Some people claim that they have 30 years of experience, when in actuality they’ve just experienced the first year thirty times, one after another.
That thought scares me. I can’t imagine anything worse than the sticky mire of unending stagnation, and non-improvement. I suppose some people find comfort in routine and regularity; while I can appreciate those things too, I place a higher premium on my own continual development and improvement.
I’m sure that simple experience can be very instructive. As the saying goes, “Time is the best teacher. Unfortunately, it kills all its students”.
I know what you’re going to say: “Rich, where the heck have you been? It’s been weeks since your last post! What’s the deal?!”
What do you want from me, man? I just started a new job, and all of my energies have (of necessity) gone towards not getting canned! JEEZ!! Why don’t you try looking at it from my perspective…jerk…
Listen, I didn’t mean that. I’ve just been a little on edge; Cost Object, POs, and GL accounts have been dogging my dreams. You know how much I value you, Loyal Reader, and I know that you just miss me.
Here’s something you should enjoy. I’ll try to write more later.
Finding myself with a free moment, I decided to crank out another GMAT practice essay. The topic asked me to agree or disagree with a statement that argued against international regulations limiting children’s access to adult material on the Internet. Personally, I do think something should be done to address this issue; however, as often happens when I have to brainstorm with limited time, I ended up arguing against myself. It turned out to be an interesting exercise, although I should point out that the opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those held by the author!
Many have advocated for the implementation of international regulations designed to limit children’s access to adult material on the internet. At first blush (no pun intended), this seems reasonable. Conventional wisdom holds that pornographic/adult material is a corruptive influence on children, and that children all over the world would benefit from protection from such protection. There are also human rights implications to consider: to wit, child pornography, sex slavery, and other forms of exploitation. One could postulate that by making adult materials more difficult to access, these other blemishes would be reduced.
Although this reasoning has its appeal, deeper issues must be considered. Firstly, not all countries define “adult material” the same way. Consider the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia. The former is famous for legalized marijuana and prostitution; Amersterdam’s “Red Light District” is well known. Such a society would probably be much more accepting of risqué material than Saudi Arabia, a highly restrictive Islamic nation. How would these two countries, with completely different moral borometers, reach a consensus on which content to label as “adult”?
Also important to consider is the vast scale of the Internet, and its rapid continual growth. A very robust (and expensive) mechanism would be required regulate something so huge. Does this issue warrant such a large allocation of resources, when simple parental oversight could accomplish the job might more cheaply.
One should also consider how receptive internet pornographers would be to such regulation. Many of them reside in developing nations whose governments pay little heed to international compacts regarding human rights and copyright protection. Do we expect them to submit to our regulations?
Other points could be made referencing freedom of expression, and questioning exactly how corrosive adult material is on our young people (most of whom do come into contact with this material at some point during childhood, with no apparent adverse consequences). In the final analysis, it seems foolhardy to think that we can regulate something as expansive and complicated as the internet. And given the international nature of the issue, how do we structure our regulations without alienating anyone? It seems like simple, cheap parental oversight is the most judicious, effective and economical solution. If you object to this kind of material, make sure your kids don’t access it! Of course, this is easier said than done; getting parents to exercise this kind of authority is a topic best reserved for its own essay.
This past weekend, the Living Root Dragon Boat club brought 74 paddlers, drummers and steerers to the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival of Boston. These athletes were broken down into 4 mixed boat crews, covering a broad range of paddling experience. Ours was by far the largest contingent at the festival; during our warm up on the Weeks Bridge on Sunday morning, our lines stretched almost all the way from the Cambridge side to Boston.
But our strength wasn’t just numerical! Living Root teams fought vigorously for every meter of the 500 meter course, and at the end of the weekend two teams had medaled. The youth team - least in experience but lacking nothing in terms of enthusiasm and determination - had several extremely exciting races, and won 1st place in the High School Division. In numerical terms, they started the weekend with a time of 3:02 and finished strong at 2:44.92. Team 3 began the weekend at 2:54, and by their 2nd heat on Sunday had shaved off 12 seconds to hit 2:42 to win 3rd place in B Division.
The more experienced crews of Teams 1 and 2 found themselves in the steeper competition of A Division. Team 2 held its own, progressing from 2:49 to 2:36.98. In the meantime, Team 1 notched itself down from its time-trial score of 2:34 to 2:25.59 in the Division A Semi-Finals (a nail-biter in which we chased down Jade Adrenaline, coming in 2nd place by only 2.5 seconds). We secured a rank of 4th overall by winning the Division A Minor 1 heat, beating the Dragon Boat Club of Boston-Wake Riders by a mere 2 seconds.
To put this weekend in perspective, Living Root began its existence as a club in the spring of 2005 with something like 16 people Racing in Boston and Pawtucket. We didn’t even own a dragon boat in which to practice until this past April! Last season, LRBD brought 39 people to Boston in two boats, attaining a best score of approximately 2:55. We then went on to race in Montreal (for a seasonal best of 2:24), Pawtucket and Hartford.
Then the season ended. The cold, dreary winter months were spent sitting along the edge of the pool in Somerville’s JFK elementary school’s basement, paddling our guts out. Each week we came to practice in our subterranean lair, hungrily awaiting the day when we could emerge into the light and claim the races we’d earned.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of both paddling for the veteran Team 1 and steering the youth team (with Sprouty on the drum). What an amazing time! We measured my left bicep last night, and found that its circumference was at least 1/2″ greater than my right! That’s the only problem with this sport: your body can become asymmetrical, making you look like a fiddler crab.
To end this post, here’s a video montage of our Hartford race last year, shot and edited by the lovely and talented Laura Klink, the official Living Root roadie. Enjoy!
The last few weeks have been very interesting, eventful and noteworthy. It’s great when life gives you oodles of blog-blurb-able material; the only problem is that I haven’t had enough time to write it all down! Since I seem to have a few minutes before bed, I’ll try to squeeze out as much as I can. Where to start…
In a few weeks, I start a new job as an administrative assistant at the Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity at MIT. Although leaving the family business is bittersweet, I can’t wait to get started. I’ll be working directly for two professors, each of whom is conducting fascinating research in compelling fields (photovoltaics and nano-technology). Peter Drucker recommends that young workers be given job descriptions that are broad and challenging, and this job appears to fit that particular bill. In addition to basic administrative duties and class logistics, I’ll have the opportunity to take part in web design, construction project management, community outreach and a host of other activities.
The trip was a wonderful experience, with the exception of car rental (insurance is such a rip-off!) and the flight home. We spent 5 hours waiting in the terminal in Albuquerque, unable to leave due to heavy thunder-storms and hail in Denver; we passed the time goofing off and going through a book of Mab Libs we had picked up at the airport bookstore. We eventually made it to Denver, although we were too late to catch our connecting flight to Boston. This would have been a catastrophe were it not for Sprouty’s widely dispersed network of Peace Corps friends. Heather, one of her best buddies during her service in Mauritania, generously picked us up at the airport and gave us shelter until the next morning, when we returned home. Our plane circled Boston and then angled down over my native South Shore as it made it’s landing approach. We were granted a breathtaking view of the city and its environs, from the Longfellow Bridge, to the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, to the Georges Island in Boston Harbor.
Crouching Dragon, Worn Out Biceps
The Boston Dragon Boat Festival is drawing nearer and nearer! Excitement (and perhaps anxiety?) is mounting as Living Root Dragon Boat club squeezes out as much practice time as it can before hitting the lanes this weekend. Last week, I spent at least 12 hours on the river; supposedly the Charles is perfectly clean, but I’ve still got my fingers crossed lest I start growing a third eye-ball on my shoulder. The number of paddlers amassed under the Living Root banner is truly staggering: 75 people, on three mixed adult boats and one youth team. I’ll be paddling as an alternate on the 1st team, and then Whit and I will be drumming and steering respectively for the high school kids. The kids are fantastic, and their enthusiasm is indefatigable. Boat 1 will be exciting too, although a different species of excitement; as a new club, we’ve got a lot to prove this year. Last year’s best time at Boston was rather lackluster. This year is going to be different.