Stupid machines.

OK, let’s give this a try. All my devices are getting on my nerves at some level today, partly because I went and IOS 7’d the mobile ones, and the iPad is having a little freakout over it. I’m not at all sure I like the new look, but it’s too late to turn back now.

For some reason, all this downloading and syncing is taking hours I might have spent here serving youuuu, my little minions, although back-to-school night might have had something to do with it. I’m always impressed by Kate’s teachers at these things, and even though the event itself is of minimal true value, it’s nice to put a face with the names we’ll be hearing about for the next few months. The biggest character was her physics teacher, a fast-talking wiseacre made for the age of edutainment. In his seven-minute pitch, he put on three demonstrations of SCIENCE! Kind of a Walter White without the resentment and sociopathy.

It was a warm evening, and I rode my bike there, and ran into two of the grade-school parents when I was locking up; they’d walked. The parking lot was stuffed like a foie gras goose, and I heard one mother saying parking was such a pain, they really should have walked. “It’s only two blocks,” she said. Imagine driving a car two blocks on a beautiful night, and then bitching about the parking situation, and you have Detroit in a nutshell. Support the local economy!

I feel like I’m out of things to say, and surely I am. How about some bloggage?

Bridge dropped a couple of stories lately you might be interested in. Me, on the changing nature of marriage in the middle class, and my colleague Ron’s package on building a better teacher. The main story, about the failure to support teachers, may be a little too Michigan-centric for most of you, but the sidebar, about the difference between U.S. and Canadian teacher training, was fascinating:

It’s easier to get into university teacher training programs in Michigan than in Ontario. There’s less mentoring and professional development here. And far more young Michigan teachers flee the profession after just a year or two, before attaining journeyman levels of classroom competency.

I like doing stories like this. I like reading them. I like my job.

Prince Fielder does the Bill-Clinton-at-McDonald’s thing. Funny video.

A downmarket update on the two-Samurai-in-the-rain story. In Michigan.

Have a great weekend, all.

Posted at 12:30 am in Same ol' same ol' |

28 responses to “Stupid machines.”

  1. Sherri said on September 20, 2013 at 1:45 am

    To follow up from the last thread, I’m finally home. The flight was uneventful, the new plane’s toilets worked fine, we just landed in Seattle 4 hours later than scheduled. I’m beat, but glad I went and glad to be home!

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  2. Dexter said on September 20, 2013 at 2:31 am

    “Oh, the snobbery of it all” (in my best “Chino” {The Wild One} voice…Prince passes on the cheesy dip because he was thinking the fan had double-dipped.
    During my long time association with the Chicago White Sox as a frequent visitor to Comiskey Park to watch the beloved White Sox, when I reached drinking age it became routine to stop across 35th Street for a beer and a hot dog at McCuddy’s Tavern, a little place, always we were wedged in tightly, struggling to work up to the bar to order whatever the latest beer the White Sox were pushing…sometimes Meister Brau, sometimes Bud, sometimes Stroh’s, Hamm’s, Schlitz, Old Style, whatever. I got to know a couple of people there a little bit, one old guy helped out a little bit as a bar-back, and then there was Frances McCuddy herself, who worked up front, chopping onions for the dogs usually. She was the niece of the famous Ma McCuddy who owned the joint when Babe Ruth visited her bar many times. During games. The entrance to the visitor’s clubhouse was right across 35th from McCuddy’s, and The Babe would actually run over himself from the ballpark during innings when he had a little time and grab three hotdogs and pound three or four schooners of beer and then head on back into the park. Now I know this is true because Frances McCuddy told me it was true…she was a young woman of twenty years or so when she witnessed it.
    That old timer liked to tell stories of ballplayers that came in for beers back years ago. I always brought a few good cigars to hand over to the old timer; he loved a great cigar. I think Babe Ruth would have dipped that stolen nacho in the double-dipped cheese anyway.

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  3. Deborah said on September 20, 2013 at 3:11 am

    Nancy, how did you find the couple you describe in the Bridge piece on marriage? They seem a little unusual, in that she is only 23 and he’s 19 years older, if I understood that correctly. I thought women these days were waiting until they’re late twenties / early thirties to marry?

    Sherri, glad to hear you’re home safe.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 20, 2013 at 5:35 am

    I love that you like your job. And I like reading them! Or helping you find people for stories . . . 😉

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  5. David C. said on September 20, 2013 at 7:34 am

    I’m sure each drew his last dying breath firmly believing that he was the good guy with a gun stopping the bad guy with a gun. We’re going to see a lot more of this.

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  6. alex said on September 20, 2013 at 7:51 am

    SNL seldom makes me laugh anymore. The Onion? Snore. No one spoofs the Obamacare doomsayers better than they do by themselves. To their credit, at least they didn’t have Uncle Sam appearing in blackface.

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  7. beb said on September 20, 2013 at 8:06 am

    “The two samurai in the rain” throws me, and even isn’t a friend here. While I’m not sure either man deserved to die just for being a dick, the 13 people shoot in a Chicago park certainly didn’t deserve that.

    I’ve rarely upgraded software on anything and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?” It’s like every upgrade is a step away from perfect functionality. And don’t get me started on what Yahoo’s done to Flickr or their Yahoo Groups. The people who made those decisions need to be horsewhipped — with a very large horse!!!

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  8. Basset said on September 20, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Today is PARK(ing) Day, when parking spaces get turned into temporary parks… I’m on a street corner in downtown Nashville right now waiting for two trailer loads of plants and building materials to arrive, we’re covering three adjacent spots with turf, shrubbery, and a deck. Went over great last year, this’ll be fun.

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  9. alex said on September 20, 2013 at 8:13 am

    iOS7? I can’t even figure out how to use the one I have now. I’m paying out the wazoo for the privilege of having a phone that isn’t an embarrassment but I haven’t even begun to explore its capabilities and frankly don’t see myself ever having the time necessary to do so. The dumbing down of America isn’t happening in its disintegrating public schools. It’s happening where people are so entranced by vexatious devices that they’re incapable of paying half a mind to anything else.

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  10. coozledad said on September 20, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I’m surprised none of the phone people have gone retro and introduced a portable wallmount pushbutton in a shoulder bag. The 9×11 inch screen slides out of the side, it has a huge keypad, joysticks for games, and a cigarette lighter. Available in nicotine beige, avocado, and urnge.

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  11. coozledad said on September 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

    The Republican Obamacare ads seem to be drawn from the shallow well of pure projection, so when are they going to make one with a doctor fucking a horse?

    Or maybe they’ll go all high Republican concept and have a doctor presenting the Pope with the bill for the last supper.

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  12. brian stouder said on September 20, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Well, and as Rachel Maddow noted (with her usual incisive and bemused irritation), it is those self-same Obama-hating DEfundamentalist know-nothing folks, like ol’ McDonnell & the Cooch in Virginia, or that crock-o’-shit governor in Pennsylvania, or Indiana’s doofus Daniels – who INSIST on putting governmental intrusion directly into the bodies of women – and BILLING them for the medically unnecessary ultra-sound examinations to boot!

    But, we digress.

    If I can get in again, I have a more pleasant thing to post about

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  13. MichaelG said on September 20, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Fantastic, Deborah. I’m glad it came out well.

    Good to hear you had a happy trip, Sherri.

    Those idiots who shot each other occasion a real ‘I told you so’ moment.

    The guy next to me here at work just upgraded his phone with the new operating syst. He isn’t ecstatic. I guess I’ll do it but there’s no hurry.

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  14. MichaelG said on September 20, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Competency? What happened to competence? All kinds of words are being changed around. Is it the Republicans?

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  15. brian stouder said on September 20, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    First, thanks to Nancy or Mr Burns or the internet gods or whoever, for weed-whipping my earlier duplicate comments. In the process, the word “edit” appeared on all comments for awhile there, and I confess I clicked it on one of Cooze’s….and nothing happened. I don’t know what I’d have done if it had done something (it would be like discovering plutonium in the backyard)

    Second, did anyone else – especially our Fort Wayne crowd – see the spectacular dawn sky two mornings ago? Chloe and I were both quite taken by it, on the way to the bus stop; brilliant crimson clouds across the whole sky (and not just in the east) – and then we got a misty little rain, and the most beautiful full-rainbow (end to end). I made it back home in time to drag Pam out to see it, before it faded away.

    And third, I cannot possibly agree more, that there is a (huge!) value to taking every opportunity to go to our schools and meet the teachers and the administrators and so on. It is all good stuff, not least because it reinforces to our young folks that we highly value the work that they are (expected to be!) doing there.

    And finally, a non-sequitur that seems to fit into our top-gun national milieu

    •Ted Nugent’s wife Shemane made an oopsie at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport Thursday night. According to the couple’s attorney, Shemane made an “honest mistake” when she left a handgun in her purse. It showed up when Shemane went through security and she was subsequently arrested.

    Clearly, this is a violation of the Second Amendment, right?

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  16. Dorothy said on September 20, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    I did the upgrade on my iPhone at 3 AM (more about that in a second) and I’m not thrilled with it, mostly because I can no longer stop apps from running in the background the way I used to, to save battery strength. I’ve Googled it and will get to it eventually but I got to work 3 hours late and have other things to do.

    I got to work late because last night my sweet husband broke two ribs when he fell off of our backyard block wall when he was filling the bird feeders. Of course he didn’t want to go to the hospital right after it happened. That would have been too logical! He waited until sleep was unattainable and he was in too much pain and at 12:30 AM decided that would be the perfect time to go. I did not mind – I’m being sarcastic but honestly, he just thought he bruised himself. But his breathing and pain were telling us otherwise. He fell from a height of about 20″, bonked his left knee and then slammed down on his back. I was not a witness to this since I was inside and not near a window to hear him calling me. Eventually he got up and made his way to the house. Poor guy. Such bad timing…! He was taking some vacation days anyway to get ready for the big garage sale we’re having a week from today. He won’t be picking up any boxes or other stuff for awhile that’s for sure. ER doc said he has to stay home for a week to let the ribs start to heal. And let me just say – painkillers at 3 AM are a marvel. He slept well for four hours and I did so, too, but on the couch.

    And now you know why I upgraded my OS at 3 AM. Just before I went to sleep. I don’t care for the look – I thought the other was neater.

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  17. Bob (not Greene) said on September 20, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    So I just entered into the browser and a page came up with comments and at the bottom of each comment was an “edit” link. There was also no place for me to add a comment. What the hell did I just stumble on? Nancy’s secret page where she can edit comments if she needs to? Seems like a breach in security.

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  18. brian stouder said on September 20, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Forget breaches of security, man; I wanna know the real story of what the hell Dorothy and her husband were up to at 2 in the morning, that landed him in the ER!

    Aside from that – didja see that Fukishima had another earth quake today. But the power company people gave a glowing report, and said that everything is under control….

    and btw, did y’all grow up referring to “HEE-row-SHE-mah”? And then somehow it changed to “HerROWshma”?

    How long before “FOOkaSHEmah” becomes well-and-truly “FUHKuhshma”?

    Just wonderin’

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  19. Dorothy said on September 20, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    Brian I promise you we were in the emergency room at 2am. He fell in the backyard around 6:50 pm but waited a long while until he finally agreed to head to the hospital.

    Bob I came upon the same thing today, very weird. I’ve had connectivity problems all week here. I imagine most of have.

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  20. alex said on September 21, 2013 at 8:27 am

    Surprised to see this about my alma mater. I’ve never been particularly generous with the alumni association or the College of Arts & Sciences, which are always hitting me up, but I can see the sense in contributing my charitable dollars to this group and feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.

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  21. Suzanne said on September 21, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I upgraded my iPad to the new OS. I don’t like it much. The screen is, I think, harder to read, and overall, it seems to not work quite as well. I hate computer upgrades because it usually means that what took two clicks to do now takes 5 and buttons and icons seem to be moved or redesigned for no apparent reason. Whenever a computer upgrade has been announced any any workplace I’ve graced, groans were heard all around.

    Also, why in the new iOS upgrade did the feature that allowed you to close all the programs that you weren’t using disappear?? I just figured out how to do it and Bam! It’s gone.

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  22. ROGirl said on September 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Another day, another article about Elaine Stritch in Birmingham, this one in the New York Times. Does she want people to stop by and say hello?

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  23. Charlotte said on September 21, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Some handy IOS 7 tips including how to close running apps (which I need because my recently-doused-in-lakewater battery keeps dying).

    And having worked for Cisco for 15 years, I do a double-take every time over “IOS” — it’s also the name of the main server software and our biggest tech documentation group …

    Off to see if I can find some late mushrooms — it’s been unseasonably warm, not really any snow up high, and we’ve had rain. Fingers crossed. At the worst it’s a lovely day in the woods with my increasingly-infirm bird dog.

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  24. Deborah said on September 21, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I’m writing this from Arizona, we left Santa Fe at yesterday 6:30am and arrived at our hotel in Mesa around 2:30pm. We only took a couple of potty breaks, and was it ever a ride full of gorgeous scenery. The landscape completely changed every 50 miles or so, the colors and shapes of the landforms and vegetation were so different, it made the trip super interesting, never boring.

    We hit Ikea immediately, and thank god all of the big stuff we wanted was in stock (sink, cabinet, shelf unit etc). The only thing that was out of stock was the toilet paper roll holder, which they said is supposed to be delivered as part of a shipment today so we’re going back. I had called the day before we left to make sure everything was in stock, and they had said that there were 30 of the TP holder thingies, and they had none. Also the numbers they had given me about everything else were wrong, for instance they said there were 5 sinks, but there were really 8 etc. If I had known the numbers would be off like that I would not have considered making this trip. The small stuff can be ordered on line but the heavy stuff costs a lot to ship. The sink shipping cost alone paid for the trip. If the cartrip would have been boring I would never have done it either, but it was glorious, so worth it.

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  25. Deborah said on September 21, 2013 at 11:28 am

    I’ll add that our hotel is a great deal through Orbitz, and it’s hot hot hot outside. Tempe is quite a nice community, we drove past ASU on our way to Ikea.

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  26. Sherri said on September 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    I upgraded my phone and my recently purchased iPad mini to iOS 7 now that I’m back. There are several things I like about it – auto-updating apps (finally!), no limit on the number of apps I can put in a folder, the control panel (though I wish I could customize it). The animations, though, are the biggest annoyance; I wish I could turn those off. Maybe it’s just my jet lag, but they almost make me dizzy, and they just slow things down. I did turn off the parallax effect, but there’s no way to turn off the animations.

    More thoughts on London. Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s were both interesting churches to tour, in different ways. The tour at Westminster is focused more on the history of England, while the tour at St. Paul’s is more about the church aspect. We climbed the dome at St. Paul’s for a good view of London, and also attended Matins (morning prayer) at Westminster.

    We did a tour of the Houses of Parliament; that tour required airport level security to get into. I couldn’t complain about that; people have been trying to blow up Parliament since before the US existed. The tour follows the path that the Queen takes in the opening of parliament, from the robing room to the House of Lords, then continues on to the House of Commons (where the door is slammed in the face of the representative and he has to knock three times). The guide did a pretty good job of explaining parliamentary government and how it works, all in about 75 minutes.

    Similarly, our yeoman warder (“Beefeater”) guide at the Tower of London gave us a good overview of 1000 years of history in 50 minutes while we toured there, and was amusing at the same time (“Any Americans in the group? Just think, if you’d paid your taxes, all this history could be yours!”)

    The Victoria and Albert Museum is kind of hard to characterize; it has a lot of stuff, and is interesting, but no real theme. We just sort of wandered around until something caught our fancy, then dove in (the photography exhibit was fascinating, with photos going back to the 1840’s.) The Natural Science Museum had a great exhibit on rocks, though we were sad that the earthquakes and volcanoes exhibit was closed for refurbishment.

    We went to the Tate Modern, but it just didn’t do much for us. We both liked the SFMoMa better. Along with the Picassos, there were too many of the “rectangular block of color” style of modern art that I just don’t get. It was all a little too meta for me, a little too much “what is art?” I don’t mind some of that, but too much of that just bores me.

    Maybe we were just sight-seed out by the time we went out there, but despite the recommendations of several friends, we were underwhelmed by Hampton Court, the palace of Henry VIII. I mean, not underwhelmed by it as a palace, but underwhelmed by it as a museum. The weather held up long enough for us to do the hedge maze and wander the gardens a bit, but on the whole, we’d rather have gone back to the British Museum again.

    As it was, we spent about a day and a half at the British Museum, and still weren’t sated. We even became members so we could get into the otherwise sold out Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibit. We were glad we did, because the exhibit was great, and we were happy to support the museum, which is free except for donations. Yes, the British Museum is full of stuff the Brits looted or preserved from other countries, depending on your perspective, but it’s amazing to see it all.

    I’m not ready to move to London, but I’d love to go back. It’s such a big international city. I haven’t spent any time in New York City, so I can’t compare it to that, but it’s so much bigger than SF and felt even more international. It felt bigger than Rome, maybe because it was so easy to get around and so I got around more of it, and I heard so many languages being spoken. One difference between London and Rome surprised me, though: I found it easier to cross streets in Rome than in London, even after I got used to looking the wrong way. London drivers do not like to stop, and they come screaming around turns without slowing down. Taxi drivers were actually the most sane. My strategy was usually to cross with a bunch of locals, figuring that they knew what they were doing, and besides, if I was in the middle of the pack, the cars would hit them first!

    Now to recover from jet lag…

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  27. brian stouder said on September 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Sherri – excellent stuff; thanks for sharing.

    I envy the museum/palace/parliament hopping; that’s the good stuff, in this life.

    I think the meta-lesson for us all is to do the same even (or especially) when we’re in our own corner of the world. And the micro-lesson is – plan on hitting the British Museum for several days!

    I think I’d also want to see Silverstone (or Brands Hatch), with a special bonus if anything is scheduled to race there

    Deborah, my nose was pressed against the airplane window as we flew over the vast (vast) expanse of orange/brown/gold mountains and canyons in your part of the world. It would be lovely to go back there, and drive a little of that, and see the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam and Area 51 and the lights of Las Vegas. (despite that I hear it is no country for old men)

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  28. Diane L. said on September 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you Charlotte. I wanted to know how to do that but was too lazy to look for the information. This blog and its community are great.

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