Mixsonian Larry

Spring Quarter

With spring came with rainy days and nights which I liked.  I wrote


Sitting alone on a dark and rainy night listing to many a thousand drops of rain falling upon all that is outside, listing to the deep and far away sound of thunder, watching the bright flashes of lighting across the dark sky, smelling the sweet wet fresh rain cleansing all, the fresh cool humid air blowing through the window across my face, longing to be outside running in the rain, throwing my clothes off to be free, feeling cool wet drops of rain falling upon my body, soaking my hair, running down my face, rolling in the cool wet grass, feeling the earth beneath me. Then suddenly turning cold I run back inside, take a hot steaming shower, dry off and lie in the dark on the bed with the window open, again listening, feeling, hearing the rain before drifting off into a deep and peaceful sleep.

With the winter quarter over the second week of March and I did much better making an A in Data Structures, and C’s in the CIS seminar, Humanities 2, and Physics.  I also made an A in the one credit Physics Lab which I had a lot of fun doing physics experiments.  After two years, my Scholarship Warning was removed.

The Spring quarter started March 23rd and I registered for the following courses

Spring Quarter Courses

CHN-231      The Humanities 3
CIS-380        Language and non-numerical data processing
CIS-401        Assembly Language I
PS-216          General Physics 2
PS-226          Physics Lab 2

The Test

I found the computer class on Language and Non-numerical Data Processing to be quite interesting.  Wendy was also taking the same class and we would often study together at her house, my house and sometimes at work.  At the end of the quarter the instructor gave us a lengthy take home test which I hated.  At first, I thought that a take home test would be easy, you can use any of your books, notes and take as long as you like but I was wrong.  Taking a test in class the professor had to design the test such that it could be complete in an hour, which didn’t mean it would be easy. With a take home test you had a couple of days to finish the test to turn in a following class.  With more time to do the test, the professor made the test all that more difficult which proved to be the case.  

We were told that we could not work together on the test, that each student had to complete it themselves which I started to do but the night before the test was to be turned in  Wendy called me and asked if I wanted to work with her on a couple of problems, of course I agreed, and she came over to my place and we sat on my bed and worked on the problems together.  One of the hardest problems was on the use of Regular Expressions which are used in processing of data to match a pattern in a string of text.  The simplest form, the asterisk, is used in internet searchers meaning “find all” like  “Mix*” would find all occurrences of words beginning with Mix such as Mixon and Mixson.  The problem the on the test was much more complex and  Wendy and I worked on the solution for over an hour before I finally found the solution which she wrote down on her test.  

The day after we turned our tests in Wendy came rushing into our office at work all in a tizzy, telling me the professor had called her into his office and accused her of collaborating with me on the test. As it turned out Wendy and I were the only two students in the class that got the regular expression problem right.   Wendy swore to him that we didn’t work on it together, but we had been studying together all quarter which would explain how we both got it right.   The professor ended up discarding the question he said due to it being too hard.


At the first class of Physics  there was a controversy going on about the use of the new handheld scientific calculators made by Hewlett Packard (latter changed to just HP) that just came out.  Small calculators that did the basic math functions, add, subtract, divide and multiply had been out for a couple of years but they were not very useful for scientific applications like physics. The new HP calculator did it about every math function that you learned in algebra and calculus, logs, sine, cosine, tangent, square root, and more.  The only problem was they cost about $300 ($2000 today) and so were too expensive for most of the students taking physics.  Of course, out of the hundred students in the class there were a handful that had them, but the rest, like me couldn’t afford one.  On the first day of class the instructor addressed the use of calculators, yes, they would be allowed (some courses banned them). He understood that students thought it would give them an advantage, but he would ensure us that such calculators would not help as he would design the problems on tests that they would not be needed.   Yeah, like I believed that, I thought.  It would be a couple of years later when Radio Shack came out with more reasonable priced scientific calculator that I got one.

Updated: 12-27-2022

Self Analyzation