12/21/06 Learning the Hard Way

I just finished the first college course I have taken in some six or seven years, and I just wanted to debrief. It was a one-credit class taken in eight weeks, so presumably it would be comparable to a two-credit class taken all semester. The class was called "Introduction to Database Microsoft Access 2003" I have some experience using Access databases at work because one of the applications I use has an integrated Access databases behind it and I have tried to create them in the past to make a Manufacturing Resource Planning program for us to use. I am however by no means proficient in it. One of the first things TRC asked me to do for them when I started working for them five and a half years ago was build them a database that would track business contacts as well as orders and parts. I never could get it to work. I learned a lot about databases in general but I never could get Access to do it. That has bothered me ever since. I guess I kind of pride myself in my ability to learn new software fast and well. I am considered the go to guy at work for a number of softwares including SolidWorks and Excel for which I have never had any formal training. Access was like the fish that got away. I have been wanting to start taking classes anyway so that I was at least working on a degree even it was fifteen years away, and so this seen like the place to start. I did ok grade wise with a 93.9. The cut off for an A was 93. That means that I just squeaked out a 4.0. That's right folks, I am holding down a 4.0 at the local college. I definitely learned a lot and I can now claim Access in my list of software proficiencies. It's probably enough of a foundation for me to get better on my own, but the thing is it was a lot of work. I think I could have learned more in two hours with someone next to me that I could just ask a question now and then as I tried to build a small database. Formal school, for me at any rate, is just such an inefficient way to learn things. It's expensive, time consuming, and hard, but only marginally effective. I think I will take another class next semester. They have a class on SQL that sounds fun, but I wont like it.

12/6/06 Dead Veggies

For the last several months Kelly and I have been blessed by the bounty of our garden. We have become accustom to just walking out to our humble patch to grab fresh veggies that are of a quality that one cannot buy. The last few week weather has put our garden out of business for the winter and last weekend we covered it in leaves we raked from the fount yard. For the first time in a while we have had to return to the dreary veggies available at the stores. Man! Winter store-bought tomatoes are just plain yucky. The "fresh" green beans are floppy and flavorless. It's funny how fast we became accustom to the luxury of Fresh food. Next year I'm thinking of planting twice as much.