Thursday, December 24, 2009

dear santa.

dear santa--
please forgive my writing this so late in the game and for writing it as a blog post. short notice and unconventional format may, i know, work against me. however, the way i see it, you know if i've been (or may yet be in these final hours of christmas eve) naughty or nice, you should be aware of this post. besides, i think mrs. claus is a follower of the blog, so i'm sure she can pass this along. and as far as having what i'm asking for in stock, i feel they are all either run of the mill enough that you have plenty, or they've been unpopular for long enough that you'll be eager to get rid of your surplus from years past. i may even get to of the out of season items. and some of them are more to do with changing some aspect of my life rather than giving me something. those i'm sure will be more long term anyway, so you can take care of those after a bit of r&r following your christmas run. but i digress...

earlier this month i realized i'd yet to write you this year, but with scheduling what it was, the better part of december somehow passed me by and i find myself with you having minimal input on my christmas gifts this year and no thanks for your no doubt generous stop at my house. so. thank you very much for your generosity. and here's my christmas list.

1. a straight razor and all the accompanying components that are needed to use it effectively. for a while now, i've been looking to purchase one. shave ready, if you don't mind. i know you're probably wondering why. here's the thing, i hate shaving. the only fun shaving can be is when i forget to (or let out the rebel inside and choose not to... i know, that's naughty. i usually don't.) and decide to give myself chops. you probably read my post about that a while ago. anyway, since i have to shave either way, i've decided to embrace it and shave like a man. a man from the early nineteen hundreds. or a man who lives in the outdoors for a living. check this clip out and tell me you don't feel the same way. though i can understand that you won't feel quite the same as you've that delightful beard of yours. but just picture yourself in my shoes.

i'll be needing the razor, the water stone, and the strop. i can take care of the brush and soap, though.

2. more facial hair to make shaving it off more satisfying. i have enough to keep it worthwhile, but more would be nice. it's like scraping a car. if there's lot of snow and ice, it's very satisfying. if there's only frost, it's just annoying.

3. a furby. i don't mean to be a pest santa, but it's been a good solid ten years i've been asking, and it's been a good solid ten years i've had a disappointing christmas morning. don't get me wrong, i've loved every christmas, but the furby shaped hole in my heart has yet to be filled. i'm losing hope for it these days, but i couldn't bear the idea of not asking.

4. a mandolin. to be honest santa, this is sort of a loaded question. i've been borrowing a mandolin from my friend jordan for a bit now, and though any mandolin would do, i've grown attached to this one... and i named her mandy. so for christmas santa, i'd like mandy. i'm happy to pay for her, just make it possible that i can pay for her. as a side note, some actual talent as pertaining to the mandolin would also be much appreciated.

5. assistance through next semester. so, i really could have used your help this last semester, santa. things didn't go so well between me getting sick four times and hating half of my classwork. and not like "i don't want to study" hate, i mean like "i hated the subject matter like you couldn't believe" hate.

6. a successful launch of tng. santa, i'm sure you're aware of this as you'll be seeing plenty of children with a copy of trace's nerdy game on their wish list next christmas. it's a working title, so watch for the title change, but i'm sure you keep up pretty well with these sort of things. anyway, me and a few friends are working on it and trying to get the rules and so on established so we can actually play a game of it. with that being said, i'm more worried about putting it out there than i am developing it. so please be a friend and slip a note to watch for it this year in any nerdy games you give out tonight. by the way, if you're wondering how to play, we've some videos that should help you here.

7. the willpower to exercise and become more manly. santa, we both know i've the personality of an alpha male, now i just need the physique to match. i've been running a bit for a little while, and this summer i "pumped iron" which was satisfying. with school, though, running is trickier and the said iron has not been as easy to pump. so. santa. man to man, be a friend and a)up my willpower so that i have the drive to work out, b)add an extra hour to my day, and then somehow make sure i don't spend my twenty-fifth hour playing peggle, or c)send me a workout routine to follow that includes cadbury advent calendars to give me an incentive to keep it up. also, if you could send me a couple of wife beaters for me to work out in and some cool tribal-design temporary tattoos, that would be nice.

8. another year free of major illness. so, i know i may have made a bit of a fuss over having/not having swine flu and being sick several more times after that this semester, but i don't have anything life threatening or chronic so far, and i appreciate that. another year of that would be delightful.

9. a record deal. so this one really means "please let me play at an open mic night" but i thought i'd be ambitious and just ask for something pie in the sky, dig? thanks. with the production you crank out yearly i don't think it would be hard for you to pull a few strings, my jolly old friend.

10. a new pair of pants. a pair that will make me look really attractive, but not skinny jeans. anything but skinny jeans. maybe the ones with the flares at the bottom. and i'd like if they were just a little snug. i'm sure you understand. life's just not complete without a snug pair of handsome denims.

11. a random three dollar purchase function from ebay. it's fun to order things from ebay for three dollars or less. it would be even more fun to do this occasionally without even knowing what i purchased. that way when i get a package in the mail, the shock of receiving a ________ will be twofold. one, at the object itself, and two that i got it for only three dollars. and since it's not a one time thing, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

12. a signed copy of bonnie tyler's "faster than the speed of night." this is something you ask for because you know you'll never buy it for yourself. you've got the connections, santa. be a pal.

13. a bigger heart. that way, next year i'll ask for things that have less to do with my "gimmeitus" and more to do with helping other people... next year.

thanks santa. i look forward to seeing all of this either under my tree in a few hours or come to be realized in the next year. drop me a line if you're ever in provo during the offseason. we'll do lunch.

your number one fan and selfish little brat,

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

the scientific method.

so. as many of you know, i was hoping to go to med school. and to be fair, i'm not completely dismissing the idea. however, this last semester has taught me something invaluable--i hate the "hard" sciences. just to clarify, that doesn't mean the challenging sciences, that means things that don't involve people, essentially. psychology, for instance, is often considered a "soft" science. well soften me up, folks, for if soft be psychologists, soft i hope to be. and while the idea of being a medical doctor does still has it's appeal... well, read on.

here's the thing. this semester was an experiment of sorts. the scientific method basically states that to test something, you should make a hypothesis and run the test to see how it goes. simple enough. this semester, i hypothesized that i'd be able to not only learn to beat my science courses, but that i'd learn to enjoy them. my hypothesis was based in my success, my results are based in defeat.

now, another important part of interpreting results that most people (including myself) don't learn until a bit after elementary school science is the idea of the null hypothesis. here's the example, compliments of nassim nicholas taleb. if you do a study to prove there are only white swans in the world, you can never be sure, really. the reason is there may always be a little black swan hidden away in an old man's basement somewhere, completely defying your theory (side note, there are black swans). therefore, certain phraseology is used to ensure that honesty and operational definitions are present. to assume there is no difference or your variable of choice is present(ie, there is no black swan, i don't want to be a doctor) is called 'the null hypothesis.' therefore, if we find a black swan (or find that through my classes i want to be a doctor), we would reject the null hypothesis, as it is not the case (in cases with numbers, this is done statistically, of course). however, if we do not find this to be the case, we cannot simply accept the null. you'll remember the old man with the black swan. you never really know. so instead of saying, "yes, we embrace the null. it's true." we fail to reject the null hypothesis. thus saying that as far as we can tell, the null holds true.

this semester, as pertaining to my wanting to go to med school, i found no black swans. i failed to reject the null. that means that as far as the time being is concerned, i don't especially want to be a doctor. that being said, there are errors that can play into things, of course. but i can honestly say that after this semester of dealing with chemistry again, hating biology, and finding the only bright spot in my week being my psychological testing class, that the null was pretty heavily enforced.

so next semester i'll be taking a sabbatical from all classes outside of psychology, and i'm quite excited. i'll be doing nothing but psych all day as far as academics is concerned, and i'm thrilled about it. the way i see it, next semester's null will be that i don't want to go into psychology as a professional field. i'm sincerely hoping to find a black swan.

and on a sidenote, over thanksgiving break i got to paint my nephews' and one of my niece's faces in the likeness of kiss. it's not really associated at all with the rest of my post, but still cool enough that i'm sharing it.