I've had a chance to more thoroughly investigate the free courses offered by Carnegie Mellon, and I'm pretty impressed. (You can find them here.) While several universities now offer free openware courses, mostly those seem to consist of video-taped lectures, some class notes, and readings from a textbook you must buy. Carnegie Mellon has created fully online, interactive courses in several subject areas. Check 'em out!
All the links have been checked. Whew.
I've officially launched my new site, The University of You. Or U of YOU, because sometimes I can be too cutesy for my own good. ;) The U of YOU site is focused specifically on earning a 4-year degree from Thomas Edison State College for now. I will be adding information about Charter Oak State College and Excelsior College as soon as I can.
I haven't been giving my blog posts handy labels that could be used for searching purposes. I was good about it with the old blog, but for some reason here I never seem to remember to do it. I'm thinking of going back and editing the posts to do so, if it doesn't look like it will take me too long.

Of course, I have no idea what category that last post would fall under. Grumpy Rant Posted After Reading One Too Many Political Op-Ed Pieces Pretending To Be a News Article? Somehow, I don't think anyone would ever bother trying to read all the posts under that title. Heh.
If you tried to visit the website earlier today and couldn't get it to load, I apologize. The domain name is registered with Go Daddy, and so, along with many, many, many other people out there, my site went down thanks to a hacker who went after Go Daddy. It really is a shame there are people out there who are that smart but utterly lacking in any sense of real principles and so they run around causing trouble like this. (I know they rationalize their actions, but that's all it is in the end - rationalizations.) They are nothing more than cyber vandals.

Please note, if you haven't already, you might want to bookmark (or like) the Facebook page or Twitter page. If our site ever goes down like this again, it will be the only way I can update you. Of course, if these special little snowflakes decide to go after Facebook and Twitter, then I suppose we're out of luck!
For anyone not familiar with the meaning behind my post title, my husband is a former Marine.  He says this all the time.  Something to do with ducking and running in enemy territory.

Anyway, in my case, just wanted to take a moment and stop in on my own site.  Been awhile since I said anything here, eh?  Life has been just as crazy as ever, but in a few weeks my kids head off to camp and I will be doing another round of, "Hey, let's spend 7 hours checking all the links on the website to make sure they're active and going where they're supposed to!"

A friend quite innocently asked, "Can't you just use one of those link-checking sites that scan your site for broken links?"  Well, yes... I could do that.  Problem is, it will only let me know about broken links.  More often than not, what I get isn't a broken link, it's a moved link within a site that still exists, or it's now something like a generic page full off ads.  And so I have to check everything manually.  It's rather tiresome, but it needs to be done on a regular basis.

In other news:  If you've been thinking about using the DESTINOS program for Spanish, and considering purchasing the textbook that goes with it, I now have a copy of both the first and second editions.  (Long story.  Not gonna waste your time with it.)  I compared the two and IMHO, no, the second edition is not so wonderfully different that it's worth the extra expense.  Get the first.  I saw today on Amazon that it's SELLING USED for as little as $0.44  Also, nifty extra, you can get the audio files that go with the textbook free HERE.  Just FYI, though, the audio files contain the clips for both the textbook listening portion and the workbooks listening portion in each lesson, with the textbook portion coming first.  The good news is, if you want the workbooks, you can find those pretty cheap as well.  (Again, I am talking about the OLDER EDITIONS.  The second edition workbooks even used are generally over $20, but if you want to use the free audio files, you want the older workbooks anyway.)

And don't forget SPANISH HOUR.  From their main page:  "If you have a Facebook account, our 50 day Spanish for beginners course is free. What are you waiting for? In just 20 days you will be able to express yourself in the present tense. In 33 days, just over a month, you will be at an intermediate level and able to converse in Spanish in past, present and future tense. And in 50 days you will have learned 2 years' worth of college level Spanish."
I added a privacy policy to the site.  (You can find the link at the bottom of the home page.)  You don't really need to read it.  In a nutshell, I'm not collecting or keeping information about site visitors, and if I was, I wouldn't sell it or even give it away.

I do check my site stats, but I stay away from the stuff that might tell me about individual users.  I just look at the "came from" links and the overall numbers.  This tells me what pages are "popular" and also who has linked to my site.  I like to keep an eye on that.  If anyone ever says something really critical about HCUSA, I'd like to know.  Not so much in a "damage control" capacity, but because if the criticism is warranted, I'll do my best to fix or change whatever is wrong.  If someone just hates the site or adheres to the "If it's free it must be garbage." belief... well, he's entitled to his opinions.  Not much I can say to that!
We get a lot of clicks to the site from people who have posted about HCUSA on their Facebook pages.  (Thanks, BTW!)  I figured it was about time to make a Facebook page specifically for us.


If you're on Facebook and get a chance, please "like" the site to get the word out.  I know this sounds like shameless promotion, but I think you've all figured out by now that I'm definitely not profiting from this site!  I simply want to reach and help as many people as possible.
The history and geography pages have been checked and updated.
The links on all of the science pages have been checked and updated where needed.