Sunday, August 30, 2015

Running with the birds.

Made it out to the west desert today.  Found an arch and got to run with the birds.

As I was driving up a road lined with sunflowers on both sides I annoyed a few birds.  They came out of the flowers and would fly up the road, right in front of me, like a bat outta hell. 

The pictures don’t do it justice, at some times it seemed like I was in a Hitchcock movie, there were at least a dozen flying in front of me, which had me swerving left to right to avoid them.

Up past the swarms of birds, I found this arch.  And it wasn’t even Arches National Park.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Life imitates Art.

About 20 years ago I experienced an episode of M*A*S*H.  You know the episode where Hawkeye and Trapper are looking for an incubator?  They run into a control freak Supply Sargent with 3 incubators in storage who, when they ask him for one, responds “but if I give you one, I’ll only have two.”

We were just getting computers in our classrooms and I had gone to the front office looking for a surge protected power strip.  The secretary found one in the supply room and when I asked if I could have it she told me “but then I wouldn’t have one.”

Last week I lived another sitcom episode.  The Seinfeld episode where George eats an ├ęclair out of the trash.

It wasn’t an ├ęclair, but when a student threw away his box from KFC and another student grabbed the biscuit out of it, I just had to laugh.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Just call me Jethro.

When you build a carport, with a shallow roof pitch, under a huge pine tree, it’s a pretty good idea to clean off the roof more than once every 7 years.

I built it 7 years ago, and spent today cleaning it off for the first time.  There was a ton (probably even literally) of pine cones and needles up there.  The first step was to just rake them off the roof onto the ground.  Here’s what I ended up with:

As you can see, especially compared to the next picture, it was close to 2 feet deep.

The second step was to clean it up off the ground.  I hardly even touched it and my yard waste container was completely filled, so I decided to put it in the trailer.  That way it wouldn’t be piled on the side of the garage where any idiot flinging their cigarette butt out the window of their apartment next door could end up burning down my garage.  With all 3 cars inside it.

About 3/4 of the way through, I could see that there was more than my trailer could handle.  So I went to my spare wood pile, got out the saw, drill and some screws and increased the capacity of the trailer.

An old International truck bed with weather beaten spare pieces of wood.  As it started to come together, I started singing the theme song to “The Beverly Hillbillies”.  I like it, it’s completely functional, but it does have a certain Jethro look to it.

Now I just get to spend an hour or so every weekend moving it from there to the yard waste bin.  I could just pay the $10 and take the time to haul it out to the dump, but I already pay for them to pick up my yard waste, and I don’t want to pay extra for something they are going to end up selling back to people for mulch.

By the way, if anyone needs some pine cones for their Christmas arts and crafts, let me know.  I’ve got zillions of them.

Oh, and here’s the roof before I hosed it down.  You can (sorta) see the dirt on the shingles showing how far up the debris was.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thematic Photographic–Where You Work

I have a huge office.  It’s about a 35 foot (10.7 meter) square.  I only have it to myself for about an hour a day, the rest of the time I have to share it with 30+ other people.  And every 50 minutes, they all leave and 30+ new people file in.

My workspace:

Of course, the stuff I do in that big area takes a lot of planning, correcting and recording.  For that I have two separate workplaces.  One in the big room:

and one at home:

But even though I spend a lot of time at the two workstations and  walking around my big office, most of my work ends up here:

thanks to an iPad connected to a PC connected to a projector.  Chalkboards, whiteboards and even smartboards are a thing of the past.

And, in his usual excellent timing, Carmi picked this theme the week that my work partners finally show up.

Tomorrow is the first day of school, and I have to meet 160 12 year olds, getting to know each one of them and (hopefully) motivating them to take their work seriously.

Tonight I’m not going to sleep well, I never do the night before the first day of school.  Emotions run the gamut from regretting that my summer is over, excitement to meet a whole bunch of new people, fear that I’m going to have a class from hell and the knowledge that every day for the next 5 months something is going to happen that will a) piss me off, b) frustrate the hell out of me, c) embarrass me, d) make me laugh out loud, e) melt my heart and f) give me that incredible feeling when the light bulb goes off over a head and the student realizes they can do it.

It’s a rollercoaster, from the minute we hit the floor running tomorrow to the last day when we say goodbye. 

What a job.

To see more workplaces, just look here:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Thanks California, Washington and Oregon.

Salt Lake City, Utah – August 17, 2015

There is a haze over our city, and it’s not even our fault.

We’re getting smoke from the wildfires in northern California right now.  It leaves the city looking like a we’re in the middle of a typical winter inversion.  And you can smell it – it’s like I’m living next to a perpetual campfire.

The good news – a cold front is heading our way and the winds are going to change.  They are going to change from the west to the north west.

The bad news – there are a bunch of wild fires in Oregon and Washington state, so we’re still going to be getting smoke.

On the bright side – smoky air makes for amazing sunrises and sunsets.  Today’s sunrise:


I’ll try to get some more sunrise/sunset pictures.  If I do, you’ll see them here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Back to school tomorrow morning.


Friday, August 07, 2015

Behind the Scenes.

Up in the mountains above Heber, before we had lunch in Midway, we ran into these guys.

Seems that getting the video from the cameras on the ground to you an me isn’t as easy as I thought.  The cameras send the signal to an airplane circling above the valley, the plane sends it to these guys who send it down to link down at the finish line. 

Their job here?  Set up all the equipment, sit around watching it and then put it all away.  Nothing to do once it’s set up, unless something goes wrong.

We talked to this guy for a half hour or so, nothing too drastic happened, but it was interesting watching the race from there, and hearing about how the whole thing works.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Lunch in Midway.

Eating lunch at the TimpFreeze in Midway, and who rides by?  The Tour of Utah.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Two Men Walk Into A Bar. What Happens Next Is Amazing.

One says to the other: “You didn’t see it either?”

[The Following is a Public Service Announce for the people who got here from their Facebook Account]

Yes folks, here I am making fun of yet another Facebook trend.  This is another way for a website (chock full ‘o advertising) to bump up those hit numbers.

Which wouldn’t be so annoying if you didn’t have to scroll or click through a bunch of crap to get to what is so amazing – which usually isn’t.

There’s a lot of stupid stuff on Facebook.  Usually I just scroll past it until I see something funny or worth looking at.  But, as you probably have noticed, if I see a good chance to poke fun at it, I will.

Bon Voyage, and thanks for upping the hits on my blog.  Not that it does me any financial good, since I don’t have advertising.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The vine is gone.

The apartment complex next to my house has this pervasive vine growing in the corner right by my house.  I made the mistake of letting it get a foothold in that corner of my yard.

So today the temperature got up into the mid 90’s, Fahrenheit.  But I decided it was the day to get rid of that vine.  I got tired of cutting it back from choking my tree, and I wanted to reclaim that part of my property.

The thing had (and to a lesser extent still does) roots everywhere.  I had to use my electric hedge trimmer to chop it up enough to get most of it out.  That meant chopping back and forth, and crisscross about an inch into the dirt.  Fortunately, the hedge trimmer did well, there weren’t many roots too big for it to handle.

Chop, yank, rake.  Chop, yank, rake.  What I pulled out of that area almost fills up my truck-bed trailer, and that doesn’t include already filling up the yard-waste bin.

Grueling work, but I got it back behind the fence.  I sprayed all the roots left with vegetation killer, now I just have to spray by the fence every month or so to keep it from coming back over.  I’ve used Round-Up to keep it from growing up the walls of my house (it still controls the side yard), so I know it really doesn’t like vegetation killer.

Anyway, now I have to figure out what to do with that part of the yard.