Thursday, February 28, 2008

Que frio, dios mio!

Good golly, I finished up my last bit of calculus homework this morning with the intention of putting some spindles on the stairs to the deck, but it's too freaking cold! My hands were freezing, so I said screw it and did more calculus. I love Improper Integrals. They even sound cool. You may ask yourself, "Self, how could you possibly evaluate an integral with infinite limits?", or, "How is it acceptable to evaluate an integral at a point that makes zero the denominator of the function?". Improper Integration is as MC Hammer might say "PROPER!" However, if I didn't understand it, I might do as 3rd Base would suggest and "give 'em the GAS FACE!" Oh man, I think the cold got to me. Anyway, this stuff is fun. Is there any way to make a good living in mathematics? I need to do more research on this subject. I'm interested in physics and chemistry, but I don't love those subjects the way I love math. I'm really looking forward to Differential Equations and Vector Calculus. I feel like I'd be much better off in Physics and Statics had I gotten those math classes out of the way first. In Physics, we've been studying the methods of analyzing conservative forces, but you have to do partial integration to do it. The professor attempts to teach us enough to get through those problems, but you have to know it would be so much easier coming after actually studying diff. eq. I need advice!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Computer labs are the cafeterias of technology.

I'd like a scoop of Word please; ...ooooh, and the Excel looks nice and hot. Some people like their Internet with a dash of Explorer, but I prefer Mozilla. Mozilla is a healthy alternative to Explorer with no trans fat! mmmm. Sonya and I have decided that KFC was better with trans fat. Computer labs are quiet, but the keystrokes do sound like rapid aggressive chewing. Also, the "I.T." folks that work in the lab are the lunch-ladies of technology. They are not very qualified for their jobs, and you're not at all convinced they didn't spit in your keyboard! I over heard one of the lunch-ladies "assisting" a student yesterday, and it went something like this:
I.T.: "So what seems to be the problem?"
student: "I tried to save my work, but the computer froze and now my work is gone. Is there anyway to retrieve it?"
I.T.:"Oh no, you shouldn't have done that. I'm afraid you're out of luck. You need to back-up your work more often."
student: "That's what I was trying to do!"
Just like for all those who hold public positions, it is often better to avoid responsibility by blaming the victim. Lastly, the surest way to stay out of trouble in a computer lab is just like filling your tray in the cafeteria. Keep it simple, and stick with the prepackaged stuff if at all possible. Enjoy.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Building Stairs

I realize that "Building Stairs" could be a great metaphore, but I'm really just building stairs. Thankfully, there are so many standards in the builing trades that you don't really have to think too hard. I thought I was gonna get to use my skills in trigonometry when I started building the handrail. I thought, "OK, the steps are 10.5" long and 6.5" tall, so the inverse tan of (6.5/10.5) is about 31.8 degrees." I got out my protractor and started marking out my cuts for the hand rails when I saw all these notches on the adjustments for my circular saw and my compound mitre saw. "By golly, that angle is already marked on the saw!" I think I actually sounded like Jim Nabors when I said it. Has anybody else noticed that Mike Huckabee looks exactly like Jim Nabors? Most people don't like trig, but I love it. I really wanted to get good use of it. I use it every dang day in school, but somehow the good folks at Dewalt robbed me of a good chance to use it in real life! Oh well.
Calculus II update: I got a 90 on my test!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm pooped.

No school today, so I'm back working on the last bit of the deck. My buddy Rob called out of the blue and came by to help me out. Very cool. I've got to get the stairs done because our friends Camilo and Juliet will be here from Boston in a week, and Sonya's mom will be here from Miami shortly thereafter. Its great to have visitors because it forces me to prioritize and get things done. I put up drapes in the guestroom and fixed the door so it would close properly. Then I went in the attic and balanced the baffles on our Furnace/AC so the house will be a more even temperature. These are all things that have been bugging me, but it's hard to find the time to get these things done with the course load I've got in school. So its been a productive day, I even managed to clean out some of the scrap from my garage. We really only got to sink the posts in concrete for the steps today, so that should be set for me to finish the steps tomorrow. I only have until about 2:00 to get the steps on the deck completed because I'm getting a haircut in Newport News at 3:30. When we get back I have to study for my Spanish test Monday and my Statics test Tuesday. I have never had more respect for parents. How do their homes not crumble?

After all this work, my house is still covered in dog hair.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Spending the day at William & Mary

I have spent my entire collegiate life in the community college system, but I am now on the verge of making the jump to a real school. This is scary business. I'm trying not to be intimidated by 18-year-old over-achievers. I realize that I've got some very different things to offer whatever school I attend, and I have to have confidence that schools recognize that fact. I can promise any school that after spending a year as a wastewater treatment plant operator, I have nothing but pure motivation to succeed. As a matter of fact, I recommend making kids who are unsure of their future track to spend a year working in the wastewater treatment field. It probably would not take a year to give them the kick in the butt they need to find a direction. School is better than poo. I remember being a little kid thinking how old and mature college students seemed. Make no mistake, they are children. It might actually be better to spend a year or ten pursuing something utterly unattainable to make most people realize how lucky they are to have school as an option. Some folks are born smart. ...not me.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Calculus II exam

Today I have an exam in Calculus II on special techniques of integration. I don't understand why I remember all these rules. Maybe they all go together so well, or maybe I can just see where they come from. Either way, I'm glad I see it. Not since the days of sitting in my room as a kid practicing bass have I had so much fun learning something difficult. I think I just want to study mathematics. Klaus and I were looking through the college catalog for William & Mary last night and just started laughing at the titles of these 400 level courses. Some of them just seem so impossibly difficult, and others just have bizarre titles. "Operations Research-Deterministic Models", " Complex Analysis", "Operations Research-Stochastic Models", "Topology", and "Combinatorics" are some of some of my favorites. Why do I want to take a class that has the word complex in the title? I must be suffering from an over-abundance of confidense. We'll see how I feel after my test today.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I'm such a poser.

I think my wife Sonya and I feel equally strange about web logging but are somehow compelled to do so. I've been reading The Journals of Lewis and Clark which our good friend Ornit got me for Christmas, and I think I like that style. Punctuation, spelling, and basic grammar are all things I may choose to avoid should my own limitations necessitate. I say that only half kidding.
I must admit I got a bit confused when titling my blog. I felt like I was asked four different times to choose a title, so I wasn't quite sure what to do. Maybe the government officials monitoring my every move through Google were just trying to keep me from revealing some secret I didn't know I was keeping like some less exciting version of Chuck. I can't even follow what I just said.