Thursday, October 6, 2011

Of Funerals, Volleyball, and Software

What a week.  I’m writing this from school because blogspot has been crashing my home computer… I can’t even get to the troubleshooting/helps page from home because…  Yeah, you get it.
My wife’s grandfather died yesterday (not suddenly, but thank you for your condolences, etc…   etc…)  He was as decent and godly a man as any.  We’re leaving tomorrow (silence the pianos and with muffled drum).  Funerals can be ghastly occasions, but I’m anticipating this one will be quite nice.  My college roommate introduced me to his cousin Liz – my future wife.  We moved to the hometown of her best friend and cousin Mary Rose, though she has married and moved to some far off land…  So, although funerals are somber, it will be nice to see everyone and catch up.
Death is fantastic and stupid.  I coach volleyball.  We’ve been winning here at the end of the season.  If we win tonight, we go to the championship game on Saturday.  It’s been a LONG season.  There have been several days that I left home before my kids were awake, and returned after they were asleep.  As teachers (and likely as human beings) we all make sacrifices for the betterment of ourselves and society.  The young ladies on my team have worked hard, and developed not just as athletes but also as compassionate, dedicated, thoughtful and insightful people.  I hope that my absence from the game isn’t detrimental to their season, but it can be an encouragement as well.  Ultimately volleyball is just volleyball, and family should come first.  Hopefully they take that lesson the right way.

I’ll tell ya… give a guy a soap box…

What software applications do I use regularly?  I guess you’d have to define “software applications” and “regularly.”  I use MSWord, the internet, and my SMARTboard every day.  Sometimes I break out power  point, but these days I’m relying on SMART notebook more and more… (essentially ppt for the SMARTboard.)  I use my iPod quite a bit.  We listen to songs and poems.  We haven’t done much with podcasts, but I’m not opposed to it.

I’ve wanted to learn Excel for years.  I’ve felt pretty incompetent for not knowing it…  Apparently, there are quite a few people out there who aren’t using Excel to its full potential.  I just learned some basics for this class – and man I’ve exploded out of the gates.  I created a spread sheet tracking student test scores for several years.  I showed it to the other teachers in my block, and now they want me to make them for their bubble kids as well.  There’s so much I could potentially do with Excel – chart earthquake occurrences, religious populations and percentages, ethnic growth and conflict… I’m not a math-y person.  Looking at numbers is one thing, see the numbers on a clear chart is another.  (And since I’m the one making the chart, I can be assured that it’s not propaganda…

I’m planning on spending at least two hours a week working on improving my Excel knowledge through web-tutorials and simply messing with the program.  After some basic instructions to get me started, just looking around and exploring the program has helped me out the most.  It’s a big world out there… there’s a lot to look at.

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