Remembering Wayne and Eva

Remembering Wayne and EvaEighteen years ago, on Sunday evening, September 22, 1996, our good friends, church family and business partners Max and Barbara Garwood and Joan and I with our two sons, were attending the third and final evening of church revival services. The Garwoods were noticeably distraught at the end of the service as they left quickly to find out why their three children, who were leaving the house right behind them to go to the church…..never showed up. It was just a few minutes later when I received Max’s panicky call telling me that he was on his way to the hospital for one of his sons – and asking me to call the Sheriff to find out the whereabouts of his other son and daughter.

Wayne, Eva and Marquis were traveling down one of our country roads (a little over a mile from their home) when a car (the high corn prevented either car from seeing the other) ran a yield sign and broadsided the Garwoods’ Accord. Wayne and Eva were killed instantly and Marquis was thrown from the car. Marquis survived, but struggled for years with migraines and other accident-related issues. Now, in 2014, he is happily married and has a beautiful baby son.

I remember talking to a software customer the day after we put a message on our business phone system explaining why we were closed for a couple days. The comment went something like:

I was a little upset as I was dialing your number because I had this software issue….. but then when I heard your message, all I could do was cry. It made me remember a phrase from somewhere….’the problem is real, but remember that nobody’s dying here’.

Our older son and Eva were both 16 and close friends. John  would be 18 before he expressed interest in getting his driver’s license. John is now happily married with three children.

Most QDP customers don’t know Max and Barbara Garwood because they haven’t been involved in the day-to-day operations at QDP since even before 1996. Max was the original programmer for the DOS version of Ultra that we designed back in 1984, just as Microsoft® was releasing PC-DOS (Disk Operating System) for the new concept of Personal Computers.

For several years, we passed daily the two small crosses planted at the crash site. I promised the Garwoods in 1996 that we would “never forget”….so thanks for your understanding and reading as we remember our friends, church family and business partners.

John & Joan Gardner

Anybody can be mediocre

By John Gardner

When I asked my son why he had chosen a particular college, he answered,

I’m tired of being the geek. I’m tired of ruining the curve. I’m tired of people getting mad at me because I do the extra credit anyway. I want to go somewhere I can be normal; where it is okay to be an achiever.

Pressure surrounds teens. Parents push them to do better. Teachers need performance data in the ever-increasing “prove-you’re-teaching-and-they-are-learning” world of government schools.  The strongest pressure, however, can come from peers.

In handing out a “pre-test”, a beginning of a semester assessment to find out where students are on a subject, a teacher was explaining to the class.

“This is NOT for a grade. This is to help me find out where to start. If you already know most of what is on this pre-test, I’ll be able to give you higher-level work.”

A student in the class spoke up, Continue reading Anybody can be mediocre

7 Reasons To Hire Workers Over 50

Credit to  Ron GrimesSr Software Engineer, Web Applications, Silicon Valley Firm

My seven reasons to hire a 50+ worker:

Person Holding Hire Me Sign in Crowd1) We won’t spend half the day surfing websites that have nothing to do with our job.

2) We won’t exhibit a Pavlovian response to our cell phones every time they make a sound.

3) We don’t think text messages and emails require an immediate response; we know how to schedule a specific time slot in the day to respond to them (if they’re not an emergency).

4) We won’t be taking maternity/paternity leave for 2-3 months, leaving you wondering how you’re going to get that project done on time now.

5) We won’t have to take off early to pick up a sick child from school.

6) We don’t have to Google how to do something because we actually know how to do it, based on having done it a hundred times. We don’t pretend experience, but actually have it.

7) We’ve seen a hundred different ways to do things, and aren’t limited by the narrow mindedness of thinking everything has to fit within how our college professor told us is the “right” way to do it (e.g., we’re not as prone to being pedantic).

Works for me. I’m over 50. Check me out here.

VMO Business Card


And…..they’re OFF!

By John Gardner

College Dorm MoveMost of the college students are on campus by now. I’ve been enjoying the posts (more from the parents of the freshmen than anyone else) about their first (or even their last) child going off to school. As for wife Joan and I;

“Been there. Done that.”

Parents express concern that their children won’t call — or come home often enough. That’s legit, but if we parents have done OUR jobs…..they will. Ours did….and yours will too.

As a teacher I am grateful and appreciative when graduates that shared four years of their high school life at least leave me on their “friend” or “follow” list so I can continue to follow their personal and professional growth. And no! That’s not creepy. Its caring.

Sometimes I wish grads would touch base more, but I can’t judge as I didn’t keep in touch with my high school or college teachers. And I think I know why…

Few of my high school teachers ever took a personal interest in much more than whether the academic overload they were heaping on me was soaking in….at least so that my test scores would help them keep their jobs. The ones who DID take interest, I was never comfortable with how to approach or respond after graduation. I regret that.

As a teacher, I invest interest and energy into students. I want to know more than just whether or not they can pass my class. And I would love to hear from them after they go. I know. I’m just a high school teacher. And the reality is that for many, I am just the part-time assistant. So I get it. And I deserve it.

But I hope for more…..

Graduates, most of YOUR high school teachers DO care and would love to hear from you. Never feel like you are interrupting. If you don’t know what to call them (are they still Mr/Mrs/Ms?), then ask. If you’re not comfortable with first names, that’s ok. They just want to hear from you.

Maybe a note sometime about something you discuss in a college class that reminds of you of something from high school — or maybe that you have finally realized the value of some of those talks about making smart decisions — or maybe that you have bounced back from a hole you fell into during your teen years.

Never assume that you cannot encourage a teacher mentor.

Some of my favorites have been……

  • someone now working on a doctorate who just found that reference letter I wrote and asked for permission to use it again.
  • a college grad who wrote to say that, “I wish I had listened to you….but I’m okay now….finally.”
  • “can I take YOU out to dinner. I want to say thank you.”
  • stories from the students I taught who now have children in high school and college.
  • …and probably something YOU posted or wrote to me.

Oh, and by the way — now that I am no longer your teacher and you are no longer my student, whether you continue to call me by first name or last — is totally up to you. I answer to just about anything, you know.

Have a great college life.


10 Excuses From Unproductive People

By John Gardner

From a post published at:

If we are going to "Aspire to Greatness", we must reduce the excuses. We must put marching band at the TOP of the list. Yes?!1. I’m overworked.
2. That’s not my job.
3. I’ll finish that later
4. I don’t have all of the answers yet.
5. I’ll wait for the boss to tell me what to do.
6. I don’t understand all of the variables.
7. I don’t see the benefit for me.
8. I might not get the credit.
9. I’m worried about my quality of work.
10. I might fail.

My thoughts on Robin Williams

By John Gardner

Watch Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to Robin Williams, which includes his first appearance on Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show”.

Here’s one of several tributes from ABC News

No one questions his talent. I grew up watching Mork and Mindy and saw many (not all) of the movies he was in. When we hear of his amazing success, it is difficult to understand how someone with a $35 million dollar house can be depressed. Yet, like so many others who have “made it”, he went through addictions, divorces and financial struggles. 

Now that he is gone, everyone talks about how badly he was, yet how much experience and medicine there is with successfully dealing with his type of mental illness. Why didn’t they address that sooner?

A local facebook user posted how his was, and we’ve heard the phrase, a “permanent solution to a temporary situation”. 

Was he selfish — or just sick?

Oh……but no one addresses this part of his problem:

He didn’t know Jesus.

In one of his monologues, he mocks Christians. Sad.

Of course Christians can experience depression and some deal with it via suicide. But can you imagine how awesome it would have been to have a fired up Christian Williams in revival?Now those are sermons I could stay awake for.

Thanks for reading,

Pics and Videos from this Week

John Gardner:

This is a reblog from the band’s web/blog. If you have good motivational, band related pics, please share. Thanks, John

Originally posted on Huntington North Bands:

In case you missed them on the band’s Facebook Page

Aspire to Greatness

If we are going to "Aspire to Greatness", we must reduce the excuses. We must put marching band at the TOP of the list. Yes?!
If we are going to “Aspire to Greatness”, we must reduce the excuses. We must put marching band at the TOP of the list. Yes?!
People who write motivational books talk about being willing to fail. But that means "pulling out all the stops", it means "going for it". But in the world of Marching Band, "Failure Is Not An Option", right?!
People who write motivational books talk about being willing to fail. But that means “pulling out all the stops”, it means “going for it”. But in the world of Marching Band, “Failure Is Not An Option”, right?!
This is a random post I found. But just imagine filling up our room like this. It takes ALL of us. YOU need to tell people that being in band is a good thing. WE need to teach, encourage, mentor and recruit. WE CAN DO THIS! Here's a thought..... let's make them build us a NEW band room because we don't fit.
This is a random post I found. But just imagine filling up our room like this. It takes ALL of us. YOU need to tell people that being in band is a good thing. WE need to teach, encourage, mentor and recruit. WE CAN DO THIS! Here’s a thought….. let’s make them build us a NEW band room because we don’t fit.
No! No violence. But seniors, YOU can step it up a bit, be the example and EXPECT perfection from those around you. Let's just get it done, okay?! No! No violence. But seniors, YOU…

View original 13 more words

School Backpack or No Backpack

By John Gardner

Attractive student back to schoolSchool has started where I teach. I completely support the logic behind my school’s strictly enforced “no back packs” rule. When I took a ‘personal day’ to visit another school for my fundraising business, it took me a while to notice what was bothering me — nearly every student was carrying a book bag, most of the back pack variety. Two different schools with different reasons. Without criticizing either, I’ll share a little about both.


1700 students
Grades 9-12
In City (Small Town)
Students from City/County
Only school in the county
Students carry iPads in protective covers

RULE: Students may not carry back packs / book bags to classes or have them in the hallways. They may use them to transport materials to/from school, but are to place them in locker upon arrival and retrieve them after dismissal from last class.

REASON: Too easy to hide or transport unwanted or illegal items; mainly weapons or drugs. 


500 students
Grades 7-12
In County (just north of small town)
Students from County (no city)
3 High Schools in County (2 rural, 1 city)
Students carry Macbook Airs

RULE: Students must transport school-provided Macbook Air laptops in a protected, student-provided manner – book bags and back packs recommended.

REASON: Computer protection during transport

What is YOUR school rule and reasoning?

Thanks for reading,


Fed-Ex Fun

By John Gardner

When pkg coming FedEx, didn’t know they don’t leave it if you’re not there. Had to take my bar-coded Door Tag and drive 40 min x 2 and go thru some cool security to pick it up from a well-hidden, interestingly secure facility. It was almost like getting into a school bldg with the buzzer, but included a iron swivel gate across a parking lot, then again into the building. Had to show ID. Lots of signs about carrying weapons and such. I do understand and appreciate the attention toward protecting packages…. but for all that fun and inconvenience, thought I’d share this video with apologies to my church friend.