Most of this firm's 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees only work four months a year.
The answer to the question is in the comments for this entry.
My girlfriend and I went shopping this morning. First however, we stopped by my doctor's office. I had a physical Wednesday after school just to make sure I am fine. He wanted to check my cholesterol level, so I had to fast for 12 hours before returning to have my blood drawn. I bought a few Christmas presents this morning as well as some items for myself. I'll probably finish up my Christmas shopping online.
This afternoon my girlfriend went to a movie with my mom and my sister. While she was out, I put up the Christmas lights outside. I didn't put up too many lights, although more than last year. Hopefully I don't end up burning down the house.
Now I have something else to complain about. The Fareway grocery stores where I live have decided that they will no longer accept empty beverage containers at their stores. Instead, they think I should take them to my "conveniently" located can recycling center over six miles away. Apparently, the state bottle law requires stores to take back containers that they sell unless they contract with a conveniently located recycling center to do it for them. I'd like to see their definition of convenient as going six miles in the opposite direction of where I'd like to go is hardly convenient. And what are people who don't drive to do? I think that I'll be letting my local Fareway store know that they'll no longer be getting my business. I just hope now that Hy-Vee doesn't follow suit. Perhaps if the state would increase the handling fee that the grocery stores receive, this wouldn't be a problem.
Now, today is one of the days that makes making a decision about my job after this school year somewhat easier. I checked today and I noticed that the test development jobs that I have previously been contacted about are still open. At this rate, I am guessing that they may still be open in February which is when I plan on applying for them if I decided to go that route. The two companies that the jobs are with seem to act rather slowly in their hiring decisions.
I keep trying to think through the pros and cons of the career decision that I am trying to make. I have spoken with a former coworker of mine who left teaching at the end of the 2002-2003 school year. She had taught for three years and now works as a real estate agent. She has told me that she doesn't really miss teaching too much. She misses the kids, but that's it. There are a lot of other aspects of the job that she doesn't miss.
Anyway, I'll write more about that later. One of the cats just knocked down the Christmas tree. I'm going to see if I can figure out something so it doesn't fall down again. Hopefully nothing on it broke.
Yesterday my girlfriend and I put my Christmas tree up in the basement. It was tough finding places to plug in all of the Star Trek and Star Wars Hallmark ornaments that have lights and sound because they won't connect to some of the newer light strings I have. Tonight, we're putting her tree up upstairs.
Before I sign off for now, one of my students showed me this T-shirt. I thought it was funny and am considering getting one for myself.
I booked airline tickets for my girlfriend and I to go to Las Vegas during my spring break in March. We are going to arrive there in the morning on Monday, March 14, and leave that Friday afternoon. We also have reservations to stay at Binions Horseshoe Hotel and Casino on Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas. This will be the first time I have actually stayed at a casino while visiting Las Vegas. The last time I went, I stayed at a Days Inn, and prior to that, I stayed at a friend's apartment. I feel that we got a fairly reasonable price for our vacation. Oh I can't wait until March! Now I have to save up some money so I have some to spend while we are there.
Teal is your Lightsaber's color.
The color Teal signifies trustworthiness, devotion
and healing. It is also the indication of a
spiritual guide and natural teacher.
What Colored Lightsaber Would You Have?
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I would like to find a different job however. Not necessarily a non-teaching job, but a job with someone besides my current employer. The school district that I work for kind of treats its employees like crap. A few years ago, while negotiating the contract with the local education association, they removed all of the language they could from the contract without bargaining. I believe that this action got taken all the way to the state Supreme Court which ruled that they could remove some of language that was beneficial to teachers from the contract without bargaining. Some of what was there was put in, in exchange for other changes that were more beneficial to the school district, and which required bargaining. So we have been screwed over on some of those issues. As Iowa law prohibits public employees from going on strike, we don't really have much recourse. About all we could possibly do would be to work exactly to the contract, only working our contract-required hours, doing the absolute minimum that our contract requires. Of course the school district knows that we won't do that. Most people who go into teaching do it because they care about kids and we are not likely to lessen the quality of education we provide to our students just to make a point. Hopefully either the school board will see that they should start treating us better, or if that doesn't work, I hope I can find a better job.
On another topic, I've been looking for affordable trips for my girlfriend and I to go to Las Vegas during spring break in March. Going on vacations is tough in my chosen occupation. The only times I can go during the school year, except for an extended weekend, are during winter and spring vacations, and that's when the rates seem to be higher. I'm not complaining though. I still get nearly three months off during the summer. Maybe we'll have to plan our vacation for then.
The main reason for our visit was to see my sister play in a concert. She plays the violin with the Minnesota Philharmonic Orchestra, America's only GLBT orchestra. It is an orchestra made up predominantly of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals, although my sister does not fit into any of those categories, not that there's anything wrong with that (to quote Seinfeld). The person welcoming us to the concert, their first of the season, was pleased at the turnout especially considering Cher was performing across town with the Village People opening for her. The concert was really good. It made me wish I had a group with which I could play my cello, although my dad would have to get around to finishing repairing it first.
Earlier in the day we went to the Science Museum of Minnesota in Minneapolis. They had an exhibit on Chinasaurs, dinosaurs from China. They really didn't look all that different from the other dinosaurs they had in their museum.
Another interesting exhibit was a collection of Questionable Medical Devices. One of the devices was an x-ray type of machine that was used in shoe stores to fit children's shoes. Also on display was the prostate gland warmer from 1925 shown below. According to its 1918 patent application, the 100-degree heat would stimulate the "abdominal brain!." You wouldn't catch be trying that out.
Prior to the concert, several relatives came over to my sister's place for dinner. My grandmother who lives in the Twin Cities came, as well as an aunt and uncle, two cousins and the husband of one of them, and my sister's boyfriend. It was nice seeing all of these people again, as well as meeting my sister's boyfriend.
On Sunday, we went shopping at the IKEA store by the Mall of America. There were a lot of interesting things available at IKEA, but we didn't get anything. Maybe we will on some future visit. We didn't make it to the mall because my sister had some things she needed to do later in the afternoon and we were running out of time. Before returning to Iowa, my parents, my girlfriend, and I visited my grandmother at her apartment.
Going out of town to some place more interesting than where I live always makes me wish I lived there instead of here. The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area may actually be a possible place for me to move to in the future. Before you decided to comment that I am always talking about moving and that I never seem happy about where I live, I am thinking about next spring when my girlfriend graduates with her master's degree. She hopes to find a job in an area related to her degree, youth and human services. It may be easier for her to find a job in a larger city than in a smaller one, and as the demand for math teachers is relatively high, I shouldn't have too difficult a job finding a math teaching position in a larger city either. The main negatives of moving to the Twin Cities as I see it is that housing would be a lot more expensive and it gets really cold!
I am seriously considering backing up everything on the machine and then reformatting the hard drive so I can get a clean start. Of course, then I'll have to reinstall everything. On the other hand, if I bought a new machine I'd have to reinstall everything anyway. I suppose I should go with the less expensive option first, although Best Buy does have two years interest free financing on computers this week.
Have a good weekend everyone. After I get off work today, my girlfriend, my parents, and I are going to the Twin Cities for the weekend to visit my sister. She has a concert this weekend that we are going to attend. We'll probably also visit my other relatives who live there while we are there.
It's also nice meeting the parents of the students who do really well in class. One problem with meeting with those parents though is that I don't always have much to say. Their child is well-behaved, completes his or her work, does well on tests and quizzes, and seems to understand the material being taught. When they ask for suggestions on what they can do to improve, it can be very difficult to come up with something, since that are already doing so well.
Well, we'll see how things go. On the bright side, I don't have to be to work until 1:00 tomorrow afternoon. Of course, I do have to stay until 8:30. But afterwards, some of us teachers are having a conference of our own at a local drinking establishment.
I don't have any children of my own, so perhaps I am a bit out of line here, but I believe that if more parents were to set well defined boundaries for their children, the children would be able to become more responsible for their learning in school.
Anyway, whatever your opinion, I'm sure that you'll agree with me about the parents described here as not being very responsible.
The first story is about a father who let his nine-year-old son drive a car in an occupied parking lot. The kid ran the car into a Jeep in the parking lot. The father felt that everyone was blowing the incident out of proportion.
"They're making a big deal out of nothing," said the father, Robert Samuel Sr., 46, of 2813 Burnet Ave. No one was hurt and the damage to both cars was minor,
While the damage was minor, it could have been much worse. If Mr. Samuel wants to let his nine-year-old drive a car, maybe he should make sure it is somewhere where no one else is put at risk.
This first article really doesn't even compare to the second one. This story involves a 29-year-old woman who allegedly had sexual relations with an eight-year-old boy, a friend of her daughter. I didn't believe this story when I first heard about it yesterday, but when I read this follow up article, I was outraged. The "adult" in the situation had the gall to blame the eight-year-old for the incident.
The divorced Birch Drive resident has told investigators the boy a playmate of her own 7-year-old daughter was the aggressor in their relationship. Imre said he ordered her to dump an adult boyfriend and told her not to take birth control pills.
If this statement is even true, why didn't she tell the boy "no!?" I mean really,the boy was eight years old. I seriously doubt he could have forced himself on her. Besides, why would he make any comments about her not taking her birth control pills? That just doesn't make sense. She was supposed to be the adult there. The child should not have been the one to make a decision like that.
I do feel a bit guilty though. During the assembly, some of the speakers kept using the phrase "freedom isn't free." In itself, it is a good sentiment. However, it is also the title of a song from Team America: World Police, and hearing it kept making me think of the song distracting me from the assembly. In fact, I had it running through my head for the remainder of the day.
After the party, we went to a movie with some friends of my girlfriend. After purchasing our tickets I heard someone call me over to them using my last name. That could only mean one thing, one of my students was in the theater. I looked over at a group of college-aged women and one of them said "hello" to me. It was a student I had four years ago when I taught at a small high school south of Iowa City. She looked familiar, but I didn't remember her name. She did tell me, and that did help me to remember her a bit more. It's usually nice to be recognized by former students. I also ran into a student from last year when we were at McDonald's. That made me think about the number of students who I have taught over the years that I have been teaching. I estimate that I have taught around 750 students in the seven or so years that I have been teaching. Anyway, we went to see The Incredibles and it was great! It was a really fun movie and I wouldn't mind seeing it again, although I'll probably wait for it to come out on DVD. Oh, and before the movie was the trailer for the new Star Wars movie.
In other election news, I just heard that South Carolina has changed its constitution to allow bars to serve alcohol from containers other than mini-bottles. This is going to cause some problems for bartenders who have never served drinks from a full-sized bottle, but it will provide a lot less glass that needs to be dealt with.
Now away from the election. Last night my girlfriend and I went to Cedar Rapids for a wedding reception for a friend of hers. They aren't actually getting married until next weekend, but it's going to be a very small, private ceremony. The reception was at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library. There were some excellent hors d'oeuvres being served, plus an open bar, but since I had to drive back to Waterloo, I only had two drinks in the hour or so that we were there. I did however, eat way too many crab cakes. I had a bit of an upset tummy on the drive home.
Ok, it was an accident, and lead bullets with no explosives were used. Also, Rod Page did apologize for the "terrorist" comment, but I found this story interesting.
Related to the election, yesterday a student in one of my classes asked me who I voted for. I didn't answer him, but another student indicated that I had voted for Kerry. This had come up previously. I admitted that I had. He asked me how I felt about the outcome of the election and I indicated that I was not surprised. I had been kind of expecting Bush to win. This student then asked me why I voted for Kerry then if I didn't think he would win. I explained to this student that I based who I voted for on who I thought would be the better president, not on who I thought would win. This isn't an election for the homecoming queen or student government; this is the real thing with real consequences.
Now I am still disappointed that I have a President who thinks that my colleagues and I in public education aren't doing our jobs, otherwise he wouldn't have promoted legislation that takes choices away from the states and instead gives them to the federal government. But I suppose I can live with that since I am thinking about changing careers anyway.
At least now we will have a president for whom more people voted for than his opponent, although a margin of 51% to 48% is hardly a mandate.
It was nice that George Bush decided not to give a victory speech yet, instead giving John Kerry time to "reflect on the results of this election." What the fuck does that mean? It sounds like Kerry was a bad boy who was sent to his room to think about what he did. Oh well, I guess this is just another example of George Bush's "compassionate conservatism."