Post Exam

My exam went ok (I took in on October 30th). I think I gave it my best shot for the most part but I probably could have used my time better, answering questions that I knew how to do more fully. Like most people I’m probably hovering around the border between pass and no pass. I thought I was prepared but I guess bringing three calculators to the exam doesn’t really help in most circumstances.

It’s been nice not having to study, at least for the time being. Although I haven’t been getting very far on my to-do list. Like wedding planning. Or finding a new apartment. Or Christmas shopping. Or getting back into exercise. (I tried lifting weights today and had to drop five pounds from the dumbbells.) To feel more accomplished, I tried doing the more simpler tasks on my list – like seeing Interstellar. I saw it yesterday. It was so good! I was tearing up at the end. I can see why some people might fault it but I think its emotional feelings of wonder, exploration, and loss were right on.

I was able to do a painting for Lauren for her birthday. It was my how-I-wish-my-proposal-turned-out painting.

She said yes!

“So I had two ideas, take her out star gazing, or take her to a neighborhood ice cream shop.  The way I saw it:

  • star gazing: romance, wonder, the future, the unknown, exploration, beauty, nature.
  • ice cream: smiles, contentment, refreshment, sweetness, walks around the neighborhood, summer memories

I wasn’t quite sure what was best so I figured I’d just play it by ear.

On Wednesday we went out to Ethiopian food (our first date) and I figured tonight was the night!  We’d go back, eat ice cream, and walk around the neighborhood and I’d propose where I had first picked her up!  Bam!  But the food came out late and by the time we got home she was fast asleep in the car after a long day at work so I figured I’d do it another day.

On Saturday, I thought we would go for a drive and leave the city. Tonight was the night! It was dark, close to being a new moon, and we’d gaze out over the stars while I get down on one knee and propose. Bam! But she felt pretty sick in the morning, and although she felt a little better toward the end of the day I figured I’d do it another day.

On Sunday she felt better and I suggested maybe we go up to Mt. Pinos to stargaze after she rested during the day and I thought today was the day! Gotta remember to bring my camera! Maybe I can propose while the camera keeps taking photos. Maybe I can get a photo of the stars. We’re on our way! It’s sunset! Hmm, this place is far. Where’s the parking lot? We’re surrounded by trees. I guess there’s no overlook. It sure is dark. I guess I’m not going to get a photo of us. Maybe I’ll try and take a photo of the stars. She’s suggesting we go outside. Now’s my chance! I’ll just stuff the ring box in my pocket. We’re hugging. Should I do it? What’s that noise? Why is it so creepy here? It’s not romantic at all! She’s suggesting we go back inside. Ok, plan #2: ice cream! We can probably make it back in time and combine both my ideas in one evening! Oh no, it’s getting too late and she has work the next day! Oh no, the parking spot where I first picked her up when we first started dating is taken! Oh no there’s a line for the ice cream! She’s suggesting we go to the supermarket. Ok, got the ice cream (Dryer’s slow churned vanilla bean). Hmm, ok so I couldn’t get the parking spot where I picked her up but at least it’s on the same street. Now’s my chance! Wait which direction does this ring box open? Ok she got out of the car. Let me set the ice cream down. Oh man, which knee do I kneel on? Why didn’t I practice this before? Ok just go with my right knee…

Well, it didn’t really happen as I planned but maybe it didn’t matter in the end :). We’re engaged!



I thought I knew a good number of single guys and girls so I tried to make a spreadsheet of them and play matchmaker. I guess I don’t know these people very well because in half of these people’s descriptions I just put “quiet” or “likes to converse.” And for most of what these people are looking for I just kind of had to guess. And I guess I don’t know as many people as I thought so I ended up putting down people I met once or twice at church to expand my list. So, yeah, basically this list is a bunch of made up things about people I vaguely know who may or may not be single and on different coasts. I’m guessing this is not going anywhere.


I had a dream last night that I was taking my next actuarial exam and I had to add up all the calculations to my problems and lie on top of the numerical answer and however much I was above the correct total answer, I would be shaved off by a giant razor. If my exam is anything like this, I’m going about studying for this all wrong… I’m now 37. As my cheesy coworker might say, I’m in my “prime.” It feels a bit more of a leap than from 35 to 36 because I feel less that I’m in my mid 30s. Last time I felt this sort of leap from one phase to another was going from 23 to 24. But according to my mom, who is probably biased, I’m not an old man until I reach 70. At age 40 I become an “average man.” So to her I’m still a young man. Thanks mom! This weekend Lauren and I watched The Princess Bride in an outdoor baseball field park in Beverly Hills. It was really nice! I haven’t lied down outside under the sky in a while and it felt nice being under the blankets under the cool night eating food truck food. We got dumplings in Koreatown afterwards.

Lauren: "Did you use a vintage effect because you're older?"

We also ate this spongy, milky cake from Porto’s. It’s called Tres Leches (“three milk”: condensed milk, evaporated milk, and whipping cream) and she decorated it with fruit. It was really good chilled! I was looking at an archive of an old blog my friends and I used to keep. I didn’t remember exactly who was who but I could sort of guess by what they wrote.

A memorable fish and chips

Phew!  Just taking a study break at work.  I have a little over two months until I take my seventh actuarial exam, the Group and Health Advanced exam, and feeling ok about it.  I’m not as further along as I’d like to be, but I wanted to be super far ahead so I guess I’m just slightly ahead of where I was last year.  But I have excuses. This summer has been a big traveling summer for me.  I took three trips to Philly (for friends’ weddings), one trip to Portland (to visit family), and one trip to the San Francisco.  I went up there to ask my girlfriend’s dad for her hand in marriage and he approved!  Most memorable moment: being seated at the far end of a long rectangular booth opposite him in an almost empty steak restaurant.  He was far away and I didn’t know if I should move closer to him but I eventually got up to sit closer.  The meal was quiet and it wasn’t until I managed to eat half my fish and chips that I was able to declare my love for his daughter… Now I just have to get a small circle.

Let's do this, she said.

Why is it called the Saturday Morning Market when it's on both Saturday and Sunday?  I didn't have an answer for her.

Taking a break at the Portland Japanese Gardens.

Engagement photos?  No, just trying too hard with the camera.

Portland trip

A week and a half ago I went home to Portland and went through some of my old photo albums and managed to scan a few pictures into my iPhone. 20140723-072552-26752026.jpg For some reason I remember a good chunk of my childhood was just lying in bed and reading gaming magazines. Nintendo Power. Electronic Gaming Monthly. I’m not sure what this one is though. 20140723-072723-26843244.jpg Yup, once upon a time I did have long hair. My mom made me go through ten or so boxes of my stuff which I whittled down to around seven. I discarded a lot of art books that I didn’t think I would have looked at again (I think my art tastes are much more refined now). Some old film cameras too. I debated whether or not I should bring back my 4th place Mathematics award I got in high school. It still might look good in my cubicle.