Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Catch 22

"'When I was a kid,' Orr replied, 'I used to walk around all day with crabapples in my cheeks. One in each cheek.'
Yossarian...braced himself suspiciously. A minute passed. 'Why?' he found himself forced to ask finally.
Orr tittered triumphantly. 'Because they're better than horse chestnuts,' he answered."

Orr was tinkering with something and Yossarian watched him.

"'When I couldn't get crab apples,' Orr continued, 'I used horse chestnuts. Horse chestnuts are about the same size as crab apples and actually have a better shape, although the shape doesn't matter bit.'
'Why did you walk around with crab apples in your cheeks?' Yossarian asked again. 'That's what I asked.'

'Because they've got a better shape than horse chestnuts,' Orr answered, 'I just told you that.'" (Catch 22, Joseph Heller. Pg23)

That is only part of the exchange that I have always remembered and loved. It makes little sense, but the writing is of such caliber, with each sentence opening a tiny view hole into the story line, (yet, a hole so tiny that it doesn't make sense until you have gotten so far into the book that the only way out is through the back of the book...and of course you HAVE to finish) that once one reads it, it is forever a part of the reader. (I am sorry, this little tirade/quote/sales pitch was brought on by Blissfully Caffeinated, who posted a list of the 100 best books...which was somewhat suspect, since it included a few twice and ALL of the Harry Potter books as one...but, I had only read 12 of them. This was one of those wonderful books. BC got me thinking about that exchange between Orr and Yossarian...I found it tonight and had to post part of it.

I subbed for third grade dual language today. I did enjoy the kids...didn't know the language, but that was no problem with the kids...they are notoriously NOT picky. I mean, they like me, right? They must not be overly picky. I did enjoy the fact that I got to digress about the space program a few times and the kids liked it when I illustrated my ideas. I also bribed them to pay attention. I told them I would show them how to draw some things if they would be good. Amazing how cheaply they can be bought. Sometimes it is a minute early release, or threat of holding them a minute late...they are so easily manipulated.

NCIS was on tonight! That is one of my favorite shows...gee, I have so many. Too bad they are never on during the say time of the year...I have to wait for January before Psych comes back on. Robin Hood won't be on until roughly the same time. I used to watch Numbers, but it is the same general plot each time...math saves the day. (I don't like math, so therein lies a problem, I think they ought to have a show about how cool history is...maybe it should have its own channel. Nah, they'd never do that.) Anyway, NCIS rocks!
On a final note. I hate my "A" key. I had to spend ten minutes going back in and replacing the A's that should have been there, but weren't!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Life on the Line!

I taught today. I was with the SPED kids again. I was pretty sure one of them was guilty of giving me this cold, but I don't hold grudges. I did, however, wash and sanitize my hands multiple times...probably too much. I got my foot run over repeatedly by a certain wheelchair riding rascal...there are three of them this year. I threatened to give the kid a flat tire...he just laughed like I had told the funniest joke. One girl got a great big kick out of an impromptu wheelchair race...she won...while we waited for the recess teachers to come out. I had a couple teachers ask me if I could sub later this week, to which I had to say I was taken, except for Thursday. No one wanted Thursday. What's wrong with Thursday?

Tomorrow its dual-language third graders...I don't know much Spanish, but that is half the fun, especially when I purposely misunderstand their intentions...

Well, tht's it...boring, huh?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hot Bathwater Cures Ailment

Just kidding. I am still sick. So, apparently the Nocturnal Cold Virus I thought I knew has pushed for over-time hours and won. That or it lost track of time and decided to do its best to torture me all day. I did get up and do stuff. I went to town and got a few things. I got some more vegatables at the farmers' market and came home. I came home and felt like I had been chopping wood (and I haven't because I despise wood splitting). I have sore muscles in places I wasn't ware of having muscles.

I finally gave in and took a hot bath. I would have enjoyed it, but I noticed this chubby bastard smiling at me. Am I running a fever or does this faucet handle look more than a little like a smiling elephant? I don't like him. Stupid smug pachyderm. His screwy eyes followed me. I quickly finished up and got dressed. Damned elephants. Pathetic Peeping Pachyderm.

Speaking of animals that don't seem to know their place. Toby is spoiled. He is worse than last week's garbage. Look at this dog! Cora has to make room for him.

And this fanatic attention is not because he loves us, it is because he likes food. Look at him staring at Cora's food...it's not adoration, just hunger.

Here is a picture of beautiful Cora with a beautiful sunset behind her...

Cora has had a sore back today, so instead of sewing her heart out, she spent most of it laying on her back trying to get it sorted out. SUCKS. Both of us a few notches south of healthy.

The Nocturnal Headcold and Its Natural Habitat

I have been around for awhile now; 34 years to be exact. In that time I have come to know mybody fairly well(It's a very close relationship, seems like we have always known each other). For instance I know my big toe on my right foot seems more likely to get stubbed in the middle of the night than my left toe. My ankles tend to roll sideways when I don't want them to, which often results in severe pain and a limp. I know that if I feel a sneeze coming on, I am one of a small percentage of people (19%?) that can look at a bright light source and force the sneeze. I also know that my tear ducts(...or is it sinus ducts?) are such that if I hold my nose, I can make air come out of my eyes. And finally, I can feel when I have a cold coming on.

That last one is the focus of this post. Headcolds, specifically. I don't enjoy being sick (who does?). But with most malodies there is some outward sign that you are sick. Not so with my headcolds. I walk around during the day and look fine. In fact, I usually feel fine during the day. I have nocturnal colds.

Usually the only symptom I feel during the day might be a runny nose or a slightly sore throat. At night, though, out comes the horrible headcold's worst symptoms. The runny nose turns in to one that won't let anything pass, including air. If it does let anything pass, it is only in one direction. Usually in. So that after a while it feels like my head has become over-inflated.

Even if I do manage to keep one nostril open, other things happen that make me miserable. Tonight, for instance, I have one ear that seems to be working less than the other. I can't hear so well. One of my eyes is watering. I get phantom sore muscles...I suspect they might be phantom muscles, because I am pretty sure I don't have that many muscles. It feels like I should be able to blow my nose, but I can't. and, last, but most annoying, I cannot sleep.

It does not matter what kind of drugs I take. If I have a headcold, I usually have significant trouble sleeping. Sometimes it is that feeling that if you go to sleep you might suffocate in your own mucus(that is a pleasant feeling), but others it is a bothersome itch in the back of my throat that makes it impossible to settle into slumber. Either way, I find it better to sit up and doze.

So, my Nocturnal Cold rages all night long. My head is apparently signed up to employ Union Headcolds, because once the night shift is over I begin to feel better and I can move around with ease and I can breathe! By the end of the headcold I am ready to die. No sleep for Jim makes for a very miserable Jim. Even now, I was just gazing at the computer screen...I don't know for how long. I need to take some more meds...apparently.

Oh, and Meds. I tend to overdose. If the packet says four hours, I know that a half hour before the four hours is up, I am certain to begin to feeling a cold presence and see a very sharp scythe in the corner of my eye...just waiting. I then run in and get the cold meds...I also think that using different meds keeps the cold off balance...say, use Actifed the first time, then use Tylenol Cold, then Nyquil...of course, usually I do this because we didn't buy enough of the same cold medicine and all there is is one of each left in the medicine cabinet...figures.

I wish the cold would go on strike for better pay...maybe it will move on to someone else's head. I sure don't want it in mine. I think I will go die quietly now...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Strong-Armed Into A New Fish

So, my parents said they might come visit today. Last night I took off to lay a set of geocaches for them. A Geocache, for us, is a set of clues to a set of coordinates which we find with our GPS. The last one had a book that my dad would like to read. The first one had a noise maker/booby trap. On one of his previous geocaches for us, he left a railroad spike as a marker and also a noise maker. The noise maker was one of those dollar store items that attaches to a window and when pulled from its magnet makes a horrendous noise/squeal. I used a thin piece of green florist wire to attach the two(when you pull it away from its base it squeals!!!!!!!!). I hid the noise maker part (which had the next clue attached) and left the spike in plain sight. The instructions for the cache said grab the spike. He did. Apparently, it was a good thing that both had used the bathroom before leaving on their drive.

It was a journey with eight legs. One used a laser level to determine the next set of coordinates. My Dad or Mom messed up the coordinates up by one digit. They were completely stumped when the coordinates said he should wade into the river...they called after 20 minutes. I gave Mom the right coordinates and they were on their way again.

One clue was hidden in a gourd. Yes, a gourd. It was a dry one from about three years ago...I poked a tiny hole in it and put the clue in it. I then hung it in a crabapple tree...They had to break it open to get it. I guess they had ALOT of fun doing it.

After they visited we went to town for some groceries. Then we stopped at the pet store. We got the six-line wrasse. Cora's idea...totally. I told her we shouldn't...but she twisted my arm and I had to agree. They are really cool.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kids These Days

Why is it people think that a teacher can tell them whether the curriculum has been "dumbed" down? Why is it, if you are a teacher, you are suddenly, and magically, aware of the whys and wherefores of the curriculum? Why do people give you that knowing look, like, "it was harder in school when I was young, and by god, we got spankings when we screwed up!" "These kids are soft these days!" Well, let me tell you people a few things. ( and don't get all butt hurt, because it was not anyone who reads my blog, I am just blowing some steam. And forgive me if the thought stream is disjointed, I tend to digress.)

I became a teacher because I trully love history. I think it is the best pastime anyone could take up. However, once I got out into the schools, I found that I genuinely like the kids, too. Yes, almost all of them. The kids are mirrors of their parents, though. The ones that are assholes in the classroom usually go home to spend time with assholes at night. You can usually tell what kind of home life they have and, further, you can tell what value they place on education.

I have been placed in a position of trust. The district trusts me to do what is right for the kids. The kids won't automatically trust a new teacher, they are going to sound him out. Is he tough? Funny? Weird? Going to let me get away with murder? Once the teacher has passed the test of at least some of the kids, they are willing to take from the word of others that this teacher is decent and worthy of trust. Mind you the kids are an easy lot to please, so someone that numerous kids don't care for, is probably not wonderful. (Still, everyone has had a teacher they could not stand)

I trust the kids to do as they are told. I trust them to answer to my authority, which is just this thin strand of reason that has magiclly been draped over them...it could break at any moment. I am not their prents. If they misbehave, I am not going to beat them. In fact, there is little I can do. Well, nothing. So, the way I get things done is by using the hegemony that has been set up, by making them want to do things, and using their need to please against them. Closing options when possible to make my preferred option seem the best path, things like that. It is a game of social display, psychology, and public relations.

It is difficult, but the kids are, at heart, good. There are usually 20 kids that are vying for attention or recognition of either me or their peers. Every class is different. Every kid is different. Each and every one of them is operating under some need that they want fulfilled right now. Hopefully they want to please you and some learning accidentally happens, but that is not the norm. I am amazed, even watching the most experienced teachers, how ANY learning gets done at times. It's a slow process. Teachers have their hands tied, but fortunately, the kids I have run into are pretty good.

I did not get the majority of my history knowledge from school. I got it after I left school. I got the majority of my values of liberty and education from college, though. My history knowledge came from home. I read. It's important to want it, yourself. If I had a book, like a science fiction book to read for fun, I also had a history book that I also read for fun.

So, are the kids dumber today? Maybe they don't know dates by rote, but they can use a cell phone and it's many options...could you have done that back in 1983? Me neither. They can also look up an answer in a pinch. They are not bad kids. They are not stupid kids. They are simply different kids under different conditions. So, kindly, don't ask me about what's wrong with the kids these days. I like 'em.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Survivor Gabon

First, I am a Survivor fan. I have been watching it since Cora turned me onto the first one. Pre-DVR. I remember Rich on his brithday...in his birthday suit. Yuck.

OK, I am sure others have said it every time that there is a new Survivor, but REALLY!!?? You are told you have been selected to play on Survivor...what do these people do? They grab their suits, dresses, high heels, and apparently OVERSIZED polos and hop on a plane. If it were me...and I know it isn't...but I am going to pretend it is: I am going to throw on a pair of heavy boots, convertable khakis (Shorts/pants), and a long sleeve heavy cotton shirt with lots of pockets. I will fill those pockets with whatever I think might help make a fire and maybe some good books like: "How to build a fire," "kill a hippo," and "How to Win Survivor"...whatever strikes me as useful. Also, I might start working out...it pays to be fit for these games. Look at this lot! Do you see the BOW TIE????

I might be a teacher, but I am not mature...I think that might be a benefit...keep 'em off their guard...you know. Also, why not make friends with the gay guy? I am straight...or am I? (That was a joke...or was it???)It's a game, you need all the friends you can get!

As a physically demanding game, it seems an intelligent crew would be rid of the eldest or most decrepit member. Also, NEVER EVER volunteer to be LEADER. And, if you DO...DON'T EVER give it up.

Well, Maintenance was nice. It wasn't harrassing the kids, but it will do. I mowed a lawn (big one) and then helped take a tractor to one of the other schools.

On the bright side of today's 17 month anniversary err, month-i-versary, we got the first packet for Burundi tonight. Cora, since she is smarter than me, is giving it a once over. It has all the forms and stuff we need to be getting on with an adoption from Burundi. I think I shall be happy! I can't wait to have a little one in this house! Well, I tink I will finish watching Survivor.


It has been 17 months since we were logged in...wow, how time lags! It is amazing how difficult it is to become a parent when you really want it, but somehow its SO easy for others. I just want one to start with. I can't wait to be a dad.

Well, it should com along here in a few years...

I did not find a sub job today. That means maintenance. Apparently all the teachers want to be aound for the teacher's inservice tomorrow...I guess I can't blame them.

I will have a longer post this evening. I just thought I would let everyone know we are still waiting on Little Miss Whatshername. I KNOW she will be worth the wait ( I know corny, but it is heartfelt). I just want to see more progress.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Stupid Fish

I have a clown fish. His name is Marvin. Cora had a clown fish. His name was Bruce. He died. Mine is still alive. Turns out clown fish are fairly territorial. When I would put my had in Bruce's tank to clean it or rearrange rocks or feed coral, Bruce would make high speed runs on my hand. It did not hurt, but often it came a inopportune times. Usually just as I was considering that bristle worms are supposed to sting. Or simply, I did not expect it and I would jump in a way that was incompensate with the "bite" I had received from Bruce. There was often a spout of cursing shortly after I had bumped the light and then had to make a heroic attempt to save it from falling in the tank...all thanks to a little fish with a big attitude.

Well, Marvin is a Maroon clown. He is supposed to grow up bigger than what Bruce could. Bruce was a Percula Clown. He was only supposed to make 3 inches at best. Marvin is supposed to hit 5 inches or so. I was moving my hand around in his tank last night. I was removing some excess algae and just rearranging some of the rocks. (I was also looking for my stupid urchin) All of a sudden I felt a most insidious thing. Marvin had made a high speed run at my hand and had atempted to take a part of me with him, he doesn't even have teeth, as such. Now, mind you the size comparison between us is...well, he is maybe an ounce, I am 170 pounds. I jumped like a little girl. Stupid fish.

This is not Marvin, but this IS a Maroon clown.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wasted Weekend Days

Given my ambition, I need a weekend with about five days in it for me to get around to doing what I would like to. I think a part of it is the fact that I like surfing the web. Another part is Cora's fault. Over the past year, Cora has been blogging and has gotten to know alot of people on line. I have followed some myself. Then Cora conspired to make me get my own blog. Well, I blame her and Kim for addicting me to blogger. Because of them, I have lost all ambition and will probably waste away in my chair one of these days with the laptop on my lap.

I am not saying I did absolutely nothing. Cora and I went to her Mom's and helped them put up their new fish tank. It is a nano cube. 24 gallons, cube in shape. We got them (and us) some more live rock and it looks like she will have a nice setup. Then we came home and I added some to ours. Pudge jr. appears to approve of the new rock work. It is stacked higher than we have ever had before...it also spotlights the polyps we have had for two years. (they were on some liverock) there are four of them. They are brown (Please keep in mind these are polyps for an aquarium) and unremarkable, but they are ours! The finger coral appears to like its new spot, too.

Cora worked on a dress. It is a very cute dress. I totally think you should go to Cora's site and see...I don't have the picures on my comp. yet. I do have pictures of her while her stuff was still out in the dining room. Toby likes to be in the middle of things helping. He hinders more than anything. See?

Halloween is soon...well, when you get to this age, time seems to fly. I hve been wanting to make a borg costume...That is, I have been thinking about it in a vague sense over the past decade (want to hear my Kennedy impersonation? Try this: duh-KADE. Pretty good, huh?) and now seems a good time to mention it. Two years ago, I wore my helicopter helmet to school. I drove all the way to Ellensburg wearing it. Several cars pulled up next to me and pulled away laughing...I hope that doesn't mean they think I was crazy. Anyway, I enjoyed making use of my ebay helmet. Last year I wore my officer's hat (you know, flat on top)...the kids seemed to enjoy that at least one of their teachers could let his hair down on Halloween. Hmmm, what shall I do this year?

This is me and my headlight...cool, huh?

The firing center (Training Center) seems to be doing some sort of night training. We can hear (and feel) the low rumble of their artillery pieces doing their thing. Probably training up a new batch of men to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Poor bastards. Still, they have big toys. I tried to convince Cora we should tke the truck up on the hill with the video camera to see if we could tape their firing positions...she gave me a look that indicated she thought I might have lost some marbles.

Here is a sunset from late July taken from the truck as I was driving home.

Here is a picture of the overpasses north of Phoenix...I have been meaning to post this for months, but forgot till tonight. Cool, huh?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Knight Rider

Knight Rider! I love a fast car...

Is it wrong that, after more than 20 years, I have a manic thrill coursing through me as I am watching the first episode of Kinght Rider. Yes, complete with David Hasselhoff. I remember this from when it first came on. I was in second or third grade. It has REALLY beena long time since I watched Knight Rider. My best friend was a fanatic. He wanted, more than anything else, to get the light in the grill that went back and forth on KITT. He wanted to install one on his 1976 Pacer. He thought that would be the most awesome thing ever. I always thought he was a little bit off.

Watching this show brings alot of memories of him and my early childhood flooding back. I am also aware that I have had a glass or two of wine. Still, memories are sometimes difficult to control. As some of you know, my dearest friend Jim passed 11 years ago. So, while this is recorded in a post that will sound somewhat dumb later, I now raise my glass to the memory of my best friend. James Damon Coder! May we all have a smart car someday! Here's to you Jim! I miss you.

Today, I made a few false attempts at painting new decorations for our walls. What do you think? Cora thinks the long one is a Tim Burtonesque tribute to the remnants of a forest fire.

I don't think she likes it very much. The other two suffer from trees that have the wrong hue of green...well, I will give them another shot in the morning.

Here is what they used to look like:

We also looked at fish today, but the one we wanted looked sick. Well, I will give the paintings another shot in the morning.

I picked up a book from my youth the other night. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I have a leather bound edition. I began reading where I had left the ribbon. It described flight.

The Hitchhiker's Guide has this to say on the subject of flying:

"There is an art...or, rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss..." This is good stuff, you might want to write it down. "Pick a nice day...and try it." All right, I am a big fan of Douglas Adams. "The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. that is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground." Sounds easy enough. "Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard." Douglas Adams was a genius of the written word. I am truly jealous.

Another Day, Another Frustration

So, I know I don't write alot about the adoption. But this is really beginning to annoy. Our adoption agency sometimes seems to be feeding us bull. Direct answers are often avoided. They just don't seem to want to say, "We have nothing for you." I don't want a specific date in which we will get our dossier, but some vague notion to expect it would be nice. They told us, verbally, that we should see dossiers inside a month...that was July. I have been calling them three and four times a week. Maybe they will get the picture? Nah, I didn't think so. I won't go into the guts of the matter, but I just need to express my frustration. Cora and I both are feeling it this weekend. In a word, "Annoyed."

Today, I think we are going to work on house work. Originally we had intended to help Grandma obtain her laptop, but she said lst night that she thought she would just wait for it. Maybe I can convince Cora to visit the pet store...usully when we visit, I can convince her to buy something...it isn't hard. AND it was her idea to get the 16 gallon bowfront.

Yesterday, I had feared our little clown goby (think "little, yellow, different) had died, but about 830pm he flitted out into the middle of the tank from some crevasse. As of now, I hve no idea where he is...the first clown goby we had (Yes, little, yellow, different) was a bit gregarious. He was owner of his domain, even though he was about an inch long. Maybe we an get a cleaner shrimp? Or a six-liine wrasse. What do you think Cora?

Also yesterday, I subbed at the HS. I subbed Biology. Easy. They were taking a test. My eighth graders are now ninth graders and seem to enjoy seeing me in the hall. They call out to me. Seems I have followed last year's 10th graders, too.

Hmmm, looking for the house cleaning faeries...or maybe they are gnomes...still have not located them. I've heard kids can do chores...hmmm...

Friday, September 19, 2008

California Dreaming

Fall is coming. The temperatures are dropping at night and the days are shorter. By December we will have days where it will be dark when you leave for work and dark by the time you get back. On the bright side, our summer nights are short and the days are long. When we get snow for the first time, I am generally happy for it. However, I would be fine if, after a week, it melted and we went back to 70 degree days. By January, if not mid-December, I will be ready to California Dream.

So, despite my ability NOT to wait for it, here are a couple pics of San Francisco. Specifically, the view from the top of Lombard Street, here:

And the Conservatory in Golden Gate Park, here:

It is one of the prettiest cities I have ever been to. If there is another one better, then I have not been there. I suspect San Diego is almost as good, but I do not know for sure. I miss seeing the things in California. I liked having so many things so close. Roseville was only thrity minutes away and was such a nice place to go shopping. They had almost everything there.

We travelled to San Francisco several times while we lived in California. We took all the family members who came to visit us there. We especially liked entering the city from the north. That meant driving through Sonoma, Napa, and Marin. Then through the tunnels and viola, there was the Golden Gate Bridge.
So, sometime this winter, I will probably be looking at these and wishing. Oh, now you people in AZ, don't feel so bad. If you had a beautiful BAY like this, I'd like you TOO! LOL!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For The Record

For the record, I am fond of people who are fond of me. Just seems to be a good way to do business.

Today, I taught last year's third graders. They are...most of them...fourth graders. Actually, there were only a few I had taught with any consistency in the class I was teaching today. Still, those who had had me seemed to spread the word without my help. They said, "he is a cool sub." They also said things like, "He is funny," and a few even called me their little name for me, a hold over from music class: "Mr. Bobble Head." Seems I might have done that thing that women of color sometimes do on TV when they say, "I don't think so..." with their hand in front of your face, wiggling their finger. You know, when their head goes sideways on their neck, back and forth. I have been known to do such things in my best imitation of said women. I may have done it on more than one occasion in music class last year. Oh, well, there are worse things to be called. It was a good day..and I have actually been more assertive this year. The kids are doing what I ask and I am more certain of myself. I am also more likely to kick their little asses out to the hallway, principal, or detention if they piss me off. Sometimes it is fun being a bad ass.

Since the US Government decided they need our fingerprints...AGAIN, I needed to inform the teacher that asked me to sub for her that I might not be on time. School starts at 840am. Our appointment for the USCIS is at 8am. I think I can be back to school by sometime around 9 or 930. So they should not be without Mr. H for too long. Still, I wanted to be sure the teacher (SPED) would still want me if I were to be late.

She said she would rather work with me than have another sub...did I mention this is the teacher than had me come in for ice cream a couple weeks ago? WHILE I WAS MOWING LAWN. Yeah, she seems to be fond of me. I cannot imagine the other subs are worse than I am. All I do is interact with the kids like they are humans or something...apparently the other subs think they can hide behind the desk and call out to the parapros to do the job for them. I know the paras prefer me. Funny how a little extra work makes such a difference. She also mentioned that she had taken a full day instead of a half day because she knew I prefer to take full days. Cool, that means I will still get the full day's pay even though I am a bit late. That also means I have been doing something right if they want to work WITH me, instead of let me go.

I got another bill from the college. They only want $40 now. I managed to sweet talk them into taking most of it off since I was a loser and was not ready for my Master's test before August 15th. Now, I need to figure out if I should try to finsh my Master's this quarter or Winter. Given our luck with adoptions, no matter what I choose, we will be leaving in the midst of it and I will be out several thousand dollars for attempting and not obtaining a Master's. Figures. Besides, it is amazingly difficult to take the time and make sense out of books while you are employed and attempting to do all the things a grown up does.

Does anyone else remember Tom Selleck in Mgnum P.I.? I do and I think of it everytime I see a picture of this helicopter...

So, here is a challenge to my pathetically small number of devotees! What is the aircraft pictured below? Leave it in the comments.

Dying to Know

Thursday, January 9, 2048

Jim passed today, January 9, 2048. Because he wanted to go to Paradise with his father, his father was disinterred and both bodies are being transported to Paradise, California for burial. There will be no services, just a celebration(we finally got rid of him). Instead of flowers the deceased requested that you bring plenty of whiskey.

Yep, that's a ways away. But, according to the internet death clock, that's the day I will die. I found this referrenced by another blog, called Megginson Technologies. I figure they think the only things that affect your lifespan are your Body Mass Index and whether you smoke...hmmm, not bad. But what about my hobbies? Underwater demolition, sky diving, and monster truck driving! Ok, I don't do those things, but that clock thingy doesn't take that into account. Also, I plan on living to 117. Not to mention the fact that I have to outlive my younger sister so I can collect the $100 we bet when we were young on who was going to die first. As I recall, she did not want to part with $100, dead or not!

I sub for the next two days. Then again on Monday and Tuesday...assuming I can manage it with the re-finger printing. Oh, well.

Adams Quote

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
Douglas Adams

I most whole heartedly agree with Doug on this. If you want to be president(or vice-pres) I think you ought to be unequivically disqualified from the competition. I suspect the best president is one who does not wish to be it. Just my humble opinion, but nonetheless a viable option. I am sorry for getting semi-political.

As seems to be the case teachers seem rarely to be sick on Wednesday, so, accordingly, I worked maintenance. I helped move some heavy things and then paint a field... soccer field that is. Twin actually. The school district has an agreement with Ace about where their practice fields will be for soccer. I helped line the damned things. Fun and HOT! Well, hope everyone has a nice night.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good Books

After going over to Earthbound Misfit's site, I decided to buy one of the books she suggested. I got it yesterday. This afternoon, I was reading it and found a paragraph that was reminiscent of Joseph Heller in Catch 22(this link if you want to check the price). If you have not read Joseph Heller's Catch 22(this link if you want to read about the book), then I definitely recommend it. Then you can pick up a volume by this Daniel Gallery guy.

"The government was trying to maintain control of the streets at home. It does this through a system called the Great Society. In this system, most of the citizens who don't want to work get jobs with the government. Those who won't work for anybody draw relief checks, conduct riots, and burn down obsolete buildings. The rest of the citizens try to earn enough money to stay out of jail for not paying their taxes. This enables the government to make relief payments, to protect rioters from the police, and to defend our freedoms from foreign aggressors (and our allies) who would like to do to us what only our own underprivileged citizens are allowed to do. (Cap'n Fatso, by Daniel Gallery, copyright 1970. Pg.40)"

You have to love authors who love words so much they write entire books with them!!

Today began at 4am, I took Cora to work, came back, and attempted to collect my senses. I headed to the elementary early, figuring on an easy day with 2nd graders. I was quickly asked if I would mind terribly finishing my day at the High School. Why not, it gets out an hour sooner. I went. It's been awhile since I subbed at the High School. Not bad. Especially since I have a certification for it.

Oh, I checked on the sixth grade position. They picked someone last night. Obviously it was not me...dammit.

Cora got home. She is tired, but otherwise unharmed from her day with the BIG BOSSES! We got pizza.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Seahawks! Go Hawks!

We went to Seattle to see the Seahawks. My favorite Sister-in-law (Sorry Molly, but cough up some Hawks tickets and the title is yours!) and Brother-in-law (Same goes for you Paul!) ended up with a couple extra tickets. We happened to be free and, well...isn't it obvious? We accepted. I have never been to a large sporting event and figured, "what the heck! It's been thirty-four years, maybe I should go see a major sporting event!"

I may have taken a pictures more than a normal fan. But, I was impressed by the dedication of the fans (Short for fanatics, right?). Almost every one of them was wearing some sort of Seahawk Paraphernalia. Even I had a Seahawks hat...I managed to come across one months ago. Here are just a few of the pictures. Cora will probably have some diffrent ones. You can find her here.
On the up side, we had a great...GREAT! time. On the down side, just at the final stages of the game the 49ers pulled their heads out of their hind ends and spanked the Seahawks on theirs. (Fans of both teams forgive me for my terminology, I am new, like I mentioned, to major sporting events) This sequence of photos shows us on our way, at the game, and leaving! It was an awesome day.

THANKS EMILY AND RYAN!! I might even spend a day or two with the football game on the TV...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tina Fey, Delicious Dinner!

Crook Neck Squash is a nifty thing. Add a little steam and a little butter, and this vegetable becomes a sweet medley of luscious tastes and textures! Oh, the wonders of home grown vegetables. Cora made excellent dinner tonight. Included in her recipe was crook neck squash...YUMMY. She also included some cucumber with some balsamic, olive oil and sesame oil. OOOOH! Awesome.

We also rented Baby Mama! OK, I think this is a spectacular movie! If you have not seen it...GO GET IT!!!!!!! I mean it! Of course, I also like the movie "Mr. Roberts." Cora, while seeing some of the merits of this movie, does not agree with me when I say it is the world's best movie. But, she is actually splitting a gut...it may take staples, since stitches probably won't cover this kind of splittage! So, since everyone likes a good side-splitting movie, you had better go watch it...wow, I think I will watch it again, I made a pretty good argument for it. Also...uh, don't tell Cora, but,Tina Fey is HOT!! (WITH OR WITHOUT GLASSES)

We also bought a new Pudge. A clown goby, yellow in color. I have commenced calling him Pudge Junior...PJ. We also got two hermit crabs! Awesome. The only down side is he is hiding behind the heater.

Tomorrow we go to the Seahawks/49ers game! I will post pictures when we get home!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Take a Pop-Gun To a Bazooka Fight.

I subbed today. Duh, I have been for four days now. Today I was greeted with the task of two classes at the same time. I have partaken in handling multiple classes, but I have always had help. Today it was me, shooting from the hip. I walked in with a pop-gun and managed to pull a bazooka out of my butt. It started with the librarian needing to leave early. She was in obvious need and I offered to help in anyway I could. She thanked me and went on her way. A little while later she came and asked if I could take a second class. I said yes.

I did not have any specifically formulated plans for a large group...I managed a little comedy, some team screaming, synchronized whooping, and a rousing rendition of "If You're Happy And You Know It." I felt like I should be in front of a larger group...like during an assembly. I think I could have given Cowboy Buck a good run for his money!!

I was in a horrible sweat by the end of it. I was tired when I got home and found myself dozing. When Cora got home, I managed to convince her we needed to go out. Score!

She said my beloved Sister- and Brother-in-law had an extra pair of tickets to the Seahawks game...it will be my first major sporting event. I am kinda looking forward to it. It will prevent me from having to mow the yard or do many of the honey-do's Cora has lined up for me. I wonder who is playing...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bad Names and Memorable Dates

I had a good day. The kids seemed to enjoy my antics. I enjoyed the kids, though one of the kinder classes had a LARGE number go to timeout. I hate doing it, prefering to work with them, but there are things to be done, and if they hinder the learning(imagine the headlines: Kinder Learning Hindered?!)...well, I am not legally allowed to carry a taser.

So, let's talk about names. There are just some names that should not be given. Here's one that should never re-enter the lexicon: Adolf. I think it was pretty much ruined by its most famous wearer. How about Stalin? Mao? We don't see alot of kids named Satan, or even Lucifer, despite the legend that he was the most beautiful angel in heaven. Lee Harvey is not a popular combination anymore. Nor is Jack Ruby a popular name. How about John Wilkes? What about Bambi? Hannah Montanna is now not necessarily a good idea..what if she goes out of popularity once she hits puberty? What about Maxwell Klinger? Walter O'Reilly? Sherman? There are many names that probably should NOT be used to name your spawn. What about James Earl Ray? What if you had a German child named Jerry? What about James Tiberius? Or Jean Luc? Pavel Checkov? William thomas Riker? Alex P. Keaton? Oh, the pains of naming a child! What if we decided to name our little girl Hildegard Unice? Her initials would be HUH? Or our son Hubert Albert? HAH! So, Kim, do you have any ideas?

Well, I found another blog you might like. She is a bit funny. The blog name, Blissfully Caffeinated, is way too descriptive! She is funny, just disregard today's September 11 blog, which is not exactly hilarious.

Well, I suppose I would be an ass not to mention it, but given the number of people remembering this day, maybe I am a little redundant. Don't get me wrong, I like dates... especially fresh California ones(And Kim says Bacon wrapped Dates are the bomb)...but also the calendar type. What really sticks in my mind is the fact that I came home for lunch and found it on the TV. I had known about some airplane crashing into a high rise, but not the extent of it. I almost did not go back to work that morning. It was trully memorable and horrible. I also remember the skies being contrail free for week. The Discovery magazine later noted temperatures in the continental US rose because of the lack of cooling contrails in that week. Leave it to scientists to find a bright side! Well, I suppose we each have our tales to tell. I suspect it is similar to such things as the day Mount St. Helens blew and the day Kennedy was shot. Go fig.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mr. Wonderful...

Yes, you guessed it, it's me. I am Mr. Wonderful. I am the one all you ladies missed out on. Cora got me. And to all you schools out there looking for me...well, E. Valley has me. Sorry, you lose. O.K., maybe I have had a bit of a boost to my ego today... Yesterday, at the elementary, I was told about a new opening for 6th grade. I thought, what the heck, I'll throw my hat in the ring. You never know if you don't try. Of course, I am not specifically certified for 6th grade, but I seem to be doing o.k. at the elementary.

Well, last night I forgot about it. I was going to write a cover letter to let the HR person know of my interest. I forgot to. Today, I was getting ready to leave. Cora was already gone. The phone rang. I was in a bit of a compromised position and was cursing Cora's timing, but made it to the phone on time. It was not Cora, but my beloved Mother-in-Law. She told me about the 6th grade position. I said, yeah, I am going to drop off a cover letter today.

I went to work, subbing again, music again today. Again, several coworkers there reminded me of the open job. I began to get the hint that maybe I should apply for the job already. I talked to Cora and she mentioned it...WHO THE HELL IS TELLING THESE PEOPLE ABOUT THIS DAMNED JOB? Does SOMEONE REALLY want me to get a job? What have I done to them? Has Cora spread the word that I "want" (Probably how Cora would phrase it) to work a permenent position? Not fair! I like subbing.

So, I sat down during the plan period and wrote a cover letter. Then I printed it and took it to a teacher whose opinion I value. She made a couple corrections...basically, I was not being as cocky as I should have been. I believe my wording was a conservative: "usually requested by teachers." Hers was an emphatic: "Ever-increasing" requests keep me away from other schools because they like me at the elementary so much. As we were talking another teacher came in. She said that I was a "Hot commodity." The first teacher suggested jokingly(I hope) that I include that...huh, if only.

So, I was at the end of my day and was escorting my charges to their respective busses when this same lady teacher called to me. I dismissed my last charge (I aimed him in the direction of his bus and hoped he knew his numbers) and made my way over. She said, "this is the Vice-Principal at the school where you are applying." Wow. I said hi and probably sounded a bit goofy, but my friend the teacher said she thought it went well. She later told me that the vice-principal had seen me and asked about me and if I was looking for a job. To which my friend had replied that, coincidentally, I was applying for the position this afternoon. Then she introduced me. Hmmm...I hope that was a good first impression...of course, maybe I can rely on her son/nephew who was apparently in one of my music classes today. He was acting like he was talking to a rock star. I looked around to see if Hannah Montanna had showed up and was standing behind me...nope, darn, I wanted an autograph. He said, "you are the best teacher, Mr. Huffman! You dance funny!" I hope she will take referrences that are from children.

So, I went back to the classroom, locked up and went to leave my cover letter asking to be considered for the job. I hope they do consider me. That would give me a chance to wave that in Cora's Cousin Laura's face...I hope she doesn't get a job, yet! (Laura, you better get some applications out, because I am on your heels without even breaking a sweat!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Principles and Principals

My first day back substituting actually ended with a child in the office talking to the principal. I am an overwhelmingly good natured teacher...at least I think I am...and it takes LOT to make me send a child to see the principal. I mean, yeah, if you were hitting someone else, or were doing something else equally heinous, you are going to go see a higher authority.
This kid just would not do what I asked(be quiet while I am giving directions, sit still). Then when I asked him to go to time out, he begged me not to make him. That annoyed me. Still he would not go(Weird, since kids at this school almost always obey immediately). I then offered another choice: Principal or corner? He chose the corner/timeout, but took his time. I caught him watching class activities over and over again...finally, I grew tired of telling him to turn around. I told him if he did not stop it, I would send him to the principal. He seemed to understand, and turned back to the corner. Seconds later he was facing the room again. It is against my principles to let that go. "GO!" And he complained and pouted and whined and begged. He said he'd already been once today. There was another teacher in the room. I asked her to escort my boy to the office. I did not want to start the year like that.

On the other hand, at least I was not outside with the maintenance boys. They were picking up the dirt we had shovelled the day previous. Yesterday I helped them dig holes. each of us had to dig a four feet deep hole and then help on the final one. These are for some basketball hoops. I hve never really enjoyed basketball, but having to dig a four feet deep hole has definitely lowered my appreciation for the game.

I have three more days of subbing for music. Tomorrow should be better.

As for today, kids continue to tell me I am dancing. I have been telling them I don't dance...they laugh and say I do. Well, whatever makes them happy.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Free Wheeling

Did you know that the State Capitol of West Virginia is Charlestown? It was originally at Wheeling...well, I suspect that Freed Wheeling from having to keep the town clean and ready for governmental business. Cool huh? Yeah, I was just WV baiting. Wee Vee was the nickname of the Battleship West Virginia, just FYI.

Today? Well, I need to perform a water change for my tank and since I will have the stuff out, I may as well do it for the reef tank. I should do about 3 gallons for my tank and one for the other. We need to figure out where to put the ten gallon reef tank for the long term. We will go to town for new salt and we may do some grocery shopping. I think we will also try to prep and plant grass in the side yard. We will just have to wait and see.

We had a great time at the Birthday Party. I still am in awe of the cake. Emily was instrumental in its creation! I made a couple salads, my Father-in-Law's fish was phenomenal! Here are some pics of the Birthday party. If you don't like 'em, don't look at 'em.

There were giants in attendance...

and cousins...

Someone had the brilliant idea of giving me a face to eat...that was a little disconcerting...

some avoided eye contact with the camera...

over and over...

Everyone donated to Grandma's New Laptop Fund! She is well on her way to being able to buy one, now! Grandma, if you want to go to the Tri-Cities to visit the Circuit City, we will gladly give you a lift!