Friday, September 18, 2009

I am a Nerd

First off, to those wonderful people who read this, expect me to be updating a little more often.

Secondly, it just struck me, yet again, how nerdy I am. Here is my nerdy story:

I decided to build myself a board game collection now that I am in Michigan, where I will not be moving long distances for around five years, a little less if I'm lucky. Although I am a bit tired of the game, there was no question that Settlers of Catan had to be in this collection. It is the first Eruogame I ever played, and recalls many fond memories of old friends and better times. To clinch the deal, it is one of the two games of which people in the math department here had heard.

So, I go to my local hobby shop, and I pick up the base Catan game, good move though I didn't realize it at the time. This was a copy of the 4th edition game from Mayfair, not the 3rd edition upon which I had been reminiscing. In addition to my slightly neurotic desire for stability, there are several aesthetic and pragmatic concerns which make the 4th edition unsatisfactory:

The terrain hexes in 3rd edition are 50 to 100 percent thicker, thus they are sturdier.
The 4th edition comes with a frame, rather than ocean hexes. Since the material is inferior it has a serious tendency to warp, disarranging the isle of Catan rather than holding it in place as intended.
The port locations on said frame are fixed, varying the locations is achieved through tiny tiles that cover and replace the previous port identity. This tiles look all sorts of tacky.
The thief now is some ridiculous mauve or burgundy color, perhaps anticipating the merchant from Cities and Knights.
One die is now red, probably anticipating the commodities from Cities and Knights. Both dice seem to be of inferior quality.

Other than that they have made some changes to the artwork, or to the names of D-cards, and color coded the Noob Cards, but nothing so insufferable as the list above.

Unwilling to abet the tarnishing of something so important in my young adult life, I resolved to acquire the 3rd edition. In addition to peace of mind, this helps me establish cred among my peer group wherein there are food, music, and OS (operating system) connoisseurs (or snobs as I like to call them). I am a board game snob, and as such I should have the good edition of a game so pivotal as Settlers.

Flash forward until two weeks ago, when I realized the possible difficulty in finding said classic items. Seeing as out of production games rarely become more common, I decided that the time had come to obtain my set. At great cost, I had Settlers and the 5-6 player expansion shipped internationally (from Canada, not Germany unfortunately, so this could be why the price looked so high, it wasn't "real dollars"). Earlier today I obtained the base game for Cities and Knights off of E-bay.

Now my problem is as follows, should I get the 5-6 player expansion for Cities and Knights, despite the fact that I feel it tends to drag on.

Join me next week when I discuss ideas for playing Cities and Knights on a large Catan with a small number of people.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Notes from a single grad student

Personal watermelons:

A) Cannot be cracked open like eggs.

B) With enough determination, a butter knife will suffice.

C) Taste amazingly good.

I should get cling wrap so I don't feel compelled to eat the whole thing, but it was delicious, and made an acceptable dinner.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Update Sans Showdown

Life is busy now
Enmeshed in my finals week
One mistake thus far

Two finals are left
I really ought to study
Monday and Wednesday

Then I can play games
Looking forward to visiting
Fly in Sunday night

Friday, April 24, 2009

For the nerd in all of us

Querty vs. Dvorak

This update is mostly motivated by my resumption of a years old quest to learn to type using the Dvorak keyboard layout, likely attributable to my recent completion of today's homework assignment and the accompanying brain-worthlessness. As a side note, I am writing this post in Dvorak, which serves the treble purpose of granting me practice, exercising my patience, and honing my humility.

Qualifications: I can cruise at about 50 or 55 WPM in Querty, with gusts up to 70, due to lifelong training, particularly during formative elementary aged years. With regards to Dvorak, I first attempted to develop the ability to type in Dvorak during my Freshman year of college, nigh unto five years ago. Although pressures upon my time caused me to cease before attaining a desired mastery of the layout, I revisit the project from time to time, improving with each return I believe.

Arguments for Querty:
Knowing where the colon key is: +2
Default layout on most English keyboards: +4 (Ubiquity is useful Linux users)
Being able to type 50 WPM is convenient, especially in modern life, especially in academia: +5

Arguments for Dvorak:
Learning new things promotes mental accuity, and languages frighten me: +3
Dvorak sounds cooler than Querty: +1
It is also niche and elitist: +1
Developing a totally new skill is rewarding, and something I haven't done in a while: +3
I can mess with the minds of people using my keyboard: +2

Conclusion, Querty is probably the most logical choice of keyboard layouts for me, for now! If I can polish my l33t Dvorak skills in my *copious* free time then perhaps the sums would work out differently. Well, at least I deserve congratulations for making it through this update in Dvorak, 15 WPM here I come! Ciao!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Round 2

Studying Math vs. Studying Philosophy

Qualifications: Lifelong affirmation of my math skills, BS Mathematics, BA Philosophy, first year in Math PhD program, deep love for and interest in philosophy, and an interest in (and perhaps love for) math.

Arguments for Studying Math:
Questions often have answers. (+5)
Develops logical thinking skills applicable to more relevant fields. (+3)
Teaching kids math is important for our future. (+3)
The triumph of the proof, safer than mountain climbing but same rush. (+4)
Astound cashiers. (+1)
Good job market. (+2)

Arguments for Studying Philosophy:
Questions often have real world implications and significance. (+4)
Encourages critical thinking crucial for a functioning democracy. (+3)
Humanities purpose, relation with the world, and moral obligations require contemplation. (+4)
Will call into question every single belief you have ever held. (+5)
Facilitates discussion with amazing thinkers and doers. (+3)
Quoting Hume sounds impressive. (+1)

It seems that I would prefer to be studying philosophy, something I certainly feel at times here. However, I think that two flaws exist in my analysis, boiling both sides down to 6 arguments oversimplifies things, and I may have weighted two things differently when I made my decision to apply in mathematics. Firstly, while I don't care too much about the status of the job market at the moment, it is likely that I will be very interested in it at some point in my life, so this future weight played into my decision. Secondly, while philosophy does have more real world implication and significance in my opinion, it is precisely that which scares me at times. I feel inadequate to live up to the obligations which I believe that philosophy reveals to me. On the whole, I do think studying philosophy is more enjoyable though, except those darn papers, *wink*.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ultimate Showdown

I want to revitalize my blog, so I plan to run a series of comparisons in order to get myself into the habit of writing. Here is an example:

Writing in My Blog vs. Not Writing in My Blog

Qualifications: It is my life, and my blog, so I feel that I am the uniquely qualified best person in the world to decide which is preferable.

Arguments for Writing in My Blog:
I want to do something creative and share my thoughts. (+3)
I want to be an internet sensation. (+1)
I want to motivate myself to write more (+2)

Arguments for Not Writing in My Blog:
At the moment it is causing me to split my attention 3-ways. (+2)
I have a short attention span and probably won't become an internet sensation right away. (+1)
It might make me feel guilty if I stopped writing in it regularly (+2)

So, by one point, it seems that I prefer to start writing in my blog, which, conveniently enough, I am doing. Tune in next time, which ought to be soon. Planned comparison, math and philosophy.