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Archived news items from September 2004
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Tuesday, 28 September 2004 [21:51 CDT]

I went to see Chris Tomlin at his CD release party a week ago tonight. It was an awesome show, with Cary Pierce (formerly of Jackopierce) and Matt Wertz (whose own quite-good CD will be released on October 5, though I picked up one at the show and got it signed to boot) joining in. There were over 1000 people there, I estimate, and it was a lot of fun.

Other than that, here's what I've done for the last two weeks:

  1. Create two Six-Weeks exams.
  2. Grade everything.

It sounds like a short list, but pretty much those two things have kept me up at school until 10:00pm many nights, past midnight a few times, and until 2am twice.

This course load is running me ragged.

This week should be better, though. Sleep is good.

Monday, 13 September 2004 [09:16 CDT]

Last Wednesday I got my August mobile phone bill in the mail. Normally it's around $35, so imagine my suprise when it was over $175! Turns out I just talked on the phone more than average. A lot more than average, apparently.

I only have 280 "anytime" minutes per month, and since I was off of school still and able to call folks during the day, I had run through those by the 11th of the month. And since I didn't know I'd run out, I kept using my phone as usual, not knowing I was racking up charges at the rate of 40¢ per minute. Ouch.

Overall I had a mere 555 anytime minutes during the month, which is not unreasonable but turns out to be pricy on my current plan.

So, on Saturday I headed to the AT&T wireless store to see about getting a new plan. I made the jump to GSM, picked up a new phone (the Nokia 6010), and got a plan that gives me 600 anytime minutes per month, unlimited nights and weekends, and free mobile-to-mobile calls within the AT&T network. And all this for probably less than $5 a month more than what I'm currently paying.

I don't think I like my phone as well as the non-GSM model it replaced, but overall I'm happy with the new setup, and hopefully it'll keep me from having any $175 phone bills anytime soon.

I'm still staying on top of grading, but the workload is weighing on me. I'm teaching the same number of courses as last year. (Four: CS-1, AP CS-2, IB CS-3, and Web Programming.) I'm also teaching the same number of sections as last year: six. But it seems I have a lot more students, and the grading is much heavier. I've averaged about one hour of grading a day for the past few weeks. Ick.

I've started keeping a time log that I stamp whenever I arrive in my classroom and whenever I leave, so in a few weeks I'll have a good estimate of how many hours a week I'm working. Just because I'm curious.

Monday, 6 September 2004 [21:41 CDT]

Had a fairly uneventful week. I stayed on top of grading, which meant a couple of other late nights at the school, though none as late as Monday. In fact, I'm updating from the school now, having finally wandered in here this evening to polish off a bit more grading. Though it was really nice this morning getting to sleep late and eat a big, slow breakfast.

It turns out they don't keep the air conditioner on during the weekend, though. It's pretty muggy in here, despite some cooler-than-normal outside temperatures.

I should mention that I nearly got sprayed by a skunk a few days ago. I had taken some trash down to the dumpster, and there were two young skunks digging through a trash bag that someone had left on the ground nowhere near the opening of the dumpster.

My presence didn't cause them to run away, so I was faced with the tricky proposition of trying to make them uncomfortable enough to leave, without them getting uncomfortable enough to hit me with a double dose of their... defensive secretions.

I finally settled on just giving them a wide berth. Since the trash bag they were foraging in wasn't near the opening of the dumpster, I was able to make a large circle around their location, throw away my trash, and get away.

Oh, and there was a slashdot article today about cool Firefox extensions. It's very simple, but I do dig TargetAlert, which just puts a little icon next to links that are PDFs or mailtos or which will try to open in a new window.

Also, equally minor but very nice is miniT (drag+indicator) which allows me to rearrange the order of currently-open tabs.

It's little things like this which show me that all the cool development has moved away from Windows shareware (where it used to be ten years ago) to Open Source projects and Linux.

And did you know that CTRL-K in Firefox moves the focus to the Google search box? I didn't until just recently.

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August 2004
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