Live from my bedroom: the aforementioned connectivity problems have been solved, thanks to a wi-fi router and a new laptop. The laptop is an eMachines M5312. eMachines used to have a reputation for making cheap, crappy computers. Now, as laptops have become increasingly commodified, theyíve stayed cheap and overcome their crappiness. This one has a 54g integrated wireless LAN, widescreen monitor, DVD/CD-RW, and plenty of memory and speed. Normally selling for $1250, Best Buy has a $250 rebate offer that takes the price down to a hard to beat $1000 (good through Jan. 3). Give this model a look if youíre in the market for a notebook computer.
Iím counting on wi-fi to improve my productivity this semester. Since I work far better in coffee shops than I do at home or in a dorm room, this should increase my blogging action and decrease the number of papers begun at 1 am the morning before theyíre due.
I suppose itís sadly fitting that Iím posting New Yearís Eve about my improved relationship with my computers rather than with a woman, but such has been 2003. Fortunately, other parts of my life saw more success this year. Highlights:
The Torch — the spring semester was my last as editor of this publication. As I noted in my final ďFrom the EditorĒ column as I handed over the reigns to a more conservative successor, it felt ďa little bit like putting my baby up for adoption to nice conservative parents – and hoping I donít come back in a year to find it chewing tobacco, toting guns, and waving the Stars and Bars.Ē Well, thereís been some of that, but the publication still survives with an active, though smaller, staff.
Cafť-Philo — my other baby, and one I didnít have to worry about turning neo-Confederate. The group grew steadily last spring and remains active at Bean Central. For a couple months a version even met in D. C.
The Aztek — a car that not only gets me where I want to go, but also has great humor potential. What more could a guy want?
The Institute for Humane Studies — with another Humane Studies Fellowship, a finalist ranking in the Morley Journalism Competition, an enjoyable week at the Globalization and Poverty seminar at Georgetown, and a road trip to Providence, I continue to love this organization.
Gee Dead — the ultimate in college pranks, perpetrated by a few of my colleagues at The Slant. The fallout ate up a week of my life and inadvertently cost me a few friends at The Hustler, but also provided my first real taste of politics. As a writer for The Slant, a writer for The Hustler, and the media representative on the board of Vanderbilt Student Communications, I was more in the middle of this than I wanted to be. And yet it was exciting.
The Cato Institute — the Mecca of libertarian college students, and I got to do an internship there for media relations, education policy, and unofficially for Tom Palmer. The coat and tie, 9-5 lifestyle has its drawbacks, but all in all a fun experience with some great people.
Eternal Recurrence — by which I mean this weblog, not that Iíve become a disciple of Zarathustra. Begun with no particular plan, itís inspired a few friends to start blogging and is now getting much more traffic than I expected it to: over 8,000 visits this month, and not just people looking for slanted beds and condom stores. Now theyíre looking for information on the AIM virus, ďDeutschland uber alles,Ē and Tim Boyd (by which they could mean the English Vandy TA or the gay porn star). Thanks to Adam for installing Movable Type and ordering me to use it.
So whatís in store for 2004? Iíll be back at Vanderbilt till graduation in mid-May. This spring will be my lightest course load yet, weighing in at just 14 hours. Combined with my lack of leadership responsibilities, I expect to have more free time than ever this semester.
My classes should be interesting. Intermediate French will likely be the hardest, the others being Philosophy and Literature, Evolution and Society, and Boundaries of the Human (that is assuming I can convince the dean that these courses fit into my completely made up major called Worldly Philosophy).
Post-graduation plans are fuzzy at best. Iím not applying for grad schools this year, but after a year out of school may decide to go into philosophy. Iím also not really looking for an office job, though if the right opportunity came along I would certainly take it (yes, Iím aware that that sounds like a ridiculously passive way to do a job search).
At this point I would rather have several unusual jobs that are flexible than do just one thing. Right now Iím thinking Iíll make a go of working as a freelance writer and magician, maybe with some soccer refereeing on the side. I have a few other coals in the fire, but Iíll keep quiet about those for now.
Where will I be after college? Iíd say thereís a 40% chance Iíll end up back in D. C., 40% Iíll seek out a fresh start in Boston, and 20% Iíll go somewhere else entirely. Iím open to suggestions on both jobs and cities.
As 2003 comes to a close, I think about the contingency of how Iíve spent the last few years. If a friend hadnít told me to read Ayn Rand as we sat in the cold between soccer games years ago, would I be active in the libertarian movement now? If two seniors hadnít given me the opportunity to start my own magazine as a sophomore, would writing be a part of my life today? I tend to think that both answers are yes, but Iím ready for a change of pace and a new direction. This is not to say that Iím giving up libertarianism or writing; far from it — just that Iím not so sure I want to take the straight line approach to becoming a public intellectual.
But now itís New Yearís and Iím off to Margaritaville. Hereís wishing you a happy and fulfilling 2004!