Monday, March 31, 2003

Nothing to see here, move along

Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated here. I think I'm losing the urge to blog. Or at any rate, nothing has happened that I need to blog about. The computer situation is still sketchy and I'm counting down the days to May when I can turn the machine over to my brother and say, "Fix it!" I could do it now, but knowing me, I'd spend more time than ever putting it back together and I really don't have the time to do that right now.

Today I got rid of lots of paper, except my stats notes. I'm rather regretting I sold my big stats book last summer. I own several stats books (that's what will happen when you've had 16 hours worth of stats) and I thought it would be easy cash. But... it was the best book ever and I wish I kept it because...

I have an interview.

Yes, you heard me right. I have an interview. With the US Census Department. As a statistician and survey-designer. It's completely up my alley. I had lunch with my former co-worker on Saturday and he thought it sounded really dull but I see it as a great way to get into market research -- which is where I eventually want to end up. So cross your fingers, your toes, your legs - everything you can - for me. This is a really great opportunity for me and I'd love to have a shot at it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I reinstalled Windows. Consider this a test to see if I can update the blog from home... in other words, is IE working again?

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Vote for me, my name is Luke

I had good bus karma today. I walked out of my apartment and boom, there was a bus. I didn't even have time to check my mailbox (which is usually what I do when I'm waiting). And then, I waited maybe thirty seconds for bus number two. Though I didn't mind the wait because today is a lovely day. Buses always come on time on beautiful days; they're only late when it's unusually bone-chillingly miserable and wet out. So I got to school pretty quickly, though I wasn't quite sure I'd make it at first -- bus driver number two was more intent on changing the radio station and being horribly afraid of taking left turns that I was sure I was going to be stuck on that intersection forever and ever.

Anyway, it's election season here at the U. Who knew? I mean, seriously, I didn't. I had to swing by the campus center to pick up my cap and gown and order my hood (which I still don't know what that is) and on the way in, I had to pass a gauntlet of perky undergrads handing out colorful leaflets and mints. They all looked so nice and friendly and all I could think was, "I'm on a schedule and you're in my way." Yes, I'm a horrible, horrible, insensitive, uncivic minded person.

There are two major events going on here - one is for yell leader (we don't have cheerleaders) and the other is for student body president or the student body or whatever. I didn't know we had a student body organization. If it doesn't appear on the MBA-FYI list or the MBA-03 one, I'm not particularly interested. Heck, I'm not particularly in most of the things that usually show up on either of those lists sooo...

But anyway, all of these kids are standing around, trying to convince me in the 30 seconds between the time I see them and then pass them why I should vote for their Candidate of Choice. These are real productions. They have t-shirts emblazoned with the name of their candidiates, they have posters, they have chants, they have Rice Krispy treats. One girl was pulling around a little wagon with a cardboard cutout of her candidate on it. They all smiled, told me it was so nice to meet me and would I vote for them? At this point, I've promised to vote for five people. I think there's something not legal about that, but I can never say no to people who ask.

And besides, I'm graduating in five weeks. I'll be long gone before any funny business is discovered.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The Eighth Wonder of the World

I used to be a hand-coder. I used to write my own javascript. Somewhere along the line, I lost the ability to do so. Or rather, I can still handcode; it's the javascript that befuddles me. My metamorphesis from handcoder to Dreamweaver begin about 3 years ago. I was given responsibility to develop and maintain our department's website. The site was huge and when I left the company, it numbered over 700 pages. I knew from the beginning of the project that handcoding was an impossible task. Along came FrontPage.

FrontPage, MS's HTML editor, is seriously the work of the devil. With its proprietary tags and crazy templates, the program made me nuts. I went back to handcoding. And then came Dreamweaver. I fell madly and totally in love with the program. Mostly because it allowed me to use both the WYSIWYG and the notepad view at the same time. The handcoder in me loved the idea of being able to tinker with code when the tough got going and I didn't feel like reading Dreamweaver's manual to figure out how to open up a pop-up window measuring 450 by 450 with no scrollbar or menus. It was ideal. And in addition, because I didn't have browser compatibility issues at work, I got to play with DHTML, which is rather like a javascript-enabled HTML on crack. It was a lovely, lovely thing. Unfortunately, my mostly computer-illiterate, non-web surfing coworkers did not appreciate the idea of adding a bookmark to their favorites with a click of a link or the fact that the pages were dynamically generated based on login information.

Feeling completely unappreciated for my efforts, I was amazed to learn tht Dreamweaver could write javascript for me. How wonderful is that? I stopped writing my own javascript. It was quicker, given the fact that the company website was not my only responsibility, to just have Dreamweaver do it.

The other day, I was trying to set up a browser-check/redirect script based on a script I'd written way back when. It didn't work. I'm still trying to figure it out. The old me would have been able to see the problems immediately and be able to figure out what was going on. I think I was a bit cocky in installing the script and so it's now paying me back for being absolutely blinded by my own reliance on the Eighth Wonder of the World.

Monday, March 17, 2003

I woke up this morning and the first thing I checked was whether we were at war yet or not. Thankfully, not yet. But now Bush is being highly inconsistent - what do you want, President Bush? Do you want Saddam gone or do you want Saddam to disarm? Because it's highly contradictatory terms. I'm cynical enough to think that this is just Bush flexing his muscle in order to ignore other more pressing problems, and the fact that he's already pissed off half the world with his unilateral verbage. I'm not one of those who believes in unilateral action nor do I believe that the US is prepared to accept the consequences of acting alone.

Because, you know, there will be consequences.

When I was in Europe last summer, I heard a lot of rumbles of anti-Bushism. I hesitate to say anti-Americanism, the phrase the media uses, because it's not the same thing as being against the actions of the current administration. I don't think the world hates Americans but I think they get tired of our superior attitudes, I think they get tired of our "our way or the highway" attitudes. I think we leave them no choice but to resent us greatly.

How is this not a problem? Was not September 11 the result of people not liking us? It's crazy - just think of the people who hate America enough to kill themselves just to prove their point. I'm not sure we need to add more fuel to the fire.

And all you people who are boycotting the Dixie Chicks for expressing their opinions, you've obviously missed the point of the First Amendment which allows people to voice their opinions without fear of reprisals. To me, that's the scariest thing - that the atmosphere has made it impossible to say that you're against the war.

I'm against the war, thankyouverymuch. President Bush, give me a compelling reason why our soldiers need to risk coming home in bodybags. Tell me what you want - Saddam gone or Saddam disarmed. Tell me if it's worth the death of thousands of innocent Iraqis. And tell me, is it worth alienating our traditional allies to engage in nation building? If you can prove this to me, then I'll change my stance. Until then, I remain unconvinced. A pity, because I support our troops, but not what they're doing over there.

Friday, March 14, 2003

It's French fries to you, buster...

Bjorn introduced me to David Sedaris and right now, I'm reading Me Talk Pretty One Day (and you should go out and buy it right now. Why are you still here?). Anyway, this passage from his essay, "See You Again Yesterday," had me on the floor yesterday night simply because I could a) so identify with learning another language and getting syntax wrong and b) it's pretty relevant to today's attitudes towards the French.

Sedaris writes:

My fear has nothing to do with the actual French people. I didn't know any actual French people. What scared me was the idea of French people I'd gotten from movies and situation comedies.

When someone makes a spectacular ass of himself, it's always in a French restaurant, never a Japanese or Italian one. The French are the people who slap one another with gloves and wear scarves to cover their engorged hickies.

My understanding was that, no matter how hard we tried, the French would never like us, and that's confusing to an American raised to believe that the citizens of Europe should be grateful for all the wonderful things we've done. Things like movies that stereotype the people of France as boors and petty snobs, and little remarks such as "We saved your ass in World War II."

Every day we're told that we live in the greatest country on earth. And it's always stated as an undeniable fact: Leos are born between July 23 and August 22, fitted queen-size sheets measure sixty by eighty inches, and America is the greatest country on earth. Having grown up with this in our ears, it's startling to realize that other countries have nationalistic slogans of their own, none of which are "We're number two!"

The French have decided to ignore our self-proclaimed superiority and this is translated as arrogance. To my knowledge, they've never said that they're better than us; they've just never said that we're the best.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Odds and Ends

I've been wait-listed at the Masters of International Affairs program. Which is both and good. I'm rather disappointed that I didn't just get in, but at the same time I understood the odds - there were 100 applicants, 45 of us made the second cut, where we got to hang out at the school for two days, all expenses paid, and they told us that just 20 of us would be admitted into the program. So, I'm on the waiting list for the International Economics track.

It was a back-up plan and not the end all and be all, and I'm not necessarily sure I want to spend another 2 years studying. So maybe this is the best thing. Maybe it's the best way to assuage my guilt over potentially taking a spot in the class from someone who wants it a lot more than I do. Of course, this doesn't mean I won't get in. I was wait-listed at the University of Virginia almost 8 years ago, and a week or two later, they called to say that I was officially "in." (One day, I'm going to have to share my UVA story with all of y'all).

Watch this space. I'll keep you informed.

In other news, I had a nightmare. I dreamed that I called a high school friend and I said something and she hung up on me. And I woke up this morning with a headache and a pounding heart. I really hate that I still have this dream and I really can't believe that after ten years, I'm still thinking about these people and trying to make amends for something that was never my fault. When Lynn was here a couple weeks ago, she was like, "Let it go already," but she also understood that it was really hard. After all, Lynn had her own issues with these individuals that took years to resolve and my relationship with them was even closer than Lynn's.

The headache could always be for another reason. I was also fretting about Iraq and this blog last night. Like, composing an opinion on Iraq in my sleep. How crazy is that? For some reason, I kept editing/writing in my sleep and occasionally yelling at Blogger.

I'm getting job advice from Sarah on AIM. Sarah was laid-off a couple years ago when things started to go sour in the Big City to the West and she was out of work for about 4 months. She pounded the pavement pretty hard and so I've been looking to her for some hints and tips on what to do. She just told me to give up on the company in the Big City to the East, because face it - the interview was in December and by now, the company has already hired someone or isn't hiring or whatever. It's a hard pill to swallow, but Sarah's right. So, next search...

So, anyone want to hire me?

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

My taxes are done! Yeah! Being poor means that H&R Block allowed me to do it online for free using their software. Which is a Very Good Thing because I had some complications with this year's taxes and I had no idea what was what. But it's all done, and now there's just the mailing to do. Despite using the software, I chose to mail my taxes in and have the refund sent to me as a check. I'm old-fashioned that way, but I am also satisfied that that particular method works just fine. And direct deposit always freaks me out if I'm not actually giving the party a voided check. Those routing numbers at the bottom? I just don't trust myself to type them in properly. I'd much prefer to hand my check to the banker and get the receipt in my hand that says the check has been deposited.

But whew, that was quick. Usually it takes me several hours to do them. I think this took about 90 minutes and most of that was me trying to figure out why Adobe Acrobat wasn't working.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Blogger lost my archives. Grrrr....
Blogging goes mainstream.

A spammer tried to sell me a vending machine today. Still, nothing ever beats the guy trying to find parts for his time-machine or the one wanting to sell me a six-bullet firing knives. They don't make spam like they used to.

Saturday, March 08, 2003

Chelsea Clinton nabs a six-figure salary. With an International Affairs degree. Masters, that is. Which is the same second Masters I'm going after. But not at Oxford. But still, perhaps it's not a complete wash of a program. But then again, my name isn't Chelsea Clinton either.

Friday, March 07, 2003

So before we go to war with Iraq (does anyone really believe that W is going to back down from his irrational escalation of committment of US troops in the Persian Gulf?), I thought that this report issued by the War Crimes Tribunal in the aftermath of the Gulf War to be very interesting. I was actually surprised to learn that the first George Bush et al were actually found guilty. Who knew? And I thought this article on the US conspiracy to commit war against Iraq to be revealing. Deja vu, anyone?

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Who's Hiring? Who's Firing?
1 hour, 31 minutes until spring break.... I think this could down in history as the dullest couple of blogs ever.
1 hour, 35 minutes until spring break...
The paper is finished. As of 8:30 this morning. Pretty decent, huh? I didn't stay up all night (Mom!) to write it. I actually finished the rough draft by 6 pm last night (it took me about 90 minutes) and then went out to hang out for dinner with some friends. I was gratified to learn at dinner that I wasn't the only one who had a late start. Other people were just starting their paper after dinner. I just did a bit of editing until about 11 pm. We had a six-page limit and my paper was about seven so I made creative use of margins, font and trying to cut out extraneous material. I'm happy to report that I eliminated all but a few uses of the word 'that'. However, my writing was more passive than usual - I just couldn't be bothered to eliminate 'to be' from my writing this time around as the entire assignment aggravated me to no end.

I found out that a lot of people were getting their paper professionally bound. Yet another thing I really didn't want to be bothered doing. Even though Copy Corner is right around the corner from my place. But since someone said she'd emailed Cheerleader Prof to ask about binding, I figured I couldn't overlook this new bit of intelligence. Luckily, I had a vinyl folder hanging around and I used that, even it was obviously made for a two-hole punch paper, not three-hole punch. But there is a white strip that goes over the holes anyway, so I figure I'm good. I do think binding is a waste of money, especially for a six-page paper that is basically useless; unlike other papers and projects I've done over the last two years, this isn't one that could really go into the portfolio because it really doesn't demonstrate anything that could be useful to a future employer.

Bad attitude much? Yeah, pretty much so.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

I'm more calm now. And the course of action has been determined. One of my fellow MBAs said, on his own, that he would write a letter to Cheerleader Prof on my behalf, along with suggestions for change in the way she runs the class. This way, I remain anonymous, but she still knows that something is wrong. I just got to read the letter that was sent and it was beautifully written. Much better than anything I can do. In the meantime, stressing over this incident this morning has given me a headache. On a positive note, our study session for the HR exam was very productive AND I participated in a prof's research study - for which I earned $10 - which is about 10 times more than I made in February - and cookies. And now, I must go and take the exam.

I'm spitting mad. I've never been this mad before. Some of you have heard me complain about Cheerleader Prof and just how crazily she runs her class. One of the weirdest things is that she only counts class participation on case days - which are approximately once a month. We had two cases due today. I read both and wrote up both. I wrote five pages of single-spaced text last night. I could have watched "Married By America," I could have studied for my HR test, but no, I was writing and preparing for today's class.

Anyway, our write-ups are 10 points, our participation in the cases are 15 - for a total of 25 points per case. Class starts at 9:30. I raised my hand at 9:40, for the first question. At 10:20, my arm was aching. Both people on either side of me - my teammates, incidentally - had been called on already, one of them twice. At 10:21, I put my arm down. At 10:35, I decided to give it another shot. I mean, 15 points for participation is nothing to sneeze at. It could be the difference between an A and B. I want an A, but I hate this class so much, I'm willing to take a B. Heck, I'd take a B today if I never had to go to class again.

How horrible that?

Anyway, I never did get called on. And so now, next to my name, I will not have any participation points. I plan to email her today or tomorrow, when I'm more calm, and tell her that I was prepared and willing to participate, but I never had the opportunity to do so. Am I making a big mistake? Am I shooting myself in the foot? Should I say nothing? I don't trust myself to have a face to face confrontation. I get angry so rarely that I get overly emotional when I do get angry and the last time I was angry at a prof, I had a complete meltdown. So I really don't trust myself to say anything to her.

If this was "Survivor," I'd be so willing to get voted off the island at this point.