All the right things (part 3)


Back in 1996, I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. The whole world was one big crazy snarl and I couldn’t figure any of it out.

One day, a coworker handed me a simple wooden puzzle. She got it from a vending machine and once it was dissembled, she could not get it back together.

It was so simple, I don’t know how she didn’t see the answer. I reassembled it and she pulled it apart as we talked. That little puzzle was passed back and forth between us, a dozen time or more as we talked.

It was so simple. Hold these pieces gently, like so, and the last piece tied it together. Pass it back, she pulled that piece and the whole thing came apart again.

18 years later, 13 of them married and it all works exactly as it did all those years ago. Jen takes it a part and I put it together as we talk. I pull it part and Jen puts back together as we talk.

I have no idea where that little wooden puzzle went, but it works just the same.

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All the right things (part 2)

Courtous of LearningLark at  View all of her work at:

Image by LearningLark at CC license. 

Years ago, I worked in a bookstore called “The Paper Cutter”. As a receiving clerk, one of my duties was to field phone calls. One particular type of call really bothered me.

Caller: “Do you have the Cliff-notes for Fahrenheit 451?”
Me: “Lord, no! Do you know what that book is about?”
Caller: “No. You read it?”
Me: “Of course.”
Caller: “Can you tell me about it?”
Me: “Just read it. Seriously, if you come in before my shift is over, I’ll buy you a copy.”

I was good to my word and purchased that title for a few people who came in before 5 PM. I wish more people loved reading as much I as I do.

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All the right things (part one)

I was on the hunt for a book last weekend. It has been so long since I bought a physical book. We ventured out to Barnes and Nobles and I tried to find something I would enjoy. As tried to browse, the kids were hounding me for books for them. I couldn’t say “no” to them and said so. I blew double what I budgeted for my book and I was lucky it was that little.

I seem to recall a trip to a local five and dime called “The Tec” on Main Street, where my parent’s had this same conversation with me. My dad said “I can’t say no to a book for you.” There was no mark language back then, but “for you” might as well have been underlined and bolded.

Somethings are important. Instilling a love of reading in your kids is one of them, and I am glad that my parent’s gave that to me.

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Walking Dead Premiere

October 12th is the premiere of Walking Dead Season 5. The trailer is out and over three minutes long and is jammed packed with tasty details.

I could drive myself nuts trying to figure out what all of it means. Beth shows up at the end, in a grim and strange location.

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Art site for future reference

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Dr. Who Season Premiere

The next Doctor Who episode is called Deep Breath. It premieres on August 23, 2014. I can’t wait.

The Teaser Trailer contains just one word: Listen!

You can check out the Trailer here:

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First Regular Season Sabre’s Game

I don’t know what is wrong with me. I am already counting down the days until Hockey Season.

92 days… 92 days…

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Common Core Glitch – Fractions with Metric System

My daughter came to me for help with homework. At issue was a very odd question, it contained metric units and fractions. I discovered that she didn’t have the knowledge to convert fractions to decimals, which is the only acceptable way to do work this problem.  Obviously, Common Core is attempting to address two different needs with one topic – Fractions and Metric System. This the old problem of introducing fancy, hard to pronounce names into math problems, but it doesn’t actually work. Because fractions are unacceptable with metric system or SI units.

I was able to use this as a teaching moment as was able to explain how to convert fractions to decimals and then explain why you wouldn’t want to use fractions at all.

The next day my daughter reported that her math teacher told her to use fractions, not decimals because that was activity. She also could not find any reason not to use fractions and the metric system. She even used Google and could find nothing.

The metric system uses 10 base, you can’t use 1/2 of a centimeter because it is 5 mm or .5 cm. 17/21 of a centimeter is worse. Verbally you can say “one half of a centimeter”, but this is colloquial language not a math problem.

Here is a list of websites that explain the issues:

NIST - The National Institute of Standards and Technology., a writing style guide.
USMA – US Metric Association.
Dr. Math – an educational website.
Colorado State University, Practical Guide to SI units.

Let me sum this up, fractions are unacceptable with the metric system. It isn’t valid mathematical or in written works.

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Back to Izea

I am thinking about returning to the IZEA ads.


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Mac Father’s Day

Back in the 80′s my dad bought a Mac Plus 1 MB. It was our third computer, but the first one usable by the whole family. One day, it went {POP!}. A black screen and chimes of death. It was done.


Not really.

My dad and I spent hours trying to figure out how to open it. We machined bar stock down into foot long star and hex shaped screw drivers. We welded keys together to make a special case popper.

Inside, we found the problem. The connection between the CTR and capacitors was heat warped. CTR capacitors are incredibly powerful, one wrong move and you have an electrically driven bomb. There were no replacement parts available. It was mission impossible.

We could see that the connection was too loose, but had no solution. We left the case open for days trying to think of a solution.

Finally, my dad asked “Is it time to close it up?”

I shook my head. I stuck a whole pack of gum in my mouth. I took off my sneaker and removed the lace. We carefully wrapped the lace around the connector, using bits of gum to secure it. Once we were sure it was firmly in place, we closed the case up and tried it.

It worked.

Yesterday, my sister gave me that computer. It still works.

That was they day I learned that absolutely everything will fail you. The trick is picking up the pieces and carrying on. Anything is possible as long as you don’t quit.

Thanks, dad.

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