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Follow-up

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In reference to the previous post:

I do not cheat; I do not plagiarize. What I resent is being treated like a criminal when I have not, and do not plan to, do anything wrong, especially when the defined “crimes” have been deemed permissible by esteemed professors at this university as opposed to a tired old lecturer. Finally, I detest the thought that I may be somehow blacklisted for simply daring to question his particular brand of integrity.

Labs Suck

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Cell Biology lab has put me in a foul mood this afternoon. To be fair, it starts at a disadvantage thanks to the time: 2:30-5:30 on Friday afternoons. However, any remaining grace I may have felt for the class evaporated faster than isopropyl alcohol when my partner Amir and I began the activity. So much of this class, and, I venture to extrapolate, future classes, is absolute bullshit. Our instructor, Brian MacKay, has “unique” take on academic integrity that takes the values set forth by our university and other professors to a completely different level. To Brian, simply obtain a copy of one of his previous exams constitutes cheating. Copying the data your lab partner wrote down during the experiment? Plagiarism. I suppose this means other renown professors at this institution should receive F’s on their transcripts for helping students to cheat when they not only provide old exams for practice, but encourage them to find additional exams on their own! Indeed, the world would be a better place if such dishonest organizations such as Kaplan and The Princeton Review were shut down – imagine, providing not just questions, but entire copies of old standardized tests to students to help them study. The audacity! Brian takes all of this and ratchets it up one more painful notch by announcing in his syllabus that he knows when somebody has been cheating or plagiarizing, “even if he cannot prove it.” What a way to kick off the semester!

Add to this ridiculous standard his commitment to ensuring that all labs take as much of the three hour time allotment as possible. Not because the labs are difficult, no, because he will make sure that your graph, crudely constructed on scrap paper, is appropriately titled with a complete sentence, among other things. It is this kind of busywork that so infuriates somebody who has a basic grasp on biological concepts. I mean, if you’ve come this far and you still don’t understand how to operate a micropipetter, where the hell have you been?!

This fellow’s exams are supposed to be hard, which is absolutely fitting given his personality. Here’s to getting through this semester with an A.

It’s not that I hate Macs…

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I own a number of Apple products, I have given Apple products as gifts, and I most likely will purchase an Apple MacBook Pro to replace my current laptop computer. What really gets me, though, is the idea that PC problems can somehow be solved by switching platforms. It’s as if a customer, upon purchasing a new game, experiences an error preventing the software from launching. When soliciting help for this obstacle, however, he is told that “that game sucks anyway.”

I look upon this logic with furrowed brow – a request for assistance is not a green light to pimp your operating system of choice. Rather, it is an opportunity to impart knowledge to another who may be treading a path you have already conquered. If you can think of nothing helpful to say, privately bask in the knowledge that your Mac does not do that and continue on your merry way, creating space for those who genuinely want to help.

This flawed reasoning is also routinely applied in a unique medium known as the “Slashdot comment”, but that is a subcultural aberration that is better discussed at another time.

One Year

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One year ago today, I asked Rachel to marry me, and she said “yes”.

Cherries and Fire Alarms

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I was doing physics homework before I got distracted popping cherries, into my mouth. Such succulent fruits!

Neat adventure this morning: The very moment I stepped into the shower, the fire alarm in my apartment went off, immediately transforming what should have been a very enjoyable time into a moment of awkward. I debated continuing my shower, willfully ignorant to the blaring warnings, but decided against it in fear of an overzealous student marshal pounding down my door and insisting I vacate the premises as is. I much prefer leaving my apartment on my own terms. Although I did take the time to clothe myself before exiting the building, I wasn’t the last person out of the building, proving that once again, if the building was on fire, we would all die.

It didn’t help that the alarm for my apartment is located on the hallway directly across from the shower, so when I opened the door I realized exactly how loud that thing really was. I could feel my eardrums vibrating in sync with its cacophonous projection…

I’ve now extracted all the delicious goodness from the bag, so to physics I return.

Michael SteelWolf for Senate!

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That’s right, I got the crazy idea to run for the 2007-2008 SGA Senate. On one hand, I am trying to investigate solutions to some irritating issue, such as the student parking allocation and the current requirements for using meal plans. However, it is my primary goal to continue to build an SGA that is open and accessible to all students. I myself have felt underrepresented by the SGA in the past – only after I got more seriously involved did I see what the organization is actually doing. This is an image I will be striving to change as Senator.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any issues you would like to see represented in the coming year, and don’t forget to vote in the elections April 23-25!

-Michael SteelWolf

Snow!

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Yesterday we got a ton of snow…enough to prevent me from going to see Rachel but not enough to close school today, thanks to the efficiency of our snow removal team. Rather interesting, since in the middle of the storm campus was the best plowed of all the roads between it and my house, including I-95!

At the last minute I remembered to bring a sled with me, so we made the best of the afternoon by hiking all over campus looking for the best hills to go down. Sadly, I didn’t remember to bring my ski pants so although the rest of me remained relatively dry, my pants (jeans) ended up completely soaked. I think my knees were starting to freeze up on the way back, but it was a lot of fun. Especially since it was perfect packing snow, allowing many spontaneous snowball battles to ensue between my friends and I.

Everything seemed to be going rather well until around 9:00 last night, when I uncharacteristically decided to fall asleep for the next two hours. When I woke up my stomach was churning like a factory bent on expelling its contents at as fast a rate as possible. Midnight ’till five AM was spent lying on the couch outside the bathroom – what fun! Thank you, flu. How did I manage to get you? Unfair, I say.

This morning I dragged myself out of bed to go to Organic II, seeing as they take attendance. What do you know if she decided not to do it today. -_- Now it’s a matter of weighing the consequences of sleeping (or attempting to sleep) for the rest of the day or hauling my achy muscles from class to class in as routine a manner as possible. I’ll probably go with the latter because I’m stupid like that, and if I don’t practice the piano today I’m going to wind up frustrating my teacher even more than I already have. Here’s to Tylenol.

Winter Break

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After several months away battling such foes as “Assignments” and “Exams”, I have once again returned to the home of my immediate kin. Painstakingly my computer, Tess, has been reconstructed in yet another transient home. Currently, I am surrounded by those belongings deemed necessary for my survival during the upcoming month. Up next: Christmas, New Years, and receiving my semester grades, a day that sends a chill through even the warmest regions of my remaining flesh.

Story of the Day

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After making my way to the front of the Faux-Itallian food place line, I was convinced to forfeit my prime position and make the journey to the dining hall for my midday meal (blame Nayana!). At any rate, it turned out to be alright because they were serving chicken enchiladas…mmmmm… Popular things, those enchiladas, because when I got to where they were supposed to be they were all gone.
“We’ll have more in just a few minutes,” the lady behind the counter convinced me, so I waited around for a while. Eventually I got tired of waiting and took the rest of my food back to a table, returning only to discover that there still were no enchiladas to be found. This time I saw some delicious-looking enchiladas driving around the corner. Seeing as I was second in line, they were within my grasp! Mr. First in Line stepped up to the plate and scooped a huge enchilada onto his plate. When he went back to scoop up some sauce, tragedy struck. He knocked the whole metal tray into the water they use to keep them warm, destroying everything. Frustration!

Eventually I did get my enchiladas, and they were oh so good…plus I ended up with a story to tell.

UMBC Scheduler

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Check out Spring 2007 version of the UMBC Scheduler. It’s got a lot of great features, like the ability to choose between classes you know you have to take and “extra” classes. That way you can see which optional classes work best with the main ones. Also you can search through classes by teacher, block off various times that you don’t want to have class, rank schedules by various traits (days off, class time per day, shortest break), etc. It’s a really great way to visualize the way your schedule is going to turn out and make decisions accordingly.

http://umbcscheduler.hopto.org

Go now.