Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chip off the old block

It's been a while I know but we've been very busy. School's going well. Grades are good. I've completed all the reading for all my courses, have 2 more papers to write (5 page and 20 page) and have finished the 1st draft on the shorter paper. Bascially in good shape.

The fun part of this weekend was yesterday. Grasshopper was selected for the All County Elementary Band. It's pretty amazing as his older brother has yet to achieve that honor and this is only Grasshopper's 2nd year of playing. The performance was amazing. There was the Elementary Orchestra, basically 5th and 6th graders playing as well as any professional orchestra I've ever heard. Unfortunately, classical music makes me sleepy so I spent a lot of the performance just trying to stay awake.

The Elementary Chorus was a joy to watch. They had some great songs and they brought in some accompanists that just made the performance. The Elementary Band was totally awesome. And not just because my kid was in it. They really sounded great, especially considering they'd only had a grand total of about 8 hours of practice together over 3 different days. It amazes me the talent of these kids (mine included). I recall thinking originally that the Euphonium was sort of a lame instrument when Grasshopper said he wanted to play it. But he really loves his instrument and he'd damn good! So he's converted me. Playing in the bass section is totally cool.

They recorded the performance and we should be getting a CD in a few weeks. Once we have it, I may post a little clip of the band so everyone can hear. In the meantime, it's on with school, work, and raising the kids. Wrestling is done for the season so we have a short lull until soccer starts in May. I am looking forward to going to boy scout camp with the boys in July. A whole week with no access to nothing! It will be nice to be out of touch for a little while. And the Wife gets the house to herself!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Haven't ranted in a while

Since I'm caught up with school work and have a relative lull (about 12 hours before I have to go crazy again), I thought I'd throw this out for you all. The Wife sent me the original link. It concerns an article about how the Girl Scouts stopped an enterprising young lady from selling Girl Scout cookies on line. The referenced article is below:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/188714

Basically it boils down to this: The Girl Scouts of America prohibits online sales as "unfair" and selling cookies should be a "face to face activity". Mind you, all this girl did was create a you tube video and set up an online form, stating she would only take local orders so she could personally deliver the cookies "face to face". And check out in the article the requirements to get the equivalent of the merit badge for techology. All you need to do is visit 3 websites and send an email.

My big beef with the Girl Scouts comes from my experience with Boy Scouts. Boy Scouts camp, learn to cook for themselves, tie knots, first aid, and generally learn how to be self sufficient and ready for any situation. Solid life skills. The Girl Scouts? Well, perhaps a real world example tells it best. Maverick's old cub scout den leader has a daughter in Girl Scouts. He suggested to the den mom that he could help out, maybe organize a camping trip or overnight, or some such type of activity. He was told rather rudely, "This isn't the Boy Scouts".

As an organization, the Boy Scouts of America are somewhat loose. Troops are allowed to basically put together their own program and don't need to even take funding from the local council if they choose not to. As long as they pay their charter fee, they're free to do as they like as long as advancement follows the Boy Scout rules. The Girl Scouts, on the other hand, give the local troops no automomy whatsoever. Boy Scouts get a large percentage of the sales (about 30% goes back to the scouts). Girl Scout troops, on the other hand, get about 50 cents on a $3 box. Half of that goes to the NATIONAL Girl Scout organziation. Some additional goes to the local councils. In the Boy Scout world, about 70% of popcorn sales stay local (between the troop and local council) and very little goes to the national council. Moreover, Girl Scouts earn things like teddy bears for selling a lot of boxes where Boy Scouts actually earn MONEY, as in camp dollars, for selling popcorn. They can use this money to go to summer camp or shop at the scout store for supplies, or if they want earn cool prizes including gift cards to Wal-Mart and such.

Basically, the majority of the fundraising the Girl Scouts do goes to keeping the Girl Scouts running instead of making a better experience for the scout. I kind of wonder just what the Girl Scouts are teaching our young women. How to be good wives and homemakers? Good thing I don't have daughters. I might have to rebel against this notion of "girls can't" and teach them to be ninja assasins or something.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

*Updated* Quick update

2 really fast things before I head off for a gig. First, I got back my grade from the major paper I turned in about 2 weeks ago. A+! Feels good to be rewarded for a HUGE amount of hard work.

But, more importantly, I'd request prayers for my nephew. He complained about trouble seeing and headaches the other day and then had trouble walking. He's been admitted and the doctor's aren't sure what's up yet. They've done a CAT scan which was negative and they've ruled out meningitis. They're waiting to do an MRI. I'll update when I know something.

*Update* - got a call from my sis yesterday. My nephew is fine. They ran all kinds of tests and didn't find anything so she took him home yesterday. They did find evidence of some cold medicine in his system and suspect it was an allergic reaction, but nothing definate. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Can You Hear Me Knocking?

Just a couple of updates while I'm riding the train to Schenectady (the only way to fly).

Grad school is going well so far. The few grades I've recieved are good. I'm knee deep in assessment exams and a so-called 2 page paper that will have about 8 pages of appendices to support the 2 required pages. I just keep on going, baby.

The work thing is slowly sorting itself out. I spoke to my new manager yesterday (she's really my old manager's boss, but with him gone tomorrow, she's taking over for a while). There were some rumors flying around about the future of the team and I had two open positions that were put on hold. She cleared the air about the two open positions and it all makes sense. There may be some behind the scenes political stuff going on but being the optimistic fool that I am, I'm taking her explanation at face value.

She mentioned that my old boss' job (which I woulndn't mind having) is currently under review. She and the CIO want to discuss the job requirements before looking for a replacement. With all the things going on and the fact my new boss trusts myself and my co-manager, she's in no big hurry right now. However, I did offer to assist her in determining those responsibilities and mentioned I had some ideas I'd like to share. Oh, and that I would be interested in filling the position. Yes, people, I can play the game very effectively.

The boys are doing well. Not sure if I mentioned that Grasshopper was selected for the All-County band at school. He's turning into quite the little musician. Maverick is still keeping us busy with wrestling even though the season is over. There's still a few more tournaments. So things never really do end in our place. Grasshopper did cross over to Maverick's boy scout troop so we're officailly done with cub scouts. That means I'll be going to summer camp with them for a week in July with no access to work. I'm really looking forward to that. And the Wife will have the house to herself for the week (well, her and the dog). I think she's REALLY looking forward to that.

Well, time to log in to work and be productive.