December 23rd, 2005

color cycle (slow)

Ack, Transit Problem

So I was already having second thoughts about taking a Computer Design course next semester; I haven't really enjoyed Computer Architecture, so while it's a good idea to follow it up with a "salvage" course to try to learn something from it despite the not-so-great teaching, I'm not sure it's a way I'd enjoy my time.

I've just found out that the course is taught in Lopata House, as opposed to Lopata Hall. Lopata House is across the street from my dormitory- it's a residential building with classrooms in the basement. Problem is, that gives me seven minutes to make it up a four-story parking garage and diagonally across all of Hilltop Campus to get to my next class- assuming Dr. Richard lets his class out on time, and less time if he doesn't. That didn't work between Calc III and Fiction Writing, and it's certainly not going to work here.

Problem is, this is a shitty semester for upper-level CS courses. I've taken every course offered this semester below the 400 level. For the 400-above courses, most of them have prerequisites I haven't fulfilled and can't fulfill this semester because they aren't being offered. Machine Learning, a topic which interests me, is being taught by Dr. Bayazit. (I'll wait for the next time Dr. Sally Goldman teaches it, thanks.) It looks like "Embedded Computing Systems" is the only realistic alternative- at least it's an applied architecture course, which is going to be more interesting to me, and I can see how I'm using it. It's at the same time slot that Computer Design would have been in. I can even say it would be potentially useful to me in the future. Problem is, I've heard nothing about Dr. Lu... unless he's one of the professors who's been referred to only euphemistically as a professor with a two-letter name getting barbequeued at the Dean's Forum.

Reading up on past cousre evaluations, Dr. Lu's ratings seem a little uncomfortably similar to Dr. Bayazit's- according to the numbers, which are all I get. Anybody else heard anything about Dr. Lu?

Protocols for Computer Networks might be reeeally nice to have in a job interview, but I know nothing about the course and haven't heard of Dr. Gorinsky at all before. I'd have to switch sections of Abnormal Psychology, too, but that's points in its favor- if I switch sections, I wind up in the same section as one of my friends. Dr. Gorinsky's course evaluations, though, have a below-average mean score for Teaching Ability Overall (the most important measure, in my opinion) and a very wide spread of scores relative to what I"ve seen in other courses. I don't like that, but he's the only person who teaches the course.

There are no other options. All other courses are strictly useless to me ("Algorithms for Computational Biology"), taught by professors I've already written off, are follow-ups to courses I haven't had, or require skills I have shown myself to be incompetent at (I'd like to take Computer Vision from Dr. Pless, but I am incompetent at complicated mathematics and it requires advanced linear algebra. Not a chance.) Tough decision here...
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Why my pants are falling down

Hey, a subject line like that got your attention, right?

Washington University is not the best place for healthy food. It's there, but it's not there at the times an overworked college student is likely to eat; everything good for you except the tasteless grilled chicken sandwich is unavailable after 8:00 PM. (Or a turkey burger, but they're nearly as greasy as the hamburgers- it's like they went out of their way to make the turkey burger greasy.) Nor is a heavy coursleoad very condusive to getting enough exercise. As a direct result, I'd been getting rather overweight. No euphemisms here: I got fat. 190 lbs, to be more precise.

Say what you want about unhealthy social norms of unreasonably low weight, 190 lbs is too heavy and unpleasantly visible. I weighed 190 lbs. one month and half a week ago, when I decided to start a diet. Not the insane Atkins plan, not the current "South Beach" fad- actually using a relative's old Weight Watchers plan, it's a simple low-calorie actually (gasp) balanced diet except for low fat intake. It mandates exercise, although low and manageable levels of it- amounts I can fit into my schedule. And being at home, it's even easier to follow it. Not that it was ever hard in the first place- I'm finding dieting to be easier than popular opinion makes it out to be.

In the last month and three days, I have lost ten pounds; my present weight is 180 lbs, and my pants don't fit so well anymore. I consider this to be a very good start and fully intend to actually be a healthy weight in time for the ACM contest in April.
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