28 February 2007

"So you're saying there's a chance..."

This is a direct quote from Weatherbug's forecast for tomorrow. "Thunderstorms...snow and rain in the morning...then snow in the afternoon. Blowing snow in the afternoon. Windy. Snow may be heavy at times in the afternoon. Snow accumulation of 3 to 6 inches...Chance of precipitation near 100 percent." OK, we get it, there will be snow in the afternoon! :) The other thing I noted is that it is rare to see the chance of precipitation 'near 100%'. That's a strong statement.

26 February 2007

A good day at school

I had a rather enjoyable day at school last Friday. First off, we had our diversity assembly. The school I am placed at has a highly diverse student body and that is one of the things I love most about it, so I was looking forward to see what the assembly would be like. It turned out to be organized, planned and ran by the students. Each race or ethnicity had a representative group. There were two student emcees would introduced a Laotian student to do a traditional dance performance complete with fans and traditional attire. Following her were a large group of latino students dancing, then traditional Bosnian dance, then an African skit, then an great reciting of a self-written poem by a freshman, and finally a great combination step team/African-American history performance. I was impressed by the courage and pride of the student performers, but I was equally impressed by the respect and support they received by our student audience. Overall, I thought it was superb.
My second memorable event from Friday was experiencing school lunch for the first time in 12 years. It may be a much larger school than where I went to high school and it may be much more urban and diverse, but I don't think school lunch varies that much anywhere. One thing that has changed and did surprise (and disappoint) me was...Where are the fish sandwiches? I thought they were a given on Fridays during Lent. Macaroni and cheese or cheesebread were the non-meat offerings. I was sadden by that news. I will be looking forward to burrito day to make up for it. Burrito day was without a doubt my most favorite lunch in HS. It was a mandatory "double" day. And I've seen the burritos offered by my school; they look the exact same as when I was in HS. Can't wait!

22 February 2007

Security Breach? Or Lack of Security?

When I started to read this story about the local National Guard base having a security breach, I thought someone had forgot to lock a door or something. Yes, the exterior door was left unlocked, but the vault door was ajar and the security system was disabled! Yikes. Nothing like leaving 700 weapons out for anyone to try out. A soldier has already admitted that he left it unlocked. I'm guessing he can just plan on KP and extra PT for the next few years.
Favorite quote: "Losing weapons is considered a serious matter in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces"

Football Fans Frenzy

This picture is from the Champions League match between Manchester United and Lille on Tuesday. Lille apparently had a small ticket gaffe and they oversold a few sections. So the fans on the fence are climbing to escape getting crushed.
Ahh, football.

Grocery Wars

Whole Foods has announced that it will buy Wild Oats. They state that they are going to evaluate each banner as well as each individual store to determine its future. They go on to state that Wild Oats had enacted a few closures on some of its underperforming stores and that a few more may need to be closed. Still waiting for word of an opening in central Iowa.

20 February 2007

Education Suggestions

Man, I wonder how you get to be in this task force?! 75 educators gathered to compose a list of suggestions to the state board of education on ways to improve and strengthen our state's education and to reverse the trend of diminishing numbers of teachers. I didn't really see anything ground breaking in the list. Several of them were things that I have talked about with homebase or other teachers. What would be ground-breaking was if the state actually proactively implemented some of these suggestions. Improved loan forgiveness, housing programs, improved professional development, and education reimbursement would all be excellent incentives and marketing tools.

18 February 2007

Chicken Noodle Soup

After hearing stoppable's continuous praise for the whole chicken as a great buy for the money, I gave in and purchased a couple last weekend (with some guidance from stoppable via cellphone). The first one I cooked and served with some beans and rice. It was turned out good. Simple but good. Today I had a craving for chicken and noodles so I thought I'd try my hand and making that. After conferring with stoppable and homebase for tips and directions I got started. I boiled the chicken (remembering to remove the neck, gizzard and liver this time), then took it out to cool and I started boiling the egg noodles while I chopped up some onion, carrot and celery. Picking the meat off the chicken was a painful ordeal, even after letting it cool a while. It really holds its heat! I then made a roux & started adding broth to it, but when I combined it into the pot, it didn't make much of a difference. I had envisioned a thick bowl of chicken and noodles, maybe even over some mashed potatoes, but I ended up with a nice chicken and noodle soup. Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of chicken noodle soup and I have enough to feed a large family. I did enjoy a bowl of it and I do have to concede that it does hold some therapeutic healing properties. Sipping the steaming hot broth seemed to help fight this ridiculous cold I'm battling. Anyone want some soup?

Britney Bald

Britney is now bald. It sounds like she went into a salon and asked them to shave her head because her extentions were too tight. They refused so she grabbed clippers and did the job herself. She then went and got another tatoo. Could this girl get any more wierd? Stay tuned. I see a name change as her next adventure.

14 February 2007

Americone Dream

Ben & Jerry has announced they are going to produce a new flavor. Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream. He hopes it will balance out the liberal leaning dessert industry. I love that guy! He's probably the #1 thing I miss about not having cable anymore.

12 February 2007

Tip of the Cap

I designated our Sunday night to be 'Hat Night' and we all agreed that it added to the fun. I don't wear hats a lot, but every once in a while a good cap on the head can put you in just the right mood for a good time.

A fun packed Sunday

Barack Obama was in Ames on Sunday and I tripped up to the ISU campus with caboose and loiltes to see him. The demand was so great that they had to make two venue changes, finally settling on the Hilton Coliseum. It was great to see and hear Senator Obama, and very exciting to know that he is running for President. I appreciate his candid demeanor and his matter-of-fact, ordinary speaking style. Universal health care, education improvements (better pay and more flexibility for teachers in return for being held to a higher standard), alternative energy sources, and commencing a withdrawal/redeployment plan for our troops in Iraq, are all issues that hit home with me.
Following that we dined at the always wonderful Hickory Park. I had to take my to go so I could make it back in time to work at the Y, but it was still great.
And finally, as a night cap, the three of us returned to Ames for a Carbonleaf show. They put on a super good show, playing all of my favorites from Indian Summer. They didn't play my two favorites from their new CD ("Block of Wood" and "The War was in Color") but they did play some good older selections as well as two great covers, "I'm on Fire" (a Bruce Springsteen song) and a medley of Led Zepplin's "Brun-Y-Ar Stomp" and the Black Crowes' "She Talks to Angels" with their opener, Toby Lightman, (she was great!) helping out on vocals.
A completely good day.

11 February 2007

Update: Beckham

A great reason for a follow-up on the Beckham story. His coach, Fabio Capello, had stuck to his word and excluded him from the team and Beckham has not played. Real Madrid has continued to struggle and the press continued to add pressure to include Beckham in the team. In Saturday's match against Real Sociedad, Capello gave in and included Beckham, saying that his professional work ethic and attitude in practice made him reverse his decision. Beckham returned the favor by netting a sweet goal from a free kick and helping Madrid to a vital win. What a great feeling that had to be for him. Serving up the humble pie!

08 February 2007

Education Budget Woes

We've all heard about the public education budget crunch; underpaid teachers, outdated texts, decaying schools, etc. Something that does not get the amount of publicity it deserves is toilet paper.
I came from a large insurance company, so I thought I was accustomed to cheap, industrial TP. It had been too long since I had been in a public school toilet, I guess. The toilet paper at my old job was cheap, but the first time I unrolled some of the stuff being used at my school, I was shocked and I think I winced a bit. I had forgotten what true one-ply was. Even layering it up multiple times doesn't improve the experience much.
I don't know if funding for education will ever be where it needs to be, but I do wonder what the TP is like on military bases or in the Pentagon. I'm guessing they are not using the same grade we are.

05 February 2007

Cable Bill

Today our cable channel selection decrease by a hundred channels or so. And I couldn't be happier. I've been bustin' caboose's chops about calling Mediacom and getting us on a cheaper cable package for about four months or so. I just feel like we were paying way too much for the amount of TV we watched. Our bill for cable and internet was $102 a month. So I finally gave in and spent forty minutes on the phone with them last month and only came up with two so-so options that would only save us $20 or $30 bucks a month. But caboose finally came through, and when he did, he did it in a big way. He hit the last day of a promotion for $9.99 internet and we dropped all channels except for 2-22, which will run us another $13. That's right, our bill has dropped from $102 to $25. That will help out with the whole 'no pay check' student teaching thing. Much props and thanks to caboose.

04 February 2007

The "New Game Weekend"

What a fun fun weekend! Despite the offensively cold temperatures, my family ventured out and across the state to meet up for a fun weekend here. First homebase came into town, arriving Thursday evening for her conference on Friday. We had a successful time shopping and getting a haircut for her. Friday after school, we went grocery shopping in preparation for a lot of cooking in the upcoming weekend. We also went and took in a HS basketball game and I got the first chance to show off "my" classroom. I also got my first look at our step team. I LOVED them. They provided a nice highlight after an abysmal girls game.
Saturday we hit Sports Authority, World Market and Barnes & Noble, then hustled back to the apartment to get started making a nice green chicken curry. It was ready when all the Omaha clan showed up. We had a great time hanging out, eating, playing games (chess, checkers, Toot & Otto, Legos, Harry Potter), tasting beers, making white chili, and even had time to squeeze in a part of Steph Taylor's show at Ritual Cafe.
Sunday was meatball day and more games. It was so fun to have everyone here, having fun, making good food and escaping the frigid weather together. Thanks all for making the trip.

Super Bowl XLI

Pretty much a let down in every possible area. I missed the national anthem (but heard it wasn't anything spectacular). The Bears lost. The half-time show with Prince was very average. And I would score the commercials overall at about a C-. The only highlights for me were the Coke commercials, in particular the "Give a little love" one, and the Careerbuilder ads. Well, I have met my one game NFL quota for the season, so I'll see all you NFL fans in 12 months.