Tuesday, April 6, 2010

College Musings and Blues

I am old for a college student, in regards to my peers, at the age of 26. Until last year, I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, and things changed. For the better, or so I thought.

I have always been interested in knowing things, especially history since so much of what we know about our history is missing. Due to this, I decided to go to school in a feeble attempt to become educated enough to, hopefully, become a professor. Since the nearest college of any type is over an hour away from me, I was limited to online college classes (and still am). After exhaustive research into the myriad of for-profit schools and their shortcomings, as well as online class schedules for traditional schools, I settled on Grand Canyon University.

As a college, GCU is decent and though I worry about the quality of what I being taught, I find solace in the fact that the college is regionally accredited. Of course, they do not have a Masters program in what I the subject that I wanted, namely History, nor do they have a Masters program in the subject that I have recently decided that I would prefer to become part of, namely Anthropology. Of course, they do not even have a BA program for Anthropology, but that is neither here nor there.

In looking at the time it will take to get at least a Masters degree, the cost of getting such a degree, the job availability for such a degree, and the average salary, I became very worried. So i started to look around my area for jobs that require degrees and the prospects are not just disheartening, they are outright bullshit.

Many jobs require at least a BA in a given subject, but also require 3 to 5 years of experience. Okay, I can see the need for experience, but how is one to get said experience if no one is taking new graduates? Secondly, the wage for these jobs are at the $13/hour mark. $13 dollars and hour? Why would anyone go to school for this and spend 3 to 5 years in a similar job for the experience, when I am currently getting paid $10 an hour for a non-educated job? I do not understand why people do this and looked into my own future job field and saw that it was rather good.

However, a good friend of mine is 3 classes away from graduating from a Technical College for an Associates in Web Design and has average wage prospects out of the gate that are only a little less than the prospects someone would have if they had a Masters in Anthropology. I mulled it over for a while. I have coded 2 business websites (very basic, but they still are decent: http://www.wishwood.com and http://www.bransonrv.net) for two people that I know, so while it was done for free, they got what they paid for. I.E. an amateur.

Now I am looking into finding a school that offers such a class and degree, because while web design is not my favorite thing in the world, I find it easy and coding seems to work well with my thought processes. The only problem is, no one is offering that sort of degree in a 250 mile radius from where I live! The closest degree offered is a Graphic Design degree, but it is dealing with font creation, screenprinting, and textiles. Not that I have anything against those things, but if I want a font there are thousands for free online and if I want to screenprint something there are numerous tutorials out there for anyone to find. There is even a college (Drury College) that offers classes that are held in Second Life, but no Web Design degrees except for an 18 credit course for teachers that is meant to help teachers create classroom blogs.

I have scoured the web for colleges and technical colleges that offer the degree that I want (Web Design). I have only found one for-profit school that is not accredited (is only a "Candidate") and has some rather poor reviews (yup, ITT Tech), and one Web Design course at a local tech school that only has 1 coding class that seems to think that a 9-week class will teach someone everything they need to know about html, java, and flash to build professional websites. In other words, what I have found are jokes.

If anyone out there can help point me in the correct direction, I would be extremely thankful.

For those who think weight gain/loss is all about calories

The math is a lot harder than you think and you can go into a deficit by eating more!

Here's a metabolic ward trial that sheds light on how this actually works:

patients were put on to 2000-calorie diets of normal proportions to show that their weight could be maintained while in hospital at this level and then placed on high-fat, high-protein diets providing 2600 calories per day. It was demonstrated that these patients on the whole could maintain or gain weight on 2000-calories but, except in one instance, lost weight consistently on a 2600 daily calorie intake.

This matches my own personal experience. It's not just about how much you eat. It's much more about what you eat (and other ways of changing metabolism, like IF). I lost body fat by eating a stupid amount of calories (regardless of activity level).

You can't just calculate a generic BMR and then try to stay under that. It's irrelevant and the reason many say they can't lose while in deficit. Your body adapts too well to what you eat.

Hormones drive the system, not just volume of food.

Dresden Files RPG - Preorder and Impressions

According to the Dresden Files twitter account,

Incredible first-day response to the preorder (and it's not over yet) -- 240+ copies of Your Story, 230+ of Our World preordered already.

I, unfortunately, have not yet pre-ordered the books, but I want to oh so very much. I have read all of the Dresden Files books and am trying to get my wife to read them as well, after all, I will need to have at least one player to play the Dresden Files RPG with me once it gets here. I am in love with the tv show, even though it had a short duration, and am naively hoping that the interest for the RPG will help to bring the show back to life with at least a second season or a movie in the same vein that Firefly had Serenity.

So, what is someone without the actual pdf's to do? Live vicariously. There is an excellent thread at rpg.net detailing the impressions of those who have already pre-ordered the RPG and have digested the pdf's as much as possible. What is nice is that Fred Hicks is involved in the thread as well, offering answers to many of the questions.

And where to pre-order this wonderful Dresden Files RPG book duo? Why at Evil Hat of course.

Here's the lowdown about this preorder:
You will get a nearly-complete version of the PDF of each book you order as soon as your payment is confirmed by the website software. Instant gratification!
Updated PDFs will be made available once a final version is achieved.
The actual books will not ship out until late June/early July.
You'll be paying up front.
If you place an order of $79 or more, you'll get free shipping in the USA. So if you get one of each book, or two copies of one, you'll qualify.
For our international customers, we've dropped the estimated weight on the books by 20%. This should save you close to $10 on the shipping costs, but they're still going to be steep. Our apologies, but that matter's out of our hands. Make sure you're aware of the customs issues you may face if ordering internationally!
We're only able to take payment via Paypal. Sorry about that if you're unable or unwilling to use that service!
For those of you who want to order locally but still get the PDFs...
We are partnering with retail game stores to make the "instant content preorder" possible through their stores. This option may be particularly cost-effective for international customers if there is a game store in their country (or in the EU) able to handle the preorder. If you'd like your store to sign on board for this, please contact them, let them know about the possibility, and point them to the Evil Hat contact page to let us know about their interest.
Right now we have the following stores on board with our instant content preorder program:
USA - Endgame (Oakland, CA); North Coast Role Playing (Eureka, CA); Black Diamond Games (Concord, CA); Gameopolis (Idaho Falls, ID); Comic Book World (Florence, KY); Myriad Games (Salem, NH); Rainy Day Games (Aloha, OR); The Dreaming (Seattle, WA)
Internationally - Leisure Games (UK); Sphaerenmeisters Spiele (Germany); Mark One Comics & Games (New Zealand)

The other side of Vegetarianism

This is a hilarious take at vegetarianism, but notice I said take.

Those who are vegetarian except to not be served meat or meat by-products in any form when they come over to someone's home, as though that home is to be kid-proofed so that they will not get distressed by anything that they see there. This means leather objects must not be visible, unless an argument is desired.

But what of vegetarians when their meat-eating friends come over to their home? There is no expectation that the vegetarians will serve up meals with meat in them for their house-guests and why is that? Regardless of personal opinions on the matter, it is only polite to serve your house-guests what they prefer to eat. After all, those that consume meat are polite enough and value their vegetarian friends enough to serve them what their house-guests prefer, why is this favor not shown when it is the other way around?

And, enough of my thoughts on the matter for now, now is the time for some laughs.

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