November 30, 2013

He is at a gun store. That's not so good.

November 26, 2013

The 80's from SNL

Bomb diggity...enjoy it while it's up and around...

November 25, 2013

Talky Teller

I watched this video this weekend, and the sound of Teller's voice still creeps me out.

November 23, 2013

It's hard to take advantage of all the Black Friday deals when you're being accused of stealing...

November 20, 2013

In which our hero gets involved

So, it appears that I'm on the Ohio Education Association's Board of Directors.

Near the beginning of the school year, one of my coworkers asked me if I would be interested in filling a vacant position on the Board. Apparently the previous office holder had been lucky enough to retire from a local school district and was henceforth no longer eligible to be on the Board.

I'd been saying for a few years that I wanted to get more involved in union (technically Association in Princeton) business, and I know I'm not well cut from a cloth that makes me good for building-level negotiations and mediations. I turn far too quickly toward combat and not nearly enough toward compromise and understanding. Knowing that local route is likely closed to me, I was at least interested in the higher position within the union hierarchy. So I gave a hearty maybe...

I made it to a Board of Directors meeting, sitting as a guest in the sideline seats. Then I said yes and attended another meeting (there are about nine a year, all in Columbus at the OEA building, at which I was elected to fill the position until the next local Representative Assembly, at which the position would be officially elected. The local Rep Assembly has now come and gone, and I was elected to serve out the balance of Haven's three-year term - unopposed, not even needing a paper ballot. I'm apparently a Board member for at least a year - after which I can run (probably unopposed again) for two three-year terms.

From there I've gone to two local council meetings at which the presidents a dozen local associations pass along and respond to the issues of the day, passing their opinions and challenges along to me and an OEA labor relations consultant (LRC) so that the LRC can try to solve the problems and I can represent their positions appropriately at the state level.

It's been interesting so far, and I'm looking forward to a few more interesting years.

Thoughts so far...
  • I'm honored to have been invited. I know I got tapped because a state-connected PHS staffer was impressed with what I did back in the Issue 2/SB 5 fight. Lots of people who came before me sacrificed a lot to get me the contracts and protections that I have. I can certainly attend a few meetings over the next year(s) as my turn in the barrel.
  • The protocol of the meetings is fascinating. Each time there's an agenda, a motion to accept the agenda with flexibility, and a series of motions, seconds, discussions, votes, and all sorts of Robert's Rules issues. Some part of me wants to chuckle at the absurdity of five people sitting at a table running through Robert's Rules of Order to say 'hey, how's life in your district,' but I do understand that one of the major goals (and legal requirements) here is absolute transparency for the membership, so I don't chuckle aloud.
  • I'm becoming far more educated in everything Union-related. Man, the learning curve is steep because so many of the people are long-timers who know all the acronyms and histories, but there's just so much to learn. I'm in heaven with that aspect.
  • Everybody I speak to seems to have most of the same issues. We're all wigged out over Ohio Teacher Evaluation System (OTES) pressure, Common Core curricular changes, decreased funding, increased class sizes, the impending Right to Work fight, increased health care costs alongside frozen pay scales. So many of our issues aren't local, and that's the case all over the state.
  • Some of the issues do continue to be local, and there are clearly dozens of radically different ways to solve the problems that we all have. Some districts fight for school safety with more resource officers; others choose to arm individual teachers with handguns; still others lock guns in fingerprint-protected safes at the end of academic hallways. It's all for the same problem: keep the kids safe; but those are shockingly different ways to solve that same problem.
I know I'll stick around for at least a year. I'm leaning toward sticking around a little longer than that.

November 18, 2013

Help me choose

Which Lego tie should I get?

I'm not asking which style or which maker? That's decided. I'm ordering myself a Brick Your Neck! tie in the original long style.

What I need to know is which color I should order: red, white, blue, or black?

They all come in plain and can be adorned in all sorts of brilliant ways, none of which I would frequently have time for, sadly.

November 16, 2013

These are some jeans of yours; I don't know if you want them.

November 11, 2013

First listen: Inside Llewyn Davis

NPR's First Listen currently has the soundtrack to Inside Llewyn Davis available for streaming in full.

You can check out the full track listing over at allmusic and the trailer below.

Apparently the film is based on Dave Von Ronk's memoirs and is directed by the Coen Brothers. The soundtrack is pretty and pleasant and makes me wonder what the tone of the film is going to be - mocking, reverential, loving, funny...

Either way, I'll give it a look and hope it's not in the same vein as was A Mighty Wind which hit a little too close to home for somebody who still watches the folk PBS funddrive specials with love.

November 9, 2013

Where are the angels?

November 6, 2013

PHSChemGuy's Protopage

iGoogle is fully and officially dead, and I'm a little late to the party.

Sure, Google posted something sixteen months ago saying that iGoogle would be heading into the sunset. So I, of course, waited until the day after iGoogle went belly up to really do anything about the impending doom. On Thursday, I saw the note saying 'iGoogle will not be available after November 1' and assumed I had until the end of the day on November 1 to make my desperate, eleventh-hour decision to choose a replacement. Instead, when I woke up on Friday, November 1, my homepage of iGoogle was no longer available, and I was forced to switch.

After skimming through a few other the recommended options, I've gone with Protopage as my replacement.

Reasons I picked protopage...
  • Visual similarity to iGoogle - Each widget shows the seven (default number) newest items from any RSS feed in an individual 'window' with a simple title bar with clickable links for each story/entry. A single page can be set up to include individual tabs of different rss feeds.
  • Ease of use - Adding a widget is easy as can be: click Add Widget up top and type in the name of the page. Occasionally Protopage can't find the appropriate rss feed, but the correct link is usually just a click or two away on the blog's site.
  • Customizability - Individual RSS feed windows can be colored differently. The background of the various pages can be changed to any color, a couple dozen built-in backgrounds, or any image on the web. (I went with this image of bokeh for now.) The widgets can also be resized to any width (as with the calendar that I've spread to three columns wide.) Individual widgets and tabs can also be renamed as you choosen.
  • Link management - I'm a right-click-open-in-new-tab guy, but that caused an initial problem because links opened that way don't appear in Protopage to have been visited, leaving them looking identical to any un-visited links. Protopage does, however, grey out (with strikethru, also) any pages clicked to via Protopage. I don't know yet whether links visited from outside Protopage would also grey out. Gotta check on that.
  • Google integration - Protopage has a number of widgets built in including Gmail and Google Calendar, both of which are kinda important to my organizing on the web.
  • Sharing - It's possible to make your protopage public and share it with anyone on the web for view-only privileges or editing privileges. I haven't chosen to take advantage of that yet, but I may in the future.
Drawbacks I've seen so far...
  • I can't customize each page's background uniquely. It seems that changing one changes them all.
  • The Google calendar widget doesn't seem willing to sync multiple calendars. I have The Girl and Calen's calendars visible on my Google calendar when I go directly there, but the widget will only show my calendar entries. They're clearly the most important ones, but I'd like to be able to see the others, too.
  • Visiting an blog's page (for example, doesn't grey out the various links that I've seen because I didn't visit each individual story's link. That was an issue with iGoogle, too, though.
  • Yeah, that's about it.
If you were an iGoogle user, what've you chosen as your replacement, and why is it better (or worse) than Protopage.

November 4, 2013

Songs of Death

No reason here, no worries...just looking for good playlists.

Songs of Death from 8Tracks

November 2, 2013