Blizzard jihad

Yesterday, Utah was brought to it's knees by a merciless testicle squeeze from the local weathermen and the media outlets for which they work. That was an inadvertent rhyme.

While I was hunkered down in a cold, dark basement next to a 50 gallon drum filled with wood, wadded up toilet paper, kerosene, and consequentially fire, a 72 hour kit strapped to my back, a rifle clutched in my cold, nervous hands, quick shallow breaths leaving visible evidence of my terror in the air, I thought, "maybe I'm overreacting."

As was the rest of Utah.

As I was browsing Facebook 'liking' all kinds of shit after waking up at about 11, I began to notice a lot of buzz about some blizzard that was either apparently ushering in the zombie apocalypse, or the second coming, depending upon what you believe/hope for. So I started doing some homework, and tuned into the radio. (The homework was unrelated to the radio, if that sentence confused you like it did me.)

Every few minutes, radio people were frantically updating an eager Utah about the certain death that was blowing in via Wendover. From what I could gather, by 2pm, Wendover had already been completely destroyed and had descended into anarchy. The citizenry had divided into vicious packs of survival gangs, burning all remaining tooth brushes, looting homes and businesses, and slaying local animals in order to make new clothing.

Schools everywhere were shutting down by 2pm, because a blizzard jihad was to be descending upon us within the next...4 to 5 hours. I could vividly imagine parents on a mad dash to get to school, some mom in her pink Bebe sweats in an Escalade, seat warmers cranked full blast, driving over the curb and onto the grass, running over 5 or 4 kids before skidding to a halt in front of the main entrance, rolling down the windows and screaming for her child. I imagined this sort of thing was going on at public schools all over Utah. Under slightly overcast skies. The wind seemed threatening though.

My school was the last higher learning edifice to bow to the hubris of the blizzard media. I was already at school when I found out that I was being deprived of my 3pm class. In lieu of being educated, I would have plenty of time to buy a lots of gallons of water, fruit snacks, dehydrated fruit, and jerky to get me through the impending doom. When apocalypses happen, one should be less than fickle about omnivorous responsibility. Nutrients are what's important.

I headed to Smith's to get supplies (milk, cereal, and ice cream, in reality) and there was literally no place to park. I walked into a mad house of people buying big boxes of bottled water, and tons of toilet paper. I guess I should have taken toilet paper into account; if the water system goes out, there goes my bidet. Certainly, Smith's was having record sales of flash lights and 50lb sacks of rice.

I got home, got my gun, and waited for the Jesus to come.

By about 8:30, there were a few inches of snow on the ground, and it had pretty much stopped falling out of the sky. In my frantic search throughout Smith's for 100 hour candles, I didn't consider the fact that maybe I was going to have a terrible hankering for a frozen pizza about 8:30. So, back to Smith's I went. Salt Lake City was a literal ghost town.

I went with a Di Giorno cheese stuffed crust 5 cheese pizza. And a veritable medieval broadsword of an ice scraper, as mine had broken near the end of last years snow season.

As soon as I took the first bite of the pizza, and was overwhelmed by the pungent taste of cheddar, I knew I'd made a huge mistake. I bit into the "cheese" filled crust, and my tongue was violated with none other than what seemed to be squeeze cheese out of a can. I have never wanted 5 dollars and a treacherous drive through snowy roads back so badly.

I am simply amazed by the media's power to utterly shut down the state, all because of some greenish blob on a radar screen. I will never trust reports or anarchy coming out of Wendover again.

There are some weathermen feeling very smug, or very sheepish today.



I wish that notifications on facebook were called "indications," because I believe that the quantity of one's so-called notifications really indicate just how good one is at friendship. If one only has a few notifications a week, this would obviously indicate that one isn't very good at friendship. Indications.

I recently had an experience in the rain, and I'm not sure what this indicated of me.

I was in dire need of some rice paper wraps for spring rolls. I had all other necessary ingredients chopped up and ready to go, yet somehow forgot the most crucial part. I entered my car, and ventured forth into an awful deluge from the heavens. I've never owned an umbrella, despite thinking every time I have to walk anywhere in the rain, "I wish I had an umbrella. I'm going to buy one next time I am in an umbrella store."

Every time, I think this. And I never think to buy an umbrella when I'm in the umbrella store.

I tried Smith's first. They didn't carry rice paper wraps. They did carry milk, which I also remembered I needed. As I was returning to my car (still in an unbelievable downpour) I received a phone call. There was a guy waiting for me at my car (unrelated to the phone call, though the previous sentence structure indicated that he might have been). Being distracted by the rain, the phone call, and just generally not thinking clearly, I put the jug of milk in the trunk of my car, where I typically put groceries. This gave the man the opportunity to approach me.

"Hey, um, I know you are on the phone. But can I ask you something?"
"Well. Okay. I guess so. But make it quick, it's raining like hell."
"OH. Okay. Well. Um. Say, that's a nice bike rack (referring to the one on my car). I used to have a bike."
"Yeah yeah, what do you need?"
He was talking very slowly. It was raining very hard. I was losing the patience that I never really had.
"Um, well, okay. Um. I used to be in this mission, and like um they used to help me out with some different things, and um well see, the thing is..."
"What are you getting at here? Money? You want money? Are you asking me for money?"
"Um, well, see the thing..."
"Here homes, here is a dollar. God bless."

I'm not really certain what that indicated.

Upon entering my car, I consulted the God Phone, and found an Asian market nearby called Southeast Supermarket. As I approached the street upon which it was to be located, I saw on the corner, through the rain, "Southeast Supermarket" in green letters on the front of the building. So I pulled in the parking lot, parked my car, finished my previous conversation, and re-entered the rain. There were a few "hipster" looking kids sitting at a table under the roof awning, barely out of the downpour.
"WTF are there hipster kids hanging outside an Asian supermarket in the pouring rain?"

As I approached the doors, I could see through the wall of windows lots of little tables inside, and lots of bags of coffee on shelves along the wall. "What the? Did they put a coffee shop in the Asian market? Where the hell am I?"

So I backed up to look at the "Southeast Supermarket" sign, and it turned out to say "Salt Lake's Finest." Somehow, between the S in Salt lake, and the est in Finest, my mind constructed Southeast Supermarket.

This would indicate that I'm blind AND stupid.


One more slice of faith in humanity lost

Today in my iGoogle page, the top "news story of interest" was about Lil' Wayne, a rapper who is actually (physically, anyway) a grown man, despite the confusing nature of the adjective antecedent to his name. (I realize most of you know precisely who he is; however. this blog is confoundingly prolific when it comes to acquiring mom-aged readers, and therefore Lil' Wayne may not be recognized with absolute ubiquity.)

This "top story" indicated that Lil' Wayne was worried that he might have some imminent legal trouble brewing from a woman claiming to have produced a fifth illegitimate child. The previous 4 were all with different women, 2 of which were born about 2 months apart. Classy.

How does this happen more than once, let alone 4 times? He certainly can't blame Catholicism, Mormonisim, Utah public education, nor extreme right wing Christianity for that level of contraceptive ignorance. He is apparently finding out the hard way that a girl-on-top can still get pregnant. Someone needs to clue him in. Although, making a gazillion dollars a year probably makes one less worried about child support bills, and therefore contraceptive measures. I don't even want to imagine the WayneTD's that guy is farming out.

Behold, your role model.


The glories of technology

For my teaching and technology class, we have this book that is apparently sort of a didactic joke. So our blessed teacher decided that it would be more helpful if we each picked a chapter, gleaned the most important points, and posted them to a Westminster wiki for reference purposes.

I realize that this may be funny only to me, but this was the result of that assignment. I might fail. It's hard to know.

For those who may not know, I am attempting to accrue massive debt amounts for a masters at teaching, in order to acquire a modest pay track bump, and to have the ability to look upon fellow inferior bachelors degree teachers with at least a minimal amount of credible disdain.

I spent at least 8 or 7 times as much time doing this assignment as what would have been the case had I not done it in such a ridiculous fashion, so I post this here with hopes that I didn't waste that much time so between 7 and 4 people would read it. Nay, I am hoping to double, possibly triple that number.

Anyways. Enjoy, or don't.

The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) has created a base of standards for schools which basically state that all teachers must: understand diversity; teach lessons that incorporate diversity; connect instruction to students experiences and cultures; be culturally sensitive and sensitive to gender; classroom equity.

This chapter focuses on how to accomplish this with the glorious blessings of technology.

Technology is a means by which students who suffer with disabilities can express themselves and participate in classroom experiences and assignments when they otherwise may not have been able to do so. Technology can provide voice for those who can not speak, mobility for those who can not move, and many other glorious possibilities.

Students with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, who may lack the ability to manipulate a writing device, can use technology to veritably negate the rather antiquated craft of writing with one's hand.

Other students with disabilities, while having the ability to participate in activities such as brainstorming, may often write illegibly, and therefore find frustration upon attempting to read what they have written. Word processing programs may excoriate unnecessary frustrations from the learning process.

Word prediction software may also be used to promote writing victories for students who struggle with typing speed. After the first few keystrokes, the supercomputer software program divines the most likely word, thus increasing speed and spelling accuracy.

Custom dictionaries are also a superglorious function of some word processing programs. If, for instance, a student is writing with much frequency about a Scutellosaurus, which is an absurdly long and tedious word to write with multiplicity, the custom dictionary can learn this word, and insert it upon request. Also, the custom dictionary allows one to write such seemingly made up words with spell checker impunity. This causes the spell checker to seem less supercilious and fickle, and eliminates red underline ubiquity.

Talking spell checkers, besides being a valuable source of robotic companionship, allow students to make spelling selections based upon a phonetic suggestion, which is at times helpful when writing in this grammatically and vernacularly nonsensical language we call "English."

While these technologies may be invaluable tools in a teacher's digital tool belt, it is imperative that these tools not become as a prosthesis--a new limb, as it were, replacing the old worn out limb of "teaching." While the talking spell checker may be an admirable tool, it should not take the place of regular instruction. Tenure does not give the teacher permission to acquiesce control of the class to the talking spell checker.

Reading is another area of learning where technology has abundantly bequeathed upon teachers many invaluable resources. A High interest-lowlevel book, rather than simply converting text to sound in a dreadfully androgynous voice, dramatizes text with character voice distinction, thus creating an entertaining dramatization that is deceptively educational.

Scan/read systems, seemingly developed by mighty Zeus himself, allow users to scan any text existing upon planet earth, which is then (possibly via divine intervention, or extra terrestrial technology) converted into auditory output. As the mighty computer utters the text, the corresponding words are highlighted upon a screen, bestowing upon the reader an auditory/visual experience, unsurpassed by any Veggie Tales in existence.

Teachers who are lacking in skills of proper auditory projection may use Assistive listening devices in order to be heard and enjoyed by all students. Poor acoustics and quiet demeanors are no match for a personal amplification system, worn by students as earbuds. Sound amplification systems (external speaker systems), while also opening up the possibility of holding a successful Megadeath concert in the classroom, also create an environment where even the most soft-spoken teacher may never fear miscommunication, nor development of a hoarse voice from incessant yelling. However, with Sound amplification systems, one must be wary of profane utterances muttered under one's breath at every moment.

Expanded keyboards, mini-keyboards, and customizable keyboards, rather than referring to varying models of Casio music devices, are distinct typing units that exist to help students with various word processing needs. For students with limited range of motion, mini-keyboards may be of more practical use than a full sized keyboard. For those who struggle with precision, expanded keyboards may be the "cats pajamas," as it were.

Students gifted with minds immeasurably greater than those of average mortals, may also be blessed though educational technology. Rather than wallowing about in irrelevant, simplistic curriculum, they may use the "internet" to delve into more advanced realms of knowledge, not heretofore known in the public school system.

Technology, we must not fear. Educational technology is the door through which all students should pass, receiving a complementary gift bag of relevant technology, and bumper stickers with intelligent slogans on the way in. Why stand by, O fellow teachers, and let the technological fear train pass by, on tracks of digital wonder and achievement? Nay, let us employ all technological gifts imparted upon us as if from on high, that we may help--nay--usher our students into a new world order of quality, effective public education.

I'm sorry. This was self indulgent.


All things go...except me sometimes

There is a bathroom related mental disorder that I think is pretty universally referred to as “stage fright.” It seems that the extent to which people suffer from this affliction varies in degrees of intensity. Essentially, stage fright means that one is rendered unable to urinate when in the immediate vicinity of others. For some, a relatively small buffer zone between oneself and another fellow urinator is needed−perhaps a thin protective physical barrier between 2 urinals is sufficient. Or maybe, in a situation where multiple urinals line a wall, if the urinators are staggered by intervening empty urinals, bladder evacuation may successfully occur.

I once knew a guy that couldn’t even make it happen if there were someone else anywhere in the entire bathroom. On an 9 hour plane ride down to Argentina, he was unable to urinate the entire time. That guy was severely disabled.

If my bladder is above the 50% capacity threshold, I can typically successfully go, regardless of the bathroom occupancy/urinal layout situation. Below 50%, it gets iffy.

I don’t really understand the mechanics of the disorder. I don’t think it has anything to do with shame, or embarrassment−I suffer from neither. Basically, the feeling is thus; when I peel open my pants and get down to business in front of a urinal, if there is somebody really close by, the pressure, or physical urge to urinate depletes by about 50%. So, if I was at the 75% threshold, it diminishes to about 25%, and evacuation can be successful. However, if I am at like 35%, and just trying to avoid having to eventually be uncomfortable in a movie...I guess I’m probably going to end up uncomfortable during the movie.

It is an awkward feeling, standing there, sandwiched between 2 pissing dudes, and being unable to make it happen. On the rare occasion that this occurs, I feel like an explanation is probably necessary. Like I need to tell these dudes why I seem to be just hanging out in front of the urinal, instead of doing anything practical.

“Really guys, I’m not just hanging out here, hoping to catch a peripheral view of your genitals, sizable and impressive though they may be. I just can’t piss. Seriously.”

Plus, if one is standing there in a busy bathroom, while 2-3 people cycle through on either side, in my mind, it starts to look really suspect. Or at least I think that people are thinking that I am looking really suspect. Honestly, I doubt anyone is even paying attention. But these thoughts probably add to the mental urination block.

Last night, I was at Kingsbury Hall at the Sufjan Stevens concert. I don’t have words for how gloriously, spectacularly, wonderfully beautiful that experience was.

I decided, previous to Sufjan taking the stage, that I didn’t want to wish at any point during his set that I had urinated. I was only at about 25%. But I didn’t want that, over the ensuing 2.5 hours, to rise above 50%. So, I ventured down the the bathroom.

There was a line of about 10-15 urinals along the wall, all but one of them occupied. They were pretty damn close together, those urinals; broad shouldered men would be pret-ty cozy. I moved into the unoccupied urinal space. I tried to think watery thoughts, and to imagine I wasn’t practically bumping elbows with 2 other guys with exposed genitals.

At 25%, I didn’t stand a chance.

I glanced over my shoulder, and there were about 4 dudes waiting to fill in any vacancies. Double the pressure. “Common little guy, I can’t just keep standing here. It is getting awkward,” I told it. The guy on the right finished, flushed, and left.


A new guy cycled in. Finally, after another excruciatingly long 20 or so seconds, I decided it was time to give up. But I was also torn about what to do. I felt like I needed to say something, explain my failure. Explain that I wasn’t really just a penis spy. I did have to pee. Just not quite enough. I decided it was time to try something different, something other than just slinking away in shame.

I sighed. “Too much pressure. Can’t do it.”

The guy to my right absolutely cracked up. “Too much pressure. Oh man, that’s funny.” I zipped up, and walked away, dignity somewhat in tact.

In the restroom, honestly, apparently, is the best policy.