Taken by itself, this portrait looks like one of those Most Wanted poster shots in the Post Office. Look at his grainy skin. The stark black and white features. The thick eyebrows. Barely existent beady eyes. Thinly veiled smile that surely belies a terrorist heart ready to jump out at you just for looking at him cross-eyed.
I’m not surprised that they use that format on wanted posters. Ain’t nobody can look too good in those conditions.
This is what it looks like when you get your picture taken for our elementary school’s visitor badge.
I volunteered this morning and you can hear more about it by listening to my utter:
But take my word for it either way – if you have children in elementary school, take time to volunteer. Even if just once; even if just for 30 minutes; even if to just sit in class and watch. It’s worth it!
PS: A BIG Thank You to Ms Suarez, Jaden’s teacher. You are incredible! And patient. And helpful. Did I mention patient?
A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to put your hands in the ay-yer. I think I only counted 12 people doing so. Now, I don’t know if it’s that you can’t hear me, or if you’re just “not interested” but a slightly better attitude would be appreciated.
Sycophants of the world, UNITE!
Because I TOLD YOU TO!
A very useful engine
Many of you know that Thomas the Tank Engine is a “very useful engine”. Jaden loves Thomas movies, action figures, train sets, computer games, and I blogged last year about the Day Out With Thomas, which he and I both loved immensely.
But this post isn’t about Thomas, as much as it’s about a “very useful computer gadget”
A co-worker of mine picked up a couple of these at Altex and I must say, it’s gotta win some kind of product award. It’s incredible!
For those of you who do computer support, you’ve probably run into the problem where a hard drive won’t boot. It still spins up, and it still has data, but it just won’t boot for this reason or that reason, usually a problem with Windows.
In the past, we’ve just used some special hardware to try to slave or mount the drive on a desktop machine with ribbon cables and room for extra drives. This was easy with desktop drives, but we had to get a special adapter for the laptop drives. It wasn’t pretty, but it did the job.
Then came along SATA, the way-faster and way-simpler connector but made it harder for us to do the drive slaving. We had to use a SATA desktop or one of the cool combo units Dell sold for a while that had both EIDE and SATA. But still, it was a pain, and generally involved “open heart surgery” on the PC we used as the diagnostic system.
This adapter he picked up allows for just a simple USB connection and it supports all desktop/laptop PC drives – desktop IDE, desktop SATA, laptop IDE and laptop SATA. When connecting IDE, you don’t even need a separate power adapter! For SATA, there is a separate power cable you have to plug in, but still, all of this beats doing it manually. Best of all, since it’s USB, you don’t have to open up any PC’s.
Plus, it’s all hot-swappable. With our old way of doing things, we’d have to shut down and reboot every time we disconnected or connected a drive.
Marching Band is still cool
Caitlin, our eldest, joined “the big time” this year by reaching freshman high school age. Now she’s with the Big Time band, the Cedar Park Timberwolves. This band is something else, lemme tell ya.
Last night was the “LISD Festival of Bands” where all the Leander Independent School District bands (middle school and high school) perform to a very populated football stadium. I shot some video that I might upload at some point. Let me know if interested.
Last year, the marching band put on a show called “Pursuit of Happiness” and even ended the show with a winking smiley face:
The official videos of this year’s band are still secure and for staff/band/family, so if you want to see them, get in touch with me directly and I’ll send a link.
Work has really stepped up it’s noticible presence in my life. We’ve got some big-time remodeling going on at the office, meaning some last-minute quick deadlines and drastically altered schedules, but hey, it’s work and it’s all for a good objective.
Props; the sequel
Remember how last week I was bragging and saying how proud we were that Caitlin made 4th chair in District for her middle-school flute playing and was able to go on to Region? Well, she competed at Region this week and achieved 3rd chair there, and also achieved Orchestra, which is the highest level you can reach as a middle schooler! So she bypasses the whole Region practicing and concert and gets the honor of playing with the Orchestra.
Way to go, Caitlin!
Scanning in photos
I spent a bit of time scanning in old photos from that archaic time when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the floral DNA was unaltered by Man’s greenhouse gases and our family didn’t have a digital camera. We probably have thousands, so it’ll take quite a bit of time, but I’ve been impressed with the CanonGear CS software that came with the scanner I’ve been using.
I use Googles free Picasa software to store, sort, organize the photos, and of course it integrates with any scanner, but what I’ve liked in particular is the ability to set 2-5 photos on the tray and it automatically detects where the photos are and separates them into Picasa as a separate file so I don’t need to draw boxes, crop or really do anything but set, click, wait and then do it again. Sometimes if I put the pictures too close, they fuse to become one (kind of like those unibrows you see on some men) so I definitely can say I’ve learned the art of multi-photo scanning.
Walgreen’s has a service where you can pay them, oh… I think it’s 30 cents per picture and you can ship them your photos and they’ll send back a CD or DVD of all of them perfectly scanned, corrected if necessary, and cropped to the right size if needed. But now that this is so easy, I don’t need to do that.
I can pay Caitlin to do it.
So while doing this, I A) scanned in 329 photos and B) found some pictures I figured I should share. Feel free to submit your own captions for these in the comments.
…the lobster did it, in the kitchen, with his own body.
I’m mentioned MRSA a couple of times on the blog — and now I’ve had an MRSA Staph infection four (4) times within the past year. The most recent time was on my arm about 1.5″ away from the 3rd infection, and that was about a month ago. You may have seen some of the horrible news stories about school closings, deaths, etc and the general panic about the infection.
I think they’re all just partying it up in this antibacterial-soap using world we live in:
Well, I had MRSA back when it was *cool*. All these other lamers getting it now are just wannabes. Maybe my dangerous lifestyle will make me seem sexier to da ladeeez. (cue Patrick Warburton voice) “You know, babe, I heard on the radio that MRSA staph infects 90,000 people a year, and 1 in 5 die from it. That’s right, I’ve had it 4 times now. I might die tomorrow, so…”
Here’s a short summary of the last 4 weeks:
About 4 weeks ago I get my 4th Staph infection – I catch it early so I get in to Dr on time and get it treated.
About 3 weeks ago I am unknowingly exposed to poison ivy or oak outside our house playing baseball with Jaden.
About 2 weeks ago I start having a strong poison ivy/oak reaction around the ankles. For some people it takes a while to show up. At first I didn’t know what it was but we traced it back to poison ivy/oak and start treating it as such.
Then about a week ago I start getting itchy bumps / boils ALL over my hands, feet, legs, and arms. Literally dozens of them – they itch really really bad under the skin, boil up and of course due to itching, become sores. They seem NOTHING like poison ivy and NOTHING like MRSA.
AND THEN I REMEMBER I HAD LOBSTER IN BETWEEN EVENTS #3 and #4 above.
You see, as far as I know, I’m allergic to shrimp/shellfish. I never got it confirmed 100%, but when I was adolescent teen and allergic to nothing but homework and chores, I got REALLY sick one night after trying gumbo/shrimp for the first time after moving to southwestern Louisiana. It was assumed that I was probably allergic to shrimp, and I was told in general to stay away from shrimp and shellfish because that would be the safest thing to do, and since I didn’t like the taste anyway, it’s not like I’m going to argue.
When I mention this recent lobster-fest to the doctor, she said that food allergies and their reactions can react very much like these bumps. Sometimes a reaction can take days to manifest due to digestion and the fact that different parts of the bodies react in different ways. It’s like people who are allergic to penicillin might not react for 3-4 days and then get blotches or rashes on their skin. So it’s perfectly natural for skin blemishes, spots, bumps, itching to show up well after consumption.
So the major concern was that MRSA should not be allowed to affect the poison ivy or the bumps. The second major concern is to find out why I was so insistent on trying lobster last week. STUPID STUPID STUPID!
I’m sure the lobster agrees.
I received this from our children’s school district:
Leander ISD has had 25 reported cases of staph infections across our district between August 20th and October 18th. This is not an unusual year for staph infections, with the Williamson County Health Department reporting that LISD’s numbers are well within the normal expected range.
Leander ISD has a number of procedures in place to minimize the staph problem, and has added to these prevention and control procedures this school year. To see what LISD is doing (and what parents can do), please check out our Staphylococcal Infection Control update.
Fifteen weeks of hilarity, humor, hubris and honesty. Huh?
I’ll keep this week’s to just one. For there can be only one.
It should clearly outline territories and help people along.
Is this photoshopped?
I can’t tell. It sure is pretty tho. The colors are so varied and vivid.
Click for a slightly larger version.
Some of you who are my age might flip out. Did you know that our school systems have finally got their technological act together and parents can actually go online and see grades? and attendance? And it actually is cool?
Leander Independent School District (LISD) is where our kids go. They have a thing called “Gradespeed” where parents can login and view up-to-the-date grades and even see homework turned in, tests, projects, quizzes, labs and EVERYTHING.
You login and can see her schedule, classes, and teachers, and for each class, over on the right it lists a clickable grade. (The grades have been hidden to protect the innocent)
When you click on the grade, it gives you all the details, dates, and how much each kidn of thing is worth for the total grade
How absolutely cool is that? From here, I can also email the teachers.
Some other things I’ve noticed that are impressive technological advances:
We get PDF newsletters emailed to us each week from Jaden’s teacher for what’s going on that week.
Every teacher has a website that shows contact info, voicemail number, email address, calendar, and usually the homework they’ve assigned.
Caitlin’s huge 1000+ page math book is ONLINE so she can access it from any computer and download a PDF of whatever chapter or page so she can work on her homework without having to lug the huge thing around. I’m guessing the same goes to some of her other classes.
The school calendar, library, campus info, school newsletter, handbook, news and all sorts of things are available on the school website.
I’m so happy
As I mentioned yesterday, I finally fixed a huge slowdown problem on my laptop. I’m still ecstatic about it. My system is so unbelievably fast – UM, LIKE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.