Certifiable

OOOooo … err. Certified. That’s whut I am. The week of death march revising on RHEL7, followed by two certification exams on Friday, it is over. And most interestingly, I passed both exams, and now have my RHCE. Coming out of the building after 5 on Friday afternoon, I was sure I’d passed EX200 (the RHCSA exam), but frankly wasn’t feeling too warm and fuzzy about EX300 (the RHCE). So I was pleased as punch to learn that I had in fact passed both, and by comfortable margins.

Better yet, I learned a hell of a lot about the tools and technologies in this latest iteration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and I’ll be putting that knowledge to use in production systems within the next several months. So, that’s a good thing, too.

This weekend, I tried to stay awake, and to do some chores. I almost got enough done. What really needs doing is … everything. The house needs a deep cleaning, and the yard needs quite a lot of attention. All in good time. Oh, and while the garden isn’t doing well, it is still producing a bit:

Garden Goodies -2 Aug 2014

Garden Goodies -2 Aug 2014

Some of that has turned into salsa, we’re having more in salads, and some goes to work to make people there happy, as well.

*      *      *

DoD has announced no new casualties in the last 6 days.

And Done!

I turned in the final final, on the 33.3 year path from entering university in the Fall of 1979 to the end of this year. For the last five years, I’ve been taking courses at UMUC, filling in holes in my education, and taking lots of new, shiny, politically correct classes. I’ve had some real trolls for instructors, and some gems. This last one was much more in the latter category, but I have to note the 5-year winner of the category Best Instructor I’ve Had At UMUC: Charles Neimeyer, PhD. I have no idea how the Marine Corps Chief Historian comes to be teaching the History of War at an online college, but I’m glad I took that course.

Overall, I’m very happy with the quality and depth of education I’ve gotten these last few years. UMUC is not a diploma mill. I worked my ass off, usually an additional 20-30 hours a week, a bit more when classes overlapped. I was not the best (or perhaps not the best-behaved) of students, 33 years ago. But application of nasal prominence to gritty rotating device has meant that I’ve gotten an A (I’m assuming that I’m getting an A in the current class, since the work is done and I’m just waiting for the ball to drop) in every class I’ve taken. Whew, tiring, but very glad of the journey.

Thanks, also, to y’all who’ve been with me while I shorted this venue to give time to the studies. Many of you have sent me kind words of support, and I appreciate every one of them.

 

Work, Schoolwork, and Statistics…

If you are playing along at home, you might suspect that “Damned” could fit in for “School” in today’s word-swap cipher match. The upside for me is that I’m developing a project website that I’m likely to put into play early next year. But not to discuss until it’s nearly ready. I don’t know whether I’ll take it down the customized blog path, or go back to my beloved bespoke hand-crafted HTML approach that served me so well over the years.

Yesterday I went shopping, because I had about 5.5 hours of work to do today, helping launch a new infrastructure. That went pretty well, all things considered. The planning meetings paid off in spades, much as it pains me to say that. The work was done by about 1330 EST, and then it was back to the schoolwork. Tonight, reading for the coming week, and more tuning and content writing for the project site.

Oh. Well, I’ve actually got nothing about statistics to discuss. But it helped the headline flow, eh?

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Our condolences to the family, friends, and unit of this fallen warrior:

Cpl. Christopher M. Monahan Jr., 25, of Island Heights, New Jersey, died Nov. 26 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Beginning of the End

If you buy into the Mayan calendar lunacy, then I’ll STILL have finished my degree work before the end of the world. I’ll have five whole days to celebrate! However, since the degree won’t be granted until December 30 … That’d be hard luck. So the final class, taking me to 71 units completed with UMUC over the last five years, is called “Principles of Web Design and Technology I.” It starts tomorrow, and finishes eight weeks from today. You’d think a class like that would be a slam dunk for me, yeah? But since I’ve essentially been self-trained on everything I know about computers, there’s gaps everywhere – stuff I never had to use. So I plan on learning something from this course, as I did from every other class I’ve taken to get to this point. (Oh, the other good news is that I did get the A for the Myth in the World class. Huzzah!)

My boring weekend: A bit of work at the office yesterday in the morning, and Top Gear UK much of the afternoon. I made a batch of turkey chili in the evening. Today, shopping and house cleaning filled my day. Tonight, after this post and some supper, I’ll get started on my course: reading the syllabus again, and doing some of the first week’s reading.

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Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Spc. Brittany B. Gordon, 24, of St. Petersburg, Florida, died Oct. 13, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked her unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Sgt. Robert J. Billings, 30, of Clarksville, Virginia, died Oct. 13, in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
  • Pfc. Shane G. Wilson, 20, of Kuna, Idaho, died Oct. 18, in Khost, Afghanistan.

Capclave 2012 #FTW

I had an AWESOME time at Capclave 2012! I got to spend quality time with a number of superb authors, experts, and fans. Among the former were John Scalzi, the Author GoH – as a “Guest” he sure had to work his butt off, but since we all benefit from his work, I’ll not whinge on about it. I got him to sign The God Engines (his “cheerful one”), and I had him inscribe Redshirts to Marcia. Thanks, John! I also stumbled across Edward Lerner, Alan Smale, Allen Wold, Jean Marie Ward, Neil Clarke, and many more brilliant, articulate, wonderful people in the panels, around the tables, and in the halls at this superb small con. I recommend Capclave highly, and I’ll be back for more next year. Kudos to the volunteers who ran the con, and the WSFA, the local organization that sponsored it.

*      *      *

The penultimate class is complete, as of this evening. The grade should drop sometime during the coming week, and I’m hopeful (but not entirely positive) that the 4.0 will survive the experience. The final course of my first degree starts next Sunday. I’ve gotten confirmation from the school that what I’m taking this session puts paid to the requirements, and I’ll be graduating as of 30 December 2012. The skin which is not from a sheep shall arrive 6-8 weeks later (does that come with Ginzu knives?) So, I CAN do an eight week course on web technologies standing on my head, right?

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors.

  • Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Milton W. Brown, 28, of Dallas, Texas, died Aug. 4, from a non-combat related incident in Rota, Spain.
  • Sgt. Thomas R. Macpherson, 26, of Long Beach, California, died Oct. 12, in Andar District, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Ryan J. Savard, 29, of Sierra Vista, Arizona, died Oct. 13, in Khanabad District, Afghanistan, from small arms fire while on patrol during combat operations.
  • Cmdr. Joel Del Mundo Tiu, 49, of Manila, Philippines died Oct. 12 as a result of non-combat related injuries.

Nine Weeks Left

Ten actual weeks left in my quest to get my first BS. I’m in the last week of my penultimate class, and the instructor just cancelled another assignment. That’s nice and all, yo, but I’d been doing research and prep for it. That’s the second big syllabus change in an eight week session. Really? I would ask why, but I’d probably be angry at the answer, so it’s best to to let that one pass.

It’s Columbus Day, one of the Federal holidays my employer chooses to observe. So I’ll be using today to get ahead of the game on this last week’s work for this class. This upcoming weekend I’ll be at Capclave.

Along with finishing my schoolwork this weekend, I did a bit of design work with SketchUp to figure out what furniture I’m likely to build for my office, over the next few months.

Brian's proposed office furniture and layout

Brian’s proposed office furniture and layout

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Aaron A. Henderson, 33, of Houlton, Maine, died Oct. 2, at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit on Sept. 30 with an improvised explosive device in Zombalay Village, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. Thomas J. Butler IV, 25, of Wilmington, North Carolina, died Oct.1, in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while he was on dismounted patrol.
  • Sgt. Jeremy F. Hardison, 23, of Maysville, North Carolina, died Oct.1, in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while he was on dismounted patrol.
  • Sgt. Donna R. Johnson, 29, of Raeford, North Carolina, died Oct.1, in Khost, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when an insurgent detonated a suicide vest while she was on dismounted patrol.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Daniel T. Metcalfe, 29, of Liverpool, New York, died Sep. 29, in Sayyid Abad, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his unit was attacked with small arms fire.
  • Sgt. Camella M. Steedley, 31, of San Diego, California, died Oct. 3, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Warrant Officer Joseph L. Schiro, 27, of Coral Springs, Florida, died Oct. 6 in Chak district, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds suffered while on dismounted patrol.
  • Staff Sgt. Justin C. Marquez, 25, of Aberdeen, North Carolina, died Oct. 6 in Chak district, Wardak Province, Afghanistan, of gunshot wounds suffered while on dismounted patrol.

Counting down…

Twelve weeks of instruction left to my collegiate days. Sunday evening was full of final composition and review for a couple of things due … and I flat forgot my duty. But here I am!

Before I proceed, however, I’d like to point you in the direction of Marcia’s new (old) site: Marcia’s Makings. She’s been making lots of wonderful things, and just knows that you need to buy them for holiday gifts, or to keep yourself warm as Fall arrives… So visit

*      *      *

Our condolences to the families, friends, and units of these fallen warriors:

  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jose L. Montenegro Jr., 31, of Houston, Texas, died Sept. 5, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his aircraft crashed.
  • Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, 28, of San Antonio, Texas, died Sept. 5, in Logar Province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered when his aircraft crashed.
  • Sgt. Kyle B. Osborn, 26, of Lafayette, Indiana, died Sept. 13 in Muqer, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire.
  • Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, 40, of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, died Sept. 15, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.
  • Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27, of Kokomo, Indiana, died Sept. 15, while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Myth

My first class this Fall session is a last GER class, this one about myths and (mostly) Mythology. Frankly, it’s an agony for me, because my interpretation is that Myth is fiction that has outstayed its welcome. Sure, they’re compelling stories and all that, and as such useful for modern novelists and filmmakers to retread such stories and distribute them as “content” (a word I despise) to the cattle of our consumer society. They’re especially good for that because people aren’t educated nearly as well anymore. But analysis of myth, and and the making up of whole cultures, a whole WORLD full of cultures around some artifacts from pre-literate peoples seems a byzantine exercise in group flagellation, one that’s been going on for neigh unto 150 years.

It’s true for me that Mythology (the study of myth: that is, making up stuff about made-up stuff) is something I can regard as a victimless crime. It doesn’t generally do anyone else any harm. If your field is Mythology, then you’re not doing something really detrimental to society, like running an HOA, or making pointless laws at any level. But you’re not doing any good, either. What does your work bring to the table, at the end of the day?

“Ooooh, yah. Today we decided that Joseph Cambell’s work is a bunch of crap, because he wrote about heroes instead of heroines, and well, he’s a man.”

Nobody’s said that in my class, but I get the sense from my readings that that sort of person who might say such a thing is lurking in every corner, in this field of study. In the meantime I’m trying to accomplish the assigned tasks without understanding the language the questions are asked in.

For example, #WTF is a “cultural process of transforming myths”?

Those are all English words, yet I don’t know what that means. I could answer a question with those words in it, but I have no idea whether I’ve address the issue in the sense the query was meant. I look for that phrase in my book. It isn’t there. I looked for the phrase in my online course resources – not there, either. But this gem is: “The study of myth was transformed into the systematic production of knowledge—the science of mythology”. </snort> Science?

Finally, I’m not getting enough feedback from the right places to help me be successful in this class. Yeah, that’s a whinge, so be it. I’m having to work my ass off to get answers partly right, and get NO useful data back to make my next foray more successful. This isn’t learning, that isn’t teaching (or even instructing), it’s just an institution parting students from their money, which is a darn shame.

I may tank in this class (which is Brian-code for anything less than an `A`), and that frustrates me, too. I’d dump this class, if it weren’t for the fact that it’s my second-to-last class in my last session. I’m going to survive this and move on, but I’m angry that I have to endure a class where nothing is taught.