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Consolidation

I’ve decided I’m going to consolidate my other websites, thripp.com/blog, composersjourney.com, and iseeafish.com under the richardxthripp.thripp.com domain. Nobody goes to them anyway… they don’t have the PageRank to rank high in Google’s search results… this site does, so why should I try to fight Google?

It’s really better to have all your sites under one domain anyway. I’m not going to merge daytonastate.org, since its value lies largely in the domain itself (similar to daytonastate.edu), but my other websites will be consolidated here including previous content over the next few months… I might even sell off the domains! But probably not.

On a sad note, today my half-sister Anna would be 11 years old. I only met her once, and she passed away in an accident at six months. She died on Father’s Day… 1999-12-16 / 2000-06-17 never forget.

I’ve been having a lot of fun tutoring and meeting people at Daytona State College even though my classes ended Oct. 22, 2010 since I took Fall A classes. Next semester I want to be a tutor at the Academic Support Center or Student Disability Services for math and English… should be fun and help me to relate to people.

I met Trina Chakravarty at Rotary Int’l. last week. She was Miss India USA 2005 and Miss India Worldwide 2006, she’s going to be an M.D. (medical doctor) next year at 24, and she even writes a blog! So amazing…

Richard X. Thripp, Trina Chakravarty

I have been slacking posting newly re-edited photos here, but I’ll have some this weekend.

Finally, I have decided to disable Infolinks on my sites. Infolinks is an ad network that double-underlines words on your site with ads. They are just too annoying, and they make next to nothing anyway… $0.10 a day tops. Google AdSense, AdBrite, and Amazon Associates create more revenue … even Chitika does.

Enjoy the cold weather while it lasts. :)

Updated 2010-12-20: I’ve re-enabled Infolinks after being contacted by the Infolinks team… Tanya W. is working to improve my revenue which so far has been only $1.99 for 51 clicks and over 16,000 impressions in 21 days… we will see how this goes.

Giving away pictures

I gave away about 800 four-by-six prints of my recent pictures at Daytona State College today, so if you are visiting because you received one of those, give me a shout in the comments! :smile:

While I haven’t attended the college besides online classes in a year, next year I am taking the pre-requisites for the education program, so I will be at the Daytona Beach campus four days a week. I met a lot of old friends today and am looking forward to working on DSC in Motion, the college newspaper, after being the Features Editor in fall 2009.

I got my driver’s license on Monday after having a learner’s permit for over a year, so now I can travel wherever I want in my father’s van. Previously, he would have to go with me, drive home, and come back to pick me up, which he only wanted to do if I had class, but not for meetings or socializing. The only downside to having a license is the ridiculous insurance costs, which are currently averaging to $87.26 per month for me. I’m going to try to go somewhere everyday, because if I don’t I’ve basically wasted $2.90 because that’s the daily cost of the insurance. I don’t even have collision or comprehensive coverage and I have the highest deductible, so I think $20 per month would be a much more reasonable price. We are using Response insurance, so please let me know if you know a cheaper company (Progressive quoted us at over $150 per month).

To recoup some of the costs of insurance I’ve added Infolinks to my blog, so if you see words double-underlined those are advertisements and I earn money when they are clicked on. Please don’t click on them unless you are genuinely interested in the advertisements, however. In one week, I’ve made $0.39 from these, so I might remove them soon because they are producing very little money.

Daytona State College 2010 Talent Show

My friend Farah invited me to the Daytona State College 2010 Talent Show at the college theater, bldg. 220, Thu., Oct. 7, 2010, 6-8 PM to film her dance performance. I was there for the whole show and I took 28 photos and an hour of video of all the performers.

I’ve posted them on my DaytonaState.org blog, which has not been updated in a long time: Daytona State College 2010 Talent Show: Photos & Videos.

While I didn’t play the piano like I did in 2009, and the attendance was lower, it was still a great show that I enjoyed watching.

Farah, Massiel, and Reina

Pageant contestants

Daytona State College 2010 Talent Show: Photos & Videos

Daytona State College 2009 Talent Show

I just played piano at the Daytona State College Talent Show at the News-Journal Center, 221 N. Beach St., Daytona Beach, FL 32114. The show was 8-10pm Fri. Oct. 2 (tonight) and it’s 10:45 now.

We had a full house… there were probably 800 people in the audience. It was great and I actually performed better than in the rehearsal. I was the opening act at 8pm, playing The Entertainer by Scott Joplin on the baby grand piano while a slideshow of 58 of my photos played including all 30 in my portfolio. The Rebel got a laugh from the audience.

I was also running for Mr. Daytona State against Jerred T. Mason, Zach Smith, and Tad Jennings. Jerred won with his monologue on overcoming obstacles in life and reaching your dreams, which is a lot of what I wrote last year in personal development. Michelle Underwood and Shawana Brown were running for Ms. Daytona State, and Michelle won with her improvised comedy act.

The show as very good. It was much better than the rehearsal Mon. and Thu. I told dozens of people about it at Daytona State College all this week and it seemed no one knew about it. I was only expecting a couple hundred people but Dad estimated there were 800-1000 students in the audience.

I took about 300 photos with my DSLR and my Dad filmed my performance. I’ll cull and edit everything by Sunday and post it then. It’s almost 11pm and I need some sleep. Update: video of my piano playing (fast forward to 2:30), photos above. Everything is posted!

Have a nice weekend everyone! Please leave your comments about the show on this blog post.

I also published this on DaytonaState.org.

Grade Creep

Especially in the last decade colleges have become biased toward giving higher grades for poorer results. For a trigonometry test several semesters back, I ended up with 30 bonus points for acing the advance quizzes. While I got a modest 84 on the test, this turned into a mighty 114 with the extras. Mind you, my grade was not capped at 100, but the 14 overage would apply to other sub-par test scores. The net effect was an easy A in the class. The standard for a good grade is steadily creeping downward.

The standard maximum GPA was a 4.0, but now with honors classes, which are supposedly harder than their traditional counterparts, GPAs can soar to 4.5 and beyond. These classes do not compare to the college-level English and arithmetic taught to the students of Lincoln’s day. No–it was in those days that the condescending moniker, “higher education,” truly lived up to its name. It was not uncommon for half of a pre-graduate class to miserably fail.

Nevertheless, test scores are plummeting–it seems the more bonuses and concessions we pile on, the WORSE students do. All of the sudden mediocrity is excellence and is awarded A’s. A new standard for success emerges, one far more base than that of yesterday’s scholars.

Some teachers find students skipping vital tests or even finals. This is due to a new practice where the lowest score for any test in the class is dropped, as if the failure never took place. Often, if the test score on the final exam is higher than the lowest score on the junior tests, the final counts for both, erasing the lowest test grade. All of the sudden, a final that counted for 20% of the class grade gets a boost to 30%. This allows for amazing comebacks gradewise, at the expense of seriously downgrading the standards for academic achievement. Sometimes, even the final will be dropped if the previous tests warrant it, resulting in students skipping the most important test of they merited high marks on all the others.

I’ve even seen professors whore out bonus points for making donations to charity, attending far-flung theatre events or presentations that may or may not require admission fees, or, get this–putting your name on a test. Assuming the coursework is not significantly harder than the classes of other instructors (it never is), this is the equivalent of taking a gigantic dump on the grade scale. Is it a C or is it a D? Who cares, give it an A! Everyone else is doing it. Grades mean nothing anyway. This way, the school makes more money as fewer people drop out! It’s all about profit! Everyone knows college is a fraud designed to waste your time and drain your bank account anyway. Why continue hiding it?

Is that not what it is all about, anyway? Draining bank accounts. My calculus class requires a book that retails for $200 and second-hands for $150. Tuition fees are increasing exponentially as the Florida BrightFutures scholarship program and countless others face the chopping block. Degree requirements become ever more stringent–today’s Master’s degree is tomorrow’s Bachelor’s degree.

Especially with the U.S. economy and dollar crashing due to the sprawling American Empire (Roman Empire pt. 2), the artifical system of certificate == huge pay increase is going to fall. When it does, you will have to provide real value to make money. Save for a few advanced fields, your degree means nothing because it doesn’t amount to one-tenth the equivalent time in real experience. There are so many jobs that can just as easily be mastered with apprenticeships rather than multiple-choice testing. Teachers, librarians, doctors (general practitioners), photographers, musicians, artists, philosophers, sociologists, surveyers, social workers, even engineers; the list of what does not require a four-year degree goes on and on. This is why technical colleges are taking off: they cut through the B.S.

Can’t we just admit it? Higher education is a fraud. The standards become progressively lower as students become progressively more disgraceful to match. The college experience is no more than a disgusting excuse to leech off one’s parents for far longer than one should. Your degree? A steaming pile of crap. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even make good toilet paper.

I will be returning to Daytona State College 2009 fall for Calculus II. I will be using the $200 book that is also good for Calculus I and III. I bought the teacher’s edition (free to teachers, illegal to resell) online for $46.

The next time someone tells you how smart their college educated daughter is, show them this article and stick your nose up.

Three generations of imbeciles are enough.

LIS and more

I’ve been impressed by the progress the LISWiki (library and information science) has been making, so I’ve opened an account and started contributing to articles; stuff like digitization, renew, checkout, and open stacks.

I’m also blogging about library service now; I wrote my first article yesterday, 10 Tips for Reference Dialogues (digg). If you’ve read my about page, you know librarianship is my choice career, so it’s inevitable I start writing about it. This will be mixed in with my photography here, though there will be more photos of books to accompany my entries.

Other news: the spring ’08 semester is over. I got an A in everything but photography, where I got a B+. Do you see the irony there? I did the assignments and missed no classes, and had nice stuff including Wine Bottles, The Rebel, and The Gaze for my presentation, but my teacher is afraid of A’s.

My cousin’s blogging again. I set up my photography archive using Gallery2, but it’s just for family and friends since my family is afraid of the public. I changed all the Google ads here to orange; I like it because they stand out yet complement the olive green links and banner. 2008-05-16 Update: Switched back; orange was getting no clicks. Check out the “printable view” links on each post now, such as the one for 10 Tips for Reference Dialogues. I messed with the WP-Print code so that the footnote markers come after links instead of before, the printed from URI is just the article, and the links are black instead of the default blue or purple (that’s CSS though). What I don’t like about the defaults, is that links are blue, but if you’ve clicked them (a:visited), they’re purple, and this shows up if you print in color. When you print, they should be all the same. I picked black over blue, so in multi-page articles headlined with a color photo, I can print page one on my color laser and the rest on the monochrome, and there is consistency. When I print stuff out, I use Internet Explorer instead of Firefox, because it formats margins and text nicer.

Also, the print pages don’t say “Brilliant Photography” now, cuz it makes no sense for LIS articles. It’s just richardxthripp.thripp.com now, which is short and sweet.

That’s it for now; thanks for reading.

End of Semester

I’m almost done with the spring 2008 semester! I finished QUANTA yesterday, have my trigonometry final tomorrow (I need a 60 to pass with an A), and my photography presentation Thursday. It’s at Daytona Beach College, Building 530, Room 120, from 5 to 7 P.M. (2008-05-08). I’ll be showing my gelatin silver prints, and some digital work (this stuff).

I’ll be glad to be getting back to digital photography over the summer, though I have pre-calculus to learn for six weeks. I have my most controversial photo ever to post; stay tuned for it tomorrow. :surprised:

Leaving deviantART Forever

Yesterday I was contemplating what’s been holding me back in my photography and online publishing of my photography, and I’ve decided it’s maintaining my deviantart.com gallery. Since I started my own website at richardxthripp.thripp.com in December, I’ve continued to post photos to deviantART, because of my many followers there. Unfortunately, this kind of multi-casting derails too much of my time. I post each photo as prints for sale at deviantART, such as Bubble in the Sea, and that takes fifteen minutes because of their tedious interface for cropping and presentation (no one buys them). The other inconvenience is making keyword lists and linking between photos on each site (which I do manually). While I could continue to post photos to deviantART without these frills, the root of the issue is having to go to two places when I should be putting all my efforts here, my home on the Internet forever.

So, I’m breaking it off. I’m never going back to deviantART again. This is a huge step forward. I won’t be hassling myself to publicate my photos, and I’ll be focusing my efforts in one direction instead of splitting them in two. I’ve been at deviantART for two and a half years, and have had 116,000 views for my artwork. But if I’m every going to become solvent here, that won’t cut it. My last photo at deviantART was Night Meets Day. The end.

I’m finishing up my classes for Spring; last day is May 9. If you read my back to school entry from the start of the semester, you know all the crazy courses I’m taking (sixteen credit hours). Unfortunately, most of the assignments are bunched up now, with tests, essays, and projects due every class day. That’s my excuse for my limited appearances here. I wanted to take the summer off, but in order to enter Florida State University’s computer science studies (my intention, as mentioned in the about me page), I have to go through pre-calculus, calculus one, and calculus two. Since I’m learning trigonometry now, and those must be done in order, I can’t do the classes by spring of ’09 (my deadline for my AA degree) without taking pre-calculus this summer. Six weeks in May and June. I’m paying out of pocket (BrightFutures doesn’t like summer-schoolers), but at least the book is the same as trigonometry (college textbooks cost hundreds of dollars per semester). And I’ve chosen my fall ’08 courses: calculus / physics / speech / biology. It’s nice to have a plan.

I’ve mostly abandoned digital photography in the last two months, as my film photography teacher demands undivided efforts. I’ll post a couple some time (scanning them in and removing the dust specks is time-consuming; even if they look fine by eye, the scanner seems to add dust). I’m elated to be abandoning film forever in a couple weeks. There will be nice, shiny digital photos only. I’m glad I’m not subjecting myself to Daytona Beach College’s photography program; I couldn’t put up with such a structured approach.

my photos on my bookshelves

I’ve cleared the junk in my room and dedicated my bookshelves to my photography. My Dad (God bless him) added the shelves on the left recently, where I house my best prints. There are stacks of them, because I have many and give them out all the time, to promote photography as an art form (too often, photographs are cooped up in big frames with $200 price tags to look respectable). I used to be unable to keep track of them, but now I can just wake up and pick up one of each to give out on a walk whatever. Life is clear.

On my about page, I talk about why I’m going into library science. I’ve been employed at the Holly Hill library since 2006-11 (part of Volusia County’s libraries). In January of this year, Lisa (the librarian of three years) was transferred out, and the assistant librarian (Sharon) retired last week. Those were the only full-timers, so it’s interesting to see people come and go. Sad too when they’re friends, like here. The new lady doesn’t like photography (it’s a shame, because photography should be beloved by all :wink: ). I did have a table set up in February, like the bookshelves above. I gave away nice photos such as Leafy Droplets and Simplicity. The ones in my shop are nicer because I mat them on white cardstock and put my signature on the back.

I still get comments from our patrons now about how they enjoyed my work and have it on their fridge or in an album. That’s why I love being a photographer.

A Postscript on the Scholarship

If you’ve read last week’s article, $1500 Daytona Beach College Scholarship Revoked, you know what recently happened to me. I’ve decided to do nothing about it.

I went to Charlene Solomon’s office and apologized for my rudeness on the phone (“What? You can’t take my scholarship. You already sent the letter. Who do you think you are?”), the opposite of what many of my friends suggested, which was to escalate to the higher nodes of the Daytona Beach College bureaucracy. I will apply again in the fall of 2008, and perhaps I will win an award for keeps. Fighting a battle would not produce changes but instead make enemies and cost time, which is not what I’m in college for.

$1500 Daytona Beach College Scholarship Revoked

I lost a $1500 scholarship today.

I won a $1500 scholarship from the Daytona Beach College Foundation (of Daytona Beach, FL, USA) in the Fall of 2007. It is split into two semesters. There is a rule: “You can only receive one DBCC [sic, DBC used to be Daytona Beach Community College] Foundation Donor scholarship per semester.” Many of the scholarships are spread out over two or even three semesters. So, in my strategic cunning, I interpreted the rule in the manner that is most beneficial to me: you may only be awarded one scholarship per semester, but you may be profiting from the sacred funds of multiple donors in simultaneity.

I’m not one to ask questions. Ten times the yeses come from decisive action rather than cautious inquiry. I went ahead and entered for the scholarship. Surely if I interpreted that rule erroneously, I would receive no award, right? I finished my application online on 2007-10-25, with a glowing recommendation from Dr. Casey Blanton, my humanities professor in the QUANTA learning community, and author of Travel Writing: The Self and the World. No error messages or notifications of my ineligibility. It must be fine, right?

December 10 rolls around, and I receive this delightful news from the postman:

Dear Richard:

Congratulations! On behalf of Daytona Beach Community College, I am pleased to advise you that you have been awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the Elizabeth Barr Studio Arts Scholarship Fund. Your scholarship will be awarded over two semesters for the spring 2008 ($750) and fall 2008 ($750) semesters at DBCC [sic]. This scholarship is not transferable to any other semesters.

$1500 Elizabeth Barr Studio Arts scholarship letter $1500 Elizabeth Barr Studio Arts scholarship letter, excerpt

Compare this to the first award:

Dear Richard:

Congratulations! On behalf of Daytona Beach Community College, I am pleased to advise you that you have been awarded a $1,500 scholarship from the James Fentress Scholarship Fund. Your scholarship will be awarded over two semesters: fall 2007 ($750) and spring 2008 ($750) semester at DBCC [sic]. This scholarship is not transferable to any other semester.

$1500 James Fentress scholarship letter $1500 James Fentress scholarship letter, excerpt

Yes! I’ve pulled it off. There were plenty of measly $500 scholarships, but I’d won the big enchilada, twice in a row. Or so I thought.

January 14, the first day of classes. I take my letter of sincere thanks in to send off to the donors for the Elizabeth Barr award. I get the financial aid office mixed up with the bursar’s office, but the kind clerk offers to forward my letter on. You just don’t hear words the caliber of bursar nowadays.

It is on February 1st that I finally get the monies to fund the textbooks I am habitually buying as of late. Yet my beautiful Elizabeth Barr award, which I’ve bragged about to dozens of friends and strangers alike, is ominously absent. Where could it be, I ponder?

As any good coper, I reason that it is just taking longer than normal. “The money will come, soon. There are just processing delays. The gears of the bureaucracy are not well-oiled today.” On February 4, I finally crack and call in.

Charlene Solomon, head of the DBC scholarship foundation, gives me the dreadful news herself: I will not be receiving my capstone prize. It is all a mistake. Up to this point, I am so convinced of the infallibility of the scholarship department, that the word mistake is no more than an Egyptian hieroglyph to me.

The mistake is, that I am receiving the second half of the $1500 James Fentress scholarship this semester, so the rule, “You can only receive one DBCC [sic] Foundation Donor scholarship per semester,” cripples my entire application, as I shuddered to suspect. Because of the $750 I am receiving from the James Fentress scholarship this semester, I lose all the $1500 of the Elizabeth Barr award.

But it gets worse: my precious money was awarded to another student.

Perhaps this would be enough to console a charitable person. But not me. Because I’m just so much better at putting coinage to use, it should obviously be mine, no?

The epic continues: my file indicates that I was attempted to be called several times to be informed of the dreadful thing. Yet I received no such calls. I have devised an ingenious theorem that the messenger chickened out, but marked me as called. I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell a student that his wonderful scholarship, the culmination of years of academic toils, has been rescinded.

It’s not like this is going to ruin my education. Everything is already paid for by our state’s excellent BrightFutures reward program (which I got $75 less of this year), the Pell grant, and the icing on the cake is my previous $1500 scholarship. Suffice to say, there are students much more deserving of the award (if not for academic merit, for financial neediness). I would’ve just saved this $1500 for my postgraduate education, slated for 2011. I’d love to boast that I’m the first person to ever win two consecutive scholarships like this, and that this is the first time the rule has been enforced. But honestly, I have no idea.

Please do not misconstrue this as bashing of the DBC foundation. I know it’s hard to manage so many students and applications, and mistakes happen. But do they have to happen to me, and of such an irritating sort? I’d certainly prefer it that the award was legitimate, yet forgotten to be sent, so long as I’d never found out about it.

$1500 may be a small amount to you, but my family is lower-class so it would’ve greatly helped us. Who’d have thunk it in 1969 that Americans would be paying upwards of a dollar a bottle for water? And how do we profess to respect mother nature when we pile our landfills with such wasteful containers?

I encourage the administration to update their rules. Replace:

You can only receive one DBCC [sic] Foundation Donor scholarship per semester.

with:

You can only receive one DBC Foundation Donor scholarship per semester. If you are receiving a scholarship spread over multiple semesters, you may not apply again until that scholarship has concluded.

And on the scholarships page, replace:

Students may apply for as many scholarships as they are eligible, however, students may only receive one DBC Foundation scholarship per semester.

with:

Students may apply for as many scholarships as they are eligible, however, students may only receive one DBC Foundation scholarship per semester. If you are receiving a scholarship spread over multiple semesters, you may not apply again until payment of that scholarship has concluded.

The current rules are too vague, if the staffers themselves misread them. Don’t let someone else go through the same disheartening rigmarole. If it takes away the faith of one student in our university, then it has hurt my community as a whole.

Scratch the opening. It should be “I lost nothing today,” because I never actually had anything.

2008-02-05 Update: I corrected grammar, clarified parts, elaborated on the proposed rule changes, and revised an overly negative paragraph.
2008-02-10 Update: Read A Postscript on the Scholarship.

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