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.