Thursday, November 29, 2007

UMASS beats Syracuse at Basketball!

Yup, 3-0 vs Syracuse all-time. see here.

Of course, there wasn't as much drama this time as in 1996.

My brother John was having a party at his house watching the game, and I was in Atlanta. When the game ended, just as the buzzer sounded, I called him.

He didn't say hello, or wait for anyone to say anything he just said 'f-u Chris' and slammed down the phone. So I called back a few times ;-)

Did I mention that John went to Syracuse?

Or that Christopher's God Father did?

No, we won't talk about Lacrosse ...

Interacting with the 'Youth' of today

I had two different experiences with the 'youth' of today. First, last Tuesday I presented at Career Day for Meghan's middle school. I only presented to the 8th graders, but it was still fun. I did the usual 'what school I went to', 'what jobs I've had' and 'what does my day looks like' slides in the power point. I then showed them some things about the Internet in general and Facebook in particular.

I showed them my profile, a shared group about a teacher that I had an respected in High School who died this year. I also showed them a page by another student from the same high school that was trashing a different teacher. I talked about how I would give an interview to the student who setup the first group, but that I would go out of my way to make sure the student who setup the second one would never work for me or anyone I know. I think it sunk in with most of them that their actions are noticed by people, even ones that they have never met or ever expect to.

I also showed them a picture of my brother Pat that I had placed in my Facebook photos, but 'tagged' as him. It was showing up in his profile when you viewed it. I told the story of a kid who went on vacation for a week, but a 'friend' had posted embarrassing photos of him and tagged them, so the whole world could see them in his profile. Since he wasn't around to remove them, lots of people saw them.

Finally, I showed them the 'way back machine' and a google search on my name that returned results from 1991. Spooked a few of the kids that all this information was available with a simple search. I had one girl give a big 'uh oh' when I told them that things on the Internet never go away.

Probably the best part was on Friday I received 3 letters from the students thanking me for my presentation and the cool, and scary, things I showed them about the Internet.

Then Monday of this week, I chaperoned Meghan's class to Fernbank, a museum in Atlanta. I was assigned 8 kids, 7 girls and one boy. And the boy didn't really know any of the girls. At first I felt sorry for him, then the drama started. Apparently he had just broken up with his 'girlfriend' and all her friends kept coming up to him to 'talk' and give him grief. Christ, what drama. I got sick of it so I took my group to another part of the museum away from everyone else. As we were walking away he mumbled 'thanks'. I told him 'just wait it gets worse'.

Other than the small dramas that are so typical of middle school, the trip was great.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We had a nice dinner with the Lukasiks in the newly-renovated dining room.

Here is a before picture from 2004:

Here is the after:

It took us five and a half days to strip the old wallpaper, clean the walls, repair the sheetrock under the chair rail, primer and paint the walls. We painted the ceiling, the molding, the windows and finally hung a new light.

All while the girls and Christopher wouldn't leave us alone.

Some thoughts from the process:
- If I ever hear 'let's wallpaper' again, I will run away
- If we ever decide to paint any room red (or any shade of red!), please shoot me
- The man with the yellow hat is an idiot
- I like Curious George, but not for 18 hours in a row

There are some new pictures in the Flickr site also.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Inflicting our Music on our children

Driving home yesterday in the great Atlanta traffic, I landed on a station playing an Eagles song. I listened all the way to the end, which is odd since I've probably heard it a thousand times. As I stared at the bumper of the car in front of me, it occurred to me that the Eagles wasn't a band I found and liked, it was one of the ones my Dad listened to.

Being a parent now, it occurred to me that we are defining our children's' music taste by the stuff we make them listen to. Meghan received an iPod for her 12Th birthday last year and I was helping her pick out songs on iTunes. (No, I don't have an iPod, see this thread.) I tried to download some of the songs I knew she liked as well as a few from my past that I thought she would like. No such luck, nothing I suggested that wasn't released in the last year made it on the iPod.

Coincidentally, the comic strip Zits (see above) did a whole arc on the Dad's love for the Beatles and the son liking them as well. Of course, they blew it by ending with the 'elevator music' comment at the end. Ask any parent with teenagers or older and you'll find there are overlaps in the music they liked.

Looking at my musical tastes, I see some of my parent's influence. Most notable these days are the Eagles and Simon and Garfunkel. I still have the concert in central park CD in the auto-changer in the car. Looking at today's music, I like some things, but a lot of it is crap. Of course, a lot of what I grew up with was good and a lot was crap, so I try not to judge what my kids listen to. Of course, no Justin Timberlake. He just annoys the crap out of me.

I do sometimes sneak on a Led Zeppelin CD, or put the classic rock station on, or leave the 'big 80's weekend' on when driving the kids around. About 50% of the time they don't complain.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Anyone remember CCD?

In the last week I have been in two different meetings where comments were made about CCD. Both were meetings outside of work where I didn't know the people involved very well. The first was a conference call with a 'consortium of competitors', the second a technology architects meeting. In the first one after a comment by another person on the call, I then made a joke about it and several people on the call didn't get what were joking about. I had to explain it was 'church school for Catholics'.

The second was even funnier. The meeting was a presentation about User Centric Design. He was a good presenter and at the beginning he apologized for changing between 'You Guys' and 'All, you All' since he lived in New Jersey and Texas. His group is called 'CCD' and he commented that he feels like he's in church school every day. I laughed and said 'That proves you're from Jersey' and a couple of people laughed. The presenter then said 'Yeah, even though I'm Jewish I know what that is'. Again, had to explain it to a few people.

It is interesting that this came up twice within a week. More interesting is I'm in the South and they call it 'parish school of religion' (PSR) instead of CCD. I taught both Meghan and Courtney's classes for several years at St. Catherine's.

Another flashback: as a kid in Catholic School, we used to call CCD 'cruddy crappy destroyers' because our desks would be trashed after each class. As a teacher, I made sure my kids didn't mess with the desks in the classrooms we were in.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

This is old school Giants NOT the red jerseys

No comments about how the game went. It is the Giants we're talking about.

But this is the jersey they should have worn. Anyone younger than 30 know who wore 11?

More pictures here

Saturday, November 10, 2007

80s Flashback

As I'm driving home from work on Thursday, an 80's song by Bon Jovi comes on. It was 'living on a prayer' or 'living on our hair' as my friend Laryssa used to call it.

Those failing brain cells fired in their weird way and I remembered the song 'Bitchin' Camaro', of course I can't think of a Camaro without thinking about John. John wasn't a mullet-head Camaro owner, more of a flannel and corduroy. (Don't know what flannel is? Norm is a good example these days.)

Of course, Laryssa memories often fire those synapses around other odd 80's things like: 'I Love Dumb Guys' bumper stickers (This was a store in Pittsfield. MA) and Flat Street dance club and of course, Chevettes.

Just a few random thoughts

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween 2007

Christopher had a blast. He wasn't sure at first what to do, but it didn't take long to figure out people were giving him candy!

Meghan was a captive princess of a pirate, Courtney was a Vet and Christopher was Curious George.

Deb took Courtney and Christopher around, while Meghan went with her friend Rebbecca.

More pictures here.

Ice Cream!

Christopher had some ice cream last weekend.

More pictures here.