May 17, 2003

The Matrix, School, and Other Stuff

I took some time this afternoon to go see The Matrix Reloaded. I haven't really read any reviews or anything because I didn't want to spoil the movie. In general though disappointment seemed to be the word going around. It lived up to my expectations without a doubt though. When I first saw The Matrix I wasn't that impressed and didn't care for it alot. I didn't catch onto things until I watched it again and paid attention to it. In Reloaded it at first feels as though its largely an action movie without near as much of the philosophical details the first movie brought. Once you leave the theater though and start thinking about it you realize it was there to a much greater degree. You certainly won't miss the Christian and mythological elements that run throught the story though. And hey, who will complain about a PVC clad Trinity?

I've heard some complaints about the CGI but I found it much less visually flawed than the last Lord of the Rings movie. Others have complained about the fight scenes involving too much wire work or bullet time. You went to a Matrix movie, how could you not expect them to be used? The score was pretty good too, although I don't think it necessarily was as good as the first movie's. Spybreak seemed to fit into that scene perfectly. I still like the Rage Against the Machine (what and apt band name for the movie) at the end of each film. The hallway scene from the first movie still might top any in this movie in my eyes. I would have been okay with less action and more dialogue and development, but by no means was it bad. I will definatley be going to see the movie again soon to catch things I missed the first time. I'm anxious to see the final movie and how the story concludes. There is one really obvious potential conclusion you could draw from this movie, although I think its unlikely it will be correct. It will be interesting to see if the chosen ending is a typical Hollywood happy ending, or a surprising disappointing one. Or for that matter, given the nature of the two pervious movies, I think it will be more likely the ending will be somewhat vague and force the viewer to think and determine what actually happened on their own.

Interim classes are now in session for me. I can say I truly had forgotten how much I hate rising at 7:00 am. I'm so much more of a night person. I just don't function well this early. Just a couple more weeks of it though and its another three credit hours bagged. Sadly though immediately following it I have summer classes starting. I don't think they will be too bad, but I'm already starting to feel like I need a break. If all goes well though this time next year I'll be finished with my BS and won't need to worry about a break as much. I've still tried to delivery a form to my counselor practically all week. She's been out of the office each day when I try though.

In other news I emailed someone that I knew in high school and heard back! Its always really cool to hear from people that you haven't heard from and see what they're up to. There are very few people from high school I care to keep up with and even fewer, perhaps two to three tops, that I haven't been able to do so with. Anyway I'm glad to have heard back and look forward to catching up and hopefully staying that way, so if there's someone cool you wish you would have kept in touch with, try and see if you can get in touch with them!

Posted by johnm at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2003

Another Semester Down

Well Sping semester and finals are done with at last. It wasn't too bad of a semester between the internship and half semester course. Sadly though today I started an interim class and am registered for summer classes as well. Some time off would really be nice but I'll pass in the interest of getting done sooner.

In other school related news I have to make it clear how much I would strongly recommend against going to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to anyone. My experience as a whole has been nothing but negative in my time here. When I started in the computer science department I had poor counselors and a pathetic set of teachers outside of Bob McGlinn. I took some time off thinking I was the problem since I might be burnt out. In retrospect yes I probably needed to slow down a little bit but I think the school was at more fault than I was. I eventually rejoined the college as an Information Systems Technologies.

Wow, once again I was completely floored by the total lack of caring the staff has shown outisde a select few instructors. I figured it would be bad when the only advisor for the department had cancelled the first two meetings I had with her. The first time there wasn't even the courtesy to call the prior day, she left a message on my answering machine that morning which I of course didn't get a note taped to her door. At least the 2nd trip she called the day before. On the third trip though she wasn't there again and left a note to see the department chair. My counselor had already made a schedule and left it with her for me. I'm so glad my input is valued. Of course as I tried to correct it to fit my schedule I emailed her and the emails were ignored for weeks before I called multiple times to pin her down.

This wouldn't be a big deal but we can't register by phone or online which I find somewhat comical anyway. The school no longer sends report cards to save money and says we can print them online, why can't we make another step into this century and allow people to register online too? I have just gotten off the phone with this counselor who told me I can't register for a web based course in my major because I'm not registered as a distance learning student and it would be too much work to track students between them. I just don't see how it makes sense to restict students from taking classes that would work better for them, especially in such a small major as mine. I tried to protest the point but as usual got nowhere. I guess I should be grateful for a piece of the 3 hours a day slice she has allocated as office hours.

I should give a special thanks to Dr. Gonzenbach who despite not having even had me in a class yet allowed me to circumvent my counselors judgement on allowing me to do my internship this last semester. My counselor, without knowing anything about my skills, where I work, what I've done, etc completely refused me the opportunity to do my internship saying I needed more classes first. She said the only way around it was to talk to the internship coordinator, which I did. Dr. Gonzenbach listened to what my experience was and what I planned to do and agreed to let me do it. Thankfully at least one preson on the IST staff feels as though they can spare some time to work with a student.

In short at SIU, I've felt very much like students aren't the primary concern of anyone, but more of a nuissance. I've seen nothing but tuition hikes while the university hires non-tenure instructors to save a buck. While I manage to get a printed statement all the time, the financial aid office hasn't responded to an email I sent them three weeks ago. I've had classes where the instructor hated being there as much as the students. I've also had classes where the instructor wasn't even close to being qualified to teach the class. At least a majority of people in my major felt they were signing up for something that would be different than what they have gotten, yet our opinions are never solicited.

We're treated like a source of money that they deserved, but don't respect. I truly feel that outside of a few instructors that I've had that this school is run far more like a corrupt business with continually inflating administrative overhead costs than it is like a learning institution. I know the two do overlap to a degree in any school but I think it goes to an extreme here. If you want a quality education and a positive learning experience, I think there are plenty of other schools to look out. Once it could have been said that at least the school was cheap, but thats quickly changing even.

And now to call the financial aid office to see how I can pay my tuition at this poor institution.

Posted by johnm at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)