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Dennis Eric Stout
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Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Calculus 1; 92.5% on Exam 1. We've covered limits. That is all.

Government (Federal); 96% on Exam 1. We memorized the constitution, went over the process for affecting change within the system, and covered some history on how the consitution came to be. It amazes me how many people "know" how things are supposed to be and are pissed off over how they are, even though it's spelled out clearly how things are going to be. But you know, that's what you get for listening to other peoples interpretations of things rather than reading the actual document itself.

Physics... found out I do not require algebra based physics for my degree, I'll have to take calculus based physics later so I dropped this class.

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I have been selfish and ignorant.

To start at the beginning.. This time, 100 years ago, children did not regularly attend school. Life was not as complex then, and a person could begin work as young as they wished if they were to lie about it. And paperwork could be easily forged, and so the liability had been lifted from the shoulders of corporations. Wish a lack of education, their job prospects were not that great, and they would live the life of the poor.

The way out, of course, was education. But to be able to afford an education, ones family had to make enough to get by. They had to work hard. And so it is today; mothers and fathers go to work and toil to eek out a living, and children are expected to attend school and become educated and eek out a slightly better living than their parents, such that all of humanity perpetually heads toward some greater good.

The system is a sham, to be sure. Teachers continually demand higher and higher wages, while giving less and less education in return. They concieve systems where they "be nice" to the students, allowing them to pass because they put out the effort. And if that isn't enough, they apply curves and such to the system so that one can hide a failing student amongst the good.

Here is the plain and simple of it all: A course should be designed so that the average student will retain about 70% of the material, hence a 70% average. If students are continually getting A's in a class, more material should be added. If they're continually failing, then material subtracted. There are several methods to corrupt this system; grading on curves covers up a professors failure to teach material, and asking obscure questions on exams in awkward ways artificially lowers grades to cover up a lack of teaching. More exist.

And so it is.

Now, here I am, with drive to learn. I buy books, I read them, study them, and work out the problems towhich I have also purchased the answers. I have paid tuition at a local college so that I may have someone to ask questions when I have them.

The courses are worthless; the teachers are usually inept. How are the poor and uneducated supposed to get ahead, when the very people who are supposed to educate them are equally uneducated? The standards system is obviously failing; the requirements to be a teacher are a masters degree. So the poor, uneducated person goes to school, where another poor and uneducated soul teaches them and stamps a pretty emblem on a pretty sheet of paper, and the poor and still uneducated person wanders on, believing they are now educated. But the falicy is that one cannot pass on what they don't know.

And so it is.

So how am I selfish? My mother paid for my education, and paid for me to live while getting that education, and once employed, I spent the money I earned on things for me. I bought a car, I moved, I bought a house... and I bought things to put into the house, and married a woman and spent more money on more things. And she? She is still paying for the education she has given me.

So the right thing to have done, which I can't do now because of the responsibility I have chosen to take on, is this:

Upon moving here, I should have taken immediately to a 24-hour gym with shower facilities and made my home between it and Coffee Oasis; living off the facilities, eeking out small meals that could be easily carried in a backpack, using the free-wifi and drinking coffee. All of this is within walking distance of work, so it would not be a problem to keep my car parked somewhere.

With no responsibilities at the time, I could have saved lots of cash and spent it on loans, both mine and my mothers. And how would I have spent my time? To properly answer that, I have to answer a different question first. At present, I spent the last 4 years entertaining myself with stupid online games and lolcat pictures. Instead, I should have spent the last 4 years reading and learning and studying, even if not at a university. I can buy any textbook I need digitally now, so the entire collection could be carried with ease.

Then I could have entered a marriage properly; debt-free and care-free, with several more years worth of learning under my hat.

But I was too ignorant to not be selfish, and so it is.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Dear Dad;

It's been a while since I wrote, but I think of you regularly.

I met the most beautiful woman a few years ago; her name is Nancy. She's a fun character. Our first date was at the Bodyworks exhibit in the Houston Museum of Science. I introduced her to mom and she won approval. You never met them but I also introduced her to the Derners; they approved also. Since she has everything, I hiked her to the top of Lazy Mountain...

... we watched some fireworks...

... and I stuck this ring on her finger :)

We got married last April, on the 2nd.

Things have been going well, and then this turned up in September (though the picture is from November):

We don't have a gender yet, but we'll name him "Richard" after you or "Carol" after her grandmother, depending. You're going to be a grandfather!

I've been in school for the last few years. The goal is a B.S. in Computer Science. You didn't approve of me dropping out of school, I know, but here I am, back in school and getting straight A's. You hear about prejudice of the North against the South, and when you enter the schools, it's no wonder. But maybe, as smart as I am, I can gain some influence over the area and turn the place around - really make some improvements or something.

My job is going well. They're paying for most of my schooling, I'm not in any danger of being laid-off any time soon, and they tried to promote me a few weeks ago but I couldn't take the new position because of health insurance. Maybe they'll get that fixed, maybe not.. I'm willing to let them try; it certainly can't get worse really.

You bought the family a camcorder a long time ago. I don't know anything about video equipment from back then so I don't know if it was an awesome one or a cheap one or what, but it recorded video and that certainly was neat. Not long after we got it, it disappeared... Someone pushed me into trading it for a skateboard, and then I never got to even ride the skateboard. I didn't know what I was doing tho, so I hope you forgive me.

I dunno what to do about John. He's always abused me, physically and psychologically. He's always excluded me, and the only times he ever included me was when he was pretending so he could lure me into another round of abuse. A few years ago, he told me he was tired of having to come to me for help on stuff, even tho he never did come to me for help, then went and got his own service and demanded that I help him make it work. In the process, he took things away from me and refused to give them back. I tried negotiating, but he refused to give them back whether I cooperated with him or not. For moms sake, I tried to help him but then he refused that and hung up.

Since then, I've demanded that he write me a letter of apology for it. Specifically, for him to recognize that he demanded I help him after he told me he didn't want to come to me for help, and for him to recognize that he wasn't being fair in his negotiations. I have demanded he apologize for those things and to describe why it was wrong, why he thought he could do it, and whether or not he'll ever do it to me again.

From what I have gleaned of the situation, he is trying to teach me how to deal with the world. Based on what mom has told me, I think she thinks this also. In the real world of business, these things are easy to deal with. If it's an unfair trade, don't make it. And if someone is doing too many raw deals, they eventually burn too many bridges to stay afloat. Easy. I can handle that. So why he feels it's necessary to do this to family, I don't know.

Unless maybe he thinks I'm dumb?

Anyways, I'm refusing to interact with him until I get that apology, but it doesn't seem to be coming. It's becoming a wedge, and I'd like the issue solved, but I don't know how.

They recently sent some kind of a gift. I threw it away and requested that they not send anything else my way unless it's an apology. I think they thought I wanted an apology for the gift, but that's not at all what I was referring to.

I feel awful, but I don't know what else to do. I'm not willing to subject myself, knowingly, to that kind of abuse and all I can gather from his lack of apologizing is that he doesn't feel the least bit bad for it.

Some direction as to what is right would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Your loving son.

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Chemistry, I got a 93% on the final exam and a 101% in the class for an A.

History, I don't know what my final exam grade was but my final grade is an A.

Math, I got an 89.5% on the final exam and a final grade of A.

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

History... again, this is actually the 3rd test in the class, but it lined up with the fourth exam for all my other classes so I'm just pretending it was the 3rd exam that never existed. I got an 80% on the test :( I don't really remember what we covered, which is probably why I got such a low grade. I mean, I know that in general, we covered reconstruction of the South. I know the major things like Lincoln promoting General Grant because he didn't ive a shit about people, he wanted to win.. I remember that Lincoln didn't give a shit about freeing the slaves, but was determined to save the Union.

Math; we covered adding and multiplying Matrices and building a matric out of a set of equations. Apart from the "Oh, neat!" factor, I'm not entirely sure where I would apply these; systems of solutions are much easier for me to handle. I do see where the concepts of Matrix math work into building arrays in programming, so there is that.. I got a 97% on the test. Mostly what I missed were silly things. In one problem, I used a "3" instead of a "-3". In another problem, I circled my final matrix as the solution to the problem instead of the ordered triplet. Both of those are silly mistakes but I guess, yes, they were mistakes. Another point was lost when I wrote "Orders do not match." for the answer to a problem that involved adding two matrices together. The teacher counted my answer as "wrong" and said I should have said "Not possible". Uhm... Pretty sure I implied thta by not trying to answer the question, but hey. To move a score from 97% to 98%... not worth quibbling.

Chemistry was stupidly simple. We covered shapes of molecules, hybridization of orbitals, and the ideal gas law. Herp. 103% on that test.

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Okay, my history class only has 3 exams, versus 4 for my other classes.

My chemistry is slipping! I only got a 97% on the last exam :o Joking aside, we covered quantum mechanics on single atoms. We're supposedly going to cover quantum mechanics of molecular systems too, but judging by this guys pace compared to the course syllabus, I don't think that's going to happen. We're covering the Lewis dot structure now... I think this course would have been better if we started with that and worked the other direction. If I stop going to class and get a 0 on the final exam, I'll pass the class with a 70% so it's pretty well impossible for me to fail this class.

I got a 101% on the math test; we covered logarithmic and exponential functions, graphed them, split "complicated" logs apart into simple ones, combined bunches of simple logs into "complicated" logs... then of course there was the traditional move the graph left, right, up, down, shrink it and expand it. Next, we're going to look at solving systems of equations and matrices. I got news for her; I learned solving systems of equations and matrices back in middle school >:)

Because my next history test lines up with the 4th exam for my other two classes, I'm opting to say we did not have an exam 3 for history.

I've also seemed to have taken up a new hobby of collecting calculators. I have a simple one that's great for most everything but graphing, and a graphing calculator. Then I lost my simple one so I bought another in the same series but with different features; it does systems of equations and matrices where-as my old one did not. Then I found my lost one. And my graphing calculator is "too awesome" to use on exams so I got another less powerful graphing calculator for tests from my wife, which is odd because the stuff that makes my graphing calculator too awesome is stuff we don't use in this class, so... So that's 4 calculators: TI-36X Solar (my awesome simple one), TI-36X Pro (not so awesome but it does do systems and matrices, so..), TI-83 graphing calculator which my wife loaned me, and a TI-89 Titanium which I can't use because it's too good at doing stuff we're not covering in this class.

Also, as an aside: I have found that my math book has answers for all the odd numbered problems in the back, so when I have to teach math to someone, it'll be that much easier to generate a homework assignment.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

I got a 112% on my chemistry test; we covered grams, mols, conversion between the two, acid/base reactions, redox reactions, and such. Easy stuff.

I got an 89 a 95 on my math test. We've done so much that I don't recall exactly what was on that test, but I know we drew graphs and translated them up, down, left, right etc along with stretching, shrinking and all. Still moderately easy, I just lost points through a lot of silly mistakes. I think I had a headache that day, and I don't know what the extra points were for.

Those tests were a long time ago. I just had a history test and got the grade today; 92. We covered everything post revolutionary war to the beginning of the civil war. Where I lost points was not being able to remember if the first two political parties were the Federalists and the Republicans who later became the Whig party who later became the Republican party again, or if it was the Federalists and the Whigs who turned into the Republican party. No big deal really.

And next week, another round of exams.

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Lame. In math, we talked about the slopes of lines and how to determine slope from 2 points, or a second point from one point and a slope.

/me facepalms

I don't remember what we did in chemistry... nothing I haven't seen before though.

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Anyone else experiencing slowness? LJ was quick and then it wasn't :(

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

First round of tests this semester. They almost all lined up, sort of. Within a few weeks anyways.

Chemistry, we covered moving decimal points left and right by either multiplying or dividing by 10. No joke. We also talked about rounding numbers. And a sort of system for naming molecules, but it was by no means complete; we covered the bit where you call the cation by name and the anion by "whatever sounds appropriate". What? Whatever sounds appropriate? So if I think NaCl should be sodium chloromate, that would be correct? So uh, good thing I already know how to name compounds. Just so everyone else knows I know, yes, NaCl is sodium chloride. I got a 107% on the test. I think he needs to learn how to round properly because I did miss 1 question... Now we're all the way up to balancing chemical equations. Why do I feel like I'm back in high school?

American History was cool, we discussed the colonization of North America starting with the Spanish and their mission system, progressing on to France and England moving in, the war, and finally independance. I got a legitamite 85% on the test, but with bonus points, I got a 95%. Yay bonus points! But I'll have to study a little harder. On the plus side, this guy teaches the class in a way I've never seen history taught before. He has entire skits he performs to make us truly understand what was happening, even if we don't remember exact dates or names of specific acts.

Math, I got a 94.5% on the last test. There were only 17 questions; mostly what I missed were partial points for little brain farts here and there. I don't know how to describe what we covered. I could say systems of inequalities, systems of equations, graphing, functions and such but that's the same as I did last year. This was a little more indepth. I still already knew it, but hey. Still not out of high school here yet either.

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

I was discussing with my mom a while ago about the mentality of the current workforce. Due to the economy, a lot of people have begun doing things they wouldn't normally do, or putting up with things they wouldn't normally put up with, because "I'm just glad I have a job".

This empowers the employer. It allows them to control employees more than they have before, which leads to an erosion of salary and benefits.

My wife's employer has been treating her poorly since the day she began. They don't publish a schedule any more than a week in advance, her schedule for next week has absolutely nothing in common with this weeks, and whenever she's on the closing shift she gets asked to stay late to complete oddball projects. They also have dropped the management function of finding a replacement for herself onto her if she needs time off, since she is a part-time employee and doesn't actually accrue vacation time.

My employer treats me poorly by giving me management tasks without giving me management powers, demanding 8 hours of productivity from me while refusing to give me a decent work plan, and disallowing me from doing anything to further my own education while telling me I need to further my own education.

To that end, we each opened fire this week. We were expecting a large shipment that required someone to be at the house to receive it. Since I am in college, it was decided she would stay here and receive it. Since she ended up being scheduled to work that day, we figured the response to the lack of prior notice would be to have her call in sick. This gets around the problem of not being able to get someone else to cover her shift while guaranteeing she has the day off to be here. The morning of delivery, her boss called and said left a message on the machine saying "Help, so-and-so called in and we need someone to cover, please make it in early!". She called back and said "Sorry, I can't make it in today!".

My boss gave me a work plan today and proceeded to tell me why I cannot work the first item on the list. I interrupted him and asked him why he was giving me a work plan with stuff on it I can't work. He said the work plan was printed off two hours ago and he just got off the phone with engineering.. and my response was to tell him that he needs to take it off if I can't work it, and he got huffy. He said that sheet of paper is the pass-on but he thought he would be nice and tell us what we can't work on and that I need to cross it off the list. I told him crossing things off the work plan is a management function and unless he promotes me, he needs to cross it off himself. I put the paper back on the table and left it there. He eventually crossed the item off.

So there you have it. The opening shots.

I don't know what my wife will ever hear of hers, it was a subtle attack that should not generate a response but will show up in someones metrics. If they're watching their metrics. If they collect the right metrics.

I already heard enough to know what effect my shot will have; other managers have told me that the particular manager I am assailing is standing on a smoldering bridge with a bucket of gasoline and that upper management is just waiting for him to get tired of holding the bucket.

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

We got married on the 2nd :) It was a nice event; the ceremony itself was short. I know the reception and dinner and all were 4 hours long, but it just felt really really short. That aside, lots of awesome.

The first words spoken after the ceremony were by the flower girl, "That was the WORST. WEDDING. EVER." *dead pause as everyone stared* I don't know who, but someone asked "And why is that?" to which she replied, "Because THAT BOY OVER THERE WOULDN'T STAY AT THE ALTER WITH ME!" (she pointed at our ring bearer, who is all of 3 years old). Cutest thing ever, I thought! They were the only kids present; later that evening, the ring bearer was playing with little toy excavators and bulldozers in the restaurant and she collected rocks for him to play with. And she hugged him. He didn't seem to mind her much either, so I jokingly told both their parents, "They're next!".

The bridesmaid is concerned a little boyish by Texas standards; we call it normal back in Alaska though. Long story short, her picture of herself in the dress the bride picked out has so far accumulated 38 "omg HAWT!" responses from her friends on facebook, so I think I can state entirely objectively without making any brides jealous that she looked amazing.

The bride of course, was even more amazing ;)

We had a slide show with a bunch of different pictures from both our families.. A lot of the ones with me in them also had my dad. I miss him still and wish he were here.

My aunt was crying at rehearsal. She also started quilting us an entire bed set, which is awesome :)

My best man rented a Dodge Charger. We played around with it a bit the day before the wedding.

I think a lot of people have a severe misconception of what exactly marriage is and means, so I thought I'd toss my two cents out there. Marriage is a state of mind. Sure, there is some paperwork, but that's all optional and only effects the legal condition of things. Marriage is a state of mind where over time, you come to realize that all of your goals are synonymous with all (or at least most) of your significant others goals. It's also a realization that every time you go do something, you instinctively grab that other person and they go with you. And when they go do something, they instinctively grab you and go to it. There are no questions. So that's when you're really married. What is the wedding then? A wedding is nothing more than a ceremony to announce to the world that you _realize_ you're married. It is not the start of the marriage, it is not a pivotal point in a marriage, it's just a ceremony to announce, and possibly congratulate the discovery of, an already existing marriage. Nothing changes afterwards. Anyone who thinks it does is not ready for it.

I love my wife, we were wed on April 2nd of 2011, and nothing changed :)