Let’s see. The original Star Trek. Yup, big fan. And Month Python: The Holy Grail. Oh yeah, one of the most quotable movies I’ve ever seen.
And somebody brought the two of them together. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
The TV weather folks call it “the warm before the storm.” We usually get some nice warm winds from the south as a low pressure moves into the area bringing the storm. These winds stir up the dust, so that when the storm does make it in, it leaves a nice coating of dirt on everything. Makes the car look like crap. Which bugs me to no end, because I hate it when my cars are dirty. Well, except when it’s that “I’ve just been 4 wheeling in the mud” dirt on the car. In that case, I’m usually trying to see how much mud I can get in the most unlikely places.
Anyway, that’s why I have my own lane at the car wash right around the corner.
I find pennies on the ground every day. You would kind of expect that. I’ve even found a $50 a couple of times in the 6 years I’ve worked there. Every now and then you find the occasional pill on the ground, the majority of which are just aspirin or other over-the-counter medication. I’ve even found a couple of spent bullets out in the parking lot, which are the first two pictures you see here.
But tonight I came across something that surprised me. It really shouldn’t have, I’ve known for years that people smoke the stuff, but I just figured that it was expensive enough these days that even a stoner would be more careful than to drop it in the Chevron.
Anyway, add this to the list of “Strange things are afoot at the Circle K” type Chevron experiences. And just for the record, and any law enforcement personnel reading this, I’ve already flushed it. Don’t need a possession rap right now.
Saw a quick clip of this on the news this morning. The faculty of some middle school, so fed up with student texting, making out in the halls, saggy pants, fighting and other behaviors, made this video, and the Principal ended up on Good Morning America (or some such program, I can’t remember for sure). This is a faculty I think I’d love working with….
I was in an all day meeting at the district on Monday, so it was yet another day with a substitute in my classroom. Some of the kids said something about how the sub was quite late getting to my advisory class, and they were left alone in the room. After advisory Tuesday one of my students dawdled around until everyone had left and then said he had something to tell me. Seems that while the class was unsupervised, a couple of my advisory students had taken the opportunity to rifle through my desk, filing cabinets and closet to see what interesting things they could get their hands on. Fortunately I had taken everything of real value with me over the weekend, and all they got were some huge Sharpie markers and other little things. That, of course, does not change the fact that they invaded my things, and, as I told the Vice Principal, it was no better than if my car or house had been broken into.
The VP took down the details, and decided that since school was out and all the students were gone, the only thing we could do right then would be to open their lockers and see if any of the ill-gotten booty (or ill-booten gotty) was in their possession.
Easier said than done. The only person with the password to the program that has the list of the students locker numbers is the principal’s secretary – the same one that has total control over the copy machine. Unfortunately, she was currently busy with the student body officers (SBOs), and already being in “a mood”, even the VP didn’t want to incur her wrath. (How a secretary can wield that much power, and why she is allowed to, is way beyond my comprehension, but [and I’ve seen it before] dealing with bad secretaries is at least as hard as dealing with bad teachers).
I’m quite frustrated at this point. It’s like the police telling me they can’t deal with my stolen car right now because they’re busy with a parade. Overseeing the SBOs is her choice, and not really something that her job should encompass. Assisting the VP with student information is.
So the VP and I spend the next 15 minutes asking other possible holders of this information if they have it, looking for a legendary book of locker numbers, to no avail. Finally the VP asks the secretary's daughter, who is sitting at her mom’s desk, to let he mother know that we need to get a couple student’s locker numbers. She comes back to tell us that her mom made a reference to the aforementioned legend of the locker-book, and that her mom would be there in a minute.
Twenty minutes later she shows up and I tell her the quick story and ask for their locker numbers. She rambles off something about the program, getting her computer started up, the often talked about but never seen book and then, I kid you not, says in a huffy tone “I’m sorry you got stuff stolen, but I’m dealing with 40 kids right now.” Kudos to our head custodian who responded with “You wouldn’t feel that way if it were your desk.”
She starts up her computer, spends 2 minutes looking for the book, logs into the program and in less than 10 minutes I’ve got the locker numbers. Whoosh, she’s headed back to those out of control SBOs.
Now, it doesn’t matter that there was nothing of mine in those 2 lockers. What matters is that whatever she was doing with 40 of the most trustworthy students in the building is more important than breaking away for 10 minutes to help me with a serious problem. What matters is that this school has fostered a climate where everyone is afraid to ask her to do her job. What matters is that, even though she has had grievances brought up over this climate before, it is still allowed to continue.
You see it all too often these days. Kids running around stores and restaurants, practically unsupervised. Kid wants something, parent says no, kid screams, cries, makes ruckus, and parent gives in. Now, I’m not saying that good parents don’t have an off day and just give in to save themselves from the building migraine. But all too often, as a teacher, I’ve seen situations not as blatant, but basically the same as the mother that at a team meeting for her son, told us “but Zach doesn’t like being disciplined at home.”
Yesterday I was at the counter at the Chevron when this father and his 6 year old son came up to the counter. The son has a big pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in his hand, kind of clutching them to his chest. Dad tells him to hand them to me and to apologize for taking them without paying for them. The boy hands them to me, and in a very tepid little voice says “I’m sorry”. I’m sure I seemed a little out of it as I thanked him and his father for returning it, since I was a bit busy having a little flashback to 1967.
I was 6 or 7 when my dad caught me with a Matchbox car I had stolen from the local 5 & Dime. I hadn’t even had the chance to get it out of the package, so my dad immediately packed me into the car, drove me back down there and made me go in, return it and apologize for taking it. This little lesson has stuck with me, well, it’s still with me. I’d like to say that I’ve never stolen anything since then, but as we all know the teen years can overcome the best of parenting. But even during my most narcissistic adolescent phase, I still had this big knot in the pit of my stomach anytime I took something that wasn’t mine. It didn’t stop me, but I still had a physical reaction. Which probably explains why my larceny was kept to a minimum, and can say that I have never been arrested for any kind of theft.
After they left, I wondered if I had handled the situation as best I could. Was I too nice, should I have said something more? But remembering back on my experience, I really have no idea what the man at the counter said, or exactly what my father had said for that matter. I vividly remember walking in that door, looking down the counter, on the right, to where the cashier was, and standing there in front of him. I remember being embarrassed as hell that I got caught, and more importantly, that I was being held responsible for my actions.
Our district got a grant to get internet-based phones in every classroom. Plug the phone into the USB port and log onto Microsoft Messenger, and parents will be able to get in touch with me anywhere I go, world-wide.
Except in my classroom during business hours. If I want, I can get phone calls from parents while I’m on vacation in Cancun, but not during my consultation period when I’m at school.
Yup, they set up the system to block incoming calls during our contract hours (7:00 AM to 3:30 PM). Thanks to the few teachers who will abuse the system, and who are probably already doing it with their personal cell phones, we’re given this great piece of technology that is only useful when we’re off the job.
Another case of people who haven’t been in a classroom for over 20 years spending money in places that best serve the students.
The parking situation has been somewhat complicated this winter. Two of the old Fords, and the Subaru, all spent the season open to the elements. This is the problem you get when you have 6 vehicles and only 3 covered parking spots.
Put up a couple of those car-tent things in the back yard, which has been unused and over run with weeds ever since building the garage over 12 years ago. A problem with that is caused by the only access, for vehicles, to that area being through my neighbor’s parking area. Good thing I thought about that when I built the carport on the side of the garage, designing it so that the rear wall was removable (see pictures below), allowing access through it to the back yard.
Another issue is the need to remove a couple trees and some bushes, to make room for the tents and a turn-around area for the cars. I really don’t want to have to back those beasts through the carport.
So I’m putting out the invite to anyone (specifically my two brothers, but all are invited) who wants to help me rip out some trees and bushes. I plan on doing it sometime this summer, hoping to have it all ready so I can have the cars covered for next winter, but as of now I have no specific dates in mind. I also want to, if it’s not too expensive, rent a bobcat to smooth out the slope up and level out the parking area. So, let me know if you are interested in helping, and I’ll try to have it on a day we can all make it.
Here’s the before and after picture of the back of the carport.
I took an online Civic Literacy quiz, scored 84.85% (28/33). The average for the month of May (so far) was 75.6%, so I’m pretty happy with that score. I won’t give you any details about the answers I got wrong, just in case you want to try it yourself, but on 4 of the 5 I got wrong, over 2/3 of the people taking the quiz got wrong also.
Years ago, when I was doing Stage Crew at my first school, every year we had an auditorium rental that made me a lot of money, but somewhat disgusted me. I can’t remember the name of it, but it was for some big dance school that had their annual recital/awards program at our school. We spent from right after school until about 10 PM on Friday setting up, and all day Saturday (like from 6 AM to 11 PM) doing the show and cleaning up. I got paid something like $20 an hour, and other than helping set up and clean up, all I had to do was run out for lunch one time, and check in on my (paid) stage crew kid every hour or so.
The problem with it was that it involved (mostly) girls, starting around 4 years old, all dressed up like Barbie Dolls, makeup, bright red lipstick, doing dances that the teenagers pulled off well, but were kind of creepy when done by 5 year olds. I called it the JonBenét Ramsey Weekend. There were about 500 kids involved, which also meant 500 stage moms. You know all the rumors about stage moms? Well, there is a reason for those rumors; they’re all true. Not for all the moms, but a big chunk of them. Fortunately I spent most of my time in my classroom, the control booth or the Principal’s office, so I could keep contact to a minimum. But despite having a trash can every 10 feet or so, we always ended up with an orchestra pit full of trash we swept down to the front of the auditorium. And not a single year went by that I didn’t find at least one dirty diaper stuffed under one of the seats.
Anyway, there must have been something like that going on at one of the schools nearby, because I saw at least a dozen or so JonBenét-wannabe’s coming into the Chevron tonight. I looked at my co-worker, who has a 3 month old daughter, and asked him if he would ever dress up his daughter like that. I won’t quote his response, but rest assured it ended with “NO”.