Alright, ya’ll – good news for student visitors: In December 2018 after final exams are all done and grades posted, I will finally be able to post up some more essays. ‘Cause I’m baa-aaack!
As intro or re-intro depending on who you are: My background is over 30 years in ministry (music director, programming, volunteer management) with an overlap of the first 18 years in contract law as a legal assistant/office manager followed by the balance in nonprofit office management, finances (bookkeeping, fundraising), more programming and volunteer management. I sum it all up as follows: “I’m a professional cat herder who is nice for a living.”
From my website stats, I can see that most of you are students who visit my page for the writing samples I post.
It wasn’t a given that my age group would automatically go to college.
So, my brain has recovered from chemo to go back and continue my coursework toward the management degree I was working on, and this semester I jumped right in with 12 credits. Business Law, Grant Writing, Social Media Marketing, and Statistics. But it’s okay; I’ve discovered that I’ve still got it. However, I was taking practice tests to study for my statistics mid-term and this happened. #sorrynotsorry #clownophobic #thefearisreal
Gearing up for the final exam this week, but fully expecting of myself to do well. Using the Stellarium software, I took a screen shot for my last homework assignment, then decided to get creative. One of the tasks this week was to research certain constellations as to their mythological backgrounds, and Draco was among them. Draco was not one whose story I was familiar with, but it’s a dragon. In fact it’s Hera’s dragon, her faithful pet dragon who guarded her super special golden apples by sleeping wrapped around the trunk so no one could steal the apples. He was her guard-dragon, her Nemo.
Well, lo and behold, Hercules is on a prove-he’s-a-tough-guy jaunt ticking off a list of twelve things somebody dared him to do, and stealing Hera’s apples is on the list. How does he do it, you ask? He just shoots and kills the dragon over the fence, and then sends in some gullible schmuck to climb the tree and get the goods. There’s a tough guy for you. Like a deliberate drive-by shooting of somebody’s beloved pet that was minding its own business in its own yard and then a looter comes into the yard and steals the homeowner’s treasure. Jerk. What a scummy thing to do. Why Hera didn’t go after him and bash his head in for killing her pet dragon, I don’t know. Those Greek myths always ticked me off. Anybody who knows me knows how I feel about people who abuse animals, so the story of the dragon really upset me. As you can probably tell. To top it all off, the Hercules constellation is positioned right next to the dragon, with the story being that he’s supposedly crushing the dragon.
Anyway, poor Hera was so upset about her murdered dragon that she immortalized him by placing him in the heavens where he encircles the northern pole, protecting it as he did the apple tree. From whom, I’m not sure, but it was sweet of her to think of how to best honour her faithful pet. I had never picked the constellation out of the sky before, but now it’s my favourite one, just on principle. Who knew Hera was an animal lover?
I decided that if I could place a constellation in the sky, it would look like this one:
Nemo would be chasing Hercules throughout eternity trying to bite him in the rump for trying to hurt the dragon.
Neat. Too bad my little binky camera doesn’t really do it justice at all. Taking astronomy this semester and will need to take my star map over to the beach where there aren’t so many street lights competing with my view of the night sky.
Blue Moon over the palm trees and street lamps 8-31-12
…….and I got an A! Got a 93 on the exam. Phew! My GPA of 4.0 remains intact. Now to breathe before Astronomy starts in two weeks.
Our first MAT-161 discussion forum was asking whether we experience Math Anxiety. For me, it’s now generally a “no” to math anxiety, but “yes” to fancy calculator anxiety! Here’s what I posted:
I took MAT-080 last Fall as a refresher course since I hadn’t had a math class in literally thirty years. I was surprised to see how much I actually remembered, but for me the stress was graphing and use of the calculator, the first of which we barely touched on in the early 1980s and the second of which was simply verboten because we did everything longhand. Period. I see for this class we need to get a graphing calculator, and honestly, that’s causing me much more stress than actually doing the homework and quizzes so far. I substitute teach at my local high school and feel confident enough after MAT-080 that I have been able to help a bunch of students understand their own assignments.
Last week I was helping in the Algebra I class and they were using the graphing calculators to find the vertex and x and y coordinates from a factored expression. Okay, simple, right? Well, I didn’t know they hadn’t learned FOIL yet to get it into quadratic formula, so here I’m showing them how to do it longhand to find the A, B & C positions, and the teacher shows me how to whip it out on the calculator the way the students were taught. I think the expression on my face looking at the graphing calculator work its evil magic must have been sheer aghastness, because one of my students giggled and said I looked like I had seen a ghost – it’s the too-smart calculators that make me anxious, not the math itself! I mean, how do I know that it’s giving me the right answer and that it’s battery isn’t weak or something?? Do I really want to depend upon that or trust my own sense and longhand processing to absolutely prove that my answer is right?? Didn’t they depend too much on the smart computer in “2001: A Space Odyssey” and look what happened there????
Be confident in your knowledge of how to work out the problems. It’s cathartic to look down at that paper and see your work justifying itself without some magic “easy” button telling you to trust it like some kind of smarmy used car saleman. My notes from the refresher class are my trusted guide for this coming semester and I can’t stress how important a tool good notes are to have for anyone feeling anxiety. Just let’s please leave the calculators out of this.
Way back in the Third Grade you learned how to give a basic book report. Over the years, you learned how to add in your own opinion and to support your opinions with outside sources. Nearly every paper you write or speech you will give in the future is based upon this basic format. Memorize the basic structure, and you will simply have to fill in the blanks of the outline. Continue reading