Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spam. A lot.

I hate spam.

I'm not just talking about the pink meat wannabe, which I don't like anyway. Who doesn't notice their spam folder exponentially increasing in girth, or unsolicited email scum polluting their inbox, without disgust? Whatever hellions concocted the scheme of emitting mass emails to unsuspecting and unentreating innocents for the sole purpose of force-feeding their products should be flogged, verbally abused, whipped, and tickle-tortured. Then followed up with a nice round beating.

Perhaps I should ask for forgiveness for the strength of my declamation. I'm normally not an angry person (...I think I've said that before...), but sometimes my patience with a practice reaches a breaking point. Not only does my spam folder routinely break the 400-email mark, but the admittance into my Inbox of scandalous emails from people I have never known is becoming more common. So many times I want to reply to the emails that I find, but I know that by so doing I would only be confirming that my address is, indeed, connected to a real living, breathing, consuming individual.

No thank you, but I would not like to modify any body parts, whether naturally or artificially, mine or anybody else's. I'm afraid I would only get prescription drugs from my own trusted physician, not from your internet store, and certainly not for a condition that I do not have. I also have no desire for a Rolex knockoff, I do not want a relationship with an unknown (and most likely imaginary) young lady, and I would have no need whatsoever for Hannah Montana tickets.

Thank you Internet, but no thank you. Take your crap somewhere else.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My (Hel)LSAT Experience

I spent the entirety of Saturday morning in a cocoon of quiet chaos. Saturday morning I took my first practice LSAT ever. As in, I haven't even looked at a real section of the test before. I knew that it was supposed to be a difficult thing to do, but I've been able to conquer a number of difficult things in the past. I figured: "Hey, I'm a smart guy. I can keep a good GPA. The LSAT is a fear only to lesser mortals."

I wish I could describe to you the horror that I felt about 50 minutes into the test when I realized that I had no idea what I was doing. My entire framework of confidence and perceived ability crashed around me, not so much like a house of cards as a house of African Elephants. On a foundation of mines. I was completely taken by surprise by the difficulty of the exam, and I was dismayed at my obvious lack of preparation.

Dismayed is a poor choice of words. In fact, I would call it hyperbole. I suppose horrified is a better word, or maybe aghast or thunderstruck.

In all truth, I think the best adjective to describe my experience with the LSAT is humiliating. I was severely humbled and innerly embarrassed by my presumptuous approach to the exam and its level of difficulty. This is not an easy test. Granted, it isn't impossible either, but I am not of the caliber of scholar to waltz into the exam room and polka out of it with top marks. I know there are some people that can and have done that; I, however, am not of that crowd.

BUT - do not think that this means that I will cower before the might that is the LSAT. I've only just begun, and now that I know my enemy I know how to defeat it. This test has not seen the last of me, no siree. I will make this test rue the day it ever set its beady little scanner on my social security number. And when the time comes when I shall poke it in its sleeping eye for real, only one of us will leave the exam room triumphant.

And on that future day - that bright, beautiful, future day - I will emerge from the bowels of hell bloody, but unbowed.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

His Dark Materials

This being my first real post for the class, I figured I'd go ahead and take my freebie and write about what I want. ;-)

When I saw the preview for the upcoming movie The Golden Compass, I realized two things: I wanted to see the movie, and that would require reading the book first. I learned from Amazon.com that there were three books together in the series. So, $13.50 and a couple of days later, I had the three books in a set and a week to go before school started.

I devoured the first book, The Golden Compass (The Northern Lights outside the US). It was a different experience than my normal Orson Scott Card-infused literary journeys, but it was very refreshing. The second book The Subtle Knife wasn't quite as good as the first, and the last book The Amber Spyglass was the hardest to follow. Pullman takes his (sweet) time to introduce the plot and main characters. You're halfway through the second book before the plot starts moving of its own accord without you having to help by turning the pages. However, the story was excellent and absorbing, even though the trilogy ended with a number of loose ends dangling into space.

I don't like to give plots away and such, but I do feel that I need to say something about the trilogy. Honestly, I don't know how the movies will be received since the United States is still a religious country, despite what many ACLU groupies tell us. The Golden Compass (and the corresponding movie, I assume) is innocent enough, but The Subtle Knife unfolds the central plot to the trilogy that drives the decisions of the characters. In a nutshell: Pullman is an atheist, and his trilogy is anti-organized religion, if not anti-God. It will be interesting to see how the entire story plays out on the big screen.

My recommendation: Read the books! They are enjoyable, witty, and leave you wondering almost to the very end which characters are with or against the protagonist. I'll end with my favorite passage...

Will said to his [father], "You said I was a warrior. You told me that was my nature, and I shouldn't argue with it. Father, you were wrong. I fought because I had to. I can't choose my nature, but I can choose what I do. And I will choose, because now I'm free."

His father's smile was full of pride and tenderness. "Well done, my boy. Well done indeed," he said.
-The Amber Spyglass