Degrees and Degrees and…Degrees

imageThis post is part of SoCS challenge.

I don’t usually respond to prompts and I haven’t ever participated in a weekly challenge of any sort. I saw this on Sandy’s Jar, a blog that I follow but I was just about to skip this, but I like the idea of stream of consciousness writing. I’m not entirely sure that I understand it or know how to do it, but I like the idea. The prompt ‘degree/degrees’ was appropriate today. I had prepared a blog post, that was loosely coupled to the two degrees I have, chemistry and business, but on second thought and after input from my wife, I decided not to post it. It was one of those posts that are like those angry emails that you write but never send. You feel better after writing them, but upon reflection, you realize that you don’t want to go live with that idea.

I noticed that someone else participating in this challenge wrote about two degrees, but the other kind of degrees, the Celsius degrees used to measure temperature. I did a lot of that when I was working toward my degree in chemistry. Some things had to be at certain temperatures in order to proceed. Sometimes, we just had to know what the temperature was throughout our experiment. One analytical procedure that we used would measure, very precisely, the heat given off while burning a specific amount of stuff in an oxygenated container. Degrees, even fractions of degrees were very important.

The degree I was working toward was also very important. Having that degree conferred upon me meant that I was “entitled to enjoy all the rights, honors and privileges pertaining thereto.” When stuff is “pertaining thereto” you got something going for you. Those of us receiving degrees that day had worked hard and we had earned those ‘rights, honors and privileges.”

The degree itself was a bit of an honor but I never enjoyed any of those rights or privileges. I never worked as a chemist. I was prepared to continue my education in chemistry and enter the workforce someday as a chemist but my advisor talked me out of that. He didn’t think that was such a good idea. Kind of like the way my wife didn’t think that other post was a good idea. One of the important things in life is being able to realize when someone is giving you good advice.

I’ve written about degrees before. Not the temperature kind and not the conferred upon me kind, but degrees of separation. I wrote about the way they say people can be connected to other people in six hops. I also wrote about the ways retailers are injecting degrees of separation into your shopping experience by outsourcing delivery and installation to one or more contractors.

Faith's Senior Wall
Faith’s Senior Show

Degrees are all around us and my favorite hobby, woodworking, often involves degrees. For instance, in making the 15 frames for my daughter’s senior photography show, I had to cut 120 45° angles. That might sound hard, but the tools and jigs used to make picture frames make those angles pretty easy to cut. I’m pretty sure that the degree that I worked the hardest to understand/earn is the one that I’ve used the least. The degrees that are part of my everyday life are the ones I really don’t think about.

36 thoughts on “Degrees and Degrees and…Degrees

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  1. This is a wonderful example of stream of consciousness writing! I particularly liked this: One of the important things in life is being able to realize when someone is giving you good advice. I agree wholeheartedly. :)
    Thank you so much for participating in SoCS. :D I hope you enjoyed the experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did enjoy this Linda. I’ve always been a little intimidated by weekly challenges/prompts but this seemed pretty interesting. I’m going to poke around and read some of the others. I hope to be able continue.


      1. I hope so too! I think what keeps this one a little less intimidating is the openness of it. I know just what you mean – having to stick to a certain subject bogs me down. I like to keep my prompts as open to interpretation as possible. :)
        So happy you enjoyed it! :D

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nicely done, Dan. Linda’s SOCS weekly challenge is one I have followed for awhile thru a couple bloggers who participate regularly.

    I probably have as many posts I’ve written and decided not to publish as the ones I’ve published. Part of it is trying this first year to find my rhythm and establish a ‘sort of’ consistent voice. In other instances, I decided what I was putting on paper wouldn’t necessarily be meaningful to others even though I needed to put pen to paper.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sammy. I hope to be able to participate often. I like the idea, and I’m usually free on Friday nights (it’s a good thing). The only down side is that I normally publish a blog post on Sunday. I don’t want to gang up on you guys. I’ll try to keep the SoCS shorter.

      As for the stories you haven’t posted, it’s funny that you mention the ones that might not be meaningful to others. I have posted some stories that I just felt like telling but I was worried that they would have limited appeal. I’ve been surprised several times by the fact that they have turned out to be very well received. You might want to take some chances. One thing I love about the WP community is that everyone seems to realize that many of us are, as you say, trying to find our voice. I follow a lot of people who have tried different things. The only ones I’ve stopped following are the ones who have turned sharply down a wrong road and kept going. Thanks again for the comment and encouragement.


  3. Really enjoyed reading this post Dan. So glad you decided to try this unedited post for this challenge. What a great Dad to make all those frames ;)
    I thought about a word play using obtuse and acute angles. In HS it struck me as strange that those words describe different degrees of angle in geometry or when used of people they describe opposite degrees of understanding. I had English right after Math and apparently haven’t been able to separate the two subjects in my thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kelly. I did consider the geometry angle (pun intended) and also the automotive. When I used to work on cars, timing was an issue and it was expressed in ‘degrees above or below top dead center’ I think its a good thing to keep math close to English. There’s a mathematical element to good writing. Thanks for your comment.


    1. That’s a very good point. I’ve always said that my studying chemistry I learned the art of problem solving. That has served me very well. Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment.


  4. You’re pretty good at writing about one topic seen through different angles, Dan. In this post, you excel. Of course, I can relate to the confusion between Celsius degrees versus Fahrenheit. Learning that you have a fever after 100 and not 37.5 took me a little while. For some reason 50 F seemed much warmer than 10 celsius. As for academic degrees, it is in the US that I have met the most people with a degree in this and that and a minor degree in this and that. I’m also fascinated by the degrees of separation. Although now with our modern communications tools the degrees seem to melt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Evelyne. I do think that we probably can connect within 4 or 5 hops if we include social media, maybe fewer. I have a good friend in England, and he used to feed his weather station to a web page. He had a webcam so we could see his garden, but the temperature never made sense unless I did the conversion. It would seem that you need to be much more precise with a fever in Celsius. It’s funny that you mention major and minor degrees. I actually had enough credits to have a minor in Sociology, but for some reason, the school didn’t let BS science majors declare a minor. So I could have graduated with a BA in Chemistry with a minor in Soc, but not a BS – it didn’t make much sense to me.


  5. Yes, there is a degree in everything. I’ve tried ranting about people who are so highly qualified and they assume that the rest of the world is just inferior in terms of knowledge. While on the other side, there are people who have so much of practical knowledge that they have gone ahead and done wonders in the field they love. I think I can connect this to the degree theme you’ve written, but then I thought maybe I should not rant, Why? Everybody is entitled to their views and so are these qualified people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Degrees really don’t mean much to me Sharukh. I know people who put a bunch of letters after their name on a business card but I think it says more about their personality than their qualifications. I’ve known too many people who, as you say, have practical knowledge that I can’t be impressed with degrees. I’m proud of the fact that I got mine, but more because of the struggle involved and effort my parents went to to make it possible. Out of 24 grand children in my parent’s combined family, only 4 went to college. My father was big on education. He was happy for me to have the degrees. I think with the cost of education continuing to rise, that a broader look into the value of a degree is in order.


      1. I certainly value education and I believe that achieving something has a great feeling attached to it. Surprisingly, in my family I am the only graduate. However, my point was not about degrees but the amount of ego and pride that some people have just because they are highly qualified. In India, you’ll find this everywhere, especially metro cities. People who work in top multinationals think they are on the top of the chain and that they have the ability to make things work better than others. I appreciate their hard work that they are well qualified and they struggled to get there, but I am not willing to get discounted just because I am only a graduate and not a Ph.D or MBA.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I already wrote 3 posts on this topic, but deleted because I was not quite satisfied with the content. I will definitely try once more. The reason I deleted it was because it sounded more like a rant while I want to make it bit less aggressive and look at both sides of the situation.


  6. I am so glad you listened to you wife and changed your mind to write this post. Cool beans. You’re learning. ;) You can tell your wife I said so. LOL I too really enjoyed reading this, Mr. Brain. Chemistry??? Really???? I squeaked by in high school and I shudder to think a degree in it. I don’t get it, don’t understand it. My brain is not wired that way. Business too. No interest. Now those frames I am interested in, and wow, you are one very talented guy to do all those frames for Faith. Lucky Faith. Frames are expensive! Please tell Faith I am very proud of her for having a show. I am really happy for her!!! Great Post, Dan!! You should do these kind of posts more often. Love, Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. Chemistry was a subject that was easy to understand. I struggled with biology. As for the frames, I should point out that it wasn’t that hard. Making 15 frames, 16 really, as we made and needed a spare, is an exercise in production woodworking. Plan, cut, cut, cut, assemble, paint. The frame was a simple design, easy to fabricate and Faith did the hard part. She took the photos, developed the film, printed and matted them. Actually, the hardest part turned out to be finding 16 pieces of glass that large. I cleaned out the local hardware store, Home Depot and had to talk the guy at Lowes into cutting the last three pieces from large sheets he didn’t want to use because of the waste involved. He was my age, and when I told him that I was doing it for my daughter, he caved. Gotta love dads!


      1. I second the motion. Gotta love Dads. All that work for your daughter speaks volumes, Dan. You make me realize what I missed out as a daughter. I am just so happy that Faith knows what it is to be cherished, Loved, and supported by her Dad. That is awesome!!!! (((HUGS))) Amy

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I have a journalism degree, but I’ve never worked as a reporter. Though I wonder, with the declining number of actual newspapers, what poor homeless people will burn to raise the temperature a few degrees in the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny Paul. The least expensive way to get NY Times online access is to subscribe to the Sunday Times. I rarely read the thing but my wife does sometimes roll it into “logs” with a little device she purchased. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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