|Alex Graduated||0 comments|
This Saturday, I got up before my alarm and finished packing. Then I went to eat breakfast. Since this is our last morning together, we all sat longer and talked until people had to catch shuttles. Mine was at 9 AM, and we got to the airport around 10. I got through security paperless, and was at the gate by 10:30. I ate some more food, and then boarded the plane. There was not enough space in the overhead compartment, so they had to gate-check my carry-on. That is fine by me, since I will spend the flight thinking about math in my head. The flight was very short: 1:15:38 (from 11:37 to 11:53, local times), and we arrived at LA about half an hour early. I went to baggage claim and my bag was already there! I think it was so fast since it was the last one in, plus a lot of people are continuing on (same plane, same flight number, but they do have to de-plane and re-board) to Hawaii. Steve and Tammy came to pick me up in my car, and we went to Ugly Roll Sushi for lunch.
In the afternoon, I was not feeling too well, so I did laundry, took a shower, and lay down to watch some TV and relax. After I felt better, I got up and did some math, and then went to Alex's graduation dinner. He and I started at UCLA the same time, but I will take one more year to get my degree. Congratulations Alex! I ate way too much, so I came home and watched some movie since my stomach was too full. I am going to sleep early now.
[Non Sequitur: Cityscape installations]
|A New Hope||0 comments|
This Friday, we had our last day of MRC. I continued working with Adam, Sharath, and Basit, while being joined by Louis on the problem of approximating the size of the largest non-intersecting family of rectangles. I continued to thwart their ideas while also proving some small things. In the afternoon, we decided to take the chair lift up to the top of the mountain and take some pictures. We had lots of fun waving at people coming down the mountain while we were going up. While coming down, I decided to go more extreme and even sing. They were quite amused and Adam even made a video recording of me singing. In the evening, we had a "banquet" (just like any other dinner, but with wine), and then we had a wrap-up session to summarize everything we've done and also address some logistical issues. I went around taking pictures with people, and then went back to my room and worked for about three more hours late past midnight. We had an "almost proof" that I came up with, and while explaining to others I realized it didn't work. Adam told me an idea after the summary session, but it was wrong. I fixed it during the evening and typed everything up rigorously and sent it to the others. This was a productive day, a suitable end to a great week of conference at Snowbird, Utah.
[Non Sequitur: Creepy street art promoting Goodwill]
This Thursday, we continued working on the problem of approximating the maximum size of non-intersecting rectangles. I showed them the counter-example to their approach I worked out last night. We improved it to make it even better/worse. In the afternoon, I worked on shelling polytopes and polytopal fans with another person. Then I continued working for a while by myself. In the evening for our summary session, we started with a video by Diana, where she explained her research through interpretive dance. Then we went around talking about our progress. Adam said "we come up with ideas, and then Jed comes up with counterexamples to each of them." People laughed. It's good to get recognition. Then in the evening I talked to Caleb for quite some time.
[Non Sequitur: Obiwan Kenobi arrested for hit and run]
|Hiking at High Elevation||0 comments|
This Wednesday, I started working on another problem with calculating homologies. I didn't really know what was going on, so I went to work with people from my group yesterday that split off to consider the problem of estimating the maximum number of disjoint rectangles in a configuration.
Today we had a free afternoon. I came back to my hotel room and did some math. Then Issam (with whom I went jogging yesterday) called me and I joined him, Muriel (yesterday jogging), and Louis for a nice two-hour hike up and down the mountains. Four people was perfect—we paired off to chat and rotated around (all three configurations). At one point I was a bit worried as I had to trek through some pretty narrow, muddy, slippery, and inclined plane with ice on one side and steep cliff on the other. I took it super slow and made it through. After that, it was like a walk in the park. We had at least 1000 ft gain of elevation up to around 9000 ft.
In the evening, I had some nice dinner conversation with Diana and two of the organizers, followed by voluntary working with people on more math. I can't believe I am doing so much math! [Update, after this post, I did three more hours of math and disproved what some people were hoping for as a method.]
[Non Sequitur: Russian Wall-E case mod]
|Jogging at High Altitudes||0 comments|
This Tuesday, we had a second day of MRC, where we had four hours of working groups. We continued working on geodesics, with me as one of the main players. Josh joined our group and helped me with the more abstract side of things. To thwart the other people spending man-hours working on the concrete examples, I wrote a program during break time that does what they were planning on doing.
In the afternoon, we went out for a jog. I decided to take it easy and only run a little bit, since we are at such high altitudes (about 7900 feet).
[Non Sequitur: Sweet ride]
|First Day of MRC||0 comments|
This Monday, I woke up at 7 AM MDT (6 AM PDT) and started the first day of the math conference. They provided breakfast, coffee break (with pastries), lunch, afternoon tea, reception, and dinner. That's a lot of food! In the morning the organizers gave brief talks on open problems, then we broke into working groups both in the morning and afternoon to work on some of the problems. Then after dinner, we got back together as a whole group and presented the findings.
[Non Sequitur: It takes about a month each year to read all the privacy policies]
|Flying to Salt Lake City||0 comments|
This Sunday, I left my apartment at 10:20 and got to the Flyaway stop at 10:40. Josh Zahl is already there. We talked until 11:00 and boarded the Flyaway shuttle, and got to the airport at 11:30. I got through security at 11:50, and took a shuttle to the gate and arrived there 12:20. My flight originally was at 1:30, but it kept being pushed off. Eventually we lifted off at 14:26, and touched down 16:43 at Salt Lake City (flight time 1:16:51). Afterwards, we took a shuttle to the Snowbird Lodge where we are staying for the week. Conference starts tomorrow. Since we had a $40 limit on reimbursement for dinner, we went to the fanciest restaurant in the hotel and got steaks. It was a pretty good evening.
[Non Sequitur: Rail bike]
|Rest and Pack||0 comments|
This Saturday, I was prepared to go to Bible study, followed by Eddie's house-warming BBQ party. However, I was not feeling too well, so I turned back (I was already driving there) and rested. I did laundry, took care of some errands, and packed. I originally would have had to do this at a very accelerated pace after stopping by Eddie's party briefly. I also drove to pick Hannah up, and she dropped me back off—she is borrowing my car for the coming week while I am out of town. In the evening, I walked over to Igor's apartment for a party to celebrate his success in graduating his first student here at UCLA. I went for a little bit, grabbed a few pizzas, told a few jokes, and then left early.
[Non Sequitur: Prime factorization sweater]
|End of the Penultimate Year of Grad School||2 comments|
This Friday, I went to lunch with Hannah at Souplantation. This is the final episode of the 26th season of birthday celebration, after having free meals at Rubio's, Denny's, and Daphne's, having dinner with the Tzou family, and being treated to a meal at Hurry Curry by Steph. Today we used a buy 1 get 1 free birthday coupon, and Hannah actually paid for most of the meal! The most costly part is treating Alex and the Lee boys to Coldstone with my birthday 1-1 coupon.
Afterwards, I went to school and tutored, followed by going to the GSO end-of-year party briefly. I went around congratulating the graduating PhD students and wishing them the best for their future endeavours. Then I left the party early and came home to be by myself. I really don't like parties that much.
[Non Sequitur: Dr. Seuss quotes considered political messaging]
|Busy Thursday||0 comments|
This Thursday, I went to school and tutored for a few hours. Then I went to the last combinatorics seminar of this academic year. Afterwards, I talked on the phone with Caleb for a while, and then went to department tea. I did some more work afterwards, and then went to the last GSO talk of the year. Tye organized a pizza party, and gave a talk about folding pizzas to save the toppings when it droops. Then I played some table tennis with Jack for one last time—he is graduating next week.
[Non Sequitur: Real-life Rapunzel sold hair to buy house]
|Walking to the Public Library||0 comments|
This Wednesday, I went to school for last lunch with Athipat this academic year, and then went to meet with Igor, also probably for the last time this year. Then afterwards, I decided to relax a bit, so I walked to the LA Public Library (about a good half-hour hike) while talking to my dad. I returned some stuff, borrowed some more, and then walked back to the department, stopping by The Stand for a quick bite. I was introduced to this place by Caleb, but went first with my peers after a qual, and later with Caleb.While I was walking towards the department, my officemate spotted me and asked what's going on. I said I walked to the library off-campus (to a location that is closer to where I live than to the math department), but had to walk back since I had my car at school. My dad is pretty happy of this fact, since I clearly could have driven to the library. Instead, I decided to exercise. Yay! Then I drove Rachel and Tye to Party City to buy decorations for the GSO end-of-year party on Friday, which I may very well not attend. It was good to talk to them, though. They are both graduating, so they told me many things about what to do in my last year in terms of applications and fellowships.
[Non Sequitur: Street light street art]
|GSO Talent Show||0 comments|
This Tuesday, I had lunch at home and went to school in the afternoon. Stedman asked me to discuss some math with him. I was able to provide a counter-example to his conjecture. Then I helped Ros, Huiyi, and Yajing warm up for the math department table tennis tournament semi finals match. I did not play this year since it was mostly held in a small room, and I don't fancy playing there. Huiyi easily beat Yajing, and Wengying easily beat Ros, as expected. Indeed, Huiyi and Wengying are both clearly better than I am, and I could fairly easily beat Yajing and Ros.
Then I tutored for a while, followed by attending the GSO talent show. It was mostly fairly boring, but it was good as bonding. I was asked to solved a Rubik's cube, which is fairly boring as well (most people probably can solve it, if not fast—and I am not that fast). Since the other people that the organizer asked to race did not comply, I was alone, and that would not be fun. Jackie convinced me to do it anyway, so I jokingly said, "While you play music?" She was enthusiastic about that idea, so I did it. I also told a joke while the musicians were still setting up. This led to a bunch of other lame math jokes to come out.
[Non Sequitur: Batman burgers]
|Last Meeting with Steph||0 comments|
This Monday, I continued with birthday coupon celebration by going to Denny's for a free birthday Grand Slam (no coupons needed, must be on the birthday). Then I did laundry, went to the gym, the library (quickly return and borrow more things), and then Daphne's for a free birthday burger (with email coupon, expires on the birthday). In the afternoon, I talked to Caleb for a long time, and then Steph came to visit me. We went to Hurry Curry for very likely our last dinner together. Afterwards, we came back and we sang some songs, prayed, sang four hymns, prayed more, and then ended with singing Endless Love and My Heart Will Go On. She eventually left about half past midnight. We had a long farewell and eventually I just quickly walked away from her car as to not drag it on any more. I will definitely miss her a lot.
[Non Sequitur: RJ-45 key chain and rack]
|Dinner with the Tzou Family||0 comments|
This Sunday, I went to pick Hannah up again, as usual, for possibly the last time for a while now. Next time might be next school year, and she'll be living somewhere else, so who knows. She drove me to church again, which is very nice. Steph interpreted breaking of bread for one last time (while her dad lead the meeting and her mom playing the piano—nice, eh?) so I didn't have to do it. I taught HSG and did offering, then I sang some songs with Steven and the gang. I also have this buy 1 get 1 free coupon from Coldstone (email coupon), so I treat the Lee boys and Alex to ice cream. I only ate a little bit since I don't really like ice cream that much. This is in continuation with my birthday freebies celebration.
In the afternoon, we went to the park and played volleyball. The Lee boys joined us—I'm glad we were doing something they were interested in. Afterwards, I practiced a bit with Mari and Priscilla, and then convinced them to go jog with me. It's good exercise!
In the evening, I went to visit the Tzou family and have dinner with them. I played with Beatrice before dinner, and stayed until around 9 PM. This has been a very eventful weekend.
[Non Sequitur: Leap Motion: 3D hands-free motion control]
|La Boheme and CPK||1 comment|
This Saturday, I generalized the solution for the showering dilemma to cases where it does not involve table tennis. The proof is left as an exercise. Haha. I went to the gym again to force myself to take a shower. I had a free lunch at the Rubio's at UCLA, as part of "birthday freebies."
Then I drove to LA Opera and attended their production of La Boheme. It was quite enjoyable. For once, I thought the lead male and female singers were equally matched (which is much nicer than when one obviously overshadows the other). The traffic was extremely bad, I was in the area about twenty minutes early, but their lot was full (and it was hard to get around even notice it). Eventually I parked at a public lot on Temple east of Grand. It is \$5, which is cheaper than the Music Center parking and a lot more chill. I will definitely plan to do that again next time. I missed the curtain (boo!!) so I had to be seated after Act I. As such, I only saw the last three acts of four—but I also got a 25%-off discount, so I guess we are even. I know the story quite well since Act I is almost entirely the same as RENT. Mark the filmmaker is now Marcello the painter. His ex-girlfriend Maureen is now Musetta. His roommate Roger the guitarist is now Rodolfo the poet. He meets Mimi the dancer, who is now Mimi the seamstress. Mimi's candel is out, and she comes to ask for a match, and drops something (stash/key). These people have a unsucessful philosopher frind Collins/Colleen, and his musician friend Schaunard/Angel Dumott Schunard, who just got a gig and some extra cash. This made understanding the second act a lot easier. I also recognized Musetta's waltz, which has motives that were definitely present in RENT. Good artists copy, great artists steal.
Afterwards, I went to dinner with some of my peers at CPK (their choice) to celebrate (in part) Hakan, Xiaokui, and Ming graduating. The other people who came were Athipat, Josh Zahl, Beren, and Andrew. We had a good time catching up and telling jokes. Apparently I am still the worst at telling jokes, and they really enjoyed how bad my jokes were.
[Non Sequitur: Milledgeville police handcuff 6-year-old girl for misbehaving at school]
|Dilemma Resolved||0 comments|
This Friday, I resolved a dilemma. Last night I took a shower after playing table tennis. Therefore I did not feel like taking a shower in the morning. However, I was going to the math department award ceremony, and I figured I should take a shower first. I decided, therefore, to go to the gym in the morning, in order to make not taking a shower a non-option. Today I ran at a 7 mph pace for 10 minutes (which is my fastest ever—I usually run at 6mph). Then I bought lunch from Greenhouse to end the coupon week. Between Tuesday and today, I used the \$2-off coupon at Greenhouse 10 times for a total saving of \$20. Of which, I had 4 lunches and 6 fruit snacks. I spent a total of \$10.81 there this week. That's nearly a 65% savings!
I then came home, took a shower, ate lunch, and then went straight back to school for the award ceremony. It was nice to hear the achievements of the department as a whole and individually by its constituents. Afterwards, we had some cake and fruit (I only had fruit). I came home and prepared for teaching HSG.
In the evening, I took some time off and watched the movie My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. I enjoyed it very much, despite it only receiving a 5.6 rating on IMDb. In fact, I enjoyed this more than Avengers, which is receiving a 8.6 rating. This reaffirms how much I like romance and is apathetic for action movies.
[Non Sequitur: USB typewriter]
|Going to School for a Break||0 comments|
This Thursday, I had lunch at home, eating left-over meat from the picnic on Monday (that I did not attend). Then I rushed to school for some tutoring, followed by a nice combinatorics seminar on regular polytopes. After department tea, we had the penultimate GSO seminar, where Andy talked about representations of the symmetric group and the Robinson-Schensted correspondence. He presented Viennot's argument, which is one of the most beautiful proofs—explaining the hidden symmetry of the algorithm. I obviously know all this stuff from before, but it was nice to just chill and see it again. Then I went with Jack to the gym, played a bit of table tennis, did some more work, and then came home. As I said yesterday, I was going to take a break today by going to school.
[Non Sequitur: Single letter geographical names]
|End of a Busy Week||0 comments|
This Wednesday, I did work, as usual, in the morning, and then went to school for lunch with Athipat. Then I went to reading group, followed by meeting with my advisor. Then I came home, talked to Caleb for quite a long time, and then rushed out for dinner at Mitsuwa, followed by tutoring. Then I came home and did a bit more work, and then rested. It's been a long week. I will take time to rest tomorrow by going to school for most of the day.
[Non Sequitur: Soccer ball swept away by Japanese Tsunami reaches US shores]
|Coupon Week||0 comments|
This Tuesday, I did work in the morning, as usual. Since this week is the "crazy Greenhouse coupon" week, I went to school for lunch. More accurately, I went to the gym to run for a little bit (I haven't done this in a while, so I ran only for 10 minutes at a 6.5 mph pace). Then I bought some fruit from Greenhouse for \$2-off, ate it, and then bought some salad (again for \$2-off) and brought it home. In the evening, I went to school again, had some fruit, and then tutored. Then I went straight to prayer meeting, where there were lots of people (almost double). We stayed pretty late chatting. It's exciting to see everyone here.
[Non Sequitur: NaCl house]
|Skipping Picnic||0 comments|
This Monday, I will be skipping the third day of "socializing" and stay home to rest and work instead, as I did in the past. Besides doing work, I also did a bunch of errands like cleaning my room and such. I also went to school to do some work. Originally I was going to give Anne a ride to the airport, but Steve called last minute and said they will do it (sad, I purposefully did not bid her farewell yesterday, and we were in the middle of a conversation which I assured we would finish today). I stayed in the math department until around 11:30 PM or so. Long day. Nice day.
[Non Sequitur: Wheelblades]