Saturday, January 29, 2011

Miscellaneous Stuff

I was at the grocery store buying the ingredients for my world famous spaghetti sauce.  Ok, it’s not world famous, but it’s pretty good.  I spent a decent amount of time in the produce section, really good sauce requires the fresh stuff.   I was making my second round through, looking to see if there was anything I was missing, when this little old lady (who had been there the whole time) says that from what she saw me buying she could tell I was a good cook, and that she was wondering why I chose the white onions over either red or yellow.  I explained that I liked them better because the other onions are a lot sweeter, and that with the tomatoes I preferred the less sweet onions.  Now, usually a trip to the grocery store is tedious and boring, but this one little 3 minute encounter made it somewhat enjoyable.  It’s not very often people you don’t know at all will feel comfortable taking up a couple minutes of your time for a little advice, all too often people are in such a hurry that it would be met as an imposition.  To me, even if I were in a hurry, I don’t mind sacrificing a couple minutes for a little pleasant human interaction.

If you’re not a Trekkie, or at least know some Star Trek lore, and you haven’t seen Galaxy Quest, you may not get this.  Today I was, once again, watching the movie Galaxy Quest while making my spaghetti sauce and was reminded of one of the more subtle ironies of the movie.  At the end, when ‘Lobster Head’ proceeds to shoot everyone on the bridge, the one and only crew member of the Starship Protector that does not get shot is Guy.  The irony is that this character is a parody of a Star Trek extra, generally the first one to get killed in any episode, and he spends the movie worrying about when and how he is going to die.  Funny movie.  If you either love or hate Star Trek, it’s a must see.

And finally, thanks to everyone for their concerns about my dental issues this last couple of weeks.  I’m still feeling a little tired from yesterday’s root canal and laser deep cleaning, but am definitely well on the way to recovery. 

Lunch curves

Kids are weird.  In the middle of winter they dress like it’s summer, and then complain that it’s too cold in my classroom.  In the summer they wear their hoodies and complain the classroom is too hot. Although in their defense (at least for the ones who dress reasonably) since we don’t have air conditioning, often in the fall and summer it really does get intolerably hot.
Regardless, they will still choose to go sit at the benches outside to eat their lunch, even if they have to pack down the snow to get to them.  I took these pictures of the snow packed, circular (curved) lunch tables one evening after a dance concert I helped with.  I was amazed to see that the kids would be all but sitting, and literally standing, in the snow for lunch.  Lunatics.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Senior Texting Codes

In four more years I’ll be eligible for Sizzler’s Senior Citizen discount, so I probably shouldn’t find these so funny.  And yet, at least for the ones I put in blue, I find them hilarious.  Hope you do too.

  • ATD: At The Doctor's
  • BFF: Best Friend Farted
  • BTW: Bring The Wheelchair
  • BYOT: Bring Your Own Teeth
  • CBM: Covered By Medicare
  • CUATSC: See You At The Senior Center
  • DWI: Driving While Incontinent
  • FWB: Friend With Beta Blockers
  • FWIW: Forgot Where I Was
  • FYI: Found Your Insulin
  • GGPBL: Gotta Go, Pacemaker Battery Low!
  • GHA: Got Heartburn Again
  • GSMA: Government Screwed Me Again
  • HGBM: Had Good Bowel Movement
  • IMHO: Is My Hearing-Aid On?
  • LMDO: Laughing My Dentures Out
  • LOL: Living On Lipitor
  • LWO: Lawrence Welk's On
  • NSSCOLA: No Social Security Cost Of Living Again
  • OMMR: On My Massage Recliner
  • OMSG: Oh My! Sorry, Gas.
  • ROFL... CGU: Rolling On The Floor Laughing... And Can't Get Up
  • SGGP: Sorry, Gotta Go Poop
  • TTYL: Talk To You Louder
  • VFW?: Vote For Who?
  • WAITT: Who Am I Talking To?
  • WTFA: Wet The Furniture Again
  • WTP: Where's The Prunes?
  • WWNO: Walker Wheels Need Oil

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Threw me a curve ball…

This week’s Thematic Photographic is “curves”.  If you are interested in joining in, or just looking at a bunch of cool pictures, then click the banner at the bottom.  If not, hopefully you at least enjoy these.
This first picture is of the Colorado River as it weaves it’s way through Canyonlands National Park, just upstream from where it meets with the Green River.  I took it from atop Deadhorse Point, a butte that juts out towards the river.  The view is amazing from up there, you can see for miles and miles, with the only evidence of humanity being dirt roads criss-crossing the plateaus. If you look just a little bit away from the river, you realize that you are in fact in the middle of a desert.  This second picture is taken from the same overlook, all I did was turn 90° to the right and look downward. Just before getting to the Deadhorse Point Overlook you come across a dirt road heading off to the left.  Over a hundred miles of dirt roads, switchbacks and rocky roads bring you from the same altitude as the pictures were taken from, all the way down to the river itself.  The park rangers thought I was crazy when I told them I was going down it in my Subaru, but I’d been down it before in a Jeep and knew that, despite a few low-clearance scrapes, I’d make it fine.  We (Writer was on this trip with me) did, and even went by the ranger station the next day and let them know we survived. Truth is, I think their comments were more a case of CYA, a lot of people come down to the area completely unprepared and unaware of how dangerous it can be, and the rangers figure if they make it sound worse than it really is, only the people who actually know what they are getting into will continue.  Or, at the least, when the survivors sue (which happens often) they can at least say they were told it was dangerous. And finally (for today), this guy threw me a curve ball, right there at the Ranger Station.  Dogs in trucks are common here, but this guy looks like he just drove up and is about to get out, run over to the vending machine and get himself a diet Coke.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And then there were none…

<sarcastic font>One of the great things about teaching is that even when you call in sick, 9 times out of 10 you still have to drag your carcass out of bed, drive down to the school and get plans together for the substitute.
</sarcastic font>
But it was a gorgeous pre-sunrise view across the valley from there.  If my tooth hadn’t been killing me so bad I might have taken the time to get a better picture, but at least you can see how clear and blue the sky was.  I really liked how it goes from almost white right at the mountain tops to almost black as you look upward.
Anyway, ”and then there were none” – I had my last wisdom tooth extracted (that’s the nice way of saying ripped out of your jaw) this morning.  I went to the dentist last week and he was surprised that it was still there (I had 3 of them removed when I was in my early 20’s, now I’m in my early-early 50’s).  We planned some work on my teeth this Friday, but after a weekend of eating nothing but room-temperature chicken soup and getting little sleep, I called them up to see if they could fit me in today.  YES!  I had to drive 80 MPH from Salt Lake to Kaysville (26 miles, 43km or 25,094 smoots* from home) because the said they could get me in if I could get there ASAP. 
Anyway, I got there in time, they pulled out the tooth and now I’m home recuperating.  Matter of fact, the novocain is beginning to wear off, I think it’s time to take a pain pill and go lay down.
*Go to Google Maps, add the distance tool and then click two points on the map.  On the side there,where it gives you the choice of Metric or English, click on “I’m feeling geeky”  Here you can find how far it is between London and New York in obscure measurements like the Roman Double-Pace, Light-years,American Football fields, Olympic swimming pools and a dozen different types of Cubits.  One, which sounded particularly funny was the smoot.  My T.A. and I even marked 1 smoot on the wall of my classroom.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blue: It’s not just a color.

A couple of days ago I was playing around with my zoom lens in class.  It’s a lens from my 35mm film Nikon, I’ve had it since the early 80’s.  Although it does work with my newer digital Nikon SLR, it only works in manual mode.  Which is all fine with me, except when I forget that I didn’t switch back into auto mode when I put the original lens back on.
So I saw that the Thematic Photographic theme for this week would be blue and decided that since I had posted a lot about our inversions, it was time to show the good side.  I came out of school and looked towards the mountains at the east.  There was a big cloud over the mountains to the north, but directly east and somewhat south there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  The storm a couple days ago scrubbed the valley clean, and the view was crisp, the mountains snow covered and the sky an impeccable blue.  There was my picture for this week.  I took 20 pictures, with the standard, totally automatic lens my camera came with.  Unfortunately, the camera was still set on manual.  My heart sank when I pulled them up on my computer.  So, what should have been a beautiful blue sky over the stark white Wasatch Mountains turned into a blue mood.  Until I figured out how to make it work for me.  So, here is the best one of the bunch, the sky may not be blue, but I was when I saw it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

And the award goes to…..

Yup, my blog got an award.  It’s an award that is given from one blogger to another (so there’s no panel I had to buy off) just as a way of showing how much you appreciate the other’s blog.  Alexia, of dreaming of open seas gave me this one, and frankly I was honored.  We discovered each other’s blogs through the Thematic Photographic series, and have been followers ever since.

Part of this deal is I get to share 7 things about myself.  So, here they are, although some of you may know some of these already.

  1. I’ve owned 26 Fords in my life, which is just shy of half of all the vehicles I’ve owned.
  2. I’ve taught in 5 different schools stretching across the entire valley and all socio-economic levels.
  3. I’ve taught 4 completely different subjects. (Math, Stage Design, Computers and Psychology).
  4. I owned a pizza place that went belly-up in 6 months.
  5. I don’t own a full sized fridge, although I have a full sized kitchen.
  6. I originally entered college to become an architect.
  7. I spent a year in Europe when I was 10, getting there and returning by ocean liner.

I also get to pass this award on to other blogs that I really like, but I’m beginning to fall asleep so I’ll do that another time.  Sorry to keep you waiting.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fluffy Guy

We had an optional opera assembly today, we lengthened 4th period and kids that were willing to pay from their school-wide behavior rewards got out of class to see it.  I had a whopping 6 kids left in class, so we just watched a little YouTube, and they introduced me to this guy.

Some of his other stuff isn’t quite so school appropriate, (nothing too bad) so I had to keep my finger on the “Stop” button just in case, but when I got home I found a lot of it hilarious.  I’ll leave you with one more clip:

Monday, January 17, 2011


Sunday, January 16, 2011

And people still fall for this?

I got this email from our tech guy the other day (I added the italics for emphasis):

Staff, there is a phishing email going around again, something like what is below Please do not respond to this.  There were several in the district who did respond and it ended up getting Granite District email kicked off places like Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo and others.

Dear Account User

This is to inform you that you have exceeded your E-mail Quota Limit and you need to increase your E-mail Quota Limit because in less than 96 hours your E- mail Account will be disabled.Increase your E-mail Quota Limit and continue to use your Webmail Account. To increase your E-mail Quota Limit to 2.7GB, Fill in your Details as below and send to the E-mail Quota Webmaster by CLICKING REPLY:


Thank you for your understanding and corporation in helping us give you the Best of E-mail Service.

I thought we’d gotten to the point where every freaking adult that uses the internet knew, but seems not.  NEVER send personal information over the internet unless you are 100% sure you know who it is going to.  Email providers, banks, credit card companies and even blog, online picture and other service providers will never send you an email asking for this.  They are ALWAYS frauds.

A good way to have dealt with this would have been to take the time to go to the email service providers homepage, on your own and not through a link on the email, and ask them what is going on.  If you initiate the conversation you can almost always trust any emails that result from that conversation.  NEVER trust an email that initiates this kind of issue.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Friday, January 14, 2011

One of those days at the Chevron.

If home is ‘now’, the year 2011, then this picture qualifies for ‘far from home’.  Not because the picture is an old picture, but because there seemed to be a rip in the time-space continuum, and a kid from the 1980’s fell through.  In the picture he’s holding it down by his side as he waits his turn at the register, but when he walked into the store it was blaring loudly and balanced on his shoulder.  Yes, a boom box.  Next week I’m going to ask my classes if anyone knows what one is, my hypothesis is that is will be few since even Walkmans were out of style when they were born. Earlier in the evening my coworker was ringing up a gallon of milk and the I.D. check that pops up for tobacco and beer appeared.   Without even thinking he looked at the lady (in her 20’s) and asked her for her I.D.  She looked at him like he had monkeys flying out of his ears.  It was pretty funny, but not funny enough.  I sent a text to the manager to let her know;
I guess you now have to be 21 to buy the 1% milk.  Seems it was put into the computer as alcohol.  Now we don't want to fail the milk sting so we've been everyone who buys milk.  Got some surprised customers, especially the 17 year old we refused to sell it to.
I got back this;
LOL! Laura was supposed to fix that! Will you write down the UPC for me and put it on my door? Hahahahahaha!
Man, I can’t even fool someone I hardly ever work with.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Far out, man.

Janine and I went to high school together, and one evening we went out to dinner and brought my little brother along.  We were about 17, he was 11, and she enjoyed the little family scene so much that in my senior yearbook she wrote “When are we going to legalize it?  We can also adopt [little brother]? Kay, sweetie?

She has lived most of her adult life in Texas, but seems to come back to Utah to live (for a year or so) about every 5 years.  When she’s here we get together, these photos are from a visit in 2003.  We went down to the local planetarium, which has these areas made up so that you can stand in them and look like you are standing on either the moon or Mars.  I picked them first for this week because I figured “what’s further away from home than either of those places?

So, here we are, standing on the moon with a half-Earth in the sky and an astronaut looking for the keys to the spaceship. Here I am on Mars.  Holding my breath of course, because there’s no air on the planet anymore.  Just don’t ask why I could breathe on the moon, but not on Mars. This week’s theme on Carmi’s Thematic Photographic is “Far from home”.  Click on the banner below if you are in the mood to see some really interesting photos from a whole bunch of cool people all around this planet.  And if you have a good “Far from home” picture, be sure to join in the fun.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mr. Peabody’s Way-Back Machine: I-80 across the Utah border.

To what era would you attribute these comments:
We’re dropping [our] moral and ethical standards in favor of a more national [set], and I don’t like it,”… they contain “code words for socialism.”?
  • A) 1950’s U.S. Senate Committee Hearings
  • B) 2011 Utah Senator
  • C) Both of the above, because there’s really no difference between the two.
If you chose C) then you are right, because they really sound like something Joe McCarthy would have said back in the 50’s and yet they were said just this week by Chris Buttars, a Utah State Legislator.
Reported in the Salt Lake Tribune article, Buttars was referring to a new set of academic standards that 39 other states also plan to adopt.  Developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, not mandated by the Federal Government, the idea is that states need to become better aligned in their math and English curriculum because of an ever increasingly mobile population.
Personally, I agree with the goal.  I’m definitely not for the ultra micromanaging I’ve heard of in other cases, where every teacher should be teaching the exact same thing, with the exact same vehicles, on any given day.  Individualism aside, that doesn’t even allow for adapting to classes that learn faster/slower than others and would mean moving ahead even if the majority of students still don’t get it.  But, at least in math, to know that any student coming into my class has already gone over monomials, inequalities and other things that I have covered, would be quite helpful.  There may still be things that I have covered that their old teacher didn’t, or vica-versa, but at least common standards would help minimize these.
And, regardless of whether or not you agree with them, playing the communism/socialism card is just sooooo 1950’s.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

For the want of wet.

With apologies to those of you dealing with flooding right now, I have to admit I’m praying for some wet here.  We’re having one of our mid-winter inversions right now, where the weather traps the cold, the pollution and the humidity in the valley.  It’s actually warmer up at Parley’s Summit than it is in the city, some 2,500 feet higher in elevation.
I took a drive up there this afternoon, just to get out of the muck and hopefully catch a glimpse of the sun.  It was good for the soul, even though it was still cloudy at least the air was clear, fresh and crisp.
I’m adding this to the Thematic Photographic theme of ‘wet’ because the inevitable end to any inversion is a good, precipitation producing storm.  Either the winds before the storm scrub out the valley, or the rain/snow itself cleans the air, but either way it’s going to be better the next day.  And fortunately we’re expecting a storm tonight, hopefully it will be big enough to do the job.
Looking down 8th South this afternoon you can see the smog/fog trapped in the valley.  Mind you, most of that is just fog, because the water that evaporates gets stuck in the valley, although we have had a week of red* days.
It get’s a little bit better as you get higher up on the foothills.
The smog does give the sun a real nice orange hue, even an hour before sunset.
Which, if you tweak the settings on the camera just right gives a deep orange, and blacks out the city even though it’s still daylight.
It’s nice and clear up at the summit.
*Red days are days where the Air Quality people issue a warning for unhealthy air.  People are advised to drive as little as possible and it is suggested that anyone with lung issues stay indoors.

NEWS UPDATE:  Snow is here, and so far it looks like it’s going to be big enough to clear out the valley.  Updates in the morning when I can see if it really did.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Yeah, right. (Chuckle, chuckle)

1999, the year a tornado swept through downtown Salt Lake City.  I, my brothers and their families, were out of town that week, enjoying a houseboat on Lake Powell (240 miles, 380km, south of Salt Lake).  Since the storm that caused the tornado came from the south we got to experience it several hours before the city did. 
I’ve spent a lot of time down at Lake Powell, and this was the first time we ever had to set tents up on the houseboat because of the rain.We saw the storm coming in over the red rock cliffs, but didn’t expect much from it, and were unpleasantly surprised when it hit.  It started pushing the houseboat sideways towards the shore, which would have beached the thing.  It took the entire group (young children excluded) pulling on and burying the anchors to keep the boat perpendicular to the shore.  We were drenched, but since it was close to 100°F (38°C), at least we weren’t freezing.  When the storm passed, you could see the hills shining from the rain, an unusual sight down there.  We took the little boat into town for supplies the next morning and the store was all a buzz about the tornado in Salt Lake City.  Of course we didn’t believe it, who ever heard of tornadoes in the Rocky Mountains.  But after hearing about it from enough people, I decided I needed to call my roommate just to make sure my house still had it’s roof.  He confirmed that there was, in fact, a tornado that cut through downtown Salt Lake City, and that it didn’t come anywhere near my house.  When we got back to the houseboat and told the rest of the group, their initial reaction was “Yeah, Riiiight.”  Not that we’re a family that plays a lot of jokes on each other or anything.  Anyway, the rest of the vacation went fine, a little more rain here and there so we kept the tents up, but other than that we had enough clear weather to build a sand castle on the shore, and get in a little relaxing rowing around the inlet we docked in.
P.S.  Please keep in mind that these pictures were taken in 1999 and scanned into the computer with 1999 scanning technology.
If you want to see many great “wet” pictures from the many other people who join in Carmi’s Thematic Photographic, click the banner below.