rumination of a random kind
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Engineering: Draining My Soul
I used to wake up early to admire the poetic morning. I used to look forward to a chaotic day. My life was so much more interesting then when it was filled with gossip, stories, intrigue, conversation, politics, and imagination. I had purpose beyond routine and foresight despite my knowledge. So I chose to become an engineer: someone with the tools to skills to create and move the world. Someone who could do rather then talk and prove rather then predict. I felt it could realize my aspirations, but instead it is making me lose them.
I arrived into a world of complexity but no form and discipline without reason. It was like that time my mother would punish me for my own good or when my sensei would hit me to build my strength. It was like this: all the interesting human beings had chosen to politicize or theorize or they stereotyped engineering for geeks and nerds. All the geeks and nerds figured they knew what was going already or could pick it up on their own sometime. So that left the mind bogglingly dull people, those who hadn’t fit into abstract discussions, didn’t have much to say to society, or lived on math like a glutton devours food, to fill the void. You would think that this crew was a timid and indifferent bunch that would be courteous and content. Well, you’d be dead wrong. I found myself among a reproachable and sullen crowd with a fiery competitive nature. You could tell that they too hated being removed from the rest of society but couldn’t help their fate. Now don’t get me wrong. Not everyone fit into that category, but these “outcasts” (i.e.: me) quietly retreated away to find sociable contacts.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, I found that some of the “engineers” felt it was their calling to teach (and I use that word loosely) the new generation how to continue their traditions. They were there to mold us in their form (I guess that’s their job huh?). There were some, dare I say, “hip” educators, who, in their efforts to revolutionize, twisted the old rules only so much to herd the “sheep” over to a cliff. You can guess the results: just mix dull and reproachable with misguided revolutionaries.
It wasn’t just this though. It was the fact that I was stuck in classes, day in and day out, where purpose was lost and rambling was the norm. Subject matter that would energize and intrigue and algorithms that would astound any inquisitive mind, was fed to me with utter dispassion and repetition. I was a baby and they held my hand over the fire for hours to show me how it would scald my skin with 3rd degree burns. It was truly painful and most, even those with genuine interest, fled to find sane professors with degrees in teaching. But I stayed. I thought to myself, “this is how they weed out the incoming classes so only the really boring or desperate people will stick around.” And yes, the next year I had, in every single one of my classes, people intent on thrusting me into a coma.
You see, professors in the engineering school believe that they need to teach you how to think rather then how to do. Teach that engineering state of mind which is built on relevant concepts and sound age-old techniques. It is a good approach if they are able to teach, but seldom (and I concede there were two or three) will you find classes that educate you with these skills and take you to a place where you can formulate for yourself the ideas necessary to become an engineer. I know so many unprepared engineers. One got a degree in computer science without the ability to copy and paste, much less program! I’m not joking. Really, I’m not!
Instead they make you repeat old problems and grade you on what they never cover in class. In other words, “Go learn on your own if you want or hand in something that resembles the symbols in the book, while I waste your time in class with my own theories from 20 years ago or talk about how much I hate Microsoft because they left the Unix command prompt off their operating system or twaddle on absurdly like that.” I know so many that have 3.5 or higher GPAs because they figured out the system. And I know, you want their resumes cause they will fit into your company better then I will even though I wasted my time reading the book every now and then.
So now you’re like, “this guy is saying that the professors are incompetent.” Yeah they are! They are there to research so the university can make money so the basketball team can have new shoes for every game. They maintain a charade of being professors by claiming they teach undergraduates. Then they write books and decide to make the university build classes around it because that’s the only way they can sell a copy! It’s true! Besides a couple of conscious (those who either aren’t at the health risk of slipping into a coma, doing research, or hip) professors, everyone might as well pound my head to a bloody pulp with a brick.
So when did I lose my creativity and drive? When I decided to stick with the school and endure the painstakingly out of date curriculum. I don’t have time to ruminate about anything; I’m too busy finding out on my own time how to program in a language I was never taught so I can pass a class. Concepts are not interesting; they are recurring and dully presented. Designs are not individual or creative but are instead routine and duplicate. I don’t read words, I read bits and math and block diagrams and Greek symbols. Sometimes the Greek symbols take me to a imaginary world where I drift painlessly on the curves of the shapes, but I’m back on the ground again when I remember that this symbol means something my professor decided to skip in class so he could tell me about his bright 1970s shirt or how his son is a nerd just like dad.
Sure I could have kept myself motivated, but that would have required that I don sheep’s clothing and languish in narrow conversations and abject mindlessness. It would mean that one day I could turn into the person standing in front of me yapping about his technical repertoire and trying to clone the class into his favorite brown-nose. If I have to live and die a meaningless existence like that, I’d rather let leeches bleed me dry.
Its time engineers became leaders and gurus. Actually its time that leaders and gurus became engineers. With so much power and knowledge, with the ability to endure so much hardship it’s appalling that peons, that couldn’t handle calculus for business majors or politicians that don’t represent open-mindedness or change, manage them. An engineer or doctor wouldn’t allow illogical death at home or abroad due to foreign policy! They can read a system and not public opinion.
Its time engineering adapted to the times and technology and became the place to be if you want to advance in life. In a culture that is built around the quest for knowledge that is a university, it is ridiculous how the prowess of mind is mistreated. If engineering is really meant for the “smart” people, then don’t seclude them from society’s philosophies and train them as drones. Teach them well and make them leaders. Allow free thought and challenge them with new concepts. Replace banality with congeniality and someone please give me back my spirit!
-written on a frustrated day in college-
Friday, June 30, 2006
A demon in my mind
makes expression explode
and I suspect that I am not
and I am assuming my candor is of no value
the dark white caves only echo back
experience and feeling speckled all over
my mind still pinioned under a wieght
patterns of light smoke in with sound
i am left captured and manufactured
this condition rattles me with shivers
bled flat and tourniquated is my mind
injected with unparalleled debris into its sheafs
a hatred of academics and archarcy
of extremes that mash and churn the middle
i am squalid and my peices fall everywhere
commited to a path
and i need to make it listen
left with nothing and with hallucinations
will this life pass me as it passes others
with its fasity and trite misconceptions
the blithe inattensions and casual conversations
Can anyone hear me?
anyone hear me? hear me? me?
Is there anyone out there?
anyone out there? out there? there?
- anuj '00
yeh...the next morning i was screwed by continental again
so this time i am gonna actually do the right thing and boycott the damn airline...
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Exposing Continental Airlines...and myself
When price is no object there are many choices in the world, especially when it comes to hotels and airlines. This is why, to attract the money of the business traveler, they have frequent guest and flyer programs to maintain the loyalty of their customers. We get some free services; they get returning business. The ratio is never fair, but it is better then getting nothing back. Hotels and airlines have even streamlined the programs by outsourcing them and forming partners that offer the same kinds of points.
This is the reason why I found myself boarding a Continental flight out of Newark airport for work and was a victim of one of the most ingenious and fake marketing ploys I have ever come across. I am a frequent flier with Delta, an airline that seems to do right by their customers, and Continental is their partner and I boarded the plane to earn my much valued Delta miles.
Continental’s Elite Access program grants a traveler many benefits. You have a special check-in line, a special security check line, automatic addition to the first class standby list, priority luggage handling, priority seat assignments, and priority boarding onto the aircraft. Honestly, what more can you ask for from an airline these days? They seem to actually be over delivering on the low expectations customers already have.
For more info : Elite Access
My first time flying with “Elite Access” yielded not much more then the feeling of being one of the special guys on the airplane. I didn’t get the upgrade because first class was full, but the plane was fairly empty and I did get to board a little sooner. I was happy because I had not noticed the sham.
My second flight, however, made it completely apparent. Flying out of Boston’s Logan Airport, I was awarded with a ticketed emblazoned with golden stripes signifying Elite Access. I was on the standby list for first class and had an aisle seat because I had reserved it a while ago on the Internet. Checking in wasn’t all that special as a machine had checked me in and I had to wait for the sparse staff to get free to ask a question about delays.
The delay did happen. I know that My Eliteness could not clear the weather so I am not blaming the airline for that. Just when boarding was announced though, I heard the words that revealed the scam to me and to a lot of other travelers on that flight. “ Ladies and Gentlemen. We will not be boarding the Elite Access passengers with priority today. 80% of the passengers are holding Elite Access and we have a short window to board this flight.”
Eighty Percent! On my subsequent flights on Continental, I take so many because of my proximity to Newark, this fact has been repeatedly reinforced. Kiosks do almost all check ins. Human interaction is hard to come by and thus Elite Access does not help.
Seat selection is done online, and since you only get your Elite Access status registered into the system at the time of check in, you cannot book the premium seats online. Even if you try to get a good seat at check in, most seats are now reserved online by peolpe with status and they cannot get you anything anyways. Elite Access does not help.
Since Elite Access is fooling the majority of the flight, the security lines make no difference as they hold most of the people. Most other airports, other then Continental hubs, don’t even honor the Elite Access line. Moreover, if you are selected for special screening, you have to walk to a special screen line where you are, well, already part of the Elite. Elite Access does not help.
Boarding the flight with Elite does help when the flight is not full. Even if it is not, a majority of people are pushing towards the gate and this causes pandemonium during boarding and people in the front of the plane are holding up people in the back. Elite Access does not help.
First class? Yeah keep dreaming. With most people already on the standby list, Continental will only really upgrade their own Frequent Fliers. And yet again, Elite Access does not help. My luggage also arrived with the commonors of travel. Elite Access did not help.
I did though, feel special for a little while, just because I had discovered this marketing scam. Then I sat down on the smallest seats, much touted by their marketing department I might add, in all of the airline industry and fought for arm rests with some Jerseyite and listened to a kid behind me tell his dad about every single small car and house that he saw while kicking my seat. The flight had restricted beverage service without a smile and was delayed getting in once again.
The moral of the story? I am going to fly Continental to Baltimore tomorrow morning. Why?...because I am greedy for my mileage program
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
Wishing to age – but the journey is brief,
In new collegiate brown slacks,
No historian writes about dark cracks,
Of spontaneous times,
I left and I feel it’s a crime.
Rusted playground or broken swings,
Time makes me new playthings,
This bottle of cognac,
Alcohol, love, remorse, hates, religion fade to black,
Memories finally become my past,
Warming disarray fast.
Like destiny foreseen,
That wasted answer hard to glean,
Traveling to absorb knowledge,
Letting my love fall through that edge,
Let broken traffic lose its touch,
Heroic attempts to thrust my clutch.
Edged coreless in a corner,
Bled bone-dry on a blade,
Absent in shape
Using stolen wit,
Using superficial sight,
Stolen incisions purloin my shadow.
Holding together a loss of image
Sleeping on a mattress of cocaine
My back callused without design
Wild parties and hard shots of vengeful compulsion
And only is it strengthened by her travesty
Manipulating my loneliness as love
So lost in physical alienation
That our souls fail to mingle
Afraid of the pain of being exposed
I stand skinless waiting for a visceral touch
Offers only false not of love
Blinded I receive what is given not needed
- anuj '98
i'm the Juggernaut Beeetchhh
DONT READ THIS IF YOU HAVENT SEEN THE MOVIE
loved the movie...but they could have done so much more with it...i wish they let conflict play out more with the cure and the phoenix...(she esp could have been portrayed better...rather then standing around…they should have explore the internal conflicts better..and killing her was far too easy...where was the emotion??)..i think they let the powers take front seat instead of stories sometimes...and it did not make xmen 3 all that memorable...but it was hella fun to watch...so i'll give it a 4 outta 5...what do u think?
anyways...here is something from Utube that was hella funny - Juggernaut
Thursday, June 01, 2006
World Cup Fever!!
World Cup 2006 is around the corner...and this excel file is the mother of all trackers that I have seen out there...you can put scores in and you can track your fav team...its amazing...
the instructions are on the first page and the interface is very easy to work with...someone put a lot of time into this thing!
The FIFA World Cup Tracker