and then, suddenly, summer was over

Well, it's been a while, blog. Oddly enough I blogged a lot less during the summer when I had more free time than during the school year when I was busy. It wasn't a terribly eventful summer but I guess a few things have happened.

I finished my summer research, and it was what could conceivably be called a success. We weren't technically able to "solve" the problem (we wanted to find a cospectral mate for K(9,3) at a minimum), but we did show that a lot of classes of subsets of K(n,3) are not switching sets for any n. The world expert on the problem still hasn't made any progress either, so I think that means our summer spent narrowing it down a little wasn't a waste. Either way, my adviser was pleased with my work and my presentation at the end of the summer went very well.

The soccer season also ended in a way that felt successful but won't sound like it to anyone else. Our final game was not a loss. That's right, we played a game and we didn't lose. We didn't win either. It was a tie. Actually I think our teams were pretty evenly matched. I really wish someone had managed to score, but our defense managed finally to allow no goals, so our team walked away proud to finally not have lost. Our opponent was ranked 5 ahead of us, having beaten the 4 teams I thought we should have beaten and having lost to or tied the rest of the teams. That confirms even more to me that if we'd had a good game against any of those few teams, we actually might have pulled out a win. Either way, everyone sort of took it as a win anyway because other than a forfeit victory once when the other team didn't show, this is the first game we didn't lose.

I took the second preliminary exam, and (if I passed) I'm now 1/3 done with the PhD program. The next stage is pretty scary, though. It's the oral candidacy exams... It's pretty intimidating. Basically I'll have to sit in a room for 4 hours with 4 experts in my chosen field and convince them that I'm an expert, too. I'm actually not an expert, so that will be tricky. I guess I've got the rest of the school year to become one. Then I will be a PhD candidate, and all that will be left is a dissertation.

Also noteworthy is the earthquake, which was big enough for us to feel it, but small enough that it didn't cause much damage. I thought that was pretty cool, and it's the most I remember feeling any earthquake. Not as noteworthy was hurricane Irene, which was much over-hyped by the weather media. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, since all news media is over-hyped. It's not that I wanted the hurricane to be destructive, it's that I was told it would be the worst hurricane ever to hit the northeast, even where we're located. Where we are you'd never have known there was a hurricane if the internet hadn't told you. Obviously I'd rather have a wimpy storm than a destructive storm, and I'm glad that the damage from Irene was nowhere near as bad as predicted. However, there is a middle ground (really heavy rain, high winds, but not extreme enough to cause real damage), and that's what I anticipated with something like excitement. Plus, all the people we saw preparing for their impending doom (for example, buying 9 cases of water and moving their stuff into storage) will just ignore all warnings next time, when there might actually be a big storm. If it's going to be bad, then yes, you should report that. If it's not, then tell people there are some precautions to take but don't expect to be holed up in a cave with no electricity, food, or running water for a month. This comic, including the note at the end, sums up my frustration. I'm more annoyed with the hype than anything.

Speaking of hype, it caused UD to cancel all activities from Friday until Monday (like students moving into the dorms, orientations, etc.), so school couldn't start today like it was supposed to. No, today students are moving in, because the weather channel said it'd be storming like we've never seen over the weekend. Well, it did rain for about 12 hours, and the wind topped 15mph for a couple of those hours. I guess that's bad enough weather to close everything for 4 days. Right? Anyway, at least now I don't have to start school until Thursday, since they're doing all the beginning of the year stuff today and tomorrow. See, there's always a good side. No damage from the storm, and no school until Thursday.

Now, if I can just manage to blog more than once a month, we'll be set.

the only hope for this heart