Monday, June 29, 2009

First Paycheck

After three years, I received my first paycheck in the mail today. Good thing I don't depend solely on Google Adsense to put food on the table. They won't send a check out for anything less than $100 and I finally reached the mark.
We talked a bit in class last year about using the web as a source of revenue - the role of contributor versus consumer. The kids seemed surprised to learn that I was earning cash by "doing nothing" but just keeping up a blog. Maybe I could ask the bank for $1 back, just so I can frame it to display in class!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Transformation Needed

Just a commentary: If I can't take my kids to see the movie, don't put the toys in their meals. Or better yet, don't put the vulgar language, sexual innuendo, drugs and ethnic humor in a movie marketed to kids. Let's keep toy meals PG, ok? Transformers was a great cartoon. No need to add the smut.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My Little GIT

We just spent the last two hours at the local library. I did the usual browsing throughout, Daughter made her crafts in the kids' section and Son headed straight for the Teen department. You see, at 11 yrs old, he's a Geek In Training (GIT).
When I found him he was playing an intense game of Wii Golf against three other guys - none of whom have ever been to a real golf course. In fact, the librarian was keeping a close eye on them lest they all decide to hack the Wii apart and use it to seize control of the pop machine!
Actually, it's really nice to have a library that reaches out to all age groups and subgroups. Besides, I got to read his stack of comics to be checked out while waiting for them to finish Wii Baseball.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Obliging the Future

Geeks everywhere are playing John Hodgman's (aka, "I'm a PC" guy on the Mac commercials) poignant roast of President Obama at the 65th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents' Dinner. Original video here. His part begins 54 minutes in. His closing remarks were both haunting and reflective:
You are clearly NOT the person we hoped you would be... and perhaps it was wrong and impractical and unrealistic for us to lay such hopes upon you. The realty is, we are geeks. We are defined by our passions and our enthusiasms, but also by our open mindedness. Now is not a time for purity tests. But I am nervous. I am nervous because this is a beginning. Princess Irulan said, "A beginning is a delicate time." And it is unsettling to realize that the difficult time we are in is not a triumph of the nerds, this is not the end of something happening. This is the beginning of a long journey. And many of the categories that we have used to define ourselves and divide ourselves are evaporating. And while that is exciting, it is also unsettling and scary.

In many ways, the talk radio show hosts are correct, the President is a complete mystery to me but no more so than the future itself. And as I am a geek, I am obliged to embrace the future. So I am happy to turn to the President and extend what I consider to be the most American of greetings.

Sir, though we may not always agree, "I have been, and shall always be, your friend. Live long and prosper!"
We must prepare students, they are inheriting a vastly different world from the one we knew.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On The Beat with Kit

There was an estate auction just down the block from us today and the little princess spied a manual typewriter. Of course it was just like the one American Girl Kit Kittredge uses. We've read the books about Kit, seen the movie, and now we can create our own newspapers.
It was a tough battle to win the bid though. The auctioneer started at $20, right at the most I was willing to pay. But no one bit on it so he dropped to $10 and then to $5 when I spoke up.
Suddenly the guy next to me was interested (probably an antique dealer, certainly not a dad who would have to deal with a heartbroken little girl). We battled in $2.50 increments until his will was finally broken. I had won the coveted prize for a mere $15.
I really want to bring it in to school. Next time someone from study hall "needs to type a report that's due next hour" I can give them a choice; either the electric typewriter or the manual.

Friday, June 12, 2009

It Came Today!

Tired of guessing and wanting to impress next year's publications staff, I went ahead and purchased for myself the 2009 AP Stylebook. It's not really on the normal person's summer reading list. But then again, I've never been accused of being normal.

I placed the order online at the AP website early in the week. Even with ground shipping it only took a couple days to arrive. Of course I debated purchasing an online registration, or even a site license, but decided that a hard copy would give more value over the long haul. And it looks cool sitting on the yearbook shelf.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Age of Speed

Picked up another book at the library - The Age of Speed by Vince Poscente. It looks to be a good read with shorter, faster chapters. Perfect for poolside.
This always seems to be a lament at school, that things move too fast. Changes come quicker than we like. We feel forced to modify before our time. Or as the editor of a local newspaper where I used to work would say, "It's evolution, change or die."
But the reality is that technology is nothing like it was two years ago when I started teaching. IM was all the rage and now kids just text. I was downloading Office 2007 and now we're staring at 2010. We still used paper grade books; next year they will all be on-line (admin still wants us to print a hard copy - why?)
So I'm looking forward to reading this book, where speed is our tool to a better life and no longer our master.