Day 709

Graduation day!  Woooo! It's officially over.

It was very strange... today didn't feel like anything special.  Tuesday felt like the real end of an era: cleaning out my office, turning in my key, saying good-bye to my office mates who I've gotten to know over the past two years, saying good-bye to the amazing math department staff... that's when it felt like it was really over.  Sort of a "last day" versus "retirement party" conundrum.  So today was the party, of sorts.

Mom, dad, and Jessie came over for lunch.  Kimmy and I made ham and rice.  And then we had cookie cake for dessert!  It was buckets of goodness.

Then.... commencement.  I got there about an hour early to figure out what I was doing and where I was going.  I'm glad I was so early because there were a lot of people.  I eventually did find out where to go and my friends also found me.

The "mathematical sciences" were one of the first groups to go through the ceremony, so we got the important thing out of the way and sat for the next hour.  I sat next to Tim H, so he got to listen to me talk about whatever things happened to be on my mind at the moment.  He's a trooper.

After the ceremony I got pictures with family, friends, and most likely some people I didn't know... because photobombing is awesome.  And then that awful part where I had to say good-bye to everyone.  Ick.  Thankfully, some people are moving to Louisville with me.  But there are a lot who aren't.  Whenever I have to say good bye to people, I get all these gross emotions.  Emotions are just such untidy little devils.

On an additional note: this will probably be my last daily (except I haven't written this every day for a few months...) update.  I'm going to be attempting weekly updates so that I don't get as bored writing this when everything is the same thing.  We'll see how it goes.

Anyhow, that's all for now.  Be prepared for an exciting updated for my first week of post-grad school life!


Day 708

Well, it's been a pretty exciting week.

Mostly yesterday was very exciting.  Kimmy and I made a trip down to Louisville to begin the lease at our apartment.  We left around 9:30 and got there just before 12:30.  It was pretty uneventful.  A new property manager was being trained, so the current one did a lot of extra explaining of "here's why I do this" or "at this point, I put this paper in this stack."  Then we went to our apartment and did a pretty thorough walk-through... looking for cracks, scratched, things that don't work, etc.  When we finished all of that, we moved some things into our new apartment!  It was exciting.

Then we had dinner with Lee!  We talked about our moving adventures and the exciting things going on in his world.  We've still been pretty unsuccessful in convincing him to move to Louisville.

Today was pretty good as well.  I spent the morning taking my last test (yay!) and then grading (boo!).  But it's all over now!  Except that grading isn't quite over.  Now that all the tests are graded, I need to determine all of the final grades.  That's always fun...

In celebration of being done with school, a group of people in my group went to dinner.  That was fun.  Then we finished the evening with a fire at Tim and Erin's house.

I have successfully made two very exciting and long days sounds excruciatingly dull.  I'm pretty tired.  So, I think that's all for now.


Day 705

All day today I thought it was Tuesday.  I didn't go to class or campus or anything... so it really just felt like a Tuesday (that is, a normal day on which I don't go to school).

I did have some other excitement, however.  For lunch, I went to an event for math students to commemorate graduates and scholarship recipients.  I got a cute little award thing and two nice pens!  One of the recurring announcements at this event is the recognition of students who attempt the "Putnam exam."  This is a math exam for undergraduate students and is notoriously difficult. How difficult, you ask?  Well, roughly 4000 of the nations top math students attempt it every year.  Out of 120 possible points, the median score is a 0.  That means that over half of the students (most of whom are graduating with a 4.0 or nearly a 4.0) get no partial credit on even one question.  Last year, one of the students (undoubtedly Ball State's top math undergraduate student) took it and received a point.  1 point.  It was pretty exciting.

I found a question from the Putnam exam asked in 1996.  3.6% of the students got the correct answer.
"Find the least number A such that for any two squares of combined area 1, a rectangle of area A exists such that the two squares can be packed into that rectangle (without the interiors of the squares overlapping). You may assume that the sides of the squares will be parallel to the sides of the rectangle."

After arriving home, Kimmy and I had an adventure!  There's a flea market near our house, so we decided to go.  Neither of us had been to a flea market before.  I haven't ruled them all out, but I didn't like the one we went to.  It just seemed like a bunch of people finally realized that they had way too much junk (or broken stuff) and were trying to pawn it off onto other people.  Like if people with storage units just opened the doors and let people come buy their abandoned and forgotten possessions.  It made me sad.  A little bit.  There were some pretty funny things (that we didn't get).

Specifically, we saw this shirt.  I knew dad would appreciate it.

Then we went to Wal-mar to get an oil change in Kimmy's car.  While we waited, we looked at the gardening section.  We're hoping that our apartment will get enough sunlight to grow some plants on our balcony.  That would be pretty awesome. We've picked out a few different plants that would be exciting to grow.  Neither of us really know what we're doing, but it will be fun to figure it out!

When we got back, we started making dinner.  While it was cooking, I went back to writing a test.  That was pretty much my evening... eating and writing a test.  It's finally completed!  Now I just need to look it over tomorrow morning to make sure everything makes sense.

And now it's time for bed!  Good night, world.


Day 704

The majority of today consisted of working on my final assignment for one of my classes.  And by "the majority" I mean "from about 10:30 until 3:30."  It was super intense.  A bunch of classmates and I got together to discuss what was going on and collaborate.  It was frustrating and fun at the same time.  Frustrating because it was pretty difficult and none of us were entirely sure what we were doing, but also fun because it was a challenge... and when someone did make a break through there were joyous calls of "I got a thing!  Everyone come look at this thing that I got!"

When I got home, I started making a final for my class.  I will probably end up making most of it from scratch.  Maybe I'll reuse (with different numbers) past questions, but probably most of it will be brand new.  I find it easier for me to make a good test if I make it all again.  That was test questions can replicate the lessons.  Or something.

After Kimmy came home from work, we celebrated her last day at Macy's by going to Steak 'n Shake for dinner.  It was really busy.  And the food was quite tasty.  AND we had coupons!  It was exciting.  To further celebrate Kimmy's last day at Macy's, we went to Petsmart after dinner so Kimmy could pet the kittens.

That's about it.  When we got back I talked/played games with Jared and Miles for a while.  Fun times were had.  And now I'm going to bed!  So.  Good night.


Day 702

Oh boy, this was a fun day.

Not only did I get a hair cut (which I love getting), but today Kimmy and I did one of our favorite things: we pretended to be rich people!

In preparation for our move, my new job, and the end of Kimmy's employee discount at Macy's, we did some clothing shopping.  It was pretty exciting.  Actually, no.  It was really exciting.  I got two new shirts, two new sweaters, a pair of shoes, and some new cologne!  It was pretty exciting.  AND Kimmy got some new shoes that are pretty.  Now that we've spent all of our extra money, we will return to eating Ramen noodles and hot dogs.

Kimmy and I have discussed this in great detail and determined that we get far more utility from saving up money to go on huge shopping sprees than getting one thing at a time.

After we got home, we had some dinner.  Then a super intense cleaning session.  It was pretty bad.  But now everything is clean and put away!  Yay!

Well, that's my exciting news for the day.  Now to get some sleep for a (most likely) long day of work tomorrow.  Good night!


Day 701

Well.  Here we are!  Today was yet another exciting day in the life of Joel.  

I was incredibly close to telling Tim that I wouldn't be running with him this morning.  Like... I stared at my phone for about 10 minutes trying to decide whether I should go work out or not.  Ultimately, I decided to get up.  And then I saw that it was cold and raining.

I wanted to go back to bed.

But I didn't, even though I really wanted to.  Our workout was fine.  For some reason it was super exhausting today.  I think it was just that neither of us wanted to be there.  Oh well.

I had my last meeting with the other GA instructors.  We mainly discussed final exams and end of the semester reviews.  We also talked about some of our various methods for instructing the particularly difficult topics (like conditional probability or confidence intervals).

After my meeting, I did some class preparation.  Mostly it involved making up practice problems for my students to work in preparation for the final exam next week.  Oh!  And grading.  Plenty of grading.

My research class had the last set of presentations today.  They were pretty good.  I asked lots of questions because... well, that's my thing.  But they were all able to answer my questions sufficiently.

Then I went to go teach.  Today was a review day, so... we reviewed.  I guess it was fine.  I have another review lesson on Friday, but there's no way I'm going to get through all of the remaining sections on Friday.  So hopefully my students have started studying.  That would be optimal.

When I got home, I determined that the best course of action was to be a lazy bum for a while.  So I did and it was quite nice.  Kimmy and I made ham and rice for dinner, then I got a little bit of work done... but mostly I just was a bum some more.  And it was lovely.

Ok, time for bed.  Good night.


Day 699

Today was quite exciting.

First, I went for a run with Tim.  That was invigorating, as always.  When I got home I continued preparing for my presentation today.

When I got to school, I met with one of my team members to go over the PowerPoint that I'd made and see if he had anything he wanted to add.  Then I went to go grade in my office for a while.

So I guess that my research project is officially done at this point.  The paper is turned in, the presentation is done... yeah, that's about it.  Our final conclusion was basically confirming the articles we read from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics: the average income for women is less than the average income for men, and no one is entirely sure why.  There are some very robust theories out there that do a great job of explaining most of the difference, but there has yet to be a perfect statistical explanation.

Then I got to listen to my students give their group presentations.  Most of them, anyhow.  It seemed that each presentation had some things that stood out.  Like one guy who purposefully misspelled things in honor of me (I have a terrible time with proper spelling when I teach... so I thought it was really funny).  Or the group who actually went to the Muncie mall and surveyed over 200 people to ask if they have minivans (I frequently use examples involving statistical sampling and wondering "how many people in Muncie own minivans?").  Another did a wonderful poster board of using optimal travel routes to various places on campus (often called the "Traveling Salesman Problem"... so this was a play on words).

It was all pretty impressive.  And there were a few people that were very nervous to present in front of their peers, but they got through it all and did well.  I've learned to pick up on the nuances of nervous speakers (because I've had to work so hard to overcome my nervousness when public speaking): I can hear the shaking in their voices; I notice the places they look when they talk and the way in which they shift their eyes; I see when they shift weight and get flustered when they realize they have no idea where to put their hands; I know the temptation to read through your notes at lightning speed; or the unconscious excess of "ummm," "uhhhhh," "so...." and other filler words to by your brain some more time.  But I also know how vitally important it is that people get practice talking in front of others.

After I got home, Kimmy and I went on a walk.  It was super nice outside today!  We walked through the park near our house.  Then we took the walking paths some more and went to some other areas of town.  We had fun.

We went to go see a movie tonight!  We saw "Oz: the great and powerful," which is sort of a precursor to "the Wizard of Oz."  It was good.

After the movie, we had a bit of an adventure.  We've both been getting fed up with how busy Wal-mart gets when we're grocery shopping, so we decided to do a test run and see if Target has the type of things we typically get at Wal-mart.  We determined that Target has the items we typically need and will therefore be subject to unconstrained testing on Grocery Shopping day.

I think that's about it.  Good night!


Day 697

I should just make this a weekly thing.  It's essentially become that, it seems.  Originally I'd planned on making this a weekly update after graduation, but I'm just so uninspired to updated this anymore that I may have to change all of that sooner.  Maybe I'll try to make it to at least day 700... that's a bit of a landmark.

Well, it's been a pretty exciting past few days.  I worked really hard on my research project and finally completed it.  We even turned it in to Dr. Foley, so it's totally done.  Now I just need to make a powerpoint for our presentation and that's it!

On Friday, Mom and Dad came up to Muncie.  Dad ran in a race this morning, so they stayed up here on Friday night.  Later that evening, Kimmy and I went to a carnival that Ball State hosts every spring.  It was fun... except for the part where it was sleeting for a majority of the time.  It was really cold and wet.  But we had fun.  We rode a few rides and had some pretty great fair food.

Today was pretty relaxing.  We got lunch with mom and dad and Richard, then went grocery shopping.  Just the usual Saturday routine.  Then we just spent the rest of the day doing stuff around the house.  I had some homework to do (that I almost forgot about... oops).  And now it's really late, so I'm going to bed.


Day 693

Today was filled with a lot of research.  I never imagined that I would have to write a 15 page paper for a math degree... but I am.  I think it's going to be a decent paper.  I don't really like this method of research, I've realized.  Most of these projects are starting with studies that other people have done, find a data set, and see how our results compare with the other studies we read.  I'm at a point where, given more time and my current level of understanding of the topic, I could take it all much further.  But time constraints, lack of understanding, and other human factors have made it pretty well impossible.

Our project is mainly a statistical approach to finding important factors for the differences between income of men and women.  It's been very interesting to study.  We picked about 10 variables (like age, education, occupation, region of the country, etc) that might account for a difference in income.  However, even our most robust model suggested that gender is a fairly significant factor.  The theory is that if all of the proper variables could be accounted for, there should be no (or minimal) difference.  Otherwise, there is potential for discrimination.  And I've learned a lot about the topic and why there is a difference... but no statistician or economist has yet been able to come up with an informed reason for the difference.  There's plenty of speculation, but no objective reason.  So if I had more time, I'd want to acquire more data to see if a better model could be found.  But alas, that's not going to happen.  Instead, I'll just write up a paper, include lots of tables with important numbers, and include notes on how the study could be continued.

After working on my paper for the majority of the day, Kimmy and I went on an adventure!  There's a little shop in the park by our house, so we decided to walk over there and see what was inside.  It always seemed to be closed, so we were hoping that it wouldn't be this time.  We checked the weather before we left and saw it would probably rain soon, so we brought an umbrella.  It's a good thing we did because it rained a lot.  We both got soaked.  But it was fun.  Usually our spontaneous adventures turn out poorly (like buying tickets to a comedy club in New York...).

When we got back, it was time to make some dinner.  Today's adventure was stir-fry!  Specifically, we made stir-fry with chicken, eggs, cucumber, corn, and pineapple.  It was pretty fantastic.

After dinner we were both feeling kinda antsy and just like we needed to get out of the house... so we went to the grocery store.  Apparently that's what we do when we're bored and poor.  So we went to all of our stores (Aldi, Marsh, and Walmart).  I had the weirdest experience while at Walmart.  I saw three different students that I've had over the past couple of years.  Usually one of two things happens when I encounter a student.  Either a) they greet me or b) avoid me.  I've developed this dreadful habit of simply making eye contact with my student and waiting for him/her to respond.  My favorite response happened about a week ago.  I was walking across campus when I saw a former student.  I made the obligatory eye contact and she instantly put her ear buds in and looked at the ground until we'd passed.  It was funny to me.  Oddly, there's no correlation between grades and how students react when they see me.  I've had students get A's and avoid me while students who got D's excitedly greet me.  And I've had the converse as well.  It's strange.

Anyhow, I think that's about it!  Good night, everybody.

Day 692

I should figure by now that Mondays are just long days.  As it turns out, today was no different.  It started out with some running with Tim H.  We didn't run for quite as long as we could have, but he had a meeting he had to attend.

After I got home, I got some coffee in my system, then got ready for school.  I tutored some students for a while, then I met with my research team.  We figured out what remaining things we want to talk about in our paper and presentation, then divided up the different topics between people.  It's going to be a busy week, but it shouldn't be awful.

I guess I taught.  Yeah... that is a thing that I did.  I think it went well.  It was just basic interest stuff.  I also gave them my "two minute explanation of the stock market."  Some of them claimed it couldn't be done.  And it could have theoretically been done... but not today and not by me.  I get too carried away, especially when I know I'm being timed.

When I got home, we started some dinner.  We had planned on going for a walk, but then we had to math.  And it was hard!  We were trying to figure out the bill from Macy's and it just made no sense.  Between buying, returning, getting credit for Kimmy's employee discount, giving the amount of discount back on a return, and paying the bill for last month then returning the purchased item... it got confusing.  It took us far too long to wade through Macy's billing statement.  But we eventually got it.

After dinner, I started grading and looking at grade statistics.  It's fun.

Now I'm going to bed.  I have lots of research and writing to do tomorrow... Oh boy.


Day 691

It's getting to that part of the semester where everything is dull, uninteresting, and of seemingly little importance.  I'm very fortunate that I don't really have that much to do... but I don't want to do what little I have.  It's pretty frustrating, but I'm getting used to it.  Every semester seems to end with this.  I'm hoping that I can escape this pattern once I start working. Or at least not be as regular with it.  Twice a year gets pretty old.

Today was a fairly normal Sunday.  Get up, church, lunch, and home.  Today at lunch we talked about some fond memories at Mount Vernon, and then our various moving endeavors.  Jessie and Richard are moving to their house soon and we're moving to our AWESOME apartment in just a few weeks.  It's going to be pretty awesome.

Some more people came to view our house today.  This time our landlord's wife showed them around.  We were fine with that.  I didn't really know what I was doing last time, so I was very thankful that someone else did it for me. They seemed to like the place, but they seemed a little shocked at how much it cost to heat the house during the winter.  Maybe... I'm really bad at reading people.  Anyhow, hopefully someone decides to rent this place in the near future.  That would be awesome.

After they left, we had some dinner.  We were going to make a new thing... but we were hungry and didn't feel like making anything.  So left overs.  After dinner I worked on my lesson plan for tomorrow.  I get to teach on things that aren't nearly as heavily rooted in math theory, so I'm hoping that it goes over well.  I'm excited.

Hm.  Not a whole lot else that I can think of... just two more weeks of school!  I recently learned that I don't have any finals to take during finals week (just one test to give), so hopefully that week will just be packing.  And more packing.  And grading, I suppose.

OK.  That's all for now.  Night.


Day 688

You know, I just haven't felt like updating this recently.  So I haven't been!  But today.... today I will write something I suppose.

Kimmy had to work most of the day.  I spent the morning getting my taxes ready to send out (finally), washing dishes, and doing some homework.  Kimmy came home for lunch.  Then I went up to campus to do some work with Tim B. for a while.

I'm super excited to not have to use the computers in the Math department anymore... they're really really really slow.  And they like to restart without warning.  Today I had just started a timed assignment on Blackboard when the computer decided to restart.  It then took ten minutes for the computer to restart and get back into Blackboard.  Obviously the timer doesn't pause when you close out of the browser, so I just had to deal with not having those ten minutes.  Usually that isn't a huge deal... except that right after I'd logged back in, a class came in and needed to use the computer lab.  Which is fine, but it just meant I had even less time to complete the assignment.  But we got everything done with some time to spare, so that was good.

After I got home, I did some more dishes and homework.  Kimmy got home just in time for dinner, so we ate some left over soup and.... then it was back to work.  My students have a test tomorrow, so I figured I should actually write it.

I like to make interesting questions that aren't just "Here are your numbers.  Give me new numbers."  I like to use names and silly examples.  On this test I decided to use Italian names and examples.  But that just made me want to go back to Italy....  Boo.  I do not get to go to that place.

And now it's time for bed.  For I am sleepy and have get to work out in the morning.  Woo.


Day 685

And yet another very full day!

This morning began with working out with Tim H.  Mondays are our running day.  The goal was "more than a mile."  We ended up going 2.5 miles and we were both pretty pleased with that.  I was quite sweaty afterwards.

When I got back, I had a quick shower and then went up to campus.  I initially started doing some work on my research project, then I went to go work on homework with Tim H.  Between working on the assignment and helping him tutor some students... that was my day.  And we didn't really make any progress on the homework.  We're following our notes pretty closely, but it's not making any answers that make sense.  Ugh.

I also taught today.  That went... okay.  It's a hard section and I'm having a rough time with it.  Today (at a student's request) I tried to explain by example.  It generally was fine, but there was still a lot of theory that needed to be covered.  So I wrote lots of things down, used numbers where I could, and... mainly just tried to go slowly and stop when people tended to cease understanding.

After I got home, I tried to make some more progress on the homework.  That didn't really go anywhere.  It's getting pretty frustrating.

Some people are coming tomorrow to look at the house, so we did some cleaning in preparation for that.  But after a while I just got tired of standing and doing stuff... so I stopped.  I'll finish cleaning tomorrow.

I think it's time for bed now.  Good night.


Day 684

It's been a pretty busy weekend with some late nights... hence no posts for the past nights.  And I'm getting pretty tired now, so here's a recap.


Got up early, worked out with Tim H., then got to work on some homework.  We are officially going to have a place to live in May!  There were some complications along the way, but they got all straightened out... for which I am very happy.

Friday night I played a game of Risk with Tim H., Dustin, and Paul.  It was a lot of fun.  I think Paul and Dustin ended up calling it a draw.  Tim H. and I lost early because we were too aggressive.... but we had fun.


We did our normal grocery shopping and such.  I spent a good portion of the afternoon preparing a pretty detailed review handout for my class.  It's very thorough and hopefully they find it helpful.

Yesterday evening Kimmy and I started playing a puzzle game on my computer.  It's a lot of fun!  It's a little bit cramped around my computer, but it works.  Next year I'm going to have my computer out in the living room, so there will be more space for such fun stuff.


Today was pretty standard.  Wake up, church, come home and be productive.  Kimmy and I had planned on doing our tax returns today, but we hit a pretty big snag.  I think my income is getting counted twice on some paper work, so I'm (currently) having to pay a lot of money back.  Dad's having someone look into it, so hopefully they figure something out.  I'd prefer to not pay back lots of money just because I work for the school at which I'm also taking classes.

So after a failed attempt to do taxes, Kimmy and I did dishes, then started making some dinner.  We tried to do a skillet-recipe in the oven... but that didn't go so well.  The meat cooked, but the sauce was supposed to simmer in the skillet and ended up just separating in the oven.  Oh well.  It still tasted fine.

And now I'm off to bed.  Good night!


Day 681

So I had great plans for today.  Great plans for cleaning and organizing... but none of that happened and I'm just fine with it.  Apparently I got incredibly motivated to work on my research project, so I did that for the majority of the day.

I did some writing, some statistical analysis in SAS, some emailing... and then I just gave up when I encountered a table that won't fit on a 8.5 by 11 piece of paper without some serious editing.  Yuck.

After Kimmy came home, we went up to Fort Wayne to see Rachel and Trevor, who gave us a new coffee table!  The trip was uneventful for the first 20 minutes.  Then we hit traffic.  We were stopped for the at least an hour and a half.  It was pretty bad.  I tried to name all 50 state capitals, but I did a pretty awful job of it.  Oh well.  It passed the time.  We finally got up there around 7 (2 hours after we'd planned on getting there).  So we talked and caught up on life and everything.  It was good to see them.  But we couldn't stay long because we had to get back to Muncie before it was too late.  Hurumph.

That was pretty much the excitement of our day.  Now it's off to bed for an early morning tomorrow.  Woo!


Day 680

These days are feeling super long!  It's silly.  My days pretty much alternate between doing nothing and being really busy.

Today was of the busy variety.

After some breakfast, I started writing my group's research paper.  I briefly considered splitting the paper up so each person did one part... but then I figured that it would read better if one person wrote the entire thing (instead of alternating between writing styles).  So I began writing it because I enjoy writing!

It's been going well.  I'm pretty much taking our presentation on Monday and turning it into a ten page paper with more details and pictures.  That's the plan, anyhow.  I have about two and a half weeks to write it, so I'm not worried at all.  I just need to get some more input from my other group members to see what they want included in the paper.

After I got to school, I did some grading then helped one of my students who stopped by my office for help.  Then it was off to listen to the other research groups talk about their work.  That was pretty interesting.  It's comforting to hear from other groups and actually feel like I, too, know what I'm doing.  Either that, or none of us have any idea what we're doing.

Then I went to go teach.  I felt like that went well.  I spent a really long time laying out this long structure for a specific type of problem, going through the nine different ways that a type of question could be asked.  Then I went through some practice exercises in the book to show how some of them were used.  It seemed to be pretty helpful.  The issue is that the text book expects the students to use their intuition to understand all of the different ways this problem could be represented.  After teaching for a few semesters, I realize that it just takes longer than one week to get comfortable with this material at the required level to think about it intuitively.

When I got back, I talked with Kimmy for a while, then sat around for a little bit before going to dinner with one of our friends.  That was fun. After dinner we came home and did more fun stuff!  I talked with Kimmy's mom about tax stuff, then talked/played a game with Jared.

And now I'm off to bed.  Good night.


Day 678

Oh my goodness.  This was a ridiculous day.

It began with Tim H. and my early morning workout.  Today, I suggested to Tim that we just run.  And run we did.  It was good.

When I got back, I had a quick shower, packed a lunch, then went off to school.  My research group did our presentation today, so I needed to create a PowerPoint and do some work before we presented.  I was in the computer lab working on the presentation for about three hours.  After about two hours, my group members met with me and we did some last minute analysis of our data.

Then I went to my office and did some preparation for my lesson today.  And some grading.  There's always grading, isn't there?  I suppose that's how teaching works.

The presentation was fine.  The projector wasn't working very well, but it did its job for a while.  Something went wrong during my group's presentation, so there was not PowerPoint during the last few slides.  Oh well!  Most people either seemed interested or at least not super bored during our presentation.  There were a few questions, but we were able to answer them easily enough. Dr. Foley suggested that we try adding a new variable, so we'll see if that's doable.

Then I taught.  This chapter is hard because it's not as easy for them all to grasp a practical application for everything.  And I totally understand.  I did my best to ease into the topic, but it's still pretty tricky.  This chapter is mostly just a matter of thinking about everything properly and doing lots of problems.

Finally I got to come home!  We were both pretty hungry, so we had an early dinner and then went grocery shopping.  Kimmy and I come to the conclusion that no matter what we get at Aldi, we will spend around $40.  It seems like we can have a cart full of food or just a few items, it's always around $40.  As we were leaving, I actually heard another guy tell the cashier the very same thing: "I don't get it... my total is always around $40 and it doesn't seem to matter how much I get!"  I even check the math sometimes and it always adds up to around $40.  It's strange.

Now it's time for bed.  I'm tired and had a very long day.  Good night.


Day 677

Hi!  Sorry for the lack of updating... Kimmy and I were in Findlay this weekend for Easter.

We had a good time.  It was too short, but we got to see family and friends, so it was good.

This morning we all got up and went to church.  We were actually successful in arriving early and getting seats together... which is quite an endeavor  for 11 people at the most crowded service.  Lily was quite entertaining during church.  She had a handful of envelopes and was handing them out to each of us, then collecting them again.  She would walk down the row, saying in a whisper "and one for mama... and one for daddy... and one for uncle rich..."  It was cute.

After church we went to Primrose for a meal.  We had lamb, ham, vegetables, green jello salad, and deviled eggs.  It was all quite tasty.  And then we had red velvet cake for dessert!  Oh, if only all meals were like that.  But they're not.  Boo.

Then we had to come home... I had a lot of work to do after getting back, so we didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked.  Gross.  The drive was uneventful.  When we got back, we had some dinner, then I did some grading.  Fun.

And now I'm off to bed.  I have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning... it's going to be a long day.

Good night!


Day 674

Hi there.

Today was a pretty slow day... and I was fine with that.

This morning, I talked with out future landlord about the paperwork and such... just to make sure we had it all filled out properly.  We did!  So that was convenient.

After that, I finished up preparing for my lesson tomorrow.  It took a lot longer than it normally does because I had an idea for a Powerpoint presentation (I never use those) that might make it easier for them to understand.  There are a lot of graphs and it can get really confusing if I'm trying to draw them on the chalk board and be quick about it.  So hopefully all of this time was worth it.

Later in the afternoon, Kimmy and I ran some errands.  Then when we got back, we started getting ready for dinner.  A friend of mine referred me to a recruiter for some part time work, so I talked with the recruiter for a while and watched an informational video.  I knew beforehand that I wasn't going to do it, but I was curious.  As I suspected, it was a direct selling job.  I explained to the recruiter that I've tried my hand at direct sales, and it's just not for me.  And by that I mean "I don't want to lose all of my friends and family because they become my 'business partners.'"  I was first thrown off when he never told me the name of the company or what I would be doing.  In fact, after watching a 30 minute informational video, I was still never told what I would be doing.  They try to sell you on an idea, not a job.  This idea of working hard and becoming independently wealthy without being tied down to some miserable job.  Frankly, I like patterns, being part of a big (legitimate) philosophy, and being instructed to do things.  Life is easier with fewer choices and working hard gives me a sense of purpose.

We made pot pie for dinner.  It was yummy!  I want to say that we did something else... but nothing comes to mind.  So I guess we didn't!

Probably that's all for now.  Good night!


Day 672

Tuesday: begin.

My first event was getting stuck in the snow.  I was all ready for the snow to just be all melted and stuff... and it was!  In fact, it was so melted that my car sunk into it really conveniently and I got stuck.  So after some shoveling and minor amount of frustration, I got out and went to school.

This morning I observed another GA teach.  He did a good job.  Afterwards we discussed his lesson, things we do differently, and he clarified on why he did some things.  It was good.  Then I went to the computer lab to get some work done.

I tutored one of my students for a while.  That was productive.  I think the session went pretty well.  I really wish I had a chalkboard in my office... but I don't.  So we went to the computer lab so I could draw stuff and such.  I also talked with some people in my research class about their project and how it's going.

When I got home, I started doing some lesson planning for Friday.  I'm trying to make a Powerpoint presentation, so hopefully that is successful.  I also started doing some research for my project.  There's a lot of good material, so I just need to start going through the articles I've found and figuring out what to do with it all.

Tim B. came over for dinner and homework.  We made some corn chowder and it was tasty.  There was almost a crisis because our bacon was a bit old and...um... was not the proper color for bacon.  Pro tip: green is not an appropriate color for bacon.  Ick.  So Kimmy made a quick trip to the store and saved the day!  Anyhow, after dinner Tim and I did some homework, complained about the class, and then did more homework.  It took a lot longer than normal, but we eventually got through it all.

Well, I think that's about it for now.  Good night!


Day 670

Today started a little atypically.  Jessie and Richard were coming over for lunch, so I had to get everything started to cook while we were at church.  I'd mixed the sloppy joe stuff together last night, but had yet to chop potatoes.  So after a lovely (mediocre) breakfast, I chopped up some potatoes and cooked them into fries.  Somehow I had enough dexterity to actually cut potatoes first thing in the morning... I was impressed with myself.

After church we came home, had some lunch, and we discussed our apartment search.  Then we went to go get ice cream!  Jessie and Richard have a favorite place in one of the nearby towns, so we went there for a little adventure.  It was pretty great!  

I think I slept on the way back... I was pretty tired.  But I didn't want to take a nap when we got back because I don't really like naps.  So I had some coffee and got some work done.  We also had to go grocery shopping since Kimmy had to work during our normal grocery shopping time on Saturday.

Let's see.... After that we had some dinner, I did some more work, watched youtube videos, thought about doing more work (and ultimately not doing more)... and now it's bed time.

Good night!


Day 668

Well, I decided not to go work out this morning.  I needed to catch up on sleep from being on the go for so long yesterday.

After I got up and everything, I went off to school to work on an assignment with Tim H.  We got it mostly completed.  He shares an office with a stats student and a math student and I overheard the math student talking with some other math students.  It made me miss "pure" math classes.  It was so frustrating and confusing and fun.

I did some work for class, did some grading, posted some grades on Blackboard, then went to go teach.  Today was their review day.  The test is going to be interesting....

After I got home, Kimmy and I made some dinner, I did some work, then we went to go see a movie!  On Friday nights, Ball State shows a recent movie at one of the auditoriums.  It was pretty cool.  I don't remember what it was called, but it was very artistic and made me think a bit.  The story follows a woman who is an arranged marriage with a well-to-do man in Russian high society.  The woman is unhappy so she leaves him for another man.  Everything ends up being awful for everyone.  But it had some very insightful moments that may take me a while to completely unwrap.

Anyhow.  I'm tired so I'm going to bed.  Night!


Day 667

Oh my word.... it's been such a long, draining, awesome, and eventful day.

Wanna know what time today started?  If you guessed 5 a.m. you're pretty accurate.  Kimmy and I had quite the day ahead of us, so we got up at 5 and got ready to hit the road.  We had to make a quick stop at Wal-mart for motion sickness stuff for Kimmy, then it was off to Louisville for some apartment hunting!

The trip down was uneventful.  We were both surprised how busy it was at 6:30 a.m.  It never got too bad, just a little slow at points.  Mainly around the bridge into Kentucky heading to downtown at 8:45 am.  Which, you know, makes a ton of sense.

So we got to the first apartment complex, which was pretty much right down town (or at least very close to it).  After we figured out where to park, we went inside and talked with the property manager and another guy who helps out.  We really liked them a lot.  They were incredibly helpful, funny, and nice.  The guy who showed us around was a huge cat fanatic, so he and Kimmy hit it off immediately.  And by "cat fanatic," I mean that he goes around to known locations of homeless cat colonies and feeds them through out the day.  Unfortunately, they didn't have any available apartments to show us, but they went through all of the paperwork and handouts, then gave us a tour of the facility.

After we left there, our next stop was... strange.  We walked into the office that smelled like cologne and immediately (seriously less than 2 seconds after walking in) a stylish and quite attractive man comes from around a corner, greets us, leads us to a table, hands us brochures, papers to fill out, and wants to know where we were interested in looking.  I was incredibly thrown off.  So he shows us to the townhouse we wanted to see.  It was fine... but very short.  It felt like it had 7 foot ceilings.  It just made us both feel pretty claustrophobic.  It looked AMAZING on paper, but we were very "meh" about it once we looked around.

Our third stop did not go quite as planned.  After we finally found where we were going, we drove around the parking lot for the complex for a while but couldn't find the head office.  When we finally DID find the office, there was no place to park.  There couldn't have been more than 5 parking spots in front of the office... and it was on a hill.... and we were just flustered and a bit put off (I feel so judgmental right now).  So.... we left!  Yep, we decided the apartments didn't look that great, so we just turned around and left.  There was a complex next door, so we checked them out.

And my goodness, are we glad we did.  They were so nice.  Very spacious, nine foot ceilings, a working fireplace, a very generous patio, each apartment has its own security system for the doors and windows, and it has a really nice view over the Ohio River.  The only issue here is that (currently) only the two largest (and most expensive) models are available.  The largest is probably outside our price range.  The other one is on the border... I would need to take a look at everything again.  Hopefully something a little smaller opens up... I was told to check back in a couple of weeks to see if something else had opened up.

Then it was back to Muncie!  Oh boy.  We got back around 4:30 and we were exhausted.  Kimmy drove the last half of the way home because I was starting to get pretty tired.  After we got home, we relaxed for a bit and ate dinner.

But wait, there's more!  Around 6, we left the house for more exciting times!  This evening, Frank Warren gave a presentation at Ball State campus regarding his PostSecret project.  PostSecret is a project created solely for sharing your secrets anonymously, for whatever reason you may have.  It was pretty awesome.  He started off by talking about why he began the project and how it started.  He shared some of his favorite secrets and various other important things that he's learned a long the way.  The one thing he kept mentioning that made me think a lot is that when you have a secret (and everyone has at least one secret), you have the choice of either sharing it, hiding it from others, or hiding it from yourself.  At the very end, he let people (probably about 15 or 20) come to a microphone and share their secrets and confessions.  It was really deep.  Three people talked about within the past week they'd made plans to commit suicide, but some little thing kept them from doing it... and now they're going to seek professional help after hearing all of the encouraging words at the presentation.  It was all really impacting.  I had considered not going because I was so tired from the trip, but I'm so glad Kimmy convinced me to go.

Ok.  It is time for so much sleep now.  Yes.  Peace out.


Day 665


Today was a pretty slow day, but I suppose I can write about it.  My first bit of adventure occurred a little after lunch.  I met Tim B. on campus and we did some homework.  One of my friends/fellow GA instructors came by and we discussed how we're teaching the chapter on probability.  He and I both have a hard time because we both know probability so well it's hard to at a fundamental level.  I think that (the third time around) it's finally going well.  But we'll see.  They have a test next week.....

After I got home, I talked with Kimmy for a little bit, then went off to go tutor.  I thought that went really well today.  Both of the kids seemed to be on a roll, so that was nice.

When I got home, Kimmy and I had some dinner and watched a show.  Then I worked on some stuff for teaching tomorrow and finished up with playing a game with Miles.  It was a typical day.

And now I'm off to bed.  Early start tomorrow... woo.  Good night.

Day 664

Well, today was another full and eventful day!

I got up early to go work out with Tim H.  Surprisingly, we both still hate it.  Actually, that's not really a surprise at all.  But we continue on.  After I returned, I had to hurry to shower and things.  I had a meeting with my research team at 9 and we didn't get back until nearly 8:15.  So I hurried through everything and made it to campus just after 9.

One of my research members was in class, so the other one and I discussed our new topic and what variables would be relevant.  We then drew up a schedule for what still needs to happen... even though we don't really know.  Thankfully my group is meeting with Dr. Foley so we can further discuss what we need to do.

After arriving on campus, I learned that both of my classes had been canceled... so I was on campus for 5 hours with nothing to do.  So I did some grading, helped one of my students, then went to the library to do some research.

I've never done math research before.  In my head, I figured I would just find scholarly articles that talk about the things we're examining.  As it turns out, our topic (potential gender-income gap) is discussed in news, but not in actual research.  So I have some work ahead of me.  I found one article that was somewhat useful, but I don't think I'll actually be able to use it.

I also taught my lesson.  I thought that it went well... Mr. Frye observed me teach and he also thought it went well.  So... everyone wins!  Then I went to go tutor.  That was reasonably productive.  Both of the kids I tutor have all of their homework on the computer, and during one of the sessions the computer stopped working.  It had a completely full battery and it just turned off and wouldn't come back on.  It was really strange.  Thankfully, the dad is a computer science professor, so he took a look at it and (hopefully) figures out what went wrong.  It was just really bizarre...

When I got home, Kimmy was making dinner!  She borrowed an awesome cook book from one of her co-workers that is all hot dog recipes, so we tried one of those.  The recipe book claims that all of the recipes are "fast and healthy meals," but I sincerely doubt that they're healthy at all.

After dinner we watched a TV show, then I played a game with Jared.  We usually talk while playing games, so I caught up on the various things going on in his life.  I tried to convince him to come to Louisville with Kimmy and me, but I don't think it's going to happen.  Boo.  But I'm not giving up yet!

Ok, I think that's all for now.  Off to bed... good night!


Day 663

Today was pretty eventful.  It started off with the normal Sunday routine: get up, go to church, return home.  After lunch, Kimmy and I had some pretty intense fun.

We cleaned.

Oh goodness, did we clean.  The house got pretty messy while I was in exam mode.  So we took the majority of the afternoon doing all of the chores that had been grossly neglected for too long.  We didn't finish everything, but I'd say we got about ~90% of everything done.  I was pleased.  It looks much much better now and we're not feeling nearly as claustrophobic.

We made some really awesome chicken noodle casserole for dinner, watched part of a movie, then made cookies!  We've had various baking chips for a while, so we figured we'd actually do something with them.  Like, oh, make cookies!

I did some lesson planning for tomorrow... it's going to be a pretty full day, and I may be getting observed so I wanted to get that out of the way tonight.  And now I'm going to get some sleep before going to work out in the morning... ick.


Day 662

Hey, guess who had an awesome day?  Go on, go ahead and guess.

Yep, it was me!

This morning started with a near crisis: we arrived at Minnetrista (where the farmer's market is held) and the parking lot was empty.  I mean, not a single vendor, tent, or piece of trash.  It was terrible.  Kimmy's world almost ended. Immensely defeated, we began wandering back to the car.  It was strange that the parking lot was so full of cars, yet no one was around.  So we walked over to the actual building and haphazardly walked inside.  At first it just looked like it was a normal day, with people serving coffee and handing out information brochures.  As we wandered further in, was saw the wonderful sight of people selling home made things!  Ahhhh farmer's market!

All was once again good in this world.  Well, for the most part.  They didn't have any vegetables (you know, since it's march and all), so we picked up some other things.  We got some eggs, some honey, a couple of baked goods, and then "honey sticks."  Those are essentially straw-type things filled with flavored honey.  The one I got was apple flavored.  Oh man, it was so amazing.

When we'd finished the rest of our grocery shopping, we came home and had lunch.  Kimmy took a nap and I was super productive playing video games and such.  So it was a good afternoon.

Then we went to dinner with Lee!  That was fun.  We met in the wonderful little town of Portland, Indiana.  We had planned on meeting a certain restaurant, but apparently it's no longer open.... so we changed our plans and went elsewhere.  That seemed like the logical choice.

We had a good time.  We caught each other up on the various things going on in our lives (such as the obligatory post-exam laziness, his preparation for his upcoming exam, that sort of stuff).  He confirmed my fear that there is never a point at which you get so confident with your studying that you don't feel nervous going into an exam.  Lee is on exam 8 (I believe), passed them all on his first try, but still gets incredibly nervous before taking them.  I think it's just part of the process.... and it's terrible.  Absolutely awful.

We also discussed something that's been on my mind (and his too, it seems) for quite some time.  Now that I will soon be joining the ranks of the middle-class, it seems that it could become very easy to get stuck in a rut.  You have enough money to live comfortably, everything is ok... but it all seems a bit empty.  Life gets to be so mundane and you get the feeling that there should be more than just going to work, coming home, cleaning, trying to relax a bit, then going to bed... only to repeat.  You have minor victories and defeats, and these keep you going and feeling somewhat alive.  But one of the issues I have with being such a risk averse person is that it's not possible to have big victories and an awesome existence without taking some pretty big chances.  The most realistic case is that I end up leaving no real impact on the world... just like most people.  And I've accepted this.  But maybe it's my youthful hope, maybe it's something else, I just have a desire to want to be more than just someone filling up another office.  I have big plans for things that sounds awesome (working at a Think Tank, helping run some sort of half-way homeless shelter, opening a restaurant or baker) that would make me at least feel like I had contributed more to this world than just being another person who was born, worked, and died.

I think this issue stems from (another thing we discussed) the problem of figuring out the place from which you derive your self worth.  I've always had this idea that you determine your personal value from your relationships, marriage, and job.  Maybe some big activity you're involved in.  But the truth is, you can decide that for yourself.  The issue is.... I don't know what the other options are.  Most other things just seem petty in my mind.  Yes, I could derive my self worth from how much money I have or how clean my car is.... but that just seems to trivial.  You won't impress craftsman by having shiniest hammer... you impress a craftsman by wielding it the most skillfully.

I need find my hammer and learn to wield it.

So who knows.  Hopefully Kimmy and I can find something awesome some day.  We've talked about maybe opening a small restaurant or bakery... that would be really neat.  But all of that takes money.  So for now I work hard at something that I will enjoy.  I am really excited to start working for Humana.  I get to start off working in the area has sounds like the most fun (predictive modeling) with some other people that are as excited about math and fun models as I am... probably even more so.

Anyhow.  Dinner was pretty awesome.  We also discussed some of our favorite and least favorite parts of academia.  By that point it was getting late, so we said our good byes and departed.

Well, it's pretty late so I guess I'll be done for now.  Cheerio, my friends.


Day 661

I started my day off early, yet again, so I could go work out with Tim H.  I opted for oatmeal this morning for breakfast, and it sat much better in my stomach than eggs.  Working out was still rough and I felt a bit ill, but it wasn't unbearable.  

After I got back from working out, I made my post-work out drink in my water bottle.  Except... I didn't notice that the lid wasn't completely closed, so when I went to shake the bottle, my drink kinda went everywhere.  I'd made a mess and it wasn't even 8:30 am.  Blech.

I was pretty tired, so I took a nap.  It felt good.  Then I showered and got ready for school.  I had a test today, so I did some studying and promptly forgot to grade or prepare a lesson for my class.  Oops.

My test went well, I think.  I'll find out eventually.  I think I knew how to do all of the problems.  As I handed my test in, Dr. Foley just looks at me and started laughing.  See, I always finish my tests early.  Generally around the 30 minute mark (most people take the entire period).  Dr. Foley is always amazed and amused that I am consistently the first person done, and usually by at least 10 minutes.  In every class (this is my fifth class with him) and on every quiz or test.  Considering that he gives either a quiz or test almost every week... that's a lot of times.  So the fact that, once again, I was the first person done made him laugh a good deal.

When I was finished with my test, I made a short lesson plan for my class.  My real goal was to just finish up some topics from the last class and go over some homework questions that I knew would be coming.  I was able to reiterate some concepts while going over the homework, so that was good.  Apparently my class had all sort of questions they wanted to ask today.  Not about math, of course, just about life.  They seem to enjoy getting to know me.  I'm assuming that's due to a) they've probably not met too many people who are passionate about math and b) they want to spend as much class time not talking about math.  One of my students asked what I was doing this weekend, so I told him about how the farmer's market is opening tomorrow.  He looked at me and said "You sound like such an adult!  Do you do anything fun?"  I just laughed and told him that I really don't.  My students all sorts of questions about Kimmy and how we met and how I proposed.  They're silly.

Then I went off to tutor.  It was fairly successful, I'd say.  We made some good progress and I got paid!  When I got home, Kimmy was still at work.  I made some dinner, then watched a short documentary on Netflix about secret societies.  It was pretty interesting.  The documentary made it seem like there are two camps of people who research secret societies: those who think that the societies have some ulterior motive and "hidden knowledge," and then there are those who just believe the societies are secret because they talk about things that could really trouble the general public.  I tend to go with the second group.  You have these super secret clubs like the Bilderberg Group that is comprised of 100 of the most influential people in the world (presidents, kings, owners of banks, etc) who gather once a year to discuss... things.  Some say this group is trying to take over the world.  I say this group (and those like it) are secretive because they need to talk about things that would cause to big of a panic if people heard about those things.  Or as the documentary put it, these people need to discuss things and not be held accountable for their ideas.  I think this last point is incredibly important: these people have to keep an insane number of things in balance in their job and sometimes and idea might seem like a good one, but after discussing it with these other intelligent people, the idea might turn out to be awful.  For instance, someone might think that dumping nuclear waste into Arizona might be a good way of getting rid of it.  But after going to the meeting, the other people would point out what an awful idea that is.  If the general public was made aware that an important official had even considered dumping waste in Arizona, most people would go crazy.  But since these important and intelligent people are given the chance to discuss their ideas first and then see what makes the most sense (without being held accountable to any ideas, i.e. no thought-crimes), more good will happen.

Anyhow, that was exciting. Kimmy came home eventually.  We talked, came up with our grocery list for the week... and now I'm going to bed.  Good night!


Day 660


So, I'm still pretty sore today from working on yesterday.  It's not fun.  Nope, not even a little bit.

Let's see.... This afternoon I went to a Pi Day party in the math department.  It was actually really well attended.  There were probably at least 40 people there.  I had fun.  They had pizza, a bunch of different pies, prizes, and temporary tattoos.

This happened.  I was pretty excited.

After the party, I went to study with Dustin for our test tomorrow.  That went well.  Dr. Foley had to go pretty quickly through the material in class to get through it all, so Dustin and I spent some time really trying to figure out what was going on in each part.  We were pretty successful.

When I got home, I talked with Kimmy for a bit, then we ate dinner.  We have to eat an early dinner on Thursdays because I have class in the evening.

Or so I thought.  I got there and the doors were locked.  So I checked Blackboard and sure enough, class had been canceled.  Three weeks ago.  I guess I just forgot about it!

So I came home.  I called mom and wished her a happy birthday, then Kimmy and I went to the store.  We wanted to get another Xbox controller, but they were too expensive.  So we'll probably just get it from Amazon.  Boo.

Well, that's about it.  Night!


Day 658

Today was pretty slow day.  And I was ok with that.  As a result, this is going to be incredibly short and dull.

I got over 9 hours of sleep last night.  I felt great.  When I woke up, I ate, responded to some emails, and then set up appointments for apartment hunting next week.  We're going to visit 4 different complexes and hopefully find one that we like!

I also made chili for dinner!  Kimmy and I were both gone for the hours surrounding dinner, so I made it early and then refrigerated it.  Then I went to go tutor.

Kimmy and I ate dinner after she got back from work, then proceeded to do nothing.  Chili is one of the meals that we tend to eat too much of, so things were pretty slow following dinner.

Yeah.  That's about it from here.  Tomorrow is likely to be a more exciting day.

Day 657

Oh boy.  What a day.  What a very long day.

I got up early this morning.  How early, you ask? 6:15 am early.  I'm going to start working out with Tim H. three days a week in around 7.  It was less than fun.  But it's good for us.

When I got back I pretty much just tried to stay awake.  I got some lesson planning done, then I read for a little bit.  Then it was off to school!

After I arrived I got an email saying that my class with Dr. Foley was canceled.  So I read my book some more, but I was too tired to really focus.  I ended up getting another cup of coffee so that I could make it through teaching.  My friend Alex is taking MFE tomorrow, so he called today because he had a few questions on some different topics and wanted some advice.  I was able to give him a little guidance, but mainly he just needed someone to re-affirm that he did, in fact, have the information straight.  A lot of times, that can be just as helpful as re-reading the material.

I had planned on working my research project today, but I talked with one of the guys in my group and we decided that the data set we'd picked just wasn't going to work.  We were supposed to have a data set with about 15 variables... but our data set was part of the American Housing Survey and was actually comprised of 7 different data sets, each containing between 50 and 200 variables.  So.... there was way too much to go though.  I had actually gone through the set that was the most likely to be useful and found that it only had about 3 good variables anyhow.  At this point I still had an hour and a half until I taught and really had nothing to work on.  So I read some more.

Then I went to go teach.  I thought that went well.  I handed back some tests (some were quite displeased) then talked about probability.  Even though this is my favorite topic thus far, we don't get to do much of the really fun stuff.  Bummer.

I came home for a few minutes, then went to go tutor.  I had a terrible time staying awake.  Oh goodness, it was rough.  But I managed.  And obviously got my second wind when I came home.

Kimmy made some very tasty food for dinner!  She made apple butter glazed ham.  It was sooooo good.  Then for dessert we made milkshakes.  It was a good day.

Now it's time for bed.


Day 656

Good evening.

Well, today was my last day of spring break.  Now it's back to school.  I'm not too upset about it... I mean, the first half of the semester wouldn't have been to bad had it not been for my exam.  So I'm guessing the second half will be relatively fine.

So, here's something that bothers me.  For the past 6 years, I've gone to two different Nazarene churches and a Nazarene university... and at all of these places I've noticed a very bad trend.  It is often the case that when someone at one of these places is discussing missionary work, discipleship, or some other method of expanding the kingdom of God, there seems to always be a decisive mention of the work done by the Nazarene church.  It's not about how the kingdom of God is expanding... it always seems to be about how the Nazarene Church has planted more missionaries, or people were brought to Christ through the work of the Nazarene church.  And I've seen this at all three places: two churches and a university.  This really bothers me.  None of this is about keeping a score card against other denominations or other Nazarene... districts, I believe they're called?

I absolutely believe that a denomination should teach the doctrine that is the foundation of that denomination.  But I've always had the perception that each Nazarene Church has some sort of metaphorical scorecard that they use to compare themselves with other districts or denominations.

The thing that set me off today was from the beginning of the service.  Someone was going to pray and said that he was going to pray for all of the Nazarene missionaries spreading the word and growing the Nazarene church.  And I thought to myself "no... I don't think that's how it works.  I think this is God's church."

Anyhow.  That was just something that has bothered me for a while.

After church, I had some lunch and read from my new book.  It's very interesting.  The author wants to tell a story about what he calls "Strange Loops."  In terms of art, an example of a Strange Loop is Escher's "Ascending and Descending."

Here, we see a literal loop of people going continuously up... but somehow arriving right where they started.

He compares this to the renowned mathematician/logician/philosopher Kurt Godel, who made the claim that a system whose existence rests upon axioms (statements that simply exist and cannot be proved) and creates new theorems based upon those axioms will necessarily contain truths that cannot be proved with those axioms.  It was a very troubling discovery that caused quite a ruckus in mathematics.

Anyhow, the author seeks to explore these infinite loops in music, art, and mathematics.  I'm not quite certain what the end goal of this book is, but that does not concern me.  For now, I am enjoying what I'm reading and learning.  I was warned that it's a pretty dense book, but so far I've found it to be far less dense than most things I've had to read.  However, I still have 700 pages to go, so I anticipate that the material will get far more complex.  At this point, it has remained pretty familiar and understandable, even reminiscent of some courses I took at Mount Vernon.

I like it.

Later in the evening, I attempted a new experiment.  I'm going to be getting up early to go work out with Tim H. so I decided to make breakfast burritos that I can simply microwave and eat.  This will be faster and more efficient than making eggs or oatmeal (though it's nearly always eggs) each morning.  Especially when I'll be learning around 6:45.

On that note, it's time for me to go to bed.  Good night!


Day 655

Oh boy, one of my last days of spring break.  And I've been enjoying it very much.

When I got up this morning, I had a few things I wanted to get done... mostly cleaning types of things.  Kimmy had to work this afternoon, so I figured I'd be productive.  It was a great plan!
And then I discovered a new genre of music: electro-swing.

Suddenly, after a hundred or so Youtube videos, it was well into the afternoon.  My only regret is..... I'm just kidding, I don't regret any of it.  It was awesome and I'd do it again.

After Kimmy came home from work, we made some dinner, played a video game, then went to the library.  There's a book I've been wanting to read for quite some time called Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid.  I like the works of all three of those people, it seems like an interesting read.  I know a couple people who have read it and they liked it.  So I'll be sure to keep you all updated as I continue.

I'm not particularly tired and pretty bored, so I think I'm going to go start reading.  Cheers!