Blue Streak

So it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here, but I’ve been busy. The biggest news, of course, is my new job. I started at Manheim Township School District on October 1 after almost twelve years at Etown. Honestly, it was tough to make a change after so many years at Etown, but it’s been good for me and I’m really enjoying Township.

Tim, the guy who hired me at Township, is someone I’ve known for a long time. He was my cooperating teacher when I did my student teaching back in 1995. I should have ben able to tell where my career trajectory was going to take me, because even back, on my first day of student teaching in Manor Middle School, I was helping him run LocalTalk wires for the school office.

After student teaching and graduating, I went to find lots of work as an English teacher. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to secure any of that work for myself. I decided to change paths temporarily, and I took a job as a computer lab facilitator for Lampeter-Strasburg School District. That was an awesome job, the kind of job where I woke up on weekdays and thought, “Cool! I get to go to work today!”

But it wasn’t meant to last. Within a few months, I had been contacted both by Etown and by Eastern Lancaster County School District about tech jobs. Still not the teaching job I had trained for, but it sure paid a lot more than being an aide. My preference at the time was to go to Etown, since my good friend Joe worked there. His boss Dave had recently left Etown to moved over to Manheim Township. But Etown moved more slowly and Eastern Lancaster Country offered me a job, which I took.

For five weeks.

Because five weeks was how long it took Etown to hire me. I started working alongside Joe in February of 1998, and we had a blast.

For about a year and a half.

Because that’s how long it took for Joe to move over to Exeter Area School District. Interestingly, at that point, Dave came back from Township to work at Etown again, where he stayed until the fall of 2008.

In 2000, Dave and I managed to hire Mike, a talented computer tech and network admin. Mike had previously been working for Dave at Township. Are you getting a sense of how cyclical things are?

Mike moved onto IU13 in 2007, but Dave I kept working together until his departure from Etown last year.

Then, about two months ago, Tim called me. This wasn’t terribly surprising since we had kept in touch over the years. He had moved out of the classroom and into technology. He had also moved from Penn Manor over to Township shortly after Dave left Township to go back to Etown. Confused yet?

Tim said he was looking for a new webmaster/database administrator and asked if I’d be interested in applying. I said yes and got my paperwork together. The funny part is that I wasn’t looking to leave Etown. Etown had been far from a perfect workplace over the years, between administrative scandals, leadership upheavals, and various technology-related situations that I’ll never be allowed to talk about but took quite a toll on us personally and professionally. But in reality, in 2009, things were better for me at Etown than they had been in a long time. Still, I felt like it was the right time to move on when I got Tim’s call.

And move on I did. I’ve been at Township just over a month now and I’m really enjoying the work and the people.

Truth be told, though, I do miss my friends at Etown. I’m blessed to have been part of a great team at Etown and to have worked with some amazing people. Some great tech people I’ve worked with over the years at Etown: Dave and Mike (of course, mentioned previously), Tom, Dan, Ted, Christine, Kathleen, Brian, Gayle, Amy… and the list goes on.

Some of you may be wondering what happened to Kodiak, the student information system I had developed for Etown. Honestly, Kodiak kept me at Etown for a long time, through several job offers, one of which was particularly tempting. But Kodiak was retired in July, 2009. It had a good run, but Etown understandably decided it wanted a commercial product. With Kodiak put to rest, I felt more comfortable moving to Township, since Etown’s SIS no longer depended solely on the knowledge in my head and my head alone.

So, long story short: Yeah, I actually left Etown. And yeah, I’m happy.

Sybil Has A New Friend

She doesn’t have a name yet, but she sure is pretty:

Gretsch Body
Gretsch Electromatic

She’s a Gretsch Electromatic G5120.

I’ve been wanting one of these for a long time, and yesterday I found one at a price too good to pass up. I haven’t much time to play it yet, with school just starting up and all, but so far I really love it. And it sounds great through my Peavey Classic 30 or my FloorPod. Or both, for that matter.

Weekend Wrapup

Memorial Day is usually a three day weekend, but this year I managed to make it four.


I took a vacation day on Friday to help chaperone my daughter’s gifted class’s trip to the Smithsonian Insitute in Washington, DC. After some pre-trip jitters from my daughter, we made our way to the museum and had a great day. The only downside was that the return trip, which should only take about two hours took five hours. That’s a long time to ride in a yellow school bus.

Drinks at Turkey Hill: $4.50
Smithsonian Entrance Fee: $0
Souvenirs from the Air & Space Gift Shop: $17.49
Lunch at the McDonald’s inside the Air & Space Museum: $21
Afternoon snack at the Dino Cafe inside the Natural History Museum: $19.80
Dinner at a random McDonald’s in Maryland: $10.76
Spending the day with my daughter and watching her get excited about science: Priceless


Saturday morning started with a trip to church to troubleshoot some issues we’ve been having with the sound system. After fooling around with it for a while, I finally got it working, at least to a usable state for Sunday morning.

In the afternoon, we headed to Tom’s house for a Memorial Day cookout, where we hung out with most of my department and watched dogs and children get soaked from head to toe in bubble juice. We followed that up with a trip to Lowe’s, a visit to the Art & Soul Cafe to listen to my friend Jeff Lease play guitar, and finally a brief soak in the hot tub.


We almost made it through the whole service without the sound system acting stupid, but not quite. Time to upgrade, I suppose.

After church, we went to Toys R Us so my daughter could pick out her birthday present (she chose Wii Music, which I’m looking forward to trying). Then we stopped at Rita’s to buy four quarts of Italian ice  to take over to my friend Tim’s house for our second Memorial Day cookout of the weekend. At Tim’s, we swam a bit but mostly just sat around chatting.


Obviously, it’s only Sunday, so I don’t have all the details yet, but Monday will be my daughter’s 10th birthday party. Well, tomorrow is the family party; her friend party is in a couple weeks (as soon as school gets out). So we’ll be having our extended family here for the afternoon and evening, which would be our third cookout of the weekend for those keeping score at home.

I also wouldn’t bet against a trip to Guitar Center in the morning. I’m just saying.