October 31, 2003

Ever get that uneasy feeling?

It was a new one for me today. I just got out of a test that I finished super early, but spent a long time checking my answers. It never used to make me pause when I was the second one done with a test, but most of my tests haven't been that way in grad school so far. They usually keep me busy the whole time. This one though, I finished in no time. The thing that made me uneasy is that one of the problems, I seem to have attacked differently than the professor/TA in the homework. However, I got full credit on the assignment for it. Therefore, I went after it the same way, since his way didn't make too much sense to me. Of course, I finished it pretty quickly, and then doubt set in. However, I think part of the reason I finished early is because I didn't derive an equation that was in the book. I'm not sure everyone else knew it was there, so it would have made more work for them. Hopefully, for my sake, I used it correctly. I'm not too worried, and I won't likely think of it again until next week when I'm wondering if he'll ever grade it.

October 30, 2003

This one's for you, Jimmy

I couldn't resist

No, not that kind of mail

So our mailbox was stuffed yesterday. We got all kinds of letters in the mail. Today, the torrent had subsided, but still there were a few. The occasion for our popularity, you ask? Well, first off, I'm not the popular one. Janet is the one getting all the letters, but they tend to affect me as well, since I live here and all.

You see, the thing is, Janet got a speeding ticket a few weeks ago. She didn't really want me to say anything about it here, and I haven't until now, when the really interesting stuff happened. She was going 41 in a 25, which isn't so bad when you consider that most of that road has a speed limit of 35. Anyhow, she bought the requisite money order and mailed it with the ticket to the proper authorities. We thought it was done with. They cashed the check, and Janet promised to be more careful next time. Then the fun I alluded to earlier began. Yesterday, Janet received seven letters from law offices offering to help her with her legal issues. Something about making sure her insurance doesn't go up and the like. We looked at them and threw them away, hoping to never hear from them again. Then, today, I get the mail, and what do I see.....four more letters from lawyers. For those of you counting at home, that makes 11 letters from lawyers advertising their services in two days. Almost makes you wish the court records weren't public, but not quite.

October 29, 2003

It's Wednesday, so it must be Ed

Finally, a proper amount of Warren Cheswick. They managed to make him look like even more of a loser than usual. He pretends to hate the popular kids, he's hanging out with freshmen. Big time Loserville. Anyhow, the big story is the move to New York. I'm hopeful that this "big surprise" they keep talking about happens next week. I can't take any more of this suspense. They need to get to the point. I have enough suspense in my life with Alias. If Ed tries to join the CIA, I'm out.

I love it when my classes overlap. It happened with a lab in my Embedded System Design class. We have to do something with an FIR filter. Most people in the class don't know what those are, but I have a class all about it. The prof didn't do a very good job explaining what they are, but I'm sure it won't be a problem. The lab isn't too focused on that part of it. Too bad for me, but I'll be fine.

Finally, I sent emails to two potential advisors today. Hopefully some good will come of it. (i.e., I get an advisor and they give me money next year). Let's hope.

Ladies & Gentlemen, my Halloween Costume

October 28, 2003

Twenty things I just know, but that doesn't make them important.

1. A-Rod is the best player in the American League. Give him the MVP already.
2. Barry Bonds cannot possibly be from this planet. There's just no way.
3. Ryan Seacrest is the most annoying person on television, and that includes Jack on Will and Grace.
4. I know what cross-correlation is, and I just plain don't care.
5. No matter what Time says, you can't be both fiscally conservative and a Democrat.
6. Being a Republican doesn't necessarily make you fiscally conservative either.
7. Dave Barry is the funniest man in America.
8. I cannot recall Tim McCarver ever stopping to take a breath.
9. No one can tell me it's bad that I've worn a coat twice since moving to Raleigh, and it's nearly November.
10. There's no better way to cook salmon than on the George Foreman Grill.
11. Mexican over Pizza any day of the week.
12. Justin Timberlake is a girl. Has to be.
13. When archeologists dig up our civilzation, they can point to reality TV as the beginning of the end.
14. Life is more fun when the Yankees lose.
15. No matter what they tell me here, NC State-UNC is nothing like Ohio State-Mighigan.
16. If you're flipping channels, and come across the first 5 minutes of Law and Order, well, there goes an hour.
17. Paying rent here proves the racket Messiah has going on apartment room costs.
18. Microsoft can have their monopoly, as long as I get Mozilla.
19. Unless you like helping your friends move furniture, there's no reason to own a 'light' truck.
20. Original Mattress Factory. Once you do, you'll never go back.

October 27, 2003

There's an F in Shift

I have a professor who is not from these parts who sounds like he leaves it out when he talks.

Other than that, things are going well. I have a test on Friday in Digital Signal Processing, and I've been doing well on the homework, so I think I'll be all set. It's a far cry from Random Processes, which makes pretty much zero sense to me. It doesn't help that there are no examples in the book that are even close to the ones in the homework. It's almost as if the book assumes we have some innate knowledge about the subject. That must be why it uses the words "obvious" and "simple" to describe integration by parts and other such mathematical vagaries. It would help if we could get the answers to some of the problems in the back of the book or something, but no. Apparently, the author (who teaches here....I hope we never cross paths......for his sake) wanted to use his space to put hundreds of vaguely worded problems at the end of each chapter with no clue as to how to approach them.

Don't know if I mentioned it, but I signed up for classes last week. I have Digital ASIC Design, Digital Communications, and Digital Signal Processing Architecture. Hopefully, if I ever see a transistor again, it is in general terms, and no one asks me to find the base current or anything like that. If I have to calculate the gain of some amplifying circuit, I might just up and walk out. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about Ohm's law, but the nitty gritty of circuits just doesn't get me excited.

Finally, there's a link to my friend Lisa's blog on the sidebar there. I just found it today after reading her AIM profile. She seems to talk about her dog a lot, but it's her blog, dangit, and she can do whateve the heck she wants.

October 26, 2003

At least there was no cliffhanger

Alias was pretty good today. As I figured, the guy Sydney stabbed survived and will be just fine. She didn't stop the Covenant from getting the virus though, and some African guy got out of some Siberian jail. Thankfully, they didn't end this episode with some big suspenseful thing. There's some stuff going down soon, and it's a big deal. My favorite part of the episode was Marshall pretending to be from Texas and cheating at cards in a Japanese casino.

Back in the real world, Janet is making a Halloween costume for her to wear at work on the 31st. She's going to be a ladybug, and I'm sure the kids will love it. She hopes to wear it to RUF too. I might have to make a costume of my own to wear that night. What does it look like if she wears a costume and I don't? Not good, I don't think.

I have a project this week. It's called Project Find Andy an Advisor. We'll see if I can get this done. I've been putting it off, but I finally did a little research, and I'll be trying to get in touch with a few people. Wish me luck.

Cowboys lost. Too bad. It was the Bucs after all. As for Jimmy and his Nittany Lions.....Joe Pa is done. He's way out of touch. Jack McKeon he's not.

A day in the life of Andy Vogel

So we went to the fair. I won a t shirt from the Marines. You got a prize based on how many pull ups you could do. If you did 20, you got a shirt. Anyone who knows me well would know that I can do 20 pull ups in my sleep, so I am now the proud owner of a U.S. Marines t shirt. Janet, on the other hand, got adifferent kind of souvenir. The Bureau of Standards was there, and anyone could come and get weighed and get a stamp with their weight on it. When Janet saw this, her eyes lit up, and she had to do it. She had a kind of silly grin on her face the whole time she was in line. Then she stepped on, got her card with the number 114.4 printed on it, and then we went home. She's a little lighter than she remembered. I need to make sure my girl eats enough.

We had some people over tonight as well. It was a good time of brownies and ice cream. It's good to get to know people in a new place, and that's what went down tonight. It was a bit smaller group than we'd hoped for, but hey, you take what you can get. At the very least, it resulted in us having a really clean apartment. It looks nice in here, if I do say.

Finally, the Fish got it done. Josh Beckett pitched a gem of a game to shut out the vaunted Yankee attack and clinch the MVP award, which I'm sure he deserved for his hero act this past week. He capped it off with a nice play on a chopper down the first base line and tagged the runner out himself. Bedlam ensued. The Evil Empire has been vanquished, and I can go to bed dreaming of Joe Torre's fate. He deserves to keep the job, but maybe he can take over for Grady in Boston if Steinbrenner gets all full of himself again. I'm pretty sure he would have taken Pedro out in the 8th.

October 24, 2003

This one's for my dad

Well, I have a mark on my forehead and one near the corner of each eye. What are they, you ask? Just some of the marks that have covered my face at various times since I started wrestling. I didn't have to wrestle any post-concussion guys this time, so I got more of a challenge against some of the NC State starters. It was fun, and I hope to do it again the next time I'm able to, which is probably Tuesday. Unfortunately, I can only go three days a week at the most, thanks to class and a little thing called my job. The worst part is that I'm nowhere near in shape or exhibiting sharp technique. I guess I'll have to work on both.

I'm going to the fair tomorrow. The 150th anniversary of the North Carolina State Fair is going on a mile from my apartment, and I'm going to get me some funnel cake, and maybe pet a goat.

October 23, 2003

They made it interesting.

How's that for exciting. The Yankess get the tying run to the plate. Bernie Williams drills a pitch right where Giambi hit his. Thankfully, Encarnacion ran under this one, instead of one of the kids in the bleachers. Then, the ultra hot Hideki Matsui drills one down the first base line that bounces about 2 feet in front of Derek Lee, who somehow snags it (watch Sportscenter tomorrow, I'm sure you'll see it) and beats Matsui to the bag. Lee may win a Gold Glove this year, and it's good for the Marlins that they've got him, because the likes of Jason Giambi would have taken that one in the chin.

This win was capped off (just like game 1) with Urbina and Pudge kissing each other on the cheek. This time, Fox showed the slow motion relplay. Couldn't they just smack each other in the butt like the good old days?

Role reversal anyone?

Now Urbina, who blew the save yesterday, is here to rescue us from Braden Looper. I hope he's the hero.

Hero to goat so quickly

He gets one out, but then goes homer, single, double, and all the sudden, the tying run is at the plate and his night is done. Looper, we thought we knew ye.

You see, there's your mistake

The whole world knows Giambi can't hit high fastballs anymore. He's aged in dog years since he left the Bay Area. So what do they do? Throw him a low one which he deposits in the right-center alley.

Well, he made it.

Well, D-Willis made it through the eighth, so I'd imagine Looper will be coming on to finish this one up. The Marlins have done well to get so many quality innings out of their starters this postseason, and that, as much as anything, has been the difference.

The announcers will try to tell you it's the team speed, mainly Pierre and Castillo, but all I've seen them do is get caught stealing and make a few bunts. The real heroes here are the starters and Mr. Long Ball, as usual.


Ok, you're Jack McKeon. You need your team to win this game because winning two in a row in NY is nigh impossible. Who do you bring in to hold your 8th inning lead? Dontrelle Willis? He of more walks than strikeouts and a 9.26 ERA this postseason? I hope this works out, because I'm hoping for a huge Steinbrenneresque explosion from New York this winter.

Test Update

I figure I ought to give an update on my latest test return. It fell in between my other two tests, so that's a good thing, especially since the curve made me get an A. I actually got an 82, which was definitely toward the front of the class. I think I should be able to get an A in the class. It's interesting to see the types of students in computer classes. You have your normal good and bad students, but the real kicker that seems to be unique to programming classes is the group of serious underachievers. These are the people that will take their development board and spend days and days getting it to control whatever (Nintendo, lights, LEDs) on ther ther own time, but they'll totally bomb the actual lab assignment out of laziness. These are the same people that spend waaaaaaaay too much time in front of the computer and will actually try to argue that Linux is better for the home user. (You can ignore that last phrase if you don't know what Linux is, though it makes my point even better). To me, if I'm going to spend hours and hours with this thing, I'm going to at least do a good job on the actual assignment, since no interviewer will ever ask, "So, tell me about the stuff you did when you were supposed to be doing your homework." I'm hoping more for something along the lines of, "Welcome aboard, Mr. Vogel. What will you ever do with the exorbitant salary we're offering you?"

October 22, 2003

How Dare You Insult Warren Cheswick!

James has upset me. He also insulted Warren Cheswick by comparing him to a Friends character. Friends, along with the rest of this so called Must See TV is pretty retched television overall. Will and Grace is the absolute worst show on TV, all reality shows (yes, this means Joe Millionaire) included, and it is the only thing that could make Friends look good.

As for Ed, it was more madcap hijinks that we've all come to know and love. Thankfully, they took it easy on the Ed/Carol romance, which is always a good thing. I'm not buying this Ted character for a minute, though. He'll disappear soon, I'd imagine. On the same note, where has Biff the fireman been between his last appearance and now? Has he been in some sort of Central Ohio vortex of the show or what? I feel I must comment now on where this show is going. Frankly, it's looking like some sort of Ed/Carol wedding at the end of the season, which must mean the end of the show. There are two other options that could be good. First, Carol takes the job alluded to in the previews for next week and moves to New York. Bonnie Hane returns to sweep Ed off his feet. Phil marries Shirley. Eli marries Jennifer the pie lady. Kenny comes back and marries Molly. Carol gets fired, moves back to Stuckeyville and grows old alone. The other option involves some sort of car/plane/train/roller coaster/blimp/Amish buggy type accident in which one or more principle characters dies, and the last episode is a moving funeral capped off with a musical montage, for which the show has become famous.

Additionally, Jimmy's selection of car is exactly what I expected. I don't know why he even told anyone he was looking at an Alero. He had as much chance of buying that car as I had of voting for Howard Dean with his stumpy neck and creepy smile (see below). Personally, I would have been looking to upgrade, seeing as how the Cavalier is a pretty low end Chevy with less than flattering reviews. However, there are more important things than reviews. Jimmy went with what was familiar, and you can't fault him for that, unless the car was a death trap, which it most definitely is not. He likes his Cavaliers, and it's not like he's the first person to go with what he likes. Janet's Dad just bought a 1993 Saab 900 (perhaps the ugliest car ever built, but he didn't get it for looks). Her grandfather will only buy Volkswagens (and diesel ones at that). My mom's dad recently bought about the 40th Ford F-150 of his lifetime. That said Jimmy, you go have fun with your MP3 player and extra 25 horsepower they added for 2003.

Pic of the Day:

My suspicions were confirmed

So, I'm pretty sure I saw Amy Arnold today. To most of you, that's pretty meaningless, and rightly so. To me, I was staring as I tried to ascertain whether or not that was really her. The reason I cared is that we went to high school together. It was only briefly, as she's a sophomore now and I'm a grad student, but I'm counting it. I was surprised to see her, but then I figured she was here on a running scholarship, since she won 4 track state titles to go with her one in cross country. I came home and did a quick search, and, lo and behold, there she was. I wonder if she would even remember me, Mr. Big Time state champ Andy Vogel. I give it a 50%, if I ever seen her again in this sea of people.

It's a shame, really.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback used to be my favorite column on ESPN. com. I say that it used to be because the writer, Gregg Easterbrook, has been fired by ESPN, and there is no trace of him or his columns anywhere on the website. He was fired for a comment he wrote in a blog hosted by The New Republic, a magazine he works for. He was speaking against the glorification of violence in American film, most recently evidenced in Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Unfortunately, he made some comments concerning the religion (Judaism, in this case) of certain executives at Disney that many have taken out of context. He has since apologized and admitted that his wording at the end of a 1000 word post could have been better. Searching Google for words like "gregg easterbrook" and "tuesday morning quarterback" should reveal my sources for this information. After learning of this, I wrote the following email and submitted it to ESPN.com:

How incredibly short sighted and obtuse of you (at ESPN) to fire a man simply for something said on a blog hosted on a different website with no connection to your company or otherwise. It would truly be a shame if this was just a case of Michael Eisner getting back at someone who offended him, and it pains me to see the ESPN brand becoming so hypersensitive. It began with the firing of Rush Limbaugh for stating an opinion about the quality of a player. He didn't slander all African-Americans or even one. He simply made his opinion on the rise to fame of Donovan McNabb. The great thing about this country is that we are free to disagree. In the same manner, Gregg Easterbrook did not say all Jews were moneygrubbers or anything of the sort. In fact, he apologized for misrepresenting himself unintentionally. Thankfully, the Jews of America and the world have the option to disagree with any and all sentiments expressed by Easterbrook. It is shameful that ESPN would not show more of the tolerance they claim to promote by these firings. Apparently, it is all right for the executive to disagree with a columnist or television personality, but it is completely inappropriate for the same personality to offend anyone at all. Have we become such a nation of morons that we no longer can think for ourselves when someone in mass media makes a comment we disagree with?

Andy Vogel

October 20, 2003

New Job Time

My dad started his new job at Lockheed Martin where he'll be working on the new Joint Strike Fighter. I have no idea what he's going to do to it. For all I know, he'll be the crash test dummy, but I doubt it.

The Lovely Family:

John Madden Quote

I was watching Monday Night Football between the K.C. Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, and John Madden uttered the following phrase.

"Winning is a great deodorant."

Mind you, he wasn't saying anything about people smelling or anything like that. I think he's just a lunatic.

October 19, 2003

It's so weird, yet I can't look away

So, I'm not sure how to admit this, but I've seen every episode of Alias this season. I'd only seen it once before, but now Janet and I are strangely hooked. I think girls like the show because of the empowered young woman kicking all kinds of butt all over the globe. Guys watch because, hey look, Jennifer Garner. She stabbed Vaughn tonight in one of those, "I had to do it or else my cover would be blown," kind of things. I'm assuming he'll survive, since he's a major good guy character and all.

I echo Janet's feelings on the ugliness of the Yankees, but in a totally straight way.

I saw a maroon MINI with a white roof today. I thought I wanted a green one, but I was wrong. A maroon one with the white stripes and white roof would just about do it for me I think. There you go, Mom, get me that for Christmas, and don't say I never gave you a list.

In case you were wondering

Skin starts tomorrow on Fox. I won't be watching.

How bout dem Cowboys

America's Team is 5-1. Bill Parcells is a genius. It's about time Terry Glenn had a career worth talking about. Jerry Jones is still annoying, but I can live with him.

For what it's worth

To me, the choice for Mr. Jimmy is a no brainer. I would go with the Alero over the Cavalier any day of the week. I think it's more of a grown up car, and our Jimmy is all grown up. Of course, this is the car for me, but again, that's just me.

October 18, 2003

Just for the Record

Whether I watch or not, I'm cheering for the Marlins, since they are not the evil Yankees, who have somehow brainwashed the news media into openly rooting for them in "objective" broadcasts. For an example of this go here and scroll down to where it says Exhibit #1 and you see a link to Jason Varitek. Start reading just after the link, and you will understand why I hate Fox so much.

Things keep happening

Well, James went and got himself in a car accident yesterday. Read all about it here. His car is totalled, and he's got a few scrapes and some stitches, but he's doing ok, though he's missing all the fun at Homecoming. He also hit a police car. Well, I'm assuming he's missing fun. I'm not exactly there either, since two trips to Pennsylvania in two weeks weren't on the schedule for me, and Janet had to work.

On another note, I went and wrestled with the NC State team for the first time yesterday. I ended up wrestling with a guy who was coming off of a concussion, so it's hard to say how much I was getting from him. For his sake, hopefully not that much, considering the beating I dished out, but it was pretty obvious he didn't quite have it yesterday. I'm hoping to go back soon and get the chance to wrestle with some healthier guys. The one thing I can say after being there and watching for a few days: in case I was worried they would be too good for me, I don't have anything to worry about. Overall, they are better than Messiah, but we're not dealing with Iowa State here or anything.

Finally, go here and click on the ping pong paddle, then click on Windows Media to see something really funny. Ideally you should have fast internet, but if you don't, it is streaming video, so you won't wait too long.

October 17, 2003

Why was he even in the game?

Would someone please explain why Pedro pitched the 8th?

October 16, 2003

Alfonso Soriano needs to chat with Billy Beane

This guy will swing at anything. Pedro has made him look so silly tonight. I'm pretty sure he's swung at pitches in Shea, while he was in Yankee Stadium.

Just thought of something

There's no way Mike is having fun right now. Oh, he's happy to be there, but I've watched sports with this kid before.

As of 10:13pm

The Red Sox were ahead, and I'm more jealous of Squeeze than I can imagine.

Thursday: 8:45pm

I love Enrique Wilson and his lack of chin.

Which one?

I'm trying to decide who the least likely World Series participant in recent memory is. It depends on a lot of things. There's always the worst to first teams we've seen, as well as the "everyone has a career year" Anaheim Angels from last year. This year's Marlins have a stake in there somewhere. They stormed through the last 4 months of the regular season, but their playoff opponents were pretty fearsome. Beating Prior and Wood two games in a row was pretty improbable, as well as the 8 run explosion I wouldn't believe if I hadn't seen it. It's crazy, I tell ya.

Everyone needs to lay off Steve Bartman, the guy who tipped the foul ball that Alou would have caught. The real scapegoats here are Dusty Baker (use your bullpen, dummy), Kerry Wood (Throw strikes!), and Alex Gonzales, who had all kinds of trouble making a play most high schoolers would have no trouble with.

Lastly, did you see Hideki Matsui throw the ball into the stands from left field yesterday? Incredible, and he gets paid millions for this. So far in this postseason, he looks like a DH out there in left.

October 15, 2003

Pick a class, any class

So I'm trying to pick classes for next semester. I have it narrowed down to a few different options. I'm thinking I'll go with Digital Communications, Digital ASIC Design, and Digital Signal Processing Architecture. I may throw Artificial Neural Networks in there instead of one of those classes. We'll just have to see what goes down here in Raleigh.

I wonder if Raleigh has any special name. I mean, there's the Windy City, the Big Apple, the Queen City, Beantown, the Rubber City, to name a few. If you know what all of those are, you have a modicum of culture. Only two of them are mildly difficult, but hey, they're not freebies. Maybe I should come up with a name for Raleigh. I think I'll wait until I've lived here longer to attempt it though. I think my loyal readers should propose some names for the cities they live in. Like Martinsburg, "Lancaster without the Puerto Ricans."

Now, notes to my friends and family:
Janet, slow down on the roads and tell your mom to stop mailing us stuff.
James, stay away from the buggies.
Vikki, go do a lesson plan.
Amy, college is easier when you don't use a black marker as a highlighter.
Liz, you make it look like money grows on trees.
Dad, one skate park at a time.
Mom, you need a hobby.

October 14, 2003

Time to blog

Just graded a bunch of lab reports. The students are really improving from the beginning of the semester. I gave out some pretty rough grades at the beginning, but now they're pulling it up. That's what I like to see from my land grant institution students. If I ever figure out what a land grant institution is, maybe it will impress me, though from the little bits I pick up, all it means is, "We accept most people, and we have ROTC and fraternities." For me, I guess that means I get to grade tests with an average of 55. Speaking of tests, I got twice the score I figured on in Random Processes, but that still means I got a 60, which didn't upset me as much as those who know me might imagine. As long as I keep plugging along, the "grad school curve" will bail me out, and I can commence running as far away from that class and all related classes as physically possible without transferring to a different school.

Sports note: I hope you saw the 8 runs dropped on the Cubs in one inning by the Marlins tonight. It makes for one of the more improbable game sevens I've seen in my admittedly short life. The Marlins have a similar offense, a better defense, but the Cubs pitchers should be running away with this thing, but the previously invincible Mark Prior got the L tonight. He has some of the sweetest mechanics I've seen, but his workload may be getting to him.

One last thing. Hillary Clinton, in addition to creeping me out royally, never, ever directely answers a question asked of her. If she runs for president ever, and manages to win a few states, I'm checking out and moving to Canada, and I think you all know how I feel about Canada. Note what is found below in a past "Tuesday Morning Quarterback," which is and excellent column on ESPN.com:

In her corner, Hillary will surely claim to have "written" her effort, just as she claimed to have written "It Takes a Village," whose actual author was a ghost named Barbara Feinman. How do we know this? Because at one point Simon & Schuster, the publisher, accidentally sent out a press release announcing Feinman as actual author. Hillary threw a fit and insisted the finished book make no acknowledgment of the existence of Feinman, who later had to threaten litigation just to get paid. That Hillary's actions in this matter were small, self-important, vain, selfish, egotistical, dishonest and abusive of her power somehow failed to register. Though surely Hollywood types who funded her Senate run were pleased to learn that Hillary is small, self-important, vain, selfish, egotistical, dishonest and abuses her power. "She's one of us!" they must have exclaimed in Bel Air.

Today, Hillary's official U.S. Senate biography states, "In 1997, she wrote the best-selling book 'It Takes a Village.' " This is an outright lie. Wouldn't it be a nice gesture if official Senate biographies did not contain lies? What does it say about a U.S. senator that she blithely lies for her own ego gratification?

Join me in Canada, please.

October 13, 2003

My new career

First off, I think I'm dropping out of grad school to learn a knuckleball and become a major league pitcher. I've been inspired by Tim Wakefield, who somehow has juked and danced his way to two wins in this series against the hated Yankees. This happens every year for me. I end up caring less who wins as long as the Yankees lose. This resulted in me becoming a giant Angels fan for about three weeks last fall and buying a Rally Monkey T-Shirt (evidence below). As for James whining about not being able to hear the game on the internet, I have this to say to him: the game was on Fox. Tear yourself away from the computer and go watch some Fox. Either that or buy a laptop to go with your wireless network. I like that idea too. Get one with a wide screen, if you want my opinion.

Picture of the Day:

October 12, 2003

And a good time was had by all

We just returned from our sojourn to central Pennsylvania. It was a good old time with the good old friends. I ate a buffalo burger on Friday night at Red Robin. It was as good as I remembered it being the last time I had it. We did some other stuff while we were there. I bought two shirts at the Gap for 4 bucks a piece, which is a steal if you ask me. The worst thing about the trip was coming home and leaving everyone. I had almost forgot what it was like to hang out with people you already know. Janet brought this up to me the other day after a day of apple picking in Biglerville (I didn't go; it was just her and Melissa). She likes not having to explain all the normal stuff. What do you do, where are you from, what made you move to Raleigh? All that stuff. It's nice to get past that. I'm sure we will with people here soon enough. I also got to punch Tony Valenti in the neck quite few times. I even hit him the the head with a tennis ball while he was doing homework. He complained, but I know he enjoyed it.

How 'bout them Cowboys! I can bring my fandom out in full force now after a little bit of a dormant period. They have managed to beat some actual football teams now instead of just the Jets and Cardinals. I have my Cowboys shirt from Liz all set to come out as soon as it's cold enough outside to wear it. I just gotta love America's Team. The offensive coordinator has realized the limitations of his young QB and simplified the offense into a three step progression with a lot of roll outs and shotgun plays. He rolls out, checks his primary receiver, checks his secondary receiver, then takes off running. Heck, I could run an offense that simple, and I haven't played an official down since I was in sixth grade flag football.

Finally, I don't like Maurice Clarett. If you know what I'm talking about, I don't need to say anything else. If you don't, no amount of explaining will help you understand.

October 10, 2003

May be sporadic

Blogging may be light for the next few days, as I am in Pennsylvania at the old alma mater Messiah College to check up on things and make sure they still are training the bright young minds of tomorrow. Also, they have to go to class today, and I don't, neener neener neener.

October 8, 2003

A last note on college

What appears below is not to say that there is no place for liberal arts in college. On the contrary, many students choose liberal arts because they have a plan. For some it is graduate school, for others, teaching. Still others want to write. These students are in the right place. The ones with no plan are the ones that are in trouble. It is my feeling that students with no plan should at least start by studying business so they graduate with marketable skills in case they don't have it all figured out by the time they graduate, which is not always a bad thing. Not everyone knows exactly what they want. However, those with marketable skills can buy more time to figure it out.

The Ed Recap....and some other stuff from Andy the Economist

Since my esteemed co-bloggers have chimed in, it's time for me to give the real answer as to the quality of this weeks show.

I do rate it the second funniest episode of the season, which isn't saying much, since the season is so young. To me, the funniest thing in the episode was Ed and Mike running on the horse track, followed by Mike's comment, "Please look at Ed now." A close second is the group of whackos looking for Eli to talk to their dead relatives. A related note is that it's about time for Eli to hook up with the hottie pie lady Jennifer. I have to disagree with my esteemed cohort Jimmy on the whole Warren angle, save for his parents acting like trees in Molly's office. It wasn't all that funny, and it would never happen in real life. Not everyone goes to college, and you can't suspend a teacher for giving her opinion that a student shouldn't go to college. Usually, the show keeps it to pretty realistic (for TV) stories, but they dropped the ball on this one. I give the episode a B-, though a letdown is a bit excusable after last week's laugh fest.

Which brings me to my next point. Too many people go to college. The lack of jobs for college graduates is related to the sheer number of liberal arts majors pouring into the workforce year after year with no marketable skills. I have always said that colleges do a disservice to their freshmen by telling them to "just study what you like." That all sounds good when you're 18 and faced with all these cool classes to take, but it doesn't look so rosy four years later when you're trying to enter the workforce with your English minor and Communications minor. Sure, your classes were easy, and you even enjoyed some of them, but you have just drained upwards of 80 grand in private school and to get a degree that, if you get a job, will take a long time to get the money you spent back. If you have loans, that makes it doubly worse, since you have to pay for those while not making a lot of money. There is an economic principle called Opportunity Cost. In a nutshell, it accounts for not only what you spend make a certain choice, but what you give up as well. In choosing a job, it's picking one job over another and counting what you give up by not taking the other one. When it comes to college, the cost of tuition, books, room, and board is the actual monetary cost, but the opportunity cost is the wages lost by not working for four years. There are most definitely times when it is worth it to go to college. For example, me earning a M.S. in Electrical Engineering will pay off the opportunity cost in very little time. I also am currently being paid to be a teaching assistant. For the English major with no designs on teaching or grad school (which can be the difference in getting a job in your field), the opportunity cost can be staggering. If you spend $15,000 (a reasonable cost, given scholarships) on each year of college, that adds up to $60,000 to get a degree. However, it is not unreasonable to get a job for $10 an hour without a college degree. That job would be worth $20,000 a year before taxes (approx $15k after). Therefore, four years of that job adds up to $60,000 dollars. Therefore, the total cost of college turns out to be $120,000 dollars, which will take a while to make up on the approximately $25-30 thousand a year available to liberal arts graduates. I understand that this does not take into account the quality and desirability of the work done, but it comes down to a cost of $120,000 for an extra $5,000 to $10,000 per year. Just thought it warranted mentioning.

Someone needs to tell him.

Someone should really let Arnold know that he can't pull a Ronald Reagan and go from actor to governor to president. If he wasn't born in Austria, maybe he'd have a chance, but as the Constitution says, President's have to be born here.

October 7, 2003

good morning, ms. bol

She's on the web, ladies and gentlemen. Vikki Bol has joined the ranks of the elite, at least in terms of blogging. Give her a big round of applause. The blog's HTML is a little rough, but I'll take care of that this weekend.

One I hadn't thought of

An interesting corollary to the foreign student theory of economics, brought to my attention by the future Dr. Oriti. She said that her summer job, in addition to working in the lab, featured foreign students asking her to marry them so they could get their green card. Though, I guess she wouldn't necessarily be Dr. Oriti if she did what they asked. Then she might be Dr. Singh or something like that. Below you can see Lisa and the rest of the bright young minds in the M.D./Ph.D. program at the Medical College of Ohio.

He's on board

Remember the fun little graph of ECE grades I put up a few weeks ago? Well, I got word today from the professor of the class I was worried about that he plans to follow that idea. He was trying to calm us down, I think, since he has seen our exam scores, though he hasn't given them back to us yet. I think it's time for me to "cowboy up," as the Red Sox are saying these days, and try to get amped up on some Random Processes.

Tonight begins the NLCS between Chicago and Florida. I'm not sure who my least favorite announcer in television sports is, but Steve Lyons is way up near the top. I'm not sure the order, but here's my "bottom five" sports announcers.

Steve Lyons - Pretty much just says dumb stuff constantly. What do you expect from a guy nicknamed "Psycho?"
Bill Walton - Openly roots for the Lakers, and he says as dumb stuff as Lyons.
Joe Morgan - Everything comes down to, "Back when I was playing..." Also, obsessed with bunts and sacrifice flies.
Chris Spielman - Wouldn't be a bad high school tv channel announcer.
Dick Vitale - If he says "baby" one more time, I'm going to puke.

A general comment on baseball announcers: to them, every person they talk about is "among the best in the game" at whatever they are talking about. Yesterday, Barry Zito had the best overhand curve; today, I'm pretty sure it will be Josh Beckett. They can't all be the best. Secondly, these guys need to stop openly rooting for the Yankees. It's not like there aren't enough annoying New Yorkers who can't pronounce all 26 letters in the alphabet. We don't need "objective" broadcasters stumping for them.

October 6, 2003

It doesn't happen every day

I wrote an email to Rob Neyer , my favorite baseball writer on ESPN.com today during the Red Sox v. A's game, and he actually responded. I was surprised, since this guy has written three books, and has a nationally read baseball column on the internet. The correspondence went like this:

I'm watching game 5 of the ALDS between Boston and Oakland, and Manny Ramirez hits his homerun to put the Sox up by three runs in the sixth inning. He walked toward first base while the ball was in the air, and then pointed into his own dugout. The announcers then spent 5 minutes excoriating Ramirez for this behavior about how it has no place in the game of baseball. What's the difference between Ramirez pointing at his own dugout and all the hopping and chest pounding Sammy Sosa does whenever he hits a long fly ball? Does someone tell the announcers who to root for, or does it just seem that way?

Additionally, they're trying to say that Pedro is a better pitcher now than in 1999, when he may have had the highest peak value of any pitcher ever in history. This is why I watched with the sound off last playoffs.

Andy Vogel

He Replied:

When you're as old as I, you'll just tune out the idiocy and be surprised by the (very) occasional insights.


Clarification is needed

My cousin Mandy has brought something to my attention that I had failed to address in my statements on foreign college students. She wondered about students who come to raise their families and work in the USA. This is a good point, and one worth exploring. To me, this country was founded and based on people coming here from other countries to find a better life and pursue their dreams and goals. For that very reason, students who come and stay are not contributing to the destruction of the American economy. If they work here, they contributed dollars to the American economy. Also, they will work for higher wages here than elsewhere, so their job is not being outsourced to a low wage country in order to save the corporation a few dollars. The only potential problem is that they may be taking jobs that people born here might have taken. This is not as big of a problem, however, because both the foreign student and the American are approaching the job market on equal footing, and the idea that the job goes to the person most qualified is another tenet of capitalism and a free market economy that has built this country into the world's last superpower. While the foreign student may have had his education paid for by a research or teaching assistantship, this is hardly a privilege reserved for students from other countries as I sit here and type this as a student who would not be in graduate school without such financial assistance.

October 5, 2003

Maybe it won't be too bad

First, isn't my new title logo cool?

I checked the route for my trip to Pennsylvania on Mapquest, and it looks like we'll be able to make it in less time than I thought. Janet gets off work at 5, and I'm planning to pick her up at work and go from there. If all goes well, we'll be pulling into Grantham around midnight. Ideally, that will be late enough for Tony to be asleep so I can punch him in the neck and scare him worse than I did at wrestling camp. I'm hoping it will be a relaxing trip overall, with a chance to see some people I haven't in a while. I'm also hoping to get the chance to do some wrestling. I know the new coach at Messiah is looking forward to getting the chance to wrestle, since he's not allowed to work out with the team until practice officially starts. Frankly, I'm surprised with the fact that they haven't started yet, given that the season starts 5 weeks from yesterday. If I were in charge, I'd have started a little sooner, thoug hthe fall break this Monday and Tuesday may cramp that a little bit. It's all moot, anyhow, since Brian is in charge, and I'm down here in Raleigh doing my thing. I'm just looking forward to the chance. It will be good to get a chance to do a little wrestling before I make my first trip into the NC State Wrestling room, which could happen some time soon. We'll see what they need from me, if anything, in terms of being a practice partner.

I've always wondered what grad assistant coaches study and how they manage it. I may get the chance to ask the guy here at State. I think that would be more fun than grading lab reports, but that's just me.

October 4, 2003

She goes away.

This hasn't been the most exciting day of my life, that's for sure. Janet went to work, on a Saturday no less, from 3:30 to 12, which means I've got about 2 hours to go until I see her. I was able to get some homework done, but mostly I've just watched the baseball games. Well, actually, that's not all. I did clean the bathroom. Hopefully, it is up to the extraordinarily high standards of Miss Janet, though it is worth mentioning what a full time job has done to her idea of timely cleaning. It's not like she doesn't need to relax, so it's not really a problem yet. If she starts actively pouring syrup on the floor, then I'll start to worry. Until then, things are cool.

Secondly, the NC State Wolfpack have now dropped their third game of the year, this time to a team with a losing record coming into the game. I bet no one in Raleigh expected State to have three losses by the first weekend of October. This team was thinking ACC championship, and now, they're looking up from the bottom, since they lost to Wake Forest in week 2 and Georgia Tech today. One of the main culprits is tailback T.A. McClendon, who can't stay health. It all stems from a knee injury sustained in what has been described as a "fall in his dorm lounge." Sounds shady to me. You'd think a scholarship athlete on a team with designs on a major bowl game wouldn't screw around in his dorm and get hurt. After that, one thing led to another, and his backups, who aren't slouches, get a chance to show what they can do. This wasn't a whole lot today since they finished in single digits in rushing yards. All that really matters is the the Buckeyes had the day off and hopefully Craig Krenzel can be healthy next week.

October 3, 2003

Have you seen this?

The new Nintendo commercial makes me laugh every time. It just cracks me up. You got the guy singing with stickers all over his face. I guess he's excited that he can get a Gamecube for 100 bucks now, and it makes him sing in a really high pitched voice and make a pretty goofy face. I dig it, though I probably wouldn't be singing and putting stickers on my face or anything like that. Maybe I would look at the price and say, "Hmm, that's cool. Too bad I don't have anything like time for video games like my good friend Jimmy."

I'm looking forward to my big trip northward, which I'm hoping will happen. I plan to punch Tony right in the neck at every possible opportunity, so he should probably stay out of the wrestling room, but I'll get him some time. I am looking forward to getting a chance to do a little wrestling. I'll have to make sure I remember my shoes. I might get the chance to help out at the one day wrestling clinic here at NC State. Apparently, Chuck Amato, coach of Wolfpack football will be there, since he was a 2 time ACC champ once upon a time. Chuck's an interesting guy. He's coaching a pretty good football team here, but he just looks and sounds like a guy who wants to sell you a used car, which makes the "Win Chuck's Truck" contest all the more entertaining. Too bad the contest is over and we can't see any more of the commercials.

October 2, 2003

Funny story I almost forgot.........and the destruction of the American Economy at the hands of public universities

So, I'm sitting in class the other day, and an Indian student goes to ask a question about points on the test. Only he doesn't say "points." I have no idea what he said. It sounded kind of like "moss," but I don't think that was it. I think he said some sort of word in his favorite native language. Of course, when the professor is Chinese, and the Indian guy talks super fast anyhow, it took three repetitions before the kid's countrymen tapped him on the shoulder and informed him of the right word in English.

This leads me to my next point, which is the destruction of the American Economy at the hands of public universities. Let me see if I get this straight. There's a problem with foreign workers taking jobs that have in the past gone to American workers (don't believe me? call your credit card company. I bet the person who picks up is Indian). These workers were educated in the United States, many of them at universities whose major contributor is the government in the state in which they operate (like NC State). So, not only are foreign students taking the spots of Americans in graduate level engineering programs, many of them are getting their tuition paid by fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships. Then, they take their degrees back to low wage countries like India and China and work for far less money than an American with similar qualifications. This makes them potentially more attractive to multinational companies because they work for less money. Then, the money goes to bolster the economy of the last major bastion of Communism, rather than to the U.S. To make a long story short, the U.S. and state governments are contributing to the loss of American jobs not only by allowing foreign students to be trained in this country (which is fine with me, if they pay their own way, putting money into the economy), but the government pays for their education, which they happily take back to Asia, taking money out of the American economy.

Combine that with the bottom falling out of the tech market and voila, the downward spiral continues.

I don't usually go down in flames

But there's a first time for everything, I guess. Random Processes did me a good one. Like I've said before, no one else is flying high, at least as far as I know. Maybe someone is, but we'll see. Basically, I think an A is out of the question in this class. I'm shooting for a B now, which would be fine, since I feel good about my other classes. The trick will be holding down that B for now. I'm not sure what it's going to take to turn the corner, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

October 1, 2003

It comes in waves.

A nice steady workload would be nice, but, of course, nothing in life is ever constant. As it is, I end up with periods of less work interspersed with frantic periods of productivity. Starting now is one of those frantic periods since I have a midterm tomorrow and a lab due on Friday. There might then be a lull over the weekend, but homework is due Monday followed by another midterm on Wednesday. After that, the torrent subsides for Fall Break, which, if all goes well, will be peacefully spent visiting some old friends in Pennsylvania. Ahh, the life of a grad student. It better all be worth it in the end. I'm not talking about money necessarily. Some satisfaction at accomplishing something would be nice as well.