Don't Be Alarmed
That guttural wail of despair you just heard was not someone near you being dismembered. It was a blogger in Virginia opening his E-mail.
This has been a rough week, I've been under the weather. Mom and dad have been in and out of the hospital. I've had tests, papers and all manner if issues with ODU's Blackboard system this week.
First, I found myself unable to post homework to the secure server. This turned out to be a browser issue (the school only speaks Chrome). Then, Sunday night, I found myself locked out of my account due to a hold.
The hold was due to a "delinquent payment". Note that I am NOT delinquent, despite issues with the finance department and bank, I'd just paid the school five thousand simolians three weeks ago. I still owe a couple of hundred, but that is not due 'till April.
Well....It appears that someone screwed up.
Now, everyone I've talked to in person or on the phone agrees that I should be able to submit homework, use the gym and library, and generally access the campus unmolested, but no one seemed to figure out HOW to restore my privileges.
A few minutes ago I got partial access and have been told that my issue should be resolved in 72 hours. This is doing NOTHING good for my GPA but, having access to my home page I was able to access my E-mail and start digging out of the hole I was i.........
Look what's in my In Box...
Your academic catalog of 2006 for your Asian Studies major has expired. Catalog terms expire after six (6) years.
Per the University catalog:
Undergraduate students may choose to graduate under the Catalog in effect at the time of their first enrollment (part-time or full-time) or any subsequent Catalog provided that the students graduate within six years (18 semesters) from the date of the first enrollment. If students do not graduate within this six-year period, they may choose to graduate under any Catalog in effect during a six-year period preceding the date of graduation.
Please reach out to your academic advisor to choose a valid catalog. Please note that you must fulfill the degree requirements of this new catalog.
Please see the Catalog Matrix link to assist in moving to an active catalog that will provide enough time to graduate under.
I had a job tentatively lined up in Japan starting in August.
Every time they've done this, it's cost me at least 2 semesters.
In 2010 it cost me 37 credits.
Now, I am a Virginian and aspire to be a gentleman. Thus, sacred honor requires that stoicism and maturity be adhered to in my eternal quest for arete'.
Fortunately, this imaginary, 2 dimensional young lady is able to express what I cannot.
There comes a point when one realizes that there is no feasible "win" condition, and that one is in fact being played for a fool.
That may be insufficient realization however...
It is true that multiple work conflicts, dropping out to take care of relatives, 2 hospitalizations and military leave do add up and can extend ones time in college. But if one is an undergraduate and over 17 years have passed since one returned to school then one might actually be a fool.
The drop deadline (naturally) just passed.
I am numb, nonplussed and vexed.
I do have assignments I was working on, but the wind has left my sails.
A Historical Unboxing Video....in the Age of Tide Pods
In one of the more niche corners of YouTube, Steve1989 does reviews and taste tests of MREs and similar items. He apparently also collects WW2 memorabilia. Today his hobbies converge as he explores a 1943 K-ration.
We've called on Team Anglerfish's expert on WW2 field rations for her assessment of the video.
Anyway, go watch it, it's probably the best unboxing video you'll see today.
This ought to be a parody or a dumpster fire, but as Don points out, it's written by Kazuki Nakashima (he of Oh! Edo Rocket, Kill La Kill!,Space Patrol Luluco, and others). This would seem to warrant some attention.
A Conversation With a Former Japanese Ambassador
This evening, there was a walk-in talk on Japanese-American relations presented by the College of Business and the Japanese Department. Amongst several very interesting speakers was Ichiro Fujisaki who was Japan's ambassador to the United States from 2008-2012. (If I'd have known there was going to be an ambassador there, I'd have worn my suit!). His talk touched on several things but stressed the fact that Japan has greatly relaxed its work visa and immigration policy, albeit only for people with needed skills.
At the dinner afterwards, he ended up sitting across from me for a time and I asked him a few questions. He graciously answered all of my questions. I did not have a notepad so this from memory.
On the demographic situation: I asked if there was an estimate of where/when the current trend was expected to level out. There are certain groups in Japan like the so-called "Freeta" that are having kids well above replacement levels, but they are small in number, still, the future belongs to those who show up. His response was that the official goal was to keep the population from going below 100 million, but this would be a challenge as projections do not show any leveling off in the near future and longer term projections are fraught with assumptions and incomplete data.
On the repeal of Article 9: Despite some breathless press reports on this side of the Pacific, political opinion in the country is still very divided on this point. Currently its polling about 50/50. He did not expect any changes before 2020. Amending their constitution has even more hurdles than ours.
On re-starting the nuclear plants: While several nuclear plants are being re-started out of necessity, the political will seems to be firmly against fission.
When I brought up the fact that Japanese companies like Toshiba are leading the world in safe 3rd generation nuclear reactors as well as small limited risk designs he pointed out that while many of the new Japanese designs were inherently safe, the public had been told this about the old boiling water reactors like Fukishima Daichi as well. Additionally, Fukishima's reactors were kept in service far longer than they should have been. Thus trust between the public and the nuclear industry is shot to hell. He also pointed out that Japanese law made NIMBYism very powerful, so that when someone got an area zoned for Nuclear, the company kept cramming new reactors on that small plot, with the result that a localized natural disaster could cause issues with multiple reactors (which is what happened at Fukishima).
One bit of information he mentioned that I was unaware of; When the U.S. decided recently to start building nuclear plants again they had to contract Japanese technical advisors as we no longer had the expertise.
On the Japanese language programs that gave the best results. I didn't ask this, he brought it up to my Japanese teacher. He said that the American who spoke best Japanese he'd ever met had not been from the State Department but rather a woman he encountered whose fluency was so good that he had inquired where she'd gone to school.As it turned out, her instructor had not stressed writing and grammar at all, just conversational Japanese. Once she had that, the was able to teach herself the Kanji. He seemed to think that American's are trying to learn Japanese backwards.
Anyway, I again want to thank Ambassador Fujisaki so patiently and graciously answering my questions over dinner.
That was quick. When I left school earlier there wasn't so much as a flake.
It doesn't show up on this dreadful picture but it is still coming down as I type this.
School is out tomorrow, which means that thanks to late registration, the holiday and snow days, I've gone 2 weeks without attending my math class once. And I'll've attended two of my classes only one day in two weeks.
Local municipalities REALLY need to invest in snow removal.
In stark contrast to a certain other recent tent-pole film, this latest installment in Time Warner's answer to Disney's Marvel franchise is a surprisingly thoughtful yet enjoyable romp that fills in rather than creates plot holes and has considerable respect for the source material.
A direct sequel to Batman VS Superman the film takes place less than a month after the events in that film and is a direct continuation of that story and it both reinforces the good elements of that film and fills in some gaps.
The film is a superhero flick so there is much fighting, biologically improbable displays of prowess, dubious physics, spectacular fight choreography and exquisite pyrotechnics. It also has a damned good story and has some unexpectedly insightful things to say about leadership and command. This film also develops the characters quite well. Ben Affleck's Batman for instance is not particularly likable but what makes the character work is that he is aware of this fact and trying to correct for it. Gale Gadot as Wonder Woman is awesome in a way that defies my ability to describe in words. Aquaman, redneck prince of Atlantis is a completely off the wall take on the character that works surprisingly well and The Flash is just perfect. Odd man out is Cyborg, who is not really given an opportunity to shine character-wise in the same way ( and who is from a different book anyway). Nevertheless he does develop during the course of the film and there is a perfectly valid reason plot-wise that his bionics are so far beyond the state of the art.
The film, although it is fantasy, it is quite consistent with and follows its internal logic and rules...unlike some movies we've seen recently.
Justice League got some negative buzz and had a dissapointing box office, so I was surprised at how good it turned out to be. If it has a weakness, it is it's prequel, Batman vs Superman. That is, the two films are really one story, much more tightly integrated than is usually the case with sequels. The events and plot devices of the first film are so important to the second, that, having seen both movies, I'm unsure if the exposition is adequate to explain some of the plot elements if one has not seen the first film. The two films are more like two chapters in an old serial in that regard.
Anyway, if you have a chance I strongly suggest you go see the film before it finally vanishes.