Archived news items from March 2001
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.
news from April 2001
Other than the filming, which has been rescheduled for Friday, today pretty much went as expected. Oh, except that Bob is feeling sick so I'm leading tomorrow (he's playing drums). Went out with Anthony to eat at The China Bowl or some such. I ate way too much.
Well, it's nearly midnight if you pretend daylight savings time has already begun, so it's time for bed. The bad part about switching from CST to CDT is that I'll want to change my cool timestamp macro which means re-recording it from scratch, since I don't think existing macros can be modified.
Felt a little better today, but I'm not out of the woods yet. Paid some bills this evening, and then watched a video of my Project Graduation concert of last year that one of my students (Tim Yip) recorded and finally copied for me over his spring break. Then, I looked at his web page, and his web cam shows me he's just finishing playing guitar himself. It was kind of weird.
Also, Cara Bertron, another former student, appreciator of Alan Greenspan and older sister of math-tutoree Jesse dropped by for a visit today. She's been home this week from Stanford on her spring break.
And somewhat surprisingly, my white board finally arrived. I'd been expecting a longer delay since it was supposed to be a special order, but it's now physically in my room. I put in a work order to have it installed, so we'll see how long that takes.
Tomorrow is an artsy day, with filming for a childrens' Easter video, band rehearsal and (assuming I'm healthy enough) jamming with former college roommates on the docket.
I had hoped to make it down to Mango's to see Bag of Stephens, but it looks like my health is trying to keep me home. I've felt progressively more icky the past several days, despite getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of fluids, and I don't think getting back from a club at 11pm would be wise in my current state.
This also means I won't be giving blood tomorrow for this semester's blood drive. Urgh.
Today after school I watched our drama class perform The Clearing at district One Act Play competition (conveniently hosted at Leander High School). It was well-acted all around, but the play itself just didn't really grab me. Hopefully they'll advance to the next round and pick up some acting honors to boot.
Now instead of leaving for Mango's, I'm going to go to sleep.
Since I'm not in a fellowship group at the moment (not until Bob kicks off his Renaissauce group on April 10), I went up to the church this evening to help with child care. I worked with the school-age ones, since there were plenty of workers with the toddlers and pre-school already. It was fun, as usual, and I got climbed on a lot.
I'm currently downloading the latest release (0.8.1) of Mozilla, my primary web browser at the moment. This is Netscape's open-source project that sort-of spawned the horribly buggy Netscape 6. Mozilla is different. I like it. Of course, I sometimes use IE 5.5 when it suits me, and still revert to Netscape 4.08 occasionally, too. I imagine most people don't have three web browsers installed, but when I was working on the new design for grahammitchell.net I wanted to try it out on a variety of browsers.
The download has about 35 minutes remaining (I really need to get DSL), so it looks like I'll be up for a bit longer.
After over ten hours of sleep last night and an easy day at school, I've been pretty productive. I stayed after school until nearly 8:00 adding another album to the jukebox (Michael Jackson's greatest hits) and finally writing a program to grade the sorting worksheets that have been sitting ungraded for a couple of weeks now.
I bought a new flavor (or maybe I should say "flavour") of Ben & Jerry's ice cream this week: Kaberry Kaboom! The interesting part is that it contains white-fudge-covered "cracklin' candy", which might not sound familiar to you unless you've ever had Pop Rocks. A little strange, if you ask me. Last week's flavor was also new: Aloha Macadamia. It wasn't anything special, unless you're just really enamored with macadamia nuts. The chocolate ice cream was exceptional as always, but the flavor was no New York Super Fudge Chunk.
I'm tired. I'm going to go to bed right now, and maybe I'll get more than ten hours of sleep. My Bb harmonica came in today.
The concert was good. It turns out it's not the last ever, but just for a month or so. I even danced a little, but I didn't drink a beer (believe it not, I considered it). Worship went well this morning, assuming you don't count after the second service when half a gallon of black interior latex paint got spilled on the carpet in the sanctuary. We got it cleaned up remarkably well, though. Once I got home from church, I took a three-hour nap in preparation for tonight.
Next week should be unusually free in the evenings. Since Bob is out of town we don't have rehearsal, freeing up Tuesday and Thursday night. And there's a message on my machine telling me my usual Monday night math tutoring is cancelled, mostly because Jesse's older sister (and a former student of mine) is home for spring break.
Today was another social day. I slept quite late and didn't have to get up in a rush to get anywhere. I had lunch with a friend I hadn't seen in maybe five years at Jason's Deli.
Then I spent some time at home practicing guitar, then left around five for a birthday party for the younger brother (and current roommate) of a former roommate of mine. Clear? Most of the other people that made it to the party were people I didn't know from his martial arts class. I was worried that since they all had "ninja training" and were drinking margaritas that I was sure to get beaten up before the night was over. It turns out my fears were unfounded.
I had a virgin margarita, which wasn't much to speak of. Margarita mix and ice in a glass with a squeeze of lime and some salt around the rim. It was pretty tart, but I suspect it loses a lot without the tequila. We did play some drinking games (kind of fun playing with water in your glass), including Presidents, which is fairly complex. After mastering it, I think I may be ready for bridge.
I had to cut out early since I have to be at the church at 7:45 tomorrow. That's a shame because they had just started watching X-Men, which I've never seen. Earlier we had watched Young Tiger, an old Jackie Chan flick in which he hardly even makes an appearance.
Tomorrow night is going to be Guy Forsyth's last regular Sunday night show at Antone's. So I'm going to be there, though I'm not sure how I'll be able to get up for work the next morning since he plays from 9:00pm to 1:00am and will probably go long on his last night.
I also just got mail from Bag of Stephens' bass player, who'd searched for his own band online and found my review. They've got two gigs in the next week: Monday at 9pm at Momo's and Thursday at Mango's. I may be able to check them out since I won't have rehearsal next week (Bob will be out of town again).
I met with the computer science teacher this morning. He was in my room for nearly two hours, and we got to talk for quite a bit and he also got a chance to observe everything. He seems to know what he's doing, so basically if the principal decides to offer him a job and he accepts, I might find myself with conference periods for a change next year.
Good news today. Unless something changes, I'll be meeting with the prospective computer science teacher tomorrow. If I get a good vibe off him and can give him some good reasons to plant himself at LHS....
Rehearsal was fun tonight. We're doing an unplugged set, and our band jam is funky. I spent half an hour before heading up to rehearsal listening to the CD and trying to duplicate the feel of two guitars and a keyboard with just one acoustic. Turned out pretty well.
I'm going to seriously try to get to bed before 11:00 tonight. I haven't been getting enough sleep this week.
Oh, and I had a hard time getting this update up. It appears that the DNS servers for my local ISP (not the web hosting people) are down, and have been since at least 6pm. So I've been having to deal with IP addresses directly, which is no fun. Hopefully they'll get that fixed pretty soon.
Today's been a busy one. Tried to get to school early this morning for a faculty meeting. Then taught all day. My music stuff (except for the Bb harmonica) arrived during my lunch. Then right after school I spent an hour and change talking with an engineer from IBM about bringing in some folks to talk to my students about what software engineering is like.
I hung around afterward and got some work done in my classroom, and then at 7pm, we had an informational meeting for parents about advanced classes like AP and IB. I set up a little booth and talked to several parents about computer science and its prerequisites.
It was over at 9, and I talked to some fellow teacher for a bit and finally left for home by about 9:45.
I found out today that there's a possibility they found a computer science teacher to help me out. I may get a chance to meet him in the next few days. I'll keep everyone posted.
Today I found out that my whiteboard for school won't be coming real soon. I got a call from a lady at Convenience Office Supply, asking me where I'd gotten a price for a 4' x 10' board. I told her "Tom" had quoted it for me and she said that they didn't carry 4' x 10' boards. "Must be a special order," she said to herself and was going to ask Tom about it. I'd sort of hoped that it would arrive soon, but it looks like it may take a bit.
With any luck, I'll get the Java books this week and may possibly get my harmonicas and cords tomorrow.
Okay, I remembered some things I'd done yesterday. I spent a while working on my budget and balancing my checkbook. I also wrote up a robots.txt file for this site, which search engines look for to tell them which pages not to index. With my newfound tax wealth, I ordered two more harmonicas (the last keys I needed) and some guitar cables from Musician's Friend.
Today was a day for gifts for me. A fellow teacher picked up a tie for me from New Orleans, if I recall correctly. A student (that same one that lent me the Ill Harmonics CD six weeks ago which eventually led to my purchase of same) gave me three CDs he'd gotten for free: Gotee Urban Vol. 2 (a Gotee brothers sampler), a promotional copy of Johnny Q. Public's Welcome To Earth, and a promotional copy of Sonic Flood's Sonic Praise. ("Advance promotional copy - not for sale. In stores 9.26.2000.") I'm not sure if the RIAA is going to hunt me down for having these; I guess we'll see.
Today was also my math tutoring day. I graded Jesse's papers, and he's still doing pretty well. He seems to rush through his work sometimes, but his understanding is good. I was also fed some good spinach lasagna and fresh spinach salad (with avocados, yum).
I've decided that I need more adjectives to describe something that is quite good. I seem to use "excellent", "superb", "incredible", and "fun" far too frequently. Let me know if you have suggestions.
All the rehearsal yesterday must have paid off: worship was excellent this morning. Man, it was good.
After I got home from church I downloaded a 1040EZ and ran the numbers that way as well. The final analysis: 1040EZ would give me a small refund. Switching to the 1040A increases the refund by $200. Switching to the regular 1040 and filing a Schedule A increases that by $100 more. So, I finished out the 1040 and got it ready to go out with the mail tomorrow.
I did change out all the strings on my guitar, so they're stretching right now. I'll play it a lot tomorrow night, then clip the last little bits of the string ends off and tune it up to standard.
I also downloaded the newest Eudora. I've been using Eudora for years, but I've always used Eudora Light, which was stripped down but free. So now I've installed the full thing, which is running in "Sponsored Mode". This means I get full functionality but get to see ads displayed in the corner. In this mode I have the capability to check and send mail from multiple accounts, so I'm going to be policing people that are still sending to my old email address.
It really seems like I did something else big and productive today, but nothing comes to mind.
We had worship team rehearsal this morning from 11:00 until just after 1:00. Then several of us went to Chuy's, where we waited more than half an hour for a table, nearly as long for our food, and basically ate lots of chips, salsa, and creamy jalapeño sauce. I only ordered some queso and didn't eat much of it, and Bob paid for me, anyway.
I got home from Chuy's at 3:30 or so and sat down to figure up my taxes. One of the other teachers at school who's sort of my adopted mother when I'm away from my real one wanted me to do a real 1040 (I've been doing the 1040EZ so far), because she was convinced that what I was paying in student loans would be a good deduction for me. Of course, this year the IRS didn't mail me a 1040EZ, only a TeleFile form which doesn't have any tables or anything, so I can't work a sample one to see how it would come out. I did do a 1040A and I'd get back some money, which hasn't been the case for a few years. I also suspected that my "charitable" giving might be more than my standard deduction, so I downloaded and printed a full-blown 1040 and Schedule A. A preliminary examination of that shows that I'd get back more money. Tomorrow after church I'll download a 1040EZ and run the numbers that way to see which is in my best interest and then maybe finish out whichever version and mail it off on Monday.
Then, after having fun with tax forms, I went over to a friend's house that I haven't seen in a couple of years. She and her husband took me out to eat at the Saltgrass Cafe. We had to wait nearly forty-five minutes for a table, and then another twenty or so for our food, but it was worth the wait. Their freshly-baked bread with honey butter was great, and I had one of the best grilled chicken salads of my life. Oh, and they bought me dinner as well, so for all the eating out I did today, I only had to pay for my corn flakes.
After we'd eaten, we went back to their house and played with their dog (a golden retriever about nine months old) and they showed me pictures of their trip to Canada.
I just put a replacement string on my guitar since I'm up too late to change out all six. Maybe after I've done my taxes tomorrow I'll do that.
I went by the mall this morning to pick up the CDs I'd ordered: Bloom by Audio Adrenaline, and An Octave Above The Original by the Ill Harmonics. Bloom is a good CD, but there are some weak parts (unlike Underdog, which is pretty much solid front to back). An Octave Above The Original is great through and through, with the possible exception of What I Am, a cover with altered lyrics of Edie Brickell's hit. Maybe if I hadn't been such a big Edie Brickell fan when the original was popular I could stand their treatment of it. And it's not that their version is bad, it just doesn't groove like the original.
I spent several hours today up at school upgrading software in the lab. I'm now using the most recent network client, which may fix the problems my students have been having with getting locked out of the network.
Of course, while there I also put all the new albums on the classroom jukebox, so we'll be kicking some Ill Harmonics on Monday.
It was a lazy morning. I woke up at 4:30 to see my brother off for work (those stock people start early). Then after he left I slept until 10:00, then ate breakfast. I found the number for Overton High School on Yahoo's yellow pages, but I called and it just rang and rang. So I assumed they were out for spring break and just went back the quickest way. I left just after 1:30 and got to Palestine in just under two hours. I rested for a bit and hung around to catch Mom on her 5 o'clock dinner break, then left for Austin at 5:45. I got in about 9:15, unpacked the car, and then went to the grocery store to get cat food.
Now I'm worn and am going to go to sleep. Lemstone (the local Christian book store) called while I was gone to say the CDs I'd ordered are now in. I'll pick them up tomorrow.
Oh, and thanks to Blue's News, I've now got a link to the great Calvin and Hobbes version of All Your Base Are Belong To Us that I was talking about.
I'm in Marshall, in my brother's room. I met him at work and got the "grand tour" of Hastings. Then I followed him to his house in Marshall (with a stop at "CPU" to pick up a cross cable). No more than five minutes after we arrived home, Paul's friend Sean came by with a gig for us. A youth minister friend of his was looking for a band to lead worship for their Wednesday night youth meeting. We were hip, so we hurriedly put together a set list and drove up.
There were about thirty youth there. I broke a string on the third song, so we got to swap guitars for the rest of the set. It was cool, and Paul even got paid, which is nice for him.
Then we went back home and picked up some food at Burger King. I got a double cheeseburger and one of those frozen beverage thingys they sell. I'd been craving a double cheeseburger since AcaDec competition, so it really hit the spot.
We'll be hitting the hay pretty soon, because Paul has to be at work like before the sun is up. I'll head back to Palestine some time tomorrow morning, and may stop by my alma mater on the way back if they're not at spring break.
Today I slept really late. After noon I went out and actually hand-washed my car for the first time since two spring breaks ago. I waxed it also, so it's actually shiny again. I can tell the finish doesn't have many layers left, but I probably won't still be driving that car two years from now.
I did get a chance to listen to White Ladder a few times, and I like it. It's too early to tell if it'll be a favorite album, but at least Anthony is off the hook.
I'm going to drive up to Marshall tomorrow afternoon to spend the evening with my brother. I'll spend the night with him and then drive back down Thursday after he leaves for work.
I've been reading quite a bit of Otherland, and it's hard to put down. In fact, staying up late last night reading is one of the reasons I slept so late today.
The drive to East Texas was uneventful. My little brother was home for just a little while, since he had to be at work at 9:30 this morning. As I mentioned before, he works at Hastings and so was able to get me four of the CDs from my wishlist at a total savings of $11. So now I have Dave Matthews' Crash and Live at Luther College, Nirvana's Nevermind, and David Gray's White Ladder. I've heard all of them all the way through enough to know they are good, except White Ladder, which my friend Anthony swears is worth it. He told me to buy it and assured me that if I didn't like it he'd buy it from me. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, though.
Other than getting up to help my brother tie down a bed he was taking back home, I got to sleep late today. Spring Break is awesome.
Worship went quite well this morning. I'm now packed and ready to leave for East Texas. Barring any weirdness, I should be able to update from there, but if not, I'll see you again this weekend.
I just finished taking the online defensive driving course at DefensiveDriving.com. It was very slick and much more informative than when I went to comedy defensive driving last year. This cost a little more ($40 versus $25 which is the minimum allowed by the state) and lunch wasn't provided, but it is so much more convenient. You can take it all in one sitting in six hours (really closer to seven, but that's a long story), or space it out over as long as 90 days. You can log out at any time and then resume at any time. Also, I didn't have to drive anywhere or call to reserve a spot beforehand. I'd highly recommend checking it out if it's something you have to do.
As I say, the material was much more informative but less entertaining than the Comedy thing I did last year, though they did have some video clips with Bill Nye explaining airbags, and occasionally I read a quote like the following:
"Hitting large animals is extremely dangerous and can kill you."
I went jogging first thing this morning, and just like last week I jogged most of the way and only walked a little. With a little more practice, I might be able to jog the entire mile and half one way. Maybe by summer.
Tomorrow after church I'm heading home to see Mom and Dad and my brother for Spring Break. I'll spend several days up there and head back to Austin in time for next weekend.
Now I need to get away from the computer for a while. I've been on this thing almost non-stop since 11:30 this morning. I started reading Otherland last night, a sci-fi novel I know almost nothing about by Tad Williams. Maybe I'll spend an hour or so reading that and then get to bed real early. Oh, yeah....
During lunch today I called back Albert Peabody. He was gone for the day, so I got to talk to Jeff Peabody instead. He said that they hoped to get me onboard and within 24 months I'd be trained and ready to head up my own business in the Austin area as representative vice president, earning maybe 100,000K a year. I asked him where he got my name. He told me they'd bought a list of people having mid- and upper-level management experience who'd been in Austin for five to ten years. I told him I didn't have any management experience and was a school teacher. He seemed a bit surprised, and politely apologized. Quite interesting.
In a follow-up only the internet can produce, there is now Am I All Your Base Or Not?, a ratings site for "All Your Base Are Belong to Us" doctored photos. Most are pretty bad, but there was a great Calvin and Hobbes rip-off.
Tomorrow, I think I'm going to try to do my defensive driving course online, since I don't really have anything else to do and I want to get it done before I leave for spring break.
I got what may be the most unusual phone message of my life today. This was left on my machine just after 9:30 this morning:
"Hello, my name is Albert Peabody and I'm calling for Graham. Graham, I work in the credit development program at Primerica [Financial Services] and we're a member of CitiGroup; you've probably heard of us; uh, we own such companies as Smith Barney [and] CitiBank. Uh, Graham, [the] reason I'm calling is your name recently came across my desk as a possible candidate, uh, for a management opportunity with our firm. If you'd just give me a call back at, uh, [phone number] I'd like to discuss the possibilities, uh, that may exist between us; if I'm busy please speak with Jeff Peabody. Thank you."
I cannot fathom what sequence of events led to my name appearing on anyone's desk for a "management opportunity", much less at a financial services company. I don't know anyone named Albert or Jeff Peabody. And despite Albert's surety I had never heard of Primerica before today. I think I'm afraid to return the call, but my curiosity will probably get the better of me.
Rehearsal went well tonight. We had one of Bob's friends sitting in on drums, and we've got a new song planned for Sunday morning.
Also, in a stroke of productivity I got all my outstanding late work from the fourth six weeks graded and my grade book rolled over for the fifth six weeks.
On the CD front, it appears that the CDs may not be available on Saturday after all, but that my brother (who works at Hasting's Books and Music in Longview) is going to help me get a lot of the other CDs off my wishlist in excellent used condition at a great price. So maybe several of those will be taken off the list by the first of Spring Break. There's only one more class day before Spring Break, so I expect the kids to be antsy tomorrow.
In yet another stroke of productivity I managed to record a long, complicated macro that puts the timestamps at the top of these entries with only a single click. Formerly, I would copy-and-paste the preceding timestamp, change the date, look at the clock, figure out the 24-hour version of it, and type it in. Now I merely click "Macros | timestamp header", or for the keyboard-savvy: ALT-M, up, ENTER. Being a programmer is fun, because even in something like TextPad which doesn't have any sort of scripting language it's possible to record a macro using the same thought process you would to write a script.
It sounds like my CDs will be here on Saturday. This will be awesome.
I'm leading worship on Sunday.
Not much else to say. If my updates are going to be this boring, I might as well wait a couple of days between them.
I'm finally taking my students' pictures in preparation for the names test at the end of the six weeks. I'm getting a mug shot of each one to put up on a web page with their names, so they have something to study from. Today I got the pictures of everyone who was in class, and because I'd kept the automation scripts from last year I already have them up on a web page. It's pretty sad that there are still a few kids whose names eluded me for a while when I was renaming the pictures from P10020030.JPG (or what have you) to their actual names.
The father of one of my students is the owner(?)/manager of Lemstone, a Christian bookstore in the local mall. He keeps trying to get me CDs for a discount, so I finally broke down and had him order the Ill Harmonics and Audio Adrenaline CDs. They'll be in a week or so. I'm going to leave them on the wishlist since they're not mine yet, but any surprise gift-givers should be aware those are probably on their way.
Today was Jesse's math tutoring day. He'd done three more problem sets from the Saxon math book and had one with no errors this time. We've also kicked around the idea of teaching him some programming, so we're trying to get an IBM-compatible machine built for him. We'll probably install Linux on it and get some good C++ IDE for him to use. That'll probably happen after Spring Break.
Also, there's a "j" on my eraser at school because I'm using it as a loop counter for the exchange sort. (I told you guys you'd find the answer on the web page....)
Church went well this morning. We had two special music pieces; Reach by Collective Soul was our opener, and we did Like A Child by Jars of Clay at the end. I sang Like A Child, so what I practiced most yesterday was playing this...
e |-----------------|------------------| B |-12-10-8-7-3--13-|-12-10-8-7--8-13--| G |-----------------|------------------| D |-12-10-9-7-5--14-|-12-10-9-7--9-14--| A |-----------------|------------------| E |-----------------|------------------|
...while singing. Fortunately for me it only happens during the second half of the first verse on top of "Dear God, don't let me fall apart...." The rest of the song is just G, C, and D.
This was the first time we'd ever done a Jars of Clay song at Lakeline (barring their version of The Little Drummer Boy, which we've done at Christmas before). That's sort of funny because when Brian was first starting Lakeline Church in early 1997 he wanted a worship leader that "sounds like Jars of Clay." So one of the reasons I got hired instead of the other guys he was courting at the time is probably because I sound a bit like Dan Haseltine.
Spent most of the afternoon in meetings for the prayer ministry and for the Haiti Mission Trip (coming in August 2001). Once I got home I didn't do much of value. Finally got a bit stir crazy around 7:30 and made myself go jog. I jogged probably 75% of the three miles, where usually I walk most of it. Now I'm feeling much better.
This week will actually be a full week of school, and then is spring break. The kids will be a bit wonky since they've just come off a two-day week and have even more vacation staring them down. Not that I'm complaining, I like the down time as well.
A day without an update! Now all my devoted fans will give up and leave. Oh, well.
Yesterday I actually did get a purchase order complete, for a white board for my classroom (technically a "porcelain-on-steel" markerboard). Of course, the thing isn't ordered yet, because I had to drop it in someone else's box to be approved. Hopefully it will actually go out before Spring Break.
My friend Anthony (of anthony.morales.com fame, though that site is currently undergoing a redesign) recently got a new guitar and moved into a new apartment. So I went over there for a combination housewarming and to break in his guitar. We played music until after 1am.
Despite getting in pretty late, I still managed to get up in time for the Men's Theology Breakfast (or whatever we're calling it). We meet at Barnes and Noble once a month to discuss philosophy, theology and such. Today we discussed the attributes of God. On the docket for next month is whether or not God's general revelation is enough so that men are without excuse (to borrow a phrase from Romans 1:20).
I'd hoped to get out for a walk, but it's cold and rainy outside. I'll probably spend the day practicing for some special music we're doing tomorrow.
Oh, and if this page seems to load a little faster it's because I archived off all of January's updates, reducing the page size by 22K.
I'm going to explode. After rehearsal we went out to eat at Taco Cabana. I ate way too much food and now I'm going to go straight to bed. Which means all those calories will be stored away rather than burned. Ick.
Still haven't actually spent any of the district's money yet. I've got calls out to different people, so maybe tomorrow.
I'm up way too late for a school night.
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