The year is 2008. The year was 1998 when Dear Mr. Supercomputer graduated High School. It was right around this time of year too. Some Class of 98'ers have even discussed going to the 10 year reunion which as of now, still has yet to be planned apparently. While I think even the consideration of going to any kind of High School reunion is patently ridiculous, it did get us thinking about how different life was back then. WorldCom was a burgeoning empire of telecommunications. No one knew what a blog was. Terrell Davis broke the 2000 yard rushing mark. Yes it was a vastly different world than the one we live in now.
But more specifically, we began to reflect on the differences in our own life. After all, 10 years ago we were in the process of making a life altering delving into acedemia, which is what we're doing now. So we thought we'd compare several important aspects of our life to determine how different things are now for DMS. And more importantly, make some sort of semi-arbitrary decision as to which year was better:
Upcoming Educational Location
1998: Baylor University
2008: Colorado State University
Analysis: I wonder what it will be like to go to a real University. You know, the kind where the editorial section of the newspapers aren't bombarded with anti/pro-sports bra on the jogging trail propoganda day after day. The kind of University that doesn't institute PARTY 2000 helicopters to crack down on people drinking in their apartments. A University where people don't dress up to go to the cafeteria to make it appear as if they went to church. A University that isn't glorified High School. That'll be exciting. Edge 2008.
Upcoming Educational Endeavor
1998: Engineering; then Physics; then Math/Physics Education
2008: Atmospheric Science
Analysis: We'll see how much we enjoy the Atmos program at CSU. It's highly regarded nationally and we'll have access to top notch facilities. Meanwhile the Education program at Baylor is probably one of the worst of any major University. At least it was when DMS attended. Baylor had just received it's accreditation back after losing it briefly, which is really tough to do. In order to lose your accreditation, you have to have a lot of students fail the certification test which itself is tough to do. So essentially it means you ran a lot of morons through the program, which is exactly the way it was. I can't believe some of these people that were in my classes have college degrees. It kind of cheapens the whole concept of an advanced degree. Moreover, we spent exactly zero seconds teaching a class before we became a teacher. Probably not a good sign. Things are surely different now, but in 1998-2002, it was a joke of a program. Edge 2008.
1998: Other than the latent crush on Jenna Elfman, nothing doing.
2008: Married happily, yet still harboring a crush on Jenna Elfman
Analysis: I was blessed/cursed not to have any romantic involvement whilst in High School/College. While I loved/hated it at the time, I now realize that it was important for my own development/self-pity. On the other hand, it did promote my own self-pity/development. These days, the wife and I are happily/vehemently joined in the bonds of holy wedlock/parenthood. Edge 2008. (It should be noted that I married someone who looks like Jenna Elfman. And acts like Dharma.)
1998: Austin, TX
2008: Fort Collins, CO
Analysis: While it's still Summer and we probably should withhold judgment until one full calendar year has passed, winter solstice and all, Fort Collins has an early lead. What it's lacking in culture, it makes up for in Not Being So Fucking Hot All The Time. Moreover, in 1998 it wasn't really Austin that we were living in. It was more like Round Rock. And even still, Austin as an 18 year old isn't exactly everything it is at 22+. Edge 2008.
1998: Attending High School
2008: Inflicting High School on others
Analysis: High School sucks. The thing I liked most about attending High School was my Senior year because I could take two off periods so I could attend High School less frequently. Which I did. On the flip side, earning money for causing others to experience High School is way better. And you don't go through puberty when you're teaching. Edge 2008.
Analysis: Depends on which days and what times you would ask me to compare the two statuses. I love my kids. But let's just call this one a draw.
(Update: Baby Supercomputer just shit on me after crying for an hour and a half. Let's change this to Edge 1998 for now until they do something cute.)
Cleveland Sports Scene
1998: The Indians has just lost the World Series in 7 games. The Cavs were the most boring and worst team in basketball. The Browns didn't exist.
2008: The Indians just lost in the ALCS in 7 games. The Cavs have the best player in the league. The Browns exist.
Analysis: I'm not sure this one even merits discussion. The Browns thing alone puts this one in the 2008 column.
Analysis: My Government class in High School was ridiculous. The only thing I remember from that class is that I got put in timeout once. Yes. Timeout. As an Eight-fucking-teen year old. And moreover, it wasn't my fault. I know people that can attest. Ten years later, we watch George and up until a week ago Tim on Sunday mornings. Now that we have cable I even flip over to Fox News to see how long I can stand it without placing an anvil on my face. I even gave money to the Obama campaign, hoping that I would be the 1,000,000th donor. Sadly, I was the 1,268,117th donor. We even attended something called a caucus. Edge 2008.
U.S. Political Regime
1998: Democratic executive, Republican Congress
2008: Republican executive, Democratic Congress
Analysis: Sort of a mixed bag in both cases. But no way can someone argue the 1990's were worse than the Aughts. In the Aughts we started off with an illegitimate election and are going to end with an illegitimate war. And the Democratic Congress is too much of a bunch of pussies to change anything. (Ed. note: Dennis Kucinich ain't no pussy.) I say for the 2008 election we go back and elect Democrat Barack Obama and bum rush the Congress and get Strom Thurmond back in there. Edge 1998.
2008: Less than none
Analysis: At least in 1998 I didn't actually owe anyone money. Now we owe all sorts of people/institutions money. We're hoping that we can just keep taking out student loans until we get hit by a bus, thereby nullifying our debt. Edge 1998.
1998: Youth Group
2008: Accompanied by drinking
Analysis: Youth group was great, don't get me wrong. But social gatherings are better when they're subsidized by alcohol rather than Surge and O.K. Cola. Edge 2008.
1998: Youth Group
Analysis: I drink locally? Edge 1998.
Alcoholic Beverage of Choice
1998: Smirnoff Ice
Analysis: Man, I thought I was so cool when I first drank Smirnoff Ice. I really did. I actually. Thought. I. Was. Cool. What. A. Poser. Edge 2008.
Nine to Ten O'Clock Viewing
1998: Simpsons / Seinfeld
2008: Daily Show /Colbert Report
Analysis: The 9-10 hour TV viewing in the 1990's was revolutionary. It was like the 5 o'clock news for teenagers. The pairing of Simpsons and Seinfeld was a stroke of genius the likes of Stephen Hawking. At school we would always go back and recite all the quotes from the previous nights' Simpsons and Seinfeld. Of all the horrendous things Fox has ever done (ahem... canceling Arrested Development), this is the greatest gift they ever gave the world.
All that said, Stewart/Colbert takes it to a new level that cannot be accurately described in human tongue. Simpsons/Seinfeld was great for its time, but Daily Show/Colbert Report is the essence of the 9:00 hour. Edge 2008.
Meal during viewing
1998: Ramen noodles, open faced peanut butter sandwich, orange Gatorade
2008:Ramen noodles, open faced peanut butter sandwich, orange Gatorade
Analysis: Yup, we had this just the other night, like we did 10 years ago. The difference is, now it's just kind of sad. Edge 1998.
So there you have it. 2008 wins by a relative landslide 10 to 5 over 1998. Life is assuredly better now for DMS than it was in 1998. I think we should all take solace in that.