Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Talking to the Phone

After a bad night of poker I was driving home and trying to have Siri help me text my girlfriend. This was our conversation:

Me: Text Steph

Siri: I can send a text to Steph for you, what would you like it to say?

Me: I didn't win one pot.

Siri: Your messages says, "I didn't win one hot." Ready to send it?

Me: Change it.

Siri: What would you like it to say?

Me. I    didn't   win   one    Pot.

Siri: Your message says, "I didn't win one hot:" Ready to send it?

Me. Change it.

Siri: What you would you like it to say?

Me.   I     didn't    win   one     POT. 

Siri: Your message says, "I didn't win one hot." Ready to send it?

Me. Change it.

Siri: What would you like it say?

Me: I am glad I have you.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Down to the Wire

Break lights ahead. Lots of them. Why is there traffic going through Santa Barbara in the middle of the day? I say to Steph, do you think we are going to make our cruise? She asks back, “do you?” Yeah, I think so, but it could be close. It wasn’t like we rushed out of town. After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel in Cayucos we drove down and had lunch at Firestones in San Luis Obispo. We just got a side of fries not a full basket, but large enough to bring back some college memories.
Getting close to Thousand Oaks more break lights. Anxiety set in. Our carefree attitudes disappeared. We should make it to Long Beach by 4:30 or so depending on traffic. We should still make our ship. Stephanie calls the 800 number to ask them. We didn’t get someone in Long Beach but an employee from the cruise line. He said we should be there by 3:30 to be on time to board the ship. The ship leaves at 5:30 certainly they will let us on if we arrive in time. I say to Stephanie, “You know what is going to happen is we are going to get there in time to watch our ship sail away with us not on it.”

We check the I-phone with traffic we should arrive just after 5:00pm, and we are almost out of gas. For the first time I have us as underdogs to make it onto the ship (Don’t panic I just have us as 6:5 underdogs). As we sit in traffic on the 101 checking for alternative routes I ask Steph what else she wants to do this weekend. We have friends in Orange County, Thousand Oaks, and San Diego. I was determined to enjoy the weekend and maintain a positive attitude even if we paid for a 3-day cruise we didn’t get to attend.

I make a plan for the gas station. I tell Stephanie to pump the gas and grab certain items from the trunk to put in the suitcase to save us time when we park if we make it. I come back out of the bathroom Stephanie was flustered as she had entered the wrong zip code and pressed the wrong type of gas. It was okay we had a half a tank. She hollers, “Let’s go.” We close the pump and jump back into the car as if we had just made our last pit stop at the Indy 500. We debate the routes and select service streets to avoid a few freeway intersections.
Stephanie calls the cruise line again. This time the girl tells us that if we make it by 5:00pm they will let us on, but if we’re not there by five it will be up to the people working at the port. Just after 4-oclock I ask “How many miles to go?” She responds, “29.” No chance. (I know have us as 2-1 dogs now)
Minutes before 5pm we get a call back from them asking where we are. Steph tells them we are trying to make it. She says follow the signs to the Queen Mary and don’t get lost because there is not time for error. The traffic for the first time in hours frees up. I’m racing on the freeway. I even get up to 94mph.  Queen Mary exit. We still have a chance.
Queen Mary to the left. We are getting close. I hit 70mph in a 35 zone. We find cruise parking. Park the car at 5:12pm. We grab our bags and are running to the port like a scene in the movies. There is one family at the front trying to figure out a mistake in their reservation. We fly through security because there is no line as everyone else in on the ship. They force us to stop to take a picture and give us our room keys.
We’ve checked in and cleared security. Obviously they wouldn’t leave us now, but we still maintained a brisk pace toward the boat. As we are on the ramp we hear the horn, the horn that means this ship is about to sail. We speed up even more until we are on the boat.

It took us some time to recover, and we had to make up the safety class the other passengers attended at 4:30.
We made it.

Class Helpers

These somehow were brought into my classroom by students.

Thought of the Week

The grass is greener where you water it.
--Neil Barringham

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Selling the Car

I just posted this ad on Craigslist for my car:

Are you looking for a car that is safe, reliable, and has character? Then I have the perfect car just for you.

1999 Red Toyota Corolla, CE--176,000 miles.

This car has power locks, power steering, and an AM/FM radio complete with stock cassette player. So if you want to pop in your latest Bon Jovi tape go right ahead.

Also, there is a red flashing seatbelt sign for your safety. Even if you already have your seatbelt fastened it continues to blink just so you never forget to be safe.

Are you the type that is big on having child locks, but nervous you will forget to use them? Don't worry; just put your child on the driver's side of the car where there is no interior handle so the kid won't be able to get out even if you don't remember to have the doors locked. The safety of your child comes first.

Also, keeping you safe the car pulls slightly to the right. So if you accidently doze off at the wheel it will send you onto the right shoulder not into oncoming traffic. This is also convenient if you feel like changing lanes to the right, but are too lazy to move your hands. Just let go of the wheel and the car will move you over.

Despite having an excellent AC you or your passengers may be the type that prefers to drive with the windows cracked, which is great because the seal on the back right door is broken and it sounds like the window is always just a little bit cracked.

The glove box closes with ease, as long as you put a little something on it. Not too soft, not too hard, with a little practice you will close this thing just right.

When driving in the sun just lower your sun visor. Also, the visor occasionally falls at random times. This will make sure you, as a driver, are alert and not overreacting to sudden movements. After a few times of the visor falling on you while you're on the freeway you'll feel better prepared for whatever situation arises on the road.

You may think with all these amenities you might start to feel a little pretentious. Don't worry. The rear view mirror is hard to adjust and the driver door also does not have an interior handle. There is nothing that keeps you humble like parking your car, rolling down your window, and reaching your arm out to open the door. (Remember to roll the window back up before shutting off the car.)

Not enough room in your garage to park the car? Don't worry this car has been parked outside for years. It is used to it. You ain't going to make this paint job much worse. Permission to drive freely.

This car runs great! No accidents. Clean title. In ten years I've rarely had any problems with it. Believe me; I'm an honest guy.


Thought of the Week

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
--Albert Einstein


Sunday, September 16, 2012

From the Students

Last year I had my students write me letters at the end of the year. Some students express gratitude and appreciation, some students are more ambivalent, and many are extremely honest. I have some notes from my one AVID class, and also other comments from my math students.

We can start with AVID:

I love how you teach the class, but I like it more when you’re tired and don’t teach at all while we watch the movie.

You have pretty eyes for a teacher and you don’t dress like a dorky teacher and your funny when your not being mean.

Something you are really good at is normally always getting students to want to do something, but sometimes you start yelling at us for no good reason, and we can’t understand anything you write. I unfortunately am getting almost as bad as you are, and I need to work on it too.

P.S. Don’t wear the shirt next year AT ALL, I will be back to ask.

This year has been really fun. I liked our field trip, our newspaper fashion show, and our story times. Everyone got to make new friends and come together as a family—even Brian.

From my math kids:

P.S. sry if I spelt things wrong

Surprisingly I’ll also miss your handwriting.

Mr. Burill you are my favorite teacher I felt you were the the only teacher that probably cared about me and wanted me to do good your the funniest teacher I had ever had I learned a lot in your class you me a lot ever sence I came to your class I will visit you all the time with Ajene aha well Mr. Burill you’re the best thats all Hope I see you next year Promise I’ll Visit Have a great summer

Maybe this year she will learn to occasionally use some punctuation.

Sometimes I couldn’t quiet follow your odd teaching. But I liked how you would tell your life stories, mostly about your womens! Anyhow, I want to thank you for trying to help me walk by the extra credit assignment, even if I didn’t do it, because obviously I’m such a badass.

This year in your class I hated a lot. And I loved a lot, and I learned more than you would know! Not just Algebra, but as a person. It sounds weird and lame—especially since you’re talks were the cheesiest I’ve ever heard. But you always kept it real, and that’s something I admire because not a lot of adults will do that with teenagers. I appreciate that you told it to us straight knowing that we could handle it. I know period 2 wasn’t your favorite (my sources tell me it was period 4. Really Mr. Burrill?)
p.s. get married soon so your kids next year and years after won’t have to hear about the different vets or whoever you’re dating now. And if you ever actually have kids, try to have more/better patience. Babies don’t like to be yelled at for not remembering the Quadratic Formula.


I attended my first drive-thru wedding this year. Ceremony performed while we were sitting in the car.

Thought of the Week

When sending text messages from my iPhone the majority of the time I seem to type "ate" instead of "are" and an ! instead of a ?.

Sometime this makes my text not as clear.

Ate you going to Safeway!

What are you doing here?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Return to the Ring

Beginning Sunday I will temporarily resume my weekly posts. At this time I'm not sure how long I will continue them, but look for it at the end of this weekend.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Phone Service

The following is the summary of my call with Comcast earlier this week:

Me: How much do I pay for phone? For Internet? And everything together?

Comcast Guy: … and everything together with taxes comes to $140/mo.

Me: How much is just basic cable?

Comcast Guy: $32/mo.

Me: I’m just going to go ahead and cancel everything then. What items do I need to return, and do you pick them up or do I need to go to return them?

Comcast Guy: The only thing you have is the DVR… Is there anything we could do that could keep you?

Me: Yeah, make it cheaper.

Comcast Guy: Are you interested in having a phone line?

Me: Not particularly.

Comcast Guy: If you add a phone line and upgrade to the triple play it will save you about $12/mo. But if you want to actually use the phone you will need to rent a different modem which costs $7/mo. 

Me: In order to obtain these additional services that I don’t plan to use what kind of additional equipment would I need to obtain.

Comcast Guy: If you don’t plan to use it then we can provide the service with just your existing equipment.

Me: That’s interesting, but I’m just going to go ahead and cancel.

Comcast Guy: Well… let me look here. I can give you this which would bring you down to about $122/mo.

Me: No. I was hoping to get close to the $90/mo area.

Comcast Guy: Let me look here. I have this offer that would bring you down to $105 for 3 months and then rise to $115 for 3 months and you would keep all the services you currently have.

Me: Deal.

Giants Fan Forever

I saw this a couple days ago at the ballpark. I don't know anything about Tom Maurer, except the Giants won the World Series before he died.

Thought of the Week

Total abstinence is so excellent a thing that it cannot be carried to too great an extent. In my passion for it I even carry it so far as to totally abstain from total abstinence itself.
--Mark Twain


Saturday, May 12, 2012

When This Was?

One of my students is from Africa. English is his first language, but he speaks with an accent and is sometimes hard to understand. Periodically I post their grades on the wall and he was curious when I had last updated the wall.

After school during tutoring he pointed to the grades and, complete with his accent, asked, "When this was?"

Another girl in the room started laughing and unabashedly added: He just said "when this was."

I refrained from reacting until he responded, "What? Why is that funny?"


I saw this at a friend's house and wondered how long it had been sitting there.

Thought of the Week

If there is no struggle, there is no progress. --Frederick Douglas

Friday, April 20, 2012


She was on her way to my house for the evening. I lit the three candles on my bedside table to help create a romantic and pleasant atmosphere. We had been dating a while now so things were relaxed and pleasant.

The two of us made are way to the bed and things were progressing nicely. Neither of us were paying particularly close attention to the arrangement of the bed’s pillows. All the sudden in the dimly lit room there was instantly a significant increase of light to my immediate left.

I don’t know why but I noticed the light before I noticed the heat. As I looked over my left shoulder I saw my pillow had quickly gone up in flames. I don’t know how big the flame actually was, but it looked huge. I immediately jumped up and grabbed the flaming pillow and ran into the bathroom. I threw it into the tub and turned on the water.

That was a mood killer.

She follows me into the bathroom laughing all the way. I admittedly was upset about losing my favorite pillow (the expensive one with the hole in the middle I bought from my chiropractor) and my matching pillow case. I wasn’t laughing.

In the end there was a slight mark on my bedside table, a slight stain on the bathtub, the loss of my pillow and pillow case, but the damage was minimal.

We opened up the house to let out the smoke and smell of the fire, and I don’t recall any more romantic activity continuing that evening.

The next day I considered cutting off the burned pillow and trying to salvage it, but I dropped it in the trash and bought another.

Pic of the Week

I found this flyer in the parking lot near my car.

Thought of the Week

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.
--Agnes Ripplier

Monday, February 13, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mid-year Student Feedback

So every year just before Christmas I give my students feedback forms and reflection forms. This gives me feedback on the class and also forces them to think about their own interactions. I will provide the prompts and some of their responses.

My favorite part of the class is:

I like how Mr. Burrill picks on people. Another one is when Aaron isn't here to upset Mr. Burrill and get him angry.

How has your behavior and participation in class been? What motivated you to act that way?

I think my behavior is good and I'm your favorite student, and what motivates me is knowing I'm your favorite student.

On a scale of 1 to 10 rate your effort in the class.

5 or 7.

(Definitely not a six; that would be ridiculous.)

Overall my feelings about the class are:

Pretty good class. Talking here and there... Needs a little more work, but yeah, good class.

(Thank you so much for the compliment)

I don't really like math, but in this class it sorta makes sense.

How has being part of the AVID class helped you with your English skills?

How to right better sentances.

The vocabulary helped me seem more pretentious when talking to Mr. Boone.

In general, what really helps me in the classroom is:

I like that everyone gets picked on to answer problems, so that way you have to know what's going and that makes you wanna learn more. Because if you don't you'll look like an idiot.

having a good teacher that cares, want to help, and is funny. Kids don't show it very well, but not all of them are ingrates.

I have the most difficulty in Mr. Burrill's class when:

We learn new things and he doesn't explain it very well, or he explains it and it becomes even more complicated.

Tell me 3 things about yourself that are either interesting, important to you, or something you would like me to know.

I love swimming even though I can't swim.

I have the fear of getting staticly shocked (hormephobia).

Well, I like it when Mr. Valentine teaches (not saying your a bad teacher or anything like that) but Mr. Valentine is a teacher with more energy.

I like guns. I did third grade 3 times, and in K-3 I was getting A's in math.

I love reading. I'm a good drawer. I'm a good shot with a gun.

I'm not sure what to tell you but I don't like a lot of hw because it's difficult for me. I also have AdHd so I get distracted easy and I'm bipolar so I can frustrated easy. Oh and I like purple and neon green.

I have four pets: 1 dog, 2 cats and a bearded dragon.

My biggest bet peeve is the word portfolio.

I am easily... oh a puppy!

And my two gun children are in the same class. Just to make sure you know not all of them are ingrates I will share two more.

Everyone is this class is awesome! And even the hard problems get easier after an hour of learning.

Thank you for teaching me the ways of life. I will be sure to use them if I move. I wont' let myself down or my foster mom.

Monday, January 16, 2012


We went to a restaurant and didn't like one of the dishes served. This was the feedback form they provided. Okay, we liked it!


Monday, January 2, 2012