Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XLIII

Blog update: we've surpassed 100,000 visits! Thus far this month we're behind the pace of the previous five months due to my emphasis on work and school. Nonetheless this place continues to expand in readership as more people visit all the time for a wider array of content. This is as opposed to relying upon a narrower interest group of visitors as was the case in the past including the past five months. My hottest postings have been my LifeVantage/Protandim Is A Scam piece ever since it came out and surging of late is my Primm Valley Solar Tower piece.

Fini Spring 2012 semester

Night before last I completed my last final of the semester (History 207B with Dennis Judd) and probably got an A on that and in the class overall as well. Earlier in the day I took a Spanish language final (Spanish 202 with Yolanda Solis) and probably got a B or C on it and probably a B or C in the class (definitely won't get an A or D on either the test or in the class).  That morning I took my MATH07 (prealgebra) final and found out today that I got a 95% on that and a 90% in the class for an A-. I would have had a strong A were it not for the fact that I didn't realize the 10-point unit test review sheets were not optional and by the time I realized that for the third test review sheet (out of a total of four for the semester) I mistakenly did the fourth one. That alone created a 30-point hole in my otherwise great record of achievement of high 90% tests and one over 100% (with extra credit). Lastly, I missed one or two 10-point quizzes over the course of the semester. Everything test and quiz I did take was near perfect but that 40 or 50-point hole made it close in regards to barely avoiding an unmerited B in the class. As for my English 201A class (English composition) there was no final as we turned in our huge research project last week along with some smaller related assignments and had a potluck in our final class meeting. I had a strong A going into that final research paper and I feel I did well on it so I believe I got a strong A in that class. So in summary, I believe I achieved three A's and one B or C spread over 14 units this semester.

Hello Summer School!

For the first time in my college experience I will be taking a Summer course, to wit, MATH123 (5-unit elementary algebra) at the Cuesta College North County Campus in Paso Robles, CA. It will be taught by one Jacqueline Masucci and run Monday through Thursday from June 18 through July 26, 2012. That math class alone should satisfy my graduation requirement but I will follow that up with retaking MATH127 in the Fall. I took that course in the Spring of 1990 and got a C in it as a result of all the drama in my life at the time (not the least of which was my then-descent into the dark hole of mental illness caused by chronic and debilitating anxiety and depression, a hole from which I would not fully emerge until the 2000's). I have to go down to the Cuesta College main campus in San Luis Obispo tomorrow to get the school's math department head to sign a waiver allowing me to retake a math course I have already taken and passed as they typically frown on that. I wish to do this in order to continue my math remedial process (upon taking the math placement test last year I fell into a lower level than I was at during my first go around at Cuesta 22 years ago) and to a lesser extant it would be satisfying to undo my under-achievement in that class back then.

Stretch Run To Graduation

Today my counselor informed me that if I change my major from Geology (which I summarily proceeded to do) to Liberal Arts with a Social and Behavioral Sciences Emphasis then I can graduate at the end of next semester after taking and passing MATH127 (intermediate algebra) as well as HEALTH208 (multicultural health) and one more class in the history/anthropology/geography/economics/poli. sci. complex of subjects. Taking Health208 would simultaneously satisfy two different requirements instead of my having to take one class each to fulfill those two requirements. Besides, from the description of that class it sounds so immeasurably over-the-top politically correct that I must take it as an undercover assignment in order to delve into the absurd extremes to which such political correctness runs amok on today's college campuses. Perhaps the class will surprise me and I will find it to not be such as I expect and that is my hope. However, no matter the case I will plan on being in such a class this Fall and not only achieve an A but also get some blog-worthy content out of the deal.

Beyond Graduation

Upon graduation from Cuesta College I will have two primary options: transfer immediately to a university or stay put and continue to take classes at Cuesta College. In the latter case I would do that with a mind towards saving money not taking those same courses at the university. This would have to be done with the awareness to not take too many courses at Cuesta College to the point of jeopardizing my ability to successfully transfer to a university. I have been told by other students that the cut-off point for my Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) is 80 units (I now have completed 62 units). Currently on my short-list of schools I'm entertaining the thought of applying to: Cal Poly-SLO, UCSB, Westmont College, USC, John Brown University.

El Ejercicios Gang

Since restarting attendance at Cuesta College North County Campus in the Fall 2010 semester I have met many people and forged some casual acquaintance relationships with a handful of people. However, during the Fall 2011 semester in my Spanish 201 class something new happened. I connected on a more profound level with a segment of students in that class. We seemed to gel to a certain degree and we all arranged to immediately go on together and take the next Spanish class in sequence (Spanish202) during the Spring 2012 semester. We did this (about 9 of us) and gelled even more as a group and absorbed another four new members we picked up from the next class. This expanded group gelled even more and by semester's end has now gone out on hikes together and one of them, the immeasurable Laura Schafer, even baked me a birthday cake last month. We spent the semester hanging out in a particular area of student commons in the Fox Building wherein our Spanish classes have been held. This group has become a family of sorts for a motley crew of very different people who for some reason all like and respect each other. Although the semester is now over and some of the group are transferring away next semester we are nonetheless determined to keep hanging out as long as possible and keep this fellowship going into the next semester and beyond. We have already met for hikes together and have one planned for this weekend over at the coast. Next month will be a birthday bonfire at the beach and yet another member has invited us to his place for a bonfire event at some point this Summer. Aside from myself, this group includes (ladies first): the aforementioned immeasurable Laura "La-ow-dah" Schafer, Maile "20-Units" Kahn, Dina "The Pharoah" Fahmy, Kristi "Death-Dealer" Mueller, Sarah "Sign-Language" Masters (she wasn't even in our Spanish class), Max "The Llama Jockey" Sauer, Kameron "Shrimp" McMeekin, Blake "The Brain" Burgess, Robert "Fertilizer Man" Ross, Tanner "Gunny" Smith, Jonathan "Chef" Garcia, and last but certainly not least, James "Is Learning" Cox. To view our two previous hikes check out First Hike For The Gang With No Name and San Simeon State Park Hiking Adventure.

Summer Vacation 2012

My friend Dave has elected to go to Tulsa, OK, for Gem Faire at the start of next month and has invited me to tag along as his hired gun in the booth. Following that we plan to drop by John Brown University (one of the schools on my short-list) and then head to Mt. Ida, AR, for some quartz crystal digging at the Coleman Mines (Jim's and Ron's). I hope to come back with not only some great quartz for my private collection but also some great content for this blog. Summer school will begin for me soon thereafter.

Lightening My Load

As I become more spiritually-focused I feel less of an attachment to physical possessions. I'm also contemplating possibly moving out of the area to attend university elsewhere in the not-too-distant future. The conflation of these two realities in my life has led me to feel a growing sense of urgency to lighten my load of things and get rid of many/most non-essential things in my possession, particularly what is currently housed in my storage unit in Atascadero. I really wish to downsize to a smaller unit by Summer's end as I wish to get my monthly rent there below $100/month whereas it is currently pegged at $148/month. Not only do I wish to reduce my footprint in this world for monetary reasons but also for convenience sake and the aforementioned more transcendent reasons.

Speaking of Spiritual Matters

My walk with God has been undergoing a renaissance of sorts in recent weeks and months following a span of weeks and months of seeming stagnation or at least slowed-down growth and spiritual under-achievement. As times passes the emotional intimacy between God and I deepens as I learn to trust Him more and listen to Him better and obey Him with greater consistency. This is not to say that I don't have daily struggles with my personality flaws and my Old Sinful Nature which is an ongoing daily battle for every other Christian assuming they are actually walking with God and thus actually fighting the Good Fight. It's actually in my brokenness and vulnerability that I have learned the most and grown the most as a man. God can use our failures and flaws for His purpose and good can then come out of them. I have some major decisions to make in regards to the university to which I shall transfer and when that should happen and I will need His input on all that most assuredly.

Fire Season 2012 Is Around The Corner

In recent weeks I have noted with some surprise how quickly the grasses in the Paso Robles area have turned dry and brown in spite of the significant rainfall the area received not that many weeks ago. California received a welcome respite from severe wildfires during Fire Season 2010 and 2011 but it seems plainly obvious enough now that providence won't extend into a third consecutive year. My scanner and camera are now ready 24/7 for any call over the radio or noticing of smoke on the horizon to which I can respond to capture on camera for the edification of readers here as I was able to do last year with the Gateway Fire.

If Nothing Else "Hope & Change" Fixed Some Roads

For most of the 1990's and 2000's I did a lot of driving therapy while I found myself. During that time I noticed with chagrin the poor condition of the roads in our nation, particularly here in California and wondered if they would ever get fixed or was I looking at the beginning of the final downward trend of our roads as our civilization faded from preeminence. Whatever the state of our civilization relative to its lifecycle I can proudly say we really have made a lot of headway fixing our roads over the course of the "Hope & Change" years of the Obama Presidency. He has not done anything else noteworthy during his term in office that has been of his own initiative (sorry Obama-apologists, that Osama bin Ladin hit was something that fell in his lap and he happened to be President when it presented itself and he made the ONLY call to be made in that situation). Aside from that caveat though I commend him for all the transportation improvement accomplished on his watch even if our nation went heavily into debt to pay for it and that it didn't have the desired effect in stimulating the economy.

I Will Hold My Nose In November

I would love to see Hillary Clinton become President in 2016. She is by far and away the most effective member of President Obama's cabinet and she keeps improving her resume with each passing year. She is also now one of the most promising-looking and talented leaders our nations has in its otherwise meager line-up of leaders. Even before becoming the current U.S. Secretary of State she had garnered much respect in the U.S. Senate even amongst her Republican political rivals with whom she earned respect. Therefore, Obama must go not only for his own failures and under-achievements and even outright transgressions but a second term for him would doom any Democratic nominee for President in 2016. The general mood on the street by then would be even uglier towards Democrats than it is now. A vote for Romney (with the required holding of the nose) will insure Hillary wins in 2016 as by then folks will be tired of a President Romney in the White House and Republicans running the Executive Branch. Hence, Hillary will be well-positioned to run and win. To use a football analogy: I plan to punt and play for field position.

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