Monday, October 27, 2008

Entry: Random photos


"I'm were saying?"

"I'll neeeeever tell."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Entry: Ugh

Everyone knows that I hate politics. Amongst the reasons for that discontent is my dislike of politicians. Rarely do I go on here and talk smack about any one politician. However, today is different.

I sat and watched President Bush's national address Wednesday evening (was it Wednesday??) and I couldn't help but leave that experience with a feeling of foreboding.

My problem with that speech is that Mr. Bush has a severely crippled crystal ball that he seems to like to use. It's that same crystal ball that he used many many moons ago to sell the nation on the Iraq war. Now, granted, I'm not here to talk about his motivations for going to war or the degree of progress that we're making. I'm here because I can't help but remember his telling the public years ago about the series of events that were going to transpire after the invasion. He told us about how Iraq was going to rebuild itself with its own oil revenues after we got their infrastructure running again. He said it with such if it was completely obvious. Well...after his many reassurances, none of his predictions ever came true. And now, here I am on Wednesday evening watching him use those same lines of rhetoric to talk about what will happen with the US economy after this "much-needed" bailout takes place. Supposedly, after the bailout, the economy will normalize and everyone will be shiny and happy again a few years down the road.

The crystal ball looks familiar. I am far from assured. Jon Stewart scratched the surface on this a couple of days later. Feel free to watch for yourself.

Again...I'm not here to discuss the war in Iraq. I'm not here to discuss the economy. I'm simply here to remind everyone that, when Mr. Bush looks me in the eye from that magical picture box in my den and lays out an entire series of events that will transpire of his own design, I have a hard time believing that they will ever happen.

The end.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My first classes at Nova

Well....sorry it's been so long. Since I took the time to write such a lengthy post regarding whether or not I should attend Nova (see last post), I figured I should at least share some of the pictures that I took of my first trip down there this last weekend. I was actually VERY impressed with the facilities.

A picture of part of Nova from the air. Interestingly enough, the land used to be the site of a large circular runway that the USN/USMC used back during WWII to test aviator skills. You can see the remnants of the airstrip. Flight 19 took off from this very runway the day they disappeared into history.

Yeah. Weird. I know.

That is a really cool aquarium. It's in the cafeteria.

A random shot of the campus from a window.

This is a really bad@$$ building-sized portrait that someone did. Apparently, it was inspired by the Marine Biology folks.

The outside of the gym facility. I'll have to visit this place next time.

The cafeteria. Kinda reminds me of one of those uber food courts that you see in some airports. It's completely stocked.

The doors to the 'Flight Deck'. This is a kind of social club with a bar.

This is the inside of the University Center. It houses the gym, cafeteria, Flight Deck, stadium, etc.

A random monolith in the library.

A random glass garden inside the library.

Here is a little shrine that they built to commemorate the visit of the Dalai Lama (sp?) a few years back.

This is the Carl DeSantis. This is where my classes and orientation were.

This must be for the medical nerds.

I thought this was kinda funny.

This is the outside of the University Center.

This is the inside of the Carl DeSantis building.

Some random indian dude.

My classroom.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Entry: My dilemma

NOTE: A word of caution. I wrote this in a hurry. Please don't hold the possible excess of grammatical errors, misspellings, and all around BS against me. ;)

So, as many know, I was recently accepted into the School of Computer and Information Sciences at Nova Southeastern University. My goal is to pursue their PhD in Computer Science. "What is the dilemma", you ask? I'm trying to decide if I should quit before I even start.

"But why would you want to do something like that?? At least give it a shot!"

My premise:
Many a would-be-academic has shot himself in the foot by choosing the wrong institution at which to pursue his advanced degree(s). Although it'd be more than adequate for any industrial or government-oriented career, I have hesitations regarding how it would be received by the academic community should I ever endeavor to join their ranks. I'm no stranger to being an alumnus of a less-than-internationally-renown institution. Having received two degrees from one, I have absolutely NO reservations whatsoever regarding the quality of my education after having gone up against people from schools like Penn State, VA Tech, Johns Hopkins, etc. I'm a definite believer in the premise that books alone do not make a person smart and neither does the money they pay to a big-name university.

What are my goals?
1. Currently working for a federal research laboratory, I want to be able to maximize my contributions to the research community (no matter where my career takes me).
2. To pursue this degree NOW (when I am unhindered) instead of later (when it won't be potentially feasible anymore).
3. To definitely consider collegiate academia as a retirement occupation and, quite possibly, even a pre-retirement career.
4. To be able to maintain my career while pursuing the degree. (This is an absolute must.) Therefore, I will be skipping the usual post-graduate student template that demands constant sacrifices to the god of stipends and perpetual impoverishment. Most unfortunately, this creates a demand for a distance-learning program.

My reasons for applying to Nova:
1. Regionally accredited school
2. It is a brick-and-mortar school with traditional class formats (established in 1967) with probably the most time-tested and refined distance-learning process and technology that there is (given that it was an innovator in this field).
3. It is a not-for-profit school

Why this program scares me:
1. Perhaps this is just my humbled opinion, but I think that EVERY CS PhD curriculum should have a very good algorithms course. This school offers none. It's other classes are on the norm, but that one omission has me thinking. I know...I know. It's the small things that keep me up at night. It's just that every PhD I've ever talked to pretty much learned all of his algorithms magic during his post-graduate education. Simply understanding the basics of big-O and having to look up what "P=NP?" means every time I think about it just doesn't seem to cut the mustard.
2. No comprehensive qualifying exam(s). As anyone who knows the pain and misery of studying for quals can tell you, this particular type of exam is to provide assurance to the faculty that you have derived a keen mastery of the crucial fundamentals of computer science theory and that you are ready to move on to your dissertation. Lacking this exam is analogous to becoming a Navy SEAL without ever having gone to BUDS training.
3. My acceptance letter had the wrong date in it. It was the right month/day, but it was for 2007. I guess somebody used the wrong template. They were kind enough to make the quick fix and then re-send it. Still.... IRK!!
4. I seem to recall a few typos in the graduate catalog. This might be my imagination, though. Granted, they were very few and very far between and the catalog was rather humongous, but still!
5. This university has surprisingly little money coming in for research (and I do mean little). That is really scary.
6. It is considered to be a national 4th-tier school.

Why this program DOESN'T scare me:
1. It has all of the requisite accreditations.
2. Minus the algorithms class, the offered courses seem on par.
3. The faculty seems to have a good collective background (Princeton, Columbia, UPenn, Imperial College, Carnegie Mellon, UFlorida, URochester, Purdue, and some others including Nova grads).
4. The faculty seems well published and appear to have diverse and scientifically legitimate fields of research. (Did I just say that out loud???)
5. Having read the testimonies of current and past students, the course-load is no joke and sounds to be on-par with actual doctoral-level coursework.
6. It has very realistic application requirements as would be found in other PhD programs.
7. A masters degree is a prerequisite.
8. There are impressive research dissertation topics from other graduates

Anyone who does an online search for this school can easily find a zillion different people who claim that this school is a "diploma mill" (or, in english, a school that sells degrees for minimal amounts of work and that are mocked by the general academic community). I have found that probably 35% (given my made-up statistics) think so because they believe this school to be a for-profit institution (the sure sign of a diploma mill) never having actually read anything about the school. On top of that, I'd say that an additional 55% think so since they don't consider a distance-based PhD program to be legitimate. These are typically people who favor the usual model that embraces student poverty, teaching assistantships, and no chance at working on an actual career until the diploma is in hand. That leaves roughly 10% who just don't think that the school measures up for various other reasons. THANKFULLY, the overwhelming majority of people (including the nay-sayers) wouldn't dream of grouping this university with the likes of Capella, University of Phoenix, and other for-profit schools. (Well...a few do, but they usually get jumped on pretty quickly by others.)


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

"The worst thing about the zombie apocalypse will be pretending that I'm not excited."

- Jerri and Steve

Friday, May 02, 2008

Pictures: Me and my sweetie

I look kinda crazy in this one.

(Her hand is on my butt. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone.)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Congratulations, Cass!

I would like to extend my congratulations to Ms. Cassandra Pugh. This Saturday, she will be receiving her doctoral degree in veterinary medicine.

Cass and I have known each other since she was in the third grade (and I was in the eighth) at the Divine Redeemer Catholic school in Hanahan, SC. Since then, she has subsequently received diplomas from Bishop England High School, Clemson University, and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia.

(I wonder if she knows that she's now sugar-mama potential....)

Update: Here is video of Cass doing the walk...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Entry: What does this mean?

So...the question of the day is this......what does the above picture mean?

Go to work, send your kids to school
follow fashion, act normal
walk on the pavement, watch T.V.
save for your old age, obey the law
Repeat after me: I am free

I was having a discussion with my symbiote today and it turns out that we had completely different interpretations. In fact, we came up with three total. Now, my question to you is what you think it means. Please chime in!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Entry: The folly of adulthood

I remember, once upon a time, someone asking me how many stars I thought were in the sky. Of course, this is when I was REALLY young and the first answer that came to mind was "29". I can't help but chuckle now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Some basic facts about the middle east

I've been lazy in my updates of late (which seems to be the rule, as opposed to the exception, these days). I ran across this interesting website and I figured that it wouldn't hurt people to do a little light reading on our neighbors to the east.

What Every American Should Know About the Middle East

Monday, March 10, 2008

Entry: My weekend in Savannah

So....this weekend was my first ever green dress run (as organized by the Savannah H3). I had a blast! It was an opportunity to see old friends and also to spend time with the ever so sexy emotional symbiote with whom I quartered (aka the woman). (which I'll take whenever I can get it).

Of course, there was the usual mix of fun, drunk people, confusion, debauchery, and loud noise at 4am. For me, this was the first time that a gay bar had ever been involved. It was called "Blaine's Backdoor Bar" and even had a big rainbow flag hanging from the canopy. You can't really get more obvious than that. Either the bar was just having a slow night or the owners foresaw the potential crowding issues and preemptively kept the patronage down that evening while awaiting our arrival. Of course, the few legitimately gay men non-hashers were looking around like..."WTF? Who are all these people???". Some really scary dude (who bore a painstaking resemblance to Borat) decided to cop a feel on me at one point. I blasted a few choice words his way and he quickly withdrew back into the masses without even making eye contact once. The old saying goes: "When in Rome, be like the romans". I knew that our 60+ crowd was in a gay bar and I should expect such things, but something like that is insulting no matter WHAT gender you are.

This particular trip included the usual bouts of drama. Thankfully, my exposure to it was quite minimal (and what little drama I did experience was simply out of curiosity). It's nice to have a fantastic woman at your side to keep things at bay.

As I have been known to do, I would like to leave a few simple words for some choice personnel who were in attendance. Of course, some names will be omitted.

  • To the organizers: Thank you for such a great time!
  • To "drunk bastard": You might want to re-think your priorities in life if you're just as plastered at 9am as you were the night before. Granted, it was a hash event, but even at the other events I've been to, no matter how tanked someone is the night before, they at least leave some room for recovery for the next day. You seemed to have an intravenous alcohol drip going the whole time. Also, no matter how kindly you meant them, dropping the f-bomb repeatedly to the cleaning staff and to little children is not a way to endear yourself to the locals.
  • To Amkneesia: I always love talking to you. I can never quite put my finger on it. :)
  • To my sweetie: You always know how to take a situation like this weekend and turn it into loads of fun. I'm glad you didn't let the layover in Dallas keep you away because you totally made my weekend (which I'm sure you easily could have done no matter what). To you and to all the things about you that have contributed so much joy to my life, I give you thanks and praise.
  • To Air Force girl with the cool eyes: It was great to meet you. I've come to implicitly trust my sweetie's judge-of-character and she never seems to disappoint.
  • To Hot Pocket: crack me up! :)
  • To my arch nemesis: Until the next chapter. I'll bring my death ray.
  • And last, but certainly not least, to the Coxen Hole hashers: "VIVA LA COXEN HOLE!!!!!!!!"
All in all, much fun was had and I look forward to the next event! I'm sorry that more of the Tampons didn't show up. *cough* *cough* VC *cough*. Anyhoo...hope to make it to Hedon this year. TTFN folks.

On On!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Quote: Ideology

The problem with ideology is, if you've got an ideology, you've already got your mind made up. You know all the answers and that makes evidence irrelevant and arguments a waste of time.

- Bill Clinton

Friday, February 01, 2008

Pictures: More random pics

Run kids! Ruuuuun!!!!!

If he can show up in a sweat stain or a grilled cheese sandwich, then I don't know why this is so far-fetched.

Ha! This pictures requires no caption.

I guess mom gets the head.

I don't know why, but I'm suddenly imagining that Sputnik looks like a spider hanging on the wall.

That's pretty cool. I'll bet that hermit crab's like...."Hey! Where's the dark???"

Charles Darwin: "Well...hello there little boy! Would you like some candy?"

This seems just a tad exaggerated to me...even for an advertisement. "If you use our cream, all of your 100-year-old wrinkles will go away, your hair will change color and style, and the shape of your nostrils will change."

Article: It's good to be an oil company

"Oil giant makes corporate history by booking $11.7 billion in quarterly profit; earns $1,300 a second in 2007."

You know....all the rhetoric aside, if you look at pricing trends (ie. gas prices will skyrocket overnight but take months to recede again), I really have to admit that I do believe that gas prices may never go back to pre-Bush levels. There's too much FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that big oil can use to pad their excuses. Later, they can simply claim that the general public just can't fathom the new kinds of math used to explain why. I typically don't take such a staunch stand on one of my blog entries, but when I see articles like these, I can't help but imagine the drooling stock-holders.

Sadly enough, war is GREAT for big business! The rich get richer.

Entry: To do or not to do....

I'm a big fan of a program on Showtime called 'The L Word'. On this show, one of the characters maintains a giant whiteboard with a ginormous diagram of all the main characters and with whom they've all slept and so on and so forth. It's a pretty darned big chart!

I was browsing the show site and ran across this interesting little application that lets people start their OWN charts. I'm sorely tempted to start one of my own. Of wouldn't have anything to do with sex. It would be a good-friends chart or a good-hasher-buddy chart. I think it would be interesting to see what kind of social dynamics are at work (particularly if hashers were used).'s just a brain-stormed idea at the moment.

The Desiderata

A very special person read this to me recently. I figured that I would serve as a humble echo in the halls of the universe by posting it. Enjoy.

Go placidly among the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful.
Strive to be happy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Site: Tips for handling a baby

I now feel ready to have a child of my very own! After finding this handy little website, I find that maybe I stressed for all these years and that maybe it's not as hard as everyone makes it out to be.


I don't know why, but I think that this RC CH-47 helo is pretty neat.

Mini RC Chinook

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Quote of the day

"What luck for rulers that men do not think."

- Adolf Hitler

Picture: Ain't that the truth

I saw this picture and it started me thinking on all the different facets of life to which it could accurately apply. It seems to fit everything from the intricacies of dating to the current state of US foreign relations.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quote of the day

"I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined, and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road."

- Stephen Hawking

Pictures of the week

That is a most unfortunate name to have in an English-speaking country.

Just in case your parents forgot to tell you during your potty training...

Can someone tell me what that is supposed to be?! Is that President Bush's new anti-Godzilla defense system?


This is really sad.

Stop playing with your food!


Sad, but true.

WTF is that?? It's like a giant fuzzy worm with whiskers!

All hail Zeus!