14 August 2008

Megan's grade level scores proficient! Carlos got hired!

Megan works at a school in Richmond which -- according to the metric setup by the state under their mandate from "No Child Left A Dime Behind" -- is "low-performing". This means they are monitored and threatened so they'll "teach to the test" and improve enough students' scores to prevent the state from taking over, firing the administrators, then teachers, etc.

Students can get 5 score levels:
Below basic
Far below basic

Only "advanced" and "proficient" count toward the school's performance - the point of NCLB is to get all kids in every school at proficient or better within 10 years (i.e., the 2013-2014 school year) so if you have a school (actually each grade level is what they consider, but let's keep it simple) with
100 students
40% of whom were proficient in 2004
Then you need to have 6 more proficient students become proficient each year over 10 years.

5 years of not meeting adequate increases in proficiency in a row = huge problems for the school.

Megan's school is less at risk of being taken over because her class did well (again) this year, better than they did in the prior grade actually.

Oy, it's a long story, but she's doing well for the school and that means she's monitored and threatened less so she can focus on what she finds helps her students most (rather than what the school wants her to force feed them).

And my friend Carlos just got hired by a local fire department to work in their ambulances! He's a sharp dude and great at rock climbing so those of you who find yourselves in hard to reach places while seriously injured and possibly on fire ... you're a little safer today.

13 August 2008

Where can I ask the internet questions?

Ready to do something more than google your questions?
Yahoo answers - lame for asking questions, okay for searching through other folks' questions/answers. Free, many bad answers and silly opinions. Need to put in time to gain points so you can ask or even rank questions/answers.

Experts-exchange - great for technical stuff often, check google's cache if you don't have an account (but accounts are free and non-invasive). Very intelligent answers to complex questions generally. Some "credit" for having your answers selected.

Metafilter / AskMetaFilter - great community, excellent and creative answers to very broad questions BUT it costs $5 to ask or answer questions (one time only fee). Fabulous, well moderated online community. Look at the questions ranked as daily, weekly, monthly, or all-time favorites - just great material!

Woody Allen:
"I cheated on my metaphysics exam ... I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me."

I wonder where you look for answers?

07 August 2008

Neck and arm pain ... self-treatment with shit around the house?

So now I'm on Megan's insurance plan and I'm considering going to the doctor to have my neck, shoulder, and arm checked out - I've had a bit of pain, starting in the neck and progressing down to my shoulder and neck beginning with the BAR EXAM (congrats those who just finished in spite of earth quakes and, well, the exam itself) over a year ago.
What does Kaiser recommend?
(1) Let it go away w/o a doctor's visit with
(a) stretching,
(b) pain killers (Jame's GF recommends a relatively high dose (600-1000mg) of Advil to get an anti-inflammatory effect).
(c) better posture,
(d) towel traction.

(2) Get your screwy neck to the Dr!

Kaiser (and the intar-webs) actually have some okay resources on this:
* Taking control of you back problem(s)
* Talking to your kids and lovers about cervical nerve irritation causing neck/arm pain
* Towel traction details
* Back exercises
* Cervical Radiculopathy - oh yeah, talk radiculopathy to me!

The difference between DA's and PD's:

According to to former DA and current private defense attorney Bill Gagen:
DA's get gold and they have to turn it into silver.
PD's get shit and have to turn it into gold.

According to my mom the dental hygenist:
Only two of those can be used for fillings and crowns.

SWAT team raids mayor, shoots family dog because someone mailed them pot (via Boingboing)

Cheye Calvo, mayor of DC suburb Berwyn Heights, was raided by a SWAT team after 30lbs of marijuana was delivered to his home. They broke down his door, shot his two black labradors, and interrogated him and his wife as their dogs bled to death. Turns out Calvo says he had no idea about the package, which was still outside, unopened and perhaps waiting for its real recipient to pick it up. Police say they still had sufficient cause to break in (even though they did not have a "no-knock warrant").

Another Police Raid; More Dead Dogs (via Boingboing via Danny)

06 August 2008

Fix your slow Windows XP computer & other thoughts

What would a commute from Berkeley/Oakland to Solano county (Vallejo or Fairfield) look like? I think it would be pretty sweet! Talked to a super happy person up there and it's closer to home and Megan's work ... yesterday was a good day all around: lots done, work project coming along nicely and good news at work. Bummed to see some of the summer law clerks leaving, they're a good buffer from the least fun parts of the office at times. Summer is slipping away too quickly, time for a camping trip!

Speedup your slow Windows XP machine with the following tutorials
These will solve 90% of your problems - honestly, try them before going to your tech person and you'll be better for it!
Optimize XP (ignore the advice about not using Firefox, everything else is reasonable)
Simple Malware removal guide
Documents with similar information you can download