Mr. Charlton Learns from the Internet

Every morning, I start the day with some math problems. No joke. I head over to Khan Academy, log myself in, and for anywhere from 15 minutes to half an hour, I either do math problems or watch videos on how to solve math problems. Now, these aren’t difficult math problems. Right now I’m challenging anything from grade 3 math all the way up to grade 8, and once I’ve mastered all of those, I’ll start back into more advanced stuff from the later stages of high school. In the end, I’m hoping to get a better grasp of mathematics as a whole.

mr-charlton-math-score

It just so happens I’m at the quarter mark

What’s really cool about this is the website breaks everything down for you. Fell like you’re ahead of the curve? You can challenge the questions and master the lesson without having to watch a video or practice any problems. Get stumped on some of the homework? You can ask someone about it through the forums. And no matter what choice you make, there are points to be had. Badges to be earned! These people over at Khan Academy have figured out how to get me addicted to learning math!

z0Jaq3h.gif

PUT THE ACHIEVEMENTS RIGHT INTO MY VEINS!!!

Oh, and it’s not just Khan Academy that’s teaching people new things. There’s Coursera, Udemy, the MIT open courseware (yes, that MIT), I mean, damn, there’s a bunch of websites teaching people a bunch of cool stuff.

The kid in me is ecstatic about learning new things. The cynical adult is a little wary of the whole deal. Because we run into a small issue with many (not all) of the free learning that’s going on over the intertubes; are these skills transferable to the real world?

Obviously, they are, but a lot of these things don’t come with a certificate of any kind. Some of them do offer certification, but then again, are employers willing to….

Willing to….

Oh no. I’m talking about something boring. I read over this and I’m boring the shit out of myself, and I love nothing more than listening to myself talk. Am… am I talking about websites that most people already know about? I mean, at least people who have a regular attention span and don’t spend most of their day drinking by themselves and browsing cat memes.

Christ. Is this what I’ve been reduced to? This is the most interesting thing that’s been going on in my life recently? Oh god, it actually is. Mathematics in the morning has been my little routine for a while now, and that’s the most interesting thing that’s been taking place in Mr. Charlton’s world.

People are traveling the world. I’m seeing pictures of Austrailia, and Thailand, and Denver, and a whole slew of places I’ve never been. Well, except for Denver, I’ve been to Denver. Nice airport. But these people are traveling, and living life to the fullest. The fullest! And here I am, stuck writing about doing morning math problems.

People are having babies. A whole mess of babies! Not that I’m really jealous of that, mind you. Not really a baby guy, never really been interested in the whole ‘trying to replicate part of my genetic strain’ thing. Just not my bag. But babies are interesting, and people seem to be having them. And that’s gotta shake things up a bit. It’s a lot more of a shake up than 15 minutes of arithmatic first thing after a cup of coffee.

You know what? Screw math. I’m also going to shake things up in a big way. Writing is pretty boring to begin with too, you know? Only nerds are reading, anyways, so I’m going to express myself in a dynamic way. Like, like…. music. I’ll become a rockstar. Yeah, that’s sexy.

Can’t really play a music instrument and it seems like a pain in the ass. I need inspiration, some sort of quick fix to make me cool almost instantly and give me the edge to write hit records and become super famous. How did these other rock losers do this? Hold on a sec.

Author’s note: For the next 15 minutes, Mr. Charlton’s house is filled with  the sounds of rummaging, quiet sobbing, the noise a fist makes as it hits a wall, loud sobbing, and a few wild eyed “Eurekas”.

Ok, I’ve got it. It’s heroin. How did I miss that? Instead of an early morning dose of boring old math, I’ll be shooting up some sweet China lily right into the old veins here. It’s what the greats did. People who want to be nerds can do math in the morning. I want to be famous. And it seems like heroin is a great way to start. Screw math. Right now, the only thing going into my body is black tar heroin.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. I remember going to see ‘System of a Down’ a few years ago, when their lead guitarist was going through some of his rougher days. Dude was just wigging out on stage.

Meta Post – Milestone of a Thousand Pair of Eyes

So, I’ve been posting on this webzone for a little over a month now, and so far, things are going pretty hunky dory. With over forty posts, I’ve managed to get over a thousand views. To average it out, I’m batting about twenty-five views per post. That’s not bad, considering I’m not advertising it anywhere except Facebook and Twitter, and it’s not like I’m more popular online than I am offline.

All the major players on the blogging scene have a bunch of metrics and statistics that allow you to gauge how popular your blog is. I know the most popular day of my blog is Monday, for some odd reason. Also, it seems night owls enjoy my blog, as it’s usually being read at 3:00 am. I’m getting hits from all over the world; Japan, China, Germany, Malaysia, Peru, Australia, Austria and the UK have all been reading my stupid blog. Awesome!

I can tell exactly how many people have viewed each blog, I can determine where the clicks are coming from, whether it’s from Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, or when someone actually comes to my site to check it out directly. I can tag every post with buzzwords that might be trending, and then see what words are more popular than others. Not only that, but I get achievements every time I hit a milestone. The more I write, the more achievements I can earn.

As much as I love to crunch numbers and do data analysis, it can certainly make a guy question himself. It’s also worth mentioning that I’m not sure if the numbers are lining up. The first post I wrote was about Fort McMurray, and it was my most popular, according to the day I posted it. You see, the day I posted it, my site had 89 views in total. Almost a hundred! But when I check the Fort McMurray post, it’s calculated 15 views in total. That a difference of 74 views.

“Who cares, Mr. Charlton? Where’s your I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude? Where’s the laisser c’est faire spirit ? You haven’t given a flying fuck until now, what gives? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MR. CHARLTON???”

I’m not sure you were reading what I wrote above. They’re pooling raw data into my feed. I’m crunching numbers and tweaking code to try and improve the outcome. I’m learning garbage I never wanted to learn, like marketing and hashtag distributions. I’m reading how to game a system that everyone is gaming. Don’t you people get it? They’ve gamified writing!

They’re gamifying everything these days. Want to learn a new language? Level up with Duolingo, the free app for both IOS and Android. Feel like programming the next hot application? Try out Codecademy, and test your skills in a real-time environment. Are you such a dork that you will sit down and do math problems? Make that inner dork shine even brighter with Khan Academy, which hands out badges for learning calculus.

Those insidious bastards. It wasn’t enough to just write a blog, you had to put up a damn score. You know what this means? I’m not sure if you’ve ever sat down and played a video game with me. I’m not talking about something fluffy like Halo or Borderlands, where you run around and hang out and talk to each other, and share inventory, and have a grand ol’ time. I’m talking about the hardcore realm, like Ikaruga or Super Meat Boy or I Wanna be the Guy or Geometry Wars. I’m talking about gaming that’s meant to break people.

 fruitThose cherries will ruin your day

Now I’m writing like there’s a damn high score to achieve. That’s not good. Soon you’ll find me, hunched over a computer keyboard, fingers stained orange from Cheeze Pleazers. I’ll be up until four in the morning, writing about something stupid like potatoes or Pokémon. And you know what, it’s going to sneak up on me. I’m not going to notice this until it’s too late.

Sincerely,

The Illustrious Mr. Charlton

p.s. Took a week off last week to reflect on myself and all that jazz. I’d like to think of myself as a robot that can crank out words like an old school IBM, but I needed some me time. Lame posting of lousy articles with little research and a lack of time to resume as scheduled.

p.s.s. Schedule is one of those words that will make me judge a person in seconds. There’s the right way to pronounce it, and there’s the way where we can’t be friends anymore.