ENTRY 0009, January 15, 2004
Well, It has been a bit of time since my last blog. Quite
a bit has happened. Let's see...
We had plans to go to Europe starting on December 25th. My mom
was a bit distressed that we would not be getting together for a
"family christmas." So, we headed out to Phoenix, so we could do
our "family christmas" a week early. I made one simple
observation. Once there are kids in the family, christmas becomes
oriented toward them. There were 7 adults (Tony couldn't make
it), and 4 little kids. The kids are the focus. I guess
that's how it should be. It is
just a bit disconcerting to realize it's not really for you
anymore. Kinda like when you realize you are no longer the target
demographic for some product or service. It's a bit
depressing. Not that we do christmas too much anyway.
Sheila and I just get what we want, when we want/can afford it.
Therefore, there is little to get for christmas, because we either
already have it, or a currently saving for it.
In any event, the trip was pleasant. The drive to Phoenix
is not difficult. We did our usual rounds, going to Bookman's book store.
It is a HUGE store, the size of a large supermarket. And it is
filled with used books. Every conceivable subject. Sheila
and I can spend hours there, and often do. Luckily, they have
very nice bathrooms. You will need them, if you are an avid
bookhound. We inevitably purchase way too many books. Now
have reading material for weeks, maybe months. (As an aside, I
must mention that the same complex houses Atomic Comics, a shop that is
huge, for a comic store. If you are at Bookman's, face the store and
turn left. It is down past the 99 cent store.
The other place we MUST go is the Waffle
House. It is a restaurant. As the name implies, they
specialize in waffles. They have a great menu. You just
have to remember that this place was born in the south and is kind of
like a truckstop. Don't expect fancy. Expect plentiful,
basic,amazingly good food, served by a waitress who will call you
I once heard that you can judge a restaurant by its housekeeping.
The quality of the food will be inversely proportional to the
cleanliness of the establishment. (Just think McDonald's, with
its acres of carefully-polished stainless steel and fiberglass,
compared with the local burger joint, hosted by some guy in a
and a waitress who obviously just got off her cigarette break.) Which
brings me to a subject I would like to discuss:
COWBOYS AND OUTPATIENTS
Waffle House is like
many other restaurants. Many would call it a "dive." There
is very little in the way of ambiance. It will remind you of the
grill you might find at a bowling alley. (Remember those?) The
only major difference is that the Waffle House specializes in
breakfast. They are open 24 hours, and breakfast is served all
day. So is everything else, but getting a burger at Waffle House
is like getting fish at a steakhouse. Why not go for the
specialty? The clientele? Well, the title above sums it up,
especially late at night. There are lots of others. Normal,
hard working folks, travellers, truckers, and locals who just didn't
feel like cooking. But what really stands out are the two above
groups. If you ever go into a Waffle House, you will see at least
one impossibly skinny guy, decked out in skin-tight Levis and a western
shirt. He will also have cowboy boots, a Stetson, and a belt
buckle larger than the oval plates that the waitress will serve your
food on. It never fails. There is always at least one of
these guys at the counter or in a booth.
Sitting somewhere else in the restaurant will be the outpatient.
This person will be a disheveled, slightly grubby-looking individual. He
(It's usually a guy) will be sitting, nursing a coffee and mumbling to
himself. You will wonder what his story is all about. He
doesn't look homeless, but you can't be sure. All you know for
sure is that he mumbles as he drinks his coffee, and that the
waitresses all seem to know him.
If either of these individuals leaves, another, similar individual will
arrive to replace him. The other kind of individuals you will
often see in this kind of establishment is the
Overly-pierced-and-tattooed-redneck-guy-in-a-baseball-cap and his
Interestingly, these are the same kind of people you see crossing the
parking lot of Wal-Mart. Except the folks at Wal-Mart seem to
have six or seven kids with them.
But don't be dismayed. If you can brave the Cowboys and
Outpatients, you will be rewarded with the best breakfast you could
So, I originally mentioned that we had
plans to go to Europe on December 25th. We went. We took
Sheila's partner from school, Daryl, and her husband, Roger.
Neither had been to Europe before, though their daughter had spent some
time in Paris. This time, instead of getting a hotel room as
usual, we rented a flat. It was great!!!! We had an actual
english apartment, complete with kitchen and all the amenities.
Look for futher details in our travel section. They should be up
in the near future. Suffice it to say we had a great time
and enjoyed acting as tour guides.
Anyway, what's new?
-Bush is still a lying moron.
-Well, I'm taking way too many classes this quarter. I'm taking
Writing 306 (It is required, and they have set up so many hurdles that
is virtually impossible to challenge the class. They really want
their money.) I'm also taking Research in Science Education and
Inquiry in the Science classroom. Together, I'm taking 10 units,
on top of my teaching duties. I should have a psychotic episode
- The Lockheed land has had a major change. (for those of you
unfamiliar with my problem with visiting this land, see blog #0008, where I
very briefly chronicle my escapades.) Lockheed/Martin was hoping to get
100 Million dollars for the land (9600+ acres) for development.
There were no takers at that price, so instead, they sold it to the
county/state for a nature preserve. As a result, it should be
possible for me to visit the land in the near future. I'm hoping,
anyway. They still have some issues with site contamination by
rocket propellant. The most recent article in the paper suggests
that the contaminated sections may be fenced off, and the remainder
opened. I only hope I can visit it before lots of people show
up... I will be making a page about the land and all I have
learned at some point in the future.
- Science fair is upon my 8th graders once again, and many of them seem
to be planning to do the typical
how-much-water-can-a-paper-towel-absorb experiment, or the
project. There are a few who look like they are going to go
whole-hog and make a great project, but many of them are really not
interested. I can understand. The only reason that we still
hold Science Fair is because the higher-ups want it. If it were
voluntary, we would get far fewer projects, but I think we would get
better projects, overall. Anyway, I will be trying something
different next year, to see if I can get the kids more
interested. I will let you know how it goes.
Well, I gotta run.