Impersonal Touch and a Girl

(Somewhere through cyberspace)

I was chatting with Julia a few days ago, and also quite recently via MSN. She put that I don’t have a personal touch in here. That what I wrote are mostly factual, and I seldom let people to indulge into my personal life from my writing, or in other words, dry content. She was hoping that I put something more of my personal thoughts, experiences, and my daily lifestyle into public view. While I won’t mind giving in to her, I don’t prefer to put too many personal opinions online as some views might be hurtful and cyber stalking is quite a trend right now.

Okay, I will honor her and put some of my more personal expression here.

If you notice the picture above, see at the large Malaysian flag behind her. If the size of the flag you have represents the loyalty you have to your country, then she will win the gold medal for sure. For example, during the last Malaysia’s National Day (note National Day, not Independence Day, dummy) celebration organized by the Malaysian Student Association, I was one of the only two who even bought a flag along to the celebration.

Blah, blah, blah.

I got a job now and earning at minimum wage. My main reason for this is not for the income, but rather for the social security number that comes with it, which will come in handy sooner or later. Another minor reason for the employment is that I blew several hundred dollars shopping for essential clothing and trying to cover up the deficit. I will definitely be seeking greener pasture next semester as working in an interaction intensive environment is not good for my jaw muscle. I might develop cramp by smiling too much. Plus, working as a blue collar requires more labor intensive participation then mental ones. Something which I don’t really look forward to.

On a positive note, a Fortune 500 company just requested for my resume. Apparently, I’m the only person who answer their trick question correctly out of a large mass and they were delighted till they asked me for my resume through email. Although, I do not intend to apply for any internship in the nearest possible moment, and thus, haven’t prepared a resume yet. I wonder if I did get into their blacklist because I haven’t contact their representative with my resume even though they requested me to do so about 2 weeks ago. Sigh, it’s a Fortune 500 company man!

The exams are approaching as well and as usual, I was still in holiday mood until it smack me in my face. With deadlines and some obligations to fulfill, I’m trying to figure out how others manage to juggle their schedule perfectly. Even though the fact that I slept 9 hours a day did not help me to free up some time during the day. Somehow, my precarious work ethics reach some higher official ears, and in response, they send me this to remind myself.

(Putrajaya, Malaysia) Symbol of a Neo-Authoritarian Ruling

And that’s it, for now.

Also, Julia has been asking me to transfer to Brown because she is lonely. So, attention to all Malaysians out there, especially males, do try to apply or transfer into Brown University in the shortest time possible. Once you are there, your main function will be to provide her with some company and cook some local cuisine once in a while for her. While I am able to cook delicious food like bak kut teh over here, it is impropable for her, or me  to be purchasing airplane ticket just to provide her with some taste of home. Do try to enter Brown University because she is in high demand, or as Valerie puts it, “Convent girls are hot, hot, HOT!”

Bonus credits for those who bought a box of Milo along.

Fall 2008 Course Work

(Ann Arbor, Michigan) The End of Summer

The seasons changed, and now Fall is aproaching. The leaves on the trees nearby are turning shades of orange. I finally finalized my course schedule for the coming Fall. In the medium range workload from what I estimate. But then, when I saw that most of my friends are dropping off courses to have lighter workload in comparison to mine, I wonder if my planned out schedule is too heavy.

MATH 215 Calculus III 4 cr. Topics include vector algebra and vector functions; analytic geometry of planes, surfaces, and solids; functions of several variables and partial differentiation; line, surface, and volume integrals and applications; vector fields and integration; Green’s Theorem and Stokes’ Theorem. There is a weekly computer lab using MAPLE.

I will be fulfilling my core requirement for mathematics with this course. I quite like this course, except for the fact that I cannot understand what the GSI is talking about.

ECON 102 Macroeconomics 4 cr. In ECON 102, the fundamental concepts and theories of macroeconomics are developed and used to analyze problems of current interest. Major topics include the determinants of aggregate output, employment and unemployment, inflation, the balance of international trade, and economic growth.

Another of my core requirement to be fulfilled. From what I gathered, this introductory course is supposed to be very simple and have a light workload. But my experience until now prove otherwise. I just had my quiz today and according to my GSI, Prof. Kapinos just took over the class and decided to raise the bar a bit. The quiz today is one of the hardest my GSI had seen administered to students. The weekly problem sets doesn’t help to reduce the workload either. Though this is one of my heaviest course for this semester, Prof. Kapinos does provide some interesthing insights in his own way. For example, “Don’t expect me to smile in this class because I’m a Russian, and we Russian don’t smile. It hurts my jaw muscle if I am to keep a smilling facial expression throughout the class.”

STATS 425 Intro. to Probability 3 cr. This course introduces students to useful and interesting ideas of the mathematical theory of probability and to a number of applications of probability to a variety of fields including genetics, economics, geology, business, and engineering. The theory developed together with other mathematical tools such as combinatorics and calculus are applied to everyday problems. Concepts, calculations, and derivations are emphasized. The course will make essential use of the material of MATH 116 and 215.

From what the seniors told me. This is suppose to be my hardest course in my semester. Introduction to Probability is supposed to be taken after Calculus III since it requires the mastery of multivariable calculus, but I hope that I can grasp some basic from the Calculus III I’m taking right now to compensate for it. Ironicly, I’m taking Calculus III knowing well that I do not have credits in Calculus II. Hopefully, my mathematical background and analytical mind would cover up for any contents I might have missed out. Although presumably my hardest course, I found that this is my easier course yet. Perhaps time will prove me wrong (hopefully not since I like this class).

ANTHRCUL 101 Intro. to Anthropology 4 cr. This introductory course surveys the field’s four subdisciplines (biological, archaeological, cultural, and linguistic anthropology), providing a first glimpse of the field’s overall context, history, present status, and importance. The principal aim of the course is to help students develop a coherent view of the essential concepts, structures, and intellectual methods that typify the discipline. It stresses unifying principles that link the subdisciplines and thereby create anthropology’s comprehensive, holistic world view. It teaches students various ways of learning and thinking about the world’s many designs for living in time and space. It prepares them to integrate and interpret information, to evaluate conflicting claims about human nature and diversity, and to think critically.

Well, ANTHRCUL 101 is supposed to be my reading course this semester and to take my mind of my other more quantitative courses. Since my academic advisor greatly encourage me to take this course as a mean to broaden my perspective on human society and since it is an introductory course, it is supposed to be easy.  But the intensive reading and high grading level makes me think twice about it. This course is not according to curve and the mark for an A+ is 100. O.O Sigh, no space for me to experiment with thoughts.

A Hiatus and a Chance to Reorganize

I decided to take a temporary break from updating here. Although I could just log off in an instant, I felt that there’s a bit responsibility to put a small notice here. I will use any additional chance I can get to reorganize my time and priorities here in college. Due to my usual habit (of you-know-what), accumulating problem sets and assignments have took its toll on me. As well as preparing for future anticipation, such as finding a job, I’m using this time now to recuperate and prepare myself for the challenges to come.

I’m in a middle of preparing a strategy or two to adapt to my new situation. I’m also in the midst of finalizing my courses, which I was pondering on the trade off of having a heavier course load compared to what I have now. And to my friends who are inquiring how I am doing now, it will be better to just contact me via MSN or Skype. So, it’s not a goodbye. Just a note to put that my posting will be sporadic and perhaps, I might find my writing muse within a week or two.

Planning Ahead

(Ann Arbor, Michigan) The sun is setting, but my path had just began.

I’d been trying to figure out which pathway I should take to continue on my educational route. I’m at a loss now looking ahead as the decision I made today will influence me in years to come. On one side, I wanted to try and apply into the business school, thus prolonging my stay in college for another year. assuming my  financial funding is able to allow it. After all, college experience does come but once in every lifetime. On the other hand, I might want to finish off my degree early or as Albert puts it, “We will graduate by the time we reached 20 years old.” I calculated and think that I can manage to graduate comfortably within two and a half years.

I don’t think it is not befitting to think of grandeur ideas in the future, but for now, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I-” am still trying to look past the fog surrounding the paths.

Marginal Utility Versus Marginal Cost in Home Cooked Food

The Maestro meal. First meal cooked overseas.

Many people doubt my ability to cook. I believe that it is an importance for a man to be self reliance and capable of survival skills, including cooking. While my ability may not surpassed those famous street-side hawker stall chefs, I have the confidence that I’m catching up and will reach that level someday if I put my mind into it. As for those who are ignorant that I can cook in the kitchen, here’s a few example to show otherwise. Note that the picture above is a simple meal I concocted up for lunch when my housemates went out for their lunch outside.

While I dare not claim credit for this meal as there were two other people helping to cook as well, I must say that the chicken curry taste fantastic, even better than those I tasted back home. Apparently, cooking the curry with only chicken thighs does improve its flavor and texture.

Appearance wise, this dish is not as colorful as that above, but I can put that I prepare and cook a large portion of this dish, and that it taste just as well as the chicken curry. It’s a combo of chicken, pork and tofu curry. I added chunks of bones to add to the flavor.

These meals are just the tips of the icebergs. I hope the it will silence the skeptics once and for all.

I was wondering whether the cost saved by cooking my own meal is comparable to the time lost while doing the cooking. It takes a considerable time to wash, prepare and cook the meal. I need to factor in that I will be washing the plates afterwards as well.

And now, with classes starting and my timetable a bit hectic during lunchtime, the marginal utility from eating home cooked lunch is significantly smaller compared to the marginal time gained by just hopping into a restaurant or just take away a sandwich, not that I have time for that as well.

Right now, I’m still trying to integrate my lunch break into my timetable and finding difficulties doing so. I will probably with the method which benefits me the best for now. But, the main thing is that, I do know how to cook.