Archived news items from April 1999
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.
Hey, I'm still alive. This has been one long week (since about April 19). Things may finally slow down a little maybe Sunday afternoon.
We had a dress rehearsal for our barbershop quartet tonight, and it went pretty well. I think we need a bit more polishing before tomorrow night, and we should really have it down by the last show, but at least we won't be embarrassed.
I've been asked by several people for my opinion about the incident in Littleton, since I'm a school teacher myself. Here are my thoughts:
One of the best discussions of the event I've seen is in this excellent Salon Magazine article. Also read an essay by online author Jon Katz, Voices From the Hellmouth, about how all this press has "left geeks, nerds, non-conformists and the alienated in an even worse situation than before."
That's it for now. I've got to get to sleep. I've got a lot to do tomorrow.
I just got back from seeing our Shakespeare Through Performance class perform Comedy of Errors. It is excellent. Fortunately, there is still one showing; this Sunday at 2pm at Leander High School, so my readers in the Austin area still have a chance to see it. I highly recommend it. In fact, I'm going back again on Sunday (it's free, after all) to see the second cast perform. Masterful stuff. That Shakespeare really does deserve all the attention he gets, I think.
In other news, my students have begun their big END OF THE YEAR PROJECTS. As usual, many of them of pretty psyched out by the whole thing. Check out my computer science page if you're interested in the details.
The quartet is really coming together. We still have yet to rehearse with all four of us present (eek!), but we're starting to get a feel for the parts. So it looks like we may not embarrass ourselves after all.
And I'm reminded by my mother (who thinks about such things) that I'll no doubt have to pay a pet deposit if I choose to get kittens. I was aware of this but had actually forgotten it recently. The matter is still being weighed, so feel free to send in your $0.02 worth.
Finally, it looks like enrollment for my class will be pretty high this coming year. The program is definitely growing.
Goodness, how time flies when you're having fun. I guess I haven't updated in a bit, have I?
This weekend I participated in much carnage; I had several college friends over for a good old-fashioned LAN party. We used a borrowed 16-port hub from the school to hook up our four computers (with a Pentium II 266 being the slowest of the bunch) and spent about twelve hours killing each other in deathmatch Half-Life. It's no big surprise that I had the worst frag count, since I was the only participant who didn't own Half-Life and therefore hadn't played it through. We switched to Quake II for a bit and I rose to second place, so I felt pretty good about that. You know, Quake II is a faster game than HL.
I also had the chance to play pool and reminisce about old times with some old high school friends; that was a lot of fun.
So anyway, this week has been fairly busy and this weekend will be a bear. I have five social engagements in three days, and I'm having to actually plan out how I'm going to make all of them. Looks like fun, though.
And on top of all that, I'm busy rehearsing several barbershop quartet pieces with some of my former students; we'll be singing at the Blue Belles Spring Show next weekend. At the moment, we are woefully unprepared, but hopefully we won't embarrass ourselves.
That's about it for now. I'm considering getting some kittens. Anyone wishing to offer advice is welcome to let me know.
Grading is done for the fifth six weeks. Now all I really have to do in terms of icky grading is the final projects which my students will begin in a week or so.
Have I mentioned before that procrastination will be the death of me?
We just passed a new watermark: 4 hits a day! Wow! Look out, AOL, Mitchell's page is picking up steam!
Seriously, it does make me happy that almost thirty people a week decide to drop by my page. It's nice to know I have a soapbox here on the web. I'd like to thank each and every one of you. And, with a fan base as small as mine, I could probably actually do that. Let's see Blue thank each of his visitors personally. I don't think so....
Thanks again, and let's try to make 5!
Just got back from seeing The Matrix, which was in fact very good. Got to see the Episode I trailer while I was at it. Go see this movie while it's still in the big screen. A nice one. Not the best movie I've ever seen, but probably the most entertaining this year. I didn't even really mind the fact that Keanu Reeves was in it. Probably the best acting job I've ever seen from him.
Well, I need to look at grading at least a little of this pile before I go to bed, so I'd better get going.
In the CD player right now:
Oh, and about the whole Graham Foundation thing: yes, it was a joke. Call it an April Fool's prank. I have to give credit where credit is due to my friend Lee who inspired the whole thing in an email message he sent. Once he mentioned the idea, I knew it was too good to pass up. It sure made it easier to come up with update material... maybe I should die more often.
I was going to apologize for not updating in about a week, but it seems that someone has been taking care of updates for me.
I'm not sure who this "Graham Foundation" is or how they got access to my web page, but let me set some things straight:
Anyway, I've now changed the password on my web server, so hopefully anyone who previously had access does not anymore. I've also contacted my Internet service provider to see if I can get access logs from the past week to see from where and when anyone has uploaded content for my web page so I can figure out where this whole thing came from.
What I have done over the last week is have a busy but pleasant Easter, with a record attendance of over 250 at church Sunday morning. We also had a very good crowd for our first-ever Wednesday night Bible study, which will be every other week at 7:30. I got to lead worship by myself for a change, which was harder than I remember it being. It's been a long time since I've been up there solo.
I've been busy with the typical end-of-six-weeks fare at school. Students are taking the six weeks test right now, a slight change of pace from the projects I usually do. I had two reasons for this: I didn't want to lose the lecture days to working on a project in-class (three) since I've got a bit more to cover this year. In addition, arrays, searching and sorting don't lend themselves to projects very well. So my days have been a bit simpler this week without having to answer questions on projects all day.
I hope none of you were terribly dismayed by the news of my death. My parents weren't fooled, though my little brother expressed concern that I had "been dead for a week now and I haven't gotten your computer and guitar yet." I'm pretty sure he was kidding....
Anyway, that's it for now. Thanks for not abandoning my web page after my "death". You guys are the greatest fans ever.
More sad news from the Graham Foundation...
Like the prodigal son, the Graham Foundation has run out of money. We regret to inform you that this lack of funding means that no further updates will be made on our behalf. Hopefully some other benevolent organization will continue in our footsteps.
On a related note, the south of France is quite beautiful and we at the Graham Foundation have really enjoyed our time here over the past several days. We can tell you, no one knows wine quite like the French.
However, as we have used the last bit of our money, it appears that we may be stuck in France for a while. This is unfortunate, as we have incurred some debts which we are having difficulty covering. The French authorities are not particularly sympathetic to our plight. Please send help.
This last update is being made on a laptop computer belonging to an American business traveler, but she needs to board her train now, so we must sign off.
It has come to the attention of the Graham Foundation that Mitchell typically "archived" older news entries on the first of the month. We have elected to continue this tradition.
In other news, it appears that Graham is still dead. We'll update with more details if they develop.
Sad news from the Graham Foundation...
Today, Graham Mitchell passed away in a freak food poisoning incident involving habanero salsa and some Spam gone bad. Fortunately, Mr. Mitchell, as he was affectionately known by his students, had the foresight to set up a fund in the event of his untimely demise. This fund would create an organization called The Graham Foundation, charged with the important task of continuing to provide high-quality content for this page even after his death.
The legal documents which established this group also require us to include the following text on the first postmortem update:
Hey all. I guess if you're reading this then I'm gone. I hope I've left things in some semblance of order and that I've been able to do some good things during my short time on earth. And more importantly, I hope I've glorified God, at least in some small way, with my life. I'm in a better place now, where I'm finally free of "this body of sin and death"; a place where I can praise God with everything I have. See you all when you get home.
Hopefully the Graham Foundation will be able to live up to the high standards which Mr. Mitchell set for this page. To illustrate, we'd like to kick this off with the following humorous anecdote, which, according to the coroner's report, probably happened a few hours before Mr. Mitchell's tragic death. In an effort to keep the same personable style Mr. Mitchell maintained while alive, this will be written as a first-person narrative, and details will be fabricated as necessary to maintain realism.
Today I learned that not all paper plates are microwavable. I attended the spiritual birthday party of a friend last weekend, and he sent some pizza home with me on one of those cool birthday party plates with little bits of 'foil'. Well, despite the fact that the plates are mostly paper, they still react as foil does in the microwave: with arcing and crackling and fire. The pizza and microwave are fine, but I had to throw away the paper plate.
In my defense, I did not look closely at the plate before microwaving it. It was only after the flaming had occurred that I noticed the little foil areas. Oh well, my apartment needed airing out anyway.
We at the Graham Foundation are of course sorry at the death of Mr. Mitchell but are looking forward to the opportunity to provide you with interesting content in the future.
I had the opportunity to attend A Solemn Assembly, put on by the Christian Council at the University of Texas. It featured a thought-provoking and challenging message from Lou Giglio, praise and worship by Caedmon's Call, and prayer, prayer, prayer. Man, how I've missed stuff like that. I brought a sizable portion of our praise team, and it was good for us. To paraphrase a song we do, "God has spoken and I know this changes everything."
I also helped my next-door neighbor move out of her apartment. She's going to UT to try to be a nurse. I'm sad to see her leave; it's unlikely my new neighbors (whoever they are) will be as pleasant.
Also, everybody change your calendars. The next concert for Austin Singers will be May 20, not the thirteenth as previously reported. Sorry about that. Fortunately you wrote it in pencil....
Anyway, I'm up way past my bedtime, which seems to be a theme for this week. Time for sleep.
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