Wednesday, March 25, 2009

fording the river (of life...)

When I was in elementary school, we had a "state of the art" computer lab with rows upon rows of what would now be considered dinosaur computers; huge, grey boxes with floppy disk drives and visible pixels even in the fonts. The highlight of computer time was being allowed to play the "it" game of the time- Oregon Trail. Anyone who has ever played this game knows that it was pretty much impossible to make it all the way to Oregon. You would ford a river and all of your supplies would sink, you would lose half of your family to typhoid or cholera, your oxen would die and slow your progress while you slowly ran out of food, part of your wagon would break and no one would be willing to make a reasonable trade. It was an educational game because you had to figure out how to make the most of your supplies, use your money wisely, and you learned about the pioneers movement west at the same time.

Joe and I recently found an online version of this old favorite game (you even have to press a function key to "flip the floppy disk to side 2") and played together once before Joe decided that we should play against each other on our own laptops to see if one of us could beat the game. Joe started out as a farmer, counting on the difficulty points that you get at the end as well as his hunting prowess (arrow keys to move, space bar to shoot... aim for those bears and you're golden). I started as a banker, which meant a lot more money at the beginning so you could buy extra supplies.

Long story short, I made it to Oregon. I was able to buy food at each fort, pay to get ferries across the river, trade with Indians and other travellers, and take long breaks to keep my family healthy (although, Libby unfortunately passed from typhoid right before we made it... win some, lose some).

Joe's whole family died about halfway through. He made to about 50 miles outside of Oregon before randomly kicking the bucket as well. I think it was from complications due to a broken arm. Something lame like that. Or maybe it was a hunting injury...

Anyway, so... all along I thought we were supposed to be learning about math, long term planning, and the pioneer movement. I guess the valuable lesson we were supposed to learn as children was that money makes you win at life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

wonder dog strikes again

Wonder Dog and I went to our second flyball tournament this past weekend, held in the same place as the first one we went to at a Baptist Convention center right outside of Talladega, Alabama. We took a lot fewer dogs this time, a majority of them "green dogs", or dogs that have been to fewer than 3 tournaments (I think all three of our green dogs had about 4 tournaments between them!). Everyone did fabulously, earning their FDCh titles (Flyball Dog Champion), jumping over 11 inch hurdles (higher than last time), and keeping race times at about 23 or 24 seconds. Libby had an average run time of about 5.3 seconds, which is awesome. They also got a lot of practice in and got to run most of the day, which was great for us because they slet really soundly in the hotel at night! Libby ran with very few mistakes this weekend, being pretty consistent until the very end of the weekend when she got very distracted by a little Jack Russel named Abby. They were having a very intense conversation while we waited for racing to start and then when I released her she decided she needed to go finish said conversation rather than get her ball. Now, any of you that know Libby know that usually NOTHING comes before a ball in the priority list, so I have a feeling Abby was talking trash about me or something... either that or Abby was jealous because people kept saying that Libby was the prettiest dog at the tournament... no really. They did. Actually, there was a man from the hosting team (the Birmingham Bandits) that was taking pictures of the racing, and he liked Libby so much that he gave me a print of one of her photos for free! (Yes, it is already framed.) But no worries... they are online! Perfect Weblink Wednesday, right? Here is the website where his photos are... Click on "flyball pictures" on the left hand side, then select 2009 and the first tournament. Libby ran in the following races: Day One- Races 9, 32, 45; Day Two- Races 9, 22, 32, 45, one picture in 72.

Please do not judge my ugly, way-too-big-for-me polo shirt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

melon head

So I'm blogging at work. Is that wrong? I mean, there aren't any kids here yet and it's not like I'm actually supposed to be teaching a class or anything ("ok kids... do some plies or something while Miss Greer writes a Weblink Wednesday entry"). AND I even checked the messages and the work email. So really, what else should I be doing? Our office manager isn't even here yet.

Have I rationalized/defended myself/bored you enough yet?

Anyway, all of that was just to say that this will be brief, but I do have two links to share today. The first is a blog that I recently started following that shares stories about crazy things that happen in the school system. It was on the list of "Best Blogs" (for 2008, I think) that the Times or some other important literary work put out recently. My latest favorite tidbit was about some faculty that put together a "Fight Club" for special needs students. And then took cell phone videos of it. Brillance, folks. Just plain brilliance.

The other one I just happen to stumble upon and I thought it was pretty awesome. Check out these melons (don't worry, it's G-rated...)!

Oh, and by the by, my laptop has been returned to my loving arms (lap?) at last. Once I get all of my stuff loaded back onto it, I should be back in the swing of things for real. Here's hoping.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

catch up time!

I know it's been a while since my last post, but here are a few of the reasons why...
  • Took my students to Access Broadway, a musical theatre and dance competition. Some rough patches, namely my ballet music skipping so badly that they had to stop the act, we had to scramble to find another CD with the track on it, figure out the cueing since I had cut it for competition, and then find another point in the packed out schedule to let them try it again. Also, I was disappointed in the score for my jazz duet with Emery and Kayla (who are 8 years old, btw), but I will be interested to see the judges' comments so I can know what they were looking for. BUT, most importantly and regardless of any frustrations, we won Best Studio for the 4th year in a row! It was a very exciting weekend, but I think we're all relieved it's over... although that just means that it's time to start freaking out about recital.
  • Drove back from Atlanta in SNOW! They had been forecasting snow, but in Georgia you always take that kind of forecast with a grain of salt. So imagine the surprise when Athens got almost 6 inches! Definitely the most snow I had ever seen in my home state. Joe and I were legitimately snowed into our house without power (for about 24 hours!). We tried to walk down to Kroger to get a flashlight and some non-microwaveable food (I did not realize how much of our meals come out of the microwave) and the power went out all the way down the street, including the hospital (yikes!) and the entire Alps shopping center. When we made it to Kroger, they came over the loudspeaker and told us to get our purchases quickly since they didn't know how long the emergency lights would stay on. It was an exciting and beautiful experience to have that much snow, but I am certainly glad to live in the south where it is a rarity rather than the norm!
  • I tried to update iTunes on my laptop and it decided to stop working. I took it to the PeachMac store after Joe tried unsuccessfully to fix it himself and it seems that there is something wrong with my hard drive. So now I have to take everything off the computer and back it up so that they can fix it. Fun. Oh, and the woman working at the customer service desk was super-rude when we dropped it off. She acted like she would rather be anywhere but at that desk dealing with us insufferably stupid Mac-users. When I picked it up I saw on the lable on my laptop that her name is Lisa Polite. What a misnomer!
  • For those of you (Joe) who were sad to miss Weblink Wednesday, here you go.