Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Wait Vol. III: A Nice Credit Report

      I had finally received the admissions letter. Now, I just had to find out what credits had transferred from when I went to college for my two-year degree. I was trying my best at this point to take my daughter's advice and just "CHILLAX!" I wasn't QUITE sure exactly what that word meant so I thought, alternatively, I should just try to take it easy and wait patiently. By waiting patiently, this meant that I would ask my wife (on an almost daily basis) to please call the college on my behalf to follow up in my credit transfer issue as well as financial aid status, registration instructions, and anything else I might need to know to proceed further in the pursuit of my higher education. This proved difficult for my wife because she often had trouble reaching the college. This was due to the fact that the college was observing "summer hours". This basically meant that, during the summertime, the college had more limited hours of availability. In addition, apparently some of the staff that had the information I was seeking were on vacation. I mean, REALLY? Who takes vacation from a college during the summertime? This didn't matter however. My lovely wife has the tenacity of a bloodhound (she married me cause I am a smooth talker).

    Several days later, I finally got a letter showing the credits that transferred from my two-year degree. I was kind of dreading this as I figured there might be some classes I would have to repeat. After all, while I did make the dean's list several times, I was not always a shining star in every class. I perused the list of classes that transferred to my four-year program. Some examples include:

  • College Composition – THAT was a cool class that I really enjoyed. The professor told me I was one of the strongest writers he had taught. You can blame him for being subjected to my essays.
  • Technical Writing – This one was a bit more challenging as I had to write in a more sterile field than I had been accustomed. As I recall, I drafted a memo to my wife that the class was over. She displayed it upon the refrigerator.
  • Astronomy – This was a class that really fascinated me (and still does). However, I discovered quickly that it is easier for me to look at the sky in awe than to know how many astronomical units it is from the Earth to the Andromeda Galaxy. I hoped to be a shining star in this class. I proved to be more of a neutron star (extremely dense).
  • Statistics – I can't begin to tell you how glad I was to know that I do not have to take this class again. This class occasionally had me in the corner reaching for my blankey. The teacher told me I was an average student but he was just being mean (Did you REALLY think I'd let that one go?)
  • All said and done, there were a total of 50 credit hours that transferred. I won't list them all as I don't wish to put you to sleep (and a pox on those of you that said "TOO LATE!")
    So now, I pretty much have my financial aid in order. I have registered for two online classes for the fall semester. I will be ordering my books on the day after this writing. Now, I just have to enjoy the coming week as much as possible. In eight days from this writing, I will begin my online classes. At this point, I just need to enjoy my leisure time while I still have it. I think I will take my daughter's advice and CHILLAX! I think I'll just prop up my feet and listen to the radio. OH, MAN! It's THAT song AGAIN! Billy, in the name of all that is good; why not just break it off with the girl BEFORE the band comes down Main Street. GIVE US ALL A BREAK!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Rocked Too Hard

Some extended family of ours is in the process of moving. During that process, they weeded out and handed down some older belongings of theirs. Among these belongings were an older video game system, a collection of games compatible with said system, and some controllers. When my daughter, Brianna, was handed these items; her reaction is what many physicians and scholars have referred to as going gaga. She didn't actually make an audible gaga sound. Nonetheless, you could see the glazed look in her eyes and her unnaturally widened smile and know she had definitely been afflicted with gagas.

The next Sunday morning, Brianna had wasted no time in hooking the video game system to our television in the living room. It wasn't long before she and her brother, Caleb, were playing a game together. This wasn't just ANY kind of game. This game simulates playing guitar in a band before an audience. It even included a guitar shaped controller. I say because there are no strings and no pickups. There are several colored buttons on the neck as well as a toggle controller on the body where one would normally pick the strings. You choose from a selection of real classic songs. You then use the screen to cue you as to when to press which button on the neck. You must also simulate playing the notes by moving the toggle controller on the body. Anyone who knows me knows that the mere mention of the word guitar is enough to get my attention. So, I sat down and watched Caleb and Brianna do their thing.

I was watching Brianna choose songs from bands like Foghat, Mountain, and Pat Benetar among others. Many of these songs were songs I knew from when I was younger than any of my kids. This made it even more interesting to watch Caleb and Brianna try to tackle songs they had probably never heard previously. The song was cued up and Brianna started ripping through the song like a seasoned axe slinger. I figured some of this was due to the fact that Brianna can play a few chords on a real guitar. This theory was quickly proven wrong. Caleb's turn came up and he chose a Mountain song. Now this was a classic song but I had doubted Caleb had ever heard the song before. You'd have thought that I had Leslie West, himself, sitting on my couch the way Caleb was ripping through this. He wasn't familiar with the song and does not play guitar. That didn't matter because he had played this guitar game quite a few times previously. The kids were having a blast and I was having fun watching their virtual shredfest.

Brianna then held up the guitar shaped controller and said "You wanna give it a try?" Now, I not only had heard these songs many times over my lifetime. I actually knew the chords to a few of them. All the same, I chose the Pat Benetar song. It was a song I knew and I knew the chords. What happened next can only be described as a quick exercise in humility and humiliation. I didn't make it halfway through the song when I was told by the game that I failed and was booed by the virtual audience. Here I was thinking I could get Pat Benetar to fire her husband. Apparently, I wasn't even good enough to get an audition for Spinal Tap. I could actually see Nigel Tufnel shaking his head at me and saying I was "dreadfully, frightfully, bloody awful". I actually went upstairs and grabbed my red Squier Affinity Telecaster. I HAD to assure myself that I KNEW the chords to this song and the passage of time had not erased my memory of those cool power chords.

Caleb took the controller (once he and Brianna stopped laughing at me). He chose another song and started jamming. He was REALLY getting into it. He had his body hunched over and even had a cool grimace on his face. You'd have thought he was headlining a great summer outdoor concert. He suddenly shifted his body back. This motion tugged the controller cord connected to the video game system. Suddenly, the video game system slides off the bottom shelf of the entertainment center and onto the floor. The cool thing was that it landed face up and didn't cause a skip in the game. Caleb kept playing right through to the end. He then looked at the system on the floor and smiled. "I guess I rocked too hard". We all had a good giggle out of it. Caleb and Brianna kept playing the game. I remained content to just hold my red Tele. Pat Benetar still has her husband playing by her side and Spinal Tap STILL won't return my calls.