Sunday, January 29, 2012

Wow, it has been time consuming setting up this new computer. Naturally, it is all plug 'n' play, and works great right out of the box, no issue with my existing speakers, monitor, printer. And stuff like Adobe is all pre-installed. All my web applications work fine. But downloading and installing all the little add-ons I had -- sound recording, photo editing, not to mention various suites of wordprocessors, spreadsheets, etc. -- or alternatively, finding the installation CDs  (yeah, right)...what a nightmare.

Anyway, I scanned this photo to be sure everything was working in that arena. I may have already scanned it at some point, but I don't remember posting it anywhere or saving it some place besides the hard drive of my late machine.

This is me in about 1977, when I was 16. I am at the park near my house. I remember the sweatshirt was red, the shirt was made by my mother out of muslin and its trim was in a red pattern, and the pants were painter's pants, so popular at that time. It was taken by a friend for photography class. It was posed, but wasn't supposed to look like it. It's a bittersweet photo, in the sense that my friend has had a hard life and our relationship has been complex. Both things were true even then.

She has been on my mind recently, and for more than her recent contact. It's because I am trying to navigate a current difficult situation, and that is making me run through all the challenging people I have had to deal with throughout my life, both personally and professionally, to see if I have any old tools in my toolbox that might come in handy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My new PC arrived! I am so happy...and so is Bob, who gets the laptop back.

Friday, January 27, 2012

It seemed like a long week. I only spend two days per week on campus, but resuming that routine is tiring. My classes are good overall. I think I will have to stay on top of Toleration, which is both large and a little juvenile in atmosphere. Seems to be composed of two large groups of freshmen who know each other from the dorms, and then the remaining half of the class consists of upperclassmen who won't pose the same challenge. The snazzy new classroom with its tables and computer chairs arrangement rather than desks is probably going to be a hindrance to classroom management, unfortunately. The structure of rows can be handy sometimes, even though I am going to love the tables for Foundations. I think both on campus sections will be a dream. Too early to get a sense of the online class, and that is not helped by my lousy computer situation. It's on its way -- in Pennsylvania in transit at the moment. Expected delivery is listed as today, but I anticipate tomorrow given that it is not currently on a truck in the Capital District.

I spent today working on something unpleasant. One more effort to collect what is owed to me. I did get a response, but not from the check signer. I am not optimistic. Something the correspondent shared was that the behavior is irrational, either passive-aggressive or approach avoidance. I've heard of passive-aggressive before, of course, and even labeled some actions that way -- but approach avoidance was new to me, although I am familiar with social psychology. I googled it and found it an interesting confidence -- also useful, and glad I have not encountered it much in the past.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ha ha. Why should now be any different? It isn't that I think the upset residents are wrong. The water has been very active and brown below the Reservoir since Irene. But it's more of an issue because it now is impacting those south of the dam? News flash: This has been going on for more than 100 years. Read this:

"In addition to this sense of distrust, many residents of Ashokan feel that the city has not outgrown its original assumption that rural areas exist for the sole purpose of servicing growing urban centers. This position was first made emphatically clear in 1905 by City Corporation Counsel Delaney, when he conducted the first hearings in Kingston, and little change in this point of view seems to have occurred since then" (Steuding, B., 1985, The Last of the Handmade Dams, p. 110).

So good luck on that apology.

On another subject, it is now a week into the new semester. Foundations classes are going well. So far, they seem to be full of bright lights! Overall, the sections are not huge (20-ish). Due to my computer crash, it turned out that I was not as available to issue permission numbers so the sections could go over the cut point, which meant when a few students dropped during final registration (as always happens, some students "course shop"), they were not replaced. That's OK - classes of twenty students will be a pleasure. Toleration is quite large at this point though (33).

I scored brand new classrooms in the lecture center area -- a big lecture center was chopped into three classrooms and outfitted with tables, computer chairs, and the latest technology. All three of my classes are held there. I feel very fortunate. Great for class community, presentations, group work and discussion!

Naturally, my first day on campus is a bit anxiety producing. It's just my temperament, but also, I see few people during breaks and in addition to owl mode, I develop a touch of agoraphobia. But, one day back cures it. It's always a trip to be swarmed in campus center, though - by students absorbed by smart phones. (That's trip almost literally, btw - I have to be careful or they will bump into me and make me fall, what with my leg brace and awkward gate.) To avoid the stairs to the lecture center level, I took the tunnel. When full of students it is almost worse than campus center, in terms of getting run over. When empty, it has a high creepiness factor -- maybe I have watched too much Criminal Minds! Anyway, I think I will walk outside and brave the stairs next time.

The other thing driving my worry yesterday was the animals -- the gate was up, so Sophie can't fall, but how would they fare without me for the long day? Would Sophie be OK? Would Sam mind not being able to go to the kitchen? Would TB/TC be able to get through the gate if he needed to? The answers turned out to be: Just fine, Yes, No and Yes, so there was no cause for concern. What a relief!

Eagerly awaiting my new machine.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sophie has been doing well since her vet visit, seems to be over pancreatitis. She's been taking a handful of supplements since her surgery in November '10, and now she is taking even more. But, she has a hearty appetite and pills are not a problem.

She's never had an easy time with stairs, with up being harder for her than down. She has not been up to the bedroom level in the house for about 8 years. They are very steep and narrow, and she doesn't even try to go up. But in the days when she did, we had to "spot" her when she was coming down.

She was terrified of going up the stairs from the kitchen to the living room when we first got her, and it took many weeks of coaxing to get her to do it. Then, for the past few years, we've often had to entice her to go up the stairs when she was in the kitchen. The difficulty is that the staircase has a turn at the top. That part should be easier, because the stairs are triangles, wide enough to hold her whole, long body - but there must be a psychological barrier.

We blocked the stairs to the kitchen with a baby gate after she had her surgery, but eventually she was able to go down there again. (And get back upstairs when there was a treat waiting for her at the top.)

Several months ago, we noticed that one problem was getting started - she had trouble with the first step. Years ago, we had a set-up that turned a twin bed into a couch. We still have the pillows, although we don't use them on the day bed any longer. But they are very handy, and one made a perfect booster for Sophie to use as a launching pad for the stairs.

Very recently, it became clear that she can't go up the stairs any more. She gets stuck at the turn, and even a treat isn't enough. She could be manually boosted, but if we are not here, that won't work. She is very calm and careful, but the risk of her falling seemed great. Then, after a few times where it was difficult, she decided she wouldn't even try to go up. She's fifty pounds, too heavy for either of us to carry.

Getting down is still no problem, but we can't leave her in the kitchen. It's a cold room, and she has never liked it, although she still wants to go down there sometimes. There's a water bowl in the living room and I feed her there too, so the main attraction is that the door to the fenced yard is in the kitchen. We have been leash walking her on the sidewalk in front of the house, but she's not satisfied. She wants to go in the yard.

This house is three stories, and the yard is down one from the street level. There is a steep staircase, and a steep hill. We arrived at a solution; we take her out of the fenced area on her leash, around the house, and scale the hill to street level. (She can't do the outside stairs either.) The slope of the hill isn't an issue; she's very low to the ground and sure footed, like a mountain goat. Watching her long body and short legs go up the hill in her coat with her serious face and those ears -- so precious!

So, since Thursday, this is what we have been doing. Another triangle pillow is blocking the door from the living room to the stairs, so that she can't go down to the kitchen unless we let her and are prepared to make the trek. We have the baby gate, but Bob isn't planning to put it up until tonight. On Friday, when I did the hill, the climb for me in the snow was so precarious, that I decided I would use the stairs in the future, and let her navigate the hill on her own. That was my plan for today -- but not until later this afternoon, once the freezing rain stopped.

Here's how my morning actually played out:

1) awakened by the sound of Sophie barking
2) it sounds like it is coming from the kitchen
3) she managed to scale the triangle pillow?
4) it was not at all disturbed
5) the action did not wake me up
6) check futon to be sure
7) yep, only a rumpled blanket
8) she was stealth!
9) Sam awakens and comes into the room
10) so he did not help?
11) Ted is asleep at foot of day bed
12) so he did not help?
13) scramble downstairs to be sure she is OK
14) wearing only sleeping shirt
15) no panties, sweatpants, socks, shoes*
16) she is fine
17) she lays on futon while I dress
18) give her SOD
19) have coffee
20) let Sam out & back in
21) mailman comes
22) I get her and my outdoor gear
23) she happily cooperates while I put on her collar, leash, coat
24) she considers going upstairs
25) makes it as far as front feet on triangle pillow, then changes her mind
26) Sam, Sophie and I go outside
27) Sam plays with plush devil squeaky toy
28) jumps over Sophie on his way in when she wants to go inside
29) I slam the door behind him
30) takes some coaxing,but we get to the gate
31) we do the drill to the garden
32) she does more sniffing than last time I did this
33) tries to pull me down the hill when we are at the corner of the garden
34) I have to hang onto the garden post, but eventually I win
35) we make our way to the really steep part
36) she gets started up
37) I scramble to the steps
38) they are not slippery, yay
39) so glad I shoveled them!
40) by this point she is already on the sidewalk
41) there she goes, up the sidewalk toward the front door, dragging her leash
42) I get to the sidewalk
43) it is a sheet of ice!
44) I can't stand up
45) I crawl on my hands and knees to the front door
46) please God, don't let the neighbors see me right now
47) Sophie is already waiting at the door
48) we come inside
49) she gets settled on the futon
50) Sam is not as upset as he has been by the appearance of her, but not his, leash
51) he knows the story now
52) I read the rock salt bag and determine it is safe for dogs
53) ask Sophie and she tells me that Mother with a broken leg is worse than sore pads
54) I salt the sidewalk

*this is more impressive if you know that for the past decade, I never go without socks, shoes and orthotics unless I am asleep.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

False alarm! The only thing that shipped -- the speakers! So it will be another week before I have my new PC. :-(

Snowed today. Hardly worth mentioning, in a year like last winter. Two inches? That was nothing. But, in a remarkably snow-free winter, it seems like a shoveling chore!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My computer shipped and should be here tomorrow! YAY. So I'll be back in business soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I threw in the towel and ordered a new PC. I'm all about opportunity costs of my time right now. It will be here next week, but until then I have to rely mostly on the laptop when I am home. I hate the keyboard, can't type on it for ... Can't wait until the new machine arrives, but I refused to pay $50 for faster shipping. A week or so isn't that long. So glad I have been copying old writing to this blog, photos to facebook and made the little Mimmie book for Ma's birthday. Or else so much of it would be lost. I do have a lot of flashdrives, though. All unlabeled of course!

Her actual date was Thursday, and I gave her the book on Friday, but we celebrated Ma's birthday on Sunday. Stopped at Shop Rite in New Paltz on the way home from the funeral on Saturday to buy ice cream to go with the cake. It's a small, worn out market that appears to cater to students -- Bob joked, "it's right up our alley." (Which is true.)

It's been a long time since I bought any brand of ice cream besides Stewart's. I picked up a -- what is it? It certainly isn't a half-gallon -- bigger than quart / smaller than half gallon of Breyer's and was shocked by both the size of the carton and the price (over four bucks)! With our large group of ice cream lovers*, I would have had to buy two. It really hit home, what the homemade signs in Stewart's assert - they still make half gallons and the value beats all competitors. Luckily, there are two Stewart's between New Paltz and Samsonville, so we stopped at one and the flavor of the week was just the kind I'd planned to buy: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry -- a real half gallon for $3.19. You go, Stewart's!

Also: Watched Cuomo's budget address. Wasn't as funny as the SoS! But some of the things he says really hit home.

Finally, I'm all ready for my classes to start tomorrow. That's saying something, what with the computer crash! And I submitted the Winter Session grades today. 

*It's true, demonstrated by my father having a soft ice cream shop in the '60s known as Dino's Kwik Stop -- but that's a story for another day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What would a new semester be without a computer crash? My main desktop decided to act up suddenly this evening. Won't even go into safe mode. I tried a few things then immediately cut my losses. I am reformatting and reinstalling Windows now. It means some data loss but I don't have time to spend endless hours figuring out another fix. Keep your fingers crossed! Or else I will be PC shopping.
In addition to the flowers, there were posters with pictures and a slideshow on a television at the funeral home on Saturday. Sitting there, I had a strong sensation of a scene in the movie Vertigo, the one where Madeleine touches the Redwood tree rings and says, “Here I was born and here I died.  It was only a moment."

Taking off the long weekend is really going to make this week more difficult than usual! Classes start Thursday, and I am rushing to finish up Winter Session grades and be ready. But I needed the break, the change of scenery that Samsonville provides.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Here is the surprise I have been keeping! I wanted to give my mother a copy for her birthday before announcing it:

I write from Samsonville. Lovely snow cover here, although it is only a couple of inches at most. The temperature has turned colder in both Castleton and here, and I'm glad. It isn't just that I like winter. (I like all the seasons.) Everyone is sick, and I think the too warm for winter temperatures have been a contributing factor.

I have several things I want to write, but I should be in bed! I have to be up, ready and in the car at ~7, because Bob's uncle died and we are going to the funeral in Long Island. This far into winter break I am deep into "owl," and 6 in the morning is more likely to be my bed time than when I awaken!

Speaking of winter break, I didn't really have one since I taught a winter session online class, which ended today. I was apprehensive, but it was a very enjoyable experience. Size had something to do with it, since it was my smallest section ever: 10 students! I've already been asked to do it again next year, and I said yes immediately.

The difficulties I have been having with accounts receivable were helpful in a way. It freed me; I thought about the opportunity costs of my time, and decided I wanted to create the little book I've linked above rather than spend more time consulting. So that's one thing I did this break besides teaching.

Another is nursing Sophie. She's been kind of sick since November, and had a really bad night New Year's Eve. She is about 13, has never been robust because of her allergies, and then had to have surgery in November '10 because she has tumors of the hair follicles and two were causing problems. Basset Hounds are not generally long-lived dogs, but she has fooled us all. We finally took her to our wonderful holistic vet, expecting bad news. It turns out she does not have a life threatening illness. She had pancreatitis, and for the past week she has been doing great!

Finally, my writings on school districts have attracted attention. They nearly always do. I think my views create alarm, because generally dissenters aren't experts in the field (or alumni). An effort is always made to co-opt me, which simply isn't possible. I am a way, way out of the box thinker on educational issues.

More later. I have to get some sleep!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another letter today supporting so-called "bookends!" "Recent ELA test scores at a 55 percent  and 42 percent passing rate for our seventh- and eighth-graders respectively, show we need to better prepare our children at the elementary level for middle school." and "So, let us bring our children together when they are in fourth grade, a time when they are socially and emotionally more open to making new friends, rather than in seventh grade, when they are experiencing the social and emotional angst of adolescents desperate to fit in with a whole new set of peers."

To this I say, the bookend approach does not erase the difficult transition -- it's still there, the change to the big school with 9-12 graders. It simply adds another! Why would this increase ELA achievement, rather than exacerbating the problem and moving its appearance to a younger grade? As well as generating myriad other issues in learning?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It is so frustrating to me that research and reality are ignored in favor of anecdotal NIMBY. It is to be expected that some families in the community will be ruled by the emotion of self-interest instead of logic, but when the administrators and board join in, it leaves me shaking my head.

Here's the article from the Freeman. Those savings are awfully hard to reconcile and decipher, aren't they? This seems like the worst of all worlds to me: increasing class size as well as the number of transitions! How is this defensible? Whose agenda is being served here? Oh, I guess this must be who:

Here's exhibit 1, from a parent in the district. An approach which has been labeled "bookend" is favored. It keeps all three elementary schools open, but chops them into two K-3 and a 4-6. "This model is superior for our younger children and changes the age at which the transition is made to a more demanding social and academic environment."

Hello! What evidence is there that this approach is superior? Transitions are not good for students, and the so-called bookend approach increases the number of transitions in the district from one to two. Transition is obviously not the only significant factor for achievement, or even the most important one. But the research is a concern: "Every transition from one narrowly configured school to another seems to disrupt the social structure in which learning takes place, lowering achievement and participation for many students" (Howley, 2002). Alspaugh (1998) found that "an increase in the number of school-to-school transitions within a school district is associated with an increase in the high school dropout rate."

Here's exhibit 2, from another parent. The bookend approach is also supported. "A couple of years ago, when First Steps enrollment was way, way down, I may have bought the "freefall decline in enrollment" concept. But the 2011-2012 year has seen, far and away, the most kids I’ve played to in the four years I’ve gone there. These kids and others will be arriving on Onteora’s doorstep next fall."

Oh yeah? An anecdotal story about a nursery school is supposed to be persuasive? Take a look at this, from the Cornell Program on Applied Demographics. The trend is crystal clear. Also this from Cornell. The list of districts is long, so here's the data on OCS:

Census 2000ACS 2005-2009ChangeChange (%)
Total pop16,11215,372-740-4.6%
Age 0-173,3872,528-859-25.4%

It's pretty clear that population ages 0-17 is plummeting dramatically -- more than 25 percent in a decade. Using the middle range projections in the first Cornell link, enrollment is projected to be 1382 in 2019. Moving to two schools plus one school in '12-'13, using 2009 figures, that means 54 students per school in Kindergarten (same a closing one school entirely), and 120 in Grade 4 (using 2009's first graders). Two sections per school of 27 students each for Kindergarten, and X teachers for Grade 4 in one school. (How many? 5 @ 24 students per class? 4 @ 30 students per class? 6 @ 20 students per class?) Elementary enrollment is currently 47 percent of K-12, and Kindergarten is 14 percent of K-6. Fast forward to 2019, it will be 91 students in Kindergarten. Divided into 2 schools, that is 45.5 kids per school, too many for one class. So it would be 2 classes per school of 22.75 kids each. In Grade 4 in 2019, where enrollment is also currently about 14 percent of K-6 enrollment, so another 91 students. I can't imagine the thought is 3 teachers per grade with 30 students each in grades 4-6? I know that was common during the baby boom but it isn't something I see very often now. There are far too many special needs. So that means it must be 4 teachers per grade (same as closing a school?), but in one school. Again, how is this beneficial? Just because it keeps all the buildings open?

There is no sound academic argument for taking this approach instead. It obviously isn't class size, and adding in an extra early transition isn't beneficial. Personally, I see potential value in having only two elementary schools. The kids would get to know each other very early, in Kindergarten. They would go to school together always. It might help to decrease the factionalism that is, and has been pervasive.

Gathering this information wasn't difficult. It should be a no-brainer for the administrators and board. Or do they have it and are ignoring it?

I repeat, I see a future where one central campus is all that is needed. It's sad, yes. (Except for the decrease in factionalism which I predict would be the outcome, even more so with one central campus.) Whenever buildings are shuttered it is sad. Yes, I fondly remember the way the district was when I was a kid, four elementaries feeding the 7-12. (I have to add, though, that the transition to junior high wasn't easy at all.) However, delaying the inevitable by draining resources to serve the agenda of the board and a few parents is not beneficial to the district -- including, and most importantly, the students. Buildings are going to have to be shuttered, and eventually wings removed at the 7-12 as well. Quit procrastinating and start planning.

Something I came across while browsing is this very clear and nicely done powerpoint from NYSED.

On a completely unrelated topic, today's column is great. I don't have one of these coffee makers, but I do have a Black and Decker cup at a time. I love it. About 10 years ago, Bob gave up coffee, as part of his alternative therapy for RA. He was a big coffee drinker and always made it. I have only consumed one, or (on rare occasions) at most two, cups of coffee per day so a traditional 10 cup coffee maker was useless. I didn't like microwaving day-old coffee, and I didn't like throwing it away. So I got a cup at a time. It uses any kind of coffee you want (I prefer Maxwell House) and it has a permanent filter. I love it! Well worth $10. But, the point about making multiple cups is definitely true! I have to keep an old 12 cup model that I dust off when I have guests.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Crossing (1998)

I was on the train, waiting to leave the Rensselaer station.  I love trains and train rides, but I wished I'd brought my portfolio to write in instead of the pad I was using; the university logo is so obvious, plus it's flimsy, I thought.  Sitting on a motionless train is not nearly as inspiring as riding one, it seemed.  Ahead of me, I overheard a passenger tell another that he was headed for Oregon and San Francisco.  I was going for a ride of just an hour, to Poughkeepsie.

On the way back to Albany, later that day, I notice.  There is a phenomenon which has finally penetrated trains:  cell phones, as obnoxious there as everywhere else.  Fellow passengers read magazines (mostly business or computer) and newspapers -- the more literate read books.  The businessman across from me was chatting on his cell phone while writing on a lined pad.  Is he writing fiction or an essay, like I am, or some boring piece of work-related tedium?, I wonder.  The cell phone gave him away.  The train sped along the edge of the Hudson River, the color of the autumn leaves growing in intensity as we traveled north.

Soon we will breeze through Castleton, and I will think, as I always do, of the un-gated crossing by the paper factory, of the train filled with business people, impatient to reach their destinations, of the young man's body thrown 100 feet in the air as the train ripped through his blue 1995 pick-up truck, smashing it -- and him -- beyond recognition.  Were the passengers delayed on their way to New York City?  Did the impact dent the train?  Did that man, who was -- according to his obituary, a long-time employee of the factory, and who owned a dog named Bailey, really think he could beat the southbound train, which was going about 110 miles per hour?  Did he think so because he had done it before? Do the workers at the factory still play that ghastly game of racing the train, or do the blue ribbons, now faded and worn as they hang, limp, from the fence near the tracks at the entrance to the factory, remind them of the folly?

Yesterday, on the way to work, the road was partially blocked.  Something had fallen on the tracks at that un-gated crossing and a dozen railroad employees scrambled to clear it away before the 9:05 thundered through.  I wondered if the commotion was caused by another accident.  Perhaps a tractor trailer had ripped in half, the way it was a few years ago, when massive rolls of paper flew through the air, smashing a car and
the corner of a nearby building, though everyone involved was unhurt. Certainly not another fatality involving a regular car, I hoped.

Later in the day, I forgot to look for the answer in the newspaper.  Assuming there was a story in the newspaper, that is.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Mark Twain should be censored and using integration of social studies with math is the excuse for these word problems? They didn't mean any harm? Are you kidding me? What an upside down world we live in. This is so outrageous it seems as if it can't be true.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

I'n not a sports enthusiast, least of all a football fan, so maybe I shouldn't have an opinion on this, but when I heard on the news last night that they planned to do this, I thought it was a crazy idea. How distracting would that be for the players? So I think the prohibition due to copyright is probably a good thing. If not being able to watch the game is such an issue, why not bring a tablet or smartphone? How silly that this is a problem. Why can't people just be present -- instead of so addicted to the big screen that they can't bear to miss one game. DVR it, for pete's sake. It is ridiculous -- just stay home and plug in; watch others living, rather than living yourself.

Now this a little strange given my remarks about plugging in rather than living. Here goes anyway! I am psyched that Downton Abbey Series II starts tonight!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Lots to write, but my attention has been elsewhere. It will keep, some may have to keep forever.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Happy birthday to Bob! Today he is 52. (He looks ten years younger.) I am treating him to Cafe Capriccio. He toyed with going to Great Barrington, Lenox or Lee, MA, but settled on Albany. We may eat out routinely, but not at Cafe Capriccio very often. Greens and beans to die for! Can't wait.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I watched Governor Cuomo's State of the State speech earlier today. Things that struck me:

  • The two religious messages both mentioned toleration!
  • I liked the Governor's slideshow
  • Irene / Lee and first responders, nice touch
  • The bit about 53 years ago, before he was a twinkle in his father's eye, when Skelos was 4 and Silver was 8, was very funny
  • The convention center / transformation of the Javits center wasn't on my radar screen. Maybe I haven't been paying attention?
  • Buffalo revitalization +
  • Tourism +
  • Gaming. (Makes my skin crawl.) I guess that was the point, sort of hello, yes, it's icky, but we are in denial, we already have it but just manage it badly. Still, for me, a -. Also, any time amending the constitution is mentioned, it scares me.
  • The rest of it, on reorganization, education, public safety, expansion of SUNY2020, construction, energy was fine, in some cases expected, even unremarkable although I did appreciate management evaluation being an emphasis too, not just teacher assessment. And I did like that he said he would be the lobbyist for students, since they are the only unrepresented group in the mix. (Good slides on that too.)
  • No finger printing for food stamps -- surprising, something I never thought about -- seems like a small thing, and he was passionate about it.
  • Yay CSI!
  • The close was outstanding. Truly awesome. I think he may be the best speaker and leader on the scene at present -- and in a long time. I love NY!
  • The most surprising thing was what was omitted: fracking! Why? Could it be that either the science isn't holding up or the push back is significant?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I have two things on my mind, both complicated. Due to my self-censorship rules, I am not at liberty to share every excruciating detail in either case, even though in both cases it would be good for me to vent, and they provide rich sources to mine for writing inspiration. Oh well. So here are the Cliff Notes for the Reader's Digest Condensed Version: First, I received a phone call last night from a troubled childhood friend who I am not in touch with very often. This happens every few years. I am never sure how the situation will play out. The call wasn't long, but contained so much information my head it spinning. Pity I can't write more, but "it is what is is." The story continues, and who knows what the ending will be. Second, I hate accounts receivable. I suck at being a collection agent. I'm having an intermittent, on-going problem in this area. Net 30 is beyond a joke, it would be a dream. What to do, I don't have a clue. It's why being completely self-employed would be nearly impossible for me.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Happy New Year! Stayed in this year, watched Dick Clark on television. Mine is mostly better, but Bob is battling a cold. It's amateur night anyway.

Yesterday we went to a garage party at my nephew's. It was fun.

Very excited -- I am working on a project that I will share in a couple weeks -- can't write about it now since it is a surprise.