Eight Minute Labs

I slept only a tiny bit better last night, which made it all the more difficult to get out of bed in the morning. It was my last day to present, and I was scheduled for the first breakout session block in the morning. I had plenty of time for breakfast, and decided to go present my session and then return to check out of the hotel before going back for the last session and closing.

Much to my surprise, my lab pretty well filled up and it made me feel a bit better to be a popular topic. Even Thomas showed up with his tech. I was more confident in my ability to present as well, so I assumed things would go about the same as yesterday. I could not have been more wrong. We started chatting casually just a few minutes before time, and as people quit trickling in, I started in on what I had. It took me all of about eight minutes to completely cover what I had. The room was dead silent the whole time, and none of my jokes got even a groan. I wrapped it up just as quickly as I started, and several people took off. I did have a few people come in a little late, which got the conversations going again. We did have more general esports chats going on, and I got to talk to the kid doing the last session I would attend. I ended up staying the whole hour for the conversation, but overall I considered the presentation a flop.

On the way out, I grabbed a big plate of catfish and chicken strips and headed back to the hotel. I packed everything as quickly as I could, then ate while Summer ran her stuff downstairs. Once I was satisfied with the room check, we headed back to the high school to wrap up the conference. Summer went to Planet Fitness while she waited for me. I went to Connor’s presentation where he tried to quickly go through his slides and then switched to open discussion after seeing how the HSTI fatigue had hit my last session.

We wrapped the conference with a comedian that went around the auditorium trying to make jokes about things people did. I wasn’t into it. The door prizes took forever, and I didn’t have the luck I had the first night. I shouldn’t complain, but I had other plans and was ready to leave.

Summer had met up with Amanda and come back to get me. I hadn’t seen her since her time with Brandon, so it was nice to catch up a bit. I was mostly surprised she remembered our comments on her Instagram and reached back out to me right before the conference. We went to a place called Cafe 1217 that had a bunch of what I considered to be “weird” stuff. It was good, but expensive. I was still kind of full from the quick lunch, which didn’t make me feel any better about it. It was a good time though, and I was happy that at least the staff there liked my jokes.

When we finished, we ran Amanda back home before heading toward home ourselves. I think we were both just too tired at that point to do much else. We stopped to fill our water bottles on the way out, and then made it all the way to the Hot Springs Village Walmart where we stopped for a restroom break and to peruse for clearance deals. Summer got a couple things for herself, and I picked up a couple cheap frisbees since I occasionally find myself in need of one. Finally we made the remainder of the trip home in good time, I unpacked and cleaned up a little, and we went back to her house for the evening. She has to work tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll be making a decision on an air conditioner.

I’ve never had a more successful conference, but I need a vacation after that!

May I Present to You…

We slept in a bit today since I didn’t really plan on seeing the opening keynote speakers. Breakfast had me feeling a bit off though, which made me a couple minutes late, which in turn made it awkward for me to walk into the first class I was thinking of attending. I ended up finding Ben in his booth for ARKSTE and chatted with him for a bit before making a round through the vendors and eventually finding my way to Esports 101 by the presumably unlikely ByteSpeed.

Fortunately that session ended up being wonderful, and in fact, one of the best I’ve ever attended. The guy was a former esports coach at the collegiate level, and you could tell he both really knew his stuff, and also wasn’t necessarily there just to sell us something. He definitely gave me some ideas for practice that I’ll have to use, assuming this thing ever gets off the ground for me.

My presentation was next after a bit of a break. I followed Adrian in the same room we were in before, and setup couldn’t have been easier for what I needed to do. I had a small crowd, including one guy that didn’t even know what esports are. It was small enough to be a little intimate, and my jokes were received well, so overall I thought it was a success. We actually used up the hour, which was my primary concern, and our conversations kind of floated from Discord to esports in general. All I can do is hope that tomorrow’s session will go as well.

I went to one more session before heading out. Summer came back to pick me up a bit early and was waiting outside, so I ran out after retrieving the laptop power supply I had forgotten in the classroom. Then we stopped by Dick’s to try and find something cheap to earn me the last point I needed for another reward certificate. Once we got that, we headed back to the hotel so she could get ready for dinner.

We met Ben in the lobby and had a few minutes to kill over beer, wine, burgers, and brats. I hadn’t eaten lunch and was pretty hungry, but I didn’t want to kill my appetite right before dinner, but I also didn’t want to be super hungry in case we ended up waiting for another couple hours to get our food in such a big group.

Dinner was at the same Back Porch Grill as last night, so we were welcomed back with open arms. I had the red fish this time, which was excellent. After trying Summers Cajun ribeye, I did have a taste for steak, but I still left satisfied. Summer did some work on some wine and wanted to go back to the room, so we dropped her off before heading to The Porterhouse for the ARKSTE party. I stuck to tea, and we spent most of the time chatting with a couple techs from Conway. The karaoke room was too loud, and the dining room was too old, so we stood by the bar like hip young men and got in the way of servers and ladies wishing to visit the loo.

None of us in our group won a door prize, and then they shut the thing down and we went out the back door. It was a quick trip back across town, and off to bed for one last day. I present early, and I need my beauty rest after today.

The eagle has landed.

Computer Hardware 101

It’s been rainy, or at least threatening rain for days, so when today looked to be only cloudy, I jumped at the chance to ride the bike to work. I spent most of the morning at Oakland setting up a new phone extension and configuring a switch for it. Shavon emailed me along with a couple others to invite us for lunch, so Allen, Jason, and I all drove there separately. I wanted to go to the junior high in the afternoon, and I guess Allen wasn’t going back to the shop either.

I stayed at the junior high almost until school let out, slowly making my way around some work while trying to keep my blood pressure low. Then I went back to preschool for a work order on the way over to the high school to meet up with Dale. We scanned in another cubby worth of laptops and did a very little bit of exploring before quitting time.

Back home, I felt flush all evening. I couldn’t tell if it was an actual problem, or if I was just paranoid, but I wasn’t going to stress over it. Summer had to go to the shop for a meeting to be introduced formally as the new manager, and then to Autumn’s band concert. I spent some time cleaning up my computer, and then even more time just trying to relax in bed.

One of my esports founders expressed boredom, so I suggested he troubleshoot his desktop that doesn’t currently work. For a kid in EAST that I would assume has some interest in computers, he really seemed to be afraid to try anything at all. Maybe I’m looking back through rose-tinted glasses, but I feel like I never hesitated to tear into stuff. I remember getting a VooDoo graphics card from Jared and installing that in my computer to improve seemingly everything. I wonder what happened to things like that. In the end, we narrowed it down to a likely bad hard drive, but I can get him a crappy spare from scrap. It should be easy to get him back in business.

Remember that time you thought you couldn’t do that thing, but then you turned around and did it anyway?

Friar Cluck

Summer started off super early to get the car show going. I got out as quickly as I could, feeling much better after sleep. I had to go by her place to get some cakes she forgot, then made it in at least before it started.

I didn’t feel confident in running more than one deep fryer because of the lack of outlets, but I managed with just one pretty well. The show had a great turnout, and people seemed to have a really good time. Nick sold out of pulled pork peculiarly fast, but we had chicken strips for days. I just kept churning them through the fry baskets, using the timer on my Pebble to keep them going. While I was there, I had a few esports kids come in to play, but they were just left to their own devices since I was busy elsewhere.

Dad came by to check it out and hung out with the Model T guys for most of the day. I pulled him away for just a bit to climb up to the roof for some photos. The trees were a bit in the way, but I got a decent panorama out of the deal.

I was absolutely beat by the time we got everything wrapped up, but I had to go to my parents’ to clean up their fryer, and then to the shop to drop off the borrowed extension cords. Somehow Summer had the energy for some gym time. I went home to clean up just a little bit, then made my way to her place to pick her up for the Magic: The Gathering open house. Travis met us there, but John and Melissa had something else going on. We ended up wishing we had brought the kids, but they were tired and moody anyway.

We played a couple games, first for Summer to watch and learn, and then again with all three of us in a free-for-all. Summer won that game, and seemed to really enjoy it, so I’m sure we’ll be back for the next open house. One of the esports kids that didn’t show up to the car show today was there learning how to DM a game of D&D, which I thought was pretty neat. They really did a lot with a small amount of space.

Once Travis had had enough, we headed home and I fried up some rice and egg for dinner. We watched a couple episodes of Parks and Rec, and then crashed.

Oh, oh, it’s Magic!

The Existential Review: Year 3

I had my yearly review scheduled for this afternoon, so I spent the morning doing what I could around my buildings. I took a break for lunch and met Dale, Brice, and Summer at Taco John’s for Taco Tuesday. We ended up getting way too much food because of a coupon, but somehow I managed. Getting over being sick again has me regularly hungry, but I was hoping it would help me cut back.

My review went well after lunch. I sat down with Ben ahead of schedule just to get things started, and we chatted for quite a while. It’s looking hopeful for an esports stipend, and everyone seems to be on board with what I’ve presented. I’m just hoping I can keep it from feeling as life-sucking as last week when the kids were super rowdy for no reason. I think that will get better as the teams get more serious though. Dale’s retirement is set, so it’s looking like I’ll be moved to the high school now, which leaves me to clean up and move offices. I’ll lose a window, gain a ton of room and storage, and be left with the best-documented procedures on campus. Hopefully I’ll be able to retain enough free time to keep learning things I want to learn, and also have time out for esports in the afternoons. Time will tell. I’ll miss my friends the most.

Nearing the end of the school day, I dropped by Oakland to move their copy machines for kindergarten registration, then made my way to the junior high for esports. We had several new faces today, which meant spreading to the second lab for the first time. We were really only short by one computer, but several of my quieter players chose to move over immediately when I offered the space, which made it a bit easier to manage everyone else. Unfortunately that lab hadn’t been updated automatically, so we wasted several minutes doing that before anyone could play. It was nice to get to talk to a few of them in that time though, since normally I’m just having to sit back and watch over the entire lab of everyone at once.

After work, I ran home and messed with the aquariums a bit, and experimented with some alternative CO2 dosing by filling some glass bottles with carbonated water and floating them upside down in the tanks. I’ll probably have to try again some morning rather than so late at night, but again I’m hopeful that it will provide noticeable growth improvement. That put me a little behind getting the girls from karate, but they seemed to have other things going on anyway. From there we went to their house for leftover chicken in the form of nachos. They were pretty good, but felt like they missed a binding agent like cheese dip. They just kind of fell apart too much, and missed the flavor of the dip.

My head cold cocktail seems to have worked fairly well the past couple days, so I went for a third night to combat the snottiness.

Welcome to your life. There’s no turning back.


It’s felt unseasonably warm this week, which gave me some extra time on the bike. Unfortunately it’s all been spent at work. I started out at the junior high making sure esports were updated and set up appropriately after doing some re-imaging. Then I discovered that my Chromebook from Oakland would update automatically from the junior high’s network. That lead me back to Oakland to test some devices, which ultimately lead to Gary finding we were breaking updates with SSL inspection. Evidently we weren’t inspecting traffic at the junior high for some reason. At least it was a relatively easy fix, and we discovered it only halfway through manually updating all of my carts.

Gary and Zach went to lunch at Taco John’s with me, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon taking care of a few more things at Oakland before going to the junior high for esports. Matt emailed me again about the hours I’m putting and expect to put into them, so I stopped by his office to chat about it. I’m really just trying to get as large of a stipend as I can, since I know it’ll be hell trying to get it increased after the fact.

The kids were super rowdy this afternoon, and I couldn’t ever really figure out why. I had everything from kids screaming, to one kid singing uncontrollably about communism. It really had me reconsidering things for a moment. At least they all left pretty quickly after practice was over, and I could be on my way.

I tried cleaning up the cat box when I got home, but something was wrong with the control unit and it refused to do anything at all. I fought it for a bit, but couldn’t find any help at all online. I’ll probably have to just crack it open to try and find anything wrong with the controller, because the bottom half seems mechanically sound.

As soon as the girls got out of karate, I went to pick them up and headed to their house for dinner. Summer went straight home to get things ready, and we made some really delicious ham sammies. I took the “everything” French bread I picked up over the weekend and sliced it in half the long way before covering it with mayo and broiling it until just browned. Then I covered that with shredded cheese and broiled it again. Summer fried up some fancy ham and had veggies sliced up and ready to go. The avocado was annoying, and I probably should have skipped it for my own lack of appreciation. Mine was too messy to photograph, and a picture really wouldn’t have done it justice anyway. We’ve enjoyed making dinner this way.

I headed straight home after dinner to finish cleaning and reassembling the cat box. I also started a load of laundry and paid a couple bills. Still playing catch-up though. I’ve got to make this time up somewhere.

If I had a little money…

Number Crunching

We weren’t expecting rain today, but I wasn’t going out on the bike after those early morning storms. I managed to get quite a bit done before lunch, so I was feeling good. I met Zach and Allen at Arby’s and saw Erika there. My King’s Hawaiian Sweet & Spicy Luau Chicken sandwich was way messier than I expected, and I felt like the flavor of the ham really overpowered the chicken, which otherwise would have been really tasty by itself.

After lunch, Gary helped me wipe a few carts worth of Chromebooks at Oakland. I didn’t originally think of it, but many of them are going to be returned on a lease this year, so it may not have been completely necessary. I still felt better having them updated though. Our little $1500 box for mass enrollment seemed less good than I imagined it, but I suppose for a one-man show, it would help.

Once school let out, I spent some time trying to estimate how many hours I’ll need to put into esports to really make the program what I want it to be. Matt said he was trying to get me paid, so I had to really dig in. The end goal is to come up with a position overseeing it, but not coaching every day. Only time will tell what really happens though.

I didn’t have much time to clean up at home before I had to run to Summer’s for dinner. We made some pork fried rice out of some leftover pork chops she grilled. I mostly just chopped up vegetables. It was really good, and afterward the girls wanted to watch some TV, but I had to run to take care of my own chores.

Back home, I started some laundry and got my taxes put together. I ended up with a net payment of $37, which was pretty damn close. I call that a win.

Occupation: Spy

Sticking It Through to the End

It was supposed to be a bit warmer today, so I took the bike to work. It was pretty cold in the morning, and it never got super nice to ride, but the afternoon wasn’t too bad. I met up with Dale, Allen, and Jason at Ruby Tuesday for $5 salads. Ronda and Jennifer sat at a table next to us as well. When we left lunch, I met Dale at the shop to give him his Rap Snacks. He loved it, and even posed for a photo.

The afternoon went by pretty quickly, and before I knew it, it was time for another esports practice. We only had a couple seats left in the lab, and everyone seemed to jump straight into games pretty quickly, so I’ve reached near autonomy. Sam, one of my founding students, came in for his first meeting and gave me a set of Hot Wheels that I didn’t immediately identify as being Rocket League themed. It was a pretty awesome gesture, and I was happy that he finally made it to a practice.

I ended up staying super late again, this time fighting with some PLTW Android tablets. For some reason, several of them just refused to see the internet through the internal wireless. I wasn’t able to figure them all out tonight, so that’s just more work for tomorrow. On the way out, some kind of torpedo-looking vehicle silently zipped past me in the parking lot. It had a bicycle tire in the back, and headlights and tail lights for riding around in the dark. I couldn’t really see through the windows in it, but it looked like some kind of motorized recumbent bike. It was super low to the ground though, and didn’t seem to have any room for pedaling.

When I got home, I spent the evening cleaning up after the pets. I moved Murderface to the old shrimp bowl, and then Big Blue to the old container. Hopefully everyone acclimates well, but dead shrimp have me nervous. I’ll have to keep a close eye on them.

Señor Cow is ready for his cover photo.

Compounded Interests

I didn’t sleep great last night because I kept waking up to pee, and I assume it was due to how much I ate, and possibly how much salt was in it. Grey was also laying right in the center of the bed, so I just snuggled up next to her as gently as I could. She really didn’t move all night, and only sat up a couple times when I got up.

Rachel never got back to me with a time to chat about esports, and I didn’t want to pester her about it since I figured she was busier than I was. I just kind of tried to stay loosely available in case she ever did say anything. Zach, Sara, Heather, and I went to Morelos for lunch where I broke from my traditional lunch fajitas for some nachos. My food came out really fast, but the service was otherwise abnormally slow. I don’t recall ever getting a refill on my water, and our salsa ran out much too early. It was still good though, and we made it back with plenty of time to spare.

I spent much of the afternoon trying to convince everyone else that we should create a Director of Esports position for me, since directors don’t necessarily require a teaching certification. I keep getting more and more of a feeling that this won’t turn out in my favor as much as I’m hopeful for it to, but really only time will tell. In the meantime, I suppose it’s up to me to expand this to the high school as quickly as possible. I did get some news back from HSTI regarding my proposed presentation. I’m a bit hyped up about it in spite of Ben’s response that they almost always have lots of extra room and that he would have been really surprised if they didn’t accept me. If nothing else, it’s just more experience to gain and a story to tell.

When I got home, I got Grey to eat a handful of treats and some gravy again, but she was noticeably weaker. I’ll have to call the vet tomorrow to see if they’ll even be open during spring break, or if I’ll have to try and squeeze her in tomorrow to avoid any more distress.

Feeling exhausted and spread a bit thin, I managed to do a couple quick water changes before running to Walmart for potluck ingredients. I ran into Amanda there, and we chatted for just a bit and made lunch plans for next week. Then I came home and prepared the kitchen well enough to cook some broccoli, rice, and cheese in the morning. Hopefully waking up and jumping right into the action will get me moving enough that I won’t feel too exhausted.

If I keep saying it, eventually it must become true!

Bos Ludus

We’re halfway through testing today, and I spent the morning cleaning up a bit more between working on a couple laptops. I kept missing my bell breaks to get into classrooms, but testing has made it so relaxing that I didn’t really fret at all. I met Dale, Allen, and Zach at Taco John’s for a cheap lunch before going back to the shop for a bit.

I ended the day at the junior high with another esports practice. It was pretty quiet, as everyone jumped into public games to level up their accounts. I took the time to mess with our Discord a bit more, and finally cleaned up the #welcome channel to more clearly funnel new members into their proper roles. One of the kids was a little late getting picked up, but eventually I made it to Brown’s Catfish for my birthday dinner with the family. The girls went to Karate, but Summer came along and we stuffed ourselves with too many fish.

Back home, I got to build out a custom team category in Discord, so we can finally see how that works out for my players. I’m a little anxious to see if my proposed “Discord for Esports” session that I submitted this morning gets accepted for HSTI. In either case, Ben’s letting me go for three whole days just for submitting it. I’m not sure anyone else cares to go because they’re too shy to submit their own breakout sessions, but I won’t turn down a $40 per diem for dinner, and I hear the Embassy has a free bar.

How’s Google going to go down on the birthday of the internet???