One of my many problems

My name is Morgan Wick. As I finish this post, I am 20 years old. By almost any measure, I have reached the stage of life some term “adulthood”, that stage most people define by their jobs.

And I’m completely unqualified for any job.

It’s not that I wouldn’t bring something valuable to the table – I’m probably the smartest person I know. But I’ve been looking for a job, any job, on campus for a while now, and each quarter there’s never more than two or three jobs I’m even remotely qualified for. I’ve been completely unsuccessful in finding any job, the closest I’ve come being told that I would get called back for an interview for two jobs and never hearing from them again. Whether it’s my lack of communication skills, my lack of “experience”, my contribution to saving the environment by not having a driver’s licence, or simply my terrible handwriting, something always disqualifies me from most of the jobs available. There’s been a special sense of urgency here, since from what I have heard, I won’t have the ability to apply work-study funds to an on-campus job unless I already have one by the end of this year.

Even the jobs I might be qualified for are either soul-sucking jobs I would never want, wastes of my mental abilities, or in the case of the one job I have had (the exception that proves the rule), are really excuses for me to goof off.

I think that a lot of the things that disqualify me for far too many jobs are rather irrelevant to how well I might actually do in them. I’m probably fit in some way for a gazillion jobs even at the low level I’m at now with a high school diploma and a smattering of college classes. But many of them won’t let me in for reasons that in some cases have little actual bearing on the job itself.

More disturbingly, I can’t help but think this may become a trend in my life. I find it hard to focus sometimes, especially on things I don’t terribly enjoy, I don’t get along with others, and I don’t have a clue what I want to do with my life, in part because I have all sorts of things I keep oscillating between as an option and I can’t decide between them. I’d probably show up to a job interview in the same clothes I wear every day and perhaps even for work in them, because I don’t see what actual bearing wearing “work clothes” has on the actual job you’re supposed to do.

Okay, so I got the idea for this post a while back and I was originally going to completely tear into my would-be employers but I completely lost that train of thought. Probably should have started writing it when I first got the idea, but one of the jobs that was going to “schedule an interview” and didn’t was this quarter.

Oh where, oh where, have my little readers gone?

I finally have one or two regular readers of the strip that aren’t me, and I’d like to remind them that the strip goes up every day including weekends. Because I keep agonizingly waiting for SiteMeter to put up their promised changes and there’s a reason I dumped Bravenet, I have no way of knowing whether anyone saw yesterday’s strip (at most one person). Which is a damn shame, because I think it’s one of my better, funnier ones and I’d hate for it to have gone completely unread the day it was supposed to shine! I don’t want my moments of greatest genius to go to waste!

Still here, just getting the next 50+ years of my life set up

I feel like apologising to myself for not updating Da Blog more often. The comic strip, of course, has been updating every day come hell or high water, but it hasn’t grown at all. Not only do I not have any regular readers who don’t click on a link to arrive, but the ones I do have, who click on links? Most of them don’t look at any other strips. (Maybe that’s typical, and I just feel it more acutely because my strip is so small. I don’t know.)

There has been quite a bit going on in my life, though nothing earth-shaking. I haven’t been able to get any real job on-campus, which is a little distressing when you consider that, from what I’ve been told, I won’t be eligible for federal work-study funds for an on-campus job unless I get one by the end of this year. I’m sort of cursing myself for not being more aggressive and less procrastinating at the beginning of the year. Another part of the problem is that I’m not eligible for many if not most of the jobs I see listed on the primary on-campus job listing service, sometimes because I don’t have prerequisite courses, sometimes because I don’t have a driver’s licence (my own contribution to slowing global warming and probably the one most people should take instead of just getting a car that pollutes less, assuming they have good mass transit), sometimes because I don’t have “experience” even if I would do well once I had the job, and sometimes because I’m not a freak of a student. (And sometimes in the past I would disqualify myself because my interpersonal skills – not to mention my handwriting – are… iffy, to understate tremendously. Then there are the two jobs I applied for, was told I would be contacted to set up an interview, and never heard from again.) I’m a little skeered that my life is going to devolve into me becoming the stereotypical geek living in his parents’ basement with no job and spending his entire life playing video games and surfing the net.

I like to think I’m too smart for that, which brings me to my other point: my quest to determine what I will spend my college experience studying. I applied for college with a history major, because that was the academic field I already had the most experience and interest in. But now I’m interested in everything but history. Here’s a list – possibly incomplete – of other majors I’m considering or have considered: economics, English (Creative Writing), psychology, communication (or journalism or a variant), public affairs, math, anthropology, sociology, business economics, finance, and computer science. (This last one I started considering after how quickly I picked up CSS and PHP on my own time for my web site and comic strip respectively, which gives me a pretty spiffy-looking web site for an amateur effort. Compare the home page – link at top right of Da Blog’s sidebar – with my intentionally-retro-looking street sign gallery. In fact, at some point I need to try converting my sidebar to PHP so it can be dynamically updated.) As I write this I just got done meeting with an advisor who suggested “liberal studies” – an anti-major that can be oversimplified to “take whatever you want”.

Oh, and my computer has fallen all to pieces again. This happened rather suddenly over the weekend, and wasn’t even really caused by me banging on my laptop this time. First the sound card failed for no reason, and now all of a sudden the computer won’t boot all the way and the CD-ROM drive isn’t working so I can’t go into the Windows Recovery Console and fix what I figure is probably a comparatively minor problem.

I’m still hoping to get someone to help on writing up movies for my 100 Greatest Movies Project, although between Da Blog’s sluggish readership and the fact I don’t intend to pay anyone for it, I’m skeptical about the prospects of getting anyone anytime soon. I’m actually starting to consider a system where I would start putting up the list first and the write-ups later, except for the ones I think are perfectly ready as-is. But even if you aren’t up for the challenge, if you can lead me to someone who is I would greatly appreciate it.

So that’s basically it, although I would like to see if you have any advice. Look over what I already have on Da Blog and the web site, as well as the list of majors above, and tell me if anything leaps out at you.

Okay, I’m pissed now.

Can I rant for a bit on Microsoft? (Which will probably cause a flock of nerds to come here and follow suit on the basis of that phrase alone, but whatever.)

Occasionally Windows will download updates, and some of these will require a reboot. Most of the time, I’m told that I have updates, I can start the process of installing them, and when they’re installed I’m told I have to reboot to complete the process. Often I’m nagged on this point every five to ten minutes or so. However, when the updates are more critical than critical, Windows downloads and installs it itself, then just up and spontaneously reboots at 3 AM with no warning. (No word if the phone rings at Hillary Clinton’s house when that happens.)

Now, I routinely leave my computer running for days, weeks, even months on end, often with several files open. It’s not a big deal that my computer will spontaneously reboot with Office programs, since they have AutoRecover (although Publisher 2003’s is iffy at best), but Notepad files are not so lucky. And while many of you might say that it’s unwise to leave my computer running for so long with files open and unsaved for so long, that doesn’t justify Microsoft discriminating against people like me in such a… pissing-off manner. Especially when laptops encourage the practice by allowing you to simply close them instead of actually shutting down. I don’t like finding myself comparing Microsoft to someone hacking into my system and controlling it from afar, and I doubt Microsoft does either.

Windows’ “I’m sorry” message after rebooting reads as follows: “Windows recently downloaded and installed an automatic security update to help protect your computer. This update required an automatic restart of your computer.” If this update is so important, shouldn’t I get some sort of warning that my computer is going to reboot itself without an opportunity to save my files? I don’t even have a clue about it unless I happen to catch the little “downloading updates” indicator appear in the systray, and then don’t dismiss it since nothing else comes of it. Shouldn’t I at least get a notification when the installation is complete telling me my computer is going to reboot at 3 AM? One that isn’t tucked underneath the arrow to open the whole systray, but that actually pops up while I’m working? I understand that some people like me might decide to try to push back the reboot, but can’t you just tell them that the computer is going to reboot and to start saving files? Better yet, be as obnoxious about it as for your less critical updates?

(I’m actually okay with Windows and Office otherwise. I’m morally opposed to monopolies on principle, but I’ve used Windows for years and I’m not likely to gleefully switch to Mac anytime soon, and I doubt many Office imitators have as many features as Office.)

The 2008 Mid-Major Conference

Refer to this post if you don’t know what this is about or to catch up on the rules.

This year, four conferences produced multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament: the MWC, WCC, A-10, and Sun Belt. These conferences are guaranteed one spot each in the Mid-Major Conference.

Four teams reached the Sweet 16, all from different conferences. Of these, Davidson and Memphis did not come from a multi-bid conference, while Western Kentucky and Xavier did. From the Mountain West Conference, one team won its first round game while the other did not; from the West Coast Conference, one team won its first round game while the other two did not.

This leaves two spots in the MMC to be determined by my discretion, with no conference restrictions.

Without further ado, the eight members of the 2008 Mid-Major Conference:

Xavier (Atlantic 10)
Western Kentucky (Sun Belt Conference)
Davidson (Southern Conference)
Memphis (Conference USA)
UNLV (Mountain West Conference)
San Diego (West Coast Conference)
Butler (Horizon League)
Drake (Missouri Valley Conference)
Honorable Mentions: Illinois State, Kent State, Akron

The NIT didn’t really produce much in the way of MMC contenders – the only teams to make the second round from conferences without automatic qualifying procedures were Illinois State, Southern Illinois, Creighton, and Akron. All lost. That’s barely further than any remaining team in the NCAA tournament, all but guaranteeing Butler a spot – but Drake bowed out in the first round of the NCAAs to Western Kentucky. Those NIT teams lost in a round one-fourth the size of the round Drake lost in. After such a strong performance all season, Drake very easily could have been passed over within its own conference. But the only other mid-major team to win in the first round was Siena, which falls under the Northwestern State rule (one lucky win doesn’t get you an MMC ticket). George Mason or Virginia Commonwealth would have made the honorable mention list if VCU wasn’t beaten by another mid-major (UAB) in the NIT first round or if Mason was as strong an at-large contender as Drake.

Kent State came the closest to knocking off Drake. Love it or hate it, teams that make long NIT runs can only compete for MMC bids with teams that were better in the conference tournament if they were robbed of an NCAA bid. Unlike Appalachian “upset-Michigan” State last year, Akron was nowhere near NCAA territory and Illinois was a bubble team when Drake was a lock. And since Drake and Kent State had the same level of tournament success, and Drake was a 5 seed to Kent State’s 9 seed, Drake pretty much has to get the nod (even though you could penalize it for losing to a 12 seed to KSU’s 8 seed, but even then Drake lost close while UNLV blew out Kent State).