Monday, December 13, 2010

Tie a Day- The Parade is Over

Sometime in early October, as I entered my annual birthday depression (44 this time around), I lost the passion for entering my ties in my blog. I did not forget about taking the pictures, nor did I forget to feel guilty about not making the entries (This was a task I decided to take on and so I felt guilt for not living up to my own self imposed chore- I know, weird isn’t it?), but as the end of Tie a Day mission approached I did feel sad. I knew I would miss the odd sense of purpose that picking a new tie out daily brought to me for over the last year.

Feelings for ties? No, that couldn’t be it. Maybe it was just because I was reminded once again that every good thing must end.



The last tie I wore for this Tie a Day project was a Christmas tie that I missed wearing last year during the holidays. I was dreading wearing this tie in late October, but as the days went by, there were many opportunites to skip a tie day and raise money for a deserving cause at school and pay a dollar to wear jeans.

I must admit to being very thankful that I was finished with some of these ties, because they are ugly! But I kept the mission going, even when I offended every eye that saw me...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 133

Tuesday, October 5th was the day I wore this tie. A bold red tie. This is not what I would normally wear. I think I have a hidden fear of enraging a bull, why else would I not wear red? It used to be my favorite color.

Paisley deigns decorate the tie in groups of 3. A very nice tie, but I think it would look better with a dark jacket. Then the red would be a nice addition to an otherwise plain outfit. Uncovered and flopping around the front of my shirt, it was a bit hard on the eyes.

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 132

Come with me now as we enter the “Tie Wayback Machine.” I have fallen terribly behind in my tie posts, but I still make sure a picture is taken everyday. Eventually all ties will have their own post…

I wore tie number 132 on Monday, October 4th, the day after a win by the Redskins! Notice the emblem on the shirt… I had to wear the shirt after beating the Eagles.

The tie is an odd one with a weave look to it, but not really a weave tie. The front end of the tie is not really smaller than the middle but I think the fabric was squished at some point. The tie is kind of on the thick side so tying the knot, was not as much fun as it usually is (it is never really fun), the knot is huge and folds the tie in an odd way.

But on this day the shirt was the most important thing. The tie was an afterthought.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 131

Bottom of the tie barrel… There was nothing wrong with the tie I wore last Thursday, but my choices are severely limited now. Last year at this time, I could wander through my closet and have several different ties to choose from to go with any shirt. I have to be careful now. I pick a tie and then try to match a shirt.

My tie selection process more closely resembles life. Limited selections based on previous choices made. It does take far less time to pick a tie and shirt combination, which is good. But I remember when… ties would never end…

This tie has a shimmering look to it. With blue and red dots that seem to fade in and out of the finely woven silk background. I have always liked this tie, but I am partial to black.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 130

On Wednesday September 29th, I wore this paisley tie. Surprisingly, it actually matched my shirt for the day. But no one cared, not even me. Tie number 130 was unexceptional, much like the wearer of the tie. Which reminds me…

Last week I received a call from the Red Cross. I was very excited because the last time I donated blood I was entered into a drawing for a pair of Redskins tickets. I should have known better. That was not why they called.

I was disappointed, but Joel was a nice guy, so I talked to him. Someone must have told Joel, or the Red Cross, about my personal weakness. It is my need to be the best at something in this world.

My perfectly mediocre existence has taught me that there is always someone better, stronger, faster, smarter than me, and most of the time that person is in the room. I think all people want to stand out because of something, and I am no different. I am sure that no awards are given for being the most awesomely average person in the world. If so, that would certainly be my award.

I am not interested in competing to prove anything to anyone, but when Joel said, “When we looked at your blood we saw that you have an outstanding Platelet count and you would be perfect as a donor for the sick children at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.” I heard outstanding, perfect, and sick children.

How do you turn down sick children? I am outstanding? I am perfect for something? Yes, it takes that little to bend me to your will.

For days I was walking around thinking about my awesome blood. A needle in my arm, not a big deal, I have the good stuff that the world needs! Children who have lost the ability to have blood that clots? I can fix this…

I entertained myself by thinking that my blood would be special enough to start fights at an imaginary Vampire club like some newly discovered whisky lost a hundred years ago in the Antarctic. Yes, it went to my head.

When I walked into the blood donation center at 9 am on Sunday morning, there was Joel. He seemed so excited to see me. I felt like a celebrity. He quickly pulled out a bag full of swag; a reusable water jug, 2 oven mitts, a bag to carry stuff with shoulder straps and a baseball cap. Yes, the guy with the good stuff just showed up. My fans were making sure I was happy.

Shortly afterward I was led to a room with a bunch of people donating blood! Did they lie to me? Was my blood not special? I looked around and decided my blood must be better than this guy because he was older than me. And that lady there, she couldn’t have better blood than me, could she? But as I scanned the room I saw that no one else had a goody bag. I knew then that I had the best blood in the room. Maybe even the world! Two oven mitts- none of them had even one mitt.

My platelets are like a miniature wall building army that plugs all holes in their way. Like an elite Seabee unit. I do have special blood. And don’t even get me started about how exceptional my blood pressure is…


Friday, October 1, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 129

I decided to go bold with the tie I wore on Tuesday, September 28th. I was inspired by my trip to the outlet mall in Williamsburg the weekend before. The styles I saw placed together in the men's clothing stores made me think of an angry Garanimal cage match.

I saw vertical stripes shirts matched with diamond designed ties. I saw diagonal patterned ties with stripes and even box patterned shirts. To me, they were a little much, but I have a tie mission to fulfill. So I threw caution to the wind and embraced this shirt and tie in a men’s fashion throw down.

The polling at school that day left me with mixed results. My wife was on the hater side, while I did find a surprising number of supporters. I am not normally comfortable having what I wear scrutinized, but it was a fun day. Not that there will ever be a repeat performance…

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 128

Large purple, blue and white hibiscus flowers decorate a blue green background on this tie. The tie I wore on Monday, September 27th, has never been one of my favorites. Too flowery, and too green. But I must admit that it did work well with the shirt.

I have looked at this tie many times and could never figure out what kind of flowers were on it; until today. Looking at the picture, I finally noticed the outline of the petals and then saw the center for what it was supposed to represent- shadow.

It is funny what you notice when you really take the time to look at something. You see it for what it is and not whatever label you had previously decided to give it. Words of wisdom that I can only hope to take back with me to my everyday life…

I have changed my mind. I like this tie.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 127

On Thursday, September 23rd, I wore this boldly striped tie. Bright, diagonal stripes. Kind of nice, but what I really want to share is the moment of enlightenment I had over the weekend…

I have always wanted to be in a gang. Specifically, a motorcycle gang like Hell's Angels or something, but it seems that owning a motorcycle is a prerequisite to membership. So I am thinking I will start my own gang. Dad's with minivans.

I will give our group a dangerous name. Something scary and powerful like, "Devil's Pit Crew." I am still working on the name, but have already turned down my wife's suggestions of "Geeks on Wheels" and "Dorky Dads." I don't think she understands what I am looking for in a gang name.

You will find us doing donuts in the Wal-Mart parking lot. It’ll be ok, one of the Dad’s will be a cop. He can get us donuts half price at Krispy Kreme.

We will be a tough group; you don't want to mess with this bunch. We will hang out and dare some skate punk to mess with us. He won't, because he knows we have 911 on cell phone speed dial. It is listed right after poison control.

And when we see agood looking woman walking by, she better watch out! You know we will fall all over ourselves trying to get the door for her. And we will offer to help her with her bags. But she will ignore us because mini vans aren't her idea of cool. But we don’t care- because we are rebels.

The only time our language will be coarse in public is when we talk smack about our Fantasy Football team. But no one will know because we will disguise our vulgar words with nonsense screens, as in, "Grebalson mack frabbit!" Just like we do when our children accidently hammer us in the privates while playing a family game of whiffle ball. Other people don't know what we are saying, and that's the way we like it. Daddy code talk.

We are powerful and we know it because we do things like vote (but that is really only so we can be late for work or leave early to go home). The issues we really care about are; When can we turn the channel off of Teletubbies? and Does McDonald’s have the right Happy Meal toy so the kids will stop screaming?

We will be easy to recognize so that you know when trouble has shown up. We will wear t-shirts that are at least ten years old with a couple of holes in it, but we don’t care because it is the most awesome t-shirt ever. We might have cargo pants to carry all the stuff our family shoves at us (because stuffed cargo pants are way cooler than carrying a man bag around). Or we might wear jeans that are too tight, or maybe too large, but they have holes in them because we hate shopping for clothes.

All groups stand for something, and ours will be no different, except that we won’t tell what our real mission is to anyone. We will tell everyone our cover story which is that we want to promote world peace. Did you really expect that the Devil’s Pit Crew would tell the truth?

We will all get cool, scary looking tattoos. But they will the water transfer kind so that if we gain a couple of sympathy pounds our tats won’t sag. Or at least not for very long.

Yes, I think it is time for the Devil’s Pit Crew to form…

Monday, September 27, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 126

Bugs Bunny sits at the piano in his tuxedo while he ponders the composition he is about to play. Musical notes fill the background as if they have spilled out from his enormous ears. This Looney Tunes tie is fun to wear, but I am afraid it is a little misplaced since I am terribly unmusical. Unless playing the air guitar counts as musical...

This was the tie I wore on Wednesday, September 22nd, and I felt like a musical faker when I was wearing it. Luckily for me, I can now distract you with some useless cartoon information!

I think the idea for this tie came from the Bugs Bunny Cartoon, “Rhapsody Rabbit.”
The cartoon was released to theaters in 1946 as a Merry Melodies short. The main differences are that on my tie, Bug's tie is red and the jacket is blue, but I will let you decide.




"Rhapsody Rabbit," from Google Videos.

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 125

The tie I wore on Tuesday, September 21st, was one of my all time favorite ties. This was the best tie picture that my new Droid X has taken of my ties. I think Calvin kept a steady hand on this one.

Purple is one of my favorite colors, and I love paisley so it is easy to see why this tie ranks high on my “Like” scale. Matched with the purple dress shirt and this was a very good tie day for me.

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 124

Continuing the blurry trend from the week before, the tie I wore on Monday, September 20th was pretty nice, but you will have to take my word for it.

The light blue pastel background is not my favorite but it is offset by the tiny purple paisley designs that alternate across the face of the tie. I like the tie but it always makes me think of spring and specifically, Easter. So it felt a little out of place for me.

This past weekend I went to the outlet mall in Williamsburg. I stopped in a few men’s clothing stores and found myself judging the tie and shirt combinations that they used for the displays. Many of the sets that were used were not to my taste but I could see how they matched. This kind of bothered me.

I think I have become too conservative and set in my ways. I need to make a bold statement with tomorrow’s outfit. Maybe it is time to bring out the forgotten Christmas tie…

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 123

A solid week behind tie postings… Still trying to catch up!

The tie I wore on September 16th was a Countess Mara tie that had some interesting diagonal designs on it. Black, maroon, and blue with paisley on it. You know it was a winner with me!

You will notice that the picture is a bit blurry. I have been experimenting with my new Droid X and have still not figured out how I will be using it from day to day. Taking snapshots is great but I think my son’s hand wiggles a bit and it is not always easy to see how blurry the image is until you zoom in. I obviously did not check this picture out before I rushed out the door for work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 122

It is early in the year and I have already fallen behind on my tie postings! I am sure that this is not looked at as any kind of a tragedy by anyone but me, but I hope to get things straight asap.

The tie I wore last Wednesday was a conservative tie from the 80’s. The stitching gives the colors a muted feel so the tie is not a bold colored “in your face” tie, but a more subtle version with pastel colors. This tie was easy to match with a shirt and pants (thank goodness).

I am getting worried about the ties I have left… They are going to challenge me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 121

Tuesday’s tie and shirt matchup was scary. I thought that the little blue designs of the shirt would go with the large designs of the tie. I mean, the designs were surprisingly similar, shouldn’t they work? In this case no. The effect was way too busy.

This is similar to my return to work – busy!

I have decided to name copyright/trademark a new weight loss plan. I am going to call it the “Educational Technology Diet.” It is a very simple plan, really. No breakfast- lots of coffee instead, no lunch (maybe a snack if you can sneak it in), and a normal whatever you want to eat dinner. Work until you drop with a ton of things that never decreases, and the pounds will melt away!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 120

I have tried to picture myself wearing all of the remaining ties in my collection. The picture is scary. I will be wearing some unusual combinations of shirt and tie.

After a stellar opening kickoff weekend ending in the Redskins defeat of the Cowboys (that kept me up late the night before), Monday was a day that was much more about the shirt than the tie. I wanted to proudly show the world that I am a Redskin fan!

It was a wonderful Monday.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 119

Looking at this swirling mess, I think I was way off on Thursday. The red tie with large paisley designs together with the vertical stripes of the shirt did not work at all.

I had hoped that the combination would make a positive statement. Instead, what it said was, “I can’t dress myself.”

Thursday was NFL kickoff day. So I was distracted as I put together my outfit for the day. Pigskin spheroids bounced through my head all morning long. It was the beginning of the professional football season, and the beginning of the fantasy football season. This is the one day that makes fall worth living!

I know many people don’t understand fantasy football, but if you like football, you would love fantasy football. I have my favorite team, but participating in fantasy football has allowed me to appreciate players across the league, not revile them just because they wear a different jersey (unless they are Cowboys or Eagles- I won’t draft players from those teams). Twenty years ago, I used to watch maybe 2 NFL games a week, now I watch as many as I can. This is not work for me, this is fun…

Just like most everything else, you don’t know what you are missing until you try it. Peer pressure is a great recruiting tool that I have used in the past to convince friends to play. Now they are fantasy monsters…

My only player that I had playing on Thursday night, Visanthe Shiancoe, the starting tight end for the Vikings, scored 13 points for me. The most points scored by any player that night on either team. This initial surge allowed me feel secure in a win for week 1 by the “Dogmanfunk All-Stars” by 7pm Sunday night.

Yes, I love football. Too bad it distracts me from dressing myself.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 118

The tie I wore today is from the Save the Children collection. The design is titled, “Busy City,” by Josh, age 6 . Yellow is not a color I normally wear so I had to find dark colors to tone it down. A grey shirt and pants combined with the brown of my shoes and belt, just to offset the yellow in the tie, seemed to do the trick.

The tie reminded me of the family road trips that we took this summer, especially the one we took to the Eastern Shore. On this one trip my wife and I noticed something that was very peculiar. While traveling down the highway, we found that the roadside advertisements took a strange turn.

When I am traveling in a car on long trips, I tend to think like this, “Where is the next bathroom,” or maybe, “I could use some food and something to drink,” but I never really picture specific things. For example, bacon; I have never really given it much thought because bacon is available everywhere around my house.
Bacon is an awesome food. But driving down the road I see that bacon is available at a little convenience shop in the middle of nowhere and the store advertises with huge billboards. Bacon just strikes me as an odd thing to put on 20 ft by 40 ft sign just to get people to stop at your store, even if it is crazy good. But it is never alone on the signs… and this is the bizarre part.

The following items are advertised together along the highway on house sized boards; Peanuts, Bacon, Cigarettes, and Fireworks. By themselves, each one is not so bad, but together they seem truly odd. If these products were only advertised by one store, maybe we never would have noticed as we tried to keep to the speed limit to avoid a speeding ticket in the middle of nowhere-ville, Virginia. But this was not an isolated observance.

Does anyone travel down the road and think, “I am out of cigarettes. Oh look, there is a place right up the road that has Bacon, too! Man, I am hungry… and what goes good with bacon? Peanuts! Yes! Just 5 miles up the road. And it has fireworks? That is awesome. Junior still has eight fingers. He’ll love some M-80’s!”

Maybe I am just out of touch with the rest of the world.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tie a Day (Year 2), Number 117


I decided to continue the Tie a Day blog this year because I still have some ties left unworn. Since I tend to anthropomorphize random inanimate objects, I became worried that last year’s tie left-overs might get their little tie feelings hurt. I can’t have angry ties on my conscience!

Today is the first day of school for the 2010- 2011 school year. I feel overwhelmed. Needless to say I did not think too hard about my tie choice. They were so many things running through my head this morning that it is surprising that I was able to match the colors in the tie with the shirt and pants I selected.

Today’s tie is a repeating blue paisley design on a textured maroon background. The texture is a repeating snowflake like design. Brought back from the late 80’s, this hand sewn Italian silk masterpiece was manufactured by Britches of Georgetowne. This resurrected tie complemented my attire and started the year off in a conservative, and nicely retro way.

This summer I took a technology break. I was certain that I would be overwhelmed as this school year began, so I gave myself a technology vacation. In many ways it was harder than I thought it would be because I love gadgets and how they work. Instead, I tried to focus on my family. I just hope I didn’t annoy them too much (My family not the gadgets. I am sure the gadgets didn't miss me at all.).

The technology vacation is officially over today as I attempt to normalize myself (if this is possible) and dive in head first into the instructional technology deep end. In anticipation of this day, I purchased a Droid X to replace my existing cell phone- a Blackberry Storm. The box should arrive any day now, and as I wait, I am spending my time envisioning how perfect my world will be once this magical piece of technology is in my hands. What joy it will fill me with as I connect to the world while on the go!

Of course, fantasy is always far better than reality. Should I spend my time telling myself how terrible my new phone would be? No, that is wrong. Then I would be killing hope. Instead, I will spend my remaining hours before the X arrives with visions of the perfect technology nirvana that this one item will bring to me.

I wonder if there is a “complete bliss” ap? I bet there is…

Saturday, June 26, 2010

ISTE 2010, Day 1

The moon was full and hanging low in the morning sky when I let my house at 4:30am on Saturday. It was covered with an orange haze that reminded me of some sort of old style vampire movie. Thankfully there were no soulless undead creatures laying in wait, just a very thorough TSA security agent that thanked me when he was finished.

Finally heading to Denver for ISTE 2010, I was surprisingly calm, but it could be that I was not fully caffeinated.

Travel, this time, was a very different experience for me. I have flown many times before, but it has been a long time since I have gone anywhere so far away from home without my family.

Normally, Amy is the important documents person. She says where we are going, and how we are getting there. Her job is important.

My job is important, too. I am in charge of security, crowd control for the three kids, and the lifting and carrying of the heavy stuff.

I take my job very seriously and I might say things like, “Stop that!” and “No, Put that down and come over here.” and every once in a while, “That is disgusting! Not funny!”

So traveling alone is quite stress free once I figure out where I am going and how I am getting there. For example; riding the elevator is a simple thing, but for me it is a huge problem when I miss the part where the desk clerk said to go to the second set of elevators to get to the 29th floor. It is a good thing no one saw me standing in the elevator that only goes up to the 21st floor trying to figure out how to make it go to the 29th floor.

Next stop, Banjo Billy’s tour of Denver!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Packing for ISTE 2010

I was born to procrastinate. I had planned to begin packing 3 days ago. Then I changed it to two days ago, and so on. I think I’ll pack tomorrow- I have to since I will be leaving for Denver Saturday morning at 4:30 am.

I have taken the giant step of looking for my suitcase and my backpack computer bag. That’s not really true since they weren’t hidden. I left them out in the open so that it has seemed like they have been waving at me when I walked by them 20 times a day over the past 2 weeks. I wave back and just keep on going.

Finally, I got around to checking the bags the other day and I found the strangest stuff in my backpack and suitcase. I wonder what that says about me? It can’t be anything good; pack-rat, hoarder, or if I am lucky, forgetful.

My backpack is a gum magnet. Is my breath that bad that I need 2 and a half packs of gum? If you know the answer, please be kind. I do gulp down a lot of coffee but it does bother me that people might call me “Dragon Breath” behind my back.

Why do I have so many batteries in my laptop backpack? Do I need 7 AAA batteries and 2 AA batteries? I should probably get more AA batteries just so they are equal with the AAA’s. In case there is some sort of battery war when I am not looking, the sides should be even. AA’s are bigger than AAA’s, so should I adjust the numbers to reflect the size difference and keep the fight fair?

I found an unopened Easter egg filled with M&M’s in my laptop backpack. Lunch for today…

Five single use packs of sunscreen, SPF 30, were in a side area of the computer bag. I left two. Maybe it will be useful. Sunburn is never fun, but I hate putting lotion on. Is there any logic in the things I do? Like just carrying around the sunscreen packets will keep me safe from the dangerous UV rays of the sun.

There was a water bottle carrying hook with a carabiner for hooking onto your belt that I have never used, hidden in my backpack. I think I carry it around because I am secretly hoping someone will ask me about it and then I can say, “carabiner.” I like to say that word, but it is really hard to work into a conversation. I left it in the bag.

I also found a shower cap from Atlantis. Maybe I should keep that in there since I am not taking an umbrella to Denver. A brave man likes to feel nature on his face, but does the weather need to mess up his hair?

When I went to Atlantis with my family in April we had two rooms. I decided that I had to collect all the shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, face soap and shower caps that the housekeeper left in both rooms. I don’t know why I brought all that stuff home, but I pulled 25 containers of shampoo and conditioner alone (It was so much stuff it covered the dresser top!) out of my suitcase to make room for my stuff going to Denver. I had emptied everything else out of the suitcase, but left all the toiletries. Odd…

There is a Redskins ticket stub in one of the zipper pouches of the suitcase from a game I went to 2 years ago. I left it in there. It doesn’t take up space, makes the bag no heavier, and it is like a social experiment that I am performing on myself. How long will I leave the ticket in the suitcase?

Maybe the reason that I am not packed has more to do with my distractibility than procrastination. I should have just turned each bag upside down and shaken them until everything fell out. Instead, I examined each bag carefully and analyzed the contents, while laughing at myself. I am shocked that I ever get anything accomplished.

If anyone sees me in Denver, ask me if I have a water bottle holder so I can say “carabiner!”





Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Preparing for ISTE 2010

The most important things to pack for any trip are deodorant and a tooth brush and toothpaste. No one cares who you are, or what you have to say if you stink. I have that covered, but if I forget -that will be my first purchase in Denver.

I do want to assure anyone who might be going to ISTE that I am the goofy, imperfect, and socially inept person that I present myself to be in my social networks and this blog. I am harmless, unless there is danger, and then I go into ninja mode (Not really, I just like to say that. Except; there was this one time when I almost killed a guy with a ninja star, but he was a friend, and it was a total accident.). Of course, I could be lying about who I am, but really, if I was, wouldn’t I try to present myself better than this?

Last year at NECC in D.C., I walked every day, for what seemed like all day long. After mapping the area around the Colorado Convention Center, I think my exercise routine (laying around as often as possible) will have me in sufficient shape this year, except I don’t know how to factor in the whole being a mile above sea level thing. This could be an issue since I live, work and play at about 20 ft. above sea level.

I have no idea what to bring with me to wear at ISTE. I have been checking the weather in Denver and have decided that it is not so drastically different than Virginia Beach in June. Maybe it is cooler during the evening, but that is about it. I know that if it rains and I am outside, I will get wet. I don’t really have a lot of choices of things to wear anyway, so I am not going to worry about it.

Last year at NECC, I realized that I was spending a lot of time filling out forms so that I could enter drawings. All the smart people were just turning over business cards. So I made business cards and slapped my silly face on them. After all, I don’t want to be taken too seriously; I just don’t want to fill out a bunch of forms!

Tomorrow, I will pull out my suitcase and begin the loading.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

ISTE 2010

Since I returned home last July from NECC (now called ISTE), Amy kept asking me if I was going to go to ISTE 2010 this year. My wife is wonderful, and very supportive of my interests, but I kept telling her no, I was not going because it cost too much. Finally, in April, she said, “You should go. I am going to look up the airfare and book it.”

I immediately tried to run through all recent events in my head to figure out when I had behaved so badly that she would want to be rid of me for 5 days. Did I offend the neighbors? Act obnoxious in front of her mother? I was worried, I do these things so often that I had plenty of examples to choose from.

Then I realized that Amy was angling for a Christmas time New York City trip. It all made perfect sense! Yes, I am terribly obnoxious, but Amy just wants to go on a trip with the ladies. So I dove right in and made the arrangements.

Forgetting that I was being kicked out of the house, I began to relive last year’s experience and plot my return to the biggest educational technology conference this year. Last year, I made no plans and had an awesome time. So this year, I thought I would try to do a better job of planning and see if I could squeeze in more fun. Is it possible to have more fun than last year?

I do have concerns about the money involved with this little trip, but I have a theory that if I attack the
SWAG, I should be able to break even in pens and free stuff I collect from the conference. Right? Last year I cleared 12 T-shirts and 20 lbs. of random stuff. Maybe they will be Christmas and birthday gifts for friends and family. Who doesn’t want a blaze orange Promethean T-shirt? They are awesome! At the very least my kids will get a kick out of wading through all the stuff I bring back.

I must be on mailing lists now, and this combined with my Twitter account have helped me to line up meals and beverages day and night at ISTE. It feels kind of strange to have people I don’t know feed me and give me free drinks. However, this year I am going to see if I can live off of the generosity of companies that supply my school with the hardware and software that keeps me in a constant state of confusion. It does seem only fair.

Last year at NECC, I had a plan to meet many of the people I follow on Twitter, know from Second Life, or people who write the blogs I read. I decided this year that was just way too creepy.
It felt like I was studying to become a stalker, and with the anti-stalking laws that are out now (and for good reason), it is probably something that I should avoid doing. Besides, being approached by an enthusiastic stranger is more of a deal breaker than a relationship builder.

I am a little upset that I waited so long to get my reservations because I think I ruined my chance at getting a roommate. Maybe that is a good thing because Amy says I snore. I think she is making that up, but it makes me uncomfortable to think that I would subject someone else to that noise. I think my wife has earned the right to enjoy that noise all by herself. On the plus side, having a room alone with two big beds allows me to live my dream and create “Mega-Bed” by shoving the two beds together I can make one ginormous bed. I don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the room but seeing one big bed when I walk in the room will make me laugh.

I am very excited about my upcoming trip to Denver, but I am trying to downplay it so my children don’t start calling me a geek again.

Tomorrow I will begin to pack, but I am leaving the Star Trek shirt at home.




Friday, June 18, 2010

Tie a Day- It's a Wrap!

On September 16, 2009, I decided that I would wear a different tie every day of school for the entire school year.

I know, 116 ties does not sound like a lot of ties when the school year consists of 182 days, but here is how it breaks down; Every Friday is jeans day. There are roughly 36 Fridays in the school year, so that leaves 146 days. I missed maybe 10 days this school year between personal sick days, family sick days, and professional leave days, so that knocks down the number to 136. One day a month we have an optional jeans day that you can participate in if you donate $2 to the Relay for Life team we have at school. There are 10 months in the school year, so the number now drops to 126 possible tie days. For the last 10 days that I did not wear a tie that I could have, I have to say that maybe I didn’t because it was a half day of school (3 days), I had a ton of cleanup work to do and didn’t want a tie to get in the way (4 days), or I just got plain ornery and decided I was not wearing a tie just because I didn’t want to that day (3 Days). This is how I justified wearing only 116 ties in 182 days of school.

I created a video so show most of the ties that I wore. I left out some ties because you may notice from the first tie post that I decided to record the ties after the school year had begun. I tried to catch up quickly and take pictures of the ties I had already worn, but of course I took the pictures of the first ties differently from all the rest, and it created problems for me when I decided to make the video below.

If you are interested, here is how I made the video; I used Paint Shop pro to cut out all of the extra stuff in each picture and just leave the tie. Then I converted the file to a transparent png file. I had my oldest son, Calvin, take a picture of me wearing a shirt all buttoned up without a tie. Next, I opened up PowerPoint 2007 and clicked on create a photo album. By selecting all of the plain tie pictures I inserted them all into PowerPoint at once. Then I went into the slideshow and inserted the picture of my buttoned up shirt as the background on all slides. I had to make minor adjustments to align the ties on each slide onto the shirt correctly. I have a Camtasia add on in my PowerPoint, so I recorded the slideshow playing. I saved the file as an AVI and then opened it in Movie Maker and added a Soundzabound’s file as background music. It sounds like a lot of jumping around from program to program, but it was a rather fast and smooth process.

Highlights of the year in ties
I invented the words- tie-cation and tieja vu , or at least I believe I invented them.

I created a new World Record- Most Neckties Worn By A Computer Resource Specialist, sort of a bogus record because of the limitations of the record I created.

Lowlight of the year in ties
I still have 30 or so ties still waiting for their chance to be worn.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Final Tie, Number 116

Large blue and pink paisley designs, I finished up the year wearing a good tie. I love paisley and blue is one of my color mainstays. The only thing that’s bad about ties that I like is that they are worn out much more quickly. This tie has had the tie loop that holds the back half of the tie down, ripped so that it just dangles.

I am kind of sad that the Tie a Day project is over. While there was always work involved in the process for me, it was something to look forward to each day. Many days went by that I didn’t wear a tie, but I wore one everyday that I needed to and some when I didn’t.

Tomorrow I will post my ties video that will show almost all the ties I wore for the past school year.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 115

This is the tie I wore yesterday. Number 115 is a nice tie with a solid background of dark grey it looks pretty good. The diagonal stitching incorporating light blue and pink boxes are very subtle and ideal for bringing a touch of color to any outfit.

The one thing that does bother me about this tie is that it has a couple of ugly wrinkles in it. One very noticeable fold is at the bottom of the tie. I must admit that it was my fault for not storing my ties correctly. I hate wrinkly ties but was in a rush and neglected to try to iron it out.

Ironing a silk tie is tricky business. Most people would say you shouldn’t, but I have pulled it off a couple of times without ruining the tie. It is important that the steam is not on, and that no matter what, the iron never touches the tie. So I normally use a t-shirt as a barrier. I run the iron over a couple of times and I check it to see how it is going, and it usually works.

But on Thursday, I did none of that and wore a poor little wrinkly tie all day…

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 114

Tie number 114 was not the most attractive tie I have ever worn. Grey, red and blue dominate the design which has the appearance of a repeating plus sign surrounded by circles.

Made of silk, it is nice to the touch, but it is a bit on the thin side. The shirt and tie combination were probably not a good choice, but I survived the day without any mocking comments by my peers.

I would have to guess that this time was an 80’s tie, but I have found no way to be 100% accurate.

I am getting close to the end of the school year and my guess is that I will end the Tie a Day at about 116 or 117. And I will still have ties left!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 113

This tie is only the second tie that I have purchased for myself. Tie number 107 is the other tie that I bought for myself. I don’t know why but that really seems odd to me. I have somewhere around 160 ties and I have purchased only two.

I guess it is enough to say that I like the tie, it has the color blue in it, and it is made of fine silk.

I have often wondered what to do with all of these ties that I have. I mean, giving them away is always an option, but since most of these ties are from my father, it feels wrong to just drop off a pile of ties at the Salvation Army. Wearing all of the ties on a regular basis is not really an option because there are just too many.

In my quest for tie information I came across a blog called Ties to Pillows. I am pretty sure that I don’t have any skills to pull off such a crafty tie transformation, but I really like this idea!

I wonder if I can talk my mother-in-law into making a tie pillow for me, or maybe a tie quilt. I think that would be a meaningful thing for me to hang onto, and maybe even be passed onto to my kids.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 112

Tie number 112 is another from Countess Mara. I am estimating that about a fifth of my ties fit into this category. I can tell because they all have the little CM and the crown on the front of the tie.

The black background with the small blue ovoid shapes is sure to not upset me as some of the previous ties have done. The tan trim, around the blue shapes, means that the tie will go with brown without a problem. So wearing the tie is a win for me. I can almost wear it with anything in my wardrobe.

Looking up Countess Mara, I found out that Lucille Mara de Vescovi was a real person but not an actual Countess. Perhaps that is not very interesting, but she did build a men’s neckwear empire by making tie that appealed to the elite buyer. At the bottom of the article I saw that Countess Mara ties stopped using the CM and the crown at the bottom of the ties before the 1990’s.

That would make this tie over 20 years old. I feel Like Kramer with my extensive vintage-wear collection.

"Giddy-Up!"

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 111

The tie that I chose to wear on Tuesday continued the ugly tie theme. This hideous red, black, grey and tan monstrosity tested my physical limits. Just as I cannot look into the sun without damaging my eyesight, I could not look at this tie without a fear of being blinded.

This medusian neckwear offended me; its pattern a visual vulgarity. The colors by themselves are harmless, like an insect pollinating a flower. Arranged in this pattern, the colors become a dangerous swarm, capable of killing a man.

Perhaps I exaggerate, but not by much.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 110

I have decided to wear ties when they; 1) go with the clothes I want to wear, and 2) whichever tie matches first. Regardless of how ugly the tie is, I pick one tie that matches and move on. It is important to me that I give them all an equal opportunity to be worn and shared with the world.

I imagine that when I am not around all of my ties have secret meetings about me and discuss how fair, or unfair my choices are to each tie. My cat, Ducky, sits in judgment of each case and determines what punishment is appropriate for each infraction, and then acts accordingly.

When I mistreat a particular tie, and the offense is minor, she might try out the annoying meow that is amazingly loud for such a small animal. This punishment is administered when I am almost asleep, and she is somewhere on the floor. It is like a small siren that makes my heart race as if an ambulance is paying a visit to the house.

As level of tie offense escalates, so does my penalty. I might find a tasty hairball right where I step to get on, or off the bed- just to remind me that every tie should get a chance to leave the house for a little tie-cation.

Sometimes I awake in the middle of the night to find Ducky with her behind just inches away from my nose. I am sure this is some sort of cat threat, but I can’t exactly place it on the tie penalty scale. Even though nothing really happens, it is a scary event, and she knows I don’t like it.

The worst thing I can do is to totally disrespect a tie in front of his peers. Maybe I hold it up and say something like, “Oh God no! I can’t wear this tie. It is butt ugly!” The penalty, if you can imagine, is extreme. Ducky will climb up on the bed, and urinate right where I sleep.

Having animals and small children, my wife and I do have a plastic bed cover that protects the mattress from such harsh judgments. So no permanent damage is done, just an assault on my sleeping zone and the annoyance of being forced to change the sheets. My cat is smart, being 15 years old, she knows exactly how to upset me.

And all the ties in my closet rejoice…

Like this ugly one that I wore yesterday. Red background with a blue, yellow and white paisley design; I have never really liked this tie, but I was careful to not announce it in front of the other ties before leaving the house on Monday. The cat was watching me the whole time!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 109

Last Monday I wore this tie. It seems like I am far behind in my tie blog, but I am not. Last week was the beginning of online SOL testing in my school and I decided to eliminate all extra things that were not SOL related, from my daily worries. So, I only wore one tie the whole week.

It sounds like overkill, but the SOL’s really stressed me out. I think they are wrong for students. My fear was that I would subconsciously do something to sabotage the test. I spent many days leading up to the tests, and during the tests, staying busy double and triple checking things, and mostly worrying. I did not want to be the SOL Test screw up poster boy!

Oddly enough, even thinking about what tie to go with what shirt seemed too much to do. I spent the whole week working hard at school, exercising and sleeping. And I killed a half gallon or more of ice cream. That is not normally my style, worrying about SOL’s, or anything else, but this was our first time testing on computers, and specifically laptops. Everything went well, so, back to the tie-

This tie is very earthy with its green background and brown and tan paisley design across it. It is not one of my favorite ties. I knew I was in trouble on Monday when it took me 10 minutes to pick out this tie. I basically gave up and decided I could not make any more tie choices for the week.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 108

Last Thursday’s tie was one that I think is seriously ugly. It has a lot of blue in it so I have plenty of choices to go with it, but the design it where it goes wrong for me.

I think this was one of my father’s hand-me-downs because I don’t remember receiving it as a gift. I am certain that I have never worn it before last Thursday.

The only redeeming quality of this tie is that it reminds me of Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon,” album cover, which is one of the greatest albums of all time. Although I must confess that hearing any of the songs now depresses me. Nothing against the music, it is wonderful, but the album is a tribute to a founding member’s struggle with mental illness. It is not the most uplifting music you will ever hear.

But back to the tie; ugly! Just because I wanted to do something I haven’t done before, I wore it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 107

Last Wednesday I wore a tie that is special because it is only one of two ties that I have ever purchased for myself. I have bought ties for my father that ended up back in my possession (I never could decide whether he knew the ties were from me, or whether it was just an accident.), but until I got this tie, and its associate, I had never paid for my own ties.

It is a good looking tie, but why would I buy a tie I didn’t like? Unfortunately, I cannot take credit for it. Since I was buying this tie to match a suit for a wedding, I simply did not trust my own judgment. Besides, at the Men’s Warehouse they have these young ladies who are paid to match ties to things for people like me.

The only thing I don’t like about this tie is that the suit that I bought with it, which is a wool suit, pulls the silk from the front of the tie. So, the tie gets fuzzy. Does this mean it is a cheap tie? None of my Dad’s ties do that.

The shirt that I wore on Wednesday was also purchased during this brief menswear spending spree I had two years ago. Both the tie and the shirt have purple in them, go figure…

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 106

Tuesday's tie this week was a different type of design. In the past, I have always steered clear of this tie, but it worked with my normal color scheme so I tried it out. What is funny about this picture is that my left collar (the collar on your right) was sticking straight up and no one told me!

In the mornings, my two youngest children are trying to soak up all the Sponge Bob they can before leaving for the day, my wife is making sure everyone has what they need to survive a school day, and my oldest child is trying to take my picture very quickly so he can go back to watching Sponge Bob with the other two. The whole time this is happening, my dog Kona is furiously running around in circles all around us making barking/whimpering sounds. There is complete chaos, so I should be thankful that my collar sticking up is the only thing that is wrong with me on any given day.

Back to the tie... The solid blue background appeals to me. It is well known that I like paisley and the colors brown and off white fit in with my normal attire, but I have always had a problem with the plaid. The brown and off white make up the plaid design that is part of the background of the paisley design.

Still, this tie is far from being the ugliest tie I have, I haven't decided which tie fits that label but I know that the tie I wore on Thursday was close. Two more blog entries before I can share that little marvel of manly neckwear.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 105

This past Monday’s tie is another from the Looney Tunes character tie collection. This tie fits in with numbers 5, 11, 45, 66, and 92. I don’t think I have anymore Looney Tunes ties in my collection so that brings the total number to six ties.

As a child, teenager, and adult I have seen a lot of cartoons. I am guessing that for at least 12 years I spent one hour a week watching the Bugs Bunny Road Runner Hour. That breaks down to roughly one Looney Tunes tie for every 104 hours of watching Looney Tunes cartoons in my life. I have spent a lot of time in front of the television!

I am sure this piece of information explains a lot about who I am. I don't think it says anything good, but that’s ok, I have accepted that I am a warped individual.


"Don't take life too seriously. You'll never get out alive." - Bugs Bunny

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

You’re Fired!

Today I am taking a little break from my tie a day blogging to support the Blog for Educational Technology campaign that ISTE is promoting. Focusing on the national funding for educational technology was the goal of this blogging campaign, but I would like to discuss my local educational funding.

Living in Virginia Beach, VA, my family and I have benefited from a great educational system. My wife and I are teachers here and our children attend schools at the beach. We have all been very happy, until recently.

The economy has changed things for everyone, including those of us who live in Virginia Beach. Budgets are tighter and luxuries, such as a cost of living raise, have disappeared over the last couple of years, and it doesn’t seem like it will ever return. But still, we have it much better than other places in our state and the rest of the country, and for that I am thankful. However, that doesn’t mean I am completely happy.

The City Council for Virginia Beach approved the budget for 2010-11 yesterday,
which takes away $8.8 million from schools to fund a new animal shelter and recreation center. While those other things are nice, aren’t children’s educations worth more? We have wonderful recreation centers in Virginia Beach, do we need another? An animal shelter? I am not sure we need that at all. Of course, I am biased and I freely admit that, the same way a rec center user and animal lover without children would support the other side of the argument.

The money would have been used to update existing schools, pay for equipment, and any number of things that a school system with 81 schools in it would need. Suddenly, money that was planned for operating the school system is gone, and we don’t know how that loss will change things. On a personal level, it is very upsetting because it will effect my wife's job, my job, and our children's education.

My question is, what can I do about it? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be nothing. When teachers and parents showed up at the City Council meeting last night to protest the budget, it still passed and they took the school’s money away.

I can stomp my foot and tell everyone I know about how unfair this is, but really I only have one choice in a modern democracy; vote for someone else in the next election. Oddly enough, since it is an even numbered year I will get to voice my displeasure soon and vote against every sitting member of the current City Council. Any Republican, Democrat, or farm animal who runs against a council member has a chance for my vote. It is time to clean house, and the one thing a politician understands is a vote.

I must say that the Virginia Beach School Board did say
that they "deeply regret" the City Council's decision to tap the school's reserves and move away from lump- sum funding. Is it me, or does that statement seem to lack any strength? I don’t think the School Board has any power to fight City Council, but guess what? Their elections seem to be coming up as well, and as a voter I can choose to show how disappointed I am in them for lacking a backbone.

So, to all Virginia Beach City Council Members, and School Board Members, I am sorry, but I am very unhappy with your recent job performance. As a voter in Virginia Beach, I am saying that I would like to allow you to explore other employment opportunities that are available to you. Your services are no longer needed here, but thank you for your time. I look forward to seeing you succeed in your future endeavors.

In other words, you’re fired!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 104

A funny thing happened last Thursday, I had tiejà vu (yes, I made that phrase up at tie number 30, and I am quite proud of myself). I kept looking at my tie and thinking that I had worn it before. In a way I had, tie number 94 had the same design but different colors.

I find it fascinating that something that has been right under my nose (or in my closet) for years can surprise me like this; I was not aware that I had two identically designed ties, but with different colors. This probably indicates that I have way too many ties.

I am also wondering if my father knew he had two ties with the same design. He always told me he was color blind. If this was true, then would he buy two ties that are so similar? It would have had to be an accident...

I can remember my father holding up ties and asking me what colors were in them and if they matched shirts and jackets. My guess is that he would memorize designs and outfits and give the ties some sort of a mental Garanimal tag.

In any case, there really is no way to know how this tie duplication occurred. There is a good thing that happened because of this, I was able to use my favorite made up phrase again, tiejà vu!

Tie a Day, Number 103

I have fallen way behind in posting my ties! I guess the wonder of hitting the 100 tie mark was too much for me. I will do the best I can to make up the lost ground as quickly as possible.

The tie I wore last Wednesday was a rather plain tie. The basic navy blue background with the geometric pattern with red, cream and a little dot of blue is non offensive, and not exciting. But it is one of the forgotten ties that just hang around my closet, so I took it out for a walk.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 102

Tuesday’s tie was surprisingly attractive. With all the ties I have worn, I still have some good looking ties left to wear. I am debating having an ugly tie week or two. Don’t they deserve a day in the sun, too?

But back to this tie… It is a busy tie which really forced me to wear a solid color shirt. Any more flash or motion, and it might have given people seizures. Paisley combined with bright colors and diagonal lines really make this tie an attention getter. Not for everyone, but I did like it.

It made me feel like a daredevil

Tie a Day, Number 101

Monday’s tie had a lot going against it. Coming up after the 100th tie put a lot of pressure on this one to show up looking good.

I really believe this tie followed the 100th tie with flair. Yes, I like paisley, and the tie has grey and brown in it. Of course I liked it! It is a bit on the thin side, but I think it is an acceptable width.

All of these ties I have been wearing, combined with all those I have yet to wear, have made me realize that I am terribly uninteresting.

I love the Dos Equis “World’s Most Interesting Man” commercials. Each time one comes on I shout, “They made this commercial about me!”

My kids are very fast at pointing out that I am delusional at best, and probably need intensive psychological help because the commercials are obviously not talking about me. I guess that is my fault for not having dumber children. They must get all the brains from their mother’s side…

Just one look at this blog should remind me how mind numbingly boring I am.

But there is hope! Now I can join the Dos Eguis Most interesting Man Academy! With courses like, “Command of the Animal Kingdom” and “Rites of Passage,” I am certain to be become a more interesting man almost overnight.

Well, maybe I shouldn’t set my sights so high.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 100

I was shocked on Thursday when I released that it was my 100th tie of the school year. Of course, I have been keeping track of it every day, but that is a lot of ties! It made me feel like Steve Martin on new phone book day.

The tie I wore on Thursday is a beautiful silk tie. The design is large and very detailed. The colors are bright and jump right out at you no matter what you wear with it. I am sure the tie would have looked much better with a nicer shirt, but I wore the shirt more for comfort than because it was a nice dress shirt.

It has been kind of fun wearing a different tie each day to work. At first I tried to plan out what I would wear, but I fell back into the surprise a day routine where I would pick the tie and shirt on the fly each morning.

Wearing a different tie each day has forced me to think more about something that I never gave any thought to before. I haven't come up with any important insights into solving world problems, nor have I saved any lives, but it has been an interesting diversion.

I think I probably have 20 more tie days left in this school year calendar, which leaves about 30 more ties in the closet unworn. I am not sure what to do about the remaining ties, but I am sure I will figure something out.

Below is a little video I made of almost all of the 100 ties.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 99

Tie number 99 for the year... Blue with what looks like tiny, microdot flowers in a ridgid pattern across it. The tie is too thin, too plain, and basically just ugly.

On Wednesday, in celebration of the 99th tie of the year, I was going to release 99 red ballons and blast the song 99 Luft Balons out of the windows of my house, but I wasn't sure that was a smart idea. Living near Naval Station Oceana, such a performance might have been interpreted as a terrorist attack and brought military action down on my house. I would have felt terrible if I raised the national threat alert to level Brown. Also, it seemed an excessive celebration for such an insignificant feat.

And of course, the tie was ugly. If it had been a better tie, just maybe...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tie a Day, Number 98

Tuesday's tie was a fun tie. Fine Italian silk in a black and silver zig zag pattern. Up close, this tie is an attention getter because it has an optical illusion quality to it.

Thick and soft, this tie was begging me to wear black. It was a call I answered with pleasure. Wearing all black from head to toe made me feel like a ninja. My tie was the distraction that allowed me cut to the heart of problems and acrobatically eliminate the enemy. The enemy was, of course, ignorance which I dispatched with my imaginary katana.

This is the point in a conversation when my children will say, "Dad! Stop, you are not a ninja," and then roll their eyes. They are still young and don't realize that I have saved all my best material for their first dates.

Anyway, why can't I be a ninja in my own dreams?