Musings, Rants, and Random Thoughts

McCain on SNL

Just a quick comment as I am catching up on last night’s SNL episode.

It’s a pretty bad sign that McCain is willing to “poke fun” at his own campaign with Tina Fey, playing running mate Sarah Palin, joking about how Palin has been a rogue, possibly setting herself up for her own campaign in 2012, and the controversy over how much she spent on clothing for the campaign trail.

I think that goes beyond “poking fun” when it hits as close to home on such embarassing topics as that.  I think the writers at SNL had way more leeway with McCain than usual, and he would not have let that happen if he weren’t desperate.

Oh, by the way, Prop 8 is gaining ground here in CA.  I am not happy to hear that…

McCain: listening to a campaign speech today. What the…?

This isn’t a “political” post.  I’m not bashing or supporting either side (I did vote for Obama, and I don’t like McCain, but that’s not the point here).  What I’m not getting is how McCain can say something over and over and over, not changing what he is saying, when I truly feel like he’s just digging his hole deeper and deeper.

I’m listening on CNN right now about stuff he said today.  He says a number of things which I just don’t get.  Specifically:

  • Obama wants to raise your taxes
  • I will fight for pork barrel taxes and inclusions, bridges that lead nowhere…

So…I really feel like Obama has made his case on the whole “if you make less than $250,000 your taxes will not go up” thing.  It’s something that people grasp – it’s got a dollar figure on it.  I think it’s fine that McCain wants to argue that Obama wants to raise some taxes, but this blanket statement just doesn’t really make sense anymore.  Maybe he could say “he’s rolling back some tax cuts – what if he keeps going?” or something like that.  But I think he’s beating this horse pretty badly.

And the bridge to nowhere is…in Alaska.  And while I think I read something about how under her governorship she just let it happen, as compared to making it happen (hey, that happens – she hasn’t been governor that long), the point is that…the pork barrel thing, the bridge to nowhere, THE EXAMPLE HE GIVES, is something that happened in Alaska.  Weird.

Don’t get me wrong – I think he makes some good points in his stump speech.  I don’t agree with his tactics, but I think some of them make sense.  I just don’t see why he’s making these particular points while stumping.

Softening up tough female co-stars

One of the new shows this fall that has at least piqued my interest, if not actually capturing it, is Eleventh Hour, starring Rufus Sewell (of Dark City fame) and Marley Shelton (of cute blonde-in-Pleasantville fame and apparently cute-blonde in general fame).  I’m not sure yet if I like the show, but one thing the did appreciate in the beginning was that Shelton played this tough, serious FBI agent.  Admittedly, she was too tough.  Too “I always do my job because I’m bad-ass” throughout the pilot.  I am presuming they were juxtaposing that seriousness with her hotness (she is pretty hot, and there is one “running around in her bra and her FBI dress shirt scene” so it’s kind of obvious). She is also clearly merely tolerant of Sewell’s character Dr. Jacob Hood, who is eccentric but a genius.

However, in the second episode has her as a much, much softer character, and even warning Hood, at one point, to be more sensitive in a particular situation where he’d be working with parents who had recently lost children.  They made her less serious and hardcore, in other words.

A few years ago, I was reading about the rise of the strong female lead in television shows.  I believe Kathryn Morris Cold Case, Marge Helgenberger in CSI, Jill Hennesey in Crossing Jordan and a few others were mentioned.  I would add a few others, such as almost any of the characters in The Womens Murder Club.  Yet here we are, with a show where the female character has been softened up.

The show isn’t that good to be honest, so it’s not a big deal, but it’s kind of sad, too.  Shows go back to being formulaic…

The politics of the walk to work

I walk to work.  In general, it’s a very pleasant 20 minute walk.  Just long enough to get me going in the morning, get a few steps on the pedometer, and to get my mind in the right place.  Just short enough so that if I’m running late I can hustle and cut it down to about 15-17 minutes.  It’s generally a nice walk.

Depending on when I hit various intersections with traffic lights and crosswalks, I walk along a variety of routes.  I also try to mix things up.  However, there is one route that has become a kind of farcical political maze.

In no way do I believe that walking in front of a house with a particular lawn sign supporting one candidate or political issue vs. another is in some way endorsing that opinion.  However, in my own little, weird way, I feel like I should not “patronize” the sidewalk in front of a home that supports a cause that I do not (as I write this, I realize how crazy I am).

Well, there is one route where the first house on the right supports McCain/Palin, a ticket which I oppose.  So I cross the street.  To my satisfaction, there is an Obama/Biden lawn sign at the house opposite.  I walk a bit further, and I see a “Yes on Prop. 8” sign, which is to change the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriages.  I am opposed to that, so now I change street sides again.  Two houses down, I have another McCain/Pallin sign or some other thing that bothers me.  So I end up zig-zagging back and forth on each block like a mental patient trying to make a political statement.

I guess maybe it is more like a mental patient than I’d like to think 🙂

LinkedIn Invite – unexpected questions

The other day, I invited someone to join my LinkedIn network (my profile!).  The default message is something along the lines of “since you are someone I trust, I would like to add you to my network.”

The key word is trust.  I believe that LinkedIn means in terms of who they are.  I trust that that person is actually…that person.  A friend, colleague, etc.  However, someone at work took that as meaning trustworthiness, reliability, etc.  She asked me what she had done to earn my trust, since we had only worked on a few projects.

First, she is working with my group on a few projects now so I do know that she is very diligent and detail-oriented.  So far, she seems pretty okay.  So it’s not like I based my response to her query on a complete lack of information.

However, it seemed weird that someone would question the invite anyway.  This has lots of room for misinterpretation but it felt like I was being accused of “do you really, seriously want me to believe that I have gained your trust…?” kind of snarkiness.

Eh.  I’m obviously being sensitive here.  I don’t feel anything negative about it, in reality but it was just weird.

The damnation of too many course materials websites

Here at SCU, we have two major online course materials systems.  One is called eres, the other Angel.  The former is really just a document repository.  It does have folders and a weird variant of a discussion forum but it’s a place where a professor can put a bunch of files and students can download them.  Angel is a full blown learning management system, designed as a central stopping point for actual course content, links out to other places, the ability to have a drop-box for delivery assignments, etc.

While I do have my own personal complaints about eres as a system, my particular whiney complaint today is about the fact that we have 2 of them at all.  I never know where to look for what.

Before the quarter started, I went to both and looked for my three classes.  I found none of them at either site, and tried to remember to look back again later.  When the quarter began, I discovered that both of my quarter-long classes were on Angel.  My 1-unit course, which only meets 1 weekend, I just forgot about.  Turns out it’s on eres.  And it turns out that the professor expected all of us to go there and find it…appparently a while ago.  Now I’m behind to some extent and feel a bit stupid about an e-mail I sent and a response I received from the management department (it’s more about my feeling stupid than them making me feel that way).

It’s just frustrating that we have two different systems and I’m somehow feeling guilty because I didn’t spastically check both of them on a regular basis.  Just frustrating.

How hard can it be to find a broadcast of the presidential debate…?

Last night, before I had class, I spent a good 20 minutes wandering around from building to building on campus trying to find a broadcast of the debate.  The servers at were overwhelmed and I couldn’t quickly find another online stream.  I tried the business school building in general – believe it or not, I could not find it anywhere.  I realized that I don’t think there is a general lounge anywhere, either.  I think there are areas in which we can lounge, but not a lounge.  

So I tried arts and sciences and they had one small room, packed full.  No good there.  

So then I wandered over to my office, where I thought a wired network connection (the connections at the biz school didn’t seem to want to give me an IP) might help me get onto the CNN servers.  Fortunately, the student lounge here had it on.  It was the Fox News feed, which was kind of funny (though it’s not like they had biased commentary running on a ticker or anything).  I was hanging out in the student lounge with various law students, trying to blend in with them (it’s a fine line when you’re administration with the students and trying not to look like an actual student or mistaken for one).  

I cannot believe how much trouble it was to find a broadcast of the debate on a university campus.

Random thoughts on the the 2nd presidential debate

Truly random

  • Obama needs to calm down after McCain speaks and, IMO, distorts the former’s position.  That’s the nature of a debate.  Things are distorted.  Obama keeps jumping out of his chair.  
  • McCain recommends nuclear.  I like that he grabbed that.  No one likes to talk about nuclear, but he did.  Interesting.
  • Energy independence is my big thing (kinda hard to say that with the giant mortgage crisis right now).  A mixed plan is really the only way to do it (check out T. Boone Pickens’ plan, which I think is pretty okay).  I’m not sure Obama has addressed the infrastructure needs to get there.
  • Actually, I don’t think either has addressed the infrastructure.  
  • Wow – “Manhattan project like effort” to fix energy issue.  That’s a great question.  And goes to infrastructure.
  • Off-shore drilling to bridge the gap (McCain) – yeah, cuz it takes no infrastructure time to set up off-shore rigs
  • Lots of talk before the debate about how well McCain does in town-hall style debates.  So far, he’s been a lot…well, his comments aren’t very veiled at all.  He’s sneaking in a jab with every sentence.  Don’t like that.
  • Wow, McCain just pounds on this “Obama hates small businesses” thing…
and…now I’m off to class.  So can’t comment anymore.  And this is mindless stuff – I’m sure not much substance here.

Another telling paragraph…economic plans of the candidates

Examining America’s presidential candidates | Examining the candidates | The Economist

On his plans to fix the financial crisis, Mr Obama averages 3.1, a point higher than Mr McCain. Still, some said they didn’t quite know what they were rating—reasonably enough, since neither candidate has produced clear plans of his own. 

This is the interesting line in the article, at least to me.  The candidates haven’t put out their plans yet.  Why?  Because there is no pretty picture to this mess.  There is nothing that can be proposed that won’t come off as a horrible, terrible scenario.  So no one says anything…

Getting an MBA – why we do it (not that I have any clue)

As I’ve progressed through my MBA program at the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University, I have lately been thinking about why I am doing this.  Why I am pursuing this degree in particular.  And, as I’ve thought about that, I have begun to wonder about the motivations of my classmates and thought more about what they have said they hope to take out of the program or how they hope to make use of the degree down the road.  It has been an interesting and illuminating exercise.

This is really a very generic post and is not about anyone, any group, or any…thing in particular.  I am speaking generally here, with sweeping generalizations about everyone I’ve seen and met at the school.  I say this because I have friends in the program and obviously I want to be clear that I am not thinking of particular people as I write this.  I truly am not.  I am in fact purposely mashing a few people together when I think of certain examples.

I’ll cut it here before I can’t find a better place to do so…