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Old 04-10-2010, 03:51 PM   #4041
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Yummy buffet lunch with friends. Reacquainted myself with the owner of a local solar-supply store who's been in the business for at least three decades. Lots of great geek talk.

Last night was the mandatory Project Grad meeting for interested students and (at least one of) their parents. These high-school kids are being emotionally blackmailed into pulling an all-nighter with their friends after their graduation ceremony just for the chance of creating memories. (No, not those kind of memories.) They have no idea where they're going or what they're doing but they don't want to miss out. There's a seemingly endless requirements list of how to dress, what not to wear/bring, and what not to do. Our kid, who is already authorized to operate lethal machinery on public highways and who in a few months will be eligible to vote and trained to kill by the U.S. government, has to be signed in and out of Project Grad by a parent/guardian. With photo ID for both of us. So much for Mom & Dad getting in a little Waikiki partying time of our own while our little darling is celebrating her accomplishments with 303 of her closest friends.

I don't know if you remember your high-school graduation parties, but what little I remember of mine was a beer-soaked bacchanalia. As one of the parents said last night, "The next morning I recovered consciousness when the sun was shining in my face. After a couple beers I realized that I was hungry and I needed to clean myself up, so I brushed the pine needles out of my hair and drove home." Project Grad grew out of this lack of responsible behavior. Their goals are noble, laudable, and unfortunately essential. But in the process of tightening the standards so that not even the most uncontrolled idiotic teen can stub their toe, the experience resembles a lockdown more than an enjoyable party. You have to go or you're "left out". You have to do exactly as you're told or you'll be "kicked out". And have fun, dammit!!

We might have gone just a tad overboard.

It's also given certain parents the opportunity to exert their more authoritarian, dictatorial, and conspiratorial skills. Maybe they have organizational skills too. Last night wasn't such a good demonstration of the organizational part.

36 days to go. Hope it's worth it...
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Old 04-10-2010, 04:37 PM   #4042
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Nords, my 1966 post-graduation party at Punahou really was completely alcohol free and drug free. They whisked us directly from the graduation ceremony, by bus, to the party. The chaperones were as strict as Nazi guards. Once we were whisked into the party (at the school), we could dance, eat, reminisce, and party all night but if we left for any reason we absolutely could not re-enter the party. It worked quite well since nobody could leave and then come back drunk.

Of course, my date and I took the long way home AFTER the party...
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:17 PM   #4043
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Got up fairly early this morning and joined a bunch of my friends at an all day railroad conference...prototype and model. It was put on jointly by a couple of railroad historical societies that both have strong ties to our area. Good friends, good food, good buys at the swap meet, and loads of good memories!!!

Afterward, since it was an absolutely gorgeous day out, I took the long way home out through the country back roads....saw 2 cars in the 30 miles or so between there and home.....real back roads!

Got home and sat out on the patio for a few hours, enjoying the weather, the gardens, and the wildlife.....and the big ol' bumble bees!!! I love bumble bees!!! They are soooo cool!!!
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Old 04-11-2010, 09:35 AM   #4044
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Got up very early this morning and didn't read my paper or look at this forum until I came back from a bike ride. I wanted to hit the road before all the cars in the neighborhood woke up. I didn't go very far but I felt a little more at ease with no cars around. I need to get on a flat trail at some point. There are bike trails all over this town and I'm close to one, but, it's hilly...I want flat.

Nothing else planned for the day...waiting for the start of the work week to get in gear for nothing.
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:25 PM   #4045
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Helped a neighbor fix his water heater.

I actually wasn't much help at all, which is even better than helping. He called to describe the symptoms and ask if it was worth fixing or if he should buy a new heater. I went over with my copy of Rex Cauldwell's "Plumbing" book and showed him the troubleshooting paragraphs. We put a multimeter on the element terminals and sonofagun the lower element was bad. (I've read about it, but that's the first time I've actually seen it!) We talked through the repair, whether it was worth the effort for a 10-year-old heater, and how long it'd take. At that point he needed to do some shopping and I had to go to taekwondo practice, so we agreed to get together later. It was probably 10 minutes from the time I walked into his garage until I walked out, which around here would earn a plumber $85 for a service call.

When I came back it was all over but the applause. He'd brought home a $12 element and a $1.50 1.5" element socket wrench, read the instructions, and decided to try it on his own. (This was a big step for him, one that perhaps might not have happened if his spouse wasn't looking over his shoulder and asking "Is it fixed yet?") The first couple gallons out of the heater were kinda nasty-- that element had broken a while ago and he doesn't regularly drain a few gallons off the bottom of the tank-- but he persevered and even made sure he'd filled the water heater back up before he turned on the electricity.

The old element looked like it had exploded & burned but the heater's working fine now. Next time we get together we'll check his anode rod. And when this heater finally reaches the end of its life, he's been convinced that he's ready to go solar.

This experience can only have encouraged him. Can't wait to see what repair project he tackles next...
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:23 PM   #4046
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In 2005 I volunteered to help at DD's Safe & Sober graduation party. My job was to make sure no one went outside to drink:

Guard.jpg
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:40 PM   #4047
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
In 2005 I volunteered to help at DD's Safe & Sober graduation party. My job was to make sure no one went outside to drink:
I think what I object to is the way that the theme of the grad party has changed. Instead of the benevolent oversight demonstrated by TromboneAl it's mutated into a posse of vigilantes waving oaths, conducting personnel searches, and essentially locking the teens away to "be safe". Supervision at the absolute lowest common denominator. Scramble to get in line to be carted away for mandatory fun.

I'm surprised that our teen is putting up with it. She's already declined school's opportunities to do an "optional" senior-year project (required to qualify for valedictorian) and to participate in the graduation ceremony. She's quite accustomed to going her own way regardless of whether that appears to be a good idea or not. I had expected the parental personalities involved with Project Grad to cause her to veer away from this one, too, but I guess the combination of mystery and "last chance with friends" make it irresistible.

Maybe it's cultural/family expectations. High school graduation around here is a very big deal compared to college. Over 10% of her senior class is already not qualified to graduate or dropped out long ago, and of the remaining 90% only a handful seem interested, let alone excited, about college. Most of the stories are "Oh, yeah, I guess I'll take classes at UH" while living with the family and working minimum-wage shifts.

I saw college as my chance to get the hell outta Dodge gain some independence and start my own life. I guess if these seniors aren't looking forward to that then high-school graduation seems like a pretty important rite of passage.

Maybe the seniors have yet to learn what a number of 19- & 20-year-olds at taekwondo have already figured out. They're scrambling for scholarships, applying for internships, transferring community-college credits to universities, and turning black belts into résumé bullets...
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Old 04-11-2010, 03:49 PM   #4048
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In 2005 I volunteered to help at DD's Safe & Sober graduation party. My job was to make sure no one went outside to drink:

Attachment 8759
Al, you must be related to those crusty old mothers that guarded the door at my graduation party back in 1966! Never would have DARED cross 'em...
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Old 04-11-2010, 04:00 PM   #4049
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Al, you must be related to those crusty old mothers that guarded the door at my graduation party back in 1966! Never would have DARED cross 'em...
If he's related to them, then maybe they weren't guarding those doors so well after all!
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:14 PM   #4050
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What I 'almost' did today:

A guy honked his horn at me because I didn't turn left when he thought I should. I almost got out of my car to do a little damage by ripping his car door from the frame.

Ohhhhmmmmmmm......
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:23 PM   #4051
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
I think what I object to is the way that the theme of the grad party has changed. Instead of the benevolent oversight demonstrated by TromboneAl it's mutated into a posse of vigilantes waving oaths, conducting personnel searches, and essentially locking the teens away to "be safe". Supervision at the absolute lowest common denominator. Scramble to get in line to be carted away for mandatory fun.

I'm surprised that our teen is putting up with it. She's already declined school's opportunities to do an "optional" senior-year project (required to qualify for valedictorian) and to participate in the graduation ceremony. She's quite accustomed to going her own way regardless of whether that appears to be a good idea or not. I had expected the parental personalities involved with Project Grad to cause her to veer away from this one, too, but I guess the combination of mystery and "last chance with friends" make it irresistible.

Maybe it's cultural/family expectations. High school graduation around here is a very big deal compared to college. Over 10% of her senior class is already not qualified to graduate or dropped out long ago, and of the remaining 90% only a handful seem interested, let alone excited, about college. Most of the stories are "Oh, yeah, I guess I'll take classes at UH" while living with the family and working minimum-wage shifts.

I saw college as my chance to get the hell outta Dodge gain some independence and start my own life. I guess if these seniors aren't looking forward to that then high-school graduation seems like a pretty important rite of passage.

Maybe the seniors have yet to learn what a number of 19- & 20-year-olds at taekwondo have already figured out. They're scrambling for scholarships, applying for internships, transferring community-college credits to universities, and turning black belts into résumé bullets...
I guess I'm an old fogey who doesn't understand why young ones don't want to leave. I was so ready to leave that small town and head out to who knows what.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:33 PM   #4052
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it's mutated into a posse of vigilantes waving oaths, conducting personnel searches, and essentially locking the teens away to "be safe".
I'm not sure how effective it is, but I get the rationale. Around here, in redneck country, it seemed very common for teens to get drunk the night of graduation. It resulted in some accidents and deaths.

So someone suggested that they fund a big party with prizes that would attract at least some of the kids that might otherwise drink and drive.

The party we "attended" was pretty over the top, with chocolate fountains and tons of prizes, including a car. My feeling was that the bad guys would feel too cool to go to the party, and that kids could always get drunk and drive the next night, but it's possible that it could save a life or two.
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Old 04-12-2010, 09:14 AM   #4053
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What I 'almost' did today:

A guy honked his horn at me because I didn't turn left when he thought I should. I almost got out of my car to do a little damage by ripping his car door from the frame.

Ohhhhmmmmmmm......
I understand completely! That's one reason we are soooo happy to have made the move to WV from MD. People even share and wave at the one-lane bridge down the road. There was another one-lane bridge in MD near where we lived and about once a year a fistfight would erupt over "who goes first", not to mention the daily horn-honking and finger-waving contests.

Took the motorcycle to the shop this morning for a new rear tire. The guy said I was doing good to have gotten 10k miles out of it.

DW astonished me last night. Said she'd bought a chain saw! The one I use is too heavy for her so she bought a smaller, lighter one to use at her Dad's house. Chain saw safety lessons will soon follow. Those things will go through your leg faster than they will a log.
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Old 04-12-2010, 10:11 AM   #4054
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Chain saw safety lessons will soon follow.
Don't forget kevlar chaps, helmet with face shield, ear protectors, chainsaw boots. Definitely worth it. Google Image chainsaw injuries if you're not convinced.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:34 PM   #4055
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A couple weeks ago the phone company said our DSL line was slow, although they'd be happy to send someone out to our house to check it out (for a "nominal" fee).

I unplugged our splitter and UPS jacks from the DSL line so that the DSL modem was connected straight into the wall jack. But ater a week of running various speed tests and getting consistent 0.5 MBPS results, I decided the phone company wasn't just trying to upsell me. So I got out my 100-foot phone cord and got ready to plug the DSL modem into the terminal box at the service connection.

After cleaning out the gecko eggs (and evicting some very angry geckos) I opened the cover to our line. The red wire fell off the terminal post that it had been resting lightly against. The loop of its wire had corroded or broken at the terminal post and it was baaaaaarely making contact. So I stripped it and reconnected it. Fastest troubleshooting & repair I'll see for months.

2.5 MBPS on a 3 MBPS subscription. Good enough. I can't tell the difference for browsing & e-mail but we'll see if our kid's iTunes downloads finish in one-fifth the time.

Swapped more e-mails with spouse. She's having a good time restoring the American economy's trade balance...
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:03 PM   #4056
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I was out ALL day doing shopping errands and visiting a friend. Can you tell the snow has finally melted? Don't laugh too quickly - just 2 nights ago, there was a dusting of that white stuff on my back deck.

I just realized I have only 8 days left to get myself packed.
Oh no...a DEADLINE.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:22 PM   #4057
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Every day I check in here but every day I have nothing to say except that I w*orked.

Bummer.

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Old 04-12-2010, 07:25 PM   #4058
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Had a busy one here today. Did my 3 miles on my treadmill, seemed like a good day for it as it has been bucketing down all day.

We bought a condo in Hawaii on Friday, so have been busy since then gathering all the necessary paperwork to get this thing thru to the end. Have to say not something I would want to do every week.

Just getting ready to cook a chicken and vegetable stir fry for dinner.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:32 PM   #4059
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We bought a condo in Hawaii on Friday.
This thread is useless without pictures!
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:42 PM   #4060
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Every day I check in here but every day I have nothing to say except that I w*orked.

Bummer.

And perhaps made a difference in someone's life?
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