Day 556

I was pretty tired last night and didn't feel like writing.  So here it is now.

Yesterday consisted of primarily three things: teaching, studying, and thinking about studying.

Teaching went well, I thought.  I explained the principles I use for budgeting, how I categorize things, and some basic guidelines for how much you should spend of certain things with respect to your income (e.g. you should spend 25% or less of your income on housing).  I thought it went reasonably well, but I know that most of them were still bored.  Oh well.  My homework for the class was a short case-study about someone's budgeting... basically giving their work details and then I asked the students to budget his paychecks.  One of my students came up to me after class and asked if someone was wrong with the problem because there wasn't enough money to budget for all of the expenses.  I just looked at her, smiled, and said "yes... that's usually how it works."

After class I studied in my office for a few hours.  Then I went to my afternoon class.... and came home and studied some more.  I made meatloaf for dinner, then after Kimmy went to work I studied some more.  After I'd finally finished working through all of the problems I took a break for a while. Then I finished up my Excel project and sent it off to Mr. Owens.

So now I'm going to go study some more! Yay!


Day 555

So hey, today is number 555.  That's pretty neat.

This semester needs to be over now.  The days are getting longer, I'm getting more tired, and I just don't want to do anything.

This morning after I got ready I met Timbo in the computer lab to work on some homework assignments.  We got one of them done pretty quickly, but the other turned out to be pretty challenging.  I don't know that it actually can be done.  But more on that later.

So class.  Dr. Foley announced that we'll be having an in-class quiz on Friday... so we were all pretty excited about that.  Hopefully I have time to study for it, as I also have an exam on Friday.  Oh goodness, there just is never enough time, is there?

I tried to finish the assignment for Dr. Foley's class, but I'm fairly certain at least one of the problems cannot be solved.  Some of my classmates and I have tried a few different ways and I we get Mathematica to calculate an answer.  Woo.

When I got home I studied for a while.  Kimmy made us dinner and it was really good.  She's awesome.  After dinner I studied some more and wrote my lesson plan for tomorrow.  Tomorrow is going to be pretty hit or miss.  I'm going to be talking about budgeting and, personally, I'm pretty excited.  But either we'll finish the material quickly or it will take the entire class period.  Hopefully the second.

So yeah.  I worked on stuff for a while.  Then I stopped because my brain hurt.  And now I'm going to bed.  Night!


Day 554

Oh wow... so much happened today.

This morning I taught.  The lesson went well, reasonably well at least.  After class I had a small handful of emails to send and reply to.  Then I did some grade analysis and determined that I'm not concerned with people's grades.  I did an average of each test and chapter project (excluding all instances where people did not do a test or project), and found that the average score for each chapter was between a 74% and an 86%.  The department's general rule is that the average should be above a 70%, so I was pleased.

After my office hours I walked around outside for a bit, then did some studying for my test on Friday.  Oh, it's going to be fun.  I have so much to do in the next few days.  But one day at a time.

Then I went to class where I found out that a) I have an assignment due on Thursday, b) he handed out another assignment due next Tuesday, and c) he handed out a take-home exam due next Tuesday.  So much happiness.

After class I went to go talk with Mr. Owens for a little bit about my project.  It's 99.8% done, I just need to do one final thing.

Then I met up with some of the other actuarial science students and we went down to Indianapolis area for the Indiana Actuarial Club meeting.  Every fall the Indiana Actuarial Club has a meeting that is designed with students in mind.  Normally the club is populated by working actuaries, but they want to get the students involved... so some of us went down there with one of our professors.  The meeting was fine.  I talked with some students from Indiana University about their program.  It was cool, I guess.  It was a room full of 150 introverted people trying to socialize.  So that happened.  But we all made it, had some food, and listened to a pretty good presentation about what to expect as an up-and-coming actuary who will soon be entering the work force.  And she confirmed my suspicion that most likely, my first few months will largely be updating spreadsheets and checking for errors.  And reading.  But I actually find that comforting in that I won't feel too overwhelmed.  I guess we'll see what happens in a few months!

I got back around 9:45 and finally got home at 10.  I was happy to be back.  It was a long day and I was tired.

And now I'm going to bed.  Night!


Day 553

Well, back to school we go.  Just three more weeks... and then I get to start studying for MFE!

I started the morning off with a few hours of homework and studying.  I really don't mind starting my day off that way... it helps me stay motivated and productive throughout the day.  Then I got some lunch and went to class.

Classes were fine.  During Dr. Foley's class we started talking about simulation, which is essentially an experimental way of generating probabilities and statistics (instead of just using theory).  It's pretty interesting stuff, so I'm excited to see what we talk about.

During the classic Atrium time we had a nice little discussion about the 90s... and how I'm really not too fond of them.  Most of my friends think I'm nuts, but really I felt like the 90s culture was just unimportant, I guess.  Obviously this is a biased view because I was a child and wasn't raised by a TV (like most of my friends were, it seems), but my perceptions of 90s culture is that they were trying to keep the crazy trends from the 70s and 80s, but there was no purpose for the trends.  Again, I'm not a sociologist and I wasn't even alive during those times.  But during the civil rights movement people did crazy things to give a recognizable attribute to an idea... much like highlighting something you need to remember.  The 90s tried to modernize the proverbial highlighter... and then highlighted something mundane, like the page numbers.  The economy was good, so I guess people were celebrating by becoming more materially oriented.  It just seems that the things in 90s media are just trying to get excited but there's no real focus for the excitement.  That's just my un-educated perspective.  And 90s fashion was bad.  

Look me in the eye and say these were a good idea:

My soul just hurts now after looking at these.

Anyhow.  When I got back from class I got some food, then went back to studying.  I wrote up some formulas that I need for my next test and emailed them to my friends in the class.  I was pretty excited when I learned some shortcuts (actually, I lot of shortcuts) for using Microsoft Word's Equation Editor.  It's so much easier than having to click on every individual button to do things.

So yeah.  I studied for a while, did some dishes, did more dishes... then Kimmy came home from work!  And life was good again.  We celebrated by eating ice cream.

And now I'm going to bed.  Cheerio!


Day 552

This morning began with the usual breakfast and such.  I was so excited because my eggs finally flipped all nice and neat... but they got too cooked in the process and were not runny at all.  Yarg.  I'm going to get it one of these days... maybe.

I realized as I had begun doing some work this morning that church startede at 10:30 today, not 11.  Obviously I realized this at about 10:30 and neither Kimmy nor I were ready to go.  So church didn't happen today.  I did get a lot of good work done this afternoon though, so that was good.  Mostly I worked on homework.

For dinner, Kimmy and I tried something new: Manicotti!  We tried to combine two different recipes because I liked the stuffing from one but the ability to not pre-cook the noodles from the second.  They turned out decently, but a little over-cooked.

As Dr. Whitaker pointed out when we went to Mount Vernon... nearly all of my photos are of cats or food.  True.  But let's be honest... what else do we need in pictures?  If I didn't take pictures of my food, how would you know what I was eating?  I mean seriously.  I'm certain that it's a constant question for everyone: "What did Joel eat today?  And how did it turn out?"  Well, world... here is your answer!

Kimmy and I finished our movie from the other night, then I did some lesson planning and a little more homework.  It was a productive day, and now I think I'm going to go to bed.  For I am tired.

So.  Good night.


Day 551

Today felt like a Sunday and it really confused me.  All day I kept thinking "man... I have class tomorrow."  But I don't!  So yay.

I spent my morning on campus, doing some work and printing stuff off.  It was pretty uneventful.  After I got back Kimmy and I had lunch, then went grocery shopping.  It was a success, I believe.

After shopping, we spent an hour or two cleaning up around the house in preparation for our new seasonal addition:

Christmas tree!  (S)he does not yet have a name.  I'll keep you updated.  It was an adventure to get it in, but we finally wrestled it into place... There are pine needles all over Kimmy's car, but we managed to get it home.  And obviously Beans and Bacon were an immense help.  

I made some ham with apple butter and brown sugar glaze for dinner... it was really good.  So after we ate Kimmy finished making the tree all pretty!

While she was doing that I graded.  It was oodles of fun.  Then I did some preparation for my lesson tomorrow.  Overall it was a pretty productive day.  And then tomorrow is going to be a homework day.  Woohoo.



Day 550

Well, yesterday was quite exciting for some of us in this household.  To clarify, that "some of us" is Kimmy.  She had to be at work at 4 am yesterday morning to work at Macy's.  She was not particularly thrilled, but she was a trooper and did it anyway.

So my story of the day is that, like reasonable people who don't have to work on Black Friday, I slept and avoided the crazy people.  We used to go out to brave the nonsense when I was younger, but at this stage of my life I don't really need anything that is on sale nor do I have the money to buy it.  Around 10 I did go out to look for a new keyboard, as my current one is near death.  But I didn't find any that I liked for a reasonable price, so I just ordered one online.

Then I went to school and printed off some things off.  I'm planning on going back today because the printer I was using ran out of ink.  I also made a study schedule, starting the Monday after finals.  Yep, it's going to be AWESOME!  Actually... truth be told, I'm somewhat excited to start studying.  It's really strange, but I think that the anticipation and knowing that I'm going to start studying soon (but haven't started yet) is starting to get to me.

So then I got some lunch and Kimmy came home from work.  She got some food, then went to bed.  She needed it.  I just did some stuff around the house.  Then I made soup for dinner.

After dinner I finally finished grading.  It was a bit painful.  I think I'm going to offer a chance for them to make up some points because there was one section where nearly everyone did poorly.  But we'll see.... I need to put the grades in and look at the statistics before just blindly determining that I should give out extra credit.

Ok.  That's about all from me.  Bye!


Day 549

Two day update.


Kimmy had to work in the morning, so I did some cleaning and packing.  Then after she got back we finished packing and set off to Butler, OH.  The Pagano family met there for Thanksgiving.

The drive was pretty uneventful, which is good.  Um...yeah, I don't remember too much about the actual trip.  When we got there we had dinner with mom, dad, Aunt Shasta and Aunt Terri.  Then after dinner we went outside to make a fire!  It was kinda tricky since the wood was damp, but we made it happen.
After the fire we played a game of Farkle, then went to bed.


Thanksgiving!  It was fun.  I got to sleep in, then help get stuff done after I got up.  Everyone else started arriving around 11.  Oh!  I got to help move some more furniture.  It was so much fun.  We ate at.... about 1, I think.  The food was awesome, obviously.  After we finished eating we all just sat around and talked and meandered aimlessly about. Usually at Thanksgiving I eat and talk with Nick and Colton, so we continued the tradition.  Later on we sat with Harley and Justice for a while and talked about life and things.  I enjoy catching up with everyone.

Kimmy and I left around 6 because Kimmy had to work at 4 this morning.  Ew.  So she slept most of the way home.  

I also came to a realization while driving home: I don't really like discussing how people feel about certain topics.  I absolutely love talking about how people think about different topics, but not how they feel.  See, when people think long and hard about something (just as an example we'll use the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington) it means that your opinion is generally based on some amount of logical thought, research, and possibly discussion.  The key here is discussion.    When you think about something, you are willing to carrying on a dialogue with other people and cultivate your beliefs.  So in our example, suppose you initially agree with the legalization, but after some discussion and research you come to doubt your original beliefs.  Progress has been made because you are willing to discuss and change your opinion based on new information.  But when someone just feels a certain way about a topic, that person is rarely interested in actually discussing that thing.  The real interest is just in telling you what his/her opinion is... not in coming to a new resolution.  I have this issue (generally) when discussing religion and politics.  People feel very strongly in those areas, but it is rare that people think strongly in those areas.  Not to suggest that people are stupid when they have religious or political opinions, but people rarely want a fair, two-sided discussion.  Most people that I have talked to about religion or politics simply want a chance to filibuster their ideas and (presumably) change your mind.  But if everyone just feels about things... no one will change their mind.  If everyone thought about things, not only would we have true dialogue, but we would all be willing to change our opinions.  And this is a good thing.  Changing your opinion is a fantastic, wonderful thing that happens when you admit that you don't know everything, but you wish to learn more.  It's a very difficult transition to go from having a hard, fast belief to just... letting go, accepting that everyone has some good (and bad ideas) that we should listen to, and that maybe our ideas aren't so good and need reformation.

Anyhow, that's just my thought of the day.  Now I'm going to go brave the Black Friday traffic.  My keyboard is dying, so I need to go get a new one.  Cheers!

Day 548


Day 547

Well, yesterday began with a bit of a surprise.  Everything went better than expected, but it was still a surprise.  I was about to start my lecture when in walks Dr. Imon, the current head of the Math department Graduate Assistants.  Every semester the GA instructors get evaluated by their faculty mentor twice and the department head once.  But I thought my lesson went really well, so that's good.  In fact, it may have been one of the best lessons so far.  I even gave them a 5-minute explanation on how the stock market works.

After class I went to my office and graded for a couple hours.  I got 2/3 of it done, so that was a good start.  After some lunch (and more grading) I went to class.  I had a really hard time paying attention today and I'm not sure why.  It just seemed to be one of those days where you notice everything.  Every noise, every weird itch, they way the elastic in your socks is touching skin, the single arm hair getting caught and gently tugged in my watch band... there were just so many things.

When I got home I just bummed around for a little bit until Kimmy got home. We made a quick trip to the store, then made dinner.  After dinner I did some grading and Kimmy made a cheesecake.  For some reason the middle of her cheesecake didn't cook... she was pretty bummed about that.  So we tried to recover it.  I'm pretty confident that it's OK now.  This is the second time this week that we've made something and the middle didn't cook.  And it's really confusing because we've made both of those things before and they turned out perfectly the first time.  So I'm not sure what's going on.

So that's out story.  We have another long day ahead of us today, so fare thee well!


Day 546

Alright, exciting day!

I was so close to making really good eggs over easy today.  So very close.  But when I went to flip them, one of the eggs broke.  Gah!  I think I just need to start using two spatulas or something.  This is getting silly.  I mean, it's been almost a full week and I haven't mastered eggs-over-easy?  Nonsense.  I'll have to go back to oatmeal and get my self confidence up again.

I got on campus a bit early to work on some homework.  I worked with Timbo and the assignment only took us maybe an hour or so?  It wasn't too bad at all.

Let's see... in between classes I went to go talk with one of the math professors about taking an elective.  The class is called Operations Research, and it's basically looking at various topics (like route-making, scheduling, etc.) and mathematically analyzing systems of linear equations in search of optimal routes.  It sounds really interesting and I would like to take it, but as I told the professor, I don't want to jeopardize MFE for a class that is not required to graduate.  But on the other hand... it sounds really fun.  I know one of the students who took it last year, so I'm going to ask him if I see him soon.

Also in between classes I ran into Mr. Owens (figuratively).  I showed him my Excel project and he seemed to really like it.  Part of my reasoning for probably putting way too much time into it was (besides the fact that I was having way too much fun with it) that some companies like to see a sample of your work, and I figured this would be really good to send them if anyone ever asked.

After class I came home.  It was actually really nice outside today.  We weren't super hungry, so I spent some time writing and replying to emails.  Then we made tacos for dinner!  They were really good.  After dinner I caught up on some more emails.  I also took a look at some documents Mr. Owens sent me.

Tomorrow is going to be a pretty fully day, I think.  After I'm done teaching I have a lot of grading to do, so I'll be taking that with me to school tomorrow. Woo!  Good night for now!


Day 545

Here are more things for everyone to read!

So.... this morning.  It was pretty normal.  I got up, ate, and went to church.  For some reason I had a headache all morning.  Part of me thinks it was a late side-effect of not having coffee yesterday and the other part thinks I just haven't been drinking enough water.  Either way, it was kinda bothersome all morning.

After church we went to Arby's for lunch.  I have a love/hate relationship with Arby's: it's possibly my favorite fast-food restaurant, but the food never sets well in my stomach.  Oh, the trials of life.

When I got home I started on some homework.  Actually, first I finished my lesson for Tuesday (which I'm still really excited about) and then I worked on homework.  I'm going to be doing lots of reading and studying over break.  And grading... I have a lot of that to do as well.  Oh, this break is going to be wonderful!

During dinner Kimmy and I watched a TV show that was pretty interesting.  It's Sherlock Holmes set in modern times.  Then... it was back to homework.

So here's an interesting mishap.  Kimmy made some pumpkin bread a couple days ago (it's really really good) but didn't use all of the dough.  So she finished it up tonight.  However, there was more dough than there was in the last loaf.  Since we only have one pan sufficient for making bread it was hard to estimate how much was half.  So after she made it she brought it to show me... and the outside was cooked, but the inside was still completely uncooked.  We started peeling (and eating) the top layer off so that she could cook the inside part.  And oh man... it was so good.  Some of the uncooked dough had gotten onto the cooked parts of the bread and it was SO amazing. If I get sick from eating something with partially cooked egg in it, it will be totally worth it.  Oh wow, it was amazing.

That's about it for today.  Check back tomorrow for... well, most likely something kinda mediocre.  But possibly something exciting!

Day 544

Yesterday was my recoup/relax day.  It was so fantastic.

After Kimmy and I got up, we went grocery shopping.  Actually, first we determined what we're going to eat this week, then we went shopping.  When we got back we had a little food, then Kimmy had to go to work.

I spent the first part of the afternoon budgeting.  It took way longer than normal because apparently sometime earlier in the month I'd accidentally entered twice.  That took me way too long to find, but I eventually got it.

When I was done there, I worked on scanning some receipts for the reimbursement form I got from Towers Watson for my trip.  I'm planning on getting everything sent to them tomorrow... that would be best.

So after I was done being all productive, I did stuff on my computer for a while.  Then I just alternated between that and cleaning for the rest of the afternoon.

I met with some friends for dinner for Kathryn's birthday.  Kimmy couldn't join because she had to work... Harumph.  It was a lot of fun.  After dinner I went to the store to get a couple things we forgot when we went grocery shopping.

After I got home I pretty much continued on my afternoon: computer/cleaning.  I have plenty of things to get done today, but it was great to just take a solid day off.

Kimmy got home around 10:30, so we sat and talked for a while, got some food and such.  Then it was bed time.  Thus concludes our successful Saturday.


Day 543

Yesterday was absolutely crazy.  So here we go.

I got up early, got ready and such, then went down to the in-hotel Starbucks for breakfast.  While down there I did some last minute prep for my interviews, wrote down some notes and questions to ask, and (because I've heard some companies will ask this at an interview) made sure I knew the current stock price.

Since I think I forgot to mention it earlier, I was in Cleveland for a second interview with Towers Watson.  They do "actuarial consulting."  The shortened explanation of this is is that some companies need problems solved but don't have the manpower/tools/money/knowledge/etc. to solve them.  So they hire out a consultant.  Since specific location of Towers Watson (there are many all over the world) deals with health and group benefits.

I made sure I had plenty of time before my interview, so I spent probably 15 minutes just walking around the block near the building.  It was very nice outside.  I got to the office suite a bit early, so I just sat down and talked with the receptionist.  Apparently Cleveland got hit reasonably hard by hurricane Sandy (considering how far away it is from the coast).  Then another lady came by, asked where I was from, and after telling her that I'm originally from Findlay she got excited and asked if I'd ever had Myles pizza.  So we talked about how glorious Myles pizza is and I informed them of the glory that is Myles Dairy Queen.

So after everyone was ready I started my rounds of interviews.  I had four interviews, then a lunch interview.  The first four were with different people of various levels within the company.  I talked with an actuarial consultant (someone mostly deals with clients), an actuarial manager (more of a project manager of sorts), and then two other higher level actuaries.  I thought that they all went reasonably well.  Hindsight is always (always) perfect, so afterwards I thought of some answers that were better than what I'd said... but I'm reasonably pleased with how things went.  After the formal interviews I had lunch two of their younger actuaries... I'd say they were both between 25 and 30.  It was very informal and we had a good time.

When everything was over I had one last session with the first person I interviewed with to see if I had any questions.  I guess they've interviews two other people, so it's just a matter of decided which of us they hire!  I should be hearing back either by Tuesday or sometime the following week (because of Thanksgiving and all).

So then I came home.  Or... I tried... but apparently Google Maps decided to take me on the longest possible route back.  For some reason it didn't want to just take me back the way I came?  So it had me go through downtown Columbus during rush hour?  I was pretty upset.  But I eventually made it home.  I was quite ready to be back.

Ok.  That's all for now.  


Day 452

Goodness, today was a long day.

It started early.  I gave a test at 9:30 and.... I don't think my students were too amused by it.  From a very brief look they seemed to do fine but I need to actually grade it this weekend.

After the test I went to my office and started writing up the lesson for next week.  Since I'm just doing my own thing I have a lot more work ahead of me.  But I have most of the first lectured typed out and I'm actually really excited about it.  I get to use my own area of expertise and study as a basis.  So hopefully it goes well!  I'm going to have Kimmy read over it for me when I'm done to make sure that it is understandable.

When I got home I had lunch with Kimmy, then I got ready to leave for my trip.  The drive was pretty uneventful.  It was just very long.  Yeah, things were pretty slow until I got to Cleveland.  It wasn't too bad, but for some reason there were a lot of police officers directing traffic.  I'm still not too sure why they were doing that.  But oh well!  I got to my hotel just fine and got checked in.  They even gave me cookies!  Two of them!

After I got checked in I went to go get dinner with my friend Derrick.  We graduated from Mount Vernon together and he's working up here in Cleveland. So I met him at his apartment and we went to a...grilled cheese restaurant.  Well, not just grilled cheese.  Sort of a "grilled sandwich" restaurant.  And it was so good.  I had a sandwich that was basically Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cheese... Oh man, it was good.  Afterwards we went back to his apartment and just talked about all of the important things in life.  Like video games and what types of couches we like and how awesome it feels to sit in a hard chair after sitting in something really cushion-y for a long time.  Yes, he and I both agree that after sitting in a car or in an office chair for a long time, sitting on a hard chair feels SO good.

And now I'm back.  I'm way tired and I need to get up early to make sure I'm prepared for my interview, so I'm going to bed now.  Good night!


Day 541

I believe that I have a new challenge ahead of me.  My attempts to make good eggs-over-easy were not especially productive today.  I think that I either need to use a large skillet or work on flipping the eggs better.  Today the yolks broke because... well it was early and I'm not super coordinated first thing in the morning.  Since I use a small skillet all of the egg whites run together and I have to flip over a mass of eggs.  I'm sure that using a large skillet (large enough to not have the eggs touching each other) would solve the issue, but since we don't have many skillets that would work, I usually resolve to using small skillets.  I think that tomorrow morning I'll try using a large skillet and see how that works.

I spent a couple hours later in the morning working on an assignment with Timbo for our Regression class.  Then we spent some time looking at different classes that are being offered this spring.  Right now I'm only taking two classes (and studying for exam MFE!), but I may take a third one.  There is an "Introduction to Operations Research" class that looks really interesting... but I don't know how much time it would take each week.  I'm going to email the professor and see if I can get a feel for it.  I just don't want to jeopardize my exam because I decided to take a class that I don't need.  It just sounds so cool!

After class I came home and Kimmy and I made dinner.  There was a recipe in our cookbook for roasting a whole chicken... but we thought that seemed silly, so I just used the sauce from the recipe and cooked chicken breasts in it.  It was really good.

So then I relaxed for a while.  I don't have anything immediately due, so I just took some time to relax before my trip tomorrow.  Later on I did some packing and put some info together.

And now I'm off to bed.  Good night!


Day 540

I knew that today was going to be a good one the moment I walked into class.  Everyday I write the date, day of the week, and daily agenda on the board.  After doing this I go to get my notes in order and one of the guys in the back says "I don't want to be that guy... but it's not Thursday."

Ladies and gents, today was wonderful.

Actually, today wasn't too bad.  After class was over I went to my office and studied for a while, mostly just reading through the book and working through problems.  It's starting to make more sense, but it's still going to take lots of practice to make sure that I really get it.

I decided today that when I teach my last chapter (on personal finance) I'm going to deviate from the book and just teach my own thing.  It's one of the topics that I feel pretty strongly about and I think my ideas are more relevant.  Instead of talking about mortgage amortization and buying a home, I'm going to focus more on debt, loans, saving, and budgeting.  We'll see how it goes.

When I got home I started working on writing a test.  I have a pretty busy next couple of days, so I wanted to get an early start.  "Early" meaning "not tomorrow night right before I go to bed."

So I worked on the test for a while.  I'm having a hard time coming up with enough good questions, so... we'll see where this goes.

Tomorrow is going to be pretty full with studying and classes and work... so I'm off to bed.  Good night!

Day 539

Well hello again.

So I've discovered something that may be replacing my omelettes for a while: eggs over-easy and toast.  Actually, they usually end up being over-medium, but it's still really good.  Like... BUCKETS of awesome.

After my standard routine, I worked on homework for the rest of the morning. I'm getting a better feel for the material, but I'm going to read through the chapter some more to make sure that I really get it.

I got a test back from last week and I did well on it, so I was happy.  Dr. Foley also said that I did well when he came to watch me teach, so that's good.

In my other class, we tried to make some more progress, but the material is proving to be a much larger challenge than Mr. Owens had anticipated, so we may end up spending longer.  I do really appreciate that he's more concerned with making sure we understand these difficult concepts instead of just pushing through for the sake of finishing the book.

After I came home I made a pot pie for dinner.  I think that the recipe in our book just doesn't make enough.  So I might try to double the recipe next time or something.  Essentially it's just a Shepard's pie with croissant top instead of mashed potatoes.  But I think that with mashed potatoes it's easier to just pile more and more on top.  Oh well.  It still tasted good.

After dinner I had a lot of work to do.  Lesson planning for tomorrow, working on the excel project, grading... that was pretty much the rest of my evening.  I took a couple short breaks, but I had a pretty full evening.  My excel project is done, and I think it's pretty cool.  

Well, I have to teach in the morning so I'm off to bed.  Good night!


Day 538


How was that for an exciting start?

I had a bit of a slow start to the day.  It was nice to get plenty of rest, but driving so much just took it out of me, it seems.  But eventually I was able to get moving enough to get some food and shower, then Kimmy and I went off to church.

Pastor Mark talked about an interesting point today.  He's been discussing being bold for the past couple of weeks.  And he made that point that some people are too politically correct and too worried about being offensive... but that we shouldn't let anything stop us from speaking the the gospel.  While I don't disagree, I also don't believe it's that simple.  God is a very touchy subject to a lot of people and, while I don't suggest anything be sugar-coated, I also don't think it's the best idea to simply jump into the world and start shouting on the street corner.  It's very easy to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, resulting in people being unwilling to listen again.  As with any area of life, I think it's very important to understand the people around you and your environment, then speak at the appropriate time.  I would hate for someone to stop listening to me or taking me seriously because I seemed pushy or over-the-top.

After church Kimmy and I came home, at lunch, then went grocery shopping.  It was pretty standard.  When we were done I did homework for the rest of the afternoon.  Then we met Jessie and Richard for dinner at Pizza Hut.  It was quite good.

When we got home I finished up homework, then Kimmy and I did some laundry and other chores.  Then I took a break for a while, followed by some preparation for my lesson on Tuesday.

And now I'm off to bed.  Night!


Day 537

Two day update.


Our plan was to leave for Mount Vernon around 8 for homecoming.  We were close... we left around 9:30.  Mornings are hard.

Anyhow, we finally got out of Muncie and headed for Mount Vernon.  The drive was pretty uneventful, which I guess is good.  When we got there we stopped by the Natural/Social science department to talk with some of our professors. Dr. Noonan was very happy for me to have passed the first two actuarial exams.  So we talked for a little bit, but he had to go teach.  Then we talked with one of Kimmy's psychology professors for a few minute.  After that we went over to Academic Support, where Kimmy and I had worked for the majority of our time at school.  Dr. Whitaker (one of my math professors) is now the head of Academic Support.  So he and Deanna (the office coordinator) showed us the new layout of the office and told us about all of the new things they've planned.  It was really exciting.

Then we stopped by the Education department to see if the Shiverdeckers (my professors for some of my education classes) were there.  They had just left, so we hurried out to the parking lot and were able to catch Mrs. Shiverdecker before she left.  So we talked with her for a little bit and caught up on all of the things going on in our lives.

After we'd talked with all of the professors we could find we went to the art building downtown and walked around.  Kimmy showed me one of her pieces of art that's still hanging up.  She said that they'll probably never take it down, which I think is pretty cool.  Except that her name isn't on it anywhere, so that's silly.  In ten years people are going to look at it and have no idea who did it!

So then... we waited around for a while until dinner.  Jared and Kanissa came to Mount Vernon for dinner with us!  We went to Jake's (a semi-local steakhouse).  And eventually Miles and Becky joined us!  So that was fun.  Then we went to go get ice cream with one of my friends from the math department.

After ice cream Kimmy and I went to Butler to stay the night with Aunt Shasta.


I'm running out of time (church is in about an hour) so this will be short-ish.

Aunt Shasta had to work all day, so after Kimmy and I got up we got ready to leave and met Amber for lunch in Mount Vernon.  Some of Jesse and Amber's friends met us there, so we had a nice little gathering of people.  After lunch Kimmy went to go see her old roommate and I went with the rest of the gang to go have a drive around down-town/see the art building.

Once we got back to campus I found Kimmy and Krissi, and then we went to Wal-mart (because what else do you do in Mount Vernon?).  After Kimmy and I dropped Krissi back at school, we went to go get a table for dinner.  Aunt Shasta came up to meet us, along with Amber and Jesse, a few of their friends, and one of Jesse's professors.  Dinner was fun.  Mexican restaurants are loud, but it was a lot of fun.

Then we had our long drive home.  Actually, first we stopped by Findlay to pick up some things.  So we talked with mom and dad for a little bit, but it was getting pretty later (around 10) and we still needed to get back to Muncie.  So after a quick stop for gas and coffee we headed back to Muncie.

Our cats were happy to see us.  They found the paper towels....  They also found Kimmy's cactus.  We still don't know where the cactus is, but it's not in the planter.  So hopefully we find that!

Ok.  That's all for now.

Day 536


Day 535

I'm so glad that today is over.  This marked the third test I've had in less than a week.  Needless to say that I've been pretty busy and stressed over the past week and a half.

My class went decently well this morning.  Dr. Foley came to observe, so I was somewhat nervous for that.  I don't know why.... but we made it.  

After class I studied in my office for a couple hours.  Timbo and Alex came by later and we just quizzed each other on the different formulas and rules we needed to know.  I thought this chapter was really interesting.  My Regression class basically tries to answer this question: does our data fit a straight line? As it turns out, that's a huge questions.  So this chapter in particular dealt with determining whether the data points that are really far away from our line are really that important... and what to do with them.  And there is are a lot of judgement calls and many "rules of thumb" that we have to use.  We can do all sorts of different tests, but it always comes back to how accurate WE want our model to be.  In only a few cases is there a 100% objective determination of whether our model is good enough.

After the test I went to the computer lab and worked on my excel project for a while.  I made some good progress, and I think I have a good idea for how to include some fancy things.

I also proctored an exam for one of my friends, who was off at an interview.  That was pretty straight forward.  I did some theorizing for my project to figure out how the rest of it will work.  Once I get it all working I think it will be pretty cool.

When I got home I took the rest of the night off.  I need a solid break.  So I just got some food, cleaned, played some games, talked with my parents, and relaxed until Kimmy got home.  Then we talked and made a snack.  And by "a snack" I mean "I fried some bacon because it tasted amazing."

And now it's bed time, because I'm tired and sleeping sounds pretty awesome.


Day 534

And we're back to our regularly scheduled blog.

This morning involved some studying for my test tomorrow, along with some preparation for my lesson.  I'm actually kind of excited for my lesson tomorrow... I think it could go really well.

After my first class I went to go talk with Mr. Owens about my project for his class.  We talked for quite some time to ensure that I really understood what he wanted.  He complimented me on my ability to ask good questions.  Unfortunately, there's a chance that I'll have to redo about 90% of the work, unless I can figure out how to do some clever Excel work.  But I'm not going to worry about that until after my test tomorrow.

When I got home I did some grading, then had an early dinner with Kimmy.  She had to work, so I finished preparing my lesson and did some more studying.  Later on Timbo came by and and we went to the library to study for a couple of hours.  Alex met us there, so we all worked on the assignment/studied for a while.  Then we scattered in some discussion of various courses we've taken and frustrating (but not funny) experiences.

Meh.  I'm tired, so I'm going to bed.  I'll talk to you all tomorrow.

Day 533

Well, it's election day.  And since I don't particularly feel like discussing my day (it was pretty standard), I would like to share my stream of ill-informed views on politics with everyone.  And by "ill-informed" I really mean "I don't follow every person's personal agendas."

Here's the thing.  Like all of the elections that I've been old enough to really follow, there have been two candidates that represent the very far reaches of both sides of the spectrum.

And here I sit in the middle.  Neither candidate really had anything super enticing for me.  As one who is about to begin a career soon, you know what I want?  A job.  Not the promise of a job... I don't believe in hoping for anything that a politician promises (I don't like getting my hopes up, you know?).  This is my irrational side speaking, but I'd like to instill a fine for each unfulfilled or broken promise from a politician.  You want the debt (which will never get fixed, by the by) fixed?  Do that.  Charge for lies.  I should be an economist or something.

You know what else I want?  Something to show for my tax dollars.  I don't even care how much I pay in taxes (provided I can actually pay for my expenses), but I want to see the fruits of my taxes.  I understand that there are things that do not have a direct tangible benefit for me (like prisons or welfare) that have a social benefit.  But if you're going to raise taxes for the middle class, I want to get something out of it.

You know what else I want out of a president?  Someone who actually explains to me why I should vote for him, not just someone who bashes the other guy.  Seriously, we're voting for a bunch of 5-year-olds.  PSA to all future presidents: grow up.  Give me facts, not made up statistics about how your opponent poaches wild baboons.  Or whatever.

And while I'm at it, you know what else I want?  Cookies.  About two dozen cookies and a big glass of milk.  So any future presidents out there reading this (which, quite frankly, they should all do... they would learn a lot), take note: if you want to win people over, use the college method: FREE FOOD.  Heck, if some political party sent me a cheesecake on my birthday every year, they'd have a life-long dedicated slave to their regime.

Seriously.  President Obama didn't send me a cheesecake on my birthday.  What a punk.  And neither did President Bush.  These guys have no idea what they're doing.


Day 532

I spent this morning studying for my test this afternoon.  That was pretty much my morning.  After I'd studied for a couple hours I made some lunch, then went to class.

My test went well.  I think I got 100% on it, but there's always a chance that I missed something.  It didn't seem to bad though.  After class I went to go talk with Mr. Owens about the project for his class.  I have a good start to the project, but I think that it will take another two or three times of sitting down and working on it for a couple hours to finish it up.

After class I came home and started doing my lesson prep for tomorrow.  This chapter is on probability... which is kind of my thing.  So I'm doing my best to teach it well and not skip any details.  It's very easy to do a poor job of teaching things you know well.

Kimmy made lasagna for dinner!  It was really good.  She's a much better cook than I am... I think it's because she actually follows the directions.  That just seems silly to me!  Why on earth would I follow the recipe when I can simply fudge it and do my own thing?  Preposterous, I say.

After dinner I finished working on my lesson plan.  I try to use lots of examples in my classes... specifically ones that actually involve class.  I've found that more students pay attention if I use data they give me (e.g. asking 10 people what they're favorite color is and using that information) than if I just make up an example.

So that's my day.  And now it's time for some sleep.  Good night, my readers.

Day 531

It seems that every day I go to bed later and later... but somehow I just don't feel like going to bed.  Everything is infinitely (not really, but largely) more interesting than sleeping.  If I could still function normally without sleeping, I would absolutely do it.  But I need sleep to function and do well in work and school, so I sleep.

Kimmy had to work all day today, so after we got some breakfast she went off to work, then I went to church with Jessie and Richard.  Today's sermon was about praying boldly, not just out of desperation ("well, I did everything else so I guess I'll pray now") or without expecting a response.  And he was right... there's no reason to pray if you aren't expecting results.

After church we went to lunch.  We talked about school and work and the races that Jessie and Richard ran on Saturday.  They both did very well, so I was happy for them.  They're trying to get me to do a race in December... but we'll see how that goes.  If it's after finals then I'll probably do it.  I need some exercise besides walking to class.

When I got home I studied for my test tomorrow.  Mostly I gathered formulas and worked through the practice exam.  Tomorrow I'm going to do the same thing, as well as work through some homework problems.

Kimmy came home for her break around 3.  So she got some food and we talked about her first half of the day. After she went back to work I studied some more, then moved on to grading.  I finished all of the grading!  Well, for this week.  There's always more grading to be done.

For dinner I made hamburgers and chips.  Kimmy and I have been experimenting with making potato chips, so this time I used two ideas that she suggested: use parchment paper (instead of cooking spray) and use the vegetable peeler to slice the potatoes really thin (instead of a knife).

I'd say they turned out well.  And they tasted really good.  So I'm sure we'll be trying this again.  We've just been sprinkling them with garlic salt and cheese, then putting it in the oven for about 20 minutes.  At some point we want to look for some sort of dried cheese powder to put on them, because the cheese tends to melt the chips together.  We'll see.

After dinner I put all the grades on Blackboard, then did some statistics on the grades.  I decided that I wanted to compare the average in the class versus the average if I exclude everyone who did not turn various assignments.  I prefer to do averages that way because I think it gives a truer show of how the class is doing.  Of course the class average on an assignment will be much lower if 25% of them didn't do it.  They're doing fine in the class, regardless of which average I use.  A lot of them struggled on the last test, but they're all still doing fine.  Provided that they actually turn in the assignments....

Ok.  I have a test tomorrow and might try to get a haircut.. but we'll see about that.

Good night.


Day 530

Today started a little bit later than usual... and it felt awesome.  I didn't get up until 9:30!  I was really being a rebel today.

So after some food and things, Kimmy and I went grocery shopping.  And we finally got some canisters for flour and sugar and things!  I'm pretty excited to not just keep those in the original bags.  It was getting pretty annoying.  They had a good deal at Aldi, so we figured it would be a good idea.

After we got home and put the groceries away, I started on some grading.  Kimmy had to work later in the afternoon, so after she left... I kept grading.  After dinner I finished grading and did the dishes.  I finished my super exciting evening with homework!  Tomorrow will pretty much just be a study day.

Oh also!  Here is this picture Kimmy took of Bacon being silly.  He does silly things a lot.

I don't really have too much else to say... except that I'm up way too late and will be going to bed very shortly.  Cheerio!


Day 529

I don't really feel like updating this today, so it's going to be pretty short.

Yesterday morning largely consisted of studying for my exam.  I studied for probably 3 hours before I got some lunch and went to class.  I felt pretty good about the material, for the most part.

First I had Dr. Foley's class.  We did some review for his test on Monday.  Then I went to the atrium and studied for the hour in between classes.  Mostly I just read through formulas again.  I posed a couple questions for the group regarding one of the formulas, as it seemed inconsistent with the general form, but none of us were able to come up with an answer.  So I'll have to ask Mr. Owens on Monday.

Then... the test.  Out of the six questions there was only half of one that I didn't know how to do.  Well, technically I knew how to do it, but I didn't remember the specific formula we were supposed to use.  We were supposed to use an approximation formula to calculate something... so I gave the actual value.  Hopefully I'll get at least a little credit.

When I got back our landlord's son came by to fix our window and garage door.  I'm pretty happy about that.  Then we went to dinner with our friend Sarah.  She used to go to dance camp with us and she attends Ball State.  That was fun.  We were at the restaurant for quite some time, but we were having a good time.  

After dinner Kimmy and I had less of a good time... we spent the next few hours grading.  It was not fun... but it needed to be done.  She was grading tests, I was grading the projects that they turned in on Thursday.  We got about half-way done, so I was happy.  I'm hoping to get everything back to them on Tuesday.

Yeah, that's about it for yesterday.  On to another day of fun-filled grading and studying!


Day 528

I'm still of the opinion that I would enjoy teaching way more if I didn't have my own classes.  And I would enjoy my own classes if I didn't also have to teach.  But both... it takes a lot out of me.  However, seeing that I still have both very strongly present in my life, I continue to do my best.

This morning I began teaching a chapter on probability.  One of the disadvantages to teaching in the morning is that even if everyone understands what I'm saying, I get no kind of feedback.  I realize that this is not a universal sign to speed up or slow down... but I would like some sort of signal.  Even one person to say "hey, we get it... you can move on to the next thing" would be great.  But 98% of the time I get silence.  It's rough.  I enjoy teaching the class, but when so many students are just out of bed it can be pretty challenging.

After class I went up to my office and did some work on the group assignment that I gave them today.  Last year when I taught most of my students seemed to enjoy it, so I'm hoping this group likes it as well.

So then I had my own class this afternoon.  Today we ended our discussion of regression (a way of fitting data onto a line, like in this picture) and began our discussion on time series (a way of viewing data points over a series of time).  The two are very related, but I imagine that the analysis of the two will be significantly different.

When I got home I started studying.  My test tomorrow... well, we'll see how it goes.  So I studied for a while, had dinner with Kimmy, then studied some more.  I took a break to go to a meeting around 7.  Some of the other actuarial science students and I are putting on our second seminar for freshman to help them acclimate into the actuarial world.  There's a lot to handle.  So our next seminar will deal with the exam process (the two governing societies, what the exams cover, what classes you need to take for those exams, when those classes are offered, how to study for the exams, what materials to use), and then have a panel discussion with some of the students as well as professor Owens.  I think it will be a good time.

After I got home I studied for a couple more hours, but then my brain was done for the day.  So I'm off to bed and shall be back at the studying bright and early tomorrow morning.  Night!


Day 527

For some reason it's felt like Tuesday all day today, and I'm not sure why.  I think that the strange timing of my classes really throws me off.  I've always been used to morning classes with work in the afternoons.  But this semester has afternoon classes, work in the mornings, and long gaps in between.  I've developed a good habit of studying and getting work done Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, (usually starting by 8 or 8:30) but it still seems strange to study first before class or work.

So I studied this morning.  For some reason some of the problems I was doing just did not seem to be working out for me.  So after studying for a while I switched over to planning my lesson.  That went significantly more successfully.

After lunch Kimmy drove me to class because it was pretty gross outside.  I think that at some point when I'm feeling motivated (so... not today) I'm going to give a really good explanation about the things we talk about in my class.  Because it's pretty interesting, but it would take a lot of explaining before getting to the things I'm actually learning.

So after my classes I came home and had dinner with Kimmy.  She had to go to work shortly after dinner.  When she'd left I spent the rest of the evening planning my lesson for tomorrow, then studying for my test on Friday.  I feel like I'm reasonably ready... I mean I know all the concepts, but I just know that at this point I have to keep working lots of problems.

Well, I have another long day tomorrow, so good night all.