Category Archives: Home life

Back on the job-search treadmill

The school year is over, and yet another leave-replacement contract is done. Back on the search path for something in teaching (which I love, and most of the kids in my classroom like me), or maybe it’s time for a career-change if the money is right. My tech is a little dated, but I’m a fast learner, good speaker, decent writer, and can explain things to almost any audience. Anyone know of any open positions?

I’m doing all the normal job searches in the school districts that are a reasonable commute distance, but they mostly seem to want specialists (like a BS in bio to teach a bio class) and special ed, and while I’m “highly qualified” in five things (including science, math, and social studies) my MS in computer science doesn’t seem to be enough to generate much interest when they are winnowing twenty applicants down to the five they’ll interview. I’m good at connecting the classroom to the real world, if anyone wants that, and connecting different subjects that are usually taught as stand-alone and disconnected from any real meaning to life.

Eh, I’m sure something will turn up. But if you know of anything, a pointer in the right direction would be most appreciated.

… And a happy new year

Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Need to install a new garbage disposal (old one made it about 18 years). Done.

Need to fix a broken bathroom faucet. Need to replace the valve/float system of a toilet to stop it running. And that’s on top of replacing a septic pump last August. Houses are sort of like boats in slow motion – an endless repository for money and time spent on maintenance and repair. Yet what is the alternative? Renting, where you are at the landlord’s whim, and gain no value from money spent? Trade-offs, always trade-offs.
I.e., life happens.

I quite imagine that a space ship, even a sentient one, is in many ways the same. Especially if it’s a warship.

Merry Christmas

Went well. Parents and family are here.

One funny bit – when we sat down for dinner, I asked “who says grace? I asked, so I don’t have to.” The 9-yo son says “I can do it.” And he did a fine (if rather short) job.

Well done, sprout number two, well done.

Debating reality

Reality versus feelings

Score: 1-0

I had a conversation recently. We had a minor disagreement over something – the details don’t matter – but it evolved briefly into a discussion over debate methods and why he didn’t like to debate against me. We dropped it, but it got me thinking, and I realized it brought back a memory from a conversation I had a long time ago (~25 years or so) at an SCA event. Continue reading Debating reality

Thanksgiving

I have much to be thankful for. All the normal things, like friends and family (neither are particularly numerous, but they make up for that in quality), the fact that I live in the greatest – if flawed – nation in the history of history. I have tremendous material comfort. Amazing technology. Generally good health among myself and family.

And of course, all my readers who thought that my mental meanderings and story were good enough to not just read, but buy and recommend to others. I’m humbled. For that I truly give thanks. And my publisher. I mean, how many people accidentally get one of those?

Going back to the earliest thanksgiving, what were they celebrating? Making it through the year. Why was that such a thing? I mean, all their ancestors had made it through the winter time and again, yes? So what’s the big deal, other than being in a new place? They’d tried something that sounded good –  communal ownership – and it had nearly killed them as each person tried to find gold or enrich themselves quickly while letting someone else do the hard but guaranteed method of survival and success called farming doing what needs to be done. Scrapping proto-communism and getting back to the fundamental reality of the world that there is no free lunch is what saved them.

Cargo cults always fail. Always. It is part of human psychology. We are flawed. We have huge brains, but it has few correct instincts, and it takes  a LONG time to program / train correctly (a couple decades of an ~eight decade life), and there are a lot of places it can go wrong. The more comfortable the world you live in is, the easier it is to not get the correct “how reality actually works” programming.

So – be thankful for what you have, tell those around you you love that you do, and never let comfort become too comfortable. But on this day – just enjoy the day.

Now, off to roast the bird!

Irony

I took the kids up to visit family in Alaska (and chase a few halibut – got three). I did, of course, take the Kindle because the daughter is a bookworm and flying takes a while. I teased her about the number of paper books she was taking when I’ve got a lot of them on the Kindle. While in AK we visited the Friends of the Library bookstore (great place) and got out with less than $20 in damage for our two large stacks of books we picked up. That evening, the on/off button on the Kindle died. The flight back was delayed due to mechanical problems with the plane. We ended up spending more time than expected in the airport. I ended up starting the 1943 edition of Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations on the flight back. In, obviously, very dead tree format.

After doing some testing, I’ve pretty much confirmed that my old Kindle Touch is (a) out of warranty, and (b) the power button is dead, and (c) while it’s technically fixable I can buy a new kindle for more than the cost of a “proper” repair because the switch is an integrated part of a larger sub-assembly and cannot be replaced standalone. (BTW, some cell phone repair places work on Kindles, too). I can plug it into a computer’s USB (not just a power-only USB to recharge it) and when I unplug it or eject it on the computer it will turn on, then function normally. I cannot turn it off, however, nor can I adjust the time-out before it auto-turns off. So, it’s awkward to do, but it’s still “sort of” usable.

Score one for the old-school paper books, may they never truly go away.

BBQ cupcakes

That was different.

It’s been hot and dry here. Maybe not the near-biblical hot and dry of a Texas drought, but pretty darn close for the PNW. As my neighbor said, looking at the wast-high brown on the unmowed part of the lawn, “that’s late August grass, not early July grass.” So cooking inside seems like a bad idea. My daughter, though, wanted to bake something. Turning on the stove wasn’t an option. Indoor heat generators are a Bad Thing when the AC already can’t keep up. So she asked if we could cook them outside on the grill. Well, we’re already planning of grilling steak for dinner. Hmmmm… Maybe…. Continue reading BBQ cupcakes

Happy Solstice and Father’s day 2015

The longest day of the year for those of us in the northern hemisphere. The sun is as far north in the sky as it will go, ~23.5 degrees north of the equator. The warmest days are ahead, but only ever-shortening days. A fascinating day for all of recorded  human history, as for most of it we’ve not really understood why the length of day or seasons changed. It was THE GODS!, they declared, and worshiped accordingly. Studying / developing spherical geometry to try to understand the motions of the stars, planets, and sun, some early people like the Babylonians counted in base 60, which stays with us today in seconds and minutes.

Of course, for most healthy adult males, becoming a father is comparatively trivial (and many do that likely shouldn’t, and some don’t that likely should). It’s being a dad that really counts. That’s where the difficult, persistent, consistent, thankless work is. To the scum that managed to spawn and then run away to let others raise them, this day is NOT for you, even if you technically qualify. This is for those that stay involved with the mother of their children, and their children’s activities, giving them as good a role model as they are able, supporting and guiding them. It doesn’t mean being their slave – far from it, but doing what is best for them in the long run.  Moms are necessary for optimal family health… but so are dads.  The family is a unit, that works best when intact. So, for the dads out there, doing their best with what they have to work with (internally and elsewhere), Salute!