There Ain’t No Such Thing as a Power Nap

We’re all familiar (or should be) with TANSTAAFL, aka There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. I’ve coined a complementary term: TANSTAAPN.


CAUTION! Hidden Costs of Sleeping During the Day!!!!   (I made this image myself. Can you tell?)

Nothing’s free. Not lunch, not gas station car washes, and most certainly not naps in the middle of the day. The hidden costs included messy hair, matted mascara, and a generally disheveled appearance that leads ones co-workers to conclude that you’re either having a torrid affair or getting more sleep then them. Either one might incite a revolt.


Edited to read: Sleep, family, friends, money, food, fun, football, basketball, swimming, exercise, hygiene……

Finals are fast approaching and my to-do list runneth over. I’m gonna miss the NSU GALA, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights, and most of the holiday cheer since my comprehensive exams are at the end of January, 2017.


If you’re the praying sort, please include me (energy, stamina, memory) over the next 2 months. If you’re not the praying sort, send money.🙂

Because no post is complete without a music video, because I am going to miss the annual post-GALA ride to the riverbank, and because Leah and Robert love it, here’s a Christmas classic everyone should have as an earworm every holiday season…

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Exponential Decay

Went to lunch with this youngster today. He was unaware that you could start suffering from sleep injuries* as early as the mid-thirties.

  • A sleep injury occurs when you go to bed at the regular time, sleep the same number of hours, in the same bed, under the same conditions (usually a child lying perpendicular to you with a foot in a kidney) as the average night of the previous 12,775 nights of your life, yet you wake up with something malfunctioning, hurting, or sore. Similar to sleep injuries are “sneeze,” “just walking up/down the stairs,” just breathing in/out type not playing basketball at the gym/water skiing for the first time in a decade type injuries.

I coulda had a V-8, but I went back to graduate school. Doh!

(Almost) Dr. Laura had no good news for him. Aging is an exponential decay model. He’s had econometrics, so he took it … about like I expected.


I’m shooting for the green line. It’s way too easy to end up on the blue line if you give up or give in.

I cautioned him that post 45 was worse and he looked at me funny, which I assume was an expression of shock and awe when he found out how old I really am.

“What??” I said. “Getting old ain’t as easy as I make it look.”


Ben, Wes, Me, & JC. Relative ages to me (-13), (-15), (-2), & (-19). keeping up with these kids…

The appreciative laugh was almost worth revealing my true age. Almost.



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Last night was Halloween Zumba complete with the Monster Mash, a little Rocky Horror Picture Show, and, of course, Thriller.


First day back after a six month hiatus– I was moving less fluidly than this horde of zombies.


I was having major trouble keeping time with Michael and wondered if all the mathing had taken over my dancing brain, but then had an epiphany: When Thriller came out I was Baptist, so my arrhythmia was deeply ingrained religious bias and not lack of ability.


This past week, I’ve had my xm radio set to the Garth Brooks channel because his tastes are eclectic in the same way mine are, by which I mean you never know what’s coming up next. Could be George Jones, George Strait or George Michael.


The Dance… wouldn’t want to miss it.

But, before Garth Brooks and The Dance, there was my Uncle Squeaky. Without bringing out all the family skeletons on the Day of the Dead, lets just say that he’d made some questionable life choices. One Christmas, we were at my grandparents and someone asked him if given the chance to do it over, would he?

His response: NO. Because I wouldn’t have my kids. It’s like Star Trek. If I changed one thing, my whole life would be different and I wouldn’t trade my kids for anything.

I don’t remember much from my teen years, but I remember that. And I get it.

What’s it like to be 48 and in graduate school away from my home and family? Not a damn bit of fun. But, I couldn’t change anything, because… I wouldn’t have my kids. And neither would the world, which would be a damn shame.


Fly far.

And just in case you haven’t had your fill of country music, here’s a little Garth Brooks to get you going on a Tuesday:

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Log Likelihood

A problem from yesterday: Suppose you observe n iid normal variables from the normal density, X ∼ N(µ, σ 2 ), where σ 2 is known. (A) Find the maximum likelihood estimator of the mean µ.


This is the normal density function. The trick is you take the log to make it easier.

L is for likelihood, where L(θ; x) = f(x; θ).  L(θ|X) = n ∏ i=1 Pr(Xi = xi |θ).

So, what you do, I THINK, is you take the 1st equation, P(x), and substitute it into that second equation and then take the LOG to MAKE IT EASIER, then take the first derivative to maximize, the second derivative to make sure it’s a max, not a min. After that, it’s okay to cry.

Any time someone suggests that taking a log of a function makes it easier, then I know I’ve wandered into the wrong role playing group. Dungeons and Dragons to the left, Rulers of the Math Geekdom to your right, and People Who Just Want to Take a Nap straight ahead.


As crazy complicated as all this is, it’s an apt metaphor for my life. Simple questions like: “Are you coming home this weekend?” require 2 rounds of computations and end with an answer like: “Probably not.”

Where do you think you’ll work when you finish your degree?  (long pause as I do the mental math shuffle). I don’t know, but I hope it’s somewhere warm.

Let’s go to lunch.dinner/tailgate sometime…. The Magic Abacus says unlikely.

All of the uncertainty is excruciating, but it’s a really good life lesson. Control of our lives is an illusion, one we grip with desperation (lucky socks, pen, underwear anyone?). Maybe this practice of letting go is good for me.


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Tales from the Bull-Pen

Nothing as salacious as what goes on in the locker room or the Oval Office, but let’s face it, all my PhD peeps are too busy for that sort of romantic interlude. We’re out searching for the elusive inverse Hessian co-variance matrix, which sounds really kinky, but in reality is more  Sir Isaac Newton than Sir Freak-a-Lot aka Christian Gray.


I’d rather a public flogging… well, maybe not so very public. 

We’re also busy with our existential crises as we search for meaning within our lives. This is an honest-to-goodness test I received from a colleague this week. And my reply.


Nobody that really knows me is surprised by my statement that I’m going to bed at 8. They’re shocked to find out I’m up till 10 most nights. But the biggest shocker is that I’ve given up grits and chocolate milk for breakfast. I don’t even recognize myself most days.


I love SnapChat.

Mid-breakdown, mid-week another resident of Cubeville revealed a moment that set the bar even lower. After a week of low-calorie, clean eaating, he ACCIDENTALLY wound up with a 6-pack of his favorite beer IN HIS BELLY and followed that with a chaser… all SIX frozen LeanCuisine entrees in the freezer. A whole meat-lovers pizza or a pint of ice cream– that I could respect.


As God is my witness, I will never binge on frozen diet meals again. (My apologies if my usage of this image is culturally insensitive. But, seriously, gtf over yourself and get off my blog.)

It’s Friday night and my laundry’s all did, so who’s pitiful now, huh? Not me. I’m prepared for midterm madness. Bring it on, witches. Bring it on.

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The Second Spider

Today I killed a second spider in my apartment. Undoubtedly the one I killed yesterday was reported AWOL and they sent out a search party.


I’m not sure anybody would bother putting down their Iphones to come look for me.

Apprehensive I am about the den of arachnids who is scouting my pad for a potential lair. They seem to be targeting the area between my bedroom and bathroom, which is coincidentally the highest traffic area in the 500 square feet where I spend my evenings. I did a little Bruce Lee move, jumped over it, landed in the bathroom and killed it with the stainless steel trashcan.


This was almost me, but after the Eleventieth whack with the trashcan, I was named the victor–for now.

Now I’m gonna have to go buy spider poison and hope it doesn’t kill me, too.  I don’t think I can sleep in the refrigerator for long and Mark never got me that flamethrower for Christmas. A nasty chemical cocktail is my next move, assuming they haven’t taken over by the time I get home.


This is not the spider that was in my apartment. This one is kinda cute, but probably Australian and full of deadly venom.

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Mean Reversion

There’s this theory called mean reversion and it more or less boils down this: things move to the middle. It’s an old idea– what goes up must come down.

Yesterday LSU fired Les Miles. As much as his rote play-calling frustrated me, I was never sure that we’d be better off without him. (See Tennessee’s record post-Fulmer.)

Under Les, LSU was consistent in its recruiting and in its hunt for another National Championship ring. Only 1 coach in this modern era is more consistent. You know who I’m talking about… his name rhymes with Satan.


I’m gonna miss this.

Am recalling a few lines from  Keb’ Mo’s song  For Better or Worse: 

Even if I took the chance, I’d just be looking for you.Would it be better or worse? Better or Worse? So what do you think that we’re really gonna find?

LSU’s looking for the next Les Miles. But, then again, who isn’t?

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