Friday, October 31, 2008

Drink More Water.

So I happened upon this article on MSNBC, and I read the first paragraph. I instantly wondered what sort of damage drinking Kool-Aid did to me as a child, and how much clearer things would be had I stayed away from the powdery stuff.

I seriously did not know people still believed some of the stuff these nutjobs talk about. One of the fears they're trying to stir up fears that allowing homosexuals to become Boy Scout masters (and other rights/privileges) would put their children at risk because, as we all know, being gay means your trolling for little boys. Apparently someone forgot to read the memorandum that pedophiles are the ones you have to worry about, not homosexuals.

The Christian right, if this is the message that they want to push, should probably be reconsidered as a legit voice in politics.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Wandering Age, Part 2: The Nihilist's Computer

The Rationalist (editor's note: formerly known as the Nihilist, but with the same URL) has graciously let me borrow his computer. For someone who has a fairly nice window view of a tree (which hide the cars in the parking lot and the dumpster rather well), he's pretty angry. Figures.

I love how every news organization is trying to find "battleground voters." First it was suburban soccer moms, then factory workers, then Hispanics. What's next? Asian computer programmers living in the Pittsburgh suburbs? This is just a microcosm of the major news organizations (especially the cable 24 hour news networks) having to fill air time with something other than the two newscasters picking their noses or explaining to their spouses that the number found in their pants pocket was just a coworker. One of the headlines on CNN right now (at approximately 16:14 or 4:14 PM on US East Coast) is about Philadelphia fans going crazy because one of their sports teams won something. That's not news; that's just stating the freaking obvious. And how many of the random people out there really need that much news? And how many people out there can actually digest it?

Love how there's an opinion article on MSNBC about how Philly fans aren't going soft. The only way those guys would remotely go soft is if they either sober up, finally pass their GED, or serve the rest of their probation.

Good news MD and VA voters. You guys are returning to paper ballots in time for 2010. Technology is not always a gift from above. If so, I wouldn't be writing these series of posts from various computers I manage to secure permission to go on/covertly log onto.

LinkCNN has something for job cuts now at 4:48 PM on the United States East Coast. Lemme tell you something: Historians are so escaping that because you cannot escape zero. Ba-zing.

The Wandering Period, Part 1

This begins a series of posts that will be written on various computers and cocktail napkins since my laptop went bust.

Right now I'm sitting in IS 425. Really thrilling. Apparently the professor hasn't figured out a screen is useful for an overhead projection of what's happening on his computer is fairly useful. He's going over SAS, which is basically some sort of version of Excel for people who stuff that requires less features, such as easily accessible data, and a somewhat more intelligible programming language. The "excitement" is "overwhelming."

Now we're in a WinQSB program called "Inventory Theory and Systems." Real thrilling, no? There's a reason there's a History Channel and no Information Systems Channel. Or at least no Decision Support Systems Channel.

Most of the software we're using looks like it was either designed by engineers or artists whose only credentials was a gen ed AA degree from community college. They make 80% of the MySpace pages out there look well-designed and "artistic." Yeesh. Talk about alluring.

Dude next to me is looking at Budweiser's Wikipedia page. There's actually a Bohemian town called Budvar which also makes a beer called...Budweiser.

Oh man..."management science." I need to play Dilbert meeting bingo one day.

Ooh...math. We're doing square roots and division. That's why we had to take Linear Algebra!

He used "management science" again. It's still...mildly amusing.

Oh finally...the exam. Something of "importance."

[End post].

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Will Tell Funny Stories for Money

Most people like money. And a good number of the people who say they don't like it probably have a lot of it and aren't really in a position to say that they don't like it.

I like to know that I can get out of school and make a decent living at a job somewhere doing what I love: being a historian. Unfortunately, the only reason that the market for historians isn't reactive to economic conditions is because, quite frankly, there's not a lot of room to maneuver between zero demand and minuscule demand. And yet, there's still room for "rockiness," as this article claims.

Of course, once you actually get the job, then you realize that, lo and behold, you can only celebrate by getting the more expensive ramen noodles (the ones that already come in the Styrofoam bowls, and not Cup Noodles, as those are quite obviously cups) and having the privilege to make that fifth of Kentucky Gentleman last less than a month. The chances of striking it big are fairly slim.

I've thought about this recently as I've been working on a massive class I need to graduate and also going on a few job interviews with companies that have as much need for historians as most people do for a hangnail. Being a historian is not all about doing research on cellophane for yet another episode of Modern Marvels or looking up stuff on Wikipedia for a blockbuster Hollywood movie which will undoubtedly mess it up. It's about having to look through piles of old documents and other such paraphenelia to find some piece of data that has pertinence to your topic. It's about having to read through volumes of literature written by other folks (which ranges from brilliant to misguided to mindless dreck) to get a feel for historiography. And they reward you with pay that'll make a recent college grad doing menial tasks at a tech company sneer (well, sneer more than usual).

It makes me wonder and ask myself: "Is it worth it? Is it worth it at all to go through all this trouble so I can hope to one day make $60,000?" Good question. Perhaps law school isn't so bad after all...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Things Ain't What They Used to Be

I'll fess up to it: I act like an old man at times. I hope one day I could be as cool as Humphrey Bogart in the movies. I wouldn't mind being some of the guys on Mad Men, without (most) of the chauvinistic touches. I'm a fan of the old-style drinks (Tom Collins, Manhattan, scotch and water), I wear a hat when in public, and, first and foremost, I adhere to the old-style rules of chivalry (except when I'm nervous and I freak out and forget).

I'm a firm believer in chivalry. So what the Constitution was amended to give women the right to vote. I'm still holding the fucking door. Don't hold that crap about the women's lib movement and such; me holding the door for you is not objectifying you at all. It's called "a nice gesture." If you want to be a prick about it, go right ahead. Basically, it's all about treating women with the respect they deserve.

The thing that many guys who purport to be "gentlemen" forget is true chivalry has two sides. It is a double edged sword. On one side, you have the gentlemanly politeness that you have when you and whatever special lady you're with (be it a hot date or a female relative) are out and about. On the other side is the more dark and vicious side. It's the side that comes out when it's time to use that double edged sword.

The basic tenet of this side is that you do act maliciously towards anyone of the female gender that is close to you. Anyone who flagrantly disrespects women in such a manner is not deserving of any respect from anyone else. Period. Even if she's done you wrong horribly, you do not act at all maliciously. And if someone does so to someone of the female gender you care about, it'd be best for someone else (the law, Satan, a runaway MTA bus) to get to him first.

And of course, now we have "the legal system" and "processes" which take care of that. But I do long for the days when a gentleman who was confronted with the dishonor of a woman deserving of the privilege would take it into his own hands and settle it like true gentlemen.

By the way, law enforcement, this is in no way, shape, or form condoning things like vigilante justice. I'm too cultured for that sort of barbaric practice.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Very often throughout my day I ask myself, "Why the hell am I doing this?" Sometimes I have an answer, such as "Because I'm hungry and haven't had a burrito in a few days" or "Because I can't show up to the meeting looking like some hobo who fell off of a malt liquor delivery truck." But a lot of the time, I really can't come up with an instant logical answer. And thus, the gears start to turn.

For the longest time, spite was a main driving point. I had a laundry list of people that I wanted to tell off one day and flaunt my success in front of. The mental image I had of myself going up to them and telling them how successful I would be and then flipping them off was priceless. I was willing to put myself through whatever it took to make sure I could do this. But after a certain point, I started questioning whether or not the dissatisfaction I was feeling doing what i was doing was worth the joy of spite. And after a while, I felt that it wasn't.

Now don't get me wrong; I'm going to flaunt success in front of clowns that deserve it, trust me. But I'm more driven by something else, maybe passion, maybe some overly strong instant coffee. I don't know what exactly gets me out there and doing what I do. And maybe...maybe I don't want to know.