Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Random Thoughs on Everything

Been a while, I know, but life has a way of getting put in front of anonymous maniacal ravings on the internet. I offer a random assortment of points:

1) Two weddings in 3 days for me. I am taking a flight this afternoon for California to see my cousin Leatherneck Larry get married tomorrow, flying back to DC on Friday (saturday morning) at BWI at 1 in the AM, then driving up to Philly on Saturday to see my college roommate take the plunge. These will be the 2nd and 3rd wedding I will be attending this year, plus another 2 of my friends are scheduled to get married in September, not to mention my own wedding (though it is of note that Randy McCheckingline is getting married on the same day as me, so I won' be attending that one). Many people often note that it seems weddings come in bunches, with groups of friends and similarly aged people all seem to marry in quick succession. My theory: signalling. Do you feel like an adult? Was there one day where you went to sleep as a kid and woke up the next morning as an adult? No, not really. Your self perception moves slowly, and the level of maturity is never easily defined. Mentally, there is no clear demarcation between "just a kid" or "having fun in my 20s" and "time to settle down for the rest of my life". It is a big leap to make that generally is not part of the normal run of the day for most people, so there is no movement towards "time to get married" or "time to buy a house" or "time to stop hiring hookers off the internet". So, with that in mind, it really ends up being that the average person (read: man) doesn't seriously consider these things until he sees somebody in his social circle do the thing. To wit: it isn't that men are afraid of commitment, it's that there is no line between "we've been together for awhile" and "we're going to be together forever".

2) Despite some scuffling recently, the Sox are still +8 in the loss column against the Yanks and +2 for homefield. Schilling just got good news from the doctor, so hopefully he'll right himself. Plus, we have Gabbard and Lester both about major league ready sitting at AAA. Coco and Drew are showing signs of life, Tak and Lowell aren't, and Lugo looks like an AIDS patient, but I still like the team. Fun.

3) I am enjoying the Patriots off-season. It seems to me that there was a line of thought organizationally of the likes, "we haven't won in 2 years, we were 2 minutes away from taking it last year, and we probably should have won it if it weren't for the freaking lack of depth cropping up at a few positions. Fuck it. We're getting Thomas, Moss, and about a dozen other guys." And I'm glad for it. I figure Brady only has another 2-4 years of legitimate "prime" before he moves into the "really good veteran". Seriously, he is turning 30 this year. So, the Pats just decided to get everyone they want.

4) Speaking of Moss, how did we pull this one off? We got him for a lower draft pick than we got Duane Starks, and we are paying him less for this year than about 4 dozen other receivers. I'll take it.

5) So my new condo has two HVAC units from 1958, one of only 4 units in the building that didn't replace them a few years ago when they ordered replacements in bulk. Now, to replace these, the best quote I've gotten so far is $4,800 for the pair. If it weren't for the fact that we managed to absolutely pilfer the place from the old owner, I'd be absolutely livid at the last owner.

6) Speaking of which, we are still shocked at how poorly this place was marketed. In the DC metro area, there are still 2 areas of the housing market that are hopping: Arlington on the Orange line and the $250k-$400K price range. Yet we got a place with low condo fees (which include ALL utilities), a pool, and a private entrance for below asking price and with the other guy picking up closing costs. The reason? Well, those three key selling points I just listed were absolutely buried in the listing with horrid pictures that made the place look like it had 6' ceilings (actually 9'). Truth be told, I put it on our "to look at" list so that the Resident Female would understand why we weren't even going to bother looking at the lower end of that price range, as it was all crap places. Turns out, it was a place we instantly fell in love with (or, actually, we fell in love with by replacing the carpets and repainting the baseboards). Now, we love it. Regardless, 2 months later, we still can't believe we got it for the price we did, faulty HVAC units be damned.

7) Started work already, and I forgot how truly boring the company is. I'm stuck in a cube generating stationarity data for 9 hours a day with hyper-restricted internet access. Wow. (Please note, I am not there today). I effectively have no boss, either, which means I don't have anyone to ask my questions to. Well, at least the pay is good.

8) As for school, still no word on the field exam, though a buddy who took it on the same day passed (different field, though). Here's to hoping that my month of 12 hour days paid off. Based on my performance on the prior 3 tests, all I need is a bare pass. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

9) Also for school, I randomly got a letter telling me I was getting a raise next year on the same day I got a letter telling me I had to fill out a "complaint response" form. That was ironic.

10) Maybe my college just didn't do much of it, but I don't remember us having kids with disabilities get the university to lay down at their altar and doing whatever they can for these kids. Look, I appreciate some kids need a little extra help. No problem with that. But how is it possible that about 1/6th of my students get extra time, and can lodge complaints against me that I put "extra time pressure" on them by insisting they turn in their exams at the time they are suppossed to? I actually gave a girl who had time and a half exemption closer to 2x, and I finally had to take the exam off her desk. So what happens? Pissed off, she tramps out the door straight to disable student services and lodges a formal complaint against me. While nothing came of it, I (and my professor) still had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and undergo an interview to say, "look, she sucks and was mad that she bombed the exam". I hate students.

11) Another terrible student story. Rachael (yes, that is how she spells it. Or she is so dislexic that she can't spell her name correctly). She forgets to set up the extra time for the final, shows up halfway through it claiming she though it was at 3 PM instead of 10 AM. We take pity and let her take it in the department. She fails brutally (38%). She complains to the professor saying "I didn't know the time, so I didn't take my Aderol." Whatever. Rather than cause problems, we let her retake the other version of the exam. She gets a solid D. Last week, which is about 4 weeks after the semester end and 3 weeks after grades have come up, she sends me an email bitching about her grade, asking if there is any way we can turn her class grade of a D to a C-. What? Fuck you, seriously? You don't think we calculated your grade correctly? You had 1 grade above a C- all semester and you want us to change your grade? Go away.

12) This semester was a terrible one, student wise, across the board. I have about a dozen similar stories to the one above (though not as offensively stupid), and apparently this was the case across the board for other TAs and Professors. I fear for the future of my school.

13) I still don't understand NASCAR at all.

14) As for me, I actually somehow managed to pull out my best semester grades-wise, despite bookend the semester with 2 field exams. So that was a surprise, especially considering I completely bombed one of the finals. Apparently, everyone else did as well (saved by the curve...).

15) Alright, I'm almost ready to admit it. Almost. The NHL is almost irrelevant. But not quite.

16) I still don't get the NBA, either.

17) I hate celebrities that try to tell society how to function, and I think it is high irony when they do. Celebrities, whether they be sports heroes, actors, or rock stars, are economically supported by the rest of society. They are a by-product of society's wealth and success. Their riches and status come from the money that everyday people provide for entertainment and non-essential consumption products. Ever notice how countries with subsistance farming tend to have fewer movie stars? Forget the fact that most of them wouldn't understand a hard day's work if they tripped over and were anally penetrated by it, but they are the economic frosting on the cake of our production ability. So, I find it very obnoxious when one of them says, "Thanks for all the money and power you all have afforded me so that I don't have to live you meager and hard existence and instead get to pretend all day to be somebody else in front of a camer, but I am shocked and appalled that you haven't changed your lives and thrown more of your hard-earned money at this social cause. Quite frankly, I'm disappointed in you." Fuck them.

18) Please note, that last point isn't suggesting that there aren't celebrities that do good, or have a real effect on the world, or advocate good causes. Quite the opposite. But really, what I want these people to realize is that just because they get paid a lot to pretend doesn't mean they understand how to efficiently allocate our resources in society and determine where and how much aid goes to certain causes. I'm still waiting for an actor or actress to come out and say "I want 30% of all revenue from ticket sales, and every cent of it is going to this charity". I know they do charitable work, but if they really meant it they could just live off the average salary of an american and put the rest of their chips into the political causes they feel strongly about. Hell, even double that dollar amount to live on. But they don't, so I say they are obnoxious sychophants that provide a marginal boon to society, and most are easily replaced on the margin.

19) The Economist is the best magazine ever. Smartest decision I ever made was getting the subsciptions. I've never enjoyed my poops more.

20) I wanted to get one post for every day I missed, but alas, it does not seem to be in the cards. I need to go catch a plane. Hopefully will be back early next week.


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