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The Teacher Convention & Mongolian Beef

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • October 22, 2012 - 12:02 PM

We have a fine layer of dust in several rooms of our house today, because of the teachers’ decision to hold their convention in October. Since that’s a good time to take a vacation, you think about the things you need done to the house you’d rather not be present to experience, and having floor sanders come in seems like a good idea. The varnish has worn through completely in the high traffic spots. There’s a long scratch - you can’t remember how that happened. The dog, perhaps. A remnant of toddler play, perhaps. Maybe you’ve forgotten that day when Captain Hook came over and wouldn’t leave and you had to drag him out by his ankles. Whatever the reason, the floor looks bad. Let’s fix that.

 

So because the teachers have their convention in October you tape all the cracks in the cupboard. Then you get up at 4:30 in the morning, because modern air travel requires you to build at least an hour into airport rigamarole. There will be someone who has 47 small containers of liquid, and will be surprised when the TSA agent forces them to perform triage and choose five. The signs? Ignored. The TSA agent walking around shouting about liquids, holding a Ziploc bag? Ignored. So the line backs up . . . which isn’t good, because half the security in the Humphrey Terminal is closed for upgrades. Everyone’s piled into one security gate. At 5:49 AM the crowd snakes through ten lines and spills into the skyway. Half the people have made their peace with missing their flight.

Why so many people at the airport at 5:49 AM? Because the teachers are having their convention in October.

But! We made it. With minutes to spare. The next day we were sitting along the lagoon at Epcot, eating Mongolian beef, because the teachers decided to have - oh, you get the idea.

It was a fine vacation, but if there wasn’t a break we wouldn’t have taken it. Odd how we react to the break by assuming that we have to do something, isn’t it? No one leaves when any other group decides to convene; no one ever says “you can’t have your convention in the summer? Really?” because we’ve given up on that one. But it was a good excuse to have the floor done. Too bad the sanders didn’t put up sheets around the room, because they got dust all over the house; when you jumped in the bed, a cloud rose like a desert sandstorm. So we spent Sunday night washing the floor and the walls and every surface in the house.

Because the teachers had their convention in October.

 

TECH This article says that cassette tapes will be the next big storage medium. Hmm.

 

 

That brings back the old days for some of us, the merry hours spent listening to the hiss of static shouting bytes to a Ti/99 computer so you could load an adventure game. It also reminds you that cassettes, for a while, had their own sense of style. This page curates some bygone examples, including many I remember:

 

 

 

 

 

So very 80s: geometric shapes, clear plastic, little reel-to-reel tapes: modern as heck.

The author of this page of cassette tapes also has one devoted to VHS, which probably doesn’t have the same appeal. No one misses VHS tapes. 

 

News you can use: How to apologize to people depending on their zodiac signs. “I’m sorry you believe that distant celestial bodies have an influence over your moods” is not included.

 

SCIENCE! Thirteen billion years in two minutes: the life of a disk galaxy. You may wonder if we’re living in a simulation like this one. Probably not.

 

 

Back to scrubbing the floors. See you around.

 

 

 

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