Scam alert

Don’t use Noom. Don’t go to their website and don’t download their app. I have never encountered a more blatantly money-hungry service in my life, and this thing went from “this might be useful to me” to “this is the 30th time you’ve offered me something in return for additional money, I’ve said no, and you’ve instantly discounted it and asked again five seconds later, and you still haven’t shown me this personalized plan you’re supposedly crafting” in no time flat. There’s already one unauthorized charge on my card and they were doing their damnedest to railroad me into another when I backed out of the whole thing and demanded a refund. I’ll call the bank tomorrow to contest all of the charges.

In other news, my back hurts, I was in a training all day (and will be for the next two as well) and I am not in the mood for this.

High-pressure sales tactics

I said it was happening, and yep, it’s happening: My novel Click is even as we speak being approved by Amazon’s fooferall machines and will be available for humans to buy in the very near future. Official release date is July 26, but it’ll be available for preorder soon, and as soon as the fooferall process concludes I will actually have a link you can click on to order it.

This isn’t even the official announcement post, really, because if it was there would be a link. This is like that card you get before a wedding announcement, that tells you there’s a wedding announcement coming and to hold a date, but somehow is not, itself, either the announcement or the invitation. This is just the announcement that there’s gonna be a book and that you should be prepared to buy it, if you like.

In other news, my YouTube channel is still out there and I’m still having fun with it, so you should go look at that and hit Subscribe as quickly as possible. Am I talking about it too much? Yes, absolutely– but if I don’t, no one will know about the great fun we’re having with Chicory: A Colorful Tale over there. And that one doesn’t even cost you any money! Go do it.

In other other news, the prophesied Second Child has entered the house, and I’m realizing as I’m typing this that I don’t currently hear any screaming, so either the children are both dead or they have gone somewhere without my knowledge, which seems like it could possibly be an alarming development. I don’t know where my wife is either, though, so maybe she’s with them.

(Thudding in the hallway)

Okay, I guess it’s fine now.

My sleep study has been canceled, because, I shit you not, my insurance company has deemed me “not sick enough” to require one, which … man, that’s a whole entire rant, right there, and I’m going to not bother writing the majority of it because the fact is I don’t think I have sleep apnea and not having to spend Thursday night in a hospital makes the rest of my week easier. Instead, at some as-yet-undetermined point in the future I have to do a home sleep study, and if you happen to know what the hell that might involve, let me know, because I haven’t gotten around to Googling it yet. Fact is I have got shit to do, and taking an entire night in a hospital bed hooked up to machines and pretending to sleep off my plate makes the chances that all the other stuff will actually get done a lot higher. Tomorrow’s tasks involve finding presents for my cousin’s two children, one of whom I’ve never met, and getting all of my video recording for the entire weekend done and out of the way. None of that can really start until the extra child is out of the house, and there may be a trip to the county fair in there sometime as well. I’m bringing my laptop to Michigan with me so I can keep up with bloggery, but if there’s anybody out there thinking hey, I would really love to write a piece to promote something for infinitefreetime on, like, no notice at all, let me know.

Nattering on

I’m in a mood again today, and I think it’s social media related; I need to spend less time on … well, everything, really. I’ve done a reasonable amount of adulting today; I rescheduled a doctor’s appointment, made my first dentist’s appointment since before the pandemic (letting people stick their fingers in my mouth before I was vaccinated was not happening) and got some more planning done for next year. I also finished my first bookbinding project, which I was going to share with you but I think I’ll wait until I finish the second one instead. All I can see when I look at this one are the mistakes, so I’m going to give it to my son and make a better one for my wife, which hopefully will be something I’m actually willing to share with people.

You’d think this would have me in a decent headspace, but I just can’t deal with the level of stupid the world is throwing at me today:

I also sat down with the estimate I just got from the fixtures place for our bathroom renovation, and compared it to our initial estimate, which was supposedly based on average prices at that specific location, and I’m going to have to have a stern word with someone about it, because right now we are astronomically over budget, before a single square inch of drywall gets pulled off the wall or a single tile gets laid. To a certain degree I’m willing to blame myself for not paying attention to certain things– like the fact that a shower door wasn’t included in the original estimate, when in fact what I was told was a very basic shower door at this place is thirteen hundred dollars, and a shower door is not exactly an unexpected purchase when redoing a bathroom. But when you tell us that your estimate for the vanity will cover a “custom” vanity for the space, and we in fact pick out a pre-built, non custom vanity, and the vanity still runs three times the estimate? That’s on you. When we are specific across the board that we are looking for mid-range stuff, and we ask you to quote us out for mid-range stuff, and then they show us what they are saying is mid-range stuff, and the estimate is off two hundred percent? I am not taking all the blame for that shit.

So first I have to go over all this with my wife to figure out just how deep in the shit we are, and how much we can afford to crawl out of said shit, and then I need to call my guy who put this estimate together and we’re gonna have us a come to Jesus moment.

So, yeah. I’m in a mood.

Sure, this’ll work

This was day two of our yearly standardized testing, which we’re still being forced to administer for some reason. And, honestly, this year, my approach to the damned things is whatever, just get it done. I’m making a cursory effort to encourage the kids to do their best but the simple fact of the matter is that the entire exercise is bullshit and absolutely everyone involved knows it. These tests aren’t going to tell us one single thing about our students that we don’t already know. Not one single fucking thing.

Had a situation with a kid today that really drove it home (as if I need any more evidence) just what a poor job these tests do in measuring what they’re calling learning. My strong suspicion is that they do actually measure something related to knowledge for the kids who do well. There’s probably a real difference between a kid in the 70th percentile and a kid in the 90th. But the kids in the bottom half of that distribution?

Those kids aren’t having learning measured. For those kids, the tests are measuring two things: compliance and motivation. And that’s really it.

I’ve got this kid this year; let’s call him Che. Che is smart as fuck. But he has this pathological fear of success that is holding him back in a major way. he spent most of last year on half days and/or expelled or on long suspensions. This year, we’ve been able to mostly keep him in class, and he’s got several teachers (me included) who he knows are going to ride his ass until it falls off to keep him as close to the straight and narrow as we can, and so far he’s had a much more successful year than last year.

He’s in my room for testing. Tuesday he basically disrupted the room until I felt like I had no choice but to throw him out. And that was basically the move he chose; he was going to keep escalating until he got what he wanted, and in a situation where I’ve got other kids in the room trying to test, my tools for dealing with that type of bullshit are limited. I put him out of class and sat down with him and the principal later that day and did a combination of reading him the riot act and giving him a pep talk, and got a promise out of him that he’d behave in class today. And he did! He tossed out a couple of jokes and/or smartass comments while I was reading the (utterly unnecessary at this point and overly wordy under any circumstances) instructions, but the rest of the kids didn’t really react to him and once a couple of interruptions fell like a lead balloon he cut it out.

And … well, in the strictest sense of the term he completed the test, but this one was the written essay part, which has some number of short prompts that they want maybe a paragraph of material for and then another where they want a longer essay.

His entire essay was “I don’t know,” and he told me flat-out he didn’t read any of it.

Which tells me exactly nothing about whether he can read any of it. Che’s going to get the exact same 0 on that section as a kid who doesn’t have the slightest idea how to read in the first place would get, but Che can read. He’s not half-bad at math either when he wants to show off. And I’d say easily 60-70% of the kids in our building fall into a similar place as him, where their score on a standardized test on any given day is less a measure of their abilities than how interested they were in participating in the test on the day it was administered.

Why are we wasting all this money on these things again?

Aaaaand I’m out

Well, that didn’t last long: I had planned on spending most of the day sitting on my computer in the office working my way through the course I was supposed to complete for the IU thing, and instead I lost patience with it immediately and quit the IU thing. I suspect, but cannot prove, that there has been a massive hemorrhage of people they’d hired for this this week once everyone looked around and realized what they’d signed up for, and I’d rather just quit now than get two or three weeks in and either bail after I’d spent actual time and effort on it or fall for the sunk cost fallacy and stick around just for the stipend. The $2500 would have been nice, but I have always valued my time far more than my money, and this simply wasn’t worth my time.

Y’all, I’m tech-savvy. I’ve had jobs recently where explaining tech to people was basically all I was being paid for. But what made me hit the brakes on this thing was hitting a point in this course where they wanted me to do the following:

  • Acquire (somehow) a Canvas account that allowed me to create courses;
  • Use that account (that I don’t have) to create a course that
  • Used my teacher account (that I also don’t have) on another site called Perusall so that I can
  • Copy material from the Canvas course I’m in right now in order to
  • Create assignments from the material already posted in that class which
  • No one, anywhere, will ever look at and then
  • Reflect on what the assignment has taught me.

Adding insult to injury, this entire process was labelled “optional,” but it was made clear at the beginning of the class that if you wanted any PGP points (useful for license renewal) for this process you had to do all the optional parts.

Could I do all of this? Absolutely. Maybe. I don’t actually have a way to create a teacher account in Canvas, at least not without using my work Canvas account for it, which I’m not going to do. So that could have been challenging. Am I going to jump through all of these hoops– the instructions were three screens long– to create an assignment that isn’t going to do me any good at all? On Saturday? Nope. I’m not. And most people are not remotely as good as I am with tech stuff, and the dizzying array of different accounts we were supposed to be creating and monitoring for this thing was too much for me.

So, yeah. Looks like I’ve got a bit more free time than I’d counted on for the next nine weeks. I almost wish I could watch this thing from a distance, fly-on-the-wall style, because as I said I think I’m far from the only person to look around and bail on the spot, and I think the whole thing is going to end up messily imploding in short order. I removed myself from the Google Chat room we were supposed to be doing all of our team communication in (yet another account I had to create) so I can’t keep an eye out, leaving only a GBCW post in my wake letting them know I was done. Good luck, y’all.