Wednesday, January 08, 2020

move up

I keep going back to someone said about 30 years ago... "You are not there yet.". Sort of like the oracle in the Matrix when she tells Neo he is not ready, he is waiting for something. It was in regard to enlightenment and rebirth.. maybe in the next lifetime.
It seems to me now I just stopped. Why pursue higher thinking, why seek enlightenment when we are simply not going to achieve it?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Fear of Economic Insecurity

So the big book has a promise that fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us. This would lead one to think that otherwise normal people do not have this fear. They are secure with what they have and what will come. But listening to podcasts and reading blogs there are a great many people who live with this fear. Many taking effective action to combat it and still others doing nothing to prepare for the future.

In his latest podcast Dax Shepard said something about the holiday and Snickers Bars, the Snickers tree produces so many Snickers and in my mind I must consume all the Snickers because I do not know when I will get so many Snickers again. Even though there are Snickers everywhere and I can get one anytime. Scarcity. Listening on to Brene Brown it stems from shame.

So the truck broke down last month. The head gasket blew and radiator fluid was leaking into the spark plugs and fouling the system. The dealer said $4000 to replace the head gasket. The truck is not worth fixing for $4000, or why put $4000 into a vehicle worth maybe $6000. I started looking for new trucks. I have been saving about $200 a month for a new truck for a while. I have $26000 saved, not enough for a new Tacoma. I started calling around and found a great dude at JJ’s that could fix it for $2000. The water pump was leaking so the bill came to $2700.

Anyway, this triggers me into worry about finances and saving and having enough. Obsession of the mind for the past month or so about money.

The house is paid for. It is a nice little house. It is in a rough neighborhood. It is a $50,000 house. I was able to pay it off in about seven years. It has one bathroom. Will need a new roof, new siding, and a new detached garage in the near future. Beginning to look for a new place with some land and space.

The glass studio needs a makeover. New shelves, a new glory hole, rebuild of equipment. It is doing well on the month to month but tight. There is always what we need, when we need it.

Accounts are in good order. Retirement is building, slowly but surely. With stock market up and down it does not pay to check balances but trust in the process. With retirement from teaching in nine years or so there is not a lot of time to save, purchase, and secure the future.

How to invest? Find a professional. Check out the FINRA analyzer to see true cost of funds. Open a Roth IRA ($5000) a year. Save every month. Open savings accounts to squirrel away money for various objectives (house repair, new truck, travel account...)

So I think the prospect of having to purchase a new truck set things in motion, along with needing a new house or update the current one triggered a new wave of questioning if I am doing the right things. So process, what I am doing? Where is income going? What are the monthly bills?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Late to the Party

Friday brought news of the passing of Anthony Bourdain ( Truth be told I have not read any of his books, I have not watched his shows on television. I wonder why, I love to eat, I love to travel. Commonalities exist and I never explored his being.

I listen to Marc Maron podcast and Mr. Maron reposted an interview with Bourdain from 2011. ( I have been listening to it in the truck over the weekend. It has been impactful. I sought out Bourdain's blog on Tumblr ( although it has not been updated in I would assume a couple of years it is tremendous reading.

I started my college career wanting to be in the restaurant business. Eighteen at OSU, I was in the hotel/restaurant management program. It was great. I had a cooking class but did not know anything about cooking and did not do well in that class, never able to make a basic hollendaise sauce. When I moved to Cape Cod I got a job washing dishes in a great little Italian place, Lo Cicero's. I learned to cook there. Basic, rich, good, food. That time of life for me was simply fantastic. But, as it does life took turns and led in different directions. I think about my old buddy Scott. He was a chef. Tremendous talent in the kitchen. A wizard. In love with food and with life.

I would love to be a writer. I am not good at it. I do not have the time or the discipline. I do not really have anything to say. I try on occasion and compose a sentence in my head. wishing it was more than just a sentence.

I would love to travel more. But time and money and fear and life are constraints. To just get up and go. Find little hidden gems in cities around the world. No matter where you go there you are, or you always take yourself with you; so I am still me even though travelling and that is not always pleasant.

Is that the purpose? Reminding us to live fully. To take each day and be whole.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Road Trip - Kansas City

I have often thought I wanted to be a travel writer. I love to travel, I love to eat, I love to research places and what to do in new areas. I can't afford to travel and can't write well either. Even now what I thought sounded good in my head once written is a bit short and boring.

I have been saving places on Kansas City Google map for a while. I like the new feature in Maps where you can save places to a list. It is then easy to share the map list with others. The older MyMaps had similar features but did not mesh with Maps well. My Kansas City Map. We went to Kansas City for the weekend. It was our first time using AirB&B. Typically we stay in small unique boutique hotels, like Hotel San Jose in Austin or the Belmont in Dallas. We found a old hotel that had been converted into apartments in the Pickwick in the Financial District not far from the City Market at the Riverfront. It was a nice place. Photos of the room were better then the room itself. 

The way it seemed was people are living in the Pickwick and then they own places in the building they sublease or use for AirB&B. In talking with another guest he had a great room. Well furnished and hip. Our room looked like the furniture was bought at a dent and ding sample warehouse sale. It sounded like an appealing setup for the owner in they are there. Side income coming in. I don't know if it would be possible to have a mortgage on the rooms but it would provide a pretty good side income being able to rent out your rooms. Drawbacks for renting this way were the amenities; no new towels, no fresh sheets, no soap in the shower, no second key. Bonuses, it was quieter then a hotel of similar design, free parking, and the indoor pool was great. 

Kansas City was a nice town. It seemed very diverse. The buildings were older. The houses were tall, like three floors and narrow. Old construction. Lots of remodels happening. Parts of the city were being revitalized. Parts were modern and clean. It was a bit trashy in places, and seeing so much trash around was a bit depressing. Traffic was never really all that bad and it was pretty easy to navigate.

Food. Everyone says Burnt Ends... That is the thing KC is known for on the culinary scale. Our burnt ends are crunchy, gooey things. The KC burnt ends we had at Que39 were cubed fatty goodness. The brisket was tender and juicy with just thin layer of fat. The beans were good and had a few good bites of the burnt ends mixed in. We got there around 4:00, after our mani/pedi at Nail Spa 39, the little nail place in the same strip mall, and sat at the bar, by 5:00 the line was out the door. There were some other places on 39th street I wanted to try like the Meshuggah Bagels and MudPie but time did not allow. 

We started the Saturday at the City Market with coffee at City Market Coffee. We sat right in front of the small batch roaster. It was great smelling the coffee cooking. It was a nice cup. Busy place but we were there before the big crowds hit the market. Mara took a Yoga class at KC Yoga on the second floor of the building with Brown and Low restaurant. The elevator was wicked cool. While she was in yoga I had some good french toast at the City Diner. We walked through the market and split a sandwich at The Bite. It was tasty, a cross between a Latin and Vietnamese sandwiches and the potatoes was full of flavor. Houndstooth in the market area is a great clothing store. Nice high end styles with some sports coats I would of purchased if I had been in the market for a new one. we picked up some soap and a bag of chichronnes for the drive home. From City Market we went to the Crossroads area. We circled back to this area of town quite often.

I found a couple of new sketch books/journals at the art supply store (
artistcraftsman.comin the Crossroads, this was one of the best local art supply shops I have visited. Lots of great stuff. Across the street we had a cup of coffee at PT's coffee shop. Mara says it was the best cup she had in Kansas City. She picked up a tshirt at The Flying Pig Local Mercantile. I wish I had picked up some soap here instead of the City Market vendor. After that we dropped into RayGun, a Kansas City knickKnack store with tshirts and magnets, and quipy sayings. That's when we made our way to the 39th street area. 

After first dinner we headed to the Country Club Plaza district for shopping. They had some cool stores including a Telsa dealer/showroom. I found some Howler Bros. at the Moosejaw. The Tommy Bahama store had some great shirts but I am trying to maintain a budget and could not swing it. 

For dinner we decided on the Rieger. The small plates here are super. The fellow next to us ordered the bone in steak and I wish I had more room as it looked spot on. The kitchen is open and had bar seating. For a small room it was very loud and had a good crowd but we were able to get right in with reservations. Searching the Instagram location was great to see the place and the food. It was cool looking at the chef bookshelf out in the dining room. It is a great way to see influences and what the chefs are inspired by in their craft. 

Sunday Morning we had coffee at the Messenger Cafe and Ibis bakery. It brought up thoughts of Neil Gaiman and American Gods. Ibis I guess. Great flaky croissant pastries, nice smooth latte. I ordered a large but should have got medium so it would have been in a real cup. After breakfast we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum. It is huge. I think going everyday would have been a good idea. Entry is free so it would be a neat place to spend an hour or two every day. There is a coffee shop there and they had a breakfast buffet on Sunday morning, we did not eat as we wanted to return to the Cafe Gratitude for lunch before hitting the road around two. We were pretty tuckered out after the trip and decided on Tuckers for dinner before heading to the house. The ride home seemed to go quickly. We listed to Marc Maron podcasts and really enjoyed the Tracy Letts interview. 

Friday was busy. We had a check engine light come on the Jeep coming into town. Mara got up early to head to the Jeep dealer to get it checked out. I went over to Kaldi's Coffee for a latte. It was really foamy, one of the foamyist lattes I can remember. It was nice but geared toward the city crowd they did not have anything but to go cups. I walked around the area quite a bit. The Power and Light District is nearby and there were theaters on every other corner. For Ingress players it was really nice to see Level 8 blue portals everywhere. Mara got a rental and found we wandering near the Folly Theater. We dropped into Made in KC a local artisan hub with some great coffee. Right next door was Tavernonna and we had a nice breakfast. The omelette looked great and they will do one made to order instead of having been limited to the menu choices. We headed to the Crosswroads area and Josey Records. Neat vinyl record store and it looked like there were more in the area. From there we went to the Kemper Museum, another free entry museum. With some permanent displays and rotating rooms it is a nice museum for an hour visit. The print works on display by Nkame were so impressive. If anyone is into print making you need to take a weekend and visit before the exhibit leaves. After the museum we stopped into Oddly Correct coffee for a Gibraltar. I do like a bit of sugar in my short espresso drinks but they do not have sugar, nonetheless it was a really nice cup. We scooted over to Monarch Glass and just missed them making works. It was great to get a tour of the studio and catch up with Jonathan Bolivar and to see his progress. We had to get to Landmark in Independence to pick up the Jeep. Jonathan suggested the Local Pig for a bite so we finally found it. Driving with Maps is difficult sometimes as I focus on the map and forget to look at streets. This is a butcher shop. What a selection of meat. I wish we had this place at home, if I lived in KC I think I would be at the Local Pig two or three times a week for picking up dinner. They even offer classes in the process. We decided we wanted to sit down place for supper so went over to the Jack Stack - Freight House. There was about a twenty minute wait so we sat at the bar and had some of the wings. That was some tasty chicken. We had beef ribs for dinner and sides. The cole slaw was a bit too finely chopped for my liking, more like long john silvers texture. The corn was wowza. After supper we drove around the city a bit and ended up in the BrookSide Neighborhood. It is a neat little part of town. We shared a Foo's frozen custard and called it night. 

Thursday we got up early to head to Kansas City. Our first stop was the Goat Hill Coffee shop. Wonderful first stop. We walked around the neighborhood and really noticed the architecture differences in OKC and KC. There were a couple of restaurants in Goat Hill that looked good and I wish we had time to swing back up there. We wanted to try the vegan Cafe Gratitude and were not disappointed. We found our AirB&B at the Pickwick and got settled in. We walked up to the riverfront and the City Market but were late for most of the stores in the market. The river was cool and it looked to be a great walking trail. I think some local boy scout troops could make a good Eagle project to find a way to clean up the area from all the trash. Wondering about supper and not being able to decide we finally got on Google Maps and that led us to Anthony's. That was some good classic Italian dining. Full of flavor and lots to eat. I had the spedini and it was great. Very different then what I get at Vito's at home. Trying to not eat dessert, I could not pass up the Canoli. It was so worth it. 

I know I went a little backwards in the timeline but oh well. I certainly highly recommend a trip to Kansas City. Like one of the t-shirts said it is "too much city for one state".

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Oakdale Instructional Technology

I have been trying to figure a good way to share information with teachers. We really have a lot of options but I am not successful in implementing options. Follow through and upkeep are always a challenge. It is like becoming organized or keeping a journal. Daily action, daily goals, weekly upkeep and accountability.

Here is my latest entry on my Oakdale blog: 

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Math Remediation

As a disclaimer much of what I write in blog form is brainstorming. It is a place for me to process thought and get them down. So things might be a lot disconnected.

I can not quite wrap my head around math remediation for college bound students.
Yesterday, State Superintendent Hofmeister said that families spend over 22 million dollars a year to cover the personal costs of math remediation for college students. I had the question on twitter why don't we give that 22 million dollars a year to the schools so we can prepare students with the math skills they need? I mean if the state wants schools to get students ready, they have a known cost. I do not believe the state thinks they should transfer those funds to schools. And then my circular reasoning says that 22 million is the out of pocket costs to families. But they are paying that money to the university. so it is costing the State that amount, the State just does not have to pay it, parents do. If it really cost the State money maybe they would do something to make a change? And then the State is probably happy that parents are paying for the remediation instead of the State having to pick up the cost earlier in the schooling of the child.

Students go through high school and take four years of math classes. Yet, those classes do not prepare them for college?

Edit: So in a quick search I did find a good article by Ben Felder on new math remediation classes being offered to high school students to get them college ready. The state department has a good article on the situation with much more detail at

Students have to take the ACT to get into the university in Oklahoma. I think the score for OU/OSU is around 24. I don't know what that means but I would think a score of 24 or more on the ACT would ensure students have the math skills necessary for college bound folks. And then I wonder as to the scores for local or community college and technology centers. This would be interesting. Much lower cost to attend. But I believe that remediation classes do not count in any way toward credit hours which is silly because students are paying for those classes. Could we not offer some sort of midway educational training for those students then?

I had parents who valued education to the extent I had a math tutor throughout my school career because I simply could not understand how to do math. I also had a language tutor because my ability to spell correctly was nonexistent. I need to look at my transcript to see what math class I had at UCO and my scores. I think I was able to take a course that made up for not taking a math class.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017


Wondering if the teaching students to be prepared for jobs that dont exist yet is also perparing them to not have training or desire to train for specific careers.
So people want to be a teacher yet they do not want to go to school to become a teacher. Why should they spend 2 years in college for something they will only do for six years.
The thought that people will have 7 distinct jobs or careers throughout working life why would we expect a person to devote 30 years to teaching?

Thursday, September 07, 2017

New school, New room

I'm now at Oakdale teaching technology and helping teachers use technology. So far has been a delightful experience.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Moving On

I have been at Sequoyah for 19 years and 9 months. I started in 1997 and was hired to facilitate the new computer lab, it became a certified position the next year. I have been asked by the folks at Oakdale to teach computers and help teachers with technology integration in the classroom so this is my last day at Sequoyah.
It has been a wonderful experience. So many students, teachers, administration have touched my life. Very bittersweet. Wonderful times and moving forward to unknown but surely glory days.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Engagement in the Classroom

So I think the issue I have been thinking about lately is engagement. Getting teachers to engage in a topic and implement it and embrace it and use it in the classroom.

Over and over there is a new initiative, a new program, a new way to do something. We work hard for a year or two and then it fades away. Great ideas everything from kindness to productivity to technology integration, some small scale classroom changes to whole system changes like OBE.

Love and Logic, Character First, Great Expectations, SPI, Rachel's Challenge, Character Strong, RAKIT, Key Words, Critical Thinking, Blooms, Piaget. Some of these concepts we have embraced fully, integrated them into our methods and philosophies and practices. Others have come and gone with bits and pieces integrated but the whole discarded. The programs make us better teachers and students better human beings. But over time interest wains, something else comes along as a mandate and something has give, something has to be left behind and it is often that extra something that is not a part of the curriculum. Some teachers or administrators will have a passion for the program and it gets promoted and encouraged, practiced and integrated and positive results abound.

It is almost is if there is a stasis. This is the way it works. Introducing something into the system makes a change for bit and then soon enough back to the way it is.

So for twenty years I have been teaching technology in the middle school classroom. It is the same as it has been. Some software comes and goes. Websites with new information. Applications and software gains popularity and fades away. Remember when PowerPoint first moved from a linear to a circular model? Remember making SWF movie files? Remember AOL? A computer in every classroom but little time for students to delve into the technology. We know what we know with technology but have little incentive to do anything differently then we have always done it. The method may change but the task is the same.

There is a revolution coming. We are going to change the way we do things or not. Either way it works. Teachers are going to teach. Students are going to embrace learning or find ways to avoid it. When every student has a computer it will be a transformative experience. Something as simple as I am at the front of the room and I see the students changes to I am at the back of the room so I can see their screens. We get up, we walk around, we put into practice all the techniques that make a good teacher.

With a technological device in the hands of every student the classroom will be altered. Teachers can use that device like a textbook and teach in the method they have always taught. Teachers can harness the power of the device and change the way they teach and the classroom will be transformed. Is one way better than the other? No. Does one way ensure success, No. Will things be different? Yes. Are we going to have a whole new set of issues to deal with? Yes.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Electives #oklaed Chat 11-27-16

Q1: What are the Electives/Specials offerings at your school?
A1: We have a wide variety of middle school electives. With 1200 students we have about 20 electives.
Band (three teachers)
Vocal Music
Drama (three sections, taught by grade level core teachers)
Technology Literacy
Computer Exploration (six grade)
Gateway to Technology
Family and Consumer Sciences
Around the World
FOCUS (core teachers teach remediation during elective time)

Our district implemented a six week rotation of six classes for sixth graders this year in order to give a wide variety of experience to the six grade students. It has been met with mixed reviews from teachers. 

Q2: What does the phrase “educating the whole child.” mean to you?
Given it is an elective question time I think it goes to the things that impart a certain passion in people. Yes, many of us have a passion for what we do and teach. Many have gifts in areas outside what is traditionally taught in school. Electives explore some of these passions and hope to ignite in all students a desire to continue to learn and improve.

Q3: Why are Electives important to school culture? The culture of the school needs the electives to continue to broaden the depth of education. Just a core teachers can not effective teach art they implement art in the curriculum. The elective teachers do the same in classes.

Q4: If you could choose one Elective to be required for all students, what would it be?
Being a computer teachers, I am biased toward computers and technology. All students should know how to type. It should be a ninth grade class required for all.

Q5: If you could teach any Elective what would it be? Think out of the box!!!
I am fortunate in being able to teach multimedia computing and can teach what I find of interest.

Q6: How do we protect Electives in a time of budget cuts?
I foresee the Electives going away. As we move to 1 to 1 computers in the classroom every teacher teaches technology. There is not more need for a technology teacher. There seems to be a movement to the "core" electives of band, music, drama, orchestra, enrichment, GTT, FACS, and art.

Q7: Should kids lose their Electives/Specials time to receive intervention?
They should not lose elective times. They do. Students are pulled for FOCUS. Students are pulled for counseling sessions. Test prep in April is a time many are pulled. Students get messages and called to the office during elective times. I am not sure if any of this happens during core classes but it is highly disruptive to learning. Parents make appointments for the doctor during electives, take students out to lunch during electives. First hour many parents allow students to sleep in late.

Q8: Follow up to question seven, what other intervention ideas can we use to ensure that students are served correctly but don’t lose their Electives/Specials offerings?
This is a difficult one because students should not miss any classes for interventions. Homeroom time or a flexible weekly schedule would help take care of things that need to be accomplished outside the structure of the classroom session.

Q9: What is your personal reason for fighting for Electives/Specials in our schools and our state?
I teach an elective.

Q10: How can you show support for your school’s Electives/Specials programming?
Show up everyone day. Do the best I can for my students and staff. I think teaching teachers can have a greater impact in some ways then just teaching students.

Friday, September 30, 2016


I am presenting at the OTA/EncycloMedia Conference next week on HyperDocs. The presentation is coming along. Check it out at