The List (2005 Edition)

I need to be really, really vague here, because I don’t know who reads this and who doesn’t–I may even change a few details to protect, well, myself. Also, The List is kinda messed up because some of its former members have been married in recent years, and I haven’t totally let go of them. The List is not such a simple thing that when someone’s removed, everyone else just moves up. A person’s position is somewhat influenced by the others in the area. It’s a very intuitive thing, not something with a well-defined formula, is what I’m trying to say.

  1. Still R, I am sad to admit
  2. An elementary school teacher I have known since college. She’s sweet and kinda funny, and really cute, and maybe the lowest-maintenance person on The List.
  3. A schoolmate at UH-Hilo. I’ve no idea what she’s doing nowadays. She was an English major and has since earned an M.Div. and I’m pretty sure she’s not in Hawaii anymore. I know how to get in touch with her if I ever decide to. Smart and funny and the second-most beautiful woman I knew in Hilo (after L.E., whom I’ve written about here in the past). I’ve kinda kept away from her since my graduation from college because she’d be very, very, very easy to fall in love with. I ran into her at a wedding a few years ago and the recovery took weeks. Weeks! I still think about the long coversations we had that weekend and wonder what would have happened if . . . but enough of that. Whew. I think I need a cold drink.
  4. A person at my church. She’s years younger than me — I won’t pretend that’s not something of an issue. She’s more mature than me, though, so I think it could be worked out. She really seems to get me; that’s not something I’m used to. #2 doesn’t really get me, and #3 is more impressed with me than I think she should be. #4 seems to be mostly amused by my tortured persona, and that really appeals to me. Also, she does one of the few jobs I consider more important than mine.
  5. High school teacher I’ve known since UH-Manoa. Smart, misunderstood, and cute. We had a near miss some time ago. A very near miss. I wonder if that ruins any chance of us ever being together. We’re a lot alike, which also makes me think this could never work. My friends really like her.
  6. Younger sister of a good friend. Also probably too young..
  7. Former co-worker. Maybe the highest-maintenance person I know. This would be doomed from the start, but she’s so cute I can’t stand it. She’s currently seeing someone I like but don’t approve of. She has a knack for getting into comfortable, not-unhealthy-but-not-healthy relationships.
  8. Actress in The Bourne Supremacy and 10 Things I Hate About You. Major minus: Don’t know about what she believes, unlike everyone else on this list. The Christian thing is #1 on my other list.

I think I’m missing a few people. It’s been a few years since I actually itemized the list, ‘though numbers 2 and 3 have been pretty much the same for a long time.

Day of the Dead

Boy, am I tired.

Didn’t get to bed ’til past five in the morning. Was going to spend the morning working on George’s project, but I feel like a zombie right now, and I remembered that I have a few things to take to the post office and while I’m out, I may as well get a bite, read the paper, and maybe go to school for a little while.

I’m typing this just to get my thoughts in order.

  • mail stuff
  • read paper
  • get a bite
  • work on math league problems a little
  • fix graphics-problems with web project 2
  • think about rss problem with George’s project
  • groceries: 1 lb. black beans, canned tomatoes, pasta, broccoli
  • email principal, head of school, and other computer teachers about possible school-related podcasting idea
  • answer at least ten emails that I’m behind on

I’m off.

Under Cover of the Night

I’m about to go public with two of my secret Web projects. The first one, which I’ve already mentioned here, is a podcast called The Literate Loser. That’s me, if you couldn’t figure that out. Strangely, as soon as I seriously entertained the thought of doing a podcast, I also knew what I wanted to put out there and tLL is pretty much it. I don’t think it’s going to be very entertaining, but certain types of people will find it interesting and that’s my audience. I hope. I haven’t had any real technical problems; the only problems I’ve had have been with the talent. I can be a royal pain to work with sometimes!

The second major project, which I’m going to announce in a very low-key manner (I think) should be ready to go by the end of this week. I’m really strapped for fun-having cash, so Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are devoted to cleaning up the living room, getting the podcast out there, putting the finishing touches on secret project 2, and tweaking George’s online journal (it’s a project for his students and no, I’m not giving out links). George’s project is actually pretty much good to go, but I’m having a TON of problems getting the sidebar RSS feeds to look right. Grr.

As for the Village Idiots’ podcast, as soon as I know I can do a podcast, I’m going to assemble a couple of extra pieces of hardware and we’re going to do it. Penny and Reid have already said let’s give it a shot; Grace checks her email about once a month so I doubt I’ll hear from her for a while. If all goes as planned, this one will be very entertaining. I have such fun friends. Sometimes.

Played Puerto Rico with Alan, George, and Ross tonight. Alan beat me by one point in his first game ever; Ross beat me by two points in the second game. It was a blast. At one point someone said, “You know who would really like this game? Cameron Taketa.” Someone else said, “Yeah. He really would.” I might have to have him over one night to introduce him to the beauty that is Puerto Rico. What a great game.

R is on a trip with Mr. HBA. I don’t know if I’m lonelier when she’s here or when she’s away. It’s tough. In some ways, I’m more miserable now than when R was engaged to G and living in California. At least G is someone I love and know; I didn’t think G was right for her, but he was certainly not bad for her. I think Mr. HBA is potentially bad for her, but what am I supposed to say beyond that? I can’t come up with any solid reasons, and she says he makes her happy.

He makes her happy. I have heard her say that she didn’t think anyone was ever going to make her happy. Is that — should that be — enough for me, if all I want is what’s best for her? I can’t answer that. If OxyContin was making her happy, I wouldn’t think for a moment that it must be good for her.

Losing her as a possible lover is bad enough, but it’s something I have been prepared to deal with for years. I did have my chance, after all, and I blew that. What is so very difficult for me is that I seem to have lost her as a friend. Oh, we’re still cool. When we do speak on the phone or when she gives me rides to church on Sundays, it’s all normal and good, like it always was, but where she was my best friend just a few months ago, someone who would call me pretty much every day to see what was up, now she seldom even returns my calls, and she certainly never initiates one.

I don’t understand how I have lifted so easily out of her life. It’s as if she doesn’t care about me, not even as a friend; it’s as if she doesn’t think of me, not even in passing. This is not just some ex-girlfriend I’m talking about; it’s someone who’s been my friend for over twenty years, someone I have worked side-by-side with in jobs we both cared a great deal about, someone who acknowledges that she works really, really well with me when we’ve got a job that needs to get done. Now I’m not even an afterthought.

So what do I do about it? I just don’t know. I have told her that I disapprove of this relationship, so I guess all I do is be prepared to be there if something happens. I suppose I just find other friends.

Perhaps I’ll continue to do everything I do, but where there was once in my life a best friend and is now just this hole, I’ll cram in graduate school, the school yearbook, inconsequential web projects, and a second job to pay for it all.

I have good days and bad days in this, the Mr. HBA phase. Today is not a good day.

Why I Hate These Forms

GRADUATE SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION FORM

6. TELL US ABOUT YOUR ACADEMIC, LEADERSHIP, EXTRACURRICULAR, AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
ACADEMIC ABILITY:

All children marvel at the teeming life that hides beneath the just-overturned boulder. Somehow, schools take that fascination and crush it, so that children come to see learning as a chore, a threat, or even an impossibility. Gone are the joy, love, and wonder of discovery. I have never lost those — not as a student, and never as a professional. Everything still fills me with curiosity.

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES / POTENTIAL

I’m the guy who volunteers first. I’m the guy who gets everyone excited with a great idea. I’m the guy who sets it all into motion. Then, I’m often the guy who finds something else to get excited about before the first thing is complete. And then I’m the guy who writes the apology to everyone else. But I’m getting better.

EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

As a college student: Student newspaper (editorials editor), campus literary journal (some copy editing), campus ministry, student radio, and writing tutor. As a teacher: Math team coach, play director, prom advisor and millions of other tasks that they don’t tell you about in teacher school.

WORK EXPERIENCE AND PROFESSIONAL GROWTH:

I’m about to enter my tenth year teaching in Hawaii’s independent schools; I’ve taught courses in drama, English, math, computers, communication, oral interpretation, reading, and writing. This year, I add yearbook production to that list. Currently, I teach at ASSETS School, which specializes in students with language-based learning differences.

. . . . . .

10. FINANCIAL REASONS FOR APPLYING

Are you kidding? Have you seen your tuition?

. . . . . .

10. FINANCIAL REASONS FOR APPLYING (what I really wrote)

The saddest irony in my life is that I borrowed money in order to pay for an education that enabled me to pursue a career that just barely allows me to afford living space and to repay the loan. Now, in order to become even better at this underpaying career, I’m about to plunge even more deeply into debt.

Paperwork and Podcasting

Anyone who has known me professionally or academically knows I just detest paperwork. I don’t know why. I put it off until I can’t possibly put it off anymore, and then when I finally sit down and do it, oftentimes it turns out not to be so bad, and I wonder why I insist on dragging these things out.

Other times, though, it’s excruciating. I had to fill out a bunch of forms for mailing to several different places, all for my admission to HPU’s M.Ed. program, and I’d put it off much longer than I should have. So I took the bus to school (I just can’t get anything done at home, I swear) and after about two hours of messing around, I forced myself to sit down and do the stupid forms. What I had to do, actually, was put four envelopes, four postage stamps, eight forms (two for each addressee), and a cup of water at an empty desk (my classroom partner’s desk is completely empty right now) and do the stupid forms. It was grueling.

What helped me get through it was listening to a several podcasts. I’ve stayed away from the whole podcasting thing for several reasons, not the least of which is my hardware limitations, but I’m always interested in whatever Ryan is up to–in fact I have a couple of secret projects on the burners that are blatant rip-offs of stuff Ryan’s been doing for years or months–and when I saw that Jen does part of Ryan’s podcasts, I figured I’d give it a try.

I ended up listening to four or five half-hour shows. It was really, really entertaining and quite interesting. I don’t know why I allow myself to be surprised by Ryan’s wit; I practically lived with it for a whole school year. Yet he surprises me all the time. I think it’s partially because he’s so given to cliche that he frequently crosses the line into serious corniness, but I’ve known the guy for so long that I should be ashamed of myself for being surprised whenever he’s brilliant, which is almost all the time.

So there’s the wit and the brilliance and there’s a certain amount of creativity, and there’s something that I have always known about him but for some reason never think of when I think of him: a serious understanding of what quality work is. Now, my students will tell you that there are few things I preach more than quality work. I know what it looks like, and I try to help them understand what it takes to produce it, which is first caring enough about what you’re doing to present it at its best and second paying attention to details.

The kind of attention Ryan pays to details excuses all kinds of corniness. The fact that he knows he’s corny doesn’t forgive it entirely, but it certainly goes a long way.

I didn’t mean to turn this into a gigantic french-kissing, but I write this to say that Ryan’s silly half-hour podcasts are thought-provoking, interesting, entertaining, amusing, technically pleasing, and a much better idea than it initially sounded like. Jen comes in for a few minutes to talk about whatever, and it makes me think what I always think when I think of her: she makes him better. She’s got a hot voice, too.

So I listened to a few other podcasts, and you know, I should have known that most of the stuff out there isn’t as good as Ryan’s. Most of it doesn’t even come close. There are some really good ideas out there that don’t SOUND good, or the good idea is ruined by a host who doesn’t really know what he or she wants to say and punctuates his or her thoughts with countless “ums” and “uhhhhs.” Ryan doesn’t do that and neither does Jen.

This is not to say that I’m only interested in hi-fidelity quality mp3s, or that everything should be rehearsed; it’s only to say that more than in real life, the good stuff seems to come to the top on the web, and I need to stop being surprised whenever Ryan takes something new and establishes the standard.

So. I’m jumping in. I have to give this podcasting thing a try; I’ve already approached the original Village Idiots and we’ve got something really cool lined up, but before I attack that, I’m going to get something of my own up and running, just to see if I can do it. Do it well, I mean.

More later.

For Now

This’ll do for now. It’s not what I had in mind, but I’ve had trouble getting the themes downloaded that I really was interested in. The first one was by a French designer whose entire site was written in French, and I couldn’t find a download link for the theme. The next only had the download in .gz archive, which my main machine at home isn’t set up to extract–I know that’s an easy fix, but I’m working on a million other things right now and can’t be bothered.

I want something with the off-white on black color scheme I had before I installed the WordPress. Until I learn how to set it all up myself, which isn’t going to be real soon, I’ll go with someone else’s canned theme.

For now, content is all that matters.

On Second Thought

I’m typing this from a computer away from home, and boy, the style I’ve installed kinda sucks from where I’m seeing it. My bare-bones PC at home didn’t display the cursive (and barely tolerable) font and while the c0lors are good, I think I’m displeased and will have to try a different theme. This is really too gimicky for me. I appreciate the unique look and I love that someone worked really hard to do something different, but over all, this is not going to work.

I’ll try again tonight.

Higher Higher Learning

So ten years after finally graduating with my B.A., I’m about to re-enter the hallowed halls and pursue an M.Ed. at Hawaii Pacific University. It’s got a brand-new program in secondary teaching that really appeals to me for a few reasons:

  1. It’s a new program. I like the idea of getting in on something in its early stages.
  2. HPU is in downtown Honolulu, an area I have always enjoyed spending time in. Plus, it’s very close to home (just an hour’s walk, if it ever comes to that).
  3. HPU is a small school, and I’m a small-school guy.
  4. I know a million people with advanced degrees from UH-Manoa. I know very few people with advanced degrees from HPU. That’s appealing for some reason.

Plus, it really is time. I need those extra letters after my name and I can always use that extra knowledge in my brain. I know who I am and what I am, and I feel great about both, at least professionally, so I go in with nothing to prove to anyone. All I’m going to do is ask myself before every class session what I can get out of my time and what I might be able to offer others.

I sorta can’t wait, but I need to calm down and focus–I have a ton of stuff to get done before I’m actually admitted and I’ve got to get a lot of things in order for work. I have been steadily getting a lot of prep-stuff done and was feeling very, very good about my progress, but then I agreed to take on the yearbook. Yes, I’m a banana. Now my line looks like this: one section of literary analysis, two sections of algebra II, one section of freshman computer, and one section of yearbook production. Holy. Mackerel.

I’ve taken a ridiculous amount of time to prepare my problem set for next year’s math league events. Each school has to submit a complete set (that’s three problems–easy, medium, difficult–each in six events and one team problem) and at most schools, the task is divided among the math teachers. I’m a one-coach team, though, so it all falls on me. I think I’ve already spent a good twenty or twenty-five hours on the problems, but I’m just about done now. Just another hour to compose my solutions and then to photocopy and staple.

The problems aren’t due until the first meet in October! I am so on it!

Still Tweaking

Can’t get the links roll in the sidebar to do what I want, but what’s there right now is much, much better than what I had. Also failed miserably installing a random-banner generator for the front page. I thought I fixed it (there was a missing quotation mark in the template!) but there’s still one error popping up, exactly where that missing quotation mark was, so there’s either a problem with the code or I did something goofy with the install, which involved editing a couple of lines in the plugin before uploading and the directions for editing were a bit vague.

I’m not pleased with the width of the display, either, but should probably check it out with other browsers and other monitors. The monitor I’m using is a piece of crap and I can’t set screen res as high as I want it.

One thing that’s really going to be a problem is figuring out some way to keep doing the quick, random opinions. I would prefer to keep it in the sidebar, but how then will I keep it with its assigned post? It’s a problem. I may have to do it as a footnote on the entry page.

It’s nearly two and I have a million things to do tomorrow, so this is all going to have to wait.

“I hate waiting.”