Archive for April, 2005

Mother Sues School District Over Band Dues – Yahoo! News

April 28, 2005 Comments off

Mother Sues School District Over Band Dues – Yahoo! News:

“A Sacramento-area school district is now on notice it will be sued by a mother who claims she was pressured to pay for her child to perform in a school’s band. The question is: Was payment required or merely requested?

When it comes to who pays for the music program at Folsom High School, one mother says the school is out of step with the law.

‘My attorney has now sent them a letter, advising them the district is, in fact, responsible,’ said parent Donna Kinsella.

Kinsella is now fighting the Folsom-Cordova School District over invoices she has received for years that assessed dues for all three of her children to participate in the school bands.”

You have GOT to be kidding me. As a long-time instructor for marching bands on both coasts, these people need to realize that marching band is an EXTRA ACTIVITY! Plus, most programs get on the order of $5000 a year from the school district to teach 150+ kids (usually bigger in California) in an activity that needs a lot of staff (it’s not like 1 band director can handle hundreds of kids alone) and over a hundred thousand dollars of equipment. Plus there’s transportation fees, etc. If she didn’t want to fork out a few bucks for her kids to particate, send em off to the local library and tell them to read. I mean think of this … the school doesn’t make you rent a math book right? Right. But a math book doesn’t cost $2500 per unit!

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T-Mobile’s Personal Coverage Check offers street-level cellphone coverage maps

April 25, 2005 1 comment

T-Mobile’s Personal Coverage Check offers street-level cellphone coverage maps:

T-Mobile Personal Coverage Check

T-Mobile just did something we wish every wireless carrier would do: they’re adding detailed street-level coverage maps that’ll let you enter any address in the US and find out just how good (or bad) a signal you should expect to get there (according to the map, we get superb coverage here in lower Manhattan). Obviously they can’t guarantee that you’ll get four bars actually inside your home or office—there are too many variables to deal with once you’re indoors—but anyone thinking of switching to T-Mobile would be crazy not check this first.

[Via PhoneScoop]

Don’t get me wrong … T-Mobile still isn’t the greatest provider in the world, but they’re damn cheap. Pretty sweet app though.

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Pope Predicted a Short Reign to Cardinals (AP)

April 21, 2005 Comments off

Pope Predicted a Short Reign to Cardinals (AP):

AP – Pope Benedict XVI predicted a "short reign" in comments to cardinals just after his election, and his brother said Wednesday he was worried about the stress the job would put on the 78-year-old pontiff.

Evidently he’s not much of an optimist, eh? I suppose those who oppose this guy’s election might be better served by just waiting it out. Think he’ll last longer than John Paul I?

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Anti-HIV Bacterium Isolated?

April 21, 2005 Comments off

Anti-HIV Bacterium Isolated?:

Researchers isolate a microorganism that binds to HIV and blocks infection. The discovery may lead to an HIV-killing predatory bug — and a cheap and easy way to fight the virus. By Rowan Hooper.

Wow – I sure hope this works out.

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Technology rocks; so do babies

April 19, 2005 Comments off

I’m sitting here in Kaitlyn’s hospital room using my laptop on the hospital’s guest WiFi network. I’ve got IM chat windows, blog posting software, web browsing, etc. running next to machines monitoring hartrate, breathing, blood oxygen levels, temperature, etc. I shudder to even imagine how much all of the technology within 6′ of where I’m sitting costs. Scary to think how much all this stuff costs!

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Controversial German Cardinal Elected Pope

April 19, 2005 Comments off

Controversial German Cardinal Elected Pope:

“Ratzinger’s stern leadership of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor to the Inquisition, delighted conservative Catholics but upset moderates and other Christians whose churches he described as deficient.”

I’ve heard through the grapevine that this guy was also in the Hitler Youth prorgam when he was a kid, though that doesn’t mean much since all German kids were in that. Still, I doubt he’ll be quite as popular as John Paul II. I wonder if this will appease the folks from the US who are pissed that the church over the abuse scandal. I mean, you can’t get much more strict than the guy who ran the Inquisition for the last two-plus decades.

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Coping with a weird 10 days

April 17, 2005 2 comments

A little over 10 nights ago I was sleeping on a (rather uncomfortable) recliner chair in a hospital room next to my wife. We were getting ready to spend 4 weeks in that room because Alicea had bene diagnosed with a severe case of preeclampsia (aka toxemia or PIH) the day before. Essentially her body was unhappy with having a baby inside of it and the docs were trying to hold her stable until the baby was around 34 or 35 weeks along.

I just got back to my house this evening after Alicea and I spent the day with my 8-day old baby girl in the hospital. I’ve been running on autopilot for the last week and a half and haven’t really processed any of this internally. I mean, let’s take stock:

My wife was hospitalized out of the blue hours before I was to fly off to Charlotte, NC for a friend’s wedding.

Then we were told that, while our baby was doing great, we might have to deliver her at any time if Alicea got too “unstable” – but to plan on a 4 week hospital stay with our daughter delivered about a month early.

A couple days go by – the docs are happy with things.

And then Saturday afternoon Alicea says “ouch”. Her side hurt – her right side. I’d talked to the nurses and docs and knew this was something they were looking for as a sign of something going on … so I hit the call button on Alicea’s bed. Alicea kept having more and more pain, and it was coming on very quickly. She was having trouble breathing. Some blood tests were run and about 15 minutes later I stepped out of the room and went to the nurses’ desk to see what was up and to let them know that Alicea didn’t want to hear the dirty details of what was going on (I had just asked her). I’ll never forget the reply I got … “We’re going to deliver the baby now.” Sucker punch, right to the gut. “Are you okay?” the nurse asked. “Yeah, I’ll be okay….” She rushed off to call the docs, etc. and I stumbled back towards Alicea’s room in shock. Be strong. Be strong. … Oh shit! I took a minute or two to compose myself outside of the room before I went in … I had to be strong for Alicea and her mom who happened to be visiting that afternoon when Alicea crahsed. (Thank God she was there, btw, what a blessing.) The next hour flew by. Our nurse from the day shift, which was over 3 hours earlier, stayed around and scrubbed in for the surgery, as did our evening nurse; both of which we’d been with for a couple days and knew. Our regular OB doc came in to help on his day off too, even though another of the docs from his group was on call and onsite. The surgery went quick and I stayed right by Alicea’s side holding her hand and stroking her forehead and telling her how great she was doing. I was even joking around with the anestheseologist and talking about local politics with the surgeons. Heck, our doc even gave me a personal “tour” of Alicea’s innards (pretty cool stuff actually, and no I didn’t get sick from the sight – I’ve come close to becoming a paramdeic a couple times). On the inside I was … numb. How can I have feelings when I’m trying to be strong for Alicea?

Kaitlyn is born … she’s perfect. She’s doing great and the nurses and docs are real impressed with her progress and lack of complications.

But Alicea’s still having issues … it takes another 5 days in the hospital to get her well enough to go home.

I spend those 5 days playing tour guide for family to see Kaitlyn and coordinating the scheduling of endless visits of family and friends, breast pumpings, medical checkups, meals, sleep, and of course times when Alicea and I can actually spend time on our own with our new daughter.

Now that we’re out the coordinating is even more difficult because I have to add in travel times, errands that need to be run, figure out schedules for Alicea’s 5 meds (I have no idea how the nurses do this – wow), and be the chaufeur.

Anyhow, I don’t know what my point is for all of this, but I needed to get it off my chest.

I still don’t feel like I’ve had a chance to really take in everything that’s happened, and I know that’s going to catch up with me and kick me in the ass sometime. But right now, I’m too busy running around to have time to feel sorry, affraid, mad, happy, or even hungry.

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Report: Sharper Image purifiers actually make air worse

April 13, 2005 Comments off

Report: Sharper Image purifiers actually make air worse:

We wouldn’t want to be in customer support at The Sharper Image these days. With the company’s lawsuit against Consumer Reports thrown out by the courts, the purveyor of overpriced and uninspired gear now faces new charges related to the same product that led to the suit in the first place: its Ionic Breeze air purifiers. And this time, it’s not just that the Breeze doesn’t work, as CR charged in 2003. The magazine’s latest study charges that the units actually make air quality worse, by releasing excess ozone into the air — something that can cause serious respiratory problems, especially for asthmatics or other people with breathing concerns (who, not incidentally, are among the biggest purchasers of air purifiers). Not surprisingly, Sharper Image’s stock has plummeted…

HA! I always thought their stuff was BS. Here’s the proof.

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My girls’ first photo shoot

April 10, 2005 Comments off

24 hours later we’re all still doing well. Alicea’s been moved to a recovery room and she’s coming along nicely. Kaitlyn is still breathing on her own and is doing great! Horray! I’ll be posting photos to our Smugmug site: You can see some pictures from Alicea and Kaitlyn’s first visit – it was pretty special.

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Kaitlyn Celeste Novak is here!

April 9, 2005 Comments off

Alicea’s complications got, well, pretty complicated this afternoon and the docs decided it was better for everyone if we delivered our baby now. So, at 6:42p on 4.9.2005 Kaitlyn Celeste Novak was delivered via c-section. Even though she’s only 31 weeks along, she’s EXCEEDINGLY healthy. She’s even breathing on her own! Mom’s doing great too, but not totally out of the woods. We’ll learn more about what’s next in the coming days, but for now here are the important stats…

  • Kaitlyn Celeste Novak
  • born April 9, 2005 @ 6:42p
  • 2lbs 9.1oz
  • 13.75″ long

Click on the pic for a few more I was able to snap – they’re posted on our SmugMug site. They’re pretty grainy since I didn’t want to use my flash.

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