Archived news items from August 2001
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.
news from September 2001
I went to a surprise birthday party for a friend Sunday after church, and we watched Dude, Where's My Car?, and The Joker's Revenge (the Batman Beyond animated movie). Dude, Where's My Car? was pretty worthless. It had a few funny moments, but was just too puerile across the board. The Joker's Revenge was entertaining, at least.
Afterward a few folks came over to swim, which is our first "pool party". We all jogged around the perimeter in an attempt to generate a whirlpool. We got a pretty strong circular current that lasted for minutes after we stopped moving, but never a funnel or anything.
After everyone left though I just crashed in bed. I went to sleep at 8:45, which is the product of a too-exhausting weekend.
School's starting to fall into a rhythm now. Today I commuted on my bicycle for the first time. I showered up at school. It went well, though the return trip (in 100 degree heat and bit more uphill) was fairly grueling. If I get up on time tomorrow I'm going to try for two days in a row.
Did a lot of stuff from my school todo list today. Then I went to Buck's and bought some slick tires for my bike. I put them on and rode to school and back. It took me just 33 minutes to get up there, which is a full five minutes faster than my last run with the traction tires. Now, it took me nearly forty minutes to get back, but I was tired.
Whew. The first week of school is down. I'm enjoying having conference periods for a change, though I spent most of my free time the first few days trying to get a computer in my cubicle that could ssh to the server in my classroom. I got that finally done at the end of the day yesterday, so today was my first real day of being able to plan things during my conference period.
I've met with each of my classes twice. Computer Science III looks to be fun, since I think I've got both enough material and enough prep time to do a lot of interesting things in there. And it's strange only having two sections of Computer Science I (down from five last year).
This morning the Haiti team left. I got up at 2:15, met them at the church at 3:00, and went with them to the airport. In fact, I did everything but board the plane, which was at 5:30. I then went home, ate breakfast and took a shower, and went to school, where I taught a full day.
Then I came home, ate dinner, went for a (probably) ten-mile bike ride, cooled off in the pool, and then started more unpacking at home. It's amazing how a few days ago, I didn't even want to think about anything other than getting my classes started well and settled in at school. But now that the first few days are over and I'm almost in a routine, I immediately felt like finally unpacking my books and setting up my real computer desk despite the fact that I'd already had a long day.
Needless to say, I'm beat at this point, so it's time to go to sleep and not wake up until the next morning.
School starts tomorrow. After much work today, my classroom is ready. Probably many of my students will read this update, since I always give my web address out on the first day. I'm looking forward to another year of working with young people and trying to teach them stuff (and maybe do some programming, too).
Sunday night was the second night of Celebrate! 2001, and this time I played with Chris and Kyle. I had chord sheets for them, and got to verbally run through it before we played. Of course, we didn't actually get to do a run-through, so things were a bit fuzzy at first. Plus, I tried a surprise harmonica solo. Fortunately, I'd selected the proper key for my harp and was in a groove, because I played well. Over all, we did very well, and the crowd loved it. Of course, it was good to play blues again; it's been way too long since I've done that on a regular basis.
The guy that ran sound owns a recording studio in Dallas; he gave me a card and said if I ever wanted to record anything I should let him know. Which is not something that happens to me very often, but then again, I don't play very often except for church and for my students at graduation. So who knows. I'm still feeling like I'd like to write some stuff and try my hand at some open-mics in the area. Or, get the band back together.
The other big thing on my plate (besides school starting) is the folks from Lakeline who'll be leaving for Haiti on Friday morning. I've been going to all the training meetings for the last six months, and I'm heading up the prayer effort for them while they're gone. I plan to see them off at the airport on Friday, which means getting up at 2:00 A.M., driving them to the airport, and probably getting home around 6:00. And then of course teaching a full day at school. I'll try to go to bed early on Thursday night, but that's always a dicey proposition. They'll be gone a week and should return next Friday evening.
I'm now officially out of the apartment. I got there this morning at 10:30 and started cleaning, and finished at 5:30. Ugh. I wish I could say the apartment is as clean as I can make it, but the truth is that I'm just tired of cleaning. Of course, it's quite clean, but there were a few more things I would have done if I'd had the stamina. I dropped off all my keys in the mail slot, so I've now legally abandoned the place.
I got home, went for a swim in the pool (my first time in there; nice) and took a shower. Ate dinner and then went grocery shopping.
Last night I played at Celebrate! 2001, a silent auction, dinner and variety show at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Cedar Park to benefit a needy family in their congregation. I played "Blessed Assurance Blues" (as arranged by Michael English) and got a pretty favorable response. Almost every high-school-aged kid present is or has been a student of mine, so I felt like I knew a lot of people there. I'm going to play it again on Sunday night (it's a two-night affair), but this time with Chris Branscome (Good Shepherd's worship leader) on piano and Kyle (their drummer) on drums. We messed around with it a bit afterward on Friday, and I think it'll sound very nice.
I'm going to practice this guitar riff I'm playing for the call to worship tomorrow and then try to get to bed before midnight. Oh, and I may step outside to see if I can see the meteor shower at all.
All right. Today they finally switched my phone over from the apartment to the house, allowing me to move my phone, answering machine and computer. No more driving to the apartment just to check my email! My phone number is the same. So now all that's still in the apartment is cleaning supplies. I plan to finish cleaning Saturday morning and vacate by Monday.
Also, school's started. Well, at least, I'm back at work. Teacher work days started Wednesday; classes begin on Tuesday, August 14. Since the new computer science teacher is in my room during my conference periods, I hope to get a cubicle. Basically I'll put a computer in there which can ssh to my server in my classroom so I can update the web page and key in grades and such remotely. And I'll probably keep my bike in there as well as my school clothes.
Pepper (Bob's dog) met my cats on Tuesday. Perl was in the garage, and the door was closed, so she really didn't encounter Pepper. But Java was in my room, and as soon as Pepper happened to spot him, the fur began to fly. Pepper was barking and trying to get close to Java, who was hissing, spitting and all claws. He scratched her pretty good a few times. He got chased under the bed, and then Pepper, in a pretty dumb tactical move, tried to crawl under the bed after him. Of course, Pepper was flat on her belly and Java was still quite able to move around and scratch. Java quickly abandoned the bed and tore across the house to the garage. He got through the cat door. Pepper didn't.
So Pepper spent the next ten minutes whining and barking and trying to fit through the cat door (only her head can get through). She did finally settle down, and when I went in the garage later to check on Java, he was asleep. Pepper's been back a few times and still obviously wants to get in the garage, but the cats haven't been out so there haven't been any other encounters.
The cats have come out of the garage a few times since and really went around sniffing everything, but mostly they've been hesitant to leave (especially Java). Hopefully eventually Pepper will stop getting so excited and maybe the cats will come out when she's here and check her out. We shall see.
Sorry about the page being so big. I haven't yet got set up for archiving old news under Linux. Hopefully soon.
Well, I've been slowly but surely getting moving into the new house. I got my bedroom set up on Monday evening, so I've been sleeping there. Moved all my kitchen and refrigerator things a few days ago, so now I'm eating there as well. At this point, in fact, the only things left in the apartment are my computer and phone, and the cleaning supplies I'll need once it's empty. We're still waiting on the phone company to switch over our line from the apartment to the house, which is supposed to happen any day now.
It's no fun getting up in the morning, eating breakfast and showering, then driving to the apartment (where I've turned off the air conditioner, so it's about 90 degrees) just to check my messages and email. As soon as the line is switched over, I'll move the computer to the house and then clean the place and I'll be out for good.
I spent some time up at the school this week doing curriculum training for the two new computer science teachers in the district, and I've now got my classroom mostly ready to go.
Other than that, there's not much to say. Getting utilities turned on is quite expensive.
Yesterday I rode my bike to school and back, which I've now measured at 7.6 miles one way. It took me just under 40 minutes to go one way, which is even more quickly than I'd been hoping. Maybe I'll actually do this bike commuter thing.
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