Friday, November 26, 2004

Holidays for McMullens

It's been a while since I've blogged just because, quite frankly, I've found nothing of note to blog about. But it occurs to me that some out there might just want to hear the mundane. So here it is.

We are coming up on the last 2 weeks of school for Steve. He's in blissful ignorance of that now, though, as he plays games on the computer and watches movies, enjoying his 5 day weekend.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at our friend, Liz's, parent's friend's house. :) Despite the odd connection, the dinner and company were both great. Liz and I woke up early to slave away on the pies and rolls, and they turned out great! I used my Grandma Laurie's roll recipe, it is a family favorite, and miraculously what I produced tasted much like what I remember and love from thanksgivings at Grandma's. (I called her twice during the course of preparation to make sure I'd done things right. :) ) They were, of course, delicious.

Steve and I put up our tree today, and decorated it with our (or rather, my) decorations. Somehow, Steve's decorations from childhood did not make it down to NC.

As I unpacked our Christmas items, I unpacked my old pair of iceskates and had a little chuckle. It occurs to me as the season progresses that they probably don't have free ice skating rinks down here. No flooding of the baseball fields here, I presume, as there are no weeks or months of consistent below-freezing temperatures. Perhaps I'll bring my skates back to MN for Christmas and leave them there indefinitely. :)

The grass is still green, but on thanksgiving day (as if on cue) almost all the leaves fell to the ground. The flowers, however, are still blooming.

I hope this satisfies those who don't think I blog enough. :) Take care, wherever you're at, and keep in touch! Have a happy holiday!

-Laura (& Steve) M.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Cold? You Call THIS Cold?

Yesterday morning was beautiful. It was a cool crisp fall day. The kind that makes you crave hot cocoa and a fire place, as you dress in fleece or colorful sweaters. "Ah!" I thought, "It's starting to act like fall!" (Steve and I turned on our heater for the first time this season this past week.) I rejoiced in the fact that I needed to wear a sweater to work to be comfortable.

I arrived first to work. I unlocked the door, opened the shades, and was in the process of booting up the computers when a HUGE fluffy Columbia jacket walked in the door, complete with inner lining. The coat pealed itself off the body buried beneath it and my coworker Mel(originally from Texas) emerged.

I thought this phenomenon was odd, but shrugged, thinking, "well, it is Mel, after all. She IS from TX." ... Then my other coworkers walked in. All with jackets, and one with mittens to boot... It was around 50.

Apparently, I'm in the South.

Monday, November 08, 2004

My Personal Website Is Now Up

Today I found the time to put up a personal website, hosted by UNC. If any of you are intensly interested in my C.V. (not much to speak of, since I have no real skills or experience) or if you want to see pictures of our house (ok, it is an apartment, not a house), check it out:


Friday, November 05, 2004

Lances of Death: 0, Steven: 3 - Victory!

Today the last Mid-term Matchup scores finally came out, and it was a resounding victory for the forces of good. The defending champion Steven faced off against the biggest and baddest opponent they could find to throw at him: Lance of Death 3: Microeconomics. But our champion came into this match swinging, and never let the attacker get the best of him. The first question threw a rediculously complicated second order condition his way, but Steven deftly avoided it by muddling out something, working out the Implicit Function Theorem and realizing that the form of the Hessian did not matter.

Steven's strong response threw off Lance of Death 3, which able to respond only with an easy equivillent variation problem, which posed our hero no real threat. By the third question, though the enemy pulled out the feared expected utility insurance problem. Fortunately Steven had spent extra time studying these types of attacks, and was able to set up and complete the problem, in all its ferocity with only minimal errors.

At this point Steven was coasting into an easy finish, and the last question, one about maximizing social utility given a tax system was no real threat to our champion. Even the judges agreed that Steven's performance was excellent and awarded him his highest grade yet.

This match ended one epic duel between our champion and the forces of evil. Good has triumphed, and Steven has survived to fight another day.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

For the Sake of My Beard, Vote for Bush!

Laura and I have agreed that if Kerry wins the election I will shave my beard as an act of mourning. I have considered finding some sackcloth and tearing my clothes and all that, but sackcloth is hard to come by these days, and thus my clothes just might be worth less than publicly presentable (I have to work after all) sack-cloth alternatives.

So yeah, vote bush or I will have significantly less facial hair.

Lances Of Death: 0, Steven: 2

The results from the second mid-term matchup have been released, with the defending champion Steven coming out on top again. This one was an extremely close fight, with the challenger Lance Of Death 2: Econometrics placing Steven on the defensive from the start with one of the dreaded colored-balls-in-a-pair-of-urns problems. Having prepared for this type of cruelty, Steven easily deflected the first two parts of the question, but was at a loss on the third section, to which he gave an inelegant and quite incorrect answer, consisting of jumbled collections of numbers and symbols.

With Steven reeling from the first attack, Lance Of Death 2 did not let up, but instead followed this up with a question which was conceptually simple, but required our defender to use lots of integration to get his answer. We all know that Steven can not integrate worth beans, and none of the answers produced by his scribblings made any intuitive sense, and eventually his work on the problem ground to a halt due to inescapable irrationality.

At this point our hero was feeling fairly downcast, but the enemy lashed out yet again with a deceptively simple problem, which Steven understood, and approached correctly, only to make a ridiculous error which rendered his answer meaningless. Unfortunately, by this time, Steven had no chance to recover, time was almost up, and the defending champion left the arena in a dejected state, contemplating various combinations of suicide and career change.

All was not lost however. Due to an low curve, and the granting of generous amounts of partial credit, Steven found himself only a few points below the mean score, which granted him the passing grade, and the victory.

Stay tuned for the results from the last Midterm Matchup: Steven versus Lance Of Death 3: Microeconomics.

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