Saturday, August 9, 2008

Picture of Righteousness

I just sat down next to a guy wearing a short-sleeved, white shirt, a nice conservative tie, and an MTC teacher name badge. His shirt pocket is full of all sorts of things, including a pen and a missionary planner. He is currently sitting at a computer with the "Eternal Marriage" manual open to the "Mate Selection" chapter. He has no ring on his finger.

How long do you suppose this guy has been home from his mission?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My nephew

Me: M- M- Mommy starts with EM.

Him: EM.

Me: D- D- Duck starts with DEE.

Him: DEE.

Me: W- W- Waffle starts with DOUBLE-YOU.


I'm not sure he understood how this game worked. He'll catch on someday.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


So I've been programming a lot of little algorithms that are trying to optimize this or that. Mostly I have been using Matlab. Today, I am using Stata. I have not been converted. I ran it once and it gave me some results that I didn't believe. So I ran it again with different initial conditions and (tada!) it turns out that the point that maximizes a given function depends on where you start. Grr! (Just in case, I've already lost all of you, that is the same thing as claiming that my apartment located in a different place depending on the path you take to get there.)

So I read through the whole help file in order to see if maybe there was a better way of arriving at my conclusion. It looks like there are different search algorithms available in Stata that I can choose from. Thinking that maybe another one might be more accurate, I'm giving another one a shot.

That was an hour and a half ago. I just broke iteration 200 a minute ago, and it doesn't seem to be quite done yet. I would just head out and work on something else while it's crunching away, except that I'm doing this one a library computer, and they automatically log me off if I don't touch it for 10 minutes.

In any case, I'm all caught up on current events, I know what all my friends are doing on facebook, and I've written two blog posts. Maybe while I'm waiting, I can go and become the world expert in South-East Texan dragonflies.

Amazing Blessings

So it turns out that I'm a starving college student. I wasn't always this way, but this summer I've been spending a lot more than I've been earning, and I noticed suddenly last Friday that I had $20 to my name in both my savings and checking account.

I was only slightly concerned. I'm a member of a dinner group, and I had already bought the food that I needed to cook when it was my turn next. I also often eat lunch at my parents' house after I babysit my sister's kids. All I really needed to worry about was breakfast, and $20 should've been more that enough to take care of that.

However, I woke up on Sunday morning and I remembered that it was fast Sunday. This may seem like just the thing a struggling budget might need; however, I pay my tithing on fast Sundays. I quickly looked up how much I owed and it was $40.

"Hmm," I thought. "How am I going to make this work?" I wrote out the check anyways and handed it in, knowing that the extra would be absorbed into the line of credit on my account. It was a little intimidating to go into debt to pay tithing, though. Knowing that my dad would likely disown me if I were to try to cover my expenses by selling my plasma, I went throughout that day trying to figure out how I'd make ends meet that month.

That evening, I walked into my apartment and noticed a letter on the table that my roommate had brought in from the mailbox that afternoon from Brent Brown Chevrolet. I had bought my car from them several months ago, so I just figured it was a letter saying that they wanted me to by another car from them.

I started walking down the hall to my room as I tore open the envelope. Inside was a $70 check! I couldn't believe it.

"BLESSINGS!!!" I shouted. One of my roommates had just come out of his room to the hallway and looked surprised that I was shouting high-pitched, incomprehensible exclamations in the hallway. After I had calmed down a bit, I was able to explain the whole thing to him.

Lest you be a skeptic, I realize that the check was in the mail much before I paid my tithing and probably even before I realized that I was really hurting for cash. I think though that the main lesson to be learned here is to just do what's right, because God is already taking care of the details you.

In any case, I think that this story is almost Ensign-worthy. The only thing that would make it better is if I had 3 starving children and lived in Tahiti. I mostly just think that it's fun that I have my own tithing story that I can one day tell my grandkids.