Saturday, December 25, 2004

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart

Merry Christmas to all of you out there. It is that time of year, Christmas time. A time for...forgiveness; a big old plate of turkey and sausage. It's also a time for the kids. I want you to listen to this.

So school has been going well. I can show you how well on this mathematical formula I came up with...

Two trains are travelling at 65 mph to Chicago. One from Pheonix, the other from Boston. Which...

Wait a minute. Wrong problem. But I'll take full credit for inventing that one too. I'm the infamous 'Two trains" problem guy. I also came up with the terms "widgets" and "gadgets". I'm a mathematical-problem-coming-up-with-guy and clearly a genius! I am actually teaching elementary school to get fresh ideas for my next wondrously amazing idea for a great story problem. What will I add or subtract now? Big Macs? Shoes? Beanie Babies? You just don't know. I'm that sneaky. I've delved into the adolescent psyche and found that kids like a few different things.

Yu-Gi-Oh! cards (the red-headed stepchild of Pokemon, which is on channel 18 after school every day) seem to be pretty popular, but not wholly universal. Then some kindergarteners gave me a good idea. They were playing with some toys at free choice time and were making "Transformers Energon" characters. I did some research at and found out that most of the characters that were in the original series/craze were gone. Of course Megatron of the Decepticons and Optimus Prime of the Autobots were still there, but I was sad to see the others gone. And sadly, still am.

I delved further and found out that kids love animals. It doesn't matter what kind, any kid will like any animal anywhere. I think that's how we could tame the savage beasts in the jungles of Scrippidydooville(sp?)...just send some 6 year olds in there. They would just hug them until they succumbed(sp?) to the little kids kyootness.

The next thing I found was that kids love Star Wars. Boy was I pumped to hear that! I mean, there are so many characters that I'm familiar with and have loved since I saw Return of the Jedi in '83. So I asked them who their favorite characters were and I received answers such as, Jar Jar Binks, Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, R2-D2, C-3PO, Yoda and Queen/Senator Amidala. I said that they forgot a Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, etc. Most kids had no idea who these classic characters were so I tried to explain who they were and how they fit in the Star Wars galaxy. Out of the 7 kids I tried to explain this to, 3 had a very glassed over look in their eyes, 2 walked away almost before I began, 1 wanted to play Yu-gi-oh! with me and the other fell asleep. I guess that should tell me something.

The final thing I realized that kids are fond of is drawing on themselves with markers. This didn't help in my quest.

So I thought and thought and thought and thought and came up with some great ideas for math problems...

1) If there are 10 cute animals in the jungles of Scrippidydooville and Megatron eats 3 and crushes 3 others to death with his remote triple-change tank module, how many cute animals will be left?

2) R2-D2 and C-3PO are walking through a cave. They see fifteen Yu-Gi-Oh! cards on the ground. If C-3PO picks up 9, how many will R2-D2 be able to pick up before C-3PO uses a Flamookie card and makes his snarftoodler spin uncontrollably, causing C-3PO to win the duel and R2-D2 forfit his cards?

3) You're in the jungles of Scrippidydooville. Unfortunately, so is Shockblast. How many cute animals would Shockblast be able to blast with his particle beam cannon before Inferno could rescue you (in vehicle mode, of course) as a firetruck capable of heroic and often dangerous search and rescue missions. (You could use trees in place of cute animals)

So there you have it..let me know what you think. I'm beginning to write a book with new math problems so I'd love some input. It could change the face of math as we know it. Imagine the possibilities. (The descriptions of the Transformers and their actions were found on the aforementioned website... http: Click on 'Energon' on the left and then 'Character Bios'. You'll definitely get a good laugh)

So, back to the math problem:

Let's say a + b = c. If a=recess and b=no snow pants, then c would clearly have to =Joe's total happiness.

Recess + No snow pants = Joe's total happiness

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I hate snow pants

I am now totally convinced that no teacher or parent was involved in the development of snow pants. Now don't get me wrong, snow pants are great. They are waterproof, (most of the time), warm and mostly indestructible. They are some tough pants. My main gripe with the snow pant developers is that they are not easy to put on...especially for a 5 year old kid.

Look at this girl here for example. I'll bet she gets pleasure out of watching teachers struggle to put her snow pants on every day.

I help kids get ready for recess every day. Just as when we were kids, they are not allowed to play with their buddies if they are not wearing the proper apparel. Kids don't have fun just watching their friends play, so their parents buy snow pants. Now, most companies should develop some snow pants that are much more functional. The straps that are on these things are just ridiculous. These are the kind of straps that are not connected to the clamps. Let me explain. The straps sort of weave into the clamps and I have never had a good idea of how to keep these from coming undone. I am nearing my 25th year on this planet and I still have no idea.

I have seen snow pants with full elastic straps. They are amazing! I love these snow pants. No clamps to weave through. No chance of the strap slipping out of the clamp. Virtually perfect.

My question is: Why can't all companies make snow pants like these? So simple. The answer is so simple. Columbia and Lands End and all the other snow pant producers need to hire some teachers and parents of young ones to produce the perfect snow pant. That is clearly the answer.

Now for a fantasy football update:

TJ and I have moved into the 5th place slot (out of 9 teams). We were in last place until about 4 weeks ago. We then began doing something we hadn't done in the past. Winning. And winning big. Love it.

So, we'll see how that goes. As for me, I'm out like a fat kid in dodgeball.