Saturday, December 23, 2006


Reggie Ball gets a 'D'. Unfortunately, it's not a 'D' of the variety that will save his ass when he's sucking it up on the field.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

early christmas 2006

Best news I've heard all month.

It's the forced coaching decision that should have been made voluntarily more than a month ago during game play against Georgia. I guess I'll have to beleive in divine intervention, even if it only happens either during Hannukkah or right before Christmas.

Just A Good Ol' Boy

Does this sound the least bit shady?

Wouldn't be an issue under the Fair Tax.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

get perpendicular!

What do you get when you cross nerds, SchoolHouse Rock, bad 70's jive music, a marketing team with too much crack rock, and a creative department with too much time on their hands?

The answer is here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

meme? isn't that what some kids call their grandma?

B's making me do this. At gun point, no less, so I apologize in advance for the sweat on the keyboard and choppy/crappy responses.

1. Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 - in the book closest to you right now, what does it say?

Of course it's the longest paragraph in the chapter!

"Normally, Nancy would willingly have taught Jolene to prepare an entire turkey dinner; she felt it her duty to be available when younger girls came to her wanting help with their cooking, their sewing, or their music lessons- or, as often happened, to confide. Where she found the time, and still managed to "practically run that big house" and be a straight-A student, the president of her class, a leader in the 4-H program and the Young Methodists League, a skilled rider, an excellent musician (piano, clarinet), an annual winner at the county fair (pastry, preserves, needlework, flower arrangement) - how a girl not yet seventeen could haul such a wagonload, and do so without "brag," with, rather, merely a radiant jauntiness, was an enigma the community pondered, and solved by saying, "She's got character. Gets it from her old man." Certainly her strongest trait, the talent that gave support to all the others, derived from her father: a fine-honed sense of organization. Each moment was assigned; she knew precisely, at any hour, what she would be doing, how long it would require. And that was the trouble with today: she had overscheduled it. She had committed herself to helping another neighbor's child, Roxie Lee Smith, with a trumpet solo that Roxie Lee planned to play at a school concert; had promised to run three complicated errands for her mother; and had arranged to attend a 4-H meeting in Garden City with her father. And then there was lunch to make and, after lunch, work to be done on the bridesmaids' dresses for Beverly's wedding, which she had designed and was sewing herself. As matters stood, there was no room for Jolene's cherry-pie lesson. Unless something could be canceled."

A beer on me to the first that can identify the book.

2. If you stretch out your left arm as far as possible, what are you touching?

If I were Stretch Armstrong, the wall. As I am not, just a pillow on the couch and a PS2 controller.

3. What's the last program you watched on TV?

Reruns of Scrubs last night.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.

9:18pm (man, one minute off!)

5. Aside from the computer, what can you hear right now?

Wife tearing up junk mail, David Caruso on a TV commercial.

6. When was the last time you were outside and what did you do?

For actual most recent, emptying the trunk of the car. For an extended period where I actually did something outdoor-sy? Yesterday, watching the barn-burner that was the ACC Championship football game. A scramble to see who could finish worst. Tech won in that respect.

7. What are you wearing?

Jeans, Timberland hiking shoes and a gold Tech hoodie.

8. Did you dream last night? If you did, what about?

I never remember my dreams. I think it means I'm schizophrenic. Sometimes, I realize I'm dreaming and I tell myself to remember what I dreamed about but it never works. Whatever it was, it was probably retarded.

9. When was the last time you laughed?

There was probably a time or two yesterday but I don't remember what it was about. It probably involved talking trash about Tech's sorry excuse for a quarterback.

10. What's on the walls, in the room you're in right now?

Our house is sad. All we have on the wall is a wreath and two candle-holder-thingy's (they have a name I can't recall). And our walls are HUGE! We are obviously very into material possessions.

11. Have you seen anything strange lately?

I probably ate it.

12. What do you think about this meme?

It's okay. I've seen worse, I've seen better. I was mostly just looking for an excuse to update my pathetic excuse for a blog.

13. What's the last film you saw?

The new Bond flick. Sorry, I had to figure out how to turn off underlined text there.

14. If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money?

To steal from Brian, mostly becuase it's retarded to retype pretty much the exact same thing. Except I'm taking out the part about giving some of it away, at least at first. I think I'm part Jewish.

"I would pay off all of my debts as well as those of my family. I would buy new cars for my wife and I, but not terribly fancy ones. We would travel a bit, but not all at once. I would probably quit my job, and start working towards figuring out how to open and operate a small brewery/brewpub, and when I felt confident I was ready to do so, do so. Sock the rest away and live off the interest if the brewery doesn't work out."

I think there's a reason B and I are good friends.

15. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.

Sometimes I go to bed without brushing my teeth. But only when I'm going up from passing out on the couch because it's too dark to find my way to the toothbrush without waking the wife. I'm sort of narcoleptic after 10 PM and I feel like total shit anytime I wake up before 5-6 hours of sleep and the thought of the taste of toothpaste in that state makes me sick to my stomach. This probably happens once a week.

16. If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt, what would it be?

I'm kind of inclined to say that I'd like to see easier to use public transportation. I met all sorts of cool people riding the train to grad school and it was so much fun riding the shinkansen in Japan. Of course, we're not stuck on a small island where everything is really close together.

17. Do you like dancing?

If I think it will get me laid.

18. George Bush?

Not a Republican. Of course, no Republican is these days. No, I don't long for the old days, because honestly I didn't give a rat's ass until the late 90's. I just don't understand how you can call yourself a conservative and not veto some of the shit that's come across that desk. His daughters seem fun.

19. What do you want your children's names to be, girl/boy?

Anything you say at Starbucks sounds pretty fancy for fancy-pants names. Mocha Frappucino. Venti Americano if I were Italian. Or I could just take cues from my family and do the traditional white trash names. Ty Ruger, Kyleigh, Bayleigh, Cody, Tyler.

20. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Does Montana count? I could do Canada or eastern Europe for the hockey alone.

21. What do you want God to tell you, when you come to heaven?

"How'd you get through security?"


"Dude, where's all of your stuff?"

22. Who should do this meme?

Anyone who likes it. Or just needs a good excuse to waste 20 minutes.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Beantown, Part 2

This is a long time coming. Hell, this trip was back in July, over the 4th holday. But I never finish anything in a decent amount of time so here it is, without further adieu. The second installation in the epic saga that was my journey to the heartland that birthed and mutilated the principles of our formerly excellent nation (and still somewhat excellent when compared to the Durkadurkastans).

The airport in Boston is straight up 70's. They haven't even tried to update the traffic flow around the place. You get on the rental bus and have about 17 stops before you start feeling that deja vu feeling all over again. Keep in mind this is all occurring while some 4 year old is staring you down for whatever reason and her infant sibling has fouled up the air with baby butt funk. Finally, we're at the rental station and are delighted to be the 14th or so customers in line. I suppose I should have been an asshole like the hip-hop gang banger that used the VIP line despite the fact that he wasn't a VIP member. He still got service before the other 12 of us that were in line already. But that's just not how I roll. Get the car, choice between a Chevy Whatever and a Subaru Something. US cars suck ass, give me the foreign jobby. Don't want to break down while we're in Hartford. Talk about hardcore gangstas?! You ain't seen shit til' 4 of em' wack ass ganstas walk out in front of moving traffic in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Hartford be hard, bitches! No, seriously, I'm not kidding. But that's later in the trip. Hop in our rental ride and we up and out!

Welcome to Boston! That'll be three dollars.

See, to leave the airport, you have to use the Ted Williams tunnel. Yes, the one that caved in about 3 days after we left. Well, to enter the tunnel, you have to pay a $3 toll. Um, excuse me, but didn't I already throw my tax dollars into this hole? If I remember correctly, that was the largest public works project in history and it was largely funded with federal tax dollars. That's partially my money, ass. And you want three more of my dollars? Talk about squeezing blood from a stone.

Nice drive into town. In a tunnel. For a new project it looks like the airport, tiles and lighting making it look all 70's style. It's almost impossible to avoid imagining a movie-like scene happening to you where you come around the curve to find that water is rushing towards you at breakneck speed and you have no choice but to either drown or get shot out of a ventilation shaft a la Die Hardest (aka Die Hard With a Vengeance).

Getting around town was no easier. We were meeting my brother-in-law in town for lunch at his office in the financial district. We tried to follow his directions, but that went about as well as casting Keanu Reeves to play former president Jimmy Carter as Keanu is way too smart for that role. One wrong turn on an unmarked road in a construction area and we're left to luck to find our way to the right place as our map pretty much turned out to be useless with all of the rerouting. Apparently they're still working on the Big Dig but somehow the dig has ended up on the surface streets. Regardless, several blocks later, we figured out a way out of the quagmire because the street we were supposed to end up on after 3 or 4 turns turned out to be directly ahead on the right. "Where the hell is the parking deck he was talking about?" Oh, well, here's one that's kind of close. And twice as expensive! $30 max. after 4 hours. Super.

Meet up with the brother-in-law. Walk 4-5 blocks down to Faneuil Hall area for lunch at about 11:30. Too early for lunch everyone tells us(first 2 places, at least). Find a Tex-Mex place that seems surprised at our "early" arrival but still manages to seat us and feed us nachos and beer almost immediately to boot.

After lunch, we head out for the train while lil' bro heads back to work. But, he gave us his train pass so we only need to buy tokens for one of us. Head over across town to some museum that a high society lady put together back in the day. Nice place, but a little too dark to see some of the more interesting pieces. They had a Rembrandt and some other masterpiece stolen several years ago by some clever crooks that dressed as policemen, showed up at like 3 AM stating the alarm had gone off, tied up the security guards and cut the paintings from the frames and took off like the bandits they are. It was a nice museum and especially nice compared to the gallery style museums that I was accustomed to. And the fact that it was more of a personal collection than a wholly-planned exhibit made it so that you got to sample a little bit of a bunch of different styles. A seven-course feast for the eyes, so to speak.

Headed back into town, got suckered into visiting Filene's Basement where I then got suckered into buying a new blue sportcoat. My other one ended up with a hole in the sleeve somehow, either by cigarette or candle or something that burns. But hey, got a great deal on a Nautica sportcoat, if it's not a fake. Picked up a nice teapot as a gift for the brother-in-law and his wife to go with the Asian dinnerware we got them back at Christmas. Wifey didn't believe me that it'd match, but she underestimates my rather useful superpower of visual memory and my otherwise useless superpower of color matching.

Ended the day at a pretentious Italian restaurant. It was like eating out in Buckhead but with white people. Decent food, decent wine, indecent prices. And no one told me not to eat the green stuff out of the lobster's shell. It looked edible. Eww, nasty!

Overall, it was an exciting excursion into "not Atlanta." There aren't too many places that aren't more interesting than "the ATL" assuming that no more than 37 people were shot, raped, murdered or otherwise assaulted on a given day in Atlanta.

That's more than enough to read for now. Tune in likely sometime in November for the next installation. Maybe sooner, but that's just how I roll.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Now That's Sensational!!

CNN headline today: Children die in fiery plane crash

Excerpt from story:
A Russian commercial jet crashed in Ukraine on Tuesday, killing all 170 on board, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry reported. Among the dead were 45 children, Pulkovo Airlines said. The pilot sent a distress signal reporting a fire on board and heavy turbulence, shortly before the plane crash landed, Ukrainian officials said.
Is that really the best headline for the article? What about the 125 people that weren't children? If the plane hit a school or children's hospital, maybe it'd be appropriate. Apparently not the case so I think this one garners the Sensational Headline of the Day* award.

*The Sensational Headline of the Day is completely endorsed by pretty much every one who doesn't want to endorse it, including Coke and Pepsi. It discriminates based on race, gender, sexual orientation, eye color and quantum spin state. And if you don't like it, it hates you and thinks your shirt is ugly.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

You Have 20 Seconds to Comply

Go see Miami Vice. If you like Michael Mann, you won't be disappointed. Go see it now in fact. You got nothing better going on if you're reading my blog.

While the plot and storylike were pure, traditional Hollywood, the directing and cinematography more than make up for it.

I'd tell you cool shit to look for, but I don't want to ruin it for you.



Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Chapter for the History Books

For details on my latest escapades, check here and check often. God put me on this planet for a reason and I think that this is it.

I'll catch up on my trip to Boston sometime tomorrow or later this evening.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beantown, Part 1

I've been meaning to post about my travels the other week for some time now. I really have no excuse because I've really had nothing to do for most of the day everyday being temporarily out of work. That's really the only justification I can make for staying in my current job as a high school science teacher. Well, nothing to do lately besides look for a short term summer job which totally hasn't been working out. You'd think that a temp agency would call back after you send them everything they need to put you in a few days job you found on the internet. Apparently the 12 calls I've made since last Wednesday aren't enough to warrant a return call to at least say 'no'. I guess my other excuse is that I was finishing reading a book.

So a little more to the point, what better way is there to start a vacation other than a visit to your local TSA security force? It's not really an option if you can't afford a private jet. Unless you drive. And with gas prices, it's cheaper to subject yourself to the rectal exam. I guess you might keep a pair of tweezers up there. Okay, so I exaggerate, but I finally had my first brush with the man (that is the TSA agents). First it's embarrasing enough to make you practically undress in front of hundreds of strangers. There we all are, shoeless, beltless, accessory-less, phoneless (not necessarily a bad one) brothers patiently waiting our turn to be tested to find out just exactly who has metallic penis impants. Guilty! And don't you dare enter the metal detector until you get the signal from the TSA agent who gets to watch you walk through the machine. You probably need a college degree to get that promotion! Oh, and he/she is going to check your boarding pass and ID again, which you had to do in order to get into line in the first place. If you tried to circumvent the first ID check and go straight to the detectors, you'd probably be boarding a plane alright. A plane to Guantanamo Bay.

With all of that said, I make it through the detector no problem. It's kind of hard not to with no clothes on and your platinum penis implant safely tucked away in its non-capacitive ceramic casing. I know it's kind of bulky but I count it as one of my carry-ons. But the x-ray dude is looking at my bag for just a little bit too long for comfort. Hmmm...
"Oh shit. I ran out of room in the suitcase (we were going for 8 days!) so I put my toiletry bag in my carry-on without really considering its contents. An easy enough mistake at 4:45 am. Crap, I guess it's probably the tiny pair of scissors I use to trim my facial hair. Oh well, there goes my scissors."
So after a TSA agent rummages through my bag for a minute, she produces my metallic butt plug! Not really, you think I'm dumb enough to pack that for a plane ride? No, it's really my swiss-army knife that I've had for about 7 years. It's not too formidable. I think the blade is about 2 inches long (about the length of your penis/boyfriend's penis). I've used it to cut so many boxes open that it's coated with a protective layer of 3M's finest adhesive rendering it completely useless for anything requiring a sharp edge. To be honest, I found myself using the scissors on it more frequently than the blade. You know, for trimming those stray threads (and your mother's hairy jungle). But obviously someone somewhere thinks that it's dangerous if a white dude that flies maybe twice a year to the same places everytime has a pair of tweezers and that dangerous plastic toothpick that's likely made of C4 explosive. So faced with 15 minutes to get to my plane vs. going back to mail my knife to myself and then have to wait in the 45 minute line again that caused the lack of time to get to the gate in the first place, I ended up losing my knife. That my wife gave me. From when she went to Switzerland and bought me a Swiss Army knife.

If you ask me, the problem of 9/11 occurred solely because of ridiculousness like this. Hell, they had us American's scared as hell to take anything that might be construed as a weapon on a flight. Imagine if someone on those flights had a swiss army knife. Not only could they help their seat neighbor with that pesky stray thread but they could have easily shown up the terroritst's puny box cutters. Whip open that 2" blade while reciting everyone's favorite line, "That's not a knife. THIS, is a knife." Favorite line because it's the only one they remember from that movie, if they even remember the movie. Then the dude with the Swiss Army knife could go all Ron Popeil on some terrorist ass. Those flights could have been well on their way to their respective destinations complete with the blow jobs for passengers in first class and all anyone would have to worry about is what to do with all of those julienned jihadists. And let's not even talk about the passengers that might have been lucky enough to fly with the guy who's watched every episode of MacGuyver on DVD! Box cutters are no match for a gun made out of SkyMall magazines, biscoff cookies, and the blue stuff from the toilets.

Stay tuned for more wacky adventures and hijinks from my trip to the state that was ironically the site of the birth and the death of American freedom. And sorry, about the mom comment earlier. That wasn't fair. She keeps it nice and tidy down there. Wow, you are too easy! Like your mom. Got you again! Okay, I give up.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Cover Me!

Take a good song, redo it. It happens a lot. I always thought the idea was to make the song better or at least unique. Hendrix did it with Dylan's All Along the Watchtower. Alien Ant Farm did a pretty decent version of ol' MJ's Smooth Criminal (from back when he still had it). But what's up with all of these current remakes groups are releasing that absolutely degrade the integrity of songs that were much better before the remake? And why is Matt Pinfield still on TV?

I got to thinking about it this morning. I was chilling in the living room, reading a book. I like background noise so I turned on VH1 because they actually show videos for a small segment of their available programming time, mostly in the early morning. Like right now. So they start showing a U2 video, the song One. A great U2 song, I'll have to admit. So I actually start to watch it. Right before the first verse, Mary J Blige appears. Huh?! Then she does all of the singing while the band plays the music. It seems like the current trend in voice stars is to embellish to the extent that you can't really tell that they're crappy (okay, mediocre at best) because they're all over the place notewise. It's hard to be off key when you sing in every key for each phrase. Ewwy, ewwy, ooh.

Notable Cover Tunes
Respect - Aretha Franklin (did you know this was originally by Otis Redding?)
All Along the Watchtower - Hendrix (Dylan)
Hard to Handle - The Black Crowes (Redding again)
Killing Me Softly - The Fugees (Roberta Flack)
Higher Ground - Red Hot Chili Peppers (Stevie Wonder)
Hurt - Johnny Cash (NIN)
I Will Survive - Cake (Gloria Gaynor)
Tainted Love - Soft Cell (Gloria Jones)
Mr Bojangles - Nina Simone (Jerry Jeff Walker)

Total Ass Covers
Sweet Child O' Mine - Sheryl Crow (Guns n Roses)
One - U2 w/ MJ Blige (U2, ruined their own song. sad)
Stairway to Heaven - Dolly Parton (Led Zeppelin)
American Pie - Madonna (Don McLean)
Turn the Page - Metallica (Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band)
Tuesday's Gone - Metallica (Lynryd Skynyrd)
Big Yellow Taxi - Counting Crows (Joni Mitchell)

These lists could go on and on.

What's your favorite/least favorite cover tune?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Drilling for Dollars

What are you supposed to look at when you're in the dentist's chair? Looking at the light is too bright. Looking at the ceiling is boring. Looking at the tools is sort of scary. Looking at the dentist's or the hygenist's face is just too weird (too close for comfort). Closing your eyes (necessary during drilling and stuff, but otherwise...) just makes me feel like I'm having a weird make out session.

A question to you, what do you look at?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

there's my next nightmare

I like to leave the TV on when I read. Mostly so there's background noise in an otherwise empty house. (the wife travels for work quite a bit) Now I know that the commercials get a bit naughtier after any reasonable parent would have sent their child to bed. You've all seen them. Commercials for "dating" services. "Pick up the phone." Don't tell me what to do, devil woman! Commercials for Girls Gone Wild. Do you get paid to show your tits on tape? Hell, it beats the old way. You know, having to wait until the guy falls asleep after you blow him so you can roll him. I can't count how many $10's I lost that way in college. But tonight's commercial was a new one for me. Guys Gone Wild. My first thought was "oh, well they have nekkid girls for us guys, might as well have nekkid boys for the girls." Then I realized that it wasn't for the girls.

I feel dirty.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Buck Futters!

I hate having to take classes during the summer.

Especially when it's a total waste of time. I could be working on my tan, working for money, working for the weekend. But no, I'm doing some god awful busy work that we sort of already did in the first 2 modules of the 3 part course. And all of this (200 seat hours they say) for a gifted endorsement on my teaching certificate. Fuck you, you fucking repeating pieces of shit. We've done this stuff before. Everybody is saying it and you get mad at us when we point it out. There'd be an all-out riot if I tried pulling this kind of shit with my students.

Stop wasting my fucking time. I've worked my ass off for 9 hard months to get to this point, the only justification I can make for the cut in pay that I'm taking for not getting a real fucking job.

Am I pissed? You bet. And probably will be every day for the next 5 business days.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


What do you have to do to get written up at work?

My latest "stunt" was less of a stunt, but it required all sorts of meetings. It all started with the requirement for me to turn in a copy of my final exam to my department head (insert the word 'bone' and it still works perfectly). I refused. To be an asshole? Partially, but not really. Mostly, for test security.

See, when you're really masochistic and in the education industry, you do crazy weird shit like agree to create a new course. Such as Advanced Physics Principles / Robotics. And when you do stuff like that from scratch, you find that there aren't a whole heck of a lot of resources for teaching such a course as an advanced high school level science class. There are plenty of resources for the technology and programming aspect, but not a whole lot for the science/engineering principles, especially the real science application part. So, you make a lot of the shit up from scratch. To make a long story somewhat shorter, it takes a hella lot of time and effort. So, you tend to be pretty protective of your shit. No, not 'pretty protective'. We're talking get your ass attacked by a pack of fat ladies because you want the last cookie on the buffet line kind of protective.

So, when asked to hand over a copy of my final exams to my department (meat)head? I reply with a simple 'no.' Well, you have to understand that there is a perception of a power struggle that has been going on all year long with me. I say perception because it's not authority I defy, it's stupid. Somehow, you can be an ineffective teacher and have all of the kids and faculty like you a lot, to the point where you get Teacher of the Year honors. But those of us that get the kids afterwards know better. Not only are these kids dumb with regard to basic physics principles after an AP Physics class, but they're typically the classroom management issues. Perhaps poor behavior was overlooked in prior classes? Of course, I have been accused of expecting too much with regard to high school student behavior. I've also been accused of being 'elitist.' I don't remember refuting the statement.

Anyhow, it all ended up with him having a real hissy fit. We're talking along the lines of writing e-mails to the assistant principal and telling me that I would have to take it up with her because he wasn't signing off on my sheet as turning them in. It was fun to watch him squirm, but it wasn't an issue of me vs. him as he wants so badly to think. It's just an overprotective, rabid wolverine protecting her cubs. Or whatever you call a baby wolverine. But with intellectual property, not real cubs. And not a real wolverine, just me. Fuck, it was just an analogy.

Fortunately, he's leaving for the new school with the old principal. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Total BS

Remember that whole rant about not getting a decent raise? Well, turns out it was total hogwash. But let's not forget how the political spin machine works. Not to sound too much like a conspiracy theorist, but I think that there are deeper issues at hand here.

See, once the superintendent's plan went to the board (in a private meeting no less), they put the smack down on it and are supposedly reinstating the full 3.4% raise as opposed to his paltry proposal of 1.7%. Oh, thank you! 3.4%! Hey, it's another $900 bucks in my pocket. Still have to work on the $250 furlough day, but hey, the big part is back. Or was the plan to make the furlough day more acceptable?

To be honest, I think that the real impetus was two-fold.

First task: make the governor take the heat. Oh woe is us, budget cuts. We can't find a single source of fat to cut and you're making us hire more teachers with less funding. So, let's take it out on the teachers and convince them that it's that nasty, evil governor!

Second task: lest we forget that it's board election year. The super can't lose his myrmidons! That'd just be cause for him to train a whole new race of blame swappers and a whole new slew of executive retreats to learn useful skills such as responsibility avoidance and the importance of hiring a good spin doctor.

Screw it. Seriously. I'm getting awfully tired of assisting in Marx's ten step program anyhow.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fuck The Man!

The Man. The proverbial Man. Capital M Man. Oh, he's real. And he can go fuck himself.

So the Governor of Georgia proposes new legislation and it gets written and approved. (I say it's not really his law because I understand how government works. The Governor doesn't make laws, he just signs off on them which is really sort of symbolic anyhow because a Congressional vote can override the veto. Surprisingly, I'm a graduate of a government school and I understand that.) Anyhow, the legislation is about how school systems can spend money. The part that the upper level admin are concerned about is that it states explicitly that class sizes have to meet a required minimum (no averaging anymore) and 65% of education funding must be spent on or in the classrooms. That includes teacher salaries, building maintenance, supplies, books, etc. from what I understand. That leaves almost 1/3 for upper level admin duties. Obviously not enough, surprisingly, if you judge by the roars from the county superintendents (mostly the ones in suburban Atlanta).

So, the superintendent in our county has a wonderful solution to the hits to the budget for next year. How much do you want to wager on the fact that it's cuts at the top-heavy county admin level? Ha ha, you lose!

And again, despite the fact that I am a graduate of a fine government school, I am surprisingly good at math.

The governor approved a 4% pay raise for teachers for next year. That's for the state salary schedule. See, some (most) counties offer an additional stipend on top of the state pay, especially those in areas where the cost of living is higher (aka metro Atlanta). Our county does this. So, a 4% raise on the state pay makes the raise come out to about 3.5% for us, assuming the county retains the same level of additional pay.

If you read the linked article, you find out that 3.5% is too high compared to what we will get. See, the net raise will only work out to be 1.77%. They want to add the extra significant figure to make it more attractive than 1.7% but not lead people to expect 1.8%. So, figuring on what I expected to make next year, instead of gaining $1713 dollars based solely on state contributions, I end up with $844 extra dollars. A loss of $869. Basically, they're lowering the county contribution by $869.

They cite having to hire more teachers to make class sizes smaller as their justification. I find it particularly interesting that not a single cut was made for county positions (much higher paid than lowly teachers, as in the very close to if not 6-figure range) or for their particularly ridiculous legal expenses. "Nah, let's stick it to the guys who are actually doing the grunt work. We'll make those teachers pay for someone else's decision to try to help teachers out with a little extra folding cash. Literally, make them pay!"

But it's not over yet.

They're also making us take a furlough day. I didn't even know what that was until today. But basically, I signed a contract for 191 days just a few weeks ago. They will be changing the contract to 190 days, thus changing the contract however they wish at any time. Ok, they're the employer. But we had an agreement. Yeah, an agreement that puts pretty much everything in their favor, like the ability to change contracts at will. I wish I could do that, but I'm not the employer, I'm the employee, I understand that. So back to the furlough day. The one less day is an unpaid day. For me that will be roughly a $254 loss.

So to add up all of my losses, the pay that I expected next year will end up being $1123 less than I expected it to be. "Oh, bitch bitch bitch, you're still getting a 1.77% raise." Did you notice the percentage that energy costs have gone up? I think it was a bit more than that just in the last month here just for fuel. And how does that affect the prices of goods? "It makes them cheaper, right?" If you think that, you obviously didn't have me as your teacher.

Oh, and I really enjoyed how we got the notice of this news from the county after I found out from the local newspaper. Apparently, we're not worthy of being the first to know.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Highest Standards

From an e-mail about signing up for classes to get additional certification for Special Ed:
Open to all Cobb County employees who have:
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • A cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale.
  • Passing scores on the PRAXIS I, unless the candidate holds a clear renewable teaching certificate or those who obtained exemption composite score on the SAT, GRE, or ACT Examinations. (SAT minimum required score is 1000; ACT minimum required score is 43; GRE minimum required score is 1030.

That's sure a tough bar to reach.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

State of the Unions

We're not unionized in Georgia, but the same principles apply here as in this article.

I can't think of much to add.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Great Demotivators

I used to enjoy working. No, really, I did. I think that most of us are driven by some internal motivation to be productive. Whether that's through making stuff, making it easier to make stuff, selling stuff, etc., I think that a majority of us are interested in doing something other than sitting around watching 'the stories.' And I was. My product is completely intangible. Education is not easily quantified or counted or measured, despite popular belief. I always had to take those standardized test scores with a grain of salt to judge my effectiveness. But that wasn't my motivation. I was interested in making the next step easier for these kids. Whether that be a job, college, or whatever, I just wanted them to take away enough to make it a bit easier. And I'll do whatever it takes. 70 hour work week? Okay! Pile on some high-maintenance extra-curricular activity advisement, especially on weekends? Why not? Something made me want to keep pushing forward, no matter what kind of absolute shit they decided to throw my way.

Now I'm just fucking sick of it.

I hate to be so blunt about it, but it's really gotten old. And so quickly, too.

Exhibit A
"Boo hoo! If I'd have gotten one more point on one of my labs I didn't resubmit after you let me have the opportunity to rewrite it, I'd have had an 89.54% which is somehow magically an A."

So let's see... It didn't seem to matter to you last semester. Why the fuck does it matter now? Do you have any evidence? No. Do you have anything other than some vague recollection about something I kind of said? No.

I tried to be understanding. Maybe I miscommunicated something. I don't know. But when I went to fill out the form to change the grade so he could have his bullshit A, I just couldn't sign the paper. I kind of feel badly because I said I would. But I'd feel worse if I actually changed it.

Exhibit B
The W-2.

How can it be justified that 23.56% of my check is missing before I even get a chance to hack away at it more with insurance premiums and retirement contributions? Let's not even mention the fact that I'm still going to be paying property taxes, ad valorem taxes and sales tax on every item I buy. If they could figure out a way to do it, I'm sure they'd start assessing an oxygen tax. Respirate slower or pay the price!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?

Where is my profit motive? How can you tax me on my productivity? Let me get this straight. I don't do a damn thing, I don't pay any taxes. I start to become a benefit to society and OH!... I getting taxed! Huh?!? Somehow, that other 75% is supposed to be an incentive? Wha? It's absolutely criminal. I'd be locked up if I took 5% of someone's stuff, even if I were doing something nice in return like paving their driveway, mowing their lawn, shooting intruders, housing evacuees, etc.

Hell, I understand that we have to pay for roads, courts, law enforcement, and all that. But do I really have to put Sharnequa, her 5 babies, and a baby daddy or two up in the hotel for 6 months or more? A week or two? Maybe. Hell, it'd be nice if someone helped me a little if it turned out that it really wasn't a good idea to set up shop several feet below sea-level right by the sea. Wouldn't it be nice if the helpers had a choice? Especially between a few weeks and a few months? It seems like there are tons of lawyers willing to go to bat for the hotel dwelling folk. Where are the ones stepping up for the people footing the bill?

Two words. Fair Tax.

Somehow, I think I got off of my main point there. But where is my incentive to do better? Especially as an educator. Wait, I mean teacher. Did you know that pay is based solely on highest degree obtained and years of service? I do a good job, I get paid. I do a horrific job, I get paid. The same amount. The same amount! I'd get paid the same amount to watch kids walk around a track that I do teaching Advanced Placement Chemistry. Wow, I could get paid $20 something an hour to babysit? Sadly, yes. But I don't.

Damn that part of me that still wants to do a good job!