit skeptical.  I don't really think so, but I suppose it could be the case.

Anyhow.  I'm pretty tired so I'm gonna go to bed.  Night!


Day 241

This 4 day week thing has really thrown me off.  It seriously feels like Friday.  But it is not.  It's still Thursday.

This morning was pretty typical.  I woke up, took a shower, and went to the computer lab.  I finished up my grading during the first couple hours there.  And Timbo and I discussed movies and such.  He was surprised that I have not seen any of the 1990s Batman movies.  He and I are both pretty excited about the upcoming Dark Knight Rises, due to release this summer.  I also talked with one of the secretaries in the Math department about getting answer keys for the classes for which I grade.  I think his name is Joel as well.  Anyhow, he was able to get a hold of a book for 125, but the other class (Discrete math) apparently has no official answer key.  Another professor has a PDF of some answers, but they apparently are not completely accurate.  So you know.  Yay.  Anyhow, it's better than getting stabbed.

During Life Con today we worked in the computer lab, learning how to use Mathematica.  Dr. Foley's goal was to pretty much go through the quiz with us.  I'm not entirely sure the point of a quiz when we go through the entire thing as a class, so I guess it's just more of an "assignment" and less of a formal quiz.  I'll take it.  We didn't get as far as he would have liked today due to technical issues.  And by that I mean Mathematica is not his preferred program.  He does most of his work in Maple (what I used at Mount Vernon) and is not as fluent in Mathematica as he is in Maple.  And he didn't have a computer, so he was mainly just going from memory.  So keeping all of that in mind, I was pretty impressed with his ability to teach us what to do.  We got through the first problem in class.  After class was over, Timbo, Dustin and I worked through the next two problems.  Our class is meeting in the lab again tomorrow, so I think the plan is to finish working through the quiz then.  Hopefully we can finish the last problem tomorrow and then make it look nice.

After we finished working on the quiz, I did some studying for FM.  It's difficult to keep everything straight in my brain, even if I just take a one day break.  There are a handful of equations that are at the base of nearly every problem and I have no issue with those.  But those equations are implanted into other equations and sometimes I forget which of those to use precisely.  The symbology of this material is really odd.  I have so many pages of worked problems from studying...I should have kept them all just to see how many I used.  At the end of last semester I probably had close to 70 pieces of scrap paper.  Hand outs, extra exams or homework sheets from the class I taught, the solutions manual for Statistics... Probably around 100.  Now I might have 10 pages left?  Yeah, I would say I've used close to 60 pages of scrap paper working through problems and done (after some rough calculations) over 600 problems thus far.  I'm going to do another practice exam on Saturday and then I think I'm going to start working through problems from the text books. I take the exam 3 weeks from tomorrow.  I feel like that's so close...

Anyhow, the rest of the day was pretty much alternating between FM, eating, and video games.  A couple hours of studying, 30 minute break.  Another couple hours of studying, 45 minute break.  And that just went until about 8:30 when I decided to be done.  And now I'm going to bed!  So, good night!


Day 240

I should be in bed.  But I am not yet.  So I shall update.

I woke up around 6 this morning, hit snooze (or so I thought)... then it was 6:17.  This confused me, since my snooze is set for 5 minutes, not 17.  Oh well.  I decided that since I was going to work out right after class, I could skip the shower and just take one after class.  Apparently that is fairly common?  I always feel gross when I do that, but I guess it's very common (and yes, I have asked a significant number of people) to skip the shower when you have an 8am class and just take one later.  Ugh.  I hate doing that.

Anyhow.  I made it.  I still need to make biscuits.  Shoot.  This past Sunday I found this 4-pack of pre-made biscuits (kind of like the croissant tubes) at Aldi. Each tube has 10 biscuits and I got the 4-pack for $2!  I was pretty excited, but I keep forgetting to make them.  Hopefully I remember to do so tomorrow.  So yeah.  Class went well.  Today we talked about why higher risk options have a higher expected yield (interest rate) and how government bonds, by design, cannot default.  This allows people to make investments that have 0 risk.  However, to ensure this the government has needed to put more money into the system, which raises inflation.  This class seems to be very economics heavy.  I suppose it's good that Dr. Foley is teaching it, since he has is PhD in Economics.  Oh, and we also talked about using a "utility function," which is a mythical way of determining how happy a person is with something.  I've learned that economics is the study of predicting things in ways that you know won't happen.

In between classes Tim, Jacob and I went to the Atrium.  I'm not sure why Kathryn and Timbo don't join us.  But we still have a good time.  I really wish I could remember our conversations better.  It just seems like 9am was so long ago.  In part we talked about the FM exam and why we had planned it for the day/time that we had.  I picked Friday so that I had all weekend to recover if need be.

Side note: I was decently impressed with the SOPA/PIPA blackout today.  Many websites (around 170) posted messages on their front page to educate people on the new acts that are going through the Senate.  Some sites like Wikipedia even closed off access for the day.  Any attempt to access the English version of the site was met with a message explaining why SOPA/PIPA are bad laws and how we can stop them.  Most of the sites involved even included links for you to email or call your local congressman.  So we'll see if anything becomes of this.

After Atrium Time, we had Probability.  For the first half of class we went over questions we had and then worked through some problems on the next chapter. Then we had our quiz.  I've been spending so much time studying for FM that I didn't study as much as I should have for this quiz.  But I think I did pretty well.  It was 10 questions and there is only 1 that I may or may not have gotten.  Some of the wording gets very tricky.  It can be very difficult to determine whether a question is asking for the probability of the intersection of two events (such as the probability that I draw a card and it is red AND and even number) or a conditional probability (such as the probability that I draw a card and it is red, given that it is an even number).  Those are two complete separate questions and involve different ways of solving.  So...we'll see!

After class I had lunch in my office, then went off to the weight room.  I did legs today.  I've noticed that my legs are the first muscles that start to feel weak when I don't work out for a while.  So I wanted to get them back in shape first.

Kimmy and I (but mostly Kimmy) have started looking at apartments more seriously.  She's been picking some out that meet the specifications I gave, and I'm going to try to narrow it down to a few that we can visit while she is here over Jterm break.  There are actually a decent number of cheap places.  Some of them seem way too cheap... I know that they don't all include utilities, but still.  Some of them seem really cheap.  So we'll see!

When I got back I showered and started on grading.  I need to see if Dr. Nelson has a solutions manual.  One of the classes for which I am grading I have not taken in 4 years.  And I want to make sure that I'm not marking things incorrectly....

So I graded for a while.  Had dinner.  Played team fortress with Miles.  Then graded some more!  Now I'm going to go to bed.  So...good night!


Day 239

Today was a bit atypical, I suppose. I got up and went to work, but when I got there I saw that I had an email from Dr. Foley.  I was feeling sick today so he canceled class.  But our quiz got moved back to Monday!  Hopefully he's feeling better by tomorrow morning when I have him for class...

Anyhow, in the lab I just worked through some of my mistakes on my practice exam.  Then some of the undergraduate actuarial science students came in, so I talked with them for a while.  I should have studied, but oh well.  Since class was canceled, I went to go run some errands after work.  I went to the bursar's office, then to the career center, and finally to the graduate office to get some paperwork signed.  Then I had lunch.  At this point I had moved on to working problems for my exam P class.  I've been studying so much for exam FM that I kind of forgot to study for my quiz tomorrow.  This is going to be a challenge.  Hopefully since this first chapter is just general probability I'll be fine, but there are a few laws that I'd forgotten.  Tomorrow morning I'm going to skim the chapters and work some more problems.

After I worked this afternoon I went back to the career center to have someone look at my new resume.  The lady with whom I talked had some good ideas and strongly recommend that I extend my resume to two pages.  I had considered it, but now I'm definitely going to.  She especially suggested that I talk more about my assistantship and give more details about what I did.

Then I went to get my oil changed.  It didn't take very long so I didn't get as much work done as I had planned.  Oh well.  When I got home I talked with Clifton for a little bit, then I did some more probability problems.  Around 6 I went over to Dustin's, had dinner, played some video games, enjoyed our not having class today.  Then I came back home, did some more probability... and here I am.  Going to bed.  Night!


Day 238

Today did not go quite like I had planned, but it was a good day I think.

I got up this morning, made eggs for breakfast, and reviewed some formulae for FM.  I took  my first timed practice exam this morning, but more on that later.  So I showered, read through the rest of the formulae, read through a few examples, then went to work.

The practice exam is structured in a similar manner to the actual exam, though there is a warning-type message reminding you that the practice exam may or may not be reflective of the actual exam, since none of the exams have been publicly released since 2005.  I had 3 hours to answer 35 questions.  This might seem like a lot of time, but I can assure you that it is not.  So around 9:50 I got to work!  I turned my phone off, set my alarm for 3 hours, and began.  On my first run through I answered 26 of the 35 questions.  One of the nice things about the actual exam is that you can "check" questions so that you remember to look at them later.  So a couple of the questions I had wanted to look over again I forgot to recheck, but most of them I remembered to look at again.  I think that there were 3 or 4 that I really just had no idea how to answer.  One of them was (in my opinion) due to poor wording, but I have to be ready for that.  There will be poorly worded questions on the exam, but typically not more than 1 or 2.  And as professor Dean has said, if 1 question is the difference between you passing and failing, you probably should have studied harder anyways.  Which is completely true.  In the end, I ended up getting 23 out of 35 correct.  A passing score is usually between a 65% and a 72%, but recently it's been closer to a 72%.  So I was about 2 questions from passing.  I definitely know the areas that I need to keep working, but it was nice to know where I was doing decently.  I definitely need to do some warm up problems before the exam to get my brain working.  There were about 4 questions right at the beginning that I missed and forgot to look at again.  And that can easily be the difference between a pass and a fail.  I had made a check next to them to look at them again, but that page got lost in all my papers of answer-writing.  Oh well.  I just need to keep focusing on the areas where I did not do so well, and make sure I keep reviewing the things there weren't covered (just in case).

After I finished my exam I got some lunch.  I was going to make a salad, but hadn't cooked any chicken yet.  And I was lazy.  So I just finished pizza from last night.  Then David called to see if he could get a ride to the store.  I obliged.  He has been very appreciative of the help while his car gets fixed, which he said should be tomorrow.  So we went to Wal-mart, then to Walgreens to get some medicine thing they didn't have at Wal-mart.  Then I took him back.  I was feeling kind of tired, so I went to get some coffee with Kathryn, whereupon we just kind of vented (and by we I mean mainly me) about life and school.  Many of the resources that my friends and I use for studying encourages us to keep company with people who are also studying.  It's much easier to vent and rage with people who are going through the same thing, because they can genuinely say that (to a strong degree) they understand what you're going through.  During our coffee-ing, she reminded me that even though I'm getting frustrated, God hasn't forgotten about me, and his plan is better than mine anyways.  And she's right.  It's just difficult because I feel like I'm not getting much for all of the effort I've put into this program.  But as our pastor reminded us yesterday, the rain falls on the just and the unjust.  And one of the important lessons that simply does not get taught in academia is that fairness is illusive and unrealistic.  Working harder than anyone else will not necessarily deem the best results.  

I also get frustrated because... I like to plan things out.  In abnormal amount of detail. Well, I assume it's abnormal.  Do other people think about all the conversations they anticipate having in a day, then consider multiple outcomes for each, while also estimating how likely each of those possible outcomes of a conversation is to occur?  I might be on my own on that one... It's strange.  I like to have immediate things planned out.  And I like to have a very general long term plan for what's going to happen.  But if it's not immediately going to happen (immediate being within the next predictable time period, having undetermined length) then I don't care about details.  Sometimes I'm ok with simply knowing what I will do moments before I do it. Other times I want to plan out likely possible conversations for an entire day. or sometimes I just want the next road for which I need to look when I'm driving.  It's all very strange.

Side note, when I was going to get David this afternoon, I blinked and noticed  short red vertical lines when I blinked.  It was odd.  Like a flash.  Approximately 3/4 of the way across each eye (going nose to ear), every time I blinked I saw these red lines.  And then after about 30 seconds it went away.  Peculiar.

When I got home I started making lasagna.  I texted with Kimmy about potential housing for next year.  Since she has some spare time, she offered to do some research into various apartments and houses to rent.  I gave her some guidelines (price, looking for included utilities, general distance from school) and she picked out a few that we're going to look at when she comes to visit over her J-term break.

The lasagna turned out decently.  I'm really bad at reading recipes.  I saw that I needed ricotta cheese and just assumed that I needed one package.  I was incorrect.  But it turned out just fine.  I had some other extra cheese that I put on top.  I made each layer thicker than the recipe called for, but it turned out well.  And it tastes pretty good!  It should be a pretty good dinner for the next.. 5 nights, I believe?

I talked with Andre for a while.  He didn't go home this weekend because his mom needed to use his car.  So he just stayed here, which is unusual for him.  But we've had some good conversations, so it's been nice.  I didn't get the extra studying in that I had planned, but that's ok.  Taking that practice exam was pretty draining.  On the plus side of that exam, I really shouldn't worry about time.  When I decided to be done, I had an extra 20 minutes.  That includes at least 10 minutes on one problem that I didn't know how to solve using a short cut, so I did the (very) long way.  Ha, I still got it wrong.  Oh well.  But I'm really not worried about time.  Many of the questions I saw and just knew what to do.

Anyhow.  Bed time.  Good night!

Day 237

Well, last night I got around 9 hours of sleep or so.  It felt good.  I woke up at 8, contemplated what I was going to get for food this week, then took a shower.  I like to start the morning with some math problems to get my brain moving.  It seems to work decently.  I'm still going through the Interest theory questions, trying to get everything worked out.  Some of those questions are just difficult, and that's all there is to it.  It's pretty discouraging that I've put all this time into studying but I still feel like I'm not going to be prepared.  The exam is less than 4 weeks away.  I've been studying every day (except yesterday, which I took off), but there is just so much material.  But I guess we'll see!

Anyhow, I went grocery shopping.  I decided to to make lasagna for dinner this week, as I figured that it would feed me for pretty much the entire week.  And if I get tired of it I'll have soup or something.  I got some cleaning supplies that I've desperately been needing, some batteries.  Really fun stuff.

When I got back I put  my groceries away and did a couple problems before Jessie and Richard came to pick me up for church.  Church was really good.  Our pastor (I can never remember his name) talked about how important it is that we don't try to force our agenda over God's agenda.  He reinforced the idea that we, being human, don't know God's mind like he knows his own mind.  We aren't the judges or bringers of punishment or blessing.  God does all of that.  And he does it to whomever he sees fit.  Our job is just to love each other and love God.  That's it.  That is our only job.  And when we try to take on other jobs that God doesn't give us, we get into nasty places.  So I think it's good that we get those reminders frequently.

After church I went to Jessie and Richard's for lunch.  We had hot dogs and beans.  And it was good.  After lunch I came back and worked some more of FM.  I'm really not looking forward to my other classes picking up because I need the extra time to study for FM.  I do need to study for my probability quiz on Wednesday.....ugh.

Around 3:30 David called me.  He wanted to see if I was hungry and wanted to go get some food.  Seeing how it was the middle of the afternoon and I really was not hungry, I said no.  Apparently his car as well as his room mate's car have broken down.  So I went to go take him to get some food.  I've learned that it's really difficult to not have a vehicle and very humbling to have to ask for a ride to places.  Well, it was for me.  But I hate asking for favors, so perhaps it's different for other people.

When I got back I studied for another hour or so.  Just working problems.  There are so many different types of questions they can ask.  And it's getting to the point where I've worked some of these so many times that I just remember the solution.  And there are others that I've worked so many times and still have no idea how they got their solution.

I made a frozen pizza for dinner.  I was going to make lasagna but decided not to.  I was feeling lazy.  While it was cooking I put up plastic over my window that I got from Jessie and Richard.  It seems to be working well.  It's not perfect, but it should do the job for now.  It's definitely better than it was.  After dinner I studied some more.  Around 8:30 I went to Jessie's to give her hair drier back.  Then I went to go watch a movie with Kathryn.  And now I'm home, going to bed.  Night!


Day 236

Slow day over here.

I woke up around 7 but really didn't want to get up.  Like at all.  So I stayed in bed for another hour, trying to sleep.  But it never happened.  I got up and made some eggs for breakfast.  I finished watching the first part of the Exam FM DVD number 3 and was going to start working on problems for my Exam P class... but then I decided that today was going to be a relaxing day.  I haven't been assigned any grading yet, I have an extra day to do work... and I've been studying a lot recently.  I really needed a day off.  And so I took it.

Most of my day involved going between playing games and reading articles on the internet.  During the mid-afternoon I went to Wal-mart.  I didn't need anything, I just wanted to get out of my apartment for a little bit, since I hadn't left in over 24 hours.  I don't remember what I had for lunch.

For dinner I finished up my stir-fry and rice from the past couple days.  Then I continued my relax-a-thon.  David (one of my classmates) flew in to Indianapolis today and took the shuttle back to campus, so I went to go give him a ride back to his apartment.

Then when I got back I continued my gaming/article-ing.  It really was a lazy day.  And I'm kind of tired, so I'm gonna go to bed or something.  So good night.


Day 235

Today was just... a day.  Nothing really special, just a day.  I've never really liked Fridays like that, but I'm realizing that often I don't have the option of choosing how my Fridays go.

I woke up at 6 like normal, but decided that it was just too early.  So I set my alarm for 6:30.  Normally when my alarm goes off, I hit the snooze twice (each for 5 minutes).  So this morning at 6:05 I thought I heard something.  It appears that my brain is just expecting to hear my alarm go off five minutes after my first alarm.  I don't like this game...

Anyhow.  I had a very nice, long shower.  My room was freezing when I woke up.  Like... after my alarm went off at 6 I slept with my face hidden under the covers.  None of the windows are very well sealed, so it makes the rooms really cold.  Woo hoo.  Andre went to go talk with the front desk about it, but I don't recall that it was successful.

Anyhow, we had class this morning.  I'm noticing that Dr. Foley really likes to references classes that we have taken in the past.  And by that I mean the phrase "you should recall from [class]" is a very common phrase.  My personal favorite was when he said "you should recall from 620..." That was the stats class I took in the fall.  I don't remember a thing from that class.  Actually that's false.  I remember quite a bit.  But probably not as much as he thinks we remember.  Getting on with my story.  Today we started what will be a very long discussion on the origin of interest rates.  In economics, there are theoretical (sort of) "supply and demand curves" that show where the perfect balance of supply and demand lie so that everyone is happy.  In general, more people want to buy something when the price is low, fewer people want to buy when the price is high.  The idea is to find that sweet spot where companies are making the maximum amount of money from selling enough product but not over charging (thus losing customers) or undercharging (thus losing money on production costs).  This is one of the contributing factors to interest rates.  When more people are lending money, interest rates go down.  The easiest way to have more money being lent is by printing it.  But this increases inflation, which then decreases interest rates.  So it's a pretty complicated process, as you can see.

In between classes it was Atrium time.  I even have that scheduled on my Google Calendar.  I treated myself to coffee, as it was Friday.  And pay day!  Paul (new student to the program) has been joining us so we've been trying to get him caught up on all things actuary related.  Things like applying for internships, studying for exams, different professors, how awesome Muncie is (it's not), and things of that nature.  Which reminds me that I need to start looking into places to live next year.  Noted.

I believe that Dr. Foley's opening line of Life Con 2 was just fantastic.  "Why would anyone want to live in Muncie?  When I retire I'll need two condos.  One up here for most of the year and one in Florida for when it's miserable out like today.  And neither one will be in Muncie."  He had another great line later on in class: "I have better things to do than arithmetic."  I believe that every mathematician feels this way.  Life Con went well today.  We just talked more about how various laws of probability work when dealing with two lives instead of just one.  Today's focus was on co-variance, which is a measure of how much two random variables change in accordance with one another.  For instance, we are often discussing the likelihood of death for a married couple.  We often have to consider the probability of the first one dying or the second.  But since we don't know who will die first (and each one has a unique probability of survival) things get tricky.  Fast.

After class Dustin and I were going to go work out, but he didn't bring a change of clothes with him.  And there was no way I was going back after I'd left campus, so we just decided to go tomorrow.  I took him back to his apartment, then went off to Wal-mart.  I began my wardrobe alteration today by purchasing more plain shirts.  I wanted more colors than just black and grey, but the only shirts in other colors had breast pockets.  So I also acquired a seam ripper.  When I got home I proceeded to delicately rip the pockets off and create plain shirts with no pocket.  After putting them through the washer and drier I was unable to tell that there had ever been a pocket.  When I was done started watching a DVD that I'm borrowing from Dustin.  It's a set of lectures that covers the same material as the FM study guide.  It was pretty helpful.  I watched the first half of the DVD on derivatives markets.  Then I took a nap.  When I woke up I randomly got inspired to work on my resume.  This turned into 3 hours of me completely reworking it.  I realized that my resume must be pretty boring.  Not for lack of content, but just because it looks like everyone else's resume.  This occurred to me a while ago (in the fall), but it just hit me that I needed to do something about this.  So instead of doing a normal chronological resume (where you simply list your education, experience, and things like that), I decided to make a "functional resume," where you take the qualities you're marketing and explain why different experiences that you've had make you the best fit for the position.  So I spent all afternoon working on that.  I think I completed it, but on Monday I'm going to take it into the career center to have them look at it.  Then I'll have Mr. Dean take a look to see what he says.  Personally I like it a lot better than my old resume.  I've even considered making an informational website where I can talk about my experiences even more.  But I'll see what the career center and Mr. Dean say.

I made chicken and rice for dinner.  As usual, I forgot just how long a thick piece of chicken takes to cook on the stove.  The answer (for those wondering) is about 30 minutes.  I use a lower power to ensure that the outside doesn't get burnt.  It ended up tasting really good, but it just took a while.

After dinner I talked with Andre for a while.  About school, about bogus education departments and standards, about everything.  It was good.  He isn't around much (ever) on the weekends.  So it was nice to just talk for a while.  Then I realized that my internet wasn't working.  After trying a few different things I just finished working on my resume.  Then my internet came back, so I played some games for a little bit.  And now I'm tired, so I'm going to go to bed!  Night!


Day 234

Well, I have nearly completed my first week back at school.  And it's just been a joyful experience, that's for sure.

I had a realization this morning.  I'm not sure where I missed this in my first 12 years of shaving, but it occurred to me that the reason I've never been able to get a perfectly smooth shave is because I shave with in the direction of your hair growth, not against.  To be fair, it can be bad for you skin to shave against the hair, but it certainly gives a cleaner cut.  Speaking of cuts, I hate my chin.  So does my razor.  Thankfully I have a magical styptic pen that saved me from bleeding all over myself.

I got to the computer lab just before 8.  There wasn't much to do, so I just started working through problems in my FM book.  There are two modules that I need to understand better, but I wanted to start refreshing myself on some of the older material so I can just keep everything up to date.  Timbo came in around 8:10 and did some work as well.  I got through about 20 problems, had to look in the book for 5 of them, but got them all correct.  One of those that I looked up was discussed in a chapter that I had not yet read, so I didn't feel bad about looking it up.  Then it was off to Life Con.  Today we discussed consequences of having probability that is contingent on the life of two people. Many of the principles can be applied from Life Con 1 (which I took in the fall), so most of the class he just re-wrote equations that we needed to know, making slight adjustments for the necessary changes between having one random variable to two random variables.  Then he discussed our take home quiz.  Dr. Foley writes a lot.  Which is good because I always have the important points written down, but I have a difficult time listening for content and writing.  It was a huge problem last semester in my stats class, but it's not as bad in Foley's classes (so far, anyhow).  Also I tried to understand Jordan's magical pen.  I think it records voice while your write?  But I didn't quite grasp how it knows when to record or such.  Also, before class we had a very in-depth discussion about breakfast food.  Apparently there's a difference between pop-tarts and toaster strudels or something.  And it seems to be the case that toaster strudels are superior.  I also learned: liking eggs is trivial while liking whipped cream is a life or death matter.  Who knew?

After class I went to my office for a quick lunch, then back to the computer lab. A little bit after I got there professor Dean came in to burn some DVDs.  He was having some trouble, so I tried to help.  I learned many things in those 5 minutes.  1: Windows 7 makes burning DVDs incredibly easy.  2: CDs and DVDs look very similar but, in fact, are not the same.  So if your disc seems to be too small, you should probably check to see what kind of disc it is.  3: Greek salad dressing leaves a very strong aftertaste.  And probably makes me breath smell amazing.  Anyhow, we got it figured out and he got his DVDs burned.  After he realized that he'd grabbed a disc from the wrong stack and retrieved the proper discs, of course.  Then I went back to studying for FM.  Just working problems and more problems.  One of the calculus (probably integral calculus, I'm assuming) professors came in with a couple of her students to show them how to use Mathematica.  She asked if I would be able to help them if they needed it, since she had to get going.  I said I would be able to.  What I really meant by that was "If they need anything I'm really good at Googling things and using the help menu."  But it's practically the same thing... right?  Anyhow, I finished one of the non-timed practice exams.  There were 35 questions.  I think I looked up 5 or 6 of them and missed one of them.  Granted these aren't as hard as the actual exam questions, but it was good practice.  The book I have includes 6 practice exams that they recommend using to get used to the concepts.  Then it includes 5 practice exams that are exam-difficulty and should be taken in a timed environment.  I think that I'm going to take my first time exam this weekend sometime.  Oh.  Joy.

When I got home I did some more studying.  I studied most of the afternoon, with a couple short breaks here and there.  For dinner I finished off the meatloaf I made the other night.  I think that was Tuesday night.  Then I did a little more studying and did some more problems.  But my brain was just tired.  So eventually I just stopped.  I tried reading from all three of my classes, but nothing was sticking.  Thankfully my brain doesn't hurt or feeling blown out like it used to after a long day of class and studying.  Now it just feels like a cup full of water and any new information simply cannot be contained by the cup.

So I just kind of wandered around the apartment keeping myself entertained. I started going through my computer, reading and deleting old unnecessary files.  I found one in particular that I enjoyed.  I think it ended up becoming a Facebook note.  I wrote it about a year ago, during the fall of my senior year at Mount Vernon.  It was a reflection of my time at college.  It was nice to reflect on that again.  So for a while I just sat in my chair, thinking as I like to do.  And I as my mind went from place to place, it settled on one of my particular favorite places: social games.  When I was in high school, I got bored.  Not of any particular thing, just in general.  I was bored.  So I created a game (if it can be called that) that I still play today.  The rules are simple: whenever you talk with someone, play on their field.  The challenge for me was to then discover the rules of the other person's field and effectively communicate with them by that person's own rules.  This worked well at college.  For example.  Let's say I was engaged in conversation with a Biology major.  First, I would try to understand how that person talks.  What sort of words are used, what sort of topics, what opinions on those topics, how is everything presented, how does this fit with the personality of the person... and so forth.  Just getting a general feel for "the playing field."  Now, I know how I communicate.  But sometimes I get bored talking using my own knowledge and experience.  So I've learned to ask intelligent questions that teach me about other peoples' areas of interest and ways of thinking.  If this particular Biology major had an interest in ethics, seemed to be closed minded, and liked to talk, then I would probably ask questions about his or her beliefs and then ask for evidence-based verification.  I would then proceed to do two things: I would learn about that person by they way they answered they question, and I would probably try to secretly make them doubt their own beliefs, using properly timed questions and intricately hidden logical fallacies.  Sometimes I don't even necessarily want this person to change his/her mind.  I just want people to think.  Thinking is such a joyful experience for me and I wish that everyone could achieve the same joy that I do from it.

Another game I like to play (not nearly as involved) is called "Who's online?"  This is a simple game that only requires you be very adept at understanding internet culture and various popular websites demographic.  For instance, perhaps I see a young business man snapping photos on his Blackberry or iPhone, then typing rapidly.  The correct response is probably "Twitter."  Or maybe I see a few hipster girls with their Macbooks at the local Starbucks.  The natural response would "tumblr."  There are many many more, but I'm sure the rules make sense.  Well, they make sense to me anyhow.

There are more games, but I won't explain them all now.  I just like to have fun.  Anyhow, I'm going to bed now.  Good night!


Day 233

I think my new schedule is finally kicking in.  I'm getting ready for bed before 10.

I had Investments this morning.  We spent the majority of the time doing simple calculations and conversions.  I think he just wanted to ensure that we really understood.  I believe that we do.

In between classes our little band of people went over to the Atrium.  Today's activity was solving riddles.  I have once again concluded that I am not good at riddles.  Probably because I get too bent on thinking about things in a certain way.  And when that doesn't work and I've tried all my first ideas, I'm not sure what to do.  Then I get frustrated and I cease to enjoy the activity.

We had our first Exam P prep course today.  We just did basic set theory and probability.  Most of the class time will be working problems.  Each week we have a quiz that will be similar to Exam P, just shorter.  Our "text book" for the course is just the Exam P Actex study manual, so it has plenty of problems to work.  Mr. Frye teaches this class.  I ran into him the other day and asked which class we will be meeting in...he told me and then I promptly forgot.  So I told everyone that it was in 119.  I was close.  It was in 118.  But we all made it.  I really like Mr. Frye's dry and quirky sense of humor.  He doesn't make many jokes, but when he does it's with excellent timing and delivery.

After class I came home. I decided to take this first week and just get used to my schedule. I'll start working out next week.  When I got home I made my lunch and did some studying.  No, I think I played a video game over lunch.  Then I started studying.  The chapter I've been reading has a lot going on and it's difficult to keep everything straight.  It was pretty frustrating because it had the longest section of reading but not many exercises at the end of the section.  The ones it did ask were mainly "which of the following is false" type questions.  I think I'm going to start going through the derivatives markets section of the study manual and write down terms and equations.  This part of the exam is less computational than the interest theory portion.  And it's difficult to write a well-worded question that is also challenging.  So as a result, there aren't many questions.  I need to go over this section again in one sitting, not two.  Maybe that would help.  And watch the DVDs I borrowed from Dustin.

I took a nap around 2:30 or so.  When I woke up I kept on studying.  Then I made left over stir-fry for dinner and kept studying.  I took a break for about an hour, then studied some more.  I decided to start reviewing interest theory again, since it has been a while since I've worked those problems.  There are a lot of formulae to remember.  Ick.  I've decided that tomorrow (since I'm working in the computer lab for about 5 hours) I'm going to start working through one of the practice exams.  Not timed, just working the problems.  To see how it goes.

In the mean time... I'm going to bed.  Night!


Day 232

I got to sleep in today!  And it is officially the only day I'll get to sleep in for the rest of the semester.  Yay...

I didn't really sleep in that late.  I think I got up around 8.  I made some breakfast, did a little studying, showered, then went off to class.  I think I'm officially sold on getting up earlier for class.  I just feel so much more alert.  I like it.

The only class I have today (and on Thursday) is life contingencies 2.  Today really surprised me.  Foley started by talking about some of the differences between life con 1 and 2.  In life con 1, we talked a lot about the concept of a "survival function," which is a way of determining the probability that someone will survive a certain amount of time.  It get applied constantly to insurance policies because companies need to know how likely someone is to pay a monthly premium or die and collect a benefit.  But in life con 2, we're starting to talk about other ways of people leaving an insurance plan or different things that can happen to a person on an insurance plan, like quitting, retiring, going on disability, and things like that.  These we referred to as different states of existence, where a person can move from one state to another (except death... once you're dead you stay there).  He called this a Markov chain.  I recognized it as a Finite State Machine from a class I never ever thought I would use: Advanced Discrete Math.  I honestly never believed that I would ever use a single thing from that class.  But here I am, using Finite State Machines.  To be fair they are a little different, but the main idea is the same.  And having this background was really helpful.  Then we went on to talk about how probability gets really tricky if you have to worry about two or more people dying instead of just one person.  So we'll probably talk about that more on Thursday.

After class I went up to the math office to talk with Mr. Albers about working in the computer lab.  Everyone had filled the best hours, so I just loaded everything onto Tuesday and Thursday.  And to avoid having a 2 hour break and then working until 4pm, I opted to get in some hours at 8am.  Gross.  So I had my first shift in there today.  I really don't have that much to do, mainly make sure that no one is being destructive or anything like that.  Keep the place clean.  Try to help anyone if they seem to need it.  Mr. Albers said that since I honestly won't have that much mandatory work, I'm free to do homework or whatever else I want in the lab.  Except eat.  He seems like a very laid back person.  I asked if it was ok if I was a few minutes late on Thursdays so that I could eat lunch (since I work from 11-2) and he had no problem with that.  So that's very nice of him.

Let's see.  When I got back I did some more studying.  I started reading through chapter 5.  It's pretty detailed and has a lot of information.  I did my best to comprehend it all.  I think that it's definitely been to my benefit to read the text book and the study manual.  They give different perspectives on the topics and usually at least one way makes sense.

I made meatloaf for dinner.  It turned out well.  I put taco seasoning and dried red pepper in it.  I liked it.  Then I tried to go to small group...but I think they changed locations.  Tim sent out an email and said that it was at someone's house... but I just assumed that it was at the same house as before (since I don't know anyone's last name).  It was not there, as I saw no cars parked at the starting time.  I'll just talk with him tomorrow about it.

Not to make a total waste of a drive, I went to Wal-mart.  I'm going to slowly rebuild some of my wardrobe and I wanted to compare prices.  Currently I just want new shirts and socks.  I think I'm going to stick with plain colored shirts and then maybe argyle-style socks.  Both of those go with everything.  And Argyle socks can be worn with jeans or with nice pants.  So I compared Wal-mart prices with some things I found online.  So after I get paid on Friday I'm going to begin a slow but certain restructuring.  I think I'm just over wearing t-shirts with designs and graphics on them.  I want something a little more classic.

Then I came home, talked with Clifton for a bit... we took a ride in his new car.  I showed him Kimmy and my engagement pictures.  We talked some more.  I was going to study some more but my brain is just tired from all the studying I did today.  I couldn't focus any more, much less comprehend anything else.  So I didn't.  And now I'm going to bed.  Night!