charlestonsky

Top 3 College professors I hated

Over what feels like too many years of school, I've had lots of teachers. Many have been good. A few were outstanding teachers. And some.. well, some were not so good.

I had a few notable Harding professors who I hated when I took their classes.

1. There was Dr. Mark Elrod, the well-known jerk of a liberal, democrat loudspeaker who spoke his mind too much for my taste. I took his class for International relations for a grand total of 3 days and dropped it because I couldn't stand him.

Looking back, I regret dropping his class. While we may not share many common views, I wish I would have stuck around to hear a new way to think. Instead, I waited a semester and took IR with some guy whose name I don't remember (he headed up Harding's Rent-a-cop squad). It was a less than memorable class. I got my A, but I didn't really learn all that much. I only wonder what I could have discovered from the crazy democrat.

2. Dr. J Fortner was another crazy teacher who I hated. I hated his tests, and I envied his knowledge. His ideas challenged what I believed, his teaching style required students to study--and I hate studying. I slept in his class--too much. I ignored him when he got on my nerves. I wish I took better notes. I wish I had learned to learn sooner.

Maybe I would have learned more than I did. For some reason, I took 3 of his classes. Most of all, when he would talk about something different from what I was accustomed to, I would hate him.
What I wish I knew before his class: "Every new concept that challenges your beliefs should be viewed as a challenge to your faith."

3. Worst and most of all, I hated Dr. England--the old buzzard who knew his organic, and had a crafty way of creating tests that focused on minute details. His introduction on the first day of class included a quote comparing learning Organic chemistry with trudging through dense jungle. I must have forgotten my chemistry machete, because I didn't get very far very quickly.
In fact, I earned the first "C" of my academic career in Chem 301--Organic. I hated organic chem, and I hated the man who tried to teach it to me--that is until a year or two later when I realized how much and how well he taught me. Regardless of how poorly I performed on his tests, I learned more than I ever expected, and I began to learn what it meant to really study.

So to each of you who will probably never read this, Thanks. I hated your classes. Sometimes I even thought I hated you. You never made me happier, but you did try to teach me to think.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:00 PM

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As usual, no deep thoughts here








1.
Firefox is to computer like grease is to fried chicken

I've been a fan of Firefox for a while now. It's smaller and faster than internet explorer. Plus, Firefox has used "tabs" for years.

Best of all, Firefox is made by a bunch of computer nerds who believe in giving people the no-frills basics. Then they offer "extensions" to let you customize how you want firefox to work.

These are the extensions that will keep me from ever going back to Internet Explorer:

  • Adblock Plus with Filterset.g updater:
    • After downloading this pair of extensions, obnoxious web page advertisements are history. I no longer waste time downloading or looking at them.
  • Ook!:
    • It lets me download embedded video files from YouTube and Philip and Jaime's website

  • Mouse Gestures
    • It lets you navigate (forward, backwards etc) without having to push the back button. Just a little mouse movement does the trick.
2. I'm on a cooking sabbatical

I had a cooking disaster just the other night. I didn't know you could burn ___, but my ___ was on the verge of ignition the other day. It took days for the smoke and smell to clear the apartment. 2 points to whoever can guess what this is. er... what this was.

 

My crazy roomate

Roomates are fun. I've never lived alone, and I never plan on it. I think I'd get bored without somebody to goof around with.

Over the years, my roomates have been some pretty interesting characters.

I got to know one of my Harding roomates in the Allen dorm parking lot. We yelled "I hate Harding University" as loud as we could. And, that was the beginning to a beautiful friendship. Over the years, we did all kinds of interesting things--including taking out the same girl at the same time--to a redneck dirt race track no less. Looking back, we were two dorks who didn't understand how to relate to women. Over time, we hung out outside the freshman girl's dorm (Sears) in the back of Tom's truck--on a couch. We also took dates to Berryhill Park with a couch and a tv to watch movies. Actually, I think we did that three times. We spent countless of phylisophical hours in our dorm trying to figure out some of the mysteries of women. Needless to say, I don't think we actually accomplished anything in our deep discussions. But they were fun. Whatever you're up to, Tom, I hope things are well. Give me a call some time.

I met another of my roomates through TNT while at Harding. Living with Peter was one of my first multicultural experiences with a real-life african. We also spent countless nights discussing the intracacies of God, women, and foot fungus.

My multicultural roomates also included the Beast from the East--a pseudo japanese, ultimate frisbee playing, pianist with squinty eyes who never really did anything too shocking other than that time he stole a girl from me. Well, sort-of.

My streak of interesting roomates continues as I wade through Dental School. I currently live with two other dental students. John is in my class. Mike is a year behind John and me.

John is a semi-pro cyclist: complete with a rockin' roadbike, cool helmet, and matching spandex uniform from his days racing for his college. In true friendship form, I make fun of him every chance I get.

Yesterday was especially interesting. I walked into the door to this:
Yup, it was cold outside and he was "training" while playing video games in our living room. I wonder if Lance Armstrong ever did the same thing? Regardless, I think we've invented a new sport for the Xgames (sponsored by Xbox360): Xbox Biking. You have to ride 15 miles while completing a mission on Oblivion.

I'll add this one to the roomate highlight reel.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:17 PM

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Webcam of the week #6

Sorry the posts have been far and few between. I've been on a blogging dry spell, but I think I've got some ok material now.

This week's much awaited, long sought after webcam...

Underwater in Bonaire. Looks like fun to me.

 

Rejection

I don't have very many good rejection stories.

I do have plenty of stories about how I chickened out, and I have way too many stories about embarrassing myself around girls I was intersted in.

But my friends have plenty of good rejection stories.

Michael was dumped three times in the same week. ...by 2 different girls

John got rejected by a country music singer he didn't recognize.

Paul got rejected for a Sunday afternoon date because "It's the Lord's day."

Best of all, Sam P got rejected by Miss Arkansas. I don't really care why she rejected him--I've just want to give him props his cajones. Way to go Sam.
PS. Amber: Please don't get mad about a picture of some other Amber in a bathing suit on my blog.

 

Webcam of the week

Loch Ness
http://www.lochness.co.uk/livecam/

 

Crazy Charleston Story #1

This is a story from a few weeks ago. I don't know why I didn't think to blog about it, but it occurred to me while I was writing my last Charleston post that I do have a few good reasons for being slow to fully appreciate my surroundings.

I bought my motorcycle partly as a way to decrease my morning commute time. Because of satellite lot parking at MUSC, it takes me twice as long to get to school when I take my car. Thus, I bought a motorcyle and park across the street from my building. I also acquired my motorcycle because motorcycles looked like fun. And they are.

I was riding home a few weeks ago on Dills Bluff Rd. I like Dills Bluff Rd. because it has more curves on in than any other road in Charleston. It's also a stoplight-free, neighborhood type alternative to Folly Rd.

But this particular afternoon was special. I was traveling south, and as I rounded out of a sharp curve in the road, a car pulled out right in front of me. He wasn't turning, rather, he was getting back onto the road from the grass shoulder. His driving was erratic. He didn't merge back onto the little road. He swerved back onto it. I don't think he saw me. In fact, I'm convinced that he was preoccupied.

I hit the brakes to avoid becoming a trunk ornament.

I could see and almost hear that he was yelling something at a pedestrian walking along the road. Then I saw a strange object poking out of the open driver's side window. In that brief second, I couldn't quite tell what it was. But then, I recognized it. It wasn't the bird, or a wallet, or any of that nice stuff. That crazy guy was waving a pistol out his window. "Bang, bang, bang" finally clued me in.

I hit the brakes--only now much harder. As I squeezed the right handle for the front brake and pressed down on the rear brake, the front of the bike dove down compressing the shocks. The back wheel locked up and screamed. I didn't let up.

45 to 0 felt like an eternity, but I stopped and the crazy driver with a gun in the crazy car drove off.

In my haste to stop, I forgot to pull the clutch lever and the engine had stalled. I was stopped, but now I was desperate to get going with the shady pedestrian close behind me, and the crazy car driving off ahead. I checked my mirror. Turned the key to "off" then back to "on." Shifted from 5th down to neutral and started my little engine.

Now I was angry. That crazy car cut me off--way too close. And then he started shooting at the air. That was better than shooting at me, but I didn't like it nonetheless. Then I saw him hit the brakes.

Now I was scared. Is he coming back? I wasn't really interesting in jousting with the crazy car with a gun. So I got ready to take a serious U-turn and find a new place to be--anywhere but here. But he was just slowing down for another curve ahead.

Now I was angry again. If he's not coming back, then I'm going to go follow him. I knew my cell phone was in my pocket, but I wasn't interested in stopping to call the cops. Moving felt safer. I also knew I couldn't talk on it through my helmet. Although I dream of Bluetooth in my helmet, such is not the case.

So I got just close enough to make out his tags so I could get the cops onto his sorry cutting me off, gun-shooting, crazy-driving [hiney].

At the intersection with Camp Road, he went left. I took a right turn and went home. After I got off the bike, I started to call the cops. But then I put my phone back into my right pocket, pulled my keys out of my left pocket, went inside my house and tried to forget about it over a glass of cold chocolate milk.

To the driver of the Burgundy Red Volvo with South Carolina tag: 711 UKK
I don't like the way you drive. In fact I don't like the way you shoot while you drive either. Please consider using a blinker before pulling out in front of me, and take that drive-by shooting into the air crap back to the ghetto.

 

Cool website

I found this interesting site about names.


HowManyOfMe.com
LogoThere are:
765
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

 

How I Became a Man


I've just discovered that I am now a full-fledged adult. I've always wondered when that would kick in--usually in hopes of delaying the inevitable. But I think it's safe to say that the inevitable has finally occurred.

I have my first plant, and only adults have plants. Therefore, I am now an adult.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:00 PM

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If you build it, they will come

Warning: Bad post for sympathy

As reported in the Post and Courier
(Story 1 and Story2):

Some nutcase decided to commit suicide by jumping off the newly built Arthur Ravenel bridge connecting Downtown Charleston with Mt. Pleasant, SC.

He climbed outside the 7 foot wall separating the pedestrian lane from thin air. After hanging on for several hours, he slipped and... you guessed it: fell. (Photos from here)

I'm not quite sure why, but this guy on the outside of the bridge stopped traffic for several hours on Sunday afternoon. I don't plan on winning any sympathy prizes here, but couldn't this guy have been a little more considerate with how he tries to kill himself? Any why did he climb outside the fence intent on killing himself only to change his mind a few hours later?

Unfortunately, nobody has posted video to Youtube. I searched like crazy, but to no avail.

Crazy thing is, this guy survived the 190 foot fall. In fact, most people who jump from the bridge survive the fall and the impact--it's drowning in the water that kills them. So, the cops (who in all their wisdom shut down all traffic on the bridge) had some boats ready and waiting at the bottom.

So to all the would-be suicidal jumpers out there. Bring a bungee cord next time so you can have a little more fun than just hitting water at the bottom. And think twice before you cross that line--you might change your mind and slip.

 

Great quote...

If sometimes you feel yourself little, useless, offended and depressed, always remember that you were once the fastest and most victorious sperm out of hundreds of millions.

 

Things to do before I leave...


Charleston, SC is one of the prettiest places I've ever been. It has tons of history and plenty to see so long as you're not looking for anything resembling a hill. (image from here)

When I first came down here a year and a half ago, I wasn't too fond of the place. In fact, I didn't like it. I spent my first Charleston summer either in the library, or stuck in what seemed like unending lines of cars piled up behind traffic lights.

Looking back, Searcy probably spoiled me. If you don't want to deal with stop lights, then you just take any street other than Race.

North Augusta was similar. There are very few stoplights or cars.

Between spending too much time indoors, and spending too much time waiting behind cars, I've missed a lot of what this place has to offer. I'm not saying it's perfect, and I certainly don't plan on staying here past say.... May of 2009. But as of today, I'm resolving to learn to enjoy this city and this coast until I'm gone.

So in my efforts to learn to squeeze every bit of juice out of this juicy orange, here's my Charleston: (Before It's too Late and I Have to do Real Work) To Do List:

  1. Go see the over-priced possibly over-hyped hunley.
  2. Visit the aquarium. Preferably on a day when they're offering student discounts
  3. Go see something fun at the IMAX
  4. Sail somewhere fun before the boat's gone.
  5. Leave some mark
    1. Volunteer at a kid's clinic
    2. Habitat for Humanity?
    3. ?Coach a youth team
  6. Spend a whole day at Magnolia Plantation
  7. Go see a Riverdogs baseball game
  8. Catch a couple of fish
  9. Go kayaking in the marshes
  10. Spend a day at Boone Hall
  11. Watch the Charleston Battery play some soccer
  12. Visit Charlestontown Landing
  13. Go shrimping
  14. Try oysters
  15. Visit Edward Rutledge's Grave
  16. Take a look at Fort Sumpter
  17. Ditto with Fort Moultrie
  18. Explore that other fort sitting in the middle of the harbor (Castle Pinckney)
  19. Learn to surf
  20. Graduate and "get outa here"

 

posted by Josh M on 10:04 PM

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Webcam of the week #4

I can't believe that another week has passed so quickly. I try to post a webcam of the week every weekend, and this weekend brings a whole new adventure.

This week, I present webcam of the week #4: A periodically updating camera off the bow of the RRS Ernest Shackleton somewhere near Antarctica.

 

posted by Josh M on 11:23 PM

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My dream car: Mercedes SCL600


A year or two ago, I was telling my cousin, Sarah, about my dream car. Mostly, I rambled about how it would have a joystick instead of a stearing wheel and pedals. And it would use hydrogen instead of any of that other stuff, like gas.

It seems that she sold my idea to some little startup car company called Mercedes. I hope she's proud of herself.

I guess it doesn't have my hyrdogen power, and the rims stink, but it's got all the other things I asked for.

 

strange conversations

Due to the overall boring nature of my previous post, I'm going to strike through the entire thing. Maybe this post will redeem me somewhat.

So, as I was writing the previous, and very BORING post in the MUSC library. The girl sitting next to me initiates this random conversation:

Random Girl in Libary: Excuse me, can I take your picture?

Me: Um... OK

RGiL: From this angle, you look exactly like one of my friends. I'd love to get a picture and send it to him

Me: Um.. OK. Nobody's ever asked me for that before

RGiL procedes to take a picture of me with her camera phone--like I'm the MUSC library freak show.

Me: Which way to you want to me look?

RGiL: Straight ahead. Great.... Thanks. then she shyly walks away.

This story has a plot about as interesting as a bad french novel, but it really got me thinking.

Why don't I think of more fun things to say when the pressure's on? So here's the top ten replies I should have given when she asked "Can I take your picture because you look exactly like one of my friends?"

10 Sure, but You gotta give to recieve
9 no thanks, other people have already taken pictures of me
8 ?
7 Freakshow pictures... they cost money you know...
6 Sure, but I want a picture of my look-alike too.
5 So, you're friends don't look too good, eh?
4 So, you've got really good looking friends, huh?
3 ?
2 no

1 ?

I don't know. I think I expected this all to come to me as I wrote. As it turns out, my top ten list sucks. Maybe I'll need a post to redeem me for the this bad post too.

 

Hard drives

I haven't posted in a few days...

Reason number 1: midterms continue. As much as I'd like to forget these things, I've got 5 down, 3 to go. I feel about as motivated as a... well, I'm not so motivated. But somehow, I still always wake up tired.

Reason number 2: Ever see this message?: "Hard disk failure is imminent. Recommend backing up important files as soon as possible" Well, now I saw it too. I spent too long last night making "recovery disks" for when my hard drive goes for its grand finale.

Also, I made disks archiving my music. In all, 16 CD's were used to record my most treasured millions of 0's and 1's. I hope they work when the time comes. I think I'll order a new hard drive from tigerdirect as well. Might as well get it fixed sooner rather than later...

Making recovery CD's seems a lot like buying a cemetary plot. You know the inevitable is coming, so you go ahead and get stuff ready.

Reason number 3: Once you've identified the problem, working on machines doesn't really have all the much to do with expertise or experience. Experience is great for diagnosis, but the actual work is more a question of having the right tools. Last night, I tried changing the oil on my motorcycle. It should have been a 15 minute job, but the oil plug is a 17mm bolt, and my closest sized socket was 15mm. So, I used the ghetto tool kit that comes with the bike...only to strip the bolt and bloody my knuckles. After about an hour of punching the bottom of the motorcycle, I broke down and went to Lowe's to buy a 17mm socket. $3 and 45 minutes later, I came home and finished the job in about 10 minutes. Why do I have to be so cheap?

 

Crazy consumerism: Baby toupees


Is your baby ugly? Does the glare from your baby's head cause trouble when you are driving?

If so, then you need baby toupee, the innovative solution for stylish bald babies. Throw out those old goofy baby baseball hats. Hide your baby's soft spot and disproportionately large head with these "realistic" baby toupees.

My favorite: "The Donald" which sells for just $24.99

Next week's crazy consumerism baby product: "Zoom! baby-tooth whitening system": Removes years of coffee and coke stains from your precious baby's teeth.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:14 PM

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Webcam of the week

This week's exciting webcam comes from none other the the University of South Carolina's biological sciences department. That've provided us with a rare look at Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches!

Honest, I can't make this stuff up.

As a bonus, the Riverbanks Zoo zooview cam now shows the grizzly bears.

 

posted by Josh M on 10:25 AM

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Johnny's Grill, continued





A week or two ago, I wrote about how I had started work on little Johnny's new gold tooth. I forgot to get a picture of little Johnny himself, but I do have an update on the gold tooth saga.

1. Appearantly, nobody wants to walk around with a prepared tooth for a couple of weeks while the crown is being made. So some guy told me to make a temporary crown to hold little Johnny over. And I did.

2. Then I did some more stuff.... (blah blah blah)
I poured plaster around the wax crown I made the other day. Next I sent it to the lab so they could burn off the wax and pour in the gold for me.

3. What I got back was an ugly black hunk of metal stuck inside of burned white plaster. I was a little dissapointed in my gold. I thought gold should have been shinier. Is that a word? shinier? shiny-er. whatever.

4. Then the polishing began... and I polished, and polished, and polished some more as my ugly black thing slowly turned to a shiny gold thing.

Polishing gold is an incremental process of making smaller and smaller scratches in the metal.

5. Finally, little Johnny has some sweet grill action. Well maybe... Is it still a grill if it's in the back? Anyhow, somebody needs to track down Johnny's mom and see if I can get my $1000 for all my hard work. Wait, nevermind. Johnny doesn't have a mom. And even if he did, she'd probably think my tuition should cover the cost... If anybody wants to go to mexico and let me put a gold crown on them, I'm accepting patients. Word is I'm pretty good. Little Johnny never even said that it hurt or anything. In fact, he didn't say a thing.

6. If I were a preacher, I'd come up with some sermon about polishing gold. Maybe I'd even do it in front of my church--polish the gold, that is.

But it seems a lot like "Kinmunnion" to try that. "So, I was polishing Johnny's crown the other day, and it made me think about Jesus on the cross.

7. Coming soon to a blog near you: I'll provide you with a look into the exciting world of making dentures. This is a project that has been ongoing through the semester. I'll pretend somebody out there is dying to see how dentures are made. I'll try to take some pictures sometime this weekend or next week.

 

Conversations re: My very own nobel prize


Nobel Prize
According to the AP report I just read, the third and final Nobel Prize for science was awarded this morning.

It's fascinating that American scientists managed a hat trick. They took all three in the sciences (medicine, physics, and chemistry).

  1. After reading the story, I decided that I want a Nobel prize. I want to be recognized for discovering something that is "most important to the benefit of mankind." Well, at least, I thought I wanted a Nobel prize until I realized that this guy worked 10 straight years with just yeast cells before he published anything of note. That's longer than 50% of marriages.
    I can only imagine the conversation around year 9:

    Random girl at the mall (RGATM): So, I see you have scientist hair...

    Kornberg: Yeah, I'm a scientist

    RGATM: So what do you do?

    Kornberg: I grow yeast and watch how their genes activate protein transcription

    RGATM: Oh, I see. How long have you and your yeast been together?

    Kornberg: About 9 years

    RGATM: Sounds....interesting. Well, it's about time for me to go home and do my hair.

  2. I see that Dr. Kornberg's father also earned the Nobel prize a few decades ago. Talk about some big shoes to fill.

    I don't remember Dad ever pressuring me or any of my brothers to be something we didn't want to be. He kinda steared us away from being art majors, but he never tried force us into becoming engineers like him. Nobody wants to do the same job their dad does, because nobody wants to feel like they've got to fill in the old man's shoes.

    It's got to be doubly difficult to be a scientist son of a Nobel Laureate scientist dad.

    Kornberg Senior: I'm thinking about getting my Peace [Nobel] Prize framed again

    Kornberg Jr.: oh yeah?

    Sr: yup. I'll get it framed with a new titanium alloy I just developed

    Jr: ok

    Sr: So, do you think you'll want to get one of these bad boys of your own some day?

    Jr: Well, you see... I've got these great yeast cells. You'd love them...
  3. The Nobel Prize is the one and only thing that makes being a scientist just like being an Olympic athelete.

    Although the two (scientists and atheletes) share very little in common, they do have one key similarity:

    A whole bunch of extremely gifted people spend every moment of their lives competing for the prize, but most of them still go home losers at the end of the competition.

    I think I'll outsmart them all and set my goals low so they're easier to reach.

 

Questions about prayer

This blog has become my sounding board for many of my questions about life. For instance, sometimes I write yet do not publish because I'm satisfied by the time I've finished writing.

Lately, I've been wondering about how and why we pray in public. Maybe all the answers to all my questions are simple, but public prayers have been getting on my nerves lately. I want your opinions.

1. What is the goal of praying in public? Is one person really speaking for all of the people in the room? What if they say something I don't want to go along with?

2. Why are we supposed to bow our heads and close our eyes. Isn't Jesus in heaven now? Is the prayer less powerful if somebody still has their eyes open?

3. I've been told that one of the great powers of prayer lies in the fact that my prayers might have more effect of changing my mind than changing God's mind. If that's true, then whose mind is public prayer supposed to be working on?

4. Do people pray the same in public as they do in private?
Truth be told, I've gotten into a bad habit of tuning out public prayers. They're usually too predictable. Are most people's private prayers just as predictable? I won't enter myself into a "prayer warrior" contest any time soon, but I'd like to think that we can find more to pray for than the same churchy things in our churchy language.

5. Why are public prayers almost always about things that we already feel like we know an answer to? In other words, Why don't we pray about things that we don't know?

 

Farewell to Fantasy Baseball


The postseason has finally begun! Better still, the regular season is over, thus fantasy baseball is finally over as well! I can finally relax and ignore the postseason because the Braves weren't even close to being good this year.

Best of all, I can stop worrying about swapping relief pitchers and whether Aramis Ramirez will keep sucking it up for the rest of the year. Rich Harden never materialized, picking up Derek Lee was a terrible idea.

Unfortunately, as the manager co-manager of the "Fighting Crackers" I'll have plenty of time to think about all of my missed opportunities, poor decisions, and limited baseball knowledge. And maybe next year, I won't have to share my team with Amber. She can have her own so that I can beat her.

Regardless, congrats to Mark G for his stunning efforts, quality win, and annoying "victory speech." He really squeaked it out in the end. Too bad for Mark-- we were all too cheap to put any money on this league.

 

Webcam of the week

So I never found a good webcam for this week. Instead, I give you a presentation that's even more thrilling.

White and nerdy

 

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