Nina's Stillwater Calendar

Thursday, May 31

Meeting my mentor

I met with my mentor for an hour today to discuss my goals for the summer and I meet with her again tomorrow to discuss problems I can work on. She claims to love advising students and it shows. Figuring out what makes people happy and how she can help them reach their goals within the context of Batelle and the DOE clearly gets her excited. So I really enjoyed talking to her and I think the summer is going to go very well.

Comment made about a suggested exercise in a mathematical paper:

This is considerably more difficult than the preceding calculations, but it's worth doing it at least once in your life. Depending on your life expectancy, you may want to postpone it for now.
Note: The phrase "it's worth doing at least once in your life" is commonly used by mathematics professors when describing annoying and tedious calculations that they had to perform in grad school and now believe all grad students should suffer through just as they did.

Wednesday, May 30

They love me, my dogs really love me!

Or, they miss having me around to scratch their bellies at any rate. Chris went to our house to play Wii with Scott and Murphy and Jessie proceeded to crawl on him and stick their noses under his hands and otherwise insist that they were woebegone sufferers of parental neglect in dire need of attention.

My Kind of Men

I have many different kinds of friends. Old or young, from school or church. But the vast majority of them are women. So I noted with interest I get several phone calls a day from the most important men in my life and almost none from the women. It doesn't occur to me to call my female friends since I don't have anything in particular to say and I assume vice versa. Of course, the men don't have anything in particular to say, but it doesn't stop them. They are just calling to check on me. And I love the attention and the news from home and the familiar voices so I am happy to be checked up on. But I started to wonder, is this a 'man' thing or a 'my kind of man' thing? In other words, do men generally want to check up on the women they care about or am I attracted/attractive to the kind of men who want to check up on the women they care about? Any opinions?

Note: Technically speaking, I didn't pick my Dad, but he did pick me and my Mom, so I am counting him anyway.

Monday, May 28

Memorial Day

Mom and Dad went to visit the boys' graves today. For those of you who don't know, people put little flags up at the grave markers of people who served in the military every Memorial Day. Since one of my brothers was in the Navy he gets a flag, while my other brother who wasn't in the Navy does not get a flag. However, either someone didn't realize Robbie wasn't in the military (he has a military style headstone to match Zac's) or they figured a flag for everyone would forestall any heavenly style sibling rivalry, because Zac and Robbie each got a Memorial Day flag this year. I did not get to go to visit my brothers today since I am still five states away, so I joined the Memorial Day tradition here, and took a few pictures to share. All of these flags were donated by families of deceased veterans and each flagpole bears the veteran's name. The cemetery is absolutely beautiful with roses and relief sculptures and statues. A small rose garden had four statues at the NW, NE, SW, SE compass points. Flags were arranged lining little avenues heading out from the rose garden at the N, E, S, W compass points. The symmetry warmed my little mathematician's heart but I couldn't get a picture of it so I settled on a little video to show it.

Sunday, May 27

Call him...Call him not...Call him...Call him not....

Scott, being a wonderful husband, calls me once or twice a day since I left town. I, being a sweet, adoring wife, love to talk to my husband. Or, at least, that is how I think it ought to work and wish it would work. Sometimes it even does work that way. But just as often it seems I prefer talking to Chris or Mom or just about anyone besides Scott. If Chris is funny, I can just laugh. If Mom tells me what is going on at work, I can just listen. Either way I get to hang up the phone completely satisfied at having had a nice conversation. With Scott I have to spend a certain amount of each conversation wishing I were there or he were here and hang up unsatisfied with having only had a nice conversation. So the one person I most want to share things with is the one I least want to talk to.

Friday, May 25

Getting through my first week at PNNL

During my first hour of work, I was told that PNNL (my lab) doesn't make good first impressions and that it just isn't very efficient at incorporating new employees. It didn't take long to understand this first hand.

First off, I had no idea where to go my first day. The form email I was sent simply told me to "go to (Insert Place) at 8:30." Since I didn't know where to go and the letter mentioned a badging office eventually, I started there. I got a badge and somebody found me a short while later. We had a short orientation followed by sitting and waiting for our mentors to come and pick us up. Then phone calls to our mentors asking them to pick us up. Then phone calls to anyone at all to come and pick us up. Finally Kristy, who also works in cybersecurity, came to fetch me. She showed me around to my building where I met Juana and Glenn. And these three people spent a considerable amount of time for the next two days getting me key card access to buildings, a phone, an email, and a computer. All of these things are separate systems. There is no "Do New Hire" button. But, aside from the computer, all of these things were relatively painless, if very slow to move. And a little annoying when you are standing outside a building asking people to let you in. But the computer was in a special class of its own.

My first computer was old. You could hear how old it was when you powered it up and the drives woke and stretched, creaking their bones and breathing heavily. The monitor was just as old and the picture shook a bit as though disoriented. I spent the first day sanitizing it, an eight hour process. The second day it only took 2 hours to learn that there was no image for the machine to ghost to because it was too old. That 2 hours involved several calls to IT for such answers as "Well, it shouldn't be doing that." But eventually we determined that I needed a new computer. We found one, but it had a DVI port for the monitor and the monitor was a VGA. So we hunted for a new monitor. Juana went hunting in one direction while Glenn and I hunted in another. We found a small LCD, which was an improvement over the old monitor, but still had a VGA plug. We took it anyway and went hunting for an adapter. The adapter we found took two VGA monitors. Which was handy when Juana showed up with a much larger LCD monitor that I could also have. So I spent the second day sanitizing another, but faster, machine. The third day, today, I got to set up my computer. Now I have a big desk, a nice chair, and dual LCD monitors (Low-res, but what more can an intern hope for? Don't answer that Scott. This isn't Microsoft.) all set up next to a big window. Not bad.

Thursday, May 24

Enlarging my view of the world

Every time I move, I get a bigger view of the world. When I lived in Redmond, WA I learned that anarchists organize bus trips and vegans aren't just some subset of Hollywood celebrities and PETA people. Oh, and I am really not liberal. I just look liberal in Oklahoma. In Maryland I learned about spies and handicapped people. Yes a little random, but I worked with a lot of blind or deaf people and learned more about systems they use to work. Now I am learning about naive Mormon girls.

A friend once tried explaining to me why BYU is sometimes called Breed 'Em Young University. He met many girls with only one goal for their college career: marriage by the time they were 21. I didn't actually believe him. It sounds so 50's. And I never met any such girls so they must not really exist. At least this is how I felt. Now I have a housemate who is heading off to BYU-Idaho with one overarching goal: marriage by the time she is 21. It was 19, but she had to adjust it when that birthday came and went. That leaves me, being married nearly 7 years, and the landlady, being divorced about as long, to stare in amazement whenever this girl talks about marriage. This is a whole new experience for me.

Oh, and another new experience for me today: bicycle polo. It is apparently so big at Battelle that some players bring extra bikes for newcomers like me to play.

Wednesday, May 23

The reason for the move

Why did I move all the way out here to Richland, WA? Well, I have a really sweet deal where someone pays my bills and I go to school. But my husband only makes so much and school is expensive, so I got a government fellowship. Now the government pays my bills and my husband gets to buy me cool gadgets and cute clothes instead of paying tuition. The difference between mooching off the government and mooching off my husband is the government only asks for a three month internship. My husband wants eternity.

The other difference is that the government is actually interested in what I do. And this summer that something is computer security. For anyone who cares, a computer network can be modeled as a graph. Here is an example:

Mine and Scott's computer are connected to our home router. This router talks to Jill's router, which her computer is connected to. So we have 5 vertices (3 computers, 2 routers) with 4 edges. Some of these connections cost more to communicate on. Like snail mail is a connection but costs more (time, money) than email. We assign those edges that cost more longer lengths. So this might be our graph:

(Nina) \
aaaaaa(Our Router)-----------(Jill's Router)--(Jill's Computer)

We don't really need the labels, so we just consider this graph:

O \
O /

Now we "isometrically embed" this into a surface. All this means is we put the graph into a continuous surface while preserving the lengths of the edges. This particular graph can be embedded in a plane. You can see this because I drew it in a plane. So there it is. Nothing fancy. But not every graph can be put in a plane. Some go into very strange spaces. And the properties of those spaces relate to a network's vulnerability to certain kinds of attacks, such as worms and denial of service. And this summer I am investigating how this works.

My New Digs

I'm all moved in to my new digs, everything set up the way I want it. That is, apart from a few more angel pictures and china dolls and gauzy curtains than I would probably choose. But everything else in my room and in my car is set up my way, and only my way. Just like you'd think my last evening with my husband would be romantic and not frantic, you'd think moving back in together at the end of the summer would be amorous and not rancorous (yes, I had to check a thesaurus to come up with that rhyme). But it never is. Precisely because all summer long I get everything my way. None of my stuff moves of its own volition. Nobody except me drinks the last Dr. Pepper. Nobody runs the gas tank down and then parks the car in the driveway without telling me. As an added bonus, I just have to worry about my room. All household responsibilities belong to the people who actually live here and not the boarder in the basement. So, to sum things up, I get everything my way without having any actual responsibilities. So, it's really no surprise that going home to dogs that want to be played with, a husband that wants to be loved on, a household that wants to be cleaned up, and a bunch of people wanting an input on what I do, eat, watch, or listen to, doesn't go quite as smoothly as date movies might suggest it should.

Disclaimer: Scott is no worse, and probably better, than the average husband when it comes to all this stuff. And I am no better, and probably worse, than the average wife (e.g. "Didn't I tell you I invited four people to dinner tonight?"). I am not complaining about the situation when I am at home, so much as adjusting to that situation. So you don't need to post a comment defending yourself, honey.

Monday, May 21

Being Sandra Dee

So I said I don't miss my husband yet. But if, hypothetically speaking, I did miss him, I wouldn't tell anyone. After all, it has only been four days. If I started missing him already, it would look sappy. A week is really the minimum respectable amount of time before I can miss him. I am pretty sure this won't make sense to anyone reading this blog. Jill likes to be sweet to her husband. Barbara likes to be sweet to her fiancee. Scott likes to be sweet to me. Well, there's Mom. Maybe it will make sense to her. But I want a sort of mean, tough image even though I am really neither. As a friend said, I am like Sandra Dee on Grease. I want the leather and the image. And missing my husband after only four days wouldn't fit.

Sunday, May 20

Missing Scott

Well I didn't miss Scott the first night I was gone. I didn't miss him the second night I was gone. I didn't even miss him the third night, until I watched a silly date movie (50 First Dates). Then I missed him. What does it say about our relationshop that an Adam Sandler movie made the difference? Don't worry. I got over it by morning.

Elk: on the hoof, on the wall, and on my plate

Medium-rare and juicy. Yummy!

Saturday, May 19


Today we drove from Moab, UT to Jackson, WY. We saw, from South to North, red desert rock with lizards and jackrabbits, pine and snow covered mountains with dead deer at the side of the road, and scrub and grass covered rangelands with cattle and donkeys. Tomorrow we hit the supervolcano that is Yellowstone. I love America.

Updates and errata

I woke up this morning with only one sore spot that Daddy thinks was caused by the one time I tripped and fell yesterday. Which means I am either in better shape than I thought or an incredibly whiney whimp. Maybe both.

Yesterday I stopped for a bathroom break at a little roadside attraction, the kind with kitschy souvenirs and some minor claim to fame trumpeted in five foot high letters. There was a woman standing in the doorway. I gave her a look and she said she was holding the door open to let in light for her daughter because the light wasn't working. Okkey dokey. So I go into a stall. While I am in there, the daughter finshes and the lady leaves. Maybe I am a little picky, but I thought that was rude. I mean, I hadn't been long. Another few seconds and I would've been out of the stall. So I was stuck feeling my way to the sink. It occurred to me that this woman may have been rude and stupid. So I felt my way to the lightswitch instead and turned on the lights. Yes, also stupid. The lightswitch was wired backwards to down was on. Apparently she had looked at the up-flipped switch and figured it didn't work without bothering to try it.

Friday, May 18

Biological schedule

Sometimes we just can't keep to the schedule our bodies want for us. We drove to Moab today. On the way we passed through a town about 50 miles from Moab. I decided not to stop for a bathroom break and lunch because we were so close. Two hours and lots of construction delays later, I was simultaneously dealing with a bursting bladder and a ravenous tummy. After getting to Moab and dealing with those minor issues, we went to Arches. Wow. We went on a little three mile hike to Delicate Arch. If only it hadn't been vertical. So I exaggerate. Still, a lot of climbing, but absolutely beautiful. Now exhausted, I expect to sleep very soundly until I awake screaming with a leg cramp.

John wayne

We are staying in the same room tonight that John Wayne stayed in. At least according to the lady at the front desk.

Thursday, May 17

Getting on the road

I headed off to Washington this morning, leaving my wonderful husband for the summer. We've done this before and it's always the same. We have a very romantic evening the night before followed by a loving farewell. Actually, I made that up. We never have a romantc evening right before a move. It is always a frantic nightmare. Followed by a bleary eyed and somewhat desperate goodbye hug. Romantic isn't the word I'd use for it.

Wednesday, May 16

My Favorite Compliment

You know those jokes in grade school that revolve around a demonstration of a superior vocabulary? Like "Your epidermis is showing!" I never had trouble because I have always had a fairly good vocabulary. Which is why I was caught completely off-guard when someone called my husband and I a "diphthong". I froze while my mind considered whether to be affronted to pleased. I finally settled keeping my expression frozen while I asked what a "diphthong" is. Any foreign speaker probably already knows this, but a diphthong is where two vowel sounds come together to create a new sound. Like in house or tow or join. Basically, we had just gotten the best compliment a marriage could get. And I suspect someone enjoyed delivering a wonderful compliment and one-upping our vocabulary simultaneously.

Huh? What? Did I miss something?

That's what I kept repeating last night. If I were even minimally observant I would know what was going on instead of constantly having to ask. One night, after about 18 months of marriage, I noticed my husband setting the alarm clock.

Me: Why are you setting an alarm?
Him: I set an alarm every night.
Me: Really?
Him: Yes.
Me: An alarm goes off every morning?
Him: Yes.
Me: Have you always set an alarm?
Him: Yes.
Me: How have I not noticed?
Him: No idea.

He tells me he still sets an alarm every night and it goes off every morning. I just don't think I believe him anymore. Seriously, if an alarm went off next to my bed every morning, I would notice. I think.

Tuesday, May 15

How cheap do you think I am?

I mean seriously! A two liter! As a college student, I expect at least an OSU t-shirt. Maybe a thumb drive, but it has to at least 512M. And this is at a computer store. Develop some standards people.

Monday, May 14


Meriam Webster: To provide plausible but untrue reasons for conduct.

I have always considered rationalization to be dishonest. You have real reasons for things, but you hide them and present alternate reasons as though they were real. So when that same friend who psychoanalyzed me over dinner gave me a personality test last night and told me I rationalize, I was very unhappy about it. I called my Mom for a second opinion:

Me: Mom, do I rationalize?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Really?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Have I always done that?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Are you sure?
Mom: Yes.

I would have sought more opinions, but with my husband AND my mother AND my friend all in agreement, I couldn't exactly drag up some second cousin who was on my side and call it even. So I was stuck trying to reconcile my opinion of myself as an honest person to the opinion everyone else had of me. I decided the easiest way was to change my definition of rationalization. That way I could agree with everyone else without actually changing my opinion of myself.

Wikipedia: The process of constructing a logical
justification for a decision, action or lack thereof that was originally arrived at through a different mental process.

Ah, now this is much better. I can claim my reasons were really the same, just my mental process was different. Plus, this has the advantage of being consistent with how I do Topology. I have some feeling about what an answer ought to be and then I work out a logical justification for an answer I already chose. Of course, I am sometimes wrong. Which is why mathematicians have to come up with logical justifications instead of using the ever-popular "proof-by-intuition". So rationalization is really a skill I need to build in order to succeed in my career and not a sneaky way for me to be dishonest. Really. It is.

Thursday, May 10

Plump, juicy, and really really stupid

As I stared at my computer screen contemplating what to write about today, a racket began in the backyard. The chickens were all standing in their pen clucking in fear. I scanned the pen. Nothing in there. I scanned the yard. Nothing in there. A little movement, then I saw it crouched in the tall grass outside the fence: a kitty cat. The clucking and agitated little chickens are perfectly safe in their pen and even if they weren't, they are a mere two steps and hop from being inside their coop where the kitty won't even be able to look at their plump, juicy bods. Instead they stand in the only part of the pen where the kitty can watch them strut back and forth, clucking the whole time as though the world were ending. I can't decide if the chickens were really scared or just teasing the cat. Like this.

Wednesday, May 9

A fresh look

I have been working for a few days to understand the following passage in a mathematical paper: "A nontrivial Alexandroff angle can be defined. Armed with the concept of Alexandroff angle..." Great! The Alexandroff angle can be defined! So about that definition? What do you mean you didn't bother to include it?!? Ack! So I've been alternately staring at this paper and drawing 2-cell embeddings, all the while trying to understand this stupid angle. In the middle of this, a friend called and I chatted for awhile. After hanging up I stared down at the paper and suddenly understood what the Alexandroff angle had to be. Why does it work this way?

Tuesday, May 8

Post-Semester, Pre-Move Funk

I awoke this morning to the sound of yet more rain drenching my already soggy yard. The weather proved prophetic. I spent the entire day in a sort of antsy yet dreary funk. I think it was induced by post-semester ennui mixed with growing dread of moving away from my husband and friends for three months. I walked back and forth in the house before deciding to go to school. Where I alternately sat at the computer and moved to my desk in a vain attempt to focus on 2-cell embeddings of graphs, whatever those are. I went back home where I proceeded to pace again until Scott came home, whereupon I gave him a hug and a kiss and started up again. After dinner, Scott and Chris played Wii while I sat on a floor pillow contemplating my funk. Chris gallantly offered to play all of my favorite games, which didn't really make a dent in my self-absorbed funkish musings. Then he and Scott tried talking to me. But the subject kept coming back to death and carnage. Not really the way to end a funk. Then, being the brilliant and wonderful friend that he is, Chris suggested we look at computer games that we can all play online while I am gone so I won't feel abandoned (although, everyone else has better grounds for feeling abandoned since I am technically the one leaving, but that wasn't really entering into my funk contemplation right then). So we went to Wal-Mart where we looked at games and played with toys and browsed through completely useless stuff in the clearance aisle. And I contemplated what great friends I have instead of my funk. So a very nice evening. Eventually.

p.s. I proofread my post before remembering that I tend to get wordy during a funk. Sorry bout that.

Set, the fall-back game

Scott and Chris and I have been playing Sonic (the Wii game) at least once a week for several months. Then along come Brad, who in his first two nights of playing set two records. This is somehow very humiliating. I pulled out Set, a favorite game among math grad students, so I could stomp on someone and feel better. And I did proceed to stomp on everyone. The second game didn't go so well, but I felt better anyway. In fact, Set has become the game I use to remind myself that I am not a total waste of carbon-based molecules. During a fall break trip with some other mathies, we learned that Juhyung, who is very good at math, is really terrible at playing Set. He now refuses to play at all. But anytime we are working on a homework assignment that we just can't get and Juhyung is getting it and saying it isn't too bad, we can just suggest a game of Set to retaliate.

Monday, May 7

And the almost-perfect wireless headphone awards go to....

I finally found a pair of wireless headphones to pair with my very sweet phone and 2 gigs of space for music. As I bob my head to some Terri Clark blasting out my eardrums, I feel I should reflect on all the little headphones that got me here. There were the ones with two hour battery life (Radioshack's Spyder), the ones with the kind of static you expect on a country radio station you picked up in northern Montana (Southwing), the ones that poked into my ears with little plastic buds and kept making me feel like someone was trying to give me a wet willy (MotoRokr S9), and, finally, the ones that pressed my ears against my skull like a vise (StereoMoto). After trying each of them out and enduring many trips to the store to return and buy and...oh wait, Scott actually did all that work for me. Okay, so after trying each of them out, I settled on the wiREVO which is not-quite-but-very-close-to perfect.

Feeling Sexy & Narcissistic

A single friend bemoaned the fact that he can't find anyone interesting and, misunderstanding him, I immediately thought of lots of interesting people. Lots of married, old, or otherwise unsuitable interesting people. Also, being the self-centered narcissist that I am, I responded with "I'm interesting!" He gave me an exasperated, this-is-so-obvious look: "I don't look at other men's wives!" And it occurred to me, why should that be obvious? I mean as a general matter, men do look at other men's wives. Frequently and closely, in fact. I suppose as a more specific matter I was supposed to know that, being the great guy that he is, he wouldn't do such a thing. I did assume that he wouldn't seriously consider dating a married woman. But he said "look" and that is a different thing.

A related story arc just finished on Desperate Housewives. Lynette, a former career woman who now has five young children and a husband, is forced to take care of her husband's restaurant all by herself after he hurts his back. Enter a young and sexy chef that she hires to help her out. They flirt shamelessly and Lynette feels attractive and sexy. But when the chef suggests they have an actual relationship, she fires him. Yes, I know I should find better sources that Desperate Housewives to prove I'm not the only woman who likes to look and be looked at, but still. I think lots of women feel like Lynette sometimes. I once spent two weeks in Utah for a math conference. In two weeks, one man asked if I wanted to go dancing. One very gay man. The kind of gay man who wears fruity scented, sparkly lipgloss. I was so upset. It wasn't that I wanted a date. I just wanted someone else to think I was worth dating.

All of which begs the question, why? First off, I am perfectly aware that I am not a totally great catch. And I still found a man who knows all my faults and still wanted to marry me. Why do I want a second opinion? Wait, I have gotten a second opinion. Why do I want a second positive opinion? Perhaps it is because the very fact that he married me brings his judgment into question. Perhaps it is because he always think I am beautiful (Seriously, at 2am? I don't think so.) that I need to ask someone else's opinion. Perhaps it is because I am really that narcissistic.

Sunday, May 6

Getting analyzed over dinner

Last Thursday morning at 7am, I turned in the last of my work for the semester. Thursday night, my office-mate, Naomi, finished the last of her grading for the semester. So on Friday we had fun. We decided to go to Woolaroc and I invited a couple of men to go with us so we wouldn't have to drive. One of those men was my husband and the other, Chris, happened to have a degree in marriage counseling. So it was that I found my personality and marriage being lightly analyzed over Lo Mein and fortune cookies. Not that Chris said anything I didn't already know, though I didn't know all the fancy-schmancy vocabulary. For example, he said Scott took a caretaker role in our marriage, meaning he did lots of stuff for me (Chris said it sooo much better though). Several months ago, Barbara, who is much more romantic and sweet to her fiancee than I ever was to mine, mentioned the fact that Scott does so much stuff for me. As I told her: "He likes to do things for me and I like to let him." So I learned a new word "caretaker" to assign to Scott, but I didn't really learn anything new about the way we relate.

Just when I thought the analysis was over, Chris said Scott and I were "well-matched." Which I totally knew, but it was so nice to hear! Especially since there have definitely been moments in the past seven years when I wondered why in the world I wanted to be married to anyone ever. In fact it was like the time I got a psych-exam for my security clearance, about the same time I was considering grad school in mathematics. The psychiatrist said "Congratulations, you're sane. But you probably already knew that." Of course I knew that. But I still liked to hear it from someone else. Especially since I was feeling a absolutely intimated trying to figure out what to do with myself after college. What does it mean that I actually chose to go back to college? Well, whatever happens now, at least I still have that piece of paper that says I am not off my rocker. No matter what I sounded like at 7am Thursday morning after 11 continuous hours of Algebraic Geometry.

Lawn Jungle

Our lawnmower broke about a month ago. It rained. Scott ordered some replacement parts and fixed it before learning that another part was broken. It rained. Scott went to three different stores looking for replacement parts. It rained. He ordered the $6 parts by mail for $7 in shipping. It rained. They came during finals week. It rained then too. We have a small jungle in our front yard.

Saturday, May 5

Karmic grades

I was very angry earlier this week when I learned I had a B in a class when I think I earned an A. Then today I found I got an A in another class when I know I earned a B. I've chalked it up to karma. But that doesn't mean I'm not still mad about my B.

Friday, May 4

Asian girl with a camera

Here she is taking pictures out the window as we drive by. Please ignore the irony that I am making fun of her while I am taking pictures of a girl taking pictures.

Thursday, May 3

Seeing sunrise

I saw a beautiful misty sunrise before I went to bed this morning and wanted to share.

6am ridiculousness

It is 6:14 on Thursday morning and we are all still here in the office, working on Algebraic Geometry homework. We are all hungry, tired, and crabby. And still not done. Toshi decided to stop working on homework around 5:30 and start grading his students' final exams. He had a 1 pt problem at the end that said: "Draw a cat." No idea why, but the cats are fun to look at. A few are even really good. He held one up and started sort of bouncing it up and down a bit and saying "meow!" at us. Again, no idea why. That is becoming my 6am mantra actually. I think I should go get some breakfast. Maybe I will feel better after breakfast.

Tuesday, May 1

Complex Analysis Final

We took our Complex Analysis final exam this morning. It was a lot like the mid-term. To whit, three perfectly reasonable questions taking a toal of about 15 minutes, leaving us with over an hour to beat our heads against the brick wall that was the remaining two problems. During the mid-term, we alternately stared at the two awful problems and wrote down random equations and theorems that we had no idea how to use. Somehow this got us 50% credit on those problems. During the final, we alternately scribbled frantically at the last two problems, which had a total of 11 parts, and stared in utter defeat. In the middle of this frantic scribbling / emotional collapse, the professor decided to explain the definition of the word cusp. Not the mathematical term, mind you, that was written on the test. No, he was explaining the meaning of the word in everyday usage. And he was explaining it badly! Something about a bird beak, which I guess is a perfectly okay since a cusp is a point of change, like say in direction. But why interrupt our frantic scribbles for ramblings about a bird beak?