So I started doing my homework today by continuing my quest to save the world from Sin. I am currently poised to battle That Bastard, Seymour, on top of Mount Gagazet. I followed that up with a failed attempt at a nap, and some poking around on the web. I then calculated that, under certain circumstances that arise in a problem in my tax book, a Roth IRA can kick the crap out of a traditional IRA even when one’s expected marginal tax rate decreases upon retirement. (The traditional wisdom is that Roth IRAs are good when you expect your marginal tax rate to increase in the future, since you pay your tax up front, and traditional IRAs are better when your marginal rate will decrease, since you pay taxes when you remove money, later.) It totally screwed up the tax letter I was outlining in my head.

I then had the opportunity to see Final Fantasy X-2 firsthand. The girls all wear fairly revealing clothing, and even strike a pose the first time they appear together. Oh my. This is what happens when Final Fantasy X channels the spirit of Charlie’s Angels—the Charlie’s Angels of recent movie memory.

This is the Clueless of the Final Fantasy series.

It’s nothing like Final Fantasy X. It’s so infused with Spunky Girl Power that I’m going to have to build up my tolerance over time. I’ll have to distance it from FFX in my head, too—i.e. by beating FFX, and then waiting a while (and until I’m in an extremely lighthearted mood) before picking X-2 up.



Today I made the mistake of heading to Fred Meyer’s during their early-bird Black Friday sale. It actually was fun to see so many smiling people, and the guy ringing the Salvation Army bell was doing a nice subdued job of it. Of course, Fred’s didn’t have the CD I was looking for. As I was leaving the electronics area, I noticed motion out of the corner of my eye. I turned, to see an older man (early sixties, I’d guess) flat on his back in front of the customer service desk. Another man who had been standing nearby was dropping to his knees and asking the customer service representative to call 911.

People around were helping out, so I figured that I would best serve the process by getting out of the way. What a shitty time to have something happen to you, though. I hope he’s OK.

The juxtaposition of this with Thanksgiving made it especially sobering for me. I have everything in the world to be thankful for…but…Aw, hell. I don’t even know what I’m thinking right now.

A revolution in english studying!

Yes, those crazy Japanese have done it again. This time it’s Moetan, a “WORDBOOK” (designed for Japanese students studying English) containing the “1000 most frequently used [English] words and phrases!!” One such helpful phrase is the new title-for-the-time-being of my blog. Others include “lie face down” and “Dahhhhhhh! Don’t launch lots of expensive missiles too quickly.”

I used that one twice today, myself.

Well, today was anything but the go-through-the-motions day I thought it would be. As Renee and I made our way to Monroe to eat lunch, we ran into Eileen (!). I invited her to join us for lunch, and she accepted—t’was a fun hour. She doesn’t seem to hate me for being a damn slacker, which is good.

Of course, today was also the day I didn’t have time to shave before running off to class. That wasn’t so good.

We got our papers back in organizational behavior—179/180, baby! Boo and Yah. We also spent some time discussing tips for being successful in our job hunts…which eventually led to the gal sitting in front of me turning around and giving me the business card of the CEO of PacificSource (headquarters in Eugene, branch in Portland). Apparently he’ll be teaching two courses at OSU next term, and is a bright guy in charge of a good company. Might be ideal for the budding actuary who wants to remain in Oregon.

Sleep Banzai!

Well, today was productive. I went to tax class, did a little ballroom dance, and then acted as a grader for my scanning-replacement’s scanning. Woot.

Got the first Kenshin manga today; it’s fun stuff! Viz seems to have done a nice job with everything but the cover itself.

This evening I disposed of an evil Maester of Yevon (though his buddies carried away his carcass before I could kick it, so I suspect he might make a dramatic reappearance in even-stronger form later) and am now wandering around in a desert. [Yes, I’m talking Final Fantasy X.] A desert where, thanks to a surprise attack by some fairly powerful enemies, I saw my first “Game Over” screen. Dammit.

As I rose to turn the bleeping bleeping game off, I noticed that my right knee is still sore/stiff/what-have-you. Dance class doesn’t seem to have done me any favors, this week.

Tomorrow I just go through some note-taking motions, and I can rejoice in a four-day weekend! Alas, I do have some papers to write and other things to attend to…so it won’t be all fun and games. It will definitely involve sleep, though. Lots of sleep.

I have become a big fan of sleep.

Classes Winding Down

I’m glad I stayed up late one last night, last week, to hash out something vaguely approximating a rough draft of my number theory paper. It turns out that the draft was actually worth part of the paper grade (this was news to all of us—mostly unwelcome news, to the slackers I associate with). I wound up with a 12/15, which is a lot better than I would have walked away with had I just gone to sleep that night.

I just finished writing my last two basic tax letters, and am now looking ahead towards wrapping up the remaining tax-class assignments. I still have an OB paper analyzing my work environment, but I suspect that I’ll actually enjoy doing that—it’ll be my test of organizational behavior theory. Will it be able to explain why my office is falling apart? I actually suspect that it will, if I think about it…and I’d be sold, if it demonstrated some way to actually fix things. (I really do like my office, for all the griping I do about it, and it’d be nice to get things straightened out again.)

In other office news, Jackie has decided that our (i.e. Marin’s and my, since Jackie has her own work area) cubicle is too disorganized. She’s now—without asking—rearranged the stuff on the floor to fit payment batches in the cubicle, and has taken the liberty of adding two (2!) hanging file-doohickeys for the papers that people traditionally leave on our desk. It’s mildly annoying, and oddly hilarious.


Well, I got some errands run and sleep slept. Not enough sleep, but hey. I also put a few hours into Final Fantasy X, which is always an enjoyable (if not wise) use of my time.

It’s pretty quiet ’round here, actually.

A Thought

I have a tremor that makes it difficult to do precise work with my hands; the more I try to concentrate on doing something carefully, the more my hands shake. The medical name for my condition seems to be “essential tremor” (as in part of my essence, as in they have no idea what causes it) or an “intention tremor” (i.e. it gets worse the more I concentrate on doing something carefully) or somesuch.

Anyway, supposedly a quick test if you have this type of tremor is to drink a beer—if the tremor is an essential tremor, it will disappear.

And, after all that setup, my thought: I bet I could be a damn fine surgeon, if I just drank beer.


While channel-surfing, I stumbled across the third Pokemon movie. It’s been a few years since I last watched Pokemon, so it was fun to see the characters (and a boatload of Pokemon that didn’t exist when I last watched) interact again.

Specifically, it was hilarious to see Jessie & James, of Team Rocket, again. The best line of the entire movie was delivered by James, after he and Jessie see a whole mass of strange glyphs spiraling about in the air: “I haven’t seen this many strange letters since the last time I placed a personal ad.”

Damn. I bet that one flew over at least half of the Pokemon demographic, and didn’t mean much to the other half.

Survival of the fit…and me

After one helluva power study session with Ryan in the hour before class, I took my final midterm of the calendar year. I think it went OK, too.

Once I got home, I felt a tremendous weight lifted from my shoulders (assignments this term were front-loaded, so now I get a nice break); I would have been euphoric, if I had any energy left in my body at all. Instead, I collapsed into a thirty-day coma. Or, rather, I would have—had I been the hero of a popular anime series.

I therefore dedicate this weekend to my complete and total recuperation. It’s certainly felt like a long time in coming.

And, for the first time in two weeks, I can put my feet up and play some Final Fantasy X. It’s so nice to be able to waste my time away, again.

One Day More

Only one thing now stands between me and the weekend: a number theory midterm.

Have I mentioned how I’m sick and tired of midterms? Thankfully, this is the last one for this term.

Next week is looking delightfully light, what with Thanksgiving eating up two days…all my classes were somehow front (and eighth-week) loaded, so I might really have time to breath between now and finals. I hope to heck I do, because I’m about as sleep-deprived as I can be without losing it completely.

Or else maybe I’m already gone, and that’s the only reason I think I haven’t lost it completely. Hmm. Either way, I haven’t started studying for this number theory midterm, and my brain’s already running on fumes.

And, while I try to study before collapsing for the night…if you can get this to work: what is up with that? I mean, seriously. Damn.


I’m only up until 2 am today. Better!

OB presentations today were all pretty predictable, save the last one: this crazy group actually used an audio tape as their presentation, with Spanish guitar music as transitions between sections. Visuals were provided by two members of the group who stood silently at the front of the room, one holding up a mass of white cards with stick figure drawings on them, and the other one throwing the front-most card on the floor as the audiotape moved on to the next topic. I can’t really begin to explain the effect—it was absolutely hilarious.

Ate lunch with Renee and Bryan at Domino’s pizza. The walk over was absolutely miserable, as it was damn cold out; while we were sitting inside Domino’s, thawing, we watched as the rain turned into some big snowflakes. Of course, that reverted to rain within half an hour—but it was that cold out. Brrrrrr.

This Detested Hour

Since I still have to perform my nightly routine, it appears that tonight will be another night where I witness the godawful hour of 4 AM. This time it’s courtesy of a number theory “hashing function” paper rough draft—thanks to the time I pumped into the OB paper, this “rough draft” is quite a bit more “uh…going to look at this” than actual work. Ugh.

Funny thing in dance today. Kristi came over and sat down next to me as I changed into my dance shoes. Once I finished we danced, and Kristi mentioned that she had seen my records pass through the graduation audit pile in the College of Science, where she works. Later in dance class, Mandy mentioned the same thing—only from the College of Business office. She was impressed by my dual major and Honors College status…dunno what she thought when I mentioned that the Honors bit was going to go away.

Ack. Must get to sleep, or I’m going to start killing things accidentally tomorrow.


An Actual Update!

Hmm. Now that I’ve taken a moment to reflect, I note that I don’t remember much of anything that’s happened the past few days. Probably has something to do with an already-poor memory under the duress of very little sleep.

I do, however, recall standing witness (along with Renee) to the world’s largest pillowfight last Friday. It was rather surreal, and quite entertaining; especially enjoyable were the north-side/south-side skirmishes that the Barometer makes reference to in its article. I have no idea why they mass divided like it did, but boy did it.

Haha. Kelly Engineering crater. Sometimes the Barometer impresses me; that description of the giant mid-campus hole-in-the-earth is especially apt. If I ever pull my digital camera out, on a not-rainy day, I’ll show y’all just how much of a crater it is.

And now we’ll do some indiscriminate linking. Interpretations of Matrix: Revolutions, anyone? (I sure as hell didn’t read that much into the series.) Well, then, how about some We have a sex machine, some speeding, one thing *I* didn’t learn in college, an example of powerful marketing, and something I could have used this last week. Oh, and in case you don’t think my site is fair and balanced (I can get away with saying that, so long as I don’t write it as “Fair and Balanced™”), one more for you.

4 AM

Robert Fulghum once wrote that if you are up at 3:00 am, something bad is going on—that there’s no good reason to be up at that hour.

I’ve seen 4:00 am roll by three times in the last five days. I’m totally spent. (You may read between the lines and assume that I’ve seen far less than a full night’s sleep those nights.) But, at least, my OB group paper is done. Too bad it had to happen with such high personal costs.

Now I just have to face everything else due this week. But first, I think I’ll take a nap.

Radio Silence

I’ve been in an extremely prolonged deep dive (think submarines), hitting my head against this OB paper—hence the exxtreme paucity of updates to my beloved blog.

I just finished the first draft of the paper, which is due Monday. “Just” as in “five minutes ago.” Ouch.

And I still need to do an executive summary, bibliography (and thus final citations—I’ve just been using numbers for now), and actual revisions to it. I hate my life more and more each day.

On the positive side, I did see a big pillow fight on Friday. The world’s biggest pillow fight, actually. I’ll write more about that later, assuming I actually survive this. That assumption is looking more and more invalid as time passes….


In honor of the Senate’s thirty hours of uninterrupted debate about the advise & consent requirements of their job description, I’ll be pulling a similar all-nighter writing my OB group’s Brazil research paper.

Okay, fine. Coincident with the Senate’s all-night debate is my own personal hell—trying to write a paper from a bunch of “research” that is mostly bullet pointed text. I need to write this damn paper so I can get on with my life. Our situations aren’t quite the same, though: the senators get to take shifts through the night, so they don’t actually miss any real sleep in the end. Lucky them.

Hell, even now I’m delaying starting by updating my blog. As you can tell, I earlier delayed myself by reading The only productive thing I’ve done all evening is get the trappings of structure into my Word document: I have a title page, a table of contents page, executive summary page, and section titles established so far. Had the “country background” section not had a rough-draft due date, I would have fifteen pages to write right now; as it stands, I only need to pump out twelve.

Even earlier, I delayed by taking a three-hour nap. Actually, that was just because I was completely useless after dinner, and wanted half a snowball’s chance in hell of making significant, real progress tonight.

Why me?

Viennese Waltz

Well, tax was once again a complete and utter bear. I expected it this time, though, so the effect on my psyche wasn’t nearly as strong as the first time. Nevertheless, it sapped my mental capacity completely; I was a zombie in dance class immediately after the exam.

Being a zombie isn’t entirely bad, though, because it lets me do things that normal thought might otherwise preclude. Namely, the Viennese waltz. (For those of you not in the know, Viennese is the ultra-psychotic hyper-speed death-twirl of waltzes.) I was actually pretty good at it, which was extremely nice—I actually have learned something in my repeated Ballroom III classes. [Of course, with a dance where you’re spinning so rapidly, your partner makes or breaks you…and I definitely have better luck with some gals than with others.] As I walked into dance, I saw Kristi was on her cell phone writing stuff down on a pad of paper. She later said she had been on the phone with Eileen (who Kristi described as “the goddess of math”), solving some homework problem. I guess Dr. Murphy was right: all you need to do math, anywhere, is a pencil and paper.

Never got my paper written over the weekend, and math took forever due to a typo that drained an hour of my time. Now I face a different math assignment due Friday, and writing a draft of this 15-page paper in the next few nights. Graaar.

But, now, I have a date with destiny—my first full night of sleep this week.


Spent 5 1/2 hours in Milne today staring at number theory programming problems. Still didn’t get everything figured out entirely. Argh.

Read the materials given to me by my group; I can probably write two of the three sections that the paper needs to have. The third topic, as it stands, can get a paragraph if I run it through a cotton-candy machine a few times. Argh.

Going to spend the next 3-4 hours reading my tax book and taking extensive notes, in preparation for my midterm on Tuesday. Argh.

Bullet Time

In honor of the death of the Matrix trilogy, I’ll emulate Ars Technica’s bullet-point “short update” method to get you up to the present again. But bullets are bad, so I’ll just do short fragmented sentences separated into paragraphs. Hell, if I didn’t bother writing this warning, you probably wouldn’t have noticed that anything was different.

My smart-ass answer to my linear algebra midterm problem somehow also happened to be a smart answer to the problem, so I kicked ass in that exam. I was damn lucky, there.

Saw Matrix: Revolutions with Eric last night. He was extremely underwhelmed by it. It met my expectations for it—which were darn low, after Reloaded.

Today I slept the entire day. I’m still overly tired. Think that flu shot I got has something to do with this. And the fact that I no longer get sleep on school nights.

Played some DDRmax2 this afternoon (in the all-too-brief period of consciousness I had in between last night’s sleep, and my extended afternoon nap). I completed my first 100-combo chain (or whatever they call it). I also managed to unlock the “put funky dancers on the screen, in between the psychedelic background and the arrows, to further distract you from your real task” feature of the game. w00t.

Watched the first disc of Infinite Ryvius tonight. It was weird, but I think I want to keep watching…looks to be a downer, though. I probably should have picked something more cheerful for the day’s entertainment.

I get to do everything tomorrow, too. Write a 15-page draft of a paper, take notes for another brutal tax midterm, do math programming. Refrain from hanging myself any more than the metaphorical lynch job I’ve already set myself up for. That kind of thing.

Aluminum Wind Tunnel

Spent all of this evening on math homework. Yay. I was quite clever in figuring out what I was supposed to do in Matlab, but not so clever as to remember to throw in a 1/n term. That term makes all the difference in the world in my output, and I only got it because Renee was kind enough to help troubleshoot my program.

I finished at 2:00 am. Ugh. During the evening I noted that my computer had acted odd when I put it to sleep (it woke up again immediately afterwards, and then went back into sleep) and then had lost my desktop picture when I woke it up later…so I decided to run the Hardware Test CD that had been included with the computer when I bought it while I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed.

I guess the G5’s thermal sensors get cut off during the hardware test (recall that its nine fans adjust their speed based on the detected temperature), because my machine was approaching vacuum-cleaner levels of loudness from all the air it was pumping through its core. It was doing one hell of a job of circulating the air down here, and it was damn loud about it.

Damn damn.

And tomorrow is so going to be a lost cause for me. I’ve already lost, before I even get to bed.

Smartass Answer

Today started, after I stayed up until 2:00 am last night studying, with my linear algebra midterm. There were three problems: compute an SVD, demonstrate some knowledge of eigenvectors and eigenvalues, and evaluate an expression that looked like zero on your calculator, but wasn’t. I think I did OK on everything but one part of the second problem.

After probability, Renee and I hit the Commons to grab some lunch. Renee was beating herself up because she had mistakenly thought 10^-20 was close to 1, rather than 0…so I told her about the problem I know I’ll get dinged on. The question was something along the lines of “for a system that has no exact solution, the least squares solution is always unique. True or false?” My answer? “Well, the SVD gives us a solution we call the minimum-norm least-squares solution—and so, ostensibly, the least-squares solution isn’t necessarily unique.” Renee cracked up when she heard my response, and was only barely able to regain enough composure to give me a high-five.

She stopped obsessing over her mistake after that, though…so my answer was good for something. Just not my grade.

The official handout for my number-theory research paper listed today as the day we needed to declare a project topic. So at lunch I pulled out a sheet of paper and wrote down a few topics, and titled the sheet Project Declaration. This seemed to tickle Dr. Schmidt’s fancy—I guess he had some vision of me aggressively staking my claim, probably akin to the Spanish declaring land in the name of Spain—because he made repeated mention of turning in “topics, or declarations,” by five PM this evening.

I seem to be doing a decent job of making people laugh today.

My other midterm was in OB, where I think I did a decent job. My performance probably won’t win me any awards (e.g. the Pulitzer), but—then again—it won’t win me any awards (e.g. the Darwin Award). My hand wasn’t nearly as damaged as it was after the first OB midterm, too, which was a nice perk.

I should have done so much this evening: listen to some guest speaker, sleep, watch The West Wing, sleep, go see Matrix: Revolutions, sleep…instead, I was stuck researching a topic for tax class. Dang.

Two Left Feet

I don’t know if it was because I got my flu shot, or DDRed, or got eight hours of sleep last night, but today I was completely out of it. Dance class was the most painful one I’ve had this year—no rhythm (not that I usually have much of that anyway), but I didn’t even have my balance today. Ugh.

To celebrate, I present to you the limited-time opportunity to hear a real, official Ubernostrum commercial: Ubernostrum!

Now I’ll slink away and go study for the two exams I get to face tomorrow.


Some of you might have thought that my little outburst last night was going a bit far. I assure you, it was not. (Yes, I’m being sarcastic here. But I’m also right.)

We got our country background draft returned in OB today. Guess what I’m writing is what the professor wants, because we had nothing but praise written on the paper. Yay. Earlier in the day Renee, Ryan, and I confirmed that our linear algebra midterm shouldn’t be too bad (Ryan & I both concluded, after class, that we really only needed one thing on our cheat sheet: “SVD”—said in unison.)

This evening I went to K-Mart and received the annual stick-in-the-arm that’s supposed to prevent the flu, but always seems to infect me instead. I look forward to being ill for my midterms on Wednesday. This evening I perfected my tax letter for tomorrow and DDRed for a while (hey! It’s something that vaguely approximates exercise), and now I’m off to write up a linear algebra homework problem for Friday (yes, we have both homework and a midterm this week—cruel!) as well as write down the letters “SVD” on a sheet of paper.

Regarding this entry’s title: Ubernostrum must be said in a loud, deep voice. Use reverb, if you have access to it. If you don’t know what Ubernostrum is, then you don’t know jack.

But, then again, I don’t know jack either. Join the club!


Before I forget any longer (I found out on Friday, but was too stunned to respond until now): WHY GOD, WHY?

Why did Viz have to be the one to pick up Saishu Heiki Kanojo?

My eyes are crying twin waterfalls, and they’re not from joy.

Tugging on Superman’s Cape

Spitting into the wind. Pulling the mask off the old Lone Ranger. Messing around with Jim. All things you shouldn’t do, as Jim Croce noted quite some time ago.

I’m tugging on Superman’s cape with one hand, pulling the mask off the Lone Ranger with the other, kicking Jim in the shins, and spitting into the wind—all at the same time. Yes, that’s right: I have a lot of work due this week, and I’ll be damned if I’ve gotten much of it done over the weekend.

I did, however, help clean the house and do laundry in preparation of my parent’s triumphant return from their week in Mexico (did I mention that here? I have this nagging suspicion that I didn’t…anyway, yes, Marin and I were trying to juggle school, work, and taking care of ourselves, Maxi, and our grandma over the last week.) Marin and I also wandered over to Salem on Saturday, on an ill-fated quest for cheap video games. (Toys ‘R’ Us had a buy-two get-one-free sale, but the racks had been thoroughly picked through.)

So today was mostly sleeping in late, followed by four hours of math-related computer programming and a pitiful stab at writing yet another tax accountant letter to a client.

Dear Bob: You owe your government money. You now owe me money as well. Congratulations!

Jason Takes Manhattan

Halloween was so damn cold ’round these parts that very few kids actually ventured out to collect their $4 of candy. I don’t blame them for deciding to avoid hypothermia; every time Marin did open the front door, a blast of outside air would chill me to the bone—and I was sitting in the living room, a respectable ways from the door.

Marin and I spent the evening (in between sporadic doorbells) watching Halloween 5…one of the few Halloween movies I haven’t seen. It was pretty darn bad, actually; there were a few points where you jumped, but otherwise it was pretty dull. Halloween 4 was much better, though still not that scary.

At 8:00, Marin grabbed the remote and switched to the one show she’ll watch every week: Joan of Arcadia. After that, I channel surfed, only to find a Friday the 13th movie: Jason Takes Manhattan. Somehow I’ve always seen the exact same five minutes of that movie: Jason is somehow revived by an electrical surge down a boat’s anchor, and stomps around that boat. By that time I get bored and change the channel. This time, Marin noticed something I had never seen before: the curtains in the boat’s bedroom are the exact same curtains I have in my room.

Remember, guys, it’s always bad form to spook the gal you were just romantically entangled with by putting on a hockey mask and pretending to be Jason. It’s even worse to then become romantically entangled again—because that keeps you from noticing the real Jason standing in the doorway with a spear gun.

After the curtain revelation, we gave up on the trick or treaters and migrated downstairs to watch two episodes of Witch Hunter Robin. Interesting show; if it progresses beyond an episodic structure, it could be quite good.

powered by wordpress