Thursday, December 17, 2009


Not to toot my own horn, but I'm a pretty smart guy. I feel that way, and friends and family have said as much as well. Yeah, that sounds like I'm tooting my own horn, and of course good friends and family might lie to the dumbest member of the family. But I get the distinct impression that they really mean it. If I weren't at least slightly above average, I wouldn't have been in an honors program in both middle and high school, though I'll be the first to admit that I still haven't graduated from college after nearly 20 years... There are perfectly good reasons for that, and I'll talk about them another day.

That said, I've never been the best student I could be. I tried to never do homework, unless it was absolutely critical to passing the class, and until I got to college, I had only failed a single class in my life. And  *THAT* was due to not doing my homework instead of not getting it; I got B's or better on all the quizzes and tests in that class, and I went to night school to retake it and graduate with my class.

In college, things got bad because I had a bad case of really not caring. I'd stop going to some classes half way through the semester and never tried unless it was a class I was really interested in. That's all related to some family and personal problems I started going through after I graduated from high school, and literally lasted for years afterwards. Again, I don't really want to talk about it right now, because I'm in too good a mood.

Basically, I haven't even attempted to take 3 classes at once since I attended Michigan State University from September 1990 through March 1991. When I took classes, it was usually one or two a semester, and about half the time I'd drop one or the other before the end of the semester. Ultimately, it's a miracle that I had 44 transferable credits by the time I got to Oakland University.

So, this semester, at the age of 37, I apparently got serious about my education, and decided to take 3 classes for 12 credit hours so that I could start pushing towards my degree. I was hoping to just not fail the classes, and I've been worried about my performance and grades all semester long. But tonight, I'm happy to report that not only did I pass the classes I took, but passed them with an average of 3.83 points out of 4.0 points. My best grades ever!

My only disappointment is that it took me this long to get this serious about my education, but for now I'm not going to worry about that. I'm already registered for my next 12 credit hours, and starting to worry about those classes...! LOL!

Finally! Something to actually DO in PS Home...

I don't know if you're familiar with the PlayStation 3 or not, but there's a social program as part of it called Home. Until now, it's been a place to just hang out with other PS3 owners, play a few trivial games, and buy stuff for your avatar. Think Second Life PS3 style. Well, today they introduced Sodium One, which has some fairly good games within its spaces. And get this, the games are ACTUALLY fun! I wouldn't say I'd go out of my way to pay for the upgrades and the full versions of the games, but the free exposures to them actually make me want to continue to play them.

That only took a year! Microsoft's NXE still doesn't make me want to use it...

MysteryQuest on the History Channel can suck it!

Over the last few years, I have watched an increasing amount of programming on TLC, the Discovery Channel, and the History Channel. But I think I'm going to start cutting down on the History Channel stuff from here on out.

Like the subject suggests, MysteryQuest irritated the crap out of me just a bit ago. I watched the rebroadcast of an episode on the Bermuda Triangle (episode title "The Devil's Triangle"). As with any genuine scientific investigative program, I didn't really expect them to have an real answers in this 60 minute digest, but I did expect a modicrum of intelligence.

What pissed me off was that they recovered a propeller from a crashed plane, and were trying to identify it, not by the plainly visible serial number, but some etching dates they found in the same area. This would be the same as trying to identify someone by their birthdate when you have that and their social security number readily available. They screwed around with the etching dates, and found that they couldn't find a match on the plane with the NTSB. Duh! Then in the closing voice over they said they would continue to try to identify the plane by the serial number... Why didn't you idiots just focus on that?

What the hell?

It's been a number of years since I've like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I'm not going to say that I suddenly like him again, but I have to say that he's climbed a notch higher on my respectability ladder. It appears that even though I think he's clinically insane, and that he habitually lies to the residents of California, that Sarah Palin is more nutty than he is... These thoughts scare me.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Final Final...

This week is finals week at Oakland University, and I'll be glad when I'm done with my final final for this term tomorrow. The first two final exams  went ok, I think, and I know that I passed both though neither went quite as smoothly as I had hoped.
I'm not disappointed with my performance on them; quite the opposite in fact considering I'm a 37 year old, taking 12 credit hours, in classes with people half my age. But I do wish that I had better prepared myself for the two that I have taken. Although I'm not exactly studying for my last final as I should be, I'm fairly confident that I will do very well on it tomorrow.
Next semester, if I'm still not employed, I'm going to try even harder than I did this semester.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Japanese Oral Interview: Aced.

Today, I had my oral interview in my Japanese class, and though I had feared it, I aced it. I want to send my thanks out to Professor Yasuda for being such a great teacher, and for being so patient with me and my fellow students!

A Few Thoughts on Japanese

The problem with Japanese is that it is Japanese. I love the language but honestly, it's as alien to a native English speaker as Klingon is. And vice versa, really, because English is a monster of a language composed of thousands of words from dozens of other languages, which (if there were some master language editor) could be greatly simplified to eliminate hundreds of words that mean the same damned thing. But I digress...

What I like about Japanese is that once you get the hang of the basic syntax, you're about halfway done learning the language. All you need then is to learn words to fill in the blanks, and master th pronunciation of most of those. Again, that's not to say it's easy, but it's easier than learning the sometimes contradictory rules of my native tongue.

The hardest thing about fully learning Japanese is Kanji: the Chinese writing system adapted by the Japanese hundreds of years ago. Rather than each symbol representing a sound or word, they represent ideas that must be interpreted and associated with syllables, words, or phrases. Given that there are thousands of Kanji it's no wonder that even they need a Kanji dictionary!

Any how, I have a oral interview in Japanese for my class in about an hour and a half. Wish me luck!