Thursday, March 25, 2010

My Week: In Movie Clip Style

Yes, I'm actually finding time to blog twice this week. In this scene, the role of Hunter Barry is played by Man in Cowboy Hat, Graduation is played by the Truck, Graduation Paperwork is played by the gun-toting drug dealers, and Economics Homework will be played by the dog.

Okay, now that that's explained, allow me to elaborate. I have just finished up roughly a month's worth of getting papers filled out, signed, stamped, and signed again in order to graduate in May (related note: OHMYGODHOWCANIBEGRADUATING?!). In the process of filling out one of the forms, I discover that I am missing a class needed for my Econ degree. I was surprised because I double-checked before this semester started and I knew I had all the advanced courses I need, from Econometrics to the Development of Third World Economies to Another Intimidating Sounding yet Impressive Course Title. It turns out the course I needed was "Intro to Math in Social Sciences". Interestingly enough, despite being an intro course, it's not needed as a prerequisite for any of the courses offered in Economics. Although I suspect that may be more a symptom of the department rather than the class. After all, despite Calculus being required for the degree, it was not a prerequisite for Microeconomic Theory (aka Applied Calculus). And that's how I gained an extensive knowledge of derivatives before opening a calc book. But I digress.

Now, I am a reasonable man, but it appears that the Records Department would not accept that having passed every Upper Division Economics course I needed for a degree was a sufficient "intro". Luckily, after much loophole searching, I discovered I didn't need a math course I was in this semester. So I fill out the course substitution work and sell my advisor on the idea. I take it to the Econ Office, who tells me I need the approval of the Math Department. The Math Department Chair says he can't actually sign it, but he can give his endorsement for the substitution. However, he'll only endorse it if another math professor agrees with it. So we find a math teacher who promptly agrees with me. I go back to the Econ Building and I'm told to get the information systems chair to sign it. However, he's also hesitant and demands a talk with me before signing it, and then goes over to the chair of the Econ Department to sign it. The Econ Chair asks for an explanation and by now, the fourth telling, I had perfected the story. The IS Chair sends me out of the room to talk with the Econ Chair and I ultimately find out it was the Econ chair's call all along and he approved it. The good news is that counted as my exercise for the day!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mark Twain say what?

So I'm reading Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain these days. Don't mistake that for me actually being able to enjoy reading a book, as MTSU is determined the suck every last moment of my fleeting time here with work (apparently there are legitimate reasons why no one takes 18 hours their last semester. I thought it was just superstition!). I came across an interesting passage in which Mr. Twain discusses how having a freakishly good memory like one that, for instance, was able to recite large portions of Monty Python from memory (bonus story: one day in Medieval History, Dr. Haas challenged me to recite the Spanish Inquisition sketch from memory to prove how few things people have memorized. He immediately regretted that challenge.). But I digress. Twain's exact words were

Such a memory as that is a great misfortune. To it, all occurrences are of the same size. Its possessor cannot distinguish an interesting circumstance from an uninteresting one. As a talker, he is bound to clog his narrative with tiresome details and make himself an insufferable bore.
Oh no, he didn't! Mark Twain has called out my literary go-to technique "But I digress" from 130 years in the past. Well let me tell you something, Mark Twain, if that is your real name, WHICH IT ISN'T, all my details are interesting. Why? Because I sort memories into Awesome and Extra Awesome, based off of their relevance to most conversation. Awesome categories such as the Best Ninja Turtles, the date of the Battle of Fredericksburg, and the Greatest School Computer Game are stored in long term storage, only to be brought up in very specific circumstances (by the way, the answers to those questions are Donatello, December 13th 1862, and DinoPark Tycoon respectively. editor's note: I just realized those answers were all alliterative. My subconscious must be really well organized! Probably just grabbed a bunch of random answers from the "D" file and updated his Facebook with the time he saved.). Extra Awesome details see the light of day a lot more often, such as How Kansas Could Lose in the Second Round, Who I Don't want to Escape the Zombie Horde with, and Who is Most Likely a Hobbit in Disguise (the answer to all three of those questions is Bean. He had Kansas winning it all, which doomed him. I've seen him play Left 4 Dead so he's more likely to run away from the zombies and I can't outrun him; so the zombies would either overwhelm me or catch me first. And finally, he's incredibly reluctant to adventure, can't grow a beard, is about 4 feet tall and lives in a hole in the ground [I may have made that part up].).

But you're not getting off that easily, Mr. Greatest American Humorist of His Age! I've read your book (Life on the Mississippi) and guess what? Most of chapter 2 is just Huck Finn. I don't mean thematically similar, I mean you literally 19th century copied and pasted a chapter from Huck Finn into your book. What's the matter? Was 59 chapters not enough for your book? (bonus fact: Life on the Mississippi was actually published before Huck Finn came out. In a way, it was the world's first viral marketing campaign, which is pretty cool in retrospect. But Twain should have known that the future would become the past and one day mentioning his one book in his other book would cause countless people to have flashbacks to 11th grade English. The horror... the horror...). But I digress. My point is that I may ramble at times, at least I didn't have to steal my name from my workplace!

Did you think just because William Faulkner called you "the father of American literature" that means you can trash-talk whatever blogs you want? Because that right is actually promised by the First Amendment and you don't have to be putting up with Faulkner's crap to do that. Also, there will be retaliation from the blog itself.

P.S. Graduation craziness has died down a bit so I will chat about my adventures in PCB next!