Thursday, February 28, 2008

Revelation and Disfunction

I just realized how much our building principal and the President of the US are alike. Amazing...

Not much going on. Just here in ISS again. One kid is in here for making a "shank"- or is it "shiv"? Either way, a stabbing weapon-you know, like they use in prison to kill each other. You just take whatever you can sharpen and sharpen it. You might also tape it to something else to increase it's length. Whatever. I'm over these issues. I'm over people thinking my work output is directly reflected in student grades. My job is to lead horses to water- you can probably finish that thought. Mostly I'm over all you parents who should have used stronger protection or just kept it zipped up. I'm no parent, but when you're asking me advice about what to do with your 12 year old (and I'm not talking about how to do math) I think that proves there's a problem. Quit reproducing and dumbing down the species. McDonald's is going to have to quit taking applications at some point if you don't slow down.

Don't worry, I still have good students and students who want to learn. My guess would be most of them have two parents at home who are at least semi-hardasses- meaning they do the job of parenting even when it hurts. The rest of you so called parents need to get a clue and take some responsibility. I'm not a babysitter and this isn't daycare. You don't work and learn- you get a "F". Deal with it. That's how life will be in the future- may as well learn it now. "Why does my kid have a "F"?" "Why don't you ask him?" He or she might tell you something interesting like, "Well, you don't seem to give a F*^K, so why should I?"
Now that's an editorial.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Frozen Toes

For the non-locals who don't know about the bike racing scene in BOCOMO, this past Sunday was the formerly know as "Froze Toes" Frozen Toes bike race. I'm not sure when the name was switched- perhaps when the president of the local bike club started calling it "frozen toes". Anyhoo, it's about a 60 mile race (two 30 mile loops) in some of the most boring land in central Missouri. Anytime you can see more than a mile up the road (or in any direction for that matter) it's more than likely boring terrain.
I didn't race this year, or last, and probably not "next year" either. Just not my kind of race. What I did do was volunteer to be a follow vehicle driver for the race. Kind of help create a "rolling enclosure" and try to keep racers from abusing the yellow line too much and winding up as a hood ornament on Farmer Brown's daily commute to give the cattle hay. I was glad to do it and I got to watch the race.
Two years ago I think there were about 140 people in the race. This year- only about 50. I guess a bunch of people thought the weather was going to be bad- as it should be- this time of year. So I guess you could say it was a more "intimate" group. Lots of guys helping each other out. You know, like when you have to pee and ride a bike at the same time- kind of hard to pedal. So what do you do? You get another rider to push you while you're peeing- or trying to pee as appeared to be the case for several guys who seemed to have some accute stage fright keeping them from relieving themselves. Or maybe they just couldn't find it in the cold weather- not sure. Nonetheless, this was probably the most entaining part of the race for Prozenberger and me to watch since the rest of the race was fairly boring and slow this year. At more than one point I looked down at the speedometer to see we were going 14MPH. It was more like a ride than a race. But hey, that's easy from me to say from the drivers' seat of a warm dry car and only pushing the gas pedal to move.
It was an interesting perspective to stay behind the group the whole time. I did see a crash and one of the guys landed squarly on his face while still holding onto the handlebars. That was ugly. It was fun pacing a few people back up to the group when they got gapped off because of the wreck. One guy had the nerve to complain about the quality of the pace he got after the race. Sorry, but I don't think the officials who were watching would have been real happy with you getting any pace. I was happy to do it for whomever I could. I know Buttsmackers was appreciative.
As chili left after the race. I think that makes five years for me now with no chili after. At least I did get to see Jimmy again. I almost couldn't resist hugging him- but I didn't want him to get too excited and put on the goloshes and get out the tacklebox.
If you don't get a lot of this post- I apologize- lots of inside jokes.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day. It's an interesting day here at school because you have three types of kids coming in: Those who are into it (wearing pink or red, giving and getting gifts and cards). They know they're loved either here or at home. Those who are not (eh, just another day at school). Probably don't know what day of the week it is either. And then there are those who are depressed (no gifts, cards, or candy and a feeling of loneliness). Maybe very alone even when everyone's around and not many hugs in their life. It's interesting to observe who's who today. I feel bad for the depressed kids. I'm wearing a bright pink/coral button up. That's my contribution to the atmosphere. I've heard already twice today, "Real men wear pink." "Yeah, I know, now get to work changing that fraction to a decimal before I take your candy and eat it in front of you." Just kidding- The kids actually get a kick out of me playing with them like that and it keeps the mood a little lighter. I knew what I was getting into wearing this shirt. It's amazing how in this small town pink is still seen as a female color. In my whole life I've never attached gender to color. Color is color and they're all cool in one way or another. So I'm going to start changing my blog colors on a regular basis- just to keep it interesting. Speaking of interesting, if you haven't checked out my wife's blog yet (yoga gal)- I recommend it. Clickit And hey, hug somebody today- even if you don't feel like it- you'll feel better afterwards for sure...unless of course they are stinky- then you'll just want a shower.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Disaster or Sign from God

Waaaaay back in January, New Year's day to be exact, and after a long night of celebration, I woke at 6:00am to the sound of water. I listened to it for a while trying to figure out what it was. "Is that one of our fountains? No, it's Zak splashing in his water bowl. Wow, he's really splashing a lot." I tought. "And so rhthmically". "Wait a second...something isn't right." I jump out of bed and open the door to the room where the sound is coming from. The same room that has my two aquariums set up. One is a 30 gallon and the other a 60 gallon. My first step into the room was a wet one. I know immediately what's happening- aquarium leak! I'm not ready to deal with this considering the previous night's activities. But trouble doesn't usually come when you're ready for it. So I flip on the light and luckily there's only about a quart of water on the tile floor. I'm thankful for two things at this point even though my mind is still a little fuzzy from the Southern Comfort. Thing one: we have very little carpet in our home. Thing two: we were home when this happened.

I run downstairs and out to the garage. I grab two five gallon buckets (very handy to keep around) and head back up. Very luckily, the water was dripping (flowing is more like it at this point) in a way that I was able to catch the water in the bucket. The leak was getting worse and the water coming out faster. There was nothing to do really except go downstairs and make coffee. I spent the rest of the morning letting it drain out and emptying the buckets when they were full. Towards the end I kept one bucket of water and transfered the fish into it. They were donated the next day to one of the local pet stores. The 30 gallon tank found itself on the curb and is now part of the landfill.

Here's the interesting part to me. First of all, I don't recommend ever having an aquarium on the second floor of a home. If that tank had drained out while we were away that would have been a major disaster for the first floor ceiling and walls. Probably would have cost thousands to repair. Second, just the day before this tank began to leak, I had set up my big 60 gallon tank. After the close call of the first leak I decided it was a sign that I shouldn't have 90 gallons of potential destruction set up to blow. So I drained that tank with a vacuum tube out the window and put that tank up for sale at the same local pet store. No more fish in our house.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

ISS Post

It's been a long time since I posted from ISS. Mostly because it's changed a lot for the worse. It used to be a place where kids would come and have to do their school work for the day and then read. Well our new asst. principal, who has never actually worked in the ISS room, changed some things about it and now it's a constant struggle of paper pushing to and from students. It makes the poor choices of students who get into ISS the ISS supervisor's problem. But that's the way things have been going around here. Instead of teaching the students responsibility, it's taken off them and put on the teachers. I'm not subscribing to this.

But yesterday was interesting. Keep in mind this is middle school- 6-8th grade. Five students. By the time I get there, a lot has happened. One kid has given prescription meds to two other kids. His backpack was searched and they found pot. Two girls had to be separated because they are lovers. And one girl's backpack was searched and razor blades found which she uses for cutting herself. "Oh, my dad knows I've done it before." Uh, I would classify this situation as "ate up". What happened to the good old days of fights and running the halls? If you think you have any concept of what middle school and high school is like now based on your experience from 10 or more years ago- forget it.