November 2007

Sometimes, math just makes sense!

Although my slash and burn, leave-no-survivors campaign against Taylor polynomials continues, this morning I won a terrible battle on a different front. I was working on this problem about  baseball player running and and how fast is theta changing and blah blah last night for HOURS and I just couldn’t get it. It was impossibly frustrating. Even a late night call to NW, my math guy, only left me feeling pissed off.

So I did what anyone would do in my situation. I played video games  all night long.

Afterwards, around 7AM and a little sleep drunk, I went to the cafeteria for coffee and took one more crack at it. The whole thing magically, mysteriously, PREPOSTEROUSLY clicked! Like, completely clicked. It wasn’t even hard, it just made sense all of a sudden!

So then in class, I recreated the same feeling. I tried on a “relax and don’t give a hoot” attitude and let the math wash over me, and it worked! I completely understood the lesson and I was solving the example problems ahead of the prof! Apparently, the key to learning math is to stop trying to understand it and just let it happen. If only some one told me at the start of the semester.


Because I don’t have enough useless, time consuming things to do on the internet, I’ve decided to start using Twitter. Twitter is basically the CNN Headline News of the blog world. It allows you to post little one-sentence updates about what you’re doing from your IM account, instant messenger, or the web. So basically, everyone can know exactly what you’re doing at the same time.

Well, when I put it that way it’s a little bit creepy. But I can see the useful aspects, too. Should be a fun experiment.

Some days it’s just not safe out there in the real world. Some days you just have hide in your cave, lock the door behind you, and wait for it to end.

Sometimes, you just get lucky. BD and I got a huge break at this year’s Paul Winters Invitational at the University of the Pacific. After a lackluster 3-3 prelim performance, we advanced to double octos on speaks. We had assumed we were out after dropping our third ballot in round five to a team from Rice, but it turns out we were wrong.

We capitalized on the good fortune by beating a great team from Nevada-Reno in doubles to advance to the round of 16. We were facing Rice DH, one of the top teams in the country the last two years, but the stars were aligned. We were governing, and the resolution was “In this case, Ronald Reagan was right.”

We decided to interpret Ronald Regan as Ronald Reagan Junior, the President’s son, so we could run stem cell research. We beat back the obvious topicality, but we came up a little short on the case debate.  The decision was a 2-1 for Rice, who went on to semi finals.

The only other Willamette team at the tourney was PJ and E, which was a welcome change. It’s much easier to prep without a thousand n00bs crowding around your disad shell. Still, it can get a little lonely on long trips with small teams.

Despite a reprehensible diet and shocking exercise habits, I’ve been dodging bullets like flu, colds, and mononucleosis all semester. First, DK came down with mono and spent three weeks sleeping. E and MB have both had bad colds, and my partner BD just got his own mono diagnosis, but so far I’ve been sitting pretty.

But my luck may be changing. I noticed a twinge of sore throat a couple days ago, and despite copious vitamin C consumption it’s still lingering.  Tonight I’m trying a cup of tea (courtesy of MA). If that doesn’t work, I might have to officially declare myself sick.  Ugh.

My broke-ness is quickly reaching to terminal point. For the last couple weeks I’ve just been unable to join friends at the local bar for drinks and had to scrounge for sofa change to do laundry, but now I’m running out of meal points. Soon, I’ll either have to work or go hungry. The noose of capitalism is tightening around my neck.

There comes a time in the life of every college guy when he must ask himself whether ’tis nobler to work at McDonald’s or starve to death. For me, that time is now. I’m not one for emaciation, so it looks like I’ll soon be wearing the oppressive yoke of free market tyranny any day now. I’m running copies of my resume as I write this.

I knew this would happen some day. I just hoped I’d have a few more years of freedom before my innocence  was crushed the system.

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