Tuesday, July 31, 2007

We're employeed!

DW and I got our letters in the mail for next year. I've mentioned before that we worked last year for "the Region". There were 10 regions across the city, but that level between chancellor and teacher has been dissolved, along with all the jobs that went with it. Ours included.

I'm happy to say that we've been offered new Department of Ed jobs. The description of "Instructional Technology Specialist" is open to say the least (pdf for the interested), but it is a job. The nice part is that DW and I will be working together for the first time in 3 years. (We met working at the same school.)

Prayers having been answered and a load of our collective consciences, this is good news. The shapelessness of this new position will cause its fair share of stress. At least we don't have to worry about that for a few more weeks.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Travel without Limits

Ooooh, I do enjoy that TransitChek. Pre-tax dollars go onto an ATM card which can be used at the Metrocard ATMs to buy unlimited or pay-per-ride metrocards. I've had a version of transit check for the past 7 years, and it's always been convenient. Since it's money I didn't otherwise see, my already paid unlimited metrocards are like tokens from heaven.

And then there's summer.

DW and I both work for the DOE, and as such we have that nice bit of time called summer vacation. I usually work a good portion of it, but this year we thought it would be nice to have time together off as a couple.

Trying to be somewhat wise with our money, we don't buy unlimiteds during the summer. We tend to travel sporadically, leave the city for a few days here and there, and generally go as the wind takes us. Today it made me aware that with a pay-per-ride metrocard, I make use of the city very differently than I do with the unlimited.

Today we had some errands in the early morning to take care of, but are now at home relaxing. Never quite content to relax, I start thinking about what I might do with this free afternoon...

Me: I could go to [Trader Joes*] and look around. Of course, I probably won't buy anything. And that'd cost 4 bucks that I really don't need to spend.
(*Replace Trader Joes with any other time-passing excursion.)

I love the neighborhood I'm in, and it's surprisingly complete at meeting my everyday needs. It's a shame though, that I'm denying myself the other 98% of the city just to save four measly dollars.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter and the Bloody Ballgame

Cover to cover, Potter is done! I can finally get back to the real world. Reading the paper, listening to the news, and catching up on a few unread RSS feeds.

I won't post anything about it just yet, not even impressions. If you're reading it, enjoy. :)

Bloody ballgame? Remember that I said a few months ago the NY bloodcenter is doing a rewards campaign to increase donations this summer? Well, it looks like they're bloodthirsty for platelets, because I got this in the email this morning:


for patients who need platelets.

I gave blood about a month ago, so I'm not eligible for this, but it might be worth checking out. And you don't have to tell anyone that you did it for the tickets -- just say it's for the children. People eat that stuff up.

Link: NY Bloodcenter Summer Campaign
Link: Schedule a platelet donation (by August 30th for Mets tix)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Surprise Ending!

Okay, there's no way I'm writing anything about Potter. I feel like that's what I see in every blog post these days. I literally have to read link titles with a hand over a (blurred) eye, and even then I have to avoid certain sites. CNN had an link yesterday titled "Potter Spoilers Flood the Web." Newspapers leak book 7 "theories" within articles supposedly about the movie! Who wants to know these things???

I used to enjoy a site called "You're the man now, dog!" It's completely inane, but entertaining during serious procrastination sessions. Each sub-domain (thiscleveridea.ytmnd.com) features an animated gif and a (sometimes) cleverly related sound clip. Here are a few examples, but I would advise Potter readers should not visit these links!*

No More Mister Nice Guy
Paris Hilton Doesn't Change Facial Expressions

Captain Jean Luc Picard (of the USS Enterprise)

Sometimes racy, sometimes irreverent and sometimes just plain stupid, it was a great place to waste some time. You have to visit a few times to understand how its cannibalistic authors operate.

Why shouldn't potter fans visit? When book 6 came out, they had a plethora of these mini-sites that gave away the "big surprise". One included a soundbyte of a guy visiting the midnight bookstore line and screaming the spoiler to the crowd. Talk about a jerk move.

They're at it again with book seven, even changing the title in the site's homepage to reflect their theory. Other YTMND sites have been replaced, so clicking on an old favorite takes you to a scan of the manuscript with selections highlighted for the unsuspecting public.

At 700 pages a book now, this series probably represents more printed material than I've read in the twenty-something years leading up to it. The Book 5 surprise was ruined for me days before the release. Book 6, same thing. I'm doing my darnedest to go into book seven with only one early, un-substantiated rumor (and the hope that the rumor is bunk)

With my last week being out of town, I have hundreds of blogs to catch up on. I will probably be out of touch for the next week too, since the book comes out Friday night. I'll certainly be avoiding CNN, all interesting blogs and any newspaper. I may hideout in the woods. I plan on purchasing our books with those heavy duty headphones so stylishly worn by jackhammer operators. And I'm doing my best to avoid phone calls, emails and all direct eye contact.

My warp-speed-reading DW will be done with the book by Sunday morning. The following three weeks will be spent saying "so, what just happened?" and "I can't wait to talk to you about the next chapter!!" What a good sport she is. :)

Greetings from Tampa, International

It's the first time getting the laptop online in 7 days -- thanks for coming back! I'll be posting again soon, and be back in the city tonight.

Vacations are wonderful, but there's no place like home.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Keeping it all bottled up

A must read:
Message in a Bottle (fastcompany.com)
from the article:

Bottled water is the food phenomenon of our times. We--a generation raised on tap water and water fountains--drink a billion bottles of water a week, and we're raising a generation that views tap water with disdain and water fountains with suspicion. We've come to pay good money--two or three or four times the cost of gasoline--for a product we have always gotten, and can still get, for free, from taps in our homes.

You can buy a half- liter Evian for $1.35--17 ounces of water imported from France for pocket change. That water seems cheap, but only because we aren't paying attention. In San Francisco, the municipal water comes from inside Yosemite National Park. It's so good the EPA doesn't require San Francisco to filter it. If you bought and drank a bottle of Evian, you could refill that bottle once a day for 10 years, 5 months, and 21 days with San Francisco tap water before that water would cost $1.35.

Unbelievable how much money, resources and waste is involved in the business of water. Makes you wonder how many years before we get canned air? Wait, I take that back. :(

DW pondered in April,...
...I'm also thinking that maybe I should just get some type of nalgene bottle instead of buying the liter water bottles. I think reusing them is a good step, but I could do more...
We decided to get a Nalgene bottle, and (since I am such a supportive husband) I bought one also. It actually wound up as three, and each would have its use.

I thought that I would use it for a few weeks, and then be on to the next fad, but they are surprisingly perfect. We fill them up before we leave (mine with ice) and we're good for the trip. The longer the trip, the bigger the bottle. The big guy stays at home usually now, due its weight filled. I love it, and the number of regular water bottles we've bought since we got them, we could probably count on one hand.

Water bottles are definitely more convenient, but if you can fill up before you leave more power to you! :)

Link: Reusable Nalgene Bottles
Link: Message in a Bottle [article]