Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Podcast Away!


As most of you students know, I went to a podcast workshop yesterday. In some ways it was very interesting and exciting but in others it was rather disappointing. It was more of a push to buy Apple products than it was to enhance our knowledge about podcasts. The gentleman that presented at this workshop was very knowledgeable but I feel at times he talked over some of our heads. We were provided minimal time to work with podcasts on a Mac book. That would of been fine if all of us were familiar with how to use a Mac. I don't think anyone in the room, besides the the two men that came to present at the conference, were familiar enough with macs to get down to business concerning podcasts. Podcasts as a learning tool are, and will continue to be, a wonderful technological advance. I will find out how to do podcasts with Windows. I think I can be successful. All that being said, I was impressed with the Mac book. Once I got familiar with the small differences in how to use it, it was pretty easy to use and I was impressed with how everything seemed to flow together.

PODCASTS ARE DEFINITELY MY NEXT CHALLENGE IN TECH-TEACHING!

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Green" Christmas Trees


It seems that Christmas trees are not even safe from getting a "green" label. In Portland, Oregon they are labeling trees that meet coalition standards. More than 200,000 trees will be tagged this year as "green". It states in the article that "consumers want to do the right thing". I guess in this case they mean buying "green". To pass the standards a tree farm must be inspected to make sure that standards are being met for managing wetlands, nutrients and pests. This is very interesting! The article also states that 29 million households bought fresh Christmas trees in 2006.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

In Between Holidays


Thanksgiving is over and I am glad to be back writing. I had a good Thanksgiving over at my parents house and I didn't over eat...amazing! My wife and I braved "Black Friday" and I have to say that it was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. Of course, we did not do the the whole 5 a.m. psycho shopping, but we still went. We went to Walmart in Pekin, IL and Best Buy and a mall in Peoria, IL. We got most of our Christmas shopping done! We were at my parents Thursday, Friday, and part of Saturday. It was nice to get home on Saturday. Today was a lazy Sunday and I didn't get much accomplished, but isn't that what Sunday's are for? Good news and bad news from the sports front: The Packers won-BAD, The Chiefs lost- WORSE, LSU was upset-GREAT GAME!, Missouri crushed Kansas-BAD, my Fightin' Irish football season is over- GOOD, my Dukies are 6-0-GREAT!

Christmas is now in the air and I am getting primed for the Christmas season. Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year and enjoy pretty much everything about it. Seeing the kid's eyes light up on Christmas morning is just too exciting to explain. I hope it snows on Christmas, or around Christmas. It seems to make the season a little more magical. My belief in snowfall is that it can snow as much as it wants up until Christmas and then I don't want it to snow anymore after that. It doesn't happen that way but that is the way I would like it.

Due to some health issues I will be missing some time at school. I will also be attending a workshop on Tuesday. It is on podcast training. It should be a great tool to teach with. I just wanted to let you know in case I don't stay up to date on my blog. I will try though!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Break


At 2:00 p.m. today Thanksgiving Break starts! It has not felt like Thanksgiving with the weather that we have been having here in the Midwest. Things will be changing, weather-wise, soon. The change in weather should make it feel more like Thanksgiving. Turkey, football, and shopping will make up most of my Thanksgiving vacation. I am sure that video games are going to be a big part of my weekend also. My mom has a Wii and my brother is bringing his PS3. My wife is not too excited about the video game part but my son is ecstatic! Anyway, another chance to work with my new GPS and a chance to "sell" the GPS concept to my parents, whom I feel need one desperately. They do a lot of traveling and, of course, my dad sometimes has the "cro-magnon" mentality when it comes to asking for directions.

The specifics of Thanksgiving with the Carey's consist of this. It will start with a large, and I mean large, meal prepared by my mom. This year she bought a 20 pound turkey! There are only going to be 7 of us there! She is an excellent cook and we all always eat too much. The "chow-down" will be followed with mass quantities of football, along with my dad pretending to watch football, but snoring us out of the room. The kids will be wrestling around with their uncle or playing video games in the other room. When, and if, we all begin to get hungry again, my mom will start heating up leftovers (turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.). Friday usually consists of a lot of the same but this year my wife has had a mental lapse! She wants to go shopping on "Black Friday". Insane!!!!!!! I will go, but I still think it is insane.

HAVE A GREAT THANKSGIVING AND BE CAREFUL IF YOU TRAVEL!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Kids Vaccinated Or Go To Jail



In Maryland a judge ordered that either the parents, of school age children, provide proof that their kids have been vaccinated, or have the kids vaccinated on the spot. If either of these two items were not done the the parents would be subjected to ten days in jail. Two months into school and there were 2000 kids in this particular county that did not have immunizations! The school system consists of 132,000 students. Some of the parents said the their children were already immunized but said that the school had lost their records. Another reason why some of these students might not have had immunizations is that some people think that they raise the chances of autism and other medical problems.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

St. Louis Trip

I just got back from my trip to St. Louis. I have to say that whoever invented the GPS better not live too close to me or they are going to get a big fat hug! It is one of those devices that makes you wonder how you got along without it. We started out by going to World Market. I love that place. If you haven't been, they have all kinds of food from around the world and many different types of decor items. It was time for lunch then so we went and ate a Joe's Crabshack...wonderful! After filling up on seafood we decided to hit the Chesterfield Mall. We spent a few hours there browsing and getting a couple of items for the kids. I think the walking really wiped out my little one. She was complaining about her legs being tired. I think our favorite place in the mall was the Lindt Chocolate store. It was amazing. After the mall we trekked it over to a Toys R Us and let the kids do some "Christmas Scouting". They, of course, loved it. Again, we were hungry so we found a Chevy's (Tex-Mex) and went an ate supper. I think my son could have eaten 5 tacos! He was starving. The only bad part of the trip was my kids "working out their differences" in the back of the van. My kids are not mild, quiet children and sometimes can act like caged animals if they are not entertained. Overall, I would give the day an 8 out of 10. Pretty good!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sports Burn-out


Let me start off by saying that I played sports all through school and I coached for many years. When I was growing up we played the sport for school only during that season. What I mean by that is that there were no team camps and no summer workouts. We had time to be "kids". We started playing for our school districts when we were in 5th grade. When we had free time, from the time we could walk, we did not play video games (probably mainly because they were extremely cheesy and most parents despised them) but instead we played ball. We played baseball, basketball, and football. My school didn't even have football. I can't even begin to tell you how many hours I spent down at the local basketball court! Do we have to start kids so early in sports because they spend less time playing the sport on their own? Do they have too many things going on in their lives to get the needed experience on the playground? Or do coaches and parents seem to think that starting them this early actually gives the players that much of an advantage? My personal opinion is that starting kids this early could allow the kids to develop bad habits. An example would be shooting a basketball. If a kid in second grade is trying to shoot a basketball, even a women's size and at a shorter hoop, he/she will probably develop poor shooting skills because he/she has to heave the ball to get the ball up to the basket. I also believe if parents push a kid to be a star that this sometimes burns the kid out. I mean, if a kid in seventh grade goes to every summer camp with his team, maybe goes to an individual camp, and goes to all the off season workouts, wouldn't all the joy of playing the sport be eliminated? Maybe they wouldn't be burnt out at that instance but I think that somewhere, in season, it will show that instead of having fun and playing the game, it is a job. I think many parents and coaches forget what sports is about. Sports were developed as an extracurricular activity, something to do in your free time and have fun doing. They were also developed to promote teamwork. I have seen my son, and many of his friends, struggle with grasping a sports concept and being able to "instruction" into action on the court or field. I just don't think kids are ready for competition at some of the young ages they are started at. I think it is perfectly fine to send them to a small "learning" camp that keeps it fun and "wanting to play" alive. If the child stays interested in the sport he/she will have plenty of time to master that particular sport.

All that being said, I think as parents and coaches we are in a catch 22. If you don't push the kids and go to everything that is offered then you will always wonder if that is why the child was not successful. This is a bad situation and I am not sure if I have a solution. We have put ourselves in this quandary.

Cyclone Hits Bangladesh



First of all, how many of you know the definition of what a cyclone is? I remember studying it in my earlier years but didn't remember what it was exactly. Here is the definition: a storm or system of winds that rotates about a center of low atmospheric pressure, advances at a speed of 20 to 30 miles (about 30 to 50 kilometers) an hour, and often brings heavy rain. That being said, I can't ever remember hearing about a cyclone being in the news. This particular cyclone hit Bangladesh and had 140 mph winds. It killed at least 425 people. High waves were also a problem. It said that this particular area is prone to cyclones. I guess this was just an extremely powerful one. Can you imagine being there when this hit?

St. Louis and a GPS


I am going to St. Louis tomorrow. I am going to test out my new Garmin Nuvi 200 GPS. So far I have just used it around Quincy. GPS units are amazing! This particular unit has many easy to use features. If you have the means I would highly recommend purchasing one especially if you travel a lot. The only complaint that I have about this unit, and it is a small one, is that it takes it a while to sync into the satellites when you first turn it on. Other than that it is easy to use and easy to read. My kids think it is amazing (along with all the adults I have shown it to!). You can use it in the car, on a bike, or even when you are walking somewhere. I will give you an update on how it works in a city atmosphere.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Twitter


What is Twitter? Well, I just got signed on and it seems pretty cool. It is an application that can be used like a mini blog and/or a conversation station. Check it out! I think you guys will like this one.

Sign up and search mrcarey.

Colds and Flu


I have noticed at school that quite a few students have been absent due to illness. Here are some pointers that might help in limiting the days you miss:

1. Wash your hands frequently.

2. Keep your hands away from your eyes and nose.

3. Get plenty of sleep.

4. Get a flu shot if possible.

5. Eat healthy food.

6. Work out.

7. Stay away from people that are sick.

8. Keep sanitizer nearby.

Visit this link for more details.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ricky Williams



Ricky Williams has been reinstated by the NFL after an 18-month suspension. The Dolphins get him back. Is it a good or bad thing that the Dolphins are getting him back? I don't think it can hurt the Dolphins, as far as having man-power, they are O-fer! On the other hand, would you want somebody back on your team that has violated the drug policy four times? The first time he could play a game would be November 26th, against Pittsburgh. I am all for giving a guy a chance, but four violations, and the coach is supposed to depend on this kind of individual? Why would you want this guy back. He's a running back, 30 years old (on the down hill slide of his career), a drug violation problem, has played 12 games since the 2004 season, and he will most likely affect the locker room in some way.

I think the Dolphins need to rethink this situation!

Fred Claus


It's been awhile! Our system was down at work so I was having a hard time keeping up on my writing. We're back so my first topic is "Fred Claus". My son and I went to see "Fred Claus" last night and we thought it was wonderful. It was funny, as expected, but also had a wonderful story to it. I see that the overall ratings of this movie were put at 3 stars out of 5 but I would disagree. I would give it a 4 or 4 1/2. I read one review that said that the movie makes it seem that Christmas is all about presents. Obviously this person was not paying attention to the movie in relation to what the situations in the movie did to the family. It had little to do with the actual presents that were delivered. I would recommend this movie to anyone! This is an excellent Holiday story and really gets you in the mood for Christmas.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Video Games Do Matter!


Guitar Hero III has skyrocketed album sales of artists that are signed with Roadrunner Records. It seems that Dragonforce is the big winner in this situation. Their single "Through the Fire and Flames" saw a 183% increase over the prior weeks sales!

If you think video games don't matter then maybe you would like to see Dragonforce's bank account. I think they would disagree with you. I wonder how many bands are going to battling to get onto the next installment of Guitar Hero?

Veteran's Day


I am going to turn 40 this month which means I have not been directly involved in any war or conflict. I am grateful for that and look upon our servicemen with the highest regard. I am of the opinion that many people, especially young people, have no idea what Veteran's Day is designed for. I would even go as far as to say that many young people don't care. I do think that there are more that care presently than say 10-15 years ago when we, the United States, were not involved in a large conflict or war. I hope I am wrong, but I do not see the kind of respect during the Pledge of Allegiance that would indicate a deep caring for servicemen involved in a life or death conflict. To me, the Pledge is a daily reminder of all our ancestors that have stood up, fought, died, and killed for this country.

Would everyone please do me a favor this year and remember all the veterans that have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country? Go see a veteran you know (grandpa, father, uncle, brothers, cousins, etc.) and say "Thank you!".

Friday, November 9, 2007

Occupations

"What do you want to do with your life?" Even though this is a cheesy quote from a Twisted Sister video, it is a question that you will have to eventually answer. What kind of profession do you want to have when you finish with you school career? There are many questions you need to ask yourself. Are you concerned with making a lot of money? Are you worried about liking you job? Do you want good benefits? How much school do you want to, or are willing to, go through? Do you want "just a job" or a profession?

I was lucky enough to know exactly what I wanted to do by the time I was in seventh grade! I don't know too many kids that know what they want to do that early in life. I was able to focus on my goal because I knew what my goal was. I consider myself lucky to be doing what I love. The money could be better but I enjoy my job and making a difference in kid's lives. In my opinion, the sooner you know what you want to do the better. Again, this worked for me but is not everybody's cup of tea. My brother didn't know what he wanted to do until he was around 28, and I think it has worked out well for him.

I think that too many people place how much money they make too high on the priority list. I know of people that make a lot of money but hate their job. To me that is ridiculous. YOU HAVE TO LOVE WHAT YOU DO! That is the one piece of advice I will give you. If you don't like what you do then what is the point of doing it? The people I know of that make a good amount of money usually are working such long, or odd, hours they don't get a chance to enjoy the money they make anyway.

Remember, pick a job that you are going to like (or think you are going to like) and keep your eyes on the prize! If you end up not liking your job, get out of it and find one that you do like.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Horror Fest


I am a big horror film fan. I like the suspense type of horror films but also the good old blood-and -guts films also. They is nothing like getting that adrenaline flowing to let you know you are alive! I would love to go to horror fest this year but due to location I don't think it will be possible. This is 8 horror films shown between November 9th-18th. These are all new, groundbreaking films. You can see all the films, or just one. St. Louis and Peoria are the two places that are having it the closest to us.

If you purchased all-access passes they were priced at $75 (had to be done before October 31st). Pretty expensive, but not bad when you realize you are getting to see 8 films on the big screen plus a Goodie Bag from After Dark Films. The 8 films are: The Deaths of Ian Stone, Nightmare Man, Crazy Eights, Unearthed, Borderland, Mulberry Street, Tooth and Nail, and Lake Dead.

If you are lucky enough to even see one of these films please let me know what you think. Maybe next year I will plan a "Horror-vacation" to one of these cities!

The Upcoming Presidential Election


If there is one thing that truly does not interest me it is politics. I have never been interested in it and probably never will. I have taken some mild abuse for not voting in the past from fellow teachers and my father but my response is that it is a free country and if I choose not to vote then that is my right. I know, some of you are saying that so many places on Earth don't even have the right to vote, why would you not vote if you could. Again, it is my choice. I feel that I can choose not to vote because I do not complain about political issues. If I would complain about political issues then I think I would be compelled to vote. I have voted, but I do not always vote. I have always felt that elections are nothing more than which candidate can "brown-nose" the public more. Just because a candidate says he or she is going to do something does not mean they will! This is why I don't have much faith in electing the best individual for the job. So much of the election process is based on saying what the public wants to hear.

This will probably be the only post I have on politics, so take advantage of commenting!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Been Awhile

It has been awhile since I posted last and many things have changed in the five days since. My computer is fixed! The time has changed. Cool weather is upon us and the leaves are pretty much at their maximum in color. Parent/Teacher conferences have came and went. I have taken down the Halloween decorations at my house.

I sure missed my computer and being able to post on my blog. It was amazing to find out how much I use my computer. I didn't realize how much until I couldn't go to it and do the things I do. I get on it to check my email, Myspace, weather, Google reader, and CNN. It is in a very convenient place in our house and my wife and I use it continuously. I'm glad my "baby" is home!

I can't believe it is getting dark at around 5:30 now! I know, it shouldn't surprise me, I have seen roughly 39 time changes. It just always cuts down on the amount of time spent outside when it gets dark so early, along with the cool weather. I didn't think we were going to get any color in the leaves this year. The last two weeks or so has proven me wrong. There are some very beautiful trees this year.

Parent/Teacher conferences went smoothly and I got quite a bit of work done while they were going on. I also got a chance to talk to some of the teachers on a personal level and it was nice to get to know a little more about them.

My son is sick today so I am home with him instead of at school. I got a lot of cleaning done and I also got the Halloween decorations taken down. I also got the chance to make a good fall meal, roast with vegetables.
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