Oh Yes I Do!

I have a new app that lets me write on screenshots. 
 I think I have a talent for arrows. 
I may never be the same again, and that's OK.

100 Point Project Mashup #1

I've started grading, and I thought you might want a peek...

The average college student is a bright mind, leading his or her life towards their ultimate long-term goal. That is to land an occupation upon graduation that makes that individual not only happy but also successful at the same time. Each individual student paves their educational pathway brick by brick from when they graduated elementary school until present day college level education. Class by class they unconsciously (naturally) focus more of their attention to classes that they enjoy, and vice verse to classes in which that area of the educational system that is just irrelevant in their everyday life nor interests. As you can understand some pathways are smooth, even, and leveled out perfectly; on the other hand pathways could be level for a couple feet then you just happened to trip on that one brick that is just poking up enough and happens to catch your foot and before you know it you’re either in a free fall or hitting the ‘nonchalant jog’ to play it off. 

Well like those two different pathways there are two different students: Student one, A natural student who didn’t have to overly exert effort in order to succeed in his or her educational journey or a proud student who put their nose to the grind stone until the bachelors degree, or so on, is in their hand, holding it high above their head like its was their life hard work all summed up in one extraordinarily powerful certificate that marks one of the largest mile stone in ones life. Student two, geared towards what they enjoy, only. For example, this student exceeds in history and just meets the bare requirements in mathematics in order to slide by and keep their GPA high enough to get into his or her dream college. If you were to walk down this student’s pathway, you may end up tripping once or twice. Student one and two both have a similar objective once they receive their high school diploma. The objective to major in a subject, in some cases subjects, which they will devote the next four years in college to. This experiment will expose who retained the most from their past education and how is up to date with current events. With a recent collection of data from which multiple unprepared FSU/TCC students are administered a series of question based on American history to ultimately discover which students were more interest in or have had proper teachings in American history. Being student one or student two, this data has some obvious difference between students, there are also some significant difference between regional education, female verse male, and even age (through the age group is between eighteen and twenty four). While exploring those differences we believe that our test target group will have, at most, a 75% or lower. This is on an individual level and as group.
The American history (experience) questionnaire that was administered was based from the American Revolution to the current events that involve the United States. We advised the student to answer every question regardless if they had prior knowledge on the content; if they didn’t have an answer, “I don’t know” was not accepted. We pushed our subjects to answer what they think the answer may be if not get creative with what they may believe it was (there were no limits set and they are college students, needless to say some were raunchily hilarious). ..
            For my hundred point project I decided to get half my points through the pretest option and the other half from the veteran’s box. For the pretest, I composed a 10 question test of important terms that I have learned throughout the year of taking this course. I left a good amount of space between each of the questions, and wrote directions on the top that said to write what they know about each term. I gave a total of 20 people the test. For half of the twenty, I took my pretest to the TCC baseball clubhouse and asked 10 of my teammates to complete it; but I also made sure that they had not taken this course before. I then took the other half of the pretests and went to the TCC student union, and asked 10 random students whom have not taken the course either. The purpose of doing this pretest was to sample how much student’s know about American history, and to see if baseball players are as smart as the average student. Below I will evaluate each question and explain the results.
            The first term of the pretest was D-Day. Most people that took the test got this right, 16 out of the 20. Everyone knew that It was the US invading someone but the four that got it wrong did not know who or where. This was a historic day for America and I thought more people would know about it.
            The second term was Spanish American War. This one was easy because it is self explanatory, but I did not give full credit to them if they just said “a war between the Spanish and America. Only 4 out of the 20 gave dates and explained why they were fighting, but all of them knew who it was between.
            The third term was the Barbary Pirates. This term was troublesome for the test takers; a fair amount of them had no idea and just made up something. A funny response to this question was “pirates that steal blueberries” and “Captain Jack Sparrow’s enemy.” I found only 1 out of the 20 got this right. He must feel special.

For my project I tested ten people on the pre test we were given in class. The only questions I added were when world war ll ended, and who had fought in world war ll. Out of the ten people I asked all have taken a college history class, so all the people have had experience within a history class. With that being said only two people passed the test by standard measures, one with a D, and the other with an A. With the level of praise we put on individuals in college, or those holding a college degree we should hope they are able to answer basic college level history question that are primarily based off periods in time we should be more than aware about. Basic knowledge about our lives today, and all the wars around the world can be linked back to some of these questions, so by not knowing a certain question you are basically stating you have no idea why or what started the war we are in, and only have the fuel that has been fed to Americans to praise the righteousness of America, and not the knowledge to say we need to wise up and cut this shit out.
            After giving my friends the practice test I was asked pretty much the same two questions by each individual. “Is it hard” and “what is it about?” Standard questions that I often ask, but I assured them it was a fairly easy test aside from a few questions here and there. That being said, the first response I often got was that was frickin hard. So after going over all the results with majority of the test in the F range I figured there would be some pattern to all the madness. The first thing I noticed when looking at the questions with a lot of right answers was that people tended to know about leaders of other cultures who we consider “bad” over our very own leaders in the states. The less known questions of people were from our past leaders, and a “good” leader in Margaret Thatcher from the United Kingdom. I feel this is due to the media tending to show all the negative events in the world, and less of the more political or good leaders as you could say. Only three out of ten people knew who Margaret Thatcher was and eight out of ten knew who Bin Laden was. I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, but we should want to know more about politics with our allies, and what is going on with the people we are close to instead if only focusing on killing all of our enemy’s leaders.
            Overall there was only two questions that everyone got right, and those were who fought in WWll, and what is about to happen in the picture JFK was in right before he got assassinated. I personally knew these questions for many years, and I believe that is due to past history classes going over these events over, and over again.  Although, in all of these classes we never got into the more specific events surrounding these two like what started it, and what was the result of these incidents. I think this problem can be solved by not being so censored while learning about this stuff growing up. Even in high school everything I learned was biased lectures, and  that their bad, and we have to stop the bad people. A good example is the holocaust. We have always learned about this year in and year out mostly because of the diary of Ann Frank, but not until this semester did I know the extermination of Jews was only the fourth step in Hitler’s plan. I was always under the impression that WWll was fought over the holocaust.

The results of this pretest were actually somewhat of what I would expect. When it came to the pictures most people were only able to identify with the ones that did terrible things or terrible things happened to them: Osama, Sadaam, JFK, Vietnam bombings. There were a few that knew Reagan, sputnik, bay of pigs, buddists  and Cuban missile conflict however overall were unable to identify.

I wrote up my American History Pretest questions based on the information I had gathered as my notes throughout this entire Semester. My pretest questions are 20 randomly picked simple questions that I felt wasn’t too hard for the people I chose to test. I took the time to test 10 people which was, my three roommates Lexx, Montana and Cierra, my boyfriend, my big sister Danae, two of my classmates from my Earth Science class Monica and Travis and also three random people from my African American Literature class Tay, Crystal and Tiffany. Unfortunately, my test wasn’t as easy to them as I except to be. When I questioned my boyfriend, out of all twenty questions he only knew what Moonshine was and that’s only because he drinks a lot of alcohol. All of the people I tested got that question right though. My sister Danae got about five questions right, some of her answers were very funny like when I asked her who was Margret Sanger? She answered that Margret was a lady that freed most of the slaves with Harriet Tubman. My two roommates Lexx and Montana got only two questions each right but my other roommate Cierra got the most questions right out of everyone I tested because she took your class before. She’s actually the one that recommended me to take your class. As far as my two Earth Science classmates Monica and Travis they answered a few question right but not many. I asked Travis what was Victory Girls and he answered “Victory girls are cheerleaders that cheer for Victory.” That answer was really funny to me. The three random people from my African American Literature class got most of all the African American questions right with no problem, but when I asked them what was the electric belt Crystal responded “It’s a belt that shock you that can make you die,” I guess she had that confused with the electric chair, but that answer was pretty funny to me too. Other than that all the other questions was answered correctly. For example, the question about the 40 acres and a mule, the miscegenation law question as well as the question about the KKK and etc. I enjoyed giving people this pretest. I even had them test me for fun even though I knew most of the answers. On the other hand, I can honestly say if I hadn’t took this class and someone was to randomly test me with these questions I wouldn’t know any of these answers either.
This is not just about some ordinary man. This is about a man that is remarkable, strong, and smart. He had helped create the fastest plane of all time. He had been to secret military bases. He had been to lunch with some of the smartest men to walk the earth. His name is Roland Ricci and he is my grandfather. He built himself from the ground-up. Roland was the hardest worker that I have ever met.  He was intelligent, goal oriented, and a little frugal. He was a man with keen wit and a love for flying. 
            Roland Richard Ricci was born on October, 2nd 1922 on a boat coming over from Italy to America. His grandfather was a high ranking General in the Italian army. The General had five sons. All his sons, except for his youngest son, Frank, Roland’s father, were all officers in the Italian army. Frank left Italy to come to the United States, because he was starting a family and he had no interest in Mussolini’s war. Mussolini marched on Rome two weeks later to gain military power and later, control of Italy with his Fascist regime. Roland’s family came in as many immigrants did, through Ellis Island in New York, and then moved with his parents and two sisters to Collingswood, New Jersey. Roland attended Collingswood High School where he met and later married his high school sweetheart, Gloria Marie Egizi. They were married for almost 70 years.
             At the age of 16 he started to take flying lessons. He saved up all his money every week from being a soda jerk to pay for his lessons. After Gloria, flying was his next greatest love. Later in life he owned an experimental airplane the Velocity. The Velocity has the speed record from LA to Texas. Roland owned that plane until he was 85 years old though he had stopped flying years earlier. My dad said, “He never wanted to let his dream go so he kept the plane in a hangar just to keep my grandfather’s dream alive”.
 When World War II started Roland joined the Navy as a pilot. The Navy flight team eventually transformed into the Air Force. When he was in the Air Force he flew reconnaissance missions over enemy lines in Germany taking as many pictures as he could to determine up to date troops and weapons positioning. He was the second seat pilot. On one mission, his plane was too far and running very low on fuel. His senior officer did not think that they would make it back to the base, so he ordered my grandfather to pull back the canopy, ditch the plane and parachute down to a safe side, red-cross tent area.  The senior officer jumped out, but Roland Ricci didn’t! Instead, he took the plane up very high. Running on fumes, to say the very least, and started doing larger and larger circles until he could recognize something on the ground below. Finally, he saw railroad tracks and followed them back to the center of town. From there, he navigated to the base and landed the plane safely. Two hours later off to the brig goes Roland and he had to stay there for 30 days for breaking the chain of command and not obeying a superior officer’s order. Saving the plane did very little to help his case nor did the reasoning of “why jump out of a perfectly good airplane?”  He explained, “if he could get just enough altitude, he could see further and identify some landmarks to get back to base. Being higher up he could get enough air speed under his wings to dead stick it in, if he had to even with no fuel left in the tanks.” (Dead sticking is when a plane has no more propulsive power and has to land) .Even though the Navy likes “confident pilots”, he was told quite sternly, that he should have followed orders and  jumped out of the plane and parachuted down with his superior officer. When the war finally ended he returned to America with one thing on his mind and that was to make Gloria Marie his wife....

Book #129: Netflix

If I hadn't have joined the world of Netflix in January, I'm pretty sure I would've finished 50 more books, waxed the floors, published at least two books and found a cheap and easy cure for cancer.

Instead, I fell into a glorious hole of binge watching, bouyed by the joy of commercial-free shows.

So what I'm saying here is that I want credit for having watched every single episode of every single season of the following shows in the past 3 months:

  • Orange is the New Black. I loved it. It's smart and funny and violent and shows the range of female humanity. I thought it would be dirtier, and I'm glad it wasn't. The characters are real, their stories are important, and the writing is top notch. Loved the ending of Season 2 and can't wait to watch Season 3.

  • House of Cards. I tried to watch it and turned it off after the first 30 seconds and watched 3 full seasons of Dexter (for extra credit, I guess) and came back to House of Cards because so many people told me I'd love it. They were right. I watched all of Season 1 just in time for Season 2. It was smart, sharp, sexy, tasty and -- spoiler alert -- ends with a tip of the hat (or, rather, crash of a white van...) to Orange is the New Black. Awesome.

  • Arrested Development. This series came out at a time that I had two small children and was working full time while teaching college at night. If I did watch TV, I don't remember it.  I loved it. Set in the early days of the Iraq War, the series touches on everything from army recruitment to money laundering, and from incest to Ron Howard's secret bullying tendencies.  The last season wasn't as tasty as the first ones, but I feel quite ironically accomplished having watched this entire series. 

Book #128: Not for me.

I have heard about Left Behind: A Novel of the Earth's Last Days  (and the series it launched) for two decades and I wasn't too displeased to have been assigned it by a student this semester.

 Before reading the book I knew it was Christian, millenialistic and apocalyptic, so I think the book had less impact on me than it would have 20 years ago.

 I didn't know if I would like it or not, and after about 100 pages I really hated being stuck with these flat characters in this post-rapture but pre-9/11 world of strange 90s technology.

Book #127: I Loved it! AMAZING!

Book #127: The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene.

This is a great book, definitely relevant and valuable and appropriate for college students to be discussing with each other and with their professor.

I have no intention on ever giving it back to the student who assigned it to me (just kidding) (not kidding, Frank, not kidding), and I am seriously considering assigning this book in future classes.

This book is broken into 33 Chapters, each with their own "Strategy of War" including amazingly readable and concise examples from all over history. I don't think I've ever read a book before that had  stories about Metternich, Napoleon, Cassius Clay, Theodore Roosevelt, Machiavelli, Gandhi, Nizam al-Mulk, Patton AND Hitchcock.

 I delighted in every story and every example, and I will absolutely be reading  other books by this same author, including 48 Laws of Power and The Art of Seduction.

Here are screenshots so you can see how awesome this book is.

I found a free copy online:


Book #126: Belly

Isabelle Lee (Belle Lee, Belly) is a  sad kid, just like Finn from book #125. Finn's grief became depression which manifested in withdrawal, Isabelle's grief manifests as body hate and bulimia.

Winner of the Milkweed prize for Children's Literature, this body-positive book is a great recommendation for someone in your life who might be turning their frustrations towards their bodies.

Perfect by Natasha Friend.

PS: Since I read these two books back to back I can't help but compare them and I wonder why college students are assigning me books that are intended for an audience 1/4 my age.

Book #125: The Last Invisible Boy

Three words into this book and I think there has been a big big mistake. This book can't be for me.
I look inside the front and back cover, searching for the name of whichever student was so kind as to assign this book to me.

No name.

I knock on Zack's door.

He pops his head out. I wave the book at him. Is this your book?

He looks at me like I'm crazy and answers "no" with one raised eyebrow questioning my motives.

Yay. I say thank you and then he closes his door.

 Double yay.

I go back to the big green chair by the window, unsure whether to read it or not, but since I had it and was so incredibly thin, I decided to give it a go.

I'm very glad this book found me!

This book is a story about a 12 year old boy named Finn who is becoming invisible.

 Just like my son Zack, Finn stopped going to school, stopped talking to his friends, stopped looking forward to being part of anything outside of his house.

Finn doesn't want to be sad but something terrible happened and it changed everything. He is sad and wistful and articulate, you will find yourself jotting down quotes like: “Sometimes it's like I'm living my life waiting for more bad news” and "time tears us up and then it tries to fix us.” 

For most of the book he tiptoes around what happened "that terrible day" but by the end of the book the reader finally gently finds out how Finn's dad died.

This book targets the same audience as "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" and includes a book-jacket endorsement by that series' author. 

If you know a kid going through a difficult time, or an adult who needs help getting a kid through a difficult time, this serious-tender-playful-imaginative book is right on target.

The Last Invisible Boy by Evan Kuhlman.