Other sites

What’s the use of coming here if not to get a look into my life?  Such a look into my life might include some of the websites I visit often, including some message boards. Just click on the title to go there and see what this sub likes to read and do.

Worthyboards: This is a Christian message board. It is part of a larger ministry, but I tend to stay on the message board. I don’t post often being more of a lurker, but if you see any posts by Qun Mang, that’s me. There is a prayer forum there so if you need a lot of people praying for you, sign up and put a post there. There are also some forums you can’t see until you sign up, and one or two you can no longer see once you do!

MAMEWorld.info: This is the message board for MAMEWorld.net, posted in my last retrogaming post. It primarily deals with the arcade game emulator MAME, but people sometimes post about retrogaming in general there. Just do yourselves a favor and walk carefully in the Loony Bin. This part of the site is not safe for work, if you get my meaning. I try to avoid certain posts on this part of the site, but there is much posted here that is actually interesting so that’s why I visit it.

English Amiga Boards: All Amiga, all the time. This board is everything dealing with the Commodore Amiga, a very popular computer in the late 80s/early 90s. That is, popular in Europe, not the U.S. English refers not only to the language, but to where the site is hosted. I had an Amiga 500 back in the days. A certain administrator had an Amiga 3000. You can also visit the main site, abime.net. From there you can find information on just about every Amiga game, read old Amiga magazines, and more.

Internet Movie Database: Most of you regular readers already know of this site. If there is anything to be found about a movie, you can find it here. TV shows as well, but the next site is a little better for it, excepting in some cases the forums. IMDB forums seem to be more popular, however you have to sign up to even read the IMDB forums let alone post in them. I’ve been using this site since before it became a website, when it was a database you downloaded from the internet and read via software you install for it.

TV.com: Same as above except for television shows. Their search engine stinks though. I typed in an exact title once and the search came up empty. I typed in a couple of key words and suddenly the show was found. Here you can read about the characters, the actors, episode guides, news about the shows, forums you don’t need to sign up to read (just to post), and more.

Geek.com and Neowin.net: A couple of sites with computer-related news.

Majorgeeks: Lots of software for Windows computers, including both shareware and freeware. If you need an application, try this site. They also have some news at the end of each daily roundup. They seem to be based in Florida, so a lot of news revolves around that state.

Well, I think that’s enough for today. Maybe I will post some more another time. There are also the sites I mentioned in my previous post, so check them out as well.

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Those kids I (should) know…

I have mentioned in the past occasionally running into students who I know from church. The most interesting response one has ever given me was a few years ago in a district I used to sub in. It was an afternoon position and the kids just came back from lunch. Then one boy just shouted out, “Hey, I know you!!!” Well, as is often the case working with so many kids, plus my faulty memory when it comes to names and faces I only vaguely remembered him, but at least I knew from where I knew him, so I said so then slyly looked up his name. From that point on I got to know him better at church, as well as his brother who would enter the 4th grade the following year. Today I found myself in a similar situation. He didn’t blurt it out like the one a few years ago, but quietly let me know. Unfortunately my memory of him was no better than that other time. In my defense I should say that I work two services and interact with about 80-90 each weekend. Some I interact with more than others, and he unfortunately was one of those others. No sly tricks this time though, but I mentioned that I may have to have him put in my cabin at camp this June so I remember him better.

So of course this wouldn’t be as interesting a post if there wasn’t more to this story. After the kids had PE in the morning, they came back and switched classes for science/social studies (my class went to social studies, another class came in for science). So then another boy told me he remembered me from church too! After telling him I didn’t recognize him, he confessed he’d only been there twice as a guest of the first boy. So, not as much coincidence then since the first boy was involved. Later, after lunch, you guessed it… I ran into someone else from my church. What three in one day? Is God telling me something? If so He will need to be clearer unfortunately- this mind of mine isn’t seeing it. I actually ran into someone from church picking up his daughter for a dental appointment. In fact, I had worked with him one year in AWANA. He was the new director of TNT boys (Truth in Training, 3rd-5th grades) and I was a leader. Anyway, care to guess which class his daughter was in? Just by my asking the question you know it was mine. She didn’t know me though as far as I know- it’s possible she goes to the service I don’t lead in. I’ll have to find out.

Speaking of AWANA, I had one of my bigger memory freezes with the former director of the 3rd-5th grade boys. After about six weeks of working with him once a week, I saw him at a churchgoer’s get-together at someone’s farm. He saw me and said hello, and I recognized that I knew him, but I suddenly couldn’t place where I knew him from! Ah, that mind of mine- short-circuits from time to time. Once I said so and he told me, it was the biggest duh! moment ever.

Well, until next time.

Update: Here’s a story about someone with a memory opposite of mine:

Would you like to remember every day of your life? 

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It’s nice to not have to drive far…

When they say the average American is stuck in traffic (i.e. not moving or moving slowly, not the total commute) commuting to work 38 hours per year (nearly double that if you hail from L.A.) it is nice to have a short trip.  In fact, this is a trip that I could easily walk if not for the heavy bag I carry.  I suppose I could stick my stuff in a backpack, but that really wouldn’t look very professional.  In any event, coincidence gave me two half-day jobs- for two team teachers!  From my understanding they did not coordinate this, but had to take off half-days for two different reasons.  I literally walked through the wall to get to the other class.  Okay, it was a collapsible wall that was partly open, but still.  Both teachers taught 3rd/4th grade multiage and so I even saw some of the same students both morning and afternoon due to switching classes- they switched for spelling and math.  It was a pretty pleasant day overall, in the top 15-20% of all my workdays.  I just had to look around, because this is exactly the sort of thing I will see in June if I get to do camp again.  What I mean is, combined 3rd/4th grades just graduated to 4th/5th.  I would put up a video here of last year, but since I am not their parent I don’t think I can since I’m sure more than my friends read this even if they don’t post (hint, hint!).  Perhaps I can be persuaded to give a private viewing if asked though.  Of course it’s possible I already showed a couple of you the video last year, but not all.  What, still with me?  Go on, leave a comment already! 🙂

Retrogaming

Bleah. All weekend and no post to show for it. I could throw in a some edu-humor but I think you five readers would rather me put something substantial. Unfortunately it is too late in the evening for that. Besides, I really don’t have anything to post- Friday was uninteresting and I didn’t go to church since I had the weekend off from kid’s ministry and needed the break. Should I start adding posts for one of the other passions I hold- retrogaming? I wanted to start a sister brother blog, but I have a hard enough time writing for this blog. Here are a few sites to whet an appetite for retrogaming:

http://www.mameworld.net/

http://www.emulation9.com/

http://www.retroremakes.com/

The first site is everything MAME for arcade emulation. The second is pretty much just a news site for all types of emulator releases: computer, arcade, and console. There really is no good site these days for computer and console emulation. For emulators you need game files to play, be it ROM images, disks, or CD images, but I don’t think I should be telling you where to find these given their legality. The third link is all about remakes of older games, usually for Windows but sometimes for other systems. This would be the easiest one to get started with, but as remakes they are usually reimaginings (thanks Sci-fi Channel for the term!) rather than exact copies, so if it’s the original you want you will need to go with emulation.

Science Court

Back to middle school, thankfully.  Not many would actually say middle school is an improvement over younger grades, but it is over yesterday’s special needs preschool classroom.  In any event, I mostly enjoy middle school though there are those days of course.  Science was the subject, and will be tomorrow as well since this is a two-day assignment.  Today’s repeated middle school lesson, only four times at least instead of six, was a video (surprise, surprise).  This video was one of several Squigglevision/Science Court episodes.  This series uses the really bad (in my opinion) Squigglevision method of animation and is about two lawyers who battle against each other over some science fact, one science-challenged and one who basically does the teaching and (you guessed it) always wins the case.  There were some funny moments, and it was entertaining.  However for education it seems like they could have put more content in there.  For a half-hour show (commercials were included, yikes!) it really could have said much more about the topic at hand, which by the way was work.  Not that one episode necessarily defines the series, mind you- I haven’t seen any other episodes.  The students just started a unit on simple machines and this video taught the scientific definition of work.  In it they also talked about a few simple machines that would make the work seem easier by increasing the distance moved (work = force × distance, so increasing distance will decrease force if the work the same). We wrapped up after the video with a short discussion and a few minutes of silent ball.

If Squigglevision sounds familiar, it may be because of one of the other shows produced using this patented method.  I specifically remember a show called Home Movies back in 1999.  I’ll tell you, I watched one episode of this show and that was enough for me.  One of the drawbacks of Squigglevision animation is the lack of fluid, well, animation.  Squiggly outlines are in abundance but the animation of the characters and whatnot is just lacking.  Case in point is the entrance of a character.  Rather than appearing a little at a time to show fluid motion, the character will just all of a sudden just be there.  One frame not there at all, next frame, bam there he is.  This is part of the reason I really disliked the show.  The other was I just didn’t care for the premise.  All in all I found the show to be quite a snooze.  So, when the show creators switched to Flash animation for the second season I still did not switch back.

Anyway, back to school.  You may have noticed I wrote that I only had to do this lesson four times.  The reason for this is: 1) this is the school that has tutorial for one of the periods (some students do a foreign language instead of tutorial), and 2) at this school each core teacher does one social studies class.  Why they don’t have a dedicated social studies teacher is a mystery, probably budgeting.  So for social studies they just colored pictures of African masks.  All period.  Well, you wanted to know, right? 😀

There’s a guy in the preschool classroom!

People who know me know that my preference for teaching is about 3rd-7th grades. Stretch a year in either direction, and those are pretty much the jobs I gravitate toward when I have a choice. Of course specials are an exception; I do take those no problem though they may include kindergarten or 1st grade. Since you are an observant reader, you will have noticed the words when I have a choice. Well, I was unable to procure an assignment yesterday leaving me at the mercy of what’s available in the morning. First call came in at about 5:40 and was for kindergarten. I thought about it and foolishly chose not to do it. I figured I would take a chance and check the web since I was awake. I did find a couple of half-day jobs which I also skipped. Then came the full-day preschool assignment. I didn’t think I would see anything younger than the one I rejected, but here it was. Being about 5:50 I decided to gamble again and keep hoping for a better assignment to show up. Nope. Oddly enough though, no one was picking up this full-day assignment for some reason. Finally, the system called me for the assignment so I gave in and took it. At least it was a lot closer to me than the kindergarten job. Then I went back to sleep for an hour.

As it turns out, this district as far as I know does not offer normal preschool. It does however offer special education preschool for the “developmentally delayed.” The morning had eight of ten students there, and was actually kind of a breeze. This kind of classroom has teaching assistants (three!), and today the speech teacher actually came in to take over the class! I had absolutely no problem with this as this age is really out of my comfort zone anyway. I just acted as another T.A. The most I did teachingwise was running a center where they matched patterns and did a connect-the-dots worksheet. Other than that it was keeping kids focused and helping as needed.

The afternoon was a little different. There were slightly fewer students (seven), but this was a more challenging group. One was very autistic and needed special attention, and as a whole the group was lower than the morning group and like the one autistic boy, required more attention. The title of this post refers to me, but in actuality one of the part-time T.A.s in the afternoon was a guy! I would guess he really likes kids to do this, because he is a retired principal from the school I was at and retirement packages for top school administrators tend to be very generous. Either that or some bad investments, but his actions during the afternoon clearly showed the former. He was very good with the kids- unlike a T.A. from another school I worked with recently. That T.A. really yelled at the kids, sometimes for very minor things. To be fair, that school was a middle school, but I really felt for those kids. Aside from that she did a pretty good job, doing things for the students she didn’t have to. If not for this I would have thought she was in the wrong profession entirely.

I was somewhat relieved to go home a little early- preschool ends 15 minutes before the regular grades- partly due to the afternoon class and partly due to the relative inactivity of my job. This is one reason, aside from the very low pay, that I would not want to be a teaching assistant full time. The absolute wost times I have had subbing were as teaching assistants, particularly one-one-one assignments. Never again on those, though I would sub (at regular pay) for other types of teaching assistants, like those with multiple kids or general classroom helpers.

Jokes

I’m too tired to blog today, so here are a few jokes off the ‘net.  Hopefully tomorrow I will have a real post for you.  Enjoy!

A lesson about blood flow and circulation

A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, he said: “Now, students, if I stood on my head the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I should turn red in the face.”

“Yes, sir,” the boys said.

“Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn’t run into my feet?”

A little fellow shouted, “‘It’s because yer feet ain’t empty.”

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Kids’ Perspective

Kids’ Views on School

A little girl had just finished her first week of school. “I’m wasting my time,” she said to her mother.

“I can’t read, I can’t write – and they won’t let me talk!”

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On the way home from the first day of school, the father asked his son, “What did you do at school today?”

The little boy shrugged his shoulders and said, “Nothing”.

Hoping to draw his son into conversation, the father persisted and said, “Well, did you learn about any numbers, study certain letters, or maybe a particular color?”

The perplexed child looked at his father and said, “Daddy, didn’t you go to school when you were a little boy?”

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The homework schedule

Here is an explanation of the school homework policy for the average student. Students should not spend more than ninety minutes per night. This time should be budgeted in the following manner if the student desires to achieve moderate to good grades in his/her classes.

15 minutes looking for assignment.

11 minutes calling a friend for the assignment.

23 minutes explaining why the teacher is mean and just does not like children.

8 minutes in the bathroom.

10 minutes getting a snack.

7 minutes checking the TV Guide.

6 minutes telling parents that the teacher never explained the assignment.

10 minutes sitting at the kitchen table waiting for Mom or Dad to do the assignment.

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