In which today just goes away

Totally had plans to do all sorts of stuff tonight but it all got derailed by having to spend over two hours trying to put together a five minute video for class tomorrow, a project that should have taken no more than fifteen minutes but kept running into truly stupid tech-related delays. And now it’s 9:30 and I haven’t done shit since I got home and all I want to do is go to bed.

One plus side of today, though: got asked, by a pair of the kids, to sponsor a LGBTQ club at school. THAT was unexpected and interesting. I agreed, of course.

On the new newness

After several years where I was reliably getting a new phone every single year and basically coming to terms with the fact that I’d become That Guy, I waited three full cellphone generations– from the iPhone 7+ I’ve been carrying around forever to today– to upgrade my phone, and finally caved and came home with an iPhone 11 Pro Max in the Midnight Green color. I told myself I was going to wait until I could walk into the store and walk out with a phone, and that happened today. What ended up getting me to jump was the massive improvement in the cameras– I’m super psyched about getting to play with the new triple-camera setup, and the damn phone is gorgeous, to the point where for the first time I’m getting a clear case. It’s currently in my bedroom transferring all of my settings and apps and photos from the original phone, a process that was originally projected to take two hours, then 24 minutes, so I figured I had time to come out into the living room and write a blog post before going back and checking on it.

This was a long and interesting week; I was out of my classroom for two days at that rarest of beasts, a really interesting professional development opportunity, and I had parent-teacher conferences Wednesday night, which was the busiest I’ve ever been at PTCs– I had a line out my door for two hours and fifteen minutes– and then I had a parent-teacher conference for my own son on Thursday. Today most the kids actually had a recess as a little reward for surviving the first quarter, and a dozen or so of them organized an honest-to-God, flag-waving-and-chanting impromptu gay pride parade (!!!) on the soccer field. This is the first year of my career where I’ve had more than one or two kids who were conspicuously and un-selfconsciously out of the closet– there are a lot of 8th graders in my building who are somewhere on the QUILTBAG spectrum and don’t seem to give a damn who knows it.

A genuine oddity: they exist alongside the rather large contingent of more typical 8th-grade straight boys who enjoy nothing more than ceaselessly calling each other gay, and yet I have never once— and I’m watching, God damn it– seen any anti-gay bullying of any of the actual gay kids, and there are at least two boys in the 8th grade who are gay at twenty feet, if you know what I mean. I’ve never seen anyone call either of them names, even the kids who are quickest to toss “gay” at any of their straight friends.

So there may be several posts this weekend, is what I’m getting at, depending on whether I decide I want to talk about these things more. The training, at least, will probably get a post tomorrow or Sunday.

OH YEAH SURE UNIVERSE

It is Saturday. I need to emphasize this– Saturday. And I am, in midafternoon, getting grading done. This is bloody unprecedented. It is Staying On Task to an unreal degree.

So naturally the God damn entire grading system has just gone down midway through me grading an assignment that a hundred students turned in, and it doesn’t appear to be interested in coming back up.

For fuck’s sake, universe.

In which cell phones ruin everything

We are all, I think, familiar with the idea that modern technology has managed to degrade our abilities to do things that we used to be able to do and now no longer need to. The most common casualty of this for most people, I think, is the ability to easily remember phone numbers. I used to know phone numbers for at least a couple dozen people at any given time, and right now I know four– mine, my parents’ home line, which has been their number for my entire life, my dad’s work phone number for some reason, and on a good day, my wife’s, which keeps getting interfered with by something else and I can only recall with some difficulty. It’s just not necessary any longer to commit random strings of ten or seven numbers to memory. Could we recapture this ability if we needed to? Sure. Our brains haven’t actually degraded, there’s just a very specific skill that we used to need that we don’t anymore, and so we don’t have it.

I got caught by surprise by something this morning, though. I was at my mom and dad’s house and the land line rang and I answered it. And it took me a few seconds longer than it probably should have to realize that it was my brother on the other end of the line, especially since he 1) recognized my voice, 2) commented on how he was surprised that I was there to answer the phone, and 3) referred to Mom and Dad as “Mom” and “Dad.” For a split second I thought he was one of my older cousins who it would not be completely unreasonable to hear use those words, and then the world kind of snapped back together around me and I realized what was going on and felt a little stupid.

Thing is, though, when was the last time I needed to recognize someone’s voice over the phone? It basically never happens any more. I see who’s calling before I answer the phone to begin with– and, for me at least, if I don’t recognize the number of the person calling I don’t answer the phone. So this scenario where someone calls me and just starts talking and I need their voice to tell me who they are just never happens any longer.

I mean, it was my brother. I should have recognized his voice, obviously, and I’m going to blame a combination of my head being in a weird place at the time and my first time being on a land line in a while for my sudden weird phonagnosia, which is a word I just learned. But still. Before cell phones a solid majority of my phone calls didn’t involve anyone saying their name; folks would just start talking and we’d know who it was. That doesn’t happen anymore. Makes me wonder what the next ability that I have now that I won’t need in twenty years will be.

Probably something involving surviving in a world with electricity and air conditioning, because climate change will have ensured the collapse of society, but hey! It could be something else, right?

In which I am supposed to be a tech person

This is my desktop setup:

You will note that TweetDeck is on the right, smaller monitor, and that Scrivener is on the left, larger monitor, which is also the actual computer. That’s how I want it.

Tweetdeck opens in the primary monitor nine times out of ten, and if there’s a pattern to that tenth time I can’t find the goddamn thing. Scrivener opens in the secondary monitor every single time.

I understand that this is very much a first world goddamn problem but it is driving me nuts. I assure you I have Googled the shit out of this and I cannot find a solution that actually works to getting those apps to open where I want them, so if one of you could Google it and post the first link, which will be something I have never seen before and will solve the problem immediately, I would appreciate it. This issue has clearly decided that it will not be resolved until I am at least moderately humiliated and fuck it at this point I’m fine with that.

(Note that any solution involving right-clicking on an app and going to “options” no longer works with Mojave.)

And because it’s probably relevant:

(I have no idea if anything nasty can be done with the serial number for my computer, but I figure let’s not take chances.)