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A Full Week

– Monday I had a Economics Midterm. I think I did very well. In security we learned to pick locks, a skill I had to put to use several months ago to “break” into a room in my house. That afternoon, I TA’d a robotics lab session, and then went on a run with Bobby, Spencer, and Theo.

– Tuesday I worked a long time on Robotics, trying to finish up the lab before the students (this effort was mostly successful)

– Wednesday we started on Dynamic Games in game theory.

– Thursday was my long day, but I was able to go to the later section, so I was done with school in 12 hours instead of the normal 13.

– Friday I finished up my Security homework, shot some pistols, and watched Benjamin Button.

– Saturday I blogged.

Benjamin Button

I went to watch The Curious Case of Benjamin Button last night. It is the sort of movie that works really well as a movie — telling an intriguing story with complete suspense of disbelief throughout. It explored the topic seriously without taking itself too seriously — it was very well done. It was also a long movie, but it didn’t ever feel like it was dragging. It reminded me in some ways of Forrest Gump — the story of the journey of a remarkable person through life. I rate it a solid 4/5.

First Friday Fast

Well, the first Friday Fast I was planning was a complete disaster! It didn’t happen at all. I’m thinking that maybe it is hard to fast when you attend two birthday parties in one night. I’ll try again this Friday.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Caught In The Act

On Thursday, the Silicon Valley tech company Palantir came to the UW to give a “Tech Talk,” a self-promotional display of technology used to get CSE students interested in working for the company. The talk is usually accompanied by food and, sometimes, raffle prizes. I decided to attend because I figured I would be hungry around 5:30 (definitely true), and I had heard lots of good things about the people at Palantir and what they were doing.

The food, as it turns out, was pretty good — we got to make our own tacos, and I greatly appreciated it. However, I had a 6:30 class, and was unable to stay until the end of the talk, which I heard went until about 7:00. This is where it gets interesting.

At the beginning of the talk, the Palantir folks passed around a cup into which we were to drop our names to win a fabulous iPod touch. Being all about gaming the system, I decided to enter my name several times — six or seven times, that is — using varried sizes of paper. Furthermore, I went around with the cup, allowing other to place their names in it, before placing my own names into the cup, to give me a superior placement within the cup. Apparently my techniques were effective — very effective.

In fact, I won the raffle. Or at least, my name was drawn first. However, because I had to be present to win, and instead I was attending my 6:30-9:30 Programming Languages lecture, I did not actually win. So they placed my name aside and drew again. And then my name was drawn, again. I still was not present, so I still did not win. Finally, someone who was present did win, and the raffle ended.

It seems that my actions grated on at least a few people, although the student who reported the incident was “nice” (?) enough to omit my name, while nevertheless accusing me of having no integrity. I decided to thank him or her for the post, and take full responsibility for my actions in a comment to the post.

But, I would like to hear from my readers as well: Were my actions unethical? Am I a shmuck? Should I be ashamed of myself? (Right now I’m not.)

Sharpe’s Siege

Last night at about 2:30 am, I finished reading Sharpe’s Siege, an historical fiction novel by Bernard Cornwell. My dad loaned me the book a while back and I slowly read through it. It is not a long novel, but it is enjoyable, and I’d suggest it to anyone interested in the Napoleanic Wars or just some fun reading.

Friday Fasts

I’ve decided to try fasting on Fridays. As in water only; no food or juice (but gum okay). Since I don’t have classes I fugure it’ll be a reasonable time to try it out. The experience should be interesting.

Winter 2009 Schedule

It took a while to settle down, but I finally have my Winter 2009 schedule finalized, or very nearly finalized. The key blocker was getting into Econ 485, the Game Theory class that I have attended lectures to in hopes that I could get an add code. The add code arrived yesterday (Thanks Professor Lawaree!), and I signed up for Game Theory, dropping the Systems Seminar and Distributed Computing Capstone along the way.

The UW visual schedule is failing me because half of my classes have no officially assigned times, so instead I will convey my schedule in writing:

Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:00 am – 10:20 am I have my CSE M 584 Security Lecture

Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:30 pm – 2:20 pm I have my Econ 485 Game Theory Lecture

Mondays 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm I have CSE 481c, Robotics Capstone labs, which I am TAing

Tuesdays and Thursdays 10:30 am – 11:50 am I have CSE 481c, Robotics Capstone Lectures

Tuesdays 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm I once again TA the Robotics Capstone Lab

Wednesdays, 4:40 pm – 5:30 pm I have CSE 590G, the Architecture Seminar

Thursdays 6:30 pm – 9:20 pm I have CSE P 505, Programming Languages

Fridays I have free of scheduled classes, but will probably be doing homework and Robotics Capstone Lab Preparations

In short, I will be busy!