@JaredAstro Me too! I'm grandfathered in at the $25/month (which, in NYC, ends up being $27.22 after taxes). @juniorbizarre: there are totally fine and cheap phones on the Virgin Mobile network, so for a little more you could get something better. I paid $60 for my phone, which really makes people's jaws drop. It's a perfectly functional smart phone (I even watched a couple of episodes of Bob's Burgers on Hulu at the laundromat one night, just to see if I could, and yep, no problem). Of course, I spend all the money I save on cell phone stuff on booze, but I'm happy with my priorities!
Also, I remember seeing some poster on a bus (yes, I rode the campus bus, as faculty) that the average debt load of ISU students was something like $27,500. That still sticks in my head because i kept thinking, man, you kids are totally getting ripped off. (The total cost for me to attend a swanky East Coast school, 15 years ago, was very close to that figure. Yay for poor parents, a school with need-blind admissions, and a commitment to fund all students.)
Leaving aside everything else... HOW ON EARTH DO YOU RUN UP A $100 BAR TAB IN AMES????? I ask this as someone who was a faculty member at ISU at the time the author was there as an undergrad. Because I was a faculty member, living in Ames, Iowa, I drank. A LOT. One of the things that impressed me about Ames was the cheapness of the booze. I could drink fancy Sam Smith beer at the one decent bar in town for $3.50. At the bar. I can't buy a bottle at Trader Joe's in NYC for that. There was a bar with 25 cent beer. I drank a lot of Templeton rye; it was never more than $5 for a double. That's 20 double shots of rye to get to $100. Whoa. No wonder my students' writing and exams were atrocious. OK, fine. Knowing Ames (and thinking about some of my students, who seemed to be living much more nicely than I was-- nicer cars, nicer electronics, all that), um, maybe I do agree with the judgey tone?
@emjb@twitter Someone else did mention the spice thing! (I commented below on that, too, and am glad I'm not alone in being a weirdo who, say, enjoys nice nutmeg.)
Did anyone else stumble over this statement, re spices: "Two years later, I have yet to replace a single one." It's not going to hurt you, but spices do lose their punch, so you're not getting that much flavor from them at this point. I'm guilty as anyone of having dusty spices hidden in the back, and hate throwing things out, but I feel like good, fresh spices (and high-quality olive oil) are worth it and liven up my otherwise boring diet of pasta and eggs.
@ellabella Bolt Bus! Why are you not taking Bolt? Wifi, decent-ish legroom, licensed drivers that don't make me clutch the armrest in terror, and it's cheaper than Greyhound, particularly if you book in advance. (I used to do BOS-NYC basically every other week for two years, so I spent way too much of my life on Fung Wah and Lucky Star. Bolt Bus started operations in my final month of doing that regular trip, and it made such a difference. Despite my many trips, I never had any major problems with the Chinatown buses, but there were several rides where I really did have white knuckles the entire way. Amtrak was this luxurious treat that only happened a few times a year, usually at holidays.)
@MissMushkila I'd like to respond to just one aspect of your note about the lack of interaction in your college experience, and your sense of-- even in smaller classes-- taking notes passively from lectures and being tested on it. I would say (as someone who formerly taught at a large, midwestern state university), without knowing the exact details of your particular experience, that there certainly is interaction in that type of classroom circumstance that is not going to be replicated in a MOOC. Even if I was giving a lecture class, I was constantly revising the pacing of my lectures, the assignments, and the course material based on the kind of feedback I was getting from the students. Blank faces all around? OK, hmmm, slow down. A bunch of lousy grades? OK, weave in more review material in future lectures. This, of course, only worked with students who came to class, so I could never judge if the slackers who didn't show up were getting it or not. Something happened in the world relevant to the course material? I'd add a link to blackboard or mention it in class. So, even in my lecture classes with 60 students, there was interaction happening. Not like in a seminar, but interaction nonetheless. And students could always come to office hours (most didn't unless there were problems, but a few students came just to discuss the course content, and then I'd integrate their comments into class. At large universities the burden is on the student to make the most of what was available). And I was by no means an exceptionally dedicated teacher. That's just what we all do. An online course will just march along, because there's no way to gauge how the 50,000 people experiencing things asynchronously are understanding things. This is a one aspect, but I'm leaving it here as an indication that there's a lot more happening than many people realize.
Also, I think the idea of MOOCs is fantastic... as continuing education. But the structure of MOOCs themselves don't work for the types of students who most likely are going to be subjected to them: students from weaker academic backgrounds, students who need more assistance adjusting to college and balance school/work/life (I think this is where community colleges do really fantastic jobs, and often a much better job at preparing students, than the large flagship state universities.) They are great for students who are self-starters, who know how to ask questions, who know what they want and why they want it. For first-generation college students, those returning to school after a break, and others who might need for help, MOOCs are all of the worst of massive lectures with none of the support. As has been repeated again and again, it's not the kids at Harvard (or other elite institutions) who are being asked have their educations farmed out: it's the kids at San Jose State or Borough of Manhattan Community College or the other institutions that primarily serve students from lower on the social ladder.
A lot has been written about MOOCs, college affordability, and the like. The letter linked below, from philosophy professors at San Jose State University who were being encouraged to adopt lectures from a Harvard professor, is one of the best articulations I've read on the very serious problems of MOOCs: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Document-an-Open-Letter/138937/ (I thought Sandel's response was disappointing.)
@vanderlyn In a similar vein, there's the online-only Capital One account (formerly ING Direct). No minimum balance, no monthly fees, interest on checking, and lots of ATMs (in NYC, all the ATMs at Duane Reade, CVS, and McDonalds are free, and there are others, too). And they have that nifty feature where you can upload photos of your checks. I'm currently happy with my account-- I was afraid when Capital One took over, it would get sucky, as I don't hold that particular company in high esteem, but so far there haven't been any negative changes-- but I'm curious if anyone has first-hand comparisons between Schwab and Capital One? It seems Schwab wins on refunding all ATM fees. That's not enough to get me to switch right now, though...