Monday, March 31, 2008

Out like a lamb my butt!

This is what I woke up to this morning. 3" to 4" inches of snow on my deck, and as you can see, it's sticking to the road. This is one mean lamb.....

Saturday, March 29, 2008

You have to read the "Kitchen Remodel" comments to get this picture.

That's the comments for the post right below, yeah, down there. Yeah just click on the title and you'll get all the comments to it.....

Finally finished remodeling my kitchen.

It's amazing how much difference raising the ceiling a foot and a half makes in how roomy a kitchen looks.....

More stuff from emails

One must be ever vigilant. I got this in an email,

It is a matter of history that when Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps, he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead.. He did this because he said in words to this effect: 'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses - because somewhere down the track of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened. All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing'. This week, the University of Kentucky removed The Holocaust from its school curriculum because it 'offended' the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. This is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it. It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated with the German and Russian peoples looking the other way! Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be 'myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets. This e-mail is intended to reach 40 million people worldwide! Be a link in the memorial chain and help distribute this around the world. Don't just delete this. It will only take a minute to pass this along.

and although I agree with it's sentiment and know that there are people who deny the Holocaust ever happened, I just had to check out the University of Kentucky part of the story. So I Googled "U of Kentuckly Holocaust". I only bothered with the first page, because every single one of the 7 sites that came up denounced this as a hoax. [,,,,,,]. I included the entire text of the email because I do believe in paying homage to all the people that died in WWII, Holocaust victims and Allied forces alike, and there are morons out there that deny it ever happened. But I do want to remind people that you MUST check out the stories in these chain emails we all get. 99% (my made up statistic) of them are bogus.
Why dogs bite people:
Click on either picture to see the rest of them.....
And finally;
Proof that dog really is man's best friend:
If you don't believe it, just try this experiment.
  • Put your dog and your wife in the trunk of the car for an hour.
  • When you open the trunk, who is really happy to see you!
Have a great day...

Friday, March 28, 2008

In honor of my little brother,

who delivered pizza for years, and can still drive like a pizza delivery guy....
Click on picture to see it full sized.

How to spend your tax rebate

Got this (below, not the comic) in an e-mail, and although it's probably not entirely accurate, it's scary that there is some truth to it;

As you may have heard, the Bush Administration has said that each and every one of us would now get a nice rebate.

  • If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to China.
  • If we spend it on gasoline it will all go to the Arabs.
  • If we purchase a computer it will all go to India.
  • If we purchase fruit and vegetables it will all go to Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala.
  • If we purchase a good car it will all go to Japan.
  • If we purchase useless crap it will all go to Taiwan and none of it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America, so the only way to keep that money here at home is to buy beer, guns, prostitutes, and cigarettes, since those are the only businesses still in the US.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I'm a banana

Yeah, I'm bored. Nobody said that college would be riviting every second....

You Are a Banana

You are mellow, easy going, and a total softie on the inside.

People find it really easy to get along with you. You suit most tastes.

And while you're very sweet, you're not boring or ordinary.

You have an attraction to the exotic, and you could show up anywhere... doing almost anything!

You are spirited, energetic, and a total kick to be around.

You're also quite funny. Your sense of humor is on the goofy side, and it fits you well.

Going downhill fast....

Way back on December 22, 2007 I found a site that would rate the reading level of my blog. I rated at the Junior High level. Well I just checked it again and didn't fare so well. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL? Must be all those G.W. quotes I've been putting on the blog, 'cause it certainly ain't me! That's the story I'm giving and I'm sticking with it.
The worst part about the whole thing is that I was motivated to check out my blog status because Leilani had hers rated while we were sitting here at class. Which means that she was sitting right next to me as I rated mine. Me = Elementary, Leilani = ? Go ahead, guess. She teaches at a Junior, not Jr. not High School either. Yeah, genius. She gets a Genius and I'm demoted to Elementary School. Needless to say, but I will anyway, I received a full ration of crap from her for this. I'm a genius, you're a moron. Ah well, c'est la vie. At least my bolg is available to a wider readership.

We broke the 300 barrier!

300 days of GW to go, 300 days of GW,
live through one to see the setting sun,
299 days of GW to go.

Let's see.  5 years in Iraq.  5000 Americans died.  That's an average of 1000 a year.  That means "only" 819 more Americans will die while he's in office.

We talked about Personality Tests in Psychology today, so I went to to check out some stuff for class.  One of the tests I took was the Obama or Clinton test.  It seems that my expectations for the next president better fit Obama than Clinton.  To take the test, just click HERE.  I also discovered that if I were a character in a horror movie, I'd avoid getting killed for 65% of the movie. (Test #29 of the top 40).

Anyway, here's to 299 days until we get a president.  God, please don't let it be McCain.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Ralph Wiggums for President in 2008

More stuff from my Bush Countdown Calendar;

"No question that the enemy has tried to spread sectarian violence. They use violence as a tool to do that." - Washington, D.C., March 2006.

"If the Iranians were to have a nuclear weapon they could proliferate" - Washington, D.C., March 21, 2006.

"We've tripled the amount of money - I believe it's from $50 million up to $195 million available." - Lima, Peru, March 23, 2002.

Fame, I'm gonna live forever...

I got a nice little surprise this morning, an unsolicited recognition from an official Snowmobiling website in Quebec. He sent it in as a comment to my last post, but I just have to move it here to the front;

Congratulations, your snowmobile story has made you featured Blog of the week on Thanks for the great pics and your funny text! Jerry aka Zenwaiter

The caption on a picture of Zenwaiter with a bare-bottomed calendar girl reads : "Who says beautiful swimsuit models don't like fat old balding flatulent men?" Yeah, my kind of humor. Anyway, thanks for the recognition, I've never been blog of the week before.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

It's dirt biking, except it's cold, wet and every time you turf it you have to dig in the cold and the wet.

Alex, Danny and I brought the snowmobile back up to the land again today to see if we could actually make it there this time. We did, but not without difficulty. The roads were not too bad for the snowmobile for the most part, although they would have been hell, if not impossible, in the Durango. At the corner right before the entrance to our "ranch" it got really deep, like 3+ feet, and fluffy. The first time I went up there it was right at that corner that I stuck the snowmobile in a snowbank. Fun stuff trying to dig the thing out, all by myself. The good thing is that I learned not to gun it from the experience with Alex a couple weeks ago. All that does is dig it deeper into the snow. So I tried once to get it going, stopped as soon as it started to dig and proceed to dig it out and bunny-hop the back end out of it's rut. As much fun as that was, I decided not to try blazing a new trail and just turned around and went back to where Alex and Danny were (they had both taken their turns already). Then Alex went back up, this time with the keys to the gate, and made it all the way to the camp area. Not without burying and digging out the snowmobile himself. When he came back, I took another turn, this time determined to make it to the campground for some pictures. When I buried the thing a second time something I had said about ice fishing came to mind. When asked if I wanted to go ice fishing one time, I responded with "Let's see, it's cold, it's wet and it's fishing, uh, no." Well I feel that same way about snowmobiling now. It's cold, it's wet, and unlike dirt biking, when you dump it you can't just pick it back up and go on your way. I think I'll give up snowmobiling. But, I got up to the campground anyway and got some good pictures. You'll see the snow on the roof of the cabin. And that last picture, look hard, do you see the bathtub we have out in the clearning? Of course not, it's buried in snow. You can just barely see the top of the towel rack we have out there. All in all, it was a good day, but then again for the most part, time spent with my brothers is always good times...

Photos from Eurekafest 2008

Click HERE to see the photo gallery from the Eureka trip mentioned in the previous post, and if you want to read Paperback Writer's view of our trip, click HERE.

Friday, March 21, 2008

If it's a mine shaft, can you still call it speelunking?

Being a teacher has it's perks. We're on spring break, and when the rest of the 9-5'ers were working, Paperback Writer and I were cruising the highways and byways of Juab and Tooele (two-ill-uh) counties. It started out as a ghost town hunt. No, not as in the ghost town where the Brady Bunch gets locked in the old jail. Ghost towns are scattered throughout this area, towns that are still inhabited, but have suffered since the mining boon days. In Eureka, the first town we went to, there are dilapidated buildings right next to the functioning General Store. They even have a brand new High School in town, yet the old theatre is roofless and gutted. We ran into Mr. Davis at the Painted Lady knick nack store who told us all about the history of Eureka, with pictures and everything. Up on the hill, past the brand new homes being built, was what looked like an old power station. One corner was completely missing and there was nothing but structural beams inside. It was fenced in so we didn't get a real good look, but I got a few good pictures. Further down the road we came across an old mine of some sort. At first glance all we saw was what looked like a ramp for dumping the ore in trucks or trains, and a big hole where a mountain used to be. We went up to it and found a mine shaft. Maybe 100 feet long and straight through the solid rock. From the looks of things, it seems that it was the original shaft for mining, until they decided to do some open-pit mining, which kind of plugged up the back end of the shaft. Anyway, we walked all the way to the back, but didn't try looking out the back because that was the one area that didn't look to secure, and the opening didn't look that big anyway. From there we headed north around the Oquirrhs, figuring we'd head home through Tooele, up to I-80 and SR 201 past Magna. Somewhere around the small town of Vernon we got hungry, so we decided to stop at the Silver Sage Cafe and see what they had to eat. As a kid we went on a lot of road trips and my dad had this incredible knack for finding the best food where you would least expect it. It seems I've inherited the talent because as soon as Writer pointed out the place I knew it was the place to eat. And I was right. We ordered the special "Chick ala Rick", grilled chicken, onions and mushrooms topped with melted swiss cheese. The owner told us that one of their cooks had invented it just the other day, and believe it or not, I guessed the cooks name. Anyhow, it was excellent, and even came with those big, crispy fries that weren't soaked in grease. Excellent meal, and with a coke came to $6.44. Harland came in for a cup of coffee, two other people that the owners knew by name came in for lunch. The theme song to "Cheers" started running through my head as I realize Writer and I were the only ones that the owners didn't know by name. Great people, they didn't even flinch when I asked if I could move their rolling trash can out from between the gas pumps so I could get a picture of my '69 Ford next to their 1970's pumps. Remember the pumps that had the numbers on gears that turned as the gas pumped. Yeah, move the decimal from 3.27 to .327 a gallon and you'd swear I took the picture back in 1971. Well, it's almost midnight and the synapses aren't working at peak efficiency (no comments, please) so I think I'll head off to sleep. I have a bunch of pictures of the trip (no kidding?) and as soon as I get their captions done, I'll let ya know.......

Ode ot Cottonwood Mall

Click Here

In my Technology class we had to make up a PhotoStory 3 project. This is what I did.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Stupid Battery!

The battery kept dying on Old Blue, and it was a pretty new battery so I figured it had to be something else. Alternator? Short draining the system? Tried this, tried that, tried the other thing. Everything seemed to be checking out all right. Leaving only the possibility of a short. Now a short in the electrical system would be pretty inexpensive to fix (39 cents or so), but can literally run into hundreds of dollars to find. Even on '69 LTD there are miles of wiring weaving throughout the car, rubbing up against metal where it could cause a short. I was not looking forward to that. In one last attempt to diagnose the issue, I swaped it's battery with the convertible's. That was over a week ago, and Old Blue has been starting with no problem whatsoever. Last evening it was pretty warm and I decided to take the convertible out for a drive. Not so much. It had inherited the exact same problem starting that Old Blue had. Sounded exactly the same, reacted exactly the same. Now I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but I think it's the battery. Time to find the receipt (hahahahahaha) and get a new one. $50 vs. several hundred. Even when I have to pay for a new battery (there is no way in hell I still have that receipt) it's better than a short in the system......
And just so you can keep track of which car I'm talking about:
This is Old Blue
This is The Convertible
This is The Subaru

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


The Zen of Sarcasm
  1. Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me either. Just pretty much leave me the hell alone.
  2. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire. [for me it was a blown water pump, 7am in Spanish Fork, Utah]
  3. Its always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbor's newspaper, that's the time to do it.
  4. Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.
  5. Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.
  6. Never test the depth of the water with both feet.
  7. If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments.
  8. Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away and you have their shoes.
  9. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is probably not for you.
  10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
  11. If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.
  12. If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
  13. Some days you're the bug; some days you're the windshield.
  14. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
  15. The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket.
  16. A closed mouth gathers no foot.
  17. Duct tape is like 'The Force.' It has a light side and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.
  18. There are two theories to arguing with women. Neither one works.
  19. Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving.
  20. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
  21. Never miss a good chance to shut up.
  22. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Jeff!

Monday, March 17, 2008


  1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car) Tancy Ford

  2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie) Blueberry Shortbread

  3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal) Blue Leopard

  4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) Michael Princeton

  5. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink) The Red Jagermeister

  6. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers) Norman Rafaele

  7. STRIPPER NAME: (the name of your favorite perfume/cologne/scent, favorite candy) Fresh Air Mounds

  8. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ) Slater Bevan (my father has no middle name, so I used both of my mothers)

  9. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter) Richards Riverton

  10. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower) Spring Cactus

  11. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”) Orange Tightie

  12. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree) Coffee Pine

  13. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”) The Photography Sunshine Tour

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Beware the Ides of March.

Yeah. I thought winter was over. Not so much, though. I went over to Dan & Rae's house to play Pinocle and it was snowing a little as I left the house. For a second I thought about taking the Subaru, but decided it was unnecessary and headed out in Old Blue. After all, it's the middle of March, spring is right around the corner, the weather forecast was for rain & snow mix and it's been warm enough that the snow won't stick to the roads anyway. Yeah, right. Six inches of snow awaited me when it was time to go home, and it was sticking to the roads. I wasn't too worried, even though Old Blue is rear wheel drive, it's heavy enough to get around in the snow, and it was mostly slush on the ground, but I have a long driveway, uphill and steep at the beginning, so it was enough to make me wish I had taken the Subaru. But alas, in Salt Lake a couple of miles makes a big difference in weather conditions. At my house there wasn't more than a couple inches of snow, and the roads were rivers of water rather than even slush. (Through the snowflakes you can see the water flowing down the road by my house, or at least you can see the reflection of the taillights on the water). So, there was a little bit of snow on the driveway, I had to take it easy up the driveway, and avoid stopping, but I made it into the garage no problem. Yea me.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Josh!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Leaches and Your Money will Soon Be United

More from my Foreign Corrospondant :

Remember when a traffic stop was an opportunity to show how civic minded you were and all you wanted to do was get it over quickly and be on your way.

Well it seems to some it is an opportunity to vent your frustrations at the officer who pulled you over and then walk away belligerently when you don’t get your way. The prize is you get $40,000 of taxpayer money if you get tazed in the process.

I’m sure you have seen the video of the officer, tazer gun drawn, yelling commands at a young kid as the kid walks back to his car. After repeated commands the officer fires and the kid drops to the ground.

If you look at the video closely you will see what the officer is so afraid of. As the kid walks toward his car, he turns his back to the officer and puts his right hand in his pocket. If you watch any of the “cops” shows on TV you will know that often this leads to the officer being shot.

The officer may have been a little over zealous, but he was following department policy in a very difficult situation. A department policy designed after many cops have been killed thinking “this is only a kid giving me a bad time – he’ll just go away”.

Police work is dangerous and unpredictable. When an officer orders you to put your hands on your head and stop what you are doing, you should do what he says.

The District Attorney’s office made the right move in saving taxpayer money by avoiding a lengthy trial, but if it were my vote I would have paid a little more just to see the officer vindicated in the civil proceedings as he was in the criminal investigation.

OK so you are feeling morally outraged at the audacity of this kid’s lack of personal responsibility in this matter. Why didn’t he just take his ticket and say “lesson learned”?

Here is another example of someone who doesn’t know when to let things go.

About 10 years ago 4 guys stole a truck, robbed a convenience store in Colorado and headed into the desert southwest, the 4 corners area, to hide out. A massive man hunt ensued. The FBI offered a $150,000 reward for the capture, arrest and/or information leading to a conviction of these heinous criminals. Three of the fugitives are captured, the fourth is never found.

Fast forward to today, Dickie Hicks (not his real name) is walking along a sandy river bottom in a desolate canyon in extreme southeast Utah and he comes upon the decaying remains of criminal number four.

Dickie immediately notifies the FBI and they give him $75,000 as a token of their appreciation. No criminal to convict, no bad guy to bring to justice, just an end to a frustrating case.

Dickie Hicks could have just walked away and said thanks, not a bad days work. But no, “the FBI said the reeeward was $150,000 (one hunred and fity tousand dollars)” and he deserved it all. He is suing the FBI for the remainder of the reward money.

Aside from the fact that $75K is probably more than Dickie Hicks has earned in his life, does he really want to make the feds mad? Does he really want them crawling around in his tax returns (assuming he filed them)?

I’m sure both of these men deep down at some point said about their adventure “boy that was lucky”. But someone or something told them they deserved more, this was their opportunity to get something out of this situation and they should take it. The unfortunate thing is that we as taxpayers are paying for these individual’s greed.

I can’t wait until my turn comes up, until I am in a situation where the government will pay me for doing something stupid or just ambling along a dry creek bed. I think I’ll speed down to the 4 corners area for a hike.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ok, it could happen in Texas too.....

The 2008 Utah State Legislative session is over. And when any good thing comes to an end, people want a little keepsake to remember it by. Same goes for natural disasters. So, Rep.Curt Oda, R-Clearfield came up with an order form so legislators could order their own little piece of memorabilia to display. A Commerative Plate? Coin? Mug? Plaque? No, no, no and no. He had commissioned for 2008 Legislative Commerative Glock's. That's a gun. For $507, any legislator can have a handgun engraved with the Capitol Dome and "Utah State Legislature". You think I could interest PETA in genuine ivory statues of endangered species? (Less likely to sell, but every bit as inappropriate).

What the hell is wrong with this picture?

Jared Massey, where the hell do you get off suing the UHP because you were tasered? You pleaded guilty to going 61 MPH in a 40 zone. You paid the $107 fine. But I guess you figured that wasn't a bad investment for a $40,000 return. Why should I, as a taxpayer, have to pay you for being an arrogant jackass? You were speeding. You refused to comply with the demands of a law officer that legally pulled you over. You were argumentative, dismissive and acted in a manner that reasonable human beings know not to. Even as a teenager I knew how to behave when I was pulled over for speeding. Anyway, it's time for a class action lawsuit against one of these frivolous lawsuits (even Massey knew he wouldn't win in court, why do you think he settled for a measley $40,000). Anyone interested?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Happy Birthday Scott!

I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends

We had a 30th Birthday party for my niece Lynda today. Dad was there. Julia (my wicked step-mother) Raffi (my half-brother). My older brother, Marijke (his wife), younger brother (good thing, 'cause it was at his house), Rachel (his wife). Lynda's husband and her sisters, her kids and of course Danny's kids. And the African kid that my dad and Julia are helping through college here. Yeah, I probably didn't have to list everybody, but once I got started I didn't want to leave anyone out. Anyhoo, we had a great time. Good food and good company. Anything better? I'm sitting on the couch with my dad, chatting, and he glances over at Lynda and then looks at me and says "I can't believe I have a 30 year old granddaughter." Anyways, before I get into a big "where did the time go" whine-fest, let's just say that there is no decade of my life that sticks out as the best, or the worst, each one has been equally valuable to me. Yeah, I miss some of the things I could do in my 20's. Stay up all night, work 12 hours, go home, party all night and then do it all over again. But I didn't own a house that is my home, at least one car that is reliable and have a stable job that I love. If the next 40 is going to be as enjoyable as the last 40(+), then bring 'em on..........
(oh, the picture is my older brother and his wife, when she was pregnant with her first, my neice that just turned 30. I entered it in a Salt Lake Tribune Photo Contest and won an Honorable Mention. She was about 8 months pregnant and tossing the football around in the back yard with Alex.)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yeah, I'm gonna brag a bit......

We got our first draft of our Research Analysis project back tonight in class. Before she passed out the corrected papers, she gave us the "don't worry about your grade, it's only 10% of your overall grade" speech. Had us all worried about how bad we did. Well, "me" did pretty good, 10 out of 10. "Great 1st Analysis". I don't know how everybody else did, but from her speech, I really don't think that there were many 10's. So, forgive my bragging, but I'm pretty surprised and excited about the grade.

Happy Birthday Jenn!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Um, what?

George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., March 2005
  • "In this job you've got a lot on your plate on a regular basis; you don't have much time to sit around and wander, lonely, in the Oval Office, kind of asking different portraits, 'How do you think my standing will be?'"

High School is different than Jr. High. First of all, you don't get to teach Psychology in Jr. High, so I'd never have been discussing adolescence, puberty, hormones and other such fun things in the first place. But I've also decided that they are sophisticated enough to find more appropriate ways of being inappropriate.
Chapter 11, Adolescence. We're discussing maturing and the effects of early and late maturing on boys and girls. (Girls don't like maturing early, boys don't like maturing late). A 9th grade boy raises his hand and says he read a report that said that teenage boys do check out other boys' "packages" in the locker room, I'm assuming to confirm that they are concerned about where they fit in the maturity spectrum. I didn't get the chance to make that point because an 11th grade boy blurts out "I just check out my own package." Now I won't argue that it may not have been the best response, but I literally had to leave the room I was laughing so hard. The history teacher came by and saw me with my head to the wall, laughing my guts out and, of course, had to ask what was so funny. So I told her, and turns out I'm not the only one that found it amusing. I think that the reason I found it so funny, despite being inappropriate, was that it was completely unexpected and yet still tied into the class discussion. He was paying attention to what we were talking about at least..........

Monday, March 03, 2008

Happy Birthday Lynda!

Now you may be wondering why I use a specific picture for someone's birthday, like for instance this one. Well, the reason you may get a give picture is because of the way I get them. I Google "Happy Birthday Lynda" and pick from the pictures that come up. Yeah, weird. But it gives it a little more pizazz than just saying Happy Birthday.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

You may just want to check out the links and skip the writing.

While other teachers were off enjoying their vacation after parent/teacher conferences, I had to go to the UCET (Utah Coalition for Educational Technology) all day Friday and Saturday morning. That's Ok, it was a pretty good conference. The keynote speaker was a blogger for the New York Times, talked about Web 2.0, was hilarious and ended with a couple of songs - one was a medley regarding Web 2.0 and the other was titled "I want an iPhone" (YouTube link here). He had us laughing through the entire speech, and at the end when he sang the last song, the geeks in the audience started waving their lit up iPhones the way we used to wave our lighters at concerts. It was pretty funny, at least for us geeks.
Anyway, although my job as STS required me to go to the conference, the other benefit of it was that I get out of a final exam in my Educational Technology class for going. So, this post, for the most part, is for the purpose of documenting my thoughts about the conference for class. I did get a list of web sites that for one reason or another I wanted to keep, you may want to check out some of these.
Ok, first of all the keynote speech was excellent. (see above)
The first session I went to was on movie making in the classroom, and specifically using the Public Service Announcement (PSA) format. We talked about the format - catchy, 30 - 60 seconds, uses humor, fear or guilt. Then they let us loose and we had to make a PSA on technology in the classroom. We had fun making a sarcastic anti-technology PSA. I didn't see any natural way to fit it into my Math curriculum, but thought it would be great for Psychology. Last semester we did powerpoint presentations on various psychological disorders, and I think it would be fantastic to have them do PSA's on them instead. Considering how good the presentations were, I can just imagine how great their videos could be. Of course they won't all be great, but then again, neither were the presentations.
I also went to the Photoshop III session, despite not having been to Photoshop I & II. But I figured I'd spent enough time playing with pictures that I would be able to get something out of this one. And I did, I learned a lot about masks, the ability to merge one picture with another and the different ways of fading from one to another. Unlike the PSA session I went, this one did not give me any new ideas for my classroom, simply built up the tools I was aware of in a program I already use. Not a waste of my time, but nothing new for my classroom.
Finally, I went to a Sketch-up session and learned a lot of new things about the program. Sketch-up is a 3-D program, the one Google developed to add the 3rd dimension to Google Earth. It's a cool program that I had messed around with before, but learned a few things from this session. I used to have a hard time making the rooms of the houses I made plans for work out to the right size, I learned how to actually input the numbers to get it right. Like with Photoshop, this just added to my tools in a program I already use and know. It did not give me something new to use in the classroom, just made my use of it better.
Overall the conference was great. I discovered a great new way to involve technology in my Psychology class, went to the vendors and found a DVD player that will skip unwanted aspects of movies and had a few good laughs. I also saw quite a few people that I rarely get to see. It would have been nice if it hadn't been right after Parent/Teacher conferences, but I still don't regret going to it.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Just can't trust anybody these days

There's nothing like roommates who move in, pay rent on time, fix up your kitchen and then move out. How rude. Anyway, I have the house to myself again. And I have a kitchen that looks a lot better than it did 6 months ago. We finished the sheetrock, matched ceiling's texture, nice oak, new flooring, paint and voila, looks awesome. To see some before & after comparisons, click here.