Stopping in:

  1. I exist.
  2. The semester is winding down.
  3. Business is picking up.

So far this semester, I’ve had a bunch of exams (A’s on all of them), given two seminar talks (one “eh,” one worse than that), and I’ve made progress towards my advisor / candidacy situation. I still have more exams (blah), two more presentations (double blah), and some fellowship things to get done.

I’d like to say that in the midst of all this, I’ll stop by more, say more things, post more solutions, etc., but at the rate it’s going, I’ll likely not be back here until December something-er-other. 

I hope this finds everyone well and that the holidays treat you and yours particularly special.

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Quick in-between-TAing-assignments Update

I have another TAing duty starting up in about 20 minutes, but I decided to spend the rest of my time putting something here.

(I spent the time before this doing differential geometry computations on the blackboard)

Things are going. I made it through exam week(s) volume 1 without too much pain (other than the preparation therefor), and though I’m still waiting to hear back on how I performed on my homology exam, I think I managed to do pretty well overall. That’s a plus.

I also managed to finish the rough draft of my poster for FSU’s math fun day! That’s also a plus.

Now, I’ve begun looking to the (near) future. Indeed, I have some presentations coming up and I’m in the process of learning material and picking topics, etc. etc., to try not to put that stuff off until the last minute. Overall, I’m pretty excited: At the end of this semester, I’ll have grown quite a bit as a mathematician and will have done some of the “most meaningful work” of my career in the direction of being a professional mathematizer.

I like it.

I plan on spending some time this weekend putting Hatcher solutions up, as well as trying to finish catching up in do Carmo so I can be prepared for my Riemannian Geometry presentation.

Things right now are pretty not-terrible, though, despite my ceasing to exist here every now and again.

I hope to have some big things to roll out soon. Keep me honest, interwebz!

Peace.

Edit: In all this talk about my career, I forgot the most exciting news to happen in recent weeks! On September 23rd, my son turned the big zero-one! Yep, that means my wife and I managed to raise an amazingly awesome bag of awesomeness for an entire year without killing or seriously maiming him! We’re both as excited as that last sentence seems to convey we would be!

Frustration, or Somebody’s got a case of the Tuesdays

This is going to be an entry about my algebraic topology class.

My previous topology classes were taught by someone who’s amazing <i>as a mathematician</i>. Most people in the class would agree, however, that this person was someone who was terrible as an instructor: Somehow, I made it through a graduate sequence of coursework despite receiving terrible grades throughout. This happened despite my spending 50+ hours a week on every homework assignment and slaving until I was on the verge of breakdown week in and week out. Somehow, I got a B.

My topology experience thus far is certainly not one of my finest achievements.

Fast forward to now and I’m in an algebraic topology class taught by someone who’s amazing. Amazing. Not amazing <i>insert quantifier here</i>, no – this person is simply amazing. And this topic is beautiful. And this class is hard.

This class is hard, too, despite the fact that we have no continual responsibilities. Indeed, we have zero homework whatsoever: Not required problems to turn in, not required problems to keep, not even suggested problems for our benefit. We simply have <i>zero homework</i> in this class. That’s a huge relief after last semester.

What we <i>do have</i>, though, are exams. We have three of them, and I have zero doubt now (nor have I had doubt at any point this semester) that my ass will be kicked by each and every one.

As a result, I’m working hard.

A week-ish ago, I spent some time going through the preliminary parts of the stuff we’re talking about (homology theory). I did examples, I spent lots of time drawing pictures, and I didn’t stop until I got it.

That’s right: A week-ish ago, I <i>got it</i>.

Today, however, I’m sitting in my office, frustrated and almost-defeated, blogging to you all and mourning the fact that a lot has apparently changed in the last week-ish. 

Today, I just don’t get it.

If I were to make a list here cataloging the number of screw-ups I made trying to solve one problem over the course of about 20 hours, I’d be (a) making a really long list and (b) really <i>really</i> embarrassed.

I’m really <i>really</i> embarrassed right now.

Finally, after re-reading and re-re-reading Hatcher, I found source 1 of my confusion. Later, after consulting the online resources of mathematicians greater than myself (case in point here), I found the remaining sources of my confusion.

The upside is that now I’m no longer confused. On the other hand, the fact that I was as confused as I was (and about such basic material as that happened to be) makes me really <i>really</i> uneasy moving forward.

I need an intervention.

In the meantime, I’m going to try to dust myself off, hit the salt mines yet again, and lose my frustrations in the never-ending cycle of Lana del Rey that’s been permeating through my office for the past couple hours.

3 weeks, 2 days.

Big changes, predictably

Well, folks, tomorrow’s the big day…

Okay, let me start over:

Well, folks, today’s the big day….

I have my first official Fall 2013 class in about seven hours. Unsurprisingly, this semester is going to be busy and hectic, but honestly, I’m happy with where I am. I’ll be taking four classes + two seminars + a potential (informal) algebraic geometry reading class, all in hopes of trying to narrow down my focus to a single advisor. As I’ve mentioned before, there are three professors I consider “the ones,” and I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t already a front-runner in my mind. I’m going to keep it open, though, and I think this semester will do wonders for helping me decide: Of the seven aforementioned student responsibilities, potential advisors will be in charge of five of them.

This is exciting.

I’m nervous, of course, because I’ve signed up for a pretty big course load. I always have mixed feelings about this particular issue because I always sign up for a big course load, and 100 times out of 100, I make it out “unscathed”, but only after working myself damn near to death and swearing I’ll never take such a big course load ever again.

Insanity goes hand-in-hand with what I do, I guess.

I spent the better part of the day out, enjoying a bit of last-minute family time before taking the plunge. This sounds like an exaggeration, but heavy course load semesters in a science graduate program is basically like a six-month prison sentence, minus the potential shower rape and gang altercations and….

You get the point….

As has so often been the case at FSU, the beginning-of-the-semester tedium has extended past tediousness and into downright misery. Though not as bad as Fall 2012, I’ve found that I’m (a) unable to get into the building which houses my office, (b) unable to renew my TECS account (which means I can’t sign into the computers in rooms where I’m TAing), and (c) unable to use the campus wifi while on campus because the campus wifi is apparently down. Each of these three items is equally frustrating. In BG, for example, we didn’t have all this keycard nonsense to worry about and so we had physical keys to our buildings, i.e. we were able to access our offices 24/7/365. Moreover, the TECS computer network is beyond agonizing because of these perpetually-recurring issues with being able to sign in, etc., and because FSU uses archaic software that has issues in one way or another with literally all three of the “main browsers” people use these days. And as for the wifi? Well, let’s just say I’d rather use wifi at Starbucks…

…oh wait, I haven’t told you guys how I feel about Starbucks yet have I?

*ponders*

Also: My Wolfram internship is over. I’m not really going to talk about how that makes me feel.

Until next time.

The long, hard road to updates

So since coming back around here last week, I’ve been working on an update.

Of course, I’d be lying if I said I’d been working non-stop on an update, but I have, in fact, been working on one. I’d say I’m a solid 75% finished with it now, even though it’s (a) not going as quickly as I’d expected and (b) probably not going to be written the way I’d anticipated. Oh well; such is life, I guess.

I’m down to my last seven days of Wolfram employment, and to say I’m a sad robot is understatement of the year. I’m hoping the hustle and bustle of a new school term with new responsibilities and opportunities and excitements will curb that somewhat, but at this point, I’m not 100% convinced.

Among new things that have happened in the last week:

  • FSU made office assignments for the new year. Apparently I’m staying put. As much as I’d have liked a new office (you know, since my CEILING COLLAPSED AND DESTROYED ALMOST EVERYTHING I HAD THERE(!!!)), I don’t like the hassle that comes with doing something new. I’ll already be doing enough new things; figuring out a new office situation isn’t something I want to add to that list.
  • Fall schedules have been entered. I’m officially taking the third semesters of abstract algbera (field theory + categories, I think) and topology (advanced algebraic topology), as well as a course on complex manifolds (taught from an algebraic geometry perspective, I’d guess) and Riemannian manifolds. I’m excited. Sincerely.
  • I’ve gotten my change of residency file 95% compiled. Monday will be the day to finish it off and submit it.
  • I’ve finally started training for my new gig with Pearson. I’m less than thrilled with the progress so far. We’ll see.

Otherwise, things have been kinda the same: I’ve been doing a lot of Wolfram stuff, I’ve been taking more time away to hang with my family, and I’ve been somehow managing to not think about the nervousness I’ll invariably feel when new TA responsibilities, etc., pick up.

Things are good, I’d say, even though I’ve got a lot of things I need to start doing otherwise. I need to start reading the books potential advisers have suggested; I need to start doing more independent research; I need to start getting back in school mode.

For the first time in a really really long time, I’m enjoying being in not-school mode. I wonder if this is that changing tide I always heard so much about.

Anyway, expect a new content entry soon enough. And maybe some to follow that one. We’ll see.

Peace.