Tuesday, February 28, 2006

[A_Healthier_Me?]

So I finally got back on the wagon again. Trying to get my lard butt back in the best shape of my life. I was doing fine up until two weeks ago when I had a sudden attack of work-stressitis and some strange bug that felt like a hybrid between a cold, a flu, and an upset stomach. I was impressed with the amazing gains in strength and endurance I'd made in the space of a few weeks. Now I'm struggling just to get myself up out of bed in the morning. Nevertheless, I've been extremely successful at going to bed by 11:00pm, waking up at around 7:00am and doing a little bit of yoga before breakfast. I'm also back to doing weights again and my diet seems to be finally normalizing itself (i.e. my body is getting used to the idea of eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of skipping breakfast and lunch, then gorging myself on a huge dinner). The sad truth is that I, like most of my gym friends from back day, know exactly what to eat, when to eat, how to eat as well as the proper way to train; however, most of us have never seemed to manage to get to that point where we could bring our bodies to the ultimate level of conditioning. I suppose we just didn't care too much about it, or were too busy building other peoples bodies. Don't get me wrong, we weren't fat, out of shape, or anything like that now! It's just that most of us didn't care too much about being in the "single digit bodyfat percentage" group.

Man, last night I almost regretted going home! Remember I told you it was relatively difficult to get in to work yesterday morning because of the snow? Well, lemme tell you that getting home from work last night was definately no picnic either! Nothing is worse than snowfall, icy roads, darkness, and bad drivers. When the snow is falling, you can't use your high beams because they reflect off the snowflakes and make it difficult to see. Plus the roads are ice and treacherous and you have to go really slow and somehow manage to balance between maintaining a constant speed and not slowing down too much on a hill, lest you won't be able to get back enough traction to make it up the hill and the darkness doesn't make it any easier to see where the huge patches of ice are. Of course rear-wheel drive vehicles are a nightmare this time of year. To top it all off you have those idiot drivers who figure that because it says "4-Wheel-Drive" and "Traction Control" in the manual it means that they have an open license to overtake you in terrible road conditions. Aside from having to worry about my own vehicle skidding at these points, I'm also having to think ahead about how to handle the situation if the other car starts to spin when it crosses in front of me. I tell you, these rural Americans are amazing...

{Nuff Said}

Monday, February 27, 2006

[What_Do_You_Want_To_Be_When_You_Grow_Up]

The weekend came and went and I'd be happy to be at work if it wasn't for the fact that it's snowing right now and I'm teaching a late class tonight. Oh well, I suppose that's the price we pay for being teachers. Overall, the weekend wasn't too bad at all, didn't do very much aside from laundry, a little house cleaning, working out, talking to Pebbles and just having me a good old time at home. Admittedly, I did spend a little bit of time on the street because I was just plain tired of being locked up in the apartment! When I get bored, I like to drive around aimlessly (of course, Pebbles loves driving around too; however she prefers to actually be driving to a specific destination to have fun).

Every now and then while I'm driving something may catch my fancy and I'll stop for a bit. For example, I drove past the local Barnes and Noble bookstore on Saturday afternoon and felt the sudden urge to look at a few books on bodybuilding, automobile tuning, and computers. Eventually, I got bored with looking at books and decided to go home. On the way out the door, a book title caught my attention and I had to stop and take a few moments to browse it. The book was titled From Learning To Earning: Success Strategies for New Grads. I found the book to be quite an interesting read, particularly the sections that contained little self-assessment tests to help guide you in the right career direction based on your skills and interests. I didn't end up buying the book, but I did make a mental note of it as one of the top books to recommend to my seniors.

On the way home, I began to seriously think about my career thus far. I'm really happy with the fact that I opted to enter academia and I find it sufficiently rewarding and challenging to keep me entertained for years and years to come. On the other side of the coin, I sometimes wonder about switching careers and going in to a profession completely unrelated to my field of study. When I was younger, I wanted to be a fireman so that I could ride around on the big red truck and wear the nifty hat and coat; however all this changed after I saw the Towering Inferno.

Somewhere in my teens, I decided that I wanted to be a professional martial artist, bodybuilder, and fitness guru. These plans changed when I got injured in a martial arts tournament and couldn't train for a few months. When I eventually did start training again, I realized how badly out of shape I had become in just a short space of time! Common sense dictated to me then that if you live in a world where your biggest assets are your physique and your ability to perform a wide range of difficult physical movements (i.e. lifting weights or fighting techniques) then you are pretty much screwed if something goes wrong with the body. I needed a more stable type of profession. Sometimes I regret not pursuing this dream and I often wonder how different my life would've been if I'd taken this path.

I admit that I was extremely confused teenager when it came to my future. So much so that at one point I even applied to college to do secretarial studies and got accepted to the program. Of course, my primary motivation for thinking about this career was because (no offense to the ladies and secretaries out there) I had observed that the vast majority of people who were in the OAT (Office Administration and Technology) program happened to be females. I began to think about the prospect of being surrounded by women all day long and it really did seem like a good idea at the time.

In another life I had aspirations of becoming an artist. However, these dreams were dashed away because my high school guidance counseler was not very supportive of my abilities and told me that I had no talent. I haven't drawn anything seriously since she told me this. Of late, I've been considering going back for a PhD in English and becoming a writer of novels, poems, and short stories; however, this is a side of myself that I haven't really put much effort into exploring.

Looking back now, I find a common thread between my personality and interests which have unconsciously (or consciously) lead me to my current occupation. I've always enjoyed teaching, ever since I was a youngster training in the martial arts. I first instructed a martial arts class when I was about 15 years old or 16 years old, a green belt. I was nervous at first, but I soon took to it like a fish takes to water. It came easy to me. I've always been an uber-patient person and that helped me out well as a young assistant instructor and all these traits have culminated into my teaching philosophy. I've always held a passion for computers and pursuing a degree in Computer Science just seemed like a natural fit to my interests and abilities. Even now when I look at all the majors out there, I cannot pinpoint one that would give me more satisfaction than Computer Science (or some variant of Computer Science, like Management Information Systems). Sure, I think about a doctoral degree in English, but possibly something to do with literary computing.

I suppose everyone thinks about their careers and lifestyles every now and then and, while there are many things that I'd like to change about my life at this very moment, I can honestly say that I do enjoy my profession. I enjoy waking up and walking in to a classroom in the morning. I enjoy seeing youngsters have an "a-ha" moment when they suddenly understand the things I've been telling them. I enjoy seeing students take my ideas and construct their own knowledge in ways that I haven't even thought of. But most of all, I enjoy seeing my students walking across the stage at graduation time to collect their diplomas with their heads held high and their futures, yet unwritten, stretched out before them. A future limited only by their creativity and determination.

Though this profession may not end up being my ultimate career goal, I can honestly say that it's all worth it at this point in time. God bless educators


{Nuff Said}

Friday, February 24, 2006

[Friday_Post]

Friday is here and I can almost safely say thank God I made it through another week (more or less) unscathed. The temperature is a nice 40 Degrees (Fahrenheit), though the local weather authorities are calling for snowfall later tonight. Oh well, I don't care too much, by the time the snow begins to fall I'll be at home in bed curled up with a good blog. Yes, I do find blogs more entertaining than books these days and Lord knows that I've been reading enough textbooks lately to warrant a nice little break from all things academic. Spring Break is coming up next week and come Friday afternoon I will have my little bundle of clothes nicely packed away in the Accord and ready to head up to Delaware to spend 1 whole week and two weekends with the love of my life, Ms. Pebbles! As for this weekend, I have no clue what I'll do to pass the time, though I'm seriously thinking about spending a little time out and about in Little Big City, laundry is a must as well, and I have to allocate some time to design new methods of torture for my poor students! (i.e. more code, equations, and projects for all!). Anyhow, I'm a little pressed for time, so I hope everyone has a great weekend and stay safe!

{Nuff Said}


Thursday, February 23, 2006

[Google_Earth] :: = [Extreme_Coolness]

So I've been playing around with Google Earth since yesterday and let me tell you, the thing is just amazing! What is Google Earth, you might ask? Well, for those of you not in touch with your Geekuality, Google Earth is a piece of software which:

"combines satellite imagery, maps and the power of Google Search to put the world's geographic information at your fingertips."

According to the project page found at http://earth.google.com, you can do all sort of cool stuff like:
  • Fly from space to your neighborhood. Type in an address and zoom right in.
  • Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels.
  • Get driving directions.
  • Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings.
So, in other words, Google Earth represents the Geographer's Dream, The Bored Man's Salvation, and the Voyeur's Fantasy Come True. Naturally, I fall in to the category of the bored man looking for something new to optimize his time on the web! (I know what Mad Bull and Dr. D. would do with this thing, since I know that they are neither interested in Geography nor have time to be bored with their hectic lifestyles!).

Anyhow, I thought it would be cool to Google Earth a few places of interest and see what turned up. Here are the results:

The first logical spot I thought to look for was my home in Jamaica. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a good feel for where in Barbican I was, so I gave up on this image.








Next I decided to try somewhere in the US and, of course, the most logical place to check out would be my current location...the office. I couldn't really identify too many things in this image either, I guess the foliage is just too dense for this satellite imagery stuff.

Eventually, I decided to try somewhere bigger and less rural. ..Pebble's apartment complex. Lo and behold, I see buildings, cars, trees, and all manner of coolness. I can actually make out her building from here! Wow, this is totally incredible!



Now it's my turn. I point Google Earth at my address and I can see with extreme clarity the terrain of the apartment complex! I see the swimming pool, my friend's apartment, the laudromat, and my own apartment! Wow, this is amazing. I can actually trace my way from my apartment building to the downtown area and the campus of my alma mater! The thing that has me completely freaked out about this technology is that it's extremely fast, accurate, and free!

They offer several pay versions of the software available which boast even more clarity, greater accuracy, and better search features! If this is available to the public, then just imagine the power of the technology the feds have at their disposal! I'll never get naked in my apartment again! Anyhow good friends, I'm out, it's late and I plan to go home and get some well-deserved rest! Be sure to download Google Earth now and try it out for yourself, if you haven't done so already!

{Nuff Said}






Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Out Of The Closet


So I have a confession to make this morning. I'm suffering from an extremely rare disorder known in the medical profession as Subdural Geekatomyliosis or Geekitis for short. I was first diagnosed with this disorder when I was about 11-years old, right after my uncle brought home our first computer, an IBM PS/2 Model 30 with 16MB of RAM and dual floppy disk drives.



Lord only knows how many hours I spent in front of that little machine writing programs in BASIC and playing popular text-oriented adventure games like Space Quest, Police Quest, and King's Quest. God bless Sierra Games for giving me memorable characters like Roger Wilco, Sonny Bonds, and Sir Graham to help get me through those difficult and extremely awkward teenage years!

Over the past two decades or so,
I've made a huge transition from being the sheltered teen of to an older, wiser, more mature person capable of taking responsibility for himself and others; however, this does not meen that my Geekitis went into remission! In fact, it's gotten worse! You see, I've become a closet geek (shhh, don't tell anyone else out of the blogsphere just yet!) and sometimes I really do wish I was comfortable enough with my geekuality to express it to the rest of the world. But when you're a good-looking, multi-talented, ladies man like myself, it's really hard to come out of the closet you know!

How do you rationalize getting "warm sensations" about the latest iPod or that you enjoy writing useless programs in the nude late at night you enjoy thinking about writing useless programs while driving to work in the mornings, let alone the fact that you can summarize youe life and personality in a Geek Code Block which once served as your e-mail signature (see below foran example of Geek Code).

GED/J d-- s:++>: a-- C++(++++) ULU++ P+ L++ E---- W+(-) N+++ o+ K+++ w--- O- M+ V-- PS++>$ PE++>$ Y++ PGP++ t- 5+++ X++ R+++>$ tv+ b+ DI+++ D+++ G++++ e++ h r-- y++**

The worst part about the Geekitis is that it's contagious! Now my own students have fallen victim to the affliction and I blame myself completely. Nowadays, I have kids coming to my office hours just to tell me how funny it was for them to "use a recursive event handler for a Java button object to see whether or not they could spawn an infinite number of new windows that would all close once the parent object was destroyed". Or better yet, finding it funny when one of my female students comes in to my office and tells me that she was out at a club with her friends and some annoying older guy (of about 29 or so) kept trying to get her phone number and she finally got fed up and gave him a wrong number...in binary!


Oh well, I suppose now that I'm out of the closet, all I can do now is continue to work on loving my inner geek. After all, life is sweet and it takes all type to make the world go round. So, if you're the type of person who enjoys doing math equations just because, or if you're familiar with a dangling-else ambiguity, or if you can find humor in the most mundane of circumstances, or even if you love playing with the latest tech toys, embrace your geekuality and (imitating L'il Kim's voice) "Put your RAZRs up!!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dragging

I didn't get much sleep last night, nor did I have too much of an appetite for breakfast this morning. At 12:48pm, I'm extremely tired and hungry as hell, with two more classes to teach before I can officially go home and mope around. I plan to go to the gym tonight, but on an empty stomach, I'm not sure how that's going to work out.

The gym is always a fun place for me. I love to see the "wanna-be" huge guys walking around with their bony-to-marginally muscled arms flared out as if they actually have lats huge enough to produce that effect...I guess it's a symptom of the "I'm really not as monstrously huge as I think I am" syndrome that has existed since the age of the dinosaurs. I also love to see the muscle-girls who spend hours and hours between the treadmill and the free-weights, and who snarl at you like rabid dogs whenever you even make like you're going to use the equipment they plan to use two or three exercises down the road. I love the overweight loudmouths who pile on hundreds of pounds on the bench press and talk for about 15 minutes between each set about how they used to be "ripped". How can I forget the huge upper-body no lower-body types who can do every single exercise for their upper bodies, but who've never visited a squat rack, let alone know the difference between a calf raise and a lunge. Of course, there's my type too. The "don't talk to anybody unless you have to, I hate being here, train hard until you throw-up" type. It's great being me!

{Nuff Said}

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Typical Monday Morning

Monday already. It's incredible how difficult it is to wake up on a Monday morning knowing that you have to face five whole days of work before seeing the weekend again. "Beep Beep, Beep Beep." Why the hell did I set that damn Nokia alarm for 7:30am again? Oh yeah, I need to wake up and put all my teaching material together. Do I really need to be up at this ungodly hour? Heck no! Somehow I manage to hit the snooze button again...just another 10 minutes and I'll be good!

Ten minutes later, "Beep Beep, Beep Beep." Shit, is it 7:40am already? Dammit! Let's see, if I wake up at 8:00am, I'll still have time to do everything I need to do, get out of the house no later than 8:40am and still be in time for work! So, I fidget with the alarm and set it for 8:00am. 20 minutes roll by and I'm woken up for the third time by the annoying "Beep Beep" sound. F*ck it, snooze button...

8:10am, This is the fourth time I'm waking up and I can't stand it anymore! I know that this is absolutely the last window of opportunity I have to make it in to work on time. I fight the urge to hit the snooze button for the fifth round. For a moment I consider calling in sick, but it doesn't make sense, because it would mean I'd have to get out of bed and fumble around for the house phone to call the office (yes, I have a cellphone next to my bed, but it's after 7am and I'd be using up unnecessary minutes).

I roll out of bed and look at the time--Shit! It's already 8:15am, I wasted 5 minutes thinking about getting out of bed! Oh no stomach hurts and bladder is about to explode! Need to rush to the bathroom. Ahhh, blessed relief! I glance at my wristwatch sitting precariously on the sink, 5 more minutes have passed and I'm nowhere near ready for work! No time for a shave this morning, need to hop in the shower fast! The warm water feels so good against my back, especially because it's winter time and I'm usually cold as hell in the morning (even with the temperature up to 70 degrees). I lose track of time, letting the water gently beat down on my head and neck and wash the soap from my body. Suddenly it hits me that I'm not being paid to advertise Axe Bodywash and I really need to get out of the house!

I stumble out of the shower and reach for the towel that isn't on the towel hanger. Man, I can't believe I didn't remember to put the damn towel back last night! In a flash, I hop out of the tub, open the bathroom door, and run to the master bedroom...the cold air beats against my wet body and I let out a loud Jamaican expletive through chattering teeth.

I guess I cursed too loudly. The neighbor's dog begins to bark at me. F*ck you dog, I'm already late for work as it is! I retrieve the towel sitting on my bed head and quickly dry myself. Hopefully the long trail of wet footprints in the rug will dry out by the time I get home from work. I grab my deoderant and savagely wipe it under my arms, stopping every now and then to curse at the annoying little dog barking at me from upstairs. I look around for a pair of Khaki pants that aren't wrinkled, of course they'll all be wrinkled because I never iron them that much anyway! Nope, can't wear any of these! Aha, last week's jeans! Here we go! Quick, grab a t-shirt and sweater, it doesn't matter what sweater, they all smell the same! OK, now I need socks....a ha, white socks! I'm wearing boots to work today! (Pebbles would cringe at the site of me wearing white socks to work).

Alright, I'm almost there! I have my clothes on...I don't need to brush my hair since I cut it all off last weekend (a time-saving device, but also an extremely dumb thing to do considering that it's mid-winter and I really need as much insulation as I can get!). Rush to the kitchen and pour some cereal in a bowl with some milk. Oh crap, the milk expired last week! OK, so no breakfast this morning! A mad dash to the living room to gather up my teaching material and laptop. I look at the time display on the cable box....8:50am. OK, I can still make it to work on time....well, at least within 5 minutes of being on time...if there's no traffic and I maintain exactly 60mph from start to finish. I grab my boots and pull them on--I'll tie the laces when I get to work. What am I missing? Oh yeah, I know! My jacket, hat, car keys, and wallet. Thank God! I found a jacket on the couch which has a hat stuck in one of the pockets. Fortunately I chose that jacket, since it was covering my car keys and wallet.

Alright, I'm good to go! I head out the door and then it suddenly hits me...sonofoabitch, I forgot that it snowed last night and I need to de-ice the car before I can drive to work. Ten minutes later, I'm still scraping ice and brushing snow. Let's do the math here, it's 15 after 9, I have a class to teach at 10, and it takes about an hour (or 60 minutes) to get from home to work...an impossible feat, right? Think again! I made it to work with 5 minutes to spare! I know the trucker, the two old ladies, the three pickup truck drivers, and the tractor were not impressed with my ability to overtake on winding roads!!!

{Nuff Said}

Friday, February 10, 2006

29

Tomorrow I turn 29. Somehow, I don't mind that number too much. I'm not even worried about hitting age 30. It's just surprising that the years went by so quickly. Mentally, I don't think I've changed too much since age 21...except that I'm a little bit more jaded with life and people in general AND I have more responsibilities. I don't feel that much differently physically....except that I have packed on a few pounds and it's not as easy to get out of bed anymore. There's a snow storm approaching tonight and I won't be able to go to Delaware to spend my special day with my special lady (I miss you Pebbles)...but I suppose I'll just have to make do with a little cake, some good music, and a few phone calls. Have a great weekend all and Happy Birthday to me!

'Nuff Said