The Planets Aligned

A strange thing happened last weekend. Somehow my old friends from around the country managed to arrive in Paris on the same day. You have to understand, growing up we had a hard time picking a time and place to eat everyday so a meet-up with one person flying back from Germany, two people flying in from L.A., and two people driving in from Austin is nothing short of miraculous.

Here’s Ben, Paula, Tony, Shannon, Jennell, and Michael hanging out in our living room.

Geoff somehow eluded me in the first shot, so Paige cornered him for a closeup. Love that smile.

Finally, here’s Michael looking dumbfounded after hearing some surprising news.

After this, we terrorized Chili’s for a while. It was great to see the guys again. Next time we’ve got to get a group picture of us standing in the lake.

Crazy Friday

Last Friday was rather eventful.

As you know, I’m teaching a class from 12:00 – 1:00 everyday, and this causes me to miss my usual lunch break. So on Friday I made plans to go eat Mexican food with Ben at 11:00.

About ten minutes till eleven, I got a phone call. The network connection to our Federal Programs office was down. I didn’t think much of it, I had called Southwestern Bell to repair the T1 line earlier, and I assumed they were still working on it. As soon as I hung up the phone I got another call. The T1 line to our kindergarten campus was down. Now things were getting strange.

I tried to ping the router at the high school from my desk without success. That meant the T1 line between the admin building (where my office is) and the high school was also down. I called the high school to see what was going on, but no one answered. It was now five minutes till eleven so I decided it could wait until after lunch.

Right after I sat down in the restaurant, my pager went off. It was the helpdesk of our ISP asking if our internet connection was down. Of course it was.

After finishing my enchiladas, I drove to the high school to investigate. In the server closet I saw something I’ve never seen before — no lights on any of our T1 lines. No warnings, no errors, nothing. The lines had been cut somewhere between the high school and the phone company office downtown.

Not only were the T1 lines down, the regular phone lines were also down. That’s why no one answered earlier.

At this point I was thinking this is one reason why we’re replacing the T1 lines with fiber from Cox. Fiber is usually more reliable than copper. As I walked down to the room where I teach my class, I looked out the door and noticed the guys from Cox digging a ditch from the building to a pole where the fiber would come in.

In class, we worked on a few simple programs, everyone groaned about next week’s test, and then it was over. As I walked out of the room, I looked out the back door again and noticed something a little different. The tractor had stopped, and everyone was looking down into the ditch. I walked outside and looked at the mangled pipe and large puddle foming in the bottom of the ditch. First no phones, and now no water.

I stopped off in a class room a few doors down from mine to work on a computer before I left. As I walked in I was grumbling about our troubles. One of the students asked “are we gonna go home?” Interesting.

About that time, the intercom switched on and the principal started making an announcement: “As you may know, the water line to the school has been cut and we don’t have water. What you might not know is that the phone lines have also been cut and we don’t have phone service in the building either. So, we are preparing to dismiss.”

It’s hard to describe the exact sound that I heard at this point. Imagine the sound a child makes on Christmas morning when they see their first bike, now multiply that by a thousand. This is sort of like the sound that echoed through the halls.

Knowing that these kids were about to be unleashed on the parking lot, I decided to make a quick exit. I fled to the relative safety of my office. I hung out there until 3:30, and then called it a day.

Good Bloody Morning

I cut my finger last night. I was chopping an onion when the knife slipped and sliced into my middle finger right beside the nail.

The nice thing about using a good, sharp knife is that you don’t really even feel it when you cut yourself. I washed my hands a few times, wiped the blood off of the cutting board, threw away the bloody piece of onion and went on about my business.

When I was done Paige put a band-aid on it for me. She’s sweet like that.

I took the band-aid off before I went to bed and everything seemed fine. This morning I went through my morning routine, all the while keeping an eye on that cut. I thought about putting another band-aid on it, but why should I? It looked like it was nearly healed at this point.

Then I reached in the closet to get a pair of pants and felt a strange throbbing sensation at the tip of my finger. I dropped the pants and saw red. The blood had already dripped down one leg of the pants and on the waist where I grabbed them. I thought about wearing another pair of pants, but I had to clean these up regardless. So, I put band-aid on my finger, cleaned the blood off my pants, and was only about 15 minutes late for work.

So if you see me today and notice blood stains on my clothes, that’s why. It has nothing to do with me going crazy because some idiot asked another stupid question. I promise…

America’s Ketchup

I know I said no more political stuff, but I couldn’t resist this:

The leading competitor not only has 57 varieties, but has 57 foreign factories as well. W Ketchup comes in one flavor: American.

See the insanity for yourself at W

I guess this means I won’t be eating french fries at Ben and Paula’s house anymore…

Back in session

The new school year is in full swing now. I’m teaching a computer science class this year which is a lot of fun. I don’t know anything about teaching, but that’s OK because the students don’t know anything about programming. I think I’m learning just as much as they are.

The only downside to the class is the time: 12:00 – 1:00. I miss coming home for lunch every day. I’ve been eating lunch in the high school cafeteria from 11:30 – 12:00 this week. That’s “A” lunch for those who care. It certainly brings back some memories:

I stood in line for about 29 minutes one day just to get one of those terrible, rectangular pieces of pizza. Just as I sat down to inhale it, a fight broke out right across the table from me. One guy grabbed the other guy and threw him on the table, you guessed it, right on top of my pizza. I carried my tray back to the lunch lady and she gave me another pizza. I ate it as the bell rang and everybody else walked out.

Our work order list is finally back down to about 5 pages and most of the major projects are taken care of. I actually took last weekend off from work. Prior to that I think I worked 21 days straight. Hopefully now that things are settling down I can back into the routine of updating this site. I’ve got tons of pictures and stuff to put up here.

Not dead, just busy

I’ve realized that no matter how long I leave this site alone, it will never update itself.

That’s the next project I’m going to work on: Weblog software that generates and posts random updates every few days. I’ll be richer than Bill.

Anyway, school starts Monday. I guess I should start preparing for the class I’m teaching…