Seasons, lifestyle: first day of spring 2018

Tutoring, you watch a year’s progress and notice season changes. The tutor gives his annual reflection about the start of spring.

In my post back on January 26, 2015, I define the first day of spring as the first day of the year that’s sunny with positive double-digit temperature. Here, for 2018, that was yesterday, February 5.

Over the years I’ve watched the season’s arrival and how it affects people. I’d argue that the coming of spring matters particularly to kids, for a few reasons:

  1. Kids have to get to and from school, and most can’t yet drive. While many get rides, not all do.
  2. Kids typically escape home by meeting their friends outside, weather permitting.
  3. At school, during breaks, time outside can be very important.
  4. Kids in PE often must do runs, etc, outside, regardless of weather, so they notice when the weather turns pleasant.

Last night, driving to judo, one of my sons pointed out the lingering daylight; a few weeks back we drove to the club in nighttime darkness. The road was dry, and people were out walking: spring is in the air.

I have yard work that’s backed up from winter, but won’t get to it just yet….

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Canadian culture, poetry: You Learn, Alanis Morissette

Tutoring English, you encounter poems and songs. The tutor comments about one with which he’s gotten reacquainted.

Alanis Morisette’s album Jagged Little Pill yields numerous good songs, among them You Learn.

Back in the late nineties, I liked You Learn, but it didn’t speak to me as now. Twenty three years later, I’m finding more of a lesson in it, while back then it was just a fun song. BTW: I was 25 when Jagged Little Pill released, so I’ve about doubled in age since.

The song’s lesson, of course, is that if you play it safe to avoid embarrassment, you don’t progress. If, on the other hand, you try, you’ll probably fail – the first time. Yet, you learn.

Going even further, Alanis pokes fun at embarrassment itself:

I recommend sticking your foot in your mouth…at anytime…
(Feel free…)

In fact, You Learn confronts haters. Alanis is stating that those who would make you feel awkward or ashamed have no real power; rather, it’s just your fear of them that gives them influence. Instead of being shamed by their criticism, you should be ashamed of yourself for worrying about it. Don’t let them prevent you from trying – from learning.

At this age, I get her message; I wish I’d understood it much sooner. Nowadays, I take her advice – and, to quote her, “I recommend” it, along with You Learn.


You Learn, Alanis Morisette: YouTube

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: President’s Choice Milk Chocolate Caramel Pecan clusters

More lifestyle self-tutoring: the tutor shares one of his habits, with a discovery.

Of course I’m a dieter, and of course I love chocolate. I try to limit my intake, but you only live once….

One of my habits is to pick up chocolate post-season. Sometime in January I noticed some and decided to bite.

I believe I was at Shoppers Drug Mart when I found President’s Choice Milk Chocolate Caramel Pecan clusters. I love confections like that, so I picked them up.

They taste rich and buttery. I recommend them.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Zinc: supplement?

Fitness and health involve constant self-tutoring. The tutor mentions zinc.

Apparently, zinc is lost in sweat: during athletic performance, therefore, a person might likely lose some.

I take zinc supplement – not every day, but most days. I just take 25mg.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: The Vault, Nanaimo, BC

Visiting a town means self-tutoring. The tutor mentions The Vault, Nanaimo.

I’d describe The Vault’s location as corner of Wallace and Albert, Nanaimo, BC. I started going there this week.

The Vault’s atmosphere is peaceful and welcoming, and the staff are, too. They have vegan food there. I’m not vegan myself, but I notice their effort to have something for everyone.

I often get both a date square and a Nanaimo bar. The Nanaimo bars I’ve had there, the chocolate layer on top is thick. The date square is substantial, too. In concert, the Nanaimo bar and date square can sustain you through many hours of concentration.

The soft music there, and the really sweet staff, along with the baked goods, make The Vault worth walking to, even through the cold January rain.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Excel: how to type a forward slash, Excel 2016

Using Excel can mean self-tutoring. The tutor shares an observation about typing the forward slash in Excel 2016.

I went to type a forward slash (as a character, not part of a formula) at the lead of a statement in a cell using Excel 2016, but I couldn’t. That’s because, in my experience, typing the forward slash in a cell activates shortcut keys for the menu items across the top.

To type a slash (as a character) in a cell, here’s what I do:

  1. Select the cell in which I want it.
  2. Click in the separate text box above the cells.
  3. Type what I want, then press Enter. The text, slash and all, appears in the cell.



Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Calculus: using Excel to verify limit nth root of n, n goes to infinity

Tutoring calculus, you cover limits. The tutor mentions using Excel for confirmation.

Because of Excel’s power, it can do some particular calculations you might use to verify a calculus limit.


In my April 19, 2016 post I develop the limit:


also known as the nth root of n as n approaches infinity.

Even when proven, sometimes there might be lingering doubt about a limit so hard to put in everyday context.

Worry no more – you can put it into context, using Excel. Check out the following verification calculations:



Clearly the limit of 1 is being approached as n increases.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Home computer use: some practical experience with HP Notebook

For me, home computer use means self-tutoring. The tutor shares some experience with the HP Notebook.

When I can’t use the desktop, I often use a Notebook by HP, purchased last May, which runs Windows 10.

I had some problems with the HP Notebook early on, and had to restore it once. I was fearful it wouldn’t succeed, but it did, and worked better afterwards. We have our tensions sometimes, this HP Notebook and I, but they seem less and less.

Today, while I was watching a video on YouTube, the computer suddenly shut down. It turned back on, the screen telling me a problem had happened. It tried to start Windows, but was unsuccessful, so restarted, then tried again. As I recall, it still failed to start Windows, so restarted again.

A different screen appeared, telling me that Windows had failed to start the last time. It offered me two choices:

  1. an advanced system repair, or something similarly named, or
  2. try starting Windows again.

The last time I did a system repair, or restore, or what it might be called, it took a long time. “What can I lose,” I decided, “from just trying to start Windows one last time?” Therefore, that’s the option I chose – to attempt, once more, to restart Windows.

The computer did what I asked, and it worked: Windows did start successfully. A couple of minutes later I logged in like normal.

Although Windows was up and running, I didn’t assume all was well. A question mark icon called the HP Support Assistant is on the task bar. I clicked it, then Troubleshooting and Fixes, lower left on the HP Support Assistant screen.

Across the centre are two options I was happy to see: Performance Tune-up Check and Operating System Check. I first chose Performance Tune-up Check. As I recall, I had to give it permission to run. Then it offered me several checkbox choices, including System File Checker. “Great,” I thought. “That’s exactly what I need.”

When I chose to run System File Checker, I was warned that it could take an additional 30 minutes. I chose it anyway, and though it did take awhile, I could still watch videos, use Excel, etc, while it ran. It just worked in the background.

Eventually the Performance Tune-up Check, including the System File Checker, finished running and reported no problems. Next I clicked Operating System Check. It ran in the background as well. Later on, I looked back and found it had finished, reporting no issues.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Math, engineering, trades: steepness measurement: definition of grade

Tutoring math, you encounter grade. The tutor discusses its definition and why it might be surprising.

Grade is defined as 100%*(vertical/horizontal). In the above diagram, it would be as follows:


By itself, rise/run is called slope.



What follows is a distinction that, to me, is important and interesting:

grade is not

rise/distance traveled

since, of course, you can’t drive along the horizontal course of a hill; rather, you can only drive on its surface.

At level, grade and (rise/distance traveled) are both zero. They remain virtually the same even at 20% grade, when (rise/distance traveled) is 19.6%. As the grade increases, however, they differ dramatically: at 100% grade, (rise/distance traveled) is 70.7%.

My interest in the difference between grade and (rise/distance traveled) is philosophical: why base a value on an indirect measurement (horizontal distance), when a direct measurement (distance traveled) is available?

In math, we use slope, of course; however, it’s usually in a context where actual measurements aren’t used. Rather, it’s just on paper.


Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle, Canadian brands: coffee: Best Gourmet Coffee Company, Kona Blend, ground

The tutor discusses more lifestyle self-tutoring: maintaining coffee quality when you’re living from a suitcase.

My wife says that my taste buds aren’t very refined – I can’t tell the difference between good food and great food. Likely, she tells a true story.

With coffee, however, we change roles: I’m the picky one, while she’s less discriminating. The truth is, I think I’m a discerning coffee connoisseur. Even though I drink two pots a day, if I can’t have a really good cup of coffee, I’ll usually pass altogether.

Having the coffee I appreciate is typically easy, since I’m a homebody: I just wait until the coffee I like is reasonable, then buy a lot. Good quality coffee is always reasonable, somewhere.

For freshness, beans have a distinct advantage over ground. At home, it’s convenient to grind the beans for each pot.

When you’re traveling, however, having tasty coffee isn’t necessarily so easy. Coffee needs to be drunk from porcelain, in my opinion, for the best flavour. Therefore, simply getting take-out coffee isn’t my best option, no matter how high-quality the coffee they serve.

Right now I’m living out of town, and have left my grinder at the workplace, along with the coffee pot I also brought down. Where I’m staying, I don’t have a grinder, but only a coffee maker. What to do?

My solution is to buy ground coffee, but to make sure I get good stuff. I don’t buy much ground coffee, so I’m not well educated about it.

Last night, at Country Grocer, I searched the shelves and found Kona Blend ground coffee, by the Best Gourmet Coffee Company. This morning I opened it and brewed some up.

I imagined some sort of foil peel-back closure. However, this coffee comes in a can; the only way I can figure to open it is with a can opener. (There happens to be one where I’m staying, but if you’re in a motel room or camping, you mightn’t have one.)

I brewed up a pot; I’m impressed. The flavour is agreeable, and I can taste the mellow sweetness of Kona. Being pre-ground, it’s not what I’d drink regularly at home, but for on the road, I recommend it. If I notice whole-bean coffee from Best Gourmet Coffee Company, I will definitely want to try it at home.

From the label, Best Gourmet Coffee Wholesalers, Ltd, is based in Maple Ridge, BC.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.