Should I?

Monday night I was at the library browsing DVDs and such.  I found a few- a reserve waiting for me for season 4 of Psych, ah Megamind- I think I will watch that one, many, many skipped for one reason or other (seen before, lack of interest).  Moving on.  Wait, what’s this?  Should this even be on the return cart?  It should have a reserve list  a mile long.  Ah, I get it- “Here and Now,” meaning that they chose not to allow reserves on it, though no doubt there are a couple dozen copies available for reserve too.  A few copies then to give people a sporting chance without having to wait months on the reserve list.  So which recent blockbuster am I talking about?  None other than Harry Potter  7.1.  The thing is, I have been gambling as it were on a short return to the big screen just before 7.2 next month.  If anyone would do it, it would be AMC, the biggest chain around and with a 30-screen complex about 10 miles away.  But I don’t know if this will really happen- I certainly haven’t heard news of it.  But they have done it before, so…

Yet, now I have a copy in my that I could watch now, for free, in a much smaller and lower-resolution venue as a DVD on a 32-inch CRT TV.  What should I do?  Hmm.

Names and Ties

Another week, another post.  As one of you mentioned in a previous post of mine, this blog lets my friends know about my life even if I don’t post often so I guess any danger of this blog closing has vanished as it is a really good point. Anyway, I finally finished the DVD I was working on for my cabin last Saturday- well, mostly.  There is still one I am trying to fix because the DVD player I tried it in kept glitching at the menu, even after I changed the video and readded it.  Yes, each camper got a DVD with a customized menu- an animation of themselves done with Corel’s Painter 4 Essentials.  With it, you can turn a photo into something that looks like a painting.  Oddly enough, though it goes through an animated process “painting” the picture, you can’t save the animation.  Luckily though I still had Camstudio installed from when admin was trying to save a video when JibJab was a bit slow in allowing his paid download last year.  It did the job perfectly.

Since then, I have been busy or just plain tired.  Mondays are back to having no time to post, and I have been getting up early every day this week, today included, so I have just not felt like posting.  Today however I had an incident that couldn’t wait for a post.  Actually, it’s the latest in things that have been going through my mind as a post for awhile about names and relations.  About names, a couple of recent namesakes have run across my life either personally or in the news.  One of them is the CINO (if you are familiar with the political term RINO you will understand this abbreviation considering his recent interview with the local paper) named Milton Bradley.  I wonder, is that his real name?  I know many entertainers have stage names, but I don’t really know if that applies to sports figures.  If the name is real, how did kids treat him growing up?  Milton Bradley of course was once a big gaming company in case anyone reading this has forgotten.  It’s not a big name anymore of course having been absorbed by the gaming behemoth Hasbro, but still when the ball player Milton was growing up I’m sure the company was still known.

On the same topic I met a student teacher the other day when subbing at a middle school.  His namesake was a  famous inventor every child in school learns, so I am sure he must have been teased mercilessly.  His name? Tom Edison.  Undoubtedly he is still asked by kids about it, and will be for some time considering his chosen profession.  I can attest to this considering my own last name is a common word if not a namesake (though kids did once ask if I’m related to a character on TV with the same last name- yes, a character- not an actor 😛 ) and I get asked about it all. the. time.

Before I move on to today, I should start a bit earlier.  Kids aren’t the only ones who ask about relations when they encounter a name.  When I encounter a child with a particularly famous last name I sometimes ask about it.  Of course, most either have no idea who I’m talking about or just say no, they aren’t related.  Well they are, as we are all related to the first man and woman known as Adam and Eve, and later Noah since he and his family were the only survivors of the great flood.  They are related, but many generations removed of course.  However, one time when I was student teaching myself, I came across a girl with the last name of Fogerty and of course had to ask about John Fogerty.  Instead of the expected response she said that yes, he was her uncle.  Pretty old for her uncle I would have to say, but maybe she meant great-uncle.  I clarified since John Fogerty could still be a common name and not in fact refer to the former CCR member, but she maintained that he was her uncle.  Well, I suppose someone has to say yes to this question.

Today’s encounter started with a guided reading group.  We were discussing a book where a shy boy had a talent for playing the piano.  He started out telling no one, even his friends, about this talent but ended up overcoming nervousness and performing in front of the school in a talent show.  We talked about performing and of course I shared that I acted.  The kids’ eyes really lit up at this, and I mean really.  When I said this they assumed I meant I acted on TV.  I have never met this kind of fixed attention before when I brought up acting, but it turns out they had a reason for linking acting with television.  Their teacher is the mother of an actor who plays a major role in Smallville, and even came to visit last year.  I probably shouldn’t say which one, but his last name is not the same as his mother’s, so I might if prodded.  I looked up his bio at a few sites and there’s no mention of his mother’s name so it may not even take much prodding…

EDIT: I guess I should have looked up Milton Bradley on Wikipedia before I asked my question, as it has this to say about the baseball player:

Bradley is named after his father, Milton Bradley, Sr., who filled out the birth certificate form without his wife’s permission. As Milton’s mother says of his father, “He wanted a Junior, and made damn sure he got one.”[1] Junior, who shares a name with a popular board game pioneer, has always been teased about his name, but has never changed it because the memories it evokes “only drive him harder”.[1]

Getting close now…

Well, school is almost upon us once again.  Depending on where you live, it can be a week or three, or maybe your kids attend an all-year school that started up again in July after a much shorter break.  In the two districts I’m signed up with, it starts in 1½ and 2½ weeks.  What’s that you say?  Two districts?  That’s right.  I am only in hometown and supersized districts this year due to my continued job of shooting pictures of cars.  I have chosen to work three days a week on the cars for now leaving two days to teach.  Of course it will likely be another month before I am needed as a sub, but that’s the plan.  As you probably figured out already, these two districts are where I have gotten most of my work in the past and so I stuck with them, losing the less productive ones, even though near-urban paid me the most.

So how is the new job going?  Well, I got my first store finally- unfortunately it’s 45-minutes away!  The one who had this store didn’t do a very good job so he was replaced.  Not the best way to start, but I’ll take whatever I can get.  Today, in fact, Kim (one of the owners of the company I work for) and I spent much time fixing the stickers on the cars that were tilted, stuck over unremoved adhesive from previous buyer’s guide (warranty info which by law has to be in the window even if just handwritten) or otherwise placed with a lack of care.  I think we did no less than two dozen.  The rest of my time was spent in doing four cars that were ready for me.  Not a lot, but the idea is to have three dealers (four if they are small like this one) in one day to shoot a reasonable amount.  The most I had in one day training with Rene was 42.  At $7 a car that was nearly $300 for the day for her.  Of course that was three large dealers, and even then that number is rare.  My goal is eventually 20-30 cars per day.  Another trainee may be leaving as his school just gave him a reality check- no, it is not possible to graduate in a reasonable time if you only have classes two days a week.  If he leaves then I am hoping to get one of the stores promised to him, but not the other one.  There is a dealer that is way over toward Chicago (strike one for the bad traffic).  They require the cars to be shot in their warehouse a mile away, meaning the cars have to be driven from their lot to there, adding a tremendous amount of time (strike two).  Also, the warehouse has bad lighting with three of the five lights burnt out the last two times I was there making it difficult to take pictures inside the cars (strike three).  I am scheduled to do new cars every other week, but the one who has been doing the used cars while Pat was training to take it over can keep that part as a punishment for his bad performance at the dealer he lost (yes, same guy)!

In the meantime, all this work has meant that I haven’t gotten the DVD done yet for my kids from camp- I’d better start on it soon, or just do what I did the first year- give them a CD with all the pictures, but that’s no fun and can’t be viewed without a computer.

Catch-up time

What does a sub when it’s Thanksgiving week and three of four districts he’s signed up in is off all week? Catch up on TV of course 🙂 . For the fourth district it is near impossible to get a job off the web when few show up (teachers must have been told to not take this week off if possible) and it’s the time of day when the system calls subs as well as shows the jobs on the web. When trying to select such a job it is locked 95% of the time because the system is offering it to someone over the phone at the same time. So, as I tried this morning I finished yesterday’s paper (I’ll go out sometime later today to retrieve today’s paper currently laying at the end of the driveway), viewed a few more themes for this blog, and ate some breakfast. I think I like the theme I am now using, so barring any annoying bugs this should be the one. It has a static width optimized for 1024×768 it looks like, meaning there should be no gap issue with my readers- why did only one mention it by the way? Surely others encountered it unless only the one uses Internet Explorer- regardless of the window size and there is now only one sidebar making more room for pictures. Those with browser window sizes less than 1024 wide should see a scroll bar at the bottom since the theme width is locked, but the sidebar is on the right so that will be the first thing unseen. The window will have to be pretty narrow I think before you start having to scroll to read the actual posts. I really hope this is a good one because my options are quite limited. Three-column doesn’t work because I like to post images, a lot of the themes are static optimized for 800×600 so that would limit the image size again, and many just don’t appeal to me.

Back to subbing, I expected to have Wednesday through Friday off, but I was really hoping to work today and tomorrow at least.  There is still a slight chance for an afternoon job today, and a chance of course for tomorrow for the time being so I might yet make some money this week.  If I don’t though, there is a pile of recorded shows dating back to the beginning of the summer.  Why I didn’t watch the summer shows I don’t know, but they’re there along with several fall shows.  I would really like to replace all the VCRs in this house with DVD writers one of these days, but money is tight and the other member of this house is quite comfortable with video tapes and wouldn’t know what to do with recordable DVDs.  I set up my little DVD/media player for her to watch some shows I had downloaded, but for now she is skipping them and watching her own backlog of videotaped shows instead.

Speaking of a backlog on shows, I am down to reserve #12 of 32 on season four of The Office at my library, on three copies so I should hopefully have it by Christmas to watch.

It’s official- summer is over

And mostly due to my laziness I am subbing once again, and that is good news for this blog.  I have been on hiatus from this for too long.  I still intend to have some posts of my life outside of teaching, but for a while I have just been turned off from writing during the best time those post would have fit.  Well, to tell the truth my life outside of teaching really hasn’t been too exciting.  Remember back in June when I went to camp?  Well, I am finally making the DVD I have done for my cabin for the last few years.  I have two slideshows and a video finished, along with a video I borrowed from my DVD two years ago in which I just had to modify the end to fit my more recent cabin.  I have been using Ulead VideoStudio which I got free with this computer.  It really is a nice program, and not ridiculously high-priced like some packages out there.  Last year I used a 30-day demo of a $250 DVD authoring package which was nice, but not worth that price in my opinion.  Maybe $100 like this one, but not $250.  I also used a slightly buggy freeware program to do one of the slideshows, and maybe another one.  I haven’t decided yet what to do about this last one to make it different enough from the first two.  Well, I still have a week to put the DVD together before the next church time.  This weekend is the last one of the month, so 4th and 5th grades don’t meet.

As for subbing, I was actually able to get three half days during this first full week of many districts.  Apparently the special ed meetings started right away.  I could have had a fourth, but they called me after 8:00 to arrive there at 8:30.  Well, I might have been able to do that if I was ready to go when they called, but since it was 25 minutes away and in fact I was woken up by the phone call, that wasn’t going to happen.  Besides, I had to take my car in that morning for a new muffler.  Anyway, the three days I did have were pretty similar.  They were all at different Junior Highs (that district doesn’t call them middle schools) and were 8th grade, or a 7th/8th mix.  Two of them were 7:15 AM jobs (too early!) but fortunately I got to sleep in for the last which was an “afternoon,” starting at 10:45 AM.  I didn’t have to leave notes for two of them either, which is always nice, since the teachers came back.  Surprisingly one of these times was the “afternoon” job.  I guess she came back from her special ed meeting for the weekly school meeting.  Since school started last Thursday in this district and the meetings are on Wednesdays after school, this may have been the first one which would probably make it important to attend.  As for the other morning job, that teacher only teaches there in the morning, so I she wouldn’t have come back.  I would presume she teaches somewhere else in the afternoon.

All in all the three half-days went well.  Hopefully I will have more work next week even if there is one day off for labor day.  I am signed up again in three of the districts I worked in last year.  The last was still on the hired subcaller system and barely called me so I switched them for another district that is computer-based so I have more of a chance for work.  That is, I am still working on being signed up there, but that is for a rant in another post…