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!