Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's been awhile...

A little over 3 months, actually. In this time I've been busy, ya know, taking finals, working, going to Florida, working, writing for an up-start tech site started by high school class mate Jake Ensor and some of his friends from Nebraska (boooo, go Hawkeyes!), working, and now getting for the up coming school year. All that stuff to do and a still found time to complain online, this time it was just on my Twitter so it was limited in characters. Any way, I hope to end that trend and nip it in the bud. No promises, though.

Recently I got the urge to start writing, and this time it was not just an urge to rant on Blogger. This time I couldn't sleep and just started writing a book. The premise was simple: there are moments in this life where we have to make decisions and determine what we need and determine what we just want. That gets fuzzy because we want what we need, but we feel that we need what we really just want. Then there are moments we don't think and don't need to decide: we just do out of instinct. And that is the moment where we find our purpose. That's what we were born to do.

Then the outro talks about how things happen for a reason. Certain events will happen no matter what, but how you handle them determines everything in between.

That's the cement that keeps everything together.

So I feel solid about the message and purpose of the story (The Purpose is even the working title! Fascinating how I tied that in). It's just the plot and characters. As I've been writing, I've noticed it's been setting up a reoccurring dream I've been having recently. Not just like the dream: the dream exactly, with myself being the main character and all. I some how came into a lot of money in my last few years of college, but still finished school and became a teacher. It opens with my first day of work teaching in high school. I got a job back home in Ankeny. If it keeps progressing like this, I'll realize someone from high school is teaching there also, we'll start a relationship, I'll save her life in some bullshit unrealistic scenario, and then we'll get married and live happily ever after.

I'm not sure if I want to continue down that story line or build a new one, one were I can develop characters not so close to home. Plus at the current progression, I could get a little narcissistic or even go crazy and mix up reality with fantasy. I do plan on seeing the book, maybe even try to get it published. Who knows.

In the mean time, I'll keep busy working at ResNet, replacing computers and documenting shit on the wiki. And if you didn't click the link above, you should really check out TechSpce. We do our best to keep everything in layman's terms so everybody can understand how awesome (or not so awesome) products and games are. Besides, who wants to go to a tech site full of nerd-speak? I only speak English and some Spanglish. Any way, it's pretty user friendly. And I try to entertain. I'll start putting summaries of my articles on here with links to the site.

Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook if you know me, and circle me on Google+ if you want to see me post every time I write on here. It's hot as hell out side, so if you venture in to the wild make sure to enjoy a good Popsicle. You're welcome.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

5 Things I Was Going To Rant On, But Condensed

What up people. It's been two weeks since I last posted, so I figure I should put something up on here for you're entertainment. But what should I post about? I thought of some ideas, but have no motive or enough content to really write about any of these in detail. So I decided to write brief excerpts on the various topics. Enjoy!

1. The Friend Zone

This is not a friendly zone as the title implies, and yes I know that was a not so funny play on words. This is the zone that comes about when a guy asks a girl out on a date and she pulls the "you're a really nice guy and I really like you, but just as good friends" card. Let's face it people, the friend zone rarely lasts long. The guy has to suppress his feelings for the girl, and the girl has to pretend like it never happened and starts wondering if she would ever date him, and it gets really awkward. Pretty soon the awkwardness gets so high you stop talking and you really aren't friends any more, just more of acquaintances really. Did I mention it gets awkward? Just give the guy a chance.

2. The Chicago Cubs

Yes kids, they suck again. A 3-10 start might be a little worse than even I predicted, but I'll still say I told you so!

3. The Start of the NHL Playoffs

Wait, when was the regular season? I don't know, but call me when it gets to the Stanley Cup and I might watch a game or two.

4. It's Almost Summer

2 weeks left of school, and 3 tests and 2 quizzes keeping me from the summer. And what will Jon be doing for the summer? I will be staying in Cedar Falls over the summer working for my current job at ResNet. Working with the internet and shit, and replacing computers on campus. I'll make my way to Ankeny every now and then. I'll also be spending a couple weeks down in Florida with the family, and showing off and tanning my beach bod of course. I guess you can come visit me up here if you want, just give me a heads up a week or so in advance so I can warn Wes.

5. I Forgot the Other Stuff

Must not have been important, so I saved you from ready even more useless stuff

So there's five snippets of stuff I've observed, meditated on, and regurgitated out for you on here. Follow on Twitter (@JVanderah20) or find me on Facebook to keep in touch and stay entertained on a more regular basis. Here is some music for the road:



Peace out y'll. Enjoy the nice rainy weather we got going on. Hopefully it's a while before I get on here again, cause that would mean nothing really pissed me off in that time span. Adios.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Opening Day: The Boys are Back

Ah, spring is in the air! Well, I guess it has been since February, but now that baseball is starting it's official. And like every year, Cubs fans start talking about how this is the year they finally win the World Series again. As a Cubs fan, it hurts to break it to you but there is no way in hell the Cubs even make the playoffs this year.

The season will look a lot like this opening day game: Keep the starter in as long as possible because the bull pen is weak, low scoring offense (no matter what way the wind is blowing), and the first pitch & seventh inning stretch being the most entertaining parts of the game. In a season where you lose 2 of your starting players (Carlos Peña, Aramis Ramirez) and they get replaced by a career back up and an average role player (Jeff Baker, Ian Stewart). Granted, Baker is only playing because Bryan LaHair has a bad back, but come on, he hasn't been a starter either and the Cubs are really just hoping he produces some this season. Stewart was the team's "big" off season signing, and he's always been average with the bat, although he is exceptional when it comes to defense I mean just look at this opening day line-up:

RF David DeJesus  L
2B Darwin Barney R
SS Starlin Castro R
LF Alfonso Soriano R
3B Ian Stewart L
1B Jeff Baker R
CF Marlon Byrd R
C Geovany Soto R
P Ryan Dempster R

There is only one bat in the line-up that I would be scared to pitch against, and that's Castro. He can hit pitches out of the zone, be patient when he wants to, and can hit with some power. Sure Soriano hit 26 home runs last year, but all you have to do in throw 3 pitches in the dirt and he'll swing at all of them most days. Soto had that break out year when he won rookie of the year back in 2008, but ever since he goes through major slumps of not being able to hit anything. Everyone else is a contact hitter, and is really only starting for their defensive play.  Their bench is filled with the same type of players:

C Steve Clevenger* L
1B Bryan LaHair L (starter really)
2B Luis Valbuena L
IF Blake DeWitt L
LF Joe Mather (more of a 3B really) R
RF Reed Johnson R

A rookie catcher, three infielders that have little experience besides DeWitt, and the outfielders are really a third baseman in disguise and an older dude known for hustle and his goatee. Pretty intimidating, huh? Offense will definitely be lacking this year. Here's what the pitching looks like for this year:

SP Ryan Dempster R
SP Matt Garza R
SP Jeff Samardzija R
SP Chris Volstad R
SP Paul Maholm L
RP Rafael Dolis R
RP Lendy Castillo R
RP Shawn Camp R
RP Jeff Russell L
RP Kerry Wood R
CL Carlos Marmol R

Starting rotation looks pretty solid, as long as Paul Maholm can stay consistent and Samardzija can adjust back to the starting role. Even though he was arguably their best reliever last year, he proved that if you bitch enough you eventually get what you want and is now a starter. Of course, that came at the expense of Randy Wells, who was a pretty consistent starter, but is now in AAA Iowa to make room for the former Notre Dame tight end. As for the bull pen, it is small and 3 of the 6 pitchers weren't there last year. I don't even know the first three. Russell is the only lefty in the group, which means he'll be put into a lost of pressure/situational spots this year. That worries me because he has never done well under pressure. Wood is getting older, isn't the strikeout guy he used to be, and today he showed his command isn't what it used to be. He only managed to walk 3 guys in a row, the last walking in the game tying run. Marmol is pretty solid though, and hopefully he keeps control of his pitches like he did last year and doesn't revert back to how wild he was in 2010.

All in all, the opening day loss is about how the year is going to look. The starting pitcher keeps the Cubs in games, offense squeaks out a run here and there, and then the bull pen blows it when they come in. I predict the Cubs get around 75 wins and finish 4th in the NL Central. I hope the Cubbies prove me wrong on all of this. If they win the World Series, on then will I believe in the 2012 myths.

Find me on Twitter (@JVanderah20) for my thoughts in 140 characters or less, or on Facebook (www.facebook.com/jvandy37) if you want our friendship to be FBO. This blog has been Controversy Free (and Gluten Free) since April 2012. Roster found on http://cubs.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=chc because ESPN's was wrong. Before you go, here's a meme for thought: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3om771/#by=ad. Peace out girl scouts

Monday, April 2, 2012

Shower of Champions

This is the playlist of songs that I heard in the shower this morning/when I got back to my room. Now guess who was jacked to take on the day?

1. Five Finger Death Punch - Remember Everything

2. Alice in Chains - Man in the Box

3. Cavo - Champagne

4. Puddle of Mudd - Control

5. 3 Doors Down - Let Me Go

Now I get to go to class pumped up, and maybe infect some people for Zombies. Being the first zombie is the best. Bitches better watch out. Later.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Run's House

So it's been a while, and this post won't be controversial. Hopefully. It's not the intent. The intent is to introduce the masses to the new house in Campbell, Run's House. Named after the MTV show following Run DMC member RevRun, Run's house started as a group of friends seceding from Scooby House. Why would they break away from Scooby? It's obviously not because they hate the cartoons (They were the shit!). No no, children. There are two main reasons. The first being an annoyance with certain members (cough cough, Tom, cough cough). We don't hate anyone in Scooby, in fact we get along with and are good friends with everyone we know, it's just they get on our nerves and on our asses because we don't like going to house events (they're stupid). The second is that it seems when in bigger groups, some members tend to become severely immature. With an unwillingness to be associated with these people, we often joked about founding our own house. One day my doppelganger and roommate Casey started calling it Run's House, and thus it was born. Soon I made a Facebook group and anyone can request to join. We use Run DMC's logo as our logo:

Now let's go into what Run's House stands for. We believe in only having house events of stuff we just do as friends. I mean, why force people to go to stuff that they think is stupid? There is no reward system for going to stuff or participation. Also, no stickers for ass kissing. As R.A. (resident assistant, and it's not official so I really have no power), I'll give stickers as arbitrarily as I can and ignore precedence of previous sticker-giving. So any house events are just bros hanging out (girls are allowed as well), and we do stuff we would do even if we weren't a house. We would go bowling, but Cole thinks that's gay and won't go. We have our first house picnic Saturday, where we will go get fast food and eat outside at a park. We also plan on going to see American Reunion when it's in theaters. When it comes to politics within Campbell, we remain neutral. We won't declare war on a house because 2 or 3 kids in the house annoy us, and we won't put snow in anyone's bathrooms. We also won't take sides in outstanding battles (Camelot vs Scooby), or attack someone that declares war on us (Scooby). If anyone even thinks about attacking us, you're stupid. Run's has 3 of the biggest dudes in our hall (Cole, Casey, and I), so you'll get your asses kicked (good luck, though). In summary, we are just laid back people who love to hang and not give a fuck.

If you are interested in joining, we encourage applicants to have the runs. No silly, not diarrhea, the R.U.N.S. It stands for Respect, Unity (formerly Umbrella, because we couldn't come up with a U word), Narcissism, and Sex appeal. The S is most important because we like to portray ourselves as a nice house and attract new members. If you are interested in joining, find the group on Facebook or click this handy dandy link (https://www.facebook.com/groups/134458523349884/). You can pretty much be any age, gender, ethnicity, and go to any school. It's more like a frat or sorority.

Follow me on the twitter (@JVanderah20) if you want to read more from me in 140 characters or less at a time, and find me on Facebook if you want to be friends. Over/Under 24 hours until Tom realizes I mentioned how he annoys me. I go over. He's probably with his girlfriend he's only dating to have sex with. Peace out. Please don't try this at home. Here's a meme for thought: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/Cq/

Monday, March 5, 2012

Science vs Religion vs Politics: Do They Always Have to Fight?

It's amazing how many kids in my Humanities are surprised when our Christian professor tells us that people who reject Evolution are ignorant, and that evolution neither disproves God nor what the bible says about the Creation. The bible says God first created living things in the sea and then on land. Evolution says life was first there was life in the oceans and then on land. Ok, so those points can coexist. Next God took the seventh day off (first four days were the forming of the stars and planets) and then sometime after that God created man. And in  evolution, there was life way before man came about. The Bible says god formed man in the image of himself, out of the dust of the ground a breathed life into him. Evolution says humans and other primates came from a common ancestor. Who's to say that God didn't take that common ancestor to form man, and then let the rest progress naturally to the primate family? You see, people get worked up because they view science as attacking their faith, that it is solely trying to disprove God. What they don't realize is that science is unable to touch the issue of whether God exists. You see, science works in the realm of the natural. They can only test the things on this planet that we can touch, see, or measure. God lives in the super natural, in the things we can't see, touch, or measure. So Evolution can't say that since the Bible didn't mention evolution, that means it is factually incorrect and therefore God doesn't exist. All it can say is evolution happened and maybe God is involved, or maybe not. They can't make any claims about God's existence or presence. 

Another thing Atheists like to tear apart about the Bible is Noah's flood because there is no geological evidence of a great flood that ravished the whole world. There is no uniform layer of sediment that contains the same fossils that goes all the way around this world. Plus, at the time that the flood would have happened, the Chinese and Egyptians lost no population and maintained throughout. The also never wrote about a great flood that they all survived through. It is because of this that people love to save religion is wrong and false. They seem to forget that at that time, Noah's people had no way of knowing that the Chinese existed, and that maybe the Great Flood affected the entire area that Noah had known. So what if it wasn't worldwide literally: it could just be that everything he knew had been destroyed. People who take the bible literally are easily offended by even this interpretation. What nobody really considers is that the entire bible is made up of stories that were passed by tongue. The story you knew depended solely on what the person you heard it from said. And when stories get passed by word of mouth, they tend to become bigger and better with less truth to what actually happened. They do, however, retain enough of the original to portray the message of the story. It wasn't until the 1500s, with the invention of the printing press, that Bibles were mass produced meaning there was over a thousands years of orally telling the stories. Granted, there were hand written bibles, but those were few and far between. Also when they became mass produced, they were also translated into languages other than Latin, which led to more minor alterations to the stories. All I'm trying to say here is that yes the Bible may not be 100% accurate as to how stuff happened, but it is completely accurate in the fact that the things happened. So what if it wasn't as massive as what they say, it's still pretty amazing.

As the title indicates, I'm going to bring politics in to this. Why? Because everything involves politics now a days. Like being political correct means not hurting other people's feelings. Well I generally don't care what people think about me or what I believe. Yeah, so what if I'm Catholic. And a Republican. It doesn't mean I'm against handing out condoms, against gay marriage, and against teaching evolution. We should encourage the availability of condoms in schools because kids are going to have sex no matter what. Teaching strictly abstinence in school isn't a good idea, because since kids are going to have sex either way, they would tend to have unprotected sex because they weren't taught about condoms or anything. Granted, in today's society they should know about them anyway, but it is best to be safe and inform them. Being informed doesn't make them more likely to be immoral and make them make bad choices. It actually does the opposite usually. If they know about other options other than what is considered right, people usually aren't as tempted to try the bad. As for gay marriage, I'll sum it up since I mentioned it in an early post. Marriage shouldn't be the term used as to not upset religious people and to give homosexuals equal rights. Civil Unions should be the thing and everyone should be able to get them. And we should teach evolution because it really doesn't conflict with creationism as much as people believe it to. Just because you believe something to be wrong doesn't mean it should be illegal. And this is something some politicians *cough* Rick Santorum *cough, cough* don't understand (He's not the only one, he's just the most relevant). In politics it is necessary to keep your personal  beliefs present, but not foremost. You are representing millions of people who don't see eye to eye with you on everything. In government you have to make compromises, and you have to make decisions that benefit everyone as a whole, not just people who support you. That is when government works best and is most efficient. America doesn't seem to get this. The two party system is terrible. It automatically pits two sides against each other, and if you agrees with the other and/or compromise, you are seen as weak or a flip-flopper. There really should be no parties and should just be people individually running for each position. That would make the most sense, and take away most of the favoring of certain groups. So in government, a strong moral backing is important, whether it be from society, church, or family, but when it comes down to making decisions it should be what is best for all that is predominant and not your personal beliefs.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, hopefully you didn't stop halfway through out of frustration or being offended. Follow me on the Twitter (@JVanderah20) if you want short snippets that may or may not make sense on a daily basis. But fair warning, my mind can be scary. Oh and just because a guy is being nice to you, doesn't mean he's creepy. He's just being nice. Peace out girl scouts. High Fashion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cutting Education Makes None Sense

A lot of things have changed since my last post, like my major (Actuarial Sciences->Considering Electronic Media->Mathematics Teaching), I shaved my face and cut my hair (There is SO much hair in my trash can right now), and their are talks of change here at UNI in the forms of NISG elections and budget cuts. One of the biggest issues here with the budget cuts is the possibility of cutting funding for the Price Lab Middle School. The Price Lab is used by the College of Education to help give Education majors hands-on field experience in addition to the student teaching. In today's economy, I can see why the budget is a big issue, but I have an issue with where they are taking the money away from.

What most people don't realize is that education is vital to any economy. If you are well educated, you are more likely to be successful in life, make a lot of money, and then spend all that money. The more trained in your area you are, the more successful you will be. That's why when you pick which school to go to, you should pick a school that has a good department in your area of study rather than how good the football team is. If that were the way you were supposed to do it, I'd be at Iowa not here at the wind tunnel that is UNI. The thing is education needs most is for the kids to have a drive to work hard and learn, and the teachers have to have a passion for what they teach (in addition to knowing the material, of course). People think that the educational system is going down the toilet because of the quality of teaching, that the teachers aren't as inspired as the days of old, and that the kids are failing because the teacher hates them. That is bullshit. 100% Grade A shit from a bull's ass. The biggest thing wrong with education is that the students slack off and generally don't care about school. Plus, the schools encourage the teachers to teach to a test, to make sure every kid passes even if they don't deserve to, and that the teacher goes out of their way to make sure that every kid gets a good grade. When it comes down to it, school administrators (and the Government, too (we'll get to them later)) only care about test scores (ACT, SAT, PSAT, ITEDS, ITBS, etc.) and graduation rates. If they actually cared about the students' success, they wouldn't make such a big deal about standardized tests or even care where we ranked in the world. All the USA wants is to crank out as many graduates who can read as we can. The problem with education isn't that the teachers suck, it's that we produce something different from what we want.

Another major problem in education is the parents. Even in the late nineties when I started school, if a kid was failing the parents would be upset with their child and make sure they were trying before going to the teacher. The somewhere in middle school, the mind set of the parent changed. All of a sudden it became if Jimmy got an F, it was obviously the teacher's fault because there is no way little Jimmy could get anything below an A. What the parents don't know is Jimmy hasn't been doing any homework, didn't study for tests, and play Xbox for 6 hours every night instead of his schoolwork.  Parents need to remember that it isn't a teacher's job to babysit. A teacher is supposed to educate a student in their subject, and make sure that once they know the material they can apply it to the real world and understand it even better. And just because a student can win the football team games doesn't mean he gets a free pass on a diploma. It's called "student-athlete" for a reason, you have to be a good student before you can play
Picture of the modern parent (via my cousin Matt (who is a teacher) and George Takei's Facebook)

If I haven't gotten my point across yet or you are completely lost, let me sum it up for you here. The problem with education doesn't lie with the teacher's training or work ethic. It lies with the expectations of the government and the parents. Just because you love your kid doesn't mean that they should automatically pass. And education isn't about out scoring China on a standardized test. It is about making sure the kids have an understanding of Math, Science, Social Studies, and English and are able to use it in every day life.Cutting funding for teacher training programs isn't going to make education better. In fact, it will only make it worse. The more experienced the teacher is, the better they are in the classroom. The focus needs to be on our perception of education. I don't know what their plans for the budget cuts are, but cutting the Price Lab's funding is not a good decision. 

Keep this in mind in the upcoming NISG elections if you are a student at UNI. My friend Wes Jones and I are running as write in candidates to represent the College of Education. There are three open seats for the COE, and we are the only two running that I know of. With issues like these being discussed, the COE really needs to be represented. Be sure to vote February 28-29 if you are a member of the COE. You don't have to vote for me or Wes, but make sure that we are represented in next years NISG body.

If you want to keeps up on my thoughts more frequently (they get more disturbing and nonsensical the less I think it out) follow me on Twitter @JVanderah20. You can find me on Facebook, but I'll probably only add you if I know you. I post again when something new bothers or excites me. Peace out Girl Scout!