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Finals Done – Autumn ’05

It is finished. I have reached the end of the beginning of my tenure at the University of Washington. At 4:20pm, I left room 015 of the Chemistry Library a free man… almost. I am still beholden to the grades that my efforts will recieve. I left each final feeling just okay — not terrible and but not great. And thats just about how I expect the grades to turn out.

As i discussed with Theo earlier, my standards are as follows:

A — Expected
B — Disappointed
C — Failed

Unfortunately, I think I’m in for some disappointment and I’m probably failing Math. (If I really am failing math… *cry*.) On the other hand, I should get at least one expected grade this quarter, from Tech Comm 333. I have a chance in CSE 143, if I aced the final (and I think I might have). I also have a chance in Thermodynamics (Chem E 260) if I didn’t screw up the final too badly (I really don’t know)… it didn’t go smoothly, but it may have been the same for many others as well. I know I made at least a few mistakes on the midterm, but I ended up setting the curve. However, I can’t help but feel that the Final went worse than that.

On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised with my performance in my Math final. I cruised thorugh the first three problems, and only got stuck on the two hardest… and I think I did enough work on those for strong partial credits. On the other hand, I might have scrwed it up very badly. Thats how shaky I was in that class. It felt good at the time, but I have no idea if I was doing any of it right…

Happy Birthday Ben

Ryan the revisionist historian shouts out to his wonderful, artistic, inspiring, historic brother.

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My Favorite Bands (A Scientific Approach) Part II

Previously, I listed my favorite bands based on the number of songs they had in my “Favorites” playlist. A highly correlated yet uniquely distinct measurement is a listing (by of the songs I’ve listened to. Having been a member for a couple of weeks now, I figure the sample might be apporaching statistical significance, so it must be time to write about it. I say that this list highly correlated because I generally randomly play songs from my favorites list, so of course bands more frequently on this list will show up more often, on average. However, I have been known to want to listen to specific songs as well, which seems to be the reason behind the disporporionately high ranking of Harvey Danger, among others…

Rank Band Plays

1 Linkin Park 85
2 Evanescence 38
3 Harvey Danger 29
4 Metallica 22
5 Burkhard Dallwitz & Philip Glass 18
6 U2 17
7 Silverchair 16
7 Collective Soul 16
9 The Smashing Pumpkins 15
9 Screaming Trees 15
11 Santana 14
11 Alice in Chains 14
11 The String Quartet Tribute To Linkin Park 14
11 WMEA (Washington Music Educator’s Association — All State!) 14
15 Stone Temple Pilots 12

Yeah, yeah, I know… Linkin Park shows up twice. So sue me.

Convoluted Schedule-Hack

If all goes well this month, the UW Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) will grant me my petition to take CSE 370, Introduction to Digital Design. That class is required for the major, so it will feel like real progress towards something useful, as opposed to all the other crap I’m taking that I’m interested in, but whose primary purpose is to whittle away the time until I’m into a major.

However, if I do get into CSE 370, I will have to rearrange my schedule, which has shown itseslf to be no easy task, considering every section of every course I’m in is full (more or less), or conflicts with something else in my schedule. After about an hour of considering the possibilities, I was able to derive a least-conflicting derivative schedule that would require only one difficult change to the schedule, and onyl two changes overall:

  1. Dropping Chem 241, Organic Chemistry Lab — EASY!
  2. Moving My Biology 220 lab from WEdnesday Morning to Thursday Morning (preferred) OR to Tuesday Evening (Which could really suck!) — HARD! (but doable!)

Below is the schedule that would result. All of the schdule combinations work well together except (1a) and (2b) — that would be pretty bad (10 hours of class non-stop!). I guess I would be happiest with (2a) and (1b).

   Monday       Tuesday    Wednesday   Thursday       Friday    
 8:30  BIOEN 201 A
PAA A114


CSE 370 AA



BIOL 220


CSE 370 A
EE1 037

CSE 370 A
EE1 037
CSE 370 A
EE1 037
 12:30  BIOL 220 A
BAG 131
BIOL 220 A
BAG 131
BIOL 220 A
BAG 131
BIOL 220 A
BAG 131


BIOL 220

 2:30  CHEM 238 A
KNE 120
CHEM 238 A
KNE 120
SAV 245
CHEM 238 A
KNE 120


CSE 370 AB

 4:30    BIOEN 201 AE
WIL 070
 6:00 p       
 6:30 p         
 7:00 p         

For Want of Gumption

Sometimes I have been described by associates in the past as having a “bias for action” — a tendency to choose action over inaction. I find this description to be true of many parts of my life, at least when I am thinking rationally. My “whats the worst that could happen” sort of mentality combined with a life experience of nothing that bad ever happening may be responsbile. Or maybe I just like to live life to its fullest, and inaction is not well correlated with fullness. At any rate, this so-called bias for action has tended to serve me well over the years — it is largely responsbile for the outrageously successful Road Trip of 2003, for a slew of road-less-traveled honors courses both in high school and in college that have all paid dividends, for a robotics club that went to the national competition its first year, and for a few speeding tickets as well. Certainly, looking back at my life, just as in looking back at that list, the good has far outweighed the bad.

Unfortunately, this action bias often fails me in two areas. The first is associated primarily with schoolwork — I find myself procrastinating its completion far too often. The bigger the assignment, the more I put it off, only making the problem worse, leading to more procrastination. Of course, usually things eventually reach a tipping point where the rapidly increasing completion panic energy overcomes the negative potential well of procrastination, and I get to work. Unfortunately, this usually means late nights, all-nighters, and substandard product. Of course, as we have seen, my substandard is sometimes somewhat better than average. This, of course, only served to reinforce the acceptability of the process, which has repeated itself many times for many papers and assignments throughout the history of Ryan.

But all of this is just a precursor. This post is not about schoolwork procrastination. This is about my other action-bias failue: namely, anything involving women.

As with most of my posts, there is a recent occurence to illustrate the point particularly well. It all began in my Math 324 class (see previous post to see the Chemistry Library building where I go for this class…). The course title is “Advanced Multivariable Calculus.” Only a few majors recognize it, and fewer yet require it. So basically, you’re either a math major/minor or pretty smart if you’re taking the class. To say it like a crass Yoda, dumb people here, there are not. The point here is that any girl in this class that happens to catch my eye is not only good looking, but she is intelligent as well. Hot and smart. Is there anything better than that? I didn’t think so.

Which brings me to Marissa. After I started having attendance issues in my other “early” (11:30 am) class Math class, I stopped sitting in the front, because I was often coming in late. This put me usually on the second-to-last row, right behind her. Always carrying her decorative coffee cup and taking notes in an artist’s sketchpad, we occasionally exchanged niceties, but never really talked. We were both always late, and she must have had a class right afterwards, as she never stuck around. Until today, that is. And today, we actually talked. Briefly, it is true, but it was good. At the time, I should have been considering, more or less, the following facts:

  • She is hot
  • She is smart
  • Today is the last day I will see her before the final
  • I could really use some motivation in studying for the final
  • I could really use a date to the company Christmas party

Unfortunately, I was apparently only considering the following facts:

So, as the class and conversation ended, this is what came out: “Well, good luck on the final. See you on Wednesday.” And then it was over.

I didn’t even recover enough from the blank mind to kick myself for a good ten minutes.

So now, I either rely on some sort of serendipity, find some way to talk to her before/during/after the final, or give up all hope. And considering past experience, I’m leaning towards the latter.

Absolutely Amazing

Microsoft has just upped the ante again in what has, for me, become the most interesting battle between Google and Microsoft yet: displaying ariel photography. This time, Microsoft’s Windows Live Local provides “Birds Eye” views of (from what I have seen so far) much of King County, and perhaps other places as well. The Bird’s Eye views differ from regular ariel photography in that they are much higher resolution, and intentionally at an angle — so a North-facing view is significiantly different than a south-facing view. The images produced are truly incredible:

Red Square (Univeristy of Washington)

Where I will be in about 30 minutes (Chem Library, UW)

More later, class calls.

We’re Back!

Your $6000 payment for 2006 FIRST Robotics Competition Pacific Northwest Regional event has been received and your registration is now confirmed.

Thank you,

FIRST Finance Department