Friday, December 3, 2010


I haven't posted on this thing since the beginning of school. Shows just how busy I've been. It has been a busy year this year. With over 150 students, it takes a lot of time to grade, prep, and plan!

Ok now on to important news....Bought a new bike and will be starting training for the Shiner 100 bike ride at the end of April. That will be my first century ride, and I am determined to finish no matter how many hills there are. It may take me all day, but I will survive! Got a great deal on a 2009 Specialized Roubaix. All black carbon fiber, very light, very fast, and very comfortable. I've been riding on it as much as I can with the cooler weather and I think I could ride all day on this thing. The inserts really absorb the pounding on the rough roads around here. I can't wait to get it out on a really long ride.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

School's In!

Officially started back to school this week. What a busy end to the summer, a trip to Va to get all that furniture, followed by a week of inservice and then this first week. I am pooped out already with one more day to go.

This looks like its going to be another great year though. Last year I really had it made. I had 8th period off and 1st period off (block schedule) so it was like having a three hour conference period spread over two days. On one of those my lunch ran into the conference so I was off really early. Im going to be a LOT busier this year. Instead of 90 students, I have over 150, and Ive given up a conference period to coach Academic Decathlon again. Argh, the pain of grading!

Its been a long time since I did AcDec. My years at DeSoto were good with this program, building it up gradually until finally making state in the last two years there. My co-coach Rae Jean is still coaching over at Northwest and will be in my region this year, but we won't be competing against each other. It will be good to see her there and I hope things go well for her this year. I know its been tough for her to field a team, with I have found strange given that there are about 3K students there. The three years I tried to get the program going at Red Oak really soured me for a while, and it was time to step back for sure back in '03. There was just no way the program was going to work there, and not having support makes all the difference in the world.

Crandall looks like it is going to be great. I couldn't ask for more as a coach, everyone has been so supportive and pretty much set up the program like I thought it needed to be. I have a great energetic co-coach in Amanda, and people who are wanting to help out. Crandall is a very unique kind of place. I was talking with one of my students during the summer about what its like, and he had a thoughful observation. He said that it was interesting how so many people from so many different places had made it to this small town, and the combination of all of their talents and the talents of the students had meshed to make this a special place. I have noticed that as well. There is so much talent here for such a small place. There are a LOT of good programs here, so many that I don't know where to begin. The athletic programs are all pretty good (I get to be the announcer for Friday games, woo hoo!). The newspaper staff wins awards, as does the debate team. The drill team and cheerleaders are awesome, and the band is incredible. I am really in awe of our band director John. This year the marching band will be performing to the music of Styx, and all of the music was written by John. I have only been at schools where the directors bought the music, not actually wrote it for ALL the instruments. Very cool! How many schools offer Rock Band as a class? Last year I got to catch a couple of the different bands playing out back at the Cotton Gin, and these kids have a lot of talent. The drama folks put on a number of performances each year that are great, and very nearly made state last year. We have our own very cool television studio. Im sure I left someone off, but you get the idea. There is a lot here. I am glad that I found this place, and I hope during my time here I get to put my own stamp on a few things. We will see starting with our first competition in January.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Longest Week

This was a LONG week! I am still tired, but can type.

First some background. My in laws are moving from Virginia to Arkansas, and are downsizing from a five bedroom mansion to a three bedroom cottage. So, they had a lot of furniture that they wanted to get rid of, and the idea was that I would fly up, rent a truck, and drive it back with what we wanted.

Ahhh, the best laid plans of mice and men...

Everything is set for me to fly up early on a Saturday, and get the rental van. Then at 9:30 on Friday night, there is an automated call from the airline. My flight has been cancelled, please call to reschedule. So the call is made and the flight is now in the afternoon instead of the morning. This will mess up the rental truck, so Saturday morning I call the rental van place. After talking with Forrest Gump at the rental truck service that shall remain nameless but rhymes with Fudget, come to find out that they did not have a rental van available for me anyway!! But did they bother to call? NOOOOOOOO! I really wish I could have taken a picture of my face at that point. I told the guy that I had a reservation. His response: "Well they didn't bring us one". He did not seem too concerned that I was flying halfway across the freaking country to rent this thing! And to top it off, they closed at noon on Saturday anyway, and weren't open Sunday, so Monday would be the earliest I could get one. However Forrest couldn't guarantee me that one would be available. So on to Plan B, fly up and see what happens. I wasn't going to eat an airline ticket, and all the furniture had been moved down to the garage anyway already.

So after the flight on Saturday night, I rented from Penske for pickup on Monday (They were awesome). Looking at all the stuff to haul down here, it was decided that a 22 foot truck was needed. What shows up at the rental place is this incredible large 12 foot 7 inch high diesel truck that I was not sure was to make it up the 45 degree angle driveway of my in laws. I tried driving it. Fugeddabowdit. No way I could drive this thing cross country. So a relative volunteers to drive it with me as he as the experience of driving very large vehicles, and with the help of some very large men this entire truck is filled to the brim with extremely heavy furniture. Hernia inducing type furniture. And a piano for good measure.

The next morning we are off. For 16 hours we drive to my aunts house in Arkansas, and drop off half the load. THAT was a long day, and the cherry on top was unloading a glass top table top and bottom that weighed several hundred pounds each. Oh did I mention its August? Its hot, and humid. The following morning we drove home to Dallas, and I put Pat on a flight back to Virginia (thanks Pat!). That afternoon I got some help to start unloading stuff, which would end up taking three days. Everything that was in the house had to go to the garage, so it took a while for sure!

And finally, took the rental truck back to where it was supposed to be dropped off late Thursday night. And parked it in the wrong place, and dropped the key in the dropoff slot before realizing the mistake. The U Haul people were amused.

By this writing its now Friday, and it looks like the fridge may be on the fritz. I really need to go back to work. I need the rest.

Goatneck ride

Its been quite a while since I last posted. Been a very busy month since then. I really have been working hard to get the weight off, and even though it seems to be staying the same I have been losing some fat. My belt the other day had to be tightened two more notches from the end of the school year last May, and all of my pants fit for the beginning of school. That hasn't happened in a long time.

Since the Midlothian ride I have also done the Goatneck out in Cleburne. Great ride, I rode with some folks from Team in Training, and did 41 miles. Most of the hills in the Goatneck are not that bad, but there is one that is pretty brutal. It was really long, and while the wind was behind us at that point it wasn't very strong. As a result you end up going about the same speed as the wind, and you get no air flow over you. All of a sudden about halfway up it got incredibly hot, but I did get to the top without walking! There was a guy taking pics at the top, and I found mine on his site. I still have a LONG way to go to look good cycling! The toughest part of the ride was the end. Totally flat going into town, but into a headwind. Brutal way to end the day. With 2500 + riders though it was a lot of fun, and I'll do it again next year.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Midlothian Ride

Been a while since Ive blogged on here. Been doing a lot of riding, and yesterday decided to see how far I could go during the inaugural Midothian ride. Not a bad day, went 48 miles in under three and half hours of riding time. LOTS of hills! This was the first time for this ride, and the people in charge did a great job. Lots of staff at the beginning of the ride for check in, food and drink to start off with, good staffs at the rest stops, and Chick Fil A lunch at the end. There were a couple of snafus with directions (followed the wrong arrows at the beginning of the ride), but other than that everything went off without a hitch. Going to check out the Goatneck ride next week, I haven't done that one in a while, and keep on working toward the Hotter than Hell ride. I really want to go to that, but need to find a place to stay up there. 100 miles in one day. Haven't ever done that, but I think I can on flats with no problem.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Getting into the groove

After you've taken a long time off from working out it often takes quite a while to get back into the groove of things. I think after close to a month now I am getting there. Took a ride out of the neighborhood for the first time in months today (normally I do the .7 mile loop and just do laps and listen to music). Did 22 miles in right at a hour and a half, which is not too bad since I was by myself and the roads were still terrible. It is so hard to find a good place to ride around here without packing up the bike and driving somewhere, which cuts into your time. Lots of chip and seal and close quarters with cars and trucks, which keeps you from zoning out when riding but is really hard on the hands and the bike.
Had a chance to ride with a triathlon training team last night out at White Rock lake. Didn't think we were going to get the ride in, there were lots of storms around, but things cleared out just in time for the ride. I love riding around White Rock, smooth as glass, not a lot of hills, and you can go really fast if you want to. The tri team was a very interesting group. Triathlons sound like they would be a lot of fun and its something that I think I would like to get into, but I am not sure that I have the time do the training properly. When school starts back, I am going to have a full load of classes with over 150 students, and I'm teaching an extra class to do Academic Decathlon. So while last year was pretty smooth, this year is going to be extremely busy.
I might into this after Decathlon state competition is done in the spring. I could start up then and work toward a first tri in the summer. After teaching one class of AP Physics, two of preAP, and three of regular physics and coaching decathlon, I need something that doesn't require the mental focus. Or maybe its just a different kind of mental focus, but it would be nice to have a break from the heavy stuff to get out and relax if that makes sense. We'll see!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cruising with the Storm

Last year I took a new job that required me to commute about 40 minutes each morning. Not a bad drive either way really, and it allows me to wake up in the morning and decompress in the afternoon. I love to listen to music while I drive, and anyone who has ever passed me or I pass them on the highway can pretty much be guaranteed to see me singing along to whatever I have on the ipod. There are many mornings though that I just have to have on my favorite Irish band Gaelic Storm. If you go back to the movie Titanic, they were the Irish band in third class that was playing when Jack and Rose were dancing. They have made several lineup changes since then, and their music just seems to get better and better with every new album. They have a new one coming out next month (no Texas dates on the tour, argh!), and I will be sure to get it to sing along to when school gets going again in August. They are a great live band as well, Ive seen them several times. If you have a chance to go see them, be sure to do it, you will have a blast. They are all great musicians, and the songs are very catchy and make you feel really good. Check them out!


Turned over 1500 miles on the bike odometer this morning. Not a bad milestone, but I still have a ways to go before this bike reaches my last one. I put over 5K on that bike. Lots of riding! I think I will keep this bike until I reach 10K on it, the reward myself with a new bike. I like the one I have (a 2005 Lemond Buenos Aires that I picked up off of Craigslist for a really good price) but I would love to have an all carbon fiber bike.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Running is a lot harder than it looks

When I got back on this health kick, I decided to re-up my gym membership as well because you get tired of just cycling all the time and want to do different things. In order to really try and get the weight off, I decided to get on the treadmill and start working on running, which when I was younger worked really well (several hours of basketball will do wonders for keeping you thin!). I had forgotten how hard it is to really try and run for a long distance. It is going to take quite a while to get up to any type of distance that is substantial. It is amazing that I can bike for 20 miles nonstop at an average of 16mph with no problem, but running 2 miles at 4.5mph wears me out quick!