January 25, 2003

Wrong Class, Sick, and The Widow Maker

I've been meaning to add another entry since about Weds this week but just haven't been able to get around to it yet. I was actually surprised when I went to make this entry since I have a new comment. I guess I'm just shocked that people read this. I'm at the grand total of 2 now, whoooooo! Thanks for the comment Christy, it looks like quite a few people have stumbled in through GeoURL. When i signed up I took a browse through alot of the local sites and yours was one of them! Anyway your comment reminded me of something that I did this week.

Now its still pretty early in the semester and I've been more often than usual, but thats still not saying alot for me. I've been busy and had some stuff to do so I skipped my one class on Weds so I could stay at work. When I went to bed Weds night though apparently I set the Tuesday/Thursday alarm time. And I rolled it back another 15 because of the cold and snow so I'd have enough time to park and fall a few times walking up. I parked and went on to class and was there about 10 minutes early, not too bad for me. I noticed there weren't many people but I figured that was because of how cold it was. Then someone I didn't recognize walked up to the front of the room. The instructor for the class mentioned she might have jury duty coming up and she would try to find someone to come in if she couldn't so I figured thats what had happened. She then pulled out a book I didn't have and began asking questions about an assignment out of it. Ahhhh yeah I must have set alarm 1, the MWF alarm instead of alarm 2, for Tuesday & Thusday. Ooops. I briefly considered just sitting in the room and waiting since the chair was comfortable and I would avoid the embarassment of being in the wrong class but decided against it incase she would call on me. Instead I went and bought a hot tea out of a vending machine, being careful not to make eye contact with anyone along the way. On a side note the tea tasted like coffee, does a 2nd nozzle cost that much to include?

I'm also getting sick, so thats like the 2nd time in 3 weeks or so. I hope its not as bad as last time though. I pretty much sat for about 3 days in my apartment alternating between fever and chills. I've got the same spacey kinda' feeling in my head now that I always get as I'm getting really sick. Yay. I took my temperature and its about 100F now so hopefully its a shortlived thing and will be gone by Monday so I can get some stuff done this week. I hope I'm not even too bad tomorrow so I can get some homework done and try to get some financial aid paperwork going on the right path.

I went out this afternoon and headed to Best Buy to pick up The Bourne Identity. While I was out I decided to also go and get groceries for the week. Wal Mart in the afternoon is hell. I really hate going in there then because of all the seemingly incredibly dumb people. My favorite is always the people that block the aisle. There are so many ways to do it too. Having your kids walking down the middle very slowly with a cart was pretty popular today. Although my personal favorite is the people that park their carts across the end of the aisle competely blocking it, stop to have a conversation, and then look at you like you're an asshole when you say "pardon me." Carts need horns. And a forklift or some flipping mechanism to move people from your path. I was also going to pick up shoes while I was out. I've been debating Airwalks, Vans, or a pair of Doc Marten's for some time and had decided on the Airwalks. I just didn't feel like hitting the shoe store though so I'll have to order some through amazon or something.

For dinner I had some shredded Jimmy Dean BBQ Pork stuff that I bought today. It mostly tastes like BBQ but has a somewhat eerie aftertaste of Jimmy Dean maple syrup sausage. Anyway I picked K-19: The Widowmaker off pay-per-view to watch during dinner. Over all I would say it was pretty good although not my favorite submarine movie. Harrison Ford makes a good Captain although not as good as Gene Hackman or Sean Connery did in their sub movies. It isn't meant to be an action torpedo-exchanging movie, but instead just tells the story of the sub crisis. It stayed entertaining throughout, although I think I could have been a little more liberal with the editing. I would say my only major complaint would be that many people seemed to switch between bad Russian accents and none at all through the movie, that was a little distracting. Watch it if you get the chance, but don't rush, and I don't think I would buy it to add to a DVD collection.

Posted by johnm at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2003

Week number two...

Well the second week of school starts tomorrow, well I guess in a few hours today actually. Its a shame we didn't get a busy day like Tuesday off instead of a day when I just have one easy class but I can't complain too much since it is still a day off. I took the time to go down to Cairo for some work related activities. I guess I now know why no one has ever said, "Hey, lets go to Cairo!" There doesn't exactly seem to be much to do. I took some pictures of their downtown area and its just deserted with only a couple businesses. Some of the scenery on the way there was neat looking though and I might try to go out and snap some pictures when I have time.

I've also discovered that I could pretty easily give up tv I think. I like The Screensavers on TechTV (although its no where near as good as it used to be, I can always hope it will get better again) and a few shows on Comedy Central that I could easily go without. I've gotten alot more used to listening to the radio lately and that and the Internet could easily fill my little amount of free time. If TechTV ever goes down I know how I'll save $40 a month!

This weekend I did pick up and watch the Oceans 11 dvd and liked it quite a bit. I've always been a fan of caper or heist movies and this was the best (although about only one) that I've seen since DeNiro and Brando in The Score. Its a pretty basic story but it flows well, shows off Las Vegas (been thinking about it some with DefCon 11 coming up), and has a good unexpected twist or two in it. I would say at least rent it if you haven't seen it. One thing that stood out to me was the musical score. Its probably nothing to listen to on its own, but was very effective in the movie. I took particular note of scenes with a strong bass in background. Its now Tuesday so The Bourne Identity should also be available and I would encourage you to watch that as well, I will be purchasing it. It may not be a deep story line or revolutionay film, but I found it to be an entertaining movie. I think it would have done much better at the box office if it hadn't been released at the same time as Minority Report. I liked it more than Minority Report too!

I think I need to change the design of the site some. Any suggestions? I'm thinking something like royal blue and black interlaced background with white text, but open to hearing what would look better or anything that should be added!

Posted by johnm at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2003

And so the next semester begins...

Well the new semester has started and I'm already not sure what to think. I have a couple attendance nazi's who drop 5000 points per abscence, and a couple who don't care and give you what you deserve. The really funny thing is after one instructor got done telling how abscences will not be excused unless we have written proof of hospitalization or a family death. She went through a huge list of things like doctors visits, sick kids, broken cars, etc that wouldn't be an excuse. Minutes later she mentioned we needed to give her our email addresses in case she couldn't show because of upcoming jury duty. Seemed a bit hypocritical to me, but not unexpected from an SIU instructor. I wonder if the teachers union decides to strike if she would do that?

Attendance is an important factor to me. Sometimes I work late or stay at work to keep doing something, feel like sleeping, or just plain don't want to go to a boring lecture. As a student I feel like this is my right. As long as I'm paying for the class, I should be able to come when I feel like it with no penalty and the instructor should be the one watching their abscences. This is like someone hiring you to do a job and them telling you how often you have to be there. I am paying them to do a job, they should do it and fairly assign me a grade based on my performance. If someone doesn't perform well because of their attendance then they will get what they deserve and learn their lesson over time. If anything I feel like this is a way of working around teaching people to be responsible for their actions. It also really pisses me off if I did the work to earn an A and my grade is dropped to a B for no good reason.

Another sore point is instructors requesting a ton of books for their classes. Multiple classes are requiring 3 books. My favorite is the class where the instructor said we'll be using visio and powerpoint some so we should buy the books covering the basics. After class I asked him if they would be required or just suggested since I already feel pretty confident in both applications and with the online help I didn't think I'd necessarily need them. He said they are required books since the school has a software agreement with Microsoft and we'll need them to use their software. It already infuriates me to see how the school teaches all their networking and software classes around Microsoft classes, not even taking a day to cover any of the alternative/open source options (at least in any of the classes I've had so far) but to me this sounds like the school gets a cheap rate on software but maybe that depends on how many books are used, etc. Its a little conspiracy theory sounding but I don't believe its that far off to believe that a school gets its software agreement cheaper based on the number of classes using them offerend and by association the number of textbooks sold. Pretty good marketing if nothing else.

Anyway I think I'm going to need a new backpack since I believe mine will explode with this load of books. Going with all used books I'm at a total of $348.60 worth of books, with $25.27 worth of tax, making the grand total roughly $373.87 worth of books. Thats alot, but knowing I can get about $40 back at the end of the semester makes it ok. What a business.

Posted by johnm at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2003

Its been a while....

Well its been a while since my last post but not much has been happening. I'm been putting in some long days at work setting up some stuff on our freebsd servers. Now it looks like that doesn't matter since we're getting in some new hard drives and raid controller cards and I'll probably just blow them away. Ahhh well. :)

I went out on Saturday and bought most of my books for this semester and took the usual raping by the bookstore. The little card stapled to the receipt tries to comfort you in your post-assault condition by saying how you can sell them back at the end of the semester. It sounds like a good idea initially but once you go to the book store with your books and are offered 15% of their cost its more like vigorously rubbing salt in the wound. I always thought credit card companies knew how to rip people off and make some easy money, I've since added college book stores to the list as well.

I stayed home this weekend and cleaned up the apartment since it was in dire need. Everythings looking pretty good now, although I do need another bookcase and give Chuck his VCR back that I guess I've had since the last time I saw him in November. I should have washed my car too since it looks like some ass threw a strawberry shake on the passenger side door but it was cold and I wasn't feeling quite that ambitious.

I'm both eager and apprehensive about class starting tomorrow. This will be the first time in over a year that I've been in school full time again. I really dislike school and would prefer even my job over it just about any day. Even so I realize I'll have alot better earning potential with at least a BS so I consider it taking me that much closer. I think I'd be more eager with a more challenging degree program but it would take me too long to meet the math requirements for something like CS. Do your math homework everyone!

I've also been researching different banks to try to get a student loan from lately. With my hours being cut in half due to school, I'm going to be in a severe money pinch in a couple weeks. I think I'm going to cash out a whole life insurance policy I have since I can't think of a good reason to keep it, but it won't even cover half of this semester's tuition so I can't float on that very long.

I'm also debating trying to make it to DefCon in Las Vegas this year. It looks like it will interfere with final exams for the summer semester so I'm not sure that I'll able to make it or not yet. I'll just wait things out and see how it goes but as much as I'd like to go, I think I'd rather get my degree done with first.

I'm still trying to get used to the whole blogging thing too. I partially feel like going more indepth and personal with this since thats the whole point, but on the other hand I know friends, and maybe even family and co-workers read or may wind up reading this. That makes me a bit more hesitant to share too much but I think I'm going to try get over that and just post what I'm thinking. So if you fall into one of the above catagories, be warned that if you read here in the future to not blame me for what I'm thinking and most importantly don't take them for meaning all that much.

I also think I'm going to start saving and looking on ebay for some hardware for this box. I need to come up with a better backup solution that my "tar it up and scp it somewhere from time to time" thing. There is no sensitive information or anything like that here, but just thoughts of mine here, and memories in the pictures I have stored and its something that I'd like to know I can preserve. I'm thinking raid 1 with a cd-r or maybe just a tape drive......

Also I noticed going through the web server logs that I'm getting some hits from others in Carbondale (if you're on dsl and with a certain ISP that I don't work for) say hi or something. :)

Posted by johnm at 12:16 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2003

New Haircut...

I had today off and figured most places would be closed but apparently most just closed early today. I took the opportunity to visit Best Buy and pickup Full Circle by Pennywise and Flogging Molly's Drunken Lullabies. Irish rock/punk is surprisingly addictive and good.

While I was out I also decided to hit the mall and stopped at Mastercuts for a haircut. After my barber didn't cut the sideburns even, etc the last few times I decided maybe its time to try some others. I've had just a basic cut with a part on my left side for as long as I can remember so I took the opportunity to try a new cut. I suggested something short and maybe spiky/messy and hoped the girl cutting my hair could be just take a guess at what would be good and go from there. She brought over a book and I pointed out a couple differnt things along what I was thinking of and told her to do how it look best.

We chatted about why we were here, etc and she was pretty cool. Its a shame it would be really awkward to ask out the person who just cut your hair in a busy place since she was so cool. Luckily for both of us I don't have the nerve to do that heh. Anyway the cut came out pretty well and she suggested I get some hair glue since hair gel is quite a bit weaker. I like it and might try something a little spikier next time. Hell maybe I'll go blue for a while at some point. I'm sure it will be interesting to try fixing it back up in the morning after I shower though.

Here's a sample of what it looks like from a bad picture I took:

Posted by johnm at 07:12 PM | Comments (2)

LOTR: The Two Towers Review

First, happy new year. Hoppefully the last year was good for everyone but may the new one be even better.

That said I went to saw the Two Towers Lord of the Rings movie a couple days ago. I was pretty impressed with it. The Fellowship of the Ring was an enjoyable movie too, but seemed to drag at points. I did buy the dvd but still usually wind up falling asleep at some point while I'm watching it. This time the director did a much better job at keeping the story flowing, at least I thought so. Of course the story might just be a little more exciting at this point anyway though.

Gollum was awesome looking through the entire film as well. Down to the strands of hair bouncing as he moved, he looked flawless to me. The only visual complain I would even have for the movie is where the two hobbits are riding on the walking trees. I know the trees are called something else but I'm not a big Lord of the Rings person so I'll just call them walking trees. Anyway there are a few close up shots of a hobbit, I think Pippin, at the top of the tree. In all those shots it looked like a really bad chromakey job to me. I don't know if the lighting was different in the shots or what but it just looked kind of nasty to me.

That is a a minor complaint though for a good movie. Go see the movie and don't get anything to drink if you plan to watch the whole thing. The bathroom is a good 3 hours and 20 minutes away with previews and everything else.

Posted by johnm at 02:09 AM | Comments (0)