31 October 2011

Kickers. :(

I definitely caught up on my college football on Saturday.  I hadn't seen College Gameday for a few weeks and was able to start things off right with that.  It seemed like a lot of close games and lots of kicker-dominated action.  Iowa misses two field goals (one of them off the goal post) and loses by a point.  Illinois misses a game ending field goal (off the goal post) that would've put the game into overtime, so Penn State wins and gets Joe Paterno his record-setting 409th win.  Wisconsin, incredibly, found a way to give up a game-losing TD catch in the endzone for the second week in a row.  Stanford and USC needed 3 overtimes to sort things out. Vanderbilt missed a FG to take Arkansas to OT (among other foibles). [sidenote: This cheap shot by Arkansas' Marquel Wade on a punt returner, after they had called for a fair catch, is awful.  Two silver linings though - the coach's behavior on both sides.  The Vanderbilt coach is intense and takes no chances in a brawl by getting his players off the field and calmed down. {side-sidenote: I have no problem with a coach grabbing a player's facemask to get a player to focus}.  And the Arkansas position coach, although no one seemed to reprimand him much when he first came off, despite that hit being in excusable, the player was still yapping on the sidelines minutes later and his ejection was delivered, the assistant didn't hesitate to collar him and forcibly help him to the locker room.]
Texas and Notre Dame both cruised to easy wins, but the most entertaining thing I watched the whole day was the Arsenal - Chelsea soccer match.  I used my projector and pulled up ESPN3 and had a fantastic big-screen.  I only caught the last 20 minutes but it was fabulous.  You can watch the full replay here, if you get ESPN3.  Or check out the highlights here.  Great win for the Gunners.

28 October 2011

Very Brief History of the Emoticon

Here's a short history on the evolution of the emoticon via Mashable. 
Interesting that in the hundreds of years of typed information, the emoticon didn't really occur until written online messages needed an emotional clarify-er. 
I did notice that students a couple years ago started switching their smilies around from :) to (:.
Also, I see a lot of slang text that use the Q button when they are typing a G, in lowercase.  It only works with certain fonts...q  q q - all Q's, but can pass for a G. 

25 October 2011

New Header

I reached that familiar place in projects where I am just tired of working on it and I am nearing the end of my limited knowledge and I just want to be done.  So I am uploading my latest header.  It is an adaptation of this tutorial by Zeno Santos.  It was done entirely other than the finishing in Illustrator, which was a big challenge for me.  I did a lot of stuff I've never done before.  Not sure how much of it sunk in, but it was a good time.  I would like to do a few more of the steps like adding a stroke to each of the letters and I actually want to scrap all the clouds, but it would be a lot of work so I think it's gonna stay as is for a while.

Vatican: "I see you #OWS"

I thought these were some interesting and reassuring comments out of the Vatican.  Highlighting similarities between Catholic social teachings, the release by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and the basic tenants behind the Occupy Wall Street movements, the Vatican elicited a varied range of responses.  While not explicitly supporting it, I did like that they gave a nod to the need for financial controls and action on the worsening inequality of wealth. 

24 October 2011

Welcome to Hoopington

I ran on the treadmill for the first time in years last week.  It is really a terrible thing and does running a real disservice.  I only lasted 2.25 miles then I threw in the towel.  There is no sense fighting it to do something that is monotonous and boring when the activity is actually something that you really enjoy doing if it outside. 
The silver lining of my treadmill torture was being able to read a magazine while running.  I cam across this article in Sports Illustrated and, despite having nearly zero interest in the NBA, this article really intrigued me.  I love hearing these stories of players getting back to their roots and ballin' with regular dudes, in pickup games, calling their own fouls, deals with ratty gyms, etc.  And this kids passion is pretty fun to read about.  "Sooo where is everyone hooping today?"  It also illustrates another very cool impact of technology and social media.

23 October 2011

Penguin Stowaway!

I randomly came across this picture online today and had to check out if it was for real and where this "Table Mountain National Park" is at.  Turns out it is on the tip of South Africa, south of Capetown and they have a penguin population of 29 colonies of African penguin that they are working on protecting and restoring.  So it looks like there are 2600 penguins waiting to greet me down there... I just have to be sure to check under my car when leaving for any hiding sneakers.

17 October 2011

Fall Mixtape: Fall Into Something Good

1. By Your Hand - Los Campesinos!
2. Did It Again - Shakira w/Kid Cudi
3. Naked Love - Grouplove
4. I'm a Goner - Matt & Kim, Andew WK, Soulja Boy
5. Como Soy - Ceci Bastida (JV Remix)
6. Haunted Heart - Little Hurricane
7. Bumper - Cults
8. Valerie - Amy Winehouse
9. Why I Love You - Kanye & Jay-Z
10. Words I Never Say - Lupe Fiasco
11. Cuckoo - Lissie
12. Tell Her No - Tennis
13. Diet Mt. Dew - Lana Del Rey
14. Give It Up To Me - Shakira w/Lil Wayne
15. Turn Me On - David Guetta w/Nicki Minaj
16. Rolling In the Deep - Jorge & Alexa Narvaez
17. I Know the Truth - Pretty Lights

Holla if interested!!

31 in 31

Halfway there and I'm still going at 100%.  17 runs in 17 days so far, and really there's only been one time when I really didn't feel like running (after a 12 hour day during conferences).  But even on that day, afterwards I was happy I ran.  There never is a run that you regret going on.  A few quick notes on the running so far:
  • Short runs.  I've become familiar with the short run.  Lots of 2.5-3.5 mile runs.  Up to this point all my routes were 4 or 5 miles, so the shorter ones have been a change.  It's been nice to just be able to squeeze a run in when I've got a free 30 minutes instead of scheduling my day around it.
  • New routes.  Squeezing a run in means runs throwing on the shoes, grabbing the watch and running out the back door instead of driving somewhere to run on my favorite route.  So I've been forced to put together some new routes and it has been GREAT! 
  • Gathering data.  I love spreadsheets and I've been logging my minutes, miles, temperatures, routes, partners, and I can't wait to make some charts at the end of the month.
  • Solo runs.  A majority of my runs have been solo this month which is a big change from my usual running schedule.  I love having good running partners, but it has been a fun change to roll solo some.  
  • A new running partner.  My rosary ring.  I found out that my short 2.7 mile route is just about the perfect length for a rosary.  And the prayers in the rosary are a great running mantra. 

14 October 2011

Rihanna

Esquire has chosen her as their sexiest woman alive for this year.
They will get no arguments from me.  Their photoshoot is good but I've seen much better photos of her.  The interview is a nice, brief synopsis of where she's come from.  I love her, love her music, love her hair, love her island accent, love pretty much everything about her.  I don't love her high-waisted shorts but otherwise, she can do no wrong.  Check out this page to see 50 of her hairstyles...and ain't a one of them bad, messy, big, short, curly, spikey, mohawk, red, black, brown.
You can check out their "Other sexiest women" here.  Nice to see Beyonce and Mila on there.  As I think about this, I may have to assemble my own list...stay tuned.
[Gotta love having the day off! I'm so productive!]

10 "Worst" Songs of the 80's?

Saw a link to this Rolling Stone list (composed by reader votes) on a music blog this morning.  I think that some of these are very enjoyable but probably have been drilled into everyone's ears for too long...and they are VERY 80's.  Nevertheless, I like a majority of them and I did listen to several on the list this morning, including #1.  Enjoy.

13 October 2011

Dogs Helping Dogs

I saw that Jorge (of Jorge & Alexa) posted this video so I had to check it out.  The first part is a little confusing to me because it looks like the first dog is hit by multiple vehicles.  Either way, the second dog is the hero of the day and they all live to run wild and poop in random yards another day.

12 October 2011

Nurse's Office

I stopped into the nurse's office at one of my elementary schools this morning and while I was there (probably 15 minutes), she had 4 or 5 different students come in.  She was unfazed by everything and always kind and helpful.  Which is why I went out of my way to help her with some items that I usually would've just explained to someone and left them to do on their own. 
The best customer she had though, was this little second grade boy.  He was escorted by a classmate and he carried in front of him the trashcan from his classroom.  He hadn't made it very far in the door when I shared, "I just puked on the rug in my classroom."  He didn't say it like he was asking for sympathy, nor was he boastful.  He chirped it out there no different than "I brought my lunch today" or "My shoes are red."  He then clarified "I puked and it came out of me like this..." and he illustrated the direct line that the puke took out of his mouth, very straight, sort of projectile vomit-like.  This little story-teller was just getting warmed-up, "I puked up my strawberry milk.  And my pancakes.  I had pancakes for breakfast.  I puked up my breakfast.  It was red."  It was pretty much a constant stream of commentary from this guy for the remainder of the time I was there, covering his thoughts on his teacher, the friend who brought him down, the shirt he wore that day, the puke that he had on his hand, his familiarity with the iPad, the bloody tooth he'd had the week before and several other riveting topics. 
He was a pleasant as can be but I'm not sure how his teacher contains his verbal skills in the classroom.

10 October 2011

Monoprice.com

I have been sort of wanting a car charger for my iPod/iPad for a while now but didn't really feel the need to pay $25 or whatever for one.  Then j-rod happened to tell me about this fantastic website for audio/video cables and accessories, monoprice.com.  I went out there, chose what I wanted from 2 or 3 different ones and WITH SHIPPING, I paid $3.04.  Incredible savings.  Thanks j-rod!

"Men have become tools of their tools"

I thought this was a nice breath of fresh air amidst all the craziness surrounding the apple event last week.  When you read tech blogs and people act like iPhone 4s or 5 is the most important thing in the world or when the Android/Apple comment wars get going, it is nice to counter all that with an article such as this one.  "Why I Dumped My iPhone and I'm Not Going Back."
I totally agree with many of his points.  For many in that generation, it is impossible to proceed with life if you can't check your phone.  If you forget your phone it is grounds for a complete melt-down and you must now rearrange your day to go home and get it because life without it is not an option.  I could go on (and I did actually.  I just deleted out the next three sentences because I didn't want to sound too preachy.) but instead I'll just point out that I like his Walden reference and that I am going to save this article for re-reading.

07 October 2011

Every Damn Day

31 runs in 31 days.
I saw this tshirt from Nike on this great tumblr feed, and I didn't think about it much when I saw it, but for some reason it popped back into my head a few days later.  That led to this resolution, I am going to run everyday for the next month.  I have been in need of some sort of running goal or something to work towards for quite a while now.  I haven't ran any  races since Dam to Dam and without that, my running schedule becomes rather flexible (not in a good way) and less of a priority.  So, instead of signing up for a half or something, this will be my new motivation.  It's great because running more often and more consistently are areas I've always struggled with.  31 days.  No days off.  At least two miles every day.  This isn't about building speed or endurance or anything, just getting out and running.  No excuses.  I'm hoping to find some ways to get in a few in the mornings before work maybe and hopefully this increase in calorie burning will help shave off a few unneeded pounds.  Along with this I am going to post everyday, some sort of motivational item.  A quote, a picture, a link, a video, etc.  There are lots of interesting tumblrs out there that are set up for this exact reason (fitspo) so I will be pulling from them probably. 
[I wrote this the last week of September but held off on posting it until I saw how the first week went.  I got up this morning and got a short pre-dawn run in so I am 7 for 7 so far!  More updates to come.]

06 October 2011

"Where Children Sleep"

James Mollison is a photographer whose recent project is now being released as a book entitled "Where Children Sleep."  His two-image compilations show the child along with their sleeping space.  The article recommends to view them in full screen mode and I second that idea.  The larger images and more detail are great and the full screen takes away any other distractions, drawing your focus to the faces and the bedrooms.

05 October 2011

Super Bass

I loved the original and then today I saw this acapella cover version posted on Facebook by a former student.  The rapping part was a little unsettling (luckily she doesn't sound like she knows what she's saying part of the time), but the chorus is a pretty fantastic showcase of her pipes.  While I was watching that one, I saw this version where Taylor Swift covered it in her LA concert and was joined on stage by Nicki herself. 
[And unrelated but still enjoyable and maybe the best of all of them, I saw this video where Jason Mraz joined Taylor for "I'm Yours"]

04 October 2011

Education News

Five education articles recently in the news.  I'm guessing most readers won't read most of them, but I think they are worthwhile and too good to let pass by.

The letter from DMPS superintendant Nancy Sebring ran in the DM Register this week.  And although she cites the Washington Post rankings that I've said before I'm not a fan of, I still think it is well-written piece and necessary to help the average person understand the changing student population and how the metrics in NCLB work.  The Register never misses a chance to publish anything negative about DMPS so it's nice to get some positive words in there too.

Gov. Branstand has unveiled a new education plan, "One Unshakeable Vision: World-class Schools for Iowa".  Although the costs that go along with it have not been detailed yet, you can check out the 18 page outline here.  I like the items regarding teacher prep.  A centralized, state-wide teacher recruiting site, raising the minimum entrance GPA to 3.0, creating a teacher scholarship program, etc. And the proposed changes to pay, contract-length, tiered system with more time alotted for coaching/mentoring by high-quality teachers.  increased pay for working in high-poverty and high-need subjects, all sound promising.  I did see that "locally determined performance-based elements" was snuck in there, so we'll have to see what that means exactly.

Tagging on to that teacher scholarship theme, this article about the end of the North Carolina Teacher Fellow Program, where exemplary applicants receive full-tuition scholarship in return for a four year commitment to teaching in a public school.  Two stats jump off the page in that article.  73% retention of teachers from that program after five years.  (Compared to 7% for Teach for America)  And amazingly, 60% of the fellows that started 20 years ago are still in public education.

Jose Vilson, a math-teacher from NY, shares four lessons that educators can imitate from Jay-Z's career


This Nicholas Kristof article was passed on to me from my brother and its tale of education, love, and hope in the Kibera slum of Nairobi (the same area as in the "On the Way to War" book I just read) is truly inspiring.