WGU, and my experience so far.

I am on the last of 4 assignments that make up one of the business management classes at WGU. And rather than finishing that up, I decided to post to my blog about WGU and my experiences thus far. WGU stands for “Western Governors University” for those that don’t know. If I remember correctly, they are accredited by four different organizations, one of which is that same one that gives the University of Utah and BYU their accreditation.

In the Beginning:

You start of course by registering for school, like any other school. You pay (your old school board, not WGU) to have old school transcripts sent for verification of educational status. Someone at WGU assigns credits from your degree plan to those credits from your previous education. For reference, I had AP credit in physics from high school, and a few classes from the 3 terms I attended at the University of Utah. My reasons for not finishing the UofU are wide and varied and not worth going into, although I may touch on a couple throughout this post. The process of transferring credits took a bit longer than planned so I started at WGU a month later than I had hoped. Luckily, the way WGU is set up, they have new students start every month rather than needing to wait for a new term or semester to begin.  Once this is over, you take a few placement tests. I forget how long you have to take them but it is a ridiculous amount of time. I think I finished all tests in less time than they give your for just one. The result of these tests, along with your previous educational credits helps them determine which basics classes you need for things like math and English. Once credits are transferred and financial aid is acquired, you are assigned a mentor. This is like a guidance counselor. They recommend classes for you in a certain order and they are your cheerleader that routes for you to succeed during your attendance of the school. They set up a schedule to call you on a weekly or bi-weekly or whenever they feel like it schedule. Once they set you up in the system and assign your first semester’s classes, you must log on, and accept those classes. My test results and previous education gave me credit for 14 credit units (WGU calls them units, not hours) and got me out of 5 classes. This was 3 math classes, a science class, and an art class.

Once school starts:

The first few classes you have to take are simple classes that essentially get you used to online learning and how things are going to be for the next few years. They are very simple, and mainly require some reading and acceptance of your circumstance. It seems online education is difficult for many people as they are used to learning in groups. Personally, I always hated groups, not just because I am a bit of an introvert, but mainly due to the fact that I always felt like I did all the work and other people got to take some of the credit without actually learning anything. This actually hurt me a bit at the U, because as a general rule, I hate people. I don’t like to be around them, listen to them, smell them, or help them. Unless they first prove to me they deserve my attention. For classes, they have to assign you at least 12 credit units worth to maintain full-time student status.  You can ask for extra, or you can wait until you finish those 12 and they can stack more on if you have over a month left in your semester. There are two types of classes. The first type is called “performance assessment.” In these classes you have a list of tasks you must accomplish to pass. Essentially these are just big assignments. They are submitted, plagiarism checked, and graded by an outside website called taskstream. The other type of class is an “objective assessment” class. With these classes, you take a pre-test that is usually just over 50 questions long. And the results tell you what areas you suck the most at and you can choose to just read those sections or read everything then take the real test. The real test is proctored, so you must run a program that blocks other programs from running on your computer and you are constantly monitored over a webcam while taking the test. Or you can go to a testing center at a local school. I have only done the webcam proctored test. If you pass the test, you pass the class. You are given 2 or 3 chances to pass. I have no experience with that as I pass the first time, every time.

My current status:

Once I finish this last assignment for my current class I will have finished 92 credit units. This leaves me with 40 credit units to go. I am currently in semester 5, and I have 4 months left in this semester. So I will probably be able to add another 6 or so credit units (maybe more) over the 18 I already have.  I am most likely looking at 2 more semesters before graduating, but if I tried really hard I could probably do it in 1. But as I like to have a real life as well, I will probably take 2. Especially since my work helps pay for it. It looks like the majority of what I have left is accounting and statistics classes. I am so not looking forward to that. I like math. But I hate accountant math. And yes, there is a difference. They say you should be prepared to spend 2 hours a day doing school. I would say, you only need to plan on that if you are either try to complete school on an accelerated schedule or you are just plain dense. If I spend 2 hours a day on a class, I can usually have that class completed in anywhere from a week to 3 weeks. But that’s me. I work differently than most people. I’m not saying I am smarter, I just operate differently. But that’s another thing that makes this type of school work so well for me. To a certain extent, it is what I make it.

Who should go to WGU:

WGU seems to be great for parents that work as it is infinitely flexible when it comes to schedule. I can do class work at 1:00 a.m. on Christmas day, I can take a test at 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning, etc. I could see WGU being great for people with a lot of previous education that want to expand their degree portfolio as they will likely get a ton of credit for what they have already done. Basically WGU, and I assume every online school, is geared for people who just haven’t got the time to go to a physical school, but still want to learn. Many find it very difficult as there is little group mentality. But for me, everything being up to me is a benefit. It is my job to motivate me and my job to make sure I accomplish all tasks. Sure, I take a month off and waste that time here and there. But that just makes me push that much harder when it is crunch time. And with everything, except racing for some reason, I do better under extra pressure. So far, I have completed all classes I have signed up for. I have passed all tests the first time (not pre-tests, just the ones that count). I have learned something interesting in every class. Although, much of it is as aggravating as it is interesting.

Who should not go to WGU:

Anyone looking for a social life at school would be severely disappointed by life at an online university. Also, anyone looking for group support might be underwhelmed by life at WGU.

Things I wish I knew at the beginning:

  • Look at your pre-test results, and only study the sections you got under 60% on.
  • If you spend more than a month on a class, by the time test time comes around you will have forgotten a lot of it, so be quick.
  • Discuss your classes with friends or spouses. This will help you retain the information more than doing the exercises in the books.
  • For assignment based classes, read the assignment first then do the reading, that way you know what to look for. The course of study wants you to read everything then do the assignment. Reading everything is good, but knowing what to look for ahead of time makes it painless.
  • The assignments are almost always more simple than I make them out to be.
  • When an assignment says 3-7 pages, 2 pages can get the same grade as 7 or even 20. Do quality work, ignore the suggested length.
  • Use the suggested page formatting. It isn’t there to make your assignment longer and more impressive, it’s just there to make it easier to read for those doing the grading.

Things I like about going to WGU compared to UofU:

  • Prerequisites are based on knowledge rather than a desire to screw you out of more money unnecessarily so.
  • No need to help other people by contributing to a group, unless you choose to do so.
  • If I have a knowledge base, I take a test and get the credit rather than paying extra for those credit hours and even more for the test itself.
  • Your semester tuition has no upward limit on how many credit hours it covers. 12 cu or 30 cu, the price is the same.
  • No teacher’s aids. You have a question, you email or live chat with the course mentor. This can be 1 person or 3. But either way, it isn’t just some dweeb junior trying to get brownie points so the teacher can avoid showing up to class to write a book they will force future students to buy.
  • A small fee for the “library” gets me access to all books for the semester and costs about the same as 2 used books at the regular university.
  • Parking in my garage is much easier than paying $120 per year for a pass that allows me to park 3/4 mile from class.
  • My computer is open 24/7.
  • Many other time management related reasons not worth listing individually.

Puppies are coming

Our babies are of age. And while we were planning on waiting one more cycle before letting it happen, Odie had other ideas. So…

Our sweet little man

Our sweet little man

AND

Heidi Bug

Heidi Bug

Are going to be having a bunch of these:

Odie Week 2 Odie Week 5 Heidi 9 weeks-1 Heidi 9 weeks-1-2 Odie Week 1 Heidi (1 of 1)

Now for the stats:

Heidi is a AKC papered Great Dane. She is 32″ tall and weighs about 115 lbs (before puppy weight). As you can see, she is a reverse brindle (dark brindle). She plays hard and cuddles hard.

Odie is 75% Great Dane and 25% pitbull. His mom was 50/50, and his dad is a papered Great Dane. He got his color (blue) from his mom. She had a bunch of fawn (like their dad) babies and only a couple blue ones. He is about the same height as Heidi, maybe an inch or so shorter. He is very lean and muscular, but still only weighs in about 110 lbs. He’s the emotional protector, and of course always looking to play. When not bugging Heidi to play with him, he can be found laying up-side-down with his tail wagging. He is a big sweet goofball.

Puppies should be here around the 24th of October. And ready to go to their new homes right around Christmas time. Talk about an awesome gift. However, please don’t be that guy that gets a puppy when your significant other has no idea about it and turns out to not want it. That would break the hearts of the sweet pups. Also, both mom and dad have been checked by vets on a regular basis. They both have good hips and no health issues.

And for more doggy enjoyment, here is a few random pictures of them for you:

Just chillin

Just chillin

Like I said, he's the goofball

Like I said, he’s the goofball

Love to play

Love to play

Lovin on each other

Lovin on each other

Did I mention he's a goofball?

Did I mention he’s a goofball?

Progress check in Eve Online

This is mostly for my future reference, but someone might find it of use.

I was reading a post at the Ancient Gaming Noob blog. He posted about his skill progress in Eve. He is at 110 million skill points. He posted pretty much every 10 million skill points with his progress. Sounded like a good idea so I can track my own progress as well. So here I am after about 8 months of gameplay with 11.5 million skill points. This is how they break down:

  • Gunnery – 2.23 million
  • Engineering – 2.07 million
  • Drones – 1.47 million
  • Spaceship command – 1.46 million
  • Armor – 1.13 million
  • Shields – .76 million
  • Navigation – .46 million
  • Electronics systems – .43 million
  • Missiles – .31 million
  • Production – .30 million
  • Trade – .19 million
  • Rigging – .18 million
  • Targeting – .18 million
  • Resource processing – .14 million
  • Neural enhancement – .14 million
  • Science – .06 million
  • Social – .03 million
  • Scanning – .01 million
  • And 0 skills in Corporate management, leadership, planet management, and subsystems

This is spread out as:

  • 153 skills total
  • Level 5 – 16 skills
  • Level 4 – 41 skills
  • Level 3 – 58 skills
  • Level 2 – 30 skills
  • Level 1 – 8 skills

My character is Gallente. So the vast majority of gunnery and spaceship command skills are focused in that direction. I am currently focusing on training up covert ops skills so I can have some fun in a Nemesis. I have never used a cloaking device before. I have read about all the short comings that they have. And that lead me to thinking I want nothing to do with cloaking unless it was covert ops cloaking. I have sufficient skill to fly what I have come up with for my first covert ops fit Nemesis. Now I am just leveling up things to help me do more damage with it. Here is the fit I will be trying out:

[Nemesis, Sly death noob]

Micro Auxiliary Power Core IDamage Control II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Medium F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction

Warp Disruptor II

Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script

Prototype ‘Arbalest’ Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Inferno Torpedo

Prototype ‘Arbalest’ Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Inferno Torpedo

Prototype ‘Arbalest’ Torpedo Launcher, Caldari Navy Inferno Torpedo

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

[empty high slot]

Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

[empty rig slot]

Pretty menacing looking thing isn't it?

Pretty menacing looking thing isn’t it?

As I said, I have the skills to fly this right now. But once skills are leveled up, damage increases significantly as my missile skills are lacking. Also, once I level up more, I can fit another rig to help with firepower. I could increase firepower a little right now by fitting a different damage control, but it would not be quite as good on defense and add about $10 million to the cost. As an example of the skill affect on this fit, with my current skills, my volley damage is 2653. With all skills at level 5, the single volley damage is 4105. And that isn’t even counting the increase I could get from another rig at that skill set, which would put it at almost 4500.

Again, I am Gallente, but since joining the Brave Newbies, I have had to focus more on doctrine training. That is a major reason my skills are so spread right now. All those missile, shield, and emissions skills have come in the last month or so. As well as many of the spaceship command skills. I had Ore and Gallente ships trained is all until just over a month ago. Now I can fly Caldari, Minmatar, and Amarr ships up to cruiser. It’s been fun trying out a variety of ships like the Brave Newbies favorite, the Talwar, and the silly pew pews from the Rifter.

Mr. Ancient Gaming Noob measures his progress by how many days of training he is from flying a Titan. I have no such aspirations right now. So I will use the Brave Newbie DPS doctrine as a guide, even though that skill plan can change a bit. But right now, I am 180 days from completing that plan. It is my basic focus, but I will deviate from it as time goes by for things such as this Covert Ops ship I am acquiring, and maybe some science skills as I am very interested in research and industry. But right now, with my current skill set, it just isn’t profitable to try. Especially out here in Barleguet where most minerals are just silly expensive.

My new-found love for the Incursus

There I was, scrolling through some of my old blog posts, when I saw a picture I posted of my Incursus. Well, not my Incursus specifically, but an Incursus. The caption I assigned to the photo is: “The Incursus. My disposable, nearly useless ship.” Yet when I saw the picture, I felt the warm fuzzies of happy times. Why you ask? I’ll tell you. After all, that’s what a blog is for.

Almost a week ago, on Sunday afternoon, I went on a roam with the fine folks from  Agony Unleashed. There was about 70 of us in fleet at the beginning, and I think about 50 or so by the end. This was to be kind of a training roam to go with our fleet training class we had with them on Saturday, so we were supposed to bring frigates. I chose the Incursus as that is what I am best trained for. I assumed we were all going to die glorious deaths, as that is the Brave Newbie way. And since we were going to have a decent swarm, I decided to fit the ship on the cheap. So My final fit Incursus came to about $3 Million (Barleguet prices). I hopped into my jump clone and loaded up my worthless Incursus.

Here is a video someone posted of what happened. This video of course is not specific to me, but this is our roam. At least the first hour of it. We ended up going back out after this video for more fun.

As it was a couple hours long and had tons of action, I will not break it down blow-by-blow. But here is my killboard for the event (all items from September 8th)  I no longer feel my Incursus is mostly worthless. In fact, I love it. I survived 9 bombs and a few hits from baddies. At one point I had a battle cruiser locked onto me that actually landed a hit. Ouch, that hurt. But I lived. At the end of the roam my shield had been destroyed, my armor destroyed, I had 31% hull left, and I was bellowing out smoke as I trucked it home. Before class I named her “Class” as I figured she would not make it home alive. After class, I renamed her “Catwoman” which was actually a suggestion of someone else in fleet, representing her surviving 9 bombs, when most frigs in the fleet were blowing up after 2-4 bombs.

And here she is again. I wish you could customize the look in the game so I could make her uniquely mine. In fact, if I could suggest anything to CCP games to add in the game, it would be a painting program ala Forza or something similar.

Not Useless at all

Not Useless at all

Latest JDM Legends meet

Last Thursday, JDM Legends had another one of their “First Thursday” meets. So here is a few pictures of some of the cars that were there. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of one of the coolest cars there as they don’t have pictures of it yet and didn’t want pictures to leak out before they had a chance to get it all wrapped up. As always. click for bigger versions.

The line-up

The line-up

Up front, you have a CA18DET powered Silvia, a few skylines, a Bluebird (510), a Datsun 410 (I think), A Celica GTV, the Starlet, and the old Datsun shop truck.

Skyline DR31

Skyline DR31

I think this is a DR31 Skyline GTS. But the cool thing (well, one of them) about this car is the front lip. That little dangly guy up front is powered. So you can flip it up at the push of a button.

Kenmeri Skyline

Kenmeri Skyline

“Just” a Kenmeri and a Bluebird.

Bluebird front badge

Bluebird front badge

Bluebird rear badge

Bluebird rear badge

S13 CA18det Silvia

S13 CA18det Silvia

This car made me sad and happy. Sad because I have been working on my CA18DET S13 all summer and can’t seem to track down a misfire or detonation issue. Happy, because this car was really nice. No dents on it and in great shape. It has a couple bolt-on’s but nothing extreme to make someone wary of buying it. JDM Legends has not decided on a price for this car. But if you want it, I would contact them soon as I hear employees have been lusting on it.

More of the line-up

More of the line-up

Datsun 410

Datsun 410

This thing was very cool. And I don’t know if I have ever seen a 410 in person before. And if I have, I know it wasn’t this clean. Such a cool little car.

Starlet front end

Starlet front end

This is the JDM Legends manager’s (or whatever his title is) Starlet. I have always loved what he did for front bumpers and the oil cooler on this thing.

Celica hood vents

Celica hood vents

This is one of the vents on the Celica GTV hood. They are really cool cast aluminum pieces. You never see cool styling cues like this on modern cars.

There of course was a bunch of other cars there, but honestly, none of them were really doing it for me other than Brody’s R32 that he brought. But I didn’t really get any good shots of it.

Vintage motorcycle racing at Miller MotorSports Park

The event is called the Bonneville Vintage GP. It provides racing classes for motorcycles from the 1930’s to the 1980’s. I know very little about these bikes and this racing. All I can say is they are slow and loud, but very cool to see regardless of the relatively low speeds they achieve. So rather than try to inform about this event, I will just show you some of my favorite pictures I took with a bit of description for them. Most of the bikes were in terrible locations to get good pictures of them as they were crammed under a small tent. But the ones there to race were easier to capture.
1967 Bultaco

1967 Bultaco

The owner of this was a super nice old guy. He saw me taking pictures of his bike and immediately offered up his bike for the kids to pose on. He says this is a 1967. He had another bike with him that was a conglomeration of parts that resulted in it being classified as a 1971, but looked almost identical to this one.

The 1971 Bultaco

The 1971 Bultaco

Ducati inspection cover

Ducati inspection cover

This was a clear cover over the valve system gearing. The owner told me this cover is a factory piece that Ducati uses to make sure the oiling system is working, then they put a solid cover there before shipping it out. But I was super happy that this guy kept it on, because it looks bad ass. I do regret not using my tripod for this picture as it looks like I was shaking a bit and the photo suffered. I am still posting it though, because Daaaamn I love it!

Newer bikes

Newer bikes

These were part of a group of newer bikes that went out during the driver meeting.

Honda cafe racer pit bike

Honda cafe racer pit bike

I loved this little bike. It’s made to look like a little cafe racer. It’s a Honda, but really I know nothing else about it.

Nice exhaust

Nice exhaust

This was another newish bike parked in the pits. But I really liked the exhaust. Nothing crazy, just nicely made.

Driver Meeting

Driver Meeting

Pretty good size crowd for the driver meeting. And just happened to have some cool bikes gathered around as well.

Old Indian

Old Indian

This was a nice old Indian parked at the driver meeting. I know nothing about it, but it looked loved.

Another old Indian

Another old Indian

And another. I assume this one is owned by the same guy as the other old Indian as they have the same number on the plate.

Triumph being pushed into garage

Triumph being pushed into garage

Cool Triumph. No idea of age. He was being pushed into the grand prix garages.

Vincent logo

Vincent logo

Pretty self explanatory. I don’t remember the year. But I believe it was ’50’s.

Another Vincent

Another Vincent

This Vincent logo was a bit different. Not sure of year range. It was on a 1000 bike. Bu that’s all I know about this bike.

Zoomed out on Egli-Vincent

Zoomed out on Egli-Vincent

Shiny BSA Tank

Shiny BSA Tank

Here is a reflection of a Triumph in the tank of a BSA. Both very cool bikes.

Love this old Ducati

Love this old Ducati

I normally hate chrome. I almost always hate red and gold together. But on this bike it worked. And OMG, it worked so well.

Close up of front hub

Close up of front hub

Here is just another shot of the Ducati front hub. Again. Love this bike.

Newer Triumphs

Newer Triumphs

A couple newer Triumphs in the parking lot. Just spectator bikes.

Moto Guzzi

Moto Guzzi

Odd color combo on this bike. But definitely an attention getter. Again, just a spectator bike.

Honda CX

Honda CX

Another spectator bike. But damn. I want it. It’s a Honda CX GL500 (maybe 650) They only made these bikes from like 1978 to 1983. The 650 was only 1983. Then the Harley tax killed it. They even made a turbo version of this bike. And they are pretty valuable as they are fairly tough to get in good shape. Nothing like ’30’s bikes or anything. But either way, I love this bike. And the colors are perfect.

Interesting exhaust

Interesting exhaust

No idea what this bike is, but the exhaust was interesting.

Sidecar racing

Sidecar racing

The sidecars are pretty fun to watch. And the level of commitment from the guys on the sidecar vary quite a bit.

Smooove like butta

Smooove like butta

This guy was rad. Just chillin’ Draggin ass and checking out the chicks. So funny.

Talk about commitment.

Talk about commitment.

Yeah, this guy was doing this every lap. He was very friendly with the bugs on the track.

Another bug lover

Another bug lover

On-track action

On-track action

More on-track action

More on-track action

Cool to see these super old bikes out getting used.

Spider was hungry

Spider was hungry

This guy was waiting for us along the path next to the track. He was in the process of eating his latest victim. Not sure what kind of spider he is, but he was large.

Libraries have changed so much

Every time I visit the library I remember why I don’t visit libraries. They just are not the same as when I was a kid…

I walk in with the girlfriend and her two kids to get a book for her daughter to read for school. There is probably 20 computers or so in the building (this is just a small branch library). 2 of the computers are for looking up books and signing up for library cards. The rest are all occupied by people of all ages watching YouTube or playing Minecraft. After waiting in line for 5 minutes or so to use the computer for looking up the book we want, what I find is even more infuriating than the fact I had to wait that long to use the stupid computer. The book has 4 variants listed. The first has 0 copies in circulation. The next has 4 copies, all of which are either checked out or damaged at other libraries. The third variant has 0 copies in circulation. The fourth variant has 7 copies, 2 of which are at this branch. Not one is checked out or damaged. The catch is, this variant is Spanish. Here is a book written by a guy born in California and raised in Montana and the only copies of his book are in Spanish. Isn’t one of the purposes of the library to aid Spanish speaking people in learning English? And why is there more copies in Spanish than in the native language of the author and the country the author is from and the country the book was published in? And the state in which the library is located? And not one copy is checked out. Yet every copy of the English variants is gone. Why does my tax money go to buying books in foreign languages at all? I could see it going toward books that teach someone how to speak other languages, but there is no reason whatsoever for foreign language books to exist in a government run library in a state with a law establishing an official language of English.

And this was not my only complaint about the library. It just happened to be the one that makes me the most angry as it is my money being wasted. I figured since we couldn’t get the book we wanted, maybe we could get the movie that was based on the book. I walk into that isle to be hit with a wall of stench that made me yell at people. This big fat white guy with greasy hair and an oxygen tank smelled like he hadn’t bathed in several weeks. In fact it wasn’t just him. The whole building smelled the way I imagine a homeless shelter would. Like 50 people in a confined space had not bathed in a week and proceeded to fart in unison. So of course this made me look around and take in my surroundings in more detail. Everyone here was poor. Here we are dressed like upper-middle class as both of us just got off work. And I may as well have been wearing a tuxedo compared to the way every person in there was dressed. And there was probably twice as many families as cars in the parking lot. Which means they were likely the bus riding type. Gross… Now keep in mind, riding buses is OK in some places due to traffic and other convenience issues. But here, it just means you are too poor to afford a car and, based on the smell in there, running water as well.

This is pretty much everyone in the library at a computer

This is pretty much everyone in the library at a computer. Not sure whose picture this is, but it is perfect.

At this point I was just fuming. Why don’t these people spend their time looking for a job instead of watching music videos on YouTube or playing Minecraft. Maybe they could afford to shower. Or clothe themselves. Or drive somewhere, like to a job. At the same time, witnessing their mindless contentment, I realized they are perfectly happy being sub-human. They will all continue to collect welfare and spend the day at the library never bettering themselves. And I will be perfectly happy to never go to the library again as I prefer being lice free and having the proper number of chromosomes. I just wish it wasn’t my money giving them a place to congregate and share their filth. And I find it very sad that a library used to be a place to take kids to expand their minds, teach them things they otherwise would not have experienced. Now, it is the place to take them to show them examples of why they need to read (books not from a library) and do well in school.