Old News

Archived news items from May 1999
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Sunday, 30 May 1999 [23:29 CST]

Well, it's been an eventful few days. Project Graduation went well last night, and I managed to go the distance, staying until 5am. I gave a couple of semi-impromptu concerts for my students. Got home and got a big ninety minutes of sleep before getting up again to go to church.

God is very faithful, and answered my humble prayer for strength to get through church. I was actually more energetic than usual. God is good.

Got home and took another three hour nap, and then went to a graduation party for one of my students. Spent a little over an hour there, and then back home.

I was planning to go out with some friends to see Guy Forsythe at Antone's tonight, but my car decided not to play along and gave out heading southbound on 183. I coasted it off the road into a parking lot, where it wouldn't start.

Fortunately, I was near a gas station, and called some friends to pick me up, one of whom is a mechanic. He determined that the engine isn't getting any "spark", which I think means something electrical is broken.

So I'm at home and the car is still in the parking lot. I'm going to get a much-needed night of sleep and then call the repair shop in the morning and see if I can find one which is open. The upside is that even if I can't, I don't really need my car for a couple of days (unlike the previous few days, during which I have needed it desperately; let's hear it for God's merciful timing). Since school's out I don't have to get up there immediately.

Anyway, the moral of the story is be good to your car and take it in when it first starts acting funny and before it breaks down.

Saturday, 29 May 1999 [19:19 CST]

I just woke up. This morning was LHS graduation in the Frank Erwin Center, and I got to watch about one hundred of my former students walk the stage (with about 450 others). I came home and took a three-hour nap, which brings me to now.

Why a nap, you ask? (Since some of you know I don't customarily take them....) I'm going to attend Project Graduation tonight, which starts at 10pm and lasts all night long. I hope to make it through the whole deal, but I knew I'd be wasted tomorrow morning if I didn't grab at least a couple of hours while I can.

So I'm off soon. I did get in to work yesterday, where I finished up my gradebook, though I didn't get a chance to turn it in, since the principal had already gone home for the weekend by the time I was done. Now I get about eight weeks of freedom. This will mean two things for this web page:

  1. It will be updated more frequently, since I'll have way more free time.
  2. Updates will probably be less interesting, since there won't be much going on in my life.

I know what some of you are thinking, "How can things get any less interesting than they already are now?" Ha-ha-ha. I appreciate that vote of confidence.

Thursday, 27 May 1999 [23:17 CST]

Just a quick update before I hit the sack.

I'm almost done. All grading is done and turned in, and everything else has been taken care of regarding check-out procedure at the school except finishing up the attendance data in my grade book. That'll take me a couple more hours tomorrow and I'm out.

Today we had the AcaDec end-of-year party at the Peck's lake house. It was a beautiful piece of property and very nice. Got to ride a wave runner, get dragged in an innertube off the same, and swim and eat and such. The sunscreen seems to have done it's job as I'm not a crispy critter. Also, I managed to avoid losing a contact this year (which I did at last year's party).

Much fun. Of course, I've got friends all over the place heading to Europe. Makes me want to see England. Anyway.

Tuesday, 25 May 1999 [23:57 CST]

Well, it's almost over for another year. Tomorrow is the last day of school. I have just a little grading remaining and then I have to check out and I'm free for a few weeks.

I've taken perl and java to the vet since I last updated and determined that the cause of their illness was tapeworms. The vet gave them a shot to kill it and some stuff to kill the fleas which transmit the tapeworms. All is now well except that I have to hose the kittens down with fleacide every couple of days, and you can bet they're not happy about that.

Austin Singers concert went very well. It was a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to our show in the fall (assuming my schedule can still accomodate).

I have a nice logic puzzle developed by Einstein. I've been working on it for nearly two hours and still haven't neared figuring things out. If I do get it I'll probably post it here to tease everyone.

Gotta get to bed. It's a school night. Maniacal laughter...

Wednesday, 19 May 1999 [21:12 CST]

Man, it's been a busy few days. This is the last full week of school, and senior finals began today. Last night I was up late making up said final.

Tomorrow is the Austin Singers spring concert, which will be at 7:30pm at Tarrytown Methodist Church (2707 Exposition). Monday night was a dress rehearsal and ran pretty late. Then I drove home thirteen miles in the driving rain; we had nearly four inches in just a couple of hours.

I've contacted my brother about winning the prize. Though he is pleased, he has refused the prize money, suggesting instead that I apply it toward having the cats neutered (crediting Bob Barker for the idea). I had been planning on that anyway, since pet overpopulation is a Bad Thing, so I think I'm going to contact the mother of Perl and Java and see if I can get her spayed. I have a feeling she has had a lot of litters. I'll let you know how this turns out.

Also, many of you (mostly my close friends, who did so jokingly) have accused the contest of being fixed, since my brother won. Let me assure you that this is not the case. However, it's possible that he (and others who know me very well) had a higher chance of winning. Here's my brother's own comments on that topic:

> I have to admit I had an unfair advantage. Having lived with you for 18
> years, I think I kinda knew what type of bait you'd bite on: nothing too
> trite, but nothing with a singular meaning. Fantasy is good, but computers
> are much better. Am I right?

It seems he was. I had no idea I was so easily manipulated! ;) Well, off to bed. This is the earliest I've gotten to sleep in days.

Saturday, 15 May 1999 [11:51 CST]

Kitten Contest Winner Selected

I have spent the last several hours poring over the nearly two hundred and fifty submitted names from dozens of entrants, and have selected my favorite pair.

The winning entry comes from my brother Paul, who wrote:

> Personally, I think the cream one should be named "Perl" and the black
> one should be named "Java". Then you get the whole computer thing
> incorporated with the actual colors of the kittens.

Perl is a quick and dirty open-source programming/scripting language developed primarily by Larry Wall, popular among system administrators, web programmers (cgi), and hackers. Java is a much-hyped object-oriented language developed by Sun Microsystems, designed to be platform independent and secure. Java has been greatly-touted by the mainstream press, but has had limited impact.

I decided to buck convention and switch the names, so that they intentionally fit personalities rather than appearances. Thus, the black female will be called Perl (quiet but far-reaching) and the light male Java (noisy and superficially attractive but with limited scope once you get into it).

For the full list of names and to see other names I liked a lot, visit the

  • kittens page. Thank you to everyone who entered! It has been a lot of fun. I hope you will continue visiting this page.

    Wednesday, 12 May 1999 [21:42 CST]

    The kitten naming contest is almost over; no entries will be accepted after Friday. I'll try to decide as quickly as possible and then I'll notify all entrants and post most of the names here so you can enjoy them as much as I have.

    My kittens are still doing well and I think are becoming more active by the day. They dislike having to swallow antibiotic every night, but I think the white one is about to get over his grudge. The black one seems to forget (and consequently forgive) more quickly. I don't know if this makes her more mature or less intelligent.

    The Leander High School Literary Magazine was published today, and I got three quotes in it. The topic was Words of the Wise and featured pithy saying by many LHS students. I only submitted six quotes, and three got chosen for inclusion, so I'm pumped. I also got to read a lot of good works by a lot of students I know. It's nice to see a different side of students I have who maybe aren't that great in computer science.

    Students are finished with their projects and the school year is rapidly coming to a close. I'll be grading for a while, but lesson plans are easy. We're doing web page design, networking, HTML, etc; and will probably spend some time doing graphics and game programming, too.

    The barbershop quartets for Austin Singers have been tabled (which is actually okay since we weren't really going to have time to do them well at this point), though the quartet from LHS that sang at the Blue Belles Spring Show has been asked to sing again at the end of the year luncheon for all the teachers. So that should be fun.

    Austin Singers concert is Thursday the 20th.

    Everyone needs to come to Lakeline this Sunday. There's going to be a video shown that you NEED to see.

    Friday, 7 May 1999 [20:01 CST]

    Wow, over seventy pairs of names suggested so far! There have to be at least a few good ones in there. Some of them are pretty weak, so don't think that there's not room for more. Get creative!

    In other kitten news, I took them both to the vet today. Both were generally healthy but have a common gastrointestinal protozoan infection called coccidiosis. We're treating it with an orally administered antibiotic; the kittens like the taste of it so it's not difficult to give. Otherwise, they're eating well and are fairly active. They've received their first round of vaccines, more in a month.

    I also was invited to lead a Bible study at the Christian Lions' picnic (they are a student group at Leander). People were slow getting there, but there was a very good turn-out and the study went well. I haven't prepared a Bible study like this in years; it was a lot of fun. We also played volleyball, which I haven't done in years. I played well, I think.

    In case you're wondering how I've done all this today, it is a bad weather make-up day. Since we rarely have bad weather in Austin, it becomes a much-needed holiday. I enjoyed getting to sleep in, and am looking forward to doing it tomorrow.

    Well, I'm off to buy the kittens a scratching post.

    Wednesday, 5 May 1999 [22:31 CST]

    Response to the kitten contest has been very good, with over forty entries so far. Keep them coming, and be aware that you can submit more than once.

    Some of my closer friends have been mailing suggestions to my home address rather than to kittens@cs.leander.isd.tenet.edu. While they obviously still get to me, I have to manually transfer them to the mailbox where all the entries are held, so please send any future submissions to the special address.

    Also, the kittens are accepting fan mail at that address, too. I've whipped up a clever little English to kitten translator in Perl (man, Perl is easy to program in) so they get to hear their praise.

    Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer. Talk to God for a change, if you don't typically do so. And be aware that He might have something to say back to you.

    Wednesday, 5 May 1999 [00:25 CST]

    Well, I did decide to take the kittens, and they are now running amok in my apartment. I'm having a contest to decide what to name them; the winner will receive a $25 gift certificate to amazon.com. I've put up a web page with pictures and the rules of the contest, so check it out.

    The contest ends on Friday, May 14, 1999, so tell all your friends and neighbors about it and enter today!

    Saturday, 1 May 1999 [14:53 CST]

    I felt sick yesterday (sort of a cold), so I came straight home after singing and crashed. I slept a lot (probably close to twelve hours) and I'm feeling much better today. No cold symptoms at all.

    Got my hair cut and took care of a few things around the house. Not much else going on. I've got to be up at the school around 7pm.

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