4/22/2011

Hello All, John here.

It’s sunny out– Well, it won’t be for long so I have all the shades open to soak in as much as we can!  Truly can not tell you hope much you get sick of drab skies around here…  The locals keep telling us that this is an unusually wet year, and that soon the summer will start and it will be beautiful.  We’ve seen glimpses of that, but wow–  I never thought one would miss a Cold Snowy Wisconsin winter, at least you guys get sunshine!

So not much going on–  I went to the Oral Surgeon yesterday for my consult.  I am finally getting my three remaining wisdom teeth removed.  They have been bothering me now for a good two years and now I have had enough.  The Dr. seemed like he was competent, this is for the most part all he does.  He did mention that he mostly only does teenagers…  But that outside a slightly longer recovery time it should go just as planned.  My appointment is for Monday afternoon.  I will be “put out” for the procedure–  there is no way I could deal with it otherwise, so it is well worth the extra money.  The estimate came in at around $1,500.00  Yeah– for what he thinks will be 40 mins work!  Ugh.  Seriously though I thought the price was pretty much in line with what I have read on-line, and in-line with what I paid 10 years ago to get the other one removed.  About $500 of it is to put me to sleep.  The great news is I am on Derek’s insurance, which includes the dental plan, and they will pickup about $1000.00!  So, when we were bitching that he had to take a pay cut to take the permanent position–  The Bennies are really paying off!   In any case, Derek will leave work a little early Monday so he can be there in case something goes wrong and to drive me home, since I can’t drive afterwords.  I am sure the next 10 to 20 days will be just brilliantly fun.  The Dr. gave me script for 4 prescriptions to get filled beforehand.  One is a anti-bacterial mouthwash I need to start using tomorrow, another is for 3 (yes exactly 3) pills of antibiotics, and a third is pain medication, which is a generic of Lortab.  Never heard of it, but know it is a narcotic similar to Vicodin.  He also gave one for Vistrail, which is supposed to make the Lortab more effective and lessen the nausea.     I have had Vicodin last time I had this done, I took it once, it made me really sick and the pain was easier to deal with than the meds were, so we will see how this will go.  Not a huge fan of narcotic pain meds…  If all goes well I’ll post the Oral Surgeons name and info afterwords, but so far I like the Dr. and the Practice.

School–  Well this Session is over.  I finished my last exam on Tuesday.  Not sure how I did.  The exams were pretty brutal, all of them.  I should have grades back by the 28th, which I am really chomping at the bit for…  So my observations, prior to getting them back:

School–  DeVry is expensive, but the flexibility is unmatched.  They have a process, and follow the process, but the ability to literally attend class anywhere in theory should change the world.  The process seems to work, as I did do quite well so far, however I won’t know until the final is back.  I do think there are still some intrinsic problems with on-line learning, and even through they try to minimize them with heavy reliability of discussion forums, the idea of doing real networking in the eCollege environment hasn’t happened yet.  That doesn’t mean it will not, as I haven’t put a ton of effort in it either.  The school has been great about getting Finical aide sorted, and getting me signed up for classes.  Making certain I am happy, etc.  I only ran into one “bitchy” person when I was having a tech issue with MyScribe, which is the “eReader” software that DeVry uses.

MyScribe is a piece of crap software.  It crashes frequently, and is simply a pain to work with.  My biggest gripe with the school is that they force you to use MyScribe.  You can buy real books, however, when you are charged $80.00 plus per class to “Rent” the eBook, it is a hard justification to buy a real text book.  The problem is that MyScribe is not portable (can’t use it on ANY ereader) nor is it stable.  They do have an HTML option to use connected to the internet, however that is like dealing with 1000 page web page 1 page at a time…  Again, not a great tool for use of a textbook.  I have complained several times, and keep getting the same response that many people are unhappy and the university is test another product called Vital Source.  I downloaded Vital Source, it seems slightly better, and it does have an iPad app, but not sure that is the solution either.  I just don’t understand why they can’t work something out with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or even Apple and just use their already usable products?  WTF people think a little! Mostly I am pissed that they do this with questionable ethics–  They know a majority have problems with MyScribe, yet they force us to pay the “Electronic Material Fee”.  At very least, give us the choice until this is sorted out.  If we want the broken eBook, fine, if not, let us keep our $80.00 to put towards textbooks.  This session, I decided I was going to have a portable solution either way.  I decided to order used books form Amazon, which for both classes came to less than $60.00, not the $160.00 I was charged for the useless eBooks.  I will be writing some formal letters yet this week, and see if I get anywhere…

My second big bitch about DeVry is they made me take COMP100.  I argued with the adviser at the time, saying it was a waste of my time and money, but he insisted that this class must be taken at DeVry, and there was no test-out option because these are skills that all DeVry students must master.  I find out now through face book that some are allowed to test out.  Thanks for wasting my time and money DeVry.  While I appreciate the GPA boost, it was truly a waste of $1300.00.  Seriously this class covered the bare basics of M/S Office 2007.  About 1/2 the class needed the class, great that is why it is there.  The other 1/2 were with my camp, and didn’t really see why we were in the class.

I think most universities today are along these lines of the professors having very little control over the content, or format and are really reduced to nothing more than paper graders and facilitators.  The three professors I had were all competent and friendly.  Any questions I had were answered near immediately mostly in email, although all of them posted contact numbers and all but one actively encouraged us to call anytime if needed.  I think DeVry is very strict with the “Rules” of the courses, as   2 of the three would not release grades until Wednesday when they had stated they were done grading on Sunday.  That is annoying.  Just release them already.  Another thing I miss from “Real” school is there is no basis to compare yourself to the rest of the class.  While hiking to campus to find your grade plastered on the wall next to the classroom was inconvenient, I do see some value to having some sort of class ranking, or at least offering when the median grade was.  I also am not sure I am fond of the grading system in general.  Each class is set to make up a standard 1000 points.  So throughout the 8 weeks you know exactly where you stand in points earned vs. potential earned.  First, there is no way to achieve more than the 1000 points. No Extra credit, which I get is the ‘Fair’ way to manage the process, but it seems a bit stagnant to me– There is no encouragement to be creative or to do more than just average–  Though in fairness to the system, I do hold “Average” at the A level…

In the big picture, all went well.  I know I passed all my classes, I just am not sure how “Well” I passed them.  I will no doubt be completely devastated if I didn’t meet my goals…  especially with as much effort as I put into it.  Sigh.  I will keep you posted!

Ok–  So now I will leave you all with a picture of Prince.  He has been quite the needy little shit lately–  Here he is in attack mode, waiting for one of us to walk by to play–

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And a pic I took a while back of the Dark Skies and frequent rainbows…

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So have a good day!

John

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