Monday, May 31, 2010

Foodies, Let's Celebrate

Because now there are TWO channels devoted to food. Cooking launched today. If you're on Brighthouse, it replaced one of the Travel Channels.

Then again, I didn't need to know there's a second place to visit about food, there's a lot of studying I need to do!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Suzanne's Soundtrack Sunday

It has been mentioned many times here that I am a big fan of Billy Joel. I think I've even mentioned what is my favorite song.

This one is appropriate to showcase here, on Memorial Day weekend. Thank you to those who currently serve, have served and to those who wait at home for their loved ones who are overseas.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It Figures

I asked Game Teen about a dinner selection the other night, and he said he wanted Chicken Legs.

The conversation was slightly amusing, in that I asked if he wanted the Sweet Chili legs, since thats the way I usually make them for him, with the end result typically seeing him consume five of them at one time.

He tells me no, he just wants PLAIN ones. "You know, Mom, the ones you always make." I explain that I either fry them or make the sweet chili legs and then he says he would like them the usual way.

Tonight, I made the requested menu item-and he turned his nose up at them. First, his excuse was that they were too greasy (um, no, these are baked, there isn't any grease on them.), then he says he's full.

Note to self: don't mention the things that go into making the food he likes, otherwise, Game Teen will suddenly dislike them.

Oh well, I suspect Ed and Chef are happier that there are actually leftovers this time!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Feed Me Friday

Feta, romaine, red peppers, vidalia, pecans, blueberries and Aldi's house vinagrette. YUM.

Even Biology Can Be Fun!

**Hello, Dr. El-Rady's Students. Thanks for visiting to see my take on your homework questions!**

This is one of my homework questions for the Biology of Humans, and my answer:

4)The parody religion called The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster uses a very interesting correlation between pirates and natural disasters:
“You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature.”

Can the scientific method be used to prove or disprove this pirate/disaster correlation? How would this be done? (6 points)

Yes, it can be disproven.

The way to do this would be to track other things that can relate to shrinking pirate numbers since the 1800’s. For instance, other modes of transport have been invented and used , such as trains, automobiles and airplanes. As a result, travel via boats and ships, especially over long distances, has become a novelty.

We observe that there are less pirates today than there were 200 years ago. Then, we question “Why are there less pirates?” I hypothesize that the decrease in pirates is due to the increase in other modes of transportation. Then, we might predict that the more cars, trains and airplanes we use, the less boats and ships are used, which provide less opportunities for piracy.

Then, we would conduct research by logging car registrations, number of trains and planes in operation and ships register by ten year intervals. I would then log the number of each on a graph.

In addition, we can correlate the increase in global warming to the proliferation of the increase in these other modes of travel, all of which use fossil fuels which warm the environment. At the same time, we can track the global temperature on that same chart to show that it is increasing in proportion to the growing number of transport devices that emit pollutants that contribute to global warming, as opposed to ships that relied on the wind for locomotion.

Finally, less ships traveling the world’s waterways makes piracy a less lucrative livelihood, and those formerly interested in piracy as a profession become multi-level marketing executives and officers of Enron instead.
The question makes me wonder about Pastafarians, though. Do they eat pasta? Honestly, wouldn't it be bad to eat your diety?

***1/18/11 I seem to be getting a lot of searches out of USF for this question lately!! This was my SUBMITTED ANSWER to the question for the class. I posted this because I found Dr. El-Rady's question humorous. Be aware that my answer was submitted via Safe Assign... ***

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A New Semester, New Things to Learn

All four classes have 'met' for the semester, and the learning continues. Some of the knowledge I've gained:

The Psych of Learning textbook introduction suggested reading chapter 11 first. If it's that important, why isn't it chapter 1? Anyway, the chapter delved into ways to improve remembering what you've learned. Many of the tips are already employed, but it suggests a modification of one.

Instead of taking time with each flash card, do a speed round for one minute, several times a day. If you remember what's on it, it goes in one pile, the rejects in another. The method will result in remembering more, and much faster than the old way.

It also says that if you've got a list to remember, instead of drilling yourself until you can go through the entire thing without errors, keep going. The more you work on what you've learned correctly, the more it embeds itself in the brain.

Also, for the past month, I've been reading un poco español, listening to un poco mas español, but very little hablando o escribiendo. Last night, I was thinging "ayi, yi yi!," because there is so much that seems to have drifted away in that month!

Here I was, thinking I had picked up so much, but at the same time, I forgot just as much. I'm spending an hour a day on it every day from now on-and trying to get some classmates together for practicando nuestos español!

One class is new to the online format. Our e textbook (and weekly quizzes) are hosted by the publisher's website and it seems to not want to let me through. Now that I've registered, when I launch from Blackboard, I get a lovely little message "Thank you for logging into a premium content area. Please close this window and go back to your course." That sounds like "you are in a restricted area-GET OUT!" to me, but I've been assured that I the registration code I used shows me as enrolled in the course.

Three machines, two operating systems, one tech support chat with the publisher and three emails with the professor later, I'm STILL not able to access the quizzes that are due tomorrow.

The lesson? I'm glad I didn't wait until the day they were due to register and try to get into my course content.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm back to trying to access that course!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Decisions and Celebrations

Twenty six years ago, I applied to a college by completing a paper application-and waited three weeks for my decision to come in the mail. *Note-rolling admissions and I waited until the rush was over*

Twenty years ago, I applied to a second college by completing a paper application-and waited two weeks for my decision to come in the mail. *Again, rolling admissions and the application was done in June, when college admissions departments aren't too busy*

A year ago, I applied to a university by completing an application online and waited six weeks for the letter to arrive. This time, it gave me information for getting online and continuing my enrollment process in that manner.

Four weeks ago, I applied to graduate school by completing an application online. It was almost too easy, because I applied to the school I currently attend. Today, I got my answer:

I have been Admitted to the Instructional Technology Master's program, class of 2012!

Now I've got seven months to figure out how to pay for it all, but I'm sure the packet will give me information on that front. But I'll bet the mailman likes the fact that we don't stalk him for those fat envelopes anymore!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Droolworthy Deal

It's that time again!

The boys and I were near scouts very early today, so we decided to kill some time in the mall. As there is an Apple store, we ventured in to look at the goodies.

We all gravitated towards the various toys, me to the MacBook Pro that is an asset for a student in the grad program I'm headed for, Chef towards the iPod Touch he covets and GameTeen towards the iPod Nano he wants because this version plays video and his does not.

Well, the signs were hard to miss. If you're headed back to school, buy a Mac (any Mac) and you'll get an 8 gig iPod Touch for free. They'll prepare the rebate before you even leave the store.

Can you understand why we tell the staff "we'll wipe up the drool before we leave the store"?

Oh yeah, if you're tempted, you have until September 7th...

Monday, May 24, 2010


When I was a kid and beginning to cook, there were two pans that we were given free rein with-the cast iron frying pans that had been my great grandma McC's. I learned how to make home fries in them, fry up leftover spaghetti, make a roux and countless other things. If we had burgers as kids, they were always friend in those pans because nothing else gave them a crust like the cast.

When my mom was consolidating her New York house when she sold it and was moving to Florida, each of us kids was asked if there was anything we wanted. The only thing I wanted was one of those cast iron pans. Alas, two of my siblings beat me to them.

Those pans were dark black and nothing stuck onto them. One of my first purchases for a kitchen of my own was a pair of similar pans, but I knew nothing of curing them and had no idea that the ones I'd grown up with had been in use for probably 70 years, which is why I could use Brillo pads on them with no ill effects. The ones I bought soon had rusted so severely that I pitched them out.

A few years later, a little wiser and more savvy to the ways of cast iron cookware. I picked up a Lodge Chicken fryer (a larger pan than the old ones) when Homeplace went out of business and set about curing that bad boy. It took about five years, but eventually, the pan itself had a rich, black patina, while the lid was the original gun metal gray that it appeared when they first came out of the box.

For years, I had my go to pan for home fries, crab cakes, home fries, empanadas and anything else that needed even heating or a good crust on it. Then, we moved into the rental house, with it's flat top stove.

A few months in, and that surface was scuffing up, even with the smoother surface of the newer cast iron. In my brief tenure selling appliances, I discovered that the manufacturers usually don't recommend using cast iron on ceramic stove tops. Despite being careful, there were a few scuffs that did not come up when I used the ceramic cleaner. (In my defense, it appeared that the landlord was also a fan of similar cookware)

Last fall, we replaced Mom and Jane's builder's grade electric coil stove with a nicer ceramic topped unit. When we moved in, I didn't even get to use our well-loved Lodge on it, but her dutch oven found residence on the stove while we awaited getting some shelving units to put some cookware. (I swear, despite the kitchen layout being the same, these cabinets are substantially smaller and my stuff doesn't fit!)

In barely two months, I noticed it happening: scuff marks. A half hour of elbow grease later, I got 95% of them out, but one thing is clear: if I use this bad boy, my stove will look like crap pretty darn quick.

Anyone out there successfully use cast on ceramic that wants to share their secrets?

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've got a virus. Rather, my computer has one. It showed itself today by telling me my security protection was out of date, and when I clicked to close the message (grammatical errors and all), it launched "Antispyware Soft", which was telling me I had dozens of infected files. I run Ad Aware and Spybot regularly, so this thing must have taken hold in the last week or so.

This one is especially insidious, a trojan that, even after you remove all the components you can find, it still can replicate. There's one especially resistant file (~DCD9.tmp), that tells you that it is in use in another program when you're attempting to delete it, then when you go back in the temp directory, there are more.

The appropriate security programs have been updated and I'm running a scan. Yippee.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Aquatica Again

Chef's best friend recently informed us that he, too, has a Busch and Aquatica pass, so we made plans for a day enjoying the waters of Aquatica. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for it: hot, sunny and few clouds to be seen.

The nice part about the kids getting older is that I could let Chef and his best friend go to their preferred attractions, Game Teen could do his favorites and I could alternate back and forth-or spend time reading a textbook in a central location.

Electronics, water and sand do not coexist well, so the only pictures I got today were right before the boys got out of the wave pools for the afternoon:

I had fun with Game Teen in the wave pool, showing him that when I stand with my back to the waves, the current draws me to the back of the pool, but when I stand facing the waves, it doesn't happen. This prompted him to turn around and let the current take him where it would.

There's a new ride this year, Omaka Rocka, but I didn't realize that it was joined into an old favorite, Whanu Way. This is the view from beside the wave pools.

Game Teen had asked to go visit Loggerhead Lane, a raft ride on a lazy river that has branches that take you past either the Commerson's dolphins or tropical fish. I agreed and told him to report back after he'd done a circuit or two. A half hour later, he returned to tell me that he decided he wanted to try Tassie's Twisters, a really cool ride you can only enter from Loggerhead. It looks like and acts like what happens when you flush a toilet, with your raft spinning around a giant 'bowl', before you drop down the center and back into Loggerhead Lane.

All of us spent time on the most favorite ride in the park, Roa's Rapids. It's been said here before that if we could spend the whole day on that river and come out little pink prunes, we would.

I know it was a good idea to go when on the way out of the park, I've got three boys thanking me over and over. It's likely we'll be taking Chef's friend with us when we head over there this summer.

And no one got burned, so it was a banner day!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Feed Me Friday

I had plans for tonight. The family favorite pepperoni roll has not been made in months, but it was 97 degrees outside when I was going to make the pizza dough and I was NOT going to warm up the house with the oven.

Grilling was a possibility, but Chef has been lobbying all week for Chinese food. Ed agreed that it sounded like a good idea, so instead of cooking, the house remained cool and the take out place made our dinner. Appearing below, my meal, Pork with Garlic Sauce:

After doing last week's mystery shop, I was intrigued by the drinks placed before me and visited the Bacardi site, where I found the recipe for that Florida Sunset, although it was presented with a different name. The preferred take out place is right next door to a liquor store, and the next thing you know, I've got the ingredients.

A cool house and a cool drink? I'll take it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Postcard Perfect Day

Ed and I headed over to Clearwater Beach to do a secret shop today. The weather was glorious, one of those days you picture in your mind as being an everyday event in the Sunshine State.

While it was nice to drive down the Causeway and see the end result of the construction, and to walk along the beach before lunch, the best part was to have a great seafood meal that Chef (aka Crustacean Kid aka Poacher) wasn't bogarting! I think this was the very first time I had crab legs I did not have to share.

I could get used to postcard picture days and meals that I don't share!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One Way My Kids Are Different

The average kid is probably excited if Mom says hot dogs for dinner, because they're not going to be subjected to a meat they don't like.

My kids aren't that jazzed about hot dogs. No, they'd rather have these:

I'm lucky I grabbed one before the two of them had dinner tonight, because they went for seconds and a third (with his brother complaining that there wasn't a third for him, too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Once Again, We Search

When Game Teen was placed in his current program, we were told that the program was a long term one. We met with the social worker and she didn't mention that they were not, because she'd worked with his former school many times-they knew it was short term. Most students stay there one marking period. At most, they're there for two, then they go back to their home school.

Problem is, he's headed for high school, so the previous school is not able to have him return. So here we are, in the position of school shopping. The good thing is that his current teacher encouraged me to apply for the McKay scholarship and get him into a private placement. I was told of several local schools that would be a good fit for Game Teen's needs.

Then, on the McKay site, I found a school that is the Cadillac of programs for kids on the spectrum. It is residential and day students. They offer scholarships for financial need. The question is, would the scholarship cover the balance of the tuition above and beyond the McKay?

That question isn't answered yet, but today, Ed and I toured one of the schools. From the website, it didn't appeal much. However, when we got there, we found out that the site was woefully out of date and it's not a surprise-everyone is extremely hands on in working with the students. It looks like it's a really good fit for Game Teen.

We'll find out on Monday, because he will spend a day 'shadowing' the students.

I'm still looking into those other placements, which the director encouraged us to do. If the 'Cadillac program' can work with us, it will be decision time. As he's getting older, Game Teen's opinion will factor heavily.

One thing is certain-wherever he goes, it will be his last school, as all of them are equipped to educate him for the next four years. He'll actually spend more than two years in one placement.

As such, we have to choose wisely...

Monday, May 17, 2010

And It Begins Anew

Today begins my latest semester.

However, it's two online and two on campus classes, so it didn't feel like it. this week, I'm on campus one day, and the other class begins next week.

As is typical, there is a book issue to start the semester. One book is on order, and is anticipated to show up at the college bookstore on Thursday, with the first two assignments from it due on Friday. The professor put PDFs of the first chapter online for us to use, but we cannot access the e-content without purchasing a code or entering one from the textbook.

The instructor seems lively. This is his first time teaching web based content, and the content hints at a great sense of humor. Incorporating a homework question around The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Inspired.

It's a good thing, too, because it's a 1000 level course and the workload is massive for a lower level course. I need humor to get around the fact that I have a quiz, a two page reaction paper, and two other assignments tied to this class each week!

The other web based course, on the other hand, just expects us to read 3 chapters, take a test. Wash, rinse, repeat. One on campus class is supposed to be laid back and the other is semester two of Spanish. The work load is what I'd expect from a five credit class.

So, the break was short, but that's okay-I'm happy to be back.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Love is in the Air

Love bugs, that is.

For the past week, Chef has come in the front door of the house and groaned "Love bugs." They are the pesky insects we Floridians encounter for three weeks each spring and again in fall.

Today, I picked him up from camping and the car was being attacked by the little pesky things. So, Chef starts talking about them.

"Mom, one of my friends pulled them apart from each other and the two flew away." Apparently the kids feel bad that they are stuck together.

"Mom, why are their butts stuck together?" Before I could answer, he answers his own question "Oh, it's to make love bug babies, isn't it?" Saved from a conversation I wasn't quite ready to have! Then he starts in on how it's all about the continuation of the love bug species.

Then the ten year old twist, "What if they fart when their butts are stuck together?"

Do bugs even fart?

I had my kid back for 15 minutes and already he was finding a way to crack me up!

Saturday, May 15, 2010


One child is off camping this weekend. This means the house is a lot quieter. No battles between the two, no yelling at someone to stop the monologues about Pokemon, no nagging me "I want to watch Chef play XYZ, but he says he doesn't want to play."

What did I do? Surf the net, and read while floating in the pool. It was very nice, but I figured it would not be a good idea to take a textbook into the pool, so I grabbed a paperback and lounged around for a couple of hours. I've got some toasted body parts to show for the experience.

Now, if only the neighbors who were enjoying their pool at the same time had better taste in music. About five minutes after I got into mine, they started cranking the stereo and it was an afternoon of Roxette, Michael Jackson, and other artists that aren't on my preferred list. Oh well, can't have everything.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

It started with those words, and then today, when I saw this on a friend's Facebook status:
Please put this on your status if you know,
or are related to someone killed on Alderaan when it was obliterated by
the Death Star. My wish is that people will understand that the Empire
is a band of murdering scum. The Rebel Alliance wants only to bring
peace to the galaxy, but the evil Empire continues to kill innocent
civilians. 93% won't copy/paste this. Will YOU make this your status for
at least one hour?

and I had to add it to mine, because it made me chuckle so much. That's when the fun began.

-comments about "Suzanne, use the Force"
-one friend saying he was afraid to put that in his status, lest the Empire find him, he'll just be a quiet moisture farmer

The friend who posted it had one of his friends stating that she'd missed the memo, since she was drunk in Mos Eisley. Or was it Maw? I commented that she was a brave woman to spend time in that hive of scum and villiany, and off we went on that tangent.

It's cool how, thirty three years later, we all identify with Lucas' story and can have some fun with it.

I just wonder how many of us end up watching one or two of the movies every weekend because our kids are also fans...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Things I Like About College

I probably could have returned to college several years sooner, if I had been willing to go the 100% online route. I wasn't. Online schools been a great avenue for several of my friends, but for me, at least half of my classes needed to be in person.

I'm glad I did it this way. The main purpose for having a campus is that I wanted a place to get involved, to feel like school was a home away from home. I chose wisely, because that has definitely been the case here. There are plenty of things to do on campus.

Getting involved: I applied for and was selected for a group, this upcoming year I'm the chair. I enjoy getting to know administration, faculty and staff-and I love knowing all the people in the administration building. I worked on the play and have another in the works for the coming year.

Making friends: An unofficial goal was to make at least one friend in each class. A benefit to our small campus is that there are less students and we tend to interact a lot more than the Tampa campus (but I've made friends there, too).

This semester, I had a five hour gap between classes on Thursdays. Instead of driving twenty miles home and back (and wasting an hour), I'd stay on campus. As the semester progressed, my classmates/friends figured out the location of my preferred study spot and soon, they would trickle in and we'd spend time before class studying, especially before those tests. It was great to brainstorm the week's assignment with others.

And this week being a semester break, you'd think that things would be quiet on the school front. Instead, I've been helping out with orientations for incoming students, chatting with a friend on Facebook to find out how her school related community service in El Salvador is going, talking on the phone with another friend as much as we were all semester long and playing Lexulous with a former (and future) professor. Finally, between her and Janet, I've got people who will play Scrabble with me!.

Part of me asks why I didn't do this sooner, since I'm getting so much more out of this experience than I've put in. Perhaps I needed to wait, so that I would have this experience with these people.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What's For Dinner Wednesday

One of the things (if there is anything) that Ed and the boys dislike about my return to college it's this: I'm not cooking as much during the semester. Regular readers of the blog have probably noticed it, too, because WFDW has been absent since January.

It's back, for two weeks, anyway.

To combat the fact that I'm in another classroom for the months of June and July, I'm thinking of moving the food related posts to Friday. As in "Feed Me Friday."

The meal I made tonight is one that I've featured before, but it's always a hit in the house. Some leftover London Broil, garlic bread and mozzarella and we're full. Except I didn't have any mozzarella, but I did have a brick of cheddar.

You know what?

A meal I've been making for over 25 years (and Ed has enjoyed for 23 of those, because it was frequent party fare for my friends) has been elevated to 'this is the BEST' status. Who knew that switching a good melting cheese for seriously sharp cheddar could make an old favorite even better?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Mind at Rest

Doesn't stay at rest for very long.

The first day of semester break, Friday, was spent on the grading issue I mentioned Saturday. (and the jury is still out on that grade.) Saturday, I pulled out the CLEP exam study guide because I felt extremely guilty that I wasn't studying.

All weekend long, it was like I was playing hooky, that there were assignments I was supposed to be working on. Yesterday, thanks to Ed getting his birthday off, I got to spend most of the day with him. Still had that nagging voice in the back of my head that I should be studying, so the CLEP guide came to graduation with me.

Today, a quiet house and a beckoning pool. It would be best to take a swim before the boys arrive home from school and lob splash balls at my neck and shoulder (not intentionally, but still not pleasant) Ed picked up a pool float for me last week and believe it or not, laying on that helps the neck. I get out there, laze on the thing, enjoying the blazing sun and cool water-and the mind starts nagging me. should see about that Biology textbook, since the class starts Monday.
...0h,, and find out if Cindy signed up for the class with you, too.
...shouldn't you read the three chapters of Ab Psych NOW, so that if the Bio text arrives late, you're ready for that first test on the 31st?
...How about that Spanish that you said you'd write every day?
...and that other Psych class.

Lounging was a bad idea, how about swimming laps. I'd forgotten that I did a lot of thinking while swimming those laps every day in high school. The nagging voice telling me to study reappeared at lap 3.

I lasted a total of half hour in the pool.

And read a chapter and a half of one of those textbooks tonight.

Oh well, it's probably better that I'm getting it out of the way now.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Congratulations, Class of 2010

Tonight, for the second time, I worked graduation for my campus. It's an enjoyable activity, as we assist frazzled graduates before they march into the theatre to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance." This time, I had a bunch of friends among their ranks. Next time, I won't be working, I'll be participating.

Before I know it, December will be here!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

MIssing Mom

It's been over five years, and I still want to pick up that phone and call. I'll see something in the store and know that you would have loved it. Or will hear a song and smile, remember you warbling along off-key with the radio.

Yesterday, I looked at Chef as he happily swam in the pool and it was like I was looking at your face. He's always struck me as looking more like Ed, but when compared to a picture, the eyes and the smile were so much alike.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom. You are missed.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Rest and Relaxation

The first day of summer vacation (we're not counting yesterday, because I got wrapped up in a couple of school related items) were spent in the pool, vegging online, running errands with the boys, making the much longed for but no longer available Cholula wings and listening to music.

And the whole time, I felt guilty that I was not studying. I'll probably get right back into relaxation mode the day before I have to head back to that first class next week.

Oh well, it's probably a good thing that I'm constantly thinking I have to be reading a textbook...

Friday, May 07, 2010

Almost, but Not Quite

One of my classes this semester was Motivation. Those of you who have known me in real life for years are probably laughing that I felt I needed to learn about it, since I was the one trying to figure out what motivated my employees so that we could all achieve the store goals. It was a great class and yes, I learned a lot more about a topic that some might say I'm a little overenthusiastic about, at least in the work setting.

At the beginning of each semester, I sit down with the syllabus for each course (that I actually read and mark up all semester long) and look at the grading criteria. If the instructor uses a ten point scale and the total points I can earn equal 500, I'll note that I have a 50 point buffer with which I can still earn that A. Take a test, get an 88, I note that I now have a cushion of 38 points left to still earn that A.

It's a method that works well for me, because I walk into that last exam knowing exactly how many points I need to earn that coveted A. Last semester, I bombed the last Research Methods exam and figured I got a B, because I knew I had done poorly when I walked out the door. (It was an A-, and I was happy)

Typically, in the college setting, a guideline will be established and written as to whether students are graded on a 10 point scale, a 7 point scale or some other method. As there is no stated criteria at USF, departments and/or instructors are left to establish their own cut points for grades. I've been told several times over the past year that the Psychology department unofficially uses the ten point scale, but it is not listed anywhere.

The majority of my classes use that ten point scale, with three (Art History, Spanish and Developmental Psych) stating that they use the 7 point scale. For kicks and giggles, I just looked over the syllabi for eleven courses. Ten of them list a grading rubric-one does not.

Guess which one?

In it, there is a statement that tests and the term paper are graded on a 50 point scale, for a total possible of 200 points. He offered ample opportunity for extra credit, which I took advantage of when I did poorly (by my standards) on his first exam. Throughout the semester, he said that at the end of the semester, you just would divide your total score by two and that would tell you the official grade. Too bad we didn't know what those cutoffs were. Shame on me for not noticing this earlier!

Operating under the (incorrect assumption) that his cutoff was based on a ten point scale (as only one other Psych professor has used the seven point), I walked into that exam thinking I needed a 30 for an A. I got a 36 and figured I was fine. The grades got posted and I had a 93 overall. Even on the established method of the 7 point (on the USF and PSC campuses, even), 93 was an A.

But it wasn't. Apparently, in Blackboard, the default cutoff for an A is a 94. I did not know that there were defaults or that instructors wouldn't use their own grading criteria, but I do now.

I got an A-.

Yes, I should be happy with it, but I'm disappointed in myself, for missing that A by one point. Especially if I had KNOWN that a 94 was the cutoff and not a 90, I probably would have put even more effort into my studying.

As much as I like the course and really enjoyed the professor's lectures, I almost felt he was missing the point of one of the key topics we learned about. People have an easier time working towards and achieving their objectives when they are clearly stated.

I learned a lesson from that one point: verify what constitutes an A before you start working towards it!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Bellini, Anyone?

I'm celebrating, so why don't you join me and Ed in an aperitif?

I took my last final of the semester tonight. Typically, the professor doesn't post our grades for over a week after a test. My friend Jessica and I left the exam at the same time and talked about sweating whether we made the A for a week or two. She suggested going back and asking her if she'd check our grades (which she did for Jessica the last exam, because she was the last to finish). We walked back in and I asked if we please could find out the grades.

Sure enough, she graded the papers for us on the spot and then for the last half dozen classmates as they finished their exams, too. Three of 25 questions wrong...and I GOT AN A OVERALL.

That means I earned an A in each of the five classes this semester.


So, help me celebrate?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin

This is what roughly 1,600 miles per month gets you on the odometer.

Back to studying...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Oh Well

I had hoped that the House episode last night would have shed more light on this disorder I have that I still don't know a lot about. The only thing new I recently discovered (and was pinpointed in the episode) is that the coughing attacks I get nightly when I lay down? Those are a manifestation of Chiari I Malformation.

In case you watched the episode and still wonder what the heck Chiari IS, check out the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke's web page

From their web site, here is a list of symptoms: (I highlighted what I know or suspect are caused by mine:

Many persons with a Type I CM do not have symptoms and may not know they have the condition. Individuals with other CM types may complain of neck pain, balance problems, muscle weakness, numbness or other abnormal feelings in the arms or legs, dizziness, vision problems, difficulty swallowing, ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, vomiting, insomnia, depression, or headache made worse by coughing or straining. Hand coordination and fine motor skills may be affected. Symptoms may change for some individuals, depending on the buildup of CSF and resulting pressure on the tissues and nerves. Adolescents and adults who have CM but no symptoms initially may, later in life, develop signs of the disorder. Infants may have symptoms from any type of CM and may have difficulty swallowing, irritability when being fed, excessive drooling, a weak cry, gagging or vomiting, arm weakness, a stiff neck, breathing problems, developmental delays, and an inability to gain weight. (What they did not list here, but it does on another site is that adults with CM also may have a hypersensitive gag reflex.)

For an hour of network tv, not bad. As a means of giving more information about a disorder that most people don't know about, not so much-especially since they didn't even name Chiari Malformation until the last 3 minutes of the show.


Monday, May 03, 2010

Sunny Day

Where I am:

Where I want to be:

At least the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and I can enjoy these while I study!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Conan, Back on the Air

Yesterday, Conan was allowed to break his silence on what went down at NBC. Tonight, he was interviewed on 60 Minutes. If you didn't get a chance to see it, they've posted it.

I'm bummed that the tour wasn't coming this way, but look forward to finding him on the air at TBS soon.

Back to studying...