In Which I Experience Male Gazing

November 4, 2014

Today was a little bit of struggle. An early wake up followed by a few hours of study for algorithms didn’t help me stay awake during the days classes. Cryptography was still in a very maths heavy phase (as it would be for most of the remainder of semester) and that didn’t help my focus either.

I and a few other students left crypto early in order to walk the twenty minutes to the other side of campus where the algorithms midterm would be held. The problems on the midterm turned out to be interesting and fun, however I didn’t manage to solve them to my satisfaction and knew that it would be a close thing with getting a passing grade yet again. My latest machine learning homework came in with a more than satisfactory score so that made me feel a little better.

After all that, I would’ve liked to take a nap, however there’s no rest for the wicked and I raced off to an appointment at Penn Presbyterian Hospital. ¬†Wait times there were not great and a fifteen minute visit with the actual doctor took over two hours in total.

I had enough time for a proper dinner due to the cancellation of rehearsal (too many sick clubbers), grabbed my bag and walked over to the Zellerbach Auditorium for the Mr and Ms Penn competition. For those uninitiated, this was Penn’s annual bodybuilding competition. Luke was participating, so as a dutiful friend I attended with a few of the other PhD students. Never having been to such an event before, it was eye opening. I was a little frustrated with some of the misogynistic comments from the row behind, but otherwise it was very interesting. Luke himself put on a good show, decked out in little more than speedos and a small number tag indicating him as the third contestant. My favorite moment was when one of the girls did her routine to the tune of “I’ll make a man out of you” from Disney’s Mulan. I also had the chance to meet Luke’s girlfriend Emily, which was lovely.

Leaving a little early for choral society, I quickly called home. My next two hours were spent enjoying Haydn and Bruckner and when my day was finally over, spent an hour with a friend and then returned home to sleep.

In Which Some Things Get Started

October 31, 2014

Thursday was notable in that I had a large amount of work that wasn’t even started and that day I had a chance to make a little progress on a large number of things. New crypto homework (exploiting Bleichenbacher’s RSA signature forgery exploit), new machine learning homework (implementing state vector machines and perceptrons), a research proposal and, study for the every terrifying algorithms midterm on Monday (courtesy of Sudipto Guha).

I left a little time to practice piano and an hour for ‘lattice club’, the latter being a difficult seminar with Nadia and a few of her minions that involved relatively difficult number theory and abstract algebra. Too much of it went over my head.

I went briefly to a graduate engineering happy hour, before heading back to Hillel for dinner. Following dinner I attempted to work a little more, getting distracted, and so I filled some needed tasks. After picking up my mail and a package for Pearl’s birthday, I was off to the Glouse for a game of Settlers. Mostly tech members were present and it was a great chance to get to know them better (Ariana does physics!). A little later in the evening Lainie from Penn Dance popped by, but we were unable to draw any more from the pool of dancers due to many varied commitments on their part.

Home at about midnight, I was just about to go to sleep when a message from Pearl arrived informing me that she was back from her date night and that I could see her briefly to drop off her present and talk for a few minutes. Stayed up later than expected and sleep was welcome when it finally came.

In Which I Thought Things Were Under Control

October 27, 2014

Sunday was a little more relaxed. Especially not having stayed late the previous night at the party. I finally had the energy to start writing again. Lunch was with Bhavish and Pearl, which was nice, and a good chance to catch up with them post show. Pearl was also enthused by her ability to consume multiple persons worth of food after not having eaten solids in a week (I blame the green smoothies). In the afternoon I read some of my birthday present from Abigail, “The Rosie Effect”. The book was delightful but I was a little disappointed that the setting had moved from Melbourne to New York and I missed home.

In the evening I noted that UberX was free, so Susan and I decided to take a jaunt into centre city for dinner (which was delicious). It was also a great chance to relax a little, get things of my chest and reflect on the start of semester with a good friend.

The next day was classes as per usual. Not much to report other than the fact that I was completely taken by surprise when Sudipto in algorithms announced that the midtern was scheduled for Monday a week later. Later that evening was rehearsal for choral society and then finally bed.

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