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The end is nigh!!!

August 7th, 2010 | 4 Comments | Posted in America the beautiful, School, The wife and I

Posting has been super light because not only is the end of the semester coming next week, but the end of my life as a student (again).  That’s right.  After this all my classes are done and all that is left is for me to finish my thesis and submit it to the committee for review.  So, while classes are officially over, I still have quite a bit of work to finish so I can get the piece of paper.

Now, I came here for the skills, which I have learned, more than the piece of paper but the paper will be nice to have too, so come December I’ll be either flying back out here or video conferencing with the board to get the final box checked.

Why December?

Well, it’s this little thing called “You took on a huge project”.  See, what I thought was going to be a manageable project size turned out to be a lot bigger than I thought the more I worked on it.  Details that I hadn’t thought of came up and items that seemed fairly simple turned out to be pretty complex in the end.   Doesn’t mean I won’t get it done, just means it is going to take a bit longer than I thought it would.

That’s been my problem through school though, really.  I get ideas that are possible but just out of my technical reach.  It does force me to learn and push, but at the same time the goal is to do a project within reason and not dive off the high board to see if you can do it.

In any event, it will get done, it’s just going to take a bit longer.

Oh, and that part about video conferencing the review.  Well, we (meaning the wife and I) have had just about enough of this area to last a lifetime so we are going to be moving out of here and to Austin, TX area.  It will put us right between her family and mine, there is a strong art and game design community there, and Texas allows concealed carry so it fits with my attitudes pretty well.

We’ll take lots of pictures of the drive.  :)

Don’t know much about history

February 3rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in School, WTF

And if North Carolina has it’s way, it’s students will know even less

As the North Carolina curriculum stands now, ninth-grade students take world history, 10th-graders study civics and economics and 11th-graders take U.S. history going back to the country’s founding.

Under the proposed change, the ninth-graders would take a course called global studies, focusing in part on issues such as the environment. The 10th grade still would study civics and economics, but 11th-graders would take U.S. history only from 1877 onward.

So, our children don’t need to learn about the founding of our country until 11th grade because it’s not relevant to current history?  Please tell me how our fight for freedom, the right of self determination, and throwing off an oppressive government is not relevant to today’s situation?  By 11th grade most of these students are already going to be set in their ways and not really interested in history because most will be planning for life after high school.

Also, how can you teach the history of what happened after the Civil War unless you have an understanding OF the Civil War?  This is an asinine idea that it is unimportant to teach history along a historic time line that shows cause and then effect.   There were reasons that led up to the Civil War and repercussions that echoed for generations such as the formation of the KKK and the National Rifle association, Jim Crow laws and, eventually, the civil rights movement.

To ignore the Founding Fathers and cover it with something along the line of “The US was formed in 1776 when we fought the British and then wrote the Constitution…” (which is what most students I have encountered think) is not only inaccurate, but does a huge disservice to the men and women (yes, there were women that risked all) who fought to form the greatest country the world has ever seen.

But those considering the proposal say kids will still learn the basics.

“The students are in school for 13 years,” said Garland. “They certainly are taught U.S. and North Carolina history in middle school.”

Garland says they’re making this curriculum revision process very public to get as much feedback as possible.

Now, granted I don’t have any kids but my mom was a teacher (History, English, Debate and US Government)  so I might be outdated on how many classes kids take today.  That said, my thoughts on the subject go along these lines.  Our students in middle school should focus on US History, Math, English and World History, and PE – that should be all through middle school.  That’s five classes and leaves a class open that can be filled in with electives or with a class on State History for one year and then electives the rest of the time.

High school should continue US History, Math, English and Government/Civics/Debate all four years with the other two classes being electives.

When we have kids getting out of High School who think that Vietnam happened in the 80′s – yes, I went to college with a girl who thought that.  Worse was that none of the other kids in the class had any idea what years it DID happen – it tells me that our schools have drifted way too far off course of what they should be doing which is making sure kids can think for themselves and understand how our government is supposed to work.  How bout instead of worrying if kids learn proper social justice, how to use a condom and making sure they are not only racial sensitive, culturally diverse, and ecologically aware the schools instead just teach them how to research a topic on their own, use their brain for something other than just regurgitating what is on a test, and then they can have all the self esteem they need from actually passing the class rather than being told all the time they are good no matter what.

My last question is this – Since the Department of Education was formed, government spending on education has gone up 400% and yet we have cutbacks in the school systems, test scores are dropping, and many schools are charging kids fees to participate in extracurricular sports and activities.  Where did all that money go?

Bookstore observations

August 30th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted in People are Stupid, School

Teenage Customer: “I’m looking for a book I need for school.  I think it’s a year or something like that.”

Me: “1984?”

Teenage Customer:”Yeah, that’s it!  So, what’s it about?  Is it, like, about the 80′s or something.”

Me: “Yep, talks about Member’s only jackets, hair bands, all that stuff.”

Teenage Customer:”Cool, I can handle that.”

Some people we shouldn’t even try to educate.

Cars and Time

December 23rd, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in Animation Stuff, Car Stuff, School

The semester has just ended and even though I most certainly didn’t do my best this time around I think I managed to come out of there with two B+ and a C.  The C would be in my Art and Ideology of the 20th Century class (which I really had no interest or respect in)

Problem with the class for me is that it turned out that the only ideology they talked about was the socialist ideology, which I could really give a shit less about.  If I was a wanna-be communist, then I might care about all the “workers murals” and other crap like that, but I’m not and I don’t.  If it wasn’t a required class I would have never wasted my money on it.

God damn required classes.

Anyway, I have gotten further along with some of the features on the Camaro.  We now have studio lighting, and new tires.  Even worked on the focal length for the camera to bring it into better focus.

So now we have a few version of ‘the car’ – the first computer modeled car I have ever made:

We have the original grey model

Then we follow that up with the first color version

And now we have the studio colored version with newer, and better tires

One day I may even be finished with it.

Tenderloin Field Trip

September 15th, 2008 | 6 Comments | Posted in School, WTF

I’m taking a class called Texture and Lighting I, the point of the class is to (of course) learn how to texture and light computer models so that they look as real as possible. Many a decent video game have been ruined because while the game play might have been fun and the modeling decent, the textures or the lighting, or both, were done badly enough that it affected the players response to the entire game.

For the first part of the class our instructor has given us a model of a street scene that we are going to be making textures for and last session told us to bring our cameras this time because we are going to go on a field trip to take photos to use to create our textures of the street scene. The field trip is that we are going to walk over to the Tenderloin District and walk through there taking reference photos and getting “gritty” shots.

For those of you who are not aware, the Tenderloin district is probably the worst crime area in the entire city. In the last 30 days alone there were over 813 crimes committed there, and this is an area that is only about 8 blocks by 11 blocks. This doesn’t even include homicides that might have happened, that part was disabled on the SFPD website that I looked up the crime stats.

So here is the picture for you – all the students (except for yours truly) in the age range of about 22-25, most of them not even from this country, all walking around in the Tenderloin district snapping photos with some nice digital cameras like a bunch of tourists being artsy because they are looking for things that are ‘Grungy’ and ‘Edgy’ so the street scene that we are doing will have ‘character’. Do you see where this could be headed, or is it just me? I just want to know what kind of person would take his class into an area where assault on a police officer/assault with a deadly weapon is a common theme of any police report for any day of the week.

I think I will just go to class today and when he says “Let’s go” I am just going to say no. I can’t stop him from being stupid but I don’t have to be part of it.

Maybe nothing will happen, and probably nothing will go wrong, but I didn’t survive this long by doing stupid things and relying on ‘maybe’ and ‘probably’ to keep me out of trouble. I stayed in one piece by only taking chances when there was a reason to, and getting some ‘gritty photos’ isn’t reason enough for me to walk into a high crime area that I am not familiar with because a guy who has done computer animation his whole life says that he thinks it’s fine.

Yea, this doesn’t look ‘fine’ to me. This is the last 30 days stats from just the Tenderloin. Note that homicides are not included on this chart.

Yea, what a great spot, huh.

**UPDATE**

Yep, I just headed home as we walked out to head over to the Tenderloin.  Teacher wasn’t thrilled, but he did say “Well, you’re an adult so I guess I can’t stop you.”

No, I guess you can’t.

We’re from the Government and we’re here to help…

September 9th, 2008 | 2 Comments | Posted in School, WTF

OK, so everyone is probably aware that student loans for college are all backed by the government (unless you really want to get in even more debt, in which case there are also private loans available too). Well, because the government is involved, there are also some very asinine rules that they apparently set up to make sure that we students are actually going to class before they will give us the money to go to class.

For example, I have started the new semester here in the land of Code Pinko’s and tree huggers but before the semester started I called the financial aid office and asked when I could pick up my check so I could do things like – oh – pay for books, pay rent, buy food. You know, normal stuff that you need money for and that since I was back in school full time that means I can’t work full time to earn money for all those things. Sounds pretty reasonable right? Well, I guess not because even though the semester started at the beginning of the month I was told that student loan money isn’t disbursed until the end of the month, around the 30th to “Make sure that you are actually attending class and that you don’t waste the money.”

Wow, gee thanks Mr. G-man. I have only had to sign more paperwork for this loan money than when I enlisted in the military saying that yes, I understand I will owe you my soul and my firstborn child but I appreciate you also wanting to be double-plus sure that I was actually ATTENDING class because, you know, I’m only a grad student and I’m not really sure what I want to do with my life yet. That’s how come I got my Bachelor’s Degree (Suma Cum Laude) and then applied to grad school – because I am drifting aimlessly through the world instead of working on a degree that will get me a job doing what I came here for in the first place.

To add to the layers of bullshit, when I mention to the financial aid drone what I needed the money for (i.e. books, food, rent, etc.) his response was “Well, student loans are ONLY supposed to be used for school related items.” Gee, I didn’t know that food or having a place to live wasn’t related to school.

Little asshat pissed me off so much I just gave a long pause and said “OK, since you are obviously just PLAYING at actually working in financial aid, how bout you put someone on the phone who isn’t a total idiot.”

My god how stupid can you be? I know, I am making enemies and there is the old saying of “you get more flies with honey… blah, blah” but I’ve also discovered that if they fear you they will do what you want. So, since they are too dang stupid to do something because they respect me as a student, they now do it because they fear me as the biggest pain in the butt that has ever walking into their office.

Picked up my check yesterday.