Day 618

A short little update for those who enjoy reading this silly thing.

Today was a fantastic no-class day.  These are seriously the best.  I got up, talked with Kimmy briefly before she went to work, then did some of my own work.  I spent the morning doing teaching-related things, like responding to emails and setting of my statistics page for this class.  I like to keep a decent number of statistics to help me figure out how things are going.  For instance, I compare average scores with averages that don't include 0 scores (meaning the assignment did not get turned in).  I also compare exam scores with the number of points earned from the entire chapter (70 possible points on a test, 150 for the entire chapter between other assignments and homework) and set up an easy way to see which (if any) assessments have an average score below 70%.  I also set up a sheet that lets me examine individual student progress, along with their major, year in school, highest math class, and a graph that shows how well they do in each chapter.  I used it last semester and had a lot of fun putting it together.

Kimmy came home for lunch.  She was pretty tired, but had to go back to work after lunch.  Boo.  After she left, I got started on studying.  I did my first practice exam today, but didn't time myself.  I wanted to see how well I would do without looking at notes, solutions, or time constraints.  I was pleased for a first attempt.  My big problems came back to bite me (as always): over thinking problems, misreading the questions, making silly errors.  And two of the questions were simply poorly worded... but that's about normal on an actuarial exam.  Usually two questions just are not worded well... so good luck.  I also drank a lot of hot chocolate, so that helped.

After dinner, Kimmy celebrated being home by not standing on her feet.  I celebrated by... studying.  I'm pretty excited for this whole studying thing to be over.  Or at least to be around people who are studying the same things.

When I was done studying, Kimmy and I ate cookies!  Kimmy made shortbread cookies last night and they were really good.  We've eaten most of them... but they are so tasty!

Ok.  I think that's about everything.  Have a lovely night/morning/day, everyone.


Day 617

Wow, what a day.

This morning was hard... I had a really difficult time getting out of bed.  But I had a lot to do, so eventually I was able to make it to the dining room.  Kimmy had to go to work early, so after she left I started planning my lesson for the day.

Let's see.... after my shower I made some lunch then went up to campus.  My goal was to finish all of my grading so that I could hand it back in class.  And I succeeded!  I was pretty happy.  Well, no... I wouldn't necessarily say "happy," but I would have been a little disappointed if I'd had to take my grading home with me.

Teaching went really well today.  I was able to keep things moving pretty quickly and cover all of the material I'd planned for the day.  I even kept them interested for a while by discussing how to make soup.  The chapter I'm teaching is on scheduling, so I broke down making soup into different parts and used it as an example for explaining some of the scheduling procedures from the book.  I think that the majority of the students don't mind being in class.  Some students (I think) actually enjoy being in class.  I remember in one of my math education classes, we did a fantastic exercise.  It was very short and simple (there were four of us in the class).  Dr. Whitaker asked us what our favorite math class was during high school or college and then explain why.  Each of us explained that the specific classes were our favorites because our professor did something special that we liked... maybe it was exceptionally good explanations or drawing pictures or giving us stickers or starting class with cool facts.  So I developed this theory for teaching that revolves around a very key factor near the beginning of the semester: I aim to make my students want to be there, or at least be accepting of the fact that they're in class.  I'll pick an easy chapter, use tangible examples, make jokes or funny faces, call on people to participate... whatever I must to make the first few weeks count.  After the first weeks, it becomes so much easier to teach because the people generally don't mind being there.  In fact (as I mentioned earlier), some of them actually enjoy being there.  One of my students actually informed me that she appreciated my ability to get the material across and try to make class fun.  I felt special.

So after class I came home and made some stir-fry for dinner.  We got some sweet and sour sauce at the store, so I used that to cook everything.  It was pretty tasty.  After dinner we went to the GAP outlet at the mall.  Apparently they're closing at the end of February and everything is 50% off.  Kimmy needed some new jeans, so we went.  It turns out that they didn't have any jeans that fit and liked... but I got two new button down shirts for $10!  And I ran into (figuratively) one of my students from the fall.  We tried to avoid eye contact at first, but when there are only 6 people in the store that gets awkward fast.

After we got home I started studying... and Kimmy made cookies!  They were really really tasty.  And then we proceeded to eat many of them.  I have no regrets.  In other news, I officially being my 5.5 weeks of review tomorrow.  Woo hoo.  Even though it's over a month away, I feel like this exam is just around the corner. AHHHH!

Ok, that's it for me.  Good night!


Day 616

Today was a pretty full day.  We got a lot of things done.

It was a normal beginning to a Sunday... we woke up and went to church.  Pastor Marked talked about the sort of things that retain most of our time and attention, whether it's money, luxuries, friends and family, or God... specifically regarding the things that make you happy.  It was good and insightful.  

When we got home I got some lunch and then did homework for my finance class.  Meh.  Then I finished up grading the tests that my students took last week.  I'm hoping to get their additional assignment graded by tomorrow afternoon, but we'll see.

After grading and such, I got to studying. This section is pretty frustrating because there was a lot of material, but I don't really understand how much of it is important.  The questions don't seem super difficult, but the chapter had about twice the reading of most sections and... I have no idea what it was talking about.  So hopefully any questions from this chapter are just computational and nothing too conceptual.

We had leftovers for dinner (because we have lots of leftovers), then I studied some more.  After my brain was done for the night I went upstairs for some reading/gaming.  I was reading something interesting about happiness and the author made an excellent point that I've known for a while, but has never really sunk in until recent years: the pursuit of happiness is often what makes us happy.  Getting a new sports car as a gift would be pretty awesome... but how much more rewarding would it be to work hard for years, saving every paycheck your dream car?  And the pursuit, though hard, would instill a dream in you that creates happiness in and of itself.  I think that often, the pursuit of something is what keeps us going.  For the next 4ish years, I'll be studying for exams and other criterion for my line of work.  And as much as I wish I didn't have to, it gives a very straight forward goal and tangible payoff.  I don't have to create any goals for myself... I have a big one given to me.  That hard work and pursuit is what gives people (or maybe it's just me) purpose.  One of my big pursuits is to become an influential member of my community wherever I go.  Specifically, I've always felt passionately about helping homeless people.  I think that's mostly because it's an issue that I see often enough for it to be very real to me, and I can imagine not having a home or job and how awful it would be.  Some of the terrible things going on in the world are too awful for me to fully comprehend... but I can comprehend (mostly) being homeless.  So one of my goals in life is to actively do something about it.  In my perfect world, I'd love to pretty much take a huge warehouse and turn it into a safe place for homeless people to live.  Additionally, people can have a place to store their belongings, have a mailbox, have access to career services, and other types of things to get people back on their feet (provided they don't want to remain homeless for their entire life).  That would be neat.  We'll see if it actually happens.

Well, that was a bit of a tangent.

Ok.  It's late and I'm tired.  Good night.


Day 614

Today was mostly a recovery day.  Kimmy and I are both getting over colds, so we just tried to get plenty of sleep and feel better.

I spent the morning trying to be productive.  I sent some emails, looked at apartment things... but it just wasn't happening today.  My brain just wasn't in it.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

As Kimmy and I look for housing next year, it's becoming more and more apparent that things are just too expensive.  Mostly just housing in Louisville.  We've finally come to the point that if an apartment complex has a nice website with really artsy pictures and big windows that it's almost certainly out of our price range.  I've also come to the conclusion that the people who live in some of those apartments are either a) living with 4 other room mates, b) making a ton of money, or c) not concerned with saving, retirement, or staying out of debt.  It's a challenge to find nice apartments that are reasonably priced.  But we'll find something.  It's also strange that we won't have quite the same issues finding a place to live that we did moving to Muncie last August.  We won't have to worry about fighting for housing with college students.  So hopefully there will be time to examine our options and make a trip down there after I take my exam.

Speaking of exams, I officially signed up to take my next exam on March 7th.  So I today was the 6 week mark.  I'm about done with the material (I should be finishing up over the weekend), so now I'll just spend the next 6 weeks doing review!  Oh goodness.... there's so much to do.

I had my class this evening, but I just wasn't feeling it.  My brain was just dragging from having a cold.  But somehow I made it through.  When I got back we examined some more apartment options, trying to find a place that is affordable, nice, and close to where I'll be working.  It's just hard to do all of this without getting to really spend much time down there.

Ok.  That's it from us in Muncie.  Good night!


Day 613

I had a pretty full day yesterday... that's for certain.

It started off early-ish.  I had a meeting at 9, so I got up around 7:30 to get ready, make a lunch, and pack my schoolwork.  Kimmy gave me a ride to school because it was really cold outside.

My meeting was fine.  Every other week all of the teaching Graduate Assistants and discuss how things are going, bring up any urgent issues, and then one of the GAs will bring discussion points.

After the meeting I printed off the test for my students and studied in my office.  I wouldn't necessarily describe it as "fun," but it was good.  My biggest issue with some of this material is that (because I have no experience in the investment industry or stock market) it seems highly impractical.  Basically my exam is about the types of models used for the stock market and how people protect themselves against fluctuations in stock prices.  But since I only have a fundamental understanding of the stock market, it's difficult for me why everything is necessary.  Or, more likely, I haven't quite gotten to the point where I understand why we're allowed to make some of the assumptions that are made and therefore bring in these elements of math that seem to be overkill for the questions being asked.

When my office hours were done I went to my classes, then gave my exam.  Only one student forgot that we had an exam, so that's good.  I told them that I would definitely not have the tests graded by Friday, but hopefully I'd have them graded by Monday.  I don't have a lot of work to do this weekend, so it should be doable.

Upon returning home I got back to studying.  I'd finished reading the chapter and so I just worked for the next... forever.  That's pretty much how it goes.  Read a chapter, work a million problems.  There are either too many problems or too few.

We made barbecue pulled chicken for dinner.  It went better than the last time I tried to do this, but I still don't really feel like I knew what I was doing.  I cooked the chicken first though!  It was good.

After dinner we began our new evening ritual: I study while Kimmy plays Skyrim.  That was most of the evening... until my brain was done studying.

That's about all for now!


Day 612

Hopefully I'll start getting better at writing this every night.  We'll see.

So today.  I think I'm coming down with a cold or something, because I woke up with a sore throat and just feeling kind of gross.  But I still had stuff to get done today, so I got up and went to it.

This morning consisted of officially signing up for my exam in March, then writing a test for my students tomorrow.  Hopefully that goes well for them.  I'll probably grade that over the weekend.

After lunch it was study time!  Oh boy!  I studied for a while this afternoon, but didn't get quite as much done as I'd planned.  I'm still on track, though, so I'm not worried.  I should be through the last chapter by the end of the week, so from there it's just 6 weeks of review!  Yay!  The gravity of the exam hasn't quite hit yet... usually once I start doing review it all just comes crashing down and I realize that life's about to get super fun.

Kimmy and I had leftovers for dinner and finished watching a movie.  After dinner we looked at some apartments for next year.  We have three different apartments we're considering at the moment. It's pretty annoying when apartment complexes don't have a dedicated website and rely on places like aggregate sites like rentals.com because the information frequently doesn't match between sites.  One site will say a complex has three different sizes at prices A, B, and C, but the other site will say the same complex has four sizes at prices W, X, Y, and Z.  So I'm going to send them all emails and try to make sure that I have all of the correct information.

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


Day 610

Well, it's been a while since I wrote in this.  I suppose I've just been going to bed later and haven't really felt like writing after getting up.  Anyhow, here's some stuff!

Today was Sunday, so that means church!  Church was good.  All of the regular staff were gone except for the youth pastor, so he taught today.  He talked about why so many youth stop going to church after leaving high school.  And he had a lot of excellent points, like how so many parents have given the jobs of role model and parent off to so many other entities (schools, church, daycare, sports teams), or how so many people fail to make church-going a multi-generational activity where everyone can share their thoughts and wisdom with each other.  I thought he did a great job, but the huge thing that think got missed (and seems to get missed a lot) is that not every lesson is taught before a student goes to college.  Morality/church-going isn't like some savings account, where if fill someone up with enough good lessons they'll make it thought four years of college without mishap.  That's not at all how it works.  Continuous nurturing is required... just like at every age.  Sunday school, small group, bible studies, they are all ways for continuous friendship and growth.  The other issue I see (from my own perspective) is the difference between the type of lessons taught in church and in school.  During the elementary school through high school years, most students are simply given facts to learn and made to accept those facts. But upon entering college, a more academic mindset that revolves around validating information, separating fact from fiction, and generally not taking whatever is taught without questioning it.  But most churches do not get into the seminary-type academic discussions about theology and God.  Generally it's more about what things we need to do or believe to remain aligned with God.  This is good, but I really think that a more academic approach would be beneficial to some people.  Anyhow, those are just my thoughts.  I'm sure there are plenty of people who have thought of these before, but it was on my mind.  So there you have it!

After church we came home, got some lunch, then I started studying.  I really didn't want to, but it had to bed done.  So I alternated between studying and playing video games to keep my mind from getting too worn out.  I've noticed that if I study for too long in a row, my brain just gets too exhausted and I'm useless for the rest of the day.  I'm trying to just doing things in 2 hour blocks, then taking a 30 to 60 minute break.  It's been working well.

Kimmy and I made baked potatoes for dinner and they were so tasty.  I always forget how long baked potatoes take to cook in the oven, so we ate later than normal... but we still survived.  In case you weren't sure.

Well, I don't have school tomorrow in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  And I shall celebrate by sleeping in.  Cheers!


Day 608

It's late.  This much is clear.

Today was a standard "get stuff done" day.  During the morning I got lots of studying done.  I wanted to get a little more done, but I had some other work that needed to happen.

So here's a fun little thing I learned yesterday.  One of my classes requires that we use a specific software.  Thankfully I have a student license because normally this costs $8,000.  This program is used for analyzing data and doing cool statistics with it.  So the act of automatically reading data in is pretty important.  However, the easy way doesn't work on my computer.  Why?  Because I have the 64-bit version of Windows... which about half of Windows computers have.  So a large portion of the user base can't use this basic functionality... and I had to spend about an hour looking for fixes and guides to get it working.  This just seemed silly that such an expensive piece of software would have this fundamental problem.  AND!  And it had the same issue on the previous version of the software.  So they've been aware of this issue for some time, yet have not fixed it.  Nonsense, I say!

Anyhow, I finally got that working. I spent the afternoon getting some work done for my class tomorrow.  They have a test coming up, so I had to do some preparation for tomorrow's review.

Kimmy and I made this really tasty taco casserole type thing for dinner.  Oh, it was so great.  Then I had to go to my evening class... it was not nearly as great.  The first couple of weeks is basic accounting.  It's pretty dull.  But hopefully we'll get into some more fun/exciting things soon.

Well.  I think that's about it from me.  Night!


Day 606

Today was a pretty dull day, but I'll update everyone who's interested.

I don't have any classes on Tuesday, so it's my "study and get stuff done" day.  Which is what I did.  I studied, emailed some people, ran some errands, then came home and studied some more.  

I've also started idly looking for housing in May.  I'm sure that I could wait until later, but it's something productive that I can do that's not school.  I also put together a very rough budget, but it was hard to find all of the relevant income tax information... so I just made some estimates.

Kimmy had to work this evening, so I just bummed around.  Our garage door is being stubborn again.  It seems that whenever the weather is cold, our garage door remote controls in our cars don't work.  The remote inside the garage works.  But as soon as the weather is nice (like the other day when it was 60) they work just perfectly.  I don't get it.

Well, that's about it for now.  Night!


Day 605

Well today was fairly exciting.  It started off early... 10 minutes before my alarm went off, in fact.  See.... there's this kitten named Bacon.  And he doesn't like when we shut the door on him.  So most mornings he sits at our door meowing and carrying on like a silly little cat.  This morning was especially bad.  He was really loud and banging on the door and it was really annoying.  So I went to make sure that he had food and water... which he did.  I guess he was just lonely and wanted company.  Yarg.

So after our wonderful little cat woke me up, I did some lesson planning and studying.  I got up to campus for my office hours and learned that both of my classes had been canceled for today.  I took full advantage of this and got plenty of studying done.  Unfortunately, I can't fit my entire study binder into my backpack, so I have to take out individual chapters to take with me to school.  And I'd gone through that entire chapter.  Since I was out of material, I went for a walk outside.  It was cold but really nice.

Teaching went well.  I think I was able to clarify some tough questions from the last homework, then cover some new material.  Now I just have to figure out what I'm doing with them on Wednesday...

When I got back I started making some stir-fry for dinner.  I never know what spices to put in the stir-fry... so I used taco seasoning.  It was good, but needed some more seasoning.

After dinner I did some dishes and a little other cleaning.  Kimmy had a pretty long day at work, so we just relaxed for a while.  Not too much else happened the rest of the night, mostly just relaxing and cleaning.  So it was a pretty good evening.

And now it's time for bed.  Night everyone!


Day 603

Apparently I have school or something tomorrow?  Nonsense... it's still Sunday, right?  No... no it's not.  Well, I guess I'll write this thing now.

Ok, so today started like many other Sundays.  We got up and went to church with Jessie and Richard.  Pastor Mark continued his lesson from last week concerning loving others.  He made a really good point today that I felt was well stated.  Essentially, we shouldn't simply tolerate other people and their beliefs... we should actively love them.  Tolerance implies being passive and just co-existing.  Love is active and aggressive.  Jesus didn't just smile and nod at the untouchables of his day... he hugged them and ate with them.  He was pretty much the Man.

After church we got some lunch then headed up to Blufton for Grandpa's 80th birthday party.  We were in for a surprise, however, when the road we were taking was incredibly blocked due to the rain from last night.  It was really bad.  We had to turn around a number of times before being able to get there.

We got there in time to see Uncle Nick's picture presentation, then hear some of the cousins read a poem for Grandpa.  It was a really nice party and I could tell that everyone put a lot of time and thought into it.  So we all sat around and socialized for a while, then got together for a family picture.

When we returned I got back to studying.  It's always a rude awakening when I've had a lovely day of not studying and then I have to go back at it.  Yarg.  And I know that studying is just going to get harder once I'm working.  Oh, only a few more years.

Well.  I think that's about it from me.  Tomorrow's going to be a fun-filled day!



Day 601

Yesterday was a really strange day.

It started off normal enough: I got up and studied for about three hours.  I had a quick lunch, then went up to campus.  I tried to study some more but just couldn't focus... so I got another cup of coffee.  Apparently this was my undoing.

My hypothesis is that my second cup, paired with being tired and not eating enough, hit my stomach really hard.  So for the next few hours my brain was moving everywhere at lightspeed, but my body was dragging.  It felt very strange.  It made teaching incredibly difficult.  My students probably think I'm some sort of substance abuser.

When I got home I ate food and tried to talk with Kimmy, but my brain wouldn't slow down and stay on any one topic long enough to have it make sense or even come out in full thoughts.  It was really bad.  So I elected to go upstairs to my computer for a while to burn off some mental energy.

Later on in the evening Kimmy and I put a puzzle together!  It was a lot more fun than I remember puzzles being.  I then realized that we're officially getting old because we stayed in on a Friday night and put a puzzle together instead of... whatever kids do these days.

Yay puzzle!

Beans wanted in on the action too.

This one... this cat right here really likes puzzles.  I had to keep the spray bottle by us so that he wouldn't steal any pieces.  That little scoundrel.



Day 600

Today has been pretty busy.  It started off somewhat early, then I pretty much got right into studying.  I have about three good hours of studying per cup of coffee, so that's how I spent the majority of my morning.  It was good. I got some other things done as well, but mostly studying.

After lunch and responding to some emails, I went up to campus with Tim B. to get some software from the math department.  This specific piece of software generally costs over $8,000 for a single license.  Thankfully, the Math Department has licenses for all of the students, so it was just a matter of talking with the guy in charge of all of the math-related technology and getting some installation discs from him... for free!  Which is way better than $8,000.  That's just silly.

I did some studying when I got back, then Kimmy and I went to dinner with some of my friends for Dustin's birthday.  Well all went to Chili's.  It was fun. I don't know how it started, but we ended up talking about county fairs for a while and how some of us find them to be pretty dull... while others found them to be pretty exciting.  Which is fine.  I just have a difficult time getting excited about... cows.  And pigs.  Don't get me wrong, I think that farming is actually very interesting and I can't even imagine how satisfying it would be to be a farmer.  But I guess they just aren't really what get me excited.  Fairs in general just aren't really my thing.  It's hot, crowded, smelly, loud, and bright.  I would much rather sit down over a cup of coffee and discuss something theoretical and academic.  That sounds pretty awesome.  Sure, I'd love to discuss how a perfectly efficient economy would run if there were no moral constraints.  Or the possibilities of space colonies.  Or the implications of probability theory if we don't restrict the set of possible outcomes to just numbers between 0 and 1.  Maybe have some good old complaining about things that don't even affect us (that's always fun).  But walking around... outside... in the sun... with sweaty people bumping into you and dropping their overly fried food everywhere?  Gross.

Anyhow.  Tim B. and I had to go to class.  We're in a class that runs from 8 - 10pm.... though our professor is going to move it back to 6 - 8.  That would be nice.  The class should be good.  Easy, but informative.  It's a class that is mainly for MBA students, so the focus is mostly how to manage a companies finances and the types of things that need to be known before getting into a line of work involving money-handling.  As I explained it to Kimmy, most of my classes teach me how to be a mechanic.  This one will explain how people drive cars.

Ok.  Time for bed.  Good night!


Day 598

Why is it that I never feel like going to bed at bedtime?  I just want to stay up and keep doing stuff!  But I can't.  Lame.

Most of my day was pretty lame.  I'd planned on setting up the Blackboard page for my class, but it seems that I have to submit a request to set up the page, then 24 hours later it will be activated.  Neat.  So hopefully I can do that tomorrow.

So instead, I spent most of my morning studying.  It took me a while to read through the section because it was long and parts of it were confusing, but I got through it.  Then I made a quick trip to the mail deposit box and the bank... and back to studying.  It's becoming more and more apparent (though I knew this before) that once my work load picks up for my classes, there's no way I'll be able to keep this kind of pace.  I anticipated this and planned for it in my study schedule, but it was still a bit of a realization when I spent all day studying just on exam material.  This should be an interesting semester.

After lunch and errands I studied for a little bit more, then took a break.  My brain was pretty fried.  I got Kimmy up from her post-work nap and we had some dinner.

Then I spent the evening studying some more.  It's so hard to concentrate through all of the problems.  I'll work a couple of problems, then I'll start another one... my mind will wander... I'll read the email I just received... go get some pretzels... then sit back down and realize it's been 20 minutes.  I might need to start getting cup of coffee number 2 mid-afternoon to help with that.  We'll see.

Ok, I'm off to bed now.  Bye!


Day 597

First day of class!  And what a day it was.

My first day of post-break exam studying was a bit of a failure (I didn't get any studying done).  But more on that later.  I spent some time in the morning doing the obligatory "I teach my first lesson today and I'm super nervous so I'll obsessively re-read everything and over-think all of the things."  You know... normal first day of the semester stuff.  I spent far too long trying to tie a Full Windsor tie knot today (I normally use a Half Windsor knot) because my shirt had an extra wide collar... but for some reason I couldn't get it to look very good.  So I settled for the Half Windsor.  I think it turned out just fine.

During my first class (which is a research class), I had a little bit of a surprise.  Dr. Foley walks in and without much explanation writes "Lucky List" on the chalk board and starts to write down the names of some people in the class.  I had no idea what that list was, but I would have bet $100 that I'd be on that list.  However, I only have $20 in cash and no one to bet against.  I ended up being on the list... and it was a reasonably good thing.  In our class there are going to be 4 different research teams and I'm going to be one of four "team leaders."  I'm somewhat excited to be a team leader, but a bit miffed because some of the other people I wanted on my team are team leaders, so I won't be able to do much work with them.  Nonsense, I say.  But I'm sure it will all be fine.

My next class (also with Dr. Foley) will be heavily tied to the research class, so I'm glad I decided to take it.  I may end up dropping my Thursday night class because the syllabus seems to imply that it may take more work than I'd anticipated and I don't want that course work to cut into studying for my exam.  But we'll see.  I'll obviously at least go to the first class or so and see if I can get a feel for the workload.

Ah yes, then I taught.  I think that most of my class was ready to be pretty bored when I began the class.  But I expected that.  I like to open the first day of class with a "getting to know you activity" because, as I told my students, we're all about to spend the next 15 weeks with each other, so we may as well get comfortable and get to know each other.  But I thought it went reasonably well.  We didn't cover any new material, just syllabus stuff.  We'll see how Wednesday goes.

After I got home I changed, read through some emails, then started on dinner.  I made ham and mashed potatoes.  The sauce for the ham was pretty weak and boring, but it was ok.  Nothing too special.

Kimmy and I did some cleaning after dinner, then I wrote a few thank-you cards and answered some more emails.

And now it's bed time.  So long for now, everyone.


Day 595

I tell you what: yesterday was a super productive day.  How productive, you ask?  Super.

As with the majority of people (I assume), my day really starts about halfway through my cup of coffee.  I'm sure something happened before that, but as far as I'm concerned it never happened.

Once my day really started, I got to work on planning my semester, creating a syllabus, and figuring out how I'm going to teach all of my lessons.  It's going to be a bit of a challenge for me because in the past I've taught this class on Tuesday/Thursday and the book works really well for this structure.  But this semester I'm teaching the class Monday/Wednesday/Friday and it just seems like there will be too much time.  So I have a general idea of what to do, but I really hope that I can fill all of the class periods with some sort of lesson.

Then we had a lot of excitement as we attempted to wrestle our tree into submission.  That was rough.  We took some plastic tarp and wrapped it around the tree, but it was a mess because the tree has been dead for so long. Branches were breaking, needles were going everywhere, and I just wanted to eat some ice cream.  It was the worst.

I felt like I was doing a crime scene investigation where everything gets wrapped in plastic.

After we wrapped the tree up and dropped it off at the recycling place, we went grocery shopping.  It seems that everyone in Muncie goes to Aldi at 2:30 on Saturdays.  It was super busy.  But we eventually made it out, went to Wal-mart, then made it home.  After getting home we spent the next hour or so cleaning up pine needles out of the carpet.  Given the option of doing that again and never ever doing that again... I'd go with the latter.  It wasn't all that fantastic.

We met Lee (one of the people from my internship) for dinner at Scotty's.  I had fun.  He caught me up to date on all of the things going on at Central, Kimmy and I gave him a run down of married life, our New York trip, and such things.  He and I did the obligatory griping about actuarial exams (it's the common bond and general conversation topic between most actuaries who are still taking exams).  We had a good time.

When Kimmy and I got home, we finished the day with some good old nothing to celebrate possibly the most productive day we've had over break.

The end.


Day 594

I only have a couple more days of pure freedom left, then it's back to school.  :(  I'm so ready to be done with school.

Yesterday was another fantastic relaxing day.  I did laundry and dishes, but otherwise it was mainly devoted to talking with Kimmy and playing video games.  And sleeping.  Kimmy was feeling a little bit better, but still not great.  Hopefully she's done being sick today.

So I'm going to share another thing that bothers me a little bit.  I generally dislike the terms "intelligent," "professional," and "business."  Not because I find them offensive or anything like that, but I find that too often people use them in demeaning ways.  The terms get used to create a societal rift between the person who is described as intelligent and professional and the person who is not.

Everyone wants to be special, and everyone wants their specialty to be recognized by other people.  The big one I've noticed recently is that everyone wants to be "smart."  However, no one, including psychologist and other scientists, can agree on what it means to be smart or what intelligence is.  Most scientists do agree that there is not one "general intelligence."  The going theory is that you can be smart in a specific area, but maybe not others.  We talked about this in some of my education classes.  For instance, you can be really good with people, but maybe not so good with science.  That doesn't mean that you're dumb, it just means that you're not good at science.  Or maybe you're brilliant with math, but have trouble with language.  Or the other way around.  Who is to say that one school of study is more important than another?  Most intelligence tests try to focus on general critical thinking type of questions, but even those are pretty fallacious.  The stereotypical car mechanic might not be very book smart, but can fix anything that goes wrong with your car like some sort of wizard.  The mechanic is clearly smart enough to fix a very complicated machine that most of us cannot fix.

So I don't really think the term "smart" or "intelligent" are very relevant.  I think if the terms are to be used, they should be restricted to a comparison of people at the same task or in the same field, such as comparing a class of History students or comparing the people in a department at work.  But even then... why does being smart matter?  What does it do besides boost our ego?

And then the whole professional/business thing.  I saw on Facebook a couple of days ago that one of my Facebook friends was conducting an interview in which the interviewee mentioned video games during the answer to one of the questions.  My Facebook friend (the interviewer) noted (not during the interview, but later to some coworkers) that talking about video games is not appropriate for an "adult, professional interview... it's childish."  First off, I will never understand the argument that video games are childish when a) most people play some type of game on their phone or computer, whether it's Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Draw Something, or Sudoku; b) video games are just another way of relaxing... some people watch TV, others play video games.  The only difference is that video games generally have a pretty negative connotation as being childish, violent, and wasteful.  Rubbish.

Sorry, that was a tangent.  Anyhow, I think it's silly to feel like you need to separate yourself from children and things that children do.  Children are just as human as the rest of us.  I also don't understand why people feel the need to ensure that people know they're in a professional or business line of work (and attach those words to to every noun related to their work).  It just seems that too many people are needlessly trying to make themselves seem or feel better than other people by belittling others.

As I grow up, I realize more and more than "growing up" really is just tied to aging.  There is no child->adult transformation outside of: physically changing, getting a job, and paying bills.  Adults get just as confused, misunderstood, excited, hurt, and angry as children.  All people are human.

I think that's enough of a rant for today.


Day 593

I learned an exciting an valuable lesson yesterday.  I had a meeting with my faculty mentor yesterday morning about the class I'm teaching.  Neither of us really knew what we were supposed to talk about, but we knew that the head of the department likes for all of the GAs to meet with their mentors before the semester starts.  So we did.  Anyhow, my lesson.  At Ball State, there are many different types of parking lots, each with their own parking pass.  So I learned that over Thanksgiving break, it doesn't matter where or when you park.  But over Christmas break, it certainly does matter... and you will get a parking ticket for parking in the wrong place.

Yay.  So I'm planning on going to talk with the campus police staff to see if I can get it reduced or turned into a warning, since I honestly didn't know.  I'm not expecting anything out of this, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

After I got home, the rest of the day was a solid mix of the usual: eating, chores, and video games.  I had another "adult moment" yesterday when Kimmy and I got really excited because of how well our new dish soap works.  We didn't have to do an additional rinse cycle to get all of the soap residue off!  It was awesome.

I took Kimmy to work because she wasn't feeling 100% yet.  She's doing better now that can actually get a decent amount of sleep.  I think that getting on her feet and moving a little bit at work has helped her as well.  And plenty of medicine.

After Kimmy got off of work we stayed up for a while talking about everything.  It was fun.  I came up with the most amazing idea for a hamburger ever.  Take a cheese wheel, cut it in half, put a hamburger inside.  Done.  It's like a reverse cheeseburger.  Kimmy expanded the idea by saying we could hollow out the inside, funnel in some ground meat, then bake it for a little bit.  I think both ideas sound amazing.

Ok, that's it for now.  Bye!


Day 592

So... it's been a while.  Here's a brief recap of most of what's been going on.

This past weekend Kimmy and I went to Findlay for a couple days.    It was fun.  We got to see mom and dad, we spent some time over at Primrose with mama and poppy, and we spent New Years with Becky, Miles, James, and some other people.  It was fun. 

We had to come back Tuesday so Kimmy could work yesterday (Wednesday).  And at some point, it seems, Kimmy got sick.  She was feeling pretty miserable today.  So instead of this being a super productive day, it was a "make sure Kimmy has medicine, tissues, liquids, and kittens" day.  I got a little studying done, but I think I'm just going to take it easy for the remaining few days of break.  This semester will probably be pretty tough.

In my original plan for a stellar "New Years" post, I thought I'd go through some things I've done/learned/experienced throughout the year.  But instead, I'm going to summarize some things into one idea: I somehow stumbled upon adulthood.

See, for the past few years I've always wondered how I would know when I was an adult.  Like, actually feeling like and thinking of myself as an adult.  In my head, it was some general "get a job, get married, buy a house" type of thing.  And those are all good (in fact, I did one of those things and it's been pretty fantastic so far), but those are just milestones along the way or perhaps even once adulthood has been attained.

In fact, I only recently stumbled upon this monumental quote that really explains things quite eloquently: "The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise."  I love this.  It brings to light two things that I have found to be central to growing up: responsibility and understanding.  And I realized that something happened... and I actually feel grown up.  Getting married helped a lot.  Moving into a house and paying all of the utilities out of our meager wages helped.  Having a garage helped.  Staying in Muncie for long-weekends helped.  All of these things helped establish Muncie as home (for now....).

So I'm learning that adulthood can be difficult.  It can be stressful, it can be hard, it can be expensive.  But it's awesome.  Kimmy and I were just discussing this earlier today, but life is pretty fantastic.  Everything is beautiful.

I don't think I actually finished a single thought in this post... but I'm tired and had to get some ideas out of my head.  So make of this what you choose.

Good night for now.

Day 591

Day 590

Day 589

Day 588

Day 587