Archives Home


Old ETP Site

Email Dan

Daily doings in the land of The Time Sink
The show must go on...

Several years ago, I'd received a call from one of the administrative assistants early in the week wanting to know if I could cover a computer class on Saturday. The gentleman who usually filled in for me was available to handle the EMT class, and the computer class was a specialty class for WordPerfect users (DOS version; yes, it was a few years back) that I particularly liked to teach, so I said "Sure!". I hadn't had a chance to use our new computer lab yet and I had helped develop the class... So it really was a way to get paid for kicking back and playing.

...until I tried to fire things up in the classroom. The network was down. ...and down hard. ...and it was a Novell setup that I really didn't want to mess with. The gentleman who handled the front desk and I both looked at things and decided that the staff really should have included him in the briefing on the new classroom and how it operated.

...and I had a quandry: this class was a contract class for some local businesses: every so often we'd offer a power user's class and invite local firms to send in their staff for an "over-the-top, not-found-in-any-book" seesion about anything their people wanted to learn. Martha and I had built up quite a selection of tips, tricks and shortcuts to draw from, and the classes were always fun. ...and now things were coming up a null set. Bad PR. Very bad...

What to do? What to do? I really didn't want to cancel this class; it really would reflect poorly on the outfit. But I needed a venue. ...one with a group of computers on a network offering WordPerfect from the server.

I'll let the Dean finish the story:

I came in to do some work one Saturday to find my office occupied; indeed every administrative office was occupied by a student from one of our computer classes. The network in the main lab had failed overnight due to a janitor killing the main power circuit.

Rather than cancel the class, Mr. Bowman logged into the administrative computers using variations on his login name and was teaching the class by instructing the students in each area from the doorways.

At that point I felt my duty was best served by bringing up the lab network to allow him to return the class to a more normal environment as soon as possible.

Yeah, an interesting day...

5/5/2001 12:26:26 AM

Gearing up for slowing down...

So begins the last class prep of the semester...

5/4/2001 7:44:23 PM

Not the Luke I expected Dave to write about...

L u k e . . .

5/4/01 2:23:54 PM

If you cannot remember the past...

Bob Thompson reminds us this morning about Kent State...

I can say it that way. I need no references to 'the events'. It's not a historical reference as it is to some. ...or a footnote as it is to others.

In May 1970, I was attending college at a campus much like Kent State. The year before, a friend had been hit with buck shot while watching the People's Park march, but that was somehow disconnected from reality... To say it was a 'time of unrest' underplays the events happening at that time on campuses across the United States.

The Isla Vista Bank of America had burned a few months before. I was standing night watches as a campus firefighter on the roof of the AFROTC building in reaction to the firebombings of ROTC buildings elsewhere. We had undercover State and Federal law enforcement personnel trying to mingle with the student population. The National Guard was present on campuses across the country...

...and we woke up to Four dead in Ohio.

...and my thoughts on government changed forever.

5/4/01 10:12:20 AM

Pepsi out the nose on a Friday morning...

Read this stuff, folks, and think about what Microsoft wants, and where we fit in their food chain (think plankton).

5/4/01 9:03:29 AM

Any thoughts on that?
Friday 5/4/01 8:43:50 AM

I have to chuckle a little...

It was another longish day at work and I came home pretty well done in for the day. I'd stopped off at another of the local hardware stores to see what they had in the way of plants and rocks and such for the Japanese garden project. I found a rock or two that would work (and a very low-key lantern) and spent some of the evening in a chair just looking the area over and trying different layouts in my mind's eye.

That unwound me well enough that I figured I'd forego a post here and just update the Daynotes site... Then one of those confluences that occurs from time to time rolled on through. Sometimes it's health care and sometimes it's computers and sometimes it's cars...

...and sometimes it's music: I really hadn't expected to see Buckwheat Zydeco on both Cecil's and Rick's playlists. Ya' learn something new every day here...

5/3/2001 11:01:08 PM

Any thoughts on that?
Thursday 5/3/2001 11:00:22 PM


I don't know where I go from here, I only know that the sidewalk has ended.

There's something there for several of us in the community...

...and from a different world, that of programmers and geeks:

$600 for extensibility or $1600 for hermetically sealed?

...and from a tired mother:

Today I am extremely weary. Perhaps the past days have caught up with me.

Whose daughter of course says,

Oh, and smile. ;-)

5/2/2001 11:31:24 PM


A very full day at work. Very.

Time to ease the tension on the tape...

5/2/2001 5:26:20 PM

Any thoughts on that?
Wednesday 5/2/2001 5:24:05 PM

Too much fun...

I haven't had the time lately for a link fest to some of the rest of the people who contribute to my sanity level. Note, I'm not indicating who swings the meter which way...

Let's see... In no particular order, and only as the muse whispers this evening:

Ciara has discovered Manila Express... Sheesh. I couldn't keep up with her output before her new toy; I have no hope at all now.

Al has a night or two off. You'll know where he is by following the trail of drool...

...and Cecil is going to cost me serious bucks. I hadn't managed to deal with one area behind the house yet (heck, I just whacked the weeds down on Sunday); and here he comes up with another Japanese garden post... I was under control (only a little shaking) until I happened by the local Target store on the way home and saw an absolutely ideal curved lantern... Now I need to see if it's allowable to do a shade garden with that as the anchor. No, not with Shelley; I think I'll check in with Hal. After all, I do live in a desert.

...and Rick has started the slow fall into the arms of the Penguins. Tsk. Tsk. Yeah, Rick; that's how I started too: just move that test firewall boxen inside the zone to play with and replace it with another machine (or box). Uh-huh. Sure. I'll check back in a month and see how many Linux boxes you have running. ...especially since the distros are so inexpensive. ...and they'll run just fine on that old Pentium.

Dave has Greymatter up and running at home. ...and I see he has his discussion group enabled. Man, I'd like to have dsl available here...

...and for anyone wandering in over here from my Daynotes site, and wondering what you've stumbled across, here's one for you: You know how Jerry is constantly on NASA as an example of bureaucracy gone wrong? Well, John McCabe has taken it to the next level. Have a read... Oh, and don't read any of his other stuff, it's just whacked. (Baby pictures here<g>...)

...and I just need to stop reading all the Navy guys. ...and ladies.

Enough. I promised Shelley I wouldn't stay up late...


5/2/2001 12:02:25 AM

When word problems can actually hinder learning...

Yeah, that one got your attention.

...and you've felt that way ever since the first time you came across those two Trains from Hell that raced endlessly about the pages of your math homework.

...and race they do, for we never seem to be able to get them to stop at the station long enough to ask one of the engineers, "Just where do you meet that other train?"

...and, "what time was it, really?"

The reality of things sunk home with dull thud as I re-worked some math homework with Daniel last night. The point of the assignment seemed to be to allow the students to use real world examples as they worked with problems of estimating and scale. More or less an introduction to "orders of magnitude".

We worked through examples of whether to measure things like the height of a basket ball hoop in miles, inches, feet, or centimeters. All would work, but which would be the best? ...and he learned we didn't have to use a 'yardstick' to measure the front 'yard' during an approximation of the square footage involved.

...but where we really stalled out was trying to get the correct answer to how far the jogger would go if he ran for forty-five minutes. The answers were something like:

  • Two miles
  • Two hundred yards
  • Four miles
  • Thirty-seven feet

No matter how I presented the problem, I couldn't get him to budge from his answer of "Two Miles"...

I carefully pulled him along the logical brick road of "Thirty-seven feet is way too low, 'cause that's like the distance across the front yard..." ...and once I explained that two hundred yards was about two trips up and down the soccer field, I thought I had him.

But he still wouldn't budge. ...and 5280 feet didn't cut it as an anchor point. So I asked him, "Do you know how long a mile is from your experience?" "Sure Dad, that's two laps around the school!" Okay! I'm on to something here.

"How long does it take to do two laps?" "About seven minutes." Bingo! Okay: slowly now, we're finally gaining some altitude on this flight. ...and I walked him through the "forty-five minutes divided by seven minutes per mile" to get "five" as the approximation.

...and he still said the answer was "Two"!

Main drive having failed, and trying to land this crippled beast on thrusters only, I asked him how he could possibly consider that answer when we'd proved that 'four miles' would be so much closer...

To hear, "Dad, two miles is like four times around that school. ...and I'm never going to run farther than that!"

...as I crashed onto the surface of the airless moon.

5/1/01 3:19:41 PM

Any thoughts on that?
Tuesday 5/1/01 2:56:45 PM


Shelley is safely home. That's a good thing.

So is sleep...

4/30/2001 10:17:50 PM

The 20th Century Kid...

Wow. A hard start to the morning: Susan's grandfather passed on Saturday.

Still, it was nice to read about the "I'm glad I gottas"...

Thoughts and prayers coming your way, girl...

4/30/2001 8:14:44 AM

Any thoughts on that?
Monday 4/30/2001 8:10:13 AM

I win one!

That computer problem I had this week is solved!

Now to quit being a poor example to my kids and get outside and get some gardening done. They've been getting away with Nintendo way too much today (while Dad's been playing with his Big Nintendo <g>)...

4/29/2001 3:41:36 PM

Any thoughts on that?
Sunday 4/29/2001 3:36:39 PM

Baby Pictures!!!!!!

Heh. The littlest Loony...

Thanks, Amber!

4/28/2001 9:36:46 PM

Long day...

I'll tell you about it later; now it's time to wake up and see about some dinner...

4/28/2001 7:56:52 PM

Any thoughts on that?
Saturday 4/28/2001 7:55:52 PM

Who, me?

Maybe in a bit; I have class prep to finish so the little darlings can take their written final in the morning...

4/27/2001 10:08:10 PM

Any thoughts on that?
Friday 4/27/2001 10:06:38 PM


Copyright 2001 by
Daniel C. Bowman