Inside The Terrordome

Some odds and ends, happening in my life these days:

  • I haven’t worked out or made many long walks in a few weeks – partly due to some troubling hamstring and knee pain, partly because of lack of money (until recently) to get to the gym, lately because of jobs and school) – but I have stayed nearly steady with my weight, since August 1st. I am down about half a pound this month, 31.4 pounds since July 29th, 2014. Once things calm down with work and school, I will get back to going to Planet Fitness 2-3 times a week, adding back in leg-based cardio (biking, walking, treadmill work) when the leg pain is treated.
  • With the summer slowdown at my main job, I took a seasonal 2nd job, on July 27th, at the book store on Jefferson Community and Technical College’s (JCTC) Downtown campus. I wrapped up Week 4 of the 5-week term earlier this morning. This week overlapped with the start of the Fall semester; it was also “Rush Week”, the busiest week of the year, sales-wise, for the bookstore (this also included last Friday and Saturday). If you have ever shopped or worked at a Big Box retail store during the weekend of “Black Friday”, then you have an idea of what “Rush Week” is like… except, compact it into a space about the size of a Health and Beauty department at Target, for example. I have worked 13 full and 2 partial “Black Friday” weekends at Target, in the past, plus a “100 Days of Hell/War” at Lowe’s; last Friday, this past Monday, and Tuesday would make my personal “5 Busiest/Hectic Work Periods Ever” list. Tuesday, by itself, would be near the top of a “Busiest Work Day Ever” list! The amount of students buying books on Monday and Tuesday (plus the late mornings/afternoons of Wednesday and Thursday) got to the point that a Louisville Metro Police officer was stationed at the entrance, only filtering people in when the crowd and lines got down to manageable levels, the entire day. It was crazy, it was really busy… and I enjoyed it. It has been a while since I enjoyed working retail to the extent of this book store job. I am not, however, enjoying the extreme fatigue that set in late last night. 😉
  • My final semester at JCTC started this past Monday. I have C# I (Programming) on campus (Mon. and Wed. afternoons), plus Python I (Programming), Basic Public Speaking, and Introduction to Game Development all online. The 3 online classes are helping me balance 2 jobs and school a little better than they would have if they were all on-campus classes. Some thoughts and recaps on Week 1 of school:
    • Public Speaking (1 lecture; 1 quiz (over the syllabus and some intro class info)): this class is the focus, since it’s the last class I need before earning an Associate Degree. It’s still a strange feeling to take a public speaking class online, but the professor explained how that would work: YouTube. All of our speeches will be recorded (to specific parameters and, in a few cases, in front of small audiences) and uploaded to a YouTube class page for review and grading. I have never been terribly comfortable with speeches, so this is going to take some extra effort to shake that discomfort.
    • Python I (3 lectures/intro informational videos; 1 reading assignment; 2 assignments turned in, 2 due Monday; 1 quiz): I can already tell that this class will have the most work, assignment-wise. So far, the early work hasn’t been too difficult. I’m starting the reading later today and the Monday assignments later tonight. In early returns, Python looks easier to deal with than C, C++, or C#. There is a semester-ending project for this class; this is going to be interesting, since it’s not only an online class, but there are students in it that are as far away as Ashland (nearly 3 hours east of Louisville). We’ll see how the professor makes the groups and how he wants the presentations of the project to work (he hasn’t uploaded the final instructions yet).
    • C# I (a group of 6 coding assignments (due in a month) – 2 of them turned in; 2 lectures; 1 reading assignment; 1 quiz; 1 online exam (due in a month)): I have an advantage in this class. I had the same professor for Computer Hardware and Software; he structures his class assignments about the same, so I have a general idea of what to expect. Basically, he gives you about 25-40 problems to work on, an online exam (multiple choice, based on the reading and lecture notes), plus some extra practice problems (or Labs, depending on the class), and makes the whole chunk due in about a month’s time, giving you plenty of time to work at your own pace. He also gives you some class time, after the lecture, to work on them and/or to ask him questions. I need to make sure not get C#’s syntax confused with C++.
    • Intro To Game Development (1 reading assignment; 2 quizzes; 1 assignment turned in, 3 problems due Monday; 1 project due August 31st):
    • sega-genesis-controller I think I’m going to have the most fun in this class… and possibly the most pulling-hair-out moments, depending on  how some of the late-semester assignments go. The August 31st assignment is something I didn’t think I’d ever hear someone say: “Play 3 video game, 4 hours per game, and report back”. There is more to the assignment than that (for example: one of the games has to be 8-bit or 16-bit) but the general theme of the assignment is to play games. I cannot complain about this, at all!
  • I did not get a chance to go to DCI Finals; it is also looking highly unlikely that I will make it to Minneapolis to see Minnesota Brass march before they head off to DCA Finals (never say never, though).
  • As mentioned above, I am working a 2nd job for the next week. Once the book store job ends, I think I am going to have to find another seasonal or part-time job. I have been resistant to working 2 jobs while in school in the past, especially when I don’t have a vehicle, but now I find myself in a position where it is almost needed. I would prefer not to look to retail again but I am more open to working in it, thanks to the experiences at the book store. 2 part-time jobs would leave me enough time and wiggle room to do homework and study, compared to 1 full-time job, while bringing in enough money to catch back up with bills and expenses.
  • Over the last few months, I have unintentionally become almost hermit-like (apologies to local friends that might be reading this). Other than work and school, I haven’t been out with friends much, other than the occasional get-together for WWE events and for Team Trivia. A great deal of that has been due to money; can’t do much or go many places if you can’t pay for it. I’m working on eliminating the hermitness (there are things I probably won’t get to do but would like to…), so bear with me. 😉

Other than that: the heart is fine and still ticking… loudly, at times. The Kentucky State Fair started yesterday and it is about 15 degrees cooler and MUCH LESS HUMID than normal starting days. And Railing Ohmsford is still whiny (from another post; will write about the finale of that book and trilogy soon).

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