Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Growing Up?!

It recently occurred to me that I am halfway done with my junior year of college, and will, within a very short time, be going to graduate school and then real life. It also occurred to me that people from high school  are now thinking of engagement, engaged, or married (some with children). When I reflect on this, it brings me back to childhood and that amazingly accurate saying we heard when we were children: “Enjoy your childhood; it will be gone before you know it.”

Holy shit was that right on. School is actually challenging now, becoming a cog in the American workforce is looming in the near future, and within a decade or fifteen years, I’ll probably have a house payment, insurance, and a family to support. This wasn’t the romanticized adult life I envisioned when I was a kid. Responsibilities become more numerous as I get older, and let’s be honest, that sucks.

That being said, I know I am still relatively young, but the fact remains that real life is starting whether I like it or not. While I was at work today, I went to the break room to get my lunch, and all of my coworkers were talking about their kids. This was another nail in the carefree adolescent life coffin. I am officially experiencing break room (water-cooler if I were in an office) type conversations. Office Space here I come. Next thing I know, I’ll be required to put cover sheets on the TPS reports.

To be honest though, I’m excited for the future.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I'll admit it. When my roommate, Brent, got a Snuggie freshman year I thought he was crazy. I stand corrected. Whoever first thought, "The problem is that I am cold, but I can't do anything with my arms with a blanket on," and designed the Snuggie deserves a damn prize for all that I'm concerned. As I write this, avoiding studying for all of my exams, I am Snuggie-clad in my brown microplush blanket-with-sleeves. All problems in my life have dissolved since donning this incredible creation. Can I type, eat, text, or speak like an Italian with my hands in a blanket? The answer is clearly no. When combined with fleece pants and a pair of slippers, it's amazing I ever leave the chair or couch I am sitting in. I feel like this post is long overdue, but since I was in a blogging mood today I figured that I'd post on this blog as well. When thinking of a topic, my mind wandered to my Snuggie. Again, problem solved. I went to the library today, and I was very close to bringing my Snuggie. Unfortunately, because I was also wearing on of my ridiculous Christmas sweaters, I felt that it would be a little too much, so I left it at home. Now that I am back however, it's (the Snuggie and the understood "it") on. I really don't have much else to say, and I should probably get back to my Snuggie studying (another plus of the Snuggie), but I will probably post more later this week. Good luck to all on your exams, and bye for now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What do you do when you can't sleep?

For the second night in a row, sleep has eluded me. The funny this is, I don't physically feel tired, so that's good I guess. I figured I'd take this time to write a short post, because it's been a while since I've updated this. Honestly, it is because I have been so busy with school. Now that the semester is coming to a close, many of my teachers feel it necessary to assign boatloads of work (homework, projects, and/or tests), and it is definitely starting to catch up to me.

All of that aside, I was thinking today about how, now that this semester is ending, everything seems to be going just right. This week in particular is the beginning of a great couple of weeks. To begin, this week is a three day week containing my second favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I'm super excited to finally get to spend some time with my family because I haven't been able to much this semester. Friday marks the official beginning of the Christmas season (for those people not festive enough to start celebrating the forty days of Christmas in mid-November, but I digress). It's gun season now for much of the of remainder of the deer season, and that's reason to celebrate and hit the woods. Friday night, as of now, I plan on going to see the Knoxville West High School Rebels (the school that I coach wrestling at) try to reach the state championship in football. I'll be honest, part of me (the coach part) wants them to lose so I can have the rest of my team back, but the other part wants them to go all the way since they've made it this far. Saturday is also going to be a great day. I am going to see Ben Folds play with the Nashville Symphony at TPAC in Nashville with Ashley. I saw him play an excellent show two years ago with the Louisville Symphony, and I have a feeling this year is going to be even better being at the TPAC. After this week, we have two days of class and then finals.

Once break starts, I'll be working at my internship at Lasko again. My boss is trying to get my co-intern and myself permission to work on Saturdays. If he does, I'll be working six days a week pretty much all of break, and that is absolutely awesome. Next semester, I start my Math minor with Math 300 - Intro to Abstract Algebra. I'm actually really excited about this class -  it's a pure mathematics course (as opposed to applied mathematics) and deals with proofs and symbolic logic, something I've been wanting to deepen my understanding in for a while. Beginning in January, I will also be a contributor to a blog based at UT (website:, so you can follow there as well. Other random events in the beginning of next semester include Girl Talk at the Valarium, (hopefully) coaching in another couple Region and State tournaments, and my 21st birthday.

Anyway, I've successfully gotten closer to morning by about 20 minutes, and with that I am going to try and pass out. Until next time, goodnight, and thanks for reading!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wrestling Season Is Finally Here

For those of you who don't know, I coach wrestling at a local high school in Knoxville, TN. This is my second year with the program as an assistant coach, but I do as much as I can with and for the team. Today, our first full week of practice came to a close. While there were a few moments that aggravated me, this week was overwhelmingly productive. Today, however, something was different, in a good way. Many of you have never been in a position like I am in: having to contain, teach, discipline, and also bond with a large group of high school students. Believe me, there are trying times when I get pushed to the end of my rope. Right now, while the school's football team is still in the playoffs, I am left with a very diminished team, consisting only of about twelve wrestlers, but in those that are there now (and have been there during preseason practices) I have seen a change already. I wrestle around with almost all of my wrestlers on a regular basis save for the heaviest of heavyweights, and today while I was going with them, everyone of them improved over the course of this week. From our most advanced guys to the newest wrestlers, every one of my wrestlers I went with had improved in some way. Even over the course of this week, I can tell I am connecting with the newer wrestlers, and strengthening the bond between myself and my experienced wrestlers from last year.

Near the end of practice, before one of the other assistant coaches took them out to sprint in the hallways, I told them all to take a seat (a big deal in our room because I do not allow the kids to sit on their butts, backs, or bellies - something my first coach, my dad, drilled in my head ten years ago) and I told them all straight up how proud I was of them for this past week, and how I've noticed that they have all improved, pointing out specific examples in almost every wrestler. After their run, we closed practice by saying our last remarks for the week - reminding them of dues and other things to do. While we were there, they were all for the most part very attentive (this is also a big deal when dealing with high school males), and allowed each other to speak. I can see that we are starting to become not only a team, but a family, and I am absolutely ecstatic. They even threw around the idea to go run as a team in a Breast Cancer run next week to continue losing weight. When the rest of our wrestlers make their way back to the mat from the football field, I know the bonding is only going to strengthen, and I really do feel that we can, and will, be better than our team last year. Their attitudes, for the most part, have changed over one week of actual practice, and they all are becoming more serious about the sport. Again, I can't explain how excited I am for this season and happy to be a part of this team. I really do feel like I am making a difference in the lives of these young men, if it is something as simple as them being able to relate to me for being around their age.  Yes, it does keep me busy, but the feeling I got after practice today from this past week makes up for that.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


There are quite a few things that I feel I excel at more-so than many people, but one area that I have never been great with is people and relationships with people. Relationships, be they with acquaintances, friends, or significant others, have always posed a problem to me. I'm not sure why, though I suspect that it has something to do with, as my dad says, "how black and white [I am]." I really struggle to comprehend people, and I do my best to constantly learn about habits of people and typical protocols within relationships, but I just never seem to grasp it the way I do something math based. The complexity of the human mind and the emotional spectrum allow for such a large number of action-reaction type scenarios that I would almost claim that the possibilities can go to infinity (in fact, I could make a strong argument for this because these types of interactions are based on a spectrum or gradient-like type of inputs, in particular emotions, which are continuous and by definition infinite). Because I cannot, to my knowledge, model these inactions as a simple, elegant, and beautiful mathematical formula, it is hard for me to know with as high of a degree of certainty that I'd like what will happen. My only option is to continue to learn about these types of things by immersing myself in them, making my own mistakes and successes. I'll leave you with a comic from one of my favorite websites, xkcd, that (while for this particular comic is about love) model how I feel. It really makes me wonder how many others there are out there like me though (I suppose quite a few).

By the way, thanks for reading.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chaotic Events

Today, my roommate, Andrew, and I were talking about something his dad had told him about his college years. The reader's digest version is that his dad dated a girl who, after completing certification for her pilot's license, flew him and her to a restaurant for her first unmonitored flight, and how terrified he was. I then posited the consequences of them crashing, just as a thought experiment. It was a ridiculous outcome. It was odd thinking about how something as simple and relatively common as an accident could alter the world so much. It got me thinking about how each, seemingly mundane, event can have a dramatic effect on the future. This chaotic system is all around us, constantly engulfing us in certain cause-effect scenarios that often do not take place for many years to come. It was amazing to me, and these kind of thoughts always get me thinking deep. I hope the same can be said for you all.


It occurred to me a couple of days ago when I was doing some Numerical Analysis homework how such a large part of mathematics, calculus in particular, depends on the assumption that a function is a smooth, continuous, differentiable function, and how a great deal of math breaks down at a cusp. A cusp, a theoretical point where a function makes a "sharp" turn, to my knowledge, only exists in pure mathematics. Nowhere in real life does a point (in the classical, pure mathematical definition) exist to our knowledge (i.e. we have not observed a point of zero area). Exceptions, such as the center of a black hole, break down known laws about the universe much in the same way that cusps break down many laws of mathematics. This thought came about when I was trying to fit polynomials of various degrees to a piecewise function that contained within the domain an absolute value term. I know it may not seem that incredible to many of you, but to me this is profound. Something as simple as a slight deviation from a smooth curve is impossible to differentiate. I don't have much to say about the subject, but this post was simply to give the reader something to think about.