Monday, June 30, 2014

Random Musings of a Ramblin' Fool XLIX

Here I am again after an all-too-long interval since I last checked in with you about my life and general observations. The previous interval was about 7-1/2 months which is way too long and the interval this time since the previous Random Musings posting is a few days short of 8 months. A great deal has transpired in that time and I will attempt to cover a decent amount of it here. I realize I keep promising to post this column more frequently so I won't even bother to make that promise and instead just do it. Oh snap, that means I just made the promise again, no?

Anywho, this blog has now reached nearly 386,000 distinct visits to 1,330 postings. Some of the postings on this blog have became internet favorites as people hit them frequently each and every day in some cases (like the ones about my late grandfather) and others relating to book reviews (get hit during academic quarters and semesters as students refer to my blog presumably for ideas and inspiration.

I gave Google Ads a try but not a single referral was generated here so they dropped me automatically after a few months. I do not regret making the attempt. Therefore it appears this blog shall remain un-monetized for the foreseeable future.

For a great many weeks so far this year I have fallen out of the habit of blogging every day and in one instance in the merry month of March a whole 18 days transpired between postings which saw the monthly total of distinct visits here drop under 9,000 for the first time since May 2011. This month which ends tonight will have my blog down to under 8,000 visits for the month as a result of my lack of posting new content.

Cuesta Career Past

Last time we talked about my doings at Cuesta College it was the Fall 2013 semester and I was whining about how hard MATH232 (college algebra ergo terminal level pre-calculus) was and how I nearly dropped the class but elected to gut it out. Well, I did that and eked out a C in the class to go with A's in History 204A (Western Civilization Semester A) and Biology 220 (Environmental Biology).

Cuesta College Career Concluded

Last month I completed my final semester (Spring 2014) at Cuesta College. I took and successfully completed 12 units with six of those being in two 3-unit classes at the North County Campus in Paso Robles, CA, (History 204B (Western Civilization Semester B) and English 231 (Creative Writing)).

I also bit the bullet and took two 3-unit classes at the main campus in San Luis Obispo (Political Science 206 (Comparative Government) and Sociology 201 (Intro to Sociology)), something I had successfully avoided heretofore since coming back to school in the Fall 2010 Semester.

I had worried about gas consumption and wear and tear on my care and even time lost in-commute as I headed into the semester which things had also discouraged me from taking Main Campus courses previously since 2010. As it turns out I worried for nothing as most of the semester I commuted down and took the public bus home. Before the carpool developed with a returning student two of my classes (he is even older than I am) I had been taking the bus down to class as well. For the first few weeks I did drive my own car until car trouble forced me to look to alternatives and once the car was fixed I never took it down and back again until the very last day of finals last week when I needed to drive directly to work at Santa Margarita Ranch immediately after my last final at Cuesta College.

As for grades... drum-roll... I achieved straight A's in those four classes, a first for me on a single report card in my college career (not the straight A's part but rather having four A's as opposed to three A's or two A's). Next up, I await word as to if I was awarded the two degrees to which I previously applied and have qualified for per every counselor I talked to heretofore.  Last year I qualified to earn an Associate of Arts degree in Social & Behavior Sciences but made a rookie mistake filling out the form for it despite walking at graduation. This year I earned the units necessary to qualify for an A.A. in History and hope in the coming weeks I am mailed my two diplomas.

Along the way I completed units I had told Cal Poly I was taking this semester when I applied there last November 30th in order to be accepted there for the Fall 2014 Quarter. That brings me to the next topic: my plot to get into Cal Poly. 

I Am Officially A Mustang!

Last year for the second year in a row I applied to California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo and to my surprise both times was accepted. I feared my declining their offer last year would hurt me if I attempted it again which was unfounded, quite fortunately. As it turns out, I found out that my original conditional acceptance to Cal Poly was contingent upon my having a 200-level math class which I did not and at the time I thought I had slipped through the cracks. Subsequently, I learned that had I not declined my original conditional acceptance they would have withdrawn it anyway over that mathmatical detail so it did not matter in the end that I declined initial acceptance.

I applied again and was accepted again but this time I had not only completed MATH 232 but enough additional units to make my application even more weighty and got more units out of the way cheaper at Cuesta College. In fact, I played chicken with the system and stayed at Cuesta College getting so many units out of the way that I came close to the boundary of not being accepted to Cal Poly for having too many units under my belt since they want me to take a certain minimum number of units with them en route to a degree with them. In any case I am currently headed for Cal Poly this September and will receive a generous financial aid package of both grants and low interest (3.86%) and non-interest loans.

My hope is that I may be able to live off of all that and what I make at Vino Vice and working general labor for my clients all the while continuing to live in Paso Robles. If any or all of that does not work out in conjunction with attending Cal Poly then I shall make necessary adjustments such as moving to San Luis Obispo and/or finding more work.

In the past month I have sent Cal Poly my final Cuesta College transcript showing those four A's and just today I RSVP'd and paid for SOAR (Summer Orientation And Registration) in August in which I shall be debriefed on all the minutia I shall need to know heading into the Fall quarter of this year. At that time I shall also enroll in classes based upon the counsel of my department faculty.

On The Vino Vice Front

I began working security for this company 13 months ago starting at the bottom and working much of last year sans a guard card which often relegated me to parking duties but not always so. As I last reported in this column, I acquired my guard card late last year. Since that previous report I have worked my way up in the company in both seniority (turnover seems high given how many guards are looking for full-time work elsewhere and this is a strictly event-specific company meaning part-time work) as well as respect from my boss and co-workers. There is consistent talk of my becoming a supervisor at some point in the not-too-distant future. I choose not to think about that too much in case it does not happen and because it is of no relevance unless and until it happens. In any case, given how the path of my journey in life has meandered it is a pleasant feeling starting at the bottom of something and working my up by virtue of grit and determination and devotion.

A Wealthy Observation

As we all are well aware there are some rather potent stereotypes of the rich as being prone to conspicuous consumption and acting overbearing and elitist with those beneath them in the socio-economic food chain. There are those sorts of people out there amongst the rich who act like that. However, I have found while working security for Vino Vice, Inc. at what now feels like a myriad of events featuring elite Americans at play at weddings and winery events not one iota of that to be quite honest. Most of these people have been rather quite decent and not merely because they are getting their way but even when things have not been going their way in various sorts of minor crisis like being stuck in the mud and such. I have always been treated with decency and respect and in times of near hyperthermia and dehydration or hypothermia and being soaked like a dog I have received unsolicited care and concern from such people in regards to my well-being and likewise when I have appeared to be left all alone out in the dark while they are at play. Some might suggest that is a quirk of the local rich here on the Central Coast but so many of these people I have encountered have been visiting from outside the area. This trend seems to be endemic of the local vineyard and winery people as reinforced yet again at work this past weekend but also part of a larger trend that flies in the face of old stereotypes and class warfare rhetoric.

For The Record Family

Last Saturday evening I worked a wine pickup party at Record Family Wine's Paso de Record Vineyard out east of San Miguel with my buddy Mike. From start to finish and in between the Record Family treated us with decency and kindness and respect both with words and in their actions culminating in feeding us and sending us home with bottles of of their red table wine, "Randy's Red". Mike and I agreed that was the best feeling of any gig we have worked since starting this job and that is high praise because we have often left a job with a great feeling from the place and its people. I'm hoarding that bottle for now but will share here what I think of it when I do get around to trying it.

Mere Christianity

Currently in my church home group I am leading reading and analysis of C.S. Lewis' classic "Mere Christianity". I profoundly love it to my surprise. I tend to hate religious books which I thought this was. Actually, it is collection of radio programs that were an appeal to non-believers utilizing logic in the tradition of ancient Greek logic and debate and rhetoric. I enjoy his intellectual approach. The spiritual elements to God and Christianity are so deeply rooted that it is hard for me to talk about them viscerally to unbelievers who are dead on many of the levels I am alive and their frame of reference and mine are so different I sometimes despair to know how to approach them when discussing these matters. "Mere Christianity" addresses this very matter this very way. 

Speaking of God And All That

I realize I have not talked much about my relationship with God thus far this year (maybe not at all) nor much down the stretch last year. The same goes for my once and former and yet future column "Scripture of the Day". You will see it again soon! I have not lapsed in my relationship with God and continue to grow but chronic sloppiness in time management generally and specifically in regards to setting time aside each just for me and my Creator to commune both in prayer and in reading Scripture has led to some stunted growth issues. However, that is not to say I have not been growing and moving forward within God's plan and generally getting closer to him even if at times it has been an ugly and asymmetrical process to watch.

Older Than Dad Ever Was

This past April 15th I turned 44. It feels strange now being over five years older than my father lived to be. BTW, I can assure you 44 is the new 24. Just sayin'.

Oh the Horror!

I have begun to hear my peers refer to themselves (and worse yet, ME) as "middle aged". What dolts! Everybody knows middle age begins at 50... oh fuck, that is in six years. Nevermind! I'm depressed.

Something I'm Sick Of... celibacy. I was not cut out for it... tis not a gift God gave me. My life has been one giant white knuckle experiment in celibate terror. If at any time you find me grumpy and abrasive now you know why. Of course, I don't exactly plan to go out and fornicate because the only thing that would make me feel worse than my ongoing self-imposed squandering of my sexual vitality would be to have unwholesome and unmeaningful sex with someone I am not madly in love AND lust with and with whom God does not approve I be with both generally and physically. That being said, although I don't have pending egg expiration issues like my lady friends my age, I do really, really wish to enjoy sex while everything still optimally works and I don't know how much longer that will be the case. Whatever! Thanks for bearing with me while I got that TMI off my chest.

 Personality Patterns In Conservatives & Liberals

As some of you well know, I can be a real pain in the neck online when people are speaking or acting stupid. Just today I got accused of being a troll by some social conservatives who not once addressed the substance of anything I said... but at least they did not block me or unfriend me or report me. I generally don't suffer fools gladly.... well, except my own self quite obviously. I have noted that in very general terms with the understanding there are plenty of exceptions, that a great many Conservatives are pig-headed and stubborn not to mention more likely to be less-educated than their smarty and smug Liberal counterparts. Conservatives seem more prone to arguing to the bitter end even when they are dead wrong and getting exposed as such.  However, with that being said, I have also noted a rather quite distinctive behavioral trend and cultural personality trait in Liberals: they are complete pussies! I am losing track of how many of them have unfriended me on Facebook or blocked me on Twitter or banned me from their Yahoo Group or their sub-reddit on Reddit. At least Conservatives, for all their flaws, will face you and take their lickings instead of taking their ball and going home like petulant children.

Don't Assume A Rainy Winter

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the ongoing evolving El Nino Southern Oscillation condition in the Pacific Ocean. It has great promise and at times this past spring looked even more potent (to an ominous degree) than the 1997 event at the same time of year. That being said, we are in the negative phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and when that goes on El Ninos are less frequent and less potent than in the positive phase of same. The 1990's was during the positive phase and we all remember all the El Nino winters of 1991-1993 and the infamous El Nino of 1997-1998. By 2009 we were in the negative phase of the PDO and guess what happend to the El Nino that year? It got gobbled up by the PDO and nothing noteworthy happened precipitation-wise in California that Winter. That is not to say this El Nino will suffer a similar fate but it does mean we should not count our chicken before they hatch in regards to the precipitation possibilities this coming rain season.

Rockhounds Roundup Is Moving!

The Santa Lucia Rockhound's show committee voted tonight to move our 24th Annual Rockhounds Roundup show (of which I am it's chairman/director) from the Pioneer Park and adjacent Pioneer Museum (where it was held the previous 23 years) up the street to the Mid-State Fairgrounds. This has set in motion a great number of tasks for me as planning for his change will begin in the morning when I meet our club president at the fairgrounds to discuss our options with the fairground management.

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