Interview With Chambanamoms.com.


I don’t do interviews.It's a Real Website Written By Real Moms.

I’m the Howard Hughes of school administrators.

Of course, without the money or the pilot’s license.

And the OCD.

Actually, the real reason I don’t do more press is because I have a condition.

It’s not something I like to talk about.  Especially on weekends.

It’s called a job.

And it gets in the way of my other life.

The one where I stay home with  Buddy the Dog and blog for approximately 12 minutes each day.

This is my dream.

This is Buddy’s dream.

This should be your dream (because quite frankly, if it’s good enough for Buddy, it’s good enough for you).

I really want a full-time job that’s neither full-time nor a job.

And blogging fits that bill just about perfectly.

I don’t really know any other bloggers, but I’m assuming they are very good golfers.

If I had a job that didn’t require me to work, I could get my handicap down and still have plenty of time for other stuff.  Like interviews (I’m not sure, but this might require people asking to speak to me… details, details).

Since I have to work to pay for Buddy’s enormous appetite, I don’t have time for all the extra things that real bloggers do.

Like…

… actually, I don’t know what real bloggers do.

Again, I’ve never met one.

I’ve always assumed they brainstormed, did some research, read a lot, and other writing type of stuff.

This was all  true until about a week ago.

That’s when I agreed to be interviewed (weak moment).  I’m not sure what came over me, but I returned an email from Chambanamoms.com.  Evidently, they had gotten so desperate for material they needed to interview me.

It makes my stomach gurgle just thinking about it (on second thought, this could be the Mexican food I ate last night). 

I still don’t have a clue why I answered the email because I can’t think of anyone I would like less to talk about than me.

Just the thought makes me want to shove a letter opener right in the back of my worst enemy (no need to hurt myself, after all).

For reasons I can’t explain, I agreed to speak to this young lady. 

And you know what?

It was as painful as I imagined.  Sure she acted interested, but I was on to her from the very beginning (me=boring).

I don’t care how many questions someone asks, I still don’t have a clue what I’m doing with this blogging thing.

To her credit, she wrote a very nice article (amazing what someone who got A’s in English class can do).  She also took less than a horrible picture of me (this takes TALENT and lots of it… most of my school pictures have been destroyed at the request of the Kindergarten teachers… something about me frightening the children).

But none of this interested me.

What did was the fact that she is me.  Except she’s female.

And has a journalism degree.

And probably a bunch of other stuff, but I don’t want to get weird on you (too late???…. sorry).

She’s started her own website and blog.

In the four years I’ve been blogging, I’ve never run across anyone who does this (by the way, my blogging anniversary was this week… thanks for the cards…).

During this time, I’ve typed my goofy thoughts on my little computer at my kitchen table all by myself (except for my faithful sidekick Buddy).

So while I found the interview awkward and uncomfortable, talking to her was terribly fascinating (if I could just have been involved without being involved).

She does what I do, but better.

She has a staff.  A business plan.  Goals.  Web people.  Advertisers. 

And she goes to blog conferences and meets other people like us.

I didn’t even know there were people like us, let alone Blog Conferences.

So the interview was worth it.  Simply because it’s nice to know there are real people out there who are trying to accomplish the exact same thing as me.

Which is…

… actually, I have no idea what they are trying to accomplish.

But my plan is crystal clear.

I’m just a school administrator who is trying to find a high-paying job that requires little or no work with absolutely no supervision and doesn’t involve interacting with other humans.  And good benefits.

It’s the American Dream.

Or maybe it’s just my dream.

Check out Chambanamoms.com.  Personally, I’m hooked on the Househunting Mom.

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I Have Nothing to Blog About.


I’ve got nothing.nothing

No ideas.

No stories.

No wacky misunderstandings.

Nothing.

Not a blog in sight.

It’s going to be a long school year unless the excitement level picks up (and truthfully, quiet is kind of nice… and why do I get the feeling I just jinxed myself).

So for this blog I’m going with Plan B.

Actually, I don’t have a Plan B.

Well, on to Plan C.

Blogging 101.

Since I’m constantly (ok… occasionally) asked how I come up with topics for entertaining blogs (like I know), I will share my ideas in this blog.

Plus, since the Evil Spawn is attempting to root into the family business, there’s no better time to talk about blogging.

 

1.  If you want to be rich or famous, don’t start a blog.  Reality show, maybe.  Blog, no.

If you decide to take that first blogging step, don’t expect anyone to read it. 

At least for a while. 

It takes a few hundred entries before people might notice you have a blog.  The key here is “might notice.”

The truth is they probably won’t.

 

2.  Pick a niche and stick with it.  Mine is school administrators with anger issues who like technology, kids, and Buddy the Dog. 

This one’s all mine.

Find your own.

The interweb isn’t big enough for both of us.

 

3.  Don’t steal from other bloggers. 

Especially me.

Come up with your own mediocre ideas.

This is why I don’t read blogs.  I want to make sure my junk is all mine.

 

4. You have to blog consistently. 

Not monthly.  Not whenever.  Consistently.

It’s like having a second job.  One you can do in your underwear.

If you go more than 5 days without posting a blog, you aren’t a blogger. 

You’re a slacker.

If you actually blog in your underwear, you’re just creepy.

If you blog without underwear… well, I’m not even going there.

 

5.  Ignore advice from other bloggers about how to blog.

We have no idea what we’re talking about (especially me).  If we write a blog about blogging it just means we have nothing else to do (what does a guy have to do to witness a wacky situation where someone throws up in the hallway???).

Just blog about things that pique your interest.

If you think it’s interesting, there are people out there who will agree.

If you think it’s funny, turns out there are others who have the same morbid sense of humor (thank goodness…).

If you are angry about it, I can promise you’re not the only one (ex:  Fox News).

 

Don’t make it complicated.

It’s not brain surgery.

It’s blogging.

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My Daughter’s Teacher and My Wife.


The Evil Spawn has finally arrived in 4th grade. 

It’s her Senior year of elementary school.

Things are about to get “very interesting” (my first and only Arte Johnson reference).

When parents think about his or her child’s class, they have a tendency to focus on the teacher (when I think they should focus on the group of kids… far more important… but that’s another blog).

Everyone wants the “right” teacher.It's Going to Be a Looooong Night.

Some families want the nice teacher.

Some want the mean teacher.

Some want the teacher who loves technology.

Some want the teacher who puts on skits that the parents get to take off work so they can attend (ugh).

Some want the teacher older siblings had.

Me?  I always hope the Evil Spawn is promoted to the next grade so she gets a new teacher.

This year, I got lucky.

The Spawn got promoted!  I don’t mean to brag, but that’s 5 years in a row!  The streak continues!

That’s the good news.

The bad news is she has been placed in my wife’s class.

Yes, the Tech Queen and the Evil Spawn are combining forces.

This can’t be good.  For me.

It’s a lot of pressure to have your kid in your spouse’s class.

My wife is about to find out what I’ve always known.

The Evil Spawn is made up of half of me.

Not good.

Not good at all.

The quips.  The sarcasm.  The constant references to “comedy gold”.

This isn’t going to end well.

My wife is going to see what I’ve created.

It’s going to make for one long Parent-Teacher Conference.

I could be a failure as a father and a husband… all within 20 minutes (which would break my old record by 14 seconds).

I will no doubt spend the entire meeting sweating, looking at my watch, and cursing the day my daughter didn’t get held back.

As if things couldn’t get worse, my wife has her whole class blogging.  Now a bunch of 9 year olds are trying to root themselves into my line of work.  Double ugh.  Click HERE to read the future.

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Fired.


When The Suits say it’s not you, it’s them.  It’s you.

I’ve been fired.  Axed.  Booted.  Canned.  Discharged.  Dropped.  Given my marching orders.  Received a pink slip.  Handed my walking papers.  Let go.  Sacked.  And officially terminated.

This pleases me (it was time… and I have something to blog about).

Several months ago, I was contacted my an educational magazine (that I’d never heard of… but I don’t get out much) to see if I would be interested in having my blog posted once a week on their website.You Represents Me.

After little or no thought, I said yes.

That was a mistake.

I was lured in by the prospect of no-fame and no-fortune.  I forgot the fundamental thing that makes blogging interesting.

I can write whatever I want (within certain moral guidelines and my day job expectations) and post it within seconds.  And much to my surprise people occasionally read it (this is the part I will never understand).

It’s that simple.

No editors.  No publishers.  No Suits.

I answer to no one (other than the PrincipalsPage lawyers).

If I find the subject matter interesting or funny, I blog about it.  No deadlines.  No pack of Suits sitting around a conference table deciding if a topic qualifies as magazine worthy.

Just me and Larry the Laptop.

Now, I understand that’s both good and bad.

It hurts me to say this, but sometimes I’m not as interesting as I think I am.  But that’s okay because it’s all part of blogging (they can’t all be winners).

To be honest, I should have jumped ship about a month ago, but I made a mistake.  I didn’t trust my gut feeling.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s always trust those feelings.  They’re almost never wrong.

Why we don’t follow these feelings 100% of the time I will never now.  Even in the heat of the moment, we tell ourselves to follow our gut and yet we still don’t.

That’s what I did.  And now I am magazineless (and I had a chance to be the dumper instead of the one getting dumped… and now I’ve forever lost the power of the pre-emptive break-up).

A few weeks ago the young lady who “hired” me left for a new job.

My immediate reaction was “Ruh-roh!” (we have been watching a lot of Scooby Doo at my house).

I don’t have a lot of experience with corporate America, but I know when the person who brings you in leaves, you may well be next on the chopping block.

And I was.

I’m not sure the new Suits understood what the blog is about.

Which is nothing.

That’s got to be a hard concept for simple Suits to understand.  The blog is about education, school administrators, and nothing.

It’s not high-concept or low-concept.  It’s no concept.

Maybe they just wanted to go “in a different direction.”  Which is of course code for “your blog stinks.”

Actually the official “Your Dead to Us Email” was nicely worded.  It said, “Unfortunately, we will not be able to continue publishing posts for PrincipalsPage the Blog”. 

I was getting fired. 

Actually that’s not true.  I was fired.

What’s worse is they paid me little to nothing for the blogs.  Yes, that’s right… I got fired from volunteer work (how bad do you have to be when The Suits decide you’re not even worth zero??).

What a special moment in a blogger’s life.  If I had emotions (don’t forget I’m a dead on the inside school administrator), I might have cried.

The worst part is they didn’t even replace me with another blogger.

I’ve been replaced by a “Jobs” section.

Buddy the Dog references have been given away to an Assistant Superintendent Opening in Windham.  I’m not going to lie, that hurts.

Not for me so much, but Buddy.  He has feelings after all.

The good news is this isn’t the first time I’ve been fired (wait a second… that may not be good news).

What I’ve discovered through these slightly tragic moments (more on these later in the PrincipalsPage Book I don’t have coming out) in my career is things always work out for the best.

Getting fired only hurts for a second, especially when you realize it’s an opportunity.

One door being slammed in your face generally leads to another one opening (usually a better, much larger door).

That’s what I’m hoping for in this case.  Maybe a larger publication I’ve never heard of will hire me to blog about nothing (or maybe I can direct a movie… because doesn’t everyone eventually want to direct??).

Now I just have to sit around and wait for the next big thing to come along.

And of course comfort Buddy.

He’s taking this really  hard (I am so glad he doesn’t know that at my job I AM the Suit…).

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I’ve Been Gone. And Now the Good and the Bad.


In glancing at my blog, I just realized that I haven’t posted in close to a week. This is NOT the Baby in Question

This could be a new record.

Depending on your opinion, this could be a good thing or bad thing (haters).

Since I started blogging in the early 1900’s, I have prided myself on quantity.

As with anything in life, I think showing up is half the battle.

Which in blogging terms (and my own head), I don’t have to be good… I just have to blog a lot.

I’ve seldom gone longer than 3 or 4 days before typing up some more new crap and posting it online.

In my mind, I’m making the world a little dumber one blog at a time.  Sure that sounds bad, but I do it for the kids.

Not really, but you have to admit anytime you say “It’s for the kids”, it sounds good.

The reason I haven’t blogged in several days is because I’ve been gone.

To Miami.

And now I’m back.

Sure I could have blogged during my trip, but who wants to type when it’s 75 degrees and sunny?

Blogging is for people north of the Mason-Dixon line.  I’m pretty sure that’s why so many Canadians are into technology (have I mentioned they make me nervous… there is no way we can win a snowball fight with them if they decide to attack on a cold and snowy night… I’m just saying…).

Canadians blog and Tweet.  A lot.

But honestly, what else are they going to do?   How many hockey games can one person watch?  And if they get bored with that… Curling?  Canadian football?

To get to Miami, I had to fly.

While I don’t hate flying, I’m quite content living my life on land.

In fact, I’m relatively new to this whole climbing aboard a giant metal tube, hurling through the air at 97,000 feet, all the while letting a perfect stranger drive (note to self:  it might not be a good thing to see a guy in the airport bar and later see him walk out of the cockpit).

Whenever my plane is taking off or landing, I always say a few Catholic prayers…which is odd, since I’m not Catholic. 

The good news is I survived the trip.

And I feel like I have a better understanding of traveling.  I can now spot a Cinnabon store from 1,000 feet away.

I also got picked up by a car service.  Let’s not kid ourselves; that is cool.

Really cool.

A guy standing in the airport holding up a sign with your name on it.

You have to admit, it beats taking the shuttle.

Plus as an added bonus, my personal driver was named Tony and he’s originally from the South Bronx.  I’m not saying he’s in the Witness Relocation Program, but I’m pretty sure he’s in the Witness Relocation Program.

He said if I had any trouble in South Florida to let him know.

I said “What kind of trouble?”  He said “Any trouble.”

Again, pretty cool.   A car and the ability to have someone whacked.

Life is good.

The car service and the weather were both great.

It was nice to listen to people whine about the cold weather when it was 70 degrees.

I am sorry to say the trip wasn’t totally perfect.

There was an incident (which is good news for someone responsible for cranking out several mediocre to poor blogs a week… but remember “It’s for the kids”)

On the flight down, I was sitting in my aisle seat minding my own business.

Then I made the mistake of all mistakes.

I looked across the aisle to see a young mother and her newborn baby (have to admit… not that excited to see them board the plane, less excited to see them sit right beside me).

What I saw was both disturbing and shocking.

The mother was feeding the baby.  And not in a bottle kind of way.

In a way, I’m not comfortable with.

Now before the hateful emails start rolling in, I am not against breastfeeding… I just need some warning.

A simple “Excuse me, you may not want to look this way unexpectedly for the next 20 minutes or so”… would have been nice.

Or maybe a blanket over the baby.  Maybe a blanket over everything.  Maybe a blanket over anything.

But no.

It was all out there.

I don’t think flying will ever be the same for me.

The next time I see a mother and her baby get on my flight, my first thought won’t be about the possibility of the baby crying.

Best joke I heard on the trip:  Don’t worry if one of the engines on your plane fails… the second engine will take you directly to the crash site.

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The Secret to Life, Blogging, and Everything Else.


Just Blog.

Just Blog.

You may have noticed something about this blog.

The title is no longer in all caps. I have been told that some newspapers won’t pick up my blog because they consider a title in all caps to mean that I am shouting.

I’M NOT.

This does bring up a question. Are there still newspapers? (I guess I don’t have to worry about them running this blog)

Like most people, I am a creature of habit. I like my routine. This explains why my blog titles are always in caps.

When I wrote the first blog, I put the title in all caps. So I have done that with all of them.

If it doesn’t make sense to you, it does to me. It may even seem weird that I have to type each blog in the same font on the same computer, but this also makes sense to me (by the way… it is Tahoma 12 on my Lenovo ThinkPad which is named Larry).

My need for a routine made a career in education the obvious choice. I love the fact that the bell rings at the same time every day. The world in which we live is a little chaotic. There isn’t a lot that you can count on these days(in case you haven’t noticed). But I know exactly when 1st hour starts and 8th hour ends. I like that.

This blog is the 206th one that I have written. Why is that important? It isn’t.

But if all goes well, this blog will produce my 500th comment (actually the 502nd). And if that isn’t a big deal to you, it is to me.

If I seem overly selfish today, it’s because I am. But it isn’t me, it’s the half bottle of Nyquil that is coursing through my veins (I am so ready for spring).

I have to admit, I didn’t think I would ever get over 500 comments. And if I am being honest (again, it’s the Nyquil talking), I was stunned when I got 1 comment.

When you write a blog, there isn’t a lot of feedback. While your statistics page may show that hundreds or even thousands of people click on your blog, you are never convinced that actual humans are reading it.

Until you get a comment.

I will always be grateful to Anonymous because he/she left the very first comment on my 2nd blog THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT (actually, this one could be considered shouting).

How he/she found the blog, I will never know.

I am assuming this person is lonely and owns 14 cats, but that is just a guess on my part.

But I’m glad he/she found the blog (even if too gutless to leave their real name… although I can’t really blame them for not wanting to be associated with it).

I think it is easier for people to comment now. After 207 entries (one guest post), the PrincipalsPage.com Blog can be termed a success. Actually, success may be too strong of a word.

To me, success implies that I might have made money. I can assure you (and the IRS) that I haven’t.

If it isn’t successful, I am not sure what to call it. It isn’t always funny, or entertaining, or thought provoking.

Part of the time it isn’t even about education.

But it is certainly something.

I’ve got it. It’s consistent.

Since July of 2007, I have written 2.48 blogs per week. The first 2 come pretty easily, but the .48 continues to be a challenge (if you aren’t a math teacher that is 11 per month).

Plus, my typing skills have improved dramatically (mainly because my wordiness has caused me to type 869,740 characters… which oddly is about the same number of visitors I’ve had).

While cranking these blogs out, I think I have stumbled on to the key to success. And it doesn’t involve money.

It’s showing up.

Every day. Every week. Every month. Every year.

In the case of this blog, 2.48 times a week.

Too many people can’t seem to master this simple task.

As kids they have a hard time making it to school, or practice, or to a club meeting. Then they go off to college and can’t get out of bed to make it to class.

Soon after that, they graduate (or drop out) and become adults who struggle getting to work on time.

And usually, they have a sure fire excuse for this behavior. It’s someone else’s fault.

Sure it is.

So while the blog hasn’t made me famous, or rich, it has given me something more important.

The key to life. Which is the same as the key to blogging. Which is exactly the same key if you want to be successful at anything.

Just show up. And sooner or later people will recognize your efforts.

Even if they are named Anonymous.

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So You Want to be a Big-Time Blogger?


Bloggermobile.

Bloggermobile.

Do you want a blog that you can call your very own?

I have but one question.

Why?

Do you find yourself with too much free time to devote to your family, hobbies, or charity work?

Do you feel like you’re wasting time reading books, taking walks, or working on a Master’s Degree?

Is your mind so demented that you believe people want to read your every waking thought?

Do you want to come home from a full-time job and then work some more?

Are you just an idiot?

If you answered YES to 1 of these 4 questions, you are wasting my time. It is also possible that you are involved in a healthy long term relationship (with another human being).

If you answered YES to 2 of these 4 questions, you have goals in life and no time for a blog.

If you answered YES to 3 out of these 4 questions, you are close but aren’t truly committed to the world of blogging (come back when you are weirder).

If you answered YES to all 4, Congratulations… you have what it takes to blog. And it is quite possible that you are a moron, slightly creepy, and in a word… breathtakingly odd (sorry, two words… and there is no chance I want to ever meet you in person).

Now that we have weeded the rift raft from the uncommitted, it is time to learn what it takes to blog.

How do I have time to blog?

I get this question a lot.

Easy, I don’t.

How do I come up with 2-3 great ideas for blogs each and every week?

Easy, I don’t.

How do I write blogs that make people laugh?

This one is way too easy. I don’t.

In fact, I don’t even try.

I write blogs that make me laugh (a really good one makes my wife laugh).

If you are struggling with starting a blog, consistently blogging, or coming up with fresh ideas for your blog…I am about to solve all of your problems.

The key to a moderately successful blog is simple.

Now, listen closely because I am only going to say this once (yes, I know you are reading this… but one day… mark my word… this blog will be podcasted to literally tens of people).

The key to having a moderately successful blog is… at this point you should be doing that drum roll sound in your head…

… a couple of times a week, sit down at your computer and type.

I almost feel guilty giving away this information for free (mental note… I need my own infomercial).

That’s it.

That’s the secret to blogging.

Sit down. And type.

Did I mention you need to do this a couple of times a week?

Type. Twice a week. After sitting down (stand if you like… it is a free country).

Do this every week.

In a month you will have 8 blog entries. In a year 104. Slightly less in a leap year.

And there you have it. A blog of your very own.

Now you may ask, how in the world can I come up with humorous interesting topics that thousands of people will enjoy?

You can’t.

And don’t try. You might pull something.

Just type (twice a week… don’t forget) about things that interest you. And things that make you laugh. And things that you believe in. And things you want to see changed.

You will be astounded that those very same things that amuse you… amuse others. And things that you believe in and want changed, are the same things as lots of other people.

If you do this consistently, people will find you. That is the great thing about the internet (thank you Mr. Gore). You don’t even have to advertise.

If you blog, readers will come.

If you follow my simple advice.

Sit (optional) and type (not so optional).

No matter what your beliefs, there are thousands of people out there just waiting for someone to express them.

And that someone could be you.

Please keep in mind that the author of this blog has no English degree (or skills), no journalism background, makes stuff up as he goes along, and is generally full of it… Sincerely, His Wife.

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Disclaimer

While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.