Old News

Archived news items from January 2000
Since this is old news, some links may be broken.

Monday, 31 Jan 2000 [21:57 CST]

Updating this because Tony complained.

Big things of note lately: I had the flu last weekend (a week ago, not yesterday). Here's the account, ripped from my journal:

It's been a rough week or so. I starting feeling poorly enough Thursday after school that I went home early even though I had planned to try and stay for the musical. Bummer, since by now I've missed all the showings.

Went to sleep by about seven pm and slept fitfully all night, with aches, fever and chills. Threw up sometime Friday morning. Went to school anyway, mostly because I don't have anything to give to a sub and because [my AcaDec co-coach] is still out sick with a sinus infection (I still suspect maybe meningitis) and someone needs to talk to the AcaDec kids. Ended up just intro-ing the material to the students and then sitting at my desk suffering all day (and reading slashdot the latter half). Went home after third period.

Almost certainly the flu. I slept from Friday at about 3 until Saturday at roughly eleven. Felt some better after eating breakfast. Food helped. Walked to church and back, which was maybe pushing things a bit too far, but it felt very nice to be out in the sun and fresh air after so long sleeping.

Went to bed Saturday night around eight and slept until six-thirty Sunday morning, only waking two or three times (a great improvement). Felt well enough to lead worship at church, though I was a bit delirious.

In more positive news, we left Thursday for Academic Decathlon regional competition in Bryan/College Station. The kids competed all day Friday and Saturday, and we got back in late Saturday night.

The competition went well; they garnered 34 individual medals and placed second overall in the region. We'll find out in the next few days if our score was high enough to qualify for the state competition.

Came back to find that Triumph of the Nerds came in, though about two days too late for me to show it to the kids while I was gone. That would have been nice, though. I watched the first of three videos tonight; it was very good and I learned quite a bit about the beginnings of the computer industry.

After being sick and out of town I'm still a bit behind on sleep, so I'm off to bed right now.

Tuesday, 18 Jan 2000 [22:41 CST]

Just fixed the link to the User Friendly cartoon in the Jan 8th update. Oops. By the way, some industrious programmer actually took some time and implemented VIgor, which is pretty cool. Looks positively devilish; check it out here.

I'm now averaging six hits a day! I guess my fresh concept of talking about stuff that happens to me is a winner after all. And proof that I'm not the most boring person around; six people a day take a look here to see what's happened in my life lately. Of course, not counting my immediate family it's probably closer to three or four, but that still ain't too shabby. I know these "X hits a day!" updates may seem to be getting old, but I'm excited. I promise I'll stop once I get to 100. ;)

Monday, 17 Jan 2000 [22:16 CST]

No school today because of MLK day. Of course, there was still AcaDec study session, but I didn't have to do much except be at the school for three hours. During which I took care of some of the less pressing things on my todo list.

One of my friends from college was in town this weekend, and we went to go see Guy Forscyth at Antone's on Sunday night. He was incredible as usual, and this was probably the best performance I've seen from him. I envy his stage presence. I also envy the strength of his voice; he sings loud for essentially four hours straight. And I should have worn my earplugs. I ended up with slight tinnitus (things seem fully recovered now).

A girl asked me to dance. I declined, and she didn't know quite what to make of it. I told her I couldn't dance, and she didn't care. If I'd been thinking more clearly, I would have thought of the real reason, which is probably something along the lines of: "I only plan to dance one-on-one with one person, and that is my wife." Anyway, she eventually moved on but seemed genuinely puzzled.

Sunday was a busy day; I also went to another prayer meeting at Lakeline (they are going to be monthly now). It was excellent. In retrospect, I wish I had prepared some small set list, since I ended up playing several worship songs throughout the two hours and fumbled a bit for words and chords in places. Which disrupted the mood just a little. By and large, though, it was great. The prayer time is supposed to be come-and-go for two hours. There were less people at this one, but almost everyone who did come stayed the whole time, so I think it affected us a little more deeply than it would have if we'd prayed corporately only for twenty minutes with any given group of people (what with people coming and going and all).

Today after the study session I went with my friend and another friend to lunch and then just spent the afternoon being productive. I figured out the praise song we're planning to do this Sunday (Holy Anointed One by Among Thorns), and tried my hand at writing a song. Anyway, after getting in from Antone's at nearly three o'clock last night, it's bedtime for Bonzo.

Saturday, 15 Jan 2000 [20:50 CST]

I cleaned my apartment today. Not just a standard, run-of-the-mill cleaning: I vacuumed the whole house, even the couch cushions. I swept and mopped. I cleaned the toilet. I washed dishes. I did laundry. I washed my sheets. I even cleaned up the bathroom trashcan.

In addition to the "abode" stuff, I got a haircut and trimmed my beard. And now I'm sleepy. I'm going to eat dinner and get to bed early.

Saturday, 8 Jan 2000 [18:40 CST]

Today's User Friendly cartoon is a work of genius.

I spent most of the day at school, becoming a database guru. I borrowed the Office 97 "textbook" from one of the applications class teachers, sat down in one of their labs, and went through the two tutorials for Microsoft Access, which basically solidified in my mind what a database was and the difference among tables, fields, queries, etc.

Then I downloaded and installed postgreSQL, one of the most robust, full-featured and standards-compliant object-relational databases around. It's open-source, too, which probably explains its high quality.

I read the postgreSQL FAQ, the postgreSQL linux FAQ and went through the postgreSQL basic and advanced tutorials. Finally, I looked at their perl interface and slapped together a perl script to create a new database and import all my students and their grades. I was then able to access that database and run several queries to lookup students by name, display only students missing certain assignments and so on.

So now I think I pretty much know how to do things. I need to spend an afternoon designing such a database properly, create it, import all the student data again, and then I can have a real database going. And once that's in place, the sky's the limit for the things I can do with it in class.

Tuesday, 4 Jan 2000 [22:27 CST]

The page was down all last night and most of the day. Sorry; it was a technical glitch on my Internet Service Provider's side. It still wasn't fixed when I went to sleep and I didn't have a chance to try it again until I got home from school today (around 6pm). So sorry for any inconvenience.

Monday, 3 Jan 2000 [19:00 CST]

Grades are turned in. All the grading is done. Not some of the grading. Not even most of the grading. All of it. This is a good feeling. Of course, I've got about a day before I start having new things to grade, but that's the life of a procrastinator.

Sunday, 2 Jan 2000 [23:00 CST]

I've spent the last several days up at school grading (that's what I get for procrastinating, I suppose). The good news is that I now have pretty much everything graded except the few assignments which various students didn't turn in when they were supposed to. Tomorrow is a staff-development day, so I'm going to spend thirty minutes chasing those down and grading them, and then I'll try to hack together a program to spit out the semester averages for me. If I concentrate on coding as quickly as possible, I should be able to bang out such a program in an hour at most, and then let it munch the database and give me all the grades. So I can get those turned in and actually spend an hour or so planning lessons.

Tomorrow is also a big testing day for the AcaDec kids. This is the testing that will allow us to decide who's going to be on the travel team (we have to select nine students out of about thirteen). A lot of AcaDec alumni have volunteered to help, though, so the plan is to let them run things so I and the other coach can get some non-AcaDec work done.

I'm still quite enjoying the guitar and am playing it a lot around the house, even. I'm continually impressed by how much better it sounds than my old one. Church was fun this morning, and several people noticed the new guitar and said something.

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