Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What Fresh Hell Is This...Redux

The beginning of the school year always seems to find me quoting Dorothy Parker.

Last year's quote was"What fresh Hell is this" - which summed up the
"District Convocation" .

This year the quote is again apt. That's really very sad since it's not a positive quote.

August, 2007 brought "The Teacher Institute". The idea was that we'd get to pick our own in-services so that we could go to what interested us. That way we might be a better audience (teachers are notorious for being rude). Then the district started requiring some people to attend some sessions and other other people to attend other sessions. By the time it was all over many people had no choice at all.

The site was one of the districts very large high schools. It was built in the mid seventies , a nadir for school architecture and at the zenith of the "windows, who needs windows" theory of building. The place looks like a large brick prison. Inside there a maze of wandering corridors that make no sense to anyone - even the maps don't work. The "A" hall is next to the "L" hall.

Oh, and did I mention the air conditioning wasn't working properly? And that the temps have been in the 100s? I did mention that the building has no windows didn't I?

The parking lot is totally inadequate for the number of attendees. Car pooling was encouraged but teachers don't car pool very well. They come all areas of the city, and being that most are women many have to drop a child off at daycare or run errands on the way home. Besides, this is Texas, home of big oil and big trucks. Real Texans don't car pool. That's only for wussy Yankees. Cars overflow= the parking lot and are spread far and wide throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. Some folks are getting parking tickets as their back to school present

I'm to do a presentation on "Blogging". I'm told to bring my own projector but that there should be a laptop set up and waiting for me. Being an experienced cynic , I pack the projector,and also a laptop, a very long extension cord, Internet cable, power strip and jump drive.

I find my room. On the teachers desk, an ancient Dell faces the wall. It's dusty. The desks are lined by row by row (and I'm thinking I'd like to go to
Flander's Field where the Poppies grow). A lectern lurks at the front on the room. The room screams "Sage on a Stage" and "Didactic Teachings R Us".

I unpack my equipment. A desk turned sideways, crowned by a box and a 4 heavy literature books becomes a computer stand. The orange extension cord snakes across to an outlet at the east end of the room, the Internet cable goes west. I plug in, hook up, configure and turn on. Lights come on, Windows sings its happy song and all appears to be going well till I click on Internet Explorer. Nothing happens. I trouble shoot, I re-configure, re-power and search for available wireless networks. Still nothing happens.

I stick my head out the door and spy our
Director of Library Services. He tries. Nothing happens. I catch a roving computer geek. He tires. Nothing happens. He gets a different laptop. Still no Internet. There is a strong wireless signal but the computer can't find it. We hard wire it with my 20 feet cable. Still nothing.

"Firewall" he mutters.

The clock is ticking...it's 8 and the programs begin at 8:30.

"Gotta go find another laptop" Dripping with sweat he dashes from the room.

That leaves me, with a presentation to give on Elementary Blogging and no Internet. The dusty laptop is on. I awaken the monitor to find that the teacher who owns it gets as much nasty spam as I do. Leaving one's e-mail open is a district no-no, as is leaving one's computer turned on and logged ion. But e-mail means the Internet is working. I restrain myself from sending tacky e-mails from her mailbox and find the USB port.

The computer can't find my jump drive. It's still running Windows 98, which predates jump drives (and many of the students who will be using it) and it doesn't "see" it. So much for plans A, B, C, & D and maybe E. I know my
presentation is supposed to be on the Ed-Tech web site.

I log on and yes, it's there. Whoo -Hoo - finally a bright spot. Only the ancient Dell is locked down and I can't D/L or save it. I can only view it on the web. Well, it's better than nothing.

I gather the class around the monitor and it's on with the show. 4 slides into it and we're interrupted by the geek, toting 2 more laptops. He hooks up , configures and powers up. No internet.

"Internal firewall".

He notices I'm sitting cross legged on the teachers desk and doing a presentation by monitor.

"I can hook your projector to that computer so that everyone can see"

Sounds good to me, I stop so he can once again hook up, configure and power up and down.
Nothing happens

"Windows 98, it can't find the projector"

"Or my jump drive "I chime in.

He does a little this, he does a little that, suddenly we have a projected image but now what is on the screen doesn't match what's on the wall.

"That's a Windows 98 thing - you'll get used to it".

He notices my presentation is via the Internet.

" You should save it to the desk top"

"Can't " I retort.

He tries.

He can't.

"Give me your jump drive!"

Reluctantly I hand it over. He scurries out of the room, saying "I'm going to save it to the server"

He leaves me with my audience and returns 10 minutes later. The audience by now is wondering if they are attending an in-service or an
Abbott and Costello skit. Not only does anybody not know who's on first, we aren't to sure about second, third or home plate either.

In bursts the Geek, my jump drive in hand.

"It's on the server, you can open it that way".

"Show me" I say, since by this time I am taking nothing for granted.

He clicks here, there, and everywhere and ten folders later finds my presentation.

We are ready to begin (again) and the intercom squawks to life.

"Good morning teachers, it's time to move to your next session".

So much for enlightening folks as to the joys of blogging.

The Geek looks at me.

"You are sure are flexible"

Well, it's either go with the flow or have a nervous breakdown.

I hope the class participants are forgiving when it comes to doing the evaluation.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Somebody Stop Me!

You Are a Not Pack Rat

You're not a pack rat - and there's probably no rats in your home.
You have a living style that's totally minimalist. You're definitely not attached to stuff.

These are Addictive!

You Are Grape

You are bold and a true individual. You are very different and very okay with that.
People know you as a straight shooter. You're very honest, even when the truth hurts.
You are also very grounded and practical. No one is going to sneak anything by you.
People enjoy your fresh approach to life. And it's this honesty that makes you a very innovative person.

This is so me!

Blog Quiz

One interesting sideroom of the Bloggerspace are all the "what / who are you quizes" that have prolifereated, many of which can be found on Blogthings. . Musings of a Library Girl is Picasso.

Who Should Paint You: Alfred Gockel

All American yet funky, you inspire an artist's imagination
And while not everyone will understand your portrait, you will!
I have no clue who Alfred Gockel is - guess I'd better go to Wikipedia and find out!
Hummm...no wonder I don't know anything about him - he's a contemporary artist. Who know Blogging was so educational?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

13 Things I Need to Do to Get the Library Ready ...for The First Day of School

1. Create the AR incentive charts
2. Unpack the stuffed animals
3. Catalog all the books I found at the thrift stores & garage sales this summer
4. Update my Calendar
5. Change out all the flags
6. Put together the library schedule
7. Create a fall library display
8. Dust!
9. Plan the teacher’s book preview and food fest
10. Lesson plans for the first 3 weeks
11. Finish my Activ-Board FlipChart
12. Lay in a supply of food to bring for lunch.
13. Find the alarm clock!

Summer is over...Whahhhhhhhhhhhhh

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Unmentionable Thoughts

Thoughts that flitted through my mind last week while spending enforced time with someone who had a bit to much to contribute:

After the first hour - sore throat
After the second hour -laryngitis
After the third hour - transparent tape
After the fourth hour - duct tape
After the fifth hour - strep throat
After the sixth hour - a thought that should not be commited to cyberspace

A Welcoming Environment?

First day back on duty; and as always it was spent in an all day library meeting. Theme for the year is connecting with students and being extra careful to ensure that the libraries feel friendly and welcoming.

Other topics of discussion - Web 2.0, social networks, blogs, wikis, pod casts and all the other new technologies the digital native use to keep in touch. I know that sooner or later the terms "real life connection" or "real world connection" will pepper an in service.

Meeting is held in a high school library. Above every computer is a large sign stating :


Perhaps the meeting should of been entitled :

Thursday, August 09, 2007

13 Goals I Didn't Attain This Summer

1. Lose 20 lbs
2. Exercise 3x a week (hence the failure of #1)
3. Clean out the closet under the stairs
4. List the back log of books in the garage
5. Re-do the front porch window boxes (60 days of rain)
6. Blog at least 3x a week
7. Plan all my lessons for the entire school year
8. Go to school and get the cataloging backlog caught up
9. Write an article for Library Sparks
10. Write an article for BookThink
11. Wax the floors (ugh)
12. Re-organize all 600+ Amazon books (halfway done!)
13. Get my checkbook balanced (I hate numbers!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!