One of the Many Reasons I’m not iPhone Material


When I got the iPhone, I knew it was a mistake. I knew Siri was going to piss me off by assuming I mean what I don’t mean. I knew I was going to misunderstand data and apps. However, it’s always the ones you don’t consider that come back to bite you later.

I got an iPhone 5s (I think), which basically means that my phone has fingerprint security hooplah. At first, I was all, “No – I’m totally not even going to have a password on the thing. I’ve got nothing to hide, and nobody is going to try to break in to get all of the wonderful ebooks I’ll check out for free from the library.”

Then, I was all, “Okay, this is going pretty well – maybe I should play with my phone a bit.”

That’s how I got very excited about the fingerprint thing. Did you know that only one of your fingers will work? I knew fingerprints were all unique, but I think I also thought there was some sort of pattern to it… like my left thumb would be the mirror of my right. Well, only my right thumb was authorized to get into my phone. I thought that was pretty cool because Jack Bauer would have to cut off both of my thumbs if he wanted to use them to access my phone (and it was separated from my dead body… and I was a terrorist… okay, so I clearly live in a land of fiction). Then I thought about how unrealistic 24 really was because Jack Bauer never cut off both thumbs…

Anyways, iPhone then asks for a 4-digit passcode in case the thing can’t read my right thumb for some reason.

Usually, my 4 digit codes are 1984… the book, not my bday year or the first 4 digits of one of my credit cards. However, with Jack Bauer on the mind, I couldn’t have a lame passcode. So I thought long an hard about all of the 4-digit numbers I know, and I chose the most unguessable one I could remember.

Then, I didn’t use the passcode at all because I could use my thumb print.

Then, my iPhone wasn’t doing something I wanted it to do… it was being slow, which I think had to do with its attempts to connect to the neighbor’s internet that’s unprotected, but shoddy.

So I shut the thing off.

Then I turned it back on.

Then it refused to take my thumbprint because it evidently requires the 4-digit passcode on restart.

What was my code again?

So I started entering every code I could remember. And none of them worked. With each progressive fail, iPhone got more and more stubborn about letting me back in, “Try again in sixty seconds…” “Try again in five minutes…” “Try again in fifteen minutes…” “Try again in an hour…”

And in my mind, I was like, “You bitch!” I have an interview tomorrow and I need Google Maps! How will I ever find Broadway and Kolb without Google Maps?! If I don’t get this job, it will be your fault! If the bank forecloses on my house, it will be entirely your fault, Siri! I’m going to die sad and alone because of you! I hate you, iPhone!”

I’m not gonna lie, I was more pissed at that phone than I’ve ever been at a person.

However, now that I’ve successfully completed my interview to be an Associate Editor for an advertising agency, I feel better. Now, I’m at the library, using their wifi to restore the damn factory settings on my idiot iPhone, and then I intend never to set up a passcode or thumb print again unless I have no other option.

Damn SmartPhones! Can’t I go back to living in the ’90s, when things were normal?

The Glacier, the Lake, and Our Camp


Salkantay

Lori sent me this one, and I figured that even though it’s about time for me to look through all my photos from Peru, I’m far too lazy. Therefore, here’s one that I didn’t take, and I don’t think Steve or Lori even took it. In the upper-left quadrant, you can make out the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in real life, which is a lake formed by glacier water. The middle-ish is where we camped the first night of our trek. 🙂

Two Anecdotes and a Pic


So… I’m walking down the hallway, minding my business, and the AEA (Educator Association) rep for our school is nearby, being loud. He’s kind of awesomely loud in a way that’s really fun for students, although it does make him seem a little crazy.

He and I start talking, and he’s being super-negative about the state of education, so I remind him of a speech he gave in front of the entire faculty last year about how it’s okay to be realistic about the current state of things as long as we’re hoping towards the future.

 

His response catches me off-guard a bit, because he starts to show some of the heart behind his ranting and yelling that so often consume the hallways after work. And he’s expressing broken-heartedness for students. This is fascinating to me, because he’s more of a naysayer in my mind than anything else… and that’s when it hits me: He’s all-in with education. Even though he’s super unhappy about the state of things, education is his life.

 

This dude has been trying to get me to join the association for years, and every time we talk about it, I’m honest with him and I say, “I agree with everything you’re saying, but I unfortunately don’t care enough to throw my money into the mix.” And he’s polite, and says that he gets it… but I didn’t understand that the conversation was really about life’s meaning. I know, right… we’re getting very deep and philosophical here.

 

This dude has to keep working on improving a jacked-up system that is too bureaucratic and convoluted to improve much in any given time-frame, because that gives his life meaning. I honestly do my best as a teacher, and I love students, but teaching isn’t my life. It pays the bills. I’m not all-in.

—————————————————————————————————–

Also today, I ended up working late, because I’m having to take over a program that I’ve run every year since I became a teacher except for last year… Unfortunately, in weaseling my way out of that program last year (in the hopes I’d never have to handle it again), I managed to screw myself royally for this year. The program is for English Language Learners, and in addition to teaching a Basic English Class, the person running the program has to deal with a crap-ton of paperwork and legal hooplah.

 

Well, I started looking through student files and trying to get things organized, when I realized that the lady who did the job last year really effed things up. A lot. She ignored the entire file cabinet I gave her that had the existing student files in them, and thus ended up creating brand-new files for kids that already had them. This seems like it’s not a big problem, but it is. You see, English Language Learners each have a special file and a special number that is special to them. That file and that number becomes their identification in every computer system we have. We who are in charge of the ELL programs have the power to create new files and new numbers and no one really checks up on us. So… this lady made it seem like one student was actually two, and she did this for more students than I’ve actually identified thus far.

 

Additionally, she did not send any of our files away from our school. This means that the district now believes that students who were at our school two years ago are still there. They believe that students who have actually graduated are in my class. Also, some students who used to go to our school now attend to other schools in the district… but their files did not go with them, so I suspect the ELL masters at those schools created new files and new numbers for the students they received who seemingly didn’t have numbers or files.

 

Big picture: the district believes it has more English Language Learners than it really has and allocated $ it shouldn’t have allocated.

 

I stayed late at work to try to work out how many ELLs actually attend my school. Then, it started raining monsooning. I rushed outside in an attempt to get on the roads before they flooded because my school is in the middle of about eight trillion washes that flood in monsoons. Also, I drive just about the worst monsooning car ever (although I’ve been told beetles can float, so maybe it wouldn’t be too bad). I prayed out loud, “Jesus don’t let my car get stuck, please.” And there were about 12 times that I believed we weren’t going to make it, but we did, so here’s a picture of my flooded back patio. 🙂

Patio

The Worst of My Nightmares


It’s been a really long time since I’ve done a post with the visual aids, so here goes…

I have nightmares. All the time.

Sometimes they’re really bad and serious, but we aren’t going to spend time on those. I present to you images of nightmares that are really scary when I’m asleep, but puzzling or humorous after I wake up.

Nightmare #1 – The teeth falling out!

This nightmare never has a start to it. I’m always just all-of-a-sudden holding a tooth in my hand, wondering why it fell out.

My brain, of course, takes a trip back to the crazy, elementary school safety lessons when they told me to keep any teeth that fall out because the dentist may be able to stick them back in… they also told us to keep other body parts like fingers if they get chopped off. Therefore, my subconscious priority is to keep from losing my teeth. So inevitably, more teeth than actually reside in my mouth start to fall out.

And even more teeth fall out!

Then, the teeth inexplicably begin to split into pieces, and I think, The dentist would want me to keep all of the pieces! AAAAAHHHH! That’s when I really start to panic and usually end up on my hands and knees trying to keep all of the pieces of teeth organized while more teeth keep falling out. There’s also an unfortunate sliminess that makes the teeth slip out of my fingers and slide across the floor.

I read somewhere that this teeth falling out dream comes from a feeling of helplessness and chaos in life… like I can’t keep all of the pieces together and organized. Of course that’s ridiculous, though. I’ve always got my crap in order!

Nightmare #2: The Throw-up Monster!

I don’t know how old I was when I had this dream… judging by the house we lived in at the time, probably seven or eight. Basically, I heard one of my parents call to me from the back yard, so I went out to see what he/she wanted.

Then… Everything takes a turn for the worst!

Then, it gets really bad, because I’m so grossed-out by the monster that I throw up, making him bigger and more powerful! Oh no!

Nightmare #3: Velocoraptors on the Roof!

You know that convenience store in the movie Tremors? In the movie, there are these crazy, enormous worm things that come up from the ground and eat people, so everyone in a tiny town ends up on top of their roofs.

That movie is really scary, by the way – as is Jurassic Park.

Therefore, my final scary dream is a combination of those movies.

There are always people with me on the roof, but they are faceless and I’m more concerned with how the roof is shaking from the Tremors trying to figure out how to get us. See how my arms are out, aiding me in my quest for balance?

Okay… so the raptor doesn’t actually say anything, but I get the impression that’s what he’s thinking. Then he eats someone… usually my sister.

Most of my other nightmares involve me trying to keep Annabelle (my deceased Beast) alive under unfortunate circumstances. Sometimes there’s a mountain of snakes. Sometimes there are sharks in my bedroom. Every-once-in-awhile, I’m trying to carry her up a ladder to the top of a building that’s so tall, we’re above the clouds.

What do you have nightmares about?

I WIN… sort of.


Way back on August 19, 2010, I published the following blog post. As I’m in North Carolina right now, I thought it might be nice to revisit the things I wrote more than a year ago, in my first few months of blogging. In case you were wondering, the offending chair lives. It was mended and still plagues my mornings. Enjoy!

………………….

I woke up yesterday feeling really tired.  In the past, I’ve been the stick-in-the-mud person who goes to bed exactly 8 hours before she has to get up, but this year is going to be different.  I have roommates who like to bond late at night, and I just miss getting to stay up late.  That being said, it probably wasn’t necessary for me to debate gun control and September 11th conspiracy theories until midnight… but hey, it happens, and I think we all enjoyed our conversation.

So when I woke up yesterday morning, I was a bit drowsy.  I dragged myself out of bed and did my morning routine (including the new stuff like putting mousse in my hair in an attempt to be more girly), and I went into the kitchen and poured myself a bowl of Banana Nut Crunch.  I sat down at the kitchen table, and the chair I was sitting in made a suspicious noise, but I wasn’t at my most alert just yet, so I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it.  Big Mistake.

Now, before I continue, I’d like to say that this particular chair has been around FOREVER, and Alix has glued it back together at least twice since I moved in with her 6 months ago.  I will be the first to admit that I weigh a lot… but I don’t weigh THAT much.

Obviously you know where I’m going with this.

I spooned some cereal into my mouth and Alix started talking about work or something, and with just one more suspicious noise, the chair gave up the ghost.  I used my lightning-fast reflexes to catch myself, but it may have been wiser to let myself fall.  You see, I ended up squatting there for what felt like forever, because I couldn’t quite get up with the table and the wall and the despicable chair in my way, but neither was it appealing to just let myself drop.  I felt like I had salvaged a little piece of dignity (of course I was deceived in thinking that… all dignity was gone), and refused to let myself drop.  Alix didn’t know what to do, so she was no help.  I finally managed to maneuver my way up and then realized that with the chair gone, I had nowhere to sit and I didn’t want to move.  So I sat down exactly where I would have fallen if I had just let myself.

Here is the result of my morning adventures.

So even though my pride is wounded a bit, I still feel like I won.  :)   That chair will never torment me or anyone else ever again.  Hah!

The River Wild


Cover of "The River Wild"

Cover of The River Wild

When I was little, I loved the movie The River Wild.  I don’t know why.  It’s actually a pretty creepy movie about this family whose rafting vacation turns into a nightmare because criminal Kevin Bacon kidnaps them and forces them to take him and his buddy down the river.  I still have the VHS if anyone wants to watch it with me.

When I was 16 or so, I played for an 18 and under gold softball team called the Roadrunners.  I’d been on the team for less than a year at that point, and was really excited about my first Colorado tournament for a number of reasons.  The Colorado tournament was nearly always the highlight of any player’s summer because it was highly attended by college scouts, highly attended by those teams with black uniforms who talked a lot of smack and were just asking to be hated, and a thrilling venture into a completely different wilderness than we usually played in.  In addition to those excitements, I was jazzed because it was one of my first far-away tournaments that I got to go to without my parents, and because our coaches had a lot of really cool things planned for the time between games.

I rode in a van with my teammate friends Jen Coffee (I know.  Isn’t that the coolest name ever?) and Amber.  We’d gotten a bit ridiculous what with being crammed into the van together for HOURS, with nothing much to entertain us besides the mounds of sugar we bought at every gas station we stopped at and our goofy, teenage girl athlete senses of humor.  I’m pretty sure we yelled out “HORSE” every time we passed a horse, and thought ourselves hilarious.  Bob, our coach and chauffeur didn’t seem to agree with us.

When we finally arrived at our destination, we spent a restless night talking about boys and wrestling around in our motel room while our adults caught up on rest.  Since we didn’t have any games the next day, we were wired and carefree.  When morning came, we ate a breakfast of pastries and sugary cereal and piled back into our van for a short drive to the rafting place.

Once we got there, we dressed up in bright orange wet suits, and people who understand rafting gave us some directions.

After that, we headed out to the river.  I decided to join the raft of nerdy girls because I was annoyed at the cool girls on this particular trip.  I had an unfortunate tendency to forget who my real friends were when the cool girls wanted me with them.  I was in inner turmoil a lot of the time about it, but the real friends happened to win out on this trip, so I was in a raft with Jen, Amber, V, and Carla.  The raft in front of us was filled with cool girls, and the one behind us was filled with the coaches.  Here’s what the setup in the raft was like: Carla and Amber were in the front, V and Jen were in the second row, I took up the third row, and our two guides were in the back.  The seating arrangements in a raft are actually pretty important, because if someone falls out, it’s the responsibility of the other person on her row to grab her and pull her back in.  Occupying a row all by myself, the guide who was sitting behind me was supposed to pull me back in, which made it seem like I was the safest out of everyone.  The guide behind me was the only man on our boat and being a guide, he was obviously the capable sort.

The first part of the trip was pretty peaceful.  The waters were calm, and we mostly just enjoyed nature. Our capable man guide told us about some caves we floated past, and we made fun of the cool-girl raft a bit. Then we hit the first set of rapids.

And I was having a lot of fun.

The rapids were just rough enough to get the adrenaline pumping, but not enough that you ever thought you might die. And then it was peaceful again, and I was pretty confident that my rafting skills were way above par.

My confidence, however may have been a bit premature. You see, we hit the next bit of rapids…

And they were a bit rougher than the first set. And even with my excellent rafting skills, I evidently couldn’t handle it.

Because I epically fell in. Normal people tend to tip over into the water… but not me. I definitely flipped completely over before becoming lost in the depths of the river (wild).

I held onto my oar, though. It’s pretty much the only thing I did right, but dagnabbit I held onto that oar!

And as I was dragged down river through the terrifying rapids, the completely capable man guide who was supposed to rescue me, failed just as epically as I had when I flipped over.

He was at an odd angle, but come on.

He grabbed onto my vest, and tried to pull me up but couldn’t. Evidently he wasn’t as capable as I’d originally thought.

So he tried again, and failed again.

And a really sad thought entered my mind.

Jen looked back and cracked up at seeing me exit the raft with such a flourish. She did notice the sad look on my face and later asked me about it. I told her about the sad thought I was thinking at that moment and she cracked up a bunch more, because she knew how ridiculous it was to think that his inability to pull me in was due to those extra few ounces from breakfast.

I thought she was laughing at my flab 😦

I was pulled along by the incapable, capable-looking man guide… for a really long time. Of course the rapids I fell out on were number one of seven in a long succession of increasingly rough rapids with no intermission. So I bumped my knees on rocks and choked on gross river water, but eventually they got me back in the raft and all was well.

And when I took a moment to breathe and felt the oar handle still grasped tightly in my hand, I smiled in myself at having managed to keep a slice of dignity in the face of such danger.