Archive for April, 2011

Am I a Prodigy or an Amateur?

“It’s not the machine; it’s the man behind the machine.”
-9th Wonder

It all started when I started listening to music produced by 9th Wonder.  He is an amazingly talented artist and has created thousands of tracks.  He has a unique blend of 70′s sampling with catchy bass lines and really stands out from mainstream music; it’s a shame this kind of music is not played on mainstream radio stations.

He is obviously talented and it comes natural to him.  Anyone who listens to his beats can appreciate it, even people who don’t listen to hip-hop at all.  Needless to say, he is a prodigy when it comes to music.

It made me think, am I a prodigy in anything?  Am I skilled enough in anything that will make people recognize me based on my work alone?  Will there ever be a time thousands of people stare at my work and say “That’s awesome!  Anthony mastered this skill and I wish I could be like him someday.”

I am fascinated with computer science.  I have always been interested in computers since I first climbed onto the chair and pounded the keyboard when I was a child.  Ever since I learned BASIC programming and took my first programming classes in my final years of high school, I always liked programming.  As a result, I decided to pursue an education in Computer Science Technology after I finished high school.  My three years in college were definitely challenging and really showed me how much technology can change in a year.

I don’t deny the effect the recession has on everyone, including myself.  I believe that I need to stand up for myself; never be afraid to want more; improve myself instead of settling into any opportunity handed to me; adapt to the recession and its impact on the economy.  It’s easier said than done, of course.

To make a long story short, I have the motivation and I’d love to have more education and experience in programming.  I find myself asking the same question: Am I a prodigy or am I one of the many people who will do the job because I am required to do so and when I’m gone, someone else will take my place?

I would say that I am passionate about coding and at times, it can be tiring, boring and tedious.  There have been times when I have been asked to program something at some of my previous jobs and I have gladly accepted the challenges and created something that worked.  Doesn’t that make me passionate?

I don’t consider myself an expert; I still say I’m in the intermediate level.  I find that many of the programs I’m asked to work on involve analyzing a file or looking for something and generating a simple output file as a report.

I’d love to be a professional developer one day and I am taking steps towards this path; there is lots of studying and testing to be done.  I like programming and I will need to keep reminding myself “I want to do more” and “I can’t be afraid to upgrade my skills and education”.  I may not be that golden prodigy programmer that people may look up to; I don’t need fame to find a job that I like.

It is generally believed that 70-95% of people who are working hate their jobs.  I don’t want to be one of these people.  Why can’t I love my job and my life?  I know people who have reached a job that they enjoy and continue to make a living off of it to this day.  I don’t need to be the golden prodigy on the infinitely-high pedestal; all I really need to do is never stop learning, never be afraid to move on to something better, always be persistent, and keep things interesting and exciting.

Voting Time Again

I just received a card in the mail that states that I am eligible to vote in this year’s general election between the dates of April 23 to April 25.  I don’t consider myself a very political person and I usually have the usual debate with someone whether or not it’s worth voting.  I remember reading an article about how Rob Ford won the election and became the new mayor of Toronto, even though less than half the population of Toronto voted.

Although I support the notion that more people should vote, I completely understand the reasons why people would not vote.

“Nobody cares about the youth”

This is a common issue that I hear; sometimes, I even believe it myself.  By youth, I mention the 19 or younger demographic, the group of people in secondary school and those who are pursuing post-secondary paths such as college, university, apprenticeship or moving directly to the workforce.  Personally, I’ve never seen any ads geared towards young people; don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen political discussions on MTV.  I’ve never seen a show geared towards young people who says “We’re going to explain the political parties in Lamen’s terms and why you should vote”.

“Everything will stay the same”

This is something a friend of mine said to me a long time ago.  I practically believe it myself.  Of course, this may be a result of my ignorance from watching the news frequently and not following up with political events.  Personally, I’ve never seen an event that has effected me directly and said “I’m glad that we elected ________ so that this could happen.”

It is generally believed that senior citizens vote in record numbers and can have a large impact on the election than any other demographic.

“My vote doesn’t count”

We still use the secret ballot system so that nobody can be bribed for votes anymore.  If the elections really were rigged, what can I do about it?  I can imagine it would be difficult to prove if elections are rigged.  I think it would have to involve other politicians, statisticians and election workers to collaborate to prove such a thing.

In any case, we have to believe in the system and hope that our singular vote will be equal to the many other votes that will be counted.

“They’re all the same to me”

Even though people look down on campaigns that bash other candidates, they’re certainly the most interesting to watch.  However, they create bias and it’s easy to make certain people look like “the bad guy”; it creates more shock when these bad guys win the election.

Look at the and hatred criticism towards Michael Ignatieff.  I admit I know absolutely nothing about him and the only commercial I’ve seen was an anti-Ignatieff ad that ended with the words “he didn’t come back for you”.  People have mocked him and I have to ask myself, “What do I really know about him?” and I know that the answer is “nothing”.

I wouldn’t listen to bashing.  The only way to find some kind of truth is to speak to a representative of each party and ask them questions they are comfortable with answering, take notes and find where their objectives clash.  Unfortunately, this is a very timely process and it’s not very practical; I mean, I don’t even see myself doing this.

“I don’t understand anything”

If someone asked me, “What’s the difference between Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Quebecois and Green Party?”, I would look them in the eye and say “I don’t know, but I’ve heard so much about _____”.

All the candidates want to look as clean and polished as they can be.  Everybody wants to pay less tax, more jobs available, more affordable cars, higher incomes, more benefits, affordable housing, less debts, more effective police, less crime etc.  When multiple parties promise these things, it’s hard to connect with these people.

I guess that’s what the challenge is: Find a candidate that I truly understand and agree with and vote for this person.

Conclusion

I know I said a lot while saying a little at the same time.  Political elections should be taken seriously and despite their promises, they’re all completely different people underneath it all.  They might not even be making the decisions themselves; they represent a party of people who have different sets of duties and the winning candidate speaks for all of them.

I do believe in voting and I will vote this year.  I’m not against anyone that does not want to vote; not voting is a vote within itself, depending on how one looks at it.

The process of voting is actually fast, providing that voters bring the proper ID and forms; every time I have voted, the election workers have always been calm, courteous and I have literally walked in, voted and walked out within a couple of minutes.  It’s definitely worth doing to anyone who wants to contribute a single vote.

In closing, voting is definitely encouraged; not wanting to vote is a decision within itself; the candidates are very different from each other despite their similar promises; never be afraid to talk to candidate representatives; for crying out loud, they call me every other week asking me whether or not I will be voting.

Links
Elections.ca

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