Monday, March 31, 2008

Audience Participation Day!

We haven't had one of these in a long, long time, and I'm not saying it's going to be a recurring thing, like, ever again, but I need something.

I just got this phone, my first-ever cell phone upgrade in five years, and--get this--it will actually play something other than rinky-dink midi-sounding crap when someone calls me, and it's so so easy to chop up an mp3 file into a thirty-second ringtone that even I can do it.

But the transition from picking one little midi file that I don't hate too much to hear three or four times a day out of a list of 20 or so was actually pretty simple; now I have about 6000 songs on my hard drive to choose from.

My question for you is, what is the most awesome ringtone ever? I need about a 30-second snippet of a song (sorry, the 8-minute "Mariner's Revenge" is out) or a sound effect that I will not only love, but that will make me seem even more awesome when other people hear it coming out of my pocket, and maybe also make them laugh, or believe that I am possibly the coolest person they know.

To Do Today

Just for the record, today's awesomeness brought to you by Ryan North. (I don't typically think up these things all by myself.)

To Do Today:

[X] Be awesome.

[X] Make to-do list and post on blog.

[ ] Sex up the person reading this.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Coffee + TrimSpa + Drama =

Elevated heart rate.



Not being hungry, which leads to not eating, which leads to headache and vague feelings of nausea.

Feelings of mild to moderate panic.

Inability to concentrate.

Talking very fast.

Inability to take a restful nap when given the opportunity.

Today I had a training for a new parent-notification system our school is piloting. When my administrator came in the week before the break to tell me about it, he said, "we're taking care of your sub." Of course, in retrospect I see that he meant "the district will be paying for your sub; it won't be coming out of your allotment of sick/personal days," but I thought he meant he would also be notifying Denise, the woman in charge of subs at our school, to enter my absence in the automated system.

We were carpooling to the training today, and it didn't begin until 8, so I was in my room working until the first bell rang at 7. When no one had shown up at my classroom yet, I went to see Denise to see what was the matter. She was probably not the happiest woman in the world when I told her what the matter was; she was already in the process of tracking down 3 first-hour subs for other people. I'm actually pretty resigned to the kind of mistakes that just mess things up for me, but I really, really hate making the kind of mistakes that put other people out or call attention to the fact that I did something dumb. I apologized profusely (probably too much so), and went back to my room to get the kiddos started on their posters. Finally, about 10 minutes before I had to leave, a teacher from down the hall came in to take over for me.

The training was interesting, if impractical for a non-administrator like me. The system the district is buying is amazing. Without gushing about it too much, if I was the principal of the school and I needed to send a series of recorded messages to students' parents, I would be doing a little dance right now because it is so easy. I am, however, just the English teacher of 160 students and will have no access or rights to the autodialler and therefore won't be able to use it, so the training was an interesting, interactive, hands-on waste of time (and drama). The day wasn't a total loss: I did make the internet call me on the telephone, so that was actually pretty cool.

When the training ended, I raced back across town to school so I could get there before my after-lunch class only to find out that after 3 class periods of other teachers covering my class on their preps, a sub had finally arrived just in time for my prep, just before lunch, so I might as well let him do something and get paid for it. That part actually turned out for the best, even though I just wound up feeling guilty, rather than relieved or pleasantly surprised, at my afternoon off, but tomorrow is the last day of the quarter and I have about 20 more research projects to grade. That was about when I realized I hadn't eaten anything but toast and stimulants for breakfast and needed to eat if I wasn't going to feel sick all afternoon.

Oh, and because I learned my lesson today, I've already put in for the three days I'll be out for even more training fun in two weeks. Nobody can say I don't have a learning curve!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Probably the least successful vacation-trip ever!

Oh, man, I knew my luck would run out sometime. We had intended to get out of town about 10 yesterday morning so we could climb in Veyo during the early afternoon, but T didn't even get up until almost 11 [I let him sleep out of guilt; he's been sleeping badly for the last week or so (and I have been re-watching The Office on Netflix whenever I have 20 minutes to myself)].

We got into St. George in time to catch a movie (Be Kind Rewind--not bad--this site ran a "sweded films" competition with some great entries), but decided it was to early to turn in yet, even though we had called the climbing park to get permission to open the gate and come in after hours to camp and climb early in the morning. Instead, we drove up through Zion to Mt. Caramel Junction, the one-horse burg where we found ourselves nearly stuck about this time last year, and got a motel room so we could have HBO and showers in the morning.

The motel had a great little pamphlet about touristy stuff in the area (go figure, right?), and we had been meaning to check out Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for some time, so we headed down the 89 a little ways. When we arrived, a tour group had just returned, but there wasn't going to be another one for an hour and a half and T didn't really want to wait that long because the tour itself is 90 minutes of touring the canyon and visiting some of the dog and cat buildings. T had found out about a ghost town west of Zion that he wanted to bike to later and didn't think we'd have time if we spent 3 hours at the sanctuary, and I've been feeling another cat coming on for a few weeks now so it was probably a smart move on his part.

Instead, we dinked around the gift shop for a half hour, then walked down by the horse/burro area and to the pig pens. You know what? Horses kind of give me the willies. They are just too big and after reading one too many fantasy novels I am convinced one of them will kick or bite me in the face. But the pen full of shaggy burros and floppy-eared goats was wonderfully entertaining.

On the way back up to Zion, a very nice Mormon man showed us around a little cave his parents bought in 1950 and turned into a bar/dance hall. Now it's a museum with dinosaur footprints and petrified dinosaur poo (among other things, of course).

And that, unexpectedly, was the height of excitement for the day. N was very, very tired when we arrived in Zion with every intention of riding the bus to the top of the canyon and biking back down, so we settled for a short nap followed by early dinner (Utah time) or late lunch (Nevada time) in Springdale. The ghost town was supposed to be a few miles past town, and at only a 6-mile round trip, we thought we could leave N to continue his nap in the van while we biked in, took some pictures, and biked back out. The turnoff was not marked as well as we'd thought (or at all?), so we missed it and figured "oh well."

It wasn't that much farther back to St. George and the Veyo resort, but it was just after 6 local time, and T doesn't stop for the night any earlier than 11, but there wasn't enough daylight left to get on and off the we came home. With the intention of being at Red Rocks early tomorrow, but still. We just needed something to eat up some time, and driving home to sleep in our own beds sounded pretty nice.

Which leaves the bikes still untouched on the back of the van, and the climbing gear in a bucket with last year's dirt still on it.

We should have at least gone on the animal tour.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Break Check-In #1

So last week, T called and made us a reservation to paddle down the Colorado from the dam to Willow Beach. It's about an 8-mile paddle downstream, and you used to be able to just take this steep little road down below the dam and plop your boats right in, but in the aftermath of 9-11 you have to pay a licensed tour company to put you in. Anyways.

We started out at the Hacienda casino just after 7 a.m. We had to be checked in by a little government employee with a clipboard, but that was all the bureaucracy involved. Way to keep us safe, Uncle Sam!

I was in the sit-on-top boat, and my fat self just about toppled over with the first swirly patch of water we hit, so I swapped with T and we kept heading on down. Somehow he got stuck with the flimsy emergency paddle too (a last-minute Walmart purchase: a mistake he won't be making again), just about doubling the effort and concentration required for the trip. (He is just now recovered enough to get up off the couch. Interestingly enough, I was worse off in the calves and hip flexors than I expected.)

The highlight of the day was definitely the Arizona Hot Springs. After about an hour and a half on the river, we tied off on a beach and hiked about a half-mile up a gravelly wash, stripped down to swimsuits, and climbed a rickety old ladder up to a series of warm-water pools in the slot canyon. A tour group was already soaking when we arrived, but the pool was plenty big enough to share.

We got back to Willow Beach just after 3 and ate the very best post-exertion snacks ever: candy bars, Dr. Pepper, crumb donuts, and gas-station-style microwaved chimichangas. At any other time, a meal like that just tastes sleazy, but after an all-day activity there is nothing better.

We took off yesterday and today to lay on the couch, but tomorrow it's off to Utah for the second leg of our multisport vacation--rock climbing in Veyo. There will probably be a post about that this weekend.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Begin Chastisement

You. Guys. Seriously. Just because my computer is not working and I cannot receive email notification of comments left on my blog does not mean that I won't know if you say anything or not. There is not, as far as I know, a blog out there devoted to my friends (real and internet) telling me I am cool, and that is the kind of reading I need to do every day.

Maybe you are not interested in my frank honesty about my silly internet crushes and how lame I was in high school. I get that, I really do. Then maybe you should say so, like "Erin, why don't you quit your bitchin' and stop stalking libertarians who are married to other people anyway." Or maybe you think you're so cool because you come over and read my blog, all smug-like, and think man, that drivel is so far beneath me I am going to go listen to some indie band no one has ever heard of over at Pandora instead of deigning to reply. To that I say, Yeah?! Prove it! If you're that much cooler than me, let's hear about it. Reading people's blogs is a privilege, guys; sometimes you've got to give a little in return.

So please. Give me something to do on the internet when I get home from school in the afternoon besides crossword puzzles.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Secret Internet Crush--EXPOSED!

Oh, man. I have had a mild internet crush on a certain self-described "nerdy libertarian lawyer" for about the past year now, and I have just today discovered that HE RUNS A D&D GAME AT HIS HOUSE. That, people who don't know me in person, is as close to a fetish as I think I have. It actually makes me feel sort of giddy, like I have suddenly become a teenager again and am unable to make eye contact--with anyone--when that boy is in the room. (Or in the next room. Or even at school that day. In fact, I seem to remember spending the entire three years of high school a sweaty-palmed, stammering mess. So I was never Captain Cool when it came to the boys, big deal.)

Anyway, consider this post my best blogger-geek attempt at a wink and a smile from across the bar.

It's a Birthday!

Tyson is having a birthday today. Go over there and remind him that, being 37, he's only got a few good years left in him.

Monday, March 10, 2008

I'm going open-source!

Which explains why I'm typing this post from T's computer, not mine. I was about ready to throw my stupid laptop from the window of a moving car after it got stuck--twice--during startup (among many other, more grievous issues), but since we're a bit short of the requisite $$ for the iBook I really want, T decided to install Linux on my machine. Linux has even more cache than Mac, so I figured it must be a good idea, plus I will feel so cool saying "Yeah, I'm a Linux user." I'd even start up conversations with strangers so I could drop that line in, all casual.

Except T is something of a tinkerer when it comes to computers. "Just do it, then fix it if it doesn't work--you'll learn more that way" could be his personal motto. Think of my laptop as a test batch of pancakes....and whoops, the griddle isn't quite hot enough yet.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Look what I can do!

Check out my tag cloud I just made. (The layouts function is being squirrelly, but I will put it higher in that right-hand column soon.) It is so awesome. I thought, as I was copy-pasting code into my template, that it was heady business, but then I did an actual google search, and I guess I could have put my stuff in and auto-generated one. Whatever. Mine will change when I have more posts in different groups, and I don't think the others will. And if they do, screw them anyway 'cause I just wrote (or inserted, anyway) my own code. Take that, bitches!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Waffles Woo Hoo!

I was so excited to find this in my inbox yesterday! This, my friends, is widely reported to be OMG THE BEST WAFFLE RECIPE EVAR (or so all the Switzerland people said this summer), and the translation from the French is really, really cute:

2 quarts and 1 pint liquid (half mineral water, half full milk)(2,5 liter)
2/3 ounce of yeast (20gram)
1 lb of flour (1/2 kg)
5 oz diary [sic] (cream) butter which you melt in a bain-marie (a "double" boiler)(150g)
1 spoon of (salad) oil
3 or 4 eggs, depending on their size
4oz of sugar (100 gram)
a pinch of salt

Heat the liquid up until it is tepid. Take a cup of it apart and let the yeast dissolve in it. Sift the flour into a bowl; sprinkle the salt around the edge of the flour and make a hole in the middle, where you pour the dissolved yeast and the melted butter.

Add the egg yolks, the sugar, and the remaining liquid in the hole. Kneed the mass from the inside out until you have a homogeneous dough. If necessary, dilute it with a little liquid.

The dough should not be so liquid as for pancakes. Whisk the egg whites and scoop them carefully with a slice through the tough [sic].

Cover the dough and leave it to rise in a heated place (if in winter) until its volume has doubled.

Pour some dough into the heated and greased iron. Close the iron immediately and bake until it gets golden brown.

Now, I have never seen a yeast-risen waffle recipe, but it looks worth a try. I will certainly give it a shot and let you all know.