Educational Update

Isaac and David both earned highest honors for their first quarter. That means they get a $1/week raise in their allowances, which will now compensate for the $1/week they contribute toward our World of WarCraft subscription. David has become very proficient in handwriting, which is always difficult for a lefty; there’s a huge improvement over last year. Congratulations to them both, the weasels!

Last night I took the second of two “midterms”—our single major exams—for my Boston University graduate courses. I got a stinking “B” on my first exam, in “Object-Oriented Analysis and Design.” I think I did better on the Software Engineering exam yesterday.

Both classes have projects due within a couple of weeks. The Software Engineering course is a group project with three of my co-workers, and we’re building, using Ruby on Rails, a Web-based calendar that is idea for families and small organizations. This is a program I’ve always wanted to put together, and it will be fun finishing it up. So far we’ve learned that Rails is amazing in putting together the data connectivity and display pieces virtually automatically.

In OOAD, I am having a blast designing a simulator of a Star Trek transporter, including replicating the Enterpise D transporter control panel. For this I’m uisng Adobe’s Flex Builder 2, at the suggestion of co-worker RaviShekhar Gopalan, to create my application programmatically for Flash. Although far from finished (I should be “mostly done” by Monday), I’ve published my incomplete-but-working project to . There are some fun hidden features (and I’ll be adding several more), although the simulation/demonstration code isn’t in there yet. I fell victim a bit to a common programmer’s overconfidence: “If I know one object-oriented language, then I can learn another one in minutes!” I’ve figured out just about everything I need to do in Flex (I have one more technical problem to solve, and it’s a small one), but I’m my no means a master yet. You can also take a peek at the PowerPoint presentation I gave to the class for that project. (Can you spot the big omission from my Domain Diagram? It’s a real forehead-slapper!)

(It’s been determined that I will get real credit for the courses I am taking, but that I cannot get my Certificate in Software Engineering, because I don’t have a baccalaureate. I will investigate, after the next two courses are done in the spring, what it would take to convert these credits into undergraduate credits and fill in the missing pieces to get a B.S. in computer science.)

John (we still hear from him occasionally) has been telling people for a while that he is enrolled in a GED review course at Massasoit, but if he is, he’s taking on days it isn’t offered, at times of the day it isn’t offered, with an instructor who isn’t teaching it, using a textbook that isn’t part of the course, and getting a ride from people who claim they aren’t giving him a ride to the class.

And NaNi continues to learn letter recognition and writing from Nichelle, although the impending holidays have cut down on the teaching schedule a bit. Naomi can spot capital As anywhere, and writes them perfectly, except for tending to draw them upside-down.

10 Replies to “Educational Update”

  1. Doug, I am so impressed with what you’re doing. I wish I had those skills!

    As for the young boys, WAY TO GO!

    That’s funny about NaNi and the upside-down A’s. Juliana consistently does sideways J’s, and it’s the first letter in her name! 🙂

    As for John, ugh, I’ll keep praying for him.

    By the way, Caleb is just about done with his flux capacitor.

  2. Oh yeah??!! Well, MY kid can find his way to the principals office all by himself this year!!! OH yeah, and hes gotten perfect attendance and an award for reading….now of we can just get his brain to figure out math without having to use his fingers! LOL

  3. Such fun.


    Caleb can build a Flux Capacitor for his own experimentation, but Naomi has already patented one, and it will go into production soon. (The only difficulty is generating the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity needed, although I’ve been working with some “foreign nationals” to obtain plutonium for our nuclear generator. If we lived in Tampa, it would be easier, because we could reliably use lightning.)


    Great to hear about Ryan’s reading success. Guess he takes after Crystal (and not just you) in some ways, too, eh?

  4. Much progress in the past week on the Transporter application. If you haven’t checked it out yet, head on over to Poke about: You shouldn’t be able to break anything.

    And do let me know if you find anything wrong, or have suggestions for “cool” features, although I have several on the way.

  5. Ya know thats funny Dad. I thought we had a conversation about this but whatever. Its good to know you guys are having fun without me. Im glad you have your life in order. The only reason why I lied about massasoit was so you wouldnt still be all in controlling in my life.

    Editor’s Note: John and I did, indeed, have an IMed conversation regarding his attendance of the GED Review course at Massasoit. It became clear nearly immediately that, other than the cost, John had absolutely no correct information about the course he was allegedly attending, as I discussed in the post above.

    One may also note that John believes that knowing if or where he is or is not attempting to finish high school or its equivalent is somehow exercising control over him. I shall leave our readers to ponder that line of reasoning themselves.

  6. Seriously, isn’t it a parent’s job to lead and direct your child’s path?!?! I have never seen anyone control John’s life beyond John. I have however seen concern and care go towards decisions and boundaries that have been made. I am sorry to say this, but I do not agree with you there, John. The Wilcoxes love you and tried to provide you with a good life, and a stable environment. You have controlled your life. The decisions you make, and only you can make, have controlled your life. In all actuality you should give control to God. He will direct your paths, you just need to soften your heart enough to let Him into it.

  7. ok I see what your saying.but I just want to do what I need to do for right now.Im trying to cleanup my life right now. Im actually attenting church to try and get my life together which i am greatful to have my Girlfriend getting me involved into Immanuel Baptist Church.But I can see the concern of you dad in trying to see where I am and where I am going with my life.And I thankyou for that. It shows that at least a little part of you still cares about me.But that doesnt mean that I dont care about my eduaction.Because I do. And all because I lied to you about massasoit doesnt mean that I am not attempting to get my GED.I lied to you because i want to show you that I can get by on my own decisions.And I am going to prove to you that I can do that.I promise you that.And for all of you out their wondering about me and my wrong decisions dont worry because I am going to succeed in my life.Things take time of healing in ones life. And hopefully one day My parents will one day see that I am going to suceed and I hope that they have faith in me.

  8. John,

    I think it is my turn to respond to this post. In the paragraphs to follow I am going to say some hard things. I am not saying these things to hurt you, but to help you!

    I have known you now for 8 years. Not only have I known you for 8 years, but I have also been heavily involved in your life. You have shared many things about your life with me and I have shared many things about my life with you. What I am about to say is based in a spirit of wanting the best for you. So, please move your eyes a little closer to the screen and please just LISTEN!

    Let’s do a little re-cap first. Just 8 years ago, your life was full of chaos and uncertainty. At such a young age it must have been really hard for you to wonder where the foster homes would place you next. However, God then decided that you should meet the Wilcox family. The Wilcoxes fell in love with you! Their hearts went out to you, and in their love and compassion towards you, they asked you to be a part of their family. What a blessing God bestowed on you at that time in your life! Not only did He take away the chaos and all the uncertainty in your life, He gave you, in my opinion, two of the best parents that a child could ever have! Not only are they amazing parents, but God put you in a family where Doug was adopted as a young child and Nichelle also went through many hard things were her family. You had two great resources available to you. You had parents who knew exactly what you had gone through because they went through the same hardships as you. What a place God put you in to give you a fighting chance in this life to make something of yourself!

    Now, obviously, just being adopted by wonderful people didn’t make all of the pain in your life go away. The pain of not knowing why your family abandoned you, the pain of thinking you were worthless and that’s why your family “got rid of you”, and all the pain from the abuse you must have suffered through those years. What a horrible shame to your birth parents for causing so much pain to a child’s life! However, all that has happened to you in your life has happened to countless others. Also, as Scripture teaches us, no task or trial is given to us that we cannot handle. In fact, we should feel honored that God chooses to put us through extremely hard tasks because that means He knows we are strong enough to handle them. Nothing that has happened to you in your life gives you an excuse to disrespect your parents, live selfishly, disobey, or dishonor the God who made you! You are required even through the hardest of times to live as God would have you to live!

    John, you were 10 years old back then. You have chosen through the past 8 years of your life to hold on to the bitterness, anger, and evil thoughts that plague your mind. You did not heed all of your parent’s and God’s warnings that such bitterness would eat away at you and destroy your life. The one thing you need to realize John is that YOU chose to hold on to all of the bad things and not deal with them. YOUR choices have made you what you are today, and what you are today is NOT a good thing!

    John, you came to me several times over the past few years asking my advice and asking me what I thought about certain teachings from the Bible. We talked about all the stuff you were curious about…music, movies, drugs, smoking, and drinking. You have heeded nothing I said to you and nothing your parents taught you. You think that you know best and that you are always right. You never tell the truth, you always lie! You never do what is best for someone else; you always do what is best for you! Yet, you constantly make posts on their blog and through IMs that we all need to just trust you and have faith in you! What is that all about? How in the world is anyone supposed to trust you?! You tell us all you have apologized and are doing right! You haven’t and you’re not! A sincere apology would be one that is humble and true. An apology is not “I am sorry”, it is SO much more than that. You must repent of your ways dude! You must make right all that you have made wrong over the past few years. This is no easy task, but very doable! STOP thinking that gangs are cool! STOP thinking that disobeying the law is fun! STOP thinking that abusing alcohol is cool and the grown up thing to do! STOP LYING!!!!! Tell the truth always! John, going to church is a good thing, but does not make you a Godly person. If you love your girlfriend and want what is best for her, then leave her! You are in no position to care for a woman and to be the man you need to be for her. Please John, I plead with you to crawl back to the people you have wronged and make it right at all costs! God will not bless your life in any way if you have unresolved issues with your neighbors! Finish school! Become responsible! Realize that your brother is a criminal and NOT a hero!

    John, you have heard all of this before I know. I needed it to come from me though! On a more positive note, I think you have such potential to do great things! I think you have the capacity to truly love others and to serve God. I think that you could really make something of yourself! There are so many good things you can do in life John, but you won’t experience anything but pain and suffering for the rest of your life until you “cowboy up” and DO RIGHT! John, you’re a grown man – please start acting like one!

    I know that after all of that, you must believe I hate you. On the contrary, I love you man and I truly want the best for you! Also, remember that a wise man always seeks council and heeds it; he does not always believe that he has all the answers. John, when you are truly ready to repent and to make things right, myself and your family will be here waiting, but until then please do not call me, do not IM me, and do not contact me in anyway! I am just wasting my breath and you are wasting my time and yours! I truly pray that you will choose the right path!

    A verse to leave you with:
    “Listen to advice and accept instruction,
    that you may gain wisdom in the future.” –Proverbs 19:20

    In fact, please read all of Proverbs 19 and heed what wisdom Solomon, the wisest man to ever live, imparts to us!

    In Love,

  9. Phil,

    Thank you for sharing your heart and for loving our son and investing the time in him, too. We are truly blessed by your friendship and praise God for you.

  10. Regarding the transporter project, I’m calling it “done.” I will probably tweak it for the next several months, but I need to get the documentation done before noon “today.”

    If you’re curious, click on the word LCARS to view the source code for the project, nicely organized by the “Publish Source Code” feature of Flex.

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