Monday, June 30, 2008

Update from NECC

Remember to check out my NECC blog: http://necc2008.blogspot.com/!!

Today was the first day of concurrent sessions. I went to several, and then made a round of vendor visitations. I picked up a lot of swag, and more t-shirts than I had realized! LOL... Tomorrow will hold even more swag and more workshops!

The geocaching workshop was great, but we weren't allowed to find 'real' items, so we were given waypoints to find and then had to answer questions about the waypoints. It was a lot of fun, and I knew more about geocaching than I realized! Very cool!!

Here are more pictures from my adventures in San Antonio:

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pictures from San Antonio

These are pictures I took today while out and about. I had a lot of fun trying to find shots that most people wouldn't think to take... Well, and some that EVERYBODY takes... :-)



In the name of water conservation


I can't possibly tell you about the happenings in San Antonio without talking about the water conservation ploy going on in the hotel... The commode has two switches on the top - one is a half-flush, the other a full.

If only "deposit" bodily FLUIDS, then you give the thing the half-flush in order to save water. If you have to have SOLID waste, you push the full-flush button.

Seriously. I couldn't make that up if I wanted to! I've tried both types of flushes, in the name of experiementation (which means I actually WASTED water, I guess). The half-flush is just enough water to turn the bowl back to clear. The all-out flush is enough to flood the building! I thought I was going to have to run downstairs and buy somegoggles at the front desk!

Blogging from NECC - Sunday

Heya! I woke up before the alarm clock this morning, so I figured I would get dressed and head on in to the Convention Center. Let me tell ya, I could have walked had I known how close the hotel was. Oh well, it was a nice ride, plus the driver turned out to be the driver for the San Antonio Missions minor league team! That was cool!! He asked where I was from, then asked how far Springdale was from Hope because they will be in Springdale later this week! Excellent!

The first thing I did after registration was to buy a cool cowboy hat with the NECC2008 logo on it. I'll have someone take my picture and then I'll post it. :-)

Don't forget to check out my up-to-date adventures at http://necc2008.blogspot.com/!

I'll check in with y'all in a bit!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some Pics from NECC

Here is a random selection of pictures I took on our first night at NECC. There are pictures of buildings, pictures from our supper at Mi Tierra, and pictures from a night walk around the Riverwalk. Enjoy!

Headin for San Antone

That's right, folks! I'm leaving Saturday morning for San Antonio to attend the 2008 National Education Computing Conference! I'll have computer access (I assume) and I'll be postin' pics and offering my usual UNusual take on things!

I also created a site specifically for NECC, and have invited anyone who's there to join in the bloggin'! It should be fun! That site is: http://necc2008.blogspot.com/.

I'll be driving down from my home, after a stop in Hope, with John and Phoebe (my co-worker and my boss, respectively). It ought to be a lot of fun!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Disney SWAG!!

As many of you know, Shan spent this past week in Orlando at Disney World for a teacher's conference. She had a great time, and brought back lots of information for us when we go on vacation!!

She also brought me back a VERY COOL baseball:



I cannot WAIT to go to DISNEY WORLD!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tiger Woods $36000 Apple Core PULLED

Earlier today (Wednesday), I read a post about an Apple Core that was being sold for $36000 on eBay:


"I was at the US Open this Friday, following Tiger Woods down the 12 th Fairway, after his tee shot, he was eating an apple, 30 yards from his ball he discarded his apple core in the rough, I asked a photothe to kick it over my way, and he did, I never touched the core, Scooped it up in a empty beer cup, as not to disrupt the DNA, Ive got lots of witness'...all moneys go to my daughters college fund."

If you try to find that auction now, you will get the following page:


Evidently, eBay pulled the auction after the winning bid reached $#36,000 for an EATEN APPLE! How ridiculous can some people be?? To me, the funniest part was that the seller was charging $6.95 for shipping! Come on, I just paid thirty-six GRAND for an eaten apple, and you can't just send it to me??

Now, of course there are copycat auctions all over eBay... Just do a search for "Tiger Woods Apple" and you'll see what I mean....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Underwood Bats

While looking around the net for who knows what, I came across a picture of a couple of bats Carrie Underwood received for her "Country Vocal Performance of the Year" for the song "Before He Cheats:"


I thought that was pretty cool.... (yeah, yeah, old news, I know...)

George Carlin passes away


I woke up this morning, and read that legendary comedian George Carlin died on Sunday (June 22) evening. I was in shock, which kind of surprised me. He had been battling heart problems for a while. Still, I grew up watching Carlin. In fact, I grew up LISTENING to him. "FM & AM" and "A Place for My Stuff" are classic in-your-face comedy. His "On Campus" was one of the first albums I ever listened to all the way through. I was a kid (or it seems like I was) when my Dad pulled the album out and put it on the record player. If I'm not mistaken, his words were, "Don't let your mother know I let you listen to this..." Of course, I had already listened to it... The things kids do...

George Carlin won't have to worry about where to put all his stuff anymore... He will be missed by generations of audiences and comedians everywhere...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Let the countdowns begin!

This is similar to a recent post I made, but I had one of those 'brain-flash' moments, and had to jot it down:

Countdown to Shan's return:



Countdown to NECC:



Countdown to my job title change (yes, it happens DURING the NECC conference):


Countdown to Disney World:


Countdown to my first LIVE Indians ballgame:

Elevator...

While Tyler and I were playing around making Mii's on the Wii, I made a joke about "Darth Elevator." Well, that spun off into the picture you see below. Sorry for the crudety of the owrk, but I did it in about 30 seconds in Paint:



It'll come to you... wait for it...

Let the whirlwind tour begin

Okay, technically, I should say that the whirlwind tour of duty began last week with my conference in Hot Springs. Sunday (June 22), Shan heads off to Orlando for a teacher's conference. When seh comes back, we will spend a day and a half together, and then I will be off to San Antonio for NECC 2008. When I come back from that, I will get a few hours rest before we all head out in the wee hours of the morning for Disney World!


We got a call at SIX-THIRTY this morning, telling Shan that the Supt would be waiting for her at the school in 30 minutes. Supposedly, the caller had left a message on Thursday, but we know that's a lie because Shan was home except for part of the day, and the answering machine had no message from this person. But, whatever.

So, in a mad dash, Shan got ready (she had packed the night before) and we took her to the school and sent her off to DISNEY WORLD for her teacher's conference.

I'll keep ya updated!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SWAG

I spent the week in Hot Springs at the Hot Springs (education) Technical Institute. Basically, it's a conference with lots of vendors who sell to Arkansas schools, and there are break-out sessions throughout the days of the conference where we get to learn about different topics, ideas, etc. Of course, vendors give away free stuff!

The 'swag' shown in these pics doesn't cover everything, but it covers a lot of it. I also picked up some nice T-Shirts (not the cheapie kind) and even a Plato Polo Shirt!




One of the sessions I attended was about Web 2.0 (blogs, wikis, MySpace, FaceBook, etc etc etc) and how those sites can be used for education. I have stayed away from MySpace because of all the bad press, but also because I never really understood the "need" for it. So, against my better judgement, I created a MySpace area. Whoop-die-doo. http://www.myspace.com/davidinark - I created the page, clicked on "home," changed the template there, and still have no idea why the background looks plain white when you use the link I just gave. Whatever. I decided to go at it as if I were a student who was allowed to create a page. Basically, I made everything private and used fake info for the profile. Seriously, I don't understand the hoopla about it. It is 9 billion times more complicated that Blogger or even Sharepoint Wiki's, and that says a LOT when comparing it to Sharepoint Wikis (can you say nightmare in a bottle, boys and girls?). But, really, could someone tell me what the big friggin deal is with MySpace? Tyler said it's when you start connecting friends and stuff that it really takes off. Again, whatever...

But, the important thing is that I am TRYING to understand. Tell me WHY something is important or how it can be used in a positive way, and I'll give it shot... I'll play around with FaceBook (though I think I have one from a long time ago when I first heard of it - I am sure I tried it, went "okay, whatever.." and gave it up). I'll even try PBwiki, and a slew of other Web 2.0 sites that I was told about this week. I'm not sure I'll mess with Second Life, though. I barely have time for my first life, why would I waste the rest of that on a second one??

It is not a matter of trying to be "cool" or "modern" or whatever. It is a matter of trying to see where the kids are, why they are there, and what they are doing. First and foremost, I am seeing what my kids are getting into, or trying to get into, and understand the advantages and disadvantages. Arm me with facts and information, and I'm all ears....

Monday, June 16, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Emily loses her first tooth!

Emily has had a loose tooth for a while now, and today, she bit into a peeled apple, and the tooth laid flat. When Jess reached out to check it, the tooth came right out! Emily was very excited! She was also happy to show it all off:


A VERY Happy Father's Day!!!

For Father's Day, I was handed a gift bag that has the logos from all the MLB teams on it. Inside the bag were a series of envelopes. Each envelope was marked "Clue #1," "Clue #2," and so on. I opened each envelope, pausing to read the contents of each before moving on to the next envelope:

#1 - Clipart picture of a family. Clue is "Your gift includes the following people. Do you know who these people are?" (My Answer: Our family)

#2 - Image of my wife's Town&Country. Clue is "Your gift includes a vehicle doing something. Do you know what it is?" (My Answer: Going on a trip)

#3 - Image of a state. Clue is "Your gift includes this state. Do you know which state it is?" (My answer: Texas)

#4 - Image of hotel desk. Clue is "Your gift includes one overnight stay in this place. Do you know what this is?" (My Answer: A hotel)

#5 - Image of a ball. Clue is "Your gift includes this object. Do you know what this object is?" (My answer: a baseball)

#6 - Cleveland Indians logo. Clue is "Your clue includes this symbol. Do you know what this symbol means? Can you guess your gift?" (My answer: I didn't really answer so much as "ask" if it was a Cleveland Indians baseball game?)

The reason I 'asked' my answer is because I am slow on the uptake, and I wasn't sure how Texas and Indians baseball fit together. Of course, the answer was obvious:


In August, we're going to ARLINGTON! I know I have been collecting Tribe cards for 30+ years, but this will be my FIRST Cleveland Indians ballgame!! I am soooooooooo stoked!! How awesome is this!?!? I can't believe I am going to Disney World AND an Indians baseball game in the same summer! SUH-WEET!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A phone-in play!

My Aunt jumped over to read my ongoing scratch-off gmae (well, ongoing until it's over, right?). She then came back over here to call in a play from this blog! That's a first, so far as I can tell... There was some dicussion regarding the rules and whether or not a play could be called in like that, but ultimately, the decision was to ignore any possible infraction and let her play from here!

Unfortunately, the spot she picked was a strike out... But, hey, nothing says she can't pick another spot and try again!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Take me out to the ballgame....

If you're looking for a fun time and can't get to the ballpark, you gotta check out what I'm doing on my Indians baseball cards site (here). Borrowing (okay, outright stealing) an idea from one of the sites I frequent, I am hosting a "Scratch-off" game interactively. Sorta. See, I have this game card that came with a pack of cards. The game card has spots you can scratch off to reveal hits, outs, home runs, etc. I thought it would be cool to open the game up to my blog readers. They get to pick which spot to uncover, I rub it off, and we play baseball. I take my "team's" turn to bat and when I get three outs, the readers get to go for it.


As time has gone on in the game, I've tried to get more and more creative with my commentary - you be the judge. You can also feel free to play along as well. Just look at the scan of the game card and pick a spot not already taken. Post your pick in the comments section of that post and I'll get ya in the game!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

First workshop of the summer

Monday was my first official workshop of summer. For those that don't know, part of my job is to teach teachers and administrators how to use technology or to demonstrate different technologies they may not be aware of. Monday fell into the latter category.

When the participants came into the workshop, we talked about virtual field trips and interactive video programs. For the first part of the session, the participants went online to take virtual tours of the Little Rock Governor's Mansion and the Little Rock Central High School. It's all web-based and is pretty thoroughly done.

After that, Historic Washington state Park dialed up our video system (which had been temporarily hooked up in the computer lab) for an interpretive program. It was all VERY cool. Except for one thing - serious break-up during the session. Because we held the session in the computer, the video conference had to share the connection to the Internet with the lab computers. Basically, this is like driving a semi on the same two-lane road as 25 other cars. There is a LOT of traffic!

My solution was to announce to the class that they would not be needing their computers for this part, and to please refrain from surfing the 'net during the video program. Things cleared up. Well, for a while anyway. See, any time the program would start breaking up again, I noticed that one guy had his hand on his mouse and was surfing the web. Again, I politely asked that no one use their computers during the program. Again, things cleared up for a bit. See a pattern here?

Well, we disconnected after the first program was finished, and before the second one started, I told everyone to SHUT DOWN and TURN OFF their computers. I absolutely HATE punishing the whole class for one clown, but sometimes it's just easier. Well, smart-butt reaches under his desk and turns off the MONITOR but leaves his computer running. Like I'm an idiot or something! So, when he gets up to use the restroom, I tell eveeryone to cut the power to their stations (though I say to do that so I won't have to at the end of the session). I casually walk over to doofus's desk and cut the power.

When he comes back from his break, HE FLIPS THE SWITCH BACK ON! Are you kidding me with this!? I point-blank tell him, "You won't need your computer for the rest of the day, so we are leaving them turned off. Thank you." And, you know what?? The 2nd program went without a hitch. Imagine that...

I don't know why people have to act like they are 5 years old. I teach adults NOT children. i specifically do not WANT to teach children. i have two, and that is already more than I can handle, I don't need a classroom full... Then, I get goofballs like th teacher in this class who might as well be a child.

Maybe I'm not really speaking English...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Jim McKay and golfing with my Dad


I was very young when the Olympic hostage situation occurred. I don't remember much of it at all. But, growing up, McKay was always the voice of competition. He had a way of telling a story that brought me into an event as more than a simple spectator. Suddenly, I actually CARED about certain athletes.

But, to me, Jim McKay was the voice of a little-known computer game called "British Open." My Dad had found the game in some bargain bin somewhere, so we each ended up with a copy of it. Though much of the commentary turned repetitive (which is understandable given 18+ holes of golf in a game), there was still the familiar voice of Jim McKay. In fact, my Dad and I played the game long after Tiger came onto the scene to dominate golf gaming. The game itself wasn't a bad golf game, but it was the fact that you were playing as Jim McKay made comments about YOUR gameplay.

In a way, McKay gave me some of the best memories of playing on the computer with my Dad.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Chicken and Egg, baseball, and me being my dorky self...

As promised from my earlier post, here are some pictures I took today while we were at the "Chicken and Egg" festival. Emily had a ballgame this morning at the ball field where the festival is held. The photos aren't really in any order, so just enjoy!


A shot of the "midway" at the festival:



I saw these and thought it made a cool arrangement:



Here I am, holding Emily's green balloon, her pink baseball bag, and her purple sports drink:



Emily's T-Ball team is on the field!



It may be hard to see, but there are three flags waving above various buildings over Prescott. Cool pic of small-town America:



Tyler feeds some of his snow cone to Kensley during Emily's ballgame:



Emily steps up to the plate! Of course, this is the ONE time I do not go around to the other side to take her picture, so she smacks the ball as it comes off the machine!



Emily runs to 2nd base!



Emily reaches 1st with no problem!



Here's Emily heading for 3rd!



Tyler takes Kensley for a walk (or is it the other way around?):



Here's a shot of a couple of the food vendors and tents at the festival:



Kensley discovers the cup holder!



Does that sign say "BEER HUT!?" We live in a 'dry' county, so you are not allowed to buy or sell alcohol here:



OH, my mistake....



A shot of some of the vendor tents at the festival:



Kensley gets a close-up view of Emily's ballgame!



Emily stands at the plate, ready for the ball:



Emily crosses the plate to score!



Emily watches the ball as it comes towards her:

Having Fridays off...

This past week, we started our four 10-hour days at work. Frankly, it was a nightmare. We had two three-day workshops scheduled plus a smattering of other workshops thrown in for good measure.

Of course, we in the tech department were supposed to be sitting in on one of the three-day workshops. It was on network security. And if having someone come in to your network and tell you about all the ways your systems can be hacked and slashed doesn't scare you, nothing will. As we were told, "It is not a matter of *IF* you will be hacked, but *WHEN* and how severely." Great. Sign me up. The tech department serves as tech support for every workshop we host. So, when things go wrong, we are called out of our own training to help those in need.... Sometimes, the VERY much in need...

The upside to all this running about manifests itself in the way of serious "time-flying" going on. Before we could think, it was lunchtime. Then, suddenly it was four o'clock in the afternoon! I loved that part of it. The feeling like you had run a marathon and then had been hit by a truck, however.... not so much.

I did tell John that he was free to smack the back of my head if I ever complain about being bored on the days when we are basically twiddling thumbs... :-)


Did I mention: WE ARE GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




I have decided to sell a bunch of my collectibles on eBay in order to get them out of the house and hopefully help clean up the home office some... There are 7,000+ Indians cards, a bunch of 1995 Classic Phone Cards (featuring baseball players on them), several Palm-based/Windows Mobile-based Bible study programs, some 1977 Pepsi capliners, a set of eTopps Steelers cards, and some other things I can't remember just now... We'll see how it goes... :-)







This weekend is the annual Chicken and Egg Festival for Prescott/Nevada County. There are baseball tourneys, basketball tourneys, food booths, craft booths, fun and games. I'll take some pictures while we're there and post 'em up for your enjoyment. :-) No, I have no idea why we have a Chicken and Egg festival. If I find out, I'll let you know...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Penguins Fans making news

While still searching for the ever-elusive photo of the Penguins raising their sticks to the fans after the Stanley Cup final game, I have come across MANY articles and posts regarding Pittsburgh Penguins fans at the game.


From Channel 11 in Pittsburgh:
PITTSBURGH -- Channel 11 received an email Thursday morning from a Detroit Red Wings fan. Many would expect their fans to gloat after their team won the Stanley Cup, but not this guy. Read what he had to say about the city of Pittsburgh and the proud Penguins fans.

Dear Pittsburgh WPXI NBC 11,

My name is Tony. I am a resident of Detroit and am a Red Wings fan. I would like Station 11 to pass along a message to all the Pittsburgh Penguin fans in the stadium on Wednesday night. Congratulations on a well played hockey season. Thank-You for the respect you showed our Red Wings, applauding, standing, cheering and sticking around for the trophy ceremony. All of you have a lot of class. I don't know which moved me more, winning the cup or watching all of you in the background on T.V. I'm leaning towards "all of you in the background". It's times like this that makes me proud to be an American. We can belong to different States, different cities, root for different teams but still at the end, come together as Americans, hockey fans, good sportsmen and sportswomen. I for one hope that one day I (and hopefully all of Detroit) can return the respect to Pittsburgh that Pittsburgh has shown Detroit. See you next season, Good Luck and again, Thank-You!

Sincerely,

Tony



From CBS Sports Community:
"What an exciting game six of the Stanley Cup Finals. Although there were several stories in these playoffs, there is one thing I will never forget: the conduct of the Penguins fans after the game was over. Rather than booing, crying, and/or leaving, they stood and cheered for their Penguins. "FLEURY FLEURY." "LETS GO PENGUINS." Then, after the Penguins left the ice, they did the unimaginable: they stayed. They stayed. They stood. They cheered for Detroit. The Pittsburgh fans cheered for the Red Wings. Recognizing the accomplishment and demonstrating great sportsmanship, the Pittsburgh fans did not boo, and they did not make Detroit celebrate in an empty building. Instead, the Penguins fans showed true reverence to the greatest trophy in sport, and to the greatest sport alive.

Thank you, Penguins fans. You are a model for all of us.

Hopefully, we'll see the Cup in San Jose next year, but now I would have no problem seeing it land in Pittsburgh either."



There are many other stories just like these, too. Having grown up in Pittsburgh, it makes me very proud to be a native of such a great fan base. At the end of the day, we love our hometown teams dearly, deeply, and sincerely. We love the sports they play, and cheer for the winner for playing a very hard fought series of games (or single game, match, etc). Yes, I'm sure there are fans who booed, but those are not the folks that stand out. My hats off to all the fans who CHEERED the Penguins and Fleury after the game, and who stayed around to watch the champions get their due rewards.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Til Next Year...

Watching Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals was amazing. Tyler had a baseball game that night, and I flipped on ESPN to see what the final was. Scrolling across the bottom, the screen read "16:02 in 2nd OT..." I immediately switched to NBC and caught the rest of the 2nd overtime and then the rest of the game as the Penguins won to keep alive!

And then tonight's game...

I had actually forgotten about it until about 9:00 or so. I turned on the TV to catch the 2nd intermission, so I kicked back and prepped myself for some serious hockey action. WHAT!? We were losing 2-1?? That's okay, we should be able to do something about that, right? Not exactly. I watched in utter disbelief as the puck slid behind Fleury's legs toward the goal line. Watched in complete denial as Fleury SAT on the edge of the puck, causing it to squirt into the back of the net...


Then, with extra attackers on a powerplay, Pittsburgh SCORES!! Not much time left, but they bring it back to within 1 point... Literally sitting on the edge of my seat, the clock winds down as the Pens make a last-ditch effort to get that stupid puck in the net. Osgood makes the last play of the game, and keeps the puck out of the net....


It was an AWESOME series and a great final game! I tried to find a picture of the Penguins raising their sticks in salute to the fans, but I haven't found one yet... Hopefully, I'll be able to scour one up soon. I'd like to be able to post one of those shots as the perfect final photo to an amazing Penguins season...