Archive for the ‘college’ Tag

BattleShots!   12 comments

Tom Petty, Rock & Roll Star. Not a student role model.

“I’ve learned one thing, and that’s to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink ’til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does…” — an infamous quote about college education from Tom Petty

Tom Petty has made some great music, but he’s not someone to consult for educational advice. says that he’s a high school dropout.  I don’t have a confirmation, but it is clear that he did not attend college.  He was at the University of Florida — as a groundskeeper.  Then he found his muse, moved to LA and got his first of many record deals.

Battleshots games are most commonly made with re-used pizza boxes.  I do NOT recommend playing the game with the number of shots in play shown here!

Again, not someone to seek advice from about your education.

However, it’s a rare student that doesn’t find a time to walk on the wild side while in college.

Drinking games are a part of that, and BattleShots! has taken its place alongside Beer Pong as a go to solution for students seeking a release.  BattleShots is played like Battleship, except when one of your boats is “hit,” you drain a cup from the board.

The problem, of course, is that there isn’t a great source for BattleShots! game boards.  What’s the discriminating partier to do?  There are online tips but those are hardly satisfactory.  But when you want to do it right … and you’ve got skills and resources … you can get to a better place.

Designing a better BattleShots became a class project for a graduate level engineering course at the University of Southern California.  The students put their design through usage analysis, figured out the ideal sight lines, etc.  Michael and I then took the project from the theoretical to the practical and built it in the garage.  Enjoy the pictures.

Want to see other woodworking projects I’ve done?  Check out my other blog on

The yellow baffles are removable; they just sit in slots routed into the edges of the playing surface frames. The design group decided there should be boats with 10x cup positions on a grid of 36x squares. The 4 boats are sized with 4, 3, 2 and 1 positions. This was hotly debated; the alternative of having 4, 3 and 3 or 3, 3, 2 and 2 were also considered.

The game’s made for tailgating, and in spite of Michael currently being in the final year of getting his Master’s from USC, the game HAD to be painted in UCLA colors. Both Velda (MSN, ’02) and Michael (BS Engineering, ’09) got degrees from UCLA — and once a Bruin, always a Bruin. If you know anything about this college rivalry in Southern California, you know this was a big deal!


Posted September 17, 2012 by henrymowry in Living Life, Woodworking

Tagged with , , , , , ,

The 2012 Plan   3 comments

My family has completed our 15-year plan this year.  It started in 1997 … and 15 years later, our family of 5 has earned 5 college degrees.

Sonoma State University. The graduation ceremony was on May 12, 2012.

I announced the plan at a family dinner.  Velda had decided to go back to school and get her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in order to become a geriatric Nurse Practitioner.  The kids would have to sacrifice (less of Mom’s cooking is a bad thing in our house).  But Velda’s journey was just the beginning … each of the kids would follow with their own Bachelor’s degree.

It was our plan.  It was our expectation.

It’s also a good idea, by the way … statistics show that college graduates have substantially better incomes than those that stop their education after high school.

I believe the most important reason to get a college education is that it will teach you how to think.  I got my college degree in education; a BS of Education in Speech & Dramatic Art from the University of Missouri.  I only taught professionally for 8 weeks at a private college’s summer camp.  On the other hand, I’ve been in management throughout my career, and I’ve taught many people many things.  Did I use my degree in education?  Absolutely.

I didn’t go to the graduation ceremony, though.  I got married, instead.  That was absolutely the right decision (we had to get married on the 13th of the month, because we’d had far too many “13’s” show up through our courtship to ignore).  I do have some small regrets I didn’t get to enjoy the pomp & circumstance, however.

The lesson?  Everyone follows their own path.  But get on the path!

UCLA College of Engineering graduation, June 12, 2009. The ceremony was in the “old” Pauley Pavillion, and was a long, long event by the time they awarded all of the graduate degrees … and then there were many undergraduates to go!

Velda’s college path was MUCH more circuitous than mine.  She actually attended 7 colleges on her way to her Masters: University of Missouri – Columbia, Valley College, Mission College, LA County USC School of Nursing, College of the Canyons, California State University – Northridge, and UCLA.  She took 25 years to get her degrees, but she got there.

Velda got the two degrees required to be an NP: a BS in Nursing from CSUN, and then an MS in Nursing from UCLA .  Her job satisfaction, and her income, increased substantially after she got her degrees.

Each kid followed their own path to their degree:

Christopher – College of the Canyons, California State University – Los Angeles

Michael – UCLA

Lauren – Sonoma State University

Time will tell how the degrees earned by each of the three kids will serve them, but I am 100% certain that our family is stronger because we set a very big goal, and all 5 of us worked to achieve that goal.  Some goals take some time to accomplish, and this worthy goal took 15 years.

Don’t be afraid of the difficulty of the path.  Be committed to the goal, and you will achieve it.

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