March 14, 2004

Yawns and Yakisoba

I guess the silver lining in not blogging for a week is that you get to cram a couple of unrelated events together to make an confusing headline.

Lots of people are down with something lately, mostly severe chest colds and flu. Working with teachers who spend their days in the hotzone with all those kids, I might be seeing the worst of it. So far, I've stayed unscathed since my Chess-Game-with-Death last December except for the strangeness of this week. After a restless Tuesday night, I spent all of Wednesday sleeping and aching. Couldn't stay awake for more than an hour and had to cancel my 4pm class. Same thing Thursday. I finally snapped out of it somewhat and dragged myself to a meeting Friday and now I'm OK. Maybe Mr. Body is trying to tell me something.

I haven't mentioned this before, but we have a guest in the house for this month and next. Ryuki, an intern at High Tech High (and Alex's Japanese teacher) will be with us until late April. He's a quiet guy who just turned 24. We set him up with our old G4 Cube all tricked out with Mt Fuji screensavers and Japanese news pages bookmarked and he's been using MSN Messenger to chat with his parents. He's a polite and eager consumer of everything we put in front of him except milk. I remember being much more picky about what I'd eat in Africa when I was his age.

Saturday Ryuki went out and rented a car for himself. The first thing he did with his new freedom was to dash up to one of the Japanese markets in Claremont Mesa and return with the ingredients for yakisoba... one of my favorites, and miso soup. He had it all on the table within minutes. Tasty!

March 07, 2004

Utah, Nevada and Home

It's been a busy few days. I did keynotes for UCET in Salt Lake City (Friday) and NETL in Reno (Saturday). There was snow on the ground and in the mountains around both places. Got a guided tour of Temple Square, met some wonderful teachers and came back with more ideas for the WebQuest to-do list.

While staying in a casino hotel in Reno, I serenely walked past all the slots as usual without being even slightly tempted to play. In the long run, of course, the house wins, and I snortled at those mathematically challenged folks feeding their rent money into the machines.

But then I had some time to kill at the airport and having run out of magazines to not buy and fast food to not eat, I settled down in front of a video poker thing and fed a dollar bill into it. Poker, I figured, requires at least a little bit of skill and so it should be possible to do better than chance. So over the course of a half hour I spent $10 and when it came time to catch my plane I was up to $13. I cashed out and started to do the math: I made $3 in 30 minutes. That's about minimum wage. If I'd bet $2000 instead of $10, I would have cleared $600 per hour. I could work one 8-hour shift a week and clear $240,000 a year which should be enough for now. Why doesn't everyone do this?

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March 03, 2004

Sixteen Years Ago Tonight

I had been up most of the night in Fresno, unable to sleep since June told me that her water broke while she was at a restaurant with friends. I was supposed to be giving a workshop for CSU faculty, but that never happened. The next plane out was at 6am so I spent the night tossing and turning and imagining what my son would look like. Dark, curly hair, I pictured, and later he'd be tall. I thought about renting a car and driving to San Diego but it wouldn't have gotten me there much sooner and it surely would have gotten me there in no shape to be helpful.

June tossed and turned that night in the hospital all alone. I arrived just before 9 in the morning and we spent the rest of the day waiting for Alex to arrive. And by dinner time, without complications, he was here.

It seems as though it couldn't be 16 years ago already, and simultaneously it seems as though he's always been part of my life. The little guy I held and crooned "Good Morning Starshine" to that night is almost 6 feet tall. The big present tonight was prepaid driving lessons, and just another two birthdays from now he'll be watching the mail for college acceptance letters.

It's been so fast and deep and so beyond what I imagined. Happy Birthday Alex! Thanks for being such a great kid.

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March 02, 2004

My First Chad-Free Vote

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March 01, 2004

God Hates Shrimp

Pass the Word.