Saturday, May 24, 2008

I exercised some cherished American freedom today and made a belated trip to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, the country's largest publicly operated firing range, which is conveniently located just 3 miles from my home. Here are a few quick pics:

My shooting post, with my tiny Walther PPK/S .380 Auto sitting atop the block.

Some considerably larger fire power to my immediate left.

Even more impressive fire power to my right. Suddenly my penis seems very small.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Allow me to introduce Richard Doucet.

Richard and I went to junior high and high school together, though he was a couple of years ahead of me. He was considered something of a phenom back then. An excellent student and a precociously gifted orator, Richard led our high school debating team to their first provincial championship. He also won numerous national and international accolades for debating and public speaking. He was elected President of the Student Council and was named Student of the Year. By all accounts, he was a bonafide rising star who was well-liked by both his teachers and peers for the most part (I thought he was a sanctimonious prick, but I digress…).

After he graduated, some of my friends and I found it strange that he chose to pursue an education degree, rather than follow another path befitting his enormous talents, like law school and a sure fast-track to Parliament. In retrospect, perhaps his choice of profession arose from sinister motives. You see, Richard, who teaches elementary grades at an exclusive Montreal private school, was arrested in Fredericksburg, Virginia last week after soliciting sex over the Internet from a cop posing as a 13 year old boy. Now he’s facing a 20 year jail sentence and some serious anal raping if convicted.

I’m not one who shocks easily, but this news was a real stunner. Granted, I didn’t know Richard all that well; it’s been nearly two decades since I last spoke to him, so I wasn’t privy to any signs of his “alleged” perversions if there were any to be detected. The point is we don’t really know who the surreptitious pedophiles are walking among us. I certainly never would have pegged Richard for someone with a penchant for pre-pubescent t-bagging.

This guy, on the other hand, I would have spotted from a mile away.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

It's over...finally.

After 16 1/2 months of studying, I now have a Masters degree in Information Systems, with a 4.0 GPA and a 98.44% cumulative average to boot. On paper that means I'm a genius. In reality, I'm just another victim of the grade inflation trend that seems to be running rampant across academia these days. I'm certainly no expert in my field, though I did learn a few things that might be useful going forward.

Overall, my impressions of grad school, particularly The University of Phoenix, are mixed. To echo sentiments I expressed in earlier posts, UOP certainly is not a degree mill, as a substantial amount of work does have to be completed in order to satisfy their program requirements; however, the quality of the education is sorely lacking. One of my biggest quality gripes is about the school's insistence on the use of learning teams. Here's a sample of what I typically wrote to my instructors in the course evaluations about these so-called "teams":
1. What are the most important concepts you have learned from the Learning Team experience?

None. I can state confidently that the learning teams are a complete and utter waste of time. In most courses my classmates have been either too preoccupied or too clueless to add anything of value to my educational experience; in fact, I think the learning teams detracted from my educational experience at UOP. Perhaps if the university had stricter entrance requirements the learning teams would be comprised of higher quality students, which would enrich the learning environment. As the entrance requirements are virtually non-existent, I believe many of my classmates are grossly unqualified for graduate level studies and may in fact be mentally handicapped.

2. How will you use this learning to improve both personally and professionally?

I didn’t learn anything from the Learning Team experience that would serve to improve my personal or professional aptitudes, other than to hone my ability to make honest assessments of my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, and not to trust otherwise intelligent people to follow basic instructions or own up to their responsibilities.
My other big complaint is that there seemed to be a wide variance in quality between courses, though this may not be a UOP-specific problem. Some instructors were quite engaging, while others pretty much phoned it in. Some course materials were well-researched, timely and salient, while others were dated, redundant and irrelevant to the topics at hand. Most of my classmates didn't seem to notice or care about quality variances. For the amount of money they were paying, roughly $2000 per course either out-of-pocket or through loans, you'd think they would pay more attention to such things. Thankfully, I didn't pay one red cent for this program, otherwise I'd be livid.

Now that my attention can be turned to other things, my first priority is to find a new job. I currently commute 70 miles round-trip daily and it's killing me. The only reason I endured wasting nearly 2 hours of my life each day was to get the free education. This has got to stop. Plus, there are credible rumors swirling about that several good people with whom I work closely will be jumping ship real soon. Without them, my job gets a whole lot harder. I'd rather take my chances elsewhere than work with the people who are likely to replace them.