Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Soft Top

Because the hard top is too confining in our bi-polar spring and fall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Predators at the school.

Ok, calm down.  We’re talking birds, not white panel-vans with “Free Carmel-Mocha Frappuccino” painted on the side.

Our students collected $1,500 worth of stuff for the Animal Shelter, so they earned a “Birds of Prey” assemble, where they bring live birds to the school and let them fly around in the auditorium.

Cool assembly, and it was really funny when one of the birds perched itself on a light bar right above the audience.  The kids had been warned about bird’s tendency to poop wherever they are, even got a visual when he was holding it.  There was a little chaos every time the bird changed perches as the students tried to get out from underneath it. 

No accidents, but funny.

As you can see, I found the owl incredibly photogenic.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chaos in front of the school.

Well, up the street a block or so.

The other day our school officer called the office because he was afraid we would get panic calls from parents because there was a major police presence just up the street from the school.

He wanted to tell us that there was nothing to worry about.  They had tried to serve a warrant on someone, who happened to ram a police car trying to get away.   Fortunately, the suspect didn’t get away, which was why there was nothing to worry about.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

My Cars

Took my cars out for a photo shoot the other day.  Here’s some of my favorite shots.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Salt Lake City Marathon.

Today was the S.L.C. marathon, and it passed three houses from mine.  That’s no big deal, I’m not one of the people who get all bent out of shape over a 10-15 minute inconvenience, once a year, for a community event.   Reading the comments on the article, you’d think it was a week long event right during morning and evening rush hour.

But anyway, there was a couple issues that I thought they could have handled better.  My street, which is a main street, has no side streets for the couple blocks between a main intersection and where the marathon cut the road off.  For a could hours there was a parade of cars coming down my street, hitting where the race crossed and being forced to flip a u-turn right there.  I thought they could have put a “Local Traffic Only” barricade at the main intersection, warning people that they couldn’t get through.

I was also really surprised that the UTA (Utah Transit Authority) busses weren’t warned about the closings.  Although I appreciated being amused watching the busses making a u-turn on a 2 lane street, this was an unnecessary inconvenience for mass transit riders.

Not to mention the scratch that last bus left on my driveway that is going to haunt me for decades.  (Yeah, over-dramatic, I know – I am just kidding).

I also think I saw the 1999 Mustang I used to own.  It had the same graphics I put on the rocker panel and the guy driving it looked like the guy I remember selling it to.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Salty Sunday

On Easter Sunday Lisa Shafer and I headed out to the Great Salt Lake to enjoy the nice, warm weather.

The water is so low that it took us about 15 minutes to walk out to the water from the parking area at Saltair.  As always, there were quite a few seagulls, feasting on the brine shrimp in the lake.

Tumbleweeds, posts from an abandoned pier, seagulls and mountains in the background.

Over by Stansbury Island we found this mountain of salt.

And this isn’t a snow scape – it’s a twig poking out of dried salt.

I’m thinking this is the leftover minerals that they separate from the salt before sending it to your dinner table.

Me, standing out in a field of salt.  It looked like a big pond of water with a sheet of salt on top.  I walked out to see how thick the layer of salt was, to see if it was thick enough to walk on.  The salt wasn’t all that thick, but I could walk on it because it was just a sheet of salt on the sand, no water under it.

Salt wrinkles.

I really wanted to drive the Jeep out onto the sheet, but knew that it would be a stupid idea.  This is as close as I dared get to the salt, and even then I spent $10 spraying down the underside when I got home.

And a big chunk of salt I found on the side of the road.

Friday, April 03, 2015

April 1st @ my Jr. High.

Started out as a normal day.  It’s the start of the election season for us – Student Body Officers for next year.  The kids were hanging their posters up, and one student found a perfect spot, a little too high up.  But he did figure out how to reach it:

I hadn’t planned on playing any jokes on anyone, until one of my students in 3rd period suggested letting him go to another teacher’s class where he would just walk in, sit down in and not say a word.  We picked an appropriate teacher and I let him go.  Five minutes later he came back and told us that he had walked in and just sat down.  She asked him “Can I help you?”  He said nothing.  She asked again and he again said nothing.  This went on for a couple minutes, until he just got up and walked out.  After hearing the story, I went to go let her know it was an April Fool’s day joke, she was just standing in the hall shaking her head.

This got my creative juices flowing.  It took me the rest of 3rd period to come up with something. 

BACKGROUND: When a student gets their schedule changed they show up to their new classes with a printout of their schedule with the new class highlighted. 

I figured out a way to download a schedule with the right teacher in the right period slot.  I downloaded it into an Excel spreadsheet so it was easy to change the name, print them out and highlight the right period. 

I printed up five of them and sent the students down to the Social Studies teacher’s room, one at a time about a minute apart.  They walked in, handed her the paper and told her that they had just been transferred in.

I really didn’t expect it to work so well, but one of the students came back and told me that she was in the counseling center asking why she was getting 5 new students this late in the semester.  I went down there to see what was going on, and they were laughing – they had looked up the kids real schedule, saw they were all in my class that period and figured out I was the culprit.

I went back up to my room, faked new ones for the Art teacher, and sent the rest of my kids down there.  The Art teacher also went to the Counseling Center with a handful of new schedules to find out what was going on.  When none of my students came back after about 10 minutes, I headed down there to see what was going on.  As I passed the Counseling Center, I saw the Art teacher in there and when she saw me she gave me a “you jerk” look.  I went into the office, we laughed about it and she said that since they were watching a movie on proportions, she’d just keep my class down there.  She left to go back to class, I was going to follow her (after apologizing to the counseling secretaries) when the principal came in and asked what was so funny.  We told her and she immediately asked if I’d “got” this teacher or that teacher, and I ended up leaving with a list of teachers to get during 6th and 7th periods, officially sanctioned by the principal.

I went to help with my class for the rest of 7th period, and after that was my prep period and lunch.  I got up to my classroom for 6th period and found this:

My classroom was cleaned out of all the student desks.  30 some-odd students about to show up and not a place for them to sit.  (Found out later that this was pay-back from the Social Studies teacher).  No problem, I just told them to have a seat on the floor where their desk should be, so I could still take roll from the seating chart.  To their credit, they were pretty much right on the mark, I had no problem telling who was there and who was absent.

Not wanting to be deterred from my own agenda, I sent my class off with their “new” schedules to three of the teachers on my list.  Word had gotten out by this point, and most of the teachers just went with the flow and kept my students (I’m going to have to do this more often Smile), the health teacher sent 5 of his students back to me with a big poster that said “Sorry, I didn’t fall for it”.  I took advantage of this and paid each of them a soda to help me move my desks back into the room – they were in the large group instruction room right across the hall from mine. 

Sixth period ended and 7th period started.  The secretary from the front office came over the P.A. to tell me that I was needed in the office.  Something about two of my students being in trouble and the police being involved.  It’s highly unusual for a teacher to be pulled out of their class so I immediately suspected it was a joke.  I told her that, she said it wasn’t, I said ‘yeah, right’, she said something about putting the cop on the P.A. to talk to me.  Still feeling that it was bogus, I figured I’d just go down there and get it over with.

When I got to the office and saw no police officers anywhere, I was even more convinced that it wasn’t real and went into the Vice Principal’s office to find my two missing students sitting with the V.P. talking to them.  Still suspicious, I listened to the story about something they had done, that was really bad, that involved me.  As I listened I noticed the demeanor of the two students and started to believe it was real.  One student wouldn’t even look at me, he was sitting there shaking and looked like he had been crying.  The other one also wouldn’t look right at me and kept answering questions in the typical 8th grade, vague and deflective way.  The V.P. tried to get them to tell me what they had done, but they just couldn’t spit it out.  The principal came in and said something about calling their parents and that I should come back after school, after the kids had had a chance to talk to their parents.

I got back up to my room and my desks were all turned around facing the back, and occupied by students that were not mine.  I found out that my own 7th period students had turned the desks around as soon as I left the room, but the change in students was the Art teacher’s pay back.

As the Art teacher was getting her students out of the room and mine were coming back in, the principal, VP and the two students got off the elevator with big grins on their faces.  Yup, they had got me.  I had to congratulate them because despite being suspicious, despite expecting it to be a con, I still fell for it – all because of how well the students acted.  The one kid had made himself cry and was purposely twitching his leg so he would look nervous.  The other kid had started to laugh but covered it up so well that it came across as if he was trying to keep from crying.  I was impressed, and we had a good laugh over it.

It was a great day, one that was truly, truly needed.