Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chuseok holiday successful, back to school

The Chuseok holiday went well. The restrictions of the retreat were not as restrictive as I imagined they would be. Overall, I count it a success. Five of us shared a hotel suite(empty room/bedroom, kitchen area, living room area w/couch, bathroom) and it wasn't bad. It'd be cramped accommodations in the US, but with a Korean perspective it was luxurious.

Tyrell, Alex, Deron, Essra, and I all shared the room. We cooked our own meals with food provided by the school. They gave us some food at the beginning of the retreat, but failed to tell us that we would receive more each day. This initially caused some strife, as we thought the initial supply would have to last us the whole holiday. It turned out fine, and we had plenty leftover- though we might have cooked better the first day or two knowing that more was coming. We had a stovetop, sink, fridge, and a rice cooker. No oven though. That didn't stop Deron from cooking unconventional things in the rice cooker(cake).

Koreans don't use beds the way we do. The mat-on-the-floor is a popular sleeping accomodation, and that's what we had. Fortunately for me, however, I took advantage of man rules and called 'dibs' on the couch as soon as we entered the room, thus retaining it for the remainder of the holiday. We spent much of our time playing Counterstrike. For the uninitiated, CS is a first-person shooter game that simulates terrorist situations in which the player must stop the terrorists from either killing the hostages or bombing a target. It has an enormously popular multiplayer mode which is very fun. It's more realistic than most video games, approaching simulator realism rather than 'ray guns and rocket ships'. I like to think of it as grown-up cops and robbers, or cowboys and Indians, etc. Very violent. CS is one of those games the people throw their lives away playing(or used to be, rather-it's old now). We played a bunch during the holiday, and I'm pretty sure that we managed to get Essra addicted to it; much to his dismay as he didn't bring a computer of his own to play on.

So now we're back at school. Interesting note: I appear to have picked up a susceptibility to motion sickness during the summer. I spent 2 months on the ground in Alaska, not riding in any vehicles or riding any rollercoasters. Maybe that did it. I was almost ill on the plane ride from Port Alsworth to Anchorage; which in my defense was very rough. Uncharacteristic of me, though. I found myself dizzy on the bus rides to and from Handong for the holiday. Although I was trying to watch a movie on my laptop while the bus was winding up and down mountains and careening along crazy Korean roads. Maybe I'm making something of nothing. We'll see when I get back to Longview and start driving irresponsibly in my car.

School is boring. Today I got a 'great' sticker on my Lit assignment that was handed back. Totally a throwback to 2nd grade.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Handong owns your soul

I'm on the holiday break for Chuseok and I'm coming to the realization that Handong thinks that it owns the students. Chuseok is a 5-day break and the school told us that we would be provided with 'hotel and meals' for the break. Now that the break is upon us, it turns out that the break isn't a break at all, it's a 5-day house arrest. We aren't allowed to leave the hotel without telling someone, there is a 11pm curfew(which is checked by roll call), and we have assigned and unchangeable roommates(5 to a room). This isn't a group of kids, this is a bunch of adults from ages 18-35. We can take care of ourselves- yet the school thinks that it had dominion over us. Also, there is 'optional' programming that really isn't optional-we are required to be at certain meeting times during the day. Also, we are required to cook our own meals(something we were not told before)

I think it's total bullcrap. It is CLEAR that Handong does not yet know how to run an international program, because everything is run by Koreans without input from other nationals(or at least it doesn't show). In Korea, children belong to their parents(in essence) until the parents die. Handong apparently thinks that it has the responsibility to take over in the parents' absence and make the students miserable.

Get with the program, Handong- the rest of the world(and the students that come from the rest of the world) doesn't/don't play by Korea's rules. If Handong wants their international program to be decent, they have to realize that International students are different.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stir fry crazy

Living in a sardine can has its merits; you don't have much area to cover if you're looking for a misplaced object and you're never unsure of the location of a ringing cell phone. It's not under a couch cushion, because there is no couch. Nothing is more than an arm's length away. However, the accompanying limitations tend to drive me a bit crazy. I've nothing to do that goes beyond sitting on my computer. At LeTourneau I'm always constructing this or that or down at the machine tool lab working on yet another doodad to make something go pop. While half of the time all the effort does not meet its planned end, the exercise is not futile. It's nice to build things. It's fun. I can't do that here. HGU has no lathes, no mills, no welders. So far as I know, there is no machine lab at all. Yes, it's an engineering school, but it's not as hands-on as LETU. Matter of fact, its not hands-on at all. Not being able to actually do something is making me slowly insane. So far, I've done intense research and planning on: A new 3lb robot, a neat homemade toolchest(including detailed CAD model), electric skateboards, electric vehicle conversion, propane engine conversion, El Caminos, Toyota light pickups, building a house inside of a 53' dry van trailer, and auxiliary power units/idle reduction technology for tractor trailers.
I can hear you now "such a nerd!" Yeah, well today's nerds fuel the future. What has your Xbox playing ever accomplished? Shove it. We do not exist to entertain ourselves. Accomplish something.

Anyway, my point is that I am going absolutely nuts from not being able to actually do something. I can stay in my room and sit on my computer or lie on my bed. There's no room for anything else. I can leave and do the same in someone else's room. I can go downtown, but I have no need to and there's nothing to do there except shop. You don't want to get me started on shopping for its own sake. There's little more dangerous to the human race. It's not that there aren't activities to do, but I have a need to do something productive with my hands, even if I all manage is practice.
Sweet! My 'The Best of Woodworking' download just finished. In doing research into dovetails to make my sweet toolchest, I sparked an interest in woodworking. I've never done much of it, but I'd like to learn. I surmise that woodworking for utility would be much more relaxing and potentially useful than machining for fun. Undersizing your part by 0.002" isn't going to destroy all your effort thus far. Not that I don't like machining. I'd like to learn how do some basic utility woodworking. I know that woodworking is as complex as you want it to be, I just want to build something. I'll probably be in Boston for Christmas, and I have a cousin in the area who(from what I remember) comes from a long line of German flutemakers and has a sweet wood shop. I haven't seen him in ages, but maybe I could coax him into teaching me to dovetail or make a mortise and tenon or something.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New developments

A: I learned how to do X and Y components. If I had known how to do this when I was taking Physics 1 and 2, I would have done a lot better. It wasn't even that hard, I just needed somebody to show me.

B: I lost some weight. Mostly from not eating the cafeteria food, I think. Not a ton, but enough to motivate me to go for it. I'm going to start using the gym here, so we'll see how it goes.

C: I wrote a sonnet. Just for kicks. My spite cycle is curving away from the apogee. I decided to try out this whole 'poetry' thing- after all, how can you hate something if you haven't tried it? It's not all good news for the liberal arts majors, since I did this instead of paying attention to an analysis of Shakespeare's sonnet today. I realized after I wrote mine that it wasn't really a Shakespearan sonnet because it doesn't use iambic pentameter, but screw that. Too much work. At least I got the rhyme scheme down. I never claimed it was good. Side note: I have a perfect score in my lit class so far, no points docked on any assignment yet. Sonnet:

While many students endure so strained
Composite faculty aim to help us
People, all, by work are drained.
Attitude of diligence all through the campus.
Youth caught between two ideals
Class and study consume their days
Punctuated time to time with unvaried meals.
Occasional laughter shines like sun's rays.
In the library they are packed like cattle
Souls bent over stores of studious text
Reading books filled with endless prattle.
One can see not a few becoming vexed.
Students preparing for an unwelcoming world;
Wings of skill someday unfurled.

Ta-da! Don't think that just because I wrote a sonnet that I'm cured of my cynicism and tactlessness, though. I'm still mean.

D: Epiphany: nobody is perfect. By inference, that means that I am not perfect. That implies that I have things that I can do better. And if I can do better, I must strive to do so: do all things as unto God, and not unto man. Everything I do is for God- not for man. I must do my best. Recently I've been in a 'good enough' stage- not seeing anything terrible in my life that I need to fix, and being content with that being 'enough'. That's not how it should be- adequacy is not a goal to be satisfied with, it is a minimum to be achieved and surpassed.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

No compromise

I haven't posted in a while because I haven't had anything special to report and nothing to say. Today is Monday, and I'm halfway through my classes for the day. Last week I gave my blog link to my professor for Intercultural Studies(ICS from here on in) because a lot of the stuff we were discussing lined right up with what I was writing here. Because he's such a character, I have written about him in past- so he found out the truth of how people write about him on their blogs. (Hi, Mr. Laidback) (Mr. Laidback probably isn't totally accurate, but it is true when he's compared to the typical Korean professor. 'Mr. In-your-face' would be more accurate, but that's longer to type.)(Hi, Mr. In-your-face)

Today in ICS we discussed mixing cultures, especially mixing the 'culture' of one's Christian perspective with the culture of the people one hangs out with. This led to a surprising amount of rationalization. The students who spoke up/were prodded to speak seemed to think that a balance of perspectives of okay in this context. A normal answer to any other cross-culture question, but not when you're talking about the perspective of sin vs. righteousness! There can be no question as to which perspective should reign there. ...which brings me to today's word.

Handong seems to have a lot of trouble on this point. HGU describes itself as "Handong God's University" - but continuously pays lipservice to the 'non-Christians' who apparently attend. In every class, meeting, gathering, or what-have-you, whenever God is mentioned it's always sandwiched in a disclaimer that the teacher/speaker etc realizes that maybe not everyone is a Christian and that's just fine- pretending as if the Christians in the room are in the minority, and would not non-Christians in the room please bear with us as we pray? I'm almost offended by the way that HGU constantly knuckles under to this silent minority who I've never actually seen. Everyone I've met at HGU professes to be a Christian. While I don't doubt that they are there, you'd think they'd have to be a significant and vocal percentage for the school to go to so much trouble not to offend them. Why is God's University apologizing to the heathens for praying? Why is God's University just OK with some shampoo marketing program plastering the campus with posters of barely-dressed women? Why is this acceptable?

Forgive me for comparing HGU to my own culture, but I must. At LeTourneau, we also actively professes our faith: "Faith brings us together, ingenuity sets us apart". Okay. We know that there are some non-Christian students despite the statement-of-faith document that everyone signs coming in. That's just the reality of serving the local community- students from out of state and beyond come to LeTourneau expecting a Christ-centered university, students from town come to LETU because they can live at home and take classes. Do we, in view of these inevitable non-Christians, constantly apologize for our faith? Do we try to make sure that non-Christians are not offended? No! Teachers do not preface their devotions with an equally-long apology to the non-Christians in the room. Meetings that start with prayer do not make sure not to offend people of other religions. We are a Christian university, and we say that if you come to LETU expecting anything less than devotion to the true God and savior, then you can deal with it.

WHY does HGU do this crap? It's a compromise, and God is not something that may be compromised to fit the ideals of a sinful world. Come on HGU, buck up. Take a stand, because God expects nothing less.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Perspective is everything

The whole time that I've been here at Handong I've been keeping in mind the differences between the US and Korea. The subtle things, the things that being quiet and boring as a youth gave me time to think about. I've also been considering how the people are different. I've been to four different areas in the general period of time before I came here: Australia, Alaska, Texas and Massachusetts. Each one of these places has its own foibles and differences which are fun to note and compare. Compared to a completely different culture, however, they are all mostly the same. You see, the people that I were with in those four places all came from(and based their culture on) pretty much the same base- Europe. All my white friends that I hung out with in MA, TX, and AK were generally of European descent and cultural influence. Australia was populated with English... people and has a distinctive flavor of its own, but at the root is still European.

Korea has a very potent culture of their own, with almost nil European influence. I was told that Korea's population is 99% Korean ancestry- Korea has very tight rules on immigration and Koreans are passionate about preserving and respecting their culture. The net effect of this is is a very undiluted culture that is vastly different from anything the average American has encountered.

I like to think of myself as an open minded, thoughtful, critical thinker type person. I even think that I have a good grasp of empathy. Now, I know what you're thinking- but it's like common sense- just because I have it doesn't mean that I see fit to make use of it all the time. Many Americans are very ethnocentric, sort of a carry-over from patriotism, but this has the effect of making a lot of us either think of the rest of the world either very little or in a self-superior light. I'm not afraid to say that the US is better than a lot of countries, but by the same rule a lot of countries are better than the US. No, I haven't turned into some raving-mad Bush-hating anti-patriot. I can just recognize innovation and good systems when I see them; and I can also recognize that the US is falling behind in this area.

What happened there? I didn't intend for this post to be political. Oops. Anyway, perspective- I think that it's everything. Whenever I encounter something new here, and adapt to it, I think of how other people in the US would react to the same problem. Many times I cringe. You see, their perspective would be off. I came to Korea having had about a week out of the country to warm myself up to change and adaptation- I did lots of research about Korea, and I came here with reputation in mind. I don't like to judge something until I've experienced it myself(many times this ends up with me learning the hard way).

There are many differences from the US, some of which are hard to get used to. Taking off shoes indoors. Koreans have different ideas of cleanliness- shoes are not worn past the entryway/lobby of a lived-in building. This annoyed me greatly at the beginning, and I actually rebelled a bit and for a little while I wore my sandals in the 'no' zone after talking to some upperclassmen international students who confessed to doing so themselves. I thought the idea was stupid, counterproductive, etc. Then I realized: I'm not here to make waves or to press my idea of culture on them. I'm here to experience their world. Another difference that I thought was odd at first: the age-respect scheme- different language for people older or younger than you, sort of like the 'usted' modifier in spanish. Sometimes just a year could make a difference.

And so here's my pitch to people considering Handong- do it, but have the right perspective. I could just see some unprepared "My state is better than your state" Texans coming over here and getting all fouled up, and also stepping on a lot of toes. Treat other cultures with the same respect you'd want yours to be- remember, you're not naturally better just because you're from the US. Try not to offend anyone- maybe you wouldn't mind someone coming to the US and calling every little thing 'weird'- but you wouldn't like it much if someone said your nose or hair or whatever was 'weird' and then tried to pass it off as nothing. It can be an insult. It's often tempting to judge something on the first go, especially small things. However, wherever there is an effect, there is a cause. Korea is the way it is for a reason- something caused the difference, and if one will take the effort to figure out why that particular nuance is the way that it is, it makes a world of difference. So remember: open mind, closed mouth.

The obligatory daily life section:
I did laundry for the first time today. It's the same thing here, except there are no dryers. The concept of a dryer here is a centrifuge that is more of less a stepped-up spin cycle. It gets of a lot of water out, then you supposedly hang it out to dry. However, with only 46 square feet of room per student, this gets interesting. I haven't figured it out yet. I did two loads of laundry, most of which is stacked on my bed, damp, right now. I'll need to figure this out before the end of the semester, for sure. Koreans LOVE cell phones. I'm definitely becoming a bit annoyed by the constant chirping, music, blinging, and little girl voices. For some reason, many of the ring tones here include a little girl announcing something in Korean, presumably 'You've got a new message" or "You missed a call, doofus".

My computer is acting funny, like it's a normal, ill-maintained computer- being laggy, taking more than a moment to load something, etc. I thought I was oiling it like a well-oiled machine. I think some kind of driver issue that caused a BSOD a while back has been festering into a bigger issue. I'm considering doing a nice fresh reinstall of XP just so I don't have to have it worrying me anymore. It'll be easy using my external HD.

I'm very happy with my new PDA, but the slight downside is that in my exuberance for having something to read on, I kind of didn't sleep. It's 7AM right now, last night was a fairly late night due to reading whenever I had a break in the action(of doing laundry) and not stopping until I finished the chapter. Then I went to bed and read some more, tried to go to sleep and noticed that the sun was coming up. At this point I decided that the prospect of forcing myself to sleep was pretty much shot, and got up. On the up side, I used the extra time to read the material for Understanding Lit. And no, I still don't 'get it' the way that I'm expected to.

On that note, I feel like I owe an apology to all the creative people that read my spiteful post and were offended. Sorry. As I stated, I am tactless, and yes I was a bit ruthless in attacking any kind of deep poetry/art stuff. That really is how I feel(as of now) and I'm not going to lie about my feelings. As long as I feel the way I do and you feel the way you do, we won't have any fun with that topic- so let's agree to disagree, eh?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tuesdays are slow days

...which means I shouldn't have had any scheduling issues today. Yet, with only one class today, I managed to be 20 minutes late. I met some friends at 11:30 this morning to go downtown to get lunch and use the global ATM. I had to be back for a 1:45 class. Plenty of time. Bus left at 11:40, takes around 30 minutes to get to Yukgurri. 12:10. We eat lunch at McDonalds(yes, McDonalds is everywhere) and the food was kind of slow in coming. Being the nervous wreck that I am, I'm starting to worry about the bus, especially since I don't have a bus schedule and want to get there with time to spare. We eat and I use the ATM, and split off from my friends who aren't interesting in leaving so early. I go to the bus stop and discover there is a schedule posted there(this would have saved me a lot of grief/worry the night that I arrived). The schedule says that the next bus arrives at 1:35, and the last one left at 12:35. I'm hosed. The bus came and I went to class around 20 minutes late, without my bookbag. Again, the professor was cool about it but I'm giving Americans a bad image in the punctuality department.

The good news! My new(to me) PDA arrived today, so now I will always have something to tell time with on my person. Also, it's a consistent alarm clock, an e-book reader, and shiny to boot! So now this streak of tardiness should be over. In other news, here is a graph that I made.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Today, I feel both apathetic and spiteful

I woke up late today. I don't know what to blame this one on- my cell phone went off, but the next time I looked at it it said 8:27. (I have class at 8:30) I swear I didn't fall back to sleep- who knows what happened. It it possible, I think that it had been going off for twenty minutes or so before I woke up, as I distinctly remember waking up very slowly. Disappointed in myself for letting this late-waking become a pattern, I rushed off to class. I remarked to myself that I was perhaps the worst-dresses person on campus- wearing one of the 8 remaining shirts I got from the camp that I used to work at (a dreadful shirt, truly- I'm glad the pattern is on the back so I don't have to look at it), some carhartts(think lumberjack pants) and crappy tourist flipflops. Usually I don't care about my dress but something about the combo of lumberjack pants and flipflops brought it to my attention. I don't think they mix well. Oh well.

I was late to class; Intercultural studies. That's right, the class I missed altogether last time. I'm setting up a great track record. I'm not sure if I'm glad it's with the most laid-back teacher or not- if it were with a Korean professor, I'd probably fall into a dark cloud of disapproval and be done with it. However, Mr. Laidback has a sarcastic tendency and there was definitely a strong chance of public reprisal. Luckily, entering through the back door mid-diatribe seems to have averted it. I really, really hope my PDA comes soon so that I'll have a reliable alarm clock. Maybe I should just set my computer as an alarm, I have a handy program (Citrus Alarm Clock) that will play an MP3 or playlist and doesn't need to be reset every night. However, its one big problem is that if you leave headphones plugged in or volume down, you're hosed. I really wish my normal alarm clock would work here.

Here is where the spiteful part comes in. I was thinking today in literature class about how very much I despise literature. I love books- in fact I spent a few hours yesterday cataloging in an XLS file all the books I've ever read(it will take a while to think of them all, or most). It's a lot. However, that's fiction or documentation or whatever- I'm thinking more of poetry and prose and all the crap that you were forced to read in high school. Like this, "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud" by whats-his-face Wadsworth:

 I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay: 10
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood, 20
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

That is so much crap. Okay, you like daffodils. Deal with it. I've had it up to [here] with this kind of veiled meaning. If you want to tell me that you like daffodils because you envy their carefree 'lifestyle', say so. In that many words. I'll let it slide that flowers don't have a lifestyle because they are inanimate, non-sentient PLANTS. I think the world might be a better place if Wadsworth and everyone like him were born as flowers to begin with. Last night I read Araby. It was awful. This story it supposed to be chock full of metaphor and deep, symbolic meaning. Oh, give me a break. Why do people choose to express themselves in such a way? Does it give them some kind of satisfaction? I'm sure you've all heard some idiot sixth grader tell a riddle like this one:

Crap like that is exactly what literature is. Sixth-grade stupidity raised to the Nth level. People who write literature crave to be understood, so they wrap up how they feel in line after line of crap that doesn't actually say how they feel, you have to have a Ph.D in something worthless to understand what they're trying to get across. And that's what they LOVE. The fact that they can write something that others cannot understand is enchanting.

When I was little I used to play catch with my brother. I'd throw the ball as hard as I could and be happy when he couldn't catch it, because it made me feel strong. I was 7 or 8. That's exactly what so-called writers do. They think they're the intellectual elite because their writing is so bogged down with confusion and illusion that the common person can't tell whether they're describing bacon or their lover.

Get over yourselves, literature people.

Oh, I see- you can pack so much more meaning in when you're not actually saying anything, right? There is no communication going on. The writer puts down some verse about how dreary and nasty Berlin is(but really is trying to make a commentary on how life is a disappointment). Somebody reads the story about Berlin and decides that there is strong metaphor and and veiled meaning. Perhaps the message comes across the same as the author wrote it, probably not in most cases. What happened is not communication, just empathy. Somebody wrote something that evokes the same feelings in some minority of the population. It's not communication if a thousand people can read a passage and come away with 100 different meanings. It's garbage. Most of the time this story is just a story about Berlin, but then some magic happens when the right person with too much time on their hands and not enough reality reads it and since they're in the same mindset, they can see the same meaning in the passage. The psychologists have a words for this. It's called projection, and it's a trait of mental illness.

So suddenly we have lots of people running around proclaiming how much they appreciate the work of some 'artist' or 'poet' who couldn't get a real job and spent so much time on their 'work' that they developed a unique style and became consistent. Art is the material product of psychological aberration. Creativity and inspiration are one thing- without creativity, we'd have been riding donkeys until the rapture. What I'm raving about is useless creativity. What does poetry do? Make other poets happy. What does art do? Make other artists happy. It seems that most people have a little 'artist' or 'poet' in them because they can appreciate these things. Apparently I don't. What does that minority sector of humanity do? How would the world change if suddenly that sector of the population who label themselves primarily 'artists' or 'poets' or any other similarly meaningless descriptor of useless people- disappeared? What if the section of the brain that appreciates useless creativity were suddenly erased in every person? What would the human race have lost? Anyone who appreciates useless creativity will be scratching out their eyeballs at this obviously bigoted and uneducated commentary. But what would we have lost? Only that self-aggrandizing section of the human element that contributes nothing to the rest and exists only by its own self-importance.

How many of the great writers of useless verse turned out to be a bit nutty? How many great 'impression' painters ended up being completely batty? How many modern day 'artists' get their inspiration from their drunkenness or drug trips? If you are an inherently logical person, you can at least see my perspective. If you are the kind of person who appreciates art, you will never understand why I'm being so mean and unsympathetic.

Want to know why I'm so angry? It's because this disease of uselessness is taking over today's youth. Ever heard the word 'emo'? What does it make you think of? If you're not an emo, it makes you think of a pathetic sector of the population so caught up in their own angst and self-pity that they do can do nothing but buy awful music CDs and work entry-level jobs... poorly. These kids have no motivation, they feel that since nobody feels the true pain of their soul, it's not worth putting effort into anything. They don't see the inherent beauty of the world and wonder at it, they think about how unfortunate they are for not being popular. The same thing goes for goths, hipsters, yuppies, and liberal-arts majors. The other side of the coin is sports. Sport is the same thing as art. It accomplished nothing except getting South America all riled up about Futbol and starts riots in Europe. It exists only for it's own self-satisfaction. It has no purpose.

I could write an entry as long about sport, but there's no point- it's the same story in different words. The difference between art as a useless endeavor and sport as a useless endeavor is pride. What does a winning athlete get? Fame, money, popularity, confirmation of superiority- everything that the world says one needs to be proud. Student athletes the world round are, this very minute, neglecting their studies so that they can earn their varsity letter and be happy. What happens to all the athletes? In high school, they are many. Some are turned away, they don't make the team. This is the first round of rejected athletes who feel useless, the pride that they were striving to attain is denied. The next round is college sports- many of the high school athletes have laid down their passion for pride, er- sports, rather- in favor of weed, beer, or the opposite sex(and sometimes, very rarely, their studies). In college the athletes here are much fewer, again the pride that all the high school athletes wanted to move to the next level in college is denied. The same thing happens with the transition from college sports to pro sports. The sports not-good-enoughs have worked their whole lives up to this point, believing all their lives that they'd go all the way, for nothing. They have no backup plan. All the adults who told them 'shoot for your dreams! You can do anything if you put your mind to it! There's no limit to what you can accomplish!" Sorry, that only works in elementary school. Not everyone who puts forth their best effort gets to be a pro football player. Only those that put forth the best effort get to be pros. If 100 people have the goal of being the one that is best loved, only one can win.

The encouragement of useless endeavors in any form is destroying my generation.

These are the views of Ned, the tactless utilitarian.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

First week of classes done

The first week of classes just finished. Overall, it's going pretty well. I had two mishaps that made me miss some class- first I forgot to set an alarm on my cell phone before I went to sleep on Thursday morning, so I woke up half and hour into my Intercultural Studies class. Ooops. The teacher(boistrous black man) isn't worked up about it. Maybe he is and just doesn't show it. That's always possible. The other event was due to a transcription error on my part. I wrote down my class schedule on one of my notebooks so it would be convenient. However, I screwed up and wrote down third block instead of fourth block for my reinforced concrete engineering class, my only class Tuesdays and Fridays. However, on Friday I remembered having gone to class fourth period, so it wasn't until well into third that I checked my schedule for the time of the class. Since I incorrectly wrote down third period, I thought I had missed the class, when really it hadn't started yet. I wrote the professor an email apologizing for missing class, explaining(what I thought then was) my mistake. I presume that he was confused when he got my email apologizing for missing a class that hadn't started yet(there is a lunch break between third and fourth blocks). He sent his TA to come find me and bring me to class, and it was halfway into class before the TA located me and corrected my mistake.(An email would have been quicker and more effective, but hey) So I went to class late. Again, the professor didn't seem terribly upset. So to summarize: Wrote down wrong time for a class. Thought I had missed class when I checked schedule, but actually hadn't yet. Wrote professor an email apologizing for 'missing class' when I hadn't actually missed.. yet. Professor sent TA to come get me. I make it to class halfway through.

I suppose missing half a class and having an awkward situation is better than missing a whole class. I actually really like the class material.

It's been wet all week between combinations of rain, mist, dew, light rain, sprinkles, etc. The only thing the weather hasn't done yet is downpour. Well, I'd rather have cool wet weather than the deathly hot and humid weather we had before. I just hope it doesn't get cold and rainy, that would be bad. Right now it's 70*F and raining, which is an amenable combination.

Tonight there's a party for Greg Poelman's birthday, so we get to eat pizza instead of rice. Woot!