Spongebob is Back

I recently discovered that Spongebob Squarepants is available on Amazon Prime Video. Since I am still a subscriber to said service, I enjoyed a fun weekend night watching the first couple of seasons. I’ve always had such positive nostalgia for the show, in large part due to how quotable it is. Little did I realize that nearly every line in the show is quotable, and how good each episode was in the early seasons. Even today, they have a certain innocent charm to them, yet the jokes still have enough depth to be legitimately funny now.

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Beating the Schedule

Now that I’ve gotten into my full-time job, and I’m familiar with the area, a certain novelty that comes with a new situation has worn off. I am not finding brand new things all the time anymore. I know where I’m getting my groceries from, I know what I’m having for lunch each day, and generally know what I’m having for dinner. To a certain extent, I have fallen into a fairly predictable schedule on a weekly basis. Thursdays I have concert band rehearsal. Sunday or Monday I record Comical Start with Grant, and edit it that night. At some point each week, I sit down and try to write a sufficient post for this blog. Every so often a surprise phone call, or an episode of OHAC comes up, which I get to work in with everything else. But overall, I’ve developed a schedule.

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Notes On Future Mathematics Posts

I recently remembered my company, AoPS supports blog creation for their users. In particular, it has the full functionality I’m used to on their message board. In particular, they have native \LaTeX support, in addition to support for the Asymptote vector graphics language. This makes writing math significantly easier on my end, and significantly easier to interact with on the reader’s end.

Here is my first post, a rewrite of Introduction to Sets. This shows how much more functionality there is, such as the option for “discovery based” definitions and problems, by using the native option to “hide” text for users to click on. There is also support for python code, which I am excited to play around with.

Moving forward, I’ll be porting the current math-related posts of significance to that blog. Any future posts will have an introduction on this blog, so you know what’s going on, and then a link to the AoPS blog post.

Book Review: “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger

In preparation for an upcoming (not soon) episode of Operation: Have a Conversation, I read the book Tribe by Sebastian Junger. Its description tends to focus on how it explores the way American soldiers who come back from war have trouble integrating themselves back into modern society, as being in the military provides a significant unifying bond that is not felt in today’s Western culture.

While I’m not sure what exactly we’ll get into when recording our episode about this book, I’d like to give a couple of thoughts that have lingered with me since I finished reading it earlier today.

First, this book is important. I think it would be good for everyone to read. It frames much of how we look at modern society very differently than I had ever perceived. It discusses how panic attacks and depression are evolutionary traits, and how society has developed in such a way to make these afflictions more prevalent. It thoroughly discusses our misunderstanding and mistreatment of PTSD, particularly among those who participated in violent conflicts.

This book can be very challenging in certain ways. It opens one’s eyes to a certain hypocrisy with which we live our lives, and also points out reasons to be somewhat afraid for the future of America. It gives some specific ideas about where we tend to fail as a culture and society, and gives some implications for how we can all work toward getting better.

It is hard for me to do this book any sort of justice. My thoughts are still unformed and not particularly cohesive. But after reading it, I’m very excited to discuss it with Mikhail and Jack, and hope you’ll take a chance to read it as well.

The book is less than 100 pages, and the audiobook (if that’s your style) is only around 3 hours. Yet there is a lot that happens. I highly recommend it.

Lapse

It is still technically Monday, so I’m counting this, but in a sense I have lapsed. It is Monday evening, and so far I’ve been good at having each post written a few days before Monday, and then scheduling it to post at the same time each week. However, I went home to Minnesota this weekend, and thinking of a post to write was not on my mind. So, after the fact, I’ll write a bit about going home.

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What Do Tests Test?

Over the past couple of weeks at work, I’ve been working on revising some of the exams for our elementary school curriculum. This has been an interesting task full of challenges. One thing I’m constantly working on is putting myself in the headspace of a bright, but still young, elementary school student. What wording can I allow in problems? How long can a problem be before we’re testing their reading comprehension instead of their math? How many problems should there be? How many problems of a certain level of difficulty? There are so many questions to discuss, but one is a bit more fundamental than all others, and can help inform the answers to each subsequent question. What do we want our test to test?

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Movie Review: BlackKklansman

I saw this movie a little over a week ago, and have been trying to work through how to write a review of it. It is the type of movie that is funny, but speaks to something much broader; as such, I want to make sure the comedic elements do not overshadow the intention of the movie, but also want to commend the way the movie inserts comedy in such a way that goes against modern comedic sensibilities.

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Trevor Project Donations

I recently put a short story I wrote on Amazon. It’s called When You Come Back.

You can find a link to it here.

When I originally wrote it, mental illness was not necessarily on my mind. But, the majority of its readers have told me it resonates with them to a fairly strong degree. So, I’ve put it up for $1 and any proceeds I receive will go towards The Trevor Project, in support of mental illness assistance.

If you’re not interested in the short story, or in providing Amazon with some of the overhead that comes with buying a Kindle book, you can donate to them directly.

If you want the story in PDF form, you can contact me.