Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Face Palm Moments in Journalism: Alyssa Bereznak makes fun of perceived nerdiness...on her tech blog.

(photo @ forbes.com)

Today, an internet firestorm erupted over this article that was posted on Gizmodo, a popular technology blog.  The author, Alyssa Bereznak, discusses/laments her attempts at online dating, until she meets a seemingly nice and normal guy by the name of John Finkel (pictured below).

How you doin'?

On their first date, she discovers that he was the world champion of a card game called 'Magic: The Gathering.'  This causes her to go into a fit of shock and outrage, of which she said:

Just like you're obligated to mention you're divorced or have a kid in your online profile, shouldn't someone also be required to disclose any indisputably geeky world championship titles?

Despite her apparent revulsion at his hobby, she decides to go out with him a second time.  She never mentions that the guy is a stone cold millionaire due to his 'Magic' tournament winnings, professional poker playing, and running a hedge fund; maybe that was the reason she decided he was worth a second date.

A little Ben Franklin=A lot of sex appeal

After confirming his status as a world champion Magic player (not sure why she needed a second date to do this), she decided that this guy was just too geeky for her.  

On the unedited version of her article that is still up on Gizmodo's Australian site, she is a little bit nastier, stating:

I was lured on a date thinking I’d met a normal finance guy, only to realise he was a champion dweeb in hedge funder’s clothing.

We'll help you hide who you really are...I guarantee it!

She goes on to claim that Mr. Finkel "lied" by omitting his hobby on his online dating profile and that because of this, he had "infiltrated" the online dating site on which she met him.   She finished up by saying:

So what did I learn? Google the [heck] out of your next online date. Like, hardcore. Also, for all you world famous nerds out there: Don’t go after two Gawker Media employees and not expect to have a post written about you. We live for this kind of stuff.

Okay, let's back up the tape a little and start from the beginning.  

First of all, dear Alyssa, why did you have to join the endless stream of people that claim that they made an online dating profile because they were "drunk" or as some type of joke?  Is it that bad to admit that you wanted to try a method of meeting someone that millions of people have found to be successful?

Please...don't tell anyone about my embarrassing 
desire to experience love and companionship

And let's take a minute to define a "nerd" in the context of the 'Magic' card game.  I had friends that played it, and I would make fun of them...which was ironically thrown right back in my face for being a nerd as well.  You see, while I may not enjoy Magic, I do enjoy plenty of things that would normally be classified as nerdy.

Pictured below is my fantasy football trophy for the 2010 season.  It is being guarded by various Sith lords, bounty hunters, an AT-AT (along with some snow troopers), Thor's Hammer, and the rancor from Jabba's palace...who is also about to eat Wolverine.

Still looking for the armored version of Savage Opress if anyone is selling

Here is my comic book collection (which grows every two weeks when my pull list is mailed to me by Great Escape Comics) being guarded by the monster from Cloverfield.

To get the full effect, I shake my comics violently while I read them.

Not pictured is my wall of Spider-Man memorabilia, my Clone Trooper army, my Captain America collection, and much more.  My wife and I often joke that a person may be able to regain their virginity just by being in this room for an extended period of time.

But you know what?  That's my geek niche.  And no, I am not taking the Olivia Munn cop out stance of "you can be a geek about anything."  

There are some decidedly geeky subjects that I (along with millions of others) love and some that I don't like at all.  I love Star Wars, but I really don't care for Star Trek at all...and I love giving my Star Trek friends crap about how much their show/series of bad movies suck (Wrath of Kahn and the JJ Abrams reboot of course being the exceptions).

Abrams really does need to cool it on the lens flares, though.

Also, this article on guysim.com basically states that nerds shouldn't be mad at Bereznak's broad sterotypes about them because many times (and in this instance), stereotypes are true.  

Maybe he's right, though as an ardent fan of the Team Unicorn girls, it seems as though a lot more of the "cool kids" are also full fledged, loud and proud nerds.

Clare Grant: Actress, gamer, 'Magic: The Gathering' player
No seriously, she is

But so what?  I and many others enjoy our geeky hobbies immensely, but it's not for everyone; and that's okay.

What I can't wrap my head around with regards to Ms. Bereznak is how this one issue was a deal breaker without regard to any aspects about her date.  She even says that she "owns" how shallow she is being.  

I have yet to meet a couple that completely shared the same interests.  My wife actually does like Star Trek (bleh) and she is also REALLY into fashion...so much so that when we watch television, she will point out different outfits, tell me the price of each item, and then criticize it.

...and if you click the 'hide helm' feature, 
the guild tabbard really brings out your eyes more

That doesn't mean that we're incompatible, it just means that we have some interests that are very different.  We still have plenty in common to enjoy.

But like Ms. Bereznak said in her article, "one person's 'Magic' is another person's fingernail biting."  Maybe you just can't get past certain things.  I once dated a girl with a personality much like mine, weird quirks and all. I came out of the relationship wondering why anyone would ever want to date me.

The main issue I have is that she printed his name online, made fun of him, and then reveled in her online take down of a seemingly nice guy by saying that she "lived for this type of stuff."

Really, you live for it?

It's probably not a stretch to think they she may 
"live" for killing kittens, too.

Also, how dumb do you have to be to try and publicly humiliate someone about their perceived nerdiness ON A TECH BLOG.   Considering that she is an editor at gizmodo, you would figure that she would understand the sheer stupidity of  doing the internet equivalent of going into your own living room and taking a dump on the floor.  

Tech folks often proudly identify themselves as nerds; why would you write a post deriding someone that many of them would probably feel that they have a lot in common with?

I just stopped by to tell you guys that sports are stupid.

Obviously, Alyssa has been receiving a lot of negative feedback all over the internet today.  Even with her boss coming to her defense, it looks to be a rough next couple of days for her...unless you count the increased payout that her parent company, Gawker, gives to writers for high traffic articles.

Did she do it on purpose to get hits?  Maybe.  

Despite many folks all saying the equivalent of "ZOMG yur writing is teh sucks!!!111", I think her writing would actually be very enjoyable to read if her subject and main point wasn't so banal and asinine.

If she did do this on purpose to get hits, then maybe she's really not as shallow and unbelievably superficial as everyone is calling her.  Instead, she is probably just a person with a lot of drive, no character, and someone that those in the New York dating scene would do well to stay away from.

And seriously, can you really trust someone who claims that they actually like kale?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Face Palm Moments in Journalism: Reporter vs 'Handsy' PR rep.

Sometimes on 'Face Palm Moments in Journalism, it's the subject of the news, rather than the reporter, that makes us slap our foreheads in disbelief.

In this example, investigative reporter Dan Noyes of ABC 7 in San Francisco was conducting an impressive corruption investigation.  The subject of his report, Laguna Honda Hospital, was allegedly misusing money from the 'patient gift fund.'

The money from this fund was meant to provide small gifts for nursing home patients.  Instead, it was possibly being used for gourmet meals, airline tickets, and luxury amentities....for hospital administrators.

Artist's interpretation of a Luguna Honda Hospital administrator

Dan Noyes decided to pay a surprise visit to a town hall meeting that the hospital administration was holding.  As he approached the hospital director who was running it, the hospital's PR director, Marc Slavin, moved in behind him.

At this point, things got a little bit awkward.

Okay, let's stop the tape right there before this situation really goes off the rails (oh yes, it gets much worse).

At the first instance of Mr. Noyes demanding that he not be touched, Marc Slavin may have actually been able to come out of this looking like the good guy.  The hospital director (corrupt as she may or may not be) was obviously taken aback by the reporter; he was asking her a sensitive question right before the start of a meeting that she was about to conduct.

PR superhero Marc Slavin then comes to her rescue while attempting to greet/get the attention of Dan Noyes with a friendly pat on the shoulder.  There are worse ways that Mr. Noyes could have responded to the gesture, but it's a pretty short list.

"Touch me again and I WILL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL!"

But then Slavin inexplicably continues touching Noyes over and over again.

Basic social etiquette should tell you to stop touching someone when they ask you to; basic survival skills should tell you stop touching that person when they are twice your size and really ticked off.

After a disastrous start, the meeting finally gets underway.  Dan Noyes stands in the back with his camera crew.  Marc Slavin stands by silently, ponders his options, and then decides to attempt some more quality PR work...by angrily confronting Noyes, attacking Noyes' camera man, touching Noyes' production assistant, and continuing to inappropriately/repeatedly touch Dan Noyes.

Let's watch:

In the midst of all this hilarious awkwardness, a couple of things really stick out to me:

1.)  Maybe Marc Slavin felt that he had to reclaim his manhood by going nose to nose (or nose to chest) with Noyes and attacking his camera man.  It may have been a dumb decision, but he's a PR guy, so what do I know?  My question is how does Slavin then think that he is "that guy" that needs to tell everyone to "calm down"?  He's the one that brought the situation back up from simmering to a boil.

2.)  WHY DOES HE KEEP TOUCHING HIM?!  Seriously, he's even tapping Noyes on the shoulder as he is leaving!  Is Slavin hoping to annoying him to death?  Was he hoping to goad Noyes into a more physical confrontation?

Back in my day, you tapped a man on the shoulder 
for 3 rounds before the real fisticuffs began!

In this interview with asylum.com, Dan Noyes sheds a little light on his inner struggle (and victory) over his desire to knock Marc Slavin into the next century:

"Well, as a reporter, and as a professional, you have to act a certain way. Of course, as a guy, I wanted to push him, but I wasn't going to do that because it really wasn't personal, it was business to me. It was definitely frustrating, because I told him not to touch me, he kept on doing it, and that's just wrong."

As a result of all this investigating and inappropriate touching, Laguna Honda Hospital changed how they accounted for money going into the gift fund.  They also claimed that they had done nothing wrong, though Mr. Noyes' report tells a much different story.

Marc Slavin didn't lose his job, Dan Noyes didn't lose his cool, donations for the patient gift fund were protected (sans the admittal of wrong doing), and we got a great viral video that made us smile and cringe at the same time.

I would like to think that after realizing how much joy they brought us, these two internet stars could one day meet again, bury the hatchet, and maybe even laugh about that crazy town hall meeting back in May of 2010.

Best Friends Forever

Friday, August 26, 2011

Smart People Saying Crazy Things: Admiral Richard E. Byrd

(photo @ wikipedia)

Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd was a famous explorer and highly decorated war veteran during the first half of the 20th century.  He was given multiple commendations for his service in World War I and World War II (including being a peace time recipient of the distinguished Medal of Honor).

In World War I, he showed an unusually high level of skill as a pilot that earned him a great deal of recognition before his discharge due to an injury in 1916.  In World War II, he helped survey islands in the Pacific as airfields to help the Allies stage attacks on the Japanese.

 He is also largely responsible for the exploration and mapping of Antarctica.  His fascination with the south pole even nearly killed him during one of his expeditions; he turned his harrowing ordeal into a book, 'Alone,' the story of which was commemorated by a United States postage stamp.

The 'Forever Alone' stamp, however, is still in preproduction

One of his most famous missions to Antarctica was a military operation called Operation Highjump.  This was mission conducted by the United States Navy which commenced in 1946 after World War II had ended.

The primary goal of the mission was said to be for exploration purposes and to test equipment and train personnel for extremely harsh and frigid conditions.

For this year long exploration mission, a substantially large millitary force was gathered, which included 4,700 men, 13 ships, and a large contingent of air crafts.  This all seemed like a bit much for an exploration and field testing mission, but I guess that it's better to be too well prepared than not.

Pssshh...fly swatters are for pansies.

This voyage to Antarctica was to last until August of 1947.  The fleet arrived in the Ross Sea on December 31, 1946 and began their mission.  After multiple losses of life, including 3 servicemen who's bodies were never found, the entire armada hastily returned back to the United States in late February, 6 months before they were scheduled to do so.

The official reason given for cutting the mission short was "worsening weather conditions."

Apparently, there was quite a bit of snow and ice.

While on board the USS Mount Olympus, Admiral Byrd gave an interview to Lee Van Atta of the International News Service that can be seen here.  It was published by El Mercurio, a Chilean newspaper, on March 5, 1947.  

In the interview, Richard Byrd discussed many of the accomplishments and discoveries that his expedition had made while surveying the south pole.  He then gave a surprisingly stern warning to his home country:

"Admiral Richard E. Byrd warned today that the United States should adopt measures of protection against the possibility of an invasion of the country by hostile planes coming from the polar regions. The admiral explained that he was not trying to scare anyone, but the cruel reality is that in case of a new war, the United States could be attacked by planes flying over one or both poles."


         Just a lump of coal for making the 'Naughty List'?
Yeah...I'm kicking things up a notch.

So either Santa decided to go medieval on bad children, or maybe some of those wacko Nazi base on Antarctica conspiracy theories aren't as crazy as they first sounded.  

It's already a bit strange that such a huge military force was sent down there under the pretense of being a scientific discovery and testing mission.  But there are a few other anomalies that add some spice to this theory.

The Germans had already attempted to lay claim to parts of Antarctica in the 1930's.  They had dubbed it "Neuschwabenland," (which would actually make an awesome name for a Q-tip company), and had even invited Admiral Byrd to help them explore it, which he declined to do.

But awesome name aside, why the heck would anyone actually want to set up a base in Antarctica?

It's not really the heat, but the humidity that'll kill ya.

Well, if you were a Nazi and the Allies were beating down your door, fleeing to a place with no other people (and that you had already laid claim to and explored) sure as heck beat the Nuremberg Trials.  

South America, a known place that fleeing Nazis were found after World War II, was relatively close to Antarctica from it's southern most point.

Near the war's end, two large German supply submarines, U-977 and U-530, were captured near Argentina, which is the closest country to the south pole.  Combine that with multiple reports and speculations about the Nazis working on all types of unusual aircraft prototypes, and things have officially gotten weird with a dash of plausibility.

Time to start mass producing these bad boys!

So is it true?

Even though Richard Byrd seems like a pretty straight forward and non crazy source, there is some evidence that the man may have liked to stretch the truth a bit.  

It seems his accomplishment of being the first to reach the North Pole by air (for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor) may have not actually been completed.

I got my shotgun and told that punk that he better not even get near my lawn!

That being said, the man was still a war hero, an incredibly skilled aviator, and someone who had a history of well documented and successful explorations.  Maybe he was just speculating on the north and south pole's strategic capabilities...though it seemed to be a bit of an oddly stern warning to give directly after World War II had officially ended and before the Cold War with the U.S.S.R. had really ramped up.

But if there was a Nazi base down there, than the folks who try to say that it may still exist today (and somehow survived Admiral Byrd's massive strike force) would be hard pressed to prove it.   There are currently 30 research bases scattered around the continent with a fluctuating population of 1,000-4,000. 

Unless the Nazi's have become incredibly adept at hiding against bleak, white backgrounds, masking their heat signatures and electrical outputs, and never needing any food or supplies, then it's probably a pretty safe bet that the south pole is third reich free.

 Why does that snowman keep giving me a murderous glare?

So if it wasn't the remnants of the Nazi military that Admiral Byrd was warning us about, then what was it?  Why issue such a stern warning about aerial attacks from such remote locations right after a major enemy had been officially defeated?  

Remember that he also said the North Pole was an area from which we should an expect an attack; maybe Santa really is just getting tired of our crap.

And maybe Futurama really is predicting our unfortunate future.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Face Palm Moments in Journalism: Glenn Beck and the Inconvenience of Truth

(photo @ sodahead.com)

Believe or not, my first exposure to Glenn Beck was actually pretty positive. I read a few chapters of his book, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' and I was actually pretty impressed with much of his analysis, research, and writing style.

In fact, besides a few snide shots at President Obama, I really didn't identify him as a "right wing nut job" like a lot of folks do. I still don't.

To call him 'right wing' would imply a loyalty to a hard and fast political belief, which I don't believe that he has. I also hesitate to call him a 'nut job' because much like Michael Moore and Sean Hannity, I think he is well aware of how insane he sounds...and laughing all the way to the bank.

My tinfoil hat is actually made out of platinum...don't hate.

Why do I think Glenn Beck is more concerned with being an entertainer than being a force for change?  Well, for starters, he pretty much said it in this Forbes interview (scroll down to highlighted, offending text).

It's a little scary to me when so many people take his political stances and ideals so seriously, but his personal position is:

"I could give a flying crap about the political process. We're an entertainment company."

Another reason that I think he's more of a master salesman than an ideologue....is that he really is a master salesman. Watch how Glenn Beck drums up fear about the economy, reports on and encourages gold buying (a common symptom of a fearful economy), and then advertises for an internet cash for gold site:

If you take out the blatant conflict of interest (or the fact that Goldline is a bit of a sketchy company), it's really  a very brilliant plan. But you don't get to having a net worth of $85 million ($85 million soon to be worthless dollars in our crumbling society/economy) just by having good business sense or making reasonable arguments.

You gotta be willing to act a little crazy...or maybe have an array of actual mental disorders...that you can parlay into a lucrative business.

Heeeeeere's high profit margins!

For starters, let's look at the pesky issue of Glenn Beck's memory.

If you don't believe that he is putting on a show, then he is either a blatant liar, or the poor guy has a harder time remembering things than the guy in the movie 'Memento.'

For my next tattoo, I can't decide between the 2nd amendment or 'NRA Forever.'

Glenn Beck did a series of personal reports/anecdotes that claimed the United States had a terrible health care system that desperately needed to be fixed. A little over a year later, he attacked President Obama for trying to destroy "the best health care system in the world."

Now people can easily forget a lot of things during that span of time; maybe we need to drastically shorten it.

Let's take a  look at what happens to Beck's memory on President Obama's feelings toward white people in the span of a few minutes:

So yeah...Obama has a deep seeded hatred of white people, but he's not saying Obama doesn't like white people...or something.

I'm sorry, could you repeat that?  
I was too busy lighting this guy on fire while trying to make sense.

Other times, Beck just makes random stuff up...

...like the time Glenn Beck claimed that First Lady Michelle Obama had a personal staff of 43 people, including a personal shopper. Not only that, but apparently Nancy Regan only needed 3 people on her staff!

Turns out that Beck was way off. Mrs. Obama's staff is about 25 people in size; the same as Laura Bush's was while her husband was in office. Also, Nancy Regan had a staff of 15.

Every gangsta needs a posse.

But hey, who cares about all that crap? It's not like he lies about anything important or pertaining to his political views, right? Well, let's look at a few examples, just to be sure:

1.) Glenn Beck told a heart warming and inspirational story about Wilmington, Ohio, a town that was hit hard by the recession and massive job losses, but refused to take any government money...except that they totally did; quite a bit of it, actually.

2.) Beck claimed that the government was shutting down large gatherings at the Lincoln Memorial to prevent free speech...except that the shut down wasn't happening at all.

3.) This one is one of my favorites. Beck goes off on a rant about how Obama's health care bill offers health insurance to dogs.

Surprisingly, this turned out to be completely untrue as well.

Thanks for getting my hopes up, jerkface.

4.) This one is some Grade A certified crazy: Beck claims that John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology, advocated forced abortions and sterilants in drinking water to control population growth.

These turned out to be population control ideas taken from a 30 year old college textbook that were criticized by the authors, one of which was Holdren.

5.) Okay, I know I said no more petty ones, but this is one of my favorites. Apparently, Spider-Man is gay.

Beck doesn't start out on that crazy train of logic, but eventually comes to that conclusion (if you can listen to the end without your head exploding).

I mean, he's just a very physically fit guy that is incredible at gymnastics, and sews his own full length, form fitting body suits...

....okay, maybe Beck's onto something with this one.


But so many people follow this guy and hang on every word that he says.  In fact, some of the folks I know that follow him are pretty smart.

So how does he get away with lying so much?

It's very simple: He depends on you claiming him (or Fox News) as your only source of information. For an example, let's once again go to the Daily Show. Here, Glenn Beck claims that he is showing footage that no other news network except Fox was showing. That's a pretty impressive feat considering that many of them showed it before Fox did:

Unfortunately, Glenn Beck's audience is falling for one of the classic Nazi propaganda techniques that he is always ranting about.  He stands in a room by himself (or has someone on that agrees with him), and debates straw man arguments and made up facts. It's a classic propaganda technique for someone who knows that their outlandish beliefs can't stand up to actual scrutiny.

If you watch Glenn Beck and still take him seriously, ask yourself this: Why doesn't he ever debate anyone of merit on his show?

How come Donald Rumsfeld, Michael Steele, Bill O'Reilly, and many other prominent conservatives will go on the Daily Show (who's clips you can tell I like to use often), but Glenn Beck continues to refuse Jon Stewart's open invitation?

Still don't know? Still think that Glenn Beck is a prophet and the world is crumbling to pieces around us?  Well, then maybe I can interest you in an end of the world Survival Kit, which Glenn Beck himself endorses.

Did you catch that first part where he used 9/11 to help sell his 'beef stroganoff' enhanced survival pack? If you still don't think he's crazy or a guy acting crazy to make a buck, then you at least have to admit that he's not classy.

...and c'mon, you gotta admit he may be a little crazy.

Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you'd like to sing my praises or tell me how terrible I am more personally, I can also be found on Twitter.

Friday, August 19, 2011

In Memory of Judy Godbee

"The principal may be in charge of the school, but the book keeper is the one who runs it"
                                                                                             -Anonymous (probably another book keeper)

Once again, you will have to bear with me as I use my blog for some personal therapy and (hopefully) as a source of comfort for the folks I work with.

When I came to Laing in 2004, the school was scrambling to hire a new book keeper.

The book keeper was someone that I would have to be dealing with quite a bit. Field trip forms, work orders, instrument purchases, instrument repairs, fundraiser requests, etc. would all be going through her.

In the band director world, book keepers get partial ownership of this, as well.

I had no idea what a monumental and important job this was, which eventually went to one Judy Pye Godbee. From the start, I had one very serious issue with her:

She wouldn't put up with my crap.

Oh don't get me wrong; she covered for me or corrected my mistakes NUMEROUS times. My newness to teaching and generally disorganized manner often times put things like "properly filed paper work" and "turning forms in on time" somewhere on my priority list between using the bathroom after 3rd period and tuning the 6th grade flutes.

Pictured:  A middle school flute player in it's natural form

It wasn't that I didn't care; I just had a million other things I needed to do. But after Judy fixed my incorrect forms or let me slide in my paperwork right at the deadline (or way after), I would definitely hear about it.

I didn't just get a dressing down, though (which I definitely got in spades). I also got a lesson in how to do things correctly and why it would make my life easier.

She would remind me that it made her job and my job much easier if I did things how and when I was supposed to. She would then finish by reminding me that "I'm fussing at ya because I love ya."

Does that mean that I come out from under here, now?

Over the years, I finally began to catch on; Judy was right.  I'm still not as adept at prompt paperwork as I should be, but I was getting better.

I still remember one glorious day when I turned in a form on time and Judy said "Ya see, you do things the right way. The way you did this makes it much easier than some of these other terrible forms I'm getting."

It felt like I had won the Olympics.

I also began to discover that Judy was a strong ally when it came to getting what you wanted. Our school district is fairly huge, so paperwork can often times get lost in the shuffle or put on the back burner based on perceived priority.

Like many people, Judy had little patience for bureaucracy. Unlike most people, however, Judy didn't begin a cycle of whining and complaining followed by sad defeat. Instead, she viciously and relentlessly attacked it.

Pictured:  Judy in her younger days, about 
to deal with some stalled purchase orders

If I got something to Judy on time that needed to go to the main office, Judy would continuously follow up on it if there was any type of delay. Once I turned in a form to Judy, I had no doubt in my mind that she would get it through the proper channels to whomever it needed to get to.

I would often find myself CCed on multiple emails that Judy had sent to various district offices, asking about the status of my requests and when we could expect a timely answer.

This was another area where Judy shined; despite her taskmaster reputation, Judy knew how to talk to the people that controlled where your documentation and your money went. This was a skill that I had not quite mastered in my early years of teaching.

I got your 'requisition number' right here!

Despite being the person that dealt with everyone's least favorite part of the job (paperwork), Judy somehow managed to form a warm personal connection with all of us. She would laugh with us about our daily trials and tribulations, ask about our lives and families, and constantly remind us that she was praying for us.

Once when I had lost something very important, Judy told me that she was praying for me to find it and asked St. Anthony, the saint of finding lost articles, to help me.

After we talked, I quickly (like, way too quickly) found what I was looking for.

Wait...Judy Godbee made the request?
Cancel all my other appointments!

When my grandmother died last year, Judy was one of the first people to offer me condolences. Whenever I was upset, sick, or just overwhelmed some stupid issue, Judy would be one of the first folks that would show the most heartfelt concern and always remind me that she was praying for me.

I know that God doesn't play favorites with His love. But having someone with as strong a faith as Judy's somehow made me feel that I had a very powerful prayer in my behalf to help with the road ahead.

Judy prayed for the seed in this pot of soil to grow into a plant...
...5 minutes before this picture was taken.

Today before third period, we were supposed to have an assembly. A fellow teacher, Carolyn, came down to tell me that it had been canceled.

"Judy was killed in a car wreck this morning," she said.

With students coming into the room, there was really no time to grieve. In fact, I don't think I've really been able to start since my brain still can't process this. Judy had been here since I started my teaching career; I had just talked to her a few days ago.  

It's hard to find a place to put your anger and heart ache at a time like this. I spent a lot of time after school today staring in stunned silence; I was not only devastated that my friend is gone, but I also worried how we'd make it without her.

At that point, I realized that Judy would tell me that it's going to be okay, say a prayer for me, and then tell me to snap the heck out of it.  

She did a better job guiding and training me to be efficient than to need her holding my hand all the time to get things done.

Judy, I would tell you to rest in peace, but I know that it's not possible. I'm sure that once you got to heaven, God put you to work immediately in heaven's front office, counting soul records and telling Gabriel to stop messing around on his trumpet and get his messages done.

And since you're up there (and you've always had a way of getting the top brass's ear), please ask God to send us some extra support and care; we miss you so much and we weren't ready to have to say goodbye.

Also, I'm too upset to do this right now (and I need to at some point), but please tell him that even though you were gone too soon, we thank Him for giving us an amazing book keeper, friend, and guardian angel in the front office for the last 7 years.

My friend, Laing parent Vanessa Adams, said that when she heard the thunder tonight, she knew that it was you cracking your whip, getting things in heaven organized and getting those angels in line. I think she's right.  Go get 'em, Judy.

Also, Lord please make sure she has her secret stash of Canada Dry 
ginger ale always restocked; it makes life easier on everyone.