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!


Day 653

Oh boy, what a day it's been.

Actually, let's back up to last night.  It snowed quite a bit, so I decided I should shovel myself a path to get out of the driveway.  After about 10 minutes, I'd made very little progress and still had a lot left to shovel.  So I decided that instead of shoveling our entire driveway and alleyway, I would just drive around it a few times and make a path.  That worked decently well.

I was actually really excited because I was tired around 10pm last night, so I decided I'd just go to bed.  It was awesome!  Until I woke up at 11:30 and couldn't fall back asleep.  For 2 hours. So I got up, did some more studying, then went back to bed.  I probably got about 4 hours of sleep last night.  Thankfully, my body has this function where, if I get less than 5 hours of sleep, I get a huge adrenaline rush after getting out of bed.  This basically got me through my first three years of college.  Anyhow, I was able to master the precious adrenaline rush, eat, shower, and head out to take my exam!

I got to the testing center around 9, made sure that I knew where I was going, then went to go find some food.  My first attempt was Jimmy John's, but they were closed until 10 :(  Hurumph.  I saw a guy inside, but he held up both hands with all fingers up, indicating that they opened at 10.  So I made a sad face.  And he made a sad face.  And we stared at each other, sad and awkwardly, until I left and went to Subway.  I studied a little bit at Subway, but really I knew I wouldn't make any new progress.

The test went well.  I thought for sure that I was going to fail because after 30 minutes I had only answered 2 of the first 10 questions.  But as I calmed down and answered more questions I was able to go back to the earlier questions and figure them out.  In the end, there was only one question that I just could not figure out.  I knew there were pretty much three parts to it... and I knew the second two parts, but I didn't really know how to start it.  So I tried to work backwards until I got to a point where I was supposed to have an interest rate (which I was supposed to have done in the first part of the problem).  So I thought "well, they usually use an interest rate between 2% and 15%, so I'll just start putting numbers in to see if anything lines up with the solutions."  Using this approach, I narrowed it down to 2 different solutions.  From there I just guessed.

But it all worked out!  I received my "unofficial pass," which means that there is an (approximately) 0.00238% chance that the test was incorrectly marked.  So for all intents and purposes, I passed!

When I got home, I didn't do anything productive.  It was great.  Kimmy and I got some Chinese for dinner, watched a TV show, then played some video games.  It was an awesome post-exam day.

My body is having a bit of a rough time coming down from the exam-stress.  It will come, but sometimes it takes me a while.  Hopefully I get there soon!  I need to be enjoying this amazing no-studying time!

That's it for now.  Good night!


Day 651

Apparently Beans got excited last night and left us a little surprise.

Well, only one more day until my test.  I'm starting to get nervous again.  I was fine for the past week... but now it's really starting to settle in.  But really, how could it not?  350 hours/12 weeks of studying condensed into one 3 hour exam.  Bleh.... I just want it to be over.

So that was pretty much my day.  Studying, reading through more material, then studying some more until I couldn't concentrate.  Take a break, study some more.  Then more studying.

Later in the afternoon I went to go tutor.  It was a little rainy when I arrived. Then it started to snow like all sorts of crazy intense stuff as I left.  I was not expecting that.  There was a lot of snow.

When I got home, we made chili burgers for dinner.  Then I studied some more.  At the very end, I wrote down a list of about 8 things that I want to look at tomorrow.  I'll do more, but there are just a handful of minor things that I somewhat get, but want to understand better.

Ok.  Off to bed.  Good night.


Day 650

Well, it was another exciting day of studying!

I didn't get quite as far in my studying as I'd hoped, but realistically I'd planned a bit too much.  So I'll finish the problems tomorrow.  Not a big deal.

So... yep. Lots of studying.  I also went to go tutor in the evening.  That went well.  Apparently it's supposed to get really snowy tomorrow, so we'll see if I'm able to go tutor tomorrow.  When I left, we had an understanding that I'd be coming if the roads permitted my driving.  Otherwise, I'd just come on Friday.

In other news, I received yet another request for my tutoring services.  I informed them that after Thursday, I will have ample time to tutor... but that right now I have a huge test I need to study for.  So hopefully they call back

In other news, by the time I take my test on Thursday I will have studied for this dumb test for around 350 hours.  If that's not enough study time to pass, then I have no idea what else I'm supposed to do.  At this point, it's just a matter of finding those little things that have been giving me trouble and trying to nail those down.  It's really difficult because there are a lot of questions that could be on the test, but almost certainly won't be.  But maybe they will be.  So it comes down to how much time I want to spend on the material has about a 5% chance of showing up on the test, or more time on the stuff that will absolutely be on there.  My general strategy for the exams is to be so fluent with the 95% of the material that I can have a general grasp of the other 5% and hope for the best / derive on the spot.  It's worked well in the past.

Ok.  Time for bed.  And then more studying.  Good night!


Day 649

Well, it's getting close to show time!  Only three more days to study before I take my exam.

Here's a short recap of my weekend.

On Friday, I had exactly 3 students show up to class.  I was expecting that much.  So I showed them some things in Excel that will be helpful for their upcoming project.  One of my students was really impressed with some of the things I'd done in Excel (none of which was really that extensive), so I sent him a worksheet I'd created for my Models of Financial Economics course last semester.  That one is pretty extensive and uses a good variety of things I know.  I wrote a lot of comments in the worksheet because there are many many new concepts that I'm quite certain he's never encountered.  None of it is difficult individually, but combined together it can be pretty overwhelming.  Regardless, he can put numbers in and get cool stuff out.

Yesterday was the standard "studying and grocery shopping" day.  Soon to be over...

Today was more studying.  I worked through almost 2 tests worth of material, then read some of the textbook.  There are a few concepts that are still giving me trouble, but I'm not too worried.  I understand the basic ideas, so on the very very rare chance that such a question gets asked, I'll save it until the end and try to figure it out.

My goal for tomorrow is to work through the practice questions again.  There are a grand total of 76... so I don't know if I'll actually get them all done, but I'm going to give it a try.  Going at about exam speed, that will take roughly 8 hours.  We'll see if I have that in me tomorrow.

I am feeling pretty good about the exam.  A week ago I was feeling decent, but I've worked through the practice exams again and I know the material much better this time.  So I'm feeling pretty confident.  I also believe that I will get instant feedback after my exam is over, so I'm pretty excited about that.  Otherwise, I have to wait 8 weeks to hear.  I guess I'll found out on Thursday whether that rumor is true!

Ok, time for bed.  Good night!


Day 646

Today feels like it dragged on forever.  I have no idea how that's even possible, but it certainly happened.

I got up early to start working on some studying, but for most of the morning and early afternoon I just had an awful time concentrating.  My mind just would not stay on the material.  Oh, it was frustrating.  I felt like I'd wasted such a large chunk of my day.... and this is not the time to be wasting anything!

But later on in the day I was able to get my act together and do some good studying.  So my evening and night ended up being fairly productive, even if the first half of my day was not.

I also spent some time preparing for my lesson tomorrow.  I'm guessing there will be about 5 - 10 people there, so I'm going to show them some things in Excel that will be helpful on the take home portion of the exam.  They don't need Excel, but it will be helpful.

Well, I think this day is about over.  Time to get some sleep and start tomorrow!