Thursday, February 25, 2010

You Know That Thing I Hope Everyone Else Does...

You know that thing I hope everyone else does, where you are thinking back to your younger years and of people you hadn't thought of in a long time--maybe even people you cared deeply for at the time, but somehow lost touch with... and then you decide to Google them and see if you can find out what had happened in their lives in the intervening 25 years or so...

You know that thing, right? I'm not the only one who does that, right?

Just humor me. I'm feeling all fragile and stuff now.

So I just spent some time doing that, and found a lead on someone who really meant a lot to be back in the day... and if the person I found on facebook is the same person (hard to really tell from the picture, as it is from a much more recent time than 25 years ago), it's a bit heartbreaking because this person seems to have changed a lot.

I don't mean the looks... I mean judging by the things under "I'm a fan of..."

Anyway, as if I haven't had enough lessons about not digging in the past...

In other news, I think I've booked my weekends until Spring Break! This would be good news if I ran some sort of business that involved booking events or jobs or whatever. I mean, it's not really a bad thing, it's just I'm a person who enjoys an open schedule.

You know, maybe I could kill some time one day and do a Venn diagram of the me from now and the me from 25 years ago. I wonder what would overlap? I wonder if I can even channel the me from 25 years ago...

Whatever. I think I'm going to bed. It's not that you aren't all swell people and all. It's just that I'm tired.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nothing Lasts Forever!

I finally missed a day of posting on here! If you knew about my late evening last night, you'd forgive me. However, we'd have to be hanging out somewhere alone, with a couple of beers (or boxes of chocolate, or hours of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes, or whatever it is that works for you) under our belts before I'd delve into the details very much.

Suffice it to say, I thought the night was going to end much earlier than it did. No, really, I demand that you suffice it. Suffice, already! SUFFIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICE!

I have no idea what that was about, but it did lead to my looking up "suffice" at

But it has reminded me of another issue I had with language recently...

For some reason, the kids asked me the difference between two words. If I could remember the words, I could remember the reason. At any rate, I e-mailed our C.A. teacher to ask her the difference between "past of..." and "past participle of...", and she was going to send me a link that would fix me up, but her life was busy. Apparently she teaches during the day or something.

Anyway, anybody want to fix me up with an answer, I'd appreciate it! Now I just wish I could remember what the two words were... one was the "past of..." and the other was the "past participle of..."

And I just remembered: swam (past of swim) and swum (past participle of swim). The word "swum" appeared in a word problem, and someone raised his or her hand to say, "I thought 'swum' wasn't a word."

Idiot that I am, I looked it up.

Now I'm going to go do some research on my own. I know I should know what "past participle" means, and it's making me crazy that I don't.

As I read over this, I realize the world was probably thankful that I missed a day...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

May This Be The Last Snow Day Of The School Year...

Today was a snow day. It's been a long day for me, considering I didn't have to go in to work.

First, Bowman called at 5:22 to let me know school was closed. The problem is, I'm supposed to call Bowman. He was calling UP the tree instead of down it. Actually, it's not a problem, as I appreciate knowing as soon as possible--but the problem comes from the fact I have to either wait for the two other calls (the one from the person above me on the phone tree, and the one from the automated system the district uses) or be jolted awake by the phone.

I prefer to wait up, because I can say all kinds of crazy stuff to that automated voice, and she doesn't mind at all.

Anyway, I was waiting, and got wrapped up in Zuma's Revenge. Things were looking pretty bleak, with one life to spare at level 52, but somehow I made it past level 55...

Sorry, side note: It's 12:10 a.m., and I can hear someone whistling. If I don't show up at work tomorrow I've either gone ahead and had the rest of the stroke or brain freakout that has started with hearing this whistle, or I've been killed by The Whistling Killer.

Back to Zuma's Revenge: I made it past level 55, and that's exciting news (for me, anyway), because I'd been starting at level 51 for the past kerjillion times I played the game.

By the time the game was over, I felt it would be more responsible of me to start getting the grad school work wrapped up--as it was due at midnight.

So I started working on it. It's very frustrating, as anyone who sees my status updates on facebook or reads this blog must know. What I didn't already know, I don't have time to use in the classroom. However, I was being good and working hard, and I made the mistake of sitting in a reclining seat to read some of the textbook.

I feel asleep with this huge book on my face, my hand trapped between the book and my forehead, and my right arm being nearly punctured by some sharp corner on the chair.

And I slept for over and hour like that.

So my neck feels great.

I tried to get back on track when I woke up, and did a pretty good job, except I had to run to the bank, then the Evil Empire... and then another Evil Empire because the one closest to me is under construction and has absolutely nothing in stock. Upon returning home, I did some more grad school work, and then ordered a computer online.

Apparently Best Buy had it in stock, so I went to pick it up and run it to Ruth's place (where Dane will be living in just a few more days), so that Dane will have a more reliable computer.

Upon returning back home, I again worked on grad school stuff... pretty much until midnight, when I posted my final response to someone else's posting.

Now that I type it, it seems like I did nothing today.

Oh well. It was a snow day. I'm allowed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

How Much Do I Hate Being Cut?

A lot.

Being cut is one of my big fears... or crazy-making-things. The other is zombies.

Luckily, we live in a world where cuts are far more likely (I say "luckily", but really, using movies as my major source of information, I think even I could outrun most zombies... but there's that whole "never giving up" thing they do, and I know I'd need to rest).

So tonight I was cleaning up the kitchen because... well, it needed it, mostly. I was doing great. I was looking for that brown plastic square thing designed to clean the pizza stone. While I was blindly feeling around in the drawer where most items like that are kept, I failed to remember I bought a great bread knife a short while back.

Apparently, it also works well on fingertips.

So now my nice clean kitchen looks like a bloodbath.

Not really, but there was more blood than I care to deal with.

As I stood there, applying pressure and trying to work my way from the base of my brain to my frontal lobe, I realized there was almost no chance I had a Band-Aid in the house. Any Band-Aids I had prior to the move would have been in the bathroom, and there was nothing salvageable in that bathroom after the fire.

I did run the past ten months through my mind, in case I had forgotten buying Band-Aids, but my quick-replay just made me more sure I was a man without Band-Aids.

But I checked anyway.

Once I was sure there were no adhesive bandage strips to be found, I realized I would have to go to get some. By now the pressure I'd applied seemed to have stopped the bleeding, but I knew I'd be brushing this finger again an again as I reached in my pocket, put on my jacket, put on my shoes, etc., that I had to go.

And, because of all those things I just mentioned needing to avoid until I got a Band-Aid, this meant I went with no coat in my slippers, and I had to do a funny sort of dance-thing to get my keys out of my left pocket with my right hand.

On the up side, I am now stocked up on bandages. I didn't debate the issue long, as I now had recent experience with needing a Band-Aid and not having any. I got several varieties, and some Neosporin. I was looking for those little scissors you can use to cut off dead skin, because I think that's going to be an issue later, but decided it was something I didn't want to think about at that moment.

So, here I am, typing away with a finger-band-aid covering the slice in question.

At least it was just an innocent knife in a drawer (an innocent knife that has been cleaned and put in the drawer where I keep the other knives, by the way), and not a zombie wielding a knife.

Grad School Avoidance

If I get through this current class, it will only be through some sort of miracle... like me hunkering down and just gettin' 'er done.

Words cannot describe how "well-duh"-ish this ed psych stuff is. I mean, yes, very important if I'm Joe Undergrad, or Joe Grad-But-Never-Set-Foot-In-A-Classroom, but really, I'm just learning the names for stuff I already know... and I'm not interested in knowing the names... this isn't some mystical/mythical land where knowing the name of something gives me actual power over it.

"Oh, so THAT'S why I'll never have kids who are prepared for what I am here to teach. I feel so much more powerful knowing there's a name for it."


And, as I've already mentioned, this cite, cite, cite, crap is killing me. Even if I try to write my responses and then go find citations to back it up, I spend the whole time making sure I don't say that much while seeming like I'm saying something, just because I don't have the whole day every day to go look up crap.

So I do what I can, then take breaks. It makes for long days and long nights of work/break/play/work/play/break/work/nap/play/work/play...

Because it really does wear my brain out.

The class on teaching integers? Loved it.

The class on teaching functions? Loved it.

The class on teaching rational numbers? Loved it.

And the common thread in those classes... okay, one of the two major common threads, with the first being those are specific to the content area I teach, is I am learning stuff I can actually use the very next day in class.

"Kids, I get why your social relations are much more important than what I have to tell you because of (Whoop D. Doodle, 1997), and that I need to make sure you get plenty of practice, because of (Blahdy Blah, 2005)..."

No, not working for me.

Anyway, feel free to post a "You can do it!" or "Hunker down, Mark!" or even an annoying "Get 'er done!"

This, too, shall pass.

The only way out is through.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.

Friday, February 19, 2010

On A Wonderful Day Like Today

Yowza, was this day just a load of fun!

First, I was stupid and made plans. This is never a good plan. The best plan is to make no plan, which I suppose is some sort of paradox or at least a paranursepractitioners.

Anyway, my big plan was to run my car to get the wheel looked at (pothole-related issues) and the oil changed and whatever else needing changed changed during my plan time. The plan was to ask someone to follow me and give me a ride right back to school, then worry about picking it up later.

Smaller plans included having the kids take what I thought would be a 15-20 minutes pop quiz of sorts, then have them look over their most recent tests while I quickly graded the quizzes and talked to the kids who just weren't getting it.

Problem 1: Apparently 48 minutes was not enough time to finish the quiz question--a good sign that most of them aren't getting it, eh? There were about four kids who were able to turn in a finished project before class ended. The good news: at least I know we need to spend some more time making tables and graphs...

Problem 2: The grade book program decided to go crazy when I had one more student's test score to put in (about five kids were absent when we took the test yesterday, but they all showed up today, so I'd been entering their test scores and printing new progress reports as I went along. I'd told this young lady I'd have her progress report in homeroom at the end of the day. So I spent the first part of my plan time fighting the computer.


So the car didn't get taken in until after school, and the place is actually on my walk route, so it made no sense to hang out there for 90 minutes when I could walk home and hang out there. So check it out: extra walking!

Problem: very cold, and also wet and crazy.

Speaking of cold and wet and crazy: during fifth hour we had the craziest snow going on outside. The kids were working on the quiz, and I'd gone to my desk to do something, and found myself staring out the window and thinking of how peaceful it was to just watch snow falling. I know a lot of people around here are sick of winter, but I love a beautiful snowfall.

Anyway, apparently my staring out the window attracted the attention of some of the kids, and minutes passed without anyone getting much done. Figuring they were already distracted, I opened the window to get some pictures. I did this again when the snowflakes became these gigantic chicken-feather looking things...

Now it is officially the weekend. I have things to do, so I wanted to get this out before it go too late... as if 9:12 isn't late.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Insider Information

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret: From the insider perspective, the school year is almost over.

Oh, it seems like there's lots of time, I know, but the second semester--traditionally the longer of the two semesters in the district in which I work--is like that one thingy at the Winter Olympics where you ride in a sled real fast down what looks like a frozen water slide.

Oops, my lack of interest in the Olympics is showing...

But it is, no lie. About the time you get your classes back into the swing of things, it's time for the mid-quarter progress reports, which means Spring Break is just few weeks away, and after that it's a couple of weeks to MAP testing, and after that the days just roll by.

Now is about the time my inner panic starts to rear its ugly head. "Where did all the time go," I wonder. "How can I get these kids prepared for the MAP test, eighth grade, high school, and life? I only have so much time!"

No worries, however, my inner "shut up and sit down, panic" kicked in at least a couple of years back.

The up side is this year I feel less like I'm just running triage than any other year. That's a good thing. I feel like things have gotten to a good place where I can get some people caught up. I'm probably deluding myself, but it's a nice feeling, anyway.

So, yes, it's still Winter. Yes, the end of May is so far away.

But it's not.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scene From A Crazy School Day

Yesterday in my seminar class, I had a group of four or five students gathered around my desk while the twenty other students in the class were working at different "stations". The crowd around my desk were having their conference day with me.

The young man directly in front of my desk, whose code name shall be "Ronnie" needed to three-hole-punch something, and I thought he referred to my three-hole-punch as "Dorothy."

I was taken aback, as Mr. Malia called his three-hole-punch "Dorothy" back when I was in high school, and--even though for that very reason I had named my three-hole-punch the same thing--I didn't recall telling my students I'd given it that name, or at least not this year. So I turned back to "Ronnie" and said, "Did you just call my three-hole-punch 'Dorothy'?"

"Ronnie" looked at me as if I had gone insane (or more so), and told me he hadn't. I looked at the other students and asked if anyone else heard someone say "Dorothy". Another student, who we shall call "Jesse", said, "I thought I heard him say 'Dorothy,' too."

So I turned back and said, "Did you call it 'Dorothy?' Have I told you guys that's the name I gave it?"

At which point "Jesse" said, "Now's the point where the screen goes black and "LOST" appears on the screen..."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Twenty-five years ago today, I worked a shift at McDonald's. I don't remember a lot of details about the shift, although I believe I got off early.

I remember that part, because I considered for a brief moment going to see Dad at the hospital. I can't emphasize enough how brief that moment was.

It seems to me someone from the family stopped by the store to let me know they were going to see him that day. It seems to me they were trying to give me a subtle hint to go see him.

But that may be the revisionist history part of my brain at work.

The last time I saw Dad alive was the day he went to the hospital. I won't bore you with the details (too late), and not just because many people had done the angry young man thing before me, and many have done it since, and most of them did it way better than me.

Short version: I honestly felt I felt nothing for the man.

I was driving down what I think is called Public Street in Center, but my mental name for it is "the-main-drag-that-isn't-Highway-19". I looked up and saw Wade flagging me down not far from the grocery store. I slowed down and rolled down the window. He walked up to my door and said, "Dad died."

I don't remember my response. I imagine it was a stupid question of the sort that always gets asked at these times. I just remember going home, not knowing what to do... not understanding why I felt anything. Mostly I was just being an 18-year-old going a little crazy, if you get what I'm saying.

After about five minutes (or maybe several hours) of trying to figure out what was wrong with me that I should have actual feelings for this man I'd resented for years for his terrible sin of being so much older than everyone else's father, I had to get out.

I headed to New London to my "other" parents (I've had so many sets of parents, and--not counting Say--I'd guess Les & Paulette were set number 4... Mom and Dad being 1, Mike & Judy Couch being 2, Tom & Toni Vanskike being 3...) and had a bit of a freak out, trying to figure out why I felt anything at all.

Yes, folks, loving me is the same as signing up for the occasional freakshow...

I remember eventually heading back home. Then all the stupid rituals were going full force: people bringing over food, seeing people I hadn't seen in years or even knew were still among the living (I didn't know my aunt Lois' first husband was still alive... nobody ever said anything about him), and figuring out that Glen was somehow a cousin on my father's side--which made why he was always at Auntie's house a little more clear, but was generally upsetting to realize I hadn't known he was a cousin for over 18 years.

Of course, the fun went on past the 16th, but I won't dwell on all those fun stories here. The important part is how I had the perfect chance to learn my lesson about being aware of how I feel while people are still alive, and failed miserably... and continue to do so to this day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Best President's Day EVER

What a fine three-day weekend it has been. On the down side, I've missed a day of walking. On the up side... um...

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great Chinese New Year yesterday. I'm almost caught up on my grad school work, and plan to be totally caught up by Wednesday--actually, I'm caught up now, I hope not to fall behind on Wednesday when there's another deadline...

As I have mentioned elsewhere, tomorrow will be the 25th anniversary of Harland Gregory Riggs' passing. If I am up to it, I'll try to give a detailed account of the day--or as detailed as I deem appropriate. I'd make a poll about it, but I figure there's not enough time for word to spread across the internet that such an important poll is on my blog.

Right now I am basking in the world of the vertex, the focus, and the directrix. Ah, directrix, in raspberry red, lemon yellow, orange orange...

Since we're working with parabolas, I should parabobly be paying attention!

Oh, for fun.

By the way: there is so much MST3K stuff on youtube, and I was up so late the other night laughing my hind end off... that I could argue Heaven and our plane of existence are sometimes occupying the same space.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thinkin' About Thinkin'

I should just ask Brenda, as in my mind she is the one I hear singing that line (the one in the title of this post)... but my mind has often attributed cool-and-quirky things to Brenda just because she's one of my coolest-quirkiest friends, and not because she actually said them.

I am, however, pretty sure she is the person I suddenly and very non-sequiturously (it's a word, because I just made it up) turned to at Applebee's on night in the mid-to-late 80s and asked, "What's dot-dot-dash in Morse Code?" However, the quirky there was all mine.

Anyway, I am doing my Ed Psych homework (no, you're really not, Mark... you're typing on your blog which is so not your homework for Ed Psych) and one of the 8,000 topics I am to discuss this week is metacognition, which is thinking about how you think (and is also two words, according to the spell check on here, but is one word according to my text book... or textbook). Or, as the song goes: "Thinkin' about thinkin'!"

However, I don't know what the song is. Was it a Schoolhouse Rock thing? Was it something else? I really want to know. So if you know, let me know, and then I'll know. Know, know, Knanette.

Now I have to get back to work on my assignment, which means I'm going to go to bed.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Walk Music Side Note

Somehow I have managed to put a song on my "Walk CD" that has a secret power over my legs.

Fortunately, it falls right about the time I'm ready to slow down to a near-crawl, so it helps me keep a decent pace... but still, it bothers me that I can't seem to resist the power of this song.

Brace yourself.

"Groove is in the Heart" by Deeee-Lite (and I don't know if I have the right number of "e"s in there or not).

This song comes on and my left foot insists on hitting the ground on the beat... and where the left foot goes, the right foot will follow.

I'm pretty sure this song wasn't on my "Walk Tape", but I think it needs to survive to the mp3 incarnation of the walk music...

A wiser person than me would probably do some research to find other songs I can't resist, although this power my be one that comes and goes, as "She Thinks She's Edith Head" by They Might Be Giants used to have a power like this over me, but no longer seems to do so. Also: TMBG's "Take Out the Trash" (which follows GIITH on the CD) also seems to have this power, which may one day kill me, because I'm walking uphill by the time this song ends.

In other "Walk CD"-related news: I seem to be walking more quickly. I'm getting home a full song earlier now. I wonder if that means I should add a half mile to my walk? I'll ask one of the P.E. folks at school for advice on that when I get back on Tuesday--if I remember.

Valentine's Day is tomorrow. Everybody be sure to do the very romantic thing and make sure your honey knows how much you love him or her on the day that every other couple around you is doing the same thing.

::sigh:: Ah, spontaneity...

Granny Weatherwax On "What Might Have Been"

I think sometimes things you really need to know are hidden in the books you read.

I was reading Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett the other night, and this jumped right out at me. To set the scene, the Archchancellor of Unseen University (the wizarding university) is talking with Granny Weatherwax. (Witches all agree they don't have a leader... and they all agree the leader they don't have is Granny Weatherwax.) When they were both very young, he came to the Ramtops for a visit and fell in love with her (and her with him, it would seem), but it didn't work out.

“Did you ever wonder what life would have been like if you’d said yes?” said Ridcully.


“I suppose we’d have settled down, had children, grandchildren, that sort of thing...”

Granny shrugged. It was the sort of thing romantic idiots said. But there was something in the air tonight...

“What about the fire?” she said.

“What fire?”

“Swept through our house just after we were married. Killed us both.”

What fire? I don’t know anything about any fire?”

Granny turned around.

“Of course not! It didn't happen. But the point is, it might have happened. You can’t say ‘if this didn't happen then that would have happened’ because you don’t know everything that might have happened. You might think something’d be good, but for all you know it could have turned out horrible. You can’t say ‘if only I’d..’ because you could be wishing for anything. The point is, you'll never know. You’ve gone past. So there’s no use thinking about it. So I don’t."

--from Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett

I do love most everything that Granny says or does--even if I have a hard time actually applying what she says to my life.

In other news, today was the day all the kids bring in Valentine's stuff for the teachers. Not my best V.D. haul ever, but I didn't make out too poorly.

I thought about typing up a little explanation of my photo-of-me philosophy, but I'd been meaning to post that excerpt for a couple of days now, so I opted to do that. Plus, my photo-of-me philosophy is: There's no sense hiding a bad picture of you, since the odds are you don't look perfect every moment of the day, anyway.

Heck, I've gone whole decades not looking perfect. Many of them, actually.

That's sort of why I find the photoblog of me so funny--because I think I'm just photogenic enough to not cause people to turn to stone upon looking at me. The thought of having a photoblog dedicated to "look at me" cracks me up. I do wish more people would take pictures of me, however. I just keep forgetting to ask people to do it.

If only I'd started that photoblog earlier. Things would have been perfect...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Not A Normal Day

I didn't go to work today. Not only that, but as the result of some sleep aid, I barely woke up at 7:00 to call it in (I scheduled it around 12:30 or 1:00 or so, but a call-in is still required (I think... they may have changed the policy and I missed the memo), and I didn't make it back awake after that until way later than I wish I had.

At any rate, the walk didn't happen this morning. It happened this evening... barely... I think it started on Thursday and ended on Friday--the bulk of the walk happening on Friday, even.

So the 365 (and then some) Days of ME blog photo for the day is probably the least pretty one of me, ever, as it is me just in from the walk. I can't decide if it's worse that the one you can see in the picture, which is a photo of me I keep on the fridge to remind me why I should regret whatever bad choice I just pulled out.

At any rate, I got the walk done, I'm ready for tomorrow's day of school (half day with the kids, other half is building-wide staff development), now I just need to squeeze in enough sleep to make it a good night's sleep. Oh, and I'm over a day late on this week's assignment for my class I'm in.

So it goes.

Anyway, feel free to vote on which picture you think is worse of me. I'm not making a new survey... you can just vote in the comments here or over there. And I'm not going to scan the other picture in so you can see it better. I can only stand so much shame in one night, people.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dinner Dinner Dinner

There isn't a lot to report today. Just a shorter long day, really.

However, I had dinner at Jason's. And this made me start thinking about how many married friends have me over for dinner. Then I think I should have them over, but most of the ones I know also have kids, and that usually leads to them feeling it's easier to have me over.

I'm wishing there was a way I could work this into some sort of scam...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Counterpoint: The Prospect Of Future Despair

Okay, fans and followers, sorry about that. I'll try to explain and then be my regular hiLARious self...

The nemesis of the Hope of Future Laughter is the Prospect of Future Despair. In my tired and weakened state (seriously, how many walking trips will it take before I start feeling good, already?) I made the mistake of looking into the future.

This is never a good thing--unless I'm looking forward to the day I can look back on my current hell and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Oh, sometimes it's good--if I'm looking forward to a visit, or one of my friends' kids graduation ceremony, etc., or that day I win Powerball and rule my little corner of my little universe...

But you get the idea. When I get super-tired, bad things happen--mainly to the happy-go-lucky lands in my head.

Also, I'm prone to crankiness due to this class I'm trying to keep up in... and failing to keep up in. So it goes.

Anyway, I was so tired I skipped my solo callback tonight. I had to get home. I want to be in bed sooner, rather than later. I have things to do tomorrow (for instance, this week's assignment is due by midnight, the budget stuff is due at school, and I have to finish grading a bunch of tests for progress reports going home on Thursday...) and I need to prepare for that tired.

The Prospect of Future Exhaustion. There's a new one!

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Future Is Now (Or Now Was The Future At All Points On The Timeline Prior To Now)

I'm feeling very overwhelmed by the future right now. It's almost enough to make me not able to function at all.

Luckily I have all this stuff to do tomorrow, so my mind has things to take up space this ink-spill of despair might otherwise seep into.

Sometimes I'm very haunted by the fact I was in the back of an ambulance one day and I came to terms with what seemed at the time to be my imminent death. I'm haunted because it was such a calming feeling, unlike anything I'd felt up to that point, and I have such a hard time coming close to that feeling now.

We're all just so very alone, and it sucks to realize it, I suppose.

In other news, I will be getting up in about 6 hours and 10 minutes to do some walking. I'm hoping to spend most of that time sleeping--and maybe hitting the emotional reset button. Wish me luck!

(How odd is it I can feel this negative and still think, "But I need to be sure to get up and walk in the morning..."? What's that about? Freak.)

Too Much Time Off My Hands

I have lots of thoughts about time right now--mostly thoughts about how I waste too much of it, even though it seems I have so little of it around to waste.

Also, I keep hoping a time machine will fall into my lap. Or near my lap, if it's a really big time machine.

I have often thought it would be great to be young again, but with the knowledge and what passes for wisdom in me that comes with some years out of junior high and high school. I've just always felt it would be nice to experience it again with an eye for what's important, which had little to do with what I thought was important the first time around.

Now I realize I'd be very lonely, because everyone around me would be worried about that not-important stuff, and plus, jacking with the timeline would mean I'd have to orchestrate meeting all the friends I have now, and who knows how that would go.

So maybe I wouldn't use the time machine to try to put my current mind in my junior high self. Maybe I'd just use it to stop time and try to get everything done that I need to get done--which would also be a lonely experience, unless I stopped team for other people as well... but eventually they'd want their other friends un-stopped, and so on, and then it's be just as easy to go ahead and let time run again.

Maybe I can spend the rest of my life inventing a time machine... and when I finally perfect it, I can go back in time and allow myself to do all the stuff I missed because I was too busy fretting about the past...

Sunday, February 07, 2010


I'm awake this late? Don't ask!

At any rate, I just wanted to officially chime in about the big game later: don't care.

Also: I might not make it to church, but I will be walking 2 miles sometime today.

That is all. Good night.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Tomorrow is going to be a full day. Currently scheduled:

5:30 a.m. - Wake up and go for a walk.
6:30 a.m. - Shower and get ready to head out
7:00 a.m. - Call Cody to see if he's ready to help Ruth move
7:15 a.m. - Head south to help Ruth move
8:00 a.m. - Help Ruth move
4:15 p.m. - Absolute latest I can return up North
5:00 p.m. - Absolute latest I can drop off Cody
6:00 p.m. - Friends arrive to hang out and enjoy the evening
11:59 p.m. - Absolute latest I can turn in this week's grad school work (which is mostly done, but needs tweaking)

Somewhere in there I need to make a couple of phone calls, and do some tweaking on the grad school work. I'm hoping the moving of Ruth doesn't take from 8:00 to 4:15, but if it does, I can deal.

Now I'm going to go to bed to read some Terry Pratchett (Lords and Ladies) and try to sleep. Feel free to call me at 5:30 to make sure I wake up!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

"Everything's Up To Date In Kansas City," My A**!

I walked two miles this morning. I was urged to only walk 1 to 1.5, but my brain refuses to walk unless there's a place to walk to. The closest thing I could think of was a nearby grocery store--or the closest thing that would be open at 5:30 (or 6:00, as it turned out) in the morning. It's a mile away from my house.

So, despite the fact it might be better to just walk around my neighborhood with no "halfway goal" in sight, I just can't do it. I walked up to Vivion, and walked down one side of it or the other until I got to the grocery store.

There's a sidewalk (of sorts) on Vivion. Both sides have a sort of asphalt approximation of a regular sidewalk. There weren't any major trip-up spots, unlike my old walking route in the Westport area, so that was nice. But once I get close to businesses, this sidewalk first became a "regular sidewalk," and then... disappeared.

Suddenly, there was just grass... and a freakin' bush. So for about five seconds I have to walk in the street, then go back to walking in grass. Fortunately, this is soon replaced with large rocks serving as a sort of giant gravel alternative.

If you ever find yourself north of the river in K.C. and singing "Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City," just stop by the intersection of Vivion and Chouteau and try to find a proper walking surface by the freakin' crosswalk!

My plan is to walk on days of the week that begin with an "S" or a "T". Let's see if I get 'er done on Saturday, eh?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

If My Superpower Isn't Laughter, It's The Hope Of Future Laughter

Here's the latest of my controversial opinions: 7th grade was a kind of hell.

I'll let you calm down so your anger at my obviously controversial opinion won't get in the way of hearing what I'm trying to say here.

I remember walking home from school (actually, walking home from the elementary school. where the buses would drop off the town kids), hating the misery that was my life. I remember cutting across Shawn's Grandma Great's front patch of yard to cut across our side yard to get to the back door of our house.

I remember it was a very warm afternoon. I remember thinking I couldn't stand how complicated and stupid everything was. I remember I was just entering our yard when I thought, "Someday I'll look back on all this and laugh."

You'd think it wasn't much consolation. I imagine if someone had approached me with it as a piece of advice, I'd have told them to go away, only with an f-bomb. But it did console me. The hope of future laughter was enough to make me think I could survive it all.

I can even remember what "it all" included: the thought I had to play football because Wade played football and Todd played football, and the thought that I just wasn't a football-playin' kind of guy (never had been, never would be, never will have never been (for you time-travelin' folks)). I was just starting to figure out who I was, and it was beginning to look like the world was a round hole, and all I saw when I looked in the mirror were the edges of what could only be a square peg.

I suppose what I was consoled by was simple hope. But to me that specific piece of information that I would look back on that moment and laugh... that made all the difference.

I got the super-power of persistent laughter from my mother. She was a big fan of saying, "You just as well laugh as cry," and I guess at some point it sank in.

For a long time, I thought everybody had this. I suspect most people do, as it seems to help to make stupid jokes when people are going through a rough patch (either that or they're too polite to hit me with a shovel to shut me up). But I've also found people who aren't able to think about these terrible times as something to be looked back on later.

To be truthful, there have been times that the hope of future laughter didn't kick in immediately. (I was about to say didn't work, but when I think back to these times, I realize I was too busy mourning my situation and looking backwards at what I should have done differently to think of that hope of future laughter.)

I don't know. I guess I put a lot of stock in laughter. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, and it made me think of that day in 7th grade... I've shared that story with some people in the past (sorry if it's a re-run for you), but I hadn't thought about it in such detail.

May your days be filled with laughter, or at least the hope of future laughter.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Remembering Stuff Sucks

The down side to having a good memory for things like how irritating things adults said were when I was a teen is that now I'm an adult and realize how right the adults often were, I feel it's pointless to say most anything useful to a teen.

Here are the news highlights:

1. Dead squirrel. If you know my squirrel story, that makes sense to you. If not, no worries.

2. Did not audition for a solo. I figured there was only one I could sing very well, but realized there were others I hadn't really looked at very closely once I was there. I held out for the song I'd practiced, which turned out to be the last song of solo auditions. The first two people did the song way better than I ever could, and my philosophy there is: if someone sings in it a way you love hearing it sung, why would you go and sing it? Whatevs. I told Joe I'd sing one of the solos nobody was chomping at the bit for later if he needed someone and wanted to hear what I sounded like, but I figure they've got it all covered.

3. They're totally changing the way things are budgeted at school. Apparently I have to know all of the supplies I need for school next year by... I don't know, next week or something. This sorta thumbs its nose at the concept of "monitor and adjust", but I've been teaching long enough to know that the left hand doesn't care what the right hand knows about teaching.

4. I got a bad review from the instructor on my first posting for the current class. I was a little stressed until I saw I still scored 94.4% on the posting. Um, with scoring like that, who needs to work at it, eh?

Yeah, the answer is "me". I know.

Okay, I am going to get to bed. I've sorta made a deal with another person with an unhealthy habit that I'd start walking four times a week if this person gives up the unhealthy habit--or at least makes a very serious attempt to do so. We shall see. The important part if I have to get to bed at a decent hour tomorrow so I can get up to go walking on Thursday.

"I Can Make Love"

"I can make love," is not a sentence a 7th grade teacher wants to hear coming from a 7th grade student, especially when the student in question is saying this directly to him.

I mean, The Police have a song about this. And the police enforce laws about this. Also: ew.

However, this innocent lamb went on to show that if you enter 3^07 on a calculator and turn it upside-down, you have, indeed, "Made 'Love'," as it were. I'm pretty sure she had no clue what she said. A nicer teacher would have said, "That's great, but please don't go around telling people you can make love."

Oh, to be a nicer teacher...

Monday, February 01, 2010

For Jhoneric: Do I Know You?

JEC used to ask that a lot. It was a fave. When we saw Winona Ryder ask it in the movie Dracula, I thought we were both gonna wet ourselves laughing.

Now I'm getting odd comments and people following my blog... and it's all good, global village, blogopshere, huzzah... but it's just odd to me. I mean, I'm pretty sure most people I know aren't reading this--so if there's not much to interest them here in what has become my daily ramblings...

But to each his or her own, eh?

However, I'm left to wonder a few things:

First, how are they finding this blog? Is there a blogroll somewhere that randomly plops blog entries into people's lives? I know there used to be something like that for photos posted on here. My thought is: if there is, maybe the fact I'm writing more just increases the probability someone will see something I've written and feel the need to comment on it. It's cool and all, but make sure it doesn't look like a spam post, folks, or it's outta here!

Second, how are those spam-esque comments making it on. I have that whole text-recognition-retype thingy turned on (I think). Am I wrong in thinking I've got that on (I just checked, and it appears to be on)? Somebody post a comment and let me know if you had to type the freaky word/sequence of characters, okay?

Whatevs. I'm up late because I was finishing grad school work. Last week's, that is. Tomorrow, I must get this week's up. Luckily there are only two modules for study this week. Last week had three, plus four articles and a slide show presentation. Blurgh.

P.S.: I didn't mean to say "odd people" up there in the second paragraph. I meant "people I don't know". Some of the comments have been odd (spammy), however.