Semester 2: PRO 1 - CON 2

Tuesday morning was spent in the same classroom with the same instructor as last semester for four hours of Multimedia Applications. We touched upon the very basics of text, sound, video and images along with Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver and Flash.

What about a whole semester of Illustrator and a whole semester of Dreamweaver and a whole semester of Photoshop?  MCU doesn't offer Multimedia Applications II but they most definitely should.

I like this class due to the fact that it's hands on. Our professor asked the class to do one final project, breaking us up into eight different departments each being responsible for a certain element. I was a secretary for the Producers and it was much like an office job — I got in a lot of Facebook time.

Posted from last semester:

The classroom was like a freezer. Signs hang on the A/Cs requesting that they not be switched off. Although Taiwan is considered to be warm year round, it can get cold. One day, the temperature dropped to nine degrees and I swear the machines were spitting out ice. The teacher obeyed the signs and refused to turn them off. The students, however, rebelled. Off was not an option so we turned it to the least offensive setting we could find.

It's been an exceptionally hot summer so far and it is real unfortunate that the A/Cs weren't spitting out the ice as per last semester. Instead, they hardly let any cold air out at all and then during our last class they broke down completely — on the day we were required to give presentations.

An empty classroom was right across the hall with working A/Cs but no attempt was made by the university to move us. Instead we got to sit in a boiling classroom in one of the highest buildings on the highest floors and have workmen come in and out trying different solutions as we gave our presentations. Talk about distraction.

The lady from MCU whose job it was to stand there and oversee the workmen should have made it her responsibility to find us a cooler classroom. Perhaps the one directly across from us, the one that someone locked when we went in there to cool down? That would have been a good choice.

This class marks the first PRO of second semester with many more to follow, I'm sure.

Semester 2: PRO 0 - CON 2

Monday afternoon was a required gym class that didn't grant any credits. This semester we played ping-pong and basketball.

I don't recall there being a ping-pong test but I may have been absent. We had a test based on our ability to shoot layups but I wasn't there. I managed to miss a good chunk of classes this semester and it is fortunate that it didn't reflect in my grade.

We had another test that required one to throw a baseball through a white circle that was painted on a wall. We had 10 tries to get it in 10 times. I neglect to see how this prepares one for the working world.

As per the university's request, we needed to be tested on the rules of basketball. Since there were 30+ students with one net most of the semester, we weren't really taught much so the teacher asked us to write an essay on the NBA.

MCU states that we take this course to promote physical fitness yet there I was writing a report. Hmm. Most students sit and chat during this class or sneak out after attendance has been taken. So although MCU's intentions are good, I'm not sure they are realistic.

The lack of participation certainly lies on the responsibility of the teacher and not the university itself; however, with a shortage of space and equipment, it seems that perhaps the onus goes back to that of the university.

I was usually left feeling quite frustrated by the end of Monday. I hate spending my money on things that waste my time.

Fun with Photoshop ....

36°+ blue skies + no daytime work = perfection. New photos in Juiciest June.  愛台灣。

Semester 2: PRO 0 — CON 1

Grades are in the process of being posted so here goes. Monday morning started with Introduction to Electronic Media. A more appropriate title would have been Introduction to Wasting Time. Eighteen weeks gone and the only thing I learned was that the instructor should not be teaching at a university (in English); because by teaching I mean direct reading off his PowerPoint done with poor intonation and mispronunciation of many words.

Books were not required for this course as the professor provided us with material although it was quite dated.  Perhaps this course was meant to be called the History of Electronic Media?  I should mention that all readings were copied and pasted directly from these handouts.  Yawn.

Three weeks prior to our tour of ICRT, he repeatedly pushed the radio station, made us watch a video of last year's class (twice) and then spent three hours on giving us directions. Google Maps is fairly self explanatory, no?

The course outline and the class content didn't match up exactly. We ran around the history of Radio. He showed us Pirate Radio and as the film played he continually told us what was going to happen before it happened.  He wins a prize for the worst person ever to watch a movie with.

Our mid-term project consisted of two reports titled "My Favorite Radio Program" and "My Favorite TV Program", both to be 700 - 900 words. Some classmates complained that was too much so he agreed to extend the date for one assignment. After stating he would give two grades and average those out, I spoke to him privately noting that I only had the opportunity of one grade since I had submitted both reports together as per his original instruction. Brownie points? Ask and you shall receive; a week later my grade had magically raised by 5%.

On to the history of TV and cable. We viewed EdTV since it has TV in the title? This is purely a guess on my part. Most of the semester was spent in the 50s. We ventured into the 70s but only briefly before heading back to the 60s. What about the 80s? The 90s? 2011? Hello?

A guest speaker came to discuss cable television within Taiwan. He had a half hour of material but it seemed that the professor had planned on him being there for a full two hours; and with no backup plan, the teacher made him stay. It was a little awkward.

A tour of Taiwan's Public Television Station was OK, but I didn't learn anything. Next class, the prof introduced satellites by showing us documentaries on war while he slipped out of class with phone to ear.  Unfortunately, I had stopped tuning in weeks prior.

Don't get me wrong. Outside of class, the professor seems like a nice guy. He's a retired professional that has done well in his industry. Is he suitable for Electronic Media in today's world? Nope.

Things you shouldn't do in class: answer your phone (number of occasions), throw on a movie and disappear, show up for a half hour and then excuse yourself for a meeting (twice).

Introduction to Electronic Media = an expensive movie theater with somewhat sucky choices and uncomfortable seats.

And so it begins with CON in the lead.  I do feel confident that PRO will win in the end but this class certainly did not make the cut. Not even close.

Happy Father's Day!

Any man can become a father but it takes someone real special to be a dad. My dad and I have developed an awesome relationship over the years. My only regret is that I don't get to see him more often. Although life has taken me to the opposite side of the globe, I know that my dad remains by my side!

Dad, I miss you every day and am so looking forward to our time together in a few short months! I hope you have a great day! You deserve it! I love you!

Sunday June 12th, 2011

I can't help but smile at how juicy June is going to be as I sip on my homemade grapefruit, orange, lime, pineapple and ginger juice. New photos in the album on the right ... click it ... you know you want to.

School's out for summer ...

Being a full time student stops for the moment. One week of rest before I become a full time teacher again. I have much to say about this past semester and words will follow soon ...

Road Trip ...

Last minute planning made for a fantastic scooter ride through a few different mountain passes popping us out on the coast for the long weekend as Taiwan celebrated Dragon Boat Festival. We made it from door to door in less than two hours; just in time for a yummy BBQ feast along with LOTS of wine followed by late night skinny-dipping in the ocean! Awesome!

The morning after was off to a slow start as hammocks were present on the rooftop of the beach house. We finally mustered up the motivation and took off to explore more of the mountains surrounding 頭城. We came across a deserted resort that looked as though it hasn't been operating for years. I was able to locate it on Google Maps (pictured below) but unfortunately it doesn't offer the name of the facility.

The day was scorching but pictures were plentiful. The afternoon was spent relaxing on 外澳 beach which eventually led us back to BBQ feast time. We ate extremely well, drank loads and shared a lot of laughs between friends. Sleep was short and the party continued on the next morning not too long after it had stopped.

Good times always need to come to an end and it was unfortunate that time had arrived. Since it was 35° on the way home, we made a stop at the river in 坪林 for a much needed cool down. As luck would have it, Egrets were nesting in the area and we were able to get some shots although I need a much better lens! There's a new album on the right.

And like that, it's back to the grind. Four days left of university with one presentation and two exams. I am ready for it to be done although I am not ready to go back to work. I really do prefer holidays, but who doesn't?!