Sunday, May 23, 2010


So yeah, I passed the FM exam. I felt like it went really really well. I can get my score in 8 weeks or so, I really want to know what I got. I've spoken with two of my friends from my classes who both passed as well. I'm curious as to how the rest of the people I know did.

Starting tomorrow I'm kicking off studying for my next exam. Going to be the P exam in Probability. I have to sign up for the exam for August, trying to figure out if I'm going to be able to put in the 250 or so hours I expect to need. We shall see.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From One Test to Another

So finals are now all done and I did okay. I'm ridiculously pissed at myself over one of my finals. I thought it had gone really well and it turned out I got a 70. I still pulled a B in the class but so annoying. So I ended the semester with a 3.538, which is great but I thought it was going to be a little bit better.

This weekend Megan and I are up in Massachusetts doing all kinds of wedding stuff. She's getting her hair and make-up done early Saturday, then we are off to an early morning engagement photo shoot. We're going to start in some historic ruins, we'll see how that goes. Dinner will be at a restaurant we think we may do our rehearsal dinner at. Sunday morning is our cake tasting then back home to CT. I'm looking forward to getting away for a little bit, even for all this wedding stuff, because I've been cooping myself up constantly.

I've been staying in studying for my actuarial exam. I'm taking it on Wednesday again!!! So I've been taking 2 three hour long practice tests a day and going over the questions I got wrong. Fries the brain sometimes. I've got 9 practice exams in my study guide and then an online service called ADAPT. I've been doing okay, but it can always be better... unless it's 100% which isn't happening. So, I'm going to relax for a bit then hit the sack so I can get up and get some more studying in.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Disappeared Again!

Sorry for disappearing on y'all, it's just that I've been really busy (not busy enough that I shouldn't have posted) but this week is finals week, so I promise I will post afterwards. Only 3 final exams tomorrow! Yaaaaay

Saturday, April 10, 2010


I played in a Warhammer tournament today with my buddy Jon and it was really great! I've never played in a tourney before so this was a first. There ended up being 11 players. Jon tied for 2nd and I came in 5th, not too shabby! It had a setup where if you won you got 7 points, loss was 0, draw was 3 with 2 ways to get an extra point per game. I don't remember how many points the player in first got but Jon and the other guy tied at 17 for 2nd and the guy in 4th had 16 points. I got 15 points so it was close and great.

Ooooooooh yeah the other surprise today was Subway. I go maybe once a year and we went today and it was buy one get one free. That's how it goes sometimes I guess

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Another Weekend Dead ;o(

So I don't know what I ate this past Saturday but it did not sit well. Spent all of Saturday night and Sunday sick on the couch trying to keep food inside. Monday a day of rest and now it's back to solid food. Unfortunately I missed dinner at my moms on Sunday but Megan went and brought me all the leftovers I could imagine! It's ham sandwiches for the rest of the week!

Ham Ham Ham!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Brooklyn Brewery Brofest

So last Saturday I went into NYC to meet up with my brothers for a serious Brofest(with a capital B). Reuben, David, Elliott, Reuben's roommate Corbin and I hopped onto the L to Brooklyn. By sheer luck and happenstance everything we wanted to do in Brooklyn seemed to be within 4 blocks of wherever we were... so as far as I know Brooklyn is less than a square mile.

We went to brunch at some little latin type place. I think Elliott won the best meal award with the pernil with eggs any style... I wish I liked eggs so I could eat it. Everybody elses food was pretty darn good though. We were sitting in an open window and some guy drove by twice singing something awful at the top of his lungs. It was hilarious but who drives through the same intersection from the same direction twice in ten minutes?

The Brooklyn Brewery was about three blocks from lunch. We all missed the brew tour since it seems to just be an excuse for them to have a bar serving their own beers. $20 gets you 6 tokens and each token can be traded in for a beer. We managed to get a picnic table which was nice so we could sit and enjoy ourselves. Seating was prime real estate in that place. Utz potato chips for a dollar a bag... that was a damn good deal. I'm not sure if Elliott managed to find anything he liked but maybe the Pennant Ale worked for him. We blew his last tokens on a glass of Brooklyn #1 that came in a Brooklyn Brewery glass. For 3 tokens I really would have thought they'd give you the whole bottle, but I guess there is some reason they can't. I don't think that glass ended up making it home with Reuben or anybody else.

Our next stop was Barcade. On the way I made a friend. His name was Naranjito. He was a pro athlete. Pops would have loved this guy. Naranjito could roll straight from one person to another. He was also an orange. Reuben apparently had something against him and rolled him a good two blocks down the street. As I said, pro. Barcade was a lot of fun, classic arcade games, good beer selection, and jerkey sold at the bar. Contra, robotron, and asteroid, good times.

We were only a couple of blocks away from some crazy delicious BBQ place and I have no idea what the name of the place was. This place has 3 long picnic tables inside and 5 or 6 outside. No seating arrangements, everybody fends for themself. At the same time that you're trying to find a table you have to arrange getting your food which takes quite a bit of time as well. We split into 3 elite teams. Reuben and David were tasked to get the grub. I got a gallon of beer (with 5 mason jars to drink from) and arranged to sit with strangers to get their table once they left. Elliott and Corbin were in charge of holding down the fence and making sure it didn't go anywhere.

So the BBQ was amazing. They didn't have any ribs or lamb shank left but the brisket has resurrected my hope of learning to make real BBQ. I found the beans to be a bit lacking but Reuben swears by them. I've been craving more barbecue ever since... I see a trip to Bobby Q's in Westport in my near future, who's with me?

Monday, March 22, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Dinner at the Schoolhouse!

So last Wednesday Megan and I went to dinner at the Schoolhouse restaurant in Wilton, CT. Oh my god was this place amazing. This was a gift from my father and step-mother to Megan and I. It turns out that we were the only people to be signed up for the St. Patrick's Day special dinner and I am sure that it's because of the holiday and no fault of the restaurants.

Dinner was a five course meal that you had two options to decide between for each course. Chef Tim LaBant was super accommodating as far as handling Megan's food allergies and he was extremely nice to talk to when he came out to speak with us after the fourth course. For each course (aside from dessert) I had whichever option Megan did not choose. She decided to do the wine pairing with each course while I had the beers. Without further ado, here's the menu:

First Course

Lola duck hash with a sunny side egg (We skipped the egg, I think this was Megan's favorite)
Cauliflower and parmesan soup with a sea scallop, hazelnuts, and chives

Second Course

Beet ravioli with Prosciutto, watercress and pistachios (This may have been my favorite surprisingly!)
Ricotta gnocchi with jabugo ham, tomato jam, and scallion soubise

Third Course

Bronzini with broccoli rabe, potato rosti, and tomato onion jam (Other contender for my fav)
Chicken with rutabagas, kale, and maitake mushrooms

Fourth Course

Corned beef brisket with Brussel sprouts, apples, black trumpets and parsnip puree
Lamb filled Shepard's pie with a side of broccoli rabe

Fifth Course

Chocolate Guinnes cake with whiskey blood oranges, chocolate malt ice cream, and warm butterscotch cream (we both had this)
Earl grey panna cotta with chocolate sauce, caramel ice cream, and a Scottish shortbread cookie.

So a big surprise for me was the mushrooms in two of Megan's dishes... they were great! The maitake were especially good. I believe these are also known as Hen of the Woods mushrooms but I'm not entirely certain. If they are, I know they are particular favorites of my fathers.

The beet ravioli's were hands down the single best fresh ravioli's I've ever had. You could tell that they were made there and their texture was spot on perfect. I'm not sure, but I would swear I tasted white truffle oil on top and it combined very well with the watercress.

The bronzini and the chicken were both perfectly cooked. I sometimes get angry when a restaurant brings out as perfect a dish as both of these and I just want to stand up and yell "Why can't my chicken/fish come out like this?!?!?!?" Crisp on the outside and moist deliciousness on the inside.

The beers and wines were all delicious. I was excited to see each beer that came out as they were significantly better than I was expecting. The Captain Lawrence Imperial Pale Ale was a very special surprise as well since I've been wanting to try that beer for a bit now.

The pastry chef made Megan up a coconut sorbet from scratch during dinner to go with her dessert and it was really great. The only thing about the dessert I was not crazy about was the caramel popcorn that was between the ice cream and the guiness cake. It made for a very interesting texture but felt a little over the top.

I would recommend this restaurant to anybody. They source as much locally or wild as possible and everything felt hand selected by the chef himself. Megan and I are planning on trying to go down another time and Megan insists that we only go on a night when our waiter Larulo (guessing there) is there again. The service was extraordinary and I'm sure his brother Mario does a great job as well.

If you want to check out their website you can find it at Enjoy!

Monday, March 15, 2010

This week

So I'm trying to be more regular about posting so for right now, here's just the goals I can think of for the upcoming week.

Finish Module 7 for FM

Do all sample exam problems for modules 1-7

Finish prepping my schedule to sign up for classes for next week

Take care of any outstanding bills/whatnot if I have any

So yeah, better stuff to come later

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ooooooooo That Stings!

So I took the actuarial exam that I have been prepping for this whole time. If you haven't heard, (or can't figure it out from the title above), I did not pass. It's okay, passing was actually not the main goal this time around. I'm not saying I wasn't hoping too. I gave myself a 20-25% chance of actually passing. Failing hurt but I was really taking the exam to learn what it was like and what to expect.

I now feel like when I go to take my exam in May I will be better prepared for having seen what it is like. As far as how I actually did goes, I don't get a grade back for 8 weeks or so. I do have a GREAT noterized (is that a word?) sheet of paper telling me that I failed. Maybe I'll get it framed. I'm betting that when I do get my grade it's going to be a 5, maybe a 4. A 5 would mean I got 90-99% of what was required for passing, a 4 80-89%. Either one of those grades would make me feel like once I have learnt the material I didn't know anything about that I should pass relatively easily. If I get a 3 or lower it means I just have to put in that much more time and effort studying to kick this exams butt.

My school (the University of Connecticut) has been named by the Society of Actuaries as a Center of Actuarial Excellence. I believe they have named 10 of them. So another school, Drake I believe, has created a program called ADAPT for preparing for these exams. You'll never guess what ADAPT does. ADAPT adapts! So you take practice tests and it figures out what you are having problems with, what you are strong at, etc and compensates to help you practice. They usually charge $69.00 for this (which is well worth it in my opinion in theory) but they have offered it to us at UCONN for testing for free this semester! So I've signed up but haven't started practice with it yet. More on that later.

The other big development for me lately has been a new method of organizing my to-dos, which does involve crossing things off of lists!!! But that's a post for another day

Monday, February 8, 2010

My Apologies

It's been far too long since I updated this. My FM exam is this friday! It came up extremely quickly. My plan for the week is reviewing all my formulas and doing practice problems again and again. Any other non-essential school work is getting bumped until next week.

It seems like the trick to getting all of these problems done is figuring out what trick is being used it each problem. This sounds simple but you have an average of 5 minutes per question. In practice I have come across problems where if you have forgotten one relationship between equations you can spend an hour on the question and not be able to figure it out! That can be really frustrating.

Whoever writes these exams is really sneaky too! They figure out a solution and thats one of the multiple choice solutions. Then, I think, they figure out the four most common ways to screw it up and put those down as the other solutions. Just because your math came out to one of the answers doesn't mean it's correct. Not at all.

Unfortunately Megan has to travel this week. Tomorrow morning she leaves for Vegas. While this means I'll have the apartment to myself, I will miss her support while I'm trying to get all of this done. Also, I have to try and not degenerate into a disgusting mess of what used to be a man in the four days she is gone. Oh, she'd probably appreciate not coming back to an apartment covered in filth from me studying too much to clean. I think that's asking a lot, don't you?

Friday will be great though because after my exam I'll relax a bit and then drive down to JFK to pick Megan up from her trip. Saturday I think we are heading up to our wedding venue to meet with a florist and Sunday we are going to a Crate and Barrel registry event to register for our wedding. I love that store. I'd like to spend every Valentine's Day picking out stuff at Crate and Barrel for people to consider purchasing for me.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sick Day

Uuuuuuuuggggghhh I woke up maybe 30-40 times last night with a seriously sore throat. I didn’t want to get up to get a glass of water because whenever I leave the room it wakes Megan up. Finally at about 6:15 in the morning I had to. All day I’ve been feeling sick sick sick!

So I got almost nothing done today. The barest bit of studying got done but even that flew right out of my head. I didn’t buy tires today because: A) I really didn’t want to get up off the couch all day and B) Megan needs new tires as well so we might do that together. I did make it out to the grocery store however. Dinner tonight was chicken breasts done on the stove top simply in olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. On the side we did sweet potatoes, carrots in dill (stole that from my mother), and green beans. Very satisfactory, not much effort.

While at the grocery store I found myself eyeballing the bottom round and thinking about doing another beef stew. There are a couple of variations in the book that I thought sounded very tasty so I might try one. Overall I have to say that my new cookbook has really impressed me.

The cookbook I have been using is called “Cooking Know-How” by Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein. It’s phenomenal. The book breaks down every step of every recipe. For the beef stew recipe each step takes up half a page to a page. It starts with describing how using different fats will effect the overall flavor profile of your stew. After the 5 pages or so of directions there are two pages of recipes. They are set up in a spreadsheet format that is very easy to read even with four recipes to a page! Once I knew what I was doing on a recipe I could just use the last page and flip to each specific step if I had a question about something.

I was so impressed by this cookbook I googled the authors and found out that they have a blog of their own! It’s I thought that was an extremely cute title. I saw that there was a little tool for sending a note to the authors and wrote up a quick paragraph telling them how much I enjoyed the book. Amazingly enough Mark responded to me within half an hour and was SUPER nice. He even asked me to “Let me know what else you cook from the book. And if you
ever take a digital photo of one of those dishes, send it to my real address above and I'll be so happy to post it on the blog along with your notions on how to customize it to your taste.”

I have taken photos with my iPhone of things I have cooked before, but I think will do so with my regular camera more now to post here. Maybe the next thing will be another beef stew, who knows?

One other thing I would like to cook is a large roasted meat. I’m thinking of a leg of lamb or a standing rib roast. The problem there is that the ingredients are a little pricier and it is a good bit of food. I don’t know how I feel about having company over for a first experiment with a recipe.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

M2 Done!

Exam Prep:
Last night I said that I wanted to finish the module I was studying and start the next one today. I didn’t realize how massive the module I was working on was. Looking back at my FM 1 class the material that was in this past module was the most critical to understanding the rest of the course. I’m glad it is out of the way and looking forward the next two modules are significantly shorter. I didn’t get started on the next module like I wanted to. Instead I made flashcards of the past two chapters to better memorize the formulas I need to know.

The last two weeks I’ve tried some new recipes that I have been very excited by. Yesterday I made a chicken soup from scratch. It was very basic soup and I think it’s a good start. Using a whole 4.25lb chicken was very cool. I got a cut up whole Purdue chicken which worked very well. I had trouble skimming as much of the fat and whatnot off the surface as I would have liked. I’m not sure what I can do to make it easier next time. The onions were floating on the surface as well, but I probably could have sacrificed more of them to clarify the soup better.

Last week I made “Carbonnades Flamandes” which is a Belgian style beef stew. I’ve been wanting to make a beef stew for a while and I never have before. I used a 2.5lb piece of beef chuck, carrots, onions, parsnip, turkey bacon, thyme, caraway seeds, beef broth, flour, and a beer. Building the stew flavors from the bottom up with the turkey bacon and browning the meat in the pot was an experience. I expected it to be done after 2 hours of slow simmering but the beef was not as tender as I’d hoped. At 2 and a half hours it was perfect. Right before serving the stew I added a Tbs of course-grained mustard which cut the flavors of the stew nicely. I enjoyed this quite a bit. Megan had never had a beef stew before so these were all new flavors for her. I don’t think it was her favorite dish, but I am going to try a different type of beef stew next time to see if we enjoy it more.

Also last week I introduced Megan to veal for the first time. I prepared a veal scallopini with rosemary, capers and tomatoes. She loved it! I bought veal scallopini at Stop and Shop but didn’t pound it out thinner. I wasn’t sure what to use, maybe I could have used the heel of my hand. I don’t have anything to pound it with and I think I’ll add that to my list of small items to register for.

Other Stuff:
I got my new glasses today! Very exciting stuff, I got two pairs because they were running a really great deal at the eye shop. The pair I’m wearing right now have a very good chance of being the EXACT SAME FRAMES that my brother Elliott has.

I’ve been getting some reading done, I’m partway through the 6th book in the wheel of time.


-Start and get through most of the next module for my FM prep exam.
-Get new tires for my car
-Get my grocery shopping done
-Prepare for a game of warhammer Thursday against Omar

That’s it for tonight, we’ll see how tomorrow goes.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Been too long

So I haven't posted in way too long. I think I'll start by just posting up to do lists day by day and thoughts as I go.

I haven't made it nearly as far into my studying for the Financial Math actuarial exam yet. Each part is taking more time than I originally expected. I'm making flash cards of the TONS of formulas that need to be memorized. Tomorrow I'm planning on finishing the last part of the second module before lunch tomorrow.

After finishing the second module I'll figure out anything we need for dinner tomorrow. I'm not sure if we're going to do leftovers or if I'm going to cook something. If I need to go to the grocery store it will happen after lunch.

In the afternoon I will get through as much of the third module as I can. Right now it's the plan for tomorrow, we'll see if anything else gets added on.