Sunrise over Lake Champlain from Ticonderoga

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Musings and Meanderings

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Even more popular than I imagined.

Ok I'm being silly, but it is nice. Check this out.

Monday I was requested (got the call Sunday Night) for Kindergarten by the same teacher that has me going on Wednesday. Here is where it gets more fun. On Monday two teachers asked me to cover their class on Tuesday, which I could because they were both doing opposite half days for training and observing. The Pre-K aide came in and asked if I could cover Wed through Fri with her but I had to say no becuase I was already booked. Then the 5th Grade teacher I like asked me to cover his class on Friday (that made three Friday "Mr. H" requests) which I had to decline as well becuase I had promised some one else....


The downside to this as I was saying to MW the other day is I don't want them to STOP asking for me! So I made sure that each of the "turn downs" knew the reason was that I had gotten a call during Vacation and I was strictly a First come First serve person. That played well with all, most saying they should have called it in earlier.

Nice to be liked.

Addendum - From Wednesday

I was called to the Principal's office today during "special" and told uncatagorically that I was one of his two best subs and that I would be covering the 5th grade teacher that I like's class. Basically he said he puts his best people where they are needed most and this teacher would be out for four of the five Friday's in March and I would cover his class. This particular teacher is the "teacher in charge" when this Principal is out of the building.

posted by Mike 9:06 PM

Monday, February 27, 2006

So did YOU watch the Olympics?

I did the best I could what with working for Radio Shack and living in a house of non sports people. What I did see I did enjoy a lot. I watched a lot of the skating, both the Couples Ice Dancing, Women's Figure Skating, and Speed Skating. Of course we all love the Figure Skating, but I got a real kick out of the Team Relay Speed Skating. Did you see this. It looked like utter chaos, but after a few rounds made a ton of sense. What I liked was instead of passing a baton, they pushed each other. Very 21st Century.

I also watched some of the Snow Boarding, and the Skiing, though I missed much of the Luge/Bobsled/Skeleton stuff I like too. Thank Radio Shack for that lol.

A lot of people however did NOT watch the Olympics. Why is that? Is it so boring, do people not care about Winter Sports? Well yes many do not.

But I think it's more than that.

First of all, in this instant internet age, anyone who cared about the results could have them at a glance way ahead of time. So the Drama, and the Heart Break of Defeat, was really nullified by the instant knowledge of who won. And it was hard NOT to find out who won, if you surf the web at all.

Second I think NBC paid a huge disservice to the working people of America. To make them wait till 11 pm or sometimes 11:30pm to see the "star" billing was just mean. You know we have to sleep and work for a living, and many people just don't stay up that late. Its' probably a sign of the Bi-Coastal nature of the industry, thinking everyone stays up till Midnight.

Third, NBC made a mistake in pre-formatting their hero's. Though some of those hero's did well like Sasha Cohen, many of them barley showed up, like Bode Miller, or didn't stay, like Michelle Kwan. This is not a criticism of the athletes mentioned at all. But if NBC had built on the surprise winner, the unexpected triumph of the unknown or underdog, then I think people might have been more interested.

So how did the USA fare in my view. Really not so good. If you took away the all new snow boarding events for which we are the pioneers in many ways, our "take" of the Torrino Doughnuts would have been quite bleak. We should have performed much better in skiing for one thing. Also can't we learn to cross-country ski and shoot? I mean we could, couldn't we? I hope we never have to fight a war in the snow with rifles against the Swiss, Germans or Finns. We will get our arses handed to us.

Well here is to Toronto 2010! I for one LOVE the Winter Olympics and already miss it.

But then again, Spring Training starts next month, as does March Madness, then April is opening day for Baseball.
posted by Mike 11:33 PM

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Nice to be popular

I got a call this week from my "handler" for the sub service, I think it was Thursday night. I was quite surprised as I was on vacation.

Seems I had requests for Wed, Thu and Fri of the upcoming work week. One Fouth grade teacher for Wednesday and a different one on Friday. And in between my second favorite (but the best behaved) Kindergarten class on Thursday.

Can't wait to get going again.
posted by Mike 11:27 PM

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Just how dumb is this guy?

GWB seems to have decided to become his Party's worse night mare. What is it with these Alpha Males (Bush, Clinton, Bush) who go into the White House and throughly trash their own party.

The port thing hands the Democrats the National Security upper hand on a silver platter. But its more that this and it kind of encompasses this administration's living in a bubble mentality. It undercuts the idea that Bu$hCo cares about the nation's security as long as it lines someones pockets. Second it shows he is compeltely disrepectful of the Legislative Branch threatening to do his FIRST veto in 6 year if the deal was overturned. Nice one two punch.

And how about this great Medicaide bill that Bu$hCo rammed through the yes-sir Congress? Any hopes of the GOP running on any platform remotely related to Healt Care or the Elderly will collaps under their feet. This grand scheme cost the American Taxpayers 800 billion and creates nothing but confusion in the elderly. The only people cleaning up are (of course) the private health care sector suckering people into their arms with promises of "expliations". Read that as "sales process". Then we have the famous Health Care savings plans. No less august body than the US Govt itself says that the HSA's do very little to control costs. Instead (surprise surprise) they are a financial boondoggle for Wall Street - a big GOP supporter.

And the future holds more for the GOP. As we pull troops out of Iran in order to allegedly appease the political system so that they can stay in power, things will be come SO UGLY over there that "Civil" war will be an oxymoron (which it is anyway). The sectarian violence will make the last month look like vacation on the Riveria. First we go into the war on bad intel, then we handle the "winning the hearts and minds" like a bunch of banana republic dictators, and when we finally need to do the Right and Moral thing by staying to help keep the innocents from being further massacred, we will pull out so the Pachyderms can stay in power.

Big Bad Backfire.

But only if Dean and Pelosi and company can get a CLUE and run with this.

I doubt they have the vision to be blunt.
posted by Mike 6:01 PM

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Friday Five!

1) When does liking someone a lot become loving that person?

There is that lightening awareness when you look at that person, maybe for the thousandth time, that you actually love her.

2) Is there a job you would do for free, and is it your current job?

Yes and Yes. Teaching. If I won the lottery I'd just teach the rest of my life.

3) What is one person/thing that inspired you to take action of some sort?

My Psychology teacher in HS inspired me to get a Major in Psych.

4) Though you might not believe in it, would you like fate to exist?

No thanks.

5) What's the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for you?

So many people have been kind to me in my life I couldn't even rank them. From financial and emotional support by my two sets of parents, to friends offering a roof over my head for a time when I was down and out. Thanks to all.
posted by Mike 6:04 PM

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Memories Mikey dredged up in a writing exercise

1. I remember the smell of the Elm trees walking to school with my friends. We thought it was Marijuana, but it was just Elm trees in bloom.

2. I remembering loosing my denim jacket in 7th grade, leaving it in a classroom, then realizing when I got back someone had stolen it. It was full of patches I had collected over the years. The feeling of being ripped off and violated was unforgettable.

3. I remember coming back from my 12th grade dance having met a Texan named Jennifer. I felt like I was floating on air, 2 feet over the ground.

4. I remember Mr. Eander in a sports coat and tie substituting for my 3rd grade classes. His phrases “The nerve of some people’s children” and hair looking like a “unmade bed” have stayed with me.

5. I remember showing up at a 9th grade dance with “hip” platform shoes and feeling completely out of place and foolish because no one was wearing anything like it.

6. I remember my photography class with Mr. Guthrie (the science teacher) in 8th grade and learning the trick of catching a sports photo. Then there was the thrill of catching a pole vaulter at the top of his arc when I was sent on my “assignment”.

7. I remember playing during recess at Dilworth Elementary at a very young age, probably 3rd grade. Going out near the fence beyond the field with Mark Warren using a paper spaceship we had built to collect shiny pieces of weather worn glass.

8. I remember making a marble slalom course down my desk in elementary school out of molding clay. The marbles would end up in my desk via a feat of clay engineering that Mobeus would have been proud of.

9. I remember standing on the desks in 5th grade during sex ed. And I was getting away with it because it was such a risqué subject.

10. I remember the first time I went head first in the snow during skiing. It was black and cold and I thought for a split second that I had snapped my neck and was dead.

11. I remember the shame of having broken the protective covering over the kiln firing clay in Kindergarten and being told that I had spoiled it for the whole class because it had dried out.

12. I remember flying to see my father and his new family via PSA Airlines what seemed every other weekend. I would get a nosebleed every time we descended due to the pressure changes. But I felt very adult flying unaccompanied with my brothers.

13. I remember playing “smear the queer” at my Dad’s and him bellowing into the back yard “who is a queer!!”. So we changed the name of the game to “Get the guy with the ball.”

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Diary of a Music Whore

Daddy's Roses

Alone on a Limb

(leave your link in the menu comments section, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted by Mike 10:51 PM

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Ever heard of these Clix things? They are kind of cool. Small miniatures of Superhero's and on the base is a built in "clix" combat system.

So my son picked out two teams of Superhero's worth 300 pts a piece. He got The Hulk, Wolverine, Ice/Man/Surfer/dont-know-the-name, The Punisher, Firestarter and a medic. He gave me The Beast, Abomination, Elektra, Spiderman, one other guy and a medic.

I won. Last time he kicked my arse all over the board with The Hulk, who just gets bigger meaner and stronger the more you hit him. So I knocked out all of his other guys while loosing Spiderman and the other guy. Then the Beast and Abomination ganged up on The Hulk. Only the Abomination can really fight the Hulk.

This epic battle took a good part of an hour. Hope we get a chance to play again tomorrow.

For more on this Clix system click the graphic below.

posted by Mike 11:42 PM

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Pink Panther Movie

"A" and I went and saw the new Steve Martin movie at a matinee today. I'm on "winter vacation" though I still have the Shack at nights. So I actually have like 36 hrs off (from closing Sunday to 5pm Tuesday).

Anyway being a big PP fan from the Sellar years, I was at first excited then worried about a new PP franchise. The plot is pretty good, and Kevin Kline is really great as Ispector Dreyfus. It seems to me that Martin's performance puts the physical comedy in the forefront of the acting, whereas Sellars was slightly more subtle.

What Martin excels in however is the vocal talents. I still cannot pronounce Hamburger the way he does. He is just brilliant in this movie, though the movie itself is not brilliant. The script does bring out a new part of Clouseau, a cetain pathos when he realizes he has been set up as a dupe.

Beyonce Knowles is practically useless in this movie, though she is quite the eye candy, and enjoys flaunting her front. The surprise actress in this movie is Clousou's secretary played by Emily Mortimer. She is cute and funny and it's surprising that she has not had more roles. (click her name to see the IMDB listing.

So overall the new Pink Panther is pretty funny. I will admit to laughing less than the audience, and that is unusual. This is an indication of the sophistication of the humor, which is nearly 100% slapstick.
posted by Mike 11:06 PM

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My Life

Free time in white

posted by Mike 8:42 AM

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Final Solution to the Computer Problem

I got a 80 Gig HD from the Shack at a ridiculously low price on Thursday (not because of my discount but because it was on clearance).

I installed the HD last night in about 5 min. Because it was running DMA Ultra Mode 6, and the "old" 28 Gig HD at Mode 5 it took about 20 min to clone everything over instead of the hours it took to and from the "new" HD (200 GB).

I then physically swapped drives and fired it up. Voila working fine. Yipee. And smoking fast too. wow.

So now I'm going to send the Seagate Barracuda 200 Gig HD back to Seagate under it's 5 year warranty. By getting yet another drive (a Maxor 80 Gig) from the Shack I now have a drive that will not fail on us.. well any old time.

So anyone wanna get me an Alienware computer? (see link in the Friday Five).
posted by Mike 11:44 PM

Friday, February 17, 2006

I thought this week's Friday Five was too much like TT so I found an older one to use:

1. What kind of computer do you have? (Mac, iBook, Dell, etc.)

I have a GNH special. Loveingly hand made by the the finest computer craftman on the west coast, living in SF in the Pacific district. No one is finer there.

2. How old is it? Are you happy with it?

Gosh, about a year now. I'm very happy with it though not with the 200 GB HD I bought for it a few months ago. Never did get it up to Ultra DMA mode

3. How many computers are in your household?

We have three. I have one, my son has one and we have a lap top that my Sister gave us that I use on occasion but needs a new battery and more memory.

4. What are your favorite games/timewasters on your computer?

Most recently Tiger Woods PGA 2004. Also email, YahooGroups, Chatting and communication in general is my major time waster. Recently scaled back doing these things and am reading a lot more thank you.

5. If money were no object, what kind of computer would you like to have?

Click here he he he he he he (evil laugh)

One other note of interest

Didn't get my call for subbing today till 6:20am. My handler said "I have a piece of cake for you today, librarian in the Middle School." Very cool.

However, it got cooler. At 10:45 the power went out, went back on, went out, went back on, then one of the ground level transformers just off campus blew up. Some of the windows were facing that way and I hear some of the teachers saying they saw the sparks.

We were dismissed at 11:05am. Nice way to end the week eh?
posted by Mike 5:59 PM

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

1. What is your earliest memory?

My parents fighting. I'm sitting in a High Chair I think. They are yelling at each other. Certainly explains my abhorrence for yelling in a marriage or at children

2. What was your longest hike?

Oh easy, I even have a Patch for it. I did a 50 Miler in the Sequoia National Wilderness when I was a Boy Scout. We planned to do it in 7 days but did it in 5 because we got unexpectedly snowed on (in August) and high tailed it out of there.

3. When were you most alone?

I think driving cross country in my 67 VW bug. Took a week to go from SF to Phili. This was not a bad thing mind you. But I was really alone.

4. Describe a carefree moment of your life

Any? Driving on a Spring like day right after or during Winter.

5. What has been your most daring moment?

Jumping off a High Dive. I'm terrified of long plunges into water, because I almost drowned as a young boy.

6. Describe what you admire about someone you consider a personal hero/heroine:

My personal hero is Einstein. His genius had no bounds. He was not afraid to be wrong either. He held strong views on the workings of the Universe. I don't always agree with his more philosophical comments but most of them are brilliant.

7. What is your most interesting/outstanding talent?

The ability to synthesize differing viewpoints into a rational balanced viewpoint. Put another way I gather in lots of information and can explicate or teach things on the fly.

8. You have won a free seven day airfare to the destination of your choice. Where and why?

If you read the TT from two weeks ago you would know. Paris. I want to spend a lot more time exploring the city.

9. Climb aboard my time/space machine. You get one turn and must return after the equivalent of a week's visit. Where, when, and why?

The future. 200 Years from now. So I can see what happens, read some "history" and feel better (or worse) about what will happen after my death.

10. You have been appointed executor of my $10,000,000 charitable bequest. How will you use it?

I would join with Bill Gates in working in the Communicable Diseases projects around the world. Very little money per person goes a long way towards fighting Malaria, Dysentery and other preventable diseases.

11. What is your proudest accomplishment?

As with many, this answer is my offspring. Hopefully this will continue as he grows into the teen years and then adulthood.

12 & 13. What question/assignment would you add to this meme?

What is your biggest failure in life? Mine was attempting to be a Psychiatrist. I failed abysmally at College level Biology and Chemistry. It was the first thing I had failed at after "setting my mind to it".

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Diary of a Music Whore

Daddy's Roses

(leave your link in the menu comments section, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted by Mike 11:08 PM

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Not for the feint of heart

I put a MP3 of a piece called "Bushwhacked" over on the menu under my commercials. This is a VERY hard hitting piece using real voice clips and a no holds barred voice over.

You can imagine from the title, and it's political, what it's about.

posted by Mike 11:31 PM

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

How boring is YOUR life?

Here is how boring mine is. I didn't get a call last night or this morning to substitute (as I figured I wouldn't due to being Valentine's Day)so I got to work on my computer. Yipeeee

Here is the problem, and some of this will be Geek Speak. My newest Hard Drive (HD) is running at 1/4 the data speed it should be. The term for this speed is PIO, as opposed to Ultra DMA Mode which it should be running at.

Because my operating system is on it, the entire computer runs like molasses, and drives me to pounding. So today I utilized a program the Brother G gave me and cloned the 200GB HD to my old 28GB HD (after paring down the data to 18G so it could fit). I swapped out the 200 for the 28 and VOILA, the computer is running at Ultra DMA mode 5.

BUT... the old 28G HD is on it's last legs, so I need to get the 200G HD back to DMA pronto. I'm going to try reformatting it (which means the only place my OS will be is on a HD that is dying) and see if that does it. So this is what I did today.

Exciting life eh?
posted by Mike 5:29 PM

Monday, February 13, 2006

Lord of the Flies

Whew what a day. Had a (different) 6th grade class today and they were so off the wall it's not even funny. Two of them, a boy and girl would not shut up while I was teaching. I mean nothing would get them to be quiet. Nothing.

In fact I lost control of the room. First time in a long while. In my defense this is a somewhat difficult group, and they usually have up to three teachers in the room with them, all of whom they know. None of whom where there with me after lunch when things fell apart.

Lucky for me the "building sub" and the School Psychologist walked in right before I started shouting. I told her that I had almost lost control of the room and she calmed them down a bit. Then I ejected the biggest trouble maker and sent her to another 6th grade teacher that had offered to take anyone making trouble. This settled things down a bit.

I guess it wasn't me. After the kids left I spoke to four other teachers who related the same lord of the flies behavior in their rooms. Maybe it's because Winter Vacation is next week, or Valentines Day is tomorrow. Who knows.

Oh and I'm coming down with a cold. That adds to the joy.

I have Wed and Thu booked with Kindergarten and Pre-K. Tomorrow is up in the air as of 715pm which is pretty late. I'm sure it's because it's Valentines Day and teachers want to be with their students. I'll probably get my call at 6am......

posted by Mike 7:08 PM

Sunday, February 12, 2006

There was a really great Post here

But my computer ate it. Froze right after I finished it and I didn't feel like rewriting it.

However there were some good points I remember.

One was that Saturday I had to work with two born again Christian Republicans. Yea Me, with Them. One of them said that the whole Iraq nuclear confrontation was probably the End of World - you know they are all fixated on the Apocolypse and their whacked out "left behind" series. Anyway this kid kept using saying things like "well cause I'm a Christian" and "we Christian's believe". It started making me sick.

When did the whacked out Fundie right get to use the term Christian all to themselves? Are Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians and anyone else who do not believe all this fascist nonesene the Religious Riech talk about NOT Christians?

If I was one of those sects I'd find it extreemly offensive.

The other point I remember making was to expand on my Friday Five. Just becuase I don't buy the "old guy sitting in heavan" image doesn't mean I don't think the teachings of Jesus Christ are not brilliant. I mean this guys was talking about not killing each other and living in peace almost two centuries ago.

Pity no one has listened.
posted by Mike 11:48 PM

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I have a headache

Had it all day. Really a bummer. Not one of those mind wrecking ones, just what I call a "low level" ache.

Spent 2 to 930 at the Shack today. Decent day, as of 845pm I was the no 1 salesman in total dollars and dollars per hour and spiffs. Sold three cell phones today so that's a good thing.

It's been slow at work though, lots of time to surf the web, chat and build my "MySpace" spot. It's the in thing I guess and there are some Lynbrook and Pitzer people on it so what the heck.

And I actually slept in this morning! Till 945!! That is for me very unusual. Since there are only so many hours I get home I try not to spend my AM's sleeping, but today I needed a recharge. I only have 8 more days till I get a full 24 hours off, as Winter Break starts on the 20th.

Had a nice big breakfast of scrambled eggs with bacon and red onion. Even made a decent lunch for myself so I filled up before work. I used the Forman Grill to do up some pork chops.

So that's been my exciting day! Working 11 to 6 tomorrow as usual. Then I teach Monday and have Monday night off from the Shack.
posted by Mike 8:42 PM

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Friday Five!!

1.) Do you believe in God or a higher power?

I do not believe in God or a higher power. I believe in science and the inner workings of the Universe. Actually I am a "christian existentialist" with trappings of the Tao and Zen. However if you say that God is the total workings of the Universe, like the Deists, then I do.

2.) Are good and evil just concepts, or real powers in the universe?

Good and evil are real concepts, for every positive energy in the Universe there is a negative.

3.) What is your view on forgiveness?

Too err is human to forgive is divine. I am a big believer in forgivness, and really cannot even hold a grudge.

4.) Do organized religions do more harm than good?

It is a mixed bag. For every Jihad or Crusade there are missionaries of all faiths bringing better living conditions to the less fortnuate. Overall the are a positive in modern human times.

5.) If you had a day to spend playing God, what would you do?

Stop global warming. Cure Aids. Then have dinner.
posted by Mike 5:36 PM

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Interesting Cities Mikey wants to go to

01. Tokyo. Though I don't speak a a word of Japanese, I would love to see this busy city. Check out the restaurants, cafe's and shops. Take in the hustle and bustle.

02. Sydney. From the Playhouse to the Bridge I'd love to spend a week in Sydney. Maybe use it as a base to see the countryside. Not sure on if a week is enough for that.

03. Aukland. The land of Lord of the Rings and Narnia. Though it's hard to immigrate there, I'd not mind visiting to see what its' all about. Honestly this is the only city in NZ I could think of, maybe there are better places to go.

04. Athens. Home of antiquities. Sight of the Summer Games. I'd love to visit in the Spring or Fall when it is not so hot. By now you can guess the ancient history trend, so that is the main attraction.

05. Beruit. Dnager! Intrigue! Green Lines! Any or all of the above. I've been told by many that this was the most beautiful city in the Middle East before the wars. Certainly the Lebanese women are the most beautiful in the fertile crescent.

06. Delhi. Who wouldn't want to go. Ok maybe someone clasutrophobic of germ phobic. But seriously, the Hindi and Muslem Indian cultures are fascinating. Besides I have an old school Professor I'd not mind looking up while I was there!

07. Moscow. Though the Winter would be interesting, I think maybe Spring or Fall. Again it is the older sights that attract me, though seeing things like dead dictators tomb's and Soviet style archetecture must be interesting as well.

08. Angor Wat. More on the ancient civilizations theme. MW has been there, and I just loved the look and feel. Want to try it for myself.

09. Seattle. Back in the US of A. Home of MicroSerf, and some family friends. Where Grunge and over priced CoffeShops started. The place that never stops raining. I considered going to college there for a spell actually .

10. Bangor. Maine that is. Summer on the Maine coast. Visiting Bangor, as well as Bar Harbor and other points of interest. L could give this tour, and we could visit Melly! That would be grand.

11. Kansas City(ies). Two reasons, one from recommendations from MW and two from things college friends used to tell me. I hear the cuisine is superb and the tourist attractions are not tourist trappy.

12. Atlanta. What can I say. I'd love to see the whole city, to see what it's really all about. Maybe a long weekend or week.

13. Little rock. Clinton Library. Yea that interests me a lot.

Next week - Random thoughts inspired from a fellow TT'er

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Diary of a Music Whore

Daddy's Roses

(leave your link in the menu comments section, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted by Mike 6:13 PM

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Teaching This Week

2nd Grade yesterday. Cute kids. Cute teacher too, who is very pregnant. So I went down after class today and talked to her about when she was going out and for how long. I was hoping she might go out close enough to the end of the year so that I could cover her class for the remaining time in the school year. It's a close thing, and MW gave me some ideas to pitch, to try to get around the 40 days in one class rule about certified vs non certified teachers

5th Grade today. One of my two favorite classes. This teacher sits in for the Principal when the Principal is out for conferences etc. It's a mixed group of good, and bad, not following any set lines ie race or sex. Mostly just a great group of kids. The like me, and more importantly they respect me not to take advantage of me. I worry about a few of them, as one will as you get close to these kids. But I'm sure they will do the best they can under their circumstances. The only beef I have on this substitute gig is that the teacher does not let me "teach" but just gives them endless "packets" of work to do.

6th Grade for the next two days. I have substituted in this class once before, but it was ages ago and she had a student teacher in the class at the time. Basically I just sat there and sponged in what that teacher was doing. So I don't know if Im "babysitting" for two days or actually teaching. I've not had a 6th grade class on my own yet, and I can see that they can be a challenge. Should be an interesting two days.

So then add that I'm straight on till Dawn with Radio Shack this week. I don't have my usual Thursday off because I took last weekend off. So my next evening off is Monday. My next full day is the following Monday as it is Winter Break for the school system. I have not decided if I'm going to go FT with RS that week or not. L has left it up to me. But I'd like to spend some time with Alexander. Decisions Decisions.
posted by Mike 7:49 PM

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Serendipity in Teaching.

Some things happen for a reason. This weekend when I was in Borders in Keene with MW and my son I happened across a book on writing called "Writing down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg. Originally published in 1986 this is a new reprint in larger paperback. It is basically Zen and the art of writing, to paraphrase a great book from the 70's.

Well to get back focused, I had 2nd graders today and their half hour for "writing lab" as their teacher calls it was to finish writing a piece on Valentine's Day. Most had finished already so after forcing them to flesh it out more they needed something to write about. LUCKY FOR ME I had the book! I took writing exercise number 2, "I remember" and presto, insant assignment.

The basic message of the book by the way, which is a bit too sophisticated for 2nd graders, is to just WRITE... let anything that comes to mind come to paper. Practice makes perfect. Or so she says.

Today's writing assignment

Was to write about the quality of the light in the morning.

Since I didn't have a recommended notebook I did it on my PDA. She said to write anything, even if it was garbage... so here it is

"The light is blue-cold reflecting off of he bricks lending a silvery glow to their hair. It mixes with the flourescent flicker to fill in the colors of the spectrum."

posted by Mike 7:57 PM

Monday, February 06, 2006

Weekend Pictures available now

NH pictures:
Available on the NH Trip blog to be found on the menu to the right. ALso available at the Mike Montfort site, link to the right as well. All the pics can be dowloaded as a zip file, link to that zip file is on the NH Trip Blog.

In Memorium Lona Perkins:
Available on the Mike Montfort site. All the pics can be downloaded as a zip file, that link is in the posting below.

Enjoy the pictures.
posted by Mike 5:23 PM
The Dash that is our lives

Not the mad dash that our lives have become.

Not the tilde in our web oriented lives.

Inspired by a comment made at today's funeral, the dash in our lives, is our lives.

Mike 1961 - 20??

How we spend that Dash in our lives, that is, the time of our life, well this is what it's all about. Isn't it??

How are you spending your dash?

Are you making a difference in someone's life? Or lives?

I sure hope so. You don't need to be Mother Theresa of course, just providing food shelter and clothing for your offspring should is certainly affecting lives.

But for me, this is why I jumped off the sales bandwagon. Why I decided to teach.

To make that Dash between 1961 and when I die mean something to someone other than my immediate family, and some stranger whose life is enriched by the material gain of something I sold them.

You may download the complete digital pics taken by me by clicking here and saving link as.. the zip file. It is 25 megs so be patient. Dialup do it overnight. It is a zip file so you will need WinZip, Windows XP or some other unzipping program
posted by Mike 4:35 PM
Serendipity of XM Radio

Driving from the funeral to the cemetary, by some amazing coincidence, XM ch 51 was playing Dark Side of the Moon in it's entirety, right in the middle of the day.

It was very moving timing, driving alone in a funeral procession. Thinking about life, lives and how we spend them. About the people I love who will someday no longer be with us, and about the loved ones who will some day have to expericene the loss of my life in their lives.

Amazing serendipity, nearly made me cry during the drive.
posted by Mike 2:44 PM

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday: Part One a day in NH

Had a lovely quite Sunday am in NH with my family. Ok not so quiet, with so many kids, but lovely none the less. At 6am (Noon Paris time) Sophie and Jeremy got up. I said, go back to bed. They said "We are not tired any more, we cannot sleep." Remember these two are in Kindergarten and 2nd grade. Very cute.

The rest of the day went nicely. Cousin Anne arrived with her two kids, Oliver has grown so much and Luc is quite a character. Got tons of pictures of the kids playing. Read a bit of the NYT and chatted with my Dad on Politics (he and I are polar opposites).

MW stayed at the Tartan Fox B&B, so I went and got her, and gas, and her car also. Alas the day went way too short, because after a wonderful Lunch A & I had to come home. The drive back to NY was gorgeous as usual and we arrived in plenty of time to get dressed for the Wake

Sunday: Part Two the Wake

Once dressed and ready to go we headed over to the Funeral Home to attend the wake of L's Grandmother. I was unprepared for an open casket viewing, in that for one no one told me, and second I'd actually never been to such an event. After I got over my initial shock I saw how thereputic it was for everyone (starting with my son - who had not had the chance to say "goodbye") to see Lona in a serene state. The wake itself was during the Super Bowl so I'm afraid that it was lightly attended. I'm hoping for the family's sake the funeral Monday will see many people who didn't make the viewing.

After the time at the Funeral home we went off to Dakota's for dinner. There were exactly one other customer at the restaurant due to the Super Bowl. Liza's sister and family had come up for the wake and funeral from DE so it was nice to see my niece and nephew. I was lucky to be at the other end of the table from my Brother in Law who I am also diametrically opposed to policitally, and it was apparent he was pontificating. Kudo's to my Uncle for the patience to listen to him all night. Got home in time for the Super Bowl to be over.

Sunday Part Three: Super Bowl Sunday in an Hour

This is what I do with all those bowl games, so why not the Susper Bowl. Completely record the game of a VCR or DVR and then watch JUST the plays. Fast forward through the commercials, the idiotic commentary and the endless time outs, play reviews and huddles. It is possible to watch EVERY play of a football game in just about one hour.

So when I got home and changed from the Wake and Dinner I watched the game. I was very happy for the winning coach Bill Cower. He is unique in Pro Football as a coach that the ownerns have kept on through good and bad times. Pure Old Skool ownership and it's a testament to this type of management in this win. The Raiders' Al Davis could take a good long lesson from the Rooney's. The game itself was remarkably bad in places, especially the first quarter and the final Seahawk drive. But the long Steeler run and the great gadget plays by the Steelers made it a worthy show and very much Extra Large!! ( this was Super Bowl 40 - XL)
posted by Mike 11:24 PM

Saturday, February 04, 2006

In NH for the weekend.

Big shindig this weekend as my brother and his family are coming in from France to visit for the week. My sister and her kids and my cousin are picking them up from the airport today.

Meanwhile I have the weekend off at Radio Shack and drove to NH from NY with my Mom and my son. Mom arrived via Amtrack this am. The drive to NH was very nice and pleasant, we stopped for lunch, and later did some shopping in Keene for late Christmas presents.

Wanted to pop on line from my Dad's to do the daily update before everyone arrived. I'll have some fun phone cam pics for FlickR on Friday.

Funeral and Wake update

I've not written about the passing of Liza's Grandmother since the day of her passing. The funeral will be Monday morning, and the "viewing" or wake will be Sunday Night. My son and I will be arriving back from NH on Sunday to attend.

The SuperBowl becomes very problematical as my MIL has planned a get together afterward at a restaurant called Dakota's. Not sure how this is gonna fly, and I'm playing it by ear. Easy to tape and then watch the Super Bowl on Monday, but VERY difficult to avoid the news and hearing who won.

We will see, part will depend who comes over from NH with us.
posted by Mike 5:50 PM

Friday, February 03, 2006

Great Kudo's to a Great Photographer

Blog Vivant.
posted by Mike 8:18 PM
The Friday Five

1. What is your favorite specialty restaurant (Italian, Mexican, Thai, etc.)?
Mexican by far - Garcia's on Central Avenue in Colonie, NY.

2. What do you order to eat there?
Usually I order the three enchiladas: pulled pork, seafood and spinach. This is after chowing down on their chicken nachos and fresh chips and salsa.

3. What is your favorite specialty food or dish to cook?
Hmmm, probably Mexican as well. I/We do Fajitas, Tacos and Enchiladas

4. If you could travel to the home country of your favorite specialty food, what would you do there?
To Mexico? Major sightseeing, the ancient ruins of the Aztecs, the Yucatan Peninsula, Tijauana, Puerto Viarjta, etc.

5. What is your worst experience with a specialty food restaurant?
Burned my darn mouth right off at a Mexican food restaurant in Santa Fe many many mooons ago.
posted by Mike 5:40 PM

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Interesting Cities Mikey has been
in order of where I want to go back to

01. Paris!!! Been there twice, and it never leaves your soul. First time was a whirlwind weekend that gave me the bug. Second time was a few years later for a late 15th wedding anniversary. Best time I've ever had.

02. San Francisco.
The only other city or place other than Paris that takes your heart and you can't stop thinking about. Grew up near there, and since '86 have been back five or six times, but never for long enough. Need to spend a month there.

03. London. Spent a few days as part of a week long trip in the UK in '79. Would really like to go again and stay a week.

04. Cairo. Fascinating place, the cabbies are crazier than NYC and Rome put together. Would want to use it as a base camp for exploring the upper Nile Valley.

05. Rome. You walk out the door of your Modern Hotel and down the street is a wall that has been standing since the early Roman empire. The Modern and the Ancient. In that respect nothing can touch Rome.

06. Venice. Right on the heels of Rome, for obvious reasons why I'd want to go back. Mostly because when I was there before we only spent a day. I could spend a week.

07. Portsmouth NH. Incredibly lovely little "touristy" town. Have not been back in ages, great place for a day trip or weekend.

08. Savannah GA. Walking along the water front or around the incredible gardens. A city that must be taken in over a few days.

09. Jerusalem. I actually spent MORE time there than I wanted to the first time, but I'd love to go back, if it's ever safe again. The antiquities are amazing.

10. Los Angeles.
You think I'm joking, but I've not been back since I graduated from College and I miss it.

11. Baltimore. The inner harbor is amazing. The sports complex is remarkable. The town has so much to do and see. A poor man's SF in many ways.

12. Boston.
This and the next are last becuse something had to be, and I have been there many times. But you can't get enough of Boston just as you cannot get enough of.....

13. Manhattan. Take me away to Manhattan. Just three hours away but I just don't get down there enough. Recently due to the cash flow shortage of the past two years

Next week- 13 places I want to go!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Diary of a Music Whore

Daddy's Roses

(leave your link in the menu comments section, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

posted by Mike 10:27 PM

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

In Memorium

Liza's Grandmother on her Mom's side passed away this afternoon at 87.

This is Liza's birthday... not a nice thing to happen indeed.

She had been living in a nursing home with severe Ahlzheimers, and was pretty unhappy. You can see her last Christmas pictures over on the FlickR site.

She was taken to the Hospital this am, and died around 530 or so this evening, Liza and her Mom and Aunt were there with her.

I'll have more information as it comes along regarding arrangements if you want to send something.

posted by Mike 6:05 PM

The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind