Tuesday, January 29, 2008
I beat medium without a problem. I got five stars on all but one and in my first run, I got two perfects. Last night I played 18 and Life to get perfect and did.
I'm working my way through hard. For the first few tiers, I aimed for four stars on each. I was mostly getting it, and if I didn't, I replayed until I did. I hadn't needed the practice this time. Until last night.
I've reached the point where I'm lucky to pass. So far, I've beat 18 out of 30 on hard. I'm completely stuck on What I Like About You. On the slowest practice, I can get 95%. On the next, I'm in the 80s. When it's one slower, I can't even get into the 70s. I practiced a bunch and then decided to play to win.
I played until my wrist was too sore. I'm stuck. It's just too much moving too fast. It's also the last song of the set I need to beat. I'll probably need to memorize all the changes to beat it.
Sunday, just for fun, I decided to try expert (18 and Life of course). I ended up beating a couple songs on expert. I was pretty excited. There are some new chords in expert that I need to get used to, but many of the sections were pretty close to the hard version.
I was actually going to head to bed early because I had trouble getting up yesterday, but then I found these videos on YouTube. The kid is amazing.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
The first time I saw the stage musical, I immediately bought tickets to see it again the next night. I loved it that much. Even better, I was up close the first night and up high the second, and the show is staged so that there is something beautiful and unique about both seating choices.
I'd already shown my sweetie the movie (it made him cry) and I was excited for him to see the show.
I'm always a bit nervous about seeing favorite shows. I get attached to the way I saw it originally and I get attached to the official soundtrack. Any changes have to be pretty incredible for me to be okay with them.
While there were a few odd moments in this recent tour, I was again left wanting to see it again right away. It was amazing.
Mimi, Tom Collins, and Angel grew on me. I was pretty excited about the Tom Collins piece when I read the program pre-show, but it took a bit for him to convince me. Eventually he did. He was amazing during the reprise of I'll Cover You. Mimi also blew me away by the end. That's the role I'd want to play so I'm extra picky. She was awesome.
Joanne was stellar throughout as was Benny and every one of the swing folks. The supporting folks really wowed me. The role of Maureen is my least favorite role so it's hard for me to get excited about it. I will say that the actress who played her was the best I've seen or heard. The duet with Joanne (Take Me or Leave Me) was incredible.
Roger was another who grew on me. He was an amazing actor- putting unbelievable emotion into the end of the show.
My beau cried again (because of Angel). I just loved every single moment.
I'm going to have to see it every time it comes around.
They don't exist.
I could buy a really poor quality DVD/VCR combo for $60 minimum, but no VCR.
I searched stores online. $50 for a poor quality stand alone VCR. Yikes!
So I headed to craigslist. I had only avoided it because I don't really live in a big craigslist area.
The pickings were slim, but some woman had 2 for $10 each. Her post was a few weeks old, but she still has them. I'm buying both. And she is located in my city! Yay for me!
May the transferring resume. My spare room has been a mess since I started this project.
Because of what I read, I decided to pick up the 80s one which Stacy mentioned in the comments of my previous post.
Why wasn't Guitar Hero III enough?
Well, I'm trying to break into hard. I made it to the Slash battle on GHIII, but I'm pretty sure I won't get any further for awhile. I'm barely passing the songs on hard. All the reviews said that hard and expert are significantly more challenging on this latest version.
While many consider the 80s one a bit of a rip-off, I also read that it's a good one to make the transition to hard on. I wanted it anyway, and while I agree it should be at least $10 cheaper (I actually paid less for GHIII), I was sold. Besides, as my friend Jay would point out, in the end, each of the GH games cost me less than $1 per hour of play which is an incredible bargain.
I've been playing the 80s one today and am thoroughly enjoying it. It was worth it just to get 18 and Life. I figure I'll do something responsible eventually.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Today I decided to continue the project. The first tape I put in promptly got eaten. I got it out and managed to wind it back up though I haven't yet checked to see if it still works.
I had a bit of trouble toward the end last week, but assumed the problem was with the tape, not the VCR. After this latest incident, I decided to test it out before destroying all my movies.
I put in a commercial video that I bought new a couple years ago.
It's not the tapes. The VCR is broken.
I'm really not excited about having to get a VCR to finish up this project.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I didn't actually play it until Thursday night. Once I did, I couldn't put it down.
I finished career mode on medium today. The Slash battle took me about 40 tries, but the Lou battle only took me one. Go figure. I beat everything else on the first try, getting 95% five stars.
I've finally decided that I need to try the hard level. So far, I've made it through three songs on hard. I'll definitely need to head into the tutorials and practice mode to get any further.
The songs on this one are incredible. It also seems that they are more fun to play this time around. My favorites so far are Paint it Black, Black Magic Woman, Pride and Joy, and One. I could probably play these all day.
I'm so glad I picked it up. It's just so much fun.
Update: I'm now two tiers into hard. I even beat Tom Morello! I had to use the practice mode to make it through the solo section of Rock and Roll All Night, but other than that one, I'm beating them fine. Of course, I'm getting all three stars (except for one four and one five), but I feel like I'm getting better already. I might put Guitar Hero II back in to try to beat hard on that.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Yes, I know that in a few days or a week, I'll love them all again, but today my kids were just irritating.
I feel like I've lost my touch.
I've noticed my female students exchanging looks and giggles. Some of them have been flat-out rude.
I never used to have problems like that.
I've always had at least one student every year that I just didn't connect to, and I'm used to having a couple of students and parents who think I'm the worst thing that ever happened to them, but it's always been just a couple.
It seems worse this year. It's no longer a couple of kids.
We do have an especially difficult eighth grade, but I'm having issues with kids who were model students for me last year.
Anyway, today was especially difficult.
Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
Monday, January 14, 2008
The news was on and the cancellations were scrolling. I was hopeful, but really didn't think we'd be cancelled. I was in and out of sleep, flipping through the channels trying to see if we were closed.
I didn't see our school on any channel I tried and the reports described a storm that was mostly north of us.
Finally I got up and started my morning routine.
I looked outside. It wasn't bad, but I was already dreading having to clean my car and make the trek in the snow.
I turned on my computer and went onto the local news site figuring the possibility of a snow day was a lost cause.
Yet our school was listed!
I had to check several times to be sure.
I'm very excited to have an extended weekend.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
In the 2005-2006 school year, a 5th grade girl, K, auditioned for our show.
K had a lovely singing voice, but refused to do any speaking onstage. She was an odd duck really- shunned by everyone.
I knew very little about her when I met her, but very quickly developed a closeness to her. She is one of the few students (or people really) that I feel nurturing toward. I never lost my patience for K and her numerous needs, and it became known that K and I had a special bond.
Throughout that production, we had to work hard to keep K from having a meltdown. Most days she wouldn't perform unless she was able to carry a stuffed animal (something she did regularly as it was). Even with the animal, any break from routine completely unsettled her. She was prone to frequent meltdowns and required a great deal of patience and nurturing.
Our production night came and K amazed everyone. She has the voice of an angel. Over time I had learned that she was even odder in the classroom. None of her teachers could believe that the angel singing onstage was the same child they dealt with in the classroom.
During the next year, when K was in sixth grade, she and I became even closer. She'd run to hug me when she saw me (nobody frowns upon this at my school though I personally am not known as a hugging sort) and took to waiting for me at the end of the day to let me know how her day was get a hug before she went. There were many days that she would breakdown into childish sobs over some minor event. It didn't bother me.
Her sixth grade teachers thought I was nuts. They, too, thought she could be sweet, but they found her frequent breakdowns and childishness unbearable. They said they had no patience for her and had adopted the strategy of telling her firmly to stop whenever she got upset about something. I found out that K had had instances where she acted like an animal, romping around the room. It seemed there were times that she actually thought she was an animal. There were other occasions when she completely lost it- whether in anger or emotion. For one of these, she was required to get a psych eval before returning to school. The school secretary would groan K's name because she was so tired of dealing with all the situations.
I also learned that she had no diagnosis or special services. This was a huge shock to me. Yes, I loved K, but it took about two minutes with her to recognize that she was different. During her sixth grade show, her only attachment was with a severely autistic fifth grader. The two of them were soul mates. It made perfect sense. K was slightly more outgoing and connected to people, but they both had the same odd way about them. It was good to see them together. They both seemed happier. K was less anxious about change and trying new things because she wanted to show the younger girl that it was okay. The younger girl started smiling more and reaching out to people.
I requested to have K in my math class this year. One of the sixth grade assistants told me I was crazy- that in small doses maybe, but not all the time. I worried that I would regret it- that she would need too much attention- that I wouldn't be able to be both nurturer and teacher to her. Before the end of the year, that same assistant watched K and I together and this time, she said she'd request K to be in my room.
Privately, two of the people who worked with me closely told me that K had to be in my room. She was a different kid with me.
This year started. I still got my hugs- more frequent now because we see each other more often. It turned out that K is an outstanding student so any worries about her academics weren't needed.
For the first few weeks, every time I tried to do group work, the kids made every effort to avoid working with K. They'd give each other looks and pull their chairs away and make faces. They treated her like she wasn't a person. Of course, I put a quick stop to anything rude, but their disapproval was quite obvious. Meanwhile, K continued to hug me every day when she left my class. I'd tell her to have a good day and she'd smile and wave and go on her way.
But things started to change.
I don't know how or why, but this year K is a different kid with everyone, not just me.
She has her own group of friends, including at least one absolutely wonderful (your stereotypical good kid) girl who it seems has become her best friend. The same kids who acted like she didn't exist now ask her to be her partner. She hasn't had a single "episode" all year. Though she occasionally starts to cry, she pulls it together and now instead of shunning her, the other kids reassure her and give her the support she needs.
Her hugs for me are starting to get less frequent. She is as likely to go chat with another kid or teacher as she is to come to me. I'll still get a wave and smile, but I don't always get a sprint to jump in for a bear hug. This makes me both happy and sad- sad because I looked forward to those hugs myself, but mostly happy to see her doing so well and becoming more self-assured and independent. I'm so happy for her and so proud of her.
Today, I was standing with one of the other staff as K was leaving for the day. This outspoken and opinionated staff person told me that K used to drive her crazy and that she couldn't stand to be around her, but that this year K has really grown up and is a delight to be around.
This is why I love teaching middle school.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
1. I want to get back to exercising. I really enjoyed it. It helps my mood tremendously. Plus, I'm the lightest I've been since before my pregnancy so it'd be nice to take advantage of that by getting in better shape.
2. I do not want to buy a single article of clothing! I've been organizing my clothes since we've moved. Yesterday, I finished up the last bit. I've gotten rid of at least a closet worth of clothes since we got here, and I still have too many. I'd like to try to go a whole year without buying any clothes.
3. I want to write an article for Dawn every week. I closed up my adoption blog, but I still have some words in me. I'd like to create more thoughtful, formal pieces for Dawn's site. I'm thinking of beginning by doing a what to expect series detailing the way my own open adoption relationships developed each year.
4. I want to purge. Along the same lines as my clothing issue, I'd like to work on getting rid of even more stuff. I've been slowly working on it over the last five years (I read Flylady testimonials for inspiration though I don't follow the system.), but I still have a long way to go. It'd be nice if everything in our storage unit was easily accessible.
5. Part of my plan to get rid of stuff is to actually get back to scrapbooking. Now that I have the space to do it, I'd like to set some kind of goal. I'm super sentimental. I've saved everything. Last year, I managed to get rid of some old clothes and childhood drawings by taking pictures of them first. I'd like to use a combination of digital picture taking and scrapbooking to rid myself of an embarrassing amount of paper clutter.
6. I want to transfer all of my home videos to digital files. I have the device. I have some cool software. I took the videos out of storage last week. Now I just have to try it out.
7. I want to learn to let go of things.
How about you?