Monthly Archives: December 2008

Later 2008

I have sat here reflecting on 2008 while simultaneously browsing facebook in a nostalgic manner.  I am going through my friends list checking up only on people who I haven’t seen in 3+ years.  Tons of college people.  As I think about, I don’t think I’ve even been back on my college campus since I graduated in May of 2004.  If you asked me then, I never would have predicted I would have gone 4.5 years without going back.

I attended Franklin & Marshall College (website: http://www.fandm.edu/) and I did it the standard way… Start in August 2000, finish in May 2004, etc.  I never joined a frat because I just couldn’t see myself being someone’s bitch for a whole semester.  My freshman roommate (a guy named Kevin — according to his facebook, he lives in St Louis — I don’t know anything beyond that) pledged a frat called Delta Sigma Phi and, let me tell you, he got put through absolute hell.  That whole second semester freshman year was insanity.  He’d come back completely covered in mud after being out all night doing who knows what.  I just never saw the benefit to the whole thing.  I mean, sure, you get a place to hang out and some forced “friends” who you may or may not keep in touch with, but is that worth it?  I think the only real benefit I ever saw from it was the future networking potential.  After all, you gain a connection with a lot of other people doing it and you have a bond which might get you in the door at a job you might not be able to get otherwise.  I see the point in that case.  But I still don’t think it was worth it for someone like me (I kind of had a feeling I’d end up doing my own thing in some way, I just didn’t know how it would happen).  I was very focused on academic results and doing the stuff they did would have totally screwed me over in that respect.

Anyway, I still had a great time at college.  There was something about it that really brought out the competitive streak in me.  I just felt like I HAD to get As in classes.  Not in the way that I’d screw people over or spend 18 billion hours in the library — quite the opposite.  I was a tutor in the Business dept (ie, I actually helped classmates!) and I rarely spent time in the library except in between some classes (if the break was short enough that it wasn’t worth going back to my apt) and during finals when I needed to bear down.  I just found ways to work smarter and ways to grind out As.  And I loved it.  For whatever reason, it was incredibly rewarding to find a way to get an A and then see it online at the end of the semester.  I am the type of person who loves defined and timely feedback on my efforts — which is possibly one reason I was drawn to poker.  Just to make it clear, I didn’t do class stuff all the time.  I did a lot of non-academic stuff and I definitely had my fun.

Now, looking through facebook, I am shocked by how many of my college classmates are married, engaged, working in “respected” professions or whatever.  It’s so weird to think of the person I knew as a drunk to be a married doctor living in New York City.  Also, lots of people from my school actually married their college bf/gf.  So tons of people who I remember when they started hooking up are now married (and some of them have kids!!).  Holy crap.  Really crazy.  Oh and, somewhat predictably, a lot of my classmates are really fat now.  I can sympathize with where they’re coming from re: controlling weight in the real world, but some of them have put on a TON of weight to the point where it’s a little gross.  Hopefully they come to their senses before it’s too late and they have a heart attack in <10 years.

Anyway, I guess it takes the end of the year to get me to reflect a little.  Well, and that I needed to message an old college friend on facebook about our 5 year reunion this summer.  I guess this is the next step for most people though.  College, date, get married, have kids, kids grow up, kids go to college, retire from their job, kids have grandchildren, live out their life with their spouse, etc.  It’s very weird to go through this marriage phase because you only hear about it from a distance from most of your former classmates.  For the vast majority, I am either not good enough friends with them to be at their wedding or I simply can’t attend for some other reason.  I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a weird feeling.  I guess the next major stage for me to hear about all of my friends having kids (most don’t have them yet).  One thing I can say for sure is that I’m happy with my life path.  I plan to be about 10 years behind most of my friends with the whole married/kids thing — I have too many things I want to do in my youth (not too many years left!) to get tied down to a single spot and kids.  I think I would regret it if I gave up my freedom this early.  One day though (maybe).

New York and Tech Gifts

I’m currently in NYC staying the night at stevesbets’ apartment.  He lives pretty close to Columbus Circle (because he’s in the Fordham MBA program) … pretty nice area.  I always have mixed feelings on NYC when I visit.  On the one hand, it’s awesome because there are so many friends around, so many girls to meet, so many things to do, etc.  You can basically do almost anything.  Not to mention the 24-hour Apple Store (great for night owls like myself) and tons of other conveniences.  I can’t imagine a better place for me to live on certain levels.

On the other hand, I really dislike a lot of things.  First, the weather is pretty miserable.  There are so many far superior climates to live in — and weather is really important to me.  Second, it’s so absurdly expensive.  I don’t know if this info is private so I won’t mention details, but the amount of money that Steve pays for this place is absolutely ridiculous.  It’s like people are packed into this city like sardines and they all pay a massive premium for the privilege of living as closely as possible with millions of others.  I don’t really like the idea of being so close to everyone.  Third, the lack of ability to drive comfortably is not something I like.  I really like driving on open roads (assuming the car is up to it).  Steve has a brand new M3 convertible and he has to leave it in a super cramped garage all day (don’t even get me started on the parking spot, it’s utterly ridiculous that he somehow manages to fit in that).  I would want to be driving that thing on country backroads all day, not to mention testing out the speed potential.  In NYC, you have to deal with short blocks, ton of cops, bumpy roads and a general lack of ability to safely go fast anywhere if you don’t want to drive 30+ minutes out of the city.

Anyway, long story short, I don’t know if I would enjoy living in NY.  Sometimes I think yes, sometimes I think no.  I guess I won’t know until I try (or, if I try).

Moving on, I recently read this post on Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5119165/dad-wheres-the-digital-photo-frame. The post itself isn’t anything all that special, but some of the comments are terrific. It really reminds me a ton of my own family, although my family isn’t nearly as bad in a number of ways.

For instance, I recently bought my mom an iPod Touch as a holiday present (I don’t celebrate religious holidays, but I’m happy to jump into the gift-buying part of things). She has been using this archaic Palm device for her calendar needs. Also, she’s a doctor, so she uses this program called “Epocrates” which somehow helps in the process of prescribing drugs (I’ve never really asked for the details on how it helps). I noticed that Epocrates had an Apple App, so I figured it would be the perfect gift. I also installed about 10 apps on it which I thought she might like and gave her a brief run-down on how to use it. She isn’t NEARLY as bad as some of the parents described in the Gizmodo post, but she still has a “show me how to use this” attitude instead of a “I’ll figure this out” attitude. Not saying I blame her for it because, 99% of the time, it’s much faster if I just show her. But what I really see from my family is a general lack of early adoption or branching out without some pushing on my part. I don’t think they even got HDTV until sometime last year. And I also gave them a Logitech Harmony universal remote (I think a year ago), but it’s back sitting in my room completely unused because they have no interest in setting it up themselves. This is despite the fact that I still see like 4-5 remotes on the couch by the TV when I go home and, in well under 1 hour, they could replace all of them and have a much easier overall media-controlling experience. I think it’s just a general ambivalence about the benefits of a new technology, even when it’s being presented directly to them. Not saying I blame them, just an observation. Now, on the other hand, my grandparents are a totally different story… I shouldn’t even get started.

What about your families? Do you have experience giving “tech” gifts to the tech n00bs of the world?

Happy Holidays

I’m not a religious person, but I do value the holidays mainly as a chance/reason for family and friends to come together.  It’s great to be able to see my long-time Philly-area friends because I rarely get to hang out with them these days.  I’m back in the area for ~10 days and I still have over a week left here, so I’m really looking forward to it.  I think I’ll probably spend New Years in NYC, although that hasn’t been 100% finalized yet.

I do have to say, though, that I do not enjoy this weather.  Every time I come back to the northeast, I am reminded that the cold weather is not something I enjoy.  And it isn’t even cold right now!  By most standards, 30-50 degree weather during the winter in the northeast is actually pretty warm.  So, obviously, I’ve become spoiled temperature-wise from living in non-wintry climates.  That’s okay though, I don’t spend most of my time here, so I can deal with it for a few weeks.

I guess I don’t have a ton to say this blog entry except I hope everyone has a happy and healthy Christmas/Hanukah/New Year.  Enjoy the last few days of 2008. :)

PS – I recently heard the expression “late last century” used… whew, scary stuff

Some TV stuff

As you know if you have read my “TV Shows” page, you know that I like to watch a lot of TV.  Granted, I haven’t updated that page in months (sad, I know).  But I haven’t stopped watching TV!  I still watch a lot of TV basically every day.  I’m not a TV watcher like the person who lounges on the couch flipping around for hours on end watching nothing in particular.  I don’t watch the news, talk shows or late night TV.  Outside of a relatively limited dosage of sports (due to living in CR, it’s hard for me to follow sports like I used to), I basically only watch prime-time style shows.  Lots of scripted shows, a few reality shows, competition stuff, a few mixed ones (ie, The Ultimate Fighter), etc.  I also tend to watch entire seasons all at once as opposed to watching new episodes as they’re released every week.

My problem is that I don’t really like how I ended up laying out that page I linked to above.  It isn’t very user-friendly and it just doesn’t work well.  I needed a way to blog about TV, but not clog up the main page on this blog all the time.  Therefore, I am announcing my first blog spin-off.  I don’t really expect any more spin-offs, but you never know.  I purchased the domain “dumbtv.org” and I am in the process of getting it set up to be my TV-related blog — There’s nothing at the domain right now.  I will be redirecting that link above to the new site and I’ll get a much more comprehensive TV show site set up.  Granted it won’t be like… anything extraordinary.  It will simply be my thoughts on a lot of TV shows.  But at least it will be organized and easier to navigate.

I’ll post more here when it’s set up — I’m predicting a few weeks.  Any other TV junkies out there?

Rakeback Followup

As a followup to my post about rakeback options, I want to make everyone aware, that, if you do sign up for a Cake Poker network rakeback account, do NOT do it at CardSpike.  CardSpike is a rogue skin on the Cake Poker network that has been delaying making payouts for months now.  You can read more about it here and here.

If you’re going to sign up for rakeback on the Cake Network, do it either at Cake Poker or at Players Only. There are many reputable rakeback operators who run rakeback on these networks. For instance, I just linked to This Is The Nuts, which offers both sites (along with big rake races and freerolls). PocketFives Rakeback offers both rooms. In my previous post I linked to RakeBrain, which is another reputable operator. And there are others as well that will always pay you your money on time. Of course, TITN’s rake races ($15,000 monthly at Cake, $10,000 monthly at Players Only) are much bigger than the small rake races at a place like rakebrain ($3000 monthly at Cake, $0 on Players Only from what I can see), so you should take that into account. Because, even if reputable rakeback sites will pay you, some others will pay you more.

But either way, do NOT open an account on CardSpike. Also, please tell you friends about the CardSpike situation so no one else gets caught up in it.

WordPress 2.7 Visual Editor Problems?

This post won’t appeal to most of my usual readers, but this is to address a common problem that many are having with the new version of WordPress 2.7.

So, if you just upgraded, have you noticed that the Visual Editor no longer works and a lot of the javascript functions (ie, the drop down menus) on the left aren’t working? You aren’t alone. This has happened to a lot of people. If you use the Firefox Error Console, you’ll see the following:

The problem here is a simple matter of missing javascript that drives a lot of the WordPress backend. That includes jQuery, TinyMCE, Scriptaculous and some others. Your /wp-includes/js/ directory SHOULD look like this:

If your visual editor and other features are failing, then you are missing some of those JavaScript files. Simple as that. Re-download the WordPress .zip from WordPress.org and make sure all of those directories are properly populated on your web server.

Getting /jquery/ filled should fix a lot of things, but the /tinymce/ folder is the important one for your Visual Editor.

Good luck with WordPress 2.7.