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Wildfire Chat: July and August 2020

Everything’s on fire, it’s fine.
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

I don’t know how the last two months got away from me. The back half of this summer was a one-two punch to the teeth. I’m button mashing frantically to avoid a total KO, but frankly, I don’t see things looking up until about November. 

Video Games

I made it to the “end game” of Animal Crossing. K.K. Slider graced my island with his presence. I’m not sure how much gas I’ve got left in the tank for this game now that I’ve cleared that objective.

Somewhere in there the Steam Summer Sale happened. I wasn’t that mad at the new point store rollout, to be honest. Now I can get what virtual bits I want rather than play the odds with trading cards. At any rate, my pickups were slim: Lost Ember, Orwell: Ignorance is Strength, and Bug Fables. Of these, I played through and completed Lost Ember so far. At some point I’ll bring that post out of drafts.

Career

I have some thoughts on this category this time around. It’s been a hell of a first year at my new job. When we about-faced in March to learn from home, I had to bone up fast and get teachers and staff set up with a remote solution. Of all the options I went to bat hardest for Zoom, because it was the most robust solution at the time. They also had a partnership with Clever, a single sign on platform we use. It’s similar to Sakai or Blackboard. Tragically, we leverage Clever to our full advantage, but that’s a rant for another day. In addition to administering Zoom, I also had to get as much of the staff up to speed as I could. I ended up throwing together a technical manual on the fly, mostly cobbled together from Zoom’s internal articles. I’m not convinced many people read it, and I don’t blame them entirely; as I’m editing it for v2.0, it’s a hot mess. The fonts aren’t cohesive, the colors aren’t the same, the formatting isn’t the same across two pages, among other things. I can’t believe I put that out there. Hell, some of it is outdated at this point and it’s only been a few months.

Summer is typically the time for infrastructure overhauls, and this year was no exception. Administrative machines were at the end of their hardware life cycle, as well as still running Windows 7. I had to image each new machine with our version of Windows 10 and migrate data over to the brand-new machine. It was touch and go because the all-in-one stands we originally ordered didn’t quite line up with the model of machine we purchased. Our sales rep danced all kinds of circles around that one, seeing as how they gave us no reason to believe this combination wouldn’t work. In the end we had to modify the stands themselves to make it work.

In a similar vein, all the teacher’s workstations were also running Windows 7, so those had to get boosted to Windows 10 as well. The goal is to phase those workstations out by the end of the school year.  Furthermore, by virtue of some grant money, we ended up purchasing MacBooks to deploy to the teachers in the event we go remote again. We chose MacBooks over Dell Latitudes or Microsoft Surfaces because our classrooms already have Apple TVs installed. Our 1:1 devices are iPads as well, so here we are. 

Currently I’m in a mad scramble to make sure all the new students and transfers have iPads. I also had to scrub and deploy our hodgepodge laptop fleet. Certain classes plan to use applications that don’t translate well to iOS. 

The school year kicked off remotely, with only staff expected to be in the building. They’ll each be sequestered to their own classroom. Seeing as how I’ve been wrong about literally everything up until now, I have no way of predicting if it’ll make the next few weeks easier or harder.  From what I hear though, they’re not happy about that, but since I’m not union it’s been made clear my opinion doesn’t matter anyway. It’s unfortunate, seeing as how that’s the best and safest compromise we could come up with.

Health and Fitness

I’ve been slowly coming back to spin classes. I’m trying not to get super attached because I know the next shutdown is coming, it’s a matter of when and not if. It feels good to be back to getting my butt kicked though. I struggle without someone there to crack the metaphorical whip.

I’ve also been doing Hal Higdon’s half marathon training plan, and just hit week nine. It’s nice having a sort of routine. I’m looking forward to cooler weather, so I won’t die when I step outside. I’m not happy it’s already getting darker sooner though. 

Mentally, I’m struggling. My work inbox went 0-100 and I’m drowning. Already I’m an entire business week behind on my inbox and to be honest I’m ready to burn it down. If someone starts another sentence with “I know you’re busy but…” my head will explode. Please, tell me more about how busy I am bailing water off this ship, I had no idea.

Save State of the Blog

I haven’t quit yet! I have a running list of posts that I want to write someday, ha! My biggest hurdle is sitting down to write. I’m distracted by shiny objects on the Internet. What’s ironic is I’m so tired of the Internet, or rather staring at a screen. It tracks since I spend the bulk of my day staring at screens, then I get home and yay, more screens. That’s a beast to tame in and of itself. No one ever said the road was easy. 

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