May 2005 Archives

Takin’ Care of Business: An entirely different angle on what's going on with Sam and I. I had to dispute no fewer than five sources of credit on each of the three reports, on top of loads of personal information they had wrong. Grrr. Upside: Hopefully, moving into a house, this fall.
And you thought religion was just for humans.
Aping Hindu rituals to a T, a monkey appeared at an Orissa temple, prayed for an hour folding its hands in the traditional sign of respect, took prasad, put vermilion on its forehead -- and then fled.... Said Aniruddha Behera, a village resident: "The monkey folded his hands, observed silence, put vermilion on his forehead and also took the prasad from the devotees." "When we saw the monkey joining us we were surprised. We did not try to drive it out and it continued praying for nearly an hour amid hundreds of devotees," Behera told IANS.
via Reason's Hit and Run
So, um, my name's Erica, and I haven't posted in... two months? Realizing that the posts on my blog aren't really a reflection of what I'm doing right now, I thought I'd post a little update. Right now, I'm being a lazy bum. Kind of. I'm between semesters. Last semester, I started off with (final grade in parenthesis):
  • Construction Graphics and Design Process (aka Drafting) (B)
  • Introduction to Design (A-)
  • General Chemistry I (W)
  • General Chemistry I Laboratory (B+)
  • Special Topics: Flash MX (A)
  • Calculus I (B-)
  • Intercollegiate Forensics Activities (A)
A grand total of twenty credits. Puketastic. Last semester was not my idea of phantastic phun. (And while I know everyone telss me those grades are really great, I've never gotten anything other than an A or A+ in a math class. Ever. In fact, I normally get all A's. So... ergh.) Halfway through the semester, I dropped the chemistry lecture. I was failing, and I knew it. With as many credits as I was taking, I simply didn't have enough time and attention to devote to that class and still have a life. That left seventeen credits. Which, to be honest, wasn't a ton better. Here's why:
  • I have no respect for my Drafting professor. He never showed up for his class on time - he was habitually ten to fifteen minutes late for a fifty minute class. He had a tendency to teach us about the history or theory of something, and never get to the practical stuff. Then, when you asked about the practical stuff (i.e., how do I do x in CAD?) he'd look at you like you were just a few brain cells above a fungus (if that), and say, "I just covered that." Yeah, you dink, but in all of that "covering" of "that", you forgot to actually talk about practical application. He was notorious for giving assignments full of stuff he hadn't explained, and not giving complete requirements - then counting off for stuff he neglected to mention. The worst part? I get this guy for another semester of fun-fun-fun.
  • In spite of my Design course being a breeze, it was also about as intellectually stimulating as poking dried cow dung with sticks. See, the professor here (who happens to be the head of the Architecture department) never felt that it was his responsibility to teach the class. Instead, he brought in a guest lecturer for every class section for the first two thirds of the class. You know what the best thing is about guest lecturers? They have no idea what the last guy talked about, so they cover the same stuff every class. When a guest lecturer had a scheduling conflict and just couldn't make it, he naturally cancelled class. The remaining third of the course was devoted to in-class work time for one of three projects in the class. That's right - three. You'd think that, having only three projects at the college level, each of them would be pretty significant, right? ...yeah, right. Both of the papers (one individual, one group) were done by me the morning they were due, in the space of three hours or so. The (group) powerpoint for the last one, which I did most of the work on, was done in a handful of hours as well. (I probably don't need to tell you how much I love group work.) There were no tests in the class, because the professor didn't like grading them. I got nothing out of this class. Speaking of which, if you're going to make your class a useless steaming pile of crap, do us a favor and don't do that mandatory attendance crap. If people aren't coming to your class, there's probably a reason. Might want to look into that.
  • I dropped Chem lecture. My professor was a big fan of threatening and reminding us all what losers we were. And he loved memorization. I don't think he ever mentioned that there were, you know, patterns within the periodic table.
  • Chem lab. This was actually one of the highlights of the semester. The labs were fun, interesting, and helped me understand the lecture material - but it was always too little, too late. The professor was awesome. When I was having trouble in lecture, and considering dropping, he went over the material with me in his free time and helped me find a lot of the patterns the lecture professor didn't care to mention. I'll do a lot better in lecture when I retake it, and it's mostly due to this guy. On the downside, this lab ate up so much time. Gag gag gag. Three and a half hours every Friday afternoon, plus, on average, two hours of prep, and another two hours of after-class work. That's roughly eight hours of work for a one credit class, which is not cool at all.
  • Flash MX would have been a whole freaking lot cooler if the instructor didn't read out of the book all the time. It would have seemed like less of a joke if, on top of that, the tests weren't open book. And it would have been spiff if the grading criteria wasn't "completed assignment: A".
  • Flip that around: Mrs. Calculus Professor, if you're going to present Calculus wildly differently than the book does, please show the differences. Particularly when your way is an attempt to make things "easier". Or hand out supplemental materials. Studying for your class was a nightmare; going to your class was a waste of time. Which is why I particularly resented the quiz-as-a-form-of-attendance BS. Ugh.
  • Forensics. I signed up for this thinking, hey - I was on the Speech team all through high school. I don't want to take that steeeeenking basic speech course! I'll see if I can get my program to accept Forensics instead. They did, and I did, and... well, if you were wondering why I was missing in action most weekends last semester, that's why. While Forensics was a blast, and I made some good friends, had a good time, learned a lot - it was also a huge, huge source of stress, and ate up a ton of time. A portion of the stress was trying to come onto the team halfway through the year, and write and memorize and hone at ultra-speed. I'm writing my speeches for next year already, ahead of time; I'm going to participate as a team member, but not for course credit. That way, I can ease up participation when my course load tries to kill me.
This summer, to get caught up with my major, I need to take quite a few classes. Luckily, they're fairly linear and all related, low-BS, and they're stuff I like. I'll be taking Physics I and lab from June 6 to July 8, and Physics II and lab from July 11 to August 12. That's ten happy weeks of being in physics-ish stuff for roughly four and a half hours a day - but I'll have an entire year of physics, done, finished, finito. I'll also be taking a two hour Calculus II course in the evenings at the community college, Monday through Thursday. We'll see how crazy I go. In the fall, I'm taking:
  • Building Systems, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, with the same asshat who taught last semester's Drafting class (no choice; he's the only one who teaches it)
  • Elements of Architectural Design, Monday evenings, with a Monday/Wednesday evening lab
  • General Chemistry I, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the late morning. I hear this professor is a lot cooler, and I'll have a two-month head start.
  • Engineering Statics, Tuesdays and Thursdays right before Building Systems.
  • Calculus III, Monday through Thursday, right before lunch.
As you can see, I've learned a few things from this past semester. That's 16 credits; none of my classes starts before 10:00am. I also, conveniently, only have one class on Fridays. This works nicely for Forensics stuff, since I won't have the nightmares of trying to get professors let me make up quizzes and tests and whatnot, and it's also nice to have a day to just Get Shit Done aside from the weekends, which I've learned cannot be depended upon. Aside from school crap, I've been doing a lot of interesting photography work. When I get my latest stuff up, I'll post a link. I'm really pleased with the last shoot I did. Some of the photos turned out ... well, I'm just really pleased. Also, I'm working on getting a MUSH up and running with Moof, Raven, Sam and Paul, who has no webpage. These people are ultimately largely to blame for a good portion of my sanity lately. They're wonderful. (If, by odd chance, you'd like more info about the MUSH and how to create a preliminary character, I'd be more than happy to oblige. Just drop me a line, leave a comment, bug me on IM, something.) So, um, yeah - that's what I'm up to, lately. I'll post more, and more coherently, soon. No, really. (All of this meander-y goodness prompted by this post on Livejournal, or rather, the response to it.)
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