Tuesday, January 18, 2005

In light of the Golden Globe junk...

Stick frame? STICK FRAME?!

Disclaimer: What I am about to write is not intended to offend those of you who own, built (or currently build), rent or simply live in a stick frame house.

The Editor is what is known in some circles (okay in MOST circles) as a "college dropout". When you are finished gasping allow me to explain my experiences with college(s) and my justifications for not finishing a degree.

I am a Conservative to the core. There is no mistaking that and if you know me personally and do not understand or are confused about the degree of Conservative I am you do not know me well and it is because I have made it so. Because of this Conservatism there becomes a natural conflict of interest with the very GIGANTIC majority of colleges and universities in this country and around the World. This is one of the reasons for selecting the college I did after graduating high school. It was what one would have to assume to be a highly conservative private Christian college, and although I did not apply myself to classes in high school I knew that being in a completely different educational environment might not stifle my motivation as the joke of a system the public schools did.

But that wasn't the case, of course. Although I expected more out of this school than state run colleges it was NOT what I had expected. Now, I know there are those of you out there who would say "Suck it up and roll with the punches. You are not always going to get what you want." Yeah, not shnikies Sherlock - trust me, I'm one of the most flexible individuals alive. That's not the issue here. Flexibility does not apply to ethics, or not in my book. Relating to this specific college there were 4 instances that shaped my understanding of the reality of the school.

You first must understand that at the time we were talking about a school of 1500 students or so. Very small for a college.

1) One of the first classes required was of course a freshman English class. Long story short, my papers were being graded on content and not quality. Very, very few red marks = C's and C-pluses and I would always receive them back with commentary from the "professor" regarding their content.

2) Psych 101: Psych prof, eccentric of course, but unethical as heck, made sure the class knew that on his desk in his professional office was a jar of pills for suicide, and that he had very little problems with individuals committing suicide. Of course, if I was a psych prof (or any sort of professor) I might have very little problems with suicide, too. I'm glad I have much better judgment than to choose a field like psychology.

3) Outcome Based Education: I don't want to get into the details of OBE, just understand I am adverse to it to a great degree. This "conservative Christian" college was most certainly in tune with OBE inside their education department. They may not have called it OBE, but when I would bring up the subject with professors they were very open about it being a part of their training of education majors. One reason for this was federal funding. I don't like sell-outs.

4) For four years a few female students had been working towards a degree is nutrition, being assured throughout those four years the program WAS accredited. Of course, when they went to apply for graduate studies at other schools they learned the program was NOT accredited.

All this in my first year of college.

Now, I am certain some of you will say, "Wow - that's it? That's all the unethical and poor teaching you had to deal with? If that's all I could deal with I never would have made it through the first week. My college was MUCH worse than that." Well, ta-da, I'm a drop out.

But these are not, of course, the only reasons I dropped out. Here are a few quick reasons:

1) I don't like class rooms in large buildings (yeah, I know there are extension programs)
2) I don't like working at your pace or anyone else's pace. Information is sucked right up into the terrabytes of my brain and I get bored real quick and if I'm not putting what I've learned to use soon I want to lay down and fall asleep (yeah, I know there are extension programs)
3) I'm an apprentice. Too bad there aren't very many apprentice programs, anymore. Golldang COLLEGES!!!!
4). In the end, it came to this: I don't want to pay thousands of dollars to a school filled with a bunch of punkarse college professors (and their adjuncts) so that in the end they give me a piece of paper that says I gave them the answers they wanted to hear (that I learned from their text books). I can learn everything on my own, talk with people in any trade and figure out what I want and need to. Sure, that piece of paper may get you a "better" job, but I'm not interested in going that route.

(Yes, I did take some classes I enjoyed very much: Semester #2 of World History, Astronomy, Video Productions, etc.)

Okay, so now you have a very brief understanding of my "philosophy" regarding the learning process. Simply, the classroom is not for me, your textbooks are not for me, your pace is not for me, your smartarse, snooty attitude is not for me, your programs are not for me and I'm smarter than you anyway (unless you, like, helped develop the nuclear bomb, which my Astronomy prof had; and don't give me grief for this admission: it will be the ONLY time you hear something like that from me, but I feel so strongly about the way we "educate" our Citizens, oh, and non-citizens)...

EXCEPT when it is...

This weekend the Editor was present at his much anticipated 2-day log home building class offered by the Log Home Builders Association of North America. It was the perfect mix of setting, pace, material and, most importantly, instructor(s) for the Editor. On top of that, I only live 1/2 hour from the classroom site. Yet, the class was full of people from all around the country, at least 1/2 from the East Coast.

We spent roughly 22 hours at the site over the weekend, but it seemed more like 2-hours. I could go to classes like that on weekends over and over. In this case, that is not necessary. The instructors do such a good job of going over everything you need to know, suppling diagrams and practical solutions for everything, you should never need to go back to the class again. On top of that, they have created a forum recently where all your questions will be answered (as well as creating a members only section for getting real answers) not to mention

On top of that, the instructors are what I consider REAL dudes. They don't have any sort of superior attitude, are highly conservative or libertarian (from what I could gather, and they were not shy about expressing their opinions regarding government) and just want you to better your life and are here to help that process along.

Of course, the subject matter was extremely important at keeping my attention, too. The Editor works on both sides of his brain. I am very creative and great at designing etc., yet I do very well in the physical realistic world. The only part about designing is that my brain is unable to communicate to my hands how to create on paper what it is I envision - with physical 3-dimensional material I'm GREAT, but on paper I stink. That is where the EiP Pink Old Navy Pullover Babe comes in. She has her BA in Art. Artistically we work very well together. I have good ideas I can communicate and she can put them on paper. Already, she has begun re-drawing all my diagrams from this weekend so they can very easily be translated into proper functions. In fact, my crude diagrams are so awful I STILL have to explain to her exactly what it is they are and how they should really look. HER diagrams look sweet. It's awesome.

Anyway, there are a few very general ideals that I came away with this weekend:

1) This can be so inexpensive, WHY would anyone want to build a stick frame home (yes, I know there are many, many personal preferences)? It's like flushing money down the toilet... Literally.

2) This is EASY. Sure, there will definitely be work involved. Work, I can handle. The planning of the home is what was somewhat intimidating. Not anymore - the information and practicality of what was taught to us on Saturday and Sunday certainly nurtured a confidence that this CAN be done, quickly, inexpensively and with limited necessity of outside help.

I can't wait.

P.S. One thing the instructors said was not to even consider building in King County and if you can, "run from this state." Ouch.