Sunday, December 7, 2008

Airport Dinners

Is it just Sbarro or does every pizza establishment that sells by the slice recycle old cheese pizza into pepperoni pizza? Probably every one does it, but because I most commonly eat pizza by the slice when I'm running through airports, I only notice it at Sbarro (which seems to be in every airport in the country).

How can I tell? Well, it's pretty apparent when the pepperoni aren't melted into the cheese. Instead, of being part of the pizza, they're arranged like little crowns set atop the cheese. Don't get me wrong, I still buy it, eat it and enjoy it. But I still feel like I'm eating recycled pizza. Somehow, I don't think eating recycled pizza makes me green or eco-friendly or a friend of the enviorment or whatever the eco-aligned phrase of the day is. I think it makes me a sucker.

I pay more for my beloved pepperoni on recycled cheese pizza. Sbarros loves me.

Strangers In Airports

People are unusual, sometimes downright strange.

I don't consider myself an overly-sensivitive individual. Sensitive, maybe...but sensitive to the point where I'm offended when someone uses curse words, hardly. Provided I know them and they know me that is.

I just sat on the shuttle bus from the F gates in the Philadelphia airport to the B-C-D (are there no E gates in Philly? Or maybe they're just so close to F you're better off walking. I don't know.) and since the bus was crowded, I had the opportunity to be pretty intimate with the passenger sitting on my lap. He was a gregarious sort, not snobby or pretentious and seemed pretty down to earth, but our conversation start with the epitath "F*ckin' Philly airport".

While I may be an introvert, I'm not adept at avoiding conversations. (Weird, eh?) So I engaged him in some banter about the pros and cons of the various airports that make up the hubs for US Airways' east coast operations. (Laguardia is my personal favorite, despite all-to-frequent ATC delays, followed by Philadelphia, despite having to have at least an hour layover in order to make any connection if you're going to or from the F-gates, and finally National, I hate Gate 35 which is really only barely above mass chaos.)

What struck me most during the course of our conversation was he repeated use of words that were probably made most famous by George Carlin. Now, I swear. I curse. I have friends who swear and curse. But a stranger? It seemed off-putting. How did he know I wouldn't be offended? Did he not care if someone was unimpressed with his vocabulary? Personally, I would never consider swearing to a stranger. I just wouldn't want that to be my first impression. Plus, you never know when you'll run into them again - trust me, the world's much smaller than it seems.

Maybe I wouldn't have noticed if it was just once. Or twice. But his use of these colorful adverbs and adjectives (he used them interchangably) was continuous. I was actually thankful to disengage from the conversation when the bus arrived at the B-C-D gates and we all exited. Now, I might have been thankful anyway - just 'cause I don't particulary care for strangers, but I was especially thankful in this case.

"What did people sitting around us think?" I wondered. "Did they assume that we don't know any better? Or that we were chums? Do I care?" I wonder alot of things...this shouldn't surprise anyone who knows me. At the very least, I'd rather leave people feeling I had something of value to offer during the course of a conversation - an insight, a unique observation. Not that I have a massive use of curse words and an inability to determine an appropriate time and place to use them.

Am I crazy? Probably. But at least I didn't curse.

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Ideas for Secondary Education

What a topic. I have no idea why this subject chose to bounce around in my brain during the flight from Spokane to Minneapolis, but it did. As I have absolutely no way of remembering these ideas, I figured I'd blog about them in the hope I'll actually be able to revisit them when I have time to actually research them. In the meantime, here are my thoughts:

  1. Project-based education
  2. Cirriculum assessment vs. personnel assessment
  3. Peer-based discipline

Now, I suppose I should take a few minutes before I catch my flight for Dayton to elaborate...

Project-based Education

As I work in an organization that moving toward becoming a project-based organization, I'm wondering if the value in collaborating on specific projects could be translated into a means of achieving educational objectives in a more structured educational environment. Students and teachers would work together during specific times during the week on projects that cross disciplines and address topical issues.

This format would encourage the development of research skills by requiring students to identify the issues surrounding the assignment in order to develop a solution or accomplish the object they are presented with. I guess a reasonable simile would be to liken this to advance role-playing without the drama.

In addition, this format would better prepare students for becoming active participants within their communities, be they home or work, by helping them develop the collaboratory skills that are necessary to address the significant issues facing every community.

Cirriculum Assessment vs Personnel Assessment

Everyone gets assessed. Everone meet some minimum thresholds in order to retain their employment. Teaching should be no different. The question of teacher assessment, however, has been confusing jumbled into an incomprehensible morass. I propose separating the assessment of the quality of the cirriculum (and it's corresponding impact on students) from the personnel assessment about whether each instructor is conforming to the expectations that surround them.

Peer-based Discipline

I would like to replicate some of the higher education, peer-review models for discipline that focus more on education than punishment, at least for some offenses. I believe that high school students might be more receptive to modifying their behavior if they realize their behavior will be evaluated by their peers.

I don't know if high school students are developmentally prepared for this challenge. That is one of the areas that needs to be researched.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Politics 2008: Income Taxes & The Candidates

Kudos to CBS News for producing an excellent segment on the potential impact the candidates proposed tax changes would have on three typical families. It really is amazing to see the high-level policy changes measured in terms of dollars.

Here's the spoiler, I don't expect the relatively small dollar impact to sway many voters one way or the other, but I have to believe its great information to know...if for no other reason, it might allow us, the voting public, to focus on other issues where there are significant difference in making our decision!

You can watch it on or just look below...

Where They Stand: The Candidates & The Impact of Their Proposed Income Tax Changes

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Love This!

After realizing that my beloved Doctor Who and Torchwood are both going to be shortened seasons next year , I happened to come across this on DeviantArt and simply had to share it...


The Doctor And The Captain by *AtomicFireball on deviantART

Friday, June 20, 2008

On The Mend...I Hope

What a week. I've been on quarantine all week in an effort to keep Suki from acquiring any of the infections she so thoughfully gave me. I guess if she gave them to me, she probably couldn't get them back again, but that wasn't a chance we were willing to take.

So far the tally stands at:
  1. Pink eye in the left eye (the one that started this whole mess)
  2. Pink eye in the right eye (yippee, two for the price of one!)
  3. Ear infection
  4. Sore throat
  5. A cold (just to round everything out and make me completely miserable)

Wednesday saw me revisit my doctor and beg for relief. Now for someone who typically doesn't enjoy seeking medical attention, two visits in one week is really big news. That visit resulted in a new antibiotic eye drop formula and an oral antibiotic. Apparently, oral antibiotics don't work on eye infections and vice versa.

The good news is that now that it's Friday, I'm pretty sure I'm making progress. Healing. Slowly. All in all its made me ready for a really long relaxing weekend, which I suspect isn't going to happen. I know. Welcome to parenthood.

I also found out today that Road Runner is planning on abandoning usenet. It's always annoying when I find out that the services I'm paying for are going away while the price I'm paying continues to increase. Somehow, that doesn't seem right in my mind, but obviously I don't any influence over the decision makers unless I want to forgo my connection to the web.

Its just so interesting that in a society that is seeming committed to capitalism, we so often wind up with government-sanctioned monoplies that are rarely, if ever, challenged to reduce prices or improve services. It would be ideal if the free market really existed, but the more I think about it, we're really not interested in free market economics at all (I know, earth-shattering revelation, right?'re just wondering what took me so long to figure it out...).

I guess its just the idealist in me that find some solice in the fact that I may be able to move the market simply by purchasing or not purchasing a specific service or product. Unfortunately, I guess the idealist is tempered by the fact that there simply aren't choices for most of the products or services I pay for.

I can choose one grocery store over another, but in order to take advantage of the prices each offer over the other, I have to make two trips - one to each store and only buy the cheaper items available at each. With gas at over $4 a gallon, there have to be some significant savings to make that concept pay off.

I can choose DSL over cable when it comes to internet access, but the trade off is speed. I'm speedy...or at least I want to be when it comes to surfing/working/shopping on the internet. I simply don't have the patience to wait. And, currently with both cable and DSL, I can say that cable is definitely faster. (DSL is my back up connection - for quite a while Time Warner seemed unable to keep a connection to my house for any extended period of time making a back-up connection necessary...expensive, but necessary for someone who has to work from their home!) So, once again, there's really no equal's just not possible to compare apples to apples.

I could choose satellite TV over cable or IP TV over cable, but while they each offer television, none of them offer comparable quality of service. (Yes, I'm talking out my ass here...I only have cable and haven't had satellite or IP TV to actually experience a difference. I have, however, read a great deal about both and based on what I've read, cable is still superior for my personal use.)

It just seems ridiculous to me that I can't really exercise my pocketbook to get the services that I want for a reasonable price. I'm the one paying, why is everyone else deciding what it is that I should (or shouldn't) have?

Can someone please do something about this?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eye Infections Suck.

Yes, they really, really do.

My father's day present from Suki was a wonderful little eye infection that doesn't seem to be going away. Now, in addition to the whole itchy, scratchy eye thing, I now have a sore throat, a sore ear and feel pretty icky.

On Monday, I went to my doctor and got a prescription for antibotic eye drops along with the instruction to call if it got worse. What I didn't ask was "what constitutes worse?" Without any real object criteria to go by, I found myself asking my spouse "does it look worse to you?"

This has been pretty much ongoing since yesterday. She's probably pretty sick of my asking, but I'm at a loss for what else to do. Finally, this morning I gave in and scheduled another doctors appointment. Just to be sure. After all, it's my eye we're talking about here. For some reason I'm more attached to it than I am to a finger, a toe or even maybe a whole foot.

It's probably on par with an arm or a leg, but I suspect if I was forced to choose, the eye would still probably come out on top. (No pun intended.)

Personally, I hate being sick. I don't do well at it. I don't like lying around doing nothing and lately, that's all I've felt like. Its very disconcerting and makes me pretty darn grumpy. (As if I'm not grumpy most of the time anyway....the peanut gallery can without their comments. Thanks.)

Okay...that's my update. Now, my recommendation - all new parents should have some kind of immunization boosters that they go through as well as the babies. Everyone I talk to says the same'll get worse until their about three. Three! That's two and a half eternities from now. Are you telling me that there's nothing we can do in the meantime? No shot we can get to help us fend off this new onslaught of diseases? C'mon doc, give me something!

Ok, I'm just whining now. I know it. It's another by-product of being sick. To spare you any more of my abuse, I'll wrap up and let you get on to your otherwise fruitful day. While I lay here grumpy and half-blind.

Enjoy yourself.

And, for goodness sake, if you're expecting a new child, get a booster shot.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Time Zones

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I don't encounter issues with time zones everyday, but when I do, they're almost overwhelming. Take this current trip, for instance. Travel from Dayton to Sarasota, problem. EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) all the way. But then comes the flight from CLT (Charlotte, NC) to PHX (Phoenix, AZ) to ANC (Anchorage, AK) to JNU (Juneau, AK). I tried to manage the different time zones the best I could by specifying in Outlook what time zone I was actually going to be in for each appointment I added. (In the past, I'd neglected to do this and then changed the time zone on my laptop to reflect my current location only to find that every appointed on my calendar was screwed up and its taken the better part of a year to get everything back in order. I don't like to make the same mistake twice in a row...that's just stupid.)

Now here's where part of the problem comes in...why can't all the devices I sync with Outlook follow along? I sync my Blackberry and my cell phone (Nokia 6682) with Outlook so I always have my schedule handy, no matter what instrument I happen to have on me at the time. My cell phone changes time zones automatically wherever I happen to be. A nice feature. My Blackberry does not, resisting any and all attempts to identify its own location without some user input. Now I'm afraid to change my PC timezone as I still don't know if all of the appointments I have on my calendar have the correct time zone specified and I'm not willing to risk another colossal mess. The downside is that while my phone knows the time where it is, it doesn't realize that the appointments were made in different time zones. As a result, alarms are constantly going off about four hours early. My Blackberry, which shows the wrong time, gets the alarms right.

Is this making sense? Can you see why I'm so frustrated?

Why hasn't somone figured this out? Surely there are people who routinely travel for work, travel across time zones, and have had to deal with this. Have we all just given up to the spectre that is changing time zones? C'mon people...I need guidance! Advice! Suggestions! Anything that might help keep my from losing my mind...or missing a flight or an appointment.


Does anyone know what time it is...really?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Nothing Better for Lunch Than Cold Marco's...

Yep, we're addicted. Marco's pizza has become our absolute fave pizza (despite their erroneous claim that pizza was created in Italy...we all know it was really created in France!). Lunch today was leftover thin-crust pepperoni and CheezyBread (a wonderous blend of cheese with no pizza sauce...yummy, yum, yum!).

If you haven't tried it yet, I strongly urge you to do haste!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Of No Use

Well, last night Debra confirmed it. I'm of no use to her.

Yes, I am taking it out of context, but it's so much more fun that way! :) Actually we were discussing the effects of my work-related travel on my ability to help around the house. The conversation went something along these lines....

Debra: "I almost prefer it when you're gone for a week or so rather than gone for three days, back for one and then gone again."

Me: "Really?!? I always feel bad when I'm travelling for extended period of time..."

Debra: "Well, when you get back, you're of no use to me. It usually takes you a couple of days to recover. And all I want to do is throw stuff at you to do..."

Shawn: "Well, travel is hard...."

Yeah, I know the context really negates the whole impact of the statement. But I still think it was funny enough to write about it. I mean really, how often do you get told that you're of no use to your partner?

Not everyday, I hope!

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Well, its March...and it snowed. Alot.

What kind of blogger would I be if I didn't show you some pictures?

Our Snow House (Part 2)
Drifting Over The Eaves
Snow On The Bushes

Not enough to chill you to the bone? Well, there's more at Flickr, just click here to see them all!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Gotta Love A Geek

How surprised am I to find that my cousin has a website! Scott Shimp is a professional photographer in Harrisburg, PA and has an impressive portfolio online. Be sure to check it out at !

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Picasa Find

I've been playing around with Picasa and digging up some (relatively) old photos that were "lost" on some of my different network drives. (Yes, I have the habit of storing files on network shares in places where they really don't below, only to forget where I put them. What makes sense at one moment in time usually doesn't withstand the test of time to make sense at any point in the future. This is the story of my life.)

Since I was amused by by some of the photos, I'd thought I'd share them with you.

Meme from 2005-01

Meme (again) from 2004-12

Three Beautiful Women from 2004-12

Okay, that's it for now, I'll post more as I find me, there's alot of them! (This should provide me with blogging content for quite a while!)