prowler1971: (Default)
I am not the original author of this piece. I also do not know the origins. As it does not put forward anything expected to be factual but is simply opinion, I feel safe re-posting it here for your pleasure. I have edited for typos and such:

Teachers get paid TOO much... I'm fed up with teachers and their hefty salary schedules. What we need here is a little perspective.

If I had my way, I'd pay these teachers myself, I'd pay them baby-sitting wages. That's right, instead of paying these outrageous taxes[1], I'd give them $3 an hour out of my own pocket. And I'm only going to pay them for five hours, not coffee breaks. That would be $15 a day. Each parent should pay $15 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their child. Even if they have more than one child, it's still a lot cheaper than private day care.

Now, how many children do they teach every day, maybe 20?[2] That's $15x20=$300 a day. But remember, they only work 180 days a year! I am not going to pay them for all those vacations! $300x180=$54,000. (Just a minute, I think my calculator needs new batteries.)

I know now you teachers will say, "what about those who have 10 years experience and a master's degree?" Well, maybe (to be fair) they could get the minimum wage, and instead of just baby-sitting, they could read the kids a story. We could round that off to about $5 an hour, times five hours, times 20 children. That's $500 a day times 180 days. That's $90,000...HUH?!?

Wait a minute, let's get a little perspective here. Baby-sitting wages are too good for these teachers. Did anyone see a salary schedule around here?

[1] I realize tax money goes to more than just the salary, such as the building, upkeep, support staff, administration, books, supplies, etc.
[2] I don't know any teacher who can claim a class size of 20 children or less.
[3] Remember, I DIDN'T WRITE THIS! I just think it adds some much needed perspective.
prowler1971: (Sir William)
If you haven't done so yet, this is the final week to vote in the 6th Annual Renaissance Festival Awards. Remind everyone just how awesome your favorite performers, including Paragon Jousting, are.
prowler1971: (Mandolin)
This message comes by way of my father, Director for Music Camps North:

For our first Fiddle Camp North we have an outstanding staff. Assembled by Music Director Phil Zimmerman and Fiddle Coordinator Dave Reiner, FCN in Charlton, MA is the place to be April of 2011. Headlined by two of the most distinguished and awarded fiddlers in Bluegrass and Old Time music, there's someting for everyone. Michael Cleveland is the IBMA's Fiddler of the year. Alan Jabbour is recognized among the top Old Time Fiddlers and Scholars. Both bring their talents and teaching skills to FCN and will conduct classes at various levels of performance. Michael has a reputation for having only two speeds -- fast and faster -- but you have only to listen to his performance of "Jerusalem Ridge" to prove that wrong. Alan Jabbour can be heard on more recordings than almost anyone else, and he knows practically every tune ever found. And I haven't mentioned Kimberly Fraser yet. Visit to see the bios of the rest of our staff for 2011 and I'm sure you will agree that FCN is not to be missed if you want to learn to play or get better on the fiddle or know someone who does, please let him or her know.

Season's Greetings and a Happy New Year to you and yours.
prowler1971: (Default)
Took Monte for a walk this afternoon on our usual path. There's an office building along the Charles river. There's a plateau which becomes a hill down into a parking lot which border the Charles. Along the river is a path through the woods where I let Monte run free.

Today, as we approached the plateau, there were about two dozen geese. Monte, naturally, wanted to investigate. I kept her on leash and wondered how close we could get. The sound of 20 geese flapping their wings at the same time is just awesome. As we came to the edge of the plateau, I saw another 30 or so geese in the parking lot and 50 or so on the river. It was spectacular. There were literally[1] 100 geese in front of me.

As the geese walked along the partially frozen river, it made the a sound like a raindrop in reverse. And with 20 to 30 geese moving at once, it was really spectacular.

There were also about 20 or so seaguls and 2 swans. Later i saw 3 ravens or crows (I can't tell the difference) in the trees.

Sadly, I had nothing to record the experience except my memory.

[1] Literally literally, I counted.

Posted via LjBeetle
prowler1971: (Default)
I get a lot of e-mails from recruiters. I got this one today. I do not endorse the recruiter in question I'm just passing it on to those who may be interested. If interested e-mail Stephen McManus at FootBridge Staffing. Feel free to mention you heard it from me, I don't know if I get anything other than thanks. E-mail address is

A client of FootBridge Staffing is looking for a mid- to senior-level Linux Systems Administrator
who will join a team of two systems administrators to support, maintain,
and enhance a rapidly growing IT infrastructure that spans cross the
globe and serves roughly 350 employees worldwide.

They are not your typical Windows / Active Directory / Exchange shop. Their
servers are primarily Linux (CentOS) with a handful running Windows. We
tend to prefer open solutions that we can take off the shelf and adapt
to our needs, but we are not wedded to a particular OS or vendor. We aim
for the solution that makes the most sense. We utilize Zimbra for mail,
Asterisk for telephony, OpenLDAP instead of Active Directory, and Samba
for our domain controllers and file sharing—all on Linux servers.

To be successful in this role you will:
- Have strong troubleshooting skills and a diagnostic intuition
- Be a self-starter. If you don’t know how to do something you consider
it a challenge to try to figure it out for yourself
- Have a genuine desire to learn and expand your skill set

You will have demonstrated experience with:
- Linux systems administration (especially Red Hat variants)
- Basic Windows systems administration
- Scripting (especially perl and bash)
- Networking Fundamentals

We highly desire experience with:
- Samba
- OpenLDAP
- Mail Server Administration / Zimbra
- Server Virtualization
- Cisco ASA, PIX, and IOS
- Storage / SAN

This is an opportunity to play a key part in the growth and expansion of
the infrastructure which is continuing to expand globally.
prowler1971: (Default)
I was thinking about this last week. It's just a common phrase these days and people will defend themselves by saying things like, "I don't mean homosexual." Well, that's kind of the point. You don't mean it's homosexual but you're construing the word "gay" with something negative. Since the only meanings I'm aware of regarding the word "gay" are:
1 a : happily excited : merry
   b : keenly alive and exuberant : having or inducing high spirits
2 a : bright, lively
   b : brilliant in color
3 : given to social pleasures; also : licentious
4 a : homosexual
   b : of, relating to, or used by homosexuals

So when used in a negative context, how would one expect someone to not be offended if one were a homosexual and the same word used to describe you is used to describe something negative?

And then I got to thinking about it further. I was thinking of all successful clothing designers and interior decorators that are gay. And then I realized that if someone called my apartment gay, that might be a compliment. So maybe that's the key. When someone calls something gay, say "thanks" and that you didn't realize it was that trendy.

Air Bed

Oct. 7th, 2010 12:27 am
prowler1971: (OOW Cylon)
So, I fully inflate my air mattress at night and go to bed. By the time I wake up in the morning, I can feel the ground beneath me. There's a slow leak... maybe.

Or does it just lose air due to the cold? I don't really know a lot on this subject.


Jul. 29th, 2010 10:26 am
prowler1971: (Default)
Some jackass stole my iPod out of my car. I think I left the door unlocked so at least there was no damage to the car. I've filed a police report but probably not worth filing an insurance claim.

They also got the iPod case, car charger and my cell phone charger for the car.

Debating replacing it or using my Droid for music.
prowler1971: (Default)
Just felt I needed to share this post from a friend of mine.
prowler1971: (Default)
Today while walking Monte, I came across someone's driver's license and bank card. I'll give no more information than that.

Being the fine gentleman that I an, I collected them from the street with an eye in mind of returning them. Being a Sunday (and a holiday weekend to boot) the Bank would not have been helpful. (I called them anyway, they were not helpful.) I thought about contacting local police but that would only be helpful if she was a crime victim or missing person. (And if she is, oy!)

So I used my old friend Google. The license was from out of state but a young enough person to be a college student in the area or just recently moved. Google gave me a LinkedIn profile of a young girl who had worked in CT and was now working in Newton, MA. So I looked up the company, found her voicemail and left one.

I also went to, plugged in the address and last name and came up with both her parents' names (presumably) and a home phone number where I also left a voice mail.

This all took about 5 minutes. In 5 minutes, I can get a lot of information about someone. So protect your information.
prowler1971: (Default)
So, a few weeks ago, I met a nice couple at the dog park with a Chocolate Lab named Zoey who is one day younger than Monte. She and Monte played together a whole bunch, they're a great match in energy and size. I even have some video the wife e-mailed me that I need to go over and edit for audio. Ran into them again maybe a week later. Then another time out there, I ran into someone else with a slightly older lab-mix puppy and it turned out to be the parents of the husband. Then I ran into the wife again a couple of days ago.

Today while walking Monte past the fire station, she wanted to meet the firemen. The father of the husband turned out to be one of them. Also turns out, he lives at the other end of my street.

The world is weird.

Right now, I'm a little worried about the pooch. Her eyes are kind of puffy and she's sleeping pretty soundly. This happened after our walk and after I put her flea/tick stuff on her. I don't know exactly when it happened I just noticed it after she'd been sleeping for a while.

Naturally, I'm a little panicky about it but I googled and found that eye allergies are pretty common as is pink eye and it could be either of these. If it's still a problem in the morning, I'll take her to the vet. She had been rolling around on grass. I tried to keep her off some grass that had signs saying it recently had pesticide applied but she may have rolled on something before I caught her, I don't remember.

She doesn't seem to be in any distress, but also seems disinterested in any snacks I've offered her or even getting up. So I'm a little concerned.
prowler1971: (Default)
Naturally, this was forwarded on, take it with a grain of salt as to whether these were actual events:

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome, including toilet flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet.

Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was "something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his room.

"He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, Dad. Can you help?"

I put my best lizard-healer expression on my face and followed him into his bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking stressed. I immediately knew what to do.

"Honey," I called, "come look at the lizard!"

"Oh, my gosh!" my wife exclaimed. "She's having babies."

"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged.

"Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I said accusingly to my wife.

"Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired. (I think she actually said this sarcastically!)

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!"

"Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me. (Again with the sarcasm!)

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience," I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth."

"Oh, gross!" they shrieked.

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted.

"It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified.

"Do something, Dad!" my son urged.

"Okay, okay." Squeamishly, I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

"Should I call 911?" my eldest daughter wanted to know.

"Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap.

"Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

The vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically.

"Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?"

I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside.

"Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked.

"Oh, perfectly," the vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labour. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they um .. um... masturbate. Just the way he did, lying on his back." He blushed, glancing at my wife.

We were silent, absorbing this.

"So, Ernie's just, just... excited," my wife offered.

"Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle. And then even laugh loudly.

Tears were now running down her face. "It's just... that... I'm picturing you pulling on its... . its.. teeny little .. " She gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned. We thanked the vet and hurriedly bundled the lizard and our son back into the car. He was glad everything was going to be okay.

"I know Ernie's really thankful for what you did, Dad," he told me.

"Oh, you have NO idea," my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

Two lizards: $140.

One cage: $50.

Trip to the vet: $30.

Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's winkie: Priceless!

Moral of the story: Pay attention in biology class. Lizards lay eggs!!!!
prowler1971: (Default)
I will readily admit that some of these are states I just flew through on my way elsewhere. But I figure they count anyway. Some are states I drove through and they definitely count.

visited 30 states (60%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

And for more fun, countries I remember being in. (I've been in others before I can remember.)

visited 3 states (1.33%)
Create your own visited map of The World
prowler1971: (Default)
Before I was in the 6th grade, my family lived in Maryland. We had a Weeping Willow Tree in our back yard. I used to play on that tree a lot as a child. I have fond memories of it.

Currently, I'm on a bit of a working vacation. I'm working on jousting. Sure, did it last year but it's important to keep training and get better. So I'm spending my days working hard, riding horses, painting and cleaning. It's fun and it's work. It's harder physically than my job and a much longer day. But it feels good.

Montante is with me. She gets to spend most of the day outside being a free range dog only being chained up when we run errands or are on horseback, although she did get to join us on one ride. She does a fine job staying away from the road. She wants to play with the horses, chickens, peacocks and cats. One horse wanted to play with her which scared her.

Today, we did a long afternoon session. Everyone got sunburned but made a lot of progress. I found one more horse I can ride... if I keep calm. My anxiety transfers to the horse.

After, we grabbed ice cream and came back to relax. I curled up next to Monte on the floor and briefly fell asleep. When I woke, I found the house quiet. Monte and I went outside and I just decided to sit under the Weeping Willow Tree on the property. Monte is jumping and trying to grab the branches in her mouth while I read. There's a wonderful breeze that hits me and I think how I could just stay here and never return home.
prowler1971: (Mandolin)
We're just a little over a week away from Mandolin Camp North. This year, due to unforeseen circumstances, the camp is in Maine. More details can be found here.

All levels are welcome from those who have been playing for decades to folks who don't know which end to blow in. A great opportunity to spend a weekend in Maine learning to play the Mandolin.
prowler1971: (OOW Cylon)
My Roomba was no longer holding a charge. So I did what anyone would do. I bought a new battery. I put in the battery, let it charge up. When the power light turned green, I started it up and it did its job.

Back on the charger, the new battery isn't charging. I've now plugged the charger directly into the Roomba (instead of the base) and the power light slowly glows on and off red, never turning green.

I think this is a bad sign. :(
prowler1971: (Mandolin)
reposted for convenience:
NOTICE: Venue change. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have moved Mandolin Camp North 2010 to an alternate site, owned and operated by the same people who run the Groton site. The name of the camp is Oceanwood. The accommodations are similar, in many cases newer and nicer, and it is all on flat ground -- no hills. The campsite is located outside Portland, ME, an hour from Boston, so it will be a little further for some but closer for others. I apologize for any inconvenience, but it is truly beyond our control.

Registration will take place in Mitchell Hall.

Our staff this year is outstanding -- possibly the best ever -- and I hope the venue change won't discourage anyone from signing up. Mike H.

That being said, hey, if you live in Maine this is now really more convenient. More information about Mandolin Camp (further) North can be found here.

April 16, 17, & 18, 2010
prowler1971: (Default)
For the most part, very happy with my Medical FSA (Flexible Spending Account). Has made a lot of things easy and is nicely a pre-tax withdrawl from my pay. All the benefits of being able to itemize medical expenses without the hassle.

Occasionally, the plan administrator will ask for receipts for expenses which may be in question. I've been asked for receipts exactly twice.

Co-pay for Newton-Wellesley Orthopedic
Co-pay for Cronin's Dental

It seriously must be random.
prowler1971: (Mandolin)
I would be remiss if I didn't take this time to mention to those who are interested that there will be, once again Banjo and Mandolin camps in Groton, MA. These camps are run by my father and focus on old time and bluegrass music with some blues and jazz as well, particularly for the mandolin side.

Information can be found at and There will be a concentration on the fiddle at the Mandolin Camp this year as well. (I've been trying to convince my father to make it Mandolin and Fiddle camp.)

I take this opportunity to mention this because there is an "early bird registration discount" which is valid through the end of this weekend. Why this weekend? Because we'll be at the Joe Val Bluegrass festival to accept sign-ups.

All levels are welcome whether you're a seasons musician or don't yet know which end to blow in.

This has been a shameless plug brought to you by...


prowler1971: (Mandolin)
Mandolin Camp North 2010 staff is outstanding. Possibly the best we've ever had. You won't want to miss it.

The early bird deadline has been extended through February 15 to accommodate those who like to sign up at the Joe Val Festival.

Mandolin Camp North, April 16-18, 2010, is as exciting and varied as any we've ever presented. Our outstanding teachers include: Don Stiernberg, Sharon Gilchrist, Rich DelGrosso, Skip Gorman, David Harvey, Richie Brown, Ben Pearce, Neil Rossi, Phil Zimmerman, Martin Grosswendt, Lorraine Hammond, Mike Holmes, Dave Howard, Bill Walach, and David Surette. We are very pleased to present our special guest, fiddle and mandolin phenom, Darol Anger.

In addition to teaching mandolin classes, Alan Kaufman and Dave Reiner will offer a concentration in fiddle for those interested -- whether at the beginner, intermediate or advanced level. Mike Rivers and Dave Howard will teach guitar classes in both backup and lead. Mike Kropp and Bruce Stockwell on banjo and Kelly Stockwell on bass will be there to round out band classes and jams. The curriculum consists of Bluegrass, Newgrass, Old Time, Blues and Jazz, plus Fiddle and Guitar. Visit to read the impressive bios and look for the schedules which will be posted shortly.

We are pleased to introduce these new musicians who are joining our outstanding teaching staff. Besides his many years of teaching and performing bluegrass, David Harvey is head of the mandolin department at Gibson; he brings his valuable experiences to MCN for the first time. Don Stiernberg is the foremost Jazz mandolinist in the USA today; he is a protege of Jethro Burns and carries on Jethro's tradition in Jazz and combined those skills with other advanced musical techniques to form a style all his own. Sharon Gilchrist toured with the all-female, old-time string band called Uncle Earl and has played mandolin with Peter Rowan and Tony Rice. Darol Anger is an alumnus of the David Grisman band where he played fiddle to David's mandolin, and has performed on mandolin with some of the most inventive acoustic musicians - Stephane Grappelli, Mark O'Connor, Bela Fleck, Mike Marshall, Michael Hedges, Jerry Douglas, to name a few - which has given Anger a unique perspective on string music, resulting in his inventing and developing innovative string techniques. Read about the rest of our talented staff and their impressive resumes at
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