Saturday, April 29, 2006


So, April has been okay for me. Some good, some bad, but overall I'm coming out on top. Finished my second semester of grad school, and I think I will be getting decent enough grades to get me into the PhD program in the fall. I also got the okay to work on a directed study over the summer with my advisor/mentor. I actually hate using that word "mentor," but he is not technically my faculty advisor, so I have to use something to differentiate him from my assigned mentor, whom I haven't even met with since I stared the program.

I'm still dressing like an adult (some would even say "old man") every day at work. And people are starting to get used to it. I'm starting to get used to it, too. I forget that a bow tie isn't something people are used to seeing every day, so when someone on the street does a double take and starts to smile (or smirk) at me, I am tricked into thinking, momentarily, that I know them. Then I remember that they're probably just thinking to themselves that I look like Orville Redenbacker.

I am wondering if all the immigrant staff is going to participate in Monday's May Day action. It would be interesting to see the campus brought to a standstill by all the food service workers on strike. The whole issue brings a question to my mind that I haven't seen investigated much in the media. We all know that America is a nation of immigrants, but the people on the more rigid side of the argument insist that there is this chasm of difference between "legal" and "illegal" immigration. Their ancestors might have been immigrants, but they did it the "right" way. Well, how different are immigration procedures today from 50 or 100 or 150 years ago? I don't think people who showed up at Ellis Island to join the husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters that were already here in, say, 1848 needed to go through the rigmarol that is required now.

My understanding of "legal" immigration in the nineteenth century is that you basically showed up, stated your name and country of origin, declared your intention to become a citizen, and you were in. You still had to go through the process of becoming a citizen, but there weren't the kinds of border security issues back then. Of course, I also realize that at the start of this century, "great" citizens such as Henry Cabot Lodge were fighting tooth and nail to keep America white, Anglo-Saxon, and Protestant. As recently as 1902, laws were being passed in Congress that barred the use of "Mongolian" labor on public works projects (Newlands Act 1902).

Yikes! Lost track of the time. I gotta go get my hair cut. See you in another couple of weeks.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Non-Normative Evaluation of Database Design and Utilization

I read. I write about what I read. I try to make intelligent comments about what the author of what I read thinks about what other authors think about what they write. Graduate school is fun. And to think I could make a living doing this.

On the day of my last update, I went to church. It was the very first time I went to church entirely on my own, without being compelled by a wedding, funeral or baptism. It was Ash Wednesday, and I figured, from what I read in my slight research online, that it was an appropriate time to start a relationship with God. I have gone every Sunday since, and a few days other than Sunday. The church is a nice, political, open-minded Episcopal parish in JP. Lots of gay ex-Catholics. Very good music. I go for the company, really.