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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Father's Day Post....Just a Week Late

I started working on this post with expectations to post it last Sunday for Father's Day.  Well, it turns out I spent most of the last two weeks working on a final, eight to ten page paper for my graduate class at Wayne State, so I had no choice but to postpone this entry.  Now, my class is over and I have all the time in the world to write for the rest of the summer.

I am very, very thankful to have a great relationship with my father.  He lives a few miles away and I usually see him a few times a week.  I have so much I can thank my dad for, it would probably take up most of my blog space.  So for the purpose of this entry, I decided to focus on how my dad instilled within me a love of reading.  He will probably be quite surprised when he hears this.  My dad was always one to down play his intelligence.  He always claimed to be a "bad" student in grade school and high school.  My dad never went to college, but he did obtain a post-secondary education at an aircraft maintenance school in Pennsylvania.  While he claimed to never be much of a scholar, the truth is, growing up I always saw my dad reading.  Every morning he would always be reading the newspaper (yes, usually the sports, but still reading).  Also,  he would always have a paperback when traveling.  Whenever we were visiting a different city, he made sure to pick up the local paper to keep up on daily events (most of this was during the pre-Internet era, yet he still does this today).  I always saw my dad reading, for me it just seemed like something I had to do as well. 

There are numerous studies about the importance of reading to your children, but it is also important to lead by example.  Growing up, I frequently witnessed my strong, blue collar, hard working father set aside some time to read.  No matter how busy his day was, time could always be set aside for some reading.  As I grew older, I realized his profession required frequent reading as well, I mean he had to repair and maintain large jets for a commercial airline.  Because of this I never thought reading was "nerdy" or "dorky."  To me, it is something everybody does (my mother always had her books, newspapers, as well as an assortment of fine tabloid journalism nearby).

My dad still tries to downplay his intelligence to this day.  But the truth is, he is the smartest man I know.  He has taught me so much, and continues to teach me to this day.  True, I may have a few more college degrees than dad, but that means nothing in regards to intelligence.  I am thankful that throughout my childhood he demonstrated how important it is to read.  Thanks Dad, I owe you.....again.     

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Good to be Back

What a great feeling, I just submitted my final paper for my graduate class at Wayne State.  This course (and mainly this paper) is why my updates have been lacking.  All of my writing time has been spent on this course.  I hope now to return to a more routine writing schedule.

A few things to cover in this post.  First, I am sad to report that I am no longer the full time media specialist at Carlson High School.  Like most school districts in the state, the Gibraltar School District is facing financial problems and the district had to make some cutbacks.  This past school year the Gibraltar School District employed two certified library/media specialists.  We are now cutting back to just one.  I will now be responsible for both the Shumate Middle School and Carlson High School media centers.  I am not really looking forward to this move, but I will do my best to make both libraries into outstanding learning environments.  I will never be able to fully replace the fine employee from Shumate, but I will try.  I am not bashing the district at all, the problem is in Lansing (and we all know there are many problems there).

Now for some good news.  It appears this week an e-reader price war broke out.  I have discussed e-readers here in the past.  First, Barnes and Nobel cut the price of their Nook.  Soon after, Amazon scaled back the price of the Kindle.  If I was not so close to buying a new iPhone I would be picking up a Kindle this week.  Some rumors have the Kindle dropping to $99 by the holidays.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

iPhone4

It should be clear by now that I am a gadget geek.  One of my favorite toys is my iPhone.  I have the 3G model and I love this thing.  I never leave my house without my iPhone.  The truth is, I really do not make many calls.  I tend to send tons of text messages and emails.  I just really do not talk on the phone all that much.  I have yet to ever come close to going over on minutes.  The only problem I have with the device, is lately the battery is not lasting as long as I would like.  It is now about two years old, so that could be expected.  The battery is not replaceable.  So i have no choice but to pick up the new iPhone4 sometime next month.

Most people that I speak with love the iPhone.  The complaint I usually hear is in regards to AT&T's mobility service.  Personally, I have no complaints with AT&T, there is tower nearby (both to my home and office) so I usually always have full 3G service.  However, I will not lie, AT&T was not too impressive during the pre-order stage. Nationally, questions remain if AT&T is ready for this new iPhone.  Once my purchase is made I will be sure to share photos and my first impressions of the device. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday Ramblings: My SLR Camera, Detroit

Greetings, I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  June is a great time of year!  Only one more day of work and my schedule really opens up for the summer.  It is clearly one of the best perks of working in the education field.

I spent this evening enjoying my daughter's dance recital at Flat Rock High School.  Being a geek, I love my video and digital cameras.  Last May I decided to step it up a bit and purchase a Cannon SLR Digital Camera.  Wow, I love this "toy."  I will never go back to a point and click camera again.  I am still learning aspects of what it can do, but do not worry the thing is dummy proof.  It takes amazing pictures.   I rarely take video now that I have this camera.  To me, great photos are worth so much more than a choppy video I try to take with poor lighting.  Some told me I would regret having to lug the SLR around, but I purchased a great backpack to hold everything.  I take it everywhere I plan to snap photos.  So far I have zero regrets.

I also spent this past weekend Downtown for a good friend's bachelor party.  I have to say, going out downtown is a blast.  I know the city gets a bad rap and there are areas to avoid, but that does not mean we should just avoid Detroit and let it die.  A large group of friends met at the Marriott at the Ren Cen, walked to the Tiger game, walked from the game to Greektown, and then walked back to our hotel at the Marriott.  It was a great time.  All the employees at various establishments were extremely friendly.  Plus prices were very reasonable.  A nice room at the Marriott for $120, overnight parking $6 (yep SIX), great dinner at 5 Guys Burger and Fries for about $12 (new in the Greektown area, you have to try it!!).  Try and find those prices in Chicago or New York.  Last time I spent the night in Chicago it cost $50 to park my car for a night.  We can either complain about the city and hope it dies or we can embrace it and hope for rebirth.  Nolan Finley (who I rarely enjoy) writes an interesting piece about the value of doing business in Detroit in today's Detroit News.  Check it out, some much needed good news for our area.  Have a great week, and congratulations to all of our new graduates!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Ramblings: People Not Reading, My iPhone, GPS

Greetings, just back in town from lovely Zeeland Michigan, hosts for the Division 2 State Track and Field Finals.  They did a great job hosting the event, as did all of our athletes from O.A. Carlson High School.

I have a few random things to write about this fine Sunday morning in Brownstown Township.

First, Zeeland Schools does a wonderful job hosting the State Track and Field Finals.  Everything is so well organized.  The stadium is quite crowded, but there is plenty of space to watch the events of the day.  The school places signs along the railing in-front of the bleachers informing spectators "not to stand along the railing."  The signs are placed about every ten feet.  There are even county sheriff deputies informing people not to stand along the railing.  However, people still stand along the railing!!  Blocking the view of many fans.  There is room to sit watch from other areas.   The P.A. announcer has to repeat over and over not to stand.  Do people read the signs and just ignore them?  It drives me crazy (much like the person with 30 items in the 15 item or less line at Kroger).  I am not sure what it is, people just do not care, or do not take the time to read and know what is expected.

Tomorrow Apple is expected to introduce the newest version of their iPhone.  I currently own the iPhone 3g (not the most current model).  I must say it is an amazing piece of technology.  It is on me everyday, everywhere I go.  I realize there are some Apple haters out there, and that is fine, but I have zero complaints with this phone.  My contract is up, and I hope to pick up the new version sometime this summer.  My current iPhone is going on two years old, and the battery just does not hold a charge like it used to. That is my only complaint right now.  I actually like the AT&T service (there is a tower very close-by to both my home and work) that is where I use this phone the most.  If and when I do pick up this new device I will be sure to write a column.

To wrap up, one of the greatest advancements in the past five to ten years for me is the GPS navigation systems that are now available to consumers.  I remember when I would first drive to the State Track and Field meets and print up directions online.  Having a pile of papers in the center counsel trying to make my way to Grand Rapids.  Now many cars have built in GPS systems, and if not individuals have their own "Garmins" that they can move from car to car, road travel is so much easier.  If you do not have one of these devices you need to get one.  They make road trips so much easier.  Even simple things like attending the wedding or graduation party of a friend in a part of town you are not familiar with is so simple.  They are quite reasonable in price (unlike the models built into cars).  If you travel via auto quite a bit, this is definitely a gadget you want to pick up today!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Read of the Month, June 2010

Sadly, for the month of June I am forced to read a text book for the graduate course I am taking at Wayne State University.  If you really must know the title, it is Management Basics for Information Professionals by G. Edwards Evans and Patricia Layzell Ward.  It is a textbook on leadership issues regarding librarians.  Not the best summer read I tell you.  You can purchase the book here, but I will be happy to give it to you once I am finished.  I hate reading most textbooks.  Especially in the summer, but I have to take this class so I have no choice.

On another note, great story in The USA Today on the value and importance of summer reading for school children.  The results are not shocking.  When students have access to books and summer reading their overall school performance improves.

I promise, my July 1 "What I Am Reading" post will be much better.  By then my class will be over and I will be dying to find a new book (maybe on a new Kindle!!!)  I hope you all have better June reads as we kick off summer!  Keep reading!