Saturday, September 28, 2013

fatherly advice

Me : Hmmmm....
Dad : Just go ahead and do it !! Push the button ! Spend tons of money !
Me: ?! ( uh thanks dad)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Week 5: Tests, Tests, And More Tests

WELL-RESTED-COLLEAGUE: Hey man! I slept in. Did I miss anything important for class?
YOURS-TRULY: was the midterm test.
[I suddenly have the overwhelming urge to buy an alarm clock and hit him over the head with it.]

Hello all readers, and all not readers who happen to be having this read to them by family members who understand that my little snippets are chuck full of wise witticisms for all ages, or maybe you are watching the movie after I sell the rights of my life to a reality tv show company. Either way, welcome!......I am tired. Can you tell? This week has officially been indescribably busy. The title says the whole story. The week started with some tests, after which we segued into more tests, then moved onto some more testing, and I have rounded out the week with a test, which is but a prequel to the test I have online tomorrow. 


Fun times! 
I will say that some of the tests were fun. It is a great feeling when you score high enough on an economics test to skew the curve and force the professor to drop the curve all together. Man, I hate testing curves. It simply rewards incompetence and punishes decent work, but I digress. (I have always wanted to use that phrase in a logical fashion.) On the docket for today, we have my first mid-historian crisis (Feel free to comment on it. You may help quell some serious nerd doubt), my morning with a liberal talk show host/baptist/professor/visiting speaker, and a very interesting class discussion.

Well, it came upon me so suddenly that I couldn't even tell you how it happened. I guess that is these things happen. There I was innocently reading school material, when BAM. I was hit square in the face with a 600 page interpretation of Alexander Hamilton. That's right folks. I couldn't resist it. I just had to read this biography that had been given the "best biography of the year award". As I was browsing this balmy book's pages, I had the worst thing possible happen for a historically interested individual, ANOTHER BOOK.....ON THE SAME PERSON......THAT PRESENTED THE EXACT OPPOSITE VIEW......AND IT HAD 600 PAGES TOO. (give or take on the page count that is.) You can see my problem. Needless to say, I simply had to read them both, and they were both so excellently written that I was just floored. So, I was caught between two rocks, two hard-places, two overdue library books, and a mind totally stressed by tests. This is not conducive to making up one's mind. Was Alexander Hamilton amazing or no.  Now I have always been a bit of a fan of Hamilton. The boy prodigy that came from a rough background. He came to the good old USA, and he basically became Washington's right hand, to the point that Washington raised him to the position of Aide-de-camp. He was one of the writers of the Federalist Papers. A near visionary of the kind of government and economy the USA would have, and he was murdered honorably in a duel with one of my least favorite characters in American History, Aaron Burr. All this I knew, and it was only reinforced by the first book, added to it even. But, this other book is also quite good and points out how many of Hamilton's policies would actually clash with many Conservative political principles which I hold. Plus, I hold the anti-Hamilton author, an intellectual with deep connections with the Tea Party, in higher regard than the pro-Hamilton author, a journalist that calls himself a democrat that has been betrayed by his party (not a bad stance, but not the best either). Plus, there is also the issue of Hamilton's moral character in his later years, which, despite his confession, is inexcusable in the study of this man. *sniff* "please, Obi-[insert name of historically savvy individual here. e.g. Rennuke, Nadea of Kelly Hill, etc..etc..] you're my only hope." (Star Wars reference) I will be crafting my own arguments, but any opinions would be appreciated.

As a fish in a very small pond, I got invited along with about 50 other students to meet with a visiting speaker. Let's just say we didn't agree on much, or anything for that matter. First of all he was late. Quite a bit late in fact. Despite this, he continued to give us the full liberal lecture, with no regard to our busy student schedules. But, I was good. I didn't say anything that would further isolate me from my campus compatriots or start a lynch mob. Granted, the highlight of the whole happened during the intermission when all the "Socially-deficient-individuals-who-were-carrying-conversations-with-the punch-bowls-and-their-shoes-on-the-periphery-of-the-group" were cornered by a zealous member of our student government. He was newly elected, glowing with that idealistic blush, and he had that new politician smell. (There is nothing quite like the smell of a new politician. You just can't get it back.) This guy was VERY happy about everything, and he introduced himself to everyone very vigorously. Later, I found out exactly why he was being so darn outgoing. The headline news for our school newspaper was that the student gov had the least amount of students in its history participating in it or participating in its electoral process. All in all, that was the meeting in a nutshell. I do think I will need dental work (more dental work) for the amount of teeth grinding I did though. 

The interesting discussion centered around a primary source document. It was a copy of a debate between a man and a women in the Renaissance about who was more at fault for the first sin, Adam or Eve........yeaaahhhh......You can tell how well that went over with the crowd. Theological thinking doesn't come naturally to my classmates, and I am so proud of the lads and lasses that they actually came up with what they did. Unfortunately, I opened my big mouth (you know, the one I kept shut throughout the visitor speaker's lecture mentioned above?), and I was dubbed "right-faithful-anti-feminist". Well, actually, that did kind of cover my views on the subject, and I had already been accused of being racist in my American History class so why not go for the gold, right? Anywho, the discussion eventually degenerated into a "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is." I'm not in the business of getting into losing arguments though, so the professor basically had to end the discussion as a tie. The prof was absolutely giddy (he is an atheist who studies Christian history. I know weird). As he closed the debate, he said, "I wish there was actually a place were little debates like this actually happened over coffee or something." I could only think, "One sec, lemme check what day would be good for you to come over." 

I am hungry. So, I will sign off now. 
Ciao for now everyone.

P.S: Sorry for the different format this week, but there wasn't much "class" work. The tests remember?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Week 4: Everything One Needs to Know About Science, and Everything I Never Wanted to Know About Florence.(With A Little Milton on the Side!)

DIRECTOR-BLESSED-WITH-DRY-WIT: All right! Does anyone have ideas about how mentors could easily get ahold of their mentees, while still having a somewhat informal setting?
YOURS-TRULY: We could try mugging them!
 DIRECTOR-BLESSED-WITH-DRY-WIT: hmmm...It's certainly informal enough. Tell you what, we can try that with the wrestling and Karate teams.
YOURS-TRULY: Sounds great!
NAIVE-FRESHMAN: Sounds like fun!
 DIRECTOR-BLESSED-WITH-DRY-WIT: *Rolls eyes while sighing extravagantly*

  Hello all! My weekly reminder to you all that I am still alive. You can let out that pent up breath of anxiety that I, the Gryphon, might not survive the week. This week has been one of extreme contrasts. It has held a "Eureka" moment, and a "you have GOT to be KIDDING ME!" moment. The bright part of the week is split into two events (A) Science and (B) Milton Friedman. The so-so parts include the mentor program and an opportunity. The devastatingly disappointing part is due to Renaissance Europe.

  I might have said this before, but I truly like this science class, because it allows students to come to their own conclusions through a very flexible, almost debate style, series of conversations. I know for a fact that the current professor is an atheist or agnostic, but he gives students quite a bit of leeway in their development. This is why I am having so much fun. We are currently going over the scientific method in depth. The observation part has been interesting to me in particular. The very basic facet emphasized throughout the lectures has been that observation, whether through unaided senses or applied technology, is the central part of explaining any scientific endeavor. Taking a moment to chew this over, one can come to an intriguing conclusion that many people might argue. Science is very limited in its scope. While it seems as if much of society worships science as the end all be all of creation, its capabilities are only as accurate as our senses. This throws a wrench into the argument of those who would say that a belief in God is unscientific. This argument tries to use a wrench to transport water, wrong tool for a job. Science can be used, quite convincingly in fact, to create evidence for God, but in the end it can't prove or disprove his existence. Faith is the tool the Christian relies upon in the end.

  Milton Friedman is an economist that basically became the leader of free market principles for America. We got to watch an excerpt where he basically destroys the ideas of socialism and communism (but I repeated myself right there). It was fun to watch. You could see some people just hissing and spitting, and on the other side you had me and some other students salivating and nearly clapping. I am not sure if the Prof knew how to deal with all the tension. :D

  I had been voluntold (Volunteer + told) that it would be good for me to enroll in this mentorship program. It sounded decent. I would simply act as a wealth of sophomoric information, and the mentees and I would meet once a week to discuss his or her troubles. Basically a collegiate psychologist. Well, I had no problem with this. (pshh....It might even be fun to do. I have never had any trouble giving advice before, much to everyone's detriment.) The problem occured when I realized that in order to be a mentor one needs two things, yourself....and mentees who will return your emails. Needless to say I shared this at a conference we had. It seemed I wasn't the only one having the trouble of being ignored. It was slightly disappointing to say the least. "It tore me apart. But I learned an important lesson. You can't count on anyone, especially your, overstressed, freshman mentees." (somewhat paraphrased Incredibles quote for anyone who didn't know) It shall be interesting to follow the exploits of Gryphon the menteeless mentor.

  long story short. There is an opportunity to graduate with a cool award as long as I keep grades up and am accepted.

  Okay, I know I just wrote about how cool studying the Medicis was, and it was really awesome. Unfortunately, the city of Florence was, unbeknownst to me, considered something of a Las Vegas of the renaissance, and my Professor couldn't help but devote an entire lecture to the subject of its nightlife. Needless to say, I am getting rather adept at blocking out people talking. (evidenced by the fact that a sister was yelling up to me, and I just completely had it tuned out. I know, "I am a despicable human being." Tangled quote) Anywho, one other person looked as uncomfortable as me, and I was impressed with some of the points he struck on the prof. In the subsequent discussion, I am happy to point out that I got him to admit that no not all renaissance cities were this immoral. In fact, most cities were much more conservative. This was a deflating experience for a class that was verging on one of my favorite ever. Ah well, such is the life I live.

  That is that. I will wrap this post up with a slight look into my US history and pull out one, Andrew Carnegie. A millionaire, Andrew Carnegie put upon one of the key tenets of Capitalism in my opinion. This is the idea that there is a large difference between government "charity" and philanthropy. Carnegie defines charity as the public administration giving away money. This ultimately hurts the community because money will most likely be distributed and spent inefficiently by bureaucracy, and just giving people money won't help very much in the long run. On the other hand, philanthropy is providing the means for people to raise above poverty and by contributing to the community to create opportunity. Carnegie saw opportunity as education, firms, and investing to create more jobs. I will say that I don't agree with all the things Carnegie upholds, he was an agnostic for one, but there is some truth I think to this. If properly seen through a Christian lens, this kind of proposition appeals greatly to me.

signing off
Guten Nacht



Friday, September 13, 2013

And so William said to him ...He said um....he said.....................

As you can see I'm making  great progress ...Or not. I'm have trouble coming up with inspiration to keep Writing. Any suggestions??.

I'm actually only at the beginning of the story.
And I mite just come back to this part later.

I also em not really liking how this is sounding. It's just not flowing the way I want it to.

 A warm breise breathed in the late summer's morning. A small castle stood on a man made rise.Yet Despite its size, there was a sense of grim pride in the old weathered fort. Its three towers were not much to look at. Only seven feat in diameter and less than six meters high. The walls buttresses were starting to crumble. In short, not exactly Buckingham palace or Antioch. Yet its pried was well founded. It was located in Surry,close to the border of West Sussex._________________________________.
William took a deep breath and let it out slowly. He was going to miss this place,he thought. He looked around at the old decaying walls,supports and bedraggled towers. A door creaked   behind him. He smiled slightly that would be Hallard he thought. He knew it would be. (Hallard's has a bit of a local ascent)
Hallard came and stood next to him. He was solid built man with broad shoulders. although Will Was a hair taller than him.
 Will miss it lad? Will nodded. He would miss it. He would miss The roping about with the village children. Playing in and out of the castle's nocks and hid y holds. He'd miss the shear freedom of the forest,it's paths and the time he had spent with the forester.
Your father is proud You know that your doing this. Hallard said,pulling William out of his line of thought. Hard to tell he said. glancing meaning at the mane keep where the lord of the castle lived. Hallard cocked his head at him. Now Will he said a little sternly your fathers a good man he wants what best for you.
 William nodded,I know... I just wish... He shook the thought off. He knew    ? his father was glad he was doing this.
 William was the youngest of 4 brothers. Each of witch had moved out and gone on to become knights. Harelld the eldest had gone to lord Udol's castle to the est to become a knight. He quickly worked his way to the top of his class. He alwas had a strong sense of honer and justice and after he was knighted lord Udol decided to make him sherif. Whitch was a honerble position.
 Alfred the second born was not as reserved as his brother.He became a knight when he went on a campaign with the baron he was aprentest to and brout great honer to his famly.

Week 3: Revenge of the Professors

PROFESSOR: Because the market takes time to adjust to changes in Supply and Demand, economies often encounter shortages or surpluses. 
LIBERAL STUDENT: If economists can predict these changes, why don't we have the government tell everyone how much to produce?
PROFESSOR: You would trust the government to run the entire economy that composes of millions of billions of transactions?
PROFESSOR: I would like to know where your going to find the angels that won't abuse that sort of power.

Welcome to week 3. This week was characterized by professors who were truly agitated over the fact that the majority of the students in their classes had barely said five words. While there was a minority of talkative collegians, they couldn't make up for the silent masses that inhabited the desks. Two different approaches were adopted by the frustrated faculty. One, the nice method. This method entails a honest heart-felt speech that  was nuanced [ @Psmithn nu·ance. noun \ˈnü-ˌän(t)s, ˈnyü-, -ˌäⁿs; nü-ˈ, nyü-ˈ\ : a very small difference in color, tone, meaning, etc. 1:  a subtle distinction or variation 2:  a subtle quality :  nicety 3:  sensibility to, awareness of, or ability to express delicate shadings (as of meaning, feeling, or value)] (A personal joke. Please disregard if you aren't Psmithn) with the dueling emotions of frustration and pleading. It even went so far as to say that, while the five relationships of Confucius may not seem relevant, what we learn may come in handy one day. This was very effective and inspiring for those who cared. I even felt bad for the guy (a new professor on campus). Plus, his lecture was awesome, and I tend to be more responsive when I am in historical ecstasy. Approach numero dos was a bit more interesting. She reminded us that college was a contract, and that if she came with everything prepared, students should as well. Then you kinda understood the veiled threat that non-paticipating students would be penalized. I didn't like that one as much, but it seemed to energize the rest of class discussions. So hurrah for dealing with laziness!

The great lecture by my Asian professor was about the Han dynasty (pronounced like the star wars character). Now, I am not a macho Chinese buff. I tend more towards the Japanese side of the studies spectrum. This made me all the more surprised when my prof brought up the title of his lecture, "The Han Dynasty: The First Laissez-Faire Economy". This seemed absolutely absurd to me. I always viewed China as autocratic and utterly hierarchical, completely at odds with the laissez-faire principles. [Laissez-Faire is an economic system that emphasizes small government and free markets] I learned that the Qin (pronounced Chin) Dynasty had succeeded in uniting China after a period of chaotic warfare. But, the Qin turned out to be pretty terrible. They attempted to destroy learning, conscripted peasants into a labor force for public works, and then screwed up the economy big time. Needless to say, as soon as the emperor died there was insurrection. The rebels eventually won out, and their leader (a peasant) became the founder of a new dynasty. This new dynasty, the Han, emphasized a path of non-intervention in their society. This included such acts as lowering the taxes, reducing spending except for infrastructure, encouraging learning, reducing the importance of the bureaucracy, and creating a system of trade. While this didn't lead to outright capitalism, China did achieve a prototype version of it, and there was quite a bit of prosperity. This prosperity did eventually lead to the downfall of this free-market system, but it is an interesting mental experiment to wonder what might have happened if China had achieved capitalism. I was quite surprised to learn that while Rome was descending into feudalism China was proving the merits of free-markets and small government.

In my other history class we learned of the Medici family. They were a family that lived in Renaissance Florence. Through their strangle hold of money and banking, the Medici family was able to subvert the republic and control it. It may just be me, but I found it morbidly fascinating the way that the Medici was able to control Florence. They used a network of connections, marriages, and businesses to put all major powers in their debt. The republic was in fact never dissolved and continued to function, but the Medici family controlled everything. They were so intertwined that when someone did try to stop them, they simply removed all their business from Florence, and the city went into a severe recession. Eventually, the Medici did fall onto hard times, but, for a time, they show historians the power of the indirect control that individuals can have on governments.

That has pretty much been the highlights of this academic week. Professors, Free-market China, and the enigmatic Medici family. 

Signing off.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Prayer request

Hi ever body I have a really important decision coming up and I really need to hear God about it if you guys could please pray for me. :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Week 2: Sophmore Slump < Great Personal Life + Economics + Sir Isaac Newton

  "Well, you see. Confucius emphasized the proper hierarchy of society for a good out come, and he also wante....."  "Wait! Your a history major aren't you?" "yes" "Then you be the blasted group spokesperson instead of expecting me to remember all of this." "really?" "dude, you might want to do it. I think she'll attack you with that pen if you throw much more of this at her."
Me doing a group exercise with  three other colleagues (the certain student saying this was not a history major)

  Hello all! I am trying to be a good little Fredoniac by keeping my  pact of weekly updates. I certainly hope this doesn't fade into nausea for most of you.

   There is the common superstition that the Sophomore year is cursed with a let down for Freshman students. They might have a good first year, but their steam is quickly spent. I suppose for most it is a case of the brightest stars burning out the fastest. In my own experience, I can't yet say whether this is true for grades or not (in most classes I haven't even taken a test yet!), but the classes are more difficult. The difficulty simply makes me more psyched for those classes though. It is like finally getting to run after walking for a semester. (not that I would complain if I walked my way through college :) So it didn't look like the sophomore slump would hit me academically. But, the slump is powerful, and it will not let me get through the year unscathed! While my classes are getting harder, the insane bureaucracy and insaner colleagues are beginning to give me migraines. I know, "but Jordan you were saying this last year too!" I was. The problem is that it is happening sooner than before. :'(  On the brighter side this is more than balanced out by certain happenings in my personal life that give me great joy. (although I will not go into them they involve a good book series, an AWESOME computer game, and upcoming events.)

A bit of economics that truly blew my mind.
The core of economics is the study of trade-offs. This definition has often been shortened to the study of trade-offs of a monetary nature, but the fact is that there is so much more to it than that. Humans faces trade-offs and decisions every day, every minute even. sitting here writing this post on a college computer is a trade off for me. I could be using this computer to surf the net or to salivate over Rome 2 Total War reviews, but I am not. Going further, the time that I am spending on this computer could probably be used doing something else too. Economics is studying how people decide those trade-offs they encounter. It has been said that economics is a study in efficiency, because every person will seek to make the decision that is most efficient for that individual in that moment. Using time as an example, every person has a scarce (limited) supply of it, and multiple demands. Every moment that is used becomes a micro economy in of itself. It is overwhelming if one thinks about the billions of people making decisions about their time every second, whether it is simply moving, breathing, working, eating, playing, or praying. Every moment is a decision, every decision is precious choice, and things that are precious must be weighed and filtered. Examine the trade-offs, and treat every moment like you would a precious commodity.

Science is a great tool. In fact when used properly, it can be one of the greatest areas of human potential. Unfortunately, it is often misused by claiming to be more than it is. Historically, science had made great leaps and bounds through its proper place. The best thing about this is it can't be separated from an in-depth history course. We went over sir Isaac Newton today. Can you tell? :)

I visited the career counseling office today, and I learned that if I want a straight answer about anything I should consult their website.

This is Gryphon the Fredoniac. Signing off.