Friday, October 31, 2008

Seriously, wouldn't a bullet be quicker?

I was a smoker. For almost 25 years of my life. I know the addiction, I know what it feels like to try to quit when you're not ready. Yet, I am still amazed by the news I heard today. Some guy started a fire in an apartment complex because he was smoking. No, he didn't fall asleep, he wasn't drunk, he didn't even leave it unattended. No, he was smoking while using an oxygen mask. Yeah. The guy's lungs are so messed up, presumably by (or at least worsened by) his smoking, he was probably warned that oxygen was flammable, and he's smoking.
Now, yes, I was a smoker. I was addicted and continued to smoke despite knowing the dangers. But the truth is that it was the fear of the oxygen mask that made me quit. Cut 20 years off my life, BFD, at least I'm enjoying life. Costs $5 a day, so my mortgage is a hell of a lot more. Then one day I saw some woman struggling to make it through Smith's, hauling her oxygen tank with her, on her motorized cart and still exhausted from the ordeal. And it occurred to me I could have to live like that for the last 20 years of my life. Oh, I want to live to be 130, but only if I'm going to be able to enjoy it. I do not believe in life for life's sake, sacrosanct above all else regardless of the conditions of that life. Now, hopefully my siblings won't take that to mean they can pull the plug the first time I need a hemorrhoid removed, but if there's no chance of recovery with any reasonable quality of life, ciao bella.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

A Kia, 2 passengers and a pedestrian.

That's what would have died if I had driven the LTD to school.

13th East and 13th South. I'm going 40 (in a 35 zone) just about at the crosswalk when bonehead in the Kia decided to take a right hand turn right in front of me. 1 - he was on the downhill side so there was no doubt he could see me and 2 - as usual, there was nobody behind me for blocks. Slammed on the brakes, cursed his forefathers, passed him on the right when the road split into two lanes, actually just said "thanks" (no "F" word, promise!). Not in a nice way, but that was the only word I said. AND I kept my hands on the wheel. Didn't even flip him off. A studnet told me today that in the recent past, I cut a car off and when they honked at me I flipped them off. Her mother was driving the car, she was a passenger. So, I'm trying to be a little more careful about that.

Then while on campus this woman decides to stroll across the road right in front of me, even though I had the green light. And I'm not talking darting across the road, like I've done sometimes, trying to get across the road before I'm hit or cause an accident. She just strolled across the road like there was no one else around. I had to swerve into the next lane, thankfully there was no one next to me. And again, I didn't swear or give her the single-finger salute. I just yelled "I had the green light" and I went past her. Sheesh, they never told me that going to college would be THIS hard!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Just some pictures......

Backpack 'O Cat

These pictures were all taken at the Halloween/Homecoming dance at my school. They were not photoshopped, I was just messing around with the manual shutter speed on my camera.

"Nightmare on...." - How is today different from the other 179 days?, I asked the teacher in charge of the SBOs. He didn't have an answer.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

The deed is done.

Early voting rocks! I went up to the U for class early, because I knew they had early voting, and it took me a whole 15 minutes from beginning to end. I picked the perfect time, because on my way in there was no line at all, and on my way out I passed about 10 people waiting to get in. So now all I have to do is sit around for the next week and a half and wait to see who is going to be our next president. One of the teachers at school said he was going to have a 5th of whiskey for election night, either to celebrate the victor or drown his sorrows, depending on who wins. This is the first election in a long time that has had me on the edge of my seat. Not only do I feel that the future of our country depends on who wins, but it is also iffy enough that the victor is not a forgone conclusion.

Here's to the end of George W's reign of (choose one)

  1. Terror
  2. Ignorance
  3. Self-serving
  4. National Embarassment
  5. Runaway National Debt
  6. Lies & Deceit

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

90 Days left.

  • There is already a mountain of evidience that Saddam Hussein is gathering weapons...adding additional information is like adding a foot to Mount Everest.
  • I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children.
  • Families is where our nation finds hope, where wings take dream.
  • September the fourth, 2001, I stood in the ruins of the Twin Towers. It's a day I will never forget.
  • This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base.
  • We've never been 'stay the course'.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ode to my sister.

It's 15 minutes before class is over and one of our seniors, RJ, shows up at my door and tells me he has to get BE out of class. I ask him why and he tells me that BE's mom is waiting for him out in the parking lot.

"Why doesn't she come in and get him?"

"I don't know, she just wants me to get him."

"You know, when I was a senior, my sister pulled the same trick, except she said that our dog had been hit and I was the only one who could drive him to the vet."

RJ gives me a wry little smile as he decided to fumble through to the end,
"But his mom's waiting out in the parking lot."

"You know I don't believe you, right?"


"Well, then get her, if she shows up I'll let him go."

"But she's waiting out there for him."

"You know I'm not falling for this?"

"Why would I want him out of class early?"

"Probably because he has the car and you want a ride somewhere and don't want to wait for him, just like with my sister. Liz Hill needed a ride somewhere so she got her get me out of class."

At this point you could see him give up, even though he kept arguing. I just kept coming back with either "You really don't expect me to believe this, do you?" or "When his mom shows up he can go." and he just sat down in the front row to wait.

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Round & round I went......

It started a couple weeks ago, the funds from my PEJEP scholarship never came through, and I had to pay tuition this term out of my own pocket (well, I put it on a credit card). I went to the U, talked to the Financial Aid & Scholarship department, learned nothing, came home and looked up my contact for the scholarship. She wrote back and told me that all the vouchers had been sent out, mine included, and she;d check on it just to make sure.
  1. Round 1. Flash forward to today. Armed with the email from my contact, and all the information on the scholarship, I went back up to the U. Started out at the front window of the Financial Aid & Scholarship department, where she looked it up and then was told that I needed to go to Income Accounting.
  2. Round 2. Income Accounting. She looked it up again, couldn't tell me anything new, except that I really should have gone to Financial Aid & Scholarships, after all they're the ones who take care of them. Been there, done that.
  3. Round 3. Back to Financial Aid, except this time instead of going to the front window, I go right into their main office. Oh yeah, good idea. First I was told I should have gone to the front window, because they would be able to access the information easier. Been there, done that. I had to tell her several times that I started there, they sent me to Income Accounting who in turn sent me back. And yet she still insisted on holding onto the belief that I had started at Income Accounting and that "They always send people back to us when they know you should have gone to the front window". She promises to check on it and disappears in back. 10 minutes later she returns and tells me that I should have gotten something from my donor (the scholarship people) and that it was my responsibility to bring it to Income Accounting. I told her that I didn't have to do anything last time, and that I was told that the voucher had already been sent. She told me that I needed to contact my donor. I decided against spending the next 20 minutes telling her how absurd her whole premise was, and how I know she must be exhausted after such a grueling 1 day of work, but I'd really appreciate if she would find some real answers instead of just giving me excuses. Instead I just walked out and called the contact at the USOE and left her a message. I want to be 100% positive that they have sent the voucher, and that there's nothing I should have to bring down there before going back to Financial Aid & Scholarships and parking my ass in their office until they figure this mess out. (Did you detect the, oh so slight, frustration in my writing?).
  4. Round 4. I'm going to finish here and send my contact an email, apologizing for my frustrated voice mail and reiterating the situation. I'll keep you informed.

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PEJEP - Professional Educator Job Enhancement Program.
U - University of Utah
USOE - Utah State Office of Education

Saturday, October 18, 2008

One, one, ... one phone in two!

Did you know that Qwest is going out of the wireless phone business? I did, because my only phone is with them. The good news is that they made a deal with Verizon for their customers to swap over without the usual disconnect/reconnect charges. I went down to Best Buy, an authorized Verizon/Qwest switcheroo place. The people were really, really nice, they didn't even give me the evil eye when I told them that I wanted a phone that rings, period. That's actually what I said when they asked what features I was looking for in a phone; "It needs to ring." They even understood that the comment meant that I didn't want cameras, texting, web access, spy satellite uplinks or access to the ICBM's. (Well, that last one would be cool). They didn't even flinch when I told them I wanted the Verizon insurance rather than the Best Buy insurance because I was more likely to lose the thing than destroy it. Anyway, $77.93 later I'm walking out of there with a brand new phone, power cord for the car and clip on holder. And it's already hooked up. Uh, well, sort of. Seems there's a little glitch with porting over land-line phone numbers, even if they've been attached to a cell phone for several years. Seems that it may take up to 7 days before it's fully ported over. But not to worry, I can use my new phone already. As a matter of fact, I need to, because the old phone won't make outgoing calls anymore. But it will take incoming calls until the number is ported over, which is good since the new phone won't be taking any incoming phones yet. So, if in the next week, I call you up and tell you that I never got your call, I'm actually not just trying to avoid you - it just means I left the receiving phone at home and only brought the calling phone.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

So, how's your week been?

Mine's been, uh , interesting. First of all, it's over for those of us in education in Utah. It's UEA (Utah Education Association) weekend. Oh, wait, sorry. The Legislature spent valuable time on passing a law that makes it illegal for schools to have a holiday in the name of any organization. So, now we have "fall break" instead of UEA weekend, and "Washington & Lincoln Day" instead of President's Day. Yeah, good thing they concentrate on the important things up there.

For those of you who are not in the SLC area, our high on Monday was 45, Tuesday was 54 and today is supposed to be around 66. Nice cold start to the week, a week that the boilers in our school had broken down for. Monday we had no heat in the building anywhere, except for the 2 rooms next to me that had their own heating system (they were added on sometime in the 60's) and the home ec. teacher who had her oven on full blast and open. Even with my big class of some 35 students in my room, I still had to teach with my winter jacket on. Tuesday was every bit as bad, although the heat came on sometime around noon - for some rooms - not mine. The rooms right next to me got so hot that they had to open windows to cool them off. I thought about banging a hole through the wall between my classroom and the one next door, until I realized that it used to be an outside wall, and I'd probably hurt myself trying to get through. Today started out just as bad, worse even because I was tired of freezing. I ended up spending my Tech and prep period hanging around "working on computers" for the teachers who had heat. At least it was tolerable when the students were in the room, it's amazing the amount of heat human bodies put out, and for 4th period with me and 30 students it was warm enough to take off my jacket. Yea! I'm spending this long weekend wrapped up in a blanket watching CSI Season 8 set that came in the mail today. With my heat cranked up around 80.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Now you know why I bought a Subaru...

The neighbors got tired of seeing me shovel my driveway....

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Monday, October 13, 2008


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Sunday, October 12, 2008

If you're in the mood for a really funny* satire.....

Because one mistake deserves another

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*yet sadly disturbing because of how closely it parallels what we suspect could be reality.

100 days of Bush Presidency left, 100 days of George Bush, take one down.....

More Bushisms to laugh at;

  • "As Luce reminded me, he said, without data, without facts, without information, the discussiona about public education mean that a person is just another opinion."
  • "This is what I'm good at. I like meeting people, my fellow citizens, I like interfacing with them."
  • "Free societies are hopeful societies. And free societies will be allies against these hateful few who have no conscience, who kill at the whim of a hat."
  • "I will have a foreign-handed foreign policy."
  • "A tax cut is really one of the anecdotes to coming out of an economic illness."
  • "I am a person who recognizes the fallacy of humans."
  • "I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get breifed by people who are probably read the news themselves."
  • "America better beware of a candidate who is willing to stretch reality in order to win points."
  • "I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is - my point is, there's a strong will for democracy."
  • "We need an energy bill that encourages consumption."
  • "I own a timber company? That's news to me. Need some wood?"
  • "It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas."
  • "Saddam would still be in power if [John Kerry] were the president of the United States, and the world would be better off."
  • "See, free nations are peaceful nations. Free nations don't attack each other. Free nations don't develop weapons of mass destruction."
  • "Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better."

Only 100 days left!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Our house, is a very, very fine house. Two cats in the yard, life used to be so hard....

It occurred to me the other day that I've been in my house now for over 15 years, longer than any other house I've ever lived in.
  • Birth - '63 - Princeton, NJ.
  • '63 - '64 - Waltham, Mass.
  • '64 - '74 - Lexington, Mass.
  • '74 - '84 - Vista View Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • '84 - '85 - Provo, Utah. (the longest 6 months of my life!)
  • '85 - '85 - 4100 So, West Valley City, Ut.
  • '85 - '86 - Delno Circle, SLC, Ut.
  • '86 - '86 - Mockorange Drive, WVC, Ut.
  • '86 - '88 - Kenton Drive, SLC, Ut.
  • '88 - '93 - Emery Street, SLC, Ut.
  • '93 - '93 - E Street, SLC, Ut.
  • '93 - now - my house (like I'm going to put the address on the internet)

    It's kind of nice having my home being the place I've lived the longest, especially since I have no intention of leaving the house unless it's in a pine box. Seriously, though, I almost moved out of the house about 8 years ago. I was going to go to Las Vegas, to teach down there. I packed up the entire house, put it in storage and then when the whole Vegas thing fell through (thank God for that) I ended up moving back into my own home. Right then and there I decided; never again, moving is a royal pain in the ---. So, by the time I'm 66 or 67, I will have lived half my life in this house. Yeah, big deal, but it was something that occurred to me and I just had to blog about it.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

Don Quixote de la Mancha, R-Herriman

Tilting at windmills. Utah legislators are infamous for this. We have fought many a so-called moral battle which have done nothing but cost taxpayers millions of dollars. The worst thing is that they pass these laws knowing that they are going to be taken to court and fully aware that they have very little chance of winning. Whether you agree with the law on principle or not, it is irresponsible to waste other people's money knowing you are going to lose. What is more than irresponsible, what is reprehensible, immoral and should be criminal is doing it in the first year in decades that the state has had a budget shortfall. We are asking department after department to cut back on expenses, cutting back on services to the poor, and yet we are poised to battle another futile war on abortion. Rep. Wimmer, are you and your cohorts willing to fund the defense of this law with your own money, without any taxpayer assistance? No? Well, then how can you reconcile defending it with my money, with money that has a million better uses in this time of economic downturn?

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Department of Redundancy Department

It was a long flight to Boston, I even read the back of the package of peanuts. Good thing they warned me that they were produced in a facility that processes peanuts.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

Sick day.

I didn't make it to class at the U today, I was having some serious vision problems. Yeah, I just couldn't see myself in class on such a beautiful day. Must have been contagious, 'cause both Lani and Jo had the same problem. Instead we went to Liberty Park and bummed around there for an hour or so. Lani said something about wishing she had her camera so we could document our day off, and guess what? I had mine on me so we had some fun with the automatic timer (see picture where I am running to get in place when the camera shot) and on making it back to the car, had some fun with the remote shutter button. All in all it was a good evening, and we just had to take advantage of it because fall is in the air, days are getting shorter and in no time it will be too cold and too dark by the time we get off work.

Our trip back east was fantastic, despite the rain. What we didn't realize was that the Baptist Church had heard of our return and it seems they weren't too thrilled about it. Even more ironic, was that it was a friend in Arizona that sent us the picture. Thanks Sir Duke, it never occured to you that it might be referring to some other Rossis, huh?

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