Day 526

It got late suddenly... so this will be short.  Nighttime has a habit of sneaking up on me.

Well, I began the morning by making some new enemies!  And by that I mean "I gave a test."  When I was making it I kept thinking "man, this is an easy question.  But apparently some of my students did not feel the same way.  As one of them was leaving he looked at me, laughed and said "yeah, you can just throw that away."  I felt bad.

After the test was over I studied for my test on Friday.  I worked a few problems and wrote out a lot of formulas.  I think I have a good handle on the basic ideas, now I just need to work through lots of problems.  I typed the formulas up on the computer in the computer lab on the first floor of my building and it was SO cold.  Like... I couldn't really feel my hands.

Then I had my own class.  It was fine, I guess.  I think my biggest issue with that class is that I actually find the material really interesting, but there is so much theory behind it that I often get lost in it... even when the actual applications are reasonably straight forward.

When I got home I started making some dinner.  We had corn chowder!  It was really tasty.  After dinner we cleaned up the kitchen some, then made it dirty again while making snacks for our movie night.  Dustin, Timbo, and Paul came over to watch a movie.  Specifically a horror movie, in honor of it being Halloween tomorrow.  Well, the movie we picked ended up being less than awesome.  But it was fun to watch it with friends.  And make fun of it.

And now it's bed time.  Night!


Day 525

Hi everyone.

Today was Monday.  That is a fact.

It was pretty standard: homework/get stuff done in the morning, class, come home.  I talked on the phone with mom later in the evening.  She caught me up to date on the latest going-ons of Primrose and other Findlay events.

So here's the thing.  I've been thinking about the current state of math education for a week or so.  Actually, it's been a few years but my views have been resurfacing recently.  Since this is my soapbox, I get to talk about whatever I want.  Those are the rules.

I severely dislike and disapprove of how mathematics is taught to the main populace.  To those who do not seek to involve mathematics into their education or career, math is nothing more than that class you have to take because someone deems it necessary.  And when you're in those classes, math is nothing more than memorizing stuff and putting numbers into equations.  Think of it like freshman biology (or from what my Biology friends told me, most of a Biology degree): it's all memorizing stuff.  But math is so much more than formulas.  In fact, math is really not at all about numbers and formulas.

Words are limited.  It's difficult to completely describe things using standard words and grammar.  Sure, we can express colors and shapes and actions.  We can express those things to a degree, anyhow.  But there comes a point when words fail and subjectivity arises.  Is it "red" or is "scarlet"?  Do you really "feel my pain," or do you just empathize with me?  Is that a true sphere, or just a round object?  There comes a point when you want ultimate accuracy and precision.  YOU might not want that.... most of us just want the ability to effectively communicate with others.  But at the core of knowledge is precision.  There is a difference between royal blue and navy blue.  But do we all agree on the definitions of royal blue and navy blue?  We could go the route of scientific classifications (kingdom, phylum, class, order, family genus, species), but there are plenty of instances where biological entities were improperly classified because they appeared to be related some other being... but after further observation (post-classification) the two were deemed unrelated.

So we could try to use words to dissect life and describe everything, sure.  I guess we could do that.  Or we could not.

What if we had a language that perfectly described the world in which we live?  One that is not limited by anything?  Flawless, precise, descriptions.  Any good poet will tell you that no language is good enough to grasp the beauty of thought.  But there is a language, a not-strictly verbal language that is flawless.  And it's flawless because it was designed to be so.

Examine mathematics.  It is a way of thought, exploration, and description that is built with the building blocks of the most pure substance known to man (logic).  Symbols and numbers are just used as shorthand.  We use equations like y = 3*x - 50 because it's more convenient than saying "our company income will be thrice the number of items sold, minus a flat overhead charge of $50."  In math class, we often start an idea with something like "Let x be the number of claims in a year."  Symbols are just shorthand.  Numbers... numbers are beautiful.  They are the masterpiece language of mathematics.

Tell me.  Is the earth big?  I'd say so.  How about the sun?  I would also say that the sun is big.  Is it bigger than the earth?  Certainly.  But... the earth is still "big"?  How large does something have to be before we call it "big"?  What if we compare the sun to the size of the known universe?  What is "big"?

Tell me.  What is "red"?  Describe "red" to me, please.  I can't describe "red." But I do know that if we assign it a value of #FF0000, then #FF0001 will be really really close to "red"... but it will not be "red."  To the naked eye, #FF0000 and #FF0001 are identical.  But they are not truly equal.

My students hate math.  Most of them, anyhow.  And I can't blame them.  The text book teaches (for most of the chapters I am required to teach, anyhow) arithmetic, not mathematics.  Now, arithmetic is cool.  By arithmetic we make our numerical language do stuff.  In words, we can clumsily describe the velocity, acceleration, and arc of a cannonball... but it's a nightmareish task to explain how everything changes every nano-second.  All of that is easy with math and each nano-second change is discovered with arithmetic.  But humans of the twenty-first century need not waste undo time on arithmetic.  We have powerful computers, calculators, and cell phones to do that.  Humans, with their logic, reasoning, and ideas, should be spending their precious thinking power on those things.

Math is beautiful.  Arithmetic is a tool to achieve mathematical means.  But arithmetic is not the end result.  We use arithmetic to do things with our numerical language.

I could go on... but I'm tired and have already written a nice 3-page paper.

Have a good night, everyone.


Day 524

Well, today ended up being a pretty standard Sunday.  Before church we had to go to Aldi and finish our grocery shopping, since we went a little too late last night.  So we made a quick trip to the store, came home to put groceries away, then went to church with Jessie and Richard.  At the beginning of the service a few people gave short talks to show their appreciation for a couple people who help out in the different ministries in the church.  That was cool to hear how different people get so involved in the areas they enjoy and how they've been such an impact to all sorts of people.

After church Jessie and Richard came over for lunch.  We had some really good hot dogs and beans.  We discussed some of our travel plans for the upcoming holidays.  And how dumb work is.

I don't have a strong recollection of all of the details of the afternoon because everything just kind of blended together.  It was a mashup of homework, cleaning, video games, dinner, and then some more of all of those.  So it was fine, but nothing too special.  Just... a day.  

That's about how things have been going recently.  Nothing special, just going.  I don't know if I'm tired or my brain is just confused by not being blasted with deadlines, interviews, and tests... But things are just going along.  I know that for most people that's normal, that life just goes without any sort of "exciting stories" or adventures, but I get bored when that happens.  Maybe it's good that I'll be taking tests for the next few years of my life, as I'll always have something going on.  I won't really have too many people that will understand what I'm studying... but it will keep me busy.  I must admit, not being busy is pretty great at the moment.  The restfulness is nice.

Anyhow.  I'm off to bed.  I need to get some things done tomorrow morning before class.


Day 523

Quick update, as it's late and I'm tired.

Kimmy and I had planned on going grocery shopping this morning, but we were both just too tired.  So we went back to bed.  After we got up we went about our normal routine of eating and things.  Then she had to get ready for work.

After she went to work I went to the library with Timbo and worked on homework for a few hours.  That... was pretty much my afternoon.  We got most of it done, but I still have a few problems.  I was just getting tired and frustrated by the end.  We both were.

Kimmy got home shortly after I did, so we made some dinner, watched a show on Netflix, then went grocery shopping.  We got out a little bit later than I had planned, which resulted in Aldi closing before we could go there.  So we have to finish shopping tomorrow morning before church.

When we got back we put groceries away and such.  Oh!  We got free cat food!  When we got our kittens we were given some coupons, and two of them were for free cat food!  So that was exciting.

Then later on we watched a movie.  And now it is bed time.  Night!


Day 522

You know, I'm actually growing quite fond of these days that seem to go on forever.  Because it means that I'm doing a long with my days.

This morning Kimmy had to go to work, so it was an early morning for both of us.  After she left I did some budgeting things and bill-paying.  Also, apparently when Comcast says that it will automatically deduct the payment each month on the 14th, what it really means is "Surprise!  We're not going to deduct it, but we'll happily slap you silly with a late fee if you trusted us!"  Thankfully I noticed this 2 days before the bill was due so I was able to pay it on time, but I was not happy.

After lunch I went to class.  We had all just settled into our seats when one of the secretaries from the math department came down to inform us that Dr. Foley would not be coming to class.  So.... I went up to the computer lab and worked on a project.  I finished it up (even though it's not due for another week and a half) and had a lot of fun with it.  And it's been really helpful with some of my homework problems.  Then when I finished it I went to Mr. Owens class. We've just been talking about a different probability distribution which we've seen before.  So it hasn't been too bad.

When I got home I folded some laundry, then started dinner.  One of the repair guys was supposed to come over today..... but I guess he was busy or something.  So after Kimmy got home from work we had dinner.  Jessie and Richard stopped by to drop off Kimmy's lunch bag (that we'd left in Findlay).  After dinner Kimmy and I played Scrabble.  I was sure I was going to win because I was ahead the entire game.  And then with about 4 turns left in the game Kimmy played a word and earned 80 points.  I was not exactly amused. So she ended up winning pretty sufficiently.

After Scrabble I played some TF2 with some friends.  When we were done, Kimmy and I came up with our grocery list for the week so we can go shopping tomorrow morning.

And now... it's time for bed.  Night!


Day 521

I was pretty tired this morning.  For some reason I had a terrible time falling asleep last night, so I did not feel very fantastic upon waking up.  But carry on, I did.

Class was a bit rough, since it was all review and this was a pretty hard chapter.  But I think most of them understand it decently enough.  We'll see on Tuesday!  After class I went to my office, started writing the test, and had some lunch.  Then I talked with Saha (one of my office mates) about how classes are going.  I told him that I was just done with school and he laughed and said "believe me... I understand."  He's working on his second master's degree and if he can't get a job upon graduation he'll have to stay to get a PhD.  So... he's quite ready to be done.  Then we compared notes on how we've been teaching our classes and how things have been going with that.

After my office hours I went to my class.  Yep, it went pretty much the same as it always done.  After class I talked with Alex a little bit about teaching (we also teach the same class) and some of the issues his students have been having.

When I got home Kimmy and I started looking at student loan things.  It was not fun at all.  But I think that we'll be able to get her loans deferred until after I graduate, so that would be nice.

Then Kimmy and I had a picnic!  We got some dinner at Pita Pit and went to Minnestrista park to eat.  It was pretty nice outside.  So that was fun.

Then when we came back we just relaxed for the evening.  We just finished playing Scrabble a little bit ago.  It was pretty close, but I won. :)

And now it's bed time.  Good night!


Day 520

More things.

Well, it's back to school today.  My morning started pretty much as usual: after breakfast I did homework.  I don't have a lot due this week, so it's a nice transition back into school.  But yeah, I started with homework til lunch time.  After lunch I went to class.

Also, I need to get a haircut soon.  Duly noted.

So then class happened.  It was pretty normal, I suppose.  In between classes I did the last homework problem because apparently I'd written the wrong number down.  So I fixed that.

There's some big news that I've been sharing with my friends in my program.  Backstory: in the American actuarial world, there are two governing organizations that deal with two different areas of insurance, namely the SOA and the CAS.  They both have their own sets of exams, but the first 4 are the same and are "jointly administered."  This just means that the exams are identical count in both societies towards your exam progress.  However, at the end of next year this will no longer be the case.  Meaning that the first SOA exam will no longer count for the first CAS exam (but right now it does).  The big issue with this is that if you want to get into property insurance (like automobile insurance), this is governed by the CAS.  But college students really have no idea what area they want to go into... in fact most of us would be happy with any area and just want a job.  But at the same time, you have to have at least two exams before getting a job.  So in the near future, students will be faced with the dilemma of being forced to eliminate career paths early on or retake previous exams.  Which would be awful.  And the main reason behind this is just organizational politics.  But ultimately, students lose.

Funny story from last night.  After we got in bed, we noticed that there was a fly buzzing around.  This wasn't really a big deal... to us, anyhow.  But our cats felt that it was a VERY big deal.  So they spent the next 20 or so minutes jumping at it, trying to bat it off the wall or out of the air.  It was pretty silly. Bacon gave up pretty early on, but Beans kept at it.  Which really didn't make a lot of sense because Beans has no jumping ability.  She still can't make it onto the tables from the floor.  But she kept trying!  Eventually she figured out that she could brace her front paws against the wall, giving her more vertical leverage.  And every few minutes she'd give it another jump.  I was just about to turn the lights off when she jumped.... and actually batted it down for the last time.  She'd hit it maybe three other times, but it kept getting back up.  But not this time... the fly was done.  And then she ate her spoils of war.  It was glorious.

So back to today.  We had some leftovers for dinner because we were too lazy to make anything new.  But I do like having regular leftovers.  It ensures that food doesn't mold and it's cheaper.  I think that the only food that's gone bad was from the time that our refrigerator stopped working.  So that's good.  I'm sure there have been other times, but I just don't recall them.

After dinner I did some work for my lesson tomorrow.  It's a review day, so I made study guides and emailed them off to my class.  I think a lot of my students are really close to understanding... but they probably aren't there yet.  Hopefully tomorrow helps!

Ok.  It's time for bed now.  Good night!


Day 519

Well.  The day has come.  And that day is: my last day of break.  Hurumph.

But it was a good day.  Kimmy had to go to work early :( so we had some breakfast, then I did some homework after she left.  I worked on a project for Mr. Owens' class for... pretty much the rest of the morning and into the afternoon.  I have a really good start on it, but I sent it off to Mr. Owens so that he could make sure some calculations were correct.

After lunch I sent some emails to people with whom I've interviewed and have not yet heard a response.  Only one of them has responded so far, and he essentially said that at this point "no news is good news."  But he isn't really involved with the hiring process after the initial interview, so he wasn't able to give me any additional information.  Which is fine with me, I just want to see where things are.

I took a short break after that, then got back into homework and starting dinner.  I made pizza!  For as many times as I've made pizza it still rarely turns out as well as I'd like it to.  I think my big issue is making sure that all the flour is getting mixed into the dough.  This is mostly just an issue with me not wanting to take the time to ensure that it's thoroughly mixed in as well as my dislike of mixing the dough with my hands.  The recipe calls for you to mix one cup of flour in at time, but to mix it really well you have to knead it in with your hands.  Which requires that you mix in a cup, wash your hands, then put another cup in (unless you want to get pizza dough in the flour bag).  I don't know... I'm still working on it.

When Kimmy came home she finished making dinner so that I could do some more homework.  Then we had pizza!  She also made breadsticks.  She's been trying to perfect cheese-filled breadsticks, and I think that she's getting pretty close.  They're really good.

After dinner I did some more work.  I was having a hard time concentrating, so I just called it a night.  So I played a game, then Kimmy and I took out the trash.  When we got back we had a snack and watched a show online.

And now it's time for bed.  Night!

Day 518

Another day of break!  It was quite a successful day full of awesome relaxation.  Even though I know the rest of the semester is going to be a lot of work, I've really been soaking in these days off.

Today I got up around 9:45.  I tell you what... it felt good.  I felt fantastic when I woke up.  After getting some breakfast, did some stuff on my computer, then I took a shower.  And Kimmy took a nap.  We'd had a pretty busy morning at this point, so we celebrated our progress by getting some lunch and watching some Netflix.

After lunch we attempted to make a video of our house.  The plan was to video Kimmy and me taking a quick tour of the house for everyone who won't be able to see it.  And because I think it would be neat to keep record of things like that.  So we spent a while doing that... but I think that somehow the file got corrupted or something happened.  But I can't get the video to play, and I don't really know why.  We were pretty bummed.  So hopefully we can try again sometime, but I don't think it's going to work.  :(

Kimmy and I made chili for dinner!  Well, it was more like ground turkey and corn stew... but it was really good.  After dinner Kimmy made some apple chips!  After they cooled down they were crisp and quite tasty.

We also paid Jessie and Richard a visit to pick up some things that we'd left in Findlay last weekend that they had brought back for us.  And while we were in the area, we stopped at the store to pick up some important things... like coffee.

When we got back home I played a game with Jared, then Kimmy and I got a snack, watched some more Netflix... and now I'd say it's about time for bed.  Tomorrow will be a work day for me, I believe.  But after three solid days of resting, I think I'm up for the task again.



Day 517

Hey, hey, hey... you know what was awesome about today?  It's Sunday.  And I don't have to get up for school in the morning!!!!!  I'm sure everyone is quite sick of me talking about being on break, but I'm pretty amped.  I'm so ready for school to be over.  The content is interesting, but I'm ready to get a job.

Here is your random fact of the day: it appears that someone from Russia discovered my blog.  He/she was searching for a some song with a line "I'm wearing a shirt."  There have been a few cases where someone found my page by searching things about wearing shirts.  I think it's funny.  Someone from France did something similar about two weeks ago.

Ok, so this morning.  After I got up I went to church with Jessie and Richard.  Kimmy stayed behind so that she could spend more time with her parents, since they had to go today.  So after church I came home and we had some lunch.  When we were done Kimmy went to the store with her parents and I cleaned up a little bit.  Our kitchen was getting pretty overwhelming, so I brought it back to a manageable level.

When Kimmy got back we had a super exciting adventure: we cleaned out our spare room.  At the front of our house is a room that has mainly been for storage.  And up until earlier today it was quite literally just piles of nonsense.  So today we took a couple of hours to organize, clean, throw away/recycle, and straighten up the room.  I feel a lot better about it now.

We went to dinner with Jessie and Richard at Chili's.  It was fun.  They're pretty close to finalizing everything on their house, so that's pretty exciting.  We're hoping to go see it sometime soon.  After dinner we went to Berry Winkle for dessert... then we came back to our house to play Kinect Sports!  It was a lot of fun.  Jessie and Richard had never played on a Kinect before, so we introduced them.  And many good times were had by all.

Look at this kitten being so silly.  That is not where kittens sleep... but apparently Bacon disagrees.  Oh well.

Ok.  It's late and I have plenty of sleeping to do.  Night!


Day 516

Ah, that beautiful time of the year when I don't have any sort of obligations.  Yesterday was pretty awesome.

Kimmy and I got up pretty early, since she had to be at work at 8:45.  So after we ate and she went to work, I proceeded to lounge around the house for a while.  I showered, I did some dishes, played on the xbox, and had some lunch.

I realized that whenever Kimmy isn't around, I tend to eat weird left over combinations.  Yesterday it was chicken-rice and tomato soup... topped with cheese and eggs.  Yes, all mixed together.  There wasn't mush soup left, so I just put it all in a skillet and let it simmer for a while.  Most of the soup just cooked into the rice, then I cooked two eggs over easy and put them on top.  The strangest part is that it tasted pretty good!

After Kimmy got back we cleaned the house some more.  We also finally moved the cat's litter box and food upstairs, so our downstairs bathroom can function as something besides our cat's room.

Kimmy's parents came to Muncie for the weekend and they brought us a chair!
Obviously Beans and Bacon had to try it out first.

So we went to eat at Ruby Tuesday.  It was really good.  I got a pasta and shrimp dish with some sort of alfredo-esque sauce.  After dinner we went to Hobby Lobby so that Kimmy and her mom could get some things, then we went to Staples.  And conveniently all of those are in the strip mall right by our house.

After dinner we came back, I cleaned out my computer, rearranged my desk, then Kimmy and I watched a few episodes of a TV show we've been watching on Netfilx.  Then we went to bed.

And more another cat picture!


Day 515

Yesterday evening started fall break!  AHHHH!  But before break, I had other things to do.  Actually, I didn't have that much to do in the morning.  Kimmy had to go to work, but I just relaxed around the house.  It felt so relieving to not have anything immediately due.

After some lunch I went to class.  In Dr. Foley's class we talked some more about properly determining a distribution for your data set.  This is often approximated with some flavor of a known distribution.  For example the size of an insurance claim is often called "severity."  Severity generally follows a Poisson distribution (which measures the probability of a certain number of things occurring in a given time), Binomial (the probability of getting outcome A a certain number of times and outcome B a certain number of times), or Negative Binomial (the probability of getting the last (of a certain number) of successes out of a given number of attempts).  Those are all things we've had to learn for other class/exams.  So this class built on that knowledge and we looked at comparing these distributions and some different properties of them.

In between classes I went to the Atrium with Tim and Dustin.  There is a side room where we normally sit.  As we walked in we heard a cleaning lady say to another co-worker that "we really need to start locking that door," meaning the one going into that room.  As she left she locked the door so that people could not get in.  But it seemed silly that if they didn't want people in the room that they wouldn't just tell us to leave.  Instead they just prevented anyone new from entering.  I didn't get it.

During Mr. Owens' class we reviewed the class schedule, then began talking about new types of derivative options.  It was pretty interesting.  In the past we've mainly talked about options that you can use on a certain day (European options) or that you can use on any day (American).  Yesterday we discussed a type that give you money based off of an average stock price (Asian) or a different kind that only pays out if the stock price is in a specific range.  So it was cool.

When I got home Kimmy was sleeping.  She and I both have a bit of a cold, so we've been trying to get extra sleep.  After she got up we made some leftovers for dinner, then we went grocery shopping.  She's working this morning, so we couldn't go at our normal time.  We're going to make pumpkin bread!  I'm pretty excited.

After we got back we just relaxed.  Actually, we went to bed pretty early since Kimmy had to work and we were both really tired.  We're pretty exciting people!

So there's that.  The end.


Day 514

You know... I'm ready for a nice long weekend.

My class this morning went really well, I thought.  Everything was well prepared, but there just wasn't enough time.  I got through all of the material, but I really wanted to do a few examples.  But we ran out of time.  Next Thursday we'll have some review, so we'll do more examples then.  After class I met with one of my students to go over some of the homework problems.  When she left I had some lunch, then did some preparing for my interview.

I thought the interview went decently.  They asked some questions that I'm not used to getting asked, but it was good.  I enjoy getting asked a variety of questions.

After my interview I went to class.  We talked more about determining if variables are worth studying.  It's a really interesting topic, I think.

When I got home I did some dishes, then Kimmy and I made dinner.  It was a chicken and parmesean rice dish... but it didn't really turn out so well.  It was edible, but I'm sure we won't be making it again.

After dinner I worked on a couple homework assignments.  I finished the one that's due tomorrow and I started on the one that is due in Owens' class.  It's pretty fun, actually.  I think it will be really cool when it's done.

Then Kimmy and I watched a couple episodes of a show on Netflix... and now it's bed time.  Good night!


Day 513

This morning feels like it was so long ago.  I went to campus a little earlier than normal and finished up my homework assignment.  I worked in the computer lab with Timbo and discussed some of the problems we've been having.  There was one concept I was having a difficult time understanding and he gave me a good intuitive explanation that he'd just figured out last night.  So that was really helpful.  Then I went to my office and did some corrections for our exam.

During Foley's class we talked about different modeling distributions and how to generate them.  So that was cool, I suppose.  I think it will make more sense after I do the homework assignment.

In between classes we worked on some homework problems for Owens' class and discussed the content.  And job searching.  I'm supposed to hear back from two more companies by Friday... so we'll see.

During Owens' class he talked about the project that is due in a couple of weeks.  Then he reviewed the chapter that we've been working on.  I think it's starting to make more sense.  After class I talked with Mr. Owens about a project that I wanted to do that was not on his list.  Most of the ones on the list he gave us seemed either really easy or not very interesting.  So he and I came up with one that would be challenging and interesting.  I'm going to start that over the weekend... it could take me a while.

When I got back home I talked with Kimmy about her day, then we had some dinner.  We had grilled cheese and tomato soup!  It was pretty great.  Then I worked on my lesson for tomorrow.  The material is pretty rough, but I think that I have a good lesson planned out.

And now: cat pictures!

Bacon found the bag with the bananas.  He is silly.

Ok, time for bed.  Good night!

Day 512

My class today went a lot better than last week's.  I did a quick recap of the important things that we discussed during the last lecture and then tied that into the things I talked about today.  I thought it went well.

After class I went up to my office, did some grading, then tried to do a little analysis on the grades from my class.  The grades are actually almost normally distributed, which is cool.  So after some grading I went to go talk with Mr. Owens for a while.  We talked about the class I taught for him yesterday, then we discussed the program at Ball State, he told me about the conference at which he was presenting, and then I told him about the investment course I took in the spring.  He's teaching it this coming spring, so he wanted to know how Dr. Foley taught it.

Then I worked on homework for a while.  This section is pretty tough.  The material is presented in a very different fashion and I think it's just going to take me some more time to read the text some more and let it sink in.  And work through lots and lots of problems.

I made meatloaf and mashed potatoes for dinner.  When we were done I went back to homework for a while.  A large part of this assignment I did in Excel, so that was fun.  I really like doing things in Excel.  But I need to finish the homework assignment up tomorrow.

Kimmy and I just finished snack time a couple hours ago, and now it's time for bed!  Because I'm tired!  So........ good night!


Day 511

I got a second wind about an hour ago.  That's frustrating.

So this morning I got up and did some lesson prep.  I had the lesson pretty well laid out and I knew what I wanted to talk about, but just to make sure that I had everything in my notes I went through it again.  When I was done I did some grading, I think.

I left for campus after a quick lunch, then went to go print off my notes.  Today was the day that I covered for Mr. Owens class... it's an introduction to the topics covered on the Financial Mathematics exam I took back in February.  Wow, that feels like so long ago.  Anyhow, class went well.  They paid attention, answered questions, asked questions, did the work... it was fun.

Then I had my own classes.  Since Mr. Owens is out of town today, Tim taught class.  It went well... the material was difficult to teach because it was more of the "here are the useful pieces of information" and less of the "here are the formulas and why you need them" type of section.  But he did a good job.

When I got home I made some dinner for Kimmy and me, then went off to a presentation for Wellpoint.  I interview with them on Thursday.   And I got a bunch of extra Subway sandwiches afterwards!  I was pretty excited.

After I got back I helped Kimmy give our kittens the flea medicine, then I planned my lesson for tomorrow.  I want to review the lesson from last week just to recap the important points, then tie that into the lesson tomorrow.  Hopefully that goes well.

Also, here are a couple pictures that I've been meaning to upload!

 We have cute kittens... just so you all know.

Kimmy made pumpkin cupcakes!  And they are amazing!

Ok, bedtime now.  Good night!


Day 510

I got up somewhat early this morning... for a weekend, anyhow.  So I got up, showered, had some breakfast, then we all went to church.  There is a new big push to raise money to expand the building, so the service was about that and how giving isn't about a dollar amount, but about making a sacrifice.  I'm pretty torn about things like this.  I totally get that there are needs that must be met for a church... having a building, paying the staff (so that they can devote a full week of work to the job and not be required to go find other employment), etc.  But at the same time, I'm always torn by what the real church needs are.  Is a multi-million dollar expansion as important as sending a couple million dollars to poverty-stricken countries and buying a few hundred or a thousand wells?  I don't know.  I really do not know.  And it's pretty much every church, so no single one is to blame.  It's just a struggle I'm going through at the moment.

After church we came home and had lunch, and got packed up.  Shortly after lunch Kimmy and I met up with Becky and Miles and we went to a corn maze!  It was fun.  Rainy and muddy, but fun.  And it was actually pretty tricky.  So I recommend the Suter's corn maze to everyone!  And they have amazing apple cider.  After that we came back to Muncie.

We had some dinner, then I worked on my lesson for tomorrow for a while.  I'm teaching for Mr. Owens for his financial mathematics class.  We'll see how it goes.  It should be fine... I don't suspect that there will be any issues.  But I think that's sort of how every teacher begins a lesson.

Ok.  I'm really tired and it's very late.  So I'm off to bed.  Night!


Day 509

Today was a long day!  So many exciting things happened.

First off, we got up super early, had some breakfast, and got all packed up. Then it was off to Findlay!  Amber and Jessie and Richard went to Findlay for the weekend, so we decided to go as well.  The drive was pretty uneventful, except that our kittens really do not like being in the carrier.  We stopped about halfway through and let them wander the car.  But we got to Findlay around lunch time, said hi to everyone, then went off to Primrose to see mama and poppy!

There was some big to-do at Primrose today.  Every so often they try to have some events and open them up to the community, and today was such an event.  They had snacks and games and lots of people doing all of the things.  Kimmy and I played a couple of games of pool against Richard and Jessie..... but we lost.  I scratched when hitting the eight ball in both times.  :(

After pool we went back to mama and poppy's apartment and talked about life and things.  And we had Amber/Richard made chili and cornbread for dinner!  It was very yummy.  When we were done eating we sat around and talked some more!

When it got close to Emma's bed time we all trekked home.  I got a little grading done, then we had a family meeting to discuss Christmas, other holidays, and some vacationing. So hopefully we have that all figured out!

Later we went to go hang out with friends Becky and Miles.  And we showed them our new kittens!  They (mostly Becky) were quite excited.  Kimmy and Becky talked cats while Miles and I talked about logic and school.  We had fun.  And brownies!  They were happy things.

Now it is late and I am going to bed. Good night to everyone!


Day 508

This morning started off with some studying for my quiz.  And breakfast and such things.  So I studied for a while, then went off to school for class.

Usually when we have a quiz in Dr. Foley's class he lectures for half the class then gives us the last half to work on the quiz.  But he went over, so he just gave us the quiz as a take-home.  Awesome!

During Mr. Owens class he did a little recap of some of the things we talked about this week.  It was a very different approach to some of the concepts we'd been discussing, so he tried to bring everything back to terms and concepts we knew already.  So that was good.

After class I came home and talked with Kimmy for while, ate some dinner, and we watched a TV show.  Then she had to go to work, so I went grocery shopping.  That went well.  I mean... I got everything I needed.

This is turning out to be a pretty boring update.  Sorry.

When I got back from grocery shopping I fed the cats, put groceries and some dishes away, then did stuff on my computer for a while.  And now.... I'm not sure what I'm gonna do.  Probably bed.

Yeah.  So good night!


Day 507

Well, I think that technically my lesson could have gone worse this morning.  It would have been hard, but it could have happened.  It started when I got to the computer lab where I normally print things off (which is close to the room where I teach) and apparently people were taking a test in there, so I could not use it.  Very well.  So I went off to another computer lab.  The computers there are pretty slow and it took (I timed it) ten minutes from the time that I sat down at the computer until the time that I could print off my document.  That should have taken no more than 2 minutes.  And when I tried to print my notes off the computer couldn't connect to the printer.  By this point it was time to start class.  So I jotted a few notes down rapidly and went to class.  Upon arrival I realized that since I wasn't able to print off my notes (and I hand-out that I'd made for my students) this lesson was going to be very difficult to teach.  There were a lot of pictures to draw, meaning that instead of being able to reference pictures from a hand out, I had to draw them all.  Which was time-consuming.  I was also pretty flustered from everything going wrong, so about ten minutes into the lecture I stopped and realized that so far I had made no sense at all.  So I began again.  This is a very difficult section to teach, especially because I'm trying to teach the why and what behind everything, not just the how.  How is easy.  But they don't benefit from the class if I just teach some formulas.  Anyhow, I think that by the end of class I had redeemed myself (hopefully).  We'll see on Tuesday!

After class I went to my office and did some grading and job applying.  Then Tim came by and we did some homework.  So we worked and talked for a while, then went off to get lunch.  We sat with Chris, who is a math masters student.  So we all had lunch and talked and such.  It was good fun.  Then we went off to class.  I got my test back today.  I did well, but I made some silly mistakes.

When I got back from class Kimmy and I made some dinner.  We made chicken noodle casserole!  It tasted really good.  While it was baking/after dinner I did homework.  I have about 95% of it done, so I just need to review it before my quiz tomorrow.  I also need to do some grading and start preparing for my lecture on Monday. I'm teaching Mr. Owens' class, so I need to make a lesson this weekend.

After I was done being all responsible I played a game with Miles.  So we played and talked and had fun.

Oh!  Kitty picture!

They really don't like when I use my computer, it seems.

That's all for now.  Good night!


Day 506

After I got up and everything this morning I went to school and worked on some regression homework with Tim and Alex.  We made some good progress, especially considering that we hadn't spent a lot of time in class talking about these topics.  I also started grading some tests.  I try to have tests back to my students one or two class periods after the exam.

I got my test back from both classes today.  I did well on them, so I was pleased.  Mr. Owens is letting us get some partial credit back on his test, but I'm not quite sure how he is allotting points back to us.  So I need to ask him about that on Friday, or if I see him tomorrow.

When I got home I talked with Kimmy until she had to go to work.  After she left I got some dinner, did some stuff around the house, did some lesson planning, then I talked with mom and dad on the phone.  I hadn't called them for a while, so we talked and caught up on all of the things.  Well, probably not all of the things, but some of them.

Today's kitty picture is brought to you by Kimmy (surprise I stole your picture).

After Kimmy got back from work we got a snack, then I did some more grading.  And now I'm off to bed!

Good night, all.


Day 505

Wow, this morning seemed to last forever.  I got up way too early, got some breakfast, then got ready for my interview at 8:30.  Today's interview was with Milliman out of Milwaukee.  The interview went well.  I met with someone from their HR department (normally I interview with an actuaries) so the questions were of a little bit different than the ones I'm used to getting asked.

After my interview I went to go proctor the test for my class.  I thought it went well.  I suspect that most of the students did well, but we'll see.  I'll start grading them tomorrow.

When I got back today... I really wasn't productive at all.  I've had a really busy and stressful week and a half or so.  I had time to take a day off, so I did.  It was nice.  I ended up doing some dishes because they were many and I was getting overwhelmed.  Around 4:30 I had a phone interview with Humana.  If I pass this interview, then there is final interview down in Louisville at the end of the month.

So I had some dinner with Kimmy, watched a couple episodes of a TV series, and then took the obligatory picture of our kittens!

They were being all sorts of lazy.  Then I played a game with Miles and Jared. Tomorrow I start back on homework and studying... but it was a pretty fantastic day off.

And now bed.  Night!

Day 504

Oh goodness I'm tired... short update incoming.

After I got up this morning I studied for a few hours.  I had a test at 3, so I put in a good 4 hours of studying this morning.  Just working problems, reviewing formulas, reading through the textbook.

I also got this picture of our silly little kittens.

I went to my first class, where Dr. Foley informed us that he's going for a new record: how far he can get behind in grading.  It was funny.  We're starting a lot of new material, so today we've been getting introduced to a lot of the new topics.

In between classes I studied some more.  I was feeling pretty confident.

Then I took the test.  And it was something.  There were 8 questions and I felt confident on 6 of them.  I completed the seventh one but didn't have time to check anything (and I was quite certain that I'd done something wrong).  When time was officially up I'd written down a couple things for the last question... but that was it.  Mr. Owens let us stay longer to finish it, but I had to go meet with a student.  So I was pretty bummed.  Thankfully, after the test was over Mr. Owens came up to my office (where I was meeting with my student) and told me to come finish the test in his office when I was done.  I was very grateful for this.  So I went to go work on the test some more.  There is still one question that I really didn't know how to do, but otherwise I'm decently satisfied with my answers.

When I got back I started making some dinner.  We had stir-fry!  I never seem to make enough stuff to put on the rice.  Oh well.  It's easy enough to make more.

After dinner I got to work on writing a test for tomorrow.  That was pretty much the rest of my evening.  I took a short break to get a snack with Kimmy, then I came back and did some research for my interview tomorrow morning.  And some more work on the test.  I think it's good... but I always end up making an error somewhere.  My students are really good at helping me find those errors though!

Ok. Off to bed, I have an early start tomorrow.  Good night!


Day 503

I slept in today and it was amazing.  Sleeping in is just great... I should do it more often.

We went to church this morning.  Pastor Mark talked about (among other things) how quick church goers are to point out the sins of others, but how slow we are to point out our own... especially things like pride.  Or gossip.  And I totally agree.  Every sin is bad and no certain one is worse.  Spreading a little rumor about someone at work is just as bad as being promiscuous.  It should be our goal to do none of those bad things!

After church we came home, made some lunch, then I set to doing homework for a while.  And some cleaning.  Our kitchen was getting pretty gross, so I did some dishes.  Kimmy cleaned our dining and entry room, so they look nice now!

We started compiling a list of meals that we've made, so we're hoping to start adding recipes to my food blog again.  We'll see if it actually happens.

Richard and Jessie came over for dinner, so I made corn chowder!  They liked it.  After dinner I made some hot apple cider and we talked for a while.  Then they went home and I studied some more.  I studied until my brain kinda felt like mush and I couldn't really keep any more information coming in.  I'm going to do some more review tomorrow morning before the test... and I hope it's enough!  We shall see.

And here are some pictures of kittens!

Beans didn't want me to use my computer, it seems.

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


Day 502

Oh goodness, what a day it has been.

Things started early, especially since it's Saturday.  We got up around 8, got some breakfast, then prepared for our road trip.  My friend Michelle got married today in Cincinnati and we went to the wedding.  But first we had to stop at the farmer's market to get corn.  However, it appears that corn is no longer in season because there were no corn vendors.  :(  

To make up for the lack of corn, here is a new picture of Beans!
I still get their names mixed up....

So we got dressed up all pretty and then went to Cincinnati.  The trip was fine... with the minor part where I forgot/lost my car charger for my phone, so using the GPS for 3 hours pretty well killed it.  Oh well!

The wedding was nice.  I briefly talked with a couple people that I knew from high school, but I didn't really know too many people.  But that's ok, it was still fun.  The food was really good.  And they had a mashed potato bar!  That was really good.  There was a big vat of mashed potatoes and then some different toppings to put on them!  Such a good idea.  There was a live band playing music, so Kimmy and I had a dance when a good swing song came on.  We had fun :)

Nothing really exciting happened on the way home.  We just... drove.  When we got back we got some dinner, then made a quick trip to the store to pick up the corn that we could not get this morning.  Then I caught up on some emails from the past day and did some homework.

And now it's time to go to bed.  The next two days will consist of a lot of financial economics... for I have a test on Monday.  Good night!

Day 501

More things happened today!

I spent the majority of the morning doing some grading, preparation for my interview, and other things around the house.  Kimmy had to work early, so we had some breakfast then I did my things.

Also our kitty is silly.

And kinda cute.  Ok, actually he's really cute.  He's pretty confused by our glass-top table.

So after I did all of the productive things I left for my interview.  It probably would have been beneficial for me to have driven and paid a few dollars to park in the parking garage... but I didn't.  It was raining really hard.  But I made it in plenty of time.  I was just pretty wet.

I thought that the interview went well.  I felt like I had good answers to his questions and we seemed to really connect.  So I guess I'll find out in a few weeks!

As I was leaving my interview I realized that my pants did not match my jacket.... and I felt silly.  They were both grey, but my pants were not ones that came with my jacket.  Oh well!  It was too late when I discovered it.

In class we talked about the stock market and how all of the buying and trading works.  It's interesting because most of the people in the stock exchange don't necessarily understand specifically why the numbers move the way they do... like the formulas that control them and such.  The traders and investors know how to predict that the market will move, but have no concept of the formulas used to calculate everything.  That's the job of the actuary.  So it's neat to learn about all of this behind-the-scenes work.

When I got home we made some dinner: pot pies!  They were pretty tasty.  After dinner we went grocery shopping.  It felt really weird to go on a Friday night, but we're going to a wedding tomorrow so we had to do it now.  So off we went.  Aldi was carrying some seasonal food (and we had a particularly small grocery list this time) so we got a few things.  Like apple butter, spice cider, and pumpkin bagels!

After we got back I did some grading for a while.  Tomorrow and Sunday will be devoted to lots of studying... woohoo!  But such is life.

I have an early day tomorrow, so I'm off to bed.  Good night!


Day 500

Well hey, what a landmark day.  Number 500!

So to celebrate this day, I taught a lesson!  More specifically, we did review.  I thought it went well.  Decently well, anyhow.  We had to go pretty fast, but I got through all of the terms we'd learned and even had time to do a few examples.  After class a couple students came by my office to ask some questions, so hopefully they're feeling better about the material.

My test today went well.  After talking with Timbo later on in the evening, he informed me that we'd both missed a problem.  Apparently the standardized coefficient of a constant is zero.  Who knew?

When I got home from school Kimmy and I went for an adventure.  She'd gone to acquire some necessary equipment for our upcoming acquisition of kittens, so we decided "hey... let's just go now!"  So we went to a couple different places before ending up at Pet Smart.  Apparently Pet Smart works with the local animal shelter and bring in cats from the shelter!  So after a very long time.... we have kitties!

Beans is the orange one, Bacon is the brown/grey one.  They are silly.  Bacon was helping me put the dishes away.

I also went to a presentation by State Farm today, then I signed up for an interview with them tomorrow.  The presentation was good and they talked about some really cool things, so we'll see how the interview goes!

When I got back from that...well... there were kitties that needed some loving.  And apparently they really like climbing on me.  So this will be an adventure.

Anyhow.  It's time for bed.  Good night!


Day 499

Hi friends.

I got up early this morning to do some preparation for my interview.  I was especially tired this morning, but I needed to do some preparing before the interview.  So up I got.  When I was done I had breakfast with Kimmy.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I really like eggs.  And I really like oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins.  So basically every morning I get to have an amazing breakfast.  It's pretty fantastic.  After breakfast and things Kimmy took me to my interview.

It went fine.  The questions were a bit different than the ones that people normally ask, so I hope that I gave good answers.  I'm coming to realize that the person who interviews and the questions they ask are incredibly correlated with how I do in that interview.  So we'll see!

Kimmy picked me up after my interview as well!  She dropped me off, then she had to go to work.  So I spent the rest of the morning studying for my test tomorrow and filling out a survey/questionnaire for the Progressive job I application I filled out a couple days ago.  If I pass this survey (I should hear back in a couple of days) then I guess I move on to the next round?  I'm only minimally hopeful, since I have yet to hear from an actual human being.  At this point I have to assume that it's largely been automated.  But we'll see!

So then I went to class.  I don't usually give too many details on class because I can't imagine too many people being especially interested in it.  And some of the detailed math needs a very very thorough explanation for it to make sense.  But class was fine, I suppose.

When I got back home I talked with Kimmy, then we had some dinner.  After we finished eating I studied for a while longer.  I'm feeling pretty confident... I know all of the formulas he wants us to know and can use them.  So I guess... that's about all I can do!

So now I'm off to bed.  Good night everyone!


Day 498

Today started early... they always seem to do that.

I was pretty excited to teach the lesson today.  A few of the chapters get into topics that are in my field of study, so I really like teaching those.  There was a lot of material to cover, but we were able to get through it.  I think they understood it all, but I don't get a lot of feedback in that class.  We're doing review on Thursday so hopefully I can go over everything again with them.

After class I worked on an assignment with Timbo.  It took us a while to get a handle on how to set the problem up, but once we'd figured it out (and paid Dr. Foley a visit) it didn't take much time at all.

I ate a quick lunch after we'd finished the assignment, then I had class.  We did a little review for the test on Thursday, then went over new material.  I think that with some more studying, I will be well prepared for the exam.

When I got home I talked with Kimmy for a bit, then we had dinner.  We ate pretty early, but we were both really hungry.  After dinner Kimmy cleaned our shower because it was really gross.  And now it looks so much better now!

I went to a company presentation tonight.  It was pretty good.  Both of the presenters are recent Ball State graduates and I will be interviewing with one of them tomorrow.

After the presentation I talked with a few other students about putting on another seminar-thing for freshmen actuarial science students.  We're hoping to put on three of these events to help freshmen get into the mindset of being a future actuary.  So our next seminar is going to be a panel discussion with some older students and (hopefully) one of our professors.  That should be good.

When I got home I did a little bit of work for my class... and now I'm going to bed.  I have to get up early for my interview tomorrow.  So.  Good night!


Day 497

I was pretty tired when I woke up this morning.  I guess I went to bed somewhat late last night.  After I got up I got breakfast and started doing some studying.  I did that for a couple of hours, then Kimmy and I had some lunch.  About ten minutes before I was going to leave for class I got an email from Dr. Foley saying that class was canceled.  So I took advantage of that time and did some more studying for my Regression test on Thursday.

When I got to my class with Mr. Owens he reminded me that I will be teaching a class for him in a couple of weeks.  I remember talking with him about two weeks ago... and at that time I had asked him to remind me because I would definitely forget.  So I'm teaching his Math of Finance class while he is out of town.  He also moved our test back from Friday to a week from today.  Thankfully.  My week just got a lot less stressed.  I still have plenty to do this week, but it just got better.

Kimmy was mostly done making dinner when I got home!  Since we went through the lasagna so quickly last week, we decided to make another one.  I had browned the meat earlier in the day, so she was nearly finished making it when I got home.  I did some more studying while we waited for dinner to be ready.  Then we ate really tasty lasagna!

After dinner I did some grading. I even convinced Kimmy to help me.  Actually, she volunteered.  But the help was certainly appreciated.  So we graded for a while, then when I was tired of that I worked on my lesson plan for tomorrow.  I also came up with a project for them to do... and hopefully this goes well.  I'm going to give them the option of doing it in Excel, but I don't know how well they know Excel.  I'm guessing not well at all.  But we'll see!

So I'm gonna go to bed now.  I have plenty more work to do tomorrow... yay!  Good night.

Day 496

You know, some days just don't go quite like you planned.  It's not necessarily a bad thing... just a thing that happens.

Today was one of those days.

So I got up a little late, blogged, and showered.  Then Kimmy and I had some breakfast and went to church.  Today we had a guest speaker from Olivet Nazarene University.  I thought he did a really good job talking about the Kingdom of Heaven.  My favorite line was (in reference to the parable of the farmer sowing seeds) that "God is a pretty bad farmer... but he's a really great God."  It was funny but also very true.  God's not looking to optimize his investment/profit ratio... he's just looking to send his message everywhere.

After church we went to lunch with Jessie and Richard at Greek's pizza.  Kimmy had never eaten there before, so we decided that it was about time we went!  It was good and we had fun.

When we got home we did some laundry, then I spent some time applying to a few jobs.  It was SO fun!  It wasn't, actually.  But maybe I'll get somewhere with it.

We made penne carbonara for dinner.  It turned out well, but the sauce was a little thin.  So I think that next time I want to add some flour to thicken it up a bit.

After dinner I finished up some homework for tomorrow.  Then I decided to be done for the night.  It's going to be a long weekend so I wanted to take an easy day before going back at it.

Well.  I'm tired, so I'm off to bed.  Night!