Friday, May 29, 2009

Big honkin' bugs...

I'm not a big fan of bugs. Especially when they get into my house, or in this case, stuck in the screen porch.
This is the first summer since I built the entry way out the back door, and it seems to be a bug trap. Big, noisy, bumble bees. You know, the ones that could feed a family of 4. They get in there, and then into the screen porch, and then can't figure out how to escape. There's already been a couple times that I had to avoid the porch and wait out the bee until it found it's way out. Another especially stupid one met the vacuum. Well, today it was me that got caught in the porch.
The porch is screened in, and has only one way out - through the entry way. I was sitting out there when mega-bee comes out of nowhere and starts bonking itself on the storm door (from entry to outside) trying to get out. I swear I thought it was going to break the glass. Not wanting a really pissed off bee to make it's way into the screen porch, I closed the screen door between the porch and the entry. Good, it can't get me. But, unless I want to share a 4' x 4' room with a maniac bee zipping around the space, I have no way out. And, I can't even open the storm door to let it out. I guess I could just sleep out there and wait until the thing gets exhausted and dies. But, being captive in my own home kicks in the claustrophobia.
So I think: Ok, I can either face the frantic stinging bug, or cut the screen and climb out. Spend an hour tomorrow fixing the screen or spend a few seconds with the bee. Guess which one I chose?
At least I have some spare screen in the garage.
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Monday, May 25, 2009

What the ........?

Page One of one of the best newspapers Utah has to offer (the Salt Lake Tribune):
"Quality of Utah meth takes a hit"
Sounds like something we should be embarassed about - that we no longer produce world class methamphetamine here in Utah.  Bummer. 
"Why Jake, don't you remember the good ol' days when Utah meth was better'n anywhere?"
"Yup Merle, I've gotsta go all the way ta Californee to get good meth these days."
According to the article just a few years ago Utahns had enough pride to produce meth that was 90% pure, now you see stuff that is as low as 30% pure.  Frank Smith, at the DEA in SLC says, "It's more difficult to find methamphetamines in Utah right now than it's ever been."  Again, the quote the way it is sounds like something we shouldn't be happy about.  Having read the whole article, a headline that would have better  summed it up could have been:
"Rise in crime due to lower strength meth"
or maybe:
"Meth so weak, it's hard to prosecute"
I don't know.  Maybe it's me, but that title just doesn't seem to go with the subject.
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Funny Stuff from eMails

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


Dateline: Sesame Street:  Last night Kermit the Frog died from the Swine Flu.  Sources close to him report that his last words were "That damn pig told me she was clean!"
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Friday, May 22, 2009

Big bowl of Name Drop Soup.

.... Everybody who has heard of Ken Garff's Keys to Success program, raise their hands. Ok, those of you who don't, read the first comment on this post so you'll be up to date. Go ahead. Yeah, go ahead, we'll wait.
....Back already? Ok, today was the Key-Off for the smaller high schools. One of our counselors and I drove the two students from our school down there for the Channel 2 News spot. One of them had already won a $500 scholarship and the other was going to get to try a key to win the car (2004 Dodge Stratus - little bland but a really nice first car for a teen).
....We got there about 10:50 and waited around the lobby for 20 minutes or so, until the Ken Garff people led us all into the room where they do the cooking spots. There we waited even longer, got briefed on what was going to happen and were fed lunch.
....While we were waiting for lunch I went off into the corner where the kitchen was and started looking around, looked at the camera, said something about how now we'll check on our finished product and opened up the oven (nothing but a dirty pan in there). When I was going through the freezer I said something about getting hungry and maybe I'll just microwave this Lean Cuisine Shrimp Scampi here. Right about this time some guy came through the door from the newsroom, so I quickly covered my butt with "ahh, I wouldn't deprive these hardworking newscasters of their lunch." The guy came back with "That's got to be Rod Decker's, go ahead and eat it." We laughed.
....Finally around noon we went outside and they told us where to stand for the little teaser. About 10 past they introduced the Keys for Success program and talked to the students that were awarded the scholarships. The girl from my school, who speaks little English, didn't really want to talk on camera, so guess who Casey went to first? Yeah. She did great. Then we sat around for another half hour until it was time for the teaser for the second segment - the starting of the car.
....Name drop #1: During that half hour they interviewed the comedian Sinbad, who is in town doing a few concerts. He was even in the first segment, so I figured I go over, thanks him and be able to say I met him. when i went over he was talking to a group from the Army, which had helped raise funds for the program. Unfortunatley he was particularly interested in the one female in the group, took 10 minutes to even acknowledge I was there, said thanks and turned away to rekindle the conversation with the Army lady. Thanks, dude.
....Name Drop #2: Druing this same half hour I got to talk to Dan, Dan, the Laptop Man - the guy from those really annoying P.C. Laptops TV commercials. He was actually a really nice guy. We talked for about 5 minutes about his commercial with his daughter (she thought up the concept) and about the Funriture Warehouse Road Redwood commercials. Now I have to rethink my determination never to go to his stores because of the annoying commercials.
....Numero 3: Right after that Debbie Worthen, the Channel 2 morning weather person, came walking around the corner and I decided to say HI to her. She was really nice too, despite the fact that I started the conversation with "I wake up every morning to you." Yes, I did. Despite that, we had a great conversation and she even remembered the picture I sent in with my friend Adele on the hood of my convertible up at a ski resort in the middle of winter. (LINK)
....4th and last: Not too long after that Mary Nichols, the morning news anchor, came by and I said HI to her too. And, yes, I said something stupid here too. After saying Hi, telling her I watched her newscast every morning and her sweet response, I said..uh, well, yea, I said "Yup, every morning a cup of coffee and Mary wakes me up." I'm not making this up. Anyway, my demeanor must have not been very stalkeresque, because afterwards they agreed, and even seemed willing, to have their picture taken with me.
....Finally came the final segment. They had the finalists from the 7 small schools lined up at the front of the car and Casey called out to the audience for a number between 1 and 7. They went for 4. The student from Granite Peaks went first, got his key, sat in the car and turned the key. Nothing. Good, that meant my student now had a 1 in 6 chance. I can't remember the next number, or what school they were from, but they too didn't get the key to turn. The third one was a student from Horizonte, she got her key, sat in the car, turned the key and all hell broke loose. Well, except for her. She didn't realize she had won the car until she noticed her mother jumping up and down and screaming and everything else. The student from my school was a little bummed that she didn't win the car, but she did walk away with a brand new laptop from Dan, Dan the Laptop Man.
....All in all, it was a great afternoon.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Gli avvoltoi stanno circondando.

The vultures are circling.  Have you ever been part of a school closing down?  Not one that moves from one building to another, but one that is going to cease to exist.  It's an interesting experience.  Three weeks to go and different departments are already going through the building looking for what they can take.  People want the pictures off our Hall of Fame.  Other schools already want the art work hanging in our halls.  They want to know who gets the seal in the middle of the front hall.
   I got an email from the district department that supplies our teacher and lab computers.  They're sending pallets for me to load all the computers onto.  They wanted me to start as soon as we get done with the end of the year CRT tests - this week.  I sent an email back saying that our teachers were planning on using the computers up into the last week.  They deferred until the end of school.  When I told the principal about this she said that things had gotten so bad in the office that she had requested a postition from the Superintendency.  She got an official letter now that she can show stating that we are still a fully functioning school and that nothing will be taken from the school until the school year is officially over.  
   Frankly, I'm surprised that I was even the slightest bit surprised that educators would need to be told that.
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dusty Springfield hits home.

Well, I'm not the only one in the family that got a Master's Degree this year. My older brother's wife graduated with a Master's in Divinity from the Salt Lake Theological Seminary today. It's been a long haul for her too, and it's cool to be having the two of us get a degree at the same time. Congratulations! (And congrats on the A+ on the paper too!)

So, I have another preacher in the family. Which brought on a post by Naptime Nostalgia that made me laugh. (In case you were not aware, Naptime Nostalgia is my nephew's wife) Click on the picture if you want to see her post, and make sense of the title.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Um, thanks. I think.

I'm hanging out in the Foods teacher's room and she's talking about how some students stole some drinks, peanutbutter and lasagna noodles out of her classroom the other day.  I said something about how they probably were planning to make a peanutbutter lasagne.  One thing led to another and the conversation ended up with me promising to eat some peanutbutter, chocolate and marshmallow lasagna if they would just make it in class sometime.  At that deal, Liz (the "0" in 10 if you've been following my blog) looks at me and announces "That earns you a fat kid black belt."  And the next period they made me one out of duct tape (the belt, not the lasagna).  
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Thursday, May 14, 2009


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bad day gone good...

I have two brothers in my 3A period, the one from hell mentioned in my last post.  OB (older brother) is in 10th grade and YB (younger brother) is in 9th.  OB wasn't in class yesterday for the mess and this morning he apologized for, um, choosing to miss that day.  Seems YB ripped him a new one for not being there.  "Why?" I asked.  As the story goes, YB knew that OB would have kept the thieving little b...... from, as YB put it, disrespecting me by stealing from me.  Now the irony here is that neither one of them was willing to even confirm the name of the thief, let alone turn him in.  As a matter of fact, only two students were willing to name names, one of them was the student caught with the soda.  This is a definite high school dichotomy, wanting to prevent the theft but not willing to turn on a fellow student.  Unless my memory has failed me over the last 3 years, I remember it being a lot different in jr. high.  In a 9th grade class I would have had at least 3 or 4 students willingly name the student (after everyone was long gone, like after school).  8th grade would have a fourth to 3 fourths of the class naming the student, depending on how popular the particular student was, and of course after school or sometime when it couldn't be linked back to them.  7th grade, on the other hand, I would have had half the class tell me even before the period was over.  I exaggerate a little bit, but you get the idea.
Anyhoo, I've got a lock on the fridge now, and at least I know, in their own subtle ways, these kids are going to let thief-boy know it ain't appreciated.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3rd Period from Hell

9th graders, gotta love them.  My 3A class has always been one of the harder ones, it's a mix of all 4 grades, but heavy on the 9th graders.  Like usual, they were talking all through the starter, when I'm trying to take roll and get it entered into the computer.  Three times I had to interrupt the process and stop some student from doing something they knew they shouldn't be doing.  Three times I had to start over because I lost my place and wanted to make sure attendance was accurate.  Then some schmuck interrupts me with "why does it take you so long to take roll?"  My nerves are a little frayed, this is proving to be one of the most complicated and trying end of the years I've had since, well, even my first year wasn't so bad.  At least that year I was looking forward to the end.  This year, as frustrating as it is, I find myself wishing the end would never come.  Well, ok, only some of the time.  It fluctuates between that and wishing tomorrow was the last day.  Well, they got a 5 minute lecture on how I get the roll done in no time in all my other classes, and that it's their behavior that makes me take so long.  I probably was a little harsher that I needed to be, (no, I didn't call them names or swear), but I did get class started right after that.
About half way through the class I'm in back helping a student on their assignment and when I head back to the front of the room I notice one of the 9th graders receive something from another student and immediately hide is between him and the wall.  This, of course, got my curiosity up.  So I asked him about it.  Yes, I got the innocent routine, and he kept it up even to the point of being hauled down to the vice principal's office.  As soon as he got up to follow me down to the office I turned around and looked to see if he had passed it to the student behind him.  He hadn't.  It was sitting there right under his seat.  One of my diet Cokes.  From in my fridge.  Now, anyone who has worked with me knows that I can tolerate a lot of crap in my classroom, but one of the things that hits a nerve (and my nerves are already frayed) is having stuff stolen from me.  Just bugs me.  Probably because when I was 5 or 6 my dad hauled me down to the Five & Dime and made me walk in, return the Matchbox car I had stolen and apologize to the store clerk.
Immediately he starts in with this story about him finding the soda rolling across the room, and that he didn't steal it.  I told him that I beleived he didn't steal it, but that I didn't beleive the rolling across the floor story and that I was sure he knew had actually stolen it.  I asked him who really stole it, he still claimed the finding it on the floor story, so I gave him a little lecture about receiving stolen goods and brought him down to the office.  Turns out, surprisingly, he knew who had taken it out of my fridge.
So, now I'm off to get a lock for my fridge.  I don't count my sodas all the time, so even though I know of one other time soda was stolen out of it, I can't say they were the only two instances.
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Saturday, May 09, 2009

A little visitor

Cats are fun.  Not only do they keep the mice out of the house, but every now and again they bring you a little present.  One that's alive.  That's what Gata brought me this morning, right over to the computer and then let him (or her, I didn't check) go.  I tried to get it to go out the door, but that's one of the problems with nine and a half foot ceilings, the door tops are at leat a foot below the birds flying altitude.  I tried for a half hour, even turned on the ceiling fan so it would have less places to land.  That didn't work, I finally turned it off because the bird just kept flying around and around and I thought it was going to die of exhaustion.  So I just propped the front door open and went about my business.  A couple hours  later when I checked, it was nowhere to be found.  Either it found it's way outside or hid behind the cabinets and is still there.  I'll know in a week or so if I start to smell something rank in here.  Ah well, c'est la vie.
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A decade of internet presence.

Today is the 10 year anniversary of  My older brother and I went to a Baptist Church sometime back in February and he made a comment about being on the internet for close to a decade.  He remembered because he, his wife and their youngest daughter moved to England in early 2000, and (as he put it) my website was their lifeline back to the family.  It hadn't even occured to me before that, but he got my curiosity up.  That evening I looked through my old CD archives and found what appears to be my first web page (insert link here).  Pretty simple stuff, but at the time I was working with dial-up internet and paying for a server, so I had very little space and any changes took a long time to upload.  By 2000 when they moved to England, it had developed into a rudimentary blog format.  There was no comment function for readers, but it had become an online journal of my life. 
So, here's to all of you who have been dropping by for the last decade and to my faithful followers who joined in a little more recently.  Hope to see ya around for another decade (or two).
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Friday, May 08, 2009

I'm done!

It's official, I now have my Master's degree.  Went up around 12:30, had to park at Rice Stadium and walk across campus to Kingsbury Hall.  Met at the stairs with a bunch of the other people in my cohort to get pictures (I didn't bring my camera so I'm hoping I can get copies from them).  I saw my two brothers and their wives as I walked in, my older brother yelled my nickname (Slim).  My sister and her husband were there also, although I didn't see them and didn't find out they were there until later.  But it's great knowing they were all there for me.  Love you guys!  My dad's a professor there, in the Math department not the Education department, but since he's working closely these days with the Education department they invited him to sit up on stage and hand me my diploma.  That was kind of cool, having my father hug me in front of everyone as he gave me the diploma case.  (Diploma comes in the mail later).  Me, Jo and Lani all sat together through the whole thing, which was really nice since Lani's family gave her several candy lei's so we had munchies throughout the ceremony.  But mostly since we had helped and encouraged each other over the last 2 years, it was nice to be right there with them for the ceremony.
Anyway, it's over.  My dad asked me if I was going to go for a PhD.  I told him that since there was 16 years between my Bachelor's and my Master's, I had at least a decade to decide.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What a day.

It started out with a dozen seniors crying on the front steps.  Talk of all kinds of retaliation and/or protest.  And my first day of CRTs was today.  "Hey, we're closing down the school you love, but would ya still do your best for me on that Math test?"  Well the testing actually went pretty well all things considered.  I gave them the old "don't prove them right by screwing up the test" and "I want you to do so good I can rub their noses in it!"  pep speech.  I don't know how much it helped, but most of them seemed to be trying their best.  Then the principal calls all the teachers to a meeting in the conference room to let us know where we were picked up.  So, now I know where I'm going next year, and I'm not going to tell you.
Yeah, you know me better than that.  
I had 3 schools circled on the map that I would be happy to go to.  All others were questionable at best, hit-the-summer-transfer-list-immediately at worst.  I got picked up by one of the schools I had circled, by a principal that I had worked with before and enjoyed working with very much, and at the school I student taught at long ago.  It's not the closest one to my house, but it is an easy(ish) drive from my house.  Oh, did I mention it's a Junior High?  Yeah, back in the Jr. High.  But you know what? All 3 of the schools I circled were Jr. Highs.  I have enjoyed working at the High School, but I had never ruled out returning to the Jr High sometime in my career.
So, I go out to my new school to say HI to the principal, and she said that's good because she wasn't sure whether I want to teach 8th grade or 9th grade.  She penciled me in for the 8th grade, because she thought (correctly) that that is where I would prefer to be.  Cool.  She's also going to see if she can get me one of the few, very few, classrooms with windows there.  
So, right now I'm on a little bit of an "up", because I had feared a lot worse as to where I'd end up.  Of course, then the reality of them closing a school I have really loved working at will sink in.  But at least I know.  And at least I know it's somewhere I'll like being.
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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Too numb to feel anything right now.

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This is it.

All that's left to do is sit around the house and wait for the 10:00 news and see if my school is closed or not.  I've been to the last 2 Board Meetings, so I think I'll skip this one.  Since there's nothing more to say or do but watch the vote, I figure there's no sense in going.  Plus they are booooooring!
And because I hate posts without pictures, here is one of me close to the end of my senior year.  Can you guess where I am and what kind of car I'm standing next to?
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Monday, May 04, 2009

Good news and an old picture

First the good news.  Most of the faculty meeting today was spent on what will happen to us if the school is closed down.  Like I said before, I'll go on the surplus list and take the position of whatever school picks me up. I had thought I'd be stuck there for at least next year, but my principal told us today that is not necessarily the case.  Every Friday for the next 4 weeks new postings will come out, and we will be free to apply and interview for any of those positions.  We are not obligated to stay where we are assigned, that is just the only position that we are guaranteed.  Then, if I don't get my choice over the next 4 weeks, I can put myself on the summer transfer list, and as positions come up throughout the summer, principals will see my name on the list and can call me for an interview.  Since every position I've had has been a summer opening, this is very good news.  Good thing I have already updated my resume!
The picture is of my original garage, the one that was here when I bought the house.  It must have been built in the 40's, or before, and I never parked in it because the shingles were so bad you could see through the roof. I just knew that it would collapse one winter.  Which it did.  But instead of just collapsing, it fell forward, right onto the hood of my car.  The car I purposely parked outside of the garage so it wouldn't get damaged. Yeah, so much for that idea.
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Saturday, May 02, 2009

Snooze, you lose.

Yeah, but I snoozed anyway.  Woke up around 8 this morning.  Watched an episode of SG1 on DVD.  Got the paper.  Watched another episode.  Started a pot of coffee, the last of the coffee in the house.  More SG1.  Drank some coffee.  You probably get the jist of my day by now.  Finally got out of bed for real at 2:30.  Then soaked in the tub for half an hour.  Yeah, nice.  It's been a while since I've had a day like that, needed it.  

Oh, and thanks for all the congrats, you folks out there in the blogosphere are great!

And finally, since my last few posts have been pictureless - here's one from when I ran the stage crew at my first school.  I think it was the last year I was there.

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