Old News

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

Friday, 22 Sep 2000 [19:30 CDT]

The prayer class went excellently. I had been worried that I'd have either too much or too little material, but the length was perfect. Initial feedback was good. And, since the brunt of the preparation was general preparation, each of the four remaining sessions should be comparatively easy to prepare.

"See You At the Pole" was also on Wednesday, which was good. There were not quite as many students as last year, I don't think, but it was still a respectable showing.

I did not grade any projects today, though I did spend several hours rewriting my end-of-six-weeks grading program. I was in a hurry when I wrote it the first time at some point last year, so I just hacked something together. And then, for every six weeks following I just edited the code to reflect the particular grades and weights for that period. However, that grows old. So I did nearly a full rewrite, doing The Right Thing this time (mostly, anyway), so that now it pulls the assignments and weights from a database and thus should be able to spit out grades for any grading period and even in the middle of one without modification. So now I've got grades for the kids so far, and then on Monday afternoon when I'm finalizing grades and can spit out a new list quite easily.

So the plan is to get to school before noon tomorrow and grade all the projects in one fell swoop, and then go ahead and type up the grades as I have them so far, so that I only need to reenter the grades for students who turn in work on Monday.

Monday, 18 Sep 2000 [21:22 CDT]

My students are halfway done with their six weeks projects, which are due on Thursday. Friday is a "staff development day", which means the students will be gone but the teachers still show up and do stuff. I'm sure I'll spend most of that day grading projects. If I was really disciplined I could probably get them all done and then have the weekend off. We'll see what occurs.

I just spent several minutes on the phone doing a survey about automotive buying decisions. I'm sort of the classic out-of-touch auto consumer since I'm still driving my 16-year old vehicle after 175,000 miles and don't plan to buy a new one at all. Of course, since I don't watch T.V. or read magazines or newspapers, many advertisements don't get to me. Plus, since I'm so clueless on makes and models of cars I don't know the difference between an Altima and a Alera, so I couldn't answer his questions like "Which car has fashionable styling?" Not bad, overall. I like surveys, though not as much as I loathe solicitation.

This Wednesday I'm going to be teaching to first of my five sessions on "How to Pray" up at the church. This first one is on The Five "W"s of Prayer. So far, counting last weekend and this one I've spent about ten hours in preparation, but most of that was general gathering of resources for all five sessions, and I only spent about three or four hours on the first session. And future sessions should be easier, since this one covers five questions (who, what, where, when, why, though not in that order) and the other ones just deal with a single topic.

Also, we've set a date for the CD release party: Sunday, October 8 at 7pm. We'll be having a little mini-concert featuring several of the songs off the album, we'll pray over the albums and then they'll be available for sale at $6 each. (And just in time for Christmas!) We'll have 500 on hand. It's hard to say what demand will be like, but it's quite possible we'll sell all of them in the first month or two. Of course, it's pretty simple to get more produced if needed, and later runs will be cheaper.

Finally, I got a :Cue:Cat scanner from Radio Shack when I picked up a new catalog. I haven't plugged it in yet (I keep forgetting to when my computer's off) but I have already thrown away the software and the odious "license agreement" that comes with the software. I'll probably end up using it at school under linux, though I'd have to down the server to hook it up (thus losing the prestige of having long uptime). Oh, well. It's cute, though. And let's hear it for exploiting dumb business models. (It's sort of a "give away the speakers and sell music for life" model. Why would I possibly want to pay for a service that's not very good when thousands of others are giving away better service for free?)

Saturday, 9 Sep 2000 [16:27 CDT]

Well, I've been programming like a madman since Monday on the gradebook and it's now up and running. Students are able to check their grades at any time and can even change their own password if they're so inclined.

Also I spent about four hours on Thursday putting together a utility to run through all the demographic data I collected from the kids looking for birthdays. So have I have a little script that automatically runs whenever I log in at school which tells me the birthdays of anyone having one in the next seven days. Of course it's moderately flexible, so I can give it a "window" telling how many days in the future or past to look. It doesn't always work correctly when going backwards with a window larger than about thirty days, but I don't really care about that at this point.

Tomorrow at church we celebrate the end of our expansion projects this summer. Pretty much everything is now complete except a little painting of things in the kids' rooms (murals on the walls and such), putting some racks in the sound booth and stuff. Everything looks great.

By the way, the excessive heat (112 on Tuesday, which is a record high) killed the air conditioners at the school, so things were pretty warm Tuesday and Wednesday. Things were mostly working again by Thursday morning, and of course the temperatures are back down to more reasonable mid-nineties.

Now I'm going to sit down and do some reading and preparation for my "How to Pray" class starting in a couple of weeks. Hopefully I can get some prep done this weekend and have time to polish things next weekend.

Sunday, 3 Sep 2000 [23:18 CDT]

Just finished Frankenstein. Quite good; no wonder it's considered a classic. It a lot to say about the nature of man and explains why God said, "It is not good for man to be alone."

Sunday, 3 Sep 2000 [18:12 CDT]

School is now officially in swing. Monday of course we have Labor Day off, though I plan to spend some time up at the school programming gradebook stuff. Tuesday night is Open House, which means I'll be missing worship team rehearsal for the first time in a long time. But I'm looking forward to meeting the small percentage of parents that actually attend such things. In high school the number of parents that show is much smaller because 1) many parents just don't care about their kids that much, and 2) those that do have to visit eight teachers per student instead of just one. Add that to parents with two or more children in high school.... Suffice it to say I see about forty parents (of about 300 hundred possible given that each of my 150 kids has a mother and a father).

Been walking again, which is good for me. My shoulders are actually getting a little tanned. Though I must confess it's really hot out there. The high has been from 105-107 for a week, and though I usually don't have much problem with Texas heat, 107 is a bit oppressive.

Am reading Frankenstein, which is our AcaDec novel this year. I'm close to halfway done. It's not big on action, which is a bit different than you'd expect given how the story has often been told on T.V. and in movies in the past century. It's also a more challenging read than I'm used to, since Shelley uses big words and more complex phrasings than I've had to parse for a while. It's good for me, I guess.

After church the singles group went out to the Brick Oven for pizza. I'd never been there before, but it was good stuff. I had the medium (8") pizza with just cheese and portobello mushrooms. Wow. I may have to get back there more often.

And construction at the church is pretty much done. The children's area (Phase III) has been renovated and we're just waiting on carpet and decorating over there. It all looks nice, and hopefully we'll actually be able to get everything paid for.

Just browsed through the last entry, so here are updates on some of that stuff: Class sizes are now perfect; there are less than 24 students in every section and I didn't have to force any student to change. We got proofs back from the CD duplication people and okayed production about a week ago. So now they're producing in and we're expecting the finished product to be shipped to our door sometime next week. Here's hoping....

Previous news

August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
archive index (for dates back to August 1998)