The state of our education system.

As one of the people that “fell through the cracks” in the education system, I can relate to how Jeff Bliss feels about the education he is getting from teachers.

Our Education system is severely broken and needs to be fixed! No longer are students educated to provide them with a means to grow a career, students in public education, are taught everything they need to pass a test. A test upon which an overall grade is given to schools and districts. Better scores mean bigger budget for those schools and districts.

When I was in High School, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) was the test we were trained to pass, and in 2004, a year after I graduated High School the Vancouver School District required passing the test Sophomore year in order to Graduate. From my understanding, that was cut pretty quick after low Graduation numbers.

During the course of my schooling (1990-2003) I can remember taking 3 or 4 WASL tests. I remember taking a test in 4th, 7th and 10th Grades.

I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) my Sophomore year in high school, and was taking a medication through my Senior year. I always had trouble learning in school because I would get bored easily, and when I was in 1st Grade it became clear to me I had issues learning. I can remember being given a math work sheet and just crying because none of it made sense and I couldn’t work out the problems. The teacher never made it back to me (Last name starts with W, we were seated alphabetically) and I was never given a chance to understand the work. This trend continued for as long as I can remember.

I had a few teachers during this time that realized I had fallen through the cracks and did their very best to help me, one teacher at Discovery Middle School when I was in 6th Grade, Mr. Joseph Balin (who now works at Hudson’s Bay) even took his own personal time to come to my house and help me with my homework! THAT is dedication to a student. He obviously couldn’t do this very often but I remember on a couple of occasions, he would help me with my work. The other teacher that really helped me, was Mr. Burpee who now works at Battle Ground High School as a math teacher. I had him for Math my Junior year (unsure if I had sophomore year too) and he really took the time to make sure I understand what was being taught and I actually started “getting” it and being able to pull a B in Pre-Algebra. Sadly because of my hectic Senior year, I was unable to continue taking math my Senior year, He really wanted me in his Algebra class my Senior year, even saying so directly to me.

I’ve certainly had a few teachers who could really care less about the students and are there to simply collect a paycheck and fill a seat. I have really mixed feelings about Mike Goodpastor who taught my U.S. History class Junior year. I have to admit I did learn a lot from his class, but there were many things I learned after High School that I was shocked weren’t taught in his class. For instance, he was (and probably still is) super against unions (even though he’s part of one…). After my graduation, I learned about Bloody Thursday which was between Longshoremen and San Francisco Police. There was one day, our whole class was listening to “In a Gadda Da Vida” by Iron Butterfly.. Good song, but NOT something that fills an entire class period.

Education shouldn’t be something that is taught strictly to garner a better budget or at the discretion of the teacher. Anymore, High School is more like an advanced day care! It wasn’t made aware to me during my time in High School that places like the Clark County Skills Center existed, or that my credits even mattered. From 1st Grade through 8th Grade, I was under the impression if you just showed up to school and played along with what the teacher was teaching, you’d just move on to the next year of schooling.

So when I got to High School, I was under the impression that none of it mattered. That is until I got to my Sophomore year and my counselor pulled me aside and explained that if I didn’t start passing classes I wouldn’t graduate. Realizing I was in deep shit, I didn’t take any time off from school, buckled down and made up 2 years while keeping grades up for the last two years of High School. Doing 4 years of work in only 2, including two summers of summer school, night school and taking an online class. I found out I was Graduating just days prior to Graduation, when all the seniors were doing our practice walks into the gym and rehearsing everything. I maintained a B or better Junior and Senior year.

Our whole education system needs to be revamped, there needs to be more interactive education, more hands on, more information openly available to students. Being a low income student, I was always given the impression I couldn’t take part in things because I was one of “those” students. Looking back, there were so many things I would have loved to take part in.

Sorry for the long drawn out post.

Thanks for reading!



So much to say..

In the last 24 hours, so much shit has happened… It’s just insane. I honestly don’t know where to start. It appears that for all general purposes, I have been excommunicated from my family, Which I am actually alright with. Having dealt with 20 years of garbage and to finally for the last 2 1/2 years been outside of that and doing my own thing, to have to never think about dealing with it again.. actually sounds alright with me. A few close friends and family had asked me to write a letter to my grandmother about 5 months ago trying to patch things up, which I did.. Only to get a note mailed to me 5 months later that simply says, “Your stuff is in the front, no need to come to the door” Meh.

Life is just crazy! My gosh!

Proverbs 11:29

New International Version (NIV)

 29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise.

– Dan

Wait for the call..

Well, without realizing it… I broke Comcast’s rule about download and upload maxing out at 250gb in a month. Well, currently I am at 302gb and were 15 days into the month..

Their website says they have a department that handles “excessive users”.. Once you break the 250gb level they call you and talk about you going over the limit. Well, now I wait.

In the mean time. Hoist the flag!

The 4th Of July, Vancouver Style.

For my whole childhood the 4th Of July was always something special. They called it the biggest fireworks display west of the Mississippi. That is until 2010, when the Fort Vancouver Trust brought the show back in a smaller show and smaller entertainment stage. It took away the feeling of this being a big event.

Here are some pictures of what I’m talking bout.

Here is a video of the 2008 Fireworks which were at about 1000 feet.

and 2010 .. just barely above the tree line. The fort vancouver trust said “About 400 feet in the air”

For good measure, here is 2007..

Due to not having enough money the event was cancelled in 2009. When they brought it back in 2010, they down scaled a lot. Note the size of the stage in the above pictures.


Here is what they had last year and again this year.


Here is what they have this year (2011) for the main stage..

This is a picture of the fireworks in 2010


The big event feel was taken away. Hopefully next year it will change.

Makes it feel like a meaningless event. The stage is small the audio quality sucks, the guy running the lights made the stage appear too red… Felt like a horrible low production event.

Here’s to hoping for a better event next year.

Thanks for reading.



I have never understood why people call them selves a “tech” when calling Tech Support but moments later they are unsure what your talking about.. Example: Customer calls in with their “Tech” and are having issues getting online, when I asked the “tech” if the phone cable is plugged into the wall the answer I get is, “Well, there isn’t a plug on the wall big enough for the cable” !!!!!? Turns out he was attempting to plug the Ethernet (Cat-5) into a phone jack (RJ-11), which will never ever work.. Upon further investigation he hadn’t even checked to see if the phone cable was plugged in.

Here is a lesson (Free of charge I might add) in DSL Troubleshooting.

1. Make sure your DSL Router has power and has a green power light

2. Verify that your cables are correct, i.e. check the phone cable between the wall and the DSL router. Check it for faults or loose connections. At this point its wise to check to see if the DSL line has dial tone, simply plugging a phone into this line. Also, check the cable between your computer and this device or your LAN Router to ensure its plugged in on both ends.

3. Most DSL Routers will have a DSL light on them, in most cases (not all) that DSL light will be solid. If that light is slow flashing, unplug the power and wait 15 seconds, then plug the power back in. If after about 1 – 2 minutes your service isn’t working, call your support.

4. If the DSL light is solid, there might be an Internet light (depending on the router and the type of service you have, this light might be off) and its solid, you should be on line. If you aren’t it’s time to move onto your LAN Router (Such as Linksys, D-Link, Netgear..Just to name a few) at which point you should call the manufacturer that makes your LAN Router.

Just an F.Y.I. to would be Techs.

Thanks for reading!