BrondaBailey’s Weblog

Coming to you live from the Village!

The nerve! The audacity! The unmitigated gall!

Do you know what one of my little sisters said to me up at Bear Lake?  Let set it up for you:

I was badgering her about not regularly checking my blog and posting witty comments to bolster my self-esteem.  Do you know what she said?

“I don’t check your blog every day.”

WHAT?!?!  Why the flip not?  GAWSH!

Sorry Britt, I’ll try to tone down the badgering.

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August 31, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | , , | 4 Comments

Wow – if there had been ‘electricity’ in my Junior High band, maybe I would have stuck with it

You know, I’ve heard a myriad of different variations of the Super Mario Bros. theme. It definitely qualifies as some of the most popular video game music of all time. There was the beat-boxing flute Mario theme YouTube video that one of the Moffetts sent me a few months back. That’s about as intense as you can get on the flute.  At the Video Games Live Concert Bren and I attended with Jeremy and Kristi in March, we got to see this guy do his crazy blindfolded piano playing live, which was, of course, awesome.  Today though, I think I saw something (well, I didn’t see it, although would also be very cool, I saw it on my computer screen) that I think tops all the other different versions I’ve seen.  Check it out:

Now try to tell me that isn’t cool! And no, I probably still wouldn’t have stuck with it – but I might have given myself third-degree burns before I left!

August 28, 2008 Posted by | Quality Video gleaned from the 'Net, Ron's Posts | , , , | 2 Comments

A quick update from school

I managed not to severely embarass myself today at school (at least that I know of.)  One thing I dislike about the school though is the district’s recent push towards saving power.  Now, most of the things don’t bug me at all – in fact, I’m not even sure what most of the changes they’ve made are.  They have however, been successful – despite adding a bunch of new schools over the last few years, the district is still using the same amount of power.

There is however, one really good idea that has not worked out so well in the faculty bathroom – motion sensors for the lights.  There are already motion sensors in many parts of the school, for security purposes (those pesky kids trying to sneak in and learn on the weekends!) so they recently (within the last couple of years) hooked many of them up to the lights.  If there’s no movement in a room for a few minutes, the lights go out.  Wah-lah – power saved!  Now, in my room, for example, it works out quite well.  The lights go off automatically for me if I happen to leave them on, say, .  However, in the male faculty bathroom, the lights seem to go out on me quite frequently as I’m sitting in the stall because there is no visible movement in the room.  Maybe it’s just because I often head in early in the morning, but two out of the three times I’ve used the restroom so far this year, the lights have gone out on me in the bathroom while I was in the stall.  Did I mention that the bathroom is in the middle of the building?  There are no windows, so it gets pitch black in there.  There’s very little that can be done at this point from inside the stall.  No movement is picked up until you walk out (I have tried swinging my arms around wildly.)  Swinging the door back and forth doesn’t accomplish anything either.  Basically, I’ve resigned myself to groping around for the toilet paper and then finishing in the dark.  I’m actually getting pretty good at it.

The thing that I think is the funniest, however, is that there are light switches for the student bathrooms.  Have you been in a Junior High bathroom recently?  (Please say no.)  Why are they more trustworthy than us with electricity?

August 26, 2008 Posted by | From the Frontlines of the Education of America, Ron's Posts | , , | 4 Comments

Jedi in Training Pants (diapers actually)

I’m trying to keep updating the blog on at least a semi-recent basis.  I actually have a new-found respect for bloggers who do this kind of thing a bunch of times a day.  Sure, they might not go into quite as much detail as I do (sometimes), but keeping things snappy and finding fun things to show other people is always a challenge.

Today, was of course, the first day of school.  Things seemed to go well.  In an interesting sidenote (interesting to me anyway) I moved my third period inside.  There’s a very nice young lady who is in a wheelchair, which makes it difficult to access my portable.  You’d think that the 64th largest school district in the country (at least that’s what it was the last time I heard) would make all their classrooms ADA compliant.  You, of course, would be wrong.  I had the option to move inside full time, but I like my air conditioning in the portable too much, so I’m teaching inside the school for one period a day.  Luckily, the room is just inside the doors from my portable, so it’s close for when I forget things, like I did today.  In my class, I put the seating chart up on the screen with my document camera (it’s like an overhead projector with a digital camera instead of the complex lenses- it makes it so you can write on a normal piece of paper rather than a transparency, quite handy in a classroom) to make it easy (relatively) for students to find their seats in my classroom.  Unfortunately, my plan to do this same thing in my borrowed classroom didn’t function quite as well – the projector has recently been mounted in that room, but it still has a small screen, so the image of the seating chart was half on the screen, half on the wall.  By this point, a mother making sure everything was going alright with her seventh grader had wandered in and could see how well things were NOT going.  Since I couldn’t find the projector remote in the class, I had to pull up a chair to turn it off.  The mom seemed like a very nice woman and hopefully, she didn’t judge me to harshly for looking like a moron climbing on the chair to turn off the projector by hand.  I felt even better when I later realized that I had left my stamps in my room and had to run and get them.  Yes, I think my class was very impressed third period.

Barring these slightly embarassing moments, things seemed to go well.  One thing I’ve always wanted to do is keep a better record of the humorous things that happen in school.  I don’t plan on writing a book or anything, but I’ve always wanted to have them collected in one place for days when I need a chuckle (because I’m pulling my hair out.)

Anyway, here’s recent picture of Luke.  He is of course, adorable.  NOTE TO FAMILY MEMBERS: If we want to get that picture of Luke and Sydney we’ve always talked about with them in their Star Wars outfits, soon would be good, since this one won’t fit him much longer.  THAT IS ALL!  I miss spending all day, every day, with him and the Wii (and the X-Box 360.)

Padawan Luke

There’s a few more in the Summer 2008 set if you’re interested.  Thanks for noticing me.

August 25, 2008 Posted by | Flickr Update, From the Frontlines of the Education of America, Ron's Posts | , , , , , | 3 Comments

“On Vulcan, we have a proverb: ‘Only Nixon could go to China.'”

A week or two ago, we helped some friends who lived in a nearby basement apartment move into their recently purchased house.  While definitely a fixer-up, they got a steal on it and we’re happy to have them around.  The house only recently come up on the market as the previous owner had recently passed away.  Brenda and I made his acquaintance once at a swap meet, only to discover through conversation that he lived just up the street from us.  He had a booth at the swamp meet, and though I don’t remember any specifics of what he had in his booth, but it seems to me that it was normal swap meet fair (read: JUNK.)

Anyway, as my friend was giving me the grand tour, we made our way into their basement – which was in a fair state of disrepair.  A window had been boarded up instead of the glass replaced (and it had been nailed in with at least thirty nails and I am NOT exaggerating at all, that window might have survived a tornado if the rest of the house came down around it.  Some of them were really large, pain-in-the-butt-to-get-out-of-the-walls nails.)  Carpet was laying unsecured on the floor.  A vintage (which is moving speak for old and stinkin’ heavy) washer and dryer were down there.  Haphazardly placed wood paneling dividing the area into rooms is unstable to even the least experienced person at home repairs in the world (me.)

At last, he shows me the bedroom right at the bottom of the stairs and inside, scribbled in what looks to me to be crayon was a message.  I had to read it a couple time out loud to make myself understand it.

President Nixon!

In case you can’t read it says, “The only dope worth shooting is President Nixon!”  Let me be the first to propose that I do not condone shooting Presidents of the United States, especially one who has already passed away.  I know nothing of the history of this house except that at some point someone who lived there had some bad feelings towards Nixon.

What dark days the 70’s must have been when a young boy, with an orange and yellow crayons scribbled words on bricks, apparently his mother never found it and cleaned it.

August 24, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | , | 4 Comments

Luke has too many toys!

Who’s fault is it that Luke has too many toys?  Society?  Consumerism?  Should I blame the major political parties (and throw the Greens and the Libertarians under the bus as well?)  Or should I just blame. . . myself?

Actually, I’m quite comfortable with the number of toys that Luke has.  It just seemed like an attention grabbing headline that could easily be misinterpreted by the media.  He does have quite a few though.  A giant chunk of them have been purchased for him by me.  I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point when we were waiting for someone to choose us for an adoption, I started buying Luke toys.  It began with Star Wars toys.  I noticed what I thought at the time was a new line of “kiddy” Star Wars toys called the Galactic Heroes.  They’re smaller than normal action figures (only a couple of inches) with fewer points of articulation (that’s moving joints for you non-nerds out there) than normal toys.  They also are insufferably cute – Darth Maul has changed from a nightmare-ish clown to a huggable pal, Chewbacca has gained a broad grin, and they even managed to make R2-D2 look pretty darn cute.  (I’ll have to try to get closer up shots of smaller groups sometime.)  Anyway, every pay check or so, I’d snag another two-pack of Galactic Heroes for our future son/daughter (20 points to you if you guessed son.)

As time progressed, I realized that the Galactic Heroes line wasn’t new – in fact I had bought one before.  One of the first Christmas presents I ever gave Jared was an X-wing with Luke, and that was when we first got married.  So, they’ve been around for a while, but I guess their popularity blossomed and I started seeing them everywhere.  Well, eventually other companies saw ways to make money off of people buying nostalgic toys for young kids and so around the launch of Spider-Man 3 in theaters, they got into the act too.  However, unlike the Star Wars toys, almost every two-pack of Spider-Man toys came with a Spider-Man, which means that I have a LOT of Spider-Men.  From a marketing perspective, it’s a dream come true, right?

Marketing Guy #1: “How are we going to sell enough toys to get our Christmas bonuses again this year?”

Marketing Guy #2: “We’ll make people buy five times the number of Spider-Men than they would would if they were packed individually instead of in 2 packs!”

Marketing Guy #1: *sobs*  “Genius, pure genius, Christmas is saved!”

And then everyone’s happy but me (because I know that the true purpose of the Internet is lodging complaints.)  I have a variety of Spider-Man villains – Rhino, Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, New Goblin, Venom, and Carnage.  Like the Star Wars toys, they are a kiddy line and many of the bad guys look fairly nice (but remember, stranger = danger!)

Anyway, we happened to be at a Dollar Store one day and Brenda always lets me go down the toy aisle at the end of a trip to the store as long as I promise not to break anything.  On the toy aisle, I happen to notice some cute Winnie the Pooh toys about the same size as the other ones I already have (although none of them have joints, they just stand around stiffly – the Hundred Acre Wood must be dull sometimes.)  At $1 apiece, they were significantly cheaper than the Star Wars or Spider-Man toys, so Bren and I snagged Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet (Tigger’s tail got broken once, but we never found out how.  All we know is that one day when Melanie and Maisy were watching Luke, Maisy came out and said that Tigger had been broken, but she didn’t know how.  Luckily, it was cheap to replace.)

By now, the top of Luke’s changing table is getting a little full, and I ended up cleaning off the dresser and placing all the toys on there (a wise choice considering how much he rolls around now-a-days.)  The Marvel comic book company, not content with selling me only Spider-Man figures, expanded it’s line to include more heroes.  Dare Devil, Captain America, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the Wasp (she’s one of the original Avengers, look it up!) among others.  There were some accompanying villains, but not as many as Spider-Man.  Many of the X-Men also joined our plastic super hero team.

Well, just when you’d think that I should probably stop buying painted hunks of plastic, I found a set of Justice League heroes.  Unlike the other toys, these are more made to be collectibles than toys.  They came on stands and don’t move at all (except for their bendy capes!)  Now, again for the non-nerds out there, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Flash are from D.C. Comics, not Marvel, which is why I hadn’t already purchased them.  I really liked the Justice League TV show, so I really wanted some action figures to represent them.  There were not any that really matched cutesy style, so I settled on these.  They were also convenient because it was around this time I realized that Luke might not have been Luke, he might have been Rachel.  Now, any daughter of mine will play video games and watch super hero stuff with me (whether she likes it or not, just like her mom), but I wanted there to be a little more “Oomph” in the girl power department.  The nice thing about the DC set is it came with Wonder Woman and Hawkgirl.  I started paying more attention to the female action figures – at one point in time Adam and I discussed the merits of repainting immodest female action figures, but we decided we didn’t know how good it would be to have a child gnawing on them afterwards.

Things kept snowballing, I saw an ad for Toys R Us which had some Super Mario Bros. figurines and went and bought them.  Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out and they made cute toys of him, so I bought them (I’m still waiting for the one I gathered enough proof of purchases to send away for.)  Indiana Jones needed some more enemies apparently, so they added a mummy and some snakes and put a transparent ghost in the Ark of the Covenant.

By now, Luke’s dresser was pretty packed and I was pretty happy.  (Oh, Luke was born at some point during this process, I’m not sure exactly when.)  Now, lest you think I’m the only one who buys Luke toys, the other day, Brenda was at a Dollar Store and ran across Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy figurines.  She called home to make sure it was ok that she bought (which I think it rather ironic since I’ve bought around 75 toys and she bought 4.)   So, I’ve brought Brenda down to my nerdy level.

Now the moment that you’ve all been waiting for (no, not the end of this post, the glamorous picture (which is actually 4 pictures stitched together.)
Action Figure Pano1

The small size really doesn’t do it justice, you really should click on it and look at all the toys I’ve labeled on Flickr (mouse-over the picture and all the notes show up.)  Also, click on the all sizes button and look at the large one so you can actually see them.  I’m rather proud the way the panoramic turned out, they’re difficult to pull of well that close.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | , , , , | 4 Comments

If you squint, you’ll be able to see it, I swear

Well, Luke has reached another major milestone.  No, I am not refering to his new found ability to gag on meat that has been pureed, pulverized, mashed, and otherwise had every feature of what we know and love about meat removed from it (and placed in a small jar.)  Yes, Luke has started yucky looking meat baby food (apparentely Luke thinks it’s texture matches it’s smell – and I’m not putting it in my mouth to check.)  So far, he’s choked down some chicken and some turkey.  He didn’t appreciate us eating pizza tonight while he gets oddly colored mush, but you know the old saying, “Spare the yucky baby food, spoil the child.”  Or something to that effect.

No!  The milestone to which I am refering is that fact that young Luke FINALLY cut his first tooth.  It seems like he’s been drooling buckets for months.  Every week or so, we’d swear that his tooth was going to come in.  It never did, until yesterday.  The funny thing is, we didn’t even notice it.  Melanie took Luke to her house (as you might recall from the blog entry earlier this week, I returned to work on Monday) and she and the kids watched him.  Felicia (aka Fancy) noticed his tooth when the sharpness thereof became apparent as he chomped on her finger.  Hooray!  How many more baby teeth do we have endure coming in?

First Tooth

If you can’t spot the tooth on this pic, click on the picture and check the bigger picture on Flickr.  It’s on the bottom, BTW.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Flickr Update, Ron's Posts | | 1 Comment

Now for something totally different!

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Snorlax, I choose you even though you don’t totally fit on the screen!

August 19, 2008 Posted by | Ron's Posts, What in the world? | , | 2 Comments

The cure for the “I have to go to work tomorrow” blues: Relive your vacation a.k.a. Michigan Trip Part 2

Michigan 08 (4)

Jaina succeeds in getting Luke to smile in the pool - quite a feat actually.

Picking up where we left off in the discussion of our trip, Brenda, Luke and I had spent a lot of time in the car so far, but we’d also travelled to a magical rainforest in a mall (D’oh, I should have gotten a picture from the outside too.) On the surface, we didn’t too many more of the typical “exciting” vacation things.  Jared addicted himself to Smash Bros. (he reached the “10 hours brawling” achievement on the second day we were there.)  It was definitely a sacrifice for me but, somehow, I managed to play with him for much of that time.  I think I took a picture of him on Cheryl’s camera, so when it gets online I’ll be sure to post a link.

Jaina

Jaina stole my sunglasses. I was most displeased, so I snapped this glamour shot of her.

We played ourselves silly with the kids around the house.  Every once in a while Jordin woke up and we got the chance to cuddle her.  It’s a little crazy to think that Luke slept that much once too.  I pretended to understand Lizzy when she signed to me.  Every once in a while I picked out a few words (“Mom,” “Dad,” “swimming”) but largely it was reminiscent of my mission when I spent a few months not understanding a whole lot of what’s going on around me.  Jaina told me all about Ariel and how she has a new movie coming out soon.  At one point I “helped” (read between the lines: forced) Jaina to go across the monkey bars.  Now, before you judge me too harshly, I held her up the whole way.  I thought she just needed a little encouragement and she’d figure out it’s not so bad.  I was wrong.  She screamed and screamed and we actually ended up running inside to Mom for comfort before too long.  I was just trying to help her be brave.  She did make it across the monkey bars though.  Tabby was always interested in playing outside and show off her skills on the swings.

Sunflowers

Basically, had a more laid-back vacation than an exciting one.  We do have some traditions that we make sure we always do in Michigan.  Every year I try to help out at the funeral home in some capacity or another – it’s kind of like helping out with the cows at Bert’s parents in Brigham City, as long as you only do it every so often, it’s actually quite enjoyable.  Jason is always kind enough to let me tag along.  This year I helped load some flowers into the truck to take to a church and helped park the cars in the correct manner to make sure the funeral procession could head out.  Compared to parking cars at Lagoon when I was a teenager, it was a piece of cake.  We also went to Mancino’s – a restaraunt in nearby Alma that serves mainly grinders (an Eastern United States name for sub sandwiches) and pizza.  I’ve never had their pizza, I like the grinders too much.  While in Alma, I saw a beautiful field of sun flowers and so we drove back to take a quick picture.  It didn’t turn out so great, but the batteries died right after I took the picture (I didn’t even get to see it) so I didn’t get a chance to improve it.  I include it here as a “what might have been” picture.  We also went to get ice cream at a place once known as Scooters in Ithaca, recently (well, recently to me but I hadn’t been there in a year) purchased and renamed Frosty Cone.  I was pleased that their single scoop cone is actually like five scoops big.  That was our last night in Michigan, the night we always walk to Frosty Scooters for ice-cream.  Thanks for the great fun Cheryl and Jason and kids!

Bardens and Bailey

Luke, Tabby, Jared (in his Bring on the Bad Guys Mario shirt), Jaina, Jordin, and Lizzy

And for those of you out there who have little to no sympathy for me becuase you don’t get two and a half months off every, that’s not a very nice attitude!  🙂

August 17, 2008 Posted by | Family News, Ron's Posts | , , , | 2 Comments

Making fun of a Christmas Present

Just a quick post tonight! I bought this Princess Carriage toy today at WalMart as a Christmas present for my young niece, Sydney. Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure she isn’t a regular reader of the blog. By the way, yes, I do know, it’s only August, but when you’re having a baby in December, it’s important to get a really good jump on these things, trust me, I know.

Anyway, after I got it home and added it to my Christmas list that I keep track of all the presents I’ve bought so far for the year and who I still need to get presents for. After I marked the Princess Carriage on the list, I happened to notice a fairly humorous advertising point on the box. Check out the picture and see if you can pick it out.

Play Town Princess Carriage

Did you see it? It’s in the top left corner to right of the logo.  “Let’s play! Over 6 FUN features.” Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a simple toy intended for one year olds, but it’s not something I would personally have bragged about.  Plus, I’m pretty sure that one of the features is the ability to put the princess on the horse and another one is the ability to take the princess off.

It makes me picture someone in the store saying something to the effect of, “Oh the wheels actually turn!  Buy me fourteen NOW!” and then cleaning the store out of the things.

August 16, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Anecdote, Ron's Posts | , | Leave a comment