Marquette is beautiful

So I’m spending the weekend in Marquette. What a beautiful place. My friend Ann and I did some hiking today, and you really don’t have to go far to see some amazing places. I find it so refreshing; East Lansing really falls short for me in that respect. There’s not much (clean) water around, which is a big change from Manistee. Rose Lake (PDF warning) is nice, and not far at all, but there’s something special about the Great Lakes.

Anyways, I didn’t even bring a camera, because I didn’t want to be bothered with taking pictures. (So you’ll just have to imagine it)

Amelia the Millenia is ill, but it’s nothing serious.

My car, a ’96 Mazda Millenia (christened Amelia, by my sister) is temporarily out of commission. After a short drive last night, I noticed steam belching out from under the hood in a bad way. It was entirely out of antifreeze, and I figured it would be a bad water pump, or worse, a head gasket. Hell, even most of the hoses would be a serious pain in the ass to change. Mazda built a nice car, but they sure as hell didn’t make it easy to work on.

Turns out it was a hole in the one radiator hose that’s actually easy to replace. Gotta love it when you luck out.

Harry Potter leaks, and I’m super-pissed.

Well, that didn’t take long. The hot story yesterday was the possible leak of the seventh and final Harry Potter book. See this Time Magazine story about the leak. Photos of each page were leaked online in the typical places (torrent tracking sites, usenet, and the like).
This photo was included in the Time article.

Shortly after this leak, some jackass on digg submitted a comment in the form of “character x dies. character y dies. character z lives happily ever after.” Such comments are generally buried/deleted in seconds, but I happened to see it.

I suppose it might be false, and since I don’t know any details, it isn’t really ruined. But I’m still mad.

After this occured, I grabbed a torrent of the leaked images and downloaded a few, just to see how they looked. I was careful not to read anything, but I have to say that they look legit.

I suppose that with all of the thousands of people involved in the production and distribution of these books, it’s damn near impossible to keep things off the internet. I’m not one of those crazy people who avoid the internet for 2 weeks before a book comes out, so I should have expected this. Still, I’ve gotta say: what pricks.

Tuition hikes again

Michigan State University’s student newspaper, the State News, published this story on tuition increases yesterday. Due to a decrease in funding from the state, the adjustments were higher than many had hoped. The proposed increases were predicted to be between 6 and 17 percent, depending on how much the state would provide. The 9.6% percent increase annouced yesterday is steep, but it’s a damn sight better than 17%.

Still, this is going to hurt a lot of students. I understand that Michigan’s economy is tight right now, and education isn’t cheap. It’s just frustrating. Last year we saw huge renovations to Spartan Stadium, and there are building projects all over campus, but MSU has the worst student/faculty ratio in the Big Ten. I realize that funding is complicated, and maintenance is essential, but it seems like MSU doesn’t focus enough on the actual education.

MSU is trying. They’re really pushing the Honors College as a means of attracting better students. The 2020 Plan includes some solid principles that will improve the university. But considering that I’ve spent more than $50,000 here thus far, I feel like I’ve earned the right to bitch a little. You’d think that after 3 years here, somebody would have recognized my obvious brilliance and given me a briefcase full of cash to pay for my studies. I must be kissing the wrong asses.

A glimpse into the excitement, and the simplicity, of war

This is an article that I stumbled upon (quite literally — see stumbleupon.com) today. It’s a piece written about by an Iraq war veteran about missing the intensity and clarity of combat.

I don’t really feel qualified to comment on it too much. It was powerful, and gave a lot of insight into a situation that few of us will ever see, but most have imagined. Like most kids these days, I have friends in the military who have seen, or will see combat.

Read it, if you’ve got the time. It’s worth it.

[edit -- I neglected to include the author's name, Brian Mockenhaupt. The article is on msn.com, but it looks like it was written for Esquire]

Behind on my blogging

So I’ve been rather lazy about my blogging lately. I’ve actually been avoiding browsing to my sites because it reminds me that I’ve been slacking off. This, however, stops now. I’m going to start writing for one of my various sites every day, with at least 2 semi-serious posts per week.

I’ve actually enjoyed writing the handful of posts that are up now. The act of regular writing is helpful, even when I’m not writing about much. I think writing every day will help me get into a routine.

Additionally, now that summer classes are over for me, I can get working for real on the James Madison blog. I need to email members, draft a constitution for the organization, and contact the dean to (hopefully) arrange some funding for hosting and other costs.

So to all of my 3 occasional readers — look for more content soon.

[this was a lame-ass post, but I'm counting it for today]