Back to School

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After taking off the weekend to recover from my cold, I dove back into schoolwork with both feet today. Algebra class went well, and even let out a little early, but for the first time I could not understand what was being covered in class. I’m chalking that up to the fast pace of the class and the copious notes that I take there. I was falling a little behind and it just so happened that my instructor was covering this one concept while I was trying to catch up, and I couldn’t make sense of the process once I’d gotten to that point in the notes. So I stayed after and got him to explain it again, and this time it clicked. It’s a fairly simple process once I understood what’s happening, but since I didn’t know what I was doing, I couldn’t figure it out by just looking at the executed process for a change. (First time that’s happened in class, too.) I came home and with today’s lecture fresh in my mind did the take-home quiz that’s due on Wednesday.

Once I’d finished with the quiz, I took a fairly long break to prep dinner and clean up afterwards. Since Monday and Wednesday nights we only have a window of maybe 45 minutes between the time we get home from picking my wife up at work to the time I need to leave for class, we’re starting to pre-cook dinners for those nights, so the only thing we need to do is heat and go. After that, I started in on my biology homework that’s also due Wednesday. I didn’t get very far, but I got the process started, and now there’s a lot of cleaning up and formatting that has to happen, something I’ll get to tomorrow morning.

Biology tonight was an interesting affair. We started with receiving our most recent quiz. I scored a 9.5/10 on it, which took my overall score in the class to 60/60. (I’m a little proud of that.) I took rather thorough notes tonight, partially because I could make heads or tails out of what my instructor was lecturing about and partially because my study partner was having trouble seeing the board this evening to take notes in our shared document. I told her to take it easy and do what she could, and I’d fill in the blanks when I got home after class. The lecture took a turn for the personal for her. She has a rare disease that’s taken quite a toll on her over the past few years, and one of the examples that our instructor was using seemed to be describing her illness to a T. In the document chat, we got off on a tangent about the progress of research for a treatment/cure, and we postulated what advances might be in the works right now.

I asked my study partner if she wanted me to follow her home after class because of her vision problems, but she assured me that she’d be fine, and that she’d text me when she got home. I came home after that and updated the notes in our shared document as promised, and sent her a text asking her to let me know if she needed anything explained.

The rest of the evening has been goofing off at the computer, and wrapping things up before what I hope will be an early night. I have a lot of schoolwork to do tomorrow. I have the biology homework that’s due on Wednesday to knock out, and then I have to start in on the rest of my algebra homework that I’m terribly behind on and that is doe on the 25th. I’m hoping that I can get most of it done before the weekend, since I have weekend plans all day Saturday and part of the day Sunday, and that’s going to significantly eat into any potential study time that I’d have over those two days. I don’t want to stay home this weekend because of schoolwork.

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Today Is My Friday

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Today I went to algebra in the morning and biology in the evening. I was running on two hours of sleep, and it was all I could do to get through the day, since I had a quiz that I was studying for in biology. (I wound up sleeping most of the afternoon away. Still think I did okay on the quiz. Not perfect, but passing.) This finishes my need to leave the house for the rest of the week. There’s no plans for the weekend, save for my radio show tomorrow evening and the show I do with my wife on Saturday evening. I’m in until Monday morning, and while I do have some homework to do during those four days, I can take it easy the rest of the time.

Which is good, because I think I’m coming down with a cold.

My nose is stuffy and I have this terrible scratch in my throat that’s accompanied by a near-constant urge to cough. We thought it was allergies because I went several days without my allergy medicine, but I’ve been back on it for a couple days now and things seem to be getting slightly worse instead of better.

I am self-prescribing bed rest for as much of tomorrow as I can to try and catch up a little bit on the sleep issue. I’ve been getting somewhere around 5-6 hours of sleep a night for the past several days, and that starts to show eventually. Besides, rest will do the cold good.

Speaking of rest, I should head that way now.

Skankin’ Pickle Day

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Skankin’ Pickle was a California ska band that performed some rather … interesting songs. One of them is called “You Shouldn’t Judge A Man By The Hair On His Butt!!(Yes, really. Clink the link.) In it, the lead singer proffers that despite outward appearances, well, you shouldn’t judge a man by the hair on his butt. The lyrics are surprisingly sophisticated in places, like “Don’t be fooled, always be fair, this man just might know that E equals m c squared.” But the lyric that always struck me was “Don’t be fooled and change the station, this man just might know that negative b plus or minus square root b squared minus four a c all over 2 a is the quadratic equation.”

I was reminded of this song today in algebra class as today’s topic was quadratic equations and the quadratic formula. I learned a lot today, but I was also writing almost nonstop throughout class, to the point that the quart of water I usually finish by the end of class wasn’t even half gone when I packed up. But because of algebra class, I’ve had this song stuck in my head all day.

Schoolwork is finally starting to quiet down to a dull roar after the screwiness that surrounded my trip to California last month. This week I have another take-home algebra quiz due and a twice-postponed biology quiz scheduled for Wednesday. Around that, I would like to get a head start on the new homework assignment for algebra instead of falling behind like I did with the one I turned in this morning. It’s due on the 25th, so I have some time, but I’d prefer to do the homework as we cover the material in class.

Stress? What Stress?

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Today was my first full day back since vacation, and it was back to the usual grind. The morning’s algebra class went well, and I got to see my friend on the way out, as usual (but not for long, her class ends in a week). I went home to knock out my dailies in Secret World Legends and got a little distracted afterwards, but then got busy on cramming for my biology quiz tonight.

My study partner for biology is amazing. She takes impeccable notes in real-time with Google Docs and even adds diagrams where necessary, and she catches some things that I miss with my chicken scratch. (I have quite neat handwriting, but if I’m in a hurry, the careful practice that I put into a calligraphic-like hand goes out the window into something barely legible even to me.) Since it’s a shared document, we were both in it at the same time and after some conversation agreed to meet before class to get some last-minute studying in. She got delayed by an accident on her way to campus and so didn’t arrive until just a few minutes before class started. We tried to study, but there wasn’t much time.

Turns out, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Our instructor postponed the quiz until Monday, and so the evening was all lecture, which I took notes on the best I could. My partner was editing the Google Doc as she went, and we traded snark back and forth as our instructor went off onto wild tangents from time to time. Somewhere in there, we agreed to head to the local Starbucks after class to catch up on our studying, and that’s what we did.

There were so many students failing anatomy and physiology I that the college instituted an entrance exam for the course. The biology class that I’m in exists solely to prepare the student to take that exam. As a result, our class objectives pretty much mirror the objectives of the exam, and so rather than study more recent material in preparation for Monday’s quiz, we started working on plugging the answers into that objective list, since at the end of the day that’s really what we need to know coming out of this class. We worked together to find answers to bullet points while my partner did most of the data entry and generally had a good time sucking down coffee and studying.

So that adds a wrinkle to my plans between now and Monday night. Tomorrow is the deadline to take my first algebra test, and so I’m going to spend the morning studying before heading to my therapist’s appointment in the afternoon, then picking up my wife from work and heading home to program my radio show. Friday will be spent working on the first algebra homework assignment which is due Monday. Saturday I have an SCA event that I’ll be at pretty much all day, although I’m going to bring my books along in case I can sneak away and get some schoolwork done. Sunday will be spent finishing up the algebra homework and studying in earnest for the biology quiz, and then Monday everything’s due, and things should be returning back to the usual levels of panic and stress in my life.

Third Stage Complete

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(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Going to have to be quick tonight, since it’s almost 10:30 and the alarm goes off in five hours from now, and there’s still a ton of stuff left to do before we’re packed.

Before I get into how my classes went today, let me follow up on the part in yesterday’s blog post where I talked about our water being out. The last I told you was that the water was expected to be turned on around midnight, so we should expect to wake up with running water.

We did not, in fact, wake up to running water.

Late this morning, we received an email profusely apologizing for the long delay in getting the water back online, and telling us that the plumbers were on site from noon yesterday until 6:30 this morning trying to make repairs. They said that they were waiting on the glue to dry and that things should be back to normal by noon, or hopefully before.

Noon came and went, and still no water.

At 1:40 pm I called the office and asked when the water would be turned back on. They said 2:00, so at 2:00 I just calmly walked to the kitchen sink and turned the faucet on, knowing what to expect. Sure enough, no water. So we called them again, and were told this time that the water will be back on at 4:00 pm, and if it’s not, call back and get an updated estimate.

They could not have said “your guess is as good as mine” any louder.

At 4:00 I was at my wife’s office, picking her up, and we stopped for food on the way home, so it was after 4:30 when we arrived. We got in, we finished our food, and I went back to the kitchen, knowing full well what to expect out of the faucet.

And finally, after 28 hours without it, there was water flowing from the faucet. I have never been more happy to be able to wash dishes and rinse reusable coffee filters and refill our four gallons of filtered water we keep in the fridge and all the other things that we use water for.

Anyway, enough about the Saga of the Missing Water, I meant to make this blog post about school, and I’ve failed miserably.

Got my second algebra quiz back. My streak of scores in the 90s is over. I broke it with a perfect 100, so that’s a decent thing. I also turned in the next quiz, since it’s due on Monday, and a lot of that quiz was dependent on today’s lecture. I did not do well on it at all. Fortunately I get to drop the two lowest quiz scores, so I’m hoping this will be a one-off situation and not an indication of my inability to progress further into algebra.

Got my first homework assignment back in biology. Scored a perfect 10 out of 10. The lecture was pretty intense – we’re currently covering the macromolecules and today we finished up carbohyudrates, went through lipids, and started in on proteins. I also got my first notes from my note-taking partner, and they are amazing – in Google Docs, complete with diagrams and illustrations taken from the web, as class was being dismissed. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I’m going to pick up a small souvenir from the San Francisco area for my two note-takers for Monday, and will have to do something nice for my biology partner at the end of the semester.

Well, that’s about all I have to offer at this point. It’s getting later and later, and I still have to pack computers and school supplies. My next blog post will be from California. See you then!


I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my wife’s birthday is today. Happy birthday, my love. Can’t wait to be on vacation with you tomorrow.

Second Stage Complete

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(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Today I found myself trapped in bed until nearly 10:30 am by our indoor/outdoor boy cat. He’s usually not keen on staying inside until later in the day, but this morning he was waiting on us when we looked outside around 6:30. He came in and beelined to the bedroom, which is his favorite place to be in the apartment, and I went in to join him. He seems to get lonely, and if we aren’t near him, he’ll tend to want to head back outside – but so long as one of us is near him, he’s content to stay indoors for hours at a time. It wasn’t long before I was smooth out, and he quickly joined me. I woke up again around 8:45, pet him a while, dozed back off, and then woke up for good an hour later, where I just stayed in bed while he lounged and slept. Once I finally got up, however, he was pretty much done, and it wasn’t long before he was back outside.

I’ve made it a habit to do my daily missions in Secret World Legends in the morning, and so I spent about an hour knocking them out and trying to manage a situation with the radio station’s stream. Not long after that, my wife called from work for her lunch hour, and so I was on the phone with her while continuing to goof off on the computer doing various things.

Once we hung up, however, it was time to knuckle down and get busy on homework. I have a take-home quiz that I need to turn in tomorrow, and a homework assignment that’s due tomorrow as well, and neither of them were done. I spent a while on the quiz, since some of the questions eluded me for some time before I finally figured out how to get them done – in fact, my wife was home for the evening before I finished things up. I took a break before heading back into the office to knock out the homework assignment, which fortunately didn’t take me long, since I’d already started on it. After that, it’s been an evening of getting my checklist items done and taking it easy.

The day hasn’t been without challenges, however. Sometime around noon, we got an email stating that the water to the entire complex was being turned off immediately so they could fix a broken water line, and oh yeah, they didn’t know when things would be done. Around about 6:00 pm we got a follow-up email stating that they’d found the problem and that they should wrap things up by midnight, barring unforeseen circumstances. So it’s been a long day of minimizing usage of things that require water, and that’s kind of tricky. We went to the store to try and pick up a couple gallons for general use and the shelves were completely empty. It’s been a bit of a challenge remembering that the water’s out, but things should be back to normal by the morning.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day. Algebra class in the morning, where I turn in that quiz, and biology in the evening, where I turn in the homework assignment. Somewhere in there, I need to pack for our trip on Thursday morning. The Lyft is scheduled to pick us up about 4:15 am, so there will likely be sleep somewhere between the apartment and San Jose, since there won’t be much tomorrow night.

First Stage Complete

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(My blog posts for the next couple weeks are going to revolve around two things: my trip to the Bay Area, and my attempts to work my already hectic school schedule around the vacation.)

Today was a fairly standard day as far as classes are concerned, with some exceptions. I got to algebra about a half hour early and discovered a locked door with a single student on the other side of it. She came and let me in, and together we poked and prodded at the door handle to attempt to get it to unlock. It just was not cooperating at all, so I told her that since I sit closest to the door I’d just let folks in when they arrived. We struck up a conversation about the take-home quiz that was due this morning, and that turned into learning that my classmate tends to translate her notes in class into her native Arabic. She’s originally from Jordan. I asked her how long she’d been in the States, and she said about a year and a half, and I expressed surprise at that since she has absolutely no accent whatsoever. That conversation turned into Duolingo and its limitations in teaching English speakers any language not using the Roman alphabet (Arabic, Russian, Japanese, etc.). Finally I asked if she would be willing to take notes for me on the day I’d be out of class on my vacation, and she said she would be happy to, so we exchanged numbers and emails and settled into our seats as other students began to trickle in. True to my word, I had to let everyone in the door, including the instructor. After class, I stayed behind to tell my instructor that I’d be out next Monday, and as a result I’d be turning in my current take-home quiz on Wednesday. He told me that would be fine and even offered me the handout that he was planning to give on Monday to help us review for our first test. I’m glad I spoke up.

I came home and spent the rest of the time before I needed to go pick my wife up from work either studying for my biology quiz tonight or doing housework, with the majority of my time spent on the latter. I just didn’t study well for this quiz, and by the time I’d gone to pick up my wife I knew that I wasn’t going to be prepared. I drove to pick her up and came home to study a little bit more before going to class, and once I’d figured I’d done as well as I could do, I packed everything up and headed off to class.

Once there, while other students were frantically cramming until the last possible moment, I sat quietly with my desk clear and ready for the quiz, for better or worse. I figured that if I didn’t know it by that point I wasn’t going to learn it.

The quiz came and I was the first one done. After the instructor took up the quizzes he asked if we wanted the answers, and there was a chorus of “yes” responses, so he gave them to us.

I might have missed the bonus question. Technically, my answer was correct, but not the one he was looking for, so we’ll see how that plays out once the grades come in. The actual ten questions on the quiz were all correct.

I aced it.

The lecture went well, and on my way out of class I ran into another student and asked her how she did on the quiz. We exchanged results, and I brought up the vacation. She told me to have fun, and as we exited the building together she asked me if I was a Student Accessibility Services client. I told her I was, and we talked about that as we walked. She’s also working through SAS and so we vaguely traded our stories. I asked if she would be willing to exchange information so I could get notes from next Monday’s lecture, and she said that she’d be glad to. Then she asked if I ever found anyone that would supply note taking services, one of the accommodations that SAS has made for me. I told her I hadn’t, and she said that she would love to do that for me. I finished walking her to her car and we chatted about life in general as we exchanged contact information and I gave her the letter that SAS provided to me to give to my note taker to bring to their office to receive compensation at the end of the semester. We said our farewells as we drove to our respective destinations.

So that was today. I managed to perform well on the quiz, I got study materials for my algebra test, and I secured notes for the day I’ll be out of class. I’d say it was a good day.

Tomorrow is going to be spent largely on classwork, as I have another algebra quiz and biology homework due on Wednesday, plus I’m falling behind on my first homework assignment in algebra (due on the 5th). I anticipate tomorrow is going to be a long day.