Tag Archives: math

New Personal Goal. 500,000.

Today I did my first 20 sit-ups towards my goal of 500,000 by the time I turn 50. Over the next little bit, I’m going to try to figure out other 500,000 goals too.

It started last week. I was working at a client doing a bit of executive coaching (oh, by the way, my sabbatical is over!). One of the people I was working with is a guy who clearly takes care of his body. I asked him about it, and he said that he had actually originally wanted to be a physical trainer. He then gave me a very simple piece of advice (which I’m only partially taking): start by doing just a little bit of exercise every day. Don’t make it complicated: sit-ups or push-ups is fine. He also told me that he doesn’t use a gym. He just does stuff at home.

So then today I was thinking about my upcoming birthday where I’ll be turning 47. That’s pretty darn close to 50. Somehow that got me thinking about my goals for turning 50. Usually, my goals are health-related since that is the part of my life I take the least care of. I thought of a few different ideas, but the one that stuck? The goal of 500,000 by 50.

So, I did some mental math (I love math). 50 is three years away for me… roughly 1000 days. 500,000 divided by 1000 is 500. When I was a kid, I was able to do 70 sit-ups in a minute. I can get there again. That means that if I slowly by linearly get better at this, somewhere around the middle of my 3 years, I will need to do 500 sit-ups per day, and if I can only do 35/minute at that point, that’s a reasonable 15 minute-ish workout. Seems do-able. If I can continue to speed up, then 500,000 is do-able,… but still a tough goal to reach.

So that’s my first 500,000 goal.

I’m thinking of others, but I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

PS. I got an 81 as my final mark in my Math 3020 Introduction to Abstract Algebra class, and an 88 in my Math 2155 Introduction to Mathematical Structures class. Not bad for an old guy!

Sabbatical Day 34 – Workload

Last night I was up until 4:30am finishing my homework for my class today.  It’s the second assignment and had just 5 questions.  The last question really kicked my butt for a while; it took me 8 hours on its own.  The question was:

Prove that a finite ring R cannot have characteristic zero. (Hint: Begin by showing that for each element x ϵR, there must exist some positive integer kxsuch that kxx = 0R.)

I did manage to solve it, but it took a lot of tries.  Basically, I ended up using a kind of proof by nested contradiction.  I won’t share the details here, but after class this morning, I went to see the prof and asked him about my work (after handing it in).  My logic was sound, but there was a simpler proof available which he explained.  It’s actually kinda cool.  The class, Math 3020 Introduction to Abstract Algebra, is all that I hoped it would be: challenging, interesting, and totally devoid of practical application!  Also, I don’t have to do any computing… just reasoning and creativity.  I don’t have to deal with numbers (much) – it’s much more like programming than bookkeeping.  I’ve also learned to use LibreOffice Formula Editor (Math) and I love it!  Yesterday I learned how to add my own custom symbols (I added a star and a not-congruent symbol).

Verity’s bicycle got stolen today.  That’s a real bummer.  This weekend I have to get her a new bike.  It was a nice bike from MEC that cost about 800 bucks.  I gotta file a police report and see about insurance cause losing that much is not cool.  Also, I have to get a better lock for her next bike!  I only have a short video clip of her riding it when we first got it back in April (so it was still pretty new too!)  Bike thieves stealing from students are the worst.  I would be okay with such thieves being dismembered.  I had a beautiful bike stolen from me in my university days.  It was (maybe?) a Trek 420 that I got in the very early 1990’s – probably 90 or 91.  I’ll have to dig through my stuff to see if I can find photos of it somewhere…

Sabbatical Day 27 – Feeling Good

Today I got back my first marks for any assignment.  I turned in my assignment for Math 3020 on Tuesday and the professor returned them today.  I got 20/20.  The prof made a couple comments including that one of my proofs was too complicated, and that some of my notes for a different exercise were good observations.  This is the assignment that I worked crazy number of hours to complete.  The prof also gave us our second assignment.  It looks equally challenging.  This time around I have to be careful about how much extra work I create for myself; last time I did _all_ of the exercises in the textbook not just the ones assigned as homework.  Perhaps this time I will do the homework exercises first and then go back to do some additional exercises from the textbook as time permits.  Here is a photo of my grade for my first assignment:

Homework Assignment Math 3020 Score

Sabbatical Day 23 – Hard Work

I can’t believe it’s already a week since my last post.  This past week has gone by really quickly.  I’ve been working hard on school, mostly.  My first degree, back in the first half of the 90’s, was something I barely worked at.  I spent most of my time socializing with my friends and trying to teach other people about the Baha’i Faith.  In many ways, it was time well spent.  However, my studies suffered grievously; I failed several classes and barely scraped by with a 3-year degree after 5 years of school.  To say that my study habits were poor is an understatement.  I mostly didn’t go to class, I mostly didn’t read the textbooks, I mostly didn’t do assignments.  What I did was I would get classmate’s notes and read them quickly before the exams.  I’d scan the textbooks sometimes.  I begged for late assignments to be accepted (sometimes).

All of this led me to some anxiety about school this second time around.  So, I decided that in order to not repeat my past experience, I would go to every class (barring illness or other truly unavoidable situations), I would keep up with the reading for my classes, and, most importantly, I would do every single exercise in the textbooks along the way.  This has been working well for me… except that it turns out to be a lot of work!  Part of it is that I believe that I am mentally slower than I was 23 years ago.  I might speed up as I continue… in fact I can feel it happening already.  But part of it is that I still have ¼ time work, and I’m spending a lot of time with my family and helping around the house.  So the work for school is really substantial and it is pushing against my time in a way that I didn’t expect.

Anyway, I finished an assignment for my Math 3020 class today.  The assignment itself had one really hard question, and the rest were easy to moderate. The hard question, I spent over 3 hours on it.  And I’m not sure that I got it “right”.  I know that I got the final answer right, but I’m not sure that I will have met the expectations of the prof in terms of the work that I did to get to the answer.  We’ll see.  Anyway, after I finished, I realized that I have a very high expectation for myself: I expect to get high-90’s in both my classes.  I’m pushing myself as close to perfect as I can.

There have been lots of other developments in the past week.  My daughter Verity has started taking the bus to school alone.  I’m proud of her.  She also had a bit of a nervous breakdown mid-week.  I helped her through it a bit, but it’s related to the stress of changing schools.  Her grade 8 class was only six people including herself… her grade 9 class is about 500 people!  She had one teacher for the previous four years… now she has four teachers simultaneously!  We drove her to school every day… now she travels on her own.  Big changes, to be sure.  Anyway, I was glad to be home to talk with her and hold her as she struggled with the stress.

In general, I’ve been spending more time with all the kids.  Justice by driving him and sometimes seeing him briefly on campus.  Haifa by being home and helping her practice driving.  Verity by sometimes biking part of the way to school with her and helping her with her little projects.  And Ocean by being in the same room with her while she draws and I do homework.  I’ve also been walking our dog Toby almost every night and I’ve been cleaning up the kitchen almost every night before I go to sleep.  Melanie has now given me 7 projects, and I’ve completed 5 of them so I’m helping her out a lot too.  Here is my updated personal kanban board:

20180923 Personal Kanban Board

I’m pretty happy about how things have been going so far on my sabbatical.  I still think about work, but not much.  Earlier this evening was nice: my colleague Iryna had her birthday a couple days ago so a few of us went out with her to dinner at a place called “Mythic Grill Greek Cuisine” – the food was fantastic!  We had a nice relaxed visit and talked about all sorts of things including politics, parenting, lethal injections, Russian weddings, and a bit about work.

I have also had a little time for personal relaxation.  I’ve been making my way slowly through “The Flash” on Netflix.  It’s a bit cheesy, but it’s enjoyable enough.  The acting isn’t great, but it’s not terrible.  The writing is a bit formulaic, but there are some nice little surprises.  I also binge-watched the second season of “The Good Place” which I loved (available on Netflix).  Lots of laugh-out-loud moments for me.  I’ve been eating poorer than I hoped (in other words, less healthy, more quantity).  But, I’ve been doing more exercise than I expected and I feel like my fitness level is going up overall.  In particular, cycling to school has been a real joy even though I end up sweaty and exhausted in my classes.

This week I hope to finish publishing “The Scrum Master Guide to Choosing a Retrospective” by Jerry Doucett.  I have to re-do some diagrams to get it to work well with the ePub format.  Then, next weekend, I start pottery lessons with my family!  I’m excited to do some sculptural pottery, not just cups and bowls and stuff.