Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Back Home -- Safe and Sound

Our kitty finally came home last night, five days after his disappearance. A few ticks, a dirty coat and an empty stomach appear to be the worst of it. He appeared to also be starving for attention as well, which was fine with us. All is well again in the House of Jack.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Screwing the Pooch

I’ve been getting the screw for years – years I tell you. I had no idea how expensive State Farm insurance was. When my Mom retired, my parents had to look at their finances. As part of that scaling down, they changed their insurance from State Farm.

I didn’t realize how much they were saving, but as the House of Jack has decided to live in the poor house (while I am in school) we, too, are looking at every aspect of our household expenses.

(Now I realize that I just bought a bicycle. But that means I am not driving everyday and I am saving money from gas. I am also saving money as the bicycle cost me the same amount as 8 months at a local gym.)

We went shopping for insurance: house, automobile and motorcycle. My wife and I, most the wife, researched all kinds of different insurance companies. We looked at the major companies, the independent companies and online insurance.

Amazingly, Triple A had the best prices on home and auto. I am amazed, because I didn’t know that AAA offered homeowners insurance. We saved several hundred, yes hundred, dollars on our home insurance. Triple A was cheaper than the two online insurance companies and that really surprised me. Progressive had the best rates on motorcycles.

Now here is the kicker. When I called and asked to speak to my State Farm insurance agent, he didn’t have time to talk with me. That’s right. Someone in the office helped me cancel all my insurance with them (they carried everything). Interesting enough, no one ever asked me why were canceling or offered to take a look at our policy to see if they could make it cheaper. The agent has never called me back and I requested he do so.

My guess is State Farm knows exactly why I am leaving: their rates were too high. I am saving hundreds of dollars a year by switching all of my insurance. The best part is that my home and auto are being carried by AAA which has a long standing local office with a real person.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

We Lost Our Kitty

It’s a tragic day in the house of Jack, as our kitty got out last night. He slipped out the front door as we were putting the next day’s mail in the box. He does this from time to time, but he only sits in the bushes against the house. After about 15 minutes he comes to the door and cries to be let in.

Not so last night. He disappeared in about 10 minutes and hasn’t been seen since. Our family is very upset. My wife and 6-year-old daughter are absolutely devastated. My little one is having a real hard time understanding what is going on and why he will not come home.

BUDDY is neutered and also declawed in the front. He isn’t supposed to be an outside kitty, but he does slip by every little bit. As I write this, my wife is sitting on the front porch, flashlight in hand, sobbing and calling his name. So if you see him out and about, or at the humane society, or some other shelter, please contact me immediately. I have pictures to prove his is ours.

Arent' We Special-ized

My friends, Paul and Linda, let me borrow their bicycle to see if I could stand to ride my big butt across town to school every day. I have found that I am really enjoying it. My backside and quads are not so happy. They are both crying foul, nearly a week later.

I think they are missing their baby.

As I’ve been riding, I’ve decided that this may very well become a serious mode of transportation for me outside of school: trips to Food for Less to get milk and bread, or maybe ride to a video store in the unlikely case that I change my mind and want a movie that I don’t already have from Netflix. (May we all pay homage to Netflix.)

As I can’t seem to convince the Inger-lepps household to let offer the bicycle on permanent loan status, I broke down and forked over the bread for my own peddles.

So here it is – the bicycle of choice. It’s an 18-inch (large) Specialized Expedition. Notice the large? Big Boy does everything large, my friends.

A&B Cycle took pity on this big boned feller and offered me a great deal. I am using my student loans to pay for it, but seeing how it is my primary mode of transport to and from school that seemed an appropriate use of the funds.

The picture here is from A&B’s website. Of course I totally geeked mine out, adding a back rack, a handlebar basket, a mirror, and a kickstand. That is a babe magnet, assuming the girls in question like their men fat, sweaty and nerdy.

I have to say, I had no idea how expensive bicycles were. Not that I am complaining. I rode it for the first time this morning and the ride was great, and I am okay with paying money for high quality. But I was surprised.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Learnin' & Drinkin' and All That Jazz

I wasn’t going to the Springfield Bloggers’ Meeting last night because I had homework to do, but as the time drew near, I couldn’t resist. I left the house intending to stay an hour and I only missed that mark by 20 minutes.

I must say I really enjoyed the banter with the news hounds talking it up about the media, news coverage and citizen journalists. By the way, if you want me to do impersonations, especially those involving singing, then you must get me drunk first. Very, very drunk.

When I got home I told my wife about the discussion and that I stayed a bit long but the conversation was worth it. To which she learned me a thing or two. Our blogger’s meeting, on the university level anyway, is called a learning community and it is highly sought after.

Hot damn and hot damn again. I can count my monthly bloggers’ meetings, as homework … in a bar no less. Can’t beat that with a stick. Just had a thought: I don’t have to worry about being distracted by thongs during my learning community class time. That is unless the Stoner comes sporting some string up his backside. He is a fan of nude bicycling.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Big Man Biking

Picture, if you will, Ms. Gulch from the Wizard of Oz. You know who she is – the old woman in the beginning who tries to take Toto to the sheriff to be destroyed. Remember her bicycle with the baskets on the front and back? Atop this bicycle place Peter from the TV show “Family Guy.”

Now you have a pretty good idea what I look like bicycling to school everyday. My friend, Paul, loaned me one of his bicycles for a month. Just to try it out. He’s been pushing me to get a bicycle and ride to MSU everyday, rather than driving. Good for the environment, good for your health, blah, blah, blah.

I got the bicycle on Friday night and got up early Saturday morning for a ride. It’s really not so bad. I am amazed that I can make it from near the Battlefield Mall to MSU in about 15-20 minutes. It nearly takes my wife that long to travel that same distance in the van (during rush hour.)

So we will see how it goes. I rope 6 miles on Saturday. Then rode to church on Sunday, which is on South Street near the Square. I got about 8 miles. Then I put on 8 or more miles today because I had to ride downtown.

I am Springfield’s version of Fat Man Walking, He’s the big feller who decided to travel across the United States on foot to loose weight. I’m not anywhere near that ambitious, but I’m going to give this bicycle riding the old college try. My wife took a pretty picture of me riding to school my first day, but you can forget about it showing up on this blog.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Diversity and Understanding Keys to Real Education

Diversity is alive and thriving in Springfield, while I must admit that it is strictly confined to the university campus, it nonetheless is, in my limited experience, a fundamental in the majority of my classes.

Granny would be so proud.

Now I must say that I am in my first semester and am only taking three classes. As far as statistical research is concerned, three does not make a sampling. But I have been impressed to see how diversity has been defined and discussed in my classes, and it’s the first week.

Religious, cultural, disability, ethnicity, and sex have all been discussed as a broad definition of diversity. Many times we fall into the race trap, restricting diversity to ethnicity. As I have discussed before, the largest minority population in the United States are persons with disabilities, according to the 2000 Census.

So far my Introduction to Teaching and my Geography class have discussed diversity, using the broad term. I would have never cared about that while getting my bachelor’s degree. But I am finding that being a non-traditional student has given me insight into my learning. I am interesting in details and I am not concerned only with the information that will be on the test. Rather, I am interested in learning – test material or no. I find my interest in learning, rather than test taking, a freeing experience.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Spider-Man Unmasked at Press Conference

In the fight between good and evil, many innocent lives are lost. Thus is passed the Super Hero Registration Act, where those with super powers must unmask themselves and register with the government. Some superheros agree and some do not, leading to a Marvelous Civil War.

From AFP Worldwide News Agency:

NEW YORK (AFP) -- For a comic book hero, it's the ultimate taboo.

In the latest edition of the Marvel comic "Civil War" on sale, Spiderman does the unthinkable and removes his Spidey mask to publicly reveal his hidden identity.

"I'm proud of who I am, and I'm here right now to prove it," the legendary webslinger tells a press conference called in New York's Times Square, before pulling off his mask and standing before the massed ranks of reporters as newspaper photographer Peter Parker.

"Any questions?" Parker asks in the final panel of the issue, amid a barrage of camera flashes.
In a statement, Marvel trumpeted the revelation as "arguably the most shocking event in comic book history."

The seven-issue "Civil War" series, launched in May, sees Marvel's writers taking on the topical issue of civil liberties.

Following a showdown between a group of superheroes and supervillains in which hundreds of innocent civilians are killed, the government passes the Super-Hero Registration Act, requiring all superheroes to reveal their identities and register as "living weapons of mass destruction."

Marvel's roster of invincible crime fighters is split into two bitterly opposed factions, with one camp -- championed by the likes of Spiderman -- in favour of the new law and the other, including Captain America and his ilk, refusing to relinquish anonymity.

"It's about which side you are on and why you think you are right," said Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Joe Quesada.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Education is Wasted on the Young, Yo!

Yo, yo, G-dog, check this out.

I was sitt’un in COM 115 yo, and I was like zonin’ in on the money man, yakin’ at me, right? And this hoser in front of me pulls out his squaker, yo, and he was like, flipping and texting his, like, peeps. And I was buggin yo, cause I just knew he was gonna get like wacked by the teach.

No such, though. Can you picture? G-money was textin and the boss was teachin’ and nuttin, man, nuthin. I was like, “Bitchin’” yo. Tomorrow I’m bringing the PS2 and gaming, like, the whole hour and a piece. Oh yeah, man. That is, like, one bass ass dude -- let me text and game. College is like bad ass, yo.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Old Fat Jack Ain't What He Used To Be

I have changed, that is for sure. I may not have been thin in college, but I have gained a pound or so since my college days, 1991-1995. I am not the only one. College life has evolved over the last 11 years, or devolved depending on your outlook.

There are internet hot spots all over the Missouri State campus, something that wasn’t even a concept back in the old days. Blogging Spirits be blessed, as I am blogging this between classes.

There are shuttles to take one hither and thither, something that we didn’t even need at Drury College. (now known as a university.) Blackboard is a some kind of online classroom device to which the instructor posts his or her notes, power point presentations, classroom assignments and grades and God only knows what all. Apparently it is a requirement in most of my classes, but I don’t really know how to use it. I love gadgets, so I don’t mind. It doesn’t get me out of class.

I swear to the heavens, I have never seen so many pairs of flip-flops in my life. For that matter, I’ve never seen so many visible thongs outside of a club. I have to sit in the front row, cause I can’t concentrate with all those thin, little, sometimes jeweled slinkies peeking out to have a look-see.

There’s lots of positives to going back to school.

I’ve also been reminded in every class to shut off the cell phones. Some classes even drop you a letter grade if they go off. Unbelievable! We actually have to be lectured not to use our cell phones in class. Who does that?

For the love of all that is holy and good, we had a 5 minute lecture on paying attention in class.

A lecture.
On paying attention.
In a major-specific class.
Introduction to Teaching.

Judas Priest! Do people really have to be told to “act like you care” in the first class of their major? During my bachelors I was very excited in my English classes and paid as much attention as a hung-over fat guy in a non-air conditioned class, after just eating lunch, could do. I was still excited about what I was learning in my major.

In this Intro To Teaching class, participation is defined in the syllabus as paying attention and verbally participating. She actually told us that we have to at least “act like we care.”

I guess college just ain’t what it used to be.


INCONCEIVABLE, our movie blog, has finally finished our first movie quotes listing. And it is ready for you. As you know, AFI released it’s list of greatest movie quotes of all time. However, AFI’s list was seriously lacking. So Bryan, Larry and I compiled our own list of all time great quotes.

The list is presented alphabetically, in part because we are going to rely on you, dear reader, to help us categorize the list. For now, all we ask is that you send us any missing quotes from any movie that you feel need to be listed. Later, we will post sureys for you to select your top movie quotes. Eventually, we will have a comprehensive, categorized list.

is much more than a movie quotes list. Check us out for previews of upcoming movies (including main stream titles, little known flicks, documentaries, and foreign titles.) We also offer reviews and other information. If you are a movie buff, then check it out.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

666 Proved to be an Interesting Day

If I had been thinking, I would have made my last day at work on June 6, 2006. Alas, I wasn’t thinking, so my last day at work is the day after Armageddon. Let down. I’m not quite sure how to feel about going to school full time and not working, after all I’ve been slaving away in the business of the world since graduating Drury 11 years ago.

At least I will do it with a new coal fired plant to fuel my energy needs. I voted against it, but did so with much hesitation as I found this to be a difficult issue even though I had lots of help from others.

Interestingly enough the allegations made in case of the Springfield student with disabilities who was forced to crawl up stairs were rejected according to today’s News-Leader. Of course the family is outraged about the findings.

Now I am a long time supporter of persons with disabilities. I know first hand that school districts try to weasel out of accommodating students properly. However, It makes one wonder, what happened here? If I remember correctly, the teacher responsible admitted to the crawling. So what is the real story? All I can say is, there must be a lot going on that we do not know … probably never will.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The High Cost of Low Price

Springfield’s proposed coal-fired powerplant, Southwest 2, has been a hard issue for me to deal with … that is until tonight. I have read what my blog buddies have said, the News-Leader’s op/ed, and letters to the editors as well as the literature being passed around by both sides. I just could not make up my mind.

After a good movie at The Moxie and a dinner with friends and wife afterwards at Adobe, we talked about Southwest 2. My friend Paul asked me simply:

Paul: “If we build this powerplant are you willing to live next to it?”
Jack: “No.”
Paul: “If we built a nuclear plant, would you live next the plant or it’s waste dumping ground.”
Jack: “No.”
Paul: “Then how can you vote for it?”

He was right. Setting aside the politics and economics, it boiled down to one issue for me: Am I willing to live with the High Price of Low Cost? I don’t want to live next to a coal plant and subject my family to the numerous medical issues related to coal. If we built a nuclear plant, as suggested by Ron at Chatter, I would not want to live next to the nuclear dumping ground along with the three-eyed fish. If I am not willing to do that, then I should not be willing to give that fate to others. Speaking only for myself, that would be an immoral and unethical decision.

So I am voting against the power plant on Tuesday, June 6, and I am refusing to take part in the High Cost of Low Price.

Interested in what others have to say:

Chatter by Ron Davis
Holy Grail Press