Somehow, weekends have become a lot less relaxing. Between visiting inlaws, swim meets, Ultimate practice and games, school plays and cleaning classrooms there's less time to spend at home working on the yard and the vehicle fleet.
Church sales usually suck
Unless you're looking for a coffee mug, but there are exceptions. A few weeks ago Mrs. Ha and I fled the kids and went to an estate sale and a church sale. The estate sale sucked, but at the Church Sale I found two 3M bookshelf games, Acquire and Stocks and Bonds for $2. I quick glance at ebay shows I'm not likely to get the $50 I got for Acquire a few years ago, but I should get something. Now I just need time to ebay stuff.
Schooling in a coal mine
Nine year old's class is studying energy, and they've had several energy related field trips. One was a trip to Scrantom, to an old anthracite coal mine, repurposed as a museum. She said it was quite scary. I wanted to go, but too many people had already signed up. I was able to sign up for a trip into the river gorge to investigate hydroelectric power.
Return of Irish_Girl, aka Two Down One Up
Irish_Girl stopped by one weekend with her beau, for a short get to know each other and drink some coffee time. I mentioned our bunk beds. fourteen year old wanted to get rid of them and put up her loft, and I didn't want to deal with Craigslist or the luck of a garage sale. Amazingly, Irish_Girl wanted them, so we made a plan to meet a later weekend and hand them over.
It was a busy Friday, with us attending Into the Woods at the School of the Arts, we didn't get home until after 10.
It was a busy Saturday, first cleaning the fourth grade classroom, then taking down the bunk beds and storing them in the living room and porch, waiting for Irish_Girl, schlepping them over in her minivan and setting them up in her apartment. After that, we figured out how to put up the loft, and the next day fourteen year old and I went shopping for mattresses and bedding, we decided on a futon pad, memory foam and stuff from Target. Hundreds of dollars later, she has a teenager room.
We bought the loft from a college gal, and it came with blue threadlocked bolts. I figure her dad was an engineer, or watched too much Cinemax.
All in all, a very busy weekend.
Easy come, easy go
In good news, I got some money for the scrap value of the Tercel. Enough to keep my cash flow going, not enough to pay for the brake work the Camry needed. I knew the rotors were iffy when I drove it, but it's a challenge to find a used car for $4,000 that you can expect to get six years of commuting from without paying for a lot of repairs. Top Gear should look into that.
In other good news, I found a cabin near Ithaca for the week we have to take vacation.
Plenty of post-apocalyptic potential
I was able to go on a local field trip, checking out a few of the local hydroelectric plants while the Camry was being repaired. I ended up sore and broke and annoyed, as I discussed with the shop that I had the morning free and it probably needed new rotors, so I'm giving permission to replace them. I got a call late morning, it needs shoes, rotors, cylinders, etc, do I went to replace them? Sigh, yes, and I walked home from the charter school and worked from home the rest of the afternoon.
The field study was at several of the waterfalls in the Genesee River, the same waterfalls that made Rochester a boom town during the Industrial river. We saw a few hydroelectric power plants, some old raceways and old arches, and even the dams used to control the level of the Barge canal. It was very interesting, if cold and wet, and strengthened my idea that Rochester would make a good place to survive an Apocalypse, it it wasn't directly nuked. Fresh water, waterfalls for power, fertile soil, plenty of game, what else do you need?
On to politics and sociology, aka Rahm is not as smart as he thinks he is
Big surprise, JC Brizard, the city superintendent, after being incommunicado for a few weeks, texted his resignation so he could take over the Chicago city school district, as he's credited with instituting reforms here, lowering the suspension rate, increasing the graduation rate and gutting the arts and music programs to make up for his inability to plan.
His numbers are suspect, local TV reporter Rachel Barnhart has compiled iffy stuff for Chicago. Some local city teachers say that sure the suspension numbers drop, he made it much harder to suspend students.
Some of his reforms were closing low performing schools. The students and teachers from the low performing schools end up in new schools, I'm not sure how that's supposed to improve things.
Another reform is Equitable Student Funding, rearranging funding to give the principals less money, while giving them less from Central Office.
This year's budget has about a 10% shortfall. Part of the problem is last year's budget had a similar shortfall, and some of it was made up by using the emergency funds, so there's a lot less in the emergency funds this year. Did he really think the economy was going to be exceptional this year?
Many school board members need to go. Their action on a Friday was a conference supporting Brizard, even though he had been out of contact for a week and a half, didn't attend of the public budget meetings, and was strongly rumored to be heading to Chicago. Are they hoping for cushy jobs in Chicago? A few days later, he resigned by text message.
I'm cynical, I don't think any Superintendent can make huge increases in school performance without vast amounts of money and questionable civil liberty infringements. Rochester is poor, nearly 90% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunches, it's poorest city of the top five in New York. It's supposed to have the highest teeenage pregnancy rate in the western world.
So, you have a lot of families that don't care about education, a lot that might care but don't have the time or experience to help their kids, and a minority that care and do something about it. All the kids still have to go to school.
Gaming Day, with actual wargaming content
I made it to April's monthly gaming meet, for the first time in several months, and actually played a wargame against someone else, for the first time in almost a year.
I showed up a little after eleven, in addition to the usual crowd saw a guy looking over Panzer General: Allied Assault. After seeing what new games were instock (and seeing a few copies of High Frontier ) I introduced myself to Bill, and we agreed to give it a whirl. We were both fans of the PC Panzer General games, but this was based on the xbox game (which was based on the PC games).
I liked it, it didn't irritate me like Memoir or Tides of Iron did. You start by laying our cards to make a battlefield, configure the unit decks and action deck for the scenario (to adjust the available units and actions), and start out.
Each unit can move forward, backwards, or side to side. Some can move diagonally. Some can attack after moving.
Combat is nearly deterministic, add up points against the target type, modify by terrain (attackers and targets) and close attacking units providing support, and then you start throwing cards down to modify difference between the attacking number and the defending number. Then flip a card to modify it more, from -2 to +4.
I'd rate it between Memoir and CC in terms of complexity, and worth playing it again.
I got exasperated by the very frequent "Retrieving" on Netflix/Wii, so I decided to hook it up via cat5 and forget about Wifi. This took a long time, as my punch down and crimping skills are not good, and I didn't have lots of spare cat5 lying around. It's much better now.
I'm not packing for Iowa, that trip got pushed back a few weeks becuase we need other people there, too. There is a huge neighborhood sale we're going to on Saturday, plus the usual Ultimate games.
Fourteen year old saw The Changeling in her Theater Tech class, and pestered us to watch it, too, so I stuck it in the physical Netflix queue. It's a scary, atmospheric ghost story.
In other fourteen year old news, her school put on Sondheim's Into the Woods, a musical about fairy tales, and how all the fairy tale characters live near each other, and near a big scary woods, and what happens after their fairy tale wishes are granted.
Wiki informs me is usually edited for school productions, dropping most of the second act. They didn't edit it, and it was long, very long, we didn't leave until after 10, it was too long and too late for our youngest. It was good though.
Marine! The Life of Chesty Puller was an entertaining read about one of the most famous Marines in history, from his time fighting in the jungle in Haiti to his retirement.
Eisenhower: Soldier, General of the Army, President-Elect, 1890-1952 It was good, Ambrose does write engrossing books, it makes me want to hunt down volume 2.
Zinn's A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present can be called a lefty diatribe, or American history that doesn't focus on rich white men. It certainly was interesting, and good for people that want to read about historical figures in America that weren't rich white men.
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