high-pitched squeaky-talk

In reading about ocean life, as mentioned in my previous Ongoing Letter entry, I saw this article, “How to talk to little kids“.  (No, you didn’t read it wrong.  I know the two concepts aren’t related.  But there was an ad, if you can call it that, to read the article.  And of course, being an ex-kids’-teacher, I had to click on it.)

I don’t agree with all of it, but one thing the article mentioned that also drove me a little batty when teaching kids is adults’ habit of talking in high-pitched squeaky-talk sing-song voices.  Aunts or uncles or grandparents would come by sometimes and say, in a sing-song tone, “Ohhhhh, youre speaking English!!!”  Not sure who it drove nuts more – me or the child.  The child, of course, would roll their eyes, get terribly embarrassed, and never open their mouth (in English) again while they were there.  Parents, on the other hand, would not.  Why?  I asked them to please not do that.  It hinders the overall process of learning to speak another language.  “Talk to them normally,” I asked.  They would – except for one really old grandmother who came by who spoke to everyone younger than her that way all the time.

Convocation 2018

It’s done!

I spent 3 years at Lethbridge College in the Engineering Design and Drafting Technologies diploma program.  The Convocation ceremony lasted from 1:00~4:00pm.  About 12:00 inside the “Player’s Entrance” (the back door) of Enmax Centre we gathered into groups according to program and then alphabetically.  People soon dissipated – it was obviously going to take a while.  I texted the scoreboard a picture of Mom & me and a message in case they came.  They came, but they didn’t see it.

Thanks Mom and Floyd for everything!!!  Could not have done it without you!!!

Pending application and approval, I’ll be a Technologist in Training (T.T.).  After two years of working in the field, I’ll earn my C. Tech (Certified Technologist) or C.E.T. (Certified Engineering Technologist).

preparing for convocation

Today is Convocation 2018.  It’s 10:30am.  Been keeping busy today so as not to get too nervous – doing dishes, reading the paper, doing Architecture homework.  We (convocates) should be there, lined up in order, no later than 12:15pm, so I’ll leave in an hour or so.  The ceremony is from 1-4pm.  I’ll be wearing my black gown, cap, & tassel and Lethbridge College green stole.  Good thing it’s a nice sunny day today.  It’s now 14°C and not a cloud in the sky.  My hair is cut, my gown & stole are pressed, my shoes shined.

I don’t think Mom & Floyd can make it.  Mom is pretty weak.  I know she really wanted to go, but she’s been unwell the past few weeks.  We took some pictures yesterday – Mom, Floyd, me in full dress.  The ceremony today is kind of like PBR (bull riding) in that it lasts for about 3 hours, it’s mostly sitting and clapping, and at the end of it hordes of people will be leaving.  Except this time, I’m a successfully graduated soon-to-be professional, and that’s no bull.  But I understand why she cannot go.  She has a hard time getting her breakfast and coffee down, let alone this.

I am missing my favourite formal black shirt.  It must be at Father’s house.  The last time I wore it was at Father’s viewing on Sept. 12, 2017.  It’s probably still hanging in the closet.  I’ll put on a tie – not sure which one yet – and head there early, on foot of course since it’s so close and I don’t want to fight for parking.  I’ll bring an e-book with me to keep me occupied.

I’m supposed to meet Clara there after the ceremony.  She said she’d come down from Calgary to see me.  I’m sure she has other people to see, too.  All my peeps from class will be there too, I’m guessing, except Aaron.  He said he’d not attend the convocation ceremony.  Actually, he said he’d attend as an audience member!  <sigh>  Well, maybe I’ll see him there later, along with Tyson, Randy, and my other teammates and classmates.

Gotta go graduate.  Catch you later!

spring begins, as do corrections

It’s sunny, warm, pleasant.  Yesterday I met TB & RH (my bamboo research group) to talk about our submission to the ASET Capstone project.  We all wrote blurbs about ourselves, and TB will organize it all and submit it.  I trust Ty to catch all the goofinesses such as font sizes, placement of images, etc.

I worked on the Architectural class group project.  CE, a teammate in the Stan’s Stuff – Auto Parts and More, said he could meet up and work on it with me.  It’d be a good portfolio item.  It turns out he was too busy with flooding in his house and preparing to travel.  Se, the other teammate, rarely shows up for any length of time to help.  Very helpful when he does, but it’s rather seldom.  So I’ll continue to work until it’s absolutely time to wipe the drives on the computer.  Work on what?  Corrections to assignments.  All those red marks on assigments – I’ve paid for them.  I paid money to have the instructor put red all over my paper.  I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let that go to waste.

All students’ computer drives need to be wiped at the end of this course.  They have software on them that’s only licensed to the college.  We get a deposit back when we allow this.  I forget how much – like a hundred dollars or so.  No wipe, no deposit back.  So, we’re all told repeatedly to back up our stuff and save anything we want to save on another drive.  I’ve got my server (the one you’re reading this on) to store my stuff.

In case you’re wondering, I rarely use real names here on the ongoing letter.  I don’t imagine people would want their names, faces, etc. online.  So, rather than names, I use initials.  Are they real?  Who knows!  Ha!

perspective

As I’m finishing my education and getting ready to search for jobs, I know there is so much for me to learn still.  We all come out of our course thinking that we’re qualified, have got the knowledge, will run out and do great things.

I saw a video tour of New York City from 1911 on YouTube.  They had traffic management with electric, petroleum, and horse powered vehicles intermingling.  They had trains being driven several storeys over the street, buildings so high that an engineer these days would take seemingly forever to design and build.  They had so much already back then.  We think we’re doing something new – and we probably are – but we may be forgetting that these things have all been done without the technological help that we have today.  Damn amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aohXOpKtns0   Keeps it all in perspective.

EDDT is done (pretty much)

Yesterday was my last class in the Engineering Design and Drafting Technologies program.  I handed in my last project at 10pm yesterday evening and went home.  (I made this a bigger font ’cause it’s been a pretty major thing in my life for the past few years.)

I’m sitting at 75.63% (unofficial) in my weakest subject, Process Design, but the Final Project is not marked yet.  We designed oil & gas vessels and pipelines and studied how these systems work.

I have 93.6% in Environmental Systems, my second-most interesting subject.  We studied heat loss & efficiencies, solar, psychrometrics, green building systems, and other environmental systems.  I think I wore out the instructor by asking questions.  The biggest idea I’m taking away from this course is the message the instructor instilled in all of us – that add-on stuff, like solar panels and ground source heat pumps, do not make a building green.  What matters is the design of the building.  The rest is window dressing, for the most part.

I don’t know what I got in Civil Design & Drafting.  It was an interesting but tough course.  We studied subdivision plot plans, Real Property Reports, urban planning, Universal Design, road & lot grading, storm (runoff) & sanitary (poop) sewer utility systems, drainage analysis, and earthworks.  I didn’t do very well in the second-last assignment.  Pretty good in the others.

I’m at 81.92% in Architectural Design III so far, but this doesn’t include the final assignment which hasn’t been graded yet.  This is the commercial architectural course.  I submitted our final drawing yesterday at 4:27pm.  Christoper (a teammate) and I will go through all of our drawings and review the instructor’s markups.  We studied Alberta Building Code (not just Div. B Part 9 as in residential architecture), structural factors, site plans, preliminary floor plans, section views, final floor plans, building science, building cross-sections, specifications, reflected ceiling plans, interior & exterior elevations, interior & exterior renderings, and legends.  Very interesting course – my favourite.  I still have the final exam to write as well.  It’s this coming Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

This is also not a final mark as our final submission is not graded yet, but so far I’ve got 95.91% in Applied Research II.  My team researched Bamboo as a Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement in Concrete.  We were awarded the Lethbridge College EDDT submission to the ASET Capstone Project.  We will be in ASET’s magazine publication as a finalist in the next step for the Banff meetings.  …  This just in – we got 23/25 on our Final Presentation, the presentation portion of the Final Project.  The Final Report is yet to be graded.

Hopefully all is well.  I’ve not convocated yet (the college-level word for graduate, I guess).  So it ain’t over just yet.

Mark found mark

My instructor Mark from a year ago found my final exam!  He gave me a zero for the final in his steel construction class because he could not find it.  Long story short – I put my work in one pile and the exam paper in the other on his desk.  I asked, and he looked twice before, but he said he couldn’t find it.  Finally, a few days ago, I asked him if taking his current class will erase my old mark.  He said it wouldn’t but that he’d look again for it.  “I remember now that you took the exam with the other section group,” he said, and that he’d look for the exam again.  He found it, graded it, and submitted the grade and documentation to the registrar’s office.  I’m waiting to hear back to confirm that my mark has changed.  I will get a B- in that class.

EDDT and Earthships

I have yet to attend Environmental Systems class.  I’ve had two days of classes at the college in the EDDT course so far, with Process Design II, the designing of pressure vessels and their connections; Applied Research, the second class in a series including statistics that builds toward a final presentation to peers and instructors; Architectural Design III, actually the fourth in a series of residential and commercial architecture training; and Civil Design and Drafting, a continuation of topographic, mapping, drainage, landscaping, and all things considered in developing land for habitation, industry, or business.  It’s the weekend now, and I’m looking forward to next week to see what the environmental class has to offer.

I woke up this morning to an Earthship blog from New Zealand as a result of somewhat randomly clicking links online.  YouTube – Healthy Homes – Te Timatanga Earthship New Zealand  Also, Earthship NZ  I also saw an Earthship created here in Southern Alberta.  Alberta’s First Earthship  If I am to go in any direction that I choose, this would be it – sustainable building.

One of my instructors hit on something I lack – confidence.  He wrote on the board a list of characteristics a cook and a chef might have.  I spouted off the first characteristic – creativity vs. following.  It seems odd that I would be the first to offer an entry to his list, which in fact takes leadership, because I seriously lack the confidence needed in planning, creating, building, etc.  (I offered another, which he moved to the top of the list – communication.  I do have that, being an English teacher.)

So this is a personal skill I must work on during this last term in school – confidence in leadership.

calm after the storm

Things are settling down now.  I’ve been on my ulcer meds for about two weeks.  Only one somewhat nasty attack during that time.  I’m happy for that.  The doc said the third time I get this there’d be some major s*** to deal with.  I’m hoping this is not the case.

There’s a kind of calm these days.  I can feel it about here and there.  Instructors are not as go-go-go as in the past, no work stress to deal with, no wondering how Father is doing, Mom is doing better these days (made gravy for Sunday’s turkey dinner), Floyd has no issues to speak of, friends (most) are understanding of the various things that have gone down, and the yearly Hell is gone (Pete knows all about this).  Calm before the storm?  No, after.  Feels good.  (Knock on wood.)

I’m not as behind in classes as I was.  I’m actually ahead in one but behind in another.  The rest are good.

I fixed my stereo.  …  Ha!  They don’t call them stereos anymore, do they?  My home entertainment system.

The fan had been making noise, so I cut it out with some metal snips.  In the process, I ended up destroying it.  I just wanted to squirt some WD40 into it.  So much for that.  So I duct-taped a computer fan with a limiter to it.  It seems to work just fine.  A bit overkill, but it is quieter than before.

My little Fujitsu also developed a problem.  A ribbon cable controlling the power supply broke.  I ordered a new used one online and put it in.  It took some monkeying, but it’s working now.  It’s now 12 years old, so it doesn’t compete with today’s computers, but it does make a good background music player.  “Ghibli” on “Study jazz” on YouTube.  Kevin introduced this to me during our final week of last term’s studying.  Look it up – unless you’re allergic to jazz.