November 29, 2005

Sacred Month

I offer my condolences to my various college friends (and even to those in college who I really don't like) on your entering "the sacred month." It was first referred to as such to me by my old professor Dr. Chen as "the sacred month where students like you do the only real work they intend to do for the whole semester." Now, I know some of you are bogged down simply as a course of the natural progression of the semester, while others have taken the practices of the Cynic to heart, and are just getting into all of the stuff that you should have done months ago.

For the edification of the masses, I will post a list of projects accomplished by me during the sacred month in years past.

Freshman Fall: Bearing in mind that you really don't do much in freshman fall, I wrote both of my little theological treatises for Dr. Woodring, both of which could have been done far sooner than the last week of class and finals. Ah... the joys of freshman year.

Freshman Spring: Like freshman fall, I really didn't have much by the way of actual work to get done... go figure. Ah yes... I did finish that damned bolt. I also studied a lot of Calc 3... pretty much the final for which I was best-prepared in my tenure as an undergraduate.

Sophomore Fall: Ah... Diff EQ and your stupid excercises in homework copying, how I loathe you. I finished 3/4 of my Armstrong Data Structures programs during the last month of the semester. It was also during this stretch that I gave the longest presentation of my college career in P.O.D. I also took the $*%$&% $%&%*$%*$ *$%&$%$* $&&%$$*#$(# $#&% $%&$%$%* P.O.D. Final. I'm not sure I'll ever forgive Batts and DeBoer for that class.

Sophomore Spring: I did a LOT of Bib Lit Journals. I also wrote an entire term paper for Historiography in one day. I would also like to note that it was during this last month that Stu and I walked out of I&M in the middle of Dr. Anazia's yammering. I'm particularly proud of that.

Junior Fall: You will note that up until this point, I had managed to shirk the majority of my workload altogether. It is at this point in one's career that that starts to change. I would like to thank Dr. Varnell for making my draw hundreds of pointless UML Diagrams during the last month of this semester. Dr. Leiffer also gets credit for the most-skipped class of all time where I had a LOAD of work to make up during the last month. I also wrote a decently-long complete BS paper for learning from leaders, and polished off the month with more writing for Inklings and the final from hell in that class. I mean, I was prepared... but 10 pages of writing?!

Junior Spring: You see, I did this one ALL wrong. I had a prophets paper that Woodring made us do for the beginning of April, a 3-parts-in-a-series program for Baas' Computer Theory class that was supposed to be done over the whole semester that I did in the last month, and 3 separate programs for Programming Languages that I did in about the last two weeks.

Senior Fall: Determined to do better than I had in the Spring, I got most of my work done earlier... but I still ended up doing Algorithms and Networks programs late into the last month. This wouldn't have been a problem if I hadn't had a COMPLETE screw-up of a group for Varnell's special IBM class and 2/3 of my teammates for King's Software Engineering class weren't utter... well... I'll be nice: academic deviants. This resulted in my not even seeing Anna the two weeks of school more than 5-10 minutes a day plus (some) meals.

Senior Spring: On the upside, it was this semester that I gave new meaning to passing with doing nothing. Almost nothing done for Architecture, Program Translation and the IBM Project combined... nothing really done for Speech, a decent bit of effort for Watson's Brit Lit II and NOTHING for Racquetball. I mean, hell, it's racquetball. What little I did this semester was mostly the hell of preparing for a wedding/graduation/move/get-a-job. That was fun.

So there you have it.... 8 semesters of slacking, each followed by its own month of furious effort. I feel your pain... and you can keep it.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:56 AM | TrackBack

November 27, 2005

Libertarian Turmoil

So we went to What-a-burger this evening to get a late night meal, and the topic came up that Anna had had some students in her student teaching that had worked 3rd shift.

Now, as a former resident of a fairly liberal state (New York), the notion of a high school student working 3rd shift on a school night about sent me into shock. Anna countered with the point, "Aren't you the Libertarian?" and I must admit that it stung the old brain a bit.

Which raises an interesting point... while it seems obvious that allowing a 10-year-old to work 3rd shift seems to be some sort of human rights violation, the same thing at 18 is perfectly legal. Now, I allow that theere ought to be a gradual relaxation of work prohibitions in the middle... but where exactly does a Human Right stop and Socialistic Government Meddling take over? Should the government be allowed to mandate a 40 hour work week or should the market regulate itself?

more later... comment for now...

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 01:16 AM | TrackBack

November 25, 2005

Broken LED

So Wednesday I was given the service call of doom... or so it seemed at the time. You see, when little computer companies sell high-end computers with on-site warrantees, there's no way in hell that they can service more than maybe a 200-mile radius... maybe. So what they do is they contract to a third-party on-site technical support agency. And when such an agency lacks a presence in a particular region or is too busy due to proximity to the holidays, such an agency contracts to us.

Anyways, we got a request for service on Monday that we accepted, not really thinking of the implications. Turns out, the agency wants us to "fix a broken hard drive LED." That's right, the little red light on the front of your computer that blinks when your hard drive is accessed... the one that is usually soldered into a lead that comes from the front of your case and is hot-glued on. Fortunately, we're brave at Plug 'n Play and figured that the odds were against the user's comptuer having blown an LED without having had a colossal motherboard failure and that it was far more likely that the lead had come off the motherboard or something workable. However, just in case, I brought a soldering iron, a whole array of tools and some industrial solvent for my 1:00 appointment in Hallsville.

As has ever been my luck with Hallsville, I found myself slightly turned-around following the directions I had been given, and thusly found myself on a residential street where the locale in question was supposed to be located... and after a time, I even managed to find the house... with one small hitch: the house lacked a driveway. This seemed peculiar, even for the Hickville, USA town of Hallsville... and I resolved to investigate later. Upon approaching the residence, I noted that it did not appear to be occupied by a hermit, which suggested that the lack of a car and a place to put one was odd... but I resolutely rang the doorbell and was greeted by a rather... normal-looking gentleman in perhaps his mid-50s.

The house was in something of a state of disarray that was indicative of someone having just moved in and I was ushered through the maze of boxes to the computer. Observing the client use the computer, I could not help but notice that the HD LED was, indeed, unresponsive. It was at this point that the client began to tell me of his woes, beginning with "they went and put a RAID in my computer and I didn't want one" continuing on to "it didn't come with a modem" and cumulating in "when they put the modem in, the hard drive light stopped working." It was at this point that I paused for clarification: yes, in fact, the computer company put in an extra hard drive in a performance-increasing RAID array in the user's new computer for no extra charge (free upgrade of the month or some such nonsense) and he demanded it removed. Oh, and the modem was presumed to have been standard with a computer because, "every computer has a modem." So basically, I had my work cut out for me with a man who seemed somewhat difficult to please... joy.

Next, we turned off the comptuer and I sat it on its side... a process that seemed to upset the client to no end as it was apparently unnatural to turn the device away from its usual (and natural) orientation. This was followed by the ceremonial opening of the case... another one of those unnatural acts we technicians perform. And lastly, the examination of the motherboard. And it was here that our hero sighed with relief, as he noted gleefully that a quick removal and flipping of the HD LED lead caused the current to be passing in the correct direction through the LED in question and render it illuminated once more. And the peasants did rejoice, the hero did charge the contracting agency, and he subsequently left quickly before the client envisioned new demands.

Oh... and as it turns out, this house is one of only two houses on its residential street to have a driveway on an parallel street that lies behind it. How bizarre.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:53 AM | TrackBack

November 23, 2005

"The I Button"

Thanks in large part to Anna being off of work this week, this morning I got to work around 8, instead of the 7:30 arrival followed by a half an hour of killing time that I usually do. Anyways, when I walked back into our work-room, I noticed a computer that had been freshly-built with a note on it that said "was here working on this until 4... don't expect me in until afternoon" which was signed by my manager.

From this, I surmised that the client had wanted the computer built for today and so I examined it and gave it a once-over to make sure everything worked and that there weren't any issues resulting from Brad's sleep-deprived work. Satisfied that the computer was ready, I moved it up to the front of the store, where it was picked up later this morning by an employee of the client for whom we had built it.

At about 11, I got a call from Caleb. "Umm, Cynic... I'm scared. I think we should go take our computer back from that client."

Cynic: "Why is that, Caleb?"

Caleb: "They just called up and told me that the computer wasn't working."

Cynic: "Well, that's not probable... it left here working."

Caleb: "That's what I told them, and they said their technician couldn't get it to boot or respond or anything... so I asked to talk to him."

Cynic: "Good call."

Caleb: "Yeah... well, I got him on the phone and he told me, 'I only have one question for you... that little button on the back, is it supposed to be in the "I" position or the "O" position."

Cynic: *Breaks up laughing* "NOOOOOOOO!"

Caleb: "Yeah, I told him the "I" Position and he responded 'Wow! It turned right on! I'm just going to fiddle with it some more now.'"

Cynic: "Damn."

Caleb: "I wanted to say, 'Please don't fiddle with it... for the love of God just bring it back!'"

Cynic: "I think we can safely invalidate their warranty on grounds of their technician ruining that computer.... because I'm pretty sure he WILL break it."

Caleb: "I feel bad, because they're a non-profit and I really like the lady in charge of this place... I think I should tell her that their technician is a moron."

Cynic: "Yeah... and tell her that if he touches the computer again, we'll invalidate the warranty."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:27 PM | TrackBack

November 10, 2005

My Attention

It has come to my attention that the SC blogs are rated family-friendly and are not being actively filtered by some of the more upstanding and anal-retentive ISP's out there. You have no idea how irritated it makes me that Wilson has won this one.

A bit of history for those who haven't been here since the beginning of this thing. Back in time... way back in January of 2004, we came to the conclusion that Blogger sucked and decided we were leaving. And by "came to the conclusion", I mean that we had already known for a long time that the arbitrary server crashes, down-times and maintenance windows that Blogger was famous for had come to be an annoyance. And by "decided we were leaving", I mean that I had decided to front the money from my credit card to provide hosting digs (to be paid back by individuals... sometimes) and that I had conned Ardith into doing the actual work of setting up MT on our new host so that we could get the hell out of Blogger-land.

Anyways, as one of the conditions of moving to with the rest of us, Wilson insisted on family-friendliness. I'll give you one guess as to whose blog was the only one that had to be cleaned up (which also happened to be the longest-running and, at that time, containing the most posts.) In fact... I think (*goes to check*) it's still up in all of its uncensored glory over on blogger. This insistence was satisfied by me as I went through and ran the conversion process on my old posts, censoring as I went, along with doing other things like correcting a rather reprehensible habit I had picked up for hot-linking images off of the sites of others. But all of that to say, I was now family-friendly... mostly.

Granted, I'm pretty sure that Wilson's ISP at home still won't let him visit my site... but I don't think it will typically let him visit his own either, and his doesn't even get interesting search hits for "midget and big man sex", "power wench", or " have sex little midget woman". All that to say is that I'm family-friendly now, I don't really want to be, and I blame Wilson for it. I think I might revert... if it weren't for the fact that the rest of the bloggers have gotten used to family-friendly and might be unwilling to allow me to revert.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 07:54 AM | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

Political Leanings

You are a

Social Liberal
(63% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(78% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

It's not very often that I go into my own political leanings in writing, mostly because they seem to be in constant flux with very few certainties... and also because such discussion, as has often been speculated in the Ice Cave, tends to create more divisions and bickering than it does accomplish much good.

By way of example of my own unstable stances, though I'm a big fan of fiscal conservatism, I really do appreciate the arts. One side of my brain argues that if taxes weren't so exorbitant, the patronage system that was so prevalent throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance would take over... the other argues for the generally depraved and wanton nature of a society who would never enjoy immediate benefit at large from the largesse of the elite.

That fiscal conservatism is contrasted with a social liberalism in the sense that, though I believe that homosexuality is aberrant and morally reprehensible, I have a hard time justifying a government with a separation of Church and State legislating Judeo-Christian belief on what is essentially a victimless crime. Granted, the case can be argued that every "victimless crime" has its perpetrators as victims... but I have an especially hard time with legislation that protects citizens from themeselves. In short, all of my stances seem to be rather fluid things... and that is somewhat unsettling to me. Open-mindedness is all well and good, as long as there is something at the core.

Fortunately while all of my politics seem relatively subject to change I can hold close to the few truths that are known to me:

1) Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, mind and strength
2) Love your neighbor as yourself

...Wow, that kind of got long, windy and introspective. I think I'll shut up now and paraphrase a famous Watson-ism: As long as I'm getting older and continue to find that I'm asking more questions and am sure of fewer answers, I think I'm going in the right direction.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:08 PM | TrackBack

November 02, 2005

Faithful Henchman

I am now Murray's faithful henchman. I stumbled into the kitchen yesterday morning to the now-familiar sounds of my wife flipping out about the presence of a mouse. Only this time, Joe had gotten his poor paw stuck in the mouse trap, but was still alive and well. He was understandably upset about this and was scurrying back and forth with the trap in tow, trying desperately to save his poor paw. He looked so sad and desperate, you just wanted to make him feel better. At least, I did... Anna was muttering and going on about killing him.

Putting a stop to that sort of homicidal ranting, I tried to use the broom to pull Joe and the mouse trap out from the side of refrigerator where he had dragged it. Sensing the malice of my mate, Joe decided to take temporary refuge underneath the fridge. Minutes passed with Joe moving around underneath the refrigerator with his trap as I negotiated his safe conduct with my increasingly-agitated wife. The deal was I could set him loose, but only outside. So it was that I pushed the refrigerator to one side, grabbed the mouse trap (by the safe end... I didn't want a delirious mouse to bite the hand that was going to set him free), and took him outside, where I pried the bar open and set him loose. The end... or so I thought.

Yesterday evening, I set down in the bathroom to do some light reading. As I sat there, in scampered Joe. I bolted upright as I was a bit startled, thus scaring Joe out into the hall. Joe should have stayed with me... as his presence out in the hall attracted the attention of the more wrathful resident of the apartment. I hurried out to Anna, who was already informing me (rather bitterly) that Joe had just run into the bedroom and she was unhappy with this fact. I wandered into the bedroom, and there sat Joe, gazing about from the middle of the floor. Knowing that I had to act fast or lose Joe, I begged Anna to get my a broom and a dustpan. Chasing a limping Joe from the bedroom (so yes, I know it was the same mouse), I cornered him in the hall. Anna seemed much more willing to allow for his escape in light of Joe's improving manners (barging into a married couple's bedroom to hide out is considered bad taste in most areas), and so she handed me the broom and dustpan, whereupon I scooped Joe up and escorted him outside. It was only after I let Joe loose that I informed Anna that it was, in fact, Joe who I had just let loose. She might have been a bit peevish... but at least our resident mouse lives on. And Murray approves.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:51 AM | TrackBack