As some of the readers of this blog know I used to like Sponge Bob Square Pants a lot. This was primarily due to the fact that one of my (then) bosses in Texas introduced me to Sponge Bob and it was funny. Well, in one of the episodes Sponge Bob rips his pants, everyone laughs and so the whole episode he runs around ripping his pants to get a laugh. The moral of the episode is that a little pants ripping is funny, but a lot is too much. In a moment of sweet irony yesterday as I got into the car with our real estate agent (he’s got an Isuzu that is higher than our lowly Honda by quite a bit) I ripped my Sponge Bob undershorts. Sure, that was slightly awkward for me but I felt this deep connection with Sponge Bob, something you don’t get every day
In an article entitled Microsoft’s Gates Urges Governors To Restructure U.S. High Schools (washingtonpost.com) I discovered that Bill Gates and I are of the same mindset: High Schoolers are coming out of our public school prepared for the rigors of a life spent flipping burgers but not a life following intellectually valuable things like, oh, math, English and science. To put it bluntly they can’t cope with taxes, teaching their children or communicating with one another to help bring about world peace or winning the war on terriers!
Abigail is a sharp little girl, sure, she’s cute but she learns things rapidly, she knows how to speak in complete sentences and she’s only two and a half years old. Jessica and I have discussed at some length the idea of home schooling her. Not because we want to protect her from the wiles of the world, not because we want her to have 1950’s [B.C.] values but because we think that the public schools are slipping to the point where she’ll be ill equipped for adulthood, working, having a good sense of humor and knowing that the state north of Washington is actually a country: Canaduh.
Over two months ago my sister-in-law Becca wrote on her blog that at the 400 level classes in college she’s finally having to think hard. This is not a reflection on Becca but instead it is a revelation of the quality of our school systems. Of course growing up in Nevada didn’t help anything, rural Nevada has a lot to offer the young mind if by ‘a lot’ you mean sage brush, brothels and melon [Fallon is the Cantaloupe capital of the Nevada, or something like that]. I think that Nevada is not a bad place to live and get an education but it has room for improvement. [note that she later moved to Carson City where she, her husband and Jessica and I went to high school as did other people]
With all of this you’d think I was really keen on spending more money on education. Federally, stately [SIC] or locally we probably don’t have to spend one more penny in tax dollars (though I’d rather pay the teachers than the excessive number of bureaucrats). Nope, something much more valuable is required to get this education system turned around: time. Parents need to spend more time with their children working out things that are intellectually stimulating that are outside of their schoolwork. My dad taught me about homophones while building his house (which taught me many other things – like don’t play with a welding torch and copper pipes are very conductive of heat). How did a 4 year old kid learn homophones? Because he and my grandpa used the word minor instead of miner and I was confused as to why a digger was involved with some sort of measurement in the framing. Their was a minor adjustment that needed to be made. Further they taught me a little phrase that used multiple meanings and spellings of the homophone to help clarify (or muddle) their uses: It was a minor minor miner accident. That is to say that it was a small accident involving an under-aged ore digger.
As Abby’s dad, and someday other children, I am dedicated to warping their little minds to help them be able to problem solve, help them develop relationships and interact with people and be able to use a pun to help pun-ctuate a moment. I praise God for the (slightly odd) sense of humor I have. More than once I’ve been glad to have put a joke somewhere that helped break up an intense moment or keep things lively where it would have been dull. I’ve been working over-time for a client in Texas but soon I’m going to be working overtime on teaching Abigail how to read, she already knows her alphabet and is able to identify many letters within that code. I think that an eight year old who can whip out a web page is impressive and I hope to make my daughter 1337 only because I spend time with her. Heaven knows I’m praying for her, her future husband and those brilliant grandkids they’ll have for me.
Jess over at Apropos of Something periodically posts snippets of things that have come pouring out of his mouth in a moment of passionate teaching and has probably also got his students attention simply because he’s so entertaining. Although entertainment is valuable I get the sense that he’s also trying to get his students to think about the situation from a different angle to ‘get’ the content.
Earlier today while riding in the car with our real estate agent I mentioned my ninth grade history teacher Dave Hampton. Mr. Hampton was probably one of the most influential teachers I have ever had and I had a lot of good teachers growing up that really stretched me. Mr. Hampton kicked our rear-ends the first week of class by telling us to read chapter 1 in our history books and said to read everything in the chapter because we’d be tested on it. He said we needed to know the material well because he’d be testing on it and that the test would be the hardest test we’d ever taken.
I got a 26% grade on that test and I had read the chapter. That test was probably the hardest test I’ve taken in my life including college. The highest grade in the class was a low B that Tim Russell got, the guy was probably the smartest guy in the whole school so for him to only get a B tells you that we were really hosed. Mr. Hampton lectured the class about how we needed to be on top of things from then on out and that he’d give us easier tests if we’d put forth the effort to learn the material. I put forth the effort and he put forth a lot of good information and forced us to think. Hardest but most valuable class I’ve taken with some of the best lessons for life.
Is more money needed? Maybe in some schools, but not nationwide. Is more legislation going to fix things? Hardly. If parents would lovingly educate their children in the homes instead of working insane hours (not to self, this means you) and then buying their kids educational games and getting broadband so that they can learn more on the ‘Inkernet’ then I think we’d see more problem solving and a lot less problems with education.
What think ye? [That's Shakespearian I think or maybe it's in the Bible]
There is an error in WordPress 1.5 that killed my RSS feeds and, worse, gave 404 errors in return. That of course is a real issue because I was thinking my host was messing with me :p. Work is still furiously intense, but my hope has been renewed as I’ve been listening to Colossians over and over while helping Jessica by cleaning the kitchen… but I digress. I did want to say that we’re back and in action.
I’ve not been blogging my usual one or two entries a day this last week because I’ve been working hard and trying to put code fires out. Also, this morning the fire alarm went off and ate up 10-15 minutes of time simply because the apartment management did not notify us that they would be doing a test. Thanks, I have only the kindest things to say about that :p
If you’re like me (I start out too many posts like this) you find yourself coding to various types of music depending on your mood. When I’m needing that extra drive I tend to code to really intense music like Chevelle (This Type of Thinking Could Do Us In and Wonder What’s Next) or maybe Demon Hunter (Summer of Darkness). I’m pretty sure that most of my readers are not familiar with the latter band, but the first band, Chevelle, is rather trendy now. Not to sound like a snob, but I listened to Chevelle before they were cool… and really wasn’t a big fan of their Point #1 album. It had a few good songs, but the rest were ‘just there’ taking up track space. However, the two albums I just linked to at Amazon.com are really, really good hardcore rock.
What do you code to? If you don’t code, what do you work to? Feel free to leave a link to Amazon.com or some other source for really good workin’ music.
I just tried to call my sister (Becky, if you’re reading this and I haven’t called you yet, please call me) and the phone company passed off a message to me saying that, “All circuits are busy now, please try again later.” Why does that feel so 1980’s? I feel like I should be able to call Nevada and not run out of circuits… is the mob running some kind of assault or phone DOS on Nevada (again)?
I’ve just installed WordPress 1.5, which has a really dramatic change to the front end, but I’ve disabled those changes since I’m using this older template. However, the new backend is really much better organized. It comes default with the Staticize plugin so I’m trying it out. Staticize should help speed up this site’s performance because it reduces the numbers of calls to the database. We’ll see how this goes. Please leave a comment if you experience any difference in speed (better or worse) and if comments are broken please shoot me an email.
Update: I turned this off as it didn’t seem to make a difference.
Ten years ago today I asked Jessica if she would ‘go out with me.’ She went into her parents’ house and asked her mom if she thought that was OK. The consensus was that it was OK and the rest they say was history. I thought that our relationship was doomed for a two week record in my biography but it lasted longer than that.
I love my wife and I praise the Lord for her!
I love you Jessica, thanks for reading this blog every once in a while.
It may dissappoint or it might deliver what was promised back in 1997 but Internet Explorer Seven is coming. I’m not excited, but as a developer I thought I’d pass it along.
As most of the readers of this blog are probably not in or near the Denver Tech Center (DTC) this will not be valuable to you. However, there’s a new Peaberry Coffee that just opened today off of DTC Blvd. The service was great and they didn’t beat us up for bringing a little construction mud into the place. They even offered to give us some samples of various snacky items they sold. Best of all is their slogan:
It really ticks off Seattle.
If you’re not near a Peaberry I still suggest Starbucks because my sister works for them and I’d hate for her to be unemployed.