Another thing I just realized

5104389f26c12.image_.jpgMy kid’s school is cancelled tomorrow– not because of the weather, which is supposed to be absolutely outstanding, but because nearly 40% of the students in some grade levels and a not-inconsiderable number of teachers and subs have been sick lately.  The email from the principal named no less than four different diseases that had been running rampant in the building lately, and apparently the janitorial staff will be boiling the building tomorrow.

It’s probably good that this happened, because the email also made reference to the “four-day weekend” that the kids were about to have, which made both my wife and I realize that he actually does have Monday off, which neither of us had really realized because we don’t have any idea how the hell to check a school calendar.

So here’s the cool part: I started the Current Occupation in June, right?  And it’s mid-February now, as insane as that might feel.  During all that time I have not missed a single day of work due to illness.  I’ve come home and died a couple of times, and had some less-than-fantastic days, but I haven’t really been sick in months.  And that’s after fifteen years of missing, usually, around a day a month every single year I was teaching.  I was rarely if ever able to carry sick days across from one year to the next and had to dip into the sick bank twice.  And not one illness worth any serious consideration since June, despite constant contact with the public throughout that time.

Add that to the pile of reasons I don’t miss teaching, I guess.

In which I used to like these

Snow day today, the kind where there’s no visible precipitation of any kind in the early-morning hours where school is cancelled, but it happens anyway because people look at the weather forecast and see this coming:

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.20.29 AM.pngThat’s heading northeast, so we’re getting the long axis of it.  Last night before I went to bed they were suggesting we’d get 12+ inches of snow during “Wednesday” and another 1-3 “Wednesday night,” but both of those estimates have been revised downward a bit since I went to bed.  Still all sorts of nasty coming, though; we’ll probably have a foot of snow by bedtime tonight.

At any rate, Hogwarts cancelled, so I’ve got the boy home with me, and it’s even less likely that I’ll get anything done today in what has already been a monumentally unproductive week.  My former district did not cancel, nor did any of the other big districts in the area, so they’ve decided to catch crap from getting the kids home inevitably late, because most of the bullshit today will be toward the end of the school day– there are some flakes falling right now but no accumulation, but it’s supposed to get genuinely nasty after noon.  It’s a no-win situation either way and I’m really glad I’m no longer required to either participate in or defend it.

(I’d have cancelled, if it were up to me.  Or at least started with a two-hour delay to get better information.)

Last night was a night heavy with politics; I watched (and live-tweeted) the entire Democratic town hall event and then went to bed once I discovered that the Nevada caucuses wouldn’t even start reporting results until after midnight.  It’s looking like the fascist has finally managed a clean win; this was the first contest where #2 and #3 combined didn’t blow him away, and in fact Rubio and Cruz together still lost, implying that either Nevada is stronger territory for him than most (which makes a lot of sense, given the number of casinos) or that Bush’s people mostly migrated toward him. I am beginning to come around to the idea that this racist hairpiece is going to win the nomination, if only because either Rubio or Cruz needs to drop out right now for someone to beat Trump and neither of their egos (Cruz’s in particular) will allow them to do that.

I continue to believe that whoever wins the Democratic nomination will beat this shitpile like a rented mule in the actual election.  Obama got the lowest percentage of the white vote of any winning candidate in history and still won resoundingly; white voters are a smaller portion of the electorate than they were in 2008 or 2012 and the asshole’s open, unapologetic, undeniable racism will get even fewer votes from people of color than Romney did.

This is the candidate you deserve, Republicans.  He’s what you’ve been working towards for 30 years.  If you’re horrified, maybe you ought to reconsider your affiliation, because courting the worst parts of American society has been the core mission of the Republican party for decades.  This is what happens.  You can’t pretend to not notice anymore.  This is the election where you either have to embrace the fact that your candidate is literally a fascist or work to burn your party to the ground and hope that you can build something that isn’t made of racism, ignorance and hatred from the ashes.

In which I shill

In accordance with prophecy, it’s -20 degrees outside and I’m at home.  I have had one opportunity for a five-day work week in 2015, and during that week I was sick for two days.  Tomorrow morning it is expected to be colder, and while there are going to be less issues with precipitation (we’re also getting lots of blowing lake-effect snow, which is nasty) I think colder than twenty below means I’m likely at day one of a four-day weekend right now.  Generally, twenty below is regarded as the magic number.  I think it’ll be a few days before I’m back at work.

Allow me to discuss a website and a mobile app for a moment.  I don’t know what you use for your weather forecasts, but you should be going to Weather Underground.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 7.40.38 AM

(I note that, despite what I just said, the temp for tomorrow morning– shown by the vertical line– is at -17 and not -20.  Nonetheless.)

The critical times for closing school are 6:00 in the morning and 3:00 in the afternoon.  For those of us who care about such things, knowing what the high and low are going to be during the day is actually not terribly relevant, especially since meteorologists don’t know what the words “high” and “low” actually mean.  Elsewhere on this page the low temp for today is listed as -6, a temperature that appears nowhere on the actual forecast for today on the same damn page, but instead happens tomorrow morning.

Note: the “high temperature” for a given day is the warmest it is at any point during that day.  Similarly, the “low temperature” for a given day is the coldest it is at any point during that day.  If meteorologists are using any other definitions for “high” and “low,” they are being stupid and should stop.  Come up with your own words.  “High” and “low” have seven goddamn letters between the two of them and we know what they mean.  Stop being dumb.  I don’t care what good reasons you think you have for defining those words wrong; you’re being dumb and you should stop.  Call your dumb things something else.  “High” and “low” belong to people who speak English.

Anyway.  That’s actually a separate rant.  Back to what I was saying: The important times are 6 AM and 3 PM, because those are bus times, with 6 AM being considerably more important than 3 PM because kids are walking to school and/or standing outside waiting for their buses.  Twenty below goddamn zero is too bloody cold for a little kid to stand outside and wait for the bus even before you get to the part where a lot of them don’t have anything between them and the cold other than a thin hoodie.  Add crappy precipitation that slows the buses down (and sometimes knocks them off the road or keeps them from starting in the first place) and it becomes massively irresponsible on the part of the adults.

Which is why I love the hell out of this graph.  It’s got all the usual sources of error built into it that any weather forecasting model does, of course, but it gives me everything I could possibly need to figure out what a day’s going to be like at a glance.  I have never seen any weather site other than Weather Underground that presents data this cleanly or this usefully– and, looking at it, I’m a little concerned about Tuesday and Friday next week, too.

(Note, by the way, the high and low for next Tuesday.  A low of 13 degrees when it gets down to -1 during that day?  No.  That’s not what that word means.  The low is -1.)

Anyway.  Not only is the site awesome, but they have an app now too, and that includes not only the ability to see that graph but lots of fun radar stuff too. I strongly recommend you check them out.

And now to figure out what I’m doing with myself today.


Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 8.33.02 PMGo ahead, count ’em.  That there storm system is four states wide, and heading more or less directly toward me.  Like, due east.  The whole damn thing’s gonna pass over us, and it’ll pick up steam when it goes over the lake.

Tomorrow’s gonna be fun.  I don’t think this is going to eat Monday yet, though, because even if, as predicted, it snows for 24 hours straight, the plows ought to have time to keep the roads clear.  I still bet I have to blow off the driveway three times tomorrow.