Thursday, September 27, 2007

Faces Without Names

It happens to everyone at least once in their life. They are at an event with a friend and then they are suddenly introduced to a large group of new people. You honestly know that there is no way in hell you will remember everyone's names but you pretend to do so. Then after five minutes or so you realize that the only names you remember are those of the last person to be introduced and the member of the group you found most attractive. At the end of the evening when everyone is heading home you think to yourself, "Thank God, there is a chance that I will never see them again , and thus not embarrass myself by not remembering their names."
Well just when you thought the worst was over you run into at least one of the group members in public, and you are not with your friend. Damn they spotted you. Your mind races trying to remember their name, but with no success you resort to saying something along the lines of "Hey how are you?" and skillfully conduct the conversation in a way that lets you avoid using their name.

Well things like this happened to me a few weeks ago. While I was walking from my dorm to flag football practice I ran into someone who knew me. Now since I didn't recognize his face I was almost certain that we had never actually formally met. Well as it turns out we were both members of MAO in high school and he recognized me from there. Needless to say I had no idea who he was because he was not on stage often if at all. After talking to him I got to thinking about just how many people know me because of MAO. I'm fine with it if I am actually friends with the person now and talk to them on a semi-regular basis but it just scares me a little if I don't really know the person.

Classes are going alright so far. French is a lot of work, I am really beginning to wish that I had just taken either Spanish or Portuguese. Learning vocabulary is just taking up way too much time. It is becoming difficult to find time to work on programming or relearning Linear Algebra and Elementary Differential Equations. At least I still have the weekends. Putnam practices start tomorrow [a little late in my opinion but not much I can do about it, so I started my studying a while ago] and it should be interesting to see who will be there. Hopefully it will be more structured that it was last year where the professor really didn't have a plan for what material would be covered at what time. I would really like if my Number Theory teacher ran the practices since he is very enthusiastic and seems to communicate better with students. Sadly however, he is very busy so it is going to be extremely unlikely that he will be running the practices this year. Maybe next year will be different...or so I hope.

As things are now I am still uncertain about what I really want to do over the summer. If I have the choice to choose between attending and REU or and Actuarial Internship (and I hope I have to make this choice later in the year) I am not sure which I would choose. Really I suppose it comes down to which company/companies offer me internships and which REU(s) I get accepted for participation. In terms of internships I only have a list of two companies I would really like to work for, one is a consulting company and the other I like because of its location (yes there are other reasons for liking this company). In terms of REUs I would like to do one in any of the following fields (in order of preference); financial mathematics, stochastic processes and probability, differential equations, and number theory.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

True Tolerance

I am not aware of how many of you actually watched the Emmy Awards, I surely didn't, but there seems to be some big story about Kathy Griffin and a Jesus remark. Before I continue I would like to warn you that some people might be offended by what they read and should continue with caution and an open mind.
After seeing the story headline on various sites I finally decided that it might just be worth my time to read one of the reports. At this time I was at Yahoo so I clicked on the "Griffin in trouble over 'offensive' remarks" link. For those of you that were too lazy, or were just so adsorbed in my post that you neglected to click on the link and read the article for yourself, you are probably wondering, "What could she possibly have said?" I know because that is exactly what I was thinking after seeing the headline millions of times. Well here it is;

"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus, suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now."
If it is not totally obvious from the quote, and it should be, this is what she said when she accepted her Emmy. Now I am sure that opinons on this comment are very polar, and it is easy to understand why. On one side you have the people who are either indifferent and/or find it funny, then you have the die hard "Christians" who are outraged.
Personally I fall into the former group. I am not sure if this is because of my sense of humor, failing sense of religion, or realizing that there are better things to get enraged about. Sure I'll admit that I do find it funny and you know why because it is true. Just about every time you see someone win one of these awards they go up to the stage and when they open their mouth they just regurgitate typical, "Oh my gosh I never expected to win this...this is one of the best moments of my life...I would like to thank;(insert names of produces, directors, family members) and most of all God..." I for one am just plain sick of this verbal vomit. We all know that they had that speech, and a rather poor one at that, when they learned that they were nominated. As for those who chose not to prepare a speech and honestly wing it, I say it is even worse because it not only shows a lack of preparation but also an astonishing lack of originality.
It should be noted that I am not saying that her method for breaking the mold to go was the right way, but hell it did the trick and managed to piss off some people at the same time. The same people who are always pushing for tolerance. Sure her comment wasn't tolerant towards most steadfast Christians but who are they to judge her and not be open to tolerating her opinion?
This reminds me of the MTV incident with Kanye West that occurred after Hurricane Katrina when he said, "George Bush hates black people." Now yes this story did get a lot of coverage but I don't remember reading about large groups of people that were upset with him, or even being outraged by the media's constant replaying of the clip with out edits. Whereas Kathy Griffin's Jesus remark will be edited out of just about every future television broadcast of the Emmy Awards.
Now this might just be me but shouldn't we be a little more concerned when a well known media icon, who's words reach many different audiences, claims that the leader of our country "hates black people", than we should be when some comedian, who makes a living by getting under people's skin, says "suck it, Jesus"?
I wonder what kind of response she would have gotten if she had instead said, "suck it, ____", where the blank is filled with one of the persons she beat in order to win the award, or even some other religious figure such as Muhammad, Buddha, or Abraham. These are the kind of things that make me wonder just how tolerant our society is, and if we are "tolerant" because it is what we truthfully believe or if it is because if we are not perceived to be tolerant we wil be looked down on by the rest of society.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Dawn of the First Real Week Back

Now that the first real week of school has come to a close I new have a better gage of exactly what I am in for this semester. Some classes seem as if they are going to be a little easier than first anticipated, while others are going to be just as much work.

To begin with it French looks as if it is going to be easier than I thought. This does not mean that I won't put in as much time, it just means that my A will be even higher.
Wildlife Issues is alright I'm still not sure if I absolutely need to buy the $70 course packet since he did not make it seem like it was required.
Number Theory and E.E.C. is still a toss up because no one has the book yet. This is bad planning on the professor's part because he did not tell us what book we would be using until the first day of class, and it turned out that Amazon was sold out. So it will be at least another two weeks until everyone has their books.

Well in French I randomly met this girl who went to the same high school as me. One day she walked into class and I thought to myself, "wow she looks really familiar, have I seen her before?" We look at each other for a second before she says, "Did you go to...?" Well it turns out that we were most likely in the same Spanish 3 class my junior, her sophomore, year of high school. Then through her I met another girl who went to school in the same county as us but a different high school.
In Wildlife I have met one new girl. She's a first year student majoring in Finance. Seems like a nice person and on top of that she's really cute. Yeah yeah I know, you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but really who wants to sleep with a book. No really I've talked to her and she's really cool.
In Number Theory and E.C.C. I really only know one person personally, and she is the person who talked me into signing up for the class to begin with. Most of the other people I either recognize their faces or know of them because I have heard their names often in the past.
Advanced Calculus on the other hand I am surprised at the number of people I know in there. At least three of the students were in my Linear Algebra class last summer and then there are people I know either from Pi Mu Epsilon or Nu Alpha Theta.

AASA (Asian American Student Association) had a presentation last Friday. All of the performances were spectacular. Sadly many of my friends were in the show and I was not able to tell mainly because I did not have seats that allowed me to clearly see their faces. I can't wait for the next general AASA event.