April 29, 2008

random post-exam relaxation

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:28 pm by changisme

So… UBC constitutes to most of my Canadian life. Now that I got my grades and am quite sure that I won’t be taking courses from it for the next while, I feel rather relieved. It’s a strange relationship I have with UBC. Aside from individual friends, there had been two social circles I felt at home or belonged to, neither of which is really part of UBC. there are UBC students in one of them, but the group itself isn’t. The air is also not very UBC’ish. On the other hand, I like the academic and liberal environment UBC has offered. So.. that’s why I say it’s strange, I don’t necessarily feel belonged to the group because I like the values people hold. Obviously, it’s important, it would be ideal to be in a group I feel both belonged to and hav common values, but obviously, it’s not decisive.
I went to get my Chinese VISA today. I went there early at 6am, and some people were already there. A young man with sleepy eyes behind black frame galsses and an old man with big tummy and lots of energy to talk. The older man told me that he’s from Kenya and had been here for 33 years. He’s going to be working in Beijing, flying Saturday, but the Chinese consolate has asked him to bring this document and that, and it took him quite a few runs and hopefully he got it today. Most people who lined up were Chinese. Some even hold Chinese passports but need a Hong Kong permmit. There were quite a few despute between people and between people and the secrity guards about lining up and who’s in front of who. I guess waking up early makes one grumpy.
One thing funny was that the women’s washroom was locked while the men’s was not. The security guard said that it’s because women’s washroom has to be garanteed security, so can’t be opened till 9am, while the men’s doesn’t. So the women were going to the men’s washroom and asking the others to stand in guard outside the door. It was quite comical.
I got my VISA easy enough, but I was only given single entry. That means that when I’m in SE Asia, I’ll have to do it again. Maybe I’ll be able to do it when I’m in Beijing. I’ll have to sort that one out…
I guess seeing that many Chinese people there, some don’t even speak English, and all of us are getting Chinese VISA’s makes me feel happy and not as weird. But I’m so tired now from getting up so early =_=

April 21, 2008

pre-exam evaluation of Statistical Inference

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:19 am by changisme

My final for 461 is soon coming, and I just want to write down what I feel about the course before the exam, because I probably will change my mind afterwards haha.
I guess the teaching style was a bit disconcerting, but to be honest, I yet to think of a better way he could have done it. It’s just the nature of the material maybe? It really reminded me of how the previous theoretical course felt like. Sometimes these theories just have a hard time sinking into your bones… they are too insoluable.
However, I did end up working pertty hard to go through the same things over and over again, and after the final review, I think I can finally say, hmm I get it. I guess the inplementation is still in the air because I haven’t actually done it, but the theory part is more or less a clearer picture.
I’m actually glad to have done it, more because I’ll have to do something of the sort next year. Hopefully, I’ll get a different prof with different perspective, AND NOT FROM COMPUTE SCIENCE. Okay, maybe I should have someone from CS, because I’m just so inpatiant with computer iterations…
Okay, that’s that, overall, I think I learnt more in this course than in probability, even though I probably get a much better grade in the latter.

April 19, 2008

is snow cold

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:49 am by changisme

Snow, spread out on rooftops, on grassfields,
so bright,
swelling and pushing against my retina.
And yet, I only know it is cold,
from shivers in yester months.

April 13, 2008

a shade of blue

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:15 pm by changisme

You know, when it’s one of those days you’re just a little sad, when there’s not one particular reason, probably a bunch of small reasons… They are not enraging, because nobody did anything wrong, but they still makes you sad. It’s sad even when you see the tullips on the side of the street, they seem to want to comfort you so much, but you could only say… thanks for trying, and walk away. It’s sad even though you are smiling, because somehow your body wants to counteract that sadness by acting happy and tough. It’s probably better still because other people won’t be affected by your own mood.
It’s one of those times you just want to lay in your parents bed and breath in the utmost familiarity, in fetal position. It’s sad and you want to cuddle up with a story about a kind girl and a happy ending. You are sad but not angry so you don’t really want to talk to anybody, because there is nothing to complain about and no one to blame.
Life is like that sometimes, a shade of blue.

April 11, 2008

weird thoughts after the last class

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:00 pm by changisme

One of the things that was mentioned in passing by during my last lecture is that binary data don’t give as much information for modeling. That made me think of the widely used survival analysis, which I work with also. That’s basically binary, alive or dead. I think maybe we shouldn’t dwell so much on binary data like this, maybe we should use a variable called something like "aliveness". In fact, people do have variable like this, which are called morbidity, I think it sounds too freaky… Let’s euphanize it a bit.
I gather people would have concerns over variables like this because people don’t want to think that they are half dead when they are sick or old. We put so much emphasis on the exact moment the heart stops beating and the brain stops functioning, but it’s really a gradual process. Some may say taht we start dying as soon as we are born, I think that’s a little too extreme, because then dying has no real meaning anymore. I prefer to think that we start dying in parts. Our body probably starts dying as soon as we give birth to children, (or giving birth to could-have-been-children) . We transfer our matter and liveliness into another entity. We don’t notice it as much simply because we are one of those who have a rather long child bearing period. 
I don’t really know when our brain starts to die. It’s complicated because even though at any given time we are still learning new things building new neuro paths, taking advantages of our plasticity, the net growth of our brain could be negative. It might fluctuates like the paths of a stock, or a population curve. It’s really hard to say if there even exists a point where it’s the "start of death".
I have to say, I do have a problem thinking about these things in a personal level, like I would rather not thinking of my mother more dead than 20 odd years ago when a cuddled up baby girl was squeezed out of her belly slimy and noisy. The reason I don’t like it is probably that I put too much connection between "existence" and "living". People exists, as long as they have not stopped breathing, and that’s enough. I definitely don’t mean that we should just think that all the dead people are still with us in heaven so don’t grief. Rather, I think that many people who are living worth the attention and grief also, because they are just as disconnected from my world (so small) as a dead person.
ON the other hand, it is not to say that whether or not somebody’s existence is good totally depend on his or her connection with mine. They could well be living a wonderful life in parauniverse as a little … left-m (pardon me the reference). So I guess living and dying should be in relative terms. Person A is degree 5 dead from my point of reference, but degree 2 dead in his wife poitn of reference. There could we be a gold stand that determine whether someone is absolutely degree 5 dead. Maybe God could be that standard.
Okay, this was not supposed to be funny, but it’s getting stranger and more morbid. I’ll stop now. Goign to have dinner with the girls tonight, so excited, last day of class.  Oh forgot to mention, I had my last class in UBC, it felt so normal that I was a little disappointed. The prof even had the same messy hair. It’s probably becaus eit’s a theory course, so the general concensus is that we are the academics, just like we are the presbyterians, therefore we don’t get excited. >_<

April 8, 2008

cherry blossoms under ths street lamps.

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:44 pm by changisme

It was a pleasant evening, much of which entices me for the forth coming exam season. The cherry blossoms have flooded the crowns of trees after this weather-weary spring we’ve had so far. Walking at night in an urban area definitely feels different from the more rural parts of the world. Actually, Vancouver is different from the busier urban area also. The clouds are low, so they actually look white in contrast to the dark velvet blue. Earlier in the day, they rained away their darker, dirtier layers.  The street lamps close together. The lights shine on the pink cherry, creating a rather mixed feeling. It’s as if the pink is no longer innocent, and the trees there stand don’t really belong. These youthful flowers somewhat oppressed by an envelope of yellow lights… It makes me wonder, which one shouldn’t be here, the lights, or the flowers? There are no people though. Everyone is either in their brightly lit houses, or shooting to some unknown directions on the roads so smooth and straight, that it makes me feel that cars could take off just by whooshing through them.
I miss the nights on Thetis Island. It was so dark, that the darkness become the most powerful colour. It was not so quiet though. There were the gurggling water and whispering insects. None of them seem to be in much of a hurry, although I’m sure the animals were all anticipating some sort of mid-night snack.  The evening of Beijing was also different. There are people everywhere, walking, yelloing, laughing. The streets are so wide, that the street lamps have to stretch their necks very long. But neither of these two places could make these cherry blossoms feel like home either. They somehow need to live in the city, but also need the bright green which only comes out during day light. Maybe that’s it, they just can never find a place where they belong entirely. They will have a good time and belong some of the time, other times, they need to face the struggle, or … just enjoy the tension I guess.