Saturday, January 31, 2009

Junior High mentality with High School hormones.

Every school I've taught at the kids have accused me of having a thing for one (or more) of the female teachers on the staff. My first school it was the Spanish teacher, 10 years my junior. My second school it was Paperback Writer. My third school it was either the English teacher that came over from my second school the same year or the History teacher right next door. These were all junior high schools, so I thought it was a junior high thing. Not so much. I moved to the high school right around the corner from the jr high I was teaching at, so now three years later, I have a bunch of the same students I had there, back when they were in 7th grade. They are now Sophmores, and they are still asking me if I'm dating Ms. History Teacher. Ahh, but the plot thickens. This year a history teacher from Paperback Writer's school transferred over to my high school. (It's hard keeping track of all this without the school names, huh? Sorry). Her classroom is right next door to mine, and since we were friends back at the old school, I drop by often to see how she's doing in the new environment. Despite the fact that she is the same age as my oldest niece, the kids are convinced that we have something going. I walk out of her classroom one afternoon and there is a bunch of the boys hanging out at their locker right near by. (Anyone who has met her will know why the boys hang out by her room). They give me this all knowing look, and one of them says something, though I can't remember what. So I look at them and say "Yeah, you're just jealous." Junior High they would have turned red and denied the whole thing. High School they just looked a little humble and agreed. On another day a group of boys and girls were advising me on where I should take her on our date. One girl suggested I take her to the Mayan*, because (and I quote) "You'll have your food and she'll see them guys in Speedos." Um, thanks.
And finally, the most romantic thing I've ever heard in the halls of a public school : "If I were s sponge, I'd soak you up." I think I'll sell that one to Hallmark.
post signature
* The Mayan is a restaurant that has an indoor diving pool, and part of the entertainment includes music, dancing and guys diving into the pool.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Computer Based Testing Uber Alles

What a day! We had a test run of the new Computer Based CRT (end of year) Testing today, and it was an incredibly successful failure. The State changed companies this year, switching to a completely online testing system. Our district person over testing foresaw problems with having the entire state attempting to access the same site at the same time, and talked the State into having a state-wide test of the system. So, today at 9:30 in the morning, every school in the state was supposed to do a test run of the system. Don't know if everyone was on or not, but either way the system crashed. I couldn't even get the kids through the first part of the first test. Since we had expected problems, I had prepped the students for it, and they were incredibly good during the whole thing. After I explained to them that even I was getting kicked out of the system and that they couldn't do anything anyway until I was back in, they just talked for the 20 minutes I was fighting my own login. As I said in the report below, if this had been during the real test, right now instead of writing this very post I'd be up in a padded room wearing a wrap-around jacket.
Here's my entry on the report of the system:
We had problems from the very beginning. I had a couple student's who were not allowed to put in the whole user name - it cut them off at 7 characters.
One recurring error we got was a box with "Network Error" in red. I got:
1@9:35, 5@9:55 and 2@10:05.
I had students kicked out: 2@9:55 and 2@10:00.
Between about 9:40 and 9:55, I didn't log any problems because the proctor (me) kept getting kicked off the system. I got stuck in a loop where the error "Failure (901) connecting to website" would come up, it would give me the option "click to return to login" and then lock up. I'd close the browser and start all over again, just to get the same error. I went through 4 cycles before it logged in correctly - then the student issues started again.
I gave up when, at 10:10 half the class was having trouble even getting the CRT login to work and the 14 students who had it working all at once got this error "Your proctor has stopped the test due to network errors."
The only other thing I can add is that I'm glad this was only a trial run - if it had been the real thing I would have had a stroke. Good thing someone thought of trying this before the real thing - she deserves the next week off.
post signature

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Choices, choices, choices.

I've been coveting this car since it first showed up on about a month ago. It looks a lot like Old Blue, and in fact it is. Same year, same body style, same engine and drivetrain. The only difference is that Old Blue is an LTD and this is a Galaxie. What does that mean? Well, the LTD is just an upscale version of the Galaxie, it's the exact same car except for trim - LTD's have hidden headlights, fake wood inside and usually a vinyl top. That's it. Well, today I officially decided against buying the car. See, it was a choice - add another car to my collection or get new windows for my bedroom and a new back door. Home Depot won this round. I just spent $603.43 on three 24" x 24" windows, a solid wood door and a heavy duty storm door, all for the back of the house. Another car or the house? I think I made the prudent choice. Demmit!

post signature

Tribune Poll >> Cell Phone Ban OK.

There is finally a bill up at the State Legislature that would deal with the problem of phoning/texting while driving, and according to the Salt Lake Tribune this morning, I'm not the only one that thinks it's about time. When asked "Would you support or oppose legislation restricting cell phone use while driving?", 80% of Utahns support the restricting of cell phone use in cars (with a 4.5% margin of error; Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc, Washington D.C.) You should all know my personal opinion by now - I hope the bill passes, even though the article admitted that it has a small chance. Once again showing that the Utah State Legislature truly represents it's constituents.
post signature

Friday, January 23, 2009

Bring it on....

I woke up this morning and had to use a machete to get to the car the air was so thick.  For the last couple of days the news has been telling me that we've had the worst air in the country.  And the LTD's have been sitting ignored in the garage.
So this afternoon when a student told me that it was raining heavily outside, all I could think was "thank God" and "I hope it's enough to clear out this gunk."  Well, it did a so-so job of clearing out the valley, but bigger storms are headed our way.  And I couldn't be happier.  Bring it on.
post signature
(I didn't take the picture, I got it off the internet)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome President Barack Obama!

post signature
Picture courtesy of OBAMACON.ME.  Check it out and make your own. (Thanks to Naptime Nostalgia)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Modern technology destroys mystique....

Ricardo Montalban died a couple of days ago, so over at a friends house last night, a friend that happens to own the entire original Star Trek series, we watched "Space Seed", the episode where he first played Kahn, that power-hungry genetically engineered warrior. We watched it on the big screen TV, one of those that is 4 or 5 feet wide. Huge screen, we could see the pimples on Lt. MacGyver's face (no relation to Richard Dean Anderson). The fight scene down in Engineering was as exciting as ever, but also a little bit eye-opening.
Now, consider that this episode originally aired on February 16, 1967 - which happens to be the male half of The Gearhead's 1st birthday. But also consider that back then the biggest screen it was expected to be viewed on was probably about 19" - diagonally. Small compared to today's preferred viewing screens. So, they must have figured that the star's stunt doubles could be anyone with about the same gender and hair color dressed in the same outfit. Worked in 1967, but in 2009 on a 5 foot screen it was painfully obvious that Rick and Bill didn't do their own stunts. Hell, they didn't even do their own play fighting.
post signature

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Not-So-Smart Car

I usually don't drive the beasts during an inversion, even in '72 "pollution control" meant flooring it for only one block after the light turns green. But today I was looking for some furniture and needed the room. So, I'm out in the BattleCruiser again, driving up 13th East when this guy in a blue Smart Car pulls out in front of me. Good thing I was paying attention, 'cause I wouldn't have even noticed when I ran right over the thing.
Little Platy is no more. I hadn't seen the little lizard guy for a few days, figured he was up under the house gorging on spiders. But, alas, no, I went downstairs last night and found him sprawled out by the water softener. Poor guy, if I'd known what to do to save him, short of driving him down to Moab, I would have. But I'm sure he wouldn't have survived outside in the cold. R.I.P. Platy, you were a good pet for the week I had you.
post signature

Yet another email scam...

Hopefully you all know the "I've got 7 billion dollars I can't get out of my country, send me your bank info and I'll split it with you" scam. Or all the other "send me money, I promise my check, money order, etc. are good" ones.

Well, I just read about a new one. A lady got an email from an old friend she hasn't heard from in a while, saying she was in the hospital and asking to be wired money to help with bills. She was smart enough to ask for the name of the hospital, and got suspicious when the 'friend' got evasive.

It seems the latest is to hack into your email and send these messages out to all your contacts. So beware, just because you know or knew the person, doesn't mean it is actually them. And frankly, if I cared enough about someone to send them money, I'd care enough to call them and let them know first hand that I'd help them any way I could.

post signature


post signature

Friday, January 16, 2009

Workin' at the car wash, yea!

I've been going to those self-serve car washes since, well, before I hit that bicyclist while pulling into one at around 3 AM (in my defense, the cop even commented that the guy was wearing dark clothes and every single reflector on his bike was busted out. And I didn't get a ticked for it). Musta been sometime in the early 80's, 'cause I was driving the Pinto home after getting off work from Free Wheeler.
Anyway, I got the BattleCruiser out and about today because I wanted to pick up some stuff from Home Depot, and stopped at the car wash on the way. I pull into parking lot, and there's this white Subaru Forrester sitting there, blocking about 3 bays, waiting for the first one that opens up. As I pull in he moves over a couple bays, and I pull right behind the car in the first bay, waiting for them to get done, like I've always done. Well, my guy gets done before any of the other ones and I get into the car to pull into the bay. The white Subaru pulls up next to me, the window comes down and this 20-something skater says "Dude, you just snaked my place." Dumbfounded, I just look at him for a second. "Dude, I was in front of you." So, I look at him and go "Uh, no, 'cause then you'd be in the bay right now."
SKATER DUDE: "I was waitin' right over there (pointing to where he was when I pulled into the parking lot) and you just snaked ahead of me."
ME : "No, you'd pulled up over there (pointing to a spot on the other side of my bay, where he had his back to the bay), I figured you'd gone to another bay."
SKATER DUDE : "Man, I wuz here first."
ME: "I'll move, but you're not supposed to just come in here and hover over all the bays waiting for one to open up." I cranked up the car, backed up, threw it into 1st, goosed it and slammed his little Subaru into next week.
Ok, the slamming his car into next week didn't happen, but I thought about it. But then I pictured the headline "Irate Teacher Pulls 'Fried Green Tomatoes' Move, Spends Night In Jail".
post signature

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Do they put tamper-proof seals on insect poison?  To keep people from  contaminating it with Diet Coke?
post signature

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ummm, duh!

So I'm all ready for the final semester of my Master's degree.  I've got my backpack and I head up to the U for class yesterday.  I get there and park in the usual place, and start to feel a little uneasy because the parking lot is kind of empty.  Not completely, but just a lot less than I'm used to.  My uneasyness is releived when another student from my cohort pulls in and we walk to class together.  It's almost 5:00, when class is supposed to start, and the two of us are getting a little concerned, so the other student calls her friend and leaves a massage questioning whether or not class starts this week.  Standing there, wonderning how long we're going to wait, and a third student shows up, so we relax, assured that certainly 3 of us can't be wrong.  Yeah, right.  A couple of minutes later the friend calls back, just to inform us that we were a week early.
Well, I put the blame squarely on my friend and fellow student, because if she wasn't going to be gone next week (the first week of school), I wouldn't have been expecting to be going up to school alone the first day.   I would have e-mailed her confirming our meeting at Trax, and she would have, in a nice sarcastic way, let me know that maybe I should have checked the schedule because I was a week off.
Just kidding, my friend.  But I do have to admit that this would not have been the first time I've relied on her to keep me on schedule.  If I paid her a buck for everytime she reminded me of when something was due over the last 2 years, she'd be able to afford that trip to Paris.
post signature

Monday, January 05, 2009

Leapin' Lizards, Batman.

First day back at school went pretty well, it's kind of nice to see everyone again.  Just that after 2 weeks of sleeping in 'till noon, 5:30 in the morning is gruesome.  I did get a good laugh when I walked into the counseling center just in time to hear the one male S.B.O. say "and I'm wearing women's clothing."  Before I can say anything he looks at me and says "You always come in at the wrong time.", and I just walk away before I hear any more about his antics over the break.  (I found out later he was talking about a skit he's doing for the school dance at the end of the week.)
A couple of days ago I went down into the basement to get something out of the freezer and there, standing in the middle of the floor, is this little guy (see picture below).  Now, I've seen his kin out in the wilds of Duchesne all the time up at the property, but I've never seen an urban one.  How he got in the basement I have no idea, same for what he's been eating or doing down there for at least the 3 days I've known him.  I also have no idea what to do with him, other than leave him alone.  It's a little cold to set him free in the back yard, at least I think so.  So, until I know better, I've got a new pet.  I think I'll name him Platyrhinos.
post signature

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Snow today, sunshine tomorrow.

This is one of the reasons I stay in Utah - winters.  I know people from South America and the South Pacific that think our winters are harsh, and compared to those places I can see why.  But having moved from the Boston area, to me it's mild.
We had about 4 inches of snow last night and in a not very uncommon pattern, the sun came out strong today.  The storm scoured out the valley so it's bright and clear.  And even though the temprature is hovering right near freezing, the snow and ice is melting off the sidewalks, and even my front deck.  Except for two lines along where the shadow of the railing hit the deck.  Which is why I have so much trouble on the driveway right between my house and the neighbors, it's perpetually shaded so it never melts.  Hurrah once again for the Subaru, it deals with it so I don't have to.
post signature

Thursday, January 01, 2009

So, it's 2009 now.

Feels just like 2008.

post signature

Welcome to 2009

post signature