November 30, 2010

CV Fodder

A few weeks ago, I was one of two panelist in an academic session called "Today's Disabled Veterans." First we screened a rather anti-war film called "The Ground Truth," then had a roughly hour-long chat with the audience. The panel consisted of myself and a Air Force veteran, who had been a cargo plane loadmaster until 2006 or so. I don't want to be one of those that compare services, but I'm not quite sure how he came by his PTSD.

Anyway, it was a good session. We had about 20 attendees, including a rear admiral who got his BA from UB's history department many moons ago. He was attending incognito, but it's not hard to pick out a flag officer even if they are in civilian clothes. If nothing else, he had a better-tailored suit than any professor I've met.

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November 15, 2010


The good news is, there's a new X-Com game coming out. X-Com is a true classic, a turn-based small-unit tactics game combined with a strategic resource-management game. Both sections were deep and complicated, yet approachable. My entire dorm was playing this in the 94-95 school year.

The bad news is, the new one took everything good about the original and flushed it. The new X-Com is going to suck. As testimony thereof, I give you this, their official trailer.

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November 12, 2010

Mise En Place

As I was packing up to leave seminar this evening, the professor asked "Have you always been so meticulous?" I was confused, until I realized he was looking at the stuff I was packing up. And it hit me, that I have been arrainging my stuff in the same way all semester in every class. My binder is open, two pens and a pencil arranged at the top of the binder. When I want to use the blue pen, I put the black pen in its spot. And my water bottle goes to the right.

I was surprised to discover that I'd been arrainging my stuff with such precision. I can only blame my Marine career. Aviation maintenance puts an premium on keeping track of one's tools, and flight equipment/parachute rigging takes that premium and ramps it up into obsession. When working on, say, a helmet, I'd always put my tools in the same places, so I could grab what I needed when I needed it, but also so I could tell at a glance that everything was there. Now I've transferred that habit to the tools of my new profession.

It was an interesting epiphany.

And I wish the paper I'd turned in today was better organized. The professor might rethink his judgment. It was not a very good paper at all. But this week is kind of a bad one for me, so I'm not as productive as I should be, and I wrote it very much at the last minute and without a decent thesis.

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November 09, 2010

I Saw Several Sources of Systematic Error

On my bike ride in to class today, I had to pause and watch what I assume was a physics recitation. Two undergrads were at the base of one of the taller buildings on campus, with a dozen or so students on the roof. They were tossing pumpkins over the edge, and timing the gourds' fatal plummets. It looked like quite a bit of fun. It's too bad I didn't have time to ask who their instructor was, because now I'll never know what their results were.

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