Sunday, November 25, 2007

Chloe Stepping

Meika already did a bit of a post on Chloe taking some of her shaky first steps. But I have a little more proof for everyone to see.

She'll be cruising by Christmas if you're not careful...

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Summing Up: Camping!

The third weekend in September Sam & I decided we needed a retreat. We headed up to Port Crescent State Park for a weekend getaway. We arrived late on Friday, set up camp, and went right to bed. It was a nice calm night when we went to bed. By the time we woke up, it was a clear but blustery day. Check out the whitecaps!

It was a little chilly, but overall a pleasant day. We cooked up some dee-licious food (thanks to Backpacker magazine recipes), headed into Port Austin, and just hung out enjoying the beautiful surroundings and each other's company.

We decided we really need to get away from it all a little more often... 

Sam crossing the terminus of a mighty river

Hangin' by the campfire

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Worst Video Post Ever

Here's an attempt to make up for not posting for a couple days during the "Post Every Day in November" campaign. I apologize for the quality. And by quality I'm not referring to anything technical, but rather the performance. Remember, I really am smarter than I appear. I promise. :-)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Absurdities at Meijer

Maybe I'm in a weird mood today. Perhaps I'm a little slap happy. Maybe I was inspired by a email Sam sent me about 1977 apparel. Anyway, a quick trip into Meijer for a can of spray paint turned into a foray into the world of the absurd:

When you want to teach your children how to act spoiled & rich (Biblically, of course), here's the perfect solution. It has many improvements over a normal Bible. It's pinker. It's sparklier. It's no longer authored by some all-powerful, all-knowing entity. Now it's authored by the much more down-to-earth Sheila Walsh. After all, what could the King of Creation teach you about being a princess?

Next up: Bible Action figures! Yes! You too can play as Daniel in the lions' den! You too can make the ferocious lions do nothing while Daniel is around! I bet G.I. Joe wouldn't get out so lucky. If you look closely at the fine print on the box, it notes that if your child does act out Daniel being eaten by the lions, they in effect are teaching a heresy and could potentially be excommunicated. Daniel isn't the only model available. You could also own your own Esther, three wise men, David, Goliath, Noah, Mary & Joseph (with free baby Jesus in the manger), and Angel with Shepherd (comes with 2 sheep. Alas, no chorus).

Let's say you work for the U.S. Postal Service. You have a disgruntled co-worker whose name you've just drawn for the office Secret Santa. What to get them? The perfect solution: "Boss Hunter!" For just $4.99, you too can promote homicidal actions toward your office superiors! As the game notes: "Revenge is Sweet!"

Fourth: When you're wandering the aisle of Meijer, often you suddenly get cravings you might not've thought you would have otherwide. Meijer, however, is always prepared! Let's say you suddenly get a craving for a large log of preserved meat of questionable quality. Perfect! They just happen to have a huge pallet of Summer Sausage! Never mind that it isn't summer anymore; never mind that there's no guarantee of what's inside it, it's salty, it's preserved, it's sold in 2 pound logs by the pallet-full! Yum!

Finally: the perfect stocking stuffer for the troubled marriage. Headphones you can connect wirelessly to your television & stereo. "LISTEN...without distrubance!" As you can clearly see from the picture on the box, when the wifey is getting a little too bossy, just turn on the TV, turn on your wireless headphones, and make her sit there and watch the TV without any sound! You can't hear her talk, and she can't hear the TV! It's the perfect solution to a marriage suffering from too much communication!

Seriously though, Meika and I surely must be on similar wavelengths today. I had decided to post on my trip to Meijer today before leaving the store. Just before sitting down to start this post, I just happened to check her blog. Turns out we're topically similar today. Also, if any legal representatives for Meijer happen upon this blog: I really like Meijer. Yay, Meijer!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Perhaps this is cheating...

...but I rationalize it because, if you look closely, you'll notice I didn't actually post on Nov. 1, so I'm already out of the running for all the cash & prizes!

This one's for Sam. She was so proud of her Cubbies (before they got swept of course). But who remembers that anyway? :-)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Summing Up: Tigers vs. White Sox (9/5/07)

The first week of September saw the beginning of the school year, a visit from Mark, and a Tigers game. Mark checked out our new digs and the three of us went to a Tigers/White Sox game on Wednesday night.

The game was a good one. Kenny Rogers started (not the musical, chicken-selling Kenny), and the game was close. In the end it went into extra innings with Timo Perez of the Tigers hitting a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th. We were about to leave in the 10th, but decided to stick it out at least through the end of 11. Luckily, we didn't miss any of the excitement, though we did get home pretty late, since the final out wasn't recorded until 10:49 pm then we had about an hour's drive to get home.

Kenny Rogers on the mound.

The final box-score.

It turned out to be a beautiful night for baseball (besides the group of real estate agents leaning over Mark), and our last game at Comerica Park for the 2007 season. Boo.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Summing Up: The School Year

Since my last major string of posting, several major things has happened. Probably the most notable has been I am now teaching every day. Yes, school has come back into session within the last 67 days! Interestingly enough, in the past 67 days there have only been 43 actual days of school.

This school year is notable in the fact that it's the first year I'm not teaching any classes I've never taught in the past. Even more notably, I'm not teaching any classes I haven't taught for at least 4 years before this year. In theory this should make this school year a breeze. However, I always seem to have the desire to completely change things. This year my big push is including authentic assessments & using artifacts (something the student creates) to demonstrate mastery instead of simply written tests. While these can actually make the school days easier (since students spend some time in class working on their artifacts), they require a decent amount of planning beforehand, therefore increasing my school night workload.

Maybe when I'm 60 I'll settle down and go with what I've done in the past... :-) As it is now, I enjoy creating the new artifacts & attempting to teach using newer technologies (they don't always work as planned). If the goal is to create lifelong learners, I feel it's necessary to get students used to using newer technologies, so they're more comfortable trying them out even when they're 65+ years old. As of 2005, just 27.7% of people 65+ years old had computers with internet connections. Think of how really useful the internet could be for populations that aren't as mobile. The internet can provide all sorts of services and shopping that would otherwise take days of driving around, yet only just over a quarter Americans over 65 have daily access to these services.

Coincidentally, the 43 day old school year is currently just 27.7% of the way through, and looking pretty good.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Summing Up: Connecticut for Labor Day

Sam and I went out to Connecticut to visit her parents over Labor Day. They just moved out east from the Ann Arbor area as a result of Pfizer closing up shop here. We flew into Providence, RI, so I have now officially visited 30 out of 50 states (plus D.C.!).

The summed up itinerary:

1. We visited Yale

2. We looked for towns that inspired Star's Hollow (the town from Gilmore Girls)

3. We ate out at several local-flavor places

4. We went to Block Island, R.I. (think Mackinaw Island, but with scooters instead of bikes)

5. We toured some historical sites (click the plaque to read about spreading "desolation & woe.").

Friday, November 2, 2007

Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Hello. Perhaps you don't remember me. I'm Ben, and I'm the owner of this blog.

It seems that I've been neglecting this blog. It's malnourished and badly in need of more posting. Though it may be on the brink of starvation, I believe I can bring it back with a healthy dose of posting over the next several months. To begin, I'm going to attempt the NaBloPoMo challenge mentioned by Meika. I'm not sure how well it'll all work out, considering I haven't posted on this particular blog since August 27, 2007 (at least it was still this year).

Not posting for 67 consecutive days (almost a Gherig-ian feat!) comes with definite pros and cons:


  • There are a lot of things that've happened in the last 67 days I can post on.
  • Readers may have low expectations (therefore failure will be easier to handle?)
  • No worries about losing the "flow" of the postings (as in switching topics or themes).

  • I haven't posted for 67 days. I don't have a pattern of behavior to fall back on.
  • The reason(s) behind the 67 day lay-off (school, classes, busy schedule, laziness, tiredness, lack of voice, etc.)
  • Thanksgiving (we'll be at the Weiss', so I guess I can just appropriate their computer)

Fun stats:
  • 67 days is equivalent to:
    • 18.34% of a full year
    • 1608 hours
    • 5,788,800 seconds
  • 5,788,880 tons is close to the total output of carbon dioxide for the country of Kyrgyzstan in a year.
    • In comparison, the yearly U.S carbon dioxide output is 6,049,435,000 tons.
  • If I hadn't posted for 6,049,435,000 seconds:
    • It'd be the year 2199
    • I'd be celebrating my 220th birthday (for reference, the U.S. Constitution was signed 220 years ago).
In conclusion, I think we can be thankful I've followed the example of Kyrgyzstan instead of the good ole U.S. of A. :-)