There have been some benefits to having the district forget to remove me from the STS mailing list. Other than being able to watch things happening behind the scenes, without any responsibility to act on them, I am also privy to funny emails going around the department. And according to someone who I know would have first-hand experience, this is not a faked picture. It is supposed to say “CRT TESTS”, everybody knows we do our STD tests right after New Years. Sheesh! (Just kidding, don’t want to give Gayle Ruzicka a stroke.)
Ok, so they’re not really all under the purview of OSHA, but they are funny.
I’ve always set my side mirrors so that I could just barely see the side of the car. Somebody sent me this a few weeks ago and I decided to go ahead and try it.
At first it was really uncomfortable looking at my mirrors and not seeing the side of my car. After all, if you can’t see your car, how do you know where you are seeing? But as I got more and more used to it, I realized that I was in fact seeing where I needed to. Go ahead and try it, just give it a little while to get used to before you give up on it. You may spend more time looking over your shoulder in the short run, but not in the long run.
Expect a few more of these as I go through all the funny and informative emails I’ve been saving to put on here.
GARFIELD ON THE OIL CRISIS
A lot of folks can't understand how we came to have an oil shortage here in our country. Well, there's a very simple answer: Nobody bothered to check the oil. We just didn't know we were getting low. The reason for that is purely geographical. Our OIL is located in:
Other than 8 period days, CRTs***, and being exiled from my room because of them, that’s been my week. The good news is: I’m done with the CRTs. The bad news is: I’m done with the CRTs, and now I’m going to have to fight the “We took the test, why do we still have to learn” attitude for a week or so.
* Yes, that sounds like the beginning of a really bad Movie of the Week, but it is a common question from jr. high kids.
** Personally, I would have just let the kid keep it, but thanks to the likes of Gayle Ruzicka & Co., jr. high administrators are required to confiscate them.
*** CRT – Criterion Referenced Tests. Those fun end of the year tests we have all the students take thanks to No Child Left Behind.
Got the email today. There will be no Ranger Steve this summer. At least not this Ranger Steve. The letter was very polite, told about how great all the applicants were, and that unfortunately there was only one position to fill. It went to some 5th grade teacher in the Salt Lake area, that’s all the info that was given out (guess that’s so nobody can go out and “encourage” them to remove their name from the petition, uh, I mean position). So, not this summer for me, but the good thing about that rejection email is that I have a link to a whole bunch of other Parks that have Teacher-Ranger-Teacher positions that I can apply for next year. I’m gonna start earlier, and apply for a bunch of them next year. Down, but not out.
Ahh, next year is looking better and better. Read today in the Tribune that my district’s Superintendent is retiring. And they hinted that they were going to be looking outside the district for his replacement. Despite the rain and snow this morning, all I saw were sunny skies.
I’m so confused. Rush Limbaugh said that you caused the volcano eruption in Iceland in order to punish the US for passing the universal health bill here in our country. I know you work in mysterious ways, but why would you take it out on a small country that had no control over our politics? Why is it more offensive to you that the US did this, instead of punishing the Europeans and Canadians when they started universal health care in their countries? Why did you not do anything until the US followed suit?
“You know, a couple of days after the health care bill had been signed into law, Obama ran around all over the country saying, “Hey, you know, I’m looking around. The earth hadn’t opened up. No Armageddon out there. The birds are still chirping.
I think the earth has opened up. God may have replied. This volcano in Iceland has grounded more airplanes – airspace has more affected – than even after 9/11 because of this plume, because of this ash cloud over Northern and Western Europe. … It’s got everybody just in a shutdown. Earth has opened up. I don’t know whether it’s a rebirth or Armageddon. Hopefully it’s a rebirth, God speaking…”
Somehow we got on the topic of cars and one of my students asked me “If a new car got in a wreck with one of the first cars, which one would win?”
“What do you mean by win?” I asked.
“Let me put it this way; The new car wouldn’t survive, but the driver would. The old car would survive, but the driver wouldn’t.”
I was really thinking of the changes since the Chevy Corvair that launched Ralph Nader’s career, but I believe it works with earlier cars too.
Went great! Dad was completely surprised (although since hindsight is 20-20, he mentioned several incidents that should have clued him in). There were about 20 people there, mixing two spheres of his life: family and friends. The food was great – we had the party at Tony Caputo’s restaurant downtown. My slideshow was a great hit, conversation was stimulating and the humor was flowing. Thanks to step-mom and older brother for setting the whole thing up – nice party!
And thank God that this busy week sandwiching taxes between my birthday and my dad’s is over.
Yup, it’s been a busy week for me. My birthday, taxes and today is my father’s 75th birthday. But it’s been a good week, and (now I can’t post this right away, ‘cause my dad might read it before his surprise party) the party tonight is bound to be a blast.
My older brother threw me a party on my birthday, not a surprise party, but the theme was a surprise. I fully expected the traditional black, over-the-hill, death theme, which was already done for the first two of this generation of our family to hit 50. So instead he went the opposite way – like he was throwing a birthday party for one of his grandkids. Complete with Cars theme, gift bags with things like a pirate eye patch and a fake sheriff's badge for everyone and a cake with a dinosaur (with wings and a halo). Oh, and don’t forget the popper streamers. It was awesome. He also made a really nice little book with old pictures and sayings that was quite touching, although because of a little irony, it made me laugh instead.
My good friend J and I always joke about how one of my favorite things to do on breaks from school is to sit around the house and watch DVDs in my BVDs. So for my birthday she sends me this card:Well, in the book he made for me is this picture of him and me, one that I don’t remember ever seeing before: (See, J, it’s not a habit I picked up in my old age).
So it was a great night, a wonderful birthday. Thanks to all, including all the rest of you who wished me a happy birthday.
I got this card from my dad, which you’ll have to read this story to completely understand. Although, it’s funny anyway. And this one from my sister and her family, that completely sums up my attitude towards aging:
So, it’s been a good, although busy, week.
P.S. – Sorry Pedro, I didn’t have the guts to put your card on here.
Things that shouldn’t ought to happen:
- Any Utah Legislator getting re-elected.
- Arby’s running out of roast beef
- Chevron running out of gas.
Technically we didn’t actually run out of gas, but one tank got so low that the pumps were giving up after only pumping 30 cents or so. Of course, at the time all I knew was that the regular tank was reading only 234 gallons, which isn’t enough for the pumps to work. And you have no idea how irritated people get when you tell them your gas station just ran out of gas. (Actually, the majority were really good about it, even found some humor in it.) The GM came down and messed around with things and finally got them running again, and I learned a few things in the process.
Like; did you know that there is no such thing as mid grade gasoline? There’s just regular and premium. Mid grade is made by mixing regular and premium straight from the tanks at the gas station.
So, we have 3 tanks. 2 are regular and 1 is premium. The regular tanks are supposed to switch back and forth, whenever one gets a couple hundred gallons lower than the other, it switches over to the fuller tank. Our problem was that they weren’t switching. We had 234 gallons in one, and 7356 gallons in the other, but it kept pumping from the lower one, and not doing a very good job of it. So, just like anyone who has ever worked on a PC knows, sometimes the only thing to do is turn the whole thing off, let sit for a minute, and then start it all up again. Seems to have worked, because when I left things were still working fine.
I’m going to be staying at the school I’m at for next year. I went in and told the principal today, she was happy that I decided to stay. I reiterated some of the other things that annoyed me about the school, but told her that I wanted to see how annoying it would all be when I was happy with the way my classes were running. I may (or may not) have been hyper-sensitive to things because of how unhappy I have been with they way my classes were running. I can have a lot of fun with people who annoy me, as long as my classes are going well and I have a few people who enjoy my crazy antics as much as I do.
I know next year will go better than they have this year. First of all, since I have 80% of the 8th graders this year, I got to hand-pick the students in the Algebra A-B class I’ll be teaching next year. Second, and the only other thing, is that my 13 years of experience teaching jr. high kicked in a while ago, and the kids are beginning to respond. I don’t dread going to work every day, in most of my classes (including the 9th grade from hell class) I’m actually getting teaching done for the majority of the class period. This means to me that when I start off the new year the right way, things will be a whole lot better.
When the principal told me that she was happy I was going to stay, she also asked me what she could do to make the next year better for me. Immediately I told her “You could give me 6 classes of psychology.” Her response? “Sure, no problem, we can make it work.” Yes, that was sarcasm. I knew it and she knew I knew it, we just laughed.
On another note, we were having lunch when the head custodian walked in while saying “To infinity, and beyond!” in classic Buzz Lightyear style. I asked him “Isn’t that our Legislature’s motto on class size?”
I was goofing around on Google Maps the other day, looking for interesting places to go out in the west desert. I saw this nice, straight road across the southern end of the salt flats, and decided to go check it out sometime. Today was that sometime.
I headed out about 11:30, past Tooele, Stansbury Island and Grantsville, right around that second ridge of mountains, took the Dugway/Iosepa exit and headed south. I got a ways down the road and had to stop off for a pit stop, which (for a guy) is rarely a problem since out there you’re out in the middle of nowhere and can pretty much pull over anywhere. But I did see a gas station a way down, so decided to stop there, which ended up being no help at all since they were shut down, but at least I did have a building to stand behind. It looked like they had started to add on and expand, but something made them change their mind. There were two brand new pumps out in the middle of nowhere in a big gravel parking lot, but it stopped there. I headed out again, got about a mile down the road and had to stop to check out the Tekoi Test Range. It looked like it hadn’t been used since WWII, but at least there were a whole bunch of real tumble weeds hanging out up against the fence. And a bunch of sun-bleached bones where something (bovine presumably) had died and been left out forever. Got a couple of pictures there and headed out on my way again.
I got to the point where Rte 196 ends at Rte 199, where I was supposed to turn right and head west for 60 miles until I hit the salt flats, but there was something in my way. Dugway Proving Grounds. Stupid Dugway Proving Grounds. For those of you unfamiliar with Utah, it’s a big military installation where the US Gov did bomb testing back in the cold war days. Or some sort of destructive testing. Now I think it’s where they are destroying all the chemical bombs they built up back then. I’m not sure, but the big guard station and the sign that told me they could search me and my car (no, I didn’t have anything illegal) made me decide that was the end of the road. On further observation I saw the BLM sign that told me I could head out there, if I was willing to travel 60 miles on dirt roads. Not in the LTD. Any of them. That’s why I keep the Subaru.
So I decided today was not the day to make it out to the slat flats. Just head home. But I still had a decision to make. Go back the way I came, up Rte 196, or head east on Rte 199 and see if I could make my way home that route. Of course I chose not to go back the way I came. It was a nice drive, up over the mountain and down into the Tooele valley. It got nice and cold driving through the pass, even though it didn’t go up that high, but there were a lot of trees and snow, it was a pleasant drive.
That took me up through Tooele, past the Great Salt Lake Marina, where I stopped off and checked out the fire Writer predicted a couple posts ago. It was kind of amazing how burned willy-nilly, completely destroying one area, yet in the middle of a completely charred area there were a some trees that had only their trunks singed (look on the very right hand side of the picture).
So, I made it home, without achieving my goal. I’ll try it again sometime, with the Subaru, and it was a nice, relaxing trip none the less. The latest LTD just floated over those highways, I would catch myself going 90 down a two lane highway without even realizing it.
The big old green LTD got new U-joints today. I’m not really sure why they’re called U-joints, since they’re more like a + sign, but I do know that they allow the driveshaft to twist and flex in between the transmission and the rear axle (on rear wheel drive vehicles). I also know that when they start to go out, you begin to hear a “clunk” every time you shift gears. And, if you don’t fix them, when they break the car goes nowhere, ‘cause the driveshaft just falls out.
So, the “clunk” was getting bad enough that I didn’t even want to take the car around the corner to Albertson’s. My little brother reminded me that all it would take is removing 4 nuts, and about $25 ($28.87 to be exact), so this morning I jacked up the car, crawled under it with a 1/2” wrench, removed the 4 nuts and yanked the driveshaft out of the transmission end. Took a whole hour, and that included setup and cleanup. Then we brought it down to Six States (1380 So. 300 West) and dropped it off. An hour later they called me to tell me it was done, which gave me just enough time to pick it up and head to Chevron.
I got off work at 10:00, slid the driveshaft back into the transmission, attached the U-bolts and the 4 nuts, took it out for a test drive on the freeway, and was back home by 10:45. No clunks, smooth shifts and smooth as glass on the freeway. Of the 4 LTDs I own, I have to say that this is the one that has the most right-off-the-showroom-floor ride. Not the best looking (the worst for that matter), not even the best running, but definitely the smoothest ride of all 4. Probably going to have to go on one of my “trips to nowhere” tomorrow to celebrate.