Shaving the Yak

It’s funny how sometimes what seems like a simple little problem can turn into huge project.

Yak Shaving

About a year ago my truck was broken into while sitting in the driveway. For the fourth time. In two years. During this time frame our home was also the victim of a home invasion where the thieves stole literally everything in our house that had a power cord.

In addition to the actual invasion there had been at least one other attempted break in.  The final straw for me was that last time the truck was broken into.  I had absolutely nothing inside truck that a thief would want.  There wasn’t anything in my tool box that they would want either.  So they stole my spare tire. I told my wife we were moving.

Three months later we were moving into our new house. The new house met nearly all of our criteria and even has a few things that weren’t on our list.  It has a 3 car garage. It has an in ground storm shelter in the garage. It has a dedicated work area in the garage. It has an in ground sprinkler system. It has a large attic with lots of headroom. I could go on and on.

Yak Shaving Cream


That being said no house is perfect and our new one was no exception. I wish the back yard was just a little bigger. I wish it had one more room to separate the children’s playroom from our office. Those are the biggies that can’t be fixed. All the other little things I think can either live with or figure out a way to fix.

Which brings me back to that simple little problem I mentioned earlier. Our new house came with an alarm system however, that system requires a Plain Old Telephone line in order to contact a monitoring service. My wife and I gave up our POTS line over 10 years ago. So we can set the alarm and it can be triggered and the alarm can go off, but unless I’m physically at home there’s no way I or anyone else (the police) would know.

And for the remainder of the summer I’ve been shaving that yak.

Yak Shaving

This is going to be a series of posts… get ready for it.

Rokkit Grill

Rokkit Grill is a new restaurant between work and home.  I was really hoping for a good burger.

It was not.  It was bad.

Rokkit Grill

Lettuce / Tomato / Onion / Mustard


I can over look the bad service.  It was obvious he was learning.  I can get over there not being any ice in our drinks… sort of.  I can sort of understand why there wasn’t any ketchup or mustard at our table.  All of those things can be fixed.

But the burger itself was bad.

I’ll try again in 6 months or so and see if it was just a one off thing.

I was not ready for that…

Trial by fire I guess.

In Case of Fire

After writing up the post on the Hot Wheels stuff last night, I decided to post a link to it on the OKSci Facebook page.  I’d been lurking for a while and hadn’t added anything to the conversation.

I thought I might get 30 or 40 click-throughs.

I was not prepared for the 1000+ and counting that it drew.

I did learn some valuable things.

  1. My web host has some setting set (that I can’t change) that causes the WordPress commenting system to break. (fixed)
  2. The theme I’m using didn’t differentiate hyperlinks from regular text very well. (fixed)
  3. I should clarify that I’m a teacher and not a Hot Wheels representative. I ended up deleting 4 comments asking me to send sets to specific schools.


Hot Wheels – Speedometry

I stopped by the school this morning and found a present waiting for me.

Box delivered to school full of Hot Wheels Speedometry


I totally forgot that I had signed up for a classroom kit called “Hot Wheels – Speedometry“.  I think I filled out the form sometime in February, but it just as easily could have been October.  I know it was last year sometime.  Regardless it showed up in the mail at the school sometime this summer.

The kit contains 40 cars (5 designs x 8 cars) and enough track and loops to make I’m guessing 8 classroom sets (possibly 16 depending on the activity).

Loop and Cars

Loop and Cars

This might give you a better idea of what and how much is in the box.  The 5 packages each have 8 cars in them.  The loop that I made has 4 sections of track (looking at the instructions I should have only used 2 pieces of track on the loop).  The box contains 112 pieces of track and parts to make 16 loops.  There are also 16 plastic clamps to attach the track to a table top.

Seriously… It’s a bunch of stuff.  And the best thing about it was the cost.  Free Dollars.

Great resource for grade school teachers.  All sorts of science applications are possible (with a stopwatch): distance, time, speed, mass, maybe average acceleration and momentum… that might be taking it too far for the little ones though.

On the Hot Wheels website I link above they also have lesson plans for 2 units covering I think a total of 12 days.

Now if Vernier would just decide to send me 8 sets of Kinematics gear…

My seat at QuarkNet…

I was cleaning my phone last night and ran across this treasure.

Where I sat at QuarkNet

I attended my first QuarkNet workshop this summer (I’m sure I’ll write about it later…  awesome conference).

So my chair was the one on the right.  I chose it because it was the closest one to the food and the bathroom.  All of the stuff you see on the table (except for the coffee cup) belonged to the guy who sat next to me.  We ended up not being friends.

Best News in Years

I always turn my phone off when I’m in a meeting.  Not just to vibrate, but completely off.  I don’t like the distraction.

While I was driving home from a Physics conference in Alva, Oklahoma I noticed that I had a voice mail.  Someone had called me while I was in a meeting at the conference. Without a doubt some of the best news I’ve heard in a long long time.


I bleed Orange but in this case I was able to look past my school pride.

A Decade of JetShack

I’ve had this website for over 10 years now.  I think it’s closer to 13 but I can’t remember for sure when the exact start date was.  I think it’s safe to assume that at some point between when was registered and today I’ve sort of grown up.  Without really realizing it this domain marked the starting point of the majority of my major life milestones.  Among other things I was married, had children, saw the loss of my father, and was diagnosed (and hopefully conquered) cancer.

For the last 5 or so years the website has been mostly forgotten.  Honestly I didn’t know what to do with it.   I’m not sure that I do now, but I think I’ve reached the point where I’m not that bothered by it not having a specific focus.

So today, I deleted everything that was on my server.  All the old databases with all the content from all the previous incarnations of the site.  All the static content that I thought I might someday want to put back up in a proper environment.  I deleted everything.  It was kind of cathartic.  And once that was all done I put a fresh install of WordPress on and…

We’ll see…