The cover of a confiscated book, made of a bunch of stapled together sheets of paper. Please note that the pages of the book are empty. I take full responsibility for this fact, and will probably regret it in the event of a zombie apocalypse. This represents quite a bit of initiative for a kid who spends most of his time draped over his desk.
Minecraft Invasion of the Brownies Mod February 24, 2013
My kid is cyber-whining because he wants me to pay money to sign up for a server that will enable him (theoretically) to play a Hunger Games mod on Minecraft! It is hellish.
I have already lost 90% of my readership with that first sentence.
And I will proceed to piss off those Minecraft folks who wind up here via a search. I should probably be censoring my language because the average age of Minecraft users is nine.
He has already used my YouTube/gmail account to ask people stuff that I don’t want anyone thinking that I would ask (no, he doesn’t know my password)! Talk about a damned slippery slope! You KNOW those responders will not be censoring their language to protect young sensibilities.
Combine this onslaught of “Please, Mommy” with the fact that it is Sunday, which means that tomorrow is Monday, which means—that which must not be spoken—let’s face it; there are few alternatives that can compete with the making of the brownie.
Yes, it’s a band-aid. Yes, it has potentially detrimental side effects. But think of the antioxidants! Or don’t; I don’t care. I made the brownies. They are helping. I am not over-indulging, and I am not taking prescription medications either (a miracle, that). I linked you to the recipe. There’s my charitable act for the day (except for you Lenten Chocolate Giver-Uppers).
Just for the record, I shall not be spending diddly squat on a Minecraft server until one of those little paper number tickets brings it on home to mama.
Nerf Ops February 21, 2013
I am three hours deep into an eight-year-0ld boy playdate. 2.9 hours of that time have been dedicated to intense, high volume combat play using nerf weapons and a wooden rubber band gun.
Overheard: “I just want to see what will happen if I shoot you in the balls.”
How about a nice chocolate covered cherry, boys? Candy diversionary tactics rarely fail—except when they decide to demolish the chocolate covered cherry in order to examine and possibly remove said stone fruit. At least our guest is not a charter member of the Brotherhood of The Three Food Choices (“I eat only white bread, American cheese, and organic kiwi fruit.”).
I would get all supermom on them and break out a craft project, but my wisdom and prior experience tells me that I would spend twenty minutes getting it ready and cleaning it up, while they would create masterpieces for exactly thirty seconds, then shoot the creations with nerf darts and rubber bands.
Later, after Playmageddon, I have to go and ransom my car from the garage. I had what I hope is a terrible dream where the mechanic said “Fifteen hundred.” Ouch.
Still, I can’t complain. It’s winter break and it beats working.
Oh, hell. Someone just said “super glue.”
Destination: Grease February 20, 2013
If you are looking for the YouTube link to Sandy and Danny belting out “Summer Lovin’,” you are about to be sorely disappointed.
I shall, instead, detail our periodic mini-vacay to visit the number one son at college, in the tiny town that can no longer support a substandard tapas restaurant (see Tapas con Pepsi and you will get the idea). The good news is that the tapas place has been supplanted by a much higher functioning sushi- based establishment, and the shrimp served there now does not produce the aroma of ammonia. Sadly, due to some tummy sensitivity issues, I am wary of much of the beautiful variety available, and went with a safe “teriyaki” dish. Clearly, not the priority of the kitchen, so mediocre at best.
The next evening found me eating a sandwich whose plate level bread was sodden with whatever moisture should have remained separate from the bread. News flash: insufficient grilling of grilled sandwiches makes for grease sponge.
Clearly, I am in need of a new strategy for eating out on a weekend out of town in Culinary Desert, USA. As always, your suggestions are
shredder fodder welcome, but I am leaning toward one new and shining policy:
Order dessert as main course.
It’s cheaper, so if they screw it up, one feels less disappointed and pissy.
Restaurant staff can relax a bit, and may be inclined to add extra whipped cream to show their appreciation for your loving gesture. I keep my favorite blog/waitress in mind here, javaj240. Surely, it is logical to assume that dessert orderers are a more jovial lot than your average customer. . .
In a related story, I am also considering just bringing along my Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, which is my new favorite product of all time based on Amazon published reviews. I think you’ll agree that it was worth wading through the drivel above to get to the drivel below.
Ordering one for my nephew who’s in the air force in California. He’s been using an old slinky to slice his banana’s. He should really enjoy this product!
Happy Only Tuesday February 12, 2013
When the student body infects the teacher body with the dreaded stomach bug, is it looking at the silver lining to think of it as a good day for (net) caloric intake?
Don’t worry; I waited until the kids were gone before practicing involuntary, temporary bulimia (minus the binge) in the garbage can in my class.
Also, I have not been struck by lightning. Unless you call a kid standing in the classroom doorway flipping the lights on and off for 40 minutes before he is escorted elsewhere “lightning.” With all the f-bombs he was dropping, I figured it was kind of like going to a club. And trying to read.
Meaningful P.D.: Make a Cake February 9, 2013
One of the buzzwords in education these days is “meaningful professional development.” The ascent of the buzzword has been accompanied by, as any chimpanzee might have predicted, a decline in the variety and quality of said professional development.
Any P.D. that I have attended that struck me as useful or inspiring in any way is generally marginalized by the organization as an entity. Case in point: a few years ago, I attended a week-long Character Education convention presented by some of the forerunners in this arena, who also happen to be situated within an hour of where I live and work. There were exactly zero other employees from my district there. It was probably the best and most relevant P.D. I have ever attended. In the years ensuing, I have seen my urban district all but turn away from the concept of character ed, while I have seen violence in the spirit of students set in earlier and stronger every year.
Most P.D. these days, at least where I am, tells educators what “We now know, ” and the fact that the P.D. we received a year or two earlier is no longer best practice, and that if we don’t incorporate a, b, and c, our rating in our evaluation will be career-threatening. So we do what we are told to do, regardless of whether our experience, knowledge, intuition or philosophy agree or not. And the test scores plummet, or, at best, stay the same.
I did receive a helpful tidbit at a workshop I attended a few years ago. The presenter, a lovely, retired teacher, said that she made her family a chocolate cake every Sunday. Not just in retirement, but while she was a teacher. This would imply that she did not spend every waking hour on a Sunday attempting to create lesson plans that provide evidence for every detail of a rubric of teacher performance, while leaving out any possibility of shifting a schedule, taking extra time to teach concepts, or acknowledging that a student could experience some kind of growth or success that might still not be reflected in an increasingly difficult high-stakes assessment.
Sunday, for today’s teachers, can feel like insanity.
Making a chocolate cake, stepping away from the madness—that makes sense to me.
Crazy Cake seems fitting, and they used to make it in the Depression. If you link to the photo, you will find yourself in the middle of a recipe for Wacky Cake. So that’s what’s happening here. A day ahead of schedule.