Stress

I wish all my grades were up on blackboard. Currently I only know how well I’m doing in half of my classes and In these two, the most recent grades are from April 9th (csci 466) and April 14th (csci 340). I’m stressing out over the test I haven’t gotten back yet in phil 205, because I got a 100% on the last test, I want to know if I did as well. Anything lower will probably be a disappointment.

Seeing as I got a nifty 4.0 last semester, I want to keep that going. This group project in csci 466 is causing me a load of stress. One member of the group is never in class, the one person who wrote our site and still needs to add a few things never shows up to class and the whole project is due Friday. It has to be in our teacher’s hand by the end of class and it’s worth over 300 points. To give you a scale of things, the tests are 100 points and the other assignments are 50 points. Failing to get a large majority of those points will guarantee I don’t get an A. Most of the people I talked to in class could only muster a mid-level C on the first exam. Yes, that’s right, we’ve had one exam all year.

Tests in programming courses are something else. As a CS major I spend a considerable amount of time working through a program having the compiler there to tell me if a line of code doesn’t work. On a paper test you know how much feedback I get? The same as you get on any other test, none. In csci 466, the assignments all let me check my answers before finalizing anything. After a while you get used to figuring out certain things by yourself and with little instruction because you know when it’s not working and can try again after looking it up online.

How does a written test, requiring me to write out code on paper, test what I’ve learned. Do you realize the number of things I have to memorize in order to get a good grade on a test like that? This is the result of a antiquated professor teaching a subject that hasn’t changed in 12 years. Some of the PowerPoints I’ve seen in that class had sound effects on nearly every bullet point and gradient lines around the borders. I’m surprised more of them didn’t use comic sans.

I found out where I’ll be stationed last year, (if you didn’t see, Stevenson D6) and the other CA’s in D tower seem alright to me. Hey, they got the job didn’t they?

I have a lot due in the next few days and I want to give up at this point. Motivation is wearing thin, as well as morale.

Shit that pisses me off

I feel like swearing in a witty manner, so here it goes.

1) The driver Snow Leopard uses for my new mouse is horrible. The cursor moves around jittery and there’s absolutely no way to disable acceleration. It’s like trying to drag a tin can behind your car, try closing a window like that. To top it off, Logitech only supports Windows with the MX518. The strain is taxing my wrist, because in order to click on anything, I have to move the mouse extremely slowly. None of these problems are evident when I’m using Windows 7 or Ubuntu 9.04.

2) iTunes likes to not play random songs I can only describe as “corrupted” where I can’t see the length and bit rate in Finder. To remedy this, I have to re-encode the song at the same bit rate using Max. (The program I use to convert FLAC to MP3 at 320 Kbps because the iPod in no way supports playing FLAC files).

3) The hospital system in eRepublik now uses the following logic: You fought in a battle, okay we’ll heal your wounds but not treat any preexisting conditions. We want you to fight for us.. but we don’t want to insure you’re at full health. To me this says, we don’t care if you die of other causes, apparently fighting in a battle requires no valor at all and deems absolutely no reward other than being able to gain exp.

4) People who read powerpoints off the screen. Stop that shit, I can read without you flapping your gums at me.

5) Computer science professors that attempt to write out assignments that “illustrate concepts” instead of cogently describe the logic behind the code I’m supposed to write.

6) The state of Illinois owes NIU over 55 million dollars.

7) For-profit insurance companies.

8. The cost of Adobe products.

9) Single license versions of Windows that the Microsoft Developer’s Network Academic Alliance distributes. Are you aware that there are such things as virtual machines? Once I install my copy of Windows XP or Windows 7 in a virtual machine and it automatically activates, I’m shit out of luck if I ever want to use it again. This of course forces me to use the Enterprise Server versions they distribute, which are perfectly usable if you know how to “fix” them.. but c’mon Microsoft, really? A single license copy?

10) Loud music blaring from cars. I don’t like headaches, I don’t like rap, and I don’t like the rattling sound of your car attempting to commit suicide. What makes you think other people want to listen to it? Is there no law against loud music? There’s a goddamned seat-belt law, and this is a college campus, can the police here do something about it? Keep me here and happy, give me what I want, and I’ll pay you my money, that’s why I’m here. Aren’t colleges worried about having an attractive campus? Oh wait, I went to NIU. Never mind.

11) Republicans.

11.5) Sarah Palin.

11.5.1) Any one group of people generically referred to as “Joe the….”.

12) People who smoke and walk to/from class.

12.1) People who sit right in front of the doors and smoke. You decided to have a disgusting habit, I didn’t decide to put the door here. Fuck off.

13) Guys who completely miss the urinal in the men’s room. There’s absolutely no reason for this. “Hi, you decided to drink last night and came back drunk. If you had decided to stand closer than three feet, maybe, maybe you would have made a smaller mess. Here’s a mop, I’m going to watch you clean my bathroom floor.”

14) Single answer questions on a test that are worth close to 10% of the entire score. I missed one question on a computer science exam, costing me 12 points out of a possible 150.

15) The crap that passes for news on American news sites. The next time you want real news, check out news.bbc.co.uk.

16) The Daily Show, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and many many PBS programs not being on Hulu.

I’m probably going to change soon and go out for a run. It’s a nice enough day and all, I might as well. The only thing I’m worried about is running over three miles only two hours after a meal. Normally I run in the morning, after not having eaten anything since dinner. It’ll be an adventure I guess.

Do You Remember?

Holidays used to be magical. From Easter to Halloween, there was always a sense of excitement in the air. Whether it be a few activities in grade school or getting together with your family and opening presents, special occasions used to be.. well, special. Does anyone else feel a sort-of emptiness at holidays with the family?

Where has the magic gone?

I can’t think of anything else to write.

Today

One-sided light
darkness playing on bright
storms abound
rain is coming down
the sky is dark to the north
forbidding
tempting
and heavy.
Full of nothing
alluding
a change you can do nothing about
locked in and swiftly pulled away
to where? and why?

Less than five weeks until I come home for the summer, and I can’t help wondering where the past three years have gone.