Missing them already

This post was written last Tuesday, before the last post, but the sentiments still apply of course.  There was a video too, but unfortunately I did not get permission to post it here.  However, once it is officially posted at the church website I will be allowed to post that link.  Technically, the video is viewable now online via the site it’s hosted on, but since the link isn’t public yet it’s still being treated as private.  So, to the post:

Well, this last weekend was it. Maybe it was the way we went back to permanent small groups so I had the same kids each week, or maybe it was putting together the video, the first time I have ever made a video like this for 4th/5th grade, but I don’t recall feeling this way about any other group of 5th-graders leaving. Maybe it was both. It’s not as if I haven’t gotten close to the students before, I have. There is even a select group who I shared a cabin with for two summers a couple years back. Maybe my memory is just faulty. I don’t know. So two weeks from now we’ll be introducing an entire new group of kids into 4th grade as we move this last year’s 4th grade up to 5th. Due to the way things are done in the kid’s ministry with 4th and 5th grades going to service with their parents the last weekend of every month, the 3rd-graders actually have one more week before they come to us as 4th-graders. This weekend was also the swan song for this year’s drama for the K-3rd grade kids. This would ordinarily have been my week, but I had switched with someone who couldn’t do his week last weekend. Ironically, I received a call on Friday night that the one playing the guest role for the weekend couldn’t make Saturday night, so could I fill in for him? I did, which rather made things strange. I was performing with my cast, but not in my normal role. I did wear a false mustache and Fedora (can you guess the role type it was from the headwear? 😛 ) so I would at least look less like me in my other role playing a different role.  Hmm, could that last sentence of mine be more confusing?  At least you now share something with undoubtedly some of the kids who watched. 😀 . If you haven’t yet figured out the guest role this weekend, I’ll have to pull out my whip and… do something with it.  So anyway, as it turned out the original actor couldn’t make Sunday either, but the director filled in that day so I could at least spend an entire service with the very last 5th grade group at the 11:15 service.  Yes, I do miss them.

While I’m waiting…

I wrote a post two days ago, but because it involves a video I need permission to link to and the ones I asked have yet to respond.  Well, I don’t really know if I’ve asked them yet or not- if I send an email asking a question, is it asked when I hit the send button or when they read the email?  Apparently they are swamped at work right now.  Sigh.

So, how about this week then?  Well, on Monday I drove to Crystal Lake to observe a job photographing cars for online/magazine classifieds.  While this sort of job is done by one person at any given dealership (or rather, group of dealerships) there were two there I was able to observe and question since one was in training.  Training?  I wasn’t told about that, or the meager $250/week during such training, but hey- it’s $250/week more than what I made over the last several summers.  I guess it’s roughly equivalent to an $8/hr fulltime job, but only when training.  After that, it’s $7/car commission.  The ones I observed do around 100 cars a week, so that’s $700 per week right there.  I called the owner back Wednesday and said I was still interested, and will meet with him next week.

Tuesday I felt like I was in uniform with the rest of the kids as I subbed in 4th grade.  You see, the school I was at has a dress code (the only one in any of the districts I’m in as far as I know, well besides the standard stuff like no exposed midriffs, no beer t-shirts, etc).  They can wear red or blue polo shirts with I suppose certain pants or shorts (not sure of the exact code on the legwear), and I just happened to wear a red polo shirt that day so I ended up matching a third of the class 😀 .At one point during the day all the red-shirts were grouped together in the same general area doing partner work and I just had to comment on it.  And for the Trekkie readers, yes we all survived as we weren’t on an away mission 😛 .It was a pretty enjoyable day.

Wednesday I was in another elementary school subbing for an MI (mentally impaired) teacher.  He had eight kids, mostly 6th grade, so they were in their last days at this school.  So was the teacher apparently as he will be retiring after this year.  In fact, there seem to be half a dozen retirees-to-be at this supersized district school- When parking that morning I saw no less than six reserved spots for retiring teachers, including the teacher I subbed for.  I didn’t park in his spot, but I wonder if I should have?  Back to the class, Ironically, the largest student there was one of the 5th grade girls.  It was mostly a day of simple things like alphabetizing words, identifying letters and coins, and reading a simple book with them.  The end of the day had the students making predictions on how many blocks the kids could stack in a minute, then seeing how good their predictions were.  There was one who liked making predictions of forty-something or seventy-something, even after seeing the last student stack less than 20.  Well, I said what sort of class this is.  Theu also made cards for the teacher which is how I really discovered he was retiring since I had mostly ignored the names on the reserved parking signs on the way in.

Today saw me back in supersized district for 7th grade language arts.  For the first time in a long time, I saw one of my former students from church in one of the three block periods I had.  This school apparently has an abundance of teachers as the average class size was only 15 students.  In junior high.  This would seem to me to be the probably first place for cutbacks if they have any for next year from our sagging economy.  The students listened to a reading of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, which I just now discovered while finding these Wikipedia links is actually a short story in The Jungle Book, which likewise I never knew until now is a short story collection rather than a full novel.  I knew the movies were based on the book of course, I just always thought it was a novel- you learn something new every day!  Of course, never having read the book this was the first time reading this story for me as well.

So that catches me up for now.  Hopefully I can move that one post from drafts tomorrow, just as soon as I get the permission I’m sure they’ll give once they have a chance to respond to my email.

A day of remembrance

Memorial Day

a remembrance of those who have given their lives for freedom, and a prayer for those currently fighting for freedom all over the world.

God Bless our Troops

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A middle school week

(Big Nate ©Lincoln Peirce)

This past week I could be found in a middle school every day.  In fact, I was in one school for three days for two teachers.  I started the week in near-city district at the school that was closed for a few days a couple of weeks ago due to swine H1N1 flu.  Yes, I’m still fine, thanks for wondering 😉 ..  The class was IT, though in actuality he only had four classes (I believe I mentioned before that at this school 6th grade doesn’t take this class).  To make up for it, he had a tutorial, something usually only the core teachers have, and lunch detention.  It is my understanding that under normal circumstances lunch detention has only ten or less students.  Monday had 23 😯 ..  Most didn’t have passes though as was supposedly required.  Huh.  So as typical in this class which doesn’t have an assistant like in hometown district, students didn’t work on IT projects.  Instead, students had to read a packet then do three worksheets based on it.  Yeah, kind of a blah day for the kids.  The packet only covered about half the chapter that the worksheets had questions on I discovered later in the day.  So naturally I informed the students of this… hey, are you kidding??  Like they needed an excuse to be lazy and not do it.  “Hey, I didn’t find the answer in two seconds so it must be in the half I didn’t get to read so I’ll just skip the question.”  My lips were sealed about this little discovery 😈 ..

Tuesday and Wednesday I subbed for sixth-grade math.  Not that I taught any, nope.  Still in near-city district, I was at their other middle school and the teacher left plans just having students work on problems out of their books.  This is the sort of assignment in which one hears about subs falling asleep…  They were generally well-behaved, at least in my book.  The resource teacher however, who came in for a couple of periods, didn’t think so as she was very…not friendly.  My highlights were going over the warmups (not listed in the plans, but I did it anyway just to have something to do) in each of the math classes, but for her one social studies class I just suffered in silence as I babysat.

Thursday I was in hometown district, so I didn’t have to drive as far.  This time I was with 7th grade language arts.  They had a spelling test, afterwhich they worked on a persuasive writing packet for the rest of the time.  You may be thinking, “Spelling test? But it’s only Thursday!”  Well yes, but this district had an institute day Friday making it a four-day weekend instead of three (Memorial Day ya know).  Near-city district on the other hand was supposed to have a four-day weekend, though Tuesday instead of Friday being the off day, however for them Tuesday was a buffer day that got changed due to the winter’s snow days.

Speaking of near-city district, as you already surmised from my opening paragraph I was back at Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s schools as a 6th grade resource teacher.  No, not that one, but the one for the other team.  I’ll tell you, her first period was very busy.  Do this, then this, then this, then this…  Fortunately she gave me time constraints, otherwise it would have turned into a do this, then this, then leave a note on how we ran out of time for the rest period.  Out of the rest of the day, team teaching with another teacher followed by a tutorial period, two of the periods were quite interesting as there were two subs in the room- a lot of teachers were out- could Memorial weekend have anything to it I wonder..? Come to think of it, there were a lot out on Thursday too in hometown district…  Anyway, there was a little more restlessness in these students than the ones earlier in the week which I fully understand since it was a holiday weekend coming up after all.

So that was my week at work.  I do hope I get a chance to fill this week, all four days of school, but I suspect I won’t have four full days.

An extraterrestrial virus killer

All the way from Qo’noS comes something to kill…computer viruses/virii.  That’s right, today may be a good day to die but we’re pretty safe this time as we are not the intended targets of Klingon wrath- the computer virus apparently is.  Read about it at it’s site: http://www.sophos.com/klingon-anti-virus/

Do you suppose they used the Klingon keyboard to program it? 😀

Even if you think this is a stupid idea (read: you’re not a Trekkie), at least go to the site to hear a classic cult piece sung in its original tlhIngan (Klingon).  Hilarious!

Coming to a close

‘Tis that time of year again, when things come to an end for the hot season.  This month is halfway over, and jobs will soon dry up for me.  I anticipate this week will be my last full week for work, assuming I can find jobs for Thursday and Friday- the rest of the week is covered.  Fortunately a friend of mine has a friend looking for a few part-time camera-people to take pictures of cars for ads.  I am also going to finally start filling out some summer applications if anything is still available out there.  I did apply for a management position at Oberweis, but I kind of bombed the interview (hey, at least I got that far) and they never called back.

Besides school, I have just performed my last church drama for the year- so sad.  Next week should have been the one for me, but I switched with another cast member because he couldn’t do this week.  It was also a farewell of sorts for our 5th grade students.  I say of sorts because there is actually one more week, but it was decided to go ahead and hold the graduation this week since next weekend is Memorial weekend.  Yes, graduation.  We actually held a little ceremony for them with the Pomp and Circumstance song and diplomas from children’s ministry.  As of next month they will be considered 6th grade and a part of youth ministries which goes through high school, though similar to children’s ministry which is divided into three parts (pre-K, K-3, 4-5 which parallels school which calls them early childhood, primary, and intermediate) it is divided into two parts, junior high and high school.  They also had a going-away video which I put together over the last few days, which included testimonies from many of the 5th-graders.  I wish I could have watched it with them to see their reaction, but ironically for only the two times I was there they mistakenly played it at the wrong time, while I was still doing drama.  If the church makes it public by putting it on their website I will post a link to it for you.  I will be modifying the video (change some text, lower the music volume which was too loud during its sections compared with the spoken sections) to show the new 4th-graders next month, and since drama won’t keep me out this time I will get to see the new kids’ reactions at least.

The IMAX almost non- experience

Well, I did it.  I paid the extra bucks to go see Star Trek in IMAX.  As expected, the screen was large, though not superhuge like at Great America when I was growing up (dunno if the screen is still there).  I also noticed that it was curved, but failed to notice if it was silver.  I would guess yes since they bothered to curve it.  Why to I mention this?  Well, because 3D movies utilize a silver, curved screen.  While this was not a 3D movie, there are many IMAX movies that are also 3D, so I would presume this theater is just set up for them when they happen.  Back to topic, once there a half-hour early, the good seats in the theater were already starting to fill up.  I did notice though that they tended to sit not in the true center, but rather the center of the visible image which was not centered but toward the left.  The commercials weren’t in IMAX and probably utilized a different projector entirely.  Once 4:00 rolled around, they dimmed the lights and switched to IMAX for the previews and movie.  Well, they tried.  The audio came out crystal clear, but- no picture.  At first I though this was a preview that just started dark then the picture would kick in at just the right moment, but after a minute (less, really) it became clear the picture wasn’t coming at all.  They eventually stopped it, and I could see several shadows on the screen from the projection area as they tried to figure out the problem.  After several minutes they got  a picture going, but one that was a little out of focus, or rather some color separation.  I heard something move into place and the picture became clear.  Wait, how could I hear it when a preview was going you ask?  Because now it was a picture with no sound!  They froze the picture and worked another few minutes.  Finally, the Harry Potter preview could be seen *and* heard.  Boy, could it be heard- volume a wee bit too high.  It started with color separation again, but once again that was quickly resolved and we were on our way.  We only did see the tail end of the one preview before the movie, and also a commercial which also served as a “silent your cellphone” reminder, but I was just fine with that!  By the time the movie started, the volume level was fine as well.

So, about the movie.  As a Trek fan, I found this movie very enjoyable.  JustJ pretty much covered the basics, so I won’t go there, but I can see how most of the differences would be plausible as (highlight to reveal spoiler) an altered timeline can explain the discrepancies.  Besides JustJ’s one rant, there was a big nitpick I had toward the end though where they used a technology known to be in the next generation but not in the original series (highlight to reveal spoiler rant:)

Eject the warp core?  Really??  What with the change the Romulan ship made would cause the Federation to develop an ejectable warp core so early?  Nothing I saw.

I also see why (highlight… well, you know) they left the new timeline alone rather than fix it, so they can feel unencumbered by Star Trek canon when making future movies.  Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and Voyager?  (you know what to do) All in the old timeline now.  Who knows what the future will now bring for the Federation? Oh, one more thing- (yep, again) did anyone else think of the Death Star when they saw you-know-which-planet destroyed?

One slight nitpick left, one I’ve had since The Next Generation- while some may think it’s sexist which is whay they changed it in the first place, to be PC, but I really think …where no man has gone before fits better than …where no one has gone before.  Why?  Simply put, at least “man” can only mean human, if only just half the population, while “one” refers to everyone- human, vulcan, klingon, and every species they have not yet met.  They are going where no human has been, or no Federation citizen, but most places have had someone go there before- the local sentient life, whoever they may be.  So, a slight nitpick but valid I think.

Was it worth the extra price to see it in IMAX?  Maybe.  Once they got it together over there it really did look nice, and Star Trek is just the type of show to look great on the large screen.  Certainly I wouldn’t go to see just any show in IMAX, but for this one I think I can say I was glad to see it in IMAX.  The only other show this year I know for certain I will see in the theater is Harry Potter 6, but I think I will save money on that and see it in the local theater.  I wonder if the price is still under $7?  I’ll find out.