gamestop gift card for free

November 9, 2013 at 9:18 am (Uncategorized)

So everyone,


I joined this website today: and it’s straight up legit.

I am excited and will be earning lots of video game money, mwahahahaha!


If you join maybe you will to!


the end!



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AAARGH…I mean, Voice of the voiceless part 3.

July 6, 2012 at 7:37 am (Current Events, Education) (, , , )

This is what Lassie (pronounced?) replied.  Very political and full of crap….

Dear Mr. Guevera,

Thank you for taking the time to provide such extensive feed back on the course.  I am sorry that you found the experience less than fulfilling and satisfying. At UMBC we strive to deliver high quality learning experiences shaped to be accessible to wide groups of learners.  I will attempt to respond to each of your points and invite you to comment further if you would like.

Course format.   You are very perceptive.  Indeed, the spring course was developed almost 10 years ago as a preparation for the summer course, because we wanted to make the summer lab course accessible to a broader group of high school teachers, not just those who were already fairly well versed in modern biology.  Thanks to your comments, the TQB group will discuss which changes we can make to make the spring course more useful to a broad group of teachers.

Registration as graduate student:  I am sorry that you did not understand that participating in TQB meant that you had to become a graduate student.  However, the application for TQB contains the following language: “I understand that if accepted to TQB I must also apply to the UMBC Graduate School” and ” I understand that I will earn a letter grade in each course based on participation, effort and performance for each of the three phases of the program”.  Thus you signed an application for admission the the UMBC graduate school and were registered as a graduate student, though as a so-called “non-matriculated” student, which means that you have not been accepted into a degree program, but were eligible to register for courses in an a la carte mode.  Nonetheless, TQB participants have to be registered in the Graduate School in order to receive the graduate credit many teachers need for their advancement in the school district.  In a graduate school course, there are certain performance standards, which were laid out at the beginning of the course.  The relative weighing of the quizzes and final exam was described in the syllabus that was available on the course Blackboard site.  More than likely the availability of the syllabus was also pointed out on the first day of the course.  The absolute score required for passing the course was not listed in the syllabus.  This is normal, since the teacher may need adjust the “cut off score” depending on the relative difficulty of exams and quizzes from year to year.

Ms. Brown’s performance:  Not everyone teaching at a university has to be a regular professor.  Most universities frequently use part time teachers with particular experiences that are deemed advantageous for particular courses.  In this case, Ms. Brown holds an MS degree in “Instructional Systems Design” and is an experienced teacher in a successful high school. She is highly recognized for her teaching of other high school teachers, because of her experience with communicating biological concepts in a format that is suited for high school students. I looked at the questionnaires returned by the course participants and note that comments about Ms. Brown are neutral to favorable.  Furthermore, the solid increase in the self-assigned “confidence scores” between the pre and post-survey suggests that the course was effective.  That being said, I agree with you that the comments about teaching “for a pay check”  and “finishing early” were unfortunate, and I sincerely hope that they were made tongue-in cheek.  I will talk with Ms. Brown about not making “flippy” comments that can be upsetting or demoralizing to the participants.  Regarding the use of Powerpoint, I certainly agree that running through a very long series of slides is not an efficient way of teaching, although many college students in my experience find the slides a useful aid to preparing for exams and quizzes.  I will also discuss this with Ms. Brown.  Note however, the the course was also delivered in distance learning mode to your colleagues on the Eastern Shore via Wimba classroom, which depends on extensive use of PowerPoint.  Perhaps it is time to find an improved technology, but we are limited to what the university can afford to acquire.

In closing, I thank you for your interest in TQB.  I regret that we had to let you and several other teachers know that they cannot advance to the summer course.  Perhaps, your other obligations were too extensive to dedicate the significant amount of time and effort required to succeed in the TQB course.  The pace is pretty high, but we have promised MHEC, the sponsor, a very high standards.


Lasse Lindahl


Lasse Lindahl


Department of Biological Sciences


Now I need to contemplate what to do, since some of the things he’s claiming about us being in graduate school and such aren’t in any papers I received.

Stay tuned…..

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Voice of the voiceless: Part 2

June 19, 2012 at 1:29 pm (Current Events, Education) (, , , )

So after the letter in my last “voiceless” blog didn’t receive a reply, I waited 2 weeks and decided to try and find out who was higher up in the chain of command.   I went to the UMBC website and found that their Teacher Quality in Biology (TQB)  program had a director named Lasse Lindahl PhD.  I was wondering, do you pronounce it “Lass”  or “Lassie”?


Here is the letter I wrote to him:


Dear Dr. Lindahl,

My name is Edwin Guevara, and I am writing to you because online it says you’re the program director for TQB. Speaking with Mr. Jeff Jarosz has been most ineffective. I recently participated in UMBC’s TQB program. When I applied for this program in January I was excited to be able to partake in a class that would teach me new things and help me understand one of the topics I’ve always had the most trouble with: Genetics.  Once I was accepted and attended the orientation, I found out that the grading would be done solely on quizzes and a final exam worth 70% of the grade.  A surprising amount of people didn’t pass the class portion.   At no point during the application process were we told that we needed to have a 70 or more to pass the class. When I brought that point to Mr. Jarosz, he notified me that in Graduate School that is how things work.  I wasn’t aware we were graduate school students since this program didn’t make us permanent students at UMBC. Also, the person teaching our class Virginia Brown isn’t a professor at UMBC; she is a high school teacher who teaches the class “for the paycheck”–as she told us the first day–since she had one last child to put through college.

When the students had questions for Mr. Jarosz or Mrs. Brown, they always replied with, “good question”, or “I’m the last one here to know anything”. Those answers were very unhelpful causing even more confusion among the teachers in the program. 

My biggest dissatisfaction with the class is that it was taught more like a refresher course for the people who knew the material as opposed to being taught to people so they could learn and understand the material. Combined with the classes’ being mostly 2-hour Powerpoint presentations–one of the things they try and teach teachers nowadays NOT to do–it was difficult to retain any of the material.  The classes finished more than an hour early most of the time so that people could get home early because according to Mrs. Brown, “we wouldn’t want to be there longer than we had to.” Her lack of enthusiasm with the class was obvious and always helped bring down classroom morale.

The distance learners were able to take their final exams from home without the hassle of travel and had no supervision at all like the rest of us. That gave them an unfair advantage due to the fact that no one was there to make sure they didn’t use reference materials.  It makes more sense when you look at how all who took the test from home passed the final. Preparing for the final was especially hard since the review given to us was a brief page hinting hinting that we should read the chapters in the book. We were also told to study our old quizzes, but that wasn’t much help as studying the quizzes helped very little with the content material.


The 2.5 day window to take the quizzes was also terrible, especially since it would have been easy to give us more time to take them. Mrs. Brown and Mr. Jarosz continuously told us that they knew we had many other responsibilities and busy lives with children and jobs, so it’s hard to understand why they wouldn’t give us time until at least the end of the weekend. The quizzes were automatically graded by the computer, so it wouldn’t have been any hassle for Mrs. Brown to have one less day to grade them.


On a positive note, Dr. Wagner was the best part of the class. Even though she seemed to share the same confusion and lack of concrete answers as the rest of the staff running this program, she would actually teach us as opposed to making us sit through a lengthy canned presentation riddled with technical difficulties.  I am sad that I will not be able to do the part of the course that has more time with her since it would the best part of the course as opposed to the lackluster and disappointing Phase I.


One can only hope that these problems can be addressed for future students taking this class. I have spoken with many class members and by the looks of it Phase II will be very scarce in students unless the teachers made some compromises, which could happen since it took them more than a week to give us our test results which they knew the same day we took the test.




Edwin Guevara

Science Teacher

901 Aisquith Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

410-522-7800 –

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @IND1847

A Catholic, girls college preparatory high school in Downtown Baltimore



6 days passed and no reply for Dr. Lindahl.  At that point I started getting annoyed at being ignored, so I decided to write to the president of UMBC.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting any kind of reply at all.  Mr. Freeman Hrabowski has been on TV, magazines and has been recognized nationwide for his great work at UMBC.  I sent him a polite letter that said:

Dear Mr. Hrabowski,



I would like to begin by thanking you for reading my letter. I recently completed stage 1 of UMBC’s Teacher Quality in Biology (TQB) program.  There were concerns about the program that I have addressed to Mr. Jeffrey Jarosz, the program’s coordinator, and Dr. Lasse Lindahl whom the TQB website lists as the program’s director.  I have not yet received a response from Dr. Lindahl and Mr. Jarosz hasn’t been able to provide any concrete answers to my concerns.  It has been more than a month since our last class and Mr. Jarosz still doesn’t know why we haven’t received our $650.00 stipend for part 1 of the course.


In order to save you time, I will show you the letter I wrote to Dr. Lindahl last Monday with my concerns.  Thank you for your patience and time. It feels like I have no one else to turn to for this concern.



He replied my email 20 minutes after I sent it:

I  sending your letters to Dean Lacourse and asking him to ensure that you receive a response as soon as possible. Thank you for following up with me. Expect a reply soon.
Freeman Hrabowski
Sent from my iPhone
Not a large response, but a response nonetheless. It says a lot when the president of an institution finds time to answer emails. He gets +50 cool points.
After his reply and forward, people started caring and I received 2 more replies:
Reply 1:
Dear Mr. Guevara:

Please let me apologize on behalf of the College of Natural and
Mathematical Sciences as to your experience with the TQB program and
lack of response from its faculty. I can assure you that this does not
meet the standards of UMBC. I am copying this email to the Chair of
the Department of Biological Sciences, who will provide me with a
thorough review of this matter and the issues you have raised. I
expect that you will receive a response from the Chair or TQB director
early this coming week. I will personally contact you as a follow up
to ensure that the matter has been resolved.

William R. LaCourse, Ph.D.
Dean Designate, CNMS

This guy was nice.  I like him.
But there’s reply #2 from Lasse (pr?) Lindahl
Dear Mr. Guevara,

I apologize for not having answered your e-mail yet.  However, I have been at back-to-back meetings since you sent your inquiry, first a meeting for directors of programs under the newly formed unit of “Training and Workforce Development” within the National Institute for General Medical Science, and now a meeting on Model Organisms for Human Biology.  SInce your e-mail contained a number of issues that deserve my careful thought, I put off my response until after the meetings which meant an 8-9 day delay in my response, a time frame which is not unusual, especially during the summer “meeting period”.  I realize now that I probably should have told you this up front, but please be assured that I will address your questions in a serious and thoughtful manner in a few days.
Lasse Lindahl

Lasse Lindahl
Department of Biological Sciences
His reply seems kind of back handed, but we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

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Sperm Donor

June 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm (Current Events, Father's Day) (, , , , )

Today I totally forgot it was father’s day, whoops.  Once reminded, I went on the facebook to wish Happy Father’s Day to all my friends. Going against my gut (bad habit), I decided to look at my “dad’s” facebook page.

For those of you who don’t know me, my father is a person I only remember seeing once when once when I was 7 years old.  He was visiting Puerto Rico to go to his dad’s funeral and stopped by to see his estranged son (me). When he showed up unannounced I was in the back of my aunt Bel’s house playing with her dogs. Bel came to the back and dragged me by the hand and said that there was someone I needed to see.  When I got there and saw this man, I still remember seeing his bloaty eyes, weird moustache and green teeth.  I must’ve had a look of “whodafukisthis?”, because it was awkward between everyone in my aunt Bel’s front yard where this encounter happened.  He cried and gave me 2 dollars for pizza, told me he missed me and left.  After that, all I remember from him were the 5 dollar child support checks he’s send my mom twice a month.

Anyways, he tried to add me on facebook about a month ago, so out of curiosity I look at his facebook from time to time.  He still looks all bloaty and you gotta love the grease stains on his shirt.

Exhibit A:

Bloated Shirt Stained Creature : Deadbeatus erectus

I am really excited I didn’t get my looks from him, since I usually look like this:

Exhibit B:

Wolverinus americanus

So when I looked at his facebook today and I saw that my “aunt” Teri had wished him a Happy Father’s day, it made my inner rage take over and I deleted her and blocked her.  Who’s my aunt Teri?  This woman who I erroneously added to my facebook 2 years ago. She was a link to my dad, but after getting to know her, she’s an overly religious yet slutty crazy old lady. She’s also friends with all my “cousins” on my dad’s side.  A bunch of ghetto fabulous posers who look all thug life-ish and shave their man brows to look like tough trannies.

If these people were the ones who raised me, I’d look like this:

Exhibit C:

Li’l Johnnus ghettoassensis

In summary, he’s a deadbeat and shouldn’t have gotten a Happy Father’s Day wish from my stupid aunt.  That’s the gist of it.

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The voice of the voiceless?

June 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm (Current Events, Education) (, , , )

Today I wrote to the president of UMBC.


Below I will post an email our class received from the program coordinator, Jeffrey  Jarosz.

May 17, 2012 (The day before my Birthday).

Dear TQB Participant:


Phase I of TQB has ended, and I just received the final grades for the semester.  Unfortunately, your grade is below 70%, which is the minimum score to pass.


The phase I prep course (#602-27-7943 SP2012) is a prerequisite for the phase II laboratory course (#602-01-1539 SU2012).  Students who receive a D or an F cannot enroll in phase II.


Accordingly, I must inform you that you will not be able to continue in the TQB program.  We will disburse your stipend – $75.00 per session, we will pay your tuition for the phase I prep course, and you may retain the textbook.


I understand that it’s very difficult to teach full time and attend graduate school, in addition to family responsibilities and commuting. 


Sincere best wishes for the summer.


Jeffrey P. Jarosz

Assistant Director

Extramurally Funded Training

Department of Biological Sciences

University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Well here’s the first letter I wrote in response.  I was angry at the time….raaargh!!!

May 17, 2012 (Still).

Dear Jeff,


Perhaps the middle of the day  when we are in our lunch breaks is not the most appropriate time to send such a message.  When applying for this course I was not notified that 70% was the minimum, but that is not really my issue.  Since this was a course that was advertised as being part of graduate school, I wasn’t expecting it to be run by a high school teacher. I didn’t know school teachers were able to teach graduate school classes, much less at an “Honors University”.


The email you sent with the following information, (The phase I prep course (#602-27-7943 SP2012) is a prerequisite for the phase II laboratory course (#602-01-1539 SU2012).  Students who receive a D or an F cannot enroll in phase II.) would have been wonderful to know beforehand. While an F is a pretty obvious failing grade, D’s are usually not good but passing. The biggest problem was that to everyone in the class it seemed like the program was extremely disorganized. Allow me to explain myself. It was especially confusing when another student was told that if we failed the final we couldn’t pass even if we passed the class, a topic which caused more confusion between students and the lack of information from the staff. A topic which caused even more confusion by the lack of information and amount of flip-flopping during the final decision.


Whenever any of us taking the class had a question, the typical answer was either: “Good question”, or one of Virginia Brown’s favorite answers “I’m the last one here to know anything”.  The true fact of the matter was that we were the last ones here to know anything.  Emails on where to meet were sent sometimes a few hours before the class. So while it was perfectly fine for the staff running this program to wait until the very last second to inform us of what was going on, we the students only had 3 days to take our quizzes. The quiz I missed would have put my grade at a 70% but I wasn’t able to do it on time due to time constraints and school obligations.  Why were these quizzes, which weren’t even graded by the teacher, only available for 3 days? What was the hurry?  People trying to study instead of cramming the material in their heads would need more time.  


As I reflect and look back at this course and its title, I have to wonder what the goal was. I applied to the program expecting to learn new things and improve as a teacher.  Instead I and others were treated to a class where they acted as if we already knew the material.  I also applied expecting something better than a class where you spend 2 hours robotically staring at a power point ( One of the things they try and teach teachers nowadays NOT to do).


From day 1 Mrs. Brown let us know that she was there because she needed the money as she was sending her last kid through college. It shows why she never really looked that motivated to teach us and we were instructed to sign out at 7:30 when we would usually leave at 6:15.  I’m sure I could have used that extra hour and fifteen minutes actually learning to help me pass the course.  My last comment of disappointment is towards the unfair advantage that the Distance Learners and others who were able to take their final exam from the comfort of their homes. It seems that was a decision that did not put everyone on a level playing field, especially when a test is given out in multiple choice form and one only had a mediocre review sheet with which to prepare.


On a positive note, Dr. Wagner was the best part of the class. Even though she seemed to share the same confusion and lack of concrete answers as the rest of the staff running this program, she would actually teach us as opposed to sitting through a lengthy canned presentation riddled with technical difficulties.  I am sad that I will not be able to do the part of the course that has more time with her since it’s the best part of the course as opposed to the lackluster and disappointing Phase I.


One can only hope that these problems can be addressed for future generations taking this class. I have spoken with many class members and by the looks of it Phase II will be very scarce in students.  A reflection on the teacher perhaps?




Edwin Guevara

Science Teacher

901 Aisquith Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

410-522-7800 –

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @IND1847

A Catholic, girls college preparatory high school in Downtown Baltimore

Because that’s how jaded teachers roll….apparently.

To be continued…..

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The Playstation Generation

August 25, 2009 at 9:14 pm (Video Games)

I thought the title was appropriate.  We have a generation of grown people that still enjoy video games.  Some in society question why we still play as if we were little kids.  Ever since I was six, back in the 1980’s I have enjoyed this pastime very much, but why?  I don’t play with my He-Man action figures, hot wheels or Army men, so why video games?

The answer is simple, video games have evolved into many things. Some are art, some are trash and some are just games.  With so many options it is easy to find something for people of all ages.   While I don’t enjoy some games I liked as a child as much as I do now, I enjoy more complex and challenging titles.  Some are witty, gory, and definitely not appropriate for children but my generation isn’t one of children is it?

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Two by Five

August 5, 2009 at 5:00 am (Current Events) (, , , , )

I spend way too much time on CNN. It’s one of those things in life where you know it does no good to obsess over yet you can’t stay away from. I tell myself I do it to stay informed but in all honesty I would be better off not knowing at all. The world is a scary place and there’s plenty of news out there to keep the fear machine oiled. Just today Bill Clinton achieved what I thought impossible by getting Laura Ling and Euna Lee pardoned and returning them to the U.S.

I thought of how nice it was to have some good news. The media is all over it, two more lives that will go on thanks to either Kim Jong Il’s pride or Bill Clinton’s diplomatic genius.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling may well be in U.S. soil before anyone reads this. Their parent’s must be excited that they are safe back in the States. Safe in your own Country, that brings me to the next article in the anti-prozac, sobering website of CNN. Five people died when a man decided to shoot up a gym near Pittsburg. So much for being safe in your own Country.

It’s one of those things that make me ponder where humanity is going with this. More than one soldier has come home safely from the war only to be killed in a crime in his native soil. A young man miraculously survives a Nazi death camp only to get strangled to death more than fifty years later.

Where am I going with all this? I am going far far away from CNN. So far actually that if World War 3 ever started I would only find out the instant before the Earth blows to smithereens ala Marvin the Martian.

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Hello world!

August 5, 2009 at 4:37 am (Uncategorized)

Welcome to This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!

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