Friday, October 25, 2013

@sarahdateechinghuman on The Life Cycle of a Teechur (Part 2)

For those of you who were at my #edscape session, will be at one of my #puwt sessions, or just checked out my archives online, you may be familiar with my "Life Cycle of a Teechur" slide. I just had an "aha" moment in the car, building on that. I probably shouldn't blog in the car, but let's just say I'm "at a red light."

Growing Up to Become a Teechur, in order to Grow Up (A How-To Guide).

Step One:  Grow up.
Be a kid, but not just any kid. Be the kind of kid who overanalyzes everything. Start practicing early, so that you can master this skill and drive everyone around you crazy. The sooner, the better. 

Start questioning basic facts of life. Like, why can't kids vote for president? Why is there a Mothers' Day and a Fathers' Day, but not a Kids' Day? I mean, don't we matter? This must be a grown-up conspiracy against kids. Kids' Rights, Right Now!!! Fight for the right to potty!!!

Vow that when you grow up, you will continue the struggle for Kids' Rights. You're sick of teachers  yelling at you, and constantly correcting you...they don't treat each other like that. You will treat every kid as a person, not like some little...thing. Like a caterpillar. Even though caterpillars are kinda cool. 

Step Two: Become a teechur.
Congratulations! You made it through childhood and puberty, even though you were a second-class citizen, having to deal with age discrimination and the like. Now that you're 22 and officially an adult, it's time to start working for the cause by infiltrating the other a teacher

Time to start changing some minds! Since you're an adult now, these other adults have to listen to you. That's how it works, right?  After all, you are still young enough that you can relate to the kids, so everyone should be happy that you're here.  It's like having the other team's playbook, but everybody wins. This will be great, viva la revolucion!

Wait, what? Why is nobody taking you seriously?  Just because you're new doesn't mean you don't have good ideas. Wait a minute, is this deja vu?

Rookie Rights, Right Now!

Step Three: What da???
Whew, that was close. You almost didn't make it through that last one. A lot of your fellow rookies bailed when they saw that teaching wasn't what they thought it would be. But not you. You're tenacious. Good for you. 

So here you are, in the classroom. Fully supporting your Kids' Rights platform. You treat them the way you'd want to be treated, as a human being with valuable contributions and input. You want to be the opposite of some of those adults they have to deal with. So you always have a smile. You ask for their input. You try to never raise your voice.  You let them know that they matter. This is great stuff, and plus, all the experts agree with you. 

You don't want to discipline your students, because you remember what it's like to be embarrassed by your teachers. You give them rewards all the time, even for mediocre work, because hey, at least they tried. Gotta build the self-esteem, right? You try to avoid calling mom and dad, because they cry and it kills you to see them so upset. 

Everyone chews you up and spits you out, you frigging softie. 

Step Four: More growth.
A few years pass, and you realize that maybe you had a few things wrong. You've realized that it is your responsibility to help raise these children, being that you are with them for more waking hours than their parents. 

You start viewing them as your extended sons and daughters, and think back to how your parents raised you. When you asked for Kids' Day, who gave it to you? They did. So even when you thought the rest of the world was against you, Mom and Dad still had your back. 

On the flip side, remember all the bad stuff you used to do as a kid, and you got punished? Yeah, you may have been upset at the time, but you see now how those punishments probably saved you from being some kind of societal miscreant now. You actually turned out okay. (A few years later, you tear up a little while writing a blog post.)

So, you redefine your teaching philosophy. You decide to keep all of the good things you're doing, but decide to stick to your guns and grow a backbone.  You finally understand what it meant when the loving adults in your life would discipline you and say, "this hurts me more than it hurts you." 

Also like your parents, you realize that, along with the discipline, kids need love and support. You tell them (and show them) how important they are, charging them with doing the same for each other.

In the classroom, you keep some rewards, but not all. You recognize quality work, AS WELL AS serious effort. When kids turn in some garbage, you don't accept it and ask them do it over. You realize that when teachers did this to you, it wasn't to be a jerk, it was to make you better. You suddenly want to go back and thank them.

When you apply your new attitude to your classroom, you notice a gradual change.  Before you know it, your reputation has changed from pushover to seasoned teacher. Excuse me, teechur. 

You are still an advocate for Kids' Rights, though. 

Step Five: Never stop growing.
Everything you've learned about dealing with kids, you apply to humans in general. You realize once again, as you did when you were a child, that adults and kids aren't that different. Adults also sometimes make mistakes that need to be addressed.  You should know, you make mistakes all the time...and you love it when your kids show you the right way.

Monday, October 21, 2013

@Sarahdateechur on: iCoach

Two more days.  I have two days until basketball tryouts, and I am terrified.

Will I be good enough?  I know they're all going to be looking at me, dissecting my every move...seeing if I can handle the pressure.

They've been doing this for a while, playing in rec leagues, some even on select teams.  I'm just a rookie.  A nervous, bumbling rookie.  But I can't let them see that.  I've got to put my game face on and look tough.  Why?  Because I'm the coach.

Truth: I haven't played in a while, and I'm a little rusty on the rules of the game.

Truth: 75% of the players trying out are taller than me, and many of them can't even get into a PG-13 movie.

Truth: The last time I watched a season of professional basketball, my favorite team was the Bullets.  I think I have a Shaq rookie basketball card somewhere.  It may be worth some money now.  Hmmm.

But never fear, is here!  And just like that, I shall be *iCoach!*  (Cue theme music here.)

I've been cramming hard.  These are the ten tech steps I've taken so far...time will tell how effective they turn out to be.
  1. Went to the Kindle Store and downloaded a variety of books on basketball coaching, including:
    • Coaching Basketball for Dummies (because I am one)
    • Better Basketball Practices
    • Plays for Basketball
    • Coaching for Success
    • Survival Guide for Coaches
  2. Went on Pinterest and created a new board called Coaching.  Did a search and pinned like 30 things, then stalked...ahem..followed those people's boards.
  3. Started reading the first book, and brainstormed a list of things that I need.  Stuff like whistles, a clipboard, and some other stuff that has been sitting in a box by my stairwell for the past month.  Ordered it using my Amazon Prime (thanks, Mom), and got it in two days.
  4. Saw a megaphone in my suggested item list on Amazon, and got that too.  BECAUSE I FELT LIKE IT!
  5. Had the bright idea to see which coaching apps were in the App Store.  Spent more money than I probably should have.  Got such apps as:
    • Whiteboard (to make plays, but I can't figure it out)
    • Ubersense (super-cool...analyzes videos of kids so you can help them correct mistakes)
    • iTouchStats (statistical data)
    • Total Coach (no clue, but I bought it anyway)
    • Coach-Assist (no clue)
    • CoachMe (no clue)
    • rTeam (nc)
    • No Turnovers (nc)
    • miShotTrack (I guess it says where the kids miss shots or something)
  6. Created a permission slip and tryout packet by looking up other schools' stuff from Google and tweaking it. (Ha!)
  7. Went to the district coaches' meeting, and took notes on Evernote.  I also did this with the kids' jersey sizes and the list of games, because I lose everything.
  8. Created a roster of who is allowed to stay after school by downloading the All-Star font I saw on Pinterest.  (Hey, I'm a Virgo.  Details matter.)
  9. Watched a tutorial on how to run try-outs on Youtube, from which I learned nothing.
  10. Planning to create a Google Spreadsheet to take notes on what the kids show me at tryouts.
What did we ever do before all this tech?  Shoot...pretty much anybody can be an expert on anything.  I'm probably using the term wrong, but since I'm jocking everybody's stuff, is this like crowdsourcing intelligence?  What a mindfreak.

Seriously, it's amazing how far internet tutorials will take you.  Look at this logo I made on Photoshop, knowing absolutely nothing about Photoshop!  Don't ask me to explain the steps...I just did what the guy on the video told me to.  I only wish there was some magical video guy to run tryouts for me.  Twenty years from now: hologram coaches.  You heard it here first.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Quickie: @Sarahdahuman's App of the Day

Helloooooooo good folks!  This is going to be a quickie, because I'm already past my bedtime.  Oh yeah, if you haven't noticed, my alter-ego, @Sarahdahuman, is blogging tonight.  I even created her a Twitter account.  I'm mainly talking to myself, but that's beside the point.

The app I want to talk about it this gem I found on the iTunes Store last week or so.  It's called 30/30. It has nothing to do with Jay-Z's club (40/, but everything to do with productivity.

I think it's free, but I may be lying.  I'm too lazy to check.  Don't be like's worth checking out.

I like to think of myself as a Super Virgo.  I am crazy about lists, and multitasking, and multitasking while making lists.  I've always been this way, and it's slightly compulsive.  Oh wait, you guys aren't therapists.  My bad.

Anyway, what this app does is that it lets you create lists of stuff to do (score!).  But wait, there's more! It also will time these activities for you, and play a nice little jingle when it's time to transition to the next thing.  And so on.  And so on.  

I've found this app to be very helpful, to the point where doing boring stuff is actually fun.  It's kind of like a little game that I play with my to-do list...hee!  But this is coming from someone who used to do long division to entertain herself in fifth grade.

Check it's  On a scale of 1 to 10 of dabombness, I give it two thumbs up (er...or something).

Come back tomorrow if you feel so inclined, to see which one of us will be blogging: dateechur or dahuman.  We'll find out together.  Yay.

Nighty night!

Edscape! Edscape! Edscape! (The Sequel)

What a day...I'm beat (but in the best possible way)!

I just got in the house about an hour ago, coming from New Milford High School in New Jersey, where they had their 4th (I think) annual Edscape conference.  It was soooooo awesome!  I think the exact phrase I kept tweeting over and over was, "it's like Disney World...but for teachers!"  No exaggeration.  Now that I'm twenty-teen, I've stopped getting excited about things like birthdays.  But nothing riles me up more than a good Edtech conference lol.

I figure that I'll do this post Memento-style, because...well, why not?  Let's start at the end, and go backwards, shall we?  *insert trippy time-travel music here*

11:50 PM  October 19th, 2013  
I am sitting in bed, blogging on my laptop, about how awesome my day was.

I am fast asleep in the back seat of a car, with my mouth hanging wide open, coming back from New Jersey.  My family and I drove up together and stayed overnight.  We stopped to get some gas and I got a scoop of cookies and cream from Hershey's at a rest stop.  Ok, I'll spare you the rest of the minutiae.

OMG, I just met *another* member of my personal learning network (PLN) on Twitter, face-to-face!  This is too cool!  Three of us are standing in the now-empty auditorium, talking shop, but it feels like we are old friends.  Developing a PLN is probably the best thing I've ever done for my career.  I've learned new concepts that have revolutionized my teaching.  Continuing to build and grow!

Just attended an awesome session on Augmented Reality (AR), delivered by a member of my PLN, who I've been learning with for over a year.  She was so excited about the topic, and her enthusiasm was contagious.  I can't wait to try this with my students.  AR means using technology that annotates (for lack of a better word) ordinary objects, and makes them more interactive.  You can use it in education to add depth to your teaching, and it looks really fun!  I've had Aurasma on my iPad for a while, but now I'm getting ideas on how to use it.

I made sure to also follow the co-presenter, who had some phenomenal examples of how she uses it with students.  She is also a Yearbook Coordinator, and talked a little about adding AR this year.  I heard someone mention that a few months ago (it was most likely her), and I was inspired to give it a shot as well.  Now, I understand.  I'm really excited about the possibilities.

Made a new connection with another session attendee, who is somewhat new to Twitter.  I'm excited to have her in my PLN, because she teaches engineering.  I'd love to learn more about how to apply some of those concepts to my Tech class.

I received information about an edcamp in November.  I'm definitely hoping to come back to NJ and learn more great things!

Just wrapped up my session on flipping the classroom.  I'm sitting at a desk, chowing down, because I took the lunch hour to set up for my presentation.  This food is bomb-diggedy, but I need to hurry up because I'm already late for my next session.

The presentation went really well!  There were 10 other educators in the room, teaching at the middle and high school level.  Most were from NJ, but there was also a New Yorker in the room.  I set up my camera in the back of the room to videotape myself, and hopefully put it online.  We'll see how that goes (ha!).

Anyway, back to the session.  The consensus in the room was that most of them had heard of flipping, but wanted more information before they tried it themselves.  Throughout the session, we had a dialogue of what flipping is, reasons to flip, and how to do it.  After the session, I shared my presentation with participants through Google Drive.  Speaking of Google, we spoke a little bit about how well Google apps for education can support the flipped model.  I'll be doing this presentation again in three weeks for Powering Up.  I have, once again, caught the presenting bug.

Huge shoutout to a fellow PG educator for allowing me to show his YouTube channel on flipped ELA as part of my presentation.  Sharing is caring!

Here we go.  OMG...OMG...OMG...

Finally got the speakers to work, thanks to one of the session attendees.  My brain was going a mile a minute, and I forgot to do something very simple.  Like George said in his keynote speech, the smartest person in the room is...well, the room.

Got the Apple TV to work with my iPad.  I switched over to my hotspot and it was smooth sailing.

Oh, crap.  Nothing is working.  I'm screwed.

Just grabbed a box lunch, and I'm making my way upstairs to set up.  I'm paranoid that nothing will work and I'll be screwed, since this is the first time I'm presenting via Apple TV.  

Yay, they have a veggie option.  It looks like it's  Wow, just ran into a member of my PLN in the hallway!  It's the same one who presented in Session 1 at 10:10.  Big hugs all around.

Attending a session on how to create iBooks using iBooks Author.  This is very timely, because I promised my students that I'm going to look into creating an eBook using their in-class poetry assignment that we did last week.  I think it would be awesome to be in 6th or 7th grade, and be a published author.  A member of my PLN sold me on the concept last year.  Time to put it to work.

This is too cool.  Now I know how to do it.  My goal was to do one while sitting in the session, but I need Mountain Lion.  It's gonna take an hour to download.  Grrrrr.

Just got out of Session One of being a connected educator.  Two or three members of my PLN are on the panel, and I just followed the rest.  This session is really making me think of the progress my school has made so far regarding technology.  I've been there for six years, and teachers are now embracing tools such as document cameras, iPads, and SMARTBoards.  It's amazing how they have just thrown themselves into it.  I am so thankful to work in a school with a supportive administration, where risk-taking is encouraged, particularly regarding technology.  It makes all the difference in the world.

Next step: encourage my co-workers to get on Twitter and other social media, to grow their PLNs.  Ed chats are the bomb!!!!

Made a new connection with the lady in front of me.  (Spoiler: she attended my afternoon session, and messaged me afterwards, saying she was ready to try flipping in her classroom.  Yay!)

A member of my PLN (PLN must be the acronym of the day lol) just wrapped up his keynote.  He is a very engaging speaker.  You want to laugh with him.  You want to cry with him.  He excites the crap out of you when it comes to technology innovations.  I love the videos and anecdotes that he shared with us.  I was backchannelling the entire time via Twitter, which was exploding with the #edscape hashtag.  Backchannelling is the bomb.  I need to start doing it with my kids again, but I'll make sure they know that making "yo mama" jokes while I'm teaching is not the point.  

Walking upstairs to the auditorium to get ready for the keynote speech.  I ran into the principal of the school, who organized this whole thing.  Big props to him for doing so.  It is so well-designed, and the student guides are very helpful.  Walking through the halls, you can tell how much the school as a whole has bought into educational technology.  There are QR codes on the walls, each teacher seems to have a class website, and there's an area right outside the cafeteria where, it seems, they do annoucements via TV.  (Note to self: gotta get back on that project.)  There is even a charging station for electronic devices on the cafeteria stage.  I really hope that my district will switch to BYOD (bring your own device).

Sitting in the cafeteria, alone, going through the program for today's conference.  In the list of sessions, I'm putting stars next to the people whose names I recognize.  I definitely want to hit the sessions of as many members of my PLN as possible, so that I can introduce myself.  I think most of them know each other, since NJ seems to have a lot of tech conferences.  However, I am a newbie here.

OMG, there are so many people here.  I'm seriously going to have to step out of my shell and start making connections.  I didn't drive six hours not to.  How, though?  I suck at conversations.  Hmmm...maybe I can use Twitter.  I'm definitely not shy on social media.  (I wonder how many of our students are like that?)

Leaving the hotel.  Oh crap, #satchat went live at 7:30.  I'm going to miss it, but I'm sure that I'll make up for it by the connections I make today.

Woke up. Started getting ready.

Woke up.  I'm hot.

Woke up.  I'm cold.

2:15 AM
Just put the final touches on my presentation.  Time for bed. 

October 18, 2013 7:30 PM
Just got to the hotel.  Time to polish my presentation for tomorrow.  I have a few last minute ideas.  Shouldn't take more than an hour or so.

So, that's pretty much it.  I had such a great time.  I absolutely cannot wait for the next conference, which is November 9th.  It's in my district...I'm so excited!!!  I hope to return to NJ for their Edcamp next month.  Thanks so much to everyone who made today such a positive experience.  It's way late, sooooo...goodnight!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Edscape! Edscape! Edscape!

This blog post is so that I can maintain my 3 day streak. I just finished my presentation for Edscape tomorrow and now I'm going to bed. Goodnight :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

@Sarahdateacher on Gamifying Instruction

Well, look at me...I'm on a roll.  Two days in a row, blogging!  That has got to be some kind of record.  Now, now, don't get spoiled (or scared, depending on your opinion of the blog so far)...I'm usually not very good at keeping to a writing schedule.  But let's savor life's small victories, shall we?

Now onto today's topic at hand: gamification.  As many of you know, I teach middle school English and technology as my 9-5 (and 5-9...I have no life [see Unplugged 2 for more on how having a life sucks])).  Enough with the parentheticals.  

We are officially two months into the school year, and this year has gone pretty well.  As for my English classes, I've been throwing a lot at them, and they've been throwing it right back at me since Day One.  We keep each other on our toes.  Technology on the other hand...

...nah, it's still awesome.

Let me explain.  I'm not some educational narcissist who goes around all day patting myself on the butt, muttering, "good job, Sarah."  No, it's not eeeeven like that.  I wish you could have been a fly on the wall the first couple weeks of my fifth period (Tech) class.  Well, actually, no, because I'd probably spray you with Raid.

This group of students that I have now, they are my babies.  I've been working with them going on six years.  Now, they are in eighth grade.  The first two weeks of school, they had an acute case of "Big Fish, Little Pond" syndrome.  You know, how high school seniors are...but without the additional four years of maturity.  Dun dun dun.

It didn't really help things that technology is classified under electives.  Historically, some students have taken this to mean, "Easy A."  And really, who could blame them?  The way I'd been teaching it in previous years, it was pretty much showing kids stuff they already knew.  I thought I was really doing something, and I guess I was (for maybe, a third grader...), but it was really basic and not very challenging.  Microsoft Office, blah blah blah, internet searching skills, yadda yadda yadda, BORING!!!!

So this year, these SAME kids who have taken pretty much the SAME course for the fiftieth time, came in expecting the SAME thing.  There were some behavioral issues...I'm not going to lie.  But, little did they know that I had a secret weapon in my back pocket.

One word: gamification.  *GASP*

What is gamification, you may ask?  I'm so glad you did.  I'm no expert, but what gamification means in my class is that we apply video game concepts to learning.  Remember all those hours you used to waste, playing Donkey Kong Country?  You know, the one with Kong and his annoying sidekick Diddy, who would always get in the way when you were trying to jump on bad guys' heads?  Well, I do.  We used to play that game (or Q-Bert, depending on your generation) for hours on end, when we should have been doing our homework.  Shame on us.

That was about twenty years ago for me, but really, nothing has changed.  I mean, everything has changed, but nothing has really changed.  Sigh.  YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!!!!

The fact remains that kids still love games.  Luckily for me, I went to this amazing PD session over the summer offered through my county (shoutout to #pgtech, whut whut) that taught us how to gamify our instruction.  Here's how it works.

There are certain things common to most popular video games.  You usually have levels.  You usually have points.  You usually have strategy guides.  You usually have some Big Bad to defeat at the end.  What gamifying instruction does, in a nutshell, is applies what kids love about games, to get them excited about learning.  Well, except for the Big Bad.  Let's call it a Big Good...that helps you pass the levels...and gives you grades and stuff...ah, nevermind.  This extended metaphor just isn't working out the way it sounded in my head.

Anyway...back to the subject.  Just like in a video game, everybody starts off at the beginning level.  In my class, I call it the "Tutorial Stage."  Here, I have placed several basic assignments that all students must complete before they are allowed to move onto the fun stuff.  They earn points for each assignment, and level up every time they hit a certain point threshold.  I chose the arbitrary number of 2100 points, because every major assignment is worth 700 points.  So, if they complete each assignment perfectly, they only have to do three at each level.

In each level, the assignments get harder and harder, building on skills that the students learned in previous stages.  However, the higher level assignments tend to be more fun.  Students are allowed to go back, but not allowed to skip ahead...just like a video game!

Each assignment has a specified number of players.  Some are solo missions, and some are multiplayer.  Just like a video game!

Each stage has multiple missions.  Of these missions, students can pick what interests them, as long as they reach the 2100 point threshold.  These missions are usually new skills that the student isn't as familiar with, such as coding and video production.  As stated earlier, there are strategy guides and walkthroughs for most missions...get tutorials.  Just like a video game!

This post is getting really long and my eyes are starting to shut, so I'm going to go ahead and post it now.  If you would like to see an example of gamification in action, feel free to visit our class site at  Go to the Technology subheading, and click on the Class Structure page.  There, you can see all of the rules, and links to assignments.

I'm always telling my students to end their writing with a proper conclusion, so I should follow my own advice, no matter how sleepy I am lol.  We are nearing the end of the first quarter, and the inaugural run of the gamification of Tech.  I am so impressed by everything the students have done so far.  I can't say that they've turned a 180 in terms of behavior, but it's definitely north of 150.

I'm sure that there will soon come a time when students are regularly teaching me new things about technology.  That's how I'll know that I've done right by them.  Already, they are turning in projects that are way better than my crappy examples.  Gamification is rooted in inquiry and PBL, and helps to address the multiple intelligences.  There's some teacher-talk for you academic types.  Ok, that was the Nyquil talking, so don't blame me.  Nighty night.

Last thing: I'm so grateful to have learned about this concept from my fellow educators.  Thanks so much for sharing :) :) :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Being Cool Sucks (a.k.a. Unplugged Part 2)

My username on Twitter may be @sarahdateechur, but this blog isn't for my students.  Maybe I should change it to @sarahdahuman instead.  

When I was a kid, people used to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Pretty standard.  However, instead of saying "a ballerina," or "a princess," like most other girls my age, I'd reply, "I want to be Sarah."

My parents instilled in me at a very early age that what you do doesn't define who you are.  It's time for a reteaching moment, because Sarah da Teechur is starting to get all up in Sarah da Human's shizznit.  Oh well.

Anywhooooo, all that being said, let's move on to reason number two why I'm going unplugged.  It all boils down to one word: maturity.

Screeeeeeeeeech...stop the press...throw it in reverse...I'm not saying that it's immature to be on social networks like Facebook.  No, what I'm saying is that my motivations were highly immature.

When I was growing up, I never quite fit in for one reason or another.  As I got into my unbelievably-even-more-awkward teenage years, being an outcast grew old.  My elementary school friends were starting to abandon me for the "cool kids."  These cliques were comprised of Saved by the Bell rejects...and girls with long, fake hair...who wouldn't yell inside jokes you shared in fourth grade across a crowded cafeteria.  

Ok, I get how that last part could be a little embarrassing.

Anyway, this story has the potential to get really long and convoluted, so let me get back to the point.  In middle and high school, I wanted what everybody wants...popularity.  I mean, who didn't want to be homecoming queen?  Probably the captain of the football team.  Ba-doom-crash.

Well, the more I tried to be popular, the more annoying I became.  It got to the point where I lied about fake boyfriends, in hopes of getting some attention...then when everybody wanted to meet him, I said he got shot.

So the story goes on, yadda yadda yadda, high school was hell, blah blah blah.  Fast forward.  It's now 10 or so years later.  Actually a little less, if you want to be technical.  Something called Facebook comes along and completely takes over the world!  Wow!!!!  Myspace was okay, but everybody and their mom is on this Face-thing.  

Me:  Wow, look at all these people from high school.  Cool!  Let me send him a request and see if he remembers me.  Hmmm...what about this chick that sat in front of me in physics?  And that dude I had a crush on?  And...

Fast forward a year or so...

Me:  Whoa, I have like 300 people on my friends list!!! These people aren't the same d-bags they were in high school.  Some of them are actually cool!

Another year later...

Me:  1000 friends!  All my friends are on it, and I made friends with their friends, and even some of THEIR friends.  Look at me...look how many friends I have...I'm finally cool!

Another year...

Me:  Every day, somebody's having some kind of event...well, I wouldn't want to NOT show up...I mean, now that they like me and all.  I can't jeopardize my newfound coolness.

A few years later...(present day)

Me:  I'm tired of socializing.  Being cool sucks.

And that, my friends, is reason number two why I'm going unplugged.  I love my friends, but having too many acquaintances might do more harm than good.  I'll revisit this concept in the third chapter of "Unplugged."

Moral:  Use responsibly.