Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Smaller World

Last week I had a short, one day in and out trip to NYC for work.

I've no wish to reiterate my feelings on NYC, but regardless of what I think there certainly is no place like it.

While on the subway, I saw something very strange.

The VERY NEXT DAY one of my coworkers pointed out the picture on the internet. Which got me thinking about how cool it was that, even though only my coworkers shared the experience with me at the time (however trivial it may have been), other people WERE paying attention. And now many, many more can share it.

Sure, it's just a guy in a sheet. I have no idea what he's doing. But with the tech we've got everyone can speculate with me.

That's kind of cool.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

At Last... the iMac

On Thursday, I finally went out and bought myself one of the new Intel Macs. Since then I've had a lot of late nights messing around with it. This post is the first one done using the new machine.

It's definitely the coolest computer I've ever owned. I'm still learning my way around some of the deeper elements; I'm not exactly performing l33t h4xx0r feats from the command line yet, but I'm getting more and more comfortable with how it all works.

And that's the thing... it just works. I've never been able to have a computer work correctly out of the box before... I plugged in the internet connection, turned it on, and that was pretty much it. The iMac was even kind enough to take my picture on initial boot.

Using the simple "Photo Booth" app, I took a picture that I put up here on the blog (being hosted by Flickr). I chose this one because it made me chuckle... I didn't realize the computer hadn't taken my picture yet.

If I have any complaint about any part of my new computer, it is definitely the mouse that comes with it. The "Mighty Mouse" that comes with the Intel Mac handles very badly to me. You're inclined to handle it carefully because you don't want to accidentally click anything, but then when you DO want to click it doesn't seem very responsive. My first foray into World of Warcraft battlegrounds using the Mighty Mouse was an unmitigated disaster... I couldn't target things quickly, right-clicks only worked half the time, and I ended up a pixelated corpse many, many times.

I solved that problem by unplugging it and using a standard Microsoft mouse instead (apologies to the purists). So if anyone wants a free mouse, let me know.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Lifetime Students

My thoughts on my higher education confuse me. For one thing, I made some very good friends at college. I met my girlfriend there. Finally getting a degree (after dropping out twice) DID, whether I like it or not, open up doors (even if just a crack) that were not open to me before.

But I would NEVER, under any circumstances whatsoever, go through it again.

I absolutely hated going to class. I enjoyed doing papers and reading the course materials, but class seemed, to me, like a complete waste of time. Now, admittedly, this may have been due to the fact that during college I started to develop the impression that the vast majority of my fellow students did not care one iota about their education, which led me to believe I could learn a lot more by myself.

Was this impression unfair? Perhaps. But I can say that in the classes I attended, the most vocal students did not do the required reading. This meant they were already behind while dictating the direction of discussions. The professors did nothing whatsoever to stop this, perhaps believing that aimless ramblings may, by accident, lead to hidden truth.

Perhaps finding some hidden truth would have been possible if it wasn't the same discussion, every day, in every class. And perhaps my major had a lot to do with it... after all, there is a high degree of subjectivity in the act of reading.

At any rate, I just don't understand people who are capable... nay... WANT to go to grad school. I date a girl who went to law school for three years after we both finished undergrad... as if dating me wasn't evidence enough, this proves definitively that she is insane. I would rather have my fingernails pulled out one by one and inserted under my eyelids than go back to school. I don't know how people do it.

While browsing Cross Thoughts, I saw a link to a fascinating article regarding the economics of higher education, specifically at the Ph.D. level, which reemphasized a lot of things I think of when people my age tell me they are going to "go back to school". To quote the article:

Ph.D. students are a lot like gamblers. They expect to beat the odds. The gambler personifies odds-beating as Lady Luck. The Ph.D. student instead looks within. "I am really smart. These other people in the program aren't as smart as I am. I will get that tenure-track job. I will make the cut. I will be a beneficiary of the system."

Could this be it? Do people really believe that more and more school will provide them with more opportunity?

Don't get me wrong. I know people who are going back to school for the right reasons. Some people really ARE interested in their studies, and feel that engaging academia by themselves is not enough. There are probably some really cool classes out there with people serious about what they're doing.

But, for too many people my age, "I'm going back to school" means "I'm too lazy to keep a job". These folks seem incapable of understanding that they're unlikely to get their dream job immediately after they graduate. They seem incapable of understanding that their first couple of jobs are going to, in all likelihood, have terrible hours, terrible pay, and terrible benefits. Not only that, hundreds of applications are going to be required before they can even land THAT job.

But isn't that the way it should be? You have to prove you can handle the baby food before you get the steak.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Trade McNabb

Those who know me are probably stunned by the title of this entry. McNabb is not just my favorite player on the Philadelphia Eagles, he is my favorite player in the NFL.

But the time has come to trade him... and not for the reasons the Philadelphia media and fans want you to believe.

Since the day the Eagles drafted McNabb, the city of Philadelphia has had it in for Donovan. Recall that the highly touted Ricky Williams entered the draft that same year, and Eagles fans wanted the running back desperately. By drafting McNabb, Andy Reid sent the clear message that he did not care one iota what the fans thought was the best thing to do... and they booed loud and long at the grievous betrayal.

The fans, especially in Philadelphia, know best.

Since then all McNabb has done is become the greatest quarterback in the history of the franchise. There is absolutely no argument any sane person can make to the contrary.

But every Philadelphian was lying in wait... biding their time, determined to find a way to prove themselves correct.

Never mind that since then Ricky Williams became the NFL's best recognized holistic healer. Never mind that once McNabb threw 4 TD passes on a broken ankle. Never mind that McNabb took the Eagles to 4 straight NFC championship games and the 2nd Super Bowl in team history (one a lot closer than the first one). Never mind that McNabb handled the T.O. disaster during the season last year with as much quiet dignity as one can muster in such a situation.

Nope. None of that matters. He needs to be traded.

Why? Not because of the things he said in the now infamous interview earlier this week. Not because he threw out a couple of doozy one liners that, when read on paper, sound a lot worse than they really were when spoken out loud (after all, McNabb has always been a bit of a joker, and you can see him smiling when making some of those comments if anybody bothers to watch the video footage). Not because the Philadelphia fans say so and will stop at nothing to prove, even after all these years and all those victories, that they know best.

No, McNabb needs to be traded because I like him too much. I can't stand to see him getting buried like this. As much as it pains me to say it, I want him to play somewhere else. I want him to play in a city that will appreciate what he brings to a team. I want him to play in a city that will wish for his success rather than wait for failure.

I am losing my love for the city of Philadelphia and its idiotic fans, my friends. I am sick and tired of seeing the best players in Philly constantly run out of town. At this point, Eagles fans DESERVE TO LOSE.

There, I said it.

So please, trade McNabb and end this misery.

And while you're at it, please trade Allen Iverson and Bobby Abreu.