Some assorted thoughts as I prepare to start the final study push for the GRE.

I picked the right time to take the GRE. The last ten days have very much felt like finals week back in college. I did actually have a couple decent semesters as an undergrad, believe it or not. The semesters when I had gone to class consistently, began the month of December with an A or B in each class, and had a plan for studying were always kind of fun. I’m definitely a person that works best with a deadline looming in the near future. I always enjoyed knowing I had ten days to write three papers and study for four finals. I loved the days when I’d wake at 8:00 AM, study until noon, maybe go play some hoops for an hour to blow off some stress, come back and study for another six hours, eat dinner and hang out for awhile, then hit the books again until after midnight. I enjoyed being able to close the door to my room, load up the CD player, and not be bothered for hours because my roommates were all doing the exact same thing. Things are a little different now with a wife and kid, but there is a familiar feeling about all of this.

I took the “official” practice tests last Friday. The practice tests I had been taking before those were all paper-based. These were computer-based and supposed to adjust like the real test. The GRE is adaptive, so as you submit correct answers, the questions get progressively more difficult. When you miss an answer, you get an easier question. Because of that, no two GREs are alike, which is kind of strange. Anyway, I have a rather lofty goal on the verbal side and got exactly that goal score on both practice tests Friday. My math goal was originally less stellar, but with all the studying I’ve done, I now expect to get a higher score, regardless of whether that’s realistic or not. My math scores Friday were right in line with my original expectations. I’d like to do better, though. I talked to Mr. Beardslee Saturday and he said he would look forward to a blog entry Wednesday when I return from the testing center. I’ll post something quickly if I got good scores. If I didn’t do so hot, you may have to wait awhile!

BCS. I’ll talk more about this later in the week, but I’m so glad an undefeated team is getting screwed. In a perfect world, Auburn wins big in the Sugar Bowl so we have another split championship. I’ve got some harsh words for the idiots who vote in polls and didn’t see Cal play until this past week, too.

The baseball steroids story is another thing I’ll have to devote some time to. I’m quite torn on the issue. In general, I find steroids and other banned supplements to be bad. I wonder what the difference is, though, between banned substances and heavily regulated supplements that have been approved. Don’t they all help an athlete recover during his/her training sessions rather than provide a measurable on-the-field benefit? Why was Andro legal until 1999 but suddenly banned after? Safety concerns, right, not some sudden realization that it makes people like Mark McGuire hit the ball farther? Isn’t the only real difference between what’s allowed and what’s banned a long-term health issue rather than a benefit issue? I’ll have to think all this through and try to get something more lengthy put together.

I know it’s tough to fill 100,000 seats, and LA fans are notoriously front-running, but wasn’t it odd to see the crowd at the USC-UCLA game be probably 2/3 USC fans? It was a UCLA home game, right? Something tells me at least 1/2 of the people wearing maroon and yellow would have been wearing light blue and yellow if it was the Bruins who were 11-0 and not the Trojans. LA fan sucks.

I thought Tom Brokaw ended his run as NBC Nightly News anchor quite well. Tom has always been my favorite and it’s sad to see him go. I rarely watch the evening news as it is. I’m sure I’ll watch even less now. Tom was such a calming voice who always seemed to put things in the proper perspective. In an era where every TV personality is painted into an ideological corner whether they want to be or not, Tom was always firmly in the middle. It was obvious that he had political views. But he never had an agenda and never put his views in front of the news. He treated each politician and newsmaker with respect. He was always concerned equally with challenging accepted notions while respecting the traditions of the past. He never became the story as Dan Rather so often did. It will be interesting to see how the networks treat their news divisions over the next 5-10 years. Might NBC not just spin everything over to MSNBC and pick up coverage on the main network only in times of major news stories? Might ABC or CBS pool resources with CNN and do the same? Perhaps the remaining network will start their own news network. Soon networks will only give us shitty sitcoms and reality programming and we’ll all be watching the Food Network and Seinfeld reruns for our nightly entertainment.