Achievement Unlocked

Last November I wrote the commercial written exam, and failed one section by one percent. If I’d got one more question right, I would have passed and it would be over with.

It’s the math that gets me, and it’s something that instructors don’t seem to understand how much trouble I really have with it. Actually, I shouldn’t say instructors – teachers all through school never got why I had so much trouble with math. Because I’me good at algebra, I understand it, and I can manipulate a formula without a problem. My problem is when the numbers start getting substituted for letters, I get lost. If I’m doing practice questions, it takes me longer than other people, because I lose track of numbers and because I know it happens, I’m constantly double checking my work and doubting my answers, but part of the problem is when I’m being taught these things, they go over a problem too fast for me to follow. I’m good at estimating though, if I don’t have to be precise, once I understand the concept behind something, but sometimes I get blindsided not realizing how much I missed out on learning when I miss the math stuff.

I’m a perfectionist, and at school I never had to try very hard at anything (except math) so a big part of my identity is bound up in being smart, but I’m also a victim of the phenomenon of easy success leading me to believe I’m not good at something if I’m not successful right away, the first time around. Failure hits me hard.

It didn’t help that home life got stressful right around them (that stress might have contributed to me not doing as well as I might have on the first writing of the exam.) Plus the whole day job thing I have to do due to my severe addiction to having food to eat and a roof over my head. Life happened. It’s been a year, and I spent my work vacation for the last week studying and agonizing over whether I was ready or not. I wrote one of the practice tests at Harv’s Air last night, and did reasonably well – passed with some decent wiggle room, and caught some of the mistakes I was making so I could make sure I didn’t do that on the exam. That did a lot to boost my confidence, getting seventy five percent, when a passing grade is sixty.

So I wrote the supplementary exam today for the section that I failed; General Knowledge. Eleven minutes into my hour and a half time limit, I looked and realized I was over a third finished. I hadn’t got to the math questions, but I’d answered most of them fairly confidently. The math ones, especially the weight and balance one I was so much more confident going into those than I was the first time around. And when I got the results (they give you the results right away, within a minute or so of you walking out the door of the exam room) I got all of the math ones right. I passed with eighty three percent, even higher than the practice exam.

I’m so glad to have that over with.

What’s next:

Next thing I need to get done is my three hundred nautical mile trip. I haven’t decided yet if I want to go East or West. My instructor says plan for both, and then do whichever one has better weather. I do what Sandra says because Sandra knows things.

It’s quite possible I might be doing this trip on skis. They’re putting skis on the plane sometime in January last I heard, and ski flying experience will be a good thing to have. I’ll have more vacation time to book next year, so I’ll see when the weather is likely to be nicest and then book some vacation time then.


Thoughts On Forums

Every year I hop on the Nanowrimo website forums and lurk on the reference forum, where people ask questions to help them with researching their novels. Over the years though, I’ve seen some patterns.

Like, weirdly enough, one of the first questions of the year is always someone asking about  synesthesia, and another person asking about polyamoury. Of all things. Every year. Not a complaint, just an observation.

There’s generally a couple of questions about Canada. Usually one about the weather, but that never specifies what part of Canada, and thinks the weather is the same across the entire country even through it’s bigger than the USA.

There’s also generally numerous questions referring to something ambiguous do to the fact that the poster assumes everyone will know they’re talking about the United States. “Question about the west coast” for example. West coast of what?

There’s the numerous people who ask questions and they haven’t even tried to research it themselves. Like, you can literally type the title of their post into google and the first result is the answer to their question. There’s a shockingly large number of these.

And then there’s the one’s who ask a question about something they haven’t bothered to learn enough about to make the question make sense. Like, they ask a question about the X era, only X is a place name, not an era.

And every once in a while someone asks on the reference forum a question about a mythical or supernatural creature, in a very serious manner, as if they sincerely believe it exists, and why doesn’t anyone just give them a straight answer as to how much silver nitrate it takes to disable a werewolf, and whether or not unicorns mate for life rather than just mocking them. Of course werewolves and unicorns are real, silly. I’m never sure if these people are trolling. They probably are. I would, if I weren’t too lazy to make a troll ID and use it to post shit like that.

And there’s the people who post “tell me everything you know about X.” But it’s never something specific. It’s something like, New York, or Russia, or learning to fly an aeroplane. Dude, what I know about learning to fly fills a textbook. I’m not typing a textbook into a forum post.

And last, but not least, there’s the one that annoys me the most by far. It’s the people who want you to write their story for them. They post a question that’s not a question, but a request for a brainstorming question. Throwing out some vague ideas and go “what kind of character would make a good main character for my story?” or “What kind of profession should my character have?” The sort of questions that, if you’re writing a story, there are more considerations than you can convey to the readers of a forum post, and an experienced writer would know that. They want you to come up with something for them to write about, when those sorts of decisions and inspirations are the things that make a writer unique. They always get the most responses, too. Everyone’s happy to be asked their opinion on something, especially when they don’t actually have to know what they’re talking about.

There’s one more that I don’t tend to see on the Nanowrimo forums so much, but I see it on a writing forum I used to frequent, but got too sick of this specifically that I don’t bother looking at that forum anymore. It’s “Question.” That’s the title of the post. You don’t know what they’re asking unless you actually click on the post and read it. There are questions where the post title is not specific enough as well, that are almost as bad. I don’t have time to click on every post in a page of hundreds of questions to see if I have anything to offer. Please, for the love of whatever gods you hold holy, title your posts accurately and and specifically. If you don’t, I don’t have time to click on them, because many of these sites, especially the Nanowrimo one at certain times, can run slow. Us people who know shit, we ain’t gonna wait for your post to load unless we know there’s a good chance we have something to offer. Do yourself a favour.