Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Calm After The Storm

Well, I survived finals week. It was a long tiring week and the decompression is in full swing. Needless to say, my brain is tired. It wasn't too rough, I mean I don't want to do it again until I have to or anything like that, but hey, it could have been a lot worse.

Monday's Geography exam was incredibly easy. I didn't even study for it. After all, I needed at least a 68 to maintain an A in that class, and I'd probably wind up with another 94 on my test. Exam started at 7, I was home BEFORE 8 o'clock. Keep in mind the campus is about 30 minutes from my house.

Tuesday... Government. Holy crap, where do I begin. I studied my face off for this exam and by the time I got to class to wait for the exam, I didn't even want to open my notes I had read them so much. As I'm sitting, I made small talk with my Air Force friend and one of the other people in my class. We were sitting there and I hear this statement from the table around the corner, where a few of my classmates were sitting.

"You know what?... F##K THIS! I'm just going to drop this class."

I came real close to calling this idiot out, but a random girl studying at another table set this guy straight for me. "You can't drop this class."

Dude: "Yeah I can, someone told me so."
Girl: "Who told you that?"
Dude: "Someone at the admissions office, they said I can drop until the last day."
Girl: "Well, I work in the advising office and the last day to drop and not receive an F was over a month ago. Whoever told you that LIED and if you decide you're going to drop this class you're going to get an F and have to re-take it."
Dude: "Oh... S##t." **pages turning**

One of the girls that the dude was sitting with just flat out said, "Forget it, I'm leaving" and WALKED OUT. I think I need to mention that the dude in question here is the musclehead guy that I think I described in my first post about my Government class, and the girl that walked out is one of the bitchy girls that sat near the front on the other side of the room from me.

The test was standard Dr. Government where we had to just write down, word for word, what he had us write in our notes. As much as I loved his passion for what he was teaching, I hated his method. I didn't learn much of anything in that class and what I did memorize, I've already forgotten and it's only a few days later. Test was hard, but I did well.

English final wasn't bad either. I had my notes and prepared for it a few nights ahead of time. We had to write a three page paper, HAND WRITE, in class, analyzing three poems using three different lenses. This was probably the thing about this class that I enjoyed the most, and I'm glad that final wound up being this particular subject. It's fun to see what you can turn a poem about something random, like a tree, and make it be about sex or two different classes of people fighting or something strange like that. After the final, I felt confident in my paper, and I also felt a really dull throb and cramping in my hand. After all is said and done, I enjoyed this class the most out of all of them.

THURSDAY. FINAL FINAL! Here it was... we had to listen to five pieces of music, identify the title, go on to name the composer, time period, genre and any other info to prove our point. Then we had to select two of those to write a short essay about. I wrote about a page and a half and it really hurt to write ANYTHING after that, my hand was killing me. It's Saturday morning now and my hand still hurts. I'm not incredibly confident in my essay, it was totally not my best work, neither was my essay that I had to turn in in this class about the last concert I went to. I think I lost my motivation in this class a few weeks back. It really started to suck there for a while.

So, I took Friday off of work. Slept in. Made myself a badass breakfast and had the house to myself for a while. I broke out the ol' Nintendo and jammed some Mario 3 and hung out on the couch with the dog for most of the day. It was incredible to sit and do nothing, not have to study, not have to go to work, not have to write an essay or do anything at all. Today, will be more of the same. I'm really looking for my time off over Christmas and New Year's.

I'll post more once I have my final grades for the semester. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's about time

I can't tell you how ready I am for this semester to be over with. I am halfway through what I guess you would call a "review week" before finals next week. Today in government, I almost lost my mind.

There's some weather blowing through town, standard stuff for this time of year. When we get a cold front through, it's usually preceded by a thunderstorm or two. Sitting waiting for Dr. Government to give us the last of our notes, the lights flickered and went out. That was the last thing I wanted to happen. I don't NEED a good grade on this exam to pass or anything, but I have enough pride in my school work to want to do well, and also, well, my school will not be paid for if I don't maintain my GPA.

Knowing this is probably... ok this IS my hardest class right now, I need the review. When the power came on, one of the bitchy girls in class said "I hope it goes off again and we get to go home." I almost lost my mind.

[Student]"Really? So you don't want to review for the exam we are having next week that is worth a good portion of your grade?
Bitchy Girl: No, I hate this class.
[Student] So, you don't like the class which  makes it ok if you fail?
Bitchy Girl: I guess.

Ok, I don't like to wish bad things on people, but now I HOPE this chick fails. Why don't people care? I guess she'll just have mommy and daddy pay for another semester when she fails this class. Few more review days, and it's finals time. I'll be busy all weekend and until next week  after finals are done. I'll be sure to pass on my thoughts on the exams as well as grades once I have them. Full disclosure here, people! I'll be taking some much needed time off of work once this is over.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Fallout

So, here is the post test-test-paper-paper fallout. Well, the majority of it.

Geography test was one of those where after I took it, it felt way too easy. It was on Oceania (Australia and all of the Pacific islands) and all of east and south Asia. Whenever I was unsure of an answer I did the process of elimination thing with my answer choices. It can't be A because of this, or B because of that... most of the time the answer wound up being Indonesia. I walked out of the room thinking "Man, Indonesia was either always the correct answer, or Indonesia really screwed me."

Result: I got a 94 on this test. Before any bonus points or anything on ALL of the tests in this class I've gotten a 94. I hope he doesn't think I'm cheating.

The following week, the week of Thanksgiving I turned in a paper and I got a 93 on it. We had a book report due on the five themes of geography that are contained in the book we had to read. The book I had to read was really good, and his main critique of my paper said that I basically should have spelled out the theme I was going to write about.

I'm pretty sure this is college, and I shouldn't have to say "The next theme I am going to write about is interaction with the environment." All of my changes of themes went something like "One instance of place contained in this book is... "

Meh. Either way, I got a 93 on that paper. He also handed us each a sheet that had our grades on it and what we need on the final to to make an A, B, etc... I can get a 68 on the final and still get an A in his class. I rule.

Government test was a hideous bitch. LOTS of memorization and it was really just one big pump and dump. I filled in what I could where I knew things, and for the most part I knew it. The following week when we went back to class he told us a breakdown. The class average went DOWN by about 15 pts if I remember right and he broke it down by grades. There were 2 A's, 1 B.... and the rest were C's, D's and F's.

I got the B. Once I read my grade I almost did a backflip. That test was awful. Apparently this was the hardest test he'll give out, so the final should be easier.

I handed in my second and THANK GOD final paper on Hamlet today. Not my best work by any means, but hey, it got handed in. I'll do real well on the final, which is a poetry analysis that we have to do in class. Hopefully that pulls my grade and I can maintain a B.

That's all for now. I'll try and post at least one more time before finals are over with.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Analyze This.

Tonight's English class was really interesting. We've left Shakespeare safely behind (Paper is due after the holiday, but we're not covering it in class anymore) and we're moving on to poetry. Tonight, was all about analysis. Mr. English eased us into this with some familiar material, moving on to some more difficult things.

One of the things he had us analyze were some common nursery rhymes. One of which was Jack and Jill.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Same thing since you were a kid, right? Well, I had a different take on it. Jack is in a position of power. Jill is his mistress. They run off (went up the hill) to engage in some extra-marital activities (to fetch a pail of water, water is satisfying) Jack got found out (Jack fell down) and lost his power (broke his crown) and then Jill was chastised for participating in this affair as well. (And Jill came tumbling after)

It's not wrong if you can somehow back it up, apparently.

So, then we did a couple of other nursery rhymes, and a few actual poems. Then, he decided we we were going to do a song. So, he brings up a video with the lyrics for... Hotel California.

I hate The Eagles.

I groan and he stops in his tracks and says "What, you don't like this song?"
Student- "No. I don't. I really can't stand this song."
Girl sitting next to me- "WHAT??!? How can you NOT like The Red Hot Chili Peppers!?!?"

Mr. English and I both laughed. Like, loud and a lot. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than the other girl that though that Led Zeppelin wrote "Welcome To The Jungle".

Monday, November 12, 2012

I feel five pounds lighter!

No, the title of this is NOT a poo joke, but it would have been funny, wouldn't it?

Last week was a lot of prep for this horrific week I have in front of me. Test, Test, Paper due... Last Wednesday night was a great relief for me though, thanks to Mr. English.

Roll into class and the first and only thing on my mind was that paper we turned in the week before. Once he gets to class and starts setting his things up, I had to ask. "So, how bad were those Hamlet papers?"

"Surprisingly not too bad. I'll be handing them out shortly. I was pretty easy on people for the most part, but should you have gotten an A on this essay, you deserved an A on this essay."

That wasn't too harsh, I'm still expecting a C or so on this thing. Once we get started he pulls the papers out of his bag on his desk and puts a slide on the projector with a short list of about six items, saying "If you screwed up on the paper, here's what you probably did." As he explained what each item was I realized, I had done none of the mistakes listed on here. Maybe I got a B.

I get my paper back and to my SURPRISE I got an A+ on it. Hot diggity damn! That makes me feel much better. After those all got passed out he changes the subject to the next paper we have due on Hamlet.

"I know I said this longer essay was going to be due on the 15th, but I'm going to change that. Your papers are due on the 29th, the week after Thanksgiving."

HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD! This gives me TWO EXTRA WEEKS and a whole lot more time to study for geography and government which I desperately need. Well, at least for government, I'm pretty sure I've got geography nailed down.

I've also figured out a new study tactic. I was reading through my government stuff on Saturday when I realized... Hey, I've got this nifty voice recorder app on my phone, I should record myself reading my notes and listen to it all day at work on Monday and Tuesday! Why didn't I think of this earlier. So here I am at work, blogging, and listening to my notes on congress. Suppose I should get some actual work done. I'll post  how my tests went once I get grades back.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let's see what else I can have in one month..

So, it's been a while. Here's what's up.

It's the start of a new month and the semester is winding down. Naturally, that means I have EVERYTHING possible going on as far as school. Here's what I've got:

Today is Nov. 6.
Test in Geography- Nov. 12
Test in Government- Nov. 13
Major paper due on Hamlet in English- Nov. 14
Book report due in Geography- Nov. 19
Final concert report due in Music- Nov. 29

Yeah, that's what I've got going on. Next week with the two tests and the paper is going to be killer. I've got off tonight because it's election day and Dr. Government has decided to throw a party at his house instead of teaching class, so, I'll be studying and possibly writing that Hamlet paper.

On top of all that, I have a wedding to attend next weekend, company in town THIS weekend and well, work. I knew this was going to be like this for the next few years. I can handle it... I can handle it...

As far as dumb stuff happening in class, nothing really major has happened since I last posted, and I'm quite surprised. I guess all of the idiots have dropped. It's about that time where you can drop a class and not get penalized for it. I think it's this week, actually. Hopefully the herd thins out and the dumber ones get lost.

I'll be sure to post again when I can. I really didn't think it would get to the point where I would be this busy, but hey, this stuff happens!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Da Bomb

So, everything is pretty much status quo. Nothing out of the ordinary over the past week and a half or so since I've been on here. Dr. Government is still crazy. All the damn kids in my classes are still damn kids. I haven't had any grades come back since that last Geography test that I totally kicked in the balls. I did have that Hamlet paper to turn in, but it didn't quite get ALL THE WAY turned in... and here's what this blog post is about...

So, Mr. English has this thing, where he sends a text message to a someone, and then his whole class gets a text from him. I guess that's for his own liability purposes or something, so that people can't say he's texting them directly or something like that... anyway.

Usually his texts consist of something like "Expect a quiz on your reading tomorrow." or "Don't forget to turn in your papers online." Yesterday, I received a message saying "Bomb threat at campus. Please stay away from school until further notice. Class is cancelled unless you hear otherwise from me."

Wow, really? Who calls in a bomb threat to a community college in this freaking part of town? What's more disturbing is that there have been a rash of these going on in Texas for some reason. UT, A&M, TSU, Sam Houston State, and now my little college. What the hell, man? I mean, it was probably an empty threat, but at the same time, we cannot afford to take this lightly. Because even if it's bullshit 90% of the time, there's still that 10% where people get hurt. Gnomesayin?

My thoughts on that are this: Someone had a test, or an assignment due that they weren't ready for and had to buy themselves some time. So, what's a student to do? Stay up late? Not watch TV or play video games? Not go hang out with your idiot friends? Of course not, I'll just call in a bomb threat! Brilliant!

Look, I mean I'm not one to say I wasn't there at one point in time. My first attempt at a post high school education, I blew it big time. I probably had a similar mindset as a lot of these other people, but dammit... DO YOUR WORK. I stayed up late the night before this paper was due and got my stuff handled. It sucked and I was tired the next day, but hey, it's worth it. And you aren't just screwing over the people in your class, but the WHOLE CAMPUS.

So, my paper is turned in online to the anti-plagiarism website, and I need to bring a hard copy with me next week when I go to class. It really irritates me that this happened, we have a test that he was supposed to prepare us for, and I'm wondering how that's going to play out now. I'll just have to start studying all of Hamlet. Balls.

On the plus side, I did get to stay home, relax and spend time with my family last night. It was kinda nice. It reminded me of, well, not being in school. It'll be nice when this is all over with and I don't have to spend twelve hours away from them almost every day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The New Normal

So, life is crazy sometimes. For me, right now at least, that's ALL the time. Last week and weekend was hectic so I got a bit behind. Had some crazyness at work, Saturday I had the little one all day by myself (totally don't mind, she's awesome) and I was up way early... and by that I mean I didn't really go to bed Saturday night because I was smoking a brisket for my birthday bbq. So, here's what I need to catch up on.

Read some Hamlet in class on Wednesday in English. I really hate... HATE reading Shakespeare. I understand the man was brilliant, and there is a reason we are still studying his work today. I get it. Reading his work however, is incredibly hard for me. I just can't seem to wrap my brain around what is going on. Even with the study guide and the online help that Mr. English turned the class onto, it's hard for me to really "get it". I've got a paper due on Hamlet two weeks after this class took place, so we'll see how that goes. We wound up watching what would be the first act of the play on the Mel Gibson movie version of Hamlet in class that night.

Thursday's music class was boring once again. I think we had like five people including myself? I don't know how we are still having class every week. I have a concert report due AND my "listening" journal due on the following Thursday and I need to play catch up, bigtime! Hopefully I can get this all done by this week's class. Looks like some late nights for me.

Had my test in my Geography class last night in... Geography class. We took the test, and watched a movie about Australia while he graded the test. The movie is called "Rabbit Proof Fence" if you're interested in watching the MOST DEPRESSING MOVIE EVER. Got my test back and got a 94. Same grade as last time... waiting to find out if there is a curve for this test or not. So, I'm still kicking ass in that class. That rhymed. Unintentional.

Government is tonight. I'm getting increasingly annoyed with that class, so we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Government: Slightly Worrisome

Monday was geography, and literally nothing happened. Seriously, we went over the notes for Russia, the former Soviet Union and Central Asia. Nobody said anything stupid. (I know, I was surprised, too.) The only highlight was that my teacher said "Russia is like Canada on steroids." I thought that was funny

Anyway, Tuesday was Government. I get to class, and I notice that Dr. Government is running late. He's never late. He comes in at about five minutes after. No big deal... we get to work.

As he goes on, I notice that he seems a bit off tonight. He's not his normal energetic self and he's quieter than normal. I mean, everyone has an off day now and again, I get that, but he's forgetting things and mumbling and stuttering a lot. Way more than usual.

He's an older dude, I understand that, but he's just way off. I hope he's ok. We go on our break, and he takes longer than normal. Usually, he's back in a prompt 10 minutes and tonight he stretches it out to about fifteen. THEN he forgets his drink, so he has to go all the way back to his office on the complete OTHER side of campus to retrieve it. There goes another ten minutes.

Class is just dead tonight also. Nobody wants to participate, people's heads are down, people aren't taking notes. (That makes me not feel bad when they bomb the test, which is really just reciting your notes.) One guy actually fell asleep. Just before our break, so we had been in class for over an hour by this point... someone SHOWED UP TO CLASS. Really? The lack of effort is baffling.

I'm a little concerned about Dr. Government. I like the guy and I hope it's just him being a little worn out and not something going on upstairs.

There was one dumb moment in the class. I'd say it was one of the damn kids, but it wasn't. The older lady in class wanted Dr. Government to cancel class on the day of this years presidential election because, as she put it, "We're all going to be too preoccupied with that and we won't be able to concentrate on class."

Dr. Government just said, "Maybe I'll bring in a TV and we can leave it on mute so we can just see the updates."

That's totally reasonable. I don't want to have to play catch up and wind up being later in class for a few weeks to play catch up.  The election is NOT going to be finished by 9pm or whenever it is that we're usually out of class at night. In fact, I'd be shocked if all the votes were in by midnight. Weather it's a landslide or a neck and neck race, we won't probably know until after class is done. Aside from that, I'm sure she and I are probably two of about five people in that class, the teacher included, that really give a crap about what is going to happen and what it means for the country after Nov 6, 2012. Nice try, lady.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Odds and Ends

A few more miscellaneous things I didn't mention in my "catching up" post.

One of the requirements in my music class is that we have to go and see a concert, and write a report about it. Well, two concerts, actually, but one of them is due at the end of October. Our teacher has been good of letting us know when there is one coming up that we can attend for free, the problem with that is, that they're mostly during the week. That really doesn't work for me as I work every day and I have class mon-thu.

I emailed him asking him if there was anything he knew about that was during the weekend, and I didn't mind paying for admission. We get to class that week and he said he had gotten my email and had a solution. He offered to go to a local high school THAT NIGHT for a concert, but the whole class had to agree to go. They did, we went.

It was a local HS orchestra, and they were really good. The sound coming off of the stage for the amount of musicians on stage, was HUGE. I was very impressed. Afterward we went into the orchestra hall to discuss the music, and to hopefully talk to some of the students that played.

So, we talk to someone who played each of the different instruments, and the string bass player... was definitely my favorite. Mr. Music asked the kid what his favorite piece was, what his instrument was, was there anything special about it... blablabla. Then it came to what was awesome about this kid. Keep in mind he's talking to a man that has a masters degree in music education...

Mr. Music asked him what his plans for college were, and if he wanted to get some sort of music degree and keep playing. The kid very matter-of-factly replied with "Well, I enjoy playing, but I don't think I'll get a music degree. Music majors don't get good jobs or have careers."

The room got real quiet, real quick. Then it was followed by the sound my laughter. I pretty much lost my shit when he said that. Mr. Music, who has a pretty quick wit, said "Yeah, and what am I? Chopped liver?" He understood what the kid was saying, but he could have said it better.

Another thing that made me shake my damn head...

So, my two siblings are significantly older than I am. They went through this same college system before moving on to a larger university about twenty years ago. Keep in mind, they're older than I am, and I graduated high school in 2001. What I learned from my brother, is that both he and my sister had Dr. Government in the early 90's. THE SAME Dr. Government.

So, my brother wanted me to ask him a question about a female country singer that he was in love with. I asked him after my test a couple of weeks ago, and he laughed when I told him my siblings had him about twenty years ago. So, the following week, someone asked me what made Dr. Government laugh.

I explained to them the whole story and one girl said "Wow, I wasn't even born yet."

To which I replied, "Good for you, man!" My veteran buddy thought that was funny.

So, that's not the only time that happened to me that week. The very next night in English, Mr. English the movie buff mentioned that on that very day, the movie "The Princess Bride" turned 25 years old. The girl next to me said "Wow, I wasn't even born yet."

Being the idiot that I am, I said "I was born the year E.T. came out." and she JUST HAD TO ASK... "When was that?"

I said "1982.", knowing full well I was not going to be happy with what she said next:

"Wow, that's pretty old."

I was left speechless. Mr. English just shook his head.

*sigh.* Damn kids...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Playing Catch Up

To my dear reader (s?)

Sorry I've been lacking in posts, so here's what's been going on. When I left off, I had a paper due the following week, and two tests on the two nights before that. No big deal right, I can handle that. The plan was, to study for a few hours Saturday morning, and Sunday morning, and to write the paper a few hours each of those days. It's only a 3-5 page paper, no problem, right?

The best laid plans of mice and men....

Friday evenings I usually take the night off. After working all week and going to school for four nights previous, leaves one tired old dude at the end of the week. So, I usually take it easy. Maybe cook dinner, watch a movie with my wife, play with the baby... whatever's clever.

I come home Friday, crack open a cold beer and relax. I sit on the floor and I'm having a grand old time with the baby playing with her on her blanket. I turn to say something to my wife and turn back around and the baby is throwing up, a lot. I've never seen a baby throw up this much. She starts crying and I hand her to my wife and she gets her cleaned up and comforted while I clean up in the living room. That was sure weird.

A little while goes by, I fix some dinner and then she throws up again. And again.. and then the diarrhea starts. We have one sick baby here.

She threw up a few more times overnight, but in the morning she seemed fine. I managed to get some studying done and she was her normal happy self.  Then... she started throwing up and vomiting again. After a call to the pediatrician, we were off to the ER. Turns out there had been an outbreak of Rota virus at the daycare the little one goes to. It's at the church my wife works at, and it's cleaned very well every day, but a few kids and some of the workers got really sick around the same time.

So after our fantastic trip to the ER, we come home, my wife goes to bed early and I start to clean up around the house, thinking I'm going to sit down and write some of my paper afterward. I start cleaning some dishes and then... **grumble**. Oh hell no. I've got it.

So, I spent most of my Sunday on the couch, or on the toilet (I'll spare further details) and feeling just God-awful. I called in sick the next day and studied my ASS OFF for this Geography and Government test. I got home both nights and wrote my paper, putting the final touches and turning it in online before class on Wednesday.

96 on my Geography test.
86 on my Government test (which I thought I had failed, go me!)
C on my paper (once again I thought I had bombed) but he is allowing us to correct formatting issues (not content, just formatting) with a chance to bump up a letter grade.

Not bad, I think. I'm pleased with myself thus far. I have an A in my music class as it stands right now, so things are going quite well. I really hope I can keep up this momentum, it'll give me the confidence I need to start tackling the more difficult classes I have to take in the future.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Government: Gimmie Three Steps

It's time for Dr. Government's class! I look forward to his class, I really do. But tonight was just irritating as hell. I got there and was waiting in the hall. Some kid another young one, who I had never seen in the class ONCE sits next to me in the hall and says "Hey have there been a lot of notes in this class?"

"Well, yeah. It's the fourth week of class dude, and we have a test next week. So, you're missing a whole tests worth of notes. Good luck with that." In other words: "No, I'm not giving you my notes, because you should have BEEN IN CLASS."

We get into class and he says he has an important rock and roll lesson for us. He played a couple of Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, one of which was "Please Mr. Banker" and I forgot what the other few were. We basically listened to Skynyrd and talked about it for half an hour. And by WE talked I mean HE talked. ... What am I doing here, again?

So we went over the "project" he assigned us the week before which was to sort of interpret one of James Madison's Federalist papers. I spent ALL of Sunday morning doing this. Took my time, got it done right, and then he doesn't even take it up. What the hell, man? We discussed it, but that's about it. Also, by discuss it, I mean he asked questions and nobody answered them.

Nobody in this class wants to participate. I find myself constantly with my hand in the air because I don't want the class to stall, so I can GO HOME. Once again I've found that nobody gives a crap.

We take a break before we review for our test. I've had a cold all week and one of the girls in front of me asks me what my "damage" is. I just tell her it's a sinus thing, and I'm not contagious or anything. She proceeds to tell me what I NEED to take to clear it up. Whatever. I just told her I'll take some NyQuil and probably be better in the morning.

The thing about NyQuil is, is that's it's one of those things in life that people hate or the LOVE. I love the stuff. She asks how I can stand the taste and I tell her "I don't mind it, it reminds me of Jaeger, which I absolutely love."

"What's Jaeger?" asks the high school girl. Wow, even as a senior in high school, I may not have tried it just yet, but I was familiar with what it was. I just tell her, "It's a liquor."

So, naturally one of the idiots, the guy who tries a little too hard to stand out says "Huh? What? Liquor?"

Trying not to get into a conversation about how "cool" he was, I just try and get out of it by saying "She was asking what Jaeger was." Hoping he'd just nod or end it there. Naturally, because he's an idiot, I wasn't that lucky.

"Meh, Tequila is better." To which that one new kid has to pipe up and say "Hell yeah, tequila is awesome."

I couldn't help it. I don't care if this kid thinks I hate him, I couldn't keep my mouth shut. "Really dude? How old are you? How much experience have you ACTUALLY had with tequila? I can guarantee you I've PISSED more shots of tequila than you've had in your life. Call me when you're allowed in the bar."

My veteran friend next to me was dying. I think I'm going to make it my mission to shut kids up. Student - 1 Damn Kids - 0

Dr. Government comes back in and pretty much lays out the test question for question. All of the answers are in our notes, assuming you wrote down everything he told you to write down, which, if you didn't it's your fault you are going to do so poorly on the test.

That review took about half an hour. After the review he just had us listen to ANOTHER HALF HOUR OF SKYNYRD. I mean, I like me some Skynyrd as a good southern fella should, but I'm here to learn government, not the lyrics to Freebird, which I already happen to know. I wasted an hour of my time tonight. Furthermore for a teacher who is so concerned about not having enough time to complete the lessons he has planned for us, he's sure wasting an awful lot of time.

Test next week. Standby for results.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Geography: We don't need to worry about Canada

Monday! Geography! I'm missing football!

Roll up to school and make my way to class. We had a warm up activity that consisted of questions about The Olympics and how they relate to geography. I keep having to remind myself that this is more than just where a country is located on a map. One of the questions was "Why does the United States consistently do so well in the Olympics?

His answer upon reviewing these questions: "We're supposed to!"

Sounds conceited, but think about it... aside from places like China, and the former Soviet Union where they had or have people whose sole purpose on this planet was to compete in these games, nobody really has the "luxury" of doing nothing but training full time for this stuff. Plus we have the resources available to do it. In your face, world.

We go on to cover our chapter that we are having a test on NEXT WEEK and it's all about the U.S. and Canada. We're starting out in a familiar area so that we can learn how he wants us to look at maps before we move on to the rest of the world. Makes sense.

We talk mainly about the U.S. and climates, different regions and things like that. We spent about five minutes talking about Canada. He told us what we would need to know and what we would need to recognize for the test. "All in all, we don't really need to worry about Canada."

Well, that's good. I usually don't.

Half of the test is identifying each state on a map of the U.S. I did this with the one I printed out with my notes during a break in class. Got 'em all. At least I'll get a fifty on this test! USA! USA!

Music: Is this thing on?

Trying to get caught up on my posts here, so hopefully I can get all of these done while I'm at work... "working". Shh, don't tell the bossman.

So Thursday's music class rolls around. I walk in, sit down and there is music playing. Mr. Music is sitting listening, not saying anything. This sort of surprises me as he is usually very social. So, I get my book and notebook out and just wait for class to start. Time for class rolls around and he turns off the music.

He begins, "I'm at sort of a crossroads as to what I'm going to do here, and I guess I'll have an answer for this once we are done here tonight. I need to figure out what I'm going to do about last week's homework assignment. Only one person in class did it."

That one person was yours truly. I sort of inadvertently let out a chuckle and said, "Really?! Wow."

He gave the standard nice guy "Don't mistake my kindness for weakness" comment and started teaching. This is yet another class where it feels like nobody gives a crap. It's an easy A that requires very little work. Why are people not even trying? Nobody participates or seems to take notes or anything. One kid walked into class almost AN HOUR LATE with no materials. Not even a freaking pen. Seriously?

He wound up taking pitty on everyone. The homework he was talking about is an online quiz that goes alone with the chapter in the book. It's incredibly easy and like 10 questions. He can sort of "turn on and turn off" the quizzes online. What he also does, is allow you to take it twice and he'll average the grades and for crying out loud YOU CAN USE YOUR BOOK. The questions are in ORDER with the chapter! IT'S AN EASY GRADE and people aren't doing it! He gave them one attempt at the overdue quizzes and had until midnight the following day to finish them.

I have no sympathy for people who fail this class.

Friday, September 14, 2012

English: Discussion And Cupcakes

Back to English! I think this might be my favorite class. It's just challenging enough, and it's interesting. It also is probably my only class where just about everyone participates. I like that. I'm not usually one to talk to people, but I think it's necessary for classes like this.

As we wait for class to start, the couple with the computer come in and the girl places a box on the front table. A cake box. Someone asks, "So, is that like... food or something?"

Well said, Shakespeare. Turns out they are cupcakes that were leftover from a football party at her work. It was a cake box with a bunch of cupcakes laid out like one big football. Laces and everything. I went to pick one up later on and said "Laces out, Dan!" Nobody got it and I was slightly embarrassed, but more disappointed, really.

Mr. English came in and we got right to work with some notes. He assigned a paper that is due in two weeks, but I could probably have it finished this weekend if I really wanted to. Its supposed to rain all weekend, so hey, I just might! Finally, we got around to discussing the stories we read.

Mr. Laptop in the back gave his perspective on what he thought the end of a story which was valid, I'm not knocking the guy for giving his thoughts, but the dude did RESEARCH on the author and went on to tell his thoughts. I don't know why, but that bugged me. They just lost the cool point they got for bringing in cupcakes.

Furthermore, Mr. English GAINED some cool points because he didn't rub in the fact that his favorite NFL team beat mine the previous week. Also, he dissed the Cowboys. Well done, sir.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Government: Something I've Noticed

Government is always going to be an interesting class, if for no other reason than my teacher, Dr. Government. I find him very intriguing if you can't already tell. He's a good teacher, too. Like I mentioned before, I can only hope I'm that passionate about what I'm doing if I'm still doing it at his age. Having said that, I look forward to going to his class on Tuesday nights.

So, riddle me this? Why are there so many people late to class? Either you, or your parents or someone is paying for you, PAYING, to have your ass sat in this class, so why be late? We have this one guy who tries too damn hard to be different. He's like, half punk rocker, half hipster. He wears the big earrings with a big shaggy beard, plaid pants with some "ironic" t-shirt. He had one this week that said "Not Cool" on it. Whatever, dude. He shows up fifteen minutes late, doesn't bat an eye. Just sits in the back. Three or four other people showed up late, causing a distraction also. I turned around at one point to listen to a question that someone was asking and glanced at someone's note pad. Blank sheet.

Nobody seems to give a shit. Dr. Government mentioned several times during his lecture that tonight's lecture was in fact, the most important lecture that he would be giving for about the next three or four weeks. Yet, most of these people don't bother to so much as pick up a pen. This guy doesn't have notes online, he doesn't hand out cheat sheets or anything, and he's not lecturing from the book. Think you should be writing this down? Even at my failed attempt at college years ago, if someone said "This is important and it will be on your test" I would have picked up a pen and written this shit down."

It's frustrating to say the least, probably because I'm actually TRYING here and I'm tired of seeing people, even in these first few weeks that just don't give a crap. I understand it's in the evening, and you may have been at work. I work from 7-5 everyday, come home, eat dinner, and I'm off to class. I come home and study for like an hour or so, hit the sack and I'm up in the morning to do it all again. I get it. But GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. I have the feeling, that some of these people are ones who feel they "get" grades and not "earn" them. Responsibility, people. Get some.

Dr. Government did have an interesting lecture that night. It was all about how the first draft of the constitution came about, and all of the compromises that they had to come to, and the secrecy of all of it. Apparently it almost came to guns being drawn at these meetings. Our forefathers were gangsters, yo.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Geography: Back To Class

Missed a week of geography because of the holiday, so I get back to campus #1 and start walking down the corridor to the building where my class is. On the way there, I'm looking out the windows of the walkway and I hear a girl walking towards me talking on the phone. "Well, I'm about to leave, so I'll see you in a few minutes. Ok, ciao"

Ciao? Really? You're not that cool, friend. I'm also almost positive this isn't Italy. Maybe this is just some attempt to make that word cool again, and if it is, I don't get it.

I get to class ad Mr. Geography (in an effort to keep people's names out of this, I'm just going to call all of my teachers by Mr. or Dr. and their subject, seems to be working thus far.) is unloading his bag onto the desk. Takes a few minutes and people start to get there.

Here's something that I don't understand. This guy has all of his notes that you need for the test, on his blogsite. He even ENCOURAGED people to print them out and just use those as notes and to follow along with them as he teaches. Still, there are people hauling ass with pen and paper, in fact MOST of the class. I don't get it. Work smarter, not harder.

We talked about things like why a country is considered 'developing' or 'first world' or whatever the case. The reasons behind the title, and what type of industry and things we can expect from those countries. I like the way he teaches. Show up and have a few questions on the board to answer... lecture, few more questions, lecture, questions, go home. Good way to re-cap what we just went over, I think. But what do I know.

During one of these Q and A sessions, he asked "What country would you LEAST want to live in." I responded with a pretty good answer of North Korea. Because well... Communist dictatorship, famine, horrible weather, military state, etc. One of the girls in the front row raises her hand and lets out an emphatic "QATAR!"

Mr. Geography says, "Why? Because it's hot? They have a good government, they're not poor. Life is pretty good there."

The reason she didn't want to live in said civilized country, you may or may not be asing? "Well, they have these camel spiders! Have you seen them? They're the size of a basketball and they can JUMP!"

OMG SPIDERS! Seriously? I found black widows in my backyard and my garage last year and you don't see me moving. I seriously HATE spiders, but I'm not going to avoid somewhere because there is a chance I could run into one. Chicks, man.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Music: Damn Kids And Their Music

Get home from work Thursday and check the mail, and to my surprise... my music appreciation book and cd's FINALLY came in the mail! Still unsure if my class is cancelled, though. Jump on my school email, and sure enough, it's on. Hooray!

Head up to campus #3 and walk into class, got there RIGHT at 6pm, and was a little surprised to only see three other students in my classroom. The three
idiots behind me didn't show up, only their buddy on the back row. I'm going to sound like a total old man here, but how do you expect to pass your class if you don't show up? Seriously.

So, class starts. We start talking about music, which, I suppose is to be expected in this class. He explains things like tempo, rhythm, tone, etc. He goes on to talk about how scales work and things like that. I knew these things having been in band and playing music for years as a kid. He started to talk about syncopation (which, if you don't know, is what happens when you don't play a note on a downbeat, so if it's not on 1,2,3 or 4 but in between, it's syncopated. Got it? Good.) and he asks if anyone can think of an instance in a song of syncopation. He looks at me and says, "What about you, you play drums, can you think of anything, maybe from your personal library of music?"

"Well, pretty much anything by Rush would have something. You could play anything that Neil Peart does with the Buddy Rich Orchestra as well." I had him look up one of the Buddy Rich tribute concerts with Neil and he showed a clip from you tube of them playing "Cotton Tail" (Check it out, it's great.)

So he points out a few things and we listen for a minute or two. He then asks the class if anyone knows who Neil Peart is. Silence.

He asks if any of them know who Rush is. Once again, silence. This is one of those instances where I'm not really surprised, but I'm disappointed. Mr. Music, being the guy that he is, felt it necessary to educate the class on who Rush is, and I'm glad he did. He pulled up the video for "Tom Sawyer" and let it play through. Nobody knew who they were.

I'll bet if he played a Travis Barker video they would know who he was. Damn kids and their music...

We started to get into the music that we are going to be listening to in class and he played a Gregorian chant that just made me feel like I was at church. He explained some of the history behind it and we took some more notes. Not too much else to class that night. We have a little bit of homework on what we went over in class, but it's nothing I can't knock out pretty easily. Pretty good end to another week of school. Looking forward to the rest of this class.

English: Anxiety Rollercoaster

With my unfortunate textbook experience behind me now, I had one night after class, and the day of, to get my reading assignment done for this week's English class. I got one story read after government on Tuesday night and after examining how long the other two readings were, I decided I could get them done after work and before class on Wednesday. I got them knocked out with no problem.

The stories weren't that bad, although one of them left me utterly confused and I really had no idea what happened. Seriously, in my notes that we are supposed to take I wrote down two sentences, "I have no idea what I just read. I think the lady died of a broken heart?"

Got to class at about the same time as "Mr. English" and he let us into the room. Took my seat and waited for everyone else to file in. One student came in... with her mother. Interesting. Did she just need a ride? Was her mom making sure she wasn't wasting her and the Dad's money? These are questions that bounce around in my head while I'm sitting in class and should be taking notes.

So we start to discuss our reading. In between these readings, Mr. English gives us notes and we start to discuss examples of things he's telling us about. One girl.. why is this person in every class... she has to give her OWN example after everything he says. I'm all for class discussion, but when he's not asking for things, shut up and take notes. Seriously. Nobody cares.

I am starting to enjoy this class I think, and my hesitation has all but gone away about it. The fact that he gives examples that are from movies helps me out a lot. The problem with that is, everyone has to comment on the movie and you get a lot of "Oh! I love that when the guy with the thing does this oh man it was so great!" or "They should make a sequel!". Then you get the nerd in the back talking about how it relates to Lord of the Rings and on and on and ON AND ON... I appreciate the way he is giving us these examples, but it manages to derail the topic rather quickly.

Mr and Ms Laptop in the back of the class got in on a conversation we wound up having. Well, Mr Laptop did anyway. It was quick, but I immediately wanted to hit him in the face. Somehow we wound up talking about Steve Jobs and Mr. English said how he was surprised that he was only worth $4 billion when he died, and how Bill Gates is worth something like $31 billion. Mr. Laptop chimes in with "Yeah, and that's why Steve Jobs will be remembered for his products and Bill Gates will be remembered for being a billionaire."

Really, dude? Jobs wasn't a billionaire? He wasn't a ruthless businessman? Visionary, yes, I'll give him that but he didn't have a bad side to him, just like I'm sure Gates does? Just because he made stylish computers doesn't mean he's cooler than Bill Gates. You're lucky I don't have a sharpened pencil...

It's a good thing I have a filter on my brain sometimes.

Mr. English assigned us two more readings, which I'm almost looking forward to reading. He said that last week was the most he would ever assign us reading wise. Although I do believe he said he was going to assign our first major grade next week. Buckle your seat belts, the anxiety train just left the station. Do people wear seat belts on trains? 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Government: It's beginning

Well, I knew it was coming, I just didn't think it was going to happen this fast. I mentioned in my very first post that "those damn kids" were probably going to get on my nerves, and it's happening.

Monday in government
I was a little early. I had to stop and buy a couple of books on my way to class, so I stopped at the bookstore on my way in. It didn't take as long as I had anticipated, so I went and sat on the bench outside of my classroom. "Dr. Government", my teacher, shows up and opens the door. There were about three of us waiting to go in, so I get to have front row to watch everyone come in the door.

Now, I don't think I mentioned the two girls sitting at the table in front of me last week. There's only two of them, and they are pretty young. The one on the left, I'm going to guess is the older one, she looks to be about 21. She's a larger girl, and she said in a conversation that she's married. The other girl is really tiny. She's probably 19 or 20 and short, like five foot flat, probably weighs under a hundred pounds. The little one looks like a spoiled brat, talks like one too. Has a nice new Macbook Pro, nice jewelry, designer clothes... whole nine yards.

These two get to class and start chatting. I guess they know each other somehow. They start talking about almost everyone in class. The dumb blonde, the guy who wears all black, and what bothers me... the teacher.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that Dr. Government is a bit erratic. I mean the guy yells a lot and he's a bit weird, but from what I can tell, he's a really good teacher. He gets a little pumped up while he's lecturing and I think that's pretty awesome. The man is getting up there in years, he's got to be pushing 65 and he's still incredibly passionate about what he's teaching. He could show up every day, put up a power point presentation and say "Here's your notes, there's a quiz next week." but he doesn't do that. It's clear that he loves his job. I only hope that I'm that passionate about ANYTHING after I've been doing it that long.

They talk about him for being a little crazy, yelling about things and just him overall. You know what, I'll bet they remember him for YEARS and, come test time, they remember what he was yelling and going crazy about. It's a good way to get your point across. Personally, I'm glad he's my teacher.

One of these days, I'm sure I'll get tired of these two. It's not like they're talking about people at Starbucks or anything, they do it IN class talking about people right in front of them. I'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.

Aside from that, class was great. I learned quite a bit about the early forms of government our country had before it was really The United States of America. It's pretty interesting to see, or I suppose, to learn, what I wasn't taught before. I mean I couldn't take a test on the government class I had when I was in high school and expect to pass it right now, but things come back to me as I hear them. Certain things he was telling us I never knew. I think I like this class.

We are going to be getting out of this class around 10 o'clock every week it looks like because government in college has been reformatted in Texas recently. Now, essentially, we are taking a two semesters worth of class in ONE semester. Late nights on Tuesdays it looks like.

We leave class and as I head out into the parking lot, the little girl in front of me gets into her car... a nice new Infinity. I wonder what her Dad does for a living. Or maybe she's a... nah, if that were the case she wouldn't be in night classes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day!

No school today! Hooray!

Instead of me going on about my geography class, I'll tell you about my misadventures in textbook purchasing.

So, I ordered most of my books online as you can get them for a fraction of the cost. There were two of them that I couldn't find, or they were cheaper to just buy at the bookstore. I had to do this Saturday because my Friday after work was busy. I checked online for the bookstore across the street from campus #2, they had good deals when I went there years ago. They were closed Saturday. Ok, no big deal. I checked online for the different campuses I go to and #1's bookstore was open until like 2. Awesome! Away we go!

I haul myself down there, enjoying a cup of coffee on the way. Park in the garage and walk on in. When I walk down the main hallway there was an Indian or Pakistani guy who must have just gotten out of class. He was fondling a balloon sculpture. Seriously. There was this thing that was made out of round balloons and those long skinny ones clowns make poodles and stuff out of. I couldn't help but stop dead in my tracks and look directly at him. He stops and looks at me and says "Isn't this amazing?" I started walking again.

So balloon fetish is walking behind me down this walkway that goes in between buildings.

Balloon Fetish: "Excuse me."
Me: ...
Balloon Fetish: "Excuse me."

Me: "Yeah?" 
BF: "Is the cafeteria this way?"
Me: "I have no idea."
BF: "Do you know if it's open today?"
Me: "Dude, I really don't know."
BF: "If it's open do you think I could use the microwave?"
Me: "Man, I don't know anything about the cafeteria."
BF: "Oh, you just look like you work here."

Really? I'm wearing shorts, flip flops and a batman t-shirt. Yeah, I teach advanced astrophysics. In the cafeteria. Whatever, dude.

So, I make it to the bookstore... and it's closed. Crap. Back out to the truck! I get on the phone and call Campus #2's bookstore. Got a voice mail that says they're open today. Great, I get on the road and head up that way. I wonder why the website said they were closed. I get up to #2 and walk inside and.. IT'S CLOSED. CRAP! I called campus #3 and a couple of others and they're all closed. Great, what are working people supposed to do to get books?

I guess I'll have to buy books on my lunch break and stay up late Tuesday night getting my reading work done for Wednesday's English class. Awesome. No sleep for me!

Got my bonus work done for Government, hopefully Dr. Rock 'n Roll likes it and gives me points on my second test. Other than that, it was a pretty uneventful weekend. Class tomorrow night!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Night: Music Appriciation

This class is an hour earlier than the others and at a campus in an area I'm not incredibly familiar with. Given the 6 o'clock start time and this being Houston, I leave my house at about 5:15 for a destination that Google Maps tells me is only 20 minutes away. Hey, in this town, you account for traffic at all times.

I got there at about 5:35. Found my building, and found my classroom but didn't go inside. I heard a loud voice from inside the room, but figured it was someone from the previous class. There's no way a professor is THAT early. I went and bought a soda and returned to the classroom. Sure enough, there was my teacher and one other student.

This guy is probably around 50 or 55 and a rather large human being. Super nice though, he greeted me and gave me a syllabus on my way to my usual seat. Second row, against the wall. "You have an assignment on the board here, please answer these questions." He points to the other guy in class who is sitting on the other side of the room. "And NO cheating!"

Har har, he's here all night, folks!

The assignment was as follows:

Write down the following:
What you do in the world? (job, otherwise)
Course of study?
Musical ability, if any
What type of music you enjoy
Why are you taking music appriciation

I was expecting that in my English class. Even as a warm up writing exercise or something, but not in here. I guess this furthers my thought that I really have no idea of what to expect in this class.

I wrote down my answers and waited for the class to come in. There are nine of us. NINE. I hope this class isn't cancelled next week. I believe we need twelve to have a class. So behind me are three kids, fresh out of high school two guys and a girl. Behind them is another guy who is friends with the first three. Other side is the guy  who beat me to class, a Hispanic guy, probably the only other guy older than me in the class and an Asian kid  in the back row. Including me that's eight. Someone didn't show up. I have the feeling this class is going to be cancelled.

The teacher introduces himself. He's from Georgia, has a masters in music education. He has taught high school choirs, middle school choirs, back to high school, but currently teaches music class in elementary school. He sings in local choruses and at the opera. He also plays piano, trombone, guitar, string bass and tuba. Ok, so I guess he's legit.

We go around and share our answers to the assignment on the board. The kid behind me says he's a rapper. HA! Ok, Slim Shady, just because you have a rhyming dictionary and a sense of rhythm, doesn't make you a rapper. You're a snotty little white kid who grew up in a well off planned community. Get over yourself!

Going around the room the Asian kid says that he's a rapper too and that he's the founder of his own label! What the hell? Neither one of them accepted the teachers request to rap for us. I won't believe their rapping ability until I see it. Er... hear it.

All of the four kids behind me have "attempted" to play an instrument and gave up after a very short period of time. Wow, good for you guys! All of those "damn kids" I was worried about having class with all turned out to be in one class. This could be interesting to say the least.

The guy who beat me to class is a vet as well. He was injured in Iraq and was medically discharged. Now he's a CO at one of the prisons in Huntsville which isn't too far away. Hats off to you, sir. Not a job I could do.

We had a break before we went over the syllabus and I got to talking to the teacher. Turns out he knows all of the band directors I had in high school. In fact, one of them did his taxes last year and they're pretty good buddies. Weird.

It seems that this class is more involved than I thought it would be. I have music that I have to listen to every week and write down my thoughts. Then take notes while we talk about it in class, then write a final entry about what my thoughts were on it. I have two of these a week. PLUS I have to attend two concerts. The Rush concert I hope to go to in December doesn't count. Dammit.

I was a bit worried coming into this class. I was worried I was going to have some pompous old fart teacher who took it waaay to seriously. This guy is cool. He said the only way you fail this class is if you don't try. Pretty sure I'll do ok in here too.

Since you're all wondering, and even if you're not, here are the answers to my questions:

Name: [student]
What do you do in the world? I work full time [at my job] and I am enrolled in school full time.

Family? I am happily married and have a 6 month old little girl
Course of study? Right now, Associates of Applied Science, major to follow
Musical ability, if any: I started playing drums when I was little, joined band in 6th grade and did percussion until 11th. I quit band when it stopped being fun.
What type of music you enjoy: Pretty much anything. I'm a hard rock/classic rock/metal kind of guy, but I appreciate any kind of music that has talented musicians playing it.
Why are you taking music appreciation
: I needed an art credit. Since regular art bores me, and I don't get it most of the time I decided this class was a better fit for me. I get music.

Wednesday Night: Composition and Rhetoric II

Yet another class I was dreading. Back to campus #2 for Composition and Rhetoric II, or English class as I like to call it. Saying that I take Composition and Rhetoric just sounds pompous to me.

The reason for my anxiety about this class is that, I never seem to write a good paper. Yeah, I'm here spilling my guts and all, but I don't ever seem to give the teacher what they want. This started my senior year of high school and spilled into comp and rhetoric I in that failed semester of college I tried. Luckily I passed that class with a C somehow and it stayed on my record. I wish the other classes I took would have been dropped, but that's another story. The other part of this is that I NEVER seem to understand what is going on in anything I read. I could read all of, say, Hamlet, and I'll totally miss the point. Oh boy, English class!

So, I get to class a few minutes early, and wow, the teacher is ALREADY here! I walk in and some idiot is sitting in MY spot. Luckily for him the same spot on the other side of the room is open. The teacher hands me a syllabus and I take a seat. I think I'm older than the teacher, and he looks like he could be Tom Cruises little brother. What is it with my teachers looking like people? The class fills up...

We have a couple, yes an actual couple sitting in the back row, sharing a Macbook and a text book. They're as pretentious as they already sound, drinking their coffee from a coffee shop nobody has probably heard of. The guy who is probably 6'2" and 130lbs and has his shirt buttoned about halfway up with no undershirt. Yeah dude, gotta show off those pecs. His girlfriend/wife/whatever is not half bad looking, but can't seem to keep her mouth shut. There's a younger guy with a ponytail in front of me. Looks like the kind of guy who will be volunteering at the renaissance festival in about a month or so. Hey, whatever floats his boat, right?

There's something weird going on in this class though. There are five rows of tables split down the middle, and on each set of tables, there are two people. There are two sets where the two people don't seem to know each other, or the professor, and one is MY row. I guess since this guy has return students, he must be pretty good.

So, the teacher starts with the class intro. He remain seated and proceeds to tell us his name, his AGE (he's only like two years older than me) and how he's married, has two stepsons and the world's greatest dog. I'm going to call BS on that one because well, he's never met MY dog who just happens to be the world's greatest. He then goes on to tell us how he just finished his man cave and all about the surround sound system he has and the couch, and mini-fridge and how awesome it all is. Why do I need to know this for you to teach me this class?

He also fills us in on his educational background. He has a masters in English education, and got his bachelors in Film, Radio and Television production. I can't help but immediately label him as a complete tool bag. Then he says "I guess I can shut the door now."

He gets up and walks over to the door... and I can't help but notice, he's disabled. Great, I feel wonderful now.

He sits on his desk and says "If you didn't notice, I have quite a limp. That's because I have Spina Bifida." Great, now I feel like a tool bag.

He starts talking about the course itself and it sounds like he's pretty reasonable. As long as we try, participate, turn things in and ask questions if we need help, he's reasonable. If you don't try, he's not going to feel sorry for you. I get that. I wouldn't expect anything else from a college level English class. Anxiety is slowly starting to fade.

Once we get into talking about the type of things we're going to be reading, he manages to equate literature to movies. BINGO! Something I KNOW. He mentioned Vincent Price for a second and the girl sitting at my table says "Oh! He's my favorite actor!"

After she exclaims this, he asks her what her favorite movie of his was. "Um, you know that one where the guy has a scar on his face and it makes him look like he's smiling all the time, but he's really not?" Wow, yeah, you know your Vincent Price, chick.

As we move on we continue to discuss literature and he says something that makes me almost hit my head on my desk. I forget exactly what we were talking about but he says "Well, in this class, for all intensive purposes..."  Seriously? You're here to teach me English? *headdesk

We then read a short story that was a bit odd, but he walked us through how he wants us to look at things we read. This was the FIRST time I had ever managed to "get" something that was an assigned reading. I think this class will be alright.

We were out an hour early, at about 9pm. He said that would be the norm because he doesn't want to keep us until 10. WORKS FOR ME! Tomorrow is my "fun" class with Music Appreciation at campus #3. Hope this goes as well as the rest of the week has.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tuesday Night: Federal Government I

Well, after a pretty vanilla first day I make my way out to campus number 2 and my first day of Federal Government. Now, this part of town, or this particular suburb is pretty... well, it's pretty country. I was expecting more blue jeans and cowboy boots and got a bunch of saggy-ass pants and backwards ball caps. It was really a pretty diverse crowd, more so than it was eleven years ago when I first came to this school. Pretty much any social or ethnic group was well represented. This should lead for some pretty interesting conversation in my government class to say the least. 

My class starts at 7, which is fifteen minutes later than I thought. I found my class and took a seat in the hallway. Surveying around, I look to be the oldest person waiting for this class. The teacher shows up at 6:55 and says for us to go in and grab a seat, he'll be back in a minute... this guy, seems interesting. He's probably in his 60's, slightly hunched over and walks with a shuffle. He's very energetic and friendly it seems. He's wearing a red flowered shirt with black slacks and white tennis shoes. Hell yes! I go in and sit in essentially the same place I sat the day before.

While waiting for the teacher to return, the rest of the class files in. We have a big jock wearing a black tank and some gym shorts, the two popular girls who won't shut up and seem quite bitchy. A dumb blonde. I'm not being mean, judging by the conversation she was having with the guy next to her, she's dumb as a post. Seriously. "Oh my gosh, I was so hungry on my way here, so I went to Sonic, but the line at the drive through at Sonic was long, so I ordered and I was waiting. And then I got tired of waiting and I told Jennifer I didn't want to be late for class so we got out of the line and came here. I wonder what happened to my food? I could be eating my food right now. It was so funny when we out out of that line." She was one of those girls that says everything like it was a question. Pencil, meet eyeball... 

Eventually, we also had about a 50 year old lady that was too spunky for her own good. She must have just left Starbucks, there is no other explanation for her perkyness. She was also friends with the bitchy girls and gave them hugs when she got to class. That was weird.

Then THIS this guy comes in. Younger, I'd say around 20 and tall, around 6'3" or so. Wearing all black, and I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he came from work at a restaurant or something, because he had a black button up shirt, black slacks and black shoes on... and sunglasses. Black aviators. No explanation there, just... weird. He moved slowly across the room and took a seat at the end of the row next to me. I also noticed he was a little scruffy in the face. No big deal, as I usually am too about five days a week. The problem with this guy is that he didn't quite have it all coming in yet. Think Joe Dirt's facial hair. It wasn't trimmed up this way on purpose, it was all this guy had.

The professor comes back at about 7:15 with a GIANT fountain drink. We're talking your big 44oz-er here. He comes in and starts speaking with a bit of a stutter. Oh man, that's going to drive me nuts. I wish there was a way that I could get a profile of everyone I'm about to meet a day ahead of time. Yesterday, with the teacher with the mysterious "back lump" and now this character. Physical deformities and speech impediments get my curiosities and imagination going. I have no problem with it, I mean I'm not going to not shake your hand because you have a scar on your face or something, I just can't help but think about it and be distracted at the same time you're trying to tell me important information.

Luckily that was NOT the case here. He starts with "I'm not going to pass out a syllabus, I'm not even going to start talking about government. You see, friends, we're here also to learn about.. ROCK AND ROLL!"

As he goes on, I can't help but think, as the night before, "Who does he remind me of?" Someone from TV or a movie... then it hits me. He looks just like "Doc" from Fraggle Rock! If you don't get the reference, perhaps you know this one. He also played the bartender in the movie Boondock Saints. Yes, my government teacher is "F*ck-ass" from Boondock Saints.

So for the first hour and a half of class, we had rock and roll trivia, going from the start of rock and roll up through the 70's with a couple of things coming after that. This was a chance to earn up to four points on my first exam. I managed to get all four points pretty early, and got to sit back and observe the lack of knowledge of the younger people in the class, which wound up being pretty funny.

One of the questions I answered was "Who was the African-American guitarist who wrote 'Johnny B. Goode'. I answered with Chuck Berry and got it correct. He then went on to say that Chuck Berry had all of his songs go straight to number two, but he broke that barrier with what risque song in 1968?*"

I raised my hand... "Would that be 'My Ding-A-Ling?"

He replied with an enthusiastic "YES!!" and wrote down my extra point in his book. What happened next was simply great. He sang the entire first verse of "My Ding-A-Ling". I've sen lots of things, I've been lots of places, but I never thought I'd go back to school to have my professor stand at the front of the class to sing that song. Mind. Blown.

So he moves on through the 60's and he starts to talk about Led Zeppelin. He asks the class what their most famous song was. Guy sitting next to the dumb blonde answers with "Hot for teacher". The professor doesn't even know who sang that. Once I told him it was Van Halen, he scoffed at them like they were Nickelback or something. One of the bitchy girls answered with "Welcome To The Jungle" and I almost lost my mind. Freakin' kids.

Amazingly enough, the dumb blonde got the answer correct! There may be hope for this chick yet. This went on for a while longer before we took a break.

After the break class was pretty uneventful. We wound up taking some notes, which was great. We were told what to write down and once we were done he'd tell us to put our pens down. Simple enough. He didn't even pass out that syllabus he promised us because the office they were in was locked up for the night. He did assign us a one page paper for bonus points on our second test. Looks like I'm going to be +2 on that test also.

This class should be fun. I no longer have anxiety about Government. Composition and Rhetoric 2 is tomorrow at the same campus. I took the first class 11 years ago. This is going to suck.

*According to what I looked up online "My Ding-A-Ling" actually came out in 1972, but the original version "My Tambourine" came out in '68. I should tell him this in case some nerd comes out and corrects him.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday Night: World Geography

So, here it is. The first day of real classroom school in about eleven years. Yeah, I had classes I had to go to in the Navy to learn my job, but this is different. I'm not wearing a uniform, I don't get my ass chewed if I'm late for class, and I don't have to call my instructor "Petty Officer". 

The college system I'm at is way spread out. I'm taking four classes at three different campuses. We'll call Monday nights campus, campus #1. It used to be an office building complex for a major computer company that was headquartered in the area but has been seriously downgraded. They sold some buildings to the colleges around here and they have classes here now. It's pretty convenient.

I park my truck in the parking garage and head inside. Upon entering, I stop at the desk to pick up a map. I had never been here before and wanted to make sure I knew where I was going. I asked the guy for a map, and he asked what building. Then he asks what room, and I tell him it was 449. He replies with "Ok, you're right here. What you're going to do is head down this hallway and hang a left at the intersection over here and keep going straight until you hit the elevators, take those to the fourth floor. Exit the elevator and hang a left and it will be in that wing."

Gee wiz, I could have never found that! Thanks, guy! So, a number starting with a 4, means it's on the fourth floor! Golly! All I asked for was a MAP. If I wanted to know how to suck eggs, I'd have asked. Also, I took the STAIRS. It was two flights. I'm of the opinion that unless you absolutely have to, if it's only one or two flights... take your ass up the stairs.

Moving on, I was slightly surprised by the people walking around. I was expecting a younger, or maybe a less mature crowd. I guess because it's evening classes it's more people who have a day job and are trying to get educated much like myself. There were a few younger people around, but not as many as I was expecting.

I find my class and walk around some because I was incredibly early. There was a lounge area outside of my classroom so I grab a seat and just hung out for a minute. Eventually the teacher shows up and we go inside. The classroom has four rows of tables on each side of the room. I sit on the second row on the right, against the wall.

My teacher is probably in his late forties, blondish grey hair with a slight belly and he has some weird bump on his back. Not a hunch, but it's just a big... bump on one of his shoulder blades. This is going to drive me nuts, I must know what it is. Aside from that I can't shake the feeling that he looks incredibly familiar. Then it hits me. He looks EXACTLY like Alex Lifeson, the guitar player from Rush. Seriously, they could be brothers.

Looking around at other people, there is a lady that's probably around sixty sitting on the row behind me, the back row has filled up with girls on my side of the room, and guys on the other. How middle school dance of them. The front row on the right, DIRECTLY in front of the teacher are two very young girls who start talking to him. Turns out... they're in high school getting college credit. NERDS! Most of the class seems to be people from about 18 - 22 or so. There are probably three people older than I am.

An older guy shows up, who turns out is one of the IT guys on campus. He has his iPhone in a nifty little camouflage holder with safety orange parts on it too. I guess he doesn't want to get shot if he's hunting with his iPhone. (I live in Texas y'all, this is pretty common.) So as we're waiting the teacher realizes that he's the IT guy and asks him if he can get Google Earth on his computer. The IT guy, to my AMAZEMENT says "What's that?" Wow.

Class starts and really all we're doing is going over our syllabus and what the teacher expects of us. Every time the teacher says anything, the sixty year old lady behind me has a giggle or a comment. That's going to get real old, real fast. He starts to explain his grading process, and things of that nature when *crunch*. *cellophane*. *crunch*.

Oh hell no. One of the girls in the back row was digging into some Corn Nuts. Seriously, Corn Nuts. There are a few sounds that I really hate, and two of them are the sound of people eating something really crunchy and loud, and the sound of a small cellophane bag being rustled about. If this becomes a regular thing, I'm going to lose my mind. No matter how hard you try, you can't quietly eat Corn Nuts. Plus, they reek. Seriously, they do not smell appetizing in the least.

Class was supposed to go until 10 but we wound up getting out at about 8:45. The guy seems reasonable and I don't think there is any reason I won't destroy this class and get an A. Tomorrow is my Federal Government class and I am slightly intimidated by it. Guess I'll see how that goes.

Well, here goes nothing

Here's a little bit about my life. I graduated high school in 2001 in the suburbs northwest of Houston, TX. After one semester at the local community college system and a STELLAR GPA of 0.75 I decided that school wasn't for me. I was miserable and felt like I wasn't going anywhere. The fact that I never went to class didn't help my GPA either. Something about missing tests and not turning papers in doesn't make for good grades. I did the only thing I knew would get me off of my butt and doing something with my life. I joined the Navy. 

I spent five years in the Navy and got out as a second class petty officer, the same as a sergeant in the Army or Marines. I enjoyed my time there and would do it again in a heartbeat, but I didn't like it enough to make it a career or anything. It did a lot of good for me personally. 

I came home to Houston. Got a job. Met a girl. Got married to said girl. Got a Labrador. Got a house. Had a baby. We have a pretty typical life, filled with friends, family, church, bbq's... your typical suburban life. But once we had our little girl earlier this year, I thought to myself, "I have to do better."

After a lot of thinking (and by that I mean drinking) I decided I had to get a degree. I have a free education waiting for me to use through the GI Bill and it would be a shame if I let that go to waste. So, here I am at 29, about two months away from turning 30, going back to school to get my bachelor's degree. I have no idea in what yet, so don't ask. My current degree plan, because I have to have one, is an associates of applied science. Once I've exhausted that, I'll move on.

I went through the process of getting my GI Bill started and enrolled in that same community college system which was brutal. If you've ever tried to get money from the government you know what I'm talking about. You have a better chance of getting ice cream from a sack of dirt.

So there's the long and short of it. I'm sure I'm not going to be the oldest person in all of my classes, but I'm old enough to where "those damn kids" will get on my nerves. It will be an experience to say the least, one that I hope to get a laugh out of in the midst of all of the complication it will throw into my life.