Healthy Choices

Tim O’Reilly twittled about a talk at a conference, regarding “systemic” change to cities and food choices to enhance health. Really? We can’t afford healthy, long-lived people! What this country needs is sick people, real sick people, people with low cost, short time-to-death diseases and infections. That’ll solve our employment problems and our long-term social welfare funding issues, all in one go. It won’t be as effective as the big rock from the sky with our name on it, but disease has the advantage of not damaging much in the way of physical infrastructure. Fewer people, faster commutes!

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After the busy weekend, I had a long day Monday, too: 14 hours at the office. I could take the rest of the pay period off, and still be over on hours. But there’s too much work to do, I’d just fall further behind if I stayed away. The last couple of evenings have been eaten by schoolwork, catching up on 3 days missed due to work, and one new class starting. I’m learning to program in Java! So far, it’s a lot like C, except syntax heavy and slower.

I did validate a regular polygon area calculation algorithm by using an approximation of the unit circle (a 100-side regular polygon, sides of length 0.0314152965 – it matches to three decimal places. A 1000 side polygon matches to 6 decimal places). That’s fun!

School blues…

So, I took Monday off entirely. Well, almost entirely. A patch of ceiling needed primer, but other than that, I did nothing but read, relax, watch Mythbusters, and take care of the dog. That’s unusual for me – usually I take time off and break myself with chores and whatnot. So, that was different. Then, Monday night, Marcia returned from a four-day Michigan trip, where she had a good time.

However, we have a busy weekend planned, so I needed to knock out all of the school work, leaving precisely nothing to do later in the week. The last two days, I took a half day off each, and got all the reading, (virtual) classroom work, and the paper done. Yep, a five-pager is now done, I think. I just printed what I consider to be the final draft, and backed up the file. I’ll read it again tomorrow, and maybe change a word or three, then turn it in.

The downside of all this is that I’m really not enjoying the class. I’m not a social sciences kind of bloke. But this one or a class very much like it needed doing for the general education requirements, so here I am. Three and a half weeks to go in this course, and I’ll be taking a Java-based programming course in the latter half of this Fall session. That’ll be more interesting to me, I suspect.

No guilt at all

Last night was fun – in between the chores we got to visit with Marcia’s friend and former manager Judy, who was in town for a Peace Corps event. Out to supper at Mi Hacienda, then the girls had a nice chat while I finished up the trash and did some school work.

We were up at 0530, and Marcia ran Judy down to the train while I confused the dog by walking her early on a working day.

What I’m not feeling guilty about is schooling some of my fellow students in the Social Gerontology course. At least one of them took exception to my language in my posts and responses last week. Frankly, it isn’t my problem if their vocabulary isn’t up to snuff. And if they want to have attitude about what I say (as opposed to the words I use to say it), well, that’s their right. But assholes with attitude rarely get useful constructive criticism from me, later in the class.

Of course, on occasion, I am the asshole with an attitude, but I strive always to use the “I” rather than the “you”… but the difference is lost on some of these kids. So be it.

Lexi Pictured Here

Lexi loves the camera

Lexi loves the camera

Lexi especially loves the new camera. I’ve been researching DSLRs for over a year. What I wanted and what is prudent are two very different things, too. I’ve held back from buying a D7000, since I’m not a “serious” photographer. But I want to take much better pictures than I can with any of our other cameras. So when a great deal came up at BJ’s, I plunked down for a Nikon D5100 kit with a couple of lenses and a bag. I’ve supplemented that with a spare battery, a 35mm prime lens, a filter, an SB400 flash, and a diffuser for that. More pictures as worthwhile ones appear.

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I don’t think I mentioned this previously: I made the Dean’s List again this year. If I maintain this level of work, I’ll finish up with all A’s, and another year on the Dean’s List before I finish up next December. I just hope I manage it before the Mayan calendar runs dry!


A is for Appropriate

I would have said awesome, but the ‘A’ that I got for each class this summer was more tiring than awesome. Survival of challenging course work is harder at this age, and with a full work load besides. On the flip side, I’m certainly better organized, more motivated, and purposely successful than I ever was as a student previously. On the gripping hand, since I started at this last death march to finish a BS, I’ve accumulated 16 straight ‘A’s. Only eight more to completion (unless I calculate the courses wrong, and end up having to take one or two more… Don’t make me tempt fate!)



Or another starts-with-an-`I`, like Irene (and a bit like another `I`-storm: Isabel of 2003) … regionally, we’re sure taking it on the chin. Earthquakes (okay, a tiny one by left coast standards, but still), now hurricanes. Plague of locusts, anyone?

School-wise, I’m still waiting for the second grade to drop, the instructor promises tomorrow afternoon. Next class starts on or about 12 September: a class on Gerontology. It’s one of a few that fulfill a specific general education requirement I’m lacking. Later in the Fall session, I’ll be taking a class on Java programming. That should be fun.

I think I’ll walk the dog and collapse. It’s been a long week. Ciao!


Well, that’s summer session done. By noon this morning, I’d taken both finals, come back home and mowed the lawns front and back. Then I replaced Marcia’s broken fan/light in the sewing area. A productive day. I should have grades in a few days, but I think I did well enough to get the A in both courses. Eight more classes and I’ll be done (unless I’ve counted/calculated wrong – hard to know until I file for graduation in late Fall, 2012).

Anyway, slept badly last night (pre-test jitters, weird), and busy today: very tired now. Ciao!

Down to the wire

Summer session is wrapping up for me pretty quickly. Final assignments for both classes are due this weekend, so I’m taking a day off work to work on school. I’ve got to do a PowerPoint (blargh!), and normalize a data set, as well as write a 600 word paper. In a perfect, undistracted world, I could accomplish all that today. I hold out hope…

The Fall session starts for me in mid-September, with a course on Gerontology, which fulfills one of the remaining general education requirements. I finally got around to buying the book today, and the list price aged me considerably: $157.00! Seriously? I guess that’s how much you have to charge for the book you write when you’ve got a PhD in Gerontology and no real other source of income, eh?

Creepy Thoughts

I was in the chair at my dentist’s office on Wednesday morning. I chose not to tell them what I thought of as I was falling asleep the night before…

I’m talking to my dentist.

“You know, I was looking on the Internet, and found evidence that 90% of problems with teeth originate with the gums.”

The dentist nods in agreement, and I continue.

“So I found a couple of sites that made specific recommendations, and followed them. I got a fresh #11 X-Acto blade and cut all the gums way, way back. Once the screaming and bleeding was done, I think my mouth felt a lot cleaner, and healthier, too! See!”

I grin an awful grin, and the dentist recoils in horror.

I told you it would have been a bad idea to relate that vignette to the dentist, and especially not to his temporary hygienist (the regular Terese was gone on holiday, she ‘gets’ my oddball sense of humor).

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Tonight I finished up, I think, the second project in my database class. I’ve sent it in by email for review, on the off-chance that they’ll offer useful advise this time. It’s not due until the 24th, but better ready early than late.


GOLD! Errr, Vegetables!

Cucumber, beans, and tomatoes: Hurrah!

Cucumber, beans, and tomatoes: Hurrah!

It’s getting to be happy veggie time, fo’ shuzzle. This evening’s haul was everything I could fit into and balance on top of a stainless gallon bowl. Sure looks pretty, right? It’s delicious, too. I put tomatoes and green beans in with my pasta and chicken for supper. Absolutely superior. Soon … Salsa. Another week, perhaps. And out front, the tiger lilies are once again spectacular.

Tiger lily, up close and personal

Tiger lily, up close and personal

The day’s gone fairly well, too. The temps are down 10 degrees from the peak a couple of days ago, and the humidity is down, too. I was able to walk Lexi after supper without breaking a major sweat. After helping out with Marcia’s appointments today, I made a big dent in the next database class project. The “hard” stuff is done, now I’m just making up fake data and proving that I can retrieve it again. While many students are using the Oracle 10g instance running on one of the school’s big Solaris servers, I’ve downloaded and installed Oracle 11g Express Edition for Linux. Works like a champ, although I’ll bet dollars to donuts that Ubuntu current isn’t an Oracle supported platform, eh?

Back to the grindstone mines. Ciao!